Thursday, July 28, 2016

Interview with William Alan Webb and Spotlight on Military Sci-Fi STANDING THE FINAL WATCH




William Alan Webb
Today on the blog, I'm honored to host the awesome William Alan Webb with an interview about his upcoming release, a military sci-fi, STANDING THE FINAL WATCH (The Last Brigade Book 1). It's due out August 17th from Dingbat Publishing, it sounds epic, and I can't wait to read this one!
Photo published for Standing the Final Watch (The Last Brigade Book 1)
You can pre-order it now on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Standing-Final-Watch-Last-Brigade-ebook/dp/B01HSCAJM6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1469180961&sr=1-1&keywords=standing+the+final+watch#navbar

1. Tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m the world’s oldest teenager. My mind tells me I’m still a 17 year old kid, with everything that goes along with that age. My physical self sometimes disagrees with that chronological state of mind, especially after a long day in the hot sun maintaining four acres just east of Memphis, TN. The good news is that I discover muscles I didn’t know I had, the bad news is that’s because they hurt.
I’m from West Tennessee and remember when most of the Memphis area was glorious wilderness. I’ve seen huge tracts of dense old growth forest leveled so we can have another drive-through doughnut shop, and it makes me sad, even though I’m an inveterate capitalist. I’m feeling pretty protective of the natural world today, so forgive me if I sound preachy.

2.  What is your upcoming debut, STANDING THE FINAL WATCH about, and what inspired you to write it?

STFW is my ode to epic thrillers and science fiction. I call it a rocket ride without seat belts. In terms of prose, my biggest influences are writers like John Ringo (especially the raunchy but over-the-top action of his Kildar series, and the non-stop shoot-em-up of his Posleen books), Robert Heinlein, Douglas Niles’ two Fox books (awesome alternate reality WW2 novels!), Clive Cussler, Roger Zelazny, Mark Greaney, Joshua Hood…the list is long, because I borrow (steal) a little bit from every writer I like. And if there is the slightest sense of the Avengers or X-Men in the narrative, I can’t deny growing up devouring comics.

This book is fun to read, I want to make that clear, because the topic of the book seems grim. The world as we know it comes to an end in a slow and agonizing fashion. First something terrible happens, then things unravel and enemies attack…and what makes it more frightening is that our government anticipates much of this could happen in the real world. So when you’ve got something scary to worry about, what should you do? Have fun with it!

If you read the prologue you’ll figure out real quick that my villains are truly evil. It’s a gruesome beginning because I wanted the sensation of what it might be like to get caught up in a terrorist attack. Judging by the early reviews, I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. What I think makes my villains worse is they have a Hitler complex: they believe what they are doing is right for humanity.
The book is dominated by Nick Angriff. If you like larger-than-life heroes in the mold of Jack Reacher or the real George Patton, you’ll love Angriff. He’s got plenty of flaws, but at the end of the day is true to his motto: loyalty, honor, sacrifice. He’s the kind of guy you want for a friend, or neighbor, because you can always count on him to help, no matter the situation.

As to inspiration… if you mean what inspired me to write it at the moment I wrote it read any news report or newspaper. Events in the world inspired me. Much of this book was written nearly two years ago, yet you would think it’s ripped from the headlines today. Sometimes I hate being right and I hope I’m wrong about a lot of the prophecies I make in the book.

But I don’t want to leave the impression it’s morbid. This is an action packed thriller I wrote for people to enjoy reading, to stay up late reading and tell their friends the next day “I’m exhausted, but I couldn’t put it down. You’ve got to read this book,” or recommend to their friends for a beach read.

3.  Would you like to share an excerpt from the novel?

Sure. I love this part. I remember the day I wrote it, researching convection and trying to see through the eyes of the falcon…

The broken ground of the Sonoran desert soaked up the heat of the midday sun. As the desert floor warmed it began to heat the air close to the surface, which then caused that air to expand and grow lighter. The lighter air rose in bubbles of warmth called atmospheric convection, but better known as thermals, rising higher until the temperatures of the air surrounding the bubbles became cooler, causing them to sink again and create updrafts. On that blazing hot day the cooling effect did not occur until the warm air was high into the atmosphere.

