Toni Lesatz: On Being an Award-Winning Blogger, Author, and Her Love/Hate Relationship with Halloween

There was no way I could do this annual post without including Toni. Not only is she a fellow author and blogger, award winning I might add, she’s also my Internet friend. We all have them; that friend you met online and wished they lived next door.

When I was starting out as an Indie Author, Toni one of the first Bloggers to take a chance on reading my book and leaving me a review. That might not sound like a big deal to some, but for a fledging author, it’s big news! Especially when that blog is My Book Addiction.

My Book Addiction started 4 years ago this week! Happy Blog-iversary, Toni! Tired of food blogging, Toni started a book blog and the rest is history. I think it was the right decision considering how many followers she has and winning, not one but two, awards at UtopYA. Just like with anything an artist creates, her blog is her “baby.”

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Toni Lesatz is a wife, mother, author, reader, blogger, gamer, coffee addict, and lover of the culinary arts. Her short stories, Ashes to Ashes and Dead World, published in fall 2014. She is currently writing full-length novels to continue both stories, as well as a YA dark fantasy book.

Toni lives in Michigan with her husband, children, and her dogs – Lucy (Chihuahua) and Harley (GSD). If she’s not writing or curled up with a book, you’ll most likely find her playing with her kids, baking cupcakes, or killing zombies.

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After Tomorrow Anthology on Goodreads

Author Questions

A. When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

T. I knew I wanted to be an author when I was about twelve years old. I carried a notebook around with me, always jotting down short stories and writing poetry.

 A. In what genre do you write?

T. Horror, post-apocalyptic, and paranormal

 A. Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

T. Science Fiction, but I’m too afraid I’ll screw it up. Ha!

 A. What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

T. My writing process is a mess. 🙂 I’ve tried outlining, and sometimes manage to do it successfully, but I’m more of a just-start-writing kind of girl. I hate writing by hand now, which I wouldn’t have guessed when I first started writing. All of my writing must be done on a computer.

A. Who are your writing inspirations, famous or not?

T. Jonathan Maberry, Melanie Karsak, Claire C. Riley, Colleen Hoover

A. How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

T. Sometimes I don’t do any research. Some stories just pour out effortlessly. I was, however, writing a YA dark fantasy novel that is now gone forever because my computer died and I didn’t back it up. *queue the ugly cry* That book included a great deal of research. More than I’ve ever done for any project. I get a bit weepy whenever I hear about the area my story was set in, or get Facebook notifications from the gallery I handpicked from Google maps. I’d love to write it all over again, but I’m not quite ready to climb that mountain just yet.

A. Oh man, that sucks! I too have lost a good bit of writing due to technology (or maybe it was me) failing. It will make you cry!

A. Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

T. I do not listen to music. I write in absolute silence. While I love music and find it very uplifting, it distracts me when I’m writing.

A. When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

T. Spending time with my husband and kids doing just about anything is fun for me. We spend a lot of time at church, and love to spend the day shopping – even if it’s just window shopping.

A. What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

T. The most exciting experience was being published. There’s no feeling more intense than the adrenaline rush mixed with nausea that washes over you in huge waves the night before a release. It may be a tie between that and attending UtopYA in Nashville for the first time and winning two awards for my book review blog.

A. I remember that! You do have an amazing blog so it was well deserved!

A. Who created your amazing cover art?

T. I had nothing to do with the covers for either anthology, but my next cover will be created by Lori Parker at Contagious Covers.

A. I love Lori’s covers! She’s the best!

Halloween Questions

A. This is a Halloween blog post so you must tell us, do you enjoy Halloween? Why or why not?

T. I love Halloween and hate Halloween. Ha! I love the idea of Halloween, but hate that it’s usually cold and raining here in the Metro Detroit area. It also upsets me that stores sell kids Halloween costumes for $50 each (minimum) for two hours of use, and it’s usually something that’s inappropriate or it’s too cold to wear without a coat over it anyway. But I love baking pumpkin seeds (hate carving pumpkins) and I enjoy handing candy out and checking out the costumes.

A. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

T. Baking pumpkin seeds happens every year at my house.

A. What is your favorite scary movie and/or book?

T. The most current movie to scare me was The Conjuring. An older movie that scared me is the first Nightmare on Elm Street.

Books? Wow, there are just too many to start listing them. I love the horror genre, so I spend a lot of time with my nose in horror books.

A. Most importantly, what is your favorite Halloween candy?

T. Hmm. I don’t know. My daughter’s can’t eat peanuts so, as parents, we have to eat the Reese’s cups and Snickers bars for them. Hehe. I love candy corn, but can only tolerate a handful before nausea sets in.

A. Reese’s rocks! 🙂

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Happy Little Horrors Anthology on Amazon

Reader Questions

A. What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

T. Jonathan Maberry and Isaac Marion

A. Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?

T. I don’t understand the question. Ha! There’s no way I can pick just one book. One book that comes to mind is We are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt. It has nothing to do with horror or Halloween, but it has stuck with me since reading it in 2014. As an author, I wish I could write something like that.

A. What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

T. I would LOVE to see Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming made into a movie. I’d also love to see The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak and Odium by Claire C Riley. Oh, and Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle.

I’ll stop now. So sorry. 🙂

A. As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

T. Sex, for no reason at all. I’m not a fan of adult books, honestly. I love middle grade and YA books. I realize there is sex in YA, but it’s not over-the-top sex just to have sex on a page.

A. I agree! Why does it have to be over the top anyway? *shrugs*

A. If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

T. I used to try to be a trooper, but I have so many books that if I tried to finish every book that didn’t interest me, I wouldn’t only have to leave my TBR list to my children in my will, I’d have to leave it to their children as well. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 😉 Ok, I never say that. I don’t know why that just came out.

A. Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

T. I read a lot of different genres. Horror, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, contemporary, romance. I have to mix it up now and then or it gets stale.

A. Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

T. I used to be a book-in-my-hands reader, but now if I have the hard copy it sits on my shelf to look pretty next to all of my other books and I will buy the Kindle version to read.

 Random Questions

A. Favorite movie?

T. Star Wars (most of them)

A. Favorite TV show?

T. The Walking Dead

A. Love this show. Even when it rips my heart out, I love this show.

A. If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

T. Hummus and garlic paste with fresh, warm pita bread.

A. What’s your favorite dessert?

T. Lemon anything and Crème Brule

A. What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

T. John Mark McMillan, Bethel, Twenty One Pilots

A. What’s your hidden talent?

T. It must be hidden really well. I have no idea. Sleeping for long periods of time? Binge-watching shows on Netflix? Oh, I can paint my nails on both hands without issue!

A. You can paint your nails on both hands without a problem?! Tell me your secret!

A. What is your dream vacation?

T. Anything that doesn’t involve camping! Lol. I’d love to travel to overseas. I’ve never left the states.

 

Contact Information:

Author Name: Toni Lesatz

Blog: My Book Addiction http://mybookaddiction.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonibookaddict/

Twitter https://twitter.com/Toni_BookAddict

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8936634.Toni_Lesatz

Book Links:

Happy Little Horror: Freak Show – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23381058-happy-little-horrors

After Tomorrow Anthology – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23718387-after-tomorrow-anthology

 

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The Origin Key: Fantasy and Sci-Fi Collide

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I’m thrilled to feature another Alabama author on my blog this month. Susan is such a sweet spirit and has always been so kind to me. Sometimes when you meet people you automatically think, “I like her. We’re going to get along just fine.” Believe me when I say those types of people are in short supply.

With that being said, it doesn’t mean she’s too sweet to write a nail-biting fantasy book with a dash of science fiction because she did the thing. Are you intrigued? Good! Keep reading.

Susan McPhail spent years writing technical documentation and developing marketing materials for high-tech engineering firms. She is now a fantasy/science fiction author living in Huntsville, Alabama (aka the Rocket City) with her husband. When she’s not writing or catching the latest movie, Susan enjoys handcrafts like crocheting and quilting because it looks like she’s doing something useful while in fact she is pondering how to work out tricky plot points.

The Origin Key is her first novel, and is the first book in the Treasures of Dodrazeb series. You can find her online at www.sdmcphail.com and on Twitter @susan_mcphail.

 

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The Origin Key on Amazon

Author Questions

A. When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

S. I’ve always been a voracious reader and welcomed opportunities to get creative with words in my work life. A few years ago when I transitioned out of a full-time job, I decided to challenge myself and see if I could write fiction. About halfway into the first draft of my first novel, I realized that I had also always wanted to be an author—I had just not taken the time to acknowledge that passion.

