Friday, October 14, 2016

The Bad Seed Blog Tour

Just in time for October and all things spooky, I read this dark fantasy story The Bad Seed by Michael Lackey. This book hearkens back to the epic tales of Tolkien and other such writers were the characters must go on a quest to rescue the kingdom from darkness. As a fun added twist, several of the characters were sent to Earth for protection. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of their interactions with the people of Earth, as it could have added a little comic flair, but the story did deal with some of the issues involved with hiding a magical past. Here is a bit more about the book.

Title: The Bad Seed (Battle for the Heavens Book 1)
By: Michael Lackey
Summary from
On the day Zachery Morely's mother asks him to fetch herbs from the garden, he never expected to find himself face to face with a demon. A demon who has planted the seed of a sinister tree that feeds off the living. Zachery and his father George request the help of the King to figure out what this tree means. Only when the tree consumes its first human being and takes it true, human like form, and hear its warnings do they realize their world is in serious danger. Zachery sets off on an epic journey with the King and the kings guard through lands of men, dwarves, and elves. He confronts elven wizards and dragons, and acknowledges he is more powerful than he thinks, in order to help protect the champion of light and save his world from evil. The Light shines brightest, when the world is at its darkest.- Michael Lackey
Amazon Link:
Goodreads Link:

This is a hand drawn map that you'll find in the first few pages of "The Bad Seed." The map details the world that author Michael Lackey has built and that displays his true commitment and
dedication to this world he has created.
Below is a short excerpt from the book that will definitely get you hooked:
Whitehold was the center of the commonwealth in the realm of Cyreus. Ruled by King Gabriel, filled with lush farm lands surrounding a large castle that housed a city within itself. As the morning dew burned off the leaves and birds sang the arrival of a new day, we find a house in the corner of a little farm, just outside the city of Whitehold. A quiet farm brimming with crops, and livestock to bedelivered to the people. This particular farm is home to the Morely family.
As the warm sun peaked over the treetops, the Morely family started their morning routine.
”Zachery. Will you place gather me some of the herbs from the garden? Your father is bringing me the eggs?" Elizabeth asked.
Zachery, was the eldest child to George and Elizabeth Morely. He walked from the house, bag in hand, to do as his mother asked. A young man on the brink of adulthood. Broad shoulders carried a head full of dark hair that shimmered in the morning light. Eyes full of wonder and expectation of a life he longed to live. He had recently celebrated his fifteenth season day, and stood nearly as tall ashis father. As he made his way to the garden, he grabbed his wooden sword and wrapped his dirt stained cloak his mother had made him around his neck.
"I understand, sire. A mission to the garden sounds like you need a King's Guard!" He pretended he was a member of the King's Guard, protecting the King and going on adventures. Zachery could always be found carrying that wooden sword, and his makeshift cloak with the King's colors on it. Zachery always knew he was not destined to be a poor farmer. He longed for the time he could leave his humdrum days behind. This was no usual day for his as it turned out. As he rounded the hedges to the open garden plot, there in the back he saw a dark figure. Zachery ducked behind the hedges, hoping not to be seen. He watched the gloomy silhouette fade in and out of the shadows.
"Was father expecting someone? That doesn't look like anyone I know," Zachery said softly to himself.
He held his breath, listening to the pounding beat of his heart as if it tried to escape his chest. With every second it grew louder until Zachery thought for sure the dark one would hear him. The skies darkened. The wind picked up and start to swirl around the shadowy individual.

Michael Lackey (1973-) was born and raised in the heart of Dixie, Alabama. Always a dreamer and believer in things that most found silly, Michael loved to pretend as a child. He imagined himself in a land of monsters, where he was the only one who could save the world from utter destruction. He mapped out stunt courses for Hollywood. Raised his sword high and proclaimed himself the champion and slayer of the mystical beasts that plagued his land.
Like most over imaginative children, life set in for Michael. Work. Adulthood. Family. He never really grew out of his imagination. Now in his forties, his stories and love for fantasy spring forth onto pages.
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October 10th:
Jen (
October 12th:
Elizabeth (
October 14th: Sarah (
October 15th:
Suhani (
Meredith (
October 16th:
Jordan (
Blog Tour Organized by: Happy Lil Book Tours
*Hosts were provided with a copy of the book for review purposes in exchange for their honest
reviews and opinions.*

Author Interview:

1. Would you consider yourself more of planner or a pantser (taking it as it comes) when you write a novel? I don't plan a lot in my writing. I kind of fly by the story. I get the primary idea for the story and write it down. That might be a title, a main character, an antagonist or plot line. Then I let my imagination do the work. I always ask what would happen if...

2. You use a variety of different languages in your story, did you model them off actual languages or off those created by writers like Tolkien in the past? The languages are my own creation modeled after those created by the likes of Tolkien.

