Monday, June 29, 2015

Book Blitz: Red Stone By Gabriele Goldstone Presented by Rebelight Publishing - Excerpt and Giveaway


Hello everyone and welcome to the book blitz for
Red Stone By Gabriele Goldstone
presented by Rebelight Publishing!
Isn't that a gorgeous cover? I want to read this one asap.
It's set in a time and place in history 
I don't know anything about.
Scroll down to read an excerpt and be sure to enter 
the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Katya knows all about Stalin’s big plans; she learned of them in school. But those plans mean little to her until the secret police arrest Papa and seize their family farm. With Mama and her younger siblings, Katya is shoved into a crowded train headed for a forced labour camp in Siberia. Torn from everything she has ever known, Katya faces cold and hunger, and the ever-present threat of lost hope. As she clings to a single red stone from the fields of her homeland, she questions life. Where is Papa? Will she ever see him again? And what will become of Katya’s family?

Inspired by a true story, Red Stone explores the trauma and heart¬break suffered by many families in the Soviet Union during the 1930s when Stalin seized individual property and villainized property owners as kulaks.

add to goodreadsRed Stone by Gabriele Goldstone
Publisher: Rebelight Publishing
Middle grade/Historical
Available for Purchase:
amazon B&N kobo TBD indigo
GABRIELE GOLDSTONE, the oldest daughter of Euro­pean immigrants, always looked for stories about her parents’ past. She majored in 20th century German literature at university but was disappointed that she could not find the stories she sought. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, her mother’s anecdotes and history began to click together. In 2004, Gabriele traveled to Ukraine and searched through former KGB files to find more missing pieces—and Katya’s red stone. Gabriele lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba and has three adult children along with a silver-grey cat and a golden-haired dog.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

~Red Stone Excerpt~

Chapter 8

Some Birthday 

It’s March 7, 1930 and today is my birthday. I’m eleven years old. There’ll be no celebration, though. Sofie and Marthe are sick with fever and cough, and Mama says it’s better not to bring any visitors along after school.

So it’ll be just another day.

When I approach the school a crowd of students are gathered around a shiny black government automobile. That’s strange. I’m even more surprised when Uncle Leo climbs out of it.

He’s wearing a long brown overcoat with a red belt and an OGPU badge

on the sleeve. So that’s his job with the government—he belongs to the secret police. Is he here on official business? Or will he embarrass me with a birthday gift in front of all my classmates?

He doesn’t look my way. Instead, he marches straight through the crowd and over to Comrade Muenster. The two stand by the door talking. As we line-up outside, Uncle Leo watches each of us. He pulls out a notebook and writes things down. What is he writing? I don’t trust him!

“Katya?” Uncle Leo asks, when it’s my turn to enter. He looks down at his notebook and scribbles something with a pencil.

“Hello, Uncle Leo.” I offer cautiously.

“My name is Comrade Bonkowski, you little twit.”

I look away, my face burning and my heart thumping.

Uncle Leo turns to the teacher. “You must teach these children to respect their leaders.”

“Yes, Comrade.” Comrade Muenster looks anxious.

I slink to my classroom. At my desk, I keep my head down, even when Uncle Leo is introduced and begins his speech.

“I have here a list of the property owners of Federofka and the surrounding area.

The executive committee of the local Soviet has instructed me to remind you that on January 30th of this year, the decree to liquefy all kulaks was made official. I have brought a poster that will be displayed in this classroom to help you understand.”

He unrolls the poster and passes it to Comrade Muenster, who puts it up beside Stalin’s portrait. The poster shows a giant tractor running over animals and farmers. “Destroy the kulaks as a class” is sprawled across it in big letters.

I sink further down into my desk, feeling like a tractor has already run me over. Uncle Leo’s not finished. “All private landowners are bloodsuckers.” I glance up and see Uncle Leo staring right at me. “There’s no such thing as a good kulak. All are exploiters. All are class enemies. We will find the extra food that you kulaks hoard. We will round up the livestock for our collectives. We will take your servants and make them into proud workers, not impoverished slaves.”

He nods to Comrade Muenster, who motions us to rise. We stand at attention and sing The Internationale. Stanza three begins with the words, “You’ve sucked enough of our blood, you vampires,” and Uncle Leo’s grim face breaks into an ugly smile.

I feel the power of that smile for the rest of the day. It smirks at me when I’m reading or solving arithmetic problems. It makes it impossible to swallow the piece of cherry cake that Mama put in my lunch.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Taking Risks in Fiction

Critics. All writers have them. Some of us writers are critics too - our own worst! But when we write a first draft, we have to put all that aside because fear of criticism is the number one thing that kills creativity.

When I wrote Vessel, it was my first dystopian/scifi - a bit of a risk for me. It was well outside my normal realm of contemporary YA and middle grade fantasy. But I like to push myself and I don't like to put self-imposed limits on what I can and can't write. I write to please me first and foremost. I know my tastes don't appeal to everyone. That's the beauty of it. One can choose what books to read. I don't have to appeal to everyone out there, right?

When you take risks in fiction, a few things can happen. True, you can get this type of response:

Holy crap, what a disappointment! I picked this one solely for the "join forces to bring knowledge and books back to the human race" part, but that's not really what the book is about. At all. And the whole weird twist at the end? Ugh! There was lots of potential here in the idea of a group hording knowledge to maintain power, but it's totally wasted in this story. ~ Goodreads reviewer

But you might also get this:

From this point, the story just takes off on a stunning adventure. I have read so much for so many years that I can usually tell where a book is leading, but believe me when I say I did not have that sense with VESSEL! Every twist and turn the story took was a shock or surprise to me - but never in a way that I felt it came out of left field. Ultimately, even though they weren’t directions I had anticipated, every change, surprise, and twist was completely plausible and organic to the story. I never felt like the author cheated or threw in random characters or events simply to move the plot forward. It was simply a well-constructed, superbly thought out, and beautifully-told story. If you are someone who thinks they do not like sci-fi, don’t let that scare you from this book - it is what we’d call “soft” sci-fi and very readable and relatable. I think you will fall in love with Alana and Recks and their story just as I did. I can’t get their story out of my head, either, and I truly hope Ms. Cresswell has a sequel planned! I should warn you, though - you may wish to have some tissues handy. I bawled like an inconsolable baby as the story drew to a close. I was so shocked by what happened and how it ended, and I went from dry eyes to complete waterworks in a flash. ~also a Goodreads reviewer

It's obvious, Vessel creates a strong reaction in readers, good or bad. I prefer a strong reaction to a meh reaction any day. If we writers don't elicit some sort of feeling, only then have we failed. Otherwise, its all good. :)  Happy writing~

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Matter of Time by Lisa Basso

Welcome to my stop on the A Matter of Time blog tour!  
Read on down below to learn about the third book in this series, see who the author's dream cast would be, and to enter a sweet giveaway. 
Thanks for stopping by :)

~About the Book~

Title: A Matter of Time (Angel Sight #3)
Publication date: eBook June 9, 2015 / Paperback August 18, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Lisa M. Basso

Rayna entered Hell to save Kade. Kade entered to protect Rayna. Both have failed.

Centuries of Kade’s demons are unearthed when he is brainwashed and used as a Fallen pawn.

In the freezing pits of Hell, Ray is beaten and tortured, pushed to her breaking point. She takes a stand, firing back at her attackers though she’s only begun to understand the true strength of her wings. A strength she will need once she uncovers the evils that await on Earth.

Together they find solace, alone they will fight.

