Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Fling Hop

Welcome to the Spring Fling Hop!

The warming weather makes this a perfect time of year to sit outside and dive into a new book. So how about curling up with 3 new ebooks that delve into myth and legend come to life! 

Enter to win all 3 books in The Twin Souls Saga! 

"He avoids her because of the strange physical pain he feels when they touch. She avoids him because the way everyone seems to do what he says scares her. But when Claire needs to escape a bad situation Uriah is the first person she thinks of, and he is eager to rescue her. Faced with each other for the first time, both Uriah and Claire find it impossible to listen to their fears and stay away from one another. They soon find out, though, that there is more than they ever thought possible trying to keep them apart.

Following tradition the pair approaches the Elders of their Tewa tribe to ask permission to marry. Everyone is shocked when the shaman refuses them, claiming they are not Twin Souls. Confused and angry Uriah refuses to listen, and promises them that he will never abandon Claire. When Claire is poisoned by her vindictive father his resolve is tested. Ancient Native American myths and legends spring into reality, doing everything they can to keep Uriah from saving Claire’s life, while beginning to reveal the truth behind the lies he has been told all his life." 

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Guest Post: C. Michael Powers

Writing--Novels Vs. Screenplays

 Hey everybody,

As I was going through the editorial process for my first book, Mirror Images Book 1: The Darkness of Man, I realized how different the process of writing a book is compared to writing a novel. Here are a few of the differences.

Length: Screenplays should be no longer than 120 pages, and even that is pushing it. Most readers don’t care to read anything over 90 pages. The reason is, each page of the script is thought of as being equal to one minute of screen time. Most movies nowadays are right around an hour and a half. So anything over 120 pages is like watching a movie well over two hours. I got my script down to 110 pages, and that was after cutting out a few characters and chopping the script up a lot.

Novels can be as long as they need to be to tell the story. Of course, nobody wants to read a 1,000 page book full of description and no action, but you’re not locked in to a maximum page number like you are with screenplays. You can spend more time on your story.

Editing: Back to talking about length, editing a screenplay isn’t that difficult. Most of what you read is either dialogue or small sections of text. A novel can take forever to edit.

How you write: This is one that I’ve struggled with a little bit. Because I started out writing screenplays, I was used to that style of writing. I read David Trottier’s The Screenwriter’s Bible (which is an awesome book if you want to learn about screenwriting) and studied it, from front to back. With screenplays you can only write what the viewer will see.  So, for example, you can’t write the following:

Dave stands at the front door of her house. He remembers how nervous he was the last time he saw her, the time he almost threw up on her shoes, and he considers standing her up, out of fear of his own lack of confidence.

Why can’t you write that? You can’t because the audience isn’t going to be able to see what he’s thinking. So your options would be to either use a voice over, to show that he’s thinking out loud, or use a flashback and actually show what happened the last time he was with her.

Novels are different. You can absolutely tell what the character is thinking. In fact, that’s a part of character development. Knowing that Dave is nervous and threw up last time, could make you feel sorry for him, and worried about his upcoming date.

Which tense do you use: This is another one that’s difficult, especially if you switch back and forth between writing screenplays and writing novels. With screenplays you write in the present tense. Always. So you would write something like this:
David walks up her driveway and approaches her door. He raises his knuckles to the door, about to knock, when he hears loud arguing coming from the other side.

Novels can be written in several tenses, but most of the time you’re telling the story of something that has happened, so you write in past tense.

David walked up her driveway and approached her door. He raised his knuckles...

Since I often go back and forth between novels and screenplays, I catch myself writing screenplays in past tense and novels in present tense. Then, I have to go back and rewrite.

POV (point of view): Here’s another tricky one. I think I’m a very visual writer. I like people to clearly imagine every piece of action that’s going on in the story. If there’s a fight, I tell you exactly how it went down. This can make staying in the correct point of view tough.

I like to write novels the same way I write screenplays. So, I might tell you about Jimmy’s fight in the bar, but I’d like to also tell you about the cops pulling into the parking lot outside. This becomes a problem with novel writing, as you’re supposed to only write what the main character can see. So if Jimmy’s in the middle of a fight, he won’t see the cops pulling up outside. So, technically, I’m not supposed to write that.

POV glitches were the main things I needed to fix during the editing of my book.

A good example of how POV is done perfectly is George R.R. Martin, one of my favorite authors. He wrote the Song of Ice and Fire books (Game of Thrones). In his books, he names each chapter after one of his characters, and in the chapter, you only see things through the eyes of that character. His way of doing it is just genius. I plan to borrow that style in one of my upcoming books.

The fruits of your labor: Perhaps one of the biggest differences, nowadays, between writing screenplays and writing novels, is the ability to actually do something with your work. It’s difficult to really break into Hollywood and land a big producer. So, unless you have a filmmaker buddy, or you’re a filmmaker yourself, and you’re able to create a low budget indy style film, you may never have the chance  to see your work on the screen.

However, through sites like Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and many others, you can self publish your book. It’s free. If you want to put it out in paperback you can do that too, at Createspace. You’ll only pay for a copy of your book. That’s it. Marketing is a whole other story, but if you just want to see your book on your shelf at home, you can do it.

Plus, there are tons of small publishing houses willing to take on new writers. You might have to work harder than you would with some of the big power companies, and you might have to pay a little bit for proper editing and good cover art, but other than that, it’s cheap to publish your own book. Just don’t go with one of the vanity publishers that will charge you $2,000 to publish an ebook version of your novel. Why pay someone to do what you can do for free?

Whatever you do, whether you decide to write screenplays or novels, just make sure you write. Don’t let anything hold you back. Writers write.

Thanks so much for reading,

C. Michael Powers

Mirror Images is available now from Amazon

Friday, April 26, 2013

Review: In Polyester Pajamas

Jean's life is falling apart around her piece by piece. She hasn't been happy in quite a while, but she never expected to be completely alone at 50 with her husband and children rushing to get away from her and only her dog to keep her company. Life gets even better when the perky, too willing to help, utterly annoying Rosie shows up as a new Realtor at her office. Ready to give up, Jean has no idea what is in store for her. 

This is definitely a character driven story. The main focus is on Jean, but many of the side characters shine as well. I really enjoyed Rosie, and I even felt sorry for Bob. Justin is hard to forget, and even though Jean's boys only had quick appearances, I felt for them as they tried to muddle through their own lives and their parents' divorce. 

All of the characters were memorable and well written. My only real issue was that Jean was so unlikable in the beginning. She was supposed to be. Her life was a mess, and a good chunk of that was her fault. She is a jaded and bitter woman when readers first meet her. This had to be the case so she could later grow and reassess her priorities and relationships. I just would have liked to have had a little glimpse of her redeeming qualities earlier on so I could connect with Jean faster. As the book progressed and Jean started to really take stock of her life, I cared much more about her happiness and felt connected with her. 

The overall arc of the story was well developed. Jean undergoes a great deal of change and progression during the story. She isn't a saint by the end of the book, we still have more story to go, but she is someone readers will want to see succeed and find joy. Rosie and several of the other side characters also have a great deal of depth and grow throughout the book. I enjoyed Rosie quite a bit, and I even cared about the ex-husband Bob as well. 

The relationships in this story had many levels to them. The romantic elements were a bit subdued as Jean is mending from being left by her husband and struggles to figure out what she wants, but the friendships she develops were very worthwhile and interesting to explore. Her friendship with Rosie takes most of the focus as Rosie attempts to instill her positive attitude on Jean. She's not always successful, but both Jean and readers will appreciate her effort. 

Jean also develops a friendship with Jacob when she temporarily moves to Cleveland to care for her mother. Jacob's kind and patient demeanor is a comfort to Jean, but sparks just don't seem to fly. Regardless, Jean does not want to leave him behind when he returns home. But as her fondness for Jacob grows, Bob begins reconsidering the divorce. I was definitely intrigued by Jean's relationship with both men and I look forward to following them in the next book. Overall, this was an entertaining and heartfelt story of personal growth and friendship that I enjoyed quite a bit. 

In Polyester Pajamas in available now from AmazonB&N, an Smashwords.

Find out more about Catherine by visiting her websiteFacebookTwitterLinkedin, and Goodreads
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Interview: Catherine Dougherty

Let's get to know more about Catherine Dougherty's new book, In Polyester Pajamas

1. What was your inspiration for this book? 
The day I met Rosie, I made up my mind I didn’t like her.
This was the first line I wrote when I began writing in Polyester Pajamas and it was the first thought that motivated me to complete it several years later. Funny thing is the line was deleted during the editing phase. Still, I’ll always remember it.

2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven or character driven? 
It is definitely character driven. Although there’s plenty of drama throughout, it’s the characters that’ll get you hooked right away.

3. Can you tell us a little about your main character?
Jean, a real estate agent, has just turned 50. Her husband has left her for a younger woman and her kids have gone off on their own. She’s alone, miserable, self-centered and, quite honestly, a real bitch. 

4. Which of your supporting characters was the most challenging to write?
Jean’s mother, Mildred, was the hardest character to write about because of what she is going through in the novel. There were memories and emotions pertaining to my own mother as I wrote about her. Many readers have mentioned they cried while reading about Mildred. Well, I cried while writing these parts and cry every time I read them, too.

5. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book. 
Rosie, another real estate agent, joins the same agency as Jean and sits right next to her. Jean can’t stand her because Rosie is the cheerful, optimistic sort and wants to help Jean get over her unhappiness. They go through plenty of drama together while, at the same time, Jean is dealing with her upcoming divorce, the empty nest syndrome, new men entering her life, and some unexpected news. During a pajama party, Jean and Rosie open up to each other and share their deepest, darkest secrets.   

6. Why did you choose this genre? 
I’m a middle-aged woman and also work on a day-to-day basis with plenty of women. It seemed like the perfect choice. Write what you know, right?

7. What do you hope readers take away from this book? 
That it’s important to have a best friend, at any age, to share your thoughts and feelings with. Also, it’s necessary to work out issues in your life—they won’t go away until you do—and your attitude and beliefs make a big difference on how you handle them.  

8. Who are your favorite authors?
Anne Tyler, Elizabeth Berg, Anita Shreve, Jennifer Niven, Frank McCourt, George MacDonald (just to name a few!)

9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write?
Not really. Sometimes I listen to music. Windham Hill’s George Winston is my favorite choice. He’s a pianist and his music is so beautiful.  

10. Can you tell us about any future projects? 
The sequel, in Woolen Bikinis, is being released this June by Great Gate Media, LLC (formerly Briona Glen Publishing).  I’m also working on my first Christmas novel, and I’ll soon be working on a third book in the Jean and Rosie series for release in 2014. 

In Polyester Pajamas in available now from AmazonB&N, an Smashwords.

Find out more about Catherine by visiting her websiteFacebookTwitterLinkedin, and Goodreads
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Book: In Polyester Pajamas

This week I am welcoming Catherine Dougherty to the blog to talk about her new book, In Polyester Pajamas

"When women talk, they talk about EVERYTHING . . . 

Jean and Rosie, opposites in every way, are dealing with different aspects of their lives when they find themselves working side-by-side in the same real estate company. Despite reluctance, they also find themselves teaming up for some new mid-life adventures filled with excitement, romance and plenty of drama. 

As they become better acquainted, a friendship begins to form. They laugh, cry, and even fight together. Until finally, during a slumber party and while sporting polyester pajamas, they entrust their lives completely to each other and share their deepest, darkest secrets. 

Through it all, they discover how truly wonderful having a best friend, at any age, can be. If you’ve ever had or needed a best friend, have wondered what life was all about, have been ashamed of something you’ve done in the past, or if you’ve ever lost someone you loved with all of your heart, then you MUST read this book! 

Praise for in Polyester Pajamas: 

“In Polyester Pajamas is at once gutsy, poignant, tear-inducing, and wickedly funny. I recommend this book to anyone who has experienced love, loss, heartbreak, happiness, and new beginnings. In short, In Polyester Pajamas is for everyone. It’s a brave, ballsy, brightly colored novel by a brave, ballsy, brightly colorful writer. Bravo, Catherine Dougherty.” —Jennifer Niven, author of Velva Jean Learns to Drive, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, and Becoming Clementine

In Polyester Pajamas in available now from Amazon, B&N, an Smashwords

Get to know more about Catherine Dougherty!

Catherine Dougherty, a New Hampshire native, is a former newspaper reporter, columnist, photographer, and Real Estate/Business Broker. For several years, she served as the Lakes Region Coordinator of The Cozy Cap Project, a project she began in 2007 resulting in many volunteers making and donating thousands of hats for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.  She was editor of The Cozy Cap Project Newsletter for three years, and currently volunteers as writer/editor of a newsletter for The Greater Lakes Region Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
Besides writing, Catherine enjoys reading, knitting, and browsing through bookstores.  She lives in the Lakes Region area of NH with her husband, and is a member of the NH Writers' Project.

In Polyester Pajamas in available now from AmazonB&N, an Smashwords.

Find out more about Catherine by visiting her website, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Goodreads
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Monday, April 22, 2013

Spotlight: Control (MC Lavocat)

Today I am excited to feature M.C. Lavocat, here to tell us more about her new book, Control!

"Control is a paranormal romance, about three lives that are thrown together in a desperate battle where love and lust are the catalysts that release a blood voodoo curse so dark that it could alter their destiny, as well as time itself. 


After spending three stale, miserable years in a neuroscience doctoral program, Cecelia Milonas throws caution to the wind and walks out; right into the arms of the man who has had the starring role in her panty-melting fantasies for over three years. 

Andre St. Clair had never shown any romantic interest in Cecelia or anyone else, so she had resigned herself to the role of fangirl and very willing employee, since moving to New Orleans and into the apartment above his restaurant. Cecelia thinks that their relationship is a fantasy come true, but neither are prepared for a desire that burns hot enough to ignite a hatred, long thought dead.

As if one gorgeous man and deathly struggle aren't enough, in walks Lance Bradley, with whom she has some kind of freaky-deaky, psychic-hotline connection that is determined to pull them together no matter who gets torn apart in the process.

So, nothing is easy in The Big Easy, where the past and the present are caught up in a struggle so dangerous and deadly that it's changing destiny, and possibly time itself.

Author's Note: 
Let me say right away, Control is not like other Paranormal Romance novels. You are not going to be given a crash course on New Orleans voodoo while you watch the main characters muddle through magical mishaps, fight deadly enemies with mad jujitsu skills, or fall madly in love because they have great sex. Sorry to disappoint...no, actually I'm not.

Don't get your panties in a twist; I promise there will be magic, voodoo, love, and of course, hot monkey sex. There is always hot monkey sex. However, that isn't why you should read this book. 

This is why: I like to read and write about things that make me laugh, even in serious moments. I love action, interactions, and drama. I like my characters to have character, and I don't want them to be made of words; I want the characters to burst forth in my mind, I want to be a part of the story, and I want to wish it would never end. I want them to struggle internally as well as externally, and dammit, I want a plot to develop to fruition. I want you to have it too..." 

Meet M.C. Lavocat

I have to admit that I hate writing an Author’s Bio more than anything else in the entire world. That may be a little dramatic, but just trust me…I hate them. The fact is; my life on paper tells you next to nothing about who I am or what I might be like in person. So, instead of reading a checklist of my life, only to sit back and think,” I wonder if she’s a bitch…”. I want to you read my bio and then think, “That chick is a little off….”  
Without further ado…here is my bio. With flair! 

I am the 264 year old surrogate mother to a flock of seagulls, an actual flock of birds, not the new wave band from the 80's. I joined a travelling carnival at the age of eleven, successfully disguising my gender, and serving as an apprentice to the strongman. When my pectoral muscles began to develop at a faster rate than my biceps, I ran away to join with a group of nomadic fortune tellers. 

After a few years of living the nomadic lifestyle, I grew tired of the constant travel and decided it was time to move on...which is a bit ironic I suppose. 

At that point, I hacked into the department of student services to enroll myself at the Wharton School of Business. Naturally, I awarded myself a full fellowship as well as a stipend for living expenses. I completed the MBA/JD Program at the top of my class in only one year. 

After graduating, I took the next seven years off to tour the world in a hot air balloon with six baboons and two llamas. As a side note: baboons and llamas do NOT get along. 

