Cover Reveal: Ozma

Cover Reveal

Blurb: 

At Ozma’s birth, the witch, Mombi, abducted and cast a spell on her, turning the infant into a male. Only when Ozma broke the witch’s curse did she discover who she is—the True Queen of Oz. Her freedom is short lived when the Wizard, hungry for her power, imprisons her in a dark, brutal world, cut off from Jack and her magic.

Jack, too, was stolen as a child, forced to toil as Mombi’s slave. When he believed his lover died, Jack loses himself to an array of companions, while plotting his escape from Mombi.

Once Ozma is returned to the Land of Oz by a savior’s magic, she seeks to reunite with Jack while vowing to kill the two fae who ruined their lives. However, neither Jack or Ozma are the same as they once were. They must put their heartache aside to journey across the unforgiving land to stop the Wizard and keep evil from sweeping over the territories.

Book Links:

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50713469

Pre-order link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08K4QNJ13/

Interview With Author Allison Saft

Author Interview

Meet Allison Saft.

Social media links:

Hi Allison!

Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, Rae! Thank you so much for having me! I’m the author of Down Comes the Night, which is out in early 2021 with Wednesday Books. It’s a blend of YA fantasy and Gothic romance about two sworn enemies who must work together when a snowstorm traps them in a mysterious, crumbling estate. I’m inspired by real-world history and politics, vivid settings, and, honestly, anime. I was born in Philadelphia, but I’ve lived in Austin, New Orleans, and most recently, the California Bay Area. When I’m not writing, I’m usually hiking the redwoods, experimenting with new recipes, or practicing aerial silks.

The Interview.

Do you think your background in English Literature enhances or weakens your writing? Perhaps both?

When working within the conventions of a historical literary movement like the Gothic, I think a background in English Literature can be a huge boon! Gothic literature is more than just a flickering-candlelight aesthetic; understanding the economic and cultural factors that led to its popularity in the 19th century has been instrumental in telling a story that stays true to its roots while appealing to 21st-century readers.

I could see potential drawbacks to a literature background, too! When we treat novels as objects of study—as literary contraptions, as one professor of mine used to say—it can suck the joy out of them. Writing fiction, at least in the drafting stage, is a very emotional, intuitive, sometimes even spiritual practice for me; too much analysis can kill a project in its early stages. For what it’s worth, though, I think you can get roped into believing that all your academic friends will judge you if you write genre fic—or worse, young adult genre fic! But if you don’t respect what you’re working on, it won’t be any good. Besides, any friends who consider genre fic lesser aren’t worth listening to (and are missing out, honestly).

What kickstarted your writing journey and resulted in your debut, Down Comes the Night?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid in some form or another (mostly fanfiction…), but what really kickstarted my writing journey was a mentorship program called Author Mentor Match. Deadlines always motivate me, so I planned to rewrite a trunked project during NaNoWriMo 2017 and submit it to AMM in March 2018. By late November, I finished my rewrite. I printed it out, read it through, and immediately threw it in the garbage. It was entirely soulless—the book I thought I was supposed to write rather than a book I really cared about.

I didn’t have any other ideas, so I moped for about a week. Then I thought, well, what do I have to lose? Why not write something fun? Something that would capture the magic writing once had when I was a teenager with no ambitions for my work beyond entertaining my friends. Something romantic and dramatic and full of all the tropes I loved. I finished a draft of Down Comes the Night in about six weeks. I ended up getting into AMM with it, and the guidance, support, and feedback from my mentor and peers were invaluable as I revised and queried the book. I wouldn’t be where I am without them, and I still count on them today!   

Name two things about Gothic literature that fascinate you.

Its relationship to the past—how it, by turns, expresses a longing to return to an unrecoverable time and stages hauntings from that which refuses to be left behind.

Its (sometimes hilariously) intense fixation on the emotional experience of the protagonist.  

As a writer, what has been your biggest struggle when drafting, revising, and editing?

Drafting: I’m a fast drafter—meaning I like to hurtle through a skeletal “draft zero” before I double back and fill in the details. Finishing that draft zero means I’m usually pretty sure a plot works in execution, but it also means the book reads almost like a screenplay. In those really early drafts, it’s sometimes hard for me to imagine how a project will come together thematically and emotionally.

Revising: Since I draft the way I do, my first revision pass is basically… actually writing the book! That’s the hardest part, although it’s the most rewarding. From there, it’s all about ironing out the details, large and small. Revising Down Comes the Night nearly killed me a few times. It has an element of mystery, and it was hard to get right. Planning out the reveals, streamlining the investigation, cutting unnecessary red herring characters, making sure everyone’s motives were clear… Tears were shed!   

Editing: The hardest thing about editing is learning to let go. I struggled with this during line edits for Down Comes the Night, and I’m struggling again during copyedits. I could tinker forever with line-level prose, but there comes a point when you have to cut yourself off and accept that you’ve done the best you can. That the book will just be different, not better, and you may do more harm than good if you start messing with things that don’t need messing with.

What makes the ideal monster?

I think a lot about “monster romances” and what makes them work. What does it mean for a character to be monstrous? What does it mean for a (physically) non-monstrous character to identify with the monster? To me, it’s notable that some of the most successful (in my opinion) monster romances are between human women who are marginalized in some way and monsters who are similarly, often wrongly, reviled. In Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver, it’s significant that Miryem is Jewish—as significant as it is that her monstrous love interest, the Staryk King, rules over a fae-like people who are hated because they supposedly strike ruthless bargains and impoverish the kingdom in their endless quest for gold. It’s significant that the heroine of Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is a mute woman named Elisa Esposito in love with a creature stolen from a river in Brazil.

However, I also think there are monsters who are purely reprehensible. Those that embody the ugliness in society or are clearly some cultural fear made flesh. I like them, too.

  • In terms of crumbly mansions, is there a real life mansion that you’ve visited or wanted to visit?

I’ve only ever been to the Newport mansions, which are stunning and ridiculous and the very opposite of crumbly. I’ve always wanted to see the real Allerdale Hall from Crimson Peak—but it turns out they built the entire set in the studio, which is wild to me!

What is the root of romance for you?

To me, a good romance has sizzling tension and also answers the question “why are these characters good for each other?” in a way that’s thematically satisfying.When I’m writing romance, I consider what the characters want and need individually—and how each character’s wants and needs both complement and complicate the other’s. I always try to write parallel character arcs for my romantic leads. Oftentimes, they both need the same thing; they’ve just developed different ways of coping with that lack and told themselves different stories about what exactly will make them happy.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

While Down Comes the Night doesn’t come out until next year, there are some really exciting books coming out in 2020! I can tell you from experience that Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald and The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman are absolutely fantastic. Some of my most-anticipated reads are Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Barshardoust, The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska, The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson, and A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe.

Blog Tour: For Better or Cursed

Blog Tour

For Better or Cursed 

(The Babysitters Coven #2)

by Kate Williams

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: September 15th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary, Magic Realism, Fiction

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository | iTunes | Google Books

Synopsis:
Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed sequel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.

Esme Pearl’s life used to be all about bumming rides and babysitting. Sure, it wasn’t glamorous, but it was predictable. All that changed when Cassandra Heaven came to town, and they discovered their complicated, and connected, legacy: Esme and Cassandra are Sitters, supernaturally-gifted teens armed with an ever-changing grimoire of Sitter witchcraft to help them protect the innocent and keep evil demons at bay. You know, the typical teenage stuff.

But just as Esme is starting to adjust to–and maybe even like–her new normal, life lobs another glitter bomb her way. The Synod–the Sitterhood’s governing circle–has called a Summit, a once-in-a-generation gathering that promises training, education, and whole lot of ice-breakers.

Esme should be excited–a Summit might mean she can finally get the answers she desperately wants–but she can’t shake a building sense of panic. Especially since Cassandra’s not acting like herself; Esme’s dad is MIA; Pig is out of dog food; Janis is scared to be alone; and there’s a guy who seems too good to be true, again. Worst of all, it soon becomes clear, there’s no one watching the kids. It’s obvious the Summit is a haute mess, but will it be a deadly one, too?

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Instagram

I’m the author of the YA novel The Babysitters Coven.
I also write for magazines, including Cosmopolitan, NYLON, Elle, Women’s Health, Shape, Time Out New York, Monster Children, Russh, Oyster, The Fader, NME, H&M, Smith Journal, Gather Journal, KnitWit, Popular, Style.com and more.


I have ghostwritten New York Times bestsellers, celebrity tell-alls, memoirs, how-tos, and beauty bibles (Shh…. I was never here, and you haven’t seen me.)


And, just ‘cause we’re still talking about me, I’ve also written windows, billboards, emails and captions, captions, captions for brands such as Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal, Vans, Calvin Klein, Nike, Lively, BAGGU and more.
I love to write about witches, teenagers, girls behaving badly, palm trees, and other forms of magic. Teenage girl witches behaving badly under the palm trees is my penultimate subject.

Guest Post.

Movies NOT to watch if you’re a babysitter

I got the idea for The Babysitters Coven when I started to think about how many horror movies feature a babysitter as a main character. Taking care of children is never an easy job, but here are five flicks that will make any babysitter reconsider her career path!

  1. Halloween (1978): This classic film is so much about torturing a teenage babysitter that it was originally titled “The Babysitter Murders.” Fortunately, that babysitter is badass Laurie Strode, who survives and goes on to star in many, many sequels.
  2. When A Stranger Calls (1979): An eerie prank caller keeps urging the babysitter to “check the children,” and…spoiler alert…the call is coming from inside the house!!!
  3. Child’s Play (1988): Sometimes it’s not the kids or the parents who are evil. Sometimes it’s the toys.
  4. The House of the Devil (2009): Pro-babysitting tip: when hired to babysit for a new family and you arrive to find out they have no children, just call it a night and head home.
  5. Better Watch Out (2016): A little Christmas movie about the horrors of white male privilege.

Tour Schedule Here.

Giveaway Info:

Prize: Win a physical copy of FOR BETTER OR CURSED by Kate Williams (US Only)

Starts: 23rd November 2020

Ends: 14th December 2020

To enter, click here.

Tour Organized By:

Blog Tour: GOD STORM

Blog Tour

God Storm 

(Shadow Frost #2)

by Coco Ma

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Release Date: October 20th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Book Depository | Kobo | Google Books

Synopsis:

Everything has a price.


In the kingdom of Axaria, a darkness has fallen. After defeating the evil mother who summoned an immortal demon to kill her, newly coronated Queen Asterin Faelenhart should have every reason to celebrate. Her kingdom is safe, forbidden magic eradicated, and her friends are alive. Except Asterin’s triumph has come at a devastating cost – forced to choose between a lifelong friend and true love, she’s lost both. But the shadows in Axaria have begun to stir once again, and no one is more starved for vengeance than Asterin….


Yet it soon becomes clear that the shadows plaguing her kingdom are just the beginning. Another realm coexists with the mortal world – the beautiful, nightmarish Immortal Realm ruled by the wicked God of Shadow, King Eoin. When their paths entwine, Asterin realizes that Eoin possesses exactly what – and who – she seeks most. And the fates of all those that she holds dear – Orion, her missing Guardian; Luna, the friend she could not save; Harry, the demon who saved them all; and Quinlan, her beloved broken prince – ultimately rest in the god’s hands.


But in a world of magic, not everyone is always as they seem. When shocking discoveries threaten everything and everyone Asterin has sworn her life to protect, she won’t be the only person forced to make a choice…a choice that will change the mortal world forever.
And maybe even destroy it.

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram 

Coco Ma is a Canadian author and pianist. At the age of fifteen, she wrote the first book of the Shadow Frost Trilogy and hasn’t looked back since. After learning the piano during her childhood, she has performed on some of the world’s greatest concert stages and graduated with a precollege diploma in piano performance from the Juilliard School in New York City. Currently, she studies at Yale University.


At this point, she wishes she could mention having a dog or a small dragon, except pets (and happiness, apparently) are tragically prohibited at her dormitories. When she isn’t writing, practicing piano, or wreaking havoc, you might find her bingeing Netflix or eating cake. Lots of cake.

Blog Tour Schedule Here.

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Blog Tour: Kingdom of Ice

Blog Tour

Kingdom of Ice and Bone 

(Frozen Sun Saga #2

ByJill Criswell

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Release Date: September 22nd 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction


Synopsis:


Lira and Reyker have lost everything. Including each other.


Lira of Stone watched her home burn and her clan fall beneath the sword of the warlord known as the Dragon. She believes the man she loves, a warrior who defected from the Dragon s army, is dead. Alongside her exiled brother and his band of refugees, she will fight the forces that conquered her island. But the greatest danger may come from Lira herself with the blood of banished gods running through her veins, she s become a weapon, and no one is safe from the power of her wrath.

Reyker Lagorsson thought he was done being a Dragonman. That was before he saw Lira leap from a cliff and vanish into the sea. Determined to honor her memory by protecting her people, Reyker must feign loyalty to the warlord, undermine him at every turn, and seek alliances with renegade soldiers without succumbing to the battle-madness that threatens to possess him once more.


When the Fallen Ones offer Lira a chance to defeat the Dragon, her quest leads her to a place she never expected Iseneld, the warlord s homeland. Her journey into the heart of the Frozen Sun will put her on a collision course with Reyker, costing both of them more than they ever imagined, and leaving her with a terrible choice: to save their countries, she must forsake everything she loves.

Guest Post

Agony and Ecstasy: An Insider Look at Sequel Writing

All authors have fond stories to share about “the call”—that magical moment when they first heard they were getting a book deal and their lives were forever changed. But here’s a story we don’t often hear: the moment of panic when you realize, “Oh, crap, I have to write another one.”

While there is a thrill in knowing your characters’ stories will continue past whatever condition they were frozen in at the end of your first book (especially if it ends on a cliffhanger, as mine does), there is also a lot of self-doubt that goes along with writing a sequel. What if you only had one book in you, and all your talent has been expended? What if you blew your most interesting storylines on book one and now all you have left to work with are duds? What if by giving your first book that crazy, fiery, dramatic ending, you’ve written yourself into a corner, because—like most writers—you were so focused on book one you couldn’t spare a thought for what might have to come after?

Personally, I had to shove all those doubts to the back of my head and just move forward. The first thing I did was re-read my first book, Beasts of the Frozen Sun, and make a list of ideas and things that needed to be addressed/resolved. I have two main characters—Lira and Reyker—who were separated at the end of book one. I started thinking in terms of ripple effects: Lira and Reyker have their own paths, so I need them to move forward on their own, but I also want their actions to cause ripples that effect each other, even though they’re unaware of these impacts. This was tricky, but also a lot of fun.

Here’s what wasn’t so fun: tying up loose ends. The whole first book takes place in Lira’s home country of Glasnith. I knew for the sequel, Kingdom of Ice & Bone, I wanted Lira and Reyker to travel to Reyker’s home country of Iseneld. I was dying to get them there. If I could have had my first sentence be “Lira and Reyker are now in Iseneld” and go from there, I would have. But there were so many loose threads from the first book that had to be resolved before that journey could happen. I was quite annoyed with first-book-me who left that giant mess for sequel-me to clean up. I’m not going to lie—writing Part One of the sequel was sometimes a slog for me. But with each new chapter I wrote, a clear path emerged. It felt like playing a game sometimes: move Lira here in this chapter, move Reyker there in that chapter, with each move edging them closer to stepping on those ships that would carry them to Iseneld.     

Another issue I had was correcting mistakes from book one. Some readers complained that the first book meandered: there was no clear goal. Giving your characters a goal to move the plot forward is like Novel Writing 101, but it’s something I’ve never been great at. I’m an ambler, and so are my characters, but this time I knew I had to do better. This time I had to give my characters clear motivation. For Lira, it’s saving the young women who are imprisoned by the warlord, Draki, and achieving her revenge against him for the destruction of her homeland. For Reyker, it’s seeking redemption by protecting Lira’s island and her people, and saving his own island from Draki’s reign. Once I found that motivation, it gave me focus as my characters stumbled through the obstacles I’d set before them.

Finally, I knew better this time around that I wasn’t just writing a self-contained book. This is a trilogy, so I had to know where I was headed in the third book in order to set up those threads in the sequel—not every detail, but at least the basics. This was another tactic that helped with writing the sequel, illuminating a path for me to follow.

In the end, I’d say that writing the sequel wasn’t easy, but it proved easier than writing the first book. Now, writing a finale—yeah, that’s another story. Cue the cliffhanger…

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Jill Criswell is a writer of Young Adult Historical Fantasy. She was born and raised in the swamps of northeastern Florida. She earned degrees in English and Psychology and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida.

Her greatest passion, besides reading and writing, is traveling the world; she’s visited fifty countries across six continents, falling in love with places like Iceland, Namibia, and Cambodia. She works as a university English teacher and lives in South Carolina, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and daughter (who is named after a volcano in Iceland).

Blog Tour Schedule Here.

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Blog Tour: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

Blog Tour

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

(A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1)

By Roseanne A. Brown
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 2nd 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis:
The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.
For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.
But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.
When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
Book Links:  photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png

Guest Post: ASOWAR Story in GIFs

 

Malik and his sisters arriving in Ziran 

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Karina just in general

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Karina dealing with her trauma by shirking all her responsibilities and becoming a punk

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Vengeful spirits on their way to ruin Malik’s life

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Malik coming in contact with the supernatural

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The royal council when Karina’s mom dies and she becomes queen

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Karina attempting to take over for her mother as queen

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Malik coming up with ways to kill Karina

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Malik and Karina when they meet and actually don’t hate each other????

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…only to remember they each need the other dead

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Malik and Karina trying to get their lives in order

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Malik when [REDACTED]

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When you reach THAT plot twist in the book and figure out who is really pulling the strings

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Malik, Karina, and [REDACTED] during the climax

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The city of Ziran when [REDACTED]

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Readers after finishing the book

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Me feasting in the fires of my readers’ screams

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About the Author

Roseanne “Rosie” A. Brown was born in Kumasi, Ghana and immigrated to the wild jungles of central Maryland as a child. Writing was her first love, and she knew from a young age that she wanted to use the power of writing—creative and otherwise—to connect the different cultures she called home. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and was also a teaching assistant for the school’s Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House program. Her journalistic work has been featured by Voice of America among other outlets.
On the publishing side of things, she has worked as an editorial intern at Entangled Publishing. Rosie was a 2017 Pitch Wars mentee and 2018 Pitch Wars mentor. Never content to stay in any one place for too long, Rosie currently teaches in Japan, where in her free time she can usually be found exploring the local mountains, explaining memes to her students, or thinking about Star Wars.
Social Media Links:

Giveaway Info Below:

Prize: Win an ASOWAR bookplate, bookmark, two trading cards, and access to the exclusive short story (INT)

Starts: June 2nd 2020

Ends: June 16th 2020

Click here to enter.

Tour Schedule Here.

Tour Organized By:

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