Friday, February 28, 2014

Pathways of the Dead tour

Today I'm proud to be a part of the 'Pathways of the Dead tour', hosted by Dark World Books. To view other stops on this tour just click on the banner.

Pathways of the Dead
(Among the Dead #2)
Matty doesn’t want to end the world. Unfortunately, she has no choice.
Through a series of harrowing events, Matty DiCamillo discovered that she is the heir to an ancient prophecy, destined to destroy her own reality to save countless others. Now she finds herself locked away and interrogated by beings known as the Aetelia, who are out to force the apocalypse to their liking. After a breathless escape and an attack by the band of rebel Aetelia known as the Watchers, Matty must not only cross worlds but time itself to elude capture and face her destiny on her own terms. Aided by her lover Kristy; Tommy, a man trapped in a boy’s body; and an ageless woman named Omarosa; she must face death itself to reach the City of the Dead.
Add Pathways of the Dead to your Goodreads list!
About The Corridors of the Dead (Book #1)

Long ago, a mysterious being known as The Lost Aetelia crafted an elaborate series of Watchtowers, along with their resident guardians, the Aetelia, to watch over the Universe. In time, they sent a select group of their own to Earth, tasked with watching over the fledging human race. This group used humanity to challenge the established structure of the Universe. A bitter war ensued, and these rebels, who had come to be known as Watchers, disappeared from history.
The time of the Aetelia – now known as angels – is returning. After a fateful night of violence, Artist Matty DiCamillo finds herself drawn into this world by a mysterious savior, who becomes a driving force in Matty’s new life.
Both driven by and fighting the words of prophecy that lay out her destiny, Matty, her lover Kristy, and her best friend Daniel, follow this mysterious savior on a journey from Northern California to Las Vegas on a path that crosses through the boundaries of time and space.
As Matty struggles to understand her destiny, she discovers that her savior may not be what she seems, and that even the denizens of this twilight world have no idea what lurks behind the stage dressing of reality. Matty finds herself not only racing to rescue the woman she loves, but learning that she herself could be the cause of the Universe’s day of reckoning.
Amazon – Barnes & Noble
Author Interview

  1. Where did you come up with the inspiration behind the book? It’s impossible to talk about inspiration for this book without discussing inspiration for the entire series. It began with the idea of turning the “hero’s journey” trope on its head; I just needed a mythological framework to do so. I found it in the Enochian Magick system. Enochian was created in the 16th Century by John Dee, a well-known occultist and agent to the throne, and his assistant Edward Kelley. Dee and Kelley claimed that angels provided them with lost knowledge regarding the metaphysical structure of the universe. I studied the system as a teenager and it kept coming back to mind during the formative stages of planning this series, so eventually I accepted the setting as the series’ fate.
  2. What inspired you to write your first book? Like any other kid, I told stories with my toys from a very young age. I can’t remember the exact age, but I began writing those stories up at some point. Around age 12, after reading mostly fantasy, I got deep into Stephen King’s novels. Not long after, I wrote my first book, The Reaper’s Blade, as part of a class project. Talk about aping King, the story was about a bloodthirsty machete haunted by the souls of the people that it had killed. I even hand-bound the thing in a cardboard cover before turning it in. That experience hooked me on writing.
  3. What books/authors have influenced your writing? See the mention of King, specifically the Talisman. For those who haven’t read it, the book is about a young boy who has to travel cross-country (and cross world) to rescue his dying mother. It’s an interesting twist on the coming-of-age road novel. It absolutely grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.
  4. What was your favourite scene to write? I had tremendous fun writing any scene that involved the character of Jazshael. He originally came from a dream, where he served as a guardian angel for a family – actually a story that became a “trunk novel”. This version might once have done such a thing, as there’s a core of a decent being in there somewhere, but he’s become unstable, narcissistic, and power-hungry. He’s the Joker of the series and is a lot of fun to write. My particular favourite is the scene where he informs his former apprentice, Grabbe, of the political situation within the enemy’s organization, making his points with physical and psychological jabs.
  5. What was the hardest part of writing your book? Revisions. I enjoy planning a book and writing the first draft is usually a breeze, but revisions consume way more time and require a lot more thought than even plotting, as you’re dealing with words and sentences at the micro level. I’m fortunate to have a great critique group who have helped me grow as a writer and better identify those spots that need work, but it’s always a gruelling exercise. Worthwhile, but tough. 
  6. How do you overcome writer's block? I write every single day, even when I don’t want to or feel like my emotions are locked up. When I feel like that, I focus on writing just enough to “show up” for that day, 100 to 300 words, maybe a snippet of dialogue or something like that. I have to get something on the page. It keeps me primed for the days when the words flow more readily.
  7. What are your current projects? I’m writing the first draft to the next book in this series, City of the Dead, and am in the revision stage of a literary novel that I plan to shop around to traditional publishers. That one is called Came to Believe and is about a small-town dentist who happens to be a sex addict and his struggles after his wife dies.
  8. What book are you reading now? Sleights of Mind, a book that examines the neurological tricks used by stage magicians and how those tricks can help advance the study of the science of the human brain. It has lots of interesting brain hacks and information on how the brain works. I favor literary and dark fantasy fiction, but every now and then I like to read a good psychology, science, or history book. Keeps you sharp.
  9. If you could have dinner with any fictional character who would it be and why? Dean Moriarty from On the Road (based on the real-life Neal Cassady). I would love to pick the guy’s brain about his exploits and better understand his philosophy – or lack thereof.
  10. Do you have any advice for other writers? The simplest possible advice there is: just write. Whatever you do, write. It doesn’t have to (and usually won’t) be good, it simply has to exist and help you get used to expressing yourself through the written word. Pick a sane weekly word count and try to hit it as often as you can. You can slowly up the amount as you get used to writing such a volume. The idea here, however, is not to churn out stories as quickly as you can – a lot should be revision, in order to hone your craft. It’s a painful cliché, but it’s true: the one defining trait of writers it that they write, no matter what.
 About the Author
Jonathan D Allen
Born and raised in the rural Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Jonathan wrote his first fantasy/sci-fi novel at the age of 13. After studying writing and communication at James Madison University, Jonathan turned his passion for writing into a full-time technical writing career in the DC Metro area, working for companies like Sprint/Nextel, Time Warner Cable, and Sirius XM Radio, where he had an opportunity to combine his love of music with his love of writing. He may have drifted away from fiction at times, but it was always his first love – and he always returned to it. Now living in Bethesda with his wife, two cats, and two quirky guinea pigs for which his publishing company is named, he crafts the kinds of stories that he had always hoped to read but just couldn’t quite find.
Website – Blog – Twitter – Facebook – Pinterest

