Spotlight: Rhodi’s Light by Megan Linski

Quick note for new visitors — Yesterday, I revealed the cover for my fourth Noon Onyx novel, POCKET FULL OF TINDER. To celebrate, I’m offering two giveaways: a $25 eGC to a bookstore (winner’s choice) and a $10 fantasy book from Book Depository. To see the cover, read my thoughts, and enter the giveaways, click here, but only AFTER reading about Megan’s Rhodi Saga! 🙂

the-rhodi-saga

Rhodi’s Light

Flight. Hyperspeed. Clairvoyance. These are some of the powers gifted to the Rhodi, an ancient sect of assassins who defend Crescentia, a dystopian world with a dying hope.

Dyliana Fairsson is one of them. After losing her parents to a suspicious accident, she and her twin brother, Devin, join the Rhodi to avoid starvation. Under the direction of her master, Dylan struggles to learn the strength of her magic …as well as hide the growing scars on her wrists.

Can Dylan become the warrior, the hero, she’s destined to be? Or is she fated to fall from the light into the darkness?

Rhodi Rising

Forced into hiding.
Desperate to find their masters.

In the past few months since the attack on their home, twin assassins Dylan and Devin have grown restless. With the Rhodi facing extinction, they search for their masters Talidin and Tavana, only to discover they’ve gone missing. With nowhere to turn, the twins seek help from a pair of mysterious spies, only to find the trail gone cold, marked by hints of torture and destruction.

Dylan and Devin piece together the events that led to the disappearance of their fellow Rhodi. As their enemies close in for the kill, Dylan discovers that some things are impossible for a Rhodi…but not for a tigress.

Rhodi’s Lullaby

Cities burn.
Governments fall.
Lives are lost in a desperate war…one the Rhodi are losing.

The world has been devastated by the tyranny of the Red Huntress. To save Crescentia, Dylan and Devin attempt to decipher the mystery of the ancient letter their ancestors left behind, the only hope of salvation for their kind. Dylan continues to fight foes both on the battlefield and within her own mind, all while wrestling with the confused feelings she has for Enfys, the alluring spy who has become devoted to her cause.

In the epic conclusion to the thrilling Rhodi Saga, one brave warrior will stand in the way of corruption, to take place before her destiny…or her death.

More about Megan

Megan Linski is the owner of Gryfyn Publishing and has had a passion for writing ever since she completed her first (short) novel at the age of 6. Her specializations are romance, fantasy, and contemporary fiction for people aged 14-24. When not writing she enjoys ice skating, horse riding, theatre, archery, fishing, and being outdoors. She is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and is an active fighter against common variable immune deficiency disorder. She lives in Michigan.

Megan Linski also writes under the pen name of Natalie Erin for the Creatures of the Lands Series, co-authored with Krisen Lison.

 

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young adult, urban fantasy, Rachel Marks

5 Powerful Sources of Inspiration for #Writers by Rachel Marks

Taking a break from my Top Ten SF/F TV Shows Countdown to host Rachel Marks, author of The Dark Cycle YA UF series, which includes DARKNESS BRUTAL, DARKNESS FAIR, and the upcoming DARKNESS SAVAGE. Rachel’s list of creative inspirations includes sources that are fun, interesting, beautiful, bittersweet, and heart-wrenching. At the end of her tour (which ends today!), she’s giving away one $20 eGC and winner’s choice of one print or audio book in her series. Details below. Welcome, Rachel!

What Sparks the Flame?

Many things inspire a writer or an artist, and while most of the answers to the question of What inspires you? are similar, the reasoning behind the “why” are different. So, what inspires me? Well, here’s a few answers.

Books, Books, Books: I can’t read enough books. I love Classics, Horror, Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Romance. I read YA, NA, and AA. I didn’t really start reading until I was in high school and I pretty much only fell into it because I wanted the world to disappear. Being a teenager is tough, and those pages of worlds and loves kept me sane. Today they keep me inspired.

Movies/TV: I am in love with all things BBC, addicted to the cheese of CW (Go, Smallville!), and infatuated with Jon Snow. The thing about movies and TV that spark the inner muse, are the characters mixed with the intense emotions. I suppose it’s the same reason I love books so much, the same reason I love writing, creating. It’s the core of the stories. Watching the torment, the angst, and the falling in love. It inspires me to push further in my own work and attempt to reach that level of emotion. To impact. To tug and pull at the heartstrings. To captivate.

“I want to understand, to get to the heart of things, to search out what it means to be human.”

– Rachel Marks

Humans: There is nothing like humanity to draw in the reader. Because we all know what it feels like to be one. I think this goes to the core of why I write. I want to understand, to get to the heart of things, to search out what it means to be human (or Kryptonian). I don’t want to seem like a weirdo (people can’t know the truth!) but I really do enjoy people watching. Listening to people’s conversations may seem the crazy-lady activity, but it’s great food for fiction fodder a well.

Nature: The ocean feels like home. The forest smells like hope. The mountains remind me how small we are. There’s nothing like nature to ground me and send my imagination soaring at the same time. The colors, the sounds . . . it’s so soothing. When I’m stressed I always make my way to the sea; I watch the waves and feel the salt on my skin. The woods are magical, the trees giving me peace in the turmoil. I love nature. There’s really nothing like it for soul food, and that’s vital to keeping the muse happy.

Pain: Life will hit us. It’s a given. No matter how rich or poor, no matter our creed, we’re all guaranteed to feel life kick us sideways. I don’t want pain. But it is unavoidable. I have felt far too much of it in my life, from victimhood to cancer to the death of my amazing father. But as an artist I process it in the healthiest way I know. First I pray. Then I pour it out in images and stories. I recalled the pain of being a cutter when I wrote the teen girl struggling with self-worth in Darkness Brutal. I dug for the emotion of childbirth when I wrote the scene of Rose’s sister struggling to bring life into the world in my novella, Winter Rose. But the one thing I’ve learned about pain is that it becomes almost beautiful when counteracted with joy. Or love. Like the torment of childbirth, bringing forth a new life. Without heartache, how else could we truly understand peace?

So, these are the things that inspire me. What inspires you?

More about

The Dark Cycle Series

young adult, urban fantasy, Rachel Marks,

Darkness Brutal

Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer.

In desperation, Aidan seeks out the help of Sid, the enigmatic leader of a group of teens who run LA Paranormal, an Internet reality show that fights demons and ghosts. In their company, Aidan believes he’s finally found a haven for Ava. But when he meets Kara, a broken girl who can spin a hypnotic web of passionate energy, he awakens powers he didn’t know he had―and unleashes a new era of war between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness.

With the fate of humanity in his hands, can Aidan keep the Darkness at bay and accept his brilliant, terrifying destiny?

Amazon   |   Listen to an Audio Sample

young adult, urban fantasy, Rachel Marks

Darkness Fair

Against the backdrop of an ancient battle between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness, Aidan struggles to control the newly awakened powers that seem to be his only hope for rescuing Ava, his little sister, trapped somewhere beyond the Veil. As he gravitates to Kara, the beguiling and dangerously unstable girl who helped him realize his abilities, a terrible mistake of fate is revealed that points him back toward Rebecca, whose role is becoming more critical to the battle. And no matter what his heart wants, it might be too late to stop the pieces already in motion.

Without knowing the sacrifices that will be required of them, Aidan and his motley crew of friends—each with their own role to play—must face the demon threat head-on. They’re the only ones keeping the growing army of Darkness at bay, and if they fail, the future of humanity could be lost.

Amazon  |  Listen to an Audio Sample

And the upcoming Darkness Savage

young adult, urban fantasy, Rachel Marks

More about Rachel

Rachel A. Marks is an award-winning author and professional artist, a SoCal girl, cancer survivor, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. She was voted: Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she’ll never have to test the theory. Her debut series The Dark Cycle, described as Dickens’ Oliver Twist meets TV’s Supernatural, is now out through Skyscape, beginning with DARKNESS BRUTAL.

More about the Giveaway

$20 Amazon gift card and chosen paperback or audio in the series. Click here to enter. Click here for Jill’s complete giveaway rules.

Rachel A Marks Tour Banner

Thank you, Rachel, for guest blogging today! For anyone who missed my previous posts counting down the TEN BEST SFF TV SHOWS, here are the links to the first six. Tomorrow, the countdown resumes!

10. Witches of East End

9. Shannara

8. Bitten

7. The 100

6. The Magicians

5. Blindspot

BONESEEKER Author Brynn Chapman: Newton’s Inspiration… It Wasn’t An Apple

Brynn Chapman is here today with a fun post about how her dog inspired one of the minor characters in her recently released YA historical romance/mystery BONESEEKER. There are lots of cute pictures and (tattle) tales of furry pups doing frustrating things + a tour wide giveaway. Details at the end of the post. Enjoy, all! Welcome, Brynn!

Boneseeker Cover

A Tale Involving Sparkles, Fangs… and Fur

I see you are a native Pittsburgher, as am I. Even though you attended Penn State, and I, Pitt—I still wanted to give you something special. I decided to discuss a minor character for this blog visit—minor, but recurring, and vitally important to the BONESEEKER SERIES: Newton, Arabella Holmes’s dog.

