Friday, 31 July 2015

Review of The Edge of Forever

I received a copy of The Edge of Forever by Melissa E Hurst in exchange for an honest review and that is what you’re getting. I will endeavor to articulate my thoughts as best I can so sit back, relax, and enjoy.

In 2013: Sixteen-year-old Alora is having blackouts. Each time she wakes up in a different place with no idea of how she got there. The one thing she is certain of? Someone is following her.

In 2146: Seventeen-year-old Bridger is one of a small number of people born with the ability to travel to the past. While on a routine school time trip, he sees the last person he expected—his dead father. The strangest part is that, according to the Department of Temporal Affairs, his father was never assigned to be in that time. Bridger’s even more stunned when he learns that his by-the-book father was there to break the most important rule of time travel—to prevent someone’s murder.

And that someone is named Alora.

Determined to discover why his father wanted to help a “ghost,” Bridger illegally shifts to 2013 and, along with Alora, races to solve the mystery surrounding her past and her connection to his father before the DTA finds him. If he can stop Alora’s death without altering the timeline, maybe he can save his father too.


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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Your Mid-Week Update for 07/29/15

Daniel has been suspiciously quiet for the last few days. None of us have seen or heard from him and it doesn’t help that Charlotte called me from her brother’s cabin outside of town on Saturday night to tell me that she’d confronted Daniel and then left him.

He told her that he was in love with another woman but when she told him she wanted a divorce, he became violent; throwing a lamp and toppling the coffee table.

I haven’t heard from her since.

I tried calling the cabin, I tried calling her cell; nothing. With Daniel missing, I’m worried that he’s done something drastic.

My only solace is that Sandra feels safer knowing there isn’t some maniac following her around. I’ve convinced her to hold off killing people for a little while, until I know Daniel is leaving her alone for good, but her constant badgering is giving me a headache. She wants this and I don’t blame her; but my first priority is keeping her safe. I can’t do that if she goes off without me. Until we’re both confident in her abilities, I can’t let her out of my sight.

If only I’d had someone to help me out when I was her age. I’d have a much higher body count – not that my numbers aren’t high (highest in the country ever recorded, thank you very much) but I wouldn’t have had so many close calls. I wouldn’t have had to go through that growing phase where I was startled awake at night by the slightest noise, terrified the police were after me.

I’d be better. So she will be better.

I’m so proud of my daughter.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Friday, 24 July 2015

Review of Queen of Someday (Stolen Empire #1)

In honor of the release of Book 2: Queen of Tomorrow a few weeks ago, I read Book 1: Queen of Someday by Sherry Fricklin.

Check it out:


ONE GIRL WILL BRING AN EMPIRE TO ITS KNEES...

Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.

In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?

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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Your Mid-Week Update for 07/22/15

Friday night, Sandra came home in a panic because Daniel has been following her around. He hasn’t approached her but he’s been stalking her for the last few days; actually ignoring me in favor of harassing my daughter. She wanted to call the police and I had to remind her of how stupid that idea would be. Bringing around official trouble spells nothing but disaster for my family, no matter what I deal with Daniel off the record. I’m just glad James agrees with me. That’s a big improvement.

Actually, the two of us have been on a steady climb to recovery for the last few weeks and I’m feeling very confident that we’ll be okay. That’s more than I can say for Charlotte and Daniel.

I haven’t spoken to Charlotte since she told me she was dragging Daniel to couple’s therapy which was a month and a half ago. Clearly it hasn’t been working since I see him with my family more often than not. I kept meaning to go out with her for drinks or coffee because god knows, I could use a friend and we are never doing that double date thing ever again, but it just got away from me.

Sunday night I got a call from her asking me to come over because Daniel wasn’t home and she wanted to talk. I went over because I like Charlotte and I never followed through with that plan to get them back together which is why they’re in this mess in the first place.

She’s leaving him.

She talked to a lawyer and he’s drawing up the paperwork. She wants me to act as a character witness if it comes to it because she now has proof that he’s having an affair. Mrs. Westburn found underwear in her husband’s car that wasn’t her’s. Isn’t that interesting?

It’s mine.

