Archive | September 2013

Interview with author Shannon A. Thompson

Minutes Before Sunset    Over the past few months, I have gotten to know author Shannon A. Thompson and I have excitedly awaited the opportunity to present the interview that I did with her. A fun side note before you enjoy the review, I mentioned in a previous review that most of the reviews and interviews that I post are a result of getting to know authors through Facebook chats, Tweets, and emails over time. I love to have the opportunity to be able to present reviews and interviews for my friends. The last review that I posted, EDGE OF TRUTH, was by my friend and author Natasha Hanova. When I found out that my two friends Shannon A. Thompson and Natasha Hanova lived fairly close to each other, I introduced them and they are now friends with each other as well 🙂 I know that several fans of my page expressed an interest in Natasha’s book, EDGE OF TRUTH, and I hope that you will also add Shannon A. Thompson’s book, MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET, to your To Be Read list. It sounds fascinating. At the end of her interview, I will post a blurb of her book and links to access it. There will also be a GIVEAWAY link, at the bottom of this page, for a chance to win your own eBook copy of MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET!!

My interview with author SHANNON A. THOMPSON

1. Shannon, MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET, sounds awesome and the reviews are fantastic. I love paranormal YA stories. In fact I just added it to my own Goodreads, TBR list! For those out there who haven’t had the opportunity to hear about your book, sum it up in 3 sentences or less.

The Light is evil, the Dark is good, and prophecies aren’t guaranteed. Minutes Before Sunset is an exploration of identity, fate, and choice, but it’s also a paranormal romance. Minutes Before Sunset happens through the minds of two young adults as they struggle to survive their paranormal realities and find balance in their human lives

2. It sounds like you’ve been writing from a young age. Have you always wanted to be a writer? At what point did you decide that you had a story in your head that needed to get out to be shared with the world?

I have been writing as long as I can remember, and I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I even posted a picture of a short story I wrote in the first grade where we were asked on the back page what we wanted to be, and I said a “book author.” I was six, but I didn’t take the dream seriously until 2003. I was eleven when my mother suddenly died, and we shared a love for words. Because of that, I knew I wanted to spend my life chasing my dream, and I had to start immediately. My first novel, November Snow, was published four years later. Since then I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to have more publications: a poetry collection, the Timely Death trilogy, and a short story coming in an anthology this October. I will continue, but my ultimate hope is to be in the position to help others follow their dreams.

3. I love imagining my book one day being turned into a movie and like to picture the actors who would star in it. If MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET was turned into a movie, who do you imagine would play the roles of your two main characters, Eric and Jessica?

What a question. I like to imagine my books as movies as I write as well, but if the opportunity ever came up, I hope I’d have the chance to hold open-casting calls. I want the perfect Eric and Jessica, but I also want to give new actors and actresses a chance at their dream.

4. I read on Goodreads that MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET is the first novel in a series. What are your plans for upcoming books? Any new releases coming up soon?It’s the first in A Timely Death trilogy. Seconds Before Sunrise is scheduled to release this fall. Yes, THIS fall, and I’m really excited to share the next part of the story. The conclusion, Death Before a New Day, is scheduled to release in the spring of 2014. Readers can expect even more twists from the next two books.

5. Besides writing, are there any other hobbies or interests that you are passionate about?I really love older movies, especially if they have Humphrey Bogart in them. I actually named my cat, Bogart, after him, because my love for his movies is borderline obsessive. Other than watching Casablanca, Sabrina, and Key Largo on a regular basis, I love traveling, reading, photography, and attempting cooking (or making small kitchen fires in my case.)

6. I read that your cat’s name is Humphrey Bogart. So cute! I’m guessing that you enjoy Humphrey Bogart movies? Do you have a favorite movie? Humphrey Bogart or otherwise?

As said above, I absolutely love Humphrey Bogart. My favorite is Casablanca, which I first came across in 2007. I can practically recite the entire movie I’ve watched it so many times. But I also love other people from that era of entertainment. Elvis Presley is my favorite singer, and he’s currently in my car stereo right now. I probably would’ve named my cat Presley if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m waiting until I get a large, shaggy, preferably black dog to be given that name.

7. I was just checking out your blog. It’s very impressive! I’m going to include a link to your blog so that readers can follow it. Who are authors or bloggers that you like to follow?

Nathan Bransford is one of the main ones I follow, but he’s well-known, and I’d rather take this opportunity to share some bloggers from the WordPress community I really appreciate: Ky Grabowski, Read to Write Stories, Nada Faris, Tuan Ho, Dan Pantagram, Tim Flanagan, and Michael Fedison. They are all amazing, and there are so many more I wish I could share, but it’d end up being an entire document! WordPress is an amazing family I am so grateful I joined last September.

8. What are your top three favorite books that you’ve read so far this year?

I read a lot of different genres, so I want to give my favorite in them:YA Fiction: Requiem by Lauren Oliver, a brilliant end to an even more brilliant trilogy. I loved how she challenged how societies are morphed by culture by using texts we have and altering them to her world. This happens mainly in the first book, but the entire trilogy kept me on my toes. Nonfiction: My War Gone By, I Miss It So by Anthony Loyd. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s about the cruelty of war, but if you can handle the controversial scenes, this book will challenge and move you. Poetry: Unmemntioable by Eric Moure (yes, that is the spelling.) I was in love the entire way through this collection. I have already reread it five times. It’s also about war, but it’s also about finding out who you are and where you come from as well as your perception of language and how it shapes you.

9. When I write, I like to make sure I have my favorite beverage and snack on hand, and depending on who is in the house at the time, I prefer to write in a big, oversized chair in my bedroom. What about you? What are your favorite “must-haves” that set up your ideal writing-comfort-zone? 🙂

Surprisingly, I write best in chaos, meaning I love writing in public places. I need a lot of people and noise around me. I can’t really listen to one song, because I get distracted by lyrics, but I still listen to it every now and then. Currently, my number one place for writing is at Ice Fire Hookah Lounge in Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

10. There are so many fantastic YA books out on the market. How is MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET different from other YA paranormal books?

I like to challenge archetypes, so the Light and the Dark is flipped as well as seasons and other commonly used symbols in literature. The main example in Minutes Before Sunset is the Light and the Dark. The Light is evil, while the Dark is good, but I will say the line blurs. Another one readers seem to consistently like is the prophecy. It isn’t set in stone like the traditional prophecy. It changes big time, and it continues to change throughout the trilogy. I also try to focus on having a productive heroine and healthy relationship example for teens to see and relate to. Beyond that, I like stretching the stereotypes of teens. For instance, Crystal, Jessica’s best friend, is seen as a “punk,” but it really comes down to how she dresses. She still has a dream of being a journalist and she loves social events. I did this to show that how you look doesn’t define who you are, and I hope young readers can relate to the characters because of that. To add to this, (I know, more?) it’s told from two different perspectives, one male and one female, in the hopes of reaching out to both genders. In terms of the paranormal, I created the creatures—shades and lights—in the hopes of stretching outside the usual supernatural beings used in the genre.

Minutes Before Sunset blurb:

She was undoubtedly a shade, but I didn’t know her.

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

He had gotten so close to me—and I couldn’t move—I couldn’t get away.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

Buy on Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/mbeda5d

Buy on Barnes & Noble:  http://tinyurl.com/mtzwunu

Add to your Goodreads list:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17801911-minutes-before-sunset

Enter to win an eBook copy of MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET! Click on the Rafflecopter link now to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review of EDGE OF TRUTH by Natasha Hanova

EdgeOfTruth.indd  I am excited to present a review of EDGE OF TRUTH by Natasha Hanova. Since I have published my own book I have loved getting to know other authors. It’s hard to believe that when I began my own publishing journey four months ago I didn’t know any other authors, and now there are several authors who I am happy to call a friend, this includes Natasha Hanova. Of course, once I get to know an author, I am compelled to want to read his or her book. I got to know Natasha the opposite way. I found her book first and then got to know her 🙂 I had added EDGE OF TRUTH to my Goodreads to-read list, and then contacted her to review it. My policy is, I’ll only review a book if it’s one I actually want to read, and EDGE OF TRUTH sounded fantastic!

A YA dystopian novel, EDGE OF TRUTH, is centered on Rena Moon, a teenage girl who is going through the day-to-day motions of school and her monotonous internship while attempting to hide her supernatural abilities. For those who aren’t familiar with the new dystopian genre, think Hunger Games, a futuristic, post-disaster, new-world sort of story. Rena isn’t happy with the governmental system and dreams of one day making enough money to move away to a better city. She’s not afraid to break a rule here and there and acknowledges that she won’t stay in her cookie cutter life forever.

After stepping a little too far out of the boundaries, she unceremoniously meets Nevan, who ends up being her saving grace. It doesn’t hurt that she’s had a major crush on him forever, and it almost seems too good to be true that the guy she’s dreamed about is suddenly a central part of her life. It doesn’t take long for the reader to discover why she likes him so much. Not only is he completely good looking, but he’s also talented and has a great personality.

Even though Rena likes him, she is leery of trusting anyone with her huge secrets. In the current government, it is not okay to have supernatural abilities. Those who display unique gifts tend to disappear, and that makes it difficult to put too much trust in anyone. She has also discovered a way that may one day break her free from her preordained future. She wants to open up to Nevan completely but is understandably hesitant.

I love the characters in the story, even the supporting characters like Rena’s best friend, Blaze, and Nevan’s adorable sister, Chai. Each character has unique personality traits that are cleverly developed and help to carry the story. EDGE OF TRUTH was a fast-read, page turner, and as I was reading it, I kept wondering if there was going to be a sequel because I didn’t want the story to end. In fact, as soon as I finished the story, I had to contact Natasha to ask her if she had plans for a sequel. I won’t reveal what she told me, but I will say that any future books this talented writer publishes I will definitely be reading!

Enter the rafflecopter link for a chance to win your own eBook copy of EDGE OF TRUTH and click on the links to follow Natasha on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve also included a Goodreads link so you can add EDGE OF TRUTH to your own to-read list 🙂

Blurb:

Citizens who report to work on time, obey the Overlord’s laws, and stay off the Synbot’s radar, live long lives. Long, dull, monotonous lives.

It’s not a bad plan for someone with a hidden, emotion-based ability to trigger earthquakes. In a world pitted against her, sixteen-year-old Rena Moon strives for a life beyond working herself to death at the factory. Seeing an alternative, she risks selling relics from the forbidden lands at Market. It becomes the worst decision she ever made. Someone kidnaps her best friend in exchange for the one thing that would end her oppression.

Driven by loyalty, Rena and seventeen-year-old Nevan Jelani, soulful composer, green thumb extraordinaire, and the secret love of her life, plot to rescue her friend and reclaim her salvage. Still, the thought lingers whether Nevan is a true hero or another thief waiting for his chance at her loot. Events spin wildly, deepening Rena’s suspicions and pushing her limit of control. With more than her chance for freedom at stake, she must decide if she’s willing to kill to protect what’s precious to her. For once, the Overlord isn’t holding all the power, but can Rena live with being reduced to what she’s trying so hard to escape?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNatashaHanova

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/NatashaHanova

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Edge-of-Truth-ebook/dp/B00D6QMR4C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379106003&sr=8-1&keywords=edge+of+truth

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/edge-of-truth-natasha-hanova/1115469946?ean=9781938404597

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16161287-edge-of-truth?from_search=true

Rafflecopter giveaway of OVER THE EDGE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Author Suzanne Carroll

Over the EdgeI am thrilled to present an interview with Suzanne Carroll. An author from Sydney, Australia, I have enjoyed chatting with Suzanne and getting to know her over the past few months, and I am happy to be able to call her my friend. Not only is she my friend, but she is also a very talented romance author. I have just finished reading her debut novel, OVER THE EDGE, and give it 5 enthusiastic stars. The characters were authentic and likeable, the conversations seemed real, and it was a fast, easy read. I also caught myself laughing out loud several times, which I don’t often do when I read 🙂

Her sweet, funny personality comes out in her interview. I encourage all of my romance author fans to read her outstanding book. Links are provided at the end of the interview so that you can purchase OVER THE EDGE and follow her on Facebook. She is also offering one eBook copy in a giveaway. You’ll find the link for the giveaway at the end of the interview as well 🙂

1. What inspired you to write OVER THE EDGE? Was it an idea that slowly formed over time or did
it suddenly hit you? Once you had the idea in your head, did you begin writing immediately or did it
take a while to get started?

Mm, well, it’s a bit of both, really.  The opening scene with Zoe running away from her wedding planner suddenly hit me after a conversation about wedding disasters, but from there the rest was more of a slow formation.  As for writing it down, I wrote that first scene, then mulled the rest over for a while, sorting it out in my head before putting it to paper.

2.  The reviews for OVER THE EDGE on Amazon and Goodreads are amazing! For anyone who hasn’t
read the book, one glance at the reviews would definitely convince people to read it. Now that your
debut novel has been so well received, do you have any future projects in the works?

Thank you J   I am working on something new.  Another romantic comedy but this one has a bit of mystery running through it.

3.  In one sentence, sum up OVER THE EDGE.

Over The Edge is about living the life you want, not the life you think you’re supposed to have.

4.  I always have to ask about food because that is one of my favorite things 🙂 What is your favorite
writing snack and beverage?

Oh dear, I’m going to fail this question, lol!  I’m afraid I forget to eat or drink when I’m writing and then I sit at the keyboard stupidly wondering why I’ve got a headache and my mouth is so dry!  That’s when I get up and grab whatever’s in the cupboard.  But, having said that, I love fruit-and-nut chocolate.  And pasta.  But not together.  Of course.

5.  I am fascinated with the fact that you live in Australia. I’ve wanted to visit Australia, since the first time I saw Crocodile Dundee when I was a kid, LOL 🙂 If I was to take a vacation to your town and you were my tour guide, what would be the top three places you would take me to see?

Mm, well I live in Sydney so I’d probably start by taking you to see the obvious things like the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.  And if we’re only keeping it to Sydney, then we’d go and wander around the historic Rocks area down by the harbour.  After that we could go on the rides at Luna Park J

6.  For some odd reason, probably because I’ve watched too many movies, I always imagine that people who live in other countries (outside of the U.S.) are great world travelers. I know of course this isn’t true for everyone, but there’s my writer’s imagination for you 🙂 Have you traveled to other places outside of Australia? If so what were they? Are there any places on your “want to see someday” travel list?

I visited the UK and parts of Europe when I was in my twenties, and more recently New Zealand with my family.  My “want to see someday” list is quite long, but near the top are Pompeii and New York, and I also think a trip on the Orient Express would be pretty cool J

7.  When you’re not writing and working on promoting your book, what do you enjoy doing for fun?

For fun?  Mm… I like bushwalking.  And reading.  Lots of reading J

8.  What is your favorite book and/or author? Or if you’re like me and can’t pick just one, feel free to pick 2 or 3 🙂

Okay, it’s going to have to be 2 or 3 or 47!  I love Ben Elton’s books.  And Philippa Gregory’s. I’m a huge fan of Douglas Adams and Agatha Christie and I loved the Harry Potter books.  One of my favourite books is by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, called “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” – it’s a gorgeous, gentle, subtle love story that just sweeps you up.

9.  What is your favorite movie?

Wow, this made me think.  I don’t know if I have a favourite movie.  Um… okay, it’s an old movie, but I really like Arsenic and Old Lace with Cary Grant.  I also really like Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

10.  What is the nicest thing someone has ever said to you, personally or in a review, about OVER THE
EDGE?

I’ve been so overwhelmed by the lovely things people have had to say about Over The Edge.  One
reviewer said she couldn’t put it down and had kept reading it even while she was brushing her teeth!

Blurb:

In six weeks Zoe Harper will marry Dan Costi in an over-the-top Sydney society wedding, complete with fire-eaters and belly dancers. But when she receives an unexpected gift from her future mother-in-law, Zoe realizes she’s making a huge mistake. In a blazing sidewalk argument, she breaks up with her fiancé, and his mother-who has joined the fight via conference call. Following the advice of friends and co-workers, along with some inspiration from late-night-television self-help guru Dr. Pam, Zoe sets out to find the life she thinks she should be living. Always a planner, she makes a list of goals: travel, career, tattoos, and no romantic entanglements. It’s all carefully laid out, until she meets Angus Creed. Angus is supposed to lead the opening waltz at a charity ball in New York City. Only problem is the handsome billionaire construction magnate with the tabloid past can’t dance. Not one step. Tainted by gossip and with a well-publicized failed engagement behind him, Angus has become a master at keeping an emotional distance. Until he meets Zoe. What starts as dancing lessons, slowly becomes something more. Angus begins to let down his guard and open his heart, even when his past makes an unexpected and unwelcome return. As Zoe discovers the real man behind the headlines, she questions where her new choices are taking her. Her goals look good on paper, but are they what she really wants? And by the time she realizes where her heart lies, will it be too late?

Like Suzanne’s author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SuzanneCarrollWriter

Follow Suzanne on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Suzanne_Carroll

Enter to win an eBook copy of OVER THE EDGE at the Rafflecopter link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Labor Day camping fun

photo(27)  I hope everyone enjoyed a great Labor Day weekend! I just returned from a relaxing camping trip with my husband, kids, and dogs. It was wonderful to be in the middle of the woods with no distractions and away from the summer heat! Here are the top 10 highlights of my weekend:

10:  Adorable baby toads hopping everywhere 🙂

9:  Smores!!

8:  The sound of rain on the tent

7:  Seeing my puppy in the woods for the first time. He was born to camp!

6:  Seeing no other people all weekend

5:  BBQ mushroom burgers on a campfire

4:  Countless, breathtaking, bright stars!!

3:  Temperatures under 100 degrees!

2:  Spending time with my husband

1:  Watching the kids play happily together with no electronics involved

Now, we’re back to the desert heat and work and school, but I’m excited, of course, to get back to writing 🙂