Monday, February 23, 2015

Cover reveal: Fall of Knight by Steven Cross

Book details:
Title: Fall of Knight
Author: Steven Cross
Genre: YA psychological thriller
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Release date: April 7th, 2015

A normal teenager Dean Knight is not.

With a mental illness that threatens to take over his sanity; a sister who’s deep in her own problems; and a wasted mother who couldn’t care less about it all, Dean is left to battle real life on his own. School, bullies and medications are his realities. 

Then there are also the ghosts, the hallucinations and of course – the monster.

In the middle of it all, when everything seems to lose purpose, hope comes shining down on Dean’s miserable life. Her name is Ella and for one reason or another, she actually wants to be close to Dean. With Ella’s help, the lost teenage boy decides that he could finally win a battle or two – both in real life and in his writing.

But hope is a tricky thing. And the monster seems to know that.

When secrets buried down for almost a decade come out in the open, what do you do?
Book links:

About the author:

Steve Cross’s first successful writing project was a play about a werewolf that his eighth grade English class performed. Though the play was never published, the warm fuzzy feeling from its public performance has never quite left Cross, who continues to sink his teeth into a variety of writing projects. His first publication was a haiku, followed by two middle grade novels published by POD publishers and a young adult novel published by Buck’s County Publishing.

A fanatical St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan; a lover of all kinds of YA fiction, as well as the writings of Dean Koontz and Stephen King; a fan of all kinds of music – from Abba to the Zac Brown band, Cross dreams of the day he will write a best-selling novel or sell a screenplay for seven figures, so he can retire and write more best-selling fiction.  Until that day, he and his wife Jean, Missourians born and bred, will continue to toil in the field of education and live in peace with their two dogs and two cats and wait around until their daughter Megan and son-in-law Sean give them grandchildren to spoil.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Author Interview: Ronesa Aveela

My dear readers,
I'm not sure how many of you know that I'm from Bulgaria. I used to be proud to be a Bulgarian because of our incredibly rich history, bravery and strength that kept our culture through the centuries of hardships under the yoke of the Ottoman Empire. Today though... things are quite different. 
Which is why my spirit always lifts up when I see a fellow Bulgarian accomplish something worth sharing. Today I'd like to introduce you to a duo of authors (Rebecca & Anelia) who go by one pen name and share my love for Bulgarian culture. Please welcome Ronesa Aveela!

Me: Why Bulgarian mythology? Who told you about the Samodivi?
Ronesa: I was born and raised in a Bulgarian household and have witnessed many unique rituals and beliefs practiced by my parents and grandparents. They never fully explained these rituals and beliefs, so they continue to be a mystery to me even today.
Bulgarian folklore is rich in rituals and tales. There are tales about “lamia,” the Bulgarian version of a dragon, “talasum,” as well “Samodivi.” These rituals have survived thousands years and have been practiced by Bulgarians, Greeks and other Europeans for countless generations. Some of these stories and rituals may seem silly, but the fact that they are still with us is a testament to just how strong forces of nature and love are even today.
My grandmother was a talented story teller and healer. When I visited her, she always had so many different stories to tell. One of the most fascinating myths was about Samodivi.
They are the most enchanting mythological creatures in Bulgarian folklore. They are known for their beauty, power and magical seductive voice. They’ve been portrayed for centuries in many fairy tales, poems and legends passed from one generation to another. Numerous legends about them are still alive. In remote villages, people pay respect to them and are afraid of these creatures who can seduce men with their beautiful songs.  In Bulgaria, small villages have been deserted because locals are still afraid of the Samodivi powers. A man was found dead in the woods, murdered and left naked, and the common belief was that this was done by Samodivi.
With “Mystical Emona,” I want to introduce readers to these ancient beliefs, rituals and traditions that have survived through the centuries.