Wheeling on those thermals, a Prairie Falcon sensed the subtle changes in air temperatures and stayed in the updrafts, using the energy of the warm air to provide the lift under its great wings and keeping it where it could see for miles in every direction. An efficient killer, it could detect the tiniest prey on the desert floor from hundreds of feet in the air. Rattlesnakes, lizards, mice, whatever small prey it could find, it could eat. Once spotted, the bird would fold its broad wings inward and contract its wide tail, before diving to snatch its meal in sharp, hooked talons. On that clear day, however, no prey roamed the desert, because the giant animals that walked upright had come back to dig in the ground. The raptor had no concept of what they might be doing, nor did it care, it only wanted food and they were not its prey, so after a fruitless search it banked off south in search of better hunting.
That’s about six hours of writing! I must have re-written that fifty times before I was satisfied. 

4.  Where is your favorite place to write?
In my frighteningly cluttered office, leaning back in my overstuffed chair, with the wireless keyboard in my lap. I cannot write on a laptop…nope, can’t do it. Unless, of course, I plug in the wireless keyboard, then I’m good. And I always have my youtube playlist cranked in the background, up to 411 videos right now, most of them Status Quo (although I’m listening to Slade as I write this.) 
I have to have fast access to research materials to write. My personal library is about 5000 books and I’m really good at ferreting information from the internet, and have a good sense of what’s reliable and what’s not. It sounds romantic to think about writing on a beach, under an umbrella with a blue or pink drink at your elbow, but for me that wouldn’t work. The writing part, that is. The beach, the drinks, those would work just fine.

5.  You'll be published by Dingbat Publishing, correct? Tell us a little about your experience with them and what made you choose to go with Dingbat Publishing for STAND THE FINAL WATCH?

Yes, Dingbat Publishing is my publisher, that’s correct. Another fine publisher also offered me a contract, and it was a very hard decision as to which company to choose. In the end it was a matter of business, but the other publisher remains a friend and I would yet like to work with them on something.

As to my experience, you ask me this as I just finished a rewrite and my editor has promised the final edits will make me bleed. LOL. Like most writers, I hate seeing even one of my words disappear.
For me, Dingbat was a terrific choice. I know that’s what I’m supposed to say, what debut writer is going to say ‘yeah, they bought my book, but they really suck?’ For me, however, it’s the God’s honest truth. It’s run by this fabulous lady who has written a lot of books herself. What’s even better, she wrote the book for writers on ballistics. Literally, it’s titled Ballistic Basics, A Writer’s Primer On Firearms And the Forensics That Track Them. 

I work hard to get the research correct in my writing, but what a backup when it comes to guns and weapons! I’m also thrilled with the cover their creative team came up with, it’s great.

And let me throw this out there, too: a lot of writers on twitter want input on some of the smaller presses they might be discussing deals with. If Dingbat ever offers you a deal, snap it up. They are great to work with.

6.  If you could choose to live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Somewhere in the Caribbean. Maybe Ocho Rios or Negril, Jamaica. 88 degrees every day is perfect weather for me. But if I stayed in the US, then Florida. Beaches and warmth are why.

7.  What or who has most influenced your writing?
I have so many literary influences it’s hard to pick one or two. I’ll say this, the first writer who inspired me to try and write was Robert E. Howard. The Conan stories written by him are masterpieces of fantasy. Thomas Lyon Russell’s brilliantly imaginative Riding With The Magi showed what you can do with a book, and Tom was my creative writing mentor at the University of Memphis. Roger Zelazny has a style I wish I could emulate. Robert Heinlein showed me the way, and of course Tolkien was almost my religion for a decade or two. It was John Ringo who inspired me to try my hand at military SF, both with his over-the-top Ghost series, my character Green Ghost is an homage, and with his Posleen series. Lastly, Douglas Niles’ brilliant two ‘Fox’ books, Fox On The Rhine and Fox At The Front gave a structure I could follow. Lastly, I would say Cornelius Ryan’s ensemble method of constructing a book is a terrific pattern for story-telling.

8.  Tell us about what your next project will be.
Wow, which one?

The sequel to Standing The Final Watch is written and in its third edit. It’s titled Standing In The Storm. Book three, tentatively called Standing At The End, is at about 20K words with plots point mapped out. A prequel, Not Enough Bullets, is about a third done and I entered the first 50 pages in a contest, so we’ll see how that goes.

I still plan to finish the World War Two book I’ve been working on for ten years now. It’s about 100k words long now, called Bloody Roads West: Army Group South and the German defense of Austria, 1945. You can read a short treatment of it on my website.

In my spare time I plan to rewrite a couple of old fantasy pieces, my first novel, The Queen of Death and Darkness, and a novella, A Night At The Quay.

That should get me through 2017 anyway.


Thanks so much, William, for a fantastic interview! It was a blast having you on the blog today! So, people, go pre-order your copy of STANDING THE FINAL WATCH :).

