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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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.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Perfect Tear Blog Tour

This week I'm bring another blog tour to you all. I had the opportunity to read The Perfect Tear, by Connie Lansberg. Her book is currently in the process of being made into a movie slated to be released sometime in 2017, so it was very exciting to get to read this story first, and also to have a chance to talk to the author herself.

1.) When you started writing The Perfect Tear, did you have a clear idea of the story you wanted to tell, or did it change throughout the process?

I started with a screenplay, and because I wan’t sure of what I was doing to begin with, the story morphed and changed dramatically. There are only four characters left from the original idea. From movie to book, the story expanded which was a lot of fun. I hadn’t expected to write a book and so I was very pleased that I enjoyed the whole process so much.

2.) Do you like to fill out detailed character outlines before you start, or do you get to know your characters as you go?
I found something that asked 50 questions about your characters and that turned out to be very helpful. Movies are visual. So any physical representation of a character trait is useful. In the book of course, we can get inside their heads so full characterisation is a little easier.

3.) Can you share with us some details about your characters that you don't reveal in the stories? (For example favorite color, favorite food, what sort of music they might listen to if they lived in our present day world, etc.)

My story is set in a past time, probably England, so there are none of the distractions of modern day life. I think their life style is pretty simple. And in this story, they have to survive the slow destruction of the world around them. You’ll find out in the next story that Rosamar is a brilliant seamstress, taught by her grandmother. And maybe, that Audrey hates having red hair!

4.) If you could chose to spend the day with one of your characters which one would it be and where would you go?

Tsera, of course. I would love to see her world and fly in an orb. We’ll meet Tsera in her world in the next book.

5.) With plans for a movie underway, how involved are you in the different aspects of the film? (Screenplay, selection of actors, etc.)

It’s my job to write the screenplay. Unless I can wrangle a producer credit, I doubt I have any say in anything at all. That’s the way it goes with movies. Maybe you could help. I think Harry Styles should play Prince Edward! Let’s spread the word. I would also love Elle Fanning to play Eleanor. Eleanor will need a great actress to play her to be able to bring out all the subtleties of that character.

Title: The Perfect Tear
By: Connie Lansberg

Reached Amazon’s Top 15 “Hot New Releases” beating out Divergent & Insurgent

Summary from
Eleanor is a singer. Her songs keep nature in balance, but when they are stolen from her, a grey mist descends and her world fails to thrive. This timid orphan is thrust into a course of action she never asked for, nor envisioned. Set against a backdrop of abandonment, loss and betrayal, she must find her way through strange and dangerous landscapes in her desperate search for the Perfect Tear, a dark crystal which holds the future of her world. But, Eleanor is no savior. She is a simple girl with strong instincts and she must learn to trust them. Just like the notes of song must connect to create a melody, Eleanor must discover the connections needed to create the harmony required to truly save her world.

Goodreads Link:

Amazon Link:


Lerion forced his lips into a smile and nodded politely in an effort to feign interest in the creations of his fellow novices. Their excited chatter and heightened energy pulsed the length of the room. They seemed foolish to him, but he managed to conceal his disdain. Social transparency in his society was the norm, but hiding his feelings from the collective was something he excelled at. It was his secret talent. Today however, he struggled to maintain a pleasant countenance.

The novices were allowed to see their competition for only a few moments and Lerion extended his glance the length of the narrow corridor again. He had to be certain he would win. Only the best young designers were invited to enter the Creation Contest, and then, only once. Lerion knew this was his only chance to achieve his dream, and he forced himself to scan the room once more. He was searching for any design that might pose a threat, but after another quick reconnaissance, nothing he saw gave him cause for concern. He took a quick, shuddering breath and lifted his chin. Why had he been so nervous?
He felt his energy uncoil and his step became light. He'd worked for this opportunity almost from the day his two co-creators sung him into being - he deserved to win.

