Friday, March 29, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: June Kramin (author of the Happily Ever After series)


Today, I am very excited to welcome A.. T. Bugg, author of the Before Happily Ever After series, to the blog. I hope y'all will give her a very warm welcome.

About the author:

Ann T. Bugg is the Queen of her castle in southern Minnesota where she lives with her Knight in shining armor (who has come to her rescue more than once) and her own little Princess Valerie. The pets in her magical kingdom come in all shapes and sizes, as do all the critters that make their way out of the enchanted forest. She enjoys horseback riding and long walks with her dogs, but writing will always be her first love.

(Ann T. Bugg is the pseudonym for author June Kramin. For more on her women’s fiction, visit http://www.junekramin.com/)

You can haunt Ann T. Bugg at-
Twitter | Goodreads | Website | Before Happily Ever After | FB |
Interview

1. Could you tell us a little about your MG series, Before Happily Ever After, and about Valerie and Samantha?

Thanks for having me here! In all honesty, Valerie & Samantha are based on real children. It's my daughter and her best friend. The two couldn't be any more opposite - they were just easy targets when I decided to write these stories. I thought the first book was just a fluke - I wrote it for them. The responses I received from people that read it made me want to do more and then eventually, seek publication. They get a year older in each book and each one is a separate tale. They revisit different fairy tales and folklore and make some amazing friends along the way. You get closure with each book - not a cliffhanger making you wait for the next one to finish the story.  Number one may start off super sweet, but their tales get more complex with each story. I look back and wonder how I figured some things out that I have them do. LOL. It's at 8 books and I really can't say if I'll do any more.  
2. What made you want to write a MG series that featured a magical mirror that would transport the characters into various fairy tales?

The way book #1 starts is something that actually happened to me. I was scared by a possum in our barn. When I started to write out a story for it, I involved the girls in the way I knew they would be - getting into trouble!  The story of the messy barn when we bought the house was true as well. I just figured incorporating the mirror would make the most sense. I don't remember if I thought about the mirror first or them running into Snow White. In any case, the two seemed like they'd fit together. In the stories that follow, the girls don't need the mirror, they travel in other ways. Sometimes it's a total surprise for them. They are a fun pair to torture ;)
3. What was the best part of creating a story where the characters are familiar with the stories that they find themselves participating in?

My favorite stories have always been fairy tales re-told. That was another quirk that just seemed to fit. Valerie was more of the reader of the pair, so the banter they share when things are going on is a lot of fun. It's like partaking in time travel where you are afraid to change the outcome. The girls sometimes talk over the tale, afraid of changing too much. It helps when a child may not have read that particular story yet.  It was fun explaining to my daughter what the real Grimm stories were like. I couldn't imagine the original tales being told to children at bedtime!
4. To keep within the theme, what are a couple of your personal favorites when it comes to fairy tales? Any that you wish were truth and not fiction?

Beauty and the Beast is my favorite. From the beginning of writing this series, I swore I would never take them back to that tale. I consider it perfection and never wanted to mess with it. Not that the others aren't perfect, I just have a weak spot for it that I can't explain. What do you mean "wish they were true?" Of course they are true. Just wait till I tell Santa you said that! ;)
5. When not writing, is there anything that you love to do?

We're pretty much home bodies. If we're not driving a couple of hours to visit family & friends, I stick close to home and ride my horse around our property or down through the park, or  take the dogs for a long walk. There is a river not far away. It's amazing how many scenes I've worked though being out and about with them. We live in Minnesota so that is a seasonal love. We're pretty much movie buffs otherwise.
6. Since I myself am a huge fan of the Princess Bride, could you tell us why this movie has made it into the replay lineup at your house?

It was the 1st movie hubby & I watched together even before we were officially dating. We both loved it before we even met and now it's my daughter's favorite as well. One of them will ask to put it in before I will anymore. I can't explain what it is about that film. I've given it to dozens of people, claiming it was child abuse that they didn't play it for their kids yet! We all know it by heart. Test me.  ;)  Recently I read through all 8 of the books in my series. I can't believe how many reference I made to that film! Inconceivable! :D 
7. June, I hear that you like to listen to 80's music, so, my question to you is: any favorites or ones that you just have to turn up loud whenever you hear it? What makes music from the 80's your musical addiction? 

