Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Schism Book Release Tour!

Today I'm super excited to welcome fellow writer Laura Maisano to my blog! Laura is one of my critique partners and a wonderful writer and editor, and I'm super happy to share in her book release tour. I've had the pleasure of reading Schism, so I can attest to the awesomeness of the product :) If you like fantasy and want a fresh, unique story, look no further! Plus, there's a giveaway!

I'll pass the reins to Laura now...



Character Interview

Today I’ve asked the main characters from SCHISM, my debut YA contemporary fantasy, to come share a little about themselves. They’re plucked right from around the beginning of the book. Take it away guys!

Who are you and can you tell me a little about yourselves?

GABE: Hi, I’m Gabe Jones, or at least that’s what the ID card says. Can’t really say much about myself since I only have nine months of memory after the car wreck.

LEA: *Face palm* Ignore him, he’s got a lot more going on than that. I’m Lea Huckley, resident general studies major with an unhealthy number of credits in physics and math.

GABE: You’re an English class from graduating with both degrees.

LEA: Yes, that’s true. But you know why I’ve been lingering in school. I have to finish my research about the fourth-dimension. I have to find proof.


How did you two meet?

GABE: *chuckles* That’s a funny story actually. I was walking back to the dorm from the art building when I saw this lunatic scaling the student union. In the middle of the night, too. She slipped, and I broke her fall with my spine.

LEA: I was scared he’d call the police on me, but instead he helped me get my sprained ankle taken care of. He was really nice, except for the fact he wouldn’t stop badgering me about why I was on the roof.

GABE: There were these weird lights, and I dunno, it made me feel something familiar…like déjà vu. I had to know.

LEA: Long story short, I ended up spilling my guts eventually, and that I wanted his help finding proof of the fourth-dimension. If he helped me, I’d do anything I could to jog his memory.


That’s interesting, so you decided to help each other. How’s that working out?

LEA: It’s certainly interesting. I’ve never worked with anyone on the ED Project before, and Gabe’s brought some really good insights.

GABE: There’s never a dull moment with Lea leading the way. I didn’t really believe her at first, but now I’ve seen enough weird stuff to know she’s right, there is another world out there.

LEA: I couldn’t have gotten this far without his help too. I do promise to help get your memory back, I swear it.


Gabe, have you remembered anything?

GABE: Not really. I’ve had a strange dream, and I get feelings of familiarity, but I don’t know anything concrete.


Lea, how are you so sure this other world really exists?

LEA: When I was eight, beings from this world came and attacked my parents. I didn’t see it, but they were wounded. When they told the authorities about the attacks, they were locked up in a psychiatric facility to protect themselves and others. I know they’re not crazy, that they spoke the truth. I’ve seen enough paranormal oddities that line up with my hypothesis that I’m one-hundred percent sure I’m right.



So, that's all with Gabe and Lea for now, but more deets below, including an excerpt!

SCHISM (Illirin Book One)

By Laura Maisano

Art therapy hasn’t done squat for Gabe Jones. A thousand sketches of his fiancée can’t bring his memory, or her, back to him. Nothing on Earth can. His past lies in another dimension, a world just out of sight.
Another student on campus, Lea Huckley, unknowingly shares Gabe’s obsession with the fourth dimension. The monsters from the other side attacked her parents and fled, getting her folks locked up in the loony bin. Proving this other world exists is the only way to free them. Lea and Gabe strike a deal to help each other, and together they manage to open a door to the world of Gabe’s true origin. She’d use him for proof—if she didn’t already care too much.
While Gabe tries to reconcile his feelings for Lea and his rediscovered memories of his fiancée, a much more sinister plot unravels. He uncovers his history just in time to become the unwilling lynchpin in a conspiracy to start a war. His memory holds the secret to the final riddle the would-be conqueror needs to get the upper hand. Gabe must protect the riddle at all costs, even if that means leaving Earth, and Lea, behind forever.


