Thursday, November 20, 2014

Katie Clark's #Dystopian #YAlit Novel VANQUISHED and #giveaway

Congratulations to Katie Clark on her YA dystopian novel, Vanquished. Even better, there are two more novels available in The Enslaved Series. Oh, and even better yet? She's giving away a copy of Vanquished! All you have to do is comment on this post to be entered to win.

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The Making of Vanquished
by Katie Clark

Thank you for having me today! I’m thrilled to introduce your readers to my debut novel, Vanquished

People are always asking me how I got the idea for Vanquished, and since it’s a story I love telling I am happy to share it.

This wasn’t an easy idea. It came to me in bits and pieces over the course of a few years. It started with the main character, Hana. I was always thinking about this girl. This strong but vulnerable girl. She wanted to believe in the life she’d been led to live. She wanted to follow the rules. Except she couldn’t.

At that time, I had no idea what brought about her unhappiness or dissatisfaction, I only knew she needed to work toward something more.

Fast forward a year or two, I was given the idea to write a story set in a world where there was no God. No Bible. No religion. Would this world be better? Worse? And how? I had no idea how to make this story happen, but the idea stuck in my head and percolated.

Finally, the two halves came together to make a whole. One day I was sitting in church (yes, I admit I was daydreaming), and it hit me. These two stories were the same story. Hana was dissatisfied because she suspected there was more than met the eye in her city, and she set out to find it. Her mom was sick, and she needed answers. What she uncovered went way beyond hidden medications and technology—what she found was the truth that the God she’d been told was myth might not be myth at all. The story just flew from there, and it didn’t end for three books!

I hope you all enjoy it, and to celebrate I’m giving away an e-copy of Vanquished! I’ll choose one lucky commenter at random, so leave your name and email address below for a chance to win. Thanks for stopping by!

About Vanquished:
When Hana’s mom is diagnosed with the mutation, she is denied the medication that might save her life.  Fischer, a medic at the hospital, implies there are people who can help—except Hana’s not sure she can trust him; Fischer is involved in a religious group, and religion has been outlawed for the last hundred years.  Hana embarks on a dangerous journey, seeking the answers Fischer insists are available. When the truth is uncovered does Hana stick to what she knows?  Or does she join the rebellion, taking a stand against an untrustworthy society?

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Learn more about Katie Clark at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Purchase The Enslaved Series (Vanquished, Deliverance, Redeemer) on Amazon.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Romance and Suspense in Emma Elliot's novel AS DARKNESS GATHERS

I am please to welcome Emma Elliot to the blog today. Her novel As Darkness Gathers shows characters skirting the cliff's edge. She shares some thoughts about crafting a world of such complex emotions.

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As Darkness Gathers is, essentially, about betrayal, about varying degrees of the destruction of trust. Trust is essential in any relationship, and any chipping away of that has a rippling effect in one’s life and in his or her interactions with others. The story revolves around Finch, a woman whose reality is turned on end when she’s involved in a plane crash. Surviving that horror is only the beginning of her struggle.

“The line between friend and foe is blurred.” I think that line sums up the struggle the heroine is faced with in the story. You know how to relate to people when you know where you stand with them, when you know of their agendas toward you and their attitudes, when you know what motivates them in their interaction with you. Understanding those aspects affects your approach to the relationship. When there’s a lack of clarity regarding those aspects, you’re left in a more vulnerable position.

In As Darkness Gathers, increasingly frightening events make Finch question those around her. Someone wants to hurt her, and she isn’t sure whom she can trust. I think Finch navigates this uncertainty with a lot more aplomb than I ever would. She’s afraid and angry, of course, but she doesn’t allow it to cripple her. She refuses to be cowed and doesn’t allow the experience to make her bitter. She has a lot of grace and strength of character, even as she struggles to determine whether those she loves are the ones she can trust.

I love a good mystery, which probably comes from cutting my reading teeth on Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, and the Bobbsey Twins books. Intrigue of a multitude of sorts drives any story:  the uncertainty of a relationship in a romance, the personal trials in a drama, the political machinations in a thriller, the outcome of a battle in an historical…. But I love the intrigue of a suspenseful novel, the tension and anxiety, the apprehension and puzzles.

If there’s a secret recipe to combining romance and suspense, I haven’t discovered it yet. I’ve written two different books within the genres. The first, A Thin, Dark Line, is a character-driven story that is very much a romance with a suspenseful subplot. My latest release, As Darkness Gathers, is more plot-driven, and I’d say it’s a suspense novel with a romantic subplot. I think the balance and weight of the two genres largely depends on the story and the character’s journey over the course of it.

Romance and suspense are two genres that are perfect for exploring the human story. Both—love and anxiety—have an internal and external impact on a person, and when the romance and suspense are woven together, you can better dig into the visceral fears and desires of a character. Romantic suspense is an excellent platform to study human reaction, interaction, and motivation.

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Learn more about Emma Elliot on her blog or on Facebook.

Go to Amazon to purchase As Darkness Gathers  and A Thin, Dark Line.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

THE LAST HERO: How Escapist Imagination and Real Life Led to Nathaniel Dane's First Novel

Anyone who writes fiction---actually, anyone in the arts---will relate to the essay from today's guest, Nathaniel Danes. He shares how the world he created for his first military science fiction novel, The Last Hero, grew in his mind and gained importance in his life until he just couldn't keep it off the page.

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The Last Hero -- I had to write it

by Nathaniel Danes

I never thought I'd write a book. Heck, for most of my life, getting beyond page three of any school writing project felt like a Herculean task. I think the difference between now and then, is my writing doesn't feel forced, like the story is there, I just need to get it out. Maybe that's the difference between writing what you want as opposed to what you have to.

Thinking about it now, it almost feels as if The Last Hero grew itself organically rather than having been written. My over-active imagination, love for military history, science fiction addiction, blindness, failed military career, daughter, and more were filtered through my fingers onto the page. It's a nexus where several pieces of my life came together. Believe me, that sounds far easier than it was.

I've always used my imagination as an escape hatch from life. As far back as I can remember I'd bolt from mundane situations in my mind, transporting myself to excitement and adventure. I'm sure most kids do this, but for me, I've never stopped. Today, I do this as a coping mechanism. I'm losing my sight to a genetic disorder, the reason for my failed military career, and I find it relaxing to drift off into worlds where I don't have that limitation.

These fantasies were always content to live inside my head until I read The Forever War. That classic sparked something inside me. Science fiction has always been my preferred genre for TV and movies, but as far as books go, I used to only read military history. After stumbling upon The Forever War everything changed. I couldn't read enough military science fiction and those stories in my head started to become restless.

I also can't overstate the importance of my daughter's birth in helping to shape the story in my first novel. There are a select few things I truly love in his world, my wife for one, so the feeling isn't foreign to me. However, I honestly wasn't prepared for the body blow of raw emotion, of pure unconditional love, I felt the second I held my baby girl for the first time. From then on, I couldn't imagine a universe that she wasn't a part of, where that incredible connection didn't exist. Her presence in my life enriched and brought depth to my fantasy worlds. She brought meaning and purpose to them.

Literally bursting at the seams, I had to get the stories out. So, I started to write and write, then I rewrote and rewrote. Before I knew it, a few years had past and I'd written four books. Finally, I decided to try and get one published. Fortunately, Solstice Publishing saw fit to give me a chance and agreed to release the The Last Hero.

If you read my book, I hope you enjoy it and can feel the passion that went into its creation. It will be the first of many. I don't have a choice, the stories have to come out.

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Learn more about Nathaniel Danes on his website.

Purchase The Last Hero on Amazon.