I'm not a huge hard rock fan but Def Leppard & Billy Idol songs get cranked up for sure on Pandora. The 80's were my day. My wasted youth. My "I have my driver's license - let's drive & go nowhere" time. Every song triggers a memory and oh yeah, what memories they are! :)

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

Man! You know how to hurt a gal. We are BIG super hero movie buffs. You're going to make me pick just one??? How could I possibly....Chris Evans. Wa-pow! I get Captain America from the Avengers & the Human Torch from Fantastic Four! That's 2 heroes in one! Is that cheating? *drool*

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

My cave is actually an empty paper box on an old table at work. Not too exciting. Most of my writing is done during my free time at work. (And no - that's not sneaky, my boss knows. :)  I had back issues with sitting & writing so much so now I stand all day. It's much better. Unless I'm really on a roll or have to work through a scene, I try not to get on at home. That's family time. I have a very unfair advantage to a lot of writers. Trust me, I'm grateful. 

10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us? 

Mostly I'm concentrating on getting the rest of the series polished up. I want to get a head start on everything so I'm not pinching at any deadlines. My daughter is my cover artist and is always in an art tournament of some sort. I have to get her working on my covers when I can, so I'm often cracking a whip in her direction! I do have a few Women's Fiction titles lined up as well and another "under construction". So, always a few pots on the fire for me.

Thanks so much for having me! All of the books have recently been re-released in E and will be available in print again soon. If you are interested, drop me an e-mail via the form on my site and I can notify you when they are available again.

Thanks so much, June, for stopping by and answering a few questions. Haha, I'll let slide the double Chris Evans pick on super hero(es) to save the world (simply because he was great in both roles).

Off to Camp and Discovering Art (Before Happily Ever After, 3) by Ann T. Bugg, November 22, 2012. Published by Pau Hana Books.

Valerie and Samantha are disappointed that their schedules were not allowing them to spend a week together this summer like they have done every year since they were young. Their parents are able to plan a weekend camping trip towards the end of summer.

The girls are happy for the visit, but sad to think they can’t go through the mirror this year on another adventure. They discover the magic is not only within the mirror, but within themselves when they are together.

Merlin the magician makes a timely appearance to take them on their quest to help Arthur find his true identity and his place in Camelot.

You can check out the whole series on Goodreads and Amazon.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cover Reveal: Skeleton Key Guild by M.J. Fletcher Cover Reveal & Giveaway!


Release: May 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Steampunk, Paranormal

Her parents dead, her sister missing, and those she loves branded traitors to the Old Kind... Chloe Masters is on the run.

To fulfill a parent’s dying wish she will do anything to save the sister she has never met. Can she learn the secrets of the Artifacts before it’s too late? Surrounded by her friends; Slade, Edgar, Jess, Val and the man she loves James Nightshade, Chloe has never had so much to live for... but will her enemies let her?

Reviews about The Doorknob Society


I am SO GLAD that I said I’d review the 
book!! It had me interested from the first 
chapter, and HOOKED shortly after that!” 
Puretextuality.com 

Let me start by saying that I'm a pretty picky 
reader. I have to be captured by a story almost 
immediately in order to continue reading. Well, I 
was captured by The Doorknob Society...and I 
am hooked!” Amazon 

I couldn't put it down and read straight 
through and was so mad at myself for finishing 
it. I. CAN. NOT. WAIT. FOR. THE. NEXT. 
BOOK!” Goodreads 



Other books in the series...



About M.J. Fletcher
MJ Fletcher is the creator of the comic book series Adam Zero: The Last Man of Earth published by Ronin Studios. He’s also been published in Hope: The Hero Initiative and Digital Webbing Presents. The Doorknob Society series is his first book series and he’s thrilled about it. He lives near the beach with his wife, daughter, and dog.


The Doorknob Society Book Trailer






Win an ebook copy of the first in the series, The Doorknob Society! Open International! 


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Cover Reveal: Broken Gates by D.T. Dyllin

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Expected publication: May 24th 2013 by Dragonfairy Press 
 
& nbsp;***Genre - New Adult Paranormal Romance

P.J. Stone is a Seer who saw too little, too late.

In the past, her biggest worries were boys and school—but war has a way of changing things. Now, the alien Riders are trying to overrun the world. As the last of their kind, P.J. and her friends must find a way to save humanity before there’s nothing left to save.

After choosing a mate, P.J. hoped she'd have time to enjoy her love life. But with everything changing so quickly and major secrets revealed, who knows what the future will bring?--Goodreads
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< u>First book in this series

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< div class="row" style="text-align: center;"> Click on the cover for book information.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wish List Wednesday

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith, March 7, 2013. Published by Putnam Juvenile.

First came the storms.Then came the Fever.And the Wall.
After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.
Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.
Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.
Why: I was browsing Goodreads and Orleans just kind of popped out at me, and now I really, really want to read it. It just sounds like an entertaining read and it has a very nice cover.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Teaser Tuesday


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


Monday, March 25, 2013

There Comes a Prophet Blog Tour/Review


There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack, July 9, 2012. 282 pages. Published by Double Dragon Publishing. Source: Xpresso Book Tours.

Who among us will cast aside a comfortable existence and risk death to follow a dream?

A world kept peaceful for a thousand years by the magic of the ruling vicars. But a threat lurks from a violent past. Wizards from the darkness have hidden their sorcery in a place called the keep and left a trail of clues that have never been solved.

Nathaniel has grown up longing for more but unwilling to challenge the vicars. Until his friend Thomas is taken for a teaching, the mysterious coming-of-age ritual. Thomas returns but with his dreams ripped away. When Orah is taken next, Nathaniel tries to rescue her and ends up in the prisons of Temple City. There he meets the first keeper of the ancient clues. But when he seeks the keep, what he finds is not magic at all.

If he reveals the truth, the words of the book of light might come to pass:

“If there comes among you a prophet saying ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light.”

First Sentence:
Nathaniel Rush stomped down the path, cursing his indecision.

Friday, March 22, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: Sarvenaz Tash (author of The Mapmaker and the Ghost)


Guys, I am very excited to welcome Sarvenaz Tash, author of The Mapmaker and the Ghost, to the blog this week. She was kind enough to answer some questions about her debut novel for the All About Middle Grade Challenge. Hope y'all will give her a warm welcome to the blog.

About the author:
Sarvenaz Tash was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up on Long Island, NY. She received her BFA in Film and Television from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. This means she got to spend most of college running around and making movies (it was a lot of fun). She has dabbled in all sorts of writing including screenwriting, copywriting, and professional tweeting. THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOST is her debut novel.

You can haunt Sarvenaz Tash at-
Twitter | Website | Goodreads | FB |

Interview


The Mapmaker and the Ghost looks to have all the best things in it (adventure and mysterious characters), so, could you tell us in twelve words a little about your debut book? Why do you think readers will love it?

 It's 13 words but: An 11-year-old mapmaker finds adventure, mayhem and the ghost of her explorer idol. I think readers looking for humor and adventure (which is what I always look for in MG books) should like it!

2. Goldenrod definitely sounds like my kind of character-an intrepid, adventure lover. Is Goldenrod the type of character that you always wanted to read about as a kid? What do you hope readers will like about her the most?

Absolutely. She was definitely inspired by some of my very favorite protagonists from when I was a kid: Turtle Wexler from The Westing Game, Harriet from Harriet the Spy and a little bit of Roald Dahl's Matilda.  I hope readers like her bravery and ingenuity (that's what I like most about her).

3. First off, I am loving your MC's name, Goldenrod Moram, is perhaps the coolest character name. Any reason for choosing the name you did for her? Was that always going to be her name? 

Goldenrod's name came to me in a dream! And it was the very first part of the story that dropped into my head. I woke up and thought: now what kind of a person would have a name like Goldenrod Moram. And there she was, fully-formed and just a little bit irritated at her name.

4. Sarvenaz, what is the scariest thing about having your debut novel out in the wild and in the hands of readers? Most exciting? 

The scariest is that a story that's been in my head for so long is now out in the world for others to read, absorb, perhaps criticize. But, if I have to be honest, that's the most exciting part too. It's truly extraordinary to think that Goldenrod and her adventures have a life of their own now, completely independent of me.  

5. I heard that in college you made movies. Any favorites and any that you wish had never happened?

Oh sure. Making movies and being in film school taught me a lot about trying things, failing, and then trying again! It also taught me basically everything about how to use constructive criticism to better your work. So did I make a lot of terrible films? Definitely. But I can't say I wish any of them never happened. They all taught me something (just like all of the failed manuscripts and stories I have gathering dust in my hard drive).

6. Given the chance, are there any two authors (any two at all) whose brain you'd love to pick about writing and characters? 

Without a doubt J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen. If I ever had the opportunity to talk to Ms. Rowling about her outlining process, I'd probably chew her ear off (I'm an outliner too). And I would love to talk to Jane Austen about writing humor. In my opinion, she's one of the funniest authors that ever lived.

7. If you had the chance to choose any place (real or literary) to visit for a day or two where would you go? Why?

Not that original but I have to say Hogwarts. Paraphrasing Justin Timberlake's character in Friends with Benefits, you can't tell me it wouldn't be amazing and magical to go to Hogwarts. Right?!

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

Oh dear…well, I might as well close out the theme of this questionnaire and go with Hermione Granger. I think she could outsmart them in a heartbeat.

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

My writing cave is in my living room actually, at a desk that also doubles as a small bookshelf where I have things like a Jane Austen action figure, a John Lennon ornament, a sonic screwdriver and, of course, all 7 Harry Potter hardcovers.

10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us? 

I'm working on another MG fantasy and a YA historical.


Thank so much, Sarvenaz, for stopping by. I think we'd all love to pick J.K. Rowlings brain when it comes to outlining and writing in general...at least I know I do.

The Mapmaker and the Ghost by Sarvenaz Tash, April 24, 2012. Published by Walker Books.
Goldenrod Moram loves nothing better than a good quest. Intrepid, curious, and full of a well-honed sense of adventure, she decides to start her own exploring team fashioned after her idols, the explorers Lewis and Clark, and to map the forest right behind her home. This task is complicated, however, by a series of unique events—a chance encounter with a mysterious old lady has her searching for a legendary blue rose. Another encounter lands her in the middle of a ragtag gang of brilliant troublemakers. And when she stumbles upon none other than the ghost of Meriwether Lewis himself, Goldenrod knows this will be anything but an ordinary summer . . . or an ordinary quest. Debut author Sarvenaz Tash combines an edge-of-your-seat adventure, a uniquely clever voice, and an unforgettable cast of characters to prove that sometimes the best adventures of all are waiting right in your own backyard.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wish List Wednesday

Dark Star (Dark Star, 1) by Bethany Frenette, October 23, 2012. Published by Disney Hyperion.

Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it's hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she's lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human--something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.
Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn't fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers--livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.
To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person's memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers' next move. But Leon, her mother's bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won't let Audrey out of his sight.
When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything--and everyone--she loves.
Why: Why have I not heard of this before??? Dark Star Sounds absolutely epic and like something I would love. *adds to list*

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cover Reveal/Teaser Tuesday: The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram & Giveaway



Title: The Avery Shaw Experiment
Author: Kelly Oram
Publisher: Bluefields
Format: ebook
Genre: YA contemporary romance
Release Date: May 2013

Summary:

When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.

Teaser One - Avery

Grayson finally noticed Aiden and I on the couch. “What are you two dorks doing?”

“Learning about steroids,” I said cheerfully. “You should probably know that using them can cause acne, testicular atrophy, decreased sperm count, prostate enlargement and gynecomastia.”

Grayson looked rightfully appalled. “Gyneco-what-ia?”

“Enlarged breasts in men,” Aiden translated. “So you should lay off the juice before you have to start borrowing Avery’s bras.”

I gasped at the mention of my underwear and whacked Aiden’s shoulder hard.

Behind me, Grayson laughed. I knew he was about to deliver a comeback, but I refused to look at him. Seconds later his breath was warm on my neck. He whispered just low enough that his mother couldn’t hear what he said. “I like my bras colorful and lacey, Aves. Not sure your collection would do it for me.”

Total mortification. Grayson may be as close as family to me, but he was still one of the hottest, most popular guys in our whole school. Him discussing my bras in that low sexy voice that could stop a girl’s heart on the spot made my lungs constrict. Plus, he was right of course. My bras were all of the plain white cotton variety.

Teaser Two - Grayson

I started to leave the room but she stopped me at the door. “Grayson?” Her tone tugged at something inside me. “You really want to take me with you tonight?”

She sounded so small and unsure of herself. It was how she always sounded at school and around strangers, but never when she was at home with us. I think my brother had really broken her. I was seriously going to have to beat him sometime.

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to. I know I really freaked out on you earlier, but I promise I’ll be fine. Aiden’s right.” She swallowed back a lump in her throat. “I’ll manage without him somehow.”

“Aiden’s a tool. You can learn how to manage tomorrow. Tonight’s New Years Eve and for once in your life you’re going to spend it without Aiden or The Discovery Channel.

I knew I was making progress when she cracked a smile and asked, “What about Whootylicious in 7 B?”

I thought of the luscious booty I’d originally planned on seeing tonight and sighed. “That will be an unfortunate loss, but, like you, I will just have to deal.”

I winked and then decided I’d give her ten minutes before I came back and physically dragged her out of bed.

Other books by Kelly Oram




About Kelly Oram...


Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and loves to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and four children.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodReads 




Win all four books by Kelly Oram in ebook format. This giveaway is open international, as long as you have a way to open the file.

Must be 13 or older to enter.

Enter via Rafflecopter below.

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Teaser Tuesday


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

Monday, March 18, 2013

Blog Tour: The Holder's Dominion by Genese Davis, Author Guest Post

Today, I am very excited to welcome Genese Davis to the blog and to share with y'all her guest post on Women in the World of Video Games.

About the Author:

Genese Davis grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At age twelve she got her first job at a dressage equestrian center, where she cleaned stalls and water tanks and exercised clients’ horses. She soon fell in love with the art of dressage and show jumping. Davis saved up five hundred dollars and purchased a rambunctious Norwegian Fjord that no one dared ride but her. After months of training she began competing throughout the state and, against all odds, the pair won many first-place ribbons and trophies in the horse trials competition called Eventing. Davis used her knowledge and experience to teach others and became a riding instructor at seventeen.
In addition to horses, piloting aircraft became another of her early passions. Davis says that flying is in her blood (her father and grandfather flew aircraft), and she studied voraciously at a summer aircraft program, learning aeronautics at a rapid rate. She won the highest honor attainable in the program by being the first to solo and obtained her student pilot’s license at fourteen. (taken from Goodreads)

Women in the World of Video Games
By Genese Davis

There exists a running joke in the world of video games that goes like this: a woman logs in to a video game, speaks one word into the microphone, and a male player will interject: “Hey, that cannot be a girl. Girls don’t play video games.”

Whether you’re an avid gamer or about to log in for the first time, chances are high that you’ll hear that running joke over and over again. But the truth of the matter: women have a significant presence in the world of video games, and not only as video game players. Women also hold significant influence in the creation of video games. From conception and design, to production and quality assurance, women are a part of every aspect of the video game industry.

1.      Professional Women in the Video Game Industry  

Ø  There are many professional women in the video game industry. Female artists create worlds and life-like models that will be essential for the game’s success. Female producers implement schedules and budgets, as well coordinate artist needs, and they oversee the entire game’s production pipeline from start to finish. Directors of production like Noel Wolfman have significant impact in the video game industry. Noel leads an entire department and overseas its production on a massive scale from conception to completion.
           
2.     Women Play Video Games

Ø  When we hear the term “video game players”, people often think of a throng of children, or a group of men. However, the average age of every video game player is thirty-three. And the percentages for male and female video game players are getting closer and closer together. The facts: Statistics taken from the ESA (Entertainment Software Association, http://www.theesa.com/facts/index.asp) show that 47% of video game players are women. If it seems there are more men playing video games than women, remember that men are often more vocal about playing video games. If you keep asking and looking around, you’ll discover there are more and more women playing video games every day.

Ø  Video games can improve everyone’s comfort level in social environments, but in particular, this is true for women. Video games teach players to think strategically, they force players to improvise, solve problems, and remain exceptionally aware. Learning these skills in-game are easily transferable into our social circles as well. Women can play video games and learn an array of new information about art, technology, programming, entertainment, and community, and transfer these experiences to their social networks. They will have new angles, skills, and tools for building camaraderie that can benefit all types of social environments.

3.     Video Games Benefit Women’s Relationships

Ø  Healthy and content relationships blossom when both partners take a pro-active interest in each other’s lifestyle. By taking the time to play a video game together couples can bond, learn, and discover more about each other. They will be interacting on new micro and macro levels.

Ø  Communication improves when playing video games together much more than when watching TV or movies. Video games require adaptation, and quick decision-making. Video games will constantly challenge couples to come up with strategies together. Video games can benefit relationships, bring people together, and improve our awareness and brainpower all at the same time.

Women definitely impact the world of video games in a very real way. As players, designers, artists, and producers, we are fundamental pieces for the world of video games. Legacy storylines in video games are often created around inspiring female icons. Women influence various video game plots, themes, and characters and can access a whole spectrum of professional and personal skill sets through video games. The next time you hear that running joke about women not being a part of this industry, remember we’re there! And we’re excited to be a part of the video game industry on various micro and macro levels.

The Holder's Dominion by Genese Davis, March 1, 2013. Published by Beaver's Pond Press.
After her father’s death on a mountain rescue mission, Kaylie Ames watched her family shatter. She fled Tacoma for college in faraway Austin, figuring that even the worst campus drama would be a relief. But when her old friend Elliott turns up on his knees in the grocery store aisle, raving about something called a morphis, Kaylie feels compelled to enter Elliott’s unfamiliar world.
Guided by Elliott and his friends, Kaylie signs on to the massively popular online game Edannair. There she discovers a world of beautiful vistas and magical creatures, where people from all over the globe step into the roles of warriors on fantastical quests. But a real-world evil threatens the players: the mysterious Holder, leader of the elite team known as Sarkmarr, is coercing his followers into traumatic offline dares known as “morphis assignments.” To save her friends, Kaylie must infiltrate Sarkmarr and survive the Holder’s tests.
Will she find the courage there to hold her real-world family together? 

You can haunt Genese Davis at-
Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest |

Princess Academy

Princess Academy (Princess Academy, 1) by Shannon Hale, 2007. 336 pages. Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's. Source: Bought.
Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.
Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.
First Sentence:
Miri woke to the sleepy bleating of a goat.

Friday, March 15, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: Joe Lawlor (author of Bully.Com)


Today, I am very excited to welcome Joe Lawlor, author of Bully.Com, to the blog to talk about his debut novel. Hope y'all will give him a very warm welcome to the blog.

About the author:

I grew up on Long Island with three sisters and no brothers.  To escape unwanted sisterly love, I hid myself away in my closet or sometimes in the limbs of the tall oak in my backyard.  When I couldn’t get far enough away, my imagination was my escape.  While other boys my age bashed their action figures together, I created extensive backstories and family histories for each.  Even at an early age, I knew character motivation was important.

These days, I’m a middle school English teacher.  It may sound insane to want to spend more time in school (wasn’t elementary, middle, high school, college, and graduate school enough?), but I love my job.  It is endlessly challenging, and it gives me an opportunity to take notes on my target audience.

Why am I a writer?  The short answer is because I feel compelled to write.  When I get in the zone, the hours melt away, and before I know it, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon and I’m still in my PJs.  I wish I were born with a compulsion to plant trees or trade stocks, but I am a writer so I must write!

You can haunt Joe Lawlor at-
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | FB |

Interview:


Interview:
1. Bully.com sounds like an amazing and relevant book for the times we live in. What made you want to write a book about cyber bullying and false accusation?

When I was young, I knew who the bullies were in my school, and I did my best to avoid them. Today’s world is different. Because of the Internet, cyber bullies are anonymous or masquerading as someone you think you know. When a cyberbully strikes, everyone in school is a suspect.  For a mystery writer, this is an interesting place to begin a story.

2. In ten words can you introduce us to Jun, the main character, in your debut Bully.Com? Tell us what makes him such a great character.

Ten words?  I could give you ten thousand.  However, since my main character is a rule-follower, I will indulge:

Accidental detective Jun Li is observant, earnest and socially inept.

(I, however, am a rule breaker so if you want to know more about Jun, read on.  First off, he’s obsessed with technology.  The type of kid who while checking his email on his phone is liable to collide with a telephone pole.  Jun has a brilliant mind, but sometimes he gets lost “upstairs”.  He misses social cues that are obvious to his less-brilliant peers.  Chris Pine, Jun’s best friend, has described Jun as “the smartest dumb person I’ve ever met.”)

3. Other than being accused of cyber bullying, what do you think will be the toughest thing that Jun will face as he tries to clear his name and catch the culprit? Anything he'll have to overcome to get the job done?

Hunting the true culprit means interviewing a myriad of suspects.  Jun is better at interfacing with PCs than people, so talking with strangers is the last thing he wants to do after trimming his toenails with a lawn mower.  He’ll have to overcome his natural shyness if he wants to clear his name.
4. I'm pretty sure every die-hard reader has at least one book that has been read so many times that it is literally falling apart at the seams. Are there well loved and well read books on your shelf?

My choice is Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked this Way Comes.  It was the first book I ever finished, only to return to the first page and start reading all over again.  The same happened with Fahrenheit 451, also by Bradbury.   This author crams so much into his lyrical prose that his books demand rereading, if only to spot the ideas and images I missed the first time around.

5. I hear that you grew up surrounded by sisters, so, what would be the best and worst thing about having only sisters?

Growing up, I wanted two things—a super powers and a brother.  Sadly, I got neither.  But in the long run, sisters proved unexpectedly useful.  They taught me how to dress, how to be sensitive to other’s feelings, and the importance of complimenting girls on their hair at regular intervals.  The downside?  Two words—dress up!

6. Besides being keyed into the middle grade sphere, what makes teaching a rewarding career to you?

Sixth graders are energetic, silly, and full of enthusiasm.  It’s rewarding to watch them grow as writers over the course of the school year.  Plus, they laugh at my jokes.


7. If you could pick just one book to place into the hands of your students which would you choose? What makes that one so special that you want them to read it?

My perennial favorite is Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.  Babbitt writes in pictures.  Her use of similes, metaphors and personification create images that remain in the reader’s head long after the book has been finished.  It’s a fantastic story too, about a young girl named Winnie who meets the Tucks, a family of four that live forever.  Winnie must decide if she wants to join this peculiar family or live out a natural life.  This brilliantly-plotted novel discusses the costs and benefits of immortality and there’s not a single vampire in sight!  This is a classic that will continue to endure long after the vampire craze has faded.

http://presence.mail.aol.com/mailsig/?sn=hauntingorchid8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose?

I’ll get back to you once I’m finished preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

When my first son was born a year and a half ago, my spacious writing desk was replaced by a crib and changing table.  My new, much smaller desk has been relegated to a cramped corner of my bedroom.  The new accommodations are less than ideal, not that it matters much.  As long as I park myself at the desk every morning to complete my daily writing, I find my prose is as good as ever.

10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?
I’m about three-quarters of the way through the sequel to Bully.com.  Whodunit?   I’ll never tell.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Joe. I think I'm going to have to check out a Ray Bradbury book... at least once after seeing how much you enjoy his writing. Good luck with the sequel to Bully.Com.

Bully.Com by Joe Lawlor, April 1, 2013. Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.
Seventh grader Jun Li is a brilliant student, more comfortable around computers than people. But his world turns upside down when the principal accuses him of posting pictures on the school's website that expose the eating disorder of one of his classmates. To prove his innocence, Jun has seven days to track down the true cyber bully.
Jun's investigation will bring him face-to face with computer hackers, a jealous boyfriend, and more than one student who has been a victim of bullying. But he discovers along the way that everyone's story is more complicated than it seems -- and that the people he meets have more in common than they think. With likeable characters and a fast-paced, humorous plot, Bully.com is a compelling look at the consequences of cyber bullying.
You can buy a copy of Bully.Com or add it to your Goodreads shelf-
Amazon | Goodreads

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cover Reveal: Awakened by Kriston Johnson

Y'all are very lucky in that you get to see yet another cover reveal on the blog. Hope y'all will enjoy the cover for Kriston Johnson's Awakened. =)

About the author:

Kriston Johnson lives in Southwest Washington with her husband, teenage son, and miniature Australian Shepherd. Her home rests at the fringe of an old growth forest that she insists is the home of Jason Voorhees. Her husband thinks that’s a ridiculous assumption, because everyone knows it’s really Bigfoot. Every summer Kriston participates in the annual pilgrimage to Faerieworlds, a real life faerie realm here on Earth, and has an unhealthy obsession with Star Wars, The Vampire Diaries, and Iron Man. Awakened is her first novel. You can visit her online at www.kristonjohnson.blogspot.com.

You can haunt Kriston Johnson at-
Website | Goodreads | FB | Twitter |


Awakened (The Legends Of Elyndia, 1) by Kriston Johnson, April 25, 2013.
Can fighting for the right side be the wrong thing to do?

Draven, the tyrant ruler of Elyndia for the last one thousand years, searches for the one who can fulfill his prophecy.

The Paladins, an elite band of warriors sworn to protect their way of life at all cost, search for the one with the ability to bring their world crumbling down.

An innocent girl, tormented by demons only she can see, lives on the brink of insanity and longs for a life of peace.

When seventeen-year-old Jade Rosenberg reads from an antique book, she has no idea she just read an incantation awaking her inherited power. But when opposing—and equally terrifying—groups invade her home, she learns she is descended from an enchanted realm and a member of a powerful race thought to have been hunted to extinction.

Ripped from her world, Jade is forced to seek refuge from those who want her dead. She is given one of two options and the time has come for her to make a choice: assassinate their sworn enemy…

Or sacrifice her soul.

You can add Awakened to your Goodreads shelf.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wish List Wednesday

The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski, October 16, 2012. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. She has never really belonged anywhere—but she couldn’t have guessed that she comes from an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire didn’t happen and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population.
Memories begin to haunt Darcy when a new boy arrives at her high school, and he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn’t thought possible. But Conn’s interest in her is confusing. It doesn’t line up with the way he first looked at her.
As if she were his enemy.
Why: I like the idea of The Shadow Society and that there is an alternate world where things are quite different from that of our own. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

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

Cover Blast: Astarte's Wrath by Trisha Wolfe

Dash it all, I failed to get this posted yesterday because I don't have internet yet.










Astarte's Wrath is the companion novel to... 




Check out Trisha Wolfe's other books...



A peek inside Astarte's Wrath...
“I’ve found you.”

I turn to see Xarion leaning against the frame of my terrace door. A slight smile curves his beautiful lips, and his arms are crossed over his bronze muscled cuirass.

Feeling brave, I slip close and wrap my arms around his waist, the brass studs of his belt pressing against my stomach. “I wasn’t hiding,” I say, looking up into his face. I can see his exhaustion there, in the dark crescents under his eyes, though he’s putting on a good front. “I’d never tempt a great hunter.”

He chuckles as he steps away long enough to slip off his breastplate, then he embraces me. Leaning down, he whispers in my ear, “You’re always tempting.” Running his thumb over my cheek, he lowers his face before mine, his breaths shallow. “In fact, your power of seduction is having its desired effect on me right now.” His lips softly brush mine, sweet and inviting at first, then he deepens the kiss.

I realize that anyone could walk in, and I begin to pull away. “Xarion, my room is not secure,” I say between his kisses.

He groans against my lips, and the deep rumble sends my hands into his hair, pulling him to me. I feel him smile. He scoops me into his arms, his lips never leaving mine, and walks us inside.

My sense breaks through, and I whisper, “Lunia or Phoenix could come looking for me and—”

“That’s what locks were designed for,” he interrupts.

I laugh. “Oh, that will not stop either of them.”

He turns the bolt on my door, keeping his arm sturdy beneath my legs. Then he takes me to the bed where he lays me down. I let my head fall back against the coverlet as he hovers above me, his fisted hands pressing into the mattress on either side of my head, his knees parting my legs.

Suddenly he bounds up, and I think he’s come to his senses. My stomach tumbles as I realize how much I don’t want him to be responsible—but we can’t chance it here. Only he grabs the chair from my desk and kicks the back. My eyes widen in surprise. He places one of the panels against the door, securing its ends in the torch brackets.

“That should give them some difficulty,” he says as he unbuckles his belt, the action making my heart beat wildly. “And give me enough time to hide in your dressing room like a clandestine lover.”

A smile twitches at my lips. “You mean, like exactly what you are?”

Shaking his head, his dark hair falling against his eyes, he counters, “I’m offended.” He strips off his leather armor. I pull my bottom lip between my teeth as my eyes slip over him, and a crooked smile hikes his face. “Ah, but that does it for you, huh? You like stealing kisses in the shadows, the constant fear of being caught.” Climbing onto the bed, he positions himself above me. “I bet your heart is pounding hard right now, the adrenaline claiming your body”—he presses his palm over my heart—“with a need only your clandestine lover can satisfy.”



About the author...

I’m the author of the YA Steampunk DESTINY'S FIRE (Omnific Publishing), the upcoming YA Utopian FIREBLOOD (Spencer Hill Press, Oct. 2013), and a new YA Dark Fantasy series releasing June 2013, OF SILVER AND BEASTS.

I’m the creator of YA Bound, a promotional blog for the Young Adult genre. A proud member of the SCWW and The Apocalypsies. And I’m also a business owner, partnered with my partner, my husband. When I’m not busy doing all of the above, I’m a wife and the mother of a gorgeous teen boy who's the sounding board for my male characters.

Check out my website TrishaWolfe.com for more on my books and bonus material. You can also follow me on Twitter @TrishWolfe or like my Facebook page for updates. 



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