I don’t know how he got it but it’s mine.

Let’s see: he’s stalking my daughter, he has my underwear in his car – which he uses to stalk me and my daughter – and his wife is leaving him because she thinks he’s having an affair.

It was supposed to just be an affair. It’s all Daniel’s fault. I thought he was a mentally stable human being. He disappeared for a week and suddenly he’s off his meds. I’d suggest a body swapping or mind control plot but I already vetoed genre mixing.

I told Charlotte she was doing the right thing. I have to protect her in this situation because if she stays with him without knowing the whole situation, she’ll be in danger. I can’t predict what Daniel will do and I hate that. I wish I knew how to keep him away from my family.

Sandra was absolutely terrified when she came home and told me about Daniel. I forgot that with murder comes paranoia. She’s going to spend her life jumping at shadows and most days it’ll be worth it but there will be days like Friday when it just won’t matter. I wish I could protect her but I can’t – not completely. She gave in to her urges just like her mother – just like me – and now she has to live with it.

I have to keep her safe from Daniel. I can’t let him hurt her.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Friday, 17 July 2015

Interview with Melissa E. Hurst

My darling dears, I have the honour to present the wonderful Melissa Hurst to talk about her book Edge of Forever and her journey into the published world. Check it out!

Melissa lives in the southern US with her husband and three kids. She writes YA science fiction and fantasy, which means she considers watching Star Trek and Firefly as research. She dreams of traveling around the world and maybe finding Atlantis one day. You can usually find her with a book in one hand and a Dr. Pepper in the other. Or consuming lots of chocolate.




I always start with the basics: tell me about your writer self. 
I've been writing on and off since I was young, but it was during middle school when I first realized I could possibly become an author one day. It took me until 2009 before I started writing seriously with the goal of publication.What is your process from concept to first draft? When I get the initial spark of an idea, I play the "what if" game until I come up with a story I'm excited to write. Then I use a notebook and write down everything I know about my main characters, secondary characters, and where/when the story takes place. I also create a beat sheet (from Save the Cat) to come up with my major plot points. By that time, I'm ready to start the first draft.

What's your favourite genre to read or write? 
I love anything that is science-fiction or fantasy.

Do you snack or listen to music? 
I like to have chocolate nearby when I'm writing. I listen to music for inspiration, but not when I'm writing. 

Tell me all about The Edge of Forever. 
The Edge of Forever is the second book I wrote. It's a young adult time travel novel that takes place in the future and in a contemporary setting, and it features several mysteries. The main characters are a seemingly normal teenage girl and a teenage boy who can travel to the past. The chapters alternate from their points of view.

How did you get started in writing? 
After I left teaching to stay at home with my youngest child, I decided to work on the book I'd always said I'd write one day. It took me two years to finish that book, then I put it away when I realized the market had shifted away from dystopian novels. Shortly after that, I came up with the idea for The Edge of Forever.

Tell me about your journey to being published - and internationally, to boot.  
I put my query letter up at an online writing conference to get feedback from other writers and ended up getting a request from my agent. After signing with her and going through a few founds of edits, she sent the book out on sub. My publishing story is a little different because the book actually sold in Brazil before it sold in the United States. And several months ago, it sold again in Turkey. 

Querying is not an easy thing. How did you put yours together (I hear it was stellar)? 
Something different I did with this book is that I wrote my query letter while I was plotting it. Doing this really helped me stick to the main points of the book without trying to cram in information that wasn't necessary. I also read the blurbs for several young adult novels that also featured dual points of view.

I just read your bio: you seem like my kind of girl. How's the hunt for Atlantis? 
Still haven't found it, but I'll keep trying! :D

So, if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go first? 
Oh this is hard. There are so many places I want to travel. I guess the first would be to the UK since I've wanted to visit there ever since I was little.

What's the next thing readers can expect from you? 
I'm currently working on The Edge of Forever's sequel.

And of course: any advice for unpublished writers? 
Try not to chase trends. You will have to read your book over and over again, so you really need to love what you write. 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Your Mid-Week Update for 07/15/15

I swear Mother Nature has it out for this city. We are flooding and dying of heatstroke all in the same week – day, even. It’s like she knows I did something wrong. Although, I’ve been doing something wrong for twenty years so that can’t be it.

Maybe it’s Sandra, maybe she’s cursed. That’d be new and exciting. Bring some magic or superstition to the mix. Generally, I hate mixing genres…and I still do. Nope. We’re rejecting your version of reality, magic. There is no curse.

Glad we solved that problem.

Man, I am in a weird mood today. Maybe my emotions are tied to the weather. That I could believe.

God damned Daniel has me so far off my game, I can’t even think of a good metaphor.

I kid you not, this is what happened on Sunday:

It was a dark and stormy night. Lightning was right over our heads, thunder shook the house; the power went out around eight o’clock. James was at work so I gathered the kids in the living room for flashlights and, since someone (*cough* Jason) forgot to charge his phone, played some board games. I know, clich├ęd and lame. It was. We gave up after three rounds of Hearts and went our separate ways. I was standing in the kitchen doing dishes like it was a frickin’ horror movie. Right in time with a booming roll of thunder, there was a knock on the door and I’m ashamed to admit that I jumped and screamed. I opened the door and I swear to god, there was Daniel in a yellow raincoat.

Right out of a fucking horror movie.

He asked to come in and I refused so we stood in the doorway while the rain poured behind him. He saw Sandra kill that homeless woman last week. He came to warn me that my daughter was going to get caught. He was worried about me.

That asshole.

I slammed the door in his face and told James to watch for him on his way home but I haven’t seen him since. This man is driving me crazy. With the stalking and the obsessing. I know, poor me. But such is life.

Just like a horror movie.

Other than the incident on Sunday, Sandra got a job as a cashier at a pharmacy, Jason is, of course, still unemployed but managed to nail down a girlfriend who doesn’t mind the body odor – I swear that boy is a traitor to his computer geek stereotype – and Heather is slightly less of a bitch this week (I think her husband found out about the affair).

Things are going well. I’m happy.

The skies have opened up and the apocalypse may be at hand. But I’m happy.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Your Mid-Week Update for 07/08/15

I sometimes forget how much the kids take after me. Even if I’m not biologically their mother, they still get a lot of their personality from my side of the family. Namely impulse control. Sandra seems to be as impatient as the rest of us, it’s almost endearing.

Last Thursday she confessed that she had grown tired of waiting for her turn to kill so she took it upon herself to “relieve the tension”.

She went into such great detail describing the homeless woman who often followed her on her way to school. She never mentioned the woman because Sandra felt she was harmless enough which proved useful when seeking an outlet for her pent up emotions.

It was easy enough to lure her into thinking Sandra was going to offer her money in a less monitored area. From there, all it took was a piece of string found in the dumpster beside her to do the deed.

The old woman struggled for two minutes and fifteen seconds before she collapsed on the ground in convulsions until she did six minutes later from brain damage – or something medical that wasn’t strangulation. Sandra didn’t hold the rope at the right angle. If you crush their windpipe it’s over much cleaner, and faster. Instead, my little girl stood and watched an old woman shake around for six minutes before she just…stopped. For some, the slow kill is a more satisfying death than any gruesome murder but I’m rarely that girl unless I’m in a particularly vindictive mood.

Sandra is a slow killer. Her eyes just lit up as she told this story and she stared in absolute awe as she described the finally moments of a woman who pestered the wrong girl.

I’ll admit to living a little vicariously through my daughter, feeling that thrill of taking someone’s life with fresh eyes is a wonderful sensation. But it made me realize that this might actually be a sexual thing for Sandra.

I know, I’m not supposed to think of my little girl as an adult who has feelings and emotions and urges but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense that killing is about the release for her. I don’t remember feeling quite like that at her age but I know James does the same thing when he watches me take lives.

Watched me, anyways. It’s been a long time since he’s really participated in our little game. Apart from that woman a few months ago, he’s barely mentioned his role in my double life.

We used to play this game where he’d pick a letter of the alphabet and we’d find the first person in the phonebook and kill them. In our first and second year of marriage, we’d play it every few weeks and he would watch from the shadows as I mangled and murdered. Then we’d go home and have some of the most fantastic sex.

