Interview with Margaret Skea

PortraitTell us about your publishing history…

I spent far too long hiding behind writing short stories. 3000 words was my comfort zone and while I’ve had some success with that form, having won and been placed in quite a number of competitions (for example: Neil Gunn, Winchester, Mslexia, Fish) and remain very proud of some of those stories, writing them was an excuse not to knuckle down and fulfill my primary ambition – to become a novelist. I deeply regret now not taking the advice I was given over 20 years ago by a literary editor, whom I had met as part of the prize for a short story competition for unpublished writers run by Woman and Home magazine, who told me to ‘Go home and write a novel.’ I went home and wrote more short stories…

Still, better late than never as the saying goes: my debut novel, Turn of the Tide, which was the Historical Fiction Winner in an Harper Collins / Alan Titchmarsh competition for unpublished novelists, was published by an Edinburgh publisher, Capercaillie Books, in 2012, and in May of this year – 2014 – I was awarded the Beryl Bainbridge Award for Best First Time Author. I am now almost finished the sequel, which hopefully will be out in the spring of 2015.

 What do you love about being an author?

I now have a sense of fulfillment in that I feel I’m finally making proper use of the talent I’ve been blessed with, rather than just tinkering around the edges, and it’s enormously encouraging to find that readers enjoy what I write. I love the interaction with readers, both online and face-to-face, and it’s been a particular thrill (if slightly scary) to visit book groups when they are discussing my book. For practical reasons, those have all been in Scotland, but I’d love to travel far afield via Skype…

I’ve also found (a little to my surprise) that I enjoy running workshops for other writers and encouraging wannabee writers in schools – not to ‘Do as I did, but rather to do as I say and start now!’

As far as the writing is concerned, I love that I can get to 130,000 words, and that I can then be sufficiently ruthless to cut it back to c 100,000 (the publisher’s preferred length). I’ve discovered that pruning is always an improvement.

 If you could have dinner with any literary character who would it be and what would you eat?

 If I can only choose one it has to be Francis Crawford of Lymond (from Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles). But as to what to eat – I’d like him to choose for me – whatever he most enjoyed in all of his travels. I know that could take me right outside my comfort zone, but stepping outside of what you know and are comfortable with is, in part, what writing historical fiction should be.

If your book was to be made into a movie who would you cast as the leads? Turn of the tide Card 1 copy 2

I think that Tom Ward (Silent Witness) would make a fantastic Munro, and Sean Connery a brilliant Glencairn with Ioan Gruffudd (Hornblower) as Patrick Montgomerie. I’ve never been able to come up with a preferred choice for Kate Munro – open to suggestions on that one.

If you had a time machine what era would you go back to and why?

This is one of those really tricky questions and my answer would probably change as often as British weather! At the moment I’m immersed in the late 16th century and loving it – though I’m not so sure about the lack of ‘facilities’ – the chilly experience of going to the outside toilet at the end of the yard at my grandparent’s house is one of my most vivid childhood memories. However as I survived that, I guess I would cope. The frost fairs and the fabulous clothes would definitely compensate.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

I was given good life advice at a very young age, summarized  in a verse in the New Testament – ‘Whatever you do, do it with all your might, as unto the Lord.’  As my faith, in terms of a personal relationship with Christ, is central to my life, so that verse remains the  maxim by which I try (but don’t always manage) to live.  And striving to be the best that you can be is, I think, great ‘life advice’ for everyone – of any faith, or none.

How do you go about researching your novels?

My aim is to be able to write about an historical period as naturally as if it was my own time and for me that means lots of research into every aspect of life in the period before I even begin to write. As far as the 16th c is concerned it’s not hard to get information on food, clothing, modes of transport, housing, money, etc. There are lots of ways to ‘eavesdrop’ on the past. One of the most important is of course contemporary sources such as letters, wills, parish records, books, pamphlets, household accounts, maps and so on. But there are other ways too that are equally important to me: including visiting locations whenever possible, and spending time in ‘living’ museums where I can, albeit to a limited extent, experience the conditions of my chosen period. I have found that the more literally I can do this, the better. For example two weeks ago I was able, for the first time, to manhandle a musket – and to get some sense of the process and physical strength required to load and fire it. I’m hoping very soon to be able to do the same with a black powder pistol, and first-hand experience of sword-fighting techniques is definitely on my ‘to do’ list! I believe good research is essential, my main problem is that it’s so endlessly fascinating that sometimes it’s hard to stop researching and start writing…

Where do you write best?

I wish I was one of those writers who can work anywhere, but I’m not. Recently, when I was struggling to write at home, a friend offered me the use of an empty cottage in the hills, part way up a dead-end road. I had a kettle, a microwave, a (small) circular garden table, a chair, fingerless gloves, a hot water bottle and a portable gas heater, so somewhat Spartan. On the plus side I had no phone, no internet and no-one other than my husband knew when or where I was (and as he can’t drive due to eyesight problems he couldn’t get there.)

It has been fabulous – the ‘block’ that I was experiencing evaporated and I found that every day as I drove to the cottage my brain went into ‘Munro’ mode, so that by the time I arrived and sat down I was ‘in the groove’. Of course there were times when I struggled, and if I’d been at home I’d have found lots of other ‘jobs’ that needed to be done, but because I couldn’t use ironing or cooking or cleaning as displacement activities and had no nearby friends to visit, I had no choice other than to keep writing.  Sadly, as of this weekend  the builders are moving in, so I need to de-camp, I’m just hoping that the good habits I’ve learnt in the last 2 months will continue back at home. It was certainly an eye-opener to me just how useful isolation and lack of distraction can be.

What was the last book you read and what are your thoughts on it?

This may seem a little odd, but it was actually an illustrated children’s book called Errol Come Home by Harvey Rooster. I needed 1) to have something very light and a complete change from what I was writing and 2) something simple that would help me get to grips with how my first ever e-reader worked.

I loved the illustrations and the story of a cat whose nose is put out of joint by the appearance of children in a house rings very true. However this book is written from the cat’s pov and for that reason I felt the author made a mistake in referring to the humans in the story as the ‘master’ and the ‘master’s’ family – most folk know that cats don’t have ‘masters’ – they have domestic servants!  There are a couple of other minor slippages in the sense of words that didn’t seem appropriate for a cat – for example the swimming term ‘breast-stroke’, but still, it’s a charming story ideal for reading to young children.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

 I’d love to try writing biographies of some of the characters I have ‘met’ during my research, particularly those who don’t currently have a voice – not kings and queens, but some of the ‘ordinary’ people for whom survival was a struggle but whose stories have something to say about the human spirit.

Where can fans find you online?

My novel is available on Amazon http://tiny.cc/ewzw8w (US) and http://tiny.cc/t8npow (UK) both as a paperback and as an ebook. I also have a website http://tiny.cc/ibopow including a complete short story, and a Facebook novel page https://www.facebook.com/TurnoftheTide.Novel

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: A Heart for Copper by Sharon Lynn Fisher

A Heart for CopperSynopsis:

A Heart for Copper by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Genre: Steampunk (sweet)

An automaton created by an inventor’s son, Copper has finally been given a heart by her young master. Her choice of whether to keep the key or give it to him will decide her fate in this steampunk fairy tale.

SilkWords is the go-to source for interactive romance and erotic fiction.

With gorgeous custom covers and a clean, sophisticated design, the SilkWords site offers a secure, upscale reading environment. In addition to content on their web site, they offer stories for purchase in the standard e-book formats.

SilkWords is owned and operated by a full-time mom with a background in genetics and an RWA RITA-nominated, multi-published sci-fi romance author.

Their technology guy and site designer was the founder of Microsoft Xbox Live.

SilkWords features two formats that allow readers to choose how the stories will proceed.

Pick Your Path:

Will she or won’t she? With which man (or woman) in which location? With Pick Your Path romance, you decide. Romance and branched fiction are made for each other, like picking your favorite flavor of ice cream…positions, partners, and paraphernalia, oh my!

Reader Vote:

Readers vote at choice points and decide how the story will continue. These stories are a great way for readers and authors to connect. It’s exciting to be part of a developing story! 

https://www.silkwords.com/

About the Author:5820827

I write stories for the geeky at heart — meaty mash-ups of sci-fi, suspense, and romance, with no apology for the latter. I live where it rains nine months of the year. And I have a strange obsession with gingers (down to my freaky orange cat).

I have two sci-fi romance novels published with Tor Books, and a third on the way. I also have a zombie-ish story, RED, in progress on Wattpad (free!).

For social media schtuff and links to more information about me and my writing, visit me at www.sharonlynnfisher.com.

My Review:

You had me at Automaton! I really love the choose your own adventure books. The problem is, reviewing them can be really difficult, as pace, plot and even character is not linear for all readers. What I would say though, is that I always seem to make the wrong or the safe decision in these books; it just shows me that, when it comes to love, I’m a bit of a Muppet!

From a writer’s perspective, it was great to have a steampunk adventure, and it was sweet and non-sexual in its content, that said this story has been lumped in with much more erotically charged books, which leaves it’s audience limited to adults. Perhaps there should be imprints in this brand so YA and NA readers can see them too. The banner below doesn’t exactly lend itself to sweet romance.

The front cover is okay, not overly exciting or steampunkish, apart from the man’s outfit. But I guess with the story being altered by reader variables, it’s hard to get the theme of a main story on there.

Overall, I’d give A Heart for Copper, 4 out of 5 stars, even when I choose the wrong paths, it was still exciting and well written.

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Interview with Anne Tibbets

4839392Tell us about your publishing journey…

I wrote CARRIER, Book One of The Line Series, when I was frustrated with my career. I’d published a couple of novellas with a super small press, with super small success, and I was tired of hearing at writer’s conferences that I shouldn’t chase the market, yet Paranormal and Dystopian were dead – and that’s what I wanted to write. How was I supposed to be successful with my next book if nobody would want to publish it?

At that point, I kind of gave up the idea of ever publishing the book, and wrote CARRIER for myself. I made fun, in my mind, of the typical protagonist trope of a girl waking up, and I made it the bleakest, most depressing, saddest nightmare I could imagine, and then I turned the second half into an action/thriller because that’s what I love. I had a blast. Eventually, the manuscript got an Honorable Mention in a writer’s conference contest, and that encouraged me to finish it and query literary agents. I had multiple offers of representation and went with Bree Odgen at D4EO Literary because I thought her notes were spectacular, and I loved her quirky, unique list of clients and I knew she’d be fantastic to work with.

We shopped the book initially as a Young Adult, but understandably, the YA editors were leery of the sexual slavery themes and the violence, so I rewrote the book into a New Adult, making Naya older and little wiser, and it sold to Carina Press editor Rhonda Helms a few weeks later, along with the unwritten sequel, WALLED. I couldn’t be happier. Rhonda was an absolute joy to work with and Carina Press is the perfect place for CARRIER and WALLED.

What do you love about being an author?

I love the process of discovering a character’s voice, of thinking of that amazing plot twist while I’m washing the dishes, and getting amazing feedback from readers, who either love what I’ve done, or absolutely hate it.

I’m down with it either way. I want to spark conversations; I want to make people feel something, even if it’s disgust. I think too many people just kind of float through life, going through the motions, reacting to situations but not really paying attention, and if by reading my work you look at things a little differently and feel something profoundly, whatever it is, good or bad, then I’m the happiest clam in the sea.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

This is tough. Only one? I know this is probably a bit cliché, but I’d probably chose Lizzie Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, and we’d definitely have pot roast and boiled potatoes so I can ask her how she found the courage to go against her family’s wishes and turn down Mr. Collins’ proposal. Then we’d laugh about our families, talk about books, and compare notes about how our husbands are so, so, so very similar in nature.Walled

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

I don’t know if other writers do this, but I built the physical aspects of my characters around existing actors and actresses. The personality of Naya is truly the deepest black pool of my subconscious, but she was physically modeled after Ziyi Zhang, the actress who played Sayuri in Memoirs of a Geisha. Many of you may be shocked to know I’ve always pictured Naya as Asian, but in the future of Auberge, there is no race, just light skinned and dark skinned, so the publisher wisely chose models for the covers with indiscernible race.

Now, for Ric, his personality is a cross between Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Thornton from North and South, and an action/adventure rogue like Rick O’Connell in The Mummy. Physically, he was always James McAvoy in Atonement and Penelope, complete with his rolled up sleeves and his scruffy hair.

Sadly, however, both these people are – how do I put this nicely? – TOO OLD to play 22 year-old Naya, and 25 year-old Ric, so if an actual movie got made, I’d have no suggestions other than to say, “Somebody like Ziyi Zhang and James McAvoy.”

Dear Movie Studios, Good luck with that. ;)

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

Monsters. Buffy over Twilight. I’m old school. Although, True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse vamps are a nice cross between the two.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

Let’s say the Doctor and the Tardis show up on my doorstep and ask me where in history I want to go, where would I say?
Can I choose a non-answer?
I wouldn’t want to go back. I’d want to go forward.
Show me another planet, another species, another century. Show me the future.
The past is fun and if I HAD to pick the past I’d go visit Bath, England during the Regency era (Jane Austen strikes again!), but in truth – send me to the future, because that’s where my heart truly lies.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

Stop trying to live up to the expectations of everybody else. What do you believe in? What do you want? Who cares what everybody else thinks. This is your life. Live it your way and forget judgers, haters, and soul suckers.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

Hands down: I’d be a witch. A) flying brooms, B) I want a wand like Professor McGonagall (I actually have her wand on my desk), but I want it to be real and to actually work, C) Hogwarts, D) Snape, E) How freaking cool would that be?

Where do you write best?

My desk in my office surrounded by coffee cups and Ding Dongs.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

I read all three of Rachel Bach’s Paradox series (Fortune’s Pawn, Honor’s Knight, and Heaven’s Queen) and thought they were spectacular. Sci-fi, female protagonist, action, drama, romance, sex – it was quite nearly perfect and made me wish I’d written it.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

I write both Sci-Fi and Horror, but I’ve tried Fantasy and Contemporary as well (with my earlier novellas) so I don’t know if I have one specific genre, but for the sake of argument, I’d say I’m awaiting the day when Paranormal comes back. I love Paranormal and I hope to some day write a series involving all things spooky and scary within that. Like a Paranormal/Horror crossover, or a Sci-Fi/Horror crossover – yes please!

Where can fans find you online?

Truthfully, the best place to reach me is on Twitter. I’m @WriteforCoffee. But if you want to see all the places I’m online (and it’s a lot – I’m a total addict), you can find all my links on my website at http://www.AnneTibbets.com

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Book Review: Hemlock Veils by Jennie Davenport

HemlockVeils.v5-FinalSynopsis:

When Elizabeth Ashton escapes her damaging city life and finds herself in the remote town of Hemlock Veils, Oregon, she is smitten by its quaint mystery; but the surrounding forest holds an enchantment she didn’t think existed, and worse, a most terrifying monster. The town claims it vicious and evil, but Elizabeth suspects something is amiss. Even with its enormous, hairy frame, gruesome claws, and knifelike teeth, the monster’s eyes speak to her: wolf-like and ringed with gold, yet holding an awareness that can only be human. That’s when Elizabeth knows she is the only one who can see the struggling soul trapped inside, the soul to which she is moved.

Secretly, Elizabeth befriends the beast at night, discovering there’s more to his story and that the rising of the sun transforms him into a human more complex than his beastly self. Elizabeth eventually learns that his curse is unlike any other and that a single murderous act is all that stands between him and his freedom. Though love is not enough to break his curse, it may be the only means by which the unimaginable can be done: sacrifice a beauty for the beast.

About the Author:

Though Jennie Davenport was raised throughout the Midwest, she now lives in the little desert mining town of Bagdad, Arizona, where six guys beg for her constant attention: a husband, three young, blond sons, a German shepherd with a name much mightier than his disposition (Zeus), and a black cat named Mouse. When she isn’t trying to run her home with as little casualties as possible, Jennie loves snuggling with her family, laughing with her friends, delving into brilliant entertainment of any vein, and playing outside. Despite the way being a writer is in her blood, and the wheels of her writerly mind are constantly turning, Jennie likes to think that in another life, she would have been a Broadway star. Or an American Idol finalist.jennie davenport

Jennie lives for the fall, and not just because of her adoration for the NFL (Go Broncos!). In her perfect world, she would have the springs, summers, and falls of Colorado, and the winters of Arizona—someplace where the climate and weather would allow her to go on a trail run all year round. But even though she prefers the pines and mountains, she is a devoted fan of all nature, from sandy beaches to woodsy cabins, and all are her greatest inspiration. She believes nature is one of the best healing remedies, with a magic all its own.

Jennie’s passion for writing is the way she survives, and is as vital to her sanity as oxygen, caffeine, food, and music. Even before she began writing it, well-told, original, and character-driven romance was always her weak spot. Add the paranormal or magical realism element and she may never make it back to reality.

http://jenniedavenportauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

My Review:

So, this is a retelling of the classic, Beauty amd the Beast. Now im a massive Angela Carter fan, so thisbook was going to have really knock my literary socks off to compete, and although it certainly wasn’t as dark, as a thriller, it holds its own.

From a writer’s perspective,  it was hard to get into at the start. There was a lot of description which although beautiful,  was stunting the action. It kicked off with thehint of a murder, then wandered off into poetic prose and scattered info dumps. Im quite an impatient reader, and to be fair, if I wasn’t reviewing the book for a tour, I’d have given up and missed out on a good book. Which is probably more of a self criticism than a criticism of the writing style.

The front cover is pretty, but doesnt really express the story, but then again a semi clad hunk probably wouldn’t be the right tone for the book either, so perhaps Elizabeth on there ?

Overall I’d give Hemlock Veils 4 out of 5 stars, definitely worth a read, whether you prefer beauties or beasts.

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Interview with Ed Kurtz

10553561_673923412689821_8014311475726752701_nTell us about your publishing journey…

I started taking writing seriously after graduate school around 2007. I had no idea what I was doing, so I started writing a novel, and then another one after that, and so on, with no clue whatsoever how to go about getting published. It was only once I started attending professional conferences like the World Horror Convention that I met loads of people in all stages of their careers and began to learn about the business. After my first con I started publishing short fiction, and during my second I made my first novel sale to Thunderstorm Books with a little horror/sci-fi hybrid called Control. Since then I’ve branched out into Westerns (A Wind of Knives) but mostly crime/noir/mystery (The Forty-Two, Freight). I was honored this year with inclusion in 2014’s Best American Mystery Stories, with my story “A Good Marriage” selected from Thuglit by Otto Penzler and Laura Lippman, and my first of four novels from DarkFuse, Angel of the Abyss, is out this month.

What do you love about being an author?

I have always loved storytelling. It began with cinema but quickly segued into literature (though I remain a hardcore cinephile). All I’ve ever wanted to do is tell stories, and I’ve always had a dozen rolling around in my skull waiting to be written down. I wish I’d taken it seriously sooner than I did, but now that I’m in the thick of it, I can’t fathom doing anything else. To be perfectly honest, though, I’m in general agreement with Dorothy Parker when she said, “I hate writing, I love having written.” I find the process grueling. I find the self-promotion loathsome. But a finished book or story delights me to no end, and like nothing else I’ve ever known. It’s like being a god to my own little universe. And I’m a totally unreliable, trickster sort of god.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

As an only somewhat apologetic Edgar Rice Burroughs geek, I’d have to go with Tarzan of the Apes and a gazelle he just killed with his bare hands.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

Graham Woodard and Jake Maitland are the main roles in Angel of the Abyss, so I think Jake Gyllenhaal would be great as Graham and maybe DJ Qualls for Jake. Cloris Leachman would make a terrifically wicked Cora Parson. For poor, doomed Grace Baron? Michelle Williams.

As a horror writer you are looking to scare readers – what scares you? angel_of_the_abyss

Human beings. Just regular people. Every so often a truly evil person comes along, but for the most part I think humanity in general has the capacity for it, and nearly anybody under the wrong circumstances could be driven to despicable acts. It’s a thought that leads to suspicion and anxiety about the world around us, and what drives me to write about people doing awful things to one another.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

That’s easy—I’d head back to 1970 and enjoy that gloriously fun and filthy decade for all it was worth, spending the preponderance of my time in Beame and Koch’s wild and wooly New York City. The Forty-Two was my time machine for that purpose, the closest I could get. But I’d still take the real thing.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

Two things spring immediately to mind:

  • You’re not as good as you think you are. Keep learning, keep improving.
  • This isn’t nearly as solitary a process as you want it to be. Go out there, online and in the real world, and meet people. It’s a rare artist—or professional of any stripe—who makes it entirely on their own. Networking is a good thing.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

Probably Sasquatch because nobody can find him and he gets to hang out naked in the woods, which sounds refreshing and pretty liberating.

Where do you write best? 

On the porch, hopefully in cool weather, with a pack of Marlboros and a cup of tepid black coffee close at hand.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

Rob Hart’s New Yorked, which is coming out in June from Polis Books. I harangued him for an ARC at this year’s Bouchercon and tore through it like I had 24 hours left to live. It’s an absolutely tremendous NYC crime novel, one of the best I’ve read, told from the point of view of a morally ambiguous bruiser with a broken heart and a somewhat skewed sense of right and wrong who just wants to find out who killed the screwed-up girl he loved. I adored it and can’t wait to see it earn all the heaps of praise it deserves. Grade A noir.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

I’m happy to jump between several genres, and even cross them, in my work. I started out in horror and continue to work in that world, but I also write Westerns, crime fiction, and I even have a sci-fi novel bumping around in my brain. I love genre fiction in general because of the opportunity to play with tropes and conventions, but I’m not satisfied to be pigeon-holed in any one of them.

Where can fans find you online?

My online home is http://www.edkurtz.net, and I’m also on Facebook.

Book Review: Anomaly (Schrodinger’s Consortium #1) by Tonya Kuper

Anomaly 1600pxSynopsis:

Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it…

Worst. Birthday. Ever.
My first boyfriend dumped me – happy birthday, Josie!- my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…

Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.
When hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…

About the Author:

Tonya Kuper’s debut, ANOMALY, the first in the Schrodinger’s Consortium young adult scifi trilogy, releases November 2014 by Entangled Teen. She lives in Omaha, NE with her two rad boys and husband, is a music junkie, and a chocolate addict. Star Wars & Sherlock fan.

http://tonyakuper.com/

My Review:

YA fiction is really starting to evolve now. Since Twilight made reading cool for teens again, there’s been a tonne of authors trying to capture that crown, and most are using the same formula: girl having a crappy normal life, realises she’s not normal, falls in love with supernaturally inclined hottie – it all roughly works out in the end. Don’t forget the parental problems and the BFFs, then mix together and publish. Anomaly, although ticking some of those boxes, actually did it in an interesting way, making the book more of a stand-alone that a Twilight rip off (whether vampires are there nor not)

From a writer’s perspective, I must admit I really found it hard to like Josie. She was a nerd, which was great, but it felt like (especially in the first few pages) she was almost smacking us over head with that fact every other sentence. This can be a dangerous trait for a main character to have, as there will be some readers that feel an instant connection with her and get her ‘inside’ jokes, but others that won’t get what she’s talking about at all and so feel no connection. When it comes to writing characters, I call it the Marmite conundrum. If you pick a subjective and powerful tendency for your character, you either get readers loving them – or hating them – there is no in between. The perspectives did slide between Josie and Reid, and I found myself actually preferring his side of things, it was cleaner and more interesting as he had been in the plot longer (at the start of the book) The world itself was interesting, it took a few repeated terms for me to figure out what everything was, but that’s okay – better than a massive info dump to explain everything – which some authors do!

The front cover is very teen – and will definitely stand out on the virtual book shelf.

Overall, I’d give Anomaly, 3 out 5 stars – interesting concept and written well, just could have done with a more like-able protagonist (just my personal opinion)

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Interview with Marlene Wynn

Professional-Head-Shot1 Tell us about your publishing journey…

  • Like any author, I went back and forth between traditional and self publishing for quite some time. After doing A LOT of research, I finally came to the decision that I wanted to self publish.  Why?  Because I didn’t like the thought of asking strangers over and over ad nauseum if they liked my book, possibly waiting for months (or years) for them to (a) make time to read my book, and (b) decide if they actually like it or not, losing almost all rights (and say) to the book that I wrote, and losing a major chunk of the royalties to said book.  Add to that the the e-book revolution has brought a major blow to the traditionally published businesses, and it made my decision to self publish almost laughingly easy.  I’ve never looked back.
  • What do you love about being an author?
    • I love the creativity, putting together the intricate storylines, creating the characters and their good (and bad) points.  But most of all, I love seeing the end result!
  • If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
    • I think it would be Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek NG. What a fascinating character he is!  Think of all the places he has seen, all the people (human or otherwise) he has met.  Think of listening to all of the challenging situations he has been in and discovering what he and his crew had to do to stay alive!  That would be a dinner to remember!
  • If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?Chandrea
    • Chandrea: Victoria Justice
    • Leilah: Lana Parilla
    • Ayden: Chris Hemsworth
    • Denae: Emma Watson
    • Ian: Zac Effron
    • Shawn: Derek Hough
  • Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?
    • Definitely sexy leads. I’m not much on the dark, blood hungry monster angle.
  • If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?
    • Why limit it to a time here on Earth? If I had a time machine, wouldn’t it stand to reason that it could go anywhere at any time?  What if it had the power to take me to fictional worlds where I could meet my favorite characters?  I’d love to go meet Gandalf and Frodo, or Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy, or Richard Rahl and Kahlan Amnell.  Now THAT would be fun! J
  • What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?
    • Believe in yourself…yes, you CAN write!
  • If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
    • A shapeshifter. How cool would that be?  To become anything you want at any time.  Think of all the fun (and trouble) you could get into!
  • Where do you write best? 
    • In my room with the door shut and soft music playing in the background.
  • What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?
    • The Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. Very unusual lead character and a very interesting read.  Some of the situations Odd finds himself in are…well…very odd.  LOL
  • Where can fans find you online?

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22605642-chandrea—the-return-of-the-avatar-queen?from_search=true

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Interview with Stephanie Keyes

Keyes-StepsTell us about your publishing journey…

I wrote on and off for most of my life—starting books and never finishing them. I think that was mostly because I couldn’t connect with the characters.  When I got the idea for The Star Child, I thought, hey, let’s make this story from a guy’s point of view. It took off. I wrote The Star Child in nine months, but it would be another four years to a publishing contract. That’s when Inkspell Publishing came and brought it to life. I’ve since published The Fallen Stars (2013), After Faerie (2013), The Star Catcher (2013), and I’ll be releasing a new novella The Last Protector on December 15th!

What do you love about being an author?

I love the sheer act of writing, of getting to create these worlds that no one knows about but me where I can just…disappear into them.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

Hermione Granger and grilled chicken. I don’t know, she seems like a grilled chicken kind of girl.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

I don’t know…probably Logan Lerman as Kellen and Hunter Parrish as Gabe. I’ve still never really found the right Calienta.

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters? Sexy leads.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why? The eighties—because that era really knew how to apply fluorescent colors to everything. It’s a lesson we can all stand to be reminded occasionally. Ha! No, if I could go anywhere, I’d be interested to see the future more so than the past.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

People’s reactions and responses have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

A shape shifter. It would be so cool to just take on another form. Especially if you were avoiding, say, door-to-door salespeople.

Where do you write best? 

In my basement office at the crack of dawn each day. Sounds depressing, but it’s really a nice sunny yellow. I pretend I’m in a London flat.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I don’t have a ton of time to read, so when I do, I prefer to read in my genre. The blurb for Anna just reeled me in, though. I loved it from start to finish.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

I’m writing outside of my genre now. I have one Middle Grade Sci-Fi project and then a NA Romance going on. I think I’ll be wherever the story takes me. Whether that is in the paranormal genre or not depends on the characters.

Where can fans find you online?

Website: http://www.stephaniekeyes.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephanie-Keye…

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/StephanieKeyes

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/stephaniekeyes/

Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/stephkeyes

Google+: https://plus.google.com/101104903861657395788/posts

Goodreads :https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5360651.Stephanie_Keyes

Book Links:

Amazon http://Author.to/StephanieKeyes

Amazon http://myBook.to/thestarcatcher

Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/keyesbn

Kobo http://bit.ly/keyeskobo

All Romance Books http://bit.ly/keyesallrom

Indie Bound http://bit.ly/keyesib

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Book Review: The Tears of the Rose by Jeffe Kennedy

THE TEARS OF THE ROSESynopsis:

Three sisters. Motherless daughters of the high king.

The eldest is the warrior-woman heir; the middle child is shy and full of witchy intuition; and the youngest, Princess Amelia, she is as beautiful as the sun and just as generous.

Ami met her Prince Charming and went away to his castle on the stormy sea-cliffs—and that should have been her happily ever after. Instead, her husband lies dead and a war rages. Her middle sister has been taken into a demon land, turned into a stranger. The priests and her father are revealing secrets and telling lies. And a power is rising in Ami, too, a power she hardly recognizes, to wield her beauty as a weapon, and her charm as a tool to deceive…

Amelia has never had to be anything but good and sweet and kind and lovely. But the chess game for the Twelve Kingdoms has swept her up in it, and she must make a gambit of her own. Can the prettiest princess become a pawn—or a queen?

Available at Amazon

 Available in ebook and paperback

About the Author:Jeffe

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns;  the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Foreword Literary.

http://www.jeffekennedy.com/

http://www.jeffekennedy.com/category/blog/

https://www.facebook.com/jeffe.kennedy

https://twitter.com/jeffekennedy

My Review:

I do like reading Jeffe Kennedy’s books, so I jumped at the chance to read this one. It was however, the 2nd in a series which I needn’t realise till I was a bit into it – d’oh! However, it was kind of nice to be thrown straight into the action, rather than have to wade through an endless period of catch-up before you get to the good stuff.

I really enjoyed the book though, and have actually bought the first one as a bit of a catch up. It’s nice to read some fantasy which isn’t high fantasy and therefore hard to get into (that’s probably just me though!)

From a writer’s perspective, it was completely engrossing and such an interesting take to cover the lives of three princesses, what happens to them and how they inter-act. It was was first person, which I like; I find it much easier to bond with the protagonist this way. The whole thing just flowed nicely and I now really want to read the other two books in the series.

The front cover is okay, nothing too dramatic and from a marketing point of view, matches the others in the series, which is good.

Overall, I’d give Tears of the Rose 5 out 5 stars – a perfect read it you secretly enjoy series like the Hobbit or Game of Thrones, but don’t want to be engrossed in a high fantasy novel that you need a pen and notepad to read and understand.

The Tears of the Rose Banner Nov-Dec - 851 x 315

Book Review: Love Me to Death (Underveil #1) by Marissa Clarke

LMtDCoverSynopsis:

What you want the most just might kill you…

Medical research scientist Elena Arcos has always lived her life under the radar. When she is shot in a convenience store robbery, Elena finds herself rocketed into supernatural insanity courtesy of a sexy immortal law enforcer. He’s convinced she’s some kind of freaky half-vampire thing and that her deceased dad was the real deal: a blood sucking monster. Yeah, right.

Nikolai Itzov never anticipated battling the urge to kiss the offspring of his father’s murderer. As a Slayer, an elite law enforcer descended from Azrael himself, his orders from the Underveil General are clear: Kill her or die.

Nikolai and Elena find themselves in a life and death battle to stop a plot designed to lift the Underveil and enslave humans. With her analytical mind and his centuries of training, they might be able to foil the plot with their lives and maybe their hearts intact. But in order to succeed, he must help her become the very thing he hates the most: an Undead.

“A fascinating new world! Enter with caution. You’ll never want to leave!” –Kerrelyn Sparks, New York Times bestselling author

About the Author:

Marissa Clarke lives in Texas, where the everything is bigger, especially the mosquitoes.

When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, husband, and a Cairn Terrier named Annabel, who rules the house (and Marissa’s heart) with an iron paw.

Also writes YA for Penguin USA as Mary Lindsey

Represented by Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

http://www.marissaclarke.com

My Review:

Ever since Sookie Stackhouse ended on a bum note, I’ve been looking for a new paranormal romance author to read, and although the story line of ‘Love me to Death’ was great, I got really annoyed with the main character. Elena was weak and every sentence she seemed to utter was a prelude to how sexy she thought Nikolai was. Hmmmm, I know there needs to be chemistry in romance books, but how can a female lead hold her own and appear strong in the eyes of the reader when she’s almost drowning in her own drool! She also didn’t seem to ponder for too long on the fact he was sent to kill her – I guess when you’re good looking you can get away with murder!

From a writer’s perspective, it was a little naughty to start the book with a character thought, for a brief moment I was happy it was first person narrative (that’s my fav POV in reading – that’s not a criticism just a personal preference) but then it dropped into third. Maybe it would have been easier to feel for Elena if it had of been first person from her point of view? Still, the writing was superb and the action was well written, plotted and paced.

The front cover is nice – who doesn’t like a sexy muscle man covered in tattoos? But it doesn’t say much about the storyline itself and is another one of those covers that cuts off the guy’s head to include more of the body – who else would prefer to see a chiselled jaw with a day’s worth of stubble and eyes that twinkle with mischief? Me!

Overall, I’d give Love me to Death 3 out 5 stars – not my cup of tea, but it’s still worth a read to those who like the romance genre.