Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Girl by Lola StVil - interview and giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. The Rafflecopter to enter the contest is at the end of the post; click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Many thanks to Lola for visiting with us today!

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

An actor. Acting out a character in a different life and different world is releasing. You can be anyone, anywhere, anytime.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I want the ability to have my thoughts transferred to print. Carpal tunnel is not my friend!

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why? I love them both!

Twilight was a huge inspiration because if Stephenie Meyers could do it, I had no excuses. And I love Hunger Games because of the growth and the depth of the characters and plot.

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

Love, loss, danger and growth shape humanity’s heroes, a team of angels and one human, from doom. While saving the world, they discover themselves and risk it all for love.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

New notebooks and pens. As a writer, I have an obsession with a great pen and new notebook. I get giddy. And then I would buy a new home and spend the rest on my family.

Favorite class in high school. Why?

Drama. I’ve been fascinated with characters and drama and slipping into other worlds, other lives. It’s just like writing, and why I enjoy writing. You can be anyone, anywhere.

Sitting there in the car, a part of me bitterly resented what she was doing to me. I knew it wasn’t her fault. But does she have to be so... alluring? I need to focus on something else besides the spot between her earlobe and neck. It looked so soft. Her lips were slightly parted as she looked out the window. I wanted to part them further with mine. I put both my hands on the steering wheel. I could not allow myself to let go until she was out of the car. Suddenly she leaned in and kissed me. It was far better than I could even begin to explain to you. I've fought and died a slow and painful death on earth. And nothing, NOTHING can compare to how hard it was for me to pull away from her lips. I don't think any angel could do it twice in a lifetime...

Now enjoy and excerpt:

“Go to hell!” I cry out. Who the heck said that? I realize it’s me. I guess I’m more than in pain, I’m fighting mad. Well, verbally at least.

Agony shrugs his shoulders and says, “Okay, we’ll do it the hard way”

He raises his hand a final time and snaps off my finger...

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lola StVil is a Haitian born writer and actress. She lives in Hollywood, CA., and welcomes online interaction with readers.


Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/guardians-lola-stvil/1113116420?ean=2940045019897

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/guardians-the-girl-the-guardians-series-book-1

uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guardians-Girl-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B006VRXR42




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Friday, July 25, 2014

Gemini Rising: Ethereal Fury by Jessica O'Gorek - Virtual Tour and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. One randomly chosen host will receive a $25 Amazon/BN.com gift card. The Rafflecopter is at the end of the post; click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What did you do on your last birthday?
I went to en exotic island in the Caribbean. Just kidding. Nothing exciting. Dinner and a movie.

Do you have any tattoos? Where? When did you get it/them? Where are they on your body?
No. I did get my belly pierced when I was drunk and twenty.

What are you working on right now?
I am half way through writing Gemini Rising Book Four!

What do you think you’re really good at?
Writing, reading, listening, running, signing, drawing, painting, being a mom.

What do you think you’re really bad at?
Caring about people who have betrayed my trust over and over, being sensitive to people who can’t take jokes, keeping my car clean and washing the dishes.

Angry at the human race and its methodical destruction of her resources, Mother Earth recruits souls who have just left their bodies to serve Her, and turns them against humanity.

Gemini, a clan of paranormal beings, picked from these possessed humans, emerges. A powerful, rising force proceeds to carry out Mother Nature’s plan to systematically destroy towns, cities, states... and eventually, the world.

Amidst the chaos, a forbidden relationship between a human girl, Violette, and Onyx, a lead Gemini, begins.

They will both find themselves in the middle of a revolutionary war that will either save, or destroy our world.

Onyx was hovering right beside the little stone adjacent to the swings. He tried to single out the perfect girl. Innocent and naïve is what he was going for. He located the one he thought might work. She was swinging; she was older, maybe fifteen or so. She had one girl on each side of her and a few nuns were standing near, giving her glances of adoration. She was cute and gentle looking, the perfect disguise for the likes of him. He moved in a little closer to his prey. Over the wall and around the thick maple tree, he paused, making sure he disturbed no air. He waited to hear her name. This would come in handy.

"Eleanor, come seesaw with me!" A cute redhead gestured to his target as she hopped off the swing. Now was his chance.

“Eleanor...” he whispered her name and she stopped. She turned towards the sound that she couldn’t locate.

“Over here.” He guided her with his hand from behind the craggy trunk, allowing it to be just visible enough to make her curious as to who its owner might be. At this point, an adult might run, scream, or faint at the sight of a translucent hand gesturing mysteriously. But Eleanor was an insightful little girl and wanted to know more. The redhead on the seesaw looked dismayed and repeated her plea. This annoyed him considerably; he was tempted to go shut her up, but her attention was now steady on the phantom arm that beckoned her. He controlled his visibility simply with his mind. If he thought it, it became a reality for him.

Eleanor's little blonde curls shook a little as she seemed to be attempting to clear her head. He could start to feel the gravitational pull from within her. It started to pull on his energy, almost gripping him and pulling him piece by piece, atom by atom, and ever closer to her.

"Come a little closer Sweetheart. How many fingers am I holding up?" If he distracted her with the game or a challenge, it would be that much easier. Anticipation started to build within him, like the sweet pressure of an inevitable release. Trance-like now, unable to resist the lure of his sugary voice, she walked right into his arm and it was over.

"Hey," he said. She jerked her head to the left and saw only his spiraling eyes. Before she could utter a scream he was in through her surprised mouth, busily working into her muscles, connecting with her spinal cord to coordinate her movements. Her sensory organs were pliable, and the tendrils that were extensions of his personality easily wrapped around every bone, every nerve ending. She was stunned into silence by the complete and sudden hostile takeover. He felt strong and empowered. It had been weeks since he felt a young, healthy host take him to dizzying heights of euphoria.

This was where Geminis were meant to be, where they felt the most in control and in touch with their true ability. To connive and manipulate, ruin and plunder the society around them was only justice. They were so weak and puny, murderers and thieves, liars, and rapists. They all took what they wanted from each other, and the earth, then sucked any generosity right out of the atmosphere. He always thought he was helping them shorten the time frame of their journey. They would all eventually die anyway; he just hurried along the process. He felt the need to justify himself after entering someone. He knew there was some deep hidden morsel of doubt that what he was doing was right, that every human should be annihilated from existence. He would never divulge these doubts to himself or anyone else. It was a hidden monster within him and he would never lend it credit.

I was born in Chesapeake, Virginia on April 19th, 1979. I was raised within the American Indian religion and was taught great respect for the earth and all its living beings. Powwows, sweat lodges, vision quests, you name it, I’ve done it. I was the weird kid who would confront kids on the playground in elementary school when they squished a bug. I would very sincerely tell them what they were doing was morally wrong and then I would pray for the bug to come back as a butterfly in its next life.

I grew up admiring my father, Barry Weinstock, as an author. He took me around the country to different places so he could research and write his Wilderness Survival books. One of his greatest works, “The Path of Power,” was written with a great medicine man, Sunbear. When I was twelve I started hand writing novels. My first one was two thousand pages. My dad always encouraged me and would rave about my writing. He gave me the confidence I needed to keep writing and follow my dream. My daughter, who is twelve, is currently working on her first novel. I hope to continue the legacy.

  Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gemini-rising-jessica-ogorek/1116142763
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Gemini-Rising-Ethereal-Jessica-OGorek/dp/0925776254
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sleeping in the Mourge by Jennifer Tressen - Blurb Blitz and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter to win $25 Bath and Body Works gift certificate. The Rafflecopter is at the end of the post; click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Paige Thorton, a sweet overachieving high school senior only has one month to come up with ten thousand dollars to pay for college, but her family mortuary has no business. Desperate to escape her little town and go to her dream school, she decides to take matters into her own hands and drum up some clients.

Soon "accidents" begin happening to local residents.

However when her boyfriend, Brock Harrington, the rookie hotshot cop begins to investigate, things get hairy. Will Paige be able to pull it off in time or will she be doomed to forever sleep in the morgue?

“So I heard you got a corpse the other day,” Brock said as he drove his large pick-up. “Old man? He’ll likely be one of the last, huh?”

Paige twiddled her fingers and tried to figure out how to answer the question. “Yeah, some old man. Not sure how he died....he just sort of...”

Keep your cool.

She held her breath and looked at Brock.

“Old people just die. Happens all the time.” He chuckled. “Just not around here much anymore.”

“Yeah, he just died,” Paige said.

That was easy. No need for explanation. He just died. Why didn’t I think of that? It’s not like I killed him or anything. I just...helped him. Yeah, I helped him. There’s nothing wrong with helping people, right?

“Any more ideas on how to make the cash?”

Paige shook her head, “Your dad’s giving me a scholarship.”

“Oh is he?”

“Well, the town is. And it’s not official, so don’t quote me or anything; but he said he would. Three thousand dollars.”

Still not enough.

“That’s a good start.”

Paige nodded, still lost in her own thoughts. She was trying to avoid letting the guilt of what she had helped the kind old man do get to her.

“I really wish I could pay for school for you--”

“Brock, don’t.”

“But my rookie salary is barely enough to cover the bills and put a couple bucks away for you know, ‘someday.’”

“Brock...” She couldn’t help but smile. His sincerity was sweet. He would do anything for her and she knew that. But she didn’t want him to. She wanted to do this on her own, the best she could that is.

Jennifer Tressen is a wife, mother and writer. A former actor, she spent nearly ten years in the entertainment industry appearing in commercials, print ads and television shows. It was her love of storytelling that pushed her to the other side of the camera and sent her to film school at Chapman University. Although she entered as a Cinematography major, Jennifer graduated with a degree in Screenwriting after a single required screenwriting class forever changed her path. She found a passion for writing she had forgotten in her childhood. Everything she learned about screenwriting and especially storytelling she attributes to her mentor, the late Blake Snyder.

