Author Interview, Blogging, Book Love, writers life, writing

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon – Blog Tour and Q&A

gravemaidens_cover

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

Author Q&A

I would like to welcome amazing YA fantasy debut, Kelly Coon to my blog. I’m on her street team, the Skeleton Crew ❤ She answered some of my questions about her inspiration behind Gravemaidens, her writing process, and more. Let’s get started 🙂

Loie: Did Gravemaidens change a lot from the first to final draft? 

 

Kelly: What a good question! As a matter of fact, it DID. I’d say the finished hardcover is close to the 35th draft of this story. I dropped a POV character—the Boatman—and rewrote nearly every single scene from the book. It was a massive undertaking! 

 

Loie: When you’re brainstorming a new project, what do you start working on first? Do you like to research, think about the plot, or work on your characters? 

 

Kelly: I tend to start with my characters, because until I know who they are, I can’t know the plot. The decisions they make in their character arc will change the course of the plot, so I have to nail down what they want, what they need, the ghosts in their past, and the truth that they need to hear. I also need to know things like how they solve problems, how they view the world (because that impacts their voice), who they have conflicts with, and their values.   

 

Loie: Can you give us a hint at what you’re working on right now 🙂 ? 

 

Kelly: Yes! I just finished the last round of developmental edits on the GRAVEMAIDENS sequel (I cannot wait until I get to introduce you to some of the new characters) and am working on a contemporary stand-alone with speculative elements. It’s a daunting book, because one POV is written in verse and another POV is written in prose. =)

 

Loie: When were you first inspired to write Kammani’s story? 

Kelly: I wrote two completely different novels set in versions of Kammani’s world from 2013-2015, but the characters and plots did not work at all. I hadn’t yet gotten to the heart of the story she should be in. So, I scrapped those two novels completely and started over from scratch in 2016 with new characters, a new premise, and a whole new world. I queried it in early 2017 and got my agent, Kari Sutherland, who is amazing, in April of 2017, just a couple of weeks after she read it. =)

 

Loie: When you’re writing, do you need complete silence or do you listen to music?

 

Kelly: I actually listen to white noise for the most part. I’ve written six novels (and much of a seventh) with white noise, but the poetry I’m writing for my WIP has been written to loud, screaming, pulsing music. Haha

 

Loie: What was your favorite part about writing Gravemaidens? 

 

Kelly: There’s one scene near the end of the story where I felt myself let loose. Like I untied all my strings and allowed my imagination to take me wherever it wanted to go, plot outline be damned. This scene is still one of my favorite scenes in the whole book because it’s imaginative and weird and exactly the right fit for that part of the story. 

 

Sometimes writing this book was an absolute struggle, but other times—like that night—it was magic. 

 

Thank you a million times, Loie! These questions were amazing! =)

Loie: Thank you so much for answering all of my questions 🙂 If you’re interested in pre-ordering a copy of Gravemaidens, you can find it here. It releases next Tuesday, October 29th. I’m anxiously awaiting for my own copy to arrive in the mail! 

Until next time,

Loie xo

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Blogging, Book Love, Giveaway, writers life, writing, Writing Submission

SECRETS OF TOP SEA Rockstar Book Tour

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Title: SECRETS OF TOPSEA, BOOK 2: THE EXTREMELY HIGH TIDE!

Author: Kir Fox & M Shelley Coats

Pub. Date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 208

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD

 

Talise knows more about the ocean than any kid in Topsea. Any adult, too. As the best-and only-bathymetrist in Topsea, Talise is able to predict important things about the sea, like the next tide (Severely Low with a threat of Wildcard) or the arrival of Seaweed Season. What she can’t predict, however, are her classmates’ behaviors. Sometimes it’s as if they’re speaking different languages.
When Talise discovers a mysterious message in a bottle, her classmates believe it must have been sent by someone stranded on a deserted island. (Not to be confused with a dessert island.) But Talise is convinced the message is meant for her. And it’s telling her to build a boat.
Everyone seems to think Talise is just being silly. Even Talise isn’t exactly sure why she has to build the boat. And who keeps sending those strange messages in a bottle, anyway? All Talise knows is that she’d better finish building her boat fast, because an Extremely High Tide is coming?

EXCERPT 1

 

Typically, Talise spent Saturday mornings with the ocean.

Sometimes she studied tides or examined tide pools. Other times, she put on her wet suit and flippers and buoyancy vest and everything else, and went for a dive in the deep sea—just not the deep-deep sea, since she wasn’t allowed to dive that deep without a buddy.

But the ocean had told Talise to build a boat. So today, she wanted to go to the boat supply shop.

First, Talise had to ask her parents. Fortunately, she was quite fluent in their dialect: Loving/Concerned, usually with a dash of Mystified. She started with her mother, who worked as a consultant. That meant people paid her for expert advice.

“I have never built a boat before, and I am feeling apprehensive,” Talise said. “I would like to consult an expert.

She turned to her father, who worked as a controller. That meant he controlled…Talise wasn’t entirely sure.

“I think that will help me take control of the situation,” she continued. “Along with some boatbuilding supplies, of course. I’ll just need you to accompany me with your credit card—”

“Talise,” her mom said. She had white skin and dark blond hair. “But we had something else in mind for today.”

“We know you’ve been spending a lot of time by yourself lately,” Talise’s father said. He had dark brown skin and black hair.

“Lately?” Talise repeated.

“Especially since Clara is visiting Puerto Rico for the next few weeks,” her mother said. “So we arranged for you to spend the day with Runa!”

“Runa?”

Perhaps Talise looked as upset on the outside as she felt on the inside, because her father patted her shoulder. “She’ll meet you at the pier. I’m sure you’ll have a great time!”

Talise was not so sure.

She squeezed her sea blob as she walked to the beach. She’d really been looking forward to visiting the boat supply shop! Or at the very least, spending more time with her boat schematic. Instead, she was stuck with Runa, the kid Talise had the least in common with.

“She wouldn’t be interested in boat supplies,” Talise muttered.

The air was approximately 71 degrees Fahrenheit, while the ocean was closer to 58 degrees. She’d nearly reached the endless pier when something caught her eye. Her feet tripped, her heart skipped, and she stumbled to a halt, staring at the familiar collection of odd bubbles.

Wiggling her fingers, Talise stuck her hand into the pleasantly mucky sand and grabbed something hard. She wrapped her fingers around it and tugged.

SHLERPP!!!

It was another bottle, even crustier that the first one. Talise pulled out the cork and coughed at the musty smell. She shook out a rolled-up piece of very thin paper, or maybe it was tree bark.

The ocean had sent her another message!

EXCERPT 2

 

Notification: Teeth

 

Courtesy of the Town Committee for Dental and Coastal Hygiene

 

What’s even better than beachcombing for seashells? Beachbrushing … for teeth!

Teeth are a very important part of your skeleton. They’re also fun to collect. Here are some of the types of teeth you might find on Topsea’s beaches.

 

Buckteeth: fun for parties

Sweet teeth: do not eat

Barnacles: these might look like teeth, but they are not actually teeth

Horns: also not teeth

Tusks: also not—wait, these are in fact teeth

Molars: for chewing

Elongated molars: longer than necessary, nobody knows why

Narwhal tusks: fancy sorts of teeth that are often mistaken for unicorn horns; one belongs to a magical animal, the other grows out of a horse’s forehead

Saber teeth: these teeth are extinct

Snapped-off fangs: sharp, pointy, mean-spirited, mostly useless

Oolong: this is a type of tea, not teeth

Pincers: beware

Canines: whimsically named after mythological creatures

Beaks: not teeth—or are they?

Wisdom teeth: these teeth are quite valuable

Baleen: these teeth are a trap

 

There are many places to display your teeth collection: on your windowsill, under your bed, in a heavy-duty safe. Don’t forget to floss!

 

Note: if you ever find a rubber duck with teeth … we don’t know what to tell you.

 

 

About The Authors:

Kir Fox (Kirsten Hubbard) and M. Shelley Coats (Michelle Schusterman) are great friends, longtime critique partners and ardent consumers of the strange and unusual.

 

Find Kir!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

Find M!

Website | Instagram

 

Giveaway Details:

 

3 winners will receive a finished copy of SECRETS OF TOPSEA, BOOK 2: THE EXTREMELY HIGH TIDE!, US Only.


Rafflecopter link:

 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2876/?

 

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

1/7/2019- For the Love of KidLit– Spotlight

1/8/2019- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt

1/9/2019- Lisa-Queen of Random– Spotlight

1/10/2019- Character Madness and Musings Spotlight

1/11/2019- Owl Always Be Reading– Excerpt

 

Week Two:

1/14/2019- Loie Dunn– Excerpt

1/15/2019- Daily Waffle – Spotlight

1/16/2019- Twirling Book Princess– Excerpt

1/17/2019- BookHounds YA- Review

1/18/2019- Two points of interest– Review

 

Author Interview, Book Love, writers life, writing

Author Interview: M. Dalto of TWO THOUSAND YEARS

Hi everyone!

architecture business city classic
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Please welcome the funny and lovely, M. Dalto, soon to be published author! Her debut novel releases tomorrow, December 11th, with Parliament House Press! I was lucky enough to be mentored by MB during #WriteMentor from the months of May to August. MB mentored me with Amber R. Duell (author of Dream Keeper) and it was a blast.

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Welcome MB! I’m so happy you are here, today. Can’t wait to hear more about your journey with TWO THOUSAND YEARS and what’s next for you 🙂

Let’s get started!

Loie: When did you start writing TWO THOUSAND YEARS and what inspired it?

MB: The inspiration for TWO THOUSAND YEARS actually came to me in 1993 – and now I’m probably dating myself. Billy Joel released his album entitled River of Dreams and on it was a song called Two Thousand Years. My best friend and I had very active imaginations and often wrote our own stories, roleplayed, and the like — there was something about Two Thousand Years that called to me, even then, telling me there was a story there, and it needed to be written. They melody was moving, and the lyrics were inspiring- battles to be won and love that spanned centuries. It was just begging for a story to be told.

I socked the idea away for many years later, until 2014 when something in me felt the need to write a story for NaNoWriMo. So, using the same song for inspiration so many years later, that’s exactly what I did.

Loie: Wow! Love the story behind TTY. That is so cool, MB! Now I’m going to go and listen to that song 😉 

Can you tell readers what Wattpad is? When did you decide to post TTY on it?

MB: Wattpad is a website where millions of writers and readers can come together, from all over the world, and share their stories and experiences. I had heard about it from a friend when I was looking to do more with TWO THOUSAND YEARS. What brought me there didn’t start out as happy though…

I finally decided to share my first chapter on one of the NaNoWriMo forums. And the person who read it, a total stranger, messaged me and told me that it may have been one of the worst pieces of writing he ever read.

I was devastated.

So much so that I was ready to just stop- no more writing, throw the story away, that was it.

Until a friend of mine mentioned Wattpad. I never knew it existed until she told what it was, where I could upload as much or as little onto it as I wanted, where the feedback I could get there would be far more diverse than one unknown person’s opinion.

So I finally joined in February 2016.

Loie: Super important to receive diverse feedback compared to one person. I’m so glad your friend mentioned Wattpad to you ❤

Did you have the novel finished before you started posting on Wattpad or did you write a chapter a week?

MB: TWO THOUSAND YEARS was fully drafted when I decided to post it to Wattpad, but I was still in the process of my first round of edits and revision. So once I had a chapter completed, I would post it to Wattpad. I tried to get at least one up a week at the time, sometimes there would be two. I remember when I was about 10 chapters away from the end I went on a posting spree and put up one a day, but because I wanted to mark it as ‘complete’.

Loie: Oh, that’s neat 🙂 How fun! Your readers must have been thrilled about the posting spree, hehe 🙂 ! I used to post on Fanfiction. I wrote Sailor Moon and Harry Potter fanfic (featuring Harry’s parents :D) and I remember how fun it was to receive reviews and feedback on my writing.

Can you share your journey with Two Thousand Years getting published?

