Friday, September 9, 2016

Feature Friday: Lou Anders

Apologies for not having any Monday Muses or Feature Fridays for the summer.  I've been on insane deadlines and the blog got docked for it!

Today I've got the fabulous Mr. Lou Anders visiting!

Lou Anders is the author of Frostborn, Nightborn, and the forthcoming Skyborn, the three books of the Thrones & Bones series of Norse-themed fantasy adventure novels written for boys and girls equally. He was the 2016 Children’s Writer in Residence at Thurber House of Columbus, Ohio, where he spent a month teaching and writing while living in a haunted historical building. Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction. He has published over five hundred articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature. A prolific speaker, Anders regularly attends writing conventions around the country. He and his family reside in Birmingham, Alabama. You can visit Anders online at and, on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr, and on Twitter at @Louanders 


What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Write all the time. The most important advice I can give and the toughest to hear is this—your first effort isn’t any good. Writing is just like anything else. It has to be practiced repeatedly for a long time to acquire the skill. No one would expect a beginning pianist to play Chopin’s Prelude No. 4 or someone who has never held a basketball before to compete in the NBA. I’m a very big believer in Malcolm Gladwell’s ten thousand hours, the idea that it takes roughly that amount of time to master a skill. Start now, write constantly, spend years. But the good news is—the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll arrive.

What's your favorite book and why?

It’s a toss up between two books. When I was young, I saw Robin Williams in the film, The World According to Garp and fell in love with the story. Subsequently, reading the novel by John Irving made me want to become a writer. But it was The Hobbit that made me fall in love with fantasy and showed me what I wanted to write. Those two books had a huge impact on my career as a writer.

Where do you feel the most inspiration?

I write standing up in the kitchen. But place isn’t really important. What inspires me is artwork, a really immersive video game experience, a wonderful film, a good book, a fascinating bit of history. Usually it’s a sense of grandeur in an otherworldly setting that sends me off, wanting to take a journey and explore.

With a few novels behind you, you must have hit a few snags along the way.  Which was the most memorable and how did you fix it?

Skyborn, the third Thrones & Bones novel, was a hard one to write. It needed to stand alone as its own story while also providing a satisfying conclusion to the two previous novels. It had to answer a lot of questions and tie up a lot of character arcs, while juggling multiple characters. It went through a pretty extensive restructuring too. But usually when I hit a snag it’s because a character’s desires aren’t clear enough and the fix is to go back and rewrite the introduction in a way that puts the motivation front and center.

Which one of the characters you've written is your favorite and why?

That’s a terrible question. They are all my favorite. But I’m very fond of writing dragons. Orm and Orma, from the Thrones & Bones series are great, and I have some more dragons coming up which I can’t wait to share with the world.

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

My journey is a strange one, and I’m not sure that it’s something another could duplicate. I grew up in Alabama at a time when the Deep South was a little deeper than it is now, and although I had a lot of friends, I never quite fit in or felt completely at home. Everyone said, “You must be a writer,” because they knew the south occasionally produced those (William Faulkner and Truman Capote were frequently mentioned). So I went to college and tried to write. And failed miserably. In a fifth year of a mostly directionless education, I fell in love with theater and did most of the courses required for an undergraduate degree. This got me a spot in a summer in Oxford acting program and from there I did a year on partial scholarship in London. I moved from London to Chicago with dreams of being an actor but ended up writing and directing small black box theater instead. Then I met a man named Dan Decker who taught screenwriting, and I moved to Hollywood. I worked in LA for five years as a journalist for Titan Magazines, spending days and days on the set of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Babylon 5, and its spinoff Crusade. I got to see how television was made across every department while writing some five hundred articles, mostly interviews with cast and crew. During this time, I wrote screenplays with a partner and though nothing was ever produced, we were paid for writing a few of them. Then an old friend hired me to run an online publishing site before there was such a thing and I rode the dot com bubble up and down. When it crashed, I knew as many people in publishing as I did in tech, and so I began to freelance edit. Then around 2010 I began to get the writing itch again, while at the same time wanting to produce something that was suitable for my children to read. After a few failed attempts I hit on the idea to write a book that would encapsulate all the joy I felt reading The Hobbit, would stand for both children and adults, but which would be more inclusive and diverse than the fantasy fiction of my own youth. And Frostborn was the result. These days I’m a full-time author, which means I spend half my time writing and half my time talking to kids about my worlds. And that’s a great way to live.


What are you working on now?  More Thrones & Bones?  Something new?

I just finished a new novel not in the Thrones & Bones series. It is more fairy tale than fantasy and has knights and dragons and other creatures. It’s out with readers now for initial feedback, and I’m quite pleased with it.  And I’ve begun work on something new about which I’ll say even less, except that I’ve taken one character from my series, aged them a few years, and sent them on a solo adventure.

You've been both an editor and an author at this point.  Can you tell me the pros and cons of each?

When I became a full-time author, a colleague said to me “expect your inbox to get a lot lighter.” It did. I loved working with authors. I loved working with artists even more. I don’t work with authors these days, but I continue to work with illustrators to create all the wonderful maps and character artwork for my fantasy world. I must say that, while I enjoyed my time as an editor and art director, and I’m very proud of the work that I did and very grateful for the relationships it afforded me, nothing compares with producing your own creative work.


Why did you choose to write for a middle age crowd and, likewise, why did you choose to work in the realm of Norse mythology?

A middle aged crowd? I think you mean a middle grade crowd, though I do have middle aged fans too! But my desire to write children’s books began with the urge to write something for my own kids. I edited a lot of fantasy books for the adult market that, while I am proud of them, weren’t appropriate to share with my children. I wanted something of mine they could interact with now. Also, my children are biracial, and I wanted to write about heroes who straddled two worlds in which they might see themselves. And I wanted to recapture the joy I felt reading fantasy when I was their age.


What is your favorite paranormal creature?  And your favorite myth/legend?

I like dragons. I really like dragons. But one of the fun things I’ve done in the Thrones & Bones series is plumb the depth of mythology for unusual creatures you might not have heard of, like draug (Frostborn) and tatzelwurms (Nightborn). And I love sharing those with readers. As for a favorite myth, when I was a child I was an enormous fan of King Arthur. Arthurian legend loomed very large for me. These days I have a renewed appreciation for Tolkien and for the myths that inspired him.

The Giveaway:
Lou is giving away a copy of Nightborn to US entrants!

Nightborn: For fans of Lloyd Alexander and Brandon Mull comes Book 2 in the acclaimed Thrones and Bones fantasy-adventure trilogy that began with Frostborn.
Karn Korlundsson is a gamer. Not a riddle solver. But in order to rescue his best friend, Thianna Frostborn, he will need to travel to the faraway city of Castlebriar (by wyvern), learn how to play a new board game called Charioteers (not a problem), decipher the Riddle of the Horn, and tangle with mysterious elves.

Meet Desstra. She’s in training to join the Underhand—the elite agents of the dark elves. When she crosses paths with Karn, she is not all that she appears to be.

Everyone is chasing after the horn of Osius, an ancient artifact with the power to change the world. The lengths to which Karn will go in the name of friendship will be sorely tested. Who knew that solving a riddle could be so deadly?

The novel includes instructions for playing the board game Charioteers. Visit for additional games, maps, character profiles, and more!