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Spotlight: Death's Fool (2nd book in the Impetus Rising Series) by Sophia Whittemore

Today please give a warm welcome to Author Sophia Whittemore, who joins us today on the blog with her newly released second book in the Impetus Rising Series, DEATH'S FOOL.  Check out the blurb and an exciting excerpt, and connect with Sophia through social media.

TITLE: DEATH’S FOOL- 2nd Book in the Impetus Rising Series
AUTHOR: By Sophia Whittemore

BLURB:         “Isak was love. Isak was bravery. Isak was death.”
            Her lover has been cursed. Her mother has been kidnapped. Her best friend’s soul has been stolen and his body deformed. And Diana is afraid that she too is turning into a bloodthirsty monster, just like her father. Awoken from an enchantment placed on her by her treacherous lover, the half-Impetus god, half mortal Diana is flung into a war between mutant shadows and the Impetus beings. Diana must navigate a world where queens torture their faithful knights, human children play with giants, and magic has darkness within it. Diana knows she has some power within her, some sleeping evil that demands to be set free. But is she truly her father, or is she her own person? Secrets are revealed to her about the cursed Prince Isaakios that she never knew before, secrets like the women he once had in his life, or the havoc he once wreaked upon the Earth. How far will this twisted love go for Diana before she is broken? Or will she break before she even gets the chance to save the world one last time? 
EXCERPT: 
            Suddenly, a scream sounded through the luxurious halls. A candle tipped over and a fire started on one of the curtains. The ice sculpture began to tip, its base melting from the flames. Pride put out the fire with his strong hands, yanking the curtain down and dousing it in buckets of water with the help of some humans. I looked to see who could have ruined this moment and felt the ground quake. The doors slammed open, causing the floor to tremble beneath us. I nearly lost my footing. The dress disappeared and I was back in sensible training clothing and gear. It had all been an enchantment, a beautiful dream for as long as it lasted.
            And now, back to the present, I saw a darkened figure coming toward us. The candles blazed higher upon the figure’s approach. Face hidden beneath a tattered hood, his eyes gleamed, murky brown, his skin, once bronzed, was now a dull, ashier gray. I peered closely at the boy’s black hair and saw Basel’s face hidden beneath it, stubble dotting worn, drawn features. He staggered against a table with party favors. He shoved slices of turkey into his mouth with stubbed, bloody fingernails, eating like a starving animal.
            Appetite filled, he reached for a pitcher of dizzying nectar and drank it by scooping it up with his hands. His eyes were wild, his laser-focus disconcerting, floating everywhere at once. His gaze narrowed when he saw me. “It’s you!” The creature that once was Basel roared, voice nearly hitting the same pitch as an ethereal wail. “I know your face. You’re the one that cursed me to be…to be…”
            He looked down at his body as though seeing it for the very first time. His veins, once swollen with shadow venom, were now empty and a scarily pale blue as the blood had drained haphazardly from them. 
“What am I?” he asked, his voice dropping to the same voice of the confused boy who fell out of his treehouse and wanted to cry for his mommy back when we were little children. “Tell me what I am!”
            I moved to go to him, but Isak held out an arm. “Don’t do that.” His gaze was stern, taking in all of Basel’s appearance in the cool, calm way of a medical professional. “I’ve seen this before.”
            “Yes, but what is this?” I looked at Basel, swinging about like a violent animal. “Shouldn’t we go to help him? Perhaps he escaped from my father’s grasp—”
            “No, he didn’t escape. Your father let him go.”

AUTHOR BIO:
Sophia Whittemore is a Dartmouth student and multiracial author with an Indonesian mother and a Minnesotan father. She has had book signings at Barnes & Noble for her Impetus Rising Series, available on Amazon and other outlets, the first book published when she was only seventeen. She has been featured as a Standout in the Daily Herald and a Rad Reads author in Girls' Life Magazine. Her love for the English language manifested itself in eighth grade when she went to the Scripps National Spelling Bee and has continued with other languages such as Spanish and Indonesian. Her prior publications include "A Clock's Work" in a Handersen Publishing magazine, “Blind Man’s Bluff” in Parallel Ink, and winning multiple awards in the Best Midwestern Writing competition for high school writers. She currently resides in Chicago, Illinois with her family and food-loving mini schnauzer called Tiger. Drawing on inspiration from her two cultural backgrounds, Sophia lives a life playing tennis, traveling, and writing about her dual life experiences through other characters in her works or on her blog.
AUTHOR’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: 
Instagram: @authorsophiawhittemore
COVER ART: 
 

Release Date: July 21st, 2016

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sunshine Blogger Awards




A huge thank you to Dana Provo for tagging me along with 10 other bloggers in the Sunshine Blogger Awards! So, here are the rules for taking on this challenge:

• Thank the person who nominated you.
• Answer the 11 questions you’ve been asked.
• Nominate 11 other bloggers, making sure to let each one know that they are nominated.
• Ask the nominees 11 questions.

