Monday, September 30, 2013

A Touch of Darkness: Events

A TOUCH OF DARKNESS by Yelena Casale and Tina Moss debuts this October from E-LitBooks. All month long and through November interviews, guest posts, excerpts and giveaways will take place across the blog-o-sphere. Don't miss out with this Calendar of Events.



Join in the fun and enter for the chance to win e-ARCs and other great prizes!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

BOMB BOY by Steven Lombardi:
Author Interview

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming my cousin, Steven Lombardi, to the blog to discuss his debut novel, BOMB BOY. Having the privilege of reading this book in the beta stage, I can tell you without bias that it's amazing. If you're a fan of DUNE, this is the book for you. Here's what Steven has to say about writing and his journey.

Welcome Steven! Thanks for agreeing to this interview. Let's jump in with the first question...

1. What inspired you to write Bomb Boy?
I had the idea for Bomb Boy during an Adapting the Novel class at SVA.  I never liked adapting novels to scripts.  I felt it lacked imagination.  I would instead adapt songs into short scripts.  I found great joy in doing it because it allowed me to create characters, define conflicts, and produce very trippy stories.

Bomb Boy is an adaptation of the Stooges' song, Search and Destroy. The character Bomb Boy was originally named Forgotten Boy. He was literally that -- a mechanical boy who, he thought, was forgotten by his father, the General. The Forgotten Boy's purpose was to search for the enemy capital and destroy it.  He had a heart full napalm and would become the runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb with his caregiver.

2. You have such wonderful and rich characters in your book. Who is your favorite and why?
My favorite character is Feathers.  He's the most levelheaded of the bunch.  He's the kind of person who not only perseveres in this dying world, but thrives.  I imagine he wouldn't do very well in our world, though.

3. Bomb Boy takes place in a different dystopian style world. Would you consider it sci-fi, dystopian, or a combination? Any books similar to yours?
I never thought of it like that.  I think of it as a drama, really.  But for selling purposes, I guess it wouldn't hurt to label it a sci-fi, dystopian.  I read The Road a few times while writing Bomb Boy to get a sense of how McCarthy captures loss and abandon.  I also revisited Dune to get tips on how Herbert described the landscape and the landscape's affect on the characters.

4. If you had to sum up Bomb Boy in 30 words or less, what would you say?
Veronica grows to love the sentient bomb, Bomb Boy, as a mother would love a son. They escape the military and suffer through the dangerous landscape to find peace.

5. Do you have any writing rituals?
I do about 95% of my writing on the Staten Island ferry.

6. Who are your writing inspirations?
Gaiman for his imagination. Bukowski for his voice.

7. What can we expect from you in the future?
I have about four novels living far away in first-draft land. And I'm also writing a new book, which I think I like. It's about a character named Steven Lombardi who travels to Maine to get eaten by a whale. It's actually very funny (maybe).

8. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
I'm an excellent jogger. There was a time in my life where I could say I was an excellent skateboarder, but things came between me and skateboarding (like twisted ankles and a dislocated knee), so now I only dabble.

9. What tips or advice would you give to upcoming writers?
I consider myself an upcoming writer. So I'll tell others what I tell myself everyday. Don't stop.

10. Is there anything else you'd like to add that hasn't been asked today?
Nope, just want to say thank you for featuring my interview! You're the best, Tina!

About Bomb Boy
Bomb Boy
Veronica Hedgeworth lost her country, her fiancé, and her dreams of a family to the fire war. Her only joy is spending time with Bomb Boy, a sentient bomb capable of destroying half of the country.

Veronica grows to love Bomb Boy, as a mother would love a son, and the two escape to suffer through the scorched landscape wrought with deadly winds, wild raiders, vicious animals, and opposing soldiers as they journey to the Outer Quadrants, a land rumored to be untouched by flame.

All the while, both armies are hunting them down, because whoever controls the Bomb Boy will win the war.

Thanks so much to Steven for coming on the blog today! If you are a sci-fi or dystopian fan, you have to pick up your copy of Bomb Boy!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

EVER NEAR by Melissa MacVicar:
Becoming a Writer

Melissa MacVicar returns to the blog for the latest stop on the tour for her awesome YA urban fantasy debut, EVER NEAR. I am so excited to have her as a guest on the blog today, because she's sharing her journey of becoming a writer. Her story is a true inspiration and well worth the read.

Becoming a Writer
by Melissa MacVicar

I quit writing for eighteen years. Even though becoming a writer was always my dream, I just stopped doing it when I graduated from college in 1992. Some of my reasons were:
  1. Not enough time to write
  2. Writing was not serious enough
  3. Writing was not a money making activity
As a teen, I wrote tons. I wrote in a journal about my life, I wrote short stories, I wrote poetry, and I wrote incomplete novels about girls at boarding school and girls at horseback riding camp and girls living on Nantucket for the summer. I had a knack for all kinds of writing and I loved reading so writing seemed like a natural progression.

Unfortunately, as a young person, my idea of being a writer meant that I needed to be a literary genius right off the bat. I thought I needed to write something mind blowing and amazing that would make everyone sit up and take notice of me. This was more about me than any professors or other person in my life, but with that as my ideal, of course I quit. My standard was way too high and I had more pressing issues to deal with at the time, like making money, getting an apartment, partying, and figuring out a real career.

So that is my quitting story in a nutshell. Instead of a becoming writer, I decided to become a social worker and then a teacher. I also became a wife and a mother so my life was very busy.

It wasn’t until in 2010 that three events came together that got me writing again.
  1. Self-publishing success stories started hitting the news.
  2. My kids were grown up enough that I had some time.
  3. I read the Twilight novels (yeah go ahead, make fun of me) and I heard about the wild surge in the Young Adult market as a result of these books.
I started off writing Adult Romance. In the beginning, I just focused on the story lines and didn’t think too much about character development or finely wrought prose. I wrote for about six months just for the fun of making up stories but in the fall of 2010, I decided to start taking it more seriously. I started researching online everything about publishing and the craft of writing. I was reading a lot too and was having those little moments in my head where I’d say, “I could write this. I can write as well as this. Maybe I can write even better.”

I got a novel completed by the summer of 2011 and began sending it to agents. It was not EVER NEAR but a contemporary young adult novel. I had about 10 agents request to read it. However, some of the feedback on it made me realize what it was lacking so in October 2011, I put that novel aside and instead started focusing on EVER NEAR.

The rest of the timeline goes something like this:
  1. Sent EVER NEAR to about 40 agents in the spring 2012 with no success.
  2. Rewriting of EVER NEAR began in July 2012.
  3. Resumed sending EVER NEAR to agents and publishers in January 2013.
  4. Offer to publish EVER NEAR from Red Adept February 2013.
So when exactly in this process did I officially become a writer? Looking back, I see that I was a writer all along. All these milestones and attempts and rejections did not make me a writer. I was a writer even when I wasn’t writing. I have probably been a writer since the day I was born only now I know the truth about becoming a writer. I know that someone becomes a writer when they finally stop listening to all the voices in the world that say they can’t do it. I think I officially became a writer when I decided I only needed to listen to that one little voice inside my own head. The voice that has a story to tell…

About Ever Near
Love is ever near. But trouble is never far.

Nantucket Island is haunted, but only sixteen-year-old Jade Irving knows it. Ignoring the disturbing spirits isn’t an option, because one dwells in the enormous historic home she shares with her newly blended family. Jade is finding it more and more difficult to explain away Lacey’s ghostly, anguished tantrums, especially with Charlie, her gorgeous, almost step-brother, living right across the hall.

When a power-hungry ghost hunter tracks down Jade and blackmails her, Jade’s secret teeters on the edge of exposure, and her entire future hangs in the balance. If anyone finds out Jade can talk to ghosts, her life will be forever changed.

Can she save herself, free Lacey, and hang on to her tenuous connection with Charlie? Or will everything she ever wanted slip through her fingers?

About the Author
Melissa MacVicar lives with her husband and two children on Nantucket Island. She loves classic rock, watching football, and reading anything romantic and suspenseful. She survived prep school, and was brave enough to attend her college reunion.

When she turned forty, Melissa decided to renew her adolescent passion for fiction writing. Having once thought publishing a novel to be an impossible dream, she’s proud to be achieving her lifelong goal. In addition to writing, she’s a full-time teacher, an avid runner, and a somewhat reluctant tri-athlete.

Find her here:

Don't forget to pick up EVER NEAR by Melissa MacVicar as it hits retailers this month from Red Adept Publishing.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Freaky Friday: The Bay

A young woman narrates the opening of The Bay by introducing us to the town of Claridge, Maryland and what it used to be like...before. Yet, the inciting event remains hidden. We're told that the confiscated footage on the events of July 4th have finally been recovered thanks to a website that goes after government leaks. Sadly, the scenes of sweet small town life run too long. It's an attempt to make the viewer care--or at least feel concern--about the town and it's inhabitants. But, really it just delays the mystery and slows the pace. The woman's voice also has a pitch that grates on the ear. When we get into the meaty part of the plot, it's revealed through interspersed footage from different sources. It's not easy to follow...until the screaming starts.
The movie picks up after the initial "event", but the woman continues to do voice over narrations which detract from the impact. Had the director allowed the footage to play out with quick shots of text to explain any ambiguities instead of the voice over, it would have been less distracting and more powerful. But, se la vie.
The other frustration is the oceanographer team. The female part of the pair has a thick accent and the male repeats most of what she says to clarify. Pointless. If you're worried the audience won't understand the character, then subtitle her or use a different actress. All of the film is meant to be true to life, so lots of "um", "ah", "sorry", and "excuse me" in people's speech. But, just as those things should be eliminated in book dialogue, so too should it be stricken from movies. It doesn't make it more real, just annoying.
Now all that said, I did find the development of the film interesting. I'm not sure entertaining is the right word and it's not scary exactly, but it has an intriguing quality to it. I kept wanting to know what happened, how it would unravel and ultimately, what would be the end result. I can't quite put my finger on what hooked me, but it kept me watching. And I'm a bit of a sucker for found footage genre. All in all, not the best; not the worst.

Rating: C

Have you seen it? What's your take on The Bay? A Must Watch or a Delete From DVR?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering September 11th...


In Memory of Those Lost...
...And to Honor Those Who Serve Our Country
At Home and Abroad

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

CONSTRUCTING MARCUS by Danielle DeVor: Extended Excerpt and Contest

Danielle DeVor, our fabulous Fearless Blogger, is back to celebrate with us the latest leg of her blog tour. She's sharing an excerpt from her newest book, CONSTRUCTING MARCUS, and hosting a contest where you could win a $10 Amazon Gift Card and Miranda’s Book of Spells used to create Marcus!

About Constructing Marcus
Sixteen-year-old ghost hunter, Emma Hoffman thought that moving into an old Victorian was going to be awesome-- ghosts galore.

Much to her delight, she discovers that the house is haunted—not by a ghost, but by a construct (a spirit created to be a servant). As she gets to know Marcus, the construct, he asks her to help him avenge his maker and find her killer. Emma’s not too sure this is a good idea, she’s a ghost hunter after all, not a detective, but she agrees to help him anyway.

While trying to discover more information about the killer, Emma begins to have feelings for Marcus- feelings she isn’t ready to admit. Then the sorcerer who killed Marcus’s maker shows up at Emma’s house with an insane plan to capture Marcus and absorb his power- Emma isn’t having it. Marcus is hers.

When the killer performs a spell that begins to steal Marcus’s life force, Emma risks losing him. It’s a race against time for Emma to figure out how to stop the sorcerer and his spell before Marcus fades away and disappears from her life forever. 

Coming Soon
  
Extended Excerpt
I grabbed my book bag from the bottom of the staircase and headed off in the direction of where I thought Dad’s home office was. This house was so much bigger than it looked on the outside, but then, the way the yard was, you didn’t see how far back the house stretched into the backyard. The hallways were twisty and seemed to go in all directions. I felt like Alice in Wonderland fighting her way through a maze. I looked for anything that could be a hidden passage, but there was nothing; all the space was accounted for. It figured. But still, the walls felt like they were getting narrower. It was odd.

