Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Do Genes Dictate Who We Are? & other fascinating questions, celebrating the re-release of Galanti's A Human Element

Today Idea City is helping to celebrate the re-release of Donna Galanti's thriller, A Human Element. Donna explains her fascinating motivation for the book idea:

Do Genes Dictate Who We Are? 
Adoption and being an only child runs through A Human Element. I am both, and they both had a deep impact on my life. In A Human Element three characters have similar lives. Laura's adopted and an only child raised by loving parents. Ben is an only child but abandoned when his parents die, to live a lonely existence in foster homes. X-10 is raised alone in a government facility, an unloved experiment. One common thread connects them all. They grow up alone and eventually parentless. 

Adopted children often suffer abandonment issues and feel like they never belong, that they aren’t ‘blood family’.  Being adopted myself I understood this. But as an adopted child I was lucky. I had a loving family and I learned my heritage (and am very glad I was given up. Read more about that here). I got married and had an amazing son. In having him, I have my own ‘blood’ now. I do belong–with my family.

In A Human Element all three characters have similar backgrounds, but how are they different? Ben isolates himself, Laura has an open heart, and X-10 hates the world. Is it their genes that shape who they are or their environment? I’ve found it’s both. I like to think we can overcome our genes and thrive in an environment that allows us to do so. In such an environment we can conquer our obstacles and achieve anything, but without love we're lost. I believe that our genes do not dictate who we are–and this gives me hope. Without hope change is not possible. Laura believes we all have something redeemable in us, no matter how small. Do you believe that too?

Excerpt with X-10. Can he overcome his genes and environment?

As he lunged for Laura she sensed his conflicting feelings. She saw the scientist who experimented on him and caged him his whole life, taunting him with her existence and fueling his hatred.
She saw all this in the two seconds it took for him to reach her. His sorrowful life punctured her like a knife digging into an old wound. His wounds made her wounds. It was a small window of opportunity to grasp, but all she had. Could she convince him to turn away from evil?
X-10 grabbed her by both arms and pulled her up. His freakish face loomed inches from hers. Her feet dangled above the earthen floor. Scenes from his life blasted across her mind. 
A tormented life. A tormented soul. Images of blood and killing and rage. And such loneliness. He had suffered such loneliness. He was an animal as he had been treated like an animal all his life. She pitied him and feared him.
"Charlie," she whispered. Pain coursed through her. He gripped her harder. She stared into his yellow eyes that shone bright, burning with hate.
"What did you say?" He shook her and she moaned in pain.
"Charlie. I called you Charlie, isn't that what you want?”

About A Human Element:
Evil comes in many forms…
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.
Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a madman, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his, and she has two choices—redeem him or kill him.

**Get your evil on with this re-release by Imajin Books! Newly edited, new scenes & cover!** Purchase A Human Element here

Praise for A Human Element: 
“Be afraid. Be very afraid. And be utterly absorbed by this riveting debut that had me reading till the wee hours of the night. A thriller star is born.”  –bestselling author M.J. Rose
“An elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author

About Donna: 
Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventures. She's an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, A Hidden Element (August 2014), the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (2015). She’s lived everywhere from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer.
Website, blog, twitter, Facebook

A Rafflecopter Monsters vs. Aliens Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 20, 2014

News, news, news!

This has been a busy time, and it's only going to get busier! With good stuff. First of all, Private Internship, my new adult novel (sequel to my novella Model Position) is coming out on September 29th with Inkspell!
Also, I signed my YA contemporary horror, Dorianna with Evernight Teen!

Dorianna is a fresh yet toxic twist (think daisies, snakes and burlesque dancers at Coney Island) on the Oscar Wilde classic, A Picture of Dorian Gray. It's a cautionary tale for the Internet generation. More on that soon . . .

Private Internship is . . .
In the meantime, I'd LOVE for anyone who's up for it, to help me with my cover reveal (or release day blitz) for Private Internship!! It's a really pretty cover, and I'm proud to say that I helped design it with the lovely and talented Najla who does the covers over at Inkspell. The cover reveal will be on Wednesday, August 27, but August 28 & 29 are fine days to post as well! (The blitz will be on Sept 29) Just fill out this easy peasy sign-up form here. Once you sign up, I'll send you all the info you'll need to post. (Plus you'll get a magical chocolate sundae & bestie sticker)

What's your news/obsession/thrill/fave summer activity, and how's your July going so far?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Soulless Cover Reveal & More Cool Stuff!

Idea City is helping Crystal Collier unveil her amazing new cover for Soulless, which launches in October. Want to preorder a copy? Easy peasy, just scroll down. But first, read a story summary:


Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend†(a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.


COMING October 13, 2014



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Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Writing Retreats, the Pause that Inspires

My writing station
I just got back from a writing retreat on Cape Cod. I go to a retreat every July and January. It's an amazing, inspiring, informative, fun experience and it builds community. I often start the draft of a novel in July, and this summer was no exception. Finally, I had the time and peace of mind to plunge into an NA historical fantasy, set in the 1930s. I also had time to open a Pinterest account and create a board for my new novel. Why did I wait so long to visually organize my novel elements?! Wanna follow me there? I'll follow you back!

At the retreat we do readings in the evenings,
Our gang
and they're always helpful. There's nothing like running your newest work by fellow writers who you trust implicitly, to make sure you're on the right track with a fledgling project. Each night someone makes a dinner. Good way to sample interesting food.
Emily's veggie fest dinner


Other retreats and conferences that I recommend are Squaw Valley, the SCBWI Summer Conference out in LA (& winter one in NYC), the Mendocino Writers' Conference, the Chautauqua conference & Southampton workshop. If you have the time, you could do a residency. I have a friend who liked Ragdale.
Emily and her coconut yogurt
with lemon zest!
Stairs to beach
Helen ordering pizza


Maggie being writerly
Have you attended a retreat or conference you'd recommend?

In June, I also taught at a writers' retreat in Rosemont College for MFA students, which rocked the house. I got to try out some crazy-fun new writing prompts on them *insert evil cackle here*
My smart & uber-creative MFA students
Rosemont gargoyles
Some of the Rosemont teachers & faculty

So, do you do retreats, conferences or workshops? Have you ever organized your own? If not, how do you refresh and relight your creative spark?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Susan Kaye Quinn's Second Daughter is out today-plus enter for prizes!


NEW RELEASE
Second Daughter (The Dharian Affairs #2)
Assassins, skyships, and royal intrigue... Kindle, Kobo, AllRomance
Second Daughter is the second book in The Dharian Affairs trilogy (Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter). This steampunk-goes-to-Bollywood (Bollypunk!) romance takes place in an east-Indian-flavored alternate world filled with skyships, assassins, royal romance and intrigue.
Reviews of the first book, Third Daughter:
"The author fuses carriages, steam trains, airships and clockwork with the rich eastern culture that underlies Bollywood storytelling..." - Cherie Reich
"The political intrigue, the steampunk gadgets, and the beautiful costumes kept me in wonderment." - Tony Benson
ìThird Daughter is vividly breathtaking. Quinn delivers royal intrigue, exotic locations, and sweeping romance. Not to be missed!î - Pavarti Tyler, author of Shadow on the Wall
ON SALE - 99cents until 7/21
Third Daughter (The Dharian Affairs #1)
Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iTunes, AllRomance
(also available in print)
The Third Daughter of the Queen wants her birthday to arrive so she'll be free to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon may force her to accept a barbarian prince's proposal for a peace-brokering marriage. Desperate to marry the charming courtesan she loves, Aniri agrees to the prince's proposal as a subterfuge in order to spy on him, find the weapon, and hopefully avoid both war and an arranged marriage to a man she does not love.
NEW
Both books now have a map!
Speedy Tweets to Share: NEW RELEASE: Second Daughter (Dharian Affairs #2) Assassins, skyships, royal intrigue #steampunk #fantasy #romance http://bit.ly/SDAmazon WIN Gift Card and PAPERBACK Third Daughter (Dharian Affairs #1) #steampunk #fantasy #romance http://www.susankayequinn.com Skyships, saber duels, royal romance: Third Daughter (Dharian Affairs#1) ON SALE 99cents http://bit.ly/ThirdDAmaz
Thank you so much for helping me get this book out in the world! Win paperback copy of Third Daughter  $10 Amazon Gift Card
check out the gorgeous formatting of the print book!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My big news! Book #2, Private Internship is forthcoming in the Art of Love series

