Monday, February 25, 2013

My dragon tumblr

Hey all,

Since writing Scorched, I have been busily surrounding myself with all things dragon. Which isn't surprising, I suppose, since dragons are awesome and I love them. You wouldn't believe how much dragon awesomeness is just sitting on our interwebs, waiting to be discovered!

So! I have started a Tumblr to keep track of all the dragon awesomeness and would love for you to go follow me there. It's called Feed Your Dragons.

Also, since I don't think it's possible for me, one single solitary person, to find all the dragon awesomeness that exists on the web, I've also included a section where you can post/share your own dragon discoveries or creations. Here's where you can do this!

Together we can make Feed Your Dragons a one-stop-shop for all dragon awesomeness all the time!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Post-Apocalyptic Chat: Kate Avery Ellison

Hi all,

I don't know about  you guys, but I'm having so much fun with my weekly post-apocalyptic chats! Today we're hanging with Kate Avery Ellison, author of the young adult, fantasy/dystopian series, The Frost Chronicles.

I've asked her to talk a little bit about how the book came to be and then share with us an excerpt!

Kate says: 
Frost originally started out as a much different story. I was trying to write a novella about a girl who takes in a fallen angel-like creature and nurtures him back to health amid a snow storm. The final product, which eventually turned into a fantasy-dystopian series called The Frost Chronicles, bears little resemblance to that original story except for the main character, Lia, who I immediately loved as soon as she took form in the words on the page, and the fact that she takes in a dangerous fugitive against her better judgment. The rest grew and grew and grew until there was a story, a much different story than I had expected.


IT WAS COLD, the kind of cold that made bones feel brittle and hands ache. My breath streamed from my lips like smoke, and my feet made wet, crunching sounds in the snow as I slipped through the forest. As I ran, my lungs ached and my sack of yarn thumped against my back. My cloak tangled around my ankles, but I yanked it free without stopping.

It was quota day in the village, and I was going to be late if I didn’t hurry.

The path stretched ahead in a white trail of unbroken snow, and on either side the ice-covered limbs of the trees hemmed me in with walls of frosty green. Even the light took on a grim, almost gray-blue quality here, and the world was blank with silence. I could hear only the ragged noise of my own breathing and my own footsteps. I felt like an interloper—too loud, too clumsy, too disruptive.

The Frost was always like that. The snow-covered trees had a deadening effect. They absorbed everything—animal calls, voices, even screams for help. Something could come from behind without warning, and you wouldn’t hear anything until it was right upon you. Until it was almost too late.

A branch snapped in the woods to my left. I flinched, turning my head in an effort to locate the source of the sound.

But silence wrapped the world once more. The shadows lay still and gray across the snow. Empty.

“It’s still light,” I whispered aloud, trying to reassure myself. In the light, I was safe. Even the smallest child knew that much.

The monsters didn’t come out until after dark.

I moved faster anyway, spooked by that branch snap even though a blue-gray gloom still illuminated the path. A shiver ran down my spine. Despite our often-repeated mantras about the safety of the light, nothing was certain in the Frost. My parents had always been careful. They had always been prepared. And yet, two months ago they went out into the Frost in the daylight and never returned.

They’d been found days later, dead.

They’d been killed by the monsters that lurked deep in the Frost, monsters that barely anyone ever saw except for tracks in the snow, or the glow of their red eyes in the darkness.

My people called them Watchers.

Color danced at the edges of my vision as I passed the winter-defying snow blossoms, their long sky-blue petals drooping with ice as they dangled from the bushes that lined the path. They were everywhere here, spilling across the snow, drawing a line of demarcation between me and the woods. Every winter, the snows came and the cold killed everything, but these flowers lived. We planted them everywhere—on the paths and around our houses—because the Watchers rarely crossed a fallen snow blossom. For some reason, the flowers turned them away.


I touched the bunch that dangled from my throat with one finger. My parents’ snow blossom necklaces had been missing from their bodies when they were found. Had the monsters torn the flowers off before killing them, or had they even been wearing them at all?

