Dori Ann Dupré: Interview and Excerpt for Scout’s Honor


Dori Ann Dupré

I am so excited to have Dori Ann Dupré on the blog with us today. Dori is the author of newly released Scout’s Honor! Dori shares with us about her writing experience and tips for other aspiring writers. Be sure to check out a great excerpt from Scout’s Honor in the interview too! Can’t wait to read this one!

Interview with Dori Ann Dupré

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am a first time published novelist. My book, Scout’s Honor, was published on April 14th, 2016. I’m originally from New Jersey, hold a BS in History and a Post Bac Paralegal Certification, and I’m a veteran of the US Army. I’ve lived in North Carolina for over 17 years now, where my husband and I raised our two daughters. He passed away last Fall at the age of 47 from Colon Cancer. Scout’s Honor and my second book, Good Buddy, which was inspired by my husband before he became ill, have saved me throughout this very difficult period in my life and in the lives of our daughters.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I think most indie authors have under-appreicated novels. It is hard to get it out there in order for it to be appreciated by the masses. In that light, I am choosing an indie author’s novel for purely personal reasons. Eight Days by Scott Thompson came out in March 2016. Scott Thompson is an author who is also signed with my publisher, Pen Name Publishing. I received an ARC copy just a couple of days after my husband’s terminal diagnosis. His novel is about a man who dies and is caught between life and death. He has to reckon several events from his lifetime in order to move on to Heaven. There are 8 events, which is why the book is entitled Eight Days. He is guided through this process by his long passed grandfather. The story is one of hope, love and family and a creative peek into the hearts of men who must examine their lives. My husband found himself in a similar situation because he was dying, and dying young. It helped me to understand the context of some of his struggles, even if I could not put myself in his shoes. I highly recommend the book for anyone, but also for people who are grieving the loss of loved ones.

Who were your favorite authors growing up?

Growing up, I liked S. E. Hinton, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Judy Blume. I was a normal girl in that regard.

If you could join any literary world, what would it be and why?

I would want to be in Hogwarts. I mean, who wouldn’t? It’s classic good versus evil while in school. The closest thing we get to Hogwarts is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and that’s just not good enough.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve never been inspired to write specifically. I’ve always just been a writer. My first book, Scout’s Honor, was inspired over 20 years ago from an anonymous call for help to an advice columnist. It was written by a young teenaged girl who had been taken advantage of by a much older man, who was a Deacon in her church. I always wondered what happened to her and how that man’s selfishness and cruelty affected her life long term. This kind of thing happens all the time and girls usually keep silent about it for all kinds of reasons. I had the idea for years, and it wasn’t until my youngest daughter went off to college that I had the time and determination to start writing it. Once I started, it only took me 5 months to complete the first draft.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Going through my manuscript with an actual editor during the publishing process helped me think of my writing differently. I think bigger now and try to get out of my characters’ heads more. I also try to write in smaller chunks. My second novel, Good Buddy, which will hopefully come out in 2018, was written in 3rd person vignettes within chapters. The chapters include flashbacks and current day. I found this to be a rewarding experiment in storytelling and I can’t wait to see what readers think! It’s written quite differently than Scout’s Honor. Scout’s Honor was written in 1st person, multiple narrators.

How do you write? Do you plot? Or do you just go for it?

I have a basic idea in my head but honestly, I just go for it. I am a classic Type A personality. If I start out with an exhaustive outline and To Do List, which is how I run the rest of my life, I would never do the actual writing. I’d be too busy trying to check things off. Creatively, for me, I have learned that I just need to DO. It comes out naturally.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

My first book took 5 months to write. (20 years and 5 months if you count from the idea!) My second book, Good Buddy, took longer. Because I was dealing with the Scout’s Honor launch and promotion, it was on the back burner for awhile. It started out with one idea, inspired by my husband’s selfless act of becoming a stepfather as a young man. Then because of what happened to him and our family, Good Buddy became so much more than that. I had to finish it so he could read it before he passed away. Good Buddy took just over a year from original concept to complete manuscript. It was the last book my husband ever read.

How do you select the names of your characters?

Scout’s Honor had family member names strewn throughout it. Because her identity was wrapped around Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, there are also names in there related to that book. For example, Scout’s daughter is named Jemma (and called Jem for short sometimes). Scout meets a man named Thom Robinson later in the book. Also, because my books take place in North Carolina, I try to make names fit the region and times.

How many hours a day do you write?

If I’m writing a book, I will be in a zone until it’s done. Because I work a “real job” in the “real world,” I don’t have all the time in the world to dedicate to my writing. This is hard to classify, but if I’m writing a novel, it could be 2 hours a day during the work week. I will use lunch breaks too. If I’m just in between books, like now, I write every day, just a bit at least, to keep me sane.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

My publisher, Pen Name Publishing, has been instrumental in helping me forge writerly relationships. The house uses an app where we can all communicate with one another about our writing, resources, share about events and press. It is a wonderful tool and whenever you need feedback, there’s always a slew of other authors offering their support. We have also had some YouTube based author forums to discuss author topics, and interacting in this manner has been great. My most interactive writer friends include: Scott Thompson, Mike Hansen, Ralph Pullins, Amanda Hanson, JM Sullivan, Leslie Hauser, Dionne Aboulelela (who is also the House’s CEO), Jenny Milchman, and Seamus Gallacher. I am grateful to them all for all they’ve helped me with as a fellow author and writer.

What are the first 5 things you do to prepare yourself for a day of writing?

I really do not have any kind of prep for this. I know that’s a horrible answer, but I really do not prepare to write.

Tell us a little about Scout’s Honor, can you share an excerpt with us?

Scout’s Honor is a story of a self, lost…a self, loathed…and a self, rediscovered. The protagonist is named Scout Webb, and she comes of age in 1980s rural North Carolina. She heads off to Camp Judah, a Christian camp on the Catawba River, and while at camp, she suffers a profound emotional trauma that will affect her well into adulthood and middle age. Scout’s Honor starts off in the Summer of 1983, when Scout is 14 years old, and ends in the modern day. It addresses issues such as faith, morality, identity, marriage, parenting, love, family, forgiveness, friendship and emotional trauma.

 

Here is an excerpt from the book:

 

SCOUT WEBB, AGE 14

The ball flew toward me in a mad spiral as I stood, stomach churning, wrapped up in anticipation. It was coming to my left so I turned my legs back and ran to position myself to catch it. I don’t know exactly how my body knows what to do and when to do it at the right time, but even “for a girl” my body knew just the same. My gloved left hand reached just high enough to snatch the speeding baseball out of flight and I stopped myself from stride so I could get the throw into the cutoff man at shortstop. Also known as Charlie. My best friend.

“Good catch, Scout!” I heard someone yell. I felt a sense of relief come over my whole body. I did my job. I caught the well-hit fly ball that should have been a single. The boy who hit it was pissed off, no doubt, because some stupid wiry girl in the outfield caught it and how embarrassing is that and I hope she falls and breaks her arm. Heard it all before.

I love summer. Summertime is baseball season. People like to complain about the heat and humidity here in Haddleboro, North Carolina, but it doesn’t bother me all that much. It doesn’t keep me inside playing Space Invaders or Pong on Atari or watching reruns on TV like my brother Jonny and his friends. It doesn’t keep me from sleeping, even if I’m dripping in sweat on my bed all night and have to wrap a cool wet towel over my head. No homework, no worries but for my paper route — and the promise of Camp Judah ahead.

On Sunday, I get to go to camp for three weeks. I’ve gone every year since I was seven. It will be my last summer there because I’m aging out. The next time I can go back is as a counselor after I’m eighteen. I’m turning fifteen in a couple of months, so that is a long time. Three whole years. Actually more like four because I won’t turn eighteen until October when camp is over for the summer. What am I supposed to do for the next four years? Get a job or something? No one will hire me next summer because I’m too young. I’ve only ever had camp to look forward to.

Charlie turned around and hollered to me, pulling me from my Camp Judah daydreams. He shouted that I needed to be ready because the last time this kid hit, it went in between us for a single.

“Move in! He can’t hit it over your head!” I moved in closer to Charlie, who held his spot at short.

Bobby was pitching. He’s too slow at everything. He moves slow, preps the ball slow, kicks around dirt on the mound slow. Even chomps on his Big League Chew slow. I’m getting anxious again, on high alert, scared to let my team down by screwing up. My stomach’s in knots, but it’s not clear if it’s because of how close we are to winning this game or how close I am to going away to camp.

I stand ready, waiting for Bobby to pitch the ball, then watch the batter swing and miss. And again. Foul ball. Then my mind goes back to Camp Judah and to Brother Doug with the ice blue eyes, the gorgeous lifeguard who I’ve been practically in love with since I was seven years old.

At Camp Judah, we always address the counselors and other people who work there as “Brother” and “Sister.”

“Why do we call all the counselors Brother and Sister?” I asked Brother Doug a few years ago, as I helped him carry some life jackets back to his storage shed.

“Because here at Camp Judah, we are all family. We are brothers and sisters in Christ and all of us are God’s children,” he answered with a wink.

When I saw Brother Doug for the first time, my camp group (the Lions for Jesus!) was coming out of the lake because our allotted time for swimming was up for the afternoon. A tall, fit, tan man stood at the foot of the water wearing swim trunks that matched the color of his eyes. He counted us as we came out and directed us where to stand to meet our counselor.

I was the last one out of the water, of course. I was always the last one out. I never wanted to leave the cool lake water because the sand was always hot on my bare feet. Some of the kids had flip-flops to put on, but I didn’t.

As I walked up the wet sand from the water, Brother Doug said to me, “Hey Shorty, I like your chubby cheeks.” I looked up at him, the sun blaring down on his almost-white, blond hair. He looked back down at me with squinted eyes, expanded his cheeks with air, and put his fingers on both sides to pop them. Then he smiled. “Those things are so big you should be able to pop them like that.”

He became my favorite person right away.

“I’m Brother Doug. What’s your name?”

“Scout,” I said.

He laughed. “Really? That was my dog’s name when I was boy!”

Heard it before. Someone always had or knew a dog named Scout. Never a cat, though, I noticed.

I’ve learned to become proud of my name over time. I’m named after the main character in one of the most beloved books in American fiction — from my mom’s favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird. And since my mom was a reading teacher at Haddleboro Elementary School, she knew something about books.

So Scout, the little girl in the famous novel, is my namesake. Really, her name was Jean Louise and Scout was just her nickname. But my name-name is Scout. Scout Elizabeth. Elizabeth for my grandmother.

