Wednesday, October 30, 2013

S.J. Aisling's "Becoming the Chateran" Blog Tour!

Preorder here!

Hey, all! Today on the blog I'm hosting a blog tour stop for young author, S.J. Aisling for her debut fantasy novel, Becoming the Chateran, coming out December 2013 by Life Sentence/Aniko Press. ^ ^ It is the first book of The Chateran series and a good fit for young adult readers. :) 

There a bunch of goodies in this post including an interview with her, an excerpt of the book, a giveaway and a unique image from her the book. The book has over forty visuals and illustrations that she drew herself and she even designed the cover. ^ ^

Here's a brief bio of her below. :)

Stacia Joy has always loved to tell stories and invent fictional lands and characters. But she never considered becoming a writer herself until age thirteen, when, inspired by a pretend play she invented with a friend, she wrote the first draft of Becoming the Chateran. The story has since expanded into what will become The Chateran Series. Stacia Joy also writes in several other genres, including steampunk and paranormal/science fiction, and occasionally writes poems about buffalo.

Wanting to be able to show others what her imagined universe looks like, Stacia Joy taught herself to draw by studying the work of illustrators like Alphonse Mucha, Arthur Rackham, Kate Seredy, and Jan Brett. She also received training in illustration and graphic design at Madison Area Technical College, and plans to become a full-fledged freelance illustrator before long.

When not immersed in writing or art, Stacia Joy spends her time playing the piano and folk harp, composing music, Irish dancing, singing at the top of her lungs, and learning new things. She also enjoys helping with children's ministry at her church, and currently resides in the Madison, Wisconsin area with a kitten named Lord Peter Whimsey.

You can find her on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Wattpad and DeviantART!

And here is a back cover copy of the book:

When Princess Rhea’s actions inadvertently condemn two innocent knights to death, she wakes to the hard reality that not even nobility is above the law. All her attempts to remedy the situation only complicate it, however, until she finds herself a fugitive in her own kingdom, having dragged her best friend into the trouble, as well. Their only hope for pardon? To accompany Sir Paladin and Sir Zephen in their sentence:

Slay, or be slain by, two legendary Dragons.

Travelling incognito, they meet with more malicious Phoenixes than could be coincidental, discover the mysterious disappearance of numerous citizens, and come face to face with a reawakened evil power. With the kingdom oblivious to the connection of these dangers, it’s up to Rhea and her outlaw companions to stop the rising threat and redeem their names – if they can survive their quest.

As the rest of The Chateran Series progresses, the affect of Rhea’s actions and the battle with the Dragons of Sama-Ael-Fen reaches beyond Gemworthy’s borders. The Dragons’ mistress seeks revenge for the damage done to her plans of conquest. Amidst the chaos, Rhea and her companions join forces with a motley troop of other brave men and women, all united by their call to protect their countries and their loved ones. They must learn to overcome their differences, pasts, and fears, and take up the quest of the Scintillatearian Swords to answer the challenge of evil as the Order of the Chateran.
An encouraging tale of friendship, true nobility, and coming of age that young adult readers can relate to, Becoming the Chateran also features over forty illustrations created by the author. 

Now to the interview:

When will Becoming the Chateran be available for purchase, and where can I get it?

Stacia: Becoming the Chateran will be available this December as an ebook and a paperback, and you can buy it via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the website of my publisher, Life Sentence/Aniko Press. In fact, you can preorder your own paperback copy now from the latter location - preordering it will up your chances of getting it in time for Christmas!

Where did you find inspiration to write Becoming the Chateran?

Stacia: Years ago while studying medieval history in school, a friend of mine and I pretended we were knightesses (prince/princess, knight/knightess, right?). I was Rhea, and my friend was Hiylienea. We had so much fun with our fantastical adventures that I decided to write everything down so we could remember it all, and so doing created the first draft of Becoming the Chateran. The story has expanded and matured a lot since then, but all the major elements and characters of the original make-believe are still there.

Any hints as to what awaits in the rest of The Chateran Series?

Stacia: Most of the characters from Becoming the Chateran will reappear throughout the rest of the series, as well as many new ones. I'm personally really excited for this second book of the series to come out, as it will tie up a several loose ends/foreshadowed events from Becoming the Chateran… as well as introducing new conundrums to tease you with. This second book features a shy minstrel girl, an awkward archer, a talking White Stag, revengeful SĂ­dhe, enchained jewelry, and a civil war.

The Chateran Series is medieval fantasy. Have you been doing much research for writing it?

Stacia: For the past seven years and counting I have lived half in this world, and half in that of this series. I've been walking around with a notebook all but attached to me, stuffed with notes about food, geography, clothing, character sketches, scene descriptions, and snatches of poetry and ballads.

Tailoring myself costumes based off those my characters wear was one of the most amusing and insightful things I did, as I'd dress up in full rig to act scenes out in my back yard or parks before I wrote them, to make the action and descriptions as accurate as possible. I also tried my hand at archery and horseback riding, proudly became the owner of several encyclopedias on world costume and armor, and studied heraldry and the cultures of multiple medieval cultures. My father is a research scientist. I think it rubbed off on me.

Do you have any tips for fellow writers on staying focused on a story?

Stacia: To me, staying driven to write a book depends on finding the happy medium between planning out what will happen and what the characters are like so you start out with good solid ground under you, and leaving enough out so that even you, the writer, is chaffing at the bit to find out what happens next.

Also, I feel too many writers start out by trying to write what they don't know about, and their lack of knowledge and interest is crippling. But do more than simply write what you know. Write what you are passionate about – readers are smart people, and they'll notice the conviction ringing through your story, and it will touch them as only fervent honesty can. And as a side perk, you're more likely to actually WANT to write, as it will be something you feel/believe strongly about. This automatically makes the whole process a lot easier.

What got you started writing?

Stacia: I've always enjoyed storytelling, so I think it was just a matter of time before I discovered writing. I didn't seriously start writing down the stories I made up until after I'd recorded the imaginary adventures that inspired Becoming the Chateran, and found out how fun it was, though.

When did you start drawing?

Stacia: I started drawing the same time I started writing, and for the same reason - to get down on paper the characters I'd made up for what turned into Becoming the Chateran. I've pretty much taught myself how to draw over the past seven years, by studying art, collecting picture books by my favorite illustrators, going to museums, and practicing every spare moment. It's very rare for me to go anywhere without my sketchbook.

Do you have any advice for young writers pursuing publication?

Stacia: Don't write what's popular now just to try and get published. For one thing, by the time you finish your book and have it publication-ready, the trends will have moved on to something else - be that something else, come up with a new idea or a fresh take on a classic theme! Also, writing to be cool is just like acting a specific way to be cool. Chances are, it isn't really you. When you write the story that only you can write, using your own life experiences and knowledge as tools, you are writing the best you possibly could, because you are the expert.

Another thing: Getting a foot into the publication business is as much who you know as what you know. Join writers' groups, find an editor or beta readers, or contact your favorite authors to see if they'd be willing to share some tips. (I personally love to help others in their writing endeavors, and I've found many, if not most, writing and illustration professionals to be the same.)

The more people involved with writing you know, the more likely you are to get connected with those who can get you going on the path to publication. I'm a member of the groups Go Teen Writers (GTW) and it's unofficial alumni group Young Adult Writers Alumni (YAWA), both of which have wonderful, active group pages on Facebook, and I've found them to be very helpful both in general support during writing and in getting me connections.

And lastly, here is the original image and excerpt below!

With shrill yells, several of the Royal Centrinels swung into the saddles of their own mounts and spurred in pursuit. Rhea turned about and crouched over Britnya’s neck, “Fly, beautiful!”

Several hundred yards down the wash, the fleeing three turned, and the horses plunged up through a narrow deer track onto the raised bank. The woods surrounded them, and Rhea clung to Britnya’s mane as they dodged low branches and cleared fallen logs and more small gullies. After one particularly close jump, she glanced under her arm to see one of the pursuing five centrinels fall short. His horse’s hind legs buckled beneath it and slid the both of them into the ditch. When Rhea faced forward again, she noticed flickering glimpses of light through the close-set cedars ahead, remembered Paladin’s mentioning a Griffin being among the centrinels, and assumed with dread that a clearing was coming up.

It’ll pluck us out of the saddle like so many conies off a mountainside!

She opened her mouth to shout to the others, but it was too late. Britnya burst into the light.

It was like the edge of the world.

And last lastly the giveaway! :)

I'm excited about this book! Show S.J. some love and give her some likes and follows and purchase the book! I definitely am! :) Thanks, S.J. for letting me host you here! :)

If you liked this post, come back every Saturday for more writing advice, character interviews, book reviews and more! On Sundays I have Soundtrack Sundays where I post a new score piece, Tuesdays are Tea Tuesdays with tea reviews, Wednesdays I have Wonderful Word Wednesdays where I post a new vocabulary word, and Fridays are Fan Fridays where I post tags and other goodies. To help support my dream to be an author follow this blog, like me on Facebook, watch me on deviantART, and follow me on Pinterest and Twitter. If you want to know more about my books check out them out here. Thank you! :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo

Buy from Amazon!
When a group of immortal vigilantes threatens millions, only one man is brave enough to stand in their way.

Their story didn’t start this year…or even this millennium.

It began when Moses was on Mt. Sinai. Tired of waiting on the One True God, the twelve tribes of Israel began worshipping a golden calf through pagan revelry. Many received immediate death for their idolatry, but 40 were handed a far worse punishment—endless life on earth with no chance to see the face of God.

This group of immortals became the 13th Tribe, and they’ve been trying to earn their way into heaven ever since—by killing sinners. Though their logic is twisted, their brilliance is undeniable. Their wrath is unstoppable. And the technology they possess is beyond anything mere humans have ever seen.

Jagger Baird knows nothing about the Tribe when he’s hired as head of security for an archaeological dig on Mt. Sinai. The former Army Ranger is still reeling from an accident that claimed the life of his best friend, his arm, and his faith in God.

The Tribe is poised to execute their most ambitious attack ever and the lives of millions hang in the balance. When Jagger’s wife and son are caught in the crossfire, he’ll stop at nothing to save them. But how can one man stand against an entire tribe of immortals?

Series: An Immortal Files Novel (Book 1)
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 3, 2012)
Page Count: 416

What I liked: I have mixed feelings about this book. The characters are very deep. They go to Paris (I've been to Paris so I'm partial to that. ;) ). There's a lot of gritty action and cool weapons particularly this sword from India I may use in my books somewhere.

The concept about immortal people dating back to Sinai is very interesting hence why I picked this book out when I won a giveaway from the author. You can tell this author did his research and was very passionate about this story. There's a lot of neat theological aspects about how we can't earn salvation, we just need to believe and accept that Jesus saved us. So there's a great message and a lot of cool stuff.

BUT ...

What I didn't like: There were so many writing errors! As a writer this drove me nuts. I kept having to mentally correct them in my head to keep going. He wrote in passive which is a big no-no and kept adding in unnecessary phrases such as "Jagger saw", "Jagger heard", "Jagger felt" and more.

Basically committing a bunch of writing faux pas I've been taught against by other professionals for years. I even wrote a post about these errors. So though it had all these awesome elements that really distracted me. The book has gotten a lot of praise, but it's really hard for me to get past these petty mistakes. 

Content Cautions: There was some significant gore in this book so watch out if you're a younger reader though the story does go into the point of view of younger characters so it can be enjoyed by younger or older readers I believe.

I'm iffy for the rating of this book. I give a three and half to a four. I'm very conflicted and tentative of reading the next one unfortunately. :/

About the Author: 
I've been writing since before I could drive. Short stories, investigative exposes, celebrity profiles, editorials, business columns, radio dramas, screenplays--you name it. For the last few years, I've focused on novels. I'm the author of the thrillers "Comes a Horseman," "Germ," "Deadfall," "Deadlock," "The 13th Tribe," and the young adult series Dreamhouse Kings--"House of Dark Shadows," "Watcher in the Woods," "Gatekeepers," "Timescape," "Whirlwind," and "Frenzy."

Several of my books have been sold or optioned by Hollywood producers. All of them are in various stages of production. I'm also working on an original screenplay with Andrew Davis (director of "The Fugitive" and "The Guardian). I wrote the screenplay for Ted Dekker's "Blessed Child." My short story "Kill Zone" appears in the James Patterson-edited anthology "Thriller," and my essay on Thomas Perry's "The Butcher's Boy" can be found in the anthology "Thriller: 100 Must Reads."

Check out his website, Facebook, Goodread and Twitter!

If you enjoyed this review, you can find more over on the Book Reviews tab of click the link. :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Review of Noble Impostor by Amanda L. Davis

Buy on Amazon!
With microchips implanted in their skulls at birth, the slaves of Cantral and Cillineese have labored under the tyrannical rule of the nobles and their computers for decades. Monica, a noble who avoided the implanting and escaped a death sentence at the age of four, is now sixteen. She has risked life and limb to free the inhabitants of Cillineese, but the computers still rule the rest of the world.

Now she must journey to Cantral and take the identity of her dying cousin, Amelia, to infiltrate the Nobles’ world in the guise of a teenager who is a master computer programmer. Because of her childhood living among the slaves of Cantral, Monica knows little about programming and must improvise to stay alive.
The fate of millions rides on Monica’s shoulders. As the only chip-less person in the world, she must convince the Council of Eight of her innocence, destroy the computers, and free the world from the nobles before they discover her ruse.

