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Blog Tour | Author Guest Post & Giveaway | Drowned (#1) by Nichola Reilly


Drowned by Nichola Reilly

Harlequin TEEN | June 24, 2014 | 304 pages

Naming Characters – the research, meaning behind, or method of choosing unusual character names.

Here’s a novel thing: I like to pick names for my characters that fit their personalities. I know, big shocker—most authors do that. I used to go on and put in what I wanted the name to mean, and it would spit out a whole bunch of names that meant a certain thing, then I would just select the one I liked best.

In the world of DROWNED, the people have been removed from our civilization for a long time. They do not read anymore, they don’t have books or any means of writing, so over the years, language has disintegrated. Much knowledge has been lost, and many of the names have been cannibalized and altered, much like a sentence in a game of telephone. So a lot of the names are not real names at all; just things I came up with because they evoke an image or make a sound that fits the character.

At one point in DROWNED, the main character, Coe, wonders if a person’s name controls who he or she will become. The princess Star, after all, is heavenly. Tiam, the strong, capable boy, is named after Tiamat, a Mesopotamian goddess who controls the chaos of the sea. The goddess Tiamat “gives birth to the world”, and in many ways, gives birth to Coe’s world. Coe’s name is short for Corvina. She’s named after a “smelly, slimy, bug-eyed fish,” which she thinks is fitting, since she is strange-looking and considered the lowest of the low. There is another story behind how she got her name, but that comes later.

The ruler of the land, King Wallow, is a descendent of a doomsday prepper named Agnes Willow, who owned the land they now reside on. In a world where language has been lost, the ruling family’s name changed over time, without their knowledge, and perhaps they don’t even realize now what “Wallow” means. But the royals do wallow; they’re the most self-indulgent people you’ll ever meet.

I had fun naming the secondary characters, since I wanted to pull them from things that have existed in the past, but had somehow morphed in meaning and importance over time. Melame is a mean, older guy who minds the tide pools people wash in. “Melame” is an amalgam of Mean and Lame, because that’s what he is. Burbur is a very busy and important castle worker, used to high-traffic, very hardy, like Berber carpet. Cordon, the chef, is named as such because I can only imagine his ancestor’s favorite dish was Chicken Cordon Bleu. Xilia is a crazy lady, named that because it sounds very much like “sillier”. And she is silly. It’s hard not to hear the name “Mutter” and not think of an angry guy walking around with his head down, mumbling to himself. I also threw in other, more normal names, like Ana and Finn, because I figured that not all ordinary names would fall into the void.

I’m not usually married to the names I choose. Sometimes, a character will change over time and demand to me to be called something else. In that case, I will usually make the change later on. But in this book, Coe was always Coe, and Tiam always Tiam, and I can’t imagine them being called anything else.

Summary (Goodreads)

Coe is one of the few remaining teenagers on the island of Tides. Deformed and weak, she is constantly reminded that in a world where dry land dwindles at every high tide, she is not welcome. The only bright spot in her harsh and difficult life is the strong, capable Tiam—but love has long ago been forgotten by her society. The only priority is survival.

Until the day their King falls ill, leaving no male heir to take his place. Unrest grows, and for reasons Coe cannot comprehend, she is invited into the privileged circle of royal aides. She soon learns that the dying royal is keeping a secret that will change their world forever.

Is there an escape from the horrific nightmare that their island home has become? Coe must race to find the answers and save the people she cares about, before their world and everything they know is lost to the waters.

About Nichola Reilly

Nichola Reilly is Cyn Balog’s post-apocalyptic fantasy-writing alter-ego. The first book in her series, DROWNED, will be releasing from Harlequin TEEN sometime in 2014, followed by a sequel, BURIED, in 2015.

About Cyn Balog

Cyn Balog is a normal, everyday Jersey Girl who always believed magical things can happen to us when we least expect them. She is author of young adult paranormals FAIRY TALE (2009), SLEEPLESS(2010), STARSTRUCK (2011), TOUCHED (2012), and her most recent release: DEAD RIVER (2013).e. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters.

She also writes under the pen name Nichola Reilly. Nichola Reilly is Cyn Balog’s post-apocalyptic fantasy-writing alter-ego. The first book in her series, DROWNED, will be releasing from Harlequin TEEN sometime in 2014, followed by a sequel, BURIED, in 2015.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Tour Schedule

Monday, June 23rd – Alice Marvels – Character Interview
Wednesday, June 25th – Parajunkee – Guest Post
Friday June 27th – The Cozy Reader – Guest Post
Monday, June 30th – Chapter by Chapter – Guest Post
Wednesday, July 2nd – Reader Girls Blog – Guest Post
Friday July 4th – Such a Novel Idea – Author Interview



Each tour stop is offering up a copy of DROWNED, and one winner will receive a fantastic Grand Prize Package including the following HarlequinTEEN titles: 2 copies of DROWNED as well as copies of RAIN, THE AFTERMATH, THE DARK WORLD and OCEANBORN. Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open to US/Canada.

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Blog Tour Guest Post | Of Triton by Anna Banks with Giveaway


Welcome to the Blog Tour stop for book two of Anna Banks’ Of Poseidon series, Of Triton!

