R.S. Belcher

THE SHOTGUN ARCANA Official Blog Tour

Anthony Breznican

Brutal Youth

Howard Shapiro

THE HOCKEY SAINT Official Blog Tour

Kass Morgan

Day 21

Karen Akins

LOOP

Michael Grant

BZRK APOCALYPSE

Mary Amato

Get Happy

Lauren Sabel

Vivian Devine is Dead

R.S. Belcher

THE SHOTGUN ARCANA

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kenneth Weene Author Interview & Dreaming of Books Hop


BookNerd Interview
Dreaming of Books Hop
Co-Hosted by Jinky is Reading


Book Nerd Interview

Kenneth Weene is a New Englander by birth and disposition. He grew up outside of Boston and spent his summers in Maine. Although he lived for many years in New York and now resides in Arizona, Ken has never lost his accent nor his love of the northeast.

Having gone to Princeton, where he studied economics, Ken went on to train as a psychologist and to become an ordained minister. Over the years he has worked as an educator, pastoral counselor, and psychotherapist.

Married to Roz Weene, artist and jewelry creator, for over forty years, Ken is a strong believer in the joy of love.

Kens writing started with poetry, and his poetic work has appeared in numerous publications most recently featured in Sol and publication in Spirits, and Vox Poetica.

An anthology of Kens writings, Songs for my Father, was published by Inkwell Productions in 2002. His short stories have appeared in Legendary, Sex and Murder Magazine, The New Flesh Magazine, and The Santa Fe Literary Review.

In 2009 a novel, Widows Walk, was published by All Things That Matter Press. All Things, which has also just published Kens second novel, Memoirs From the Asylum.


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Tell me a bit about yourself. Where were you born and where do you call home?

I’m a New Englander through and through. I grew up in Massachusetts and Maine. Even though I spent almost my entire working life in New York, I still feel that Down East connection. Now, however, I enjoy the dry heat of Phoenix, Arizona.

Tell us your latest news.

At my age one avoids the latest news as it may be ones own obituary. However, I can share that I’ve been working on a movie script; it is for claymation or animation and is for kids. Lots of songs and animals and elves. I’m also researching a new novel, Red and White, reflecting some of the Native American experience at the beginning of the twentieth century.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?

My wife says most people would be surprised that I’m actually so easygoing and conventional. My writing would belie that, but she’s right. The worlds I create and the characters I birth are not very like me. Now Santa Clause, maybe.

How long have you been writing?

About twenty years ago I started writing poetry. However the more serious side of my efforts began about ten years ago, when we moved to Arizona. Without a busy practice as a psychologist, I had the time to pursue the career that I had always wanted as a kid, being a novelist.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Steinbeck influenced by social sensibility. Conrad helped me to understand the glory of language. Vonnegut put the use of humor and absurdity into perspective.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Three have been published: Widow’s Walk, Memoirs From the Asylum, and Tales From the Dew Drop Inne. Of those my favorite is Memoirs because it helped me to deal with a long-standing trauma, the suicide of my cousin and closest friend. I always say that it took over forty years for that book to be written.

There are two other novels written. Times to Try the Soul of Man is a coming of age/conspiracy theory novel which is at my agent. It will need a special publisher – one willing to go with some facts that are a bit uncomfortable. The Stylite is written; I finished it at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow, which is in Arkansas, this past fall. Now it is being edited, which is no small process in good writing. It is unquestionably the most interesting from a writing and style perspective.

For those who are unfamiliar with your novel; Tales From the Dew Drop Inne, how would you introduce it?

Set in a small bar in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tales From the Dew Drop Inne tells the collective stories of the people who make the place their home - people who have not fallen off the social ladder but who are hanging on desperately at the bottom.

It is a tale full of emotion, pathos, and humor. I hope it will leave readers laughing through their tears.

Where did you get the idea to do a collection of short stories instead of a full-length novel?

The idea of interconnected stories that form an organic novel came to me after I read a book published by my current publisher, All Things That Matter Press. It was a series of mystery stories with a common thread that the entire series of stories brings into clarity. I liked the format. Then I wrote the first chapter as a stand-alone short. A friend, also from All Things That Matter, asked me to write a piece of flash, and I figured that I would use the same setting and characters. With two great stories as a start, the book simply took off. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing Tales From the Dew Drop Inne?

I did a lot of it in a writing group to which I belong. I had never realized how much people enjoyed my writing – especially my use of humor. Seriously, it was not just a great ego boost but also writing and sharing Dew Drop with that group helped me to see another side of my writing. Until then I had not appreciated my own dark and often ironic humor.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?

