Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday Muse: How To Destroy Angels - A Drowning (Inertia Remix)


I thought I'd go with something mellow and cool for today. It's the last day of 2012! Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Next Best Thing Author Post

Eee, I've been tagged as a "Next Best Thing" author!  You know what that means?  I get to spill about my new book!  I don't normally tell you guys what I've got in the works, but this gives me an excuse to gush without being fat-headed... :)

What is the title of your next book?

The book that I currently have on submission with publishing houses is called NEXIS.  (Yes, I spelled it that way on purpose).

 Where did the idea come from for the book?
Well, let me think…The slight Cinderella aspect came from my agent mentioning that she was looking for a Steampunk Cinderella story.  I immediately got an idea for a Cinderella who doesn’t just lose her shoes, but her legs too…and she gets fake legs from a Godmother character.  That was the tiny seed that started NEXIS…I really don’t know why it developed into a cyberpunk.  Though I know a lot of people are rolling their eyes about more dystopians, I promise I wasn't following trends!  I started writing this before the SF/Dystopian outbreak in YA and before I read Hunger Games, plus I think it's different enough to stand out among the crowd.

What genre does your book fall under?
YA Cyberpunk – which is computer/virtual-based science fiction with dystopian aspects.  This story in particular has a virtual gaming aspect that draws heavily on fantasy aspects.  There’s also a healthy dose of romance too. :)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Good grief, I really have no clue…I suppose that’s good cause then I won’t be all disappointed if it becomes a movie and I don’t get my choice cast.  I just want the cast to look like the main characters and to be awesome actors.  But, I do have inspirational pics...

 In NEXIS, they drive pods which are automated cars that drive on hover-tracks (think glowing ribbons of highway floating over the city).  Ella's step-sisters, Starla and Sadie, have "chimera" pods.
 This lovely gentleman, though I have no idea who the heck he is in real life, would be Guster (Ella's love interest in the game and the "thief" character).  Guster is the fox character in The Tricksters while Ella is the spider.
 Ella goes to the G-Corp ball in a dress of her own designing.  In Evanescence, Ella's domed city, they wear Neo-Baroque fashions with futuristic highlights such as this amazing fibre-optic material.
These would be a collection of Aspen Cyr's Aristocratic cronies.  The costumes would be a little bit more Neo-Baroque in my mind, but I like the boots and the headpieces, these would definitely be something that an Aristocrat in Evanescence would wear.













This would be a a good rendition of Ella in the game.  Ella would have slightly darker skin.












If you'd like to see more NEXIS fashion, technology, and people-inspiration I also have a pinterest board with more o.O

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After a tragic accident kills her computer programmer father and causes her to have both of her legs amputated, Ellani (Ella) Drexel finds solace in her father’s virtual reality role playing game, NEXIS, but Ella soon learns that NEXIS is more than just a game.
 
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
 NEXIS is currently represented by my agent, Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Agency.  And, like I said, it’s on submission with publishers so I hope it will sell soon.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

 Lets see…I got the original idea in August 2011 and wrote up a couple of chapters that month.  Then it got shelved until November 2011 when I picked it up again.  I finished the first draft in January 2012.  Did edits throughout the next few months and it went on submission in August 2012.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

There are a lot of little things that make this book similar to aspects of many different books and movies.  When I first wrote up the pitch, there weren’t a lot of YA cyberpunk books published -- I think CINDER was the closest comparison, even though I believe they’re quite different -- so, I had to cobble together a comparative world from other genres and media.

This was the beginning of my editorial pitch:

Imagine a domed city, similar to those in ShukĊ Murase's Ergo Proxy, and create within it a divided class system, similar to that in Andrew Niccol's Gattica.  Within this domed city exists a virtual reality game that is so advanced that playing is truly like being part of the game -- much like the holo-net in Caprica.  Also within this city is Cinderella, except instead of losing a shoe, this one has lost her legs.  Cinderella's father is dead, she is shunned by a society similar to Suzanne Collin’s Capitol in The Hunger Games, and her step-mother has locked her up and is slowly starving her to death.  Hoping to escape her cruel fate, Cinderella chooses to play the game.  Like Sam in Tron: Legacy, she is sucked into her father’s digital world and, consequently, her father’s battle. Similar to Case in William Gibson’s Neuromancer, she is forced to go against established society for the sake of a cure to her ailment but, like Ender in Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game she ends up hurting others as a result of the “game” she plays.  The story you are imagining is NEXIS.