3. Can you give us any behind the scenes information about your characters that isn't revealed in the book? For instance, did the Earth exiles develop a fondness for anything not available in Amundiss? ) a behind the scenes look. Well, we will use the example you asked about. Natallia and Zachery didn't take much from their time on Earth. They were more homesick for Amundiss. Tradan on the other hand was born on Earth, he is really an Earthling by birth. He grew up with Earth as his home and I actually play on that in book two.

4. If you could spend a day with one of your characters who would you choose and what would you do together? Benzoete, the wizard, because of the stories he would have. I would ask him if he could teach me a little magic and read over the Book of the Ancients.

5. Your book title includes the note that this is book one, have you planned out more books in the series? If so, when do you plan to release them? ) I am planning to do a trilogy. Book 2 is started, but I am currently finishing a steampunk inspired novel. It is the first of a completely new series. I hope to have book 2 of the Battle of the Heavens series finished by the end of 2017. The title is Shadow Gate.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Updrift Blog Tour Part 2

I am so happy to have the chance to share Errin's answers to my interview questions. Enjoy :)

Updrift Interview Questions

1. Here it is, the question I ask everyone, when it comes to planning out your book do you consider yourself a plotter, or a pantser (just letting your ideas come as they come)?

I’m a pantser first and a plotter second, and I have the most excellent rationalization for my approach! Here ‘tis:

In the ongoing argument over plot vs. character, character takes heavy precedence in my opinion. Characters lead us to care what will happen, they make us question which direction a plot might take based on their motivations and reactions… which means they give plot the bulk of its dynamic. Consequently, when I have a story in mind, I start by writing character scenes without any idea on how/if they’ll knit up. Because I need to know who my acting agent is, what he or she wants and fears and feels must be done.

From that point I kind of free-style a narrative until I feel I can’t any longer – usually around 30K words – and then I write a story map, which is a chapter-by-chapter grid containing the most lifeless notes possible about what’s occurred and what should happen as the story progresses.

2. Have your characters ever changed in ways that were unexpected?

Oh yes lots, but I’ll pick on my main character in Updrift to answer this one. When I first wrote Kate, she looked exclusively at examples outside herself to puzzle out all her reactions, i.e., she watched her mother and aunt and friends and their influencers to decide on the course her own life should take. She did this because she was introverted and a little socially insecure… and I think I made her too tentative. Anyway, as I was trying to sell the story to publishers, my sense was that the prevailing editorial preference out there was for a certain kind of heroine – one I find a little tiresome and overdone to be honest. But. I consequently went back to make Kate more assertive – without turning her into a man-bashing combat queen – and I think this was a good change.

3. Can you tell us something about your characters that you don't share in the book, for instance favorite music, hidden talent, celebrity crush, favorite color, etc.?

As much as I adore Kate and Gabe, I confess I had the most fun writing my villain in Updrift, Peter Loughlin. He was just so deliciously complicated and broken and beautiful. Had I met him in my late teens/early twenties, I would have tried to save him! Well, it turns out Peter loves to dance to electro-soul, and who knew? On the rare occasion he would escape his ruling responsibilities to venture inland, he would seek out a GRiZ concert and lose his mind to the music and movement and the crowd. Yep.

4. If you could chose to spend the day with one of your characters who would you chose and what would you do?

If Peter were behaving himself, I would find a swim through a shipwreck or tour of a reef with him terribly exciting; or I’d take his arm for a walk through the palace while he told me about every little thing.

5. How many books in this series have you completed/ what stage are they in at this time?

Breakwater, the sequel to Updrift, comes out in November; and Outrush is written-ish, the front end more than the back end, but I’m very much hoping to have it ready late next year (2017). And I have vague, very much un-written concepts for a couple more in this series – a love story for Parker, and maybe another one for Peter? We’ll see.

6. Have you always loved mermaids/sirens? If they existed would you want to be one?

Always. My dad had an anthology of original fairy tales I read rabidly as a child. If you’ve seen these stories then you know how powerful (and horrifying) they are. But Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” really captured me, heartbreaking as it is.

However, as much as my sirens dazzle, I wouldn’t be one. Don’t throw up, but I’m too in love with my husband and little boy to be anywhere but where I am. A swim with a mermaid/siren would be dreamy and ever so fun, though; and I wouldn’t mind an extended stay on Shaddox in that Blake cabin overlooking the sea…

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Updrift Blog Tour

This weeks blog tour is going to come in two installments because I was a slacker and I didn't get my interview questions to the author on time. I was extra excited to be on this blog tour, because we actually got hard copies of the book. As handy as digital copies are, nothing replaces a real book. I'm more a soft back fan, than a hard backer myself. True, the hard back copies photograph better, but they just don't feel as good in the hand. And there is nothing better than a well worn book, full of notes and underlining for this old school English Major :)

I actually read this book over a month ago, and I really enjoyed it. I'll admit, it drug a bit at the beginning, because there was so much back story, but once it was well written, and once it got into the real story, things really got exciting.

Title: The Mer Chronicles. Book 1: Updrift
Author: Errin Stevens
Summary from
Since her father died, Kate Sweeting’s home life has been in the pits, her well-being on life support.
Her future looks desolate until she and her mother, Cara, make another plan: abandon their
shriveled existence for more promising prospects on the coast, where Cara can play small-town
librarian-bachelorette and Kate can figure out what’s up with that secretive Blake family from the
Everyone is eerily captivated with Kate and her mother, and Cara is the first to figure out why when
the man of her dreams arrives all dripping and devoted and closed-mouthed about what he intends.
Kate is willing to go along with their subterfuge for a while, but eventually makes a charge for the
water to learn what her mother is hiding. Gabe Blake is there waiting for her…and so is someone
considerably less friendly. By the time Kate navigates her way home, everything will have changed
for her—what she feels, what she wants, and what she’ll risk to be with the man she loves.
Amazon Link:
Goodreads Link:

1 Echo & The Bunnymen "Lips like Sugar"
2 The Stone Roses "I wanna Be Adored (Remastered)
3 FAIRCHILD "Arcadia"
4 Snow Patrol "Shut Your Eyes"
5 Paul McLinden "Whether the Weather"
6 Santana "Aqua Marine"
7 The Hot Dark "Blossom"
8 Rocket City Riot "Into the Night"
9 Avinale “Azure"
Errin Stevens writes paranormal romance from her home in Minnesota, where she lives with her
husband and son. When not wrestling with unruly narrative – or reading everything from mythology
to contemporary romance to New Adult suspense – you’ll find her swooning over seed catalogs
(winter), or digging in the garden (the other three days of the year). Visit the blog for release
updates and random essays on writing and mothering.

September 19th:
Jordan (
September 20th:
Kathy (
September 21st:
Jen (
September 22nd:
Rachel (
September 23rd:
Yahaira (
September 24th:
Gabriela (
September 25th:
Tangled N' Books (
Jackie (
September 26th:
Charlotte (
Tracy (
September 27th:
Hannah (
September 28th:
Elizabeth (
September 29th:
Madeena (
September 30th:
Jen E. (
October 1st:
Gaby (
October 2nd:
Sarah (
Blog Tour Organized by: Happy Lil Book Tours
*Hosts were provided with a copy of the book for review purposes in exchange for their honest
reviews and opinions.

Stay tuned for the author interview in a few days :)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Lost Legacy:Awakening and Wandering Review

I have been spending a lot of time over the past few months immersing myself in the world of Instagram/Bookstagram. I have met so many interesting readers and writers, and learned so much more about what modern day readers are consuming. It is fascinating to see all the ways in which the world of publishing has changed, and how social media can effect the popularity of a book. The old adage of not judging a book by it's cover is in serious danger as beautiful pictures boost marketability. As a writer, I'm soaking all of this information in, and hoping that it will help me to produce better books that will reach a wider audience.

Today I am bringing you information about an author that I met through her Bookstagram account. I was lucky enough to receive her books for free in return for my honest reviews and feedback. C.E. Dimond is in the midst of writing the Lost Legacy Series. These stories follow the life of Finn as she learns that her suburban upbringing is just a cover. The truth is, she is part of a long line of witches, and she must learn about her past in order to protect the future.

Wandering, is actually a prequel, which talks about the past of Eamon, the young warlock who protects Finn, and brings her to their clan. I really enjoyed both of these stories. They are quick reads, and have a good balance of action, intrigue, humor, and a touch of romance. They make a great addition to the world of paranormal romance, and I am looking forward to seeing where the next book leads.

I also had a chance to ask the author some questions. Here are her great answers:

1. One of the questions I love to ask fellow authors revolves around organizational skills. Would you call yourself a planner, or more of a pantser (flying by the seat of your pants throughout the process)?

I am definitely a pantser. I sit and write what comes to me and I never organize or plan until after I have the bulk of the story written, especially when it’s a new idea. Generally, I start at the beginning, and then I write the ending. Finally, once I have a beginning and an end, I go back and fill in the rest of the story.

2. When did you decide to go back and write a prequel in your series? Was there anything in particular that prompted you to make this decision?

I decided to write the prequel in February of this year! A lot of readers were asking for more information on Eamon and the other boys in the Coven. I figured what better way to give that information than through another story. The idea planted itself in my mind and by the end of the week, I’d already written half of the story. I knew that the sequel was going to be another year or so to complete so I wanted to give my readers something to give more insight into the Lost Legacies world.

3. Similarly to question one, do you follow perfectly planned character sketches from the beginning, or do you let your characters surprise you as you go?

My characters have minds of their own. Honestly, I can plan out their entire personality and suddenly something happens in my writing that shocks even me. I find it best to let the characters tell me what’s going to happen, instead of the other way around.

4. Are there any behind the scenes things about your characters that you can share? For instance favorite food, movie, dance style, celebrity crush, etc. that isn't mentioned in the books?