After reading the book when I was eleven years old, I was at ease with my unconventional name. I liked the name Scout and, the truth is, there were too many Jennifers and Lisas and Michelles anyway. Scout was a different kind of name and I was a different kind of girl. My friend Jenny (see?), who is a year older, told me that in ninth grade English, her class read To Kill a Mockingbird and everyone was talking about me and my name.

But since I was only seven when I met Brother Doug, and I didn’t fully understand the significance of my name, I felt a little uncomfortable about it being so unique. Because I didn’t want to make this Brother Doug person laugh at me, I just asked him if he missed his dog, Scout.

He grinned and said, “Sure I miss him. He was a great dog. The best one I ever had.”

I think Brother Doug noticed my uneasiness, so he got down to my level. He peered into my eyes, still grinning, and put his hand on my shoulder. He continued to squint from the bright sunny afternoon. His unusually light blue eyes were no doubt affected by the sunlight more than other peoples’ eyes. “Hey, I will give you a special name, just between me and you, okay?”

I nodded, wondering what in the world he was going to call me.

“I will call you Squirrel-Girl because you got the fattest, cutest cheeks I’ve seen at camp this whole summer — just like a squirrel hiding acorns in them.”

He waited for my reaction and I could tell that he was trying to make me feel comfortable with him. It worked. He had my complete trust at that moment and for the next seven summers.

Smiling back at him, I said, “Okay, Brother Doug.”

As I started to walk away toward the other campers, I stopped and turned to him, inflated my cheeks, and popped them like he did earlier. That one gesture became our special greeting every summer.

Now, I couldn’t wait to pop my cheeks at him on Sunday. No matter how much time had passed since I met him as a little girl, I was still his Squirrel-Girl and we always popped our cheeks at each other. I hoped he would be back again this summer because I hadn’t heard from him in a long time.

While waiting for Bobby to move along with his pitches, I started thinking of how scared I am that Jesus and the Rapture might come tonight as I lay sweating in my bed. I pictured myself hearing those “Trumpets of the Lord” and then getting raptured up with all the other Christians. Then I’d have to miss out on going to camp. I think I would demand that Jesus let me go back so I could go to Camp Judah — but then I realized that all the people at camp would be raptured, too, so it would be a waste of an argument with the Son of God.

I said a quick prayer as we all watched Bobby taking his sweet time on the mound, “Jesus, please please please don’t come again until after camp is over.” I often said this kind of prayer on Christmas Eve, on the eve of the first day of school, and on the eve of Halloween.

The boy up at bat strikes out and the game is finally over. I’m relieved. My mind is too cluttered today for this game. I’m too excited, too jumpy, and too anxious for everything. Especially Camp Judah and Brother Doug.

Really, for Brother Doug.

I jog in from the outfield and my team’s coach, Mr. Faulkner, who’s also Bobby’s dad, congratulates us on doing a great job.

“We have four more games this summer,” he said. “We are undefeated, boys,” he stopped and looked at me, “and Scout,” he added with a wink. “Not bad for a team full of scrappy kids just out of junior high.” He looked around and continued, “We need to practice on Sunday and Monday, so don’t miss. We can go far with this group. I just know it!”

Mr. Faulkner sounded pretty excited and he never sounds excited.

When everyone dispersed, he came over to me and said, “I’m sorry you’re going away to camp, Scout. We need you.”

I was glad he said that, but humbly replied, “There are lots of boys on the bench who can play just as good as me. I hate to miss so much, but if we win the rest of the games, I’ll be back in time for regionals.”

To be honest though, if Brother Doug wasn’t at camp anymore, I would have considered missing my final summer at Camp Judah to play baseball instead. I’m kind of over all the Bible verse competitions, the devotionals every morning, and the constant segregation of boys and girls in the teenager groups.

Last summer, this boy named Carlo from Philadelphia liked me and tried to kiss me. He was a nice boy, but I didn’t want him to kiss me because I’d never want Brother Doug to hear about it. It really wasn’t a big deal, though.

“Scout, I think you’re pretty,” Carlo said to me. “Can I kiss you? Just one time so I can remember you?”

I was flattered because Kelly was the prettiest girl at Camp Judah that summer — and probably every summer. All the boys wanted to kiss her. But Carlo liked me instead.

“I don’t think so, Carlo. I don’t want to get in trouble,” I told him.

Well, some girl named Pepper, who nobody liked, went and told a counselor about what Carlo said to me. Poor Carlo got in all kinds of trouble. His parents were called and he missed a whole day of activities. They probably would’ve sent him home if it wasn’t so far away. So some of the camp rules are starting to annoy me.

But Brother Doug is there. At least, I hope he is. I think he is. He has to be! And I know he misses me. He has told me so in his letters.

Mr. Faulkner told me before the season started that I’m lucky I can play baseball at all. He had to do some convincing with the people in charge of the county because there were no other girls playing this level of baseball anywhere in the state. Since there wasn’t a summer softball league for girls, and I was just as good as the boys, they decided to let me play.

Usually by this age, girls and boys go their separate ways in sports. Girls chase softballs or chase dreams of being on some stage or just chase boys. Once I overhead someone’s dad say, “Teenaged girls are chasin’ either one set of balls or another.” I didn’t think it was funny, but the other dads sure did.

I played softball in the spring with the county league last year, but it was boring and everyone stunk except for some girls from another town called Black Hill. I couldn’t stand the fact that most of them actually did throw like girls and I hated the bigger-sized ball. So instead of doing that again, I got permission from the principal to play boys’ baseball for the school team. Since they didn’t have a softball team for the girls, he told me that the baseball coach agreed to let me try out. Well, I made the team and had so much fun playing with the boys and Charlie all the time.

Next year, I could only try out for the girls’ high school softball team and not the boys’ baseball team. I was warned about that. “The girls in high school will be much better players. Some of those girls from Black Hill go to Haddleboro High,” Charlie had promised me.

“I hope you’re right,” I said, unconvinced. But really, I was sad that I would not be playing with Charlie.

The thought of going into high school both excited and terrified me. I was excited to be able to experience new things and meet new people. But the thought of not being with Charlie all the time was scary. We were a pair. I didn’t want things between us to change too much.

“Listen, you can’t worry about stuff like that,” Charlie told me last week, while we were walking into town for an ice cream. “Nothin’s gonna change. I promise.”

“I don’t know Charlie. It’s so much bigger there and maybe you’ll meet people you like better than me,” I said, feeling really stupid and insecure, especially because of how much attention he had been paying lately to a girl named Katie Smith.

He stopped me on the side of the road and made me face him. “Scout. Stop it. You’re my best friend. It will all be just fine.” Then he put his hand on my head like I was a puppy. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

I felt a little better about it all after he said that.

After Mr. Faulkner let us go, Charlie and I hopped on our Schwinn banana-seat bikes and pedaled off to his house, which was just three blocks away from the town baseball field. His uniform was covered in dirt from one messy slide into third base. I only managed a grass stain on my knee this game. I hoped I could get it out in the laundry. I hated a dirty uniform for the start of a game.

********

Dear SG,                                                                                                          September 12, 1982

I was so happy to get your letter. It made my day. I was having a tough day at school because one of the younger kids got hurt in a game we were playing and he may have broken his foot. I felt really bad about it, so your letter cheered me up a lot. It sounds like you are doing good. I know it was hard for summer to end, but you should enjoy your last year in junior high because it will go fast. Before you know it, we will be racing down the water slides again.

You asked me if it was OK if you wrote to me. Of course it is! I love getting letters from my campers.

Well, I am going to close for now. I hope you have a great school year. Keep in touch!

Your friend,

Brother Doug

********

 

What inspired you to write your Scout’s Honor?

Like I said above, I was inspired to write Scout’s Honor when I read an anonymous letter to an advice columnist from a young teenaged girl who had been taken advantage of by a much older married man in a position of trust. I often wondered what happened to that girl and how that entire situation affected the rest of her life.

What’s your favorite thing about Scout’s Honor?

My favorite thing about Scout’s Honor is that I tried to be fair to men. In fact, it was my goal. It’s easy to cast people as villains and heroes, when really, villains are usually just people who are hurting and not dealing with it like a mature adult. It is difficult to write from a man’s perspective when you are not a man, so I made it my mission to be fair in how Rob’s, specifically, internal struggles and failures were portrayed. I wanted to be fair to the character because he was worth a second chance and he was worth redeeming. He was a good person who lost his way for a while. Personal failures happen to almost everyone at some point, men and women alike. The difference between Rob and other men and women in these situations is that he owned up to it and did everything he could to make it right. But what he didn’t realize in the moment, was that while he was repairing his own life and relationship with his wife, he seriously altered the course of a very young woman’s life. These are the unintended consequences of redemption.

Before you go, is there anything else you would like to share with us? 

Yes! The proceeds from the sales of my book, Scout’s Honor, go toward a fund I established in my husband’s memory. The Eric DeJong Memorial Fund at the Gary Sinise Foundation supports the RISE Program. This money goes toward building smart homes for severely disabled veterans. My husband was a United States Military Academy graduate and he served his country honorably in the US Army. I am proud to associate his good name and memory with this worthwhile grassroots charity. I am more than half way to my fundraising goal for 2017.

About Dori Ann Dupré: 

Dori was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in History and is a veteran of the United States Army. She is the author of the two-time international award winning debut southern novel, Scout’s Honor, and several published short stories and poetry. Her second novel, Good Buddy, is expected to be released in 2018. Proceeds from her writing go toward charitable efforts in memory of her husband. Dori works in the legal field and resides with her two daughters and dachshunds in North Carolina.

Author Links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google+
YouTube | Pinterest | Instagram | | Goodreads  

About Scout’s Honor:

2016 Bronze Medalist – Southern Fiction, Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards
2017 Finalist – Eric Hoffer Book Awards


Book Summary:

In Haddleboro, North Carolina, Scout Webb is a 14 year old kind and spirited small town southern girl and a tomboy much like her namesake, the young narrator from her mother’s favorite book. With both her name and her Christian faith deeply woven into the fabric of her identity, Scout always felt like she had a lot to live up to and was the kind of girl who made her parents proud.

It’s August 1983, and Scout is playing on a summer baseball team with Charlie Porter, her best friend since Kindergarten. More than anything,  she is looking forward to her last few weeks at Camp Judah, a Christian camp near the Catawba River. She can’t wait to see her big crush “Brother Doug,” the thirty-two year old camp lifeguard who has watched her grow up each summer since she was seven years old. But after a fateful few days and one catastrophic event during her last day at the camp, Scout was changed forever.

