Nerd Girl Books Blog Tour + Giveaway!: Inspiration Questions Answered by Mary Fan and Deborah Schaumberg


Today, I have something a little different from my normal posts.  This month Nerd Girl Books is doing a blog tour featuring 5 amazingly, talented authors: LC Barlow, Mary Fan, Deborah Schaumberg, Meg Eden, and Beth Woodward.  You can check out the graphic below to see who else is participating!NGBTour_Schedule2

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Author Interview with Emily King, author of The Hundredth Queen

Hey all!  Today I have an author interview to share.  It seems like my last one was forever again (it probably was), but Emily R. King agreed to share a few things about her new series, starting with The Hundredth Queen.  You may recall my review, but in case you missed it: I really enjoyed this book and have already pre-ordered both book 2 and book 3.  Luckily, they have fairly close release dates (The Fire Queen is out in September and The Rogue Queen in February 2018).  Anyway, here’s what she had to share with me!  (Oh and the author’s running a contest RIGHT NOW for a bunch of awesome prizes!  Check out the graphic at the bottom.)

Image result for emily r. king

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Author Interview and Giveaway: Joshua Khan

 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my readers and other internet folk!

Here’s a special holiday treat for all of you.  I was able to send some interview questions to Joshua Khan, author of the 2016 debut Shadow Magic, which I reviewed earlier this year.  I loved everything about this book, so I knew that I had to let the author know and find out about a sequel.  Luckily for us, he was willing to answer my questions and now I’m sharing them with you.  And he has some juicy tidbits strewn throughout, so make sure you read through all of them!

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The Sight Blog Tour, Interview + Giveaway!

This week I’m participating in the Chloe Neill blog tour for her newest release, the sequel to The Veil.  And while I haven’t yet read this series, I’m super excited to pick it up very soon!  At the bottom of this post you’ll find the grand prize giveaway from Chloe Neill herself with lots of cool stuff.  Check it out!


Expected publication: August 16th 2016 by NAL Trade

AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionIndiebound, or iBooks

The paranormal war that engulfed New Orleans seven years ago is over.  But the battle for the city is just beginning . . .

Claire Connolly is a Sensitive, infected with magic when the Veil that divides humanity from the world beyond fell. Magic can easily consume and destroy a Sensitive, and if Claire’s secret is discovered she’ll be locked into the walled district of Devil’s Isle along with every other Paranormal left in the city.

Bounty hunter Liam Quinn discovered Claire’s secret, but refused to turn her in. Together they saved New Orleans from the resurgence of magic that nearly destroyed it. But now a dangerous cult is on the rise, and it will take both Claire and Liam—and magical allies within Devil’s Isle’s towering walls—to defeat the occult threat before magic corrupts them both…

I also had the opportunity to ask a few questions of Chloe Neill as part of this blog tour, and I’m excited to share her answers here!

Q: What was your inspiration for the Devil’s Isle series?

A: I have always loved New Orleans, and really wanted to set a series there. I’ve also been wanting to write a book with a southern gothic feel, and to explore the idea of a paranormal prison, where it’s sometimes not clear who our enemies are. THE VEIL was the result of blending up those ideas.

Q: How do you try to set your books apart from other titles in the genre?

A: I don’t think I consciously try to set my books apart. I do try, though, to be true to the characters and the setting.  I want people to get a sense of New Orleans, even if they’ve never been there, and to relate to the characters. I always try to be true to the characters, to make their actions and fears and joys be consistent with who they are.

Q: Why did you choose New Orleans for this series?

A: New Orleans is a very complicated city–with amazing food and architecture and culture, but also poverty and crime and corruption. I love to write about complicated cities (Chicago is one, too), as they give me a lot to work with.

Q: How many books are planned for Devil’s Isle?

A: There are three books under contract right now.

Q: What other projects are you working on right now?

A: I’m currently editing BLADE BOUND, the last Ethan and Merit Chicagoland vampires novel.  I’ll start writing PHANTOM KISS, next the January 2017 Ethan and Merit novella.  Also in the works is my new Chicagoland Vampires spinoff!

Thanks for having me!

The fun doesn’t stop here. Want more chances to win? You can also enter Chloe’s Grand Prize Giveaway, which will run August 8 through August 19 on Chloe’s web site.

What’s included in the Grand Prize Giveaway?


Author Interview and Giveaway: Sara Wilson Etienne

Sara Wilson Etienne

Some of you may remember my post about Lotus and Thorn from early June, where I promised an interview with the author.  Well, here it is!  And, I decided to include a giveaway for 1 hardcover copy of Lotus and Thorn, and Sara has graciously agreed to sign a bookplate to accompany it!  (You can find the Rafflecopter link at the bottom of this post.)

I wanted to interview this author for a couple of reasons.  1) I had some questions that needed answers, and I thought other readers might want to know those answers as well.  2) This book was fabulous, and I wanted to keep the conversation going.  Sara Wilson Etienne is definitely high on my watch list now, as I’m eagerly hoping for more novels set in the universe of Lotus and Thorn.


  1. What was your inspiration for Lotus and Thorn?

I tend to collect bits of books like puzzle pieces. I’m not always sure where the pieces fit until a couple of them suddenly click together. At the time I started Lotus and Thorn, I’d been carrying around one piece of the puzzle for a few years… a fascination with courtesans— particularly the Renaissance women of Venice who cultivated money and power by becoming the lovers of influential men.

A few years later, I read an article about hikikomori and I knew I had another piece of the puzzle. Hikikomori are teenagers in Japan—mostly boys— who lock themselves away in their rooms for months, sometimes years, away from the pressures of the real world, and withdrawing from society. So with those two pieces, I knew the questions I wanted to explore with this book—and for me writing is all about asking questions.

My first question was: what happens when the only option available to women is to marry or to cultivate power with their bodies? (What does that power look like? How does that power relate to strong women and girls in our world now?)

Second, what sort of intense pressures are necessary to make a teenage boy—with his whole life ahead of him—turn his back on the world?

Third, what would a world look like where both these elements, both these characters, could exist and interact with each other?

I didn’t want to write historical fiction and this story doesn’t belong in present day. So I reached into the future and created the sci-fi world of Lotus and Thorn. I used the Grimms’ fairy tale structure to lend a sense of timelessness and fantasy to the technologically advanced planet of Gabriel. There’s a lot of bloodshed in the book, but it also mirrors the bloodiness of the original Grimms’ fairy tale. All in all, my hope is that Lotus and Thorn feels like a new story with an old soul.

Lotus and Thorn


  1. Why Fitcher’s Bird? What drew you to this fairy tale?

Well, I actually started the book—in the early, early drafts—using a bunch of different fairy tales. Leica would read bits and pieces of them to Edison as the book progressed. At that point, I was still working out what the fairy tale aspect brought to the book. But when I read Fitcher’s Bird, I knew what I needed to do. It’s so different than most of the stories. First of all, it has such a strong female lead. I alter or omit some details in my retelling, but I didn’t touch that aspect of the story…she already kicks ass and takes names.

And it’s not just that she’s brave and clever and saves her sisters… there is a wonderful twisted sense of humor in that story. Like how the sister putting a wedding veil on one of the skulls in the window and everyone comments on how happy the grinning bride-skull looks. That is awesome. This fairy tale has a spark to it that brought something new to my story… a framework and grim humor I’d been looking for. And it click into place so perfectly with the world I already was building. I suppose it was another puzzle piece!

Image from Arthur Rackham


  1. Did you read many fairy tales when you were younger?

I remember I had a Fisher Price record player and they used to make these kid’s records with scenes on them… I had this one about a girl who lived in an scallop shell that I listened to over and over. But I have to say, I didn’t have an obsession with fairy tales in particular… I just loved fantasy and science fiction. Especially whenever the mystery and magic intersected with our own world. For example, Where the Wild Things Are. Or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Or Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater. Deep Magic by Diana Wynne Jones. Even books like The Westing Game or The Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler have an element of the fantastical and the mysterious in our own world. These are the kinds of stories I love, stories that give us a “world of more”… and most fairy tales fit right into that mix. Real, but not real.