[JA: I’m actually headed back to the ‘burgh for a visit with my childhood BFF tomorrow. Plan on taking the kids to my old haunts, maybe down to the Point, the Riverwalk… not really sure yet, it’s been a LONG TIME since I’ve been back. 🙂 ]

Sparkles 1
Four footed, sharp toothed inspiration

Okay so this isn’t precisely Arabella’s dog—said dog in question, however, is the inspiration for Newton. Arabella prefers animals to people. Like her famous father, Arabella…lacks social graces. She prefers animals to homo sapiens. They always love her, never spurn. Bella undertakes the training of her dogs as she does any of her scientific obsessions. To the n-th degree. My dog, Merry, was chosen from a long line of autism dogs. Bred for intelligence, tolerance and loyalty. Now is when I should insert my heartrending story…but I can’t…

I can however introduce you to the insanity that is MERRY. Or as she is called on Facebook, #sparkles. is hilarity/insanity personified.…adventures, we have had together thus far.

Here are a series of Facebook posts about MERRY under her pseudonym, Sparkles.

Merry a.k.a. "Sparkles"
Merry a.k.a. “Sparkles”

There are days…i am so insane with #sparkles, i cannot form amusing words. Today is one of them. So, boy #2 on antibiotics, We literally just got them. This am, I go downstairs (remember, its like 630) for literally 4 min….and return to see something white and crushed in her teeth. The antibiotic bottle. Immediately my mind goes crazy “I will have to cx all my patients, she will have to go to the vet hospital” Then I see them merely strewn about the ground like pretty pink polka dots. Apparently she just wanted the bottle. #seriously #ImMental

type type type. “Stop!” (barks at squirrel) type type type #whine massive paw rakes leg. type type type VERY front teeth nip soft flesh at forearm

#doIneedtoGoOn#adNauseum

Spray bottle: dog's best friend, worst enemy... or tastiest chew toy?
Spray bottle: dog’s best friend, worst enemy… or tastiest chew toy?

can i talk about how im #editing holdin a spray bottle in one hand, typing with the other. she literally just grabbed the tablecloth with her teeth. #saveMe

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO i use a spray bottle with #sparkles things have been nuts here, so she hasnt been getting her exercise…i came home tonight to SHREDDED SPRAY BOTTLE> GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH #thwarted

Brynn, how could you be frustrated with a dog as cute as this?! 🙂

Warning. The following is a post of truth. Not a figment of the author’s imagination. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Yes, #sparkles So….all before 8 am. The temp hovers near zero. I take sausage and sparkles out. *Deep bark bark-the scary one. Sparkles bolts across field, INTO neighbor’s yard, Onto neighbors FREAKING PORCH, where two other dogs are behind glass, scratching, barking, waking their masters. I manage to grab hold of collar, back out into the knee deep snow, and after a struggle worthy of holmes and watson, collapse onto my butt, wet to the waste now, and manage the ‘click’ of the leash to collar. #itCantGetMoreFabulous #goodMorningSunshine

Thank you, direct tv, for my 7th, 30 minute conversation, just trying to order a video. Thank you, cell phone, for nearly dying, necessitating i run to plug into the wall, and am then trapped. Thank you, #sparkles for your obsession with my fuzzy socks. And biting them, while im trapped, tethered to the wall, and cannot scream as you bite my feet, lest the direct tv lady call for help.  Thank you, resolve as you cracked and i just remove the favorite socks, throwing them across the room to be shredded in the white fangs of death.  #thankyou #thisIsMyLife

I BRAKE FOR FUZZY SOCKS

Newton accompanied Arabella on the trip from England—he has a vocabulary, as does MERRY. She understands the difference between PORCH and OUTSIDE. She understands when you put your hand in your pocket, you may be reaching for a shock collar.

She….no, really. She…found a way to turn on the hose trigger herself, so she could squirt herself in the face. Which she enjoys—for some unknown reason.

MERRY and NEWTON are as intelligent as any toddler, and get into quite as much trouble.

So, if dogs interest you in the slightest, have a peek at BONESEEKER. Bella and Newton are waiting.

More About Boneseeker

Arabella Holmes was born different and raised different. After it became apparent she wouldn’t fit the role of a proper 1900’s lady, her father, Sherlock, called in some lingering favors, and landed her a position at the Mutter Museum. The museum was Arabella’s dream; she was to become a purveyor of abnormal science. What her father called a BoneSeeker.

Henry Watson arrives at the Mutter Museum with a double assignment–to become a finder of abnormal antiquities and to watch over and keep Arabella Holmes. An easy task, if he could only get her to speak to him instead of throwing knives in his general direction.

But this is no time for child’s play. The two teens are assigned to a most secret exploration, when the hand of a Nephilim is unearthed in upstate New York. Soon, Arabella and Henry are caught in a fight for their lives as scientific debate swirls around them. Are the bones from a Neanderthal … or are they living proof of fallen angels, who supposedly mated with humans according to ancient scrolls?

Sent to recover the skeleton, they discover they are the second team to have been deployed and the entire first team is dead. And now they must trust their instincts and rely on one another in order to survive and uncover the truth.

Brynn Chapman
Brynn Chapman

More About Brynn

Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome.

Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.

More About the Giveaway

  • $10 Amazon Gift Card
  • 1 print copy of Boneseeker open to US Shipping

Click here for the Rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway.

Boneseeker Banner

So how about you? Have any Tales from the Dogside to share? Many thanks to Brynn for sharing pictures of her adorable dogs and for guest blogging today! 

Interview: Imogen Rose, Author of Paranormal YA Novel UPRISING

The plan was to post an interview of Imogen Rose today but I totally screwed up and didn’t get her the questions on time. So I’m doing a spotlight for her, which I normally don’t do. Big apology to Imogen! But you all get a chance to read about UPRISING, her latest paranormal YA novel, which is book #2 in her Bonfire Chronicles. You also have another chance to win her great tour-wide prizes, which include a $50 Amazon gift card, 10 Kindle copies of her novel INITIATION, and 10 Kindle copies of her novel PORTAL. The Rafflecopter link is below. Hope everyone is having a nice weekend! [Saturday afternoon update: Check out Imogen’s Q&A below. Her birthday is on Halloween. Pretty neat, huh? Anyone else have a Halloween birthday?]

paranormal young adult novel

Interview with Imogen Rose

Jill Archer: You have two different series, the Portal Chronicles and the Bonfire Chronicles. It looks like the two series can be read together. Do they share characters or settings?

Imogen Rose: They very much share settings, and the Portal Chronicles eventually blends in with the Bonfire Chronicles. I always tell my readers that the books are best read in the order that I write them (Portal, Equilibrium, Quantum, Faustine, Momentum, Initiation, Integration, Fusion, Uprising), though the two series can be read separately.

JA: Can you tell us a little bit more about UPRISING? Who are the main characters? What’s the Bonfire Academy like?

IR: Uprising is the fourth installment in the Bonfire Chronicles. The book is divided in four parts, and the story is told from two POV’s—Cordelia and Faustine. And the rest of the Bonfire favorites are back, as are some characters from the Portal Chronicles. The Academy is a dangerous training ground for the offspring of the elite global supernaturals.

JA: Love those names — Cordelia and Faustine. So, in addition to being a writer, you’re also an immunologist. It sounds like fascinating work. Do you use things that you’ve learned on the job in your books?

IR: I guess it was an inspiration for aspects of my first novel. I use what I learn from every part of my life, from being a mom to my love of shopping, in my stories.

JA: I agree that inspiration can be found almost everywhere. Speaking of everywhere, you’ve lived in some diverse places — Sweden, London, and New Jersey. I read in your bio that London is one of your favorites. What do you love about it?

IR: I felt like I spent my formative (as a new adult) years in London. It was where I landed my first (apart from vacation work) job, bought my first house, and really laid down roots. It felt like home.

JA: Are you dressing up for Halloween this year? If so, what’s your costume?

IR: It’s my birthday on Halloween, so I fight the cute neighborhood monsters and princesses with Chanel. My younger daughter is now at an age that she’d be mortified if I dressed up. Wait! Now, there is a thought…

JA: lol. Sounds fun. Best wishes for a terrific birthday. Thanks for the interview!

More About Uprising

The global infrastructure that allows humans and supernaturals to coexist is under threat. A breakdown of this carefully maintained system erupts into worldwide chaos and could eventually lead to Armageddon.

Code Uprising is activated.

The power of the supernatural world shifts from the city councils to Bonfire Academy and the other elite paranormal preps. Now, the staff and students must follow the code, however deadly the ramifications, to return power to the city sovereigns in order to prevent an apocalypse.

UPRISING is available for purchase here:

Kindle   Kobo   Paperback

More About Imogen

Imogen Rose
Imogen Rose

Imogen Rose is the author of the bestselling series, the Portal Chronicles, which has attained cult status within indie literature and become a favorite among teens and adults alike. An immunologist by profession, Dr. Rose published her first work of fiction in 2010. She now writes full time and is currently working on her second teen series, the Bonfire Chronicles. Imogen was born in Sweden and has lived in several places, counting London among her favorites. She moved to New Jersey in 2001. A self-confessed Hermès addict, Imogen freely admits to being obsessed with Kurt Cobain. She enjoys shopping, traveling, watching movies, and hanging out with her family, friends, and Chihuahua.

Imogen can be found online here:

If you would like to enter to win the $50 Amazon gift card, 10 Kindle copies of her novel INITIATION, and 10 Kindle copies of her novel PORTAL, click here. Thanks to Imogen for the chance to win some awesome prizes!

Uprising Banner

#Writers: One Author’s Path to Publication for her #NewAdult Book

Molly Zenk is the next guest blogger in my New Adult guest blog series. When I heard the title for her YA/New Adult romantic comedy 90 Cats and No Litter Box in Sight I thought it sounded hilarious. The cover is adorably cute too. Molly is here to tell us about her path to publication — and how hard it was. Things may be starting to change, but not so long ago, no one had ever even heard of “New Adult” and trying to sell a story with characters aged 18-24 was pretty darn difficult. (Molly’s also giving away one e-book version of 90 Cats and No Litter Box in Sight. Comment below to enter to win.) Welcome, Molly!
90 Cats and No Litter Box in Sight

The Long Road to New Adult Publication by Molly Zenk

In 2009, after many revisions, I finally finished what I considered a marketable draft of a romantic comedy titled 90 Cats And No Litter Box In Sight. The characters were eighteen, so I queried it as Young Adult, but the catch was they were freshman in college instead of seniors in high school. After three offers of representation, I signed with my choice and entered the fray of submission to editors. We waited. . .and waited. . . .and waited. . .Feedback trickled in. “Love the voice, humor, and characters but there’s no place for this in Young Adult. Maybe try Adult.” Pitching it as Adult got the same response. “Love the voice, humor, and characters but there’s no place for this in Adult.” It became clear that editors didn’t consider the novel Young Adult but they didn’t consider it Adult either. So what was it? I didn’t realize it then, but it was part of a newly emerging genre – New Adult.

The term “New Adult Fiction” was coined by St Martin’s Press in 2009. They wanted to address the need for books readers 18-25 could relate to with issues such as college life, dating, moving away from home, being independent, and finding jobs post college. While a great idea, and definitely buzzworthy, it didn’t catch on as quickly as St Martin’s Press hoped. It took three years for New Adult to really come into its own.

My novel, 90 Cats, was on submission for a year and a half before I finally ended my working relationship with my agent. When you love and believe in something as much as a writer believes in their manuscripts, it’s hard to reconcile it may never see the light of day. After my agent on record clause expired, I submitted directly to smaller presses. Eleven days after my initial query, Etopia Press offered me a publishing contract. Three years of believing in the novel and the New Adult genre finally paid off. 90 Cats And No Litter Box In Sight was published June 2012.

More About 90 Cats

They’re perfect for each other…even if she doesn’t know it yet.

Glynis Kirby’s love life stinks. Her boyfriend dumped her for another guy. Her next-door-neighbor held her hostage on prom night. And now she’s been trapped in a Porta-Potty by a monkey with a switch blade. And she’s not even going to talk about her date with the poly sci major with the Pocket Ouija Board. Maybe she really is desperate enough to take everyone’s advice—including her mother’s (ugh!)—and date the dashing Daniel Bond.

Corin Lancashire runs the popular blog site mydreamgirl.com where he chronicles his less than stellar attempts to get noticed by his dream girl, Glynis Kirby. After taking the “all girls think stripteases are hot” advice from a reader, and discovering that “all girls but Glynis think stripteases are hot,” Corin disables the comments feature on his blog and takes matters into his own hands to build a friendship-crawling-toward-relationship with his dream girl. But competing with the charming, suave, and well-dressed Daniel is a hazard Corin didn’t anticipate, and neither is the information he digs up on Daniel that could threaten Glynis’s life…

Where to Buy

More About Molly

Molly Zenk writes Young Adult and New Adult historical fiction and romantic comedy.  90 Cats (Etopia Press, 2012) is her third novel.  Chasing Byron (Highland Press, 2008) and Unheard Melodies (Wings Press, 2008, reprint Highland Press, 2013) are also available. She lives with her husband, three young daughters, one dog, and one cat in Arvada, Colorado.  She can be found online at her website and on Facebook.

Writers/creators, what about you? Have any inspiring tales of sticking with a project and seeing it finally pay off? Readers, do you think the cover for 90 Cats is as cute as I do? Leave a comment to enter to win an e-book version of  90 Cats and No Litter Box in Sight. Congratulations on bringing this book to market, Molly! Thanks for guest blogging today. 🙂

Theresa McClinton, Author of The Stone Guardian, YA Paranormal Romance

young adult paranormal romance
The Stone Guardian is available now

Theresa McClinton loves to travel. She spent her childhood on the island of Kodiak, Alaska and from there moved to North Carolina and then to Central Ohio, where she now lives with her husband and kids. She’s here to chat about researching the ancient Maya for her new novel, The Stone Guardian, which was released on December 14, 2012. It’s a young adult paranormal romance that would also appeal to adults who like YA and fans of “New Adult” fiction. To celebrate her release, she is giving away a copy of The Stone Guardian to one lucky commenter. Welcome, Theresa!

Why I Chose the Ancient Maya for My New Series by Thersa McClinton

Hi, Jill. Thanks so much for having me on your blog today. I can’t tell you how excited I am to spend some time kicking my feet up and taking a rest from the chaos. I’ve got my steaming cup of vanilla flavored coffee, fuzzy slippers, and yes, good company. All is good!

I can’t believe that it’s 2013 already! New years just passed, as did the release day of The Stone Guardian, and things have been a crazy whirlwind of blog tours, reviews, and getting to know my amazing readers. Thank goodness the world didn’t end on December twenty-first. But what a lot of people don’t know is that the twenty-first didn’t actually mark the demise of the world according to the Maya. Instead, it marked the renewal of their five thousand-year cycle. So no hellfire and brimstone for now—only another long waiting period before the next panicked crowd of people gets to hold their breath in year…7013!

Many people ask me how I came to know about the Maya, and why I chose their civilization for my series. It took me a solid six months of research before I touched my fingertips to the keyboard. The reason is that even though The Stone Guardian is a paranormal, I wanted to offer both an accurate, but engaging story, and therefore set out to weave in fact with fantasy. The Maya is by far the most unique ancient civilization I’ve studied. They are set apart from the Egyptians, Greeks, and even the Aztecs. Being the only known Mesoamerican civilization with a full writing system, they are also known for their extensive knowledge in medicine and astronomy. Did you know there has been evidence found of the Maya performing root canals using hallow needles from trees? And they understood the concept of the earth rotating on an axis, although they believed it was Yaxche (Maya tree of life) that kept it in place—with the help of a tortoise, of course.

But that’s not the only intriguing aspect of the Maya. Have you seen their clothes? I really wish I had a few pieces of their jewelry. And their body paint is beyond amazing, but only the affluent were adorned so extravagantly. Who knows, maybe I’ll order myself authentic Maya jewelry items for myself, just to bask in the glory of wearing what might have been draped over the neck of a Maya princess some one thousand years ago.

Do any of you have a particular civilization you are interested in? I would love to hear your opinions and feedback.

I hope you guys enjoy your time spent with me today! And thanks again for having me, Jill. If anyone wants to learn more about The Stone Guardian and my other books soon to come, please drop by my website. But don’t worry. I’ll be hanging out more with Jill today in case anyone wants to chat. I love talking to you guys!

More About Theresa

young adult paranormal romance authorA long time enthusiast of things that go bump in the night, Theresa started her writing career as a journalism intern—possibly the least creative writing field out there. After her first semester at a local newspaper, she washed her hands of press releases and features articles to delve into the whimsical world of young adult paranormal romance.

Since then, Theresa has gotten married, had three terrific kids, moved to central Ohio, and was repeatedly guilt tripped into adopting a menagerie of animals that are now members of the family. But don’t be fooled by her domesticated appearance. Her greatest love is travel. Having stepped foot on the soil of over a dozen countries, traveled to sixteen U.S. states—including an extended seven-year stay in Kodiak, Alaska—she is anything but settled down. But wherever life brings her, she will continue to weave tales of adventure and love with the hope her stories will bring joy and inspiration to her readers.

The Stone Guardian

When myth becomes reality, reality becomes a nightmare.

Like any other teenager in America, Ashley just wants a normal life. But growing up in an orphanage for the insane is anything but normal. After endless therapy and increasing medication, her nightmares have only gotten worse.

Probably because they’re not nightmares.

When Ashley’s mysteriously abducted, she finds a reality even less normal than the orphanage. And she discovers something else—she’s no ordinary orphan. Faced with enemies thought to only exist in fairy tales, Ashley discovers she possesses a powerful Maya bloodline. She’s the daughter of an ancient Maya Guardian, whose duty is to protect the Stone of Muuk’ich, an enchanted relic blessed by the gods. But first she must get it back from Sarian, a power-hungry demigod who slaughtered the last guardian—Ashley’s mother. Without the stone, all will be lost.

When she meets Arwan, a hot Belizean time bender, his delicious olive skin and dark eyes make her feel a little less alone. But his gentle whispers and reassuring touch might not be all they seem. How can she balance love and duty when it’s up to her to prevent the rising of the underworld? Especially when the guy she loves might be its crown prince…

Excerpt

“Where are we going?” Ashley asked, walking a few steps behind. Arwan slowed his pace for her much shorter stride. She wasn’t used to hiking in the jungle, but she didn’t want to show it. He found that a cute addition to the many things he admired about her.

Without offering an explanation, he grabbed a stick from the ground. If he told her where he was taking her, it would ruin the surprise. He just hoped the creatures hadn’t taken shelter somewhere else because of the heavy rains.

Soon they arrived at a clearing where hundreds of tall, thin bushes with elegant purple blooms covered the ground. Mature trees formed a canopy overhead, while gaps in the branches allowed the sun to speckle the jungle floor with light.

“I thought you would like it here.” He watched for her reaction.

She inspected the space. “It’s neat.”

Of course, she didn’t know why they were really there. He watched her shift her weight. Did she lie when she said he didn’t make her uncomfortable? It seemed like he did. Every time he smiled at her, her cheeks flushed or her muscles tensed.

Arwan gently took her hand. She allowed him to, without hesitation. It was the first time.

Carefully, he guided her through the maze of shrubs. When they reached the center, he stood in front of her and put his lips close to her ear. “Can I hold you?” She took a small step back. He waited for her to decide and, at the slightest nod, took her hand. “I just want to show you something.”

He slid his hand gently around her waist and drew her close. Her chest jumped when they pressed together. He savored the feeling of her drumming heartbeat. In fact, he could almost hear it.

She rested her hands against his chest, and he wondered if she felt his heart drumming too. “You’re blushing.”

She pressed the backs of her hands on her face. “I am?”

He caressed the silky curve of her cheek. “You’re lovely when you blush.” The stick secure in his hand, he extended it to the side. “Watch.” With a powerful strike, he whacked a nearby bush on its base. Dozens of butterflies launched into the air.

The flight of few caused a chain reaction, and soon they blanketed the sky. Several landed in her hair and on her arms while more flew overhead.

Arwan tilted his head back to the sky. Ashley gasped and stared at the countless array of colors gliding overhead. A butterfly rested on his shoulder, pumping its cobalt blue wings. She gently blew on it, her warm breath caressing his neck.

His chest swelled with longing. He clenched his jaw. Watching her lips form into a soft circle, she continued to blow on its colorful wings. He had never wanted someone so fiercely. She brought something out of him he couldn’t control. Something instinctual, animalistic. He watched her lips, longing to kiss her. To feel her mouth pressed against his. The need surged in his chest and spread throughout his limbs. He tensed and pulled her closer.

He knew he had to be gentle. As much as he tried to conceal the need, it threatened to destroy him if he didn’t at least try. Slowly, he leaned in to kiss her. His lips hovered above hers. Her hot breath broke over his mouth.

Ashley gasped and stepped back. Her teary eyes forced him to look away. He silently cursed himself. He’d pushed her too far.

“I…” The hurt in her voice surprised him. “I can’t. I’m sorry.”

Before he could respond, Ashley ran back toward the house, leaving him alone in the clearing.

He watched her stumble through the trees until she was gone. The jungle was quiet, except for the sound of chirping birds and the rustling of lemurs in the trees.

He turned, balling his fists. What the hell was he thinking? He’d known that if he tried to kiss her, it would push her away. He should have shown more restraint.

Each of his steps pounded against the jungle floor. The birds’ chirps ceased, and the lemurs took quiet refuge in the branches. When he escaped the maze of bushes, he charged his fist into the trunk of a mature tree, spitting layers of bark and redwood in every direction.

Where to Buy and How to Find Theresa

Readers, let us know if you have a particular civilization you’re interested in or if you think the Maya are as unique and interesting as we do! One commenter will win a copy of The Stone Guardian. Thank you, Theresa, for guest blogging today!

Interview With Alethea Kontis, Author of Enchanted and The Wonderland Alphabet

Enchanted is a young adult fantasy novel featuring Sunday Woodcutter

New York Times bestselling author, Alethea Kontis, is a talented writer with an amazingly diverse portfolio of work. She co-authored Sherrilyn Kenyon’s The Dark-Hunter Companion, wrote the YA fairy tale Enchanted, penned the AlphaOops children’s books, and the recently released The Wonderland Alphabet (“rated E for Everyone”), as well as numerous other shorter pieces. She’s also a monthly book reviewer for Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. (And she takes unbelievably adorable author pics!) When I was putting together my 2012 Spring Into Summer Romance Book Blast, she graciously agreed to an interview.

Alethea Kontis on Alphabet Stories, Fairy Tale Characters, and Doing Good Deeds

You’ve worked on a number of different projects. Children’s books, a young adult novel, short stories, essays and poems. You’ve edited an anthology and wrote a non-fiction companion guide to one of the most popular urban fantasy series around.

Which of your projects was the most challenging? The most rewarding? Do you prefer writing in one form over another?

Oh, no…this is like picking favorite children! I prefer different forms at different times, which is why it’s SO GREAT that I’ve been able to publish a little bit of everything. Every project I work on is excessively rewarding, for different reasons.

Editing ELEMENTAL was challenging because it was one of the first major projects I ever did, and I was very apprehensive about asking Arthur C. Clarke to sign a contract, asking Kevin J. Anderson if I could publish a Dune story for free, and asking William C. Dietz if he could please kill a few more people. (In his story.) ELEMENTAL was an amazing experience for me as a young writer.

Publishing the ENCHANTED series has been an amazing experience as well, because these novels are what I’ve been working toward my whole life. My father read books to me every night when I was a baby–I was reading them myself by the age of three. I loved nursery rhymes fairy tales. All of them, preferably unexpurgated. It’s such an honor to be able to mix and mash and make them all mine.