Lea packed light. Other than her phone’s GPS and a flashlight, she kept a small notepad, her lucky pencil, and the thermometer in her cargo pocket. She didn’t need to find data, now she needed proof.
She led the way down the alley where skyscrapers blocked the glowing moon and the lamps from the highway. Yellowed fixtures above each back entrance threw faint cones of light onto the cement, like holes in Swiss cheese.
Lea checked the coordinates on her phone while she walked, and the little red arrow crept closer to the flag icon she placed to mark the interaction point.
Gabe spent his time surveying the area for anything that might be a danger. He kept fidgeting behind her and turning around every few seconds, a twitchy meerkat on patrol.
“We’re only between buildings. It’s not the end of the world.” Lea checked her phone again to make sure they were headed in the right direction.
He glanced over his shoulder. “I still don’t like it. It’s night, people do get mugged, you know.”
“The statistics of that are so low. We’re really not in any danger, considering the population and how many times that sorta thing happens.”
He shifted uneasily behind her. “Whatever, we’re raising the chances by being out here at night.”
Lea rolled her eyes. “I’m not missing this opportunity.”
“I know that. Neither am I.”
“Good.”
They came to a cross section behind two major offices where the loading docks and dumpsters sat for both of them. A stream of water trickled down the concave cement into the large sewer grate. Old garbage left a fume hanging around, and the humidity only made it worse.
Lea double- and triple-checked her coordinates, cross-checking with her notes. “This is it. Within I’d say, a fifteen foot diameter, low to the ground.” She shoved the phone in her cargo pocket. “Perfect.”
“How long?”
“Roughly ten minutes.”
Ten minutes may as well have been six hours. She paced back and forth, her sneakers scuffing the gritty pavement.
Gabe continued to keep a watchful eye out for muggers or vagrants. What a dork.
She snickered quietly. For someone who didn’t know his own experiences, he sure seemed paranoid. She watched him standing straight, darting his eyes to the entrance and even up to the windows above them. Watch out bad guys, Gabe’s on to you. She smiled and turned to see what looked like heat waves rising from the cold cement. Crap. The interaction had already started.
“Gabe…” She waved him over next to the loading dock.
This interaction provided no shining lights or obvious movement. Not much stood out visually, except maybe the air glistening like summer heat waves if she squinted hard enough, but her digital thermometer found the coldest point.
“Here,” she whispered, not wanting anyone or anything on the other side to hear. She stretched her arms forward, and Gabe did likewise.
“On the count of three.” She waited for him to nod. “One…two…three.”
They both reached through the interaction point and grabbed at the thicker air. Nothing. They tried again, pulling, grasping, and making any sort of motion to trigger a rip. Finally, Gabe leaned in and pulled out at just the right angle, because the light tore across like a jagged line. Lea grabbed the edge of it and tugged, opening the tear wider until they both fell through.


About the Author


Laura has an MA in Technical writing and is a Senior Editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian Fiction. She’s excited to release her debut YA Urban Fantasy SCHISM, and she’s finishing up the sequel UNITY.


Her gamer husband and amazing daughter give support and inspiration every day. Their cats, Talyn and Moya, provide entertainment through living room battles and phantom-dust-mote hunting. Somehow, they all manage to survive living in Texas where it is hotter than any human being should have to endure. Check out her blog at LauraMaisano.blogspot.com.


Twitter: @MaisanoLaura
Google + https://plus.google.com/+LauraMaisano


A big thanks to Laura for stopping by today (with Gabe and Lea)! Congrats on the release of Schism in a few days!


As for the rest of you glorious writer friends, I hope everything is wonderful for you. TTFN!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Body Institute

Today I am super excited to help my long-time writer friend Carol Riggs reveal the cover of her YA sci-fi The Body Institute!! Here's a bit about it:

Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute.

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl’s body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body—leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches…


For one, Morgan won’t remember what happens in her “Loaner” body. Once she’s done, she won’t recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she’s been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it’s all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start…


Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan’s mind. She’s feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti–Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she’ll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul…


Sounds fun, yes? It's coming out on September 1st from Entangled Teen, but you can add it to your Goodreads list now (click!) or pre-order (click!). And NOW for the cover reveal!


Scroll....








Scroll....








Drumroll!!!!!!







Doesn't it look cool? I'm so stoked for Carol :) Can't wait 'til release day!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Focus

So, my last blog post was about balancing my passions in life, and how over the last year I've reconnected with my passion for horses and have been training my horse Max. Last year my life went through a big transition period, and I haven't written as much as in previous years. Part of that was the big upheaval of my personal life (divorce and move) and part of it was finding balance with other aspects of my life (more time with my horse and doing yoga and other healthy things). And a big part of it that I didn't talk about was that I've had a hard time finding a focus because I wasn't sure what direction my writing was headed. I joined my first critique group and started querying my latest book, and didn't know whether to start a new project, or work on the second book of the series I'm querying, or edit one of my older books.


The optimist in me thought, if I get an agent and pub deal, I'll need to focus on the various rounds of edits that they'll want, and not be distracted by another project. So I waited, and I couldn't decide. And that was fine - I needed the time to mull things over and find my direction. Pretty much the day after I wrote that last post, I made a decision: I will self-publish my second book, Martinis with the Devil, by the end of the year. Even if I get an agent for my latest book, I think this will be a good move. Martinis is urban fantasy, and most publishers aren't touching that genre right now because it's fairly saturated. But people still love reading it (including myself!), and it's such a fun book. When people say to write the book you want to read, Martinis is pretty much the epitome of that for me. It's just fun, sassy urban fantasy with a kickass cast of characters. Nothing dark and serious like a lot of the urban fantasy out there. So, unless I get an agent and they don't want me to self-pub, that's the plan.


With that decision made, I've had a blast the last week or so outlining the sequel to Martinis. The second book is set in Dublin, so I'm tentatively thinking of a title like Whiskey and Angelfire. Whatcha think? And have you made any big decisions lately?


TTFN!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Leather and Oil and Learning When to Let Go

Hey now, Fifty Shades, this isn't that kind of blog post... go take a cold shower and come back. As some of you may know, in addition to writing, I am also an equestrian. I have a horse that I'm training, and as we speak I've just finished cleaning his saddle and bridle. My bedroom is filled with the lovely scent of leather and saddle oil (which by the way is AWESOME for the hands), and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself.

I've had these two passions since I was a kid. Like, five years old. I loved horses and I loved books, and I would write stories about horses. And then later stories that mimicked the high fantasy I grew up on (Tolkien, Dragon Lance, Tad Williams, Tamora Pierce, etc.). I've gone through stages with both where I took a break for a while, but they've always been woven into the fabric of my being and always will be. I consider myself very lucky to have such unshakable direction in my life.

For the last five years, writing took the main stage, and while I had horses, I was terribly remiss in doing anything with them other than keep them as fancy lawn ornaments. My current horse, Max, was born at my house and so for many years was too young to ride. And then he got old enough and I procrastinated. But last year I got a divorce and moved into an apartment with no room for an equine, so I had to start boarding him at a farm about 20 minutes away. Over the last year, I've made more progress with him than I have in the last five. Funny how things work out that way. I think what I missed was a support system of other horse friends, and I needed to regain my mojo. I had a totally untrained horse on my hands who has a pretty dominant personality, and I'd lost a lot of my own boss-mare attitude. So, I've been finding it again and Max and I are doing awesome. 

On the other hand, my writing in the last year has been fairly slim. I've played around with a bunch of different projects, and nothing has quite grabbed me. I'm very Type A about certain things, and am used to slamming out full novels in 6-12 weeks, so this was very disconcerting to me. But then I had an epiphany the other day: it's okay to let go sometimes. I know I can make deadlines. I've written four complete novels. Last year was a year of transition and finding a new balance. And it's okay to slow my pace a bit.

Do you balance more than one passion in life? What are your thoughts on the ebb and flow of your focus and inspiration? 



Friday, February 13, 2015

Celebrating!

The last few weeks have held some fun adventures, and I've celebrated a variety of things. But first, let me celebrate someone else. My crit partner and long-time writer friend DL Hammons has signed with an agent!! I've known Don for several years through blogging, and his epic Write Club contests, and since summer I joined a crit group he started, so I'm very familiar with his awesome book Moving Fear. I am SO SUPER STOKED to announce this awesome news!!

EDIT! THIS JUST IN! One of my other long-time writer friends released her debut novel today! Congrats to Beth Sanderson for Dying Embers! A juicy revenge story :) Check it out here.

Moving on to me, I'll express the last few weeks in some pictures:


 
  

Some yummy things I made.




Celebrating 31 days in a row of yoga!! I completed my challenge. Also, it was a pre-celebration of awesome stuff happening soon. I don't know exactly what yet, but it's happening :)



 
 

A fun trip to Atlanta, including the Georgia Aquarium.




And last but certainly not least, another celebration - my boyfriend successfully completed the test for his black belt in Judo a few days ago, so we had some dessert and champagne. 


What are you celebrating (or pre-celebrating!) this month? Do tell!




Friday, January 16, 2015

Yoga, Hiking, and Beautiful Calamities

Hello! I hope everyone's had a lovely first couple weeks of 2015. As part of kicking off the new year I decided I want to get back to blogging on a more regular basis. I miss all the good stuff and connecting and awesomeness with my blog friends! I'm entering into my fifth year of blogging, though, so this isn't even close to my first rodeo. I learned a long time ago that posting multiple times a week just wasn't something I could handle, nor was visiting a bajillion blogs of other writers. I also felt like there weren't a whole lot of fresh writing-themed topics I could come up with. So, I'm doing a revamp. I'll probably post every couple weeks (I'm on Twitter more frequently if you want to chat more). I'm going to prioritize visiting the blogs of those people I've really connected with over the years (though I love making new friends and I will always pop over and say hi to any newbies). And I'm going to go back to old school blogging form, which is really that of an online journal. I may talk about writing. But I may also talk about yoga, horses, food, and other stuff happening in my life.

So! Since my last post, I've had some fun stuff going on. First, I started a 30-day yoga challenge via Yoga with Adriene, my fave YouTube yoga coach. I don't really make a lot of New Year's resolutions because I'm a pretty goal-oriented person throughout the year. So this wasn't really a resolution so much as something that seemed an awesome way to start the year. And honestly I didn't think I'd really do it every day. But I have! I've done yoga every day for over two weeks now! It's usually just 10-30 minutes, and my body feels so nice and relaxed.

I also had a nice hike at a local park that recently created the Sky Bridge, a tall wooden walkway suspended amongst live oaks with a lovely view of a huge lake.


My son looking waaayyyy down. 


And last but not least, I wrote a fun short story around 2k words or so about four ancient beings who get together at a Parisian cafe to plan global calamities... but they're not who you think they are :) They just like to savor some delicious chaos.

How about you? What have you been up to? Whatever it is, I hope it's awesome!

P.S. Today is Appreciate a Dragon Day. Just thought you should know :)







Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome 2015!

In this final hour of the first day of 2015, I'm sitting down to write my usual annual recap and goals for 2015. Last year was a year of intense personal transition for me - a divorce, move, finding a new balance in life. While it may seem weird to say it, 2014 was great. I moved into my new place on March 1st and have been on a path of rediscovering my happiness. I've established a home that is more ME than I've ever had before. I've been training regularly with my horse and got on his back for the first time about a week ago (he's never been ridden). I've gotten much better about exercising regularly, and have a ladies walking night every Monday, plus I've improved greatly in my yoga and Pilates. I also have a wonderful new boyfriend that makes me very happy and is an awesome human being. It was a good year.


For 2015, I see more transition, but in the realm of career. This year I will publish one of my books (or have a scheduled pub date). I am querying now and have had significant agent interest, but if that doesn't pan out I will pursue small and medium presses until I find the right fit. I'm determined to get my foot in the door one way or the other. So far, I had a lovely first day of the year. I did yoga, went and trained with my horse, had a lovely time with my son, boyfriend and family, and finished up with some writing on a short story I'm having a ton of fun with. A nice, balanced day to kick off the year.
Hopefully in 2015 I will also get back on a regular blogging schedule - I only posted six times last year.


What does 2015 hold for you? What are your highlights from 2014? Whatever your dreams and desires, raise your glass to a Fearless '15!