Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Saturday Spotlight with David Meredith and Giveaway of The Reflections of Queen Snow White

Welcome to the Saturday Spotlight, a weekly feature that shines the light on Indie and Debut authors. This week I have the pleasure introducing readers to:

DAVID MEREDITH
~Author of The Reflections of Queen Snow White~


What Happens after the ever after...?
by David Meredith 2014

Faerie tales always end with the phrase “And they lived happily ever after”, but what does that really mean? What happens after “happily ever after” has come and gone? This is the question I attempt to answer in The Reflections of Queen Snow White. 

The Reflections of Queen Snow White moves you 30+ years into the future after the conclusion of the original Brothers Grimm tale. Charming has died and Snow White just doesn't know how to cope. It’s a story about dealing with grief and finding purpose and direction after the most important person in your life is no longer a part of it.

Back in 2006 when I originally wrote the source short story, in the space of about three or four months, both of my grandfathers died unexpectedly. During the same period, my wife also lost a grandmother and a grandfather, so there where a lot of funerals going on over a very short amount of time. Now funerals, by their very nature lead to a certain introspection about one’s own mortality, but particularly with the sudden passing of both grandfathers and, as a consequence, how hard my grandmothers took their deaths, it led me to wonder on their behalf – “So… What now?”

They both had wonderful, loving relationships – many long, happy years together (over 60). In the case of my maternal grandmother and grandfather, they had never loved anyone else, having married straight out of high school. There was no question in my mind, nor indeed anyone who knew them, that theirs had most certainly been a real-life “happily ever after”. Now it was over. It made me wonder, “When your life has been so closely tied up with and centered upon one other person for so long, how do you pick up the pieces and move on?” That was the original kernel of the idea for The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

Now, the question was posed to me: “Why did you choose Snow White – why not Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rose Red or any of a host of other faerie tale princesses you might have chosen to write about? Why kill the prince? Well, First, let me note that I understand upon initial examination, she might seem a little bit vanilla as a choice. After all, she is probably the first faerie tale princess that comes to our minds when we think of the faerie tale genre. She’s been nearly exploited and merchandised to death by the Disney Company. There have already been almost innumerable retellings and riffs on her story in modern media – TV, movies, other novels, short stories, and even an old Rammstein music video. Who doesn't know Snow White?

However, I felt like this intimate familiarity we all have with her actually works perfectly in helping the reader connect with Snow White’s older self in The Reflections of Queen Snow White. To me, it felt rather like catching up with an old friend whom I hadn't seen in years and years. Just like those friends from grade school or university, I still care about her.

All of us must deal with death and grief to varying degrees throughout our lives. Half of us at least will have to cope with the passing of a partner. Who better to demonstrate the idea that loss and the redefining of a life that necessarily must occur as a result happens to everyone – Even faerie tale princesses?

In addition to that, I also felt like Snow White had a particularly and mostly untapped potential (at least by Disney) for some really interesting darkness. After all, she had a pretty horrible upbringing – the tragic death of both parents, left in the care of an abusive woman who despised her, disassociation from her peers, isolation, loneliness, depression… I think these are all elements that really work to elevate the level of drama and move the story forward in a way that is especially gripping and impactful.

So far, The Reflections of Queen Snow White has gotten really positive reviews. In fact, it received a 5-STAR review from The Seattle PI! I think you’ll enjoy it. I hope you’ll all check it out! It’s available here:
AMAZON. Thanks so much Tina for having me!


David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee as well and a Tennessee State Teaching license. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.


GIVEAWAY

Today David is giving away two eBook copies of his book The Reflections of Queen Snow White. To enter please just fill in the copter. Everyone is welcome.




On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancĂ©, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing: 

The king is dead. 

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old. 

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means? 

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

Thanks David for being on the spotlight today. To find out more about this author visit:

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Blog Tour~Lisa T. Bergren's Remnants Launch Tour- Stop #4


Welcome TBR readers to Lisa T. Bergren's Remnants Launch Tour!!

 If you all remember a few years back Tinasbookreviews hosted Lisa's amazing Waterfall series with a book group read...with my love of that series Im so thrilled to be a part of this awesome tour. Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Lisa to the blog to discuss her favorite dystopian novels. Be sure to watch out for the clue and leave a comment for your chance to win Remnants!!!!

LAUNCH TOUR STOP #4


My Favorite Dystopians (So Far)
by Lisa T. Bergren- April 2014

While I believe any futuristic book has dystopian elements—since we seem to slide ever farther from any sense of utopia, with each generation—the very first dystopian I ever read was 1984, by George Orwell. It was especially cool since I was in high school, the year was 1983, and we were on the verge of the title year. But it was really how the author forced me to consider things we routinely witness in current society, and how they can get warped into something monstrous down the line, that captured my imagination.

The next true dystopian novel I read was The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, a professor who taught at my college. The novel was an excellent exploration of the subjugation of women and made me think about how faith is the best foundation, but always becomes skewed when it becomes more law than grace-covered, godly direction.

It wasn't until The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, that I returned to the genre. As anyone who has read it (or seen the movie) knows, the core vehicle for the action of the novel made you think about our current cultural fascination with reality game shows, and how that could go horribly awry. My whole family read the trilogy and debated choices the characters made, what we loved and what we hated. This led to a spate of dystopian reads for me, among them these favorites:

Wool by Hugh Howey: Originally written as a series of novellas, and now an omnibus of five, it’s the tale of people trapped in an underground world, and a few who long to know just what might be outside…and if it could possibly be as terrible as they've been told. It’s about breaking seemingly impossible barriers.

Divergent by Veronica Roth: A great blend of action, romance and standing up for who you were truly created to be and choosing your own path.

Legend by Marie Lu: The action and the love story between two desperately divided characters make this a standout.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver: I loved the theme of choosing love, regardless of the cost. This novel and the next two in the trilogy became solid favorites.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner: It was awesome to read it with my son and husband—it kept us guessing with all of its twists (Scorch Trials too). We’re looking forward to the movie!

Andriana is a Remnant, one of the gifted teens born on the seventh day during the seventy-seventh Harvest after the Great War, and destined to act as humanity’s last shield against the horrors that now plague those who remain.

After years of training in stealth and warfare, Andriana and her Knight protector, Ronan, are finally ready to answer the Call and begin the life they were designed for. But as they embark with the other Remnants on the first of their assignments, they quickly discover that the world beyond their protected Valley home is more dangerous than they imagined.

The Sons of Sheol will stop at nothing to prevent Dri and Ronan from rescuing anyone sympathetic to the Remnants’ cause. And as the Remnants attempt to battle the demonic forces, other enemies close in. Dangers intensify, but so do Dri's feelings for Ronan--the one emotion she is not meant to feel. In the midst of their mission, Andriana must find a way to master her feelings, or risk compromising everything.

Remnants: Season of Wonder is available at AmazonB&N: Books-a-Million: or at your local bookstore. Email Lisa that you ordered or purchased Remnants: Season of Wonder IN APRIL and she’ll mail you a signed bookplate! (Lisa@bergrencreativegroup.com)

LAUNCH TOUR CLUE #4: WAS RAISED

Collect all 26 clues, gathered from each of the Launch Tour stops this month, and you could win a Kindle Fire HDX ($229 USD). Open internationally. At the end of the month, just go to LisaBergren.com and enter the completed clue stream in the Rafflecopter (available after April 30, 2014). Comment below, noting your favorite dystopian (so far), or one you intend to read, and you could win a copy of REMNANTS, hot off the press!


Lisa T. Bergren is the author of over forty books, with a combined count of over 2.5 million copies sold. She has written best-selling children’s books, award-winning YA (River of Time Series: Waterfall), popular historical fiction, contemporary fiction, women’s nonfiction, and gift books.

She is a writer and editor residing in Colorado Springs, CO, with her husband and three children. You can find out more about Lisa at LisaBergren.com.

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” 
― George Orwell1984

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Saturday Spotlight with Anna Hess and Giveaway of Watermelon Summer

Welcome to the Saturday Spotlight, a weekly feature that shines the light on Indie and Debut authors. This week I have the pleasure introducing readers to:

ANNA HESS
~Author of Watermelon Summer~


Should authors give away their books?
by Anna Hess-2014

In the world of indie publishing, there's a deep divide between those of us who utilize Amazon's KDP Select program's free days, and those who think we should never give away books. I've been using free days for years, finding that they provide a nice boost to my backlist, and free days also let me reward my long-time fans with a copy of new releases. However, I only recently realized the true potential of free periods --- helping a malingering new release take off.