It also has a slight Scott Westerfeld's Uglies/Pretties etc. feeling to it...

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
 Like I said, it was originally overhearing my agency’s call for a Cinderella Steampunk that got my mind reeling.

What else about your book might pique the reader interest?

I believe that NEXIS is a book that appeals to a wide range of readers in both age, gender, and genre tastes.  While it is in simple structure a Cinderella story, there is a lot more to this story than princes and balls.  I've got my leg-less Cinderella who loses her father and is abused by her step-mother and sisters, but it pretty much stops there.  This novel has a very deep examination of social morays, normative beauty, our technological future, the human condition, and what someone must do to discover who they are and how they can change the world.  At the same time all this seriousness is going on, there's a light-hearted playful aspect to it as well -- there are dead-pan robots, futuristic domed cities, fire-spouting dragons, Minotaur infested labyrinths, and suave thieves to be had!  I'm very excited about this novel and I hope that it sells so that you guys can *hopefully* be excited about it too!

Tagged authors (I will update with links when they post their responses):
Stella Price
Emily P. Bush
S.L. Lewis
Carolyn Turgeon
Aaron Rosenberg

Friday, December 28, 2012

Featureless Friday :)

There is no Feature Friday today cause I'm on vacation and so is the publishing industry!

If you'd like something to read you can check out Momma Kitty Reviews where...I'm the Feature Author? Yup. LOL

Also, I'm going to be doing a "next best thing" blog hop post this weekend, so look out for that.

Enjoy the rest of the holidays.  Regularly scheduled programming shall return next week.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday Muse: This Is She - "Grow Up"


Yay! Today is a special day cause it's between my birthday (yesterday) and Christmas! I've been holding this song for today cause it's an upbeat song and I was all "let's be dismal before the mythical end of the world," LOL. I really like this song. It makes me wanna dance and that's the mark of a good, upbeat song in my world. I don't really like the lack of clothing on our lovely female lead singer, but eh, whatcha gonna do? Perhaps I'll have a fundraiser to buy her some new pants... :) Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it and Happy Holidays/Non-Holidays to the rest of you!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Feature Friday: S.L. Lewis

Don't forget to enter for you chance to win select YA reads through my Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop.
 
S.L. Lewis: I'm a typical Brit, family man and whilst I hold down a full-time job and raise my kids I also have a secret identity as a Fantasy Novelist, though I don't wear a mask or cape. I love sports, particularly football (the English kind), WWE wrestling, watching DVDs, going to the cinema and hanging out with friends.

Interview:
A.L.:
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Sam:
Well being one myself I'm still discovering my way around the author world but, I think my main bits of advice would be not to rush. It's so easy to write something and think this is brilliant or I don't think I can make this any better, then just make it available to buy when it's not as good as it could be leading to some demoralizing reviews. This leads to the second bit of advice, accept and use constructive criticism. Again it's so easy to take everything to heart on what is your "baby", but the world is full of some many different people that not everyone will like your work. In the same vein don't be discouraged and just remember that you love to write and that's what you got in it for.

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

Sam:
I'm going to be extremely boring here and say the Harry Potter books. These were the books that for me - like so many others around the world in my generation - made reading a must. Television, games, movies etc were the entertainment for my generation and it'll only get worse I guess, but when Harry Potter was pushed onto us it grew and grew and grew until Harry was/is a national treasure. J. K. Rowling may not be a writing genius but she created a world and characters that a vast audience cared about. I wanted to get each and every book to see what would happen, would the characters survive, would the world survive! It's story like this that stand the test of time and touch so many people because it makes you care. Out of all of them I think it would be Order of the Phoenix that was my favorite though, it was perfectly timed in the middle of the serious to shift the tone to a darker edge and was a mesmerizing read.