I ended my balloon trip in Canada where I was accepted into the Royal Canadian Mountie training program in Saskatchewan. However, I quit the program shortly after beginning because I looked like a complete tool in the uniform. I got my happy ass out of Canada and headed back to the United States.

I moved from state to state, having an exact replica of each tattooed on the bottom of my foot before moving on to the next. Finally, I ended up in the glorious state of Louisiana where I met the man of my dreams and settled down in da bayou to build a nest and raise the best damn flock of seagulls the world would ever know.

Oh, and I wrote a book too.

Now let's find out more about "Control" 

1. What was your inspiration for this book? 
Hmmmm, no matter how I answer this question it is going to sound bratty… oh well, screw it. ;)

I have always been a voracious reader, but I was getting very, VERY bored with the Paranormal genre. Everything was starting to sound the same and I felt like the whole genre needed a kick in the pants. So, with that in mind, I set out to create a new branch on the PNR family tree – and voila, I give you the hottest new genre, Paranormal Romantic Comedy. 

Besides, I’ve always enjoyed being a little, uh…different.  Yes, different, that fits!

2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven or character driven? 
Well, that is an interesting question because I would argue that I am both.  That is one of the reasons that I decided to write a series, rather than an epic novel; I love my characters and I want you to love them too. However, I have to admit that even I would get bored if they never did anything more dramatic than argue and have sex.  Therefore, I created the first book, Control, which is largely character driven; each character has an individual conflict that relates to the overall plot. The plotline weaves through the story very subtly (one might call it sneaky). Then, in the final third of the book, the reader begins to realize there miiiight be something a little more sinister going on.  
In the end, you have a character driven novel, with a subtle but strong plot line that carries on through subsequent novels.  So, just remember, not everything is as it seems…you just need to look a little deeper. 
3. Can you tell us a little about your main character?
I wrote Control in the first-person perspective of two characters: Cecelia Milonas and Lance Bradley.  Although you get both perspectives and they are technically both MCs, Cecelia’s struggle is the primary focus in the book.
Cecelia is not into typical girly things, and tends to dress and wear her hair in ways that exemplify her free-spirited approach to life.  She loves to have fun and is extremely impulsive, often putting fun before everything else. However, she is smart enough to know when to get her work finished, and most of the time, she manages to pull everything together at the last minute.  Cecelia has an interesting worldview that she shares with the readers; the thoughts that distract her are very funny and she often laughs at herself.
Cecelia does not have many girlfriends, having been raised with three older brothers; she does not know how to relate to other girls. She is very intelligent, and although she has no issues with asserting her thoughts/needs to others, she prefers rational discussion and logic to solve problems.  She does not like to play mental games with other people, and if you ask for her honesty, you had better be ready for it!  She is fairly easy-going and gets often gets irritated with people who are overly dramatic (like James, they bring out the best and worst in each other).
4. Which of your supporting characters was the most challenging to write?
I guess the biggest challenge that I had was writing Lance’s character. I wanted to make Lance’s voice just as strong as Cecelia’s and I would get stuck at times because I didn’t want him to think too much like a girl! 
Luckily, I have the perfect outlet for writers block on those occasions…it still makes me laugh thinking about the many times I would call out to my husband with this statement, “Hey, listen to this and tell me what your first thought is.”  Some of his more colorful answers never made it in the book, but I have to admit that Lance Bradley shares a brain with my sweet hubby. 
5. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book. 
*She sighs heavily*  
Ugh…I knew it was coming, but I always hate this question. Okay, there are several conflicts in this book: man vs. man, man vs. nature, and man vs. self…remember those from high school, right?  Well, for Cecelia, it is man vs. self; meaning that hers is an internal struggle. For Lance, it is man vs. man; ah yes, the love triangle. Finally, for Andre, it is man vs. nature; he must struggle against outside variables that ultimately affect his relationship with Cecelia.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking and I can’t blame you. I gave you an overly nerdy answer; I admit it. You just have to trust me on this one. That is the best way for me to explain it without giving away too much…subtlety is an important factor in the climax.
6. Why did you choose this genre? 
I wanted to freshen it up a bit; you know, put my mark on it…without peeing on it. 
7. What do you hope readers take away from this book? 
Another toughie, damn! Ultimately, I want readers to be so enamored with the characters and the story that they are still thinking about it two days later. I want the characters to have meaning and the story to elicit an emotional response…I want laughter, tears, anger, heartache, joy, frustration, and tension. Not in that order of course, and I’ll settle for three or four from that list. I’m not picky.
8. Who are your favorite authors?
Oh Lawd, this could get long…I’ll just list a few. From the PNR/Urban fantasy genres: I looove The Fever Series, by Karen Marie Moning, Illona Andrews, Jim Butcher, and Kim Harrison. There are many others, but I have followed those mentioned above for several years. 
I also love Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf), Alice Walker (The Color Purple), John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces), William Goldman (The Princess Bride), Jane Austen…anything, L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables), J.K. Rowling (Do I really need to clarify?) 
9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write?
If you call forgetting to eat interesting, then I guess I am a hoot. I like to do my writing on a big red tufted-velvet couch I bought in an estate sale. It was in the front parlor of an elderly couple’s home and never used, it looks like something out of a movie from the 50s and it doesn’t match anything else in my bedroom, but I love it. It is my happy. 
10. Can you tell us about any future projects? 
I am currently working on Power, the second book in the Soul of Voodoo series. It is heavily laden with action, drama and fun; Cecelia, Lance, and Andre learn more about what connects them, and the dangerous voodoo curse that is trying to destroy them. Oh, there is still plenty of hot, monkey sex…never forget the hot monkey sex.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mother's Day Giveaway!

Welcome to the Mother's Day Giveaway!

This awesome event is sponsored by Voiceboks, a great community for parents and bloggers. 

In celebration of all the awesome moms out there I am giving away signed copies of all 3 book in my new series, The Destroyer Trilogy!

Click on the Rafflecopter below to enter.

"For Libby Sparks, turning sixteen means only one thing…death. Guardian rule demands she attend the ritualistic Inquest that will unveil her talents and secure her place in society. But that isn’t all that will be revealed in Libby’s case.

The more talents you have the better, at least to some degree. Four or five talents will guarantee you a life of luxury, but seven…that is the mark of the Destroyer. Libby knows her Inquest will reveal her to be the Guardians’ greatest enemy. Their law requires her death before her eighteenth birthday. If she lives, prophecy foretells that the world will fall into chaos and destruction.

Once her destiny is revealed, Libby is abandoned when her mother throws her out, her boyfriend tries to kill her, and her best friend shuts her out. Only Milo, a slightly grungy outcast, seems willing to be her friend—but Libby soon realizes he has secrets of his own. His secrets may very well have everything to do with her own destiny.

In order to make it to her eighteenth birthday, Libby must bury her talents and convince the world she is harmless. Her plan only lasts until Milo is put in danger and Libby is forced to choose. Abandon her friend to save her own life, or embrace her destiny and truly become the Destroyer." 

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: Audie the Angel

A seemingly average twelve-year-old girl transfers to a new school, yet again, and soon finds out that nothing about her life ... or past lives ... is ordinary. Audie is pulled into a war only she can end, and must figure out how to win against evil while trying to untangle her feelings for her human friend Cave and the charming angel Luce. 

The idea of this book is cute, and I think it will catch young readers' eyes. Situations where other kids are fighting against great power and evil intentions never fail to capture the attention of children who daydream about doing just that. Even better, Audie has friends by her side to help her figure out her past, her new powers, and what she should do next. 

Personally,I have to admit that I had a hard time connecting with this book. I think that was partly due to my expectations not meshing with what I actually got. This book is listed as middle grade, however it is much longer than the standard middle grade novel coming in at over 240 pages. The writing style is a mixture between narration, which using goes more with early readers than middle grade, and simplistic dialog and internal thoughts. The characters are also 12 years old, which is on the bubble of YA literature, but the story is too young for YA readers. It doesn't quite fit in either category, which makes it hard to recommend to either group. 

The area I had a hard time with was Kathryn's version of heaven. Many readers have particular ideas about heaven, and for me, magic forests and mermaids seemed more like a fantasy world than heaven. It was difficult for me to feel immersed in the setting, which affected my ability to feel engaged in the story overall. 

I think the storyline itself is cute and will attract readers. The length may be a problem for very younger readers, though. Katheryn provides interesting moments and excitement with the training and the relationships. I don't categorize divine power and magic in the same category so I didn't enjoy the new abilities as much as I could have, but other readers may have no problem with that and truly enjoy this aspect. Audie's feelings for both Luce and Cave provide more conflict, but it will appeal more to older readers more toward the YA age group than middle grade. 

Another issue that may trip readers up is that the editing is not as good as it could have been. In many places it affected the readability of the story and proved to be distracting. I think this series has potential, but I would hope to see future books in this series have a length more appropriate for middle grade readers, cleaner editing, and more a more age appropriate style and language. 

Audie the Angel is available from Amazon.
Connect with Erika online at: Facebook Website Goodreads * YouTube

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Interview: Erika Kathryn

Welcome to Erika Kathryn! Let's learn more about her novel, Audie the Angel and the Angel Army. 

1. What was you inspiration for this book? 
When I started writing this and getting interested in Angels, I realized with Harry Potter there were suddenly a lot of kids running around wearing round-rimmed glasses, scars on their foreheads, Hogwarts cloaks, and believing in magic.  And I remember thinking to myself, what if there were kids running around wearing halos and wings and believing in Heaven?  It wouldn’t be such a bad thing!  So honestly the inspiration was children and the desire to interest them in something really virtuous and wholesome.  

2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven or character driven? 
I think it is more plot driven, however, in Audie the Angel Volume 2—that will be coming out soon, in May 2013—there is a lot more depth added to some of the characters themselves.  I also call it an “ensemble cast” because there is a team of main characters.     

3. Can you tell us a little about your main character?
The interesting thing about Audie the Angel is that Audie is obviously the main character, however the narrator is Cave.  And so, in a lot of ways there are two main characters.  It makes it challenging to write at times, but I also wanted to keep it interesting for both genders and not limit the audience to only females.  When I hear reviews or get feedback on it, it’s very interesting the different points of view on who is the “main character” between Audie and Cave.   The best part about writing and developing Audie is that she gets to grow and mature and become more confident throughout the series.  Also, Cave will be doing the same…in his own way.  

4. Which of your supporting characters was the most challenging to write?
In Audie the Angel:  Volume 2 I added a new Character that is very personal to me and I think that was the toughest to write so far; just because she is based on a real person and I want to make sure I do her justice.  

5. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book. 
In Volume 1 there is an Evil Angel that is essentially trying to conquer Heaven and seize control of the Angels, Fairies, Animals, and Souls!  He is strategic and goes after the strong, older Angels first, so a team of young Angels—called the Angel Army—is assembled to stand against him.  They are the last line of defense and are able to get through challenges they face using teamwork and their individual powers.        

6. Why did you choose this genre? 
There is so much literature nowadays in the Young Adult genre and of course, as ever a lot in the Adult, I haven’t seen as much geared towards Middle Grade and I think it is very needed.   Children also tend to read-up in age so in other words 8-9 year-olds may be reading books with characters that are 12-years-old.  So I think there is a wide range of ages that would find this book series fun and for that reason I chose it!    

7. What do you hope readers take away from this book? 
My hope is that it will evoke a wide range of emotions in the reader; there are parts that will make you laugh, parts that may make you sad, and parts that should make your heart race!  Although it has Angels in it there is no mention at all about Religion and absolutely zero profanity.  Being a mother I can tell you that nowadays the YA books are filled with adult content, so I think that’s what sets this series apart from others.  

8. Who are your favorite authors?
Nia Vardalos and J.K. Rowling.  Although I will say…I have given lots of thought lately to the question “Are you a writer or a reader?”  Because you definitely have to choose at times in order to have the hours to put into your own writing.   

9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write?
I don’t think that I do, although I am told that I am a complete zombie when I am deeply involved in writing.  I have the capability to tune-out every single thing around me and just focus.  This has been tested that things can happen all around me without me being the slightest bit aware.  So I’m not sure it’s a very good “talent” that I have!  

10. Can you tell us about any future projects? 
Outside of all three Audie the Angel Volumes that I am working on, I also have written a Chick Lit novel.  I am working hard to partner with an agent on it, so I won’t reveal what it’s about but please “friend” me on Facebook and stay tuned!  

Audie the Angel is available from Amazon.
Connect with Erika online at: Facebook Website Goodreads * YouTube

Excerpt: Erika Kathryn

Take a peek at the first chapter of Audie the Angel and the Angel Army

Chapter 1: The Crush

This all started with a crush.

My name is Cave and I just so happened to be the one crushing. I was twelve- years-old when I met Audie and was just halfway through the sixth grade. It’s hard to believe looking back now, that the Angel Archives all started because of a crush. Webster Dictionary defines a crush as, “temporary love of an adolescent.” Although in my case it didn’t feel temporary at all.

This was a simple boy-loves-girl crush that I had on a girl in my class. And not just any girl. A girl that had a force-field surrounding her—made of magnificence. A girl that captivated everyone she passed in the hallways and on the school grounds. And because of this force-field, I wasn’t the only one who crushed on her—practically every boy in my middle school was absolutely madly and unconditionally in love with Audie—of course none of them told her except me. Well…let me clarify…I told her eventually, not right away of course.

At the time I didn’t even know her last name or what had happened in her life that had made her the girl she was. All I knew was that I had a crush on her that made me think of her when I was riding the bus, when I was playing tether ball during recess, when I was in the cafeteria, and even after my mom turned my light out at night. It was as if she had cast a spell on me. Later, after it all began, she asked me to write these Archives for her. She asked me to do this so there was a record of all the adventures she, I, and the others had together.

That’s right, I had a crush on her and I was lucky enough to spend time with her. She was so sweet, she allowed me to tag along on her life changing journey that took me from being a loner little boy with glasses and turned me into a man—or at least that’s what Audie calls me—a man. These Archives are not my stories to tell, but I will do my best. Some of these are firsthand accounts of what I personally observed and some is what Audie herself, or others observed, and later told me.

I guess there’s no better way for me to start other than…night terrors. Yes, that’s right, I said night terrors. Audie had them every single night that she could remember. Don’t get me started on how badly I wished I was there at night with her; let’s just stick to night terrors. They were always the same dream, night after night, and she always woke up in a sweat. Again…wish I was there…but I digress. She said she even woke up with tears dried to her cheeks as though she had been crying for hours. Here’s her account of the repetitive dream…

“YOU’RE GOING TO KILL HIM!” A familiar looking blonde woman screamed, “PLEASE!” She was lying on the floor of what looked like an old castle. An eerie fire flickered angrily behind her and made her hair stand on end. She was crying and the tears sparkled like crystal from the warm light of the fire. She was hovering over a body that looked deadly still.

A man with raven black hair stared down at her and screamed back, “I own you! He doesn’t get to have you! No one will; you’re mine! You’ve been mine since before the day you were born and I OWN YOU! You don’t get to leave me!”

He raised his arm up high behind his head and made a striking motion.


Then Audie would wake up soaking wet in angst and tears. Her father would rush to her bedside and hold her as tightly as he could. Audie was too upset in the moment to ever tell her father what she saw. She didn’t want him to think she had a crazy imagination and whenever the topic was brought up she promptly distracted him with a problem she faced at school, or some homework she didn’t understand.

Now that brings me to Audie’s upbringing. Audie was raised by her dad, August, and because of that she was slightly considered a tomboy. She told me once that he didn’t know much about raising a little girl, and because of that he raised her the only way he knew how. She said they seemed to learn everything together, from how to cook amazing meatloaf, to how to be generous to all animals even the smallest of creatures, all the way to driving at age ten without running over curbs.

Audie loved spending time with her dad. He had the kindest, warmest brown eyes, like maple syrup on a Sunday morning. But every time she asked him about what happened to her mother, her father would barely breathe a word about it and then go to bed early. She heard him sobbing once or twice behind his bedroom door so tried not to mention it often.
Even so, the absence of her mother was a loneliness that Audie couldn’t quite explain. She truly missed the woman she had never met and it was always apparent to her when she saw her classmates being dropped off for school by their mothers.

