Summer of Authors #8: Author Interview with Jon Del Arroz

Hello loves. I am back with another author interview! Please give a warm welcome to Jon Del Arroz, author of For Steam And Country.


About For Steam And Country 35378932

Her father’s been pronounced dead. Destructive earthquakes ravage the countryside. An invading army looms over the horizon. And Zaira’s day is just getting started…

Abandoned at an early age, Zaira von Monocle found life as the daughter of a great adventurer to be filled with hard work and difficulty. She quickly learned to rely on only herself. But when a messenger brought news that her father was dead and that she was the heir to his airship, her world turned upside down.

Zaira soon finds herself trapped in the midst of a war between her home country of Rislandia and the cruel Wyranth Empire, whose soldiers are acting peculiarly—almost inhuman. With the enemy army advancing, her newfound ship’s crew may be the only ones who can save the kingdom.


Jon Del Arroz

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t wait to be acknowledged by agents or editors. Readers are what matters. You get those by having product out there. Just produce, get the train started, put it up on amazon yourself.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

First thing that comes to mind is Excalibur by Tim Marquitz. It’s a really fun shoot em up in space that’s light, a quick read and action packed. It’s probably my favorite book I’ve read that’s out in 2017 so far and it deserves more cred!

 

As a writer, what would you choose as your spirit animal?

A ferret (thematic to For Steam And Country!)

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It really depends on the story. This book was a straight up fantasy, so it was mostly brainstorming and making things up. I have a sci-fi I wrote (which is in process for revising) where I had a character whose a master botanist. Did a lot of research on plants, botany, gardening and the like for that and spent hours on YouTube trying to get little details.

How many hours a day do you write?

Two to four.

 

How do you select the names of your characters?

For this book in particular I wanted to do something special. Most fantasy has pretty generic sounding fantasy names, and I think it’s made them imminently forgetful. I developed a naming convention through nobility in my book’s setting of Rislandia where people get named after cool items and gadgets that are steam punk themed. So you’ll have characters like Zaira Von Monocle, Mathias Du Gearsmith, Talyen Von Cravat. My hope is that those names will stick in people’s heads a little longer than if it just had more of a standard fantasy flavor. So far reaction’s been favorable!

 

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

I do commercial real estate.

 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Tons. Last book, Star Realms: Rescue Run was littered with references to Anne McCaffrey, my favorite all time author. For Steam And Country has a lot of Final Fantasy easter eggs.

 

What was your hardest scene to write?

Wasn’t in this book, which I found pretty easy to write all around, but it was in the one I referenced above with the botanist. There was a death of a character I just didn’t want to get into that head space. I procrastinated the scene for about a month and a half.

 

What is your favorite childhood book?

When I was a kid my favorite book was 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

2 months for first pass, about a month to edit, couple weeks on a third pass. I take breaks in between to work on other projects so I can come at it fresh so the whole process is about 6-9 months.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

It’s all about confidence. Write confidently that your ideas are interesting, that they’re worthwhile and it will translate to readers. This is true for main characters too — I used to write main characters to feel “more real” with a lot of lack of confidence in themselves. While it felt accurate, it didn’t make for good fiction. People escape through fantasy/sci-fi and want to see ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and that requires confidence.

Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers?

Put yourself out there. Self-promote and don’t be ashamed of it. So many people are scared but you gotta get your friends and family reading. They’ll tell their friends and family. It cascades. It’s super important and you gotta be marketing yourself constantly. The game never ends.


About the AuthorJon.jpg

Jon Del Arroz began his writing career in high school, providing book reviews and the occasional article for the local news magazine, The Valley Citizen. From there, he went on to write a weekly web comic, Flying Sparks, which has been hailed by Comic Book Resources as “the kind of stuff that made me fall in love with early Marvel comics.” He
has several published short stories, most recently providing flash fiction for AEG’s weird west card game, Doomtown: Reloaded, and a micro-setting for the Tiny Frontiers RPG. Writing and reading Space Opera is his life!

Star Realms: Rescue Run is his debut novel. You can find him during baseball season with his family at about half of the Oakland A’s home games in section 124.

The Suffering Tree Blog Tour (+ Summer of Authors #7): Guest Post + GIVEAWAY with Elle Cosimano – How I Found the Perfect Agent

Hi guys! I am so glad to have back Elle Cosimano, author of her latest book The Suffering Tree, on the blog! Earlier this year, I gave an exclusive interview with Elle (which you can find here) and reviewed her YA paranormal thriller Holding Smoke (which you can find here too), which I loved. Now, I am glad to promote her newest book The Suffering Tree in the blog tour!

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About the Book28810197

Title: The Suffering Tree

Author: Elle Cosimano

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: June 13th 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Synopsis: “It’s dark magic brings him back.” 

Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family-it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” As the suspicious looks and muttered accusations of her neighbors build, so does the pressure inside her, and Tori returns to the pattern of self-harm that landed her in a hospital back in D.C. It all comes to a head one night when, to Tori’s shock, she witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard. 

Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events-including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin-that seem to point back to Nathaniel. 

As Tori digs for the truth-and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel-she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried at any cost.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:elle-cosimano

Author of NEARLY GONE, NEARLY FOUND, HOLDING SMOKE, and THE SUFFERING TREE (Disney*Hyperion, 2017). Represented by Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency.


Let’s get onto the guest post!

Elle Cosimano

How I Found the Perfect Agent

Six years ago, when I completed my first draft of what would become my debut novel, I was a real estate agent with a background in psychology who dreamed of becoming a novelist. I had no formal writing training. I had no literature degree. And I had zero knowledge of the world of publishing. Basically, I had no idea what I was doing, much less any clue where to start. All I knew is that to get where I wanted to go, I presumably needed an agent.

But where did one go to find an agent?

Continue reading “The Suffering Tree Blog Tour (+ Summer of Authors #7): Guest Post + GIVEAWAY with Elle Cosimano – How I Found the Perfect Agent”

Summer of Authors #5: Exclusive Interview with Tobie Easton!

Hi guys! We are continuing our special Summer of Authors event with an author whose book is the perfect summer read. Tobie Easton, whom I met at the SE-YA Book Fest and is really amazing, wrote Emerge, her first book that’s about mermaids and romance. If you want read it by the poolside pretending to be a mermaid, then this is the book for you!


About Emerge27882492

Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid but she’s never lived in the ocean. War has ravaged the seven seas ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality. Lia has grown up in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu’s seaside mansions. Her biggest problems are surviving P.E. and keeping her feelings for Clay Ericson in check. Sure, he’s gorgeous in that cocky, leather jacket sort of way and makes her feel like there’s a school of fish swimming in her stomach, but getting involved with a human could put Lia’s entire community at risk. So it’s for the best that he’s dating that new girl, right?

That is, until Lia finds out she isn’t the only one at school keeping a potentially deadly secret. And this new girl? Her eyes are dead set on Clay, who doesn’t realize the danger he’s in. If Lia hopes to save him, she’ll have to get closer to Clay. Lia’s parents would totally flip if they found out she was falling for a human boy, but the more time she spends with him, the harder it is for her to deny her feelings. After making a horrible mistake, Lia will risk everything to stop Clay from falling in love with the wrong girl.


Tobie Easton

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

I love the puzzles of writing. The challenge of writing—the part that really intrigues me—is how to make all the pieces fit. How to make all the words fit just right, how to make all the story pieces fit so the plot twists feel right, how to make sure all the characters’ decisions push that plot forward. Making those pieces fit is what brings me those wonderful moments of satisfaction when I’m writing.

Growing up, I always loved stories and getting swept up in fictional worlds, but I was a reader long before I ever thought about being a writer. Writing was always the subject I enjoyed most in school; I found it fun and gratifying to play with words and find just the right phrasing for a given thought. But even though I enjoyed it, writing felt like something I had to do for whichever teacher gave me the assignment. It wasn’t until a few years after I graduated college and stopped having anyone making me write that I realized I wanted to write. It was perfect timing because it gave me just enough distance to gain perspective on my teen years, and I feel like I now have something to say in YA.

2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and you writing style the most?

MysteriousGalaxyBirthdayBash2016_6As a writer, details are really important to me. My favorite fictional worlds are the ones in which every detail is thought through, and some that seem insignificant end up mattering in unexpected ways. That’s why I’ve been drawn to the vivid worlds of fantasy writers like J.K. Rowling and Tamora Pierce. I also learned a great deal about incorporating detail, building magic systems, and writing dialogue from watching and re-watching the works of Joss Whedon throughout high school and college. Romance is another element that’s at the top of my list. Getting my characters together is often what keeps me writing. And of course, I’ve always been intrigued by mythology and fairy tales—and by attempting to understand in what ways they’re still relevant in modern culture.

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

Actually, I am SO excited to tell you that writing is about to become a full-time job for me! I still can’t believe it, and I can’t wait to have more time to write more books for you guys!

When I’m not writing, I’m reading, and when I’m not reading, I’m trying out a new restaurant or travelling. My favorite thing is exploring new worlds—whether on the page or off.

4. EMERGE is heavily inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s THE LITTLE MERMAID. What about the original fairy tale spoke to you the most? Why did you choose to base your book on it?

At first, all I knew was that I wanted to write about mermaids living on land. Once I had decided to tell that story, I couldn’t help thinking about the original version of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, particularly the part that’s generally left out of more modern versions—that the Little Mermaid chose to die at the end instead of killing the prince and saving herself (yep, it’s a dark story!). My imagination started spinning and I began to think about what the consequences of that action might have been for modern mermaids.

5. Would you like to be a mermaid, why or not? If so, what would you do if you were one?27882492

Absolutely! I hope anyone who’s read my book would like to try being a mermaid—at least for a day.

If I had a day to spend as I mermaid, I would go exploring! Okay, well, first I think I’d just spend a lot of time staring at my tail and doing backflips in the water. Then I would want to see everything. I’d start with the hidden mermaid grottos where Lia’s community lives in Emerge because I’d want to see their abalone walls and cave formations for myself. After that, I wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation anymore, and I’d dive right into the ocean. How incredible would it be to be able to breathe underwater and see everything in the ocean with crystal clear vision? Then, as the day was coming to an end, I’d break the surface right in time toshare a kiss with someone special in the waves at sunset.

6. You host book clubs for teens and tweens! What is that like? Why do you like the middle grade and young adult audiences as both a reader and writer?

Teaching book clubs is actually how I discovered—and fell in love with—YA. The bookclub members started bringing in books they were reading outside of the club to show me. One of them brought in Delirium by Lauren Oliver, and I read a few pages out of curiosity. I bought the book that night because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Once I started reading YA, I realized what a perfect fit it was for the voice in my own writing.

Books we read when we’re growing up are often the most meaningful to us. They’re the ones that stay with us and that we read over and over. When you write for MG and YA audiences, your words can really touch someone who is figuring out who they are and what they care about. Also, I love the exploration and discovery in YA, and, of course, the resonance of first love.

7. Since your book takes place over 200 years after the events of the Little Mermaid, how did you create the history and culture behind the Mermaid community in your book? What were some challenges you faced putting a new twist on an old tale?

For me, world-building starts with asking a series of questions and using logic to flesh out the world. The question that sparked this book for me was “What if Mermaids lived on land?” That led to, “Where would they live?” Well, in Malibu beach houses with secret, underground grottos where they could use their tails. “How would they keep their secret?”, “How would they get legs?”, “What would the rules of their Community be?”, “What would human school be like for them?”, “What language would they speak and what expressions wouldthey use?”, “What would their culture be like, from its history, to its food, to its thoughts on marriage and love?” Moving through those kinds of questions one by one helped me figure out what a Mer society in the human world would be like.

Mermaids, in one form or another, appear in so many cultures, so I also read mermaid myths and legends from all over the world and incorporated various elements that sparked my imagination. One of the most fun challenges was making those various pieces fit together into one cohesive Mermaid world.Tobie Pic

8. What do you like the most about living in Los Angeles and having a great author community there? Although I’ve already visited LA a few years ago (it was really fun by the way), what would you recommend a visitor to do or to go in LA?

LA attracts a lot of really creative people. People you meet here are very passionate about their projects, whether those projects are books, songs, movies, television shows, web series, paintings, or anything else. As for where to visit, I’m sure you already know about Disneyland and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so I’ll mention a few you may not have heard of; Huntington Gardens (especially the jaw-dropping rose garden), the Los Angeles Arboretum, and Greystone Mansion (the grounds of the estate are now a public park where I went to day camp as a kid. If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, you’ll recognize Greystone as Chilton).

9. Did you ever surprise yourself as you wrote EMERGE?

This is a great question. No one has ever asked me this before. Nearly all of Emerge was a surprise because it’s the first book I wrote. When I had the initial idea (What if mermaids livedon land?), I thought, “I can’t write a book!” But the idea wouldn’t let go, and I felt like I had to write it. Reaching THE END and realizing I could really write a book—and that I immediately wanted to write another one!—was the biggest surprise of all.

10. I am so glad I got to see you at the Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival in Murfreesboro,TN! What do you like most about being an author at book festivals? How was your experience at SE-YA?160604_BN Santa Monica 4

I loved, loved, LOVED SE-YA! It was a blast. Going to book festivals is one of my favorite parts of being an author because I get to meet and talk to readers. Connecting with you guys is really the best part of being an author because you get to share the love you have of stories with others. Kester, seeing that you had put the signed book plate I’d sent you months before in your copy of Emerge, and then getting to talk to you in person meant so much to me. At SEYA, I also got to hang out and do panels with authors I admire so much. Plus, the festival organizers were some of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. Not only did they plan an incredible book festival (librarians should run the world!), they took me out for my first real soul food and sweet tea. Also—IT SNOWED! Since I’m from Los Angeles, that was really exciting. All the other authors were teasing me and calling me, “California.” 😉

11. SUBMERGE, the second book in THE MER CHRONICLES, is coming out later this year! What can we look forward to in the next installment? Would you like to give us any secrets about what happens next? 

It’s getting close now! I CAN’T WAIT for you guys to read it. I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will say Book 2 is finished now—and so much happens! It definitely has more romance and magic (my two favorite things), and there are more difficult choices ahead for Lia. We’ll learn more about the characters from Book 1 and we’ll see new, unexpected sides to them. There are also some new characters I just can’t wait for you to meet. Submerge really raises the stakes and the emotional tension of the series. If I had to sum up Submerge, I’d do it in two words: magical and heart-wrenching.

12. Do you have any tips or advice you would like to give to any aspiring authors or writers?

Write the book only you can write. By that I mean, follow what fascinates you—whetherthat’s mermaids or sports or vampires or music or scientific exploration or politics or horses. Letyourself fall down that rabbit hole no matter what anyone tells you because that’s where your story is waiting to be discovered.

Thanks so much, Tobie, for coming onto the blog! It was so fun having you!


Emerge Project Mermaids Promo Video

Tobie: “Here’s a link to a video I did for Project Mermaids to help raise awareness for ocean conservation.”


About the AuthorTobie Pic

Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie hosts book clubs for tweens and teens (so she’s lucky enough to spend her days gabbing about books).

She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies. Tobie loves chocolate chip cookies and Oxford commas. Tobie is a member of SCBWI and YARWA, the Young Adult chapter of RWA.


