Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Interview: S. R. Johannes



   S.R. Johannes is the author of award-winning and Amazon bestselling Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and new tween paranormal, On The Bright Side. She has also published short novelettes as well as a teen romance anthology with 16 other authors titled, In His Eyes.  Uncontrollable, the sequel to Untraceable, is scheduled for September 2012.
   S.R. Johannes is a winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Awards (Young Adult) and was also recently nominated for 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (Young Adult). Untraceable was also recently named a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review's Indie Book of the Year (YA)
   After earning an MBA and working in corporate America, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. 


Favorite reads?
   This changes all the time. Right now it is still Hunger Games. I really think when it comes to pacing, literary writing, and overall concept, it is brilliant.
   As far as fav of all time, Pippy Longstocking is my favorite kids’ books. I love Pippi’s tenacity and how self-assured she was at her age.

Inspirations for the book?
   I wanted to have a fast-paced thriller with an underlying conservation message and a strong girl in today’s world.

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
   No. I have always written but I don’t think I knew being an author was an option. I didn’t start writing seriously until 2004 after I had my daughter. It was only then I realized it was what I needed to do.

Any Pet Peeves?
   Dishonesty
   Whining

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
   Dark chocolate

The weirdest thing you've ever done?
   Well I don’t now about weirdest, but the coolest thing I have ever done is pet Shamu at Sea World. I was chosen from the crowd. It was awesome - though I smelled like fish the rest of the day. Not good in the Florida sun.

Do you need anything to write?
   Peace and quiet! Ice tea or coffee.

How long do you write on any average day?
   Maybe 2 hours

Give us the number one reason to read your book.
   It is a page-turner with some romance and tons of twists. You will cry, get angry, and laugh in only 300 pages.

Connect!
Follow S.R. online on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest
You can also sign up for her newsletter to keep up on author or book news.


   As 16 year old Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program". 

   While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants. 

   After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues. 

   Little does she know, she is being hunted too.

Congratulations on the release! This book promises to be an unmissable sequel.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Interview & Giveaway: J. Bridger

J. Bridger has had an eclectic life. She's worked in the psychiatric ward in a hospital in La Paz, Bolivia, been a veterinary intern giving all sorts of better-left-to-the-imagination exams to dogs and cats, and had her own spate in creating and running a television ad campaign. Currently, in her day job, she is getting her certification as a medical Spanish interpreter in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.
By night, she's a fledgling author, who has just penned her debut novel, Shifted Perspective; she is currently working on its sequel, the next installment of The Tails of Change Series. J.'s always loved things that go bump (or that howl) in the night and devoured Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Clive Barker starting in middle school. Her favorite shows are no less preternatural and include Big Wolf on CampusBuffy the Vampire Slayer, and Teen Wolf. While she's been writing fiction for eight years and been published in several academic journals for her psychological research, this is her first venture into published original fiction. 
            J. Bridger lives in Raleigh with two Yorkies, a beagle, and a Schnauzer-Yorkie mix (as well as far too many dust bunnies). 


Favorite reads?
   I actually range. I do read a lot of non-fiction about media literacy and feminism, and one of my favorites there is Reality Bites Back by Jennifer L. Pozner about the deception behind reality TV. As far as fiction, it might be trite, but Stephen King is the man. My mom just got 11/22/1963 for her birthday, and I'm already planning to steal it!

Inspirations for the book?
   Well, I have my own “pack” of dogs with my beagle Snoopy (original, I know), my Schnauzer Chloe, and two yorkies named Mellie and Hurley. I've always had dogs growing up and have always wondered what their inner monologues would be like. Similarly, I love all things supernatural but werewolves are my favorite. Being able to meld both dogs and werewolves in one novel was ideal.

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
   Yes, and I used to think about how my pen name would work. I originally wanted something where the last name and first started with the same letter so looking me up would be easier for the kiddos (I was about eight at the time). As I got older, I assumed I'd just stay published in science, since I had papers published before I left grad school to become an interpreter/author. Still, I knew I'd always be writing something.

Any Pet Peeves?
   People who promise to pay their share but don't. My brother is one of those and drives me nuts with the free loading! 

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
   Can we have a Reese's and just get both?

The weirdest thing you've ever done?
   An ex took me to an authentic Chinese place that served me chicken feet and I ate it. Not bad!

Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music?
   This is a sad secret about me. Since college, I'll only write to three things, whether it be fiction or a crunch time before a paper turn in. These are all musical soundtracks: PippinA Chorus Line, or Broadway's The Lion King. Usually, I'll be writing to Pippin on a loop. Embarrassing but true.

Do you need anything to write? 
   I usually just need a chair and quiet. That's part of the reason I do only use the same three soundtracks because they've become a form of comforting white noise. If there's too much going on with roommates or TV, I just don't go anywhere.

How long do you write on any average day?
   Gosh, it varies. I've had days where in the past I did twelve hours in a row. For this novel, I'd give myself about an hour in the morning before classes and, if I had time, an hour at night after I'd finished my homework. To be honest, doing between 1-2 hours a day, every day, for a month added up to a novel!

Give us the number one reason to read your book.
   Snark. It's a ridiculous situation with a protagonist (Caleb) who knows it's ridiculous but has to deal with it anyway with honesty and humor.  

Author Info:
Blog - http://www.jbridgerwriting.blogspot.com/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/JBridger1313
Tumblr -http://www.tumblr.com/blog/jbridger1313
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/J-Bridger/216174885176369
GoodReads Page for Shifted Perspective: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15922261-shifted-perspective


   Caleb Byrne's life seems to be going well after he's accepted to his dream school for pre-med studies. Going great, sure, until he grows four paws, a tail, and fluffy curls... Now he has to deal with being the world's lamest shape shifter, an estranged family with furry secrets of their own, a prying girlfriend, and a killer werewolf on the loose, and he thought life had been hard before! 

*Giveaway*
Ebook Copy
(Ends 10/22)
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Interview & Giveaway: Lorjio Metz

   Lorijo Metz lives with her husband and little brown dog in a hamlet just north of Chicago, IL. Though she has a degree in acting and directing, she much prefers the anonymity of the keyboard, allowing her characters to revel in the spotlight while she sits quietly sipping tea or coffee, nibbling on cookies, and dreaming up ways to complicate their lives.
   Lorijo is the author of the picture book Floridius Bloom and the Planet of Gloom, illustrated by Matt Phelan and published by Dial Books for Young Readers; as well as the author of over 25 nonfiction, educational books for kids, published by Powerkids Press.
   WHEELS is her first YA novel and first venture into indie publishing. In 2013, Lorijo will have another first as she makes her d├ębut as a lyricist on children’s singer and songwriter, Owen Duggan’s new cd, Puppy Dog Jig, for which she wrote the lyrics for the title track.



Favorite reads?
   Here’s a partial list of books that have left a lasting impression on me.

  • Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy (For its absolute beauty and sorrow.)
  • The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien (For its thoroughness in world building and the many memorable characters that inhabit it.)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis (Moral tales that left a lasting impression on a my young mind.)
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Powerful writing that opened my eyes.)
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Erin Morgenstern uses words like a painter uses a brush to paint pictures and stimulate our imagination.)
  • Tarzan (book series) by Edgar Rice Burroughs (These were my mother’s books. I read them when I was young, and I’ve begged her to leave them to me in her will.)
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Pure entertainment)
  • The Books of Abarat by Clive Barker (Unique by any standard)
  • Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (The first non-fiction book I truly loved reading.)
  • The Harry Potter books, by J.K. Rowling (Brilliant storytelling, memorable characters and detailed world building)

Inspirations for the book?
   WHEELS began with a sentence about a girl racing down a school hallway and the desire to write a science fiction novel in which the gifted protagonist was also somehow disabled. That first sentence is long gone (as are most first sentences), but I did end up writing a story in which the heroine, McKenzie Wu, who has the ability to manipulate matter (inherited from an alien relative), is also
a paraplegic.
   Interestingly enough, only one of the reviews (so far) has mentioned McKenzie using a wheelchair. This pleases me no end, for my goal was to have people see her not as a disabled person—but as a person. Well…a person with an extra special ability.

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
   I didn’t so much know, as I was told. If you read the About Me page on my website ( http://www.lorijometz.com/aboutme/), you’ll understand. Suffice it to say, I had no choice in the matter.

Any Pet Peeves?
   It makes me unhappy when people use (or should I say, abuse) religion as an excuse to promote intolerance and bigotry.

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
   Dark chocolate and peanut butter.

The weirdest thing you've ever done?
   You really think I’m going to tell you about the time in 7th grade when I dressed up like Elvis Presley and sang “You Ain’t ‘Nothing But A Hound Dog” for the class? ( NO, it wasn’t an assignment.)

Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music?
   Read Chapter 7 of WHEELS and then listen to Magic Carpet Ride Technoversion. (You can buy it on iTunes or check it out on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOuitqYGFIU)

Do you need anything to write? 
   Time, silence, and consistency. I also have an electric teapot in my office. I brew a fresh pot of green tea just about every day. (Stop by and share a cup with me.:)

How long do you write on any average day?
   I work at writing, editing or marketing from about 11am to 7pm almost every day.

Give us the number one reason to read your book.
   I write stories I want to read, with worlds I can get lost in and characters I hate to part with; add to that a touch of humor, some YA angst, a little romance and a lot of adventure—if all that sounds good, then WHEELS is the book for you.

Author Info:
Website: www.LorijoMetz.com
Blog: www.ScifiWriterMom.com
Twitter: twitter.com/ScifiWriterMom
Facebook: facebook.com/LorijoMetz



14-year-old McKenzie Wu, doesn’t know her great-great grandmother married an alien or that her great-great-great uncle is alive and systematically eliminating a race of beings on a tiny planet light years away—she has enough to worry about. Molecules keep rearranging themselves to suit her slightest wish, but only at the most inconvenient times. If that weren’t enough, she’s been dreaming about an accident; one she’s had no memory of until now and, if true, means McKenzie is responsible for her mother’s death. 
   When McKenzie stumbles upon a portal that transports her and her friend Hayes to the tiny planet of Circanthos, she learns the inhabitants believe she is the “One” destined to save them from H.G. Wells, a name that sounds strangely familiar, and his Tsendi warriors. But while her newfound ability might give her superhero status back on Earth, halfway across the galaxy it’s commonplace—all Circanthians can particle-weave—and if they can’t stop H.G. Wells, what can she hope to do?
   With the portal closed and no idea how to get home, McKenzie must learn to use a power she does not want and accept her mysterious past, or risk losing everything—her father’s love, her new alien friends and the boy. 

*Giveaway*
(Ends 10/16)
Paperback or ebook copy of Wheels
(Paperback only an option for US/Can)
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Friday, September 14, 2012

Interview & Giveaway: Ciara Knight

   Ciara writes to ‘Defy the Dark’ with her fantasy and paranormal books. Her debut novel, The Curse of Gremdon, was released to acclaimed reviews, securing a Night Owl Top Pick and five stars from the Paranormal Romance Guild. Also, book I, Rise From Darkness, from her debut young adult Battle For Souls series, secured glowing reviews and won July Book of the Month from Long and Short Reviews.

Favorite reads?
I'm such an eclectic reader. I love everything from Francine Rivers, Edar Allen Poe, Susan Collins, and Jana Oliver. I just read my first Jana Oliver book and fell in love with the main character and storyline. Great book!

Inspirations for the book?
I actually wrote Escapement first, but the more I worked on edits, the more Raeth screamed for me to tell her story. She is a little unstable during the book and she wanted to let everyone know why. She wouldn't leave me alone until I agreed to write her story. Next thing I know, my critique partners are yelling at me to publish it. They said it was the best thing I'd written so far, so I did.

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
I knew I wanted to entertain people, but I didn't necessarily know I wanted to be an author. I'd written many poems and short stories, but a novel seemed too overwhelming. I ended up pursing a career in acting and dancing, but an injury ended that career. I side tracked to earn my degree and work in therapy, but eventually I wrote that novel. I wa shocked to realize it was just longer than the short stories I'd written, but in some ways it was easier.

Any Pet Peeves?
I'm not sure I have any. Hmm...I guess when I can't think of an answer to a question.

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
One is nothing without the other. They go together like PB&J.

The weirdest thing you've ever done?
I worked in a cadaver lab in college.

Is there a soundtrack to the book?
The song Muse It by The Tributes is a perfect song for The Neumarain Chronicles.

Do you need anything to write? 
Quiet if it is possible. Music if my three boys, two cats, dog, and husband are home. Did I mention my eldest is lead singer and guitartist in a rock band. Yeah, quiet is rare.

How long do you write on any average day?
   I don't have an average day, but I tend to write around 2000-5000 when working on a project.

