Author Interviews
September 18, 2014 posted by Nichole

2014 Debut Authors Bash: Emery Skye

2014 debut authors bash banner

 

devotedDevoted

Angel Academy

Volume 1

Emery Skye

 

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

 

Publisher: LemonPress Publishiing

 

Date of Publication: August 20, 2014

 

ISBN: 1936617250

ASIN: B00MWZDSM8

 

Number of pages: 388

Word Count: 96K

 

Cover Artist: Tamara Sands

 

Book Description:

 

“Her world, her mission…is about to change. What do you choose when your blood is on the line?”

 

A world where your life is a mission and to succeed you must have resolute devotion to duty.

 

Seventeen-year-old Anna Hasdiel is a noviate at Hope Academy, a secret school for young angels where she and her sister, Amalie, train to become Warrior Legites with the duty of protecting humans from Demons for the Legion United.

 

Anna’s devoted to the angelic cause.

 

She’s always known she would be a Warrior for the Legion. Her world is about to change.

 

Noviates have been disappearing from Angel Academies around the world. No one knows why. They just hope they won’t be next.

The Powers send in Legite Nathaniel Deror for protection. Legite Deror is strong, fierce and mysterious. He seems to have it in for Anna one second and the next he’s rescuing her. He makes her feel things she shouldn’t.

 

They must travel to the home of the fallen Archangel Lucifer, where they will fight past a host of deadly enemies. Where do loyalties lay?

 

She never planned for this. She never planned for him.

 

About the Author:

emery skye

 

Gemini Emery is a horse trainer living in Colorado with two yappy dogs and a few quirky horses.

 

She gradated from Regis University with a BS in Business Administration and a minor in philosophy.

 

A life-long reader, Emery has always had a special affection for the urban fantasy and paranormal romance realms.

 

When not riding horses or writing, she likes archery, hiking and shooting. She reads until her vision blurs, spends time with family and drinks an excessive amount of chai and coffee.

 

Devoted is her first novel.

 

www.Emeryskye.com

 

@Emeryskye

 

www.facebook.com/EmerySkye4

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Emery-Skye/603636976320736

 

https://www.goodreads.com/emeryskye

 

The Guest Posts:

 

Top ten things you didn’t know about the author

  1. In elementary school, Emery had to be tutored in reading and was made fun of when she couldn’t read aloud like the other kids.
  2. She’s allergic to practically everything, including horses and hopps. She had to take Benadryl everyday just to be around them.
  3. She showed horses competitively and specialized in the Hunter/Jumper divisions as a youth.
  4. She wrote outlines in college for other students to help pay her tuition.
  5. She has a terrible sleep disorder commonly known as insomnia.
  6. She was engaged, but called it off before her twenty-first birthday.
  7. Awful at math!
  8. She’s a pescatarian meaning she only eats fish, but no other animal products and even eating fish makes her sad sometimes.
  9. Graduated high school early.
  10. Hates cake, but LOVES brownies.
  11. She organizes her blouses by sleeve length (OCD, I know).
  12. She consistently has a pile of books on her nightstand ready for reading, yet continues to buy new ones to add to the pile.
  13. Loves the Rocky movies!!

 

 

 

What celebrity would you chose to play the main character(s) in the movie rendition of your book?

  • Oh boy. I’d love Teresa Palmer to play Anna. I think she has the intensity and bad-assery necessary for the part.

 

 

