Thursday, February 28, 2013

Beth Hoffman - Looking for Me - Review

About the Book

Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop. Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky. It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last. But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.

My Review

Beth Hoffman is a master at crafting a gentle story fierce with emotion. Her novels are comfort reads, and Looking for Me is no exception. It's a work that defies categorization encompassing aspects of mystery, romance and literary fiction while maintaining a cozy distinctiveness that's become a signature touch. Hoffman is a keen observer of life and her astute awareness of the world around her filters into her writing immersing the reader in detail that's as multi-dimensional as it is visceral. Exquisite care is lovingly bestowed upon each word, exposing, bit by bit, a story brimming with heart.

In Teddi Overman, Hoffman radiates her inherent passion for antique restoration through her protagonist. Using her prior experience in interior design as a jumping off point, the author weaves a tale steeped in reclaimed beauty. Cigarette burns are removed from a walnut bureau. Tarnished silver is polished. The jammed drawers of a dresser are reopened. Centered around a theme of rebirth, the implied message is a belief in second chances. Retain hope, because it's never too late.

This sentiment transfers nicely between the two main plot points - the unsolved disappearance of Teddi's brother, Josh, and her burgeoning relationship with Sam Poteet. The thread of the teenage runaway runs throughout the book connecting Teddi's childhood ties with the family farm in Kentucky to her adult life as a shop owner in the city of Charleston. Teddi struggles to make the transition, not feeling at home in either location. Pulled in two different directions, she learns how to let go of the past while acclimating herself to the future. It's a hard lesson to learn but whenever she follows her instincts, fate has a way of placing the right people in her path at the opportune moment.

Hoffman keeps the romantic element out of the story until roughly the last quarter of the book. And it's a refreshing change for a female character to be revealed by her compassionate interaction with her grandmother in a nursing home and her strained conversations with her mother rather than being defined by her reaction to a man. Yet Hoffman knows that her readers expect a love interest of some sort for Teddi, so she introduces him on her own time table, refusing to be shackled to outdated conventions. As a writer, she has the courage to set things in motion at her own pace, one that feels more authentically gratifying.

But the soul of the story resides as a testament to kindness. The title may be Looking for Me, but it can easily translate to: looking out for others. Whether it's rising up to defend an abused dog or refusing to prosecute a shoplifter on the verge of Alzheimer's, it's all about taking an empathetic approach to life. The desire is to witness the good acts of others, and celebrate them - from the gift of a bird's feather to a tray of cookies just out of the oven to the thumping tail of a beloved pooch. It's the little things that matter, and Hoffman offers a heartwarming reminder on how it's imperative to keep looking for them.

***

Looking For Me buy links:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
iBookstore

Prices/Formats: $14.99 ebook, $27.95 hardcover
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780670025831
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Release: May 28, 2013


About the Author

Beth Hoffman was the president and co-owner of an interior design studio in Cincinnati before becoming a full-time writer. Looking for Me is her second novel. Her debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, was a New York Times bestseller in hardcover and paperback. She lives with her husband and two cats in northern Kentucky.

Links to connect with Beth:
Web site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

Julian Rosado-Machain - Guardians Inc.: The Cypher - Book Blast & Giveaway


GUARDIANS INC.: THE CYPHER

A chance reading of a newspaper ad will send 16 year old Thomas Byrne into the world within our world.

Following the ad he will find Guardians Incorporated. A seven thousand year old organization charged with protecting the balance between Magic and technology.

Through their guidance, technology has kept Magic at bay since the Renaissance, but the balance is shifting and soon all those creatures we've driven into myth and legend will come back with a vengeance.

To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future and to unlock the future
they need a Cypher.



Book Trailer






Guardians Inc.: The Cypher is FREE on Kindle, Nook & iBooks


Praise
USA Book News 2012 Finalist -Young Adult Fiction

"Rosado-Machain brings a light, humorous touch to themes of teenage love, loss and betrayal wrapped up in a tasty package of magical coming-of-age."
~Kirkus Reviews

"It's like Julian Rosado-Machain took everything that I love about middle grade children's fiction and slammed it into one awesome, well-paced fantasy"
~Emi London Oktopusink.blogspot.com

"The Cypher hooked me from the beginning. And kept my attention right through to the very end."
- Heidi Roth reviewthebook.com




Get Your Copy for FREE





Author Julian Rosado-Machain

Julian has enjoyed pizza in three continents, holds a degree in graphic design, built armored vehicles and computers, handcrafted alebrijes and swears has seen at least one ghost.

He is the Co-owner of Hacienda de Vega Restaurant in San Diego, California and enjoys the sun with his wife, three children and cat.










Book Blast Giveaway
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/13/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop

Enter to win an ebook of Owlet: Society of Feathers #1 by Emma Michaels.

***


Owlet: Society of Feathers #1
by Emma Michaels


Somewhere between falling and flying… there is a girl.

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie. As the façade her father has built starts to crumble around her she will have to decide which means more to her; the truth or her life.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A.B. Whelan - Fields of Elysium - Book Blast & Giveaway


Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan

How can love mend a heart full of hate?

Small town girl, Molly Bennett, moves to Los Angeles where she becomes an outsider while attending Beverly Hills High School. It seems life cannot be any more dreadful. Then one day after school, something magical happens. On a secluded hike in the Hollywood Hills, Molly chases her disobedient mutt and only friend into a hidden cavern. She stumbles upon a strange glimmering gateway that transports her to Arkana, a planet that is the cradle of an advanced human race. There, teenagers navigate amazing flying vehicles, compete in perilous games for glory, and possess supernatural powers. While Molly tries to wrap her mind around this unbelievable discovery, she meets the alluring and mysterious Victor Sorren. He is a Sentinel Apprentice, whose hatred toward people from Earth is beyond understanding. Yet every time Victor unpredictably saves Molly's life, his heart draws closer to hers, no matter how much he tries to fight against it. It further complicates things that their growing friendship is strictly forbidden. Earth people are prohibited in Arkana, yet Molly continues to cross through the portal to Arkana to see Victor. Torn between their double lives, they go down a dangerous path, from where there is no return and multiple endings.

Fields of Elysium is a suspenseful, romantic tale full of forbidden secrets, unimaginable danger, deception, and the never-ending fight for true love.




PRAISE

"The novel's take on otherworldly travel is a compelling one, and the romantic plot will likely appeal to Twilight fans." - Kirkus Reviews

"I expected a good love story with a paranormal twist. I got so much more. I think you should take the chance and read it. Let this book take you on the adventure, fall in love." - Young Adult and Teen Readers

"Fields of Elysium is a fabulous read. ... Whelan paints her faith into the fabric of her story with deft, light brushstrokes, making her work accessible to all, no matter their spiritual beliefs or background." - Readers Favorite

"I escaped into this fantasy world, author, A.B.Whelan, created and I didn’t want Molly to go. From detailed descriptions, to sweet romance, and to all the twist and turns in the story, it had me captivated from page one." - Mary Ting, author of the Crossroads Saga

"Whelan's writing is very vivid and descriptive. It's more formal than the average YA novel, but I enjoyed the lyrical and mesmerizing quality to it. I thought the overall story read like a fairy tale--very sweet." - Megan Thomason, author of Daynight







Author A.B. Whelan

A.B.Whelan is a Hungarian born, American writer. She currently lives with her husband and two children in Southern California.
While growing up in a wealthy Eastern European family, she had a chance to travel Europe. Later as an adult, she visited Africa and the Middle East and lived in Ecuador and in Crete.










Tour Schedule






$50 Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash plus a gift bag of one signed copy of Fields of Elysium, a scrabble-tile pendant with a butterfly image on a chain necklace, and a fridge magnet.

Ends 3/11/13

Gift Bag open to US only.  If winner is international they will receive only the gift card or paypal cash.
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Amy Sparling - Phantom Summer - Book Blast & Giveaway


Phantom Summer by Amy Sparling

Seventeen-year-old Taylor Gray moves to Sterling Island to get over her dead boyfriend. Mom’s cool with letting her crash on the couch, but Taylor needs to get a job before the lights are cut off again.

When the tall, dark and crazy Raine Tsunami offers her a position at his thriving ghost tour business, she figures it’s an easy way to make some cash. Taylor isn’t afraid of ghosts--that crap is as fake as her mom’s boob job. She loves their adventures on the historic island, especially the secret places he shows her when the crowds go home. So what if all the ghost stories are just legends?

When Taylor comes face to face with a ghost and Raine crosses the line between friend and boyfriend--Taylor’s new life collides with her haunted past. If murdered people end up as ghosts, then that someone she was trying to forget is probably trying to find her.




Praise
"I was wonderfully surprised by Phantom Summer!!! I couldn't put it down. Loved everything about it."
~Amazon Reviewer Angelmusic

"The emotions are so well written... I would definitely recommend reading this."
~Goodreads Reviewer Lauren



Author Amy Sparling

Amy Sparling is a Texas native with a passion for young adult literature. In her free time she participates in an unhealthy amount of Xbox playing, attends nerd conventions and reads books with her daughter. She's studying to become a high school teacher and lives near the beach with her daughter and two cats. Amy Sparling is a pen name.












$50 Book Blast Giveaway

Ends 3/10/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 22, 2013

G. Jay - Summer Spirit - Guest Post & Giveaway



Congratulations to our winner!
Tore923@aol.com

About the Book

Ryan Kinkaid, a successful gay Manhattan antique dealer has had it with life in New York City, especially his random love life. Ryan has what most New Yorkers want — his own successful business, and a mortgage-free brownstone on West 71st Street. However, at age forty-one he discovers he is lacking one very important thing in his life: a meaningful and loving relationship. With summer just around the corner, the approaching heat and his restlessness are reasons for his escape from the city. A four-month rental in historic and picturesque Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with his best friend Lauren was the answer.

Renting a house built in 1810, kindred spirit Nicholas reaches out for contact, and Ryan finds himself wanting to know about the past. However, Nicholas is not the only one wanting Ryan’s attention. Ty, a handsome local man, also has strong desires for Ryan.

The stark contrast of the past collides with the present in this tale of lost and betrayed love, and irrational and undying prejudice.

In the end, all that is left is the affirmation of the value of honesty and commitment in love.


Guest Post

The main character in Summer Spirit is 41-year-old Ryan Kinkaid. A New York City antique dealer who, throughout his adult life, has looked for that certain someone with whom he could have a loving, committed, and monogamous relationship. Some may ask, “So what’s the problem?” The problem is that in the gay world this is not as common as one may think.

As a gay man in my mid-50s, I have observed many gay “couples” who call someone their “partner.” Usually it’s the person whom they live with and share living expenses. However, their sexual lives are not exclusive. I’ve seen advances made at parties by someone in a relationship toward someone not their partner, or hear how when at a conference or the gym they hook up with someone. It is when hearing those individuals say, or do, such things I want to correct them by saying, “Don’t call him, or her, your partner. They are your roommate who you have sex with occasionally, nothing more. You’re shopping, and are only with him, or her, until you find someone better. Besides, it is demeaning to the other person to know they are not good enough.” I’ve been chastised and criticized for this opinion. However, I certainly know I am not alone in my view, as I have met many couples who are in loving, exclusive relationships. However, if the truth be known, I think we are in the minority.

***

Summer Spirit can be purchased at:
Kindle, Nook, iBookstore, MyBookOrders.com

Price: $3.99
Pages: 132
mobi ISBN: 9781938008665
ePub ISBN: 9781938008672
Publisher: Publish Green
Release: October 15, 2012


About the Author

A communications graduate of the City Universities of New York, and after twenty-nine years as a human resources administrator, Jay decided to apply his understanding of the complexities and foibles of the human character in a more creative way.

Like the main character, Ryan Kinkaid, Jay is a gay man who believes in love and commitment. He and his husband have been together for over thirty years and live on the West coast of Florida with their two cats. A transplant from New York, Jay continues to travel regularly to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to connect with the New England life which he so loves.

Connect with G. Jay:
Web Site



About the Giveaway

Leave a comment with your email address to win an ebook of Summer Spirit. Ends 2/28/13.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Heather Burch - Avenger - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
I have to admit, Avenger had several titles before we settled on this one. I wanted to call it Warrior. But in the end, Avenger fit the story and character best.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m a romantic at heart, so I’d like for people to come away with the “love conquers all” theme. What definition that takes depends on the reader. The best books challenge each of us on different levels. If I’ve given readers something to chew on, consider, or think about … that’s a cool bonus. More than anything, I want them to come away entertained and feeling like they know the characters.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Well, the situations may not be real, but my goal is to make the responses and reactions believable. Nikki pukes after killing a hell-hound with her bare hands in Halflings, book 1. It’s not pretty, it’s certainly not romantic, but it’s realistic. Bits of hell-hound stuck in your hair can do that.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I am really proud of the story I’ve told in Avenger. I think it’s the best writing I’ve done and as of right now, I’m really pleased. But, give me six months and I can probably find a million things I could have tweaked. That’s just the nature of writing, I guess. As authors we are always looking for a new way to turn a phrase or get across an idea.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The most difficult part of writing Avenger was keeping both Halflings and Guardian in mind as I wrote. I wanted everything about Nikki to be brought full circle. There are lots of little nuances that many readers may not catch. But it was important to me to be authentic and true from the first line of the first book.


