Category Archives: Blog tour

Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole – Exclusive Excerpt & Contest

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We are BIG big fans of Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles here at Novel Novice, so obviously we’re super excited about the January 6th release of book 3, Dead of Winter. But if you’re like us, and you just can’t wait until January to get started, you’re in luck … because today, we have an EXCLUSIVE sneak peek at the book!

We’re part of the Dead of Winter Chapter 1 Blog Tour Reveal, and today we’ve got your look at the second excerpt. Plus, keep reading for your chance to enter an AMAZING giveaway!!!

excerpt

A wolf’s howl pierced the night.

 

I jolted awake in the saddle. The rain had dwindled to a foggy drizzle. How long had I been out?

I rubbed my gritty eyes. Almost screamed. I was surrounded by shadowy figures.

Wait, not figures. All around me were towering stacks of rocks, placed like logs for a bonfire. There were so many stacks the area resembled a forest. The stone forest.

Who would waste calories to assemble these? And why did I find them so chilling?

Matthew, are you there?

At last, I felt his presence in my mind! —Empress!—

Has Violet joined her brother yet?

—The Violet is not there.—

Oh, thank God.

—Soon.—

Shit! You told me Vincent camped within days of Death’s castle. I’ve ridden for DAYS.

—Arcana all around.—

I heard their calls, as if from a sound-out. . . .

—Eyes to the skies, lads!— Joules.

—Trapped in the palm of my hand.— Tess.

—I watch you like a hawk.— Gabriel.

—Behold the Bringer of Doubt!— Selena.

—Don’t look at this hand, look at that one.— Finn.

—Crazy like a fox.— Matthew.

—We will love you. In our own way.— The Lovers.

So many Arcana were close. Which meant I was close.

—Terror from the abyss!— Huh?

Before I could ask about the new call, my sense of being watched returned. I jerked my head around.

—Empress, you’re one stone forest and one clearing away. Some . . . obstacles between us.—

Movement. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man skulking from one stack of rocks to the next.

Another man loped to join the first. The armed pair wore fatigues and creepy night-vision goggles. Soldiers of the Lovers’ army?

The stones were for cover, staged as if for a paint-ball course! How long had those men been lying here in wait?

Matthew, I’m in trouble! I slapped the reins against the mare. She whinnied a protest, but increased her speed. Chest heaving, she wound around the stacks.

I craned my head back. Two soldiers had become ten, all with rifles at the ready. Now they walked in plain view. Because I was already surrounded?

As the ground began to flatten, those stacks grew fewer. I raised my hand above my eyes, straining to see. Ahead—the clearing Matthew had spoken of !

My face fell. With no vegetation, it was a quagmire, water and muck pooling in huge craters.

Past that, a wall towered, must be thirty feet high. What lay behind it?

A shot rang out; a bullet whizzed by my head. My mount fled from the sound. “Go, GO!”

In my panic, my nails morphed into thorn claws. The razor-sharp edges sliced through the fingers of my gloves. My glyphs stirred, moving over my skin.

A second gunshot. The near-miss bullet pitted the mud beside the horse’s hooves. She shrieked, trotting faster.

The shooters missed on purpose. They would want me—and the horse—alive.

Women and horses were two valuable A.F. commodities.

Desperate for safety, I squinted at the wall. Men guarded a brightly lit gate.

—Head there, Empress.—

My mare would have to slog through the clearing. It was like a moat fronting that wall. The soldiers would catch me long before then.

A bright color drew my attention. Attached to a post was a handcrafted sign emblazoned with a red skull and crossbones—along with the warning: DANGER! MINES!

And that explained the craters.

Are you kidding, Matthew? Soldiers trailing me; mines ahead. How do I get past a minefield?

An agonized yell sounded behind me.

I dared a glance back. Only nine soldiers followed. They ran toward me at a faster clip. The ones at the edges aimed their guns—off to their sides.

Another horrified yell.

And another.

Open gunfire erupted. Muzzle flashes warred with fog; I couldn’t make out anything.

I turned forward. Screamed.

Three soldiers stood before me, rifles trained on my face. The mare reared, punching hooves at them.

The other gunmen had been pushing me toward these!

Yet behind them, a black beast melded with shadow. One brilliant golden eye gleamed like a lantern.

Cyclops! Had Lark sent her one-eyed wolf to protect me?

Baring dagger-size fangs, the massive beast gave a spine-chilling snarl. The men twisted around—

Cyclops launched himself at the panic-stricken soldiers, knocking them to the ground. His mighty jaws clamped down on limbs and rifles, snapping through bone and metal.

Body parts sailed into the air. Blood spurted like a mall fountain. I winced, though I should be used to seeing stuff like this.

The wolf lifted his head from the carnage and growled at the stupe­fied soldiers positioned behind me. Those bastards had driven me into a trap; Cyclops ate the trap.

Faced with the beast’s dripping maw, they fled headlong.

For me, Cyclops wagged his scarred tail. “Good damn wolf. Good boy.”

Matthew said: —Ride for the fort! You have to make it to the wall.—

What’s behind the wall? For all I knew, Matthew was sending me into the Milovnícis’ camp.

—RIDE!—

Into mines? We’re going to get blown away! Forget my self-healing powers; I couldn’t regenerate from decapitation.

