Archive for January, 2013

Words & Music Monday with Kerry Schafer

Posted January 28, 2013 By Jennifer

WordsAndMusicMonday

Today’s Words & Music Monday feature is actually a stop along Kerry Schafer’s BETWEEN Blog Tour. I’ve been so excited for this book to come out, and tomorrow is the day!!!! Be sure to check out the other stops along the tour for cool posts about dreams, and doorways, and dragons… and chances to win a copy of BETWEEN! (You can click the banner image below to see the full list of tour stops.) At the end of Kerry’s post here, you’ll find out how you can win a copy at this stop 🙂

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Soundtracks to Live and Write By

My writing life has three distinct genres of soundtrack.

Soundtrack Number One: Ambient Music. This emerges spontaneously from the people living in my house and has nothing to do with my own writing needs or preferences. There were times during the writing of Between when one of my kids would be playing the piano downstairs while the other one played the electric guitar upstairs in a completely different key. Not conducive to writing! But there were also moments like this:

Soundtrack Number Two: Music I Write To. I nearly always write to music. When the house is empty it plays through the stereo. When there is an Ambient Soundtrack playing (see number one) I put on noise cancelling earbuds and cue up the iTunes. My usual music while writing Between was very heavily Mark Knopfler oriented. (Okay, I confess: most of my music is heavily Mark Knopfler oriented. I’ve been told I’m a little obsessed). I own most of his albums, starting with the Dire Straits classics, on through albums where he went solo or worked with other artists like Emmy Lou Harris and Chet Atkins. I’m also fond of Nora Jones and Sara MacLachlan for writing music. This has nothing to do with the mood of the book, and everything to do with the fact that I a) love the music and b) know it so well I don’t need to listen to the lyrics.

A selection from the writing playlist, taken straight off my iPhone:

I don’t always have a song for each character, but in Between there are a few.

Things are pretty tough for Vivian – she’s used to being the one who is in control, who solves the problems, who knows what is going on and takes care of everybody. And all of a sudden she’s caught up in a reality she doesn’t understand, somewhere between waking and dreaming. This song really fits for her: Somewhere in Between by Lifehouse

As for Zee, he is a warrior-poet, and the two sides of his nature are always fighting for supremacy. He has two songs:  Starry Starry Night by Josh Groban and Another One Bites the Dust by Queen.

For Isobel, Vivian’s mentally unstable mother, it’s Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd

Soundtrack Number Three: Survival Music. These are songs that get me moving, lift my mood, or coax me into singing along. If I’m discouraged with the writing, or too tired to write, music will often fix me.

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So, my lovelies… my question for you… what is the theme song for YOUR life?? I can’t wait to hear what songs describe the wild and wonderful people you are. One random commenter will win a print copy of BETWEEN from Kerry’s awesome publisher!! Please leave me the name of the song, and the artist. If you’d like to leave a link, too… that would be cool. I want to hear them all 🙂 This contest will be open until Feb 5th, which is the date the blog tour ends. Be sure to click the banner at the top of this post to check out all the other blogs participating, and enter at each of their sites to increase your chances of winning!! (Oh, and Kerry’s got a contest happening on her site, here, that ends TOMORROW!!) Good luck, and lets see those theme songs! 🙂

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Q&A and Blog Tour Schedule with Kerry Schafer

Posted January 22, 2013 By Jennifer

Hello there!!

Today’s a fun day for me because I get to introduce a debut author friend of mine. Kerry Schafer is doing her first blog tour, and each stop is giving away a copy of her book, BETWEEN. (My official date on the tour is Jan 28th, but I’m so excited I wanted to share all the info at the beginning of the tour, too.)

