A Walk in the Park with Megan Crewe & Giveaway!

Hello minions, 
It’s another Walk in the Park! Today we have a special guest joining us, Megan Crewe the author of The Way We Fall (Review here). 

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!

Welcome Megan! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by my blog.

Glad to join you!

What was your favorite part about writing The Way We Fall?

I think my favorite part was exploring all the intense emotions that the story brought out in the characters.  The fear of the virus, the struggle to hold on to hope, the sense of loss as more and more of the things they’d taken for granted failed or were taken away.  Writing those scenes was often hard, but I find it interesting to see what characters do when they’re pushed to the edge.

Kaelyn was an interesting character. One I see to inspire those who read her story. What was the biggest challenge in writing her?

The biggest challenge with Kaelyn was making sure readers would really get to know her through her journal entries.  She’s a fairly reserved and cautious person (though she opens up more as the story progresses), and that of course was reflected in her voice.  I had to find ways to show the other sides of her personality, that didn’t go against her character.

I really enjoyed Gav as well. *le sigh* What was the best part about writing him?

What I enjoyed most about writing Gav was his unpredictability.  He’s got a quick temper, and very strong principles and feelings, so I wasn’t always sure how he was going to react in a given scene until I was actually writing it.  It can be a lot of fun to sort of “observe” a character in a situation and discover what they’re going to do, and sometimes he’d provoke unexpected responses out of the other characters too!

Now, in The Way We Fall we are introduced to a harsh reality of sickness. Where did the idea come from? 

I’ve always found the idea of epidemics incredibly scary.  In fact, the only books that have ever affected me enough to give me nightmares were Stephen King’s THE STAND and Carrie Ryan’s THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, which involve different sorts of viruses.  And I find it most fulfilling to write books that really get to me emotionally.  I wanted to write a story that would affect readers the way other epidemic stories have affected me.

Will Leo be a bigger part of the next two books?

Oh yes!  🙂  Leo is one of the most important characters in the sequel.

What can you tell us about the rest of the trilogy?

What can I say without being spoilery…  Well, the next two books are not written in journal format (other than a brief entry at the beginning of book 2), but rather regular first person narration–still from Kaelyn’s point of view.  They involve more action than THE WAY WE FALL, and I didn’t think I could tell the rest of the story properly using a journal.  Also, I feel Kaelyn’s gotten to the point where she doesn’t really need the journal as a support anymore.

You will see all of the characters still alive at the end of TWWF at least once in the sequels.  Not all of them survive to the end of the trilogy.  There are also some new characters who enter the stage.  Not all of them survive either.  😉  But then, if you’ve read TWWF you should know that no one is safe!

I can also promise explosions and at least one car chase.

Coffee or tea

Almost always tea.  I can only handle coffee if it’s more milk and sugar than actual coffee.

One thing you wish you knew about writing before you started.

That it’s more important to write the things you write well *really* well and do the best you can with the rest, than to try to write a story that no one could find anything to complain about.  Because the latter is impossible anyway.  And people love books for the things they do really well, not for doing everything okay.

Favorite desert

The hardest question so far!  Um…  Three-way tie between pecan pie, blueberry pie, and raspberry chocolate mousse cake.

A world you wish you could live in

I’m actually very fond of the world I live in right now!  Most of the ones I enjoy visiting through books I think might be rather unpleasant to really exist in.

Favorite book growing up

The Changeling by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

One place you always wanted to visit

The place I’ve most wanted to visit and haven’t been able to yet would be Egypt.  Would love to experience that culture and history in person.

Megan, thanks for stopping by! 


Thanks for having me!



Now, for the giveaway! 
/*{literal}{/literal}*/
a Rafflecopter giveaway
<a href=”http://rafl.es/enable-js”>You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>.




The Way We Fall is out today!!! Go get your copy now! 


Much love, 
Valia 

Dark Days Tour Stop and Secret Project

Good morning minions,


Today I have a little catching up to do. Last week, I went to the Dark Days of Supernatural Tour and met some wonderful people. Tahereh Mafi, Veronica Rossi, and Ellen Schreiber were the featured guests at Changing Hands. 


I cannot express to you how excited I was to meet these ladies face to face. Ellen was there for tour last year and it was great seeing her again. Tahereh and I have been twitter friends for a while but this was our first chance to meet in person. 



I am glad to report there was no awkwardness (Yes, Tahereh, I said it). She is the sweetest person and you guys seriously need to get your hands on Shatter Me to read all about her mental writing insights. 

Veronica and I have only spoken a few times but she recognized me on the spot (which seriously made my day). She is adorable and oh so very talented. Under the Never Sky is one of my favorite books for sure. 

I love going to these tour stops not only to meet my favorite authors but to gleam some knowledge from their success. I enjoy hearing about the journey they had to take in order to sit behind that table in front of everyone with their books in their hands. It takes work and perseverance, long hours and large consumption of coffee, and always, always believing in yourself. I walked out of that building encouraged and with new friends (I finally met Farrah as well! You guys should follow her. She’s awesome).



Now, I need encouragement because I’m in the process of querying. Im excited and terrified, trying to keep my head from exploding. But while I’m in this process I am still writing. This is where my new project comes in. It’s new and different from what I’m use to writing, yet its also pouring out of me as if it needs to be written. I decided to let you glimpse a bit of the story and this is where Pinterest comes in. I have created a board specifically named Secret Project #1 that will be filled with pictures depicting what my story is about. 


Follow Me on Pinterest
Even if you can’t follow, you can still see my board!

Right now, the board has two pictures that mean nothing to you but they will. I’m excited to include you in this process, letting you discover for yourself how I see my characters. I might hosts contests as well.
I did promise to be more involved with my writing this year and this is one way I can stay accountable. Also, make sure you check back for the special interviews and giveaways I’m hosting. I’m excited to share this journey with y’all.

So what do you think of my idea? 

Have a wonderful day!

Much love,
Valia

In My Mailbox #26: The One With All the Signed Books!

So here is In My Mailbox. Enjoy! 🙂





Special thanks to:
Robin at http://intensewhisper.blogspot.com/
Harlequin Teen
St. Martin’s Press
Becca Ritchie http://beccaritchie.com/


Don’t forget about my giveaway!!! 


What is in your mailbox? 


Much love, 
Valia 

Book Spotlight: The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

It starts with an itch you just can’t shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you’ll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you’re dead.
When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.
Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.
Because how will she go on if there isn’t?
From Goodreads.com
The Way We Fall is set in a society much like our own. Kaelyn lives on an island, goes to school, and has friend troubles just like any other sixteen-year-old girl. When she finally feels as if she should take control of her life, her world crumbles around her.
A deadly virus begins to make its way through the households of her hometown, leaving them stranded and cut off from the rest of the world. People panic. Food runs short. Loved ones die.
The Way We Fall is told through Kaelyn’s journal entries to her friend. Every day is a new entry that is our only lifeline to her island. Kaelyn has to learn how to become the person that will survive. She fights for those she loves and overcomes the obstacles before her. Watching Kaelyn grow is heartbreaking and encouraging at the same time.
Then we meet Gav. A former foe becomes the closest confidant, blossoming into a love that will bring tears to your eyes. Gav is a strong character that takes a stand and works to help all those in need, even if that means sacrificing himself. Gav and Kaelyn’s relationship grows strong despite all odds. I loved watching them together, working, helping, and loving with wisdom beyond their age.
Megan creates a terrifyingly real world, making you rethink everything you may know. The first book in a dystopian trilogy, Kaelyn’s story will grip your heart and leave you begging for book two!
The Way We Fall hits stores January 24th! Get it, read it, love it!
Much love, 
Valia
P.S. Megan will be joining me for a Walk in the Park in the next few days! Make sure you stop by for that! 🙂

A Walk in the Park: Special Guest – Jodi Meadows

Hello lovelies, 

So do you remember that time I said I will be more involved with my blog and writing this year? Well, here is the official first step toward that. Last week I did a fabulous Book Spotlight on Jessie Harrell’s book Destined (CONTEST HERE) which included a special interview and a sneak peak. Today I am introducing a new “segment” into my blogging life called “A Walk in the Park.” (Because sometimes we all just need to take a nice walk in the park, preferably holding a nice cup of coffee) This will be dedicated specifically to getting to know your favorite authors. I will still be posting reviews, but I also want to give you, my dear readers, a chance to get to know these lovely ladies and gentlemen for yourself. So without farther a due, welcome our first official guest Jodi Meadows!
Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!


*Round of applause* 

Welcome Jodi! Thanks for taking the time to visit.
Thanks for having me!
Incarnate is a wonderful story (REVIEW HERE). What was your favorite part of writing it?
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I actually love the whole process of writing, from planning to plotting to drafting and all through rewrites and revisions. I even love copyedits. I’m aware this makes me a freak among writers.
But the discovery part is probably the most exciting. Even when I have the story in my head, I don’t always know what turns it might take.
How long did it take you to write Incarnate?
I wrote a note to myself with the premise in July 2006. I started planning and world building in October 2009, then started writing the first draft a month later. The first draft took just under two months, with another month or so for revisions.
Do you believe in reincarnation? If so, what past life you think you’ve lived?
Range — where INCARNATE takes place — is a fictional world with fictional reincarnation. As for real-world reincarnation? It’s not one of my personal beliefs, but that certainly doesn’t take away from my fascination with the idea. 
Ana is a very interesting character. I loved watching her grow. What was your favorite part bout writing her?
Like you, I loved watching her grow. Ana is a character with a lot of potential. Because she starts so low, she has all the room in the world to grow and change. 
I also liked when she got sassy. *g*
Now let’s talk about Sam. Oh Sam (slight fan girl moment) he is such an old soul. Ha, no pun intended. Where did you get the inspiration for him and all his awesomeness?
My characters tend to fall into my head fully formed, and Sam was no exception. I knew that in order to be the perfect partner for Ana, he needed to be patient, open-minded, and did I mention patient? I also knew I wanted Sam and Ana to have more to connect with than their mutual good looks. They had to be friends, first, and friends tend to get that way by having things in common — like music.
What can you tell your readers about Incarnate 2?
Not much right now, I’m afraid. But here are some hints: there will be more music, more sylph, and we’ll be digging deeper into the world building to start uncovering mysteries. 
What’s one thing that you wish you knew/were told before you started writing?
Nothing. I’m afraid if I knew anything ahead of time, it would change my journey to publication. And as hard as that was, it was well worth the effort; I wouldn’t change a thing.
Coffee or Tea?
Both. Coffee in the morning. Tea the rest of the day.
Favorite type of music?
That depends what I’m in the mood for, but I’ve always had a special love for classical music, which is why I chose it for INCARNATE.
Random guilty pleasure
I try not to feel guilty about anything that brings me joy.
Favorite vacation spot
I don’t go on vacation much. Mostly I just take naps.
Dream vacation spot
Somewhere I won’t a) get sunburned, b) freeze to death, and c) be eaten alive by insects.
I hope you guys enjoyed this little feature as much as I did! make sure to check back to see what other guests I’ll have on the blog! 
Thank you for stopping by my humble little blog and sharing all your wisdom. Incarnate comes out January 31st wherever the books are sold. Get it, read it, love it.

Book Spotlight: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning. 
From Goodreads.com


Review:
Let me start out by saying that I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from this book. Unearthly was one of those books that I liked on some days, but not all. So when I received Hallowed for review I was excited to see the possibilities in book two. I was pleasantly surprised.
Hallowed starts off a few months after the fire. Clara and Tucker are still going strong, with Christian now a bigger mystery than he was before. This book is filled with emotion and anguish as Clara tries to figure out exactly where her destiny lies. The boys are just part of the equation. This part of Clara’s story is a lot more emotional then what we saw in Unearthly. Things come her way that require her to grow up fast. I enjoyed this aspect of the story because it showed how important it was for Clara to understand the life she will be living. Also, I’m probably the only person out there who is Team Christian and there was a lot of him in this story. He is there for Clara in a way Tucker will never be able to understand. Their friendship develops beautifully with well placed words and genuine comradeship. I cannot dive too much into the aspects of the book because it’s something you will have to discover yourself. It was definitely different from what I thought it would be, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on the reader. This is something that you will have to decide for yourself.
Overall, Cynthia gives as a full emotional ride in the follow up to Unearthly. She paints the world and its characters with the colors of love, friendship, and the real challenges of life. I think if you enjoyed Unearthly, this is a book worth reading.
Hallowed comes out January 17!

Much love,
Valia

Book Spotlight: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

NEWSOUL 
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why. 

NOSOUL 
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame? 

HEART 
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all? 

From Goodreads.com


Review:
Incarnate is a story of Ana, a Newsoul. Ana was born into a world where she should not exist. Newsouls are not part of the rotation, until she comes along. Everyone, including her own mother, looks at Ana as if she’s a mistake, as if she’s the enemy. After all if one soul didn’t return, how many are next?
So Ana decides to find some answers. Enter Sam, a handsome stranger who saves her and welcomes her in when no one else would. Their relationship blossoms in a beautiful and sweet way that makes your heart smile. I very much enjoyed watching their relationship develop because it felt real and heartwarming. Ana is a fabulous character who has to overcome many obstacles, while her love for music keeps her grounded. Sam the guy every girl wants. He’s real, kind, and looks beyond the obvious into what is truly important.
If being the “new kid on the block” isn’t enough, dangers lurk on every corner. When sylph and dragons attack, no one is safe. Opposition follows Ana on every side whether it is human or creature. Yet, thru it all, Ana learns, fights, and develops in a way that makes for a great story.
Jodi creates a world full of wonder, lovable characters, dangerous creatures, and a love that breaks all barriers. This world is just as magical as it is real. I cannot wait to see what happens next! This book will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you wanting for more.
Incarnate comes out January 31, 2012! Get it, read it, love it! Also, I’ll be posting a very special interview with Jodi on Monday. Look for that (and maybe even a giveaway).

Much love,
Valia

YA Warehouse Shout out!

Hey lovelies!
I’m blogging over at YA Warehouse today! http://yawarehouse.blogspot.com/2012/01/on-getting-involved.html
Come give me some love!!! 😉

Hugs,
Valia

Book Spotlight: Destined by Jessie Harrell – Interview & Giveaway!

Hello minions!
Today I have a very special guest on the blog. Everyone please welcome Jessie Harrell! *round of applause* 
Now, before we get into all the goodies Jessie has for us, let’s talk about her book Destined. 

When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear. 

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she’s come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.



Review:
I found Jessie through the blogosphere during the cover reveal for her book. I fell in love with the cover and had to get my hands on the book. I was not disappointed.
I love Greek mythology. It has always been a fascination of mine and if you know me at all, you know I mention writing a mythology book one day. Destined was a beautifully crafted re-telling of Psyche and Eros. I loved how accurate it stayed to the true story. Many of the aspects of Greece were brought into the story and told from the historical view point. It was a wonderful way to bring in the parts of history and make it interesting.
Psyche is a great character. She’s high strong and opinionated, but she also has a heart that wants to be loved. Eros has been hurt before. Even as a god of love, he refuses to put his heart out for anyone. But then he sees something in Psyche that changes his mind, and his heart.
Their story is beautiful and heartwarming. I love the stories that deal with falling in love with something beside good looks. Like Beauty and the Beast. Those are the stories that touch the heart and Jessie has done so in Destined.
If you love mythology and romance, Destined is a book for you.


Fire Questions Round with Jessie Harrell:

Coffee or tea? 
Coffee & lots of flavored creamer (Me too!)

Favorite name of all time!
I don’t know if I can pick just one. I really wanted to name my daughters Rowan and Reegan. (FWIW – they ended up Morgan and Samantha) (Nice)

One person who inspires you most
My mom. She’s awesome and so positive and upbeat. (Woohoo for moms!)

If you could live in any world, who’s and where would you live?
If the move didn’t have to be permanent, I’d love to be Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bones. I’d love to be able to have a mastery of any foreign language (let alone all the ones she had) and to be able to draw so well — and fly — all of that would be awesome too. (That book is awesome)

Favorite part about writing Psyche and Eros
Their romance and conjuring up all the fun ways Eros could be romantic with someone who didn’t trust him very much was great.  The epilogue, though, is probably my favorite piece of writing in the book. (Le sigh on the epilogue.)

What inspired you to become a writer?
My husband said that we should write children’s picture books, because “how hard can that be?” Turns out, it was too hard for me, so I started writing YA and never looked back. (Good choice)

One interesting not well known fact about you
I bit my nails my entire life, right up until my oldest daughter was born. For some inexplicable reason, I just quit once she came along. Poor thing bites her nails now though. Maybe I gave the habit to her upon birth??  Who knows. ( :-D)

Special sneak peak into Before, Eros story coming in February as part of the anthology In His Eyes.

Hunkered down in a rough wool cloak, I’d snuck in to watch the religious ceremony. I stayed against the perimeter, hoping to enjoy the spectacle anonymously. But the flames cast these creepy-seductive shadows against the walls, making me feel watched. And present in the moment of the dance.
The longer I watched, the more I wanted to join the swirling crowd. The movements of those performing the ritual were hypnotic, reminding me of the way Maenads twirl for Dionysus. But one figure dancing before the firelight stood out from the rest.
Her slender hips pulsed with the rhythm of the drums.  Soft, brown curls swirled down her back, caressing her shoulders and barely tickling her waist. I watched her move, entranced by the way motion flowed from her.
When she turned her head and caught my prying gaze, her eyes were as emerald as any gem. Finding my stare, she narrowed her lids for a moment. Then she smirked, shot me a wink, and went back to her dance. 
That was all the invitation I needed.

The rest of the night was a blur of sour wine, too much smoke from the bonfire, and lust so consuming I thought it might swallow me whole. There I was, the god of Love, but she held all the power without even realizing it. Or maybe she did know. Maybe that was part of what intoxicated me too. In Greece, no mortal girl could bend me. None dared. But in Media, I was anonymous in a way that gave me a freedom to just exist. Here, I could be anyone. No pressures. No expectations. No women holding back in reverence to a god. 


Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13331838-in-his-eyes-anthology

Giveaway:
Jessie was sweet enough to donate some awesomeness to all of you wonderful people! Go ahead and enter! 🙂


/*{literal}{/literal}*/
a Rafflecopter giveaway
<a href=”http://rafl.es/enable-js”>You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>.


Thank you, Jessie for stopping by my blog and for sharing with us Psyche and Eros story. Minions, you have your orders!


Much love,
Valia

Cover Reveal: Untouched by Jus Accardo

Guys, 
Do you remember that cover reveal for Toxic I did last week? (See below) Well, here is the fabulous cover for Untouched, the Denazen novella that comes out February 21st!


Ready for all the Kale goodness? 

TA-DA!!!!

So, what do you think? 



Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13353503-untouched


Have a fabulous day everyone!!!
Much love, 
Valia