December 21, 2012

Guest Post by Author Suzanne van Rooyen


“Now I'm all alone
Kept the pain inside
Wanna torch the world
Cause I'm breathin fire”
by Cold - End of the World

The lyrics above pretty much encapsulate the world for my protagonist Kyle in Obscura Burning. According to some, the world is going to end today thanks to the Mayans and their limited calendar. The world was supposed to end before, dozens of times, but we’re still standing (for now). 

Many have speculated about the end of times, about how the world will end - climate change and super storms, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, space junk colliding with our planet, bioterrorism or nuclear destruction. We’re obsessed with our inevitable demise, whether it be by virus, zombie, alien or a second coming of religious figures. T. S Elliot wrote a most poignant and chilling poem called The Hollow Men, the last stanza of which I think paints a far more accurate picture of how humanity will eventually expire:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

In Obscura Burning, Kyle gets tangled up in a quantum event that may or may not bring about Armageddon. His world degrades as does his psyche with the end daubed in fire. No zombies or germ warfare here - just a boy struggling with reality and his penchant for flames. Writing this book got me thinking about what I would do if I knew without a doubt that the world was going to end. Would I stay home with family? Would I splurge on plane tickets and get in some last minute travelling before the world goes boom? Would I even stick around for the end or check-out early?

Although Kyle’s story centres around the Fourth of July, I wonder what he would’ve done had he had one last Christmas to spend with his loved ones. I imagine it’d go something like this:

We’ve gone all out this year, stringing every ribbon of tinsel we can scrounge from attic boxes around the house. All that gold and silver - it makes my eyes hurt. Dad’s doing the lights too, strangling our house and the oak tree outside my window with blinking LEDs. Mom’s on a mission with dinner. She’s getting ready to feed the whole state of New Mexico. Not that any of us can eat with the knots in our stomachs as we wait to expire. I wonder if it’ll be slow and painful? If I’ll even know it’s happening or if it’ll be like flicking a switch from light to dark, life to death. Mom and Dad hold hands and reach for mine. This is the way the world ends, families coming together at the last supper with bowed heads and sweaty palms, mumbling prayers to gods with iron fists. I just wish it was over already, so that my atoms could spread across the void to make new stars.

About Suzanne van Rooyen

Suzanne is a freelance writer and author from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Suzanne is the author of the cyberpunk novel Dragon’s Teeth(Divertir), the YA science fiction novel Obscura Burning (Etopia) and has had several short stories published by Golden Visions Magazine, Space and Time and Niteblade. Niteblade nominated her short story Where dreams are grown for the Pushcart Prize. Her non-fiction articles on travel, music and other topics can be found scattered throughout the Internet. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing you can find her teaching dance to ninth graders or playing in the snow with her shiba inu. Suzanne is represented by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.

Her latest novel:

The world's going to end in fire…and it's all Kyle's fault.



Kyle Wolfe's world is about to crash and burn. Just weeks away from graduation, a fire kills Kyle's two best friends and leaves him permanently scarred. A fire that Kyle accidentally set the night he cheated on his boyfriend Danny with their female friend, Shira. That same day, a strange new planet, Obscura, appears in the sky. And suddenly Kyle's friends aren't all that dead anymore.


Each time Kyle goes to sleep, he awakens to two different realities. In one, his boyfriend Danny is still alive, but Shira is dead. In the other, it's Shira who's alive...and now they're friends with benefits. Shifting between realities is slowly killing him, and he's not the only one dying. The world is dying with him. He's pretty sure Obscura has something to do with it, but with his parents' marriage imploding and realities shifting each time he closes his eyes, Kyle has problems enough without being the one in charge of saving the world...



December 15, 2012

What I Really Want for Christmas YA Giveaway


As an early Christmas present, some of the young adult authors at Etopia Press have banded together to come up with a collection of goodies that we hope you'll love! All you have to do is participate in the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win. Thank you to our readers, old and new! This year has been amazing. 

