Cover Reveal: Lyrics & Curses

Cover Reveal

 

Lyrics & Curses
Candace Robinson
Published by: Filles Vertes Publishing
Publication date: November 10th 2020
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Lark Espinoza could get lost in her music—and she’s not so sure anyone in her family would even care to find her. Her trendy, party-loving twin sister and her mother-come-lately Beth, who’s suddenly sworn off men and onto homemaking, don’t understand her love of cassette tapes, her loathing of the pop scene, or her standoffish personality. For outcast Lark, nothing feels as much like a real home as working at Bubble’s Oddities store and trying to attract the attention of the cute guy who works at the Vinyl shop next door—the same one she traded lyrical notes with in class.

Auden Ellis silences the incessant questions in his own head with a steady stream of beats. Despite the unconditional love of his aunt-turned-mother, he can’t quit thinking about the loss of his parents—or the possibility he might end up afflicted with his father’s issues. Despite his connection with lyric-loving Lark, Auden keeps her at arm’s length because letting her in might mean giving her a peek into something dangerous.

When two strangers arrive in town, one carrying a mysterious, dark object and the other playing an eerie flute tune, Lark and Auden find that their painful pasts have enmeshed them in a cursed future. Now, they must come to terms with their budding attraction while helping each other challenge the reflection they see in the mirror. If they fail, they’ll be trapped for eternity in a place beyond reality.

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Author Bio:

Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words and hoping to one day find her own DeLorean time machine. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, watching classic movies, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas–where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next!

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Blog Tour: Seven Deadly Shadows

Blog Tour

Seven Deadly Shadows

By: Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: January 28th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Synopsis:
Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess.
But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.
Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.
With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil.
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SDS BLOG TOUR GUEST POST– The Journey to the Book’s Map

Hi everyone, Courtney Alameda here, co-author of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS! We were so lucky to get a map in SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS. And not just any map, but a map designed and illustrated by the amazingly talented Feifei Ruan! While the final result is absolutely stunning, our map certainly didn’t start out that way . . .

 

To begin, our editor asked Valynne and I to create a map of the Fujikawa Family Shrine. Because I have some facility with Photoshop, I dove in and came up with this beauty:

Map 1

 

It’s . . . a map, I think? With blob gardens and blob ponds, box buildings and nebulous mountainsides. (I did my best, okay?!) Thank heaven that Feifei translated my blobs and boxes into a spectacular first draft:

 

Map_sketch[1]

It looks like a proper Shinto shrine, doesn’t it?! With a rough draft in hand, Valynne and I had to make some decisions that impacted the text—for example, Feifei asked us if it was proper to have a pond in front of the main hall. We decided that she was right, that feature didn’t make sense, and moved the water feature into the main courtyard.

 

We also sent Feifei lots of images of shrines from our trips to Japan.

 

The next draft looked like this:

 

Map_sketch2[1]_CA Edit

Beautiful, right? At this point, we fine-tuned the text to match the map. There were lots of references in the novel to the “pond in the courtyard,” which meant we had to painstakingly comb through the text and adjust them all. We also spent time triple-checking fight scenes and making sure everything was copacetic.

 

And after a few more adjustments, Feifei sent us this:

 

Map_ink_notes

We were thrilled with this version! So imagine our elation when we saw the final, glorious, full-color version of the Fujikawa Shrine:

 

final map

Valynne and I are so grateful to Feifei Ruan and the creative team at HarperCollins for this map! As you read SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, I hope it helps you acquaint yourself with one of the most important places in the novel—the Fujikawa Family Shrine.

 

Thanks for reading! And should you take the time to listen to Kira’s tale, Valynne and I hope you enjoy it! Just remember, don’t fear the shadows . . .

