Monthly Archives: November 2015
Hey folks. Today my guest is P.I. Alltraine. If you remember, she was a guest on my blog back on October 2nd.
P.I.. Tell us about you.
I live in London, but I was born in the Philippines. I’ve lived in London for most of my adult life, and I love the place and the people and the culture, but I’ll always be proud to be Filipino. I think living in the Philippines, a place where myths and legends are embedded in the culture, really sparked my imagination at a young age.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I am one of these annoying people who love life and feel very blessed. I wouldn’t change anything about my life, so I try to enjoy it as much as I can. I’m also very much aware of the transitory nature of life; I try to live in the now and just make the most of every moment.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Does it have to be someone alive? If not, I would love to pick William Shakespeare’s brains!
What’s the story behind your latest book?
The story came to me and demanded to be written. I know, I know. That’s the most clichéd answer ever, but writers keep saying it for a reason. It’s hard to describe the impact of a powerful idea. When it hits a writer, it’s no longer a choice. You have to write it, or it will drive you mad. In my case, I was minding my own business, and all of a sudden, there was this image in my head. It hit me so hard that I had to stop what I was doing. I picked up a pen and paper and started to scribble. My husband walked in and found me on the floor with pieces of papers around me. At that point, the outline of Heartbound was completed—chapter by chapter, from beginning to end.
Tell us your writing process.
I’m an English teacher, which is pretty hectic, so I don’t always get to write during term times. I get the bulk of my writing done when I’m on my holiday. Otherwise, I take advantage of the silence I find in the early hours of the morning.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Writing is something I always knew I could do. When I was at school, some of my friends could sing, some could draw… I could write. I was the editor in chief of the school paper so I edited and wrote news articles, I wrote many of the school plays I performed in, I entered poetry writing competitions and performed spoken word poetry, I wrote the speeches I delivered in oratorical competitions, declamation, debates, etc. At the time, I thought I was doing so many different things, but looking back, everything I chose to do involved writing. When I was writing Heartbound, there were times when I didn’t agree with my characters’ actions, but I couldn’t change anything because it wasn’t my decision anymore. That’s when I realised what being a writer truly meant. Everyone can write a story, but to create a world with a life of its own, that takes a writer.
Tell us about your main character.
Petyr isn’t from the human world, so he sees everything in a different way, including things that we would consider ordinary. Through him, we get to realise just how complex we are as humans. It’s also part of his nature to be rather pragmatic and in control, so it’s interesting to see how he responds to emotions that are unfamiliar to him, particularly when his body responds in ways that he can’t necessarily control.
What are you working on next?
I’m working on three novels at the moment, but my priority is Heartless, the second book in the Heart Series (sequel to Heartbound). I’m also working on some Poetry (Spoken Word). I’m building a collection that will hopefully be ready for publication by next year.
Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I don’t know about “extraordinary”, but I do a bit of Spoken work poetry:
Who are your favorite authors?
I love writers who make me feel something I can’t explain or challenge my perspective. When I read anything by Virginia Woolf, for example, be it an essay or a novel, I feel baffled and enlightened all at once. Paradise Lost by John Milton, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and Dubliners by James Joyce are some of my favorites because these pieces pulled me into an unfamiliar world and compelled me to change my perspective. For instance, I was raised Roman Catholic so when I read Paradise Lost, I found the sublimity and the epic heroism in a figure I grew up seeing as one-dimensional villain very enlightening. It was empowering to see how Milton took something many people considered sacred, especially at the time, and manipulated it with such grace, such skill.
What do you like to do with your free time?
I try to spend as much time as I can with family and friends, and I also love to travel, see the world, and be close to nature.
Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
I working on getting them completed and edited as soon as possible.
Where can people find you on the web?
Any final thoughts?
Heartbound is a fantasy so it’s littered with elements that are out of this world (literally). But at its core, it’s about questioning and finding one’s own identity, trying to find a resolution between who you’re meant to be and who you want to be. It’s about finding the bravery and courage to go against the tides, refuse to conform, and fight for something that means everything to you but means nothing to everyone else.
About the Book
Author: Laney McMann
Genre: YA Fantasy
Kadence Sparrow wasn’t born a devil’s child—she was turned into one. Now, she’s hiding from the truth, and running for her life.
For years, Kade’s true nature has lurked behind an illusion, so when her dad gets another job transfer, she knows the drill: no close friends, no boyfriends, and most importantly: don’t expose what she is. Ever. Keeping secrets is easy. Lies are second nature. So is the loneliness—and the fear, but when the Shadows attack, and Kade meets Cole Spires, she could expose everything she’s trying to hide.
As one of the Celestial Children, Cole lives by an oath: defend the Ward, protect the Primordial race, guard the gateways, and stick to his own. Everything else is a distraction, and besides, he’s lost enough. Cole’s job is clear, and no one his age does it better. So, when he meets Kade in a club downtown, he assumes she just wants his attention. Most girls do, but Cole soon realizes … Kade isn’t like most girls.
The children of heaven and hell are living among us, fighting an age-old war. And falling for someone from the opposition is not an option. But a chance encounter between Kade and Cole will blur the rules, as Kade’s journey to keep her truth hidden catapults them together and into a web of lies, forcing her to not only face the demon inside her, but to answer the hardest question of all.
Which is thicker—blood or water?
Laney McMann is the author of The Fire Born Novels (TIED, TORN, & TRUE) and The Primordial Principles series (CRYSTALLUM, book #1 ~ Fall 2015).
She is the product of very creative parents and the most imaginative grandmother ever. With an untapped passion for the supernatural and all things magical, her voracious appetite for reading fantasy started really young ~ and so did her love of words.
She writes young adult dark urban fantasy novels mixed with a spike of romance, a hint of history, a dash of mythology, and lots of paranormal.
On the non-writing side of life, Laney is a former classical dancer, music snob, chef, and a right-brained thinker to a fault. When she’s not dreaming up new dead ends to torture herself with, she spends her time running.
Laney is published by J. Taylor Publishing and Booktrope Publishing.
Buy the Book
More info about the book is here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25649108-crystallum
The book also has a Thunderclap campaign going on at the moment. The thunderclap campaign is here: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/34066-crystallum-release-blitz?locale=en
There is also a release party for the book on Facebook on November 30. The event is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/690024077799149/
If you live in Melbourne’s Western Suburbs, then come meet author, Danielle M. Maistry.
Danielle will be autographing copies of her book, Port Arthur at Dymocks Bookstore at Watergardens Shopping Centre on Saturday January 23rd, from 12.00PM til 2PM.
Save the date, and rock on down 🙂
I don’t share personal things too often, but in this case I’ll make the exception by introducing you all to the latest idiots to join the feathered flock.
I have noticed that they are always angry, which has lead me to the conclusion that they either have serious Anger Issues that require intense therapy; Or are in truth, Agents of the Dark Side of the Force… I think the latter may be true in this case 🙂
by Kevin Laymon
Set in a science fiction setting with elements of twisted horror, Future Winds is a strange yet wondrous tale of species self preservation and the all out moral cost of survival. Forced to leave earth, humanity discovers a planet capable of supporting life and hatches an audacious plan that will warp them across the universe to settle and begin anew. There is a darkness that resides below the planet’s surface, but with no option to turn back, humanity must find a way forward.
Chapter 4 excerpt
Here we have two brothers who are being transported to their new home. They are nervous and afraid.
Ness wasn’t sure of the correct answer, so he lied. Way he saw it, he had a fifty/fifty shot of getting it right anyway. “Na, we aren’t slaves Lucas. You think Ma would have let us get on this ship if that were the case?”
The younger boy began to quietly weep. “I miss Mom,” he reminded his older brother, just as he had the day before and the day before that.
“Yea me too buddy, but we will see her soon.” Ness lied once more.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
My name is Kevin Laymon. My passions are space exploration, music, sailing, snowboarding, wildlife, and of course writing. I have been writing for some time but the focus has been primarily on short stories and dark poems strictly for personal use. Future Winds is the first of a handful of novels I am working on for publication. I grew up in upstate New York and have lived up and down the east coast. New York is a location that holds a very special place in my heart. After working a wide range of jobs that I hated for far too long, Sara my significant other, and I decided earlier in 2015 to make some dramatic changes and travel. We scraped together some cash, I quit my job, and we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where we live a libertarian life as vegetarians. We share our desertscape living quarters with an aquatic turtle named Taz and a rabbit named BunBear. On October 9th 2015 Sara & I got married in Las Vegas, Nevada. The sunshine in New Mexico has helped immensely in illuminating a greater perspective as to who I am and what I was placed on this planet to do; that is to teach and inspire. I have a hunger to awaken humanity so that we may break away from our programed way of thinking. Our minds are powerful and I encourage everyone to open them up, exercise them, and tap into the potential I know every living man woman and child has. Though my stories at times can be very dark there is a reason for everything I do. Perspective, perception, and relativity are everything in the world of literature.