Good luck!


About our authors:

Theresa McClinton, author of The Stone Guardian
Available for purchase here

A long time enthusiast of things that go bump in the night, Theresa started her writing career as a journalism intern—possibly the least creative writing field out there. After her first semester at a local newspaper, she washed her hands of press releases and features articles to delve into the whimsical world of young adult paranormal romance.

Since then, Theresa has gotten married, had three terrific kids, moved to central Ohio, and was repeatedly guilt tripped into adopting a menagerie of animals that are now members of the family. But don’t be fooled by her domesticated appearance. Her greatest love is travel. Having stepped foot on the soil of over a dozen countries, traveled to sixteen U.S. states—including an extended seven-year stay in Kodiak, Alaska—she is anything but settled down. But wherever life brings her, she will continue to weave tales of adventure and love with the hope her stories will bring joy and inspiration to her readers.

Sara Hubbard, author of Blood, She Read
Available for purchase here

Sara Hubbard is the author of young adult books. Her debut novel BLOOD, SHE READ releases fall 2012 and is a NEORWA Cleveland Rocks winner and a RCRW Duel on the Delta finalist. 

Sara was born in Australia to British parents, but has lived in Nova Scotia for the majority of her life. In addition to being an author,Sara is a wife, a mother, and a registered nurse with the military. 



Brinda Berry, author of The Waiting Booth and Whisper of Memory
Available for purchase here (for The Waiting Booth) and here (for Whisper of Memory)

Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She's terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality. She doesn't mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she's not working the day job or writing a novel, she's guilty of surfing the internet for no good reason. 




E.C. Newman, author of Phase
Available for purchase here

Born and raised wherever the military sent her father, E. C. Newman is a storyteller at heart. It didn't translate into writing, however, until she found herself in Ancient History her freshman year of college, desperate to stay awake. Bringing stories alive since then in FanFiction, poetry, and original work gave E. C. the confidence to add a Writing Major to her bachelor's degree, and after a stint in acting school in Los Angeles, she gained a MA in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University in Bath, England.

E.C. currently lives with her mutt of a dog in Illinois, where she teaches middle school drama and high school literature, and can't help but find it hilarious that she's now teaching how to write an essay when she so deplored them as a student herself. In her spare time, E. C. is also a reader for a literary scout, which keeps her current with the children's literature market. She actively avoids growing up by writing stories about high school and the trials and triumphs that accompany it.

Angela Parson Myers, author of When the Moon is Gibbous and Waxing
Available for purchase here

Former newspaper staff writer and corporate writer/editor, now writing the kind of fantasy I've loved since I was a child. Live in Central Illinois with my high school sweetheart, where we somewhat successfully masquerade as normal grandparents. Please see my blog at http://www.angelaparsonmyers.blogspot.com.




December 14, 2012

"End of the World" Book Blast


Today is debut author Theresa McClinton's release day! She's hosting a book blast and giveaway that I'm very happy to participate in. You can learn more about her awesome YA novel below. 

When myth becomes reality, reality becomes a nightmare.

Like any other teenager in America, Ashley just wants a normal life. But growing up in an orphanage for the insane is anything but normal. After endless therapy and increasing medication, her nightmares have only gotten worse.

Probably because they’re not nightmares.

When Ashley’s mysteriously abducted, she finds a reality even less normal than the orphanage. And she discovers something else—she’s no ordinary orphan. Faced with enemies thought to only exist in fairy tales, Ashley discovers she possesses a powerful Maya bloodline. She’s the daughter of an ancient Maya Guardian, whose duty is to protect the Stone of Muuk’ich, an enchanted relic blessed by the gods. But first she must get it back from Sarian, a power-hungry demigod who slaughtered the last guardian—Ashley’s mother. Without the stone, all will be lost.

When she meets Arwan, a hot Belizean time bender, his delicious olive skin and dark eyes make her feel a little less alone. But his gentle whispers and reassuring touch might not be all they seem. How can she balance love and duty when it’s up to her to prevent the rising of the underworld? Especially when the guy she loves might be its crown prince…







a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the author:


A long time enthusiast of things that go bump in the night, Theresa started her writing career as a journalism intern—possibly the least creative writing field out there. After her first semester at a local newspaper, she washed her hands of press releases and features articles to delve into the whimsical world of young adult paranormal romance.

Since then, Theresa has gotten married, had three terrific kids, moved to central Ohio, and was repeatedly guilt tripped into adopting a menagerie of animals that are now members of the family. But don’t be fooled by her domesticated appearance. Her greatest love is travel. Having stepped foot on the soil of over a dozen countries, traveled to sixteen U.S. states—including an extended seven-year stay in Kodiak, Alaska—she is anything but settled down. But wherever life brings her, she will continue to weave tales of adventure and love with the hope her stories will bring joy and inspiration to her readers.

December 07, 2012

Interview with Author Dani-Lyn Alexander


Please help me welcome Dani-Lyn Alexander to my blog today. Dani writes novels for adults and her most recent story, The Dollhouse, can be found as a short in For the Love of Christmas. Today, I'll interview Dani-Lyn, share a blurb from her book, and host a giveaway! 

    
    The Dollhouse
      
    When Jason and Leah both grab the last  dollhouse left in the city, neither of them is willing to let go. They go in search of another dollhouse, and both find more than they bargain for.  
    Available at Amazon    


Enter to Win A Free Copy Here! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Interview 

1.  Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when you decided to start writing your first novel. 

I live on Long Island with my husband, three kids and three dogs. My oldest daughter is twenty-one, my middle guy is thirteen and my little one just turned two. So, as you can imagine, I’m quite busy.  I love dance, and worked as a dance teacher for many years. I’ve directed and choreographed several high school musicals and enjoy working with kids.

My favorite hobby is reading, and I’ve had a book in my hand since I was about three. I’ve always made up stories for my kids and when my youngest son was born, and wouldn’t sleep through the night, I decided to try writing.

2.     What is your novel about and what inspired you to write it?

‘The Dollhouse’ is a short story in the For the Love of Christmas Anthology. I was enjoying the fact that I didn’t have a ‘hard to find’ gift to search for this year, and decided to write a story of two people who needed the same gift.

3.     Describe a typical day in your life.

I get up at six unless I over sleep, which happens quite often, get my older son to school and take my younger son to work with me. After work, I do all the usual errands, cleaning, bills… Then I try to spend some time playing with the baby. Since my daughter is twenty-one, I know how fast that time flies and I cherish every second I can spend with all of my kids. After dinner, and bedtime, I start working on writing, promo, social media, and I also proofread for Etopia Press. I’m usually up until at least one, and sometimes get back up and work some more after sleeping for a few hours.

4.     Plotter or pantser? What is your writing process?

Definitely panster. I’ve tried plotting but the story always seems to go its own direction anyway.

5.     Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.

When I was a kid, my dream was to be a Rockette!

6.     Who is your favorite character in your novel and why?

I think Jason is a great character. I love that he tries so hard to make his daughter happy.

7.     If your book were to be made into a movie who would you cast?

Jason would be played by Kellan Lutz, and I would cast Taylor Swift as Leah.

8.     If you could be a character in any book, who would you be and why?

Scarlett O’Hara. I’ve always admired her strength and determination.

9.     What is your favorite line in your book?

“I’m sorry, even though your offer is very generous…” you jerk “…I’m afraid I can’t accept.

10. What are you working on now?

 My current WIP is a YA Fantasy novel. I am also doing edits on the second book in the Realm of Light series, Truth and Deceit.


About the Author

 Dani-Lyn lives on eastern Long Island with her husband, three kids, ages twenty-one, thirteen and two (surprise!!) and three dogs. She has always loved working with children, and has worked as a dance teacher and choreographer, directed and choreographed several high school plays, and written a children’s chapter book that will be released soon. She has always loved to read, and has had a book in her hand since she was about three. Learn more about Dani-Lyn and her other books here


December 03, 2012

A Christmas Gift Card for Books!