Anna has presented The Cozy Reader readers with a guest post about her cover to Of Triton.


When I first received an image for the cover of OF POSEIDON, I squealed. (I know that sounds cliché, and my first instinct was to make farting noises with my armpits, but I was in the post office and they tend to frown on that kind of enthusiasm). Anyhow, I was instantly in love.

When my editor emailed me the first draft of the cover for OF TRITON—not so much.

FIRST OF TRITON COVERIt wasn’t horrible, mind you, but it wasn’t Well, it wasn’t…Armpit fart material, you know? I tried to love it. I did. But I felt that it just wasn’t as magical as the cover for OF POSEIDON. And what’s worse, I had to email my editor and tell her that.

Not because I’m in charge of the cover; I’m not. Not because I even have a say in the cover; I don’t. Not really, anyway. Sure, the publisher wants the author to like their own book cover, but it’s not absolutely required that they love it. Or even like it. Kind of like how a bride picks out her bridesmaids’ dresses and hope for the best, but after all, it is her wedding…

So imagine my total relief, and giddiness, and urge to produce glorious armpit farts, when my editor emailed me back and told me that they’re changing the cover. They’re hiring models (models!) to do an underwater shoot (a freaking underwater shoot!) and that they are also using some of the images to create the cover for OF NEPTUNE.

Whew. That was a close one. AmIright? Which do you like better?


Of Triton cvr

Cozy Reader prefers the revised edition. I think it fits better with the first book of the series and just has a nicer feel to it.

Connect with Anna

Anna Banks will be on tour in June as part of the Fierce Reads Tour. Get all the info/dates:

Of Triton is featured in our Spring 2013 Fierce Reads Book Trailer:

Pre-order Of Triton  and Anna Banks will send you bonus content! Details:

Follow Anna Banks on Twitter:

Become a fan of Fierce Reads on Facebook!

Of Triton Blog Tour Schedule

Monday 5/13 Bewitched Bookworms

Tuesday 5/14 Ex Libris

Wednesday 5/15 The Book Cellar

Thursday 5/16 Two Chicks on Books

Friday 5/17 Icey Books

Monday 5/20 Tales of a Ravenous Reader

Tuesday 5/21 The Cozy Reader

Wednesday 5/22 Mermaid Visions

Thursday 5/23 MacTeenBooks

Friday 5/24 Carina’s Books


Macmillan Children’s Publishing is offering one reader the chance to win a paperback copy of OF POSEIDON  a hardcover of OF TRITON and an OF POSEIDON bookmark! Simply use the below Rafflecopter widget to enter.

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Blog Tour and Giveaway | The Indigo Pheasant by Daniel A. Rabuzzi

Please help me welcome Daniel A. Rabuzzi, author of [amazon_link id=”1927469090″ target=”_blank” ]The Indigo Pheasant (Longing for Yount, #2)[/amazon_link], which was released early last month. The first book of the series, [amazon_link id=”0980941075″ target=”_blank” ]The Choir Boats[/amazon_link], published in 2009 by ChiZine Publications.

Daniel has prepared a guest post on the selection of titles for both books as well as the series name. Titles are a topic that interest me very much. If you have followed my other blog tours you probably have noticed that. It was the topic in the previous blog tour hosted on The Cozy Reader.

Continue reading for a chance to win an eBook of the first book or the second if you have already read the first book.

[amazon_link id=”1927469090″ target=”_blank” ]The Indigo Pheasant (Longing for Yount, #2)[/amazon_link] by Daniel A. Rabuzzi

ChiZine Publications | September 5, 2012 | 350 pages

Summary (Goodreads)

London 1817. Maggie Collins, born into slavery in Maryland, whose mathematical genius and strength of mind can match those of a goddess, must build the world’s most powerful and sophisticated machine—to free the lost land of Yount from the fallen angel Strix Tender Wurm. Sally, of the merchant house McDoon, who displayed her own powers in challenging the Wurm and finding Yount in The Choir Boats, must choose either to help Maggie or to hinder her. Together—or not—Maggie and Sally drive to conclusion the story started in The Choir Boats—a story of blood-soaked song, family secrets, sins new and old in search of expiation, forbidden love, high policy and acts of state, financial ruin, betrayals intimate and grand, sorcery from the origins of time, and battle in the streets of London and on the arcane seas of Yount.

Daniel A. Rabuzzi Guest Post

Titles:  The Choir Boats and The Indigo Pheasant

Thank you Jess for asking me to be your guest at The Cozy Reader—and hello readers of the blog.   
Jess asked me to talk about how I came up with the titles for my novels:  The Choir Boats (ChiZine Publications/CZP, 2009) and its sequel, The Indigo Pheasant (CZP, 2012).  As other guests at The Cozy Reader have noted, titles need to grab a reader’s attention, offer the promise of a good story, inform the browser of some crucial element in the narrative.  (I will leave it to you who are reading this post to decide whether my titles succeed at doing those things).  For me, a good title is a title that makes me ask “what might this be?” and then open the book to pursue the answer to my question. 
As I have written elsewhere (for instance, “A Picture-Show in the Night-Kitchen,” at Layers of Thought, Sept. 26th, 2012  ), I am an “imagist,” not a “plotter.”  My writing springs from images and words that come to me, at stray and unplanned moments, most often in the middle of the night.  A scene (a man wearing a hat like a layer cake, slouching on a slow horse in the middle of a salt-marsh, for instance, or a woman striding down a spiral staircase, clutching a large leather-bound book under one arm and ringing a small bell with her other hand)… or a phrase, sometimes a single word…swims into my mind, and I wonder what it means, what its story might be.  I ask, “what comes next?” 
So it was with my titles.  They simply came to me and waited patiently for me to discover and explore their stories.  “What might a choir boat be?”  I was already writing about a place called Yount and a merchant family in London in 1812 and a girl who had escaped slavery in Maryland.   I knew that somehow this “choir boat” (whatever it was) had a place in their increasingly entwined stories.  Later, as the tale continued to grow and sprout branches, I found an “indigo pheasant” coursing through the underbrush, and knew at once that it too had a role to play. 

© Deborah A. Mills

Jess, your query has pushed me to delve into the roots of my titles.  I love adjectives and I love compound nouns.  I love pairings of words that are individually commonplace but together form odd or enigmatic meanings.  We know what a “choir” is and equally what a “boat” is, but what is a “choir boat”?  Likewise the “indigo” and the “pheasant.”  I have a notebook full of similar couplings, everyday words yoked together to form something that cannot quite be placed.  All of them are like creatures in a menagerie of hybrids, sleeping under glass, biding their time for the right moment to dash fully awake with their stories pouring forth. 

I had not realized until I wrote this post how many of my favorite titles take the form I describe above.  The Yellow WallpaperThe Golden CompassThe Golden BowlThe Porcelain DoveThe Glass-Bead GameSacred HungerJames and the Giant Peach. 

Not quite the same, but close:  A Clockwork Orange.

I would love to hear from readers at The Cozy Reader what some of their favorite titles are and why.  Are there some among you who also favor the title format that appeals to me?

Connect with Daniel A. Rabuzzi

© Kyle Cassidy, all rights reserved

Daniel A. Rabuzzi studied folklore and mythology in college and graduate school, and keeps one foot firmly in the Other Realm.
ChiZine Publications published his first novel, The Choir Boats: Volume One of Longing for Yount, in 2009, and in 2012 brought out the sequel and series conclusion, The Indigo Pheasant: Volume Two of Longing for Yount.
Daniel’s short fiction and poetry have appeared in Sybil’s Garage, Shimmer, ChiZine, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Abyss & Apex, Goblin Fruit, Mannequin Envy, Bull Spec, Kaleidotrope, and Scheherezade’s Bequest.  He has presented at Arisia, Readercon, Lunacon, and the Toronto Speculative Fiction Colloquium. He has also had twenty scholarly and professional articles published on subjects ranging from fairy tale to finance.
A former banker, Daniel earned his doctorate in 18th-century history, with a focus on family, gender and commerce in northern Europe. He is now an executive at a national workforce development organization in New York City, where he lives with his wife and soulmate, the artist Deborah A. Mills (who illustrated and provided cover art for both Daniel’s novels), along with the requisite two cats.

Blog Tour Schedule

Sept 14 – Civilian Reader
Sept 17 – Fantasy Book Critic
Sept 18 – Bibliophile Stalker
Sept 26 – Layers of Thought   Book & Yount greeting cards giveaway.
Sept 28 – So Many Precious Books, So Little Time   Book giveaway.
Oct 4 –     Charlotte’s Library
Oct 4 –     World in a Satin Bag
Oct 5 –     The Cozy Reader   Book giveaway.

Oct 11 –   Jess Resides Here

TBS –      Disquieting Visions
TBS  –     Grasping for the Wind


For a chance to win an eBook of either the first book or the second book please follow the below Rafflecopter.

The blog post comment questions is:

What is your all-time favorite book title and why?

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  • Winners entries are verified in full and will be disqualified for falsifying any entries.



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Blog Tour w/ Giveaway | Power by Kristie Cook

Please help me welcome another awesome blog tour author guest post by Kristie Cook, author of the [amazon_link id=”B008UGZVWS” target=”_blank” ]Soul Savers series[/amazon_link]. Her newest release, [amazon_link id=”B009173E0G” target=”_blank” ]Power[/amazon_link], is the forth book of her series.

Kristie Cook Guest Post

If I Weren’t a Writer

If I weren’t a writer, I would…

Work a normal job with normal hours, coming home at a normal time and having a normal evening with the family.

Sleep more hours, more often and not be kept awake by the voices in my head.

Watch more TV and know what the heck everyone is talking about. I’d know what a Tardis is and why it’s supposed to be so awesome. I’d know who Dexter and Jax are and what Grimm is all about and if Once Upon a Time is better. I’d know who needed to be voted out of the house or off the island or into a music contract.

Probably be thinner. At least, my writer’s butt wouldn’t be called that and wouldn’t be so big because I’d be doing more than sitting in front of a computer 16 hours a day. At least, I’d have more time to workout regularly instead of a day here and another day two weeks later.

Probably be healthier overall, too, since coffee and chocolate wouldn’t be such a big portion of my diet. Oh, who am I kidding? They still would be.

