Tag Archives: giveaways

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: THE NIGHT HOUSE by Rachel Tafoya

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

The Night House by Rachel Tafoya

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!


Bianca St. Germain works at a Night House, a place where vampires like the aristocratic Jeremiah Archer, pay to feed on humans, and she doesn’t much care what others think of her. The money is good, and at least there, she’s safe. Bianca also doesn’t care that the Night House is killing her. All she cares about is: nauth, the highly addictive poison in vampire bites that brings a euphoria like no drug ever could.

But when Bianca meets James, a reclusive empath who feels everything she does, for the first time, she considers a life outside of the Night House and a someone worth living for. But Jeremiah has decided to keep Bianca for himself; he won’t allow her to walk away.

As she allows her feelings for James to grow, she struggles to contain nauth’s strong hold on her life. If they are to have a future, James must make her see what she’s worth, what she means to him, before Jeremiah and nauth claim her for good.

add to goodreadsTitle: THE NIGHT HOUSE
Publication date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC
Author: Rachel Tafoya


Rachel Tafoya

Rachel Tafoya studied creative writing while at Solebury School and was published in their student run literary magazine, SLAM. She attended a writing program for teens at both Susquehanna University and Denison University, and the Experimental Writing for Teens class and Novels for Young Writers program, both run by NY Times bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry. Rachel is the daughter crime author Dennis Tafoya.

Connect with the Author: Tumbler | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Wow, doesn’t this sound good? I’m ready for a good vamp story, maybe this could be the next one! What do you think? Are you going to add The Night House to your TBR pile?


Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win an e-book of The Night House & a $10 Amazon gift card! Open to international readers!

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Cover Reveal & Giveaway! CROWN OF ICE by Vicki L. Weavil

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Crown of Ice by Vicki L. Weavil

presented by Month9Books!

You can win an ebook of Crown of Ice & a $10 Amazon gift card! Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!


Thyra Winther’s seventeen, the Snow Queen, and immortal, but if she can’t reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.

A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles. Thyra’s willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts — to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s desire, the thawing of Thyra’s frozen heart could be her ultimate undoing.

CROWN OF ICE is a YA Fantasy that reinvents Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” from the perspective of a young woman who discovers that the greatest threat to her survival may be her own humanity.

add to goodreadsCrown of Ice by Vicki L. Weavil
Publication Date: December 16, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books


Vicki Weavil

Vicki Lemp Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. Since obtaining her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she’s gone on to acquire two masters degrees, living in places as diverse as New York City and rural North Carolina. She’s currently the library director for a performing visual arts university. Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumbler


Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

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Best Series Blog Hop: Win One of the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE Books


I’m pretty excited to be participating in the Best Series Blog Hop, hosted by Cuddlebuggery! In this giveaway hop, we’re celebrating young adult series that we love, and offering a giveaway based on that series. I decided to pick Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone series, and if your name is randomly chosen, you will get to pick one of these three books:

Book #1: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Book #2: Days of Blood & Starlight

Book #3: Dreams of Gods & Monsters

So if you haven’t yet started the series, you can catch the beginning, and because of some really good timing, the last book, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, will be released just as this giveaway hop is ending, so you can choose that one if you’ve already read the other two.

This giveaway is international, provided The Book Depository ships to your country. Ready to enter? Simply click on the Rafflecopter below:

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And don’t forget to check out the other blogs on this hop! Click here to see the list.


Filed under Giveaway Hop, Giveaways

Book Review Giveaway – Win One of the Books I Reviewed in February!

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February was a very slow month for me, and by slow, I mean I didn’t get through very many books! However, I had some amazing five-star reads, and I’m happy to give you the chance to win one of them—as well as one of the other books I read this past month. My favorites of the month? Red Rising and The Museum of Extraordinary Things. I also read the surprisingly well-developed novella Poison Dance, a prequel to the upcoming Midnight Thief. As a bonus, the winner will also receive an e-book of Poison Dance, in addition to your choice of one of the other books, provided you have an e-reader. 

This giveaway is international, as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. (please check if you’re not certain!) You can also spread the word about the giveaway and add the giveaway button to your sidebar:

Books, Bones & Buffy
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Here are the books I reviewed last month. I’d love to know if you’ve read these books! Giveaway will end on March 20th. Clicking on the titles will take you to my review of the book. Good luck!

