September 26, 2014

Meet Some #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial): Toni Lesatz

Please welcome Toni Lesatz, an author and a blogger at My Book Addiction, to the blog today. *applause*

--Shushing the audience—

It was such a treat to meet you and hang out at UtopYA. You’re one cool chick! I love this picture of you, Ginny Gallager (Gin's Book Notes), Jo Michaels, and me in the lobby.

Photo by Victoria Faye
Toni: Thank you, Tia. It was awesome meeting you as well. That's one of my favorite pictures. I miss you girls!

I have to take a second and congratulate you on winning both Best Blog of the Year (My Book Addiction) and Blogger of the Year at the 2014 UtopYA awards. What did this mean to you?

Toni: Thank you so much. I never in a million years expected to win. I am still trying to find the words to adequately express my feelings about it. Three months later and I still get teary-eyed every time I think about that night, or glance over at the awards on my bookshelf. I'm so blessed to have such an amazing literary family in my corner!

You looked amazing that night, and you were glowing with appreciation. It's so obvious how much you were enjoying every second of the conference. You shared your thoughts about the UtopYA experience here. In a few short words, what would you like to tell people who have not attended and are on the fence?

Toni: Thank you, Tia! I have to admit, I felt a little princess-like standing up there. It was like being in a Disney Princess movie. Do you Want to Build a Snowman? NO! I don't mean Frozen!

To answer your question, I was that person on the fence. Even with my event tickets, my hotel room, and my plane ticket paid for, I was beyond nervous. I considered backing out until about a week before I was scheduled to leave. I'm so glad I didn't sprout feathers and start clucking, though, because UtopYA was an experience I will never forget. It is a MUST ATTEND event! You may arrive alone, like I did, or with only a handful of friends, but I promise you'll leave with a family of hundreds. Going to UtopYA provided the kick in the pants I needed to get my rear in gear!

Preach it, sister! This was my first UtopYA and I felt terrified going in. Now, I can't wait for 2015! Plus, I'll get to hang out with you again. Okay, back to the interview... You love zombie books. What draws you to this genre?

Toni: I’m not an adrenaline junkie. I don’t want to jump out of a plane or leap off the side of anything with a bungee cord attached to any part of my body. Heck, I don’t even like roller coasters. But the rush that the zombie genre provides is comparable to what I imagine an adrenaline junkie gains from those types of activities. Imagining the zombie apocalypse really happening scares the bejeezus out of me... but I like it. I know I'm twisted. It's okay. 

I noticed on your blog (in your review policy section) you don’t review Erotica. What if a really good zombie erotica book came out? (See, I'm twisted, too!)

Toni: Ha! I would still have to decline. It’s just not my thing. Reading a story that focuses primarily on sex just doesn't interest me. I prefer the slow simmer of a sweet romance.

I'm so with you on that. I miss the days of the big movie kiss followed by a fade-out. Back to being serious, I know you completed June’s Camp NanoWriMo. Congrats! Would you mind sharing with us some details about what you are writing?

Toni: Thank you! This the first time I’ve hit my goal in NaNoWriMo. I haven’t written a synopsis for the book yet, but here is the gist of it.

It’s a young adult dark fantasy about a teenage necromancer. With the help of her dead mother and a new friend, Elodie begins to unlock secrets from her past. When she learns about a coven of witches that destroyed her family and still has plans to come after her power, she has no choice but to fight… and she’s bringing an army with her.

UPDATE... Since my original response to these questions, BIG THINGS have happened for me! I wrote and submitted two short stories to publishers this month, which were both picked up for anthologies. I'm going to be published soon!

My first submission is a story titled Ashes to Ashes and will be featured in the Happy Little Horrors: Freak Show anthology published by MD 20/20 (Monica Lewis Happy and David Reuben). It's available for pre-order on Amazon here and will officially release on October 4. There will be a Facebook Release Day Party with prizes and the whole shebang. You're all invited!

My second story is titled Dead World, which will be featured in the After Tomorrow anthology published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing. The release day for that is December 10. The cover reveal isn't until late October, but here is a banner specifically designed for Dead World.

In addition to the dark fantasy novel mentioned above, I'm also writing both short stories into full-length novels, if not a series for each.

Congrats! I can't wait to read all of them. One last question... what common elements do you find in 5-star reads?

A book has to blow my mind to get a 5-star rating from me. In order to do that it needs to have remarkable characters, flawless pacing, and vivid imagery. Most importantly, the story has to make me FEEL. Whether it’s through fear, love, anxiety… whatever... it has to leave me curled up in a corner with a huge book hangover.

Want to have some book fun with Toni? Join her for her zOctober 2014 event next month (in just a few short days).  Check it out on My Book Addiction or the Facebook event page

Oh, and one more amazing picture to share...

Michele G. Miller, Toni, Sarah Ashley Jones, & Tess Watson at UtopYA
Quick Questions…

Favorite Punctuation Mark: A period, because there’s no question about where it goes in the sentence.  ;)
Ocean or Mountains? Mountains
Favorite Alcoholic Beverage: Margarita on the rocks with salt
Favorite Dessert: Crème Brulee
Shower or bath? Shower
Sweet or Sour? Sweet

Your period answer is the best response EVER! 

Please share your social media links with my readers:

Thanks so much for hanging out with me today (and at UtopYA). I am so looking forward to seeing you again next year in Nashville!

Toni: I can’t wait to see you again, Tia! It was so much fun hanging out with you. Let's time travel to June 2015, shall we?

Toni Lesatz is a wife, mother, author, blogger, gamer, and lover of the culinary arts. Her short stories, Ashes to Ashes and Dead World, are both being published in fall 2014. She is currently writing her debut dark fantasy novel, which she hopes to have in reader's hands by spring 2015.

Toni's book blog, My Book Addiction, won the UtopYA Blog of the Year award in 2014. She enjoys promoting fellow authors and because of this passion she has recently taken on the role of Editorial Director for the Book Hub division of Indie-Visible: Literary Justice For All. If she's not curled up with a book and a cup of coffee, you'll find her playing with her kids, baking cupcakes, or killing zombies.

Please come back for more #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial), and check out
the announcement post to see the schedule.


Unknown said...

Oh! I so miss you gals! Can't wait to see you in June!!!! Toni- I'm beyond excited for you and so darn proud! You go girl!!!! Big hugs to you both.! Gosh that's a lot of exclamation :)

Jo Michaels said...

Toni was awesome to meet and hang out with :) I seriously can't wait to see you ladies again next year. I miss you all so much.

(Tia most though :P haha)


Unknown said...

Gah! I started to leave a comment here the other day, but not sure what happened to it.

Thank you so much, Tia, for having me on your blog. This interview was so much fun!

Ginny and Jo ... miss you both, too! I can't wait to see all three of you again. <3