Saturday, October 26, 2013

Crossroads Blog Tour: Final Day!

THIS. IS. IT. The final day of The Crossroads Blog Tour - and we couldn't be more thrilled to end off the tour with these fabulous authors: Kelly Hashway, Elizabeth Holloway, and Molly Cohran.

Don't forget, this is your last chance to check out the rest of stops on the tour for your chance to WIN a Kindle preloaded with more than 20 creeptastic reads. After you check out the posts from each of the participating bloggershead to Crossroads headquarters where you'll find a "daily clue." It's a fangtastic scavenger hunt with a potentially monster pay-off.

We’re intrigued by Touch of Death and the fun twist on the Medusa lore. What was the inspiration for this series? 

There’s a myth about Medusa and Poseidon that I sort of ran with for this series. In that myth, Medusa was wrongfully cursed by Athena because Athena was jealous that Poseidon loved Medusa instead of her. This myth isn’t widely known and I wanted to show a Medusa that most people haven’t seen. I figured having a group of her descendants who shared her abilities would be a great way to bring this lesser-known myth to light.

Lots of books on the horizon for you – which one are you most excited about? What’s the key to keeping your butt in the chair to write? 

Oh, I can’t answer that. Lol I really do love each of my books for different reasons. I can’t write a story I’m not in love with. As for keeping my butt in the chair and writing, I have a strict schedule. I know when I’m supposed to be writing and I just do it like it’s any other job. But truth be told, once I start, it’s tough to get me out of that chair. I love what I do.

Newest/Upcoming Release: Touch of Death
Twitter: @kellyhashway

Describe Libbi Piper, the protagonist from Call Me Grim in a 140-character tweet. What’s her most unique quality?

Libbi's an artist, an average student, snarky, stubborn, full of heart and humor. These qualities combine to get her into lots of trouble.

I think her most unique qualities are her overactive imagination and artistic view of the world.

As the reigning Pictionary Queen, what has been your most memorable word to draw? Your most challenging?

I don’t know about Pictionary Queen, but I’ll take Pictionary Princess. I always wanted to be a princess. I also wanted to be a mermaid and a unicorn, but whatever. My most memorable word to draw was probably “underwear”, since it elicited a hilarious reaction from my kids, once they figured it out. The hardest words to draw are any you might find on a map, since my entire family is geographically challenged.

Newest/Upcoming Release: Call Me Grim, the first in the Chronicles of a Reaper
Twitter: @eholloway300

Your blog is great. In one post, you talk about your former life as a ghostwriter. What are the challenges of going from ghostwriter to having a novel published under your own name? 

First, Wow! I didn’t think anyone actually read my blog, which is about writing technique—never a popular topic—so thanks. Actually, the transition from ghostwriter to author was, in my case, a very lengthy process. After ghostwriting twelve novels and four nonfiction books, I went into partnership with another writer. Together we produced several bestsellers, including GRANDMASTER, THE TEMPLE DOGS, and THE FOREVER KING. Unfortunately, we got married, and everything eventually came unraveled. So now I’m working on my third writing career, and experiencing a freedom I’ve never before known. Live and learn.

You list American Idol as your guilty pleasure. Who is your favourite judge? Was there a participant you wanted to win but didn’t? And – have you given The Voice a chance? 

Oh, you’ve found me out! I wish I could say I no longer watch that show, but I do. In fact, I bought Candace Glover’s CD the day after the finale. It’s much less fun without Simon Cowell, of course. He’s so wickedly honest, while remaining a gentleman. I watched one season of The Voice, but Christina Aguilera turned me off with her blatant rudeness. The camera actually showed her texting while one of the contestants, Tony Luca, was performing. I was really disappointed, since I’d always been a fan of Christina’s. I know she’s not on the show anymore, and I’ve watched a couple of times. Love Levine, Shelton, and Shakira, but still have a bad taste in my mouth over crude Christina.

Newest/Upcoming Release: Seduction
Twitter: @MollyCochranYA

ENTER for a chance to win a FREE Kindle, preloaded with titles from participating Crossroads Tour authors!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Crossroads Blog Tour: Day 6

Can you believe The Crossroads Blog Tour is almost over? Soothe your tears by checking out three spooktacular authors: Amy Christine Parker, Joy Preble and Victoria Scott. Which one has Linkin Park on their writing playlist? Scroll down to find out!

And when you're done, don't forget to check out the rest of stops on the tour for your chance to WIN a Kindle preloaded with more than 20 creeptastic reads. After you check out the posts from each of the participating bloggershead to Crossroads headquarters where you'll find a "daily clue." It's a fangtastic scavenger hunt with a potentially monster pay-off.

Based on the synopsis for Gated, Lyla has a robust character arc. Before writing this book, how much of her “later” skills did you have to research? Is research an enjoyable part of the writing process for you?

I mainly researched the beginnings of her character arc, how she could possibly end up where she did at that time and how she would perceive life based on her immersion in this very isolated society called The Community. I love the research part quite a bit, actually. I have to stop myself from going too far down the rabbit hole though because I could easily research to the detriment of the actual writing.

Gated is fresh and new – but you must be working on the next project. Any hints?

I am in the process of going through edits for Gated’s sequel due out next fall and am drafting a completely new idea—one that builds on my interest in contemporaries with elements of horror, paranormal, and thrillers. I like for what I write to feel absolutely possible within the framework of the world we live in right now. This is my sweet spot as a writer.

Newest/Upcoming Release: Gated
Twitter: @amychristinepar

Give us the 140-character pitch for The A Word. How is it different from your other work? 

Jenna and Casey fight a global conglomerate that has weaponized memory drugs with the real potential of controlling human society. Plus Jenna’s got a boyfriend now.  THE A WORD is the sequel to SWEET DEAD LIFE. I’d say it’s my same quirky take on the world. But probably the best book I’ve written to date. I LOVE THE A WORD!!

In the Sweet Dead Life, Jenna has a pretty sweet pair of cowboy boots. What’s the one pair of shoes in your closet you would never give the boot? 

Great question! Actually, my own cowboy boots are keepers, although I am now in search of a second pair, possibly red and square-toed. Cause here in Texas, western-wear is appropriate even if you never climb on a horse!

Newest/Upcoming Release: The A Word
Twitter: @joypreble
Twitter: @karenkincy

You list loud and angry loves as the kind of music that gets you going. Does it accompany your writing? Influence it? List three bands or musicians we might find on your MP3 player.

It accompanies my writing for certain key moments, and yes, it definitely empowers the emotion in the scene. Three bands: Linkin Park, Nine Inch Nails, System of a Down

If Tella Holloway, the protagonist from Fire and Flood, was given the microphone to dish about you, what would she say? 

She’d say I have great taste in food (we both love Greek food), and she’d list all the great qualities about me without any mention of the bad. Tella is the best friend I think any girl would love to have.

Newest/Upcoming Releases: The Liberator
Twitter: @VictoriaScottYA

ENTER for a chance to win a FREE Kindle, preloaded with titles from participating Crossroads Tour authors!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Crossroads Blog Tour: Day 5

Day 5 of the Crossroads Blog Tour. Having fun? We are! Today, Kiki Hamilton talks about contemporary fiction vs fantasy, Jen McConnel dishes about authors who have inspired her career, and Lisa M. Cronkhite describes her perfect writing environment.

Check it out! And, then check out the rest of stops on the tour for your chance to WIN a Kindle preloaded with more than 20 creeptastic reads. After you check out the posts from each of the participating bloggershead to Crossroads headquarters where you'll find a "daily clue." It's a fangtastic scavenger hunt with a potentially monster pay-off.

Love the boogie board pic from your blog – a fave summer lake sport, for sure. How do you get back into the swing of writing after a few weeks off? 

This is a timely question because I’ve just taken the last six months off, which is the longest stretch since I started writing about 8 years ago. I’ve also started a new job that has long hours each day so it’s been a little more challenging to get back into a regular writing schedule, but mostly I write what I want to read. I try to throw in surprise twists and put my characters in places I hadn’t planned so that I have to keep writing to see what happens next.

What are some of the benefits of writing contemporary vs fantasy fiction? 

Writing a contemporary story was totally different than writing fantasy for me.  In one way it’s easier, because it’s the real world – it is what it is and only certain things can happen. On the other hand, fantasy does have offer flexibility in terms of plot but you have to create the parameters of the magic within your world and live within those boundaries.  Challenges? See answer above. ☺

Newest/Upcoming Release: The Faerie Ring 
Twitter: @ kikihamilton

We love the blurb and cover for Daughter of Chaos. The series sounds great! Are you a free-flow writer or a plotter? When it comes to writing a series, is it more important to be one or the other?

Thank you! I’m so excited about this series.  When it comes to drafting, I’m a total pantser, but once the crummy first draft is down, I go into plotting mode.  I outline, I measure percentages (true story!), I agonize over the pacing, and I try to clean up the crazy into a coherent story.  It helps to have a plan when writing a series, but these books have surprised me again and again.  I love it when the characters deviate from my loose plan!

