Thursday, 31 May 2012

Author Interview with Nancy Richardson Fischer

We'd like to welcome to our blog today Nancy Richardson Fischer, author of Pandora's Key, a young adult fantasy novel and the first book in The Key Trilogy!  

When everything you believed about yourself is a lie, how do you unlock the truth…

Evangeline Theopolis has nightmares about the violent deaths of women she has never met. Her single mother, Olivia, suffers delusions she can’t hide. And Malledy, a brilliant young man, may have a disease that will leave him paralyzed and insane. Their lives are about to collide.
On Evangeline’s 16th birthday her mother gives her a necklace with an antique key charm—a family heirloom, though no one knows what the key unlocks.

Everything changes. Her mom is hospitalized. Her godmother attempts murder. An ancient Order tries to kill Evangeline, and a lethal sect to kidnap her.

Nothing makes sense—especially Evangeline’s own face, which has morphed from geeky to eerily stunning; the ancient key that feels strangely alive against her skin; and the magical abilities she begins to possess.
Evangeline must use her wits and supernatural powers to fight her deadly adversaries and discover her true identity. But can she accept who she really is and save the world?


"With this fresh, intriguing novel, Fischer is clearly laying the groundwork for a trilogy that will successfully continue to bring ancient mythology forward into a modern tale of self discovery... Fischer's fast pacing and numerous plot twists are sure to keep the reader turning the pages... Characters are well fleshed-out and sympathetic, and some have hidden alliances that serve to make Evangeline's plight seem all the more realistic. With vivid imagery, compelling characters and plenty of bursts of action, this first novel weaving mythology and contemporary teenage troubles is thrillingly memorable!"
—Kirkus Indie

"In this inventive debut installment of The Key Trilogy, an Oregon girl's life is uprooted by the discovery of her pivotal role in a prophecy stemming from Greek mythology... Surprising twists add to the story's intrigue. The co-author of several sports autobiographies, Fischer hits her stride in this quick-paced novel."
—Publishers Weekly

Get your own copy of Pandora's Key now!
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Smashwords


Sheri's review

May 2012

Pandora's Key starts out as two different stories. Evangeline's story and Malledy's story. Both are equally captivating and fun to read. Evangeline's life completely changes on her 16th birthday. After going from somewhat awkward teen to someone she hardly recognizes in a mirror, what was supposed to be a special day turns into a nightmare. Nothing makes sense anymore to Evangeline and she has no on to turn to for help…no one she can trust anyway. Malledy is a superintelligent man with a disease that is slowly killing him. He is looking for something that will cure him, and he is willing to go to any lengths to get his hands on that something.

When the two stories finally merge, it was like nothing I would have expected. People weren't who they seemed to be, both for Evangeline and for Malledy. Evangeline gets to the point where she just does not know who she can trust anymore, so she ends up trusting no one, while Malledy did not really seem to trust anyone from the beginning, with good reason.

The characters were great. Evangeline is your normal awkward teen and easy to like as a main character. Her character was well balanced in that she was not so beautiful and popular that you wanted to hate her, yet she was not so down on herself that you got tired of her wining. I think that's a hard balance to create when writing about teen girls, but the author managed it here. Malledy I think we did not get to know quite as well, but we did get to see his motivations and his way of thinking.
I loved the mythology background to this story. I loved that the author was able to take such a well known piece of mystery and create a unique story to go with it. It was fresh and entertaining, and I guarantee you'll be left guessing about what's coming next until the very end.


 

Thank you for stopping by our blog today Nancy!  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t recall wanting to be anything but a writer. Maybe that’s because I have a limited skill set, or because writing is a job that you can do in your PJs or anytime during the day. Most of all, though, I have always told stories in my head, and it got kind of cluttered in there. So I thought writing my stories down would be a good idea. Plus, stories had a HUGE influence on me as a kid. They ignited my imagination and I hope I can do the same for other people because a life without imagination would be sad.

Imagination is a must for writers!  How do you come up with character names? Are your characters based on people in your life?
For Pandora’s Key, Book One – The Key Trilogy, I had a great time coming up with the characters’ names. 

I chose Evangeline’s name after the actress Evangeline Lily from Lost. She was a super complex character who many times felt incapable but always drew from an inner strength she never knew existed and kicked butt in the end. I felt like my Evangeline was a lot like that character so the name fit.

Evangeline Lily

Malledy’s name just came to me, as I’ve never heard of anyone named Malledy (thank goodness!). “Mal” means “bad” in French and malady is an illness or affliction in English so the name just seemed right. That said, I don’t see the character of Malledy as a horrible guy. In fact, I love him dearly and think he’s more of a victim than pure evil.

What kind of research was necessary during the writing of Pandora's Key?

I read a lot of Greek mythology for both Pandora’s Key and the second book in the trilogy, The Key to Tartarus. I knew that I wasn’t going to take any Greek myth literally for my story, but the idea of taking an established myth and twisting it to fit my book appealed to me.