Top ten quotes from the book

  1. Amalie—“An artist in Chanel surrounded by robots in Gortex.”
  2. “I appreciated books. They were my escape. A desperately needed escape from the excellence demanded by the Academy and that I demanded from myself.
  3. We were constantly at the mercy of The Powers.
  4. “Only discipline, determination, and commitment will keep you alive.”
  5. “Our studies taught us that God is love. His love is great, eternal, infinite…”
  6. “It’s the raw beauty of defending humans while standing back to back with a fellow Warrior surrounded by peerless odds, that makes me feel at home.”
  7. “Some of the noviates resented humans, but I couldn’t understand that. The smile on a kid’s face, the sound of laughter from a happy family around a dinner table; it gave me a sense of duty. I had a responsibility to keep those smiles and that laughter alive. Being a Warrior is about experiencing a sense of pride that I can stand tall and strong in the face of adversity, in the face of demons. It gives me an electrifying burst of adrenalin leaving the tips of my fingers tingling. I can’t get that from the sidelines. It’s about enduring hardships that few even think about or could ever stomach. God created us to serve His will. His will is to protect mankind.
  8. “When I’m fighting, it’s like a quiet inner light blossoming in my chest. It feels like a breath of fresh air on the cusp of a mountain peak. There’s nothing more powerful to me than dying for a cause greater than myself.”
  9. Warriors didn’t gossip, but this was too juicy not to chat about. I imagined the Legion’s top commanding officers discussing recruits for the Legion, my name being mentioned, and them recoiling, crossing themselves. Noviate Anna Hasdiel – the freak show. They’d probably exile me to some prison somewhere. I’d never be a Legite now.
  10. I observed the other noviates and envied their blasé attitudes. The disappearing noviates should have worried everyone, not just their relatives and friends. We were all connected. Didn’t they realize that? Didn’t they realize they could be next?
  11. The other noviates were smart. They did as we were told; as we were taught. We were told not to concern ourselves with the disappearance of the other noviates. So they didn’t. The lines didn’t blur with them.
  12. “You’re a noviate, start acting like it or you’ll be lucky to end up dead.” –Nathaniel Deror
  13. “You have no concept of eternity until you suffer through part of it.” –Nathaniel Deror
  14. “Demons aren’t the only ones that are dangerous.”
  15. “When I choose to be a Warrior, that’ll be for me and no one else.”
  16. “I’d do anything for her. I’d give my life to save hers… It’s just, sometimes; I wish I could trust her to take care of herself… I’m afraid for her.”
  17. Most Warriors would say that duty always comes first. I always thought I agreed. Now, I wasn’t so sure. The lines were blurred and I couldn’t seem to bring it back to black and white.
  18. “I’m here because I decided to. At any point I could’ve turned back. You are not responsible for the actions of others. Like humans shape their own lives, we shape ours. I chose this. Not you. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
  19. Comradary had gotten us this far. Thus, our collective attitude was not to die for each other to fight for one another. That attitude resulted in the most savage, ferocious fighting in which there were no rules commanding our next strike.
  20. “That’s because Miss. Anna went all Buffy on his demon ass.” –Taylor

 

Top five things you didn’t know about the book

  1. Wrote the book while listening to rock and techno, primarily.
  2. The first draft of Devoted, aside from the last chapter, was finished fourteen days after starting it. The last chapter took a year to get right.
  3. Amalie was created by weaving together qualities of Emery’s little sister, Madison.
  4. She read The Things they Carried and other novels from WW1 and WWII to help create her version of what hell would like.
  5. The research involved in writing the book and perfecting the choirs of angels and whatnot took hours upon hours.

 

Favorite Writing Spot

  • Sitting out of the porch in a lawnchair with a cup of coffee watching the sunrise.

 

A day in the life of the author

  • I usually struggle with sleep, so I’m up ridiculously early and lately I’ve been cuddling with my puppy (his name is currently puppy, lol). I write or read first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee nearby and headphones in my ears (if, I’m writing). When I’m reading, I don’t listen to anything, but the story that’s unfolding in my head.

 

 

Emery Skye’s Top Five favorite books

 

  1. Granny Dan by Danielle Steel
  2. The Plague by Albert Camus
  3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  4. The Born Trilogy by Tara Brown
  5. The Mageri Series by Dannika Dark
  6. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  8. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  9. The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld
  10. The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

Behind the scenes of the book

  • Amalie has a secret that only her and Alyosha know. Anna plays a bigger role than she thinks she does. Taylor knows something, but isn’t coming clean about it. Nathan may have lost the one thing he never knew he wanted, but always did.

 

 

Blog Tour
September 18, 2014 posted by Nichole

Blog Tour: Ten things you might not know from reading Restless in Peaceville by Pippa Jay

restless in peacevilleWelcome to Peaceville, population 2067 and rising…from the grave…

 

Luke Chester has had enough. He’s the school geek, the girls laugh at him, he’s lost his dead-end job at the pizza place, and in the midst of the world’s messiest divorce his parents don’t even know he exists. An overdose of his mom’s tranquilizers and a stomach full of whiskey should solve all his problems…

But they don’t. Instead, Luke finds himself booted out of the afterlife for not dying a natural death, with nowhere to go but back to his recently vacated corpse and reality. How the hell is he going to pass for one of the living without someone trying to blow his brains out for being one of the undead?

And it just gets worse. He’s got to fight his own desperate craving to consume the living, evade the weird supernatural hunter who’s having a field day with the new undeads rising, and there’s this creepy black shadow following him around. Add to that the distraction of female fellow undead Annabelle burning to avenge her own murder, and clearly there’s no rest for the wicked. Jeez, all he wanted to do was R.I.P.

