Friday, December 27, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things: Happy New Year Edition


It's time for another weekly celebration with Vikki at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author. Thanks as always to Vikki for hosting this hop!

First off, I'm celebrating that I had a truly wonderful Christmas this week filled with lots of laughter and fun with some of the people I love most in this world. What else can you ask for, right? I hope that all of you who celebrate Christmas also had a fantastic holiday.

Vikki suggested that for this last hop of 2013 we look back and celebrate the whole year, and I thought that was a great idea.

To me, 2013 will always be about the two books I had published! If someone had told me a few years back that by the end of December, 2013 I would have two books out in the world I would have asked them what kind of drugs they were taking. It just goes to show you never really know what can happen when you take a chance and try a new path.

Which leads me to the start of that path, this blog. December 31 will be my third anniversary of blogging and I can honestly say that taking that step that day in 2010 has been one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. When looking back at 2013 it's a thrill to realize that I've made tons of new friends out here in blog land (while still cherishing the old ones) in spite of the fact that I've been at this now for three years.

So I'm celebrating this amazing community that I am so proud and grateful to be part of and that has enriched my life in ways I never could have imagined back in 2010 when I hit "publish" for the first time.

Thanks to all of you and I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year. Here's to a wonderful 2014 for all of us.

Source

Monday, December 23, 2013

Aquinnah Tour and Merry Christmas!

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I'm wrapping up my blog tour for The Ghosts of Aquinnah today with a visit to Hurricane Crimes author Chrys Fey and an interview with Marionette author T.B. Markinson. Thanks to everyone who has hosted me over the past few weeks and visited me here and elsewhere, it's been a fun month!

I'm at Chrys Fey's place sharing an excerpt from The Ghosts of Aquinnah which sheds a little more light on the character of Christopher Casey. You can find the excerpt here. I'm also interviewed by T.B. Markinson today and want to send a huge thank you to T.B. for her patience with my screw-up regarding this interview. I was supposed to be interviewed last Thursday, when I interviewed T.B. here, but somehow I managed to send T.B. nothing but her questions instead of my answers. I have no clue what I did with the original file but T.B. was kind enough to give me the opportunity to answer her questions again and is now sharing our interview here.

I knew I needed a break after that mix-up! But before I check out for the week I want to announce the winner of Friday's 'Tis More Blessed giveaway. Susan Flett Swiderski won the ebook copy of The Ghosts of Aquinnah. Thanks to everyone who entered and visited, I had a great time with Milo's event.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

With that, I just want to say Merry Christmas! 2013 has been an amazing year for me and I'm looking forward to a wonderful holiday with my family. Best wishes and happy holidays to all. :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

'Tis More Blessed #Giveaway and The Labyrinth Challenge


Milo Fowler is back with another round of 'Tis More Blessed Friday giveaways and I'm excited to be participating again this week. I'm giving away an ebook (.epub or .mobi) copy of The Ghosts of Aquinnah and, just like last week, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post to be entered to win. Leave your comment before Monday and I will announce the winner then.

There are lots of authors taking part so please visit Milo's site to learn about all the giveaways going on. Thanks again to Milo for hosting this fun event!

But most of my post today is devoted to helping spread the word about Emilyann Girdner's upcoming release The Labyrinth Wall by taking part in her Labyrinth Challenge. Congratulations and best of luck to Emilyann! I've never seen a cover reveal with an arcade game included like this, it's very creative and fun and I'm impressed! Here is all the info on the book and the challenge straight from Emilyann herself.



The Labyrinth Challenge!

Welcome to The Labyrinth Challenge! This is a cover reveal event celebrating Young Adult Author Emilyann Girdner’s upcoming book, The Labyrinth Wall. What’s the big challenge? It’s to hop around to all sites participating in the event (site links are listed at the bottom of this post) and count how many character quotes are from the main character, Araina. Circle back to Anything Imagined and comment saying how many Araina quotes were posted during the hop. Emilyann will wait to randomly select a winner from the comments on December 23rd at noon (Eastern Standard time). The winner will receive a $15 electronic Starbucks giftcard (just in time for the holidays).

The Labyrinth Wall Character Quote:

“My strings are being pulled, this time by a different puppet master.” ~Araina

Without further delay, let’s kick off the book cover reveal and learn more about The Labyrinth Wall…

The Labyrinth Wall
(Obsidian Series, Book1)
Young Adult Fantasy Novel
By: Emilyann Girdner

This is the tale of a young woman who discovers that although labyrinth walls confine her and her enemies try to repress her, the power of hope can set her free…

Araina’s isolated teenage life is forever altered when she witnesses a man emerge through a rippling wall into the dark labyrinth she calls home. As a result of the stranger’s arrival, Araina’s Creators have unleashed a series of magical attacks using the labyrinth against its inhabitants. Now Araina must decide if she will trust potentially deceitful allies in order to reach safety on the other side of the labyrinth wall.



Release Date:
Ebook: January 2nd 2014 - Amazon (Free download Jan 2nd - 6th 2014)
Paperback: January through Barnes & Noble and Amazon

Excerpt:

(Find a different excerpt at each site participating in this event)

My hand motions for the man in white to follow as we head back into the dark hall. Darith glances both ways, and he propels back down the direction we came in. He launches a door open then disappears into a cell.
“Darith,” I whisper. “What are you doing, come on!” I pause at the doorway to the cell and find him shaking the woman who led us here.
She opens her eyes, staring blankly in a daze before jumping up with surprise. Sharply tightened lips wordlessly convey her attitude as she remembers. Her eyes roll as Darith smugly says, “Okay, lady, I’m gonna make a sweet deal with ya. Get us out of this place and I’ll let ya live. I’ll even give ya back the bag I stole from ya.”
“You’re so kind,” she replies with agitation.
When we head into the hall, she starts back the way we came.
“Think again. The guards will be looking for us that way. I bet you know a safer way out, right?” My dagger grazes her stomach.
She flinches as it almost pierces through her shirt to her tan skin.
“Fine.” She takes off the opposite direction.
The four of us swiftly glide through the halls until we come to a dead end. Despair burns in my stomach, my throat, and my lungs.
That’s it then. She cared more about our capture than saving her own life. Or never knew a good escape route in the first place. My shoulders jolt in response to the sound of Darith’s fist pounding into the wall that denies our escape.

The Labyrinth Wall Arcade Game: can you help Araina escape the labyrinth?


 

To subscribe for more updates, play games, and grab goodies (some are FREE), visit www.thelabyrinthwall.com!

Don’t forget to hop around to all the participating sites, count Araina’s quotes and comment how many you found on Anything Imagined (Emilyann’s website) for a chance to win that $15 Starbucks giftcard J

The Labyrinth Challenge Sites:

Want to participate in the The Labyrinth Wall Monster Party Book Release Event in a couple weeks? Sign up here.





Thursday, December 19, 2013

Interview with T.B. Markinson




I'm thrilled to welcome author T.B. Markinson to the blog for an interview today. I met T.B. just recently and immediately knew I liked her. I love that after several years of blogging I can still connect with new friends and fellow writers!

TB is here to talk about her new release Marionette, which I am really looking forward to reading. I appreciate her taking the time to answer my questions!

1. Tell us about your new novel Marionette. Are there any similarities between this story and your previous novel A Woman Lost?

Marionette is a novel about a young woman in her first year in college. Days before graduating from high school, she slit her wrists. Her girlfriend, Jess, convinces her to go to therapy. However, Paige isn’t just dealing with depression. She’s dealing with a past that is full of lies and deception. She feels like she has been manipulated by her parents her entire life. Paige wants to get control, but feels hopeless about succeeding.

A Woman Lost is also about a woman who is dealing with her past, but I wouldn’t say it has a lot in common with Marionette. Lizzie, the main character in A Woman Lost, has to find herself. Yes her past plays a role, but she isn’t dealing with traumatic issues like Paige.

I am drawn to writing about characters who have their own obstacles to surmount and I love to see how and if they overcome them.

2. What is your favorite genre to read? To write?

To be honest, I don’t really have a favorite genre to read. Two things pull me in: story and character. It can be science fiction, chick lit, young adult, paranormal, mystery, or historical fiction to name a few. I’ll read anything just as long as I find the story entertaining and it has to have character development. I don’t necessarily have to like the characters or relate them, but they have to be well-written.

For me, I like to write stories that have strong, conflicted, and troubled characters. I like to see how they deal with situations and what pitfalls they fall into during their journey in life.

3. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Ever since grade school I wanted to pursue writing. Over the years I would jot down stories and I started at least one novel but never finished it. Life always interfered. I was working full-time and whenever I tried to take my writing to the next level, something would happen and I found myself consumed with everyday life. Then over two years ago my partner’s company asked us to move from Boston to London. Suddenly I was unemployed. The transfer was supposed to last two years and my partner and I decided that I would use the time to give writing a go. So I pulled an unfinished manuscript out of the drawer and got to work. Now the book is published and I’ve completed the second one, Marionette.

4. What do you enjoy most about writing?

I like getting inside the heads of my characters and see what makes them tick. This includes the minor characters in my stories. I like to learn all I can about them and make them as real as possible. And what I love about writing is that the story that develops even surprises me. I don’t plot out my novels. Instead, I just let it happen. My characters tell me what will happen next. I never get a chance to boss them around.

5. Anything you don’t enjoy or struggle with when it comes to your writing?

Editing. I enjoy working with my editor. She does such a wonderful job getting the story ready for publication and I learn so much about writing as a whole from her. But the crappy editing, I’m talking about the commas and all that jazz, can be tedious at times.

6. Which of your characters would you say you are most like? Least like?

Everyone assumes that I’m like Lizzie, in A Woman Lost, since it’s my first novel. I’m nothing like Lizzie. She was commitment phobic and I’m not. In fact I settled down too much in relationships in my early years and had to live with the consequences of jumping into things.

Now who am I like? That’s a difficult questions since I don’t think I’m like any of my characters. I have certain traits of my characters. Both Lizzie and Paige love history, as do I. Both are smart asses and I’ve been told I’m one as well. Other than that, I don’t think I’m like them. I would probably be more like Sarah, Lizzie’s girlfriend in A Woman Lost. She was quiet, loving, and didn’t seek a lot of attention. I’ve always preferred being out of the limelight, which might explain why I don’t make any real appearances in my stories.  

7. Your 50-Year Project blog details your goal of visiting 192 countries. When did you start this project? How many countries have you made it to so far?

I started chronicling the project in 2011. We had already been to some of the countries, but I’m still including them since travel is expensive and time-consuming. So far we’ve been to 20 countries, including the US (where we are from), England (where we live now), Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Canada, Spain, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Malaysia, and Iceland. I think I got them all. We still haven’t been to any of the countries in South America and I think that will be our next big project.

8. Do you have a favorite of those countries? If so, what is it? What country is up next on your list?


Oh gosh, it’s so hard to choose just one. The first one that always pops into my head is Botswana. This was the first country we went to where we experienced seeing massive amounts of animals in the wild. It was mind-blowing to see elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions, wildebeests, kudu, leopards, warthogs, and so many more roaming free. The entire time I was there I didn’t want to blink since I was afraid I would miss something. And the sunsets in Africa—amazing!

I don’t have any plans set in stone yet, but we are considering Rome over Easter. We’ll see.

9.Can you give us a peek at your next book?

The next book is about a woman who had everything going for her. She graduated from Harvard, had a literary agent, and a deal to write her first book. However, everything has fallen apart and she’s working at Starbucks to make ends meet. She has a crazy but loving family and girlfriend. It’s about whether she can find her true path in life and get everything back on track.

Marionette Synopsis:

Paige Alexander is seventeen and has her whole life in front of her. One day her girlfriend comes home to discover that Paige has slit her wrists. Paige isn’t insane, but she acts like she is. Why?

After the incident, Paige agrees to go to therapy to appease her girlfriend, Jess. However, Paige doesn’t believe that therapy will help her. She believes she’s beyond help. Paige doesn’t want to find herself and she doesn’t want to relive her painful past in order to come to terms with it. What Paige wants is control over her life, which she hasn’t had since her birth. 

During her childhood, Paige is blamed for a family tragedy, when in fact, her twin sister, Abbie was responsible. Abbie doesn’t come forward and Paige becomes the pariah of the family. 

To add to Paige’s woes while attending a college in a small town in Colorado, the residents are in the midst of debating whether or not gays and lesbians should have equal rights. Tension is high and there’s a threat of violence. She isn’t out of the closet and pretends to be straight at school since she fears what will happen if her parents find out she’s a lesbian. Will she end up dead like her best friend, Alex?


About the Author: 

T. B. Markinson is a 39-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. Marionette is her second novel.  A Woman Lost was her debut novel. 

Mailing List:
Sign up to TB’s New Release Mailing List here. Your email will never be shared and you will only be contacted when a new book is out.

Links:
Twitter        Facebook        Blog        Goodreads     Amazon Author Page


Purchase Links: 




Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Christmas Recipe from Brinda Berry & the Cutlass Cover Reveal

Kind of a busy day here today as I am hosting Brinda Berry and also participating in Ashley Nixon's cover reveal for her upcoming release Cutlass.

The latest book in Brinda's Whispering Woods series, Watcher of Worlds, will be released this Friday, December 20. Ashley's Cutlass will be released in April, 2014. Congratulations to both ladies!

First, Ashley's awesome cover!



Publication Date: April 23, 2014
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy

Blurb:

Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy's fiancĂ© seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it. 



Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard. 



But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.


Links:

Goodreads
Goodreads (book page):
Website
Blog
Twitter:
Facebook
Tumblr

Ashley is holding a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card at her blog to celebrate the reveal so be sure to visit her and enter!

Source: Wikimedia Commons


Next up, Brinda Berry and I are switching blogs today and sharing Christmas recipes that relate to our books. I know my family will find it funny that I am sharing recipes since I am truly the world's worst cook, but Brinda swears that her recipe can be made by anyone. So I have hope that even I could make it!

Please visit me at Brinda's for a recipe that I probably couldn't make but I think my character Stella from The Ghosts of Aquinnah could. Take it away, Brinda. :)

I'm swapping blogs today with the Julie. She's at my place and is sharing a yummy recipe related to The Ghosts of Aquinnah. When Julie and I decided to share recipes related to our books, I had a difficult time narrowing down the choice.  The story in my upcoming release, Watcher of Worlds (Whispering Woods #3), takes place during the holiday season. My characters enjoy lots of delicious food since they're celebrating Christmas. My main character, Mia Taylor, has a best friend named Em. Em made macaroons that weren't so delicious. Actually, the cookies were inedible. Poor Em. 

So, I think I'll share a recipe that even the worst cook can make. I'm actually a pretty good cook (according to me and not my husband), but I like to know I can fall back on something simple in the worst case scenario. Like making an inedible batch of macaroons.  I don't know where I first found this recipe, but I make it anytime I'm in a hurry for a dessert. I keep the ingredients on hand and prep time is nonexistent.

You Can't Mess This Up Cobbler:

2 cans of cherry, blackberry, peach, apple, or any fruit pie filling
1 stick butter
1 box of Jiffy cake mix
1 cup of chopped pecans
Spoon pie filling into the a casserole dish. Layer with Jiffy cake mix. Sprinkle chopped pecans in another layer. Cut butter into thin slices and place on top as last layer.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.



Watcher of Worlds (releasing December 20, 2013), EXCERPT:
 
Jingle Bells

I detested planned surprises.

I could read the expectation in the air from the shimmery orange vibe that glowed like a Cheetos binge gone bad.

A few months ago, my friends had discovered my secret. The secret I’d hidden so teachers and doctors wouldn’t treat me like an amped up sensory perception freak. So friends wouldn’t ask.

Synesthesia. The condition sounded like the name of an electronic punk band. I’d made the full round of emotions about my sensory perception and being able to find portals. First, I’d hid it like you hide an ugly rash. Later, I’d learned to trust my friends with my secret. I’d even embraced it.

Now, I was back to wishing for normal.

Working with Regulus and Arizona was like playing Pop Goes the Weasel—a surprise around every corner. And did I mention I hate surprises?

Give me predictable any day. Then I could be ready. It’s why I made sure I knew the contents of every box under the Christmas tree.


AUTHOR BIO:


Brinda Berry is the author of The Waiting Booth (Whispering Woods #1), Whisper of Memory (Whispering Woods #2), and the upcoming Watcher of Worlds (Whispering Woods #3). She also contributed a short story to the anthology, Wild at Heart, Vol II.

Currently working in higher education administration, she spends her days thinking of ways to improve education for college students. Brinda spends her nights devising exciting tales that involve teens who might be saving the world.

WEB     BLOG     FACEBOOK    TWITTER   GOODREADS    YOUTUBE

Congratulations again and best wishes to both Ashley and Brinda! Hope to see you over at Brinda's place.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Talking Ghosts with Gwen Gardner, 'Tis More Blessed Winner, and Susan Oloier's Latest


I'm hanging out with fellow Untethered Realms member Gwen Gardner, author of Givin' Up the Ghost and Guilty Ghost Surprised, to chat about something we obviously both love - ghost stories. I share some of my favorite ghost books and movies, and Gwen's titles definitely belong on that list. Please come visit Gwen and me here.


I'm also happy to announce that Sherry Ellis won the ebook copy of The Ghosts of Aquinnah that I gave away as part of the 'Tis More Blessed giveaway. Congratulations to Sherry! And thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. I'm on board for another round with Milo this Friday and am looking forward to it.



Finally, it's release day for Susan Oloier's latest novel Haunted.  I'm reading Haunted right now and it is a beautifully written and deeply moving story. Susan has a real gift with words. Congratulations and best of luck on the release, Susan!

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Visit to S.K. Anthony & 'Tis More Blessed

Baker's Island Light (Source: Wikimedia Commons)


I'm visiting Kinetic author S.K. Anthony to share one final ghost story for The Ghosts of Aquinnah blog tour. Visit me there to learn about the ghosts (and beast!) of Baker's Island, Massachusetts. Thank you to S.K. for hosting me!


Also, thanks to everyone who has stopped by and entered my 'Tis More Blessed drawing for an ebook copy of The Ghosts of Aquinnah. If you'd still like to enter, just leave a comment here before midnight tonight and I'll have a winner tomorrow. Thank you again to Milo for hosting the event!

I'm keeping this short today because I'm barely awake as I stayed up late last night to watch the Bengals remind us all that they are the Bengals. As they have proven more times than I can count, no one can choke quite like our pathetic Cincinnati Bengals. Way to make a statement, boys.

Hope to see you over at S.K.'s! :)


Friday, December 13, 2013

Aquinnah Tour, 'Tis More Blessed and Friday Celebrations


I'm super excited to be participating in 'Tis More Blessed today, hosted by Milo James Fowler. I'm giving away an ebook copy (mobi or epub) of The Ghosts of Aquinnah to a random commenter on this post. I'm suffering from Rafflecopter fatigue so I want to make this simple! Just leave a comment between now and Monday 12/15 at midnight and you will be entered to win. If I don't already know you please leave your email in the comment so that I can contact you if you win.

I'm sharing the 'Tis More Blessed stage today with these great writers:


Please stop by and visit everyone who is taking part. Thanks to Milo for hosting this fun giveaway every week in December.




I'm also continuing my blog tour for The Ghosts of Aquinnah today with a visit to Yolanda Renee at Defending the Pen. Yolanda is sharing an interview with Hannah Forrester, the main character in the present-day storyline of the novel. In addition, she is giving away an ebook copy (mobi or epub) of Polar Night as part of the post. Please come visit Hannah and me here and enter to win.

I mentioned yesterday that I owe E.J. Wesley for giving me the idea for these character interviews. Stella Winslow, one of the main characters in the 1884 section of the novel, was interviewed at EJ's site yesterday and you can find that interview here if you haven't read it and would like to. I also interviewed fellow 1884 resident Christopher Casey at Annalisa Crawford's site on Tuesday and that interview is here.

Do you enjoy character interviews? I think they are so fun to do. I love them.

 

It's also time to Celebrate the Small Things with Vikki at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author. I was surprised to read on Vikki's blog last week that we are coming up on the one year anniversary of the start of this hop. I can't believe it's already been a whole year! I've really enjoyed it and am glad Vikki decided to continue it for 2014. Thanks, Vikki!

As for my celebrations, I'm celebrating that I had such a great time with my blog tour this week for The Ghosts of Aquinnah. It's been a crazy week but also very fun. Thanks again to everyone who hosted me and visited me at the various blogs.

I'm also celebrating that I only have one week of work left before I am on vacation for Christmas. I'm really looking forward to Christmas this year and after next Friday I will be off until January 2, so I am totally thrilled about that. You can't beat holidays and vacation time. :)

Finally, I'm celebrating that my Bengals are in first place in their division! It's fun to be so close to playoff season and actually feel like the team has a chance. That doesn't happen very often around here. I hope the Bengals don't revert to typical Bengaldom and choke against the Steelers on Sunday night.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!