Monday, May 26, 2014

Interview & Giveaway: Crystal Collier

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

Favorite reads? 
     Les Miserables, Searching for Dragons, Jane Eyre, Another Fine Myth, The Giving Tree, Odd Thomas, and SO many others.

Inspirations for the book? 

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little? 
     I figured I’d be an actress, singer, teacher, commercial writer, or author. They all sounded pretty good. (I’m actually 3 of those right now.)

Any Pet Peeves? 
     Cucumbers. *shudders* Okay, fine, cucumbers can’t be a pet peeve, but they are noxious.

Chocolate or Peanut Butter? 
     Cheese please.

The weirdest thing you've ever done? 
     Named my son “Random?” Erm, I live for strange.

Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music? 
     Once In A Red Moon by Secret Garden

Do you need anything to write? 
A computer. Time. Occasionally cheese. Oh, and I’ll take the most recent album by Two Steps From Hell or Audiomachine.

How long do you write on any average day? 
     Typically between one and twelve hours. (How’s that for specific?) Depends on home much time home schooling requires.

Give us the number one reason to read your book. 
     I’ll refer you to my reviewers comments:
Honestly, this book is nothing like I have read before.” –S. Staley
“This book brings all kinds of originality to the paranormal fiction genre.” –What’s Beyond Forks
“Certainly there is no new story under the sun, but some stories strike as original. Moonless is this kind of story.” –C “MooreMom” in Houston, TX

In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially later when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night.
Among the many things to change for her that evening are: her physical appearance—from ghastly to breathtaking, an epidemic of night terrors predicting the future, and the blue-eyed man’s unexpected infusion into her life. Not only do his appearances precede tragedies, but they are echoed by the arrival of ravenous, black-robed wraiths on moonless nights.
Unable to decide whether he is one of these monsters or protecting her from them, she uncovers what her father has been concealing: truths about her own identity, about the blue-eyed man, and about love. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with the man of her dreams and risk becoming one of the Soulless

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Interview: Sarah Beth Durst

         Sarah was born in Northboro, Massachusetts, a small town that later became the setting for her debut novel. At the age of ten, she decided she wanted to be a writer. (Before that, she wanted to be Wonder Woman, except with real flying ability instead of an invisible jet. She also would have accepted a career as a unicorn princess.) And she began writing fantasy stories. She attended Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her two children, and her ill-mannered cat.

Favorite reads?
         I love books that make you feel like the world is a bit more magical than it was before, that you are a little bit stronger than you were before, and that life is a bit more wonderful. 
My favorites include: Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce, Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip, Deep Wizardry by Diane Duane, and Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.

Inspirations for the book?
         THE LOST is about a woman who is trapped in a town full of only lost things and lost people. And so my inspiration was everything that can be lost: paper clips, keys, umbrellas, children, memories, minds...

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
         Yes, it's the only thing I've ever wanted to be. (Except Wonder Woman. Or a unicorn princess.)
Seriously, I think books are magic, and I have always wanted to be a part of that magic.

Any Pet Peeves?
         I can't stand the sound of Styrofoam squeaking.

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
         Chocolate! I keep a stash of chocolate near my writing desk. It's my muse. (But I also love chocolate with peanut butter. Especially Girl Scout tagalongs. Yum.)

The weirdest thing you've ever done?
         Probably the weirdest thing I've ever done was become a writer. I fall in love with people who don't exist, I chase them on adventures that never happened, and I obsess over worlds that will never be.

Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music?
         Hotel California by the Eagles. That song never failed to put me in the mood to write this book.

Do you need anything to write? 
         Two free hands and my computer. Everything else is optional. I like to listen to music, but it's not essential. I like to have ready access to snacks (especially chocolate), but again not essential.

How long do you write on any average day?
         It depends on the day, but in general, I write for a couple hours in the morning and a couple hours late at night, plus scattered tiny bits of time throughout the afternoon. For me, the important thing is to write every day, even if I can only squeeze out a few sentences. It helps keep the words flowing.

Give us the number one reason to read this book.
          I hope there are lots of reasons! But if you've ever lost a sock or a key or a dream or a memory, then you might want to come along with Lauren to Lost and see what she finds...

Author Info:
          Sarah Beth Durst is the author of seven fantasy novels for teens. Her latest, Conjured, came out in September 2013 from Bloomsbury/Walker. Prior to that, she released VesselDrink Slay Love,Enchanted Ivy, and Ice from Simon & Schuster, as well as Into the Wild and its sequel Out of the Wild from Penguin. Her first book for adults,The Lost, comes out in June 2014 from Harlequin/Mira, and her next book for teens, Chasing Power, comes out in October 2014 from Bloomsbury. She was awarded the 2013 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature and has been a finalist for SFWA's Andre Norton Award three times.

Lost your way?
Your dreams?
Welcome to Lost.
It was supposed to be a small escape. A few hours driving before turning around and heading home. But once you arrive in Lost... well, it's a place you really can't leave. Not until you're Found. Only the Missing Man can send you home. And he took one look at Lauren Chase and disappeared.
So Lauren is now trapped in the town where all lost things go -- luggage, keys, dreams, lives -- where nothing is permanent, where the locals go feral and where the only people who don't want to kill her are a handsome wild man called the Finder and a knife-wielding six-year-old girl. The only road out of town is engulfed by an impassable dust storm, and escape is impossible....
Until Lauren decides nothing -- and no one -- is going to keep her here anymore.

Check out my review of THE LOST! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Interview & Giveaway: Jennifer Quintenz

         Originally from New Mexico (and still suffering from Hatch green chile withdrawal), Jenn includes Twentieth Television's WICKED, WICKED GAMES and AMERICAN HEIRESS among her produced credits. Outside of TV, she created THE BOND OF SAINT MARCEL (a vampire comic book mini-series published by Archaia Studios Press), and co-wrote THE RED STAR graphic novels (with creator Christian Gossett from 2007 to 2009). She's also the author of the award-winning DAUGHTERS OF LILITH paranormal thriller YA novels, and is currently realizing a life-long dream of growing actual real live avocados in her backyard. No guacamole yet--but she lives in hope.

Favorite reads?
“Silver Metal Lover” by Tanith Lee
“Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card
“The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger

These books all make me feel so strongly every time I read them.  They’re all very different, but very powerful... books I end up returning to over and over again as the years pass.  Once I read “Silver Metal Lover” twice in the span of two days.  SO GOOD.

Inspirations for the book?
The old Mesopotamian mythology surrounding Lilith and her descendents.  I love taking old myths / legends and spinning them – what would they look like in a contemporary setting?  But with this story, it was more than just that.  I’ve always had a kind of conflicted response to the way the “succubus” is portrayed in film and books and TV, as essentially a sexual fantasy for guys.  I started to wonder, what would it be like to tell a story from the other side?  From the perspective of the “sex object” – especially if she’s conflicted about her own nature and doesn’t want to prey on mankind.  Unrequited love, tension in friendships, and having incredible power but struggling to wield it according to your inner compass... it just seemed like a story rich with emotions to explore.

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
Yup.  I started writing and illustrating books around age 10, but before that I was always drawing illustrations to stories I’d make up.  Also – my dad made it a condition of getting our allowance that my sister and I would have to finish our chores and write a poem or short story before we’d get paid.  So, I have spirals full of little-kid poetry and stories.  It’s kind of fun to scroll back through them from time to time... thanks, Dad!

Any Pet Peeves?
Hmmm.  Good question!  You know – I have a lot less angst now that I’ve embraced indie publishing.  I’ve been a TV and film writer in Los Angeles for a while now, and while it is amazing when it’s going well, one of the frustrating things about this industry is investing your whole heart into the stories you tell only to watch them die on the vine if they never get picked up for production.  Now that I know I can reach an audience with my books, I feel so much more liberated and free to create!  And – I think it’s making me a better writer, too.  Strangely, even after projects I write as TV pilots or feature scripts get passed over, there is renewed interest in them as books or comics.  So... maybe the way through the Hollywood maze is through publishing.  

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
Mmmm – chocolate!!!

The weirdest thing you've ever done?
I have a three-year old now, so my definition of “weirdest” has expanded a lot over these last 36 months.  But... here’s some options for “weird things I’ve done”:
- Got lost in Saint Petersburg Russia without knowing how to speak (or read!) Russian.
- Ate an Alligator sandwich in Louisiana.  (Tasted like chicken... no, really.)
- Dressed up in a 50+ lb Elizabethean renassance gown in 100 degree weather 

Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music?
Excellent question!  Some of the songs that inspired me are:
 - “Erase/Rewind” by the Cardigans
 - “Siren” by Red Delicious 
 - “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons

But really, I’ll drift around to different music or bands and just live in their worlds for a while.  Morcheeba, Peter Gabriel, The Bravery, NIN, Owl City... depends on the kind of mood I’m in.

Do you need anything to write?
1) My laptop!  I’m much faster at typing than I am at writing long-hand... though I do love to journal.  

2) My Zero Gravity Chair.  Expensive, but worth it.  I was on a TV show a few years ago with a crazy insane schedule and I spent 14-hour days writing either on the couch or in bed - I gave myself a stress fracture in my tailbone.  From sitting.  SITTING.  This chair – it’s made all the difference!

3) Almonds.  Because they’re yummy and they give me energy.  Also coffee, for the same reasons.

How long do you write on any average day?
Depends on the stage of the process... I can usually outline for a max of 4 hours a day before I get fried.  I can write on a first draft or a rewrite for as many hours as possible, usually 6 to 10 hours a day, if my husband agrees to watch Little Man while I write.

Give us the number one reason to read your book.
You’re hoping to get lost in a good book with high stakes, real emotions, and fast-paced action.

Author Info:

Thrall, Daughters Of Lilith: Book 1:
Incubus, Daughters Of Lilith: Book 2:
Sacrifice, Daughters Of Lilith: Book 3:

Braedyn is a normal girl just trying to survive high school with her two devoted friends, Royal and Cassie. Together they're doing a pretty good job of shrugging off the slings and arrows cast their way by the popular crowd when a new boy, Lucas, moves into the house next door. Suddenly Braedyn finds herself falling in love for the first time.
But as her sixteenth birthday approaches, Braedyn discovers humankind is at war with the Lilitu, an ancient race of enticing demons that prey on human souls. Her father is a member of the Guard fighting against the Lilitu - and so are the new neighbors, including her crush, Lucas. 
As her world starts to unravel at the seams, Braedyn learns the right answers aren't always clear or easy. And as for "good" and "evil" - it all depends on how we choose to act.
Inspired by the ancient Mesopotamian myths of Lilith and her offspring, Thrall explores first love, strong friendships, and taking on adult responsibilities against the backdrop of powerful supernatural forces and life-and-death stakes.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cover Reveal: Empower

"Empower: Fight Like A Girl" on sale now!

Praise for Empower: Fight Like A Girl

"Even non-girls will feel empowered by these stories about ordinary, flawed characters finding their own strengths. Highly entertaining and original."
- Lee Goldberg, New York Times bestselling author of The Chase and King City, whose mother lost her hearing to lupus.

Women of TV have united against lupus! Presenting Empower: Fight Like A Girl, a special collection of short stories by top women writers from some of your favorite shows, including: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Family Guy, Person of Interest, Grimm, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Law & Order: SVU, Star Trek: Voyager, Eureka, Twisted, The 100, Malcolm in the Middle, Millennium, Being Human, The Shield, Castle, Chuck, Gilmore Girls, and Game of Thrones. In this anthology, you'll discover supernatural thrillers, crime mysteries, horror, comedies, and more.

Authors contributing stories to this volume include:

  • Amy Berg
  • Cherry Chevapravatdumrong
  • Akela Cooper
  • Liz Edwards
  • Jane Espenson
  • Shalisha Francis & Nadine Knight
  • Lisa Klink
  • Pang-Ni Landrum
  • Lauren LeFranc
  • Kam Miller
  • Jess Pineda
  • Jennifer Quintenz
  • Lisa Randolph
  • Kay Reindl
  • Kira Snyder
  • Jeane Wong
  • All proceeds will be donated to the non-profit Lupus Foundation of America to help solve the cruel mystery of lupus.