Finn loves anything that isn’t cooked by her mother, but she definitely has a preference for curries and spicy food. Her favourite movie is The Wizard of Oz, she always dreamt of being swept away on an adventure. If Finn had a celebrity crush right now, it would definitely be Shawn Mendes.

Eamon is a big reader and his favourite collection of stories is Dubliners by James Joyce. He enjoys the insight into the lives of the country his family was forced to leave behind. He feels it keeps him a little more grounded than your average heir apparent may be.

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, who would you chose and how would you spend the day together?

I think if I could meet any of the characters in real life it would be Declan. He is genuinely kind and I feel like we would get along really well. If I had to force him to spend the day with me, I think we’d probably wind up at the park hunting Pokemon and exchanging stories. I’d love to know about all the faeries he’s seen.

6. And now, probably the next important question of them all, when can we expect the next instalment of Finn and Eamon's story?

DESCENDING, the next instalment in The Lost Legacies series is expected for release July 2017!!

I’m still in the process of completing the story and polishing all the new characters that are coming into play!

If anyone wants to stay on top of the release news I suggest signing up for the reading group newsletter for updates, trailers and giveaways at


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Raven Trilogy Blog Tour

I'm getting at writing this rather late, but here at least this time I'm doing it on a computer so I should be able to get the pictures in this time. This week I had the chance to read The Raven Trilogy: The First Journey by Melka Stansah. This was a fun story with a fairytale sort of feeling to it.

Title: The Raven Trilogy: The First Journey
Author: Melka Stansah
Summary from
Raven is an outcast in a dystopian medieval world at war.
When Raven embarks on a journey to avenge his father's death, he meets someone that turns his life
upside down and discovers the truth of his origins.
Will Raven find the answers he is looking for?
Amazon Link:
Goodreads Link:
Chapter 1:
It was a cold winter night. Snow had fallen, covering the stone roads and rooftops of a quiet village,
Kiolz. Each family stayed in their houses and sought the warmth of their fire places. It was an
unsettled night for a man who was riding his horse in the cold, seeking shelter from the cruel winter
weather. The night was getting dark and the wind started to change its demeanor into a horrible
winter storm.
“It’s not looking good,” said the man to his horse, his only companion. “We have to find shelter for
He focused his eyes, hoping to catch a glimpse of a light from a house. At this hour most of the
villagers would be sleeping, but he had hopes that one or two would still be awake. He was grateful
when he eventually saw a blurry light in the distance, in a window of a small house.
The man got off his horse and willed himself to knock on the wooden door. He did not have to wait
long as the door was opened quickly by a blind man.
“I am sorry to be so impolite,” he said to the house owner. “A horrible storm is coming and I have
nowhere to stay. Would you be kind enough to let me stay the night?”
“I am quite surprised to have someone knocking on my door on a terrible night like this; everyone
should be staying in their homes where there is shelter. You must be coming from quite a far place.”
The house owner said. “Bring your horse to the barn and come in afterwards.”
The horse rider thanked him and did as he was told.
The house was warm and comfortable; the man could tell it belonged to a small happy family. The
house owner invited him to a small round dining table where he was waiting with a lady. He then
poured some rokha, a kind of fragrant wine, and served it to his guest. Let’s have a sip of this good rokha. This is a helpful friend on a winter night like this.” He then
poured some for himself. “My name is Radeth and this is my wife, Vea.”
Vea was carrying a little baby who was sleeping soundly in his mother’s arms. “This is our son, he
was born just five days ago and we are still deciding the best name for him.”
“Ah,” the man looked at Radeth’s son and smiled. “He is adorable.”
“He is a strong boy.” Radeth said with pride. “And like his father, he will be a great warrior.”
“I’m sure he will.” The man said. “My name is Nicholas and I am very grateful for the shelter
Vea soon took her baby back to her room while Nicholas and Radeth stayed for a few more sips of
“So where are you heading, warrior?” Radeth poured more rokha into his cup.
“Oh, how do you know I am a warrior?” Nicholas said ina shocked tone before he realised his
question might offend Radeth due to his blindness. “Ah, I’m so sorry. I have no intention to offend
Radeth smiled. “No, don’t be. I understand. How could a blind man tell who someone is whilst he
can’t even see them? I know as I can sense the big sabre you are carrying. It’s not just an ordinary
sabre; it is made of two layers of steel which have been forged together, this process makes it twice
as strong. No man but a warrior is capable of carrying such a heavy, extraordinary weapon on a
long journey through wild storms.”
“You are right to say it’s not an ordinary sabre and it’s very heavy.” Nicholas said, amazed. “But to
be more precise, it was not only double layered but also forged three times.”
“You are the blacksmith?”
“Yes,” Nicholas said proudly. “One of my skills I am proud of.”
“Could I hold it for a second?”
Radeth held the sabre and felt the blade surface with his fingers then returned the sabre to Nicholas.
“It is a great weapon,” Radeth said. “But it’s too inconvenient for a battle.”
“It was never meant to be used in a battle,” Nicholas said, receiving back his sabre. “It is very
Nicholas silently observed his new acquaintances. He was delighted to meet Radeth as they shared
something in common. Even though Radeth was blind he did not seem to have any difficulty doing
things. He had brilliant senses; dark black hair and strong confident posture, there was no doubt he
was born a fighter.
“So, where are you heading?” Radeth repeated his unanswered question.
“North.” Nicholas said.

Here are the answers to my interview questions with the author:

1)When you start to write a book do you like to outline things first (like a planner) or just let the ideas carry you on (like a pantser)? I usually start with a brainstorming process (a planner). Once I have an idea in my mind, the first thing I do is conceptualizing the characters, the main events and plot as well as the message I want to convey to the readers. Once I’m happy with these parts, I then divide the plot into chapters. At this stage, I change into ‘a Pantzer’. I would try to stick into the original plot but whenever I feel there is a ‘miss’, something doesn’t feel right or I don’t feel comfortable with the character’s reaction, I would not hesitate to change the plot or review back the chapters. There were occasions I had to rewrite couple of chapters completely. However I would always try my best to keep the characters, the main events and the message even though the flow of the story might change.

2) I see that our plan is to write a trilogy, do you already know the next stage, and have an idea when it might be completed? The next stage is the sequel of Raven which is in the writing process right now. There will be the third book for sure and a prequel. I’m targeting the sequel to be out sometimes next year, most probably in the middle of 2017 (June or July). The second book will have a different vibe or feel compared to the first one. It will still be Raven in his element but I can see it as a quite different adventure. Getting excited!

3) If you could spend the day with one of your characters, who would you chose and what would you do?
This is my favorite question! I would choose Chavet to spend a day with :) As a writer, I am an anti Super-Hero and anti Super-Villain. I always believe no-one is a perfect; everyone has a flaw, good and dark side. So if a character is so wicked and evil, then it would be interesting to know why he or she becomes such a character. Yes, in ‘The First Journey’ Chavet was a savage who knew only to kill and destroy but I do feel the character has so much in depth to explore. That’s why if I get a chance to spend a day with him, I would bring him out for a cup of hot chocolate and ask him about his past, why he wanted to become an Emissary and if he had ever fallen in love – maybe try to seduce him a bit :P An idea has even come to my mind to write about his character alone but haven’t got much materials to write on at this stage.

4) Which of your characters would you least like to be on a deserted island with, and why? I love all of my characters so it's hard to pick one I least like. Nevertheless to answer your question, the character is not in the first book, she will be in the second book. She is a very significant character and represents a significant element in the story. I pick her not because I least like her, but because as a character, I don’t have any resemblance to her in any way. I just feel like I would never be like her or want to be in her position.

5) What do you think writing this book has taught you about yourself? Writing this book has taught me a lot about myself. It was a book written with the message of not being afraid to become who you are even though your identity sometimes betrays you and makes you an outcast. I do feel like Raven sometimes. I am a writer with English as a second language and I grew up in the environment where reading and writing is not a common habit. And I often feel like an outsider when everybody else around me talks about something else I cannot relate to. There were times I wished I were someone else living in a totally different world. But then I won't be who I am today! Writing this book has given me strength to rise up to the challenge of discovering myself as a person and a writer, the determination to just give the best I can and have fun!

For more information, please check out the other stops on this blog tour :)Brooke (
September 25th:
Sarah (
September 26th:
Lisa (
September 27th:
Katie (
September 28th:
Charlotte (
Blog Tour Organized by: Happy Lil Book Tours
*Hosts were provided with a copy of the book for review purposes in exchange for their honest
reviews and opinions.*

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Fair To Hope Blog Tour

Wow, I have been having an even more hideous time than usual getting this silly blog to run right. I have been posting here for over 9 years now, and really don't want to lose my blog, but it is exhausting trying to get it to run on my iPad, and my computer is out of the question. I really don't like posting without photos, too much text means most people don't feel like taking the time to commit, but unfortunately it seems to be the way I have to proceed for now.

I really enjoyed the book Fair to Hope, by Sam Reed. I appreciated the fact that it is a stand alone. I understand the appeal of writing a series - obviously since I am in the process of doing that myself - but there is something really great about picking up a book and knowing it's all inside. Sure, there may be things you're left wondering, room for potential expansion, futures that you might want to discover, but the story itself will take you from point A to point B and be nicely tied up in the end. It's just so satisfying.

In the course of this book, Sam created an underlying layer to our world that was full of detail, character, and an overwhelming spirit. It was a fast and compelling read that brought out thoughts of what motivates people to chose to do good and evil, and who defines what those two terms really mean. Definitely thought provoking and character developing as well. To make matters even better, I had the privilege of sending her some interview questions, and I just loved her answers. I'm sure you'll enjoy them as Well

1. In Faith to Hope you have developed a very detailed secret society. Can you share where you got your inspiration for the Taram and Eiram groups?

