Guest Post with J. Keller Ford, YA Fantasy Author of BANE OF THE DRAGON KING, on “Saying Goodbye to Fallhollow”

Hi guys! Saying goodbye is probably one of the hardest things in the world, isn’t it? It’s extremely hard to let go of the people, places, and things we love. As a senior, I’m letting go of so much this year. Last semester was hard because I had to say goodbye to people who have been in my life for a long time, from my parish priest (who left for the Air Force) to one of my fellow violinists in my orchestra (who left for college). It’s even more heartbreaking to think that I am going to say goodbye to so many things and people who have shaped my life over the past years as a student–from the orchestra I’ve played in for the past six years to the teachers and friends that have changed who I am. It’s funny that when you don’t see them, you don’t miss them because you know you have a chance of seeing them again, but when you are leaving for good, you begin to miss them. J. Keller Ford definitely knows this feeling as she is wrapping up her Chronicles of Fallhollow series with book three, and I’m very blessed to have her on my blog to share her story about her remarkable series.


About the BookBane of the Dragon King

Fallhollow is at war. The sudden deaths of the only two heirs that could have saved it has plunged the entire land into chaos. Despite all the magic thrown at him, the Dragon King still lives. Hope for any sort of victory seems faint until Charlotte discovers a secret that could change the course of history.

Armed with the power to set things right, Charlotte embarks on a perilous journey with the sly and cunning Prince Izmayel Ascatar Venniver IV, Lord of the peaceful Edryd dragons. But her journey of peace is thwarted, and Hirth’s most fearsome enemy plans to use Charlotte to destroy the kingdom and claim the universe as his own.

As Fallhollow and the Kingdom of Hirth descend into a battlefield of bloodshed and death, David, Trog, and the warriors of Hirth march toward war with an impossible plan to bring down the Dragon King, destroy his armies, and return the kingdom to its former glory. All they need is a little faith, a few extraordinary surprises, and a lot of magic of the most unexpected, generous kind.

This book is the final dramatic and magnificent conclusion to the Chronicles of Fallhollow trilogy.

Bane of the Dragon King is releasing from Month9Books tomorrow!

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J. Keller Ford Guest Post

Saying Goodbye to Fallhollow

When I started this trilogy many, many years ago, I never thought about ending it. My focus was on writing it. I thought developing the worlds, the characters, the plots were the hardest things I could ever do.

I was wrong.

Saying goodbye to a story that has been with me for most of my life is probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done with regards to my writing.

I started the first book in the Chronicles of Fallhollow trilogy when I was very young. Of course it didn’t resemble anything like it does now, but the concept was there. When my father died right before my 12th birthday, I made a promise to him that I would finish the story I began. He used to feed my imagination with stories of bravery and honor and sacrifice. See, my dad was in the Army when he passed away, and served 2 terms in Vietnam. He enlisted with the Navy in WWII and also served in Korea. He saw a lot of war, lost a lot of friends, and though he rarely spoke of the horrors he lived, he always told me stories of heroism and what honor, love and sacrifice looks like. I carried those stories with me all my life and weaved them in the page of the Chronicles of Fallhollow.

In the Shadow of the Dragon KingOne of my main characters, Sir Trogsdill Domnall, was fashioned after my dad. Reading back on my stories, I can’t believe how much of my dad is in him. Trog is private, harsh at times, but compassionate and loving and he conceals a lot of pain both from war and life. I think I will miss Trog the most. It’s strange. While I was writing Trog, I could hear my dad’s voice. It was as if he were with me, leaning over my shoulder, telling me what to write. Of course, Trog has his own personality and voice, but they melded well with my dad’s and I think the two of them would have gotten along great (if there was any way they could have met).  It was cathartic to write Trog because in many ways, I got to visit my dad every day for years. To say goodbye to Trog … well my heart breaks a little. It’s not as bad as saying goodbye to my dad in real life, but it is still sad. But I can always go back and visit them anytime I want because they’re in books now.

My dad aside, it’s very bittersweet to put “The End” on something that has taken up so much of my life for so many years. While I’m ready to venture off to new realms and meet new characters, these tales are such an integral part of me. At first, I found myself writing some of my new characters with Charlotte’s or David’s voice and I had to unhinge them and revamp myself. I had to get my head in a different space. These new tales, while still YA fantasy riddled with dragons and faeries, the world is so different than Fallhollow. The creatures speak differently and there is no war going on, and there is actually a strong romance element in the new Fae Hunter series. Sometimes it’s difficult to turn off the old voices to create new, unique ones, but it is getting easier as I delve into book 2.