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for The Guardian and Dream Crawler?

Sam:
I love Fantasy. I love Paranormal and Sci-Fi, and anything that takes you into a world that is created to be more exciting than the real world. I have always been a day-dreamer too, my imagination has always been vivid I just didn't have an outlet for it. I used to think of so many ideas and alternate endings to things I'd seen at the cinema or whatever and one day the idea of an alternate dimension full of magic fell into my head and as the wheels turned I began to create the whole series. I was thinking of characters, places and ultimately clashing different worlds here in the real world until I had the main plot embedded in my head. For this particular book though, the Dream Crawler was something I'd always thought about, a creature that travels through dreams, drains them of their strengths and can ultimately kill them. It seemed like the perfect foe to start the series off and, even though I have only written the first book, I was very proud of this one and think its a brilliant start to the series - if I do say so myself!

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing The Guardian and Dream Crawler?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Sam:
The first book was very stop start, at the time we had just had twin boys and finding the time to write was difficult as you can imagine and I don't plan my writing either. I'm not the type to list every characters traits, dreams and family tree etc, and I don't really make any plan on paper. I can see the characters in my head, the story and I feel as though I know how each one would act in any given situation, the most difficult bit was the cutting. When you just sit and write it's easy to over describe, or describe something the have your character describe the same thing straight after or something like that. So I did take the axe to certain things with a little help. One thing I did want to try my hardest to detach from was Harry Potter, I'm sure when reading the synopsis that's the first comparison to a boy wizard but I do think this book - the series - is far from Harry Potter and unique in it's own right.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in The Guardian and Dream Crawler is your favorite and why?

Sam:
Wayne Collins is probably my favorite creation, he is the best friend we all need in our lives. He's rich, he's cocky, competitive, loyal and very funny. Some of the best dialogue involves Wayne and he was definitely the most fun to write about. I have had a few comments from people suggesting that every time he arrived on the scene they were excited to read him and he produced some laugh out loud moments, to hear that is great because it means I've created exactly the kind of person I wanted to create!  

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

Sam:
Well my journey is quite short so far, I'm very much a fledgling! As I said before I had always created stories and things without ever really doing anything with them, I never wrote things down, and I think it was probably around the time self-publishing was a well-known thing that I considered it. I can't boast any writing qualifications, even my GCSE English results (High School exams for anyone outside the UK) were average at best, so even in the beginning when I started writing I thought it wasn't going to come of anything. I found time between my full-time job ( Architectural Technician ) and my 24/7 job as a father to write until finally I managed to get The Guardian and the Dream Crawler on paper. I then let a few close friends read it and give me their thoughts and amazingly they were very positive! I tried the traditional method by sending queries to agents but didn't get anywhere so finally looked toward self-publishing through amazon. As of right now well over two thousand people have downloaded, read and hopefully enjoyed the book and I'm halfway through the second installment. I have so many other stories too but The Guardian series is the most important first, hopefully I can reach as many people as possible with what I believe is a fun, original story and then I can move onto to something different! Getting ahead of myself here...

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

Sam:
Yes, currently I'm working on the sequel - the second installment - and hoping to have it finished and online early 2013. I'm enjoying the writing the second just as much as the first and think that anyone who enjoyed the first book will be very pleased with this one too! I don't want to give anything away yet, but if you have read the first book this one will answer a few lingering questions, push Daniel further to his destiny and continue to get darker and harder for the main characters.

A.L.:
Why did you choose to self-publish your book?  Did you attempt to go with mainstream or choose to self-publish right from the beginning.

Sam:
Nowadays I think everyone is talking about how self-publishing is the new way swinging power into the authors hands but honestly, if someone had taken a chance with my book, I would have preferred the traditional route. I was told early on that for me, someone with no experience, no qualifications and no references at all, would find it impossible to get a deal even if my book was the best ever written so I didn't hold out much hope and instead of spending years chasing the dream I took the self-published route instead. Publishers are masters of getting you and your books out there, I'm no marketing genius and I'm sure in the hands of a publisher I could have reached a much larger audience but having said that self-publishing can give you a platform to show agents and publishers what they missed. That has to be the biggest plus, so far the number of readers has reached the thousands from very little in the way of marketing or money spent on promotions who knows what would have happened with a big budget and know-how though.

A.L.:
Holding down a full-time job and giving enough attention to a family with three kids under five must be very difficult.  Do you have a method or ritual to keep writing despite this hectic schedule?

Sam:
Just reading that question reminds me how hard it is! We have a family routine generally, as in bedtime routines etc, so right now I work Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm, and then have family time until all are asleep around 7:30/8pm. Then I have my time (if there's no 'man of the house' duties to do or a social life obviously) anywhere from that point until I'm completely drained and can't keep my eyes open I try to write but as anyone with kids knows - its never as easy as that! So I guess I wing it, I try and catch any spare time I can here and there without hindering my time with the kids who are always my no.1 priority. One day who knows I may get to do this as my full-time job and it'll be a lot easier!

A.L.:
What sort of audience do you think your novel will appeal to?  Why?

Sam:
I think with this book, and definitely the series as a whole, it's aimed toward teenagers and up. I think this book would nestle nicely alongside books like Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games etc, it's for those readers. I want this to be a fun book with humor but also I want to make it dark, exciting and over all an entertaining page-turner. I know how I was as a teenager, even now in my Twenties, my attention span for books, T.V, games etc is so hard to maintain. If I'm going to take time out of a busy life, most people have such hectic lives nowadays, it has to be for something worth it - something memorable. So I tried my hardest to make this book exactly that, something that you hopefully don't want to put down or can't wait to jump back into the story.

A.L.:
If you could compare your novel to another novel, what would you compare it to?

Sam:
As I said before, the comparisons are inevitable, Harry Potter is going to be on everyone's mind when reading a book about a boy wizard but I'd like to think this takes the genre in a different direction. For it's magical content it's comparable to Harry Potter, it has some sprinkle of romance like a Twilight and it will also be far more deadly, dangerous and dark like say a Hunger Games. Like anything new it can be compared but hopefully after reading it you will see it's original in it's own right.

A.L.:
Why did you choose to write a novel about a young wizard?

Sam:
Daniel kind of found me. I have a lot of different stories in the memory bank but they can't get passed The Guardian series just yet, this series is one which I have always thought about most. There's also something linking wizardry and magic to the UK I guess, it seems to be something we Brits write about quite well! I think the difference with this book though is how it's not just magical creatures and beings, I'm kind of planning to bring more to the table in the coming books than your typical magical foes and enemies. So yeah, I think Daniel and the idea of him being a wizard was just something that I was always going to do first, it's a story that has a life of it's own and wants to break free to meet as many readers as it possibly can!

The Giveaway:
Sam is giving away a copy of his debut novel, THE GUARDIAN AND THE DREAM CRAWLER.

The Guardian and the Dream Crawler:  In the magical realm known as Eden, witches and wizards were protected from the demon realms by a powerful wizard known as the Guardian. Like clockwork, Guardians were replaced in every generation until the death of Logan triggered a prophecy the Wizarding Council always feared. Daniel Smith and his family were then ripped from Eden and sent to live in the human world for their own protection until he came of age. Daniel had grown used to his non-magical life until a new History teacher arrived at Greenfield High revealing his true identity as the next Guardian. As Daniel’s world begins to unravel around him, he has to deal with hiding his secret from his friends, a school bully wanting to make his life hell and the small matter of a demonic Dream Crawler feasting on his hometown. Welcome to the world of Daniel Smith, the Wizarding Guardian.



Read Goodread reviews.
Buy on Amazon.
Buy on Amazon UK.

How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the green "Do It" buttons, follow the prompts, and hit the green enter buttons when you're done. (You may have to log in using Facebook to do this). There will be one winner (selected by Rafflecopter). I will contact the winner via email. This contest is open to International entrants.
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway/Hop

I am also giving away a copy of THE GUARDIAN AND THE DREAM CRAWLER, here.

Check out my new release under my other pen-name, here.

If you like to read, you'll love this other contest, here.





Winter is officially upon us!  You know that that means: hot cocoa, warm hearths, snuggly blankets, and lots of winter reading!  So, to kick it off, here are some excellent reads to keep your mind off of snow and cold toes!

The Giveaway:
One lucky winner can select any one of these great novels to get shipped right to there door!

The Farm by Emily McKay:  Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race...


Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes: In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power--brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished--and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past--and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?


Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout:  No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.


The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken: When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living


Prodigy by Marie Lu: June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action


Foretold by Jana Oliver: In the fourth Demon Trappers novel, Riley faces the final battle for humanity and Beck's heart—and Hell is the least of her problems
Now that Riley’s managed to (just barely) fend off Armageddon, everything’s changed. Well . . . most things. After their passionate kiss before the big battle in the cemetery, Beck is back to treating her like a little girl, as if nothing ever happened. While she’d love to just tell him off and move on, Riley vowed to take care of Beck the way he’s taken care of her since her father’s death—but she’s about to get a whole lot more than she bargained for. When she’s commissioned to go with Beck to his hometown and help him care for his dying mother, they stumble too close to a dark and murderous secret, one that Beck fears will drive Riley away from him forever. As chaos breaks loose, Riley may be Beck's only hope for redemption . . . and survival.

Meanwhile, up in Atlanta, it’s quickly becoming clear that Heaven may have won a battle, but the war is far from over. Riley and Beck face a stormy future, as Lucifer's ex-right-hand-man, Sartael, proves himself to be more resilient than anyone thought. He has Atlanta in his grip and is about to begin a brutal war with the prince of Hell. As the seconds tick down toward a final confrontation, it's up to Riley and the man she loves to finally defeat their old enemy, or lose everything they've fought for.


How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Arrow buttons, follow the prompts, and hit the enter buttons when you're done. (You may have to log in using Facebook to do this). There will be one winner (selected by Rafflecopter). I will contact the winner via email. This contest is open to International entrants.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to go check out all of the other sites participating in this hop as well!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Muse: Purity Ring - Belispeak

Well, it's the last Monday before the mythical apocalypse. In celebration of our oncoming doom, I'm capping "melancholy song month" off with this magical little gem. It's not particularly scary, but it's dark(ish) and has an end of world feel to it. Hope to see you next Monday! We will have happy-time music next week!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Feature Friday: Kimberly Sabatini

Kimberly Sabatini is a former Special Education Teacher who is now a stay-at-home mom and a part-time dance instructor for three and four year olds. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and three boys. Kimberly writes Young Adult fiction and is represented by Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary Agency. TOUCHING THE SURFACE is her debut novel.
 
Interview:
A.L.:
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Kimberly:
You must find your inner compass and know what it feels like to point to your own true north. This business is like a roller coaster, it has tremendous ups and downs and you can easily get thrown around and lose your sense of direction. No matter how much you have it together, you will get tossed off course from time to time. That's okay as long as you know how to get back to the heart of who and what you are. I also think it helps to think of this process as a journey where you clearly visualize yourself being successful at some point, while still giving yourself enough space to slowly grow and change. I made a clear decision early on. I loved what I was doing with or without the "success" of publishing, but I also believed that I could be published. My mantra became--eventually, with hard work and persistence, I'll become a good enough writer to sell a book OR agents and editors will eventually get so tired of hearing from me that they'll publish my book just to shut me up. Forty or fifty years of me sending you queries would have to take it's toll LOL! I decided I could live with that game plan and it took a lot of the stress away to be on someone else's time table.

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

Kimberly:
My favorite book is The Giver by Lois Lowry. I remember reading it in high school and clearly thinking…thank goodness I'm not the only freak in the world who thinks about this kind of stuff. It was an amazing moment for me. I was so full of questions, even if I lacked the courage to do something with them. It took me almost twenty more years to find my voice, to speak my own questions out loud, but in that moment it was enough to know that someone else was like me. I buried that seed until I was strong enough to let it grow.

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for Touching the Surface?

Kimberly:
I can't really take full credit--it was my subconscious hard at work. My dad had died and as I just mentioned, I am a person full of deep questions. I could not contain what was inside of me any more. And the time had come when I didn't want to.

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing Touching the Surface?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Kimberly:
The biggest snag I ran into was that I had no idea how to write a novel LOL! This was my first attempt and I was learning as I went. I'm a slow writer to start with, but the process was even more drawn out as I researched and practiced along the way. I can't even imagine how many drafts I have of this story. I can't tell you how many people I must thank for guiding my way.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in Touching the Surface is your favorite and why?

Kimberly:
That's like asking me to pick between my children--can't be done. Each character has bits and pieces of the best and worst parts of me woven into who they are. I can't untangle what's been woven and pull it apart.

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

Kimberly:
I've arrived surprisingly late to the party, considering that I loved to write from a very young age, but confidence was an issue. I spent a lot of time undermining myself, but when my dad passed away in 2005 a switch flipped in my head and I saw the world from a different perspective and I started to write again. It's been a learn as you go journey, but sometimes those are the very best kind.

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

Kimberly:
Right now I'm revising my second book THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY to sell and starting a third, CHASING ADAPTATION. They are not sequels but perhaps there's a loose connection between them all. Time will tell. :o)

A.L.:
You're a dance instructor!  Though you teach children now, we assume that you had quite a dance background in order to do this?  What's your favorite form of dance and who is your favorite choreographer?  If not that, then what's your favorite recital dance and costume ever?

Kimberly:
I danced from the time I was three until I went to college. And after I moved back home and my boys got old enough I returned to class and started teaching. It's something I love to do. And as a teacher, there is nothing better than a three-year-old with a tutu on and stars in her eyes. I love that. I remember that. I've always enjoyed ballet, tap, and jazz but I think character dancing and lyrical has become my favorite because it's just another form of story telling. I recently participated in a lyrical 9/11 tribute and it felt powerful. Of course, this also explains my love for Mia Michaels and Travis Wall from SYTYCD. When I watch their pieces, I can't help but think about how I want to write the way they choreograph. Here's a few of my favorites from the archives...





A.L.:
Touching the Surface seems like a very deep and heartfelt sort of novel.  Were there points in it that made you feel like you were being too cruel to your main character, Elliot?

Kimberly:
No--life is hard. I always had this sense, that to leave these stones unturned, would be like turning my back on someone who's really gone through some similarly heartfelt experiences. Besides, so many of Elliot's fears are my own. Even though it was hard, I felt better for facing them with her. In my mind, it was what it had to be.

A.L.:
It mentions in your bio that your father's death was what made you start writing.  What sorts of questions were you asking and what did you discover?

Kimberly:
I wasn't asking those questions out loud, but my subconscious was in over drive LOL! So much of the journey of this book, I couldn't see until it was on the page and I got some perspective. The truth was that at the time, I was flailing around in a dark room--feeling my way. But I'm glad I stuck with it, because when you reach the light, there are no words…

The Giveaway:
Kimberly is giving away a signed copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE as well as some swag.

Touching the Surface:  Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

     Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

     As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.




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How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the green "Do It" buttons, follow the prompts, and hit the green enter buttons when you're done. (You may have to log in using Facebook to do this). There will be one winner (selected by Rafflecopter). I will contact the winner via email. This contest is open to US entrants only.
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Muse: The Presets - Ghosts

I'm on a haunting song kick. This song has a military feel to it. I really like the video with the divers.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Feature Friday: Lia Habel

This is Lia Habel's second Feature Friday. I'm having her back to celebrate the release of her second novel, DEARLY, BELOVED. You can check out her first interview here. This FF, has a larger bio so that you can get to know Lia even more!

Lia Habel was born in Western NY, and has lived there the majority of her life. The only child of geeky parents (although her father would never describe himself that way, despite his Halo addiction), she was reared on a combination of horror and action movies, classic literature, cult television shows, and video games. A promising start.

She attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, NY, receiving her B.A. in English Literature with honors, as well as the University of Leicester, UK, where she earned her M.A. in Museum Studies. Although she received an excellent education at both institutions, Lia was always unlucky when it came to finding work in her chosen field – a fact which compelled her to jump from low-paying job to low-paying job just to make ends meet. She was, at various times during her life, a makeup artist, an envelope-opener, a retail clerk, a grocery scanner, a door guard, and a substitute teacher.

The first draft of Dearly, Departed was written in 2008, during one of her many periods of unemployment. The ideas came to her in a rush, and she wrote the first draft in roughly a month. A mix of silly sci-fi and paranormal themes, equally tongue-in-cheek and deadly serious, Dearly, Departed exists as a testament to Lia Habel’s deep love of horror movie monsters, “ugly” heroes, and sweeping tales of Victorian romance. Lia is especially dedicated to keeping her good-guy zombies true to the zombies she grew up with and so ardently admires – readers will watch their favorite characters rot before their eyes as the series progresses.

 Miss Habel lives with three former alley cats. She enjoys attending anachronistic and steampunk events, watching zombie movies (her goal is to watch every zombie movie ever made), commissioning ball gowns, and collecting Victorian and Edwardian books.

Interview:
A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing Dearly Beloved?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Lia:
So far, this is the only book I've ever written where I've called my agent and just sobbed for hours--at one point I absolutely hated it and wanted to write another book entirely. I felt the plot was awful, and I think a lot of that came from the fact that I'd been laboring on it for so long. Eventually you hit a point where you've read your own work so much that it stops making sense--kind of like hearing a word so often that in your ear, its reduced to its syllables. I felt very vulnerable and uncertain. Luckily, my fantastic agent was able to talk me down. Other than that dramatic day, I just ran into the usual problems--having to fill plot holes, address issues of consistent characterization, etc. (Writing a sequel is unlike writing a first book in so many ways, but the biggest issue for me was having to pick up the characters and run with them again. A sequel forces you to scrape down and uncover deeper layers of characterization.)


How'd I fix them? Work. There's no trick to it. You just have to sit down and confront the material day in and day out. It's exhausting, but mental elbow grease is the only way to solve your writing issues. For me that did involve a lot of music binging, a lot of long walks, and a lot of introspection. I continually have to remind myself that when I'm stuck asking, "How?" that's when I really need to start asking, "Why?"

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in Dearly Beloved is your favorite and why?

Lia:
I actually really love Vespertine. When I glance over my chapter outlines, she's the female character I look forward to writing the most--probably because she has the smallest amount of "screen" time. She's a nice break between the more labor intensive Nora and Pam POVs. I also find her very interesting, just on a personal level--she's extremely calculating, but there's definitely some humanity there. She's not as cold as she seems. I'm looking forward to exploring her relationship with Renfield, which I feel will probably be pivotal for her. After all, in a few years, he'll be gone; but his effect on her will last forever.

A.L.:

Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

Lia:
I don't feel like I have one to talk about, yet! I still view myself as a weird girl who sits in her room and tells stories. I think the day I view myself as a "real" author will be the day the flame goes out--the day I'll lose my mojo but snootily believe I still have it. There's a kind of raw, passionate creative power that comes from being an amateur, or considering yourself one. I don't follow what other people say or write about me, good or bad. I'd rather remain in my bubble of...I guess it's rightfully ignorance, but I prefer to consider it innocence. I just want to create. If people like what I make, that's enough for me.

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Third book?  Something new?

Lia:
We're working on a proposal to continue the Dearly series, so I've not written anything yet. I'd like to write three more books, and that's what I'm going to pitch--Bram's really the series lynchpin, and i need room to give him a satisfying story arc. I'm also working on a standalone cyberpunk-esque YA offering. I'm really excited about a self-publishing venture I'm working on right now, though, and which I'll hopefully have out early next year. It's fantasy-based steampunk, and I don't want to give too much away! But it's a project I'm working on for myself, in order to tell the kind of story I want to tell, without the Axe of Editing casting a shadow over my neck. Kind of a literary vacation.

A.L.:
One of your favorite things is Cthulhu.  How come?  What makes Cthulhu so awesome?

Lia:
Like the other monstrous characters in my life, I just have a great deal of sympathy for him. Even Ultimate Evil has observations to make, stories to tell...I feel like those often get ignored in the Mythos. I have been tapping into All Things Tentacle for one of my projects, basing it increeeeedibly loosely on Lovecraft. I'm not sure how good it is, but I'm having fun working on it! (Of course, this is why I'm so bad at writing villains...I have far too much empathy for them.)

A.L.:
You just recently moved/are moving to a new home.  What did you look for in a new home/town?

Lia:
I just wanted to try someplace bigger--I haven't seen much more than the main drag, though! We're still getting everything set up. We're closer to Canada, now, so we're looking forward to dressing in our steampunky best and going to Christmas events. I can't wait! I come from a very small city, so it's weird to flick through the paper and think, "Ooh, there're things to DO."

A.L.:
What can fans of Dearly, Departed look forward to in the sequel, Dearly, Beloved?

Lia:
More commas! In all seriousness, though--Departed was about introducing this huge world and all this action. Beloved is where we get into the nitty-gritty and start dealing with the consequences. What happens when a city is overrun by "good" zombies--is everything just automatically going to be sunshine and roses? No way. We'll see how the living and the dead are coping with their attempt to coexist, and how the main characters fit into that. We'll also learn that there are more people who knew about the Laz long before the Siege, opening up issues of conspiracy. And all of this with tons of guns, pretty dresses, and ass-kicking. Nora and Bram are really on this roller-coaster, now; they're headed toward the heart of the action, and they can't get off.

A.L.:
What is your favorite topic to talk about as a panelist at a convention?

Lia:
I like talking about my personal experiences as a writer--again, I consider myself very unprofessional, so I don't think I've learned yet how to keep my trap shut. I like talking about funny encounters in bookstores, weird things that have happened during editing, etc. For me, it's all very new and amusing, still--I hate to think that someday everything will be old hat. I feel like an effervescent five-year-old whenever I get to be on a panel. (And I'm so short, I'm likely swinging my legs under the table, too. Just to complete the look.)

A.L.:
Who is your favorite dead guy, fictional or real, and why?

Lia:
Vincent Price, of course! Because he was seriously just the sweetest guy. I love men who have two sides, and embrace both with the same intensity--and a horror legend with a heart of gold definitely fits the bill.

A.L.:
Are you a proclaimed cat person or do you just happen to have cats and no dogs?

Lia:
I've never had a dog! I was telling my beau the other day that I like the idea of having one, but that cats are so much easier--with a dog you have to train it, take it outside, look out for it, etc. With a cat you just open the box, say, "Here you are, Cat. Litter's here, food's there. Let's coexist," and you both get on with your lives. In the end, I think I'm a cat person because I'm lazy. (Though I do love my kids. I'm a total furmom.)

The Giveaway:
Lia is giving away a copy of DEARLY, BELOVED, the sequel to DEARLY, DEPARTED.

Dearly, Beloved: Can the living coexist with the living dead?

That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.

Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.

Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.

As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.

Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.


Read Goodreads Reviews.
Buy on Barnes and Noble.
Buy on Amazon. 

How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the green "Do It" buttons, follow the prompts, and hit the green enter buttons when you're done. (You may have to log in using Facebook to do this). There will be one winner (selected by Rafflecopter). I will contact the winner via email. This contest is open to US and Canada.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Muse: Alex Winston - Sister Wife

This song has been stuck in my head for three days. Totally stumbled across it and loved it when I heard it. Kind of weird...And the video is creepy, but yeah...Sometimes the Muse can be scary.