I love the twist on mythology.  What is the most creative way you have promoted your book?

Darn, this question kind of makes me feel like a loser because I haven’t been at all creative about promoting Pandora’s Key. Early on I decided to focus on my writing and the story and not on marketing it because I can’t multi-task. So instead of launching into a huge marketing campaign, I worked on telling the story the best I could and then focused on writing Book Two, The Key to Tartarus, because as a reader I get really bummed when I have to wait years for a sequel (Stephen King and George RR Martin I’m talking to you!). My philosophy, in the end, is that if I tell a really great story then readers will find it, share it, and Pandora’s Key and the books that follow it will find a loyal following.

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?

The single factor that has most colored my writing is that my first job was with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. I was a staff writer and I traveled with the circus and wrote stories about performers that would interest the local papers in each town. It was a fun experience – I mean, who gets to walk by Bengal Tigers, elephants, and bears every day or learn to swing on a trapeze, juggle and walk on a wire, during their first job?! But what that job really taught me is to write on a deadline because newspapers don’t wait. Writer’s block? I don’t believe in it. It’s a luxury I don’t afford myself and that means I can get my books to my readers faster!

Sounds exciting!  Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I just finished writing Book Two of The Key Trilogy – The Key to Tartarus. I absolutely cannot wait to publish it later this summer because I think it’s even better than Pandora’s Key. I’m super proud of Evangeline and her journey in Book Two. She’s thrown a serious amount of curve balls and has tremendous difficulties, and it has been incredible to watch her grow. Plus, I had the chance to take her relationship with Raphe to the next level (always fun) and to see just how powerful, magical and brave she can be.

Now for the hard questions...What book are you reading now?

I just finished Fifty Shades of Gray. I haven’t written my review yet because I’m not sure how I feel about the story.

Do you have any hidden talents?
Hidden talents… I can juggle☺ I love to kitesurf. And I make an insanely delicious carrot cake!

If you could be any supernatural creature, what would it be and why?
This is a hard one. I’d love to be able to fly, be invisible when I chose, and be off-the-charts smart. Is there one supernatural creature that can do all that? If not, I might have to create her in Book Three of The Key Trilogy!

About the Author
I was born on the east coast and went to Cornell University. After college I worked as a writer for Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. It was a fun first job and I learned how to write quickly, and also that when elephants sneeze on you it's very (VERY) messy. After a year in the circus, I moved out west. I lived in Aspen, Colorado where I skied as much as possible and worked as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant. Great experience but I learned that waitressing is hard (HARD) and I'm not very good at it.

After Aspen, I moved to San Francisco, California where I worked as a writer for University of California, San Francisco and wrote freelance for LucasFilm. At UCSF I learned that sitting in a cubicle under fluorescent lights dulls my soul. LucasFilm taught me that writing freelance, especially fiction, is fun (FUN). So I headed to graduate school in Boulder, Colorado to further hone my skills.

For the first part of my freelance writing career I wrote sport autobiographies. I'd visit and travel with an athlete like Monica Seles, Bela Karolyi, Nadia Comaneci or Apolo Ohno and then write their book. It was a terrific job, but after ten years and tons of incredible experiences I got tired of writing other peoples' stories and not my own.

I've always loved books with adventure, magic, and dark forces. I'm a huge fan of Stephen King, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, Suzanne Collins and George R.R. Martin. Those writers allow a reader to lose themselves in stories that are intense, sometimes other-worldly, yet strangely believable. I feel incredibly lucky that now I have the chance to create books for readers that will hopefully captivate and transport them into a world where the supernatural is possible with characters that they can relate to who are flawed yet totally compelling.

Today I
live in the Pacific Northwest with my amazing husband, Henry, and our mostly loveable (but sometimes vorpal) Vizsla, Boone. When I'm not conjuring a story, I love to kite-board, bike, ski or plan adventures with Boone and Henry, who both make me laugh for different reasons and who are the best partners in fun a gal could ever imagine.


Email address: 
thekeytrilogy@gmail.com (I love hearing from readers and will always write back!)
 

Website: 
http://www.nancyrichardsonfischer.com

Facebook Page: 
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Key...#!/pages/The-Key-Trilogy/189837201104472

Goodreads: 
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/98412.Nancy_Richardson_Fischer

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Review of A Demon Made Me Do It by Penelope King

Sheri's review
5 of 5 stars false
January 2012
A demon Made Me Do It was an engaging read that I found hard to put down. The story starts with Liora. During the day Liora is a high school senior, a loner with only one real friend. During the night, while Liora is sleeping, Lucky comes out to play. Lucky is a rough and tumble demon who lives for hunting and killing other demons, especially the ones who killed her best friends. Liora and Lucky share a body but are two completely separate individuals. Then Kieron shows up and falls for Liora…or is it Lucky?

The author did a wonderful job with the characters. They are very well written and have such unique personalities, especially Liora and Lucky. Liora is a human, and the author did a great job showing her humanity, innocence, and her desire to be "normal." Lucky is red hot and shows a tough exterior, but inside she is hurting just as much as Liora. Bones, Lucky's best friend, is funny and loyal to her. Lucky and Bones' relationship is heartbreaking, as they both want to be so much more than friends, but it seems like that is something that just cannot be. Kieron comes into the picture and falls for both Liora and Lucky. His character is a little more mysterious at first, and you have to wonder what he is hiding, but at the same time, you cannot help but like him, too.

The way you are drawn into these two separate worlds is amazing. Liora's world is a lonely place where she's just trying to get through high school. Lucky's world is full of demons, hell-hounds and vampires. The author created two very in-depth worlds in this book and did a great job of connecting them.

I loved that we got to see through both Liora's and Lucky's eyes, and the author did an amazing job of this without making things complicated or hard to follow. Throughout the book they were almost two separate people with two separate lives, even though they shared one body.

The only thing I really did not like about the book was the ending…it came way too soon! I was not ready to stop reading yet, so of course I have already picked up the next book. I cannot wait to find out what happens with Liora, Lucky, Bones and Kieron.

See all my reviews on Goodreads!

Straight to Heaven by Michelle Scott

Sheri's review
4 of 5 stars false
May 2012
The second installment in the Lilith Straight series did not disappoint. Just as Lilith thinks she has things under control as a succubus, her world once again is pulled out from under her. After a run in with an angel bent on keeping her from succeeding on her current task and a contest against oh so yummy William about who will complete the task first, Lilith has to get creative in order to achieve her goal.

I love the take on Angels and Demons in this series. It's a different twist than the usual. Even though Lilith is technically a demon, or at least has one living in her, everything she does is for a greater good. She does what she has to do to survive and keep her daughter safe even if she does not necessarily like it.

I really liked that we got to see more of Ariel and her situation in this story. I really caught myself feeling sorry for her as the story progressed and I was glad that Lilith was there for her.

I also loved the humor in this book and actually caught myself laughing out loud a few times while getting strange looks from my family. I cannot wait to see where this story goes with Lilith and her new tricks, William and his newfound feelings, Tommy and Jasmine.


See all my reviews on Goodreads!

Pandora's Key by Nancy Richardson Fischer

Sheri's review        
4 of 5 stars false
May 2012
Pandora's Key starts out as two different stories. Evangeline's story and Malledy's story. Both are equally captivating and fun to read. Evangeline's life completely changes on her 16th birthday. After going from somewhat awkward teen to someone she hardly recognizes in a mirror, what was supposed to be a special day turns into a nightmare. Nothing makes sense anymore to Evangeline and she has no on to turn to for help…no one she can trust anyway. Malledy is a superintelligent man with a disease that is slowly killing him. He is looking for something that will cure him, and he is willing to go to any lengths to get his hands on that something.

When the two stories finally merge, it was like nothing I would have expected. People weren't who they seemed to be, both for Evangeline and for Malledy. Evangeline gets to the point where she just does not know who she can trust anymore, so she ends up trusting no one, while Malledy did not really seem to trust anyone from the beginning, with good reason.

The characters were great. Evangeline is your normal awkward teen and easy to like as a main character. Her character was well balanced in that she was not so beautiful and popular that you wanted to hate her, yet she was not so down on herself that you got tired of her wining. I think that's a hard balance to create when writing about teen girls, but the author managed it here. Malledy I think we did not get to know quite as well, but we did get to see his motivations and his way of thinking.

I loved the mythology background to this story. I loved that the author was able to take such a well known piece of mystery and create a unique story to go with it. It was fresh and entertaining, and I guarantee you'll be left guessing about what's coming next until the very end. 


 

See all my reviews on Goodreads!

ReVamped by Ada Adams

ReVamped (Angel Creek, #1)ReVamped by Ada Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sent to the small town of Angel Creek to train four new vampires to become guardians of the town, Dawn thinks she has been given a pretty easy assignment. Her assignment, however, turns out to be not so simple when she meets her trainees, and the longer Dawn is in Angel Creek, the more she realizes she is in for more than she bargained for.

Revamped gives us a different take on vampires from the usual. I enjoyed the way they were portrayed in this book and loved the humor throughout the story. The descriptiveness of the story was wonderful and imaginative, and the characters were well written. The author did an excellent job of creating her characters and getting inside their heads.

Dawn was a great character and easy to connect with. The only thing I really did not like about her is that I found her character to be inconsistent at times. She was trained to be this great warrior, the greatest in fact, but at any sign of trouble she just seemed too indecisive and weak. I loved the 'misfit' vampires. The humor they brought to the book was great. I also loved Ethan and Sebastian. There was some romance sprinkled into the story, but it is not really a big part of the story.

There were some great twists to this story that you would never have imagined coming. Overall it was an enjoyable read.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Author Interview with Margaret Chatwin

Today I'm excited to have author Margaret Chatwin as a guest on our blog!  Read on to find out all about Margaret and her books, including her novel 101, which will be up for review in Read It & Reap soon!

101
How do you get desperately needed answers when no one is talking? Who do you trust in a place full of criminals, a place where it’s easy to mistake friends for enemies and enemies for friends? And how is it possible for one girl to seemingly vanish into thin air, especially when the place is surrounded by sixteen foot high electric fences?
When Trigg and his sister Ren are sentenced to township 101 for the crime of defending themselves, and Ren suddenly comes up missing, Trigg must ask himself these same questions.
Something else he’d like to know is, how do you survive when the flaws of the NAO’s justice system has turned a simple punishment into a game of life or death?





Sweet so Fragile
During a robbery, Jace Sullivan’s wife, Cari, was murdered. If that wasn’t bad enough, she was seven months pregnant when it happened. Though medics were able to save the child, the unfavorable circumstances behind the premature delivery has left baby Colton with severe health issues.
Now, while trying to pick up the pieces of his own shattered life, Jace must watch helplessly as his son desperately fights to keep his fragile life. Meanwhile, his teenage daughter, Jorry, seems to be carelessly throwing hers away.









Taking the Fall
Karen Hill does not need a hero clad in shining armor! She has never been saved by anyone except herself, and the last thing she needs is Michael Tanner claiming he’s going to save her now. Save her from what? As far as she’s concerned, he’s the only thing she needs saving from! Under Cover Narcotics Officer Mike Tanner is accustomed to being patient. Waiting and watching to see how things will play out. During his latest case, he has discovered that SharShay Cosmetic Company is distributing a major amount of pure cocaine and that the owner of the company, Miss Hill, is oblivious to it all. He’s content to let it stay that way, until a naive comment she makes put her life – and his – in jeopardy.



~ Interview with Margaret Chatwin ~
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
     Humm. I guess in a way I kind of always knew. Or I should say the imagination behind writing has always been there. This will date me, but there use to be this TV show called Emergency. It was about some firemen and the exciting calls they got sent on. I was pretty young at the time, probably around five or six, but I’d watch that show then go lay down (my creativity always flows better when I’m horizontal.) I’d pretend I was Johnny and Roy going on all these new adventures that I’d dream up. Dang, I’ve never told anyone that before. My face and neck are feeling very hot right now.
I’m still doing it, only now it’s original characters that I’ve created myself.
As far as putting the pen to the paper to document my habit – I was thirteen. I’ve been writing ever since, although until about a year ago I’ve kept my writing very private because I’ve been so embarrassed. It’s kinda like letting someone read my diary. Someone can get right inside my skull when they read my work. My only saving grace is that when I write it never comes out with as much vivid detail as it has when it plays through my head. I might be labeled as a weirdo if it did.


What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 
When I write, all time stands still. It almost feels like I’ve been asleep. I can start writing then snap-to some time later and realize I just spent three, or more, hours in front of the computer screen. Any spare second I have is spent writing. It’s the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night. I know a few people that it drives crazy, but I’m certainly not one of them. :)
When I’m in “write” mode, even the slightest little thing can spark an idea. Which I then have to immediately jot down because my memory wore out a long time ago. So I have 3,229 Post-it notes, scrap papers, even napkin corners, scattered from here to . . . you know . . . that bad place that starts with an H.
Ideas come at the most inappropriate times too. True story: I was driving down the road listening to the radio when a line in the song made me think of something cool. In my haste to scramble for paper and pen I failed to use my turn signal and . . . yep, you guessed it . . . Johnny Law circled round like a Vulture after dead meat.
“Ma’am, do you know why I pulled you over?”
I answered him with a stupid, innocent-looking stare of silence. I think I may have even batted my eyelashes just for good measure.
“Do your blinkers even work?” He pops his head all the way inside my car to find out.
“Yes, Sir,” I mumble with humiliation. “The blinkers work, just not the driver.”


Where did you come up with the ideas behind 101? 
Three things factored into that, really. The first was a book. Although 101 has nothing to do with religion, I actually got part of the idea from a religious based history book. The story followed two groups of people that were constantly at war with one another. The one group just wanted to live their lives in peace, but the bullies living across the way couldn’t seem to leave them alone.
      The stories of war, the way they prepared for, and executed it, has always intrigued me, so I let that play into 101.
The second thing, and the thing that helped me come up with the idea of the NAO, (which is a new form of justice system) is that I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of mercy and forgiveness. Some people lack it and I started to wonder what life would be like if everyone jumped to conclusions. If no one ever got a chance to explain, and if we were instantly punished for our crimes.
The third thing is that I’ve always believed in the power of one. One person CAN make a difference, either for good or bad. Take Thomas Edison or Hitler for example. Each was only one person but look what an impact they had on the world.
You may think you’re just some little nobody, but you’re not. You have amazing abilities. I just wanted to illustrate that in my book 101.


Do you have a favorite character from 101? Which character did you have the most fun writing?
My favorite character by far is Trigg. I just really like how sure he is of himself, yet it’s in such a humble way. He’s a dude of conviction. He knows what he wants and goes for it with all his might. And no matter how many times he gets knocked down, (which is a lot) he just gets right back up and keeps on going. I wish I could be more like him.
I had the most fun writing the character of Ace, though. I know that sounds strange, him being the “bad guy” and all, but I enjoyed it.
When I first wrote the manuscript for this book, (way back in the old days; I’m talking the mid-90's) Ace was just your stereotypical jerk. But when I rewrote the story last year in order to get it ready for publication, I decided to tip him on his head. Make him a jerk in a unique kind of way. That’s all I’m saying about him. People will have to read the book to figure out what I mean.
It was fun, and quite refreshing for me as a writer, to work with a character in such a non-traditional way.                 
                                                          

Is there someone in your life who inspired you to write? Was there another author or a teacher who encouraged you? 
My interest in writing has always been inspired by my inability to find the kind of books I want to read. A book has to catch me in the first few pages or else I’ll never be able to finish it. It has to make me FEEL something – good, bad, ugly, it doesn’t matter. I just want the words to touch me somehow, and not a lot of them have, so, to be honest, I really don’t read a ton. I’ve always written my own books as a substitute to reading.
I have found a few authors that I really love, though, and S.E. Hinton is one of them. As a teen, her writing seemed to be exactly what I was searching for. She wrote the way I wanted to write – wrote what I wanted to read.
But by far I think my biggest encouragement to write has come from my younger sister, Laura Chatwin, who has a few of her own books published.
       She’d come burning through the door everyday after school, thrilled out of her mind to find out what I’d written that day. I’d sit down in this puke-yellow colored rocking chair we probably got from some second hand store, she’d plop down on the floor in front of me, and I’d read to her.
Because of her I finished story after story.


Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do to get over it?
Oh, ouch, you hit a sore spot with that question! Just a sec, I have to go get a Band-aid.
Okay, I’m back.
I’ve had writers block for the last ten years. It totally sucks! Well, maybe not a full out block, because I still have tons of ideas pop into my noggin, but I haven’t finished a single story in that amount of time. I’ve started dozens of them, some I even get a hundred pages into, but then the bottom just drops right out of it. You should see all the precarious situations I’ve left my characters in. One was lost in a jungle with poisonous blow darts flying, left and right, past his head. It’s just a mighty good thing he isn’t real, he’d have reason to seek a little revenge on me if he was.
As of yet, I haven’t figured out how to break the block. Not sure if I’m over-thinking things, or what. Anyway, when I’m not painting myself into a bran new corner, I stay busy by tweeking the you-know-what out of my old stories. Modernizing them and getting them ready for print. I’ve really enjoyed doing that, so maybe writers block isn’t so bad after all. Wait! Yes it is.


What were your feelings when you first saw the finished product of your book? 
To be honest, I didn’t like my cover so I was kinda bummed out. I went back to the drawing board on it, but didn’t like the second version either. This is now the third cover and I’m still not totally sold on it. But maybe some day, when the perfect one presents itself, I’ll change it again.
101 is the third book I’ve published so I wasn’t so excited that I could have done back flips, but I have to admit, it’s still pretty surreal to see my words in print and be able to actually hold a book that I wrote.


Would you do anything differently if you could start over? 
I don’t think so. I learned the hard way with my first two books so 101 was pretty smooth sailing. Smooth sailing equals less stress, less stress equals less headaches and I’m not a big fan of pain.
I don’t really have many regrets in my life or with my books. Yes, I’ve messed up big time on more than one occasion, but I’ve been lucky enough to be the type of person who can just chalk it up to, “won’t do that again,” and move on. In most cases I wouldn’t trade the knowledge and understanding I’ve gained from my mistakes for the chance to redo it.

What do you do to unwind and relax? 
Write.
I went to a trade show about two years ago – you know, those ones where you go from booth to booth collecting all the free loot in your little bag? (Kinda like Trick-or-Treat for adults.) Anyway, I entered a bunch of drawings and what-do-ya-know, I won a flat screen TV. Awesome! Except I’ve only turned it on a handful of times. I’m just not much into watching TV.
I write for my entertainment.
       I write for most of my socialization. I’m quite a shy person and because of that I don’t play well with the other kids. :) But I’m really in my element when I write. I’m somehow able to let my personality show through. I can create my own friends, too, and have these amazing, in-depth relationships with them. Okay, that’s totally pathetic and I shouldn’t have admitted it in public.
Writing has always been very therapeutic for me, as well. I’m able to voice my opinion, vent my frustrations, admit my faults, and celebrate my victories. I can make sense of ME when I write. I think that’s because each character is a small part of my personality – magnified. I can make an entire villain out of that one little streak of mean that I harbor inside. It allows me to really explore all the things that make me, me.
I can be very free and open with my emotions when I write, and it sure does evoke a lot of them. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve probably even thrown a thing or two over the years.


What book are you reading now?      
       I’m not currently reading anything. Boring, I know, but it’s the truth.

Margaret's Contact Info:
Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5342646.Margaret_Chatwin

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Margaret-Chatwin-Author/308495362497433

Author Margaret Chatwin has called Roosevelt, Utah home for the past twelve years, but her roots are in the the beautiful Heber valley. Since the age of thirteen Margaret has been taking amazing adventures through her writing. Writing has always been very personal and private to her. Recently, however, she has chosen to share her talent with the world.

She has written over fifty novels, and currently has three published.

Margaret likes to "mix it up," writing many different types of books within the fiction genre.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Straight to Heaven by Michelle Scott


Today I'm excited to be sharing the second book in the 
Lilith Straight series by Michelle Scott!

I not only have my review of Straight to Heaven

but a character interview with Lilith's sister, Jasmine, 
the author's playlist for Straight to Heaven, 
and an awesome giveaway thanks to the author!

See below for details...

First up, the book...
Straight to Heaven (Lilith Straight #2)



Hell’s newest employee, Lilith Straight, thinks she’s got a handle on her job as the Devil’s temptress until she finds herself going horns-to-halo with a guardian angel who’s determined to rescue Lilith’s next victim. To make matters worse, William Darcy, the hottest demon in hell, is trying to undermine Lilith’s mission with a few temptations of his own.



Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Smashwords






 




4 out of 5 stars
The second installment in the Lilith Straight series did not disappoint. Just as Lilith thinks she has things under control as a succubus, her world once again is pulled out from under her. After a run in with an angel bent on keeping her from succeeding on her current task and a contest against oh so yummy William about who will complete the task first, Lilith has to get creative in order to achieve her goal.

I love the take on Angels and Demons in this series. It's a different twist than the usual. Even though Lilith is technically a demon, or at least has one living in her, everything she does is for a greater good. She does what she has to do to survive and keep her daughter safe even if she does not necessarily like it.

I really liked that we got to see more of Ariel and her situation in this story. I really caught myself feeling sorry for her as the story progressed and I was glad that Lilith was there for her.

I also loved the humor in this book and actually caught myself laughing out loud a few times while getting strange looks from my family. I cannot wait to see where this story goes with Lilith and her new tricks, William and his new-found feelings, Tommy and Jasmine.  




Interview with Jasmine, Lilith's never-going-to-grow-up sister...

Q:  Describe your sister in three words.
A:  I would say ‘pain in the ass’, but that’s four words. Also, I promised Lilith I’d be nice for this interview. Instead, I guess I’ll say, “control freak, good mother, and unlucky in love.” Wait, that’s seven words. But you get the idea, right? She has terrible taste in men (why else would she marry Dr. Ted?) She’s also a really good mother, but she needs to loosen up. I mean, she writes menus every month so that when she packs Grace’s school lunches, all of the food groups are represented and no lunch is ever repeated twice. She’s insane.

Wait, that’s it: insane, boring, and a good mother. Shit. That’s still four words.

Q:  What did you think of Lilith's house rules?
A:  *eye roll* This goes back to the whole, ‘control freak’ thing. I mean no junk food? Come on, Grace deserves chocolate as much as anyone. And no swearing? Even my parents aren’t that strict. Lilith complains about Dr. Ted being a control freak, but she’s just as bad. Poor Ariel…it was like culture shock for her when she first moved in with us. She told me that she felt like she was in prison. I was like, yeah, join the club.

Q:  What would your dream job be?
A:  I definitely want to be a fashion designer, but I don’t want to do the boring ready-to-wear stuff. What I really love are costumes like the ones you see in Vegas with the feathers and the sequins? I love all that flash and sparkle.

Q:  Have you ever thought about going back to school?
A:  All the time. My grades in high school were okay, but not enough to get me any college scholarships. My parents offered to pay my tuition, but only if I promised to become something boring like a nurse or a teacher or a dental hygienist. My dad refused to pay for design school because he thinks there’s no career opportunities in fashion design. I made him watch Project Runway with me a few times, but he still didn’t get it.
 

Q:  Can you describe your relationship with your Lilith (pre Tommy incident)?
A:  We’re really opposite. Lilith has always been the smart and sensible one. She graduated from U of M with honors, whereas I hardly got a 3.0 GPA in high school. She also reads all the time. I mean books and not magazines like me. Lilith has a lot in common with my mom. They like to plan parties and organize events. Sometimes, Lilith acts like she’s my mom.

I think Lilith and I have only agreed on three things our entire lives. The first is that our dad is the greatest guy in the world. The second is that a woman should never get a discount haircut or buy a cheap pair of shoes. The third is that her ex-husband is a world-class jerk (but that only happened after her divorce.)
 

So, yeah, Lil and I fight all the time, but I will say that Lilith can be really decent when she wants to be. After all, she did let me come to live with her even when she was in that crowded apartment. Also, she stuck up for me when I told my parents that I wanted to go to design school. She told my dad that there was more to the fashion industry than he gave it credit for. I just wish she’d stop calling me her ‘stepsister’ instead of just plain ‘sister’. I mean, we’ve lived together my entire life, so it’s kind like of an insult, you know?

Q:  How did you and Tommy meet?
A:  Well, it was right after Thanksgiving, and I was driving home from this club. All of a sudden, one of the warning lights on my dashboard goes off. I would have kept driving, but the car just stopped running. I had to coast in order to get over to the shoulder of the expressway. Of course, I’m now stranded in one of the worst parts of Detroit. So it’s two-thirty in morning, freezing cold, and I’m sitting there wondering what in the hell I’m going to do.

Then this other car pulls off behind me and this huge guy gets out. If you’ve ever seen Tommy, you know that he’s pretty fierce looking. I mean, he’s bald, he’s got ink on his arms, and all kinds of hardware in his face. I hardly dared roll down my window. But I did, and he told me to open the hood. After poking around, he says he thinks it’s my alternator, and tells me to call a tow truck. He also says it isn’t safe for me to wait by the side of the road all alone, so he stays in his car behind me to make sure the tow truck gets there okay.

After thirty minutes of waiting for the stupid tow truck to arrive, I’m freezing my ass off because I can’t turn on the car to get the heater going. So I think, screw it, I’m going to wait in that guy’s car because if he hasn’t raped me now, he probably won’t. Tommy lets me into his nice, warm car and we start talking. At first, it’s the ‘getting to know you’ stuff, but pretty soon, I’m telling him about my old boyfriend, and he’s telling me about his sister. Then he’s talking about his holy pilgrimage and all this stuff about the highest power of the universe, and I’m blown away by how much he knows. The tow truck doesn’t arrive for almost two hours, but it’s like I don’t even care.

So anyway, when the tow truck guy finally gets there, he asks me where I want my car dropped off, and I tell him to take it to the mechanic shop where Tommy works. Never mind that it’s across town and forty minutes from my parents’ house. I just wanted an excuse to stop by and see Tommy again. Which I did. The next day, I took him out to lunch to say thanks for being my knight in shining armor, and we talked for hours. The rest is history!

Q:  What is your favorite food?
A:  Pizza. Definitely! Especially when it’s dipped in ranch dressing.

Q:  What is your idea of the perfect date?
A:  Let’s see. I love roller coasters. The taller and faster, the better. I’ve always wanted a guy to take me to Cedar Point (which is this amazing roller coaster park in Ohio) so that we could spend the day riding roller coasters together. But on my perfect date, we’d have the park to ourselves so that we wouldn’t have to wait in line, lol.






Haven't read Straight to Hell (Lilith Straight #1) yet? Get it here...




The moment Lilith Straight dies, the Devil appears to claim her soul and cash in on a family curse. Now, Lilith has no choice but to work for him. The job is bad, the boss is worse and she can’t imagine how she’ll explain her new reincarnation to her eight-year-old daughter. But then an arrogant, yet oh so yummy, incubus shows up…and hell heats up just a little more.


Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Smashwords



 







About the author:  Michelle Scott received her MFA from Wayne State University. Her stories have appeared in such places as Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, All Possible Worlds and Realms. Her fantasy novel, The Dragons of Hazlett was nominated for a 2009 EPPIE Award. Michelle’s YA novels include the vampire romance, Blood Sisters, and the fantasy Uncommon Magic. Her latest fantasy novel, An Anthem for the Battle Lands, was recently released from Mundania Press, LLC. Michelle lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and three children.

Webpage – http://www.mscottfiction.com
 

Blog - http://www.mscottfiction.com/21stCenturyWriter/

Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2896599.Michelle_Scott






And last but not least, the giveaway!




Thursday, 17 May 2012

Author Interview with Amos Cassidy

The duo of Amos Cassidy, author of Crimson Midnight, were here this week to answer some of our most pressing questions about their writing, their lives, and their supernatural abilities...You don't want to miss this!

Rose wants excitement, bright lights and late nights, but she gets more than she bargained for when she swaps her wholesome country life for the hustle and bustle of London.
The city night is home to hungry shadows, eager to consume her.
Rose discovers there is more to this world than what the mundane eye sees, and that she herself is a part of it. Unexpected friendships are forged and unwanted, sometimes dangerous, attractions flare.

London becomes a playground for magic, danger and supernatural threat. While her life, and those of who she loves, hangs in the balance, she must endeavour to embrace her new nature and assist in identifying the hidden threat before it succeeds in its dark purpose.

An Urban Fantasy filled with moon-praising, flat-dwelling vampires, chic corporate werewolves, bar-tending warlocks, ravenous demons and much, much more.
Step inside...




 

Watch for Crimson Midnight in an upcoming Read It & Reap!  Can't wait?  Get your copy now!



Thanks for stopping by our blog today! We just have a few things we've been wondering about...First, is it more difficult writing as a pair rather than alone? What additional challenges does that cause?
Amos: You never get stuck for long when you write together. Writing together rocks!

Cassidy: I have written short stories and a novel by myself. However, writing with Amos is so much more fun. We have a blast while brainstorming and there is always someone to talk to about the book! It helps that we have very similar writing styles.

Amos: The school holidays are a challenge when we struggle to find time to meet up as I take care of my younger brother and Cassidy has kiddies to look after.

Cassidy: Apart from that we haven’t really come across any major hurdles while working as a team. We very honest with each other and Amos has a special look that he gives me when I propose a stupid idea (ICE!)


Amos: :-)

Lol! How do you come up with character names? Are your characters based on people in your life?
Cassidy: We think about the qualities the character is going to have, personality, physical description and write out a biography. Sometimes a name just pops into our head, sometimes we give the character a silly name and the perfect name comes to us later.

Amos: One of the characters is based on a real person…but I’m not telling ;)


Hmmm...I guess your readers will have to figure it out on their own ;) Do you have anyone in mind who would be perfect to play Rose in a movie?
Cassidy: We thought about this the other day but no one came to mind. We would be interested to hear other people’s views on this one. If you ask about Raven, however, we would probably say Henry Cavill – Yum!

Amos: Thinking about Rose, a Buffy-era Sarah Michelle Gellar would bring the right energy to the role. 

Good choices. What kind of research was necessary during the writing of Crimson Midnight?
Cassidy: Some internet and Wikipedia research into various mythology but aside from that we just used our imaginations. Oh, and Amos’s excellent knowledge of London. He actually had to get me a tube map so I would be able to visualise the distance between places. I am rubbish with that kind of stuff!


Amos: I slept with a Beta werewolf as part of my research...furry. I prefer the hands on approach.
Cassidy: Can you be serious for just one second!

Amos: Honey, I’m deadly serious.

Cassidy: * huffs in exasperation* Moving swiftly on…

Moving on then...What is the most creative way you have promoted your book?
Cassidy: I wore a billboard and wandered up and down the Soho streets while Amos did a naked jigg…okay, we thought about it but its bloody cold this time of year!

Amos: Now who’s being silly? I wasn’t naked, I was wearing a jockstrap.

Cassidy: I didn’t want to be left out *pouts*

Amos: Don’t pout, Cassidy. You haven’t the lips for it.

Cassidy: To answer the question- all we have done so far is go down the standard promotion routes. If anyone has any creative ideas that don’t involve billboards or jockstraps, please feel free to email us. 

Are you working on a new novel? Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Amos: No, we’ve retired.


Cassidy: *smacks Amos upside the head*

Amos: Ouch!

Cassidy: *ignores Amos* Yes. We are working on Book 2 in the Crimson Series. We don’t have a title yet but are very excited about the direction that it is going in.

Amos: Things are going to get a lot darker this time round. The action, tension and emotions are going nuclear! Oh, and it’s a bit naughty ;)

Cassidy: Courtesy of Amos.

Amos: May I remind you of the prologue…

Cassidy: *blushes*

I'm sure your fans can't wait! Do you have any advice for budding writers?
Amos: If writing and stories is all that you can think about, if you spend most of your free time jotting down ideas and creating, then you are a writer. Don’t give up. Grab the world by its family jewels and make it happen!


Cassidy: What a rousing speech, Amos. I agree. Also read a lot and write a little something everyday.

Now for the hard questions...What book are you reading now?
Amos: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett and I am loving it!


Cassidy: Water by Terra Harmony for a Read it and Reap. I am really enjoying it so far.

Do you have any hidden talents?
Amos: *goes into deep thought mode*
 

Cassidy: *looks panicked*

Amos: Um…can I be rude?

Cassidy: Maybe you should skip this question, Amos.

Amos: I make a mean Quorn lasagne.

Cassidy: I can cry on demand! Seriously, I should have been an actress!

Amos: I have indifference down to a fine art.

Cassidy: I’m a good listener.

Amos: I can pole dance.

Cassidy: I can sing! And I could dance circles around him!

Amos: Um…as you can probably tell, we’re both pretty competitive.

Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us this week. Just one final question...If you could be any supernatural creature, what would it be and why?
Amos: A merman! 

Cassidy: I always knew there was something fishy about you.

Amos: Seriously, Cassidy, that was really bad. I changed my mind…I would be a hot male siren and lure hot sailors into the ocean to add to my hot harem.

Cassidy: Some kind of immortal being, maybe a beautiful fey woman, royalty of course. I would love to be waited on for a change.

About Amos Cassidy
Amos Cassidy - a team of two. Amos is a 28 year old Diva and Cassidy a 35 year old mum of two.

They have been writing together since 2009 and 'Tales from the Ether' is their first publication.

Their debut novel 'Crimson Midnight' is also now available in ebook format.

Find Amos Cassidy here:
Blogs:
http://amoscassidy.wordpress.com/

http://crimsonseries.wordpress.com/

Twitter: 

http://twitter.com/#!/amoscassidy

Facebook: 
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amos-Cassidy-World/172592816124684