Cover Reveal for Mirror Bound (The Witchling Academy #2) by Monica Sanz

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Author Interview with C Hope Clark on her latest novel Dying on Edisto

It is my great pleasure to welcome a special guest to the blog. I’ve been a fan and follower of C Hope Clark for longer than I can dare guess. She is the founder of Funds for Writers which is an awesome source for grants, publishers, agents, competitions, and jobs in the writing world.

Here to promote her latest novel, Clark has graciously offered to be interviewed for us here at bookblogarama.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Q: Tell us about your writing process. Do you aim for a daily word count, page count, or a couple of scenes each day?

HOPE: When it comes to writing my novels (I write a lot of freelance and editorial material, too), I strive for 1,000 words per day. I go over and under, some days easy and other days like sludging through mud. For instance, I started writing on the current novel on March 2. So by March 31, I need 30,000 words. I’m behind due to the release of the current book, Dying on Edisto, but I have through Sunday to catch up. I keep track on a spreadsheet along with where the 25%, 50% and 75% marks are in the book, because those need to be major turning points. Sounds formulaic, but I don’t get more detailed than that. It helps maintain the pace and avoid the sagging middle so many writers struggle with.

Q: What gave you the inspiration for the book? Is it part of a series?

HOPE: Dying on Edisto is indeed past of a series – book five in the Edisto Island Mysteries. However, it is unique in that it is a crossover book. In other words, the protagonist of this series runs across the protagonist in my other Carolina Slade Mystery Series. The inspiration for this book came from my publisher, who wanted the fan bases for each series to learn more about the opposing series they might not have read. Smart, actually.

The Edisto Island protagonist is Police Chief Callie Morgan who used to be a top-notch Boston detective until the Russian mob killed her husband. She went crazy chasing the killer, took to the bottle, lost her job, and moved herself and son back down South, planting herself on South Carolina’s Edisto Beach, her childhood vacation place. Recognizing the talent, the beach offered her the badge, and there she resides and solves crime. . . crimes most of the lazy beach community  never knew it had.

Great detective, but still needs to work on herself.

Enter Carolina Slade, aka Slade because she hates the feminine sound of her first name which says a lot about her from the outset. Originally a Department of Agriculture bureaucrat, she once found herself in the middle of a bribery investigation, and after almost losing her job, family, and life, still decided she loved solving cases. Coupled with federal agent Wayne Largo, whom she met on that case, they travel the state of South Carolina handling department criminal activity. You haven’t seen crime until you see it in the country where you can more easily get away with all types of creative wrongdoing.

You haven’t ever seen crime solved Slade’s way.

The combination turned out to be so much fun to write, though the initial concept scared me to death. To keep the characters true to themselves, I wrote Slade in her stereotypical first person voice, and kept Callie in third. Worked beautifully.

Q: Are you a pantser or a plotter? A bit of both?

HOPE: I handwrite story ideas, a loose sort of outline, for three to five chapters at a time. Then I write the chapters. When I’m out of my handwritten notes, I go back to my porch and bounce ideas until I have enough scribble to go back to the computer for more chapters. I do not know the ending of the book until I’m within eight to ten chapters of it. (My books run about 30 chapters.) I like discovering the plot and unraveling the mystery just one step ahead of the protagonist. To have it all outlined sucks the energy out of the story, in my experience.

I have a notebook reserved for said notes, and a dry erase board on my wall to remind me of the ends that need tying up as well as the long list of characters so I don’t misspell names.

And I read chapters aloud. Every two to three chapters, I go on the porch and read aloud to my husband. At the end of the book, I read the entire manuscript aloud. Sometimes I hire an editor to go over it again, then I send it to my publisher. The publisher then puts it through at least three more detailed edits.

Q: Do you prefer a certain type of music to listen to when you’re writing, or are you better with silence?

HOPE: Dead silence. If I can hear a television, I have to close my door. I used to reserve my fiction for the middle of the night, but when my parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and one parent entered the hospital for eight weeks, I learned I had to rise early and write whenever and wherever. But whenever I write, wherever I write, I much prefer silence so that I can dig deeper. I firmly believe that the best magic happens in silence, when nothing else steals your attention.

Q: What books are you reading now?

HOPE: I try to read at least two novels a month. I’m reading Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier right now. I just finished The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn. I have a TBR stack of forty books, but the next ones appear to be The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro (a YA, female Sherlock Holmes set in modern times….love this series), Behind Her Eyes as well as Cross Her Heart, both by Sarah Pinborough. In my to be Reread stack is The Lewis Man by Peter May and all the Paul Pine Mysteries by Howard Browne (yes, I spent $60 for that book). I like mystery, suspense, and especially love noir. I do not enjoy cozy or romance. I’m a believer in reading what you write to better your craft, and I firmly believe that nobody accidentally plagiarizes another author. It’s black and white – you do or you don’t.

Q: Anything else you’d like us to know about this book or any others (past or future)?

HOPE: Well, the Slade books originated from my own life with agriculture. I met my husband during a briber investigation, where I was offered the bribe and he was the federal agent assigned the case. The roller coaster was so crazy, I felt it deserved a book. . . which became a series.

Callie and the Edisto series originated because the publisher wanted me to diversify my portfolio. I’m glad they pushed me to write it. The Edisto Series does very well in the Carolinas.

There is a third series on the back burner, but I believe that to elaborate on a work-in-progress is to lose its power, so I’ll let folks know more about that one when it’s closer to a release. But….I love it! A female protagonist. . . again. Only she’s a private investigator.

Q: Just for fun, what TV shows or movies have you really enjoyed or disliked recently?

HOPE: My favorite all-time series is Justified. Such fantastic story telling in that one. I binged on every episode, bought the DVDs, and intend to rewatch it one weekend when I want to veg in my recliner. I’m binging on Breaking Bad now, and I adore its plotting, loving the foreshadowing. Fantastic character development. I’ve seen 24 seasons of Midsommer Murders. Very nice series to learn how to plot. I love Lucifer for its dialogue. Terrific one-liners. I enjoy Blacklist for Raymond Reddington, but I can do without his daughter Elizabeth Keen. She has only two or three facial expressions and adds little to the story advancement, but Reddington…God, I love him. Fantastic dialogue lessons to be learned there. I can watch dark FX shows as well as Hallmark stories. I just want good storytelling, and when it rings plastic to me, I’m done with it.

As for movies, I’m a friggin’ comic book lover! Avengers, Marvel, etc. etc. I may not be an aficionado, but I have loved comics since I could read. But when it comes to movies that stick in my head, I can think of Casablanca (the best movie to teach storytelling and dialogue), Gone with the Wind, The Kingsmen (yep, both one and two), and too many others to name. The Maltese Falcon. Almost anything noir. Even Sin City. It’s all about the storytelling.

Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Website

 

On behalf of bookblogarama, I want to thank Hope for her time. You can find her at her website: chopeclark.com, her author bio on Goodreads, as well as her social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. And if you don’t already subscribe to Funds for Writers, do yourself a favor and head over there as well for everything related to the writing community.

 

Blog Tour for End of the Lie by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

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Link to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43054965-end-of-the-lie  

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Link to Tour Schedule:

http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/tour-schedule-end-of-the-lie-by-diana-rodriguez-wallach/  

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End of the Lie (Anastasia Phoenix #3) by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Publication Date: March 4, 2019

Publisher: Entangled Teen

With her harrowing tale of espionage and near death experiences finally out in the open, Anastasia Phoenix thought things would be better. That she and her friends had outsmarted Department D, the criminal empire her parents helped create.

She thought wrong.

Former friends have turned to enemies, causing more innocent lives to get swept up into the dangerous world her parents created. Now it’s up to Anastasia to stop the damage before anyone else gets hurt—or worse. She embarks on a treacherous trail from Poland to Prague, and old rivals emerge at every turn. But when the final confrontation occurs, will she be too late to protect the ones she loves… or even herself?

Excerpt

KEIRA IRENE PHOENIX [Looking directly into the camera. Footage released by Phillip Stone Media, Inc.]

“Hi. My name is Keira Phoenix, and I am the daughter of international criminals. In May, I was kidnapped by a man named Craig Bernard who, at the time, I thought was my boyfriend. We had met weeks before at a bar in Boston. The anniversary of my parents’ death had just passed, so I was upset when he showed up, acting nice. [She scoffs, rolling her eyes.] I invited him to a party I was hosting, then later that night he drugged me and took me from my home.

“I don’t remember the abduction—one minute I was in my bed, the next I’m waking up on an airplane, my head pounding and my hands bound together with plastic cable ties. [She rubs her wrists.] I was held captive in Italy for months, by armed guards, and I had no idea why. Eventually, I learned that Craig Bernard and all of the men involved in my kidnapping used to work for my parents. Only not as engineers for the Dresden Chemical Corporation. They were spies. All of them, especially my mom and dad. It turns out that my parents, along with Randolph Urban, CEO of Dresden, conspired to create a criminal enterprise known as Department D, which stretches back long before I was born. We have photographic proof that my parents were involved in the assassination of Italy’s Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978, and we have a journal, in my father’s handwriting, and eyewitness testimony that proves he was involved in the fake terrorist plot that defamed nearly a half dozen Islamic women in London two years ago along with the reporter who covered the story, Julian Stone.

“I believe I was taken by enemies of my parents as payback for their past criminal activity. Evidence of my time in captivity is undeniable. [For the camera, Phoenix holds up a proof of life photo with a church bulletin, and a posed photo of her body in the trunk of a car.] I was rescued by my sister, Anastasia, and her friends, who acted alone, because the Boston P.D. refused to listen to them, for reasons none of us understand. After my rescue, my sister, her friends, and I made statements to Italian law enforcement and the CIA, and I was instructed to stay in hiding for my own protection. But I was never safe. No one around us is safe. Tyson Westbrook, a seventeen-year-old friend of my sister’s, was murdered recently as a way to get to us, to lure me and Anastasia out of hiding. When that didn’t work, when we continued to fight, these people poisoned one us—Marcus Rey, son of Dresden executives Carlos and Rosario Rey.

“They’re picking us off one by one, and we don’t know how high up the corruption goes. Our parents were hired by world leaders to create propaganda for decades. Now these same people are covering up their crimes against us—including kidnapping, poisoning, and murder. They’re trying to silence us, take us out, and prevent us from exposing the truth behind Department D and its shell corporation, Dresden Chemical.

“We won’t stay silent anymore.

“We won’t stay in hiding.

“And we won’t trust law enforcement to act on our behalf.

“That’s why I’m coming forward now. I’m telling my story, in my own words. I need the world to know what’s going on, so hopefully no one else gets hurt.

“I’ve learned a lot about my parents recently, and you will, too, over the coming weeks. They did a lot of bad things. I know that. And they might even still be alive. [She cocks her head.] I’ve heard the rumors, like you, but I swear, if they are, I haven’t seen them.

“However, I am certain that the only way my sister and I will ever be safe is if we bring down the Dresden Chemical Corporation and its corrupt underbelly, Department D. We need to take back our lives and stop paying for crimes we didn’t commit.

“My name is Keira Phoenix and I survived Department D. But will you?”

Other Books in the Series

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Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/series/168771

About the Author

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Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of the Anastasia Phoenix series, three YA spy thrillers set to debut beginning in March 2017 (Entangled Publishing). She is also the author of three award-winning young adult novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books); as well as a YA short-story collection based on the Narcissus myth, entitled Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books, 2013). In 2011, she published a highly regarded essay in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins). It was the only essay chosen from the anthology by Scholastic to be used in its classroom materials. Diana is featured in the anthology, Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books, 2015), and she is currently on staff as a featured blogger for Quirk Books. In 2010 Diana was named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch by LatinoStories.com, and she placed second in the International Latino Book Awards. She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, and is a Creative Writing instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia.

Website • Twitter •  Instagram • Goodreads

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Blog Tour and Author Interview for The Winnowing (Stanley & Hazel 2) by Jo Schaffer

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Link to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42111232-the-winnowing

Pre-order Link

BAM | Google Play | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | kobo | TBD

Tour Schedule:

http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/tour-schedule-the-winnowing-stanley-hazel-2-by-jo-schaffer/

Giveaway Info:

  • One (1) winner will win a digital copy of any previously published Month9Books title of their choosing

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Link to giveaway:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c08c9e8e740/?

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The Winnowing (Stanley & Hazel #2) by Jo Schaffer

Publication Date: February 26, 2019

Publisher: Month9Books

Darkness descends over St. Louis, a city already rocked by the Great Depression. More and more people are disappearing, and some have turned up dead. A sinister secret society is putting forward their plan known as “The Winnowing,” designed to wipe out those they consider “undesirable.”

After Stanley and Hazel foil the diabolical plans of Charles Chouteau, they become instant celebrities. Hazel is thrust into the role of debutante, and risks loses herself in it. Meanwhile, Stanley must deal with the horrific tragedy of his best friend’s death while being threatened by the unseen forces of the Veiled Prophet.

With things spiraling out of control, Stanley and Hazel’s relationship is tested, possibly beyond repair. As bodies pile up, people become more desperate. The divide between wealthy and poor grows ever wider, threatening to tear their worlds apart. Now, the two must find a way to work together if there is any hope at all of saving their relationship and their futures.

Interview with the Author

  1. What is your writing process? Do you aim for a word count daily or maybe just a scene?

Before I start writing I do a lot of research and note taking. Then I create a rough outline—I like to leave some wiggle room for the creative process. I don’t pay attention to word count as I write but I try to move forward with a scene as much as possible. I usually progress through the book chapter by chapter and rarely skip around to write a scene. The way forward influences where the story goes. I learn about my characters and the story as it evolves.

2. What sort of research did you do for this book?

The 1930s was a fascinating time. The glamor and the poverty that coexisted in America created a little bit of a split personality in the culture while Hitler rose to power in Germany. I read a lot about the Great Depression era and watched a lot of movies from that time period to get a feel for the culture.

3. What are you working on now? Any hints about the next book in the series?

I am working on several YA projects, and an anthology. Also, Book 3 of Stanley and Hazel is in development. In the third installment a lot of intense things happen as the kids go head to head with Legion and the Veiled Prophet. Some characters will not survive and others will surprise you as loyalties are called upon.

4. How did you come up for the idea of your book?

I was raised on classic film and I’ve always been fascinated by the era. And I wanted to explore how history tends to repeat itself. I became very interested to look at what things we’re doing now as a society that mirror back then. The ideologies and divisions according to class and race that gave birth to the ideas of genetic cleansing. Nobody wants to believe that their culture is capable of atrocities but it is a road we all travel in denial about where it leads. My best friend Jonathan and I talked about these things a lot and together we came up with the world of Stanley and Hazel.

5. Just for fun — what TV shows or movies have you really enjoyed (or disliked?) recently?

I haven’t had a lot of time to watch TV lately but I like shows that have great character development and intelligent plot lines, humor, drama and metaphor. My all-time favorite show is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But I enjoy shows like The Office, Parks and Rec, Pushing Daisies and Psych.

About the Author

Jo-Schaffer

Jo Schaffer was born and raised in the California Bay Area in a huge, creative family. She is a YA novelist, speaker and a Taekwondo black belt.

She’s a founding member of the nonprofit organization that created Teen Author Boot Camp, one of the nation’s biggest conferences for teens where bestselling authors present writing workshops to nearly a thousand attendees.

Jo loves being involved in anything that promotes literacy and family. She is passionate about community, travel, books, music, healthy eating, classic films and martial arts. But her favorite thing is being mom to three strapping sons and a neurotic cat named Hero. They live together in the beautiful mountains of Utah.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

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Book Tour and Author Interview for Skerryvore by Lee Williams

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Skerryvore

By Lee Williams

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mystery

Book description

Teenage twins Rose and Daniel aren’t allowed phones, computers, even a TV, thanks to their conspiracy-obsessed father. But when the people he always thought were after him actually turn up, the twins realise he wasn’t as paranoid as they’d always thought.

With their dad missing and their house burned to the ground, Rose and Daniel find themselves at the centre of a worldwide conspiracy that stretches back through the ages, involving some of the most powerful and mysterious organisations on the planet.

Why them? Why their dad? The answers to these questions and other, darker mysteries lie beyond the doors of an ancient house called Skerryvore.

These mysteries link the twins to a Dark Age king and queen, to a secret society that stands behind the City of London, and an energy source that links some of the world’s most ancient sites into a network that has the power – literally – to change the world.

Skerryvore is the first book in the Dark Net series.

Author Interview

  1. What is your writing process? Do you aim for a word count daily or maybe just a scene?

No I don’t do either of these. I just do as much work as I can in the time that I’ve got. This could be a whole day (when I’m lucky – rarely!) or a couple of hours in the evening. Balancing creative writing with a job – or two! –  and a family often means that the writing has to take a back seat, as I’m sure many other writers will have experienced. 

  1. What sort of research did you do for this book?

Being a YA fantasy it didn’t require much research at all. Just lots of imagination! 

  1. What are you working on now? Any chance of a sequel?

I’m currently working on my journalism and marketing Skerryvore. I literally don’t have time to write anything else. Skerryvore is the first book in the Dark Net series so yes there is a sequel that I’m dying to write. Unfortunately being able to write it depends largely on the success of Skerryvore to provide me with some extra income to free up some time. 

  1. How did you come up for the idea of your book?

I did something which I would recommend to anyone that is looking for creative inspiration, especially for a children’s book – I sat down on my own in a room and played!

I drew a map of a house, a house that I would love to visit. Quickly the house turned into something which closely resembled Skerryvore in the final manuscript. It had a library that was also a labyrinth, a great hall, a mediaeval tower with a seeing stone at the top, and an observatory atop an old lighthouse on a tiny island attached to the house by a swinging bridge.

The house fascinated me so much that stories just started to evolve around it naturally and soon I had the basic plot for Skerryvore. After that I was hooked!

  1. Just for fun — what TV shows or movies have you really enjoyed (or disliked?) recently?

I don’t get much time to watch TV or movies but I really liked McMafia – a BBC serial about a man who gets caught up in the Russian mafia. A film I loved recently, although it was difficult watching, was Manchester by the Sea. Very powerful and hard hitting – especially for someone who has just become a father.

About the author

I am a journalist and writer living in Dorset, England with my wife and rampaging toddler. I write about technology, innovation, green issues and political commentary for various publications including The Independent, The Guardian, Wired, Private Eye and International Business Times. Skerryvore is my first, and hopefully not last, novel!

https://www.facebook.com/lee.williams.188

https://www.facebook.com/leewilliamsjournalism/

https://twitter.com/leeroy112

Website: leewilliamsjournalism.com


On Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07DHZ2YLB
On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40387630-skerryvore

Excerpt

Daniel took a deep breath. It must be right. This must be the last piece in Mr Picketty’s jigsaw that led to the secret of Skerryvore – a sword in a stone. He couldn’t just be imagining this.

He had to have faith.

Daniel closed his eyes and went through the technique Mr Humblestone had taught them for being in the present. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Empty your mind of thoughts. Listen to the sounds around you. What can you hear? He could hear the sound of waves and gunfire echoing around the metallic roof of the chamber. What can you feel? The cold sea air against his face, the hard ground against the soles of his feet, the movement of his ribcage up and down and the beating of his heart inside it. What can you smell? The smell of the sea, the metal and oil of machinery. Now open your eyes. What can you see? He opened his eyes. He could see a sword standing in a stone with no thoughts attached to it, no hopes or fears.

Just a sword in a stone.

He reached out and wrapped his fingers around the cool leather of the hilt. He closed his eyes and pulled.

With a scraping of metal on stone the sword came free in his hand, so easily in fact that he stumbled backwards and fell to the floor dropping it with a harsh clattering noise that echoed around the chamber.

Then, slowly, another sound began to rise and overtake the first. It was a sound that came from all around, like some huge and rusty gate that hadn’t been oiled in centuries. Looking up, Daniel saw that the roof of the observatory was moving, but not in the usual way. This time it was moving outwards and away from the building, like giant hands were peeling it back. The noise roared to a deafening crescendo and Daniel watched in horror as the two sides of the roof leant outwards, balanced precariously for what felt like an eternity, then toppled and fell to the rocks below like two giant petals dropping from a flower.

He was suddenly alone on a windy platform, above the sea, under the night sky.

And behind him something else was moving.

WWW Wednesday 23 Oct 2013 (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?

 

What did you recently finish reading?

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

What do you think you’ll read next?

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Happy Reading and Happy Wednesday!

 

WWW Wednesday 16 Oct 2013 (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?

  

What did you recently finish reading?

The Shining by Stephen King

Princess in the Spotlight by Meg Cabot

What do you think you’ll read next?

It by Stephen King

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Happy Reading and Happy Wednesday!