Series: The Cantral Chronicles (Book 2)
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Living Ink Books, an imprint of AMG Publishers (August 7, 2012)
Page Count: 464

What I liked: After reading the first book, I actually enjoyed this one more. The book has a similar yet different feel than the first. There was a more concrete cast in this one and I liked that Monica had more allies. It still had the gritty aspect of the first but with more subtly and infiltration.

Being around techies most of my life I liked the whole aspect with tampering with the chips and all about coding and such. I try to keep my reviews spoiler free so I'm not going to give anything away here. ;) I also liked the more established villain with insane hacking abilities. You don't see too many hacker villains.

The ending had a great and hopeful twist that shocked me, and I'm always that person in the back who predicts the outcome of a movie while watching it.

What I didn't like: Poor Monica still gets beaten up black and blue which I don't know if that is a definite dislike, but I do feel awfully sorry for her. It'd be nice to see her without bandages haha.

Content Cautions: There are some intense elements and some gore in some parts, but no worse than a PG-13 rating.

Overall I enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to the third installment. :) I give it four stars. :)

About the Author: 
Amanda L. Davis is the award-winning teen author of the Cantral Chronicles, a dystopian trilogy. She enjoys reading and writing and comes up with new novel ideas while spinning yarn or running on the roads near her home. She was born and raised a Florida girl and loves the warmth of the South.

You can find her on her websiteFacebook and Goodreads!

Check out my review of the first book of the series: Precisely Terminated!

If you enjoyed this review, you can find more over on the Book Reviews tab of click the link. :)

If you liked this post, come back every Saturday for more writing advice, character interviews, book reviews and more! On Sundays I have Soundtrack Sundays where I post a new score piece, Tuesdays are Tea Tuesdays with tea reviews, Wednesdays I have Wonderful Word Wednesdays where I post a new vocabulary word, and Fridays are Fan Fridays where I post tags and other goodies. To help support my dream to be an author follow this blog, like me on Facebook, watch me on deviantART, and follow me on Pinterest and Twitter. If you want to know more about my books check out them out here. Thank you! :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Interview with Emil (Subsapien)

Emil (Subsapien)

Hey, everyone! In honor of doing a long-overdue drawing over Emil, I decided to have a character interview with him for this week's blog post. ^ ^ He's from my YA science-fiction novel, Subsapien Grafting, sequel to Subsapien Biomech.


*waves* Hey!


I said, wait for the cue. You didn't wait for the cue.


Oh sorry.


*clears throat* Be sure to check out his drawing in the Art Gallery and by checking out the Character's page, you can find easy access to other character interviews.


I've been in some of 'em.


*sighs* Cue, Emil. Cue.


*looks down in shame, twiddles his thumbs*


Well, lets get to the interview. *turns to Emil* So, Emil, tell us a little bit about yourself.


Well, I'm like six and a half feet tall, I can pick up a car ... pretty much all around awesome. *grins*


So what do you like to do in your free time?


I like football and comics and video games.


Oh really? Who's your favorite comic book character?


Hulk. Totally.


What kind of music do you like?


Uh ... rock music. I don't like it too loud.




I have really good hearing and--



*flinches* What was that?


*pauses* Ashlyn.


You brought her?


I thought it'd be okay.


*voice takes on an edge* Well, it is unless you leave her alone.



*stands up from chair* I'll go see what she's doing. *hurries out of the room, footsteps thudding*


I better go to. Um ... Enjoy this image of a cute bunny while we're um absent. *taps key*

*elevator music*

*back in my seat* Okay. *brushes back stray strand of blonde hair* We're back.

*back in his chair*


Sorry about that. Ashlyn has a bad habit of getting into things. *eyebrow quirks* So who do you like to hang out with?

Well, monkey here for one. *smirks at Ashlyn, holds out his massive fist her*

*bumps it with her little one*

My best bro is Bryce, but I ain't seen him in months. I hang out around Matt, Ingrid, and Brian, but they're not my favorite people. *purses lips*

I see. Last question: If you were stranded on a island and you could only bring one item, what would you bring?

Can I bring Ash?

*smiles up at him*

She's handy for getting in places.

*gives him a thumbs up*

I guess that could count ... *looks at laptop* Bonus question: Do you sing in the shower?

Uh no. *shifts in his chair*


*frowns, envelopes her head with his hand to make it stop moving*


*smiles* Well, that's all I've got. I hope you readers enjoyed in this interview. If you have any questions for Emil, he'd love to hear them and he'll answer them in another interview. :) You can check out more about Emil's book in current projects, his book's Pinterest board, pictures I've drawn for the book on deviantART and fan art on my Facebook page.

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If you liked this post, come back every Saturday for more writing advice, character interviews, book reviews and more! On Sundays I have Soundtrack Sundays where I post a new score piece, Tuesdays are Tea Tuesdays with tea reviews, Wednesdays I have Wonderful Word Wednesdays where I post a new vocabulary word, and Fridays are Fan Fridays where I post tags and other goodies. To help support my dream to be an author follow this blog, like me on Facebook, watch me on deviantART, and follow me on Pinterest and Twitter. If you want to know more about my books check out them out here. Thank you! :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What Anime Can Teach Us About Writing

A lot of you may be thinking, "Anime? Seriously?" And if you're not the biggest fan of anime thanks for reading this post anyway. A lot of  you may think anime equals Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, but there are a lot more out there besides little monsters beating each other up.

Yoru from Shugo Chara
Anime is very different than American cartoons. In Japan, it's culturally acceptable for both children and adults to watch anime and read manga unlike here where cartoons and comics are mostly designated toward kids.

Because of that animes often include more mature content. Most of them I'd say rate about PG-13. Because a lot animes are watched in the U.S., many of them are dubbed (voiced over with English voices).

Moving on from the World History lesson, animes include a lot of great writing that in many instances I prefer over American writing. Because they are a different country they look at things differently than we do, and I think some of that different perspective can be applied to our writing in the following ways. 

1.) Unique Looks On Concepts - One hallmark of anime: it's weird. It just is. There are some concepts that are sort of like: what? How did someone possibly think of that?

For example: Shugo Chara, which a magical girl shojo (girl's) anime, is about a tween girl who has little companions that come from her heart in eggs who represent the kind of person she wants to be.

Weird right? But that was actually a good anime. It worked. Maybe we need a little more weird in our writing and thinking out of the box for our books.

In animes they also like to take new spins on old concepts. Fairy tale retellings are a thing nowadays, but have you thought of doing something really out there?

For example: In RomeoxJuliet it's the classic story, but they stuck the characters into an epic fantasy setting. Plus they made Juliet disguise herself as a boy and be a superhero for the people like Zorro. How cool is that? (On a side note this is a good anime to check out if you want to see if you like this whole anime thing.)

Don't be afraid to think out of the norm. Try different things even if they sound really, really weird they could turn into something awesome!

2.) Deep Themes - Another thing I really enjoy about anime is they really get into the heart and minds of humans with their themes. What the characters learn from the story. Now some of them are kind of outlandish, but a lot of themes from some of my favorites are just so deep and meaningful.

For example: In Attack on Titan, the human race is practically extinct because of Titans. The characters have to battle against these nearly invincible enemies to stay alive and keep their loved ones from harm.

Titans are scary. They will kill you in very not nice ways. The biggest theme in this anime is overcoming fear. It's rising up despite being so afraid for yourself to help others. It's very inspiring to see the characters push through their instinct to run to stand up and fight for their friends. 

I feel like in a lot of American media fear is grazed over. The characters somehow have this courage that came out of nowhere.
In your books, try to reach in and find these really deep concepts to weave into your book to inspire others: love, sacrifice, courage and more. It makes what one reads and watches memorable.

3.) Characters - I could go on and on and on about how great anime characters are. There have been some animes that I didn't really like the plot, but the characters were just fantastic. They are unique, memorable and very human which is what we need in the characters in our books.

Some are easy to relate to, some are really cool, and some are just so out there that we just can help but love them. Then there are the bad guys which are equally brilliant.

Shu from Guilty Crown - He is an easy to relate to character from my favorite anime of all time. He is introverted and grows to push through his fears. He is also super-powered which is always awesome and has to learn how to be responsible for his gift.

Kiba from Wolf's Rain - He's really cool, mysterious, loyal, and kick-butt. And he can turn into a wolf! He's protective of his friends and a typical bad boy.

L from Death Note - An eccentric crime-solver with an affinity for sweets. He's so distinctive that he has his own posture and little habits when he's thinking or mad or other moods. 

Orochimaru from Naruto - A great, creepy, powerful villain with ninja snake powers and a deep backstory on how he became evil.

And I couldn't even get into all the great female characters. I could do a whole post on anime characters. XD Anime is also great into going into backstory so you can feel for each character, but be careful about going into too much especially near action sequences. Naruto went way overboard and I kept thinking "Get to the action already!"