Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Angels, Wars, and Why Do You Do What You Do: IWSG Edition


THANK YOU, CO-HOSTS!

The awesome co-hosts for today are Misha Gericke, LK Hill, Juneta Key, and Joylene Buter,

Led by Ninja King, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

BUT FIRST, a huge shout and thank you to J. Lenni Dorner--for the fabulous 5 star review of Moonless, but more so listing me in a top ten list of authors and blogs. Whew! Totally feeling the love.

Have you ever had that "aha!" moment where suddenly you get why your mind works the way it does?

I had one of those this last week as I was preparing for a school presentation. While pondering what really got me into writing, I faced the age-old question: Why do I write about fantasy/sci-fi/historical subjects? Anything but the normal, contemporary world?

And I got an answer.

In the past, I always figured it was because I wanted to escape from the monotony of every day life. And it's true. I LOVE books that take me somewhere new, but that's not the reason.

Now I've asked myself this question a million times and gone back to my roots, but it wasn't until now I got it.

Writing/reading is about compassion. (And maybe entertainment.) It's about seeing the world through other people's eyes and understanding their perspective. Back when I got serious about writing, I was being bullied. Badly. I projected my misery into another world, onto a character, and made her circumstances the worst I could think of to prove to myself that it could always be worse. I started writing off-world, or in another era BECAUSE I had to prove to myself that the human condition is the same, no matter when, where, or how it's faced. The grass isn't greener on the other side of the fence. Everyone suffers.

For me, it's about showing how no one is truly evil. No one is 100% good. We're all just people struggling to find happiness, and if we could see everyone around us that way, life would be infinitely better.


Last week, Tara Tyler shared CRADLE ROCK along with two truths and one lie. Anyone who guessed the lie correctly was entered to a print book, eBook, or swag. (Their choice.)

The game:


1. I sang at a friend's wedding, but didn't practice nearly enough so I mixed up two of the verses. I don't think anyone knew... it was from an opera.
2. I sang at the funeral of a friend's mother - hardest thing I've ever done, was shaking and tearing up, barely made it through.
3. In college I had a solo for our "Spring Sing" - was young and fearless and hit that high note with a vengeance, the video is priceless.

The lie: #2.  

From Tara: I couldn't do it at all. It was too overwhelming and I declined. And I was glad I didn't try it, because I couldn't keep it together enough to sing it in my head at the funeral. I get emotional when I sing... It's part of the enchanting, sometimes therapeutic experience.

Apparently Tara is AWESOME at lying, because not a single person guessed the lie correctly. *gasp* So, everyone who guessed got an entry. And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...

Marcy Hatch!

Congrats, Marcy!

And now, for a book with one of the most beautiful covers I've seen:

Being crowned homecoming queen and enduring a week at the center of her classmates' attention is eighteen-year-old Julia White’s worst nightmare—even with Cole, her long-time crush, as her date. But when Julia is attacked by a green-blooded demon that vanishes in a plume of smoke, she comes face to face with what real nightmares look like—in the flesh, and all of the homecoming stuff hardly matters anymore.

As a frightening wave of crime infiltrates her small Wisconsin town, Julia tries to avoid Nicholas, a brooding, infuriating relative of Cole’s, who insists she’s the reason behind the corruption. He claims the culprits are demons who are after powers that only she—a human-angel hybrid—possesses. It’s unbelievable, of course, until he takes her to a hidden battlefield where warrior angels train to fight soul-siphoning demons—and her own angelic wings unfold.

When angels and demons draw battle lines, endangering everyone in their way, Julia has to find a way to protect them all, including herself. Because as it turns out, she’s the devil's most powerful weapon against the angels, and he’ll stop at nothing to claim her. 

The final battle between Heaven and Hell has begun.

When Ash Rains Down is the first book in debut author Cecelia Earl’s Kingdom Come series.

Buy your copy on Amazon.

Ready to meet the author?

Cecelia Earl is the pen name for Christy from Erica and Christy (http://lynneawest.blogspot.com/). She graduated with a degree in education and has been teaching ever since. She’s a wife, a mom of three boys, and an owner of a magical laundry pile that never stops growing. She lives near enough to Green Bay, WI that her refrigerator is always stocked with cheese, and the first colors her children learned were green and gold. She’s a teacher by day, a mom always, and a writer in her sleep, but that’s okay because being an author is a dream come true. She writes angel books for young and youngish adults. If you feel young, she writes for you—whether or not you feel particularly angelic.

Christy's favorite cheese is a toss up between Sartori's Bellavitano Merlot,  LaClare Farms Chandoka, and Springside Cheese's aged cheddar...and their award-winning cheese curds (They are the squeakiest and best!). She married into a cheese-making family and recently accompanied her husband on a trip to Chicago for a cheese festival and manned his company's cheese table with him. At the time he'd had a cheese he'd made that hadn't been named yet, so he labeled it Project X. It was the hottest selling cheese that day and they had fun with all the cheese tasters who offered up their own name ideas. He sold out of it and has yet to make more, or to name it, though she keep offering up HER name for it. Naming it after his wife sounds like a winner, right? She loves eating cheese, cubed, with cubed green apples, and bread dipped in oil with a glass of Malbec. Best appetizer ever.

Cecilia/Christy gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. Those who figure out the lie will go into my magic hat for the chance to win their choice of a PRINT BOOK (US only) or an eBook. (For international winners.)

You have until Tuesday, February 14 at 2 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answer on February 15, 8 a.m. EDT.
TRUTH OR LIE

1. I've run a couple of miles...with no clothes on, and even saw a professor run in the nude once.
2. I've taught more than 300 children how to read and write.
3. Rather than visiting the normal sites to see when travelling through Europe and Great Britain, I chose to see cemeteries instead. Who needs to snap pictures of the Eiffel tower, Big Ben, or the Colosseum when there are graves to put flowers on?

So sleuths, which is the lie? Have you met Christy? Do you like angel stories? Have you figured out what you do what you do?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Top Ten Books of 2016 + An Epic Giveaway


It's been a while since I did a top ten. Are you ready for this?

2016 was a decent reading year for me: 80 or 90 titles. As always, it's very difficult to chop my list down to JUST ten books. Are you ready for this? (And I warn you, this is an eclectic list.)

10
Very interesting book...somewhat morbid. Was it for middle graders (as labeled)? For teens? Adults? (Yes, I was that confused.) The plot, while short, presents great suspense and it was a fun read...after I got over the initial shock of some very unexpected content.

Get it on Amazon.

9
I have absolutely no idea how this one ended up on my eReader, but I consumed it over Christmas. I don't want to give anything away, but people who enjoy NA and fantasy elements will appreciate this one.

Get it on Amazon.

8
A fantastic book that paints a time period in full color--the brutality, the gender roles, the lifestyle. Meet a protagonist well worth rooting for. This book is for adults.

Get it on Amazon.

7
I love, love, LOVE, Odd Thomas. Koontz paints a rich, word-lovers world with suspense, fun twists, and the injustices. Without spoilers or saying anything more, this has been one of my favorite Odd Thomas books. This is an adult book. Very adult.

Get it on Amazon.


6

Aliens, dystopian society, strange things happening in the main characters head... I was taken right away with this story. An awesome YA book. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Get it on Amazon.

5

THE ONLY mermaid book that comfortably/realistically bridges the world between land and ocean. Although I could see how the story was going to resolve, I enjoyed every moment getting there. A wonderful NA book.

Get it on Amazon.

4

From the first chapter, I wasn't so sure. I'm pleased to say that by the end, I was 100% sold. Cute characters, a fun conflict, and a happy conclusion. Highly recommended.

Get it on Amazon.

3

It's rare I read a book where I just want to linger (because of the author's beautiful language/writing), and can't stop myself from burning through it. This CLEAN regency romance has all the fun of a historical setting, suppressed attraction, and societal expectations, PLUS an actual plot. And beautiful prose.

If you love regency romance, read this book.

Get it on Amazon.
2
When I read the concept of this YA book on a blog, I immediately bought it. (That's rare for me. SUPER rare.) I looked forward to mentally living in that world--but little did I know it would end up being a SINGLE reading session. An AWESOME read. I want to read it again already.

Get it on Amazon.

1
I have never read such a cast of well developed, believable, three-dimensional, DIFFERENT characters. And the plot... I was sitting comfy, thinking status quo when BAM! Whiplash. So I thought, the author got lucky. Hah! It wasn't luck, and just wow! Superb story. SO much fun to read. The only caveat: while labeled YA, this book is TRUE TO LIFE. The characters use language you might hear in a high school hallway. Very authentic.

This one of the best books you've NEVER heard of, but you should definitely read.

Get it on Amazon.

At the beginning of the month, Tracy Clark shared SCINTILLATE along with two truths and one lie. Anyone who guessed the lie correctly was entered to an eBook.

The game:

1. I eat all sandwiches and burgers in a circle, around and around until I get to the middle.

2. I was once crowned Miss Burbank, CA. 

3. I was an extra in the condom commercial in Lethal Weapon 2.

The lie: #2.  

From Tracy: I was 2nd runner up in 1988. Hah!

Way to guess everyone! And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...

Hilary Melton-Butcher!

Congrats, Hilary!

And now, for an AWESOME middle grade book:

WELCOME BACK TO THE FOREST!

Gabe the goblin just saved his town Broken Branch Falls from splitting apart. He also revealed that humans--horrible creatures of myth and legend--may actually be part of their history! But seriously? Nah!

Now Ona, Gabe’s girlfriend, is headed thousands of miles away to Camp Cradle Rock for Spring Break seeking evidence of humans. Gabe knows better than to tell a stubborn ogress she’s crazy, so he’s letting her go and spending the break at the beach like a normal teenage beast. And he’s determined to have a good time without her, whether he likes it or not.

But when Gabe hears Ona went missing, he and his friends set out for the wilds of the west to find her, no matter what dangerous creatures get in his way. Not even humans.


Check out the Book Trailer!

Ready to meet the author?

Tara Tyler
I love to use poetry and songs in my writing, there are a couple of examples of me singing on my YouTube channel. And in my fantasy books, I always seem to find a reason to add a poem or song, like this human bedtime rhyme to warn children about beasts from CRADLE ROCK:


Close your eyes and go to sleep
Not a whisper, not a peep
Else beyond the border creep
Giant monsters, make you weep

When fathers scold
And mothers hold
Dark tales of old
Are often told

From the history of time
Beware the Mist above the line
Across our fences, danger find
Stay safe within or fate unkind

Big, bad, hairy
Monsters scary
Pray for fairy
Sweet dreams carry

Close your eyes and go to sleep
Not a whisper, not a peep
Else beyond the border creep
Giant monsters, make you weep.

Since I love to sing, I have performed in front of a few audiences - but I often screw up from stage fright! It's tough!

Tara Tyler started out as a math teacher. After having a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering and living up and down the Eastern US, she now writes and teaches in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. In addition to her novels, she has published short stories and poetry in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, and Humor. So many stories to tell!

Tara gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. Those who figure out the lie will go into my magic hat for the chance to win their choice of an eBook, signed PRINT book, OR swag item (bracelet, t-shirt, or tervis tumbler). (Open internationally.)

You have until Tuesday, January 31 at 2 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answer on February 1, 8 a.m. EDT.
TRUTH OR LIE

1. I sang at a friend's wedding, but didn't practice nearly enough so I mixed up two of the verses. I don't think anyone knew... it was from an opera.
2. I sang at the funeral of a friend's mother - hardest thing I've ever done, was shaking and tearing up, barely made it through.
3. In college I had a solo for our "Spring Sing" - was young and fearless and hit that high note with a vengeance, the video is priceless.

So sleuths, which is the lie? Have you met Tara? Do you like middle grade stories? Do you have a favorite book or two from 2016? Share, please!