And now, for the questions I was asked:



  • What is your middle name? Jean...and I also kept my maiden name, Reed, as my official middle name when I did my name change stuff after getting married. On July 4th, my husband and I will have our 8th anniversary! :)
  • When did you first learn how to ride a bike? Wow, I'm trying to remember. I must've been about six years old.
  • Are you the kind of person that likes to plan things or go out on a whim? As with my writing, where I'm a mix of a plotter and pantser, I'm the same way with my life. I plan, but I also like the spontaneity of going with the flow and going out and doing something fun on a whim.
  • What is your favorite thing to wear? Anything cute, really, as long as it's comfortable, too. I have a collection of dresses, so I'll go with that as my ultimate favorite thing to wear.
  • Name a country then explain why you named it? I'll go with Paradise, because that's what I'd want it to be. A tropical island paradise that's a beautiful, heavenly place to live. 
  • What is your occupation? I work as a clinician at a residential facility.
  • If you could own only one animal, what would it be? Definitely my cat :)!
  • Which element do you relate to the most? Why? Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Spirit. Well, I'm a Virgo, so I suppose Earth would be one answer, but I do love the ocean, so water as well. Water is so soothing and relaxing.
  • Are you planning any vacations this year? If so, where? I've been on a couple already to visit family and go to the beach.
  • Name your favorite book? Too many to choose just one! But I still love the DarkAngel trilogy, the Harry Potter books (love the time travel element and the Marauders back story in PoA), Beth Revis' ACROSS THE UNIVERSE series, and the Divergent trilogy.
  • Lastly, do you believe that there are aliens in space? Considering that there are likely billions of suns in each galaxy, and billions of galaxies in the universe, it wouldn't surprise me. Even in our own solar system, we have moons with vast oceans that may harbor marine life. We've already found extrasolar planets that may even be similar enough to Earth to support life as we know it. I think it's pretty likely that other worlds in this immense universe have given rise to life. Some of them may be homeworlds to intelligent life who has taken to traveling among the stars, exploring space.


  • Here are the 11 questions I'm passing along:

    1. What's your favorite dessert?
    2. What book, TV, or movie character is most like you and why?
    3. Where in the world would you most want to live?
    4. Like my MC Leah in MIRRORMASTERS, you discover an ability to control mirrors to see what's happening in other places, other times. You can even travel there through the mirror if you want. What would you do with that ability, and where/when would you travel?
    5.  Who is the author you'd most want to meet and why?
    6.  When did you first start blogging?
    7.  What's your favorite blog post of all time from your blog? Take us down memory lane :)
    8.  Tell us a little about your current WIP!
    9.  What fun plans do you have for the summer?
    10. What's at the top of your list of ways to spend a lovely day off work?
    11. How do you celebrate when you finish writing/editing a novel?

    Now for my nominees for the Sunshine Blogger Award:

    Deeba Zargarpur 

    Leandra Wallace

    Dana R. Lynn

    Laura Wadsworth Carter

    Carol Riggs

    William Alan Webb

    Michael Abayoni

    Krysten Lindsay Hager

    Suzanne Thomas

    Kadee Carder

    Krista Wagner


    Thursday, June 30, 2016

    Author Spotlight and Interview: THE ELECT by Laura Carter

    Today I'll be spotlighting the awesome Laura Carter, who has an upcoming YA sci-fi/dystopian release called THE ELECT. Welcome, Laura, and thank you so much for being on the blog today!




    Author Bio:
    Laura Wadsworth Carter is a native of Oxford, Alabama, and is a graduate of the University of Montevallo. She received a Bachelor of Arts in History in 2008 and a Master of Education in 2009. When not teaching American history to teenagers, hunting for caffeine, or writing fiction, she spends her time with her musical husband, their hilarious toddler whose energy knows no bounds, and two ridiculous dogs. Together, they live in Huntsville, Alabama.


    Contact Information:
    Email: lauracarterwrites@gmail.com
    Website: laurawcarter.wordpress.com
    Twitter: @MrsCarterWrites













    Summary of THE ELECT:
    THE ELECT is a dystopian / sci-fi retelling of David and Goliath inspired by totalitarian governments (North Korea in particular). August, the main character (David) finds himself in a fight to overturn the rule of the Foundation, led by a giant dictator known only to the reader as the Man (Goliath).