  1. Do you have any more books planned after Lotus and Thorn?

I can’t say too much about this topic right now… however I will say that this world and those characters grabbed onto me and I haven’t been able to shake them. Nor do I want to!

More Cliff Stock 138 by The-strawberry-tree

Stock photo from the-strawberry-tree
  1. What made you decide to end on such a huge cliffhanger/reveal?

Well, the cliffhanger was a bit of a surprise to me too! As a reader, I don’t always love it when an author does that. But when I was writing that final scene with Leica and Nik and the Pup sleeping out under the stars, it just happened. I saw the helicopters coming up over the mountains. I heard the thrumming as they flew closer and saw the sunrise glaring off the blades and felt my heart start to pump faster! It was such a visceral writing experience that I felt compelled to keep the scene like that, despite any objections my “reader” self might have put forth.

The thing is that I’ve always known the Big Picture of what this world looks like; so with this reveal, it was only a question how much Leica would find out and how much she would understand of what was going on in the outside world. So for me, the helicopters felt like a satisfying taste of what lay beyond those mountains.

  1. Did you do any research for this book?

So much research!! I’m a scientist at heart—studied biology and ecology through most of college—so I love the research aspect so writing. But this book was intense! Figuring out ecosystems—what would grown in the desert, in the Dome. Figuring out what would still be around after 500 years and what would have broken down. Future technology, like 3D food printers or swarm robotics or solar glass. Cultures. Clothing. And I definitely pulled in wonderful writers and super smarties to help me along the way as well. I had people vet the book for medical/genetics issues, whether the radio/tech stuff made sense in practice and/or theory, for cultural/language/accessibility/diversity issues. There are obviously many, many things in Lotus and Thorn that don’t exist in our world and I’m sure there are lots of discrepancies, but I tried to ensure that the theories and concepts behind my world make sense. And that the real-world issues at play—from growing seasons to transmitting radio signals—functioned correctly.


  1. How do you overcome writer’s block?

Mostly I simply try to keep writing on a daily basis, even if it’s for as little as 15 minutes. Something that is routine has less chance of being daunting. I also try to end a writing session a little ways into a new scene, or even in the middle of one…anywhere but the end… so that the next day I’m not coming back to a blank page.

  1. Why did you decide to include Kisaengs in your world?

As I said earlier, I was fascinated by the idea of Venetian courtesans. At the beginning, I struggled with the appropriateness of this subject in a YA book. But then I realized that was exactly where this belongs. Even today, so often teenage girls and young women are taught to use their bodies and appearances as tools of power. You only need to look at magazine racks full of fashion and dating tips to see this. 10 ways to win a guy! 12 dresses that’ll make him look twice! Kisaengs are far removed from the canals of Venice, or from our present day world, but it was their physicality—appearances, bodies, sexuality— that allowed them to escape the desperation of Pleiades. I wanted the reader to explore Leica’s own struggle with this dilemma and with her own sense of power.


9. Are you working on any other projects right now?

I am! I’m working on several projects that I love. It takes me a while to puzzle my way through my books, so I find that sometimes, working on multiple projects can help me move forward a little faster. I really wish I could talk about them, but for now I’ll just share that I’m having fun putting all the pieces together!

And here’s the promised giveaway!  I hope everyone enjoys this book as much as I did!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Interview: Aaron Safronoff – Sunborn Rising Blog Tour


As part of the blog tour, I had the opportunity to ask the author some questions pertaining to Sunborn Rising.  Here’s what he had to say!

  1. What was your inspiration for Sunborn Rising?

I spent a lot of my childhood playing in the woods, running along fallen trees and climbing a few, and turning over every rock and rotting log I could find. I have vivid memories of slugs, ants, centipedes, earwigs, and salamanders slithering through the soil, and Sunborn Rising certainly pulls from those moments.