After several years of writing and editing for producers and other screenwriters her curiosity led her into writing novels. As a huge fan of Young Adult and New Adult literature this is where her pen tends to lead her. However, she does have plans to release a few middle grade fiction and adult novels in the future. Jennifer attributes her love of reading and writing to her mother who always reminded her of the power of literacy. Besides telling her and her siblings that they could do anything they wanted if they knew how to read and write, she said, “You can go anywhere in a book. You can be anyone.”

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Backward Compatible by Pete Clark

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter to win one of several prizes from the author. The Rafflecopter is at the end of the post; click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to Books in the Hall, Pete, and congratulations on your release. Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?

George is the kind of the person whose locker is a pile of unorganized nonsense that slides out every time he opens the locker, but hidden within the pile are pens, a gaming magazine (likely a year old), random dead batteries, and a math book he has never opened and forgot he owned.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I always loved those Choose Your Adventure Books, because I liked seeing different outcomes and I loved the control I had over the stories. In particular, I really enjoyed The Badlands of Hark.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I would love all-encompassing power, because then I could have ALL THE POWER.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

I am reading the Game of Thrones series. I’m still on the first one, because I started once I saw the show.

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

I always liked the Hanna-Barberra stuff, like Herculoids. Birdman and Thundarr the Barbarian. I watched a lot of cartoons, clearly. When I got a little older, I loved Cheers.

Ideal summer vacation.

I wouldn’t mind going back to Scotland. I like Italy, but I went in the summer and it’s too hot in the summer. Maybe somewhere I haven’t been, like Toronto, because I want to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame.

What four literary characters would you most like to have over for dinner?

Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Lecter, Jane Eyre, and Beatty from Fahrenheit 451

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

Peanut butter almond Snickers chocolate ice cream of death.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

I blow it all on hats. Or travel the world.

Who was your teenaged crush? Why?

Tiffany. Remember her? I liked Debbie Gibson as well, but I thought Tiffany was a little hotter. Got to be the red hair.

Not too long ago, in a town that, depending on your current location, is either not super far or actually quite close…

It is a time of chaotic hormones.

Two nerdy gents home for winter break have discovered a female gamer at a midnight release.

During the break, the gamer trio manages to reveal the game’s secret boss, a hidden enemy with enough power to destroy anything in its path.

Pursued by other gamers who want to be the first to beat this boss, George and Katie race to level up, and, in so doing, restore decency and sexual activity to their personal galaxy…
Enjoy an excerpt:

“These graphics suck,” George says and I look back at the screen. We’re standing in the middle of the Estate, colorful orbs quivering ahead of us. We each have to choose our starting advantage. Waterfalls shimmer in the distance and the sunlight streams over multicolored stones in the courtyard.

“Amateurs,” Lanyon concurs. “I mean, they couldn’t have five waterfalls?”

“Your ironic wit is mind blowing, but choose your damn orbs,” I tell them. I consider. Magic, defense, offense, stealth, and charisma. I always go for magic as a black mage, but I wonder if a druid needs something else. Screw it. I need charisma in real life, too.

“Charisma?” Lanyon asks. “No one ever picks charisma.”

“We’re a party of a thief, druid, and a bard. We’re screwed regardless.”

“You two underestimate the mighty power of my lute,” George argues.

“Did you start with charisma?” Lanyon asks.

“Hell, no. I have charisma in spades. I started with stealth.”

“Great. A stealthy bard,” I sigh.

“She’s right,” Lanyon concedes. “We’re screwed.”

However, it actually isn’t bad at all at first. We power through the Estate and make it to the Yobanaria Dale with no resurrections and all at level ten. I’m impressed. George hasn’t actually fought anything, but he has some pretty awe-inspiring charm mastery already. I think I might have a serious crush. He seals the deal when he buffs my hailstorm spell without even being asked.

“Can you guys watch El Thiefelo? My mom wants me to eat supper,” Lanyon says.

“Yeah, we’ve got it,” I tell him. “The first boss is in the elven ruins anyway, so we should grind a bit. I think he’s a twelve.”

George and I explore the Dale, taking out bats and Joba spores. It’s fairly quiet, except for when we combo with his charms and my spells and he yells out, “Eat lute, bitch,” but it’s nice. We work well, almost inherently understanding each other. I’ve never been able to play this effectively with anyone. I try not to think about his eyes. Stupid boys, being cute and stuff.

By the time Lanyon comes back, we’re all at level 12, although Lanyon leveled up just by standing by a door while we played. Still, we are ready to take on Balsa the Proud. As a black mage, it took me about nine seconds. Trees don’t like fire. However, druids don’t have the same level of black magic and all elemental magic is weakened by the need to draw from the elements nearby. Sadly, trees seem to avoid storing fire runes in their villages. I expect this to be a little more challenging. It might even take fifteen seconds.

