Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Interview with Libby Doyle for her Debut Novel, The Passion Season

Today on Idea City I'm pleased to present Libby Doyle's debut novel The Passion Season, Book 1 of her Covalent series. In her interview, readers can learn details of her book and projected series. But first, a summary:
In loving Ranier, Zan overcomes her pain, but to discover his true identity would shred the reality she thought she knew.

He is Barakiel. Warrior. Exile. Hopeless romantic. Barakiel is Covalent, a race of ancient beings who use their great power to keep the elemental forces of Creation and Destruction in Balance. The Covalent Council exiled Barakiel to the Earthly Realm as the price of the treachery of his father, Lucifer, who wages perpetual war against it. Lucifer also relentlessly pursues his son. The Council thinks Lucifer views his son’s power as a threat, but Barakiel knows his father seeks to destroy even the memory of love. 

She is Alexandra “Zan” O'Gara. FBI Agent. Army veteran. Recovering drunk. Zan’s troubled past left her with little interest in men, but she had never encountered anyone like the stunning Rainer Barakiel. Zan believes Rainer is a wealthy businessman with expertise in edged weapons who can help her with a case. From the moment she meets him she wants him more than she’s ever wanted anything, but her intense attraction is as frightening as it is thrilling.


This is their love story. As Zan’s deepening feelings for Rainer lead her to confront her emotional damage, he struggles to meet the demands of his home world so he will be free to love her, and to reveal his true nature. Through the gruesome crime that first brought Zan to his door, Barakiel learns that his presence in the Earthly Realm has placed some of its most vulnerable citizens in danger. Compelled to protect them, he undertakes a series of duties he may not survive, even as Zan rescues him from centuries of a deadened heart.

Interview:
Tell us a little about your main characters.
My male hero is Barakiel (ba-rack-ee-el), also known as Rainer (ry-ner). He is Covalent, a race of ancient beings who keep the elemental forces of Creation and Destruction in Balance. The Covalent bond the elemental forces to prevent them from transforming into each other in an endless cycle. Without these aliens, the elemental forces would crushing everything into oblivion. The Covalent sit at the still center of everything that exists. Barakiel is a warrior Covalent. He constantly gathers energy from his surroundings and turns it into unassailable strength and speed. He is a born weapon, and sees violence as the solution to most problems, but he has another side. The Covalent cultivate Balance, the equilibrium of attraction and repulsion, order and entropy, love and hate. Balance is the source of their power. This means Barakiel loves as mightily as he fights. He is ardent and sensitive and open with his feelings. He is a hopeless romantic.

When the story begins, Barakiel has been banished to Earth. He is mistrusted and feared because he is the son of Lucifer, who rebelled against the Covalent Council and was driven from the Covalent Realm. Far from being in league with his father, Barakiel is the focus of Lucifer’s murderous obsession. Lucifer sends his demon minions against his son at every change of seasons – the solstices and the equinoxes – when the Earth’s axis shifts position relative to the Sun and creates a rift between dimensions.

Fighting demons gives Barakiel a sense of purpose, but he isolated from his kind. He is saved from complete loneliness by Pellus, who was a close friend of his mother’s. Pellus is like a father to Barakiel. They clash, as fathers and sons often do, but Pellus is much more than a stand-in parent and mentor. He is a traveler adept, a type of Covalent who can manipulate the properties of matter and energy. Pellus can travel between dimensions using rifts in the fabric of existence that only a traveler can see. As an adept, he has achieved such mastery that he can bend light and create solid barriers out of the air. He can break through even the most sophisticated computer encryption as easily as walking through an unlocked door. He is calm, rational, and deadly. 
Pellus is also cautious. He discourages Barakiel from pursuing serious relationships with humans because they are against Covalent Law. When Barakiel meets Zan O’Gara, it doesn’t take Pellus long to realize the warrior will not listen to him. Barakiel is drawn to her. He tells Pellus that she carries herself like a warrior, and he waxes poetic over her flawless skin. He “burns with Creation, all for her,” as Pellus puts it.
Barakiel needs and wants love, but he never found a woman who could match him until he met Zan. Despite his need, Pellus’ warnings do have some effect on him. He hides his true identity. He passes as human.

Zan, my female hero, is an FBI agent and a decorated army veteran. She is from the mountains of Idaho and has the toughness and self-sufficiency often found in people who hale from a rugged landscape. She is dedicated to her job. Too dedicated, according to Melissa Romani, Zan’s FBI partner. Mel is also Zan’s best friend and is always trying to set her up with men.
Although Zan tried dating, it was always tepid or horrible. She filled her life with other things. She is an excellent guitar player and fronts a rock-n-roll band. Between her job and her music, she doesn’t have time for men. She thinks it’s just as well because she is a recovering alcoholic, and like many women who abused a substance, she has an ugly history with sex. Zan thought her scars meant romance was not for her. When she meets Rainer, she lusts after him and she likes it, but he also makes her feel things she doesn’t understand. It terrifies her.

What is their biggest challenge or quest?
Barakiel’s quest is to discover if there is a connection between his presence in the Earthly Realm and a grisly murder. Zan’s quest is to solve the same murder. A man was gutted at the winter solstice, his internal organs removed. His body was left on display near Barakiel’s home. Three months later, at the vernal equinox, a similar ritual takes place in the national historical park in Philadelphia. The park rangers find a human spleen in the bushes. They call the FBI.
Zan begins an investigation, where she meets Barakiel. They begin to explore each other with a fiery passion. At the same time, Barakiel struggles to meet the demands of his homeworld and deal with his father’s efforts to kill him. His time with Zan gives him strength, but as her investigation brings her closer to the truth about the murder, Barakiel is afraid he will lose her. 

Give us your favorite line from your protagonist:
“Zan, it’s a beautiful, sunny day. Let us go to the ocean. We can consign our pain to the waves, and listen to them whisper their comfort.” – Barakiel to Zan, after they’ve had an intense, emotional discussion.
But when I look in his eyes, I feel like nature. – Zan to herself, musing about she forgets all her fears and misgiving in Barakiel’s presence.  

From an antagonist:
“I can feel your hatred, hard and sharp as a blade. I live inside you. Return to me and we will subjugate the realms. Return to me or die.” – Lucifer to Barakiel, invading his mind, seeking to make Barakiel his slave. 

An emblematic paragraph-long excerpt:
Here's an excerpt from the day Zan and Rainer first meet. She expresses an interest in blades, so he invites her to see his collection. He gives her a sword to examine. Unbeknownst to her, it is his Covalent sword, an alien weapon. To see her handle it gives him a thrill.
***
Zan took the gargantuan blade with both hands and did a simple block stance, then a thrust. Rainer raised both his eyebrows.
“I’m surprised you can lift that to shoulder level.”
“I’m a strong woman.”
“I can see that,” he replied in a low voice. The way he looked at her made Zan almost drop the sword. She adjusted her grip.
“This sword is unbelievably well-balanced.”
“Exactly.”
Did I just impress him? God, I hope so.
“Ah, see now,” Zan said. “My arms are getting tired, so you weren’t far from right. I could never actually use this sword.” She pivoted and held it out to him with a slight bow. “Your sword, sir.”
Rainer smiled as he took it. Zan realized he hadn’t been smiling before, not a real smile. This time it was like strong sunlight falling on a person who’d been trapped in the bitter cold.
“You’re trained?” he asked.
“A little. I used to study kendo in college, Japanese sword fighting, but I don’t have the time now. For the job, we’re mostly trained in firearms, but we get a decent amount of training in hand-to-hand, some other weapons. How about you? Is your interest more than aesthetic?”
“Yes. I’ve studied the fighting arts since I was a child.”
“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.”
Rainer tilted his head and regarded her, his lips pressed together.
He doesn’t know what to make of me. I don’t know what to make of him either, but oh, those lips. I better get away from this man. I’m on duty.

What keeps you going when your inspiration flags?
Discipline. I’m a former journalist, trained to write on demand. Writer’s block is not acceptable when there’s newspaper to get out. I’ve also found that the act of writing itself creates inspiration. It touches some mysterious part of my brain.

What truly inspires you and fires up your vision?
Natural beauty. I love mountains. They make me feel insignificant, which is good if you need perspective. Their beauty soothes and renews me. Also, music. A great song gives me a tremendous feeling of wellbeing. In addition, when I’m frustrated or angry, punk rock has a great cathartic effect.  
Best words of advice you ever received?
Once, on a trolley, an old woman said to me, “You’re going to have a wonderful life some day because you’re not afraid to be your own person.” She was a stranger, but her words have stayed with me. They’re not really advice, but I’ve tried to live by them. 

Worst?
To take a job as a corporate attorney because it was a “good opportunity.” I knew I would hate it, I didn’t last long. I’ve never been a climb-the-ladder kind of gal.

Where’s your favorite place to write?
My office. I have big bay windows that let in a lot of light, and my cats come to visit me. 

Which do you enjoy writing most: action, romance, setting, dialogue?
I love to write dialogue. I love imaging conversations and people’s reactions to each other. I have to take care that my writing doesn’t have too much. I often get carried away. Of course, I enjoy all the others as well. Depends on the day and the circumstance of the story.

More on the series:
 The Passion Season is Book I of the Covalent Series. Writing a series is great because I get to tell an epic love story, set in two different worlds, with subplots featuring crime, political intrigue, war, betrayal, stealthy rescues and inter-dimensional travel. Plus, sweet words, tenderness and lots of hot sex. I’ve rarely had so much fun, and I’m a woman who’s had a lot of fun.
I have five books in my head, one finished, one halfway there, and one outlined. The drawbacks? You get impatient. You want to get it all out. Also, I’ve heard that readers hold off buying books in series until the whole series is available because they like to binge. That’s a long time to wait for people to read your stuff. That’s a lot of money to lay out for no return until some distant date. 

A hint of what you’re working on next?
The Pain Season: Book II of the Covalent Series! Zan and Barakiel’s epic love story continues. I’ll give you an impressionistic synopsis of the beginning from Zan’s point of view: Terror, determination, anger, grief. The Pain Season will be released on the autumnal equinox, September 22, 2016. The writing is going swimmingly thus far. 


About the Author:
Libby Doyle is an attorney and former journalist who took a walk around the corporate world and didn’t like it. She escapes the mundane by writing extravagant yarns, filled with sex and violence. She loves absurd humor, travel, punk rock, and her husband.

Follow her on Social Media: Website, Facebook, Blog, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Two Book Conventions - a Photo Journal

I've attended two very different book conventions this spring: Roanoke Author Invasion (RAI) and RT Booklovers (RT) convention in Las Vegas. Rather than write a text post, I thought I'd give you a photo journal. Hope you enjoy it... First some from RAI, then RT. If you want to also read a written report, click here for my post on Untethered Realms.
RAI authors
With Cherie Reich at RAI

My line dance instructor,
Jocqueline at the after-party


My personally designed greeting card swag
Readers rule at RT!

A cover model saving the world

Rockabilly girl at the Palms buffet at RT

YA panel at RT (I'm on top left)

RT tablemates, left to right: Colleen Houck, me, Sarah Schmitt, Ginger Scott
Britany Spears riding a giant guitar at her Planet Hollywood performance
Sitting at the Sons of Anarchy slot (not playing it)
Willy Wonka Slots - love the slots ART!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Witch of the Cards Tour & Mega Giveaway Commences! March 28 - April 11










Witch of the Cards is on tour, hosted by Bewitching Books (How perfect for a witchy book). Also, a bunch of my fellow authors and bloggers are joining in the fun. A giant thanks to all! As always, tour stops go live on the day of, so make sure to pop back in to read new posts. There are guest posts about the Tarot, about why I love to set my novels in dilapidated, eerie locations, about my inspirations behind the story, and a really fun playlist, mashing up contemporary music (about witches and magic) with songs of the 1930s. A tour would not be complete without a great giveaway. So, make sure to enter the Rafflecopter below. Want to know what the prizes are? Here you go:
An earlier box - bewitching ones to come!
 One $40 gift card, two hand-painted heart-boxes (by me) with secret treasure inside, one signed paperback of Dorianna, one signed paperback of Witch of the Cards, one brand new collector Tarot deck along with an envelope full of special greeting cards (with envelopes) designed by me!

TOUR March 28 - April 11

March 28 - Guest Post - The Allure of Creepy Beach Towns as Settings
Addicted 2 Heroines

March 28 - Feature & Guest Post
In Pursuit of Publishness

March 30 - Playlist!
Dawn Brazil’s Brilliant Babbles About Books

March 29 - Feature & Excerpt
Leigh Anderson Romance

March 30 - Spotlight & Excerpt
Kristy Centeno

March 31 - Spotlight, Teasers
Ramblings of a Book Nerd

March 31 - Spotlight, Teasers
fuonlyknew

April 1 - What's in a Penname?
Mythical Books

April 1 - Spotlight
Extreme Bookaholic's Blog

April 1 - Inspirations Behind the Story!
Fresh Pot of Tea

April 4 - Guest Post - Magical Taffy & Other Weirdness
Hart’s Romance

April 4 - Feature & Why I Love Creepy Beach Towns
Christine Rains, Writer

April 4 - Feature
Ellie Garratt

April 5 - Interview - My Publishing Journey
Fang-tastic Books

April 5 - Guest Post on Settings
Julie Flanders

April 6 - Guest Post & all kinds of creepy!
Mary Pax Dimensions in Fiction

April 7 - Guest Blog - TAROT!
Juli D Revezzo
http://julidrevezzo.com/blog/

April 7 - Guest Post
Write Stuff

April 7 - Mini-excerpts!
Cherie Reich

April 7 - Spotlight
Roxanne’s Realm

April 7 - Feature
Liz Long - Your Doorway to Escape

April 8 - PLAYLIST!
Sapphyria's Book Reviews

April 8 - Review
Queen of All She Reads
http:queenofallshereads.blogspot.com

April 11 - Guest Blog & Review
Books Direct

April 11 - Feature (review TK!)
I Smell Sheep

April 11 - Feature
Bibliogal

Get it at: Amazon USAmazon UKiBooksKoboB&N/NookInkteraAmazon CAAmazon AUAmazon INAmazon DE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Witch of the Cards is OUT! Plus blitz week prizes


I am thrilled to say that my historical fantasy Witch of the Cards is live! To celebrate its launch I am running a blitz week Rafflecopter with lots of fun prizes. A special thanks to all of you who are helping to spread word. I am more than happy to return the favor on your next launch!

The idea for this book came years ago when I had a strange dream the night before we went to Asbury Park, then a dilapidated, spooky beach town. Of course, being a writer who loves odd settings, this place attracted my curiosity! In the dream (nightmare?) I was wandering down an abandoned boardwalk when I came to the only open shop - a saltwater taffy store.
In it, was an ancient witch, selling magical taffy. Boom!

Get it at: Amazon US, Amazon UK, iBooks, Kobo, B&N/Nook, Inktera, Amazon CA, Amazon AU, Amazon IN, Amazon DE

Witch of the Cards blurb:
Fiera was born a sea witch with no inkling of her power. And now it might be too late. 

Witch of the Cards is historical, supernatural romantic suspense set in 1932 on the Jersey shore. Twenty-two year-old Fiera has recently left the Brooklyn orphanage where she was raised, and works in Manhattan as a nanny. She gets a lucky break when her boss pays for her short vacation in Asbury Park. One evening, Fiera and her new friend Dulcie wander down the boardwalk and into Peter Dune’s Tarot & Séance, where they attend a card reading. 



Fiera has always had an unsettling ability to know things before they happen and sense people’s hidden agendas. She longs to either find out the origin of her powers or else banish them because as is, they make her feel crazy. When, during the reading, her energies somehow bond with Peter Dune’s and form an undeniable ethereal force, a chain of revelations and dangerous events begin to unspool. For one, Fiera finds out she is a witch from a powerful sea clan, but that someone is out to stop her blossoming power forever. And though she is falling in love with Peter, he also has a secret side. He’s no card reader, but a private detective working to expose mediums. Despite this terrible betrayal, Fiera must make the choice to save Peter from a tragic Morro Cruise boat fire, or let him perish with his fellow investigators. Told in alternating viewpoints, we hear Fiera and Peter each struggle against their deep attraction. Secrets, lies, even murder, lace this dark fantasy.

Writers and most book-lovers know that the best present an author can get on her book's birthday are people buying the book! For us indies, it helps get the book higher on the lists so more people know about it. If you like witch tales, suspense, historical fiction, Tarot, epic supernatural battles, and ocean settings, please consider reading Witch of the Cards.
Available at: Amazon USAmazon UKiBooksKoboB&N/NookInkteraAmazon CAAmazon AUAmazon INAmazon DE

I'm also grateful for tweets. Here are easy pre-written ones:

It's OUT! #witch #historical #fantasy #suspense #pnr #occult http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01COACFVU UK: http://tinyurl.com/hze9ekh

#Badass #witches #historical #fantasy #spells #pnr #magic http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01COACFVU UK: http://tinyurl.com/hze9ekh


#witch #battles #historical #fantasy #suspense #pnr #occult http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01COACFVU UK: http://tinyurl.com/hze9ekh

And here's my gift to you! A mega-fun bunch of prizes. Enter the Rafflecopter to be eligible. 
Prizes include:

One $30 gift card, one signed paperback of Dorianna (or eBook for international), one signed paperback of Witch of the Cards (or eBook for international.), one super-swag pack of Catherine’s personally designed greeting cards.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 4, 2016

More intriguing reads & cover reveals!

Today on Idea City we have another bunch of newly launched books & cover reveals!

The first is an edgy YA fantasy

Finding Me by Dawn Brazil
published by Booktrope Press

Sixteen-year-old Chloe Carmichael’s perfect world is in chaos.
It’s not because she has a vision of her boyfriend murdered and then he’s found dead exactly as foreseen. It’s not because she suddenly has the ability to move objects when she’s upset. It’s kinda cool to close a door without touching it. And it’s most definitely not her overbearing mother who only cares about appearances. Chloe has already grown quite accustomed to her family’s distance.
So what has Chloe cringing in fear?
It’s having to become another person for a new group of people. She knows she’s not perfect, but apparently she was in another life. In that other life, she was known as Amanda. Amanda was perfect. Chloe, not so much. Her new friends won’t allow her to forget.
Chloe struggles with a love that exposes the soul. It’s a love that defies reason. It’s a love that speaks to her heart and demands attention.
It’s the stench of impending death that hovers over her every move.
It’s that final threat as she tries to acclimate to a life of super human proportions.
It’s the enemy she can’t see and doesn’t remember. And most importantly, it’s never discovering who she really is that truly frightens her.
Buy Finding Me at Amazon, B&N

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Galactic Empires is a FREE boxed set of exciting deep space exploration! Get it at Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon CA, Amazon AUiTunes, Kobo, B&N.
Eight full-length novels of adventure, war, intrigue and survival in the far reaches of space.

The Backworlds by M. Pax
A man struggles to survive in the harsh world of humanity's outer settlements and prove his father wrong.
Ambassador 1: Seeing Red by Patty Jansen
To look an alien superior in the eye is a deadly offense. To accuse him of a political murder…
Alien Hunters by Daniel Arenson
A scruffy alien pest controller faces an alien threat the likes of which the universe has never seen.
Hard Duty by Mark E. Cooper
Hostile aliens nearly eradicated humanity. Will the next encounter finish the job?
Bypass Gemini by Joseph Lallo
A disgraced racer pilot gets mixed up with a mega-corporation. Now he has to stop them.
Sky Hunter by Chris Reher
Sent to a human outpost to investigate sabotage, a pilot finds more trouble than she bargained for.
The Galapagos Incident by Felix Savage
A genocidal AI attacks the solar system, and a Space Corps agent has one chance of saving a bunch of asteroid squatters she was sent to evict.
First Conquest by David VanDyke
To find a home and keep humanity safe from hostile aliens, Task Force Conquest must fight to seize a new star system.

***

Here's a YA great, new sci-fi from Jennifer Macaire

Riders of the Lightning Storm 
published by Evernight Teen
Get it at Amazon

Pioneers from Earth, the first Settlers, arrived on Home Planet in giant spaceships after getting lost in a huge lightning storm. On the planet, they discovered herds of horses that seemed to vanish every time the storm season came. But they didn’t vanish; the horses had the ability to open passages through space to other planets. A few Settlers started following the herds, finding new planets. Soon, a mighty Federation of planets was born, cities and spaceports grew – but there were some who still followed the herds, seeking out new planets for the growing population of Settlers. These were the Herders – a small group of explorers who accompanied their horses across the galaxy, through passages they called the Lightning Storms. But mysterious alien Raiders preyed on the horses and their Herders – and those taken were never seen again.

Meagan and Carl Cadet, youngest herders in the Federation, fought to keep their horses when their parents were taken by Raiders. The Cadets are loners, and prefer to keep to themselves. To shy Meagan’s dismay, on Tauii 3 they are joined by the rowdy Jeffries brothers. But when tragedy strikes, Meagan slowly opens up to the Jeffries’ friendship. Then Raiders capture Meagan and Luke Jeffries. Now they have to find the key to unlock the mysterious horse passages – or die.
***
Aaaand finally, a cover reveal for Lisa Voisin's The Warrior Prophet. Nice cover!

The Warrior Prophet by Lisa Voisin
Book 3 of the Watcher saga. Available on April 13 with Inkspell Publishing.
Pre-order it now! Amazon kindle or print, Kobo, B&N
Add it on Goodreads
Mia Crawford is a prophet.
She can see angels. She also sees demons. Everywhere.
She knows the angels are preparing for war to get her fallen angel boyfriend, Michael, back.
A war that could take years.
Haunted by visions of Michael’s soul being tortured, Mia can’t rest until she knows he’s safe.
To save him, she must make an impossible journey through Hell. Her only guide is the one person she prayed she’d never see again.

Get the other Watcher books.
Follow Lisa Voisin: website, blog, mailing list

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New releases & reveals by the bunch!

With the first stirrings of the season change, come bunches of fresh new books! These are truly a mix - from books for young readers to 18+ so read the fine print. LOL.
***
Big Yearning by Christine Rains
Adult romance from Ellora's Cave
***for the 18+ crowd only
Suzetta Hughes has it bad for gorgeous forest guide Rayce Webb, but her best friend already called dibs on him. He hasn’t shown interest in anyone other than Suzetta, though. Clearly that means the claim is canceled, right? But after Suzetta shares more than a kiss with him by the river, everything goes wrong. Suzetta flees into the woods alone, leaving behind both her pissed friend and a hot guy who’s actually attracted to her. And exploring a potential Sasquatch hideout only makes things worse—and more dangerous.       ***Reader Advisory: This story has graphic sexual language and scenes—no closed bedroom doors (or other rooms) here!
Get it at Amazon & Kobo, See ALL of Christine Rain's sizzling romance from Ellora's Cave right here!

***
Now, a cover reveal for a sexy new crime series from Bailey Quinn, the pen-name of award winning YA sci-fi writer Carlyle Labuschange.

"The most challenging book I've ever written. It nearly defeated me." ~ Carlyle

Infallible by Bailey Quinn
published by Fire Quill Books

THE MOMENT DETECTIVE SCARLET ANNE MARTINS stepped into that prison, her resolve began to wane, a struggle she had long forgotten between heart and head. Unable to deny it any longer, the feelings she had for Alaric were strong—and her desperation to save him, would ultimately be what would killed them both.

For a super cop, her judgment in men truly failed her. But while her life, and anyone’s who tried to stop her was in mortal danger, she had to forget every single detail about Special Agent Blade. Her primary focus was getting through the next twenty-four hours without killing anyone.
Thereafter, her purpose would be to find a way to put behind bars those who were framing her for murder, and the bombing in New York City. It would prove to be an almost impossible task, since she had become a fugitive in a foreign country.

This time, her drop-dead gorgeous looks and South African accent would work against her in every way—she would be recognized in a heartbeat on the streets. With nowhere to run, she made the decision to face the peril head on and ensnare the evil that was coming for her, and the only way to do that was by giving them what they wanted.

Follow the author for details on the exact date of Infallible's release!

***
Here's a new YA romance by Wende Dikec. Pre-orders open!

Starr Valentine by Wende Dikec
from Inkspell Publishing

What happens when the beautiful swan becomes the ugly duckling? 
Starr Valentine has a perfect life in Middleton, Ohio. She was named captain of the cheer squad, her mother finally allowed her to get highlights, and the cutest boy in school asked her to homecoming. But everything comes crashing down when she finds out her parents are actually monarchs in exile from a mysterious planet called Vega. Starr doesn’t want to leave, but loves the idea of being a princess, and decides moving to an alien world might not be so bad. When she gets there, however, she discovers that something is terribly wrong. 

Starr has always been the winner of the family, but now everyone is fawning over her chubby older sister, Astra. And everyone, even a handsome and annoying young duke named Julian, seems to hate her. That is when she realizes the awful truth. Astra is now the pretty one. Astra has all the friends. Astra gets all of the attention. And Starr Valentine, voted Miss Perfect, is now the ugly duckling. Her biggest fear is…will she be able to turn back into a swan, or is she doomed to be a loser forever?
Pre-order it from Amazon

***
And here's a fun adventure for your nine to twelve year-old. Hey, they need books too!

Fable Rangers: Summons by A.L. Brown

Take care of what you wish for. You just might get it.
Twelve-year-old Casey doesn’t think life could get anymore unfair. Plans for her special basketball tournament are tossed aside by her sister’s change in wedding plans. She even has to be a bridesmaid now, with all the lace and silk and - oh the horror! All she wants is an escape, but she never imagined she’d be swept away to a world of Mother Goose rhymes, fairy tales, stories of Arabian Nights, and oh, by the way, all but one fairy godmother is kidnapped.
Casey learns she’s been summoned as the Fable Ranger to lead the search and rescue of the missing wish-makers. She also discovers she isn’t the hero they would accept. In the world of fairy tales, damsels aren't meant to swoop in to save the day.

Now all Casey wants is to go home, a wish easy to grant if the veil between worlds weren’t on lockdown. Taking fate into her own hands, she embarks on an airship flight to find the phoenix tears that can help open her way home. Her journey would’ve gone as smooth as the perfect layup if it weren’t for that pesky bounty the evil Dovetail placed on her head. Casey refuses to fail knowing it would allow the legends of Arabian Nights to disappear forever and leave her trapped in a world unraveling one fairy tale at a time.
Get it at Amazon

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

RAFFLECOPTER:

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