Friday, January 31, 2014

Spotlight: Face of Death by Kelly Hashway

Book three in Kelly Hashway's Touch of Death series is now. Kelly is a fellow member of Darkly Delicious YA and I'm absolutely thrilled to spotlight her books.

Coming January 2014

Having fallen at the hands of Hades, Jodi's enduring torture like she never imagined. Worse, she has to watch her Ophi friends suffer along with her--the punishment doled out by the very people she'd sentenced to life in Tartarus. Hell. This is one reunion Jodi hoped would never happen, but now she must find a way to free them all.

Except the underworld is nearly impossible to escape.

Jodi's one chance may rest in raising the human soul she killed when she drank Medusa's blood.

But splitting her human soul from her Ophi soul means living a double life: One as an Ophi experiencing unspeakable torture and the other as the human she could have been if she never came into her powers. With her two worlds colliding, Jodi will have to make the toughest decision she's faced yet.

Kelly has been kind enough to share a couple of teasers with us. Enjoy!

That was the beauty of my plan. I wasn't going to try to get out of the underworld alive. I was going to try to raise my own soul. My human soul. The one I'd killed. I was going to force that soul into the body of another dead person.

I was going to become one of the living dead—and hopefully not the zombie kind. 

Oh! I love that excerpt. And the next one, because there's a three-headed dog from Hell.

"Can you call Hades?" I asked Cerberus, keeping my voice as steady and non-threatening as possible. "Call your master here. Tell him I need to talk to him."

"Our fearless leader, everyone," Lexi said. "Talking to a three-headed dog from Hell. We're all screwed. 

I love Lexi's reply, and I can't wait to read the book!

Read FACE OF DEATH today: Kindle | Nook
Add to your TBR list on Goodreads.

Catch up on books one and two in the Touch of Death series. 

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(Click the title to learn more about the book.)

About the author:

Kelly Hashway is a former language arts teacher who now works as a full-time writer, freelance editor, and mother to an adorable little girl. In addition to writing YA novels, Kelly writes middle grade books, picture books, and short stories. When she’s not writing or digging her way out from under her enormous To Be Read pile, she’s running and playing with her daughter. She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets. 

Connect with Kelly

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On Controversy – Pushing Buttons

Fantasy by definition is the free play of creative imagination. When one picks up a novel that is fantasy he expects fantastical things to happen and he expects there to be creatures that bend the mortal rules of what can and cannot be done.

My latest work-in-progress features angels and demons. As I always do, I researched what is known and then created a modern day world to set my story in. My characters are fictional. Their world is fictional. And while I do use a lot of known lore in my novel, I put my own twist on things.  

My novel doesn't attack religion. In fact, no religion is mentioned. So I found it interesting (as I always do) when what I thought was a small comment made by one of my characters started an intense debate with my critique partners. Friendly lines were drawn: those who weren't too happy with the comment and those who recognized I based my angels on the Old Testament.

Controversy can be good. It causes us to think and to ask questions. It challenges us to see things in a different light. One person might feel that all angels are good and should be seen as guardians, while another person might remember angels as God’s warriors: fierce and a force not to be mess with. I believe both views are right. If I’m thinking of an angel that guides mankind, I think of guardian angels. But if I’m thinking of angels fighting to keep Heaven and Earth safe, I picture warriors with their swords drawn ready for battle.

It’s important to read fiction with an open mind. It’s important to remember that the views of the characters aren't necessarily the views of the author. Good fiction doesn't come from a person preaching their personal beliefs. It comes from a writer’s ability to create a world so vivid it propels a reader into the characters’ world. Good writing will have a reader asking questions. That’s a wonderful thing. It means the writer has done more than just tell a story. He or she has woven together an engaging tale that has touched the reader on some level.

As a reader, I enjoy books that challenge my knowledge of a subject or that has me wondering where fact ended and the fantastical began. Hats off to all authors who are able to pull this off, because isn't the whole point of reading fiction to become lost in the story?

Happy reading everyone!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Feature Friday: Sinziana from Cafebiblioart

Welcome to Feature Friday. Today, I have Sinziana from Cafabiblioart with me.

Cherie: How did you get started in blogging about books?
Sinziana: Most of my book lover friends started one and I realized that it was an easier way to keep up with the publishing world so that is why I created my own blog. It was quite strange of me to do so because I am not a natural writer nor do I tend to do what other people do. I have to say that it was the best decision I ever made.

Cherie: I’m glad you did. I enjoy stopping by your blog. How did you come up with the name for your blog?
Sinziana: I had trouble finding the right name, I tried so many and then I remembered my business plan from 11th grade and I decided that I should use the same name I came up with years ago. I thought it was fitting since I planned to post about art, books and tea.

Cherie: What’s your favorite part about blogging?
Sinziana: My favorite part about blogging is that I get to meet new people who love the same thing that I do and also that give me feedback on my writing and advice on other matters that I post about.

Cherie: That’s one of my favorite parts, too. Do you have any pet peeves that make you want to put down the book your reading?
Sinziana: Sadly no.

Cherie: What type of books do you enjoy?
Sinziana: I enjoy reading mostly New Adult, Contemporary romance and Erotica.

Cherie: Do you mind books with similar ideas to other books? Similar concepts, backgrounds, or retellings?
Sinziana: Honestly no. I imagine each book as real story so it makes sense that out there are many people/couples that have similar stories but their personalities make their romance unique. I love reading similar books because I get to compare the characters that come from a similar background and go through something similar. I get to learn their reaction and which is the best approach. 

Cherie: That’s a great way of looking at similar concepts. Do you like when your favorite books are made into movies, and why?
Sinziana: In a way yes, In a way no. I love seeing how another person interprets the story I loved so much, but on the other hand he or she might ruin my image. I like it better when the director makes some changes and the movies is not identical to the book. Please, don’t shoot me!

Cherie: It’s your birthday, and your friends got you a giant cake. What character do you hope pops out of your cake and what book is he/her from?
Sinziana: Ava from This Man as she probably worked with one of my neighbors and I want to her to introduce me J

Cherie: If you could choose to be any character from a book, who would it be and why?
Sinziana: I would choose Julia from Gabriel’s Inferno. I am very much like her, but she is also want I aspire to be some day.

Cherie: Try to answer the following questions in five words or less.

If you start a book that isn’t grabbing your attention, how far into the book will you read before you put it down? Last page.

Who’s your favorite book mom? Rebecca Bloomwood Brandon (Shopaholic series)

Who’s your favorite book dad? Carlisle Cullen

Secret crush? (It can be anyone real or fictional.) Jessie Ward

Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes

Have you ever experienced that head-over-heels, tingly, have-to-get-to-know-someone feeling yourself? Sadly no.

Are you drawn to the good guy or the bad guy? Unable to answer.

What’s the first thing you notice about a guy? His smile.

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would your dream vacation be? Home

Are you a morning person or an evening person? Both

Favorite author? Jodi Ellen Malpas and/or Nina Lane

Favorite place to read? Bed

Favorite classic? The Lady of the Camellias

What book are you the most excited to read? Sequels in my favorite series.

Are there any types of books you don’t read? Non-fiction. (I wish) Sadly I have to read them for school. Now seriously, I don’t read horror or science fiction.

Do you have any hobbies? Shopping, does it count? Well, I love making jewelry from beads and I also love inter design.

What movie would make a great book? I think that all the movies I liked are in fact based on books or comic books. I have no idea.

What’s the worst cover to a book that you loved? The ones from the Archers of Avalon series by Chelsea Fine.

Connect with Sinziana 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Is Your Font Easy on the Eyes?

If you're like me, a lot of thought goes into the font you use for email, your blog, on your website, etc. Marian Manseau shared this tip with me. It's one her website designer shared with her. I wanted to share it with you.