Praise for Nightborn

“Anders presents a captivating world.” —Kirkus Reviews

”[A]n adventure story with good pacing, well-drawn characters, and engaging action scenes.” —Booklist

Praise for Frostborn
“Future fans of Tolkien and George R. R. Martin can happily cut their serial-fantasy teeth on this first book of an eventual series.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A fun, fast-paced, and highly enjoyable tale.” —Garth Nix, bestselling author of the Abhorsen trilogy

“A powerful, fast-paced tale. . . . The setting is rich, the characters well-defined, and the danger ever-paramount.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred

“An excellent choice for readers new to the genre. The themes of staying true to oneself, teamwork, and individuality will resonate with readers.” —School Library Journal

“The most delightful fantasy I have read in ages. . . . Put me on the waiting list for book two!” —Amy Plum, international bestselling author of the Die for Me series

How to Enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 29, 2016

Cover Reveal for REDUX

Hi everyone!  Long type no post, I've been very busy churning out awesome new novels for you!  Speaking of, today is the cover reveal for the sequel to NEXIS, REDUX!  May I present:

Friday, July 29, 2016

Feature Friday: Colleen Houck on her RECREATED Dream Cast

Today we've got Colleen Houck giving us a guest post on her "dream cast" for her new novel, RECREATED.

Recreated:  From Colleen Houck, New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger’s Curse, comes Recreated, the second book in the epic Egyptian-inspired Reawakened series, in which a seventeen-year-old must literally go to hell to save the love of her life.

Lily Young thought traveling across the globe with a reawakened sun prince was a grand adventure. Now she’s about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.

When Amon and Lily part tragically, he transports himself to the Netherworld—what mortals call hell. Tormented by the loss of his one true love, he’d rather suffer in agony during Lily’s mortal years than fulfill his duty to protect humanity.

Heartbroken, Lily seeks refuge on her grandmother’s farm. Yet she can feel Amon’s pain, and she has been having dreams—dreams of Amon continually suffering.

For before he departed, Amon gave Lily something very special, an item that connects them even though they are worlds apart. Now Lily must use this object to free him, and to free their realms from darkness and utter chaos. She will do whatever it takes.

Recreated Dream Cast
If I had any say about which actors and actresses would play in the Reawakened series movie, should I be fortunate enough to make that a reality, I might choose something like this:

Lilliana Young
              Chloe Moretz                                Hailey Steinfeld
I chose these actresses because I wanted Lily to be strong, confident, and have the look of a girl sophisticated enough to walk down a New York City street and look like she belonged there. These two actresses look like they’d be comfortable in Manhattan but they would also fit in just fine on grandma’s farm in Iowa. That takes a special girl.

Lily’s Nana
Blythe Danner

Lily’s Nana is a spunky lady. She’s still very pretty for her age but she’s also a bit stubborn and tells it like it is. She’s the type of woman who might have raised a son to be tough enough to make it in NYC but she has the values of a farmer’s wife. She guides Lily through some difficult times in the series and she’s a great judge of character.

              Kostas Martakis                            Sean O’Pry

I chose these models for Amon because I like their look, especially in the shots where one is dressed up to look more Egyptian. I’ve also seen this model look very American so I’m not sure that he’s exactly the right fit but Amon has his lips and cheekbones.

Carmine Signorelli

I imagine a slightly younger version of this guy for Asten. He’s mischievous and handsome and he’s a powerful magician in his own right.
Khaled Selim

Ahmose is a little bigger than his brothers. His smile is less frequent but he’s a solid rock that Lily comes to lean on. This guy has the eyes.

Dr. Hassan
Zahi Hawass
When I first began researching Egypt, I watched a lot of documentaries that were hosted by Zahi Hawass. He is exactly how I imagine Dr. Hassan, right down to the hat.

 Will Lemay
Amun-Ra is a tall, gorgeous black man. He's the main god that all the others obey. He rules the cosmos from his palace in the city of the gods, Heliopolis.

 Goksun Ergur
Horus is the son of Isis and Osiris. He has been the thorn in the side of Seth for centuries. In RECREATED he is in exile under the protection of Amun-Ra. He's a bit of a womanizer and his actor seems to fit the part perfectly.

James Gandy
Anubis is the dark lord of mummification. He's cheeky, has a lot of secrets, and loves his dog. This actor seems just about right.
Lee Thompson Young
Osiris is the god of agriculture. He's a bit of the handsome football captain/student body president type that everyone admires. Seth hates him because of this. Isis falls for him but he's too much of a rule follower to jump into the forbidden relationship right away.

K.D. Aubert                                           Sydney Tamiia Poitier
Isis is tall and strikingly beautiful. She falls for Osiris but has to talk him into the relationship since the gods are not allowed to be together. She is a master spell caster and Seth desire her not just for her beauty but for her ability.

Elisha Cuthbert                             Skylar Day
Nephthys is Isis' sister. She's a gifted seer. She is Seth's wife but not all is as it seems in their relationship. Nephthys works in the Netherworld to help keep things in order but she lives in Heliopolis most of the time.

 Stephen Root

Cherty is a ferryman better known as Charon. He's a surly boat captain who takes the ghosts of the dead to the Afterlife for judgment. He's a bit crusty and rough around the edges.

Emilia Clarke                         Camilla Belle
Ma'at is beautiful but she's very stern and unapproachable. Her role is the judge in the Afterlife. She can weave spells too but not as well as Isis.

The Giveaway:
Colleen Houck will be giving away FIVE REAWAKENED & RECREATED BOOK SETS!
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Monday, July 11, 2016

Monday Muse: Crown the Empire -- Machines

I am very into songs about machines lately. It's because I'm working on the sequel to Nexis...There will be a playlist.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Monday Muse: Christina Perri -- I Believe

This is my obligatory "crud, my life is falling apart...but here's my smile and here's me giving good vibes to all of you because of it" post. Gotta hold on and all that jazz.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Monday Muse: Kiesza -- Hideaway

This is what happens when I go shopping. I start Shazaming what stores are playing and it cascades from there...Also, dancing in stores happens.

Friday, May 6, 2016

M.I.A. is on its way...

Did you guys know that I'm on Wattpad?  And that I've been releasing a new book in increments?  Yup...You should read it.  You should vote for it too... ;D  CLICK HERE TO READ IT!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Monday, April 4, 2016

Friday, April 1, 2016

Feature Friday: Kelley Armstrong

It's been awhile since there was a Feature Friday, but as promised, I'm trying to do a couple a year just to keep you all on your toes.  To kick off this April Fool's day we have a lady who is no one's fool, Ms. Kelley Armstrong, a seasoned and acclaimed author who I am very excited took the time to visit with us!

Kelley Armstrong is the author of the Cainsville modern gothic series and the Age of Legends YA fantasy trilogy. Past works include Otherworld urban fantasy series, the Darkest Powers & Darkness Rising teen paranormal trilogies, the Nadia Stafford crime trilogy and the co-written Blackwell Pages middle-grade fantasy trilogy. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her family.

What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

My advice is horribly boring. Read everything you can get your hands on and write whenever you get the chance. Writing is a craft and the only way to improve at a craft is to work at it. That means not only writing but actively working to improve by taking courses, reading writing books, joining writing groups, seeking feedback and, perhaps most importantly, learning how to accept and apply feedback. If you wanted to become an artist, you wouldn't expect to pick up a brush and immediately paint a masterpiece. Don't expect that from writing either.

What's your favorite book and why?

I usually say that my favourite is Pride & Prejudice, but only because I have so many that it's hard to choose one! Others include Watership Down by Richard Adams and anything by Stephen King.

Where do you feel the most inspiration?

I’m more inspired by wild places than cities. That said, I can be just as inspired sitting at home and reading a news story that sparks an idea.

With such a hefty booklist behind you, you must have hit a few snags along the way. Which was the most memorable and how did you fix it?

Starting a new series is always tough. It’s tempting to ride a series for as long as I can, but I know better. I have to end while it’s still fresh and start something new, and that means that readers won’t be thrilled with me for moving onto a new series while they feel there’s still life in the old one. I accept that there will be bumps in the transition, but it’s the path I’ve chosen for my career.

Which one of the characters you've written is your favorite and why?

Ah, that's like being asked to pick my favourite child! Like my kids, all my main characters are my "favourite" for something. For example, in the Age of Legends trilogy, I love Moria for her attitude and her kick-ass ways, but I’m equally fond of Ashyn as the quieter and more thoughtful sister.

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

In my twenties I started working on novels, and would sporadically send out query letters and sample chapters, but never got anything more than a form letter rejection. So I gave up and concentrated on improving.

When I finished Bitten, I had an instructor look at it, to see how well I was progressing. He offered to recommend it to an agent, and things happened very quickly from there. Within a couple of months I went from being unpublished to having multiple book contracts. So it was a long empty road, with a very quick stop at the end!

What are you working on now? Sequel? Something new?

The Age of Legends trilogy is done. My next YA—a thriller, Missing, coming in April 2017—is also done. That’s the way the industry works. I’m currently writing the book after Missing, another standalone YA thriller, not due out until spring 2018.

You've written in many different genres at this point. Can you tell me the pros and cons of writing for each?

I don’t think I’ve ever thought of it that way. I don’t see it as a question of pros and cons, whether for writing or marketing. To me, switching genres is just a natural part of storytelling. I didn’t grow up reading one genre, and so I don’t want to write one genre. A story comes to me and I write it, regardless of whether it’s the sort of thing I’ve written before.

Likewise, you've written for many different age groups. What's your favorite age group to write for and why?

While many adults read YA and many teens read adult, the two age groups can be very different as audiences. Teens are more outwardly enthusiastic…and more outwardly demanding! They’re quick to tell you it’s “the best book ever!” and equally quick to tell you they were not pleased. Different audiences, but I love them both equally.

What is your favorite paranormal creature? And your favorite myth/legend?

I've always been partial to werewolves, and I've done them the most, so they're the easiest to write and my favourite. I don’t have a favourite legend, but I am partial to Norse myth, which is why it was so much fun to co-write the Blackwell Pages.

The Giveaway:
Kelley will be giving away a copy of Sea of Shadows (Int).

Sea of Shadows:  In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

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

How to Enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday Muse: Duplessy and The Violins of the World

So, apparently Mongolian Gypsy Fusion is a thing and this is it. Not only does it have some of my favorite instruments (the ehru is a vastly underused piece of awesome), but it also makes me bounce. I like bouncy things.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Muse: UCD Choral Scholars -- Mo Ghille Mear

You know I've got this weakness for Irish music...I'll admit to being a little afraid of watching this video because this choral group looks a little scary to me...But, they make up for it with pretty voices.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday Muse: Black Lab -- Lonely Boy

I've been really good about not giving you a lot of Black Lab (even though I have a love affair with a large portion of his music), so I think that a 3+ year wait means it's about time for some more!!! Enjoy this little gem.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday Muse: Emmy Rossum -- Slow Me Down

If you recognize her it's because she played Christine in Phantom of the Opera. She also has a solo career! I've known that for a while, but maybe you haven't, so I'm gonna share this song cause it's one of my favorites by her.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday Muse: The Veronicas -- Sanctified

So, I knew I'd like this as soon as it came across my earphones because of the soulful background. But, can we please talk about how this is like NOLA meets SneakPimps. I just want to roll around in it. ALL OF IT.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday Muse: Islander -- Coconut Dracula

It's been stuck in my head for forever. I'm sorry. Yet, I'm not. Cause it's a fun song.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday Muse: Vienna Teng -- The Hymn of Acxiom

Holy hannah. Can we just talk about this song please? The lyrics and the verses, first of all. But the synthesized choral aspects? They totally lend something to the techno-angel feel of this song.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday, January 4, 2016

Monday Muse: Disturbed -- The Sound of Silence

One of my favorite bands singing one of my favorite songs? Nothing could be wrong with this. Nothing at all.