Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Greeting in Pictures

Wishing everyone a prosperous and inspired New Year!!! Here are some fun 
old-timey pictures that celebrate the spirit of the New Year. Hugs, Catherine
Dahhh-links, come have a toast with me.
Party hearty on New Year's eve, but don't end up in the piggy pen!
Baby Snow Sprite
Flowers for a winter moon
The promise of spring to come...
But winter is really just getting started so get out those snow boots.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays, Visual Tale of Cheer & Wonder

Happy Holidays to all, however you celebrate it!
Here are pictures that speak to the spirit of the season. Sending love and cheer, and a special wish for writing inspiration to all my writer peeps out there. 
A truly appreciated present for me would be if you'd vote for my YA horror novel Dorianna, which made it to the top 5 final round in the Kindle Hub book awards!!! Dorianna is in Best Horror Book category (not best horror series). You just need to keep scrolling down until you see that category then click Dorianna. Thanks! Voting is brutal and it means a lot to me as an indie author. It's here.
And now for pictures!
Victorian postcard, I love these quirky things

Do you like to make sugar cookies?

A holiday wreath 
around Gramercy Square, NYC

Mariah Carey handing out presents
at the holiday concert I went to!
It's all about love (and staying warm!)

Blessings of the season

Sunday, December 21, 2014

TSU? Ello? Tumblr? Instagram? Facebook loyalist? Which are you? Plus some fab launches!

There's talk about changes over at Facebook that will take place in 2015 regarding promo and book launch posts. This includes rumors about Facebook charging a base rate for a biz subscription. And there's also buzz about a new social media alternative called Tsu, and how FB folks should set up new profiles over there. Here's a NY Times article about it. Your thoughts on TSU?

And now, for the array of great launches!
Fantasy Uprising, the Untethered Realms boxed set is out, and just in time for the upcoming holidays! Isn't it spectacular? It contains novels from fantasy to dark magic to sci-fi.
Only $0.99 and available at Amazon, Nook, Smashwords, Googleplay, iTunes

Stephanie Keyes, creator of the popular Star Child series has a new novella, The Last Protector.
Here's a summary:
Gabriel Stewart helped his best friend Kellen St. James save the world from The Scourge in the Battle of Dublin. But before that? Gabe was just an ordinary guy who kept having dreams about a little boy with black hair and green eyes—a boy he hadn’t even met yet.

And even weirder? Gabe’s mind kept replaying these images on loop of things he’d never seen. He heard voices in his head when no one was around. And he actually blew off hot Valerie Gibbons to chase after the black-haired kid in the park. What was up with that?
As Gabe searches for the truth, fate continually puts him in Kellen’s path, but will he be able to stop the Children of Danu from stealing Kellen before the battle begins? What will it take for Gabe to become The Last Protector?
*The Last Protector is a companion novella--intended to be read after the other books in the series.

See all of Stephanie's novels on Amazon & B&N

C Lee McKenzie has a new YA novel out, Sudden Secrets.
A summary:
One Secret 
Cleo has struggled to heal after her baby sister’s death, but the flashbacks to the accident won’t go away. With the move, she vows to keep her tragedy a secret and avoid pitying looks. 
One Mystery 
Something’s strange about the abandoned house across the street—flashes of light late at night and small flickers of movement that only someone looking for them would see. 
Everyone says the house is deserted, but Cleo is sure it isn’t, and she’s sure whoever is inside is watching her. 
Another Secret 
In one night, Belleza’s life changes forever. So famous, her only choice is to hide her secret from the world so she can silence small town bigotry. 
Then Cleo happens.
Sudden Secrets is available at Amazon & Evernight Teen

My own YA thriller Ruby's Fire is on sale $0.99 at Amazon!

And my new dark YA Dorianna is getting nice reviews, which I'm grateful for.

Here's the newest reader review:
WOW .... SERIOUSLY WOW!!! I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from this book as Dorian Grey was ... well, Dorian Grey. Someone who wants to adapt this to more modern times could really go either way, really bad or really good. This was FANTASTIC!!! Although personally, I do prefer the bad and want a Wilson of my own it was so very well written! The fact that it tackles the current fad of "followers" and current internet insanity was just brilliantly written and well executed! I really really loved it and will definitely be recommending it to others. An excellent read for sure!!!

