Saturday, December 28, 2013

Author Interview: M. M. John

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview the wonderful debutante author M. M. John. Her debut novel, The Death of Ink, the first book in the series titled the same, is expected to be published in January, 2014! We had a discussion over her book, her writing and other stuffs. 

Hi! Its such a pleasure to have you here! Welcome to my blog. To start the interview, first tell us something about yourself.

I’m 22 years young. I love to create and only feel complete when I’m doing it. I love the capture the picture of the human soul. How beautifully complex we all are, both our good and bad parts, some parts contradictory, but that’s what makes life so interesting. I love people. I love studying and observing them. I live to create stories about the average person, the working class, the mail worker or nurse’s assistant, families that live paycheck to paycheck and the people who still dare to dream of a better life. I sometimes imagine my life with a soundtrack of music playing in the background, mostly Janelle Monae and other soulful artists. I’m a senior in college, majoring in International Business, but really writing is my life and writing is my dream. I have several story concepts bouncing around in my head all day, every day. Sometimes I wonder if I will have the time to write them all.

Wow! I can already imagine how beautiful your writing is! And by the way I love observing people too. Now lets talk about your book and writing. So, when did you first know that you wanted to be an author? Did you always want to be one?

Becoming an author wasn’t something that I would have named as what I wanted to be growing up. Writing was just something I alwaysdid. I didn’t really think about it or think on it. I knew that I loved sharing stories when I was a kid in elementary. I loved people’s reactions and how they could enjoy something I just made up. How they could laugh or cry based on something I said or wrote about imaginary people. Later on, after some tough circumstances in my life, writing was something that I did for myself, not an audience. In a way, writing is still something that I do for myself.

 How did you come up with the idea behind "The Death of Ink"?

Well, I had this book called Writer’s Muse, I believe, with pictures and quotes on every page. Occasionally, there would be a writing prompt. One of the writing prompts was about meeting someone at a bookstore and seeing them again years later, at the same bookstore, as a famous author. From that prompt, the idea behind The Death of Ink kind of just sprouted. Other ideas came and formed the structure of the novel.

Is any of the characters/incidents in your book influenced by real life people or circumstances?

I based some of Devon’s back story on my own life. Even now, parts of the story are difficult for me to read because it is ripe with so many memories. Some of those memories are painful. Originally, Devon and Paige, the main characters of my story, were based on two people I knew in high school. One was a girl who was very smart, but who everyone seemed to hate for some reason. The other was a boy who seemed hell-bent on getting her attention only to be rebuffed and ignored. I used these two people to form the bare elements of my characters, but after some development, the characters kind of took a life of their own. ”

What was the biggest challenge while writing the book?

I would say getting a chapter to my liking. It’s not abnormal for me to take a month on a chapter for this reason. I would have to have every chapter, every sentence, just the way that I wanted it. Sometimes I was hit with inspiration at a restaurant or sitting on a bus, I would write down the idea or thought, and it would come out just right. Sometimes the notes would get lost (thankful, I now bring a notebook and pen with me everywhere). I would literally turn the place up-side-down to find those notes again. I can never duplicate the words the way I wanted the first time. I have learned to get over this, albeit slowly, and accept nothing will come out perfectly or just the way I want it.

Did you ever suffer writer's block? If yes, what did you do to get over it?

All the time. Tricks I do are play music and imagine the scene or dialogue in my head, and then write what I see. I cannot write anything unless I first visualize it.

What were your feelings when you first saw the finished copy of your book?

Still not at that point yet. But when I saw my book cover I felt above cloud nine, so surreal, a glimpse of heaven…so the print copy might immobilize me for a few days.

Are you completely satisfied with your writing or would you like to change something in your story, given a chance?

If I could choose I would write like a god. I can never be satisfied with my writing because nothing comes out as beautifully as I imagine it in my head. Writing is a way to translate that vision to paper and it often fails.

 Are you working on the sequels already?

My sequels are all done. I completely finished the series before I even thought about publishing.

That's something I really appreciate. I think you should have framed the whole picture of the story before you pen it down! Now tell me why did you choose this particular genre to write about? Who are your target readers?

I was in high school at the time, so I chose to write about high school students. I don’t think I can write another young adult novel. I want to reach young adult writers and readers with a story about kids with passions like theirs.