Me: Did you actually go hunt a Samodiva? Do you think such mythical creatures could still exist in our modern world?
Ronesa: As I child, I was told scary stories about Samodivi and was curious to find if they really existed.  I didn’t hunt one, but I once went with a friend to a graveyard at midnight to see if we could see a vampire. The only things we discovered were the grave stones and a few scared cats. But we humans always want to look beyond what we see and breathe to see what’s on the other side of the Moon.
I think beliefs and fairy tales are created for a reason. They are an important part of our lives and help us to connect to our future, with our imagination and creativity. The existence of Samodivi (Wildalone) hasn’t been proven and may never be. Their images simply represent the fear and respect of the unknown and of nature. When we don’t understand something, we call it magic, witchcraft or bad, but sometimes it is a reality we don’t want to face.

Me: What traits of those enchanting ladies speak to you the most?
Ronesa: For some they are witches of the darkness, but I think they are Thracian Goddesses, daughters of Bendis, the Thracian Goddess of Hunting and Nature. There’s a reason why they come back to our world on March 25 each year. This is the time when Spring returns, bringing light and love.

Me: If you had a picture of someone in your wallet, who would it be?
Ronesa: Hmm, this is a very hard question. My handsome husband and love of my love, and one of Ian Somerhalder.
Me: How do you take your coffee?
Ronesa: Black
Me: What's your greatest fear?
Ronesa: I won’t have enough time to write all books I have in my head.
Me: Is there someone you'd like to thank for encouraging you through the hard times?
Ronesa: My friend Rebecca, for working with me, editing, writing and sharing the passion of writing.

Me: How did you come with the idea for your current story?
Ronesa: My story was inspired by Emona, a village on the coast of the Black Sea. I visited there in the summer of 1998. The wild beauty of this mystical place, a land and its people and history hidden from the world, left a deep impression on me. Emona opened a new world for me—time turned back thousands of years. I imagined the era when the great Thracians ruled the land, when King Rez defended his people and the cape. I envisioned the Thracian legions and their giant horses galloping with pride as portrayed in the Iliad. I imagined the time when the old lighthouse, now so lonely and forgotten, was once alive, and its light illuminated the way for sailors on the stormy Black Sea.
I imagined the time when the now-ruined church was alive with activity. As I stood beneath the dome of the ruined church, the wind danced inside and blasted the walls covered with faded paintings. I felt the gaze of the cracked faces of the icons painted by the hands of talented unknown artists centuries ago.
The light shone through the window in the form of a rudder and lit the altar. The church was ruined, but it was once filled with generations of people praying to God for good health and luck. I heard the cry of babies who being baptized, and the music of the tupan and shepherd pipe celebrating the union of two souls—woman and man in colorful costumes and flowers. As well as children holding baskets with Easter eggs with bracelets woven from white and red strings sign for happiness and good health.
A whirlwind of galloping horses brought me back to reality, their power, independent freedom and strength impressive as they galloped like a hurricane along the foothills of the Stara Planina. The moment remained imprinted on my mind. It inspired me to use my pen and my brushes to unveil a story of love and mystery, and to depict its wonders through my characters, born from the imagination of my personal experience.

Me: Why do you write?
Ronesa: To tell a story and take my readers on a journey. I call each book a “virtual trip.” If you like to read, the world is in your hands.

Me: Tell us about your favorite book character.
Ronesa: Sultana from “The Iron Lamp,” the first book of Talev's epic masterpiece.
Me: Do you feel scared to pick up a book about which you've heard a lot of different opinions?
Ronesa: No, if I like the blurb, I want to try it myself. It is like a meal; we each have different tastes and sometimes you can find a hidden jewel.
Me: Do you read any blogs regularly?
Ronesa: Brain Picking to keep my mind fresh and feed my soul.

Me: Who would you like to take a picture with?
Ronesa: Nina Dobrev. I would like to see her in my book “Mystical Emona” as Kalyna.
Me: Fruit you can't live without.
Ronesa: Apples.

Me: If you had to send a post card right now, what would you write on it?
Ronesa: I would send one to all my readers and write, “I love you and thank you for being part of my world.”
Me: If you could take a day off from your everyday life, where would you go?
Ronesa: I love boating and deep sea fishing. This is where you can find me during the summer and where some of my ideas are coming together into a story. I like the Infinity of the ocean.

Information about “Mystical Emona”
“Mystical Emona” is a story where the village Emona embodies Bulgaria and its culture and the village is a character itself. Although the main storyline of “Mystical Emona” is a love story between a mortal and a Samodiva, I’ve embedded old rituals and beliefs I’ve learned through the years. It’s a lesson in history and traditions delivered in an easy and pleasant way. It’s a way to introduce and picture the unique local rituals, beliefs, customs and food of this region.
The book was presented on October 9 last year at Boston University School of Global Studies during an event called “Bulgarian Voices” and also is available on Amazon US and UK. I also interviewed with Bulgarian National Radio in October.
The links below go to my blogs where readers can learn more about other projects:
I’m currently working on a book called “Light Love Rituals” and the second book of the “Mystical Emona” series, “Purple Cape.” In this book, readers will meet Dames Blanches (White Ladies), the unknown sisters of the Bulgarian Samodivi.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Blog Tour (Character Interview): Four Rubbings by Jennifer L. Hotes

Today is my stop in the Four Rubbings tour by author Jennifer L. Hotes. I took the opportunity to interview one of the characters - the one who encountered the major problem - Josie Jameson. Here's her take on things:

Josie, why did you think that taking the role of the martyr would be good for you?
Josie: I never thought of it as being good or bad for me. In fact, before all this happened, I never thought of myself as strong. My mother was strong. She kept being a mom and artist until the day the cancer took her. After she died, well Dad was a wreck and my baby brother, Owen, was too young to understand. I guess that’s why I tried to step into Mom’s shoes, look after the guys, all that stuff. Being a martyr wasn’t really a choice, it was more like a necessity, you know?

Why did you think that rubbing your mom’s grave would bring you closure?
Josie: I didn’t think it’d bring me closure, I wanted it to be an opening. I was forgetting her. Sure, I have pictures still, but all the memories are growing fuzzy. That night, I wanted to make a new memory of her. Maybe I’ve watched one too many ghost hunting shows, but I wanted to feel her spirit when I rubbed her grave. Does that make sense?

Do you really believe your mom is finally gone?
Josie: She is, I know it because I don’t dream about her anymore. Ever since Memorial Day when I honored her last wish and buried her strange puzzle box above her grave. She’s gone. It leaves my insides feeling hollow and raw.

How did it feel to finally understand that your friends were always on your side?
Josie: I spent so much time after Mom died trying to act like I was okay, but I wasn’t. I’m still not completely okay, if you want to know the truth. But, all this time, I thought my friends believed my act. This year though, I found out they never bought my act. They always saw the real me, loved the real Josie. It’s pretty incredible to be loved for who you really are, secrets, scars and all. Like everyone, I suppose, my friends make me stronger than I actually am.

Book details:
Title: Four Rubbings, The Stone Witch Society Book 1
Author: Jennifer L. Hotes
Genre: young adult gothic thriller
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing

The night the barrier between the dead and the living is as thin as muslin. Fourteen-year old Josie, haunted by the death of her mother, leads her best friends to an ancient cemetery to rub graves. Convinced she will come away with proof of her mother’s spirit at last, the evening takes an unexpected turn as the teens gravitate four ways into the haunted grounds.
Set against the backdrop of the rainy Pacific Northwest, four graves will be rubbed, touching off a series of events that will rattle their once mundane lives. From the lonely World War II hero to an accused witch, the people buried beneath the stones have stories that need an ending.
The journey to unravel the mysteries leaves the friends wondering if the graves would’ve been better off left alone.

Book links:

About the author:
Encouraged by her mother-in-law, Elizabeth A. Hotes, who told her to create something and share it with others, Jennifer writes and illustrates to keep her memory alive.
To date, Jennifer’s favorite medium is pen and ink, but she also loves to paint a wall or canvas.
Her works have been featured at benefit art auctions, adorned the walls of public spaces, graced  homes and enhanced books with vibrant covers and internal illustrations.
Four Rubbings is Jennifer’s first novel, though she’s busy writing the second book in the Stone Witch Series presently. Four Rubbings is great for readers that enjoyed the Harry Potter series, and has been a fun book club pick across the country. The author loves Skyping into book clubs, so email her and ask – she may just surprise you with a cyber-visit!

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And here's the giveaway with a photo of the amazing prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway