Friday, January 30, 2015

Cover Reveal: Gods of Chaos (Daughter of Chaos #2) by Jen McConnel #M9BFridayReveals


Welcome to the Cover Reveal for
Gods of Chaos (Daughter of Chaos #2) by Jen McConnel
presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Gods of Chaos

The gods of chaos cannot be trusted.
When Darlena Agara declared to follow Red Magic last fall, she had no idea what she was getting into. Since then, however, she's had a crash course in danger, deceit, and destruction. In an effort to gain an ally, Darlena heads to Scotland in search of another Red Witch, but she didn't count on the new obstacles (and crazy gods) that await her.

add to goodreads
Title: Gods of Chaos (Daughter of Chaos #2)
Publication date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Jen McConnel


Jen McConnel

Jen McConnel now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
(Winners will receive their book on release day)


Monday, January 26, 2015

What are you reading right now?

I hope you're reading something! Give your brain a rest from television and dig into a book if you haven't in a while.

I've been reading science fiction lately from three very different authors and it struck me how very different their books are from one another. Is it because of the intended audience? Two are set in space and the third is about interdimentional travel, which is maybe more fantasy than scifi, but oh presented as if it's made possible by science.

The first book was Dawn by Octavia Butler set in space on an alien ship where the last remaining humans are being held captive until the Earth has recovered enough from WW III to be habitable again. And woah is it weird! Mainly because the aliens are rather sea slug-like and they want to hybridize with us humans. The humans don' thave a whole lot of choice because they wouldn't even be alive if the aliens hadn't saved them, but they sure don't want to be "owned" by these aliens.

This book gives an interesting look at what might happen if you throw the survivors of a catastrophic war in a room together. I'm afraid Butler's take is the worst of human nature comes out, not the best. It's like Survivor the TV show meets Animal Farm. (Butler wrote this long before Survivor ever came out.) It's well written and somewhat disturbing, but there's no purple prose. It moves along at a steady clip and has you wondering the entire time.

The next is Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton. Great cover, huh? I have to admit I'm nowhere near done with this one. It's like 1,000 pages long. I chose it because I've never read the usual popular science fiction, hard core stuff, (aside from Dune) and I thought I should give it a shot. It's all about world building, lemme tell you! Humans have colonized dozens and dozens of planets and are expanding their range. They've figured out how to rejuvenate their cells so they can live for hundreds of years and they've got wormholes to make interplanetary travel easy. The actual plot is a bit fuzzy for me because so much time is spent on this world building and hopping from one seemingly random character to the next. I'm sure they'll all meet eventually, but just how or why I'm not sure. So far, it strikes me as a detective/mystery story in space. There's something going on way out on a new planet and humans want to go see what's happening there, so that new discovery aspect is kind of cool.

Overall, I find myself wishing for a hero.  None of the characters sticks with the reader long enough for me to get attached to them or care about what happens to them. I'm really a character-driven story kind of person at heart. I need that to really enjoy a  story, I'm afraid, so while I can read this, I don't see myself falling in love with it unless something changes really quick! My biggest gripe with the book is humans are still driving cars on the ground. All this technology and we still don't have flying cars?? Really??

The last book is A Thousand Peices of You by Claudia Gray about some teens who have the ability to jump to other dimensions parallel to our own in persuit of a supposed murderer. While the Peter Hamilton book describes how every technology works in great detail, this book doesn't describe it's technology at all!  You just have to buy that it works because a teenage girl is telling this story, and she's not too wrapped up in the technicalities of it all. And I suppose that difference is because the audience is teenage girls, not scifi geeks. Which is fine. I'm all for knowing your audience and tailoring your writing style to that audience. Maybe call it scifi lite? Really, really lite.

It think this fact might have been the downfall of this book as science fiction, asking the reader to suspend TOO much disbelief. It follows 3 main characters that travel to like four different "dimensions", but some how these other dimensions seem way in the future or far in the past. One is very similar to the real one they live in with only a few changes, but the others are vastly different: futuristic London, czarist Russia, and a climate changed water world. They're supposedly jumping into the bodies of their parallel selves living in these other dimensions. Maybe the idea was, if something different happened at a key point in history, the dimension would be vastly different, but it's so glossed over I missed that along the way. The places they went, while cool, seemed very random. There wasn't a lot of reason so go to any of them, just that they were pursuing a supposed murderer.

