What I'm Currently Reading...

Interview With the Vampire (Vampire Chronicles, #1)Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice
I started reading these books when I was a kid but never really got into them. Time to give them another shot!

Death du Jour (Temperance Brennan, #2)Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Amazon Best Sellers List!

I woke up this morning to find that The Mind Entangled - Part One: The Discovery had made Amazon's best sellers list for its short stories. Talk about an amazing thing to wake up to, right? To make things just that much better, I've started to get a lot more reviews for The Blood Moon of Winter and they are really good.

5.0 out of 5 stars The Unlikely Hero, December 17, 2011
The unlikely hero's seem to make the best ones, and this is the case with Lilyana. Meek and retiring, yet full of life and forced into a destiny that draws out inner depths of power and magick. Her transformation into goddess is in itself a wonder to behold.

The narrative starts out slow yet engaging as the main character herself, and then through the course of the book it builds an inexorable momentum that draws you onward. The prose is enchanting, the world is a marvel and the conclusion is fraught with tension and resolution.

I can't wait for the next one. Here's to the Goddess of Makayra.
- Author PD Allen
That is but one of my recent reviews and they are all positive! The 2nd edition is getting almost entirely 5star reviews!

© Courtney Conant, 2010-11. All Rights Reserved.

The Mind Entangled The Blood Moon of Winter

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Guest Post for the Reading

Today I was invited to be a guest poster over on The World of the Blue Bells Trilogy. The theme for the blog is Alternate Realities so I thought I would stick with that and have a little fun. Here is a brief excerpt of the post I made.

I have always been intrigued by the thought of there being something better, something else, outside of what I knew and loved. Growing up as a writer, I found that I’d write what I knew, unicorns and dragons, things from fairytales told to me by my mother. Never once had I learned of different worlds that existed alongside ours, yet on a different plane. Another world is not what I mean, as I’m sure most already know. These worlds are happening right here and right now, yet we can’t see them. They are the present, past and future, yet we may never know they are there.

Drop by and check it out! Also, The Blood Moon of Winter is only $.99 right now for the ebook so make sure to grab a copy while it last. The print copies are in so feel free to order your signed copy today!

© Courtney Conant, 2010-11. All Rights Reserved.
The Mind Entangled The Blood Moon of Winter

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Saints Astray - Revisited

After two weeks and hundreds of entries, folks have anxiously been awaiting the news of who would be receiving that signed book from Jacqueline Carey. Well, wait no more! A winner has been chosen.

David from Lansing, Michigan is the lucky man, selected at random, to get a copy of Saints Astray.
I'm so grateful that Miss Carey was willing to let me host this giveaway for her and only wish her the greatest success on her latest book.

On a fantastic side note, DarkCon is less than two months away. Jacqueline Carey is the Guest Author of Honor and I get to spend four whole days working side by side with her as her personal liaison. I couldn't be more excited for this oportunity. Talk about an honor!

© Courtney Conant, 2010-11. All Rights Reserved.
 The Mind Entangled The Blood Moon of Winter

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Favorite Book Quotes

And it is time for one of those age old questions... What is your favorite book quote of all time and why?

Me? I have two and could never choose between them.

The first is by Stephen King and it has always made me laugh because I've felt the truth of it many times since first reading it almost 20 years ago. He actually uses the line in two different books of his. Of course, I can't remember which the first one was (I was only ten when I read it the first time) but the second was Salem's Lot.

"There is no such thing as gravity. The Earth just sucks." - Stephen King

The second is by Kurt Vonnegut and is very dear to me. I read this line in The Sirens of Titan a few years back and I couldn't help but feel the power behind the words...

"The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody would be to not be used for anything by anybody." - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

ALSO: Don't forget to sign up for the giveaway of Saints Astray by Jacqueline Carey! You have until the 22nd at midnight to enter.

© Courtney Conant, 2010-11. All Rights Reserved.
The Mind Entangled The Blood Moon of Winter

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Is Being Self-Published and Indie the Same?

This is definitely a 'hot topic', so to speak. I think everyone has their views/opinions on it.

Mine? I'm an indie author. I published my own novel, by choice. I had a lot of interest in my book but was told that it was too short for the genre to be published via the traditional route. Everyone wanted me to change it to make it longer but that would affect the integrity of my story so I chose to do my own thing instead.

Should this make me less of an author, by the writing world standards? Being self-published makes me MORE independant because I had to do everything myself. I had to find my own editors, artists, photographers, etc... I also do my own marketing so it takes a lot of work to be self-published.

Don't judge an author by the type of publishing they choose. Judge them by their work!

Tell me what you think!

On a side note... I just did an image search on Google to find a picture to go with this post and found a picture of myself instead! I guess that means my image is at least getting out there and being associated with the indie movement.

ALSO: Don't forget to sign up for the giveaway of Saints Astray by Jacqueline Carey! You have until the 22nd at midnight to enter.

© Courtney Conant, 2010-11. All Rights Reserved.
 The Mind Entangled The Blood Moon of Winter

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Liquid Story Binder, help me!

