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Within Ash and Stardust by Chani Lynn Feener Blog Tour – Author Interview

About the Book

Having gone from kidnapped faux princess to the legitimate heir to an intergalactic throne, an impulsive, sarcastic teen must take charge of her own destiny in this epic YA novel.

On Earth, Delaney is a normal teenager who recently graduated high school with a fantastic best friend and a loving boyfriend.

But Delaney isn’t on Earth. She’s on Xenith, a war-torn planet half a galaxy away. Originally mistaken for an alien princess, Delaney has gone from kidnapped imposter to the recognized heir to an alien throne. Oh, and she’s engaged to the prince of an enemy nation whose ruthless father is on the warpath.

Torn between two planets, two fates, and two loves, Delaney is finally ready to choose her own destiny in Within Ash and Stardust, the stunning conclusion to Chani Lynn Feener’s Xenith Trilogy.



Praise for the Xenith Trilogy:
“A thoughtful, sexy adventure with winning characters just begging for a bedtime read.” —VOYA on Amid Stars and Darkness

“Feener’s world-building is excellent, and readers will feel engulfed in the culture, politics, and technology. The romance between Delaney and Ruckus develops slowly and satisfyingly. Give to fans of Melissa Landers’s Alienated and Ally Condie’s Matched.” —School Library Journal on Amid Stars and Darkness

“This debut makes for fun, fluffy reading.” —Booklist on Amid Stars and Darkness

“[A] pulse-pounding adventure.” —Booklist on Between Frost and Fury

Interview

What authors and/or books inspired your writing?

There are a lot of authors who inspire me, and keep me interested in writing. Whenever I read a good book I feel excited about the whole process and immediately want to go write something, so really I’d say most authors make that list. A few of my favorites, that are always instant buys for me, are Maggie Stiefvater and Marissa Marr.

What is your ideal writing setting (at a desk, outside, with tea/coffee, etc)?

I like to work at my desk with coffee. Always coffee. My desk is set up so that everything I might need last minute is in reaching distance—highlighters, extra pens, notebooks filled with notes on past projects, etc.—and I collaged the walls with pictures and stuff that I like and inspires me, so it’s the best place for me to work. When I’m surrounded by things I enjoy, it’s easier for me to focus. I also get easily distracted elsewhere; like if I tried working in the school library or the local coffee shop, I’d get so distracted by all of the people and people watching.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

I have two methods. The first is to take a break and let my mind wander to something else. A lot of the time this helps. Getting burned out happens to everyone, so it’s good to give yourself a break and try not to overthink it for a time. Typically I’ll watch a movie or a TV show, or maybe draw or listen to music. If it’s really bad, I’ll plan a trip to the bookstore or the aquarium to refresh and hopefully gain new inspiration. If this doesn’t work, I’ll switch to method two, which is attempting to power through it. Sometimes forcing myself to just sit and write despite not feeling inspired eventually leads to good material. I’ll almost always need to delete and rewrite the first few pages I get out, but eventually those bad pages lead to better writing and before I realize I’ve got my flow back.

Do you have a special connection to any of your characters?

Weirdly, I think I have a special connection with Gibus. I just…really love him? He’s always come off a bit “mad scientist” in my mind, quirky and over the top, and sometimes really annoying to have conversations with (I imagine). He’s also really loyal, and overly curious, and I’ve always loved how he lives in that gray area. I mean, he is part of the reason Delaney was in this mess in the first place—what kind of inventor doesn’t keep track of his super dangerous inventions?!—and that was after he’d already been told to scrap the project entirely. I’d love to just write a book about Gibus being Gibus. I feel like that would be a ton of fun.

How did you feel when AMID STARS AND DARKNESS was picked up by Swoon Reads?

I’m not sure elated is a strong enough word, but that’s what comes to mind first. I remember getting the email to set up the phone meeting, and not wanting to get my hopes up for what that might mean. After the conversation I literally jumped around my room like a child—it would have been super embarrassing if anyone else was home at the time. It’s a big deal, when someone comes to you and says “Hey, you know that dream you’ve had for most your life? It’s about to come true”. It was both surreal and exciting all at once.

Which book of the trilogy was the most difficult to write?

Probably the final book. There were just so many things I wanted to fit into it and wrap up, and it was difficult to do that and still keep a balance with everything. There were also a lot of major plot changes that took place between the first and final drafts, so the book was constantly morphing into something else as we worked through it—which isn’t a bad thing, it just took a lot of time. I enjoyed writing it a lot, and really like how it all ended up, but it definitely was the most difficult out of the entire trilogy.

What can we hope to see from you in the future?

So far, I have another trilogy releasing in October, this one about Unseelie Faeries. I’m still writing a lot and trying to put other projects out there, so hopefully in the years to come you’ll be seeing more of me!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

To stick with it and write. It’s really easy to put off writing because life gets busy and you’re not sure if it’ll go anywhere anyway, but don’t focus on that. You’ll never know if you don’t try. Even if the final project isn’t what you hoped for, writing a book is a big accomplishment, and if that’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you should.

