In this post: Charity Blast Details, Rafflecopter, Interview with Diane Rinella
See my 4 STAR review of Diane's Novel here
Scary Modsters… and Creepy Freaks
A fantastical romance involving a girl, the music that fuels her, and her Ouija board.
Interview with Diane Rinella: Charity, books and the fate of the world...
What gave you the idea for the Scary Modsters World Improvement Project?
There are three main characters in Scary Modsters. One of them is Peter Lane, a rock star who died in 1968. A few months ago I was talking to some friends of Peter's generation about the turbulent times in which they grew up. Their generation felt destined to change the world for the better. Now it’s almost fifty years later and not much has improved. In some ways things have gotten a lot worse. There is still widespread hunger, homelessness, and this country is involved in a war that people want nothing to do with. Sound familiar? You can also add in that our food is being poisoned and the planet is dying. Mankind has put itself on the brink of extinction. Peter closes eyes in 1968 and reopens them in 2014. He expects to see positive changes. Instead he gets the modern world.
When I look at the magnitude of devastation on this planet I feel hopeless. However, I can be part of change. Every creature, along with the Earth itself, is in this together. Humans and animals need the planet to survive, and now the planet needs us to fix it. I can't turn a blind eye anymore. Since I was going to hit people up to help me promote Scary Modsters I figured I might as well hit them up for a greater purpose.
While preparing for this promotion you have done a lot of research. What's the most shocking thing you've learned?
While in a café I noticed that sitting before me were two paper cups. I wondered what impact they had on the environment. A few clicks on my keyboard later I found that half a pound of CO2 emissions happened because of those cups. The café owner told me they go through at least five hundred paper cups per week. (This café does also use ceramic cups.) That is one hundred and twenty pounds of CO2 emissions per week. If my tiny corner café is pumping that much CO2 into the air just by their paper cup consumption, what kind of damage does the big Starbucks down the road do? I've since made packing a travel mug part of my ritual. A reminder on my phone goes off half an hour before I'm scheduled to leave for the café.
The giveaway includes something for the winner and something for a charity. Tell us briefly about the charities that you selected.
St. Jude has always been close to my heart. The world is cruel enough for adults. It shouldn't be hell when you are a child. St. Jude has saved the lives of countless children whose families could not afford medical treatment. The ISF (Ian Somerhalder Foundation) has started a revolutionary animal grant program. If a homeless animal is jeopardy, shelters or individuals can apply for a grant of up to $2500 so the animal can get the medical attention it needs and get placed in a proper home. Since it seems like everyone has been touched by cancer, The American Cancer Society was a natural choice.
Now that you have reached this new level of awareness, does it stop here or are there bigger things ahead?
I won't say that I'm now on a huge quest to change the world. However, I do believe that we all hold the power to help do so. Changing the world is a team effort. I am now on that team. I thought I was before, but I had no clue the damage I was doing. I really still don't. However, I am now resolved educate myself and to do better. When I find something revolutionary I will certainly pass it on to others via my blog and Facebook page.
Will this generation be the one to save the world?
The scientists are saying no. However, we can certainly be the ones who jumpstart it. It's not that our hearts are in the wrong places, it's that the situation is that bad.
The economy is still in recovery mode. How can I help when I don’t have money or time to spread around?
Look to your trashcan. Is there anything in there that should have gone in the compost? How about things that should have been recycled? It can be that simple. Parents, don't just teach your children about the environment; put their hands in the soil. Have them make compost and grow their own vegetables. They will learn about the cycle of life. Teach them that they are fighting back against the chemical lobbyists who are poisoning their food and killing the bees. Change always starts with a seed, whether it is the seed of a plant or the seed of an idea. All you have to do is plant it.
Did the music of the 1960s inspire this story or vice versa?
Without a doubt, the music inspired the story. Rosalyn and I have a lot in common. While our situations may be different, our tastes are exactly the same. In many ways, Scary Modsters is my way of venting about the struggles I have always faced in being true to myself. I was born in the wrong era, and a lot of people who don’t know me well have a hard time embracing my quirks.
What kind of research and knowledge did you have to acquire to write it?
Peter’s struggles with the music business are epic. I had always known artists were never given the financial respect they deserved. However, once I delved in I realized the situations were far worse than I ever imagined. In the introduction to Scary Modsters I mention how the story is fictional but stories similar to Peter’s can be found in rock history books. If anyone thinks the saga of Peter Lane is over the top, all they need to do is a little web surfing on the managerial talents of Don Arden. For a fun yet heartbreaking read, pick up a copy of Howard Kaylan’s Shell Shocked. His band, The Turtles, was robbed several times over, and Howard is very vocal about it. For a quick and humorous overview, watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDeYbealhNU In three minutes you will both laugh and have your brain haze over.
I loved Peter Lane! Who or what inspired his creation?
Thank you! Peter was heavily inspired by the legendary Steve Marriot of The Small Faces and Humble Pie. Steve was talented beyond comprehension, one hell of a spitfire, and wore his heart on his sleeve. In the beginning of Scary Modsters Rosalyn passes her hand over Peter’s autograph and feels energized. I have a thing with feeling energy off of autographs. The one I have from Steve is off of the chart!
How long was the process of writing this book?
I started in September 2013 and it was ready in March 2014, despite the fact that I took nearly two months off. For some reason this book flew out of me.
What's next for you as an author?
That is an excellent question. I actually just shelved a project because it sounded too much like everything else out there. I know a lot of the same-old formulas sell really well, but writing something I feel I have read before makes me uncomfortable. I have four major ideas swimming in my head. I’m not sure which one will win the tug of war.
Find out more at Diane's Official Website
A lot of blogs are doing this right now... and I'm one of them!
I was nominated to do this by the fabulous Kristy Feltenberger Gillespsie, author of the YA thriller Jaded (which I rate a big fat 5 STARS).
My Writing Process:
What am I working on right now?
At the moment I am doing Camp Nanowrimo's April season to get 50,000 words down this month. This wordcount will complete the two novellas which are set for release between last December's The Book Of Shade and this October's The Potioneer, to keep fans going with some more adventures from the most interesting characters in TBoS. After that I have a strict deadline for the third book in the Synsk series with Clean Teen Publishing.
I also usually work on projects on the side and this month is no exception, right now I have a historical horror that is 50% written (think Pride and Prejudice meets Jekyll and Hyde), a non-fiction book about my long-term illness and a top-secret collaborate project with the fabulous Amy Freeman.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I read a lot of reviews about my work that say 'At first, I really didn't think I was going to get into this book'. Now some writers might react to that in a negative way, but to me I feel that I'm doing something right if a reader reacts this way, because it means they're reading something that they weren't expecting. I abhor typical genre fiction and predictable storylines: a book where I can guess every nuance of the plot even from reading the first page is not for me, so I like to give a real mixture of genre influences that subvert normality and help readers to experience something new.
Why do I write what I write?
... because the sky is blue?
I really couldn't tell you why I have specifically chosen the areas and storylines that I have explored in the past; they are simply an amalgamation of influences that collect in my mind and form themselves into tangible things that I can work with. What I can tell you, however, is that once a project has begun and those ideas have taken root, I always endeavour to incorporate as much diversity into my books as I can. I stopped reading commercial, mass-market fiction because all the heroes were fit, healthy, good-looking white people. I started reading independent fiction because people were offering me other options, so now I want to carry on that tradition and represent culture, race, disability, sexuality, gender and all other forms of variation that I can in my work. Life's just more interesting that way!
How does my writing process work?
I always just let the words out onto the page at first. The first few chapters (usually up to about 10,000 words) of any project that I begin will always be 100% organic and relatively unplanned apart from a few ideas I've been rolling around in my brain. Generally there is never a written plan until I reach about the 2/3 stage of the story, at which point I'll skeleton out the build-up to the end, the end itself and the aftermath to ensure I'm going to do it within the right amount of words. I'm very big on numbers and targets, I like to calculate words per chapter and estimate from that how long a book is going to be so I know roughly what I'm aiming for. I do it so well that I'm almost always within 2000 words of what I estimated my total book length would be. I think it's helpful to do that; it stops you waffling on for too long or skipping to the good bits without enough development.
Tag, you're it!
Meet the next two writers who are going to take this personal discovery challenge on:
Amy Freeman grew up in Salt Lake City in a family of five siblings, one of which is an identical twin. She spent most of her time as a child daydreaming and creating stories. She wrote a stellar screen play at ten, her first full length book at age thirteen, and her second and third at age nineteen. She has been published in Meridian magazine, Moab Adventures magazine and has just released her debut novel SHINE the Knowing Ones: the award-winning first edition in the SHINE series. The second book in the series will be released in 2014. She is active in several writing and critique groups and maintains an online page for writers, as well as her own website http://vedunywriter.com and writing blog http://vedunywriter.blogspot.com
Toni Lesatz is a wife, mother, gamer, aspiring writer, and lover of the culinary arts. I have been blogging for over ten years about a variety of topics. If I’m not curled up with a good book and a steaming hot cup of coffee, you’ll most likely find me playing with my kids, writing, baking cupcakes, or killing zombies.
She is known and loved for her stellar book blog: http://mybookaddiction.com/
You can catch their posts at their blogs on April 14th!
In this post: Book Details, Author Details, My Review, Giveaway
When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother's side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales. Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park, left behind while his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair. Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him.
In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.
Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.
Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been a #1 Bestseller in Christian Fantasy and been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. Her debut novel, Sanctuary is scheduled for release September 30, 2013, and has already been nominated for two awards in YA Science Fiction.
One of Pauline's short stories has won the CCW Short Story contest. Other short stories have been published in Fear & Trembling Magazine, Obsidian River and Avenir Eclectia. An urban fantasy short will appear in The Book of Sylvari: An Anthology of Elves from Port Yonder Press, and a vampire short will appear in Monsters! from Diminished Media Group.
Catch Pauline on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or at her Official Site.
Melissa Turner Lee
Melissa Turner Lee holds a BA in Communications with a concentration in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has studied fiction writing since 2008, attending various writing conferences and workshops, along with guidance from professional writing coaches. She resides in Spartanburg, SC with her husband and 3 sons.
Catch Melissa at Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her Official Blog.
This post is part of the AH April Blog Tour. Find more posts about the book here.
This book was very well written and provided a fast, enjoyable read in a fascinating new world. As a fan of both steampunk and traditional fantasy I found it intriguing to see this combination of the two, particularly using the Scottish connections to the Fae folk mythology.
The characters hugely reminded me of the ensemble in Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicles (another series that I love) - Gareth is another rendition of the Griffin King moody hero type, though he is made much more interesting by his physical condition. I enjoyed all of the characters and found them to be very individual and well developed.
I particularly enjoyed the idea of the 'bonnet club' and the automation elements of the story and would have liked to see more made of them. I didn't really get into the Fae side of the story to be honest so I was glad to have the other element to hold my interest. The relationship between Jessamine and Gareth was well-played and engaging to read.
Speaking as a disabled person myself, however, I did find Gareth to be too whiny about his condition for my liking. Considering the other incredible abilities he has, I don't really buy into his 'suffering in silence' feeling. Perhaps there wasn't enough of his persecution in the tale to really sell it to me, but that was the only thing that put me off this story. I suspect if you're not a disabled person then you won't focus on that sort of thing in the tale and will probably give it five stars!
In this post: Book Details, Giveaway, Extract, My Review
Scary Modsters... and Creepy Freaks
A fantastical romance involving a girl, the music that fuels her, and her Ouija board.
Rosalyn possesses a sunny personality that is laced with quirks. Although she seeks acceptance in a world where she lives out of time, what she gets is ridiculed for her eclectic wardrobe and unconventional music collection.
One fateful night, Rosalyn bewitches Niles, a stylish man whose offbeat character perfectly complements her own. Unfortunately, he possesses a critical flaw that means relationship suicide for him and pretty much anyone.
While under the influence of insomnia-impaired judgment, Rosalyn summons Rock ‘n Roll deity Peter Lane back from the dead. Not only does he spin her hormones into a frenzy, Peter is also the precarious puzzle piece that brings sense into her world. When Niles learns that he can overcome his life-long challenge by helping Peter avenge his death, how far will he go to secure Rosalyn’s heart?
A brunette, a raven-haired beauty, and a girl looking like a peacock all walk into a bar. No, it's not a joke; it's my not-so-mundane life that generally feels like the setup for a wisecrack.
No matter how many times my friends and I claim we are going to do something new, every Friday night we find our tushes planted at Mulligan's. However, today our weekly Friday night venture truly seemed out of the cards since my friends were originally too tired from their workweeks to consider anything short of collapsing. When you are in your early thirties and single you should be embracing life, not rotting on a sofa. Thus when my friends bailed I detoured into Warped Records which is both a second home and how I envision my little corner of Heaven. Some would call the smell of old album covers a dank stench, but to me it's a musky perfume that seeps into my pores and comforts me with the knowledge that no matter what fails me I always have my sanctuary.
Among the bins of paradise and the blaring Siouxsie the perfect gem captured my gaze and held it for ransom. Before me was a pair of eyes so unlike any other that they were nearly indescribable.
Piercing? No. That implies they shot through my skin and reached my heart; however, these somehow reached my soul. Captivating? Again that was misleading. While they did hold my attention they also kept me at bay. Perhaps haunting? Yes, they did indeed haunt me. They also seemed to follow me to wherever I stood. A true description was so elusive that the color wasn't easily defined. They were deep blue, yet also flannel grey with a hint of green. In a certain light they seemed black with specks of gold.
All of these emotions and colors were brought forth by just one picture—a picture on an album that had been slipped into plastic and unceremoniously tacked to the wall, yet somehow it jumped out at me and begged for worship.
“Who are those guys?” I asked Shane, the store's clerk. Shane's tight black pants, white Split Enz T-shirt, black suspenders, and short, curly brown hair made him look like a skinny, nineteen eighties teenager in a forty-something-year-olds body. His hot pink English Beat button sold the outfit. In an odd way our obsessions make us kindred spirits. It may be like we are third cousins, twice removed, but kindred nonetheless.
“Not a clue.” Shane absent-mindedly tapped a pencil on a note pad while his hazel eyes sat on a ragged copy of Rolling Stone that was decades out of date. “How is it you don't know? You're the super genius that no one can stump.” He sighed, conceding to the call of duty. “I suppose you want me to halt my important work and show it to you.”
“If it's not too much of a bother to pull yourself away from that fascinating article on INXS that is so old it will soon disintegrate, then yes, please. I would appreciate your struggle of removing the tack for a lady.”
With the flick of his wrist, Shane sent the magazine spinning across the counter. “Geez, you practically live here so I thought you would be more at home yanking the thing off yourself.”
“Glad to see that chivalry is alive and well at Warped Records.”
The album was presented with a bow. “Milady, as per your request.” Shane's smugness made me grin. “Anyway, it arrived with some other records from a recent estate sale. Rob seemed to know who they were.”
My eyes honed in on the price tag. “Six dollars? That's a lot for a potentially crappy band no one has heard of.”
Shane's view floated from the magazine to the notepad. “Yep. Six bucks is what this says. I hung it next to the two hundred dollar, Jagger-signed, Goat's Head Soup to be funny.”
Four men, who were partially obscured by a golden overlay of paisleys and swirls, stared back at me. Their clothes were colorful, slightly Edwardian, and accented with fur. It was all very fashionable for the nineteen sixty-eight copyright printed on the back of the cover that held no liner notes. Three of the men felt so insignificant that they were but mere blurs. All I noticed was the cute one with the sandy blonde hair and magnetic eyes whose signature started with the letter P.
My fingers glided over the autograph whose ink felt as if it were luxurious azure velvet. It also gave off an energy that put a beat in my head. What really caught my attention was a spot of what appeared to be dried blood. When I touched it, a fuzz reminiscent of the thrill I get when hearing a vintage guitar effects pedal vibrated through. I had to have that album!
If Bridget Jones had a ghost lover from the sixties, this is kind of how that story would go!
If you love chick lit but you're bored with the same-old, same-old in contemporary publishing, read this book. You will probably give it five stars by the time you've journeyed through the twists and turns of Rosalyn's life. I don't even like romance books (I picked this up purely because of the 1960s music featured heavily in its story) and I still enjoyed the love triangle at its heart. It's also mercifully not smutty, but sweet and entertaining.
This is an exceedingly well-written book with well-rounded characters who you can get to know (and love) from the moment they step onto the page. It doesn't matter what you know (and what you don't) about the 1960s, you can still read this book, learn about and enjoy that culture as it clashes regularly with events in the modern day. The paranormal edge and musical interludes in the tale give Scary Modsters a unique flavour that's all of it's own, I can think of no other book like it which is truly a fabulous thing.
In this post: Book Details and Giveaway, My Review, Character Interview
Book Two in the Escaping Fate Series
Arrabella thought she was done with dreams, done with curses and the threat of death.