In Tales From the Dew Drop Inne there are a number of outstanding chapters, chapters that still evoke strong emotions in me. Certainly Chapter 6, Picnic, is one of the most powerful. The sheer humanity of the characters, the pathos of those who have nothing but still manage to care for one another. I just cannot get the images of Cal and Ephraim sharing what little they have with Lucile and her ragtag children out of my thoughts.

Then there is In the Army. Who doesn’t feel for the veteran who has given his mind for his country? You can hear me read that short chapter at http://soundcloud.com/kenneth-weene/in-the-army

How did you come up with the title and cover design?

Publishers usually design book covers. However, hard as they tried, the folks at All Things That Matter Press couldn’t come up with a good cover for Tales From the Dew Drop Inne. Then my wife and I tried. She is an excellent photographer and artist, but still no go.

Then my wife suggested I go on line and look for suitable drawings to use. I found a couple and wrote to the artists. Maggie Evans was kind enough to not only write back but, having checked out my writing a bit, also give me permission to use her drawing. What you can’s appreciate on-line is that the drawing provides an excellent wraparound cover. It is the first such cover that All Things has used, but I think given its great appearance that they will do more of those in the future.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?

Honestly not. If someone sends me one or I get a link to a site, yes. However, searching them out is not my thing. While I want people to love my writing and want to learn from informed criticism, working on the next project and the unending marketing that authors must do are more important activities than reading reviews.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

I assume you mean as a writer. I didn’t learn much about writing in school. I read a lot, but most of it was not part of the curriculum. I did attend one writers’ workshop with Ron Rash. It was a week long. Ron told me that my characters had to have enough good in them that readers would want to know about them, would want to read their stories. I think that was very helpful as I began to think more about creating better-rounded characters. I think you can see that in the wonderful characters whose stories play out in the pages of Tales From the Dew Drop Inne. They really are people whose stories you will want to know.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

I try to not lie. I simply convince myself that everything I say is true. More importantly, there is often more truth in fiction than in nonfiction, more to learn from imagination than from reality.

What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?

Nobody ever asks how I learned to love to read. I have to say that is a good story. I asked my father where babies came from. He, as he usually did, said he was too busy to tell me. Since it was clear that I wasn’t going to get the information from him, I decided to read my uncle’s medical books. He was in the army and many of his books were stored in our attic. They were beautiful books, with great transparency overlays, something extraordinary in those days.

I worked very hard to learn the alphabet and started sounding our words. I was good at it, very good. The problem was that those wonderful books were written in Latin; so all my reading did little good in my quest.

I must add that I got married at age twenty-seven. Two days before my wedding, my father asked if I wanted to know about sex. Obviously he was a bit late.

What book are you reading now?

I’m working on my new novel Red and White so I am reading a lot about Native Americans. Right now I am reading Education For Extinction, a history of the “Indian Schools.” I am trying to stay away from reading for pleasure until the research is nearly finished.

What is your favorite Quote?

There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us that it ill behooves any of us to find fault with the rest of us.

I frequently have to remind myself of that quote, which I memorized as a schoolboy. When I find myself being overly nasty, I repeat it ten times, like a good non-Catholic doing penance.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?

Actually I’ll mention a stage play, 9 Circles by Bill Cain. Performed by a small local company in Phoenix, it blew me away.

Do you have any fun Halloween experiences you can tell us?

Think about my last name. I tell people that Halloween is my family holiday, that it started when the Weene’s left Transylvania and the people ran out into the street yelling, “Hallelujah, hallelujah, the Weenes are gone.” Yes, my father’s family did come from Transylvania.

My personal favorite holiday is Groundhog Day because it just keeps on coming around. However, Sal, the barkeep in Tales From the Dew Drop Inne goes with Buddha’s birthday. I’ll let you read the book to find out why.

Where can readers stalk you?

I’m on Facebook, and the only Kenneth Weene so searching for me is very easy. I accept as many friend requests as I get unless it is clearly somebody who is looking for sexual thrills – my wife wouldn’t mind but I really don’t have the energy at this point – or someone who is a spam artist. I actually interact with my Facebook friends.

I’m also on Twitter @Ken_Weene.



Tales from the Dew Drop Inne" reads like a darkly humorous sitcom. The tone is both heartfelt and deliciously irreverent, showing that one does not need to hate humanity to appreciate the humor of life. Here are tales of drifters, alcoholics, religious renegades, veterans, and drag queens set in pub that is at once a confessional, a circus, and a psychiatric hospital.

--Marina Julia Neary, author of Martyrs & Traitors: a Tale of 1916

You can purchase Tales from the Drew Drop Inne at these following Retailers:

Ken's Other Published Novel


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Kenneth for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive one Signed Copy of Tales from the Dew Drop Inne (US Only), one e-book of  Tales from the Dew Drop Inne (INT) by Kenneth Weene.

Click >>>>HERE<<<< for the rest of the Hop.



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Monday, February 27, 2012

Best Selling Lauren Oliver Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

I was born in Queens and raised in Westchester, New York, in a small town very similar to the one depicted in Before I Fall. My parents are both literature professors, and from a very early age, my sister and I were encouraged to make up stories, draw, paint, dance around in costumes, and essentially spend much of our time living imaginatively. Our house was old and full of art and towers and towers of books, and that’s still the kind of house I like best.

I started writing as a way of extending my love of reading; when I read a book I loved, I would continue to write sequels for it (I was inadvertently a fan fic writer, before “fan fiction” was even a term!). Later on, I began working on my own stories, and keeping company with a lot of imaginary friends.

I pursued literature and philosophy at the University of Chicago, and then moved back to New York to attend NYU’s MFA program in creative writing. I simultaneously began working at Penguin Books, in a young adult division called Razorbill, and while there, I started work on Before I Fall. I left in 2009 to pursue writing full-time, and now I happily work in my pajamas every day.

I have a variety of interests apart from writing, including reading, cooking, traveling, dancing, running, and making up weird songs. Some of my favorite things are: being cozy; fires; autumn; fuzzy slippers; very high heels; great wine; dark chocolate; ketchup; pasta. Things I hate: practical shoes, liars, and bananas. I live in Brooklyn, New York, with my best friend and fiancé, Michael.


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Tell us your latest news.

Well, I'm very excited because PANDEMONIUM, my newest book and the sequel toDelirium, comes out in exactly a week! I'm about to embark on an international tour, too, which is very exciting. I'm also busy planning my wedding.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Disciplined, passionate, fun.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be a ballet dancer for a very long time; but I also always knew that I would try and write novels.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

My father was a great influence on me. He, too, is a writer, and although he writes nonfiction, his work ethic and his great love of reading have been continued inspirations.

What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?

I didn't choose it so much as stumble into it; I got a job working as a YA editor at Penguin, and because my reading shifted so substantially, I think my influences began to shift as well. I liked the idea of untangling some of the themes (such as love, partnership, identity) that predominate YA lit.

How many books have you written? 

Well, I've written a few books that have never been published and never will be published! But I just completed my sixth (publishable) book.

For those who are unfamiliar with your series, Delirium, how would you introduce it?

Delirium is about a world in which love has been declared a contagious disease, and scientists have figured out how to cure it. It's big and epic and scary and romantic!

How did you come up with the title and cover design?

Actually, it's a common misconception that authors actually design their own covers. We don't! I have the wonderful art directors at HarperCollins, my publisher, to thank for that. :) Delirium, the title, springs from the name of the "disease" of love: amor deliria nervosa. The other two books in the series, Pandemonium and Requiem, were actually named by my bloggers and fans!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating the Delirium Series?

I got very tired of my characters after living with them for so many years. But then I really missed them, and found it very difficult to start a new project!

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about Alex?

He often wears the same pair of socks two or three days in a row. :/ It's gross, but he lived in the Wilds for a long time and is used to conserving!

What is the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?


I was writing Delirium while touring for and promoting Before I Fall, so it was difficult to juggle both tasks.

Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?

Well, I love Lena, of course--it's important to connect with your main character! But I'm also a big fan of Hana, even though she's a difficult character, in some ways. I recently wrote an e-short story entirely in Hana's POV, and I really enjoyed it.

What was your inspiration for the series?

The idea for DELIRIUM came from an essay I read by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in which he wrote that all great books were about love or death. The next day I was thinking about that quote--particularly about how and in what form a modern love story could be told--while I was on the treadmill at the gym. I was simultaneously watching a news story about a flu outbreak that had everyone freaking out about the possibility of a pandemic, and I was kind of marveling that people so easily go into panics about reports of these diseases, and at some point the two trains of thought--love, and disease--just sort of combined in my head.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?

I have so many favorite books, in a variety of genres! I love Roald Dahl and Phillip Pullman; I devoured Agatha Christie as a child; I love Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Ian McEwan and F Scott Fitzgerald and Virginia Woolf. But everything I've ever read has influenced me in some way.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

Everything about being published is rewarding! I love being able to connect with my fans, and I love being able to do what I love for a living. I feel hugely blessed.

Any recent appearances that you would like to share with us about/any upcoming ones?

I'm soon embarking on a long tour to promote Pandemonium--I'm even heading to Australia and the Philippines! Please
check out www.laurenoliverbooks.blogspot.com for details.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

Yikes. There are probably a lot of them, depending on the context!

What are 4 things you never leave home without?

Phone, chapstick, keys (hopefully), and something to read.


Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

I prefer to do my writing in the morning, at home at my dining room table. But I travel a lot, and more often than not am forced to write on my blackberry, or in the back of a car, or on a plane!

What is your favorite food?
Pasta, pasta, pasta.

Who was your first boyfriend?

This guy Jay who got fired from Starbucks for stealing from the register. Whoops!

Which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Um, JK Rowling. Please.

If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?

Either how disorganized I am, or the fact that my books have been published in a whole lot of countries! That still surprises ME every day.

Where can your readers stalk you?
Twitter: @OliverBooks
Web: www.laurenoliverbooks.com
FB: Lauren Oliver Books
See you there!




Love. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.

In Lauren Oliver’s stunning second novel, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the cure. Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. But then she meets enigmatic Alex, who lives under the government’s radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

Lauren Oliver follows up her incandescent debut, the New York Times bestseller Before I Fall, with this extraordinary novel about a high-stakes romance set in a dystopian United States. Delirium presents a world as terrifying as The Hunger Games and a romance as true as Romeo and Juliet.



Delirium was one of my favorites in 2011. Imagine a world where love is deemed illegal? I couldn’t even phantom the idea but that’s exactly the world Lena lives in. What’s worst, at age 18, each person receives an operation that prevents them from feeling love. The government then pairs them up with a spouse spending the remainder of their life in an unfeeling stillness.

Lauren Oliver’s creation of a world where true feelings are not allowed presented a lot of interesting concepts about how humans feel towards one another. The plot is simply amazing and truly a unique idea. Oliver’s descriptive writing of the people, environment and scenery were completely fleshed out that it was so easy to visualize everything that was described. Lena, Hana and the other characters were intricate and convincing.

The book contained a lot of action and each one was thrilling. Oliver sure had a surprise for us in the end. It was a cliffhanger that I have not experienced in a long time. It was remarkable having an internal experience of a dystopian society who has outlawed love. I am fully satisfied with this book despite having that cliffhanger. It just adds more suspense and anticipation for the upcoming sequel.

You can purchase Dilirium at these following Retailers:

Available February 28, 2012

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and ?ame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.




And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Lauren for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive one Signed Copy of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.
1 Winner will receive one Copy of Delirium  & Signed Bookplate by Lauren Oliver.




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Friday, February 24, 2012

NYT Best Selling Author Melissa Marr


Book Nerd Interview

Melissa Marr grew up believing in faeries, ghosts, and various other creatures. After teaching college literature for a decade, she applied her fascination with folklore to writing. Wicked Lovely was her first novel. Currently, Marr lives in the Washington, D.C., area, writes full-time, and still believes in faeries and ghosts.


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What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?

If they follow my Twitter or FB page, they probably wouldn’t be surprised by anything. I’m pretty wide-open with my readers. The one thing a couple readers have commented on in person was that they didn’t expect me to be so short. I’m 5’2” (which is a fabulous height, IMO!)

What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?

I don’t read OR write in any particular genre. I love everything from classic lit to SFF or romances. Likewise, I simply write. I think focus on genre is too akin to self-imposing limits. I dislike limits.

I have YA books (the Wicked Lovely series & the upcoming Carnival of Souls), but I had an adult release in 2011 (Graveminder), an anthology I co-edited with Kelley Armstrong (Enthralled; 2011), a collection of my short stories (Faery Tales & Nightmares; 21 Feb 2012), a manga series (Desert Tales; 2009-2011), and an upcoming children’s series with Kelley (The Blackwell Pages; 2013).

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

I always fail at the superlative questions. I’m simply not an –est fan. Experiences are so vast that choosing any one as the best/favourite/most/least feels too limiting to me. I loved school. Even in the depths of my party stages or years of exceedingly bad choices, learning was one of the things that I clung to. It still is. Life, IMO, is about learning—both in classrooms and in the world at large. I crave new information and experiences and have an ever-expanding list of things I’d like to try/know/see.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

I wouldn’t. Every change in a text has ripples, and I’m not good with even pondering ripples in someone else’s text. I’m okay with fanfiction because it’s a fun “what if” exercise, but I reallllly dislike when people mess with other folks’ books (the whole “just add monsters” to classics). I taught classic lit for twelve years, so the appropriation of or interference with other authors’ texts sends me into rants.

 Can you share a little of your current work with us?

All I’m allowed to share right now is that Carnival of Souls releases 4 September 2012. The only real info my publisher has put out there is what it says in the Publisher’s Weekly Preview—the book is “about three teens forging their own destinies in the daimon dimension” (http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-book-news/article/50717-fall-2012-sneak-previews.html)

What was a time in your life when you were really scared?

In chronological order-- when my son broke his arm, when my spouse was overseas for OIF (back before there was regular email/phone contact), when my mother was in the cardiac unit, when my daughter texted from China “just saw a dead body in the river,” when my father had a heart attack . . . They’re all fine, but almost every fear in my life is tied to those I love.

If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?

There’s nothing of note in my basement or attic. Until 3 years ago, we were a Marine Corps family. That means we donated or discarded everything we didn’t need (& in some of my moods, I discarded things we did need too). I’ve kept a few things—a few baby clothes and picturebooks, letters from my husband when he was deployed—but for the most part if I could get rid of it, I will. 

My closet . . . the most unusual thing there is my shoe collection. I love shoes and boots, so there are far too many of them in there.


What are 4 things you never leave home without?

iPhone, ID, money, water. I’m pretty practical on this front. I’m not a make-up person, but I require music/note taking/snapshot taking so my iPhone is my all around writer-and-living tool. I have book notes, photos, & playlists on it. I’m strict on making sure I have hydration, & I’m picky about my water because I drink so much of it. I like a high silica content (Volvic or Fiji) because it feels better (smoother). It sounds silly, but if I don’t have my water, I end up drinking things like juice or soda instead. So I carry my water everywhere.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your teen readers. What would it be?

Being a writer requires living a full life. Try new things (with appropriate safety measures in place!). You can’t write if you don’t experience life. Keep your phone/notebook with you to jot down notes. Keep a camera (or phone) in hand to snap images you might use later. Talk to people; try foods or films or exhibits you might not usually; read/see/listen to things you wouldn’t normally. It’s in the widely lived life that I discover new stories & characters.



Dangerous promises and beguiling threats swirl together in a dozen stories of enchantments, dark and light, by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr. Uncanny and unexpected creatures appear from behind bushes, rise from under the seas, or manifest from seasonal storms to pursue the objects of their attention—with amorous or sinister intent—relentlessly.

From the gentle tones of a story-teller’s cadences to the terror of a blood sacrifice, tales of favorite characters from Marr’s Wicked Lovely novels mix with accounts of new characters for readers to fall in love with . . . or to fear.


You can purchase Faery Tales & Nightmares at these following Retailers:





Melissa  & I at The Kepler's Event. She is as amazing as she is a writer.

Fellow Book Nerd Courtney



And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Melissa for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive one Signed Copy of Faery Tales & Nightmares 
(this can be personalized) by Melissa Marr.





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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Brea Essex Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

Brea Essex was born Gilroy, California, called the “Garlic Capital of the World”. She graduated college with a degree in Medical Assisting. She lives near San Jose, California with her husband, their dog, three cats, and enough books to start a library.

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Tell me a bit about yourself.

I'm 30, and I live in the Bay Area of California. I have three cats and a very fluffy dog.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? 

I changed my mind a million times. First I wanted to be a veterinarian. Then I wanted to write. I actually wanted to act for a while. I obviously eventually returned to writing.

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Gilroy, CA. It's called “The Garlic Capitol of the World”. They are well-known for their garlic products, and also their yearly Garlic Festival. I suppose I would call San Jose, CA “home”. I've lived in the area for a long time.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I had never finished anything. I had actually given up on the idea of writing. Then, my husband and I moved several hours away from our family and friends. I couldn't find a job, so I started writing again. Several months later, I fractured my foot and was stuck in bed. I had nothing to do but write. When I first got the idea for Foreshadow, I just knew it had to be set in Capitola, CA. It's always been one of my favorite towns.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finishing. It's usually easy to start, the middle isn't too bad, but finishing? It always seems to take me forever.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

It was Jennifer Roberson who really inspired me to write. She's a fantasy author, not YA, but she's been my favorite author for a very long time. Her writing continues to inspire me and I hope to one day write as well as she does.

For those who are unfamiliar with your novel; Foreshadow, how would you introduce it?

Foreshadow is about a girl who loses her mother, and has to move to another state to live with her mother's friend and her family. Once there, she meets two boys: one who is a fallen angel—or devil, as he calls himself—and likely wants to kill her, and another who is her guardian angel.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

Because my characters are real and relatable.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Foreshadow?

That I could actually finish writing a full-length book! Actually, one of the most surprising things I learned was that there is an old quicksilver mine in the same town I live in. It closed down several years before I was born, and I had no idea there was anything like that here! 

If you could introduce Rae to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

I think I'd introduce her to Rose from the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. Rose could teach Rae how to fight. Although, they both have somewhat short tempers. They might end up screaming at each other.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about Andrei?

There's definitely a lot more to Andrei than he shows. He has a lot of secrets. You'll have to read book two, Overshadow, and book three, Queen of Shadows, to really understand Andrei. His motivations and actions change a lot over the series. However, surprising...Andrei says in Foreshadow that he used to play piano “all the time”. What he doesn't say is that he's classically trained. His favorite song to play is Beethoven's “Moonlight Sonata”.

What is the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?

School. Not that going to school is a bad thing, but I had a hard time writing while I was trying to focus on papers and studying. I did the majority of my writing when I was on breaks.

Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?

I've been saying Father Matthias, because he comes across as a little crazy. However, I just finished writing Overshadow, Foreshadow's sequel. I have to say, I'm really enjoying writing Andrei. He's so unpredictable. Even I don't know what he's going to do or say sometimes.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?

When I was younger, my dad always wanted me to read books with strong female characters. I wanted to give other young women a strong female character to read about. Rae is flawed and far from perfect, but she's strong.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?

Don't give up on your dreams. Even if people tell you they will never come true, don't listen to them. I spent a lot of years listening to all those people who told me that I could never make it as an author, and that I needed a “real job”. I can't imagine how much further I might be today if I hadn't listened to them.

What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?

I've never been asked why I chose to write YA books. I chose YA because when I was a teenager, there weren't many YA books. Even before the YA market started growing, I wanted to help fill that gap.

If you could be any mythology creature, what would you be?

That's a tough one! There are a lot of different creatures I would like to be. I suppose I'd choose a shifter. It would be amazing to be able to take on an animal form.

Which author would you love to co-author a book with?

There are a lot of authors I would love to work with. If I had to pick just one, I would say David Eddings. Unfortunately, he passed away a few years ago, so that's now impossible.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Of course! I just finished writing Overshadow, the sequel to Foreshadow. Here's the very beginning of it (I edited it a little for spoilers):

       I woke even before my alarm went off. I sat up and stretched, as did my black cat Nuada who always slept next to me. She turned around, plopped back on the bed and promptly went to sleep again, while I climbed out of the covers and headed to the window. I pulled back my curtains and smiled when I saw how lovely the weather was. Summer had passed, and school was in session again—I was officially a senior. Despite the cooling of weather, we still had a lot of sun.

       The horrible dreams had stopped. My nightmares had given way to my usual fantasies of Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. So I love the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Sue me. But let me just say that I would give just about anything to be Keira Knightley in those movies. Hello, she got to kiss both of them! Just don’t tell anyone I said that.

My next project (the one I'm currently writing) is a new series called The Zayin Chronicles. Here's an excerpt from the first book, called Ouroboros:

       I heard a crackling noise. “Is it getting hot in here?”

       Zac coughed. “I think I smell smoke.”

       Glancing around, I noticed a light in one corner of the library that hadn’t been there a moment ago. As we watched in horror, an entire bookcase burst into flames. One by one, the fire began to encroach on the other bookcases—and it was heading for us.

       I stumbled to the side, shoved by Zac’s hand. “Run,” he ordered.

       He looked horrified. The flames were reflected in his pupils, the dancing of the fire making his eyes look as if they were alive in and of themselves. They had dilated almost completely, engulfing his irises in a sea of black. I could barely make out a thin line of blue rimming the edge.

       “Rhiannon,” his voice broke into my thoughts. I glanced down, noticing that one of his hands was pulling at my upper arm. “We have to go.”

What book are you reading now?

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter. I read pretty fast, though. By the time people are reading this, I might be done with it. I'm also re-reading Shapechangers by Jennifer Roberson. I re-read that series about once a year.

List 3 of your all time favorite books?

Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings, Daughter of the Lion by Jennifer Roberson, and Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. There are a lot more, though.

What was a time in your life when you were really scared?

There have been a lot of times! I have really bad nightmares, so I get scared easily. I can't really think of a specific instance. However, I was really scared (nervous-scared) when I began submitting Foreshadow. After spending so much time writing it, the prospect of someone turning it down (which it was, before it found a home with Astraea Press) was terrifying.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?

I've been pretty disappointed in both movies and TV shows recently. “Once Upon a Time” is pretty good. I watched “Red Riding Hood” (the one with Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman) not too long ago. I enjoyed that one.

Where can your readers stalk you?

I'm pretty much everywhere! Here are my main links:

Website: http://breaessex.com/
Blog: http://breaessex.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/breaessexfanpage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/BreaEssex
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/breaessex




Imagine discovering that your boyfriend was out to kill you—and that the annoying boy from school was your guardian angel.

Rae Davenport has already lost her mother. The only thing keeping her sane is her new boyfriend, Andrei—that is, until she finds out that he wants to kill her. Andrei is a devil, and he wants to use Rae as a sacrifice to get back into Heaven. The only one who can save her is Logan, her guardian angel. He’s only annoyed her in the past, but now he will be her savior. 


You can purchase Foreshadow at these following Retailers:


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Brea for making this giveaway possible.
2 Winners will receive an e-book of Foreshadow by Brea Essex.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Syrie James & Ryan M. James Author Interview


First and foremost, I would like to wish 
Ryan M. James a Happy, Happy Birthday! 


BookNerd Interview
Dreaming of Books Hop




Book Nerd Interview

Syrie James
Syrie James is an author and screenwriter. Her name is pronounced "Sear-ee" (rhymes with Dearie.) Apparently, her first name was inspired by a character in a radio show her mother listened to as a little girl--at least that's what her mom told her. Her mom loved the sound of the name so much, she vowed that when she grew up, if she had a daughter, she'd name her Syrie. Having no idea how to spell it, she made it up.

Although it was a challenge growing up with a name that no one could pronounce or spell, Syrie eventually grew fond of it, finding it fun to be different. She still finds herself spelling out her name to everyone she meets.

Syrie was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and moved west at age one because her father didn't like shoveling snow. She has lived most of her life in California, if you don't count the two years as a child when she lived in France.

After a successful career in Hollywood, in which she sold nineteen screenplays and teleplays in a variety of genres to Tri-Star Pictures, Fox Family Films, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX TV and the Lifetime Network, Syrie decided to follow her passion and write a novel. Syrie was thrilled when her first work of historical fiction (about one of her favorite authors), The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, sold at auction after a two-day bidding war between three major publishing houses, received critical acclaim, and became a bestseller. To date, her books have been translated into sixteen foreign languages.


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Ryan M. James
With his production company, Ryan has co-written two screen plays, edited several shorts, and directed an online game demo, the independent feature film REAL, and the popular machinima webseries A CLONE APART. These experiences have attracted interest of game developers PANDEMIC STUDIOS and later NAUGHTY DOG, where Ryan has spent over a decade crafting trailers, cinematics, behind-the-scenes and recruiting material, and is always up for a new creative challenge.

Most recently, that challenge was his first novel, co-written with his mother, award-winning author SYRIE JAMES. Their book, entitled FORBIDDEN, is due out in winter 2012.

Ryan welcomes visitors to follow him or his production company on whatever social media suits their fancy. He and his wife live in Los Angeles, about a stone’s throw away from Syrie.


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discuss their new paranormal romance Forbidden

Syrie: Tell us your latest news.

Forbidden, the new paranormal romance that I co-wrote with my son Ryan, hit the shelves on January 24th, and we’re excited to report that it’s been flying off the shelves and onto eReaders! The reviews from readers and critics have been incredibly positive. The book is a blend of wit, mystery, suspense, danger, pop-culture, fantasy, and romance, that offers a unique look at angel mythology. We’re thrilled to share it with the world, and that it seems to appeal to readers of any age or gender.

Syrie: This is your first co-authoring book. How did that come about?

Several years back, I had an idea for a book full of suspense, danger, and romance, about a teenage girl who starts getting psychic visions from a mysterious source, who enlists the help of a boy at school to help her figure out who’s sending the messages and why. One day, I was thinking about a screenplay that Ryan and I had written, about a young superhero who was tired of his slayer-like job and dreamt of having a normal life, passing for human. It occurred to me: what if I combined the male character from that story with my psychic girl. Ryan wanted to write the book together, and since he’s extremely talented and imaginative, and has a great sense of story and character, I thought it would be fun to work together again.

Ryan: For those who are unfamiliar with your novel, Forbidden, how would you introduce it?

It's a paranormal romance about a 16-year-old girl whose life begins to implode when she comes into unusual psychic powers—which turn out to have a heavenly source—while the new guy at school with whom she falls in love seems to have special abilities of his own. When her very existence turns out to be forbidden, be becomes her most powerful ally in a confusing and increasingly dangerous world.

Syrie: When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?

In sixth grade, my teacher divided us into small groups and had us adapt a children’s book for the stage. Turning that novel from prose into a theatrical piece was a pivotal moment in my life. It was so exciting to bring the story to life and to see the audience’s reaction. I knew at that moment that I wanted to be a writer. I made my first attempt at writing a book in that same year, and became the kid who wrote all the school plays and skits.

If you could introduce Claire to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

RJ & SJ: Can we please pick a play instead of a book? Because Romeo and Juliet could really have used a psychic to warn them to not poison themselves.

…Oops, was that a spoiler?

Did you learn anything from writing Alec and what was it?

SJ: It was fun to get into the head of a superhero make us care about him—to understand his heart and feel his joy and pain. He became very real to us.

RJ: However, I wanted to ensure that his voice and thoughts were unique from Claire’s and were the [PG-13] thoughts that young men actually think. It was important to keep him masculine, strong, and not too sappy.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?

Forbidden was a chance to tell the type of teen paranormal romance that we would want to read. A story that had: 

-A new, fresh take on its supernatural creatures that acknowledged all of the wonderful, multicultural mythologies of this planet we live on. 


-A grounded romance where the characters actually take time to get to know each other and slowly fall in love based on conversation and personality. 

-A strong amount of humor mixed with newfound love, a little badass action along with the relationship drama, and an intriguing mystery to keep the reader guessing. 

-Characters that—though they are teenagers—are capable of acting and reasoning like adults. And therefore a book that people of all ages would like it because it doesn’t talk down to them. 

-To that end, a story where the kids don’t freak out when they encounter something supernatural. We live in a culture so saturated with films/TV/books/comics/games about vampires and other things that go bump in the night, we believe people wouldn’t be shocked to learn that “X” is real. Instead we believe they’d wonder “is X in reality like the ones I see on TV?” 

Did we succeed in doing this? Who knows, but we tried to do it just a little bit, and we hope folks enjoy it.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?

SJ & RJ: The entire last third of the book, which is jam-packed with action and emotion, moving back an forth between Claire and Alec’s point of view at a rapid pace. The final, climactic battle was especially fun to write.

Do you have a book trailer?

No, but if we did, Ryan would be the one to edit it. He’s a video editor by profession, and cut a trailer for my book Dracula: My Love.

What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?

SJ: “Please, tell us what your readers can do to help spread the word about your books in this jam-packed marketplace?”

Syrie: Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, but my father moved us to California when I was one year old because he was tired of shoveling snow. I’ve lived there my entire life, and specifically in Los Angeles for the past 24 years.

Ryan: How would you describe yourself in three words?

Ambitiously stubborn romantic.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

SJ: Anytime my husband asks: “Did you take breaks today while you were writing?”

RJ: Anytime anyone asks: “What time did you go to bed last night?”

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

SJ: The feedback that I get from readers, telling me how much my books have meant to them.

If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be?

SJ: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (and all the sequels).

RJ: The Lord of the Rings. Except shorter, with less singing.

What’s the worst job you’ve had?

SJ: My first job fresh out of college was doing advertising & PR for a manufacturer of leather products (like gun holsters and police duty belts). My office was in the smelly basement adjacent to the dyeing department and one day I found a cockroach the size of Manhattan in my desk drawer.

RJ: Refereeing floor hockey in college. Hard cylindrical objects were continually being slapped by my head. I spent entire evenings running up and down the court, trying to avoid losing an eye, while supposedly paying attention to the game.

What do you normally eat for breakfast?

SJ: Eggs, toast, fruit & juice. Then I forget to eat lunch because I’m so engrossed in what I’m writing.

RJ: A green smoothie with protein powder and coconut oil. It’s tastier than it sounds.

What book are you reading now?

SJ: I have a stack of six or seven books on my nightstand. One of them is Second Impressions by Ava Farmer, a sequel to Pride & Prejudice.

RJ: A bunch—check my Goodreads to keep up to date!

Where can readers stalk you?

SJ & RJ: syriejames.com, ryanmjames.com & illusive-entertainment.com. We hope you’ll stop by and leave us a message, we’d love to hear from you. We also invite readers to follow us—and the book!—on Facebook and Twitter.




She should not exist.

He should not love her.

Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now (the longest she and her mom have remained anywhere) and she’s desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there’s no way she’s going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she’s been having or the creepy warnings that she’s in danger.

Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn’t factored Claire into his plans. . . .

Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire’s unusual powers is revealed and the threat to her life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her?



Syrie & Ryan James’ Forbidden was an interesting take on the Angel genre. Its about the story of Claire who, once again, in on the move with her mother. She never thought she would ever make friends but finally has at her new school. She then meets Alec who would ultimately change her life.

The characters were very unique and will grow on you. The love triangle between Claire, Alec, and Neil was fun to read. Its not because I like to read about jealousy but it was a nice change to read it from the guys’ point of view. The paranormal aspect of the story was different from the norm. I loved reading about the strict lives of angels and how they cope with it.

The conclusion offered a really great twist. By the way it ended, it only promised that the following book would contain more action and the move to be more intense. The events are fast paced and exciting and is highly recommended to young adult/teen readers. This is a must read. It has definitely been added to my top 24 of all time favorite books.


You can purchase Forbidden at these following Retailers:



And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Syrie & James for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive one Copy of Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan M. James.
2 Winners will receive one Bookmark by Syrie James & Ryan M. James.



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