August 31, 2015

Lies Facebook Party & Indie Podcasts : Indie News & Highlights

Happy Monday!

I have some great stuff to share with you today. Are you looking for entertainment from the Indie world? If so, you'll love this post.

First up...

Today, 8/31/15, starting at 2pmEST, head on over to Facebook to enjoy a fun release day party for Christina Benjamin's Lies.

Some information:

I'll be hosting starting at 10:30pm EST (it's perfect for me, because it's only 7:30pm EST). Join us here.

Next up...

If you love podcasts, there's an awesome new series from Jo Michaels, A Daily Cup of Jo. She features awesome interviews from the world of Utopia. All Indie, all the time. It's so awesome. I'm started listening to them on my run/walks.

To find out more about the shows, visit Jo's blog page here.

Just in case you are like me (not tech-savvy), I wanted to show you how easy it is to listen to Podcasts (this one is free, by the way).

Simply click this icon on your iPhone...

Then, search for "A Daily Cup of Jo". You should see this graphic...

Now all you need to do is enjoy.

Since I'm new to Podcasts, please let me know some other ones I should be listening to in the comments section below. Thanks in advance!

August 28, 2015

Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) : Ashley Bodette

Please welcome the next guest in my Meet Some UtopYA2016 Lovelies (Unofficial) series. I’ve followed her blog, Book Junkie: Not-So-Anonymous, for a while. But this year was the first time I sat down and really got to know her.

She’s funny, inspiring, and just plain awesome. Let me just say, there’s no better way to get to know someone than by playing Cards Against Humanity.

Thanks for hanging out on the blog today!

AB: Thank you for having me! I’m excited to be here! And I have to agree, Cards Against Humanity is a pretty great way to get to know someone!

You are the heart and soul behind Book Junkie: Not-So-Anonymous. What inspired you to start a book blog?

AB: Mostly I was just looking for a way to connect more with other readers and authors.  It took me almost a YEAR to convince myself to finally start it.  I didn’t really know that book blogs existed until 2012 when I joined Goodreads to keep track of what I was reading.  I started devouring other blogs’ posts, and I wanted to do it myself, but I was really scared that I would be putting my words out into the void, and no one would read it.  But if these other people could do it, I could to. And let me tell you, starting my blog changed my life.

You have some exciting things happening for the rest of 2015. Later this year, you are moving to London to pursue a Masters in Publishing. How did this come about?

AB: From August 2013-August 2014 I was Rachel Harris’s assistant.  As part of the internship, Rachel showed me everything she could about the publishing industry. I did a lot of beta reading/critiquing for her, and she kept on encouraging me to pursue an actual career in editing, or at least somewhere within publishing.  I looked into MA programs here in the states, but none of them seemed to fit. So I started looking in other English speaking countries. And once I found Kingston University, I knew that was it for me. I did a ton of research about their program, and the area outside of London where I would be going to school. I wrote the hardest essay of my life (my personal statement), filled out the rest of the application, and hit submit. A week later, I was sent my acceptance letter, and the rest is history.

I can't wait to hear all about your adventures. What non-book related thing are you most looking forward to doing in London?

AB: Hmm…well, this is just outside of London, but I’m REALLY looking forward to visiting the Doctor Who Experience. And I’m also excited to see lots of things on stage! (Musicals, plays, etc.)

Can I please come visit? :-) So, I also happen to know you are writing a book. Can you tell us anything about it? And when did you know you wanted to be an author?

AB: This was another Rachel Harris idea. She kept telling me I should just try to write something, so I started writing short stories a year ago. One of these short stories, it turns out, is not a short story at all. Although it started out as a funny, fluffy piece, the more I wrote, the deeper and darker it got. (I am a pantser, if you couldn’t tell.) 

I guess you could say the platform of my novel is that dating abuse is happening to teens across our nation, and abuse doesn’t just mean being physically hurt. My main characters, Becca and Asher, have pretty much been best friends since they were eight. Or at least, they were until Becca started dating Trip. Trip asked her to stop spending time with other males, and she did, because she thought it was cute that he was jealous. But over time, his requests and ‘suggestions’ isolated and hurt Becca more and more. After a HUGE bad moment, Becca broke up with Trip, but she’s having a hard time rejoining the rest of the world. This is the short blurb one of my beta-readers help put together for it:

A teenage story of acceptance, love, and finding the calm after the storm.

After losing herself during an abusive relationship, Becca is on a journey to find herself again, whether she knows it or not.

And Asher is going to help her get there.

That sounds awesome. Congrats. Oh, and I'm a proud pantser, too. I can't wait to read your work. Knowing you love books, I have to ask... what was your first favorite book?

AB: The Boxcar Children. My first grade teacher handed it to me because I was bored with all of the picture books we were reading in class. Once I worked through The Boxcar Children, I was hooked.  I haven’t stopped reading since.

Ah, I love that series and my girls did, too. So, I've been asking everyone... What is your favorite inspirational quote? Why?

AB: Alright, this is kind of a tie between two, but they’re related. First, “She needed a hero, so that’s what she became.” Second is a quote from Coco Chanel: “A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”  

These are my mantras, both for myself, and my main character.  I personally got out of an abusive marriage three years ago, and I know how hard it can be to get out of an abusive relationship. But, we should never have to change ourselves in order to make someone else happy. And in order to get out of those relationships, we have to become our own hero. No one can save us but ourselves.

I love those quotes. By the way, congratulations on again being named an official Utopia blogger. What do you think makes UtopYA, renamed Utopia for its fifth year in 2016, so special?

AB: Hands down, it’s the people. These people are MY people. We truly are a family. I don’t have to be ashamed or embarrassed of being ME, my book-loving self. Of course the workshops, awards, and other chances for industry interaction are phenomenal as well. But without the people, those workshops and awards wouldn’t mean a thing.

 ✮ Quick Answers  

Last Movie you Saw: Disney Pixar’s Inside Out
Comedy, Romance, Drama, or Horror? Can I have them all mixed together? J
Last book you Read: The Forgotten Mountain by Heather Lyons
First Job: Nanny
Gift cards or Cash? Depends who it’s coming from…

Favorite Vacation Spot: This one’s tough!  I’m going to go with camping in The Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota.

More about Ashley

Wow. My life is really in the middle of a lot of change, making this hard to write.  I grew up on a small hobby farm in Minnesota, and lived in/near the same small town for (almost all of) the first 25 years of my life!  I moved to Florida in 2012. Although I have missed seeing snow at Christmas time, I definitely haven’t been able to complain about the warmer weather!  In September I will be moving to London for a year to study my MA in publishing at Kingston University.

My grandpa taught me how to read when I was 4 years old, and I haven’t stopped reading since!  I have a BA in English literature, with a minor in music.  I currently dabble in beta reading, proofreading, and critiquing/editing, as well as writing.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter @AshleyBodette, author Facebook page, and Instagram.

Please visit often for more UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) interviews, 
and check out the announcement post to see
the schedule and links to past interviews.

August 26, 2015

Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) : CJ Pinard

Please welcome the next guest in my Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) series.

Me with CJ & Jo Michaels at UtopYA2015
When I first walked up to greet CJ this year, my daughter was already there. She made it clear I was ruining her mojo, so I went back later. CJ is a gorgeous person, inside and out, and she’s always got a smile and kind word to share.

Thanks for hanging out on my blog today.

CJ: Hey! Thanks for having me! It was sooo great seeing you at UtopYA2015, and meeting your beautiful daughter.

My daughter lives for UtopYA. She actually asked for the ticket as her birthday gift. Speaking of birthdays, happy belated birthday. I'm a summer baby, too. Oh, and congratulations on your new release (and book birthday) for Soul Release (Rebel Riders #3). Tell us about Soul Release.

CJ: Well, Soul Release is the third installment of this trilogy. This series, like all my books, was supposed to be one book, but this story continued to stretch into more books. This will probably be the last. 

I think my characters like to get into so much trouble and have adventures that their stories just keep going. I really enjoyed this series, kinda sad to see it come to an end. With that being said, there’s a character who sort of tried to take over and I had to put a leash on him, so to speak, and he may be getting a novella for all his troubles!

You write both young adult paranormal and new adult romances. Which challenges you more as a writer? Do you have a favorite?

CJ: Definitely the romances. Paranormal is my first love, and those seem to flow pretty easily for me. But the romances I feel I need to put a bit more emotion into (which is why these are written in first person, versus my paranormal, which are written in third). I don’t want to write a flat and boring romance that doesn’t make the reader at least get some emotional investment from the characters and/or the storyline. I have cried while writing all of them, especially Tour of Duty. I have a soft spot for our military men and women. That one is my favorite to date. We’ll see after my new series comes out if I can outdo myself.

I have no doubt you can do anything you set your mind to. By the way, I'm impressed with the number of books you’ve published. What’s your writing schedule like?

CJ: Haha, thank you! I hear that a lot. Believe it or not, I still have a full time day job that I can’t leave because I’ve only got six years left until I can draw a partial retirement, so I plan on sticking it out. I write in the evenings mostly, but not every night. I just sometimes can’t or don’t want to. I think once I get on a roll, though, that I can produce a lot of words in a small amount of time. I think typing 100 WPM helps too, heh.

I bet it does. That's awesome. I've been asking everyone... What is your favorite inspirational quote? Why?

CJ: “Scars are souvenirs you never lose.” That one small lyric has resonated with me for years. We all carry scars, some on the outside, some on the inside. I decided a long time ago that mine were going to be something to treasure and learn from, not something I was gonna let break me or weaken me (and I have a lot!). I will use mine to better myself, and I teach my children the same thing. If only I could guard them from obtaining any scars, ya know? I truly believe scarred people are the most genuine and kindhearted.

I won't forget that one now. Thanks for sharing. So, what do you think makes UtopYA, renamed Utopia for its fifth year in 2016, so special?

CJ: I think it’s sort of an original concept that has now been copied. Not just a one-day book signing, but several days of panels, keynotes, and fandom. I think it’s great that it appeals to both future/wannabe writers and current seasoned vets. I love the ‘big’ names who come to speak, too. You can never learn enough about this industry. I really enjoyed Sylvia Day last year. What a nice gal too. I really enjoy watching the friendships develop and the excitement build on Facebook in the weeks and months building up to it.

CJ with Sylvia Day at UtopYA2014
✮ Quick Answers  

Last Movie you Saw: Fifty Shades of Grey (I just had to!)
Comedy, Romance, Drama, or Horror? For movies? Comedy. For reading? Horror
Last Book you Read: The Mortis Vampire Series by J.C. Diem (still reading this, it’s addicting!)
First Job: Deli Clerk
Gift cards or Cash? Gift Cards
Favorite Vacation Spot: Anywhere in Florida

CJ with her book model, Nathan Weller
I hope to see you next year in Nashville! I’m gonna try my darndest!!!

More about CJ

C.J. is a west coast native who has lived on both coasts and now lives near the middle, in Colorado! Coming from a family of writers and editors, she feels writing is in her blood and hopes people will lose themselves for a little while in the fantasy and fun of her stories. She also loves sweet red wine, the SF 49ers, and unlike most authors, doesn't have any cats (allergies!). When she's not writing, she can be found chasing around her kids or working at her day job, which she totally feels interferes with life, but it also gives her inspiration for her books, since reality is sometimes way more interesting than fiction.

She also loves getting notifications that people have sent her an email, added her on Facebook, or on Twitter. So stop by and say hi - don't be shy! She's not! :)

Enchanted Immortals (Book #1)
Enchanted Immortals 2: The Vortex
Enchanted Immortals 3: The Vampyre
Enchanted Immortals 4: The Vixen
BSI: Bureau of Supernatural Investigation (An Enchanted Immortals Novella)
Patriotic Duty (Duty & Desire, #1)
Tour of Duty (Duty & Desire #2)
Boots Beneath My Bed (Duty & Desire #3)
Playing the Field (Duty & Desire #4)
Unscathed (A paranormal romance collaboration with Tim O’Rourke)
Three of a Kind: Tales of Luck, Chance & Misfortune (short story collaboration)
Summer Sizzle: Stories of Love, Lust, and Passion (short story collaboration)
Blood Bites: Three Vampire Tales (short story collaboration)
Tidal Wave: Tales of Deep Passion (short story collaboration, a Duty & Desire short)
Soul Rebel (Rebel Riders #1)
Soul Redemption (Rebel Riders #2)
Soul Release (Rebel Riders #3)

Coming soon:
Imperfect Heroes Series (3 book contemporary romance series)
Unraveled (Paranormal romance #2 with Tim O’Rourke)

All books available where eBooks are sold.

Please visit often for more UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) interviews, 
and check out the announcement post to see
the schedule and links to past interviews.

August 24, 2015

Vampire Ascension by Eva Pohler Release Day : Indie News & Highlights

When seventeen-year-old Gertie leaves New York to study abroad in Athens, she learns that vampires and demigods are real and unwittingly becomes a catalyst to an uprising led by Dionysus, lord of the vampires.

Vampire Ascension Final 

In this final installment, Gertie, Jeno, and Hector struggle to bring a peaceful resolution to the war in Athens, but any success they make comes at great cost. How many more people must die for freedom and justice? The teens quickly learn that nothing is fair in love and war. Sometimes even love requires a terrible price.
Vampire Addiction 3D FINAL   

If you don't already have the first book, Vampire Addiction, go here for your FREE copy:       

Check out this one-minute series trailer!

Vampires Facebook Image from Trailer 

Some Early Reviews

"An absolutely EPIC conclusion to an awesome tale of vampires and Greek mythology!"--Jeanine Walsh Palinkas

"The unique blend of the paranormal with Greek mythology is breathtaking and will leave you dying for more."--Jonel Boyko of Pure Jonel (A book review site) 

Buy your copy of Vampire Ascension: The Vampires of Athens, Book Three at your favorite retailer today for $3.99 for a limited time! 