 

About the Author – Chani Lynn Feener

ChaniChani Lynn Feener has wanted to be a writer since the age of ten during fifth grade story time. She majored in Creative Writing at Johnson State College in Vermont, and graduated in 2012. To pay her bills, she has worked many odd jobs, including, but not limited to, telemarketing, order picking in a warehouse, and filling ink cartridges. When she isn’t writing, she’s binging TV shows, drawing, or frequenting zoos/aquariums. Chani is also the author of teen paranormal series, the Underworld Saga, originally written under the penname Tempest C. Avery. She currently resides in Connecticut, but lives on Goodreads.com.

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Soteria by Roberto Arcoleo – Book Release

Release Date: July 5th, 2019

SENT TO EARTH TO SAVE IT, MARK AND JASON MUST UNRAVEL THE TRUTH OF THEIR MISSION BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

While on a routine transportation run, an ore hauler from the planet Eldern discovers that humans on Earth have developed nuclear capabilities. What’s more, they learn an asteroid is on a trajectory that will destroy all known life on the planet forty years in the future. The Council of Eldern decides to intervene. A plan is drawn up and twin emissaries are sent to Earth to save it.

Mark and Jason grow up and settle into Manhattan in the 1960’s. With protests, vibrant art, and a thriving music scene, the city is pulsating with energy and the future looks bright. More powers are revealed to the twins but few details about their mission are provided. As the time grows closer for them to fulfill their duty, they sense that things are not as they seem.

With the fate of both planets in the balance and time running out, can Mark and Jason unravel the truth before it is too late? 

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Author Interview – King Everett Medlin

42937184._SY475_About the Book

If you like Star Wars, Battlefield Earth, and Forever War, you’ll love Rijel 12: The Rise of New Australia!

The remote Intergalactic Penal Colony on the planet Rijel 12 is a very profitable enterprise. Its desolate surface is an uninhabitable wasteland relentlessly scorched by its sun, but inside the planet is a vast treasure trove of the most precious resources in the galaxy.

Prisoners sentenced to Rijel 12 know it’s a one-way ticket. It used to be a convict would serve their time and come home. That stopped a while ago. Inmates are forced to work the mines in wretched conditions and the death rate is staggering. Luckily for the warden, new inmates arrive monthly to replenish the labor pool. Business has never been better.

From the darkness of their miserable existence, one prisoner decides to take a stand and begins to organize a resistance. Inmates rally to the cause and prepare for rebellion. Can the rag-tag rebels of ‘New Australia’ succeed in their quest for freedom or will the warden and the overpowering might of the Interplanetary Authority extinguish their only hope?

From new author, King Everett Medlin, comes an action-packed epic of hope, rebellion, and the quest for redemption.

Interview

What made you want to write sci-fi?
 
I grew up watching Star Trek, and loved how Roddenberry often crafted episodes to provide social commentary.  Sometimes it was part of ongoing character development, and sometimes the episode itself conveyed an important message regarding the realities of human nature.  Doing that in a futuristic setting, depicting alien characters and their interactions with humans, has proven to be the most enjoyable aspect of my writing experience – second only to researching the latest technologies and theories for interstellar travel.
 
Did you come across anything particularly interesting in your research for Rijel 12: The Rise of New Australia?
 
Oh yes!  For Rise, I studied up on volcanology in order to devise a way the Nausties could set off an explosion big enough to stop invaders from Earth.  The fun part was studying history in order to identify a precedent for this.  Good that I did, in that when I finished, it occurred to me this might lead to global climatic change.  It helped in developing a premise for the book’s sequel which I’m finishing this month.   
 
What is your ideal writing setting (i.e. outside, drinking coffee, late at night, etc)?
 
Truck stop diner or a seedy dive bar with people talking loudly (competing to be heard over the music).  Add in an electrical outlet where I can plug in my laptop; a decanter of decaf, and some low-life’s milling around in the background.  Do that and I can write for hours.  It helps in writing dialogs which replicate the way people talk in social situations.  The give-and-take I hear between bar patrons or even waitresses/customers is genuine and immediately usable.  For example, one time I heard two drunks discussing a TV commercial they saw on the bar television set.  It was an ad for the latest sci-fi horror movie and in it the announcer made a reference to Mars.  One of the drunks shook his head and muttered, “Hmmmph.  I don’t know, man.”  In response the other drunk asked, “Why … you think something’s out there?”  The first drunk then replied defiantly, “Oh, I don’t think there is – I know there is.”
 
How do you deal with writer’s block?
 
I do a “Hemingway”.  By that I mean I write down something true.  Anything.  Even if it’s got nothing to do with the book, I write it down.  Maybe a whole paragraph – regardless of the topic.  That was a tip Ernest Hemingway gave back in 1936 during an interview with Esquire magazine.  It works every time.
 
What is your go-to book to read that never lets you down?
 
The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli.  He’s so blunt; plus what he’s saying makes perfect sense once I shove aside naivety and coldly process the information.  Because he gets right to the point and what he suggests is so brutally honest, if not totally spot-on, it immediately affects my characterizations and scenario-building.  
 
What are some of your favorite writing tropes that most people usually hate?
 
