Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Heart in a Box on Tour, plus the story behind the story

Heart in a Box is on Tour with Chapter by Chapter! Below are all of the stops. There are guest posts, playlists, interviews and other fun things, including a giant Rafflecopter full of prizes! As always, the links will go live as the blogs post. I'm proud and grateful to say that Heart in a Box has been on the Amazon top 100 in Teen and Alternative Family for four + weeks and is also an Amazon "Hot New Release." FYI, buy links are on the right side of this blog.

A bit about Heart in a Box's journey...
One main theme is that the girl, Joss has a pot-addled mom who owns a bong shop. I first took this to an editor in 2005. She swiftly rejected it, saying, "Who would want to read about a mom who smokes weed all of the time?" Well, apparently MANY teens want to read about alcoholic parents, and families in crisis, right? This is simply a new permutation. Perhaps its time has come, what with the legalization of pot in so many states. Of course, many folks do need medical marijuana and I'm not morally against it at all. I'm a believer in freedom to live how you see fit. But I worry about what this will unleash for certain vulnerable people. So, this aspect of the story is really about how one negotiates with a tormented family member and still tries to stay close.

Heart in a Box is also about identity, art, and all of the inherent beauty in New York City and Brooklyn's diverse cultural scene. It's hopeful and peppery and also has a sweet romance. If you decide to take a chance on it, I hope you love it as much as I did when I created it--and Joss Olstad.

Enter the Rafflecopter below. The prizes include: 
A $40 gift card, 2 hand-painted heart-boxes with secret treasure inside, a signed paperback of Dorianna by Catherine Stine, a signed paperback of Heart in a Box by Catherine Stine, a great YA ebook pack of novels: Tiger Lily by Wende Dikec, When Sorrows Come by Katie M John, and Time Runs Away with Her by Christine Potter.

Week One

January 18            Cover2CoverInterview
January 18            Njkinny's Review of Books & StuffReview
January 18            Illuminite CaliginosusDream cast
January 18         Susan Heim on WritingSpotlight/Promo
January 19            The Avid Book CollectorTen writing lessons learned!
January 19            Painted Words ReviewsReview         
January 20            Hidden Worlds Booksmini-excerpts & feature
January 20            M Pax Dimensions in Fiction- Heart Excerpt plus M Pax's critter love
January 20            Driftless – Spotlight/Promo
January 21            Diana’s Book ReviewsGuest post on Why Readers Rule!
January 21            Cassandra M’s PlaceSpotlight/Promo
January 21            5 Girls Book ReviewsReview
January 21            Reader GirlsSpotlight/Excerpt       
January 21            Ogitchida Kwe’s Book BlogSpotlight/Promo/Excerpts
January 22            WS Momma Readers NookJoss Olstad character spotlight
January 22            Go Read A BookReview

Week Two
January 25            A Dream Within A DreamSpotlight/Excerpt
January 25           Books and LaddersGuest Post - Why I Write
January 25            The Page Unbound – Spotlight
January 26            Book-KeepingReview
January 26            Chapter by Chapter - Interview
January 27            Wishful EndingsSpotlight/Excerpt
January 27            Ellie GarrattGuest Post
January 27            BooksChatterInterview
January 28            Booklovercircumspect4Guest Post - 5 Influential Books
January 29            Star Crossed ReviewsNew Excerpts!
January 29            Lisa T. Cresswell Guest Post on personal themes & inspirations
January 29            Becca’s Book Affair Review
January 29            Books DirectReview


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 21, 2015

New Winter Reads!

Today Idea City is featuring a bunch of great new reads to upload and read under your warm, winter quilt. We have a fun variety of sci-fi, paranormal romance, and thrillers.

The Mystery House by Eva Pohler
Ellen and her two best friends share a mid-life crisis by hatching a plan to renovate an 1860's Greek revival in the nearby historic district of San Antonio. Although Ellen isn’t one to believe in ghosts, she comes face to face with something inexplicable in the attic. Her ghost-enthusiast friends convince her that they must help the spirit find closure, and as they dig deeper into the past, they uncover a shocking history that someone in the neighborhood doesn’t want exposed. But Ellen and her friends don't give up easily. They realize they've been called to give voice to the invisible women who suffered behind the walls of the house for decades.
Check out The Mystery House at Amazon & Smashwords

Eva Pohler teaches writing and literature at a university in San Antonio, where she lives with her husband and three kids. She’s the author of several novels for teens based on Greek mythology, including her bestselling six-book Gatekeeper’s Saga and three-book Vampires of Athens Series. Learn more at Eva's website, her thriller Facebook page and her Teen Fantasy Facebook page.

The Reader by M. Pax
science fiction (Book Three of the Rifter series)

With the rift closed for the season and no more monsters to fight, Daelin Long gets bored as librarian in the podunk town of Settler, Oregon. A job interview and her brother’s arrival present a tempting opportunity to escape, until her brother and her best friend, a ghost, disappear.
While Daelin searches for them, more mysteries pile up: dead people coming back to life, portraits of the town founders replaced with strange white trees, and people on the other side of the rift returning. It’s impossible. The portal that allows monsters from other universes to come to Earth is sealed until next summer.
The Rifters, a secret group protecting our world, believe the troubles are nothing more than the tantrums of an offended ghost. Daelin disagrees. If she’s right, the evil hell-bent on destroying Earth has new technology making the rift more deadly.
Before the monster summons the next apocalypse, Daelin must find it and destroy it.

Get the Reader at Amazon, UK, iBook, Kobo, Nook, Smashie
Check out the entire Rifter series!

M. Pax is author of the space adventure series The Backworlds, plus other novels and short stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons  to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers as a star guide and has a cat with a crush on Mr. Spock. Learn more at

Angela Brown has a fabulous new release, Degrees of Being Boss out with her pen name Rayven Godchild. I can't show the cover here because this blog doesn't feature erotica. BUT... since she's a fellow Untethered Realms author and a very talented writer, I am posting the link to all of Rayven's books! Click here if you are adventurous, over 18 and seeking new reads.


Annnnnnd, Beyond Secret Worlds, an amazing short story collection is still FREE! My story in it, Blue House Magic, is the sequel set-up to Ruby's Fire.

Get it at Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Kobo

Reading is a great way to relax during the holidays! I've got my own kindle loaded up with a colorful array. You?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Heart in a Box blitz, Giveaway prize pack & FREE story collection download!

This week is the book blitz for Heart in a Box and the big Facebook party is tomorrow. There's still time to join the party. I will be giving away my handmade heart boxes with messages in them like my character Joss writes, and there's a lineup of great guest authors. Thanks SOOO much to everyone who is posting about Heart this week!!! I am very humbled by the response. I want to invite you all to enter the blitz Rafflecopter below. Prizes include a $40 gift card, signed paperback of Heart in a Box, signed paperback of Dorianna, ebooks of my Amazon bestselling YA futuristic thrillers Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire, and a super-pack of very cool YA eBooks: The Danaan Trilogy by Howard, Changeling by Herbert and Drawn by Ledbetter.

Heart took a long while to brew and polish and it contains elements very close to my own heart: addicted family members, identity issues, a close, yet complicated mom - daughter relationship, creativity, healing through art, and of course, a sweet romance. Here is a mini-excerpt to get a taste of what I'm talking about.
Thoughts on school veer off when I spot the box on my mother’s night table. The box. I know its black, lacquered form by heart. It’s the size of a large jewelry box. My father painted it with Bengali pink roses and a tangle of red cardinal vines. He must’ve used the tiniest brush, as if the objects inside were treasures—emeralds from Mumbai or silk doll clothes from Kancheepuram.
      The box sits next to Mom’s organic remedies: tea-tree oil, Saint John’s Wort, aromatherapy ampules, zinc, monster-dose wheat grass capsules. She thinks these keep her functional. But I see how one accelerates her and the next slows her down, adding up to zero. The box is close enough she doesn’t even have to get out of bed in the morning. She can reach, with trembling fingers, light up and space out even before her first cup of black tea.
      I crack open the box. Pre-rolled blunts sit like tainted royalty on a plush, purple pillow. Their sharp floral resin makes me sneeze.
      Once when I was twelve, Mom offered me a doob after closing the store for the night. She claimed to be worried about how uptight I was getting. It was around the time when I was sprouting zits, boobs, hips and my period. Who wouldn’t be down in the dumps? Mom claimed that if I got stoned I might relax. “Cave women probably used it for cramps, before all these greedy pharmacists crawled on the earth, trying to sell Midol and Tylenol and—”
      “Gee, thanks,” I snapped. “Are you serious? You want me to be a stoner too?”
      “Darling, I want you to be less anxious, that’s all. I want you to be whoever you want to be,” Mom answered cryptically. “Look, weed is superior to all those anti-depressants shrinks prescribe to kids these days. It won’t poison your liver like Prozac. It’s organic.”
      “Arsenic’s organic too,” I argued. Plus, some kids at my school would bounce off the walls without their so-called evil-shrink pills. But maybe I was too stiff.
      Soon after, I opened the box, took one and lit up. After only two inhales, I felt trapped inside a thick glass room. Then, when I ventured down to the street for a soda, people seemed in a galaxy eons away. It scared me. I vowed not to try it again. How could my mother stand to feel so cut off? Or was it different for her?
Here are the buy links. Books make great Christmas presents! LOL.
Amazon, iTunes, Amazon UK, B&N, Kobo, All Romance eBooks

As a token of my appreciation for the indie book community, nab a FREE download of Beyond Secret Worlds, a fun, fantasy-filled short story collection that includes my brand new story Blue House Magic! Blue House Magic is the lead-in to the forthcoming book three of my Fireseed series! Find out what Ruby and Blane are up to in Vegas-by-the-Sea.
Get it FREE at: Amazon, iTunes, Kobo
Stop by these fabulous bloggers, spreading word about Heart in a Box and other great book deals (more added as I get them): MS Kaye, Alyse Miller, River Fairchild, Elodie's blog, Heather Gardner, Lucy Leroux, Christine Rains, Raine Thomas, SF Benson, Bridie Hall, Tricia Zoeller, Rachel McClellan,

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Heart in a Box cover, launch party & preorder link

Hi peeps,
I am super-excited to show everyone the cover of my new YA contemporary romance Heart in a Box. I have an animated version, too. Also, the official blurb, a party invite to my Facebook launch event, plus, most exciting: the 1-click PREORDER is LIVE.

Here's the cover and the blurb...
Each heartbeat leads Joss closer a shocking truth that will change everything.

Joss Olstad has finally talked her clingy, stoner mom into springing Joss from her stifling private school and into the labyrinth of a prestigious Brooklyn public high. Searching for “a way out, a way in, and something I can’t even put into words, yet” Joss longs to find missing pieces of herself she lost when the father she never met died on a faraway road in India. All she has of him is a painted box he made. Joss is also itching to escape the hippie hell of her mother’s bong shop, and the hypocrisy that is her life. With her honey skin, and long brown hair, she passes for white, even though she’s half Indian. This culturally diverse school will be her chance to find out who she really is.

Day one, and Joss is terrified by how different things are. Has she made a horrible mistake? Before long, she gets into the pace. Her sights are set on her own “Bobcat in black denim”, the tall, handsome Will Torres. She’s met Katya too, a popular glam queen, who’s a blast to hang out with. She’s even joined an Indian Culture Club, who invites her to live music clubs. Life is perfect!

Or is it? Her friend, Katya starts acting like a royal slut, her mom’s flinging insults and lies at her, and the Club girls are pressuring Joss to reveal her sketchy pedigree. Joss finds herself spinning stories about her past to fill in the holes. Even Will becomes leery of her. And the Personal Iconography class that Joss signed on for because kids claimed the teacher was “nuts in a good way” is the toughest class she’s ever taken. In it, Joss starts to make her own, heart-shaped boxes, with private messages in them. They help guide her forward. Not only is she forced to figure out who she is beyond the “nice girl” she always hid behind, her search leads her to the fringes of the outer boroughs, to a scary industrial section of Queens, and a shocking family secret that changes everything.

Preorder Heart in a Box here.
Put Heart in a Box on your Goodreads TBR list.

Come to my Heart in a Box Facebook launch party on Tuesday, December 8th (3:30 pm to 10:30 pm EST). We'll have tons of games, giveaways & guest authors, who write YA & sweet NA, both contemporary & fantasy. Join here.

Want to see the animated cover? Click here to view it.

Friday, November 6, 2015

You've gotta see this cover! Plus great books for November

I met Katie John at Utopia in Nashville last summer and I've since become a fan of her novels after reading the second book in her Meadowsweet Chronicles about a witch clan. She's launching book three in March 2016. Want to see the cover right now? Sure you do!
The Devilry Blurb:
Something wicked has arrived in the sleepy village of Heargton, and the effects of its arrival have unleashed terrible paranormal entities long believed myth.
Forces of darkness are gathering, and the Meadowsweet sisters, (who are still scattered across the globe) are p
reparing for a terrible and fearsome battle.

The Ravenhearts, having made an enemy of The Southern Territories, have fled Mexico to Haiti in order to unlock the ancient secret of returning the dead. With a war about begin, the restoration of their trinity is crucial to their play for power and their bid to control the portal of The Ancient Ones.

For the broken hearted Jeremiah Chase, life at Coldstone House is a seemingly endless stream of dark family revelations. His discovery of a diary recording the activities of 'The Devil Dance Club' leads him into a corridor of evil that leads directly to his own ancestors.

Intrigued? Get book one and start catching up for the release of book three in March! Book One is available on Amazon worldwide in eBook and paperback 
Book One is currently FREE on iBOOKS

There's a giveaway, too! Enter the Rafflecopter to win this fabulous Mexican Day of The Dead key ring and Meadowsweet Chronicles goodie bag. 

Katie lives in London UK, with two cheeky Mud-puddle fairies, and a handsome giant. She is author of the best-selling YA Contemporary Arthurian series, ‘The Knight Trilogy’ and the Upper YA series, ‘The Meadowsweet Chronicles.’ She writes dark fairy tales, horror and contemporary YA Romance.
Katie is now a full time author after having taught English in a London Comprehensive for over fifteen years. She is founder of Chapter.Con. London, a YA and NA conference for Readers, Bloggers and Authors. She is also founder of Little Bird Publishing, an ethical, indie press house. 
More about Katie: Amazon author pagewebsite and blog.

And now another cool read!
Would you enjoy following the journey of a feisty, utterly charming young couple - Bean the musician and Zak the whimsical sketch artist? How about time traveling back to the 1970s with an infusion of the music, fashion and general carny vibes, including a vicarious trip to the Fillmore to see a Grateful Dead concert? If so, Check out Christine Potter's beauty of a book Time Runs Away with Her. 

Get it at Amazon, B&N
Here's my review of this book on Goodreads.

Mayhem in the Air is available everywhere! 

From Amazon bestselling and popular science fiction and fantasy authors comes Mayhem in the Air, a supernatural anthology of ten thrilling tales. Meet hot robots, hungry winds and the goddess of chaos. Explore alien planets, purgatorial realms, and a shocking place where people bury the living with their dead. Mayhem in the Air is the second, long-awaited story collection from the dynamic and inventive Untethered Realms group. 

News flash:
My YA contemporary novel, Heart in a Box launches on December 5th!!! Keep an eye out for the upcoming cover reveal in November and giant Facebook launch party on Tuesday, December 8th. 

More fun Heart in a Box surprises soon...

What do you have brewing this November?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Random Fun for the Halloween Season

Beauty of the dying ferns
I love October! The chilly weather gives me energy, the creepy Halloween decorations thrill me, the Village Halloween parade is just around the corner, and I love to cook apple pie, yams, kale, and all root veggies, especially parsnips. Here are some fall photos I took, including the dramatic transformation from the morning to afternoon photos of October 18 up in the Catskills where I spend some weekends.

Morning, OCT 18
Afternoon, OCT 18
My creepy frog lamp
Creepy frog lamp side view

Manhattan store display
On another note, 
I finally found a moment to write a review of Christine Rain's Of Blood and Sorrow. Her fabulous novel fits right into the ghoulish October spirit, so if you've not yet loaded this baby onto your eReader by all means, go for it now! At Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashie
My review:
I’m enjoying paranormal novels more and more. Christine Rain’s Of Blood and Sorrow put me through breakneck twists turns that made the ride quite worth it. With her creative concepts and gallows humor I can tell she has wicked fun as she writes. Oh, and it’s sexy, too.

Erin, the leading lady and a demoness, gains energy from sucking up the sorrow of others—a totally weird but great concept. Rains explores Erin’s character and motivation in depth. Erin is ashamed of how her on mother fed so completely on one of her “victims” she killed them. This is partly why Erin takes sanctuary in the Putzkammer Mortuary. There, she can “safely” feed on the natural sorrow of the grieving, while sparing random outsiders a fatal feeding fate. Erin hates her spots, which engorge as she feeds. They remind her of her mother’s appetite and of her own, which at any moment could rage out of control. There are so many fascinating analogies with these elements: the consequences of any type of appetite gone amok, the dread of potential inherited tendencies, the effects of shame on one’s life and even love. Constrained by the people around Erin and by the demands of her job, she hopes her dark past will never come to light.
But when Nicolas Reese lands in the mortuary and is decidedly undead, Erin’s failsafe shrouds are ripped away. For one, she is falling for the dashing vampire. And then there’s the fact that vamps and demons don’t trust each other. Nicolas’s creator, Hessa a terrifyingly powerful and evil being, is stalking him. He needs Erin’s help but when the Putzkammers, who took her in and gave her a home, start to die off in scary ways, Erin starts to doubt her own allegiances.

I recommend Of Blood and Sorrow to readers who like inventive paranormal with dark humor and spicy romance. And I look forward to the next in this series.

Have a fabulous October. And stay tuned for the Untethered Realms launch of Mayhem in the Air, our Enchanted Drink post on OCT 30 and my regular Village Halloween Parade photo cornucopia! Oh, and the cover reveal for my newest YA novel, Heart in a Box, which launches from Inkspell Teen in early December!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

More Fabulous Fall Reads & Cover Reveals!

October brings cool weather, Halloween fun and great books to cozy up with. Today Idea City showcases the work of Christine Rains, S. D. Wasley, Stephanie Keyes, Christy Centeno and River Fairchild! Want to see some wonderful covers and read alluring blurbs? Sure you do.

Here is Christine Rain's Ghost Dancer. It's the first sexy book in her The Paramours romance series with Ellora's Cave. 

The Paramours - ghost hunting with a kiss.

When Nina Azure’s talent as a ghost dancer doesn’t persuade a handsome phantom to talk, she entices him with sizzling sexual energy. Ben Moore’s spirit is tied to this world with guilt, but he breaks his self-imposed silence for the beautiful Nina. Lust makes him fully physical and she loses herself to desire. She must help him carry on to the afterlife, but her attraction to him is immensely powerful. She must push aside her own feelings and let him go—and perhaps find romance among the living.
Buy it on Amazon, Kobo, Ellora's Cave
Put it on your Goodreads TBR List
Visit Christine's website

Next, a cover reveal for The Rift by SD Wasley. Pretty, huh? It's the sequel to The Seventh and it launches in November! Put Rift on your Goodreads TBR list here.
The Rift blurb:
“I longed for normality. Even our own, off-the-wall brand of normality.”
She’s finally got things together. Mimi’s dating a hot guy and has a place in the school’s Gifted Program with her awesome friends. Yes, she still attracts the dead. But there’s only one ghost these days, and he doesn’t seem to have an awful lot to say.

Just when Mimi’s life is looking pretty good for the first time in years, the unthinkable happens ... one of the seven gifted teens is torn from their close-knit group. The unity of their circle shattered, things begin to go terribly wrong. It’s ruining their focus—and with the threat of the Astarion cult growing stronger each day, the gifted seven need all the focus they can muster.

In The Seventh, Mimi found her place in a circle of seven extraordinary teenagers. In The Rift, she must face what happens when the circle of seven is broken.

Read book one while you wait for book two! Find it at Amazon, B&N
Visit SD Wasley: website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Next we have a cover reveal for Blood in the Shadows written by acclaimed authors, Stephanie Keyes and Kristy Centeno. It launches in early November!

Stephanie and Kristy bring you two stories that prove love and light can overcome the pain and shadows.

With secrets hidden in the night, and dangerous creatures prowling the woods, trusting the enemy can mean either life or death. Two dark worlds...One night that will change their lives forever...Where evil lurks, only goodness can prevail.

Featuring Shadows by Kristy Centeno and The Boy In The Trees by Stephanie Keyes.

Preorder Blood in the Shadows from Kobo
Put Blood in the Shadows on your Goodreads TBR list

Visit Stephanie: website, Twitter, Instagram.
Visit Kristy: website, Facebook, Twitter, blog.

And if you like your books dark, here's River Fairchild's Demon in the Basement, a story collection that may have you shivering under your covers. It's available now!

Thirty-two stories, including a novelette by the same title, to keep you awake at night. 

A time-traveling Chevy, an ancient church of evil, a house possessed by black magic. Stories to fill you with dread, draw you into places you'd rather not go, smack you in the face with ironic possibilities. Meet the monsters of myth, the creatures that lurk under your bed, the phantoms you thought didn't exist. Travel to the real Atlantis, strap in for the Bermuda Triangle. Terror lurks in the ocean, while an asteroid hides a secret.
Leave a nightlight on before you go to sleep. Something's coming for you. 

Get it now at Amazon, Smashwords, 
Visit River: her Amazon author page, blog, Facebook.

Enjoy chillingly great reads this October.