Thursday, July 19, 2018

Release Blitz: Letting Go of Gravity



I am so excited that LETTING GO OF GRAVITY by Meg Leder is available now and that I get to share the news!
If you haven't yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Meg Leder, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for 3 finished copies of the book, courtesy of Simon Pulse and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you'd like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


About the Book:
Title: LETTING GO OF GRAVITY
Author: Meg Leder
Pub. Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 432
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD
Twins Parker and Charlie are polar opposites.

Where Charlie is fearless, Parker is careful.

Charlie is confident while Parker aims to please.

Charlie is outgoing and outspoken; Parker is introverted and reserved.

And of course, there's the one other major difference: Charlie got leukemia. Parker didn't.

But now that Charlie is officially in remission, life couldn't be going better for Parker. She's landed a prestigious summer internship at the hospital and is headed to Harvard in the fall to study pediatric oncology-which is why the anxiety she's felt since her Harvard acceptance is so unsettling. And it doesn't help that her relationship with Charlie has been on the rocks since his diagnosis.

Enter Finn, a boy who's been leaving strange graffiti messages all over town. Parker can't stop thinking about those messages, or about Finn, who makes her feel free for the first time: free to doubt, free to make mistakes, and free to confront the truth that Parker has been hiding from for a long time.

That she keeps trying to save Charlie, when the person who really needs saving is herself. 

A gorgeous, sad, funny, and wise book about letting go and finding your place in the world. Meg Leder has written a story about a brother and sister that will break your heart and have you whispering 'I got you' long after you've closed the book." -Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces



"For readers who love and appreciate a good coming-of-age story, a realistic romance, and a novel where every character gets to be a hero." -Kirkus



"A poignant and carefully crafted story….  A compelling coming-of-age novel sure to appeal to those who love realistic fiction." -School Library Journal



"Effectively shows how illness affects families and how a person can get stuck acting out a persona and end up knowing very little about herself." -Publishers Weekly


About Meg:

Meg Leder is the author of Letting Go of Gravity and The Museum of Heartbreak, and the coauthor of books including The Happy Book and The Book of Me. A former bookseller and teacher, she currently works as a book editor in New York City. She spends her free time reading, looking for street art, and people watching. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Tim Riggins.



Giveaway Details:

3 winners will win a finished copy of LETTING GO OF GRAVITY, US Only.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 13, 2018

Excerpt: Aphrodite's Tears

Description:

In ancient Greece, one of the twelve labours of Heracles was to bring back a golden apple from the Garden of Hesperides. To archaeologist Oriel Anderson, joining a team of Greek divers on the island of Helios seems like the golden apple of her dreams. Yet the dream becomes a nightmare when she meets the devilish owner of the island, Damian Lekkas. In shocked recognition, she is flooded with the memory of a romantic night in a stranger’s arms, six summers ago. A very different man stands before her now, and Oriel senses that the sardonic Greek autocrat is hell-bent on playing a cat and mouse game with her. 
As they cross swords and passions mount, Oriel is aware that malevolent eyes watch her from the shadows. Dark rumours are whispered about the Lekkas family. What dangers lie in Helios, a bewitching land where ancient rituals are still enacted to appease the gods, young men risk their lives in the treacherous depths of the Ionian Sea, and the volatile earth can erupt at any moment? Will Oriel find the hidden treasures she seeks? Or will Damian’s tragic past catch up with them, threatening to engulf them both?

Author bio:

Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: writing full time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean.

To date, Hannah has published six novels: Burning Embers, ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya; The Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’ set in Italy; the Andalucian Nights trilogy (IndiscretionMasqueradeand Legacy), set in sultry Spain; and Aphrodite’s Tears, set on the Greek islands, which won Best Romance in the 2018 NIEA Excellence Awards and the 2018 International Book Awards.

 

Links


Excerpt
Oriel had been sitting on the boulder for a long time, gazing distractedly towards the water, when she became vaguely aware of something moving in the shallows. The moon had by now disappeared behind a bank of cloud, extinguishing the glitter of the waves and the silvery patina on the rocks. The shift in darkness of the night sky made it difficult to see what had rippled the surface of the water. Frogmen night diving, she thought, or the slight undulation of the sea in the warm, salty breeze. Oriel didn’t give it another thought, returning her attention to the winking lights of fishing boats on the horizon – and then, abruptly, he emerged ...
It was a man, but not one wearing a wetsuit, flippers or oxygen mask; this one was almost naked, his modesty barely protected by what could only be defined as an apology for a low-rise brief. He was no mere trick of the light. Sleek and glorious, he was suddenly hurtling out of the water, throwing spray off his body like Poseidon rising from the waves.  
Oriel’s breath caught in her throat as she watched him, a small frown crinkling her brow. A curious sense of apprehension seeped into her veins. In the near-darkness, he looked large, rather menacing, and disturbingly masculine as he strode through the shallows. There was an air of unquestioned dominance about this man, an arrogant power that expressed itself in the controlled motion of his body as he sauntered onto the beach. 
For that fateful minute, she was totally helpless, in the grip of emotions too basic to be controlled by rational thought. Instead of turning to leave quickly, she continued to stare at the stranger who had materialized like a Greek god wading from the depths of the sea. The moon slid into view again, throwing a wash of silver over long muscular legs and narrow hips, wide shoulders and a sculpted torso, all combined in a vibrantly athletic stance. As his approaching form became more discernable, each smooth, fluid curve of muscle, each long line of sinew and bone, and each angular feature glistened with a radiance that stabbed Oriel straight to the heart. Hair as dark as the devil’s soul was dripping wet across his forehead and he lifted his hand to slick it away from his face, the moonlight catching every droplet that glittered like tiny diamonds across his skin. 
All at once, Oriel gathered her wits, conscious that she too was only lightly clad with just a muslin sarong covering her bikini. She remembered her mother’s warning that it wasn’t wise for a woman to venture alone on a deserted beach, and she stood up to hurry back to her hotel, quickly tucking the letter and photograph into her sarong. 
Too late! She had barely taken a step before she found herself confronted by the tall, dark figure. Well above the average height of other Greek men, he towered over her, a dark silhouette against the moonlit sky. His eyes gleamed like steel against his deeply tanned skin as his gaze wandered over her, then rested upon her hair falling heavily down her back, pale and shining as the moon on the water. He had a strong masculine face, rather insolent and somewhat primitive – so much so that despite the tinge of fear fluttering through her, Oriel couldn’t help but feel mesmerized by this Adonis. 
‘What brings a beautiful girl to such a deserted place on this enchanting night?’ he asked in English. His obvious Greek accent gave a delightful, smoky edge to his deep voice, and it sent an involuntary warmth up her spine. Slicking back his dark wet hair once more, he studied her openly. ‘You look like the ocean nymph, Calypso, waiting for Odysseus on your island, ready to bewitch him with your mesmerizing voice.’
Oriel had been too startled, too alarmed to reply at first. His comment was unexpected, and those glittering grey eyes seemed to hold her prisoner, flickering with amusement and something more intense. It was she who was bewitched.
‘I thought I was alone,’ she said, finally finding her voice.
His mouth quirked. ‘So did I.’ He nodded behind him. ‘I dropped anchor back there to come in for an evening swim. It’s been a hot day.’ His eyes returned to her, intent and appraising.
Oriel’s gaze flitted away and caught sight of a small boat, moored next to the rocks on her left. Partially obscured by the craggy ridge that shaped the deserted cove, only the top of the sail was visible, billowing gently in the balmy breeze. She’d been too preoccupied by her brooding thoughts to notice its arrival.
She felt an urge to push past this handsome stranger and run away to the safety of her hotel bedroom, but something about this man had held her there, transfixed. The intriguing power of his personality gripped her imagination. This stranger could have stepped straight out of Homer’s Odyssey
A silky platinum lock slipped from the scarf Oriel had tied around her head in a band to keep her heavy, tumbling mane in place, and the breeze blew it across her face. He reached out a bronzed hand with tapering long fingers and lightly pushed the strand away, before caressing the length of her hair almost reverently. There was a sultry burn now in the gaze that wandered from her hair to her mouth, settling on Oriel’s wild doe eyes, which stared back at him. Her stomach curled with instinctive heat. 
She felt the impulse to escape, like a fawn fleeing into the brush. Instead, she stood there, pulse racing, her legs trembling as an unfamiliar exquisite sensation flooded the lower part of her body. It was madness! Never before had this sense of danger – of seduction – hit her with such potency. Surely it was the island air that had gone to her head like an enchanted potion. 
The dark waves murmured on the sand, their gently rolling edges lit a luminous blue under the moonlight. Everything was cloaked in unreality, and it was as if the two of them were caught in a dream. Oriel sensed that the mysterious stranger before her was also aware of the extraordinary atmosphere that engulfed them. 





Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Review: Lustre

Title: Lustre (A Witchlight novela)
Author: Jaime Munn
Page Count: 196
My Rating: 4 TURTLES: A great read, I definitely recommend.
Amazon
 
Review:

Nilla Hayes is still trying to get over her werewolf ex-girlfriend when an angel comes to call on her witchy services to track down a dream thief. Despite her reluctance to work for an angelic being – they’re usually bad news – she accepts and tracks the thief to the small town of Whisper Falls. Nilla quickly realizes her target is much more dangerous than she originally thought and has to catch him before it’s too late.

This was a really fun and unexpected read!

I loved Nilla’s dry sense of humor and her wry and conversational narrating voice. The strong, humorous sense of voice was one of my favorite things about this story. It is so hard to craft and keep consistent, but when it’s done well it can make even slow points in a plot engaging and interesting. (Some of my favorite authors like Rick Riordan and Eoin Colfer have earned that spot because of this narration style). Since Lustre is so short, there isn’t much of a lull in the action, so the combo of voice and snappy plot made it a breeze to read!

In the short span of the book we are introduced to a very complex urban fantasy world. While what is in the plot is only the tip of the iceberg, we get glimpses of what lays beneath the water and I’d be excited to see what more we’d learn in the future book set in this world. Having said that, I was a little confused because I don’t think we ever learn where on Earth Nilla is. We know she lives in a city and travels to a small town called Whisper Falls a ways outside the city, but we never learn which city it’s in, or even what country it’s in. Just saying what city it is, or making up a fictional city in a real country, would have grounded the story so much more. How I envision the surroundings is going to change so much depending where in the world, or where in a country, it is and it is an easy enough detail to through in.

I don’t want to give anything away, but I love the unexpected turns the story and characters take. Everything is much more complicated and personal than it first appears and it raises the stakes and makes the result all the more gratifying.

I definitely recommend you check out Lustre! Fans of Urban Fantasy or TV shows like Supernatural or Grimm should especially consider putting it on your TBR lists! 





Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Blog Tour: A Study in Shifters


A Study In Shifters
Majanka Verstraete
(The Adventures of Marisol Holmes, #1)
Publication date: June 26th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Marisol Holmes may be the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes, but it's hard to live up to the family name when only one mistake can spell your downfall. After trusting the wrong guy in a case gone totally wrong, Marisol convinces the Conclave, an underground organization of detectives solving supernatural cases, to give her a last chance to prove her worth, and maybe even heal her broken heart
After all, as a half-blood jaguar shifter, Marisol is uniquely qualified to solve this murder-and every scrap of evidence points toward the culprit being a fellow jaguar shifter. But is one of her own people involved, or is this all a ploy to kick Marisol's mother off the shifter throne?
Then Marisol discovers her best friend, Roan, is missing, and maybe the killer's next target. The stakes just got higher than political intrigue. Just when things couldn't get worse, Marisol's ex-boyfriend-turned-nemesis, Mannix, starts leaving sinister clues for her. Marisol fears this case might be far more personal than she could've imagined.
It's time for Marisol to prove her worth, or her people could fall into chaos while her best friend loses his life.