Written through multiple narrators over the course of twenty years, this story follows Scout’s personal struggles as a freshman away at college in Raleigh and later as an overworked single mother approaching middle age, where she is forced to confront the causes of her own quiet suffering, the consequences of her actions and why even the eternal love and devotion of just one true friend can’t save her.

A story of a self, lost…a self, loathed…and a self, rediscovered…it examines the harsh and cruel ways in which otherwise well-intentioned and decent people treat each other…even those they claim to love, but even more so…ultimately, how we treat our own selves.

Scout’s Honor is for sale at all major online book retailers:

Pen Name Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million | Kobo Books | Indiebound | Smashwords

Tour Host Sign Up Sheet!

Hi Everyone!

Haley and I are so excited to announce that we are a few months away from launching our new website for blog tour services! Right now we are wanting to compile a list of people interested in hosting. The services will typically be for YA and NA genres. If you would like to become a tour host with us please fill out the form below! If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

Thank you all so much!

-Becca

 

Set Me Free: Author Interview and Giveaway

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Book & Author Details:
Set Me Free by London Setterby 
Publication date: July 8th 2016
Genres: Gothic, New Adult, Romance
Synopsis:

Miranda Lewis is desperate to get away from her controlling ex–so desperate she leaves him in the middle of the night. She ends up on a remote island off the Maine coast, where she befriends a bubbly shopkeeper, Claire, and becomes fascinated with Claire’s son, big, brooding Owen Larsen, a woodworker who keeps to himself. Even the friendliest locals here are secretive–and Owen is at the center of their secrets.

Still, Miranda loves the salt air, the craggy coastline, and, most of all, the work of the island’s beloved local painter, Suzanna White. Miranda wants to stay–to claim a life of her own, to paint again. But the longer she stays, the more her fascination with Owen increases. Why is there a painting of his stern, handsome face in the art gallery by the beach? And why is everyone so afraid of him?

SetMeFree

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Purchase Links:

Amazon / iBooks

Author Interview:

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you begin writing? What inspires you to write?

I started writing and illustrating “books” in first grade or so, usually about girls who were given magical ponies for their birthdays. So, as you can see, I write in part as wish fulfillment (sadly I never did get that magical pony). But mostly, writing is just how I process. Sometimes it seems like I can’t write fast enough to keep up with all of the processing I need to do.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Well, of course, I’m hopeful that lots of people can enjoy Set Me Free. If you like either romance or mystery, you will probably find something to like here. But Set Me Free is also a story for abuse survivors written by an abuse survivor. I wanted to write a engaging, hopeful, and fun story for us, about how strong we are, and about how we, too, can find our happily-ever-afters.  <3

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

I’m actually super thrilled you asked me this, because the title of Set Me Free is a majorly nerdy Shakespeare reference and I’ve been dying to spill the beans about it for ages. So: this book is loosely inspired by The Tempest. And, at the very end of that play, the sorcerer Prospero breaks the third wall, turns to the audience, and asks that they set him free from the island he was stranded on through applause. (“But release me from my bands With the help of your good hands . . .  As you from crimes would pardoned be, Let your indulgence set me free.”)

Which is not to say I’m begging for your approval. 😉 The concept behind Set Me Free is that we can free each other from our burdens through trust and openness; writing the book was freeing for me, and I hope it can be freeing for some of my readers, too.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

 The very sweet and wonderful Ida at Amygdala Designs created my cover. Since I first came up with the idea for Set Me Free, I wanted a cover with my heroine wearing a white dress and standing by the sea, as a callback to classic Gothics. I was really happy with Ida’s design, which kept that Gothic flavor but with a contemporary spin.

 Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Gosh, you know, it feels a bit gauche to admit this, but I actually really like my heroine, Miranda. I think she’s brave as hell. If it helps, I’m not much like her. 😉

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

I’m not sure I have one. I tend to empathize to some degree with even my most evil and horrible characters. Which can be a little worrying.

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

I always try to remind myself of that quote (alternately attributed to Da Vinci or Picasso) that art is never finished, only abandoned.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

Set Me Free is a standalone, but I have some tie-in short stories on my Wattpad profile (@elsetterby), which might eventually be made available elsewhere, too. There are scenes from Owen’s point of view, and I’m currently writing a short story/novellette about two side characters, Andy and Kaye. I’ve also been toying with the idea of writing a wedding scene, a bit like an epilogue. So readers, if that’s something you guys would like, let me know!

What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?

It’s pretty hard to find contemporary Gothics, which makes me sad. Certainly the book draws on the classics quite a lot, like Rebecca and Jane Eyre. A few people have told me that Set Me Free reminds them of Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven, but I’ve never read it, so I don’t know.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

You can reach me at my website anytime! londonsetterby.com You can sign up for my newsletter there. I’m also on tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, and Wattpad, and would love to chat with you.

What can we expect from you in the future?

This fall, I’m hoping to release the first book in my gritty erotic romance series (writing as L. Setterby). It’s called Breathe and is currently available on the brand-new Radish app (radishfiction.com), where it’s a trending story and one of the top Radish reads.

Meanwhile, I’m writing a new romance called Heart of Stone, which I hope to start putting on Wattpad soon. It’s a romcom about a statue that comes to life and becomes his sculptor’s couch guy.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Leaving a review would be a huge help, on whichever site you like! Telling a friend is always good, too. Word of mouth is the best advertising there is!

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Well, I’m an indie author, and it’s a bit different for us. I would just say: writer, know thyself. I spent a long time agonizing over pursuing traditional publishing, but it’s just not for me. I just don’t enjoy playing someone else’s game. I want to play my own. 🙂

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thanks so much for hosting!

And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

 It wasn’t like we’d discussed it. Maybe he’d expected a chaste kiss and goodbye promptly after dinner. Instead, I’d unzipped my dress on his kitchen counter. We’d only just met; we’d only gone on a few dates, if you could call them dates. And yet it had all felt so right. What he’d said to me afterwards had been so sweet… I’d thought he might be falling for me. Even though I knew better.

I slid out of bed and almost stepped on my dress, which was folded neatly on the floor, on top of my shoes. My handbag sat beside the little bundle. He must have gotten my things together before he left for work, so I wouldn’t have to go hunting around his house. He was being nice. He was definitely not trying to get rid of me.

Really.

I pulled on my clothes and tiptoed across his plushy beige carpet. On the landing, I hesitated, staring at the door to the opposite room. The brass doorknob gleamed against the dark wood. Before I realized what I was doing, I’d turned the doorknob as hard as I could.

The door popped open, and I stumbled inside with a gasp. There was no way I could’ve broken it, and he was too careful to ever leave this room unlocked. I jiggled the knob, but it wouldn’t turn. It was locked…still? Again?

I shouldn’t go in. Even though he’d shown me what he kept in here, going into this room without him violated his trust. It was wrong. Beneath me.

Still, I stared into the empty room, biting my lip. The heavy curtain hid all signs of morning light. It was so cold in here I half-expected to see my breath, as if I’d opened a door to the night sky.

 

London

Author Bio:

Hello! I’m London, a writer, lawyer, and life-long New Englander. I write all flavors of romance, from surreal fantasy romances to raw gritty contemporaries. I also write across the gender and sexuality spectrums. Everything I write is a little bit funny, a little bit sad, and probably kind of strange.

You might know me from Wattpad–my Wattpad Featured Read, Set Me Free, a Gothic romance, will be released as an ebook and in print in summer 2016.

My gritty erotic romance, Breathe, is currently being serialized on Radish, a free app. It will be released in ebook/print as well sometime after Set Me Free.

Author Links:

Website / Goodreads / Twitter

Blog Tour Organized by:

Xpresso Book Tours

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Giveaway:
Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
2x signed copies of Set Me Free

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Black Water Tales: Author Interview and Excerpt

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Purchase Link:
Amazon

Book Summary:

In the remote, eastern European town of Borslav there is St. Sebastian orphanage, a place where people discard their unwanted children. For the American, Blaire Baker, it’s the perfect place to volunteer her services. Paired with a cheerful volunteer nurse, Blaire is enthusiastic about the possibilities, but is quickly discouraged when she encounters the nefarious nature of the staff and the deplorable conditions of the facility and the children. Upon arrival, one of the children informs Blaire, “There’s something in the basement.” It isn’t long before strange things begin happening, including Blaire’s flashbacks of the accident that killed her parents. The children soon suffer injuries that Blaire, first, fears may be the deeds of the callous workers but she soon thinks the abuse may originate from a source that is less than human, something unwanted. The unwanted is coming but in order for Blaire to fight it, she must dig into St. Sebastian and herself in search of truth. Blaire wants nothing more than to help the children, but when she discovers the tragedy that happened in the basement and learns that the same evil forces are still at work, it will be Blaire who needs help…There’s something in the basement.

Interview

 

  1. Tell us a little about yourself. How did you begin writing? What inspires you to write?

I have always loved to write, even as a child and I always aspired to become a writer, but the fact is, that like many of us, in my younger years, I lacked the true passion and discipline that was necessary to make that dream a reality.

I find inspiration in the curious and ever changing life that is unfolding around me constantly. I watch and I listen to people, their body language, and their tone of voice. Sometimes the most subtle actions are motivated by the deepest emotions and I never allow those small things to go unnoticed.

 

  1. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Though I welcome all to read my books, my intended audience is female horror/thriller/paranormal lovers from ages 16-30. These readers should get my books because they aren’t going to find many like them. I wrote the kind of books that I loved and that I wanted to read, but often had trouble finding.

 

  1. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

Trial and error. I knew that I wanted the series to be named after the fictional town that connects all of the stories, but it took me months of mulling over different names and running them by friends and family members who often responded with sour faces. Finally, I came up with the name, Black Water.

 

  1. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

I was just discussing cover art with someone the other day and its undeniable importance. For Black Water Tales: The Unwanted, my second novel, I chose a single image of a headless baby doll, Dolly, who belongs to one of the characters. Not only does the doll appear in the book several times, but her image makes the reader curious about the obscure world of the unwanted children of St. Sebastian orphanage.

 

  1. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

The main character, Blaire. I love her because her heart is pure despite the fact that it has been marred by darkness in the past. She wants nothing more than to help the children of St. Sebastian orphanage, but soon realizes that her good heart may get her killed.

 

  1. How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

Tough question. Despite the fact that some of my characters are cold, uncaring and even murderous, there aren’t any that dislike. It’s hard to dislike a character that you created. It is also difficult to dislike them because I know that despite some of their less than savory characteristics, they are human and their unique personalities evolve from some struggle in their history. If I must choose, I will say, Marko, the Director of St. Sebastian orphanage. In Marko’s business, he has developed quite a thick skin and has become slightly insensitive to the needs of the children in his ward and must be viscerally brought back into the fold in order to understand the depth of what is taking place inside of his facility.