Kevin will be awarding a $20 gift card to Thinkgeek.com (international) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
About the Book
Author: Hazel Butler
The Uber Author Planner is the ULTIMATE tool for Authors, Writers, and Bloggers.
Created by an author, freelance writer, and blogger, this planner is specially designed to keep everything writing-related in one place, making you super organised and super productive.
Far more than a simple planner, The Uber Author Planner will help you raise your writing profile, build your online platform, write more, publish more, and achieve your writing dreams. Coming with a double daily spread, plus weekly blog, newsletter, and social media planners, weekly and monthly target setting, word count tracking, and stacks of extra writing and blogging templates, this planner has everything you need. As if that wasn’t enough, there is also a separate 30 Day Novel Planner.
The planner’s flexible weekly system allows you to start it on any day of the year and still use it for a full 12 months. You will also get exclusive access to easily downloadable versions of all writing and blogging templates, so you can print out as many as you like once the ones in the book have been used! Standing at over 600 pages, hardbound for durability throughout the year, and beautifully illustrated in full colour, this is an EPIC resource for all authors, writers, and bloggers!
Hazel is an author, artist and archaeologist from Cheshire, England. She is the founder and owner of The Bookshine Bandit, a business dedicated to helping authors, writers, bloggers, and those looking to self-publish achieve their dreams and maximise their writing potential.
Since 2010 she has been working on a series of Gothic Literary novels, the first of which, Chasing Azrael, was released in April 2014. The Deathly Insanity series are a set of Urban Fantasy novels with overlapping character and plot-lines. Hazel’s other published works include Bleizgeist, and ‘Grave’, a short Dark Fantasy story. She has also published an additional novella and short story under a pen name.
While her primary interests are in Gothic and Fantasy art and fiction, Hazel reads a wide range of subjects and enjoys most forms of art. In addition to this, she runs The Bipolar Bear, a blog on bipolar disorder, and loves of dogs. Her King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Dexter (yes, after the serial killer), is her near-constant companion.
Hazel is currently in the final year of her PhD, which focuses on Gender Dynamics in Late Iron Age and Early Medieval Britain. She studied at The University of Manchester for her Undergraduate degree, then Bangor University for her MA and PhD, spending the two years between her MA and PhD doing corporate archaeology and research excavations, both in Britain and in Austria. She has two papers published in international journals.
Buy It Direct: http://bit.ly/UberAuthorPlanner
The Bookshine Bandit
The Santa Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York
by Alex Palmer
GENRE: History/True Crime
Before the charismatic John Duval Gluck, Jr. came along, letters from New York City children to Santa Claus were destroyed, unopened, by the U.S. Post Office. Gluck saw an opportunity, and created the Santa Claus Association. The effort delighted the public, and for 15 years money and gifts flowed to the only group authorized to answer Santa’s mail. Gluck became a Jazz Age celebrity, rubbing shoulders with the era’s movie stars and politicians, and even planned to erect a vast Santa Claus monument in the center of Manhattan — until Gotham’s crusading charity commissioner discovered some dark secrets in Santa’s workshop.
The rise and fall of the Santa Claus Association is a caper both heartwarming and hardboiled, involving stolen art, phony Boy Scouts, a kidnapping, pursuit by the FBI, a Coney Island bullfight, and above all, the thrills and dangers of a wild imagination. It’s also the larger story of how Christmas became the extravagant holiday we celebrate today, from Santa’s early beginnings in New York to the country’s first citywide Christmas tree and Macy’s first grand holiday parade. The Santa Claus Man is a holiday tale with a dark underbelly, and an essential read for lovers of Christmas stories, true crime, and New York City history.
It’s impossible to say who wrote the first Santa letter, but it was almost certainly from the mythical saint, not to him.
From the earliest conception of Santa Claus in the United States, parents used the voice of St. Nicholas as a means of providing advice and encouraging good behavior in their children. The earliest reference to a Santa letter in America that I could find came from Theodore Ledyard Cuyler, recalling his childhood in 1820s Western New York when he “once received an autograph letter from Santa Claus, full of good counsels.”
Fanny Longfellow (wife of poet Henry Wadsworth) regularly wrote her children Santa letters, commenting on their behavior over the preceding year. “I am sorry I sometimes hear you are not so kind to your little brother as I wish you were,” she wrote to her son Charley on Christmas Eve 1851.
Soon enough, children started writing back, generally placing their letters on the fireplace, where they believed smoke would transport the message to St. Nick.
By the 1870s, scattered reports appeared of the receipt of Santa letters by local post offices. But with no actual fur-coated toymaker to receive his mail, each January, the department destroyed them.
It was a depressing business. But, officials asked, if mailmen began delivering Santa’s letters, to which other fictional characters would mail be shuttled?
In the face of negative publicity, however, New York City’s postmaster finally relented. Every year, for the entire month of December, any approved organization could answer Santa’s mail. No one volunteered. Then, in 1913, just as the Post Office was about to give up, a man named John Duval Gluck stepped forward. He’d be Santa Claus.
He was also a con artist.
Alex Palmer is the author of The Santa Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York, called “required reading” by the New York Post and “highly readable” by Publishers Weekly.
It tells the history of Christmas in America through the true-crime tale of a Jazz Age hustler who founded an organization to answer children’s Santa letters — and fuel his own dark dreams. Palmer curated an exhibit about this Santa Claus Association for Brooklyn’s City Reliquary Museum, earning attention from the Village Voice, Time Out New York, and inspiring a memorable segment on WNYC (http://wny.cc/1bQIx5k).
The son of two teachers, Palmer’s love of learning and sharing surprising stories behind familiar subjects has led him to become a secret-history sleuth. In addition to The Santa Claus Man, he is the author of Weird-o-pedia: The Ultimate Collection of Surprising, Strange, and Incredibly Bizarre Facts About (Supposedly) Ordinary Things, published in 2012 by Skyhorse Publishing. it offers up a wealth of unexpected facts of familiar things. His first book, Literary Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Literature, takes a look at some of the more colorful aspects of great writers and their works, and was published in 2010 by Skyhorse.
He is a full-time freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Slate, Rhapsody, Smithsonian, Vulture, the New York Daily News, Publishers Weekly, and The Rumpus, among others.
Alex will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
by Laurence Moroney
GENRE: YA Sci-Fi
After conflicts in Korea, Pakistan and the Middle East turned nuclear, the world stood on the eve of destruction. Realizing that we only have this one precious planet containing all of humanity, the United Nations pulled us back from the brink, and started a new, multinational effort to conquer space. Many years later, the peak of achievement for any young person is to be admitted to the Space Academy. Previously available only to a precious few, it has recently opened enrollment to anybody who can meet their strenuous entry criteria. Space Cadets is the story of the first African-American girl, Aisha Parks, to enter into the academy, where she learns that the more some things change, the more they stay the same, and despite the honorable intentions of the academy, there are some dark secrets being kept – secrets that could be the end of us all.
It never failed to give her a thrill when she saw the moonscape rush by underneath her ship, and the blue curve of Earth rise above it. Aisha smiled at its beauty.
Down there, girls her age were wondering about homecoming dances, and what dress they’d wear, or which boy would ask them out. She was much happier here, piloting her ship, zipping at breakneck speeds across the Moon, and getting ready to break into deep space.
“I think I see them,” said David, her navigator and co-pilot, sitting in one of the wing pods to her right. “Two-seven-zero karem one-nine-eight.”
“Confirmed,” came the clipped voice of Soo-Kyung, her gunner. Aisha glanced to the pod on her left and her eyes met Soo-Kyung’s. The Korean girl smiled and nodded.
Aisha always wanted a visual confirmation. Comm lines could be hacked and voices faked. Soo-Kyung knew this instinctively. That’s what made them a great team.
“Okay,” said Aisha. “Weapons hot. Let’s check them out.”
She punched in the coordinates, and the ship turned towards their target.
“Visual range in five seconds,” said David.
“I see them,” Aisha replied. Her heads up display started to light up with targets. Squares projected on her canopy, wrapping tiny dots that could easily be mistaken for stars to the naked eye.
“That’s a lot of ships,” she said, awe sneaking into her voice.
“That’s a bloody awful lot of ships,” said David.
Soo-Kyung was business as always. “Orders?”
“Can you confirm ship type?”
“They are mostly type-three fighters. About eighty of them.”
“A single mothership. That’s the target.”
“No other fighters?”
“A couple of type-ones, but hard to tell with all the movement.”
The fighters were moving around the mothership, following what looked like random patterns, making it hard to get a radar lock.
“Are they moving to intercept?”
“David, probe the edge of their defense shield.”
His gentle voice sounded in her earpiece. “Yes, Sir.”
David took the ship forward slowly, while Soo-Kyung watched the behavior of the enemy fighters. They knew from experience that these ships could turn from defense to offense in the blink of an eye. If they didn’t react, they could find themselves surrounded and destroyed in seconds.
“We are at the edge of previous attack ranges,” said Soo-Kyung. “Recommend that we hold at this position.”
The ship halted, and they floated in space, watching the enemy.
“Any update on ship types, David?”
“The best I got is maybe two or three type-ones, the rest are definitely type-three.”
She wished she had read the spec books more closely, but was glad David was there. “Turning radius of type-threes?”
“Two hundred degrees,” he answered, almost in reflex.
“Distance of fighters from the mothership?”
“Average about three hundred clicks.”
Soo-Kyung raised an eyebrow. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“Yes,” said Aisha. “Full frontal assault, all shields on front.”
“If we leave our back exposed–”
“Hopefully they won’t get a chance. Maximum throttle, straight at the mothership, direct all energy to front shields.”
“Including lasers. We’re on bullets and torpedoes. Can you do it?”
She heard the smile in Soo-Kyung’s voice. “Done.”
“Good. And fire at will.”
“David. Punch course in.”
“Manual control to me.”
“Here goes nothing!”
Aisha punched the program, and she felt the craft lurch as they accelerated forward. She continued its burn, getting faster and faster as they approached the enemy ships.
“Ships turning to intercept.”
She saw the enemy ships swarming to intercept. Suddenly their random patterns stopped, and they turned, almost as one, bearing down on her. They opened fire, but the forward shields held.
“Intercept in five seconds,” said Soo-Kyung. Aisha marveled at her ability to stay calm, and it seemed the more stressful the situation, the calmer she was.
And just like that they flew through the squadrons of enemy fighters, on a course straight for the mothership.
“They’re turning to intercept.”
Time seemed to slow down in her mind. The mothership approached weapons range at a painful crawl. The enemy fighters, now behind her, were slowly turning to follow them, with a clear shot at Aisha’s tail. She’d turned off their lasers, directing their energy to the shields, so they’d need to be close for ballistic weapons to be effective.
It was going to be tight. Once the enemy fighters had turned around, the back of Aisha’s fighter was exposed. The lead ones had almost turned, and were ready to open fire.
But then Soo-Kyung had her target locked and opened up with everything she had on the mothership. Direct hits, but the ship stayed intact.
A hit on their right wing made the ship lurch.
“Now would be a good time, Soo-Kyung.”
Aisha looked to her left, seeing her friends’ face deep in concentration. Another torpedo launched, hitting a module to the rear of the mothership’s bridge. A small explosion was followed by several large ones, but before the ship was destroyed, Aisha’s ship was hit again. This time right in the engines.
Aisha felt her ship lurch. Red lights all over her console. The reactor had taken a direct hit. It was about to go critical. Her heart was beating hard. She reached for the eject buttons, hesitating long enough to see the mothership go up in a ball of flame.
The moment’s hesitation was enough.She felt the ship lurch as the reactor gave out. Her mind slowed as the white flash enveloped them. She had enough time to realize, with resignation, that she was dead. Both co-pilots too.
The simulator door opened, and Captain Simms’ craggy face looked in at her.
“You’re dead. All of you. Again,” he said. Disapproval in his voice. “I thought you guys were better than that.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Laurence Moroney is the author of more books than he’s prepared to admit. After several best selling programming books, his first Young Adult novel “The Fourth World” became a #1 book on Amazon Kindle, spawned two sequels “The Million Year Journey” and “The Legend of the Locust”, and is currently being shopped around studios for a potential movie. “Space Cadets” is his latest, a cutting edge science fiction novel, based on real science that starts a new series charting out humanity’s course to the stars. He’s presently working on the sequel “The Quiet World”, which he hopes to finish in 2015. For his day job, Laurence works as a Developer Advocate for Google, where he is constantly counting his blessings for being part of the best workplace in the world…
Find him here:
Space Cadets Blog: http://join-the-cadets.blogspot.com/
Space Cadets Website: http://www.join-the-cadets.com/
Laurence will be awarding a signed copy of Space Cadets to a randomly drawn winner (US ONLY) via rafflecopter during the tour.