Author Bio:
Author Majanka Verstraete has written more than twenty unique works of fiction. A native of Belgium, Majanka's novels explore the true nature of monsters: the good, the bad, and just about every species in between. Her young adult books include the acclaimed Mirrorland (YA Dark Fantasy) and Angel of Death (YA Paranormal) series of novels. At MHB, Majanka is currently developing a new YA shifter series with a fresh take on fierce female detectives called THE ADVENTURES OF MARISOL HOLMES.
When she's not writing, Majanka is probably playing World of Warcraft or catching up with the dozens of TV series she's addicted to.
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Majanka's Top 10 Fictional Villains

Number 10: The Riddler from Batman

The Riddler is cool simply because he’s the Riddler. One riddle after another, he was my favorite Batman villain of all time… I liked him even better than the Joker, which is saying something! 

Number 9: Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events

A Series of Unfortunate Events is one of my favorite series, and that is, in no small part, thanks to count Olaf, who always manages to change personalities with each new costume he tries on but who, in reality, is still as evil as ever! 

Number 8: Spike from Buffy, The Vampire Slayer

It’s been ages since I’ve seen Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (I really have to re-watch my DVDs of this epic series) but I remember how much I loved Spike. The first season we saw him, he was this cool bad guy, but then he slowly became one of the Scoobies, and eventually, he even became a “good” guy, up to some degree at least… That made him very intriguing, and his relationship with Buffy was an added bonus. 

Number 7: Aubrey from “In The Forests of The Night” by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

A lot of people probably won’t know this book, “In The Forests of The Night,” but I strongly recommend it, mainly because of its villain, a vampire named Aubrey who is, by all accounts, awesome. He’s complicated, dark, thrilling, and he’s evil just because he can be, but he’s also loyal and mysterious. 

Number 6: Crowley from Supernatural

In Supernatural, for several seasons, Crowley is one of the top-notch villains. Then, he sort of becomes Sam and Dean’s sidekick, and eventually he turns into “one of the good guys”. And that’s why he’s so interesting! His personality changes over time, he grows and develops, and eventually becomes a better person. 

Number 5: Darth Vader / Anakin from Star Wars

One of the reasons why I like Darth Vader is the prequel trilogy (I know, most people hate it, but it adds a lot of depth and personality to what would otherwise be a rather generic villain). Still, Anakin’s descend from pretty-okay-guy to children-slaughtering-madman happens too fast to merit a spot in the top three. 

Number 4: Loki from the Thor movies and the Avengers

Why is Loki so amazing? Because he’s not evil. He has a plan: he wants to take his father’s place, and to do that, he needs to get rid of his brother. But Loki is a lot more complicated than that. Sometimes he has Thor’s back, sometimes he double-crosses the God of Thunder. And that, his mischievous nature and the fact he’s not bad-bad is what makes him so intriguing. 

Number 3: Hannibal Lecter (from the movies and the TV series) 

Hannibal Lecter, both as he is portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in the movies, and by Mads Mikkelsen in the TV series, is chilling, and that is in part because Hannibal is just such an amazing character. He’s evil and knows it, but he’s also complex and difficult to read, and  

Number 2: Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones

One of my favorite characters in Game of Thrones is, no doubt, Cersei Lannister. Why? Well, she is evil, that’s a given, but she has purpose and drive, a reason why she does what she does, and no matter how much peril she is in, she always finds a way out of it. This resourcefulness along with the fact she only gets more intriguing over time is why she’s one of my favorite villains. 

Number 1: James Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes books

Of course, I have to give the grand number one title to Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes’ books. I’m a little biased, but still, he’s one of the best villains ever written about. He’s clever, witty, and he’s a solid opponent for Sherlock Holmes. Also, he does things for a reason, not just because he’s evil: his motivations are far more complex.   

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Interview: Authors of the Kissed Anthology


The authors from Evernight Teen's new romance anthology, Kissed, agreed to answer a few of my questions about romance, anthologies, and reading! I don't know about you, but seeing how different each of their backgrounds are makes me really excited to see what they bring to YA romance!

About the KISSED Anthology:

Pucker up for KISSED!

Kisses can be innocent, playful, or just to comfort. Some are for luck and others have the promise of sweeter ones to come. 

That's why we've dedicated an anthology to the kiss. These eight hand-picked stories are brimming with romance, and they all begin and end with a kiss. 

Our talented authors will prove that love knows no boundaries. 

The Kissed Anthology is coming July 20th from Evernight Teen!

Christine Rees
Just Like the Movies
 
Why do you write romance?
I typically write more YA fiction/paranormal stories, but the KISSED anthology was the perfect opportunity to dip my toes into romance with "Just Like The Movies." I craved writing in a genre I hadn't explored on its own yet and found genuine enjoyment in bringing aspects of my favorite romcoms to life in this story.

Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
I believe that the stigma around reading or writing romance is that only a hopeless romantic can love them, but I don't believe this is true in all cases. I am a romantic but I am also a huge cynic at times, and I savor contemporary romance among other genres. Whether it's reading or writing, I think it depends on your current interests and where you are in your life when you find a desire to dive into romance.

Where do you go for writing inspiration?
I tend to get lost in music for inspiration. Plenty of authors use music to zone into their story and step out of the real world for a while, but I use music as a way of driving inspiration. I pop my earbuds in and go for a walk (or a run) and let the songs guide my imagination. Certain music genres open my creativity to specific scenes -- rock leads to fighting, pop leads to happier moments such as someone's first kiss or a meet-cute, etc. I take those scenes and build a story by developing characters, flaws, and problems that need to be resolved. The scenes are a gateway for new ideas that aid in moving the story along.

What was it like writing for this anthology?
I was thrilled to try my hand at a contemporary romance in a short/novella format. It felt like a fresh take on a concept I always wanted to experiment with. As I mentioned, "Just Like The Movies" is my first contemporary romance but it is also my first contribution to an anthology. Having a limited amount of words to foster and flush out the idea was definitely a challenge, but an enjoyable one. This experience has led to a new appreciation for short stories and I intend to write more of them in the future.

What are you currently reading?
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. AEITA is a thrilling and heart-wrenching YA fantasy. It's truly an amazing ride!

About Christine: 
Christine Rees is the author of an Amazon #1 Best Seller: THE HIDDEN LEGACY. Christine is a 25-year-old Western University graduate and Sheridan College alumni, YA book writer and lover of all literature. Also an admitted movie junkie, brunch enthusiast, and cat lady, Christine spends her free time writing books with a cat nestled on her lap.  




Peri Elizabeth Scott
It’s in His Kiss

Why do you write romance? 
This is a genre I’ve read for years and enjoy. And one I’ve written for years.

Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it? 
I, personally, have found that the stigma isn’t as prevalent as in the past where people tended to hide their book covers! Romance might not be seen as ‘serious’ writing but it’s a huge part of everyday life. I’m often amused when someone will disparage it and yet haven’t picked up a book in years. I believe each to his own. There’s a genre for everyone.

Where do you go for writing inspiration? 
Not far! I just look around me, and listen. 

What was it like writing for this anthology? 
In that I’d never written YA before, it was a delightful challenge. I wanted to write a strong heroine and a hero with depth as well as convey a simmering connection between them based on attraction and mutual appreciation, and think I achieved it. 

What are you currently reading? 
I’m actually reading the Brew Ha Ha box set and loving it. 

