Thursday, February 28, 2013

A.L. reviews THE GUARDIAN AND THE DREAM CRAWLER by S.L. Lewis


Another awkward vlog review! Hope you guys like these cause there are many more to come, I'm getting on the reviewer wagon.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Krie Seekers is coming!

Look what I got today...The Krie Seekers is coming in March.  Are you ready?


Join Inspector Mardigan and Sergent Boone as they team up with Tatty and Skell -- two mysterious sisters -- in a hunt for the Krie who are terrorizing the streets of Dormorn by night.

Monday Muse: Fun.: Some Nights


OMG OMG OMG! I absolutely love this song (weird combination of at least three different classic rock songs from my youth -- with modern underpinnings) and this video (sweet and powerful, makes you cry a little)! Just pretend that the horrid noise between 4:15 and 4:30 doesn't exist.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Feature Friday: Alex Lidell

Alex is a YA fantasy author, a Tamora Pierce addict, a horse rider, and paramedic. The latter two tend to hand in hand a bit more often than one would like. Alex started writing at 2 am.

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

Alex:
Find a good beta reader - keeping in mind that a "good" beta is not universal for all authors, or even for the same author at different stages in writing.  For example, if you are showing an initial draft, then a beta who focuses on typos may not be helpful; whereas if you are in the final stages, this person is golden.  Similarly, if your beta is telling you that all is great all the time, or phrasing criticism in such a way that you dread writing, or does not get the market you are writing for (ie. you want to publish commercially, while your beta has not interest in the process) - that may not be the right person.

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

Alex:
I feel obliged to say ALANNA by Tamora Pierce, because that was the first "for fun" book in English that I read and it got me into fantasy.  But I just might like Pierce's LADY KNIGHT better :)

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for The Cadet of Tildor?

Alex:
I wanted to write a fantasy military academy training story with a bunch of ethical dilemmas.  The rest spun from the characters.

A.L:
Did you hit any snags while writing The Cadet of Tildor?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Alex:
Are you kidding me?  Snags galore! One biggie was that in the original version half the story was in Savoy's POV but we had to change that in editing, to make more of it from Renee's perspective.  The challenge was to communicate what's going on with Savoy without being in his head.  I did a lot of asking myself "What did I need to communicate both plot wise and character wise in this scene? ... How can these two points be communicated either from Renee's view point here, or else somewhere else in the novel?".

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in The Cadet of Tildor is your favorite and why?

Alex:
Korish Savoy is my fav because he's darker and more brooding than Renee.  He's fun to write.  I started with his character first, and then Renee came along.

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

Alex:
Step 1: write in secret
Step 2: find an internet crit group and not tell anyone in the "real" world my secret.
Step 3: Start talking online and realize there are LOTS of people who enjoy writing and are working on books.
Step 4: learn to write.  And revise.  Repeat the latter.  A lot.
Step 5: Make the leap into making real world writing buddies
Step 6: Show CADET to the pros (query, contests etc)
Step 7: Sign with agent
Step 8: contract... and revisions.
Step 9: revision.  Repeat.  A lot.  A LOT.
Step 10: get blue as my pub date gets delayed
Step 11: Freak out about upcoming launch
Step 12: Watch CADET appear at B&N and online and hope it does well ... while being powerless to influence things anymore.
 

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

Alex:
I am very addicted to Tildor and my characters, so I am working on a sequel.

A.L.:
You're a very exciting person!  You're Russian and you speak at least three different languages.  Plus, you're a paramedic, a horseback rider, and you have an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution.  We don't really have anything else to ask...Except: Which of the three Musketeers is your favorite and why?

Alex:
Oh, Athos, totally Athos!!!  He's the cool level headed one.

A.L.:
If you could meet Tamora Pierce, one of the authors who influenced you, what would you say to her and why?

Alex:
"What's the secret to writing such clean, concise prose that you can SHOW a ton of things happening in just a few pages and have it seem natural and effortless?"

A.L.:
The Cadet of Tildor was a finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel competition.  Can you tell us what was going through your mind when you first found out you'd made it to the final round?

Alex:
"Really, I can't tell anyone about this for a whole week?!"

The Giveaway:
Alex has sent along an awesome SWAG pack for THE CADET OF TILDOR!

The Cadet of TildorTamora Pierce meets George R. R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.

There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown's inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.






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

How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the 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 national entrants only.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Paranormal Giveaway/Hop

Enter yourself in a chance to win GIVING UP THE GHOST (here) until 2/27.

Enter yourself in a chance to win THE CADET OF TILDOR swag (here) until 3/1.

The Giveaway:
 One lucky winner can choose from any of the titles below!

Asunder:  DARKSOULS
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

SHADOWS
Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

LOVE
Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.


Altered:  When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.


Teeth:  A gritty, romantic modern fairy tale from the author of Break and Gone, Gone, Gone.

Be careful what you believe in.

Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.

Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.


Blood Kissed Sky:  There's nowhere left to hide.

I thought vampires were our enemies - they controlled our lives, isolated our cities, and demanded our blood - until I met Victor. With Victor taking over as the new Lord Valentine, things were supposed to get better. Instead, they're worse than ever.

Day Walkers, a new breed of vampires who can walk in the sun, are terrorizing the city. Blood supplies are low, and if Victor's vampires don't get enough, they will become infected with the Thirst - a disease that will turn them into mindless killers.

To stop it, I must journey across the desolate wasteland to the very place where the sickness began. I can only hope that the answers that await me are enough to save us all... before it's too late.


Opal:  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.


Poison Princess:  #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Arcana Chronicles, post-apocalyptic tales filled with riveting action, the dark mysticism of Tarot cards, and breathtaking romance.

She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side….


 How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the 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

Double Feature: S.A. Price

Heads up:  There are three giveaways going on this week, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled!

Enter yourself in the Paranormal Giveaway/Hop (here)

Enter yourself in a chance to win THE CADET OF TILDOR swag (here)

Bi-continental, Stella (pictured left) and Audra break all misconceptions about siblings. Writing as a team they have produced well over eighteen novels as well as several novella's and short stories. And nary an argument has come from it.
On their off time from writing, Audra is a makeup artist and Stella is a graphic artist and web designer, as well as the convention director for the Authors After Dark convention. They both love animals and have several including several snakes and a peacock.
Audra lives in Scotland with her husband and children, while Stella Lives in South Carolina with her dogs Moo and Poe and her husband.

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

S.A.:
Don’t follow the trends. Write what you want to write, the trends always come back around.

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

S.A.:
All time? I have three… Galilee by Clive Barker, Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite and The Mist by Stephen King. Why? All of them showed me there a different side to publishing, and that good books get published at the same time bad ones do.

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for Giving up the Ghost?

S.A.:
It wasn’t really an idea. I was a tour manager for about 5 years of my early 20’s and this is quite cathartic for me. Rhys has been a character in our Eververse Universe since we started but it took a while for me to get it all together to write his book.

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing Giving up the Ghost?

S.A.:
What were they and how did you fix them? Snags? The ending. I wanted it to remain true to something that might happen, without getting too fantastical. Took about 5 months and 5 rewrites of the last 12k words to get it right. At least I hope I got it right.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in Giving up the Ghost is your favorite and why?

S.A.:
I love Dante. He has his own book, but his part in this one makes me laugh. I love Saffron too because I used to BE that girl… you know? Showing people what it was really like for me was important. I like to think she will be well received.

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

S.A.:
OMG it’s been hell. Since the beginning Audra and I have either been just behind the trend or before it. Bad publishers, horrible editors, publishers closing, orphaned pieces… But it’s made us stronger for it, and now we know what we want out of our career.

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

S.A.:
We are working on the sequel to SOMETHING DARKER, GIVING UP THE GHOST and I'm finishing up a side project that’s a steampunk erotic. We always work on no less then 3 projects at a time, it keeps the writers block at bay.

A.L.:
A lot of what’s written in this book comes from personal experiences you’ve had on the road as a band manager. Can you tell us your favorite “on the road” adventure?

S.A.:
LOL not really, its seriously messed up. I can tell you that experiences are awesome, and to have them in this kind of arena, is a beautiful thing, but it is NOT like it is in a lot of the books you read, or in Almost Famous. This kinda life leaves scars on you, and I don’t recommend it to anyone.

A.L.:
You’ve written a lot of books! What’s your favorite character ever? And your favorite world ever?

S.A.:
I’m partial to Drake, our ice demon bodyguard, who’s book isn’t out yet. He’s a jerk and crass and an asshole, but that is what makes him fun.

A.L.:
If you could pick only one of your books for someone to read, which would it be and why?

S.A.:
Shit. that’s a hard one. I would say Sugar and Sin, because it leads to the others. From that book you can read the rest of the Eververse series, or Dante’s Book You Burn me, or start the Dragon Elementals series, Or the Weresnake novellas and novel, or even our Djinn series as almost all our books interlace in some way.

The Giveaway:
S.A. is giving away a digital version of GIVING UP THE GHOST.

Giving Up the Ghost:  Rhys Bellamy is the front man for the wildly successful 13 Shades of Red, a band hailing from New Orleans that is just a bit more then they appear. He’s sexy, caustic and on a path of self destruction that has everything to do with the fact that he can speak to the dead. A man hounded by the death of his fiancĂ©e, Rhys is a lothario of the highest caliber. His life, his band, and his agony celebrates his lost love, Phaedra, and it has made him a very popular man with the ladies, even if they will never mean anything to him. Too bad Phaedra has never and will never contact him.

When the band’s first US tour meets with some unforeseen management issues, Saffron Richards is brought in to take care of it. A veteran of the business, Saffron knows all about Rhys and his reputation and doesn’t want to become another notch on his belt. Too bad fate has it in for the both of them, and gives them an attraction neither can deny.

But life on the road with an up and coming band has its problems, from bosses to groupies to just plain old flat tires. And Phaedra, who has been watching from the mists and reveling in the misery of her lost lover doesn’t want to see him happy. Being together is harder than it sounds, especially when Phaedra crosses the veils on All Hallows Eve to reignite the love that Saffron has set to ash in Rhys. And Phaedra is not giving him up without a fight. Not because she loves him, but because she doesn't ever want him to forget.


Read Goodreads Reviews.
Buy on Amazon

How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the 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

Monday, February 18, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Feature Friday: Christine Johnson

Christine Johnson is the author of Claire de Lune, Nocturne, and The Gathering Dark. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her family and the world's best dog. You can find her online at www.christinejohnsonbooks.com

Interview:

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

Christine:
Read. And keep reading. And the write. And keep writing. And then read some more. Really, there’s no substitute for immersing yourself in and then practicing your craft.

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

Christine:

There’s no way I can answer this question. Really. I can tell you that my favorite book RIGHT THIS SECOND is probably EVERY DAY by David Levithan, because it’s a phenomenal concept and the writing is just amazing. Tomorrow, though, I’ll undoubtedly have a totally different answer to this question.

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for The Gathering Dark?

Christine:
NPR. Seriously. I’d had an idea for a story about a girl who was involved in an alternate universe, but I couldn’t quite get the details pinned down. Then, one day while I was driving home, I heard a story on NPR about the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. The story gave a brief overview of dark matter, this stuff that is all around us, and yet is completely invisible, and I knew, right then, that I finally had the rest of my idea.

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

Christine:
Finding the right beginning was a serious challenge. I rewrote it at least a dozen times, in a number of different settings. It was just a tough story to find my way into, but when I finally hit the right opening, I knew it.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in The Gathering Dark is your favorite and why?

Christine:
I refuse to say Keira or Walker, because truly, they’re cop-out answers. Of course they’re my favorites. I did develop a particular affinity for Smith. His character changed a lot over the course of my revisions, and I have a soft spot for him now - his life’s been a lot harder than I originally envisioned.

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

Christine:
I don’t have a degree in English or creative writing. I started this journey like a lot of other people - with a passion for books and the desire to tell a really good story. I wrote a slew of novels that went unpublished (because they were truly unpublishable) before I finally signed with my agent, Caryn Wiseman, and wrote CLAIRE DE LUNE. NOCTURNE and THE GATHERING DARK came along afterwards, and now . . . here I am.

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

Christine:
I’m working on something new that I’m very excited about. And that’s all I can say. *gives you serious look of seriousness* *seriously*

A.L.:
You'll be editing an anthology of dark faerie-tale retellings written by some very distinguished authors over this coming year.  Can you tell us a little bit about how the project came together and your feelings about it?