 

Buy Link

 

About the Author:

pippa jay

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), two self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply and The Bones of the Sea), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Readers Favorite Contest, the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place), and a semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards.

You can stalk her at her website http://pippajay.co.uk, or at her blog http://pippajay.blogspot.co.uk, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

 

Read an excerpt from the book below:

I suppose I should count myself lucky they hadn’t started carving me up, and that I’d gone for an overdose rather than throwing myself in front of a truck or out of a window. I’m in damn good condition…for a corpse. Still in one piece as far as I can ascertain, and that ain’t easy to determine, let me tell you. You know how an arm or a leg goes after you’ve sat on it for a while, cutting off the circulation? But before the blood flow starts again and you get pins and needles? That numb heaviness? My whole body is like that. Like every part of me is full of lead.

Also, the not breathing is weird. I take a couple of breaths out of habit, for the familiar feeling of air moving in and out of my chest. After that I don’t bother. It takes too much concentration and there are other things I need to focus on. Like, what do I do next, for instance?

So, what, I’m just gonna lie here?

It’s an option, but I’d probably give the next person who opens up my drawer a heart attack. I don’t want another death on my conscience. Not when I already have my own.

I put my hands up against the metal above me, and leave dents in it. Whoa. Gonna have to watch that. Clearly, I don’t need a lot of muscle or effort as a zombie, which is good because I never had the first and never gave the second. I try again, but more hesitantly, and push myself outward. The drawer slams open so fast, wheels screeching, that it reaches its full extent hard enough to slam my skull into the drawer front, and then rebounds until it’s almost closed again. That should’ve hurt, but it didn’t. I touch my skull, half expecting it to be cracked in two, but there’s nothing. Not even a dent…or a lump for that matter. But when I twist my head to look, the drawer front looks like it got beat by a baseball bat. That’s gonna be one hell of a giveaway.

I reach up and use just one finger to push the drawer wider. This time I roll out until my upper half is free of the drawer. That should do. Careful not to squeeze too tight, I grip the sides of the slab I’m lying on. I’m not sure about sitting up, because clearly I don’t know my own strength any more, and the weird all-over numbness means I can’t sense what I’m doing, or how much pressure I’m using. There’s no pain to tell me when I might be damaging myself, if that’s possible.

Okay, this is it. I push myself upright easily enough, but can’t stop myself slumping forward. Everything feels heavy. My head too heavy for my neck, my shoulders too heavy for my torso. Still holding the sides, I drag one leg up until my knee touches my chin, and then the other. I shuffle ’round until both feet drop to the floor, pulling my legs with them. I have plenty of strength but pretty damn poor coordination. It’s kind of hard to synchronize your moves when it’s like someone has attached weights to every bit of you. Won’t this be fun?

So I’ve got my feet on the ground. I stare at them and wiggle my toes. Back in the afterlife, they moved easily and in sequence. Now they just jerk. There are bruises and needle marks in both my arms, probably from them trying to pump a ton of drugs into me to bring me back. My skin is pale, only one shade away from stark white, with a bluish tint. Oxygen deprivation, I’d guess. I thought I’d be gray. Maybe that happens later. For now, I can probably pass for just being sick, if I can get my coordination together and get out of here.

With that objective in mind, I lurch to my feet and fall flat on my face, luckily with one arm preventing my nose from getting smashed. Not that it hurts, but I really don’t need to make myself look any worse. I push back onto my hands and knees, grab the edge of the table beside me, and then pull myself up slow and easy. At least I’m standing, even if I am swaying like I’m still getting hit by the alcohol. For the first time, I get a good look of where I’m at.

The morgue. I’ve seen enough cop shows to recognize it. Never expected to be in one, least not and be aware I was. The table I’m hanging onto is one of those where they lay a body, clean it, and slice it up to figure out who or what killed you. I guess I should be grateful they hadn’t got to that stage with me. Trying to stitch myself up with zombie fingers and with all my innards falling out would have been tricky.

 

Hi, I’m Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. And Restless In Peaceville began life as the ‘freaky story’. Why? Well…

 

Ten things you might not know from reading the book:

 

1. It’s the first paranormal story I’ve ever had published. Not the first written (that one comes out in October because it’s Halloween themed. One of the peculiarities of the publishing process is stories don’t always get published in the order they get written, lol). But the October one was just a short story. So Restless is the first full length paranormal I’ve ever done after writing scifi since my teens (and that’s more years ago than I’m going to confess to!) – a new-to-me genre in terms of writing, and just one of the reasons I went waaaaay out of my comfort zone to write it.