My big news is that Inkspell Publishing picked up the second in my new adult Art of Love series, Private Internship, to be launched this fall! *Happy Dance* It follows artist, Sienna Karr into her first wonderful and horrific paid internship. Here's a summary:

Sienna’s bestie, Harper warned her not to intern for famous bad boy artist, Casper Mason. After all, he just fired Harper who helped Sienna land the interview. But the moment Sienna sees Casper—or Caz—sweaty and practically shirtless and swinging from chains while he works on his sculpture, she’s hooked. He’s the richest, hottest artist in New York, and he lives in the fabulous Williamsburg Sugar Factory. But he’s also an incorrigible game-player, who seems to relish testing Sienna’s loyalty with a string of unsettling tests.

She knows she should get away fast. But by the time Sienna sneaks into his locked storage room and begins to unearth his dark and terrifying secret, she’s fallen way too hard for the handsome, charismatic Caz.

The shuttered Domino Sugar Factory
The odd thing is that I set it in a place that is now getting tons of attention: the old Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I've been obsessed with that place for many, many years, ever since I moved in around the corner from it when I first came to NYC. 

Kara Walker's gorgeous sugar sphinx
So, it was news to me this year when I heard it was slated for partial demolition, and even bigger news to me when I read that well-known sculptress Kara Walker had crafted a gigantic Sphinx mama, made from sugar in the defunct annex there, and it was attracting lines around the block. You see, my main character's love interest, Caz lives and works in the factory, and he makes . . . wait for it . . . sugar sculptures!!!! 

I had to pay a visit my old haunt. And it did not disappoint! It brought back strong memories of my very first visit and it still smelled like burnt sugar. I'm sad that the place is now closed, and will be altered in preparation for an ambitious waterfront building project that have many in Brooklyn up in arms.

But I'll have Sienna and Casper Mason's love story set in the factory to cheer me up. And
hopefully, if and when you read it, you'll fall in love with the sugar castle too. In the meantime, here are a few other amazing sculptors who spin sugar art.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Notes from BEA

I went to BEA recently and had a blast signing books, meeting friends, checking out forthcoming novels and snapping photos!
Plus, the night before the expo, I got to hang out at the Harvard Club, and pick up a YA finalist Next Generation Indie award for Ruby's Fire! The place brimmed with other interesting writers, including Lindsay "LC" Barlow, a finalist for her horror ebook, Pivot, and Janet Shawgo, a finalist for her romance novel Find Me Again. I was impressed by the VP, Catherine Goulet for her enthusiasm, professionalism and intense dedication to promoting great indie lit.

I signed at the SFWA booth and the Headline booth, where the Next Gen Indie winners and finalists signed. It was big fun getting to talk directly with librarians, teachers and bloggers.
Meeting Kelly Hashway

I met Kelly Hashway, an online blogger and friend. She was signing at the Spencer Hill booth for The Monster Within. I also said a hearty hello to Jonathan Maberry, a fellow Philadelphian, who is quite beloved for his amazing horror novels.

Stopped by to meet and greet the inspiring Georgia McBride, founder of Month 9 Press and Swoon.
Chatting with the fab Georgia McBride
And hey, I couldn't resist getting my picture snapped with the uber-buff Ellora's Cave cover models. One of them even writes romance. Who would've thought?!
The Ellora's Cave cover models were good sports

Hanging with Hugh Howey
The next day I got to meet Hugh Howey, darling of the indie scene, and hot damn, his Wool series proves that he's one excellent writer. Have you read it yet? The first in the series is perma-free!
He wrote a smart post about Amazon and Hachette debacle.

I also sat in on a fascinating panel with some of the most successful indie romance authors, HM Ward, Bella Andre and Barbara Freethy ( a hybrid author). They all said that readers love series, and that when creating one, a writer should leave it as open-ended as possible so that you can add on more books should the series become popular.

Bella said that she has a family series, the Sullivans, with eight siblings and when readers clamored for more, more, more she actually extended the family into a series about the cousins, and then extended it into a handful of cities. These women are all super-fast writers. They say in this era of insta-buy ebooks that people want the next books in the series immediately after finishing the last one! I guess I'll have to get better at fast drafting.

Have you been to BEA? Any other great conferences?
Oh, and before I forget, the huge book giveaway is still open. Click here to enter the Rafflecopter. Plus a must-read from Indie author Dean Wesley Smith here.