Sunday, November 20, 2016

SHATTERED GLASS - A new Glass Series eNovella!

SHATTERED GLASS is a new eNovella and features Opal Cowan. I've been getting lots and lots of emails and questions about what happened to Master Magician Zitora Cowan (remember she retired as a Master and embarked on a quest to find her sister at the end of Sea Glass?). I've finally answered that question and you can read what happened to her in Shattered Glass.

This story fits in nicely between Night Study and Dawn Study - it actually overlaps Dawn Study a bit so you have to read it ;). Also the eNovella has the first TWO chapters of Dawn Study excerpted at the end.

The cost is 0.99 US.  A portion of the proceeds will be donated to my daughter's friend Araella's medical expenses.  Her world was shattered back in August when she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer - she's just 18 years old! :(

Here's the cover copy:  While trying to teach her adopted daughter, Reema how to work with molten glass, Opal receives a letter from Master Magician Zitora Cowan requesting Opal's immediate help. Zitora resigned from the Sitian Council over two years ago to search for her lost sister and no one has heard from her since. The letter is probably a trick, but Opal refuses to pass up the opportunity to help her mentor who may be in genuine trouble. Good thing Opal isn't that easy to fool and, with her two soldier friends, Nic and Eve providing backup, the three travel to a small town in the Jewelrose Clan with the hope of rescuing the Master Magician without being caught in the same trap.

Below are the links to download a copy in the US. Also I'd appreciate it if you post an honest review on these sites - I'm doing this one on my own!

Amazon Kindle:

Here are the UK and AU links:

Amazon UK:
Amazon AU:

And for those who enjoy audio books, there will be an audio edition with Gabra Zackman narrating!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Australian/NZ Special Fan Edition of DAWN STUDY

My Australian publisher, Harlequin TEEN Australia is really excited about the release of the last Study book, DAWN STUDY and are doing a bunch of promotions for the book!  One promotion is a special fan edition of DAWN STUDY.  This edition will be printed in hardcover (aka hardback) and have a very cool cover.  It will be a Mosaic of photos uploaded by my readers!  How cool is that?  The edition will also have ICE STUDY, the prequel to SHADOW STUDY as bonus content and a letter for yours truly  :)

Details!  Only AU/NZ readers can upload photos - I know it's not fair, but according to the lawyers the privacy laws don't mesh from country to country.  You can try to upload a photo - but it might be weeded out due to your IP address.  Also please upload a photo of you!  This is your special edition and how cool that you get to be on the cover!

You need to act fast - the end date is 15 November 2016.  Here's a link: 

Monday, October 24, 2016

MAGIC STUDY's 10th Anniversary Give Away!!

Original Magic Study cover
Can you believe it's been 10 years since MAGIC STUDY was first published?  I can't. Then again I can't believe it's October 24th of this year already - where did September and early October go?

Magic Study was first published as a hardcover in October 2006.  It was published a year after Poison Study hit the shelves and it was well received - it sold more copies than Poison and that's a good sign in the publishing world :).

During the last 10 years, Magic Study has gone through a number of cover designs.  The original hardcover matched the original hardcover of Poison Study - they were based loosely on two different Johannes Vermeer paintings - Poison on Girl with the Pearl Earring - and Magic on The Geographer.  Unfortunately, the model who had posed for Poison's cover had returned to her native Russia and another model was used for the second book.  Can you see the difference?

Original Poison Study cover
I really liked the cover for Magic Study, but there wasn't a seashell or an astrolabe in the book.  Good thing I was still doing revisions and I managed to include those items in Master Magician Bain Bloodgood's office. :)

Then the covers of Poison and Magic were redesigned and re-released in 2007 as trade paperbacks.  I really loved the new covers and they're still my favorite of the US edition covers.  What do you think?

Trade Paperback cover
In late 2008, Magic Study's cover was once again redesigned and re-released, but this time with a YA cover and price.  I'd gotten so many emails from YA readers who loved the book, my publisher thought they'd print YA editions. Do you think this cover would be more appealing to teens?

YA cover
And the latest incarnation of Magic Study is the new eBook cover that matches the covers for Shadow Study, Night Study and Dawn Study.  This is not available in print and was created in 2014.  Take a look - do you like this one?  I like the concept, but think Yelena's makeup is too much.

eBook cover
Magic Study was written before Poison Study was published and I was very happy about that.  Because if Poison Study got terrible reviews and everyone hated it, I'd be devastated and unable to write.  If everyone loved it, I'd be terrified that I'd disappoint everyone with the second book and unable to write. So instead of obsessing over it, I was able to write it without any worries.  That came when I was writing Fire Study! ;)

My favorite part to write was when Valek appears in Yelena's room at the Magician's Keep.  Here's an excerpt from that scene:

     Valek held the Valmur statue I had bought for him long ago, admiring it in the f irelight. He wore
a simple black shirt and pants. The clothes did not appear to be as tight fitting as his hooded sneak suit, but seemed snug enough not to impede his movements.
     “How did you—”
     “Fool your guards? They’re not very good. They forgot to check the ceiling for spiders.” Valek grinned. His angular face softened.
     Startled, I realized he wasn’t in disguise. “This is dangerous.”
     “I knew falling for you was dangerous, love.”
     “I meant coming to Sitia. Being here in the Magician’s Keep with guards just outside my door.” I gestured wildly.
     “It’s only dangerous if they know I’m here. According to them, I’m just Ambassador Signe’s lowly and dull-witted aide.”
     Valek stood; his movements liquid. The black fabric of his clothes clung to his lean build. He stretched his arms out to the side. “See, I’m not even armed.”
     He made a weak attempt to look innocent, but I knew better. “Should I guess how many concealed weapons you have or should I strip search you?”
     “A strip search is the only way to be absolutely certain.” Valek’s deep blue eyes danced with delight.
     I took three steps and was wrapped in his arms, where I belonged. No confusion here. No worries here. No troubles here. Just Valek’s scent, an intoxicating combination of musk and spice.

Magic Study also was when Kiki made her debut.  I worried that my readers would think a horse that can magically communicate with Yelena would be cheesy and unrealistic.  I didn't need to worry - Kiki quickly became a reader favorite.  She is based on a real horse, who has an official name, but was nicknamed Kiki when the owner's young niece thought the large horse was an oversize cat and tried to call her Kitty, but couldn't quite say Kitty.  I learned how to ride with Kiki - her owner Susan, kindly taught me how to ride and care for horses when I was doing research for Magic Study.

Kiki died back in 2010, but she will always live on in my Study Series of books!  Here's a photo:

The beautiful Kiki!

And now on to the give away!

Please Note: If you already signed up for my email newsletter before, just send me an email from your email that you used to sign up.  Also there is NO second email - I forgot that you only get one - so send that first one along!  Sorry about that!

Here's the Rafflecopter form:

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Japanese FIRE STUDY Giveaway!

FIRE STUDY - Saihate no Yelena
[Yelena at the Farthest Land.]
FIRE STUDY was just released in Japan and my publisher was kind enough to send me a box of extra copies!  Currently being guarded by Valek (aka Kitty)  So I'm sharing the booty with my readers and giving away 3 copies to 3 lucky winners.  The contest is open to ALL worldwide!

The cover was designed by Tae and is gorgeous - just like the other two. Although I will admit, this one is my favorite of the three.  However together they're just super cool.

MAGIC STUDY - Yelena no Kikan  
[Yelena’s Homecoming]

[Yelena the Poison Tester]

Here's the Rafflecopter:

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Threader Author Interview + Giveaway!

Today I have an interview with Rebekah Turner, an Australian author who I met while traveling in Australia. A super nice lady who is also very talented!  I had the pleasure of reading her book, a near future, dystopian, science fiction, thriller a few months ago.

I provided a blurb for her book, THREADER. "This story threaded its way into my heard and wouldn't let go! Be prepared for a late night."

Rebekah is also offering 3 copies of her book as a give away! This is for readers in Australia and New Zealand only and I'm sorry to say the book is also only available in Australia and New Zealand, however I think you can order it (see below for a link).

Cover copy: Welcome to the Helios Academy: evolve or die...

It’s the year 2050 and life is increasingly hard for ‘non-citizens’. A slowly emerging young minority  has been exposed as ‘talents’;  they harbour mutations that give them special gifts – super strength, regenerative powers,  psychic gifts or the ability to sink through shadows and travel through time and space. As governments unite to form a global talent registry and powerful corporations step in to take control, a ‘talent’ can be a passport to citizenship and a better life, but there is a cost as Josie Ryder is about to discover.

Take the quiz and find out your talent here:  The website is AMAZING!!!

Take 10 with Rebekah Turner:

1.) I loved THREADER and was fascinated by the world you created. What sparked the idea?

I'm a big fan of monster movies, and loved the spin some of those classic characters were given in shows like Buffy and Supernatural. That’s when I came up with the idea of taking it to a future setting, which would allow me to bring in a bit more of a sci-fi spin, with the idea these ‘monsters’ were actually the just an evolutionary change. So I created Talents, people with a genetic twist that gave them abilities. These abilities were great, but depending on the gift, it may make life more difficult for some.

This also gave me a chance to change the socio-political landscape: governments don’t exist, or if they do, have very little power. Corporations have filled the void (or I would argue have created it to begin with) and the world is now a very harsh place for people who are outside of the ‘elite’.

2.) What do you find the most interesting about the main protagonist, Josie?  How did you decide to make her a Threader?

I like that Josie is a fighter, something that is instilled into her by her uncle. That no matter what the world throws at you, you can still get back on your feet to fight.  She's also someone who was forced by her parents to live off the grid. They knew her potential and based on their own experiences, they feared for her future. As she grew up, Josie could only see more and more what she had lost because of this ‘isolationist’ mentality, and yearned to be able to get access to the opportunities that may earn her a coveted ‘citizenship’. This is effectively a free pass out of the slums and into the clean corporate skyscrapers, where you could get services such as healthcare and fresh food, not the reconstituted bio-synth meat that are available in the satellite communities around the city.

The interesting thing with Josie, is that she could have changed her fortunes at any time. Instead, she respects her father and uncle’s wishes for anonymity, and only reveals herself on her own terms, which as we find out, is never the easy way.

Now, being a Threader makes Josie a rare talent. A sub-set of the Esper category, she has both telekinesis and telepathy as attributes, but the real talent is the ability for her to combine her gift with other talents to augment and strengthen their abilities, while also being able to adopt a measure of that persons gift as well.

While this seems like a powerful ability to have, it is also extremely difficult to master, and the stakes are raised as she’s had no formal training and Josie discovers she could be as much a liability to the Academy as an asset.

3.)  Tell me more about Blake and his abilities as a Slider – I thought being able to travel through the shadows was a really unique and cool idea.

The Slider talent was a great way for me to connect our world to the mysterious ‘shadow biosphere’: a dimension that folds around ours, and which may be where all these gifts have originated.

Blake is a Slider, and the eldest of the Galloway family. The Galloways are the founders of Helios Academy and Galloway Industries. They're new players in the Corporate governance, with their fortunes increasing after the last of the Corporate wars and the advent of talents over the previous twenty years. Blake initially rejected his family as an act of rebellion and decided to find his own way. He joined the military and served in missions where his sliding ability came in handy. After he was forced to leave, he found his way back to the academy. While no longer estranged from his family, Blake is still distant, his main goal is to train others with abilities like his. Then of course, he meets Josie, and everything changes...

4.) Do you plot out your novels or are you like me and fly by the seat of your pants?

Instinct plays a big part, but I still like to plot and have guidelines of where I’m going. Otherwise, I have tons of trouble pulling all the threads together. I use the Michael Hauge's Six Stage Plot Structure idea. By breaking down the story and looking for the turning points, it helps me when I feel the plot is bogged down, or a character isn’t working right. I also like to look at popular films to examine structure! Classics movies like Speed, Aliens, Predator and Die Hard are great examples of good plot construction and effective characterization. I even held a workshop with my writing partner, entitled: Beyond Rippling Muscles and Uzi 9mms - Storytelling 101, as learned from 80s and 90s action movies. Funnest. Workshop. Ever.

5.) Did you have to do any special research for this book?

I waded through some scientific articles while creating my world, because having a basis in reality is important. If you're asking readers to take a leap of faith with some of the more fantastic elements of your story, it's important to have some real facts in place to ground it.

I also plotted a history, and at one stage had the 50 years prior to the novels setting mapped including the inciting incidents and the major skirmishes of the Corporate Wars (sorry to the countries I destroyed!), the destruction of the internet and the rise of the Helios Academy on the back of their replacement web and the emergence of Talents. I even had some more sketchy history going back to Victorian England where the Galloway Family (who may or may not be related to the Van Helsing line) first came across and hunted ‘monsters’, people who may have been the first unfortunates to be exposed to the Shadow Biosphere. But that's another story.

6.)  How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

I've wanted to be a writer from as early as I can remember. I have rejection slips from when I was in primary school, trying to get stories published (I had no clue - my stories where hand written in pencil with illustrations!). Growing up, television was banned in my house, so I read fantasy novels. And I read a lot. In high school, writing felt like a compulsion to me: I love telling stories! I'd spend my lunch break in the computer lab, writing. Those manuscripts were so bad, but so good. And I love creating new and interesting people to talk to in my head. But it wasn't until after I joined the Queensland Writers Center, that I refined my craft and improved.

7.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

My writing routine mostly consists of having a steaming cup of tea at my elbow and listening to a soundtrack. This will usually be the same soundtrack, played over and over, so it's almost hypnotic. I can hum the entire soundtrack to Man of Steel. And sometimes, despite the tea and music, the words are very bad, other times they are very good. But I try to get something down, every day.

8.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write?  A favorite?

My absolute favorite place to write is a coffee shop not far from my house, where they roast their own beans. Even the air is caffeinated. They also have a waiter there who looks like Chris Pratt, and he winks at me when he brings my coffee. Of course, it could just be a twitch in his eye from the steaming coffee…

9.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

I used to paint, but my time is a little squished with family and work. My interests now include eating exotic ice cream while watching old horror movies (Helloooo big scoop of Burnt Fig and Caramel while watching John Carpenter's The Thing).

10.) What are you writing now?  What's coming out next?

I'm currently finishing up a fantasy story that revolves around a mechanically talented girl who secretly races a motorcycle called a Hellcat. It's a story that has been lots of fun to write!

Rafflecopter! Open to Australian and New Zealand readers only.
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Threader Website - take the quiz and discover your talent:
Author site:
Twitter: rbkahturner

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Progeny Author Interview + Giveaway!

So much for my New Year's resolution to blog more :/  Can I blame spending the month of April in Australia and having to finish DAWN STUDY?  No? Sigh.  Well, I'm back with another Author Interview and this time with the lovely, talented Tosca Lee!  Her book, THE PROGENY came out today and I was lucky to be able to review an ARC and provide a blurb.

My blurb: Be warned, once you start this book, it's impossible to put down!

Also Tosca is giving away one copy of THE PROGENY - see the Rafflecopter below to enter to win! This is open to residents in the USA and Canada only.

Cover copy: Emily Porter is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted. She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.

Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. A story about the search for self amidst centuries-old intrigues and Europe’s underground scene…and one woman’s mission to survive.

Take 10 with Tosca Lee:

1.) THE PROGENY has a very unique premise.  How did you spark on the idea to use the descents of Elizabeth Bathory?

A fan suggested it! I was signing books in Orlando and a fan wanted a picture but didn’t have a phone/camera, so I got his info., and we took a photo and I sent it to him. When he wrote me back to thank me, he said, “How about a book about Elizabeth Bathory?” While this book is more about her descendants than Bathory herself, the idea came from him. (Thanks, Keith!)

2.) What do you find most interesting/exciting about Emily?

I like her moxey and her smarts. She may not know what’s going on, and she’s a little weird (aren’t we all?), but she relies on her intelligence.

3.) Did you have to do any special research for this book?
I did a lot of reading about Elizabeth Bathory, about epigenetics, and about all the locations that the scenes are set in. Since the story starts in Maine, my then-fiancé (now husband) and I took off for one of my favorite U.S. escapes: Greenville, Maine, where we fished and took a small plane over Moosehead Lake.

4.) Parts of the story are set in Europe.  Did you do travel to these locations?

I did—I went to Hungary, Croatia, Vienna, Slovakia and Italy. Best of all, I got to take my mom with me. My mom and I have a history of globetrotting together, so it was a fun adventure to go tromping around through castle ruins and churches and ruin pubs with her!

5.) Do you plot out your novels or are you like me and fly by the seat of your pants?

I try to plot a little… and then end up pantsing the rest of the way. Because try as I might to outline the entire thing, it’s totally different looking down at a map from 30,000 feet and being in it, boots on the ground. I find I just have to get in there and see what the terrain looks like before I know which way to go.

6.) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself  growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

It was a surprise—despite winning writing contests all through school, most of my early life I meant to become a ballerina. And then I tore a groin muscle and that really set me back. By the time I was in college, I thought maybe I should become a news anchor or go into advertising. During spring break my freshman year, I was talking enthusiastically with my dad about how my favorite novels felt like roller-coasters, and how I thought it might be fun to make one for someone else to ride around on. And I just blurted it out: “I really want to write a book.” He made me a deal: he’d pay me what I would have made that summer working as a bank teller (I was a terrible bank teller the summer before) if I worked full-time writing a novel. I wrote my first novel that summer—about the Neolithic Stonehenge people. It’s currently in my basement with the rest of my skeletons.

7.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

I’m very bad at routine. And now that I’m a new mom—I married a single father of four last January—I’m still trying to figure out how to juggle five lives at home… and dropping a lot of balls (moms, how do you do it all???). Generally though, I work during the day, and write a lot at night the closer I get to deadline. I aim for 2000 words a day, but am usually doing closer to 5000-8000 or more closer to deadline. My husband and kids are used to me staggering to bed some time after they’re sleep, or even after they’ve gotten up in the morning.

8.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write?  A favorite?

My husband is a farmer, so I write most of the time in the attic of the farm. Every now and then I sneak off to our townhome an hour away, where I have an office, when I really need to buckle down. But I prefer to be around my family. And my husband is a great cook, so…

9.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

As a new mom (and farmer’s wife!), I cook—though truth be told, my husband is better than me and he bakes from scratch. I’m also a TV junkie. I love The Walking Dead, The Blacklist, Outlander, Orphan Black, The Path, Game of Silence… too many TV shows. I still dance, just because it’s the one discipline I understand, and enjoy Pilates. I love organizing drawers and closets. It’s a sickness. I’m learning to trap shoot and play video games with the kids. I’m not very good at either… but I’m enthusiastic!

10.) What are you writing now?  What's coming out next?

Right now I’m working on edits for Firstborn, which is the sequel to The Progeny and comes out in February. It’s full of action and was so fun to write!


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Friday, March 25, 2016

Celebrating MAGIC STUDY in JAPAN

 Today, MAGIC STUDY is being released in Japan with another gorgeous cover by Tae. I love this cover - I thought the one for POISON STUDY was also super cool, but this one...just resonates with me.  She's clutching the butterfly pendant Valek carved for her.

To celebrate the release, I'm giving away TWO copies of the book.  My publisher in Japan was so kind to send me extra copies and they arrived today - perfect timing.  See below for the Rafflecopter - it is open to ALL my readers worldwide.

POISON STUDY earned lots of wonderful reviews when it was released in July 2015. One Japanese reader said:  I read this book while in the bullet train from Tokyo the other day...I almost missed my station. Wow, that was close. High readability from the beginning, and you won't be able to stop turning the pages in the latter half. 

And Booklog wrote: How many years has it been since I've acted like this? I couldn't stop thinking about the story, even started to solve the mystery in my dreams, woke up in the middle of sleep and finished reading it, risking being short of sleep the next day...Looking forward to reading the next book. 

FIRE STUDY will also be translated and released this summer (I'm guessing - no set date, yet).  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

WIN 1 OF 3 Copies of the UK edition of NIGHT STUDY!

The UK office has generously offered to send me some extra copies of the UK edition of NIGHT STUDY!  And I thought to pass them along to my readers. I've a Rafflecopter below and all you need to enter is to post a comment on one of the blogs on my UK Blog Tour - please comment on the Night Study post and not some random post on the blog :).  I posted the links to them all - a few haven't put up their posts yet.  The give away is open to ALL!!

February 25: Reader in a Reverie - The idea for Night Study
February 26: Feeling Fictional - Introducing Valek
February 27: Black Plume - Q&A with Yelena
February 28: Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne - Top Ten Reasons to Read Fantasy
February 29: The YA Commuter Reader - Introducing Ixia
March 1: Laura Jayne Online - Top Five Favorite Fantasy and SF Books
March 2: Under A Mound of Books - 5 Tips for Writing Good Romance
March 3: Words From A Reader - Q&A with Maria
March 4: My Little Bookish Corner - Planning Novels
March 5: Whispering Words - Q&A with Maria on inspiration
March 6: The Book Binge - Exclusive Excerpt
March 7: Serendipity Reviews - Top Five Childhood Books
March 8: The Fantastical Library - Q&A with Maria
March 9: The Review Diaries - Q&A with Maria

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Thursday, February 25, 2016


Today is the official release date of the UK edition of NIGHT STUDY! My UK readers have waited patiently (well, most of them have ;) for three extra weeks.  To celebrate the release, we are doing a UK Blog Tour for the next two weeks.  I've been working hard on writing articles, answering questions, and putting together a few lists for the tour.  Some highlights: a Q&A with Yelena, and Valek takes some time to tell you about himself.

Below are links to the tour stops, and you can see them all on the banner.

February 25: Reader in a Reverie - The idea for Night Study
February 26: Feeling Fictional - Introducing Valek
February 27: Black Plume - Q&A with Yelena
February 28: Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne - Top Ten Reasons to Read Fantasy
February 29: The YA Commuter Reader - Introducing Ixia
March 1: Laura Jayne Online - Top Five Favorite Fantasy and SF Books
March 2: Under A Mound of Books - 5 Tips for Writing Good Romance
March 3: Words From A Reader - Q&A with Maria
March 4: My Little Bookish Corner - Planning Novels
March 5: Whispering Words - Q&A with Maria on inspiration
March 6: The Book Binge - Exclusive Excerpt
March 7: Serendipity Reviews - Top Five Childhood Books
March 8: The Fantastical Library - Q&A with Maria
March 9: The Review Diaries - Q&A with Maria

Thursday, February 18, 2016

THE SHADOW QUEEN Blog Tour Stop / Author Interview & Giveaway

Today I'm part of THE SHADOW QUEEN blog tour!  This is my first time being a stop for another author's tour and I'm so glad it's for C.J. Redwine.  C.J. asked me to read THE SHADOW QUEEN a few months ago for a possible cover quote. I loved the book and wanted to interview her on my blog and I ended up being a part of her tour.  Fun stuff!

About the book:

Author: C.J. Redwine
Pub. Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

Take 10 with C.J. Redwine:

1.) I really loved THE SHADOW QUEEN.  How did you get the idea to put your own unique spin on the classic tale of Snow White?

It happened in the car ride home from watching Snow White and the Huntsman. I was ranting about how disappointed I was that the queen wasn’t fleshed out with backstory and how upset I was to have Snow White be an insipid, nearly voiceless girl until she dies and somehow channels Joan of Arc upon her resurrection. I saw the potential for the story to be an epic showdown between two equally powerful female characters, and the more I talked about it, the more it came to life in my head, until I knew I had to write it. (Also my hubby finally looked at me and said, “If you think you can do better, then write it.” So I did.)

2.) I thought your twist on the huntsman character was so fun. Can you tell us more about Kol’s abilities and his character arc?

Kol is a Draconi, which means he has both a human heart and a dragon heart. When he gives control to his dragon heart, he shifts into dragon form. He begins the story as the playboy prankster second born prince who has just been expelled from Eiler’s Military Academy for the third time. He’s secretly aching for his father’s approval, but he doesn’t see that as a possibility because he can’t live up to his oh-so-perfect older brother (and frankly never bothers trying to). But when his parents and older brother are killed at the warfront, Kol is suddenly the ruler of a kingdom he deeply loves but never expected to be responsible for. He is a natural leader (note the many times he lead his large group of friends into helping with his legendary pranks), but it takes a while for him to really trust that he is the right leader for his kingdom. Nevertheless, from the start, the one thing he knows with conviction is that he’d sacrifice himself if it would ensure the safety of his people.

3.)  The cover art is stunning and I’m dead jealous!  Most readers know about the witch and the apple, but you have black apples and they’re very different.  Can you explain about the magical properties of those black apples?

The cover is jaw-dropping, and when I first saw it I just made incoherent noises for several minutes because really. The black apples are spelled apples that Irina uses to control people. Once someone eats the apple, they are filled with a desperate loyalty toward the queen (even if seconds before they’d wanted her dead), and they’ll turn against their own flesh and blood if she asks them too. 

4.) What do you find most interesting about Lorelai?  What does she do to drive you crazy?

I love that Lorelai is the soul of honor and responsibility and yet one of her greatest strengths is her ability to steal and use parkour to get away with it. I mean yes, she’s stealing from the queen so her motives are pure, but still. She uses crime in an effort to be honorable. That’s intriguing. She drives me crazy when she gets so focused on her plans that she misses other important things. Like romance, lol. 

5.) Did you have to do any special research for this book? What did you learn that you didn't know before?

I did a lot of research on the etymology of Russian words so I could create the incantors that are used in the magic that both Lorelai and Irina possess. And I research Germanic plants, foods, and architecture and used it as the basis for creating the scenery in Ravenspire. I think the most interesting thing I researched, though, was parkour. I learned how to do a shoulder roll and how to scale a wall. (And by “how” I mean I understand the fundamentals, not that I could successfully do it myself!) I spent a lot of time watching tutorial videos so that I could accurately describe the techniques as Lorelai did her thing.

6.)  How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself  growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

I’ve been writing stories since the second grade, and I always wanted to be a writer, but I never really saw a clear path toward making that happen. I wrote all through school (including college) but then stopped after I had three boys in four years. (HOLY NOISE AND MESS, BATGIRL) I figured I’d start writing again once my life slowed down and became a bit more sane. Spoiler alert: that’s not really what happens in life. When I was 30, I was diagnosed with cancer, and it was advanced enough that it scared me into doing things like updating my life insurance policy and instructing my husband to find a woman who’d be a good mother and get remarried. But then I survived, and I realized that it was foolish to put off my dreams because I thought life had to line up perfectly for me to accomplish them. I sat down and wrote my first book (a 140k word disaster but whatever!) and never looked back. 

7.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

Because I have five kids, run a busy website, and have a husband who is gone in the mornings doing a radio show and is also gone many nights critiquing movies, my routine varies by the day/situation. I carve out time in small chunks throughout the day and into the night, and I write in 500 word bursts. Do a few bursts a day, and I can have a 2000 word day woven in between all the other work and parenting I do.

8.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write?  A favorite?

I have an office but dear Lord do I need to replace the French doors with something that can actually lock …

9.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

Movies! We’re big movie buffs here, and because my hubby is a movie critic, we get to go to early screenings, which is fun. 

10.) What are you writing now?  What's coming out next?

Right now, I’m working on the proposal for the third, fourth, and fifth books in the Ravenspire series (each book is a companion novel set in an adjoining kingdom and inspired by a different tale). The next book that comes out from me is book 2 in the Ravenspire series. It’s set in SĂșndraille, the kingdom south of Ravenspire, and is the next chapter in Rumpelstiltskin’s life in which he is a very Faustian soul-broker.  

About C.J.: 

C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and Sherlock. She is the author of the Defiance trilogy, a post-apocalyptic fantasy from Balzer + Bray. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband and children. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day. 

Where you can find C.J.:

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a signed finished copy of THE SHADOW QUEEN and swag. US Only.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
2/8/2016- Adventures of a Book Junkie- Interview
2/9/2016- The Irish Banana ReviewReview
2/10/2016- Once Upon a TwilightGuest Post
2/11/2016- A Backwards StoryReview
2/12/2016- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post

Week Two:
2/15/2016- The Young Folks- Review
2/16/2016- Mundie Moms- Interview
2/17/2016- Supernatural Snark- Review
2/18/2016- Maria V. SnyderInterview
2/19/2016- FiktshunGuest Post

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Wickedly Powerful Author Interview + Giveaway!

I'm so excited to have Deborah Blake as my guest again!  She is one of the sweetest ladies I know! She's been super supportive of me and my writing since way back and I even had to pleasure of hanging out with her at a RWA conference in New York City. Her third novel in her Baba Yaga series of paranormal romance books, WICKEDLY POWERFUL has just been released.  I'm really enjoying this series of books and if you haven't read them, go buy the first book, WICKEDLY DANGEROUS right now....go on....I'll wait  ;)

Along with the interview, Deborah is offering a signed copy of her book plus an adorable "Be Wicked" broom stick to a winner! Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter.  Open to ALL!!

Cover blurb:

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

The only thing more fiery than Bella Young’s red hair is her temper. She knows that a Baba Yaga’s power without strict control can leave the people she cares about burned, so to protect her heart—and everyone around her—the only company she keeps is her dragon-turned-Norwegian-Forest-cat, Koshka.

But when Bella is tasked with discovering who’s setting magical fires throughout Wyoming’s Black Hills, she finds herself working closely with former hotshots firefighter Sam Corbett—and falling hard for his quiet strength and charm.

Sam may bear the scars of his past, but Bella can see beyond them and would do anything to help him heal. Only before she can rescue her Prince Charming, she’ll have to overcome the mysterious foe setting the forest fires—a truly wicked witch who wields as much power and even more anger than Bella…

Take 10 More with Deborah Blake:

1) WICKEDLY POWERFUL is the third Baba Yaga novel. In the story world you created, Baba Yaga isn’t one woman, but a title carried by a chosen few. Can you explain more about how this works?

In the original fairy tales, they sometimes referred to the Baba Yaga’s “sisters” (also named Baba Yaga, in case you weren’t confused enough). When I started this series, I decided that was the perfect excuse to have the name be more of a job title than anything else, and so the Baba Yagas in my books are the three women who fulfill that job in the USA. That way each book follows a different character, and a different romance, although they do tend to show up in each other’s stories now and again.

2) Are the books and novellas connected? Do you have to read them in order?

In theory, I have tried to make each book so that you can read it on its own. But like most series, they make the most sense if you read them in order. In particular, there are events in the second book (Wickedly Wonderful) that lead into the third one (Wickedly Powerful, just out). When you get to book four, which will actually be the first in the new Riders series, you will definitely want to have read Wickedly Powerful, since all kinds of important stuff happens in that book :).

3) How did you spark on the idea to have your third Baba Yaga deal with forest fires?

I see what you did there, Maria. The idea actually came from two different things that had been floating around in my brain for a while. One was the news story about the nineteen Hotshots firefighters who died a few years ago, leaving behind one surviving member of their team. I always wanted to write the story of that one guy who lived, and what he must have felt like. I also have a (female) friend who spent a number of years working the summers as a fire tower spotter in a tower in Wyoming, much like the one featured in this book. Put these together with a Baba Yaga whose main element is fire, and that spark became a flame, which became a book. [and I see what you did here Deborah ;)]

4) How much research on fighting wildfires did you do? Have you been to a fire?

I’m terrified of fire, to be honest. The closest I’ve ever been to a wildfire is a bonfire that seemed to take on a life of its own. I did some research into fighting fires, and into the Hotshots in particular, including reading a novel that was written by a women who had spent time doing just that.

5) I noticed all 3 of your Baba Yaga books deals with an environmental issue.  WICKEDLY DANGEROUS has fracking, WICKEDLY WONDERFUL has a toxin poisoning the water, and now WICKEDLY POWERFUL with wild fires. Is this something you feel strongly about?

It is. I’m a Pagan, which means I’m all about the connection to nature, and our responsibility to live on the planet responsibly. Plus, of course, I am well aware of how many disastrous issues there are affecting the environment these days. I have gotten some criticism in reviews about putting my political views in a novel (really?) but to me, these issues are part of the story. I’m not preaching at anyone. They’re just powerful components of the world we live in.

6) I saw on your website that you sold 3 more Baba Yaga novels and another novella. Congrats!  Have you planned out what those books will be about?

Well, Wickedly Powerful is the first of the three, and the novella is Wickedly Ever After, which came out last month and continues the story of the first Baba, Barbara. (My favorite, but don’t tell the others.) The next two stories will continue this series in a spin-off series (although the storyline follows directly after this current book) that feature the Riders, who are side-characters in the Baba Yaga books. The first book, Dangerously Charming, features Mikhail Day and the second will focus on Gregori Sun. But don’t worry, the Baba Yagas will show up too…

7) You also write non-fiction and have 9 books about witchcraft. Can you tell us a little about them?

The books are published by Llewellyn, and are all aspects of the modern practice of witchcraft or Wicca. I tend to take a practical, down-to-earth approach, which people seem to like. And, of course, my black cat Magic co-wrote three of them, so you know they must be good.

8) Is it hard to switch from writing non-fiction to fiction?

It wasn’t for me, but then I actually have been writing fiction my whole life, and the non-fiction was kind of a happy accident, although it was published before any of my novels. I actually like going back and forth between them, since they are so different in terms of writing. And thankfully, the fans of my Llewellyn books seem to like the novels too. Maybe it helps that there are witches in them!

9) You’re a super busy person, writing fiction, non-fiction, and running The Artist’s Guild cooperative while making jewelry! Do you have any time management advice? And does your writing inspire your jewelry designs or vice versa?

Don’t plan to get much sleep? Snort. Honestly, I’m still working on trying to juggle everything. There never seems to be enough time. But I do try to write almost every evening for about three hours, close to 365 days a year. Otherwise I’d never get the books done! As for the jewelry, sadly, I am doing less and less of it all the time because I am too busy writing.

10) What’s coming out next?

Next up is Day’s book, Dangerously Charming. I just did the cover reveal for that one over on my blog, but I’m happy to share it here too. I suspect your folks will enjoy it :). After that, I’m writing my 10th book for Llewellyn, 365 Days of Everyday Witchcraft, and working on Gregori Sun’s book. And next year I have a tarot deck coming out, which was probably the most fun project I ever worked on!

Thanks for having me here!


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Thursday, January 28, 2016

COGLING Author Interview and Giveaway!

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing author Jordan Elizabeth about her latest YA release COGLING (love the cover!). Jordan emailed me years ago.  She enjoyed my books and she asked me for some writing advice. Over the years, she's been in touch with questions and updates about her writing.  She even invited me to be a guest speaker at her writing critique group in upstate New York!  Needless to say, I was thrilled when Jordan sold her stories and even more honored when she asked me to read COGLING for a cover blurb.  And this is what I said, "Hooked from the very first chapter, I loved this unique tale of adventure filled with engaging characters and non-stop action!"

Jordan is giving away one copy of COGLING.  It's open to ALL - see below for the Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway.

Here's the blurb: When fifteen-year-old Edna Mather tears an expensive and unfamiliar pocket watch off her little brother’s neck, he crumbles into a pile of cogs right before her eyes. Horrified, Edna flees for help, but encounters Ike, a thief who attempts to steal the watch before he realizes what it is: a device to power Coglings—clockwork changelings left in place of stolen children who have been forced to work in factories.

Desperate to rescue her brother, Edna sets off across the kingdom to the hags’ swamp, with Ike in tow. There, they learn Coglings are also replacing nobility so the hags can stage a rebellion and rule over humanity. Edna and Ike must stop the revolt, but the populace believes hags are helpful godmothers and healers. No one wants to believe a lowly servant and a thief, especially when Ike has secrets that label them both as traitors.

Together, Edna and Ike must make the kingdom trust them or stop the hags themselves, even if Ike is forced to embrace his dark heritage and Edna must surrender her family.

Take 10 with Jordan:

1.) COGLING puts a Steampunk twist on the legends of the fay stealing children and leaving changelings behind.  How did you spark on the idea for this?

A local illustrator, Aaron Siddall, and I sat down to plan out this book.  Many of the ideas came from our planning.  He drew the pictures and I wrote the words.  Unfortunately, it turned out that the book was published without his artwork.  [Too bad :(  However, Aaron said I could share a few pictures and here they are!]

Got Her by Aaron Siddall

Foxkin by Aaron Siddall
Aaron's Website

2.) The book has both Steampunk and magic.  Can you explain how you developed the idea to blend the two aspects?

I learned about steampunk while working at a Victorian Fair one summer.  It combined a lot of my favorite things – pocket watches, corsets, long skirts, and high-button boots.  I explored more of the genre and became even more excited.  I knew I wanted my characters to experience that world.

I have always loved magic since my grandmother read to me from a collection of fairy tales.  I have tried to write just fiction, but magic always slips in.  I have given in to my muse and when I brainstorm a novel, I always consider how a little bit of magic will fit in.

3.) What do you love about Edna and Ike?

I love their love.  I didn’t intend for them to form a relationship, but it started to develop during their first meeting.  Most of the scenes I wrote for them that involved tender moments had me smiling at the computer screen.  I also love how they are both strong individuals who will do anything for those who are important to them.

And what do they do that drive you crazy?

Whenever the moment didn’t fit for them to kiss.  Romance always makes me giddy.

4.) I really liked how you had hags and ogres as your antagonists.  How did you decide on their names and abilities?

I have much of that to thank Aaron Siddall for.  It was so much fun imagining what these ogres and hags would be like, and even though so many of them were evil, I wanted some to be good.

5.) Did you have to do any special research for this book?

I did quite a few searches on steampunk costumes.  The costumes are always so beautiful, and I really feel like the clothes make the genre.  I wanted the readers to be able to picture all of that.

6.) The Steampunk genre has created a sub-culture in not only books, but art and cosplay as well.  Do you participate in the Steampunk culture by attending conventions and wearing costumes?

I do wear the costumes, especially to my book signings.  I am a huge fan of costumes.  You should have seen what I wore throughout grade school!

So far I haven’t gotten to a convention, but I hope to make it to one in 2016.

7.) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

I wanted to be a writer ever since my mother read my first book to me.  My maternal grandmother would write down my made up stories for me from the time when I could first talk until I had my first computer.  I would record the stories into a tape recorder and she would keep playing it back to get it down right.  I had horrible handwriting and her writing was beautiful.  She also spoiled me with books.  Whenever we went to the bookstore, she would get me a stack.  My fondest memories are of curling up in the plush rocking chair in her living room with a book in my hand.  At night, she would read to me from collections of short stories.  She used to do different voices for the characters, and my mom does it too now.

I really wouldn’t be a writer today if it wasn’t for her.  She always believed in me.  She bought me my first computer just for my stories and all subsequent computers except for the one I have now.

I did always want to be a writer.  I also wanted to be a teacher.  I am a teacher now too.  

8.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

I aim for any free time I can find.  In the past, late morning has been my best time, but my day job gets in the way.  I usually don’t write until pretty late at night.  I try to write at least a chapter a night, depending on how much the day has drained me.

I am not a planning person.  I have a main idea and just go for it.  Sometimes the ending is something I never expected when I started Chapter One.

9.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write?

I have to write in my bedroom on a desktop computer with the door shut.  I don’t usually listen to music.  I like it very, very quiet.  Okay, I’m very loud at typing, so it isn’t that quiet!  I have a laptop I take with me on vacation, but I’ve found that I can’t type on it.  The words just won’t flow.  Sometimes I lock the bedroom door to ensure I’m not disturbed.

10.) What are you writing now?  What’s coming out next?

My next book from Curiosity Quills Press is RUNNERS AND RIDERS, a companion to my Treasure Chronicles series.  I also have two young adult novels, GOAT CHILDREN and VICTORIAN, coming out from CHBB in 2016.  I based much of GOAT CHILDREN off my relationship with my grandmother.

Right now I am working on another fantasy-steampunk.  As of right now, it is untitled, but it is about magic in Alaska.  I am collaborating on it with illustrator Aaron Siddall.


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