I think for me the Taram and the Eirum evolved from my fascination with the way all people are interconnected. I am an introvert by nature; it can take me a while to warm up to new people and new situations, so as a result, I find myself sitting and observing - a lot. You can pick up on tons that way, even in a group of strangers you can start to intuit who knows who and in what way, who is the leader, who's the confidant...even how strangers react to each other, who's kind, who's oblivious, who's trying to inch their way over to that other person because they find them attractive. I think the people watching evolved into me trying to categorize all of these interactions, what if they meant something more than I could see? What if there was purpose in the way we chose to connect with each other - even more than that, what if someone was controlling it? What if there was a master plan, and if there was, what would that look like? What would it all be for? I think sometimes it's easy to forget the 'power of the other'...that we need other people, even when we don't think we do, and so I think wanting to explore that, in a way that made that need - and the resulting interactions - truly powerful, drove the development of the secret societies.

2. Were there any surprising challenges you faced when trying to mix this society in with the modern world?

Yeah, I think there were definitely some challenges...although not so much in mixing the society into the modern world, but more so in how much of the fantastical was necessary for you to understand what drove the characters to do what they did in the 'real world.' I hope that makes sense...I knew that I was introducing a lot of new fantastical elements, but I still wanted the story to be more character driven - for you to be able to follow these folks making decisions for their lives, (for better or for worse), yes, driven by the society they are a part of and this extra knowledge that they have, but more as a reflection of who they are based on how they react to things within that framework. I was hoping to put out enough urban fantasy so that certain things were inevitable...certain things had to be faced and dealt with...but not so much that it stopped you from being able to relate to the characters as just trying their best to navigate their own stuff to the best of their ability, and to come to terms with things that could be true even without the fantastical elements...though those parts did definitely help to up the ante, plus they're fun to write.

3. Your characters' lives are pretty clearly on display, but are there any extra details about them that are not revealed in the story that you would like to share? (Secret hobby, celebrity crush, favorite band, color or food, etc.)

Oh man, I love this question! I think Velma, my main girl's celebrity crush would be Mike Colter, he's the guy who plays Luke Cage in the Jessica Jones Netflix series, and soon in the Luke Cage spin-off. She would relate to him, they've both lost people, he's also not quite normal but most folks would never know that. He is also incredibly lovely to look at, which is always a good trait for a celebrity crush :-), I think Enoch, (who was probably my favorite character to write) has a thing for old school R&B music, like his favorite radio station would be whichever one is playing the slow jams, I think for him his life has been so crazy that that music helps him to sort of take a breather and imagine that he could have been an old school crooner living a normal life. Sue secretly loves to cook, but only does it for herself, and sometimes for her fiancé, but not for anybody else. She's afraid if folks know she's good at it, they'll ask her to do it all the time, so she keeps it a secret hobby - it's why she's always stealing food from the diner, that way folks will assume she can't cook and she'll never have to address it. I think in her spare time Nita takes hip hop dance classes, she loves it, because it's such a completely different release from the endorphins she gets from fighting and fight training. She also happens to be horrible at it, she is very clearly not a dancer, but she doesn't care because she does it for herself and she adores it.

4. If you were stranded on a deserted island, which of your characters would you like to have with you, and why?

I would definitely want Enoch with me, he'd be funny - would definitely make light of the situation so it wouldn't feel like 'oh great, we're stranded and we're gonna die.' Plus I feel like we would hang out on the island, go swimming, catch some fish, have a picnic and then he would find a way for us to be rescued. Have no idea how, but that Enoch's got a fair amount of tricks up his sleeve.

5. Do you have any plans for a sequel in the near future?

I don't have any plans for a sequel. I'd always imagined Fair to Hope to be a stand alone. Probably because I have a soft spot for stand alone books, for getting that one particular slice of a story and nothing else. For me, that can almost feel sort of secretive, at least in the books I love that do stand alone novels well, you feel like you've been given entrance into the most important part, maybe not everything that came before, and certainly not everything that will come after - but this meaty middle that can leave you satisfied, and a little wanting; not in a disappointed way, but in that, "I'll think of those characters often' way. Though I think it probably takes a lifetime (at least for me) to get that effect of a stand alone completely right. So short answer, after my long winded one, no plans for a sequel...but then again never say never right? If inspiration strikes, maybe a sequel or prequel, but for now, no plans in the works.