Give us the number one reason to read your book.
   I love what reviewers have said, so I picked one to share. :)
Weighted starts with a bang and ends with one... leaving you wondering, questioning and wanting more!! 
   Melissa Rheinlander
Author Info:
Website: http://www.ciarkanight.com
Blog: http://www.ciaraknight.com/blog
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ciaratknight
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5127753.Ciara_Knight
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ciaraknightwrites


The Great War of 2185 is over, but my nightmare has just begun. I am being held captive in the Queen’s ship awaiting interrogation. My only possible ally is the princess, but I’m unsure if she is really my friend or a trap set by the Queen to fool me into sharing the secret of my gift. A gift I keep hidden even from myself. It swirls inside my body begging for release, but it is the one thing the Queen can never discover. Will I have the strength to keep the secret? I’ll know the answer soon. If the stories are true about the interrogators, I’ll either be dead or a traitor to my people by morning.




*Giveaway*
(Ends 10/12)
One Ebook Copy of Weighted

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Another fantastic giveaway is going on right now to celebrate the Neumarian Chronicles! You can win some gorgeous Steampunk jewelry and ARCs of book 1!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Interview & Free Book: Dawn Harshaw

   Ever since I was little I was interested in how things work. This led me to learn more about logic and science, but I also became fascinated by the more mystical side of the universe to which there are no easy explanations. Lucid dreaming and out of body experiences (you know, that "light at the end of a tunnel" thing) I found particularly interesting.

   Since I didn't find the 'Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything' in any books - well, not in a way that would satisfy my curiosity - I've spent years pondering related questions. As my ponderings got more complex, I started writing to help me formulate my thoughts. After writing many bits and pieces of creative non-fiction, I have turned to fantasy to bring my ideas to life, and the result is "Dream Magic: Awakenings!"

Favorite reads?
   My favorite books are Frank Herbert's "Dune" series and R. A. Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land".

Inspirations for the book?

   "Dune" was the greatest inspiration, followed by "Stranger in a Strange Land". I have to give credit to "Harry Potter" too, because the person responsible for marketing it was a genius! :o)


Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?

   Haha, no. I look at myself more as 'writer' and 'communicator' rather than 'author'. Writing simply emerged as something necessary for understanding and expressing myself. When I was little, I knew I wanted to understand everything! :o)

Any Pet Peeves?

   That phrase for one! I could strangle it, it's so irritating. >_< Here are some other words: 'truthiness', 'blogosphere', 'irregardless'...

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?

   Chocolate! I don't get the appeal of peanut butter, but it's probably an acquired taste, and I tried it only maybe twice in my life...


The weirdest thing you've ever done?

   I honestly don't know. Different people have different views on what is 'normal' and what is 'weird'.


Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music?

   Well, currently I'm listening to a lot of dubstep, eg. Klaypex. However, if I had to choose music to go with my novel, I'd go with Johann Pachelbel's "Canon in D".


Do you need anything to write? 

   I advise everyone to watch John Cleese's talk on creativity (I believe it's this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VShmtsLhkQg). He talks about how important it is to commit both time and space to the creative process. In addition to that, I need 'mindspace' too - my own mind too has to be empty of distractions and unproductive thought patterns for me to be able to pen down my best work.
   Of tools of physical nature, I need my computer, a large notepad that fits in my backpack, a small notepad that fits in my pocket, and a multitude of pens. And yes, chocolate helps! :o)


How long do you write on any average day?

   When I write, I need to commit whole days to the process. For every two days of writing, I need about 3 days of planning and 3 days of editing. While I might actually write only several hours per day, the process of thinking it over again and again consumes my whole day, whatever menial task I might be doing on the side.


Give us the number one reason to read your book.

   Relatable characters and a coherent magic system! If you like magic and don't like how superficially it's handled in most other books, well, then "Dream Magic: Awakenings" is right for you! ^_^

Author Info:
WEBSITE:
www.DawnHarshaw.com
GOODREADS LINK:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15760472-dream-magic
I also have a Storyletter, where I send out my newest flash stories via email to subscribers as soon as I finish them. 


Eric, a young boy, has enough of nightmares ruining his dreams.
Determined to grow stronger, he tackles magical disciplines one at a
time - be it flying, blade magic, or telepathy - and stares down his
fears. But, will he survive the battles and the trial of nightmare mastery?
And at what cost?

"Dream Magic: Awakenings" reaches for deep metaphysical
concepts and uses introspective experiences to offer an
immersive feeling of MAGIC.




First Chapter
*Giveaway*
Unlimited Ebook Copies