 

2. It’s the first zombie story I’ve ever written. And I’m going to admit it, I am not a fan of zombies. Was not a fan of zombies. As someone who’s suffered horrendous nightmares most of my life, I’ve always avoided anything horror-based, scary, or that might even remotely make me jump. Until I watched a film called Warm Bodies and got hooked. Now I’ve not only got a zombie novella out, but a partially written and planned trilogy of dystopian zombie shorts. Of course, mine aren’t the typical Hollywood zombies—I don’t think I could do those. I won’t be watching Walking Dead, Night of the Living Dead or World War Z at any time in the future either. But at least the genre isn’t terra Incognita now.

 

3. Along with being the second paranormal I’ve written, it’s the second in a contemporary setting. But whereas my paranormal short story is set in a generic US town, Restless In Peaceville was a lot more demanding. I’ve never set foot in the US, let alone Louisiana. Here’s where Google maps, Wikipedia and my friends on Facebook became my bestest buddies ever. I’ve probably done more research on the setting for this story than most of the scifi I’ve ever written (and I research for those a LOT). I’d still love to go there to see it for real though.

 

4. I’m not a religious person. Not at all. Nor do I believe that there’s anything after death. And yet I have Catholicism and voodoo in my story, and a brief visit to the afterlife. Maybe my muse disagrees with me.

 

5. My default setting for POV in writing is third person close. I’m not a fan of first person POV, and yet the moment I started writing Restless, that’s how I wrote it. That just seemed the best fit. It’s only the third time I’ve attempted it, and one of the earlier attempts will never see the light of day (but that’s because of the story, not the POV).

 

6. My husband named the weird supernatural hunter that chases my two protagonists in the story. So in deference to that and his love for Westerns, the Peacemaker has a bit of a Clint Eastwood look going on.

 

7. My heroine only got the name Annabelle so I could use the phrase trés belle.

 

8. Luke got named after my eldest’s boyfriend at the time. Not because they are in any way alike – I just heard the name a LOT! So it stuck. And the surname Chester? A passing nod to the Winchester boys who may have influenced the story a little bit too.
9. I mention a book in my story that doesn’t actually come out until a couple of months AFTER mine. In fact, I have the galley for that book on my Kindle right now. Myself and the other author were signed up to a publisher that unfortunately closed its doors before our titles released, but we both found new homes for our work.

 

10. Luke mentions his guitar in the story – I’ve tried repeatedly to play one, but I still can’t hit the chords right. Like Luke, my fingers just don’t work properly when it comes to an instrument. At least he has a good excuse for it though.

 

Book Reviews
September 17, 2014 posted by Nichole

DNF Review: Forest of Whispers by Jennifer Murgia

forest of whispersRaised by an old fortune-teller within the dark veil of the Bavarian Black Forest, Rune has learned two valuable lessons: only take from the forest that which you can use, and never, never look anyone in the eye in the village. For something terrible happened in the forest long ago… and now, the whispers of a long-dead mother with a vengeful secret have come haunting.

Forced to flee all she has ever known, Rune soon learns of a legacy she is bound to–one that is drenched in fear, witchcraft and murder–a birthright that stretches beyond the grave to the trees where Rune is no longer safe.

 

My Review:

 

I DNF’d this book 20% of the way through it. Basically, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I was bored out of my mind, I didn’t overly love any of the characters, it seemed like something I had already read before, and where the heck was the magic? And if I had to read about Rune going into the forest one. more. time. I was going to scream.

Forest of Whispers seems like a book that is meant for a specific type of person….and that person was not me. I was expecting more heavy magic and an intense plot. What I got seemed a little more middle grade and flat. Again, though, I only made it 20% of the way through the book before I decided I couldn’t go any further. So, maybe it gets better. What I read, though, made me decide that this just wasn’t the book for me.

 

Pages: 328

Publication Date: 9/9/2014

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

Rating: DNF

 

Book Reviews
September 16, 2014 posted by Nichole

Blackbird (Blackbird Duology #1) by Anna Carey

blackbirdFrom the author of the Eve trilogy comes the breathless story of a girl racing to figure out who she is–and how to stay alive. When a nameless girl wakes up on the subway tracks, she knows only one thing for sure: people want her dead. Can she find them before they track her down? This pulse-pounding contemporary thriller is perfect for fans of The Maze Runner, The Darkest Minds, and Legend.

Things I know are true: I am in Los AngelesI woke up on the train tracks at the Vermont/Sunset stationI am a teenage girl I have long black hairI have a bird tattoo on the inside of my right wrist (FNV02198)People are trying to kill me.

 

My Review:

 

There is a possibility that I could have really liked this book. I could have even loved it. My biggest problem with it, though, was the fact that it’s written in second person. So it’s constantly in the “you, he, she” POV. Some people may argue that style added suspense and tension making the reader feel like they were reading about themselves. I didn’t feel that. Instead, I was bored out of my mind and reading in the second person tended to give me a slight headache. I also felt that style took away from all of the characters, especially the main character, and really made them bland.

Another problem that I had with this book was how confusing it was. I didn’t understand how the main character came to her conclusions about what was going on. I didn’t see any clues that led up to that and it felt forced to get to the point. I felt that there should have been more buildup and more background information. I understand that the entire book is supposed to be about the main character not remembering who she is or anything about her life, but I was still really confused at the end of the book. I also didn’t understand how her vague dreams were turning into the Island and this whole back story that she now understood. It just didn’t flow.

Right next to the fact that this book was written in second person, I hated how insta-lovey this book was. It wasn’t helped by the fact that I already didn’t like the characters. I felt like they met each other and then BAM they were making out and making plans and all over each other. I didn’t ship them. I didn’t like them. And I didn’t understand them.

Honestly, I really don’t have anything positive to say about this book. I just didn’t care for it. The writing itself wasn’t bad, but the story was really boring and written in a really annoying POV.

 

Pages: 256

Publication Date: 9/16/2014

Publisher: HarperTeen

Rating: : ★★☆☆☆

Book of the Month
September 15, 2014 posted by Nichole

Book of the Month: Ten things you didn’t know about Gretchen McNeil

Book of the Month

get evenThe Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars in Gretchen McNeil’s witty and suspenseful novel about four disparate girls who join forces to take revenge on high school bullies and create dangerous enemies for themselves in the process. 

Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot have nothing in common—at least that’s what they’d like the students and administrators of their elite private school to think. The girls have different goals, different friends, and different lives, but they share one very big secret: They’re all members of Don’t Get Mad, a secret society that anonymously takes revenge on the school’s bullies, mean girls, and tyrannical teachers.

When their latest target ends up dead with a blood-soaked “DGM” card in his hands, the girls realize that they’re not as anonymous as they thought—and that someone now wants revenge on them. Soon the clues are piling up, the police are closing in . . . and everyone has something to lose.

 

 

 

About the Author:

gretchen mcneil

Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown. Her YA horror POSSESS about a teen exorcist debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011. Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic Times Top Pick, a Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth, a finalist for the 2015 Evergreen Young Adult Book Award, and was nominated for “Best Young Adult Contemporary Novel of 2012″ by Romantic Times. Gretchen’s 2013 release is 3:59, a sci-fi doppelganger horror about two girls who are the same girl in parallel dimensions who decide to switch places. Gretchen’s novels have been optioned by Hollywood production companies, and have sold internationally in Chinese, Spanish, and Turkish.

In 2014, Gretchen debuts her first series, Don’t Get Mad (pitched as “John Hughes with a body count”) about four very different girls who form a secret society where they get revenge on bullies and mean girls at their elite prep school. The Don’t Get Mad series begins September 16, 2014 with GET EVEN, followed by the sequel GET DIRTY in the summer of 2015, also with Balzer + Bray. In addition, Gretchen has contributed an essay to the Dear Teen Me anthology from Zest Books.

Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4’s Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and was a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels. She is repped by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd.


You can find Gretchen on Twitter, Facebook, and on her blog.

 

Ten things you didn’t know about Gretchen McNeil

1. I gag when I try to eat raw tomatoes.

tomato

2. I was a tomboy until high school. You couldn’t pay me to wear a dress.

tomboy

3. My favorite movie is Clue.

clue-the-movie-blu-ray-cover-44

4. My least favorite movie is Titanic.

titanic.biginside

5. There is a collection of animal skulls in a curio cabinet in my living room.

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6. I’m a sucker for electronic gadgets. I always want the newest phone, tablet, Fitbit, whatever.

mobile-devices

7. I’m really short – only 5’2″. But no one knows that because you’ll never see me in a pair of flats except at the gym. Do not stalk me at the gym. It’s…ugly.

o-SHORT-CELEBRITIES-900

8. I’m an excellent cook and a horrible baker. Improv good. Rule-following bad.

professional-women-good-cooks-8535359

9. If I had to give up either coffee or wine, I’d probably choose DEATH.

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10. I’m a sucker for snappy romantic comedies starring Meg Ryan.

katz

 

Guest Post
September 12, 2014 posted by Nichole

Behind the scenes of ‘Newbie Nick’ by Lisa McManus

newbienick_200x300Behind the scenes of ‘Newbie Nick’

Author: Lisa McManus

 

Blurb: When 14-year-old Nick Zinsky secretly busks for money on the downtown streets, he soon learns that keeping his “job” a secret is harder than he thought.

