September 30, 2015

Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) : Delphina Henley

Please welcome my next guest in my Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) series. Thanks to the Indie-Visible group gathering, I was able to get to know Delphina this year. Cards Against Humanity will do that. She has a smile that lights up a room and is such a sweetie.

Oh, and she was a huge hit at the Saturday signing where she made everyone into a unicorn. And who doesn’t want to be a unicorn?

Thanks so much for hanging out on the blog today!

DH: I’m so excited to be here.

Unicorns clearly hold a special place in your heart. Your first two books have unicorn in the title: Unless You Can Be a Unicorn and Ask Me About My Unicorn. How did this come to be?

DH:  I have always loved unicorns and am addicted to shifter books.  I mentioned this to some HS friends and their reply was, “You should write some.”  Two years and a lot of memes later and I did.

Yay for your high school friends! You were recognized at this year’s UtopYA awards as a writer (Best Debut Novel: Unless You Can Be a Unicorn) and will be joining the 2016 conference as an official blogger (Delphina Reads Too Much). What’s the secret to wearing both hats?

DH: Honestly, I’m still trying to figure that out. My blog has definitely suffered as my writing has taken off.

Oh, I can feel you there. That's why I'm so grateful for these interviews. So, can you tell us about your current manuscript or plans for a next novel?

DH: I’m currently finishing two books. The Lion and the Unicorn will be released under my pen name Dara Fraser and is the first in an adult shifter series I am doing with Anchor Group Publishing. Mermaids Can Ride Bicycles is a chapter book for elementary age children and will be released under the name Delphina Miyares. 

Sounds like some awesome stuff is happening. Congrats! If we were playing a clean version of Cards Against Humanity, how would you finish this sentence: Always Be a ____________, unless you can be a unicorn or a _____________? Why?

DH: You saw me play Cards Against Humanity.  I stink at this game.  I give up after thinking about this question far too long.

ROFL! I'd say you should always be your authentic self, which you totally do! So, I've been asking all the lovelies... what's your favorite inspirational quote? Why?  

It changes depending upon where I am in my life, but this is one that has always stuck with me. :  Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn't have the power to say yes. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Love that one. What do you think makes UtopYA, renamed Utopia for its fifth year in 2016, so special?

DH: I have been to quite a few author events as a reader, blogger, and author.  While they were all great experiences, none of them held the magic that Utopia does.  Utopia is a weekend of inspiration, camaraderie, fun, education, relationships, and making connections in the industry.  I have heard many people say that it was life changing for them and of that I have no doubt.  It was for me.

So, I had to share me as a unicorn... so cool!

And a great picture from Delphina's UtopYA2015 experience. So much loveliness in one picture.

✮ Quick Answers  

Last Movie you Saw: I can’t remember the name.  It was a Korean film I saw on Amazon Prime about HS kids and was pretty strange.
Comedy, Romance, Drama, or Horror? Romance
Last Book you Read: Doves For Sale by Lila Felix
First Job: Taco Bell
Gift Cards or Cash? GC
Favorite Vacation Spot: Maine

More about Delphina

Delphina Henley has always been a unicorn. Delphina has been writing since she can remember and has always had a love of the paranormal. She is an avid reader and a self proclaimed shifter crack addict. Delphina currently lives in the Midwest with her husband and four kids.

Twitter: @DelphinaReads

About Unless You Can Be A Unicorn

Always be yourself.

That was the last advice Scout's Grandma Nora gave her before she died. Scout has spent her life trying to be anything but, but she has a chance to start anew as she moves several states away to college. She had always thought the glowing aura she saw around some people was a childhood fancy, but when it starts coming back just as she's starting her new life, she learns there was much hidden about who she truly is.

Thankfully, she has a motley crew to help her along the way: a spunky bookseller, a trustworthy pub owner, a commanding grandmother, a possible best friend, and a hot rocker boy who only has eyes for her.

About Ask Me About My Unicorn

Loving a unicorn is easy. Yourself . . . ? Not so much.

Val is powerful, kind, a bit quirky . . . but the daughter of hunters. Facing your long time crush is challenging on a good day. But throw in a set of parents who want to sell him, his family and his friends in bits and pieces for dark magic and it adds a whole new set of problems. As secrets are revealed and danger mounts, Val must come to terms with where she came from and become the woman she was meant to be.

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

September 25, 2015

Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) : Kristen Bauer

Please welcome the next guest in my Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) series. I actually first met Kristen’s adorable daughter. Since I was giving away fairy dust (okay, glitter in a bottle, but it’s all about the believing), cute young ladies seemed to find me. Oh, and Kristen has two equally adorable boys.

So, I was thrilled when Kristen made her way over during the Saturday signing. Her smile and glow make you want to run up and hug her.

Thanks so much for hanging out on the blog today!

KB: Thank you so much for having me and your kind words!

You are the creative mastermind behind Shooting Star Book Reviews. What inspired you to start a book blog?

KB: I wanted to be like the cool kids! Haha...I guess I just had this desire to express my opinion with everyone. No really, I wanted to help authors spread the word about their books. I love it when a friend comes to me looking for book recommendations and I can give them a name of an Indie author.

And we are so appreciative that you do! In your bio on the review site, you mention your obsession with Thorin Oakenshield (Hobbit)--for me, it’s all about Aragorn (Lord of the Rings)—and Ron Weasley. Which is more of a reflection of the type of hero/main character you like to read?

KB: Oh goodness! I think I like a mix of both. I like how strong, gruff, and honorable Throin is (and let’s face it...he’s played by Richard Armitage, *swoon*), but Ron is lovable, hilarious, and fiercely loyal.

Love your answer! In June, you created an author page on Facebook. What made you declare your intent to write? How long have you been writing?

KB: Being surrounded by everyone at UtopYA gave me so much inspiration and motivation. I’ve been working on my main novel for over 2 years now. Fear and hesitation kept causing me to push it back and find excuses not to work on it. I’m still terrified that no one will like it, but I’ve decided to write for ME now. I made friends with Tara Benham through a group of aspiring authors formed from UtopYA attendees, and she pushed me to create my page. It’s official now. I’ve made my commitment public; so I’m hoping it will keep my motivation going.

So excited for you. What can we expect from your first novel?

KB: I’m working on a YA paranormal retelling of Red Riding Hood. There’s a ton of other fairytale and mythical characters in it as well...Tinkerbell, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, just to name a few. There’s a twist to them but you’ll have to read it to find out. *wink*

Oooh. Sounds interesting. Okay, back to the Thorin and Ron juxtaposition. (Can you tell this fascinates me?) What are you most looking forward to exploring in your male characters?

KB: I hope to write loyal and respectful guys with a good sense of mischief and humor. I want them to treat their girls right. My children are very excited about my story and hope to read it one day. I want to make sure that my male characters set a good example for them.

As a mother of three girls, I totally agree with you. What about your main female character? In the female character movie universe, who inspires you? (See how sneaky I am, I’m digging to find out your female versions of Thorin and Ron.)

KB: I a big Black Widow fan. I also love Olive Pendergast from “Easy A.”

Strong females. Yep, we have so much in common. So, I've been asking all the lovelies... what's your favorite inspirational quote? Why?

KB: I have a few but these are the ones that resonate with me the most:
“I love the person I’ve become, because I fought to become her” because 2015 has been the year of change for me. I took up kickboxing, we moved to Memphis to build our dream house, and I’ve got grand plans to finish my first novel this year. The second quote is “Don’t be afraid of being different, be afraid of being the same as everyone else.” I’ve never felt like I fit in anywhere and for the longest time I made myself miserable trying to be the person I thought I should be. Now, I just don’t care...haha!

Great quotes! What do you think makes UtopYA, renamed Utopia for its fifth year in 2016, so special?

KB: I loved that it focused mainly on YA authors. It was the first convention that I was able to bring my children (who are all avid readers) to and not have to worry about them seeing questionable covers or swag.

I found this great pic of Kristen with Nathan Weller....

✮ Quick Answers  

Last Movie you Saw: In the theater? Minions, haha!
Comedy, Romance, Drama, or Horror? I like them all!
Last Book you Read: I just finished Dead Over Heels by Alison Kemper (5 stars, so much fun! I’m working on my review for it) and I’m currently reading Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
First Job: Hostess with the mostest at this restaurant called Youngblood’s which was a lot like Applebee’s.
Gift cards or Cash? Amazon gift cards are my fave because I can use them to feed my book addiction.

Favorite Vacation Spot: Somewhere cool. When I was 16 my parents took me to visit my favorite aunt up in Vermont in the fall. Fall is my favorite season and seeing all the leaves was magical!

More about Kristen

Hi! My name is Kristen and I'm a certifiable dork. I'm obsessed with knitting, zombies, the color pink, Thorin Oakenshield, and Ron Weasley. I'm married to my best friend, Steve, and we have 3 minions to do our bidding. ;-) My favorite books to read are YA paranormal romance but I wouldn't turn down a spicy NA contemporary romance either. I started this blog so I could be like the all cool kids (I'm looking at you, Bawaka's Bookfair!). I can be extremely random. My apologies in advance. Thanks for stopping by!! :)

Connect with her on her Facebook page

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

September 23, 2015

Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) : Michele G. Miller

Please welcome the next guest in my Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) series. This year, sitting at the table next to me for the Thursday and Friday exhibitor spaces was Michele Miller. I’ve known her online for a while, but this was the first time I met her (and her super friendly husband, who manned the table quite a bit, too). 

It didn’t take long for it to feel like I’d known her in person for years. She’s sweet and so genuine. And I’m lucky, because I got to see her again this past August in Charlotte at the Carolina Book Fest.

Thanks for hanging out on the blog today!

MM: Thank you for inviting me by, Tia! Did you bake those cookies just for me? *dives in*

Of course. I'm all about cookies. It was great hanging out with you at UtopYA. You and your husband seem like such an awesome pair. How did the powers that be talk you into participating in the He Said/She Said panel? (This panel was set up like the Newlywed Game.) Oh, and for fun, what was the best question? Did you guys get it right?

MM: Utopia (formerly UtopYA) has been so good to me over the past 4 years. It was my very first author signing/convention and Janet has embraced me with such love so we pretty much told her years ago whatever she needs we’ll do. In 2014 my husband moderated a husbands of authors panel and the He Said/She Said panel came from seeing how much fun it was to watch the men squirm and the wives shout at them from the audience. My favorite question was, “Would your wife rather date a vampire, kill a zombie or participate in the Hunger Games?” He said vampire. My answer is heck no to the vampire! While I do love me some Angel (from Buffy) I have ALWAYS been terrified of people touching my neck. If we were on the old Newlywed show I would have hit him in the head with my answer card! I said Hunger Games btw, though none of these are on my bucket list of things to do.

LOL. Too funny. So, you were a Young Adult Author of the Year nominee at this year’s Penned Con. Online you wrote: I wrote and released FOUR personal and heartfelt books this year in the hopes of touching readers’ hearts. Judging by the reviews, I won. Covering depression, Mother Nature, self-harm and self-worth, true love, guilt and starting over, my books are a reflection of me. To be recognized by my peers for my words is a win. Of these issues, which is nearest and dearest to your heart as far as affecting readers?
MM: Into The Fire, my last release, is the book I’m most proud of. The book deals with a teen who after tragedy strikes turns to self-harm as a way of feeling alive again. She feels unworthy of life. Cutting is a taboo subject. I tried my best to deal with it a caring way so the act is not glorified. I wanted readers to understand the mindset behind my character. A lot of the pain and self-worth issues Dani goes through in the book comes from a personal place for me. I love the lesson she learns in the end. It’s one I learned myself. 

Wow. That's one I'll have to read. I recently finished From the Wreckage, and I loved it. I'll be reviewing soon! So, I saw on your website that you believe in love at first sight (and realized it at sixteen). I think that’s awesome. How did you know your husband was the one? 

MM: Truth is, the day I first saw him my soul said “you’re going to marry that guy.” I know it sounds ridiculous but I heard it. I didn’t even know his name! Over the course of the next few weeks, after I first saw him, our paths crossed multiple times. There came a point where I think we both thought someone was trying to tell us something. We never even had that “will you be my girlfriend/boyfriend” talk. We simply hung out one day and never stopped.

You seem so connected with your readers. So, what’s the best compliment a reader has ever given you?

MM: The messages I’m most honored to read are the ones from readers who complain about how tired they are because they couldn’t stop reading. I’m a huge reader myself so I know how that feels. I stayed up all night reading Hunger Games when it first released, I know what it’s like to have love affair with a book. That is the best compliment. 
The craziest are the two people who have said they loved my books as much as Harry Potter. That’s just crazy pants! LOL

I lose many hours of sleep for a good book, and I wouldn't have it any other way (although I'm sure my hubby and kids would like me to sleep more for mood's sake). What’s up next for you?
MM: I have so many things! I’m working on something completely different (adult, period piece, crime, romance) with my agent to pitch, but I’m also working on my Indie stuff. I have to finish my final Fantasy novel in the Tyalbrook series, two more spin-offs for my Wrecked series and the second Last Call novel, His Call.

Wow. You are busy. How exciting. I've been asking all the lovelies... what's your favorite inspirational quote? Why?
MM: I’m a quote junkie! I’ve always been a Robert Frost fan:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — 
I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” 

The road less traveled. The choice to choose the unpopular. The harder course. The scarier, unknown road. Blaze your own trail, follow your own dreams and think your own thoughts. These are the things that come to mind when I read those lines.

Amen! What do you think makes UtopYA, renamed Utopia for its fifth year in 2016, so special?

MM: There’s something just a bit different about it. It’s such a community. An energy strums through the hotel and you can’t help but pick up on it. I was at a big industry convention this spring and sat at the same table as some of the biggest names in publishing but I never felt the same connection to those people as I do to the attendees of Utopia. I think, for the most part, when you step into Utopia you know you are with others who are truly there to help support and life one another. It’s not about ego, sales or popularity.  

A favorite pic of Michele's from 2015...

✮ Quick Answers  

Last Movie you saw: New? Inside Out, but we just introduced our 16yr old son to Dodgeball the other night.
Comedy, Romance, Drama, or Horror? Romance all the way.
Last Book you Read: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
First Job: McDonalds 
Gift cards or Cash? Gift cards
Favorite Vacation Spot? Disney World

More about Michele

Michele writes novels with fairytale love for everyday life. Romance is always central to her plots where the genres range from Coming of Age Fantasy and Realistic Fiction to New Adult Romantic Suspense.

Having grown up in both the cold, quiet town of Topsham, Maine and the steamy, southern hospitality of Mobile, Alabama, Michele is something of an enigma. She is an avid Yankees fan, loves New England, being outdoors and misses snow. However she thinks southern boys are hotter, Alabama football is the only REAL football out there and sweet tea is the best thing this side of heaven and her children's laughter! 

Her family, an amazing husband and three awesome kids, have planted their roots in the middle of Michele's two childhood homes in Charlotte, North Carolina. 


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