Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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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).

Monday, November 3, 2014

YA Bound tour for Private Internship, plus special request: ebook to paperback help

This week is the YA Bound tour for Private Internship. One more big promo push for my beloved, troubled artists, Sienna and Caz in their sugar warehouse. And a personal request to all of you who are curious about, or already enjoy new adult lit. I'm not often this direct, but... Inkspell, my publisher can only release Private Internship in paperback if it sells over a certain amount for the first three months. I'll be attending YAtopia June 2015 in Nashville and the RT Booklovers con May 2015 in Dallas. For that I'll need paperbacks. Plus, I'd love to meet you-authors, readers. So, please consider buying an ebook!
Amazon, B&N, All Romance Ebooks, Kobo
What book bloggers are saying about Private Internship:
“A must read!” -Amazeball’s Book Addicts
“Sexy, smart, compelling!” -Booklover 
“Believable characters who show emotional growth.” -Summer’s Book Blog
“Could not stop reading.” -Christine’s Book Blog
***Also, the Dorianna tour hosted by Bewitching Books continues. The Rafflecopter is still open through NOV 24, chock full of great fantasy and SF reads from lots of authors, many in our community! To enter, scroll down. To check out the Bewitching Books Dorianna tour click here.
***A question: what promo do you do? What types of promo do you feel are most effective?
Here's the YA Bound Private Internship Tour lineup:

November 3
Reading to Distraction - Review ***
A Book Addict's Bookshelves - Promo
Undercover Book Reviews - Promo Post
Books Need TLC - Review ***
The Phantom Paragrapher - Review ***
November 4
Between The Lines - Review ***
Kelly P's Blog - Promo Post
Victoria Simcox's Blog - Promo Post
Mischievous Reads – Review (TK) & character profile
Reviews from a Dreamer - Promo Post
Musings of a Bibliophage - Review (TK)

November 5
The Caffeinated Booknerd - Review ***
Booksessions - Promo Post

November 6
Andrea Buginsky, Author - Character Interview!
book lovers club - Review ***
Margay Leah Justice - Promo Post

November 7
Paradise of Pages – Review ***
books are love - Review ***
Reader Girls - Character interviews! Caz and Sienna
My Crazy Corner - Promo Post
V's Reads - Review

YA Bound Rafflecopter:

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Bewitching Tours Rafflecopter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway