24.10.14

Meet the fabulous Thomm Quackenbush

Hi Thomm! Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
My last published book was Artificial Gods, the third (or 1.5th) book in the Night's Dream series, taking place between the events of We Shadows and Danse Macabre, though to largely unrelated characters. The first night Jasmine is home for summer break, she sees a UFO. Though she is perfectly willing to forget it happened, she soon finds herself pulled between the presumptive occupants of the ships, those who believe in them almost to the point of religion, and her own faltering doubts. It plays heavily on UFO mythology and the historical connections between a man who called himself the Great Beast, the inventor of rocket fuel, and the appearance of modern UFOs.

What inspired you to write it?
When I was six or seven, I saw one of the appearances of the Great Hudson Valley UFO, a massive triangle that plagued upstate New York in the 1980s. From the moment I could read, I devoured that section of my elementary school library, so this sighting came as a sort of vindication. Now things would have to happen.
Of course they didn't. When I asked my parents about the sighting while writing Artificial Gods, they made clear to me that they had no memory of this sighting. I recall sufficient details (they told me to roll up my window, which I assumed was because they were scared of the ship but it might have actually been that it was too cold to allow a child to stick his head out of the window), but it is entirely possible I was the only member of my family to observe this. I know I would be skeptical about a grade schooler saying he had seen an inexplicable ship in the sky, no matter how frequently local papers reported it.
When I was in my early twenties, my friends discovered that we lived within an hour's drive of Pine Bush, NY, the "Roswell of the Northeast." Guided by Dr. Ellen Crystall's book Silent Invasion, we made a couple of passes through this town supposedly beset by UFOs and alien beings. We saw nothing of note, but we weren't really expecting to.
When I started writing this book in earnest, I knew that I had to do more in depth research. I went to several meetings of the United Friends Observer Society, an abductee and experiencer support group that meets monthly just outside of Pine Bush. I also attended sky watches, where several people claimed to have seen ships in the distance. I saw airplanes, but they assured me that the UFOs now cloak themselves as planes.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
I actually didn't at all. With my last two books, Double Dragon Publishing had asked for suggestions. With Danse Macabre, I went so far as to photograph my now wife posed like the main character. With Artificial Gods, I simply came home from yoga one night and had an email saying the book had been released.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?

I like the chance to make my metaphors literal. In We Shadows, a woman who wants to disappear from the world actually does. In Danse Macabre, I portray an emotionally abusive relationship as involving vampirism hollowing out a flawed man. In Artificial Gods, two sisters have to combat alienation involving actual aliens. My next book, Flies to Wanton Boys, involves a plague threatening to obliterate the supernatural aspect of the world as a way to demonstrate the power of skepticism.

What made you want to become an author?

I think I was born an author. After that, it was a matter of becoming skilled enough to convince other people. Reality was never enough for me, so I would tell strangers that I was half-alien on my father’s side or that my stuffed animals would occasionally speak. My parents and teachers encouraged my writing, often at the expense of other subjects – I still furrow my brow when faced with math more daunting than algebra, despite having tutored it. When I was far too young, my mother enrolled me in a poetry group for adults that met in the local library, though I was never much of a poet. A lot of my identity as a writer likely came from adults insisting I was one already and my finding this easier than being anything else (I was a mediocre artist and a competent at best actor).
I began my Night’s Dream series while still an undergrad. I knew roughly the world I wanted to create – belief shapes everything, but most every human has unconsciously agreed to disbelieve and ignore; the gods of antiquity have fled for reasons of self-preservation; all the strange things you think might be under your bed as a child actually work as school bus drivers and baristas, you just don’t notice – but I did not have the skill to write it. I tried no matter – I was never one to give up when it came to a story.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. I love his dry humor, primarily, but I think this book gave me more curiosity about the natural sciences than the whole of my schooling could ever manage. It has influenced my books as much as anything else has.
Good Omens is a collaboration between two of my favorite authors, the like of which we will not see again. It is the book I most wish I had written, one that represented to a younger version of me how I wanted to shape my fictional world.

Where is your favourite place to write?
At the moment, I am writing this on a chair just outside of my apartment because the mornings have been cool and calm. When the weather is less convivial, I write in a corner of my bedroom on a rickety, fold-up desk. I used to write in a closet, so this is progress.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
I feel that the David Fincher Fight Club movie is genuinely better than Chuck Palahniuk book. The ending, certainly, works more for me. I would almost consider admitting this a sort of blasphemy, but I have been told Palahniuk thinks the same.