Okay! I'd now love to hear a few things about you. To start with, is writing your full time profession?

No, at all. I am a full time student and an intern at a non-profit.

When you're not writing what do you do to relax?

I write to relax. Not the answer you were expecting was it?:-) Besides writing, spending time with friends and family helps me unwind.

What’s the schedule of a typical day for you?

Wake up. Get ready for work. Go over writing scenarios. Go to work. Jot down writing ideas. Eat lunch. Start shaping the ideas a bit more. Take the transit. Scribble more ideas. Get home. Lay down for a while. Eat supper. Go over notes and add it to my story. Do class work. Talk with boyfriend. Exercise. Get ready for bed. Draft a blog entry. Think about story scenarios as I go to sleep.

If your book is adopted for a movie, which actors would you like to play the characters of your story?

I can’t think of any. I think I would like to use lesser-known, up-and-coming actors for the main characters and maybe A-listers for supporting roles.

What are your favourite books?

To Kill a Mockingbird 
King of the Lost and Found

To kill a Mockingbird is one of my favourites too! What are you reading currently?

Claire of the Sealight

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Ignore advice, keep writing, do what you want, and don’t be afraid to break convention

Just for curiosity, if you’re ever deserted in an island alone, which 5 books would you pick to carry along with you? And why?

Probably books that can comfort me: the book of Psalms, an empty notebook and a pen (to write to keep my sanity/process the situation), Where the Sidewalk Ends (to remind me of childhood and happy times), The Cove, and that one biography book my boyfriend gave me but I never read (to remind me of him).

Thank you so much! I loved the chat with you. Congrats on the publication of your first book and lots of good wishes for your success. :) 

Title: The Death of Ink
Author: M. M. John
Series: The Death of Ink #1
Genre: Paranormal / Fantasy

Fifteen-year-old Paige Langley’s life has always revolved around good grades and escaping her less than ideal home life…but once she meets Devon Connors, her life drastically changes. Although, they share an instant attraction, Devon’s concealing a dark past. And an even darker secret…there’s a dead girl haunting him nightly. Resolute to win the school’s writing contest, Paige will do just about anything to achieve her goals. So after she finds a binder containing information on a past murder and the illegal activities of the students, she believes the stories are fictional and the perfect way to win the contest. But the owner of the manuscript, Devon Connors, has other plans. To keep Paige from exposing his secrets, Devon befriends her and even offers to help her write a winning story for the contest. The chemistry between Paige and Devon is undeniable, but Paige doesn’t know if she can trust him. The deeper she digs into the dark underbelly of their high school, the more she realizes that some secrets are better left buried.
You can find about M. M. John from her Goodreads profile and also by visiting her beautiful Website.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas!! Wish you all a Merry Christmas!

I convey my sincere apologies to you, my readers, for not being very active lately. I hate to neglect my blog like this but trust me I have no way out. The last few weeks were so damn hectic and time went away just like that. :-( It kills me to think that I have not written a single review in the last month. Though I read a few books (4 to be precise), I couldn't take out enough time from my schedule to review any of those. But the worst phase is over (thankfully so!). I'll be busier than before but I'll definitely manage to contribute much more time in blogging than I've done in the past month.
Also, new year is just a week away, so I think this is the best time to give it all a fresh beginning! :-)
For that I require your help. Yes, I do. I want you peeps to answer some of my questions (which follows) and also to provide me with some suggestive ideas. My questions are:
  • Do you think my blog design (template, layout, font, colours and everything) is fine? Or shall I change things? Shall I change anything in particular or the whole thing?
  • Is there anything you want me to include in my reviews in order to make those better? (Any constructive criticism is welcome and much appreciated).
  • Apart from reviews, memes and blog tours is there anything I can post about?
The blog design thing is bugging me a lot lately. Please share your honest opinions. I'll seriously be happy and grateful. I open to all suggestions. If you have any idea or suggestion (anything at all) just pour it here. I'd love to hear from YOU!

Lastly, I hope Santa Claus gave you all your desired gifts and that you're enjoying this holiday season fully! :-) Would you mind being my Santa Claus? Just comment below this post with your answers and suggestions - that will be the BEST GIFT for me! 

Also I'd love to hear what did you get as your Christmas gift? Any fun experiences? Any memorable incident. Open your heart and say it all! 

Once again wish you all Merry Christmas!!! :-) :-)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Blog Tour: Ondine by Emma Raveling [Blitz + Excerpt]

Title: Ondine
Author: Emma Raveling
Series: Ondine Quartet 0.5
Date of Publication: December 19th, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

“I shouldn’t get involved.” 
 Rebellious and headstrong, sixteen-year-old Kendra Irisavie doesn’t have much respect for authority. An ondine with the powerful gift of Virtue, she uses her tough attitude and Empath magic to navigate through high school and keep others away. Because being an ondine also means keeping secrets. Kendra and her mother are Rogue water elementals in the middle of an ancient war. They hide among humans, their survival constantly threatened by monstrous Aquidae demons. Along with a rigorous training regimen to mold Kendra into a lethal fighter, her mother has instituted four rules to keep her safe. Trust no one. Relationships are weaknesses. Emotional attachments are dangerous. Be responsible only for yourself. But when Kendra witnesses a classmate in trouble, she intervenes and her decision to break the rules comes at a price. Sometimes, humans could be more dangerous than demons. Ondine is a short prequel novella for the young adult urban / paranormal fantasy series, the Ondine Quartet.

** The Book will be available after release date. **
Afternoon sunlight drenched the wood, heat seeping through my jeans and warming the back of my legs.
Rui’s icy voice sliced through the delicate spring air. “I need you to get the money from him.”
Potheads occupied the narrow recess beside the stairs while the cheerleaders and athletes took the table farthest from the building door.
They weren’t getting involved.
Neither was the Student Council group gathered along the west side.
I’d managed to follow her rules for the four months we’d been in L.A. The championship tournament was in two hours and she’d be seriously pissed if my performance wasn’t better than the last one.
I needed to concentrate on my own shit, not get involved in anyone else’s.
Troy’s fear ratcheted up another notch and the hot spike of emotion raked against my insides.
“I—I don’t know him that w-well…”
“That’s a problem.” Rui adopted an expression of mock concern and pulled out a cigarette. “‘Cause your dad owes mine a lot of money.”
Empath magic reached inside him, sensing clumps of frustration and rage, hardened over the years.
“It’s just me and my mom,” Troy said in a desperate voice. “I don’t see him that often —“
Mistake one.
“Often?” Rui’s voice rumbled with the dark glee of a predator who’d spotted its prey. “So you do see him.”
“” Troy’s eyes darted around the courtyard.
Don’t, don’t…
Wide eyes locked on to me. Great.
“What do you mean, no?”
“I m-m-mean…” He stumbled over the words. “S-sometimes I do, but…”
Mistake two.
“Then you can get the money from him, right?” Rui lit his cigarette. Troy flinched at the click of the lighter. “I don’t think your old man would like it if my father got his hands on you.”
Troy swallowed, his gaze flickering toward me again.
Sasha followed his line of sight. “You thinkin’ a chick’s gonna help you?”
Rui slowly turned. Black hair, dark eyes set against olive skin. Cold, grim awareness etched into his face, creating an impression of severe superiority.
The things he’d seen and experienced exceeded your worst nightmares and he wanted you to know it.
Rui flicked his cigarette, ash landing a foot away from me.
“She’s not bad, Troy. Don’t think she’s your type, though.”
I suppressed a sigh and stood. Might as well get this over with.
“You don’t know my type, Vergara.”
A flicker of surprise in those dead eyes. “You know my name. I’m flattered.”
“Don’t be.” I strode over and leaned against the metal railing of the stairs. “You just have a rep of being an asshole.”
Kane stepped forward, body tense. Rui’s arm shot out and stopped him.
“You’re that junior.” A ring of smoke gently swirled around his face. “Transferred here a few months ago. Kendra, right?”
Empath detected a quick shift. Irritation and anger smoothly transformed to calculating curiosity. The unusual degree of control set off my internal alarms.
I shouldn’t underestimate him.

I’m a fantasy writer who lives a slightly eccentric life with my accommodating husband and our charming, neurotic dog. I'm currently working on the Ondine Quartet, a young adult urban fantasy/paranormal series featuring a kick-ass heroine, powerful magic, and the complex world of water elementals.

I have a weird love of spreadsheets and organizational tools because they give me the illusion that I am somehow in control of the chaos that is my life. I adore beautiful art such as painting and sculpture, classical music, lyrical writing, and great graphic design. My all-time favorite books (as of this writing) are Immortality by Milan Kundera, 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Blog Tour: Pentimento by Cameron Jace [Blitz + Excerpt + Giveaway]

Title: Pentimento
Author: Cameron Jace
Date of Publication: December 20th, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult

The day Iris Beaumont turns seventeen, she is threatened to be taken by the Beasts, the rulers of the new America. After the destruction of the world, the Beasts provide citizens with whatever they need in exchange for the one teenage girl they enslave every week. They call them the Brides, and they never comes back. Iris isn’t the worrying type though; she’s been defying the system since she was ten and never cared for the Beast’s rules. Then she meets Colton Ray, who is not like any other boy she’s ever seen. His confidence and dominance are otherworldly she can’t rationalize the attraction she feels for him. Colton had one slight problem though. It’s rumored he is one of the Beast, and Iris could be the next on the Beast’s list.

** The Book will be available after release date. **
The girls watched Eva Washington plod to her death. She shuffled barefoot on the red carpet, hardly breathing against the fear inhabiting her lungs. The tensed muscles in her face wrinkled the features of her adolescent beauty. Iris watched the sticky tears in Eva's eyes thicken, and probably blur her destination to the Beasts' glowing spaceship.
Although the sun showed no empathy, still splaying its bright rays upon the scene, the Beasts' spaceship shone an even brighter light toward her. It had always been this way. Iris thought it was ironic how the Beasts hid behind the glaring light. Instead of wearing metal armors or using the latest hologram technologies, they hid behind a light brighter than the sun.
"Someone should help her," Iris mumbled, Zoe still standing next to her. "Eva's crying so hard, she can't see."
"My mother says that it's better to die before staring in the eyes of the Beast." Zoe commented, not taking her eyes off Eva.
None of the girls were allowed to talk in the Ceremony of the Beast. They stood on both sides of the red carpet leading to the ship, silently witnessing one of their own being sacrificed. The ceremony was a reminder for other girls, a torturing memory. Iris always wondered how the Beasts selected their Brides. Was it some kind of lottery? Did they follow a list with names? A prophecy maybe? Or did they choose the most beautiful? Iris was sure it wasn't the latter option. Last time, the girl wasn't as beautiful as Eva. Not even close. But who knew what beauty looked like in the eyes of the Beast?
Eva was still walking toward the Beasts' ship. She wasn't permitted a stop of any kind. Every reluctant step Eva took closer, the girls on both sides did their best to silence their screams. Some of them wiped the trickling teardrops from their ripe cheeks. The punishment of sympathizing with the Bride was as horrible as Eva's inevitable fate. To the Beasts, this was a happy day, which led many to think the Beasts actually married the Brides. A disturbing suggestion, Iris had always thought.
A sudden cloud blocked the grinning sunlight, shading Eva's wedding dress with a gray stain. The chosen girls had to wear expensive, designer wedding dresses to meet the majestic Beasts. Like any normal wedding, each girl wore their best make up and had their hair styled.  It was a painful process, being groomed while knowing one's horrible fate. No one could protest. It was the Law of the Beasts.
All girls were given a beautiful bouquet of roses, which were either synthetic or polyester, but smelled like real roses. For some reason, most things in The Second were artificial. The roses, as well as the grass in the local park, were as dead as the high metallic skyscrapers.
Eva wiped the tears from her eyes and began throwing random gazes toward the girls on both sides. This was the same girl who was probably going to be the Prom Queen, the same girl that everyone envied in school, Colton’s girlfriend. Now her gaze was shattered, like splintered glass across the girls faces. She'd meet your eyes, but you'd think she wasn’t even there. She became hollow, a fading portrait, soon to disappear in the Beasts' light. And it wasn't funny. Even though Eva hadn't been kind to the average girls like Iris and Zoe, none of the girls loved to see her as a Bride. Any of them could be in her shoes next week.
For a moment, Iris thought Eva was looking for Colton. Boys weren't supposed to stand in the front rows. Only the second and third. The ceremony was a girls’ thing. There was nothing for the human boys to do here.
But each Bride had a father, a brother, or a boyfriend whose heart burned for her. But not even the strongest men in The Second defied the Beasts.
Empowered by wishful thinking, Eva stole a last glance into her phone, which she had been holding with shivering hands. She looked like she wished it hadn't been her ID showing on the screen. It was clearly hers.
"How could you be so cruel to me?" she snapped, talking to the ship's blinding light, still walking forward. "I was about to go to college next year. I was going to be engaged to Colton Ray next month!"
A number of girls let out short sighs. This was news to everyone. So their relationship was serious. Iris could feel Zoe's blaming eyes on her skin.
"What?" Iris fisted an angry hand. She wasn't going to hit Zoe.  She wanted to hit herself, for saying such a thing. The mere thought of her wish coming true was puzzling. "It's not like I'm a witch or something," she grumbled.
"We planned to get married while in college," Eva continued, shouting at the light. That silent light that told her what to do, but never talked back to her. "We've been planning to have two children; a boy named Jeremiah, and a girl named Flower."
Iris held a tear from being born in her eyes. No girl had talked to the Beasts this way before. Most of them sank to their knees, and pleaded that someone would help them and confront the Beasts. Some cried and fainted halfway through, until elders had to carry them as close as possible to the ship. And some prayed like in a chapel, brainwashed that this was their fate, and that they died as a sacrifice for the other girls to live--Iris wanted to kick-box those into the light.
But none of them had spoken in such an emotional way like Eva did.  Her words reminded everyone that someone's life and dreams were being killed today. The problem was that most elders thought of the Call of the Beasts like natural disasters. Earthquakes, hurricanes, and plane crashes. Stuff like that happened all the time. And the Beasts, who ruled their world, must have a wisdom behind it.
Iris, unusually vulnerable, pulled out Zoe's phone and took another peek. The screen didn't show Eva's name. The Beasts didn't believe in human names. It read: Beauty 57135LL; Eva's citizenship identification number in the United States of The Second.
The horn roared again, buzzing into each girl’s bones. Instead of an answer to her question, the unseen Beasts were urging Eva to step closer toward her death. The silliest thought crossed Iris's mind. What if she just ran into the ship and at least peeked in, to see what they looked like? If they had the right to take one of them, didn't they have the right to know who they were?
Before disappearing into the light, Eva took one last glance at the girls. She waved a weakened goodbye as the girls lowered their chins to their chest and laced their hands together. It was as if Eva, the school's queen bee, had turned into a contagious epidemic they preferred to avoid. Many girls were teary-eyed though. But most of them were glad they hadn’t been the one walking the red carpet.
Out of respect, Iris didn't lower her eyes. It was the least she could do. She was still fisting her hand, mad at herself for not standing up for Eva. It wasn't just the guilt moving her, but the fact that she could simply be next. Why wasn't anyone doing anything about it?
In an unexpected moment, Eva caught Iris's eyes, and nodded back, as if they had been lifelong friends and were now girl-coding each other. Iris glanced behind her for a second, not sure Eva meant her. Everyone else had their heads bowed to their chest. It was Iris Eva meant. Not only that. Eva mouthed something to Iris, something that gave her goosebumps on her skin, as Eva disappeared behind the light of the ship. Her darkest hour.
A second later, Iris caught sight of Colton standing second row on the other side. His blue eyes had turned into puddles of blurry tears. In front of him, girls raised their heads, most of them glad this was over. The ship's drone was deafening as it howled back up toward the sky.
Iris couldn't take her eyes off Colton, wondering if she should tell him what Eva mouthed to her. Who'd have thought that the queen bee, who treated her like shit, would ask this of her?

Wonderlander, Neverlander, Unicorn-chaser, enchanter, musician, survived a coma, & totally awesome. Sometimes I tell stories. Always luv the little monsters I write young adult paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and science fiction mostly. The Grimm Diaries series is a seven book saga that deals with retellings of fairy tales from a young adult POV - it connects most of the fairy tales together and claims to be the truth about fairy tales. I live in San Fransisco and seriously think circles are way cooler than triangles.

Prize (Open Internationally)

--A Kindle Fire or Paperwhite
--eBook copy of Pentimento
--2x 10$ Amazon Gift Card

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Blog Tour: Positively Mine by Christine Duval [Blitz + Interview + Book Trailer + Giveaway]

Title: Positively Mine
Author: Christine Duval
Series: Freshman Forty #1
Date of Publication: December 19th, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

It is four weeks into her freshman year of college, and Laurel’s first test was unexpected. Discovering she’s pregnant isn’t exactly what she had planned for her first semester, and while she intends to tell her emotionally-distant father, being away at school makes it all too easy to hide. An imperfect heroine plagued by bad choices and isolated during what should be the best time of her life, readers are sure to identify with Laurel as she confronts teen pregnancy, in secret.

This is an interview of the author with the New Adult Book Club on Goodreads.

Raquel wrote: "Hey Christine! I'm curious about where you got your inspiration for the idea behind Positively Mine? It was unlike any book I've read, in a refreshing way!"

Hi Raquel,

A couple years ago my dearest friend announced she was pregnant and at the same time my babysitter was going off to her freshman year of college. I don't know why but I started thinking, wow, if you were newly pregnant and heading away to college, you really could hide it from people back home (I know I have a weird brain). I've had 2 kids, so I know how the weight comes on and realized Laurel could easily hide it through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then I just let Laurel tell me her story. 

Caryn wrote: "Hi Christine, I really enjoyed Positively Mine. How did you weave together elements of fiction with such a strong sense of place that was based on a specific area of upstate?"

Easy...I lived up in the Finger Lakes for 4 years. It is a beautiful place when the sun is shining but there are a ton of dark, grey, cold days. You live for the sunny ones but honestly, when I was there in college, my mom received more than her share of phone calls from me begging to come home just to see the sun. Ultimately, the good friends I made kept me planted but it is a long, hard winter (thus easy to hide behind a big coat).

Holly wrote: "Hi Christine! Really enjoyed Positively Mine! What is your writing process? Do you find you write better at certain times of the day or do you run to the computer when inspired? Also, how did you connect with your publisher?"

Hi Holly,

I am the most undisciplined writer that ever lived! I have no process. I drive a lot in my car and let the story unfold in my head and then go back home and recreate it when I have time. Still, that usually backfires because at that point my characters have changed their minds and all of a sudden I am writing a completely different story. A prime example of this is in Positively Mine. I never meant for Sheryl to end up pregnant. It happened as shocking for me as it was for Laurel! Seriously, I was writing and all of sudden she just cleared the room and announced it. I had no plan of this, no outline. Regarding Bloomsbury, I saw on NA Alley - a blog I follow - that they were starting Bloomsbury Spark and I sent an inquiry to Meredith Rich and a few months later the rest is history! 

Beatriz wrote: "Hi Christine, I really enjoyed reading your book. Congratulations! Are you working on a sequel? If so when can we expect it by :) I would like to know how long did it take you to complete your book?"

Thanks so much Beatriz! I am working on the sequel and hopefully will have it complete this winter, afterPositively Mine is released. I wrote the first draft two years ago during a NANOWRIMO competition (National Novel Writing Month), where you are challenged to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Then I put it away for December, picked it back up in January and had it complete to enter into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest around the third week of that month. But it has evolved quite a bit since that version thanks to a bunch of beta readers and a really good critique group who demanded more of my characters and more from the plot.

 I'd recommend doing NANOWRIMO if you are just starting out writing your first novel. It really is an inspiring month and around the clock, through Twitter, there is someone in the world working on their novel. I remember I used to do word sprints in the middle of the night with a girl in South Africa. We'd turn on the timer and race write for ten minutes then compare how many words we wrote. With NANOWRIMO, it is all about quantity, not quality. You push yourself to write as much as you can and amazingly by doing that, you let your guard down and really surprise yourself with what you come up with. Plus, it forces you to look at your novel every day so it is always with you, you are always thinking about your characters. And, there's one right around the corner since it is an annual event. Best of luck with your project! 
Sherry wrote: "One of the things that struck me about your book is the very strong and distinct voice of Laurel. She feels very real. Is she based on anyone, or a group of people, you know?"

She really isn't based on any one person or even a group of people. Some of the situations she finds herself in are based on real things. Not the pregnancy but the premature death of her mom, the places, the struggle to move on while her dad is building a new life with someone. I don't think there is one person out there who hasn't witnessed, whether first hand or via a good friend, someone who needs to accept a parent's new husband or wife. And the gossipy doorman...yeah. 