Red Rising  The Museum of Extraordinary Things  Poison Dance

Hang Wire  Black Dog  Alienated

five stars Red Rising by Pierce Brown

five starsThe Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

five stars Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne

four stars Hang Wire by Adam Christopher

four stars Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier

 three starsAlienated by Melissa Landers

Ready to enter? Simply click on the Rafflecopter button below:

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Book Review Giveaway – Win One of My January Reviews!

Book review giveaway button 2014 copy

Last month I posted eight reviews here on the blog, and so this month I’m giving you a chance to win one of those books. I had an awesome month, I think, with three five-star and two four-and-a-half star reviews. So in my opinion you have lots of great choices! My favorites of the month: Cruel Beauty, Unhinged and The Line. Running a close second: Shadowplay and The Rabbit Back Literature Society.

One of the options for entering is to add the giveaway button to your sidebar. If you’d like to do so, here it is:

Books, Bones & Buffy
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.booksbonesbuffy.com" title="Books, Bones & Buffy"><img src="http://booksbonesbuffy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/book-review-giveaway-button-2014-225.jpg" alt="Books, Bones & Buffy" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

I’m doing a Rafflecopter this month, so click on the button below to enter. Giveaway is International, provided the Book Depository ships to your country. I’d love to hear if you’ve read any of these, too! You can read my reviews by clicking on the title links. So here they are, the books I reviewed last month:

five starsCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

five starsUnhinged by A.G. Howard

five starsThe Line by J.D. Horn

four and a halfShadowplay by Laura Lam

four and a halfThe Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen

four starsScarlet by A.C. Gaughen

four starsBarcelona Shadows by Marc Pastor

four starsThe Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

Ready to enter? Click the Rafflecopter button below:

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Interview with J.D. Horn – Author of THE LINE + Giveaway!

author interview banner 2014 copy

I recently read and gushed about The Line by debut author J.D. Horn (you can read my five-star review here), and I was thrilled when J.D. agreed to do an interview for the blog! If you love stories with witches and a Southern gothic flare, then you’ll love The Line. And J.D. is generously offering up TWO SIGNED COPIES of The Line: One to a U.S. winner, and one to an international winner! So keep reading after the interview for a chance to win!

First, please welcome J.D. Horn to the blog!

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The Line is your first published novel. Can you tell us a little about your path to publication, how long it took to write, and how you ended up at 47North?

The short answer is that I ended up at 47North because editor David Pomerico is a very brave man. There are not many publishers willing to take on the risk of a Southern Gothic Urban Fantasy series that gleefully jabs its finger at just about every hot button issue you can think of. Luckily, I think Charlaine Harris has done much in paving the way for quirky stories like The Line.

The longer version runs like this:  Earlier I wrote a novel that helped me meet my agent, but for which we couldn’t find a publisher.  We kept getting the same response. It was a lovely story, but didn’t stand a chance of commercial success. One publisher considered taking it on, but decided she could never get the Marketing budget needed to give it a proper launch. Without the necessary support, the book would never have a chance to find its readers.

I understand that publishing is a business, so I decided to take a serious look at the reasons for rejection the editors had shared with us. Of course, reviewing their comments in the context of being rejected was heartbreaking, but on the flip side of the heartbreak I had been given a list of what editors were actually wanting. That left me to do some soul-searching. Could I write a story that would feel like it belonged to me, but that might still have a wide enough appeal to entice a publisher to put its capital on the line? (No pun intended.)  Mercy’s story came as the answer to that question.

Six months of part-time writing convinced me that what I really wanted to do with my life was to write full-time. After taking that leap, I spent around six months or so working with a developmental editor. (If you’re a writer, and can manage to come up with the funds, consider a professional editor an investment rather than an expense.)

Once my agent, my editor and I agreed Mercy’s story was ready, my agent presented the book to a small group of publishers who specialize in genre fiction.   I believe it was a period of two to three months from the point we pulled the trigger until the book got picked up by 47North.

The Line

Your novel takes place in the South and incorporates “root magic” into a story about a family of witches. What sorts of mythology or legends did you draw from to come up with the various types of magic that the Taylor family uses?

