Friday, October 31, 2014

The Wanted (The Woodlands Series, Book 4) by Lauren Nicolle Taylor (Excerpt, Giveaway)

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Title:  The Wanted
Series:  The Woodlands Series, Book 4
Author:  Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Published:  October 31st, 2014  
Publisher:  Clean Teen Publishing
Page Count:  363
Genre:  YA Mature Dystopian Romance
Content Warning:  Graphic Violence
Recommended Age:  16+
What would you be willing to sacrifice to get what you Wanted?
It’s the question facing both Rosa and Joseph as they are pushed and pulled in unimaginable directions.
It’s the question Superior Grant answered with a resounding, “Anything and everything.”
The only thing they want is to be back in each other’s arms. But what will it cost them to get there?
Separated after a failed mission, they are caught in dual hells. Joseph, sinking as he struggles to face what he did to escape and who he had to leave behind. Rosa, straddling the divide between fighting the evil, calculating Superior Grant and trying her best to stay alive.
When what they Wanted seems unreachable, can they find the strength–the will–to keep trying? To keep fighting? And find their way back to each other and to Orry?
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
I searched for movement, but I could see none. My eyes squinted and strained, staring at the side of the concrete wall. Smooth, dull, and perfectly curved.
A puff of dust pushed out from the wall like a hard cough. A few moments later, a small, popping sound followed.
Then sirens wailed thinly as if mildly displeased. The only indication of how serious the situation was seemed to be the way all the lights swung around to focus on the explosion site.
The screen opened in the sky minutes later like daylight had cut through the night accidentally. The clouds were the perfect backdrop for the show. I waited, barely breathing, as the video began.
I didn’t notice Elise until she sat down with a thump next to me. “Great view,” she said breathlessly, pulling her sleeves over her hands.
I wondered why she’d followed me up here, but I tried to hide my annoyance.
“Yes, it is,” I replied absently. We were silent as the video played through.
She started talking just as Rosa appeared in the lines of pregnant girls. “How are you feeling? Should I check…?”
“Sh…” I said, putting my hand up to her face.
She crossed her arms over her chest and pouted like a child. “That was really rude,” she muttered.
I groaned, pulling my hair back with my hands and froze, my hands fixed over my head. There she was. I stared into the clouds, trying to will them closer.
“Rosa,” I whispered before I could stop myself. She blinked back at me, sad, disappointed. How could you leave me? she seemed to say.
“I’m sorry,” I told the clouds and the image of her from two years ago. That Rosa loved a different Joseph. I tried not to think about the Rosa of now and what was happening to her at this exact moment, because my mind conjured horrible things.
Elise played with her fingers. “It’s ok… you’re obviously stressed about something.”
“What? No.” I wasn’t talking to her.
God, she sounded like a doctor when she talked.
“Wow, look at that girl with heterochromia. Amazing eyes. She’s beautiful.” Elise said, pointing in the sky.
You don’t even know.
I should have told her, that’s Rosa, but I didn’t. I was hoarding her memory. I didn’t want to share it with anyone.
The image faded.
She was gone.
This was torture.
 photo Lauren-Nicolle-Taylor.jpgAbout the Author:
Lauren Nicolle Taylor is a 33-year-old mother living in the tiny, lush town of Bridgewater on the other side of the world in Australia. She married her high school sweetheart and has three very boisterous and individual children. She earned a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences with Honours in Obstetrics and Gynecology and majored in Psychology while minoring in Contemporary Australian Writing.
After a disastrous attempt to build her dream house that left her family homeless, She found herself inexplicably drawn to the computer. She started writing, not really knowing where it may lead but ended up, eight weeks later, with the rough draft of The Woodlands.
In 2013, Lauren Nicolle Taylor accepted a publishing contract with Clean Teen Publishing. Her first published novel, The Woodlands, was released in August 2013 and quickly became a best seller. The second book in The Woodlands Series titled: The Wall, was published in October 2013 and followed suit, maintaining its position on the best seller charts for three months in a row.
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Clean Teen Publishing Links:
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • A bookmark swag pack and winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook.
Giveaway is International.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sometimes Greek myths are deep, and sometimes they're asparagus

I've mentioned my love of Who's Who in Greek and Roman Mythology before. Seriously, this was one of my favorite books when I was a kid and definitely when I was in the fifth grade, so I try not to judge too harshly when one of my sons wants to read things like Minecraft and Pokemon guides.

When I was in the fifth grade, I was drawn to the big ticket items in classical mythology, namely the Pantheon, the demigods and the major kings and queens. But even some of the "bit players" didn't escape my attention. Some of the stories, however short, make you feel like you've been punched in the gut.

To wit, Caenis:

Daughter of Elatus and Hippea, and the sister of Polyphemus and Ischys. Raped by Poseidon. (It's funny how often he, Apollo and Hermes show up in stories being rapists. The god you might expect to be the most likely to rape? Ares. However, so far I've only seen him in one story featuring a rape- and that was when he killed the rapist of his daughter Alcippe. The rapist? Halirrothius- son of Poseidon. Go figure.) To make up for the rape, Poseidon agreed to grant Caenis any wish. Her wish? To be turned into a man, henceforth known as Caeneus. Caeneus went on to father a child named Coronus, and died because he offended Zeus (always a lousy idea, but perhaps forgiven after what happened with Poseidon?). He was buried under pine trees, and then changed into a bird.

So much about power and sex in that matter what Caeneus received from Poseidon, Caenis was dead.

But then, flipping through the pages, I come across this:

Melanippus, son of Theseus and Perigune (which baby mama was that again?). Father of Ioxus, ancestor of the Ioxids.


Ioxus, son of Melanippus (another poor, motherless child). Ancestor of the Ioxids. And then...."The Ioxids held the asparagus to be sacred, a cult started by Perigune."

Asparagus Tip
What does this vegetable have to do with a family of serial killers? Let's ask Greek Mythology!

Perigune, daughter of Sinis, mother of Melanippus by Theseus. Started the Asparagus cult.

*blinks* And who was Sinis?

Sinis, son of Damastes aka Procrustes and Sylea. Nicknamed Pitocamptes or "Pine Bender" because he would tie victims to the tops of pine trees and catapult them into the air. Theseus, in his tour of cleaning up the countryside, killed him the same way.

Damastes, nicknamed Procrustes or "The Stretcher", invited people into his house and made sure they fit the bed exactly. If too tall, he'd cut off their legs; if too short, he'd stretch them. Theseus, our hero, gave this guy the same treatment.

(And you people wonder why I don't need to watch horror movies.)

Er, who was Sylea, the grandmother of the Asparagus-loving Perigune? (And was she crazy too?)

Sylea, daughter of Corinthus, mother of Sinis...

Corinthus, King of Corinth (wow, psycho outlaw is a big step down for Sylea then!). Son of Marathon, Father of Sylea. Because he didn't have any sons, his rule of Corinth passed to Medea and Jason. (We can feel bad for poor Sylea- until we contemplate that her husband and son were sadistic serial killers. And...huh. Medea was Theseus' stepmother for a little while.)

Well, okay, let's climb out of the Greek version of hillbilly psychos...who was Marathon?

Marathon, son of Epopeus and Ephyraea, father of Corinthus.

Epopeus, king of Asopia...evidently without parents worth noting. (Same for his wife Ephyraea.)
Which leads me to wonder: is Asopia on the path that Theseus used to get to Athens? And more importantly, do they grow asparagus there? And, oh yeah, is this story of serial killers and the brute who killed them better or worse than the one about the girl who was raped by a god?

These and other light thoughts brought to us by the Ancient Greeks. Good morning!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Angus MacBain and the Agate Eyeglass (Angus MacBain Series #2) by Angela J. Townsend (Excerpt, Giveaway)

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Title:  Angus MacBain and the Agate Eyeglass
Series:  Angus MacBain Series #2
Author:   Angela J. Townsend
Published:  October 28th, 2014
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Page Count:  132
Genre:  YA Fantasy
When Angus MacBain finds that a Sea Hag has cast a deadly spell on Vanora’s father, he must once again set aside his life in the outside world to plunge into danger to save his friend’s father. But when he seeks out Fane, advisor to the MacBain Kings, Angus discovers that Vanora’s father is not the only one in dire peril. Now with two souls in mortal danger, Angus and Vanora must face the unknown challenges of Fingal’s Cave alone this time—without the aid of his trusted advisor. But what new and dreadful dangers lurk in the Hall of Kings? Armed with only the ancient weapon of the MacBain Kings, the heirloom amber eyeglass, Angus is about to find out.

Excerpt from Angus MacBain and the Agate Eyeglass:
Vanora’s eyes went wide. She turned slowly and pointed a shaky finger at the empty chair. “I just sat on someone’s lap.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I mean, there’s someone sitting in that chair!”
Angus sighed. “This was no time for joking around. I think you need a new prescription for your glasses.”
“See for yourself.” Vanora patted the chair. “Feel right there. A perfect set of legs.”
Angus hobbled closer, cautiously leaned forward, and touched the seat. Beneath his fingertips, he felt a warm pair of legs covered in a fleece material. Angus jerked his hand back.
Vanora crossed her arms. “See, I told you.”

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About the Author:
Angela Townsend was born in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana. As a child, she grew up listening to stories told by her grandparents, ancient tales and legends of faraway places. Influenced by her Irish and Scottish heritage, she became an avid research historian, specializing in Celtic mythology. Her gift for storytelling finally led her to a full-time career in historical research and writing. A writer in local community circulation, Angela is also a published genealogical and historical resource writer who has taught numerous research seminars. Currently, she divides her time between writing, playing Celtic music on her fiddle, and Irish dancing.
Angela’s Young Adult novel, Amarok, was published through Spencer Hill Press in 2012. Since that time, she has published three books with Clean Teen Publishing: Angus MacBain and The Island of Sleeping Kings, River of Bones, and Moonflower. Angus MacBain and The Agate Eyeglass, the second book in the Angus MacBain series, will be released by Clean Teen Publishing in October of 2014.
Angela also has two of her horror novels in pre-production for motion pictures—River of Bones and The Forlorned.
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Clean Teen Publishing Links:
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • A bookmark swag pack and winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook.
Giveaway is International.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Monday, October 27, 2014

A giveaway- mine! (The Smartest Girl in the Room)

While Goodreads is a controversial subject for authors and now readers, one thing that it is super terrific awesome for is book giveaways. I've done one before, but Catherine Ryan Howard's post on Goodreads giveaways inspired me to dip my toes in again. And if you read her post, you'll understand why this will not be my last. Stay tuned!

And speaking of reading my I mentioned a little while ago, I'm embarking on a virtual book review tour for The New Pioneers next month. If you've already read and reviewed some of the books, you should *really* consider entering. (You're not a real indie author if you don't beg for reviews :-D )

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Smartest Girl in the Room by Deborah Nam-Krane

The Smartest Girl in the Room

by Deborah Nam-Krane

Giveaway ends October 30, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Makeup, MENA and Sex

Last week, as I was getting one of my children ready for her day, I heard this story on NPR about Cosmopolitan, aka Cosmo magazine. A couple of thoughts.

First, a rousing cheer for Joanna Coles' central message that women can be interested in both "mascara and the Middle East". Damn it, yes we can, and this writer certainly is (well, not mascara, because it always gets in my eyes, but no one loves red lipstick more than I do). I realize that some people may think I take chances because what I talk about on my Twitter feed is more about current events than writing tips, but I'm making a very conservative bet that there are plenty of women out there who like to read romance and women's fiction who also care passionately about politics, both domestic and international. I have never understood why being interested in clothing and cosmetics was supposed to preclude an interest in the rest of the world.

Second, while I applaud Coles' mission, it's a mistake to characterize the Cosmo of years past as being strictly concerned with sex. (I read my first sex graphic sex descriptions in Our Bodies Ourselves and then Princess Daisy.) Yes, I read explicit things in Cosmo, but I also read about women trying to navigate their way through the workplace, Camille Paglia, the importance of managing money and profiles of up-and-coming women (and no, they weren't all models). Among the articles about sex wasn't just (an admittedly weird) piece about oral sex in the age of HIV/AIDS, but also sexual harassment, sexual violence and sex addiction. None of it, I might add, was glamorized.

Helen Gurley Brown, the original Cosmo Girl
Finally, it's great that we live in a world where we can take for granted being sexual as a given, but when the modern version of Cosmo was birthed, that wasn't a given. Our sexual expression, but in private and in public, was more tightly circumscribed. In other words, there were far fewer ways to do it "right" (and not simply in the court of public opinion). And many can argue that even today talking about sex and being in control of our sexuality is still something many begrudge young women (see Purity Pledges). So while Cosmo may be snickered at for talking about sex (what's that about, really?), it's still quietly revolutionary that they do so.

So women (and the men among you so inclined), go forth, be a badass, talk about sex, cosmetics and politics and then go vote. In other words, be a real person- that's still revolutionary.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The SELF-PRINTED 3.0 Splash! (#selfprintedsplash)

As my indie writer friends know, I think Catherine Ryan Howard is the bomb. When I discovered her as a resource a few years ago, I was delighted to find someone who was brimming with common sense and practical advice. Were it not for her, I don't think I could have handled formatting for Smashwords, and I probably would have made a bunch of stupid and costly marketing mistakes, as well as spammed Twitter with every review I've ever gotten and every excerpt I could fit into 140 characters.
I'm pleased to be a part of the splash to get the word out about the 3rd edition of SELF PRINTED: THE SANE PERSON'S GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING. Just to show how insanely knowledgeable she is, she invited one hundred or so of her craziest fans to send in their publishing and marketing questions.
Did I try to stump this brilliant woman? You bet. Did she rise to the challenge? What do you think? ;-)
Q: For fiction (specifically romance), where do you think you get the most bang for your marketing buck: ads or public relations (e.g., reviews, interviews, etc.)?
A: Ooh, this is a toughie.

Normally I say don't spend any $ on advertising at all, but if you have a very specific genre that is known to sell in droves, and you find the most [that genre] popular book blogger site that has a gizallion readers a month who love YOUR kind of book, and that book blogger is offering a banner header for $100, well then: go for it! If you think it'll practically guarantee sales, it'll be money well spent.

On the other hand, word of mouth is what drives all bestsellers, and that can only come from reviews on sites like Goodreads and from book bloggers, and sending them copies of your book costs $ too. Having said that, if you're posting paperbacks, how many can you realistically buy and mail for $100? Could you send e-books instead?

If I ONLY had $100, I'd split it. I'd spend $25 running a Goodreads giveaway (as per strategic way that I blogged about recently) and the rest on a banner or sidebar advertisement on a website I KNOW has lots of avid readers who love just my kind of book OR a newsletter/mail shot that goes to those same kinds of readers - in other words, maximum guaranteed eyeballs. Then I'd try to e-mail out a few e-book review copies too, just to be sure!

Thank you Catherine! 

Want more great tips like this? Then grab your copy of SELF-PRINTED (3rd edition)!

Catherine Ryan Howard is a writer, self-publisher and caffeine enthusiast from Cork, Ireland. SELF-PRINTED: THE SANE PERSON'S GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING (3rd edition) is out now in paperback and e-book and available from Amazon. Follow the #selfprintedsplash on Twitter today (Friday 24th) and/or visit for chance to win an amazing prize that will get your self-publishing adventure started!

“SELF-PRINTED is my self-publishing bible. It taught me how to format, create and upload my e-books and print-on-demand paperbacks. It showed me practical things such as how to build a website/blog and how to promote my books. More importantly, it taught me how to compete with the professionals. Just look at the results - The Estate Series has sold nearly 100,000 copies and following that I got a traditional book deal with Thomas & Mercer too, so I’m now a hybrid author. Jam-packed full of hints and tips all in one place, I’m always referring back to it. In a word, it’s priceless.” – Mel Sherratt, author of The Estate Series and DS Allie Shenton Series

A Place Halfway (SYNSK Series Book 3) by K.C. Finn (Excerpt, Giveaway)

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Title:  A Place Halfway
Series:  SYNSK Series Book 3
Author:   K.C. Finn
Published:  October 24th, 2014
Publisher:  Clean Teen Publishing
Page Count:  229
Genre:  YA Historical Adventure
Content Warning:  Mild Violence
Recommended Age:  16+
Synopsis:  A struggling psychic girl steps out into the big, wide world amidst the murky depths of racial segregation in England, 1961.
As a teenage psychic, Josephine Fontaine knows what it’s like to be different. At Peregrine Place, a school full of youngsters with gifts just like hers, sixteen-year-old Josie is growing tired of her life and looking for excitement beyond the grand manor house’s walls. When an opportunity arises to work in a local music bar, she jumps at the chance, learning to balance her new job with the pressures of studying the ways of the Synsk.
There she meets the charming Tommy Asher, a fellow psychic with a talent for music, and Jake Bolton, a handsome, surly stranger with coffee-coloured skin. Throw in the return of her old crush Dai Bickerstaff, and Josie finds herself embroiled in a drama much bigger than she could have imagined, especially when certain parties take issue to her developing a friendship with a boy who isn’t white-skinned. When a mysterious record mogul offers Josie help to improve her psychic gifts, her world turns totally upside down, and she begins to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her family, and even herself.
Coming of age was never so intense as it will be for Josie in the winter of 1961.
“When you’ve quite finished mumbling, young man,” Miss Cartwright said in her clipped tone.

A few people giggled as the boy sank into the seat beside me. He was smaller with the guitar absent from his back, and he seemed much less sure of himself here than when he’d been trying to convince Frost to let him play at Halfway. I reasoned that he must have recently come to the village ready to start school here and spotted the club on the side of the lane just like us. Miss Cartwright cleared her throat, commanding utter silence from the assembled kids.

“Answer me when I call your name,” she instructed. “Let’s make sure we have no dunces who have come to the wrong room.”

The boy looked down at his desk skittishly.

“Thomas Asher,” Miss Cartwright said.

The boy suddenly looked up again, eyes widening. “Oh, um. Yes, Miss,” he replied, “I mean, here, Miss.”

Miss Cartwright gave him her best glare, but said nothing more on the matter. She began to move across the room as she called out names, studying every face in the rows before her.

It’s Tommy actually, a voice suddenly said in my head. Only my nanna calls me Thomas.

I took a deep breath, pushing my mind towards his. Did I give you permission to speak in my head? I asked him.

Although I was tuning out of the room to speak with him, I could still see the outline of his face as he smiled at me; I was caught somewhere partway between reality and full psychic concentration.

Sorry, Tommy answered, but I certainly wasn’t going to whisper out loud with her staring at me. Scary woman, that one.

I tried my best not to giggle. You have no idea, I answered. She’s been teaching me for six years.

Not cool, Tommy replied.

A book suddenly slammed down on my desk. I leapt in my seat, my old, wooden chair rattling as I looked up into the thunderous face of my teacher. “Josephine Fontaine,” she said, her teeth gritted. “Are we in such a state of distraction that we can’t answer our own name on the register nowadays?”

I gave Tommy a withering glare, watching him bite his lip to hold back a laugh.

“Sorry, Miss,” I answered. “But you do know I’m here. I mean, it’s not as though we’re strangers.” I regretted adding the bit after the apology immediately.

“Oh no, we know each other very well,” she answered primly. “I suspect you’re going to be repeating this class until we’re both white-haired and wrinkled.”

 photo KC-Finn.jpg About the Author:
Born in South Wales to Raymond and Jennifer Finn, Kimberley Charlotte Elisabeth Finn (known to readers as K.C., otherwise it’d be too much of a mouthful) was one of those corny little kids who always wanted to be a writer. She was also incredibly stubborn, and so has finally achieved that dream in 2013 with the release of her first three novellas in the four-part Caecilius Rex saga, the time travel adventure The Secret Star and her new urban fantasy epic The Book Of Shade.
As a sufferer with the medical condition M.E./C.F.S., Kim works part time as a private tutor and a teacher of creative writing, devoting the remainder of her time to writing novels and studying for an MA in Education and Linguistics.
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Clean Teen Publishing Links:
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • Reader's choice of Clean Teen Publishing eBook and bookmark swag pack. 
Giveaway is International a Rafflecopter giveaway
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