6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
One big lesson for me was the commitment my family shared with me. My teenage son is really proud, and tells people his mom is an author. That’s a great feeling.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always written, short stories as a kid and poetry in high school. It’s just forever been a part of who I am.


8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’ve had so many favorites throughout the years. One thing they all have in common is great writing. They transport us to another place, drop us into someone else’s skin and we get to live their lives for a while. My recent favorite is Suzanne Collins.

9. Tell us your latest news.
The release of Avenger is soooo close (March 26th)! That’s one thing. But another exciting thing is that a screenplay of Halflings has been written in Hollywood and may lead to a feature film. May lead to one, but it’s still surreal to me to even think of that. Also, I am on a book tour with a fabulous group of YA authors in Florida right now. You can find more information about that at http://thesunshinebooktour.blogspot.com/ Halflings will be coming out in soft cover on April 7. I think that’s about it for my new news.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I wonder if readers realize how important they are to authors? If not, let me tell you. Without you, our words would be cold, lifeless marks on paper. A character doesn’t live until someone reads about her. A story doesn’t take shape until someone invests themselves in the plot. Readers make us what we are. Thank you!


About the Book

Sometimes the Truth Comes with a Price Nikki knew Damon Vessler would not let his prized creation go easily---she simply never imagined the lengths he'd go to get her back into his clutches, and turn Nikki's heart toward darkness. A Seeker at her heels, trained on her blood, Nikki flees with Raven alongside her for protection, while Mace and the other Halflings fight the battle that has erupted on earth. But even as the two boys she loves fight for her, she knows the battle will be hers to win. Determined to uncover the secrets of her past, and exactly how she fits into Vessler's twisted plans, Nikki sets off on her own, and soon discovers facing hellacious beasts is nothing compared to the decision she will need to make. One that could change not only the war, and her relationship with Mace and Raven, but her future with the Throne.

Prices/Formats: $14.99 paperback, $8.89 ebook
Pages: 304
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Zondervan, ChristianBook.com


About the Author

Heather Burch grew up in Branson, Missouri, where she first discovered her love of fiction. A former esthetician and now an ordained minister and motivational speaker, Burch writes full time. Her YA series debuted in 2012 with Halflings, followed later that year by its sequel, Guardian. She lives in Venice, Florida, with her husband and two sons.


Links to Connect with Heather:
Twitter
Web Site







Tribute Books Blog Tours 
Put our promotional experience to work for your book.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Robert G. Pielke - A New Birth of Freedom: The Translator - Review



About the Book

Noam Chomsky argues that communication with aliens would be impossible. Stephen Hawking argues that it would be extremely unwise even to try. What if it were absolutely necessary to do so? This question arises with extreme urgency at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, in this time-travel, alternate-history trilogy.

My Review

No one is hotter right now than Abraham Lincoln. From Daniel Day-Lewis' award-winning portrayal of the sixteenth president in Stephen Spielberg's motion picture to his fabled visage appearing in commercials for the 2013 Lincoln town car, Honest Abe is back on the radar of the cultural zeitgeist. As the nation celebrates one of its most beloved presidents this month, science fiction author Robert G. Pielke returns with his own spin on this American icon.

In The Translator, the second installment of his time traveling trilogy, A New Birth of Freedom, Pielke continues to humanize a figure often cloaked in legend. With dialogue steeped in the colloquialisms of the Civil War era, he skillfully demonstrates how Lincoln might have dealt with an alien invasion. A literary exercise that is daring for both the author and the reader. Pielke's depiction of Lincoln's thought processes - on how he might shrewdly coax the United States out of such a predicament - is truly entertaining and enlightening.

Lincoln is bombarded on both fronts. He is waging war against the Confederacy while coping with the unexpected arrival of these extraterrestrial lifeforms at the battlefield of Gettysburg. Yet he takes this new development in stride, launching into fable-like memories from his past, in order to keep his staff at ease. Ironically, his worries about General Robert E. Lee become secondary in importance. In fact, the two sides will have to work together in order to save the planet. Lincoln says, "Each one of us wanted to destroy the other, but neither one of us got what we wanted. It remains to be seen what will happen in the long run..."

And that's where things get tricky for Pielke as a storyteller - the implicit Catch-22 scenario that lies at the heart of time travel. If events are changed in the past, they irrevocably distort the future. And that's where Pielke's protagonist, Edwin Blair, comes into play. He's a visitor from the twenty-third century attempting to rid his world of the 'Pests.' But if he stops them with Lincoln's help in 1863, will he be terminating his own existence, as well as theirs, in the future? It's a tricky line to plot as a writer, and Pielke deftly manages the monumental task. The dilemma of right and wrong bleeds through the novel at every turn, and Pielke guides the reader through Edwin Blair's moral dilemmas. And who better to advise him than the Great Emancipator?

For those invested in Pielke's series, book two does not disappoint. Instead, the journey is interconnected with the power of language, and the ability to communicate with one's adversary. The Translator provides a message relevant for any part of American history, and Pielke interweaves this theme brilliantly through the creation of his 'Pest' motif, since it is only through shared conversation that understanding of any kind can take place. And sometimes it's the messages to oneself that become the most important of all.


Excerpt

Prologue

Edwin Blair
(July 6, 1863)


Edwin Blair’s headache ebbed and flowed as remnants of what-used-to-be clashed with the influx of what-now-is deep in the cavernous recesses of his mind. At least, he thought, as my memory evaporates in the passage of time, I should expect the rebellion of one against the other to do me less and less harm. Although no one was looking at him at the moment as he leaned against a shady tree, were they to do so they would perhaps have noticed a hint of bitterness on his visage as the word “time” passed through his ruminations. He had neither expected nor wanted any of the Pests to survive. For as long as he could remember, his mantra had been—and he chanted it to himself—the only good Pest is a dead Pest. With all of them dead, he reasoned, a new future would develop without the horrors these Pests would mete out. They simply wouldn’t exist in this modified future. But he soon realized this would bring about a self-defeating dilemma. They have to invade the planet where and when I come from. Otherwise, I’d never have come back to the past to stop them in the first place. He clenched his teeth at the thought and sighed. We can’t kill them all. Maybe that’s why previous attempts to change the future have failed—if there were any. It’s just not possible to exterminate them. Logic trumps everything. The surviving Pests change things. If they somehow escape and warn the all the others about what I’m doing, they could prevent me from doing anything at all, and I’d have to start all over. But I have to do something. He shuddered and looked off toward the fourteen imprisoned Pests. There’s one thing I know for sure, however. We don’t need their eggs. With his valise safely stowed with President Lincoln’s personal belongings and guarded around the clock, he was reasonably confident the mission could be salvaged. But how? He adjusted his back against the trunk of the tree as an early morning mist became an un-refreshing drizzle, and turned the collar of his black leather jacket up around his ears. At least it’s quiet, he mouthed while scribbling into one of the notebooks he had given to John Hay. Using an unfamiliar quill pen, his words only on occasion approaching legibility, he wrote.