Typography (fonts)

   Serif fonts: A serif is a terminating mark at the end of a letter stroke.
   Sans-Serif fonts: Fonts without terminating marks.

Studies in perception indicate that when blocks of text are used, serif fonts work best for the printed page and sans-serif are best for computer monitors and projection.

You can bet I rushed off to my blog and my website to see if I followed this rule. I'm good on my blog and will be making a few changes on my website.

Tell the truth, will you be checking your sites?

I interviewed Marian a couple of years ago, when her book Merely Dee was released. You can read the interview by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Research Behind the Embrace Series

Even in fantasy there’s research to be done. Since my novels are set in the modern world, I first had to research the setting. The climate, landmarks, high schools, population, all the way down to which beaches are good for collecting seashells and how often the light on Annisquam Lighthouse flashes (every 7.5 seconds for those curious). It was important to me that these details were as accurate as I could make them so that the reader would feel like he or she was in Gloucester, Massachusetts, right next to Madison.

My research didn’t stop with getting to know Gloucester. I wanted the surnames of my characters to have meaning too, so the characters whose families have lived in Massachusetts for generations have last names of one of the families that had settled in that area back in the 1600s. This is something most readers will never know, but it’s the type of detail I like to include in my stories. 

I did an equal amount of research on the paranormal elements. Since I don’t want to give away any spoilers, and since my publisher and I purposely don’t say what it is in the synopsis for Embrace (book 1) I’ll simply say that I dug into the known lore to see how I could weave it into the world I was creating. I studied the different myths, their believed weaknesses, why people feared them, and how people protected themselves from the unknown. I then put my own spin on them. Ones I hope a reader will enjoy.

Read EMBRACE today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Read HOLD TIGHT today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Friday, January 10, 2014

Feature Friday: Leisha O. from ROLOPOLOBOOKBLOG

Feature Friday is a place for readers to meet and find new book bloggers. 

Today I have Leisha O. from ROLOPOLOBOOKBLOG with me. Her blog is a great place to visit to find your next book. If you’re an author, be sure to check out SpotlightSaturday and Sunday.

Please help me welcome Leisha!

Cherie: How did you get started in blogging about books?
Leisha: I was contacted by my oldest friend (Julie from AToMR Tours) about writing reviews for her blog.  After a couple of years of writing reviews and helping Julie with tour organizing, I decided to try it for myself. 

Cherie: How did you come up with the name for your blog?
Leisha: The name is very personal for me and one that my husband came up with when we were newly married.   It is a combination of my initials (LO) mixed with my husband’s (RO) and my daughter’s (PO); we started out as ROLO and added the POLO seven years later. J 

Cherie: I love it! What’s your favorite part about blogging? 
Leisha: The books!!  I can’t believe how many new and exciting authors I have been exposed to since I began this journey.

Cherie: Do you have any pet peeves that make you want to put down the book your reading?
Leisha: Oh, yes!!  I can’t take weak characters and lousy dialogue!!  I firmly believe strong and interesting characters who are funny, witty, sarcastic, and intelligent (the list goes on and on) can carry a book with a weakish plot. I also like my books to move forward through dialogue and character interaction.  As you may have already guessed, I am totally and completely a character-driven reader.   

Cherie: I’m with you on that! What type of books do you enjoy?
Leisha: Nearly anything that is well-written and character/dialogue-driven.  I am particularly partial to paranormals (vamps and witches are faves!), urban fantasy, historical fiction (British royalty and art and artists are faves!), erotica (with a real plot and not just sex!), YA/MG and, on-going series.  I just can’t give up some characters J 

Cherie: Do you mind books with similar ideas to other books? Similar concepts, backgrounds, or retellings? 
Leisha: Yes, I have a tendency to read books with similar concepts but there has to be some new twist or take to really keep me interested.  I need an author to give me a reason to keep reading their book if it is similar to another book/series I have read.

Cherie: Do you like when your favorite books are made into movies, and why?
Leisha: Only when it’s done well and/or the author is involved.  For example, Jurassic Park - such a good adaptation and, of course, the Harry Potter series. 
Epic fails??  Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and Queen of the Damned– both were so terribly disappointing for me.

Cherie: Jurassic Park and Harry Potter were done right. I loved both the books and movies. On the next questions, try to answer in five words or less:

If you start a book that isn’t grabbing your attention, how far into the book will you read before you put it down? 20% - 40%

Secret crush? All of the Black Dagger Brotherhood

Do you believe in love at first sight? Absolutely!!

Have you ever experienced that head-over-heels, tingly, have-to-get-to-know-someone feeling yourself? Yep, with Mr. RoloPoloBookBlog

Are you drawn to the good guy or the bad guy? Both, for different reasons.

What’s the first thing you notice about a guy? Weirdly, tattoos and hair.

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would your dream vacation be? On my own paid-for island!

Are you a morning person or an evening person? Total night owl – mornings suck!!

Favorite author?  ppfftt –trick question!

Favorite place to read? In bed!

Favorite classic? To Kill a Mockingbird

What book are you the most excited to read? This answer changes daily J

Are there any types of books you don’t read? Poetry and Non-fiction

Do you have any hobbies? Check out – I’m arthistorychick

If you could choose to be any character from a book, who would it be and why?  Any character with immortality, a sharp tongue, wicked smart mind and, cool powers.  DUH!

Me too!!!

Thanks for being on my blog!

Connect with Leisha from ROLOPOLOBOOKBLOG

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IWSG: Kicking of the New Year Right

The first Wednesday of the month is here, which means it's time for IWSG. If you're not familiar with this meme, it was started by Alex Cavanaugh. It's a group of writers who share their insecurities, encouraging words, and support with each other and our followers. If you'd like to join us, great! Click here for more information.

First, I'd like to mention I'm participating in the YA Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader. There's lots of great prizes to be had so be sure to check it out.

I’m starting 2014 on a positive note, so I have to admit I’m not feeling insecure. I’m feeling thankful and inspired and ready to jump into my writing with sleeves rolled up and fingers pecking happily away at the keys on my keyboard.  My excitement has everything to do with selling my new adult novel Challenging Destiny to The Wild Rose Press, Black Rose Imprint. It’s an upper teen novel about a brother and sister who must outsmart both Heaven and Hell if they hope to remain human and avoid being pawns in a coming war. I know that’s a pretty vague recap of the book, but I just signed with them late December I’m not sure how much I can share at this time.

Since I’m feeling good, I decided to jot down a few goals for 2014. Last year was a hectic year for me. There was so much going on that I slacked when it came to meeting new writers, commenting on blog posts, and tackling my TBR list. I hope to change that in 2014. So here are my goals for this year:

Networking goals         
  • Visit as many blogs as I can the first Wednesday each month. Yes, it’s because of IWSG. When I first join this group I was good at hopping around and reading at least thirty posts. I want to get back to that.
  • The rest of the month, visit at least seven blogs a week. That’s one a day. No matter how busy life gets, I should be able to do that.

Reading goals:
  • Last spring/summer I really slacked off on reading for pleasure, and I missed it. I don’t want that to happen again this year so I’m setting a goal to read two books a month. More if they’re quick reads.

Writing Goals:
  • Revise the middle grade fantasy that I’ve been working on for years. This story always gets pushed to the side and I think it’s time I put it center stage. 
  • Write the contemporary YA novel that has been on my mind a lot the last two months. It’s a story I started a couple years ago, but never finished. I had a wow moment last month when I realized what was missing.
  • If time permits, I’d love to write the NA novel I started last year. On that one, I had a scene stuck in my head that I just had to get on paper, which I did. But I never had time to hash out the characters and the plot. Right now, I have a scene I love just waiting to be inserted into a story. I’ve had enough time to figure out the plot and to get to know the characters (who like to remind me often that they are waiting for me to revisit them).

I might have to get Madison and her friends from Embrace to make me a time turner. I bet Isaac could find the spell in his handy grimoire.

That’s it for me today.  Have you set goals? Any good news?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Young Adult Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the 3rd Annual
Young Adult Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop

How to summon a faerie from the Seelie Court:

    - bowl (preferable ceramic but your kid brother’s plastic cereal bowl will do in a pinch)
    - water from nature’s spring 
    - three rose petals (I prefer pink myself)
    - three acorns
    - spell from the Book of Fae  (found in Hold Tight, bk2)

Cast with extreme caution as these faeries have not been Disney-fied.

I'm giving away an autographed copy of a book from my Embrace Series — winner's choice:
EMBRACE, bk 1, or HOLD TIGHT, bk 2
Plus, three lucky winners will get an Embrace Swag Package.

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Click on the cover to read the synopsis.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the rest of the stops in the hop:

Friday, January 3, 2014

Spotlight: Kym Brunner, author of Wanted: Dead or in Love

I'm thrilled to be able to tell you about this book. Kym Brunner is not only a talented author, she's a good friend and a valued critique partners. I've had the pleasure of seeing this book take form, and I can't wait to hold a copy in my hands. 

WANTED: Dead or in Love
Coming this May from Merit Press

About the book:
Impulsive high school senior Monroe Baker is on probation for a recent crime, but strives to stay out of trouble by working as a flapper at her father’s Roaring 20’s dinner show theater. When she cuts herself on one of the spent bullets from her father’s gangster memorabilia collection, she unwittingly awakens Bonnie Parker’s spirit, who begins speaking to Monroe from inside her head. Later that evening, Monroe shows the slugs to Jack, a boy she meets at a party. He unknowingly becomes infected by Clyde, who soon commits a crime using Jack’s body. The teens learn that they have less than twenty-four hours to ditch the criminals or they’ll share their bodies with the deadly outlaws indefinitely. But when romantic feelings develop between unlikely characters, everyone is left scrambling to figure out exactly where allegiances lie and who will be sent back to the deathly realm forever.

And today we're lucky to have Monroe Baker, star of this fun and witty young adult novel, with us.

Being impulsive, I act first, think later. I don’t recommend it. Now I’m on probation for something stupid I did at school. If I get arrested again, the judge will give me jail time. To keep out of trouble, I work as a waitress at my dad’s Roaring 20’s restaurant, dressed like a flapper. Didn’t take long for me to screw up again. Here’s what happened: Dad showed me the spent bullets that they pulled out of famous criminal lovebirds, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow’s dead bodies––items he bought at a gangster memorabilia show. Who would have known that Bonnie and Clyde’s spirits were locked inside that container, waiting to be freed? Not me certainly, or I wouldn’t have done it. Opening the container wasn’t enough to make Bonnie’s spirit search for a new body to inhabit, but given my lousy luck, I cut my finger on the stupid thing, opening the door for the whiny, love-starved Bonnie Parker to enter my body.

Course, at first I didn’t really believe that she was inside of me (who would, right?) so later that night, after I met this cute but dull guy named Jack, I showed him the slugs. Bad move. Turns out Clyde hadn’t lost an ounce of his slyness, easily infecting poor Jack and quickly committing a crime. Luckily, Jack finds a way to get back in charge, but after doing some investigation, we find out we have only 36 hours to ditch these outlaws or we’ll share our bodies with them indefinitely. See what I mean about bad luck?

Take it from me––spontaneity’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

Pre-order WANTED: Dead or in Love today: Amazon

About the author:

Kym Brunner's method of creating a manuscript: write, procrastinate, sleep, repeat. She's addicted to Tazo chai tea latte, going to the movies, and reality TV. When she's not reading or writing, Kym teaches 7th grade full time. She lives in Arlington Heights with her family and two baby bunny-eating monsters, a pair of Shih Tzus named Sophie and Kahlua. She's repped by Eric Myers of The Spieler Agency.

Find Kym