A. In what genre do you write?

S. My first published novel is Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key. It’s historical fantasy adventure, a heroic quest that I describe as “sword-and-science” because there is an element of sci-fi in it as well.

A. Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

S. I have plans for a humorous cozy mystery series featuring a smart wife/mom/working woman who reluctantly gets drawn into murder investigations. It’s set in a small, rural southern town filled with marvelously eccentric characters.

A.Oooo! This sounds so fun!

A. What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

S. My process tends to be less outline-oriented and more seat-of-the-pants. I start out by jotting down notes about major plot points that turn into a somewhat vague synopsis. Then when I start working on a first draft, I develop new and better ideas as I go, so the story starts to diverge from my original notes. The basic story I had in mind remains the same, but taking my characters from the beginning to the end is a very satisfying creative endeavor.

I’m always jotting down notes about different ideas for different stories, so much of that is done with pen and paper (or notebook or napkin or whatever is handy when an idea strikes). But when I have big chunks of writing time, I like to be on my computer. I can type faster than I can write legibly!

A. Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

S. Stephen King has been a favorite author of mine for decades. I don’t like every book he’s ever written, but he is a master story teller. I love J.K. Rowling’s imagination and world-building skills. I was also influenced by lots of science fiction writers from H.G. Wells to Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury. One of my all-time favorites is Anne McCaffrey’s science fantasy series Dragonriders of Pern.

A. YES! Rowling is an artist!

A. How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

S. Since my series Treasures of Dodrazeb is grounded in real human history, I have to do quite a bit of research. The hero is a third-century Persian warrior-prince, so I’ve done extensive reading about ancient Persia and that region of the world. In addition to historical research, it’s also necessary to get the details right on a hefty amount of science. While on a quest to bring a criminal to justice, the Persian warrior-prince discovers a hidden kingdom using what we consider to be modern technology in everyday life. That means I have to understand their technology and then be able to describe how an ancient warrior would react to it.

A. Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

S. No, I’m not usually listening to music while I write—I listen to the TV. It’s an old habit from when I was in school. I would do my homework in the living room with the TV on. Apparently, that works for me just like listening to music works for others.

A. Interesting. I’ve never heard that before.

A. When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

S. What’s more fun than reading? I read a lot. I like going to the movies, too. Touring historical sites is fun. I recently got to tour the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta. Her novel, Gone with the Wind, was an incredibly successful historical novel with vivid, unforgettable characters. I was able to celebrate a love of history, movies, reading, and writing all at once in one afternoon!

A. What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

S. Receiving the first print copy of my first novel was too awesome for words. Being able to hold an actual copy of a book that I had written made it real for me. I wasn’t just an aspiring writer any more—I was a published author!

A. There is no greater feeling!

A. Who created your amazing cover art?

S. I did! We tried working with a cover artist, but he just never could quite capture the look I wanted. So I put my years of marketing experience and working with graphics to good use.

A. That’s awesome. Maybe I’ll be hitting you up for some tips on that. 😉

A. Is there an artist, book blogger, editor or anyone else that you want to give a shout out to?

S. Absolutely! The Rocket City Lit Fest in 2015 was a major catalyst in spurring me to take the final steps and get my first novel published. Thanks to Ashley Chappell-Peeples and A.G. Porter, both wonderful writers themselves, for all your hard work on that event.

I also want to thank my amazing editor Molly Felder. With her help I was able to polish my pretty good story into a true gem of a first novel. I appreciate her patience, eye for detail, and willingness to teach me how to be a better writer.

A. The Lit Fest was amazing! Thanks for the shot out!

A. Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.

S. Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key, is a historical sword-and-science fantasy adventure set in the third century. While on a quest to avenge a horrific attack on his father the king, a Persian warrior discovers a strange kingdom isolated from the rest of the world. He thinks the villain is hiding there, but a sly princess is determined to sabotage the Persians to protect her kingdom’s ancient secrets. What is she so desperate to keep hidden?

Halloween Questions

A. This is a Halloween blog post so you must tell us, do you enjoy Halloween? Why or why not?

S. I do enjoy Halloween. I like seeing children donning costumes and exploring the idea of becoming someone or something else for a little while. I like seeing the older kids and adults freeing themselves of their conventional identities for a time and getting creative. I like the idea of costume parties. Perhaps most of all, I like CHOCOLATE!

A. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

S. I like to watch favorite old spooky movies or fun ones like Hocus Pocus or Nightmare Before Christmas leading up to trick-or-treat night. Then we usually order in pizza and have fun answering the door to shower neighborhood kids with candy on Halloween night.

A. Do you believe in the spiritual realm?

S. Yes.

A. Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost or something happen that you just explain?

S. Yes.

A. What is your favorite scary movie and/or book?

S. Donnie Darko. Not necessarily scary, probably because I’ve seen it so many times, but that’s the kind of movie that haunts me.

A. Most importantly, what is your favorite Halloween candy?

S. Tootsie Rolls. Hershey minis. M&Ms. Milk Duds. Chocolate!

Reader Questions

A. What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

J.K. Rowling. She is my idol!

A. Yes! She’s on my list. I would probably faint. Haha!

A. Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?

S. It used to be Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. Reading it as a teenager introduced me to so many questions about so many things, I began to develop the ability to think independently, examining issues from many sides.

If you consider an entire series as a single story, it might now be Harry Potter. That story is just magical in so many ways with layers upon layers of meaning.

A. What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

S. Other than my own book? 😉 I think, if done correctly, any good book can be a good movie if filmmakers respect the source material. The book will always be better, but sometimes it takes a movie to get a person interested in a book. The Harry Potter series was done well as movies and I was also impressed with The Hunger Games films.

A. As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

S. I don’t care too much for whiny, one-dimensional characters.

A. If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

S. When I start a book, I’m usually committed to finishing it. I keep thinking that if I stick with it, the book will eventually get better. This is not always the case.

A. Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

S. My personal preference tends toward speculative fiction, but I’m game for lots of other genres. The one I tend to avoid is Romance, unless there is a strong element of mystery, suspense, humor, horror, or some other kind of genre mash-up.

A. Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

S. I like to acquire autographed books, and there’s something about turning pages and never worrying about battery life that is appealing. But I also read e-books for their convenience, portability, and affordability.

Random Questions

A. Favorite movie?

S. Donnie Darko

A. Favorite TV show?

S. All time: Star Trek (every one of them). Currently: Game of Thrones, Westworld, Big Bang Theory

A. If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

S. That’s a tough one! If I could or if I had to? What keeps popping into my head as I ponder this question is pizza, so I guess that’s my answer.

A. You can’t go wrong with pizza!

A. What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

S. Did I mention chocolate already? Warm brownies with a scoop of ice cream!

A. What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

S. Beatles. Styx. Michael Jackson. Adele. Is my age showing yet?

A. What’s your hidden talent?

S. Sarcasm. No, wait—that one shows up pretty frequently. My hidden talent is appearing confident in public when I’m ready to shrivel up and die inside.

A. I know what you mean!

A. What is your dream vacation?

S. Leisurely touring Great Britain and Ireland, staying in castles that have been converted into 5-star luxury hotels.

Contact Information:

Author Name: S.D. McPhail

Blog: www.sdmcphail.com

Facebook: S.D. McPhail, Author

Twitter: susan_mcphail

Goodreads: S.D. McPhail

Book Links: https://www.amazon.com/Origin-Key-Treasures-Dodrazeb/dp/1533454116/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476817108&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Origin+Key

 

              

Rhiannon Frater: Zombies, Vampires, and Ghosts, Oh My!

Asking Rhiannon Frater to be a part of this Halloween themed Author feature was a no-brainer. Her book, The Living Dead Boy, has stuck with me from the moment I turned that last page. The world(s) and characters she creatures is evidence of her immense talent. I have been a fan of the zombie genre for so long that it’s hard to surprise me, much less, impress me. When a friend (thanks Elyse) suggested this book I went into it with an open mind, but still not expecting much. I was so wrong! The story was fresh and mature despite the young age of the main character. I became an instant fan. There is much more to her writing credits than zombies. What else does she write? You’ll just have to find out!

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor) as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog). She was born and raised in Texas where she currently resides with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes. She’s the co-host of the ZCast, a Z Nation Fan Podcast.

