Giveaway + Publishing Tips with Jamie Foley (Arbiter Blogtour)

Today I’m excited to be part of a blog tour to celebrate the release of Arbiter by Jamie Foley, the second book in the Sentinel Trilogy!

Book 1

I just read book 1, Sentinel, and fell absolutely in love with it! Unlike anything I’ve read before, Sentinel is a thrilling fantasy adventure in a fantasy world with modern aspects, fantasy mind-powers, and, oh yeah, an apocalypse — plus great humor, awesome characters, a hint of Christian allegory, and all rolled up in a gripping, good clean novel. 🙂 It ended at a surprising point and left me needing book 2!

Book 2

I’m so excited that Arbiter has released now, and can’t wait to dive into reading it soon. 😀

(Read my review for Sentinel — and the prequel novella, ViperHERE on my book blog!)

Jamie Foley is a great author and a lovely person; I got to meet her at a writing workshop where she was speaking on publishing and marketing and other cool authorial things. I absolutely loved all the cool info she had to offer, so I’m excited to share some of her thoughts about the publishing world and other fun things in an interview below. 🙂

Don’t forget to scroll down for links at the end, and enter the giveaway too! (Who wants to enter to win books and gift cards? You know you want to!)

Interview

1. Welcome, Jamie! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Howdy! I’m a workaholic marketing specialist/webmaster/graphic artist/indie publisher/author. Apparently that’s a thing…?

I live in central Texas with my Irish cowboy husband, hyperactive toddler, and snuggle-bunny Australian Shepherd. We’re rabid gamers and unashamed nerds.

2. Which book in the Sentinel trilogy surprised you the most while writing it?

Definitely Book 2: Arbiter. I didn’t expect the villain to come alive and be so… well… loveable over the course of the story. More than one beta reader said they learned to love him despite his nefarious deeds.

And Jet did some things I didn’t have in my outline. I tried to argue, but he’s so thick-headed.

(Oh my, I can just see that of Jet. XD)

3. What’s next in your writing/publishing plans after the final book (Sage) releases?

I’m working on two new series, both of which I hope to traditionally publish. One is called Emberhawk, which happens in the same world as The Sentinel Trilogy, but thousands of years in the past.

In Emberhawk, elementals vie for control of human tribes and empires, sparking wars that shape the nations of Sentinel. I’m planning for Emberhawk to be a series of three novels with a tad more romance than The Sentinel Trilogy, but just as much action and suspense.

The second series is still early in development, but… *looks over shoulder and whispers* It’s set on a totally new world with rune magic!

(Looking forward to both! :))

4. Zoo or museum, and why?

OK, I love zoos, but I definitely have to go with museums. My hubby and I are total nerds, always slurping up random worthless trivia and awesome historical tidbits. I love learning about the past — the more ancient, the better!

5. If you could choose one place to visit, real or fictional, where would you go?

Do I have to choose one?? Well… then it would probably be Narnia. Assuming that I couldn’t go back in time and ancient Earth. Or Rivendell. Or Kashyyyk… sorry.

(I’m totally up for Kashyyyk or any of those! ;))

6. Which aspects of indie publishing have been the most challenging and most rewarding?

It’s challenging to supply your own funds for crafting a professional work all by yourself, but if you know it’s what you want to do as a career and you save up, you’ll find that most all of the pros out there are happy to work with indie authors. Learning the ropes is tough at first, but boy, is it worth it!

One bonus of indie publishing is that you can be a little more… out there… than some publishers might approve of. Yes, you should definitely hire a professional editor or two, but at the end of the day, you get to make the call when your work is ready for the world to see.

Another reward is when the monetary investment returns and you don’t have to pay any middle-men. But if you can land a contract with one of the Big 5 publishers, signing that baby would definitely be worth it!

7. What is the difference between traditional and self-publishing, and what is a hybrid publisher?

There are a bunch of differences, but really it’s a matter of rights. As an independently published author, you’d maintain all of your rights and would take all of the profits from your book sales for yourself. But you’re a one-man show.

If you’re lucky enough to land a traditional publishing contract, you’d sell your rights to the publisher and make a much lower royalty percentage. But you’d have a team of experts behind you with a vested interest in making your book awesome and selling as many copies as possible.

A hybrid author has one foot in each camp. They have been traditionally published, but also self-publish some of their works.

8. What are the advantages of being a hybrid author versus just sticking with indie or traditional?

There are lots of advantages! Hybrid authors have the best of both worlds. They have the full force of a publisher’s resources gunning for their success–large traditional publishers help tremendously with marketing and may even hire a publicity firm for a project or two.

And when traditional authors self-publish on the side, they make a killing on the royalties because they’ve already got a large fan base, thanks to their publisher. Because of this, hybrid authors tend to make more money than both independent and traditional authors (on average).

9. Are there any well-known authors who have chosen to hybrid publish their work?

Oh, yeah! I’ve chatted with bestselling authors Ted Dekker and Beth Wiseman about their decisions to self-publish after many years of publishing traditionally with the ‘Big 5’ publishers.

The sad truth is that authors simply don’t make as much moolah as we used to. The market is changing, and a lot of big-time authors are barely hanging on. This is why you see well-known authors turning to self-publishing–even if they’re also continuing to publish traditionally–to make more money on the side.

10. What advice would you share with an aspiring author?

Decide if you want to write for pleasure or for business. It’s OK just to write for pleasure and not publish everything, just like it’s OK to be a hobby artist or musician!

But if you do want to be a career writer, realize that you’re starting a small business—and all small business require a monetary investment and a start-up period of a few years. Be willing to learn, save up, and sacrifice. Surround yourself with professionals—from top editors to bestselling authors to award-winning cover designers to marketing gurus—and I promise your hard work will pay off.

Great advice — thanks so much for joining us, Jamie!

Tour-wide Giveaway

Blogtour Schedule

The Books

This is getting a bit long, so check out the links to the books to read more about them! 🙂

Sentinel (Book 1)

Amazon (Kindle/Paperback)Signed PaperbackGoodreads

Arbiter (Book 2) — just released!

Amazon (Kindle/Paperback)Signed PaperbackGoodreads

Sage (Book 3)

Coming soon!

Viper (Book 0) — prequel novella

Amazon (Kindle/Paperback)Signed PaperbackGoodreads

What do you think, Roadlings? Do the books intrigue you? Is this an awesome giveaway? (Yes.) And did you find any of the publishing info interesting? Drop a comment to let me know what you think, and thanks for reading! 🙂

C is for Cade Peregrine (Songkeeper Blogtour + Giveaway)

c-is-for-cade

Greetings, Roadlings!

I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour celebrating the one-year book-birthday of Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams!

#ExploreLeira is an A-to-Z blog series making the rounds through the blogosphere, focusing on different characters, places, etc. in the land of Leira within the Songkeeper Chronicles, and it’s going to be loads of fun! 🙂

(If you’re not familiar with this series, you can read my review for book 1, Orphan’s Song, and book 2, Songkeeper.)

Today, I’m super pleased to have Gillian herself over for a guest post about Cade!

Cade happens to be my favorite character in the Songkeeper Chronicles, and although he’s not a general reader favorite, I maintain he’s misunderstood and is a fascinating character, and fairly epic, to boot. 😉 I hope you’ll enjoy this post’s insight into his character.

And now, I give you Gillian Bronte Adams and her guest post on Cade Peregrine! 🙂

Thanks, Deborah, for hosting me here and helping me celebrate the (almost) one year book birthday for Songkeeper! It is the second book in the Songkeeper Chronicles, which tells the story of a girl who can hear the song that created the world. If this is your first encounter with the blog tour, we are continuing a series of alphabet posts looking at the world and characters and magical creatures of the Songkeeper Chronicles (you can follow the tour at gillianbronteadams.com) and we have an awesome giveaway that you can enter below!

Today, we’re looking at the letter C.

c-is-for-cade

C is for Cade Peregrine

A tall boy stood before him, clad in a ragged white blouse and tattered breeches, with a fine leather vest on top and a sword belted at his side. His arms were folded across his chest, and his chin lowered so that his eyes seemed to look straight through Ky. Cade, the leader of the Underground.

– Orphan’s Song

Ah, Cade. In another tale on another day, Cade Peregrine could have been the hero of the Underground, instead of Ky. He is a young man rooted in conviction, strengthened by pride, and determined to uphold the legacy of resistance left by his father and the outlaws of Kerby.

“It is insane. For now.” Cade’s eyes glittered in the firelight. “Now, it’s just a dream, but one day it will be a reality. Even now, every dagger we steal, every purse, every coin is a step toward breaking the soldiers’ hold on Kerby. And when we’re ready, we’ll fall upon them and drive them from the city. Then we’ll be free again.”

Orphan’s Song

It was Cade who first saw the desperate need of the children of Kerby who were left orphaned and abandoned when their parents were taken by the Khelari. He realized that their best chance of survival came if they banded together, so he decided to form the Underground. In a cavern below the city, down tunnels where outlaws once roamed, the children found a new home. In the assigned brother and sister pairs, they found both the family they had lost and mentors to teach them how to survive life on the streets. And in Cade, they found someone to look up to and aspire to. A hero, like the legends of old.

Cade is a warrior, trained in the art of the sword by his late blacksmith father. He is a boy of the streets, versed in the skills required to disappear without a trace into a crowd. He is a born leader, capable of managing, organizing, and caring for the orphans of the city. He is a skilled orator, capable of drawing a crowd in so that they hang upon his every word and are swayed to his way of thinking.

“And what is all this?” Cade turned a circle with his hands spread wide then moved toward the digging, forcing Ky to fall into place behind. “Digging your way out, are you? Like rats in a hole.”

By now all activity in the tunnel had ceased, and Cade’s voice grew to fill the silence. He always had been good at speech-making and crowd-wielding. The runners hearkened to his words like starving men begging for bread.

“Running isn’t the Underground way. Out on the streets, it may be every man for himself because that’s what we have to do to survive, but not here—not in our stronghold. Here we stand and fight together. Here we are free. We cannot run away and leave our home behind!”

Songkeeper

He is stubborn and accustomed to getting his way, so it is no surprise that he frequently butts head with Ky—one of the main characters in the Songkeeper Chronicles. Both are convinced of their own rightness and ready to fight for that conviction. Both are willing to sacrifice for those that they care about. It is ironic that the two are more alike than either of them would care to admit. If they could just learn to work together, they would be an unstoppable force.

“It was your half-baked idea to leave Kerby behind. Now what? You have a plan for where we should go and how to get there? Or do you intend to walk thirty runners across the Nordlands in search of refuge with barely enough supplies to last another four days and half our number falling to the white fever already? How far do you think we would get? These are the things a leader has to think about, Ky.” He released his grip so suddenly that Ky wound up sitting on the ground. “So stop whining and think.”

Songkeeper

Not going to lie, I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Cade. He means well, but he so often gets the short end of the stick. In the Songkeeper Chronicles, we typically only see Cade from Ky’s perspective, so it’s usually a slightly unbalanced view. Admittedly, Cade can be a bit over-bearing at times, and he occasionally has control issues, but Ky isn’t always completely fair in his assessment.

Cade is the sort of secondary character who has a story that is just begging to be told. As in, there is a file, quite literally, sitting on my desktop begging me to write it. Maybe one day we’ll get to hear a bit from his point of view …

But for now, you can read about him in the Songkeeper Chronicles! Check out the links below for a place to purchase the books.

songkeeper1-2

Amazon: Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper

Barnes and Nobles: Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper

blog-tour-giveaway-promo-image

And before you leave, don’t forget to enter the giveaway! One lucky winner will take home a copy of Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, and a gorgeous handmade mug. Two lucky winners will take home copies of Songkeeper! Enter through the Rafflecopter below and be sure to visit www.gillianbronteadams.com to continue following the blog tour. You can earn new entries for each post that you visit along the way. Winners will be announced after April 15th.

Follow this link to enter –> ***a Rafflecopter giveaway***

About the Author

Gillian Bronte AdamsGILLIAN BRONTE ADAMS is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. She is the author of Orphan’s Song, book one of the Songkeeper Chronicles, and Out of Darkness Rising. Visit Gillian online at her blog, Twitter, or Facebook page.

About Songkeeper

SONGKEEPER-FRONT-COVERWar ravages Leira and the Song has fallen silent.

Freed from the hold of a slave ship, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, and Ky, a street-wise thief, emerge to a world at war. Hordes of dark soldiers march across Leira, shadowed by whispers of plague and massacres, prompting Ky to return to his besieged home city in hopes of leading his fellow runners to safety.

Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into the heart of the Takhran’s fortress. Legend speaks of a mythical spring buried within and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it to achieve victory. Everyone believes Birdie is the one, but the elusive nature of the Song and rumors of other gifted individuals lead her to doubt her role. Unleashing the spring could defeat the Takhran once and for all, but can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her call?

(Eep, I so want some of Cade’s point-of-view someday! Ahem. 😀 )

So what do you think, readers? Is this your first time “meeting” Cade or have you read Orphan’s Song and/or Songkeeper? What do you think of him? Are you as excited for the third book (whenever it may happen) as I am? And are you looking forward to exploring Leira in this fun A-Z blog tour? Tell me all! 🙂

Kidnappings, Siblings, & Ireland (The Silent Blade Review/Blogtour)

Blog Tour - the Silent Blade

Today I’m joining in on the blog tour for The Silent Blade by Jesseca Wheaton, which releases today! (Lookit that gorgeous cover! *internally shrieking* Ahem…)

Here’s the info about the book, the author, a giveaway, my review, and links to the rest of the tour. 🙂

About the Book:

The Silent Blade Kindle Front

Dromiskin, Ireland. 925 A.D.

Eira has no greater desire than to see her life returned to what it once was—before her older brother Kevin’s sudden disappearance four years earlier. But the simple life she hoped for seems unattainable; on the contrary, her life is about to get all the more complicated.

When she suddenly finds herself and Willem, her twin brother, taken captive by someone who claims to be Kevin’s enemy, things go from bad to worse. It soon becomes clear that she and Willem are to become bait in a trap set for Kevin, and Eira knows she must try to warn him. But how, when she herself is a captive?

As mysteries of the past are unveiled, and loyalties are revealed, Eira realizes how precious her friends truly are. And when mortal danger threatens those nearest to her, will she be able to trust God with the lives of her friends and family?

Find the book:

Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Goodreads


About the Author:

Author-pic

Jesseca is an 18-year old daughter, sister, and a child of God. Her days are spent reading, cooking, spending time with siblings, or playing piano.  And writing, of course! At an early age words fascinated her, and her love for the printed page has only grown. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the sunny state of Kansas, and she’s convinced there’s no place like home.

Visit her online at her blog, Whimsical Writings.

Giveaway:

Enter the awesome giveaway Jesseca’s holding as part of the tour, for a copy of The Silent Blade and a giftcard, here!

****Giveaway Link****

My Review

The Silent Blade Kindle FrontThe Silent Blade

by Jesseca Wheaton

YA / Juv. Fiction / Christian / Historical Fiction

I received a free Advance Reader e-Copy of this book from the author (thanks, Jesseca!) in exchange for my honest review, and these opinions are my own.

***

4 stars out of 5

I don’t read much historical fiction, but I love Ireland and this book sounded intriguing, so I decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did! I wish I’d read it when I was younger because I have a feeling I would have ADORED it then… As it was, I still enjoyed it rather. 🙂

I loved most of the characters! They were a definite highlight. 🙂 Kevin, the older brother, was so nice and cool. Willem, the heroine’s twin, was sweet and wonderful. ^_^ Great brothers! I enjoyed reading about them. Casimir was epic! (I wish I’d known he was the Chieftain’s son at the beginning… or even that there WAS a chieftain…? Instead of learning it at the end, because that would have made him even cooler. XD) A lot of other side characters were really interesting too. Rowen and Stace, for instance — they were great! As were Aeden and Diarmuid and Cian, especially when they were all mysterious early on… 😉 LOVED that. So much epic.

Along that note, can we take a moment to appreciate the amazing Celtic names in this book? Okay? Okay. LOVE THE NAMES.

There was a light thread of romance later, which was sweet. ^_^ (Though seriously, Eira: PAY ATTENTION. Ahem. XD)

I enjoyed the humor. 🙂 The character interactions and a lot of the banter made it fun to read, and I do love a bit of fun in my books. 😉

There was a strong Christian aspect, which I enjoyed. The characters quote scripture often and pray a lot and I liked how their prayers felt natural. Between the strong faith theme and one of family/sibling closeness threaded through the story, it had some good things to say. 🙂

I also loved how it ended! Especially since I read a book recently that disappointed me in the ending department, so I really appreciate this one’s ending… It left me feeling happy, at least! (I was curious what will happen to a certain character though. o.o)

As for things I didn’t love as much… I will say that I felt like some of it was historically inaccurate. I couldn’t understand why some of the characters did what they did, so some of the plot didn’t hold together for me, I guess. I also didn’t like the heroine, Eira, too much; which is probably just me, since I don’t tend to like her tough-girl, obsessed-with-swords, can’t-cook-to-save-her-life (literally) sort of type, so I’m sure many people will enjoy her. 🙂 I just didn’t get along with her, thought she acted beneath her age of sixteen, and found it odd that she didn’t seem to know how to do anything other than sword-fight? That was just weird to me. 😛 (Sometimes I liked her okay, and I do love her name. ;)) Like I said, I think I miiight be a little too old for it since a lot of it was on a smaller scale and felt like bullies versus kids instead of grown men versus older teens/other men, and I have a feeling at a younger age I wouldn’t have noticed the above complaints and would have just enjoyed the adventure and the action and all of that. But, again, could just be me!

Despite all of that, it kept my interest, was intriguing and at times exciting, and I couldn’t put it down. 🙂

I might’ve given it 3 and a half stars… but considering that I would have loved it a few years ago, and that it kept me addicted to turning pages and wrapped up nicely, I’m bumping it up to 4 stars.

An enjoyable light read for anyone who likes historical fiction, siblings-stories, a Christian message, and cool Irish names. 🙂

Check out the rest of the tour below!

Wednesday, July 20th

Thursday, July 21st

Friday, July 22nd (Publication Day!)

Saturday, July 23rd

Monday, July 25th

 So, what do you think, readers all? Don’t you LOVE those names? 😀 Do you like sibling stories and Ireland? ^_^

Superpowers, Cookies, & Penguins (Twinepathy Review/Blogtour)

TwinepathyBlogTour2

Today I’m joining in on the Blog Tour for the newly-released book Twinepathy by C.B. Cook! I’m very excited. 😀 SUPERPOWERS AND STUFF, Y’ALL. It’s awesome. ❤ (Okay, maybe there weren’t actual penguins, but there could have been, and they were discussed… *cough*)

I’ll be sharing my review further along in the post…

But firstly, a bit about the author (who’s an awesome person, FYI), the book, and the Book Tour schedule!

The tour will be running this whole week and will have bunches of fun involved, including book reviews, author interviews and even character interviews (YESSS)!

Author Bio:

C.B. Cook is just a girl trying to find out where her King is guiding her, while writing the stories of the people she creates, the worlds she wants to live in, and the adventures she dreams about. Also known as a mysterious creature called an “author”. She’s a Christian and a home school graduate dedicated to changing others’ lives through the power of the written word.

Visit her online at TheWorldOfTheWriter.Wordpress.com

About the Book:

twinepathycoverKINDLE

Albany York has a secret.

Albany and her twin sister, Brooklyn, have spent years successfully hiding their telepathic connection. But when a girl falls unconscious at their doorstep, the girls learn that they might not be the only people in the world with extraordinary powers and that a memory thief is on the loose. As the twins try to help the girl find her memories, they discover that the superhero world might be bigger—and more dangerous—than they ever imagined.

Find Twinepathy here:

Amazon | Goodreads


Tour Schedule

Sunday, July 17th
Depth of my Faith – Character and Author Interview
Beyond the Amethyst – Book Review
Monday, July 18th
Musings of an Elf – Author Interview
The Road of a Writer – Book Review (You are HERE. XD)
Tuesday, July 19th
Light and Shadows – Author Interview
Lilyorphaned – Book Review
Wednesday, July 20th
Breathing in the Pages – Book Review
WritingAnyone – Character Interview and Book Review
Writefury – Character Interview
Thursday, July 21st
Claire M. Banschbach – Author Interview
Sherwood Storyteller – Author Interview
Friday, July 22nd
Elvish Pen’s Fantastical Writings – Author Interview and Book Review
Saturday, July 23rd
Thoughts of a Word Collector – Author Interview
Thriving Hope – Book Review

My Review

twinepathycoverKINDLE

Twinepathy

(Series: IDIA, #1)

by C. B. Cook

YA / Contemporary / Fantasy/Sci-fi / Thriller/Suspense/Mystery / Superheroes/Superpowers

[I received a free Advance Reader e-Copy of this book from the author (thanks muchly, C.B.!) in exchange for my honest review, and these opinions are my own.]

5starrating

Things I don’t often read include contemporary novels, superhero tales (this may be my first? O_O), and first-person-present-tense (which normally I loathe but in this case I quickly got used to and forgot about). But while Twinepathy had all of those things, I greatly enjoyed it! 🙂

A few overall thoughts and then I’ll do the rest of the review in list form (because lists are obviously the best).

It was exciting, gripping, and I couldn’t put it down (I read the whole thing in two days). It’s a fairly quick read, and feels in a way sort of like the pilot episode of a TV show — an awesome, well-put-together intro, with more to come. Its own contained story, but also introducing a lot of things which will continue… I might have wished to get deeper into some of the characters and goings-on, but the quick feeling of the story lines up with the episodic feel, so that just makes me eager for more books. 😉

Okay, lists!

Things I LOVED:

  • Mostly, I really enjoyed how FUN this book was. There are obviously some more exciting/deep bits too, but overall the feel is very lighthearted and just a fun romp. The characters and banter were some of my favorites, and there’s jokes and camaraderie and fun dialog and bickering. I just ENJOYED this book a lot. FUNNN.
  • The superpowers, which were SO cool. Telepathy, teleportation… I won’t give them all away here, since part of the joy of the story is running into all these fun, awesome superpowers, but I really enjoyed all the superpowers. They were soooo enjoyable to read about and felt original and fresh to me. 🙂 (Admittedly I haven’t read anything like this before. But I loved them. :D)
  • The plot. It’s a mystery involving a MEMORY THIEF. Need I say more?
  • ALL THE HINTS. Seriously, I’m soooo curious about so many things! There were so many hints at different plot things and characters and their backstories… I’m just really curious to find out more about all of it! I NEEEED more books ASAP. 😀
  • The settings. America, a touch of London, and Antarctica! I mean, how cool is Antarctica? (Pretty cool, considering the temperature… but I digress.) Popping to a couple different places around the world a time or two was great fun and gave it an extra exciting aura.
  • COOKIES! That is all. (I need the recipe of a certain super-awesome agent’s cookies. *cough*) I mean seriously, it’s so fun that they’re running around doing superhero stuff and take time to make and/or eat cookies. Somebody has their priorities in order. *nods*
  • Real life + superpowers. I appreciate how Albany and Brooklyn had to work in their adventures around school and family and having to get home to eat dinner (props for actual meals happening!). They’re just normal teenagers (haha, okay, so not really; but you know what I mean) and have to fit life and crazy superpower stuff together, and that feels realistic. 😉
  • It felt really vivid and colorful. Like, I could see everything SO clearly. It just has this bright feel that I absolutely loved.
  • It’s clean and enjoyable and lacks the annoyances I have with many contemporary books.
  • The writing. The writing was quick and quippy and occasionally there would be some line that I giggled at the fun of it, or grinned over its cleverness.

Character run-down: (Yay! This cast is a rollick. :D)

  • Albany & Brooklyn are twins, which gives them automatic awesome-points. Albany is the “I” of the story, since she narrates it. She and I did not always get along, but overall I liked her. Brooklyn is so nice and sometimes ended up a little more in the background but I really liked her too. Twins, guys. TWINS. Yesss. These two are fun to read about, especially their telepathic connection. 😀
  • Maddie is cute and such a sweet thing, the poor darling. I love her muchly.
  • Jen is so intriguing… I occasionally felt unsure of her, since some of her authority-figure part of the story brought her dangerously close to the edge where I could have ended up disliking her… but that never happened because she’s super (haha, see what I did there?) interesting and I’m so curious about her! Jen’s basically really cool.
  • Denver was really grumpy at first but he grew on me. XD
  • Ezra‘s name startled me because I’m used to that being a boy’s name. Whoops. But she was neat, and I love seeing a girl hacker! That was new.
  • I’m not sure what I think of Keller… Hmm. She’s a tough cookie, that one.
  • Finch was cool too. I felt kinda bad for him… Poor lad.
  • Anvil. (Saving the best for last here…) ANVIL IS A PRECIOUS BURNT MARSHMALLOW AND THE BEST AND NEEDS HIS OWN BOOK. THAT IS ALL. (Seriously, Anvil is AWESOME and I wish he’d been in it more. I definitely want to see more of him. But I will say no more concerning this possible favorite or at least tying-for-favorite character of mine lest I spoil the story. *nods* I love Anvil though. ❤ )
  • Blaze gets to go last of all because oh boy, he’s going to get a long point on this list! He’s fun and charming and I LOVE his superpowers. As I said while I was reading it, a cocky teleporter bringing donuts? Yep, I like this guy. Not to mention his other superpower… >:D He has a generally cheerful nature, like an excitable puppy, but he also has a secret side which I’m verrry curious about. He’s hilarious and loyal and he seems to try to hide his more serious side and pretend he’s all fun and games but I think there’s more to him. I’m so CURIOUS about this guy — so many questions! *waits anxiously for a sequel or three* I definitely need more of him. 😀 He just brings such charm and mischief to the group, and the way he interacts with the twins (especially Albany) and everyone else was one of my favorite things about the book. Blaze is just awesome. ❤

Things I didn’t like as much: (Minor, unimportant things…)

  • I wish there’d been more with the twins and their telepathy. I liked it and them on the whole, I just felt like there could have been more?
  • There were a few things I wish had been explained better (why they didn’t use their connection much, or in school, for instance), especially when they were trying to “get out of” things and I wanted to see the entire conversation so I could know if it actually worked. XD Sometimes it seemed like there MIGHT be plotholes, but I wasn’t sure since there wasn’t enough info explained.
  • It was slightly irksome that things kept being Albany’s fault; I mean seriously, poor girl. 😛 She didn’t HAVE to be clumsy that time, and she didn’t have to singlehandedly… well… THAT thing near the end. Ahem.
  • They lied to poor Denver a lot, which I understand under the circumstances, but still, poor guy… (Their parents too. Possibly unavoidable under the circumstances, but still unfortunate. :P)
  • There seemed to be a contradiction where they acted like it was okay for one character to manipulate another’s emotions to get him to do what they wanted . . . and then a little later they got furious at another character for manipulating a couple of people’s minds to . . . also get what they wanted? It seemed really similar to me. I’m just confused, is all. 😛

As always with superpowers etc., ESPECIALLY with mind-reading ones, there were probably plot things that could have been solved quicker than the characters actually did… but if there was anything of the sort I ignored it and just had fun with the story. Because SUPERPOWERS, come on! 😀 All in all, it really only had minor problems (and they’re probably just my own opinion anyway!) and I don’t really care because I just enjoyed the book so much. ^_^

Overall, aside from a couple minor points, it was awesome and I loved it! It’s exciting and cool and fun and just a great light read. I’m verrry much looking forward to book 2 and I highly recommend this one! 🙂

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the book tour going on this week! 🙂

What do you think, readers mine? Sound like fun? (It IS.) Have you read any superpower books? (Recommendations, anyone?) What superpower is your favorite? 😀 Thanks for reading! ^_^

Paper Crowns Blogtour: Mirriam Neal Interview

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I’m SUPER excited to be part of the Paper Crowns blog-tour (going all month long!) with an interview with Mirriam Neal herself! *cue excited squealing*

I kid you not when I say that when I learned Paper Crowns was published, I spent the next day+ dancing ecstatically around the house making high keening happy noises and randomly shrieking “Paper Crowns is published!!” (You think I’m joking? Ha. Just ask my poor family who had to put up with my fangirling…)

I had the pleasure of beta-reading the story when it was first written, and I remember flailing with happiness whenever I found a new chapter in my inbox. THIS BOOK IS EXCELLENT, PEOPLE.

I recently got the published version (THAT was a happy day, aaahhh!!) and read it again and it was just as good — or, well, BETTER BECAUSE IT’S PUBLISHED! (Aside from some typos. Which I have it on good authority are being fixed, so.) I plan to read it again very soon. Maybe tomorrow… And again soon after that. (What, I’m totally normal, honest.)

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(My cat, Callette, was not thrilled about a photo-shoot… BUT CATS. Unfortunately she is not blue, but I love her anyway…)

I AM NOT EXAGGERATING WHEN I SAY THAT THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS EVER. It’s just… perfect. Mirriam Neal is a genius writer, and while I’ll read anything she writes, this just takes the cake as the best ever because of its unexpectedly light fantasy faerie-tale feeling. The CHARACTERS are the best of ever (Halcyon! Azrael! Astryn! Ginger! Salazar! Asterope! I love them alllll!) and the humor and bickering and plot and setting are all just perfection.

It has everything: a sarcastic fey blue cat, a fire elemental, a grouchy wysling, a gingery heroine, friends and traitors, villains and lovable heroes, lots and lots of snow, muffins, forests, and a good deal of folded paper. It makes you laugh and wrenches at your heart and makes you fall in love and long to go on an adventure. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.

I’m so very excited it’s published now so that I can insist everyone reads it.

And I do, you know. Insist you read it, that is. You will NOT regret it.

THIS BOOK THOUGH!!! ❤

Here’s a bit about the book and author and then on to the interview!

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Paper Crowns

Ginger has lived in seclusion, with only her aunt Malgarel and her blue cat, Halcyon, to keep her company. Her sheltered, idyllic life is turned upside-down when her home is attacked by messengers from the world of fae. Accompanied by Halcyon (who may or may not be more than just a cat), an irascible wysling named Azrael, and a loyal fire elemental named Salazar, Ginger ventures into the world of fae to bring a ruthless Queen to justice.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Publisher


Author Bio

tumblr_o4995pxJel1tkzty6o1_500Mirriam Neal is a twenty-two-year-old Northwestern hipster living in Atlanta. She writes hard-to-describe books in hard-to-describe genres, and illustrates things whenever she finds the time.  She aspires to live as faithfully and creatively as she can and she hopes you do, too.

You can connect with Mirriam online here:

Blog | Email


Interview with Mirriam Neal

Deborah: Could you tell us a little about your usual writing process (planning/pantsing), and how the process of writing Paper Crowns was similar or different?

Mirriam: Paper Crowns is different because it was spur-of-the-moment. I more or less woke up one day and thought, ‘I want to write this story,’ and so I did. Usually there’s a lot more work involved – I wait until I have at least half the cast created, until I have a vague idea of the ending, until I know some major plot points. Usually I have a framework, but with Paper Crowns I knew the ‘feeling’ of the book I wanted to write, and that was enough. I wish this happened more often, honestly.

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Which character from the Paper books would you say you are the most like?

I actually had to ask my friend Lauren about this. We settled on Rooney (the heroine of Paper Hearts) almost simultaneously. I’d say Rooney is more extraverted than I am, but we share many of the same characteristics.

Part of Paper Crowns takes place in our world . . . Is it any particular place—America, England… (double-decker bus?)—or did you deliberately leave the setting open to the imagination?

I deliberately left the setting open – when I began it, I wasn’t even sure it was set in our world! But I quickly realized it was, and decided it was more fun to leave it open for interpretation. Personally, I see it set in England, but that’s just me.

On that note: Accents. I hear Hal’s accent as British and Asterope’s as some sort of Irish. Is this more-or-less accurate (I hope)?

You’re correct on Asterope’s accent (points to you!) but during the rewrite, I realized Hal’s accent wasn’t so much London as a bit of Korean (Busan-dialect, specifically) with a splash of Scottish.

(I’ll probably still hear Hal as British, but oh well. XD) Will we get to learn which wysling was involved in the intriguing Hal/Astryn/kingfisher backstory and/or might we ever get this tale in book (or even short story) form? Because that would frankly be awesome. 😀

I’ve lowkey considered writing a novella dedicated to this particular slice of backstory, because it would be fantastic fun and I’m as curious about it as anyone!

(Yay!) Is Asterope still going to get his own book?

His book is waiting in the wings; very much alive, but not in the immediate future. Ras Algethi Chow gets his own novel first.

Do the verily muffins have an inspiration?

I was hungry and I wanted muffins. Hunger is good inspiration when writing food.

The main character of Paper Crowns does a lot of origami. Is that an art form you’ve dipped into yourself?

It’s inspired by two things. One: Yes, I’ve always loved origami, although I’ve never been ‘into it.’ I’ve never devoted the time – except for paper airplanes, and paper boxes. I’ve folded those my whole life, and the stories surrounding paper cranes have always fascinated me. Two: Owl City’s ‘Sky Sailing’ album featured a music video starring a paper airplane. That album heavily inspired the novel.

Your answers to a couple of questions from other interviews got me wondering about your outlook on wanting readers to take away a certain message (or not) from many of your books. I’m curious: Do you see there being a difference between tackling a “big question” in a book versus trying to preach a “message” to readers?

It’s a tricky line on which to balance, I’ll give it that, and I used to be ‘preachy’ (although even then, I was trying not to.) I think honesty and a genuine heart are very important when you really want to make your readers think and question. Readers are intelligent. They’ll know if you’re an arrogant know-it-all, forcing an opinion down their throat. Rather than forcing my opinion, I present it. I think that’s the difference.

Your books seem to have simultaneously a freshness of originality and a touch of richness of story that’s already out there. How do you view this in your own writing and what advice do you have for writers about coming up with “new” things but using echoes of other tales and, without “copying,” putting a new spin on them to deepen the story tapestry?

I’ve never been asked this question, honestly, and it’s fascinating. (Also, thank you for the compliment!) I think stories ‘echo’, as you so wonderfully put it, when there’s truth and honesty to them. People will tell you that every story has already been written. If you break a story down into a basic three-step formula, then sure, every story has been written; but I disagree with the statement. A story is so much more than a formula. Each story is different due to hundreds of tiny factors, circumstances, and personal influences from the author. I also find that you can create a world that’s been created a million times before, but if you fill that world with a cast of funky, original, diverse characters, nobody will care about the world. (At least, they won’t care about the world nearly as much as its inhabitants.) Also, I think it’s horrifyingly easy to be caught up in trying too hard. When you try too hard to be original, it shows more care about what people think than the story itself. Novels know what the author cares about, and novels know also know what the author should care about. It’s why readers, I think, can tell the difference between a real novel and a hollow one.

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Your vivid characters are a classic feature of your work, and always one of my favorite things. Any tips for writers about writing characters, especially involving interactions, snark, and humorous banter? (Of which you are the queen.) Share your secrets if you have any…

Have a sense of humor. I know that’s not very helpful, but it’s true – you can’t write humor without a sense of it in the first place. I don’t know how to teach a sense of humor, but you can definitely learn it. What makes you laugh? Dissect that. Also, there are many kinds of humor. Subtle, circumstantial, slapstick, sarcastic, trickster. As for the non-humorous part of the question, I think it’s a tendency authors have to think they must know their character perfectly before they start writing them. I used to fill out three or four bio sheets for every character before I wrote them, but in doing so, I essentially murdered their personality before it hit the page. You want them to be alive and breathing when they first open their eyes. You DON’T want them reduced to a set of answered questions. That’s a surefire way to kill them before they’re ever really alive.

Could you tell us a little about what’s next on your writing plate? (When the next Paper book might be out, what other book(s) we might see from you next…?)

Revising Paper Hearts (the sequel to Paper Crowns) is very high on my list, as is editing Dark is the Night (a redemptive vampire novel) and finishing The Dying of the Light (a futuristic samurai retelling of Robin Hood).

Thanks very much for stopping by my blog and putting up with my pestering! 🙂 It’s an honor to have you. ❤

Thank you so much for having me! I had a fantastic time. You have mad interview skills.

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So what do you think, blog readers of mine? Was this fun or what? (Answer: yes.) Are you going to read Paper Crowns? (The correct answer is OF COURSE. Ahem.) SERIOUSLY THOUGH IT’S AWESOME. ❤ Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour and enter the GIVEAWAY for a signed copy of Paper Crowns that Mirriam is holding on her blog! 🙂

(…And now I need to go reread Paper Crowns again.)