 

  1. If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

I can’t think of one thing that I would change about my novel. It isn’t perfect, but nothing is.

 

  1. Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

The town of Black Water is based on my very real, tiny hometown of Centralia, IL, where every holiday from Christmas to May Fete is celebrated grandly, but you must always keep a watchful eye on your neighbor.

 

  1. What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?

The type of writing that I do is very similar to Dean Koontz and Stephen King. They are alike in the type of horror that they offer. I am not a big fan of jump scares and in my stories, I prefer to give to give the kind of scares that chill one to the core and makes you question, not what’s in the closet but what’s in the mirror.

 

  1. How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Connect with me in any of the following ways.

Jeannicolerivers.com

https://www.facebook.com/JNicoleRivers/

@jeannicole19 (Instagram and Twitter)

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832487.Jean_Nicole_Rivers

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOU4nXpJy5vMTkWOhjuS5yQ

 

  1. What can we expect from you in the future?

You can expect many more short and flash fiction stories that can be found on my website and I am currently editing my third novel, The Sandman (working title).

 

  1. What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Reviews! Authors love reviews because it gives other readers the confidence to make the purchase. Also, just sharing your enjoyment of the book with friends and family through word of mouth and social media is an excellent way to join the movement.

 

  1. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

My only advice is to keep writing, everything else will come with time.

 

  1. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Read, learn, love!

 

And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

The last student filtered out of the classroom as Blaire sat to make notes. A spirited game of Ring Around the Rosie began outside, not too far from Blaire’s open window, the euphoric play filled her with a joy reminiscent to that of being a young child again. She scribbled a few more lines on her notepad before she got up and crossed to the back window where the children were outside frolicking in merriment. Up and down each side of the building she searched for children that were not there.

Blaire listened closely, and she could still hear the game, but it was not outside as she originally thought, it was inside, right here inside of her classroom. Blaire swung her pencil between her fingers nervously as she scanned the room allowing her ears to lead the way. They homed in on the vent in the floor along the wall. The soft singing of the children grew faint, but it was coming from inside of the vent, as she was sure of that. Blaire got down on her knees and peered into the blackness.

“Hello,” Blaire called into the vent. She jumped at the giddy laughter that responded, and suddenly there was a scattering sound, as if a group of people were discovered in a secret hiding place, who then ran for cover. A sound rose up through the opening and into her ears. It was the desperate, undecipherable whispers of hundreds of little voices all moving about, intertwining in and out of one another like snakes in mating. She put her ear closer, trying to make out the words.

There’s suffering in the pavement?

What were they saying? Blaire thought to herself.

Growing louder in each new moment, they all but peaked into a schizophrenic static that felt like it was inside of Blaire, choking up her ability to reason. She felt something moving closer to her and heard whispers that were not just senseless jabbering, but were providing, something tangible, a ladder for something terrible that was crawling toward her, up from the bowels of the building, through the dark vent on the backs of the wicked whispers. The evil was moving quickly up out of the darkness like electricity through a wire, and Blaire couldn’t tear herself away.

There’s suffering in the pavement. The jumbled whispers were closer now. There’s suffering in the pavement. Closer. There’s suffering in the pavement. Here it comes. THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE BASEMENT! It screamed and the words were clear now. JUMP! It belched.

Book Trailer:

About the Author:

Jeannicolerivers

Jean Nicole Rivers is a great lover of reading and writing. Though she loves varied genres, horror/thriller is her favorite. Jean Nicole has been writing poetry and short stories since she was a child, but has always aspired to master the art of storytelling through novels. The Unwanted is the second story in her series of Black Water Tales, following The Secret Keepers.

Jean Nicole was awarded 3rd place in the National Black Book Festival’s 2013 Best New Author competition and she enjoys the honor of having written featured articles for popular reader websites and blogs, such as Digital Book Today and The Masquerade Crew.

Jean Nicole Rivers graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and lives in Houston, Texas.

Become friends with her at www.facebook.com/jnicolerivers. Follow her on Twitter @Jeannicole19. Check out her Instagram @Jeannicole19 or visit her at www.jeannicolrivers.com.

 

Triumph of Chaos Blog Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

TOCTour

Link to Tour Schedule:

Triumph of Chaos (Red Magic #3)
by Jen McConnel
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books

After the disaster in Europe, Darlena’s starting to get desperate. She knows the only way to
defeat Hecate and the other crazy Red Gods is by banding together with other Witches, but is it any wonder she has a hard time trusting them?

With Izzy’s support, Darlena begins making fragile strides toward repairing the mess she made,
but she just can’t catch a break. As chaos runs rampant around her, Darlena begins to think that things would be better if she’d never become a Red Witch in the first place. But there’s no way to change the past…is there?

The final book in the Red Magic series brings Darlena face to face with impossible odds, and a
terrifying choice.

TOC Cover

Author Interview:

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you begin writing? What inspires you to write?
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, but what really prompted me to get serious about my writing was my teaching career. I started out teaching in middle school, and I feel in love with YA literature. I’m an avid reader, and I love stories in all forms, whether I’m telling them or hearing (or reading!) them.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
The Red Magic series is a YA Fantasy series, so my primary audience will hopefully be teens, but I’m a huge advocate of reading whatever you want to read, and I know there are a lot of adults like me who love YA lit as well. I hope whoever picks up my books will enjoy being thrown into the fast-paced, high-stakes world that Darlena inhabits.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
I went through a number of titles before landing on Daughter of Chaos, Gods of Chaos, and Triumph of Chaos. I got a lot of feedback from various writers and agents early on in the process, and my friend who’s a middle school librarian really helped me brainstorm to get Daughter of Chaos. I always knew I wanted to call the series Red Magic, though, since that’s such a vital part of the story.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
My publisher commissioned the covers for the series, and I love the way each one captures the changes in Darlena, my main character: she begins the series terrified and unsteady, hits a low point of depression and frustration in the second book, and by the final book, she’s really begun to embrace her power…even if that means she’s lethal.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
I love Darlena, the impulsive, 16 year old Witchy protagonist. I love her energy and her loyalty, and her stubbornness and snark were a lot of fun to write.

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
That’s a tough question! I guess I’ll have to say Samuel, Marcus and Izzy’s uncle; I like him least because I developed him the least, so I never really got to know him.

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?
Another tough question! I try not to think about changes I would make once a book is published, so I really don’t know! Letting the stories go is an important part of being an author.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
When I started writing Daughter of Chaos, I got more than halfway through the first draft before I realized that Darlena needed a best friend (if you’ve read DoC, you know just how important Rochelle became!).

What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
There are a lot of awesome witchy YA titles out there, but I especially love the Sweep series by Cate Tiernan. We both draw from contemporary Pagan roots in our stories, but her series is much closer to our reality in many ways, whereas the Red Magic series presents a reality that is totally unlike our own.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
I’m all over the Internet; if you visit my website at www.jenmcconnel.com, you can sign up for my newsletter and find out where to follow me on social media.

What can we expect from you in the future?
I’ve got lots of story ideas simmering, but I think next up will be a NA Paranormal Romance series.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
That’s an awesome question! Reader recommendations are super important, whether that means leaving a review at your favorite online retailer or suggesting the book to your friends and family. Readers make the book world go round, and I am so appreciative of everyone who’s fallen in love with Darlena’s messed up life.

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
Keep writing and reading, and never let anyone tell you to give up on your dreams.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Thanks so much for hosting me on this tour! <3

And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
Since this is the last book in the series, I don’t want to give too much away, but here’s a sneak peek:
I used to scoff at people who preached about the end of the world, but ever since Marcus, I hadn’t been able to laugh off the sandwich-board crazies popping up everywhere. Maybe it would have been funny if I didn’t know the truth.
The world was ending. Or at least it would be if I couldn’t stop it.

 

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Link to Red Magic Series

Purchase Links:

Daughter of Chaos (Red Magic #1):

Google Play / BAM / Chapters / Indies / Amazon / B&N / Kobo / TBD / iBooks

Gods of Chaos (Red Magic #2):

Google Play / BAM / Chapters / Indies / Amazon / B&N / Kobo / TBD / iBooks

Triumph of Chaos (Red Magic #3):

Google Play / BAM / Chapters / Indies / Amazon / B&N / Kobo / TBD / iBooks

About the Author:

A Michigander by birth, Jen McConnel now makes her home in the beautiful state of North Carolina. She writes NA, including the recently released Adventures Abroad series (Bloomsbury Spark), the award winning YA novel Beautiful Curse (Swoon Romance), and various other works. When she isn’t writing, she can be found on her yoga mat or wandering off on another adventure. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time. Visit www.JenMcConnel.com to learn more!

Jen McConnel

Author Links:

Website / Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Tumblr / Goodreads

Blog Tour Organized by:

Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours:

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Giveaway Information: Contest ends March 25, 2016

• Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Triumph of Chaos (Red Magic #3) by Jen McConnel (INT)

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The Sabbath: Author Interview with Arthur Nsenga and Shaunakay Francis

TheSabbath

The Sabbath
by Arthur Nsenga and Shaunakay Francis
Publisher: Say La V Publishing (January 19, 2016)
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Book Summary:

Would you rather suffer for eternity, or die peacefully?

What if you had no choice?

The morning after witnessing a spectacular meteorite shower, Cory and his girlfriend Lana didn’t expect to wake up immortal.

News bulletins claim the meteorites have released a chemical compound called ATHENS which has caused mutations in the human race. The twisted outcome has left people unable to die but with an increased sensitivity to pain.

Now with the majority of food supplies contaminated, and the rich controlling what little is left, the desperate young couple are force to go on merciless food raids just to stave off the pain.

During which they accidentally discover a secret government device and find themselves caught up in a diabolical plot to control the future of humanity.

Realizing that there is more to ATHENS than what they were led to believe; Cory and Lana set out on a crusade to uncover the truth. Their journey will lead them into the darkest depths of humanity. If they can follow the trail, they may be able to find some answers.

But will the cost of knowing the truth be too much?

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Purchase Links:
Amazon

Author Interview:

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you begin writing? What inspires you to write?

Wass up! My name is Arthur Nsenga, the other writer of the Sabbath. I’m in the 25th chapter of my life and a recent college graduate. When I got school out the way, I decided to start writing. I called up Shaunakay and the rest was history. What really inspires me to write are the movies I create in my mind while I’m daydreaming, so I figured I write them down.

Hi all! My name is Shaunakay Francis and I’m the co-author of the Sabbath, I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. Also, I love reality TV and food of course. I first fell in love with writing in grade 11. My English teacher began a poetry club and encouraged me to attend. When I did, the freeness and non-judgmental atmosphere allowed me to be myself and discover writing as an art and a hobby. I am inspired to write….

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

The intended audience for The Sabbath is young adult. I believe they should read our book because it’s thrilling. It’s not the same old tale of the world’s destruction resulting in everyone dying. There are so many other aspects to the store for example, love, family, religion, friendship, politics…
 

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

The Sabbath of course is Biblical and it fit perfectly with the theme of the book. Also, we was greatly inspired by the book of Revelations.
 

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

The cover art was done by a very talented artist by the name of Murray Stennton. It depicts very nicely the chaos and overwhelming life of the characters and the general idea of the story.
 

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

(Arthur) Cory by far is my favorite character. He’s a bit rough around the edges, but he means well. Yes, he can be a jerk at times, but he has been through a lot. I guess I like Cory because he reminds me of myself. Not saying I’m a jerk, but hey, we all got inner demons we have to face.

(Shaunakay) Lana is my favorite character, she has a little bit of myself in her. Considering this is my first book, when I began developing the characters, I started with what I knew—and that was my friendship with Arthur Nsenga. Creating character with an amazing connection as ours was the first thing that came to mind. I also like Lana because she’s strong and tenacious. She’s a fighter, she wants to be on the front lines protecting all she cares about.


How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

(Arthur) That’s a good question. I would have to say Lana, just because as I was writing her thoughts and actions, I remember thinking, Man, she is so annoying.

(Shaunakay) I wouldn’t say I have a least favorite character but Cory’s character is a bit of a prick.


If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

Not a thing, but we’re still emotionally attached to it. Let’s revisit that question in a few months from now.


What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?

We don’t believe there is a book out there that is similar. This book is unique and original, and those who read it seems to think the same.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

(Arthur) I’m available on twitter @artdagreat or just shoot me an email @ saylavpub@gmail.com

(Shaunakay) Social media is the best form of contact for me. Instagram (@shayykayyy) and Twitter (@shayykayyyy) are my most used.

What can we expect from you in the future?

(Arthur) Currently working on a second novel entitled Zaire.

(Shaunakay) More writing, my first love is poetry and I intend to attend to that more.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

They can read it.  If they enjoy it, they can tell others about it.

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Don’t get discouraged. There is always someone willing to help and there is always another solution to any problems that arise. Don’t rush the process, take the time to enjoy the journey.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you for the interview and as a token of our appreciation, we will be gifting free ebooks!

And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

“I’m calling in sick tomorrow,” Lana whispered as she shivered into Cory’s car and fumbled with the heating. “There’s no way I will make it to work in the morning. I’m drunk, and it’s already four a.m.”

Cory started the car and lowered the music. “Yeah, you should have just given your shift away,” he teased.

Lana gave him a look, too tired and full of Denny’s late-night pancakes to respond. If not for him, she would have been spending this cool Saturday morning in June snuggled up in her bed; instead, she had her arms folded, staring at the side-view mirror, wondering how she’d let Cory persuade her to go to a house party on a work night.

Truth is, it took little convincing; Lana had been nursing a small crush on Cory for quite a while now. The only problem was she valued their friendship more than the prospect of romance, so she never acted on her feelings. Plus, Cory hid his emotions so well Lana did not know if her feelings would be returned. Rather than pondering their relationship for the hundredth time, she turned up the radio, losing herself in the music as Cory sped down the calm and quiet main street.

“I’m sleeping over; I’m way too tired to drive home,” Cory announced as he pulled into Lana’s apartment driveway.

“Yeah, sure,” she replied, half-asleep, although she wanted her bed to herself. She yearned to crawl half-naked into crisp clean sheets and sleep until three in the afternoon.

Lana got out of the car, dropping her purse as she did so.

“Ugghhh,” she muttered, stumbling like a dipsomaniac to pick it up, her little black dress and six-inch heels added to the difficulty.

She stood up and sighed, then glanced up at the sky, wondering if the sun was rising already. It was a little too bright outside, considering it was before dawn. She froze, unable to speak or even move.

The sky was on fire.

Amazed and confused, Lana stood there, trying to remember if any meteorite showers were scheduled to happen today, when her thoughts were interrupted by the flash of a large flaming object sailing through the air, followed by another, and another.

Soon the sky surged with huge fiery rocks crashing through the atmosphere. There were thousands of them. The entire sky was a blazing inferno. Lana sensed danger, but she was in a trance – too terrified and astonished to do anything but stare in wonder at the beauty of the dancing shades of red, orange, and blue.

There was a thunderous bang as fireballs erupted like Fourth of July fireworks, becoming more horrifying than entrancing. Another rock exploded, disintegrating into millions of pieces – some mere dust, while the rest came crashing down like fiery hailstones. A few splinters, no bigger than a handful of broken eggshells, struck Lana on her forehead almost knocking her down, but the alcohol in her system rendered her numb to the pain. She sensed a quick burst of warmth as they bounced off her and onto the ground.

A howling wind picked up, throwing burning hailstones down harder and faster.

BOOM!

Another enormous bang, followed by yet another burst of blazing stones, filled the heavens. Lana panicked as one by one, the fireballs transformed into deadly projectiles, piercing the night sky.

“Lana…Lana…Lana”

Even through the roar of the smoking skies, she could hear Cory and turned to see him running toward her, nostrils flaring and eyes bulging. Lana had never seen fear from Cory, but still, it did nothing to tear her from the theatrical display in the night sky. She looked back up to the bleeding sky, glued to the spectacle.

“We need to – to go – inside!” he stuttered, his voice loud and trembling. “These rocks will kill us!”

Unable to find her voice, Lana let Cory drag her by the arm into her apartment, not sure whether what she had just witnessed had been real or not.

GIVEAWAY:

Author Interview with Ela Lourenco

BragonBorn_ElaLourenco_badge

Book Summary:

Far in the distant reaches of the universe is a world called Azmantium. A planet with lilac skies, jade green seas and fiery red suns. A planet where everything, from the tides of the sea to life itself, is rooted in magic. Children are assessed at an early age and trained according to their unique magical talents.

Lara, an orphan who has no memory of her true origins, is unaware that she has a vital role to play in the ancient prophesies that are about to begin coming true. Older than most who are just beginning their magical training, Lara will soon find out that destiny waits for no one, especially when the fate of the world rests on their shoulders.

With the help of her new friends, Lara will learn that in order to save the future, she must journey into the past – to a time when Dragons ruled the world!

ElaLourenco_DragonBorn_FrontCover_For_PROMO

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Purchase Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Smashwords

 


Author Interview With Ela Lourenco

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you begin writing? What inspires you to write?

I am a true nomad having lived all around the world before finally settling down in Scotland. I believe that the love for reading my mother instilled in me combined with all the new and wonderful things I saw around the world inspired me to write. Everything I see, hear, touch, feel or smell inspires me daily.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

My audience is anyone with a thirst for adventure and fantasy, anyone with a yearning to lose themselves in the world of magical beings. I believe Dragon Born is a book that speaks to readers of all ages (my reviews back this up!), there is something for everyone.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

Actually the title just came to me – the story came after! It was a true lightbulb moment.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

The designer of Dragon Born‘s cover is the wonderful, amazing, brilliant Nina D’Arcangela. All I did was give her a vague notion of what I was after (emphasis on the vague!) and she brilliantly managed to capture exactly what I had hoped for. Why a blue dragon’s egg? I thought it tied in nicely with the title and the beginning of the book (and series) without giving too much away! I’m sneaky like that!

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Oh, now you are going to get me in trouble!! The four main characters are named after my daughters and nieces!! So in order to be fair I will say that aside from the protagonists my favourite character would have to be the eccentric over the top Deedee!

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

Jayla – everyone knows or has known a Jayla. Bullies make my skin crawl.

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

I would turn back time and write it again from scratch because I enjoyed the process so much. I felt a true anticlimax when I finished writing the fifth and last book in the series.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

Well, the main characters Lara and Asena are not only named after my own daughters and Sofia and Leyla are my beloved nieces, but their personalities are a true representation of how they really are in life!

What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?

There are a variety of books in existence which deal with the popular themes of friendship, identity and magic – but I do not believe that this makes them ‘similar’ in any way. Dragon Born is a fantasy adventure with a sci-fi element but no two books will ever be written in the same style or deliver the same exact ‘flavour’.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

I can be contacted directly at elalourenco@hotmail.com and you can look me up on Goodreads too.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Well, I am not allowed to tell you any titles, but the second book in the Dragon Born series has been written as has the first book in a new YA series I am working on… you will just have to wait and see!

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

They can post reviews and tell their friends about it!! I love getting feedback from my readers, it really makes my day.

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Write what you enjoy – I really believe it reflects in the read.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I would like to thank all the lovely ladies at Sirens Call Publications  – they are wonderful, warm and supportive and have truly made the publishing experience a very positive one for me!

And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

Chapter 1

The sky was dark, not a star in sight as the woman glided through the deserted streets. Her feet barely touched the ground as she silently made her way to the back door of the small stone house at the end of the street. She paused and looked at the house. She had been searching for the right place for many years. This small but welcoming house, with its red stone walls and silvery slate roof, spoke to something inside of her. This was where she would leave her precious cargo.

She rang the doorbell and waited. A petite woman she knew to be called Yelena answered the door with a warm smile, her green eyes twinkling in the soft light of the porch.

“Good evening. Can I help you?” Yelena asked.

The woman slid her hood back slightly so Yelena could see her face.

“Gods above!” Yelena gasped as she looked at the beautiful blonde woman radiating light from her very pores. A tattoo in the shape of a flame was etched on her right cheek leaving no doubts as to her identity. “Please come in!”

The woman followed her into the living room and sat gingerly on the end of one of the large comfortable armchairs as she looked around with interest. Yelena sat opposite her, still speechless, and waited for her guest to talk.

“I can see that you recognise me,” the woman began. “That is good… too many have forgotten the old ways… I am here on a matter of the utmost importance. I need your help. What I will ask of you will be a great burden to you and will bring grave danger to you and those around you…” she trailed off and looked at Yelena as though assessing her.

Yelena nodded. “It is an honour my lady… I did not think I would ever meet you… no one even knows you truly exist.”

The woman nodded. “And that is how it must remain. There are those who have sought to exterminate us from the face of this world. If they were to find out the truth no one would be safe.”

Yelena bowed her head respectfully. “What is it that I can do my lady?”

The woman took a large blue egg from under her heavy cloak.

“Is that what I think it is?” Yelena gasped.

The woman nodded. “It is the very last of its kind Yelena. I have kept it safe and hidden in magical stasis for many a year, but now it is time. It is time for the dawning of a new era.” She put the egg in Yelena’s hands, it was warm to the touch. “You must take care of it for all our sakes… and no matter what happens, no one must ever know the truth until the time is right.”

Yelena hugged the egg against her chest. “I will not fail you my lady. Will I see you again?”

The woman nodded. “Our paths will cross again… until then, keep safe.”

Yelena watched the woman pull her hood back on as she left the house and gracefully glided away into the darkness. She cradled the egg in her arms as she warded the door with her earth magicks—she would have to be very careful if she was to succeed in her mission.

About the Author:

BioPictureElaLourenco

Ela Lourenco lives in Scotland with her two daughters and husband. She has been an avid reader since childhood and has long enjoyed mysteries, mythology and anything related to the paranormal/supernatural/mystical/science fiction. She loves nothing more than making up stories about faraway people and places (helped somewhat by a mind that just won’t grow up!). When she isn’t nose deep in a book or writing herself she can be found dancing around the kitchen whilst baking. Her biggest wish in life is to infect others with a passion for reading.

Author Links:
Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Author Interview with Marie Landry

Author Interview with Marie Landry

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Author Links
Blog |Facebook | Twitter
Instagram | GoodReads | Newsletter

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you begin writing? What inspires you to write?
I live in Ontario, Canada, and I’ve been writing professionally for about five years now. I’m also a graphic designer, an avid reader, and a blogger. I started writing when I was really young; I’ve always had a vivid imagination and knew from an early age I wanted to be a writer. I find inspiration in everything – real life, TV shows and movies, songs, conversations I shamelessly eavesdrop on… 😉

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
My intended audience for Something in the Air is anyone who enjoys coming-of-age stories about friendship, love, family, and following your dreams. I think many people will be able to relate to my main character, Rose, who feels stuck in her life and is trying hard to make changes and figure out what she wants in life. Most people have likely felt stuck or lost or unsure at some point in their life, and I think it’s nice to see that reflected on the page and know you’re not alone.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
When I started writing the book, a character in the first chapter tells Rose there’s ‘something in the air’, and it alternately freaks her out and excites her, because she’s so desperate for change. I thought it was fitting as the title.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I actually design all my own covers. I’ve been interested in graphic design for the last 12 years or so, and when I decided to start self-publishing it seemed natural to design my own covers. ForSomething in the Air, I chose the picture because I think it captures the way Rose feels about Declan – safe, secure, happy. It gives me this warm, happy feeling whenever I look at it.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
That’s hard! I love Rose and Declan (Declan was extra fun to write because he’s Irish and I love Irish boys), but I’m going to say Rose’s best friend, Dante, is my favourite. He’s funny and kind and caring, and I never knew what he was going to say or do next. He’s the type of guy who’s fiercely loyal and would do anything for the people he loves. He’s also very charming and a bit cocky, which was fun to write.

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
My least favourite would be Rose’s mother, Gail. She’s not a bad person so much as misguided and selfish. She can be pretty awful to Rose, but I have to admit she was fun to write. She’s the complete opposite of my own mother, who is beyond amazing, so it was a challenge, but in a good way.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
In the book, Rose desperately wants to travel. She considers taking a job in the UK, but part of me wondered if that was realistic. I know people do it all the time – in fact, a friend of mine (who’s also my editor) moved to London a year ago on a 2-year work visa  for the experience of living abroad and just basically a major life change – but I didn’t know if it was something Rose would do. This past summer I visited London, fell completely in love with the city, and knew if I’d had the opportunities Rose did, I’d jump at the chance. It helped me move the story along and finally finish it.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
I’m available pretty much everywhere online! I have a Facebook page, I’m on Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads, and I have a blog where I talk mostly about books, writing, travel, and share lots of pictures. You can find information about all my books (7 in total right now) on GoodReads and my blog.

What can we expect from you in the future?
You can expect a lot from me! I have more ideas than I know what to do with, and honestly, I hope that’s always the case. Next up is a contemporary young adult book I’m really excited about.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
This is such a great question. A lot of readers have no idea just how much power and sway they hold. If someone enjoys my book – or any book – the best thing you can do to help make it successful is talk about it. Tell your friends; write a review on GoodReads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.; tweet about it or talk about it on Facebook or other social media; buy a copy of the book if you read an ARC, or if you bought the book, consider buying a copy for a friend. There are so many things readers can do, and I promise you, authors are grateful for all of it.

And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

“If you need help apartment hunting, I’m available. Or I have a spare room I’ve been thinking of renting.” I wasn’t sure if he was serious or not, but then he winked at me. “Too soon?” He laughed and I joined in. “Well, it’s true, I do have an empty bedroom, so if you get desperate…”

“I’ll keep you in mind,” I said. His brow quirked up and I blurted, “It! I’ll keep it in mind. The room. Oh god.” Heat flooded my cheeks.

He started laughing again, a quiet rumble that grew louder before tapering off. “Please do keep me and my spare room in mind.” He reached across the table and took my hand. “I want to see you again.”

Normally when I was embarrassed I got shy. This time it seemed to have the complete opposite effect. “Good. I want to see you again, too.”

SomethingInTheAir

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SOMETHING IN THE AIR BUY LINKS
Amazon US | Amazon CAN | Amazon UK
Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Smashwords

Book Summary (Goodreads):

Her life hasn’t gone as planned, but she’s about to realize that sometimes the best things happen when you stop expecting life to be a certain way…

When Rose Morgan put off her college plans to help her mother through a difficult time, she thought it would just be a bump in the road of her journey. She got a job to help pay the bills and started picking up the slack at home. But three years later, her bumpy ride hasn’t smoothed out yet, and Rose feels stuck. She’s working at a job she hates and living with a manipulative mother. She’s tired of feeling like her life has stalled, tired of the resentment and anger building inside her with each passing day.

Then Declan Connelly appears in her life, and even though the hot Irishman is seriously tempting, Rose is determined not to let him in. She’s afraid to suck anyone into her bizarre life, especially someone who seems too charming for his own good. She soon learns there’s more to Declan than his sexy accent and charismatic personality, though. He’s a good man, and he wants Rose in his life, baggage and all. He’s got his own, and he isn’t scared away like she originally feared he would be.

Everything in Rose’s life is changing quickly. It’s finally her time–time to figure out what she wants and what her future holds. Time to get swept off her feet and not fight it. But when her plans might take her away from all the amazing new things in her life, including Declan, Rose has to make a choice. Is she willing to chase her dreams, even if it means letting go of love?

Something-in-the-Air-Marie-Landry-Speechless

About the Author:

Marie has the best job in the world—one where she gets to make stuff up for a living and shamelessly eavesdrop on everyone around her. She writes happily ever afters while dreaming about the day she’ll have her own epic love story to tell. Most days you can find her writing, reading, fantasizing about traveling the world, listening to U2, watching copious amounts of TV on DVD, or having grand adventures with her nephews and niece.

For more on Marie and her books please visit http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca. She also loves to chat with fellow book lovers, so feel free to tweet her @SweetMarie83 any time!

Hannah L. Clark: Interview and Giveaway

Lemorian Crest Tour Banner

Welcome to our stop on the book blog tour of The Cobbogoth Series by Hannah L. Clark. Be sure to check out the interview and giveaway as well!

About Uncovering Cobbogoth:

Norah Lukens needs to uncover the truth about the fabled lost city of Cobbogoth. After her archaeologist uncle’s murder, Norah is asked to translate his old research journal for evidence and discovers that his murder was a cover-up for something far more sinister.

When she turns to neighbor and only friend James Riley for help, she realizes that not only is their bitter-sweet past haunting her every step, but James is keeping dangerous secrets. Can Norah discover what they are before its too late to share her own.

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Purchase Link:
Amazon

About The Lemorian Crest:

After being raised from infancy in Boston, Mass., Noria (a.k.a Norah Lukens) has no idea what to expect upon entering New Cobbogoth, where she never would have guessed that paths of light can make you vanish; doors can lead to realms both near and far; myths and legends are actual history; a mere kiss can seal two souls as one; and, of course, a stone is never “just a stone.” Her Uncle Jack’s stories never could have prepared her for the magical and dangerous place her native realm is turning out to be.

When the Gihara’s promises begin to crumble, her best friend and soul-mate Jamus (a.k.a. James Riley) is in more danger than ever. Then when his father Lylend abandons her to search for an ancient relic called The Lemorian Crest and she is taken captive by the very people she’s risked everything to save, Noria begins to lose faith in the Cobbogothian gods and the mission they sent her home to accomplish.

Only when a series of new friendships and loyalties are forged in the most peculiar of places, does Noria dare hope again. Hope for Jamus’ safety, for their future together, and for the survival of the entire Cobbogothian race.

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Purchase Link:
Amazon

Author Interview:

Please provide your official author bio/summary.

Hannah L. Clark lives with her husband and two children in the Rocky Mountains. She has always known she would be a storyteller. In 2006 she graduated from Utah Valley University with a bachelor’s degree in English and immediately began writing her first novel.

Uncovering Cobbogoth was Clark’s first book in the seven book Cobbogoth series—a YA fantasy series based on her mythological brain-child, The Legend of the Cobbogothians. It was released in May 2014 through Cedar Fort Publishing. Book 2 in the series, The Lemorian Crest will be released in Summer 2015.

Clark loves running, mythology, singing while playing the guitar, herbal tea, escaping into imaginary worlds, and being with her peeps. Like her heroine Norah, she also kind of believes that trees might have souls, but must clarify that she has never hugged a tree. The closest she has ever come to that kind of bizarre behavior was the time she hugged the pillars outside Harry Potter Land. Which, all things considered, is not bizarre at all if one takes into account how exquisitely happy she was to finally be there.

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you begin writing? What inspires you to write?

I started writing when I was around ten, but I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember. I was really bad at writing for a long time, because I have dyslexia. School was rough, and despite my desire to be a writer, I wondered until I was a senior in high school if I had what it took to be one. It was actually my AP English teacher, Jane Beckwith, who gave me the final push I needed to major in English in college. From then on, I still had my doubts, but I was a lot more willing to give it an honest try and see what happened then I had been before.

Almost everything inspires me to write. I think there are two kinds of people who write. There are the people who like to write and may even make some money at it, and then there are writers, the people who need to write as much as they need to breathe. I’m definitely the latter, so everything I do, see, feel, touch, hear, or smell even, can inspire me to write something down. Writing is kind of how I process the world.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Anyone who likes epic adventure, light fantasy, myths and legends, and a bit of romance would like these books. I’ve had fans from 8 year old boys to 90 year old women, (and no, they weren’t related to me. J) I like to think this series is really for everyone.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

I wish I had a cool story behind the titles of my books, but I don’t. As I created the world, and better understood it’s culture and language, the titles just kind of came on their own. Cobbogoth, however is from the title of a story I wrote for my high school 11th grade English class. It was called “Finishing Galcobbogoth.” For some reason, that title always stuck with me, and I like to think it was the first inklings of the actual Cobbogoth series. My husband was the one who suggested I drop the “Gal” from “Galcobbogoth,” and that’s where “Cobbogoth” came from. He’d be sad if I didn’t tell you that story. 🙂

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

The cover art for Uncovering Cobbogoth was inspired by the self-published cover my lovely and talented sister Bekah Shakespear designed. Kristen Reeves, the designer with my publisher, Cedar Fort, took her initial design and embelished it.

The cover for The Lemorian Crest was done by the stunningly talented Jenny Zemanek of Seedlings Design Studio. She was really great about sticking with the original design idea of book 1, but really brightened things up. I love what she did, and not only is she incredbily talented, she was so easy to work with.  

The reason I went with the symbol images on the front of each cover, is because symbols and myths and archeology are such a big part of the books. I wanted to give that same ancient, yet fantastical feel in the cover art.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

In book 1, it’s Uncle Jack. I loved writing him, because he’s like that excentric, successful aunt or uncle each of us has or wishes we had. But I also liked revealing him one piece at a time in that book, because he ends up being pretty different from what Norah thought he was in the beginning.

In book 2, my favorite character is a toss up between Lev and Brawlo. I love them both, because I wrote them both with my son in mind. They’re his and my husbands favorite characters too.

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

In book 1, it was Narson. He was just super hard to get right, and I’m still not sure I nailed him down the way I wanted to.

In book 2, it’s Pieter, because he’s just so mean. I have a very hard time with people who belittle and abuse anyone in real life, particularly their children. It was even harder to try to pretend to be that kind of person as I wrote his character. 

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

You mean besides wanting it to sell more copies and become a New York Times Bestseller? J Well, I would probably try to figure out how to get more of James’ and Norah’s backstory in book 1 without bogging it down.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

When I was a kid I had a paper route and in the early spring, I would ride my bike up the canyon in our town. On these particular mornings the clouds would hover down around the mountains, making it look all fantastical and mysterious. While I delivered papers, I would keep my mind off of the dogs that would inevitably chase me down at some point during my route, by imagining there was a portal to a secret world in the mountains, and that it could only be accessed when the clouds came down and hovered like that.

When I was coming up with the Cobbogoth series, I thought of those mornings more than once, and that is where the idea of the portal in Mt Hekla that leads to New Cobbogoth came from.

What can we expect from you in the future?

No idea, but I hope it’s something good. 🙂

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Tell everyone you know about it, even if you think the person wouldn’t be interested. They might know someone who would be and pass the word along. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool, and a person is much more likely to give a book a try if they hear about it from someone they know, than if they hear about it through advertising.

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

I don’t really know what I can say to readers, other than, keep reading and give the Cobbogoth Series a chance. To writers trying to get published, I will say, that if this is truly what you want to do with your life, then don’t be afraid of the hardest work you’ve ever done, and never, ever, ever, ever, EVER give up.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Yes, thank you so much for having me on The Page Unbound!

And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

Of course! This excerpt takes place when Norah and the other members of the Resistance have their first clue to help them find the Lemorian Crest. Unfortunately, Norah has some serious trust issues with some of the members of the Resistance. And she is quickly learning to fear Water.

 

The Sina Bracelet

I squeezed my eyes tightly, clutching the stone box in my hand until it bit into my palm. The smell of the salty sea was generally soothing to me, but nothing could calm the storm of fear raging inside me now.

“Are you trying to tell me that the Adolorian ruins are at the bottom of the Glindian Sea?” I managed to choke out.

“Of course. Where did you think they were?” Lylend asked.

“I don’t know—I didn’t—I just . . .” When I opened my eyes, everyone was staring at me.

Zuli was at my elbow. I jumped when she spoke. “The bracelet will keep the water from attacking you while we’re down there,” she soothed. “Just as long as you don’t use your fire.”

But her words didn’t sooth me. It was the perfect set up. Zuli was going to take me to the bottom of the sea and somehow take her revenge on me—for whatever reason she felt she needed to take revenge on me in the first place. And that would be that. Some hungry creature would probably come along and clear up any evidence of the dirty deed. That giant, snapping turtle perhaps.

Lylend was eying me now. There was concern in his stare. “Breathe, kyndie,” he said. “You’ve got to breathe.”

I felt two powerful hands take me by the shoulders and give me a gentle shake.

I looked up. Lev’s peacock green eyes glittered down into my own. “It’s going to be okay, Lune-kyndie,” he said quietly. “You’ve got to trust me on this. Think of Jamus.”

I glanced around quickly; making sure no one was listening. Everyone had moved away, except for Zuli, but she’d turned her back to us at least. “What does James have to do with it?”

Lev’s hands nearly crushed my shoulders when he squeezed them. “The sooner we find the keys, the sooner you’ll be able to go find him,” he reminded me.

I took a few more steadying breaths. He was right. James was at the end of this extremely dark, possibly fatal tunnel, and he needed me. I had to do this; there was no way I could find him without Lylend’s help.

“You’re right,” I said, with more determination than I felt.

I took Zuli’s bracelet out of the box and examined it more closely. It was actually really pretty. The band was thick and made of silver, and there were three different kinds of stones, all in varying shades of blue and green, used to make a beautiful swirling design of waves.

I slid the bracelet on and looked back up at Lev. “What if she tries to kill me out there?” I whispered.

Lev gave me a half smile. “She won’t. Yesterday aside, she really is quite nice. And if you don’t feel like you can trust her yet, trust me. I’m certain she won’t try to kill you down there because if she does, she’ll have to answer to me.”

I hesitated a moment, then nodded. His assurance wasn’t especially comforting, but it was better than nothing. I actually did feel a little better thinking of Lev crushing Zuli with his bare hands if she tried anything on me.

James, I thought. Think about James.

“All right, let’s do this before I lose my nerve,” I grumbled.

Lev grinned and left me, joining Pieter and Lylend. All three of them had already waded out into the water on the narrow sandbank. I kept watching as Lylend produced a ball of blue electricity. After jogging out to join them, Lev followed suit with his own green one. Pieter stood back with his arms crossed.

“What are they doing?” I asked.

Zuli came up beside me.  “They’re catching their ride.” She pointed back out at the water.

I followed her gesture. Lylend and Lev had turned their balls of electricity into giant thick ropes that were lassoed. They were both swinging them over their heads now. With all the hooting and hollering they were doing, they reminded me of a pair of weirdly dressed space cowboys.

Then it happened. I was certain I’d swallowed my tongue when two enormous creatures jumped up out of the water and right into the lassos of both ropes.

“Ar-are those—.”

“Electric eels. They’re naturally attracted to the spark ropes,” Zuli explained.

Lev and Lylend both whooped and hollered again, just like two cowboys at a rodeo, as they jumped on the eels’ backs and wrestled them into submission.

Before long, all I could see of the creatures were two sleek, dark planks slithering along the surface of the water. Pieter mounted last, and then Lev and Lylend, with the electric rope wound snugly around their wrists and forearms, made the eels rear up out of the water, thrashing. Then they dove, leaving a giant ripple in their wake.

“Whoa!” I said, after Zuli and I watched as the ripples turned to waves, crashing into the shore like a herd of galloping horses.

“Yes,” Zuli agreed. “I suppose you’ve never seen something like that in the Olden Realm?”

I shook my head. “Only in the movies.”

“Movies?”

“Uh, yeah—they’re like moving pictures that tell a story.”

“Hm…,” Zuli said, and then led the way toward the water. “So,” I said, anxious to break the silence that followed, “how will they breathe down there?” I was pretty certain I already knew the answer.

“Breathite,” Zuli said, pointing to the lightest blue stone on my new bracelet.

“Let me guess, it’s a stone that helps you breath under water?”

“Right.”

“Nice.”

“We should get going,” Zuli said. “Their distraction won’t happen for a while now, but we need all the time we can get.” She glanced at me. “Are you ready?”

James, I reminded myself. Think of James. “As ready as I’m going to get.”

“All right then, follow me out into the water, and I’ll tell you when to submerge the bracelet.”

I did as she said, and followed her out onto the same sand bank the guys had used. As the water got higher, reaching my waist, I was careful to keep the bracelet up over my head.

“Where’s Iolyt, by the way?” I asked.

“She stayed behind to work on the antidite stone. The sooner she figures it out, the sooner we can start hoptioning again.”

“I see. And all this will go a lot faster with hoptioning?”

“Yes. New Cobbogoth isn’t that big overall—no more than a month’s journey by foot from ocean to ocean—but since he has access to hoption holes, Cifer is able to work much faster than us. If he has any idea about Lylend’s Lemorian Crest, you can bet he’ll find it soon.”

I nodded, feeling the urgency fiercer than ever to get looking for the Lemorian keys.

“All right,” Zuli turned toward me once we were a ways out. “You can put the bracelet in the water now.”

We were up to our chests. I was surprised to see that she’d already transformed.

I hesitated a moment. The bracelet had worked so far. I’d been in the water for a few minutes now, and it wasn’t attacking me, so I slowly lowered my wrist.

I sucked in my breath. The instant my wrist dipped through the surface, a slither of water curled around the bracelet, caressing like a piece of clear silk.  Soon, the stream of water tightened around my wrist—so tight I almost cried out.

“Come a little farther out,” Zuli prompted.

I hesitated but then took another step. The next moment, I lost my footing. My entire head plunged beneath the water. The sandbank we were on was a drop off.

In an instant, my blood was like ice. I could hear it galloping in my ears. My eyes were blurry, and all I could see was a blob of yellow, orange, black, and red. I assumed it was Zuli hovering in front of me. She was close but just out of arms reach.

I scrambled to find the drop off, to push myself back up where I could breathe, but I couldn’t feel it anywhere. I tried to swim for the surface, but when I kicked my legs it was like they were glued together.

Blinking in the water, I turned until I found Zuli’s form again. I tried to motion her over for help. She swam nearer.

And then I felt a sharp, ripping pain on both of my sides, like someone had inserted a knife between my ribs and was trying to pry them apart.

She’s stabbed me! I thought.

Clawing my way toward the surface, I felt my breath running out—felt myself sinking. Man, I was tired of nearly drowning!

My entire body was tingling from lack of oxygen. My legs were still trapped and now a searing heat was bursting from my waist and spine—like I was being quartered with a hot iron sword. Then I realized Zuli was holding me down. She wouldn’t let me reach the surface. She was going to hang on until I went unconscious.

But then my lungs suddenly expanded. My mouth wasn’t open and my nose was plugged, but I was breathing. The air whooshed in and out of me like I was standing on the shore with all the air in the world to breathe.

I stopped struggling. Instinctively, I reached down, touching both of my sides where the sharp pain was quickly dulling. My shyntara was gone, and my skin felt strange—rough and smooth at the same time. That’s when I realized the Sina bracelet was working. Just below my armpits, along the diagonal space between my ribs, there were two long slits. I gasped, water rushing into my mouth and down my throat toward my lungs. Then a rush of water pushed out against my arms—out of the slits, and I could still breathe.

Gills! The word came to me, and I gave a little hysterical laugh. I had gills on both sides of my body. I tried not to freak out, forcing myself to remain calm.

My rushing pulse began to slow. The ice in my blood wasn’t so sharp anymore. My body was beginning to adapt to the temperature of the water. I still couldn’t see very clearly; Zuli was still a banded blob of colors, though she wasn’t holding me down anymore. When I looked down at my body, all I could see was a blur of white.

Then, as if someone removed a pair of Uncle Jack’s reading glasses from in front of me, I felt my eyes harden—sharpen—until everything came into focus, and I could see crystal clear.

Zuli hovered before me in the water, her hair still pinned back by the tiger’s eye comb. Her orange, black, and yellow tail waved back and forth like a tiger pacing in front of its prey. And she was smiling as though I’d just done something exasperatingly funny.

“What?” I said, then immediately brought my hand to my mouth.

It didn’t sound like me anymore. Instead, my voice was high and musical. It bounced around in the water like an echo.

Zuli shook her head in disbelief. “Of course you would have to look like that down here.” Her own, equally musical voice echoed back to me. It was mesmerizing.

“What do you mean?” I sang. She’d said it like I had some sort of choice in how I looked.

“Haven’t you ever heard of camouflage?” she said, gesturing toward my legs.

I looked down, and instantly felt sick. Would my complexion always be a burden? The platinum iridescence of my new tail and fins blended blindingly with my vanilla pale skin. I stood out in the dark water like the moon against the night sky. Zuli wouldn’t have to waste a single breath luring in dangerous sea creatures to finish me off this time. I’d do that all by myself.

“This is ridiculous!” I cried.

Zuli only nodded in amused agreement.

About Hannah L. Clark:

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Hannah L. Clark lives with her husband and two children in the Rocky Mountains. She has always known she would be a storyteller. In 2006 she graduated from Utah Valley University with a bachelor’s degree in English and immediately began writing her first novel.

Uncovering Cobbogoth was Clark’s first book in the seven book Cobbogoth series—a YA fantasy series based on her mythological brain-child, The Legend of the Cobbogothians. It was released in May 2014 through Cedar Fort Publishing. Book 2 in the series, The Lemorian Crest will be released in Summer 2015.

Clark loves running, mythology, singing while playing the guitar, herbal tea, escaping into imaginary worlds, and being with her peeps. Like her heroine Norah, she also kind of believes that trees might have souls, but must clarify that she has never hugged a tree. The closest she has ever come to that kind of bizarre behavior was the time she hugged the pillars outside Harry Potter Land. Which, all things considered, is not bizarre at all if one takes into account how exquisitely happy she was to finally be there.

Author Links:
Facebook | Twitter | Website| Instagram | YouTube

For more info about The Cobbogoth Series click here.

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Author Interview with Jessie Rosen

Jessie Rosen Author Interview

 

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Author Links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Purchase Link

Please provide your official author bio/summary. 

Jessie Rosen is a writer, producer, and performer. Since 2007 she has written the blog 20-Nothings.com – a TIME TOP 25 Blog and named among the Top 100 Websites for Women and Top 10 Websites for Millennials by FORBES. She lives in Los Angeles, where she’s working on film and television projects, as well as her next novel.

 

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you begin writing? What inspires you to write? 

I have always been writing. It started with little stories my mom would “publish” between pieces of cardboard cut up from cereal boxes, morphed into journalism at college and then expanded to blogging, TV/film writing and this novel most recently. I am inspired to write by hearing stories that move me and deserve to be told. I have always understood myself and the world through characters and stories. So not only do I want to give my readers something to enjoy but I also hope to change their perspective or offer them a vantage point they’ll take with them long after they finish the book.

 

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book? 

My intended audience is YA lovers who enjoy a twisty tale that turns into a very wild ride. I’ve always thought about DEAD RINGER as a GONE GIRL meets PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, so lovers of those amazing titles will hopefully love this book, too.

 

How did you come up with the title of your book or series? 

The team at Full Fathom Five (my publisher) and I did a lot of brainstorming about a title that would be instantly catchy and instantly clear. The idea of my main character Laura Rivers being a dead ringer for a dead girl is the whole crux of the story, so the title felt like a perfect fit.

 

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork? 

Full Fathom works with amazing artists, one of whom came up with this concept. The goal was to make the cover instantly intriguing and, frankly, creepy. With the darkness of the cover we wanted to convey maturity and the fact that this really is a thriller. The legs in the water only added to that whoa factor. But my favorite part is the pink toe nail polish. Just a little splash of color to remind you this is a YA tale.

 

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Ooh this is tough. I think my favorite character is Sasha because I wish I were as genius as she is when it comes to her special skills (that I can’t possibly reveal…). Sasha is also the character that remains a mystery for much of the book so she was really fun to write.

 

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

Hm I don’t know if I have a least favorite character but I certainly don’t agree with a lot of the things that Amanda does in the story. She has a motivation so I understand why she does what she does (and did what she did in the past), but I would never follow that same path.

 

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

Great question! I think I would like to spend more time at Laura’s house getting to know her and her world a little better. We see her mostly in school and outside of school with Charlie, but a bit more about her environment would be nice to paint an even clearer picture of this new girl.

 

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

Almost every single name in the book is the name of a real person, same goes for all the towns and places. I’m from New Jersey where the book is set, and I wanted to give my friends some fun “easter eggs” to find in the book.

Another fun fact: I wrote the book while raising my puppy. Louie arrived at 8 weeks old right around the time that I started working on DEAD RINGER, and by the time I was finished he was a well-behaved pup! I should have thanked him in the acknowledgements!

 

What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?

The Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl series remind me of my book. Also Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver and Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson. The former are in a similar tone as my novel and paint a similar posh world. The latter deal with equally intense issues and unfold in an equally twisty way. I also really looked to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn for inspiration on dealing with multiple narrators.

 

How can we contact you or find out more about your books? 

Examples: Webpages and/or social media

DEAD RINGER is all over the web, as am I! Here are some handles:

@DeadRingerBook on Twitter and Instagra

www.DeadRingerBook.com

 

I am @20Nothings on Twitter and @JessieRosen on Instagram and my blog is www.20-Nothings.com

 

What can we expect from you in the future?

Hopefully two more books in the DEAD RINGER series! I’m also tackling an emerging adult novel right now. It’s an epic love story set against a major national tragedy, and it all takes place in 72 hours.

 

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Share, share, share! Whether it’s placing it on your GoodReads shelf, adding it to your blog list or Tweeting/Instagramming your love to friends. Every little bit is so helpful.

 

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Two tips:

Write, write, write. The more you write the easier that writing becomes. Writing is a muscle and if you exercise it, it will get stronger.

Know the market. I did a TON of reading before embarking on this project and it really helped me understand what YA readers (and readers overall) were enjoying and how I could create a story that both tied into my passions and ideas but also found a place in the world.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I’d like to say THANK YOU for your support and that I have been overwhelmed by the support and appreciate from the entire book-lover community. I always knew the book lovers were fantastic people, and it’s proven every day that I work toward my release date!

 

And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

Here you go!

For the first time in forever, she had decided to wear her long, blond hair down and parted on the far-left side so a waterfall of curls danced over her right eye, the slightly bluer one—the one that usually made her self-conscious. Today she let the curls do their thing instead of making sure every piece of frizz was locked down with an army of gooey hair products. She wore simple makeup paired with a shocking pink lipstick she’d seen on the girls strolling the pier all summer long. It was wild, but it made her feel powerful. Her first day outfit was a vintage, floral shirt belted over a flirty, white sundress to make sure her tan legs showed, because why not milk the Cali-girl vibe? On her feet were cork-soled wedges in a neon-colored, striped print from 1989—one of her favorite vintage finds besides the car, of course. She was pretty sure she wouldn’t look like anyone at this posh, brick-and-ivy-covered, suburban New Jersey school, and she loved that fact. She was ready to start out on a totally new foot.

But just as Laura’s first-day confidence finally locked in, it vanished.

Across the parking lot, she caught the glance of two girls getting out of a shiny, white Corvette. Laura smiled in their direction, but something was off about the way they both looked back at her. Their faces were frozen in a strange, almost confused look that made her instantly uncomfortable. It was more than just the usual new-kid-in-school stares.

It wasn’t until the shorter, curly-haired girl glanced back and quickly turned away again that Laura saw the real feeling behind her eyes: she was scared.

 

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Book Summary (Goodreads):

From the moment Laura Rivers steps foot into Englewood High, she notices the stares—and they aren’t the typical once-overs every pretty new girl endures. The students seem confused and…spooked. Whispers echoing through the halls confirm that something is seriously off. “That new girl looks just like her,” they say.

It turns out Laura has a doppelgänger, and it isn’t just anyone—it’s Sarah Castro-Tanner, the girl who killed herself by jumping into the Navasink River one year ago.

Laura is determined not to let the gossip ruin her chances of making a fresh start. Thanks to her charming personality and California tan, she catches the eye of Englewood’s undisputed golden boy, Charlie Sanders, and it’s only a matter of time before they make their relationship official.

But something is making Charlie and his friends paranoid—and Laura soon discovers it has to do with Sarah Castro-Tanner.

What really happened to Sarah? Why is Charlie unraveling? And how does Laura Rivers fit into it all?

After all, she’s the dead ringer for a dead girl.