Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween! And Happy Birthday...

I have to admit, since my kids are older and we never get trick-or-treaters (watch - they'll show up tonight since I didn't buy any candy knowing I'd be the one eating it), Halloween doesn't quite feel the same as usual. Especially since everything was more focused on the boys' Homecoming activities this weekend. But anyway...

Happy Halloween to You!!!
Have a Spooktacular Day!!!

Today also happens to be Tristan's birthday. He is officially...*mumble mumble*...years old. So he doesn't like to announce it all over the place. He doesn't like his birthday at all, as a matter of fact. But Alexis and I kind of ignored that and put together this fun story for A Life Bound by Books' Haunted Halloween, Tristan's birthday and Genesis's release. Go read it and while you're there, be sure to comment to be entered for the drawings!

Also as part of the Genesis Release Tour don't miss:

Pets in Ancient Greece at Author Keary Taylor's blog
Homes in Ancient Greece at The Excuse Editor

Have a safe and happy spook day!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Foodie Friday: Goat Cheese

I almost named this Foodie Friday Fail. But that's not quite accurate, so I didn't. See, I hardly ever have an epic fail in the kitchen. I can almost always fix the disaster into something that might not be an all-time favorite (although sometimes it can be), but is at least edible and somewhat yum. But this week I'm experimenting. More than usual.

This week I've been working on making goat cheese. I've never made cheese before, but as you (might) know, I love cheese. And in Genesis, Cassandra makes goat cheese, but one of my crit partners *cough* Brenda Pandos *cough* not only challenged me on how Cassandra could bake bread without an oven, but she also challenged me on how Cassandra could make cheese in the situation she was in. Because cheese generally needs to age at least three months. And I thought, Hmm, I think goat cheese is different. But I wasn't sure and looked it up. To my relief, it (and other soft cheeses such as ricotta) are different - they can actually be made in a couple of hours.

So I've been experimenting with making goat cheese and I thought I was doing it wrong and this was an epic fail. It turns out I was doing it right, but it took a couple of extra hours to realize that. I wanted to share with you a final product, but...that will have to wait. Because the successful best batch is drying right this very moment and will take another couple of hours.

By then I have to get ready for my son's Homecoming football game (we've been on the road for six weeks so we're all excited for a real homecoming!) and you will probably be getting ready for your Friday night and weekend, too. Halloween parties, anyone? So I'll share more about this next week.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the latest Genesis Release Tour posts, including a scary story starring Alexis, Tristan and Owen! How does that even relate to Genesis? Read it and you'll see.

Have a good weekend! See you on spook day!

Recent tour stops:

Talking about religion in Ancient Greece at Books Read and Makeup Done - http://www.booksnmakeup.com/

Interview at All Things Books - http://speedyreader-allthingsbooks.blogspot.com/2011/10/interview-with-kristie-cook-author-of.html

Interview at Taking It One Book at a Time - http://takingitonebookatatime.blogspot.com/2011/10/interview-giveaway-kristie-cook.html

Character names and their meanings at The Indie Elite - http://theindieelite.blogspot.com/2011/10/genesis-release-tour-with-kristie-cook.html

The role of women at A Simple Love of Reading - http://simpleloveofreading.blogspot.com/2011/10/genesis-release-tour-with-kristie-cook.html

The landscapes of Greece at Book Reader Addicts - http://bookreaderaddictsgiveaways.blogspot.com/2011/10/genesis-by-kristie-cook-blog-stop-and.html

Haunted Halloween scary story with Alexis, Tristan and Owen - http://alifeboundbybooks.blogspot.com/2011/10/haunted-halloween-2011-guest-post_28.html

Tomorrow (Saturday) I talk about pets in Ancient Greece - http://www.kearytaylor.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Genesis Inspiration + The A Part of Q & A Part II + Winner!

For today's stop on the Genesis Release Tour, I'm hanging out with Book Reader Addicts and talking about the landscape in Greece. While answering more questions and then announcing the winner of the Q&A giveaway, I thought I'd share some inspiration for Genesis, too. I could - and have - spent hours upon hours gazing at photos of Greece, each one giving me some kind of inspiration. Here are a few of my favorites:

A mountainous area the characters traveled through and perhaps might have lived in. Courtesy of http://www.polirealestate.com/
Heather asked: What do you have planned for us after the Soul Saver series?
I have so many ideas, I don't know what I want to work on first. However, there is still lots more to come in the Soul Savers Series and so far, those characters have been the loudest and most demanding to tell their stories. That includes side characters who have their own stories - some you haven't even met yet. But I'd like to start on something new, as well, perhaps a YA novel or series. I've found that I have to go with the muse, though - the characters talking in my head the loudest. They won't shut up until I give them the attention they demand, so it's useless trying to work on anything else.