Audie and her dad moved around a lot which made them even closer. The best memory Audie has of her dad was that every night after dinner they would laugh hysterically over playing Yahtzee. Her dad worked on cars for a living and she recalled how her dad permanently smelled like gasoline, a scent that reminded her of him no matter where she went. She knew before her dad walked into a room that he was coming because the gasoline scent paved the way for him. From what Audie told me her dad seemed to know when she was upset or when she had a bad day and would always be there to make her smile. In a lot of ways, because of all the moving around, her dad was her best and only friend. Audie was born with golden blonde hair and intensely blue eyes that gazed deeply at the world, not as a skeptic, but as an admirer. When I met her, she always had her hair pulled back in a ponytail and wore very conservative, almost boyish clothing, no doubt picked out by her father.

After the passing of both of his parents, August inherited his family’s estate; a house that could have passed for a mansion or even a castle. When Audie turned twelve-years-old, he finally decided to stop living like a nomad with his daughter and settle back in the home he was raised in. He brought Audie to the mansion with hesitation even though knowing a stable life would be best for her. Audie’s new home was cold and strange to her but as long as she was with her dad, she knew she would adjust to the new surroundings. August decided to open up the enormous twenty car garage as his own auto body shop. With him starting up his own business and Audie going to yet another new school, the two of them leaned on each other for support.

Now this brings me to the part of the Archives where Audie and I met. I lived in Lowell, Indiana, a sad small town not too far from the border of Illinois. This happened to be the town where August’s family mansion was. My upbringing was very different from Audie’s. My life was the exact opposite of moving around; we never moved once in the duration of my existence. I was bred, born, and raised in that sad little town of Lowell. Not that I had much to compare it to at the time, but it was a boring ho-hum life until the day that Audie walked into it.

One rainy day when the sun had seemed to be playing hide-and-seek behind dark clouds for over a week, I was sitting in English class, as any old usual Tuesday tired of hearing about synonyms and antonyms and staring blankly out of the window. I was wondering when the sun would come out and grace our small town with its presence just when the class door creaked open. In my mind it all happened in slow motion, as she walked through the door frame it seemed as though a breeze blew across her cherry-colored cheeks and the sun raced into the room, coming out of its hiding place. Even the sun itself couldn’t wait to gawk at her and I think my bottom jaw fell open a little bit. I remember shoving my Buddy Holly glasses up on my nose, wondering if she was more attracted to Superman or Clark Kent, as I considered myself classified more as the latter.

She walked in and stood at the teacher’s desk. Our teacher who was up at the blackboard turned around abruptly and said, “Ah, you must be…”

Our teacher’s bun must have been tied too tight; I thought to myself, how dare she forget such an amazing organism’s name. As the teacher rustled through her papers, Audie smiled at the class and I swear as she looked at me a little twinkle jumped into her left baby blue. In the distance I could hear a collective gasp from all of the boys in the room, but couldn’t take my eyes off of Audie.

“…Ah here it is! You must be Aud—ah, this must be a typo, Audrey.”

“No ma’am, it’s no typo, my name is Audie.”

Audie’s voice rang in my ears for the first time and it seemed as though the clouds opened even wider to let the sun have a better view of her.

“Uh,” our old teacher grumbled, as she looked at Audie with wrinkles around her eyes, “ah, Class, this is Audrey, and she is our new student I told you all about last week. Audrey, please have a seat over there.”

“Thank you ma’am” Audie said slowly, not distracted by the fact that the teacher had completely ignored what she had said.

I remember sitting in that class day after day peeking at Audie out of the corner of my eye, always nervously smoothing out my dirty blonde hair and pushing my glasses further up on my nose. I watched as Audie ran and fetched the teacher more chalk for the board, passed handouts to each of us, cleaned and organized the teacher’s desk every morning, and brought cupcakes to the class every Friday, of course before the teacher got there, as she would never have approved of us eating all of that sugar.

In the hallways boys pushed each other to get to walk beside her, and they clambered over each other to sit near her at lunch. All the while, I admired her from a distance; sitting with my smart friends who would rather talk about math class as I gaped at her out of the corner of my eye. She quickly made friends with some of the girls and grew a reputation of being kind and generous. She was always the smartest and quickest to answer in class, made the best grades, and helped the other students who begged her to study with them.

One afternoon, as we neared the end of sixth grade, around the time the buses pulled into the parking lot and all of the students were rushing to pack their bags and waiting impatiently for the bell to ring, I realized I had forgotten my English book back in the classroom. The bell pierced through the hallways, stinging my ears and as everyone made the mad dash for the buses I fought the crowd to go back to the English room.

I stowed away into the dark room and just as I was pulling my book off of the teacher’s desk and checking that it had my name in the front cover, I heard someone else coming in the room. Thinking it was our old-bag teacher, I hid behind the desk, hoping I wouldn’t be reprimanded for leaving my book behind. The scent of vanilla wafted over to me and I soon realized it was the lovely Audie in the room with me. I felt paralyzed out of nervousness even though I wanted more than anything to pop out from behind the desk. 

Just as feeling was coming back to my legs, a boy that looked my age, and was African American, walked into the room from the hallway and looked right at Audie. I had never seen the kid before, and I remember having the feeling that he didn’t even go to our school.

“Can I help you?” Audie asked the boy.

“Yes, please follow me.” The boy said, with a strong English accent. It was at that point I knew for sure he didn’t go to our school.

“Pardon me?” Audie asked politely in her sweet voice.

“You’ll need to follow me now,” the boy said, as he motioned with his hand for her to follow. 

“You’re in danger here, Audie, you’ll need to follow me right now.”

“I’m sorry,” Audie let a beautiful little smile glide across her face, “what’s your name? What bus do you need to get on? I will help you find it.”

“I have been sent to protect you and you must come with me now,” the boy said, visibly losing his patience.

“Protect me…from what?” Audie smiled deeper now, thinking this was some kind of a joke.

“There is no time for this,” uttered the boy, as he impatiently walked quickly past her and to the classroom closet door.

I had gone into that closet over a dozen times in the school year to grab supplies for my ornery teacher, but when the boy opened the door it was not the same. When he opened it, the shelves of paperclips and colored paper had disappeared and there was snow that opened up to a tunnel of ice!

From what I could see, the tunnel seemed to go on forever. I immediately rubbed my eyes behind my glasses, thinking I must have fallen into a twisted dream and that when I opened them, the plain simple closet that housed the wet mop would reappear. But no matter how hard I rubbed, the same snow-filled tunnel was there.

“What the—?!?” Audie exclaimed in disbelief. It was as if she had read my mind and her voice brought me right back to reality.

Without any hesitation the boy walked right through the door and into the tunnel. “You’ll need to follow me now, Audie,” he stated, over his shoulder.

“In there?!?” Audie stood stationary and gaping as if she didn’t trust that her eyes were being honest with her.

As I watched her take one step forward a complete panic seemed to swallow me, starting at my toes and working its way up to my forehead. I guess I should tell you now that when I get nervous there is only one result that ever comes from it and unfortunately that result is—oh God, I cannot believe I’m writing this in these Archives—well, honestly...it’s sneezing!

You’re probably thinking that I’m a sad little excuse for a kid for having that ailment and you would be right in thinking that. This disorder of mine had plagued me since birth and despite Doctors assuring my mother I would grow out of it, I could never quite beat it. Anytime something surprised me, anytime I was shocked or intimidated or alarmed even, a sneeze attack would be brought on. It typically resulted in me being called some choice names by kids at school but nonetheless, never resulted in anything good.

I felt helpless and miserable because I knew there was nothing—and I mean absolutely nothing—to stop the sneeze attack from coming on. In that instant I tried holding my breath, but to my dismay I sneezed hard, not once, not twice, but three wretched times.

As I wallowed in my self-hate for sneezing, the boy sprang back in the room from the tunnel and Audie spun around on her heel. I wiped the spit from my chin, smoothed out my plaid button down shirt, and looked up to see them both staring down at me.

“Cave!?” Audie shouted in surprise.

Now, call me crazy, but all I could think in that moment was…she knew my name! All of the days in class I had worshiped her and all of the nights I had dreamed of her and all this time, all along, she had actually known my name! It was as though the world stopped spinning and we were alone in the state of Indiana, just me and her in that moment and, did I mention…she knew my name?

“He’s seen the tunnel; he must come with as well.” The boy sneered at me in revulsion. He instantaneously walked back through the closet door, put his hand on the knob and said, “Now,” sternly.

Audie and I followed him without saying a word to each other. Maybe we were scared of him, maybe it was instinct, maybe it was some cosmic force of fate, but for some reason amidst the oddness of that tunnel being in the closet, we followed the strange boy who neither of us knew. Even odder yet, he didn’t seem surprised that we followed him; he just had expected us to do as he said, as if he was some foreign ruler that was accustomed to bossing people around.
As Audie and I crossed through the doorframe from one world into another, the boy pulled the knob shut behind us.

“In we go,” said the boy, walking in front of us, putting on a black facemask and a slick helmet on top of that.

He then pointed to a snowmobile sitting in the icy tunnel. I hadn’t noticed the mobile before but it truly looked like something out of the future. It was bright blue and perfectly shiny, glimmering from the dancing lights on the icy walls of the tunnel. The boy pulled out a helmet that he handed to Audie and hoisted himself onto it.

“No thanks,” Audie said, and turned back towards the door. When she looked for it she realized the door to get back into the closet was completely gone and there was only ice in its place.

“There’s no going back,” the boy breathed through his helmet, and he motioned for her to come join him on the mobile.

“He’s a man of few words, huh,” she said looking at me.

She handed me her facemask that was tucked inside her helmet and she hopped on behind the boy.

In my defense, I had just learned a few minutes prior to this moment that she even knew my name and now she was actually speaking directly to me. So I did the only fitting thing I could do at this point and that was to sneeze. Audie giggled as she put on her helmet. I hurriedly pulled the facemask over my head, snagging it on my glasses, and jumped on behind her. I started to put my hands around her waist to hold on, but stopped a minute to bring myself back down to Earth. I again started to grab her leg this time but I gasped for air as I felt a sneeze coming on. Within a minute’s time, the boy had fired up the engine and as the snowmobile shot forward, I grabbed Audie’s waist out of instinct to refrain from flying off of the back.

I looked over her shoulder at one point but the wind was stinging my eyes through my glasses and all I could do was wish that the English boy had brought along three helmets instead of only two. We went further and further into the icy tunnel. There were turns but it all looked the same to me. Every few yards there were bright LED lights that lined the tunnel walls to keep it well lit. At one point I turned and looked behind us and felt actual relief to leave the life of decimals, fractions, and geometry behind. Even though we were going to the unknown, I knew it was with my crush, and all that mattered was that she knew my name.


Audie the Angel is available from Amazon.
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