THE WONDERLAND ALPHABET is special too, because 1.) I get to work with my dear friend Janet K. Lee, 2.) I get to play in Wonderland, 3.) I get to write silly poetry like Ogden Nash, Shel Silverstein, and Gelett Burgess, and 4.) It’s for babies! It’s for kids! It’s for adults! It’s for everyone!

Alethea Kontis’ latest is THE WONDERLAND ALPHABET, a book of poetry for all ages.

Your two earlier children’s books were AlphaOops! The Day Z Went First and AlphaOops! H is for Halloween, which were both fantastic and utterly fun to read. I loved how you gave each letter of the alphabet its own personality. My daughters and I read them together and came up with a few questions:

How many times fast can you say the alphabet in the “Day Z Went First” order?

I can’t do it at all. I thought about learning it, but the Alphabet Players keep messing it up. I can sing the Alphabet Song backwards, though, no problem.

What was it like working with illustrator Bob Kolar?

Strangely enough, I didn’t work with him at all. Everything we did had to go through Candlewick first, so we never actually interacted with each other. The publisher didn’t even give me his email address until the first book was published…at which point I wrote him a HUGE fan letter.

When is AlphaOops! C is for Christmas coming out?

Your guess is as good as mine! Publishing is weird. If you’re a fan and would like to ask the publisher yourself, email: bigbrear@candlewickpress.com.

Do you think “A” is an over Achiever? 🙂

I think A would be an overachiever if she could, but she doesn’t usually have much time to prepare. Z is a major bossypants, though, and V has some serious Anger Management issues.

You edited the anthology Elemental, which was published in 2006 to help raise money for the survivors of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. It collected the new and never-before-published works of a number of distinguished science fiction and fantasy authors, including short stories by Jacqueline Carey, Larry Niven, Brian Herbert, and an introduction by Arthur C. Clarke.

What was it like to work with such an august group of writers? How is the order of stories for anthologies established? Do the editors decide? Were the stories arranged so that the collection as a whole allows the reader to take an emotional journey?

There were technically three editors for ELEMENTAL: Me, Steve Savile, and David Hartwell at Tor. Steve came up with the idea. I landed the publisher, communicated with the authors, collected & delivered contracts, edited stories & wrote all the intros. David was the one who chose the final Table of Contents lineup. (Irene Gallo gave us our amazing Michael Whelan cover.)

“Meeting” (some I still haven’t met in person) and communicating with all these amazing authors definitely changed my life. I forged some amazing friendships I would never have imagined I’d have, friendships that saved my life at times. I have a contract with Arthur C. Clarke’s signature on it. My very first book signing was at Forbidden Planet in London with Stel Pavlou and Michael Marshall Smith. How many sci-fi geek girls can say that?

Enchanted is a young adult fantasy novel about Sunday Woodcutter, a heroine who was born on the Sabbath Day and is “blithe and bonny and good and gay” or as Sunday puts it “doomed to a happy life.”

When did you come up with the idea to base a protagonist on a day of the week?

It all started with a fairy tale short story contest in the Codex Writers Group. Someone mentioned the “Monday’s Child is Fair of Face” poem. A Sabbath Day Child myself, I’ve always had issues with that one, so I decided to write those into the story.

Does Sunday carry an ax? Has she ever chopped down a tree?

I imagine not. Sunday is very small in stature and just doesn’t have the brute strength like her giantess sister Saturday. Mama has enough chores to be done around the Woodcutter household without giving another child up to the Wood.

Have you ever kissed a frog?

Probably. I don’t remember. What I do remember is that I once tried doing what the princess in the original “Frog Prince” fairy tale did. It scarred me for life. <shiver>

So I gotta also ask…

What movie are you most looking forward to this summer and why?

I was looking forward to The Avengers–seen it and loved it. Now I’m looking forward to Snow White & the Huntsman, which I can’t see until I’m done with book tour! <Grumble>

What do you like to do when you’re not writing or doing book related stuff?

Watch TV with my Fairy Goddaughters. Go to the beach. Read. Snuggle with my Fairy Godboyfriend. NOT BE ONLINE.

I read somewhere that you make the best baklava. Who taught you how to bake? Ever considered a AlphaOops! children’s cookbook? “B” seems like he’d be great to work with! 😉

My mother and father are both fabulous cooks. I was never allowed to have an Easy Bake Oven — we had a REAL oven! If I wanted to bake, I could use that! (This is a pic of me in the kitchen at 4 or 5).

If Candlewick wanted me to do an AlphaOops Cookbook, that would BE TOTALLY AWESOME. How much fun would we have?!?

Alethea, thanks so much for such an awesome interview! Best wishes and happy writing!

So readers and writers, what about you? Do you love alphabet stories? How about fairy tales? What day of the week were you born on? Have you kissed any frogs lately? Have a terrific weekend, everyone. I hope you’re able to spend some time reading! 😀