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Here are some free books by Rhiannon. Thanks for sharing these with us!
The Tale of the Vampire Bride – http://bit.ly/talevb1
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In Darkness We Must Abide- http://bit.ly/RFindarkness1

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Author Questions

 

A. When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

R. From the moment I understood what a book was. So…toddler age? As soon as I learned to talk I was telling stories. As soon as I learned to write, I was writing stories. I was born to do this.

A. In what genre do you write?

R. I write under the umbrella of speculative fiction. I used to classify myself as more of a horror writer, but the genre, as defined now, leans more toward the slasher/gore type stuff. That isn’t my style. I don’t like writing for shock value. I love writing about people facing horrific situations, and fighting back.
So which genre do my books fit into? I’ve had long discussions with readers, and have discovered that they slot my books it different genres. Urban Fantasy, paranormal fantasy, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, science fiction, and even paranormal romance. I honestly think the only series I’ve written that fits paranormal romance is In Darkness We Must Abide, but people interpret the books as they see fit.

So I wave the speculative fiction flag and let readers decide for themselves.

A. Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

R. Well, I used to say science fiction, but I’ve now written a few books that fit into that genre. It is my first love, and I have a soft spot for it. I love writing stories with something otherworldly in the mix. I’m not really interested in genres outside of the ones I’ve already explored. I’ve had requests for erotica and romances, but those are just not my thing.

A. What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

R. I dream a story. I write down the details I remember in Workflowy. I let the idea germinate. When the time is right, I flip on the movie screen in my mind, watch the action, and type it out in yWriter. I don’t outline, I don’t plot. Whenever I hit a snag, I ruminate while playing Guild Wars 2. I try to write every day when working on a book because that’s the best way to keep the story flowing. I now keep Pinterest boards for my works in progress, and I noticed that really helps anchor me solidly to the world of my imagination.

Long, long ago, I wrote by hand, and destroyed my wrists and my basal thumb joints. I can barely write by hand anymore, so I’m strictly an ergonomic keyboard girl.

A. Writing can do a number on your wrists! 

A. Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

R. The Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Agatha Christie, and Neil Gaiman.

A. How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

R. It depends on the book. If they take place in the modern world and in Texas, it’s pretty easy to just bang that out on the keyboard. The Pretty When She Dies trilogy and As The World Dies trilogy were a lot easier to craft because they both fit that criteria. The Mesmerized was inspired by my honeymoon in Las Vegas, so I kept images of the strip and a map on my screen while writing. The Vampire Bride Dark Rebirth trilogy was a lot more demanding because it takes place in Eastern Europe during the Regency Era. I did probably a year of research before I even started the first book. My husband often helps me with weaponry and tech. Though my science fiction books are pure speculation of the future, I do try to base it off of stuff in development now.

A. Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

R. It really depends on the book. For Pretty When She Dies it was a lot of PJ Harvey, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and music like that. For my recent book, The Lament of the Vampire Bride, it was the Jane Eyre soundtrack. It’s always changing, book to book.

A. When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

R. I binge-watch television shows with my hubby, read, play lots of video games, and hang out with loved ones. I was really ill last year and still recovering, so I’ve been a homebody. I do hope to get out more and do some traveling when I’m back to normal. I miss the convention circuit.

A. Conventions are so much fun! I hope you get back to it soon. 

A. What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

R. I was invited to the South Dakota Book Festival, and that was just an amazing experience. I was interviewed on television about my books for the first time, sat on some panels, did my own presentation, and did a mass book signing. For some reason, that weekend made me feel like a “real” writer.

A. Who created your amazing cover art?

R. Claudia McKinney of PhatPuppyArt has done a lot of my covers, including the ones from Permuted Press. My Tor covers are done in-house by their art department. My foreign editions are also done by my publishers’ art departments.

Recently, my husband has been creating covers for my indie books.

A. Is there an artist, book blogger, editor or anyone else that you want to give a shout out to?

R. Well, I love Felicia Sullivan. She’s an amazing editor. And Kody Boye always makes my indie books look amazing. He’s an awesome formatter.

A. Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.

My newest release (as of October 25th) is Lost in Texas: The Living Dead Boy 2. It’s the sequel to The Living Dead Boy. It’s a zombie book geared at all ages. I would describe it as the Goonies versus the zombies. I wrote the first book for the youngest zombie fans, but adults really love it, too. The books are about Josh, a twelve-year-old zombie fanatic, and his friends. They’re part of the Zombie Hunters Club, and love all things zombie. When the undead invade their school, the kids have to rely on their knowledge of zombies to survive. Though the books are not as gory as my adult zombie series (As The World Dies trilogy, The Last Bastion series), they’re pretty scary. I’m currently working on the third book in the Living Dead Boy trilogy, Journey Across Zombie Texas, to round out the series. After that, I may take a break from zombies, and write a gothic horror novel.

A. I’m so pumped for book 2 for The Living Dead Boy!

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The Living Dead Boy on Amazon

Halloween Questions

A. This is a Halloween blog post so you must tell us, do you enjoy Halloween? Why or why not?

R. Halloween is a way of life for me. I love it. I’m Goth so it’s basically Christmas for me. Furthermore, I was married on Halloween so it has additional importance.

A. Married on Halloween!? That’s awesome! 

A. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

R. My hubby and I usually go to a nice dinner together, and if it’s on the weekend, we hit the local goth club. If it’s a weekday, we usually watch a Halloween themed movie like The Nightmare Before Christmas.

A. Do you believe in the spiritual realm?

R. Absolutely. I have zero doubts about that.

A. Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost or something happen that you just explain?

R. Yes. More times than I can relate. I lived in two haunted houses. After a while, the paranormal stuff became normal. I remember we had guests over one day and were chatting in our living room. From the kitchen came the sound of every single dish, pan, glass, silverware, etc., falling out of the cabinets. It was deafening. But to my family, it was the same old, same old. We ignored it because we knew if we went into the kitchen nothing would be out of place. Our guests were surprised when we shrugged off the noise. They ignored us when we said it was nothing, and ran to the kitchen. When they saw that not one plate was out of place, they freaked out and fled. And never came back.

We just carried on as usual.

A. That’s freaky! 

A. What is your favorite scary movie and/or book?

R. I have too many favorite scary movies to pick from, but the scariest book I read was Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I couldn’t sleep with the lights off for a few days after finishing it.

A. I’ve never read the book, but the 1979 movie really freaked me out! 

A. Most importantly, what is your favorite Halloween candy?

R. I avoid sugar, but I used to love candy corn.

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Pretty When She Dies on Amazon

Reader Questions

A. What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

R. Anne Rice. Without a doubt.

A. Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?

R. Jane Eyre because of Jane Eyre. Jane is just an amazing woman, and one of the first feminist characters I read about. She’s wonderfully complicated and smart. I just adore her.

A. What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

R. I regard films as alternative universes to books. In a way, they’re fan fiction films. The one book I really wanted to see as a film is now in production. That’s The Gunslinger by Stephen King.

A. As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

R. I have a long list. LOL. I really hate when author’s make a woman angry all the time with a chip on her shoulder to make her appear “strong.” No, that just makes her an asshole. I hate when a plot depends on a misunderstanding that would be resolved in a one minute conversation. I also don’t enjoy books that depend on violence for shock value, or use rape of a woman as a plot device so the male character can get revenge.
A. I agree. I don’t think like senseless, unnecessary violence. 

A. If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

R. Life is too short. I have learned to walk away. As a writer, I’m aware that a book is not for all readers. Each one has its own audience.

A. Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

R. The books I read for enjoyment have a supernatural or science fiction element. When I research, I cast a wider net.

A. Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

R. Since I wrecked my hands by handwriting my first books in my teens, I use a Kindle. It’s a lot easier to hold. The last time I read a regular book, I was in so much pain I had to buy the Kindle version to finish.

pretty-when-she-kills

Pretty When She Kills on Amazon

Random Questions

A. Favorite movie?

R. Night of the Living Dead, Aliens, Rear Window, That Touch of Mink, Mad Max Fury Road, and so many more.

A. Favorite TV show?

R. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

A. If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

R. My mom’s spaghetti and meatballs.

A. There’s no cooking like mom’s cooking.

A. What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

R. Chocolate gelato served in Italy. Nothing compares.

A. What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

R. Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and PJ Harvey are default.

A. What’s your hidden talent?

R. I’m a damn good shot with a pistol.

A. What is your dream vacation?

R. Venice in October. I can’t wait to go back.

A. Me too! 

pretty-when-she-destroys

Pretty When She Destroys on Amazon

Contact Information:

You can find her online at:

Website: rhiannonfrater.com

Twitter: twitter.com/rhiannonfrater

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rhiannon.frater

Tumblr: http://rhiannonfrater.tumblr.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=340109912&trk=spm_pic

Google+: https://plus.google.com/113336058823746385572/posts

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rhiannon-Frater/e/B0027DLFL6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2310121.Rhiannon_Frater

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/rhiannonfrater/

Email: rhiannonfrater at gmail.com

 

 

T.K. Bradley Talks About Her Debut Novel, Shade (Shade Chronicles)

I’m really excited to introduce you to author T.K. Bradley, my first author interview for this month! If you read my previous post then you know that I’ll be featuring authors throughout the rest of October. I met T.K. through a mutual friend and while we’ve never met in person (you know, that Canada/America distance thing) I found that we have a lot in common. For one thing, we have great taste in friends, great taste in zombie shows, and we both love to write!

t-k-bradley

There isn’t much to be said about T.K. Bradley. She lives north of The Wall, in the great white expanse of Canada, with her husband and two children. She has a variety of pets, all with ridiculous names that only children can be blamed for.

Shade is her first publication, so please excuse her stumbling. Even authors must learn to walk before they can run.

T.K. is the author of Shade (Shade Chronicles Book 1), a Post Apocalyptic/Sci-Fi Thriller.  

shade-book-cover

 

 

Lakes evaporate. Plants die. Skin blisters. All from a sun that now burns too hot.

If James hadn’t made his wife a promise to stay alive at all costs, he would have given up long ago. All he has in life is a small group of survivors, and his little sliver of shade. But there are worse things to fear than the light. In order to survive in this cruel world, James will have to live by two rules.

Hide from the light. Fear the night.

 

Author Questions

 

When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

My earliest story was a Cinderella retelling, fully illustrated of course. I was probably around 9 or 10? While my artistic skills left something to be desired, the editing was atrocious, and it was essentially plagiarized from my favorite book, my mother told me it was the best book she had ever read. It’s amazing how a little bit of positive reinforcement can drive a person to do even the most impossible things.

In what genre do you write?

Though my reading tends to be eclectic, my writing tends to lean towards science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. I love writing scenes that get the heart pumping and the imagination turning!

Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

I have a confession to make… I have a soft spot for angsty romance. Love triangles, forbidden romance, star-crossed lovers; I want it all! I’ve never felt brave enough to attempt putting that kind of angst into my stories yet, because I’m terrified that I won’t get it just right. One day maybe…

What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

All of the above? I haven’t had any particular writing method win out over the others yet. They seem to be in a bit of a cage-match at the moment. Recently, I’ve tried dictating my story, but there’s one major flaw; there’s no backspace key, no delete, AND typos! The OCD in me is slowly being driven crazy, one homophone at a time.

Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

I hope this doesn’t sound pretentious, but I don’t know that I could pinpoint just one or two authors and say, “Them! They made me who I am today!” Whenever I read a book that resonates with me, I try to hold a part of it inside, for as long as humanly possible. Then, when I’m trying to write a scene, I think about what kind of emotion I’m aiming for, and delve into my “previous-reads” file.

How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

A lot of my stories are post-apocalyptic or alternate realities, so research is difficult to do. I do spend a lot of time looking at maps and finding the right geographical locations. I use my family vacations as fact-finding missions… does that mean I can write them off as a business expense? 😉

Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

Absolutely not! Total silence, please! It is one of the major barriers I run into while writing. I try to encase myself within a soundproof bubble, that seems to be largely invisible to my children. Writing outside of the house is similarly distracting. I get my best writing done after everyone has gone to bed. It’s a good thing that I need fewer hours of sleep than the average human. I’m able to run off anxiety and caffeine.

When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

Netflix and chill. Coffee and book. Couch and nap. These are the real-world power couples.

What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

If I’m being honest, I would say being interviewed is right up there! My professional writing career has just begun, so every step I’ve taken has been a first. Everything is shiny and new! The best experience so far, though, was probably when my parents surprised me with a box full of paperbacks. My first story was so short that I hadn’t planned on getting any printed, but they went all ninja, and enlisted my best friend’s help to plan the best surprise ever.

Who created your amazing cover art?

Ooh! I love that you asked this! My cover art was done by Lori Parker at Contagious Covers. She had asked me what I was looking for, and she suffered through my vague descriptions. She came out with the most eye-catching piece of art I ever could have hoped for! She’s a magician!

Is there an artist, book blogger, editor or anyone else that you want to give a shout out to?

As a hard-core introvert, I’ve found it incredibly hard to break out of my shell. There have been members of the book community, however, who just won’t let me hermit. Toni, over at My Book Addiction, has been so great with her support. Erin Hayes, an amazing author in her own right, has also given me gentle nudges towards human interaction. Lori Parker, author/cover artist/best friend in the world, has been more aggressive with her help, and I literally wouldn’t have published my first book without her.

Also, a huge thank you to every single reader who has given my story a shot! I know it’s a little scary to try a new author, so I genuinely appreciate every page-turn.

Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.

I’m currently writing Prey, the next story in the Shade Chronicles. It takes place before Shade, telling the story of a young teenage girl, who has lived in an enclosed compound for over a decade. When she finally sets foot outside, with her father and brother, she finds that the world as she knew it is dead. The sun is hot enough to blister skin and bleach the earth, but there is something even more dangerous at night.

 

Halloween Questions

 

This is a Halloween blog post so you must tell us, do you enjoy Halloween? Why or why not?

I like Halloween, in theory… but I’m also ridiculously lazy about it. I take my kids trick-or-treating, and I’ll even throw on some face-paint. That’s the extent of my effort.

Do you have any Halloween traditions?

Since we’re out most of the evening with the kids, by the time we get home we only have a handful of people come to our house. Those few, those lucky few, get a stupid amount of candy. It is my goal to have zero candy left at the end of the night, but we also don’t want to run out. It’s a bit of a game.

Do you believe in the spiritual realm?

Hmmm, that’s a tough one. Yes? I definitely believe that there is more to this world that what we can see or explain. I’m not ruling anything out, just in case. You can be sure that if there is a spiritual realm, I’m going to be rocking it!

Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost or something happen that you just can’t explain?

I’ve heard plenty of stories, but I only have one thing that has happened (though more than once) that I guess could be called second-sight. Once, it narrowly avoided a car crash, so I’ll gladly take that kind of phenomenon!

What is your favorite scary movie and/or book?

I can’t say that there are many books that have scared my pants off, but movies are a different story entirely. I’m a “watch with the lights on” kind of girl. I may have paused The Ring a few times to catch my breath, and I had to keep my eyes closed when I was watching Blair Witch because I got motion-sickness (although I think that made it scarier, since I had no idea what was going on). I really love cheesy gore, though! Nightmare on Elm Street is a classic go-to. I also giggle uncontrollably when watching The Walking Dead. Love it!

Most importantly, what is your favorite Halloween candy?

Anything with sugar. Although, I swear my kids’ candy tastes better than mine. I’d better test it.

 

Reader Questions

 

What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

I am an awful fangirl. I mean, I’m really not good at it. I tend to get awkward, and sweat uncontrollably. The author I was most excited to meet was Julie Kagawa, and I was so happy to find that she was really down-to-earth.

You mean… authors are just like regular people?

Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?

My favorite book is probably The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. We’re talking old-school, here. Written in 1951, it has largely fallen out of popularity (imagine that), but I will gladly read that book a dozen times more.

What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

I’m all for film adaptations, especially for books I will never read. No offense to Nicholas Sparks, but I’m not a fan of his books. His movies, however, are angsty-romance gold!

As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

Cliches are a book’s instant death, in my opinion.

If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

Super good question! I used to stick it out, push through to the end. But then I realized something; life is short and I’m wasting my time! It seems ridiculous to look at your life and mourn the loss of time because you won’t get all the books read. On the other hand, if that’s all you regret, it’s a life well-lived.

Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

I definitely read a full-genre spectrum, though I sometimes do it in bursts. I read only mystery books for about three years straight, and actually toyed with the idea of writing a mystery novel. Then one day, I woke up and realized that I was exhausted by mystery novels. I quit, cold turkey. I actually haven’t picked one up in over five years. Right now I’m reading contemp romance, science fiction, and a lot of dystopian.

Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

Both, but if I can get my hands on a physical book, I prefer having something tangible. They just take up so much space! I’m at the point of over-stuffed bookshelves spilling out onto the floor.

