Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Calling all International fiction foodies! What's your fave foodie scene in a novel?

Today, Idea City joins Lexa, Medeia and Beth, the creators of the International Potluck Fest in talking about great foodie scenes in fiction! Oh, and there's a giveaway Rafflecopter. To enter it, check out one of the hosts' blogs.

One of the funniest foodie scenes I've read is in Wallbanger (18+), a rowdy romance, where the protag's love interest is always cooking. There's a love-fest after bread-making, where they're literally rolling in the flour. Since that's too steamy to post here, I'll tell you about a scene from my NA romance, Private Internship that launches on September 29.

Artist Sienna is interning for bad-boy sculptor, Caz Mason. He's a major handful, and is constantly testing her with strange games, but one of his enticing talents is that he's a great cook!
Here's a snippet that displays his canny wiles:

 “Come up for air,” he advises. “I’ve got some special victuals and a game for later.” Victuals is a good old Chaucerian term for food, ha! I guess Caz has gone to college. But more worrisome games? Meh. 

I breathe in the nutty steam of his gourmet coffee, and my mouth is watering at an earthy, spicy aroma that I can’t quite identify. Casper escorts me into the studio kitchen. He’s put on a lavender shirt that accentuates the molten tones in his hair. He motions me to one of the chairs and even pushes it in for me. This rebel knows some good manners. Tommy has set us up with actual cloth napkins, two large bowls, and silverware. Caz brings out a steaming pot of stew and ladles it into our bowls.

Joining me at the table, he sits forward in his chair instead of straddling it. “My own concoction,” he announces. “Pheasant chili.”

“What a treat.” I take an experimental bite. The flavor detonates in my mouth. “Man, this is great! Where’d you learn to cook?”

“From an old Texan migrant down in the Smokies.” Sounds dubious, but what do I know? I know that I appreciate a man who can cook. We gobble the food down. Something about hard physical labor—you work up quite an appetite. 

Afterwards, Caz wipes his mouth with the napkin and clears his throat. “So, why don’t you bring in a few of your pieces tomorrow? I should know what my intern is doing.”

My pulse spikes. I’m partly flattered and partly terrified—especially after his scathing critique on that very first day. “You sure? I mean, it’s not about my work, it’s about your—”

“Be more sure of yourself,” he barks. “I can’t tolerate insecure people.”

I shrivel up inside. But he’s right. I need to be strong, be proud. “Okay, fine. Shall I continue shoveling sugar after lunch?”

“Way too tedious,” he announces. “Let’s play a game.”

“What game? Not so sure I want any more of those.”

“Oh, don’t be a wimp,” he says wryly, and jumps up. “Let’s go.”

Do you use food in some way in your writing? To set mood? Entice? Add a sense of reality? What's your fave fictional scene involving food?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Great reads, powerful covers, totally TBRs!

Idea City has a few great show and tells today.

First up: Twisted Earths is now on Goodreads! So you can totally put it on your TBR list. More on the collection in my last post.

Second up: Graeme Ing's Necromancer launches on August 23rd! Powerful cover, eh? So, if you're adding Twisted Earths to your TBR list, why not add Graeme's Necromancer too?

About the book:
A primeval fiend is loose in the ancient metropolis of Malkandrah, intent on burning it to a wasteland. The city's leaders stand idly by and the sorcerers that once protected the people are long gone.

Maldren, a young necromancer, is the only person brave enough to stand against the creature. Instead of help from the Masters of his Guild, he is given a new apprentice. Why now, and why a girl? As they unravel the clues to defeating the fiend, they discover a secret society holding the future of the city in its grip. After betrayals and attempts on his life, Maldren has reason to suspect everyone he thought a friend, even the girl.

His last hope lies in an alliance with a depraved and murderous ghost, but how can he trust it? Its sinister past is intertwined in the lives of everyone he holds dear.       
Can only evil defeat evil?

Third up, but just as important!: If you haven't uploaded C. Lee's Double Negative, a gritty teen novel from Evernight Teen, you can do it now! On Amazon

Here's a line from Hutch McQueen, the protagonist:
"My life was going, going, gone, and I hadn't been laid yet. I couldn't go into the slammer before that happened." 

AND, we have outtakes from the novel! In C. Lee's own words:
I love to write description, but it seldom stays in the book. I think I write it for myself, really. Once it’s on the page, I can see where I am in the scene, and it’s easy for me to write the characters--what they see and where they move in the space I’ve created. Here are two pieces of description I liked, but that didn’t add much to the book, so they wound up on the cutting room floor.

Liz sat at the back of the church not listening to the words, but focused on Tim Kerry’s voice, the way it rose and fell, spilling over the heads of the parishioners. She closed her eyes and imagined it caressing the quiet corners of the old stone building, an historical landmark that no longer quite held the swell of worshippers at Christmas, but was perfectly suited for the regular congregation. There’d be a new church across town in a few years, but this one would always be her favorite. Soaked with decades of incense, softened by the brush of uncountable hands and shoulders, its pews gleaming more from the slide of butts into place than the swipe of caretaker dust cloths, this church epitomized what her religion was all about.

Palm Street is in the back corner of Larkston and miles from Camilla Terrace, the upscale part of town. Palm Street is the place Hutch McQueen longs to escape. Here’s how I saw it, but it never made the final version.
C Lee
One dusty palm tree remained from the developer’s try at living up to the Palm Street name. Once, back in the eighty’s, palms grew in front of all the houses, and there were lawns and kids. Now, most of the front yards had defunct cars or recycling cans, and no one sat on the porches. The brightest features on any of the houses were the yellow bug lights. They were always on.

While I missed not having that description in the book, I still had it in my mind, so the setting that Hutch stepped into was very clear. I could write his reaction to it without ever including it for the reader. I let them imagine Palm Street in their own way.

 What's at the top of your TBR list right now?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sneak Peek at the forthcoming Untethered Realms anthology, Twisted Earths. Out this fall!

We're so excited to give you a sneak peek of the cover and stories in the first Untethered Realms collection called Twisted Earths. Isn't the art spectacular?!

The anthology launches on October 1st. We don't yet have it on Goodreads, so the best way to get release deets is to join the UR blog or UR Facebook group. And while you're there check out the amazing new banner that our designer, Erin made for us.

Now, for a taste of the stories!

Twisted Earths is a collection of tales from Untethered Realms, a group of speculative fiction authors. The stories are as varied and rich as the types of soil on this and other planets—sandy loam, clay, knotted with roots and vines, dreaded paths through unexplored planets, and in enchanted forests, lit by candlelight and two moons.

M. Pax, author of the series, The Backworlds and The Rifters spins a tale called Patchworker 2.0. Specialists with digital interfaces are the only ones who can distinguish between biological energy and mechanical pulses, and “patch” AIs, which hold the world together. Patchworker Evalyn Shore meets up with an AI with deadly intent.

Cherie Reich, known for her epic fantasy series The Fate Challenges and The Foxwick Chronicles, presents Lady Death. Umbria, a beautiful and powerful swordsmith, is given an impossible task by her brother Leon when he asks, “You are the assassin. Are you scared to destroy Death when you are up to your elbows in it?”

Angela Brown is the author of the paranormal Shadow Jumpers and NEO Chronicles series. In her story, In The Know, Jacob, a loyal family man is struggling to stay out of debt when he’s hired to report on big plans for a future Detroit. He’s given a mysterious manila envelope with instructions to “open it alone” or pay the price. With switchback twists you won’t see coming, a debt of a much steeper cost is what he just might end up paying for his involvement.

Catherine Stine, author of the futuristic thrillers, Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire, offers The Day of The Flying Dogs, a sinister tale of brilliant, troubled NYC high-school student, Theo. He experiences a day at Coney Island that includes drugs, delusions, a lonely capybara, Nathan’s hotdogs and a mind-bending lesson in our very twisted universe.

Christine Rains, known best for her paranormal series The Thirteenth Floor, gives us The Ole Saint, a story at once sweet, horrific and heartrending. Ezra longs to fit in and have boys stop calling him witch and freak, yet his unique supernatural skill sets him apart, and the last gift from The Ole Saint cinches the deal.

Graeme Ing, known for his young adult fantasy, Ocean of Dust presents The Malachite Mine, a gripping, scream-inducing ride. Whatever was Mary thinking when she accepted her husband’s gift of a most terrifying twenty-first birthday celebration in an abandoned Russian mine?

River Fairchild, author of the Jewels of Chandra series, presents A Grand Purpose. Rosaya and her cousin, Drianna are soon to be married off, but Rosaya is unhappy with her assigned match. She’s much more intoxicated by the older Firrandor, a wizard she hardly knows. When Rosaya is accused of killing an oracle boy, all bets are off, not only for her love, but her freedom.

Gwen Gardner, who pens the cozy paranormal mystery series, Indigo Eady, adds to her collection with Ghostly Guardian. Indigo and her rib-tickling ghost-busters must travel to a dangerous pirate-laden past in order to unearth a curmudgeonly eighteenth century spirit that is plaguing the Blind Badger Pub.

Misha Gerrick, whose War of Six Crowns series is forthcoming, gives us a story called Red Earth and White Light. Emily, a young ghost bride has long haunted a house. She longs to cross over into the afterlife, but she’s trapped in memories of lilies and betrayal.

We hope you'll enjoy this weird and wonderful volume!

Who we are:

Friday, August 1, 2014

Beautiful cover from Elizabeth Arroyo for her new YA supernatural, DARKNESS

Today, Idea City is revealing the cover for Elizabeth Arroyo's new YA supernatural thriller DARKNESS. Isn't it pretty and mysterious? The novel launches on August 12!

About the book

Seventeen-year-old Carly Lopez suffers from post-traumatic stress, though the “post” part technically doesn’t apply…not when the killer’s still out there. 
As the only survivor of the killing spree that left four dead girls in its wake, Carly fails to unearth her buried memories of that day and is consumed with guilt. After a year of silence, the killer is back, and Carly will stop at nothing to stop him. 
With each new death, Carly’s reality shatters, propelling her deeper into the darkness where the dead haunt her and where the truth lies. Her only firm grasp of reality is Hunter Jackson, whose mysterious overprotectiveness of Carly forces her to doubt the reason behind her guilt. But Hunter has a secret.

And when she discovers a horrible truth, Carly questions her involvement in the murders. Was she directly responsible? Did she help the killer? Carly soon learns that finding answers may mean risking more than just her sanity.

About the author:
Elizabeth is the author of THE SECOND SIGN and THE SECOND SHADOW, a dark young adult paranormal romance series. Elizabeth currently teaches writing to teens at a local community center.

Find more about Elizabeth at: 
Website, blog, Facebook, Twitter

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Do Genes Dictate Who We Are? & other fascinating questions, celebrating the re-release of Galanti's A Human Element

Today Idea City is helping to celebrate the re-release of Donna Galanti's thriller, A Human Element. Donna explains her fascinating motivation for the book idea:

Do Genes Dictate Who We Are? 
Adoption and being an only child runs through A Human Element. I am both, and they both had a deep impact on my life. In A Human Element three characters have similar lives. Laura's adopted and an only child raised by loving parents. Ben is an only child but abandoned when his parents die, to live a lonely existence in foster homes. X-10 is raised alone in a government facility, an unloved experiment. One common thread connects them all. They grow up alone and eventually parentless. 

Adopted children often suffer abandonment issues and feel like they never belong, that they aren’t ‘blood family’.  Being adopted myself I understood this. But as an adopted child I was lucky. I had a loving family and I learned my heritage (and am very glad I was given up. Read more about that here). I got married and had an amazing son. In having him, I have my own ‘blood’ now. I do belong–with my family.

In A Human Element all three characters have similar backgrounds, but how are they different? Ben isolates himself, Laura has an open heart, and X-10 hates the world. Is it their genes that shape who they are or their environment? I’ve found it’s both. I like to think we can overcome our genes and thrive in an environment that allows us to do so. In such an environment we can conquer our obstacles and achieve anything, but without love we're lost. I believe that our genes do not dictate who we are–and this gives me hope. Without hope change is not possible. Laura believes we all have something redeemable in us, no matter how small. Do you believe that too?

Excerpt with X-10. Can he overcome his genes and environment?

As he lunged for Laura she sensed his conflicting feelings. She saw the scientist who experimented on him and caged him his whole life, taunting him with her existence and fueling his hatred.
She saw all this in the two seconds it took for him to reach her. His sorrowful life punctured her like a knife digging into an old wound. His wounds made her wounds. It was a small window of opportunity to grasp, but all she had. Could she convince him to turn away from evil?
X-10 grabbed her by both arms and pulled her up. His freakish face loomed inches from hers. Her feet dangled above the earthen floor. Scenes from his life blasted across her mind. 
A tormented life. A tormented soul. Images of blood and killing and rage. And such loneliness. He had suffered such loneliness. He was an animal as he had been treated like an animal all his life. She pitied him and feared him.
"Charlie," she whispered. Pain coursed through her. He gripped her harder. She stared into his yellow eyes that shone bright, burning with hate.
"What did you say?" He shook her and she moaned in pain.
"Charlie. I called you Charlie, isn't that what you want?”

About A Human Element:
Evil comes in many forms…
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.
Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a madman, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his, and she has two choices—redeem him or kill him.

**Get your evil on with this re-release by Imajin Books! Newly edited, new scenes & cover!** Purchase A Human Element here

Praise for A Human Element: 
“Be afraid. Be very afraid. And be utterly absorbed by this riveting debut that had me reading till the wee hours of the night. A thriller star is born.”  –bestselling author M.J. Rose
“An elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author

About Donna: 
Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventures. She's an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, A Hidden Element (August 2014), the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (2015). She’s lived everywhere from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer.
Website, blog, twitter, Facebook

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

News, news, news!

This has been a busy time, and it's only going to get busier! With good stuff. First of all, Private Internship, my new adult novel (sequel to my novella Model Position) is coming out on September 29th with Inkspell!
Also, I signed my YA contemporary horror, Dorianna with Evernight Teen!

Dorianna is a fresh yet toxic twist (think daisies, snakes and burlesque dancers at Coney Island) on the Oscar Wilde classic, A Picture of Dorian Gray. It's a cautionary tale for the Internet generation. More on that soon . . .

Private Internship is . . .
In the meantime, I'd LOVE for anyone who's up for it, to help me with my cover reveal (or release day blitz) for Private Internship!! It's a really pretty cover, and I'm proud to say that I helped design it with the lovely and talented Najla who does the covers over at Inkspell. The cover reveal will be on Wednesday, August 27, but August 28 & 29 are fine days to post as well! (The blitz will be on Sept 29) Just fill out this easy peasy sign-up form here. Once you sign up, I'll send you all the info you'll need to post. (Plus you'll get a magical chocolate sundae & bestie sticker)

What's your news/obsession/thrill/fave summer activity, and how's your July going so far?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Soulless Cover Reveal & More Cool Stuff!

Idea City is helping Crystal Collier unveil her amazing new cover for Soulless, which launches in October. Want to preorder a copy? Easy peasy, just scroll down. But first, read a story summary:

Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend†(a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

COMING October 13, 2014

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