July 28, 2017

Q&A Featuring Author Helen Scheuerer and Her New Book, Heart of Mist (The Oremere Chronicles #1)!

    
     I have an exciting and interesting post for you guys today!

     Most of you know that I love fantasy books of all kinds, so of course I jumped at the chance to interview author/editor Helen Scheuerer about her new YA fantasy novel, Heart of Mist, which debuts August 31st.The synopsis drew me in and I immediately knew I had to read this book. So if you love fantasy books and are looking for a new book to read, keep on reading and learn more about Heart of Mist and Helen’s writing process!

But first….

The synopsis!



In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.

Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.

But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.
The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.

Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions.



     Sounds intriguing, right? I immediately like Bleak as a character and that is just from the synopsis. Plus the promise of action and fighting has me excited!

     Now get ready to be inspired to write and read her book after you check out my interview with Helen; she has a ton of great advice for writers.

Q&A TIME

1. Your book is a fantasy novel featuring an interesting concept of toxic mist. What made you want to write this book/ what was your inspiration and how did you start the writing process?
Helen: About a year and a half ago now, I was working on a literary fiction novel that was giving me a lot of trouble. I’d lost my vision for it and the edits I was receiving were gut-wrenching. I honestly think Heart of Mist was born out of a desire to escape.

I’d been reading a lot of YA fantasy for the same reason, and had the realization: shouldn’t I be writing what I love reading?

NaNoWriMo was just around the corner, so myself and my two friends Kyra and Claire signed up. It feels like a long time ago now, but I think after a brief planning stint, I just jumped straight into the story. Six weeks later, the very rough first draft was complete...

2. What parts of your book did you struggle with and what parts did you enjoy the most? Do you have a favorite scene you wrote?

H: In Heart of Mist there’s a younger character named Dash, who’s about ten years old. He’s a POV character and I often found myself struggling to get into his head. I was constantly questioning would a 10-year-old do that? Would a 10-year-old say that? He was definitely the character I worried about the most.

In terms of enjoyment… By the time I got around to rewrites and edits, I surprised myself by finding that I enjoyed the worldbuilding, and that the descriptions were a lot of fun to write. I tend to layer these in later, after I’ve got the big picture details down on the page. So it was nice to take my time, listen to playlists and really revel in the scene I was painting.

As for favourite scene… Without wanting to spoil things… There’s an event when some kick-ass warrior women show up and do some damage. I love that #girlpower moment :)

3. You are an editor as well as a writer, how does your job as an editor affect your writing? Are you focused on the technicalities of your writing when you write or do you set aside the editing part of your brain and just write?

H: For the first draft, I try my best to set aside the editor hat. I’m a big believer in pumping out a first draft as quickly as possible and then using the time after to really perfect all the details.

Throughout my manuscript when I’m writing my first drafts, there’s loads of ‘XXX COME BACK TO THIS’ or ‘XXX NEEDS MORE DETAIL’ and sometimes even ‘XXX ARE YOU SERIOUS?’. That’s because I find that if I stop to try and make things perfect at this stage, it really kills my motivation and my momentum.

Later drafts are for analyzing the quality of the writing, first drafts are for the writer to get down all they know about their world, their characters and their story.

4. Who was your favorite character to write and why did they leave such an impact? What do you want readers to take away from that character?

H: It depends what day you ask me! But as I’m actually really enjoying writing a Bleak prequel story at the moment, let’s stick with her. What I love about Bleak is that she’s very flawed. She’s not your typical cool, beautiful, perfect heroine. She has a darkness to her, and can sometimes be quite selfish.

I suppose what I’d like readers to take away from her, and all the Heart of Mist characters really, is that everyone is flawed. In real life we’re constantly surrounded by people’s social media profiles that only ever show the best possible version of their lives. It’s nice to remind ourselves that nobody’s perfect, and that’s perfectly okay.

5. How long did it take you to write Heart of Mist? What advice would you give authors who struggle with finding time and motivation to tackle writing a book? (You can find a LOT of writing advice on Writersedit.com, a website and business that Helen founded!)

H: I wrote the first draft of Heart of Mist in about six weeks, most of which during NaNoWriMo of 2015. But it was a very rough draft, and it took me probably another year after that to rewrite, edit and refine the manuscript.
As for advice…

          1. Find a supportive writing community. I had my two writing besties Kyra and Claire by my side throughout the whole process, and couldn’t have done it without them cheering me on.

          2. Try and write a little each day. Even if it’s only a paragraph. I wrote Heart of Mist just about everywhere - on the train, in my lunch breaks, on a Friday night instead of going out. I was on holidays in Birmingham, a few days before Christmas when I finally wrote ‘The End’. Creating a good writing habit is half the battle.

          3. Break the massive task (writing a book) into smaller tasks, like ‘Plot Chapter One’ or ‘Create Word Pool For XX Setting’... Doing it this way allows you to feel like you’re making progress, and keeps you motivated to keep checking things off your list.

6. Was there an author whose work you read to get inspiration from for your series? Why did you choose that author and what did you take away from their work that you wanted to fine tune in your own writing?

H: Hmmm… To be honest, I don’t read other authors’ work to get inspiration, but rather to escape. That’s what YA fantasy is to me - an escape from the daily grind, an escape from the stress and pressures I put on myself as an author… So for the most part I’m not analysing other books, but rather just enjoying them.

I definitely went through a period in life where I was reading what I thought I should be reading, rather than what I wanted to read. So I’m quite protective over what and how I read now.

That being said, I really admire writers like Sabaa Tahir and V.E. Schwab for the immense quality of their writing, and Sarah J. Maas for her insanely thoughtful plotting :)

7. Finally, what was your favorite part of the journey of writing a book? Was there a moment when it all became real to you?

H: For me, it’s always different for each book. With Heart of Mist I loved writing the first draft. It felt like it had been a long time since I wrote with such utter abandon. I had an absolute blast.

I think it was Stephen King in On Writing who said: “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story." That was very true of the first draft of HoM, and I found it incredibly liberating.

The moment it became real to me was when I saw the completed Heart of Mist map for the first time in print. I had worked closely with a very talented map maker based in France and we’d exchanged dozens of emails going over all the minute details like terrain styles and town illustrations, but seeing it finished at the front of my book was surreal… Here was this realm that had been in my head for two years, fully formed, in a stunning map for all my readers to see.

Thank you for an awesome interview, Helen!

     Aren't you inspired to write now? I love Helen’s advice to  break down the process of writing a book into smaller hurdles. That will definitely help me.

     I also can't wait to dive into Heart of Mist and experience that kickass warrior women scene Helen mentioned. Everything about this book screams exciting!

     What do you guys think? Are you going to buy it when it releases on August 31st? Check back on August 28th and I will have a review of Heart of Mist to help you decide!

     In the meantime, feel free to check Helen out on all her social media and websites; she is super nice!

Don't forget to add Heart of Mist to Goodreads!

About Helen Scheuerer:

Helen Scheuerer is a YA fantasy author from Sydney, Australia. Heart of Mist is the first book in her high fantasy trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles. It explores themes of identity, belonging, loyalty, addiction, loss, and responsibility.

After writing literary fiction for a number of years, novels like Throne of Glass, Elantris, The Queen’s Poisoner and The Queen of the Tearling inspired Helen to return to her childhood love of fantasy.

Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit (www.writersedit.com), an online literary magazine and learning platform for emerging writers. It’s now one of the largest writers’ platforms in the world.

Helen’s love of writing and books led her to pursue a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong and a Masters of Publishing at the University of Sydney.

Helen now works as a freelance writer and editor, while she works on the second book in The Oremere Chronicles.

Cheers!

July 14, 2017

Q&A + Giveaway: Enigma (Schrodinger’s Consortium #2) by Tonya Kuper!