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Do you have any thoughts or questions?

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

Contact | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

Summer of Authors #4: Interview with Lorna Hollifield

Hi lovelies. I have with me a wonderful author whose debut book just released today! Please welcome Lorna Hollifield, author of Tobacco Sun.


About Tobacco Sun34569128

The year is 1947. The war is over, Jackie Robinson has just integrated baseball, and Frank Sinatra breezes in over the fuzzy airwaves. A sense of relief is finally sweeping the nation…everywhere except Tobaccoville, North Carolina.

Beyond the rural fields that are pregnant with decades of secrets, a mysterious Hollywood pin-up is jailed for murder while her facially birthmarked half-sister may hold the answers as to why.

The two girls, estranged for years, share a haunting past, a shell-shocked love interest, and maybe even a cruel destiny. Through mountains of lies, the truth that inevitably comes pouring out of the tobacco leaves will come to light. Will this light reveal the path to the siblings’ foreordained destruction, or their long-awaited deliverance? Will they realize they each hold the power to set the other free before it’s too late?

A story of heritage, hurt, and somehow, hope; Tobacco Sun keeps you on the edge of your seat while you find yourself rooting for redemption.


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

I don’t know what made me love writing, because I have ALWAYS loved it. If I had to guess, I would say it has a lot to do with my grandmother teaching me to read at a very young age. Since I could read, I’ve been writing. I was an only child for a long time, so I’d make up people to talk to. I still lead with character personalities today.

What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?

I love a pre-teen book called Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech….it was one of the first “chapter books” I connected with, and made me want to share stories about human beings. I’m a big Fitzgerald fan just because of how fabulous it all is. I also love Toni Morrrison, Sue Monk Kidd, and Barbara Kingsolver…all representing The South well. The best book I’ve read lately is Bryn Greenwood’s, All The Ugly And Wonderful Things….fantastic coming-of-age piece!

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

I just write for a living! For fun, I spend beach days with my husband, and pups! I also enjoy running (which I’m still surprised by), and being social. I’m not the stereo-typical shut-in at all!

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Everywhere! Songs…a moving experience…one word that creates a flash. It’s a very artistic thing for me.

What do you think makes a good story?

Human beings make stories great. We are creatures meant to connect, and the intricate ways that we do that should be talked about!

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

I actually think it’s easy once I become the character…when that happens they don’t shut up. Knowing them to begin with is the tough part. And yes, there is a research element to it…but once I’m acquainted enough to start writing it tends to flow. I always go back and make sure I haven’t slipped back into “Lorna” at any point. I think with any character this is true. It will flow if it’s authentic.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I like stand alones. I’ve never been a fan of series. I kind of like a book to make a big powerful boom, then mike drop, and walk away. I like that when I’m reading as well.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Write more…write always. Don’t waste brain space on safety nets or back-up plans. Go for it hard from day one and make it the ONLY option. The safest thing for the soul and the wallet is to work like hell at your passion. The best excuses are the ones that make total sense…but go with your gut.

What is your writing process like?

It looks like me in pajamas on my couch without a shower. I write when I feel the spark, and the story starts where I hear a character start talking. I usually map it out a little bit in chicken scratch in my notebook after a couple chapters have been written. I’m not super super organized…and I always feel rushed when I love the story.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It energizes me! I wouldn’t do it if it didn’t give me power, or make me feel like I’m influencing the world around me.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

A writer…from the beginning. I’m getting a little bit choked up thinking that I actually did it. It’s still surreal.

Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers? What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Naysayers telling you not to quit your day job. I don’t believe in safety nets. If you don’t love it enough to give it everything, you don’t love it enough. Logic will try to convince you otherwise, but if it is your true passion, let it have you. But don’t just dream…work. Write, research, network, go to conferences, beg agents, other writers, and industry big whigs to look at you. Demand your place. I was rejected for a decade…but I didn’t turn back. As long as you’re in love with your craft, never ever turn back.


About the Author

Lorna Hollifield was born in Asheville, North Carolina, but now enjoys the island life outside of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Kimsey, and two mutts, Scarlet and Daisy.

She’s been an author from the time she could speak, always spinning yarns for anyone who would listen.  She began her professional writing journey as a tourism and travel blogger, before finally deciding to pursue her dream of publishing fiction.  Tobacco Sun is her first novel, and she’s delighted to share it with the world!

Lorna also enjoys serving as President for the South Carolina Writers Association, and loves speaking about her craft at literary conferences and community events (especially charitable ones).

When Lorna isn’t writing fiction, she enjoys blogging about writable women at whatswriteincharleston.com!

Follow Lorna on Facebook, Twitter,  and Instagram for more updates!

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Summer of Authors #3: Guest Post + GIVEAWAY with Meg Eden – Translating Play: Turning Games into Novels

Hi guys! Tomorrow is the release for a very special book called Post-High School Reality Quest, and to celebrate it, I’m hosting the author Meg Eden with a special guest post she wrote and a giveaway for an ARC and some exclusive swag (they’re great- you’ll love them)! I hope that your summer is going off to a great start, and what better way to celebrate than with another giveaway and guest post?


About Post-High School Reality QuestPHSRQarccover

Buffy is playing a game. However, the game is her life, and there are no instructions or cheat codes on how to win.

After graduating high school, a voice called “the text parser” emerges in Buffy’s head, narrating her life as a classic text adventure game. Buffy figures this is just a manifestation of her shy, awkward, nerdy nature—until the voice doesn’t go away, and instead begins to dominate her thoughts, telling her how to life her life. Though Buffy tries to beat the game, crash it, and even restart it, it becomes clear that this game is not something she can simply “shut off” or beat without the text parser’s help.

While the text parser tries to give Buffy advice on how “to win the game,” Buffy decides to pursue her own game-plan: start over, make new friends, and win her long-time crush Tristan’s heart. But even when Buffy gets the guy of her dreams, the game doesn’t stop. In fact, it gets worse than she could’ve ever imagined: her crumbling group of friends fall apart, her roommate turns against her, and Buffy finds herself trying to survive in a game built off her greatest nightmares.


 Meg

Translating Play: Turning Games into Novels

The more video games I watch or play, the more I think about what I can learn about the art of telling good stories through games. Good games, like good books, show and don’t tell. They give you objects to interact with that show you what happened (or what will happen), and make you feel what the character feels through solid mechanics. They let you as the player (reader) experience a story instead of hearing a summary of a series of events. They let you inhabit a character and walk away with memories that feel like they’re own.

When I first wrote my novel Post-High School Reality Quest, it was a story about gamers, changing friendships, and identity inside and outside (mainly role-playing) games. There were interesting characters and some funny moments, but nothing really happened. It was like a body without bones. When my friend suggested the idea of writing a novel in the form of a text adventure, I initially laughed it off. But when I got strep and was bedridden with nothing to do, I put the text adventure bones onto my novel and came up with an older draft of what is now Post-High School Reality Quest.

Continue reading “Summer of Authors #3: Guest Post + GIVEAWAY with Meg Eden – Translating Play: Turning Games into Novels”

Summer of Authors Launch: Exclusive Interview with Mindy McGinnis!

Hi everyone! Today I’m am launching the Summer of Authors, a two-month event that last from the start of June to the end of July. We are showcasing and hosting many authors who have or are going to release their books in 2017, and we are holding some fun and awesome interviews, guest posts, and giveaways! Now to start off the Summer of Authors, I had the honor to interview the wonderful and amazing Mindy McGinnis, author of books such as The Female of the Species, Not a Drop to Drink, and her latest fantasy Given to the Sea!


About Given to the Sea25314447

Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.

Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.

Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.

The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.


Mindy McGinnis

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

Honestly I think most authors will tell you we don’t necessarily love writing. It’s work, sometimes almost impossible work. We put it off, and find other things to do instead as often as possible. I wouldn’t say I love it – I’d say that I can’t not do it. I’ve always had stories in my head, but I didn’t write my first novel until I was in my 20s.

2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and you writing style the most? 

I don’t really have favorites. I read widely and write widely. If its good, I’ll read it. I don’t really know who has influenced me either, as I do read SO much, it would be hard to pin any one thing down.

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

Writing is the full time job! I was working full time AND writing full time up until about a year ago.

Continue reading “Summer of Authors Launch: Exclusive Interview with Mindy McGinnis!”

E-ARC Review: Ballad of the the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty – An Interesting Prequel for Jack and the Beanstalk

Hi guys! I got another review for you, and today’s book is Ballad of the the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty! Now first, I want to make a few announcements.

  1. We have an Instagram now, which is going to be 100% controlled by Cayli. Go follow us @LILbooKlovers (and make sure you also follow our Twitter where you can find my latest ramblings about stuff). She’s going to provide some pretty photos and updates there, so you don’t want to miss it!
  2. I am suspending Weekly Quote-Flection for the summer because I have so many author guests on the blog from Summer of Authors and I’m limiting myself to post 2-3 times a week (Monday, Friday, and Sunday). I know, I did one, and I stopped. But by then, I’ll have a ton of quotes to pick from and write about once the school year’s here!

Hope you enjoy the review!


About the BookBallad and the Beanstalk

As her fingers move across the strings of her family’s heirloom harp, sixteen-year-old Clarion can forget. She doesn’t dwell on the recent passing of her beloved father or the fact that her mother has just sold everything they owned, including that very same instrument that gives Clarion life. She doesn’t think about how her friends treat her like a feeble, brittle thing to be protected. She doesn’t worry about how to tell the elegant Elena, her best friend and first love, that she doesn’t want to be her sweetheart anymore. She becomes the melody and loses herself in the song.

When Mack, a lord’s dashing young son, rides into town so his father and Elena’s can arrange a marriage between the two youth, Clarion finds herself falling in love with a boy for the first time. Drawn to Clarion’s music, Mack puts Clarion and Elena’s relationship to the test, but he soon vanishes by climbing up a giant beanstalk that only Clarion has seen. When even the town witch won’t help, Clarion is determined to rescue Mack herself and prove once and for all that she doesn’t need protecting. But while she fancied herself a savior, she couldn’t have imagined the enormous world of danger that awaits her in the kingdom of the clouds.

A prequel to the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk that reveals the true story behind the magical singing harp.



Disclaimer: I received a free electronic ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Overall Thoughts: I really liked the premise of the book. How did the Harp in Jack and the Beanstalk get there? It was a very interesting and unique “prequel” to Jack and the Beanstalk, and I finished it in two days. It was a quick read that keeps you hooked from the beginning! I stayed up one night just to finish the book, and I couldn’t put it down until the end. I remember I was reading another book as I was starting this one, and I was like “I just want to read this one.” Now was this a 4- or 5-star book for me? Not really; I didn’t like it and I wasn’t as emotionally connected to it as I wanted, but fairy tale lovers will like this book!

Continue reading “E-ARC Review: Ballad of the the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty – An Interesting Prequel for Jack and the Beanstalk”

Girl on the Verge Blog Tour: Review – A Dark, Thrilling, and Shocking Surprise

Hi guys! I have another review for you all, and today it is part of the Girl on the Verge Blog Tour! I’m seriously now wanting to read Forget Tomorrow now (which is also by Pintip Dunn) because the author wowed me with this book! Go read my review below!