Finally, I knew I was near the office, but somehow, I’d gone down the wrong branch of the hallway. This hallway was darker than the others and only had one door at the end. My fingers tingled with excitement. Who knew what was on the other side of that door.

I tried the old brass knob. It was unlocked. After opening the door, I stepped inside. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust. Colors of covers burst from the bookcases surrounding me like a multifaceted stone. It seemed to twinkle in the light streaming into the turret window. I’d never seen a library like this. It was the best library ever.

My friends back in Florida always thought I was weird for liking libraries. Yeah, I had an e-reader, but I loved the smell of a book. I liked holding the book as I read. There was some sort of connection I felt with a book if I could touch the paper. Holding a mini-computer just wasn’t the same.

This library was the type you’d see in old movies. Large windows that stretched from the ceiling to the floor, built-in bookcases of dark wood that lined the walls; filled with leather bound tomes no one had read in years. I was in Heaven. I remembered the day we moved in that Dad had said something to the movers about keeping books. I thought he’d been talking about all of the books in his office, but maybe he was talking about these.

I dropped my book bag by the door and wandered into the room. I felt a reverence here. The room smelled faintly of incense and old books. It was perfect. I set my muffin down on a small table that held only a lamp and ventured further where I promptly bounced my shin off a low sitting coffee table.

“Jesus Christ!”

After hopping around looking like a wounded duck, the pain calmed down and I limped over to the first bookcase. I let my fingers dance on the spines of the book. Some of them were the classics— Dickens, Hawthorne, Poe. Others, however, were in languages I did not know. Some of them were Spanish, which I could read. I‘d have to ask Dad about the others.

I moved from bookcase to bookcase, looking for something that I just had to read right now. It would be silly to enter a library and not find something to read. When as my eyes settled on an old book whose title had been worn off the jacket, I felt a cold chill creep down my spine. I knew it wasn’t cold in the room, hell it wasn’t cold anywhere in the house. I slowly turned towards the window.

Standing in front of the window was a guy. I hadn’t heard anyone come in, and I would have. The floor creaked slightly when you walked across it. I looked away and then looked back. He was still there. That was when I noticed that he was just slightly transparent. I could faintly see the cross bars of the window through him. I wanted to run and get my camera, but I was afraid that by the time I got it and turned back around, he’d be gone. Who was he?

“Hello,” I said.

He turned his head toward me. That was when I noticed he was dressed in clothes like the ones I’d seen in history books of people from around the turn of the Twentieth Century. He stared at me. His eyes were bright green, almost startling in their clarity. His hair was brown and curled just slightly around his ears.

Simply put, he was beautiful.

He continued to stare at me. His eyes had a sadness that made me want to do something, anything to take the pain away. I shook myself. No, it wasn’t a power he was transmitting. There was something about him that struck a chord with me.

I realized I’d been staring at him so long, I hadn’t even blinked, and when I did, he was gone.

“Dammit.”

I knew I hadn’t imagined him. If I had, that was one hell of a dream.

I walked across the room, grabbed my muffin from the table and walked to the door of the room. I looked back. There was nothing there. My mystery man remained hidden. I snatched my book bag from the floor and went back upstairs to my room. I would have to start being more careful. At the very least, I should be holding my cell phone so I could snap a quick picture. It was stupid of me to not be prepared. Dumb me had left my backpack on the floor by the door. I at least should have taken the camera out of it.

Now, I knew my house was haunted. But by who, that was the question.

Contest Time
 

About the Author
Danielle DeVor spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching “Salem’s Lot” way too many times. After living briefly in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she moved back to her hometown to write. When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a mocha frappuccino.

Find her here


Good luck to Danielle on her blog tour! Be sure to add CONSTRUCTING MARCUS to your TBR pile. Speaking of ghost stories, what's your favorite?