You’ve so far written YA, NA and non-fiction. What authors have influenced your work?

I’m a HUGE reader, and I feel like I’ve been influenced by everything I’ve read or seen.  A few authors who spring to mind: Anne Lamott, Susan Cooper, Gail Carson Levine, Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, and Lynne Reid Banks.  Also, my mom: she free-lanced for years, and she co-wrote a nonfiction book when I was a teen.  Watching her go through the entire experience, from story idea to publication to signings, really stuck with me.

Newest/Upcoming Releases: Daughter of Chaos
Twitter: @Jen_McConnel

The cover for Deep in the Meadows is deliciously creepy. Where do you get your creep inspiration?

Well, Leap designed the cover.  I didn’t have a say, but I was very pleased when they did show me the cover.  I got to choose from six covers.  They went with the one I picked out, which was cool.  As for creep inspiration, scary movies all the way.

Describe your ideal writing environment.

Somewhere cool and quiet, preferably outside when it’s about 70 degrees, windy.  Either dawn or dusk, both my favorite times to write.

Newest/Upcoming Releases: Deep in the Meadows

ENTER for a chance to win a FREE Kindle, preloaded with titles from participating Crossroads Tour authors!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crossroads Blog Tour: Day 4

Today, find out who Amanda Ashby would take out in the battle for the Princess Bride's sweet Wesley, and what Christine Fonseca needs in a great series. It's Day 4 of the The Crossroads Blog Tour!

Pssst... Don't forget to check out the rest of stops on the tour for your chance to WIN a Kindle preloaded with more than 20 creeptastic reads. After you check out the posts from each of the participating bloggershead to Crossroads headquarters where you'll find a "daily clue." It's a fangtastic scavenger hunt with a potentially monster pay-off.

In a battle for sweet Wesley, would you rather take on Inigo Montoya, Vizzina or Fezzik? Why? 

Well, since I have spent the last ten years learning to hold a sword in both hands, Inigo would be no problems and as for Vizzina, I know an abundance of big words (including wheelbarrow and skedaddle) so I think I’d have his measure and the obvious way to defeat Fezzik is to just tickle the big guy. Unfortunately, I think the real person standing in-between me and the delicious Wesley would be that pesky Buttercup. I mean she looks all innocent and sweet but I secretly think she’s a biter!

Cassidy, your protagonist in Demonosity has a great sense of style. From where does she draw her inspiration – and what does it say about her character?

I know some people get into vintage clothing because they have a particular style icon like Audrey or Marilyn but Cassidy’s inspiration comes from her best friend Nash, a renaissance obsessed genius who dresses like Adam Ant and the Scarlett Pimpernel’s love child. Plus, she gets the added bonus that her vintage wardrobe totally pisses off her mom!

Newest/Upcoming Release: Demonosity
Twitter: @amandaashby

You mention on your blog that you often have a hard time reading series. What has to be in place for you to love it?

Great question. For me, everything is always about the characters. So, if the series does a good job with the character arcs, doesn’t repeat the same plot/story/arc over and over, then I love it. Having writing a series now, I can tell you from experience that accomplishing this is much easier said than done!

Please share a 140-character blurb of your book Dominus.

Sometimes death is the only way to save a life as sacrifices prove wanting in Dominus, the breathtaking conclusion to the Requiem Series.

Newest/Upcoming Release: Dominus
Twitter: @chrstinef

ENTER for a chance to win a FREE Kindle, preloaded with titles from participating Crossroads Tour authors!

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Crossroads Blog Tour: Day 3

Day 3 of  The Crossroads Blog Tour already?  October is flying by! How are you doing on the scavenger hunt?

Today on the blog, we're thrilled to host Jackie Kessler Morse and Nicola Marsh, two spooktacular authors of young adult paranormal tales.

And of course, don't forget to check out the rest of stops on the tour for your chance to WIN a Kindle preloaded with more than 20 creeptastic reads. After you check out the posts from each of the participating bloggershead to Crossroads headquarters where you'll find a "daily clue." It's a fangtastic scavenger hunt with a potentially monster pay-off.

We love that Neil Gaiman is such an inspiration for your work. What's the best "osmosis" advice you've received from him?