Lerion clenched his jaw. The arrogance of his desire was not lost on him. The Creation Contest was much more than a matter of whose design was the most innovative or which novice showed the most initiative. The winning design had to uphold and even surpass the standards of creation set by the Ancient Ones. It had to enhance the evolution of their society as a whole. Had he achieved that?

He stopped in front of a nine-dimensional hologram and pretended to be intrigued with the design, while he slyly studied its creator, a feminine-biased novice named Lalycri. The energy emanating from her shimmered against his outer layer and he involuntarily vibrated in response. Her eyes lit up and he swallowed hard. Her animated smile caused her nose to crinkle and her energy swelled in gentle waves. It undulated softly through him. He felt himself surrender to the pleasure of it and immediately blocked its flow. He would not allow himself to respond. This was not the time to reveal his attraction to her, and he nodded curtly. He had to admit, he found Lalycri appealing and she peaked his curiosity. On any other day, he might have encouraged her, but this kind of personal chemistry often led to a desire to co-create and he was not about to break the rules. Not today, anyway.

Novices were forbidden to form creative partnerships of any kind. Only those having twelve activated strands of DNA were allowed the privilege of co-creation. Lerion sighed. He had activated only seven strands of the twelve that lay within each of his cells. More than all the other novices, but still, not enough.

Determined to ignore her vibrant energy, Lerion gave Lalycri a small nod. He leaned in and studied the extremely unusual construct while she beamed at him. He couldn’t work out what its purpose must be, and he stiffened. It had never occurred to him Lalcyri might be competition. How had she managed such a complicated design?
He made sure to keep his voice polite rather than accusatory. "I had no idea you'd been selected."

Lalycri tilted her head and her smiled faltered. "Well, I was."
Her tone had a sharp edge and he realized he had insulted her. "Certainly. I'm not surprised."

"You sound surprised." Lalycri's voice was stern but the twinkle returned to her eyes. "I'm grateful for the honor. It's definitely the most daring design I've produced so far." She lowered her lashes an her mouth grew firm. "I would give anything to win. I long to pit myself against Tsera."

Her words came fast and her voice had a ferocious quality that startled him. Lerion blinked and looked sharply at her. They all wanted the honor of winning. However, it had not occurred to him there might be others who desired to win as much as he did. Nobody could want this as much as he did. His every cell informed him being Main Creator was his destiny, and the idea she could snatch it from him was ludicrous.

He felt his vibration quicker, but Lalycri did not seem to notice the change in his demeanor. She smiled brightly, as if she had not just made a startling admission, and began to prattle without taking a breath.



Connie Lansberg is a singer/songwriter and now author based in Melbourne Australia. She’s had her original songs placed in some of Australia’s best loved TV shows that play around the world and The Connie Lansberg Quartet is a fixture in the Melbourne jazz scene. Her most recent original musical project, Alone with Bees, performs her songs written especially for The Perfect Tear. This is Connie’s first novel and the movie is coming.
She also received several grants from the Victoria Council of the Arts for the development of mobile phone games that she created.
Connie joined the Melbourne Writers Group in 2010 to work on ideas and scripts and during this time the idea for The Perfect Tear began to develop and take shape. She continued her education by taking scriptwriting classes at the Australian Film and Television School in Melbourne and later, worked extensively with Marcy Kennedy on the book. She has two more stories to complete The Perfect Tear Trilogy and is hoping to have the second book finished by 2016.
“The first thing anybody tells you about this business is to say what makes you unique and different, but I couldn’t and the very idea of it never sat well with me and after much deliberation, I finally realized why.
Because, I’m not unique or different–I’m exactly like you and I love that.
We each have a unique filter through which we interpret the world, and with this filter in place, I write stories and songs and you might find them surprising or intriguing or confronting, you may relate or you may not. They may make you laugh and sometimes, even cry.
You may or may not understand what I’m trying to say and you may not understand me, however, rest assured, once we get past the filters, at our core, we are wonderfully and beautifully, exactly the same.”






In 2017, Little Studio Films, is planning to release "The Perfect Tear" as a feature length film. Be on the look out for this incredible story to hit the big screens! For more information check out:

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