Thursday, October 20, 2016

Blog Tour: Rose and Thorn by Sarah Prineas @SPrineas

 photo ROSE amp THORN_zpsg1e9wlw5.jpg

 photo RoseampThorn-hc-c_zps1lz6wmie.jpgTitle: ROSE & THORN
Author: Sarah Prineas
Pub. Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 416
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

This beauty isn’t sleeping! Sarah Prineas’s darkly imaginative retelling breaks down the classic story of Sleeping Beauty in a big, bold way. Brimming with action and romance, beautiful Rose must escape the curse that will force the kingdom to fall into a century-long slumber and fights for the freedom to find her own happily ever after.

After the spell protecting her is destroyed, Rose seeks safety in the world outside the valley she had called home. She’s been kept hidden all her life to delay the three curses she was born with, curses that will have drastic consequences if they take effect. Accompanied by the handsome and mysterious Griff and Quirk, his witty and warmhearted partner, Rose tries to escape from the ties that bind her to this forced fairy tale. But will the path they take lead them to freedom, or will it bring them straight into the prescribed story they are trying to avoid?

Set in the world of Prineas’s Ash & Bramble fifty years later, Rose & Thorn is a powerful retelling of Sleeping Beauty. If you like your fairy tales dark, your heroines daring, and your suitors dashing, this is the book for you.

Today we welcome Sarah Prineas for an interview!
1.    How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
I am a fast writer.  The first draft can take anywhere from six weeks to six months.  I wrote 40,000 words of Rose & Thorn during NaNoWriMo two years ago.  But the revision process takes longer, sometimes as much as a year.
2.   Do you have a schedule of when you write? 
Some writers are disciplined and do their 1000 words a day or their two hours of butt-in-chair, but that’s not how I work.  I can go for weeks without writing anything, and then write 6,000 words in a weekend.  Generally, though, I write in the mornings until my dog completely loses his mind, and then we go outside for the rest of the day. 
3.   How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing? 
I’m a full-time writer, so it’s not hard.  That said, I live on 40 acres in rural Iowa, so I do a lot of work outdoors, taking care of our huge gardens and various livestock and beehives.  Keeps me busy!
4.   What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Every book presents different challenges.  For me, the hardest thing is getting all the plot points lined up so they make sense.  For that, I rely on my genius editor.
5.   How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite? 
So far I’ve written nine and a half middle grade novels (seven have been published, one has to be revised, and one is coming out next year) and two YA’s.  Plus I’ve got two other middle grade novels coming out in the next two years.
6.   Where do you write?  
Heh.  I have a home office ... which I never use.  It’s full of boxes of books and random papers.  Instead I write in my living room with my two dogs on the couch next to me (they are big dogs; they don’t leave me much room).
7.   When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took? 
I went with traditional publishing because I rely on my professional editor to make my books as good as they can possibly be.
8.   What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
One afternoon a week I work at an independent bookstore, which is super fun—I love talking to people about books.  I also do a lot of outdoor work, a nice balance with writing. 
9.   What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? 
Two things.  First: keep at it!  There’s lots to learn, and it can take years.  Second: find a writing group—you can learn just as much from giving a critique as receiving one.
10.                 Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such? 
Mainly I rely on my genius editor at HarperCollins.  She and I are working on our tenth book together, so we make a good team.
11.Are you working on anything now? 
Yep!  Always.  It’s a middle-grade novel about a boy who is a dragon.
12. Tell us 5 things that make you smile
            My dogs, my goats, Skyping with friends on Wednesday nights, a hot cup of coffee, my tall, lanky purple-haired kid.
13. If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?

The next book I’ll write is set in a library, so I’d love to travel all over the world to see ancient, huge, magical libraries.
Thanks so much for being with us today, Sarah. It was great having you here!

Author: Sarah Prineas
Pub. Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 464
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

When the glass slipper just doesn’t fit…

The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story.

Pin has no recollection of who she is or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress. She only knows that she is a Seamstress, working day in and out to make ball gowns fit for fairy tales. But she longs to forsake her backbreaking servitude and dares to escape with the brave young Shoemaker.

Pin isn’t free for long before she’s captured again and forced to live the new life the Godmother chooses for her—a fairy tale story, complete with a charming prince—instead of finding her own happily ever after.

