*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

"On ‘Epic’ Writing" with Author Megan Tayte

When I sat down to write my novel Death Wish, I knew it would not be a standalone – the story in my head was too complicated to deliver in one hit. I thought, initially, there would be three books in the Ceruleans series, but I realised quickly it would take four to tell the story. Then came the day I marched downstairs and held up five fingers to my husband (who looked heavenward and mumbled something unrepeatable).
I wasn’t too concerned about writing five books – I was just concerned with getting the story out of my head and onto the paper, in the hope that eventually I may get a full night’s sleep again rather than thinking about the Ceruleans. In any case, I’m a big fan of series literature – in fact, I’m more likely to pick a series novel to read than a standalone because I want to get really immersed in the story. The story. For me, the best series fiction tells one big story, rather than offering up discrete stories set in the same fictional world.
The Ceruleans was always one story that broke down well into five parts. That means when you get to the end of each book, you get some sense of conclusion for that part of the story, but you’re always going to be left with some unanswered questions whose answers lie in the next book. And only when you’ve got to the end of Book 5 will you completely see the full picture and understand everything. Maddening, perhaps, if you’re not a fan of mystery. But then I guess you’re better off not reading series fiction.
The question I’m left with, having finished the Ceruleans, is what comes next. Honestly, I’m a little afraid to pick up my pen again, because while I long to write a standalone next – which should, theoretically, be simpler and quicker to write – I suspect that will be a challenge. Apparently big, twisting, turning, complex stories are what most thrill my muse.

Ah well. Who needs sleep, right?

Death Wish - Megan Tayte


Blurb

IN SEARCH OF THE MEANING OF DEATH, SHE’LL FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE. 

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense. 

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to the isolated cove of Twycombe, Devon, with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need. 

As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power

What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death. 

To believe the impossible. 

Excerpt

Waves everywhere, swirling, surging, seething – a raging melange of foam and salt and inky water biting at me, pulling at me, thrusting upon me a solitary invitation:
Death.

As I fought to remain on the flimsy polystyrene surfboard that seemed more bucking bronco than wave rider, I thought: That’s how easy it is – you just let go. Just release the grip on this world that in recent months had seemed so much an effort, and sink into the blue, beneath the waves, where chaos and fury turned to quiet and calm. Like she did.

Was drowning as they claim? I wondered. The easiest way to die – peaceful? How would it feel to give up all the dragging myself through the day, all the struggle to evade the aching void inside? A relief?
Another wave rose me up and slammed me down with breathtaking power. Its force stirred me. You could say a lot of things about Scarlett Blake – she’s a loner, she’s a wallflower, she’s a menace in the kitchen – but no way was ‘she’s a quitter’ on the list of character flaws.
‘Screw you!’ I shouted through the spray.
Funny, sounded like someone shouted back. But who else would be out in this tumultuous sea at six a.m. on a summer’s morning? Solitude was the entire point of hauling myself out of bed in the still-dark and picking my way down the cliff path to the beach just in time to see the horizon light up with the first burnt-orange glow of the rising sun. No one to see me make a damn fool of myself on my first surfing attempt.
‘Trying… yourself killed?’
Definitely a voice. Male. Angry.
Scanning the surroundings for the source proved difficult while lying stomach-to-board. On an upward surge I got a glimpse of the Devonshire cliffs that fringed the cove, all dark, jutting rocks topped by bushes of gorse, and then a flash of the beach. On a downward plummet there was nothing but eye-burning, throat-choking seawater.
‘Forward… next wave!’
The voice was closer now. There was an edge to it beyond the anger. Something raw.
My eyes picked out a black form between the waves. Someone on a surfboard, paddling it expertly seaward. I took one hand off the board to push sticky tendrils of hair from my eyes. Rookie mistake. Turned out holding on one-handed was impossible. The board shot upwards, out of my feeble grip, and then it was just me and Old Man Sea.
Kicking frantically, I tried to keep my head above the surface, but the waves were burying me, one after the other, only a second or two to come up for air before the next one hit. Far away now were thoughts of letting go – I was fighting furiously for life. Never in my seventeen years had I been so desperate. But my legs were tingling with effort, and I knew it was just a matter of time.
When the final wave broke me all I could think was, Sienna. With her name on my lips I inhaled a lungful of water and I sank…