If this balcony were the edge of a cliff, this is the view Cassandra might have of her island off in the distance. Courtesy of www.rgbstock.com
Jackie asked: Do you only write paranormal stories or do you write other genres?
I've written contemporary fiction in the past, but nothing ever came of it. Right now, all of my ideas are fantasy/contemporary fantasy/paranormal. I have a couple ideas for dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories, too, that I'm kind of itching to explore. 

There's a scene at the bottom of this gorgeous rocky canyon (minus the house, of course, which actually makes me think of Po's house in Graceling.) Courtesy of www.pixdaus.com.

Anonymous asked: Are any of the characters personality traits based on friends or family? 
I think every author borrows character traits from family, friends and acquaintances, but that doesn't necessarily mean any character is just like someone we actually know. So yes, I've stolen borrowed traits from friends and family. For example, Sophia nods her head when she's using her "power of persuasion," which I got from a friend who nods her head when she asks you to do something, as if affirming the answer she wants. But Sophia's other traits come from other people, fictional characters or just my imagination - she's not entirely based on anyone I know.




Perhaps a place Cassandra and her family might have taken up as home for a while. Photo taken and provided by Author Jessica Bell.
Amanda asked: What would you have done with all the years between having lost your love and finding him again? 
It's hard to say when you don't know if you'll ever see him again. I guess at some point, since I wouldn't have the same soul connection Alexis has with Tristan, I might give up hope and completely move on. I don't know. I'd try to do my best, as Alexis does, to go on with life - take care of my kids, write my books, etc. Like her, though, I just don't know how enjoyable it all would be.

Katrina asked: Question for Tristan, how did you cope being away from your soul mate for all those years, and knowing that your child was born, what kept you going? I found this quiet emotional for Alexis!! Her feelings so raw, it was like being tortured for her, and when you first saw her when you escaped... what was your first thought?
Tristan: It was agony, of course, but when you're as old as I am, it doesn't feel as long to me as it would to you or to Alexis. She and Dorian kept me going - just knowing they were out there, probably safer as long as the Daemoni had me. When they made their move, of course, I had to, too. I'd just been waiting for the right opportunity. When I first saw Alexis and Dorian... *looks away and clears throat* ...it was pure joy and sorrow at the same time. After all, I didn't know what the creature inside me would do to them.

Thank you, everyone, for all the great questions! This was fun. We'll definitely be doing it again.

So, what you're all waiting for...

The winner of the Q&A giveaway for an ebook of Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella...

Picked by random.org, the winner is...

Can I make this any more suspenseful?

Maybe if I drag it out a little longer...

Okay, let's see...

It is...

Heather McC!!!!!
Woot! Congratulations!

Email me, Heather, and I'll send you the details to get your ebook.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Writer Wednesday - Jayde Scott

It's Wednesday, which means today I introduce you to an author you may not yet know. Hopefully this leads to some new book discoveries for you. Today we have Jayde Scott, another fellow author at The Writer's Voice. Jayde just released the third book in the Ancient Legends series, Voodoo Kiss, this month!


About Voodoo Kiss:

Aspiring rock star, Sofia, had her whole future figured out. Or so she thought until her sister's sacrificed in a horrific ritual. Now Sofia's haunted by dreadful nightmares and terrifying visions from a past she never knew existed.

On a trip to Brazil, something awakens inside Sofia -- her legacy, a blessing and a curse, drawing to her every paranormal creature out there: vampires, demons and reapers, ghosts and Shadows, and something much darker that's been twisting its way into her heart and soul. With the help of Thrain, a striking demon of the highest order, she sets out to uncover the truth about herself and the ones she loves.

In a world of love and betrayal, of reincarnation and ancient bonds, to solve the mystery of her sister's murder, Sofia must embrace her own century-old legacy. But do do so, she must also let evil into her soul.

Voodoo Kiss is out now and available as ebook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes, as well as in print format on Amazon.

About Jayde Scott:

Jayde Scott is a British author most notable for creating the Ancient Legends series. She lives in London with her family and several pets.

And now onto the interview!

Tell us about you in 10 words.
I became a writer because I always wanted supernatural powers.

Haha! That's awesome! If you tweeted about your latest release, what would it say (140 characters or less)?
With a striking demon’s help, young voodoo priestess Sofia sets out to uncover the truth about her past life she never knew existed.

Ooh, enticing... If you could spend the day with any of your characters, who would it be and what would you do?
Definitely Thrain because he’s a gorgeous bad boy slash demon who knows how to turn up the heat.

Hmm...we all seem to like spending time with hot bad boys. What's up with that? Anyway...what’s your favorite part of being a writer?
Readers telling me they enjoyed my novels. It makes my day every time.

I know, right?! Best. Part. Ever. Well, that and working in your PJs whatever hours you want. But there's always a downside. What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
Being a writer can be a lonely profession. I definitely miss the interaction with others.  What’s also difficult is staying focused and keeping away from the Internet.

Stay away from the internet? *cough* I have no idea what you mean. *cough* What do you wish you would have known before you became a writer?
You don’t need an agent or publisher to become a writer. I wish I had written more instead of wasting years on querying in the hope to find an agent or publisher.

Yes! I have all kinds of stuff to say about that, but this is your interview. So what made you decide to go indie?
Being published was my New Year’s resolution in 2010. When December 2010 came and I still hadn’t received an offer, I knew I had to do something. I figured I had nothing to lose by publishing my first book on Amazon.  Others had done it before me. That first book wasn’t successful, probably because I knew nothing about marketing ebooks or reaching the right audience, but I liked the aspect of being an indie author and having control over what I wrote, how many books I wrote, choosing a cover and so forth, so I published my young adult paranormal romance series, Ancient Legends.

Nothing to lose and so much to gain. What do you like most about being indie?
Being in control. I love designing my covers and creating book trailers. I also love writing at my own pace and about whatever I feel like writing.

If a writer came to you asking advice about going indie, what’s the most important thing you would tell them?
Write the best book you can and edit well. Don’t publish a book that isn’t edited.

Amen! It's what sets apart the winners from the wannabes. Okay, onto what you like to read. What’s the last book you read and what’s next?
The last book I read was my own novel, Voodoo Kiss, because I had to edit it. I’ve been meaning to read Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier for a while now. Definitely look forward to taking a few days off from writing and editing to read it.
 

Another book to add to my TBR list - in addition to yours, of course. We all have these teetering piles of new books to read, but there are always favorites we go back to. What book or author can you read over and over again?
The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice. I must have read that book a hundred times and still love it to bits.

Oh, good one! Ebooks or Dead Tree Books? Why? 

Definitely ebooks because I’m an environmentalist and against chopping off trees for the sake of creating paper.

Finally, where can we connect with you?

http://jayde-scott.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Official-Jayde-Scott-Fanpage/184687468220935
http://twitter.com/jaydescottbooks

Monday, October 24, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

I hope you're all enjoying the Genesis Release Tour! Did you see the news? Genesis has been released early in ebook format!

Before I share the next page of the Prologue, I just want to give you all a big THANK YOU!!! Sending out hugs to all of you! And champagne, confetti and cupcakes for everyone! Why? Because Promise is on the Amazon Bestsellers list - THE list - the Top 100 Paid in the whole Kindle Store. As I write this, it's sitting at #62. Woohoo!!!


By the way, although Purpose still has all of its reviews, Promise lost a bunch with the change to the new edition. So if you've read it, I'd love you forever if you'd put up a review. Thank you!

Okay, now back to Genesis and the big tease. If you're not up to date, you'll want to read Pages 1, 2 and 3 first. And here's page 4:


Andrew regained control and now took the offensive. Holding his sword and dagger out in front of him, he charged at the demon, aiming for its chest. The beast swung both of its swords out and locked the Angel’s blades between them. Still gripping the hilts tightly, Andrew flipped over its head and yanked his weapons free. A demon blade pulled loose, too, flying back and carving a gash into Andrew’s thigh. He grimaced as gold blood spurted from the wound. The sweet scent threw the demon into a frenzy.
The two flew at each other and became a blur of tangled limbs and clashing blades. The demon bit with fangs, slashed with talons and sliced with swords, shredding the Angel’s form. Andrew had never faced such a powerful opponent—tonight he might suffer his first loss in two millennia—but he refused to give up easily. He tore into the demon’s thick hide with every swing of his weapons. Splatters of both black blood and gold dotted their faces and bodies.
When Zoe’s screams fell silent, the Angel glanced into the physical realm. Her still body lay on the ground, her dark hair and eyes—staring blind and empty—contrasting with the new paleness of her face. The three figures stood over her with blood-stained lips. At the neckline of Zoe’s tunic, a tiny crimson flower bloomed with the smallest trickle of blood leaking from her throat. They had consumed the rest.
Andrew screamed a protest and his face contorted with rage as he turned to the demon. The evil one lifted the corners of its mouth as if in a grin. Andrew crossed his blades over his head. His wings beat a hard rhythm against the air as he gathered his power and channeled it to the swords. Then with all his might and energy, he swung the blades down and out, slicing through the demon’s neck. Black blood rained over the Angel as the head fell from its body.
Andrew wished he could have killed the evil beast, ended its existence forever, but that was no more possible than the demon being able to kill him. They could be injured to the point of incapacitation, ending that particular battle, but neither would ever die. They were spirits, denizens of the Otherworld since the beginning of time and into eternity. With a growl of defeat, the beast collapsed over its head and its physical form disintegrated into nothing.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Early Release!

I'm so excited!!!!! Look at this:


What does it mean?

Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella has been released early!!!

Woohoo!!!!!!!

At least, in ebook form:

Kindle - http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Soul-Savers-Novella-ebook/dp/B005XPG7SQ/
All other ereaders - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/98191

Also, don't forget the ongoing Genesis Release Tour! Each stop has a giveaway and commenting on each stop also gains you entries into the Grand Prize drawing. Stops so far:

The Writer's Voice - http://ourbooksourvoice.blogspot.com/2011/10/release-tour-kickoff-genesis-soul.html
Mama Knows Books - http://mamaknowsbooks.blogspot.com/2011/10/romancing-your-dark-side-tour.html
Confessions of a Bookaholic - http://www.totalbookaholic.com/2011/10/haunted-halloween-tour-post-with.html
Author Brenda Pandos - http://brendapandos.blogspot.com/2011/10/genesis-release-tour.html
Author Heather McCorkle - http://heathermccorkle.blogspot.com/2011/10/genesis-book-launch.html

Click here to see what's coming as well as to learn how to gain EXTRA entries for the Grand Prize.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Foodie Friday: Ancient Greek Kitchens

Last week, Jordan and Eris visited and were fascinated by all the toys in my kitchen. This, along with Brenda's challenge of baking bread, discussed on today's tour stop at her blog, made me think it would be fun to look at what you might find in an Ancient Greek kitchen (though not all households had kitchens as we know them).

Let's start with Brenda's challenge of how Cassandra made bread. Most Greek women oversaw slaves who did all the cooking and care for the home, even in lower class households. However, bread-making and weaving were two tasks even the noble women participated in. Cassandra was raised in a nomadic lifestyle, however, so her bread-making would look more like this (although she'd be doing all three):

Right: Cleaning and crushing the grain; Middle: making the dough; Left: cooking the flatbread over the fire.

Bread was often baked in portable clay ovens, but even these were too big for Cassandra to carry on her travels:

A fancy portable oven in the center, surrounded by pots and jugs of the time.

So she would be more likely to bake bread using the two-pot method or make flat bread in a metal pan over the coals.
The dough would be placed in the flat bottom and the rounded top secured over it. Both were surrounded by hot coals to bake the bread within.

Other food was cooked over an open fire, often using spits to roast meat, which was almost always wild, or fish.


Shows a naked slave cooking poultry on a spit, probably during a festival, about the only time the Greeks ate meat rather than fish.


Other tools and utensils you'd find in their kitchens include wooden and metal spoons, large knives, clay plates and all sorts of clay bowls and jugs like this one.

A water jug - so fancy! Not quite like the plastic ones of today...

As you can imagine, since there were no refrigerators or freezers, most food was cooked fresh. They did, however, use drying, vinegar and fermentation as preservation techniques for some foods.

I think the fact that they had real ovens surprised me the most. I hadn't realized those clay ovens had been around so long! Does any of this surprise you? Learn anything new?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The A Part of Q & A

Last week I turned the floor over to you and some great questions came in! So let's get started on the A part of the Q & A (Part I).

Hartreader asked: What part of the books did you struggle writing, emotionally, not knowing what to do with the characters, or even the struggle of your heart and mind? 
The most difficult parts I've had to write so far are the end of Promise and the beginning of Purpose. Remember that I wrote these as one book and every time I came to this part in edits, I'd take on Alexis's emotions. The end of Devotion is proving difficult as well.