I really wanted to come up with a fresh take on witches and magic. I have tried to walk a thin line, as I want practitioners of Wicca to feel respected and enjoy The Line, but I also want to open up the definitions of “magic” and “witch” so that everyone can join in on the fun. As Mercy discovers in The Source (the second book in the series), the font of my witches’ magic lies beyond the purview of religion.

The Taylors, like many of Savannah’s families, come from Irish stock, so of course old Celtic beliefs come into play. Kabalistic magic plays an increasingly important role as the series progresses. Norse mythology gets a nod here and there also. Still the witches of The Line come from many different cultures and religions.  H.P. Lovecraft moved occult fantasy into a realm that was not bounded by any one religious viewpoint. Readers of H.P. Lovecraft will easily spot his influence on the Witching Savannah mythology, if not on the story’s tone.

In regard to root magic, the practice is a very real part of the Low Country  (Charleston, Savannah and the surrounding region) culture. I simply could not write a book about witchcraft in the Low Country and not address root magic. I just hope its practitioners realize the love and respect I have for my Jilo, and are willing to hang with the series as they see how she develops from near caricature to hero.

Which character in The Line did you most enjoy writing? And which character was the most difficult to write?

Hands down, Mother Jilo Wills was my favorite character to write.  Her participation in the book was originally to be limited to a mention in passing, relating how another character was related to Savannah’s reigning queen of Hoodoo. Then, Jilo started talking to me. Telling me her story. She wanted to live, and she was not going to take a no from me. This book was not going to happen without her, and I needed to get the heck out of her way.

I had gone through many false starts on The Line, but once Jilo took over—yes, took over—the story just flowed. Jilo is feisty, fiercely intelligent and well-educated. Still, she hides her sophistication and presents herself in a way that those around her expect. She has created a persona that has in turn entrapped her. Part of the joy of writing the series has been watching Mercy peel away the layers until she gets to the real woman inside Jilo.

I cannot really say which character was the most difficult to write without giving too much away. Unlike Jilo, who presents herself as less than she is, there are a couple of characters who present themselves as being more. These two were very difficult to write.

The Line ends with lots of plot points resolved, but there are teasers in the story about upcoming events. Can you tell us a little about what’s next for Mercy and her family?

Just because someone loves you, doesn’t mean they won’t lie to you. As a matter of fact, the more they love you, the bigger the lies they might tell. Mercy is going to learn that her family loves her—a lot.

For me, the star of The Source is the relationship that develops between Mercy and Jilo.

Other than that, I am going to imitate Doctor Who’s River Song by shaking my head and saying “Spoilers.”

What is a “day in the life” of J.D. Horn like? Are you a full-time writer, or do you have a “day” job?

I am blessed. Around two years ago, I decided to leave a career in Finance to follow my dream of becoming a published writer. I have a tremendously supportive (and up till now supporting) spouse who believed enough in me to allow me to go for it.

A day in the life depends on where I am in a book’s cycle. Currently, I am finishing a first draft of The Void (Book Three), getting ready for a second round of copyedits on The Source, and working on promoting The Line.

Quentin and Corinne

Quentin Comfort Horn (the wee dog) at Corinne Lawton’s monument in Bonaventure Cemetery.

Tell us three things about yourself that readers might not know.

I’m a non-proselytizing vegetarian.

I am a big and proselytizing supporter of ending puppy mills. (Adopt, don’t buy.)

I worship Emmylou Harris, Nanci Griffith and Alison Krauss.

Thanks for an awesome interview, J.D.!

About the Author:

JD Horn was raised in rural Tennessee, and has since carried a bit of its red clay in him while travelling the world, from Hollywood, to Paris, to Tokyo. He studied comparative literature as an undergrad, focusing on French and Russian in particular. He also holds an MBA in international business and worked as a financial analyst before becoming a novelist. When not writing he is likely running, and he has race bibs from two full marathons and about thirty half marathons. He and his spouse, Rich, and their three pets split their time between Portland, Oregon and San Francisco.

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

And now for the giveaway: One U.S. and one International winner (total of two winners) will receive a signed copy of The Line! Big thanks to J.D. for offering these signed copies:) Simply click on the Rafflecopter button to enter now: (Note, please read: Rafflecopter is acting wonky!! I’m not sure if it’s just me or what, but it may ask you to sign in first. Also, if you don’t see the Twitter follow or Facebook follow buttons, please click on the follow links (above) in this post to follow J.D. And let me know in the comments if you’re also having trouble with Rafflecopter!)

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Release Day Giveaway & Excerpt: AVALON by Mindee Arnett

Avalon quote graphic

It’s finally here…release day for Mindee Arnett’s Avalon! I know by now everyone is most likely aware of this book, and today you can finally get your hands on a copy. I haven’t read it yet, but I have seen some glowing reviews around the blogosphere, so it’s definitely on my list to read. Today I have an excerpt for you to read, and the publisher is giving away two signed copies of Avalon, plus a $50 gift card to the ebook retailer of your choice (U.S. & Canada only)! Keep reading to enter the giveaway!


Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth—and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they’re damn good at it. Jeth doesn’t care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents’ ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he’ll go to get the freedom he’s wanted for so long.

With pulse-pounding action, a captivating mystery, and even a bit of romance, Avalon is the perfect read for hard-core sci-fi fans and non–sci-fi fans alike.

You can find and purchase Avalon here…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-million | IndieBound | Google Play | Kobo | iTunes

and read an exclusive excerpt here.

Mindee ArnettMindee Arnett is the author of one other book for teens,The Nightmare Affair. She lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. Her dream home, though, is aboard a spaceship.

Find Mindee: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Goodreads

And now for the giveaway! The publisher is giving away two signed hardcovers of Avalon + a $50 gift card to the ebook retailer of your choice! Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. Ready to enter? Simply click on the Rafflecopter button below:

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Giveaway! Win a Complete Set of THE TAKER Trilogy + $50 Gift Card!


To celebrate the publication of The Descent, one of my favorite authors, Alma Katsu, has a fantastic giveaway going on until January 14th. THREE WINNERS (U.S. only) will win the complete The Taker Trilogy in paperback, PLUS a $50 gift card from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or iTunes, plus some Taker swag! If you’ve been following this blog, you know how *taken* I am with this trilogy (ha ha terrible pun). I just read the final book in the series and loved it (you can read my review here.)

It’s hard to sum up what this series is about, so here’s a short blurb from Alma’s website:

A young woman learns that love can make the impossible possible—but the greater the love, the greater its price. Historical and romantic elements combine with fantasy and suspense to tell a unique story of love and loss, betrayal and redemption.

Check out the story descriptions on Goodreads: * The Taker

The Reckoning * The Descent

Please remember that this giveaway is U.S. only! Big thanks to Alma for this fantastic giveaway! Ready to enter? Simply click the Rafflecopter button below:

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SCION OF THE SUN by Nicola Marsh – Blog Tour + Review


Welcome to my stop on the Scion of the Sun Blog Tour, where you can read my review. This tour is hosted by Chapter by Chapter. First, here’s what the book is about:


Publication date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
ISBN-13: 978-0-9850294-3-2
ISBN eBook: 978-0-9850294-2-5
Author: Nicola Marsh

When she least expects it, sixteen-year-old Holly Burton’s unremarkable life is shaken to the core. A vision of the mother Holly never knew leaves her questioning everything she believes.

Eager for answers, Holly enrolls at a boarding school for highly gifted students in Wolfebane, New Hampshire. But Holly’s complicated life worsens when she accidentally transports to a parallel existence where she’s confronted by a dark and ancient evil.

With the help of Joss, a sexy alpha warrior sworn to protect her, and her new BFF, the equally swoon-worthy Quinn, Holly faces her fears and an unlikely adversary in a showdown that is worse than anything she could’ve possibly imagined …

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My Review:

four stars

In a word: An adventure full of Celtic mythology, a wonderfully human and flawed main character, lots of sly references to Harry Potter, but not quite enough danger for me.

I couldn’t wait to start reading Scion of the Sun, mostly because of the gorgeous cover that really drew me in. And Scion starts off very strong, as we are introduced to MC Holly, who is telling the story. One of the best ways to throw your characters into uncomfortable situations is to send them to a new place. In this case, Holly is about to start boarding school at the Clique of Unique Luminary Telepathies (try saying that out loud!), or C.U.L.T. for short. C.U.L.T. takes in students with psychic powers of one sort or another and helps them develop those powers. (Sound familiar?) Holly has just started having visions, and they’re freaking her out, and she’s hoping someone at the school will be able to help her understand them.

But even though she meets new friends Quinn and Raven when she arrives, Holly still feels like an outsider. And when she accidentally teleports to another place and meets a group of teens that belong to the Sorority of the Sun, Holly realizes her visions may be a clue to her true purpose in life: to help the Sorority fight a man named Cadifor who is trying to obliterate the world. Holly, it turns out, is a descendant of the Celtic sun-god Belenus, and is the Scion of the Sun.

Holly was by far my favorite part of Scion of the Sun. She’s a typical sixteen-year-old girl who crushes on cute boys and simply wants to fit in. Her voice is sarcastic and snarky, yet you can tell she lacks confidence in herself. Her Nan, the woman who’s been taking care of her for years, has just gone into a coma, and Holly thinks she is responsible.  When she is told that she’s the person who can save the world from the evil Cadifor, Holly has a hard time believing it. She reminded me a lot of Buffy, but without the cute clothes.

Marsh does give us a love triangle, of sorts, when Holly meets the hot (naturally) and enigmatic Joss in Eiros, the secret place located in New York City where Holly goes when she teleports. Joss calls himself  her “warrior” and is sworn to protect her. But from what? Holly of course doesn’t want his protection at first, but there seems to be a strong connection between them that she’s having a hard time explaining to herself, and when things start to get dangerous in Eiros, Holly realizes that she needs him more than she thinks. And then there’s Quinn back at C.U.L.T., who is cute and funny and likes Holly a lot. Holly can tell that Quinn is developing a crush on her, but she can’t explain her frequent disappearances to Quinn and Raven, because her involvement with the Sorority must remain a secret.

The story jumps back and forth between the school and Eiros, as Holly must keep up appearances with her friends at school, and learn how to control her powers in Eiros. I actually preferred the scenes that took place in Eiros, when Holly begins to learn who she really is and what she must do as the Scion. Marsh adds lots of mythology to the story, and although at times I felt there was information overload with all the intricacies of Celtic beliefs, I was fascinated by the symbols and rituals that Holly had to learn in order to fulfill her destiny. The story actually became uncomfortable during the scenes at school, when Holly must lie to her friends in order to keep her doings in Eiros a secret.

A few things didn’t work as well for me. For example, Marsh introduces several characters that only make one appearance in the book and never show up again, like a mysterious boy named Drake that greets Holly at the entrance to the school on her first day. I was intrigued by Drake, but disappointed later when he never made it back into the story.

I was also confused by the lack of danger related to the character of Cadifor, who is after all, the “bad guy.” Holly seems overly melodramatic when her visions show him manhandling a woman by pushing and shoving her, and it almost felt as if the author was censoring the story so that it wouldn’t be too violent for young readers. I’m not saying I need death and blood and violence in everything I read, but I would have been more engaged with the story if Marsh had upped the stakes and made the danger more intense. Also confusing was something called “Arwen” that both Holly and Cadifor are searching for. I wasn’t sure whether Arwen was a person or an artifact (or maybe I just missed that detail when I was reading), but more information would have made me care more whether or not Holly located this elusive “thing” before Cadifor did.

But I loved the sweet scenes when Holly worries about her Nan in the hospital. She clearly has lots of history with her and cherishes her memories in Nan’s house and gardens.  I also loved the frequent references to Harry Potter and Twilight, and I appreciated the author poking fun at herself, since the book is partly about a school of magic. Scion of the Sun is a strangely appealing mixture of old world Celtic lore populated with modern teens who are just trying to fit in. Holly shines as a reluctant girl who is destined to save the world, but like her counterpart Buffy, isn’t sure she really wants to.

Many thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.

About the author:

Nicola Marsh

USA TODAY bestselling author Nicola Marsh writes flirty fiction with flair for adults and riveting, spooky stories for teens.

She has published 43 contemporary romances with Harlequin, Entangled Publishing and indie, and sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Her first mainstream romance BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD was nominated for Romantic Book of the Year 2012. Her first indie romance, CRAZY LOVE, was a 2012 ARRA finalist.