 Isn't he great? Back in the early 1990s, Neil signed an Endless poster, from his amazing Sandman comic series, for me. On the poster, he wrote: "Jackie: Dream on." It felt like he gave me permission to dream big, and to do what I needed to transform those dreams into achievable goals -- in my case, to be a published author. That poster is framed and hanging in my home office, along with a framed picture of Neil holding a copy of Hunger. (Squee!) I saw Neil this June, when he was in Saratoga Springs for his Ocean signing, and I thanked him for being my inspiration to write. I told him (in a reedy breath, with the words barely able to come out because I was REALLY talking to THE NEIL GAIMAN) that without him, I most likely wouldn't have 10 (almost 11) published novels right now. And then he hugged me, and my brain short circuited. :)

The Post Mortem column on your website is such a great book review forum! Who has been Death's most intriguing interview?

Thanks! I wish I had more energy and time to do more of these interviews, but for the moment, there's just the handful. I enjoyed doing all of them, because they all reveal different sides of characters that we otherwise might not see. One of my favorites is when Death from my Riders series interviews Rachel Caine's Shane from her amazing Morganville Vampires series. Shane and Death, hanging out? Oh yeah. Totally. :) If things change and I have more time, then Post Mortem will relaunch in 2014. Positive thoughts, everyone! :D

Newest/Upcoming Release: Breathe
Twitter: @JackieMorseKess

Scion of the Sun is a bit of a diversion from your regular writing wheelhouse. What was the catalyst for the switch-up?

I became hooked on reading YA after the Twilight phenomenon and have been devouring YA books ever since. After writing 40+ romances, I wanted to see if I could write a YA…and Scion of the Sun is the result. It has a little of everything: suspense, mystery, romance, paranormal. I love a heroine with snark and Holly is all that and more as she teleports to a parallel Druid existence outside of NYC and discovers nothing is as it seems.

Looks like you’re well on your way to writing 100 books – an ambitious “bucket list” goal. What’s your best “follow your dreams” advice for youth?

Never give up. Nothing in life comes easy. You need to work hard at it. And when you get knocked down along the way, pick yourself up and forge on, more determined than ever.

Newest/Upcoming Release: Scion of the Sun
Twitter: @NicolaMarch

Monday, October 21, 2013

Crossroads Blog Tour: Day 2 did you make out on Day 1 of the The Crossroads Blog Tour?  Told you it was going to be a monster of a big deal!

Today on the tour, we're thrilled to host FOUR paranormal powerhouses: PJ Hoover, Lucienne Diver, Carrie Harris and Patrice Lyle.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the tour for your chance to WIN a Kindle preloaded with more than 20 creeptastic reads. After you check out the posts from each of the participating bloggershead to Crossroads headquarters where you'll find a "daily clue." It's a fangtastic scavenger hunt with a potentially monster pay-off.

We’re loving your Latter-Day Olympian series. What’s the trick to making history or historical characters relevant to today’s young adult readers?

Oh, thank you so much!  The Latter-Day Olympians isn't meant for YA readers in the way the Vamped series is, though older young adults can certainly enjoy it, at least up until book 4, which might get a bit racier.  (I’m writing it now, so we’ll see!)  I think the trick to making historical or mythological characters relevant is to update their stories.  For example, Hephaestus, god of the forge, was known for making amazing machines.  Modern-day I can easily see him working his special talents for ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) doing special effects.  Of course Hermes would run a worldwide messenger service and Atlas would own a gym franchise.  Apollo, though, is especially fascinating to me, since mythologically he seemed to take on or be given the attributes of many other gods, eclipsing them in prominence until he was nearly one-stop shopping as god of the sun, prophecy, artistic inspiration, music, poetry, archery, and even healing.  Among his children were Asclepius, god of medicine, and Panacea, goddess of the universal cure.  He had a sort of undeniable appeal.  And yet his loves were always so tragic.  He's so complex that I had to make him a main character to explore all his angles.  As the series begins, he's an actor, leading man material, who's tangled up with the woman—very likely a famed enchantress—killed as book 1 opens.

Two successful series on the go, and a full-time agent with a (very) active client list – that sounds like a recipe for creative overload. What are your top three strategies for maintaining balance?

Wow, thank you.  I'm glad you give me that much credit!  Some days I feel like a performance artist balancing the spinning plates.  If I let one slide, it's going to crash to the ground.  So I'm always going, going, going.  This is actually easier for me than taking breaks.  (I'm a textbook Type A personality with time urgency issues and the Whole Nine Yards…which was a great movie, BTW…but I digress.)  Strategies, hmmm.  #1) I don't have time to waste and consequently I don't waste time.  When I sit down to write I don't allow myself to do anything else, like check my social media feeds.  #2) Gotta Keep 'Em Separated.  I have an agent who isn't me or associated with me to handle my work so that submissions and all are at a remove.  During work hours I focus on my clients' work, knowing that someone else is focusing on the business aspects of mine. #3) Sanity is overrated.  I realized awhile ago that on those rare occasions where things have slowed down and I have a moment to breathe that I'm not any calmer.  I'm so used to being in full-on scurry mode that I don't know what to do with downtime.  It stresses me out because I always feel like there's something I should be doing.  So, I've accepted that I'm a stress pup, that I'll always be a stress pup.  As a result, crazy with a side order of frantic is my normal state.  I've embraced it.

Newest Upcoming Release: Fangtabulous
Twitter: @LucienneDiver

A roller derby demon hunter – pretty sure Casey is living the dream! Before writing Demon Derby, what was your experience with the sport that seems to be making a resurgence?

No kidding! When my high school guidance counselor talked to me about possible professions, derby demon hunting was NOT on the list, or I would have snapped it up immediately! Sadly, all of my derby experience so far has been as a fan. Visitors to my website may have seen the part where I claim to have fallen off a cliff. Not a joke. My knees still aren’t quite the same, and that makes skating tough. Luckily, I’ve got a few local teams, and one of my friends has recently started a junior derby team! I just think that’s one of the coolest things ever.

I do dream about joining a derby team someday. I have a name picked out: Cthulhu Lulu. Although admittedly, that keeps changing as I come up with new ones, so please don’t hold me to it.

If we attended one of your cool zombie science talks, what two things might we learn to better prepare us for the impending undead apocalypse? 

You’d learn that there are zombie ants. Really! National Geographic reported on them and everything! Now you know something to talk about at your next party—there’s a fungus that turns ants into zombies. I have pictures of them. I couldn’t resist the urge to write BRAAAAAAINS! on the bottom.

Newest/Upcoming release: Demon Derby
Twitter: @carrharr

From electrical engineer to writer – quite the switch. How has your past career helped to shape your current one? 

People tend to think engineering and writing are different, but I don’t agree. Getting through engineering school requires discipline and organization. Writing a book requires discipline and organization. Designing computer chips takes quite a bit of creativity. And yes, writing a book takes creativity, too. Computer code is a lot like a book. You write. You test. You revise. You test some more, and you keep on revising until you get it right. Sure, you might find bugs, but no computer chip is perfect. And neither is any book.

We read the excerpt from Solstice. Great world building! What do you think are the key elements for effective world building?

Thank you! To me, the key elements are:

  1. Keeping the general world the same. Realizing that even though some amount of time has gone by, the world will change in bits and pieces, not in giant cataclysmic chunks. 
  2. Remembering that no matter what side you are on, nothing is perfect. 
  3. Defying clichés. Just because you’ve always heard something should be a certain way does not mean that is has to be. Let your creativity take over.
  4. Having something with which to compare the world. For the case of Solstice, the global warming world and the Underworld serve each other in this way.
Newest/Upcoming release: Solstice
Twitter: @pj_hoover

In your case, it seems “write what you love” is more true than “write what you know” – why is this important to you?

For me, writing is all about passion because that’s what inspires me to fill the pages! Two things I’m passionate about are wellness and the paranormal world. In terms of paranormal, I grew up hearing stories about my psychic great grandmother, which sparked my love of all things “otherworldly.” So Lethally Blonde and Poison Ivy were definitely inspired by my interest in that subject.

When talking about Glisten, I discovered natural health at age nineteen, when I was living in England. I had a sore throat and went to a drug store where I noticed the homeopathic section. I’d never heard of homeopathy before. I bought a remedy for sore throat and it worked. I’ve been hooked ever since. I have a PhD in Holistic Nutrition, I’m certified in Traditional Naturopathy, and I worked at a wellness center for three years. I live a wellness lifestyle and love it! So Glisten is both what I love and what I know. I’m working on the sequel now, which will be released next spring.

Holistic Medical Suspense – it’s a whole new genre! What key points would you use to sell us on why it should be added to our TBR pile?

I wrote Glisten to enlighten people about the power of holistic health in the form of a fast paced suspense novel. I own tons of fabulous non-fiction health books (and I love them all!) but I wanted to write something where people could “learn health through fiction.” Two of my beta readers loved reading the characters’ journeys into wellness, along with the suspense elements, and they were both inspired to try holistic modalities. I hope Glisten will inspire readers to realize how much power we have over our own health, and, at the same time, entertain readers with a fast-paced suspense story.

Affaire de Coeur magazine said Glisten “…could be the next best suspense movie to rock the world.” An exciting review and possibility, but hearing from readers who are inspired health-wise is what I love to hear and why I wrote the book. You can read the entire review here:

Newest/Upcoming Release: Glisten