    Blurb for THE ELECT:
    For the past thirteen years, the Foundation has ruled Belstrana with an iron fist and has protected its reign with an army of meticulously programmed child soldiers. As one of those soldiers, seventeen-year- old August has done terrible things to innumerable people, though he wasn’t aware of it at the time. But when one small accident leads to a major awakening for August and three other Young Ones, submission is the last thing on their agenda, and they soon find themselves at the front of a growing rebellion. Embroiled in a fight they have little chance of winning, they soon realize that deception hides behind the most unlikely faces and desperation leads to unthinkable acts. But all they need is a crack, and the Foundation will fall.


    Tagline:
    One small crack and the Foundation will crumble.


    Genre:
    Young Adult science fiction / dystopian


    Word Count:
    74,000


    Release Date:


    Excerpt:

    Through no earnest intention of my own, I find myself awake and lying on my back. A network of gray, steel rafters weave across the ceiling above me, and a lacy netting of cobwebs and dust flutter against them from the cold draft in the room. To my right, a Man in Red grips a thick rope hanging from a bell, and he pulls downward with a huff, sending the bell into a fit of clanging to awaken us. Though I would like nothing more than to remain beneath the wool blanket that’s tucked around my chin, my body propels me into a sitting position as a groan escapes my lips. The cool grit on the floor bites into my bare feet, and my bunkmates, a few dozen boys around my age, mirror my movements with almost identical timing. But when they proceed to stand and straighten their bedding, I hesitate.
    I’m caught up in a strange cycle that I know I’ve repeated thousands of times, but it feels new today. In this moment, something has changed. I stand up and run my fingers over my cropped hair and release a slow breath. I’ve spent years in this building, sleeping on this very cot, but the memories are wavy, like my mind has been flooded with fog. I press my palms over my eyes, squeezing them shut.
    Most of the boys have now begun to change their clothes. None of them speak, and the silence leaves an eerie pall in the air. Across the room, my behavior has caught the attention of a middle-aged Man in Red. I lock eyes with him, and his expression narrows, folding his dark brows inward as he studies my face. It’s my first indication I’m doing something wrong, and I swoop down and tug the sheet and blanket over my cot, smoothing the wrinkles. I glimpse up and see him now speaking to another Man in Red, and they both watch me. The pistols on their hips and the menacing sneer on their faces remind me that they’re here to keep us in line. And right now, I am out of line.
    Not wanting to draw more attention to myself, I hustle to the trunk at the end of my cot and withdraw my uniform. I shrug into the routine brown button-up shirt and matching pants and shove my feet into wool socks and a pair of black boots that pinch my heel. As I reach down to tie the laces, a black mark on my right wrist draws my attention from beneath the cuff of my sleeve. I tug the fabric back and see the thick outline of a triangle tattooed into the tender skin above the tendons and veins. The fingers of my left hand trace the symbol as I search my mind for its significance, but I find a murky void instead of a memory.
    Annoyed, my fingers tie the laces, and I stand. I’m a few seconds behind everyone else now, and I scan the room to find them all clicking various weapons onto their belts. In the top of my trunk, beneath where my uniform had been placed, I find a sling and several perfectly smooth gray stones. The pad feels worn and familiar in my hands, and I stroke the braided leather handles. Beside me, a pale-skinned boy with dull eyes and a wild patch of freckles attaches his own sling to his waist.
    The shrill screech of a whistle cuts through the room, and I flinch. The trunk lid slips from my fingers and slams shut. I suck in a breath and wait for a reaction from someone, but there is none, so I drop the stones in my pocket as though nothing is out of the ordinary. The boys around me are falling into line, and I step forward to join them as we prepare to leave the building, somewhat aware that we should be heading to retrieve our breakfast now.
    Just as we begin to move forward, a firm hand grabs my right arm, and I’m jerked to the side. Panic snarls in my chest as a heavy arm pins me against a cool wall, and I struggle to not grimace as the back of my head smacks into the unforgiving cinder blocks. In front of me stands the same short, stocky Man in Red who had been staring at me earlier. His greasy, blond hair is slicked over to one side, and his deep-set eyes are dark and shifty as they bore into me. He wears a scarlet shirt and black pants, and a small golden triangle is pinned to the left side of his collar. As he opens his thin lips to speak, I inhale the scent of stale alcohol and tobacco, and my stomach clenches with nausea. He grabs my face with a calloused hand and squeezes my cheeks so my lips squish together, and I can’t help but feel like an animal being inspected for slaughter.
    “What are you doing, boy?” he asks with a sniveling, high-pitched tone. My face drains of blood, and my heartrate picks up speed as the Red’s expression grows more furrowed. The surprise of the encounter has my mind reeling, but I know better than to reply. I feel awake for the first time since I can remember, and I intend to keep it that way. 
    “What’s wrong with this one?” the Red mutters to himself. My heart pounds in my chest with such speed and voracity that I begin to worry the guard will hear it and my own body will betray me. All at once, the guard releases my face with an apathetic grunt and pushes me towards the door by my shoulder. I’m startled by my sudden propulsion, and I stumble forward into line as relief floods my body.


    And now, onto the interview!


    What are your favorite genres to read/write? I will read pretty much anything (except horror or erotica), but my favorite genre is still young adult. From contemporary authors like John Green to fantasy/sci-fi authors like Amy Bartol or Jennifer Armentrout, I'm just looking for a good story with lovable characters... and a little bit of romance doesn't hurt!

    Besides writing, what are some of your other hobbies? I love to travel. Road trips are my favorite, because they allow for spontaneity, and my husband and I try to take one every summer. I also enjoy gardening. Working with seeds and soil and flowers and vegetables is very gratifying to me and is definitely an investment and lesson in patience.

    I read on your site that The Elect was inspired by a dream. Would you like to tell us a little about that dream?  Sure! Without giving too much of the plot line away, the dream I had was of a young man running and taking refuge in an abandoned warehouse. He was being chased by someone and had these incredible abilities to jump and fight - superhuman strength, if you will. I knew when I woke up that there was something in that dream, a story that needed to be told, so I wrote down everything I could remember. That scene is now in the middle of the book and is one of my favorites.

    Which character in The Elect is most like you, and why? I find that I share some similarities to each character, but the one I probably relate to most is Elisa (or at least that's what I hope). She's an optimist - hopeful, faithful, loving, and a little naive. But at the same time, she can take care of business when she needs to. These are all qualities that I strive to reflect in my personal life, even though I'm sure I fail often.

    What project(s) are you currently working on? I'm currently working on two novels. The first is the sequel to The Elect. The other is a YA contemporary set in my home state of Alabama. I'm still not sure where either of them are going, but I'm excited to find out!

    In your writing process, are you a plotter or a pantser? This actually relates to my last answer quite well. I think I'm a little of both, but I'm mostly a panster. I have a general idea of where I want my stories to go, but often my stories get hijacked by my characters, which is fine with me and often quite a surprise.

    Share with us a favorite book quote! As strange as it probably sounds, I don't know that I have one. I'm not much of a quotes person, but if you're looking for a quotable book, one of my absolute favorites is All Over But The Shoutin' by Rick Bragg. His story-telling style is phenomenal, and his understanding of history and heritage in backwoods Alabama (my home state) is just excellent. I'll recommend this book to anyone I meet.

    Any advice for other writers? Keep at it, but take breaks. I know you've probably heard it before, but that's what I'm sticking with. It took me 4 years to finish this novel and find a publisher, and I often wanted to give up. But I'd shelve the book for a while to clear my mind and then bring it out a month or two later. Fresh eyes are a necessity, especially when revising and editing. Also, don't be scared to let your friends read it and give you honest feedback - you'll need it.

    Any tips for breaking through writer's block? It helps me to rewrite a scene further back in the book. I've found the problem is often not where I thought it was, so going back in the book (as terrifying as it is), opens up more possibilities for pushing past those moments where you want to set your computer on fire. Just make sure you save the first version in an alternate document in case you want to come back to it!

    If you could choose anywhere in the world to visit, where would it be? Oh, this is a tough question. There are tons of places on my bucket list. BUT, assuming my budget was unlimited, I would visit the British Isles. Most of my family lineage is from Ireland and England, and I'm a bit of an Anglophile (I teach history for a living). It also doesn't hurt that Ireland and Scotland look absolutely beautiful from everything I've seen!


    Great interview, and thanks again to Laura for stopping by the blog today! Your upcoming book sounds amazing! So, take note, people--check this book out on July 14th :)

    Tuesday, June 28, 2016

    New Release: DAUGHTER OF THE SUN (Cult of the Cat #1) by Zoe Kalo



    Title: Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat series, Book 1)

    Author: Zoe Kalo Genre: YA mythological fantasy
    Word count: 93,000 words
    Release date: May 1, 2016 Daughter of the Sun, Book 1 -

    Blurb:

    Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew. But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities. Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.

    About the Author:

    A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery… A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.

    Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web: www.ZoeKalo.com / Facebook / Twitter

    Here's the Amazon Purchase Link:

    http://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Sun-Cult-Cat-Book-ebook/dp/B01DRDUQW8

    My Review:  4 Stars

    I had the pleasure of receiving this book in exchange for an honest review. Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat #1) was a fun read about an orphan, Trinity, who has grown up in an orphanage run by nuns in the English countryside. From the beginning, there's an air of mystery about her. She was born the day of a solar eclipse. She seems to have subtle cat-like qualities, never gets sick, and has an ability to heal from injuries quickly as well as heal others--but nothing at first that's distinctive enough for her to pay much attention to.

    Then, one day, she's claimed by a woman representing her very wealthy grandmother, who has been searching for her since her disappearance as a baby. Before she leaves for her grandmother's island summer home, the Mother Superior gives her a piece of parchment with strange symbols on it, something left with her when she arrived at the orphanage almost sixteen years before. 

    The odd language isn't the only mystery Trinity encounters. There's her ever-strengthening cat-like qualities, like a preference for napping during the daytime, changing food preferences with a slight craving for raw meet, the ability to jump out a 3-story window without sustaining major injuries, and occasionally being overcome with predatory urges. Then there's the fact that awful things seem to have happened to all the men in the family, and there's an odd rotten-egg smell accompanied by an air of malevolence that sometimes emanates from the office of her grandmother's assistant. Trinity's search for answers leads her on a dangerous, exciting quest.

    Trinity was easy to like. She stands up to bullies. She's tenacious and has the determination to do whatever it takes to get the answers she seeks. She has a soft spot for cats, which is a good thing, because the people on her new island home revere cats, and the Egyptian goddesses connected to them. I absolutely love the Egyptian mythology element interwoven through the story, and the author did a great job with her research and with bringing it to life in this novel. 

    This Review is a part of the Blogger Outreach Program by b00k r3vi3w Tours

    Thursday, June 23, 2016

    Author Spotlight and Interview: CHASM by Lynette Kuhl

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    Today I'd like to welcome the fabulous Lynette Kuhl, with an interview and a spotlight on her new novel, CHASM. Thanks so much, Lynette! It's great to have you on the blog today :)



    Title: Chasm
    Genre: Adult Suspense
    Published by Clean Reads Publishing


    Tag Line: What happens when you’re in love with your children’s abductor?


    Blurb:
    Taylor Vine thinks she can fight off the demons of her past when she moves back home to Estill Springs, Tennessee, but it doesn’t take long to see that things aren’t quite that easy. The bumps she hears in the night soon escalate, keeping her up at nights, and it isn’t long before her most precious possessions, her children, get abducted. She finds herself in a race against time to try to find them before it’s too late. One wrong move and the outcome could be disastrous.  


    Excerpt:
    Her heart picked up its pace, and she reached for the phone. She hesitated, unsure whether to even answer it. But she plucked it from its receiver. “Hello?” Her voice slid out rickety and unsure.
    The male voice on the other end was dark and deeply plagued with distress. It broke, and she struggled to make out what he was saying.
    What she heard next was unimaginable; it didn’t sound human. The grief penetrated through the voice—through the phone—flanking it with wretched wails and sobs. “I’ve killed the children. Heaven…help me…I’ve killed the children.” The phone went silent.
    Taylor’s knees buckled. “What?” The hyper pitch in her voice strained out. “Goodness gracious, who is this? What happened? Whose children?” Her knees about took her down again. She caught the edge of the counter, catching herself before she fell. “Answer me, for crying out loud! Don’t hang up on me!”
    She listened desperately, plastering the phone to her ear. But the phone was silent. “Hello, hello? Answer me!” Frantically clicking the telephone cradle button, she tried to bring him back, but there was only a dial tone.
    She pounded the phone on the counter so forcefully that the plastic mouthpiece broke into a million tiny pieces. She let it fall, left it dangling by its cord. Swiftly making her way to the hall closet, she rummaged through the plastic totes for a flashlight. “There has to be one in here somewhere,” she mumbled to herself. Extension cords and old Christmas lights spilled over onto the floor.
    Finally finding a flashlight, she clicked it on. It was dim, but it would do. She ran back to the hall, to the children’s rooms, feeling no pain in her swollen ankle.
    Flinging Cody’s door wide, she flashed the light toward the wall where his bed sat. In slow motion, the lonely, empty, disheveled bed yanked a horrifying scream from her gut, reverberating through the house. The earth quit spinning, and she was lost to oblivion. “NO! Not my children! Please, God…not my children.” She needed life support, couldn’t breathe; the air was being sucked from her body in rapid swells. She dropped to the floor, her world going black—closing in—smothering.
    Not knowing how long she’d been out, Taylor struggled to her feet, she was sure it wasn’t long; it was still black outside, flashes of lightning still cracking in through the window. She raced to check on Nora. Her room was the same: deserted, hollow, puncturing a bleeding, oozing hole in Taylor’s chest the size of a large, bottomless chasm.
    “For crying out loud, no…please, no.” The tears coursed down her face. She staggered numbly to Nora’s empty bed, collapsing on it, her hand reaching, groping—trying to find the warmth of her baby girl. But the only thing the tangled blankets and sheets offered her was a bleak and disgusting coldness. It shocked her through her hand. How long had they been gone? Time couldn’t wait, she needed to find them.