~About the Author~

Lisa M. Basso was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She is a lover of books, video games, animals, and baking (not baking with animals though). As a child she would crawl into worlds of her own creation and get lost for hours. Her love for YA fiction started with a simple school reading assignment: S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. When not reading or writing she can usually be found at home with The Best Boyfriend that Ever Lived ™ and her two darling (and sometimes evil) cats, Kitties A and B.

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

~ Author's Dream Cast for the Movie~

I asked if A Matter of Time was ever made into a movie, what would be Lisa's choice for the cast. This is what she told me~

Rayna – Emma Roberts. All the way. She’s stunning and has an amazing range. I will watching anything she’s in. She would absolutely kill the role of Rayna. In A Shimmer of Angels Ray is unsure of herself and her sanity. In A Slither of Hope Ray discovers more of who she is and what she wants. And, finally, in A Matter of Time, Rayna finds her true strength and decides how much she’s willing to sacrifice.

Kade – Kade is a Fallen angel with a smart mouth and animal magnetism to spare. When I was doing research for Kade, I found pictures of a strikingly smexy model named Alban Rassier. Kade’s swagger and intensity all started with a specific picture and his personality only grew from there.

Cam – I love Alex Pettyfer for Cam. He’s got that golden boy charm to him which fits Cam’s angel side well. Plus, could you imagine Alex Pettyfer with an eight foot wingspan? Me too. Cam’s always fighting to do the right thing, even when his orders tell him differently.

Lucien – The villain from A Slither of Hope makes more than one appearance in A Matter of Time. Lucien is the Prince of Hell with some disturbing hobbies and talents. I’ve always seen Lucien as Jim Parsons from Big Bang Theory. I know it’s random, I do, but he’s such a great actor. I would die to see him in a true villain’s role.

Lucifer – This might be the toughest role to cast. I mean, Lucifer has been depicted countless times. He’s a tough act to follow. When I wrote Lucifer’s introductory scene in A Matter of Time, I had a picture of Ray Wise in my head (who, funny enough, played the Devil in the short-lived TV series Reaper).

Elyon – Elyon is Cam’s angel superior who has a few not-so-angel-like tendencies. Dylan McDermott would make an excellent Elyon. I loved his acting in American Horror Story, not quite the hero and not quite the villain, and feel that style would work well for Elyon.

Laylah – Rayna’s little sister has grown more and more in each book. Her scene in A Matter of Time is heartbreaking and so very close to my heart. Elle Fanning has grown into a stunning beauty, much like Laylah. Her soft face and acting chops would make her the perfect fit for Rayna’s little sister.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz – The Artisans by Julie Reece and Nobody's Goddess by Amy McNulty with Giveaway #T4T

Hello and welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!
Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!
You just might find your next read!
This week, #T4T presents to you:
The Artisans by Julie Reece and
Nobody's Goddess by Amy McNulty
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

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?
The Artisans is a delectably rich, layered and dark YA Southern Gothic inspired by Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s classic Beauty and the Beast.
The Artisans has all the elements I love – spooky intrigue, strong friendships, and a romantic tension to be savored.” ~ Wendy Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of the Sweet Evil trilogy.
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It's truly an eerie and unforgettable book with a slightly sexy twist and I loved it.” – Jenna, Shortie Says

“Basically this is pretty much the best book ever”Jackie, No Bent Spines

“An electrifying retelling of Beauty and Beast with a hauntingly good twist.” – Katie, Mundie Moms

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

In a village of masked men, magic compels each man to love only one woman and to 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.
Seventeen-year-old Noll isn't in the mood to celebrate. Her childhood friends have paired off and her closest companion, Jurij, found 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 chosen her.
Thus begins a dangerous game between the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither is willing to lose.
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“It’s one of those books that has such a big twist at the end that you want to go back and reread it from the start with new information about what’s going on.”Jennifer Bardsley, Author

“Wow, this book took my breath away. The plot was very intriguing and it was unlike anything I had ever really read about before and it really pulls you in.”Mollie, Reviewer

“This book blew my mind.” – Chalyss, Reviewer

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


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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Wonder Horse by Anita Daher

Welcome to my stop on the Wonder Horse blog tour! I've got a guest post by Anita and a sweet giveaway you'll want to enter down below. Thanks for coming :)

~About the Book~

Wonder Horse by Anita Daher was published on May 8, 2015 by Rebelight Publishing.

Fitting into a new school in a new city isn’t easy, but dreams come true for Sera with a gift from her parents: a gorgeous and spirited American Paint horse. Sera’s bubble bursts when a mean girl, Brittany, tells her that neither she nor her less than well-trained horsebelong with the rest of the “reiners” in their riding class. As Sera sets out to prove Brittany wrong, she risks losing her passion for training and the friendship of Dev, another girl who truly understands her.

An earlier version of this story was originally published by Stabenfeldt (Stavanger, Norway) in 2011 as Wager the Wonder Horse and distributed in six languages: Norwegian, Hungarian, Czech, German, Finnish and Swedish.

~About the Author~

Anita Daher has been entrenched in the publishing industry since 1995, and is (thus far) author of fourteen books for children and teens. Aside from short stints as grave-plot seller, tour guide, and children’s party clown, she’s worked in aviation, publishing and broadcasting. When not word wrangling, she enjoys inhabiting characters on stage and screen.

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

~Author Guest Post~

Good morning! Thanks for inviting me to stop by. Wonder Horse is a novel dear to my heart, inspired by the real life relationship between my youngest daughter, Sara, and her horse, Wager.

Before I tell you how the novel came to be, and discuss some of the themes within it, I’d like to share the true story at the root of it.

My husband and I began our lives together both employed by Canada’s air traffic services industry. We found ourselves moving every few years, and though there are many wonderful things about moving—exploring new communities and regions on a deep level than “just visiting,” making many new friends—there are also drawbacks. It isn’t easy to make friends, and then have to say goodbye, over and over again. It isn’t easy to always feel like an outsider.

I know this, because I lived it as well, moving often as a young child. I could relate to both my daughters struggling to make new connections, fitting in. My eldest became very adaptable, and with a smile that could light up a room, and made new friends fairly easily—at least, that is how it looked to her younger sister. Sara had difficulty—her personality very different from that of her sister. Everything changed for her, however, when she attended a summer riding camp. She loved it! She loved horses! And she made friends who had the same passions. Camp led to lessons, which eventually led to a horse of your own: a young black and white American Paint Horse named Wager.

When my agent asked me a few years ago if I had any “top of my head” horse story ideas, I knew the relationship between Sara and Wager would be the heart of my story. Fitting in would be a theme, as it is in many of my stories. I didn’t consciously decide on it. It was just there. I imagined a story about a girl, just moved to Winnipeg, eventually finding a sense of belonging and who she was through her relationship with a horse.

Wager is the one true character in this novel. As he is in the story—spirited, with a big personality—so he is in real life.

Because my memories of being a “new girl” have never completely faded, I drew on some of my own life experiences—the hurt of being called “little girl” by an older, popular girl at my new high school. It brought to mind the more subtle forms of bullying which exist. I wanted to show the complexities of relationships that exist between best friends, new friends, non-friends, friends who you think are friends but maybe aren’t truly…all things we struggle to balance and sort during our adolescent and teen years.

Time spent around horses can teach us so much—about communication, kindness, trust, assertion, confidence. My daughter Sara, like fictional Sera in the story, spent time with Wager every day, not just riding him, but working with him, teaching him, just as he taught her. Eventually we moved Wager to a schooling barn where they both took lessons, just as Sera and Wager did in the story. During all this time they played, challenged, succeeded. It was a joy to watch, and to draw upon.

Wonder Horse is a made up story woven from what if and fun, but at its heart there is truth, as there is in every story. Emotional truth. This is what connects us as human beings, fellow travelers in life, no matter where we live, what our circumstance.

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