Name two of your favourite authors.
Neil Gaiman is an absolutely inspiration. He recently took a teaching position in my town. We've dined in the same restaurant, but we've yet to talk more than a few lines on Tumblr.
I find myself returning time and again to Vladimir Nabokov. Lolita was the first book I read where I had to do mental gymnastics to reconcile almost liking a character who was doing awful things. I read it about once a year and always get a little more from it. Lolita helped show me how to create a sympathetic “villain” and underscored to me that they really are the heroes of their own stories. I am more than aware that the book, written from almost anyone else’s perspective, would make Humbert into a conscienceless ghoul, yet the reader can easily be seduced by his charm.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
Any historical dinner party would be lacking if Oscar Wilde were not around to sprinkle bon mots and insult the guests in the most charming fashion possible. I would love to dine with Terry Pratchett before the darkness of Alzheimer’s takes him further, but I doubt I will get the chance.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I once accidentally groped a ghost.
I was sixteen and volunteering at Kevin McCurdy's Haunted Mansion. My job that night was backstage, moving sets around so it would seem like the elevator we put guests in did something other than shake. I waited outside the first room—one with a prerecorded speech and timed effects—to finish so I could prepare my scene. A small girl stood in a dim corner. This in itself was not strange. The Mansion had a constantly shifting cast based on who volunteered that night, though the management tried to funnel the better and more reliable actors to steadier parts (which might be why my role that night was unseen set mover). What confused me was that she wore a knee-length white dress, almost luminescent, completely forbidden outside a part owing to its visibility. I told her to go hide somewhere, that the first room was nearly finished with their automated skit. She cocked her head as though she misunderstood me over the constant spooky music or, perhaps, as if I were stupid. We had seconds before the guests would intrude upon us, so I did the only thing that made sense. I tried to grab her shoulder to pull her with me to a crack or crevice that would conceal us.
My hand went through her. She straightened up and faded into the dark. By this point, the customers were about to see me, so I ran back to my scene. I had no time to be frightened, though I felt nothing but calm and a bit perplexed. I ran into some friends working the room after mine and told them that I had seen “the ghost.”
I worked there for several Octobers after, but I never again saw a specter not made by the in-house special effects team and none of those came close to the girl in the dress who I groped. There were myths and rumors about actual ghosts, as that would be unavoidable in that setting, and one did match up to my permeable girl, but I don’t think that’s evidence enough. I’ve mostly convinced myself that it was an optical illusion brought on by the environment and darkness, but it makes for too good an anecdote to abandon wholly.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
Image courtesy of Eva Rinaldi
I would love some underappreciated character actor who puts in an Oscar-worthy performance—ideally some niche heartthrob to stroke my ego—but I suspect they would just pick Michael Cera and call it a day.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.

It is the setting for three of my books (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Flies to Wanton Boys). This was purely coincidental. When I wrote the former two books, I lived on the other side of the county, about an hour away from Red Hook, New York.
Living in the setting of one’s fantasy novels does present a new perspective, as I often discover very strange corners of the town that I know I have to work into my novels, I simply haven’t found when. The two most startling have been an aerodrome that serves as the launching point for antique airshows and a cadre of researchers who believe Red Hook is home to a family of sasquatches. I have spent a bit of time with the Bigfoot researchers and spoke at a filmed panel with them. They are genuinely kind and caring people. If there were a sasquatch out there, I would hope it would talk to them instead of one of the many hunters angling for deer.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
Write and promote myself relentlessly. I feel as though I am just getting to the point where my reputation alone earns me invitations to events and signings. In the next month, I am scheduled to speak to students at my old high school and I will be doing two writing classes at a local library to inspire teenagers for National Novel Writing Month.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
I would like to see one of my stories or books turned into a movie. It doesn’t have to be of Spielberg proportions. I would be perfectly content with a well-done Youtube video. I’ve been told that my work tends to be fairly cinematic (I may go a bit heavy on showing rather than telling and I was raised dissecting Buffy the Vampire Slayer), so it is just a matter of someone with the right talent taking notice. SyFy Channel contracted the rights to We Shadows years ago, but they never did anything with them. I think they simple wanted to have those rights in their stable. Fortunately, I get those rights back next year.

Favourite myth / fairytale?

There is a Taoist story about a philosopher who is mucking about in a stream when palace guards confront him, offering him a job in the palace. The philosopher asks, “Is it true that the king has a turtle shell, covered in jewels and kept in a silk-lined box?” The guards confirm this is true. “Do you think the turtle would rather be dead in the palace or alive in the mud?” They concede that the turtle would rather be in the mud. “Then so too would I,” said the philosopher and then returned to his muck.

Who did you want to be when you were a kid?
I tended to be content with who I was, though I assumed for a while that I would end up an actor. After a few turns directing plays, it turned out that I was too megalomaniacal to simple shove people around in someone else’s world. I needed to create and control my own universe to be sated.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes three novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods). His fourth book in the Night's Dream series, Flies to Wanton Boys, is due shortly. He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. He finds that friends do not enjoy the extremes he goes to in order to research books, as these involve mortuaries and UFO support groups. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings.

22.10.14

The Beginning is the End by Cara Davis


Welcome to the Cara Davis promo event hosted by IFB Tours. This is to celebrate the release of the first book in her YA Zombie series, which has the most AWESOME cover, don't you think? It's totally unique and I love that! Have a read of the excerpt and Cara's playlist below, and then enter to win some fabulous prizes!

23155228Series: Reset #1
Release date: October 20th 2014
Publisher: Big Moon Press
Purchase: Amazon 

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Jack Sunshine’s life is chaos. She’s seventeen and the head of her household following the death of her mother and the disappearance of her stepfather. Having to balance work and home at her age gets further complicated with her forays into dating. And to top it all off, the dead are returning to life. 

Jack now has the added responsibility of ensuring her family and friends are safe and sound during this outbreak. It’s almost doable until the tiny enigma of a girl named O comes along. It becomes a question of whether the sick will kill them or they’ll kill each other.

EXCERPT
==================

Frances Hopkins, who lived across the street from the DeCoudreauxes, stood in the doorway of the library with heaving shoulders and some kind of internalized grudge against every one of us. Her low growl reverberated, and none of us moved a millimeter as we debated the next move. Frances seemed to be calculating her next move as well, and I couldn’t help but hear Old West showdown music in my head. 

“Shoot. Her.” Alexandria gritted her teeth.

“She isn’t doing anything,” Miles argued.

“Let’s just try and skirt past her,” I suggested. It couldn’t have been too difficult; she wasn’t taking up too much room in the rather large doorway.

An argument from Alexandria later and we found ourselves trying to walk past Frances without alerting her. Since it was my idea, Alexandria insisted I go first. I took Lucy’s hand and held her close to me, starting to side-step Frances while holding my breath. I covered Lucy’s eyes with one hand, her mouth with the other; she was starting to cry, and I didn’t want her to get too loud.

I tried to think of everything I possibly could aside from the situation right in front of me. It would only take about five seconds to get past her, I knew, but they would be appallingly long seconds. My grip on Lucy tightened once we found ourselves inches from Frances. I scooted as quickly as I could and was relieved that we made it out into the hallway without incident.

Summer, O and the others followed suit, each without incident, until only Alexandria remained inside the library. She locked eyes with me and I contemplated leaving her behind, given how rude she’d been to Aylen. Instead, I gave her my most reassuring smile and nod, gesturing for her to join us. Miles whispered a few words of encouragement as well, and after a few false starts, Alexandria made her move to shimmy past Frances.

She hugged the wall, her back to Frances and eyes shut tightly. Her spiked heels made the faintest scritching sounds as she shuffled. My sigh of relief at all of us passing by Frances unharmed was interrupted, as Frances whipped around with alarming speed to once again grab hold of Alexandria’s hair.

Before any of us could get close enough, Alexandria was heels over head and slammed against the ground, Frances on top of her and shredding her clothes. There was no way Miles could’ve gotten in a clear shot, both women’s limbs intertwining as Alexandria tried to fight her way out. Miles screamed to me, gesturing for me to kick while he aimed. I looked back to Frances and hesitated before steeling myself and slamming my foot as hard as I could into her face.




AUTHOR'S PLAYLIST
=====================================
[click title to listen]
GossipHeavy Cross
Nine Inch NailsThe Great Destroyer (Modwheelmood Remix) 
DeftonesDiamond Eyes
Northern KingsCreep
Yeah Yeah YeahsHeads Will Roll
Miss ATouch


About the Author

Cara Davis is a weirdo. She has lots of partially-written stories that one day will become actual stories. A northern-born southerner, she has the most eclectic tastes you can imagine. Most of her writing is within the paranormal realm, but occasionally she dabbles in fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis that’s going unused.

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21.10.14

Loop by Karen Akins

Loop #1
Author: Karen Akins
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.
After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.
Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.
But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.
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"A creative take on romance in a high-stakes, high-concept mystery that trusts its readers' intelligence." - Kirkus

"LOOP is a page-turning adventure with some brilliant and original twists to the time travel genre. I devoured the entire book in one sitting!" - Julie Cross, Author of the TEMPEST series

"Hilarious and suspenseful with a delicious dash of romance, LOOP is a mind-bending good time!" - Melissa Landers, Author of the ALIENATED series

Karen Akins lives in the MidSouth where she writes humorous, light YA sci-fi. When not writing or reading, she loves lightsaber dueling with her two sons and forcing her husband to watch BBC shows with her.
Karen has been many things in her life: an archery instructor, drummer for the shortest-lived garage band in history, and a shockingly bad tic-tac-toe player.
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Soulless by Crystal Collier


I'm delighted to be a part of Crystal's blog tour today! 

Title: SOULLESS
Author: Crystal Collier
Publisher: Raybourne Publishing
Series: Maiden of Time, #2
Publication: October 13th, 2014
Category: Young Adult (YA)
Genre: Paranormal Historical


When Alexia's wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power and risk losing everything.
Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.
And risk losing everything.
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Author Interview

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

SOULLESS is book 2 in the Maiden of Time Trilogy: Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is disrupted by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.
And risk losing everything.

What inspired you to write it?
The characters wouldn’t stop talking. They have this life of their own.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
That was a LONG, hard process. My graphic artist is epic and sent me several concepts, but none were right. Eventually I had to focus on what was central to the story—a wedding, a war, time manipulation—and then the light bulb went on.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
… … This is where I admit my ignorance of pop culture. Truth, I’d want Alexia to play Alexia, but she might not be so cool with that.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?

I love to shiver and gasp and swoon, all while reading the same book.

What made you want to become an author?
I’ve always HAD to tell stories—whether through pictures, music or the written word.

How do you come up with character names?
Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes they come to me. =) I like to start with symbolism though, and build from there.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
Les Miserables.

Who, or what, inspires you?
Cheese, and my wonderful family who instilled its love in my heart.

Where is your favourite place to write?

In nature.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
THE PRINCESS BRIDE –How do you get better than that? (Although I thought the book was atrocious.)

Name two of your favourite authors.
Cassandra Clare and Dean Koontz.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
It would be fascinating to sit down with Jeffery Chaucer. I absolutely LOVE the Canterbury Tales, but the appeal to me would be learning about his era, where his stories came from, and how his works survived.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I’ve written and orchestrated a 2.5 hour musical.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
... Again I’ll plead ignorance.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
It’s vacation world. (Orlando, Florida.) Yuppers.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I’m currently working on a serial story (Bellezza, release TBD 2015) and TIMELESS, final book in the Maiden of Time Trilogy.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
Hang gliding.

Favourite myth / fairytale?
Anything Grimm.

Who did you want to be when you were a kid?

An artist, singer, actress, teacher, author, AND ad specialist with an advertising firm. Why not try them all, eh?

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.
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20.10.14

Jack Templar and the Lord of the Werewolves.

Jack Templar 4 Tour

Jack Templar and the Lord of the Werewolves
Fresh from confronting the Lord of the Vampires in the limestone catacombs beneath Paris, Jack Templar faces his toughest challenge yet as he searches for the next Jerusalem Stone, this one being held by the Lord of the Werewolves. But the narrow escape from the vampire lair came at a great cost and Eva battles to survive the new vampire blood in her veins. The only chance to help Eva is to continue their quest and find the Jerusalem Stones. Reuniting the Stones will not only stop Ren Lucre’s coming war against mankind, but also transform Eva back into her human self. From the ruins of ancient Delhi to the depths of the Black Forest in Germany, Jack and his friends face monsters, bewildering riddles and treachery from the most unlikely of places. Through it all, they are plagued by the Oracle’s prediction that at least one of their group with not make it through the adventure alive. Worse yet, they know that Kaeden, the Lord of the Werewolves, will do his best to make sure none of them do. But they are monster hunters of the Black Guard… and they will do their duty, come what may.
Jack Templar 4

Excerpt
jeffThe stench hung heavy in the air. There was no other smell in the world quite like it. First came the stink of grease fires from the wall torches, the heavy black smoke that roiled through the air like a foul fog. Then a moldering, musty base layer came to the senses. It reeked of decay and seeping moisture that grew black mold on every surface. The mold clung on the rough-cut rocks lining the dungeon tunnels. It covered the thick iron bars holding the prisoners in place. It even grew on the tattered rags covering the miserable creatures in the cells and likely on their skin as well. That final smell overlay the symphony of stink. The Creach prisoners. Werewolves, harpies, blind mad-worms, blinderwursts, fangpiercers, even some demons held with the special pure iron chains required to keep them in place. Many of these creatures were pungent under the best circumstances, but locked in the deepest dungeon underground, sometimes for decades, they took on an odor so ripe, so awful, that visitors to the dungeon often had to hold their breath to enter. Even then, the smell would make their eyes sting and well with tears. Immediately after leaving the dungeon, visitors were allowed a bath or a shower in the castle. As they washed the stench from their bodies, they would feel an overwhelming sense of thanks that they were not a prisoner wallowing in the horrifying conditions they’d just witnessed. No one, human or Creach, wanted to be a prisoner in the dungeons of Ren Lucre. Far away, at the end of one of the long, twisting corridors, came the creak of a massive door opening. The prisoners stirred at the sound. Their reactions mirrored how long they had been in their cells. The newer arrivals looked up with expectation, still hopeful their punishment was going to be short and that someone was coming to tell them their nightmare was over. Those who had been there longer knew that hope was useless in this dark place. They simply cowered farther into whatever dark corner they could find in their cell, desperate not to be noticed by the Master. Then there were those who had been there the longest. They simply looked up with mild interest, knowing that nothing they did made any difference. Their spirits were broken. Worse, they knew this to be the dark truth, and they simply didn’t care. One single prisoner reacted in none of these ways. He simply stood, and the rags that had once been his clothes hung on his bony frame. Unbroken by years of starvation and torture, he still squared his shoulders in the direction of the sound and raised his chin, his eyes glistening in the torchlight with defiance. What he saw would have brought a normal man to his knees, but this man was no more normal than the monster approaching. Ren Lucre, the five hundred year old vampire, filled the hallway as he strode through it, his cloak billowing behind him as he rushed past the stinking cells. His pale, narrow face looked pinched and concerned. His blood-red lip pursed in a straight line, and his eyes glowered like embers in a fire that might at any time combust into new flame. He came to the thick set of bars that held the proud man, stopped, and stared him down. “Well, if it isn’t the Lord of the Creach,” the man said. Even though his voice was course and weak, he still managed an edge of bitter sarcasm. “You look like you’re having a bad day.” The man spat on the floor. “Good.”  

Author Jeff Gunhus
Jeff Gunhus is the author of the Amazon bestselling supernatural thriller, Night Chill, and the Middle Grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book of the series, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His book Reaching Your Reluctant Reader has helped hundreds of parents create avid readers. Killer Within is his second novel for adults. As a father of five, he and his wife Nicole spend most of their time chasing kids and taking advantage of living in the great state of Maryland. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel. If you see him there, sit down and have a cup of coffee with him. You just might end up in his next novel.
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$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/4/14 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 and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  
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17.10.14

Foreign Exchange by Denise Jade

Evernight Teen Contemporary/Mystery
Jamie Monroe has always played it safe. That is, until her live-for-the-moment best friend, Tristan, jets off to Italy on a student exchange program. Left alone with her part-time mother and her disabled brother, Jamie discovers that she is quite capable of taking her own risks, starting with her best friend’s hotter-than-hot older brother, Sawyer. Sawyer and Tristan have been neighbors for years, but as Jamie grows closer to the family she thought she knew, she discovers some pretty big secrets.
As she sinks deeper into their web of pretense, she suspects that her best friend may not be on a safe exchange program at all. Jamie sets off to Europe on a class trip with plans to meet up with Tristan, but when Tristan stops all communication, suddenly no one seems trustworthy, least of all the one person she was starting to trust—Sawyer.
Buy Links: Evernight Teen Amazon


Trailer



Excerpt:
Hi,” I say when I find Sawyer at his locker. My face is beaming like someone plugged me into a wall socket.
“Jamie.” He smiles back, but his eyes are rimmed with red like he's really tired. “Have you heard from my sister again?”
Not exactly the topic of conversation I'd hoped for. I nod. “I got another email. She got to Milan fine and is settling in.”
Sawyer pulls out his phone. He looks at me, then at his phone, then back at me again.
“She's...everything's okay with the exchange program?” he asks. His words are tentative.
“Tristan's fine, Sawyer. She says the schoolwork is going to be harder than expected because of not speaking Italian, but otherwise she's great. She loves Europe.” He looks at his phone again. I put my hand out. “Here, you want me to show you the email?”
He hands me his phone. It takes me a minute to figure out how to log in through his browser, but I hope I can put his mind at rest. My email is coming up on the screen when the first bell rings. I have English first class and my teacher's a real stickler about tardiness. I glance down the hall toward my locker.
“You go,” Sawyer says, his palm open for his phone. “I'll look it over and see you in class later. Okay?”
“I—” I’m not sure what to say. Tristan’s been talking about finding my dad in her emails. It’s our big secret and she’d been adamant about not sharing it with anybody. But I think I can trust Sawyer. And, after all, it is my secret to keep. If I’m making a mistake it’ll only hurt me. “Okay,” I say, finally, passing his phone back to him. Our fingers brush against each other, but we don’t have time to let them linger.
By the time I get to English, I'm thinking of another problem. Tristan hadn't wanted me to tell anyone about her modeling over there. I’ll have to tell Sawyer not to mention it.
When I dash into class later, Sawyer’s already seated in his usual seat with his head down. He's flipping through something on his phone, and again I think about signing him into my email earlier. Instead of feeling nervous, after having some time to think about it, trusting him makes me feel closer to him. Like we share our private emails with each other all the time.
“Hey.” I sit down beside him.
He finishes typing something, and then shoves his phone away before Mr. Echols catches sight of it. “Hey,” he says finally, smiling over at me. He still looks really tired.
“Everything okay?” I ask.
He blinks a few times, looking down, and I wonder if he isn't okay. Is something really wrong? “Do you...” he trails off and seems to rethink what he's saying. “Do you think with the program... do you think everything's okay about that? I don't know what's going on, but maybe...I mean, I think maybe Tristan’s over there trying to model.”
I swallow hard. This is the moment of truth, where I have to decide how much I can trust him.
But his pause is barely long enough for me to open my mouth. “I need to get on that class trip, Jamie. I need to stop my sister from doing anything stupid.”
A host of emotions rush through me. Fear, anger, betrayal.
“Wait, what?” I ask him. “You're going to try to get on the class trip so you can interfere with Tristan's dream?” Tristan’s told me how jealous he can be. How he’s done this before.
Sawyer looks over at me with wide eyes, like he can't believe I'm calling him out on it.
Mr. Echols interrupts us, starting class, but I'm too upset to pay attention to a single word he's saying.
Sawyer passes me a note halfway through class.
I’m seriously worried about my sister, Jamie. I have to tell you more about the program. Just hear me out. Please?
I keep my eyes from Sawyer for the rest of class. I'm sure he knows I'm angry, but he doesn't try to talk to me again, at least for now. I'm even angry at myself for getting so caught up in my feelings for him and not noticing all the things that Tristan's warned me about.

Author Interview
Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Foreign Exchange is about a girl named Jamie, who sneaks away from her class trip in Europe to find her missing best friend.

What inspired you to write it?
I was inspired by a combination of the movie Life As We Know It and a desire to bring some of my performance and traveling background to life. While the end product came out nothing at all like the movie, I loved the idea of a responsible girl having to work with a sexy, untrustworthy playboy to solve a problem.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
When I think of traveling Europe, I think of trains. My husband and I traveled much of Europe by train several years ago, many times traveling through the nights. I loved the photo that was chosen for the cover, as it has the feeling of searching, and of being at the beginning of a very long track.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
I always have a really hard time with this question because I’m not all that in tune with current actors and actresses. But from those I do know, I would pick someone like Sophie Nelisse for the main character of Jamie. I think she’d do well with Jamie’s ability to speak multiple languages. I’d see someone like Odeya Rush as her beautiful fashion-model best friend, Tristan, and someone like Tyler Blackburn for sexy Sawyer.


What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?

Honestly, I feel like the genre picked me, more than I chose it. The first novel I wrote was in the head of a thirty-year-old guy, and all my critique partners asked me, “Are you sure this shouldn’t be YA?” It took me until I started actually writing a young adult novel to see how perfect it felt to be in a teen’s voice.

What made you want to become an author?
Actually, I didn’t decide that I wanted to become an author either. It kind of happened by accident. I enjoyed writing and started to share my work with critique partners. My critique partners were all trying to get their work published, so I thought, “Why not give it a try.” It is kind of addictive to be able to share literary works, but I wouldn’t have known how much had I not been nudged to send my stuff out into the world.


How do you come up with character names?

I love coming up with character names, and keep an ongoing list in my phone. I pick up names everywhere, from my son’s judo classes, to clerk nametags at the grocery store. I quite often look the names up in baby name books to see what they mean as well.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
This is a tough question. I have so many books I love. But if I had to pick one, I’d probably have to go with Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I love the voice, and the humor, and of course the hot romance.


Who, or what, inspires you?

I’m greatly inspired by young people who are pursuing their dreams and passions. That may be part of why I love writing for this age group so much.

Where is your favourite place to write?
I love to write at my kitchen table when no one else is home. I don’t get the house to myself all that often, so I also have a tiny office that doubles as a spare room. But creativity-wise, I love the kitchen table best.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Hmm, this one’s tough, too, because usually the book is so much better than the movie! I’m going to go with Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, since I actually liked the movie better than the book in this case.

Name two of your favourite authors.
Wow, you’re great with the tough questions, huh? Really hard to narrow this down, but I’ll say that I would read anything by Stephanie Perkins or Gayle Forman.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
I grew up as a reluctant reader and writer, and still haven’t read many of the classics. I’m sure most authors would say Jane Austen or Oscar Wilde, but I would likely pick people from our current times. I’d love to sit down with Jandy Nelson, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Kiersten White. Jandy – to figure out how her brain works; Laurie – to glean wisdom about the world; Kiersten – because I know we would laugh and laugh and laugh.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
In my spare time I dance and tour with a professional Polynesian dance troupe.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
Probably Julia Louis-Dreyfus. People have always told me I look like her (must be the curly hair), plus she’s very funny, and I hope my life story would be more comedy than tragedy.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
I live in a border town of Canada (just bordering Washington) and the post office in the US is actually closer to home for me than the one in Canada. Also, I live in the raspberry capital of Canada (and who doesn’t love raspberries?!)

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I plan to keep drafting at least one new young adult novel per year. I have far more ideas stored up than I’ll ever be able to write. I also hope to keep putting out new nonfiction books to help writers as I learn more along my journey.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
Not to ever make a bucket list, but just to push myself to do things rather than putting them on a list!


Favourite myth / fairytale?

Beauty and the Beast. My wedding was actually themed after this.

Who did you want to be when you were a kid?
One of Charlie’s Angels. It looked like a fun life.

Denise Jaden’s novels have been shortlisted or received awards through the Romance Writers of America, Inspy, and SCBWI. The first draft of her debut novel, Losing Faith (Simon & Schuster), was written in 21 days during NaNoWriMo 2007 and she loves talking with writers and students alike about her Just-Get-To-The-End fast-drafting process. Jaden’s other young adult novels include Never Enough (Simon & Schuster) and Foreign Exchange (Evernight Teen, 2014).
Her first non-fiction book for writers, Writing with a Heavy Heart: Using Grief and Loss to Stretch Your Fiction, includes a variety of clear guidance and practical exercises to help writers get to the heart of their stories. Her second non-fiction book, Fast Fiction (New World Library) includes tips on constructing a story plan that works, as well as daily inspiration to keep writers writing, regardless of when the mood strikes.
Find out more about Denise and her books at www.DeniseJaden.com or on Twitter @denisejaden.

Giveaway: $25 Evernight Teen Gift Card


“Foreign Exchange is a fresh contemporary YA that will keep readers compulsively turning pages until the very end. Combining international intrigue with a steamy forbidden romance makes for a can’t miss read.” 
- Eileen Cook Author of Year of Mistaken Discoveries.

“Great contemporary/mystery combo!” 
Shanyn Day, Book Blogger, Chickloveslit.com

“A pitch perfect voice and delicious chemistry between the characters kept me turning those pages!” 
Tara Kelly, author of Amplified and Encore

Foreign Exchange is heart pounding and suspenseful...the teenage dream of escaping the boredom of suburbia by travelling Europe and spending quality time with a hot guy shifts into a dangerous nightmare. 
D.R. Graham, author of Rank and the Noir et Bleu MC series.

16.10.14

The Intern by Gabrielle Tozer

The Intern
I just LOVE the look and sound of this book, don't you?!

Title:  The Intern 
Author:   Gabrielle Tozer
Genre: New Adult
Publish Date:   10/1/14
Publisher: Harper 360
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.


Seventeen-year-old Josie is studying journalism and ends up at Sash magazine to do an internship. Josie has little enthusiasm for fashion and wants to be a serious journalist. But she has little choice. It’s Sash or the local cat fancier’s magazine. Once at Sash, Josie comes to grips with the fact that the fashion industry isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Plus she has to contend with her fellow interns and the editor, Rae, who is in charge and arbitrary - one day Josie’s her hot new favorite, the next, who knows? Country girl Josie also has to get used to living in the city, and sharing a small flat with her cousin Tim, and his hotter-than-hot roommate James, is an education. Things come to a head at Sash when Josie manages to connect with Billy, a troubled rock star. But a disastrous episode at a nightclub and the fallout on social media causes Josie to wake up and see the real person behind his glamorous front. Josie starts to wonder if she’ll ever get the journalistic break she longs for …

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Purchase Links:
Amazon
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 Giveaway: One Finished Copy of The Intern

Author Photo_GABRIELLE TOZER 
Gabrielle Tozer is a senior features writer who has edited, sub-edited and written for several magazines, newspapers and anthologies throughout the past decade. In addition to Gabrielle’s work on Dolly, Cosmopolitan, DisneyGiRL, Mamamia and FamilyFun, she has also written for creative journals such as GOfish and Take It As Red. Born and bred in regional New South Wales, Gabrielle now works at Pacific Magazines and lives in the heart of Sydney.  

     

14.10.14

5th Annual Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Up for grabs:

$20 dollar Amazon Gift Voucher
Paperback copy of The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw (a Morgan Sisters novel)
Paperback copy of December Moon (The Raven Saga)
Ecopy of ALL of my books (Raven, December Moon, The Lost Soul, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw,  Daisy Madigan's Paradise, The Temporal Stone, Looking for Lucy Jo and Forever Fredless)



All you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL YAY!!
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Don't forget to visit all the other awesome blogs for a chance to win big! Have fun :D






Learning to Swim by Annie Cosby

learning to swim banner
Learning to Swim by Annie Cosby
Genre: YA Contemporary/Fantasy
The ebook is free until Oct. 16Amazon

Learning to Swim

When Cora’s mother whisks the family away for the summer, Cora must decide between forging her future in the glimmering world of second homes where her parents belong, or getting lost in the bewitching world of the locals and the mystery surrounding a lonely old woman who claims to be a selkie creature—and who probably needs Cora more than anyone else.
Through the fantastical tales and anguished stories of the batty Mrs. O’Leary, as well as the company of a particularly gorgeous local boy called Ronan, Cora finds an escape from the reality of planning her life after high school. But will it come at the cost of alienating Cora’s mother, who struggles with her own tragic memories?
As the summer wanes, it becomes apparent that Ronan just may hold the answer to Mrs. O’Leary’s tragic past—and Cora’s future.

annie cosby
Annie Cosby reads and writes in Galway, Ireland, where she lives with her boyfriend and a whole lot of seagulls.
Learning to Swim is the first book in her USA Today-recommended Hearts Out of Water series, and the second book releases Nov. 30.
When she’s not writing, she’s usually editing for awesome clients like Anna Katmore and Month9Books/Swoon Romance. And she loves to hear from you!
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Excerpt:
“Do you know about the Merrow, dearie?”
  “I don’t think so,” I said. She nodded and seemed to deliberate whether to go on. I knew she would. She always did. “The Irish told each other stories about a sea creature much like the mermaid. Only she’s called the Merrow.” She readjusted the scarf on her head as she nodded knowingly. “They’re sweet, sweet creatures. Capable of real love. Well, human love—if that can be said to be real love.” “Do you believe in them?” I asked skeptically. The old woman’s eyes remained fixed on a spot on the horizon. I followed her gaze. There was nothing but boats and seagulls, the normal fare of the ocean. She finally seemed to find herself and her eyes continued to rove. “They say that love cannot overcome nature,” she finally said. “Supposedly the nature of the Merrow always overcomes whatever love they held for their human man. She will always go back to her people under the sea.” Sounded to me like a cruel comment on female nature made by a bitter man. “And the merman, oh, there are stories of mermen. Terrible stories. The mermen have cages at the bottom of the ocean in which they keep the souls of our drowned sailors and fishermen.” A chill ran through me despite my unwillingness to become involved in the story. The pale, bloated body at the pier drifted to the forefront of my mind. Souls, chained to the bottom of the ocean, fighting uselessly, perpetually against their chains, appeared in my imagination. The soul had long been gone from that bloated body when I found it. I only then became aware of the old woman looking at me. Her eyes were narrowed and she looked at me with an intensity that I had previously only seen her use on the ocean. I felt my cheeks redden. “They play music, too,” she said. “Do you ever hear music under the water?” I’ve never been under the water. I shook my head. The old woman sighed. “I suppose one must listen for it, then. I haven’t listened in a very long time. A very, very … very long time.”

The Giveaway:
paperback copy of Learning to Swim + some swag. Open internationally.
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Zoe and the Demon Slayer by Neel Kay

Zoe and the Demon Slayer by Neel Kay
Publication date: October 6th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult

Twenty-four year old book worm and blogger Zoe Graves was looking forward to the fourth and final instalment of her favourite book saga – The Augustin Chronicles. The evening was meant to be spent in line at the local bookstore with hundreds of other fans, getting the book, maybe even meeting the author, and ultimately spending the night with the dreamiest hero of them all, Lucien de Forest and the love of his life Noomi Augustin.
But somewhere someone thought otherwise.
Confused and hurt after a mugging by the bookstore, Zoe is somehow transported to another world, and suddenly finds herself in a snow-covered landscape witnessing a bloody fight far away from the English summer, and is left to rely on the help from the rather reluctant Matis, who just happen to be out to kill none other than Zoe’s favourite hero and heroine, Lucien and Noomi.
Although convinced she might be in some sort of limbo or maybe even in a coma, Zoe figures that her role in the story is to prevent Matis from killing her all-time favourite fictional couple.
Goodreads
Amazon
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ibooks
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Eight facts about Worrock (the country in which Zoe + the Demon Slayer takes place. Well, for most part)

1. Worrock is actually in the same world as Bragimark and Niola from “The Witch of Luna Hill”-series. Worrock is the most southern of the three countries.
2. A snake is often depicted in Worrockan jewellery. It represents the Boncrup Snake that vowed to protect the country from outside intruders.
3. Worrock usually has a very mild climate, except for the rather harsh winters - but on the plus side: they are fairly short.
4. The original people of Worrock are the Kraquars of which Matis is one.
5. Worrock is also home of a Niolan line of witches called Isilins - they came to Worrock many years ago. Now, there is only one Isilin left in Worrock, though.
6. Worrock is a popular place to settle down, not least because of the mild climate and short winters, but also because it is known as a peaceful country – except of course when demons wander through an interdimensional portal that leads straight to Worrock.
7. The outer city of Eldgaard is inspired by houses and villages in 19th century Denmark, whereas the village of Neffe is mostly inspired by Viking houses.
8. If you ever did travel to Worrock, you’d probably think you had travelled about 8-900 years back in time. Or possibly that you’d lost your mind.
 