Christine:
Yes! GRIM! I am very excited about this anthology. I’ve always loved fairy tales, but awhile back, I was rereading some of the original stories and I realized just how dark they are. People have spent a lot of time lately, accusing YA of being too dark, and yet The Brothers Grimm are dark as could be. I thought it would be so fun to put together a collection of those same tales, retold for a contemporary audience, but without any of the fluff that we often associate with the sort of sanitized fairy tales we’re used to reading.

A.L.:
You mention in your bio that you took way too many credits in college because you kept taking interesting sounding classes.  So, what were some of the interesting classes?  Which one did you love most?  Do you find that they influence your work as a writer?

Christine:
I loved so many classes - the existentialism course I took, the stage combat class, the one about gothic novels. I have a broad range of interests, and I find that that, more than anything, is what helps my work. I’m as likely to pick up a non-fiction book about genetic mutation as I am a regency romance, or a YA novel.

A.L.:
What was the worst job you had and which was the best?  (other than being a writer, of course)

Christine:
The worst job I ever had was a very brief stint I did in telemarketing, during a summer vacation in college. I was terrible at it, and I loathed every second. I will say, it did forever alter how I speak to unwanted callers. There’s never an excuse to be rude - they’re only calling you because they have to! My favorite non-writing job was probably teaching yoga. I loved it!

The Giveaway:
Christine is giving away a signed copy of THE GATHERING DARK and some bookmarks!

The Gathering Dark:  A mysterious teen boy knows the secrets of Keira’s dangerous hallucinations in this gripping romantic fantasy from the author of Claire de Lune.

Keira’s hallucinating. First it’s a door hovering above the road; then it’s a tree in her living room. But with her parents fighting and her best friend not speaking to her, Keira can’t tell anyone about her breakdown.

Until she meets Walker. They have an electric connection, and somehow he can see the same shadowy images plaguing Keira.

But trusting Walker may be more dangerous than Keira could have ever imagined. The more she confides in him, the more intense—and frightening—her visions become. Because Walker is not what he appears to be. And neither are her visions.



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

How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the 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

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Pug-nacious Call to Arms!

Hi Everyone!
So, today's post is a call to arms!  As some of you know, I'm very active in the east-coast Steampunk movement, a previous (but no less spiritual) resident of Connecticut, and a voracious animal lover.  I've just learned that a fellow artist, Steampunker, and Connecticut resident needs a little bit of help with an issue with his family pet.  I'm just headlining this to see if any of you would like to help out. :D

Here's his SOS and if you'd like to help out, please click on the link to the original page down below.  Thanks so much!

"Hi My name is Joey Marsocci better known as Steampunk Artist Dr. Grymm of www.DrGrymmLaboratories.net and I have a dillema on my hands that I could really use your help and support on. My dog Stitch who is better know to the world as the original "SteamPug" (http://tinyurl.com/axneovl) recently became very ill. Stitch is a rescue dog and besides being a mascot for my company, he is our household pet and the best friend of my 3 year old son, Jack. Honestly, our house is not a home without him.
 
Recently Stitch suffered a slipped disk in his back causing him horrible pain, and due to his nervous nature and chewing on his tale to help him cope, he is in desperate need of dental work to help with some horrible ulcers in his mouth and removal of his canine teeth.
 
Being that we are a small business and financial situations being the way they are these days, we are stuggling to come up with the money to get this work done on him and relieve his pain, so we are reaching out to the community for help. Realistically we need to get his dental work done with in the next two months and we have already spent several hundred dollars on him for treatment and medication. We know times are tight for all of us, but every little bit would help Stitch. We have set up some offer rewards for you in exchange for your assistance. I may be Grymm, but I'm not too proud to beg. Steampug needs your help!
 
Thank you.
Joey Marsocci & Allison Deblasio of Dr. Grymm Laboratorie"

HELP THE STEAMPUG!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Muse: Imagine Dragons - It's Time


I love this song. Especially the instrumentals. The video, while promising at first, is sleepy. -.-

Friday, February 8, 2013

Feature Friday: April Lindner

April Lindner the author of Jane, a contemporary retelling of the classic novel Jane Eyre, published by Poppy, and of Catherine, a Wuthering Heights retelling, due out in early 2013. April is also a poet.  Her new poetry collection, This Bed Our Bodies Shaped, was just published by Able Muse Press, and her first collection, Skin, will be coming back into print in early 2013. She also writes literary criticism and edits poetry anthologies.  Last but far from least, she is a professor of English at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

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

April:
Read, read, read, and read some more.  The more widely you read, the stronger and more original your own voice will become. 

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

April:
Jane Eyre is my all time favorite novel.  There’s something about the blend of Jane’s quiet strength and her vulnerability that I’ve always found very moving.  Besides, Jane Eyre is a love story about not losing yourself when you fall in love—as relevant a topic today as ever.

A.L.:
What made you want to start writing modern retellings of books like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights?

April: 
I love to read modern retellings—or any kind of retelling of classic literature.  I guess I’m obsessive.  When I love something, I can’t get enough of it—sometimes even rereading a book isn’t enough.  Writing a retelling is another way of getting back into a novel I love, getting to know its characters better as I spend more time with them.  Best of all, it’s a way of interacting with them, having a kind of conversation with them.

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

April:
I hit many snags.  The main one was that I included a lot of characters who weren’t strictly necessary to the plot, but who were based on characters in Wuthering Heights. There was a character based on Nellie Dean, the gossipy servant who tells most of the story, and another based on Mr. Lockwood, the outsider who bumbles into Wuthering Heights and listens to Nellie’s tales. Over time, it became clear that none of these characters were strictly necessary to my version of the story.  It hurt to cut them away, but the book is stronger and more streamlined without them.

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

April:
I’m fondest of Hence, the character based on Heathcliff.  When we first meet him, he’s been hardened by life.  He’s angry and defensive, because, like Heathcliff, he’s been hurt over and over by the people he considers family. Hence has a whole backstory, but I didn’t include it in Catherine because I wanted him to be as much of a mystery as Heathcliff was to his adoptive family.  I’ll say here that I envision Hence as fleeing an abusive childhood, and having a certain amount of shame about the things he had to do to survive, which is why he isn’t willing to share even the most innocuous details about his childhood with Catherine. 

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

April: 
Ever since I learned to read, I’ve wanted to be a writer.  I started out writing a little bit of everything: fiction, poetry, screenplays, even a rock opera.  I always thought I would write novels some day.  That changed in college, when I took a class with Mekeel McBride, an inspiring teacher and a wonderful poet in her own right, and I began to consider myself a poet.  For quite a while—decades, really--poetry and literary criticism about poetry were the primary things I wrote.  But I’ve always loved losing myself in the world of a novel, and hoped to write one of my own some day, if only I could come up with a premise that could hold my interest long enough. When I came up with the idea for Jane, I knew I’d finally found my premise.  I still write poetry, but these days my novels take up a lot of real estate in my head.

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

April:
I’ve been bitten by the modernization bug and I can’t seem to shake it.  Right now I’m working on an update of E. M. Forster’s A Room With a View, about American backpackers in Italy.

A.L.:
According to your bio page on your website, you've backpacked around Europe.  Can you tell us 1) about one of your favorite places to visit and 2) about one of the misadventures you had.

April:
At twenty-two, I set off for a two-month solo backpacking adventure.  I was terrified when I left, but travelling alone turned out to be so empowering; I found I could go anywhere, learn my way around, and teach myself enough of the language to get by.  One of my favorite things to do was just show up at a train station, pick a destination at random, and hop on a train. 

But to answer your questions, Venice was—and still is—my favorite city.  You can’t help but get lost in its twisty maze of streets and canals, and just when you think you’ll never reach your destination, you turn a corner and find yourself in St. Mark’s Square, with the Doge’s palace looming on one side and the glamorous byzantine St. Mark’s cathedral on the other.  There’s a hint of mist in the air, as you plunge so you plunge into St. Mark’s square, and when you emerge on the other side you find the cool sea green lagoon spread out in front of you.  It’s a magical place.

As for misadventures, I’ve had a few, but my all time favorites is, not surprisingly, Venice-based. I’d heard that the hostel in Venice had fleas, so with a couple of backpackers I met along the way, I decided to camp out on train station steps instead of paying for a night in a hostel.  I don’t think Venice lets people sleep in front of the train station anymore, but back then it was the thing to do, and the plaza in front of station was completely full of backpackers from all over the world as well as some homeless Venetians.  The whole scene was wild and weird and festive. Somebody had a boom box, and to this day whenever I hear Toto’s Africa I’m instantly back in Venice, huddled in a sleeping bag, laughing with friends, looking out over the moonlit Grand Canal, and wondering how I got there.

A.L.:
You teach creative writing at a college in Philadelphia.  What is your favorite assignment to give your students and why?

April:
I love to give my students any writing assignment and to write alongside them, because there’s such energy in a room full of people all writing at the same time.  I especially like to read a poem with the students and then immediately give them a writing exercise that grows out of that poem.  (An example: read “No” by Mark Doty, then write a poem about a time you said “no” or wanted to.)  I think writers—myself included—always write a bit more surprisingly when they’ve got another writer’s voice fresh in their ears.  And the great thing about a poetry assignment is that you might walk out of the class with a working draft of a whole new poem.

A.L.:
You have a guinea pig named Leeloo Dallas Multipass...I have to ask: What is the story behind giving her The Fifth Element name?

April:
I’m not generally a Sci-Fi fan, but a friend took me to see The Fifth Element when it first came out, and I was captivated by the film—the wild visual imagery, the love story at the center, and especially the character of Leeloo, who embodies love, but who is also a total badass.  Besides, my guinea pig is bright orange—like Leeloo’s hair.  And I never get tired of saying Multipass the way Leeloo says it: Moolteeepass.

The Giveaway:
April is giving away an ARC of Catherine!

CatherineA forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.


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

How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the 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 National Entrants only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Updates!

Hi everyone!

Just a quick update:  I finally got the A.L. Davroe short stories back up through Amazon Kindle.  AND I got a sexy new cover for Salvation Station.  Check it:



I'm excited for this cover because it actually reflects what the story is about.  Not like the old one (creepy mummy chick) which was the cover of the anthology that short was supposed to be in.  I got to pick out exactly what went on this cover and I purposely wanted it very dark and minimal.  And yes, that is Hershil, and yes there will be another story about his story.  I just need to finish the hundred million other projects I'm working on...

Anyway, they're up.  The only problem is...All my "likes" are gone!  So, over the next few features/giveaways can you make sure you go back in and re-like both "The Alchemist's Perfect Instrument" and "Salvation Station"?

Also, I have a special treat: I'm finally over the plot hump and making headway in The Krie Seekers (the next City Steam installment).  This one will be novella length and you can expect to see it very soon!

About ads:  As some of you may remember there was a little poll up on the sidebar a couple of days ago asking about what your opinion on ads was.  As you might have noticed, I get a fair amount of traffic to this blog and I put a lot of time into trying to give you guys fun giveaways.  I pay for some of the material given away myself (especially for the hops) and that adds up over time.  Because of that, I wanted to see if I could maybe make some of that money back by putting up ads.  According to the poll results (for those of you who participated), only one person was really against it and the rest of you either didn't care or wanted to see relevant ads.  My decision is this:  I WILL be putting up ads, however, I'll try and stick them someplace where they aren't really obnoxious or obvious (probably under everything on one sidebar).  I hope that's not enough for that one person who hates ads to abandon us, if so I'm sorry.  IF you see something interesting on the sidebar, go ahead and click it!  It's money for me to buy more books for you!  LOL

Thanks!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Feature Friday: Miriam Forster

Miriam Forster learned to read at the age of five, wrote her first story at the age of seven and has been playing with words ever since. In real life Miriam is a recovering barista and a bit of a hermit. But in her mind she’s a deadly international assassin-ninja and a fantastic dancer. When Miriam isn’t writing, she plots out fight scenes, obsesses about anthropology, nature shows and British television, and reads far too much.

Interview:

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

Miriam:

I'm going to sound like a broken record, but I really believe this. Write another book. Don't get stuck on a single project. Write--and read--widely and often.

