Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Release Day for The Year of Chasing Dreams.

Today is the release for LurleneMcDaniel's new book The Year of Chasing Dreams. Congrats, Lurlene!

Book Blurb:

Ciana Beauchamp hasn’t seen or heard from Jon Mercer in months. Until now. He’s back in Windemere to see her. Deep down, Ciana is filled with joy and relief. She’s never stopped loving him. It’s proof of Jon’s love that he has returned, but what will their future be?
Working hard to maintain the family land that her grandmother left to her, Ciana is approached by a real estate developer who offers her a deal that could benefit the Beauchamp estate and possibly the entire town, which has seen better days. But Ciana is determined not to sell—for the sake of her heritage and the honor of her grandmother.
When tragedy strikes, almost no one in Windemere is left unscathed. Tragedy has a way of bringing people together, but it can also tear them apart. Ciana can hardly face her choices, but she knows she must, and there are now people she can turn to for help if only she is willing to ask.
Intertwining a family saga with a grand love story, The Year of Chasing Dreams is sure to elicit joy and sadness as McDaniel deftly depicts ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances.
Connect with Lurlene on Facebook,  or her website. (BTW, there's a signed book giveaway going on through 8pm tonight.Click here.)
My review.
I really enjoyed The Year of Luminous Love. So I was eager to read The Year of Chasing Dreams and find out what happens to Ciana and Eden. And I wasn’t disappointed.
One of the things I love about this book is the development of Ciana and Eden—they both become women in their own right, struggling with love, tragedy, and tears. (After all, this is a Lurlene McDaniel book and I can’t read through one without laughing and crying.) The plot is engaging with some twists and turns. The writing is clean and the pacing spot-on.
An excellent summer beach read, or if it’s winter, read it curled up next to the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Soulless Cover Reveal

Today, I have the privilege to share the cover of Crystal Collier's new book Soulless.
(Isn't it lovely?)

Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend†(a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

COMING October 13, 2014

PREORDER your print copy
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014


It's Wednesday and I'm supposed to have a blog post. And I do, sort of. The problem is it's only partly written.

Why? I've been editing, and I'm on a roll. If everything continues as it has been, I will have edited a third of a novel in one week. (Or even more--squee!) This is unheard of for me, especially since we're not talking about last-minute polishing. This is get-down and get-dirty editing--add a new scene/rewrite the transition editing. And I'm loving it.

I'm actually stunned because normally I'm not that fond of editing. But I'm rolling with it.

I think it must be the Charleston vacation that started it. Hmm...I think I should go on more vacations. All for the sake of art, of course. ;)

Here are some photos.
Middleton Place. This was a plantation,
and there were alligators in the water behind me.
Magnolias--the BEST restaurant. (Watch out, Paris.)
This was fried green tomatoes over cheese grits with a white wine reduction and a sweet coulis. To die for.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Crack for Readers, The Accident

A dangerous manuscript, a literary agent, the CIA, Zurich, and Copenhagen. The perfect set-up for a thriller—crack for readers. And it only got better once I started the book.

At the beginning, I was concerned with the plethora of characters and viewpoints, which often turns a novel into a confusion of characters where you have to turn back to earlier chapters to remember who is who. But Chris Pavone does a great job of making each character memorable enough to keep straight.
It is the choices of these characters that drive an intricate plot, which unwinds in a frenetic twenty-four hour period. Not only are the plot and characters well-written, the writing itself is clean and free of the clichés that often find their way into thrillers.

The Accident is a perfect weekend read or, in my case, excellent treadmill reading. And I have to give five stars to any book that makes me lose track of how far I’ve run.

N.B. This book does contain some adult situations and language.

(I was given a free copy of this novel by "Blogging for Books" in exchange for an honest review.)

A Conversation with Chris Pavone 
(Edgar and Anthony Award winner and New York Times bestselling author) 

Q) Your debut novel, The Expats, was widely praised, both in the national media (New York Times, 
USA Today, Entertainment Weekly) and by some of the biggest names in the industry (John 
Grisham, Patricia Cornwell, and more), was optioned for film, sold in 18 countries, and debuted on 
the Times bestseller list! You’ve worked in publishing almost your entire career; were you prepared 
for that kind of reception for your first book? 
A) I was completely prepared for absolutely no one to buy, read, or review The Expats. If there’s one 
thing that’s seems hard for a publisher to do, it’s to launch a debut novel successfully. Why would anyone 
buy it? But if publishers don’t take flyers on first-timers, sooner or later there won’t be any novels at all. 
I’m amazed and immensely grateful that my vulnerable little boat wasn’t completely lost in the sea of the 
hundred-thousand-plus new books published every year.

Q) You were inspired to write The Expats while living abroad in Luxembourg. Your current home, 
New York, features prominently in The Accident, but parts of the novel are also set in Europe—
Copenhagen, Paris, Zurich. Was this new novel also inspired by your travels? 
A) Yes, my travels have definitely inspired my writing. And it’s not just the traveling: My first book was 
based on my experiences as an expat stay-at-home parent, suddenly without the self-definition of a career, 
trying to invent a new version of me, while the new one is drawn from my two decades in publishing. But 
The Accident is definitely not about book publishing, just as The Expats wasn’t about Luxembourg. The 
Accident is about ambition, and the permanent weight of decisions made in youth, and the ways we 
become people we didn’t intend to become. Plus—as with The Expats—spies and crimes and a great deal 
of duplicity.

 Q) The world of book publishing figures prominently in The Accident. Was it fun to dissect the 
many aspects of the business? Any details with which you took creative license? 
A) I have great admiration for book-publishing people, who’ve all chosen careers that are dedicated to 
helping other people—authors—achieve creative dreams, and to entertaining and enlightening readers, 
and to do all this for very little money or recognition; there’s not really such a thing as a rich or famous 
book editor. So The Accident isn’t a satire, and I have no ax to grind. I do admit to taking a bit of license 
in a few minor particulars, mostly to avoid an excess of exposition, and to keep my cast of characters 
down to a reasonable number. 
Q) I imagine it must be hard NOT to draw on personal experiences, having worked with many 
authors, editors, agents, and publicists in your line of work. Are any of the characters in the book 
based on real people? 
A) Yes, but I won’t say who. I hope that for some readers, part of the fun of The Accident will be 
Q) The protagonist in The Expats, Kate Moore, makes a small cameo in The Accident, while Hayden 
Gray, a peripheral character in your debut, features prominently here. Why? 
A) I absolutely loved everything about The Wire, and in particular the way the seasons related to one 
other: different narratives populated by mostly different characters set in different milieus, but all within 
the same interconnected world. I think this is a brilliant way of telling fresh stories with satisfying 
connections, from the same viewpoint, while avoiding the pitfalls of sequels and prequels and the 
constrictions of a traditional series. I’m trying to do something similar with these books. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Windthrow Book Release

Today, I'd like to welcome A. B. Keuser to the blog. She's been a writing/blogging friend for a long time--I can't even remember when/where we first met, but I'm thrilled to tell you she released her first novel Windthrow. Check out the book blurb, Q & A with A.B., and links to her novel and social media sites.

Book Blurb
Ash Larkwood has run her private freight business long enough to know there is only one hard and fast rule in the galaxy: stay as far away from the heartless, war-like xy as possible. When she reluctantly takes Rand Fife on as a passenger it seems breaking that rule is inevitable. He’s gorgeous, paying her a ridiculous fare, and yet things are not the proverbial piece of pie she hoped. When a xy destroyer sets upon them demanding she hand him over and a pair of the skeletal aliens sneak aboard her ship, she knows it’s time for some answers. A pretty face is no excuse for the bucket of lies he’s tossing on her.

What is unique about your novel?
In Windthrow, I've created a multicultural cast that dismisses erroneous stereotypes and allows for diverse heroes. An Asian woman owning her own freight company, the ruler of a galactic-wide empire who is not a white man, and a black woman owning and running the system’s largest mine while her husband keeps house, are not out of place in the worlds between these pages.
My non-human antagonists are super awesome (and awesomely gross) aliens who’s skeletal bodies are made of a metallic keratin and whose neural pathways run throughout all their cells (they have no actual brain).
Also, fun things with trees and a dragon festival.
Tell us about your main character.
Ash Larkwood is an entrepreneur fighting an uphill battle in an industry dominated by men. She’s adventure seeker who longs for the freedom space gives her but loves and misses her family and home planet. Independent, creative and tough, she’s built a network of friends to keep her sane. Her taste in men can be horrible, her taste for drinks leans toward the sweet. I’ve always imagined her actor stand-in as Fan Bing Bing.
How did you start writing?
Boredom. I know it’s not a very fun answer, but I needed something to occupy my time and keep my fingers warm in a freezing office. My first book was written very quickly –130,000 words in the space of a month – and extremely poorly. But that atrocious first novel made me realize how much I love telling stories, and now I’ve got a dozen complete drafts under my belt, and I couldn’t be happier.
Why do you write Science Fiction?
I’ve always loved SF. My dad and I watched two things when I was little, Westerns and Star Trek the original series. I think there’s something completely wonderful about the freedom science fiction gives you with plot, setting, and even genre. I almost feel like it should be a category that other genres can fall into. I love playing with those options.
I lean toward space-bound SF because I love the fact that space is its own tertiary antagonist. There’s a whole lot that can go wrong in the void and you always have to be mindful of that.
I deeply want society to advance because I love what I see in the innovations of science and love the idea of what could be. I also love exploring the things that can't be fixed by technological advance. The deeply ingrained human flaws that last the test of time…in all their ugly and disgusting glory
What’s your method of writing? Plotter? Pantser? Does your character build the story? Etc.
My writing method changes around quite a bit. I’m mostly a plotter, but the first draft of this novel was completely pansted. Over the course of 20 days in August of 2010, I tapped out the 70,000-words that would eventually become Windthrow (at that point the file was titled “SF”). And then, it was revised, and revised again, and sent to crit partners, and revised again, and again… and here we are almost 4 years later and at about 110k-words. (That four years is why I usually plot my books out in advance)
What’s your favorite childhood book?
The first books I remember loving in elementary school were Anne of Green Gables and The Wizard of Oz. Both were well worn tomes in the Milner Crest library, and I’m sure I helped crack their spines further. Later, I got lost in the Goosebumps books, The Horror at Camp Jellyjam was one of my favorites. But by middle school, I was already on the Thriller bandwagon and devouring Clive Cussler novels.