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Skinwalker's Apprentice tour

Today I'm proud to be a part of the 'The Skinwalker's Apprentice tour', hosted by YA Bound. You can view the rest of the tour spots by clicking on the banner above. 

The Skinwalker's Apprentice
by Claribel Ortega
Release Date: 02/24/14

Summary from Goodreads:
New York City 1984: It’s Emerald Kipp’s sixteenth birthday, and nothing has changed. She’s still the biggest loser in school, she’s still trying to find a place for herself and yeah, she’s still a witch. Her last year of high school is turning out to be the worst yet, and Emerald thinks it can’t possibly get any worse. Unfortunately for her, she’s dead wrong.

East Hampton, NY 1658: The Pennyfeathers are the black sheep of their small English settlement. As hard as they try to keep the family secrets just that, the magical bunch just can’t seem to fit in. But when a High Priestess witch chooses 16-year-old Margo Pennyfeather as an apprentice, Margo’s luck finally begins to change. What she doesn’t know, is there’s a lot more to her apprenticeship, and to being a witch, than she could ever imagine

Discover the mysterious beginnings of The Empire Witch Series in "The Skinwalker's Apprentice: An Emerald Kipp Novella."

Buy Links:

My Review

In the Skinwalker's Apprentice the reader follows the story of two characters, one a 1600s witch, Margo Pennyfeather, who comes from a poor family and is chosen to train as an apprentice to the head priestess to become a powerful witch. The other character is a 1980s witch, Emerald Kipp, who lives with her aunt and has to keep her powers hidden from everyone around her. 

Ortega has created a strong plot that interweaves two characters stories set three hundred years apart. Both characters have a hard time trying to fit in to a normal 'teenage' society within the time that their story takes place. The writing is strong and Ortega describes the struggles brilliantly without getting bogged down with too much detail, as well as making the characters relateable.

I liked how the story kept moving between Margo and Emerald's story, but I did find Margo's story to be a lot more thrilling and moved at a more frantic pace, which made me want to rush through Emerald's story just so I could get back to Margo's.

Overall, this was an interesting story and I would recommend the Skinwalker's Apprentice to anyone who loves books on witches or magic.

