Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Author Interview: Christine Schulze

Hey everyone!

Meet Christine Schulze! She is the author of many books but today we're going to learn a bit more about her newest book, Bloodmaiden.

For a full listing of Christine's books click here.

Here's a description of Bloodmaiden:
 Vale. Gauthier. Varden. These three dynasties... 

They all sound like something out of an ancient, oriental myth or fairy tale. The concept of humans and dragons helping and living in harmony with one another, without fear. To me, that's exactly what they are. A distant dream only read of, whispered secretly, quietly yearned for. 
For, you see, I am the new Quelda of Tynan.
 These words echo the mystery, horror, and romance found within Schulze's fantasy novel. Along with her new husband, Chalom, Crislin must choose to embrace cruel tradition, run from it, or stand against it. The young couple's only hope is to rally the help of the three peaceful dragon dynasties of Sulaimon-but tradition is not on their side, even outside the realm of Tynan. The dragons outside Tynan's borders have been rumored as too stubborn and proud to believe their Tynanian brothers would commit such horrors as inflicted upon the Quelda. Gaining their aid is not a likely hope. Yet, any hope at all is valued in Tynan...
 If they are to stand a chance of bringing cruel tradition to a permanent end, Crisilin and Chalom must brave the constant, consuming blizzards of the Ever-white. They must brave the three dynasties and the challenges awaiting there. Together, they must convince the dragon emperors to allow them access to the shrines which house the sacred Aria - protective strands of music which may be able to disperse the evil from Tynan and unite the four dynasties of Sulaimon as a whole once again. Their only aid stems from a sprite whose moods are as unstable as her magic, a young minstrel, and a mysterious fox. Despite the odds, such plans are daring, dangerous, unprecedented, but fully possible - if they can escape the Wall first.


1.) Describe your book in 3 words

(Ah! So, I recently participated in an interview where the girl asked me to describe the book in five words. That didn’t happen, and this certainly isn’t happening either. Sorry to cheat on the first question, but the following is Bloodmaiden’s tagline and works brilliantly!):

Four Aria. Four Dynasties. One brilliant quest.

2.) How did you first get the idea for your novel?

Well, it was a number of things, really. It sort of began with an inspiration for a photo shoot I had and thus accomplished with a best friend of mine; yes, that is me on the cover. The concepts and moods of the photos helped paint some of the scene. I believe I was also taking or else had taken a fiction writing class in college and wanted to write a book that focused not just on the story and characters, but on the language and the tone set from that language.

At the same time, I wanted to do something with dragons. I’m not really a dragon fan at all when it comes to fantasy. However, while I love creating my own fantasy races and creatures, I also love taking those already in existence and placing my own, unique spin upon them. I’d done vampires, werewolves, fairies, elves, banshees, genies, you name it—but not dragons. After doing a bit of research online about different types of dragons and using that as groundwork to create my own four dragon dynasties, I set to work.

So, in reality, I sort of combined ideas for two books into one, something I’m actually quite fond of doing. More often than not, it makes the stories more complex and intricate, which in turn makes them more unique and interesting, which in turn makes for both happy readers and a happy author. ^_^

3.) Which of your characters do you most relate to?

I would have to say Crisilin, hands-down, if only because her character is one of many partly based upon myself. They say that authors put a little of themselves into each of their characters; this is likely true. Two other characters in the book are Pan and Brydon, which have a mysterious and intriguing side story going on which I won’t spoil. However, Pan reflects the deep pain I’ve felt in relationships, while I have felt the sting of Brydon’s sorrow as well.

However, as I said, I most relate to Crisilin. One reviewer of Bloodmaiden, Kate from The Book Buff, says:

“You are right there with her, you don't totally know what is going on, but that helps you feel more in the moment.  Speaking of Crisilin, I just love her.  She is so sweetly innocent, and unabashedly so.  She is self aware, she knows she's naive in many things, and that's how she likes it.”

Though there are other aspects to my character—and Crisilin’s as well—I do incorporate my own innocence, naivety, and self-awareness into her character; though I may not claim to be as sweet as she...

4.) If you could go anywhere in the world to write, where would you go?

New Zealand! It’s so beautiful, plus I always have had a thing for traveling there since Lord of the Rings was filmed there—at least in part, I can’t remember how much of the movies they shot there. At any rate, who knows? Might see some hobbits while visiting; that would prove quite the inspiration...

5.) What is the hardest challenge about being an author?

Getting known! I have come to learn that it’s easy to write a good book—for me, at least; then again, I’ve been doing so since I was around four years old—and even fairly easy to get published. But gaining a name for yourself—promotion—that’s the toughie. There’s lots of great books out there, so it’s hard to get readers interested in your own book; why should they read it above others? Personally, I’ve been told I am a great writer with very unique fantasy reads with rich imagery in my books; however, spreading the word to other readers can be difficult!

However, I encourage all writers to have patience and persevere. The more you write, the better you get with each book, so work hard to present your best to the world. Patience is killer, but I’m slowly, steadily learning it.

6.) If you could be any of your characters for a day who would you be and why?
 
This is probably THE most awful question because I have SO many characters. I do have several characters crafted partially after myself: Crisilin from Bloodmaiden; Elizabeth from The Legends of Surprisers series; Chrystine from Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress; Chasmira from The Hero Chronicles, etc. I honestly don’t know if I would choose one of those as a character to act as.

Perhaps one I might choose is Tiffany from The Hero Chronicles. She is a story-traveler, something I used to pretend as a child and still do on occasion, traveling into the worlds of various books and aiding the characters on their quest. She is involved with Dristann in the side story of The Hero Chronicles; it is partially a forbidden sort of romance, partly connected to what is going on with the main plot—and one of the main villians. I was inspired to write Dristann’s character from Harry Potter’s Draco Malfoy. Dristann is a deep, dark character but one with a rich soul; he harbors many secrets and feels forced to serve a side he wants no part of. However, his story—and its outcome—are quite different than Draco’s. Perhaps if Draco had someone to guide him as Dristann has Tiffany, his story too could have ended on a happier note...

7.) Have you ever faced writer’s block, if so what did you do to overcome it?

Generally, no; I know so many writers who suffer from writer’s block. However, God seems to have truly blessed me. Often, when a new story comes to me, it comes to me rather quickly in full. Sometimes I have to sit down and brainstorm for how a certain scene will turn out or how I want two different ideas to connect in a story. For the most part though, writing is as natural as breathing to me. Thank God for that; I’ve currently written over thirty books and still counting and hope for all to be published someday!

8.) If you had to spend $10,000 in one day what would you buy?

Honestly? I’d probably save a lot; lol, maybe that sounds lame, but I am a cautious person when it comes to finances. Although, if I HAD to spend it, I would probably do all I could to promote my books in that one day that was possible! $10,000 might really help in getting a poor author’s name out there...

9.) What is the best part about being an author other than writing for a living?

Lol, so, to answer this honestly, I suppose I would actually have to first be able to actually write for a living—which I would love to do, but one has to get known first, eh?

Even if I never got paid though, I would write. When God inspires me to write a new book or story, I MUST write. It literally wants to explode from me; I’m actually quite cranky if I can’t get my new ideas down fairly quickly. I revel in creating unique worlds and peoples, intricate plots, deep characters, and intriguing side stories. Lately, I also love focusing not only on the story and characters but on the language as well, playing around with different writing styles; I’ve always been good at creating rich imagery though, transferring what I see in my mind, like a cinematic scene, onto the page.

In short, I love everything about writing. As far as writing to make a living though, the one thing I can say I would truly love about that is if someone decided to make a movie from one of my books, especially Bloodmaiden; it’s teeming with suspense, tension, beautiful imagery, and so many other qualities which could make for an awesome film.

10.) Mac or PC?

I’ve actually never used a Mac, so I’ll have to go with PC. Though, I am never opposed to trying new things. ^_^

***

Thanks Christine!

For all you fantasy lovers out there be sure to check out Christine's books! 

-M.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey everyone!

So this is the send time writing this post (grr) but mainly I just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving and for those of you who are brave enough to face the crowds, happy Black Friday!

Sorry for being MIA this week, it was exam week in my school, and turkey day so I took some time off to study and be with the family.

Anyways, on the blog this week make sure you check out two reviews! And an author guest post/interview.

And perhaps a contest?

Speaking of contests, be sure to enter my Mostly Good Girls contest to win 5 copies of this awesome YA novel, HERE! hurry, it ends tomorrow!

-M.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge!!!

Hey everyone!

So 2010 is coming to a close, well in a month anyway, which means the 2010 debut author challenge will be over :(. But that does not mean the fun is over, no way!

So once January 1st rolls around the 2011 debut author challenge will start up and I don't know about you but there is an awesome line up of books coming out next year that I can't wait to read!

So go sign up at The Story Siren!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Exiled Queen

Exiled Queen, The (A Seven Realms Novel)Exiled Queen, The (A Seven Realms Novel)
by Cinda Williams Chima

# of Pages: 592
Age range: 13/14+
Rating: 5/5
From: Bought.

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford.   But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind.  Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them.  And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own.  There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret. 

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets.  Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford.  If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.   

I have been dying to read this ever since I finished the previous book, The Demon King, last September. Much to my disappointment all three libraries I go to did not have this book available so I bought it online. In general I much rather prefer a solid copy of a book, I have tried reading on the kindle and Ipad and for whatever reason the digital version of a book just doesn't beat good old paper. Regardless, my reading experience didn't take away from this amazing story, and I am so glad I didn't wait and read this when I did.

The Exiled Queen picks up pretty much right after The Demon King ended, both Raisa and Han are traveling to Oden's Ford and are adjusting to their new lives. The beginning was probably the slowest part of the book - which isn't that slow let me tell you, it's just not as fast paced as other parts. Still, immediately I fell in love with the characters once again and was amazed by their vividness and depth.
Throughout the book many new surprises are revealed and we see the characters make some of the hardest choices of their lives. Relationships will be built, and broken; blood will be spilt, and pages will certainly be turned.

The plot was intricately crafted, as usual. I love when authors are able to create a world that you can practically live in yourself through the writing, it amazes me to no end how they can weave in characters, plot, and this whole new world with power shifts, government, and culture all into one book without ever sacrificing another part. Cinda Williams Chima is the kind of writer that inspires me to write.

With a cliff hanger ending, it kills me that I have to wait a whole year for the next installment, but it's worth it! If you haven't tried this series I strongly recommend it, there's action, adventure, romance, and magic! A must read for fantasy lovers!

If you liked this book be sure to check out:

The Heir Chronicles Box Set
The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1)
Boxed Set (Books 1-7) and Hogwarts Express
Graceling
Fire (Graceling)
Incarceron (Incarceron, Book 1)

Visit Cinda Williams Chima here

-M.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

IMMB

Thank you Kirsti at the Story Siren for hosting this weekly meme.

So I only got one thing this week but it was kind of amazing...

Apple MacBook Pro MC371LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop
Yes, I made the conversion from PC to Mac and so far I am loving it! I haven't converted all my files and what not over yet and I don't really know how to work the mac that well but I'm getting there...

So what did you get this week???

-M.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mostly Good Girls + Contest

By Leila Sales

Age Range: 13/14+
# of Pages: 368
Rating: 4/5
From: BEA

The higher you aim, the farther you fall….
It’s Violet’s junior year at the Westfield School. She thought she’d be focusing on getting straight As, editing the lit mag, and figuring out how to talk to boys without choking on her own saliva. Instead, she’s just trying to hold it together in the face of cutthroat academics, her crush’s new girlfriend, and the sense that things are going irreversibly wrong with her best friend, Katie.

When Katie starts making choices that Violet can’t even begin to fathom, Violet has no idea how to set things right between them. Westfield girls are trained for success—but how can Violet keep her junior year from being one huge, epic failure?


I was walking through the S&S booth during BEA when I saw this one lone book tucked in the back of a miniature book shelf. The book lover in me pitied the poor book and I reached out to perhaps move it somewhere more...filled? When I saw the cover however I was a little surprised. With legs like that maybe this book wasn't so lonely after all! But after skimming the back I decided, lonely or not, this book was coming home with me. 

Fate emailed me one day in September asking if I wanted to do a tour for this book and I heartily agreed. I had my own copy, I had been wanting to read it for awhile, this was just the push I needed. So then...I read the book.
Mostly Good Girls is set in an all girls private school near Boston, MA. Violet, our leading lady is just like any other over-achieving private school girl who doesn't come from buckets of money - boy deprived, over-worked, and struggling to make it all work. I can relate. Mostly Good Girls follows the life of Violet through the first half of her junior year and the challenges she goes through with friends, boys, making the right choices, and ultimately being true to yourself and who you want to be.

Even though I didn't particularly love Violet herself, I could relate to her, and I think a lot of teens will be able to as well. Actually, it's kind of creepy how much the two of have in common - not personality wise necessarily, but lifestyle wise. Both of us go to all girls private schools in MA, and the school described in Mostly Good Girls is literally just like my own! And the things that happen in the school - they really do happen in real life! I was comparing the two the whole story!

Back to the book though, I loved the writing and the characters in this book, especially Violet and Katie's friendship (pre-fighting that is). The ending was perfect as well and I felt a good sense of closure. 

I definitely  recommend this book for people looking for a good, humorous, YA read. If you liked this book be sure to check out: 


Visit Leila Sales HERE


*Contest!*

5 copies of Mostly Good Girls are up for grabs, generously donated from S&S!

Contest Ends 11/30/10!

Enter HERE

Open to US/Canada only.

-M.

Leila Sales Guest Post Tip #7

Meet Leila Sales!

Author of the new YA novel Mostly Good Girls 

I was fortunate enough to be a part of her blog tour for this awesome book, be sure to check out every stop.

8. HUMOR WRITING – PART SEVEN

Having shared with you a whole bunch of rules for humor writing, I wanted to give you a list of a few of my favorite funny writers, who make these rules look easy.

DAVE BARRY: This man has had a thirty-year long career, and everything he’s published has been brilliant. He is a genius. I literally, not even exaggerating, would not be a humor writer today if my mom hadn’t brought me a Dave Barry book from the library when I was twelve years old and home sick from school.

MEG CABOT: The Princess Diaries are some of the most hysterical YA novels out there. Remember my Humor Writing Tip #6? “Make things extreme”? Meg Cabot like invented that rule.

LOIS LOWRY: People don’t immediately think of Lois Lowry as a humor writer, presumably because neither dystopian societies (The Giver) nor World War Two (Number the Stars) are real laugh-fests. But her slightly less well-known books—like Taking Care of Terrific and The Willoughbys—are so droll and clever.

JON SCIESZKA: I mentioned The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales in my post on Humor Writing Tip #4 (callbacks), and I mean it: I’ve read that book a million times since I was seven, and it still makes me laugh. You know how I said that roughly eighty percent of humor is subverting the audience’s expectations? Well, no one does that as well as Jon Scieszka.

SIMON RICH: His first collection of humor essays, Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations is so funny that I literally cannot read it aloud without laughing until I cry. It’s vastly humiliating, yet I keep reading it aloud to friends anyway.

DOROTHY PARKER: My stated dream is to be the Dorothy Parker of teen literature. When my editor first acquired Mostly Good Girls, I made her and my agent go out for drinks with me at the Algonquin Hotel, where I ordered a cocktail called the Parker. That is how serious about this I am.

OSCAR WILDE: More than a hundred years after his death, Oscar Wilde remains the master of pithy wit. He once wrote the phrase, “If I am occasionally a little overdressed, I make up for it by being immensely overeducated.” If I ever write anything half that clever, then I’ll be satisfied.

Who do you think are some of the funniest writers? Which is to say—who should I read next?

Thanks Leila!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Blood Magic (The Blood Journals)


For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.


Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.


Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla

Ooo, this looks like a goodie! I love the cover and the synopsis!

Release date: April 26th 2011 :(
Publisher: Random House

-M

Sunday, November 7, 2010

IMMB

Thanks to Kirsti for hosting In My Mailbox every week - much appreciated!

So this week I got one book for review from Egmont, which I am so excited to read!

The Lost Saint: A Dark Divine Novel
The Lost Saint: A Dark Divine Novel


Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi.  She gave her soul to the wolf to save him and lost her beloved mother.  When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do.  She must become a Hound of Heaven.  Desparate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot - a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero.  But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel begins to crumble.  Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace becomes prideful in her new abilities - not realizing that an old enemy has returned and deadly trap is about to be sprung.

From the Library:

Finnikin of the RockFinnikin of the Rock

Finnikin was only a child during the five days of the unspeakable, when the royal family of Lumatere were brutally murdered, and an imposter seized the throne. Now a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere’s walls, and those who escaped roam the surrounding lands as exiles, persecuted and despairing, dying by the thousands in fever camps. In a narrative crackling with the tension of an imminent storm, Finnikin, now on the cusp of manhood, is compelled to join forces with an arrogant and enigmatic young novice named Evanjalin, who claims that her dark dreams will lead the exiles to a surviving royal child and a way to pierce the cursed barrier and regain the land of Lumatere. But Evanjalin’s unpredictable behavior suggests that she is not what she seems — and the startling truth will test Finnikin’s faith not only in her, but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.


The Dead-Tossed Waves (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Book 2)
The Dead-Tossed Waves (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Book 2)

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

Thoughts?

-M.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Paranormalcy

Paranormalcy
Paranormalcy
by Kiersten White


# of Pages: 352
Age range: 13+
Rating: 4/5

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours. Firelight



But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.


So much for normal

I was fortunate enough to win an ARC of Paranormalcy from James at Book Chic, and even though it took me awhile for me to get around to reading it, Paranormalcy was worth the wait. The cover alone was enough to make my wish list alone, but the awesome and original plot was what sold me. I am officially a Kiersten White fan!


Paranormalcy starts off with main character Evie kicking some vampire butt on one of her missions. Her unique talent - being able to see through glamours - makes her a key member of the international paranormal containment agency (IPCA for short). Evie never questions her duty or her place among the IPCA, and seems perfectly content with her mermaid best friend and highschool drama shows. But when a new paranormal is put behind bars, one that gains Evie's trust and heart, she starts to question the life she has at the IPCA and what exactly she is.

I loved Evie, she was such a bright character that made me smile. Her replacement of swear words with "Beep" was funny and unique. I especially loved her relationship with Lend  - he made her grow as a character, and they had great chemistry while still remaining sweet and not steamy. I even liked Reth - Evie's ex faerie boyfriend - despite his kidnapping habit.

On the novel side, the original and captivating plot kept me glued to the book and the fun yet mature writing made the novel entertaining without being annoyingly sweet. The only complaints I would  hwould be that it was hard to get a good image of what Lend looked like - and that  I still am not e sure what Evie is exactly. But, more shall be explained in novel number 2, Supernaturally coming summer 2011!

If you like this book be sure to check out:


Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1)
Matched
The Candidates (Delcroix Academy, Book 1)
Personal Demons
Dead Beautiful

Visit Kiersten White here

-M.