Thursday, August 29, 2013

Breathless Press Anniversary Celebration: Ari Harper

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Breathless Press will be giving away the following prizes to randomly drawn commenters during the tour:

Grand Prize: 1 Kindle Fire
Second Prize: $25.00 Gift Card for Breathless Press
Third Prize: $10.00 Gift Card for Breathless Press
Fourth Prize: 10 x $5.00 Gift Cards for Breathless Press (individual gift cards, 1 per person)

The Rafflecopter to enter the contest is at the end of this post.

As part of the anniversary celebration, Ari Harper stopped by.

Why YA fiction? What draws you to it?
The chance to relive my childhood is one reason, I never wanted to grow up. The other is the freedom I get as a writer to explore a different genre.

Coal or candy in your Christmas stocking? Why?
Candy for sure and chocolate. I have a bit of a sweet tooth I have to admit.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?
I wish I could fly. How cool would that be seriously? No more traffic jams, lining up for a bus or taxi. And I could go where ever I wanted when I wanted.

What book is on your nightstand currently?
The Vincent Boys, Abbi Glines and it's really good.

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.
Life as a witch charged with saving your family with a sexy god for backup. What could possibly go wrong?

Favorite hot beverage. Why?
Tea, weak and black. I can drink it anywhere, anytime and its easy.

Which of your characters would you most like to meet IRL? Why?
Jasper. I love his voice, that lilting irish brogue that rolls over my mind is magnetic. He is one of the kindest men I know and did I say how handsome he was? Or mention what his voice does to me? Oh I did, um sorry.

Playlist for your current book.
Pink, The Truth About Love.

Favorite class in high school. Why?
English. My teacher used to make us write on the spot and really pushed us. That lesson has helped me out so much.

Nera is a normal teenage girl living in Ireland, or so she thought until she discovers the family secret.. now her world is forever changed.

Descended from a long line of witches, she discovers is the one who has to stop the curse that has taken the life of every girl before her.

And if that isn't enough, she must learn to use magic from the man called Bones. He is the son of Mari, Queen of the Witches...and a god. It is Bones who has been entrusted to teach her the skills she needs to stay alive, which wouldn't be so bad if he didn't have an uncanny knack for pushing her buttons.

Can Nera succeed and resist the charms of the man who gets under her skin at every opportunity?

About the Author: Ari Harper never wanted to grow up.

To offset the limitations of aging ungracefully, she created her own set of unique worlds where she can be and do whatever she wants.

Gods, witches and demons surround Ari while she spins her magic, doing mainly what they tell her to do. Given a chance, she prefers to work amongst chaos, which is good because she is constantly surrounded by children, all clamoring for attention. Some of them end up in her stories, some of them even get to die grisly deaths or be cast away to another realm.

Her favorite pet is a big black dog called Hugo. You will find him as himself in the Curse of Kin series as Nera's faithful hound.
Buy the book at Amazon, the publisher, or OmniLit.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kai Strand -- Author Interview

A special welcome to Kai Strand for stopping by Books in the Hall today while promoting her newest book King of Bad. Why YA (or Middle Grade) fiction? What draws you to it?

I write both. I love to write middle grade because those years can be so unsure and ever-changing for kids and I think reading can be the one constant, secure and reliable thing in a tween’s life. I write young adult because there really are no limits. There is so much for a teen to learn and explore that story ideas are infinite. Very difficult situations can be addressed with characters of all shapes and sizes, backgrounds and abilities. Or you can simply experience a high school prom or learn how to volunteer. You don’t always have to save the world. Plus kids of any age are simply better readers. They read with their imagination geared up and interactive. They take the story you are telling and warp and shape the word images and dial the emotion way up and live inside the story. Adults often see what is on the page and very little more.

Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his locker – what will we see inside?

Jeff’s locker is stuffed full with crinkled and bent graded papers and barely passed exams. The hoodie he shoved in there one warm afternoon in September is now buried under textbooks and thought gone forever. Recently a couple girls have slipped their phone numbers through the slats, but he’s been way too busy to notice.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I think your desired superpower changes as you go through life. When I was younger I’d probably have wanted to be able to fly. Heck, I might want that again when my body starts to stoop with age. Currently, as a mother of four, I wish I could be in two places at once and whenever possible I’d send my second self out to drop off a kid at the movies, pick up a kid from driver’s ed, and do the grocery shopping while the main me stayed home to continue writing.

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

Hunger Games hands down. I enjoyed Twilight (not the fourth book, but the others) but the characters don’t withstand the test of time. Bella drove me nuts because she was so weak. I never really liked her. The further I get away from reading the book the more Edward’s actions seem creepy. Whereas Katniss is just a kick butt heroine – if not a bit psychologically warped by the end of the series. Gael is strong and dependable and Peeta is devoted and truly nice.

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

Everybody loves a bad boy and Jeff Mean is the King of Bad.

Which of your characters would you most like to meet IRL? Why?

This is harder to answer than I imagined. Seriously, I’d want to meet Jeff’s whole family. They have an interesting dynamic. He gets along really well with his sister, Sandra. His dad, Frank, is mister kick back and always fun to be around. His mom, Sarah, is strangely severe, but really honest. I’d love to hang out with them. Go over to their house for cards. Go on a picnic. I like them as people.

You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?

Definitely Jeff. His super powers would make him really useful. Fire to start the cook fire. Levity so he can float me up to pick coconuts. Ice to cool drinks on a hot day. Really, there are so many others ways his powers would come in handy.

Create an ice cream flavor. What’s it called?

The ice cream would be a light peanut butter and honey flavor with chunks of cookie dough in it (sorry to those with peanut allergies). I would call it The Honey Dough List.

Thanks for having me today!

Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.

He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?
Buy it: Publisher, Amazon, Barnes and Noble Add it to Goodreads

About the author:
Kai Strand writes fiction for kids and teens. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. As a mother of four young adults her characters are well researched and new stories are inspired daily. Kai is a compulsive walker, addicted to pizza and a Mozart fangirl. Visit her website for more information about her work and to find all her virtual haunts;

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Keeper of Reign by Emma Right -- Excerpt and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Emma will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sixteen-year-old Jules Blaze is an Elfie - half elf, half fairy, living in a cursed Kingdom. The Keepers, entrusted to protect sacred Books written in blood, have long forgotten their purpose and struggle with the effects of the curse.

Jules finds himself in the crosshairs of an evil lord bent on destroying Keepers and their Books. His mother is a Keeper and she has disappeared, along with his grandparents. His father is nowhere to be found, and Jules now finds himself alone with four siblings to protect and a house ravaged by the enemies.

War rages on all sides of his homeland. Agents and assassins sent by the evil Gehzurolle are determined to kill him. Jules must find an ancient book whose secrets are the only thing that could give him answers and save him, his family and his homeland.


WHEN JULES WAS absolutely certain he was dead, he opened his eyes underwater. It was dark and murky, filled with lots of woody pieces floating here and there.

I need to breathe!

His lungs felt like bursting but even with all the kicking he couldn’t rise to gulp air. He looked up and saw the underbelly of the alligator. Maybe he stood a better chance staying below. His mind flitted to his grandparents.

When he thought of them he forgot he was afraid of the Brooke.

The current bore him to the far right, where a pinpoint of light shone. He scissor-kicked his legs as best he could and used his arms to push the water to get to the top. He never thought he could swim, but he actually made some progress. But the current, too strong, sucked him in another direction.

When his head smacked into something hard, he groped about hoping to grab something he could use to pull himself up and out of the water, his sense of direction gone haywire.

About the Author:
Emma Right is a happy wife and homeschooling mother of five. Besides running a busy home, she regularly reads and writes stories for children. An avid Christian, she enjoys writing stories with themes involving family-life, friendship, faithfulness, and seeking wisdom, all in an imaginary fantastical world. She has written several young adult novels and plans on writing many more. Right worked for two advertising agencies and has won several major awards, including the prestigious Clio Award. She currently resides in California where she takes care of her children and her many pets.

Keeper of Reign is a finalist in the reader's Choice Award 2013

Blog url:
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Buy the book at Amazon or

Friday, August 9, 2013

Spotlight and Giveway on How to Get Good Reviews on Amazon by Theo Rogers

This post is part of virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will receive a $100 Amazon gift card--see the Rafflecopter at the end of the post.

How To Get Good Reviews On Amazon is a simple, no-nonsense guide that teaches exactly what it says it does. Based on both psychological science and thousands of hours of conversation with some of Amazon’s top reviewers, it takes you behind the scenes into the reviewing subculture that has grown up on Amazon’s website. It gives you a deep, insider’s knowledge of how the top reviewers think and operate. It not only shows you what to do: it takes you inside the reviewers’ heads so that you can see for yourself both how these techniques work and why they’re so effective.

Lessons include:

• A simple, four-part formula for writing emails that get your work reviewed.
• Three things never to say when communicating with reviewers!
• How to pick reviewers who are more likely to give you a good review.
• How to reduce the chance that a reviewer you contact will post a bad review – even if it turns out they don’t like your work!
• How people get caught out when receiving reviews from friends and family.

This book teaches an honest, straightforward approach that works. It works because it’s not based gimmicks or tricks but on a real understanding of how Amazon reviewers operate: most of all on what they expect from authors and other sellers. If you want to know how to talk to Amazon reviewers in a way that will make them respect you as a professional and see you as the kind of seller they actually want to help, this is the book for you.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Sellers do quite often turn up on forums on Amazon, specifically asking for reviews. Unfortunately, a while ago Amazon changed its policies to expressly forbid this sort of behavior in all forums but one: the Meet Our Authors forum. The trouble with this is that the Meet Our Authors forum is very largely just a bunch of authors spamming each other. Very few seem to have any real interest in what the others are saying.

Despite Amazon’s rule against using its forums for self promotion, people still do it. And in practice the reception that authors and other sellers get when they post on any of the multitude of forums does vary. To some degree it depends on how the author or seller handles themselves.

The other thing you should always be extremely careful about is paying close attention to the codes of behavior considered appropriate among the forum regulars. Different forums have different levels of tolerance for authors or other sellers seeking reviews, or otherwise promoting themselves. For example, the Romance forum has a reputation as a place you should absolutely never leave this kind of post – unless you actually want to be ripped to shreds. Indeed, the Romance forum has developed a reputation as an extremely hostile place for authors in general. So it is important to do your homework on the specific forum you’re considering using.

About the Author:
Theo Rogers combines years of coalface experience on Amazon's website with formal training and qualifications in a range of business and social science disciplines. He's spent literally thousands of hours talking with Amazon reviewers, getting inside their heads, and learning what makes them tick. He's spent almost as many hours observing the carnage that so often takes place on Amazon's forums. In the process he's developed a deep insider's knowledge of the reviewing subculture that's grown up on Amazon's website.

He's also seen a lot of authors and other would-be sellers make the same mistakes in their dealings with that subculture - over and over again.

As a result of his experiences, Theo has come to believe that yes, there is a simple formula that works: a way of dealing with reviewers that's honest, powerful, and extremely effective at winning reviewers over, getting them on your side, and making them actually want to help you.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Falling Sky by James Patrick Riser -- Book Review and Giveaway

This post is part of a review tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions for James Patrick Riser's YA SF book Falling Sky. James will be awarding a $10 GC to Wild Child Publishing to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Falling Sky by James Patrick Riser
Sci-Fi YA
4 Stars

Following a devastating world war, the surface of the planet has been covered in a substance called Dust, a weapon that can break down the physical make up of entire cities, reducing them to rubble and preventing citizens from rebuilding their lost metropolises for several years. In order to survive, humanity has taken refuge in crowded, underground cities.

Ian Blum is a 15 year old boy living in one such city. His crippling social anxiety confines him to a solitary life at home, while his parents are away at their jobs. The person he interacts with the most is his home school professor, Michael Wasley. One night, Ian is visited by a mysterious figure in a dream. The man warns Ian of a great earthquake that will destroy the cities, killing all of the inhabitants. The man charges Ian with the task of getting everyone out.

Soon after, Ian finds out that he isn't the only one who has had this dream and reluctantly joins a group of rebels who has made it their mission to drive everyone from the cities for their own safety, however, no one believes in the stranger's prophecy. Ian and the rebels must find a way to get the people to safety at any cost.

My Review:

There's a lot of punch in this short novel from James Patrick Riser. It's just twenty years in the future.. but a lot has changed. The entire population of earth has had to move underground. Most people have adapted, but not Ian Blum. Even though he was born underground,he can't stand being around groups of people--leaving him with only one person he can talk to once he starts having odd dreams.

That person turns out to be the one person who can really help him--and Ian is off on the adventure of his life.

With only around 70 pages, there's not a lot of room for character development and, if I had a complaint, that would be my only one. I would have liked to have gotten to know the characters better. That being said, I really liked Ian and Michael, and I hope the author is planning a sequel to this book. There are a few questions left unanswered at the end of Falling Sky that I hope were on purpose.

Kudos, Mr. Riser!

Now enjoy an excerpt:

He dreamed of being in a box barely large enough to accommodate him. He scratched at the walls in hopes of liberating himself from the oppressive darkness, but couldn’t. After what seemed like hours, a deep rumbling shook the ground underneath him. The vibrations grew more powerful by the moment and light began to pour in through numerous spider web cracks that quickly spread over the surface of his prison. Eventually, the powerful disturbance reached a peak and Ian found himself with his hands braced against the quickly crumbling walls as they gave way with a violent burst. The explosion left him in field of wild grass. Not like the even, neatly trimmed grass he found in the city’s parks, usually full of children chasing each other during simple games with made up rules. This grass was tall and uneven. Each blade swayed in unison as they were blown this way and that by a sharp, biting wind. He knew that this could only be the surface, even though he’d never been there himself. There was no wind underground, for a sophisticated temperature regulation system mimicked the weather of a warm spring day.

Sometimes, Ian lay in the uniform grass and stared at the clouds to see if he could spot any gaps in the illusion; many times he did. A pitch black ceiling would quickly reveal itself before being replaced by a deep, picturesque blue sky.

About the Author:
James Patrick Riser is the author of Syndrome and Falling Sky, two novellas published by Wild Child Publishing. His short fiction has appeared in the, now defunct, online horror fiction magazine, Necrotic Tissue, and his poetry has appeared in the online poetry journals, Pif magazine, Dead Beats and Four and Twenty Poetry. He lives in Colton, California.

Connect with James on his website and Twitter. His publisher is Wild Child Publishing and Falling Sky can be bought at Amazon.