Actually have a social life. I’d spend more time with family and friends, at the beach, on the motorcycle, traveling and just hanging out. I would even – gasp! – host parties at my own house because I’d…

Have a clean house! Well, maybe. I’ve never been a Susie Homemaker who loves to clean. In fact, cleaning is my arch-nemesis. But I know my house would at least be cleaner than it is now.

Read more and only for fun. I’d probably get through more of my TBR list because I wouldn’t be compelled to read every book twice (once for fun and once to analyze what worked and what didn’t). But if I wanted to read something twice or more, I could without feeling guilty that I was too obsessed with someone else’s world when I should be working in my own.

But I also know that if I weren’t a writer, I would…

Be unhappy. I would probably have a normal life with normal activities and normal routines. But I’ve been there before and I never want to go back. I love being a writer. I love the voices in my head, even when they keep me awake at night or distract me from other work during the day. I love creating my own world and spending time in it with characters I adore nearly as much as the real people in my life.

And I love readers! I love how they become just as vested in my characters’ lives as I am. I love when they write to tell me how they’ve made it through a tough time in their lives because of my books. I love when they chat with me on Facebook and Twitter.

I’m glad I’m a writer. I wouldn’t change it for anything.


Power, the next installment of the Soul Savers Series, takes you on a hot and edgy ride with twists and turns you’ll never see coming, leaving you breathless and once again begging for more.

[amazon_link id=”B009173E0G” target=”_blank” ]Power (Soul Savers, #4)[/amazon_link] by Kristie Cook

Ang’dora Productions, LLC | August 21, 2012 | 317 pages (est)

Summary (provided by author) (Goodreads)

As the stakes rise, can she find her true power?

As the Amadis prepare for war, Alexis returns to Florida with orders to relax, regenerate and replenish her depleted power. But her task list quickly grows—establish a new safe house, learn the art of conversion, find her AWOL protector, help a desperate fan, and protect her son. Oh, and figure out what’s going on with her husband, whose peculiar behavior just might get them killed.

But most important of all, her primary mission: recover her stolen pendant.

The stone in the pendant not only promises hope for the Amadis future, but its unknown qualities make it a possible weapon in the wrong hands. With guidance and power from an improbable source and an unlikely ally by her side, Alexis sets out to retrieve the stone before the enemy discovers its potential for mass destruction. But when she finds herself in the Daemoni’s lair fighting for her life, all hope seems lost. Will she discover the true power she holds in time? And is it enough to save herself, her family and the Amadis?

Connect with Kristie Cook

Kristie Cook is a lifelong writer in various genres, from marketing communications to fantasy fiction. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and riding on the back of a motorcycle. She has lived in ten states, but currently calls Southwest Florida home with her husband, three teenage sons, a beagle and a puggle.


[amazon_image id=”0984699007″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”0984562125″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Promise[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”098456215X” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Purpose[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”0984699031″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Devotion[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B009173E0G” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Power (Soul Savers)[/amazon_image]
Kristie would love to offer one of her books via eBook format to one of my readers. Winner’s choice.
Simply fill out the below Rafflecopter form for available entries.
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  • Twitter tweet entries must have at least 25 followers to be eligible.

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Blog Tour | Come August, Come Freedom by Gigi Amateau

Please join me in welcoming a great author guest post from Gigi Amateau,author of Come August, Come Freedom: The Bellows, The Gallows, and The Black General Gabriel.

I will have a review of her new release soon! Stay tuned.

Fire and Water: The blacksmith and the laundress

How is Gabriel like fire and Nan like water?

I scribbled this question in my journal while revising Come August, Come Freedom, a historical novel inspired by the eighteenth-century Virginia blacksmith, Gabriel, who organized perhaps the largest slave rebellion in American history. Fire and water were the tools of Gabriel’s trade. He put those tools to use for the rebellion, too, making weapons and bullets at his forge. He recruited thousands of enslaved men and readied the countryside for war against Virginia in demand for freedom, but this is not only the story of a fiery plot by men. One woman helped Gabriel set his plan in place. His wife, Nanny.

That Gabriel had a wife named Nanny is recorded in trial testimony. The public historical record hints that theirs was a partnership of depth and trust. Women were present at social gatherings where Gabriel recruited soldiers – at fish frys, funerals, and worship – but recruits were forbidden to share information with their wives, excepting Nanny. During the autumn trials of 1800, an enslaved man named Daniel testified that it was Nanny who revealed to him the details of the plot. She relayed the day, time, and place and informed him of the strategy of setting fire to the city as a diversion.

There, the scant public record on Nanny and Gabriel ends. I drew from my own experience of romantic love to write theirs, believing that it is possible for two people to accept each other fully as equals, that love really is generous and kind, that in love independence can flourish and produce new levels of trust and self-revelation, and that in such love neither partner has to be perfect because – flaws and all – each knows they are loved. This is the love that I aspired to create for Gabriel and Nan.

They most likely lived apart, the Commonwealth didn’t recognize their marriage, and the outcome of their future together resided largely outside of their control. Despite the cruelty of their enslavement, with each draft the fictional Gabriel and Nan took new risks and grew stronger as a couple. Gabriel forging gifts for Nan – a spoon, a necklace, a garden hoe. Nanny sewing Gabriel an extra shirt. She, asking Gabriel to teach her to read. And, he too confessing that he is afraid.

Every blacksmith uses fire to transform iron; every smith reaches for water when the work is done. As I worked on the final revision, my question had changed to: How is Nan Gabriel’s water? I read the book from the beginning and there she was: the young laundress washing clothes in Shockoe Creek, showing Gabriel where to draw water for the forge and falling in the creek because she had set her eyes on him. Nan, there by the river, helping Gabriel set his path and sealing the heat of his vision into something tangible and real. The blacksmith and the laundress, fire and water.

[amazon_link id=”0763647926″ target=”_blank” ]Come August, Come Freedom[/amazon_link] by Gigi Amateau

Candlewick | September 11, 2012 | 240 pages

Summary (Goodreads)

An 1800 insurrection planned by a literate slave known as “Prosser’s Gabriel” inspires a historical novel following one extraordinary man’s life.

In a time of post-Revolutionary fervor in Richmond, Virginia, an imposing twenty-four-year-old slave named Gabriel, known for his courage and intellect, plotted a rebellion involving thousands of African- American freedom seekers armed with refashioned pitchforks and other implements of Gabriel’s blacksmith trade. The revolt would be thwarted by a confluence of fierce weather and human betrayal, but Gabriel retained his dignity to the end. History knows little of Gabriel’s early life. But here, author Gigi Amateau imagines a childhood shaped by a mother’s devotion, a father’s passion for liberation, and a friendship with a white master’s son who later proved cowardly and cruel. She gives vibrant life to Gabriel’s love for his wife-to-be, Nanny, a slave woman whose freedom he worked tirelessly, and futilely, to buy. Interwoven with original documents, this poignant, illuminating novel gives a personal face to a remarkable moment in history.


Connect with Gigi Amateau

Gigi Amateau is the author of Come August, Come Freedom, a work of historical fiction for young adults (Candlewick Press, September 2012), selected by SIBA as a Fall 2012 Okra Pick. She also wrote the young

adult novel, [amazon_link id=”0763630098″ target=”_blank” ]A Certain Strain of Peculiar[/amazon_link], a 2010 Bank Street College Best Children’s Books of the Year and [amazon_link id=”0763645230″ target=”_blank” ]Chancey of the Maury River[/amazon_link], a William Allen White Masters List title for grades 3-5. Her debut novel, [amazon_link id=”0763633119″ target=”_blank” ]Claiming Georgia Tate[/amazon_link] was selected as a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age.

She was born in northeastern Mississippi and raised in Mechanicsville, Virginia, just outside of Richmond. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Urban Studies and Planning, she worked for nearly twenty years in Richmond’s non-profit community. Gigi lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and daughter.

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Blog Tour (w/ Giveaway) | The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Today I have the incredible privilege to introduce the amazing author, Sharon Cameron, whose debut novel, [amazon_link id=”0545327865″ target=”_blank” ]The Dark Unwinding[/amazon_link], released just days ago on September 1, 2012. She’s taken the time to write a guest post about the amazingly beautiful setting of her novel: Welbeck Abbey. I adored the setting so much. It would be an incredible adventure to visit this Abbey for myself.

Check out my review of The Dark Unwinding if you haven’t already.

*Check out the end of this post for a chance to win a copy of this amazing book, provided directly from The Cozy Reader via The Book Depository for International readers or Amazon for US readers.

[amazon_image id=”0545327865″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]The Dark Unwinding[/amazon_image]

[amazon_link id=”0545327865″ target=”_blank” ]The Dark Unwinding[/amazon_link] by Sharon Cameron

Scholastic Press | September 1, 2012 | 336 pages

Sharon Cameron Guest Post

Welbeck Abbey –Where History and Imagination Meet

Postcard, c. 1901 | Rusty Russell, 2011

I am a huge fan of using atmosphere to set a story’s tone, and then allowing plot and character to flow naturally from it. So the first time I read about Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, I knew I wanted to use it in a story. The place was bizarre, the product of an eccentric Duke that was obsessed with his own privacy, obsessed to the point of riddling the grounds with tunnels (so he could walk or ride in his carriage unseen) and even building walls around his bed.

But it was the situation of the estate that I found truly fascinating. By the mid-1800s the reclusive Duke was squandering his family fortune on massive building projects, like a ballroom over 160 ft long and underground, a private gasworks, and a stable with a 50 ft. ceiling made entirely of iron and glass. The ancient house was refitted with the most modern plumbing and “conveniences” (one in every room!), all of its walls painted pink, and thousands of gas braziers were installed along the walls of the 22 acre enclosed garden, to ripen fruit out of season. And all these improvements were made by an estimated 1500 workman, men who, along with their families, had been pulled from abject poverty and were now being supported by the Duke. Was the Duke crazy, or perhaps suffering from what we would now call an anxiety disorder, or had a wealthy man simply found a better, if unconventional, use for his money?

History has never really answered that question, and unanswered questions are like a gift dropped right into an author’s lap. It means we get to use our imagination, to pull out the elements that inspire us and create something new with them. Like an underground ballroom used only for roller skating, gaslit carriage tunnels, hundreds of empty, pink rooms, one of which contains a strange (and possibly crazy) man, surrounded by an entire town dependent on that one (possibly crazy) man. Add some moors, odd winds that seem to know more than they are telling, and a child-like, genius inventor at the center of it all, and the strange estate of Welbeck transforms into the even more peculiar Stranwyne Keep, where –like Welbeck– anything goes, and all things seem to flirt on the edge of madness.

As a writer, beginning with the creepy, gothic atmosphere that Welbeck inspired made the characters and plot of The Dark Unwinding happen almost naturally, an organic outflow of the setting. And I believe that such a setting, no matter how imaginative, is all the better for having its basis in a very firm, if slightly fantastic, reality.

Connect with Sharon Cameron

Sharon Cameron was awarded the 2009 Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for her debut novel, [amazon_link id=”0545327865″ target=”_blank” ]The Dark Unwinding[/amazon_link]. When not writing Sharon can be found thumbing dusty tomes, shooting her longbow, or indulging in her lifelong search for secret passages.


Read the first 3 chapters on Scribd!

Blog Tour Stops

Date Blog Feature
8/26 The Book Vortex Guest Post | Introduction
8/27 Book Thoughts by Marielle Interview with Sharon
8/28 Starting the Next Chapter Guest Post | Favorite Real Life Mystery
8/29 Denim Jacket Librarian List | 10 Pieces of Advice
8/30 The Housework Can Wait Interview with Sharon
8/31 The Compulsive Reader Character Interview | Mary
9/1 RELEASE DAY! Video
9/2 Magnet 4 Books’ Reviews Guest Post | Fictional Crushes
9/3 The Ninja Librarian Interview with Sharon
9/4 A Reader of Fictions Character Interview | Mr. Tully
9/5 Wastepaper Prose Guest Post | Magical Science
9/6 Through the Looking Glass Interview with Sharon
9/7 Katie’s Book Blog Character Interview | Lane
9/8 The Cozy Reader Guest Post | Welbeck Abbey
9/9 Missionto Read Interview with Sharon

I enjoyed this book SO much that I want to giveaway a copy to one of my readers!Giveaway

This is open to International readers as long as The Book Depository ships to your country, so please check their site before entering.

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Posted in Publisher

Blog Tour | Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins

[amazon_image id=”037321054X” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Temptation (A Temptation Novel)[/amazon_image]

[amazon_link id=”037321054X” target=”_blank” ]Temptation (A Temptation Novel)[/amazon_link]

Harlequin TEEN | June 26, 2012

[amazon_link id=”037321054X” target=”_blank” ]Paperback[/amazon_link] | [amazon_link id=”B007UNC27E” target=”_blank” ]Kindle[/amazon_link] |B&N | Indiebound

Today I’m pleased to be the last stop on the [amazon_link id=”037321054X” target=”_blank” ]TEMPTATION [/amazon_link]by Karen Ann Hopkins Blog Tour!

My review of Temptation.

There are TWO giveaways so read through this post to find out the details!

Author Guest Post

Karen Ann Hopkins describes Amish tradition, since her debut novel TEMPTATION explores the Amish community:

 Interestingly, not all Amish Communities are alike. They all share certain traditions, such as using horse-and-buggies as their mode of transportation and the lack of modern technology within their homes, but some dramatic differences can be seen from community to community. For example, I tailored Noah’s Meadowview church after the Mays Lick community that I have had the most interaction with, but the Poplar Grove community, which is about five miles away from my home, has a very different Ordnung. My community members enjoy indoor plumbing and closed buggies, while the Poplar Grove families rely on outhouses and are forbidden to drive buggies that are covered. The members of this rustic community live a more grueling lifestyle than those in my own community, who, surprisingly enough sometimes look down upon their primitive counterparts, because of their choice to live even more isolated from the mainstream population of America. But, raising my eyebrow high, I learned that the rustic communities tend to be more lenient regarding social issues, allowing the observance of rumspringa, a rite of passage for some Amish youth to experience the ‘real’ world before joining up with their local church. The men in these communities are allowed to smoke cigarettes and even drink alcohol on occasion.

Summary (Goodreads)

Your heart misleads you.  That’s what my friends and family say.  But I love Noah. And he loves me.  We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other’s arms. It should be  ROSE & NOAH forever, easy. But it won’t be. Because he’s Amish. And I’m not.

About Karen Ann Hopkins

 website, Facebook, Goodreads
A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.

Blog Tour Stops

Monday,June 25th – Ravenous Reader
Tuesday, June 26th – Xpresso Reads
Wednesday,June 27th – Harlequin Paranormal blog
Friday, June 29th – Page Turners

Monday,June 2nd – Evie Bookish
Wednesday, July 4th – I Like These Books
Friday,July 6th – The Cozy Reader


To enter the following giveaways, simply fill out the below Rafflecopter widget!


Giveaway #1

This is a daily giveaway to win a paperback of TEMPTATION!

Entries for the daily giveaway also count towards the grand prize giveaway!

Giveaway #2

Grand prize Harlequin Romance prize pack consisting of:

Grand Prize Harlequin Romance Prize Pack
  • 1 copy of TEMPTATION by Karen Ann Hopkins
  • 1 copy of SPEECHLESS by Hannah Harrington
  • 1 copy of INSIDE by Maria V. Snyder
  • 1 pair Harlequin socks
  • 1 red Harlequin bag
  • 1 large Harlequin notebook
  • 1 small Harlequin notebook & 1 pack of 3 Harlequin notepads


a Rafflecopter giveaway//

Posted in Uncategorized

Blog Tour | Guest Post | Legacy of Eden by Nelle Davy


Today I have a guest post from Nelle Davy, author of Legacy of Eden.

Using personal stories in writing: do or don’t?

 Of course it is a do. One of my favourite books is Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson which is a reworking of her own childhood within a fictional format as opposed to an outright memoir. What matters is that you are true to the kind of story you wish to tell, regardless of what is the inspiration. I would also say that no writer works in a vacuum as if their books are ‘ex nihilo.’ Whether you mean to or not, you write the kind of story you are either interested in, or have been through in some way. It is all inspired by your personal past and you rework it, sometimes even try to ignore it, but then press it down and reshape it so that it can become unrecognizable from truth but it still has seeds in it. There are some stories I love to read but would never be able to write because I would never be inspired to write them because they come from a different sort of experience to the one I have had. But novels should be about trying to tell some kind of truth – either the one you wish was real or the one that is.  And sometimes I think the novels that have impressed me the most and the ones that have really stayed with me as visceral works of honest art are the one that you discover had some grounding in the author’s past. You do look at them in a new light and they seem so much more informed. But this novel is not based on my own personal story in any other way than it is about the interrogation and destruction of the family unit.

Thank you Nelle!

About Legacy of Eden (Goodreads)

“To understand what it meant to be a Hathaway, you’d first have to see Aurelia.”

For generations, Aurelia was the crowning glory of more than three thousand acres of Iowa farmland and golden cornfields. The estate was a monument to matriarch Lavinia Hathaway’s dream to elevate the family name – no matter what relative or stranger she had to destroy in the process. It was a desperation that wrought the downfall of the Hathaways – and the once prosperous farm.

Now the last inhabitant of the decaying old home has died – alone. None of the surviving members of the Hathaway family want anything to do with the farm, the land, or the memories.

Especially Meredith Pincetti. Now living in New York City, for seventeen years Lavinia’s youngest grandchild has tried to forget everything about her family and her past. But with the receipt of a pleading letter, Meredith is again thrust into conflict with the legacy that destroyed her family’s once-great name. Back at Aurelia, Meredith must confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway family… and her own part in their mottled history.

“Our farm was like the world when people still thought it was flat. And when you left it, it was as if you had simply sailed too far and fallen off the surface into the void.”

I tried to read this book but it just wasn’t for me. I adore the cover and I think the premise sounds lovely. Maybe I’ll give it another try in a few months.

There is also a scavenger hunt going on with this blog tour. Check it out!

Posted in Author Guest Post

Author Guest Post: Derek Clendening | Win a Kindle Fire!

Please help me welcome horror author Derek Clendening!

The most frequent question I hear is Where do you get your ideas? Questions on how to get published are a close second, but one I hear sometimes is how I flesh out ideas and whether or not I outline. A quick answer to the latter: yes, I do outline. My outlines aren’t terribly complicated. I have a general idea of how long the novel/story in question should be and I draft the scene sequence one by one. I also have a general idea of how long each scene must be to hit my word count, but I never push it. A story should only be as long (or short) as necessary, and I see no point in harming the telling of the tale for those purposes.

But back to fleshing out ideas. A writer’s eureka moment can come at any time. Expected or not, there’s nothing quite like stumbling upon a killer idea, though it most likely will appear uninvited. When it happens, you want to have a pen and paper near to jot those ideas down before they sail past.

I’ve heard that Ernest Hemingway fleshed his ideas out while standing up and that Agatha Christie did it while soaking in the bathtub, eating apples. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I used to try to take walks to flesh out ideas and I still do that occasionally, but it really doesn’t work for me. The only way to bring an idea to fruition is to keep the pen and paper handy.

That’s right. There’s nothing romantic or sexy about it. I need to move beyond just jotting down ideas. I have to basically write out a conversation with myself in which I answer at least a few basic questions about the story. Sometimes there are few and other times there are many. Also, sometimes ideas hit me like a tidal wave and other times fleshing the idea out is agonizing.

The practice lures the idea out of some dark corner of my mind into the light. What’s craziest about it is that, once I’ve written all of that stuff down, I usually don’t need to look at those notes again. I’ve already told myself all I need to know and I’m free to draft my scene sequence. That said, I couldn’t tell you what others writers do. That’s just what works for me.

What works for you?

To enter to win a Kindle Fire, leave your name and e-mail address in the comment form below. You can enter once per blog stop. Visit each blog stop to increase your odds of winning. If I crack the Kindle Top 100, I will give away another Kindle Fire. E-mail me for the tour newsletter including a full listing of tour stops at derek (dot) r (dot) clendening (at) gmail (dot) com.

Visit Derek on his blog!

Books by Derek

The Between Yearsby Derek Clendening(2011-07-25)


The Breedingby Derek ClendeningMausoleum Press, (2011-10-26)


Two Little Dead Girlsby Derek ClendeningMausoleum Press, (2011-09-07)


The Vampire Wayby Derek Clendening167 pages, (2011-07-11)


Clock Strikes Two and Other Storiesby Derek Clendening123 pages, Mausoleum Press, (2011-06-25)


Posted in Author Guest Post, Giveaway

Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Anna Sheehan

Today I have the pleasure of having debut author, Anna Sheehan, of A Long, Long Sleep guest post. Her debut releases today! See below for information on how to win a copy!

Anna Sheehan

Says Jessica, The Cozy Reader blogger, “You’re not readily accessible on the internet ie blog, twitter, website. Why is that? From the technology in your book I thought for sure I’d find you on the web!

Oh no, I think. I’m going to have to try and explain this.

It’s probably best to show a little bit of what my life is actually like.

I’m going to send a letter. I go over to my desk, where there are a dozen goose and turkey feathers. I slice the end off of a right wing feather, carve it to a flattened point, and slice a slit up the middle. I then dip it into walnut ink from Italy, and address my envelope in copperplate script. (If I’m feeling lazy, I will use a metal nib in an oblique pen holder.)

We’re running out of milk. I do not hop into my car and drive to the store. Instead I go down the hill and collect my cow, whose name is Rosie. I take her up to the handmade stanchion, plunk myself on a crate, wash her teats, and milk her into a stainless steel bucket. I don’t use that new-fangled milking machine we have, because I’m faster and more efficient.

When someone asks me what my relationship is to technology, my first impulse is to say, “Are you kidding?” I only have a cell-phone because my family insisted, and it mostly stays forgotten in the bottom of my car. I write using WordPerfect, a computer program that has not been supported for nearly a decade (and boy does it drive my agent nuts!) I am an intelligent and educated person, but when it comes to technology, I tend to take the slow path.

We live already in a culture which makes the most outlandish science-fiction seem passé. We’ve already gone far beyond the technology needed for the constant surveillance and strict media control of Orwell’s 1984. But instead of Big Brother Watching Us, we cry our doings voluntarily into an empty sea of tweets and status updates. Instead of “altering” the facts to suit the propaganda, we focus on partisan minutiae and forget that the facts even exist. Even Star Trek, the futuristic focal point for two generations, seems almost quaint. Apart from aliens, warp travel and teleporters, I can think of very little technology in any given Star Trek episode that we don’t already have, in some form or another – communicators, unmanned drones, medical miracles.

Where does this leave the average science fiction writer? What else is there to invent that hasn’t already been invented, usually in the real world?

When it comes to science fiction, we have come to the point where the technology has to become secondary to the story one is trying to tell. In a world where we have glow-in-the-dark cats and I-Pads, the weird technology of the “future” can no longer be the focal point. 1984 is still relevant because the mental oppression and social stagnation of perpetual war is a story that still resonates. Star Trek, though dated, uses stories of aliens to tell stories of human interaction – and those are always timeless.

In writing A Long, Long Sleep, I used technology in two ways. The first was pure window-dressing, and I’m more than willing to admit that. Hover-cars, standard garbage incinerators and automatic retinal scans are nothing new. Despite the fact that most of these technologies are already out and about in the world, people still see them as “futuristic”. Having them as prevalent as I do is the only thing that makes the world of A Long, Long Sleep any different from our own.

However I did focus on one unconventional technology: stasis. Easy, reliable suspended animation is not a technology we currently possess. My intention was to explore all of the ramifications of a technology – the use and abuse of a technology – in order to tell a story of human interaction in the best and strongest way possible.

When it comes to our day-to-day interaction with technology, I often wonder if we’re moving too fast. In focusing on our instant text messaging and interactive sports games, many people have forgotten how to actually write, and no longer bother to go outside and play. It has been statistically proven that people read e-books slower than they read traditional bound and printed books. They buy more books, but actually read fewer of them, often failing to finish. Does this mean that we shouldn’t have e-books? No. There’s no reason to reject a benign technology – I’m no Luddite. But I do feel we need to keep in touch with traditional, well-established methods before those methods are lost forever. The printed page has been the repository of all knowledge since the invention of papyrus. Internet and e-books notwithstanding, I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.

In 1984, Orwell writes of a concerted effort to curb thought by diminishing language; a double-plus ungood practice. Well, plz. Can no1 C the FX ths haz on R thought process? Intelligent teenagers who read often are still handing in school reports with words like, “munny” (instead of money) and no punctuation. I fear if we turn entirely from paper to the screen to hold our knowledge, we will lose a great deal of it. At the same time, I doubt this article will ever be seen on a printed page. Does that mean I shouldn’t write it?

How silly is that idea?

Technology can give us both the good and the bad. When it comes to science-fiction, it is the writers’ job to explore the implications of both. When it comes to life, in my opinion, the same should apply.

Anna Sheehan DOES in fact have a website – – and you can find her on Amazon and Facebook, where she loves to interact with fans. Just don’t expect hourly updates on minutiae.

Thank you Anna!

I hope the use of today’s technology helps you sell more books because your book is worthy of any attention to get it into the hands of readers.

More from Anna

Author Interview by Book Reviews and More

An odd interview of sorts of Xavier over at The Mod Podge Bookshelf


Candlewick has graciously provided a finished copy of A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan to one of my readers. Plus, Anna will sign and mail you a bookplate!

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