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Monday, Jan 21st – All good blog tours begin at home

Tuesday, Jan 22nd – Parajunkee’s View

Wednesday, Jan 23rd – Goldilox and the Three Weres

Thursday, Jan 24th – Book Monster Reviews

Friday, Jan 25th –  The Knight Agency

Saturday, Jan 26th –  Coffee Time Romance

Sunday, Jan 27th – The Jeep Diva

Monday, Jan 28th – Books Make Me Happy, Candace’s Book Blog

Tuesday, Jan 29th – Bitten By Books Launch Party

Wednesday, Jan 30th – Ex Libris

Thursday, Jan 31st – Ramblings From This Chick

Friday, Feb 1st – Mama Kitty Reviews

Saturday, Feb 2nd – Spann of Time

Sunday, Feb 3rd – Simply Ali

Monday, Feb 4th – The Qwillery

Tuesday, Feb 5th And everything should end, where it began, at home

There will be a chance at every tour stop to win a copy of BETWEEN. And Kerry’s got her own giveaway happening at her blog!!! Lots of cool posts, lots of prizes, lots of fun!!! (You can also enter before Jan 29th at Goodreads for chances to win BETWEEN!!)

As an added bonus to my official tour stop post on the 28th, I asked Kerry my usual “get to know you” author questions. She managed to find time in her debut release crazytimes to get these back to me.

Scha03671) When you write, do you prefer quiet, or do you listen to music? If you like music playing, what is your preferred genre? Do certain characters have their own personal “soundtrack”?

There are times when I prefer quiet, but I usually have music on. I am the owner of this archaic electronic device called a CD player. (I actually have a record player for vinyl, too, but I don’t use it often). If I’m home alone, I pile up to 12 CDs into the CD player and press the ‘random’ button. It shuffles songs, just like an iPod, and I have my mix. But my house tends to be loud. There were times during the writing of Between when there was one kid on the Xbox, one playing electric guitar, one playing the piano, (different song in a different key, of course). On those days, I drown out the noise with ear buds and iTunes. My preferred genre for writing is a little thing I call “anything I’m familiar with so I don’t get distracted by the lyrics.” My line-up on a given day might include Mark Knopfler, the Eagles, Evanescence, Pink Floyd, Opeth, Norah Jones, Carrie Underwood, and JJ Cale in totally random and disconcerting order.

2) Where do you write? In an office, at the dining room table, at a local coffee shop? Do you prefer to write alone or with a group? If you write with a group, do you also read/critique each other’s work?

I write wherever I can find the space and time. My life tends to fall in the insanely busy category, and writing time has to be carved out of chaos. At home I like to write at the kitchen table, which allows me to look out of a large picture window and be distracted by the deer and wild turkeys inspired by the trees and sky. However, when that space gets too populated or noisy, or if I have a deadline and really need to focus, I have a desk in the mud room where I stare at a wall and really get work done. I like to write at my favorite café (they make the best Americanos ever), but this is a bit of a luxury. I write at my desk at work during lunch break, in the car while waiting for people, and very occasionally I write on the couch. This generally ends with a very low word count and a long, unplanned nap.

People write with a group? And writing actually happens? I tried this once or twice a long time ago. We had a lot of fun and consumed some great snacks. Word count was abysmal. Still, it sounds like fun and I’m sure I’d try it again, given the opportunity.

3) How do you prepare for release day? Are you calm and focused, or do you get stressed? Do you like to make promotional appearances or stay at home to watch lists and numbers?

Since I’m answering this questions well in advance of release day, I am currently preparing by trying to do All The Things in advance. Clean the house, stock up on groceries, write blog posts for the tour. I don’t know that I’d call myself either calm or focused, but I’m not exactly freaking out. Yet. There’s plenty of time for a complete and utter meltdown. I’ll have to let you know about the promotional appearances after I make one.

4) What was your favorite Halloween costume (or other costume party costume)?

My favorite costumes ever go way back to my childhood. My mom used to volunteer at a charity that gave away donations of clothes. Once she brought home a stack of nightgowns and bathrobes which sent me and my friends into a frenzy of delight. Don’t laugh! They were floor length wonders, made of silk and satin and lace (at least as I remember them) and we spent marvelous hours playing dress up and making up plays.

5) If you could go anywhere on vacation (and not interfere with your deadlines), where would you go, and what 3 items (besides food and clothes) would you bring with you?

I’ll take a tropical island with a private beach. Although any private beach on the ocean would do – tropical is not necessary. I would bring with me books (yes, paper), my laptop, and an iPad loaded with favorite tunes.

6) What song best describes your life? If you can’t think of one, who would you want to write/perform a song just for you?

“The Bug” by Dire Straits.

“You gotta know happy, you gotta know glad

Because you’re gonna know lonely and you’re gonna know bad

When you’re rippin’ and a ridin’ and you’re comin’ on strong

You start slippin’ and a slidin’ and it all goes wrong because
Sometimes you’re the windshield

Sometimes you’re the bug

Sometimes it all comes together, baby

Sometimes you’re a fool in love…’

Speaking of which, if Mark Knopfler wanted to join me on that beach, I would not object. He could play that guitar for me any time, anywhere.

7) If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would be it and what would you do all day?

If I was going to spend all day with one of my characters, it would definitely be Zee. And we would be reading books together. Of course. Any locked doors would be for the sole purpose of keeping things quiet so we could focus on that reading.

8) What world record would you love to set for the Guinness Book of World Records? (Remember, they take ALL KINDS of interesting talents into account. Some world records include *fastest 100m sprint, barefoot, on ice = 17.35 secs… *fastest pumpkin carving of a face = 24.03 secs… *longest distance pogo stick jumping = 23.11 miles)

Fastest and best book ever written.

9) If you could have one word removed from the English language, from all dictionaries and out of everyone’s vocabulary, what would it be, and why? If you could ADD one word, what would it be?

Supposably. It’s not in the dictionary, at least not yet, thank God. If I could wipe it out of everybody’s brains that would make me happy. As for adding a word? I don’t know. I make up words all the time, but at the moment nothing comes to mind.

10) What is one thing about you that your friends know and you would love your readers to know as well. Or… if you’re in a giving mood… what is one story that your friends LOVE to talk you into telling that you don’t generally volunteer?

I am a total coffee snob. Anybody who has roomed with me at a conference will attest to this fact. I will sacrifice articles of fashion, or shoes, in order to include a bag of good coffee and the means of short circuiting those stupid little coffee makers they have started putting in the hotel rooms, so I can use real coffee instead of the coffee-like substance provided. If there is no bypassing of the coffee machine possible, then I will trek downstairs OR outside pre-shower in order to secure a cup of something from the closest coffee shop.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope this was something different, and that you had fun telling us a little more about yourself. I can assure you, we’re all anxious to see what you’ve shared!

Thanks so much for inviting me! And yes, this really was fun.

 So, ladies and gents… there you have it… a little more about Kerry and her coffee snobbage, lol. Here’s the brief overview of BETWEEN to wet your appetite. Then you can head over to all those places you can enter to win the book!!! You’ll have your shot with me, here, on the 28th.

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(from Goodreads.com)

Vivian Maylor can’t sleep. Maybe it’s because she just broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a new town, or it could be the stress of her new job at the hospital. But perhaps it’s because her dreams have started to bleed through into her waking hours.

All of her life Vivian has rejected her mother’s insane ramblings about Dreamworlds for concrete science and fact, until an emergency room patient ranting about dragons spontaneously combusts before her eyes—forcing Viv to consider the idea that her visions of mythical beasts might be real.

And when a chance encounter leads her to a man she knows only from her dreams, Vivian finds herself falling into a world that seems strange and familiar all at once—a world where the line between dream and reality is hard to determine, and hard to control…

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Words & Music Monday with Victoria Schwab

Posted January 21, 2013 By Jennifer

Welcome to Monday, my lovelies!!

WordsAndMusicMonday

 

Today’s guest, Victoria Schwab, is anxiously awaiting her new book, THE ARCHIVED, to be released tomorrow!!! I managed to talk her out of a few minutes of her time to share her character / couple playlists!

