Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Beginning of Us Tour: Interview with Sarah Brooks and Goals



I am excited to be a part of the Virtual Book Tour for The Beginning of Us. After reading and reviewing this lovely book I was contacted and offered a spot on the tour and a chance to interview the author. This wonderful opportunity has yielded a great interview that will give you an inside look at both this amazing book and the talented author behind it. Thank you Riptide Publishing and Netgalley for providing both the interview and a way for readers/reviewers like me to the opportunity read a variety of talented authors.

Sarah Brook's Interview

Hello!  This is Sarah Brooks, author of The Beginning of Us.  Thank you for joining me on my blog tour this week!
Every comment you make on this blog tour enters you in a DRAWING for a $25 Amazon gift card!  Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on February 2nd, and the winner will be announced on February 3rd.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. 

1. How do you feel about the (type of) LGBT literature/books that are circulating today?

I think writers are producing an exciting variety of LGBT books, and I think those books often do more to challenge traditional lives/choices than any other genre.  The YA LGBT books are most exciting, since they use the coming-of-age narrative to ask serious questions about gender identity and societal expectations.  Literary LGBT books remain known only in certain circles (I'm thinking of Jeanette Winterson's books, Rebecca Brown's), but I wonder if that will start changing.

2. What inspired you to write The Beginning of Us?

Honestly, I wanted to explore how my life would have changed if I'd met my partner when I was in college, instead of when I was 28.  I lived the expected life until then -- I was already married to a man -- so the discovery that I was lesbian was complicated.  I wanted to know what it would have been like to reach that awareness in college, instead.

3. What kind of publishing journey did you have for this novel?

I'd written the beginning of The Beginning of Us when I saw a call-for-submissions for "College Discovery" stories on the Riptide Publishing website.  I knew my story fit that prompt, so I finished it and sent it in.  I didn't expect anything; although I'd been published in magazines and journals, I'd never actually risked sending a novel manuscript to a publisher.  It was an amazing surprise to hear Riptide wanted to publish it.

4. What scene from the book touched you most?

I love the scene when Tara and Eliza hike in the Iowa woods together.  It's the first time they've spent any time with each other, and -- although the attraction between them is building -- they don't quite know what it is yet. It's a time of innocence and beauty.  They think they're just in love with the day, with the green of the trees, with the waterfall -- but they're actually in love with each other already.

5. What would you like to say to your readers and potential readers of this book?

I think we need more and more LGBT stories out in the world.  The more we can write and read and recommend, the more LGBT people will hear that they are not alone.

Go to http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-beginning-of-us to read Tara and Eliza’s story.

About The Beginning of Us:



Eliza, where are you? I'm listening, watching, waiting for you. I need you. How dare you run away? Where’s the courage, the fearlessness I fell in love with?

I don’t know what else to do but write. It’s dark in my dorm room, and the wind rattles the panes of my window, and I’m supposed to be driving to my parents’ right now for winter break, but I can’t feel my arms or my legs, and my chest aches because I don’t know where you’ve gone. Or why.

I know I shouldn't have fallen in love with my professor. But you inspired me when you stood in front of the class, telling us to find our authentic selves. And I did—with you. How could I know that you would be so afraid of this, of us? That you'd be so terrified of . . . yourself? Wherever you are, Eliza, hear me—and come back to me.

Love (yes, I'll write that word, Professor), Your Tara

About the Author:

Sarah Brooks was born and raised on a farm in Iowa, traveled through Europe and Central America, and lived in Alaska for a decade before she moved to Colorado to live near her family.  When she's not writing late at night, she raises her beautiful, sassy six-year-old daughter Mitike; teaches middle schoolers how to love writing and reading; and hikes in the mountains.

Sarah holds English and religion majors from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa; an MAT from the University of Alaska Southeast; and (nearly -- in one more semester) an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University in Boulder.

Published mostly as an essayist (in Sinister Wisdom, Room, The English Journal, and Iris Brown, among other places), Sarah writes the lesbian fiction she wishes she could read.

Connect with Sarah:

Blog: theboulderlesbian.blogspot.com
 
 Website: http://sarahbrooks.webstarts.com/
 
 Email: msbrooks127@gmail.com



Do you have Goals?


You can my December post if you want to know my current status. I haven't moved since because I'm busy with my upcoming cover reveal and book release. I will say that I have named the upcoming blog for the AYA genre AYA Forever and plan to launch next month with a few surprises. Stay tuned.

So that's all for today, I will have a book review on Saturday, Remember to let me know your thoughts on Sarah's interview in your comments.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Book Review: Unpretty by Kevin Richey, Grimm and Express Yourself Meme: Self-Improvement

Title: Unpretty, An Unloved Ones Prequel by Kevin Richey
Genre: Horror, YA
Source: Amazon
Purchase: Amazon


Summary on Goodreads: What if you could become thin overnight?

Katherine Blythe is an overweight teenager who, on her sixteenth birthday, wishes to be thin, only to find her wish coming true with alarming side effects. As she loses over half her weight in the span of a week, she finds the world is a different place when you look the way you’re told you should.

But is her wish responsible for all this? Or is there something else going on—something distinctly supernatural?

Review: Katherine starts as an unhappy overweight teen weighing almost 300 pounds. Her friend Sarah is excited to go out to the beach along with other teens from their year but Katherine dreads it. After a tearful breakdown Sarah takes her home from the mall and gives her a cupcake to wish her happy birthday. Katherine blows out the candle and wishes to be thin. This is when the real drama starts.

The world is different when you're thinner and Katherine learns both the good and the bad sides of her new look. Including doctor's appointments and a mood swinging mom. Katherine eventually realizes though that something is going on beyond just medical miracles and wishes. Something she just might not like.

I loved this novellette, a short read it doesn't shy away from the issues facing overweight teens or skimp on great writing. When I purchased it on Amazon I was confident I would get my money's worth on this ebook and I was not disappointed. Kevin had also written a previous horror series and he continues to draw in readers with captivating stories and great writing. My one gripe though is a disconnect with the storyline. Katherine wishes to be thin yet when supernatural elements come into play, they clearly have nothing to do with the wish. Especially when paternity becomes an issue. So why then did the wish start all of her changes? That was never answered and left a big hole in the story for me. I do highly recommend this book though and my storyline issue is the only reason this book doesn't get five stars. Kevin Richey is still a horror short story writing genius everyone should check out. I'm glad I read this book.

Rating: 4 Stars

Grimm

Did anyone see the insanity on Grimm last week on NBC? Won't give any spoilers but the writers were right to end with (only slightly paraphrasing) OH %&* I can't wait for the new episode! Damn it being February 28 but other than that....swell.



Express Yourself Meme



Is there anything you'd like to change, or work on, about yourself this year?

I have a short list.

1. Lose the weight I gained last year after getting sick.

2. Write more, procrastinate less.

3. Learn to network.

4. Pray more.

Remember that tomorrow is my interview with Sarah Brooks, author of The Beginning of Us. So glad my book review caught the publisher's attention.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Getting Personal: January 2014 and Celebrate Today


Photo Credit: erdenebayar


January has been a great month so far. A recent event with a family member dampened it a bit but I'm still determined to look forward. A whole bunch of things have made this month great including my upcoming book release and Deadly Luxury's Cover Reveal next month. I have also won multiple Amazon Giftcards and have bought multiple e-books for my kindle which include both indie and traditional bloggers/writers we know. Including Switched, Witch Fall and Don't Get Mad...Get Even: Vol. 2. I'm so happy when I can purchase a book by a fellow blogger and help support their work.

I am also looking forward to getting the covers for my other novellas done and with a current ghost writing gig online I just might be able to splurge on a cover in March/April. So excited about that since I haunt those websites anyway. Anyone know Phat Puppy Art and Lady Symphonia? All my past covers were under $50 and while they're very good, I want to go wild on at least one cover. I'm eyeing Frozen Dolls in particular. I just love the storyline so much.

Oh and before I go I must share a cake load of awesomeness. Riptide the publisher for The Beginning of Us loved my review of the book so much they offered me a Jan 30 spot on the author's book tour! I mean who does that? I Sheena-kay Graham got emailed by a publisher for their author's book tour. Ahhh! Anyway I said yes (I know, shocker right?) and got to send five questions for an interview with the author Sarah Brooks. So mark your calendars folks and see, Netgalley rules. Whoo! Still excited.

And lastly I yet again posted without commenting yesterday. Sorry but I got stranded at home because of being under the weather and before I could leave when I started feeling better rain fell. Lots of rain. And by nightfall I'm too busy with other stuff including the ghost writing gig to go comment make-up...ing. But I'm determined to get to the library today and continue saving for my own laptop. Right now I'm typing away on my dad's work computer. Yes my computer situation is that sad. But better than not getting access to a computer. Even if it's at night and I have to lose sleep. Still looking forward and thanking God for all my blessings including having KFC for dinner. With fries.