    Buy Links:


    Author Bio:
    L.K. Kuhl lives in Nebraska with her husband of twenty-nine years, young son, Nathan, and Greg, their Black Lab dog. She has two older daughters, Morgan and Brittani and son-in-law, Trevor. L.K. has been writing for over twenty years. She first began writing children’s books and poetry, moved on to writing music, and is now writing Young Adult and Adult novels. Her first book, Everlasting, a Young Adult Paranormal Romance, was published in February, 2016. She loves spending time with her family, vacationing, writing, reading, and taking long walks. It’s the characters who write their own stories in her novels, and she is just their messenger, sharing it with the world.


                                                                                                                          
    Author Links:
    Website: https://kuhlreads.com/     
    Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kuhlreads



    And now, onto the interview! 

    First of all I would like to thank Lora for having me on her blog today! She is awesome!! What inspired me to write Chasm was that it was basically based on a true story and I love to incorporate things that have happened in my life into my stories. 

    I got the idea to write Chasm because my husband used to be an engineer for the railroad. Although my husband never worked with this gentleman directly, one of the engineers on the railroad hit and killed his wife and children with the train he was driving. It was no fault of the engineer. The wife did it deliberately to get back at her husband, the engineer. The engineer said the last thing he saw was his children looking up at him from the windows of the car.
    Although this is a work of fiction, and this is just a story between two, make believe people, I felt compelled to tell his story about how utterly and completely devastating this would be. The engineer was never able to return to work after this. 
    1. What are your favorite genres to read/write? My favorite genre to both read and write would have to be Young Adult. I love the growing up and learning process that young teens go through and I love being able to help them solve problems in everyday life. My next favorite genres to both read and write are romances and adult novels. I love the ups and downs in relationships and most of my adult novels are based on real life experiences.
    2. Besides writing, what are some of your other hobbies? Family!! That is my biggest one yet! I love vacationing with family, playing games with family, sitting around chatting with family and just doing everything with them!! My next hobby is making candles. I make scented ones that I take to craft fairs in the fall. I love reading and going for walks, too.
    3. Which Character in Chasm is most like you, and why? Hum, I would have to say the main character, Taylor. Taylor loves her children unconditionally and would do anything to protect them, just as I would mine. Taylor has her flaws and has made a ton of wrong decisions in her life. But in the end, she has learned from her mistakes and has turned her life around to become a better person, just as I feel I have.
    4. What projects are you currently working on? I have just started the third and last book in The Everlasting Trilogy. It is called Finished Business and is moving much slower than the first two books. I don't know if it's just getting harder for me to continue it on, coming up with new adventures and such, or if I just don't want to say goodbye to my characters. It's a bittersweet feeling. I just finished up with the Pre-Edits to the second book in the series and am waiting for that to go through the editing phases. That book is the second book in The Everlasting Trilogy and is called The Decision.
    5. In your writing process, are you a plotter or a pantser? I think I am a little bit of both. I get most of the story plotted out before I start on it, but pants a lot of it as I go along, filling in the parts I haven't plotted lol.
    6. Share with us a favorite book quote! My favorite quote is from The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Noah is telling Allie "It's not over...it'll never be over." Then they share a passionate kiss!! Love that part!
    7. Any advice for other writers? My advice would be to never give up! Sometimes the fears and rejections can really get to you. You have to have tough skin in this business. But if you persevere, you will make it!
    8. Any tips for breaking through writer's block? Writer's block does get hard for me, at times. The best thing I can do to try to combat it, is just take a break from writing for a while. Get up and take a break, go for a walk, or play with your children.
    9. If you could choose anywhere in the world to visit, where would it be? I think I would have to say Australia. I have always loved wildlife and nature and I would love to take a safari tour to see some of the exotic animals out in the wild.

    What a great interview! Thanks again, Lynette! This book sounds amazing, a definite must-read, and the story behind it is so heartbreaking and compelling.