CC-Watermelon
So why was Watermelon Summer malingering? The book is my first work of fiction, and I should have realized that my existing fan base was a little leery of putting down hard cash for something unlike my usual how-to guides. I'd been listing those how-to guides between 99 cents and $2.99, and I placed Watermelon Summer at the upper end of that spectrum since the novel is significantly longer than some of my other ebooks. But due to my fans' hesitance, the slightly high price, and a bad description (since updated), the book barely sold. For its first month of life, Watermelon Summer was only downloaded 25 times, even though I dropped the price to 99 cents a couple of weeks in. I'd lost the all-important launch momentum, and it looked like my novel might drift in the doldrums forever.

This was the perfect opportunity to test a no-holds-barred free period. I've reached the top-100-free list a few times through no effort of my own, and I often even forget to tell my fans when I've set an ebook free. However, I knew Watermelon Summer needed a real boost, so I did some research and followed other authors' advice to treat the free period like a book launch with lots of promotion. Luckily, there are dozens of free sites that will consider placing your book in front of thousands of eyes during its giveaway period, especially if you have a good cover and have put in the effort of acquiring at least ten good reviews. I submitted Watermelon Summer to about a dozen sites and it was listed by bargainebookhunter, ebookshabit, and freebooksy. Meanwhile, I also emailed my fan list and posted on my blog, my facebook page, and google plus, begging my loyal readers to download a free copy and to tell all their friends about the opportunity.

It took two days for Watermelon Summer to reach the top 100 free books on Amazon, which was the length of the initially planned giveaway period, but I had two more free days in the bank that I quickly tacked on the end. My book spent those last two days in the lower top 100 (mostly around 70 - 80), and by the end of the free period, 7,693 people had downloaded Watermelon Summer.

This is where the free-period naysayers will tell you that you've just thrown away $2,693. But what they don't tell you is that most of these downloads would never have happened if the book hadn't been free, and you do receive instant positive results from those free downloads. I went into my free period with 11 reviews and came out with 18, one of which was for four stars and the rest of which were for five. And I started showing up in the "Customers who bought this also bought" category on others' page at the same time. That meant that I sold 13 copies the day after my book went back to the paid store, and the novel immediately jumped up into the top 100 paid in its category. Watermelon Summer had found its way out of the doldrums!

Of course, if you give away thousands of copies of the first book in a series, chances are you'll see an even greater sales boost from the free period since happy customers will go on to buy the later books in the series. But even if you only have a standalone book, my experience suggests that a well-promoted free period will net significant rewards. Plus, you can treat it as a pro bono round of market research --- are your title, cover, and description catchy enough to draw in the masses? If not, it's time to put some work into the public appearance of your book so that it can reach as many people as possible.

I dreamed about moving back to the land ever since my parents dragged me off the family farm at the age of eight. I worked as a field biologist and nonprofit organizer before acquiring fifty-eight acres and a husband, then quit my job to homestead full time.


I admit that real farm life involves a lot more hard work than my childhood memories entailed, but the reality is much more fulfilling and I love pigging out on sun-warmed strawberries and experimenting with no-till gardening, mushroom propagation, and chicken pasturing.


GIVEAWAY

Today Anna is giving away one signed paperback of her book Watermelon Summer. To enter please fill in the copter. Everyone is welcome to enter this contest.




Forsythia's bedtime stories as a child centered around the intentional community where she'd been conceived and which her mother had abandoned soon after her birth. So even though she was more familiar with subways than with milk cows, Forsythia knew she couldn't let the farm be sold sight unseen. She threw away her pre-college European adventure and resolved to be the catalyst bringing the ailing community back to life.

Getting from the airport in no-bus-service West Virginia to the Kentucky commune where her mother once lived turned out to be the easy part of Forsythia's adventure. Harder was searching for an elusive father who felt cryptic notes and a library card were sufficient stand-ins for his presence. The piercing blue eyes of a perfect boy further complicated matters, making it difficult to hold onto her own ambitious plans for the future.

