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Monday, September 11, 2017

What Is The Shadowzone?


My guest today is Calgary author Simon Rose, who has published fourteen novels for children and young adults, seven guides for writers, almost 100 nonfiction books, and many articles on a wide variety of topics. Earlier this year he released Twisted Fate, the second installment of the paranormal Flashback series. Today, we’re looking at his latest release, the Shadowzone series.


So what’s the Shadowzone series all about?

The series involves the discovery of a grim dystopian version of Earth that’s ruled by a totalitarian dictatorship, the threat of a deadly virus, and a race against time to save the lives of millions. Without giving too much away, here’s a synopsis for each of the novels.


While watching intense flashes of lightning during a violent storm, Ben experiences mysterious and disturbing visions of another world, one very different from his own. In the chain of events that follow, Ben encounters Charlie, a girl from a dark version of Earth, a planet doomed by the effects of environmental catastrophe, where the leaders will stop at nothing to complete their deadly mission. 




Into the Web


On a doomed version of Earth, the sinister schemes of the Ministry are moving ever closer to completion, with dire consequences for the inhabitants of two worlds. For Ben and Charlie, an unlikely alliance, unexpected reunions, and the mysterious prophecy of the Chosen One offer a glimmer of hope, with the ever-present prospect of betrayal, as they embark on an unpredictable journey into the unknown. 


In a dark parallel world, following attacks by its most determined opponents, the Ministry has been forced to change its plans. Yet the ruthless Director-General is prepared to sacrifice anyone to achieve an entirely new beginning, no matter what the cost. In a deadly race against time, as events spiral out of control, Ben and Charlie must risk their lives in a desperate attempt to save two worlds from destruction. 




What inspired you to write these three books? What’s the story behind the story?

The original idea was about someone capturing mysterious images on a video camera of a person that no one else could see. It was around the time that a local hospital was about to be demolished. I imagined that my character was filming the event and captured the image of the person stepping seemingly unharmed from the rubble as the building came down. The idea of capturing unexplained images on film was something that I’ve continued working on and it also inspired me to write The Time Camera, which was published in 2011.

For a while, that’s all I had and it was one of those ideas that I was never sure would come to anything. It was early in my writing career and I put it aside and worked on other stories, but I’d periodically add another element to the story about the camera and the mysterious individual. At one point, I decided that the person that the boy caught on film wasn’t a ghost but from another dimension or perhaps a parallel universe and they were attempting to contact him for some reason. I then began to add details of this other Earth and the reasons for the connection to our world, and it went from there. An initial concept involving kidnappings from hospitals didn’t quite work, so instead I developed the idea of a deadly virus, which was a good fit with the type of government running the other Earth. Once that was all in place, I was able to get to work.


Was it always going to be a series?

Shadowzone was originally only one novel, but once I’d finished it I immediately realized that the story wasn’t over and that I need to write more. The final installment was written very quickly and in the process I knew that I needed to expand the earlier sections too, so in the end I had a trilogy.


 So of course, people need to read all three :)

You could certainly just read Shadowzone, but there’s a cliffhanger ending and hopefully most people will feel utterly compelled to be read on and learn what happens next. Into The Web and Black Dawn also don’t make sense if you haven’t read the first book in the series. Taken together, it’s an exciting, fast paced adventure that I hope everyone will really enjoy.


So it’s a good idea for authors to write a series of books?

It can be, but only if you have enough material for multiple books. If readers are sufficiently interested in the story and the characters after completing the first installment, they’d usually like to read more. However, the story or theme has to be strong enough to warrant more adventures. It’s important to remember that the reader won’t appreciate any novel that’s overloaded with filler, just for the sake of creating a series, and might easily avoid any books by the same author in the future.


So where can people buy all three books in the Shadowzone series?

The books can be purchased at most of the usual places, as follows:

Shadowzone
Paperback: AmazonCreatespace

Into The Web
Paperback:

Black Dawn
Ebook: Amazon CanadaAmazon USAKoboiBooks, and Smashwords
Paperback: 
AmazonCreatespace


You published these yourself, whereas most of your earlier work was traditionally published, correct?

The first eight novels were published by Tradewind Books, while Flashback, Future Imperfect, and Twisted Fate were published by Tyche Books, but my seven books featuring tips and advice for writers were self-published as paperbacks and as ebooks.  I hadn’t self-published fiction before and thought it was time that I did. The Shadowzone books were finished and I believed that they were as good, if not better, than my other work. I also asked some people read them to confirm this and then decided to go ahead with publication. A lot of traditionally published authors also self publish as well now, so it’s quite common practice these days. 


Will you self publish again in the future?

Yes, I think so. The third part of the Flashback series will be published by Tyche Books next spring, but I do have several other projects that I’ll most likely publish myself as well soon. 


What are you currently working on?

I always have a current project or two and right now I’m working on a historical fiction novel for young adults set in the turbulent era of the English Civil War in the 1640s. The novel’s about half finished, but I still have a lot of work to do. I’m also working on sequels to Future Imperfect and The Sphere of Septimus.


Are your other books in this similar dystopian genre?

No, although my novels are all in the science fiction and fantasy genre. The Sorcerer’s Letterbox and The Heretic’s Tomb are historical fiction adventures set in medieval England, The Alchemist’s Portrait is a time travel story, The Emerald Curse is all about superheroes and comic books, The Doomsday Mask is all about the legend of Atlantis, and The Sphere of Septimus involves the characters traveling into another world and is in the same vein as the Harry Potter series, The Chronicles of Narnia, or Lord of the Rings. Future Imperfect is a technology-driven story featuring mysterious messages from the future, and Flashback and Twisted Fate are in the paranormal genre. I’ve also written nonfiction guides for writers, including The Children’s Writer's Guide and The Time Traveler’s Guide.


You also work with other authors, don’t you?

Yes, I do quite a lot of that these days. I’ve edited books in all kinds of genres for a wide range of writers in the last few years, offering both substantive and copy editing. I also work as a writing coach and consultant for people with works in progress or those that are struggling with writer’s block. You can learn more about some of the projects I’ve worked on that have subsequently been published are here on my website. I also offer online courses for adults and workshops on a variety of themes for aspiring young writers.

Thanks Simon, for being my guest here today and the very best of luck with the Shadowzone series. I hope the books sell thousands of copies in the coming weeks and months.

You can learn more about Simon and his work on his website at www.simon-rose.com or online at the following social media sites:

·         Facebook
·         Twitter
·         LinkedIn
·         YouTube
·         Google +
·         Pinterest

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Excerpt From- Dating The It Guy

Krysten Hager is the first YA author I've had the privilege of having on my blog in a long time and I am really excited about her book "Dating The It Guy". I hope the excerpt she's shared with us intrigues you as much as it did me! Help support the author by running out and buying a copy! 😊

Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager- YA contemporary romance

Dating the it guy by Krysten Hager
About the book:
Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator's son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon's world and it doesn't help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you're dating the it guy.

 Excerpt:

“By the way, did you hear Lauren got into Senator Agretti’s old school?”

“Seriously? I wonder if she applied there because Brendon did,” I said.

Margaux snorted. “Duh, of course. Seriously, she might as well just pee on him to mark her territory.”

“Margaux, shut up,” Kylie said.

“Whatever. Anyway, the important thing is if Brendon knew she was applying there,” Margaux said.

 “Em, do you think he knew?”

I hoped Lauren was just trying to follow Brendon, but what if they had planned this whole thing while they were dating? What if he convinced her to apply there so they could go to college together, wear matching American flag sweaters with big scarves while drinking hot chocolate, and jump into leaf piles just like a preppy clothing catalog. At least now I didn’t have to worry about them reciting poetry to one another in South Bend, but still, what if they had made plans to go to school together?

“Don’t worry about it,” Kylie said. “She was probably trying to follow him—like she always does. She’s so pathetic.”

Kylie was trying to make me feel better, but Lauren was far from pathetic. After all, she was pretty much the “Most Likely to Succeed” poster girl. While she was out overachieving and saving the world without messing up her perfect, bouncy hair, I was trying to get through each day. I tried to push away the image of Lauren and Brendon holding hands and drinking hot chocolate under a stadium blanket.

Purchase:

Praise for Dating the It Guy:

*“Dating the It Guy is an entertaining story that is as absorbing as it is hilarious.” Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

*A satisfying YA romance that is really about growing up and learning how to deal with life.” Writing Pearls book review blog

*“There is so much to love about this book. Krysten Lindsay Hager knows how teens think and speak, and she understands why Emme would feel overwhelmed by everything about Brendon - his looks, his popularity, his feelings for her, his exes, his family.” Vox libris: the voice of books book review blog


 *“A sweet, endearing story—you’ll fall in love with Emme just like I did!” --Kimber Leigh Wheaton, YA/NA author

About Krysten Hager:


YA Author Krysten Hager
Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Best Sellers award. Krysten's work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Grand Blanc View, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.

Follow Krysten:


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017 Pictures From Totality in Columbia SC

Warning... Photo heavy post. Pictures from totality tailgating at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds in Columbia where we witnessed 2.5 minutes of awesome jaw dropping totality!

The clouds tried to have their way-(which made for some interesting views and images) but by the grace of God we were able to have some large chunks of time where the sun was completely clear of the clouds. Totality was completely unmarred by the clouds.

I was able to take pictures of the sun leading up to totality (partial eclipse) both through my telescope and through my phone. I used a pair of solar lense glasses over my phone. For my telescope pictures, my telescope had a solar filter at the top, so I could lay my phone on the eyepiece to photograph what I could see in the telescope. I was impressed at how well the images came out actually (for a phone camera that WASN'T actually mounted to the telescope- I didnt think it would work as well as it did.)

I was able to show my children (ages 6, 13, and 16) sun spots during this time (some of which show up in the pictures. As well as what the solar eclipse looks like through the telescope. We all had glasses so we could view it with our eyes too.

The spectacle of seeing the sky go dark during the day, the stars come out, and the sun disappear except for a thin shiny silver ring was as awesome as one would expect. The air cooled (THANKFULLY) and the atmosphere took on an eerie feeling. Everyone cheered as the last bit of sun hid itself behind the moon.

NOTHING, however, can compare to the shock and awe I felt when I spared a moment to look down into my telescope during totality (AFTER I remembered I needed to take the solar filter off if I expected to see anything during that time lol). The effect through my telescope was so shocking that I exclaimed out loud "Oh my gosh!". I've never been so completely shocked at what I've seen through my telescope until that moment. I've been intrigued in the past, as I've found saturn, or jupiter. But this was a feeling of 100% total amazement. A once in a lifetime sight!

Then I took a moment to tighten my telescope down and begged everyone else to come take a peek. I loved watching everyone else experience that too! My middle son exclaimed "I want to be a scientist now!" We saw at least two 'stars' during this darkened moment, one of which was rumored to be a planet- but I did not have time to confirm that with my telescope or charts.

I went back to take pictures through my telescope by setting my phone on top of the eyepiece right before totality ended. Then... far too soon (wish we had longer) some blessed stranger was broadcasting a radio program that called out a countdown for "glasses on"- which meant I needed to get my face away from my telescope and put that solar filter BACK ON the darn thing before I fried my retinas. Thank you dear stranger!

The ring started to grow larger and our focus was drawn to the shadows returning slowly on the ground as the sun started to come back out once again! Totality cleared and the moon started its recession. We had to fight traffic back out of columbia so we didn't stay for the whole recession but every moment was completely worth the hours of traffic jams afterward!

Oh and one other thank you to the couple that we shared our tent with ;) Our tent was a bit big for the space, so thank you for letting us share it with you! It was awesome getting to hang out with you guys!



More Pictures!

I apologize that these are not in order, I will go back later and put them into order and add more captions.

Dusk Before Totality





Clouds fogging up the shot



some of the red tint is from my phone case reflecting off the solar glasses





Another image through my phone

Pictures through my telescope with solar lens cap




Another through my phone



Through my phone right before totality






Saturday, August 12, 2017

Best Plot Twist- Book Lovers Blog Hop


Tweet: What's our favorite plot twist?
We will share during today's entry in the Book Lover's Blog Hop! https://ctt.ec/2ARZ5+
Today's Book Lover's Blog Hop question for our group of authors is... What's the best plot twist you've ever read?

I LOVE plot twists... though I struggle to rank who's is the best. Anne (in Anne of Green Gables) starts off hating Gilbert Blithe and then by the end of the books she's married to him. This is also done in Pride and Prejudice. Jacob likes Bella who likes Edward is solved by the insinuation that Jacob only ever liked Bella because he was destined to imprint on their daughter born later in the story (Twilight Saga). "Luke, I am your father" (OK that one is a movie).

So what’s the best plot twist you’ve read?






Usually anything by Agatha Christie but I think the one that Got me the most was the one in Cat Amongst the Pigeons. I will not spoil it, but it is one of the least known Poirot stories and the first Agatha Christie I ever read.






Skye Hegyes www.skyehegyes.com
I can’t go into detail of the plot twist without revealing the ending of the book, but Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. I was not expecting it, especially in a children’s book. It ripped out my heart and soul, dragged them around, and delivered them back to me broken and bruised, and it was absolutely brilliant.






Laurie Lucking www.landsuncharted.com

I’m going to have to go with a certain plot twist in White Dawn by Sara Baysinger. Her whole Black Tiger series has been full of amazing plot twists, but this one in particular (which I can’t go into because—spoilers!) just blew my mind. Seriously, I was sitting there on my couch in total shock. So crazy and brilliant!





Jebraun Clifford www.jebraunclifford.com

I’d have to say the plot twist in the thriller/mystery Gone Girl. I’d heard there were some unexpected occurrences. But. Wow. Did not expect that one!







Just B. Jordan www.JustBJordan.com 
There have been a lot of fantastic ones out there! The first that comes to my mind is in the Mistborn series. I had to sort through some emotions to come to terms with it! 









One of the first to come to mind is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini which has lots of twists. Pretty much any book by Agatha Christie deserves a mention here too. 









What about you, dear reader? What is your favorite plot twist? Leave your suggestion in the comments below!



Book Lovers Blog Hop Schedule!

(Links are likely to not go live until the date of)

1st August   www.JoLinsdell.com
What are you reading this month? TBR list for August

What’s your favourite genre to read?

Where do you get your books?

Best read of 2017 so far?

Favourite author?

Favourite book cover design?


Preferred book format? (ebook, print, audio)

How do you organise your bookshelves ?

Favourite book to movie adaption?

Most evil villain?

What’s the best plot twist you’ve read?

13th August http://www.cjbrightley.com
Favourite fictional character?

14th August www.JustBJordan.com
Best fictional friendship?

15th August  www.saderena.com/blog
Best book series?

16th August http://www.angelaguidolinauthor.co.uk/blog
Most thought provoking book you’ve read?

17th August  www.tabithacaplinger.com
Top 3 books you think everyone should read

18th August www.skyehegyes.com 
Where do you post your reviews of books you’ve read?

19th August www.landsuncharted.com
What was the last book you gave a 5 star review?

20th August  kmcarrollblog.wordpress.com
Which book do you wish had a sequel?

21st August www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com 
Which author would you most want to interview and why?

22nd August www.JoLinsdell.com  
How often do you go to the library?

23rd August www.belindabekkers.com
Goodreads challenge/reading goal for this year? On track so far?

24th August www.FabianSpace.com 
Do your family/friends support your reading habit?

25th August  http://theliteraryapothecary.blogspot.com 
Do you enter book giveaways? Last prize you won?

26th August  www.JustBJordan.com 
Name a book that made you cry

27th August  www.jebraunclifford.com 
Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself being an author in the future?

28th August www.brandypotterbooks.com
When did you get into reading?

29th August www.skyehegyes.com 
What do you do to get out of a reading slump?

30th August www.brandypotterbooks.com
If a genie were to grant you 3 bookish wishes, what would you ask for and why? 

31st August  www.landsuncharted.com
Do you take part in readathons? Why? If yes, which are your favourites? 




Friday, August 11, 2017

Most Evil Villain- Book Lovers Blog Hop


Tweet: Who's voted the most evil villain? Book Bloggers Blog Hop shares our choices! https://ctt.ec/cXf3U+
Today and tomorrow I am participating in the Book Lovers Blog Hop. During this blog hop every host gets to ask a group of authors some reading related questions. Today I'll be asking six authors who they think is the most evil villain. There are links at the end of this post to the rest of the Blog Hop days as well!

It can be pretty hard to nail down just how evil a bad guy is. Most baddies have a reason for doing what they are doing, even in some twisted way. To me, the most evil bad guy is one who takes away the humanity of a person, stripping them of the right to choose, the right to be different. IT in A Wrinkle In Time comes close for me. IT does this by telepathically taking over the victim's mind and forcing them to conform. To top all this off, IT isn't so easy to defeat completely either! (I love Villains that never completely go away!)


The mind is a delicate and valuable thing. The mind is what makes you, well... you. I've seen first hand what damage to a mind can do. Stripping a once hopeful person of all their dreams, making them forget things they once knew, altering their personality so they are no longer who they once were. Villains that toy with their victims mind, manipulating and/or damaging them in any way will always win the Most Evil Victim award in my opinion.

 What do you ladies think?

Brandy Potter - www.brandypotterbooks.com
Defining the most evil villain is hard to do. I think for me it comes down to motivation. For example Moriarty to me isn’t evil, he is just motivated by using his wits to gain what he wants. Then you have Sauron and Voldemort who are absolutely evil, but are they the MOST evil. Perhaps. Voldemort though is a “children’s” evil which fails to portray depravity. Sauron’s evil is masked by the other villains in the story who are concentrated on more. Except for maybe in the Silmarillion, but that is like reading the begats section of the bible for me, so I couldn’t choose him. So I took the road of choosing the character that made my skin crawl and found that it was none other than Jack the Ripper. In Alex Grecian’s The Devil’s Workshop he is portrayed as “Saucy Jack” another name that Scotland Yard gave to the notorious serial killer. He has rules, yes but the way his mind works is chilling… chilling. Coming in a close second is Dr. Peter Teleborian in Stig Larsen’s The Girl that shook The Hornet's Nest. To explain his evil is difficult because I could give away the ending and some would argue Nils Bjurman, Martin Vanger or even Zalachenko were more evil. All of them were chilling, but what Teleborian did to Lisbeth is appalling.