I think the choice to write the book in first person, present tense helped to strengthen Laurel's voice. It isn't an easy way to write because everything is happening to your character while you are writing it. I was very influenced by two books when I set out to create this story: Laurie Halse Anderson's "Speak" and Julie Buxbaum's "The Opposite of Love." I loved how Laurie was able to keep Melinda quiet the whole year in a believable way when she had such a big secret to tell. And, I love the way Julie balances strong emotion and humor as her main character Emily is forced to face her fears
Christine Duval is an author and freelance writer who lives in New Jersey with her guitar-playing husband and two children. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, New Jersey's Women Who Write, and the Authors Guild. When not creating fictional characters, she writes for an upscale real estate company and has overseen online content and social media for several well-known magazines.

Positively Mine Book Trailer

Blitz-wide giveaway

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--$50 gift card for Amazon
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Blog Tour: Sparks by RS McCoy [Release Day Blitz + Teasers]

by RS McCoy
New Adult Paranormal Fantasy Romance


"Everyone in the world has a spark, a light inside that guides them, keeps them alive."

Myxini School for Children specializes in training young men and women who have powerful sparks. Strikers are taught to manipulate fire. Trackers learn to find animals in the most formidable terrains. Handlers are instructed in communication with large predators. But forty years have passed since the last time they had a Reader - a student with the ability to read minds.

When Lark Davies enrolls at Myxini, he knows there aren't many like him, but he doesn't realize just how rare his abilities really are. He thinks nothing of being asked to keep his spark a secret; after all, he can barely control it. Thoughts and emotions flood unbidden into his mind until he can scarcely walk or hold a conversation. But just when he needs it most, his ability fails him.

Larks meets Khea, a small frightened girl who mysteriously insights his protective nature. He has no explanation for the curious strength of their relationship, and it doesn't help that she is one of the few people in the world whose thoughts can't be read. As he struggles to get to the root of their unique bond, Lark begins to unravel more power than even his mentor expected, but in the process makes himself a target to political leaders eager to take control.

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Wearing only my loose brown pants, I crawled into the most comfortable bed I had ever known and sank into the soft down pillows. I had just started to drift off when I heard a knock at the door. I'm going to kill Avis.

"What do you-" I started until I realized it wasn't Avis. It was a stunning blonde with blue eyes. Khea.

"I'm sorry to wake you. I just- I had to see you." Her arms moved to wrap around my waist and hold me tight as I questioned if I was really sleeping or not.

"Uh, do you want to come in?" We both knew the rules about being in someone else's room after hours, so I pulled her in and sat down on the edge of the bed, still a little surprised she was there.

In the dim light her hair looked a little darker, but her face was still sweet and there was no denying that the last two years had done her well. Who would have thought such a beautiful young woman would come from that skinny little girl in Lagodon?

"How'd you know I was back?" I asked her, trying to appear less tired or shocked than I was.

"A friend told me."

"I didn't think you-" Cared? It wasn't the right word, but I was beyond amazed that she was interested in my whereabouts. I hadn't seen her since that night at the Moonwater and it had changed everything for me since then. But for her, I wasn't aware that she had been affected in any way.

"Ride with me tomorrow?"

"Uh, yea, of course." It was a struggle to cover how little I wanted to wait. I would have given anything to have her stay.

A wide smile erupted across her sweet lips as she said, "meet me at the lake at noon." With a lingering kiss on my cheek, she walked back through the door and disappeared into the dark stone corridor.

What just happened? I hadn't seen her in person in years, and we were hardly close before that. And now she arrived in my room in the middle of the night and kissed me on the cheek. Was it a kiss like a friend would give another? Or more? I couldn't make any sense of it, but there was only thing I was sure of. I would be at the lake at noon if it was the last thing I did.

Praise for Sparks:


                "...fantastic characters..."

                                       "...imaginative and creative..."

                                                                    "...simply could not put it down..."

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About the Author:

RS McCoy didn't ever plan on being a writer. With a career teaching high school science, writing is the last thing she expected. But life never goes the way you think it will. While battling cancer, she picked up her laptop and let the words flow out. One year later, her first published fantasy novel has been released on Amazon and her second novel is in the works. She is a wife, mother of one with another on the way, a scientist, baker, gardener, and life-long science fiction and fantasy addict.

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