Introvert, creative, awkward.
Neel Kay lives with her husband and two kids in rural surroundings in the south of Denmark, not far from the German border. She’s a trained milliner, studied English at university, and now works a day job as a web editor. But she’s been writing always.
Love coffee, scarves and sea views. Oh, and butt-kicking heroines who know how to swing a sword and aren’t afraid to get a little dirty.

Blog
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Giveaway (INTL)
A pair of book earrings

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13.10.14

Confessions of a Teenage Rape Survivor by Holly Dae


I just had to help share this book with the world...

22754329Release date: October 16th 2014
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | IBooks | Kobo

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Before she was raped, almost sixteen-year-old Allison Sommer knew exactly what she wanted and was in total control of her life. Get through high school, go to college to appease her dad, somehow stay fit, lithe, and athletic through all the stress and become a professional cheerleader. Normal teenage stuff. Simple. At least it was simple before she was raped. 

Now Allison's whole life is out of her control. She can't trust in her own choices, can't rationalize anything anymore, so she just goes through the motions, hoping that eventually she'll go back to normal, can stop pretending. That doesn't happen, especially when she's forced to reveal what happened to her family and closest friends.

On the MTV commercials and reality shows that emphasize that she has nothing to be ashamed of and guide viewers to some website like don't-be-a-victim.comand a support hotline, no one warns her that the aftermath is more difficult than the rape itself, that her family's efforts to be supportive make her feel more alone and confused. 

And being raped has more devastating consequences than Allison ever imagined, forcing her to make one of the most difficult decisions she's ever had to make. It should be a no-brainer, everyone says, but being raped makes Allison question everything and everyone she thought she could trust.

Either way, Allison won't let anyone force her to do anything again, not like her rapists did, even if it makes her already difficult enough circumstance more difficult. Uncensored and unflinchingly honest, these are the confessions of a teenage rape survivor.

EXCERPT


"Are those your brother's sleeping pills?" Gene asked.
Allison nodded. No use denying that.
Gene looked at her again, then at the pills, and then at Allison again. His eyes widened.
"Were you going to take all of those?" Gene asked in an incredulous tone. He didn't wait for an answer, already having assumed the worst. "How many have you taken already?"
Allison opened her mouth to reply, forgetting that one of the pills was sitting under her tongue. Gene saw it as she started to try to explain.
"Oh shit! Spit that out!"
Gene reached across the counter to squeeze her cheeks and force the pill out her mouth causing Allison to have two instantaneous reactions. First, she spit out the pill. Second, she punched Gene straight in the jaw, which caused Gene to let go of her and grab his face.
"What the—"
Allison gasped as she shook her hand out. She shouldn't have done that. She didn't mean to do that. Gene wasn't a rapist. Well, she hoped he wasn't. The guy who asked her for directions to distract her didn't look like a rapist either. Either way when Gene grabbed her so suddenly, she couldn't help it.
"I'm sorry," she said quickly.
"Are you insane? What is wrong with you?"
"I didn't mean to punch you. It was an accident. I swear."
Gene rolled his eyes, stilling rubbing his jaw. "Not the punch. I probably deserved that for scaring the hell out of you, grabbing you like that. I'm talking about those sleeping pills. That many of those things at once can kill you."
Allison blinked. He thought…
"I wasn't trying to commit suicide!"
"Could have fooled me," Gene said sliding the pills off the counter and into his hand. He threw them down the garbage disposer.
"But I wasn't," Allison said, heart racing in panic. If Gene thought she was trying to kill herself, he'd tell her brother, and her brother would tell their dad, and she'd never be left alone, and she'd have to tell the truth. Then they'd make a big deal out of it and want her to report it to the police, and the police would want a description and account of what happened, and then she'd never be able to forget. "I just wasn't thinking."
"The hell you weren't," Gene snapped as he snatched the bottle with the remaining pills off the counter and put them in his pocket.
"I was just so tired and the bottle said one pill was mild and good for four hours of sleep, so I decided to take enough to knock me out for a day," Allison tried to explain.
"Six pills would have knocked you out all right," Gene said as he began to dial a number into his phone.
"What are you doing?" she asked apprehensively.
"Calling your brother," Gene said and then cursed. "Damn it. I have his phone in my pocket. Do I have your dad's number in my phone?"
Allison lunged for the phone. In all likelihood, he probably didn't have her dad's number, but she didn't want to chance it.
"You can't call tell them," Allison said grabbing onto the phone.
Gene tried to pull it out her grasp as he said, "Sure. Not telling your brother and father that you're suicidal is a great idea."
"I'm not suicidal."
"Says the girl who was about to take six sleeping pills," Gene said getting the phone out of Allison's grip and holding it out of her reach.
Allison all but tackled him into the counter.
"I told you!" Allison screamed, exploding in anger. "I'm tired! I just wanted to go to sleep without the nightmares! You can't… You can't tell them," Allison finished, all her anger dissolving as a sob escaped her throat. She hadn't even noticed she started crying.
She stopped trying to get the phone then, falling onto the floor as her body shook with sobs of fear at what Gene would do and anger at herself. When did she get so weak?


About the Author
Holly Dae is a recent college grad with a B.A. in English who, instead of putting on a suit to work at a desk 9-5 for five figures and a lifetime of misery and crushed dreams, decided to write YA novels about the taboos concerning contemporary issues like rape, abortion, drugs, teen pregnancy, and sometimes sex with the hopes that someone will pat her on the back and say she touched their life.