 About the Author
Claribel Ortega
Claribel Ortega is a graduate of the SUNY Purchase journalism program, and got her start writing for
the school’s Independent Newspaper. There, she quickly rose the ranks from editing the student’s often times hilarious ads and ramblings on the back page of the paper to staff and feature writer.
After graduation, Claribel worked as a reporter for The Rivertowns Enterprise, a local paper in lower Westchester County, New York. As a reporter, she enjoyed going to board of education meetings and texting the town mayors about the line at Starbucks.
Today, Claribel works for The Combined Book Exhibit, a book marketing company in Westchester NY.
She lives in New York with her really awesome boyfriend, her suspiciously intelligent yorkie Pancho Villa and is surrounded by an impenetrable fort of books she gets from her job.
“The Skinwalker’s Apprentice” is her first book, and cheese is her favorite food.

Author Links:

A signed paperback copy of The Skinwalker's Apprentice
Plus, a Forever 21 Prize Pack including:
Posh Stackable Rings
Cameo Bow Necklace
Shopper Tote (design may vary)

The Wind Whisperer tour

Today I'm proud to be a part of the 'The Wind Whisperer tour', hosted by Dark World Books. To view other stops on this tour just click on the banner.

The Wind Whisperer
At fifteen, Anaii is the most important member of her tribe—and the most mysterious. Ever since Anaii can remember, the spirits of the wind have whispered of fertile hunting grounds and imminent enemy attacks. But when her people are ambushed by a brother clan without any apparent cause, the spirits remain eerily silent.
As the village prepares to retaliate, Anaii is pressured by her best friend, Elan, to marry him. It’s an old plea—Elan has spent a lifetime loving her, but Anaii only sees a childhood playmate out of an imposing warrior. Stifled by Elan’s insistence, Anaii escapes into the forest where she meets Jayttin, the beautiful son of the enemy chief.
Enamored by Jayttin’s carefree spirit and hope for peace, she repeatedly sneaks away to be with him, but when her deception is discovered, Elan is devastated. Pledging his lifelong affection, Elan gives her a passionate kiss, and Anaii begins to see her friend in a new light.
While Anaii is tormented over which man she must choose, the wind whispers of a new threat that could destroy both tribes. Only a union will afford a chance at survival, but the reality of that union is based on one thing—which man Anaii chooses to die.
Amazon – Kobo – Barnes & Noble
Add The Wind Whisperer to your Goodreads list!
Author Interview

  1. Where did you come up with the inspiration behind the book? My inspiration behind The Wind Whisperer was Pocahontas.  I lived on land once owned by her when I wrote the book.  A lot of the customs and lifestyles of the fictional tribe were inspired by the Powhatan tribe that lived locally.
  2. What inspired you to write your first book? Actually I started writing again after the huge success of the Twilight Sage.  It occurred to me that there is a huge audience of women and girls who crave love stories as much as I do.
  3. What books/authors have influenced your writing? Shannon Hale will always hold a special place in my heart. She writes YA stories that feel a lot like fairy tales. You may remember The Princess Academy, Goose Girl, and Enna Burning.  I love the romantic feeling of fairy tales and try to incorporate the fairy tale “feeling” into my own stories.
  4. What was your favourite scene to write? One of my favourite scenes was when Elan kisses Anaii for the first time. Anaii is looking for that exciting sort of love that stops your heart. Naturally she overlooks her best friend Elan who she has known her whole life. After that first kiss everything changes and Anaii begins to see her friend in a new light.
  5. What was the hardest part of writing your book? Even though The Wind Whisperer is based on a fictional tribe called the Chippokes, I wanted my story to feel authentic.  It required doing a lot of research on Native Americans that lived all over The United States.  I was especially enthralled in the customs of the natives that lived locally.   
  6. How do you overcome writer's block? I sit alone in a very quiet place and neurotically play my story in my head like a movie. When I get road blocked I fit a thousand different scenarios in until one works right.
  7. What are your current projects? The Wind Whisperer can stand alone but it has a sequel that has already been written.  In addition to promoting my new book like crazy this year, I’ll be getting A New Whisper ready for publication
  8. What book are you reading now? I just finished reading Vampire Shade written by Bella Forrest.
  9. If you could have dinner with any fictional character who would it be and why? I think I’d like to have dinner with Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.  I really want to wear an 18th century ball gown and attend a ball.
  10. Do you have any advice for other writers? Find excellent beta readers that aren’t afraid to hurt your feelings.  Growth comes from criticism.  Also suck it up and be prepared to have your feelings hurt.
 About the Author
Krista Holle
Krista Holle is an award winning author who stepped up her writing after reading Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. It occurred to Krista that there is an insatiable audience of women and girls who want to read books filled with stories about true love—not just vampires. When Krista is not writing, she loves to collect seashells, watch movies, and eat obscene amounts of pizza. Krista currently resides in Montpelier, Virginia with her husband, four daughters and an eccentric cat with a weird attachment to the family’s socks.
Website/Blog – Twitter – Facebook – Goodreads – Amazon 

Deuce blog tour

Today I'm proud to be a part of the 'Deuce book tour', hosted by YA Bound. You can view the rest of the tour spots by clicking on the banner above. 

Summary from Goodreads:
In an instant everything changes for seventeen-year-old Cassie Moore. Together she and her time-traveling boyfriend, Trent Astor, battle to survive their next impossible challenge. As they navigate through a third parallel world in which Cassie begged Trent to create for her, the two soon discover that no world can be made perfect.

And while they fight through their new circumstances, the universe may just have its own agenda for them both.

With DEUCE, the 3rd and final book of The Vortex Series, Janine Caldwell combines fantasy and romance to create a compelling love story of integrity and sacrifice.

Goodreads links for series:

Buy Links:
My Review

In the third and final book of Janine Caldwell's Time Vortex series, Trent goes back to the same day he originally saved Cassie, now he can control his jumps, to save her 'properly. But things aren't going to be that straight forward. First, Cassie can't remember Trent, but after showing Cassie her old journals she falls in love with Trent all over again. And then there's her life. Her tennis career is a complete success, but her personal relationship with Jeff is more real than it was originally in her other life. When a man in search of Trent his whole life, Dr Ethan Fox finds Cassie, he kidnaps her in order to get Trent to come to him.
 Caldwell has created a thrilling end to a series. The characters and story are complex with lots of twists and turns, and with it being about time travel it was great to see all those complex story threads. Even though it was a sci-fi book, I was pleased that if focused more on providing a thrilling read, especially regarding Cassie's kidnapping, which definitely provided a page-turning read. 
 Overall, Deuce is an excellent ending to a thrilling series and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves time travel stories.

 About the Author
Jennifer Comeau

Janine Caldwell was born in Concord, CA and raised in the small San Francisco Bay Area town of
Clayton. Four days after high school graduation, Janine attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and graduated with a degree in English.
Janine now lives in Anthem, AZ with her husband and two sons. As a lifelong literature fanatic, she knew it was only a matter of time before she would become obsessed with writing her own work. With relatives like the Brothers Grimm and Anita Loos (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), she figured fantasy writing had to be in her DNA.
Books published by Janine include Visited, a YA coming-of-age fantasy, Rematch andDouble Fault–the first two books of The Vortex Series. The final book in this YA fantasy romance, Deuce, will be released soon.

Author Links:

10 ebooks of Deuce (via smashwords coupon) (INT)

Contest is void where prohibited. Entrants must be 13 or else have parent or guardian’s permission to enter. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond  or another winner’s name will be selected. Winning entries will be verified for authenticity.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fighting for the Edge blog tour

Today I'm proud to be a part of the 'Fighting for the Edge book tour', hosted by YA Bound. You can view the rest of the tour spots by clicking on the banner above. 

Two friends. Two dreams. One night that changes everything…

Ice dancer Aubrey London scoffs at romance. She’s focused on winning a medal at the upcoming Olympics and uses that as her excuse to avoid serious relationships. But when she and longtime friend Chris Grayden are thrown together by unforeseen circumstances, Aubrey finds herself questioning everything she's ever known about love, complicating her life both on and off the ice.

Pairs skater Emily Petrov embraces romance. She and her husband Sergei still act like honeymooners two years after their wedding. As Emily’s coach, Sergei provides constant support while she prepares to challenge for gold at the Olympics. But Sergei’s support might not be enough to help Emily overcome the one challenge she never saw coming.

With the Games only weeks away, Emily and Aubrey are on the verge of realizing their dreams. But one snowy, stormy night sets in motion a series of events that will test them in ways they never imagined, giving them more to fight for than Olympic medals.

Buy Links:

Praise for the Edge books: "Jennifer Comeaux puts you in the action, makes you smell the ice and hear the roar of the crowd during the nail-biting competitions, and she's a master at creating first love jitters in your stomach from the steamy scenes that are so hot without being explicit." - Christina Jean Michaels, author of Epiphany

Both touching and suspenseful, Fighting for the Edge is a game changer that will have fans of the series giving both the characters and the author a standing ovation once they've turned the very last page. If I could pass out medals, Jennifer would earn gold for writing my favorite romance of all time.” – Jenna at Jenna Does Books
My Review

I know it's not a good habit starting a series at the last book, but I'm not sorry for the final book in Jennifer Comeaux's Edge series (which just makes me want to go back and read the other two books). It's not like I needed to read the previous two books to be caught up on everything that was happening with this story, which is probably why I loved it so much. In Fighting for the Edge, Emily Butler plans to retire after this Olympics, making this her and her partner, Chris's, last chance for a gold medal in pairs ice skating. Coached by her husband, she is ready to conquer the world of ice skating and land her that gold medal, until something happens which threatens to derail her plans. And no, I'm not going to give away all of the twists and turns that makes up this thrilling novel, but the action and drama that unfolded on each page is what made me want to turn the page to find out what happened next.

Comeaux has a way of getting into her character's head and creating the ideal chemistry and tension that makes the characters feel alive. The building romances, plaecd in with the thrilling competitive sport of ice skating and anyone should know that nothing can run smooth. Now I just have to go back to the previous two books as I'm curious to find out what happened in Emily Butler's story prior to Fighting for the Edge. I recommend this story to anyone who is looking for an older YA/NA romance.
 About the Author
Jennifer Comeau

Jennifer Comeaux is a tax accountant by day, writer by night. There aren’t any ice rinks near her home in south Louisiana, but she’s a diehard figure skating fan and loves to write stories of romance set in the world of competitive skating. One of her favorite pastimes is travelling to competitions, where she can experience all the glitz and drama that inspire her writing. Jennifer loves to hear from readers! Visit for contact information and to learn more about her books.

Author Links:

$25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)

Contest is void where prohibited. Entrants must be 13 or else have parent or guardian’s permission to enter. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond  or another winner’s name will be selected. Winning entries will be verified for authenticity.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Insecure Writer's Group - February

Alex's awesome co-hosts for February are:
Sheena-kay Graham, Julie Musil, Jamie Ayres, 
and Mike Swift!   
 Please stop by their blogs and say thank you.
Today I listened to a really inspiring video podcast which really helped me identify this month's topic - fear of rejection. 
I've been working hard on getting my second novel ready to be released, and this is even scarier than last year when Shadow Embraced was released into the world. I think it's scarier for me because this novel is one that is really close to my interests, but also one outside my comfort area (since it's situated in a foreign country), and now I have all those nagging thoughts rolling around my head - will people like it? will people want to read it? what will they say about it? is it too different that they won't like it??? But I guess everyone has those thoughts - or similar thoughts - when handing over something they have worked hard on to the public for review.
In this podcast, the speaker says what it takes to keep personal expression, no matter what anyone says, or the weird reactions you get because people don't understand (or like) what you wear/say/write is to ask what you really want (do you want to write for fame & money... perhaps that's not exactly the right motive to be writing for, or do you just write because you love writing and need to write?), and ask whether you should care about what people say. Yes, it's good to accept some of the feedback that you receive from your writing, but let's face it, not everyone is going to be a fan of your work, and negative reviews are inevitable, but so are the good.
I know the fear of rejection is a major part of writing, but one thing I know is true... if you don't put your work out there, if no one gets the chance to read it, you will never know whether anyone will like it. And yes, there will be people out there that will like your work.
So, one thing I can say about rejection is to learn from it. If the negative review offers any constructive criticism, any suggestions or feedback as to what they would have liked to see improve, then you can work on improving that in your next work. If the negative review offers nothing but harsh comments, then just push it under the rug, and move on. There's no point lingering on negativity when you have something else you can be writing.
What's your insecurity for this month?
For a last piece of inspiration, here's the podcast I found so inspiring :D

Monday, February 3, 2014

Busy, busy, busy

Can you believe it??? Where has January gone? It seems like only last week we were celebrating the new year, and now a month has passed. It hasn't been a quiet month either as I've been working hard on a couple of exciting projects, collaborating with the fantastic editors and designers at Dark World Books and another wonderful artist to bring out a novel that is quite special to me.

Okay, my life has been quite hectic lately. I've moved to a new place (although I'm not complaining as it's only a short drive to the beach, and numerous frozen yoghurt stores), started a new job, and am getting ready to start uni (again). Yep, a lot of things have been happening, but that doesn't mean the writing stops.

In January I officially completed the final draft of Shinigami Eyes and sent it away to get edited, and now I'm in the middle of planning art work and getting a cover design created. But that's not the only thing I've been up to, I've also been feverishly writing the sequel to Shadow Embraced and should have the first draft completed by mid-February if I can manage to keep to my time goals.

With everything that's been happening, I'm on a roll to get the numerous story ideas I've got rattling around in my brain out on the page (and I mean there are a lot of ideas up there).

Stay tuned for more information about Shinigami Eyes as there will be plenty coming your way shortly :D

So, what did you get up to in January? Did you accomplish any goals?

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