Rage of the Dragon KingI’ve learned so much about myself in the process of writing three books. There was a time I didn’t think I’d ever reach the end. There was so much self doubt. So much procrastination. What if they (readers) don’t like the books? What if I can’t find a publisher? What if, what if, what if? It’s enough to make someone give up. But I couldn’t give up. This story had to be told, for me, my dad. Oh, I still suffer from the what if’s and the whys, especially when I see my books hovering in the 100s in their categories on Amazon and other dragon writers have their books in the top numbers spots with lots of reviews. (Yeah, I’m a stat person, though I shouldn’t be). The reviews are few and there are so many times I wonder why I keep writing if no one will ever find my books, much less like them. But writing to me is essential. It’s like breathing. To not write is insane. It’s unthinkable. Yes, I have dreams of being a best-selling author, to hit the NY Times Bestseller List or USA Today Bestseller list. I’m not sure if my inner me will ever be happy if I don’t accomplish those things, but the writer part of me says ‘Who Cares! Write because you love to write!’

So, that’s what I’ll keep doing.

I’m excited about the books I’m writing right now. I am looking into agents and yes, I want to go the traditional route again. I’ve had a wonderful experience with my publisher, Month9Books, but I want to shoot for Random House, Scholastic … you know, the big houses, and I can’t do it without an agent. It’s still all up in the air.

Bane of the Dragon KingIn the meantime, I can pat myself on the back and say “You did it, Jenny! You wrote three published books!” I no more have to wonder if I can do it. I DID do it, and that in itself is a huge accomplishment, and it will drive me whenever I start to worry about the new books I’m writing. I learned during this whole process that there is nothing I can’t accomplish, that getting out of my own way was the most important step to reaching my goal. I learned that dreams can be reached with perseverance and surrounding myself with positive, like-minded people to encourage me and get me out of my dark funks. Saying goodbye to Fallhollow is bittersweet, but I’m a better person for hanging out there for as long as I did. It made me realize just how big the universe is, and how many worlds are out there, ready to be discovered.

I’m ready to explore. I hope you come along with me.


About the AuthorJ. Keller Ford

J. Keller Ford is a scribbler of speculative fiction and YA tales. As an Army brat, she traveled the world and toured the halls of some of Germany’s most extraordinary castles in hopes of finding snarky dragons, chivalrous knights, and wondrous magic to permeate her imagination. What she found remains etched in her topsy-turvy mind, and oozes out in sweeping tails of courage, sacrifice, honor and everlasting love.

When not torturing her keyboard or trying to silence the voices in her head, Jenny spends time collecting seashells, bowling, screaming on roller coasters, and traveling. She is a mom of four magnificent and noble offspring, and currently lives in paradise on the west coast of Florida with a menagerie of royal pets, and her own quirky knight who was brave enough to marry her.

Jenny is the author of The Chronicles of Fallhollow series. The first two books, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, and RAGE OF THE DRAGON KING, are currently available. The third and final book, BANE OF THE DRAGON KING, is due to release November 13, 2018. For more information about her books and to sign up for her newsletter, please visit http://www.j-keller-ford.com

Website | Blog | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying Goodbye so hard.” — Winnie the Pooh

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

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Cover Reveal for Fighting Fate by Shaila Patel, the Anticipated Sequel to Soulmated, plus an Exclusive Excerpt!

Hi guys! Happy Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday! Last year, I had the amazing chance to meet Shaila Patel at the Southeastern Young Adult Book Fest and read her wonderful YA debut romance Soulmated, which was one of the best books I have read in the Winter/Spring of 2018. As a proud member of her Street Team, I am so happy to present to you the cover for the long anticipated sequel Fighting Fate! It’s such a gorgeous cover, so check it out below!

And if you want to check them out, here are links to my review of Soulmated and Shaila’s guest post!

Let’s count down from 5!

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The moment you’ve all been waiting for!

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The cover for Fighting Fate!

Continue reading “Cover Reveal for Fighting Fate by Shaila Patel, the Anticipated Sequel to Soulmated, plus an Exclusive Excerpt!”