… for all of a second before something grabbed the back of my t-shirt and hauled me upward. Coughing and spluttering, I emerged from the blue and was pulled roughly onto a board, my leg shoved over so that I straddled it. I had the fleeting thought that this board was much sleeker and more substantial looking than the one I’d just lost before my rescuer settled pretty much on top of me and started paddling toward the shore.
With him in command, we crested waves and glided down the other side with apparent ease, though I seemed unable to match the rhythm of our motion and kept taking in great gulps of brine. Over the sound of the waves and the wind and the splash of powerful arms cutting into the water to propel us along, I picked out low, irate grumblings.
‘… idiot tourists… total waste of… all we need… another bloody drama…’

Finally, we reached the shallow waters and he slid off the board and pulled me off to walk to the beach. But my legs didn’t seem willing to respond to basic instructions like ‘walk’ or even ‘stand’ and breathing between wrenching gasps had become a challenge, so he threw an arm around me and half-carried, half-walked me, dragging his board with his spare hand.
Ten steps up the beach he let me down onto the sand.
‘Head down,’ he commanded. ‘Between your legs. Cough it out.’
I did as I was told. Liquid spilled out of me with each retching cough, and the cool air I gulped in burned my throat. I fought the panic, I fought the pain, focusing instead on the shells and stones strewn around. Finally, breathing won out.
‘You okay?’
I was reluctant to look up. For starters, I knew I must look a mess – long hair plastered to my head rat-tail style, face flushed and salt-burned, eyes teary and bloodshot. And then there was the fact that this guy, whoever he was, had just saved my life, and was evidently pretty mad about having had to do so.
‘Hey, you okay?’
I lifted my head slowly. Took in broad thighs clad in black neoprene; hands reaching out, palms raised; a wide, muscular chest; a striking face – rugged, square jaw, full lips, ruddy cheeks, Grecian nose bearing a thin scar across the bridge, thick black lashes framing eyes… oh, his eyes.
I opened my mouth, tried to speak, but I was paralysed by his gaze. All at once I was home in the cottage, tucked up beneath the blue patchwork quilt of my childhood; I was watching my grandmother remove vanilla-scented fairy cakes from her powder-blue Aga; I was running through a meadow of sky-blue forget-me-nots with my sister – free, exhilarated, happy. The memories took my breath away. I felt the familiar burn in my tear ducts.
His eyebrows pulled together and he placed a hand on my trembling knee.
‘Are. You. Okay?’ he said with exaggerated care, as if he were speaking to an elderly lady having a turn at a bus stop.
I blinked, cleared my throat and managed a husky, ‘Yes. Th-thank you.’
Concern melted into exasperation.
‘What’s the deal,’ he demanded, ‘out there on your own, clearly no idea what you’re doing, children’s play surfboard… you got a death wish or something?’
I cringed. I’d known the board was short, but I’d thought it was me-sized – at five foot three, what use was some enormous board?
‘I’m sorry.’
‘You would’ve been sorry if I hadn’t seen you.’
‘I just wanted to get a feel for it. I didn’t realise it was so rough out there.’
‘Rough? That’s not rough. Not even optimum surfing weather. Piece of cake for someone who actually knows how to surf…’
He paused when he saw a tear escape my eye and roll traitorously down my cheek. Furrowed his brow, combed his fingers roughly through dark hair that was drying fast in the breeze.
‘Listen, I didn’t mean to…’
I brushed the tear away furiously. Enough with the vulnerability.

‘Right, well, thank you…’
‘Luke. My name’s Luke.’ The stress lines in his face smoothed out and his lips curved. Like this, smiling and relaxed, his scrutiny was a touch less unsettling. ‘And you are…?’
‘Thank you, Luke, for your, um, help, but I’m sure you’ve better things to do, so I’ll just be…’
Before he could protest, I launched myself to my feet. He instinctively rose with me, and my water-fogged mind registered belatedly that my rescuer was a giant of a guy – my head was at the level of his chest. As I looked up to take in his stature I staggered slightly and he reached out to right me, but I stepped backwards. I didn’t need his kindness.
He looked awkward, unsure of himself, as he towered over me. ‘Hey, will you be okay?’
‘Yes, yes, I’m fine. I’ll just head home.’
‘You live close?’
I pointed vaguely west. ‘Yes, not far.’
‘Up there?’ He looked puzzled, and then interest sparked in his eyes. ‘You mean the Blake place?’