 

About the Authors
Courtney Alameda
A veteran bookseller and librarian, Courtney Alameda now spends her days writing thriller and horror novels for young people. Her debut novel, SHUTTER, was nominated for a Bram Stoker award and hailed as a “standout in the genre” by School Library Journal. Her forthcoming novel, PITCH DARK (Spring 2017), is a genre-blending science fiction/horror novel in the vein of Ridley Scott’s 1979 film ALIEN.
Courtney holds a B.A. in English literature with an emphasis in creative writing. She is represented by the talented John M. Cusick of Folio Literary. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah with her husband, a legion of books, and a tiny five pound cat with a giant personality.
Author Links:

Valynne E. Maetani

Valynne E. Maetani (pronounced Vuh-lin Mah-eh-tah-nee) grew up in Utah and obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In a former life, she was a project manager and developed educational software for children with learning disabilities. Currently, she is a full-time writer. She is a member of the We Need Diverse Books team and is dedicated to promoting diversity in children’s literature because every child should grow up believing his or her story deserves to be told. Her debut novel, Ink and Ashes, is the winner of the New Visions Award 2013, a Junior Library Guild 2015 selection, and Best Fiction Book in Salt Lake City Weekly’s Best of Utah Arts Award for 2015. She lives in Salt Lake City.

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GIVEAWAY

Grand Prize: Win a signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, a signed copy of Courtney Alameda’s SHUTTER, and a signed copy of Valynne Maetani’s INK AND ASHES; anime portraits of Kira and Shiro; a stuffed fox omamori charm from the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Japan; an origami fox hand-folded by Valynne Maetani; a yokai mini sticker sheet; and an assortment of Japanese Kit Kats (not pictured) [INT]

Second Prize: Win (1) of (2) A signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS with anime portraits of Kira and Shiro (INT)

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OPEN INTERNATIONALLY

Starts: 28th January 2020

Ends: 11th February 2020

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Blog Tour: Only Ashes Remain

Blog Tour

Only Ashes Remain (Market of Monsters #2)

By Rebecca Schaeffer
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 3rd 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Synopsis:
After escaping her kidnappers and destroying the black market where she was held captive, all Nita wants is to find a way to live her life without looking over her shoulder. But with a video of her ability to self-heal all over the dark web, Nita knows she’s still a prime target on the black market.
There’s only one way to keep herself safe.
Nita must make herself so feared that no one would ever dare come after her again. And the best way to start building her reputation? Take her revenge on Fabricio, the boy who sold Nita to her kidnappers. But killing Fabricio is harder than Nita thought it would be, even with Kovit by her side. Now caught in a game of kill or be killed, Nita will do
whatever it takes to win.
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About the Author
Rebecca Schaeffer was born and raised in the Canadian prairies. Her itchy feet took her far from home when she turned eighteen, and she hasn’t returned for more than a few months here or there since. You can find her sitting in a cafe on the other side of the world, writing about villains, antiheroes and morally ambiguous characters.
Her debut , Not Even Bones, is about a girl who dissects and sells monsters on the internet. Not Even Bones received a starred review from Booklist, was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Speculative Fiction, as well as the Cybilis awards.
The sequel, Only Ashes Remain, comes out September 2019.
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Blog Tour: Remember Me

Blog Tour, Book Reviews

Remember Me

By Chelsea Bobulski
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: August 6th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Horror
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Synopsis:
In this eerie and suspenseful YA, a teen girl discovers what connects her to the hotel she calls home as horrifying visions lead her to the truth. 
Nell Martin is moving again, this time to the Winslow Grand Hotel, built in 1878. As Nell is settling in, strange things begin to happen. Doors lock of their own accord, writing appears on bathroom walls–and most horrifying of all–visions of a dead boy permeate her waking life. Thinking it was her mind playing tricks on her, she soon finds the past and the present colliding as she learns horrific details of a murder that happened at the hotel in 1905 involving a girl named Lea.
Nell and a mysterious bellboy must relive that day in hopes of finally breaking a curse that imprisons them both. And Nell discovers what truly links her to the history of the Winslow Grand Hotel.
The Review
About the Author
Chelsea Bobulski was born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised on Disney movies, classic musicals, and Buckeye pride. She’s always had a penchant for the fantastical, the stories that teach us there is more to this world than meets the eye. She has a soft spot for characters with broken pasts, strange talents, and a dash of destiny in their bones. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a degree in history, she promptly married her high school sweetheart and settled down in Northwest Ohio with her notebooks and daydreams and copious amounts of chocolate. THE WOOD is her debut novel.
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Prize: Win (1) copy of REMEMBER ME by Chelsea Bobulski (US Only)

Starts: 06 August 2019
Ends: 20 August 2019

 

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Interview with Author Donald Firesmith

Author Interview

AuthorPhotoSmall.jpgMeet Donald Firesmith.

By day, I’m a computer geek who works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, I have authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than I can possibly remember. I am proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although my pride is tempered somewhat by worrying whether the term “distinguished” makes me sound more like a graybeard academic than an active engineer whose beard is still more red than gray.

By night and on weekends, my alter ego writes speculative fiction (primarily modern paranormal fantasy and apocalyptic science fiction) and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. I live in Crafton, Pennsylvania with my wife Becky, my son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs and cats.

Social media links.
Author website: http://donaldfiresmith.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/don.firesmith
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DonFiresmith

The Interview.

Hi Donald! Thanks for joining us today. 

What was it like to receive, and or see, your first piece of fan art?
I hate to admit it, but I haven’t received any yet. I do have a ready place for it on my author website, and I would dearly love artwork of the various types of demons in my Hell Holes I have bought photos of models for most of the characters, but there are a few that would be especially interesting to see as original art such as the 1,700-year-old Aileen O’Shannon or the much scared Maximillian. I will happily send an autographed book to any artistically-inclined fan who sends me some artwork I can post.

 

I see you initially published your first novel under a pen name. What made you decide to use a pen name in the first place and why later use your name when publishing?
My first book was special. You probably remember the scene in the first Harry Potter movie when Harry walks into the bookstore, Flourish and Blots. I loved the bookstore and imagined what it must have been like to be able to buy and read the Hogwarts textbooks. I kept hoping that JK Rowling would write some, but the three she wrote for charity were very short. I wanted a real textbook. I eventually got tired of waiting, and so Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore was born. I had the idea that the book was actually a copy of a real magic school textbook, so it needed an appropriate author: Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. Wolfrick was taken from the wolf on my Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA) coat of arms. Feuerschmied is just the German translation of my last name.

Does your writing alter ego slip into your personal life?
I have a regular 9-to-5 job, so writing must take place in the evenings and on weekends. Another big impact is that as soon as I get in bed, clear my mind, and settle in for the night, I think of good ideas for my current writing projects. Sometimes, I have to get up two or three times to write them down before I can finally go to sleep.

What is the trickiest aspect of writing a post-apocalyptic world?
I would imagine keeping it both realistic and fresh because there have already been so many books in the genre. Actually, my Hell Holes series takes place during the apocalypse (Armageddon), so technically I have yet to write a post-apocalyptic book.

How did you get started as a writer of fiction?
I was a voracious reader of science fiction in high school. One year, I kept a journal and recorded the 72 books I read. It was hard to read so many great books without coming up with some ideas myself. That’s when I started banging out short stories, most of which were sadly too amateurish to be published. I stopped writing in grad school due to my heavy load of course work. After I graduated and began working, I eventually published seven software and systems engineering books. Then, about 15 years ago, I grew tired of technical writing and took up fiction again.

Any bookish news to share that may occur in the next few months?
I am busily working away on Hell Holes 3: To Hell and Back and hope to have the completed first draft done in the next couple of months. With rewrites and editing, I hope to have it finally out in October.

You are stuck in one of your fictional worlds – what is the first thing you do and why?
If it was my Hell Holes universe, I would immediately flee south to stay ahead of the advancing demon army.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
Authors spend a great deal of time creating their labors of love. The best way readers can encourage them to continue is to leave an honest review on places like Amazon or Goodreads. I guarantee it will make the author’s day.

 

Thank you Donald for the interview!

Blitz: As Silver is to the Moon

Blog Blitz

 

As Silver Is to the Moon
R. A. Watt
Publication date: April 28th 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

New school. First love. A psychotic werewolf that wanted me dead. And it was only week one in Santa Isadora.

For fifteen-year-old Teavan Laurent and his older sister Suzanne, Santa Isadora seemed like a sleepy and idyllic California town to finish high school after their unexpected move west from New York City.

As he struggles to make friends in a town shrouded in secrets, Teavan soon finds himself the target of an irrational tormentor and rumored-to-be werewolf. The revenge-obsessed psycho vows to wipe out Teavan and his small family due to past wrongs beyond Teavan’s control or knowledge. The twisted legacy left to him by his late grandfather brings Teavan at odds with everything he knows to be true—or at least everything he thought to be true.

The impossible truth of the tale begins to gain traction at his first wolf sighting, and Teavan and Suzanne soon find themselves in the crosshairs of the dark and secretive lycan world of Santa Isadora.

Stalked by a legend that shouldn’t exist, Teavan must decide how far he is willing to go to save those that he loves and come to terms with what lurks from within.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

The room felt crisp and refreshing as I crawled back into the cozy warmth of my covers. The comforting presence of my dog Honey’s stretched curled form was gone. “Honey”?

Only the sounds of occasional thunder and rain could be heard, along with the violent, howling winds. The big oak tree in the yard was flailing back and forth, looking like it could lose a limb.

“Honey?”

Listening for the familiar sounds of her padded footsteps, I was alarmed when I heard banging on what sounded like the front door. I almost jumped out of bed.

Who could be here, in the middle of a storm, in the middle of the night?

An uneasy feeling slid over me as I made my way to the hall, electing to keep the lights off so I could see out the windows.

Answering the door to our apartment back home at two in the morning usually meant some drunken idiot was at the wrong door and couldn’t get their key to work. But out here, there could be no mistake.

Maybe it was the outer screen door banging in the storm. The gusting winds would most likely rip it off its hinges if it weren’t pulled tightly closed. As I reached out to unlock the bolt, an unmistakable knock came from the other side, sending my heart racing.

Someone was there.

I’m not proud to admit it, but I panicked a little. A bead of sweat trickled down my cheek. Lightning occasionally illuminated the room from the front windows.

Crap.

Maybe someone needed help. Maybe someone was being chased by a wolf. Maybe it was the wolf. Except a wolf couldn’t knock on a door.

But a werewolf could.

I tried to laugh at myself to ease my own tension.

On either side of the big wooden door was a floor-to-ceiling privacy window, with white curtains covering each one. I tried to look through the somewhat transparent lace, but I couldn’t see anything, just blackness outside.

If whoever was there saw my movement, I would have no choice but to open the door.

Chancing it, I ever-so-slightly moved the curtain aside to look out on the porch. I could see nothing until the next flash of lightning lit up the sky.

A wrinkled, elderly woman sat in an antique wooden wheelchair outside our front door. The winds blew her long, white hair in all directions, but she was looking down.

My head snapped back with my heart in my throat. Surely she needed help, but she almost looked scarier than some guy dressed in black. The image of her wheelchair and wild hair flying all about terrified me.

How did she get up the steps, alone, in a wheelchair?


Author Bio:

Ryan is a husband and a father of three children. A lover of food, wine, sunshine, skiing, and fiction.

Although his background is in finance, he has always had a love of books, particularly fiction, since a young age and has been an avid reader ever since. Ryan’s favorite books are deep, engrossing novels that may not necessarily win Pulitzer Prizes, but are difficult to put down.

Reading should be fun, absorbing, and a step away from our ordinary world. No matter what the critics say about the book on your nightstand, if you don’t look forward to reading each night it’s not the right book for you!

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