Celebrate the small things



What am I celebrating? Another week of being alive, indie book covers, writing books, reading books, winning gift cards, fan fiction (I'm catching up on some writing for Save Me), ignoring naysayers and jerks, the internet, having a writing job that pays, and the beautiful blogging/writing community. I love you guys and have a wonderful day.

See you on Saturday for weekly book review.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Express Yourself Meme: Chores you hate and love


Name a chore you dislike and one you love to do?

Chores I hate:

Dusting

Ironing

Sweeping

Late Night Cooking 

Chore I love:

Stacking Books, Re-arranging bookshelf

Cooking quick meals

So there you have it folks. And yes I love books, food and have a dust allergy. You know me so well. See you tomorrow for my first Getting Personal post for 2014.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Deadly Luxury Sign-Up Reminder and Last Week

Please Note: My next post will actually be on Wednesday not Tuesday. I corrected that error in this post.

First off I'd like to remind you about about my cover reveal coming February 17. Thank you to all who have signed up so far and I can't wait to put out the second novella cover for The Sacrifice Series on display.



Last Week

You might have noticed last week that my presence on my blog was rather spotty. I had planned to blog at least four times last week but then circumstances got in the way. I felt so bad about my lack of blogging that I decided not to post again until I could get my online act together. It never feels good for me when I post but don't comment on other blogs. I am sorry about being so absent even though I know most of you already forgive me. Thank you for all your support and I'll be ready to post again on Wednesday.


Photo Credit: Acrylic Artist

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Book Review: The Beginning of Us and Cover Reveal: Road to Somewhere

The Beginning of Us

Genre: Romance, LGBT,

Source: Netgalley

Purchase: Riptide ebooks

Publisher: Riptide Publishing



Summary: Eliza, where are you? I'm listening, watching, waiting for you. I need you. How dare you run away? Where’s the courage, the fearlessness I fell in love with? 
I don’t know what else to do but write. It’s dark in my dorm room, and the wind rattles the panes of my window, and I’m supposed to be driving to my parents’ right now for winter break, but I can’t feel my arms or my legs, and my chest aches because I don’t know where you’ve gone. Or why. 
I know I shouldn't have fallen in love with my professor. But you inspired me when you stood in front of the class, telling us to find our authentic selves. And I did—with you. How could I know that you would be so afraid of this, of us? That you'd be so terrified of . . . yourself? Wherever you are, Eliza, hear me—and come back to me. 
Love (yes, I'll write that word, Professor), Your Tara

Review: It's rare when a book comes along that takes you over body and soul. This is such a book. Tara is a student and Eliza is her English professor. Aged 21 and 29 respectively each have very different upbringing with one being grown on a farm and another in wealth. Both are about to discover that they're lesbians. This novel is told mostly in Tara's writings about the events that happened before Eliza took off. As she writes she realizes more about herself, her town and even Eliza. A touching story with love tinged with sadness and betrayal you will be hard pressed not to get a lump in your throat long before the end.

Also touched in this novel is sexual discovery, homophobia, love and values of families and the towns they live in and friendship. Tara's boyfriend in the novel is a tragic character to me, he's such a good guy and his girlfriend turning out to be a lesbian isn't his fault. Yet like any boyfriend whose girl of his dreams turns out....I think you know how this goes so I'll let you read the book for the details. Tara's words are loving, cutting and naive and strong all at the same time and at different times. The author's choice of words draws you in from the start and the blurb being an appeal directly from Tara instead of the usual book summary is just brilliant. I recommend everyone get a copy for themselves and if you're one of those who refuse to refuse LGBT, while I respect your decision, you'll be missing out on an amazing book.

Rating: 5 Stars (and rainbows)

Cover Reveal: Road to Somewhere

Now for the cover of the much anticipated (at least by me and loads of other savvy readers and bloggers) Road to Somewhere. If like me you've been following this books journey from W.I.P. to publication you know it's been a long adventurous road for the two authors. Who are both lovely bloggers as well and people I'm proud to call my friends. Congrats Kelley and Jenny.


New! From Bloomsbury Spark, a sunny heartwarming story of discovery and sisterhood. 

A road trip. A singing competition. And super-hot cowboys. 

What could be better? 

For Charlie, a post-high school road trip isn't just a vacation, it's life changingWhile her parents think she's helping a friend move, a chance at fame is the real reason to grab her best friends and drive to L.A. But when her super annoying, uber-responsible, younger sister, Lucy, has to tag along, it isn't quite the summer of fun she imagined. 

Add in a detour to her grandparents' ranch in Texas, and between mucking the stalls, down-home cookin’, and drool worthy ranch hands, this could just turn into the best, and most complicated, summer of their lives. 



My Real Life Little Sister


This is Anique Graham, my little sister and the baby of the family. Though I'm not sure how baby qualifies at age 20. But my brother and I are older so... As the eldest I might be the big sib in the family but Anique is the most independent. She loves fashion, can style hair like no one's business and can cook side by side with my mum in the kitchen which is no small feat. Right now she attends University and is studying Computers. She is very into fitness and diligently exercises with that Insanity program. Just look at this pic I swiped off facebook. Isn't she precious? Won't be so much if she ever finds this post but I won't tell. Heh, heh.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Chasing Anya Cover Reveal and Express Yourself 2014

Today I'm sharing the cover for Chasing Anya by J.L. Campbell. I'm a day later than the official reveal but it is never too late to help a friend and fellow author/blogger.


Summary: Been there. Done that.

Feisty and independent, Anya Davies lives by her own rules. The one thing she's hell-bent on avoiding is a conventional relationship, thanks to her abusive ex who refuses to stay in the past. As far as she's concerned, romance is a no-no. 

The second complication in her life is a secret that condemns her to constant guilt and a solitary life. A series of near misses and escalating threats are a third and worrying factor. Only a special man would understand or live with Anya's challenges and demands.

Casual sex...so not having that.


Enter Christophe Mondesir. Two years ago, Anya dumped him without explanation. An accidental meeting shoots Anya back on Christophe's radar. He refuses to be denied and plans to breach the fortress Anya has built around her heart--if she'll commit to more than a casual liaison. He's also determined to find out what she's hiding. That's if the stalker who's after Anya doesn't end her life first.

J.L. Campbell Links

Blog: The Character Depot

Purchase: Amazon

Express Yourself Meme



I missed the first meme last week but I'm just in time for the second one for 2014. This time we are to share what we'll be seeing at the movies this year. Here's a few of my picks.

American Hustle (came to Jamaica last week)

12 Years as a Slave (coming out Wednesday, yes another late arrival)

Divergent

X-Men: Days of Future Past

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Frozen (saving it for month end, it will still be there)

Big 6

The Giver

That's all for now and see you guys Wednesday.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Deadly Luxury Cover Reveal Sign Up and Bad Blood Cover Reveal



While I think the mock cover above is beautiful it's time to reveal the date for Deadly Luxury Cover Reveal. That date will be Monday February 17, 2014. Below is a link for all those interested in signing up. Thank you to everyone who has been behind me on my writing journey and I can't wait to show you another beautiful cover. Please let me know if the linky gives any issues. Also there'll be no Saturday book review so see you on Tuesday.




Bad Blood Cover Reveal

In December I showed you the cover for her novel Stakeout, now Nikki has another beautiful cover to share. Enjoy the deliciousness for the eyes.


BOOK & AUTHOR INFO:
Bad Blood by Nikki Jefford 
(Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #3) 
Publication date: May 2014 
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy


Description
Aurora Returns Spring 2014!

BAD IS THE NEW GOOD

Aurora returns from boot camp to a new assignment, an unwelcome roommate, and the increasingly amorous attentions of a certain vampire hunter.

College is starting, and so is Aurora’s undercover work at a network of swanky parties known as “Tastings” for high rolling vampires who like their blood laced with fine wine. But Aurora’s not the only one on the prowl. An underground investigation is under way to find out who killed one of Anchorage’s most prominent vampires… and Aurora is a prime suspect.

(Language, violence, and sexual situations.)

***Don’t miss STAKEOUT, Vol. 2.5, a 53,000 word novella featuring Noel Harper and the entire Aurora Sky gang. Releasing January 2014.***


Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19075697-bad-blood?ac=1
Purchase (book 1): 
----

AUTHOR BIO:



Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who found paradise in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands (Wash.) where she is once more neighbors with Canada in a town without a single traffic light. She loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt.

When she's not reading, writing, working, or out on a nature walk, she's out riding her Suzuki DRZ400SM.

Author links:

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

IWSG: To 2014 and the Worrywart


A new year and another IWSG post. In keeping with posting no resolutions I'll just chat a bit about what I have concerns about. This meme is hosted by the wonderful Alex Cavanaugh by the way.

1. That my public writing life and pseudonym will clash. I have to designate writing time and both are demanding.

2. My plans to enter JCDC writing contest this year has to be put aside. At least when it comes to entering a novel. I decided that just this moment. I have too much on my plate and I already have Snow planned for next year and the novel I had wanted to finish in time for JCDC is going to be a serial unlike Snow which is one book. Both are set in Jamaica and star a female character. Though in Snow, she is both the protagonist and antagonist.

3. That when I get an agent I'm wondering if they'll be willing to represent both my YA/MG interests when the latter has just one book. Maybe ever. But at the same time these are 2015 concerns as I'll be focusing on self-publishing/non-agent submissions for 2014. Yet my mind still goes there. Stupid brain.

4. My main focus when it comes to finishing and/or promoting bookings are:

A. The Sacrifice Series

B. Special Novellette for AYA (will say more when I launch AYA blog, stay tuned)

C. Circa

D. Monster City

E. Teen Terror

5. That this doesn't include what I write under a pseudonym. All I will say is nothing has been published yet on that end.

6. Worrying ahead about what my time for self-publishing will be like after I find an agent.

7. That I worry too much.

No matter what though at the end of the day I'm looking forward to 2014 and all the new horizons that are waiting. I still feel insecure about all sorts of things. But I'm still moving forward. Though some encouragement might help.


Photo credit: Leele @ Morguefile

Monday, 6 January 2014

Writing News: Sacrifice HER Cover Choice

Hi everyone! Last week was another iffy internet situation leaving me unable to leave much comments which is why I decided to hold off any new post til the Weekend/Monday. Last year I posted Book News: The Sacrifice Series  and discussed changes I was getting done for the Sacrifice HER cover and about Deadly Luxury's upcoming cover reveal. While the sign up will be coming this week for those wanting to take part in February, I've decided to not add Sacrifice HER's new cover to it. I'll show you right now.

 I have a choice between two covers and can officially only use one. I'd like your thoughts on which looks better. I miss the red smoke but would have to pay extra to get the duplicate replacement I had wanted and I'm on a tight writer's budget. Langao has done an excellent job working with me to improve an already wonderful cover and I'm so glad she slugged through my designer inexperience including learning to find images without dark backgrounds for replacing the smoke. Trust me, finding the perfect smoke (with Langao's cover design you have to provide the images for her to use) is tougher than it looks. Smoke people! Now take a look at the two improved covers and let me know which best meets your fancy. I'd love all the help I can get making a choice.

Oh I love the added line for the series and the swirls on each side. Eek! Can you tell if I'm excited?

Cover 1



Cover 2


I can't wait for March! This is my third post for 2014 and I'm looking forward to what the new year has to bring in both my blogging and writing/author world. I hope the rest of you are looking forward to a new year filled with mystery and enjoy your day. I will post for IWSG on Wednesday, share the official sign up list for Deadly Luxury Cover Reveal on Friday, along with the cover reveal for Bad Blood by Nikki Jefford and have my usual Saturday book review. Yup, a nice blogging schedule this week.


Saturday, 4 January 2014

Book Review: The Cruel Path

The Cruel Path
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia
Source: Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon


Summary from Netgalley:

Dystopian Novella in a High Fantasy Setting


In a society without love, three brothers develop an unbreakable bond; in a land without mercy, only a handful of boys like them are allowed to reach adulthood.
The three brothers take on the pitiless test of the Green Path, knowing that even if they win, one of them must die.
But which? Having to make that terrible decision proves crueler than anything else the Green Path can throw at them. 

Review: Prequel to The Narrow Path series, three brothers bonded by loyalty and love have to face the one thing that can tear then a part, The Cruel Path. This competition uses different methods to whittle down the Ascor males to a select few who'll get to hide underground in shelters which protect them from the scorching sun for the few days when living above ground becomes impossible every year. With limited space it is impossible for there to even be three survivors among the brothers. Translation the painful fact that only two will be alive at the end of this novella.

David writes a beautiful touching story set in a dark reality. Behind the riches and possiblities lies the reality of competition and deceit. Fathers staying distant from sons who might not survive, children competing against, terrorising and even killing each other just to get ahead. But Eolnar and his two brothers plan to stay above that and telling the story from his perspective shows us the bond that remains unbroken even when three become two and on-wards. This book pulled at my heart strings and at the end, a few were even broken. Sacrifice, love, selfishness, youth and looking to the future are a just a few things explored in this amazing dystopia that I recommend to all readers to read at least once. The Cruel Path doesn't just exceeds expectations, it shatters all of them. The only fault is that is seems to short to be so magnificent.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Links: Author's WebsiteFacebookAmazon

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year! 2014


Photo Credit: Efi

It's 2014! Another year to accomplish new goals, help others and live a life more fulfilled. Happy New Year everyone.

Netflix Nation: Summer 2017 Part Two

Update: Due to unavoidable issues, The Punisher review has been moved to Wednesday. So no Monday post. Thanks for your understanding. After ...