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

Miriam:
The Giver by Lois Lowry. I'm always blown away by that book, and by the way the world is slowly revealed in such an impactful way. It's pretty amazing.

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for City of a Thousand Dolls?

Miriam:
I wanted to write a story about an estate where girls were being groomed for all kinds of different things. I thought it would be interesting to put a character in that world who wasn't being groomed for a specific task and see what would happen. The rest just kind of grew out of that.

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing City of a Thousand Dolls? What were they and how did you fix them?

Miriam:
Oh so many snags. I started in the wrong place, had too many characters, my main character was too passive. I fixed things by rewriting. Lots and lots of rewriting. I cut and combined characters, made sure Nisha took action, even if it was the wrong action, and rearranged the book several times. They say "writing is rewriting" and it's completely the truth.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in City of a Thousand Dolls is your favorite and why?

Miriam:
I've actually got a soft spot for Atiy, the first murder victim. She was exotically beautiful, but incredibly shy. She was being raised for a lifestyle that Nisha absolutely hates, but one which would have been a good choice for her personality and desires. To me, she kind of ended up representing the idea that there's no wrong way to be a girl. Plus her death is the catalyst for pretty much everything that happens in the book.

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

Miriam:
I started writing in high school, but didn't take it seriously until my mid-twenties. I took some writing classes, but my writing didn't really start improving until I got into a critique group. For a while, I wrote everything, short stories, articles, picture books. City of a Thousand Dolls was the second book I wrote, and it took me a year to write it and two years of revising and querying to find an agent. It sold soon after. :)

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

Miriam:
Companion novel! I can't talk too much about it yet, but there will be some crossover characters and some wider glimpses of the Empire. Should be fun.

A.L.:
City of a Thousand Dolls is considered a fresh South-Asian cross over novel by critics.  Can you tell us a little bit about what South Asian traits you sought to incorporate into your world?  In addition, can you tell us whether or not you sought to preserve these aspects or did you endeavor to "make them your own" in a fantasy setting?

Miriam:
"Considered by critics" is a phrase that still throws me. Sounds way too adult and professional. :)

I tend to build worlds from the ground up, focusing on the details. So all the little fiddly things, the food, the trees, the animals, weapons, etc, those are all related to--or taken from--South Asia. The Empire itself was originally based on the Indus River Valley area, but it ended up evolving into its own space. A similar thing happened with the caste system, which was inspired by India's social structure. They evolved to fit the needs of the book. But I tried to stay true to the South Asian feel, and keep the world firmly grounded there.

A.L.:

I'm sure other people have asked you this before, but I'm curious to know how you (being a modern woman) modeled a city created specifically for girls to be "groomed" for marriage and mistress-hood.  How did you get into their head-space?  Did you try to make them strong heroines who tried to break their societal bonds?  Or did you make your world a frame-work to display societal inequalities?  Or was it all a lot simpler than that? LOL.

Miriam:
Actually, that's a great question! The answer is, it's a lot simpler than that. Sort of. :)

See, I'm really fascinated by people who work within their cultural systems. Social systems don't exist in a vacuum. They exist because they work on some level. If you can figure out how they work--and why they exist--it becomes much easier to put yourself in someone else's headspace. The girls in the City were not only raised to accept their assigned places but to find power in them. And it helps that many of them had been rescued from worse fates.

It doesn't make the system fair, obviously. Both the City of a Thousand Dolls and the Empire have serious flaws. But you can't just take away the bad parts without understanding how that will affect the whole. Change comes both from people who can work inside the system and people who can stand up to it.

For that reason I wanted Nisha, my main character, to specifically NOT be a rebel. To be someone who was just trying to find her place in an unfair world, who had to balance survival and being true to herself. She ends up effecting change but not by being a the typical rebellious "strong heroine."

A.L.:
You're a fan of British television.  What's your favorite British television show and why?

Miriam:
Sherlock, hands down. I love the writing on that show, the way that the characters interact, the plot twists, the acting.... all of it. Fantastic storytelling all around.

The Giveaway:
Miriam is giving away an autographed copy of a poster of City of a Thousand Dolls.

City of a Thousand DollsAn exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure.

Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.

Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.


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


How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the 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 National Entrants only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway