Guest Post with Kristin Smith: Is Dystopian Dead?

Hi guys! The school year is wrapping up, and last week, I got done with an entire EOC, an ACT practice test, and an orchestra concert. Whew! This year has gone by so fast, and I am feeling a bit sad that it’s almost over since I’ve made so many great memories and a ton of new friends (All Northwest and All State Honor Choirs, heck yeah!), but this summer is going to be filled with a lot of reading, blogging, and music, so woo hoo! Today, I have an amazing author on our blog today, and her post is fabulous! You’ll definitely enjoy it! Here’s Kristin Smith!

A Kristin
Guest Post by Kristin Smith:
Is Dystopia Dead?
 
In the wake of some bestselling series such as HUNGER GAMES, DIVERGENT, and THE MAZE RUNNER, some may claim that dystopia is dead—dried up and overused. Any author who writes dystopia nowadays knows that in publishing, dystopian is kind of considered a “dirty word”. Most literary agents and some publishers (especially the Big Five) are very hesitant to acquire new dystopian series because they feel the market is oversaturated. They believe the dystopian ship has sailed, and they’ve now moved on to the next trend.
But does this mean that readers want to read these books any less? Has the dystopian genre dried up? Or is there still a market for these books?
Let’s first take a look at the history of some well-known dystopian novels.
1945- Animal Farm by George Orwell

1949- Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

1993- The Giver by Lois Lowry
2005- Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
2008- Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2009- The Maze Runner by James Dashner
2010- Matched by Allie Condie
2011- Divergent by Veronica Roth
2011- Delirium by Lauren Oliver
2011- Across the Universe by Beth Revis
2011- Legend by Marie Lu
2012- The Selection by Kiera Cass
As you can see from the timeline above, dystopian novels have been around (and been popular) for decades. Sure, their popularity may come and go in waves, but if you’re a lover of speculative fiction, that love doesn’t waver, does it?

I personally have a great love for speculative fiction novels. I like that they depict a futuristic or post-apocalyptic world that is different from what we know now. Some of the novels written in this genre have been ground-breaking in their plot development and world building. Take HUNGER GAMES for example. Suzanne Collins broke the mold and set the bar pretty high when she wrote this novel, creating a world in which children have to battle to the death in the annual Games. It has become a bestselling series AND an incredible movie.

 

As a reader, I would be disenchanted if I found out that dystopian novels were no longer being picked up by publishers because of this idea that the market is “too saturated” with them. Granted, I want to read well-written novels with incredible world building, but I certainly wouldn’t want authors discouraged from writing a dystopian novel simply because “that trend is over”. Mostly because I STILL WANT TO READ THEM!
So if you’re a spec fic lover, would you want a limit placed on the number of dystopian books you have access to? Or should a reader’s voice be more important than current market trends?
Given the timeline I showed you before, I strongly believe that dystopia is NOT dead. It may be taking a hiatus, but it will be back full force in the coming years. In the meantime, there are many authors who are still writing and publishing thrilling and innovative dystopian novels. You just have to find them!

Here are some great dystopian novels published in 2016.

1) On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis 

2) Genesis Girl (Blank Slate #1) by Jennifer Bardsley

3) The Road to Winter by Mark Smith

4) Black River Falls by Jeff Hirsch

5) Vicarious (Vicarious #1) by Paula Stokes

6) Catalyst (The Deception Game #1) by Kristin Smith

That’s right, you read that correctly. My own debut novel is a YA dystopian. So perhaps I’m a little biased…

Anyway, if you’re looking for a thrilling YA dystopian that has danger, deception, and swoony romance, CATALYST and FORGOTTEN are now available. (And here’s a little plug—To celebrate the release of FORGOTTEN, CATALYST is on sale this week only for $.99!) You can find them at the links below. 🙂

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Apple iBooks

NOOK

Kobo

Smashwords

Thanks for stopping by! What do you think? Is dystopia dead?

 

Author Bio:



Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels. When she’s not writing, you can find her dreaming about the beach, beating her boys at Just Dance, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to chocolate, you can visit her at kristinsmithbooks.com.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

 


Thank you so much, Kristin, for coming onto our blog! This was a great post!

Here’s today’s quote of the day!

“Life isn’t one big holiday right now. I know it’s going to be rough, and I wonder if I’ll make it, but that’s when I get support from God.” – Perry Wallace in Strong Inside by Andrew Maraniss.


Happy Reading! Have a great week! 🙂

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Black Dawn Blog Tour: Guest Post with Mallory McCartney

Hello! So if you have been following our blog, you might have seen how I gushed over Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney in my review here. I am so excited to have Mallory on my blog in her blog tour for her debut book! It’s definitely a series that I am going to be checking on! I hope you enjoy!

Black Dawn tour banner


Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney A Black Dawn

Genre: YA/A Fantasy

Release Date: February 14th 2017

Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing

Summary from Goodreads: The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory’s arrival she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.  With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King. Some things are better left in the shadows.

Add to Goodreads

Buy Links:

Amazon.ca : https://www.amazon.ca/Black-Dawn-Mallory-McCartney-ebook/dp/B01N5QQLZL/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1490207632&sr=8-2&keywords=black+dawn

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Black-Dawn-Mallory-McCartney-ebook/dp/B01N5QQLZL/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1490207861&sr=8-4&keywords=black+dawn#customerReviews

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-dawn-mallory-mccartney/1125505912?ean=9781621356134

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/black-dawn/9781621356134-item.html?ikwid=black+dawn&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0


Mallory

Creating a Fantasy World and Its History

With Black Dawn, the history of how this world became so ravaged, I did write into the very first manuscript. Developing the backstory for Adair, and his parents really set the stage for Black Dawn. My process for this is knowing my characters and their reactions, The Stratton’s being a family of pride, and regimented traditions, and above all, the crave for power. From here this history is exploring the dynamics of the Academy and of the Fae’s and Stratton’s. How would one run a democratic government when their best friends are pushing for a monarchy? How would one achieve peace when violence is being praised? How would one achieve equality when there are different parties stating they don’t recognize the treaties for people’s rights?

These are just some of the questions answered that help me shape and build the world of Kiero. The event of how the Academy fell, I am writing that story right now, to be released in the fall. Renegade, covers a lot of the history of the characters we see in the series, as well as new ones. This book will rotate through the chapters with Memphis, Brokk and Adair, and explore not only the secrets within the Academy, but what happens when dark magic is withheld, and the consequences of secrets. Without giving to much away, I’m really excited to share this book, I feel it will answer a lot of the history questions readers may have, and set the stage very nicely for book two, Queen To Ashes.


About the Authormallory mccartney.jpg

Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

Author Links:

GoodreadsTwitterFacebookInstagram


GIVEAWAY:

The chance to win three signed copies of Black Dawn

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Tour Organized by:

YA Bound Book Tours

YA Bound Book Tours


Hope you enjoyed this! Have a great week!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

 

 

 

 

Angelbound Audiobook Blog Tour: Guest Post with Christina Bauer – Top 10 Ways to Find a Good Book

Hello! I hope you are having a great day! I am currently at the TN All State Music Festival and tonight I will sing with the Men’s Choir. Some of songs are amazing! And you know what else is amazing? That Angelbound by Christina Bauer just came out as an audiobook! Woo hoo! I hope you enjoy our tour stop for the blog tour!

angelboundtourbanner


About AngelboundAB Audiobook cover - Square

Angelbound
by Christina Bauer
(Angelbound Origins #1)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: December 30th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Synopsis:

*Now an audio book!*

Eighteen-year-old Myla Lewis is a girl who loves two things: kicking ass and kicking ass. She’s not your everyday quasi-demon, half-demon, and half-human, girl. For the past five years, Myla has lived for the days she gets to fight in Purgatory’s arena. When souls want a trial by combat for their right to enter heaven or hell, they go up against her, and she has not lost a battle yet.

But as she starts her senior year at Purgatory High, the arena fights are not enough to keep her spirits up anymore. When the demons start to act weird, even for demons, and the King of the Demons, Armageddon, shows up at Myla’s school, she knows that things are changing and it is not looking good for the quasi-demons. Myla starts to question everything, and does not like the answers she finds. What happened 17 years ago that turned the quasi-demons into slave labor? Why was her mom always so sad? And why won’t anyone tell her who her father is?

Things heat up when Myla meets Lincoln, the High Prince of the Thrax, a super sexy half-human and half-angel demon hunter. But what does a quasi-demon girl to do when she falls for a demon hunter? It’s a good thing that Myla is not afraid of breaking a few rules. With a love worth fighting for, Myla is going to shake up Purgatory.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33780233-angelbound

Purchase:
Monster House Books is celebrating the launch of the audiobook version of the best seller Angelbound, both on iTunes & Audible! As a result, every launched book in the series is only $1.99, aka more than 50% off…And that includes Angelbound ACCA, which was only released a few months ago: http://wp.me/p7Tzb3-2L5
 
Extras:
• Audiobook sample: https://youtu.be/yADVDpUK8I8
• Book trailer: https://youtu.be/roznLuuUY1c
• Video of author doing the voices: https://youtu.be/6mfmw1VT1IU 


Christina Bauer

My Top 10 Ways to Find a Good Book

My book, ANGELBOUND, tells the story of a part demon girl who falls in love with a part angel prince. If you aren’t familiar with the book, there’s a quick trailer right here. In any case, I’m now doing an author tour to celebrate the launch of ANGELBOUND as an audiobook on Audible and iTunes, and I’ve been asked to share a Top 10 List by the awesome folks at LiLbooKlovers.

I thought about it, and I’d like to share my top 10 ways to find a good book. Why? Because it’s a pain in the butt to find good books, am I right? Also for me, being a writer means being a reader. On average, I read a book/day and I find it super-hard to find new books that I’m excited about.

Let’s face it. Nothing’s worse than a reading slump.

So, in the interests of sharing best practices, here are my favorite places to find new books that feed my brain…

Number 10. iBooks

iBooks is what I consider curated content. In other words, the iBooks team work their butts off to find authors that are fresh, original, and about to ‘break through.’ I can say this from experience because they took a risk on promoting ANGELBOUND when I was a first-time author. My trick is to go to the categories page and see who they have in:

  • Romance
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Young Adult

Finding good books is as much an art as a science and the iBooks team does a great job. It’s not total intuitive on how to find categories, so here’s a pic:

iTunes

Choose a category, open a world of fresh new authors and books!

Numbers 9 and 8: BookBub and Freebooksy

There are a lot of book newsletters out there. As I said before, I’m a fan of hand-curated content. Both BookBub and Freebooksy are selective in who they accept. Their teams do a great job of making sure that the featured books are interesting and cool. Plus, signing up for them doesn’t cost you anything. Bonus!

Number 7: Goodreads “Also Enjoyed” Section

Hands-down, this is my top place to go. I have a short list of all-time favorite books where, every so often, I go to Goodreads and check out their “Readers Also Enjoyed” section. There’s always something cool in there. Always.

Number 6: The Amazon “Also Enjoyed” Section

I also look at the equivalent on Amazon, but that doesn’t seem to work as well for me for some reason. I suspect it’s because the Amazon algorithm takes my personal browsing/buying history into account, which is a mess. I look into all sorts of books and genres as my “publisher self” versus my “reader self.” You don’t want to know the strange things I get recommended (hint: on occasion, it has included dinosaur porn!)

Number 5. Goodreads Friends

I also get TONS of great ideas from my friends on Goodreads (I’m talking about you, Carol!) Plus, it’s a lot of fun to see what people thought of the books that I’ve read, and vice versa. The bottom line? Goodreads is all-around awesomesauce.

Numbers 4 to 1. Blogs, blogs, blogs

There are so many in the category that are killer, but here are some that are top of mind:

And of course, there are my new buddies at LILbooKlovers!

So there you have it…my secret weapons in the war for finding new books to read. Hope you found some of them useful as well! If any of you think of more questions, I’m always up for reader interaction, and additional information on how to contact me is listed below.


About the Author AB Christina Bauer pic

Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. It is now available as an audiobook on Audible and iTunes.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.  Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby. Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter:

Newsletter Sign-Ups

Stalk Christina on Social Media – She Loves It!

Want to see the rest of the Blog Tour? Check it out below!

Angelbound Blog Tour Schedule!


Giveaway:

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • Dragon Bling
  • Angel Wing Bobby Pins
  • Dragon Scale Ring
  • ANGELBOUND AudioBook copy from Audible

I hope you enjoyed this tour stop for this blog tour! Tune in later for some more exclusive interviews, great reviews, and more bookish things!

Happy Reading!
+ J.M.J.
~ Kester

Golden Release Day Celebration: Guest Post with K. M. Robinson – How to Score a Killer Author Interview

Hi guys! Today marks the day that Golden by K. M. Robinson releases into the world! Woo hoo! I liked reading the book, so now you can finally order it! There will be links below to any online retailers where you can buy this fabulous book! If you need some convincing, here’s my review and my interview with K. M. She’s come back onto the blog for this wonderful guest post for not only bloggers, but for any avid readers! Author interviews are very very very important to us as bloggers, so being able to interview our favorite authors is a great help for both bloggers and authors! It’s a great way to get to know them better! So if you want to know how to interview authors, K.M.’s got some tips for you!

Katie.PNG

How to Score A Killer Author Interview: The Art Of Making Your Blog Irresistible To Authors

All Goldilocks wanted was an interview. One simple interview. But Goldilocks played her cards wrong and ended up with no interview and a rather upsetting send off.

Here are 6 steps on how bloggers and booktubers can score a killer interview with their favorite authors with tips from Goldilocks and the Three Bears on the art of making your blog irresistible to authors.

Continue reading “Golden Release Day Celebration: Guest Post with K. M. Robinson – How to Score a Killer Author Interview”

Guest Post with Devorah Fox! Pros and Cons of Fantasy Writing

Hey, guys! Its Spring Break for the crew and I have had a fun couple of days. I tried to go to the our lake nearby and it started storming! I tried to get my friend to go a contemporary moment with me by standing in the middle of the park’s road and raise our hands to the blasting winds and stormy lightning, but she just ran to the car. Then I got to drive to Dairy Delight and get my a Hot Fudge Brownie Supreme. Yummm…. So today and tomorrow are my working days. Today I’m working on these posts and then later read as much as I can for reviews I will post as soon as I can. I’m excited to get my thoughts out there!

Remember my review on The Lost King by Devorah Fox ? Well, I’m so happy to post her own guest post on this very here blog!


About the Author

Devorah Fox has written for television, radio, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet. Publisher and editor of the BUMPERTOBUMPER books for commercial motor vehicle drivers, she has branched out into developing smartphone apps including the Easy CDL apps for the iPhone. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives in the The Barefoot Palace in Port Aransas on the Texas Gulf Coast where she writes the “Dee-Scorveries” blog at http://devorahfox.com


The Lost King is an adventure filled story I’m sure any fantasy reader would appreciate the hard work put into it. I know I loved the story and really loved the aspects of her fantasy world.

The Lost King Summary: img_6090-1

When all you have owned, everyone you have loved and everything you have done are gone, who are you? King Robin Bewilliam awakens one morning to find himself mysteriously transformed from a beloved and respected ruler to a homeless vagabond. His quest to uncover and break the bewitching spell that plagues him and regain his kingdom sets him on a journey of adventure, romance, and self-discovery.

Devorah Fox.PNG

Fantasy Writing: Pros and Cons


Setting The Lost King, Book One of The Bewildering Adventures of KinBewilliam, in the Middle Ages was an example of heeding the Muse. Im not an avireader of stories set in that time period, although I do have a few all-time favorites such as Rebecca (Sir Walter Scott) and Stealing Heaven (Marion Meade). For the most part I read contemporary mysteries and thrillers. However, from my first imaginings, KinBewilliams story demanded to be told in a “once-upon-a-timefashion. I planned taddress traumatic life issues such as divorce and career displacement and felt that the reader would find them more accessible in a fairytale setting

History was never my best subject in school and I did not have years of study to call upon. At first I had no plans to research the Middle Ages. I was simply going tmake up a world set in a “time long ago.I was writing a scene in which King Bewilliaaka Robin takes something from his pocket and found myself wondering if they hapockets in those days. I did a little research and sure enough, they did not. They hacountless clever devices for waging war, for killing and maiming each other, but thehad yet to invent on-seam pockets. Instead, they carried their belongings in pouches and purses. I rewrote the scene

From that moment on, I couldnt write a syllable without researching it first. Did they have that? Did they say that? Did they eat that

The downside was that The Lost King and all the other King Bewilliam novels were National Novel Writing Month projects. National Novel Writing MonthNaNoWriMo, for short—is an organized marathon that challenges writers to writ50,000 words in 30 days. Thats about one-half to one-third a commercial length novel. Im not a speedy writer to begin with, and having to conduct research made it a reachallenge to meet the daily goal of 1667 written words. On occasion I would leavmyself a digital note to look this upand I would move on to the next scene. However, for the most part, I had to do the research before I could write. I couldnt just writaround it. I had days during the marathon when I didnt reach my word count goal until mid-afternoon, after which I still had hours of work to do for my day job.

The upside was that the research often inspired me. I did not know what I walooking for until I found it. That meant a lot of surfing the Internet and I washed up osome truly foreign shores where I found hidden treasures. For example, in Book Two, The Kings Ransom, I wrote myself into a corner. King Bewilliam had to find a way tescape an enemy fortress. I got him in with no plan for getting him out. Researchincastle construction turned up a solution and saved the day, not to mention the kingI have since found that the need to do research doesnt end even when Ive set stories in contemporary time. My Mystery/Thriller stories take place in the US in th1990s. I lived through those times but its long ago enough that I dont remember everdetail, especially with regard to technology. I had to look up when certain devices ansoftware first made their appearance. In some ways it was harder to research what didn’t happen than to investigate what did happen

Someday perhaps I will write a story that’s a complete invention. However my current works-in-progress that my planned stories all require research. My history teachers are probably having a good laugh.”


The Heart of Stone Guest Blog Post and Review! 

I have received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. 

Logo 2014 Email

Hey, guys! I’m so excited to be bring to you The Heart of Stone by Ben Galley! He has come to me to read this very, very excellent story. I was very grateful to have the opportunity to be able to read it.

My rating? A nice 5 out of 5!

I’ll try my best to keep the spoilers out of this review, but just know there is so much that goes down in this book!

The Heart of Stone is a story of war and humanity, told from the perspective of a 400 year-old golem – Task. As a war-machine, he’s been purchased by the losing side of a civil war that has been raging in the far reaches of the Realm for almost a decade. He’s withdrawn, cold, and resentful of anything and everything human, until a waif of a stable-girl decides to prove him wrong.

Romance? Not much

Humor: I chuckled here and there

Action: EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU TURN THE PAGE

Characters? Diverse and hard not to love! (Except for Huff. Everyone should hate Huff.)

Easy to read? Eh. There are a lot of new words due to it being a new world, and there are some vocabulary that I didn’t understand. 

When I read a fantasy novel, I always find myself loving it. It’s so different because there is no room for cliques at lot of times.  You can expand so greatly, and I’ve read so many books that are so different from one another. Dystopians? They get pretty repetitve sometimes, I dare say. 

This is exactly what I got from Ben’s book The Heart of Stone. It was special in its own way. I persoanlly never read a book in a golem’s point of view.

The characters were my favorite part in all of this. I loved Task so much. He goes through so much change in this story, and it all starts with Lesky. Lesky is so adorable in my mind. She’s so strong and so full of spirit. And did I mention her heart shows Task a new light? 

Galley did so well in playing out the plot. There was never a dull moment. One minute you’d be talking to a guy, and the next thing you know he’s dead. 

I felt so many emotions. At first, I felt so angry at how people treat Task (like some animal). But then as the story progresses and you get to understand more characters, I began to change my thoughts about a lot of them. Like Alabast. At first I did not like him, but as the story went, he became one of my favorites because he was that comic relief. Yeah, he’s can be a messed up man sometimes, but he’s hilarious! (And also I kind of felt bad for him.)

I’m so happy to have this review up. I’m been so excited to tell people to read this book if they’re a hardcore fantasy fan. I was not disappointed. I can’t wait for its final release. Go check it out on March 30th! 


Guest Blog Post!


 

About the Author

Find his website here: Bengalley.com 

Ben Galley is an award-winning fantasy author from the UK. He is the author of the epic Emaneska Series, the weird-west Scarlet Star Trilogy and the brand new standalone The Heart of Stone. When he’s not dreaming up lies to tell his readers, Ben works as a self-publishing consultant, helping fellow authors to self-publish and sell their books at www.shelfhelp.info


So I asked him a question that I am honestly very curious to understand. I asked him about the diversity in characters. In a story, like I said above in my review, I look for good character development. If a story is mellow and cheap, I would probably blame it on how the characters looked at their own world. For the most part, we are retaining information through the eyes of the characters inside the book. Even in third person, in what way do the characters think that make them different from everyone else? I asked Ben how he makes his characters so diverse from one another and this was his response:

“In regards to diversity, I try to work out characters based on their desires, and that usually ends up creating different and overlapping intentions that define the character. I also use Myers Briggs personality matrix to work out traits. Other than that, it’s whatever feels right in the scene.”

Now I actually had no idea what the Myers Briggs personality matrix was, so obviously I looked it up. Quite interesting actually. I hope I will think of this in my own writing.

Basically, it’s to show your personality in the form of a four letter code. I will put the link down below so you can go check it out for yourself, because the Myers Briggs has a lot more to it than just a test.

Myers & Briggs Foundation

 

 

 

 

Guest Post + GIVEAWAY with Shaila Patel: Avoiding the Traps in Writing Romance

Hello! I am so glad Spring Break is here! Woot woot! I am currently a little under the weather right now, but I am so glad I have a wonderful author here on our blog today. I met Shaila Patel a couple of weeks ago at the Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival, and it was so awesome to meet her! She is one of the nicest author I’ve ever talked with, and I’ve loved our little chats. I loved her debut book Soulmated, and she is giving away an e-copy of her book along with some swag. The swag is great; I have some at home and I love them! Hope you enjoy!

Two souls. One Fate. soulmated_shailapatel_1600x2400_seriestitle

Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family’s standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.

Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother’s ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.

When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.

Liam’s father isn’t convinced Laxshmi is “The One” and Laxshmi’s mother won’t even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one’s own fate too great a price for the soulmated?

 

a-shailaAbout the Author

As an unabashed lover of all things happily-ever-after, Shaila Patel’s younger self would finish reading her copy of Cinderella and fling it across the room because it didn’t mention what happened next. Now she writes from her home in the Carolinas and dreams up all sorts of stories with epilogues. A member of the Romance Writers of America, she’s a pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night. Soulmated is her debut novel and the winner of the 2015 Chanticleer Book Reviews Paranormal Awards for Young Adult. She loves books, craft beer, tea, and cozy window seats—but she’ll read anywhere. You might find her sneaking in a few paragraphs at a red light or online gushing about her favorite books.

Publisher Information:Month 9 Books

Represented by: Agent Amanda Leuck of Spencerhill Associates


A Shaila

Avoiding the Traps in Writing Romance

Hi Kester! Thank you for having me here today to talk about avoiding clichés and stereotypes in writing romance.

As a romance writer and a huge fan of romance novels, I can say with certainty that there are no original tropes. A trope is a scenario or plot device, and in love stories they form the foundation on which the romance is built. Examples include the girl falling in love with her brother’s best friend (or vice versa), or the rich, spoiled hero who falls for the one girl who hates him, or even the classic love triangle where a heroine has to choose between two boyfriends.

All romances are based on a trope, yet despite the predictability, we fall in love with a particularly romance novel because it doesn’t feel like the same old story. And that’s probably because it avoided using clichés and stereotypes that usually leave us uninspired and bored. Imagine eating steamed broccoli, or steamed carrots, or steamed cauliflower every night at dinner. Sure, they’re different vegetables, but having them prepared the same way doesn’t get you excited about sitting down to dinner. The same thing can happen in writing.

So how do you avoid the blahs in writing a romance?

Start by subverting the reader’s expectations. Let’s take the example of Beauty and the Beast. Why not make the beast the heroine instead of the hero? Why not move the story into the present day? Or what about making the beast a Hollywood A-list celebrity instead of a recluse? Now you’d have a story that would spark the imagination and make you forget that you already know what it’s all about.

Once you’ve subverted the reader’s expectations of the trope being used, create characters that can’t be contained on the pages of your book. It’s inevitable that you’ll use a few clichés and stereotypes, but don’t rely on them. Instead, captivate your readers with images and characterizations that force them to spin their expectations until they’re dizzy.

Here are three ways you can do that.

First, create fresh character descriptions. By their very nature, clichés and stereotypes don’t inspire us to think. They’re like shortcuts that are overused and instantly tell us what thought, description, or idea is being conveyed. If I were to describe a character’s hair as “golden locks,” you’d know I was describing blond hair. But does it paint a picture in your mind? Not really. How about this: “hair like garlands of pale yellow primroses.” Paints a different picture, doesn’t it?

Second, develop your characters by adding depth. Create an interesting backstory and personality flaws that—again—subvert the reader’s expectations. Taking the trope I mentioned above (the rich, spoiled boy who falls for the girl who hates him), maybe his backstory is that he was poor as a child. Or maybe he’s struggling with turning his parents in for their illegal activities. Why not make him insecure to counter his confidence? Or even embarrassed by a learning disability? There’s nothing more ho-hum than a one-dimensional, perfect character. It leads writers to fall back on expected character-types that you’d find for specific romance tropes, but worse, it makes the story predictable.

Third, have the expected character-type change and grow. If the hero or heroine doesn’t, you run the risk of having flat characters that do nothing to jazz up your trope. Do you have a brooding male hero? Give him a quirky hobby like doing magic tricks. With an interesting backstory, the reader would know why the hero loves the sleight of hand involved with card tricks, and by the end of the story, it could be part of the reason he grows and changes. Do you have a shy heroine? Give her an unexpected cause to champion and allow it to be one of the reasons she transforms by the end of the story. Parallel the hero and heroine’s growth, and intersect them when you need to advance the romantic plot. The goal is to have readers cheering for the hero and heroine, both as individuals and as a couple—all so that they won’t be thinking how predictable the trope is.

Using a romance trope in the same way that it’s always been used is like an uninspiring cliché. It doesn’t create a fresh image in our minds. It isn’t engaging. And if you can’t engage a reader, they’ll likely forget what they read.

And who would want to read a book like that?


Thank you so much, Shaila, for coming onto our blog! I’m so glad to have you guest post for us!

If you want to check out Shaila’s social media pages or buy Soulmated, check out the links below!

Contact Links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Buy Links for Soulmated:

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Books-a-Million| Google Play | Indiebound | Kobo


Now onto the giveaway! Woo hoo! I think you should enter this giveaway because I loved Soulmated A LOT! I mean A LOT! It was amazing! You’ll really enjoy it!

Just a few quick rules:

1) This is open to ALL International residents. For US Residents, you will get more swag than Int’l residents because of postage.

2) You must be truthful when entering!

3) You must be 18 years or older or have parental permission.

4) Winner must respond within 48 hours of me notifying him or her.

Here’s the Giveaway Link!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I wish you the best! Hope you have fun! 🙂

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

 

 

 

 

 

Secrets of a Reluctant Princess Blog Tour: Guest Post by Casey Griffin –

Hello! Welcome to my tour stop for the Secrets of a Reluctant Princess Blog Tour! I know this little intro isn’t as long or personal as the others, but I’m a little bit crunched for time at the moment, but I hope you enjoy it!

soarptour

 

Secrets of a Reluctant Princess by Casey GriffinSecrets

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Publisher:  Entangled Teen

At Beverly Hills High, you have to be ruthless to survive…

Adrianna Bottom always wanted to be liked. But this wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. Now, she’s in the spotlight…and out of her geeky comfort zone. She’ll do whatever it takes to turn the rumor mill in her favor—even if it means keeping secrets. So far, it’s working.

Wear the right clothes. Say the right things. Be seen with the right people.

Kevin, the adorable sketch artist who shares her love of all things nerd, isn’t exactly the right people. But that doesn’t stop Adrianna from crushing on him. The only way she can spend time with him is in disguise, as Princess Andy, the masked girl he’s been LARPing with. If he found out who she really was, though, he’d hate her.

The rules have been set. The teams have their players. Game on.

Link to Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N| Kobo | TBD | iBooks

 

Link to Tour Schedule

 

Now onto the guest post!

Casey Griffin

Speaking to Teens

Maybe it’s because I never matured past high school, or because I read a lot of YA, but I’ve never had much trouble putting myself in a young adult’s shoes to write a story from their perspective. In fact, it’s fun, refreshing even, to try to see the world through the eyes of a teenager. All that youthful optimism, the world at their feet, the rest of their lives ahead of them (yet, ironically, they can’t imagine ever being as old as I am). So what do I keep in mind while writing from a young adult’s point of view?

I’ve been there

  • I was once a teenager. I won’t tell you how long ago that was, but it wasn’t too long ago that I can’t remember how monumental some things seemed, how exciting, how scary, how frustrating. And if for a moment I take away some of the boring grown up things that occupy my brain space as an adult like bills, mortgages, and my career, it’s easy to still feel some of those same things. Heck, when it comes to romance, it doesn’t matter how old you get. When you fall in love, it still feels just as exciting and important as your first crush.

For teens, everything is new

  • I’ve had years of experiences that helped me develop the social and emotional tools to deal with a variety of situations (translation: I’ve made a ton of mistakes). For a teenager, a lot of those same experiences are new. They’re discovering their own achievements (and mistakes) for the first time. Add a dash of homework, a good dousing of hormones, trap them all in the same ugly building day after day, and OMG the world is ending! But it’s also fresh and exciting. Where an adult might feel skepticism or suspicion, a teen would have a fresh take on it.

It’s not easy being a teen

  • Many adults (read “all”) think they know everything and that teens should be learning from our past mistakes and limitless wisdom. But adults forget that teens can be pretty resourceful, and we can learn a lot from them too. Young adults deal with a lot these days. Not just in their own lives, but almost on a wider scale—as in globally, thanks to social media and the Internet. After becoming a step mom to a teen myself recently, and with three nephews all around that age, it feels like being a teen is tougher now than when I was one. Maybe there are more issues to face, maybe more pressure—or maybe that’s just all the years playing with my memory.

Put yourself in their shoes

  • While the vast majority of YA authors are not YAs themselves, I think it’s important to stay in touch with the age group you’re trying to write for. If an author has teens in their extended family, it’s as easy as connecting, asking questions, finding out what they’re up to, and what’s important to them. Of course there’s always excellent YA books, TV shows, and movies. It’s all about stepping out of your adult shoes and into theirs—you guys are still wearing platforms, right? 🙂

 

Thank you so much, Casey, for your wonderful guest post! Great to have you on our blog!

 

Now onto the giveaway!

Giveaway Information: 

  • One (1) winner will receive a signed copy of Secrets of a Reluctant Princess + a Tiara!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the AuthorCasey

 

Casey Griffin can often be found at comic conventions on her days off from her day job, driving 400 ton dump trucks in Northern Alberta, Canada. As a jack of all trades with a resume boasting registered nurse, English teacher, and photographer, books are her true passion. Casey is a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel finalist, and is currently busy writing every moment she can.

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

Hope you enjoyed it!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

 

 

Guest Post + GIVEAWAY with J. L. Pattison: Tips on Using Social Media for Writers who Don’t Like Using It

Hi guys! Happy Monday! Today we are having speculative fiction author J. L. Pattison here on our blog! His short stories The Visitor and Alibi Interrupted were some of the greatest short stories I have read! They were really good! You can find links to both reviews and the original post below, along with a special giveaway for his newest book Saving Kennedy, which is the paperback book with both stories included! Go check it out!

j-l-pattison

6 Tips on Using Social Media for Writers who Don’t Like Using Social Media.

If you’re anything like me, you loathe the time-wasting medium of social media. But as authors (especially independent authors), it is a necessary evil you must dabble with if you hope to market your books and your brand.

One of the things I dislike about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, et al, is their addicting nature. Like a mermaid, social media sings its irresistible songs to seduce writers to waste their time scrolling through YouTube videos, poorly spelled memes, personal relationship drama, and an endless supply of images of pets and meals.

img_5943
Check out my review of Alibi Interrupted here!

Well, have no fear, I am here to help.

The biggest obstacle you have to overcome is resisting the mermaid’s siren, and the biggest solution to that obstacle is to make social media harder to access.

And here are six ways to do just that:

1). Don’t download social media apps. Instead, force yourself to go through a browser which will take you a little longer to do.

2). After visiting a social media site, be sure to log out. By having to log back in every time to view them (through a browser), you’ve effectively removed the ease by which you can cavalierly access them.

3). Disable all notifications. If you’re not being alerted about a new post or message on social media, you won’t know if you’re missing anything. Keeping notifications on is like entering a bakery when you’re on a diet. Don’t enter the bakery, and don’t enable notifications.

img_5942
See my review of The Visitor here!

4). Determine to visit social media only once a day (or two days). Pick mornings or evenings (or whatever time is good for you) and stick to it. This way you won’t feel the draw of checking social media every free moment you have because you’ve agreed that you’re only going to check them at predetermined times.

6). For every 12 hours (or 24 hours) that you don’t check your social media, reward yourself with something nice … like a donut.

I hope these are a help to you. If you have any other suggestions, please share them in the comments section.

img_6223
J.L. Pattison is the author of two speculative fiction ebooks, The Visitor and Alibi Interrupted, both of which are also available together in a two-story paperback collection entitled, Saving Kennedy. His latest book, The Island, is due to be released in the latter portion of this year. Pattison has lived in California, Nevada, and Florida, and is married with an amazing brood of children that keeps him young.
Now onto the giveaway!
All the rules can be found in the Giveaway Terms and Conditions. You must be 18 years or older or have the permission of a parent or guardian to enter.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

I wish you all the best, and I hope you have the chance to check out J. L. Pattison’s amazing books!

 

Til next time! ~ Kester

Guest Post with Alex Abaz: Why Free eBook Downloads are Not a Super Book Deal for Authors or Readers

Happy Monday, everybody! We don’t have a giveaway planned for this week, but we have a special guest post from one of the nicest authors I have met! Alex Abaz has written many books that would help you in everyday life and your writing career, and I hope that you will check them out! Now, here is her guest post!

alex-abaz

 

Why free eBook downloads and giveaways are not a super book deal for authors or readers and how reviews and ratings can help: An opinion piece.alex-abazauthor-274x274

Everyone wants a fantastic deal! But the best deal is not always the one that has a free price sticker on it or the one delivered via a volume-discount subscription service. Nowadays most everybody worldwide has access to lots of free content online. The reality of the situation is that without hesitation or deliberation over the integrity of the source, people spend a lot of their time browsing weird, wacky, and also wonderful content, simply because it’s free. Many readers are also in the habit of downloading free eBooks in case they feel like reading some day in their spare time. Even though most of the free eBooks downloaded never get read, authors keep offering more daily. People want free content and there are plenty of sites willing to provide it in order to attract more visitors. Free offers and giveaways are magnets for enticing customers to buy other goods and services. Is it possible that normal forces that should lead to a balance of supply and demand, don’t apply to publishing, given that not everyone is in it to earn book royalties? If this is the case, then authors who want to make money selling books should seriously re-evaluate the business value proposition and/or rethink their marketing and promotion strategy.

Continue reading “Guest Post with Alex Abaz: Why Free eBook Downloads are Not a Super Book Deal for Authors or Readers”