Review: Station Fosaan by Dee Garretson

Hi guys! Happy Black Friday! Thank you SOO much everybody for all your support of the blog. We would like to thank every author who has been a guest on the blog or provided a book for review. We would like to thank every publisher and publicist we have worked with. We would like to thank every blogger who has helped guide us to become better book bloggers and reviewers. Lastly, we would like to thank every reader who has checked out the blog–without you, we wouldn’t be where we are at today. We hoped you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Enjoy this review of Station Fosaan by Dee Garretson.


About the Bookstation

Earth scientists and their families stationed on the remote planet of Fosaan were promised a tropical vacation-like experience. But Fosaan, devastated from an apocalyptic event nearly three-hundred years ago, is full of lethal predators and dangerous terrain.

Earthers are forbidden to go beyond the safety zone of their settlement and must not engage the small population of reclusive Fosaanians, descendants of the survivors. Sixteen-year-old Quinn Neen plans to do both of those things.

When Quinn discovers a beautiful Fosaanian girl named Mira stealing food from his family’s living unit, he soon learns Earth’s government may not be telling the whole truth about Fosaan and the cause of the past disaster.

There are some who to restore the planet to its former glory by any means necessary. Quinn finds himself caught between his loyalty to his own people and what is right for Mira and her people.

Before he can decide what to do, the scientists are taken captive, stranding the young Earthers on Fosaan.

Quinn must go from renegade to leader and convince Mira to become an ally in a fight against an enemy whose very existence threatens their lives and the future of those both on Fosaan and .at home.

Goodreads


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Disclaimer: I received a free signed copy of this book from the author via The YA Gal’s Review Team in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.

Station Fosaan follows Quinn as he, along with two fellow Earthers and a Fosaanian named Mira, tries to save the scientists who are taken captive by renegade aliens. Although this book did not fully meet my high expectations, it still was a fun, quick read that was like a roller coaster ride. It was very light and easy to finish in a sitting or a couple of days. There were times I was on the edge of my seat, and I just wanted to know what would happen next! I was very intrigued by this book because the premise sounded very promising. While I did like the novel for the most part, it felt a little lackluster to me and didn’t have the “wow” factor I’m looking for in a story.

Usually with sci-fi action books like Station Fosaan, I am looking for vivid world-building and a plot that sucks you right in, but it took me a while to get into this book. Although I did trim to “skim-read” the first few chapters (I was trying out a new reading style that would have supposedly made me more efficient, but it failed), I was stilled confused on certain details, such as where exactly everything was placed. There was a lot of world-building potential, but this book needed more description on the history of Fosaan (not just bits and snippets), the geography of the planet, the location of the Earther structures, the history of Earth in that futuristic world, etc. There’s a lot of questions I have that need some explaining.

Even though I did not love this book as much as I had hoped to, I will still be looking forward to the next book in the series. Hopefully all the questions I have will be answered, and the sequel will pull of an “A Time to Speak” in which it blows me away. I wouldn’t be afraid of trying out this book if I were you—there is a good possibility you will like it more than I did. I wish I could have found that “wow” factor. However, I have a good feeling I could discover it when I pick up the sequel. If you like science fiction novels set in extraterrestrial planets and cultures, then Station Fosaan is the book for you!


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Have you read Station Fosaan? Do you like sci-fi?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

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My August Reading Re-Cap!

Hi guys! So my first month of school has just gone by! Whoo, what a ride! Currently, I’m on a 5-day break for Labor Day, so as I write this, I’m trying to get some needed rest and relaxation (and productivity). Junior year is definitely becoming really stressful right now, so I’m going to be reading and blogging less. Actually, even though the blog stats have decreased a bit lately, the two-posts-a-week schedule works so great for me so I’m not too stressed to make so many posts a month. Because I’m reading less, there will be less books on my reading re-cap, but I am going to include my posts from throughout the month in case you missed it! Hope you enjoy!

August Recap


5 Stars

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

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Submerge by Tobie Easton

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4 Stars

Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me by Carrie Ann DiRisio

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This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

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Goodreads Continue reading “My August Reading Re-Cap!”

Review: Emerge by Tobie Easton – Magical Twist on a Classic Tale

Hello! So this review is almost two months overdue because I read it back in March and finished it the day before SE-YA. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the author, Tobie, and she was amazing! I loved it! Although this was a book I bought and got signed, I want to share it with y’all! I hope you enjoy!


About Emerge27882492

Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid but she’s never lived in the ocean. Ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality, war has ravaged the Seven Seas. Now Lia lives in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu’s seaside mansions and attends high school with humans. To protect everyone around her, she must limit her contact with non-Mer. No exceptions. But when the new girl sets her sights on Lia’s crush, she will risk exposing her deadly secret to stop Clay from falling in love with the wrong girl.


 

A 4 Star

Overall Thoughts: I know this review is like a month and a half overdue, but I really want to review this book because I think it’s one that needs to be shared… plus I planned this review for a while and I need to get to it. I remembered I finished this book the day before SE-YA, and I couldn’t put it down at the end because I was like “What will happen next?” so much!

Continue reading “Review: Emerge by Tobie Easton – Magical Twist on a Classic Tale”

Blood Road Blog Tour: Exclusive Interview with Amanda McCrina

Hi guys! In my hometown of Paris, TN, today we are holding the parade for the World’s Biggest Fish Fry! If you don’t know what that is, it’s a week-long festival where we eat a bunch of catfish, go to the carnival, and watch the two to three hour-long parade! Fun fact: some of our Grand Marshals include Verne Troyer, the actor who played Mini Me in the Austin Powers movies, and Hannah Robinson, a local who was Miss Tennessee a year or two ago and made it to the top 7 in the Miss America pageant! Small town represent! Today, we have a blog tour for Amanda McCrina’s newest book Blood Road! Hope you enjoy!

BLOOD ROAD


Title: BLOOD ROADA blood road

Author: Amanda McCrina

Pub. Date: April 25, 2017

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 329

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD

Synopsis: Nineteen-year-old Torien Risto has seen dissidents dealt with before. He knows the young local girl who just knifed him will hang for assaulting an Imperial officer, unless he can stop it.

Someone inside the provincial government is kidnapping Imperial citizens and selling them across the desert to the salt mines, silencing anyone who tries to intervene. The girl’s brother is one of those who has been taken. Rejected by the corrupt courts, she’s waging a personal war against the Empire.

Determined to save her life, Torien sets out in search of answers on the Salt Road, the ancient trade route running deep into the heart of a desert—territory claimed by the hostile Mayaso tribe.

Now, Torien is no longer sure where his own loyalty lies, or how far he will go to break the cycle of tyranny, political bullying, and social injustice in an empire that seals its borders in blood.


About Amanda:Amanda (1)

Amanda McCrina has studied in Italy, taught English in Japan, and currently tutors Latin in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her BA in History from the University of West Georgia, and is now pursuing her MA. She writes stories that incorporate her love of history, languages, and world travel. She drinks far too much coffee and dreams of one day having a winning fantasy-hockey season.

Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads


A Amanda

1. What is your book Blood Road about?

Blood Road is a political fantasy about a young Imperial army officer who sets out to solve a kidnapping and uncovers a vast trafficking plot whose roots go much deeper than he originally thought.

2. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

I love writing because it makes me see my own world in a new light. I’ve been making up stories for just about as long as I can remember (really embarrassing stuff, some of it)—probably because I’ve been reading for just about as long as I can remember. I think the key to developing as a writer is to read.

3. Who are your favorite authors, and which ones have had an impact on you? Who has affected your writing style the most?

Three long-time favorites are Ernest Hemingway, Rosemary Sutcliff, and George Orwell. I deliberately tried to imitate Hemingway when I first started writing seriously, and it’s taken me a long time to unlearn that and develop my own voice. But I still appreciate Hemingway’s minimalistic, dialogue-driven prose—and, equally, Rosemary Sutcliff’s beautiful descriptions.

4. What are your favorite genres to read and write? What are your favorite books?

I read a lot of historical fiction and nonfiction. I enjoy (and owe a lot to) fantasy, but at this point it takes a really fresh spin to get me interested. I love a good mystery, too, but I’ve never tried writing one.

From the three authors I already mentioned, my favorite books are, respectively, A Farewell to Arms, The Lantern Bearers, and Homage to Catalonia. Other all-time-favorites include Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity (the voice is incredible), Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series, and Ursula Le Guin’s Lavinia.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?

Writing is currently a part-time job. My full-time job is teaching middle- and high-school English at an international school in Madrid. Between those two things, I don’t have a lot of free time!

6. Is your book based off or inspired by the Roman Empire? If so, how much research did you have to put into it, and are there any parallels between the Roman and Vareno Empires?

There are definitely parallels between the Vareno Empire in Blood Road and Ancient Rome. I note in the book that it’s not an analogy that should be taken too far, since the Vareno Empire doesn’t perfectly resemble Rome at any one point in time. It’s most similar to the Christianized Rome of the 300s and 400s CE, but even that starts falling apart if you look at it very closely. (For example: the people of the Vareno Empire practice a religion that resembles Christianity, but the military also practices decimation as a punishment. In real life, the Roman army hadn’t really used decimation for several centuries by the time of Christianization.)

A lot of the research I did for Blood Road overlapped with research I’d done for my undergraduate thesis, so I was able to kill two birds with one stone.

7. What was your process for world-building your fictional empire’s geography, social structure, characters, etc.? There’s so much depth put into the social and governmental structures of the Vareno Empire, which can be found on your website!

I did incorporate some specific elements from real Roman history—for instance, my Imperial Guard is pretty blatantly based on the Praetorian Guard. I also turned to other time periods for some things. The signi, criminals sentenced to military service, were inspired by the penal battalions of the Wehrmacht and the Red Army in WWII.

It’s always potentially problematic to pick through real-world history and recycle it into a fantasy world; you have to be aware of the ramifications of detaching history from its context. But I do think studying real-world history is one good way to enrich fictional worldbuilding. (Also, food. Start with food. I mentioned this in another interview: knowing what your fictional people are cooking and eating is often key to understanding their world.)

8. If you had to choose, would you rather read and write historical fiction or fantasy for the rest of your life, and why?

If I had to choose, I’d pick historical fiction. Blood Road is fantasy in that it takes place in a secondary world, but there’s no magic, so really it reads like historical fiction. I’m terrible at writing magic systems.

9. How is it like living in Madrid, Spain? What are some of your favorite things about the city?

Madrid is a great city—eclectic, very walkable, with perfect weather and a good mix of cultural sites, shopping and dining destinations, and green spaces (plus a random Ancient Egyptian temple). I sound like a travel brochure, but really I am thankful for the opportunity to be here!

10. Your main interest of research is the Christianization of the imperial Roman Army. Could you share with us any fascinating facts you have stumbled across in your research? Why do you like studying and writing about this topic?

I think it’s fascinating that an essentially religious institution, the Roman army, could adapt so quickly to a drastically different belief system. The Roman army camp was an inviolable sacred space, and ritual was (and always had been) an integral part of camp life—so what does it mean that the army adopted Christianity so quickly when Constantine converted?

There’s so much I find fascinating, but one thing that surprised me when I first started researching was that by 400 CE or so pagans were actually prohibited from joining the army—you had to be a professing Christian. (Of course, how strictly that prohibition was enforced is a matter for debate.)

11. If you could take three things along with one book with you on a deserted island, what would you bring?

I’m going to assume the three things can’t include a boat or a satellite phone, so I’ll say: 1) Ryan North’s Time Traveler Essentials cheat sheet. The situation isn’t exactly the same, but most of the information still applies. 2) Seed potatoes. It worked for Mark Watney. 3) A volleyball.

My book would be War and Peace. I still probably won’t have finished it by the time rescue arrives.

12. Whenever you encounter writer’s block, what is your go-to cure?

Either a bike ride or a hot shower, or both, in that order.

13. Have you written any other works? What are your current plans with your writing career?

I’ve finished the first draft of a sequel to Blood Road. I’m also currently working on a YA WWII novel set in Poland/Western Ukraine, about a Red Army sniper.

14. Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers?

At the risk of repeating myself—reading is so important. Also, because I wish somebody had told me this a long time ago: don’t beat yourself up over making a certain word count each day. It’s OK to have days where you only write two sentences. (If it isn’t, I’m sunk.)

Thanks so much, Amanda, for coming onto our blog! Glad to have you!


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a 1 month subscription to Owl Crate, US Only.

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Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

4/24/2017- Rockin’ Book Reviews– Review

4/24/2017- Month9Books– Excerpt

4/25/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Interview

4/25/2017- Doodle’s Book Reviews– Review

4/26/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Interview

4/26/2017- Book-Keeping– Review

4/27/2017- A Backwards Story– Review

4/27/2017- Hazel West’s Character Purgatory– Excerpt

4/28/2017- LILbooKlovers– Interview

4/28/2017- Wishful Endings– Review

Week 2:

5/1/2017- Exploring the Inner Universe– Review

5/1/2017- So Few Books– Interview

5/2/2017- Book Review Becca– Review

5/2/2017- Bibliobibuli YA– Interview

5/3/2017- Reading for the Stars and Moon– Review

5/3/2017- I am not a bookworm!– Review

5/4/2017- YA and Wine– Guest Post

5/4/2017- Mundie Moms– Review

5/5/2017- Never Too Many To Read– Review


I hope you enjoyed today’s interview/blog post/giveaway! Certainly check out Amanda’s book!

Happy Fish Fry!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

The Sky Throne Blog Tour: Exclusive Interview with Chris Ledbetter

Hello! Today we have another blog tour stop for you today! Please welcome Chris Ledbetter in this interview talking about his newest book The Sky Throne! Hope you enjoy it!

THE SKY THRONE


Title: THE SKY THRONEThe Sky Throne

Author: Chris Ledbetter

Pub. Date: April 18, 2017

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 292

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD | iBooks

Goodreads Synopsis: Duality dwells at every turn, and an adolescent Zeus will learn that all too well when Hyperion attacks his family on Crete.

When the dust settles, his mother is unconscious and his best friend left for dead.

Stacking epic insult upon fatal injury, Zeus discovers the woman who raised him is not his biological mother. But to ensure her safety while she recovers, a heavy-hearted Zeus leaves her behind to seek answers at Mount Olympus Preparatory Academia.

Zeus embarks on a quest to discover who ordered the attack on his home, avenge the death of his friend, and find his birth mother. When some of his new schoolmates vanish, Zeus’s quest is turned upside down, and the only way to make things right is to access the power of The Sky Throne, confront a most dangerous enemy, and take his life back.

On his way to becoming king of the Greek gods, Zeus will learn to seize power, neutralize his enemies, and fall in love.

“Destined to have a sequel or two, young teens will appreciate the story, and teachers will appreciate that it instructs readers about the pantheon of gods.”–Kevin Beach, VOYA Magazine


About Chris: Chris

Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly “walked-on” to the best drum line in the conference without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now.

After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He’s worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. He taught high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, and also coached football.

He has walked the streets of Los Angeles and New York City, waded in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and climbed Diamond Head crater on Hawaii and rang in the New Year in Tokyo, Japan. But he dreams of one day visiting Greece and Italy.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTubeGoodreads


Now here’s the interview!

A Chris

1.  In 10 words or less, how would you describe THE SKY THRONE?The Sky Throne

Zeus origin story. Actually, Greek Olympian gods: Origins.

2. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

The first thing I love about writing is what we all love about reading, which is the ability to escape the real world and experience life as someone else. When I sit down to write, I am immediately transported. It’s very much like sliding a virtual reality headset down over my eyes. I began writing in 2006, almost as a dare to myself and fell in love with it ever since.

3. Who are your favorite authors, and which ones have had an impact on you? Who has affected your writing style the most?

My favorite authors are James Dashner, Jennifer Donnelly, Dan Brown, Laini Taylor, Paulo Coelho, Heather Petty, Kim Harnes, Tracy Clark. They’ve all helped to inspire and shape my writing in one form or another.

Continue reading “The Sky Throne Blog Tour: Exclusive Interview with Chris Ledbetter”

The Magnificent Glass Globe Blog Tour: Exclusive Interview with N. R. Bergeson

Hello! I hope you are enjoying your day! We have another blog tour stop for you today! We have with us N. R. Bergeson talking about his debut book The Magnificent Glass Globe! If you want to travel around the world, then you should go check out this book!

THE MAGNIFICENT GLASS GLOBE


Title: THE MAGNIFICENT GLASS GLOBEA Globe

Author: N.R. Bergeson

Pub. Date: April 10, 2017

Publisher: TantrumBooks

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 273

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play Books

Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Mary Tucker dreams of visiting the Amazon. But if her father, a museum curator, has his way, she might be a grandmother before she ever gets the chance.

One day, while mischievously exploring the museum’s warehouse with her brother Ike and best friend Helen, Mary stumbles across an old travel trunk belonging to her grandfather.

Inside, they discover an nondescript glass globe. Curious about the simple object, Mary touches the globe, and is shocked when the room is suddenly consumed by the most amazing view of Earth.

The magnificent globe lets the friends zoom closer and closer toward the earth’s surface, eventually bringing them close enough to touch the trees. That’s when the globe entirely disappears, and they find themselves falling.

Suddenly, they’re far from home, in place that’s either a paradise, or the place where they will die.

Sleep, water, and food become precious and scarce. A native tribe may hold the keys to their survival as well as clues to help them get back home. But it won’t be easy. The rain forest is a big place, and when others find out what the globe can do, Mary, Ike and Helen will need a plan, allies, and a little luck.


About N.R.: Nils

R. (Nils) Bergeson is the author of the “Magnificent Glass Globe” series. Nils was born in California but spent his childhood at the foot of the beautiful mountains of northern Utah. From an early age, he was fascinated with the wider world, prompting him to earn a degree in international studies from Utah State University, followed by a Master’s degree in Public Administration/International Management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He knew early on that his interests were as wide as the world itself, and that he’d find real joy living overseas. Since 2002, Nils has only spent four years living in the United States. He was a missionary in Siberia, spent time in Romania as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, and has worked for several years in Colombia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and now Indonesia as a U.S. diplomat/international development worker. He’s traveled to more than 60 countries with his wife, Emily, and their three young children. Nils’ love for writing, which began in the second grade, complements his globetrotting ways well. He hopes his writing will instill a desire in his readers to take advantage of modern opportunities to see the world, learn new languages, and expand their cultural experiences. We live in a wonderful world, and it’s just waiting for us to see it.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


A N.R. Bergeson

1. What is your book THE MAGNIFICENT GLASS GLOBE about?

It’s about a globe – a particularly magnificent globe – made out of glass. More specifically, it’s about Mary, an eleven-year-old who obsesses about traveling the world and feels stuck where she is. After she accidentally discovers the aforementioned magnificent glass globe, she finds herself, along with her brother and best friend, unexpectedly in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Now, they have to figure out how to survive and get home. They realize the world can be both beautiful and dangerous.

2. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

I like to express ideas, and I feel like writing gives me a chance to do that in a creative way. I hope it will help people see something in life just a little bit differently.

I dabbled with writing a little bit way back in second grade. My teacher was so impressed by a short story that I wrote and encouraged me to become a writer. “Yeah,” I thought. “I could do that…” While it helped instill a love of writing, that short story didn’t become a best-seller. Still, ever since then I’ve tried my hand at writing in different ways – books, articles, and blog posts.

3. Who are your favorite authors, and which ones have had an impact on you? Who has affected your writing style the most?

Well, I don’t know about style (I’m really just winging this whole thing, and I hope to learn a little bit more about writing from the real professionals at some point), but I was influenced once by the great Brandon Sanderson. I asked him if somebody like me, with a full time job, a family, and more taking up my time, would ever be able to find time to actually write a book.

“Sure,” he said. “You’ll have to be organized with your time. But you can do it. Just do a little bit at a time.” And he was right. So thanks, Brandon.

4. What are your favorite genres to read and write? What are your favorite books?

Well, most of my reading is focused on very boring and very long technical documents. If I spent as much time reading good literature as I do reading reports and memos, I would probably have read every book ever written.

But when I’m not stuck reading the booking stuff, I like to branch out and do different things. I read a lot of non-traditional epic fantasy-type books, as well as a lot of contemporary literature where ordinary kids find themselves in extraordinary circumstances.

I like to write about young people discovering new ideas and seeing new things for the first time.

Some of my favorite books are Great Expectations, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Maniac Magee, The Secret Garden, and more.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?

Well, I think writing is like my third or fourth job. I work full time at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. Luckily, the traffic here in Southeast Asia is terrible, so I take my laptop and try to write while stuck in a traffic jam. My other full-time job is raising my three highly-energetic children.

6. Mary, Ike, and Helen- the main characters- in your new series use the glass globe to travel all over the world. If you could use the globe to travel somewhere, where would you go?

Well, I’ve been lucky to go a lot of places already with work. And I have loved them all. But I still haven’t lived in Africa, and there are a lot of places I’d like to go. I’d probably start with Zambia.

7. What was it like serving as a missionary, Peace Corps volunteer, and a U.S. diplomat in various countries around the world?

You end up in a lot of really weird situations where you have no idea what is going on. I’ve found myself time and time again in rooms full of people speaking languages I didn’t understand, and just nodding my head and pretending like I understand. But you learn that people are all fundamentally the same. We have the same hopes and desires. There’s no reason for us all not to respect one another and get along.

8. Out of all the more than 60 countries you have visited, which one was your favorite and what did you see there?

Everywhere is amazing. If I could go and spend more time in a particular place, however, I’d probably pick Japan, Chile, and Turkey. Also, Finland is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

9. How do you want your book to change young readers? Why did you choose to write for a middle grade audience?

One reason I wrote for a middle grade audience is because those books are shorter, and I wanted to actually finish a book at some point! But I also get along with young people. I don’t think I ever fully grew up. And they read more than anybody else. They are learning about the world for the first time. They are open to new ideas and haven’t been corrupted by the boring parts of being an adult. I hope it makes them want to see more of the world, meet people from other places, and become better global citizens.

10. Who was your favorite character to write and why?

I like Ike because I can relate to the wanting to be funny, but not always being very good at it. I also liked writing Colin the poacher. I have a lot of Australian relatives, so in some ways I’m kind of teasing them with his character.

11. What is your personal cure for writer’s block?

I have no cure. If somebody has discovered one, please tell me. Also, I could use some advice on how to write more effectively while sitting in a crowded van in rush-hour traffic.

12. How much of your books were based off of your own personal experiences or research (if you had to do any)?

Almost 100%. I never actually got lost in the rainforest, but I did go visit back in 2010/2011 when I lived in Colombia. I met the Ticuna, visited one of their villages, had monkeys crawl all over me, climbed vines on a tree, and walked around the beautiful streets of Puerto Nariño. I would highly recommend it to anybody.

13. Have you written any other works? What are your current plans with your writing career?

Book #2 comes out in 2018. It’s in a completely different part of the world – Russia. Russia has been like a second home to me, so I loved writing about it. You get to learn more about where the globe came from, what the deal is with Anatoly, and you find out that things are a lot more complicated than they seemed at the end of the first book.

14. Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers?

Yep, and it’s the same advice I give over and over again. Get out and see something different. Learn a new language. Visit a new country. Eat some weird food. Be safe, but be adventurous. You’ll it will flip on your brain like a switch, and new ideas will start flowing from all over.


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a paperback of THE MAGNIFICENT GLASS GLOBE & A DVD of Jumanji, US Only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

4/3/2017- Rockin’ Book Reviews– Excerpt

4/4/2017- Books: A true story– Review

4/5/2017- Never Too Many To Read– Guest Post

4/6/2017- Month9Books– Excerpt

4/7/2017- I am not a bookworm!– Review

Week 2:

4/10/2017- Book Review Becca– Guest Post

4/11/2017- So Few Books– Interview

4/12/2017- LILbooklovers– Interview

4/13/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Excerpt


I hope you have a great week! 🙂

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Summoner Rising Blog Tour: Interview with Melanie McFarlane

Hello! Welcome to my tour stop for Melanie McFarlane’s Summoner Rising Blog Tour! As an honorary member of her Street Team, I would like to present you this wonderful interview! Can you also believe March is already over? I know right! This year is going by so fast! Well, here’s the blog tour!

SUMMONER RISING

Title: SUMMONER RISINGSUMMONER RISING by Melanie McFarlane (1)

Author: Melanie McFarlane

Pub. Date: March 28, 2017

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 300

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play Books | Indiebound

Synopsis: Excerpt from, The Book of Summoning:

Law One: A summoner is responsible for all creatures it lets through from the netherworld.

Dacie Cantar wishes someone had explained the Laws of Summoning to her before she watched a shadowy creature crawl out of a painting at the local arcade. At least it explains the strange things she’s witnessed since moving in with her great-aunt, after her mother’s untimely death. But who wants to be followed by shadows the rest of their life? Add that to being stalked by a strange boy at school, who just might be her Tovaros (aka soulmate), it’s about all Dacie can handle in her new life.

As she nears her seventeenth birthday, will she be ready for her new responsibilities, or will the shadows that stalked her mother until her death, finally consume Dacie, too? And then there’s Law Two…

 

About Melanie: Melanie

Melanie McFarlane is a passionate writer of other-wordly adventures, a little excitable, and a little quirky. Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, she jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Though she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie has focused her powers on her YA debut There Once Were Stars, and her YA urban fantasy Summoner Rising.

She lives with her husband and two daughters in the Land of Living Skies.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | InstagramGoodreads

Continue reading “Summoner Rising Blog Tour: Interview with Melanie McFarlane”

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