Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Fascinating and unsettling YA nonfiction by Vicki O. Wittenstein

Today Idea City is thrilled to introduce you to the work of Vicki O. Wittenstein, an author of nonfiction for kids and teens. Her newest book, For The Good of Mankind, the Shameful History of Human Experimentation is both an absorbing and disturbing read. It's important in the cannon of nonfiction for young adults because of its brave exposition of aspects of our dark past.

This review from School Library Journal explains it well:
“This chilling narrative exposes the history of human medical experimentation, much of which has occurred in the United States. By examining the use of humans as guinea pigs in medical research since the 1700s, Wittenstein explains the evolution of modern regulations, review boards, and organizations focused on ethical treatment of patients and approved research procedures. While the exploitation of unsuspecting orphans and pregnant women or intentionally withholding established medical cures from sick patients may seem gruesome, the narrative is successful at presenting both sides of the issue: the patient whose rights are being violated and the doctor intent on furthering science. Of particular note is the discussion of stem-cell research, which brings these historical medical controversies to light in a modern setting. The black-and-white photographs present a human face to these experiments and, if used in the classroom, this title will spark an educated debate. A ‘Critical Analysis’ section presents questions for readers to consider and discuss while sources for additional information list print, media, and websites that will appeal to a wide variety of readers. This title is an important addition to public and school libraries. It will pair well with books on topics ranging from medicine and history to human rights and law.”
Where to buy the book: Amazon, B&N, Indiebound

Vicki loves to write and tell stories. Her curiosity as a young adult led led her in many directions.  The first was to the University of Pennsylvania, where she received a B.A. in American Civilization and Urban Studies. After receiving a law degree from Cornell Law School, she worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, prosecuting criminal cases.  In 2006 she received a M.F.A. in Writing for Children from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She writes for children and young adults because of her desire to research and find answers and to pass on her enthusiasm for learning.
Where to find Vicki: Facebook, Twitter, blog, website, YouTube

Interesting, huh? Have you thought about writing nonfiction? If so, what topic might you be inspired to write about?

Friday, November 22, 2013

How's your Nano experience? Or if you're not Nano-ing, what are you up to?

Are you Nano-ing this November? For the few who have no idea what I'm referring to, it's National Novel Writing Month, and to "win" Nano one must write at least 50 thousand words in 30 days. Are you on track? Not even close? Way far ahead? Whatever your speed it's a great way to fast draft!

I'm working on the second in my new adult novella series. The first novella, Model Position, comes out with Inkspell (under my pen name, Kitsy Clare) in January or February! I already had an idea for the second story, so I figured why not strike while the iron is hot. Pretty soon, I'll reveal more about Model Position, but I'm keeping you in suspense just a little bit longer, at least until the cover's ready.

Just know that it's about an artist, Sienna Karr who lives in New York City, and is experiencing the spice, glitz, peril and sexy temptations that are part and parcel of that world. I know it intimately, having gone to art school and shown my paintings in galleries for at least 12 years. I find that writing about the experience is wicked fun. Because there is so much narcissism, bad art, posturing, and a whole big mess of bizarro art dealers. Get this, one of my friend's dealers actually had a physical altercation over my friend's painting, and he grabbed my friend's shirt and tore it. How's that for three scoops of crazy? 

Oh, sure, there are visionary artists, and many of them are hot as anything. Artists can be quite the sex-bombs! Like Sienna's Erik, and in novella 2, the great and terrible Casper Mason...
But I'm getting way ahead of myself!

So, tell me, are YOU Nano-ing? If so, why? If not, why not? And what are you up to instead? If you are, but not totally sweating the word count (like me) why? Any Nano food obsessions? New writing habits? Dish here!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Hundred Fall of the Wents, Jen Prescott's new fantasy, plus giveaway!

Today Idea City is thrilled to present Jennifer Prescott's wildly creative fantasy for older kids and teens, The Hundred Fall of the Wents! She's giving away one ebook to the person who has the funniest, or most compelling answer to why they love fantasy! Post your answer in the comments below. Here's a brief intro:
Millions of years in the Earth’s future, humans have long vanished from the planet. Evolution has produced a host of wondrous and intelligent beings: shape-shifting Fantastic Grouts with globes of light atop their skulls; creatures descended from flowers; and massive swarms of bees that can bore perfect holes through metal or bone. 
But some seek a way to bring the humans back into the world—a world filled with creatures like twelve-year-old Tully, a young, amphibious Eft who imagines humans as nothing more than old bones and fairy stories. When his beloved guardian is stolen by a menacing black shadow, Tully must embark on a journey to a cruel, northern land to save her and his entire species. In an adventure that blends time travel, magic, and science, Tully learns whom he can trust, and who will betray him—for the price of reawakening the Hundred.

To purchase a print or Kindle edition on Amazon
On Goodreads, including a giveaway through 11/30!

Author stalking information: Twitter, blog, Facebook

Jennifer has been writing since the age of 6, when she produced hand-printed and illustrated originals and sold them door-to-door at the neighbors’ houses. She earned her MA in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire, where she won the Tom Williams Prize for a collection of short stories. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published in various magazines, and she was recently featured in the anthology Summer’s Edge. The Hundred: Fall of the Wents is the first book in a planned trilogy for young readers.
And now, why do you love fantasy? 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Moonless is out! An Interview with Crystal Collier, plus the Realms Faire continues!

Today, Idea City helps celebrate the release of Crystal Collier's YA historical paranormal Moonless with an interview! But first, a bit about Moonless:
Alexia’s nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and
forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia
realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family
she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

Where to find Moonless! Kindle, B&N Nook

Tell us about your main character: 

Alexia: The only and unattractive daughter of a country baron, she has lived a secluded life—as her parents fear they’ll never be able to marry her off. She loves books and has been plagued every birthday by the same nightmare: cloaked wraiths in the night, a blue-eyed man, and a beautiful, but dead girl.

In what ways does she change?
The night she stumbles across a murder and the blue-eyed man, she realizes her parents are withholding vital truths about her, the biggest of which is reflected back at her in the mirror. She has transformed from unattractive and unlikely to marry, to gorgeous and highly sought after—in a single night.

Give us your favorite line from your protagonist:
“If I am going to have a fate worse than death, I will take it right here.”

From an antagonist:
“You may beg for many things: death, revenge, mercy. Never ask for pardon.”

An emblematic, teaser paragraph:
Alexia’s nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless. MOONLESS is Jane Eyre meets Supernatural.

What keeps you going when your inspiration flags?
Music, and cheese.

Best words of advice you ever received?
Dare to dream.

Can you offer some writing advice to aspiring and new authors?
Read like your writing depends on it, because it does.

Which do you enjoy writing most: action, romance, setting, dialog?
All of the above.

A hint of what you’re working on next?
MOONLESS is the first book in a unique trilogy. It has three protagonists, three separate story-lines, and dangers on moonless nights you haven’t even begun to fathom.

Crystal, author of MOONLESS, is a former composer/writer for Black Diamond Productions. 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.

Where can readers find you on the web?

BlogTwitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Amazon Author Page

To learn about the rest of the tour, play Moonless games and win prizes go here!
ALSO! The Realms Faire continues ALL this week! Enter the Rafflecopter for prizes below. To play Phasers click here. And for details on all games click here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Realms Faire Begins! Play games all week and win big prizes.

Idea City announces the start of the Realms Faire, a weeklong event with super-fun games and big prizes! It's the brainchild of M Pax, and is now a part of the Untethered Realms author group's repertoire. Everyone is welcome to play! Play at least two of the games and you're eligible for the big Rafflecopter prizes: a Kindle or a big, fat bundle of UR author books, including dark fantasy, sci-fi, space opera, and ghost tales.
Click these links to play. And don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter below!
Drench a Wench/Soak a Bloke
Stockade Brigade
Dueling Bards
Masquerade Parade
Collective Performance
Castle Jumble
Dragon Hunt

Follow the Untethered Realms blog for the schedule.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Diamonds and Dust cover reveal from River Fairchild

Today Idea City is giving a sneak peek of River Fairchild's Diamond and Dust. Lush, gorgeous cover, eh? Here's a blurb:
Magic is real. So is betrayal.
Two heirs. A Kingdom of dust on a troubled world. One might resurrect it. One might destroy it all.
Archaeologist David Alexander investigates the cave where his father disappeared and hurtles into another world, one filled with magic and bizarre creatures. The mad ravings in his father's journals of icemen and dragons may not be fantasies after all.
Convinced his father may still be alive, David begins a treacherous journey to find him and discover a way home. Along the way, he encounters a few unlikely friends. A Dreean warrior, a beautiful thief and a satyr join him as he searches.
David's arrival into this new world sets off an explosive chain reaction of events. Faced with powerful adversaries and few clues, he may not get the chance to rescue his father before disaster strikes, condemning both of them to death. Or worse.

The novel comes out on December 9th, but it's available now for pre-order! Find it here: Apple, B&N, Kobo

On another note, catch Graeme Ing's hilarious take on the bookstore of 2015 here.

And get ready to play some super-fun games at The Realms Faire, which starts this coming Monday! The grand prizes include a kindle and a fat bundle of ebooks!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Two awesome excerpts from M Pax's new sequel, Beyond the Edge!

I can't say enough great things about M Pax's space opera series, The Backworlds. Having read two in the series, I can say that her characters, especially Craze, are vivid and amusing. Her plotting is creative and the voices are original. M Pax's mind just keeps cooking up wilder and wilder sagas. I'm a total fan! With the release of book 4, Beyond the Edge, she's sharing a rare treat: two mini-excerpts! But first, a book 4 blurb:
Some truths are better left unfound.
For two years Craze’s dear friend, Lepsi, has been missing. The murmurings of a haunted spaceship might be a message and may mean his old pal isn’t dead. The possibility spurs Craze and Captain Talos to travel to uncharted worlds, searching. Out there, in an unfamiliar region of the galaxy beyond the Backworlds, they stumble upon a terrible truth.
Meanwhile, Rainly remains on Pardeep Station as acting planetlord, dealing with the discovery of her lover’s dark and brutal past. Alone and questioning her judgment, her introspection unlocks more than heartache. Latent protocols in her cybernetics activate, forcing her to face a sinister secret of her own.
In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendents to survive in a harsh universe. This is the fourth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.
And now for the excerpts:
1.    His father stiffened, the knot on his brow tightening. “You talk so damn much, I don’t follow the half of it. Nobody does, which is why you’ll always be slime on the bottom of my shoe.”
    Craze didn’t blink, circling his pa. “You not wearin’ shoes.”
    Snarling, Bast huffed out a fierce growl. “The point is I’m pretty sure I heard an insult, ‘n I’ll chance a stay in jail to knock my brand of justice into your head..” Backing up, he wiped his feet in the dust, then started forward like an all-terrainer tricked out with a ship’s engine, howling, waving the club so that it whistled.

2.    “We’ll be with him lickety-split. This being a tree makes everything easier.” Pauder grinned, adjusting his guns and bandoliers.
    Inching his way out the door and onto the ramp, Craze tested the ground with a toe, tapping under the clouds for solidity. He found firm footing and joined the insane expedition, staring at Pauder’s unwavering arrogant expression for reassurance. He cleared his throat, unable to resist asking, “How does it make anythin’ easier?”
    “Trees is less dangerous ta climb than cliffs. Bark forgives, rock doesn’t.” Pauder floated through the thick fog, his legs hidden. His movements appeared effortless and poetic, not the motions of one on a hunting excursion with every intent of killing whatever stood in his way.
    “That makes no sense. Both land you on your ass, ‘n I’ve yet to see forgivin’ ground. Which is a worry since we still can’t see shit.” One wrong step and there was no telling how far Craze would fall.

Buy her books! Amazon, Amazon UK, Smashwords, Nook, Kobo

Inspiring the words she writes, M Pax spends her summers as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory in stunning Central Oregon where she lives with the Husband Unit and two demanding cats. She writes science fiction and fantasy mostly. Visit her at:
Website / FB / Twitter / Goodreads / Pinterest / Wattpad

Monday, November 4, 2013

Celebrating Nicole Zoltack's Masked Love Holiday Romance Novella with three mini-excerpts!

Today on Idea City we're celebrating the launch of Nicole Zoltack's regency novella, Masked Love published by Swoon Romance. Doesn't everyone love a quick, spicy read?
Isabelle is content being a maid, and will do anything for her lady, even accompany her to a masquerade ball. Lady Theodosia needs extra support and encouragement on this night, for tomorrow she will meet the man her parents have pledged her to.
Isabelle has never had occasion to attend such an event, and is at first ill at ease. But meeting an enchanting young man during the course of the evening makes her wish for a life she can never have. Thinking she will never see him again, she returns his flirtation and even reveals her face. Imagine her shock when he shows up the next morning, announcing his claim on Lady Thedosia.
Isabelle does all she can to avoid Lord Adrian Wingave, but then he not only sees her, he recognizes her. To make matters worse, Isabelle fears her feelings are not one-sided. Torn between duty and desire, Isabelle hopes for something more this Christmas.
Find Masked Love at Swoon and Amazon.

Here are three mini-excerpts to sample!
“Now that is a lovely mask.”

Isabelle kept walking until she realized she heard no response to the statement. Only a man stood nearby, with no one else close. Her cheeks grew hot, and she pointed to herself.

He nodded, a wide grin stretching across his face.
“Do you like what you see?”

So flustered was she that Isabelle answered without thinking first. “How can I when I know not who I am looking at?”
A dance could prove who she was—a hired servant, and beneath the likes of everyone else here.

Thankfully, the good Lord was smiling down upon her as the familiar strains of the only dance she knew, the cotillion, began. What harm could result from one dance?
Nicole Zoltack loves to write fantasy/paranormal, romances, horror and and historical. When she isn't writing about girls wanting to be knights, talking unicorns, and zombies, she spends time with her family. She loves to ride horses (pretending they're unicorns!) and going to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, dressed in period garb. Her current favorite TV show is The Vampire Diaries. Find her on Goodreads, her website, her blog, Facebook fanpage & Twitter.

Friday, November 1, 2013

My Big News! Offer on my New Adult Romance Novella. Launching this Winter!

So, the big news that I've hinted at in my last two posts is this:
I accepted an offer from the fabulous Inkspell Publishing for my new adult romance novella!!! The working title is Model Position, and it's about an artist, Sienna Karr who falls for her live drawing model. It will be published in January or February as a digital first ebook. And I'll be using the pen name, Kitsy Clare.
Why use a pen name? The novella is a bit steamy, and I'd like to have an obvious, clear boundary between my work for kids/teens and adults. Why not be totally anonymous and not connect it to the name Catherine Stine at all? Because people make it their business to find out who you are anyway, and also because I've worked hard to create a platform on social media so why reinvent the wheel?
Exciting, huh?! I'm really pumped!
I've discovered, while writing my last three YAs (one of which involves a sizzling, thorny love triangle) that I really enjoy writing love/lust/wooing scenes, whether it's for the YA audience or for "new adults", so why not explore it to my heart's delight?
Model Position is set in a fictitious art grad school, and in the giddying, high stakes New York City art world, where the weak are tempted into Faustian bargains, and even the strongest can pay a price.
More soon!
Oh, and Happy Nanowrimo-ing! I'll be working on the next in the series. You?