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com
There are so many evil villains out there who would easily merit the top spot, but I’m going to go with Ackerman from the Shepherd series by Ethan Cross. Father of Fear (the third book in the series) is when we see just how evil, and twisted this man really is. As far as serial killers go he is definitely at the top of the list with how much he enjoys torturing his victims. What makes him the most evil though is the experimenting he does on his own family. Ackerman Jr really didn’t have much of a chance with a father like that… and although he holds his own ranking in the evil villain list, he’s nothing compared to his father. 


Skye Hegyes www.skyehegyes.com
I think it’s safe to say that the most evil villain in the fictional world is someone everyone can hate with a passion that’s almost holy, and that’s Professor Dolores Umbridge. I mean, how can you not hate the evil little toad of a woman. She was specifically cruel to anyone who did not go along with her exact thoughts of how things should be done. Ugh! Monster!





Belinda Bekkers www.belindabekkers.com
I think Cruella del Vil from The Hundred and One Dalmations and Professor Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes stories are pretty unbeatable. Pap in the Mosquito Coast is also evil.


Jebraun Clifford www.jebraunclifford.com
Villains should be complicated and three-dimensional. They can’t just be bad because they’re bad. They’ve got to have a good motivation for what they do! To me, a terrible and chilling villain is the Queen in the Hall from Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Gard because she doesn’t believe she is evil, she’s only doing what she must to keep her and her faerie folks’ way of life secure. There’s no reasoning with an antagonist like that! 



Just B. Jordan www.JustBJordan.com 
When I hear “most evil villain” my mind instantly goes to Sephiroth from Final Fantasy. (I know, they’re games, not books. Haha) In my childhood Sephiroth was the baddest bad guy out there. My brothers and I would have conversations about how cruelly evil he could be. I think in my mind he will always hold the Most Evil trophy. ;)







I have to go with One from Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones. He’s this head of the galactic council who has extended his lifespan with various treatments to make sure he never has to pass his rule to anyone else. And he’s ruthlessly destroyed the descendents of the true reigning house, turning them into slaves and worse. No blood is shown, of course, but it’s very implied. I think the implications are so horrible because your mind gets to fill them in. The things he did to one of the heroes … I just shudder, even now. And he does it with a smile and completely friendly logic.


How about you, dear readers? Do you have a Villain that you love to hate? Leave a comment for all of us in the comments section below!



Book Lovers Blog Hop Schedule!

(Links are likely to not go live until the date of)

1st August   www.JoLinsdell.com
What are you reading this month? TBR list for August

What’s your favourite genre to read?

Where do you get your books?

Best read of 2017 so far?

Favourite author?

Favourite book cover design?


Preferred book format? (ebook, print, audio)

How do you organise your bookshelves ?

Favourite book to movie adaption?

Most evil villain?

What’s the best plot twist you’ve read?

13th August http://www.cjbrightley.com
Favourite fictional character?

14th August www.JustBJordan.com
Best fictional friendship?

15th August  www.saderena.com/blog
Best book series?

16th August http://www.angelaguidolinauthor.co.uk/blog
Most thought provoking book you’ve read?

17th August  www.tabithacaplinger.com
Top 3 books you think everyone should read

18th August www.skyehegyes.com 
Where do you post your reviews of books you’ve read?

19th August www.landsuncharted.com
What was the last book you gave a 5 star review?

20th August  kmcarrollblog.wordpress.com
Which book do you wish had a sequel?

21st August www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com 
Which author would you most want to interview and why?

22nd August www.JoLinsdell.com  
How often do you go to the library?

23rd August www.belindabekkers.com
Goodreads challenge/reading goal for this year? On track so far?

24th August www.FabianSpace.com 
Do your family/friends support your reading habit?

25th August  http://theliteraryapothecary.blogspot.com 
Do you enter book giveaways? Last prize you won?

26th August  www.JustBJordan.com 
Name a book that made you cry

27th August  www.jebraunclifford.com 
Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself being an author in the future?

28th August www.brandypotterbooks.com
When did you get into reading?

29th August www.skyehegyes.com 
What do you do to get out of a reading slump?

30th August www.brandypotterbooks.com
If a genie were to grant you 3 bookish wishes, what would you ask for and why? 

31st August  www.landsuncharted.com
Do you take part in readathons? Why? If yes, which are your favourites?