Everything now depends on you following through with your plan. You may have lied to the others about your intentions, but you can’t lie to me. If you are reading this, then we have been successful.

At least I think so. He looked up again, put the pen into the inkwell filled with a pale pink liquid sitting on the ground next to him and rubbed his eyes. Then again...will I even believe I wrote this to myself? He picked up the pen and tried to smile, looking this time toward several of his companions that were getting ready to consume coffee and a few hardtack biscuits, perhaps even some pudding. He nodded to them before returning to his journal.

Only the continuing threat of the Pests still lurking in the two prisms is supporting this truce. It’s more fragile than it appears. They think the danger is over, but it’s just begun.

John Hay noticed Blair’s glance from several paces away and pointed to his own steaming cup of coffee with raised eyebrows. He shouted, “Mr. Blair, can I get you some?”

“Please.” Blair kept the volume of his own voice down, relying on an accompanying nod to be sufficient.

“No hardtack yet, but there’s sugar. I’ll be back soon.” Hay strode off with Joseph Pierce at his side.

“Thanks, John,” Blair muttered as he watched the two of them depart. Pierce was waving his arms with some sort of patterned repetition—no doubt trying to explain some complex Indian phraseology he thought might be useful. Washburne, Stanton and Pinkerton were nowhere to be seen. Probably already with Lincoln in his tent. He returned to his writing.

If I’ve really succeeded, then all these changes should be reflected in the historical records on the computer—the fight with the Pests and this truce—but if not then something’s gone terribly wrong.

He stopped writing for a moment and shook his head. I’ve got to get back into the computer soon. I shouldn’t have even turned it off. I don’t like logging in while people are watching. I should probably change the pass-code, but it’s based on my wife’s birth date so I’m not likely to forget it. Should I take the chance?

The only thing I know that’s changed is my memory. The historical records may not have changed at all, but I’m slowly losing my memory of them…and everything else too, it seems. My guess is that the changes I’ve made to the history I used to know so well are rapidly affecting future events—too rapidly. As a result, my memory about them is no longer referring to anything, yet it continues to try.

The sounds of hooves slogging through the rain-soaked grass and the clattering of wagons startled him but didn’t interrupt his writing.

The courier traffic is beginning to intensify, and as the circus gets larger it will become unmanageable. Maybe today Lincoln will issue the martial law decree he promised...or threatened…depending on one’s perspective.

He wasn’t planning to write much—just enough for his words to be a reminder of what he had to do. If I have to try again, I have to make sure these same people are included…did I write that list of four names to myself on a previous attempt? Was it me? If so, nothing has changed. Am I just repeating everything over and over in an infinite circularity? He paused and looked over what he wrote. How can I know? Have I written this before? I have no memory of earlier attempts…but that means nothing.

He stopped and pulled the list out of his jacket to look at it. The same as it used to be…or is it? How would I know? He drew a deep breath while rubbing his temples, his teeth gritted. I really have to find out somehow if any changes have occurred in the future. I have to get into the computer. I just may have to start over immediately. Another interruption ended his contemplation.

“Mr. Blair! You’re in luck. There was fresh coffee...genuine coffee, to boot! I watched a soldier crush the beans with a rifle butt. And there were a few hardtack puddings, too.” John Hay trudged through the sodden grass, placed the steaming cup and plate on a rock behind Edwin Blair, and then put his hands on his hips. “’Tis good to have the Tycoon amongst us, though he’s a bit jarred by the Hellcat’s carriage accident a few days ago. But, as suspected, Mrs. Lincoln has earned her reputation. The very ground she fell upon was too terrified of her to do her any serious injury.” Then, laughing, he added while looking skyward once more, “How are you this gloomy morn? It may rain again, judging from the clouds.”

“I’m puzzled, John.” Blair picked up the coffee then paused to shake his head.

“As you usually are, sir.... Why this time?”

“It’s that...” Blair took a swig of the black brew. “Yeow!” He promptly spit it out. “It’s scalding!” People nearby glanced over at him, shocked at the sound. “And it tastes terrible.”

Hay laughed and shook his head. “I never did see anyone quaff hot coffee before. Quaffing’s for cold beer. And it tastes better too.”

Blair swirled his tongue around the roof of his mouth, wincing and muttering curses under his breath. After a moment, he ventured a much smaller sip. “When I first met you in the President’s office, if you had remembered me being here before, that would have been very odd, right?”

“It sure would have, Mr. Blair! It would have been impossible!” Hay rolled back, laughing. “No one remembers you from before. You were a real top sockdolager to us all then.”

Blair eyed Hay directly and just above a whisper said, “Someone remembers me.”

Hay scrunched his brow. “Who?”

Blair inclined his head toward the prisoners’ enclosure. “That Pest.”


***

A New Birth of Freedom: The Translator buy links:

Paperback:
Amazon
Whiskey Creek Press

eBook:
Kindle
Nook
Whiskey Creek Press

Price: $4.99 ebook, $16.95 paperback
Pages: 394
ISBN: 9781611605426
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Release: November 1, 2012


About the Author

Robert Pielke, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, now lives in Claremont, California. He earned a B.A. in History at the University of Maryland, an M. Div. in Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and a Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the Claremont Graduate School.

He taught on ground and online for countless years at George Mason University in Virginia, El Camino College in California and online for the University of Phoenix. Now happily retired from “the job,” he is doing what he always wanted to do since he wrote his first novel at ten in elementary school. It was one paragraph, three pages long and, although he didn’t know it at the time, it was alternate history.

His academic writings have been in the area of ethics, including a boring academic treatise called Critiquing Moral Arguments, logic, and popular culture. Included in the latter is an analysis of rock music entitled You Say You Want a Revolution: Rock Music in American Culture. He has also published short stories, feature articles, film and restaurant reviews. His novels include a savagely satirical novel on America and its foibles, proclivities and propensities, Hitler the Cat Goes West, and an alternate history, science fiction novel, The Mission.

