Hyper Moments

Hi All!

It’s been forever!!! I’ve been crazy busy with school and the like, and promise to have more book reviews/cover reveals/ blog tours and a longer fall update (and more updates on my new novel) soon. Meanwhile, I just wanted to share my “hyper moment” with you.

Since this is my last year at uni., I was required to take a practicum course, which consists of seminar style lectures, some coursework, and a practicum placement this winter. It’s super fun, and we’ve been doing lots of interesting workshops, one of which was with an awesome career counsellor. She helped us with our resumes, but also did some “pre-career” work with us, which was basically helping decide on what type of career we may be interested in, and how to find that. Most of us are in either English or Education programs, and have some idea of what sector we’d like to work in, but some of us have a bit of a harder time deciding on what exactly we’d like to focus on in that sector. In order to help us, the career counsellor asked us what, in our academics, work experience, or volunteer experience, was our “hyper moment”- a moment in which we felt alive and enthused for what we were doing.

While others in the room were answering, I considered what my “hyper moment” would be. It was surprisingly hard to pinpoint, but not because I’ve never had a hyper moment. Trust me (or ask my brother:)), just within the last three years alone, I’ve had a ton of hyper moments- getting good marks or feedback on a paper or creative writing assignment, actually doing the creative writing assignment, working with children through volunteering and babysitting, writing my first novel, writing my second novel, surviving (and loving) a conflict resolution seminar course. Those are just a few. But when I really racked my brain to a singular, happy I’m-where-I-need-to-be moment (career-wise), I’d say it was this summer, when I wrote my second novel, talked about it both here and on Twitter, and got such an amazing amount of support from so many wonderful people.

One of my greatest joys of the last couple of years has been being on here and getting to know you all. Additionally, I’ve loved being able to write reviews, conduct interviews, host blog tours, and beta-read for some of the wonderful authors that I’ve met through my blogging journey. Writing can be a hard career path. It can be time-consuming. It can be lonely. People may see you as lazy, self-serving, or unrealistic. Often, people look at you like you’re priming yourself for failure. Having a network of support, where others help you to do your best work, and you feel like you can do the same for others, is so rewarding. So, in the spirit of belated- Canadian-Thanksgiving, thank you all for being a part of my hyper moment. I’m so grateful for every single one of my readers, fellow authors, and blog followers!!!

x Emily

Blog Tour Interview: Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Here’s the second interview I promised. Lauren Nicolle Taylor is the author of The Woodlands, an awesome new novel from Clean Teen Publishing!

1. What inspired you to write your novel?

The Woodlands started out as a simple thought: What would you do if you woke up pregnant and didn’t know how or when it happened. It then grew around that to include themes of racism, broken homes and first love.

2. What were the easiest parts to write?

I love writing the really emotional scenes. I find it much easier to be dramatic and heart-wrenching.

3. What were the hardest parts to write?

The humourous parts were always more challenging. That, and keeping timelines straight in my head. I’ve never written with an outline so it can get a bit confusing and messy up there.

4. What are some of your favourite YA novels?

I adored The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay it is one of those books that has stayed with me long after I finished it.

5. I have to ask (it is a dystopia blog): what are some of your favourite dystopian novels (or just one)?

My favourites are the Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi and the Juliette Chronicles by Tahereh Mafi.

6. Favourite writing snack?

I’m a chip-o-holic but not just any chips, they need to be fancy flavours like sea salt and apple cider vinegar or beetroot and caviar (just kidding about that last one).

7. If you could be any character in your novel, who would you like to be?

I think I’d like to be Deshi. He’s super smart and can make a radio out of a coconut (not really but you get the idea). I’d love to be that resourceful and intelligent. He also has some great, quippy one-liners. I’m never that fast on my feet with comebacks.

8. What do you hope readers will learn from/ take away from your novel?

I hope readers take away from my series a sense of hope for the future but not blind hope. There needs to be an understanding that in order for things to change, people need to change first. I also hope readers will come away with a sense of what it’s like to be in a respectful and rewarding relationship. That it takes hard work but is ultimately well worth it.

Thanks so much for the interview, Lauren!!!! Here is a link to Lauren’s website: http://www.laurennicolletaylor.com/

Blog Tour Interview: Alicia Michaels Interview

Hey All,
It has been a crazy few weeks. I basically didn’t have much of a computer to blog on over the last little bit, but that’s finally back to normal. Phew! Anyway, today I have two new interviews that I’ve been excited to share since this summer! This one is from Alicia Michaels, author of The Bionics Series:

1. What inspired you to write your novel?
I was very much inspired by current events, and progressing them in my mind so I could examine the possibilities of a very bleak and dystopian future. I thought a lot about the way politics has gotten so out of control, and none of our leaders seem to truly be out for the best interest of the people. I thought about society and the way we treat each other, discriminating on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. I thought about how wasteful we are, and how we disregard nature and the earth so blithely. Taking all of those things, I imagined a future in which all of these things have converged to turn society into something stark, harsh, and ugly.