MB:  confess I had not interest in publishing when I started writing it. I merely wanted to write a story, and I did. But once I posted it to Wattpad and it won the Watty, I started to consider that maybe there was something more I could do with it. So I started querying it to agents. A lot. And it was rejected. A lot. I tried on SwoonReads and it ebbed and flowed in its popularity, but nothing came of it. It got some interest a Pitmad or two from indie publishers, but at the time I was focused on traditional publishing. I even tried throwing it into 2017’s PitchWars but it got me nowhere.

I soon lost count of the rejections, but for this one I was okay because it, and the rest of its series, was still extremely popular on Wattpad. But eventually the frustration got to me and I was seriously considering myself as a writer (don’t we all?) until a friend of mine whom I met through an ACOTAR FB group started posting about her new book coming out with a Parliament House Press. After talking to her about it and her experiences, I began to realize that TWO THOUSAND YEARS as a story I wasn’t going to compromise to sell, so maybe an independent small press was something to consider. So I queried them and they enjoyed what they read enough to request my full manuscript a month later, and a week after that I was sent the contract!

Loie: Writing is a journey and I agree, I think every writer doubts themselves. I’ve been there. So cool that you met a friend through your love of ACOTAR ❤ I love Parliament House Press. I’m so glad they’re releasing your book. Also, your cover is amazing! 

What is your favourite 2018 read?

MB: This is hard because I can barely remember what I read! If you’re asking me what my favorite 2018 release was, it would definitely be A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas because her ACOTAR series is my favorite, with A Court of Mist and Fury still up there as my most favorite book ever. I know a lot of people were upset with this book, but it was a novella and it was a fun novella and I’m okay with the romantic fluff every once in a while, especially where Rhysand is involved.

Now, if you’re asking me about books that I actually, finally read in 2018, the favorites there would be Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Though I guess I can now throw Queen of Air and Darkness into the mix, as it’s a 2018 release though I haven’t finished it. Yet…  But those books redeemed her Shadowhunters franchise for me and I absolutely love them. Almost as much as must as the ACOTAR series.

Loie: Eep! I haven’t finished ACOFAS but maybe I will in the next few weeks. Also, I need to get caught up with the Shadowhunters books so I can finally read this new series. It sounds amazing!

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do In your free time :)?

MB: What’s free time? 😉

Other than writing and wrangling my 8-year-old daughter, I love to read. YA and Adult fantasy are my favorites, though I’ll drop everything for the Outlander series. I also love playing video games – RPGs are my preferred genre, and I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for what feels like forever. And sometimes, when the mood arises, I’ll practice yoga- basic Hatha is my go-to.

Loie: Hahaha 😀 ! Outlander! Love it. Also, I haven’t played video games in ages but I would love to again. I was inspired by my love of Legend of Zelda to write my own fantasy novel.

Okay… now for a super important question: why is Jamie Campbell Bower the best :D?

MB: *HAHA* I see what you did there…

Okay, so let’s start at the beginning.

Hi, my name is MaryBeth, and I adore Jamie Campbell Bower.

I don’t want to use the term ‘obsessed’ because it still remains a healthy infatuation. For the moment. The man can do no wrong – he can act, he can sing, and he’s gorgeous… I mean…a very successful model. He’s well spoken, hilarious, and did I mention gorgeous?

So, Jamie is one of those actors who you know without realizing you know. He was in Sweeney Todd, Harry Potter, played the most amazing Jace in the City of Bones, and then there are those damn movies about sparkly vampires that we don’t talk about. He was also the front runner in Camelot for the one season it was on Starz and played the most amazing Kit Marlowe in TNT’s Will. He’s incredibly talented, and not only on the screen. He actually started his career in music before acting, and his band, COUNTERFEIT., is coming out with their second album in 2019. AND I can attest that he is as genuine in person as you may see in his interviews because I was fortunate enough to have met him in 2018.

But I digress….

Loie: Hahah! Thank you for sharing! I’m sold on JCB! I have yet to listen to COUNTERFEIT but I will sometime this week. Yes, I’ve seen a few interviews with him and he does seem really genuine. So neat that you got to meet him! 