Always fighting distractions! Between working too much and training for my marathon, I'm having a difficult time focusing on my new novel. I'm supposed to be up to around 15k words right now to be on schedule for NaNoWriMo yet I'm only just over 12k. All I can say is that I'm quite happy with where the story is taking me and am definitely looking forward to finding out how it ends. That will be quite a ways away though...

I've decided to give Liquid Story Binder a try again, as I didn't really attempt to use it much when writing my last novel. I'm only using the free trial version, as I'm not willing to pay for something that I don't even know if I'll use yet. I will say that I like how it organizes things and breaks the chapters down.

I've gone one chapter that I know I have to go back to and so when initially writing it in Word, I highlighted the passage. This meant that I would need to scroll through the whole thing to find it. It LSB, all I have to do is place an asterisk by the passage that I need to return to and hit F7 and it will automatically take me there, when in that chapter. That is pretty convenient but not quite enough because I'd have to remember which chapter it was. So how did I solve it? I made a new heading, something like "fix this chapter", and moved the chapter under that heading (keeping the chapter name/number intact so I know where it goes back to).

So far, I think I'm liking LSB and might end up snagging it for all my work.

What could be better? Just saw that they are supporting NaNoWriMo and offering 50% off through the month. Ok, I might break down and buy it after all.

© Courtney Conant, 2010-11. All Rights Reserved.
The Mind EntangledThe Blood Moon of Winter

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Saints Astray Giveaway by Jacqueline Carey

Anyone who knows me, or has read my book, knows that I adore the word of Jacqueline Carey. The flow of her ideas and thoughts onto the page is mesmerizing and once I start reading, it's hard to stop. I've always been a fan of hers on Facebook and followed her posts. I'm so glad that I do too!

Yesterday she announced that she wanted to change things up a bit from her normal giveaway routine. She offered the chance for 10 bloggers to host the giveaways for her and I just happened to be one of the lucky ones chosen!

Saints AstraySaints Astray by Jacqueline Carey
Saints Astray
Enter to win a signed copy!
Giveaway ends 11/22.

This is great for me and my readers both. For me, it's an opportunity. For the fans, it's a chance for a free signed book by an amazing author! Jacqueline and I emailed yesterday and she will be sending out the books herself. This means that if you win, you get it directly from her hands.

Just hop over, sign up and make sure to follow the rules...

Some seem to be having an issue with how to follow my blog. There is a button on the right of the page to "Join this site". A Blogger/Gmail account is not required to follow.

You can follow using:
* Google
* Twitter
* Yahoo
* Netlog
* OpenID

Also, Miss Carey was the one that requested this be US only for the initial giveaway. She has stated that she will be hosting her own giveaway in the near future that will be open to all.

© Courtney Conant, 2010-11. All Rights Reserved.
The Mind Entangled The Blood Moon of Winter

Monday, November 7, 2011

Random Facts...

Here are 10 random facts about that you might not know about me...

That's me!

1. I like to dress up as a 1950s pinup model. It's so fun and the clothes are so beautiful!

2. I love riding my vintage scooter around town. People always look at me funny and it makes me laugh.

3. I'm training to run my first full marathon in February of 2012. It's rough going but I'm enjoying every painful second of it!

4. One of my favorite things is singing. I've even won a trophy and was crowned 'Famous Sam's Queen of Karaoke' several years ago.

5. I'm addicted to costumes. Any chance that I can dress up and play at being someone else, I take it! This makes Halloween my absolute favorite time of year. I went through three costumes this year, one for a 5k race that ran, one for going out Halloween weekend, and the last for Halloween night.

6. I live on a golf course yet have never touched a golf club in my life... Minigolf doesn't count!

7. I'm very anal about my closet. I have everything sectioned off by the type of clothing (work shirts, dresses, skirts, pants, then casual). Then the sections are organized by color. Everything is color-coded and always in its proper place.

8. While alcohol is mentioned several times in my novel (especially wine), I rarely touch the stuff because I'm allergic to it. If I do drink, I pay for it severely...

9. I have to admit, I have a deep seated love for anime. I've been watching it for such a long time and I can't seem to stop. It is one of my favorite ways to escape!

10. I have over 100 shades of eye shadow yet I almost never touch makeup. I just can't seem to pass up getting a new color because I never know when I might want it, even if it is 50 years from now...

Don't forget to stop by NaNoWriMo to FOLLOW MY PROGRESS as I work on Beyond the Known Horizon, book two in The Land of Makayra series.

Also, if you haven't done so yet, Hop over to my fan page on Facebook and give it a 'like', as I update that much more often.

© Courtney Conant, 2010-11. All Rights Reserved.
 The Mind Entangled The Blood Moon of Winter

Monday, October 17, 2011

Novel Update and A Moment for FanFic...

I've been working on the final stage of rewriting The Blood Moon of Winter and haven't been posting at all. Heck... I haven't even been reading! (SHAME ON ME!!) I've finally finished the rewrite and have moved onto the editing portion now and am excited at the prospect of getting one more book in (Farsighted by Emlyn Chand) before NaNoWriMo begins and things go crazy again!

How appropriate!
The Running Author...
 NaNoWriMo is an amazing time of crazy busy, no free time, writing and I plan on (finger's crossed) finishing book two, Beyond the Known Horizon, during that time. That gives me 30 days to complete my goal and I do believe that I can do it. Obviously it will be a rough draft and need a lot of work but getting it done is the hardest part!

I've already put in to take November 1st off from work so that I can have complete focus on that first day.  On a side note, (easily distracted) I'm training to run my first full marathon right now. I've got 18 weeks left until the big day, February 19th. This running writer is keeping BUSY!!!

November is not only a great month for writing but also for indie authors. 'Adopt an Indie' month will be taking place all across the web. Yours truly has been adopted by a wonderful blogger, Tanya from All Things Books, and has given Tanya first dibs on reading the revamped version of my debut novel. I can only hope that she likes what I've done with it but I guess we will all see soon!

Speaking of Emlyn, on a whim, I decided to share with you all a bit of FanFic that I wrote for a contest she ran on her site back in February. Harry Potter FanFic to be exact.  Below are the rules that I didn't follow, but HEY! I had an idea pop into my head and I had to run with it... Don't forget to leave a comment if you like it. Enjoy! 

Here’s what you have to do:  take any scene from any of the seven Harry Potter books, any scene at all.  Now, pick any character from the series that you like—maybe Snape, Hagrid, Dobby, Mad-Eye Moody, Hermione—I mean anybody.  The only rule is that you can’t choose Harry himself.  Through the voice of your selected character explain to Harry what really happened in the scene you’ve chosen.  Give a perfectly rational explanation grounded in the Muggle world.  Wizards never existed as it turns out, and Harry just imagined the entire episode.  Your write-up should be a dialogue between Harry and your chosen character.
Crookshanks’ Revenge

“Padfoot, I can’t take much more of this. These kids are driving me crazy!” Crookshanks plodded back and forth along the edge of the Forbidden Forest. He stopped moving about and plopped down where he was with a harrumph. “They just never listen!” he groaned.
Padfoot shook his mangy head and asked with a groan, “What happened now to get you all riled up?
“It’s this damned Weasley kid! Now he’s accusing me of eating Scabbers. I’m about ready to claw the kid’s eyes out. He makes me wish that I really DID eat the damned rat. Now that I think on it… I just might,” he exclaimed. And with that, Crookshanks bolted upright and took off as if someone had lit a fire under him.
“Crookshanks! Don’t do it! Ron will kill you!!” Padfoot yelled after him, but to no avail. He was gone and there was no talking him out of something once he set his mind to it. Crookshanks was a stubborn cat, to put things mildly. Padfoot decided that he had done all that he could to help the children that night and made his way back into the forest to hide.
Crookshanks wandered around Hogwarts, using his superior nose to try and sniff out Scabbers’ hiding place. He knew the rat had to still be around somewhere. He had formulated a plan and finding the rat was only the beginning. He heard footsteps coming his way and darted down the next hallway to avoid being seen. That’s when he caught the scent. A grin broadened his face, causing his whiskers to ruffle.
He ran down the hall, following the aroma of the traitor rodent. As he turned the next corner, he caught sight of Scabbers sneaking his way through the shadows. The chase was on… Scabbers heard the cat following him and ran as fast as his little legs would carry him. His mind was reeling, trying to find an escape. He wasn’t paying attention to anyone around, just trying to find a hole to hide in. This turned out to be a grave error. He darted straight into the path of Professor Snape.
Snape’s foot landed right on the rat’s tail at the same instant that Crookshanks went to pounce. The cat hit the side of Snape’s leg at high speed, momentarily dazed. “Damned pests,” grumbled Snape, looking down at the two animals at his feet. “I hate these damned critters running through my halls, wreaking havoc. Too bad they aren’t like Muggle pets…” As he said it, an idea formed. He looked back and forth between the two and grinned menacingly. “I know a spell or two that can take care of that!”
Snape pulled out his wand and flicked it in their direction as he said, “Rufanatuli!” A light flashed at his feet and both animals screeched. He knelt down, making sure to keep his foot on the tail of the rat beneath his boot. He looked closely into the dazed eyes of Crookshanks and Scabbers. It looked like the spell had worked. They were nothing more than a rat and a cat before him now, no longer sentient beings. Snape watched as the cat realized that its natural born prey was cowering before it. With a chuckle, Snape lifted his foot and watch as the rat scuttled away, being chased by the cat again. “They won’t be doing any more plotting around here…”
It didn’t take long for Crookshanks to catch his favorite food. He captured the rat that he had been chasing after, breaking its neck in the process. He plodded his way back to the tower that he lived in, dinner swinging back and forth from his mouth. He was the happiest cat on the planet, having caught such a prize. Once he reached his owner’s room, he hopped up on the foot of the bed and started eating. As is engrained in all cats, he decided to share with his owner. He left half of his dinner on her pillow so that she could enjoy and know that he did what he was supposed to. With that, he went to sleep.
Hermoine awoke, having had strange dreams in the night. As she opened her eyes, she screamed, waking the entire house. She found herself face to face with a dead rat, or what was left of it. Her mom ran into the room to find her daughter huddled in the corner, whimpering. She looked at the bed and saw her daughter’s long-time pet snuggled into the blankets and a dead rat on the pillow. She made her way to Hermoine’s side and knelt down.
“It’s okay dear. I’ll have your dad come clean it up. Your brother is going to be upset though.” She stroked her daughter’s hair, trying to sooth her.
“But I heard him plotting with the Grim, talking about getting back at Ron!” she cried. “I think he’s turned evil, mum!”
“It was just a dream, dearest. There are no Grims and your cat doesn’t talk. I should never have let you watch that movie.” She stood. “I guess I should go tell Ron that your cat ate his rat.”
“Ron’s here? What’s he doing here?!? I need to get dressed. I can’t let him see me like this.” Hermoine started rushing around the room, trying to pull herself together.
“What are you doing? Why would your brother care what you look like,” her mother asked.
“My brother? Ron is not my brother. He’s my future boyfriend. And I love him!”
“I think maybe you need to go back to sleep for a bit, Hermy. That must have been one disturbing dream…” Her mother pointed to the family photo on the desk.
Hermoine followed her mother’s outstretched finger, saw her and Ron standing in front of her parents and fainted.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Writing What Counts

So I know I said I would do my best to write every day this week and I really have. I may not have added any words to my manuscript yesterday but I did change some. I took the time to read over all that I had done over the last few weeks to see how well it flows since it is being added into an already complete book.

After reading it through, I have to say that I'm very happy with the results and I do believe that my readers will be too! I've put a lot of time and effort forth into this book, so much heart. I really love all of the past feedback that I've received from my readers and I'm putting it to good use.

I'm thinking that December will make for a great release of the revamped novel, The Blood Moon of Winter. Now I need to find better ways to promote it and get some attention coming in since I'm setting myself a goal of November 30th to finish Beyond the Known Horizon, Book 2 in the Land of Makayra series.

There is so much work ahead of me but I'm trucking along and trying to find time to read and keep my mind fresh as well. Of course, I've been working so much lately, it seems hard to find time for much of anything...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Finding Time to Write

Yesterday I had a hard time focusing on my writing so I pulled out an old trick, Write or Die : Dr Wicked's Writing Lab. I set my time for 30 minutes and, in between phone calls and people chatting me up, I was able to get another 600 words done. I know it doesn't seem like a lot but if you think about it, at a pace like that, it should only take about 3 months to write a full length novel. I'm only going for bits and pieces here so it works great!

Since I have a hard time finding an open computer in a quiet corner during lunch time, I broke down and bought the program, tossed it on my laptop and plan on sneaking away and hiding/writing on my lunch until the last bits of the revamp are complete.

I need the extra motivation right now to help me get the words on the page. Also, I figure by having the actual program instead of the online version, it will help to keep me away from the net in general while writing. It also helps that my netbook won't have internet access...

My plan is to try and update daily, my progress. I'll try but make no guarantees. (I know, kind of lame...) It is difficult to squeeze in blogging time between multiple jobs, writing and craziness all around. If I don't update the same day, I promise to do it the next though. Stick with me folks and I'll get you the promised revised novel, part two of the short story series AND book two!!

Don't give up on me yet...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Socks for Japan - Update (yes, another one...)

For those that have been following my blog for awhile now, you will know about Socks for Japan and the effort I put forth in collecting socks for donations. I ended up collecting hundreds of pairs, as well as kids futons and jackets. Shipping out those boxes made me so happy, knowing that the items would be going to such good use. I knew that the items had arrived because I tracked them but I had not heard from the organization in regards to the next steps in the process. I was beginning to think that I might not hear from them and just let it go. I wasn't so worried about hearing from them. I was just glad to know everything arrived, as it should. When I woke up this morning and found a nice little email in my inbox, it brought back all the happy memories that the initial collecting process had given me. So without further ado, here is the email...
Subject: Socks received!
Date: Tue Sep 20 00:32:31 MST 2011
From: Jason Kelly <jason@jasonkelly.com>
To: cc@courtneyconant.com

Dear Courtney-san,

We know this is late, but figured it's better late than never to tell you...

We received your package! It was months ago, so we already sorted your socks and will distribute them when we resume disaster-zone operations in the coming weeks. Watch our pages for photos and updates:

and join our email list to stay informed as we hear back from survivors and others:http://socksforjapan.com/list

and eventually add your own correspondence from survivors, if you receive any:http://socksforjapan.com/lettersfromsurvivors

Thank you so much!

In solidarity for Japan,

So I would like to send a big THANK YOU to Jason for not only starting the whole process but for also getting back to me and letting me know that everything arrived safe and sound. I just hope that it all goes to good use.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It is sad to say, but this is the first Pratchett book that I didn't really enjoy. It was simple but a bit hard to follow. I still have no idea who or what was going on. There were a lot of different, random characters that showed up, yet they seemed to have no real purpose in the story other than as filler. They were there and then gone and I found I was losing track of the actual story.

Nothing was explained or even made much sense. It seemed as though none of the questions that the story posed were ever answered. The story concept was cute but it just seemed to be lacking (in my eyes anyway). What was it lacking, you might ask? Quite a lot. For the fact that he was only 17 when he wrote it, I did give a little. I'm just glad that this slowly lead to the creation of the Discworld series. Don't judge Pratchett's writing on this book alone. He is an amazing author and definitely worth checking out.

'The Lord of the Rings on a Rug'

The Carpet People was published in 1971, It had a lot of things wrong with it, mostly to do with being written by someone who was seventeen at the time.
And it sold a bit, and eventually it sold out. And that was it.
And then about seven years ago the Discworld books began to sell, and people would buy them and say, "Here, what's this book The Carpet People by The Same Author?' and the publishers got so fed up with telling people that there was no demand for it that they decided it was time for a new edition.
Which was read by Terry Pratchett, aged forty-three, who said: hang on. I wrote that in the days when I thought fantasy was all battles and kings. Now I'm inclined to think that the real concerns of fantasy ought to be about not having battles, and doing without kings. I'll just rewrite it here and there...
Well, you know how it is when you tweak a thread that's hanging loose...
So this is it. It's not exactly the book I wrote then. It's not exactly the book I'd write now. It's a joint effort but, heh heh, I don't have to give him half the royalties. He'd only waste them.
You asked for it. Here it is. Thanks.
Incidentally, the size of the city or Ware is approximately ->.

Terry Pratchett
15 September 1991


I'm with this girl here. We both are so happy that this his not where Pratchett ended is writing career! Now chant it with me!!


Friday, September 9, 2011

The Watchman of Ephraim by Gerard de Marigny

As the 10th anniversary draws near, all are reminded of 9/11 and the tragedy that occurred on that fateful day. It is important to remember all that happened that day and all that has happened since. To help with this, here is my latest review of a novel that is centered around that day and the time that followed...

The Watchman of EphraimThe Watchman of Ephraim by Gerard de Marigny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The concept of this novel drew me in right away. What American in their right mind wouldn't be interested in a book that touches so close to home and heart at a time like this? The author really hits home in this tale following de Niro with his personal loss, search for self, and need to do right.

There is much sadness in the book and it reminds the reader of what many went through that day and the loss they still feel to this day. The action and adventure in the novel draw the reader in, a real page turner.

The book does contain much in the way of religion and Christian values. I, being agnostic, was able to look past the religion and take in the story for what it was, a worthwhile read. I enjoyed the story and believe that most will. It will make you angry, sad, but most of all... it will make you flip to the next page to see what happens next!

de Marigny did an amazing job and I applaud him for his hard work and determination. Keep up the great writing and I look forward to more in the future.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Announcing the In Leah’s Wake Social Media Whirlwind Tour—WooHoo!

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the In Leah’s Wake Kindle edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including a Kindle, 5 autographed copies of the book, and multiple Amazon gift cards (1 for $100, 3 for $25, 5 for $10, and 10 for $5 – 19 in all)! Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, August 26th, so you don’t miss out.

To win the prizes:

  1. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book!
And I can win $100 too if you vote for my blog over on the author’s website. The blog host that gets the most votes in this traffic-breaker polls wins, so please cast yours right after purchasing In Leah’s Wake and entering the contests!

The featured events include:

Monday, Blogaganza on Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We’ll ask the writer 5 fun and random questions to get everyone talking. Leave a comment or question in response to the post, and you may win an autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake. Don’t forget to visit the author’s blog to enter for the other prizes!

Tuesday, Twitter chat with the author! Tweet with us between 4 and 5 PM Eastern Time, using the hashtag #emlyn. We’ll be talking with the author about her favorite books and best writing advice. Bring your questions about In Leah’s Wake and don’t forget to use #emlyn or to follow Terri @tglong. By joining in the tweet chat at the designated time, you may win an autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake. Don’t forget to visit the author’s blog to enter for the other prizes!

Wednesday, Google+ video chat with the author! Join our hangout between 12 and 3 PM Eastern Time to talk with the author and us via video chat. We’ll be gabbing about great books including In Leah’s Wake and about writing. Did you know that Terri is a creative writing instructor at Boston College? She’s got tons of good advice for aspiring writers. By joining in the Google+ video chat at the designated time, you may win an autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake. Don’t forget to visit the author’s blog to enter for the other prizes!

Thursday, Facebook interview with the author! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and ask Terri questions. She’s chosen three of her favorite topics to talk about: writing, parenting, and gourmet cooking. Of course, you’re welcome to ask about In Leah’s Wake too. Leave a comment or question as part of the thread, and you may win an autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake. Don’t forget to like Terri’s Facebook page or to visit her blog to enter for the other prizes!

Friday, Fun & games based on the book! We want to close this whirlwind social media tour with a gigantic bang, which is why we've set-up two interactive book-themed features on the author’s blog. You can take the official Facebook quiz to find out which In Leah's Wake character is most like you and learn how that character ties into the story. Then try out our crossroads story game. Throughout the course of the narrative, you'll have several decisions to make. What you choose will affect the outcome of the story. Play as either rebellious teenager Leah or the trampled peacemaker and mother Zoe. Leave a comment or question on any of Terri’s blog entries, and you may win an autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake. Don’t forget to check out the other give-away contests while you’re on Terri’s blog!

About In Leah’s Wake: The Tyler family had the perfect life – until sixteen-year-old Leah decided she didn’t want to be perfect anymore. While Zoe and Will fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah’s younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake. Will this family survive? What happens when love just isn’t enough? Jodi Picoult fans will love this beautifully written and absorbing novel.

An interview with Terri Giuliano Long, author of In Leah’s Wake

Terri's book was voted the 2011 book club pick of the year by the BookBundlz staff and community!

Author Terri LongAbout Terri:

1. If you could have coffee with any 3 authors, living or dead, who would they be?

This is a tough question. Let’s see: Joan Didion – I love her work. The Year of Magical Thinking is a powerful book. I’d like to have coffee with her because she’s a brilliant, courageous woman, a true pioneer, and she’s led a varied and interesting life. I’d love to hear her stories.

Cormac McCarthy - although I’m not a fan of his early work – too macho for my taste - he hooked me with No Country For Old Men. I enjoyed the novel so much that I taught it in one of my classes. The Road is the most moving novel I’ve ever read. The man says to his son: "You have my whole heart. You always did.” That line has stayed with me – as have so many stark, tender moments. I’m in awe. I think I’d be too dumbstruck to talk. I’d probably just sit there.

Alice Hoffman – I love her work and I admire her ability to write a bestselling novel, year after year. It took me several years to finish In Leah’s Wake. To produce a book a year requires tremendous determination and discipline. You’ve got to be willing to sit down and write, whether you feel like it or not. That discipline helped her overcome breast cancer, after which she established the Hoffman Breast Center at the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. She’s also written screenplays and children’s books. And friends who know her say she’s a lovely, giving person.

2. If you could only take one book, food item and drink with you to a deserted island what would they be?

Oh, goodness, another tough question! If I had to choose one book, I’d take the Bible. The stories are fascinating, with so many layers of meaning, and the imager and language are captivating. You can read the stories over and over and never grow tired. For nourishment, champagne and dark chocolate – I’d be tipsy and fat, but I would be smiling.

3. What are your secret indulgences?

Travelling and trying new foods - my husband, Dave, and I have had the great fortunate of visiting many beautiful, interesting places. I love ethnic foods and I’m fairly gutsy when it comes to trying new dishes. In Beijing, a few years ago, we went to a tiny restaurant with two students we met. The restaurant was a local spot, as opposed to a tourist trap, the menu written in Chinese, so they ordered for us. When the steaming bowl arrived, I dipped my chopsticks into the stew – and pulled out a frog. The head was gone, thank goodness, but the body was fully intact. I realize that a lot of people eat frog; this was actually green. I thought Dave would gag when I ate it. To his credit, he didn’t.

4. What about you would surprise your readers?

When they meet me, people almost always assume I’m in my thirties, so they’re surprised to learn that I have adult children and grandkids. I was 18 when I married Dave and he’s the love of my life. Like all couples, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we still enjoy each other’s company, we have fun, and we love being together. This surprises people.

5. What is your perfect day as an author?

Being in a quiet place, with beautiful scenery, and no phone or Internet. A few years ago, we spent a heavenly winter in Stowe, Vermont. I would sit at my desk, looking out at the mountains. Dave would be working in the other room, so I wasn’t alone; we’d work all day, then have dinner together, maybe a glass of wine by the fire. Now I’m actively involved with social media, which I really enjoy, but I long for a quiet day with no interruptions, no distraction.

6. If you could be any fictional character who would it be?

Sara Paretsky’s PI, V.I. Warshawski – I have a special place in my heart for police officers. They risk their lives for us, every day, and they’re the connectors, the glue that holds communities together. I’ve always admired Gail Mullen Beaudoin, a police officer in Chelmsford, MA. Gail brings strength, dignity and grace to a very difficult job. In a fictional character, V.I. is the closet I can come to Gail - two very strong, caring, centered women. Theirs are very big, wonderfully feminine shoes to fill.

7. What are the book(s) you are reading now?

The Trust, an engaging, fast-paced legal thriller by Sean Keefer, and A Walk in the Snark, a wise, sexy, very funny nonfiction read by Rachel Thompson, and Take One Candle Light a Room, an insightful, gorgeously textured literary novel by National Book Award finalist Susan Straight.

8. What was your favorite book as a teenager, and why?

Please don’t laugh – The Exorcist. By today’s standards it’s tame; then The Exorcist was a shocking literary sensation. I was a bit of a rebel when I was younger. I didn’t use drugs or take the risks Leah takes in my novel, but I hated being told what to do. Although I’ve always loved reading, I never got the full enjoyment from the classics we were forced to read in school. That The Exorcist was forbidden gave it a wonderfully sweet edge. I also loved Exodus, a glorious book by Leon Uris, about the birth of the nation of Israel. It was, to my mind, the first truly important book I ever read.

9. (Aside from your own) What book(s) have you read that you think are perfect for book clubs?

Elizabeth Strout’s heartbreaking novel Abide With Me would make a terrific book club selection. Her Pulitzer Prize winner, Olive Kitteridge, is one of my favorite books. Abide With Me, a moving story about a young minister struggling to raise two small children after the premature death of his wife, is so real and relatable on so many levels, and it raises thought-provoking questions about family and life.

About In Leah's Wake:

10. Where did the inspiration for your book come from?

Years ago, I wrote a series of feature articles about families with drug and alcohol-addicted teens. The moms talked candidly about their children, their heartbreaking struggles. Those stories stayed with me.

My husband and I have four daughters. Most families struggle during their children's teenage years. We’re no different - though, thank goodness, we experienced nothing remotely akin to the problems and challenges the Tylers face in the book. As a parent, I knew how it felt to be scared, concerned for your children’s welfare and future. These were the primary forces driving me to write this story.

My work with families, my personal experiences and core beliefs – all these things played on my conscious and subconscious mind, and ultimately emerged as this book.

11. They say every book written is the author telling a personal philosophy. What personal philosophy are you trying to get across?

The epigraph, from The Grand Inquisitor, says it best: “everyone is really responsible to all men for all men and for everything.” Hillary Clinton famously said that it takes a village to raise a child. I believe we must all do our part, be supportive members of the village. The Tyler family is far from perfect, but they love one another. Our flaws make us human and that humanity connects us. I very much hope that readers feel this sense of connection—and hope.

12. Writers are often surprised by something that happens in their book. Perhaps a character says or does something you did not think they would, or something you thought would only be a couple of paragraphs turns into 10 pages. What surprised you about your book?

The challenges Leah faces in the aftermath of her sexual awakening. In the first draft, she lost her virginity; in the context of her rebellion, that felt right. In later drafts, darker incidents emerged. As a mom, I found these scenes hard to write, but they felt very true to Leah’s character and experience.

About Terri's Writing Process:

13. What is your writing process like?

With the first draft of In Leah’s Wake, I had no idea where I was going – in writing programs, this sort of organic writing is usually encouraged. In the revision process, I looked for and developed themes. In Leah’s Wake is character driven, so outlining would have produced a different book. I think it’s helpful to know who we are, as writers, and what our goals are. For literary fiction, the goal is to develop and understand character. I hope I’ve done this adequately.
My novel-in-progress, Nowhere to Run, is a psychological thriller, so I’m approaching that differently. I’ve mapped a partial outline - plot points to use as markers - and writing the sections organically. While I recognize the benefits of outlining or plotting, sticking firmly to either feels limiting. Giving myself this freedom allows for possibilities. Of course, it also makes for a messier process.

14. What gets you in the mood to write?

When I first sit at my desk, especially if I’ve been away for a few days, I often feel blocked, the nasty editors on my shoulders heckling: A writer? Are you crazy? Nine times out of ten, I dig in; the writing may be choppy at first, but eventually I regain fluidity. If the demons are too loud to ignore, I read. Reading, like meditation or yoga, settles my mind, calms me. Soon I find my mind wandering to my story, and I can’t wait to start writing.

15. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Believe in yourself. I know wonderful writers whose first, second or third books, really good, strong books, were rejected. To deal with the rejection, boot your computer, day after day, when it seems as if no one cares, the stars misaligned – or to indie publish in a world that still privileges the traditionally published - you have to believe in yourself.
Writing is a lonely profession. Most of the time, we’re alone with our work. The loneliness can wear on you, and cause you to question yourself. A few supportive writer friends, supporting and encouraging you, can make all the difference.
Hold onto your dreams. You can make them happen. Don’t ever give up!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

So I've been a bit lax on my reviewing this past month or so. Between working and moving, I haven't had any real time to myself. The only time I seem to get is when I can sneak away and jump into the pool to cool down and unwind after getting home from work before beginning the next round of work (or unpacking) at home. There seem to be so many things to do and so little time to do them in...

So without further ado, here is a review for your enjoyment!

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4)
The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not to be simplistic with my review but this is a great book! I really enjoyed it. Of course, I'm sure that all my readers will notice that I only gave it 4 stars. There is a reason for this. The author disappointed me a bit with his thievery from one of my favorite movies of all time, Labyrinth...

I'm sure that the movie took the 2-headed door guards from the actual myth but the lines that they use in the movie were taken almost word for word and transplanted into the book. As an author myself, I can't see how this is justified and it really irks me no end...

Now that my little rant has come to a close, I can definitely say this was a book worth spending time on. I loved studying ancient Greek mythology when I was a kid and I still have to do bits of research now and again to make sure that I don't get something wrong in my own work (some of my characters have a basis in old myths). Making my way through this series, I find that there are so many monsters and stories that I have never heard before and I love it! I knew that I didn't know everything and this helps to get the point across. I learned so many new things from the author and the research that he did and I appreciate the book and series more fore it.

Riordan is a great author and he knows how to appeal to his audience and to teach his readers. Mythology doesn't seem to be a subject widely taught in regular schools anymore and it really should be. Riordan has found a way to draw interest into the subject again without giving the feel of teaching but more of an exciting new approach to learning.

I would have given this book 5 stars if not for the issue mentioned previously. I was still able to work my way past that and truly enjoy the book and I know many that would enjoy it as well.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Trust by Sean Keefer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel definitely got my attention. I've worked as a legal researcher in the past, and Law & Order is one of my favorite shows, so I was definitely drawn to this book from the get go. While the pace at the start is a bit slow, I didn't mind because the author's concepts kept me wanting to push forward with it.

The characters are very well written and balanced which I think is necessary in a legal thriller. Keefer knew what he was doing when he wrote this novel. Of course, it doesn't hurt that he's an attorney himself so he had insider knowledge on how the whole system works. The storyline flows so smoothly throughout the novel, keeping the reader from being easily distracted.

Sorry, couldn't resist throwing
in the gavel...

This novel is definitely worth grabbing a copy and checking out. It's not your typical courtroom drama, like many would expect. There are so many twists and turns, it keeps the reader guessing and flipping the pages until the end.

Tour Notes:

Please vote for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a free promotional twitterview and a special winner’s badge. I want that to be me! You can vote in the poll by visiting The Trust’s official blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

You can also enter to win a free paperback copy of this novel on The Trust’s official blog tour page. The winner of the give-away will be announced on Wednesday, August 10 – be sure to enter before then!

Book Trailer for The Trust:

Learn more about this author by visiting his website, blog, Facebook or GoodReads pages or by connecting with him on Twitter.

Friday, July 29, 2011

What Inspires Me To Write? … Breathing! By Gerard de Marigny

Today is a special Friday treat for my readers. I've most recently had the pleasure of 'meeting' (online anway) author Gerard de Marigny, and was able to talk him into writing up a little something to grace the pages of my blog. Thankfully it didn't take too much coaxing otherwise you might not get the chance to read this little inspirational tidbit that follows...

What Inspires Me To Write? … Breathing!
By Gerard de Marigny

“I shut my eyes in order to see.”
Paul Gauguin (French painter, printmaker, and sculptor, 1848-1903)

Author Gerard de Marigny
Where does a writer find inspiration? It depends on the type of writer…

For journalists, they find inspiration in finding the next big headline. A journalist dreams of receiving an award for being the first to uncover a scandal or for exposing corruption. Journalists spend their professional lives in an endless attempt to be on the spot and/or in the know when something spectacular happens.

For non-fiction authors, their inspiration lies in their expertise and experience – aka their platform. Doctors write about new treatments; lawyers write about how they won their cases; baseball players write about their careers and winning the world series… or losing the world series; and politicians… oh, politicians write about all sorts of topics… some of which should be considered fiction!

Inspiration for fiction writers, though, comes from a different place. I'm a writer of fiction, as is Courtney Conant. Our inspiration comes from the undiscovered worlds that exist between our ears. These worlds are shaped by our individual lives, but like dreams, they're not exact interpretations. Some of our worlds are vivid and clear, while others are hazy and dark… and our worlds are filled with the most extraordinary characters, both righteous and evil.

A fiction writer is a world creator. If we apply our craft well, a fiction writer can paint a canvas that becomes a portal into the world we've created. As authors, we stand at the doorway of these portals and invite readers to enter… but we don't enter with them. Each reader's journey through our domain is theirs alone to take. Some readers decide to act as mere observers, watching our stories unfold from a distance, while other readers become sojourners temporarily residing in our worlds.
And then there is the special breed…

These special readers undergo a metamorphosis that can only take place in our fictional universes. In our worlds, this special breed finds that they have the power to become our characters… and not just one of our characters, unless they chose only one. These special readers can morph into any of our characters, jumping to and fro from hero to villain and from old woman to little boy. Even more thrilling, they find that they can adapt the skills and powers of our characters and do the things that our characters do! Suddenly, a teenage girl can kiss a prince in a far-away kingdom or an old soldier can once again pick up a weapon and defend his country.

What inspires me to write? Extraordinary characters that live in my mind, captivating stories that touch my soul, profound experiences that have shaped my life, shuttering fears that keep me awake at night and comforting prayers that let me sleep…

And dream!

In a word, what inspires me to write… breathing!

Author Bio
Gerard de Marigny is the author of the geopolitical thriller, _The Watchman of Ephraim_, Book 1 of THE WATCHMAN OF EPHRAIM series. The sequel, _Signs of War_ is scheduled for release in September 2011.
Gerard de Marigny resides in the beautiful foothills of Las Vegas, NV with his wife Lisa and his four sons. When not bending an arm with friends at the local pub, he's putting to paper the stories and characters that are alive in his mind.

Author/Publisher Sites
Author's Website: www.GerarddeMarigny.com
Author's Blog: SelfPubber's Pub

Social Networking Sites

Buy Links
Barnes & Noble: Gerard de Marigny Books
Smashwords (all eBook formats): _The Watchman of Ephraim_
Personalized, signed copies are available at the author's website: www.GerarddeMarigny.com (all transactions secure via PayPal)