Monday, 7 October 2013

Interview ~ Laekan Zea Kemp author of Breathing Ghosts

About Laekan
Laekan Zea KempLaekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multicultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn't Bury, Orphans of Paradise, and the upcoming Breathing Ghosts.

Stalk Laekan on:


When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I remember writing my first book when I was in 8th grade but, for me, I don't think it was ever a conscious decision. I'd always had an active imagination and liked to spin ordinary things into really crazy stories--which at my age now would be considered lying haha. And that tendency really progressed into storytelling when my best friend got a video camera one year for her birthday and we started making these really bizarre movies about the mob and witches and drug addiction. Yeah, we were probably twelve. It didn't become a conscious choice until my first year of college when I had to choose a degree plan. I went back and forth between Creative Writing and Social Work but ultimately decided to go with writing because I'd never taken a creative writing course in my life and I really wanted to spend some time honing my craft.

Who are your influences?

Artistically I find inspiration all over the place and am influenced by everything I read. Growing up I was really drawn to character driven stories and looked up to authors like Wally Lamb, Khaled Hosseini, and Melina Marchetta. But I also really love stories that feel contemporary but also have a sense of magical realism like Maggie Stiefvater's books. Her prose is just so lyrical and that's definitely something I strive for whenever I write.

Who is your favorite author? what is your favorite book?

Pretty much the same authors as listed above: Melina Marchetta, Maggie Steifvater, John Green, Wally Lamb, and Khaled Hosseini. My current favorite reads are On The Jellicoe Road and I Know This Much Is True.

What do you like to do when your not writing?

This might seem obvious but when I'm not writing I love to read! I'm also a total TV addict and love binge watching shows on Netflix. My favorites right now are Scandal and Dexter (except for those last few scenes of the series finale--What was up with that?) Next up I'll probably start Breaking Bad (I know, I know. I'm so behind) and American Horror Story.

Where do you like to write?

Ideally, I would love to write in a big beautiful office next to a window overlooking a snow capped mountain range. But for now I just write at a small black desk in a corner of my apartment while my dog sits in my lap and tries to lick my face off.

What is you favorite genre?

Hmm...I'm pretty open but I'm a die hard contemporary fan. I also love Latin Historical fiction and Paranormal Romance.

What inspired you to write Breathing Ghosts?

This will probably sound strange but I honestly can't even remember anymore. The story actually started out as a screenplay and my goal was to create something that would be really interesting visually. I think the road trip aspect of the novel just developed as I was trying to pick a setting--there were too many interesting places to just choose one. River was also the first fully developed piece of the puzzle and since he was so closed off emotionally I knew sending him on a road trip would be the perfect way to get him out of his comfort zone.

How would you describe Breathing Ghosts to someone you had just met?

It's a coming of age story about a young man who goes on an epic journey after the death of his girlfriend armed with his memories and her unfulfilled dreams and learns that in life there are no accidents, only miracles.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Breathing Ghosts isn't your traditional ghost story and Nia's continued presence after her death is more of a result of River's grief than anything supernatural. But as for whether ghosts really exist or not, I'm pretty open minded and would never rule anything out.

Do any of the characters in the novel remind you if yourself?

There are bits and pieces of myself in every character I write and sometimes that's intentional and sometimes it's totally by accident. The hardest thing is re-reading something I've written and seeing my flaws in a particular character. Being faced with your own imperfections can be a little jarring but watching that character come to terms with who they are and ultimately come to accept herself can also be really therapeutic.

What is your favorite thing about writing?

My favorite thing about writing is the freedom. I can go anywhere I want, be anything I want, say anything I want, and feel anything I want and that's incredibly liberating.

Are you going to stay in the same genre for future projects?

I know a lot of people think sticking to one genre is the ticket to success but I just can't work that way. Every book I've ever written has been so different and the project I'm working on now is just as unique. But for me, that's the key to avoiding burn out. I love exploring new territory and I can see myself writing in many different genres in the future.

Are you working on anything right now?

Call it the curse of writer’s brain but I've always got something in the works! Right now I’m working on a YA contemporary trilogy (with a side of sci-fi/magical realism) and am half way through the first draft of book 2. Without giving too much away, it centers around a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from Klein Levin syndrome, better known as Sleeping Beauty syndrome, and it’s probably the most romance heavy of all of my projects.

When was Breathing Ghosts released?

Breathing Ghosts was officially released on September 30th!

Is there anything else you would like to say to readers?

I'd just like to say thank you. Truly. It means so much when a reader takes a chance on your book and it means even more when you're an indie author. So I'd like to thank not just every reader who's picked up a copy of my book but every reader who supports indie authors and who so selflessly and enthusiastically champions books that might otherwise stay invisible.

About the book.

Inline image 1She is a winding cosmos, bleeding and bursting into night. She is a dream. She is dead.

River has just lost the one thing that matters most to him—Nia—and all she's left behind is a pile of scribbled love notes detailing their past and a pin-holed map planning out their future. Hopes and dreams confined to one dimension now that she's gone and River’s too afraid to leave his hometown, crippled by the same anxiety that’s plagued his mother for as long as he can remember.

But after a strange encounter with the only girl he ever loved a week after laying her to rest, River, armed with nothing but her map and his memories, decides to finally leave and never look back. And with the help of a pair of eccentrically named siblings as well as a mutt with three legs, he sets out to do the very thing Nia always knew how to do better than he ever could—live.

From the moonlit beaches off of Florida's east coast, to the forests of Mississippi, to Bourbon Street, Cadillac Ranch, and the Arizona desert, River is faced with not only Nia's ghost but his own and he learns that in life there are no accidents, only miracles.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Review ~ Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl 5/5

I'm aware this book has gotten a lot of bad reviews and I was told it was "Boring" and "Slow" after I had bought it, but I was undeterred. I know the types of books I like and this one matched up, young adult, fantasy, supernatural, paranormal, magic & witches all words that hugely pique my interest. Also I had also of course seen trailers for the movie - despite my best efforts to avoid them- before I started reading, and the movie looks awesome. So all things considered, after a stint on the bookcase, I delved in.

Beautiful Creatures hypnotized  me, the plot was interesting, the characters were multidimensional and the writing was beautiful. But 563 pages and I'm not sure a whole lot happened, I literally think I was hypnotized. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed it, the pages flew by, and I don't have much criticism. But seriously, HOW WAS THAT 563 PAGES!?! I think there may be some caster magic involved here.

As for my criticism there really isn't much to say, I do hope that there isn't a cop-out song at the end of the next book, a poem of excuses for every year would be rather annoying. And well this doesn't really count as a criticism I just had to say it, in the book Lena says that mortals choose whether to be good or bad, and that line stuck with me. People don't decide, I think its part nature and part nurture but you don't wake up and say that for the rest of your life you'll be good or bad, its a matter of circumstance in my opinion.

It really is a great book, I couldn't put it down and the characters were really intriguing, realistic and lovable. If you like young adult and fantasy then pick up a copy. I can't wait to watch the film or read the next book.


