Monday, September 29, 2014

Meet My Character (a blog tour)

A huge shout-out and thank you to Alyssa Goodnight for twisting my arm suggesting I participate in this Meet My Character blog tour! (Hi Alyssa! You know I'm just kidding. Look! I linked to you twice!)

1. What is the name of your character? 
Raine Watson. I know, I know. Raine is kind of a weird name. And, believe me, I was pretty sick of it by the time I finished the last revision. But the name does have a bit of history. Thirteen years before the book opens, this character was born in the middle of a storm in the back seat of a car. And that's how her free-spirited mom came up with the name Raine. Hey, I could've gone with Pontiac!

2. Is he/she fictional or a historic person? 
Fiction all the way.

3. When and where is the story set? 
Modern day in a made-up town named Yielding in upper New York state. The geography is similar enough to where I grew up (Ontario, Canada) that it felt like a little trip home to the Muskoka area.

4. What should we know about her?
Besides an interesting name, Raine has an interesting gift. She can pick up other people's memories from objects. I actually think I wouldn't mind having this gift myself. Especially when I sense there's more to the story than one of my children is admitting!

5. What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?
So, Raine and her mom move to Yielding and a rented house in time for Raine to start 8th grade. Turns out a girl, Emily H., who used to live in the same house . . . disappeared about six months earlier. The police never found Emily. They never even found one solid clue.

Raine starts picking up memories of Emily H. Can Raine figure out what happened? Throw in the person or persons who don't want the truth to surface, a new school, lying mean girls, a certain boy and, yeah, there's a bunch of conflict.

6. When can we expect the book to be published?
TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2015! I sweated bullets over this book. In fact, there was a point when I wondered if I'd ever get it right. I suspect my editor had the same worry. TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2015. Whew. I will be dancing all over San Diego.

What happens next? See the names below...bolded, enlarged and linked to websites? Those authors will be posting on Oct 6, 2014 about one of their characters. In fact, you might want to click through now...

Alli Sinclair combines her passion for exotic destinations, the quirks of human nature and the belief that everyone can dance, even if it's to their own beat. Luna Tango is the first in The Dance Card Series, published by Harlequin MIRA. Flamenco and the Russian Ballet will be released in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Maureen McGowan is the Amazon bestselling author of the action-packed YA sci-fi thriller series The Dust Chronicles: Deviants (2012), Compliance (2013), and Glory (2014).

Misty Simon loves a good story and decided one day that she would try her hand at it. Eventually she got it right. There’s nothing better in the world than making someone laugh, and she hopes everyone at least snickers in the right places when reading her books. She lives with her husband, daughter and three insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel or three.

After a fifteen-year stint as an electrical engineer, P. J. (Tricia) Hoover started writing books for kids and teens.  Her middle grade novel, Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life was released this month by Starscape/Macmillan and tells the story of a young immortal King Tut, who's been stuck in middle school for over 3,000 years. Her first novel for teens, Solstice was published in 2013 by Tor Teen/Macmillan.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Book Review Club (September 2014)

Summer is over. And September is here. Trivia you may not have known about September: Neptune was discovered on Sept. 23, 1846. The first comic strip was published in a US paper on Sept. 11, 1875. The First Continental Congress began Sept. 5, 1874.*  AND our first-Wednesday-of-the-month online book review club has returned from its summer hiatus.  Welcome! Weirdly, this month is heavy on reviews of adult fiction. Who knew?

 by Kathy Aarons

Kathy Aarons is the pen name for my very talented critique partner, Kathy Krevat. Our critique group, Denny's Chicks, has been together several years (8??), during which time we've managed to remain youthful and beautiful. (cough, cough). Here's a link to Kathy's first post on this blog

Something incredibly special happens when a critique partner publishes, especially when she publishes her very entertaining debut cozy mystery. The critique group puffs up with pride. We remember when this book was just a teeny, tiny germ of an idea. We reminisce over all the changes in the various revisions. We laugh about who disagreed with whom over what. We even tear up.

DEATH IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES in a nutshell: Two best friends, Michelle and Erica, own a chocolate shop + bookstore (Chocolates and Chapters) in fictional West Riverdale, Maryland. The town photographer is murdered in their store, poisoned by one of Michelle's truffles. The women must work together to clear Michelle's name.  

What I loved: 1. the humor: In real life, Kathy is laugh-your-head-off funny. It totally translates to the page. 2. the twists and turns: I can't tell you what they are; that would ruin it! Let's just say, Kathy thinks outside the box. Waaay outside. Sometimes it's scary. 3. the details: Kathy did a bunch of research to make sure she got the facts straight. For example, she actually went to Maryland. She interviewed the police there. And she spent an inordinate amount of time at Dallmann Fine Chocolates. 4. It's the first book in a series: And I already know EVERYTHING about book #2. Ha!

I'm not the only one who recommends this book. Mysterious Galaxy, a wonderful local indie bookstore, chose DEATH IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES for their Fabulous Firsts book club, saying, "This fast-paced, entertaining read demonstrates all sides of small town life, and introduces a cast of characters with complicated, messy, interwoven lives. I found every page compulsively readable and couldn't put it down until the final stunning conclusion."

You want to meet Kathy in real life? You're in luck if you live anywhere near San Diego! She's got a signing at Mysterious Galaxy at 4pm on Saturday, September 6. Yes, there will be chocolates.

 And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!


Stacy Nyikos: ANNA WAS HERE by Jane Kurtz (middle grade)

Linda McLaughlin: LAUNCH WINDOWS by Debra Caldwyl (YA, romance)


Alyssa Goodnight: THE OUTSMARTING OF CRIMINALS by Steven Rigolosi (cozy mystery)

Ellen Booraem: EUPHORIA by Lily King

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: THE SENSE OF DARKNESS by Cinzia De Santis

Patti Abbott:  BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty (women's fiction)

Stacy of the Cat's Meow: FROG MUSIC by Emma Donoghue (historical)


Sarah Laurence: HOW TO SPEAK BRIT by Christopher J. Moore

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!