Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pretty Creepy Stuff

After reading The Executioner's Song, I felt restless. I walked around my house and thought about it. That's kind of what I do when I'm obsessing about something. Feed the cats, water the plants, stare out the window at the fallen snow, while something tickles my brain. The book raised so many questions, and answered so few. Perhaps, that was it's purpose. Probably.

With so many loose ends, my mind was left with a craving for resolution, a need to make sense out of the senseless; I couldn't leave it alone. Besides, as inspiration/research for Umbra, I was left empty handed. Mailer wrote The Executioner's Song in a Hemingway-esque style. Lots of cutting. What happened before, what came after, is told through the hazy filter of statements of the involved parties, accepted as fact.

And that felt unsatisfying. So, I searched for more thorough answers and found: Shot In the Heart. It's a book written by Gary Gilmore's youngest brother. About ten pages in, I felt Mailer had robbed us of vital truth by excising the nine months of Gary's life from the bulk of the 34 plus years before. The severing of present from past created a story with little intrinsic meaning. No matter how fashionable it might be to focus upon surface details and statements alone, emotionally and psychologically, perhaps even spiritually, it's the equivalent of literary junk food. There's no meaning and thus no nourishment. That's fine, but at a more fundamental level it's a lie.

I have to say, if you've read The Executioner's Song, then Shot In the Heart should be read as a companion. The Executioner's Song is the husk, Shot In the Heart is the seed. The Gilmore family life was horrific. Gary Gilmore was a devastating intersection of nature vs. nurture. To the worst qualities of both his parents, he added a few of his own.

It made me think of two things: We're all tips of an iceberg, our personal histories, and our family legacies buoyant beneath the surface. And yet, there is a line we each must cross to become individuals, and that is the line where we assimilate our family legacies, the riches and shameful qualities, and move into taking responsibility for our own actions.

The other thing is this: Every family has its dark aspect. Since the past can never be undone, simple acceptance seems to be the only real avenue to moving forward. But the journey to bedrock acceptance is fraught. Along the way religions, psychologists, social workers, politicians, and well-meaning others insert their philosophies.

The dark aspects of Gilmore's family were ferocious. Gary Gilmore's mother was Mormon. Polygamy and Blood Atonement, early precepts of the Mormon Church, infiltrated his family. Although his father wasn't Mormon, for practical purposes he practiced polygamy. Gary's mother and her four sons were the last in a long line of many wives and families that Frank Gilmore left scattered across the country. As for Gary's insistence that he be executed by firing squad, it fulfilled the Mormon ideal of Blood Atonement. Pretty creepy stuff.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Your Man is Far Gone

How did I end up reading The Executioner's Song during the last week of the year? It was a circuitous route to be sure. I came across an article on line, Happy F**ckin' Birthday (with Apologies to Norman Mailer) by none other than Monica Lewinsky. Apparently, they ran in the same circles. (Or she and his children did...) In the article, Lewinsky writes that during college as a psychology major, out of all Mailer's books, The Executioner's Song had the greatest impact on her. I became curious. Then I bought it for my kindle. The Foreword by Dave Eggers is pretty glow-y, as far as what Mailer accomplished as an author.

Then I began reading, and I admit, I was hooked, and read the entire thing, finishing it on, of all nights, Christmas Eve. It left me quiet and thoughtful. The first thing that came to mind was how un-dated it is. Gary Gilmore was killed by firing squad on January 17, 1977. This same story could have been told almost forty years later. Except that there were at least seven executions in the United States in 2014. What if Norman Mailer had written a 1000 page book about the life story of each of those seven? How similar, or dissimilar, would those stories have been to the one told in The Executioner's Song?

I asked myself that question, because when all is said and done, Gary Gilmore, as in individual, did not strike me as someone distinctly worthy of the place in the limelight that The Executiioner's Song afforded him. I suspect there are people who have been executed after him who have more interesting stories and/or personalities. But Gilmore was the first to be killed by the state after a moratorium of a  decade. His insistence that his death be carried out, in spite of the ACLU, NAACP and other "interested parties" filing lawsuits against it, was perhaps, the single distinguishing characteristic of his entire life story. And yet, that insistence was likely due to what emerged as his two predominant character traits: Impatience and defiance. A man who spent the majority of his life, I mean the majority—20 plus years out of 35 on the planet—Gilmore managed to commit two murders in cold blood, get convicted of one and sentenced to death, and be executed in nine short months, between April 1976 and January 17, 1977.

If I were asked to distill The Executioner's Song into five words or less, I would use a quote from the book itself. A statement made by Pete Galovan to Nicole Baker, "Your man is far gone."

Impatient and Defiant. I'll add hollow. Hateful. Contemptuous. And charming. Gary Gilmore was a con man through and through.

So why are these grim subjects on my radar at this Supposed-To-Be-Joyous time of the year?

In the midst of working through revisions of Isolt's Enchantment and Half Mortal, I find myself mentally preparing to write the final book of the Daughter of Light trilogy, War & Grace... and as I meditate on Umbra... I find myself scavenging the dark.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Susan's Book Bag

Cupcakes & Kisses will be here on December 2nd!!!!! And Susan at The Book Bag has already read the book and interviewed me and Billie. It's Our First Ever Author interview!!! So don't miss it, because it will make you smile... (Pretty sure!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

An Absence of Light by Meradeth Houston

Thanks so much for hosting me! It's my pleasure to get to share my latest release today: An Absence of Light. I've always described this book as Buffy meets the X-Files, and I really hope that you get a chance to check it out!

Leah’s always seen the shadow creatures. She thought she was immune to their evil—until now.

She’s walked into a massacre, stolen a BMW, and is running from the law for a crime she didn’t commit. Nineteen-year-old Leah’s life just went from mildly abnormal to totally crazy at lightning speed. But no one will believe that the shadow creatures are framing her for the murder, because she’s the only one that can see them. At least that’s what she thought.

When Leah stumbled across a group who share her ability, she discovers they have something she doesn’t: a way to fight back. When the group offers to teach her how to kill the shadow creatures, Leah jumps at the chance. But something is brewing with the creatures. They’re tracking down the hunters like there’s no tomorrow. Leah suspects that maybe there won’t be, and it’s up to her to make sure tomorrow comes. Because she’ll do anything to stop the shadows, including risking her life—and the life of the one she loves—to keep the world from being lost to darkness forever. 

Did you ever watch either Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or The X-Files? Any favorite episodes? :)

Check out any of these books here!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dia de los Muertos

Years ago, when I lived in El Paso, Texas I fell in love with many things... the desert, the moon hanging over the Franklin mountains, the abundance of roses, and the view of Mexico while driving I-10 to work every morning. But one of the things I carried with me when I left was the celebration of Dia De Los Muertos. From the moment, I saw the colorful art in curio shops and the mall and my friends' homes I was intrigued by a day to honor the dead. I'd already lost my mother and three of my grandparents. To discover there was a heritage of celebrating the dearly departed with festivals, food, music, dance, and vividly painted skulls and crafts drowning in flowers heartened and revivified me. Honoring the dead, celebrating their life, and being grateful they were part of mine, made for a deeper healer. One that returned me fully restored to a life, that up until then, I'd been a bit ambivalent about living.

So it's not all that surprising to me that when I decided to write a horrific fairy tale for Halloween, it transformed into something utterly different. One that celebrates November 1st. Dia de Los Muertos. The Day of the Dead.

I Am Lily Dane, a contemporary retelling of Han's Christian Andersen's "The Shadow", is coming soon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fearless Journey's & Epic Transformations

Look what's coming...

In November we'll be redesigning the website around my new logo!
What do you think?!?!?

If there's anything I believe in it's:

Fearless Journeys & Epic Transformations

The main character in each of my stories takes a fearless journey or experiences an epic transformation; some do both!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'm so Excited!

I'm so excited...

Even though every project is taking longer than I expected!

I Am Lily Dane ... will not be released on November 1st, but it will be released in November!

The very special Cupcakes & Kisses will not be released on November 18th, it will be released in early December.

Half Mortal will be released in January. I promise it will be worth the wait.

And there are a few more surprises on their way.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Am Lily Dane by Heidi Garret

I'm so excited! Guess what is coming in February 2014?

ABOUT I Am Lily Dane:

Lily Dane is a bright light. A spiritually barren, consuming flame, she befriends girls whose inner lives are rich with dreams and compelling desire. Their unapologetic souls fascinate her. However, Lily’s interest in her peers isn’t friendly, she’s obsessed with the machinations of crushing their spirits.

Lily also has a shadow who is sentient. A freak of nature? An abomination? Who knows? But Lily’s shadow is consumed with stopping the emotional and psychological devastation its host always leaves in her wake.