  1. How long did it take to write Beneath the Fall?

For nine months, I wrote and presented chapters, making some revisions along the way but mainly driving toward story completion. Although the editing didn’t comprise the whole of my effort for the following year, I completed three separate full pass edits in that time, including two professional edits, and reading the book aloud to our entire Neoglyphic company for polish.


  1. Who’s your favorite character from Sunborn Rising?

Wow, soft-served me a couple questions to lull me into a false sense of ease, eh? My favorite character? Buy me a drink first. 😛 But you know what? I like your moxie. Fizzit. Next question.

  1. How many books are planned for this series?

Three so far. It’s a big world though, with lots of characters and possibilities, so the series will likely grow beyond the foundational trilogy.

  1. What is the relationship between the book and the videogame?

Neoglyphic Entertainment publishes franchises, meaning that we want to develop stories across many mediums in parallel to provide a richer experience of an imagined world. For Cerulean, we thought it would be fun to fly through the Loft as a Rush — one of the hummingbird messenger puppies 😉 . And it works really well! Especially, in VR. Some game tropes apply.


  1. Does the videogame have a release date?

Soon! The mobile game has been live in Australia for testing and revision, and the team have been responding to feedback, improving everything from visuals to leaderboards. The version we last played in the office was a ton of fun, and we’re confident it’ll go live everywhere this summer. The website is updated regularly with release information.

  1. Can you explain the related app?

The app fuses the various artistic components of the story into a single experience. With animated illustrations, and an original soundtrack that ebbs and flows in sync with reading speed, the Sunborn Rising app represents our first step toward delivering a new way for audiences to enjoy a novel. The app even represents modern approaches to development with an engineer in Australia, a composer in Ohio, and artists from here to Denmark. Their talents combined — oy, sounds like I’m headed toward a Captain Planet reference. Ouch. It burns a little. Voltron? Well, anyway, maybe we don’t merge into a bleeping amazing robotic protector of the known universe, but the app is still pretty flippin’ awesome!

  1. How do you overcome writer’s block?

I’ve been asked this question more than a few times, and my answer invariably involves writing 🙂 . I don’t know, I’m not saying I have answers for anyone else, or that I even know for sure what a person means by “blocked,” but whenever I need to work something out, I write. Maybe I’m perpetually blocked and that’s the impetus to write in the first place? I probably should have just seen a doctor instead…


  1. What did you read growing up? How did this influence what you wanted to write?

Early on, I’d say Encyclopedia Brown, Bunnicula, and the Norby Chronicles give a fair representation of my reading habits. Later, I became deeply, emotionally invested in The Darksword Trilogy, and The Death Gate Cycle, by Weis and Hickman, Madeleine L’engle’s Wrinkle in Time and related works, and the Gunslinger by Stephen King, but also, I enjoyed my literature classes, both canonical works and not. Twain, Hesse, and Voltaire certainly influenced me, though I couldn’t pass a test about their works today 🙂 . Nabokov, Rushdie, and Philip K. Dick played a huge role. Today, Mieville, Abercrombie, and McCarthy keep rising to the top as favorites. Even as I answer this question, name after name pops into my mind, but I’m not sure any answer your question. You know who influenced me most? Mr. and Mrs. Campbell of Traverse City Area Public Schools. The two high school teachers pushed me to develop my own ideas, challenge those ideas, refine them, and state them clearly, all in relation to reading and understanding literature.

  1. Do you have any other projects in the works?

Other than working on the Sunborn Rising trilogy, I’m eager to complete my portrait series, a collection of short, surreal works characterizing my most personal emotional connections. Also, the novel I started before Sunborn Rising, a work of weird fiction entitled, “Clay.” Both projects need attention, but remain out of focus while I’m caught up in the gravity of Sunborn. Nevertheless, the projects have been defined and have more than a little work in them already, so picking them up again should be — finger’s crossed — easy enough. Wish me luck!