 

I wrote my young adult novella, ‘Newbie Nick,’ after being inspired by street buskers. I live in Victoria, BC, a haven for tourists and, in turn, for street buskers. Ranging in all ages and performance acts, street buskers are often given a bad name. Many assume they are ‘bums’ who couldn’t be bothered to get a ‘real job.’

 

Quite the contrary.

 

On the day I was inspired to write Nick’s story, the streets were alive with performers. One juggling act consisted of three scruffily dressed guys who were, as they told the audience, on break from university where they were completing their degrees in engineering. Another act consisted of three smartly dressed young violinists who were, as their sign beside their open violin case/collection box indicated, raising money for travelling abroad to a band competition.

 

And then as I continued down the street a young guy no more than 14-years-old was playing a guitar with the case open at his feet. He wasn’t a flashy dresser, nor was he what many would call a ‘street kid.’ But the huge sunglasses he wore had me wondering. What was a young guy like him doing playing on the streets, by himself? And what was with those sunglasses of his? (It wasn’t overly sunny and the sunglasses were huge – as if he was trying ‘hide’)  What was his story? It was a reminder that everyone has a story, and from there my character, Nick Zinsky, and his own story and journey, was created.

 

Thank you to the folks at YaReads for having me! I enjoyed writing Nick’s story, and I hope you enjoy reading it. I love to hear from readers and writers. I can be reached at lisamc2010@yahoo.ca or visit my blogs at www.lisamcmanus.com and www.lisamcmanuslange.blogspot.com

 

‘Newbie Nick’ is available in most ebook formats and can be purchased through Lycaon Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and so many more.

 

Buy the book here: http://www.lycaonpress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=6&products_id=38

 

About the Book:

All 14-year-old Nick Zinsky wanted was a guitar of his own and a necklace for his mom, and he wanted to buy both on his own, without anyone’s help. Too young to get a real job, he came up with a plan to get the money.

 

Using a guitar loaned from his high school, he spent the summer and weekends playing the guitar while busking downtown. But he had to keep his “job” a secret from everyone—from his mom, his music teacher, the other kids at school, and especially from the school bully, Beau.

But when a music competition is announced where the prizes would solve all Nick’s problems, Nick lacks the confidence to enter the competition. Having a nickname like “Newbie Nick” doesn’t help, either.

 

Does he find the courage to enter? Will he ever get his guitar?

 

About the Author:

lisa 4

Like many authors, Lisa McManus started writing at a young age. When she was nine-years old she wrote a sci-fi/horror story about an acid-spewing spider that attacked her in her sleep—it would be her first and last story for many years. Although the story was never published and eventually met its fate in the garbage dump (paper recycling wasn’t around back then), the seed was sown.

Her love of books started when her dad read her The Bobbsey Twins At Big Bear Pond when was too little for such big novels. Within time it was Judy Blume who kept her up well past her bedtime—”Just one more chapter!” An outgoing teen by nature yet a reclusive bookworm at heart, her summers were spent on her back porch reading everything from Nancy Drew to Sweetdreams teen romances (it was the 80’s!), to Agatha Christie and Danielle Steele. Her library card took a beating—the path to the Richmond Public Library in Richmond, BC was well worn.

Although not very academic and not destined for the accelerated classes in school, some teacher somewhere along the way must have seen something in her homework for in grade eight, and much to her surprise, Lisa was placed in an advanced English class—with all the “smart kids.” There she stayed for the rest of her high school years: dissecting novels, conjugating verbs, and writing essays—which she all secretly loved. She won an award for best poem in grade 12.

But the writing bug hadn’t bitten her, yet.

Soon married life and motherhood became her world, but books were still her passion and escape during those busy years. Then, eventually, her deep-seated writing-spirit finally surfaced when her second son was two years old. A slice-of-life story she wrote on a whim was accepted in a local parenting magazine. The call from the editor is something she will never forget.

And from there it started.

Multi-published in magazines locally and internationally, as well as in numerous anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Soul under the name Lisa McManus Lange, her slice-of-life stories of humour, wit and inspiration have been drawn from the world around her.

As a mother to two teen boys, it only made sense to write for kids and young adults—but it took her a while figure it out. It was only upon reading countless young adult novels in recent years – stories that speak to her teenage self – that she started to find her place in the fiction writing world. With a nudge from a fellow young adult author, she wrote Newbie Nick, a novel geared towards 12–15 year olds.

While juggling her family of three men, her office job and her writing world, she also blogs at www.lisamcmanuslange.blogspot.com.  You can find info about her young adult books at www.lisamcmanus.com  or write her at lisamc2010@yahoo.ca

 

Read below for an excerpt from Newbie Nick:

“Whatcha doin’?”

I stopped playing and looked up. Even though I was wearing sunglasses, I had to shield my eyes against the sun.

It was that little girl again.

“I’m playing the guitar.” I wasn’t about to be a rude jerk to her, but I didn’t have much time to talk. She hung around me yesterday, but was too shy to talk. Her dad, or uncle, or whoever from the shop next to me kept a watchful eye on her, peeking out the store door every few minutes.

I figured if I ignored her, she would go away. Traffic wasn’t busy on the street, which meant less noise, but the sidewalks were busy with tourists and shoppers. If I was gonna make some decent cash today, I needed to keep playing, but not with the attention of a little kid.

I had just started strumming, remembering how my grandpa taught me to place my fingers, when she spoke again.

“Why are you playing?” she sing-songed. Her whiny voice bugged me.

How do you explain being a street busker to a kid who looks like a kindergartener?

As she picked her nose, some guy threw a dollar into my guitar case.

“Thank you!” I called out.

Some might laugh at getting only a dollar, but it all adds up. Not only was I saving money for a sleek guitar for me, but also a necklace for my mom. And I didn’t consider what I had been doing all summer as charity. She always worked hard for us, and taking nothing for herself. I wanted to do this for her and was determined to do it all on my own, without help. I worked for every dime I got. My mom always says money doesn’t matter when you have people in your life that care as much as they do. Whatever.

I looked at the little girl, stalling to think about how to answer.

“Jessica, are you okay?” Her father or uncle or whoever called from the store.

“I’m fine, Daddy!”

Oh, so that’s her dad. When I first started coming downtown at the beginning of summer, he would scowl at me from the store’s doorway. I was afraid he would call the police, but he didn’t. I always try to move spots, but there are only so many sidewalks I can use. I have to be seen and heard, but I also have to be careful to not be seen by anyone I know.

Her dad went back inside. Jessica was still waiting, so I gave the easiest answer. “I want to buy a guitar and one day play like my grandpa.”

“Whyyyy?” This time she sat down on the sidewalk beside me.

I strummed a few chords. The people passing by ignored us. I was losing business chatting with her. I figured I would just get my story out quick. I knew she wouldn’t care and probably wouldn’t tell anyone. And besides, a little twerp like her wouldn’t understand, anyways.

Sweat dribbled down my back, and I knew the peanut butter and jam sandwich in my backpack was gonna be warm and soggy.

I looked at her again. “Because he was the best guitarist ever. He was a music teacher and taught me how to play when I was a little kid like you.” Before I knew it, I was babbling on. “If I want play like him, to be like him, I need my own guitar.”

I barely registered that someone had thrown in a few coins in my case as I kept talking. “Someone stole his old guitar from my grandma’s house, and I haven’t been able to play unless I borrow a guitar from school. So I want my own.” I stopped. Why had I gone on and on like that?

“Doesn’t he play the guitar anymore?” she asked, as if I hadn’t rambled on about any of the other stuff.

“He died a while ago.” And I miss him so much, I wanted to add, but didn’t. I didn’t want to sound like a freak, even if only to a stupid little kid.

“Is he in heaven?” She looked fearful for a second.

“Yes, he is,” I said, and she sagged in relief, as if worried he wasn’t.

She picked at a worn edge of the guitar case, looked at the money inside, and then said, “Why don’t you work at a store to get money? If you have a store like my daddy, you could make lots of money!”

She was really starting to get on my nerves, though I couldn’t blame her for my frustrations. I strummed again. After being without a guitar for a year, not only had I gotten rusty and lost my touch, but I had forgotten how playing made any mixed-up feelings disappear.

But it was missing my grandpa that had me wanting to play again. My grade nine music teacher, Shark, had loaned me a guitar for practicing on the weekends. He knew my mom couldn’t afford to rent one. But it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted my own. I hated not having something to play during the week, and I hated feeling like a charity case and borrowing one.