Another branch snapped behind me, the crack loud as a shout in the stillness.

I hurried faster.

Sometimes we found tracks across the paths despite the blossoms. Sometimes nothing kept the Watchers out.

My foot caught a root, and I stumbled.

The bushes rustled behind me.

Panic clawed at my throat. I dropped my sack, fumbling at my belt for the knife I carried even though I knew it would do no good against the monsters because no weapons stopped them. I turned, ready to defend myself.

The branches parted, and a figure stepped onto the path.

It was only Cole, one of the village boys.

“Cole,” I snapped, sheathing the knife. “Are you trying to kill me with fright?”

He flashed me a sheepish smile. “Did you think I was a Watcher, Lia?”

I threw a glance at the sky as I snatched up my sack and flung it over my shoulder once more. Clouds were rolling in, blocking out the sun. The light around us was growing dimmer, filling the path with a premature twilight. A storm was coming.

His smile faded a little at my expression. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I should have called out to warn you.”

“We’re supposed to stay on the paths,” I growled, brushing snow from my skirt. I didn’t want to discuss my irrational panic. I’d been walking the paths through the Frost my entire life. I shouldn’t be jumping at every stray sound like some five-year-old child.
Cole pointed at two squirrel pelts dangling from his belt. “Quota,” he said simply, adjusting the bow hanging on his back. He moved past me and onto the path. “Speaking of which, we’re going to be late for the counting.”

“You’re a Carver,” I said, falling into step beside him. “Not a Hunter.”

“And you’re a Weaver, not a Farmer, but you still keep horses and chickens,” he said.
I shrugged, still annoyed with him for startling me. “My parents took that farm because no one else wanted it. It’s too far from the village, too isolated. We keep animals because we have room. I don’t bring them into the village on quota day.”

“The quota master gives my family a little extra flour if I slip him a pelt,” Cole said. He glanced down at me, his smile mysterious. “Besides, the forest isn’t dangerous this close to the village, not in daylight.”

“The Frost is always dangerous,” I said firmly.

Cole tipped his head to one side and smiled. He refrained from disagreeing outright out of politeness, I supposed. Having dead parents usually evoked that response from people. “I can take care of myself,” he said.

I looked him over. He was tall, and he carried the bow like he knew how to use it. He might be called handsome by some, but he was too lean and foxlike for my taste. He had a daring streak a mile wide, and his eyes always seemed to hold some secret. His mouth slid into a smirk between every word he spoke.

Our gazes held a moment, and his eyes narrowed with sudden decision. For some reason, his expression unnerved me.


“We’re going to be late,” I said, dodging, and hurried ahead.

I could hear him jogging to catch up as I rounded the curve. Here the path crawled beneath a leaning pair of massive boulders and alongside a stream of dark, turbulent water. I scrambled around the first rock, but then what I saw on the other side of the river made me freeze.
Shadowy figures in gray uniforms slipped through the trees, rifles in their hands. There were two of them, sharp-eyed and dark-haired. Bandoleers glittered across their chests.
Cole caught up with me. I put up a hand to quiet him, and together we watched.

“Farthers,” I whispered. 

About Frost

In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, one wrong move and a person could end up dead—and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running despite the freezing cold and threat of monster attacks or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides and failure just one wrong step away, she can’t afford to let her emotions lead her astray. So when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest—a young stranger named Gabe—Lia surprises herself and does the unthinkable.

She saves his life.

Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the “Farthers,” as ruthless and cruel. But Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent…and handsome. She might even be falling in love with him.

But time is running out. The monsters from the forest circle the farm at night. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Lia must locate a secret organization called the Thorns to help Gabe escape to safety, but every move she makes puts her in more danger. 

Is compassion—and love—worth the risk?

Sounds great, right? Here's where to get a copy of your very own! 

Find more information about the entire series here

About Kate: 

Kate Avery Ellison lives in Atlanta, GA, with her computer programmer husband and two very bad (but very loveable) cats. She loves ice cream cake, board games, and British TV shows with lots of witty dialogue. She is the author of five books for young adults, including the The Frost Chronicles. You can find out more about her life and books at, or follow her on Twitter at

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Post-apocalyptic Chat: Annie Oldham and The Burn - WIN!