Sarah Prineas’s bold fairy tale retelling is a dark and captivating world where swords are more fitting than slippers, young shoemakers are just as striking as princes, and a heroine is more than ready to rescue herself before the clock strikes midnight. 
 photo Sarah_zpsabsin0al.jpgHi there! I'm Sarah Prineas, author of the Magic Thief series published in the US by HarperCollins and in 17 other languages around the world, and the Winterling trilogy. I live in rural Iowa with my mad scientist husband, two kids, and two cats. My next book is called Ash & Bramble, and it's a YA.
Here's my website:

and here's my book website (with games, wallpaper, and extras!):

Thanks for reading!
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Tour Schedule:
 Week One:
10/10/2016- Novel Novice- Interview
10/11/2016- A Dream Within A DreamReview
10/12/2016 Seeing Double In NeverlandGuest Post
10/13/2016- Mom with a Reading ProblemReview
10/14/2016- Two Chicks on BooksInterview

Week Two:
10/17/2016- Once Upon a TwilightReview
10/18/2016- YaReadsGuest Post
10/19/2016- Eli to the nthReview
10/20/2016- The Cover ContessaInterview

10/21/2016- Mundie MomsReview

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Blast: One Summer With Autum by Julie Reece @JulieAReece

One Summer with Autumn
Julie Reece
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Autumn Teslow arrives at her father’s job fair knowing she’ll never measure up to the perfect image of daddy’s little girl—her twin sister.
Wearing anger management issues like a second skin won’t help Autumn win her dad’s approval for the big trip she’s been planning—or meet his condition that she successfully complete a summer internship for college.
Autumn’s cool unravels when her sister lectures against disappointing the family again. And when a young, bearded guy steps through the crowd to settle the growing argument between siblings, Autumn lashes out, dubbing him a “Duck Dynasty wannabe.”
At Nineteen, Caden Behr is clueless as to why his man parts are threatened by the fearsome girl before him. He’d only come to find an intern for his recreational equipment company, not break up a girl-fight between two sisters.
Unfortunately, the only candidate left is the girl who just told him off. Without her, he’ll never prove to his CEO mother that he’s ready for more responsibility.
Autumn and Caden agree that if they can keep from killing one another, they can use one another to get what they want and then never have to see each other again. Which is what they want.
Until it isn’t.
Because despite her best efforts to scare him off, and his fading desire to push her into the lake, they’re beginning to enjoy the time they spend together. But pride is a hard habit to break. And if neither will admit their changing feelings, they could lose a whole lot more than one summer.
There’s a tap, tapping on my shoulder.
“Excuse me, Ms. Teslow?”
I whirl away from my sister and bump a broad, plaid covered chest. Annoyed, I step back and crane my neck up several inches. Whoever he is, he’s a good six feet against my five foot two—with heels. “Yeah?” I snap.
Feet apart, the guy has a confident, almost cocky stance. His face is mostly hidden between a full, copper beard and the cap pulled low over his eyes. The tanned skin of his arms shows where his sleeves are rolled back. The guy could pass for the centerfold in a lumberjack calendar, if you’re into that sort of thing. Which I’m not.
“What do you want?”
“Uh … ” He glances at Sydney and back to me. “I was told you like working outdoors and might be interested in a job?”
Wait, zoo guy?
My cheeks blaze as I realize what’s happening. Sydney said if I didn’t try, I’d regret it, though this set-up is elaborate, even for her. I don’t know where she found the lumber-clown standing in front of me, but with a few empty promises, my sister can make any boy her puppet. Well, she’s gone too far this time.
“Really?” I say. “And what job is that, exactly? Cage scrubber, chief dung shoveler? No, thank you.”
“What?” he asks, eyes widening. “I don’t think—”
“That’s obvious.” My finger pokes his very firm chest. “I’m sure you two think you’re clever, but if this is some sick way of sucking up to my sister, it’s pointless. Gorillas aren’t her type.”
“Hey! Now wait just a—”
“My sister swaps guys like other girls change their days-of-the-week panties. Now, if you want to keep your balls intact, I suggest you get out of my way. I don’t need your fake job, or to work for some hairy Duck Dynasty wannabe, too dumb to know when he’s being played.”
The idiot blinks once as I push past him. Through the silent crowd I walk, head held high, toward the gym’s double doors. And freedom.
Did she just call me a Duck Dynasty wannabe?
Okay. Now, I’m pissed. Unwilling to give this girl the last word, I pivot to face her and see nothing but a rigid back. “Hey! Wait a minute. You can’t just … Don’t hate on the beard!” No reaction from the angry creature storming away from me. Brilliant comeback, by the way, I tell myself.
Maybe she does have my balls.
Caught between insulted and twisted fascination, my mind tries to unravel the chain of events where I definitely missed something. Clearly, the girl thinks I’m her enemy, but I have no clue what I did.
Also, she’s insane.
The room’s gone quiet. As I glance around, I notice a fairly large crowd has gathered. Not surprising after that show, I guess, except they’re full-on staring at me. Some expressions are obviously amused, while others seem sympathetic. Most turn away, shaking their heads or looking embarrassed as I meet their gazes. My face is too warm and my heartbeats won’t slow. All of it makes me feel like a first class chump. Like I need pity for being bested by some shrieking, pygmy-girl. Pride tenses my shoulders, stiffens my neck. I glare at the closed double doors, tilting my head until my neck bones release a satisfying crack.
Oh, it’s on.
The girl is going down.

Author Bio:
As a child, Julie’s summers were about horseback riding and fishing, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all. She struggled with multiple learning disabilities, and spent much of her time gazing out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) she fought dyslexia for her right to read and won.
Afterward, she invented stories where powerful heroines kicked bad-guy butt to win the hearts charismatic heroes. And then she wrote one down…
Writing ever since, Julie weaves southern gothic, contemporary, fantasy, and young adult romances. She enjoys sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. Her writing is proof a dream and some hard work can overcome any obstacle.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Blog Tour: Girl on the Brink by Christina Hoag @ChristinaHoag

 photo girl on the brink tour banner_zpsgd6iedel.jpg 

 photo GirlOnTheBrinkCover_zpsfjzbyj0t.jpg Girl on the Brink

by Christina Hoag
Genre: YA Romance/Thriller
Release date: August 30th 2016
Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books


Sometimes the one you love isn’t the one you’re meant to be with.

The summer before senior year, Chloe starts an internship as a reporter at a local newspaper. While on assignment, she meets Kieran, a quirky aspiring actor. Chloe becomes smitten with Kieran’s charisma and his ability to soothe her soul, torn over her parents’ impending divorce. But as their bond deepens, Kieran becomes smothering and flies into terrifying rages. He confides in Chloe that he suffered a traumatic childhood, and Chloe is moved to help him. If only he could be healed, she thinks, their relationship would be perfect. But her efforts backfire, and Kieran turns violent. Chloe breaks up with him, but Kieran pursues her relentlessly to make up. Chloe must make the heartrending choice between saving herself or saving Kieran, until Kieran’s mission of remorse turns into a quest for revenge.

Buy Links:

Writing Tips
By Christina Hoag
Here are several writing tips I’ve discovered through many years of writing. You may find them helpful. They’re in no particular order.
1. I don’t write myself out every day. I leave something – the very next scene, usually - so when I come back the next day I know what to do. I just pick up and keep going. If you write yourself out, then you end up wasting a lot of time wondering what comes next and trying to get back into the rhythm of the story.
2. If someone says something in your piece doesn’t work, it’s only one person’s opinion. But if two people make the same observation, you need to pay attention to what they’re saying. More often than not, it’s something that needs fixing.
3. Develop a thick skin. It takes courage to write and show your work to the world for judgment, but remember that not everyone is going to like your work, and that’s okay. You have to learn to let criticism roll off you. The nastiest rejection I ever got was from the editor of a literary journal who scornfully said of my experimental fiction submission, “Why would anyone even read this?” I kept submitting it and got the piece and another like it published in other journals.
4. If there’s someone in your life who does not support you creatively, either get rid of them out or distance yourself from them as much as possible. Be ruthless because your art is worth it. I’ve broken up with boyfriends because they were not supportive or had no interest in my writing. In my mind, you can’t be with a writer if you’re not interested in what they write because their writing is part of their self-expression.
5. Don’t give up! It can be hard to keep going amid the onslaught of rejection –agents, editors, reviewers. If you get a particularly bad rejection or setback, allow yourself to wallow in self-pity for a set period of time, say three days. When that’s over, get back to your PC.
6. When critiquing other people’s work, remember to be constructive and how it feels to be on the receiving end. Always state some positive points first then say ‘I thought you could improve this by…” 
7. Have a general sense of where your story is going and how it will end. I’ve tried “pantsing,” ie. writing by the seat of my pants, and ended up lost in the plot labyrinth and wasting a lot of time. So now I have a loose outline and I periodically map out the next couple scenes as I go, that keeps me on track and thinking ahead. It makes the process much smoother.
8. Read a wide range of genres and authors. Read poetry to develop lyricism and an ear for language. Read plays to develop dialogue. Read mysteries/thriller classics to improve plot development. Read literary works to enhance character development.
9. When confronting the dreaded writer’s block, do something else for a while, don’t fret and don’t force. I’ve found that getting up and going to the kitchen clears my head enough for the next step to pop in it. You can also use the time to do something else writing-related: work on your website, submissions, an essay, or on another section of your book. The secret is changing your focus so you can clear your blocked channel.
10. This may be the most important tip of all: Believe in yourself. Believe that you have something worthwhile to say. Believe in your talent. Believe that you will succeed and that the rocky road is part of any artist’s journey.

Advance Praise:
“An engrossing tale of a dangerous teen romance.” -- Kirkus Reviews 

Girl on the Brink is a must have for every high school and public library.” – Isabelle Kane, Wisconsin high school librarian 

Abusive relationships are widespread, cutting across socioeconomic, racial and ethnic, religious and gender preference lines. One in three high school girls experience dating violence, while more than half of college-aged women reported experiencing controlling behavior in a relationship. Eighty-nine percent of female college students said they were unable to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship, and a third of teens involved in intimate partner violence ever told anyone about it. 

 photo ChristinaHoagAuthorHeadshot_zpslqngeexu.jpgAbout the Author
Christina Hoag is the author of Girl on the Brink, a romantic thriller for young adults (Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books, August 2016) and Skin of Tattoos, a literary thriller set in L.A.’s gang underworld (Martin Brown Publishing, September 2016). She is a former reporter for the Associated Press and Miami Herald and worked as a correspondent in Latin America writing for major media outlets including Time, Business Week, Financial Times, the Houston Chronicle and The New York Times. She is the co-author of Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence, a groundbreaking book on gang intervention (Turner Publishing, 2014). She resides in Los Angeles. For more information, see
Author Links:

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Blog Tour: The Delphi Effect by Rysa Walker @RysaWalker

The Delphi Effect
Rysa Walker
(The Delphi Trilogy, #1)
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: October 11th 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
In this thrilling new series from Rysa Walker, the award-winning and best-selling author of Timebound, a teen psychic is the key to stopping a government conspiracy.
It’s never wise to talk to strangers . . . and that goes double when they’re dead. Unfortunately, seventeen-year-old Anna Morgan has no choice. Resting on a park bench, touching the turnstile at the Metro station—she never knows where she’ll encounter a ghost. These mental hitchhikers are the reason Anna has been tossed from one foster home and psychiatric institution to the next for most of her life.
When a chance touch leads her to pick up the insistent spirit of a girl who was brutally murdered, Anna is pulled headlong into a deadly conspiracy that extends to the highest levels of government. Facing the forces behind her new hitcher’s death will challenge the barriers, both good and bad, that Anna has erected over the years and shed light on her power’s origins. And when the covert organization seeking to recruit her crosses the line by kidnapping her friend, it will discover just how far Anna is willing to go to bring it down.

Today we welcome Rysa for an interview!
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t think it was a feasible career path for someone who grew up in the middle of nowhere and who had to incur a lot of school loans in order to attend college.  So I took a more sensible career path and became a college professor, teaching history and government, and writing the occasional academic paper.  But as much as I enjoyed teaching, it wasn’t really my passion, and I ended up writing fiction on the side, in what little spare time I had. Luckily, my first novel, Timebound, won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2013, and I was able to quit the day-job to focus on writing full-time.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
Now that I’m no longer teaching, the short answer is about four months.  But that’s not really accurate, since I need time for the characters to interact in my head before I start committing things to print. I’m not a writer who can sit down and plot things out...and when I try, almost none of it is what I end up actually writing.  But letting the characters and situations kind of hang out in my subconscious for a while usually gets things into place so that when I finally go into my Writing Cave, I can come away with a final draft in about four months. Assuming the coffee flows freely. ;)
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
It varies.  The CHRONOS Files theme (time travel) was probably inevitable, given that I’ve been a sci-fi fan since I was a little kid and since I taught history.  The Delphi Effect was directly inspired by a series of songs that popped up one after the other on my drive home from dropping the kids at school one morning, but the underlying themes--conspiracy theories, government secrets, and psychic phenomena--are interests I’ve had for years that wormed their way into the plot as I was writing. 
Do you have a schedule of when you write? 
I do, but I rarely follow it.  With each new book, I tell myself that I’m going to get more written earlier, and that I will force myself to write during the day.  And then life happens. There are too many interruptions, tons of marketing tasks, and I’m really more of a nocturnal, deadline-driven creature than someone who can stick to a schedule.  During that last four months before my deadline, I write pretty much “all night, every night.”  I hit the bed around daylight and sleep until early afternoon, then I’m back at it.
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
Very precariously during those four months when most of the writing gets done.  My kids are teens now, and my husband works from home, so that helps.  And we have the Chinese takeout place and Domino’s on speed dial.
What elements do you think make a great story line? 
Tension, relatable characters, and concepts that make you think.  I read many books that only have the first two, and I couldn’t tell you anything about them a week later other than that it was about shifters or witches or whatever.  That’s fine, because often I just read to escape and to have something other than my own thoughts running through my head while I unload the dishwasher or run errands. But a great story line will add that last element -- a bigger-picture question that makes me think.  Those are the books I remember long after I turn the final page. 
Oh, and romance.  It doesn’t have to be the main theme of the book, but it’s the dash of spice that makes any story better.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Writing the synopsis.  It’s like trying to shove a giant marshmallow through a drinking straw without losing anything crucial.  Same for blurbs and taglines.  I dread that stage of the process.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite? 
I’ve written four full-length novels -- the three books in The CHRONOS Files and The Delphi Effect, which is book one of The Delphi Trilogy.  In addition, I’ve written three CHRONOS novellas and four CHRONOS short-stories.
Favorite...hmmm.  That’s tough.  I’ll go with Timebound, since it’s the one that got the ball rolling and made it possible for me to quit teaching and write for a living.  But I don’t think it’s necessarily the best written of my books.  Hopefully, I’ve learned a bit more about the craft over the past few years.
Do you have a favorite character?
This is like asking a mom which kid is her favorite, so I’d have to give the question a resounding no!  I even have warm feelings toward my villains, because I know their full story and understand why they do the things they do--stuff that frequently doesn’t make it to the reader.  That’s one reason I like to write novellas and short stories from the villain’s perspective.  After all, from the villain’s point of view, he or she is simply misunderstood and would be the hero of the story if the world wasn’t so naive.
Where do you write?  
Most of my writing is done in my attic, aka the Writing Cave, although I’ve been known to write in coffee shops, in the van during soccer or piano practice, etc.  This picture is actually not my Writing Cave, but I wish it was--assuming there’s coffee, chocolate, internet, an electrical outlet and a bathroom hidden somewhere in the background.
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took? 
I tried the traditional route of getting an agent for about a year after Timebound (originally entitled Time’s Twisted Arrow) was written. But I’m not exactly a patient person. I also expect professional courtesy, and agents are notorious for not even bothering to let you know whether they received the full manuscript they requested. I’m not sympathetic to the “we get so many” excuse, either -- I taught as many as 150 students a semester and I answered every email, at least briefly, because that was part of my job.
At any rate, I opted to self-publish.  It was going fairly well during the first six months, but I also entered the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and to my great surprise and pleasure, won the grand prize.  This meant the book got a new editor, a spiffy new cover, and a wonderful publisher, Skyscape.  I was so happy with their work on Timebound and the other CHRONOS books that I didn’t even consider going elsewhere for The Delphi Trilogy.
Also, Skyscape has been really cool about letting me self-publish the novellas in the series.  That way, I can keep one foot in the indie world, which is great because I have lots of writer friends who are indie.
Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
My husband, sons, and my sister are generally my first readers.  It was my sister, along with a close family friend, who encouraged me to self-publish rather than waiting around on a gatekeeper.  I’m very glad I listened to them and took the plunge.
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
Reading, of course.  I also enjoy yoga, hanging with my family, and playing with Griffin, my excessively energetic golden retriever.  Doing any of those at the beach makes it twice as fun.  And I enjoy geeking out over Marvel movies, binge-watching shows like “Stranger Things,” and pretty much anything Star Trek or Princess Bride.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? 
I love the Ray Bradbury quote below because it emphasizes the two most important parts of writing, at least for me. The reading element is often overlooked.  I’ve had people say they want to write fiction--they’ve even taken a few writing class--but they don’t really like reading.  I have to struggle not shake them, because I strongly believe that you learn far more about writing from reading (and re-reading) books than you will ever learn from classes, no matter how skilled the instructor.  

What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write? 
Stephen King, although J.K. Rowling is a close second.  Both of them have an enviable knack for characters that pulls me into pretty much every story they’ve ever written.  A favorite book is harder...that’s often whatever book I’m reading right now.  One that I go back to on a fairly regular basis is Watership Down, by Richard Adams--who, again, has such skill with characters that he was able to make me care deeply about the fate of a group of rabbits.  The Stand is another, along with The Dark Tower series, that I revisit every few years.
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such? 
Aside from my family, I have a group of beta readers that I’ve assembled over the past few years who are an excellent sounding board.  I usually add a few new beta buddies with each book, hoping to get a fresh perspective, so it’s getting to be a rather large group.  And I couldn’t get by without the advice of my editorial team at Skyscape, especially my managing editor, Courtney Miller.
Are you working on anything now? 
I’m currently working on The Delphi Deception, which is the next book in the Delphi Trilogy.  And there’s a novella currently bubbling away in the back of my head that I’ll be writing as soon as I submit the draft for Deception to my editor.
Tell us 5 things that make you smile
Babies, puppies, my family and friends, unexpected acts of kindness, and Louis Armstrong singing “What a Wonderful World.”
Tell us 5 things that make you sad
Intolerance, racism, willful ignorance, bullying, child or animal abuse.
If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
Ireland, although I’d also love to take another trip to Turkey. I was in Istanbul once on business and work took up so much of my time that I had just a single day to see the sights before heading home.  An hour at the Hagia Sophia, an hour at Topkapi Palace, a few minutes at the Grand wasn’t nearly enough to do that beautiful city justice.
Thanks so much for stopping by today, Rysa. It was great having you with us!

Author Bio:
Rysa Walker is the author of the bestselling CHRONOS Files series. Timebound, the first book in the series, was the Young Adult and Grand Prize winner of the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Rysa grew up on a cattle ranch in the South, where she was a voracious reader. On the rare occasions when she gained control of the television, she watched Star Trek and imagined living in the future, on distant planets, or at least in a town big enough to have a stoplight. She currently lives in North Carolina, where she is working on the next installment in The Delphi Trilogy. If you see her on social media, please tell her to get back to her Writing Cave.


Blog Tour: Extraordinary October by Diana Wagman @dianawagman

Extraordinary October
Diana Wagman
Published by: Ig Publishing
Publication date: October 11th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
October is an ordinary girl. From her plain looks to her average grades, there seems to be nothing special about her. Then, three days before her eighteenth birthday, she develops a strange itch that won’t go away, and her life is turned upside down. Suddenly, she can hear dogs talk, make crows fly, and two new and very handsome boys at school are vying for her affections. After she starts “transplanting” herself through solid rock, October learns that she is not ordinary at all, but the daughter of a troll princess and a fairy prince, and a pawn in a deadly war between the trolls and the fairies. Now October will have to use all of her growing powers to save her family, and stop a mysterious evil that threatens to destroy the fairy world.
In the fantastical vein of authors such as Julie Kagawa and Holly Black, Extraordinary October takes us on a magical journey from the streets of Los Angeles to the beautiful and mythical underground fairy kingdom.

Today we welcome Diana for an interview!
Thank you for having me to your wonderful blog.  I’m happy to be here.  These are great questions. 
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else? 
In elementary school I wanted to be a spy.  I wanted to be like Harriet the Spy, but work for the government like James Bond.   I liked the mystery and the sneaking around and I have always liked watching people.  I used to peek in windows, watching how my neighbors lived their lives and make up stories about them.  I think it was a lot like writing -- but now I don’t worry about getting caught.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish? 
Three years at least.   
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
I start with a character – back to being a spy.  I will see an interesting person – I’m always watching people in the grocery store or on the street -- and wonder what his/her life is like.  That starts a story.
Do you have a schedule of when you write? 
I like to write in the morning.  Ideally, I would plug my computer into my head before I even got out of bed.  That is my most creative time.  Would someone please invent that computer attachment?
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
I have a husband, two big dogs, and two big kids, so it’s hard.  I’ve had to teach myself to say “no” to fun things like going out to brunch or on a hike.  I have to be protective of my time.  But learning to saying no has been great for things I don’t want to do.  I can say I’m too busy writing to clean my house or do the laundry.
What elements do you think make a great story line? 
I think a great story is about a character who wants something and has all kinds of conflicts to getting it.  It’s as simple as that. 
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
I always get half way through and think it stinks and I should be writing something else.  Even though it happens every time and I know it’s going to happen, I still spend a few days upset and anxious and ready to throw a year’s worth of work away.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite? 
I’ve written six books.  Extraordinary October is my first for young adults.  I really loved writing this book.  It was so much fun.  It’s based on an idea my daughter had and because it’s fantasy anything could happen.  I never would have come up with it myself and that was a blast.
Do you have a favorite character?
In my fourth book, The Care & Feeding of Exotic Pets, there is a 7-foot iguana named Cookie.  I wrote a whole chapter from Cookie’s point of view.  It didn’t make it into the book, but I loved writing from an iguana’s mind.  I love Cookie and his odd, kidnapping, murderous owner, Oren, too.
Where do you write?  
I write in my teeny tiny office in a corner of the garage.  I don’t write in coffee shops – I’m too easily distracted watching the people and making up stories about them.
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took? 
I had one book with a big publisher and it was not a good experience.  I prefer a small press where I get personalized attention.  I admire people who self-publish, but I don’t think I could do it myself.  I’m not a salesman, I don’t have the confidence to push my own work.
Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
My son said he didn’t like reading my books because he didn’t like “being in my head.”  I guess I write a little bit like I talk and that’s weird for him.  My daughter and my husband are fans, but I don’t know if they’d tell me if they weren’t.  My first book was about a character with only a sister and my brother called me up and asked why he wasn’t in the book.  I told him it was fiction!  But he asks every time so I think I really need to write a book with a brother.  
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I love to hike and I really love to read.  Unfortunately, I don’t like to listen to books.  Too bad because that way I could hike and “read” at the same time.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? 
Practice, practice, practice!  That’s my biggest advice.  Don’t think about writing the perfect short story or publishing or anything, just write what you see and what you think and what interests you.  Practice.
What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write? 
My favorite book is The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James.  I re-read it often.  I think re-reading a book teaches so much.  When I was young I read all the fantasies by E. Nesbitt.  She wrote in the early 1900’s, fantastical fiction about British children chasing magic and getting into scrapes.  Reading any good book inspires me – and sometimes intimidates me, which only makes me want to try it myself.  I’m still practicing!
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such? 
I have the best group of writer friends.  They are so helpful.  Sometimes they read an entire draft, sometimes I ask one of them for suggestions about a particular problem.  We do it for each other
Are you working on anything now? 
I’m working on a mystery about a dog catcher. 
Tell us 5 things that make you smile
There are so many!  The smell of popcorn; my dog scratching her nose; watching my son watch sports on TV (he gets so amped); a cool breeze; clouds in the sky (don’t have them very often in LA) and rain!  Rain would make me laugh out loud. 
Tell us 5 things that make you sad
The drought: it’s bad and many of the trees in my park are dying.  Politics: it’s okay to have different ideas, but not to use them to hate each other.  Guns.  Violence.  When a woman can’t walk around or go to a party or have a cocktail and be safe.  And, on a lighter note, I’m sad when I finish reading a really good book. 
If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
Morocco.  From the pictures I’ve seen it is incredibly different from Los Angeles.  I imagine Marrakech smells of spices and strong coffee and sand and sweat and camel dung.  That would be inspiring!

Here’s the teaser for Extraordinary October:

Thanks so much for being with us today, Diana!

Author Bio:
I have always written and always wanted to be a writer, but didn’t think I could make a living at it. So I became a mime. (You can imagine what my father had to say about that.) I worked on the streets of NYC with two partners, stopping traffic in front of the Met and annoying tourists. When, to my great surprise, that didn’t work out, I returned to school in film–thinking screenwriters made a living. And when I had ten scripts and my agent had stopped returning my calls, I wrote a novel. I did it just because I wanted to love writing again and not think about selling or casting or marketability. That novel was Skin Deep, and it’s a testament to writing from your heart that the first person to read it, bought it. I’ve been trying to write from the heart ever since.


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