Blog Tour for Stricken by C.K. Kelly Martin

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Stricken by C.K. Kelly Martin
Publication Date: November 4, 2017
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Dancing Cat Books

Purchase Links:
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Naomi doesn’t expect anything unusual from her annual family trip to visit her grandparents in Ireland. What she expects is to celebrate her thirteenth birthday, hang out with her friends Ciara and Shehan, and deal with her gran’s Alzheimer’s. What she finds is a country hit by an unexpected virus that rapidly infects the majority of the Irish population over the age of twenty-one.

Amnestic-Delirium Syndrome (ADS) starts off with memory loss, but the virus soon turns its victims aggravated, blank, or violent. Naomi and her friends must survive on their own, without lucid adults, cut off from the rest of the world, until a cure is found.

But there are whispers that ADS is not terrestrial, and soon Naomi and her friends learn the frightening truth: we are not alone.

Author Interview

  1. What is your writing routine? Do you aim for a word count, to tackle a certain number of pages at a time, or do you go scene by scene? (Something else?)

I do some preparation (research, emails, sometimes a bit of social networking stuff) in the morning. I find I can’t get into a good creative groove before about eleven a.m. so that’s when I start writing in earnest.  Usually, I’m working from some kind of rough outline but the further I get into the book the more it tends to diverge from what I anticipated might happen. That’s cool because it means I’m usually surprised rather than knowing exactly the way a book will unfold. It takes on a life of its own.

I used to have a word count I tried to reach each day but four years ago I developed health issues and was diagnosed with polyneuropathy. Now it’s very uncomfortable to sit still for long periods (or stand or walk for long periods!) so I have to keep getting up, moving and shift positions and stuff. Overall this has shortened my daily writing period so I don’t have a word count or set number of pages I try to reach; I just do what I can, all the better if I can get a scene finished.  

2. What was your inspiration for your book? What was the most fun and the most difficult part of getting the story just right?

I love zombie movies and also plague outbreak movies in general so with Stricken I kind of married the two. The infected in this book aren’t zombies but they’re certainly not themselves and some of them are dangerous (others aren’t at all). On a deeper level, at the time I was writing Stricken I didn’t know my mother had Alzheimer’s but I’d known for years that something wasn’t right. I think that was very much in my consciousness and that it shaped aspects of the book.  Stricken is my first middle grade and writing from a younger point of view was so refreshing. But it was my editor’s idea to include lists, which became the most fun part for me. Who doesn’t love lists! On the other hand, the most difficult part was finding a good point to end the book while still leaving room for more in the future because I knew the story in its entirety was too long for one book.  

3. What are your favorite books? What authors inspire you the most?

There are so many authors and books I love. In the past year I discovered Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friends Exorcism and Horrorstor and ate them both up. Recently I was also delighted by graphic novel Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos and Me by Lorina Mapa.  I’m always finding new inspiration. I’m usually more excited to read something new or an author I haven’t read before than to revisit books or familiar authors.  I’ve been writing speculative and horror-leaning stuff lately so I’ve been reading more in those areas, but one of my forever favourites remains The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. I’m also an enormous fan of Judy Blume who showed me, as a young person, what it looks to be unflinchingly truthful about young people’s lives.

4. Odd question – what TV shows do you like?

This is a great question because I just finished watching the Americans finale and it’s one of my favourite shows of all time. It’s incredibly character driven for a show about spies. All the relationships are so nuanced and intricate. There are multiple levels to every conversation and action and you feel you know and cared about the main characters so much (even when they do horrible things) that it makes every single thing that happens all the more gripping. But I like a lot of different kinds of shows: Wilderness survival show Alone, makeup artist contest Face Off, Stranger Things, The Crown, This is Us, The Handmaid’s Tale. I’m sad that this is the final season of Nashville; I’m really going to miss it. I’m also a big fan of Star Trek Discovery and Doctor Who (I can’t wait to see Jodie Whittaker as the doctor!).  

5. Lastly, is there anything else we should know about you? Do you like to listen to music when writing? What book projects are on the horizon for you?

I need quiet to be able to put myself in the world of my characters. Sometimes I’ll actually listen to white noise to block out noise from neighbouring apartments. I do like listening to music beforehand though, to help put me in a certain frame of mind that matches up with whatever I’m working on.  In the past, I wrote a lot of contemporary young adult books and while I might return to that at some point these days I feel a strong pull to horror, sci-fi, and storylines with fantastical elements. I have a speculative YA, horror YA and a sci-fi MG that I’ve been working on but I’m not sure which will see the light of day first.

Thanks so much for having me over to bookblogarama to talk bookish things!

About the Author

C.K. Kelly Martin

Long before I was an author I was a fan of books about Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Madeline, Anne Shirley and anything by Judy Blume. Throughout high school my favourite class was English. No surprise, then, that most of my time spent at York University in Toronto was as an English major—not the traditional way to graduate with a B.A. (Hons) in film studies but a fine way to get a general arts education.

After getting my film studies degree I headed for Dublin, Ireland and spent the majority of the nineties there in forgettable jobs meeting unforgettable people and enjoying the buzz. I always believed I’d get around to writing in earnest eventually, and I began writing my first novel in a flat in Dublin and finished it in a Toronto suburb. By then I’d discovered that fiction about young people felt the freshest and most exciting to me. You have most of your life to be an adult but you only grow up once.

Currently residing near Toronto with my Dub husband, I’m an aunt to twenty-one nieces and nephews, and a great-aunt to two great-nephews. I became an Irish citizen in 2001 and continue to visit Dublin as often as I can while working on novels about young people.

My first young adult book, I Know It’s Over, came out with Random House in September 2008, and was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and sci-fi thriller Yesterday. I released Yesterday’s sequel, Tomorrow, in 2013 and put out my first adult novel, Come See About Me, as an ebook in June 2012. My most recent contemporary YA books, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing and Delicate, were published by Cormorant Books’ Dancing Cat Books imprint in 2014 and 2015.

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Book Promo for The Thinking (The Landland Chronicles #2) by Dallas Sutherland

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Title: The Thinking (The Landland Chronicles #2)

Author: Dallas Sutherland

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

LANDLAND BECOMES ITS OWN SAVIOUR …

The Greying snakes across Bigriver towards Landland … all the lands are in turmoil. Meah combines her power of thinking with the magical Book of Colours, and joins the Bigriverland army to fight the horrid Firbog. Faith, Hope, and Charity, the white many-headed-winged-thing, returns. Auntie Beryl has become the evil Queen Berilbog– she must be stopped. Many-headed-winged-things soar high over battle-fields, three-humped-beasts-of-war go on the rampage, and, from out of the mists of the greying, slithering Homunculi goad them on.

Meah’s magical plans are not what Landland needs– Firbog hordes swarm across a dried up Bigriver into Landland, cutting their way through The Scented Forest, all the way up to the tip of Mount Beacon.

Chaos reigns supreme, Landland writes its own story … but the story is all wrong. Meah looks for a way to escape. Will she find her father, The Biggo, again? Can they win their way home– should they leave Landland and all their friends in the clutches of Auntie Beryl, the Grey Lady?

Author Bio

Bio Photo1 DallasSutherland

Over the last twenty-five years, the Author has exhibited a creative bent across a range of industries including graphic design, fine arts, and trompe l’oeil murals. He has lectured in fine arts and studied Art History, Literature, Adult Education, and Creative Writing. Works include play scripts and short stories.The Greying is his first published novella, with further books planned as part of the fantasy series. He draws inspiration from myth, legend, and fairy tales.

He lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia with his partner Kerri, and daughter Ruby.

Links

Website: www.dallassutherlandauthor.com

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomdallasws

Blog: www.dallasws.wordpress.com

Kindle ebook: Kindle eBook

Book One (Print)   (40% Discount code: JFFFB85D)

Book Two (Print)   (40% Discount code: JFFFB85D)

Giveaway

Win 10 series of 3 Landland Chronicles character/map posters, five signed books and five eBooks. Go here to participate: https://dallasws.wordpress.com/books-1-and-2/

Book Excerpts

‘What is it Captain? Why are they stopping?’ Meah asked.

‘I’m not sure, but whatever it is, it’s not going to be pleasant.

A singing, sighing sound cut through the air, and Meah stood helpless as the ground around the Elvish kicked up.

‘It’s a hornet! A javelin squad with a machine javelin.’ Captain Bobb said, ‘Really nasty.’

A second hail of javelins splintered the ground around the Elvish, and then he was down. The Firbog came on at a trot down the hill towards him.

Meah stared in horror, desperate for something to help. It was like watching an old movie; the sun-lit patch of ground became a screen, surrounded by the thick cinematic fog of the greying.

The Elvish picked himself up and continued to run with a loping gait. Closer and closer to the river he came. His last mad dash for freedom erupted on-screen in full motion to the chilling sound of a three-humped-beast-of-war. Laughing like a hyena, it emerged from out of the greying at stage right, and thundered across the screen at a gallop. The Homunculus rider goaded the beast on with a whip and a lash towards the Elvish.

‘We’ve got to do something!’ Meah screamed.

At a signal from Captain Bobb the VDF let loose their crossbows. The missiles fell short, hissing and plopping into the water. The Captain dropped the magniscope and reached for his longbow.

The great splayed hooves of the three-humped-beast-of-war hammered at the turf, making a ga-thumping sound which echoed across the water.

Captain Bobb took careful aim and let his arrow fly. It shot straight and true, hitting the homunculus in the side of the neck. The beast, now riderless, continued its mad gallop across the screen and on into the fog on the other side.

The little Elvish half fell and half dived into the river and tried to swim across.

‘He’ll never make it, the crosscurrent’s too strong,’ Captain Bobb said.

The Elvish struck out towards the middle of the river. He made it about half way across before the current caught hold.

The Firbog reached the bank and set up the hornet again. Javelin bolts peppered the water around the swimmer.

Captain Bobb took careful aim with the longbow and picked off two of the attackers. Soon the Elvish was out of range of the Firbog. The current continued to drag him down river.

Meah’s only thought was of rescue, and in an instant she was barefoot and dressed only in her fibrepillar underclothes. Without a backwards glance she leapt into the river and stuck out towards the Elvish. He was still in the middle of the river but drifting downstream away from her.

Cover Reveal – The Boatman by Kat Hawthorne

Isabel Wixon is weird. Not only does she see dead things, but her list of friends consist of a talkative ventriloquist’s dummy and the gentlemanly spider that lives in her hair. Real friends? Too hard. Inventing friends is much easier.

Inventing the Boatman—a terrible monster that lures kids into a strange sleeping sickness and never lets them go—probably wasn’t one of her better ideas though.

Kat Hawthorne tends to lurk (somewhat menacingly) in the darker corners of the literary world. In addition to a smattering of published poetry, Kat’s short fiction has appeared in such literary magazines as Underneath the Juniper Tree, Thrills Kills and Chaos, Infernal Ink, Dark Edifice, Shadows Express, Fiction and Verse, and The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society. Her literary novelette, The Oddity, was published by MuseIt Up Publishing on July 11th, 2014. In partnership with Enter Skies Entertainment, Kat wrote the narrative portion of Fearless Fantasy, an online role-playing game published by tinyBuild Games and hosted by Steam. As well as being a nerd of the highest order, Kat is a graduate of Ryerson University’s copy, substantive, and stylistic editing programs and is an acquisitions, line, and copy editor at BookFish Books LLC.

Please visit http://www.katmhawthorne.com for more information about Kat’s writing, or www.movetothewrite.com to learn about her editing work.

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Author Spotlight–Kevin A. Springer

Blurb for Extraordinary Sam and the Adventurers’ Guild:

This box may seem empty,

But there’s more than meets the eye…”

Sam Miller seems like an ordinary 12-year-old boy, until he discovers a mysterious box. Suddenly, he lands in a magical world in which he must battle deadly pirates, savage warriors, giant man-eating spiders, and a fire-wielding tyrant. To survive, Sam must overcome his fears, solve riddles, and most of all, be extraordinary.

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About the Author:

Kevin A. Springer grew up on a farm in Maryland where his imagination knew no limits. As a husband and father, he reconnected with his creativity while telling bedtime stories to his two young boys. One such story evolved into his debut book, Extraordinary Sam & the Adventurers’ Guild (March 2015, Bookfish Books LLC.), which tells the tale of an ordinary boy who finds a hatbox and discovers a world of adventure and self-discovery.

Kevin is a self-proclaimed dreamer and a kid at heart. When he’s not writing or reading, he is coaching soccer or helping with homework. He lives outside of Atlanta with his wife, two extraordinary boys, and dogs. He is also a co-founder of the Middle Grade Mafia blog.

Find me online:

Twitter: @kevinaspringer

Website: kevinaspringer.wordpress.com

Author Interview

  • How did Extraordinary Sam came about? What inspired you to create him as a character?

    The story started as a bedtime story I told my oldest son when he was four. It was a simple story about a kid who had a magic hatbox and could be a cowboy, pirate, or anybody who wears a hat. Those stories lasted a couple weeks and then were replaced by some other adventure. About two years later, he asked for a magic hatbox story – those stories had stayed in the back of his mind all that time. That got me thinking maybe I could make something more out of this boy an his box. Extraordinary Sam was born. I sat down a couple days later and fleshed out an outline for a possible story and I was beginning to understand who this kid is, what he wants, and what stands in his way.

  • Did the story develop easily or did it take a long while to complete a first draft?

    I never considered myself to be a writer, but have always had a vivid imagination. My wife saw there was an online creative writing course for aspiring children’s book authors. I was surprised in the beginning by how easily the story flowed. That all changed when Sam had his first obstacle and things came to a screeching halt. I spent days writing and deleting. Nothing seemed to fit. Life started getting in the way and the book sat untouched for eleven months until a friend asked how the book was coming and I knew it was time to get back to writing.

    The story continued to take shape, but not as quickly. I thought it would be a good idea to join SCBWI and attend a conference. I felt good about my manuscript (2/3 the way complete at that point) and decided to get a formal critique from an agent. My story received a very mixed review and I realized I had a lot to learn. 

    I joined a critique group and began to fine tune my story. Six months later, I decided to take my much improved manuscript to another conference and have it critiqued once again. The review this time was much better, but it still wasn’t ready. Inspiration hit me and new wrinkles in the story came to light. The rest of the story couldn’t get out of my head and onto the computer fast enough. A few months later, it was ready to submit to agents and editors. 

    So, in total, the story took over three years to complete.

  • What is your writing process (a specific word count or chapter goal for each day)?

    I read about how other authors are dedicated to writing 1000 words or two pages per day. Unfortunately, my brain isn’t wired for such goals (maybe it’s my ADD). Much of my “work” happens in my head and much of the time, as I’m trying to fall asleep. I can go three days without typing a word, then spend six hours at my local Starbucks and write fifteen pages. I ride the inspiration waves and feel I have a much more organic story that wouldn’t be possible if I forced myself to meet a daily goal.

  • What other books / blogs / projects have you been working on (Middle Grade Mafia blog)?


    I have begun work on the second book in the Extraordinary Sam story and that has been a lot of fun. There are two other books I have plotted out and written a few chapters, but they will have to wait.

    Outside of my writing, I run a blog (along with five other writers) called Middle Grade Mafia. On the site, we review middle grade books, share writing tips, and interview middle grade authors, agents, and editors. We try to balance established, well known authors with newer writers just breaking into the business. We have been lucky enough to interview some amazing authors on our site: Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Katherine Applegate (The One and Only Ivan), and Tom Angleberger (the Origami Yoda series) to name a few. It has been a blast!

  • What are some of your favorite books and authors who inspired you?

    I hope I don’t shock people too much when I tell you that I hated reading when I was younger, but I blame that on undiagnosed ADD. Having to focus on a page was such a struggle. As an adult, especially with children of my own, I have fallen in love with middle grade fiction.

    There are a number of authors who do such an amazing job, it is hard to pick just a few. One series I absolutely love is Christopher Healy’s Hero’s Guide (Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is the first book).. Healy has a gift of blending adventure and humor. If you haven’t read his books, you are missing out. Another book that I loved is Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Leisl Shurtliff. Shurtliff’s ability to recreate the character of Rumelstiltskin into a good-natured, tender boy looking to discover his full name, and his destiny, is amazing. The blend of action, humor and emotion makes for a great read.

  • On My Bookshelf for 22 Feb 2015

       

       

    Happy Reading!

     

    ‘Arrow Of The Mist’ by Christina Mercer – Review Blitz

      

    Terror strikes the Celtic inspired kingdom of Nemetona when barbed roots breach the veil of a forbidden land and poison woodsmen, including 15-year-old Lia’s beloved father. Lia and three others embark on a quest to the forbidden land of Brume to gather ingredients for the cure. But after her elder kinsman is attacked and poisoned, she and her cousin, Wynn, are forced to finish the quest on their own.


    Lia relies on her powerful herbal wisdom and the memorized pages of her late grandmother’s Grimoire for guidance through a land of soul-hungry shades, trickster creatures, and uncovered truths about the origin of Brume and her family’s unexpected ties to it. The deeper they trek into the land, the stronger Lia’s untapped gift as a tree mage unfolds. When she discovers the enchanted root’s maker, it forces her to question everything about who she is and what is her destiny. Ultimately she must make a terrible choice: keep fighting to save her father and the people of the lands or join with the power behind the deadly roots to help nature start anew.

    MY REVIEW:

    I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of this one, but I found myself pleasantly surprised. The book is well written, with a unique premise that engages the reader immediately. I always love a family story, a magical story, and an adventure story – this book has all three! Can’t wait to get to the second book in the series.

    Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ArrowOfTheMist-Goodreads

    Purchase your copy:

    Amazon: http://bit.ly/ArrowOfTheMist-Amazon

    iBooks: http://bit.ly/ArrowOfTheMist-iBooks

    Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/ArrowOfTheMist-BN

    Kobo: http://bit.ly/ArrowOfTheMist-Kobo

    Smashwords: http://bit.ly/ArrowOfTheMist-Smashwords

    About The Author

    Facebook / Twitter / Website

    Christina Mercer is an award-winning author of fiction for children and young adults. She took Writer’s Best in Show at the 2012 SCBWI CA North/Central Regional Conference, was a Semi-Finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakout Novel Award Contest, and won Honorable Mention in the 21st Annual Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards. She holds a degree in Accounting from California State University at Sacramento and a Certificate in Herbal Studies from Clayton College of Natural Health. Christina resides in Northern California enjoying life with her husband, two sons, four dogs, and about 100,000 honeybees.

    WWW Wednesday 4 Jun 2014 (Find out what I am reading this week)

    To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

    • What are you currently reading?
    • What did you recently finish reading?
    • What do you think you’ll read next?

    What are you currently reading?

    Geek Girl by Holly Smale

    I’ve been looking at this book for a while, especially since I’ve seen students reading it. I only went through the first chapter, but it seems very cute.

    Kiss by Jacqueline Wilson

    With as many books as I’ve seen to Wilson’s credit (most of them in classrooms), I figured I should pick up a few. I bought this at a £1 book sale in Asda and have just picked it up recently. This one is for upper middle grade, I’d say. It has a very distinct teenage voice that I really like.

    What did you recently finish reading?

    Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill by James Patterson

    The Martian by Andy Weir

    Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

    Technically, I’m still reading all of these, I’ve just set them aside for the time being.

    What do you think you’ll read next?

    The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

    I know we have this book sitting around somewhere, but I currently have the ebook version from the library. After the first page, I was ready to dive in.

    The Camelot Code by Mari Mancusi

    I’ve been trying to review more indie authors (because it’s so stinking fun) and this one looked really cute. I’ve read the first chapter and it’s such a cool idea. Can’t wait to read it all.

    Happy Reading and Happy Wednesday!

    Friday Reads for 7 Mar 2014

    FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

    So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!


    My Finds:

           

            

            

           

         

    Happy Reading, Happy October, and Happy Friday!

     

    Two Things Tuesdays for 4 Mar 2014

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    My Teasers from Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney:

    “So if you want to find somebody to blame for the way I am, I guess you’d have to start with the public education system.”

    “I found out that North America will be underwater within six months, so that kind of takes the pressure off me to do well in school.”

     

    Happy Reading and Happy Tuesday!

    WWW Wednesday 26 Feb 2014 (Find out what I am reading this week)

    To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

    • What are you currently reading?
    • What did you recently finish reading?
    • What do you think you’ll read next?

    What are you currently reading?

      Luxe by Anna Godbersen

    This is different than what I usually read, but it seems pretty interesting despite being in 3rd person (I tend to put 3rd person POV books on the “maybe” pile.)

      Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

    I am about half way through this, but I may put it on the TBR Later pile. I really liked the story at first. It’s about friendship and dealing with death of a boyfriend. Then it got into the other issues – first the teen pregnancy thing, someone that was never remotely hinted at earlier, then it added dementia in a grandparent. However, I feel like it’s an absolutely authentic teen book, because I remember issues being important to read about in a fiction book. It opens the readers’ eyes to what some people have to go through. I like Sarah Dessen’s writing, I just don’t know if I’ll finish this anytime soon.

    What did you recently finish reading?

     Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

      Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

    What do you think you’ll read next?

      The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

    One of my favorite authors has a new book! I read the Kindle sample and really liked it. I don’t buy books too much these days, but I can’t wait to read this.

      Panic by Lauren Oliver

    Another great author, but not sure how soon I’ll get to this.

        All American Girl and Avalon High by Meg Cabot

    I’m much more likely to read one of these two next. I love Meg Cabot because her characters have such a good voice.

     

    Happy Reading and Happy Wednesday!