Come celebrate this new release with fun games and prizes at our Facebook event tonight! Click to join!

Vampire Ascension Release Header 

As part of the celebration, Eva is giving away a signed set of paperbacks of ALL SIX books in her Gatekeeper's Saga, plus an Eva Pohler's Books drawstring tote full of swag. Click here to enter! 

tote and books

Eva's Author Pic 2More About Eva

Eva Pohler is the Amazon bestselling author of The Gatekeeper's Saga, The Purgatorium Series, The Vampires of Athens, and The Mystery Book Collection. She also teaches writing and literature at a university, where she lives with her husband, three children, two dogs, and two guinea pigs.

August 21, 2015

Meet some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) : Laura Howard

Please welcome the next guest in my Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) series. Last year I was excited to meet Laura, but she couldn’t make it to the con. Instead, I met her paper cutout (see picture below), which people were lovingly carrying around.

Finally, I met her in person this year. She’s warm, friendly, and so easy to talk to. Plus, I was fortunate to spend some extra time with her visiting the Parthenon on the last day. 

Thanks so much for hanging out on my blog today.

LH: I'm delighted you asked me to join you, thank YOU Tia!

I love your author bio, probably because so much of it speaks to me. I read Sweet Valley High and the Twilight series! When did you know you wanted to write, and how did your love of young adult books influence the type of writer you wanted to be?

LH: Haha... I've gotten more people to open up to me about Sweet Valley High than I can tell you. It's almost like it's a dirty little secret for some of us. :) After my kids were born, I felt like I had to do the whole "adulting" thing, so I naturally assumed it was time to turn to adult fiction. While there isn't anything wrong with adult fiction, it wasn't until I read the Twilight Saga that I realized how much I missed the raw emotion of YA fiction. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered there were so many other adults reading YA. I felt so vindicated and free. From that moment on, I devoured countless YA series to the point of near-obsession. As for writing...I will tell you that I have always dabbled in writing, but it never occurred to me that I might actually write for the public until around 2010. I credit the pioneers in self-publishing for giving me that freedom. :)

Your latest novel, Belong to Me, is a new adult contemporary romance. I love it. My review will go up later today. Please tell us about it.

LH: Belong to Me is a story about many layers of loss and ultimately learning to move on. It's a love story about two people, but it's also about family, both the ones we're born into and the ones we choose.

When did you decide to try your hand at writing new adult contemporary romance after so much success with young adult paranomal?

LH: Belong to Me was something I started a while ago, not really planning on ever letting it see the light of day. It was too close to my heart, a little too raw. I lost my brother and mother between 2006 and 2010 and it was a very cathartic experience for me to pour my emotions into that little novel. But, as a lover of primarily paranormal fiction, I wasn't sure my readers would appreciate the contemporary side of my writing. A friend read the manuscript one day and said, “You need to publish this. Even if only one other person reads it, it'll be worth it.”

So there you have it. And I found that I liked the world I created, even if there are no supernatural elements. I look forward to expanding the series in the future with other POV and other emotional issues they are experiencing. 

"Flat Laura" from UtopYA2014
I'm all about characters and emotion first. I've been asking each of my participants... What is your favorite inspirational quote? Why?

LH: The best way to predict the future, is to create it. -Abraham Lincoln

So simple, but so true. It was so wonderful to finally meet you at this year's conference. What do you think makes UtopYA, renamed Utopia for its fifth year in 2016, so special?

LH: The thing that has set it apart for me is the ambiance. It's about connecting with people. Not just readers or writers, but all the creative people we interact with on social media. The energy everyone brings is a huge part of the experience. It's about being positive and it's almost as if there is an unwritten zero-negativity policy.

✮ Quick Answers 

Last Movie you Saw: Inside Out
Comedy, Romance, Drama, or Horror? Romance ;)
Last book you Read: Promise by Kristie Cook
First Job: Cashier at Burger King :/
Gift cards or cash? Gift cards...that prevents me from using it for my kids hehe
Favorite Vacation Spot: Anywhere peaceful. I love the beach as much as I love the mountains. 

More About Laura

I’m an author, a mother of 4 and a voracious reader.

My obsession with books began at the age of 6 when I got my first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other YA novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. My mom took me to the library nearly everyday so I could get my fix!

Books took a backseat to diapers when I had my first child at the age of 21. It wasn’t until the release of a little saga called Twilight, 8 years later, that I rediscovered my love of fiction. Soon after, my own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is my first published novel.

Find out about New Releases

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Please visit often for more UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) interviews, 
and check out the announcement post to see
the schedule and links to past interviews.