What does 2019 hold for you? Do you have any new projects on the horizon?

MB: So the beginning of 2019 will bring the release of the first two companion novellas for the Empire Saga, REYLOR’S LAMENT and TREYAN’S PROMISE. After that, there’s rumor’s Book 2 could be coming out later in 2019, but we’ll see what happens there 😉

Other than that, I have a couple of other projects I’m working on, both with myself and others. A manuscript or two I’m trying to focus on finishing and polishing, and maybe a couple others that are ready to start from scratch. We’ll just have to see how the year goes!

Loie: Wow! I’m so glad there’s more on the horizon. Can’t wait to read the novellas! Congrats, MB! One more day until TWO THOUSAND YEARS releases 🙂 It’s one of my top reads from 2018 ❤

Thank you so much, MB, for visiting the blog today! You can connect with MB on her Twitter, Instagram, and Wattpad 🙂 

Pre-order here! It releases tomorrow! 🙂

Until next time,

Loie xo

24 Days of Writing, Book Love, Country Life, Nature, Uncategorized, writers life, writing

On the 3rd Day of Writing: Enchanted Conversation Magazine

December 3rd

Hey everyone!

Hope you’re having a good week so far ✨❄️

Here is a fun place to submit: Enchanted Conversation Magazine.

Are you able to tell a myth, fairy tale, folktale in 100-500 words? Check out some examples:

Beerwood Stew – 364 Words – READ HERE 
Stepsister – 214 Words – READ HERE 
Beloved – 178 Words – READ HERE
Email submissions to EnchantedCSubmissions@gmail.com
The subject line of the email should be: FAIRY TALE FLASH – your last name – title of your work. Example: FAIRY TALE FLASH – Dunn – “Your Title”
Write a short cover letter with the approximate word count of the story. Pen a brief author’s bio written in third person and up to three links to your personal website or social media accounts. Don’t summarize your story in the cover letter. 
Include a Paypal address.
Paste your submission in the body of your email.
Single spacing. No indents on paragraphs. Double space between paragraphs. Use Arial as the font. Try to use American English word forms and punctuation.
Have fun with this submission! One of my stories was accepted through Enchanted Conversation. Check it out here!
What story will you write for this submission? I would love to hear below 🙂
Until next time,
Loie xo
Book Love, Giveaway, writers life, writing

Rockstar Book Tours: Excerpt from Drakon’s Tear by N.J. Walters

Drakon'sTear_500x750

Title: DRAKON’S TEAR (Blood of the Drakon #6)

Author: N.J. Walters

Pub. Date: November 26, 2018

Publisher: Entangled Publishing. LLC (Amara)

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 288

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooks

 

Dying isn’t an option. I’ve survived a kidnapping and now I’m on the run from the Knights of the Dragon who want my gift. I’m Abigail Owens and I can sense gemstones. There’s nothing a dragon loves more than treasure. But when I find a beautiful stone at a tiny shop in Moscow, I have no idea it’s a drakon tear, or that I’ve just put myself in the middle of a war between the Knights and a Drakon.

 
I guess I’m just lucky like that.

 
The only person I trust even a little is Vasili Zima, which is weird since I’m not sure if he wants to kill me or protect me. I’m drawn to him in a way I hadn’t thought possible, and he feels the same way, or he wouldn’t be risking his life to help me. He’s wanted by the bad guys just as much as I am, and staying with me, well, there’s a hundred percent chance I’m about to get us both killed. But I will not be going down without a fight.

 

Excerpts

It seemed crazy to be considering such a thing, but deep in her heart Abigail knew it was the truth. Vasili was a drakon. She had no idea why he could touch the bracelet and not be trapped by it. Or maybe he was. Maybe she was the trap.

Horror snaked through her. Was that the reason he was kissing her, touching her? Was it because of the curse or spell or whatever it was. She stared at his broad back, wondering how to address the subject. He obviously didn’t want to talk, but this was far too important to ignore.

“What if I’m the trap?” she blurted.

Vasili tensed and slowly turned around so he was facing her. The frown on his face would have scared her if she didn’t know him. Come to think of it, it did scare her. A little. Okay, a lot, but she wasn’t about to back down.

“What do you mean?” He set his mug back down on the tray, but stayed away from her.

Abigail shrugged and looked at the bracelet. It seemed so harmless. If the silver were cleaned up, it would simply look like an expensive piece of bling. But it was so much more.

“You aid it yourself,” she pointed out. “I was attracted to this.” She held up her arm. “And you were attracted to me. So what if the Knights are using me as a trap.” She swallowed heavily, her heart aching. “Maybe that’s why you’re attracted to me, why you kissed me. Maybe you don’t have a choice.”

And that part hurt more than it should. Whether Vasili kissed her again or not should be low down on her list of priorities. The most pressing ones were staying alive and getting out of the country. But somehow their kissing was at the top of the list. She hated to think that what they felt for one another was nothing more than some spell the Knights had conjured.

And it was weird to think that was even possible. Magic and spells happened in books or movies, not in real life.

Of course, most people didn’t think drakons existed outside of myths and books, but she knew differently. And she’d learned firsthand back home in Vas Vegas that magic was not only real but extremely dangerous.

The temperature in the room seemed to drop. Maybe it was her imagination, but she didn’t think so.

“What are you suggesting? That I’m so weak I’d be drawn in by some spell.”

God save her from the male ego.

EXCERPT #2

“Why? Why were you drawn to the bracelet?” She lowered her voice and leaned in. “Are you one of them?”

He had to admire her discretion, even though they were seemingly alone.

“Why would you think that?” he asked. He was curious to see how her mind worked and how much she actually knew about his kind.

Frustration flashed across her face, and she crossed her arms over her chest. “Fine. You want to be all mysterious, don’t tell me.”

“Answer my question, and I’ll answer yours.” Maybe he wouldn’t tell her everything, but he’d give her some kind of answer.

She gave him a look that told him she knew he was tricking her somehow but was willing to go along.

“That tattoos for one. I’ve seen similar ones.”

On her brother-in-law, most likely. “What else?”

“You’re big and strong, and there’s something about you.” She shook her head when he started to smile. “Yeah, you don’t need your ego stroked.”

But he did, at least by her. He leaned forward and propped his forearms on his thighs and linked his hands together. It pulled the material of his sweater up, exposing his tattoos. “Don’t stop now.”

Abigail huffed in pure frustration. “Then there’s the bracelet.” She slipped her sleeve back and stared at the silver band with the embedded drakon tear. The more he saw it, the less he liked her wearing the tear from another drakon.

Abigail was his treasure.

“You were attracted to the bracelet, not me. Admit that much.”

Vasili nodded. “I did sense the bracelet, but once I saw you, it no longer mattered.

“Yeah, right.” She pulled her sleeve back down. “You wanted to know where it came from, how I got it, and if I was working for a certain group who shall remain nameless.”

“You’re right. I did want to know all of that and more.” Once he’d seen her, he’d wanted to know everything about her. That had concerned him at first, but now that he knew her better, he was coming to realize just how special she was.

“What I can’t figure out is, if the bracelet is a trap…” She looked to him for confirmation.

“It is,” he assured her. Even now, there was no denying the pulsing power coming from her wrist.

“Then why doesn’t it affect you?”

Vasili knew he was at a crossroad. He’d always had a sense about such things. This moment and what he said would affect the rest of his life. He knew if he didn’t share something with Abigail, she would leave him as soon as possible. If he couldn’t build some kind of trust between them, he would lose her.

His dragon roared inside him, and the skin on his forearms rippled. He desperately wanted to shift and barely managed to control himself.

Abigail gasped and sat back on the bunk. She glanced at the door of the cabin, but it was closed, giving them privacy. She wasn’t afraid of him. Not his Abigail. She was afraid for him.

That stung. He was a drakon, mighty and powerful. She should trust him to take care of her, should recognize his strength.

He knew he was being totally irrational. That, too, was out of character. What was it about Abigail that pulled at all of his senses?

About NJ:

Once upon a time N.J. had the idea that she would like to quit her job at the bookstore, sell everything she owned, leave her hometown, and write romance novels in a place where no one knew her. And she did. Two years later, she went back to the bookstore and her hometown and settled in for another seven years.

 

One day she gave notice at her job on a Friday morning. On Sunday afternoon, she received a tentative acceptance for her first erotic romance novel and life would never be the same.

 

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good look will vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | BookBub

 

Giveaway Details:

 

1 winner will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card, International.

Rafflecopter link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2853/?

 

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

11/26/2018- Stormy Vixen’s Book Reviews– Review

11/26/2018- Angel’s Guilty Pleasures– Excerpt

 

11/27/2018- Bookriot– Excerpt

11/27/2018- Loie Dunn– Excerpt

 

11/28/2018- Reese’s Reviews Review

11/28/2018- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt

 

11/29/2018- My Books-My World– Excerpt

11/29/2018- Dena Garson-Real… Hot… Romance– Excerpt

 

11/30/2018- BookHounds– Excerpt

11/30/2018- Parajunkee– Excerpt

 

Author Interview, Book Love, canadian authors, writers life

YA Author Interview: Kristen Ciccarelli

 

The Last Namsara Goodreads Summary

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her

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Thank you so much, Kristen, for agreeing to come on the blog today and share about your writing, books, and other creative endeavors.

I loved The Last Namsara SO much! I particularly loved your worldbuilding, mythology, romance, and main character, Asha 🙂 Also, dragons! It’s great to have you here on the blog today. Woohoo to Canadian YA Fantasy authors! Love it.

When I first picked up The Last Namsara and flipped to the back to read your bio, I was so excited to see you were a fellow Canadian. It gave me hope that someday I might also be published.

Okay, let’s get to the interview 🙂

Loie: How did you come up with Firgaard? I love this world so much!

Kristen: This is actually a hard question to answer! My stories always begin with character, and everything in a story (in my opinion) needs to somehow serve that character—either helping her or hindering her on her journey to becoming who she’s meant to be. So I guess you could say that I came up with Firgaard because of Asha. The outlawed stories, the patriarchal monarch, the deadly dragons, the walls within walls … these were all things that came out of who Asha was, the secrets she was keeping, etc. It’s the world she needed.

Loie: When you are building and researching a story, what tips do you have for writers? Do you spend a certain amount of time preparing the story before drafting? Also, could you talk a little bit about rewrites and revisions?

Kristen: I think everyone researches and worldbuilds differently, so I’m not sure how helpful I can be here. One thing I will say is that research and worldbuilding can become procrastination tactics. They’re important, but getting the book written is more important. You can do all the research and worldbuilding in the world and still not have done enough. At some point, you have to start writing. I do some research and worldbuilding at the beginning, some as I write, and then some more in between drafts, going back and fixing things/layering in the new pieces. What’s more important for me is knowing my character. I spend a considerable amount of time figuring out who my character is before I start writing. I need to know who she is at the beginning of the story versus who she is at the end so I can figure out how she’s going to change and grow (which is essentially the plot of the book).

In terms of rewrites and revisions, it really depends on the author, as well as the book. Some things that are important before you sit down to revise a story: take space away from the draft so you can see it with fresher eyes, give it to trusted people who will give constructive feedback, compile that feedback into some kind of revision plan (I like to make a revision list starting from big things like character and plot changes, then end with small things like adding in more sensory details, etc), then go down the list as you revise. When you get to the end, repeat the same steps over again for as many drafts as a story needs, until it’s done.

Loie: What inspired the stories found in TLS and TCQ? I loved your book because of the snippets of legends we received before each chapter. It made the story and the world so much richer and I truly felt immersed.

Kristen: The stories are essentially cleverly disguised cheating. 😉 They’re there to give the reader a whole lot of backstory (on the characters, on the world, on the religion) without the reader realizing they’re reading a lot of backstory. But also, stories are so integral to the book—they’re dangerous and forbidden because they lure dragons and kill their tellers, but also because Asha is a storyteller. So it just seemed right to use them in this way.