Her debut young adult novel, a supernatural thriller BANISH, released with Harlequin Teen August 2013, and her YA urban fantasy series kicks off with SCION OF THE SUN, November 2013, with Month9Books.

She’s also a Waldenbooks, Bookscan and Barnes & Noble bestseller, a 2013 RBY (Romantic Book of the Year) and National Readers’ Choice Award winner, and a multi-finalist for a number of awards including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, Booksellers’ Best, Golden Quill, Laurel Wreath, More than Magic and has also won several CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Awards.

A physiotherapist for thirteen years, she now adores writing full time, raising her two little heroes, sharing fine food with family and friends, and her favorite, curling up with a good book!

Find Nicola: * Website * Facebook * Twitter *


Thanks to Chapter by Chapter for hosting this tour!

Chapter by Chapter


Filed under Blog Tours, Giveaways, Reviews

VERY SUPERSTITIOUS Blog Tour with Stephanie Kuehnert + Giveaway!

VSA-BannerI’m super excited to be part of the Very Superstitious Blog Tour, hosted by Chapter By Chapter! This anthology was an interesting blend of stories from some authors that I wasn’t very familiar with, and I enjoyed it immensely! You can read my review here. For today’s stop on the tour, I’m happy to welcome author Stephanie Kuehnert to the blog. Stephanie has agreed to share her Top Ten Writing Rituals with us, so sit back, relax, and enjoy her (slightly chaotic!) list:


1. Run. This is where the ideas that have been stewing, sometimes for years, begin to click. A character or a theme that has been gnawing at me will suddenly spring to life in a scene. Sometimes this happens when I’m walking or riding the bus, but there is something about being outside and running that tends to set it off best. Often it has to do with the music I’m listening to, which leads us to…

2. Create a playlist. A song or a band is usually the trigger for what I’m writing. “Bastards of Young” by the Replacements set the tone for my book, Ballads of Suburbia. The song “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” by Sleater-Kinney inspired my book, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, along with “Don’t Take Me For Granted” by Social Distortion. For my short story, “The Road Home” in Very Superstitious, it was “Tones of Home” by Blind Melon. I also checked a bunch of ‘20s music out of the library and built a playlist from that. I used to only listen to my playlists while I was running or going on errands—whenever I wanted to get into the mindset of my story/character—but not while I was writing because it disrupted my concentration. Lately, I’ve been writing with music more often, so my novel playlists have gotten totally out of control and are well over a hundred songs long, often including whole albums by the bands who inspired the book, and then I create mini-playlists for certain emotionally intense scenes. Yeah, playlists are a huge writing ritual for me.

3. Create a Scrivener project file. This is a relatively new ritual for me, only started a book and a half ago, but I am deeply in love with Scrivener. Spending a day organizing my ideas about the book, laying out the chapters, writing up outlines, character bios and importing research and pictures gets me in the mindset of writing. I’ve also found that having all of my information in one place keeps me in that mindset. I’m easily distracted, so jumping around and pulling up different documents of my synopsis or previous versions of a scene can send me down a rabbit hole causing me to lose hours of writing time. When it’s all in Scrivener, I stay focused.

4. Find the right journal for my project. I still write by hand occasionally. (Even more now that I work full-time and do writing on my lunch break!) And I never feel like I’m completely in the groove with my project until it has the right notebook. I’m very picky about these things. I’ve started project notebooks and had to tear the pages out of them when the story doesn’t seem to “fit” there. (That is probably me superstitiously blaming the notebook, but whatever. If it works, it works.) People buy me journals as gifts all the time and since my friends have awesome taste, they usually become a project notebook. Every once in a while I end up buying one because it’s so perfect for the story I’m working on. Getting a new notebook can often get me out of a rut.

Image for Bones Book and Buffy Post

These are the journals for my current, brand new projects. Both are gifts from friends. The one of the left is for my fiction project, and the one on the right is for an essay collection/zine-style memoir project I have in mind.

5. I break my book. This ALWAYS happens to me. ALWAYS! I have a breakdown roughly half or three-quarters of the way through my book when the plot and the characters have completely spiraled out of control and I have no idea how to rein them in, tie up loose ends and finish. This quickly devolves into me questioning how I thought this idea/these characters/this plot could ever work as a story. The book is BROKEN. My idea seems moronic OR I’m too much of an untalented moron to write it. I cry a lot during this phase.

6. Send obsessive emails to my critique partners and chatter endlessly about the book to my husband. I’ve never given up on a book. Sometimes it takes longer than other times for me to get back on track. Sometimes I need a whole month or summer of playing video games and generally lazing around to work past it. Most of the times I just need to stew and I do my best stewing by talking about my plot and the problems with the story over and over and over to anyone I trust who is willing to listen. This means sending a lot of emails to my critique partners. It means following my husband around the house and asking him questions or sharing ideas and usually trailing off into silence as my brain begins to move too fast for my mouth. I have a love/hate relationship with this phase of the process.

7. Clean all of the things. During the ruminating on how to fix the broken book, my house becomes spotless. This is part procrastination, part my own messed-up need to make something super orderly when my brain is in pure chaos, and part preparation for what comes next…

8. Let everything else fall into total chaos. Once I get past the block, I begin to live and breathe the book. Nothing but the book. I tear my office apart looking for research materials and leave it there. Tea mugs pile up. Laundry and dishes are neglected. Aside from making sure my cats are cared for, I cannot be counted on for much. So cleaning the house while I’m thinking about my book proves essential because it will get beyond dirty in the weeks or month that follows.

9. Become so obsessed with the story that I lose sleep thinking about it and probably have dreams about it. After struggling with insomnia for more than fifteen years of my life, I usually work very hard to practice good sleep habits and I get upset when there are disturbances in my sleep. I get a sick sort of enjoyment out of the end-of-a-draft sleep deprived phase. I stay up super late binge writing through scenes. I lay in bed, eyes wide, thinking about what happens next. And I especially love it when I dream about the story or an ah-ha moment wakes me up and sends me sprinting to the bathroom with a notebook and pen so as not to disturb my husband.

10. I decompress. If this is round one and now my draft is going to my agent and critique partners, I take a very long shower. (Umm, bathing also tends to fall to the wayside toward the end.) I spend as much time as I can watching TV or reading. Then I begin to catch up on things like the email I neglected and the housework. As it gets closer to getting my notes back, I start listening to my playlist (if I ever stopped) and getting excited to go through steps 8 and 9 again (hopefully not steps 5 and 6 but that can happen too.) If what I’ve completed is the revised version my agent will be putting on sub, I do all of these things, especially the soundtrack listening and then I get pretty sad. I’ve gotten so close to my characters. I will miss hanging out in their world. Slowly, I try to discover new songs, new ideas (or revisit ones I’ve had for a while) and start the whole thing over from the beginning with the next project!

About Stephanie:                                                        

stephbio1STEPHANIE KUEHNERT got her start writing bad poetry about unrequited love and razor blades in eighth grade. In high school, she discovered punk rock and produced several D.I.Y. feminist ‘zines. After short stints in Ohio and Wisconsin, Stephanie ultimately returned home and received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago. She currently resides in Forest Park, IL.


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Big thanks to Stephanie for stopping by today! I loved her list, how about you?

About Very Superstitious:

Very Superstitious

Title: Very Superstitious: Myths, Legends, and Tales of Superstition (Anthology)
Publication date: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
ISBN-13: 978-0-9883409-4-7
ISBN eBook: 978-1-939765-75-8
Authors: Delany, Jackie Morse Kessler, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jennifer Knight,
Marianne Mancusi, Michelle E. Reed, Dianne Salerni and Pab Sungenis

The stories are based on urban legends, myths, tribal tales and superstitions from around the world.  A charity anthology to benefit SPCA International with stories by Shannon Delany, Jackie Morse Kessler, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jennifer Knight, Marianne Mancusi, Michelle E. Reed, Dianne Salerni and Pab Sungenis.

Check out the rest of the Very Superstitious Tour Schedule here!

Find the book: * Goodreads * Amazon * Kobo *

And now for the Giveaway! Two winners, one international and one U.S., will receive ebooks of all the authors’ work (INT) or a physical copy of Very Superstitious (US)! Ready to enter? Simply click the Rafflecopter button below (Ends November 7th):

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Big thanks to Chapter by Chapter for hosting this blog tour!

Chapter by Chapter


Filed under Blog Tours, Giveaways, Guest Post