Girl on the Verge
Pintip Dunn
Published by: Kensington
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks

Continue reading “Girl on the Verge Blog Tour: Review – A Dark, Thrilling, and Shocking Surprise”

Exclusive Interview + GIVEAWAY with Kathryn Ormsbee

Hi guys! So in the next upcoming weeks, I’m going to be blogging a bit less than usual since I’m having so many summer activities pop up. In a few weeks, I’ll be taking my ACT, so I gotta focus on that! But I’ll still be around here on WordPress and Twitter! Now, today I’ll be introducing a wonderful author I met at SE-YA: Kathryn Ormsbee, whose latest book Tash Hearts Tolstoy is releasing in a couple of weeks!


About Tash Hearts Tolstoy-3

After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?


Kathryn Ormsbee

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

I say this a lot, but it’s true: I can’t not write. I’ve loved creating stories since I was a kid. I wrote half-baked novels in my Lisa Frank notebooks and subjected my poor family to homemade movies starring my Barbie dolls. And that love of storytelling came out of my love for reading. I pretty much lived at the library growing up, and my parents read to me from an early age. It’s a tale as old as time: I loved books so much, I eventually decided to write them!  

2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and you writing style the most?

I adore classic literature; it’s most of what I read as a teen, so I will always have a soft spot for Jane Austen, John Steinbeck, and Virginia Wolf. My favorite Young Adult novels are The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. Perks is what first inspired me to write YA contemporary, and I will often flip open any given page of I’ll Give You the Sun to remind myself what compelling storytelling looks like. My favorite book growing up was Matilda by Roald Dahl. I also loved anything by Louis Sachar, The Chronicles of Narnia, and, of course, Harry Potter. Those books are what first inspired me to write for children. They played such an important role in my life, and I wanted to write books that would inspire a new generation with wonder and creativity.

Continue reading “Exclusive Interview + GIVEAWAY with Kathryn Ormsbee”

Exclusive Interview with J. M. Sullivan!

Hi guys! Today, I have with me another wonderful author whose debut book just released last Tuesday! Please give a warm welcome to J. M. Sullivan, author of Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles, a dark retelling of Lewis Carroll’s original novel Alice in Wonderland.


About Alice: The Wanderland ChroniclesAlice Cover Edit

“Always protect your queen.”

Ever since the outbreak of the Plague, life hasn’t been easy, and for seventeen-year-old Alice Carroll, it just got worse. Her sister, Dinah, has contracted the ‘un-deadly’ Momerath Virus and without a cure, will soon be worse than dead. She’ll be momerath.

Alice must leave the safety of the Sector and venture into Momerath Territory to find the antidote – if it exists. Chasing a rumor about a mysterious doctor with the cure, Alice falls down the rabbit hole into Wanderland, where ravenous momerath aren’t the only danger lurking.



J. M. Sullivan

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

I have always loved writing. My mom used to read to me all the time when I was little, so I remember growing up with a love of stories and literature. As I got older and realized that I could be the one who told the stories, I started making up my own. Thankfully, my writing has improved dramatically since my first stories about princes and princesses!

2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?

I love fantasy books. Probably not surprisingly, retellings are some of my absolute favorites. I love being able to escape into a new world that still has a sense of familiarity to it. The one that impacted me the most is easily Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine. Not only is it the first retelling I ever read, it was also the very first book I ever picked out for myself at a book store. I absolutely fell in love with the way Levine wove her characters and worldbuilding together to create this magical story that slowly unveiled itself to be a reimagining of Cinderella! I remember being so surprised and happy all at the same time when I found out my beloved Ella of Frell was actually Cinderella! It is the same feeling I want my readers to have when they read my work.JM Sullivan - small

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

As AMAZING as it would be unfortunately writing isn’t my full-time job (yet). To pay the bills, I follow one of my other passions, which is teaching! During the week, you’re most likely to find me in a classroom teaching sixth graders about the wonderful world of Science! Since I’m so busy, in my free time, I really just enjoy spending time at home. My kids and I have dance parties and baking adventures; or as a family we binge-watch movies. It may not be the most exciting stuff in the world, but it’s the little things in life. 😉

Continue reading “Exclusive Interview with J. M. Sullivan!”