I guess the take home lesson for me is each author brings a different story to a different audience. All of these books are well loved, best sellers for various reasons. What's your favorite science fiction novel?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cover Reveal: Nobody’s Goddess by Amy McNulty #M9BFridayReveals


Welcome to the Cover Reveal for
Nobody's Goddess (The Never Veil #1)
by Amy McNulty
presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Nobody's Goddess

In a village of masked men, each loves only one woman and must follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.
Where the rest of her village celebrates this mystery that binds men and women together, seventeen year old Noll is just done with it. She’s lost all her childhood friends as they’ve paired off, but the worst blow was when her closest companion, Jurij, finds his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever loved her: she is in fact the goddess of the mysterious lord of the village, a Byronic man who refuses to let Noll have her right as a woman to spurn him and who has the power to fight the curse. Thus begins a dangerous game between the two: the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither Noll nor the veiled man is willing to lose.

add to goodreads
Title: Nobody's Goddess (The Never Veil #1)
Publication date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Amy McNulty
Amy McNulty

Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently spends her days alternatively writing on business and marketing topics and primarily crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
(Winners will receive their book on release day)


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

when it's time to self edit~

I've been working on editing two books for the past few months, so I've been in the thick of the self-editing process a lot lately. Since I'm a hand writer in the rough draft stage, my first step is to type my manuscript. It becomes my first pass edit because I fix small errors in spelling and clarity, but I don't make any major changes to the document. I may not even make chapter breaks at that stage. I still work in Word. I've tried Scrivener twice and I just can't handle it. Besides, publishers and agents want a Word document, so why would I create more work for myself?

And I'd just like to point out here, I am NOT an English teacher. I want you to disregard all grammar rules in the early stages! That comes much, much later. Don't bog your creative process down with that now.

Step 1

As I'm sure you've probably read before, the first step in the editing process is to write "the end" on the rough draft and set it aside for 4-6 weeks. Yep. Don't do a thing with it! Go relax, take naps, read fiction. Enjoy your break and your accomplishment.

In some ways, having two projects going at once actually helps me.  I can ignore one project while it gels and still be productive on another project. And they're completely different genres, so there's no trouble with mixing things up.

After a project sits a while and you haven't been picking at it, open it up again. I like to print the entire thing out and read through it on paper. I know some people can work entirely on the screen, but I struggle. Hard copy is best for me and I can write lots of notes in the margins of things that need to be done. Now is NOT the time for making grammar edits, sentence structure edits, or punctuation corrections. Sure, you can fix little things as you go along if they're obvious, but I figure that's what spell check is for. Now is the big picture overview time. Look for holes in your plot, things that don't make sense, characters that don't ring true, descriptions that are too much or too little.  Hopefully, you outlined the project before you started, but if you didn't, you'd better do it now. That character arc needs to be there, the climax needs to be in the right place, and the three act structure should be solid. Look for showing vs. telling. If the telling gets to be too much, make a note to fix it.

Ask yourself, is my theme clear? Did I convey the emotion or the message I wanted to get across? If you don't know what your theme is, look to see what themes have come out in the manuscript. Are they what you intended? If not, you know what to do. Make notes in all the places in the document where you could improve it.

Step 2

Write some more. If you're like me, you skipped writing some scenes the first time around that could improve the flow of your story. Go back and write those scenes now. Fill in the blanks.  Because I write so spare to begin with, I'm not usually one of those writers that has to cut a lot of text, but I know a lot of people do have to make cuts.  To do that, examine each individual scene and ask yourself - Does this move the story plot along? If not, cut it. Ask am I repeating myself, i.e. making characters illustrate things that have already been demonstrated earlier in the manuscript? Then cut that. Do I have long passages of description that don't illustrate character or plot? Trim that down.  Obviously, many published authors do all of these things and get away with it. This is where your art comes in. Your skill at determining how much is too much and how much is enough, is what makes the work uniquely yours.

This step can take a long time. If you like to be organized and give yourself deadlines, pull out a calendar and mark the dates by which you'll have each chapter completed. I find having that goal written on a calendar helps me stay on track. Make all your writing changes (I like to work by chapter), run another spell check, and print a new draft.

Step 3

This is the one I struggle with - the beta read. This is when you're ready for another pair of eyes to see it. I personally don't think it's all that useful to show anyone your rough draft work. They'll just start nit picking your grammar and it won't be very productive or encouraging for you. The only person I might show early work to is another writer or a very close friend who isn't going to shoot me down before I've even begun. That said, you do need some fresh eyes and the opinion of someone who's never seen your opus. Where I struggle is finding that person. I live in a rural area with no writer's critique group nearby. Asking a non-writer to read for you is tricky because it's a BIG favor you're asking. You need someone who loves to read and reads a lot and who can read for the big picture again.

Many people, writers included, think you're asking for grammar edits at this stage. Beta readers PLEASE don't waste your valuable time on grammar edits. Again, look for plot holes, things that don't make sense, repeated phrases or annoying things like stereotypical cardboard characters. Point out anything that jars the reader out of the imaginary world the author is building. And try to do it quickly.  I know that's asking a lot, but you have no idea how badly you've got the poor writer on pins and needles waiting for your thoughts. They'll love you forever if you can do all this quickly.

Writers, once you get your beta reader's thoughts back, take a look at them. You may be offended or upset by them, but remember they might be saving you from an even bigger disappointment from your eventual readers. You don't have to agree with everything they've suggested, but you should at least consider their ideas. If it's not clear to them, chances are it won't be clear to others either. This can be an emotional time. It doesn't hurt to set the manuscript aside again and wait on it. Let it gel a bit. Give yourself time to process, reboot, and come back with a clear head.  Then go back to Step 2

Step 4 (2)

Yep. Go back to all the places the beta reader pointed out that needed something and fix them if necessary, just like you did in Step 2 with your own comments. This may involve writing new scenes again, or rewriting the ones you already have. Make a schedule and due dates if you need to. Make all the changes, do another spell check, and print a new draft. Whew!

Step 5

A lot of people never make it this far. They get discouraged or distracted, so if you've made it here, pat yourself on the back. Nice work!

That said, Step 5 is scary. It's query time.

Do all the grammar/punctuation/spelling edits that I told you to ignore at the beginning. Like I said, you can do them all along as you come across them, but it never hurts to do one last polish. The reason for leaving them until the end is because there's no sense wasting time on it if you're just going to cut or rewrite that passage anyway. Then, you need to prepare a pitch, a query letter, and a synopsis because it's time to put it out to agents and/or publishers.

Many writers get stuck in the feedback loop between Step 3 and 4. They keep going back to their betas for approval instead of moving forward. I think they must be operating under the assumption that it has to be perfect and will never be changed again once it goes to a publisher. I'm here to tell you, your book will be edited again many times after it's accepted for publication, so you're wasting time. Your work should be polished and presentable with all major errors fixed when you query, but it ain't gonna be perfect. Get over it. :)

Now, go write!

Monday, January 19, 2015

2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

King is often quoted and for good reason. He wrote incredible speeches, but my favorite quote is one you don’t see very often. It’s unfortunate because it’s particularly astute, even in 2015.


"Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

We live in a diverse world. No matter how much some people don’t want to admit it, we do. And that’s ok. Diversity is what makes life interesting. The recent movement #WeNeedDiverseBooks seeks to support books with nontraditional characters. When was the last time you read a book about someone who was from another country? Or a character with a disability? Or someone who’s gay? The vast majority of traditionally published books are about straight, white characters if you think about it, but there are diverse options out there.

In honor of diversity and Martin Luther King, who wanted us all to know each other better and not be afraid of differences, I’ve decided to take the Diverse Reading Challenge this year. I’m kind of a sucker for challenges these days. :)

Here’s the challenge:

1) Read a book by an author of color – I’ve always wanted to read Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. Just after Christmas 2014 I read Octavia Butler, and woah was that different! In a good way :) I’ve chosen Song of Solomon and I know why the caged bird sings.

2) Read a book with a person of color on the cover –  It’s a little silly to read a book just because of its cover though, but have you ever noticed how there’s a lot of books about people of color that don’t show them on the cover?? Yeah, hmm.  Do publishers shy away from people of color on book covers, I wonder?  I did just come across one today that I think I'll read though. It's non-fiction, which is unusual for me, but the subject is so intriguing. It's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It's about a black woman who's cells were collected by a doctor in the 1950's and have since been reproduced for scientific study all over the world.

3) Read a book about coming out – I’m going to read Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg . It actually sounds kinda cute. I hope it’s not depressing.

4) Read a book with a main character with a disability – I’m going to read All the Light We Cannot see by Anthony Doerr about a blind girl during WW II. Looks amazing. Pretty cover too.

5) Read a book with bullying – I think this will be easily found, as a lot of YA deals with bullying. I‘m considering If I Ever get out of here and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part time Indian. I’ve been meaning to read Sherman Alexie for a long time. I’m reading Winger by Andrew Smith right now. It’s about privileged white kids in a private boarding school, but they sure bully the heck out of each other. Ugh. Depressing. I guess bullying is something everyone gets to enjoy.

6) Read a book illustrated by an artist of color – The suggestion was Kadir Nelson. I’m not familiar with Kadir, but I will be soon!

7) Read any Walter Dean Myers book – another author I’m not familiar with, so that’s good. I’ve chosen Monster. Written years ago, it sounds just like something you’d see on the news these days.

8) Read a book by or about someone who has a spectrum disorder – I found two I want to read. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon and Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine both look very interesting

9) Read a book about a child soldier or a child growing up in the Middle East- I have no idea where to start. Any ideas?

10) Read a book about a character that suffers a sexual assault – Eew. I don’t normally read this kind of book because I find it difficult to read such stories. I mainly read to be entertained and I couldn’t possibly see such a story as entertainment. I only hope I can find one that’s up lifting in some way. I’ve already read Speak. Wasn’t crazy about it. This might be the one I don’t get to.

11) Read a book with some same sex parents – Ideas?? Maybe Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Seems like there was a female couple in that, but the parents are out of the story for much of the book so I’m not sure about that.

My Goodreads goal this year is to read 21 books, so a good number of them are going to be diverse subjects. I hope you’ll join me, if not for the whole challenge, for just a book or two. I’ve love to have a book club chat. At least read my new novel this year, Vessel, a dystopian scifi with Asian main characters. It’ll be out in May. Eep!

Please check back and see how I’m doing as the year goes on. I’ll post updates and hopefully reviews of the diverse books I read. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts too. OK everybody. Let’s Read!
 *That's me at the Lincoln Memorial in 2011 where King gave his "I Have a Dream Speech". Let Freedom Ring!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sins of the Father @DiverseBkTours Tour

Welcome to the latest Diverse Books Tour for Thelonious Legend for his book

Sins of the Father!

Read on to learn more about it and be sure to catch
 my interview with the author at the bottom. :)

~About the Book~

Sins of The Father

By Thelonious Legend

ISBN: 978-0615961125, 0615961126

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages: 272

Genre: MG/YA/Fantasy/Science Fiction

Plot Summary:

This was going to be a special year for the Parker sisters. Eve was going to dominate in the classroom and on the basketball court. 

Gwen was going to make the starting five and go down in history as the greatest prankster ever. Ana was going to do as little as possible.

But without warning, all three sisters gain extraordinary abilities that defy science… powers that come with a cost. Now all they want to do is make it through the school year without drawing any undue attention, while racing to find a cure before the side effects of their new abilities kill them. Eve’s temperament, Gwen’s fondness for pranks, and Ana’s predilection for money, however, are challenges they must overcome to achieve their goals. Because if they can’t, they’re dead…

~Book Links~

Amazon: Purchase Link

Barnes & Noble: Purchase Link

Goodreads: Connect about it on Goodreads!

 Book Depository: Pick up internationally!


~About the Author~

 Thelonious Legend
IT Professional by day, but by night I use my pen and pad as a canvas to explore questions of race, identity, privilege and class in a science fiction setting. Eclectic reader with a fondness for the classics and first generation Hip Hop snob. Don't start none won't be none! Philadelphia Eagles football fanatic and I also enjoy MMA from the safety of my couch. On the weekends you can find me wine drinking, rock climbing, fishing, or being an unpaid chauffeur to my daughters' activities. Also I'm a snark purveyor and been making with the funny since it was called the 'Dozens'. Get at me!

~Find Thelonious Legend here~

 Website: Official Blog

Facebook: Sins of The Father Page

Twitter: @TheLegendBooks

Goodreads: Author Profile

~Author Interview~

Thanks so much for being on the blog, Thelonious. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

I always wanted to write but for whatever reason was afraid to take that first step. Then I saw small indie film titled 'I Will Follow' and I thought the film was amazing so I googled the director/writer and discovered it was Ava DuVernay is now doing Selma. So as I did more research I discovered that Ava's background was in PR/Marketing and she just decided to make films. After that I had no valid excuse for sitting on the sidelines.
What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

I have to say talking about my book with my daughters. Including plot, character development, writing style and how it compares to their favorite books. And for the record they do not cut me any slack.
Kids are brutally honest. I know exactly what you mean.What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?

Rejection. Being rejected or dismissed by publishers and readers is tough. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Having a rhino hide never hurts. :) So how much research goes into your story?

A tremendous amount of research. I watched hours of Youtube videos of my favorite fighters to choreograph my fight scenes. And when I write a minority character, I do exhaustive research so I can understand that respective culture. And I do this important because it is critical I get it right and avoid clichés and stereotypes.
Writers are sometimes influenced by things that happen in their own lives. Are you?

Definitely. I'm influenced by politics, by my daughters, by my job, pretty much everything and I try to use it all.

What can you tell us about your writing projects?

I have published one book and hope to have the other out by April 2015. I also write on my blog about diversity and host two chats on twitter. #BlackWritersChat for any writer that has questions about writing diverse characters, and publishing/marketing independent diverse works. And #BlackComicsChat where we provide a platform for creators of diverse comics to talk about their work and reach a captive audience.

I'll have to check out those hashtags. I've always got questions about writing diverse characters!What is the most surprising thing about writing/publishing you have learnt?

How hard it is. You have to become an expert at so many disciplines, social media, PR/Advertising/Marketing on top of writing, editing and publishing. It can be overwhelming at times.
Do you have any tips for other writers?

I would say find friends or beta-readers who are not afraid to hurt your feelings and give you the unvarnished truth about your work. It will make you better.

Other than writing what else do you love? 

I have to say I really enjoy fatherhood. Nerding out with my daughters, be it the latest Marvel movie, or going fishing and rock climbing. Just love spending time them.

I think kids keep you more in the moment and remind you what's really important. Who is your favorite author and why?

Toni Morrison. One for her honesty. She is not afraid to write about things that people keep locked in their closet or stored up under their bed and it's scary. Also, her skill level. She does things with the English language that make me want to set down my pen. Her work is that good.

Oh, I know exactly what you mean, but you have to let great writers inspire you, not discourage. :) If you had a premonition you would be stranded on a desert island what 5 books would you take?

Hmm Lord Of Rings Trilogy, James Alan McPhereson's Hue and Cry, which is an incredible collection of short stories and probably something from Paul Beatty because you are going to need to laugh.
Can you give us five words that sum you up?

Wow, that's hard. Ok here we go... Loyal, funny, driven, compassionate, and political.
Sweet. How can we learn more about you and Sins of the Father?

Thanks so much for coming Thelonious! Best of luck with your writing! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

M9B Friday Reveal Blitz: 2014 MG Books you may have Missed with Giveaway


Hey all! Welcome to Tantrum Books and Month9Books Middle Grade Books You May Have Missed Blitz! Check out all of our 2014 titles below and enter for a chance to win 1 of 3 prize packs of eBooks! International.

Click on the cover for book information.

Tantrum Titles

(3) winners will receive eBook prize packs of 5 Month9Books MG titles of your choice!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Missing in Paradise Blog Tour

Welcome to the Missing in Paradise Blog Tour!  Enter the giveaway and read on down below for details :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Information: Winner will be drawn January 31, 2015

· Two (2) winners will received a signed copy of Missing in Paradise by Larry Verstraete (US/Canada)
· Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Missing in Paradise by Larry Verstraete (INT)


Title: Missing in Paradise
Publication date: November 3, 2014
Publisher: Rebelight Publishing Inc.
Author: Larry Verstraete

Four months after Gramp’s mysterious death, Nate helps out at Gram’s garage sale. An eerie feeling, as if Gramps were reaching beyond the grave to send Nate a message, leads Nate to a box full of clues. A missing plane. A secret to keep. A map highlighting the route where Gramps died and the message, “Shipment #35-Gold.” Nate and his best friend, Simon, are convinced that Gramps was on a treasure hunt when he died. They’re just as convinced that Gram’s shifty next door neighbour, Fortier, is after the gold too. Nate and Simon sneak away on a Greyhound bus for the small town of Paradise where Nate is sure treasure awaits. Can they find the gold before Fortier gets his thieving hands on a treasure that rightfully belongs to Gramps?
Larry Verstraete is an award winning author of 13 non-fiction books for young people. This is his first work of fiction.

~Find the Book Here~

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound



The crunch of twigs woke me up. Framed in the bright moonlight, a dark shadow lumbered past the shelter. I sat up. My heart hammered against my ribs. My stomach churned. I check my glow-in-the-dark watch. One a.m.

Something snorted – an animal searching for food? A foul stench arose, along with grunts and heavy thuds along the ground. A bear. It had to be a bear!

Simon rolled over, still asleep. I couldn’t see the animal, but I heard it thrash closer and closer. I patted the ground quietly to locate the plastic bag with its enticing peanut butter sandwiches, but couldn’t find it.

Don’t breathe. Don’t move. Pray it goes away.
Ages later, the heavy footsteps ebbed. Once more, the forest grew calm. Again I heard Simon’s soft breathing. Certain the animal had gone, I relaxed. I dozed fitfully with an ear on the forest, wary of sounds that signaled the creature’s return.

I slipped into a dream.

 I run through blinding light down a rutted road. When the glare lifts, I follow a narrow trail choked with weeds and roots. I enter a clearing surrounded by thick forest and dotted with wooden buildings built of thick vertical planks.

I am not alone. Dozens of men mill around me. One man leads the group, taller than the others, his stride confident and strong. I can’t see his face clearly, not at first, but I know who he is. There is no mistaking the broad should, the square jaw, the patch of stubborn hair sticking straight up.


Larry Verstraete, a retired teacher, has authored thirteen non-fiction books for young people and won multiple awards including the 2012 McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award and the 2010 Silver Birch Non-fiction Award. Missing in Paradise is his first work of fiction.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Monday, January 12, 2015

BOOM! Read my review of Struck by Clarissa Johal

Welcome to the blog tour celebrating the 1 Year Anniversary of the release of Paranormal Gothic Horror Novel ~ STRUCK by Clarissa Johal.   Follow the tour (schedule posted below) to read new reviews, interviews with Clarissa, and exclusive excerpts. "The shadows hadn't been waiting. The shadows had been invited."

~About the Book~

After a painful breakup, Gwynneth Reese moves in with her best friend and takes a job at a retirement home. She grows especially close to one resident, who dies alone the night of a terrific storm. On the way home from paying her last respects, Gwynneth is caught in another storm and is struck by lightning. She wakes in the hospital with a vague memory of being rescued by a mysterious stranger. Following her release from the hospital, the stranger visits her at will and offers Gwynneth a gift--one that will stay the hands of death. Gwynneth is uncertain whether Julian is a savior or something more sinister... for as he shares more and more of this gift, his price becomes more and more deadly.
Book Details:
Genre: Paranormal Gothic Horror
Author(s): Clarissa Johal
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Cover Artist: Kelly Shorten
ISBN: 978-1-61937-690-8 
Number of Pages: 255
Price: $4.99

~About the Author~

Clarissa Johal has worked as a veterinary assistant, zoo-keeper aide and vegetarian chef. Writing has always been her passion. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing or taking photographs of gargoyles. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters and every stray animal that darkens the doorstep. One day, she expects that a wayward troll will wander into her yard, but that hasn’t happened yet.
*Member of the Author's Guild
Coming May 19, 2015 from Permuted Press
VOICES, a paranormal psychological horror
STRUCK, a paranormal gothic horror
(2014) Musa Publishing
*Indie Book of the Day Award
*Nominated for the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2014
BETWEEN, a story of the paranormal
(2012) Musa Publishing
*Second place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012
*Paranormal Reads gives BETWEEN 4 out of 5 Bats
PRADEE, a young adult fantasy
(2010) CreateSpace
*Second round finalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012
Short stories:
PIGEONS, published in the literary journal Susurrus
THE ROPE, published in the literary journal Susurrus
A WAY OF LIFE, published in The Sacramento Bee
Find Clarissa Online:
Praise for STRUCK:
Lovely Reads
"This book grabs you in right away and hold your attention...I so loved this book and didn't put it down until the very end." Read More ~ Lovely Reads
Bex 'n' Books
"This is a spooky thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You won't be able to put it down because you must finish it to see what happens, even if it keeps you up late at night to do so." Read More ~ Bex'n'Books 

Bibliophilic Book Blog
"STRUCK will get beneath your skin from the very beginning. Gwen’s a likable character with a difficult past and tenuous future after meeting Julian. I liked the secondary characters, especially Fenten and Poppy. The characters were definitely all well-developed and engaging." Read More ~ Bibliophilic Book Blog 
Straight from the Library
"The characters are well drawn and likable....The action is fast paced-- I read the book in one sitting." Read More ~ Straight from the Library 

~Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)~

How did you come up with the idea for STRUCK?
Some stories begin as random scenes, some as characters, and some are born from asking the question, “What if?” I was hit with the idea of STRUCK while running on a forest trail near my house. It was during a thunderstorm and I wondered what it would be like to be hit by lightning. I write about ghosts and things that go bump in the night and in essence, those entities are energy. What if a portal was opened by a lightning strike? And what if that portal allowed the energy from those entities to escape? The idea was intriguing and I went to bed still thinking about it. That night, I dreamt I stood in a field, with lightning striking the ground all around me. But the lightning wasn’t just releasing electrical energy, the lightning was releasing negative entities from the Otherworld. I woke from the nightmare in a panic, thinking those entities had somehow attached themselves to me. And so a story is born.
I went on to research the effects of being struck by lightning, interviewed several lightning survivors, and began writing STRUCK. I’m continually amazed how a, “What if?” idea can expand into a novel.
What first inspired you to become a writer? And what compels you to continue your career as an author?
I wrote my first short story in grade six. I was asked by the teacher to read it aloud to the class, which terrified me. After I was finished, I realized that I actually had everyone’s attention! I was shy and we moved every year, so I was always the new kid. When you’re in that situation, it’s kind of like being invisible. Finding my voice through story-telling made me realize how powerful writing could be. As far as continuing—truthfully? I think I’d go nuts if I didn’t write.
What made you choose the genre of paranormal gothic horror?
I started out writing fantasy fiction. I was working on the second installment to my PRADEE series when there were two characters that kept showing up on the page, over and over. They didn’t belong in fantasy novel, nor did they belong in my story! But their backstory came to me so vividly, that I set aside my series and wrote my first paranormal novel, BETWEEN. I’ve been pulled into the Otherworld permanently now. The ideas come faster than I can write them down.

~My Review~

Look at this peeps! A rare book review by me!

Just so you know up front, I did receive a free copy of Struck by Clarissa Johal in exchange for an honest review. I don't do a lot of book reviews on the blog, mainly because I don't read fast enough to meet blog tour time frames, but this was one opportunity I'm glad I didn't pass up.

I enjoyed Struck. It's well written and suspenseful till the bitter end. It's the story of a struggling artist struck by lightning who begins to have increasingly terrifying visions she can't explain, nor can the reader. For someone like myself who doesn't read a lot of suspense, I found the book maddening at times because I wanted more information than I was getting, but it kept me reading, which is the point of suspense, right? Although I must admit I began to despair when I was 75-85% done with still no explanation in sight. At that point, the main character lost all my sympathy by shoving away all her friends for some still unexplained reason. I got that she thought she needed to protect them, but it seemed like it was out of her control at that point.

I liked the secondary characters, especially Fenton, but I couldn't help wondering if he was a bit too much the stereotypical sassy BFF. And I did have one nit pick toward the end when the characters start burning sage to ward off evil spirits and make comments about the smell of burning roasts. The sage Native Americans burn is  a wild plant very different from culinary sage. I've never burned culinary sage, but I doubt it smells like the sweet sage Native Americans burn. Overall, I found Struck to be a well crafted, suspenseful read. I give it four stars!

~Tour Presented by~

~Tour Schedule~

January 1: Tour Kick-Off
January 2: Exclusive Excerpt
January 4: Review
January 5: Review
January 7: Exclusive Excerpt
January 9: Exclusive Excerpt
January 12: Review
January 15: Exclusive Excerpt
January 17: Review
January 19: Exclusive Excerpt
January 20: Exclusive Excerpt
January 21: Interview
January 23: Exclusive Excerpt
January 26: Interview
January 28: Review
January 31: Reviews (by 3 different tour hosts) 1) 2) 3)

Friday, January 9, 2015

M9B Friday Reveal: Featuring Month9Books Spring 2015 Debuts Blitz and Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals


Hello everyone! Welcome to the Month9Books Spring 2015 Debuts Blitz!
These upcoming M9B books will be ones that you'll definitely want to add to your TBR list!
You can enter for a chance to win 1 of 4 prize packs of eBooks open Internationally.

Horror Business by Ryan Bradford
Coming February 2015


Armed with a passion for classic B-grade horror movies, a script co-written by his twin brother, and a wicked crush on his death-obsessed neighbor; hardcore horror fan Jason Nightshade must finish his student film.
But his plans are derailed when the children of suburban Silver Creek start disappearing – his twin brother among them. Battling a possessed video camera, a crazy zombie dog, a monstrous bully, and a frighteningly broken down family life, Jason embarks on a mission to find his lost brother so the two can write an ending for his story.
As an any horror fan knows, saving the day won't be easy, as Jason finds himself forced to face the real world where death isn't just a splash of fake blood on a camera lens.

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Ryan grew up in Park City, Utah. His fiction has appeared in Quarterly West, Paper Darts, Vice, Monkeybicycle and [PANK]. He currently lives in San Diego where he acts as Creative Director for the nonprofit literary arts organization So Say We All. He’s the co-editor of the anthology Last Night on Earth and founder of the literary horror journal, Black Candies. Find him at

Fingers in the Mist by O'Dell Hutchison
Coming February 2015

Sixteen-year-old Caitlyn Foster never believed in the legend of the Redeemers. That was before the trees started to whisper her name. Before a murder of crows attacked the town. Before she and her family came home to find a bloody handprint on their front door, marking one of them as a sacrifice. As Caitlyn’s friends are ripped from their homes, she knows it’s only a matter of time before the Redeemers come for her. Caitlyn has the power to stop the terror, but she’ll have to decide if she’s willing to sacrifice herself to save those she loves.

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O’Dell was born in a small rural town in Idaho. There were no Redeemers living there (that he knows of). After attending college in the Pacific Northwest, he found his way to the Houston area. By day, he is a Business Systems Analyst and at night you can either find him sitting at home, dreaming of random super powers he wishes he had, or directing plays and musicals at various theaters around Houston.

Lucas Mackenzie and the London Midnight Ghost Show by Steve Bryant
Coming February 24, 2015

Lucas Mackenzie has got the best job of any 10 year old boy. He travels from city-to-city as part of the London Midnight Ghost Show, scaring unsuspecting show-goers year round. Performing comes naturally to Lucas and the rest of the troupe, who’ve been doing it for as long as Lucas can remember.
But there’s something Lucas doesn’t know.
Like the rest of Luca’s friends, he’s dead. And for some reason, Lucas can’t remember his former life, his parents or friends. Did he go to school? Have a dog? Brothers and sisters?
If only he could recall his former life, maybe even reach out to his parents, haunt them.
When a ghost hunter determines to shut the show down, Lucas realizes the life he has might soon be over. And without a connection to his family, he will have nothing. There’s little time and Lucas has much to do. Can he win the love of Columbine, the show's enchanting fifteen-year-old mystic? Can he outwit the forces of life and death that thwart his efforts to find his family?
Keep the lights on! Lucas Mackenzie’s coming to town.

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Purchase HERE!

Steve Bryant is a new novelist, but a veteran author of books of card tricks. He founded a 40+ page monthly internet magazine for magicians containing news, reviews, magic tricks, humor, and fiction; and he frequently contributes biographical cover articles to the country’s two leading magic journals (his most recent article was about the séance at Hollywood’s Magic Castle).

The Perilous Journey of the not so Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham
Coming March 17, 2015

Lady Marguerite lives a life most 17th century French girls can only dream of: money, designer dresses, suitors and a secure future. Except she suspects she may be falling for her best friend Claude, a common smithie in the family's steam forge. When Claude leaves for New France in search of a better life, Marguerite decides to follow him and test her suspicions of love. But the trip proves more harrowing than she had anticipated, revealing secrets and testing her strength as well as her heart. Love, adventure and restitution await her in Canada, but only if she can survive the voyage.

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Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho, but found her heart in New York City. She worked as a waitress, maid, artist, math teacher, nurse, web designer, art director, thirty-foot inflatable pig and mule wrangler before she settled down in the semi-quiet role of wife, mother and writer. She resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, five chickens and two suspected serial killer cats. If the air is cool and the sun is just coming up over the horizon, you can find her running the streets of her small town, plotting her next novel with the sort of intensity that will one day get her hit by a car.

I Heart Robot by Suzanne Van Rooyen
Coming March 31, 2015

Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won't belittle her musical aspirations.
Q-I-99 aka 'Quinn' lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.
Tyri and Quinn's worlds collide when they're accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn's love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?

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Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing, she teaches dance and music to middle schoolers and entertains her shiba inu, Lego. Suzanne is represented by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.

Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy Stokes
Coming April 2015

After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoken wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky.
Instead of going up, the journey plunges her into the past. As she unravels the mystery behind her friend’s betrayal, she must face the truth about life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable -- unless the staircase breaks her first.

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Stacy grew up in Dallas, TX, but has lived all over. After spending time in Austin, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia, she is happy to call San Francisco her home, where she lives with her husband. When she’s not bringing the voices in her head to life, she’s working as a brand and marketing professional in the consumer products industry. She has a slight obsession with puns (they are, in her opinion, the highest form of humor), which might be linked to the three years she spent studying improv comedy at Chicago’s Second City and IO theaters. She holds a BBA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business. WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS is her debut novel.

Nobody's Goddess by Amy McNulty
Coming April 21, 2015

In a village of masked men, each loves only one woman and must follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.
Where the rest of her village celebrates this mystery that binds men and women together, seventeen year old Noll is just done with it. She’s lost all her childhood friends as they’ve paired off, but the worst blow was when her closest companion, Jurij, finds his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever loved her: she is in fact the goddess of the mysterious lord of the village, a Byronic man who refuses to let Noll have her right as a woman to spurn him and who has the power to fight the curse. Thus begins a dangerous game between the two: the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither Noll nor the veiled man is willing to lose.

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Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently spends her days alternatively writing on business and marketing topics and primarily crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.

The Artisans by Julie Reece
Coming May 19, 2015

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.
To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.
Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.
But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.
Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.
Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.
But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

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Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.
I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.
Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.
Then I thought I’d write one down…
Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!

Summer Of The Oak Moon by Laura Templeton
Coming May 5, 2015

Rejected by the exclusive women’s college she has her heart set on, Tess Seibert dreads the hot, aimless summer ahead. But when a chance encounter with a snake introduces her to Jacob Lane, a black college student home on his summer break, a relationship blooms that challenges the prejudices of her small, north Florida town.
When Jacob confesses that Tess’s uncle is trying to steal his family’s land, Tess comes face to face with the hatred that simmers just below the surface of the bay and marshes she’s loved since birth. With the help of her mentor Lulu, an herbal healer, Tess pieces together clues to the mysterious disappearance of Jacob’s father twenty-two years earlier and uncovers family secrets that shatter her connection to the land she loves.
Tess and Jacob’s bond puts them both in peril, and discontent eventually erupts into violence. Tess is forced to make a decision. Can she right old wrongs and salvage their love? Or will prejudice and hatred kill any chance she and Jacob might have had?

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Laura Templeton lives near Athens, Georgia, with her husband, son, and a menagerie of animals. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, gardening, ice skating with her family, and taking long walks on the quiet country roads near her home. Her previous novel, Something Yellow, was released in 2013 and is set in one her favorite places – the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Vessel by Lisa Cresswell
Coming May 26, 2015

The sun exploded on April 18, 2112. It exploded in a Class X solar storm the likes of which humankind had never seen.
They had nineteen minutes.
Nineteen minutes until the geomagnetic wave washed over the Earth, frying every electrical device created by humans, blacking out entire continents, every satellite in their sky.
Nineteen minutes to say goodbye to the world they knew, forever, and to prepare for a new Earth, a new Sun.
Generations after solar storms have destroyed nearly all human technology on Earth and humans have reverted to a middle ages like existence, all knowledge of the remaining technology is kept hidden by a privileged few called the Reticents and books are burned as heresy.
Alana, a disfigured slave girl, and Recks, a traveling minstrel and sometimes-thief, join forces to bring knowledge and books back to the human race. But when Alana is chosen against her will to be the Vessel, the living repository for all human knowledge, she must find the strength to be what the world needs.

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Lisa, like most writers, began scribbling silly notes, stories, and poems at a very young age. Born in North Carolina, the South proved fertile ground to her imagination with its beautiful white sand beaches and red earth. In fifth grade, she wrote, directed and starred in a play “The Queen of the Nile” at school, despite the fact that she is decidedly un-Egyptian looking. Perhaps that’s why she went on to become a real life archaeologist? Unexpectedly transplanted to Idaho as a teenager, Lisa learned to love the desert and the wide open skies out West. This is where her interest in cultures, both ancient and living, really took root, and she became a Great Basin archaeologist. However, the itch to write never did leave for long. Her first books became the middle grade fantasy trilogy, The Storyteller Series. Her first traditionally published work, Hush Puppy, is coming soon from Featherweight Press. Lisa currently lives and writes in Idaho with her family and a menagerie of furry critters that includes way too many llamas! You can visit her website at

  • Three (3) winners will receive eBook prize packs of 5 Month9Books of your choice, upon their release (INT)
  • One (1) winner will receive all these titles, upon their release (INT)

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