Most recently, he has updated and revised his book on rock music, which is being republished by McFarland & Co.

He swims daily, skis occasionally, cooks as an avocation, watches innumerable movies, collects rock and roll concert films, is an avid devotee of Maryland crabs and maintains a rarely visited blog filled with his social and political ravings. His favorite film is the original Hairspray; his favorite song is “A Day in the Life”; his favorite pizza is from the original Ledo Restaurant in College Park, MD; and he is a firm believer in the efficacy of “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” Somehow his family and friends put up with him.

Links to connect with Robert:
Web site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
YouTube
Blog Tour Site

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sariah Wilson - The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back - Book Blast & Giveaway


The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson 

Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.


Purchase


Praise

“My top pick of 2012 YA… This book is just. plain. fun.”
~Jordan McCollum, author of Saints & Spies and I, Spy

“Sariah Wilson's new book, The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back, is hilarious…What follows is a story of fun and romance with some good non-preachy life lessons thrown in.  The voice in the main character, Mattie, makes the whole thing.  I thought it was definitely a book I'd recommend to anyone with teenagers or who just want to read a good teen romance.”
~Julie Coulter Bellon, author of All Fall Down and All’s Fair

“Sariah [Wilson] has written one of the funniest stories I've read in such a long, long time. I literally couldn't put it down. Yes, my poor Kindle's battery died and I was attached to a short power cord, contorted in a very uncomfortable position while I read to the end…. Sariah Wilson captured the back-biting, insecure, hormone-driven, clique-riddled high school atmosphere so perfectly you'd think she never grew up. I dare you not to laugh as you read this witty and oh, so, romantic story.”
~Debra Erfert of Windows into Writing

“Sariah Wilson writes like the best of/most popular YA teen fiction/teen romance authors - Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Echols, Susanne Collins, Cassandra Clare.  She sucks you in and never lets you go.  I finished the ~194 novel in one night because I just couldn't go to sleep without knowing the ending!  I hope that Sariah comes out with more novels, I know I'll be re-reading this one all the time!  She's extremely talented and needs to be talked about.  I highly recommend The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back! to anyone (over the age of 12) who wants a YA novel that's a real modern-day fairy tale.”
~Hilary at Novel d’Tales

“This was such an entertaining story! I shouldn't have started reading it so late in the evening, because I didn't want to put it down to go to sleep…This is a book I can see myself reading several times. It's a fast, clean read with great characters, and I highly recommend it.”
~Andrea of Literary Time Out

The book is wonderful.  It’s quirky and fun.  The story makes you laugh and you fall in love with the characters right from the beginning…This is a well-written book.  It is one that will make you smile and sigh as you remember your first love.  And it has a moral…be yourself, believe in yourself and maybe, just maybe, your fairytale will come true.  Pick up this book.”
~Ana of The Book Hookup



Author Sariah Wilson

Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters—which is why she writes romance. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is her fourth happily ever after novel. She grew up in southern California, graduated from Brigham Young University (go Cougars!) with a semi-useless degree in history, and is the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children. She currently lives with the aforementioned soulmate and their four children in Utah, along with three tiger barb fish, a cat named Tiger, and a recently departed hamster that is buried in the backyard (and has nothing at all to do with tigers).



Tour Schedule





Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/5/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Christopher F. Benson - Vampyre 2000: No Rest for the Wicked - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
The title is a union between something old and traditional and something new and contemporary. To me, the word vampyre is a more Old World, Eastern European way to say vampire. It is pronounced “vawm-peer”. The number 2000 is not a year and isn’t meant to be taken so literally, as some may have thought. More so, it symbolizes the twenty-first century. In other words, something here and now. That was one of the original ideas for the book, how an early nineteenth century vampire would exist now and today.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Love can make people do things that they wouldn’t normally have done. It can open their eyes to what is important and show them a path through the wilderness. Love has the power to take hold of the deepest recluse or a violent killer and give their life something worth living for. It provides purpose to those who have none. However, it can also blind a person from seeing the difference between right and wrong. Love, at times, has been the motivation behind some very horrible things.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Although the subject matter of the books is fictional, the entire series is based in reality. I wanted to establish the theme of realism immediately with Cornelius’ origin. I wanted his back story to be believable and not come across as magical or fantastic. One way was to define how a modern vampire would live and the extraordinary abilities that one would have. In my story, vampires do not turn into bats or clouds of mist. They lie in their true state, a corpse, during the day and they need to drink human blood for survival. Although they are superior to a normal man they are also extremely vulnerable. A stake through the heart, beheadings and especially fire are some traditional ways to kill my vampires. As a matter of fact, since Cornelius does not hold a job, own a car, have a driver’s license or pay for car insurance, he uses the subway and takes the bus. And the money that he uses to clothe himself and do the things that he needs comes from the victims that he preys upon.


4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
After the first book, Vampyre 2000: Life to the Lifeless was published, I asked myself that same question. The answer is; yes, I would. Looking back on it, I wished that I had explored how the police would’ve attempted to deal with a vampire problem that was growing out of control in the city. It is one of the main reasons why I introduced Detective Jackson in the second book, Vampyre 2000: Ill of the Dead.


5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
It may have been that while I am in the writing process, the stroryline of the book dominated my thoughts. Whether I was awake or not, subconsciously I was always thinking about it, even in my sleep. That wore me out. It was either that or editing the final manuscript.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I did. I learned that no matter how hard it was to write or how long it took to do, writing it was just a small part of the overall effort that needed to be put into the book. Most of the work comes after the book is written in the form of marketing and publicity. Making sure that the book finds it way in front of people and in book stores became a second full time job.


7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It probably started back in the sixth grade. On two different occasions I attempted to write a novel. The first one was about a nice family that brought home a cute German Shepherd puppy. As it got older, the reader would learn that the puppy was possessed by the devil. The other one was about a loner freak that always wore oversized sweatshirts or trench coat. It turned out that underneath he was hiding a pair of wings. I hand wrote them in a spiral notebook; I sure wish I still had those.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. At first I wanted to say John Milton and then I thought about William Shakespeare. Both of them were responsible for cultivating my love of the classics. But I can’t forget about H.G. Wells either.


9. Tell us your latest news.
Soon I am going to begin another writing project that I’ve had in the works for over a year. Titled “OS”, it’s a Science Fiction story set twenty five years into our future. It is a harsh and bleak world where man is forced to ask himself a frightening question. Should the activity inside of a computer chip be recognized as another form of life? I am expecting it to be available sometime in 2014.