Add in a rustic farmhouse, a flooded creek, and an unexpected betrayal, and the deck seemed to be stacked against Forsythia. But she couldn't give up because if the intentional community disintegrated, Forsythia would never really understand what she'd been missing.

And she'd never meet her bio-dad....

Thanks Anna for being on the spotlight today, to learn more about this author visit:

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Saturday Spotlight with Kirsten Feldman and Giveaway of No Alligators in Sight

Welcome to the Saturday Spotlight, a weekly feature that shines the light on Indie and Debut authors. This week I have the pleasure introducing readers to:

KIRSTEN FELDMAN
~Author of No Alligators in Sight~



Hi Kirsten, welcome to the blog. Please tell us about yourself.

I grew up on Cape Cod and the Connecticut shoreline and now live outside of Boston, much too far from the ocean and the sand. Reading and writing have played a central part in my life both personally and professionally. I am rarely without a book in my hand. Brown University gave me my undergrad degree in comparative literature, and Tufts kindly did the same for my master's in English education. I have worked in a variety of school and museum education settings, including teaching 7th and 8th grade English.

My graduate advisor once told me that if teenagers don't make you laugh then consider another career. To me the adolescent voice has such vibrancy and depth to it, whether funny or not; many of my favorite books have this point of view, including: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood. I write at least weekly on my blog, so readers can learn more about me and my projects there http://kirstenfeldmanbooks.blogspot.com/, and readers can subscribe to follow along by e-mail, too.

What inspired you to write No Alligators in Sight?


I felt I had a story to tell, and so I began. When I started writing the story, it was unequivocally Lettie's voice that told me the story. At first it was only one chapter, perhaps a short story, I thought, but then it grew and grew as Lettie had so much to share and became a novel. Both her character and the novel's settings, Provincetown and Key West, spoke very loudly in my head and demanded a venue of their own.

If you could pick a song to encapsulate your novel, what would it be and why?

Lettie is a classic rock fan, and the song that ran through my head frequently as I was writing was The Rolling Stones's "You Can't Always Get What You Want," especially the lines "But if you try sometimes well you might find/You get what you need." Without giving any spoilers, Lettie has wants and needs, as all of us do, but what she gets and what she wanted aren't always the same, as they often aren't in life. It is how she deals with this adversity that sets Lettie apart, I think, her resilience, her cutting wit, and her drive.



What authors or books have inspired you or get your recommendations?

To me NO ALLIGATORS IN SIGHT is reminiscent of books like Sarah Dessen's THAT SUMMER, Stephen Chbosky's THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, and Elizabeth Berg's DURABLE GOODS, where the teenage narrator voice shines through and guides the reader's experience in an intense, personal way. It's also a journey novel, with the journey happening literally and internally, so I often thought of Yann Martel's LIFE OF PI and Mark Haddon's THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME. Readers can also see what other authors I like and what I am currently reading on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7351355.Kirsten_B_Feldman

What do you want readers to walk away with after reading your book?

I hope that Lettie and her story will stay with readers as an affirmation of all that can be accomplished even when much seems bleak and sad. Lettie is a survivor and, I believe, an inspiration.

Can you share any future writing plans with us?

I am working on an as-yet-unnamed novel about a girl who lives at a prep school and longs to escape her life. If readers would like a glimpse in advance, I have a Pinterest page for the book (and one for No Alligators, too) at http://www.pinterest.com/kirstenfeldman/



Kirsten Feldman grew up on Cape Cod and the Connecticut shoreline and now lives outside of Boston.


Brown University gave Kirsten her undergrad degree in comparative literature and Tufts kindly did the same for her master's in English education. She's worked in a variety of school and museum education settings, including teaching 7th and 8th grade English.



GIVEAWAY

Today Kirsten is giving away one eBook copy of No Alligators in Sight. To enter please fill in the copter. 




In this coming of age novel, Lettie and Bert squeak by in a tiny town on Cape Cod, one parent an alcoholic and the other absent. After a string of bad decisions on Lettie’s part, their father ships them to their barely remembered mother for the summer, where they will learn hard lessons about themselves, their family, and their future by way of the Florida swamp. Throughout Lettie keeps her biting humor flowing, her razor-sharp pen at the ready, and her eye on her quest for a “normal” life.

Thanks for being on the spotlight Kirsten. To learn more about this author check out:

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