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Review ~ Drowning Instinst by Ilsa J. Bick

Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick 5/5
Drowning Instinct
I bought this book because I loved Ashes, so when I heard Ilsa had another young adult novel out I looked it up and it sounded great. I absolutely adore this book, I devoured it three days, I couldn't put it down. I was reading until dawn last night because I kept telling myself just a little bit more before I go to sleep, eventually I had to force myself to put it down. So what can I say about the book without giving anything away. Of course the writing was great - that I had expected  - the story was way more captivating than I'd anticipated, a total work of art (okay I'm fan girling a little, but who can blame me). This book bought a whole new light to the taboo subject of a student teacher affair, it was written in a way that was totally new to me with no clear lines between monsters and victims. I was totally mesmerized by the damaged and broken characters they were so layered and well developed - Jenna is a great protagonist, I cried a few times reading her story and it pained my heart a little but in the good way, the way that tells you your never going to forget this book or these characters.

Such a great book, an epic as far as i'm concerned, as soon as I had finished I wanted to read it all over again.  It only took me three days to read but will stay with me forever, a complex novel about a girl with emotional and physical scars who falls for a guy who shouldn't fall for her, but their both broken and maybe their forbidden love can save them, or not since Jenna's story is told into a police recorder. After all "this is a fairy tale with teeth and claws" The book was so powerful I think it may have permanently scorched a mark on my soul, there are so many poignant quotes in this book, but you can read it for yourself for them, however I think the book is best summed up in this quote from the acknowledgements "People drown, quietly, before our eyes all the time" ~ Ilsa J. Bick. Seriously I highly recommend this book. it left me breathless, and I was still crying a little even as I closed the cover and slid it back on the shelf.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Review ~ Godhead by Ken Mooney

Godhead by Ken Mooney 2.5/5

Godhead (The Last Olympiad, #1)The author sent me an e-copy in return for an honest review. Okay, let me start by saying that fantasy and horror are among my favorite genres so I really wanted to like this book. But something was missing, a certain spark that makes you want to read into the small hours. This book took me over a month to finish which is totally unlike me, and its not because I didn't like the book. The premises was great, the writing was good but there was something missing. I felt no attachment to the characters, they weren't very layered and even though I wanted to know what happened to them I wasn't very invested in them. I couldn't  laugh or cry with them, I couldn't become totally involved in their world I felt like a bystander watching their trials and tribulations with cold indifference.

This book started well I enjoyed the beginning, the battle of the gods and demons was so promising I really liked Aphrodite and Hera's rivalry, but then it flicked to the present day and things started to slow. The book dragged for awhile and the flitting randomly into different characters pasts got kind of tiresome. It started getting good toward the end of the book and then suddenly finished leaving me a little deflated. Obviously the book had good points otherwise I would of given up, the battles were good, very in depth and I love the idea of demigods just discovering their powers. The writing was good, I mean the author clearly likes an ellipses but if you wade through those there's a good author who got a little side tracked with juggling characters and pasts. Although I would like to find out what happens I'm not sure if I can read a whole other novel like this one to find out, it was just so slow and empty. If you like horror and fantasy definitely give it a try, just because its not my cup of tea doesn't mean it isn't yours.


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Interview & excerpt ~ Tim Stutler author of Hillari's Head.

About Tim.

Tim Stutler was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. Immediately after high school he enlisted in the United States Navy for five years, sailing the Pacific on a destroyer. Following his honorable discharge, Mr. Stutler earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Fullerton, graduating in three years and first in his class with Highest Honors. He then attended UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, earning a Juris Doctorate degree there after completing his 3L year at Harvard Law School. Mr. Stutler served as a member of the California Law Review and an editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review.

He is presently an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of California. He has held a number of other positions over his career, including dishwasher, burger flipper, taxi driver, office clerk, law firm partner, Judge Advocate in the United States Army Reserve, California Administrative Law Judge, and Municipal Court Judge pro tempore.

Mr. Stutler's new novel, Hillari's Head, will be released August 1, 2013. His first novel, Dead Hand Control, was released in paperback and dust jacket in 2003 and as an e-book in 2011. Mr. Stutler has also edited or contributed to several professional and scholarly publications. He and his wife, Marilyn, now live in San Diego. They have an adult son. In addition to writing, Mr. Stutler is a distance bicyclist and amateur cook.


When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was a ravenous reader growing up and loved submerging myself in the worlds my favorite authors created. And I've always enjoyed writing short pieces to entertain my friends. But until I took a creative writing course in college, I'd never put together a complete story. Entering new and infinitely malleable worlds of my own creation was like discovering a legal, non-toxic amphetamine. But college papers don't feed the hounds, and I was too risk-averse to pursue writing full time. So I studied law, joined the bar, and became a lawyer. Only after I was established in my profession did I indulge my desire to write fiction.

I became a competent writer only after I started practicing law. I know lawyers who complain that the law sucks the imagination out of them, but I don't agree with them. Litigation is all about creativity. A skilled litigator must take a bunch of facts, which can be quite complex; figure out which ones help his case, which hurt him, which are useful as background, and which are irrelevant; and create the strongest story he can tell for his client. It has to be compelling, and it has to ring true; a lawyer cannot make things up. The art is in deciding which facts to focus on, figuring out how to interpret them, constructing an explanation for negative facts that minimizes their impact, and assembling it all together into an understandable, persuasive tale. And then the lawyer has to apply the law to those facts. It's a highly creative process.

Who are your influences?

I am a huge fan of Mark Twain. I can't think of another writer as insightful, concise and downright funny. As for books that have influenced my writing other than Twain's, I'd include: Two Years Before The Mast (Richard Henry Dana, Jr.), To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee), Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes), and The World According To Garp (John Irving). I'm also a sucker for great speakers who can move their audience, such as Lincoln and Churchill.

Who is your favorite author? What is your favorite book?

I mentioned Mark Twain, who is my all-time favorite. Among living writers, John Irving tops my list. This sounds like hyperbole, but I think his A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of the most amazing novels I've read. As for best endings to a novel, Anne Tyler's Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant gets my vote.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

What I like to do is different from what I usually end up doing! I'm a distance cyclist and enjoy a hard 12 to 16-hour ride. I also like cooking and entertaining (and eating), reading, blogging (something new for me), and traveling with my wife of nearly 30 years, Marilyn. In a perfect world, I'd find a nice balance between all those activities. Lately though, my day job dominates my days, evenings and weekends. But my work brings its own rewards, not to mention a steady paycheck.

What inspired you to write Hillari's Head?

I’m inspired by individuals who overcome physical or emotional challenges that would cripple others. And I’m fascinated by how one's face influences every aspect of her life, including self-esteem, mood, family relationships, friendships, romance, and even career success. I first learned of Hillari's condition, which is called oligodontia (the most severe form of hypodontia), through pieces in the local newspaper. The pictures mesmerized me. Before researching oligodontia, I had never considered how a toothless visage would affect one's core self-identity. And I was surprised by the number of people I know who suffer from hypodontia, or know someone else who does. After learning more about the condition and its effect on those afflicted and their families, I knew I had to write about it.

Some studies show that “beautiful” people earn more and are even considered more trustworthy than ordinary-looking folks. I know how a man’s looks affect him. But personal appearance seems a much bigger issue for women. The market confirms that. Just look at any women’s magazine at the grocery checkout. Who’s on the cover? How are they dressed? What are the topics in this month’s issue? Now compare that to the covers of men’s magazines. Very few discuss how a man can improve his looks – his fitness maybe, or his car’s appearance, but not his hair or his face and certainly not his butt. And judging by how much my female friends and my wife (whose spending is comparatively modest) spend on cosmetics, clothing and haircuts, there’s no comparison.

Hillari's Head addresses these subjects. Kristina the protagonist, has self-image issues. But they pale compared to Hillari’s. Hillari had a big head, but nobody ever noticed that, because she was also practically toothless. If you’ve ever looked in the mirror after losing or just chipping a front tooth, you have some idea of how being toothless would shape the entire universe of a girl moving from childhood to womanhood. Hillari’s plight was painful. And Kristina had her own problems as a child; she was isolated from the rest of the world and had an embarrassing speech impediment. The book explores how these characters deal (or dealt) with such issues.

Which of the characters you've created in Hillari's Head is your favorite?

The two main characters, Gideon Ducker and Kristina Orris, but for different reasons. Gideon is the kind of person you love to have around, with his quick wit, intelligence, strong character and self-deprecating personality. But Kristina is someone I think more people can identify with and admire. She's an every-woman who has conquered numerous obstacles in her life, and must surmount more in order to succeed. I feel a paternalistic bond with her character.

You mentioned in the afterword that you have an over sized head and a love of recumbent bikes. Are there any other aspects of you in the book?

I'd say there's a little of the author in every character -- even the antagonists. But you'd also see friends, family members and even acquaintances in the characters. I share some of Duck's personality traits, but he's a much better trial attorney. And although I've never been tested as Duck ultimately is, I suspect he's more courageous. It might come as a shock that Kristina and I share many traits too. In your review, Scout, you registered some surprise that a male author could create "such a realistic female character," and figured that I must have researched female protagonists. You were right! (Thank you for that generous compliment, by the way.)

I did have a tough time getting inside Kristina's head. I decided early on that trying to write from a woman's perspective would prove a doomed adventure, so I wrote about a woman -- one specific, unique and somewhat odd woman. And you correctly guessed that I did my research, devouring everything from Little Women to self-improvement titles like If I'm So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single?: Ten Strategies That Will Change Your Love Life Forever (an excellent book by Susan Page). But books can only teach so much. I think that writers, the good ones, are students of human behavior: listening, studying, and analyzing. As a lawyer, I can be irritatingly persistent and inquisitive. I believe my female friends started avoiding my notepad and me after I'd been working on Hillari's Head a few months. And I know my poor wife now prefers a semi-oblivious husband to one who constantly wants to know what she's thinking, how she's feeling and why she does things the way she does.

Even after extensive research, personal observation and analysis, I think it's fair to say that I can never fully appreciate what it's like to be a woman. But I can also never fully appreciate what it's like to be another man. Most people have trouble understanding even themselves much of the time! A writer can only observe others and create unique personalities using the filter of his own life experiences. For me, that effort is one of the most enjoyable parts of writing: creating a world and populating it with characters of the writer's own invention.

What is your favorite thing about writing?

I love the creative process of constructing entire worlds, but my favorite thing is connecting with the reader. I mentioned above that as a younger person I enjoyed entertaining others with my writing. That's still true. While crafting a story, I like bouncing ideas off my friends and family and getting their feedback on different passages. But I'm thrilled to connect with a reader I don't know. In your review, you say, "I actually think I'm going to read this book again in a couple of years; it was really touching and will stay with me for a while." That's what keeps me writing.

What don't you like about writing?

Starting a chapter, section or paragraph when the ideas just aren't flowing. But when the blockage washes away, the resulting rush can be one of the most rewarding aspects of the writing process.

Does it annoy you when people assume Hillari's Head is like Law and Order (like I did)?

This question made me chuckle. You're referring to the humorous (I hope) blog I wrote about book reviews, which mentioned that some reviewers enjoyed Hillari's Head because it is similar to Law and Order, while others -- like you -- enjoyed it because it is nothing like that series. I am not at all annoyed by the comparison. Comparing Hillari's Head to a series or show or another book would trouble me only if it discouraged a reader from looking inside.

I'm learning that different readers do not always interpret a book as the writer intended. But I'm also coming to see that this is not particularly important to me; I want them to make the story theirs, drawing their own conclusions based on their own life experiences. What matters most to me is whether the readers enjoy the read, and perhaps take away something of value.

Have you got another project in the works?

My previous two novels were mainstream fiction. The next, titled Saga, is historical fiction. The story begins in present-day California, where Katie Matsunaga-Bishop, a thirty-something writer, is experiencing an existential crisis. She has taken sanctuary in the home of her aging grandfather, Hank. In his effort to help his despondent granddaughter make sense of her recent tragedies, Hank shares details of his own past that he’s never before disclosed. Katie’s grandfather was part of a storied Japanese-American U.S. Army unit in World War II, the 442d Regimental Combat Team. He relates an intriguing tale of his bond with two other Nisei soldiers, an irrepressible young Hawaiian and a more enigmatic soldier named Herman Saga. Saga saved his friends' lives in the mountains around Bruyeres, France in 1944. But his own fate is a mystery. Katie journeys to France, hoping to answer seventy-year-old questions still haunting her grandfather. What the grieving woman doesn't realize is that the answers she seeks may do more than bring Hank peace; they may save a life – Katie’s.

About the book! 

Hillari’s Head is a character-driven novel about Kristina Orris, a 26-year-old paralegal who has moved to San Diego seeking a new life—a normal life. She is burdened by the memory of Hillari, a sister with an oversized head and disfigured face. Home-schooled by a protective single father, Kristina herself had a vexing speech impediment and rarely left the house while growing up. But after her dad died, she knew she couldn’t stay. Kristina dreamed of being a lawyer. Pursuing such a goal might prove painful for any cloistered, mumbling orphan; but it would be impossible yoked to Hillari. At 18, Kristina abandoned her home, her past – and Hillari.
Now, eight years later, Kristina meets attorney Gideon “Duck” Ducker, “the single homeliest man she had ever laid eyes on.” But she instantly bonds with the warm, self-effacing lawyer. Kristina takes a paralegal job at Duck’s law firm, where the two are thrown into the most tumultuous and intriguing case of their lives. Kristina thrives. Only one thing prevents her from becoming the confident, fulfilled woman she longs to be: the swelling burden of guilt and shame over her past. But is it too late to redeem herself?

Alternately touching, humorous and heart wrenching, Hillari’s Head is about family, intimacy, resilience and, ultimately, acceptance. With its intriguing characters and elements of comedy and tragedy, Hillari’s Head will appeal to fans of Nora Ephron (Heartburn) and John Irving (A Prayer For Owen Meany).


Hillari’s head was huge. I’m not talking 

Elephant-Man huge or anything 

like that. But it was unnaturally 
large—bigger than any other girl’s head I've 
ever seen. Bigger than most guys’, too. And it 
caused her lots of problems. She had to wear 
pullover blouses with big neck holes or shirts 
that buttoned, because her head stretched out 
everything else. And she always said those 
“one size fits all” hats were a cruel hoax. Hill 
did not like hats.
Kristina Orris cradled her chin in her hand and read what 
she had typed. She had never blogged before, and wanted 
to avoid the subjects that girls her age usually wrote about: 
careers, personal growth, fashion, and men. Kristina didn't 
feel she knew enough about those topics to say anything 
insightful or even particularly interesting. But she knew 
Hillari, and wanted to get her story right.
She began tapping on the keyboard again. The strokes 
were slow, deliberate, as she sounded out each word.


Thank you Tim for the awesome interview, great thoughtful answers!
 What did you think? I love the sound of his next project as well, I'm definitely intrigued!

Don't forget to check out my review of Hillari's Head HERE!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Interview and Excerpt ~ Horse Country by Christine Meunier

About Christine
Christine considers herself introduced to the wonderful world of horses at the late age of 13 when her parents agreed to lease a horse for her. She started experiencing horses via books from a young age and continues to do so, but recognizes that horses cannot be learnt solely from books. She has been studying horses from age 16, starting with the Certificate II in Horse Studies and is currently undertaking her Bachelor of Equine Science via distance education.

Christine has worked at numerous thoroughbred studs in Australia as well as overseas in Ireland for a breeding season. She then gained experience in a couple of Melbourne based horse riding schools, instructing at a basic level before heading off overseas again, this time to South Africa to spend hours in the saddle of endurance and trail horses on the Wild Coast.

Particularly passionate about the world of breeding horses, she teaches equine studies focused on breeding, at a TAFE, Victoria, Australia.She also writes a blog about equine education which you can view at - Horse Country available for sale in ebook and hard copy formats! - like Horse Country - A World of Horses on facebook! - EQUUS - Equine Related Education, Vocations and Travel

Horse Country - A World of Horses
Book info

Follow Lise and Wes as they work their way around North East Victoria, Australia in the seasonal world of breeding thoroughbreds. Horse Country follows the seasons of the thoroughbred industry and what the day to day of working on a stud could look like.

A few hours away, Maddie and Melanie are working hard in their parent’s metropolitan riding school, teaching others about horse riding and care of the horse. From the nervous first time rider, to the child who wants to run fast and jump high, the young women shape lessons to suit the individual.


When did you realise you wanted to write a book?

I’ve always loved writing in school and afterward and Horse Country actually started to develop back when I was 16 years of age and in high school! It’s only in the past four years that the idea of developing it into a publishable novel has surfaced and then been put into action.

Who are your influences?

I love words in general; books that I read, wanting to tell a story for other people.

Who is your favourite author?

Elyne Mitchell.

What is your favourite book?
Silver Brumby as per the above author.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Reading! Playing guitar and singing, daydreaming, gardening.

What inspired you to write Horse Country?

Actual experiences in the horse industry and a desire to let people know how much fun and how rewarding it can be to work with horses.

What is your favourite thing about horses?

They’re honest.

Are you going to write any more books? Are they going to be about horses?

Absolutely! I’m currently working on a pre-teen horse series with a Christian theme and a standalone novel like Horse Country that’ll be about importing horses to a tropical island and generating a horse business.

Is there anything else you want to say?

Thanks so much for your time and for allowing me to share about my novel! For those who are considering writing their first book, dream big and do it!

Trevor stepped into the office in the yearling barn, needing to make a quick call now that he’d agreed to fill in for Kaye and do her foal watch shift for the following evening. He sat down at the desk as he dialed the familiar number, waiting for someone to pick up.

“MacKenzie speaking.”

“Doc, it’s Trevor.”

“Oh! Trevor. Have I got you at a good time? You’re not about to skip the country, are you?”

“I rang you…” Trevor stated in confusion.

“Oh, yes… yes you did.”

“But no, I’m not about to skip the country. I hate flying.”

“You could take a boat.”

“I get seasick.”

“Oh… a shame. How about a train?”

“I don’t need to go anywhere,” Trevor stated with a frown. “I was ringing to say that I can’t make our appointment on Thursday evening. I’m filling in for one of the other workers, so I’ve got to be on foal watch.”

“Foal watch? Tell me, what are you watching the foal for?” Mackenzie Taylor queried in surprise.

“Umm… it’s not exactly watching foals. Should be called mare watch, I guess. We’ve got a lot of heavily pregnant mares left to give birth and each evening someone has to keep an eye on them before the night attendant arrives.”

“And what do you do if they start giving birth?”

“Generally leave them to it. We only have to step in if there’s a problem.”

“Well isn’t that a different kettle of fish! Assisting a mare give birth! Well no bother about your appointment. We’ll just reschedule for next week unless you call in and state you need to talk earlier. How does that sound?”

“That sounds great. Well, I’d better get back to work, we’ve got a barn full of yearlings.”

“Yearlings?” Mackenzie questioned, causing Trevor to roll his eyes.

“I’ll tell you all about them in our next session.”

“Indeed. Have a lovely afternoon Trevor.”

“I’ll try.”

Trevor sat quietly at the desk, realising there was a voice in the barn he didn’t recognise. It dawned on him that the new TAFE student must have arrived and not wanting to have to deal with introductions at that point in time he stayed where he was, certain all would move on shortly to show the student around the property.

Before the breeding season even ends we have a barn full of yearlings to prepare and sell. When does it stop?

The book can be purchased via and those interested can keep updated on reviews, author interviews and excerpts at

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Blog2Buzz Buzzin' Author #3 ~ James Garcia Jr

Welcome to the Blog2Buzz's Buzzin' Authors weekly meme created by All We Have is Stories and Book2Buzz! This meme is to showcase, highlight and BUZZ about the authors that are really making an impression on us! Blog2Buzz is a group on Goodreads welcome to all bloggers and authors wanting to connect with other bloggers and authors! Our goal is to create a helpful, informative and fun community for all in it! We also hope to help generate traffic to everyone's sites and help get their names our there! We encourage everyone in the group to share this meme!

Would you like to be involved as well? It's as easy as a click of the mouse! Just click our logo below to join us!

This weeks Buzzin' Author is James Garcia Jr.
James is new to the Blog2Buzz group and I hadn't heard about his books until he joined. They all sound great but today i'm just going to tell you about one, I have't read it, yet, but it sounds great.

undefinedAbout James
James Garcia Jr. was born in the Central California town of Hanford. He moved up the road to Kingsburg with his family as a child. After graduating KHS, he attended Reedley College where he met his wife. They, along with their teenage sons, still make their home in Kingsburg which is also the setting of James’ vampire series.Dance on Fire was published in 2010 and its sequel Flash Point was published Halloween 2012. His third book entitled,Seeing Ghosts, a stand-alone paranormal romance is set for a June 2013 release.

James is an Administrative Supervisor for Sun-Maid Growers of California.

Stalk James on:

The Book!
Seeing Ghosts 
Paul Herrera finds himself bequeathed a mysterious old house near the California central coast by a deceased aunt he never knew. The woman who shows it to him is the spitting image of his wife, taken from him three years before in a senseless car accident which also took his unborn son.

While he deals with the ghosts of a past he cannot let go, there are new ghosts Paul must deal with - alone for the week in the expansive two-story house that he will soon discover holds many secrets.

Eventually, he will see that he is surrounded by ghosts as he struggles to hold onto the only thing that he has left in this world - his sanity.

Cover art done by Maria Zannini



I suppose you can say this whole thing began and ended with ghosts. Not all my life, of course, but only all that ever really mattered.

Everything before meeting Angie happened simply to get me prepared for our life together. No real living had occurred until that moment. After Angie died, I was left only with ghosts. Now tonight I lie beside another woman who is not my wife, and who I have yet to touch. I marvel at her even, peaceful breathing as I stare at the awful ghost that sits calmly, but menacingly, near the foot of the bed.

Aunt Flora is dead and has been for several months. There’s really no reason on God’s green earth why she should be here, in my home, a place she’d never visited in life, but here she sits just the same, and I’m sure I know why. Perhaps it has everything to do with her not having a home of her own any longer, or because she’s lost her husband once again. She seems to grin at me as if she can read my thoughts.

Now she nods dramatically to say that she can, indeed.

“What do you want, Flora?” I finally ask, whispering. I try to be as quiet as possible. It seems like a useless proposition. Peace is an illusion to me at this point; like something so far out of my grasp as to be laughable.

“You know what I want, Paul.” Her voice is low and calm, but seems to reverberate against the walls. “You know very well what I want,” she says as the all-too-familiar lightning flashes outside probe into the bedroom and illuminate her. A gust of wind rattles the window briefly. It must’ve been the reason I awoke in the first place. I’m pretty sure it was just wind, but who could know at this point? In any event, there’d be no more sleeping.

I see Flora’s terrible features—that aged and deep-wrinkled skin pulled over high cheekbones; and that profound smile that brings no pleasure, but only sets me on edge. Thunder roars in the distance as if on queue. I am intimately familiar with this particular storm. Both it and Flora seem to have followed me.

“I can’t help you with that, Flora,” I say.

“Yes, I know. All you can do is bring everything to ruin.”

I stare at the ghost and say nothing further, taking in the sight of her with her long-sleeved white blouse, dark slacks and black shoes. It’s incredible to me that I’m having another conversation with my aunt. It’s clear she holds me to blame for what’s happened. If I wasn’t afraid before, there’s no denying it now.

Flora reclines against the winged-back chair that was Angie’s favorite and smiles. Her arms remain atop the arm rests, the perfect picture of quiet. Another bolt lights up the sky and my eyes immediately find her claw-like fingers as they seem to be digging into the upholstery. Now I know better and I shiver at this apparently perfect culmination of events.

“It’s not over, Paul,” Flora says. Her tone is firm and reminds me of a wild animal’s growl. “You know damn well what I want! It is all that I have ever wanted. But you have taken that from me. You have taken far too much. Now I shall do the taking. Do you hear me, Paul? Do you understand what I am telling you?”

Now I’m the one who leans back. I sit up first, positioning myself against the tall headboard. Here is a trend I can’t shake free of—me being awake as the night wanes. Another burst of lightning flashes across the Central California sky and then disappears, casting the room back into shadow. Thunder sounds. The storm is fast approaching. I say nothing more as I recline and simply stare at my dead aunt who sits and stares back, composed for the moment. It would seem I’ve become quite comfortable with ghosts, doesn’t it?

I think Seeing Ghosts sounds awesome and the cover is beautiful, what do you think? You can buy it on Amazon now!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Teaser Tuesday #9

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along. Just do the following:

Grab your current read.
Open to a random page.
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Hera's eyes were cold as she returned Aphrodite's look; she stood close to her, close enough that could have attacked her with the spear, but she held her anger in check."
"Man was not meant to wield this power, Hera."

P.g 18 (epub) Godhead by Ken Mooney

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Review ~ The Annihilation of Foreverland by Tony Bertauski

The Annihilation of Foreverland by Tony Bertauski 5/5

The Annihilation of ForeverlandThe author sent me an e-copy in return for an honest review. I had high expectations for The Annihilation of Foreverland, I've heard a lot about it and its been on my to-read list for awhile, I wasn't disappointed. This book is like Unwind and The Maze Runner had a  baby, which was great because both of those books are favorites of mine, and now so is this. The Annihilation of Foreverland is about a group of teenage boys who wake up on an island camp with no memories of who they are or how they got there. The adults on the island tell them they're here to improve themselves and must visit foreverland - a computer assisted alternate reality - in order to
get better so they can graduate. But a red headed girl comes to reed in his dreams and tells him to resist, and he does despite the suffering which is inflicted on him. Then Danny arrives on the island, on his first trip to foreverland he see's her too and together they uncover the sinister secret behind foreverland. Will they escape the island with their minds intact?

I love the story line its very original and I was addicted to reading it, I didn't want to put it down. The book was well paced and flowed well, the writing style was great and made for easy reading. The cover alone had me intrigued and when I started reading so did the story. I pretty much worked out what the islands purpose was halfway through the book, watching the events unfold was still really enjoyable. I loved the characters particularly Zin - even though he was a secondary character - I thought he was a great addition to the story. Danny and Reed were very complex characters, they questioned what they were being told and I liked Danny's trouble making it gave his character another layer and made him a much more interesting character. I liked watching Reed and Danny piece together their pasts while figuring out what was happening to them in the present. I think writing about characters who don't know who they are or where they're from is quite some feat and Tony Bertauski did it seamlessly.

As much as I loved this book I found the techy part a little boring, I know its an essential part of the book but the scenes where Danny is on the computer totally lost me. But that's probably because i'm not a very tech savvy person and this didn't effect my overall opinion of the book which is that is a really entertaining, addictive and intriguing read, I'm looking forward to reading more from Tony. I recommend this book to fans of YA and science fiction.

                                                           Goodreads  ~ Amazon

Stacking The Shelves #5

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to showcase the books we got this week. They can be physical or virtual copies and it doesn't matter if they're won, bought, borrowed or received for review.

This week I got some great books!

I went to a car boot sale yesterday, I only spent £5.50 and I got all these great books:
Sabriel by Garth Nix
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
Misery by Stephen King
Blood Harvest by S.J Bolton
The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill
362 Belisle St. by Susie Moloney
Twice Burned by Kit Craig

For review I got an e-copy of:
Necessary Sacrifices by Zoe Cannon

What books did you get this week? <3

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Interview and Playlist: Koethi Zan author of The Never List.

About Koethi
When Koethi Zan was born in the sleepy farming town of Opp, Alabama, the “City of Opportunity,” her mother was Valedictorian of the local public high school and her father the star of its football team. Her parents named her after the homecoming queen of Lurleen B. Wallace Junior College, perhaps hopeful that some of that glory would rub off on her. But Koethi would never be a homecoming queen. In fact, she spent most of her youth in her room, reading, listening to Morrissey, and avoiding everything connected to high school football—not an easy task in those parts.After graduation, Koethi put herself through Birmingham-Southern College with scholarships and a small “cow fund” courtesy of Molly, the Charolais heifer she’d received as her third birthday present. She used the money wisely, travelling to New Orleans on the weekends to hit the club scene, almost always in silver-sequined costume, surrounded by transvestites, Goth kids and her gay male entourage. Perhaps, in some roundabout way, she had fulfilled her homecoming queen destiny after all.Then, in what may have been a misguided fit of pique, Koethi threw away her all-black daywear and her thrift-store evening gowns, and went to Yale Law School, with some vague idea of becoming a film producer. Afterwards, however, she unexpectedly found herself twenty-eight stories up in the Manhattan offices of Davis Polk & Wardwell, a prestigious white shoe law firm that represented mostly investment banks. She regularly pulled all-nighters working on secured financings and revolving credit facilities. She tended to wear demure black pantsuits, with her hair up. It didn’t take her long to realize corporate life wasn’t for her, and Koethi spent the next fifteen years practicing entertainment law both in private practice (at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and, later, Schreck Rose & Dapello) and in-house business and legal affairs positions (for the film producer, Ed Pressman, and, most recently, at MTV), with a slight detour along the way to study cinema at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. As an entertainment lawyer, Koethi attended glamorous premieres and openings, international film festivals and celebrity-filled parties. She dealt with gritty production issues as varied as suicide threats, drug overdoses and sex-tape allegations. She warred with Hollywood agents and befriended reality stars. Then, while Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel at MTV, she decided to fulfill a lifelong dream on the side, and in the early mornings she wrote a crime novel, The Never List. Now, coming full circle in a way, Koethi, her husband, Stephen Metcalf, and their two daughters, live in an old farmhouse in a rural community in upstate New York. Her husband occasionally watches a football game on television. But her daughters have never even heard of homecoming queens.


1. Where did the inspiration for THE NEVER LIST come from?

THE NEVER LIST was inspired in part by the amazing stories of captivity survivors: Elizabeth Fritzl, Natascha Kampusch, Sabine Dardenne, Jaycee Lee Dugard. These women have suffered through the absolute worst thing I can imagine and every one of them has demonstrated incredible strength in the wake of such trauma. My own difficult life struggles paled in comparison. I was—and am—in awe of them. I wanted to create a character like that: a woman who was strong in the face of unfathomable horror, but who needed to confront her past to figure that out.

2. THE NEVER LIST echoes recent events in the news even though you wrote it long before those events came to light in May 2013. How did you feel when you heard about the women in Cleveland and have you heard any early feedback about the eerie similarities between life and art here? If the news about Cleveland had broken while you were writing your novel, would those events have changed the storyline in any way?

I was stunned when the news broke about the Cleveland kidnappings, and it only became more surreal as the story unfolded. I’d written a book based on my worst nightmare, and there it was on the screen—real. And even worse than the story I’d invented.

Dozens of friends contacted me in those first few days, recognizing the obvious similarities and thinking I would have some special insight into the situation. But I didn’t have any answers for them. I don’t know how or why these terrible things happen. Writing my book was just my way of trying to understand the hardships and strength of the women whose stories inspired me. All I know is that I am so happy that Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight are finally free, and I hope they are able to recover from such an unfathomable tragedy.

It’s hard to say what I would have done had the story come to light while I was writing the book. However, even if I had changed some of the plot details, the essential narrative would still have been the one I felt driven to tell: the story of a woman who survived an awful, traumatic experience and her struggle to recover by facing her past. My book was written from the heart, with great empathy and respect for abduction survivors. The timing of this revelation doesn’t change that; it only makes my feelings for all these amazing women that much stronger.

3. What made you want to be a writer? Did you always want to be a writer when you were growing up?

I was raised in a family of scientists in a house that had only one small bookcase. And unfortunately that bookcase was filled with chemistry and engineering textbooks. When I was nine, however, I found at the bottom of a drawer my mother’s Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volumes I and II, from her one required freshman English class. After that I pretty much survived childhood by reading.

If you’d asked me at twelve, I would have said all I ever wanted to be was a writer, but I lost my nerve somewhere along the way and opted for a steadier career path. I was estranged from my parents after high school and ran out of money fast, so it seemed important at the time to find a secure way to support myself. So I ended up at Yale Law School, which was a pretty great safety net.

I was drawn to the world of writers, though, so perhaps it was inevitable. I married a writer and as a lawyer I represented writers. My favorite New Yorker cartoon sums it up: a little boy in a cowboy costume says to his father, “Well, if I can’t be a cowboy, I’ll be a lawyer for cowboys.” So now I’m finally a cowboy.

4. How would you describe your book to someone you’d just met?

I like to say it’s a psychological thriller about girls held captive in a basement crossed with a trauma recovery memoir—sort of as if the girl in that basement from Silence of the Lambs ended up hunting down Hannibal Lecter.

5. Do you have a “Never List” of your own?

I don’t have an actual written list, but I do have a jumble of informal rules that my best friend and I developed in high school. We didn't need to write anything down because we lived by them everyday as we navigated our way through our odd adventures: staying out all night, going to unsavory clubs, hanging out with strange characters. I have written Sarah and Jennifer’s Never List, however, and expect to add to it, perhaps even with suggestions from readers.

6. The relationships between the female characters are crucial to The Never List—who are your favorite female characters in fiction?

As I thought about this question, it struck me that the first names to come to mind were all young girls: Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, Matilda, Pippi Longstocking, Jo from Little Women, Cassandra from I Capture the Castle, Catherine of the early chapters of Wuthering Heights. These characters are all smart, tough and insightful individuals who follow their own way.

It’s telling that so many of the strongest, surest female characters haven’t yet reached maturity, while some of the adult characters I love are ruined or deeply flawed: Anna Karenina, Isabel Archer, Lily Bart. Yes, they are more complex and challenging, but in a way, my true heroes are the girls who haven’t been taught to doubt their strength yet. My life goal is to get back to that place, and to keep my daughters there.

7. Did you do any research before you began writing your book?

I spent the past ten or so years researching it indirectly. My unofficial hobby—one I would never put on my resume—was obsessively studying psychopaths, captives, and the criminal mind. Also, I took a brief detour from law in the early 2000s to go to graduate school in Cinema Studies. There I studied Surrealism with the incredible Annette Michelson, who, let’s just say, has a penchant for the dark side. So in many ways it was as if I was preparing for the book for years without knowing it.

While writing the book, I did formal research into BDSM, abnormal psychology, victimological studies, statistical analysis, you know – the usual. My computer got a lot of viruses, and I saw a lot of disturbing text and images that are etched in my brain forever.

8. Do you feel your own life experience has contributed to the book in any specific ways?

 Definitely. Although I have thankfully never experienced what my characters went through, the broadest themes were drawn from my own emotional life. Sarah, Tracy, Christine and Adele each have a different response to the traumatic events of their collective past, and I’ve experienced them all for better or worse: anxiety, anger, repression, ambition. I’ve worked with a wonderful therapist on and off for a decade—our relationship is definitely not the model for Sarah and Dr. Simmons—but my own process helped me understand what it’s like to go back and face a dark past.

Specifics from my own life influenced many of the details of the book as well. My relationship with my best friend was the model for the friendship between Sarah and Jennifer. While the story is obviously fiction, the powerful, intense nature of their friendship is rooted in ours, and their paranoia and obsession with precautions are magnified versions of our own.

Also, I went to college in Birmingham, Alabama, and my friends and I spent many weekends in New Orleans, wreaking all manner of havoc. We lived a pretty wild life—hitting the club scene, dressing up in costume, crashing with strangers. We woke up one morning to find we were staying with a guy who honestly believed he was a vampire. That was a bit of a wakeup call.

While I was in college, I also had a brush with a spiritual cult. My roommate and I went to regular meetings for a couple of months, where we were instructed in a bizarre cosmology and taught to be “present to the moment.” It was an interesting life experience that we didn’t take very seriously. Then we reached the level where we were invited to attend a weekend retreat in honor of a visiting guru from New York City. We had to scrape the floors of a house we were renovating for the group, do special “sacred” movements to music, and were expected to meditate for hours. I’m not ashamed to say I feigned illness, got out of there fast, and never went back.

9. Which writers do you enjoy reading?

Mostly I read at either one of two extremes: nineteenth century/early twentieth century marriage plot novels and dark psychological crime. My favorites aren’t especially original: Tolstoy, Dickens, Austen, Wharton, Zola, Eliot, and Nabokov. And I always recommend a couple of books I think are under-appreciated: Samuel Butler’s The Way of All Flesh and Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time. Some of my favorite crime writers (construed broadly) are Patricia Highsmith, Graham Greene, Shirley Jackson, Henning Mankell, Ruth Rendell and Dorothy L. Hughes. I can’t understand why everyone in the world hasn’t read We Have Always Lived in the Castle because it is a perfect, perfect book.

10. Where do you like to write—and how?

I wrote THE NEVER LIST down in a stonewalled basement, which was fitting. I got up at five a.m. five days a week and wrote for exactly one hour before my kids got up. I gave myself a minimum of five hundred words to do in that hour (which I later increased to six hundred), so there was no time for writer’s block or self-doubt. I only knew the broad strokes of the story, so each day was a new revelation, as I would find out what was going to happen as I went.

Now I’ve moved to another house, so I don’t have that wonderful basement anymore. In fact, I have a large, bright sunny office with a beautiful view of the Berkshires, where I absolutely never, ever work. I end up at the banquette in my kitchen, mostly so I can sit cross-legged.

I’m writing two books now, and I do a thousand words on each a day. On the first draft, I focus on getting the story down, knowing I will re-write each line a thousand times. For one of these books I have a relatively detailed outline that I more or less stick to, but for the other I’m letting it unfold as I go. I like to get my word count done first thing in the morning; otherwise it hangs over my head. After every five hundred words, I get a ten-minute internet break, then—provided I’m not traumatized by what I’ve found there—it’s back to work.

Here is Koethi's playlist for The Never List:

And don't forget to enter for a chance to win a copy of The Never List <3

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Never List is available now! Don't forget to buy your copy.
Pamela Dorman Books/Viking; on-sale July 16, 2013; 9780670026517; $27.95


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Review and Giveaway ~ The Never List by Koethi Zan

The Never List
The Never List by Koethi Zan 5/5

I received an e-copy of the never list through netgalley for an honest review. Wow this book was great, it's definitely a new favorite of mine I'm going to read it again one day. I really enjoyed reading it, I was totally transfixed I didn't want to put it down. The Never List is about Sarah, a women who escaped the from the cellar of an evil man ten years ago following 3 years of his torture because her and her best friend went against their rules, they got in the car. Now Sarah lives in New York still trying to recover when the agent who worked the case tells her the man who abducted and tortured her and two other girls along with murdering her best friend Jennifer might be paroled after the a "religious conversion" Sarah summons all of her courage and sets out to find Jennifer body so that she can be at peace and maybe keep the monster locked up. But what she finds on her search might just undo all those years of therapy and make her finally face the past.

 Such a great story line, it kept me guessing all the way to the end - which I never saw coming, it gave me goose bumps. The Never List was so realistic and utterly believable it's frightening, it shows that no matter what precautions you take sometimes bad thing still happen. I loved the way the book flitted between the past and present slowly revealing things, and just when you think you have the full story of what happened ten years ago, Koethi reveals something unexpected. I really liked the main character, Sarah's development throughout the book as she faces her past and the way she takes control of the group. I like the secondary character Tracy as well, she appears to be the strong one but we realize that she isn't fully recovered from her time in the cellar. Also Christine trying to hide her emotional scars was very interesting, the way she reverted back to the way she was in the cellar under extreme circumstances even after ten years off pretending to be fine. The Never List had so many twists and turns I didn't see coming even though I consider myself to be quiet the girl detective, maybe not as good as Sarah but still, I was shocked at so many points in this book I had to stop myself from gaping at my e-reader. The ending was great, I really wanted to read more about Sarah and the things she uncovered and to see where her story went from there. I didn't want the book to end I look forward to reading more of Koethi's work in the future she's a great writer, she had me totally captivated. She created a very well developed, heart wrenchingly realistic physiological thriller. I recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers, realistic fiction and just all round awesome books.


To celebrate the books release today the lovely people at Viking are going to giveaway a copy of The Never List!! This giveaway is open to the US only and no PO boxes. Good Luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Saskia book tour - Corr Syl The Warrior by Garry Rogers

Corr Syl The Warrior by Garry Rogers 

When an armed patrol crosses the border into Wycliff District, the Wycliff Council sends Corr Syl to investigate and recommend a response. Corr soon learns that spies have infiltrated his district, and already many lives are at risk. He catches a glimpse of something truly evil, and with no time to spare, must choose between a safe response that might fail, and a sure response that might start a global war.

Science fiction from an environmental scientist. The story follows a young warrior who is descended from rabbits as he investigates unusual threats to his community coming from a neighboring Danog community.

Wycliff Map

Where you can purchase this book?

About the Author

Garry Rogers has a PhD in Physical Geography. He taught at Columbia University and UCLA, and currently serves as President of the Agua Fria Open Space Alliance, Inc. He has published three nonfiction books, and hundreds articles in peer-reviewed science journals and conference proceedings. He is currently working on a sequel to his debut novel Corr Syl the Warrior, and a second volume on Arizona wildlife.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Blog2Buzz Buzzin' author of the week #2 ~ Zoe Cannon

Welcome to the Blog2Buzz's Buzzin' Authors weekly meme created by All We Have is Stories and Book2Buzz! This meme is to showcase, highlight and BUZZ about the authors that are really making an impression on us! Blog2Buzz is a group on Goodreads welcome to all bloggers and authors wanting to connect with other bloggers and authors! Our goal is to create a helpful, informative and fun community for all in it! We also hope to help generate traffic to everyone's sites and help get their names our there! We encourage everyone in the group to share this meme!

Would you like to be involved as well? It's as easy as a click of the mouse! Just click our logo below to join us!


This  weeks Buzzin' Author is Zoe Cannon.
I reviewed Zoe's first book The Torturer's Daughter recently and I absolutely loved it. The sequel Necessary Sacrifices is out on the 15th! 

About Zoe
Zoe Cannon writes about the things that fascinate her: outsiders, societies no sane person would want to live in, questions with no easy answers, and the inner workings of the mind. If she couldn't be a writer, she would probably be a psychologist, a penniless philosopher, or a hermit in a cave somewhere. While she'll read anything that isn't nailed down, she considers herself a YA reader and writer at heart. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and a giant teddy bear of a dog, and spends entirely too much time on the internet.

Stalk Zoe on:
Her Website.


When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Honestly, I can’t think of a time when I didn't want to be a writer. I've been writing for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up I spent most of my time with my nose in a book, and writing my own books seemed like a natural extension of that.

Who are your influences?
Madeleine L’Engle has been a huge influence for me. She’s proof that just because a book is written for a young audience doesn't mean it should be simplistic. Her books have always felt magical to me, full of ideas and wonder and a sense of what matters in the world. I think that’s because of two things: the depth and complexity of her stories, and how (I suspect) she wrote a lot of herself into her books – what drove her, what mattered to her, how she saw the world. I try to include both those elements in my own writing. Orson Scott Card is another influence of mine – I read a lot of his books when I was younger, and I think it’s where I got my love for stories that are full of philosophy and moral dilemmas.

Who is your favorite author? what is your favorite book?
It’s hard to name my favorite author – there are so many to pick from! But if I had to choose just one, I think it would be Lois McMaster Bujold. Her science fiction is good on so many levels – her stories are smart and well-thought-out and just plain fun. As for books, I have three tied for my favorite right now. There’s Benighted by Kit Whitfield, a complex and thoughtful urban fantasy set in a world where almost everyone is born as a werewolf. There’s Warchild by Karin Lowachee, a sci-fi novel with amazing characterization, going deep into the main character’s head as he tries to find a place between his native human race and the aliens who raised him. And there’s Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, a story of friendship in World War II that will not only make you cry but has one of the most interesting character voices I've ever seen.

What do you like to do when your not writing?
I spend a lot of my non-writing time reading. I love books – if I didn't, it wouldn't make much sense for me to write them! Other than that, I like to play computer games, poke around on the internet, and hang out with my husband and dog. My life is pretty boring, really. :) But my books have more than enough excitement for me.

What inspired you to write The torturer's daughter?
I love dystopian fiction – that’s the main reason I write it. But beyond that, I wrote this book because I wanted to see what dystopian oppression would look like in a place that wasn't an exotic future, but was instead someplace just like our own world. I wanted to see what it would be like if one of the villains of the dystopian world, a woman who tortures and executes anyone who questions the regime, happened to be an ordinary person with a life and a family… and what would happen when her daughter was forced to confront the things that her mother had done.

Which of the characters you've created is your favorite?
That’s a tough decision – but I think I’d have to say Becca. Especially now that I've written the sequel to The Torturer’s Daughter. When I sat down to write the sequel, I had some idea of how she had evolved between one book and the next, but I didn't fully appreciate the person she had become until I actually started writing. Even though I know she’s entirely a creation of my own imagination, there were times in the sequel when I just wanted to hug her and tell her how proud I was of her.

Do any of your characters remind you of yourself?
I don’t think I've ever written a character who was based on me, or who reminded me of myself more than not. But I put bits of myself in most of the people I write about, often without realizing it until after the fact. I can see myself in Becca’s contemplativeness, in Micah’s idealism (you’ll meet him soon!), and even in Raleigh Dalcourt’s sense of conviction.

How many books are there going to be in the Internal Defense series?Right now I have five novels planned, as well as two novellas, although that’s not a hard-and-fast number – a story might not work out the way I planned, or another addition to the series might show up demanding to be written. Not all the books will be about Becca and the other characters from The Torturer’s Daughter, either; although the next book, Necessary Sacrifices, will be a direct sequel to The Torturer’s Daughter, I also have plans for stand-alone novels within the series that will explore different characters and different aspects of the world.

What is your favorite thing about writing?
The best thing about writing, in my opinion, is that it lets me take the stories in my head and share them with other people. There’s something magical about that process – how you can start with something that doesn't exist anywhere except your own mind, and turn it into something that complete strangers can experience.

Are you going to stay in the dystopia genre for future projects?
I have ideas for several more dystopian novels, both in the Internal Defense series and in different but equally dark worlds. I've always loved dystopian books, so it makes sense that so many of my ideas fall into that genre. But I also have some non-dystopian stories planned – although everything I write tends to contain darker elements, no matter the genre.

When is the sequel Necessary Sacrifices out?
Necessary Sacrifices will be coming out on July 15th!

The Books!

The Torturer's DaughterThe Torturer's Daughter (Review)

When her best friend Heather calls in the middle of the night, Becca assumes it's the usual drama. Wrong. Heather's parents have been arrested as dissidents - and Becca's mother, the dystopian regime's most infamous torturer, has already executed them for their crimes against the state.

To stop Heather from getting herself killed trying to prove her parents' innocence, Becca hunts for proof of their guilt. She doesn't expect to find evidence that leaves her questioning everything she thought she knew about the dissidents... and about her mother.

When she risks her life to save a dissident, she learns her mother isn't the only one with secrets - and the plot she uncovers will threaten the lives of the people she loves most. For Becca, it's no longer just a choice between risking execution and ignoring the regime's crimes; she has to decide whose life to save and whose to sacrifice.

It's easy to be a hero when you can save the world, but what about when all you can do is choose how you live in it? THE TORTURER'S DAUGHTER is a story about ordinary teenage life amidst the realities of living under an oppressive regime... and the extraordinary courage it takes to do what's right in a world gone wrong.


Necessary Sacrifices (Out July 15th)
A year and a half ago, Becca Dalcourt joined the resistance. Three months ago, she started working undercover inside Internal Defense. A year from now, she’ll probably be dead. She knows the odds. She’s seen how the life of a double agent ends.
All she wants is a chance to do something with what little time she has left. Something big. Something meaningful. But the resistance doesn't trust her, and her job transcribing torture sessions hasn't given her anything but the names of dissidents whose lives, according to her resistance contact, aren't worth saving.
So when she discovers a secret government program designed to brainwash dissidents into loyal citizens, she resolves to shut it down, no matter the cost. Even if her plan puts everyone she loves in danger. Even if the most experienced resistance fighters say it can’t be done. Even if it means betraying the only person who sees past the mask she wears every day.
Even if she has to do it alone.

The sequel to The Torturer’s Daughter, which has been praised for its dark realism, Necessary Sacrifices asks how you fight an enemy that can't be defeated... and what sacrifices are worth making along the way.