Loie: Do you have any projects that you are dreaming to work on in the future after this series? Will you always write YA or will you write MG or Adult? Are there any other genres you are particularly drawn to?

Kristen: I have a few projects I’m working on now, just for fun. One of them is YA fantasy set in a very different world than The Last Namsara and it’s been the thing I work on when I don’t have any other looming deadlines. The other project is an adult fantasy. I’m definitely most drawn to fantasy (and always have been). I can’t really see myself writing in other genres, but never say never, I guess?

Loie: What do you do to get unstuck in a story?

Kristen: Usually it requires going back to the place in the story where I wasn’t stuck and deleting everything after that point. But sometimes getting stuck is a sign of stress or exhaustion. So sometimes it means I need to put the laptop away for the night and watch Netflix with my husband. Other times it means going for a walk. Or washing the dishes. Or doing something that requires me to get out of my head. The subconscious mind is a powerful thing that can often figure out your plot problems while you distract yourself with other things.

Loie: Who is your favorite character to write and why 🙂 ?

Kristen: Whichever character I’m writing at the moment. 😉 Seriously, though. I’m most interested in whoever is driving the story I’m currently writing, probably because I have to know them so well. (So with book one, it was Asha. With book two, it was Roa.) However, I think people are interesting in general. People are like icebergs. There’s a tiny little bit of them showing above the surface, but mostly who they are is all hidden underneath. The surface of a person can be extremely deceiving. I want to know what’s under the surface of every character/person, because it’s so often interesting and surprising.

Loie: I love your Instagram and seeing all the other creative things you are up to like baking and pottery and hiking around Newfoundland. How do other creative endeavors inform writers or how do they help?

Kristen: As anyone who spends a lot of time staring at a computer screen will know, it’s helpful to get out of your head and into the real world, to move your body, to have sensory experiences. Writing is stationary and solitary and happens inside your own mind. You can’t stay in that state. You need to move, have social interactions, be present in the world happening around you. For your writing, yes, but more importantly, for your well-being. Baking, making pottery, hiking … these are restorative acts for me. They remind me that writing is not the most important thing. Living is.

Loie: If you could sit down with one author and have a coffee with them, who would it be?

Kristen: Patricia McKillip! She was my favourite author growing up (and still is). She has virtually no internet presence. She doesn’t go on tour. She’s a total mystery, which I love. (In fact, now that I’m writing this, maybe I don’t want to have coffee with her, maybe I should keep her as a mystery…)

Loie: Finally, can you share a little bit about The Caged Queen?

Kristen: The Caged Queen is about a girl who must kill a king in order to save her sister. The protagonist of this book is Roa, who you meet in The Last Namsara when she makes Dax (a boy she has tumultuous history with) a deal: she’ll lend him the army he needs to win a war if he marries her and makes her queen.

While The Caged Queen opens almost immediately after The Last Namsara ends (with Roa as an outlander queen in a kingdom that’s been shaken by war), and while it continues on with the characters from TLN (Asha, Torwin, etc), it also stands alone. So you can read The Caged Queen first if you want, and then read The Last Namsara as a prequel.

Loie: Thank you so much, Kristen for coming here and taking the time to answer some questions. I love your writing and I cannot wait to read The Caged Queen!

Kristen: It was my pleasure! Thanks for your questions, Loie.

I hope you all enjoyed the interview. Keep an eye out on my Twitter account for a book giveaway 😍✨ Have you read The Last Namsara? What is your most anticipated sequel?

Until next time,

Loie xo

Book Love, Cover Reveals

Dream Keeper by Amber R. Duell Cover Reveal

Hi everyone!
I have the great honor to be part of the book cover reveal for one of my #WriteMentor mentors, Amber R. Duell!
I read Amber’s previous book, Fragile Chaos, and it was fantastic. Lush, romantic, and complex.
I cannot wait to read her newest book, Dream Keeper. I’ve always been fascinated by dreams. It is also about Sandman! Eeee!
Isn’t the cover gorgeous? Keep reading to find out more about the story.
PS: Shoutout to Amber: this cover is stunning!
-Loie xo