Great question!  I use simile quite a lot, and I have to say I’ve gotten into the habit from reading articles and interviews with scientists explaining how something exists or functions in the universe.  It gets particularly amusing whenever I ask my wife Caroline to review one I’m especially proud of.  She’ll often get snarky and imply that it was unnecessary.  She’ll say, “Yeah, uh … I got it, thanks,” as if to indicate I should remove it from the paragraph.  I rarely do.    
 
What can we hope to see from you in the future?
 
The sequel to Rise is almost finished.  It’s called Rijel 12:  Return of Anarchy and will be out this fall.  Fans will remember how one of the pirate ships in Rise never comes back from the raid on Star Fantasy.  That ship is called the Anarchy and it is captained by Admiral Slout.  In the sequel, New Australia has changed drastically since the war with Earth.  Due to planet-wide volcanic eruptions there is now a vastly different climate up on the surface.  But that’s not all that’s changed.  Anarchy’s crew arrive home after seventeen years only to find their pirate paradise has transformed into an agrarian utopia.  Unfortunately they’ve also picked up a deadly unknown passenger during their journey through the galaxy.
 
Any advice for aspiring authors?
 
Plenty!  Organize your writing project.  Develop a process for creating the book from start to finish.  For example, when I start a new novel I first write a premise, then I develop a two to three page synopsis which includes the book’s ending.  By that I mean I write the ending for the book before beginning even the first chapter.  After that I write out synopses for each chapter through to the closing scene.  Only then do I tackle the opening.  By doing this, I already know the full story as well as the conclusion I’m working toward.  I also have a guide for each chapter to follow as I move through the book.  The next tip is work regimen.  For me that means a chapter a week, or basically 5,000 words.

About the Author – King Everett Medlin

81Y6GCynH5L._US230_King Everett Medlin has been writing since 2013, when he first developed the idea for Rijel 12. It was originally designed to be a SciFi series, with the objective of creating several short installments. Instead he got a lucky break when Chandra Press from San Diego responded favorably to the original draft, deciding to publish it as a full length novel. King lives in Denver, Colorado with his lovely wife Caroline and has two grown children. He’s a graduate of the University of Oklahoma where he played college Rugby; and remains a diehard Sooners fan to this day. His specialties are Science Fiction and Mystery/Suspense novels, focusing on unusual stories with intriguing plot-lines and amazing characters.

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The Sum of All Tears by Kim Cresswell and M.K. Chester Blog Tour – Guest Post

About the Book

The Day after Tomorrow meets Mad Max, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games in this enthralling post‑apocalyptic dystopian adventure with a paranormal twist.

In the near future, after her father’s climate change experiment goes terribly wrong, twenty-two-year-old environmental studies student, August Madison, finds herself resurrected in a frozen wasteland. With most of the world’s population and food sources annihilated, depraved nomadic gangs patrol the lawless landscape as outlasters claw for survival. Even old friends become unrecognizable.

Amid the chaos, Graysen Marx, iron-fisted leader of the domed settlement Liberty, emerges from the catastrophic event with his own agenda—collecting only those who exhibit unexplained abilities. When August crosses his path, he sees an opportunity he must exploit. She sees an evil she must destroy. In a treacherous new world where anyone could be a savior or savage, August discovers her true purpose. And only the strongest will survive.

Guest Post

Where were you born/grew up at?

Kim: I was born in Etobicoke (Toronto), Ontario Canada. When I was two, my parents divorced, and we moved to London, Ontario. I’ve been here ever since.

M.K.: I was born and raised in and around Columbus, Ohio, USA, with the brief excursion to Phoenix, Arizona when I was little. I’m not sure it counts since I barely remember it.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

Kim: I enjoy reading, taking long walks to clear my mind, and spending time with my adult kids and friends.

M.K.: I like to read, watch TV and movies, the usual. As a new homeowner, I’m also finding new things to enjoy, like redecorating, gardening and birdwatching.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Kim: Funny, kind, crazy, caring, and a loyal friend.

M.K.: Sarcastic, loyal, quiet, caring, and empathetic.

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

Kim: I have always envisioned my Whitney Steel series (Reflection, Retribution, Resurrect) as movies. They are high-octane romantic thrillers and would work well as movies.

M.K.:  When I write, I usually see the story unfolding in my mind as if it were a movie, but I can honestly say that Icehaven would be the most exciting to both create and view as a movie.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Kim: My spirit animal would be an Owl, emblematic of a deep connection with wisdom and intuitive knowledge.

M.K.: My spirit animal has always been a polar bear, which represents strength and endurance as well as acceptance and surrender. I have a tattoo to represent this connection.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Kim:  I’m presently working on Invisible Truth, the second book in the thrilling Assassin Chronicles series. M.K. Chester and I will be writing Liberty, the second book in the Sum of all Tears series beginning in July.

M.K: I’m working right now on polishing the second book in the New South series, titled Ten Days.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Icehaven? 

M.K.: We wanted the characters to be relatable—they could be someone you know—who are thrown into this new world and have to find the strength to survive. Strong heroines are a must, and August is a character who shows remarkable growth through her trials. Her love interest likewise has to be able to keep up with her, while handling his own responsibilities at the same time. I always think villains are the most fun to write, and we enjoyed making our antagonist both relatable and a worthy opponent.

Where did you come up with the names in the story?

Kim: I use a random name generator and with M.K.’s input, we were able to find interesting and unique names for our characters.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Kim: What I enjoyed most about writing Icehaven is the story was very different from my other books, a completely different genre. 

M.K.: It’s different than anything I’ve written and really enjoyed getting to jump outside the romance genre.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Kim: Not at all. Icehaven is exactly the way I envisioned the story.

M.K.: Nope. There is nothing I would do differently, as the entire process built me up as a writer.

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book? 

Kim: I learned how how much I love writing dystopian fiction, and also how resilient characters can be. Very much like life, we adapt and come out stronger no matter what is thrown at us.

M.K.: I learned that mixing genres can be awesome! I loved getting a little taste of everything, from romance to post-apocalyptic fiction, very outside the box I’d been working in.

Anything specific you and M.K. Chester want to tell your readers?

We hope readers have a chance to read Icehaven. At the story’s core, the book is about duty, sacrifice, choices, and consequences. It’s an emotional blend that asks the basic questions, “What would you do?”

And thank you to our fans of the Sum of all Tears series. It’s because of you that we will continue to write new books in the series. We appreciate your support. 

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?

The candle would smell like citrus, green bamboo, patchouli, and musk. Of course, we’d call it Icehaven.

How long have you both been writing?

Kim:  For many decades. I knew I wanted to be a professional writer while working at our public library at the age of seventeen. I remember reading Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls and from that moment I wanted to be an author. It seemed like a farfetched idea back then. Life, marriage, and kids put my dream on hold until 2012 when I decided it was time to take my writing seriously. It really was now or never. With my first book, Reflection, I landed two literary agents. Since then, I’ve published over 20+ works: novels, short stories, and anthologies.

M.K: I started writing stories for my own entertainment when I was ten but didn’t get serious about things until almost twenty years later. The Internet played a big role in my growth (and it’s how Kim and I met) and I know I’d be writing whether I ever published or not. As a history geek, historical romance was a natural fit and most of my published work fits that mold. After a layoff in 2017, I was also able to use my skills as a copywriter, a role I still enjoy.

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?

Kim:  I love reading! My favorite genres are dystopian, romantic and action thrillers.

M.K.: I was a reader first and will always be a reader. I read a lot of romance, but also enjoy military fiction and historical fiction and biographies.

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?

Kim:  I usually only write one book at a time so I can focus on the characters and the story.

M.K.:  I have several projects at various stages of completion, but it’s best for me to focus on no more than two at any given time (one, if I’m being honest!).

Pen or type writer or computer?

Kim: I write on a laptop and use pen and paper if I’m stuck on a scene. I find moving away from the computer always helps me get unstuck.

M.K.: I prefer to type. I have MS and it’s affected my hands, so it’s always easier to type. I have my desktop, laptop and iPad set up for typing.

Describe your writing style.

Kim: I would describe my writing style as cinematic. My books are like watching a movie.

M.K.:  My style reflects deep narratives with redemption themes, so it often seems like getting to peer over the character’s shoulder.

What makes a good story?

Kim: What makes a great story is a solid and interesting plot, lots of action, and emotion…emotion…emotion. If I don’t feel a story, I walk away from it.

MK: Definitely emotion—but if the events don’t make sense to me, I can walk away.

What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

Kim: My writing process has always been the same. First, I write the draft back cover blurb. I can’t start a book unless I do. Then I select a title and begin plotting out each chapter, so I have a map to work with. After those are completed, I sit down and start writing the first chapter. Of course, things can change but generally, I stick with my plot outline quite closely.

M.K: The opposite of Kim’s! I often begin with a character. I know who they are and then find a situation in which they can learn and grow. I usually write straight through but will occasionally write out of sequence. I use Deb Dixon’s GMC to ensure conflict is working.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Kim: I love coming up with unique plots and characters which I do believe readers want and expect.

M.K.: Both, if it’s possible. I like to take characters who may be questionable in one way or another and make readers love them.

 

About the Authors – Kim Cresswell and M.K. Chester

Kim CresswellKim Cresswell resides in Ontario, Canada and is the bestselling and award-winning author of the action-packed WHITNEY STEEL series.

Her romantic thriller, Reflection (A Whitney Steel Novel – Book One), has won numerous awards including RomCon®’s 2014 Readers’ Crown Finalist (Romantic Suspense), InD’tale Magazine 2014 Rone Award Finalist (Suspense/Thriller), UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner, Silicon Valley’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) “Gotcha” contest. Kim also signed a 3-book German translation deal with LUZIFER Verlag for the first three books in the series: Reflection, Retribution and Resurrect. Lethal Journey won RomCon®’s 2014 Readers’ Crown (Thriller).

The Assassin Chronicles TV series was in development with Council Tree Productions. The TV series is based on Kim’s upcoming 4-book paranormal/supernatural thriller series: Deadly Shadow (May 2018), Invisible Truth, Assassin’s Prophecy, and Vision of Fire.

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MK ChesterM.K. Chester is an RWA award-winning author of historical and contemporary romance. Her first novel, Surrender to the Roman, is currently published with Carina Press. Her three-book historical series, Bryeton Books, focuses on love, loss and redemption in small town America at the turn of the 20th century, while her latest release, Crashed, is the first book in the contemporary New South Series. 

M.K. is a native Buckeye who lives in Tennessee. She’s married to a veteran, recently became a MoM (Mother of Marine), and will soon become a grandmother. She adores her Scottish Terriers and is fighting MS.

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Book Release – Still Alive? by Melissa Woods

New Release Today! The second book in Melissa Wood’s thrilling new action adventure apocalypse series is now available in print! STILL ALIVE? by Melissa Woods is an exciting continuation to a series that readers are calling “binge-worthy,” and “thrilling.” Don’t like zombies? Maybe we can change your mind. Now’s the time to check out this series if you haven’t already. The first novel— ALIVE? —is currently available for FREE for a limited time in digital format!

Now available in print!

Turns out being half-dead is only half the problem. Still Alive? by Melissa Woods (The Alive Series, #2) Grab your copy: Amazon

Grab book #1 for free today!

Alive? Melissa Woods (The Alive Series, #1) Published by: Clean Teen Publishing Publication date: October 30th 2018 Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Zombies
Everyone knows the first rule of the zombie apocalypse: Don’t. Get. Bitten. Too bad Violet has never been great at following the rules. Walking home after a night of partying, she manages to let one of the Dead take a chunk out of her only hours after they’ve begun walking again. Fortunately for Violet, she doesn’t die. Unfortunately for Violet—she’s not exactly alive, either. Violet’s body is undergoing changes, and suddenly the taste of human flesh is not as revolting as it once sounded. Controlling her new urges will be hard. Living with survivors who have no idea will be even harder. And the real zombies? They still want to eat her, too… Surviving the zompocalypse is tricky when you play for both teams. New from author Melissa Woods, Alive? is a heart-pounding adventure with suspenseful plot twists, complex characters, and a dash of dark humor. Gritty and raw, Alive? is sure to keep you guessing, and will delight zombie apocalypse fans everywhere.

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Author Bio: Writer, primary school teacher, zompocalyptic obsessive. Melissa Woods is the author of ‘Alive?’, a young adult zombie adventure story, set for release on October 30th 2018. When she’s not writing or teaching, Melissa can usually be found walking her three dogs, playing video games, or, occasionally, spending time with her husband.

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Author Interview – Joseph Tamone

Fusion+World+rebootAbout the Book

CAN A SMALL TEAM OF UNTESTED SPECIALISTS SAVE THE WORLD?

20 years after a crushing defeat in the Universal War, Vyndral is a cold desolate wasteland. The remnants of the mighty Vyndral military scavenge the post-apocalyptic remains of the once great planet trying to stay alive.

When a way to reopen the portal to Rafia is discovered, Cein Colvak, the ruthless Vyndral leader, launches a devastating invasion. Rafia is caught by surprise and the capital of Vyloli falls. With thousands of hostages in the city, the Rafian military has its hands tied. 

When Vyndral starts to construct a diabolical weapon that can reduce Rafia to dust, a small untested team is assembled to stop Cein and save their homeworld. Pulling it off requires extraordinary skill, courage, and ultimately, sacrifice. Racing against the clock and facing incredible odds, do they have what it takes?

The first in a series from a fresh new voice in science fiction, Joseph Lewis Tamone, will take you on a thrilling adventure with twists, turns, and riveting action. 

Interview

What made you want to write sci-fi?

You can do a lot with science fiction.  You can create worlds that don’t exist, or technology that doesn’t exist yet.  You can incorporate fantasy elements into it and it’ll still be considered science fiction.  One of my favorite things to do is to incorporate existing mythology into science fiction, and I do that with Philanthropy.  Not so much with Fusion World, but with every proceeding book, I incorporate a bit of Greek mythology into the stories and making it based more in science rather than in religion. 

Science fiction is essentially a creative outlet to write pretty much any story that you want, and to be as imaginative as you want to be. 

Do you see sci-fi as a window to our future or, as it is titled, simply works of fiction?

A little bit of both.  I try not to go too overboard with the science in science fiction, just because you can only describe advanced technology so much.  I also try to base a lot of the technology on tech that already exists. 

I also try to get a sense of realism with advancements in technology.  For example, in Fusion World, the Rafian military are no longer using metal rounds in their guns, they’re using biodegradable polymer rounds.  The world is becoming more renewable and green and less reliant on non-degradable sources.  I feel like that’s the future, so that’s the direction I’m taking Rafia’s tech in. 

What kind of research did you have to do?

I did a bit of research on nuclear fallout and residual radiation.  It helped me to understand the plight of a people coming from a world devastated by nuclear war. 

I had to do a lot of research on helicopters and airplanes, because of the scene where a character sits down in a helicopter and remembers how to fly.  He knew how to fly, but I don’t, so I had to read up on it. 

One of my main characters is a doctor, but I’m not and I don’t have a background in anything medical related, so I did a bit of research on that part, and then passed it over to my wife for approval.  She’s an LVT, so she does have that medical background. 

Most of the stuff I wrote is straight from my imagination.   

What authors and/or books inspired your writing?

The greatest book series ever written is Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.  That absolutely was a huge inspiration for my writing.  I got the idea for travel between dimensions from those books.  Sajaelar’s ability to shoot and never miss came from Roland Deschain’s ability to shoot and never miss.  The decision to have overly snarky and sarcastic characters like Vai and Sajaelar is a tribute to the best character from The Dark Tower, the overly snarky and sarcastic Eddie Dean. 

Much earlier on, I read the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, which introduces a device for slicing spacetime and creating portals to parallel worlds in the second book.  The Subtle Knife operates similarly to a Dark Orb, it’s just more mechanical than magical, and you don’t have to lose a couple fingers to use it. 

Do you have a special connection to any of your characters?

I’ve been told that Vai Kogan and Sajaelar Molaes are just amplified versions of me.  Leward Peltron is perpetually exhausted, and I wrote that into his character when I had really bad insomnia.  Edam Lavinski only drinks his coffee black.  I wrote that in because I only drink my coffee black.  So there’s little bits and pieces of my own personality traits, likes and dislikes peppered throughout the book. 

Do you have any writing exercises or habits?

If I’m sitting down to write for an extended period of time, I’ll need a large hot cup of black coffee.  It helps me focus.  If I’m working on constructing dialogue, you’ll find me pacing around my living room talking to myself like a madman.  I also write out cliff notes for chapters in advance just so that I don’t lose focus in my writing.  I also need to see how the story ends before I can work on the beginning.  The story for Philanthropy spans another seven or so books, so that’s quite a bit of information and story development to consider when writing.  Every moment or bit of dialogue is leading to future moments or dialogue, there’s a lot of foreshadowing for future events, and certain elements from the first book are already setting up for things that don’t happen until book 4 and 5.   

What can we hope to see from you in the future?

I have a few projects I’m working on.  The follow up to Fusion World, called In The Shadow of the Demon is in production.  I’m already getting Philanthropy III and IV ready.  Gray Skies & Glass Lands and Leather Wings & The Seven Kings.  There’s about four more in the Philanthropy series, not including short stories and spin-offs that I have notes for. 

I have a fantasy trilogy I’m writing.  The first one is called The Hunter, The Killer, The Coward, And The Doofus, and the special thing about this story is that the characters are all based on the personalities of my pets, and other people’s pets that I know.

I had a Stephen King moment and dreamt up a story called Antherah, about a woman named Antherah.  I have a space adventure in the works called Omega the Corruptor, where we’ll meet an alien species called Badickerdacks.  And I’m also writing Harvey The Wyvern, the story about Harvey, the first wyvern to be employed by the United States Postal Service. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Take risks.  Nothing you do will ever get done if you don’t just go for it.  I second guess myself all the time when it comes to what I write, and you’re going to do that as an artist.  You’ll fixate on all your faults and your limitations.  I know I do, and I ended up sitting on Fusion World for seven years.  I finished the book, didn’t let anybody read it, and moved on to the next one.  Then I would go back and edit it, and I edited it about once a year, without actually doing anything with it.  And as soon as I worked to get it published and took that risk, it was picked up by Chandra Press.  And yeah, your writing probably isn’t going to be perfect, and that’s what editors are for, but you’re better than you think you are.

If you like what you wrote and put your heart and soul into it, your readers will see it.   

About the Author – Joseph Tamone

Joseph Lewis TamoneJoseph Lewis Tamone lives in Wilmington, Delaware. Despite getting a degree in Environmental Engineering, Joseph has always found an escape in his quirky imagination that lent its way to his passion for writing. Joseph is an avid animal lover and history buff. When he is not writing, he enjoys escaping into the world of video games, nature, and most importantly, reading and researching. He lives in Delaware with his lovely wife, Erica, and their house full of animals.

Goodreads | Twitter 

Buy the Book

Amazon | Chandra Press

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Mini Reviews – May 2019

43831563Chosen Champion by Elise Kova

Series: Air Awakens: Vortex Visions #2

Rating: 1/5

**I received an e-ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review**

DNF at 30%

I just can’t do it with this series. The original series, Air Awakens, was amazing and I would recommend it to any fantasy lover, but this spin-off sequel series just falls short in every form of the word. I did the majority of my complaining in my review of the first book, but when I started reading the first few chapters of this one I realized just how much I really couldn’t continue with this series. Maybe it isn’t fair of me to rate this without reading the full text, but I’m pretty confident that this is how I’ll feel. The integration of stereotypical fantasy aspects such as elfin and using a different language for magic (both of which were not in the original series) are such a turn-off and feels like an attempt to pander to the audience. Even the characters seem flat and like they’re attempting to be more than they really are. I don’t see myself returning to this series, which is a shame considering the first series was so great.

CoverGirl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi

RATING: 4/5

**I received an Advanced Readers’ Copy of this book from the publisher (PenguinTeen) in order to participate in the blog tour and to give an honest review**

This is one of those books where I went in thinking it would go a completely different direction than it actually did. The premise is essentially that the main character, Opal Hopper, enters a contest to try and face the man that saw her father last, just before he disappeared. But when Opal ends up going viral, she ends up getting a lot more than she bargained for. This book touches on some very interesting aspects including lying, fame, and nostalgia. In this near future, there is a group of people known as “Luds” that essentially hate technology. Opal notices that, even though everyone else claims that technology is the best thing, there is still some deep set nostalgia for the little things in life. After all, cooking a steak doesn’t have the same feel and smell when it’s in VR. Girl Gone Viral basically voiced everything I’ve heard or thought about regarding the truth, people, and technology and even brought in sexual harassment to show just how different people behave when they’re online. It also shows just how obsessed we become with our image and how absorbed we as consumers can become invested in the lives of others. There were so many directions that this book could have taken and during the last hundred pages or so I was wracking by brain to figure out what was going to happen, but the ending was what fell short for me. After such a fabulous beginning and a nail-biting plot points throughout the story, I turned past the last page absolutely certain I was missing the last chapter or that this was going to end up being a series. Overall, I definitely recommend giving this a read, but I wouldn’t set high expectations for the ending.

31450752Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie

RATING: 2/5

Villains are awesome. They’re usually the type that I gravitate to no matter what the genre is, but this was such a snore. Not only do I absolutely hate the Booktuber portions (I don’t have anything against the Booktubers themselves, I just think they were weak chapters). I didn’t really like any of the stories either. They had weak concepts like Jack and the Beanstock and The Little Mermaid as a siren. A lot of them felt strained and like each author just didn’t know what to write for their given prompt. If you like retellings you might enjoy a few stories in this, but overall I was just really disappointed especially with some of the bigger name authors that wrote books I love.

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Playlist – Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi Blog Tour

About the Book

For seventeen-year-old Opal Hopper, code is magic. She builds entire worlds from scratch: Mars craters, shimmering lakes, any virtual experience her heart desires.

But she can’t code her dad back into her life. When he disappeared after her tenth birthday, leaving only a cryptic note, Opal tried desperately to find him. And when he never turned up, she enrolled at a boarding school for technical prodigies and tried to forget.

Until now. Because WAVE, the world’s biggest virtual reality platform, has announced a contest where the winner gets to meet its billionaire founder. The same billionaire who worked closely with Opal’s dad. The one she always believed might know where he went. The one who maybe even murdered him.

What begins as a small data hack to win the contest spirals out of control when Opal goes viral, digging her deeper into a hole of lies, hacks, and manipulation. How far will Opal go for the answers–or is it the attention–she’s wanted for years?


We’re better than the comment sections make us appear. Most of us are decent humans. The problem is, that’s not the kind of narrative that lends itself to scandalous headlines. It’s not what the internet trolls want. Sympathy doesn’t make for entertainment: the memes and spoofs and simulations that attract millions on WAVE.**


Thank you to Penguin Random House for letting me be a part of this tour, Girl Gone Viral is an amazing book.

In honor of Girl Gone Viral coming out yesterday (May 21, 2019), I decided to throw together some songs that you can listen to while you’re reading or to listen to once you finish reading to help you get over that reading hangover!

For those of you that use Spotify, I took the time to make a playlist. Some of these have context from the book, others just reminded me of the story! There’s a wide range of genres from jazz to IDM to pop, so there’s a little something for everyone!

  1. Autumn Leaves by Paul Desmond
  2. Hello World by Robby East
  3. Whatever it Takes by Imagine Dragons
  4. Miracle by The Score
  5. Natural by Imagine Dragons
  6. Into the Storm by BANNERS
  7. Legendary by Welshly Arms
  8. Sanctuary by Welshly Arms
  9. Brain Sweeties by Mogwai
  10. Tech7 by Abfahrt Hinwil
  11. Bulletproof by La Roux
  12. Titanium by David Guetta & Sia
  13. Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
  14. Rise Up by Andra Day
  15. Outside by Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding
  16. Way Down We Go by KALEO
  17. Easier by Masionair
  18. In My Blood by Shawn Mendes
  19. Army of Me by Björk
  20. Uprising by Muse

About the Author – Arvin Ahmadi

15282152Arvin Ahmadi grew up outside Washington, DC. He graduated from Columbia University and has worked in the tech industry. When he’s not reading or writing books, he can be found watching late-night talk show interviews and editing Wikipedia pages. Down and Across is his first novel, followed by Girl Gone Viral.


Where Can I Buy This Amazing Book?

Well, if you want to learn more about it, read some stellar reviews, and add it to your shelves, I would direct you to Goodreads.

Proceed to one of the following links for your shopping needs:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo


Drop in the comments: What songs remind you of Girl Gone Viral?


**Quotes come from the Advanced Readers Copy and should not reflect the final, published copy

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Top 10 – Sci-fi Books

Sci-fi is one of my favorite genres, so while I was busy studying for finals, I threw together this list of 10 Sci-fi books that I absolutely adore in no particular order!

1. Across the Universe by Beth Revis

2. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
3. Alienated by Melissa Landers
4. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
6. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
7. The Body Electric by Beth Revis
8. 1984 by George Orwell
9. Divergent by Veronica Roth
10. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
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Blog Tour – Author Interview – Aileen Erin + Giveaway

Off Planet
From USA Today Bestselling Author Aileen Erin

Maite Martinez has always yearned for more than waitressing in a greasy diner on the polluted ruins of planet Earth. Hiding her special abilities is a full-time job on its own, even with the government distracted by the mysterious alien race – the Aunare.

When a SpaceTech officer gets handsy with her, she reacts without thinking. Breaking his nose might not have been her smartest move. Now she’s faced with a choice: serious jail time working in a chain gang on a volcano planet or join the corporate army to fight against the impending war with the Aunare. It’s really no choice at all.

As with everything in her life, Maite quickly realizes that the war with the Aurnare isn’t what it seems. And Lorne, the Aunare prince, keeps popping up everywhere she goes. Being seen with him could get her in even deeper trouble with her commanders, but he’s the first person who sees through the wall she’s built around herself and she can’t bring herself to send him away.

When the situation between SpaceTech and the Aunare escalates, Maite has a way to end the war before it even begins. There’s only one question: Can she stop the total annihilation of humanity without getting herself killed in the process?

Interview

What is your ideal writing setting (outside, at a desk, etc.)?
I love to write in a comfy, quiet spot. Usually, that’s in my office. I have a writing chair and a couch that I use. Although if I’m really having trouble getting focused, I’ve been known to write in bed. The more comfortable I am, the easier it is to sink into the story and into my characters’ heads. I also need music. I can’t write without my Bose noise-cancelling headphones. They’re the best. When I’m listening to music and in a comfortable spot, the real world melts away, and I can get totally immersed in my imagination.
Off Planet is a sci-fi novel, what inspired you to write sci-fi and not another genre? What gave you your inspiration?
I wrote Becoming Alpha, the first book in the Alpha Girls series, when I was working on my MFA, but I finished it early and still had another writing term to complete. So, I needed another idea. I was living in Albuquerque, NM at the time while my husband was producing the first Avengers movie, and learned about Spaceport America, “the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport.” I blew my mind that something like that already existed in New Mexico. I started to imagine a world where Albuquerque became the center for space travel and where corporations took over the government. I dreamed about an alien race and what might happen if tensions arose between them and the human Earthers. I had so much fun working on the world-building. I didn’t necessarily set out to write a sci-fi, but that’s where the muse lead me.
Do you have any writing exercises or habits?

I love to do morning pages as described in The Artist’s Way—you free write for 15-20min in a journal. Not working on a book, just stream of consciousness. In The Artist’s Way, Julie Cameron says to do them when you first wake up, but I don’t necessarily need them to be done in the morning. But before I write, they’re extremely helpful. I find that doing them clears my head of any little things—my to do list or worries and stresses—so that I can focus on writing.
I also don’t end my day’s writing at the end of a chapter or scene. Even if I’m at the end, I’ll write just a few sentences more into the next chapter or scene. That way, I’m stopping in the middle of whatever I’m working on, and when I start writing the next day, I can just continue the thought. I’m never really left staring at a blank page.
How do you deal with writer’s block?

For me, not stopping my day’s work at the end of a chapter or scene really helps prevent writer’s block. Also, the morning pages help. But sometimes, even with those two things, it happens. I’ve learned that when I have writer’s block, it means that I’ve gone a direction with the story that isn’t working. So, I usually take a day or two off, and then go back and re-read what I have and then plot to make sure that I’m still heading in the right direction. 
What does literary success mean to you?
Literary success is more than a financial thing to me. It means that my stories are resonating with readers on some level, and that is the whole reason why I write. 
What are some of your favorite writing tropes that people usually hate?

I really love the romance trope where the heroine meets the hero pretty quickly in the book. I really love knowing who should get together, and I love seeing the journey of how the two characters get there. I don’t know if people hate that, but I know that some might fight against the way that romance can be a little formulaic. I personally love it. I love knowing what I’m getting into right away, and love seeing the Happily Ever After.
What can we hope to see from you in the future?
The Aunare Chronicles will either be 3 or 4 books before it’s completed. So, I’ll be working on that. I’m also working on the Alpha Girls series, and then a spin-off series based on Samantha, a girl that the Alpha Girls gang ran into during Being Alpha. It’s a little darker than the Alpha Girls series, and a little more horror than paranormal. I’ve been wanting to write that one for a long time, and I was so excited that I got to introduce Samantha in Being Alpha.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Write every day. The only way to learn to write is to write all the time until you finish your book. Don’t worry about if it’s perfect. Give yourself the space to write a shitty first draft.
Then, find someone you trust to read your book and give you feedback. So much of writing is rewriting and revising and rewriting until it shines. You have to be able to take feedback and learn to edit your writing. So many aspiring authors either don’t finish their book or don’t listen to and apply feedback. Both are crucial in becoming an author.
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd–from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.

Giveaway