—Go left.—

Directing me around the danger?

I turned to Cyclops. “I don’t know if you can understand me, or if Lark is steering her familiar. But follow my mount carefully unless you want to regrow limbs.” He was still limping from our battle with the Devil Card.

He chuffed, and bubbles of blood formed over his snout. With a swish of his tail, he defiantly snapped up a dismembered arm, carrying it like a chew toy. But he did move behind me.

I’m trusting you, Matthew. I swallowed and guided my horse left.

—MY left!—

Quick correction. Cyclops followed.

—Faster, Empress. Or the Azey will figure out our mine moat maze.—

Your what? Who are the Azey?

A.S.E. Army of the Southeast. Go right for three seconds. Then left.—

Holding my breath, I slapped the reins yet again. One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three. I tugged the reins to my right.

—Faster!—

Soon I was galloping through a minefield, a telepathic Arcana in my mind and a giant wolf at my heels.

I could hear those same wet breaths. The wolf had been following me! If I lived through this night, I was so going to owe Lark.

The gate creaked open ahead. I spurred the mare, racing to reach the fort.

With no idea what awaited me . . .

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One lucky winner will receive an Amazon Kindle, pre-loaded with Poison Princess, Endless Knight, and an advanced e-copy of Dead of Winter.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

Contest is open to the U.S. only. Contest ends at midnight (PT) on Friday, November 21st.

See more chances to win, and get more sneak peeks from Dead of Winter by visiting all of the blog tour stops this week:

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Here’s more about Dead of Winter:

dead of winterCan Evie convince her rival loves to work together? Their survival depends on it in this third book of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles, a nonstop action tale of rescue, redemption, and a revenge most wicked.

Heartbreaking decisions
Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her, until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, The Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts and stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory
Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a frozen and perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on The Lovers and the vast army they command. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them once and for all may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

Two heroes returned
There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first?

Pre-order Dead of Winter here and check out the official website for the Arcana Chroincles.

For the comments: Tell us why you’re excited about Dead of Winter!

Blog Tour Guest Post + Giveaway: Induction Day by P.K. Hrezo

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Today, we’re excited to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Induction Day by P.K. Hrezo, the sequel to Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. We’ve got a guest blog from P.K. and a contest, so be sure to check out the entire post for details!

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Butterman Travel, Inc., Code of Ethics

We at Butterman Travel, Inc., are committed to providing a level of service to our clients that makes us a leader in time travel. We understand you have a choice in agencies, and that’s why we observe and adhere to a strict code of ethics, so you can rely on us for a safe, professional time trip.

Our goal is to make every trip a positive experience so that we can continue a high level of performance and improve wherever possible.

  1. We will always offer you the lowest possible trip fare for the desired time window.
  2. We will do our best to ensure you get the maximum experience, at the maximum time window created for your trip.
  3. If we must cancel your trip due to time-craft maintenance, we will provide you with a prompt ticket refund.
  4. We will strive to ensure our time-craft is always in optimum working order and meets the DOT code and regulations.
  5. A complimentary time travel handbook will be provided to every new client.
  6. We will strive to avoid any paradoxical factors, for the safety of our passengers, as well as the present timeline.
  7. Every time trip will be guided by a certified and knowledgeable time travel pilot.
  8. Protection plans will be offered for every time trip, in case of unexpected diversions and/or aborted trips.
  9. Disclose any and all information regarding desired time trip, and answer any questions in a timely manner.
  10. Any DOT fines cited to Butterman Travel, Inc., will be the sole responsibility of said agency, and not expense of client, unless otherwise noted by the DOT.

Thank you so much for featuring me here today, Novel Novice!

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about the book

Induction Day CoverInduction Day (Butterman {Time} Travel, Inc #2)  by P.K. Hrezo
(Ages: 16+)

The year 2069 is coming to a close, and eighteen-year-old Bianca Butterman’s time-craft license is finally official. She’s ready for the Induction Day she’s waited for since she was a kid—the one that will secure her name on the Butterman family tree of time travelers. But ever since the media discovered Bianca is pop superstar Tristan Helms’ latest new honey, everything Bianca does or says becomes a target of criticism. Having her professional credibility topping the gossip sites across social media is an open invitation for the government to step in and regulate Bianca’s Induction. Now she will have to ask herself if saving 1500 people from drowning is worth losing everything she’s ever worked for, including the Butterman family biz.Welcome to Butterman Travel, Incorporated; a full service agency designed to meet all your exclusive time travel needs. We’re a family owned and operated business with one hundred years of experience. A place where you can rest assured, safety and reliability always come first.

Anxious to attend some special event from the past? Or for a glimpse of what the future holds?

You’ve come to the right place. We’re a fully accredited operation, offering an array of services; including, but not limited to: customized travel plans, professionally piloted operations, and personal trip guides. *Terms and conditions do apply

Use our Web conferencing to contact our frontline reservation specialist, Bianca Butterman, who will handle all your inquiries in a professional and efficient manner, offering a tentative itinerary and free fare quote, so you can make the most of your time trip.

We look forward to serving you at Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands.

Goodreads | YouTube

pk hrezoAbout the author:

PK Hrezo is a native Floridian whose life could easily be a Jimmy Buffet song. She shares her home with her firefighter husband and their two children. When not creating characters and their worlds, PK can be found at her other job of rearranging passenger’s itineraries for a major international airline. The only hobbies she loves more than traveling, are reading, writing, and music, and when the four are combined she exists in total bliss.  She blogs regularly at PK HREZO: Fearless Fiction http://pk-hrezo.blogspot.com/

Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog

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To be entered into a special giveaway, copy one of these ready-made posts and share it. Make sure PK’s name is tagged so she can see it and enter your name into a giveaway. The more you share, the more entries you receive. Five winners will receive a time traveler book thong:

TWEETS:

Induction Day by @PKHrezo is a #timetravel #mustread. Retweet this to be entered into a special #giveaway. Add it to #AmazonCart here.

FACEBOOK:

Induction Day is here! A taut, fast-paced, engrossing read by PKHrezo. Find it on Amazon here:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G9ADV2O

Share this post for an entry into a special giveaway.

GOOGLE PLUS
Induction Day by #PKHrezo is a #timetravel #mustread. Retweet this to be entered into a special #giveaway. A taut, fast-paced, engrossing read. Find it on Amazon here:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G9ADV2O

Share this post for an entry into a special giveaway.

Blog Tour Guest Post & Contest: Entangled by Amy Rose Capetta

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Today, I’m excited to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Entangled by Amy Rose Capetta, which just came out in paperback. This fantastic YA science fiction adventure has a sequel, too — Unmade, which comes out in January. So now is definitely the perfect time to catch up on Entangled!

We’ve got a blog post from Amy below, but keep reading for more on both books AND an exciting contest!

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EntangledCoverFinalHere’s a secret: my favorite character in my own book isn’t a person.

It’s a spaceship.

Okay, so the spaceship is actually a character, and A LOT like a person. Really, she’s a person and a pet and a floating home, all rolled into one. She’s also the other (better) half of one of my characters.

Of course, we all know that a setting is never just a setting. It exerts an active force on the book, it causes trouble, and it has a sort of personality that the other characters have to interact with. So I want to talk about spaceships today, but what I’m really getting at is a very active way of thinking about setting. A way that intertwines it so completely with characters and plot that it really can’t be disentangled. (Oh god, title puns, I’M SO SORRY.)

When an author sets out to write an off-planet sci-fi novel, she has both an awesome opportunity and a HUGE challenge. She has to come up with a setting where a large part of the story is going to take a place—one that is going to shape the lives and actions and abilities of the characters inside of it, not to mention the tone of the entire book.

ARCAuthorPhotoThink about the Millennium Falcon, the Starship Enterprise, the Serenity. Each one tells you so much about the story that you’re in—and each one is as memorable and beloved as the rest of the cast. I knew that I wanted that for Entangled.

So, how does a writer do that?

First, she has to think about this as an extension of the world-building of the rest of the story. Who owns the ship? What kind of travel is it designed for? What is its intended use?

Then, she has to think like an architect. What is the spaceship’s design? How many rooms should there be—and what are their functions? How does the spaceship fly? What does it run on? Does it have any special features?

And last (my favorite one!) the writer has to be a tyrannical dictator of emotions. How is this spaceship going to cause problems? What sorts of unique obstacles does it create for the people who live on it? How is it going to limit or mess up or even entirely RUIN lives?

When I finished with these questions, I knew I was looking at a ship that could smuggle human contraband, since humans are treated terribly in my world, and they wouldn’t have clearance to fly. I knew I wanted a very small ship, because my teenage misanthrope main character needed to be in close proximity to the other characters at all times. It would create discomfort and tension for her, and that made me (sadistically) delighted.

UNMADEcoverOn top of all of this, I wanted my spaceship to be a reflection of the story that I was telling. Entangled is all about connection—which meant that my vessel had to be more than just a way to get from Point A to Point B. It had to do more than hulk and loom around my characters and create atmosphere. So I made it more than just a setting-slash-character. I made it a character-character. Alive. With an organic link to one of the other non-human characters. And plenty of personality—maybe an excess of personality.

When I was done with all of that? I had Renna: a moody, loyal, hard-flying ship that completely won my heart. She’s an important character in Entangled—and even more so in the sequel, Unmade (which is coming out on January 13!)

Want to see an EXCLUSIVE clip about Renna? Just watch:

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about the bookEntangled is the story of seventeen-year-old Cade, a fierce survivor who lives solo in the universe with her cherry-red guitar until she finds out she was created in a lab in the year 3112, then entangled at a subatomic level with a boy named Xan. Cade’s quest to locate Xan joins her with an array of outlaws on a galaxy-spanning adventure. And once Cade discovers the wild joy of real connection, there’s no turning back.

The rest of Cade’s story is coming in Unmade, which hits shelves January 13!

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Enter to win one of five signed copies of Entangled , which includes a special note about Unmade!

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

EntangledCoverFinal UNMADEcover

 

House of Night Blog Tour: Exclusive Excerpt + Contest from Redeemed by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

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Today, I am so pleased to be sharing an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from Redeemed by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast, the final book in their best-selling House of Night series. It’s all part of the official blog tour!

You’ll find the excerpt below, but then keep reading for your chance to win a signed House of Night comic!  And look for Redeemed, in stores now.

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excerpt

Redeemed_cover…Neferet beamed a smile at her Dark minions that was both exquisitely beautiful and terrifying. “I have an answer to our dilemma, children! The cage we created to hold Redbird was a weak, pathetic attempt at imprisonment. I have learned so much since that night. I have gained so much power—we have gained so much power. We will not cage people, as if I am a gaoler instead of a goddess. My children, we are going to blanket the very walls of my Temple with your magickal, unbreachable threads so that my new supplicants will be able to worship me unhindered. And that will only be the beginning. As I absorb more and more power, why not encase the entire city? I know it now—I know my destiny. I begin my reign as Goddess of Darkness by making Tulsa my Olympus! Only this is not a weak myth passed down as trite stories from schoolchildren to schoolchildren. This will be reality—a Dark Otherworld come to earth! And in my Dark Otherworld, there will be no innocents being abused by predators. All will be under my protection. I hold their fates in my hands—they have only to look to my welfare to be fulfilled. Ah, how they will worship me!”

Around her, the tendrils writhed in response to her excitement. She smiled and stroked those nearest to her. “Yes, yes, I know. It will be glorious!”

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One winner (U.S. only) will receive a signed House of Night comic. Contest is open through midnight (PT) on Monday, November 10th.

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to get started!

If you tweet, be sure to use the hashtag #HONRedeemed

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Order Redeemed now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Here’s more about the book:

 In the final electrifying novel in the HoN series, Neferet has finally made herself known to mortals. A Dark Goddess is loose on Tulsa and the world. No single vampyre is strong enough to vanquish her – unless that creature has the power to summon the elements as well as the ability to wield Old Magick. Only Zoey Redbird is heir to such power…but because of the consequences of using Old Magick, she is unable to help. Find out who will win and who will lose in this epic battle of Light versus Darkness.

And just for fun, here’s an old interview I did with P.C. Cast several years ago when she was in Portland. This was one of the most fun interviews!

Blog Tour Giveaway: Loop by Karen Akins

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Today, we’re excited to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Loop by Karen Akins, a fantastic new science fiction, time-traveling adventure. Learn more about the book here, and then keep reading for your chance to win a copy!

loop karen akinsAt a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

Loop is available now. But here’s how you can win a copy:

Get started by filling out the Rafflecopter entry form here!

Contest is open to the U.S. only, and runs through midnight (PT) on Wednesday, November 5th.

Blog Tour Q&A + Contest: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

walledcity blog tour
Today, we are so pleased to be hosting the first stop on the official blog tour for The Walled City by Ryan Graudin — a thrilling story based on a REAL walled city, and the crime that thrived there. The book is a fantastic read, made all the more compelling when you learn that it’s based on something that really existed.

We talk to Ryan about the real-life inspiration and more in our exclusive Q&A below. Then keep reading for more about The Walled City and your chance to win a copy of the book & other cool prizes!

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walledcity_final coverTHE WALLED CITY is set in this very dangerous labyrinth, where teens are forced to run drugs or sell themselves into prostitution. Tell us about the real-life Walled City that inspired your book’s setting?

The Kowloon Walled City was a neighborhood in 1980s Hong Kong that housed over 33,000 people in its 6.5 acre borders. The buildings were so thickly stacked that the sunlight couldn’t reach the streets. The passageways through the city were a labyrinth of tunnels. There was always water leaking down the building’s walls since there was no proper drainage. Conflicts between Britain and China ensured that police had no jurisdiction there, so anyone who wanted to do anything illegal flocked to the Kowloon Walled City. Dentists who were licensed to practice in China but couldn’t work in Hong Kong set up shop there. Dozens of manufacturers set up factories there to escape taxation and quality control. The place was crammed with noodle-makers, steel factories, seafood restaurants…. Anything and everything. The Triad maintained a large presence there, which accounted for much of the drugs and brothels.

What came first: the Walled City, or the characters?

The Walled City came first! I learned about it back in 2011 when I met a woman named Jackie Pullinger, who worked in the Kowloon Walled City for over twenty years before it was torn down in the early 90s. As I listened to her talk about the neighborhood I was amazed that such a place existed, much less that I’d never heard of it before! I went home and fell into a rabbit-hole of research: watching documentaries about the city, reading biographies of people who lived there. The more I found out the more I wanted to know. As I researched I started to imagine the different people who lived there, and the stories they might tell. Thus Jin Ling, Mei Yee and Dai all came into being.

ryan graudinYou’ve done lots of traveling. Did you travel at all to the Kowloon Walled City Park, or to Hong Kong, while writing THE WALLED CITY? Have any other real-world locations inspired this book?

Traveling is one of my passions, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to do a good deal of it. My husband and I did go to Hong Kong and visit the Kowloon Walled City Park in January (it was at the very tail end of the book writing process). The park was so fascinating! They have a museum there dedicated to teaching visitors about the former lawless neighborhood. They also have some of the original cannons and the remains of the Old South Gate (both of which make an appearance in the novel).