I Am Lily Dane, A Horrific Fairy Tale is a psychologically dark retelling of Han’s Christian Andersen’s “The Shadow".

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I'm Going to be There...

So please come by and say Hi!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Susan at the Book Bag Celebrates her 1000th Blog Post!

Susan at The Book Bag has reached the amazing milestone of 1000 blog posts! To give you some perspective, my blog has 185 posts to date. The Book Bag has 815 more posts than that! Certainly, something to celebrate. And Susan is doing it right with a GINORMOUS giveaway.
You can enter to win over 30 books, a $20 Amazon Gift Card, and a cute book bag. So don't miss this party! Join in the celebration HERE!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Way They Speak!?!?!

I grew up in a bi-lingual household and lived in South America from the age of six months to two-and-a-half years old—english, varieties of spanish (castilian, latin american), spanglish, and broken english are all part of my ear, my life, and my experience on this planet. They all feel like home, and they've all contributed to how I perceive the world, and how I voice how I perceive the world.

In high school, I studied Latin, root of the Romance languages. I’ve dabbled in the study of Italian and French. My maternal grandmother was fluent in German, and I would often randomly ask her: Say something in German, grandma. I didn’t care what she said, I just wanted to hear that other language so different sounding from my native tongue(s). I’ve always loved music, and wrote songs for over a decade.

Language and words are my playground.

This is a mural sold by

The sound, the rhythm. How it stops. Starts… and flows. My ears are always alert for another way of using words.

In my twenties, I immersed myself in the works produced by academic and radical feminists: Betty Friedan, Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin. They espoused a different way of viewing the world, life, experience, the father god. Hip Hop, Rap, Texting, Twitter, we’re constantly tearing down the walls of formal expression.

Destruction for destruction’s sake? No, the purpose of all this breakdown is to cut closer to the bone, to excise that which is superfluous to expression, and thus increase the bonding and connectedness of shared human experience. Tear down those walls, I say:D

What about the novel? What about the novel as art?

Dare we mangle formal/accepted/traditional usage/rules on behalf of our characters?

My latest release, The Tree Hugger, employs a dialect. The kids in the Free Territories have grown up without the benefit of any formal education. Most days, survival is at the forefront of their minds. Where would they learn proper English? Why would they care?

I know, I know, phonetic dialect is UGH! No. Oh, please, no! And yet, I’ve had readers who have loved the dialect as much as the story.

I’m currently collaborating on a paranormal romance with an author whose first language isn’t English, it’s Filipino. It’s such an honor and opportunity to work with someone who lives on the other side of the globe and experience her way of seeing the world. Our main character is a nineteen-year-old witch with a best friend whose parents are of Hispanic descent. If you’ve ever been around someone with Latin blood you know: They’re often emphatic, passionate, and emotive, never flat. After working with Billie Limpin, I've discovered the same can be said about Filipinas!?!?! (What can I say? It's infectious:D) And it seems to us, when the two young women in Cupcakes & Kisses get together, one exclamation point just won’t do!?! It just doesn’t capture the volubility of their exchanges!?!?!

I know the pleasure I experience with playing with language and dialogue—including punctuation!?!—comes from my own verbal history and the verbal gymnastics I appreciate. It feels appropriate to bring this reality to my novels.

What about you? As an author, would you ever mangle the English language on behalf of a character? As a reader, would you be offended if an author did? Are rules made to be broken? Or when it comes to proper English in novels... are the rules inviolate?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cupcakes & Kisses Cover Reveal, Excerpt, and Giveaway

Thank you to these awesome blogs for spreading the word about Cupcakes & Kisses!!

Please visit them to answer this question:
Who is your favorite witch in a book or TV series?
for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card or ecopy of Cupcakes & Kisses
and to read a different excerpt about Glynna (and Ashton)!

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Release Date: November 18, 2014

ABOUT Cupcakes & Kisses:

One bite of her luscious cupcakes and you just might fall in love…

Nineteen-year-old Glynna Balcora’s super power is baking. A young witch, she’s lived her entire life tucked away in the quaint city of Spokane, WA with her domineering aunt and sweetheart of a grandmother. It’s not an ideal situation. Although Glynna loves her grandmother dearly, and treasures the special times they spend in their magical greenhouse, Glynna’s aunt keeps her niece on a tight leash using threats of vague enemies.

Since Glynna graduated from high school a few a months ago, her aunt’s be-home-before-dark curfew seems more ridiculous every day. It isn’t doing much for the young witch’s social life, either. With encouragement from her best friend, Glynna sneaks out one night to go to a bonfire party at the lake. There she has an unexpected encounter with Spokane’s most eligible bachelor, Ashton Bass. Glynna’s been crushing on Ashton since she was five years old. But when they share their first kiss, thunderstorms and lightning follow… and Glynna’s aunt realizes it’s time to tell the young witch the truth about who she really is.

Cupcakes & Kisses is the first book in a playful New Adult Romance trilogy…


My heart races as I’m drawn across the bakery. The mere sight of this guy makes me lose all my senses. I stumble a little and accidentally knock a few of my favorite pink pens off the display counter.

Really?! How can I stumble in flats?!

This is bad. Just bad.

Ashton to the rescue. He dives—dives!—to catch the silly pink projectiles flying through the air! Yes, silly and devious! They’ve sprung to life with a mind of their own and are determined to make me look like a klutz in front of the guy of my dreams!

Evil felt tips!

I can’t let them win.

I lunge forward to grab them myself, and an overwhelmingly awkward moment becomes even more awkward when my hand collides with his, I lose my balance, tilt forward, and Ashton has to grab my forearms to keep me from doing a face plant in his crotch.

Heat creeps up my face. Naughty pens!?! “Uhhh… s-sorry about that,” I say as I shift back onto my heels and… I forgot—I’m wearing a dress—not my skinny jeans. My knees are about a foot apart. I’m sure he can see my panties. I push myself forward, and my knees smack against the hardwood floor with a bang.

Ashton’s perfect features skew with concern. He still looks amazing. “Are you all right?” I pretend that I’m not going to have black and blue knees for the rest of the year. “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.” I wave my hand.

~ About the Authors ~ 
Heidi Garrett is the author of the Daughter of Light series, a fantasy about a young half-faerie, half-mortal searching for her place in the Whole. She's also the author of the contemporary fairy tale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters.

Heidi is collaborating with Billie Limpin to write The Magic Cupcake series, a special blend of magic, romance, and humor.

Heidi was born in Texas, and in an attempt to reside in as many cities in that state as she could, made it to Houston, Lubbock, Austin, and El Paso. She now lives in Eastern Washington state with her husband, their two cats, her laptop, and her Kindle. Being from the South, she often contemplates the magic of snow.

Billie Limpin lives in the Philippines where the sun always shines and people always smile!

A  hopeless romantic inside and out, when Billie’s not swooning over a book boyfriend (which she often does!), you’ll probably catch her daydreaming (over a fictional character!). A reader by heart, and now a writer for the first time, she’s thrilled to put her daydreams into written words.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

CBB Blog Tour: Avery by Charlotte McConaghy

In the mood for a romantic fantasy novel?

Avery_cover FINALAvery (The Chronicles of Kaya #1) by Charlotte McConaghy
The people of Kaya die in pairs. When one lover dies, the other does too. So it has been for thousands of years – until Ava.

For although her bondmate, Avery, has been murdered and Ava’s soul has been torn in two, she is the only one who has ever been strong enough to cling to life. Vowing revenge upon the barbarian queen of Pirenti, Ava's plan is interrupted when she is instead captured by the deadly prince of her enemies.

Prince Ambrose has been brought up to kill and hate. But when he takes charge of a strangely captivating Kayan prisoner and is forced to survive with her on a dangerous island, he must reconsider all he holds true . . .

In a violent country like Pirenti, where emotion is scorned as a weakness, can he find the strength to fight for the person he loves . . . even when she’s his vengeful enemy?

Avery is a sweeping, romantic fantasy novel about loss and identity, and finding the courage to love against all odds.

Now Available: THORNE (The Chronicles of Kaya #2)

About the Author:
Charlotte started writing her children’s fantasy series ‘The Strangers of Paragor’ as a teenager and has since gone on to publish five novels. After a Masters degree in Screenwriting she wrote ‘Avery’, the first in her adult fantasy series ‘The Chronicles of Kaya’, published by Random House. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, and has just released a new dystopian sci-fi novel called ‘Fury – Book One of The Cure’, published by Momentum.

IFB Book Blitz: Life Lived Twice by Sherrie Wouters

Life Lived Twice
Release date: June 6th 2014

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Some promises are made to last forever ... What if you fell in love with a stranger ... but that stranger had come from your past, a past you never knew existed until the moment your eyes met? 

When Tess Winters locks eyes with a stranger at an airport bookstore, it ignites a feeling of passion somewhere deep inside her that she can't explain. Although the encounter is innocent and brief, the intensity of it lingers, leaving her overwhelmed by a yearning for the mystery man now consuming her every thought. 

Struggling to break the powerful hold he has over her heart, Tess starts to experience strange but familiar dreams...dreams from the turn of the twentieth century of the charming Mr Addison Taylor. 

As her dreams start to materialize into reality, and past and present begin to blur, Tess is forced to put the pieces of a forgotten time together, and soon discovers that love isn't the only thing that can find you after an eternity. Captivating, mysterious, and romantic, Life Lived Twice will leave you wondering whether love is so powerful it could last more than a lifetime.


By the time I’d examined his tanned calves, the masculinity of his skin was lingering in the air between us. He smelt sensational, and I found myself uncontrollably breathing in as I rose.
Now curious to see more, I kept going. But as I began to move, an odd sensation of warmth radiating from him came over me; it was almost like an invisible hand caressing my skin. My heart fluttered at the idea of it, and suddenly blood was rushing to all the wrong places as I felt an unexpected thrill of anticipation.

After tracing his body all the way up to his chest, my wandering eyes didn’t seem to want to stop, and they were soon up to his neck and following the stubble along his jaw, right up to his light brown hair. And then he spoke. The sound of his voice jolted me from my daydream and pulled my gaze to his.

“Addison!” I gasped as our eyes collided. From the moment the name left my lips, my eyes widened ... stared ... and became lost in his. As a rush of airy weightlessness floated me from the floor, suddenly everything felt more enhanced, more real, like something inside me had suddenly woken up. It was an intoxicating feeling and the longer I stood entranced, the further his beautiful blue eyes reached into mine. Somehow they were knocking on the door to my heart, stirring something so powerful it made me want to cry and laugh at the same time and, for a brief second, there was something in his eyes that made me feel complete.

Suddenly his brows squeezed then softened. “Ah ... um ... sorry about the electric shock.” He smiled. “But who’s Addison?”

My throat tightened as warmth flushed my cheeks. Who the hell was Addison?

Embarrassment pulled my eyes from his. “Oh,” I said, choking on my words, “Um ... ah ... no ... I don’t know anyone called Addison ... I mean, um ... ”

“Oh!” He smiled cheekily as he leaned towards me and whispered. “You sounded so convinced I was him ... I thought for a second I could be. I mean, if you wanted me to be.”

My face shot back to his, words jamming in my throat as I stared. Who was this guy, this stranger? In just a few seconds he’d turned my soul inside out, and now he was charming me with his words as well.

As his lips rose into a smile, I couldn’t help but smile back. But panic quickly returned to my constricted throat as that name re-entered my head. 

Suddenly aware of the warmth still creeping across my face, I managed to pull my eyes from his again and divert my gaze. Addison, Addison, who the hell was Addison? I couldn’t budge the name from my thoughts.

As I stood fidgeting, I could feel him staring, waiting for me to say something, anything. After taking a breath, I shifted my gaze and we locked eyes again as I spoke. “Um,” I said, swallowing hard, “I must be mistaken ... sorry.”

Sherrie WoutersAbout the Author
Sherrie Wouters is a thirty something flame haired chick who accidentally wrote a book and is now an author. A qualified Homeoeopath and Kinesiologist, Sherrie lives in country Victoria, Australia with her husband, and two daughters. She is currently working on the sequel to Life Lived Twice.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Enchanted Conversation

Enchanted Conversation is an amazing fairy tale blog/online magazine created and maintained by Kate Wolford, author of Beyond the Glass Slipper. I'm so excited that The Tree Hugger has been featured there! In the guest post I share how Magnolia' and Graham's relationship evolves from friendship, and how Magnolia's grandmother fills the roles of a different kind of fairy godmother!

CBB Cover Reveal: Henge (Le Fay Series) by Realm Lovejoy

I'm excited to share the cover reveal of Henge by Realm Lovejoy. Henge is a YA Fantasy that is a modern spin-off of the Arthurian legends featuring Morgan le Fay as the protagonist. It is due to release this fall. The cover art is by the author, Realm Lovejoy.


About the book:
Modern-day Camelot. Where knights no longer carry swords. Magic is dangerous. And those who seek control are not to be trusted.

Sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is a fire user. An ordinary girl with an extraordinary skill, she has the ability to create and command fire at will. Her dream is to become the Maven—the right hand of the future King Arthur. In the chance of a lifetime, Morgan is selected to join Arthur’s Round, an elite group of young magic users from which the new Maven will be chosen.

Along with the other fire, water, and wind users in Arthur’s Round, Morgan is rigorously trained and tested. The handsome Merlin, a brilliant water user, takes a particular interest in her. Is his friendship to be trusted, or is Merlin simply trying to win the position of Maven for himself? Among the many rivals Morgan faces is the current Maven, Mordred, who seems determined to see her fail.

But Morgan has a secret—years ago, her mother was executed for using fire magic, and Morgan’s desire for justice makes her more than ready to take on the challenge before her. Can she prevail in Camelot’s tests of survival and magic? Only time—and Morgan’s powerful fire—will tell.

Realm Lovejoy’s modern Arthurian series features one of literature’s most complicated and powerful female figures. Henge is the first book in the LE FAY series, and—like Morgan le Fay’s magic—it is sure to dazzle and amaze.

About the Author:

Realm Lovejoy is an American writer and an artist. She grew up in both Washington State and the Japanese Alps of Nagano, Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle and works as an artist in the video game industry. CLAN is her first book. You can find out more about her and her book at

Thursday, September 11, 2014

CBB Book Promotions Review Tour: Eleanor by Jason Gurley



Eleanor by Jason Gurley 
450 pages
Time is a river
1985. The death of Eleanor's twin sister tears her family apart. Her father blames her mother for the accident. When Eleanor's mother looks at her, she sees only the daughter she lost. Their wounded family crumbles under the weight of their shared grief.
1993. Eleanor is fourteen years old when it happens for the first time... when she walks through an ordinary door at school and finds herself in another world. It happens again and again, but it's only a curiosity until that day at the cliffs. The day when Eleanor dives... and something rips her out of time itself.
And on the other side, someone is waiting for her.

My Comments:

Not only is Eleanor a fantastic read, but it grapples successfully with several challenging themes:

1. How the breakdown of a family affects children.
2. The complexities inherent in a woman's decision to have or not have children.
3. And suicide. With Robin Williams recent passing, suicide has received more attention these days. One person commits suicide every 40 seconds.

Kudos to Jason Gurley for tackling these very human issues with such grace.

My Short & Sweet 5-star review:

Told largely through the eyes of a young girl, Eleanor provides a searing gaze into the the tragedies that have struck a family and darkened three generations of mother/daughter relationships. With added elements of time travel and dream worlds, the novel becomes something quite unique. There are so many beautifully written scenes, it was hard to put down. My absolute favorite parts were the Keeper and her shadow and the mystery that surrounds their world. Highly recommend.
About the Author:

Gurley_Jason_3 Jason Gurley is the author of the bestselling novel Greatfall as well as The Man Who Ended the World, the Movement trilogy and Eleanor, a novel thirteen years in the making. His short stories, including The Dark Age, The Caretaker, The Last Rail-Rider and others, appear in his collection Deep Breath Hold Tight: Stories About the End of Everything. He is work has appeared in a number of anthologies, among them David Gatewood's From the Indie Side and Synchronic and John Joseph Adams's Help Fund My Robot Army!!! & Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects. Jason is a designer by trade, and has designed book covers for Amazon Publishing, Subterranean Press, Prime Books and many independent authors, among them bestsellers Hugh Howey, Matthew Mather, Russell Blake, Michael Bunker, Ernie Lindsey and others. Jason lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

IFB Blog Tour: Garden of Ashes by Kate Cowan

Series: The Legend of Eden #2
Release date: September 1st 2014
Publisher: Anchor Group

Synopsis via Goodreads:
After four years as a prisoner in her parents' attic, hidden away from the Catchers, Eden never dreamt the very people she was hiding from would be the beginning of such impossible things. She's found freedom on the island like she never imagined.

Eden is a sorcerer, with the power of the world in her fingertips. She is determined to never be helpless like she once was, and spends every minute of her spare time training to fight back. As she discovers more of her own power, she and her friends continue to uncover the secrets of the Council. Deadly secrets, hinting at something far larger than the island and the Catchers. Before they can find out exactly what the Council is hiding, Eden's magic begins to spiral out of control, and she loses it for just a second. Just half of a second, and it's enough to change everything.

Suddenly, lives are put at stake, and Eden and her friends must do something no one else has ever dared. They have to escape the island, or they have to die trying.

Kate Cowan is an artist, an animation student, a black belt in karate and now, an author. She didn't discover writing until mid-high school, when she began writing an (unintentionally) hilarious novel involving a teenage girl and a magic necklace. Her current novel series, The Legend of Eden, began as a story of Arthurian magic, but quickly transformed into something much different. Kate currently lives in Ontario, Canada, in a zoo of a house. When she isn't writing, she's drawing, cooking, or browsing the Internet for new music.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

IFB Book Blitz: Dead Girl Walking by Ruth Silver

20749515Genre: YA Paranormal
Release date: April 25th 2014
Series: Royal Reaper #1
Publisher: Patchwork Press

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Princess Ophelia Dacre sneaks out of the castle to visit her boyfriend in secret. A perfect night cut short when she’s brutally murdered.

Ophelia is given the rare chance to become a grim reaper. She must become Leila Bele, cut ties with her old life, and follow the rules of the reapers. Her greatest adventure begins with death.

About the Author
Ruth  Silver
Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of Aberrant. The Young Adult/New Adult Romantic Dystopian Adventure, Aberrant is the first in a trilogy, released April 17th, 2013. Silver first began writing poetry as a teenager and reading heaps of fan fiction in her free time. She attended Northern Illinois University in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Communication. While in college she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, Deuces are Wild, which she self-published in 2004. Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories. Her love of writing, led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia. Silver enjoys reading YA/NA novels and sharing her favorite books with other readers. She also enjoys photography, traveling and of most of all writing.


Casmerelda, The Black Plague, and How a World was Born 

I began with an idea for a story. Isn’t that normally how books are written? I loved the series Dead Like Me on Showtime. It was on from 2003 to 2004. Way too short a lifespan for a fabulous show. So I got to thinking, I haven’t read any books about grim reapers and certainly not any that were geared to a teen audience, quirky, and different. That was the thing about Dead Like Me, it was different. It was humorous, light-hearted, had a love story mixed in, and had characters you were rooting for the entire way through. 

As I was beginning to let my story take shape, I wanted something that went beyond reapers and pushed the boundaries into something fantastical. A mix of paranormal and fantasy. The princess idea was born. 

I didn’t want my main character, Princess Ophelia to solely be a princess from our current land, there had to be more. So, the initial plot took place in the 1400’s, specifically 1346 when the Black Plague spread along the Silk Road. What better way to kill off massive amounts of people than let a virulent disease do it? 

Complication: There were no monarchies (no princesses) where the story was taking place. At least not in that time period. Which obviously made things difficult. Either pull the novel away from historical fantasy or get the facts right. 

I tugged with the idea of how to make it historically accurate, and then decided the language would have to match. I didn’t like the sound of, “You're going to kill my beau.” I preferred it read “boyfriend.” That was just one instance, there were several language issues and I strongly felt the story would be better set in a fantasy world that parallels our history. Casmerelda was born.


“Listen, kid, I don’t care what you believe in. It’s not for me to say what’s true and untrue, real or unreal. My assignment was you. You get to be one of us, if you want it. Otherwise, you move on, life is over, kaput.” 
Ophelia backed away from the stranger. For the first time, she realized she didn’t feel cold and wasn’t shivering. Is this what being dead was like? “One of you?” 
“A grim reaper.” He held out his hand to properly introduce himself. “Edon Montgomery, head reaper and old soul.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How I Retold Hans Christian Andersen's "The Dryad"

The Tree Hugger, a Dystopian Fairy Tale is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Dryad.”. I absolutely love the idea of spirits whose lives are connected with trees. However, in the original tale, the dryad is flighty (really?) and curious. As is often the case in fairy tales, that curiosity doesn’t go unpunished.

But I ask you: What is wrong with wanting to see more of the world?


So, on those two counts, I altered the tale. Rather than the flighty creature in Andersen’s tale, I believe a nature-spirt born with a direct relationship to trees would be steady, solid, focused, and determined. Thus, Mags was born. More apt to be silent and solitary, sturdy and resilient than whimsical and capricious.

And what about that trip? The fact that Andersen’s dryad got punished for her curiosity and sense of adventure just didn’t sit well with me. I wanted my tree hugger to find joy at the end of her journey, to rise above her trials and tribulations. Mags is also curious when she leaves home. But her curiosity is driven from a deep wound. And though her journey isn’t characterized by whimsy, there are some wild woods and a bit of enchantment along the way.

The third novella in my Once Upon a Time Today collection, The Tree Hugger is now available.

To celebrate this new release, all three novellas and the prelude to the Once Upon a Time Today collection, are $0.99.

What a perfect time to get your fairy tale fix!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

How I Retold Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid"

Since my third Once Upon a Time Today novella, The Tree Hugger, will be releasing on August 26th, I'm writing a short series on how I've retold each tale. Dreaming of the Sea is the second tale in the collection. It will be free on Amazon August 23rd through the 25th, so pick up a copy if you don't already have one!

When I read the original version of the “The Little Mermaid”, I was surprised with its spiritual emphasis. None of the movie remakes or retellings I’d read conveyed the original tale’s underlying theme: Mermaids don’t have souls and the little mermaid wanted one. Rather profound. But it left me with a dilemma. I have two goals for each Once Upon a Time Today novella. The first is to update the story with characters and setting, the second is to remain true to the original fairy tale’s essence while providing some kind of twist.

I realized if I remained true to the essence of “The Little Mermaid”, I’d be grappling with spiritual themes. I chose to go ahead and twist the original tale by having a mortal at risk of losing her immortal soul.

Although the sea witch is a critical figure in the original tale, she doesn’t get a lot of stage time. I’d read Wicked years ago and loved the spin on the Wicked Witch of the West, so I decided to focus my retelling on “the witch” as well. One fun detail: We see the “original” little mermaid come to the sea witch’s lair and have quite an impact on the sea witch’s apprentice in Dreaming of the Sea.

When it came to setting, I decided to make use of the convent that served as an important place in the original tale. Out of that decision, Miriam was born. Miriam seems to be almost everyone’s favorite character. Determined, but also dreamy, her journey in the story is quite spectacular.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How I Retold Han's Christian Andersen's "Beautiful"

Since the third tale in my Once Upon a Time Today collection, The Tree Hugger, will be releasing on August 26th, I thought I'd do a series on how I retold each tale. I'll begin with Beautiful Beautiful the first tale in the collection, which is will be free on Amazon August 20th through 23rd, so pick up a copy if you don't already have one!

I chose Han's Christian Andersen's "Beautiful" for the first retelling in my collection because beauty is something that has always moved and fascinated me, it's one of my obsessions. I do believe that whether one wishes to acknowledge it or not, beauty has a lot of power. However, the question of what is beautiful, is very personal. And though our perceptions of beauty are influenced by our families and culture, we all ultimately perceive the beautiful distinctly.

You see, I could go on and on...

In Andersen's tale, a male sculptor is besotted with a beautiful but quiet young lady. He misinterprets her reticence as depth and proceeds to marry her. As he lives with her, he discovers his wife's lack of speech isn't so much that "still waters run deep", more that she's rather passive and insipid. His awareness of her nature comes too late. It doesn't help that the young lady's overbearing mother moves in with the newlyweds.

I won't go into the rest of the tale here [SPOILER ALERT], but suffice it to say that by the end of the tale, the sculptor's eye for beauty has altered and matured.

To make this tale contemporary, I chose a female protagonist, Kerrin Mayham. She needed to be driven by beauty, so a film director seemed like the perfect profession. I wanted to remain true to the protagonist misjudging the interior of someone who was physically beautiful. Enter aspiring actor Anthony Zorr.
While he doesn't have an overbearing mother, he does have an aggressive agent in Marni Lamb. The story unfolds from there.

I added the narrative frame after the core story was written because I wanted to add another layer of enchantment to the tale. Allowing Kerrin to create a fairy tale by drawing from the experiences in her life, allowed me to recreate one of the special memories I shared with my own mother who seemed to spin the most fantastical tales out of nothing when I was child. But who knows? Perhaps she was drawing from the well of her experience too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Girl Who Believed in Fairy Tales

Loosely biographical, The Girl Who Believed in Fairy Tales is free! The three short stories chronicle the journey of a young girl spiritually sustained by fairy tales as she transforms into a woman who finds her place in the world by—what else?—writing fairy tales.