Alex asked: What will you do when you hit four hundred followers? (Because you are really close.) 
Good question! I don't know yet. I've been so tied up with the release of Genesis, I haven't thought much about it, but I'm sure there will be some kind of celebration with a giveaway. :)

Trizzan asked: Besides writing what else do you like to do???
I love to read, of course, and cook and blog. Most of my time is spent doing those things and watching my son play football. I try to carve out some time to go on motorcycle rides with The Man and go to the beach, but those don't happen nearly as often I'd like. I've been wanting to get into scrapbooking, but just haven't made the time yet. Sheesh, I sound so boring. These aren't very original, are they? Oh, well, maybe when we're empty-nesters we can do the fun stuff - scuba diving and jumping out of airplanes to start with.

Sarah asked: How do you balance a life of writing and having a family (I don't know how you do it, but I'm amazed by your work!)? Have you written any "little" stories which have never been published (i.e., children's stories, short YA stories, etc...)? Sorry, I know that's two questions, but I had to ask...
Balance? Ha! I don't know that you'd call it balance. It's more like playing teeter-totter by myself - just as one side is about to hit bottom, I run up the plank to bring the other side down before it soars out of grasp. Seriously, my kids are older teens and it seems like they're always gone, and when they're home, friends/girlfriends are over and they want to be left alone. That leaves a lot of quiet time for The Man and me and I can't stand sitting around watching TV all night long. I admit that I'm a little insane with so much to do, but I love it all.

I have lots of stories in the attic that have never been published. In fact, most of them aren't even finished and probably never will be. I should probably go burn them before someone discovers the hideousness.

Dawn asked: What do you do to unwind when you are blocked, too stressed etc?
I usually don't have to do anything - my body and brain do it for me. They just collapse and refuse to go on. I'll sit on the couch for a minute and they hold me prisoner the rest of the night. So I read or watch a movie or just sleep. If it's just my brain that's stressed or blocked, then I go for long walks.

There are still so many more questions to answer! So I'm going to split these up and answer the rest next week. If I didn't get to yours, don't worry. I will! And if you still have a question for me, please go ahead and ask.

I'll announce the winner of the Genesis ebook next week, too.
 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Writer Wednesday - Emma Michaels

This week we're visited by Emma Michaels, author of The Thirteenth Chime and Anasazi and founder of The Writers Voice.



Thank you Kristie for letting me take over for a post! *maniacal laughter* JUST KIDDING! Okay, maybe only kind of kidding.
Some of you may know that I am part of a multi-author blog with Kristie over at The Writers Voice: http://OurBooksOurVoice.Blogspot.com  where we post our thoughts, opinions, career updates and all kinds of crazy fun. For one of our tour stops the question asked was “Which came first for you: the characters, setting or plot?” and when I wrote out my answer I realized that I had never really thought about it before.
I get the strangest ideas from the strangest places and eventually they expand into entire novels. A series I am working on currently was inspired by feathers, The Thirteenth Chime was inspired by a grandfather clock on a very stormy night and Anasazi was inspired by a tribal mask. I get an item stuck in my head and then everything grows from there until you would hardly be able to guess the item, with the exception of the grandfather clock.
I know it sounds strange but it is actually kind of wonderful to experience. I look at the world as though every item were a possibility and every once in a while an item gives me a good enough idea for a story that I decide to write it down. Which is why I have SOOO many plots saved on my computer and much fewer finished novels. The day that I had the idea for The Thirteenth Chime is was stormy outside and the power was out so we went to our neighbor’s house. I am from Los Angeles and you aren’t very likely to see a grandfather clock so when the lights were out and the lightning kept making the walls flash from black to white and back every few moments I was already freaked out.
Then is started to chime. Yeah, FREAKED ME OUT! It echoed through the house and just my luck that I had been standing RIGHT by it when it went off. I reached out for my fiancĂ©’s hand but he wasn’t there and that eerie moment was the inspiration behind T.T.C. Reaching out for something you can’t have while something is coming for you. In the case of The Thirteenth Chime they happened to also be walking into a 50 year old trap that had been waiting for someone to fall prey to it and was starting to get impatient. You will have to read the novel to find out the rest!  :-p
Thank you so much for reading and to Kristie for letting me take over for a post! Remembering that night still gives me the creeps! It may have been a small moment but it expanded into so much more!
Wishing you tons of delightful reads! <3
Sincerely,
Emma Michaels
   

More information about Emma can be found on her bio page at The Writers Voice.