Medeia Sharif's brand new YA novel Vitamins and Death is out.
A summary: 

Deidra Battle wants nothing more than to be invisible. After her mother, a public school teacher, engages in an embarrassing teacher-student affair at Lincoln High, they relocate to a different neighborhood and school. Being her mother's briefcase, Deidra joins her mother at her new workplace, Hodge High. Since her mother has reverted to her maiden name and changed her appearance, she thinks no one will figure out they're the Battles from recent news and that they're safe. Neither of them is. Hodge brings a fresh set of bullies who discover details about the scandal that changed Deidra's life. Feeling trapped at home with an emotionally abusive, pill-addicted mother and at school with hostile classmates who attempt to assault and blackmail her, Deidra yearns for freedom, even if she has to act out of character and hurt others in the process. Freedom comes at a price.
Available at Amazon

Cherie Reich's newest, People of Foxwick is out too. What a gorgeous cover! See all of Cherie's Foxwick's books: Amazon & B&N  The blurb:
The kingdom hangs in the balance. War threatens Foxwick on all sides.
The dreaded Shadowlands gains more souls. From the shrouded trees in Greymist Forest to the arid Blackden Barrens, monsters roam in search of their next victim. Sirens lure ships beneath Merrilea Sea. In cold and snowy Wintermill, royals plot to claim Foxwick as their own, even if they must use dragons and sorcery. Marriage between Foxwick's king and Lochhollow's princess creates a perilous alliance. Although brave Valdale will come to Foxwick's aid, the cost may be more than a true friend can stomach. Set over a hundred years, these seventeen fantasy short stories explore the people, creatures, and lands in and around the Kingdom of Foxwick.
Short stories in the collection: Common Love, Blind Scribe, Lady Bard, Siren's Call, Tribal Abandonment, Dragon's Sacrifice, Dragon Spy, Dragon Seer, Sword Master, Lady Death, Mage Game, Courting Magic, Monster Hunger, Mourner's Lament, Magic Seeker, Prince's Price, and Love's Challenge

The best present one can give to an indie author is the gift of buying, reading and reviewing their books. Agree?

So what are your thoughts on Tsu, Ello, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook's new policies, any of the above? Which are your fave social media hangouts? For personal posts? For promo?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Interview with Angela Brown for BEACON plus a Be-Witch-ing holiday giveaway

Today, Idea City interviews the fabulous Angela Brown about her new novel, Beacon and all about the writing life. Beacon, a dystopian interracial romance from Evernight Teen launches this week! Make sure to scroll down to enter the Evernight Giveaway.

Also, Roxanne from Bewitching Books has a Be-Witching Books Hot Holiday giveaway fest. My novel, Private Internship is in it. Scroll down to see her amazing array of books and enter.
Here's a summary of Beacon:
Tsunamis reduced the USA into a shell of itself, called The Fold. Surviving humans and vampires joined forces to form The Colony, where registered citizens do as their told.

They donate blood quarterly and dream of being chosen as Attendees for the Jubilee celebrations, that is, everyone except Macie Breen. With high school graduation near, she’s anxious to ditch the rules in hopes of starting a new life with Thane, an unregistered and also her best friend.

Her hopes fizzle when Macie is selected as an Attendee, forever registered. Any future with Thane…impossible. Being chosen comes with another unexpected price.

Truths about The Colony blaze into ashes and lies when she discovers the vampires haven't kept their part of the bargain. Worst still, Macie’s life unravels as her stint in the city of Bliss forces her to face daunting truths about who, and what, she really is.

And now, take it away, Angela!

Tell us a little about your main characters
Macie Breen is seventeen-years-old and knows she is the odd-girl-out. Her parents’ disappearance eight years ago, along with her uncanny healing ability, have helped shape the person she’s become, which is a bit of a rebel with a cause, always questioning things when others so easily went with the flow. Thane is Macie’s unregistered best friend, the only person, other than the township’s mayor, who was there for her when her parents vanished, quite possibly the only person Macie didn’t question… and she should have. He has a few secrets of his own.

What is their biggest challenge or quest?
They started believing their biggest challenge was helping Macie survive her last year of high school so she could properly revoke her citizenship and go unregistered, like Thane. But once Macie is chosen as a Jubilee Attendee, their biggest challenge becomes surviving the explosive consequences born from her selection.

Give us your favorite line from your protagonist
This is from when Macie is getting ready to give her blood donation:
Part of me wanted to resist, just because. Another part wanted to belt out a good ‘moo’ for the cattle I’d become.

From an antagonist
This is from when the antagonist is sharing thoughts about how things turned out after the Jubilee parade. The ‘we’ referenced is Macie and her friends:
We all nodded––though I highly doubted any of us could really understand her position. “As you agree with that, I’m sure you can understand I would do anything I needed to care for my kind.”

An emblematic, teaser paragraph
“We’re not kids anymore, Macie. You’ve learned what little The Colony had to say about the vampeer, wights and devil spawn. There’s something else they’ve hidden from you. From all registered citizens. I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time why we met. Just how special you really are. But you won’t want to be my friend anymore once you know the truth. Losing you would be…”
Words trickled from my mouth unfiltered. “I, what do you mean I wouldn’t…”
He turned to me, chewing his bottom lip. The last time he did that was the day I broke first blood.

What keeps you going when your inspiration flags?
I wish I could say my inspiration doesn’t flag, but that would be such a terrible lie. So truthfully, when I find myself feeling stuck, the inspiration spinning its wheels, I turn to another project. That forces me to abandon that rut I’m in, opens the creative juices and winds up bringing different ideas to mind. Ideas that I could use in the new project, but it also acts as a springboard of inspiration for the other project I put on pause.

What truly inspires you and fires up your vision?
Knowing that what I’m writing will be something I’ll grab to read one day, sit down wrapped in a snug blanket, and fall in love with the story all over again. That’s one of the reasons I write, to create something that intrigues the reader in me.

Best words of advice you ever received?
Read. Read. And then read some more.

I can think of advice that may not have been well thought out, but had good intentions. It was to “publish as quickly as possible and know readers will forgive a few mistakes.” As a reader, I want to know what I’m reading is something that was well worked through, not tossed together for the sake of getting a lot of publications out quickly.  I approach my writing projects with that same mentality, knowing I want to produce the best product I can for my readers. 

Where’s your favorite place to write?
My favorite place only exists in my imagination: a corner of a wraparound porch, relaxing in a porch swing. Until then, my bed will have to do.

Can you offer some writing advice to new-ish authors?
Read everything you can. Writing craft is something that spans across genres. Whether you’re writing historical romance, a mystery or a military thriller, the basics can be found in a good book, things like tension build up, intriguing dialog, active forward progression of the story, and character development.

Which do you enjoy writing most: action, romance, setting, dialog?
Dialog. There’s something wonderful about character vocalization. It’s a great way to get character voice across as well.

A hint of what you’re working on next?
I’m working on Beacon’s sequel, tentatively titled BEYOND. What Macie endures and in Beacon is only the beginning. More secrets await discovery.

Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Angela Brown now calls Central Texas home. She's a lover of Wild Cherry Pepsi and chocolate and chocolate covered delicious-ness. Steampunk, fantasy and paranormal to contemporary - mostly YA - fill her growing library.

Mother to a rambunctious darling girl aptly nicknamed Chipmunk, life stays busy. Her favorite quote keeps her moving:  "You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result." ~ Mahatma Gandhi. She's released Neverlove and They All Fall Down of the Shadow Jumpers series, Frailties of the Bond and Atone of the NEO Chronicles, and BEACON, a YA urban fantasy dystopian published by Evernight Teen publishing.
Find Angela on FacebookTwitter, Goodreads, her blog.

Evernight Giveaway for Beacon:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be-Witching Books Hot Holiday array

Be-Witch-ing Holiday Rafflecopter giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Gratitude List for Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving holidays to all.
my son's doggie, Bo

I'm thankful for family: my hubby, sister, brother, mom, sister-in-law and extended family. Very thankful for my two sons, What great sons I have!
I'm thrilled I get to babysit my older son's super-adorable dog, Bo every so often.

I'm grateful I have my Nissan Cube, which allows me to get out of the city and explore. I'm amused that a guy we know calls my car the Amish Buggy. Yeah, it kind of looks like one of those mini-vans that deliver flowers. But who cares when the visibility is so very perfect?
I'm thankful for my outside deck where I can grow yellow roses and put out all of my funky clay birds to freak out the squirrels.
Thankful for the park near us that has both a sculpture of peg-legged Peter Stuyvesant and the Czech composer, Antonin Dvorak who lived for a time right down the street and composed The New World Symphony there.
Thankful that we have Carnegie Hall and all of the incredible cultural activities here in the city.
Amazed that I can walk a mere five blocks and be at my teaching gig.

I'm thankful that my book tour is over for now. I can spend more time writing.
More power to witches and to Fiera, the young witch in my next novel!
I'm thankful for my wild imagination.
I'm thankful for my fun and inspiring creative writing students.

I'm happy this is the season to make snowflake cookies, Brussels Sprouts with bacon or peanut butter, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, spiced bundt cakes with raisins.
Grateful for the Polish butcher right down the street who sells me amazing smoked ham and pitted cherries to bake with it.
Every night I'm grateful for organic chai.

I'm so thankful for my Untethered Realms author buddies. *Waves*
I'm thankful for everyone else in my online community too!
I'm grateful for my very own real-time writing group.
Dvorak, in addition to being
an amazing composer, was into
breeding pigeons!

I'm thankful for books, ebooks, bookstores, online bookstores, and any story delivery vehicle, whatsoever. For stories in general.
Stories empower the world!  

What are you thankful for?

OMG, the YA Bound Private Internship Rafflecopter is open for 4 more days! Here 'tis if you'd still like to enter it.

***coming up this weekend, big Evernight Teen sales and the "Have a Very Be-Witching Book" giveaway! Get ready to load up your kindle for those raw, snowy nights.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 21, 2014

Playlists, Nano & the last few Dorianna stops

Do you create playlists for your novels? I've started to, since both book blog tour companies asked for them, plus I've decided that it's fun. Below is the one I made for Dorianna. It really does mirror the novel trajectory. The Dorianna tour has been a full month, and there are only a few more stops. It's been fun, exhilarating and exhausting. I think I'll be ready for hibernation after it's over! What's the longest blog tour you've done? Which types of promo do you prefer? I'm also trying to do Nano. Are you? There's no way I'll "win" but it helps spur me on. Here are the last few Dorianna stops. The Rafflecopter's still open for two more days! So if you haven't yet entered for this motherlode of great ebooks, now's the time! (Scroll down to enter).
Coffee Addicts - guest post on sexy, smart villains
Pembroke Sinclair - interview
Geeks in High School - excerpt 
Musings of the Bookaholic Fairies - Guest post: Strange Pleasures of Obsessive Dread
ARe Cafe - interview
Dor's mascot Fire Demon

Me with Jena Irene
at an Idol after-party

Dorianna Playlist:

Creep version sung by Jena Irene

Bring Me To Life by Evanescence

We Found Love by Rhianna

Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix

Demons by Imagine Dragons

Who’s Gonna Run This Town Tonight? with Jay Z, Rhianna, Kanye West

I’m a Mess by Ed Sheeran

It’s Gonna be Okay by Chris Rene, acoustic version

Two more days to enter this Rafflecopter for a huge array of great ebooks! 
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 14, 2014

More gritty YA psychological horror, plus this week's Dorianna stops

Today, Idea City is thrilled to show off Marcus Damanda's new novel, Devils in the Dark. Not only is he a fellow Evernight Teen author, he's writing YA horror, the same genre as my newly released Dorianna. Yay!!! I'm loving psychological horror right now. I have an excerpt from Marcus' novel.
But first, news from the Dorianna blog tour. It continues with stops at Once Upon a YA Book, Soaring Eagle blog, Chosen by You Book Cluband a great review from The World at my Fingertips. Plus, scroll down to enter the Rafflecopter. It's chock full of great dark fantasy, sci-fi and other reads!

Devils in the Dark blurb:
“The paramedics shared a look: This one was serious.”

To most of the Facebook 15, bullying Audrey Bales was just a game—until two deep cuts with a Swiss army knife changed everything forever. Audrey didn’t want attention anymore. After five weeks at Fairview High School, Audrey wanted to die. The doctors did the only thing they could with her: they put her away.

But in Fairview, Virginia, the nightmare is only beginning. The chat session had not gone unobserved. The Facebook 15 have drawn the attention of an ancient evil that lives only to punish those who would prey upon the weak. They are the ghosts of 1,000 dead children—1,000 suicides—and their master …   Their master likes Audrey Bales.

And as Audrey attempts to heal her mind and body, far from home, their master prepares for the justice he will unleash upon her return.

Buy Devils in the Dark ebook on Amazon, at Evernight Teen (save $1.00)

   Underneath the blackened veil of her powered-off monitor, the comments kept coming, kept taunting her.
   The observer had stopped watching. He leaned back in his chair, head upturned to the ceiling, eyes closed. He projected his sight outward, miles and miles from his little home. He didn’t know where he was anymore. Somebody’s house. An empty room. A closet.  Here he first saw the girl, the one they were tormenting. She might have been pretty, if she had not worked so hard to hide it.
   She was close, very close, to a bad decision. She was imagining the ghost of her brother and talking to it, opening boxes that contained his possessions. She listened to him speak words the observer could not hear. Oh, he wished he could. From this distance all he could hear was the pain inside of her, the loneliness, screams within whispers. An oncoming storm.
   It made him angry on her behalf.
   He returned his gaze to the real world of his apartment. The five of them were still chatting, their cruel banter punctuated by internet abbreviations and emoticons, calling for Audrey-Bear to say something, say something….
   More joined the chat.
   He shook his head.
You deserve to die, he thought. All of you.
   Audrey returned to her bedroom and closed the door. This time, she broke a house rule and locked it. She put the blanket back in place and thumbed the monitor back on.
   It was nearly one in the morning, yet the number of people on Cody’s page had tripled. Stranger still was the activity coming through on her end.
   She gazed in bewilderment.
   Eleven friend requests, all kids from school. Most of them had sent her personal messages too. Some were fake-friendly, some openly mocking. Most pretended to rally in her support, as if they had somehow stumbled upon this Internet lynching by accident, all at the same time, and were offended by it. A virtual party had gathered in Cody’s little corner of cyberspace, and Audrey was the game they were playing.
   Had Maggie called or texted them all out of bed?
   “Creative,” she said. “You’re really good at this.” She wasn’t crying anymore. In fact, she was perfectly calm. With the ghost of her brother standing by her side, she set his old Swiss Army knife—he’d gotten it for Scouts, before he had quit—next to the keyboard.
   Click Accept, her brother said. For all of them. Now, before they give up and start to log off.
She accepted them all, and the result was chat room bedlam. The comments came faster than she could read. Evidently this was the very height of hilarity.
   And, naturally, as soon as she had accepted them all, one-by-one, they unfriended her, and posted.
   Just kidding!
   Sry! Changed my mind!
   What an idiot!
   Inspired, she clicked the Like button over every comment. Then, ignoring the perplexed responses to that maneuver, she got to work.
   She retrieved the gym shirt from under her bed. Most days this particular item of attire would have remained a crumpled ball in her P.E. locker after school, but she’d had to wear it all day, and so it had come home with her.
   “Turn your head, Alex,” she said, as if he were really there.
   And as if he were really there, he answered. Not looking, not looking.

   Once she had the shirt on and smoothed it out, she sat back at her desk, got out her cell phone, tied her hair in a tail, and took a picture of herself.
   When the first picture appeared on Cody’s page, the observer knew exactly what was coming. He’d seen it before. The details differed each time, but the common threads were easily picked out: theatrics, spite, spectacle—and from the other end, disbelief. Then there would be panic, frantic attempts to undo the damage, and afterward, there would be remorse.
   From most of them.
   The picture was off-center. The girl was smiling, posing. The mascara tracks on her face looked like war paint.
   Val: OMG, she’s postin selfies!
   Cody: Give us a twerk, emo.
   How they didn’t see what was coming, the observer could not fathom. But that was part of the pattern too. Bullies, as a rule, didn’t get it until it was too late—for the victim, or less frequently, for themselves.

Marcus Damanda lives in Woodbridge, Virginia with his cat, Shazam. At various times throughout his life, he wrote for The Dale City Messenger, published editorials in The Potomac News, and played bass guitar for the garage heavy metal band Mother's Day. While not plotting his next fictitious foray into suburban mayhem, he spoils his nieces and nephews and teaches middle school English.  Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

The Dorianna Tourwide Rafflecopter is still open (through NOV 24). Enter for a huge array of great dark fantasy, PNR and SF!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Amazing new reads, live author event and an edgy guest post!

Idea City has tons of treats: a book launch for Gears of Brass, a cover reveal for our Fantasy Uprising Untethered Realms holiday Boxed Set, and a heads up for my NYC reading event at KGB hosted by Paragraph on Friday, NOV 14. If you're in the NYC area, stop by KGB!
Plus my Dorianna tour continues with a post over at Vivacious Hobo that gives a few scary glimpses into the dark changes in Dorianna as she's overcome by her beastly side. I'm also on Share My Destiny.
Get the Dorianna ebook, the paperback. Scroll down to enter the Dorianna Rafflecopter.

First, let's give a shout out for Gears of Brass, a steampunk anthology edited by Curiosity Quills!
Gears of brass giveawayIt's a world like ours, but filled with gears of brass, where the beating heart is fueled by steam and the simplest creation is a complex clockwork device. You’ll find steampunk fairy tale re-tellings, and original stories to get your gears turning. Eleven authors guide you through worlds filled with airships, top hats and corsets.
BUY it on Amazon or Add it to Goodreads TBR list!
Learn about the authors behind Gears of Brass at Curiosity Quills
***Don’t forget to enter the mega giveaway below!***

TEASERS (each one is from a different tale in the anthology)   “Stealing a few steps backward, I reached for him and brushed my fingertips along his cheek. Static energy crept across my palm. It glowed blue and pulled like taffy, sticking to my fingertips, then snapping back to his skin. My hand jerked back so hard I hit myself in the chest. My eyes traipsed down his neck, his shoulders, finally stopping at his midsection. It was almost as though I could see inside him."    “The guards struggled forward, but failed to move even an inch. Everyone was frozen in place, except the uninvited guest. The man floated toward Lord and Lady Miller. “You see, my lord, your wife made a deal with me that cannot be broken. Your daughter is mine.”    
 “I swiped my hand across my nose, wishing I could smell the green of the trees. Eyes burning, I swallowed hard, feeling the incision in my throat where they’d cut out my sinus enhancer. I would never be able to smell my exotic perfumes again.”    “Anthie watched the lissom liquid slip inside the carrying tube. I could see her inhaling the smell of the lubricating oil. So could Dr. Holmgren. From time to time he looked across at us through his reinforced goggles. They gave him the appearance of a baby owl, at odds with his general nastiness. I knew he was taking everything in. And I knew he had a special eye on Anthie.”    
“In a hidden room deep inside the base of the great clock there was a click, a whir of gears, a valve opened, and the key chamber was flooded with air. Several minutes later, Bella awoke. The girl coughed, choked then screamed as blood began to once again flow through her veins: the first time in a millennium.”   
“Something growled near to her right. The hairs along Redyn’s arms stood up and she held her breath. The sound came again, deep, guttural. Redyn turned her head, her lips parted, her gaze scanning the forest. They’d told her not to wander far from the cottage, but they couldn’t have expected her to play with that hideous excuse for a doll near everyone else. A wolf crept out of the shadows, his gray fur standing on end like hers.”   
 “Three years ago, your father ruined my life. He terminated my family’s reputation.”  “Um…” Amethyst wished she could back up further. Wind pushed at her top hat, so she shoved it up higher to straighten it. “I don’t understand.” “Now, I’ll ruin his life.”   

And now... drum roll, here's the shiny cover reveal for Fantasy Uprising, a boxed set packed with sci-fi, fantasy and magical reads all by Untethered Realms speculative fiction authors. Can I hear a YAY! Read more deets about each novel in the set here. Launching in December!
Gears of Brass Rafflecopter:
 a Rafflecopter giveaway  
Enter the Dorianna Rafflecopter for a huge array of great dark fantasy!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 10, 2014

Meradeth Houston on Writing Scary Stuff & her new book, Absence of Light

Idea City welcomes Meradeth Houston who's talking about writing horror and other scary stuff. And, hey, I'm over at her blog talking about the same theme! Also, today's Dorianna tour stops at Books Direct, where I'm discussing all of the various twists on the Faust myths, and at Shut up and Read, where I'm interviewed.

Thanks so much for hosting me today! It’s a lot of fun being able to swap posts like this :). So, today, we’re talking a little about writing thriller/horror books.

Truth be told, I never thought I’d write anything scary. I’m a total scaredy-cat when it comes to books that have things that go bump in the night. I once started writing this half funny, half creepy ghost story about La Llorona haunting a Target store (haha, yeah, I know, silly, right?), and I got so scared I had to stop writing it. My husband forced me to go see Paranormal Activity with him, and I didn’t sleep for a week. Seriously. (He did feel bad about that…but not enough to try and get me to go see the next film. Sigh.)

Anyhow, An Absence of Light is on the scarier end of the spectrum, which is kind of a little new for me. It’s definitely leaning toward the thriller side of things, with a splash of sci-fi, but still, creepy killer aliens? They’re in there. And they’re not nice. Which I completely had a blast writing about. Sometimes letting loose with a seriously freaky creature that subscribes to a very different moral code can be really freeing. I love getting to stretch my writing muscles, and creating the world and aliens in Absence allowed for that.

The other thing is that there isn’t a ton of suspense in Absence that we see in, say, Signs (another movie that scared the snot out of me—didn’t help that I lived on my family’s farm surrounded by corn fields when I saw it). Hitchcock is another master of the suspenseful scary. In a lot of ways, it’s that build up, the not knowing, that’s the frightening part. Or, at least it is for me. In Absence, we always know who the bad guys are, and we know what they look like, but it’s the build up to what they’re doing that’s the freaky part. (Or, I hope it is!) The not-knowing comes in the form of whether or not Leah and her crew can stop the aliens, and if they’re all going to survive. Hopefully it’s the kind of suspense that will keep you reading, though maybe with the lights on ;).

So, I’m curious: what is it that makes something scary for you? And what’s the freakiest movie you’ve ever seen?

Absence of Light Blurb:
Leah’s always seen the shadow creatures. She thought she was immune to their evil—until now.
      She’s walked into a massacre, stolen a BMW, and is running from the law for a crime she didn’t commit. Nineteen-year-old Leah’s life just went from mildly abnormal to totally crazy at lightning speed. But no one will believe that the shadow creatures are framing her for the murder, because she’s the only one that can see them. At least that’s what she thought.
When Leah stumbled across a group who share her ability, she discovers they have something she doesn’t: a way to fight back. When the group offers to teach her how to kill the shadow creatures, Leah jumps at the chance. But something is brewing with the creatures. They’re tracking down the hunters like there’s no tomorrow. Leah suspects that maybe there won’t be, and it’s up to her to make sure tomorrow comes. Because she’ll do anything to stop the shadows, including risking her life—and the life of the one she loves—to keep the world from being lost to darkness forever.

Buy the ebook, the paperback 

Meradeth's never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:
*She's a Northern California girl. And now is braving the cold winters in Montana.
*When she's not writing, she's sequencing dead people's DNA. For fun!
*She’s also an anthropology professor and loves getting people interested in studying humans.
*If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she's terrified of heights.

Meradeth Houston's website, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Amazon, Goodreads, Blog

Friday, November 7, 2014

News, more artsy images & stuff! Plus what are YOU up to?

Hi all, I'm still in the thick of launch madness. Ever been through it? Ever had two books launch at once? If so, you feel my pride, fear, exhilaration and pain! Reviews are trickling in, many Facebook messages must be posted, word must get out! It's fun, exhausting, maddening, engaging--all of it at once. My writing students, readers, fellow bloggers (you!) and family help keep me grounded. Thanks! And thanks to all who are reading and reviewing, helping get the word out about Private Internship and Dorianna, and hanging out at my Facebook events. A special thanks to those who bought copies! I am so very grateful.  Random news:

The rather dashing, but dangerous villain from DORIANNA
For those who do NOT like reading on Kindles, Dorianna finally came out in paperback! 
Pick up a copy from Amazon.

I've been having more fun with images and titles. I created this banner for the street team I'm continuing to build. Renamed it Kitsy Cat's Crew. Silly & fun. Like my new banner?
Interested in joining? Free books to read & review, swag, attention to your WIPs and more. Sign up form here.

The Dorianna tour and Rafflecopter with a huge array of great ebooks is still open (until NOV 24). Check out the remaining stops & scroll down to enter the Rafflecopter here.

Today is the last day for Private Internship's YA Bound tour. Here are the last stops with a couple of really nice reviews and a character interview of my main players: Sienna & Caz:
Paradise of Pages – Review ***
books are love - Review ***
Reader Girls - Character interviews! Caz and Sienna
My Crazy Corner - Promo Post

Today's Dorianna stop: my guest post on new twists to Dr. Faustus!

What are YOU up to in November? Doing Nano? If so, feel free to buddy me (CatherineStine).