 

Random Questions

 

Favorite movie?

Princess Bride

Favorite TV show?

Depends on what I’m binge watching at that moment. Let’s go with Penny Dreadful.

If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Does dessert count as a dish?

What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

Those cheap chocolate bars they sell at the grocery checkouts. I just can’t seem to say no.

What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

I’ve been a Beatles fan since I was seven, and I’m so proud of my younger self for having such good taste.

What’s your hidden talent?

It wouldn’t be hidden if I told you…

What is your dream vacation?

Hiking the Milford Track in New Zealand. Now I just need someone to bankroll that vacation.

 

Contact Information:

Author Name: T.K. Bradley

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TK-Bradley-335823076763695/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15224205.T_K_Bradley

Book Links: http://a.co/2ufVaNc

 

 

YA Book Signing at New Hope Public Library; Meet Author A.G. Porter

A.G. Porter

A.G. Porter

I’ve introduced you to Melanie and Ashley, but now it’s time to get to know me a bit more. I use this questionnaire for my author interviews, but have never answered the questions myself. They’re a lot tougher than I thought. Ha!

A.G. Porter is the author of The Darkness Trilogy, a YA Paranormal Thriller. She is an Independent Author who enjoys writing scary stories as much as she loves reading them. A.G. enjoys writing stories about real people in supernatural situations. She also puts a lot of her faith into her books because she knows that without Christ she is lost and without God she is nothing. Currently, A.G. is working on the last book in the trilogy. When she isn’t writing, she’s either taking pictures, reading, making nerdy jewelry, watching movies, or spending much needed time with her family. A.G. lives in New Hope, Alabama with her husband, Billy, stepson, Brenton, and their 4 dogs.

The Shadow; Book One in The Darkness Trilogy

The Shadow; Book One in The Darkness Trilogy

Author Questions

When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

I’m going to give the most cliché answer ever here. I’ve always loved writing. I feel like it’s been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. However, it wasn’t until I was in the 9th grade that the writing bug really sunk its teeth in and wouldn’t let go.

In what genre do you write?

I write in the Paranormal genre for Young Adults.

Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

There are so many different genres I’d like to try my hand at. I really would like to delve into Epic Fantasy. I actually started writing a series nearly 7 years ago, but it has gotten so in depth with history, characters, and location. Yes, I’ve even drawn a map!

What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

I just free style it. I have an idea in my head, but I don’t outline. The fantasy book is as outlined as I have ever been and that really surprised me. With that series though, I had to write everything down. There is just too much to keep up with. However, my other stories aren’t outlined or any details written out prior to going into it. I just let it flow. I’ll start with a journal and then get it all transcribed on screen.

Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

I have met some great authors over my time “in the field.” So, there are definitely a few that have inspired me in different ways. Ashley Chappell, Brian Weimer, Jeremy Hicks, and Kyle Hannah, just to name a few. There are a few authors I have been reading for years that have been great influences, such as, Dean Koontz, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, and R.L Stine.

How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

Since my work is primarily fiction, I didn’t have to do much research. My books take place in a real town, so I at least studied the area prior to writing about it.

Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

I do listen to music while I write and edit, but it’s different for each process. When I’m writing I’ll listen to lyrical music, such as, Three Days Grace (before Adam left), Breaking Benjamin, Evanescence, Taylor Swift, Christina Perri, Our Last Night, and Andie Case, just to name a few. If I’m editing then I have to listen to something instrumental because the lyrics mess me up. I love listening to Lindsey Sterling.

When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

I love photography! It doesn’t matter what kind. I also make nerdy jewelry, such as, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and I even make ribbon bookmarks. I try and touch many fandoms like Supernatural, Doctor Who, LOTR, The Walking Dead, etc. I sell them through my side company, Nerdy Deeds Jewelry. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nerdy-Deeds-Jewelry-and-More/301073200078500?fref=ts

What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

I have had many memorable moments, but nothing beats hearing from people who enjoy my books. It just gives me butterflies every time someone loves my stories as much as I do.

Who created your amazing cover art?

I’ve worked with two amazing artists, Mel Gannon and TaniaART. They are simply beautiful souls and talented beyond my expectations. I have been so blessed to know them.

Is there an artist, book blogger, editor, or anyone else that you want to give a shout out to?

There are really too many to name, but I can’t thank all of the people who have been Beta Readers enough. Your feedback is priceless.

Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.

I’m in the final writing stages of Book 3 of The Darkness Trilogy. I do not have a “The End” on it yet, but after my rereading I know that there will be one. If you’ve followed Rayna’s journey up until this point then you know it has been a long and dark road. There is much more left of her story and things only get darker. Friendships are tested, love is challenged, and faith means more than anything if she and her group want to defeat The Shadow.

The Forsaken, Book Two in The Darkness Trilogy

The Forsaken, Book Two in The Darkness Trilogy

Reader Questions

What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

Dean Koontz, J.K. Rowling, R.L. Stine…Stine has been in my reading life for as long as I can remember. I really think I would flat out fangirl if I ever met him.

It’s completely impossible for a reader to pick their favorite book. However, if you were banished to a deserted island with no hope of returning and were allowed to bring 5 books with you, which ones would you choose?

When writing this question I didn’t realize how difficult it was! Ugh! OK, let me try. First, I would have to bring the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. In my defense of combining the three books, Tolkien did want to make it all one big book. It was his editor who split it up. Next, Circle of Fire by R.L. Stine. It completely freaks me out. I love it! Though it might not be a good idea to read a scary book on a deserted island… The third book I would take would be The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. It isn’t my favorite book in the series, but it is the longest so it would take me longer to get through. I still love it even if it’s not my favorite. The fourth book would be The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, because it IS my favorite book in the Harry Potter Series. Lastly, I have to take Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Odd Thomas is my literary soul mate. 🙂

What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

I would love to see Garth Nix’s The Abhorsen Trilogy in a movie. I’m not sure how well received it would be considering that it is quite the fantasy ride, but if done well, it will be amazing!!

As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

Unnecessary graphic language, violence, or sex. Even my own books have an element of violence to them since they are thrillers and there is a supernatural battle taking place. However, if you’re writing these things just for shock value then it is noticeable. I can’t stand that.

If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

Most of the time I finish the book, but there have been a few times that I couldn’t make myself do it.

Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

I do have a favorite genre, paranormal, but I do read mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.

Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

Both, really. I love a real, in my hands book though, more than anything.

Fallen Souls; The Darkness Trilogy Novella

Fallen Souls; The Darkness Trilogy Novella

Random Questions

Favorite movie?

Jurassic Park, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare before Christmas, The Fifth Element, A Walk to Remember, Spider-Man (with Tobey Maguire), Alien, Corpse Bride…the list goes on!

Favorite TV show?

Supernatural, Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, Arrow, The Flash, Once Upon a Time, Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fringe, X-Files, Criminal Minds, Bones, again, the list goes on.

If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chicken Parmesan from Connor’s Steak and Seafood at Bridge Street.

What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

Reese’s Peanut butter Cups.

What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

Three Days Grace (before Adam left), Taylor Swift, Our Last Night, Breaking Benjamin, The Rolling Stones, Dashboard Confessional, The Killers, Vance Joy

What’s your hidden talent?

I think I’m a pretty good singer. Definitely not the next Whitney Houston, but I’m alright.

What is your dream vacation?

Going to Ireland and exploring all the old castles.

Contact Information:

Author Name: A.G. Porter

Blog: https://agporter.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TDTAGP

Twitter: https://twitter.com/agporter1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/agporter

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/agporter1/

Book Links: http://www.amazon.com/A.G.-Porter/e/B00IQL0P2S/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

 

YA Book Signing at New Hope Public Library: Meet Author Melanie Dickerson

Author Melanie Dickerson

Author Melanie Dickerson

I was lucky enough to meet Melanie Dickerson at the Rocket City NerdCon last year. As soon as I met her I knew that she was one of the most endearing people I’ve had the pleasure to know. I fell in love with her personality and especially her contagious smile. She’s one of those beautiful souls that you can’t help be drawn to because there seems to be a light emanating from all around her.

Melanie Dickerson is the author of Medieval fairy tale retellings, including The Healer’s Apprentice and The Merchant’s Daughter, both Christy Award finalists, winner of The National Reader’s Choice Award for 2010’s Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on the web at http://www.MelanieDickerson.com.

Author Questions

When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

I wanted to be an author when I was in 7th grade, or around that time. I wrote all during high school and then put it aside when I started college and didn’t pick it back up again for about 15 years.

In what genre do you write?

I write YA, historical romance, inspirational/Christian, Medieval, and Christian adult Regency romances.

Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

I think someday I’d like to write contemporaries. Although I’m happy writing historicals for now.

What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

I don’t outline. I come up with a story idea, write as short a summary as my publisher will let me get away with, and then I brainstorm the main points of the story, and start writing on my laptop. When I get stuck, I will bounce ideas off someone, whoever will stand still long enough, usually.

Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

As a kid, I was inspired by Harper Lee, since I grew up about 45 or 50 miles from Monroeville, Harper Lee’s hometown, and I was a Lee. I thought, if she could be so successful, perhaps it was possible for me too.

How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

I do a lot of research on Medieval Europe, the everyday lives of people then, the language, what words were used or not used, and current events of the time.

Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

I can’t listen to music when I edit because it’s too distracting, but I sometimes listen to Andrea Bocelli or Medieval and Renaissance music when I’m writing the first draft.

When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

I like watching movies with my two daughters, cooking, and . . . well, I don’t do much of anything besides write. LOL!

What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

I guess just signing my first contract, and some of the awards I’ve finaled in and won. I got to accept the Carol Award for Young Adult fiction in 2012. That was pretty amazing.

Who created your amazing cover art?

Mike Heath of Magnus Creative did all five of my Zondervan books, and I’m not sure who to credit for my Thomas Nelson covers, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest and The Golden Braid.

Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.

My next book, The Golden Braid, comes out in November and is a Rapunzel story in my YA fairy tales collection. I think my readers will like the surprise I have for those who have read all my Hagenheim stories. 🙂

10955795_1023955537621798_5701909981077774485_n

Reader Questions

What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

Harper Lee, Kate DiCamillo, and Judith Merkle-Riley

It’s completely impossible for a reader to pick their favorite book. However, if you were banished to a deserted island with no hope of returning and were allowed to bring 5 books with you, which ones would you choose?

The Bible, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Confident Woman, and In Pursuit of the Green Lion.

What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

Mine! LOL!

As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

If it’s boring, full of errors, or not believable.

If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

I put it down. Life is too short to read a bad book.

Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

I read a lot of different genres.

Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

I like an actual paperback.

Random Questions

Favorite movie?

National Velvet, Penelope, Pride & Prejudice (the Colin Firth version), Jane Eyre (the Toby Stephens version), Joe Versus the Volcano, and several other Jane Austen movies.

Favorite TV show?

Psych

If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Moussaka

What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

Lindt dark chocolate truffles

What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

Switchfoot!

What’s your hidden talent?

I am a genius at spelling.

What is your dream vacation?

Visiting old castles all over Europe, especially Germany.

Contact Information:

Author Name: Melanie Dickerson

Blog: www.MelanieDickerson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MelanieDickersonBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/melanieauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Melanie_Dickerson

Book Links: http://www.amazon.com/Melanie-Dickerson/e/B003BAAJG6/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

YA Book Signing at New Hope Public Library: Meet Author Ashley Chappell

Ashley Chappell

Ashley Chappell

This Friday, July 24th, will be the YA Book Signing at New Hope Public Library in New Hope, AL. I’ll be joined by two fantastic YA Authors. One of them is Ashley Chappell, author of the Dreams of Chaos Trilogy. It feels as though I’ve known Ashley my entire life, but in reality it’s been just a short time. But that is just the kind of person Ashley is; she makes you feel welcome no matter who you are.

I was more than happy that she agreed to come to this signing and share her work with the people of New Hope and surrounding towns. And while I feel like I know her pretty well, I couldn’t help but dig a little deeper into her work. So, sit back, relax, and get to know more about one of the best YA Authors out there today.

Author Questions

When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

It probably wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say that my love of books began in utero. My mother read constantly throughout her pregnancy and then read her books as well as mine to me from the time she brought me home to the moment she handed the reading reigns over to me as a kindergartner. However, I can’t say that there was a single moment in my life that I decided, ‘Hey, I should write one of these things.’ For me, writing was a natural step from my love of reading, although my motivations for writing have evolved over the years.

In what genre do you write?

Primarily Fantasy, but I love to step outside of the other-worldly on occasion for a good old-fashioned Satire. Mostly, I think, because it helps keep me the heavier cynicism out of my fantasy.

Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

I do have story lines that I want to pursue in Science Fiction, but I don’t have the time for the research yet. One day!

What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

I think best when my fingers are flying across a keyboard and not giving my brain enough time to overthink a scene. My writing is always strongest when it starts out fast and ugly. As for pens… ugh. I get a hand cramp just signing books!

Of War & Taters

Ashley’s deep south satire, Of War & Taters

Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

Without a doubt, those would be Sir Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. When the long nights and weekends of studying manuscript preparation, revising, editing, re-revising and editing my edits exhaust me while the characters for new stories are jumping on my back to get my attention it is always a dog-eared Pratchett novel that I pull down to restore my sanity. And let me tell you, restoring my sanity is no small task. But I’ve also fallen in love of late with Catherynne Valente and Patrick Rothfuss for their lyrical styles. They both can make a page flow straight into the canvas of the imagination.

How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

Most of my research has been into mythology and the study of historical cultures that were beginning to drift away from their classical pantheons. Granted, war and conquest were typical causes for a theological shift in a culture, but they seldom stood alone. Scientific advancement, easing societal taboos, and most especially prosperity were always key drivers in the shift away from devout pantheistic belief structures in which all natural phenomena were ascribed to the machinations of the gods. I wanted to create a society that was in that later stage of development and no longer “needed” the gods, but that were on occasion reminded of their existence through typically unfortunate events. I wanted to answer one primary question before I began writing a pantheistic culture endowed with magic and science side by side: What happens to a society that has evolved past blind faith in gods to make the sun rise every day, but can still be subject to the whims of otherwise disinterested gods? The Dreams of Chaos series explores that relationship across all three of the books.

Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

Rain Ambience! Although right now I’m listening to some soft instrumental paired with it. I need something to drown out the world outside, but if it has words I’ll forget what I’m doing and sing at the top of my lungs 🙂

When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

What? There are other times? Ha! I read every chance I get, but I also love to be outside on the water. My husband and I go sailing and camp on the boat any chance we get – which are unfortunately far fewer than we would like.

What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

That’s an easy one to answer – it’s every single time I get a nice note or a great review from a total stranger. They have no ulterior motives for telling me they found and enjoyed my work, and nothing to gain other than my eternal gratitude, but it feels AMAZING. It makes every day cursing at a keyboard not just worthwhile, but absolutely a mission.

Is there an artist, book blogger, editor, or anyone else that you want to give a shout out to?

Specifically?? Oh lordy. It might sound like a cop out, but I can’t narrow down this list without doing hundreds of others serious injustice. The literary network is so much more than authors – although we’re certainly the neediest of the group. I’ve met a number of book bloggers, editors, and artists who are every bit as passionate about the written word and support the advancement of it in a million ways, whether they do it for a career or as a much-loved hobby. We owe them all so much!

Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.

I’m still working on my monster, the third and final book in the YA Dreams of Chaos series. A God of Gods: Dreams of Chaos #3 is going to wrap up Trotter’s story arc. She’s no longer able to hide from her role in the prophecies of Realm, though other entities, more ancient and powerful than the gods themselves, are trying to alter her role to suit their own ends.

Alice Will

Reader Questions

What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

Since I can no longer meet Sir Terry (cry!), it would have to be Neil Gaiman. I’d probably stand there like a moron and gape given the chance, however.

It’s completely impossible for a reader to pick their favorite book. However, if you were banished to a deserted island with no hope of returning and were allowed to bring 5 books with you, which ones would you choose?

Hmmm… time for a little creative cheating! 1. The Wheel of Time Compendium. It might way 500 lbs and be 5 feet thick, but I’m sure I can cram it all into one book 😉 2. Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. 3. American Gods by Neil Gaiman. 4. Ringworld by Larry Niven. 5. Can I make this a revolving slot? Picking one last book is giving me a stroke..

What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

I have the same answer for both sides of that question. I would LOVE to watch the Wheel of Time series on a big screen, no matter how huge and sprawling the films would have to be. On the other hand, I also know Hollywood would cut out hundreds of pages of the slower parts (aka, parts where nothing goes “boom”) and I’d spend the entire experience gnashing my teeth and composing hate mail that might earn me a place on a watch list.

As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

Too much backstory. If the author can’t weave important information fluidly into the story without having to stop the story for an expository aside, I’m going to get bored because I’ll never fall into a rhythm reading that way.

If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

I can only think of 1 book I’ve ever finally given up trying to read. Of course, that means I’ve also finished some real turds, too. And no, I’m not sharing the name of the book I gave up reading.

Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

I tend to stay with fantasy, science fiction, and satire above all else. I enjoy historical fiction (I am a huge Ken Follett fan), but it’s not a genre I crave in the same way as I do the others.

Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

I swore for the longest time that they’d have to pry a bound book out of my cold, dead hands. My arthritic neck and bad eyes had other plans, however. I hardly ever read on anything but an e-reader now.

Tilt

 

Random Questions

Favorite movie?

Okay, now you’re putting me in stroke territory again.

Favorite TV show?

What is it with you? You’re a sadist! Too many possibilities!

If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Salmon Nigiri!!

What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

Reese’s Pieces. But only if you say it exactly like E.T.

What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

Nickel Creek, Zee Avi… those are two of my usual obsessions.

What’s your hidden talent?

I can out-belch my husband? Okay, I probably shouldn’t claim that, but it’s true. I still dabble in piano enough to write the music for my book trailers, but I’m rustier than ever.

What is your dream vacation?

I want to rent a quiet apartment on a Croatian island in the off season, maybe Hvar, and write in old-world paradise.

Contact Information:

Author Name: Ashley Chappell

Blog: www.ashleychappellbooks.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AshleyChappellAuthor

Twitter: @AshleyNChappell

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ashleynchappell/

Book Links: http://www.amazon.com/Ashley-Chappell/e/B00AQIN99U

 

  

Author Take Over by Elizabeth Seckman

I hope all of you lovely readers are having a fantastic Saturday!

Let me start your day off right with some great news! On February 26th, Author Elizabeth Seckman will be taking over my blog with her very own post in celebration of her new book, Defying Reason. If you love romance novels with interesting plots and believe that true love is out there for everyone then you do not want to miss this post! I am very excited and honored to have Elizabeth as my guest. I hope you all stop by and show her the love you’ve shown me.

Author Elizabeth Seckman

Author Elizabeth Seckman

If you want to learn a little about Elizabeth before her post then visit her Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elizabeth-Seckman-Author/361427683923220?sk=timeline

Elizabeth has many other books that you can check in addition to Defying Reason. You can learn about them on her Amazon page here:

http://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Seckman/e/B008VTLXSA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1424525352&sr=1-2-ent

Have a great one, y’all! Stay warm and toasty!

God bless,

~A

Femnista~A Family Affair and Beyond Blood with The Winchesters

In December I was able to contribute an article to the wonderful online magazine Femnista about my favorite TV show Supernatural! I can’t thank Charity Bishop enough for letting me sneak in at the last minute on this issue. There was no way I was going to miss out on the chance to write about the Winchesters!

Before you get in the to wonderful magazine, please take a moment to check out more of Charity’s work. She is also an author who is beyond talented!

http://www.charitysplace.com/

To see the full magazine that is full of articles that are focused on this month’s theme, “A Family Affair”, go here:

http://issuu.com/femnista/docs/nov_dec_femnista_2014/0

Beyond Blood

S14

For some, there is nothing we wouldn’t do for our families. Without a doubt we’d walk through fire for them, take a bullet them, or walk through hell and back. If you’re a Winchester then you’ve probably done all of the above and more than once. That’s because The Winchesters aren’t your average family. They come from a long line of Hunters, people who make it the family business to hunt things (monsters and demons) and save people.

S6

The dynamics of the Winchester family can seem to be all over the place. John, father of Dean and Sam, is more or less a absent parent after his wife, Mary, is killed. He is so consumed with finding the demon (you read that correctly) that killed Mary that at times he leaves his young sons to fend for themselves. While this forms an unbreakable bond between the boys it also creates a strain that same relationship.

S1

Dean sees his father as the man who did what he had to do to find justice for his mother’s killer even if that meant leaving him to take care of Sam from time to time; at least for a while. Sam can’t seem to see past the fact that his dad was gone most of the time. Their relationship is rocky from the start, but regardless of that, Sam loves his father.

S11

S5

Dean, who is several years older, starts looking out for his younger brother Sam (Sammy) at such a young age that it is pretty much ingrained in him. When his mother is killed, it takes place in their home; Dean must take Sam, a baby at the time, outside to safety. From that moment on, Dean feels that he must take Sam under his wing and keep him safe. In any situation that the boys are in Dean is always looking out for his brother. That is why he sacrificed so much, even his own soul for him.

S10

For Sam, he wanted to get out of the monster hunting business and live as normal a life as possible. For a while, he was able to, but he’s a Winchester and a Hunter and happiness just isn’t in their cards. Sam, as goodhearted as he is, is marked from a child to do bad things and be a dark person, but he chooses the light and overcomes his fate. While he is the baby brother he is smart, selfless and brave; Sam works just hard to prove himself as a worthy Hunter as well a human being.

S9

As opposite as Dean and Sam are, there is one thing that both of have in common, it is the love they have for their family. Here’s the thing about the brothers, family is more than blood to them. They’ve adopted family members along the way and those same people have adopted them. From a surrogate father in Bobby Singer, brothers like Kevin and Cas, to a kid sister like Charlie, the brothers give love and love in return. So, yes, Supernatural is about brothers who fighter the forces of evil and happens to look fantastic while doing it, but it is also about brothers who have given their all in every way imaginable.

S13

*I do not own the rights to these photos

T.H. Morris and The 11th Percent

T.H. Morris

T.H. Morris

T.H. Morris is a lifelong writer who was born in 1984 and raised in Colerain, North Carolina. He has been living in Greensboro, North Carolina for the past twelve years. He is an avid reader, primarily in the genre of science fiction and fantasy because he enjoys creating people, situations, and worlds. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and spent several years as a therapist and mental health clinician. He has been writing in some way, shape, or form ever since he was strong enough to hold a pen or pencil, but the expectation of securing and maintaining a traditional 40 hour job was the expectation of all around him. The call of writing never diminished, though, and soon became too powerful to ignore. Morris began writing The 11th Percent in 2011, and is currently working on its sequel. He still resides in Greensboro, with his wife of six years.

Enter for a chance to win an ebook copy of The 11th Percent here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5c01ba8215/?

Author Questions

When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

I would have to say that it was in the fourth grade. My teacher, Miss Joyner, assigned us the task of writing these nine to ten page “books,” which were simply notebook paper bound with construction paper and yarn. Once we’d written them, she sprung on us that we would be reading them to the other fourth grade class. When I read my little story, a bunch of the kids loved it. That planted the seed in me, and it never left me. (Started early, I like it! Good teachers will do that for you. Go Teachers!)

In what genre do you write?

Paranormal Mystery.

Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

Science Fiction, or any other genre that involves stretching my mind beyond the “logical.” I don’t do logical; far too confining, my opinion. (Science Fiction is far out of my comfort zone, but I do want to tackle it one day as well. Good luck!)

What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

I don’t do in depth plot lines; my mind just doesn’t work that way. What I did was sit down and create bullet points of everything I wanted to cover, and then expand the bullets as I wrote. I did 2500 words a day, not rising until that was met. I write the entire book freehand, and then type it as is. Then I do the revisions. This is the process that works best for me. (You actually met your word count each day? Wow, you’re dedicated. Haha!)

Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

Sharon Shinn, Beverly Cleary, Lynne Reid Banks, R.L. Stine, Judy Blume, Tamora Pierce, Patricia Cornwell, J.K. Rowling, Patti Roberts, Elizabeth Wyke, Dzintra Sullivan, Meg Cabot, James Patterson, Nat Russo, Alan J. Garner, Matthew Arkin. (R.L. Stine! I fangirl over him…like all of the time…all the time)

How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

My main character, Jonah Rowe, appeared in my head nearly complete and defined; he came to me in a seven-hour, uninterrupted dream concerning the idea for my series. After he came along, the other characters seemed to follow behind him, ready-made and saying “Hello!” Truth be told, I didn’t do too much research. The story just flowed in freefall from my heart. (I love when characters are born that way!)

Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

Smooth jazz, preferably with no vocals. My favorites to listen to are Boney James, Paul Hardcastle, Wayman Tisdale, and Jeffery Smith

When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

Spending time with my wife, watching Netflix, exercising, and gaming. 

What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

Discovering that I had this in me. If you told me five years ago that I would be writing a paranormal mystery series, I would have kindly told you to go to the doctor for a checkup. Yet I’m writing one. A series that will eventually be SEVEN books. And it won’t stop there! I have other ideas after The 11th Percent Series. Four series are sitting in my head right now! Sometimes I still ask myself “Where did all these characters and stories come from?” (Never lose that creative spirit!)

11th Percent

The 11th Percent

Who created your amazing cover art?

The infinitely talented Patti Roberts of Paradox Cover Art!

Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.

The 11th Percent is a paranormal story that takes place in North Carolina. It follows the everyman Jonah Rowe, who is a bored, unfulfilled, and listless accountant who has literary aspirations. He simply wants his life to mean something. He gets his wish in a very rude fashion; he discovers that he is at the epicenter of an ongoing ethereal conflict.

I would like to say that The Eleventh Percent is a new kind of ghost story. I don’t employ the usage of some of the old tried and true formulas that we’ve seen in ghost stories in the past….all a part of putting my own original edge on a story that’s dear to my heart. I truly think people will love it!

Eleventh Percent Cemetery

Reader Questions

What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

Sharon Shinn, JK Rowling, or R.L. Stine! (Me too!)

Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?

Dark Moon Defender by Sharon Shinn. It is my favorite because it seems like everything in that books was in the perfect proportions: the action, the suspense, the setting and intricate storytelling, the fear, even the love. In my opinion, Dark Moon Defender is one of the most perfect books ever written. (I can sense how passionate you are about this book!)

What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

Sharon Shinn’s The Twelve Houses series (Dark Moon Defender is Book 3 of this series.) I would LOVE for that to be made into movies! Or even a multiple season miniseries on Netflix (provided that it is done justice)!

As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

Page upon page of mindless description. That is not to say that description is unnecessary. It’s just that in some books, some authors lose sight of the cutoff point. In those cases, the descriptions just sound like long, dull resumes.

If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

Normally, I soldier through it. You just never know what you’ll find if you are just a little diligent! (I like it! Soldier on!)

Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

I like to read around. My main love is anything paranormal, science fiction, or fantasy, but I also read mystery, sports biographies, and self-help. I have a great deal of female author friends who are paranormal romance novelists, so I dabble into that genre as well. I’m never disappointed; they are some truly talented women. 

Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

For the longest time, I was heavily into paperbacks and hardcover. I adore the smell of a new book and the turning of pages. But then, I came across indie authors some years back and was unable to access their stories unless I had access to ebooks. That got me into that avenue. Nowadays, I love all three. (I am the same way. You have to embrace the technology!)

Eleventh Percent The Glade

 

Random Questions

Favorite movie? T

he Batman series that stars Christian Bale.

Favorite TV show?

Anything Star Trek, Alias, and Firefly. (Looooooovvvveeee Firefly!)

If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

My wife’s taco stew! (Smart man)

What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

Chocolate chip cookie cake! (YUM!)

What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

Nirvana, Linkin Park, Rick Ross, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Wale, Boney James, Paul Hardcastle, Justin Timberlake, Iggy Pop

What’s your hidden talent?

Memory retention! (Will you share you talent with me? I have a terrible memory!)

What is your dream vacation?

Oceanfront hotel room at North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!

Ethereal Duality

Contact Information:

Author Name: Terrick Heckstall (TH Morris-pen name)

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorthmorris

Twitter: https://twitter.com/terrick_j

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/35036627-terrick-heckstall

Book Links: KINDLE US: http://amzn.to/1tE41Kk

KINDLE UK: http://amzn.to/1wKdsa8

KINDLE AU: http://bit.ly/1nU54VG

KINDLE CA: http://amzn.to/1yKu9mY

The 11th Percent

Jonah closed his eyes and recited the alphabet with three breaths in between each letter. It was a trick he started in elementary school. It always worked wonders for making time pass, and better yet, he rarely EVER finished. It was sure to work. Sure enough, before he had even reached the letter P, Langton called, “Alright, my friends! The workday is now completed! I would like to thank you all for being troopers. Remember, you are helping ALL of us keep our jobs! Good evening.”

Jonah packed his laptop gratefully. That tactic worked every time. He headed for the door, grateful to hear the exit signal’s rhythmic chimes.

It was on the third chime that it happened.

Jonah blinked, a natural occurrence that he had done a billion times. Only in this momentary closing of his eyes, he opened them to bear witness to a very strange phenomenon. The world around him—the office, the parking lot, the cars, everything—looked blue.

They were perfectly normal in every other regard, but it seemed someone had shaded his vision with cerulean. Alarmed, he glanced around and blinked hard. It made no difference. The blue veil remained.

His eyes shot up to the sky, which now had an even darker hue because of the blue veil over his eyes.

What the hell is going on? he wondered wildly. What had happened? Had he damaged his eyes? Had he suddenly contracted some rare disease that had polarized his eyes and resulted in a permanent tinge of blue?

“Jonah Rowe,” said a voice.

He whirled around. A woman stood there, swaddled in what looked like fading lights. Her hair was dark, made darker by the bluish tinge. Her eyes were wide-set and full of fear. She might have been pretty if she didn’t look so horrified and desperate.

“Jonah Rowe,” she repeated again.

“What is going on?” demanded Jonah. “Why is everything blue? Who are you?”

“Jonah Rowe,” she said for a third time. Her voice was as strange as her appearance; it sounded like a two-or three-part harmony. She also sounded like she spoke to him from several yards away, though she stood right in front of him. “You must help us all. You have the power. Help us. Please.”

Jonah was more confused than ever. “What power? What are you talking about, lady? And tell me why everything is blue!”

“You are the one,” said the woman. “You must help us cross on. He has blocked the path.”

Jonah backed away from her. “Lady, I don’t know who you are, or who he is, and I don’t know anything about any paths! Now tell me what’s going on!”

“You must help us! Please, Jonah Rowe! You have the power. Please—!”

She disappeared. It looked as though it had been against her will, like she’d been yanked into thin air. The silence left in her absence seemed even more frightening than her disconnected voice.

Then a cat’s meow whipped Jonah around once more, almost like his body was moved in response to the sound.

He now saw, if possible, an even stranger sight. A calico cat stared at him while pawing at the shin of a tall man that Jonah swore had not been there moments before. He looked to be in his late thirties, and was as calm as could be. He looked like this scene was entirely normal. Although the blue color shaded everything, Jonah could tell the man had a ruddy complexion and brownish black hair. His penetrating eyes looked like they could be grey. He had aquiline features and a demeanor that was almost regal. His casually dressed and cloaked form appeared to be shrouded in lights, just like the woman’s form had been.

“Yes, Bast,” he said quietly, “I see now. It is indeed him. You have done well.”

His eyes rose to Jonah. “Jonah Rowe,” he said in an ominous tone, “I will be seeing you again. Go home now. Do not leave. I know who you are now. Unfortunately, he does too.”

Jonah stared. Was this some kind of joke? Who was this man? What was the deal with the cat? Why was the man talking to it? And where did he get off telling Jonah to go home and stay there?

“Look, man,” he said, fear and incomprehension blending to form a high pitched voice most unlike his own, “I don’t have a clue what’s going on—”

“You do not,” interrupted the man. “But you will, son. You will. Heed my warning.”

Jonah opened his mouth to retort, but the man disappeared in a swirl of light. The calico gave him one more look of appraisal, and then dashed into a nearby alley. Jonah blinked again.

Everything was normal. The deep blue sky was the only thing that was that color as the late afternoon gave way to evening. Incoherent chatter, passing cars, and bustling people once again dominated the scene.

Jonah looked around. There was no weird woman, no cat, and no tall, regal-looking man. He blinked again, just to make sure, but nothing had changed. Normalcy was evident in every detail of his environment.

“Um, Jonah,” said an annoyed voice, “If you don’t mind, some of us actually have lives to live.”

Jessica was behind him; he was blocking her path. With a jolt, he realized he was back at the threshold of the office, at the exact spot where the weirdness had begun. How was he back where he started? He had moved at least five feet from the door when the world went blue, yet here he was like nothing had happened at all.

“Jessica,” he breathed, “Didn’t you see that? Didn’t you see that blue?”

Jessica rolled her eyes and pushed past him. “I don’t know what you’ve been using, Rowe, but the only thing blue out here is my car.”

She headed to her car, leaving Jonah bewildered and confused. He had barely even registered her snide comment. The only thing blaring in his mind was one question:

What the hell had just happened?