“First boss. Also known as the freebie bitch to sucker the young folks into a false sense of security,” Lanyon announces as he runs into the center of Balsa’s lair. The cinema plays and then, in a moment of pure absurdity, El Thiefelo is squished as Balsa steps on him.

“Can someone revive me?” Lanyon whines.

About the Author: Pete Clark likes writing, animals, potato chips, and cheese. Midnight Riders is his first published novel, although he can also proudly say he finally finished Helix Crashing, the fantasy novel he has been working on for over a decade. In addition, he has written Across the Barren Landscape, a collection of linked Western short stories. He also writes plays, both dramatic and comedic.

When he is not writing, Pete tends to ignore everyone around him and obsess over sports.

Pete’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/PeteClarkBooks

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ocean of Dust by Graeme Ing - Blurb Blitz and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Graeme will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host. Please click the banner to visit other stops on the tour and increase your chances of winning!

Fourteen-year old Lissa is snatched from her home and finds herself a slave on a trading ship traveling on a waterless ocean of nothing but gray dust. A feisty, curious and intelligent girl, her desire to explore the ship earns her the hatred of the cruel first officer, Farq.

Fascinated by the ocean of dust, Lissa becomes embroiled in its mysteries, sensing things that the crew cannot, while cryptic whispers in her head are leading her toward a destiny linked to the dust itself. Only one man aboard can help her make sense of her new talent, but can she trust him? All is not as it seems, and she must unravel the clues before it’s too late.

When a sinister plot casts her adrift on the barren ocean, her best friend is left in the hands of the treacherous crew. Everything hinges upon her courage, quick wits, and her ability to master her new talent.

... she spotted a brown conical shape lodged on a fallen stump between a pair of trees. Dozens of bugs with red striped abdomens swarmed above it - War-blits. She couldn’t keep up the pace for much longer, and her lungs felt ready to burst. Her hastily formed plan might be her only chance to escape the feline snapping at her heels. She sucked in air and urged her aching body forward. Up close, the bugs were as large as her thumb, with wicked, black stingers on their rear-ends.

Now she was caught between a swarm of spiteful bugs and an animal about to bite her in half. It was now or never. Screaming for courage, she launched herself at the War-blit mound, praying her timing was right. She clenched every muscle, waiting for the stings to stab all over her body. The furious buzzing engulfed her as she flew through the air and over the mound.

Her shoulders hit the ground on the other side, and she tumbled over and over, smashing into a tree. Something stabbed her leg. Agony ripped through her body. Then a sharp pain on her right arm. She flailed her limbs in all directions trying to keep the bugs from her face.

The feline had landed atop the stump and crushed the mound. The air turned black as a cloud of War-blits sprayed from a hole in the stump, buzzing angrily and covering the creature like a cloak.

Graeme is a writer of speculative fiction. He probably won't fall into existing pigeonholes, but hang around and you'll get to read tales of fantasy, science-fiction, paranormal, cyberpunk, steampunk and who knows what.

Born in England, Graeme now lives in San Diego, California. His career as a software engineer and development manager spans 30 years, including the development of a dozen computer games for consoles, home computers and online. Graeme is also an avid armchair mountaineer, astronomer, mapmaker, pilot and general geek. He and his wife, Tamara, share their house with six crazy cats.

Website: http://www.graemeing.com/
Blog: http://www.graemeing.com/blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GraemeIngAuthor
Twitter: @GraemeIng https://twitter.com/GraemeIng
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106761802400693987858/about
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6571955.Graeme_Ing
Buy Links
Amazon (Kindle/paperback/audiobook): http://www.amazon.com/Ocean-of-Dust-ebook/dp/B00A1FYJX8
Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Ocean-of-Dust-Audiobook/B00K0SBSCQ
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Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser by Catherine DePino - Virtual Tour and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Catherine will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Please click the banner to visit other stops on the tour and increase your chances of winning!

Why YA (or Middle Grade) fiction? What draws you to it?

I’ve always loved writing about schools because I enjoyed my school years immensely: the teachers (most of them), the camaraderie, and the activities like drama, newspaper, and the literary magazine. I switched from Catholic to public school in the eleventh grade, and that opened up a whole new world to me.

I loved my school days so much that I became a high school teacher, and later a department head and disciplinarian, in the Philadelphia city high schools. There’s always something exciting going on in schools, and that excitement brought me a great sense of fulfillment in life. Every day brought new challenges, and it excited me to meet them.

I set Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying in a city school because I wanted to write about issues and themes I knew about. I love talking to kids and listening to their problems. I have to say that throughout the years they taught me more than I could ever teach them.

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

You’ll find these things inside Elliot’s locker: a musical score for “Man of La Mancha,” the play he’s auditioning for; a tattered book of poems he bought at a library book sale; a scrawled note on the back of a 3/5 card to Rosalie, the girl he has his eye on, asking her to go to a movie; ticket stubs from the basketball game he attended with his best friends, Roy and LeBron; and a curt note from Nonna, his grandmother, to clean up his room, “pronto buster,” or be grounded.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I’ve always loved Shakespeare’s plays, especially the tragedies. I also enjoyed The Catcher in the Rye because it delved deeply into the psychology of the protagonist, Holden Caulfield. Reading that book brought home the importance of looking deeply into a character before fleshing out the person on paper. People want to know what’s going on in characters’ heads and hearts.

Most of all, I loved poetry and still do. I love reading Pablo Neruda and Cummings for the rhythm in their poetry. I believe that poetic language should permeate all kinds of writing, even fiction and non-fiction books. I feel that people want writing to sound pleasant and melodious to the ear, no matter what kind of writing it is.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I wanted to be a writer from the time I was a small child. I also pretended I was a teacher and had an imaginary class that I’d regale with poems and stories. I remember reading my stories in installments to my friends on the school bus.

I started out majoring in radio/tv, but then decided to go into teaching. It’s a good thing because back in the day there were hardly any women broadcasters. However, all along I kept my dream of becoming a writer in mind. Throughout the years, when I was working and raising my children, I had little time to write. However, I began by taking small steps. I wrote “Guest Opinion” columns for my local paper and then wrote a few magazine articles.

When I retired from teaching, I worked as a student teaching supervisor and finally found more time to write. My first book was a study guide for the works of YA author, Cynthia Voigt. Then I went on to write many books on the topics of bullying and language arts. Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser is my first venture in self-publishing except for a girls’ prayer book that I received the rights back for. All of my other books are traditionally published. I’ve found that there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of publishing.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I would like to improve my psychic ability. I love studying metaphysics and am an experienced Tarot card reader and also enjoy psychometry (gaining information by handling objects). These modalities give me insights into people and help me understand the world around me better. I read every book I can find on this topic and recently found The Afterlife of Billy Fingers a fascinating read. Before that I read My Son and the Afterlife, written by a medical doctor and an atheist before she had this experience talking with her son through channelers.

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

Elliot K. Carnucci faces non-stop bullying, including a brutal head-dunk in the toilet, by a few ruthless classmates. Will he buckle under the pressure or fight back to come out a winner? Read this wild story with quirky characters to find out.

Ideal summer vacation?

All my life I’ve loved the Jersey shore. My family and I made weekly trips there when I was a child. I love the ocean, the boardwalk, the sound of the gulls, and the wonderful food (Crab Trap, Smitty’s Clam Bar, for instance). I feel more alive and joyful at the shore and would live there all year if I could. Many years ago we bought a condo in Ocean City and love to go there whenever we can. I will never tire of the Jersey Shore. One of my favorite poems is Sea Fever by John Masefield: “I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky...”

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

I’d most like to meet Elliot, but then, I feel like I’ve already known him in a past life. Maybe he was a long lost son. He’s a deep-thinking kid who is vulnerable in some ways, but he definitely knows what he wants and tries his best to get it. I like the fact that he’s not afraid to express his opinions even if they rub someone the wrong way. He’s never rude, but he’s always honest, especially with his dad, mom, and grandmother, Nonna, who is “a piece of work.”

I have already met Elliot’s friend and mentor, Walker Boardly. I knew the man the character was based on when I taught at Lincoln High School in Philadelphia. Scotty was a custodian whom the entire school community befriended and loved. Like Mr. Boardly, he would do anything to help students and staff alike. Once he waited with me in an empty school building until my husband came to pick me up even though his work day was long over. Tragically, he died while crossing a highway because of his disabled vehicle. I felt that including him in my novel was a way of honoring his memory. I will never forget him.

What four literary characters would you most like to have over for dinner? I’d like to meet my favorite character of all time, Holden Caulfied, from The Catcher in the Rye. He’s bold, brassy, and brazen and talks like a fresh kid, but I love him for his honesty and total innocence in the face of evil in our world.

I’d also love to meet Janie, the protagonist Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. She’s bright, beautiful, and courageous, and makes you want to read on. Of course, I’d like to dine with “The Bard of Avon,” Shakespeare. I’d ask him how he found his endless ideas for his captivating plays. I’d also love to meet Amy, the wife in the story Gone Girl. I’d ask her what really happened at the end of the book because although I enjoyed most of the story, the end was a real downer and left me hanging.

You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why? I want Nonna, the grandmother, because she’s a wild and wooly like me. We’d have a lot to talk about when the lights out: her plumber boyfriend with a ridiculous walrus mustache; her concerns about Elliot’s bouts with bullying; her annoyance with her funeral director son who’s always bugging her to do some dirty work around the parlor like styling the dead bodies’ hair; and her outrage over the divorce between her ex daughter-in-law Rayna and her son. Nonna and I could talk for hours way into the night, probably because the old girl is my alter-ego.

The kids at Ralph Bunche Middle School love to pick on Elliot Kravitz-Carnucci. He struggles with his weight, looks like a geek, makes top honors, and lives above the Carnucci Home for Funerals in South Philadelphia with his distant, workaholic father and Nonna, his quirky, overbearing grandmother.

Since his parents divorced, he splits spending his time with his funeral director father and his mother Rayna, who dreams of becoming the queen of commercials on the west coast.

At the hands of his peers, Elliot experiences a series of bullying episodes that escalate from entrapment in a school supply closet to a brutal “swirly” (head dunk in the toilet) that lands him in the hospital emergency room.

Elliot has a small circle of loyal friends and a mentor named Duke, an aging school custodian, who root for him to overcome his bullying issues so that he can enjoy his life as a teenager and a budding singer/performer. Can Elliot win his fight against the nasty bullies, or is he doomed forever? Read this funny, sad, and crazy book to find out.

“Help–I can’t breathe–let me out. Somebody help...”

I pounded the inside of the musty supply closet until my knuckles turned blue. Did anybody even have the key?

What if they don’t come? What if I’m trapped here all night?

I could hear loud voices and laughing, so I knew Kyle Canfield and one of his friends from the basketball team were there, waiting to see if I would cave in and plead for mercy.

The bell blared. Classes changed. Kids stampeded through the halls. Then, silence. Finally I heard someone shout, “I’ve got the key, Doc.”

“Thanks, Duke,” Doc Greely, the assistant principal, said to Mr. Boardly, the man who’d sprung me loose.

Mr. Boardly, the head custodian, better known as Duke, offered me his arm, and I stumbled out of the closet. He was as thin as his mop handle, but all muscle–no flab like me. A scruffy white beard covered half his face.

He slammed the closet door shut and bolted the lock. “One of the hall guards reported noise coming from this area. We came as soon as we heard.”

Duke patted my shoulder. “Let me know if I can help, Elliot.” I could hear his keys clanging as he walked down the hall humming “Duke of Earl,” that old sixties song he loved. That’s where he got his nickname.

“Up to their old tricks again, Elliot?” Doc asked on the way to his office.

Catherine DePino has sold thirteen books for parents, teachers, and children to mainstream publishers. She self-published her fourteenth book, Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying because she wanted to give it a wider forum.

Her background includes a BS in English and Spanish education, a Master’s in English education, and a doctorate in Curriculum Theory and Development and Educational Administration from Temple University. The author worked for many years as an English teacher, department head of English and world languages, disciplinarian, and curriculum writer in the Philadelphia School District.

After this, she worked at Temple as an adjunct assistant professor and student teaching supervisor. Catherine has also written articles for national magazines, including The Christian Science Monitor and The Writer. For many years she served on the board of The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. She holds membership in the Association of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her new self-help book, 101 Easy Ways for Women to De-Stress, Reinvent, and Fire Up Your Life in Retirement,appeared on the market in March, 2014.

Visit her website at www.catherinedepino.com Links Website: www.catherinedepino.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/C.Spinelli.

DePino Fire Up Your Life: 101 Ways for Women to Reinvent Themselves http://www.paragonhouse.com/product.php?productid=508&cat=0&page=&featured=Y

Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying http://www.amazon.com/Elliot-Carnucci-Big-Fat-Loser-ebook/dp/B00G3IUEDG/ref=sr_1_1?

Excuse Me, Your Participle’s Dangling: How to Use Grammar to Make Your Writing Powers Soar http://www.amazon.com/Excuse-Me-Your-Participles-Dangling/dp/1475802773/ref=sr_1_1

Who Says Bullies Rule?: Common Sense Tips to Help Your Child Cope http://www.amazon.com/Who-Says-Bullies-Rule-Common/dp/161048469X/ref=sr_1_1

Hi, God, It’s Me: e-prayers for teenage girls http://www.amazon.com/God-Its--prayers-teenage-girls-ebook/dp/B0062F6FVK/

Real Life Bully Prevention for Real Kids http://www.amazon.com/Real-Life-Bully-Prevention-Kids/dp/157886965X/ref=sr_1_1

In Your Face, Pizza Face: A Girl’s Bully-Busting Book http://www.amazon.com/Your-Face-Pizza-Girls-Bully-Busting/dp/1878076930/ref=sr_1_1?

101 Ways to Help Preschoolers Excel in Reading, Writing, and Speaking http://www.amazon.com/Preschoolers-Excel-Reading-Writing-Speaking/

Quick and Easy Grammar Games to Boost Writing Power http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field

Blue Cheese Breath and Stinky Feet: How to Deal with Bullies http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Cheese-Breath-Stinky-Feet/dp/1591471125

Hi, God, It’s Me: e-prayers for Teenage Boys http://www.amazon.com/Hi-God-Its-Me-E-Prayers/dp/1585952117/ref=sr_1_1

Ready, Get Set, Go, Grammar! http://www.amazon.com/Ready-Get-Set-Go-Grammar/dp/1931334188/ref=sr_1_1

Grammar Workout: Twenty-Eight Lessons, Exercises, and Activities to Jumpstart Your Writing http://www.amazon.com/Grammar-Workout-Exercises-Activities-Jump

Friday, July 11, 2014

Saving Raine by Frederick Lee Brooke - Review Tour


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Frederick will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card (international) and an autographed copy of Saving Raine (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please click the banner to visit other stops on the tour and increase your chances of winning!

Matt, Raine went to California because her parents thought it was safe. It’s not. You’ve got to get her out as soon as possible. She could die, Matt.

When 19-year-old Matt Carney gets a cryptic message from his father telling him to go to California and save his girlfriend, Raine, he doesn't hesitate—he grabs his AK-47, revs up his blue pickup, and gets ready to make the 2,300-mile roadtrip.

But cross-country travel in 2021 isn't easy—or, sometimes, even possible. The U.S. has become a near-military state: 17,000 checkpoints severely restrict interstate movement, Predator drones target innocent civilians without cause, and explosions rock cities daily. Matt and his stepbrother, Benjy, face deadly attacks from a corrupt government, ruthless local law enforcement, and bloodthirsty terrorist groups as they embark on their trek. They're about to find out that their trip is much more than a private journey, and their success could change the face of the country—forever.

Can Matt and Benjy outrun the drone missiles raining down on their heads? Can they avoid assassination by government officials hell-bent on taking over what little is left of the country?

Can they outsmart the deadly schemes set in motion against them?

Break the rules.

Save the girl.

He only gets one chance before she's gone forever.

My Review:

Saving Rain is a dystopian novel set in a time not too far removed from our own. 2021 is only a week of years away. The United States as we know it has become technically advanced -- politically in chaos and the price of food is skyrocketing (sound familiar)? Drones are accessible not only for the government but also for private citizens-- privacy is virtually non-existent. The government is trying to control everything.

This book is told from various POVs-- it is similar to an ensemble book in that way (can we say "bacon"?). The book focuses mostly, however, on Matt and his quest to save his girlfriend Raine. He is traveling cross-country because of a cryptic note he received from his father.

The author has done a wonderful job in characterization, even with so many characters to deal with and hear from. The action doesn't slow down at all, and things might not work out the way you want them to. But, this is only book one of the series, so I hope some things will change (trying not to give spoilers here). Be aware, there is a cliff-hanger ending; I can hardly wait for book two to see how things resolve.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

With the pins out of the hinges, she only had to pry the door free, while making damn sure it didn’t land on her bare feet. A ticklish task even if you could see. Everything took three times as long, blind. Still, she didn’t feel quite so helpless as an hour ago.

Once out of the wood cellar, Claire quickly found a light switch. One last look into the room gave her satisfaction. One whole wall had split wood stacked neatly, the workbench was scattered with tools, and someone’s old coffee cup lay in the middle of the floor. What sat next to the cup looked more ominous. She took a step closer. A small, dark gray plastic box with a red light on the side and a timer. As the timer clicked from 14 to 13 to 12, she turned and ran.

Ignoring the pain from her puncture wound, she took the stairs three at a time, no small feat for a woman of her size, praying that the door at the top wouldn’t be locked. She blew through it, ran down a hallway and into a kitchen, looking for a door. She turned the lock in the kitchen door, and ran out into the backyard.

At that moment an explosion ripped into her from behind, throwing her fifteen feet across the grass.

About the Author
Frederick Lee Brooke launched the Annie Ogden Mystery Series in 2011 with Doing Max Vinyl and following with Zombie Candy in 2012, a book that is neither about zombies nor sweets. The third mystery in the series, Collateral Damage, appeared in 2013. Saving Raine, the first book in Fred’s entirely new series, The Drone Wars, appeared in December 2013. Inferno, the action-packed follow-up to Saving Raine, is releasing in June 2014.

A resident of Switzerland, Fred has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He has three boys and two cats and recently had to learn how to operate both washing machine and dryer. He makes frequent trips back to his native Chicago. When not writing or doing the washing, Fred can be found walking along the banks of the Rhine River, sitting in a local cafe, or visiting all the local pubs in search of his lost umbrella.

Website: www.frederickleebrooke.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/frederickleebrooke
Twitter: www.twitter.com/frederickbrooke
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/4856232.Frederick_Lee_Brooke

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Saving-Raine-Drone-Wars-Book-ebook/dp/B00HBMKPSC
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saving-raine-frederick-lee-brooke/1117915543
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/388361

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Winter

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Winter by Marissa Meyer

13206900 I love love love the Lunar Chronicles! They're definitely one of my favorite dystopian series, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the last book in the series! :) Meyer had me hooked from the beginning with her unique way of warping and twisting the everyday fairy tale into something I had never even dreamed of, especially in a dystopian society. Scarlet's story was the one that really blew me away, but Cress's was a close second and Cinder 's was third, simply because it followed Cinderella's story pretty much completely. Except, I don't remember Cinderella being...cyborg.

Also, Marissa mentions this tidbit in an interview: "Winter is based on Snow White, and will be the epic conclusion of the story. Princess Winter, Levana's stepdaughter, has been raised in the luxurious courts of Artemisia, Luna's capital city, and has seen firsthand the destruction that can be caused when people abuse their Lunar gift. As a result, she's sworn an oath to never use her gift at all... which has come with the side effect of slowly driving her mad. There's only one person she feels she can trust—Jacin Clay, her best friend since childhood. Unfortunately, as a royal guard, Jacin is already under her stepmother's control..."

I can't recommend this series enough, and I cannot wait for the release of the next book!

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Ashes That Remain by AM Griffin - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn winner and a $10 Amazon gift card to another randomly drawn winner via the rafflecopter at the end of this post. Please click the banner to visit other stops on the tour and increase your chances of winning!

We’re at war against the aliens that have invaded Earth, fighting the only way we can—by surviving. I have more than most people do, but although I know it’s stupid to hold on, I can’t let go of what might have been—can’t help dreaming of something more. No matter how I tell myself it would be easier to do what everyone else wants me to, there’s a part of me that can’t give in. Making the best of the situation is one thing. Settling, even to make other people happy, is something else.

Then we hear the alien mother ships have disappeared. Of course we have to go and investigate. What we find lands us in a huge mess that we somehow have to clean up and, as our little enclave is rocked to the core with even more changes, I’m learning a hard lesson.

The more things change—for the better or the worse—there’s no fighting human nature, and building on the ashes that remain will take everything we have. And maybe more.

Now enjoy an excerpt:
I can hear Dave talking from down the hall. As he thunders on I cringe. To be late for a meeting Dave called is a big no-no unless you want the evil stink-eye. And since I can hear him talking adamantly about something, I’m preparing for his wrath.

Mia moves behind Ian, pushing him in front of her. “You go in first.”

Not missing out on my opportunity for protection, I hide behind Mia. Maybe by the time Dave gets through chewing out Ian then Mia he’ll be too tired to cut into me.

“Mia, I sent you to get everyone over thirty minutes ago,” Dave says.

So he’s skipping right over Ian to Mia. I could either throw her under the bus or help her out.

Loyalty makes me step from behind her. “I’m sorry, Dave. I held her up.”

Dave glares at me. He’s an older man with grey hair and a big build and, although he’s usually good natured, he’s serious when it comes to Arrowwood community business.

I shuffle on my feet and feel the odd need to explain myself further. “I…um…needed her help with something.”

With a shake of his head he dismisses us, leaving Ian, Mia and I to take some open seats. Glancing around I can tell everyone is here. My mom is sitting up front next to Rocky and Rocky’s ten year-old daughter Brooklynn. Wade waves to me from where he’s sitting at a table on the other side of the room. He has an empty seat next to him and when he indicates to it I shrug. “Sorry,” I mouth to him. I want to take the closest seat. Moving across the room would probably only irk Dave even more.

“As I was saying,” Dave says, after we’ve found our seats, “Since the mother ship has left Detroit, we’re going to investigate to find out what’s going on.”

It’s gone?

My breath seems to leave me.

“Wait, back-up,” Ian says. “The big spaceship is gone?”

“Are all of them gone?” I add. The last news report we’d seen said there were one hundred mother ships hovering over the largest cities of the world. That had been last May while we were still at band camp in Tallahassee. None of us knew if that number had grown less or more since then.

Dave shakes his head. “Unfortunately we don’t know. All we know is that the one over Detroit is gone, Jorin saw it take off while he was in one of the trees using his Ham radio. We don’t know if it’s gone for just a little while or gone for good. We’re forming a team to leave tomorrow at 1800 hours. Rocky will lead, MJ, Wade and Jorin are in.” Then he glances over to Ian. “How about you? Can we count on you as well?”

Ian glances at Mia before answering. If she had a problem with him leaving I’d expect him not to go. But she gives him a nod. Ian reaches out to hold her hand before he turns to Dave. “I’m in.”

“Good, we’ll find out—” “I’m going too,” I blurt out.

A. M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.

Where you can find me:

Website: http://www.amgriffinbooks.com/

Subscribe to my Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/A.M.-Griffin/e/B00APK4V4G/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Email: amgriffinbooks@gmail.com

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Buy Links for Against The Darkness

Kindle: http://amzn.com/B00IVUGYYW

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/417204

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/against-the-darkness-am-griffin/1118904089?ean=2940045756440

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