10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
The Vampyre 2000 Series aren't stories about young, model type vampires that walk in the daylight and experience soap opera lives. They are stories about something completely different. I have been telling people that this is a new vampire story, but actually it isn't. It's more of a return to the characteristics that we imagine when we think about vampires. Within this story is drama, action, suspense and romance. As with every author, I believe that there is a great deal of myself within its pages. I honestly believe that this is a very good story, one that is well thought out and well written. I also think that you will enjoy it.


About the Book

In the third book of the Vampyre 2000 Series, Vampyre 2000: No Rest for the Wicked, Rita and Cornelius appeared to be living their afterlife happily ever after. Months after becoming vampyre, Rita had become well-adjusted to her new nocturnal lifestyle. They were both enjoying the relative peace and quiet of an undead life together when a violent and brutal murder, which had been captured by a security camera, was broadcast on national television. The news media quickly dubbed the vicious murderer ‘The Vampire Killer’. However, no one would have ever imagined that she was anything more than just a psychotic and deranged killer. But Cornelius knew exactly what she was. She really was a vampire. As much as he would have liked to forget, Cornelius once had a history with this woman and they had been romantically involved. But there would be no joyful reunion; memories of her brought only pain and suffering to his troubled mind. Her reappearance symbolized the darkest period in his long life of two hundred years. Because of her the life that he once knew had come to an abrupt end. With the aid of a Police Officer (Detective Simpson), Rita and Cornelius leave The Old Victorian behind and embark on an exhausting journey that would take them from one side of the country to the other. With some unfinished business and an old score to settle, Cornelius was going home for the first time in over two centuries. Vengeance has a name and it knows no boundaries.

Prices/Formats: $19.95 paperback
Pages: 272
Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon


About the Author

Christopher F. Benson grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He has always had a fascination with vampire stories and folklore, and was an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy as a child. Benson studied architecture and history at Texas Tech University and also acted extensively, including performing in several Shakespearean plays. After graduating from college, he began working as an architectural designer in San Francisco and San Antonio. In 2004, he began keeping his ideas for a modern vampire story in a writing journal, and in 2008, he began to write Vampyre 2000: Life to the Lifeless.


Links to Connect with Christopher:
Facebook
Twitter
Web Site







Tribute Books Blog Tours 
Put our promotional experience to work for your book.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop

Enter to win an ebook of Owlet: Society of Feathers #1 by Emma Michaels.

***


Owlet: Society of Feathers #1
by Emma Michaels


Somewhere between falling and flying… there is a girl.

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie. As the façade her father has built starts to crumble around her she will have to decide which means more to her; the truth or her life.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, February 15, 2013

Shawnda Currie - Altered: Revelations of the Evolved - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
The main storyline is about the recruitment of sixteen year old Lacey, with the hope that she is the key to prevent a large scale event in order to “change” the outcome of the future. Originally I had the one word title “Altered” but at the urging of my publisher, added the subtitle “Revelations of the Evolved” in order to have more tag words.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The primary theme is that even when current situations seem bleak, we all have a purpose in life and a reason for our existence. Secondary themes include; overcoming grief, trusting your instincts, teamwork, believing in yourself and the power of love.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Very little of the book is realistic. Taylor is a time traveller sent back to enlist the help of Lacey, a girl with amazing psychic abilities, that she doesn’t even know exists.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I am quite happy with the way the book turned out, however, if I had to do it all over again I would go into greater detail about certain characters. I would also add more dialogue and dwell deeper into the subconscious of Lacey. 


5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
As I work full time in the military and have a family, finding the time to actually write the book was the hardest. I carried around a notepad and often jotted down ideas as they came to me. Sometimes I would write paragraphs while attending my son’s ball hockey games (in between his shifts of course). It was also difficult to come up with plausible explanations in regards to the mechanisms of time travel.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that it is a beautiful thing to see your book come together; start, middle and end. The countless hours spent tweaking things was all worth it to come up with a final product that I am very proud of.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
English was always my favorite subject in school. I used to tell my friends that I was going to write a book one day. I’m not getting any younger, so finally a few years ago I came up with a storyline and started putting pen to paper. Now I’ve written two books and am half way through the third. I will never stop writing!

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author is Alyson Noël. It started with the first book of the immortals series, “Evermore.” Now I’m hooked on her “the soul seekers” series. She just has a way of stringing words and phrases together plus her storylines keep my interest. Her books are real page turners.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Well, I currently live in Ontario, Canada. My husband is also in the military. We move every three years or so (we’ve lived in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Manitoba). This summer we are going to move once again to British Columbia which is very exciting. The mountains are beautiful. I look forward to taking some pictures that might be used for covers of future books.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I have always considered myself as an entertainer. Usually I’m the class clown and laugh at anything and everything. Through my writing, I hope to entertain my readers. Even if only a handful enjoy my book then it was all worth it! I would like to thank my readers for their support. It warms my heart when I receive feedback on my blog or Shawnda Currie Books facebook page.


About the Book

Abandoned by her family, Lacey is sent to a juvenile detention center known as Clear Waters. Her teen years don't look promising until she is befriended by a mysterious stranger named Taylor, a gorgeous guy whose captivating eyes seem to stare into her soul. Convinced she is in danger at Clear Waters, Lacey joins Taylor in a daring escape. As she meets Taylor's group of friends, she discovers that they're more than they seem – they've been sent from the future to head off an evil corporate plot that will lead toa world war unless averted. With Lacey as their only hope to prevent a grim future, Taylor shows Lacey how to tap into her psychic abilities known in his time as evolved humans. Travelling with her new friends, she discovers the magic of love while she grows into the powerful warrior chosen to make the difference to the world!

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $9.99 paperback
Pages: 214
Genre: YA / Science Fiction / Fantasy
Publisher: Flea Circus Press
Release Date: September 2, 2012
Buy Links: Kindle, Amazon


About the Author

I have been a Resource Management Support Clerk in the Canadian Armed Forces for just over six years. I am also a wife and a mother to two wonderful boys. Altered – Revelations of the Evolved is the first book of The Evolved Trilogy. I have also published the second book, Broken – Afflictions of the Evolved and am working hard on the final instalment, Choices – Complications of the Evolved. If I didn’t move around so often I would have a house full of animals but for now I have two cats, both we got as kittens from The Humane Society. I am also a book hoarder.


Links to Connect with Shawnda:
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Animoto
YouTube







Tribute Books Blog Tours 
Put our promotional experience to work for your book.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sharisse Coulter - Rock My World - Author Interview


Buy Now @ Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo
Genre – Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Rating – PG13
More details about the book
Connect with Sharisse Coulter on Facebook and Twitter


Tell us a bit about your family.
I’m originally from Lake Tahoe but went to grad school in Australia, where I met my husband (a musician). We’ve been married for eight years now and have a four-year old son.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? 
It’s a proverb: “This too shall pass.” My grandmother used to say it all the time and I like that it applies to every situation, good or bad. It’s a great reminder that nothing bad lasts forever and that everything good deserves to be appreciated in the moment.

What is your favorite color?
Blue

What is your favorite food?
My husband’s coconut curry. It’s amazing.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? 
Ooh, that’s a tough one. My favorite writing place is the Encinitas public library. It has a view of the ocean, a coffee cart outside, and the perfect cozy chairs for writing. My favorite city is definitely New York, though.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? 
I grew up in the mountains and spent a great deal of time outside, playing sports. I learned a lot about pushing through the difficult times in order to achieve something I was working for and I think that mentality is what got me through my first draft.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve loved stories and reading since I was two years old. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t interested in writing, but for a long time I was intimidated by all the wonderful writers I admired, worried I could never be good enough to compare.

When and why did you begin writing?
I really started writing in college, particularly grad school. I’d just been through a really traumatic experience—my boyfriend at the time committed suicide—and I needed a way to work through my grief and find a way to come to terms with it. Writing saved me.

How long have you been writing? 
In some form or other, since elementary school. Writing novels? About two years.

When did you first know you could be a writer?
I don’t think there was a deciding moment. It’s been something niggling me for many years, but I only started seriously writing when I stopped thinking about myself and started thinking about my story as its own entity.

What inspires you to write and why? 
Life. People. Traveling. Being frustrated and wishing I could control the world around me. When I reach my limit, it’s time to create a fictional world that I can bend to my will. It’s possible I have control issues.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Contemporary women’s fiction. I discovered my natural writing voice suits the genre and, as an added bonus, I am my own demographic. I find it easier to explore because I know what I wish I could be reading, and if I can’t find it, I write it.

What inspired you to write your first book?
ROCK MY WORLD is my first book, and it started with the idea of Jenna and Alex, two of my main characters. They rattled around in my imagination for a couple years aimlessly, until finally, a year after having my son, I was struck by sudden inspiration and knew their story.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
The story is based in the music industry and, having spent the last 9 years touring and managing my husband’s music career, I certainly have my fair share of anecdotes. We were going through a particularly difficult period—professionally—when I wrote ROCK MY WORLD and it served as a kind of therapy for me. Mostly though, I have to admit that every day I sat down to write, the characters told me where they needed to go. Hmm, maybe that makes me sounds crazy. Although I guess living in a fictional world is likely to have that effect.

What made you want to be a writer?
I have always loved stories. It’s a magical thing to create a world and be able to share it with others. I just wanted to be part of something I love.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Making the time to do it. It’s so easy to put everything else first, especially when it’s not earning money yet. It’s so simple, and yet it takes incredible discipline to just sit down and write—to write when it’s fun, when it’s hard, to write through the parts you’re sure are terrible—all to get to the good stuff.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
Absolutely! The biggest lesson I learned was that there is nothing separating me from my biggest influences other than my own self-belief and determination. They, just like me, had to sit down and do the work in order to learn their stories, characters, and find their voice. It’s a decision one makes—to be a writer. Not a predetermined fate.

Do you intend to make writing a career?
When I sat down to write, I wasn’t thinking along those lines, but now, yes, I do. I’ve started my next two novels and am currently on A Novel Music Tour: a 5-month 55-city music/book tour, with my husband and son, promoting our respective creative works.

Have you developed a specific writing style? 
I’m not sure I’m the best judge of that. I like to think I’ve found my writing voice and I hope it stands apart, but I’m far more critical than objective when it comes to my writing.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
Probably my organization. I’m very logical and straight-forward so figuring out character arcs and timelines comes naturally. It helps to free up space in my brain to work on my weaknesses, like dialogue.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I don’t know if writer’s block is the same for everyone, but my version is usually less about a lack of creativity and more about procrastinating. If I’m already working on something and I find myself not wanting to write, it usually means I need to deal with an underlying character or plot issue. I give myself a short break to work on something else and then force myself to write through that section even if everything I’m writing is awful. It’s easier for me to go back during editing to find the solution than it is in a blocked moment.

How did you come up with the title? 
Actually, my husband came up with the title. Titles are hard for me. If they don’t come to me immediately I have a terrible time thinking of one I like. I knew the basic components of what I needed in my title, but I couldn’t get there on my own. Thanks, husband.

Can you tell us about your main character?
Sure! Jenna Jax-Anders is the daughter of the legendary rocker, Shawn Jax. She grew up in Los Angeles amongst an elite crowd, of which she reigned as queen bee until she got knocked up her senior year of high school. Stripped of her burgeoning modeling career and social status, she made it through with a little help from her best friend, Airika, and baby daddy, Alex. She married Alex and they had a baby girl, Felicity. From the outside, it looked like she had it all: hot husband, beautiful baby, cute house, trust fund. But cutting her adolescence short meant she never had to make it on her own. She never learned who she was or how to define herself except through her role to others: wife, daughter, mother, best friend. At thirty-four, she has to do what most of us do at eighteen: figure out who she is and what she wants in life.

How did you develop your plot and characters?
I first thought about my main characters, so I started off sketching them out in my mind. I asked myself what they would look like, what music they’d listen to, where they’d shop, what their houses would look like. Some of that was based in procrastination, but mostly it was a good way to learn how to think like them. Once I could think like them, I knew how they’d react to different circumstances and just tried to write their actions and reactions as honestly as I could.

Who designed the cover?
I did.

Why did you choose to write this particular book?
It was the story that came to me. I heard the characters in my head and they weren’t going to stop bugging me until I wrote their story.

What was the hardest part about writing this book? 
Honesty. Even in a work of fiction, there are themes that ring true to me, not as an author, but as a person. There were some parts that I struggled through because I had to set my own issues and hang-ups aside in order to be true to my characters.

How do you promote this book?
I am touring the country with my musician husband and our toddler son, doing signings and house concerts all across the country. We’re calling it A Novel Music Tour and anyone interested can check out our website (anovelmusictour.com) for appearances, videos, blogs, photos, and probably some tips on life on an RV, as we learn our lessons, hopefully in an entertaining way.

Will you write others in this same genre?
Yes. My next two novels are also based in the music industry. One is more comedic and the other is an emotional love story. I’m really excited about both stories so I’m not sure which one will come out first.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
If my readers could walk away with one message I would hope that it would be to make the effort to find out who you are. No matter your upbringing or circumstances, in order to be happy, we all have to answer that question, if only for ourselves.

How much of the book is realistic? 
I think anyone in the music industry will find some familiar anecdotes in that part of the story. And there are probably some who will assume the book is pretty autobiographical, but that would be a mistake. I like to take things from my own life experiences and then warp them to suit my story’s needs.

How important do you think villains are in a story? 
Villains are wonderfully integral to any story. As much as a protagonist should be likeable, the villain needs to be unlikeable. They are the foil, the heart blood of the story that circulates to make the reader care about the protagonist’s plight. Plus, they’re fun to write.

Do you have any upcoming appearances that you would like to share with us? 
Yes! I’m touring the country with my husband and our son. We’re calling it A Novel Music Tour (anovelmusictour.com) and we’ll be doing shows featuring original acoustic music from my husband, Lee Coulter (the SiriusXM’s The Coffee House “Discovery of 2011”) and I’ll be signing books and answering questions.

For the Love of Swoon Giveaway Hop

Enter to win an ebook of Owlet: Society of Feathers #1 by Emma Michaels.

***


Owlet: Society of Feathers #1
by Emma Michaels


Somewhere between falling and flying… there is a girl.

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie. As the façade her father has built starts to crumble around her she will have to decide which means more to her; the truth or her life.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sarah Pleydell - Cologne: A Novel - Author Interview



About the Book

London, 1960: Renate von Hasselmann, a nineteen-year-old German au pair, arrives at Victoria Station prepared to meet her new charges, Caroline and Maggie Whitaker. Yet she is ill-prepared for their parents: the mother, Helen, knows more about Nazi Germany than Renate does, and the father, Jack, disarms Renate with his quicksilver charm.

In Sarah Pleydell's debut novel, childhood and history collide, blurring the distinctions between victim and victor, ruin and redemption. With delicate humor, Pleydell presents a portrait of a family on the cusp of great social change, while reminding us that the traumas of war revisit the children of the peace.


Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
I chose the title, Cologne, because of its ambiguity. It represents the city where Renate von Hasselmann grew up, and that Helen visited as a young girl just Renate’s age; it also suggests the lingering scent of these duplicate experiences, (Helen’s and Renate’s) and how their essence—their joy and their pain -- is passed down to the children of the next generation to pervade their childhoods too. Caroline and Maggie Whitaker, Helen’s children, know their mother’s war stories and play “war games”; thus they experience her trauma second hand. Their father, Jack Whitaker, also wears cologne as does his chauffeur, Mario. Their charm also “scents” the book with an odor that lingers, half sweet, half sour.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want my readers to intuit how the unclaimed traumas of war are passed down to the children of the peace. Helen, Jack and Renate suffered the consequences of World War 11 first hand, but they have not had the time nor the occasion to process them. Their unexamined, unresolved pain, therefore, invades the childhood of Caroline and Maggie. The two girls experience their domestic lives as though they were at war themselves. The political becomes personal, and the unexamined after effects of war come home.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
The novel is written in figurative and lyrical language, which could be interpreted as un- even sur- realistic. However, the experience it conveys is all too real for so many children, then and now. Emotional and physical child abuse is still epidemic the world over. Maggie is both neglected and tormented by her father, for whom “one girl was enough, like too much of a good Stilton”. Caroline is abused by her father, who in his drunken condition mistakes her for his wife.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I might try and develop the character and context of Renate’s character even further than I did under my editor, Molly Tinsley’s expert tutelage. I think there may be more to know about the von Hasselmann family. I also wrote a chapter about Caroline taking her incapacitated father to a distant Scottish monastery hoping to heal both herself and him. After I decided to end the novel with his death, this chapter was no longer relevant. However, I would love it to have a life somewhere, as it is quite a tender interlude.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing about child sexual abuse is very costly to an author, especially one who has lived through it herself. I decided to write it through the point of view of a child, as a fragmented, discontinuous experience and not as a literal and linear one. Some readers, therefore, miss it altogether. This was a risk, as it may have seemed I was avoiding the subject, and I wrestled with that. But for a child this kind of violation and betrayal breaks the world apart; it is, therefore, too broken an event to register as a complete narrative. It is rather a hideous hodgepodge of sensory horror that does not add up: moreover, putting it all together would be more knowledge than most children could tolerate.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that any novel, whatever its theme, must have a strong and galvanizing narrative drive. If it does not grip the reader as a story it does not matter how beautifully it is written or how well crafted the characters are. This was the aspect of the novel I had to work the hardest on. Next time it will come first!

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I had an inspiring English teacher in my high school, who encouraged creative writing and especially mine. The book is dedicated to her and to my other teachers. She instilled a confidence in my unique voice and vision, which has never faltered. I owe her so very much even though she could be a fierce critic with high high standards. But that is a good thing too!

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Toni Morrison is my gold standard. Her prose is above reproach, but more than that she runs full force into the open arms of the thorniest, most challenging subject matters. Beloved and the Bluest Eye are my favorites, the former about slavery and the latter about sexual abuse. I was also thoroughly engaged by her most recent book, Home, which sets indentured servitude and slavery side by side. She does not flinch and that courage is what has inspired me to dig deep and to be brave.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I am thrilled that FUZE has published my book, and I am working hard on my next one titled Deep in the Heart, which is set on the Texas Mexico border. It takes on big subjects too, but I will keep them a secret for now.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Take your time with this book. It is short so there is no rush to the end. There are hidden meanings behind every phrase, sometimes every word. I have placed them there like clues in a treasure hunt. With months and months of premeditation, believe me. They are yours to discover.



***

Price: $14.95 paperback, $6.47-$12.95 ebook
ISBN: 9780984990856
Pages: 252
Release: September 18, 2012
Buy Links: Kindle, Nook, Fuze Publishing (paperback), Fuze Publishing (ebook)


About the Author

A graduate of Oxford and London Universities, Sarah Pleydell is an award-winning writer, performer and playwright who teaches English and writing at the University of Maryland. For the past twenty years, she has been a master teaching artist and arts integration specialist, working with institutions that include The Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Luce Institute. In 2000, she won the American Association for Theatre Educators’ award for best book of the year with co-author Victoria Brown. Most recently she wrote the script and played the role of Isadora in Revolutionary: The Life and Times of Isadora Duncan with Word Dance Theater.

Based on her childhood in London, "Cologne" (Fuze Publishing) has been twenty years in the making. It has benefited from fellowships at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and input many generous and gifted writers.

Connect with Sarah:
Facebook
Goodreads
Blog Tour Site
Fuze Publishing Web Site
Fuze Publishing Blog
Fuze Publishing Facebook
Fuze Publishing Twitter