It's no secret I am an impatient person...and so is my mother. As a result I've already given her a Christmas present and she's given me mine (a Chapters gift card! Woot!). So now I have a lovely stash of books to read over the Christmas holidays. Here they are:

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry









Taking Chances by Molly McAdams







The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen










Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey 
Leavitt. As you can see, there are two covers for this book. I kind of like the original (to the right) but perhaps I'll change my mind once I actually read it. Your thoughts?



 Easy by Tammara Webber









As if I don't have enough to read, my friend Ally Shields just unveiled her new cover and I'm going to have to buy this one too! 

Trouble comes to Olde Town again and Ari's back on the job. A new menace stalks the streets--a vampire hunter or a serial killer. Whatever it is, Ari's hot on its trail, never suspecting it's watching her!

December 02, 2012

It began with a nightmare...


Please help me welcome Angela Parson Myers, author of When the Moon is Gibbous and Waxing. Today, she'll be discussing her book and, more specifically, where the idea originated from.Take it away, Angela! 



I mentioned in a recent interview that my novel, “When the Moon Is Gibbous and Waxing,” originated with a nightmare I had one night and that the first scene in the book was that nightmare. I didn’t explain how the rest of the book grew out of that one short scene.

At the time, I was working ten hours a day and finishing my bachelor’s degree, so I didn’t have much time left to write. I did, however have time to think, and I started thinking about a world in which a person could have such a strange ability without knowing it. Obviously she didn’t fit into the standing mythos in which she would have been bitten by a werewolf. I mean, a person would surely remember that, right?

I don’t know how long I mulled that over, but one day Natalie walked into my head and introduced herself. (Yes, she said, “Hi, I’m Natalie. I’m named after a child you briefly met when you were seven or eight years old, and you’re going to tell my story.”) 

I never had been able to make much sense out of the myth that a person can actually become a wolf, and Natalie agreed. That’s too much of a change in mass and shape. But she reminded me that some cultures believe in werebears or Yeti or Sasquatch, which is much more logical. (I know what you’re thinking: “She’s holding a conversation with an imaginary character and she’s worried about being logical?”)  But how would a person get the ability to change into such a creature? 

Natalie told me she had inherited it—that her parents had each unknowingly borne a recessive gene for the werewolf factor. Once she told me that, the concept of the Family with its own culture, coming of age ceremonies and mythology naturally evolved—and continue to evolve. (You can read about how Natalie learned about the Family in my blog at http://www.angelaparsonmyers.blogspot.com—and in my novel, of course.) 

I’m working on the second book about Natalie now. Hubby and Natalie and I (oddly, he doesn’t seem to realize she’s there) have been having long discussions about the things she’s learning about her own Family and about her realization that werewolves aren’t the only myth that is real. And that while these new nightmare creatures are no threat to her, they could be a deadly threat to the man she loves.


About the Book

Graduate student Natalie Beres can't remember who attacked her that autumn night under the full moon. She can't remember anything between leaving her lab in a secluded building at the south end of campus and arriving at her apartment in the wee hours of the morning. Covered in blood. Not her own. Other than the loss of memory, she's completely unharmed.


She can't say the same for the men who attacked her. The grisly campus murders force Natalie to dig deeper into what happened that night, to force herself to remember. But what she learns about herself is horrifying. When the police officer investigating the murders tries to get close, Natalie is caught between her attraction to him and her fear of discovery. But worse, can she avoid being found by the young man with a similar problem who's on his way from the West coast to find her...leaving a trail of shredded corpses along the way...?


About the Author

Former newspaper staff writer and corporate writer/editor, now writing the kind of fantasy she's loved since she was a child. Angela lives in Central Illinois with her high school sweetheart, where they somewhat successfully masquerade as normal grandparents. Please see her blog here.

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