Other travels helped inspire this novel as well. In 2007 I spent six weeks living and working in the slums of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Meeting the children there and seeing what they did to survive had a huge influence on Jin Ling’s storyline. I probably would never even have had the courage to attempt Mei Yee’s brothel storyline if I hadn’t spent several weeks in El Alto, Bolivia with my sister-in-law, who works with a non-profit that provides women in the red light district with health classes, child care and the opportunity to leave prostitution through microbusinesses. Setting the book in Asia was also a very daunting task, which I probably wouldn’t have tried to tackle if I hadn’t lived in South Korea for a year. (Chinese culture and Korean culture are, of course, very different, but spending time in Korea gave me the courage I needed to research Chinese culture thoroughly.)

You have a lot of very cinematic music on the playlist for THE WALLED CITY on your website. Do you listen to music while you write? While you brainstorm? How does music influence your writing?

Music is a must for me. I almost never write without it. (It’s been that way for me as long as I can remember. I used to do all my homework with my headphones on.) I create different playlists for each of my novels. The songs I pick usually reflect the mood of the novel in some way, as listening to them helps put me in the mood I’m trying to create on the page. For THE WALLED CITY I actually created three separate playlists, one for each character.

A lot of Jin Ling’s songs were frantic and fast, suited to her chase scenes and choppy voice. (“Mombasa” by Hans Zimmer from the Inception Soundtrack, “Love is Gonna Save Us” by Benny Benassi, “Kodo – Inside the Sun Remix” by Yoshida Brothers.) Mei Yee’s tracks were much slower. Soft and full of longing. (“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Emily Browning, “Any Other Name” by Thomas Newman.) Dai’s songs were a little more lyrical and desperate. (“Some Nights” by Fun. , “Pompeii” by Bastille, “Idioteque” by Radiohead.) Other albums, like Zack Hemsey’s The Way, held an overarching feel for the story and made it onto all three characters’ playlists!

THE WALLED CITY has three rules: run fast, trust no one, and always carry your knife. What would you say are “the three rules” of being a writer?

Don’t give up. Don’t be afraid of what people think. Get Macfreedom and use it mercilessly when you’re procrastinating on the Internet.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Must-have writing snack?

Does black coffee count as a snack?

Favorite Disney movie?

Mulan!

The beach or the mountains?

Beach. I’m fortunate enough to live a short drive from one.

Song that can always get you dancing?

Gangnam Style by Psy. Or really any K-Pop.

Favorite Halloween candy?

Mallowpumpkins.

Starbucks beverage of choice?

Grande, non-fat, no water dirty Chai latte.

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Title: THE WALLED CITY
Author:
Ryan Graudin
Pub. Date: November 4, 2014
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.

Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there run drugs or work in brothels—or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.

About Ryan:

Ryan Graudin grew up in Charleston and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Creative Writing in 2009. She is the author of All That Glows and The Walled City. She resides near Charleston with her husband and wolf-dog. You can find her online at http://www.ryangraudin.com.

Her work is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr

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(1) Grand prize pack: It includes: A finished copy of THE WALLED CITY, rice candy, a miniature lucky cat, a traditional Chinese paper cutout of a dragon, and a pamphlet from the real Walled City Park! US ONLY

(9) winners will receive: A finished copy of THE WALLED CITY. US ONLY.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

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Blog Tour Schedule

Week One:

Week Two:

Blog Tour Q&A + Contest: Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson

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Today, I am so pleased to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson, featuring an exclusive Q&A with the author about his whimsical new middle grade series.

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pennyroyal academyI love the idea that a princess can be a hero. How did your definition of a princess, as we see in PENNYROYAL ACADEMY, come about?

Pennyroyal Academy began as an animated television series. In the early days, it was a pretty straightforward parody of “Disney princess culture.” The initial idea I had was that Cinderella and Princess Peach (of MarioKart) lived together as roommates, and then it became “What if all the princesses lived in the same place?” which then led to the idea of a military-style princess training academy. But as I started planning to write it as a book, I realized there might be a way to do the idea with a bit more substance. So I tried to strip away a lot of the parody elements and general silliness and create a more substantial world around the idea of a princess training academy. I focused in on Grimms’ Fairy Tales because they’re such dark, rich, substantive stories. I knew that if the girls in my book were going to train to become princesses, they would need an enemy to fight against. That led me to the idea that only a princess can defeat a witch. They are the last line of defense for the people of this world when the witches start rolling in. What I particularly liked about this as an overarching conflict was that it allowed me to create a world that joined all the Grimms’ tales together. Cinderella and Snow-White both live in the world of Pennyroyal Academy. Maybe not at the same time or in the same place, but the characters in my book have heard of and idolize these princesses of the past. Think of them as the George Patton and Douglas MacArthur of this world. Legendary military heroes, only in horse-drawn carriages instead of tanks.

MALarson_authorphotoYou’ve written a lot for children’s television, including Disney. Did your experience in children’s TV influence your work on PENNYROYAL ACADEMY? In what ways?

I never would have thought of the idea if not for my television writing. Before I moved to Los Angeles, I was writing dark, indie screenplays that no one would ever want to produce or probably even watch. When I moved out west, a friend of mine who I’ve known since kindergarten was an animator at Cartoon Network, and the show he was on needed writers. I wrote a couple of spec scripts and got the job. I’ve never been particularly picky about what age level or genre I write for, so animation writing, happily, became my job. And the best way to have longevity in a TV career is to create your own show. I was constantly trying to think of ideas to pitch, and Pennyroyal Academy was one of them. In more general terms, writing for children’s animation has been invaluable. You have to churn out so many scripts and concepts that you quickly learn to not be too precious about your ideas. And you deal with so many notes from so many different parties that you learn to accept rejection as just something that happens. A lot. It’s not personal, it’s just part of the day when you’re someone who comes up with stories. Some will work, some won’t.

Family was a theme that really stuck with me, reading PENNYROYAL ACADEMY—both the family you’re born with, and the family you make for yourself. What sort of impact did your family have on PENNYROYAL ACADEMY?

Even thought I’ve spent my career up until now writing for film and television, I always wanted to write books. My mom took my brother and I to the library all the time when we were kids. At first I would leave with a stack of Garfield books or whatever, but then on one visit I noticed a book with a picture of a rabbit on the front. It was Watership Down. I read that book over and over again, not even really understanding what it was about. I just knew it was magic. That was the switch flip that made me want to write books. My mom has done home daycare my entire life, so there were always dozens and dozens of books around the house, but it was those regular trips to the library that got me hooked. My dad was a radio DJ and a massive movie buff, so he was the driving force behind my love of cinema and music. To this day, Apocalypse Now is one of my top three films, and my dad showed that to me at a very young age. So his love of story also influenced me pretty heavily. I also have one brother who is just under two years older than me so needless to say, his interests were my interests. He introduced me to Stephen King when I was very young, and I became addicted to that sensation of being scared by a book. There’s a short story of his called “Graveyard Shift” that haunts me to this day. My brother also got me into Bunnicula and countless other more age-appropriate books. But you can see how vividly I connect stories to each member of my family.

We hear a lot about different fairy tales throughout PENNYROYAL ACADEMY. What were your favorite fairy tales growing up?

I have to admit, my exposure to fairy tales came primarily through Disney. I love most of the Disney fairy tales, actually. I think they get a bit of a bad rap these days. Sleeping Beauty is one of the most gorgeous things ever put on film, and The Little Mermaid will always be my favorite animated film. I didn’t sit down and read Grimms’ Fairy Tales until I started writing this book. And then I completely fell in love. Now I’ve read them all multiple times in multiple translations, and gotten into the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Perrault and Oscar Wilde. There are little fairy tale Easter Eggs all throughout Pennyroyal Academy, most from fairly obscure Grimms’ stories. Everything from character names to scenes to subplots. I wanted the reader to be able to feel the fairy tales throughout the story, even if they aren’t familiar with the fairy tale itself.

I am hopeful that there will be a sequel to PENNYROYAL ACADEMY—it feels like we still have SO much to learn. Assuming there will be another book, what can readers expect?

I don’t want to say! I’m such a proponent of going in cold, knowing nothing. I guess I’ll say that there are even more Brothers Grimm elements in the second book, so fairy tale fans will have lots more Easter Egg hunting to do. And there might be giants. Maybe. We’ll see.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Song that can always get you dancing?

I loathe dancing. And yet “Groove is in the Heart” gets me every time.

Favorite Halloween candy?

Anything with peanut butter. In fact, hold the candy and just give me a jar.

Starbucks beverage of choice?

Boring. Venti Americano.

French fries or tater tots?

Tater tots are the one true prepared potato form.

Skill you wish you possessed?

Dancing.

Favorite member of the Avengers?

EMMA PEEL. I know that’s not what you meant, but there is no denying she is the greatest Avenger of all time.

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Pennyroyal Academy: Seeking bold, courageous youths to become tomorrow’s princesses and knights….Come one, come all!

Enlist today at PennyroyalAcademy.com!

Blog Tour Schedule:

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You can enter to win a Pennyroyal Academy Recruitment Kit by filling out the Rafflecopter form here!

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about the bookAnd here is more about Pennyroyal Academy, which is in stores now:

pennyroyal academyPennyroyal Academy: Seeking bold, courageous youths to become tomorrow’s princesses and knights….Come one, come all!

A girl from the forest arrives in a bustling kingdom with no name and no idea why she is there, only to find herself at the center of a world at war.  She enlists at Pennyroyal Academy, where princesses and knights are trained to battle the two great menaces of the day: witches and dragons. There, given the name “Evie,” she must endure a harsh training regimen under the steel glare of her Fairy Drillsergeant, while also navigating an entirely new world of friends and enemies. As Evie learns what it truly means to be a princess, she realizes surprising things about herself and her family, about human compassion and inhuman cruelty. And with the witch forces moving nearer, she discovers that the war between princesses and witches is much more personal than she could ever have imagined.

Set in Grimm’s fairytale world, M.A. Larson’s Pennyroyal Academy masterfully combines adventure, humor, and magical mischief.

about the authorM.A. Larson (www.malarson.com) is a film and television writer who lives with his wife, daughter, and two dogs in a canyon in California. Larson has written for Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney UK, Discovery Kids Channel, The Hub, and Nickelodeon. As a writer on the cult sensation “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, he has been a guest at “brony” fan conventions from Paris, France to Dallas, Texas. Pennyroyal Academy is his first novel.

Blog Tour Guest Post + Contest: Compulsion by Martina Boone

Today, we have the pleasure of hosting an official stop on the blog tour for Compulsion by Martina Boone. Martina is stopping by with a guest post today – thanks, Martina!

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Leah Cypess, today’s Compulsion for Magic tour stop guest author, knows a little something about characters with limited magic. Her main character in Death Sworn—who Booklist called a “a heroine at the intersection of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna and George R.R. Martin’s Arya Stark”—is losing her magic at the same time that she’s supposed to be teaching magic to a group of deadly assassins. The more she uses her magic, the less she has, and the less she has, the more danger she is in. Since she is one of the authors who said generous things about Compulsion, she’s here today to share Ileni’s thoughts on “small magic.”

But what about you? For a chance to win the HUGE tour mega prize of books and the $100 gift card, tell us about the magical gift you’d like to have or one you wouldn’t wish on yourself.

Here’s what Leah had to say . . .

If you could have any “everyday” magical gift, like finding lost things or knowing what people want, what gift would you want and why?

I’d settle for being able to recognize peoples’ faces and names when I meet them! My 7-year-old daughter has this gift, and I’ve trained her to whisper people’s names into my ear, since I have terrible facial recognition skills. But to go for something a little more magical – I would want the ability to do things super-fast, so I could actually get to the end of my to-do list before 3 a.m.

What everyday magic would your characters wish they had and why?

I don’t know if Ileni of DEATH SWORN would settle for everyday magic — she used to be a powerful sorceress, and nothing but true magic would satisfy her. That said, I think she would like the ability to tell when people are about to try to kill her. That would be immensely useful in the Assassins’ Caves.

Eight, Barrie’s love interest in Compulsion, has inherited his family’s gift of knowing what people want and feeling compelled to give it to them. What’s one gift you’re glad you don’t have? Or your characters would be glad they didn’t have?

I don’t think Ileni would want the gift of being able to tell what people think of her — useful though it would be, it would also be incredibly depressing, since most of the people around her don’t think much of her. For someone used to being honored and admired, that would plunge her into a depression that even a hot assassin guy might not be able to pull her out of.

Barrie is tied to her family’s plantation, Watson’s Landing, in a magical way, and the whole landscape becomes magical for her. What’s the one place in your book that you wish you could bring to life?

Most of the caverns described in DEATH SWORN are actually based on real caves — so they already exist! I do wish I could visit the ones I haven’t made it to yet, especially Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico.

If you were going to a Halloween party and you had to dress as a character from a Southern Gothic or a Gothic romance, what would your costume look like?

Like my pajamas, because I would probably make an excuse to stay home and work on copyedits or something. (Sorry to shatter any illusions about authors’ exciting lives….)

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Hah! I think most writers can relate—if not to the pajamas then at least to yoga pants. The glamorous life indeed . . .

Now your turn! Tell us about your magic.

 And/Or . . .

Bonus option: If you’ve already left a comment on another tour stop about what kind of magic you’d like or you just want to do something different for extra entry points, show us your magical, gothic, or Southern gothic costume! How would you do a character like Ileni from Death Sworn or a character a gothic romance like Jane Eyre or Rebecca du Maurier’s Rebecca? How would you do Scarlet from Gone with the Wind? Or show us an“everyday magic” as part of a Halloween costume! Post a comment with the URL to your photo and we’ll share it. Use tag #CompulsionMagic.

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Here’s more about Compulsion, in stores October 28th:

compulsionThree plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Pre-Order Compulsion:

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)

Signed copies are available for pre-order from One More Page Books. You can also pre-order with the special I have a Compulsion for readingbookplate from Eight Cousins. Pre-Order Incentives Going on here.

Early Praise for Compulsion:

“Darkly romantic and steeped in Southern Gothic charm, you’ll be compelled to get lost in the Heirs of Watson Island series.”

— #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout

“A fresh twist on the Southern Gothic — haunting, atmospheric, and absorbing.”

— Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author of A Thousand Pieces of You and the Evernight and Spellcaster series

“Compulsion is a stunningly magical debut with a delicious slow burn to be savored. I want to live in this story world!”

— Wendy Higgins, USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil trilogy from HarperTeen

About Martina Boone:

Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them.

She’s the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a site devoted to encouraging literacy and all things YA Series.

From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

Website | Blog | Tumblr | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

 

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Do you have a Compulsion for Reading? Then you don’t want to miss what Martina Boone is giving away! 5 lucky winners will each win the following:

Grand Prize Winner – will win EVERYTHING pictured above! That’s the right! That entire bag of books will go to 1 reader!! *US residents only

Next Winner – will win a $100 gift card to the book store of their choice! *open internationally

3 Additional winners will each win a Compulsion prize pack which features a signed copy of Compulsion, a Compulsion necklace and bookmarks. *open internationally

To enter to win, please fill out the Rafflecopter form here!

Atlantia by Ally Condie: True Playlist & #AtlantiaBelow Contest

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Today we bring you an exclusive stop on the official blog tour for Atlantia by Ally Condie, and we are representing #AtlantiaBelow (as in … below the surface of the ocean!)

As part of the blog tour, we’re giving away a beautiful Atlantia-inspired necklace – so check out the contest details below for that. Meanwhile, here is Ally’s playlist for the character True in Atlantia:

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atlantiaThe character True was one of my favorites to write in ATLANTIA—he is a bit like the character Xander from MATCHED in that he is a very good person—but True is also very different. He has been keeping a secret all his life, like Rio, and he recognizes in her someone strong and interesting, someone with whom he is able to feel true empathy. If you want to know how I imagine True looking, just Google the Olympic swimmer Nathan Adrian, and you’ll have an idea. J

  1. Be the Song by Foy Vance

I feel like this is a great introduction to True as a character, and to how he feels about Rio. The part that is especially perfect is “I’ll take the weight,/but I won’t speak/I will refrain and be the song, just be the song.”