Busted. Of course being vague was pointless. My grandparents’ ramshackle cottage on the western cliff was the only building up there.
I made a noncommittal mnnnhnnn noise, but Luke was not to be deterred.

‘But that place has been empty since…’
He was looking at me now with such scrutiny that I took a further step back. I saw the cogs turning in his mind as he took in the classic green Blake eyes and then compared her – short, spiky red hair, eternally crimson lips, tall and impossibly slender – with me – petite and curvy, hair more blond than auburn reaching to the base of my spine and a pallor worthy of a vampire. His eyes widened.

‘Scarlett? Scarlett Blake!’
There was shock in his tone, and then sympathy.

Author bio

Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. 'Write, Megan,' her grandmother advised. So that's what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Megan writes the kinds of books she loves to read: young-adult paranormal romance fiction. Young adult, because it's the time of life that most embodies freedom and discovery and first love. Paranormal, because she's always believed that there are more things in heaven and on earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. And romance, because she's a misty-eyed dreamer who lives for those 'life is so breathtakingly beautiful' moments.

Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in Robin Hood's county, Nottingham. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a paleontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she's not writing, you'll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.

Social media links


Buy links


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

This or That with Author Ava Cummings

  • TV or Movies?
Movies! But a House of Cards binge watch…does that count as TV or movies?

  • Hot or Cold?
Hot definitely. My mom calls me her “hot house flower” – I’m always cold and live for warm sunny days. Remind me…why do I live in the northeast?

  • Black or White?
White. I love white, I love how clean it is. I live in white jeans. I have maybe a hundred white tees and tops. I have a white coat. Of course, when I worked in New York, I was all black all the time. But now I’ve switched.

  • Night owl or early bird?
Early bird. I wake up early, sometimes 5 am. It’s my best, most productive writing time…when the sun is just peeking up and it’s quiet and peaceful. I can bang out a full chapter sometimes.

  • Print or E-book?
E book. I’m a total iPad devotee. That’s all I read now. I love it.

  • Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate. Hands down, no question. The darker the better.

  • Coke or Pepsi?
Wine.

  • Horror or Romance?
Romance! I’m a die-hard fairy tale, happy ending romance lover. Always have been, always will be. God, I still remember the day I saw The Shining. I couldn’t sleep for months, literally. I’m too much of a scaredy cat!

  • Pizza or Pasta?
Pasta.,,,and pizza. God, I love Italian, love carbs. Spaghetti and meatballs is one of my top meals. And a good slice of pizza? Yum. But I’m mostly Paleo and don’t eat carbs that often anymore.

  • Harry Potter or Twilight?
Twilight. Loved loved loved that series.

  • Gum or Breath Mints?
Gum.

  • Spontaneity or Planning Ahead?
I’m a planner, by nature. That’s just me, where I’m comfortable. And once you have kids, if you don’t plan, forget it, nothing will get done.

  • PC or Mac?
Mac. I’m an apple girl. Have been since the beginning. In fact, I had one of the first generation laptops back in the early nineties. It weighed a ton, but I carted that thing around with me wherever I went. It was awesome!

  • Beach or Pool?
Beach! I love the beach. That is my happy place. I want to live on the beach one day. The sound of the ocean, the beauty of the sea, the brightness of the sun, burying your feet in the sand, walking along the shore…I could go on. Suffice to say, I freaking love the beach!

  • Shoes or Sandals?
Sandals all the way. From the moment it warms up in the spring to the last day when it cools down in the fall, I am in sandals…gladiators, wedges, flip flops, Birkenstocks, strappies, you name it, I have a dozen of each. Love.

  • Cats or Dogs?
Both -- I love animals. We have a cat now because it’s a bit more low maintenance than a dog as a family pet. But once the kids get older, we are getting a dog, too.

  • Facebook or Twitter?
Oohh, that’s tough. I like each for different reasons. I love FB for staying connected to my friends from throughout my life, from all over the world. And I love Twitter for connecting with writers and authors and fans from all over the world. It’s an amazing community, too.


Quotes/Testimonials:
It's like Fifty Shades of Grey meets Devil wears Prada meets Girls! —Carrie Adel

I couldn’t put it down! Sweet Muse has it all—celebrities, scandal, and steamy romance. Ava Cummings’ writing invites the reader into Anna’s world, sharing her journey as she discovers the dark side of her dream job at a celebrity magazine and finds a love so powerful it will change everything. Totally captivating! —Sarah Bagwell

Book summary:

Determined to overcome her difficult past, Anna Starr lands a coveted job at the nation's biggest celebrity magazine in the center of the New York City power scene. She learns early on to make it on her own, and through sheer force of will she does. But frustration sets in when the dark side of tabloid journalism starts to poke through, and she gets duped while dating slicker-than-thou city boys.

Amidst a sea of cocktail parties, Anna meets rising art star Damien Wolfe. Their connection is dangerous, intense, and passionate beyond her imagination. He sees her in a way that she has never seen herself, setting her on a journey toward self-discovery—understanding what it means to be truly loved for the first time in her life. But she may lose it all when her blind ambition and his dark past lead to a crisis that changes everything.



Bio:

Ava Cummings spent more than 10 years as an editor at some of the biggest and best-known magazines in the world. She fetched coffee, fell in love with fashion, and eventually became a full-fledged editor, covering Hollywood and bringing in stories about bold women that were making a difference in the world. She has spun together the sweep-you-off-your-feet happy endings of fairy tales, the unbelievable headlines she reads in the news, and the quirky personalities that she’s encountered in both the real world and on reality TV in her first novel, Sweet Muse. Ava lives in the leafy suburbs of Boston with her husband and two children.


Author and Book Links

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SMRL5PM

Thursday, February 19, 2015

"Dead Girl Walking" on Sale 99 cents

9781620155776_cov.indd
Dead Girl Walking (Royal Reaper) by Ruth Silver
Published: November 25, 2014
Publisher: Booktrope
  Forget everything you know about grim reapers.
Princess Ophelia Dacre sneaks out of the castle to visit her boyfriend in secret. A perfect night cut short when she’s brutally murdered.
Ophelia is given the rare chance to become a grim reaper. She must become Leila Bele, cut ties with her old life, and follow the rules of the reapers. Her greatest adventure begins with death.   Now includes the prequel Ashes to Ashes as a bonus story in the Booktrope edition. Available in eBook & Paperback.
[caption id="attachment_10213" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Dead Girl Walking Licensed to Ruth Silver[/caption]
ON SALE FOR JUST 99 cents!!!

Excerpt

  “Listen, kid, I don’t care what you believe in. It’s not for me to say what’s true and untrue, real or unreal. My assignment was you. You get to be one of us, if you want it. Otherwise, you move on, life is over, kaput.” Ophelia backed away from the stranger. For the first time, she realized she didn’t feel cold and wasn’t shivering. Is this what being dead was like? “One of you?” “A grim reaper.” He held out his hand to properly introduce himself. “Edon Montgomery, head reaper and old soul.”   [caption id="attachment_10212" align="aligncenter" width="541"]Dead Girl Walking (Royal Reaper) Licensed to Ruth Silver[/caption]  

Author Interview

Do you have any plans to write a spin-off for Aberrant? Yes! I am currently working on an untitled project that is a prequel, spin-off. I haven't spoken much about it, but I will say there is plenty of action and a world to explore that we've barely touched in the Aberrant trilogy. What are you currently working on? I've got several writing projects underway. Forget Me Knot (Royal Reaper 2) is in edits right now with an expected Spring 2015 release. I'm also writing steamy adult fiction under the name Ravyn Rayne, which will be available this year as well. You can find those projects on Ravyn Rayne Reads. Do you have a full-time job? Writing and marketing my own novels is my full-time job. It involves far more than 40 hours a week, but I love it, so I don't mind.  

About the Author

1 lo res
Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of the Aberrant trilogy. With a passion for writing and a love of story-telling, Ruth is actively writing two series: Royal Reaper and Orenda. Her interests also include traveling, reading, and photography. Her favorite vacation destination is Australia. Ruth currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois. She can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and her book blog Write Away Bliss.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Top Ten with Jill Meengs, Author of "Trigger"

tour banner
Trigger by Jill Meengs
Published by Booktrope
January 27, 2015
Genre: Spy Thriller
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Jordan Shaw knows the only way to stop the man hunting her is to kill him. She also knows the other men who came after her are dead, some of their blood is on her hands, and she wouldn’t have survived this long without the help of the intriguing and secretive Chase Hudson. Even though she isn’t sure she can trust Chase, she believes she needs him to discover the truth.
Two days before, life was pretty good as she backpacked around Europe with her best friend. Now, everything has changed and she may not even live through the night. What started as a summer trip of self-discovery has become a dangerous journey across three countries as Jordan is forced into a world few know exist and even fewer survive. A clandestine international organization that will let nothing stand in their way has put a price on her head. Despite all the uncertainty, there are two things that she is absolutely sure of; she has one chance to out-maneuver a world class killer, and she has to make that move right now.


What are 10 weird things about you?

  1. I love to sleep with a hat on, especially in the winter or if I have a cold.  It is something I started doing when backpacking/camping in New Zealand and it just keeps me so warm and cozy I still do it a lot!
  2. I have an uncanny ability to recall absolutely worthless, but often entertaining, movie and celebrity trivia.  On the flip side there are easy things that I should be able to remember, like people’s birthdays, that I get mixed up on.
  3. I like to put dark chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in the freezer and let them get really cold before I eat them.
  4. I love Diet Pepsi and regular Coca Cola but I do not like regular Pepsi or Diet Coke.
  5. As soon as I finish using a dish, utensil or glass I have to put it in the dishwasher…yes I have OCD!
  6. When I eat my favorite ice cream, Tillamook Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor, I dig out and eat all of the peanut butter and will leave just chocolate ice cream for my husband which drives him nuts.
  7. I love to clean my house.  If my husband is away and I have the house to myself for any length of time the first thing I do is clean it from top to bottom, that way I can enjoy how clean it is the whole time I have it to myself.
  8. In my opinion Blue and Red M & M’s taste the best.
  9. When I was writing Trigger I listened to music by Jesse Cook and only Jesse Cook.  I found it inspiring and that it helped me concentrate because there is no singing in his songs.
  10. If I am working out I have to be listening to music or be watching a movie or TV show, otherwise I cannot focus as much on what I am doing.  If I have music or something to watch I can work out all day.

Top Ten Places I have traveled to:
  1. Indonesia: this country is magical on different levels, the culture, the people and the scenery are unbeatable!
  2. New Zealand: One of the most picturesque countries ever, I would move there tomorrow if I could.
  3. Australia: Such a fun place to visit, I spent two months there and could have spent two years!
  4. Egypt: I have always been fascinated with Egypt and the pyramids, to get to be there and to ride a camel around the pyramids was amazing.
  5. Brazil: An unexpected wonder, I thoroughly enjoy Rio de Janeiro and exploring the Amazon.
  6. China: One of my favorite trips because we took my mother who had the best time and watching her have fun made it that much more fun for me.
  7. Peru: We hiked Machu Picchu on our honeymoon and nothing prepared me for how awesome that place is.
  8. India: If you have been there then no explanation is needed.  If you haven’t been there, go!
  9. Ethiopia:  Driving through the Great Rift Valley and seeing the countryside with our friend who is from there was incredible.
  10. Panama: One of the most laidback vacations we have been on.  A great country, very beautiful and so easy to get to from the States.

Top Ten foods I love
  1. Dark Chocolate
  2. Thin crust Pizza
  3. Dark chocolate with peanut butter or caramel
  4. Yellow Curry
  5. Thai peanut satay
  6. Indian food in general (especially chicken tikka masala, dahl, and tandoori chicken)
  7. Vanilla Greek yogurt
  8. Granola
  9. Papaya with fresh lime juice squeezed on it
  10. Mozzarella Cheesesticks

Top ten things I love to do on weekends/days off
  1. Yoga
  2. Cardio (jogging or elliptical)
  3. Writing
  4. Reading
  5. Planning a trip
  6. Going shopping
  7. Meeting friends for lunch/dinner
  8. Going to the spa for a manicure & pedicure
  9. Going to the spa for a facial or a massage
  10. Cleaning my house (I know, crazy right?  But I love having a clean house, it helps me find my zen space!)

Top Ten movies I love
  1. The Matrix
  2. Fight Club
  3. American Beauty
  4. The Hangover
  5. The Interview
  6. Horrible Bosses
  7. Lord of the Rings (the Trilogy)
  8. To Catch a Thief
  9. The Princess Bride
  10. Titanic

Top Ten Songs I love right now
  1. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
  2. Trumpets – Jason Darulo
  3. All About that Bass – Meghan Trainor
  4. Black Widow – Iggy Azalea
  5. Bailando – Enrique Iglesias
  6. Counting Stars – One Republic
  7. Turn Down for What – Dj Snake & Lil John
  8. Red Lights – Tiesto
  9. Talk Dirty to Me – Jason Derulo
  10. Best Day of My Life – American Authors

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