Title: Fair To Hope
Author: Sam Reed
Summary from
Velma had lived two lives: her first as a former foster kid, and her second as an unlikely recruit into
a secret order that satisfied her need for retribution. Her fifteen-year-old self had given up on hope,
but after three years with the Taram, she'd found her life's purpose.
That is, until she is surprisingly named Kachina, the fabled chosen empowered to fight the last
battle for the fate of the world. Having to kill someone she loves was never part of the bargain, even
if it means saving everyone else from damnation.
Building a normal life free from the pull of the Taram--seems like the only answer to her prayers.
Except her best friend, the other Kachina, is coming. The legend is clear that one of them must die.
Velma will have to weigh the cost of her life against a world that's constantly betrayed her and quite
literally decide if she'll be damned in dying, taking the whole world with her.
We sat in silence. The blushing waitress cleared our plates while searching Enoch’s face for flirty
glances, but his navy blue eyes focused steadily on me. I waited until she walked away before
breaking the silence, surprised at the steadiness of my voice. “You know that I’m the Kachina. You
know that I’ll ask to be cleansed.”
He nodded. “I do.”
“I don’t know a lot about Cleaners; in fact, as time goes on, I realize I don’t know a lot about
anything, but I do know that in choosing to help me, because of who I am, who I’m supposed to be,
things could be bad. For you.”
He laughed. “No, pretty one, things will be bad for you. You’re the one running from your destiny.
I suspect without warning it will come back and smack you upside your head.”
He was the second man to call me pretty, and I could think of no more profound hint of
premonition. The first man to call me beautiful had left me with pieces to mend. It seemed this
might end in much the same way. I also knew, regardless of any rational arguments to be made on
either of our parts, we were already resigned to our fate.
About the Author:
Sam Reed is a born and bred southern girl who grew up reading Toni Morrison, Archie Comics,
Christopher Pike, Octavia Butler, Dean Koontz and Stephen King. When she’s not thinking of what
to write she is napping or eating, going to church, wishing she could sing, dreaming of owning a
tiny house, watching A Different World reruns, trying to perfect her grandma’s biscuit recipe, or
reading a book.
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Flicker Blog Tour

Before I get started on this post, I just want to say that if there is anyone out there who can help me figure out how to get my mobile devices to allow me to upload photos to blogger I would hugely appreciate it. This post will probably end up without pictures because after half an hour, it became painfully clear that my ten year old computer just was not going to allow me to write this post. Therefore, I'm back here where, try as I might, every time I try to add a photo I get an error message.

All that being said, the book I get to highlight this week was Flicker by Melanie Hooyenga. The fact that this story is about a girl who takes amazing photos makes it even more frustrating that I will not be able to add pictures, but so be it. I really enjoyed this story a lot, and gave it a 4/5 in both my Goodreads and Amazon reviews. I thought the story had a lot of really unique elements, like how the main character can go back in time, but only a set number of hours in the past, and not without consequences. It kept the tension real, and allowed for more character development than if it were merely a magic trick. Here is some more information about the story.

Title: Flicker (The Flicker Effect Book 1)
Author: Melanie Hooyenga
Summary from
Biz is a perfectly normal teenager except for one minor detail: she uses sunlight to jump back to
yesterday. She takes advantage of flickering by retaking Trig tests, fixing fights with her boyfriend (or reliving the making up), and repeating pretty much anything that could be done better. Trouble is, flickering makes her head explode from the inside. Or feel like it anyway.
No one knows about her freakish ability and she’s content to keep it that way. Guys don't stick
around because she refuses to let them in, but all that changes when Cameron, her best friend, starts looking oh-so-yummy. Suddenly she's noticing his biceps, his smile, and the cute way his eyes crinkle when he—gah! This is her friend!
But the butterflies come to a screeching halt when little girls start disappearing, then take a nosedive when the police link the kidnappings to Cameron's sister, who vanished years earlier. As the police grasp for clues, Biz photographs a strange man lurking in the shadows and realizes that her flickering can help more than just herself.
(excerpt from
Sunlight pulses across the dashboard—light, dark, light, dark—and catches the dust dancing on the imitation leather.
My eyes stutter, but I blink it away. My heart jumps around in my chest. I stroke the grainy piece of cement stuck between my back teeth with my tongue.
The orthodontist swore he got it all, but that was as true as his promise that it wouldn’t be uncomfortable. Uncomfortable. Right.
A tingling sensation pricks the tips of my fingers. I press them together, watching the blood shift
beneath my skin. The tingling turns to those sharp needles that remind me of anything but sleep.
I press harder and my toes start tingling too. What the hell?
The dancing on the dashboard gets faster. The trees here are taller, straighter, and the sunlight
strobes through the branches. My breath catches and a sudden heaviness pushes me deep into the seat.

I glance at Mom but she’s concentrating on the road, humming along with golden oldies or whatever the hell it is she listens to, oblivious to the fact that something very weird is happening to her daughter. To me. I close my eyes. The heaviness lifts. Too much. Now I’m floating and—
“But Mom, I’m fine.”
Mom crosses the kitchen and leans against the counter. “Biz, you’re going. The dentist said your
face will change if you don’t get braces. Your entire face could look different…”
A sense of déjà vu slams me over the head. I’ve had this argument. Next Mom is gonna grab the
stack of mail that Dad left on the counter and toss it in the basket. She does.
The words tumble out of me. “Mom…” The déjà vu doesn’t lift. This isn’t a memory. I’m not in the
car anymore.
I’ve gone back to yesterday.
About the Author:
Melanie Hooyenga is the author of the YA trilogy, the Flicker Effect, about a teen who uses sun-
light to travel back to yesterday. The first book, FLICKER, won first place for Middle
Grade/Young Adult in the Writer’s Digest 2015 Self-Published eBook awards. When not at her day
job as Communications Director at a local nonprofit, you can find her wrangling her 7-year old
Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with her husband Jeremy.
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Blog Tour Organized by:
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*Hosts were provided with a copy of the book for review purposes in exchange for their honest reviews and opinions.

Of course, besides reading the story, my favorite part of these tours is being able to interview the authors. I hope you enjoy these insights into the story and characters that I got from Melanie:

1. There is a lot of debate in the writing world about the best way to formulate a novel. Would you consider yourself more a planner or a pantser (someone who writes as it comes to them)?

I’m an outliner all the way. One of my closest friends can sit down and pound out a novel with nothing to go on but the spark of an idea, but I can’t even start if I don’t know how the story ends. That’s not to say I have all the details worked out, but I like to know the key plot points.

That said, I prefer to call my outline a “guide”. I write a couple sentences describing what happens in each chapter—Biz is at dance, lights bother her, Robbie weirds her out—and use that to keep me on track, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change. Characters are known for doing the unexpected so I simply update my outline to reflect the new direction. I usually have both Word files open while I’m writing and regularly consult the outline to make sure I’m always writing toward the ending.

2. I can't deny, I was very curious about the name Biz. How did you chose this unique name for your main character?

When I first came up with the idea I wanted to name her Luz, which is Spanish for light, but I was concerned that people would pronounce it with a short U instead of the long U (like loose). By then I had it in my head that she should have a name with a Z in it, and my niece just happened to be friends with a girl named Elizabeth, who goes by Biz.

3. On the topic of Biz, she is an avid photographer and photography is critical to the story, so are you also a photographer, or did you have to research photography when developing her character?

I wouldn’t call myself a photographer, but I’ve always been interested in photography and I’ve been a graphic designer for over 20 years, so a lot of the details about composition and lighting are second nature for me. My mother is an amateur photographer, as was her father, so it’s something I’ve always been around. I took one photojournalism class in college (a lot of Turner’s class was based on that) and that’s where I learned the basics. I did research terminology to make sure I didn’t get anything wrong, but most of what’s in the book is from my own experience.

A funny story on that note, last spring my husband and I were hiking in a park not far from our house and I was saying how happy I was that Instagram updated their settings so you could be logged into multiple accounts at a time (I manage one for work, in addition to my personal accounts). He rather casually asked why I didn’t have an account for Biz and I nearly fell over at his genius. I don’t post there as ofter as my other accounts, but you can see through her lens at @BizTakesPhotos. It’s been a fun way to continue her story even though the novels are completed.

4. Can you share with us some details about your characters that don't come up in the books? (For example: favorite food, band, vacation spot, etc.)

I feel like my characters are open books (pun intended) and there isn’t a lot about them that isn’t included. Biz gets her love of orange soda from me (although I rarely drink soda) and her disinterest in sports was a way to challenge myself as a writer because I LOVE sports. She would far rather hang out with friends and just relax.

5. If you could meet one of your characters for a day, who would you chose and what would you do together?

I think Cameron, because he’s so dreamy. Ha, I’m kidding. Sort of. I think Amelia would be a lot of fun to hang out with. She’s hilarious, loyal, and knows exactly what to say to pick you up when you’re having a bad day. As for what we’d do, I’m very much the opposite of Biz in that I love sports and doing things outside, so maybe go for a hike and just talk?

But visiting the zoo with Cameron wouldn’t be all bad….

6. Clearly you have other books lined up in this series, are they already well underway in progress, and when can we expect to read more?

I’m glad you asked! I’ve actually finished the trilogy and both books are available online. Fracture picks up a month after Flicker ends and Biz finds herself the target of bullies, questioning her relationship with Cameron, and worrying about her father (plus lots of other super dramatic things I can’t describe without giving anything away). The third book, Faded, starts a couple months after Fracture, and things are really falling apart for Biz. It starts with her accidentally flickering after she’s been drinking and ends up driving drunk, and she has to face what happened without being able to tell the truth. Again, I don’t want to say too much but loose ends from all three books are tied up into what I’ve been told is a satisfying conclusion.

After this series, I wrote a YA sports romantic comedy called The Slope Rules. I describe it as Grease meets Mean Girls with downhill skiing, and I’m currently seeking representation for that book. At the moment I’m starting rewrites of a novel I wrote seven years ago—another YA—and I have plans for another one after that. Needless to say, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.