  1. Read All About It, Pt. III by Emeli Sande’
Photo credit: Erin Summerill

Photo credit: Erin Summerill

A beautiful song that I know True would love for Rio. The first stanza could be about Rio word-for-word: “You’ve got the words to change a nation/But you’re biting your tongue/You’ve spent a lifetime stuck in silence/Afraid you’ll say something wrong/If no one ever hears it how we gonna learn your song?”

  1. Suburban War by Arcade Fire

This is one of those pieces of music that just FEELS absolutely right for the story, and for True’s part in it. I love the build in this song—it starts out beautiful, and then breaks your heart in this gorgeous, epic manner at the end.

  1. Runaway by The Melodic

I think this one has a lot to do with True and Rio, and how they both have to turn their backs on what they know in order to do what is next. I love the beat of this song as well—truly a great song for running away.

  1. Shadowplay by The Killers

In this song, we hear about the ocean, about the center of the city at night, and I can picture this for True as he waits for Rio. I also like the urgent feel of the music—it’s perfect for the book.

  1. Manchester by Kishi Bashi

“I haven’t felt this alive in a long time.” This line and the music behind it are what I picture playing in the background during a certain scene between Rio and True in the book. And that’s all I can really say about that. ;)

  1. When You Come Back Down by Nickel Creek

Don’t confuse this band (Nickel Creek) with Nickelback. ;) The lead singer has a beautiful voice that I just love, and, again without saying too much, this song matches almost exactly with the end of ATLANTIA.

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Now it’s your chance to win one of these amazing Atlantia-inspired necklaces! There are LOTS of ways you can win: commenting below, sharing on social media, etc. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to get started.

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Contest is open to the U.S. only. Contest ends at midnight (PT) on Sunday, October 26th.

Be sure to visit the other stops on the #AtlantiaBelow Blog Tour for more goodies & chances to win:

September 28 – Katie (Mundie Moms) – Long Q&A
September 30 – Jen (I Read Banned Books) – Guest post
October 2 – Katie (Katie’s Book Blog) – Short Q&A
October 4 – Lea (YA Book Queen) – Review
October 6 – Taschima (Bloody Bookaholic) – Fancasting
October 8 – Jeremy (Novel Thoughts Blog) – Guest post
October 10 – Erin/ Flo (Fangirlish) – Review
October 12 – Nancy (Ravenous Reader) – Review
October 14 – Sara (Novel Novice) – Playlist
October 16 – Jess (Gone with the Words) – Short Q&A
October 18 – Rachel (Paper Cuts) – Guest post
October 20 – Georgia (Eve’s Fan Garden) – Playlist
October 22 – Gabby (Queen Ella Bee Reads) – Long Q&A
October 24 – Andrea (Reading Lark) – Review
October 26 – Tirzah (The Compulsive Reader) – Playlist

 

Book Review + Blog Tour Giveaway: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

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Today’s review is part of the official blog tour for Exquisite Captive — see the full blog tour schedule here, and be sure to scroll down for your chance to win a copy of the book!

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Dark and seductive, Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios will have you rethinking wishes — and every genie story you’ve ever heard, whether it’s that lovable blue guy in Aladdin or Barbara Eden in “I Dream of Jeannie.”

Exquisite CaptiveForced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

Exquisite Captive is fascinating, multi-layered story — with a sinister undertone to each new facet, and a mystery that continues to grow — even as new information comes to light. It’s an enticing mix that makes for a compelling, hard-to-put-down book.

Demetrios has woven a lush and darkly sexy mythology, placing her characters in very dangerous, very precarious situations. A lot is at stake for each of them, and the tension only builds as the story unfolds. Exquisite Captive makes for a mesmerizing read — one that captures readers much in the same way Nalia was captured by the jinni slave traders. Consider yourself a captive of Demetrios’ magical writing.

Exquisite Captive is in stores October 7th.

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Exquisite Captive
Dark Caravan Cycle #1
Author: Heather Demetrios
Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Demetrios Author PhotoABOUT THE AUTHOR:

When she’s not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real, which Publisher’s Weekly calls “[An] addictive yet thoughtful debut” about reality TV stardom. She is the author of the upcoming EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles and what Kirkus called in its starred review “an intoxicating, richly realized realm of magic, politics, spirituality and history” (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN CYCLE). She is also the author of the upcoming I’ll Meet You There (Winter 2015). I’ll Meet You There is a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. Heather is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for youth of limited economic means. She is proud to have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can always find her on Twitter (@HDemetrios), ogling the military dogs she wants to adopt (but can’t because her NYC apartment is way too small). Find out more about Heather and her other books at www.heatherdemetrios.comand www.darkcaravancycle.com

GIVEAWAY:

DemetriosGiveaway

Must be 13+ To Enter | Ships to US only.

23 Winners will get a signed finished copy of Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Enter using the Rafflecopter entry form HERE!