2. What were the easiest parts to write?
The banter between characters comes so easily, it’s almost like magic. These people exist in my head and they all carry a mark, some personality trait that comes directly from me. So when I get in their heads and start writing their interactions, it’s like having a conversation with myself.

3. What were the hardest parts to write?
The Bionics is a very action-packed series, and I have to say that makes it difficult at times. It is hard to visualize all that goes on. In any one action scene in the Bionics books, there is hand-to-hand combat, there are weapons (both the usual weapons like guns or knives, but also bionic body parts that can be weaponized), and on top of that futuristic vehicles with artillery weapons … it’s really such a juggling act, trying to remember where people are, who they’re fighting, what weapons they’re using, etc. One fight scene often takes me days to write because with each book I try to bring something new, and the fights are never just one one one; they are battle scenes between two sides in a war.

4. What are some of your favourite YA novels?
One of my old favorites from back in the day were Nancy Drew and R.L. Stine Books. I wonder if those are considered more Children’s than YA? The genres have changed so much since I was a young adult. I also adored the Chronicles of Narnia, and all of the Sweet Valley High books. Nowadays, of course I have to add The Hunger Games to that list!

5. I have to ask (it is a dystopia blog): what are some of your favourite dystopian novels (or just one)?
In high school I read the book 1984, which I loved! It really resonated with me and is one of those classics that stuck with me over the years.

6. Favourite writing snack?
I have to have my coffee of course! Also, anything sweet and/or crunchy! Peanuts, pretzels, chips, popcorn … crunching things helps me think.

7. If you could be any character in your novel, who would you like to be?
Seeing as how she’s got two hot alpha males fighting for her heart, I’d have to say my main character, Blythe! LOL!

8. What do you hope readers will learn from/take away from your novel?
I hope it teaches them to love others, and to celebrate differences instead of trying to persecute others for them. I think our society has progressed so much, but in a way we are going backwards when it comes to how we treat each other. I hope people will read it and realize that no matter our differences we are all human and should strive to tolerate and accept one another.

Thanks so much for the interview Alicia!!!!

Here is a link to Alicia’s website: http://www.fantasybyalicia.com/

Cover Reveal! Ben Seims’ “After Day One”

Hey Everyone! Today, we have the cover reveal for Ben Seims’ upcoming dystopian/sci-fi novel, “After Day One”! Take a look:

after day one web

 

After Day One by Benjamin Levi Seims

Publisher: Booktrope

Expected Publication: December 9, 2014

Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Action &

Adventure

2083, John Howe a genetic, and cybernetic, enhanced cyber operations solider who came

home After Day One only to find the country he fought for broken, and his wife and son

murdered. By 2096 he rebuilt his home and was trying to live a comfortable life on the

outskirts of the Free Territories, the Pacific North West.

That was before Sierra and Quinn. The twin thirteen year old orphans he was saddled with the

minute he saved them from a fat, greasy, gypsy couple holding them. Now he’s a man who is

just trying to get rid of them before they all end up dead.

As fate would have it, a super soldier and two kids with abilities that could save the country,

and maybe earth, are going to be hard to separate.

The world is fragmented and looking for a hero. Some heroes come in rough packaging.

 

 

Ben </p>
<p>Seims” width=”218″ height=”300″ />About the Author</strong> </p>
<p>I live in Wenatchee, WA with my wife and our three teenage boys. I work full time as a Cardiac </p>
<p>Nurse and I am currently an Officer in the Washington Army National Guard. After Day One is </p>
<p>my first full length Novel and is the first book in a planned trilogy. </p>
<p>Toggle screen reader support </p>
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I Finished It!!!! (Plus “On Holiday”)

Hey All,

What a busy summer it’s been. Reading, writing, walks, camping, movie nights, yoga, blogging, talking, spending time family and friends, and just getting caught up on chores that I don’t have time for during the year. It’s been beautiful and fun, and I don’t know where the time’s gone (especially August, which always goes waaayyy faster than it should!) I hope that you all have had as amazing summers as I have!!! :)

Guess what? I finished my book!!! I had to abbreviate the cut-off word-count a little bit, simply because I knew that it was time and I wanted to have the chance to reflect on it before I start school again and begin to edit. I also want to rest my back and wrists so I don’t get repetitive motion strain, and just spend some time with my family before I’m back to crazy. Just thought I’d share.

I’ll update soon on some of what I’ve learnt from my latest book-writing journey. Meanwhile, I am taking a little break from blogging/writing (might casually update on Twitter). From today, up until September, I don’t expect to be on here a lot. On Sept. 6, I will be hosting two blog tours, so that will be exciting. Also expect a book review some time this fall, and some updates. Other than that, you may not hear a lot from me for the next little bit. But fear not: even when my fingers aren’t working, my mind is. I’m hoping to incubate a ton of new ideas for my next round of blogging!!!

Loads of love and blessings! Emily X

Book Review: “Queen of Someday” by Sherry D. Ficklin

Word is out; I’m missing The Selection series. Ever since that series came out, I’ve been infected with an insatiable princess fever. So when I saw “Queen of Someday” by Sherry D. Ficklin (correction: when I saw the gorgeous cover), I knew it was something I needed to read.

Queen of Someday is about fifteen year old Sophie (aka, Catherine the Great), a Prussian princess who is being encouraged by her mother to vie for the affections of the Grand Duke Peter of Russia, in hopes that their marriage will save their family from poverty. At first, Sophie not only complies to her mother’s wishes, but is excited at the prospect of actually winning the hand of the dashing Peter. However, as Sophie finds out more about Peter, and meets the handsome Sergei and Alexander, her feelings are complicated.

When I first realized that there was going to be not only a love triangle, but a love “box” (for lack of a better word), I started to get a little leery. I like love triangles, but I wondered how many love interests you can actually jam into one book. However, this particular “love box” was handled with good structure in mind. While Sophie is attracted to all three men, in different ways, she doesn’t flip from one guy to another too easily. Peter turns out to be a good-for-nothing pretty early in the game, which leaves Sophie with one man who she is passionately in love with and one for whom she has a subtle attraction and deep trust. What results is a scenario that, to my non-history-buff brain, is pretty realistic to what a royal teenager may have gone through at the time.

This brings me to my one and only complaint for this book. This read was quick, yet very lush and satisfying throughout. However, I would have liked Sophie to be a little less attracted to all three men, all at once. Some build-up time would have been nice, especially where Sergei was concerned. That said, this is a minor detail, and I was very impressed with how romance was handled in this book. Bodice-ripper this is not, there is actually a lot of depth here.

Sophie! She is just such a great character. One previous reviewer compared her to “Katniss or Tris in a ball gown” and I totally agree with that statement. Sophie can be tough when she needs to be, but she has a very vulnerable, feminine, young side to her that makes her really well-rounded and interesting. What’s especially intriguing, is that instead of just being physically tough, she is able to manipulate and plot in order to avoid becoming lost in the corrupt Russian kingdom.

The book’s pace was also really great. Chapters are very cleanly divided, and this book as a whole is well-paced, interesting, and easy to follow. I appreciated the author’s writing style for the historical fiction genre; when Sophie speaks to other characters, she has the formal tone of the era, but when she speaks to the reader in her first-person narration, she uses more modern language. Readers who are turned off of historical fiction will like this book for that.

One final aspect that I loved is how many twists and turns there are. There were many parts where I thought I had this book figured out, then was totally surprised. The ending was an epic shocker that even I wouldn’t have thought of (and I guessed the Broadchurch killer in episode two), and left me both majorly impressed, and excited for book #2.

Overall, Queen of Someday is excellent for fans of princess-themed books, like The Selection, historical fiction, or just really engaging heroines. Loved it!!!

Book Review: “Win the Rings” by K.D. VanBrunt

I brought this book along with me on a camping trip that I technically did not want to go on. Trying to make the best of my time (in heatstroke weather) I nestled into my beach chair as I started to read. And kept on reading. “Win the Rings” is extremely addictive and fast-paced. Each time I told myself that I was going to read just one more chapter, I couldn’t do it. I was that compelled.

Quick summary: “Win the Rings” tells the stories, in alternating POVs, of Jace and Gray, two teenagers who are shifters. Shifting is the ability to acquire the form of other humans through physical touch. With their physical shape, also comes the individual’s memories, thoughts, etc. Shifters are wanted by the U.S. Military, and as such, Jace has lived with the military since she was a little girl. Gray, on the other hand, was saved from military recruitment by his older sister, Nia, and the two have been on the run for nearly eleven years.

When Jace gets a chance to graduate from her military training by finding Gray and hauling him in, she takes it immediately. During the city-to-city chase that results, Both Gray and Jace end up revaluating their personal lives and choices as well as what freedom means.

I’m not one to save the worst for last, so here it is: My only real complaint with this novel, was that Jace and Gray both use a lot of the same swear words and slang, and have similar voice idiosyncrasies. This is not a major issue, but sometimes I had a hard time keeping track of who was talking. I would have preferred some differentiation in their voices. That said, I really loved this book. I liked the vibrancy of all of the characters, as well as their emotional depth. Both Gray and Jace are engaging characters in their own ways, and while they both have unique challenges- Gray, wanting to have a home base, and Jace wanting to be able to travel beyond the confines of her academy- they both strive towards freedom, giving the story arch a definable thread. And despite the action and drama, there are also some truly funny moments that appealed to my quirky sense of humour.

Ultimately, I’m happy to have read this book, and would definitely recommend it to fans of Veronica Roth’s Divergent or E.R. Arroyo’s Sovereign. If you feel like a super breathless, well-paced novel, this is one for you!

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