3099544I actually assign every song to a character/pair of characters in the book, so beside each song I’ve put the character/pairing! I think it can be fun to see, so here we go.
10929432So… a little insight into some of the characters and relationships in Victoria’s story. (And added cool points for including a HP OST song!! I’m really curious about that now!!!) I’ve read her first release, THE NEAR WITCH, and I can’t wait to try THE ARCHIVED!! Congrats, Victoria!!
Are there any of these songs that have YOUR curiosity piqued about any of the characters??
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Hello, my lovelies! I have a special treat for you!!! One of my favoritest people, Jess Haines, has a new installment of her H&W Investigations series (people… have you READ these?? AAAHHHHH!!!) coming out soon. FORSAKEN BY THE OTHERS releases on July 2nd, and today we’re showing off the fantastic new cover!!!
This is the back cover copy:
The Others–vampires, werewolves, things that go chomp in the night–don’t just live in nightmares anymore. They’ve joined with he mortal world. And for private investigator Shiarra Waynest, that means mayhem…
Have a one night stand with a vampire, and you can end up paying for it for eternity. P.I. Shiarra Waynest, an expert on the Others, knows that better than most. Yet here she is, waking up beside charismatic vamp Alec Royce with an aching head…and neck. Luckily, Shia has the perfect excuse for getting out of town–namely, a couple of irate East Coast werewolf packs who’d like to turn her into a chew toy.
On Royce’s suggestion, Shia temporarily relocates to Los Angeles. But something is rotten–literally–in the state of California, where local vampires are being attacked by zombies. Who could be powerful enough to control them–and reckless enough to target the immortal? Following the trail will lead Shia to a terrifying truth, and to an ancient enemy with a personal grudge…
And here’s Shiarra in all her new cover glory!!
Forsaken by the Others
It’s it gorgeous!!!
To help celebrate the cover reveal, and new release, Jess is hosting a giveaway!!!! It goes live January 21st, and runs through Feb 22. You can win any one of her books (yes, an ARC of FORSAKEN is an option, but you’ve got to wait til they’re available), a signed cover flat, and an ebook copy of SILENT CRAVINGS (not in the H&W series)!!! You can click the link below to enter here… then head over to Jess’s website for more details and other chances to win!!.

Enter To Win Jess Haines Prize Pack

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Words & Music Monday with Jennifer DeLucy

Posted January 14, 2013 By Jennifer

WordsAndMusicMonday

It’s still Monday… It’s still Monday!!!! Sorry for the late posting tonight… but I’m so happy to be bringing you this week’s author. I’ve been a fan of Jennifer DeLucy’s writing for a very long time. I was THRILLED for her when SEERS OF LIGHT, the first book in her Light series, was published. I’ve been fangirling her ever since. The trilogy is now complete, and I can’t wait to see what else she’s got to share. What makes her so perfect for this feature is that she also CREATES music, both for her books, and for the pure enjoyment of it.

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We all love music. It’s the one universal thing that touches, impacts, motivates or heals us, and on top of that, it inspires us, as well…especially the artistic types.

In writing, music is kind of a key tool for staying in the mode for me. When I’ve lost my motivation, it can do a lot to kick start the juice again, and when I’m in the flow, the right songs can lift the frequency to a fever pitch.

This is especially true for me, since I was raised a musician.  And when I say raised, I mean it. I was literally sitting on my mom’s lap, learning to speak and sit up straight while she played the piano, watching her pluck away at the guitar, listening to my grandfather sing Nat King Cole throughout the house… it was an upbringing of music. I had no choice but to take it on as a second language.

So music and song goes hand and hand in the creative process for me.  Each book in the Light Series, for instance, had an accompanying playlist that was nearly as important to me as the novels, themselves.

And on top of that, each book had a theme song, which I composed for use in the book trailers:

It remains an undeniable compulsion to write music for my novels. And I didn’t stop at trailer songs. I’ve written pieces for a few of the characters, as well, because once a story gets under my skin, I feel like I have a lot more to express about it than words can completely provide. Check out the music and you’ll get a good idea of the mood of the books and the lives of the characters in a whole new way.

I’ll bet a lot of you understand what I mean—even if you don’t write music yourself.  Music is the wordless expression of the soul, the ultimate creative parallel to words, so it’s perfect for use in constructing a novel when you need that extra boost to carry your muse over a hump or keep her flying high.  And playlists also add so much to reader experience, I think. Just in recalling how much I’ve enjoyed the music lists provided by my favorite authors, I can attest to that being the case.

We’re becoming a multi-media, multi-sensory culture. As we evolve, I’m pretty convinced that readers want to experience a story on every emotional level possible, so yay for music! It’s a perfect non-invasive companion to the visions in our heads.  And yay for those readers who listen to these compilations, because it only makes the experience that much better.

Later guys, and keep on reading/listening!

XO

Jen

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