SACRED by Elana K. Arnold

SIGNED BOOK SUNDAY

Kristen Simmons

PACIFICA Official Blog Tour

David Bell

BRING HER HOME

Joshua Palmatier

THE THRONE OF AMENKOR SERIES

Lily Anderson

NOT NOW, NOT EVER

Margaret Peterson Haddix

CHILDREN OF REFUGE Official Nerd Blast

Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr

THE REAL MCCOYS

Gregg Olsen

THE LAST THING SHE EVER DID Official Nerd Blast

Eileen Cook

THE HANGING GIRL

L.B. Schulman

STOLEN SECRETS Official Blog Tour

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jonathan Friesen Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

Jonathan Friesen is an author, speaker, and youth writing coach from Mora, Minnesota. His first young adult novel, Jerk, California, received the ALA Schneider Award. When he’s not writing, speaking at schools, or teaching, Jonathan loves to travel and hang out with his wife and three kids.

Social Media
    



Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Blink (January 31, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031074833X
ISBN-13: 978-0310748335


Jonah wishes he could get the girl, but he's an outcast and she's the most perfect girl he knows. And their futures seemed destined to fork apart: Jonah's physical condition is debilitating, and epileptic seizures fill his life with frustration. Whereas Stormi is seemingly carefree, and navigates life by sensing things before they happen. And her most recent premonition is urging her to leave town. When Stormi begs Jonah for help, he finds himself swept into a dark mystery his small town has been keeping for years. And the answers Stormi needs about her own past could possibly destroy everything Jonah has ever known -- including his growing relationship with Stormi herself. 'Unfolding' by author Jonathan Friesen is a consistently compelling novel from beginning to end and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that 'Unfolding' is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99). -- Midwest Book Review

An awkward 18-year-old and his enigmatic crush discover that their town hides a terrible secret. Gullary, Oklahoma, a former mining town that is now dominated by a maximum security prison and ruled by a group of vigilantes called the Circle, has always been prone to violent storms. White narrator Jonah, afflicted with scoliosis and epilepsy (aka "Old Rickety"), is more preoccupied with Stormi, a "free and wild" spirit with a healing touch and psychic powers, than storms. Wandering in and out of occasionally florid flashbacks peppered with fake Latin, self-deprecating humor, and self-pity, Jonah recounts the awkward evolution of his friendship with Stormi and his misadventures with Old Rickety and his twisted spine. When Stormi predicts a tragic accident and comes under the Circle's suspicion, she and Jonah flee Gullary, learning its dark secret along the way. Someoneor somethingwants justice, and they're its instruments. Several plot points pass in a whirlwind of explanations, losing some emotional impact. Tired tropes, such as epilepsy as a harbinger of evil spirits, abound. However, when the dust settles, some strong character development remains. The biblical, ominous atmosphere of Gullary provides a vivid backdrop for Jonah's and Stormi's feelings of longing and alienation, which are further explored through occasionally poignant banter and conflicted family relationships. The almost-romance is engaging. A flawed but darkly atmospheric read. (Fiction. 13-18) -- Kirkus Reviews




Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

Absolutely not. My childhood Tourette’s made writing positively painful. But there were many moments when I realized I wanted to be a storyteller. These moments happened after I had kids, when I would tell them stories until they fell asleep, or I fell asleep, which usually came first.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

Stories are the only way people can share what they really think without fear of criticism. If I tell you what I believe about politics or religion, this issue or that, there is always the risk of confrontation. Stories allow us to share our deepest hopes and beliefs through the distance of fictional lives. There is safety in that.

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?

Oh, I don’t know any author whose favorite book is his/her own. What a tragedy that would be. No, my first all-time favorite book is Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger. His stories suck you in so deep you literally have to close the book to remind yourself what world you’re in. My other favorite is Winnie-the-Pooh. How cool it is that a learning disabled bear and an anxiety-ridden piglet and a tiger with ADHD and a compulsive mama kangaroo and a donkey living with deep depression could all get along! As a guy who writes many characters with mental health issues, I really appreciate that.

In your book; UNFOLDING, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?

It’s a novel about first loves, second chances, and about eight tornadoes.

Eighteen-year old epileptic Jonah Everett gives tours at the almost-abandoned Supermax prison in Gullary, OK. Almost-abandoned as it houses one prisoner who Jonah needs to feed, though he isn’t sure why the harmless old guy is there. But when he escapes, Jonah’s best friend Stormi begs Jonah to flee with her. She sees into the future a little earlier than Jonah, and that insight tells her this prisoner isn’t just an old man. He’s going to reveal a secret that will tear their town in two, Jonah heart most of all.

For those who are unfamiliar with Jonah, how would you introduce him?

He’s big-hearted, so the hurt goes way in, but he’s also profoundly loyal, so he can’t let go of the ones who hurt him. Jonah’s epilepsy and scoliosis fill his life with an underlying sadness, but nobody can kill his hope. It’s the contradictions in him that make him human, and so darn likeable.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?

For the first time in ten years, I have no deadlines. I’m going to write that again, because I like the look of it so much: I HAVE NO DEADLINES! I am letting stories come out how they want and when they want. My projects are personal, so I can share nothing with you just yet! Sorry.

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

I know I’m mixing media here, but I would like Connor Pickering from Unfolding to meet Rocky Balboa from any of the thousand Rocky movies, so that Rocky could beat the tar out of him.

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

It isn’t a new lesson, but it was sure reinforced: Giftedness and beauty can be their own curse. Stormi’s loneliness is just as profound as Jonah’s, though hers is born of strength and his is born out of weakness. That was an interesting discovery.

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?

Write scenes that hurt you. I know that sounds odd, but when you write scenes that force you to face real pain in your own life—or recall real painful memories—the unfiltered, unique you comes out. There is no way I can write about my first in-school, seventh grade seizure in any other voice but my own. The feelings and embarrassment are still so raw and potent; my own voice spills out. I use the difficult times to remind myself what my teen voice truly sounds like.

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?

Memorable. Working as an intern at The Cities 97 Alternative Radio Station. That was a blast. Sneaking into the studios, sitting in on the new music selection committees, meeting the biggest names in music as they came through to perform live in studio. It was pretty cool.

Who was your first girlfriend?

That would be thirty years ago, and that would be Lynnie. Interesting factoid: Two years ago, I was speaking at a random high school (with my wife accompanying me to help with book sales) and a random kid raises his hand and says, “I think you dated my mom for like a year. Her name’s Lynnie?”

“Ah, yes.” (Here I take an awkward peek toward my lovely wife, who thank goodness is laughing) “Yes, I did.”

We live in a very small world.

What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or that you do not love them back?

Well, after twenty-five years of marriage and eighteen years of fatherhood, I still do the first option daily. I’ve never had to tell anyone I didn’t love them back. So, based on my lack of experience, I’ll say the second scenario would make for a tougher day. I think when I was a teen, I would have answered differently, as those words, for me, meant a rather frightening level of commitment. It took more than a year to tell the woman who would become my wife that I loved her, because I knew that when I did, my life would forever change.

And it did.

When was the last time you cried?

Hey, this is good therapy. This morning at church. I don’t know why. It wasn’t a sad sermon. It was during the music, the worship. I was singing and suddenly I was crying and I don’t know the reason. But something in that song must have struck me as really true. That’s what usually gets me.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?

I was a sickly teen, and it would be hard to imagine living before modern medicine, but if my health would have been solid, I think the fifties. There was a sense that life was improving, we were improving. I don’t see enough of that optimism nowadays.

What is your greatest adventure?

I’ve chased down a camel herder across Mali, West Africa, who was attempting to steal my wife, and I’ve been stranded without a passport in the Middle East ... But my greatest adventure is my marriage, followed closely by fathering three awesome kids. That might not be the type of answer you were after, but every day with my family can be stormy or heavenly, tragic or jubilant. When you love people deeply enough that their choices warm or break your heart, you are in for a ride. I’m still hanging on!

Where can readers stalk you? (social media accounts)

For long thoughts, follow me on FB: @AuthorJonathanFriesen

For short thoughts, follow on Twitter: @FriesenJonathan

For visual thoughts, follow on Insty: @jonathan.friesen_

They can always check out my website as well: www.jonathanfriesen.com

Ten Quotes from UNFOLDING

“No, I just don’t think I deserve all the blame.” I folded my arms. “Maybe two percent, two percent of the blame.”

Stormi opened her mouth to speak, then closed her lips.

“Fine. I’d go as high as six.”

And it may not be a law of God, but the law of teen-hood is near as unshakable: senior year doesn’t hide anything.

“Nothing asked, nothing required, exceptin to dig.”

Truth be told, nobody cared much for Gina while she drew breath, and it pains me now even to mention it. Death muddies the realities of life.

“Exactly right, Jonah. A wonderful trajectory. And from out of nowhere, the unbelievable happens and all you love gets turned upside down. You keep breathing. That’s all you can do.” His voice trailed off. “Keep breathing.”

Tres gently placed his tray on his bed, and his voice softened. “Trusting everything to only one puts a man at a disadvantage.”

How far the swirling clouds carried the child is anyone’s guess. But that she was set down with the care of a new mother is a fact, one my parents emerged to when the wind paused and the rain fell straight.

That night I dreamed of Stormi, road trips, and the curves of each.

“Well, let’s start with kids. Yes or no, and how many?”

“Seriously?”

The yard lights stretched and warped my hunched shadow, enough so that Arthur stopped and pointed.

“You’re basically a walking boomerang. A boomerang carrying a plate.”

“Thank you, Arthur.”



Jonah wishes he could get the girl, but he’s an outcast and she’s the most perfect girl he knows.

And their futures seemed destined to fork apart: Jonah’s physical condition is debilitating, and epileptic seizures fill his life with frustration. Whereas Stormi is seemingly carefree, and navigates life by sensing things before they happen. And her most recent premonition is urging her to leave town.

When Stormi begs Jonah for help, he finds himself swept into a dark mystery his small town has been keeping for years. And the answers Stormi needs about her own past could possibly destroy everything Jonah has ever known—including his growing relationship with Stormi herself.


You can purchase Unfolding at the following Retailers:
        


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Jonathan and Blink/Harper Collins for making this giveaway possible.
4 Winners will receive a Copy of Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen
Winner will receive a Signed Copy of Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen



January 30th Monday CBY Book Club TENS LIST
January 31st Tuesday JeanBookNerd INTERVIEW 
February 1st Wednesday Mama Reads Blog REVIEW 
February 1st Wednesday Book Hounds YA SPOTLIGHT 
February 2nd Thursday Kendra Loves Books REVIEW 
February 2nd Thursday The Silver Dagger Scriptorium SPOTLIGHT 
February 3rd Friday Captivated Reading DREAM CAST 
February 4th Saturday Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW & FAVORITE BOOKS 
February 4th Saturday Kara the Redhead SPOTLIGHT 
February 5th Sunday Insane About Books TENS LIST 
February 6th Monday A Dream Within A Dream REVIEW 
February 7th Tuesday The Avid Book Collector REVIEW 
February 8th Wednesday Rose's Book Corner REVIEW 
February 8th Wednesday TTC Books and More FAVORITE LIST

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway
jbnpastinterviews

Jennifer A. Nielsen Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

New York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She is the author of The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; the MARK OF THE THIEF series, and the forthcoming A NIGHT DIVIDED. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.

Social Media
    




Tell us your latest news.

News!?! Mostly it’s just the crazy writing schedule I’m on right now. Today (January 31) I am releasing WRATH OF THE STORM, the third and final book of the Mark of the Thief trilogy. In August, I’ll release book 2 of Scholastic’s multi-platform HORIZON series (Book 1 is by Scott Westerfeld and it’s awesome). I’m also in edits for a new series called TRAITOR’S GAME, researching a Holocaust era historical novel, and writing a super secret project that I hope I’ll get to talk about this summer.

Phew. I’m out of breath just writing that!

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

I think the strongest influences on my writing go back to the books I loved when I was young. Most often, I drifted to books with characters in real danger, or characters with serious moral dilemmas. Books such as THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE by Joan Aiken, THE OUTSIDERS by SE Hinton, and DEATHWATCH by Robb White. I loved the way those books made me feel, as if I were living the adventure, or I were the one in danger. I try to write now for that child in me, still hoping to create stories to entertain her.

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

One comment I hear all the time, which is a surprise to me, is when people say, “I had no idea you’d be so normal!” And I think of myself that way. I do laundry, wash dishes, try to hit the gym, and somewhere in between all that, I write books.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I completed my first novel in my early twenties, though it was awful and should never see the light of day. However, typing “the end” was a pivotal moment for me, because I realized I had it in me to be a serious writer. More importantly, for the first time in my life, it sank in that becoming a published author was a real possibility. There was no magic, no secret passwords or special connections. I only needed to continue writing until I created something not awful, and if I did, eventually, I would see my own name on a book.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

The class that has served me the best was debate. For most subjects, a good grade depends on the student’s ability to hear what the teacher says and then regurgitate it back on a test. But in debate, by definition, there are no right or wrong answers. You simply take a position and then defend it, using logic and information you’ve researched. This taught me flexibility in thinking and an understanding of how to critically listen. Beyond that, I learned to speak in public with confidence and not get rattled by distractions or emotion. In some fashion, I use my debate skills almost every day of my life.

Did you learn anything from writing MARK OF THE THIEF and what was it?

In my first week of research, I realized that everything I’d ever learned about Ancient Rome was only one millionth of what there is to know. And as I continued to research, my respect for that civilization grew so much. Most fascinating to me were the parallels between their culture and our society now. They did graffiti in public places, their arena games parallel our reality television. They even originated the shopping mall, and I particularly thank them for that.

What was your inspiration for the series?

I happened to stumble upon two different facts that came together in my mind. The first was an ancient gem-filled amulet that Roman boys used to wear for good luck, called a bulla. The second was that Emperor Julius Caesar used to claim he had descended from the Gods, Venus specifically. I got to thinking, what if Caesar was telling the truth? Then he would have had the power of the Gods. And what if his magic was contained in his bulla, which became lost after his death, and remained lost for almost three hundred years until one day it’s found by a Roman slave named Nicolas Calva. Thus, the story begins…

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing MARK OF THE THIEF?

I loved seeing the increasing depth in Aurelia as the series progresses. She’s a survivor, and she’s smart, but she also cares deeply for her friends. It was interesting to see those traits clash in the books. What to do when your survival instinct disagrees with your loyalty? The way she works out those problems evolves in the books as she grows as a person and her feelings for her friends deepen.

For those who are unfamiliar with Nicolas, how would you introduce him?

In Roman society, the lowest class would have been the mining slaves, which is Nicolas’ role when we first meet him. His frustration there is not with the labor – it’s knowing in his heart that he’s better than that, knowing he’s meant for great things. So when he has an opportunity to steal a magical amulet, he takes the chance, although he has no idea how that will upend his life. He’s loyal and courageous and determined, but also entirely uneducated and in way over his head. So it’s fun to see how he responds to the challenges that start getting thrown at him.

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

I’d absolutely consider JK Rowling a mentor. Aside from the fact that I admire her writing, I think she’s an amazing woman. I recall the worldwide frenzy that accompanied the release of the latter half of her books, and the insane things some people would do to try to get a hint of what might happen in the next story. They’d stake out her home, parse every word she said in public, and haunt her friends and family for information. Under so much pressure, you’d have seen most writers’ work suffer. But Rowling only got better with each book. I have absolute respect for anyone who can accomplish that.

How many books have you written?


WRATH OF THE STORM is the twelfth book I’ve published in a little over six years, and I’m currently under contract for five more. The craziest thing is that the more I write, the more that I’m flooded with ideas. I’ll never outlive all the books that I want to write.

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

Advise my readers? I think instead, I’d rather hear their advice for me! I think readers are awesome, just as they are.

Who was your first boyfriend?

Well, technically it was Todd in the first grade. I can say that, because for a few weeks (the equivalent of years in first grade time), we were pretty sure we’d get married. Todd and I also discovered oil in the third grade, in the dirt around second base of our playground. We know because we did serious scientific experiments on it, such as putting it in a jar and watching it until recess ended. However, after a few days, the oil dried up. Turns out it had been mud all along. That was a sad day. At least I had Todd to see me through it.

Tell me about your first kiss

It was as awkward as most first kisses are. A friend of mine talked me into buying a Valentine’s Day card that not-too-subtly suggested I would be open to a kiss, which she then gave to a boy I liked. He took the hint and kissed me on the way home from school. He was a good guy then and still is now, but I realized in that moment that Hallmark cards do indeed have consequences.

What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or that you do not love them back?

I never had trouble telling someone when I did have feelings for them. But if someone put the “I love you” phrase out there and I can’t reciprocate, I’m leaving them hanging from a pretty thin wire. I don’t think I ever figured out a way to fix that without serious awkwardness or hurt feelings. I know I crushed a couple of hearts this way when I was a teen, and I still feel bad for that.

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?

I used to go door to door doing political surveys. When they found out I wasn’t selling anything, they’d be pretty friendly, but I was surprised by how much people A) Didn’t know; and B) Faked like they did know. I still look at elections today and wonder how many people truly understood the candidates or issues for which they voted.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?

I grew up in the 80’s, which was a great time to be a teenager. I mean, the hair was never bigger, the clothes never more neon, and the music never had so many artificial sound effects. BUT…if I had to choose a different decade, I’d have loved the roaring twenties. Society was changing so fast and opportunities for women were expanding like never before. It would have been a wonderful time to be alive. Of course, that had to be followed by the great depression, and then a world war, so…

What is your greatest adventure?

Being a mom. My kids will always be my greatest accomplishment and, since I’m pretty much winging it with them each day, parenting is always an adventure.

Where can readers stalk you?

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER



New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen delivers the action-packed conclusion to her magical Mark of the Thief trilogy!

Trouble has a way of seeking out Nicolas Calva, and it's not likely to leave him alone any time soon. With Caesar's magic bulla, the Malice of Mars, and the possibility of a Jupiter Stone in play, all the powers of Rome are circling Nic. He'll have to maneuver his way through scheming government officials and reawakened magical beasts to save the Empire. Can he manage to keep his friends and family safe, claim his own freedom once and for all, and rescue the Empire -- before the magic gets the better of him?

With twists and turns on every page, critically acclaimed author Jennifer Nielsen weaves an epic, action-packed conclusion to her extraordinary Mark of the Thief trilogy.

Praise for MARK OF THE THIEF

"The fast-paced, ingenious plot, charismatic hero and highly diverse cast of characters... make this series opener a captivating joy ride." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Vivid... [with] page-turning twists." -- Publishers Weekly

Praise for RISE OF THE WOLF

"Fast-moving fun with broad audience appeal, especially recommended for reluctant readers, Rick Riordan fans, and pedal-to-the-metal adventure aficionados." -- Kirkus Reviews

"The novel's Roman mythology connections... will have great appeal for fans of Rick Riordan. Heavily plot-driven with a movie-script feel..." -- Booklist

You can purchase Wrath of the Storm (Mark of the Thief #3) at the following Retailers:
        


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Jennifer for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Signed Copy of Wrath of the Storm 
by Jennifer A. Nielsen and Horizon by Scott Westerfeld 
1 Winner will receive a Signed Copy of Wrath of the Storm by Jennifer A. Nielsen

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway
jbnpastinterviews

Monday, January 30, 2017

Michael P. Michaud Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview
Photo Credit: Portraits by Mina

An American-Canadian citizen, Michael holds a B.A. in English, Honors B.A. in Political Science (summa cum laude), and a J.D. in Law. He is employed as a Crown Prosecutor in the Greater Toronto Area.

Michael is the author of BILLY TABBS (& THE GLORIOUS DARROW) - (2014 - Bitingduckpress) and THE INTROVERT - (2016 - Black Opal Books). He is a member of Crime Writers of Canada, and International Thriller Writers Inc.

Social Media
   




Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

I knew it by the fourth grade.

I was a student at Longfellow Elementary School in Portland Maine. I’d become a voracious reader by the third grade, and was devouring everything that crossed my path. Bunnicula. The Mouse and the Motorcycle. The Witches. It didn’t much matter. I was an addict, and the Bookmobile became my dealer. I mean it. The relationship felt that strong.

It was sometime during my fourth grade year that the school ran a writing competition. I wrote a story called THE PURPLE PANTHER complete with illustrations. This was my first “book” (they even helped us bind it). To me, it was an opus. In reality, it was probably less than twenty sentences. But I adored writing it, and I adored the process of creating. I won that contest, and was selected to attend a local writing conference with my fourth grade teacher (Mrs. Inman) and my mother. What a treat. What an experience! There were writing workshops and we even got to meet a real author. I still remember his name: Bruce McMillan (I should really look him up!). He even brought some of his books with him and I remember getting signed copies of two of them. And I’m thinking, was this really a writer’s life? Getting the day off from school and writing workshops and celebrity? I knew then and there that I wanted to be a writer.

It just took longer than I thought for it to happen.

A lot longer.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

For me, I enjoy creativity as an outlet to escape the real world. I find it magical that writers can create people and worlds and bring them to life through the written word, where there was once only a blank page. I adore creativity and innovation, which would explain my adoration for David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, et al. And it is much more important than mere entertainment. Storytelling is also a powerful mechanism for social change. Just look at Uncle Tom’s Cabin, To Kill A Mockingbird, or any of the haunting cautionary tales of George Orwell. Look at the important issues that Star Trek was able to delve into – and slip past the censors - by the use of allegory. Storytelling teaches us important lessons and opens our eyes to the real world. Funny how that works.

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?

My favorite book of all time is Animal Farm. I find it brilliant, laugh out loud political satire, but also a sad, accurate portrayal of humanity. Of the social chasms and hypocrisy that inevitably fester when you put enough people together. I actually wrote Billy Tabbs (& The Glorious Darrow) as an ode to Animal Farm.

I consider Orwell a prophet. Not in the religious sense, but in his uncanny ability to highlight human frailty, and to project it going forward. Whether it’s Animal Farm or 1984 or Coming Up For Air, Orwell had the uncanny ability to decode human nature and human ambition. To shove the selfishness and hypocrisy right in our faces and defy us to live our lives differently.

I’d written somewhere else that I wished he were still alive today. That I missed him, even though he died a quarter century before I was born. And I do miss him. I really do. I think he’d have a lot to say, and it would probably commence with “I told you so.”

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Stephen King said it best: write every single day. That is the best advice I have received, and it is the simplest. Neil Gaiman wrote something similar. He wrote that you write one word at a time until it is done, adding that it is just that easy, but also just that hard. These may seem like trite pieces of advice, but maybe they’re trite for a reason.

In your new book; THE INTROVERT, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?

Well, since you asked so nicely, I suppose so (internal thought: is Jean ever going to ask me about THE INTRO…oh here we go, nevermind).

THE INTROVERT is a black humor crime novella. It tells the story of a peculiar young man who does not fit well in society, preferring instead to spend his time alone with his dog Molly. The story is told from his erratic point of view, and often from his thoughts, which can be very stream of consciousness. It can be brutally violent in one moment, hilarious in the next (the shift sometimes occurring sentence to sentence). This may be jarring to some people. It is different. I trust your readers may not have ready anything like it before. If the early reviews are any indication, there will be strong reactions either way. As long as they know what they’re getting into!

What part of Donna did you enjoy writing the most?

Donna, as readers will discover, is the introvert’s love interest. I have to admit that I found Donna difficult to write, because she had to be somewhat naïve in order to put up with the protagonist. You will understand once you read it. I’d worried that I might take some flak for her portrayal (one of my reviewers deemed Donna TSTL - too stupid to live). I worried a bit about that as I wrote her. That she would come across as clueless and the book as misogynistic. The fact is that the introvert has peculiar views about everything, including women, and specifically Donna. But I found her to be a necessary foil for the introvert, and she plays a pivotal role in the story.

For those who are unfamiliar with your main character, how would you introduce him?

The introvert is different. He is an introvert, of course, but there’s much more going on under the surface other than simple introversion. His thoughts can move from peaceful to violent very quickly, thinking of people as “red and open” when they do something that offends him. The thrust of the story is when – or if – he will allow those thoughts to become reality.

He has a distinct way of thinking and expressing himself, such as wanting to “achieve it” with Donna, much of which occurs through internal dialogue.

Here’s one example. He’d just been considering violence against a police officer when he noticed his knuckles. You will see how his thoughts shift quickly and randomly in his mind.

“I decided not to do it because I knew he didn’t deserve it and because I’d already started into my breathing exercises and was trying to imagine the consequences. That’s when I looked at my knuckles and saw how tight they were wrapped around the steering wheel and I wondered where the blood around my knuckles had gone and wondered if the same blood stayed close by the knuckles waiting to go back to where it came from or if it just ran off and mixed with the rest of my body only to be replaced by new blood and then finally the officer’s voice drew back my attention.”

As you can see above, he is potentially a very dangerous man, yet many readers have found an innocence about him, finding him impossible not to root for. Personally, I tend to think of him as an anti-hero. We’ll see if your readers agree.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?


I recently finished my third book – RELICS – which is a family driven mystery spanning two decades. I am just now underway on the follow up to THE INTROVERT.

So far I only work on my own projects, but I’d consider a commissioned work if the project was right.

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


I would introduce Totter (from Billy Tabbs) to Squealer (from Animal Farm). They are the propagandists from each book. Oh, the conversation they would have!!! Honorable mention would be introducing the introvert to Rodion from Crime and Punishment. Someone would certainly wind up “red and open” from that sit down. The introvert was largely inspired by Crime and Punishment. I found the the protagonist just fascinating.

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

I am painfully honest, sometimes to my detriment. Assuming you don’t consider that response a lie, then this was the easiest question to answer. If you do, we have something of a paradox.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?

Either my brother or my girlfriend. Each are excellent vessels for commiseration.

What is your favorite room in your home and outside environment?

Where is the Nutella and beer stored again? The kitchen, yes, the kitchen! Too easy. You need to up your game, Jean.

As for outside environment, I love a cozy pub or coffee house where I can sit down with my laptop and write for hours. I enjoy being alone amongst people. The energy. The white noise. But ultimately, while not factually alone, I am left alone to do my own thing.

Which is the hardest thing you ever had to do?


What number question is this? Have we reached a baker’s dozen? This interview is in the running.

But it probably comes down to law school and writing the bar versus getting published. Both were tough. But believe it or not, getting published took more effort.

Who was your first girlfriend?


I’ve never been asked this in an author interview. Leanda Henry. As I understand she’s married with kids now. We were young. I was not a good catch at the time. Very much in need of direction, or, as Jean Luc Picard might put it, “He was a damn fool. Selfish, ambitious, very much in need of seasoning.”

Yes, that was the second Star Trek reference I have made in this interview. You may draw any conclusions you wish.

When was the last time you cried?

You mean aside from the Leanda thing?

Really, it has been a long, long time. I’m not a crier.

Neither is the introvert. He actually talks about that in the book.

Yes, that was a deflection.

Next question.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?

The fifties. I think I would have done well in those days. My dance moves and my hair styles might have seemed current. Also wouldn’t hurt that I was a white male.

(Sadly, it doesn’t hurt these days either, but let’s not go down that particular rabbit hole just now)

What is your greatest adventure?

I once took a train ride across Canada and ended up in Snoqualmie Washington where I made a pilgrimage to Twin Peaks. That was fun. It was also a really long time on a train. I would encourage anyone who does that to at least pick a train filled with sordid characters. Maybe then you’ll end up in some Agatha Christie style murder-mystery adventure. Otherwise you’ll find yourself sipping $7 Coors Lights for four days while clawing against the windows in a futile attempt offset the crippling loneliness. Believe it or not, there are pros and cons to both scenarios.

Where can readers stalk you?

Readers can, and should, stalk me at the following two facebook pages:

Facebook.com/michaelpaulmichaud
Facebook.com/theintrovertbook

Admission is free. I would love to hear from you, if for no other reason than to offset the crippling loneliness.


Thanks for having me, Jean. 



A vacuum salesman by day, the introvert lives a quiet life alone with his dog until a work relationship and a dark secret from his past team up to create an uncomfortable imbalance in his otherwise ordered life, one that soon finds him squarely at the center of a murder investigation. With his thoughts continually urging him to make people “red and open” and to “achieve it” with his girlfriend Donna, what follows is a sometimes brutal, oftentimes hilarious, and absurdist account of the life of one very anti-social and unexpected anti-hero.


There are books that will captivate you from the very beginning and there are others that don’t. Although The Introvert may start off very slow, author Michael P. Michaud sprinkles bits of interests here and there, just enough to keep the reader at bay. The buildup to the tale however, is cleverly weaved and soon readers are caught off-guard and find themselves immersed in this black humor story.

The unnamed main character likes to keep to himself and repeats his daily routine of selling vacuums and taking care of his dog, Molly. He rarely speaks to others until his work colleague, Donna, pursuits a relationship with him. Things were going along well until his landlord comes up missing and he is named the main suspect. The ensuing events would soon have our main character in a go through a mixture of emotions.

This is a very entertaining book. The scenarios that the main character allows his mind to are just a fun read. It is a quirky and quick read with a plot that has no certain road to where it will go but Michaud’s intense writing style is enough to keep readers flipping the pages. This black humor story is thought provoking with a very fascinating character who is not only an introvert, but could very well be a psychopath.


You can purchase The Introvert at the following Retailers:
        


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Michael P. Michaud for making this giveaway possible.
2 Winners will receive a Copy of The Introvert by Michael P. Michaud

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway
jbnpastinterviews

Saturday, January 28, 2017

{Nerd Blast} Chasing Brynn by Angela Corbett



File Size: 973 KB
Print Length: 337 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Midnight Sands Publishing; 1 edition (November 1, 2016)
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B01KWAJJ7C



Official Nerd Blast for Chasing Brynn by Angela Corbett


Witty and blunt blogger, Brynn Harper, has a knack for incredible sex. As a graduate student studying to be a sex therapist, Brynn’s heard her fair share of intimate horror stories. Starting an anonymous blog offering naughty advice changes her life. When a competitor tries to "out-blog" her with equally risqué posts from a male perspective, Brynn vows to shut him down.

But as she gets to know the mystery man on the other side of the keyboard, her interest piques. Smart and funny, the man might be able to charm her pants off—if she ever meets him in person. Brynn’s not interested in relationships though, which is exactly what she keeps telling sexy, confident, and persistent law student, Cade Brett, her walking fantasy with a fondness for handcuffs. She can’t get him out of her mind, but he won’t give her what she wants—unless she agrees to date him first.

Torn between the alpha mystery man, and the infuriatingly enticing Cade, commitment-phobic Brynn is in over her head. But one of them could be the love of her life if Brynn can relinquish control and give in to her heart.


You can purchase Chasing Brynn at the following Retailers:
 


Book Nerd Spotlight
Photo Credit: Heather Zahn Gardner

As a child, Angela Corbett’s most prized possession was a set of read- along books. She used to follow along with the narrator on the stereo dream of when she would be able to read by herself. Her childhood reading habit led her to consider her future career. However, after consulting with her parents, she realized she had already exceeded hobbit height and since fairies and dragonslayers were tricky jobs to get, she decided she wanted to create worlds of her own.

She is a graduate of Westminster College where she double majored in communication and sociology. She has worked as a journalist, freelance writer, and director of communications and marketing. She lives in Utah with her extremely supportive husband, Dan, and loves classic cars, traveling, and chasing their five-pound Pomeranian, Pippin—who is just as mischievous as his hobbit namesake.

She’s the author of Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult fiction—with lots of kissing. She writes under two names: Angela Corbett, and Destiny Ford.


Social Media
    

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway
PastTours

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mila Gray Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

Mila Gray is the pseudonym for Sarah Alderson. Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah quit her job in the nonprofit sector in 2009 and took off on an around the world trip with her husband and princess-obsessed daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home. They are currently located somewhere between India, London, Canada, and the US. Sarah is the author of several YA novels, including Out of Control, The Sound, Hunting Lila, and its sequel Losing Lila, plus the paranormal trilogy Fated, Severed, and Shadowed—all published by Simon & Schuster UK.
Social Media
    




What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Becky Wicks is one of my best friends and we’ve had each other’s backs and been each other’s cheerleader for years. She will always tell me to keep on keeping on and she’s so relentlessly positive all the time it’s infectious. We’ve both had successes but we’ve also both had a lot of failures and I think having someone else constantly helping you get back on your feet and reminding you to keep striving when you hit a pothole in the road has made all the difference between quitting and not quitting.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

Do you follow Humans of New York on Facebook? This guy takes random portraits of strangers in New York and manages to always coax the most wonderful stories and wisdom out of his subjects. It shows that every single person on the planet has a unique and incredible story. The project for me is all about empathy.

To a degree Pantsuit Nation the FB group that began just before the election is striving to do similar; To use the power of story telling to inspire. Anything that helps create empathy between people, that makes us realize that we are all more similar than we are different, that empowers people to know they are not alone and to question themselves and the judgements they make, is a powerful tool, and especially in this day and age where the media and those in power seek to divide, anything that brings people together and makes them more empathetic to others, is a great thing.

Love, grief, loss, tragedy, pain, betrayal, trust – these are constant themes in stories and they help us understand ourselves better. Stories teach, inspire and can even give us clarity on who we are (or who we want to be) and also give us courage to be that person.

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?

That’s an impossible question to answer. I have so many favorite books. The book that has had the most profound impact on me was ‘If This Is A Man’ by Primo Levi. This year I also devoured A Little Life.

In your book; COME BACK TO ME, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?

Come Back to Me is about a girl called Jessa who is in love with her brother’s friend Kit but both Kit and her brother are Marines. Home on leave Jessa and Kit start a relationship and fall in love. They have to keep it secret from Jessa’s Colonel Father who suffers from PTSD and who, for some reason, hates Kit.

We know from the very start that either Jessa’s brother or Kit has died and then we flash backwards. The story catches up with itself about two thirds of the way through and the final third is very heartbreaking but is about Jessa coming to terms with her grief and finding a way to live her life the way she wants and to follow her dreams.

I’ve written ten books (I write under Mila Gray and also as Sarah Alderson) and this book has hands down been the bestseller. I think people really connect with the heartbreak and the intensity of the love. It’s a rollercoaster ride! I’m also good at writing steamy sex I’ve been told. That might have something to do with the word of mouth reviews!

For those who are unfamiliar with Kit, how would you introduce him?

He’s gorgeous, sweet, sensitive, daring, courageous and, as the younger brother of three older sisters, he’s been well trained in how to treat women. He’s also a phenomenal cook. With an amazing body. Dream man anybody?

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

I would introduce Jessa to Lila from my Hunting Lila series. Both books are set in Southern California where I live and both characters are in love with their brother’s best friend. But Lila (apart from having mind control powers) is much more impulsive and follows her heart with no regard for consequences. She would teach Jessa to be bolder and braver about going after what she wants!

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Jessa?

I did a lot of research into PTSD and what it was like to be a child of someone who is in the military. It’s incredibly hard and very stressful and I don’t think people outside of that world often get an insight into what it is like to live with that level of fear and worry every day. The impact of war and disability and death is huge and terrible and not something we should ever forget.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?

A couple of hours ago someone drove into my car. It would have been worse but I managed to steer myself out of the way so it wasn’t a head on collision, just a prang. But after that I went home and called my dad in the UK.

Otherwise I call my girlfriends and tell them it’s wine o’clock. I have lived in London, Bali and California and am so fortunate that in each place I have a posse of friends I can reach out to for love and laughter when I need. I didn’t make great girlfriends until I was in my twenties, but I’ve been making up for it since!

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?

I nannied in Nantucket when I was 17. It was AMAZING. I stayed in a beautiful house. I biked around the island and went to parties on the beach and met a cute boy or two, and generally did more socializing than actual babysitting. I didn’t know it at the time but 17 years later I would use the experience as the basis for my book THE SOUND.

That book, about an English nanny in Nantucket, who gets caught up in a conspiracy between a local bad boy and the rich private school kids who summer there, is in development as a TV show. It’s a cross between The Killing and Gossip Girl.

Tell me about your first kiss

Urgh. It was awful. Awful. Awful. I’d rather not think about it.

What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or that you do not love them back?

Neither really. I’m very loving. I’m always telling my friends I love them. But I’m also famed for my honesty and bluntness so I wouldn’t feel bad telling someone I don’t love them back. But I’ve been married forever so it’s not something I have to think about any more.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?

I’m quite a fan of the 90s which is when I was a teenager. We didn’t have the internet so life was so much easier in respect of social media and online bullying but I think we tend to look back with rose tinted glasses. Heroin Chic and Grunge... I’d rather forget that.

There is still inequality between genders, and if you are LGBTQ+ or a person of color, then there’s even greater inequality to deal with on a daily basis. We still have so much progress to make, but I also believe that it is better than it was, so you know, maybe I’d choose to be a teenager now.

Teenagers today seem so much more empathetic and switched on to global issues, and way less selfish. They are also far more accepting of others and of difference. That gives me hope because I think my generation and the generation above have royally screwed things up and we should just hand over to the next generation now and let them take over.

What is the one, single food that you would never give up?

Sushi.

Where can readers stalk you?

@sarahalderson
www.sarahalderson.com



In this heart-wrenching tale of love and loss, a young Marine and his best friend’s sister plunge into a forbidden love affair while he’s home on leave.

When a Marine Chaplain knocks on her door, Jessa’s heart breaks—someone she loves is dead. Killed in action, but is it Riley or Kit? Her brother or her boyfriend…

Three months earlier, Marine Kit Ryan finds himself back home on leave and dangerously drawn to his best friend Riley’s sister, Jessa—the one girl he can’t have. Exhausted from fighting his feelings, Kit finally gives in, and Jessa isn’t strong enough to resist diving headfirst into a passionate relationship.

But what was just supposed to be a summer romance develops into something far greater than either of them expected. Jessa’s finally found the man of her dreams and Kit’s finally discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.

When it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither one is ready to say goodbye. Jessa vows to wait for him and Kit promises to come home to her. No matter what.

But as Jessa stands waiting for the Marine Chaplain to break her heart, she can’t help but feel that Kit has broken his promise…

Riley or Kit? Kit or Riley? Her brother or her boyfriend? Who’s coming home to her?

EXCERPT
Jessa

A whorl in the glass distorts the picture, like a thumbprint smear over a lens. I’m halfway down the stairs, gathering my hair into a ponytail, thoughts a million miles away, when a blur outside the window pulls me up short.

I take another step, the view clears, and when I realize what I’m seeing, who I’m seeing, my stomach plummets and the air leaves my lungs like a final exhalation. My arms fall slowly to my sides. My body’s instinct is to turn and run back upstairs, to tear into the bathroom and lock the door, but I’m frozen. This is the moment you have nightmares about, play over in your mind, the darkest of daydreams, furnished by movies and by real-life stories you’ve overheard your whole life.

You imagine over and over how you’ll cope, what you’ll say, how you’ll act when you open the door and find them standing there. You pray to every god you can dream up that this moment won’t ever happen. You make bargains, promises, desperate barters. And you live each day with the murmur of those prayers playing on a loop in the background of your mind, an endless chant. And then the moment happens and you realize it was all for nothing. The prayers went unheard. There was no bargain to make. Was it your fault? Did you fail to keep your promise?

Time seems to have slowed. Kit’s father hasn’t moved. He’s standing at the end of the driveway staring up at the house, squinting against the early morning glare. He’s wearing his Dress Blues. It’s that fact which registered before all else, which told me all I needed to know. That and the fact that he’s here at all. Kit’s father has never once been to the house. There is only one reason why he would ever come.

He hasn’t taken a step, and I will him not to. I will him to turn around and get back into the dark sedan sitting at the curb. A shadowy figure in uniform sits at the wheel. Please. Get back in and drive away. I start making futile bargains with some nameless god. If he gets back in the car and drives away, I’ll do anything. But he doesn’t. He takes a step down the driveway toward the house, and that’s when I know for certain that either Riley or Kit is dead.

A scream, or maybe a sob, tries to struggle up my throat, but it’s blocked by a solid wave of nausea. I grab for the banister to stay upright. Who? Which one? My brother or my boyfriend? Oh God. Oh God. My legs are shaking. I watch Kit’s father walk slowly up the drive, head bowed.

Memories, images, words, flicker through my mind like scratched fragments of film: Kit’s arms around my waist drawing me closer, our first kiss under the cover of darkness just by the back door, the smile on his face the first time we slept together, the blue of his eyes lit up by the sparks from a Chinese lantern, the fierceness in his voice when he told me he was going to love me forever.

Come back to me. That was the very last thing I said to him. Come back to me.

Always. The very last thing he said to me.

Then I see Riley as a kid throwing a toy train down the stairs, dive-bombing into the pool, holding my hand at our grandfather’s funeral, grinning and high-fiving Kit after they’d enlisted. The snapshot of him in his uniform on graduation day. The circles under his eyes the last time I saw him.

The door buzzes. I jump. But I stay where I am, frozen halfway up the stairs. If I don’t answer the door, maybe he’ll go away. Maybe this won’t be happening. But the doorbell sounds again. And then I hear footsteps on the landing above me. My mother’s voice, sleepy and confused. “Jessa? Who is it? Why are you just standing there?”

Then she sees. She peers through the window, and I hear the intake of air, the ragged “no” she utters in response. She too knows that a military car parked outside the house at seven a.m. can signify only one thing.

I turn to her. Her hand is pressed to her mouth. Standing in her nightdress, her hair unbrushed, the blood rushing from her face, she looks like she’s seen a ghost. No. That’s wrong. She looks like she is a ghost.

The bell buzzes for a third time.

“Get the door, Jessa,” my mother says in a strange voice I don’t recognize. It startles me enough that I start to walk down the stairs. I feel calmer all of a sudden, like I’m floating outside my body. This can’t be happening. It’s not real. It’s just a dream.

I find myself standing somehow in front of the door. I unlock it. I open it. Kit. Riley. Kit. Riley. Their names circle my mind like birds of prey in a cloudless blue sky. Kit. Riley. Which is it? Is Kit’s father here in his Dress Blues with his chaplain insignia to tell us that my brother has been killed in action or that his son—my boyfriend—has been killed in action? He would come either way. He would want to be the one to tell me. He would want to be the one to tell my mom.

Kit’s father blinks at me. He’s been crying. His eyes are red, his cheeks wet. He’s still crying, in fact. I watch the tears slide down his face and realize that I’ve never seen him cry before. It automatically makes me want to comfort him, but even if I could find the words, my throat is so dry I couldn’t speak them.

“Jessa,” Kit’s father says in a husky voice.

I hold on to the doorframe, keeping my back straight. I’m aware that my mother has followed me down the stairs and is standing right behind me. Kit’s father glances at her over my shoulder. He takes a deep breath, lifts his chin, and removes his hat before his eyes flicker back to me.

“I’m sorry,” he says.

“Who?” I hear myself ask. “Who is it?”

Excerpt Taken at Amazon HERE.


You can purchase Come Back to Me at the following Retailers:
        


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Sarah Alderson for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Copy of Come Back to Me (Come Back to Me #1) by Mila Gray

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway
jbnpastinterviews