So when summer came, Shark secretly loaned me the guitar for the summer. The school wouldn’t approve if they knew. Even though having a guitar with Mattheson High School in black ink down the side of it wasn’t exactly cool, at least I could play. But if Shark knew what I had also used the guitar for, I don’t think he would exactly approve either.

Jessica still watched me. Waiting.

I gave in. “I can’t get a job because I’m fourteen, almost fifteen,” I was quick to add. “Maybe next year I can get a real job. But for now, my mom won’t let me. She says school is too important.” Just thinking about it was starting to irritate me. I had to get rid of the kid somehow.

In a nice, fake, happy voice I said, “Hey, I think your dad is calling you. I think you better go now.”

At the mention of her dad, her eyes widened and she jumped up. She stared at me for a moment, and then skipped away. Thank God.

A leaf fell at my feet, reminding me I didn’t have much time left. Soon the crappy autumn rains would start, and my days of busking downtown would be over, along with days of making money. If I wanted to play, if I wanted a guitar of my own, I had to make money. I had already put down $50 toward the perfect guitar I had on layaway at Mike’s Music store, but I had a long way to go. It was a vicious circle—playing a guitar to make money to play a guitar. It sounded stupid thinking about it that way, but it was true.

But none of that mattered right at that moment.

Because as I looked up, I saw him. My sweat from the summer sun turned to ice.

It was that stupid jerk, Beau, from school.

Waiting on Wednesday
September 10, 2014 posted by Emma

Waiting on Wednesday #95

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6)

 

The epic conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series is finally here…

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

 

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) by Richelle Mead

Published by Razorbill

To be released on February 10, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday
September 9, 2014 posted by Nichole

Top Ten Underrated Authors or Books in all Genres

Top Ten Tuesday

Hi, everyone! Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday! This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Underrated Authors or Books in all Genres.

1. Bethany Frenette

darkstar

2. Kara Taylor

1_29_prepschoolconfi8bf92d

3. Page Morgan

the beautiful and the cursed

4. Brigid Kemmerer

Sacrifice

5. Cinda Williams Chima

Enchanter Heir

6. Lynne Ewing

The Lure

7. Emily Murdoch

if you find me

8.  Karen Chance

touch the dark

9. Ella Frank

Try

10. Anita Blake

obsidian butterfly

 

It’s not that these aren’t popular authors. It’s just that I don’t hear nearly enough about them as I should. These authors are AMAZING. It shocks me when I learn that people haven’t read their books.

Book Reviews
September 9, 2014 posted by Nichole

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

 

18285437Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him.
As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust…and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

 

My Review:

Due to my reading funk lately, I’m writing this review quite awhile after actually reading the book. So, I’m going to write this review to the best of my ability.

 

I remember absolutely adoring this book. The best way I can describe it is Cadet Kelly turned into a YA book. If that doesn’t already have you hooked, then I don’t know what will hook you. Sam’s character was so fun to read about it, and I loved that this book focused on a strong female character who knew that she could take care of and rely on herself. There’s not a lot of YA books out there with super strong female leads, and I feel like this is a very important book for young girls (if not all females) to get their hands on. It was a very empowering read.

On a slightly negative note, I did feel that this book was a little bit long. Even though it was amazing, it did sort of get a little repetitive after awhile. There were only so many times that I could read about Sam doing training, and going to the church, and all of her other routine stuff. Now, I know that’s a huge part of the book but some of those scenes could have been chopped.

I found the romance in this book to be very enjoyable. I didn’t so much agree with how things resulted at the end, but I enjoyed reading about them together. I also liked how it wasn’t insta-lovey. The romance actually seemed somewhat realistic and it was heartwarming to witness these young people falling in love. I also enjoyed how there wasn’t a love triangle at all.

The ending of the book felt a little rushed to me. I’m hoping that there will possibly be a second book since I really don’t know how I feel about how things ended. On the other hand, it can be argued that the ending was realistic. Sometimes it’s a struggle for me to accept an ending that doesn’t make my heart go all a flutter. I have to sometimes force myself to understand that realism is important in all literature. That being said, I still want a second book to make things more happy [=

Again, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve read this book and, unfortunately, I didn’t write my review right away. So all I can say is that I did like this book. I think that’s an important read for all youngsters and I  enjoyed it! [=

 

update: I also remember that I had a huge problem with the sexism that populated this book. I didn’t like how the girls were treated by the boys. I definitely expected some hostility but some of the stuff that happened and that was said to the girls made me very uncomfortable.

 

Pages: 416

Publication Date: 9/9/14

Publisher: Harper Teen

Rating: : ★★★☆☆