About Peri: 
 Peri Elizabeth Scott lives in cottage country, Manitoba, Canada. She and her husband pretend to work well together in their seasonal business.


Sasha Hibbs
No Romeo
Why do you write romance?
Of all the emotions we go through—grief, horror, stress, sadness, depression—love is the one emotion that helps us to endure all the rest. I write romance because I feel that counteracts the darkness. 

Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
Great question. I’ve honestly never thought about it. Now that I am, I’m sure there’s some stigma surrounding it … isn’t there always with things in life? I guess I would respond by continuing to do what I do and respect the opinions of others but not allow any bad stigma to have any power over what I love to do: read and write the heck out of romance J

Where do you go for writing inspiration?
Nowhere in particular, but I did have inspiration nearly hit me, literally, for my pervious release in January, Northern Pines. I was driving to work, using my boss’s car no less, and I came within an inch of hitting a cow. Not only was I terrified, but the inspiration for my last novel came directly from that event. I had the completed manuscript finished within a month of me nearly killing a cow and my boss’s car. I wondered what would’ve happened had I hit it. How would I pay for the damages? And boom! Just like that my mind went to being 17 again and hitting the cow that ironically belonged to the rivalry neighboring farm. 

What was it like writing for this anthology?
Wonderful! I had NO ROMEO completed in 4 days, I think. I love writing short stories for anthologies. There’s just the right dose of romance and when you’re finished with one story, all you have to do is flip the page to next great one. This particular story for me was fun and challenging. Please don’t throw rotten cabbage at me, but I’ve never liked Romeo and Juliet. It’s just too much! So, to challenge myself, I wanted to write a short story (minus the horrific ending) with that entire theme. 

What are you currently reading?
UPON BROKEN WINGS by E.L. Reedy and A.M. Wade. I’m half way through it, and wow. It’s deep and beautiful and lyrical and brings a voice to YA lit that was often just a whisper and not talked about. It explores suicide, always a tough subject to tackle and my hat is off to the authors. 

About Sasha:
By age 5, Sasha Hibbs' favorite movie was Gone With the Wind. By age 12, she completed her 7th grade book report on the sequel, Scarlett. By 18, she met and married her very own Mr. Rhett Butler and as it turns out, she never had to worry about going back to Tara to win the love of her life back. Fortunately, he stuck with her. 

With a love of all things paranormal, the ambiance of the South with its gigantic antebellum mansions and canopies of Spanish moss, and a love for her husband’s rich storytelling of blacksmiths and the mythology surrounding their origins, it wasn’t long until the world of her debut novel, Black Amaranth, was born. 

When not working her day job as a nurse, you can find Sasha dreaming of her next beach trip, reading the latest YA novel, and drinking more white chocolate mocha than she should. 

Sasha lives in mountainous West Virginia with her husband, Tim, and their two daughters, Aeliza and Ava. She is currently hard at work on her next novel.


Lisa Borne Graves 
Dare
Why do you write romance?
I absolutely love that butterfly-filled belly, pulse spiking, goose bump feeling when you first realize you’re attracted to someone. Compound that with the stark, sometimes overwhelmingly, plummet into love and it creates a euphoria that matches nothing else in this world. Since I found my soul mate already, I love recreating that feeling vicariously through fictional beings on the page to continue this blissful first-time feeling for myself and others.

 Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
I definitely think there is a stigma around reading and writing romance due to societal expectations of women that are utterly old fashioned and wrong, not to mention full of double standards. I read it and write it and say forget everyone else. I do what I like to do. At the same time, society cannot fully be ignored. You have to abide by some unspoken rules, which forces us to get creative in portraying some things when it comes to YA novels.

Where do you go for writing inspiration?
My muse, or imagination, rarely lets me down, so I find inspiration everywhere. But when I’m grappling for ideas I usually “go to” or read the classics. I’ve had my best ideas in Scotland and Wales, which I try to visit every couple years if possible. There’s something almost magical in the Celtic air, brooding in the beautiful landscapes, and rich in the antiquated architecture that demands inspiration.

What was it like writing for this anthology?
Amazing! I’ve only published one story prior to this one, so it was a great learning experience. Everyone who works for Evernight Teen are nice, constructive, and professional. As for fellow writers, there’s a huge online community where we help and celebrate each other. I felt like I’m back in high school rooting for our team to win a completion. 

What are you currently reading?
Relentless by Karen Lynch and loving it so far. 

About Lisa:
Blogger, English Lecturer, YA author, avid reader, wife, and mother--not in that order but these roles constantly battle over me for center stage. We all feel torn in the many roles we must perform in life, but writing for me, and for most writers, is a necessity, almost a malady. I write not because I want to (because sleeping or simply relaxing would be preferential) but because I need to, that if these ideas do not get down on paper I won't be able to function as a human being. My mind would be otherwise diverted and I wouldn't be able to give anyone my undivided attention.

Kate Larkindale
Run to You
Why do you write romance?
You know, I don’t really feel like I do write romance.  Sure, there are always romantic elements to my books, but that’s because romance and intimacy are an important part of life, and often the source of the most pain and terrible behavior.  Which is why it’s so good as a plot element - plenty of conflict!
Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
I think there possibly is a tiny bit of a stigma around reading romance, but I don’t really get it.  Romance readers read far more than anyone else!  And as far as I’m concerned, getting people to read is a good thing in this day and age where everyone seems to have a digital device glued to their fingertips at all times.  
Where do you go for writing inspiration?
I find inspirations for stories all over the place.  Newspaper articles, documentary films, other books I read, people I see on the street…. Often those sparks of ideas don’t go anywhere until one or more collide, but there are always stories spinning through my head, waiting until the right mixture of ideas come together.
What was it like writing for this anthology?
I really enjoyed writing for this anthology.  I love having a writing prompt to set me off, and this was a nice loose prompt that allowed a lot of room for my own story to grow.
What are you currently reading? 
I’m reading a book called Diary of a Bookseller.  I thought it was going to be something quite different than what it actually is, but I’m actually enjoying reading the bookseller’s musings on the mundane details of running his second-hand bookshop.

Thanks for having me!

About Kate:
Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale has settled in Wellington, New Zealand. A marketing executive, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.

She is the author of contemporary YA novels An Unstill Life and Stumped along with several others that no one is allowed to see. She has also written one very bad historical romance, which will likely never see the light of day. She is working on several more YA novels that may or may not ever be finished…

Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.



Kacie Ji
It Started with a Kiss

Why do you write romance?
The short answer? Because it’s fun. With everything going on in the world these days I like to read stories that follow a couple falling in love and have endings that makes them, and me, happy. I’m hoping to do the same for someone else with what I write.

Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
I do think there is a stigma around both reading and writing romance, as if it is something to be ashamed of. By why? If you like romance, great. If romance isn’t your thing, that’s fine too. Read and write what you want to and let others do the same.

Where do you go for writing inspiration?
I don’t need to go far to get inspired to write but if I had to choose a place that would kickstart my brain, it would be the beach. There’s just something about the sight and smell of the water and the rhythm of the waves that clears my head every time.

What was it like writing for this anthology?
It was great fun! I’d been struggling with writing YA the past little while and this anthology gave me the opportunity to dip my toes back in. It’s definitely given me the push I needed to start writing in this genre again. So, a big thank you to Evernight Teen for putting out this call!

What are you currently reading?
I’m about to start Insanity by Cameron Jace. It’s been sitting on my TBR pile for far too long!

About Kacie:
When she’s not writing or sleeping, Kacie can be found discussing plot twists with her cat who usually seems to enjoy being a part of the process. On the days he’s not she usually finds herself wishing there was a way to mainline coffee while she writes, deletes and tweaks until she sees something that makes her smile.

Roxas James 
After Tomorrow

Why do you write romance?
I write a lot of different things depending on what mood I'm in. I think that different types of writing accomplish different things. Mystery and adventure get your heart pumping. Horror gets your fear rising. Romance does all of those things though. For me, it's fun to imagine all the different ways that people can fall in love and all the obstacles that could stand in their way. As the writer, it gives me a little boost trying to come up with all the way they can work through it to get their, hopefully, happy ending. Besides, it's always fun to come up with a love story that you wish you could be living, isn't it?

Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
I think that there used to be a bigger stigma around romance novels in the past, but in recent years it’s gotten a lot less. That may have come with the invention of the ebook reader so now people can’t see what you’re reading. Anonymity always makes people a little braver because who cares about reading 50 Shades of Grey on the subway when no one can see what it is. And then people become more open to idea of reading whatever they want to. And for the ones out there who just call romance trash, they obviously haven’t read any because there are some really amazing “trashy” novels out there.  

Where do you go for writing inspiration?
I go many different places for inspiration. A lot of times, I’ll get an idea while reading books or watching movies. Once, I got inspiration for a book I wrote from a knock off Louis Vuitton wallet. It might be a random line somewhere that makes me picture a scene. For this anthology, the second I read the topic for a starting kiss, I immediately picture someone kissing an old stone statue as part of a tradition, the rest of the story just followed. I never know when I’m going to get struck by an idea.  


What was it like writing for this anthology?
Writing for this anthology has been a wonderful experience. This is my first time publishing a story the traditional way and it’s just been so much fun. From the moment I came across the open call to moment I submitted it, I felt drawn to completing this. Yes, there have been times where I’ve given up mid story, but I just knew it wasn’t possible with this story. And surprisingly, I found the editing part to be the most fun. I’ve never worked with a professional editor before and was terrified of the whole process, but it was great, despite learning I have a tendency to use the word ‘that’ way too many times for a normal human being. 


What are you currently reading?
So many things. I’m listening to Simon Vs. The Homosapien Agenda on audiobook right now because I’ve read the book, watched the movie, and had to come back for more. As for reading reading, I’ve finally broken down and joined the rest of the world and started the Game of Thrones books. I’m currently on the second one. And on my kindle, I’m currently reading the other stories from the great authors who were selected for this anthology. I’m in good company. 

About Roxas:
Roxas James is a teacher, writer, blogger, and generally exhausted human being. He has been writing since the second grade, which made many of his teachers very angry since he did most of it in the middle of their classes. When he is not working in various parts of Houston, Texas, he can usually be found in or around his local Starbucks, where he has been given many free cups of coffee, without which, he migh never right a single word again
   
M. Wiklund
Pixie Cuts and Purple Dye

Why do you write romance?
I write romance because the most interesting thing in the world is exploring relationships between people, and romance is the only genre that has relationships as its focus. I especially love that romance is optimistic about relationships, believing that they can work out--and often optimistic in its view of the world in general. It can be dramatic and still you can believe in a happy ending.

Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
There is--I think there's a view that it's somewhat immature and, well, feminine. I'd say that romance being a woman's genre is actually a good thing, and also that although romance is often light reading, it's the kind of light reading that serves as strong catharsis and is good for the mind and heart. Besides which, it isn't necessarily immature; romance can also at times deal with serious issues or have quite complex plots.

Where do you go for writing inspiration?
Sometimes I get inspiration from reading other people's writing. Other times I just get it from events in my own life. And when I'm absolutely desperate I may occasionally get it from prompts online--but it rarely comes down to that.

What was it like writing for this anthology?
It was tricky to condense the story of a relationship into such a short space, but it was also really fun. I hadn't actually written contemporary YA before so that was also very interesting.

What are you currently reading?
Currently I'm reading House of Names by Colm Toibin and Thorn Fruit by Felicia Davin.

About M. Wiklund:
M. Wiklund has contributed to the anthologies Kissed from Evernight Teen and BlackHearts from Dreaming Rabbit Press.




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