Hey all,

This week's post-apocalyptic chat comes from the lovely Annie Oldham, author of The Burn series. For those of you who haven't read it yet, here's a little intro.

The Burn is full of nuclear fallout, roving gangs, anarchy, unreliable plumbing. That's what Terra's father tells her. She has lived her whole life in comfort in a colony at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. She hates it. And she would pay any price to leave. But when Terra finally escapes the colony, she finds out her father is right. She finds a group of survivors that quickly become friends, and every day with them is a race for survival. When she witnesses and commits unspeakable acts, she has to decide where her loyalty lies: with the colony she despises or the Burn, where every day is filled with nightmares.

Sounds awesome right? Except for the unreliable plumbing. Seriously - that's the part most people never think of when they think of the apocalypse. Mutant zombies--a handy dandy shotgun can take care of that. No flush toilets? That's a deal breaker. 

One of my favorite things about post-apocalyptic fiction is the world-building. Since we aren't living in the end of days (at least not yet) it's up to each author to offer up his or her vision of what things would be like. 

I asked Annie to explain how she came up with her own personal apocalypse. Check it out! And don't forget to enter to win an e-copy of The Burn and it's sequel, Infraction. 

Annie, take it away!

Everyone is apprehensive of the future. Some of us give it a passing glance every so often, others of us are downright paranoid about it. I think that's why so many readers love—and why I enjoy writing—a post-apocalyptic world. It's the grand game of “What if...?”

Just by its very nature you can bet that things will get intense and that there will be no small stories there. A dystopian government? A race for survival? Desperation at every turn? Zombies or some other plague? You can bet at least one of those will pop up in this genre. That's what makes it so fun. You can ask “What if...?” as many times as you'd like, and chances are, you're not going to go too far over the top.

But the post-apocalyptic setting is just the framework of the story. If you don't have real, flesh-and-blood characters driving the story along—characters that learn and grow and feel—the story will succumb to its seemingly impossible circumstances. No one will be able to suspend their disbelief long enough to see the story through. One of my readers told me that Infraction scared her because she could see the future I created actually happening. If she hadn't become invested in the characters, she wouldn't have had that emotional response.

I've enjoyed writing The Burn series so much because it focuses on what a good person does in the face of such unbelievable circumstances. Crafting this world where the government tries to control its citizens to the point of privacy invasion and brainwashing is frightening, but could border on implausible. I keep it real by creating good people to live the story. Good people who don't necessarily do impossible things. No one single-handedly takes down the government or saves the world. But they're good characters doing what's right in incredible circumstances, and I think that's the most poignant story to tell. Because we've all been there.

Adding the post-apocalyptic setting is just icing on the cake.


Want more? Of course you do! Here's all the info you need to know! And make sure to enter the contest before you leave!! Oh and check out MY post over at Annie's blog about creating MY post-apocalyptic world. (Hint: Just add zombies.) You can win a copy of Tomorrow Land.

Buy Links

Author Bio

Away from her writing, Annie Oldham is the mother of the three most adorable girls in the world, has the best husband in the world, and lives in the hottest place in the world (not really, but Phoenix sure feels like it). When she's not writing or wrangling children (yes, it does actually happen), she loves to cook, sing, and play the piano.

Contact Info

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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Love at 11 Book Tour: Win a Kindle Touch!

Hey all,

Just wanted to give you a head's up that I'm on tour this month with the CLP Blog Tours, introducing people to my book, LOVE AT 11 which is a new adult romance set in the world of TV news. I'll be doing interviews and guest blogs all around the interwebs, talking about the book. Come stop by for a visit! You'll have a chance to win a Kindle Touch!!

All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. As a bonus, those readers who purchase the e-book (for only $3.99) get FIVE EXTRA ENTRIES to win the KINDLE TOUCH!! (And, you know, the chance to read the book!) The book's available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks.

* Read a 5 star review of Love at 11

* Read a Q&A from me about the book.

* Read a Guest Blog about my inspiration for Love at 11.

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Monday, February 04, 2013

Apocalyptic Chat and Contest! Susan Kaye Quinn

Hi all!

Today I have awesome indie author Susan Kaye Quinn as a guest for a post-apocalyptic tea and chat, plus a BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Susan is a young adult author who grew up in California and, just like me, used to write stories for her friends instead of paying attention in class. (Though probably not starring David Bowie, like mine always seemed to.)  But when it came to college, our paths definitely diverged! While I was busy dressing in black and filmmaking, she was becoming a rocket scientist. Like, for real. I'm talking degrees in Aerospace engineering and working for NASA type rocket scientist. How freaking cool is that? 

In any case, she's the author of some great dystopian novels, including the Mindjack trilogy. And if that name doesn't intrigue you enough to just skip the interview and start reading the books alone - check out the cover and blurb: 

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can't read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can't be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. 

When she accidentally controls Raf's mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she's dragged deep into a hidden underworld of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Sounds intriguing, right? So pull up a chair and join us for a chat about post-apocalyptic worlds, mindjacking zombies and the freedome of being indie. I'm going to let Susan jump on in. 

SUE: *scoots chair closer to the table* Okay, I’ve activated a thought-wave disruptor shield around the cafĂ©, so we should be safe from any evil mindjackers that might stop by for a latte. But I’m a little concerned about bringing both our futuristic book-worlds together. I mean, you have zombies, right? Do we need to fortify the door?

MARI: But of course! After all, what self-respecting apocalypse doesn't have a few of the walking dead wandering around? You did bring your double-barreled shotgun right? Guns were outlawed in my world a few years ago by the government so I'm not going to be much help in that department. Mostly we just hole up in the local WalMart and pray for the best. 

I know, I know, you're like "A WalMart? Really?" But don't knock 'till you try it--turns out a WalMart has everything you need to survive a zombie apocalypse. 

Hmm. I wonder if zombies' minds can be jacked? I mean, on the one hand they probably wouldn't be able to put up much of a fight. On the other--is there enough gray matter left to make use of? 

SUE: Jacking zombies – now there’s a thought. A rather nasty thought. I think I’d prefer shooting them to diving into what’s left of their mindfield and getting lost in the blood-lust-crazy there. *grimaces and puts gun on the table* I’ll be sure to double-tap if any make it through the door. *sips tea, black, no milk, no sugar, none of that sissy stuff* Now, tell me, how does a nice girl like you, who was doing quite well for herself with vampire books, end up writing about post-apoc zombies? And now that you’ve jumped into the indie publishing world with your backlist novel, do you think you’ll indie publish follow-on works, making Tomorrow Land into a series?

MARI: Not that I don't love myself a good vampire (Team Spike!), but after writing eight books in the series, I was feeling a bit like a zombie myself! Tomorrow Land was originally published traditionally as part of Dorchester's Shomi line. Not sure if you heard about all the badness that went down with the publisher's demise, but let's just say it was about as pretty as I’d imagine a zombie mindjack to be. I was one of the fortunate ones—who got their rights back for their books. So I figured—why not take advantage of the awesomeness that is indie publishing and make the book available again? Not to mention hopefully recoup some of my lost royalties. Sigh.

As for a sequel, I’m thinking more of another book set in the world rather than a pure sequel. I think a post-apocalyptic wasteland just has so much potential! (That’s not weird, right?) *Looks around a bit nervously* Ahem. You’re sure this disrupter shield is sound?

In any case, I know readers love sequels and spin-offs and that sort of thing. In fact, I see that as a distinct advantage to indie publishing. You can give readers what they want, when they want it. (Okay, maybe not exactly when!) Still, you don’t have to worry about a publisher going out of business or just not wanting your series to continue. The readers dictate—not the corporations!

When you started your Mindjack series – did you always know it would be a trilogy? 

SUE: As soon as I decided to publish Open Minds, I knew it had to be a trilogy – there was just too much of Kira’s story left to tell. In fact, that was one of the reasons I chose the indie route –I wanted to write the rest of the trilogy, and going through a publisher would have meant waiting to see if the first book sold before writing the next two. And you’re exactly right that indie publishing gives you so much freedom that way – which is how I ended up writing three novellas for the series as well. Once readers (and writers!) get into a world, they really want to play around in it for a while, and it’s great fun to be able to give readers more of what they want!

And sorry to hear about the Great Publisher Meltdown, but I’m glad you (and all authors these days) have that indie option. It really opens up the possibilities. One thing I’ve found about indie publishing is that it changes how I write – in the sense that I’m driven more by what moves me as a writer, and less by what’s selling or what editors/agents are looking for. For example, I’m almost done with the first draft of a steampunk fantasy romance with a strong east-indian aesthetic. It’s a complete genre mashup, but I love it! And when I’m done, hopefully readers will too. Another example: I just had a story idea literally over the weekend. Three days later, I’m done with the 11k novella. It’s something totally different from what I’ve written before – darker, grittier – but I fully intend to polish it up and publish it and possibly turn it into an episodic serial of novellas. A week ago, I had no idea this would be in my writing plan for 2013, yet here it is… and in a few weeks, it will probably be up on Amazon for sale. Then I can see if anyone else likes it too. 

I’ll be curious to see if your indie publishing experience affects you as a writer this way too, as you get further into it! I know we have more Tomorrow Land related works coming down the pike, but what would be your dream project, if there were no limits, no restraints on what you could write/publish? 

MARI: Dream project, huh? Well, I have this book called The Camelot Code. We call it my cursed book because it's sold to two different traditional publishers over the last 7 years and both of them basically shut down their YA lines before it could be published. And then the third publisher we almost sold it to--I mean, contract in hand!--backed out at the last second this fall. ARGH! The rest of the trad publishers wouldn't touch it because it's a tween with fantasy elements. Too old for middle grade, but too young for today's YA market - which tends to gear toward older teens and darker subject matters. It really sucks, too, because it's my dream project and I just know that it would find an audience if only someone would give it a chance. I would indie publish it--and who knows, maybe I should--but I'm not sure there's a market yet for indie tween. The tweens I know, even if they have e-readers have to see the book in a physical format, like at the library or in a bookstore--before they'll go download it onto their kindles. They're just not trolling the lists online. I know this will change in time, but for now, my beloved Camelot Code remains under the bed.  (Or, you know, a dusty computer file.) 

Sob story aside, I am fortunate enough to be publishing my other dream project, a trilogy called "Scorched" with Sourcebooks in September. It's basically Terminator but with a dragon apocalypse instead of Skynet. I'm super excited about that one as it combines what I love about fantasy novels with a modern day sensibility. 

Also - steampunk fantasy romance with east-indian aesthetic? Um, awesome! I love hybrids. I love writing them, I love reading them! And I love that indie publishing paves the way for more! Oh and I love that I won't have to wait 2 1/2 years for it to be published. Because I'd like to read! You can hook that up, right? Too bad I can't just jack it straight from your mind. I'm still waiting for the day when I can just "think" a book straight into MS Word...

SUE: Ha! I guess maybe I should stop building my storyboard on Pinterest and get busy on finishing the book, eh? For now, I still have to do it the old fashioned way, fingers-to-keyboard. 

Your dream stories sound awesome (dragons! Yes! *nods sagely*). I think you're right about the tween indie market not being quite there - kids still discover their books through gatekeepers like teachers and librarians. But that's slowly changing. My three boys each have their own ereaders - the time is coming when they will browse the kid's bestseller lists just like they browse YouTube for the latest Minecraft videos.
Thanks so much for stopping by today and sharing your journey with us, and best of luck with all your books!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for Susan's e-book and a signed copy of Blood Coven Vampires Volume One. And check out Susan online and buy her books. E-copies are only $2.99... that's less than a cup of coffee for an awesome book! 

Susan's website
Open Minds on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

And lastly - after you finish entering THIS contest, you can hop over to Susan's blog and enter for a chance to win Tomorrow Land, as well! 

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