The spark’s just not there anymore. And, of course, those were the days before two children and enough family baggage to fill a circus tent but sometimes I miss that hunger that comes with youth and innocence and murder. I think Sandra is starting to bring that out in me again. Or at least she’s letting me live vicariously through her. That’s almost as good.

That’s pretty much it, this weekend; not a lot of anything else. It’s the calmer part of the summer before it suddenly fades away.

I guess I’ll check in with you later.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Friday, 3 July 2015

Interview with Molly Ringle

Today, I have a wonderful treat for you: The unsinkable Molly Ringle is talking about her writing life and the wonderful adventures of her books (especially her Chrysomelia series surrounding Greek myths). Check it out!

Molly Ringle has been writing fiction for over twenty years. With her intense devotion to silly humor, she was especially proud to win the grand prize in the 2010 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest with one (intentionally) terrible sentence. Her academic studies include a bachelor of arts in anthropology (University of Oregon, Clark Honors College) and a master of arts in linguistics (University of California, Davis). Molly lives in Seattle with her husband and kids, and worships fragrances and chocolate. 








So, let's start with the basics: tell me about your writer self.
What's your process from plotting to publishing? Walk me through it, if you could.
 
A walk through...well, it's often a jumbled process, about as easy to walk through as a forest choked with blackberry bushes. These days I usually start with rambling free-write journal entries in which I figure out the characters, main themes, setting, etc., for the prospective novel. Then I hone that to a basic plot outline: what happens in what order. However, it should be noted that by the time I get to revisions, or even to the end of the first draft, I have changed nearly every one of those elements at least to some degree.
 
Do you listen to music or snack? 
Dreadfully cliched, but the writing snack of choice is usually chocolate. (Dark chocolate, at least. The good stuff.) While doing the actual writing, I might listen to instrumental relaxing music, as music with lyrics or a rousing beat is too distracting. But for each book I do usually have rousing songs with lyrics that remind me of the story, and I listen to those while thinking about the story at times when I'm not doing the actual writing. Taking walks or doing chores, say, are good activities for enjoying those inspiring songs.
 
Do you have a favourite genre to read or write in? 
I'm a fairly eclectic reader. I like to be reading one (or more) fiction and one nonfiction book at any given time, but I go through the fiction faster. Though I'll read nearly any genre, I do find myself picking up fantasy more often than usual lately, both urban/paranormal (our world with a magical twist) and high fantasy (different world than ours, usually with a map in the front). I've also been writing more fantasy/paranormal lately, and am likely to stick with that a while. But even when I write real-world no-paranormal fiction, I've always put a love story front and center, and that's likely to remain the case with my stuff for a long time yet.
 
How did you go from Bachelors in Anthropology to Writer? Or did it start out the other way around?
 
It was the other way around. I was already writing novels in my free time in high school. Dreadful ones, but it was good practice. When I went to college, I started out an English major, thinking to become a writer as my future career. But then it seemed to me that the English curriculum mostly involved reading literature and arguing about what the author meant, which was something we'd never know the answer to. And since I was likely going to read those books on my own anyway, I'd be better off using college to learn things I wouldn't learn otherwise. My boyfriend at the time (husband now) had just decided to be an Anthro major. I liked the look of the curriculum, so I switched to that. And since it did give me cool insights into the culture and prehistory of people around the globe, I think it has contributed to my novel-writing. But then, just about any type of learning can.
 
How did you get started in writing? What keeps you here? 
As a kid, I got started because I wanted in on the magic that books provided me. I wanted to be the creator of stories that sparked that same magic in other people. And I wanted a world to play in where I controlled everything. Those reasons are all still as relevant as ever, and have been why I stick with it.
 
For people just starting the Chrysomelia series, what would you say to them? 
If you don't know much (or anything) about the Greek myths, don't worry, because you should still be able to follow the story. If you do know the Greek myths, don't worry, because even if I twist and change them in this series, I also treat them with great love, and have included lots of little references and details that mythology geeks can delight in. I aimed to make the series accessible to people with any level of mythology familiarity, though whether I succeeded is a matter for readers to decide.
 
If you could be roommates with any of your characters, who would you choose? 
It's bizarre, but the one who jumped to mind is Daniel Revelstoke from 'Relatively Honest.' He's good looking with a charming London accent, he's easygoing and flexible where his friends or roommates are concerned, and his romantic problems are probably pretty entertaining to watch. Sophie and many others from the Persephone books are surely lovely roommates as personalities and habits go, but they have a very dangerous cult on their tail, so I wouldn't want to share a house with them just in case I became collateral damage.
 
Do you prefer writing stand alones or series? Or does it really just depend on the story? 
The Chrysomelia Stories (the Persephone series) has been hugely cool and rewarding as a writing experience, and has attracted more readers than my stand-alones so far, so I'm glad I embarked upon it. Still, I've found writing a series to be insanely complicated and challenging, so I've vowed to go back to a stand-alone after this one. Maybe some year if I'm crazy enough, I'll take on another series.
 
How much control do you get once you hand over your book to your publisher? 
The editor and I go back and forth with revisions for a while, but once the final galleys are approved, the book is pretty much locked in. Once it's released, we then share marketing duties more or less equally--contacting book bloggers or other review sources, signing up for contests or events, and so forth. I've been lucky in my editors so far. They've all taken a personal interest in these stories they've helped polish up, and seem to be almost as proud of them as I am, and I've never felt like I've lost creative control.
 
So what's next after Immortal’s Spring? 
Probably a stand-alone paranormal romance of some sort. I seem to be leaning toward the idea of sinister fae folk, or goblins, or something of that ilk, living in the forests around Puget Sound (my current hood). I'm still in murky journal-brainstorming phase, so we'll see what shakes out.
 
I'm not even going to ask for writing advice, I'll just direct people to your blog. Unless you want to offer advice? 
The most important advice is to keep writing. Keep in practice. Even those free-write journals of nonsense count, because it's like doing your scales when you're learning to play an instrument. Set the bar low: 300 words a day is what I aim for. Also, be humble. Be kind. You don't want to make a name for yourself by tearing other writers down, oozing snark, or grandstanding about your own work. Talk instead about what you like and who you admire, and if you can't keep quiet about why some book doesn't work for you, be constructive and mature in your review. Be grateful to those who take the time to give you feedback, and listen to it, and always be willing to learn.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Your Mid-Week Update for 07/01/15

I swear, I don’t know what I’m going to do with Jason. I’ve been good about leaving him to his own devices now that summer vacation has started and he’s barely left his room, but I walked past it on Sunday and it was an absolute disaster zone. I don’t remember it being this unruly during the school year (or even last week). How does that even happen?

And there’s a smell. I don’t know what’s causing it but the smell is just everywhere. But it never leaves, like there’s a force field around the door. It’s absolutely bizarre. I told him to clean his room but he just shrugged and looked back to the laptop on his bed.

This is what happens when I pay more attention to one child over the other. The other one goes insane.

Well more insane.

I cannot understand how that happened.

Moving on.

Sandra has been picking up this murder business very quickly, I’m so proud. I even let her get in a few blows with this last one. Get some real blood on her shoes. Shoes are the easiest ones to deal with. One sole in one dumpster, one in the other a town away. She’s really enjoying it, too. I love seeing the way her eyes light up, it’s just precious.

She’s told me how anxious she is but I keep telling her to wait. A few more weeks and I think she’ll be good; if she can hold out that long.

It’s just so nice to see the way her whole demeanor has changed. She’s lighter, more open. She’s thinking of changing schools so she can take classes closer to home. I completely glossed over the fact that my baby has GRADUATED from high school.

Holy Shit.

I feel so old. But now it’s starting to feel like I have a companion in my daughter rather than just another person living in my house. She comes to visit me at work – she’s even started helping out with some filing and organizing. I might start paying her just so we can spend the day together and kill a couple people on the way home. Turn it into a learning experience.

I’ll talk to her and see what she says, first. I need to keep the lines of communication open if this relationship is going to work.

And I so want it to work.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe