Tag Archive | fantasy

Author Interview: Jessica Julien

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Caitlyn always thought she was just your average small-town waitress, but she’s anything but average. Suffering from frequent headaches and vivid daydreams, her oddities mask a secret hidden deep within her mind—one that could defeat even the cleverest of psychics.

When a mysterious circus arrives in town, Caitlyn is immediately drawn to it. While visiting the hypnotic show, she meets a seer who warns her of a gruesome future and urges her to stay away. But soon, Caitlyn finds herself ensnared in the show and the Ringmaster himself.

Recognizing Caitlyn’s powers for what they are, and believing they are the ones he has been searching for, the Ringmaster is determined to claim them as his own. Trapped within the circus and the Ringmaster’s devious grip, Caitlyn realizes that to escape the seer’s foretold fate, her only choice is to fight. Banding together with Bevier, an imprisoned psychic, Meg, an eccentric seamstress, and Daniel, a handsome magician, Caitlyn falls into the Psychic Realm to thwart the Ringmaster and stop the show before they succumb to his control and are trapped forever in his spectacle of souls.

Author Interview with Jessica Julien:

How did you come up with the idea for A Spectacle of Souls?

  • I came up with the idea on one of the many nights we were watching The Greatest Showman, and I wondered what the circus would be like if it were filled with different kinds of magic. I felt like ‘magic’ was too expected though and overused but the idea of telekinesis, real fortune tellers, hypnosis, and more would be really exciting. We also happened to be watching Supernatural a few nights later, where they dive into an alternate world, and the two ideas kind of intermingled.

When did you first decide you wanted to be an author?

  • I’m going to give one of those cheesy answers that I’ve always loved to tell stories and write, haha. It is 100% true though; I’ve always been a storyteller. My mom jokes that I would come home from school ready to tell my family the story of my day and she certainly isn’t wrong! It’s just how I view the world! I’m a daydreamer and often find myself awkwardly watching people because I’m thinking of how to use their movements or gestures in different stories or which kind of magical creature I would make them into…yeah, I’m that person.

What inspired you to write A Spectacle of Souls?

  • Whenever I have a really exciting (or at least I think is exciting!) and new idea, I always sit down and write out everything I can possibly think of; a brain dump if you will. Once I have the ideas and thoughts down then I take the concept to my BFF, Julie, and I pitch it to her. Julie is literally the most encouraging person in the universe, but she is my BFF and completely honest with me too, so when she gushes or reaches the same level of enthusiasm as I do, I know it’s worth my time! She was one of the main people who really help inspire me to write the story and get the words out.

Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? Why?

  • If I had to pick one it would be Vanessa. She is the MC’s best friend who is flirty, sassy, and not afraid to be who she is. I think she was my favorite to write because I had a friend just like her in college that I was constantly rolling my eyes at and telling her to “just stop” as Caitlyn often does to Vanessa.

What genre do you consider to be your favorite to write in?

  • YA is easily my favorite and where I am most comfortable, however, it is often a bit darker and weighted (especially in my newest project) because I love the dark and twisty things! Some of my newer projects really focus on emotions and reactions we have to certain events so they’re heavy and lingering.

Have you based any of your characters on real-life people?

  • In A Spectacle of Souls, no one is based on anyone in particular. I pulled quirks or inspiration from people around me and some specific features from actors or actresses but no one in particular. I love to cast my characters before getting too deep into the story though to help ensure I’m keeping their “looks” consistent. Book 2 will have a character who is based on a real-life person though but I’m not spoiling it yet!

What are you currently working on?

  • I am actually juggling a few projects currently! Three Drops of Blood is a dark Snow White retelling with vampires and I’m almost ready to get beta readers for it. Memoirs of a Reaper, my after-life series featuring the life of a reaper trying to move into Heaven or Hell, is growing dusty as it awaits my post-beta rewrites. I’ve also drafted an entire anthology of fairytale retellings featuring themes of major emotional struggles and overcoming illnesses and a three-part short story sequence featuring each son of Hypnos; Morpheus, Phobetor, and Phantasus. Let’s just say there is an entire folder of projects waiting to be finished!

What authors and books have influenced you?

  • Ellen Hopkins, Gena Showalter, P.C Cast, Edgar Allan Poe, and others have all been major influences in my writing. I would be lying if I said the Harry Potter series was not influential in my writing as it was a story I grew up with and a place I found comfort in times of need and even though there is a lot of controversy about the author right now, the story and the escape of going to Hogwarts will always be a major influence in my life.

What goal would you want to achieve from your writing and/or book?

  • Other than wanting people to love them as much as I do it would be that people find an escape with my words. I always used books as a way to find a place where I could truly place myself in the company of its characters or setting and immerse myself in it completely to get away from whatever is going on in the universe at the time. I hope someone can feel the same way with at least one of my books.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

  • I would tell other writers that there is no “right way” to write and publish your book. Every story needs to be told in its own unique way and even if you get rejections from agents or publishing houses that it just means you haven’t found the perfect home for your book yet. Do not give up! People need your stories; sometimes it just takes a little extra digging and love to find them.

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Born in the picturesque state of Washington, Jessica Julien is the marketing director of a boutique publishing company, a stay at home mom, wife, and wanderluster. When not drafting marketing plans or doing laundry, she spends her time writing young adult and new adult novels focused on the paranormal and supernatural inspired by her love of all things dark and twisty. With her vivacious imagination, witty personality, and ability to bring sarcasm to a new level Jessica creates unique worlds and characters that readers can’t help but hate to love and love to hate.

In her free time, Jessica can be found enjoying a cup of dark roasted coffee while snuggling under a blanket with a good book. When the weather is right she hops in the car with her husband, son, and dogs to road trip across the country where she delights in eating red vines, drinking iced lattes, and singing loudly in the passenger seat.

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Author Interview: Leslie Rush

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The danger isn’t walking into a dream. It’s escaping the nightmare.

Between working in her mom’s Tarot shop and trying to graduate before her nine-year-old genius brother beats her to it, Vivian Night Hawk has only one escape from her tiny New Mexico town: the ability to control her dreams, a gift she inherited from her Apache father. But lately that control is slipping, stranding her in a nightmare that seems to follow her even when she’s awake.

When she finds a jacket she suspects belonged to her dead father, Vivi steps beyond her usual lucid dreaming and discovers the electrifying secret of Dreamwalking—the power to control the dreams of others. But with it comes a deadly menace: a top-secret CIA plot that threatens her brother, Brian.

Sought out by fellow-dreamwalker Lucas, who is convinced their fathers are still alive, Vivi ventures deep into Dreamland to find a way to protect Brian. As the bond between Vivi and Lucas ignites, the conspiracy linking them together closes in, and Vivi must unlock the darkest power of all–a power that begins with her father’s quiet words: Walk with me.

Pre-order Dreamwalkers

Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing

Author Interview:

How did you come up with the idea for Dreamwalkers?

Originally, I thought I wanted to write a romance where the lovers could only meet in their dreams. Conversations with Apache friends and some of my students from the Tigua and Dine (Navajo) nations about the significance of dreams in their cultures sent me in another direction. Some of those same Native students were from military families, and their resilience in the face of uncertainty and loss inspired me. I wanted to speak to that. Plus, as corny as it sounds, I started dreaming about it!

Who is your favorite and least favorite character from Dreamwallkers and why?

I love them all, even the bad guys! My favorite besides Vivi is probably Brian, her little brother. He was the easiest to write, because he’s so pure and open in his motives and feelings. Jackson Connor was hard to write, because he’s the opposite. I wanted him to have more depth than just the Charming Menace. He wasn’t always so cold blooded!

If you could put Dreamwalkers into three words, what would they be and why?

Love conquers all. The love of a parent, the love of a sibling, and the all-in chemistry of first love can transcend everything we know—time, consciousness, and even death.

What is your writing process like?

I like to imagine a scenario, a “what-if” situation, and then let the main character grow from that. I write a brief outline, which gets filled in more as we go. As soon as I hear that MC’s voice, it’s time to write. Vivi was so compelling to me, I was dreaming about her before I’d drafted the first chapter! I’m a slow drafter, because of the time constraints of teaching, but I’m a quick editor.

Do you prefer stand alones or series?

I like to read standalones, mostly. I do love a series where each book is connected but is its own story. I like writing that too, because I’ve already created a world that surely has more than one story in it! But I hate cliffhangers!

Name three books you could read over and over again.

When I had more time to read, I reread Jane Eyre and To Kill a Mockingbird every few years. I’ve reread Ann Rice’s The Witching Hour several times. The imagery and atmosphere of New Orleans through several generations is completely immersive. Even if it is the first in a series!

If you could take one character from any of your books and bring them to life, who would it be and why?

Lucas Wolfsong. The amount of anguish and loneliness I heaped on his strong shoulders broke my heart! I’d like to apologize and let him to know that the love he finds with Vivi will make up for most of it.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I was pretty pantsy writing Dreamwalkers. I had about six plot points on a bullet list, and that was it! Pacing is my challenge, and I realized that refining the list into a flexible map in the beginning means a tighter draft and slightly easier edits. So I’m a bit more plotty writing book 2!

If your writing could be described as a color, what would it be?

Purple. The color of twilight skies and the entrance to Dreamland.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t do this all alone. Find a trusted partner or a writers’ group to trade words with and bounce ideas off of. Above all, don’t give up!

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Leslie Rush grew up near Philadelphia, spending much time at the Jersey Shore. She moved to El Paso and fell in love with the desert Southwest. Disguised as a history teacher, she spent years eavesdropping on her future readers. When she’s not in her classroom, Leslie can be found on the road with her husband, exploring the desert and the world of dreams.

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Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle

Title: The Sleeper and the Spindle

Author: Neil Gaiman

Date of Publication: October 23rd, 2014

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Goodreads Summary:

A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

My Review:

Another illustrated story by Gaiman filled with beautiful artwork! I loved this book so much. It was a mesh and merging between Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and, of course, with a cool and fresh spin to it!

Three of the dwarves travel with Snow White to help her free Sleeping Beauty’s kingdom and break the curse so that everyone can wake once more. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say, go read it!

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Do you prefer Sleeping Beauty or Snow White?

Review: Teeth in the Mist

Title: Teeth in the Mist

Author: Dawn Kurtagich

Date of Publication: June 11th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

Before the birth of time, a monk uncovers the Devil’s Tongue and dares to speak it. The repercussions will be felt for generations…

Sixteen-year-old photography enthusiast Zoey has been fascinated by the haunted, burnt-out ruins of Medwyn Mill House for as long as she can remember–so she and her best friend, Poulton, run away from home to explore them. But are they really alone in the house? And who will know if something goes wrong?

In 1851, seventeen-year-old Roan arrives at the Mill House as a ward–one of three, all with something to hide from their new guardian. When Roan learns that she is connected to an ancient secret, she must escape the house before she is trapped forever.

1583. Hermione, a new young bride, accompanies her husband to the wilds of North Wales where he plans to build the largest water mill and mansion in the area. But rumors of unholy rituals lead to a tragic occurrence and she will need all her strength to defeat it.

Three women, centuries apart, drawn together by one Unholy Pact. A pact made by a man who, more than a thousand years later, may still be watching…

My Review:

I really, really loved And the Trees Crept In, so I had to read this bad boy! It was another very atmospheric read but this time with past and present POVs!

Let me start with Roan! I seriously loved her POV, and that one was a five star read for me! Her story was addicting, and there was all kinds of weird crap going on, and the romance parts were on point! Rapley was so adorable and lovely! Just brilliant!

I didn’t connect with Zoey’s POV chapters as much, only because I’m kind of confused by them and I’m still confused about another character who showed up out of no where. Also, the romance in these chapters felt off for me, but I think it was just because it felt very insta love? I don’t even know! But the story there was still very interesting!

From the ending, I think there is supposed to be another book? Or I hope there will be one! I definitely recommend Teeth in the Mist because the writing is awesome, the story unique, and there were characters that I loved so much!

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What is your favorite horror book or movie?

Author Interview: Jenny Hickman

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SINCE HER PARENTS WERE KILLED, VIVIENNE HAS ALWAYS FELT UNGROUNDED, SHUFFLED THROUGH THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM. JUST WHEN LIBERATION FINALLY SEEMS POSSIBLE—DAYS BEFORE HER EIGHTEENTH BIRTHDAY—VIVIENNE IS HOSPITALIZED WITH SYMPTOMS NO ONE CAN EXPLAIN.

THE DOCTORS MAY BE PUZZLED, BUT DEACON, HER MYSTERIOUS NEW FRIEND, CLAIMS SHE HAS AN ACTIVE NEVERGENE. HIS FAR-FETCHED DIAGNOSIS COMES WITH A WARNING: SHE IS ABOUT TO BECOME AN INVOLUNTARY TEST SUBJECT FOR HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION FOR ORDER AND KNOWLEDGE—OR H.O.O.K.

VIVIENNE CAN EITHER ESCAPE TO NEVERLAND’S KENSINGTON ACADEMY AND LEARN TO FLY (DID HE REALLY JUST SAY FLY?) OR RISK STICKING AROUND TO BECOME A HUMAN LAB RAT.

BUT ACCEPTING A PLACE AMONG THE P.A.N. MEANS VIVIENNE MUST ABANDON HER LIFE AND FOSTER FAMILY TO SAFEGUARD THEIR SECRETS AND HIDE IN NEVERLAND’S SHADOWS… FOREVER.

Pre-order The P.A.N

Published with Filles Vertes Publishing

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Author Interview:

How did you come up with the idea for The P.A.N.?

I’ve always loved the Peter Pan story. One day I started imagining a world where Peter Pan was real and what he and other immortal teenagers would be up to today. And it all spiraled from there.

Who is your favorite and least favorite character from The P.A.N. and why?

I think my favorite character has to be Deacon. He has a problem with authority and an affinity for pranks which made him the most fun to write. As far as my least favorite character goes, I suppose I’d have to say Lawrence Hooke, but only because he’s an overall nasty person 

If you could put The P.A.N. into three words, what would they be and why?

Peter Pan Reimagining

The “why” is fairly self-explanatory. This isn’t a retelling of a popular fairy tale, rather a reimagining putting Peter and the lost boys and girls in the 21st century.

What is your writing process like?

In general, I don’t start with an outline—that comes later in the process as I decide how to torture my characters. The first thing I usually write is the dialogue because it’s what I love most about books—seeing the interactions between the characters and how their voices develop. Then I flesh out the scenes from there.

Do you prefer stand alones or series?

Series. There’s something special about getting to revisit characters and seeing how their lives play out and I think the timeline is a bit more believable in romances. 

Name three books you could read over and over again.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Emmie and the Tudor King by Natalie Murray

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

If you could take one character from any of your books and bring them to life, who would it be and why?

Deacon. The world needs more handsome guys who can fly (ha-ha)

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser all the way. Trying to plot hinders my creativity. I usually have the beginning and end scenes in my head and then let my characters dictate the middle.

If your writing could be described as a color, what would it be?

Green

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write what you love so it doesn’t feel like a chore.

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Jenny grew up in Oakland, Maryland and currently lives in County Tipperary, Ireland with her lilting husband and two tyrannical children. Her love of reading blossomed the summer after graduating high school, when she borrowed a paperback romance from her mother during the annual family beach vacation.

From that sunny day forward, she has been a lover of stories with Happily-Ever-Afters. In early 2008, she wrote her first novel, The Mirrors at Barnard Hall. But it was not until she moved to Nashville, TN and met her mentor, Billy Block, that she was encouraged to self-publish the work in 2012.

Seven years, and two additional self-published works later, Jenny has signed with Filles Vertes Publishing for her next novel, The Pan, the first book in a NA Sci Fi-Romance trilogy.

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#SpecLitChat Tonight!

Come join Katya De Becerra and I once again for another #SpecLitChat tonight on Twitter at 7PM CST! Just drop the hashtag on Twitter to find us or go to our profiles! This is going to be a whole lot of fun!

Katya

Candace

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We can’t wait to hear what your writing and or reading!

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Are you coming to the chat?

Review: Igniting the Ice

Title: Igniting the Ice

Author: Alexa Whitewolf

Date of Publication: June 20th, 2020

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Goodreads Summary:

The darkest of mind, for the purest of heart…who will succumb to temptation?

Declan
I thought I was smarter – I was wrong. My brother Tytus thwarted my last plan of escape, and now I’m faced with the imminent threat of death.
Until the Romanian immortal who imprisoned me comes to me with a proposition. Save an innocent maiden from the Underworld, return her to the land of the living, and I will be free with a realm all for myself.
Of course, she neglects to mention said maiden is her daughter, and that the journey will place me face to face with the lord of the Underworld himself.
And then none of that seems to matter when I meet Constanza. Because I’ve seen her, before. For the past months, she is all I’ve dreamt about. And I can’t wait to see if the reality matches the fantasy…especially if her pretty, innocent soul can be corrupted.
Unless she gets to mine first, that is.

Constanza
Having two immortal parents can get overbearing, fast. Which is why I love vacationing in the Underworld and hanging out with Hades and Persephone.
Only this time, the safe walls surrounding us are starting to crumble and, before I know it, we’re under attack. No amount of Greek heroes can help save us… until he shows.
And he just happens to be the sexy angel from my dreams. Only he looks like walking temptation, and Mom’s warnings suddenly don’t matter anymore. May the gods help me, because I’m not getting out of this unharmed, one way or another.

My Review:

I’ve been patiently waiting for Declan’s story for a while, and this one did not disappoint! This is my favorite from this spinoff! Constanza was a great MC too! I really liked her! Of course there was swoon, dragons, immortals, and awesome mythology!!!

I really liked seeing the flashbacks as well. You also get to see the brothers before and after, and I loved seeing the bond there. And besides the great romance, there were some action-packed sequences too! Of course more of Hades and Persephone! Can’t wait for the next spinoff!

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Do you prefer fire or ice?

Shadowed By Despair Release Day!

Today is Shadowed By Despair’s release day! I love this series so much and I hope you take the time and check it out! All three books in the series, Clouded By Envy, Veiled By Desire, and Shadowed By Despair are .99 each for today’s release!

Purchase on Amazon

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Perin expected eternal darkness after his death, yet the land of Laith has other plans for him. Snapped awake with a desperate hunger for flesh, he fights the urge to feed, knowing that once he gives in to temptation, there is no turning back.

Tavarra’s deepest desire was always to be human. When she received her one true wish, the journey had already claimed those she cared about. Alone, she fights through each day, forgetting how to truly live.

To strip away his new curse, Perin needs to retrieve an enchanted liquid and bring it back to the Stone of Desire. Despite his unpredictability, and him being the monster this time, Tavarra chooses to help. Tied by fate and loneliness, they must cross the sea into a deadly part of Laith and find the solution before Perin’s hunger overtakes him.

Clouded By Envy * Veiled By Desire * Shadowed By Despair

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Listen to the playlist!

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What’s your favorite supernatural creature?