After surviving the ancient Aztec curse that had plagued her family for centuries, Arra was more than ready for her new life in the boring little town of Grainer, Maine. Boring and small sounded perfect...but she should have known better than to think it would last.
The dream was odd, but Arra passed it off as nerves about starting school in Grainer. Her boyfriend, Tanner, was there to distract her…and get her into a little trouble as well. He pushes the dream out of her mind until they walk onto the school campus and see her. The lonely girl from Arra’s dream.
Tanner’s reaction is fierce. He won’t risk losing Arra again and demands she stay away from Sibeal, but Arra can’t stop thinking about her haunted expression. What if she can help her? Arra can’t just walk away and let whatever curse has a hold of Sibeal claim her without trying to stop it. But what if Sibeal deserves the punishment?
Arra’s battle to make the right choice about Sibeal only gets harder when she is forced to turn to the person in town she likes least for help. Sebastian Wallace is arrogant and irritating, but he’s seems to be the only one who can help her. As Arra tries to determine what the right choice is, she finds out saving Sibeal may be the least of her problems.
This is the second instalment in this series after Escaping Fate and the story of Arra's life gets bigger, better and a whole lot scarier from here!
Like Escaping Fate, this book begins instantly with a supernatural intrigue with central character Arra being plagued by horrific and fascinating dreams. In this tale Arra is pulled into danger once more by the problems of new student Sibeal, a mysterious shy girl newly arrived to the small town of Grainer.
I enjoyed the further development of Arra and Tanner in this book and it was really interesting to see a teen relationship realistically portrayed with all the ups and downs that you would expect a pair of 16 year olds to go through. My favourite character in this tale, however, was Bas: the local hero with surprising hidden depths. He really made the story for me as he brought a new conflict into the action and helped Arra's character develop a lot more than she did in the first novel.
Overall if you enjoyed Escaping Fate, you will definitely enjoy Soul Stone because it mixes the familiar elements from book one with a larger, more exciting plot with a lot of physical action as well as emotional trials.
The Hot Seat: Character Interview with Sebastian 'Bas' Wallace
1) So Bas, people around Grainer really rate you. They say you're a local hero! Care to elaborate on that?
I see you start with the tough questions first, Kim. I can appreciate that, even if I don’t particularly care to talk about this one. People around here only see what they want to see. Maybe it’s easier. They want to move on, to celebrate a hero instead of carrying around the burden of blame. I can understand that, but I can’t let go of what happened.
2) You're popular with almost everyone in town... except for that new Manhattan girl, Arra. What's up with that?
Have you ever met someone who just brought out the worst in you for some reason? That’s pretty much me when it comes to Arra. I mean, sure, she thinks I’m constantly getting her in trouble, but most of those were completely on accident. I have a knack for rubbing her the wrong way, and at some point she might realize why.
3) We all know you're a star for the archery team, but what else do you like to do in your free time?
The beaches around Grainer aren’t world class surf spots, but as soon as it’s warm enough, that’s where you’ll find me most days. Being out on the water is liberating. I can get away from everyone’s expectations an attention when I surf. The waves don’t owe me anything. They’re brutal when I mess up and peaceful when we get along. I don’t get that anywhere else, except maybe…never mind.
4) If you could change anything in your life right now, what would it be?
If you were asking me what I’d like to change about my past, I’d have a whole list for you. Right now? I’d change the way people see me. There are days I want to escape. I think about leaving more than I should. Leaving won’t fix anything, though.
5) Do you believe in the supernatural?
It’s hard not to when you grow up in my family! I’ve lived in the U.S. my whole life, but my mom grew up in Ireland. She is incredibly superstitious and believes in everything from leprechauns and will-o-the-wisps to curses and magic. She passed all of her stories down to me and my siblings like they were facts, so naturally, we grew up scared of the dullahan and convinced we’d find a selkie on the beach at night. I guess she helped prepare me to hear Arra’s story and not pass it off as fantasy. I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am for that.
About DelSheree Gladden
DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually reading, painting, sewing, or working as a Dental Hygienist. Her works include Escaping Fate, Twin Souls Saga, The Destroyer Trilogy, and Invisible. Look for, Wicked Power, the next book in the Someone Wicked This Way Comes Series, and Soul Stone, book two in the Escaping Fate Series, coming 2014.
Connect with DelSheree Online