     Today, I have the honor of hosting one of my favorite authors and a fellow friend on my blog! Tonya Kuper just released the second book in the Schrodinger’s Consortium series, Enigma! We are celebrating with a fun Q&A session and a giveaway! You will find out a lot of cool stuff about Tonya’s series, her writing process, writing advice, and much more. Keep reading to find out more about this thrilling Sci-Fi series!

Author: Tonya Kuper
Genre: Sci-Fi
Date Published: July 3, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Synopsis:


Worst. Road Trip. Ever.
Escaping with Reid Wentworth should have been fun, but how can I enjoy it when I just (accidentally) killed someone, my mom and brother are in danger, and the Consortium is trying to enslave humanity? (Yeah, they aren’t fooling around.) So feeling something for Reid Wentworth was not part of the plan. Trying to help unite the Resistance against the Consortium means I can’t be distracted by hot boys.
The Resistance secret hideout isn’t exactly the rebel base of my dreams. A traitor there wants me dead, but we have no idea who it is. And with both the Resistance and the Consortium trying to control me, the only one I can trust is Reid. If we’re going to have any chance of protecting my family, controlling my unstable powers, and surviving the clash between the Oculi factions, I’m going to have to catch this traitor. By using myself as bait.

You can check out my review of Anomaly, the first book in the series, here !
Where you can buy this series:

Q&A

1. What inspired this story? It involves a lot of Sci-Fi elements to explain what Josie and Reid are capable of and I was wonder what made you want to write such a story?

T: I was actually approached by my agent about writing a YA dual point-of-view somehow  dealing with Schrodinger’s Cat Experiment theory (quantum physics) for an editor at Entangled Teen. Being a huge scifi fan, I said yes. I was to write a synopsis and the first chapter in a few days. Before I could do that though, I had to learn about the quantum physics theory, so the next day I read for over six hours. I came up with the Pushing, Retracting, Anomalies, as well as the characters.

2. How did you come up with all the proper name and powers in the story as well as the explanations for them? The story is full of sci-fi elements and in-depth explanations for Reid and Josie’s power so how did you come up with that and as well as names for everything?

T: *see above, haha! For me, I had to put it all in laymen’s terms. I thought about creating reality and the energy it would take to think, blink, manipulate reality, and visualized Josie having to almost physically push reality into existence. Then I needed a name for taking that reality away – retracting. I came across a LOT of quantum physics terms as I was reading/researching. Some terms were: anomaly, enigma, and entropy. Originally, Anomaly was titled Entropy.

3. What was your writing process like with these books? Did you plot everything first and hash out all the technicalities or did you just start writing and plan as you went along?

T: Well, the process was slightly different for each book. I didn’t plan nearly as much for the first book. I kind of dove right in, following my synopsis. About mid-way through edits of Anomaly, I found a screenwriter’s beat sheet that many authors use and began referencing that. By the time I got to Enigma, I was a plotter, using the Blake Snyder Save the Cat Beat Sheet and kind of tweaking it to my liking. It allowed me to plan, hitting the important beats, but yet left me enough flexibility that I could still be creative within chapters.

4. What was one of your favorite scenes to write and why?

T: My favorite scene to write was Josie and Reid in Reid’s “secret” place. They both are in a vulnerable place and have admitted their feelings to one another. It’s intimate, touching, and sweet.

5. Who is your favorite character? What makes them special to you?

T: Josie is my fave because she’s a nerd and she totally owns it. She is strong and intelligent, but she also has flaws and doesn’t always make the best decisions.

6. What is the best piece of writing advice someone has ever given you and what would you tell aspiring authors or authors struggling to write?

T: One piece of advice from my friend author Lynne Matson is “follow your writer’s compass.” Listen to your gut. You know your characters and your vision better than anyone else, trust yourself.

7. What is your favorite genre to read when you want to de-stress and what is your favorite book from that genre?

T: I love everything scifi, fantasy, and paranormal, so I want to get lost in another world to distress. Favorite? There’s no way I can choose just one.

8. Why do you like to write and how does it feel to have two published books now?

T: I like writing because I get to create something that others can use to escape, learn, relate to, and feel. Having two traditionally published books out now feels freaking awesome! What’s better though, is Enigma’s reception from fans. Sharing the world and characters that live in my brain with others is the most incredible feeling.

     Thank you so much! xo t

     Wow, quantum physics? Wayyyyy over my head, but I am so happy this series came out of it! Now you can have the chance to experience it for yourself. Look no further for the giveaway below and may the odds be ever in your favor!

GIVEAWAY:



Tonya Kuper is the author of ANOMALY, the first in the Schrodinger's Consortium Series, a young adult science fiction trilogy, released November 4, 2014 by Entangled Teen. She fell for Young Adult lit while earning her Masters degree in Reading Education. She's a mom to two awesome boys, an alt music junkie, a Star Wars nerd, and in love with Sherlock.

She sounds awesome, right? She is. Check out her social media and website below. She is super nice and won't bite.

Twitter  Website  Facebook  Instagram  Google+  Goodreads

Don’t forget to stop by the other blogs featured in this tour and share the love!
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July 2, 2017

Trickery + Persuasion (Curse of the Gods 1 & 2) by Jaymin Eve and Jane Washington Review!


Author: Jaymin Eve and Jane Washington
Genre: Older YA High Fantasy
Date Published: February 2017

 Willa Knight: Dweller. Slave. Non-magical being.
 
In Minatsol, being a dweller means that you are literally no better than dirt. In fact, dirt might actually be more useful than Willa. Her life will be one of servitude to the sols, the magic-blessed beings who could one day be chosen to become gods.

At least her outer village is far removed from the cities of the sols, and she won’t ever be forced to present herself to them... Until one small mistake changes everything, and Willa is awarded a position to serve at Blesswood, the top sol academy in the world—a position that she definitely did not earn.
 
Under the sudden, watchful eye of the gods, she will be tasked to serve the Abcurse brothers, five sols built of arrogance, perfection and power. They are almost gods themselves, and under their service she is either going to end up sentenced to death, or else they are going to ruin her so badly that she will wish for it.
 
Either way, she is in trouble.
 
 

     Guys. GUYS. This series took me by surprise, you have no idea. The synopsis does NOT do it justice or hint at the things I love about this series. Just take my word for it, you NEED to read this series. Bear with me, because I have a lot of gushing to do so I might jump around, but such is the life of a fangirl, well, fangirling.

     So right of the bat, this is a high fantasy series, which most of you know I love. The world Eve and Washington create in this series is...magical to say the least. They created a world filled with gods, sols (which are basically people who will take the place of a god when they die) and dwellers (which are essentially servants to the sols). There are so many layers to this series that make it even more intoxicating but I won't spoil it. Eve and Washington do SUCH a great job of introducing this world that it reminds me of Sarah J Maas and how she easily places readers in the world of ToG. I wasn't kidding when I said this series was close to rivaling the love I have for ToG. It's been a while since I've been so engrossed in a book that I stayed up until 5 AM reading and barely stopped to eat because I didn't want to stop reading. I don't know how the books after this will live up to the impact of this one. I had no idea that this book would blow me away like it did, as I stumbled across it thanks to Amazon. However, the characters and the setting make me love this book so much.

     First of all, I LOVE Willa. She is a clumsy badass and that's everything I didn't know I wanted in a character. She is always falling or accidentally seriously injuring herself or others and it's so hilarious and endearing. I couldn't help but love her. Although she is clumsy as hell and believes the gods cursed her with perpetual clumsiness, she is a strong character. She stands up for what she believes in and she is unapologetically herself, which I love. She faces down scary gods and stares unflinchingly at the scariest group of sols at Blesswood Academy, which is where Willa has been sent to serve the sols. Some might find her clumsiness annoying, but I just find it quirky and it just makes Willa seem human and not the perfect heroin I'm used to. I just love Willa to pieces. Then there are the Abcurse brothers. *fans self*

     Wooo boy do I love those boys. At first, they seem crazy, and that would be an accurate first impression. However, as Willa keeps crossing their path, they take an interest to her and soon....well things get interesting. This is what I love to call a reverse harem story, but minus the sexy times. The sparks that fly between Willa and the Abcurse brothers are insane, but the brothers don't act on it really. They just become fiercely protective of Willa and I DIE for that. I'm such a sucker for a protective group of men that I will literally read anything with men like that in it. It's one of my favorite things that could happen in a book. And the fact that they are kind of jerks to everyone else BUT Willa? PURE GOLD.

     The thing I love most about Willa and the boys is that their romance is far from the focus of the story. Sure, the sparks fly more often than not, but the story isn't about them. It's about uncovering secrets of their world and taking on the gods with a LOT of mischief in between. There is never a dull moment in either books and I could not put it down. The adventures they go on and the situations they get themselves into is enough to entertain anyone. And there is a LOT of humor in this series, which isn't surprising since Willa is a such a character. She never failed to make me laugh and the boys never failed to make me swoon. Eve and Washington kept me interested, not that it was hard to do with their writing style. I won't reveal too much, but I was so shocked when some of my burning questions were answered and unknown identities uncovered. I just loved every second of these two books, and I CANNOT wait for the third book to come out!

     Needless to say, these two books have made their way onto my favorites list and the authors have found themselves a new fan! I can't wait to see what else they have in store for Willa and the boys because I am along for the ride! I give Trickery and Persuasion five out of five stars!

     Go get it! Now! I demand it. You won't regret it! *winks*

April 25, 2017

The Keepers Series by Rae Rivers Revamped Cover Reveal!


Happy Tuesday, my lovely followers! Today I have a special reveal for you.

Those of you who have been following me for a few years may recognize the title The Keepers: Declan from a review I did two years ago, and you might also remember that I loved it. Anyway, this lovely series got a makeover and the covers are SO drool-worthy. I am here to show you just how captivating these covers are, but first, a little about the series…


The Keepers is a Paranormal Romance series with a unique premise consisting of a powerful witch with three warrior brothers, the Keepers, duty-bound to defend her.  They are her friends, her fierce protectors and her allies in maintaining the balance of nature.

An evil rival family is out for revenge, determined to tip the balance in their favour.  Sienna and her Keepers will do whatever it takes to stop them. 
Will their strength, loyalty and love survive the ultimate war?
Each book can be read as a standalone romance, or for a richer reading experience, the books can be read in order:  Sienna (The FREE Prequel), Archer, Declan and Ethan.
Three brothers, four stories, an exciting adventure of magic, mayhem, and breathtaking romance. 
Download your FREE eBook, Sienna, and enjoy their world!




Sounds awesome, right? Like the synopsis suggests, these books can all be read alone, but they come together to create an awesome experience so I suggest diving into this series all the way. You can find my review of Declan’s story linked here as well as below with buy links!
Now, time for the revamped cover reveal!
Are you ready?

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Tada!




Holy hotness, these covers are FIRE. I wouldn’t hesitate to grab these beauties off a bookstore shelf if I caught a glimpse of them. These boys are stunning and they seem to stare into my soul. Their minimalist design is the perfect way to go about showcasing this series, and I definitely love these covers a lot more. What do you guys think? Will you be diving into this series soon? Comment below and let me know!

If you DO happen to dive into this series and love it as much as I did, feel free to let Rae and the world know! She is so kind and she loves talking to readers. Check out her bio below!

Rae’s an avid reader with a passion for writing spicy romance novels.  She writes Romantic Suspense and Paranormal Romances.  She lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with her husband and children and a zoo of house pets.  Besides writing, she loves family time, the outdoors, travelling, watching TV series, reading and chocolate. 

She loves to hear from her readers and can be found here:








Don’t be afraid to get in touch with her and let her know what you thought of the Keepers series! Speaking of, here are some links where you can find the series:


Finally, you can find my review of Declan’s story here. Go forth and read your hearts out lovelies!

January 11, 2017

My Dream Book Panel!



I have been thinking a lot about book signings and panels lately so I decided it would be cool and interesting to create my own dream book panel. I love the idea of creating my own dream panel, which might one day come true (or at least a little true). It gives me a little insight into myself and it shows others where my interests lie.

My dream panel would consist of all kinds of authors from all different genres because I hate it when panels cater to only one type of interest. My panel would be for everyone from fantasy lovers to romance fanatics. I would want anyone and everyone to get their answers and inspiration from my panel. My questions for panels like these usually have to do with inspiration because it is always so interesting to me to see what inspires different people and how that translates into their novels. It also gives me a look into how their writing process works, which I always find helpful.

Without further ado, here is my dream panel:

1. J.R.R Tolkien


The Godfather of fantasy. This man created a whole world and his own freaking languages (THATS RIGHT, LANGUAGES. PLURAL). I just want to sit down with him and listen to him talk. Maybe then some of that creative genius can rub off on me. I would be too star struck to ask him questions to be honest, but the number one question would be: How the hell did you do it all?

2. Sarah J. Mass


The Queen of YA fantasy as to attend. I have been to a few panels with SJM on them, and I was never disappointed. Not only is she hilarious, she is also a genius when it comes to creating wonderful characters AND steaming up the pages of her books. I just want to know where she gets all that creativity. Plus, I want to learn how to create kickass female characters.

3. Heather Lyons


I call her the Queen of mythological retellings because she wrote the best mythological retellings about my favorite goddess and god, Medusa and Hermes. One, I want to beg her to write more. Two, I want to ask her how she managed to mold such amazing myths that have been around for centuries to seem like completely new characters and do it well. She takes these myths and flips them on their head to suit her needs and it doesn't seem forced at all. It's all so natural. I want to learn how to do that.

5. Nalini Singh


This woman can write romance and paranormal fantasy novels like no other. Her adult novels are some of my all time favorites because they have the perfect combination of romance and fantasy, and I want to know how she does that so flawlessly.

6. Cecy Robson


Cecy Robson wrote one of my favorite adult paranormal series of all time, The Weird Girls. It has everything I love in it: vampires, werewolves, witches, protective male leads, and badass women. I have no idea how she created such an amazing series so flawlessly, and I want to pick her brain and get some tips. I have a feeling she has a ton of advise to give especially about ripping readers’ hearts out.

7. Chris Cannon


Chris honestly made my YA dreams come true with her series, Going Down in Flames. It is a dragon shifter series, AND YOU GUYS KNOW I LOVE DRAGONS. However, it isn't just any dragon shifter series. It revolves around a dragon shifter school and the hierarchy within the shifter community. BUT, the female lead is a snarky badass who does everything she can to undermine the established hierarchy and makes some pretty awesome friends while doing it. Anyway, Chris fulfilled my dreams with an awesome YA series about dragons, and I want to know how in the world she came up with that amazing idea. I also want to beg her for more dragon books, PLEASE.

8. George R. R. Martin (moderator)


Not only would I love to have Martin on the panel because he created THE Game of Thrones, but he would be a great moderator with his dry humor and witty remarks. I would probably forget that he was the moderator though and bombard him with questions about Daenerys Targaryen and Arya Stark. I will admit that I haven’t read the books because I haven’t found the time, but the T.V. show has me HOOKED. I want to ask him how he managed to create such an amazing and detailed world, and how he keeps up with so many people and their stories. Most of all, I want to know where his inspiration comes from.

 
There you have it, my dream panel!

Who would your dream panel consist of and what would you want to ask your authors ? Would you want a specialized panel (dedicated to one topic or genre) or would you want a free for all like me? Let me know in the comments!

Check out Eventbrite's event planning software page if you want to create and plan your own event or to find events and conferences in your local area!

Cheers!