Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Circus Interview with Debut Author Kiersten White

I had the chance to interview the awesome Kiersten White. She was kind enough to play along with my outrageous questions. Enjoy!

You wake up one morning and find yourself on a circus train. What animal is your bunk mate?

The monkeys. And they keep eyeing my hair like they'd like to go through it to check for bugs, which quite frankly I find insulting. Keep your fingers to yourselves, monkeys, my hair is perfectly clean.

It looks like you’re stuck on the train until they get to their next stop. Luckily, you still have your favorite book which you were reading when you fell asleep! What book is it?

A Circus Lover's Guide to Taming Elephants, Avoiding Monkeys, and Walking the Tightrope of the Human Heart

Or rather, it'd probably be Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. At least until someone writes the above book.

It is time for lunch and all of the circus performers sit according to their act. Who do you decide to sit with?

The clowns are all packed into the mini-car next door, so they're out. The tightrope walkers make me dizzy just looking at them. As a mom to two small children, I feel the tightest kinship with the lion tamers, and so we sit and trade horror stories and scars.

They are curious about your new book! Pitch it to them, but don’t forget to appeal to your audience!

Fangs, fur, and fey! Evie must tame the wild paranormals and avoid any number of grisly deaths to save the special things left in the world. A show--err--book unlike any other!

After a great meal with the lion tamers you stumble back toward your car (circus performers drink a little more than you are used to) to find the circus gypsy waiting for you. She tells you your fortune. What is your future?

"You will be mistaken for a child and passed over in grocery lines. I see very high heels in your future..."

Which of course is wrong, as I prefer flip flops and awkward encounters when people realize I'm not a pre-teen, lack of height notwithstanding. So I don't tip her, and she glares at me.

After you share some circus moonshine with her, she agrees to grant you one wish. What do you wish for?

That my kids to continue growing up happy and healthy, at which point she grumbles that this was the most boring wish ever, and realizes the moonshine was non-alcoholic, as I don't drink. I'm pretty sure she curses me, but I figure any gypsy who can't tell she isn't drunk isn't likely to be commanding powerful curses.

Although I do seem to be growing a beard, which is new.

You get into town and are getting ready to leave. Unfortunately, your flight is delayed. Your new friends convince you to showcase your special talent in tonight's show. What do you perform for the circus audience?

Dazzling feats of sarcasm. Really, it's stunning. And, to top it all off, a spelling bee!

You finally make it home. Who is waiting at the airport for you?

My husband, who is startled by my new facial hair, but happy to see me nonetheless, and my two monkey children, who never look for bugs in my hair.

Kiersten is the author of Paranormalcy which comes out this fall! Also, go follow her blog she is even more entertaining there!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Coming Your Way This Week...


Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents disappear.

As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she faces the brutal injustice of the Enclave and discovers she alone holds the key to a secret code, a code of “birthmarked” babies and genetic merit.

Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where a criminal is defined by her genes, and one girl can make all the difference.

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.

He’s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.

He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.

Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t demand or expect the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there’s something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat---and to appreciate what that difference means.

Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

Dan Wells’s debut novel is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.


Island of Betrayal by Alan L. Moss

A beautiful young girl is taken to an unconventional medical facility. Weak and disoriented, she is subjected to a radical, untested stem cell procedure. Months later, in a hot air balloon speeding across New Zealand s Central Canterbury Plains, the results of that test give birth to an international conspiracy. When a giant tuna cannery makes early tax payments to the American Samoan treasury, a high-ranking but corrupt government official will divert millions to New Zealand s Health-Cell Corporation. The medical research firm is desperate for cash while its stem cell breakthrough undergoes a required three-year test protocol. In return, Health-Cell will supply the official and his co-conspirators with stem cell cure kits to sell on the black market, yielding huge profits. The only way the early tax payments will not be made, scuttling the conspiracy, is if a Special Industry Committee raises Samoa s minimum wage by more than two percent. Enter Michael Bloom, a government economist charged with the responsibility to administer public hearings that lead to deliberations of the Committee. He has risked his marriage to get Samoa s impoverished workers the significant wage increases long denied them. Unknowingly, his efforts to win large wage gains for Samoa s workforce threaten to derail the conspiracy. The story accelerates to breakneck speed as Bloom encounters the beautiful director of Samoa s Visitor Information Bureau. He is framed with a dastardly crime, flees the police, and returns to the South Pacific to unravel the conspiracy and get revenge.

Rooms by James L. Rubart

On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend.

When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny.

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

"You're Ellie Spencer."

I opened my mouth, just as he added, "And your eyes are opening."

Seventeen-year-old Ellie Spencer is just like any other teenager at her boarding school. She hangs out with her best friend Kevin, she obsesses over Mark, a cute and mysterious bad boy, and her biggest worry is her paper deadline.

But then everything changes. The news headlines are all abuzz about a local string of serial killings that all share the same morbid trademark: the victims were discovered with their eyes missing. Then a beautiful yet eerie woman enters Ellie's circle of friends and develops an unhealthy fascination with Kevin, and a crazed old man grabs Ellie in a public square and shoves a tattered Bible into her hands, exclaiming, "You need it. It will save your soul." Soon, Ellie finds herself plunged into a haunting world of vengeful fairies, Maori mythology, romance, betrayal, and an epic battle for immortality.

Code Blue by Richard L. Mabry

In the first book of the Prescription for Trouble series, Code Blue means more to Dr. Cathy Sewell than the cardiac emergency she has to face. It describes her mental state as she finds that coming back to her hometown hasn t brought her the peace she so desperately needs. Instead, it s clear that someone there wants her gone...or dead.

Cathy returns to her hometown seeking healing after a broken relationship, but discovers that among her friends and acquaintances is someone who wants her out of town...or dead. Lawyer Will Kennedy, her high school sweetheart, offers help, but does it carry a price tag? Is hospital chief of staff Dr. Marcus Bell really on her side in her fight to get hospital privileges? Is Will s father, Pastor Matthew Kennedy, interested in advising her or just trying to get her back to the church she left years ago? When one of Cathy s prescriptions almost kills the town banker, it sets the stage for a malpractice suit that could end her time in town, if not her career. It s soon clear that this return home was a prescription for trouble.

Diamonds for the Dead by Alan Orloff

When Josh Handleman returns to his boyhood home to sit shiva for his estranged father, he gets the shock of his life: his frugal dad was a diamond collector worth millions. Now the gems are missing and Josh begins to suspect his father’s death might have been murder, not an accident.

Hounded by grief and remorse, Josh resolves to find his dad’s diamond stash. His emotion-laden treasure hunt throws him into the middle of a feud between two stubborn old Russian Jews—and puts Josh squarely in the sights of his father’s killer.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Adventure Interview With Debut Author Heidi R. Kling

I had a chance to interview the awesome Heidi R. Kling, author of SEA, due out in June. I sent her on an imaginary, international adventure. Enjoy!

You can travel anywhere in the world for one month. Where do you go?

What an awesome question. I think I'd island hop in Greece.

You can bring one book (other than yours) to share with the people there (no language barrier) what do you bring?

The Forest of Hands and Teeth. They may want to prepare for a zombie apocalypse.

While on vacation you meet a medicine man who loves your writing so much that he wants to give you one super power.  What do you ask for?

The power of flight. Hands down!

While on vacation you run into your favorite author.  He/she asks to read your book.  Who is it and what do they say about it?

John Green. He says, "This should totally win the Printz. In fact, I just emailed the committee and told them so!"

You’ve now been away for a month, what do you miss most about home?

My husband, my son, my daughter and my dog.

On the way back your plane’s engines fail and begins to plummet into the ocean!  What are your last words?

I can't believe I'm dying before I win the Printz

Unfortunately you didn’t survive the crash, who do you come back to haunt?

YOU! For making me crash and die. :-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Attention to Blogger/Blogspot users!

I have finally rectified the problem with blogger's blog roll. If you follow this link it will take you to the corresponding blogger site. It is automatically updated each time I post on here so the RSS will be identical. You won't be able to access the features like the calendar there but the blog will be available in full. So if you use blogger's blog roll make sure you join here so you can be updated!

A Review of Dexter Palmer's The Dream of Perpetual Motion

I’ve been putting off reviewing The Dream of Perpetual Motion for a few days. Honestly, it is because I don’t know if I can do Dexter Palmer’s work of art justice. But, since the really nice marketing people over at St. Martin’s Press sent me a copy of this book, I feel that I probably should give it a whirl.

This steam-punk novel is narrated by Harold Winslow, a writer for a greeting-card company. The story alternates between the first and third person as Harold writes to his imaginary reader in his journal. He knows that no one will ever read his work because he has been imprisoned on the zeppelin Chrysalis, which is equipped with a perpetual motion machine. His only companions are a host of mechanical men, the voice of the woman he loves, Miranda Taligent, and the body of her dead father Prospero.

Harold’s journal covers more than two decades; the writing of it spans the first year he is imprisoned upon the Chrysalis. The bulk of the journal is written in third person, which is odd seeing that it is written in a journal by the main character. It will leave you a little confused at first, but I urge you to let that go. When Palmer reveals why it has been written like that, or you figure it out from the text, the story will fall into place.

The novel follows Harold’s life and the events which lead to his imprisonment on the ship. The most important of these was his meeting Prospero Taligent and his daughter Miranda. Prospero is the genius who invented most of the machines that exist in Palmer’s alternate reality.

Palmer creates a dream-like reality for his readers, full of mechanical men, “shrink cabs”, and flying cars. His captivating prose draws you in as he uses his universe to examine love’s place in our increasingly chaotic world. One of my favorite images in the novel is that of phase interference, the idea that there is so much noise in the world that every possible sound is being made. Therefore every sound wave has its opposite, one that is exactly 180 degrees out of phase, effectively canceling each other out, leaving the world in silence.

Palmer’s world will draw you in, keep you turning the page, and leaving you begging for more at the end. Harold’s heart-wrenching and disturbing tale will leave you questioning your own reality. When I finished this strange but enthralling debut novel, I found myself unable to fully grasp what I had just read. The only answer I could come up with was to read it again.

Jeff’s Debut Novel Awards*

pageturner Emotionally Evocative Explorer of the deep Worldbuilder plotweaver originality sealofapproval

*hold your cursor over the icon to get a description of the award or click on any of them to be referred to the award guide.

A twenty-two-year-old University student, Jeff is the founder and coeditor of The Debut Authors Blog. He is an aspiring author and a self-avowed bibliophile. Also, he is not above shameless self-promotion and talking in the third-person.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Coming Your Way This Week...

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

When Wayland North brings rain to a region that's been dry for over ten years, he's promised anything he'd like as a reward. He chooses the village elder's daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she's hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself awed and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she's heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past.

The pair rushes toward the capital, intent to stop an imminent war, pursued by Reuel Dorwan (a dark wizard who has taken a keen interest in Sydelle) and plagued by unusually wild weather. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers North's dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever.

The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter

Lainey Pike can tell you everything you need to know about the people in her family just by letting you know how they died. Her reckless stepfather drove his motorcycle off the highway and caused the biggest traffic jam in years. Her long-suffering grandmother lived through cancer and a heart attack before finally succumbing to a stroke. And Lainey's mother—well, Lainey's mother hanged herself in the basement just days after Lainey's high school graduation.
Now Lainey's five-year-old brother is an orphan and her estranged older sister is moving back home to be his guardian. Meanwhile, Lainey's boyfriend is thinking about having a family of their own, and her best friends are always asking the wrong sorts of questions and giving advice Lainey doesn't want to hear. As she tries to pull away from everything familiar, Lainey meets an intriguing new guy who, through a series of Slurpees, burgers, and snowballs, helps her to make peace with a parent she never understood.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In My Mailbox (1)

This week I got two books for review! The first one from St. Martin's press and actually just finished. It is Dexter Palmer's The Dream of Perpetual Motion. It was a wonderful read and I will posting the review of it shortly.

The next one was from Minotaur Books which I just started. It is called The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron. It comes out May 11th so I'll be sure to let you know what I think soon!
Poacher's Son Cover026

In My Mailbox is brought a feature of The Story Siren, you can participate too!

Another Review of Teri Hall's The Line

Since I am a firm believer that every book has people who love it, I wanted to post a review of The Line that was more positive. So when I read Kelsey's review on her blog The Book Scout I asked if she would mind posting it here. She agreed! So make sure you run over to her blog and check it out. She has some great reviews of many other Young Adult novels.

" The Line was an original and captivating read. The beginning was a little slow and I was wary about whether I was going to like it or not. Soon I was sucked into the world Hall had created- filled with terrific characters and an original and terrifying world. Written in third person, The Line let each character develop and be understood by the reader. There was a lot of background information (at times what may seem to be a little too much) but it was all needed for the reader to understand what was going on. The world Hall created was both terrifying and exciting. The government was extremely controlling and the Line was a big part of the novel. I really like dystopian novels, and The Line was different than any I have ever read. It was suspenseful and had many sub-plots that all tied in with the main plot at the end. The ending was...OMG! Such a cliffhanger. I can't believe I have to wait until 2011 to find out what happens to all the characters.

Rachel was a unique character. I liked her, but at times couldn't understand her choices. Overall though she was a strong female lead, like many of the characters. I loved the scenes with Ms. Moore, especially her flashbacks. She added a lot to the novel and the twist involving her and Away was unexpected but awesome!

This was a novel of hope, survival, love, and trust. The reader experiences a wide range of emotions while reading and by the end you'll be rooting for Rachel, Vivian, and Ms. Moore. There are many surprising twists in the story, and some characters may be different than they originally seemed.

Taking place in the United States, The Line will have readers wonderingabout what the future may bring. This was a wonderful debut and I'm egernot only for Away (The Line #2) but for more books by Teri Hall!

This is out now, so I recommend picking up a copy soon :)


Plot: 10/10

Characters: 9/10

Ending: 8.5/10

Enjoyment: 9/10

Cover: 9.5/10


Overall: 46/50 = 92% "

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Or, if that doesn't work go here

While You Wait

Photo on 2010-03-20 at 17.42
My sister Caroline and I are anxiously waiting for the last three people to become fans of The Debut Author Blog. I want to give these books away and I've enlisted her help to do draw the names. In the meantime you can go check out my girlfriend's blog where she is talking about our 2500 mile road-trip we took over spring break.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Review of Teri Hall's The Line

The Line is a young adult dystopian novel set in the futuristic nation of The Unified States. Rachel lives with her mom Vivian on “The Property.” A piece of land owned by Elizabeth Moore that borders the infamous “Line”, an invisible and impassable defense border built by the government. The people that live on the other side serve as boogie man figures for children in the US and the media circulates stories of “the others” committing crimes.

While Teri Hall managed to create an imaginative world and a fun book, there are flaws that ruined the experience for me. The first was the introduction and naming of Hall’s world. We learn about The Unified States right along with Rachel as she is learning it from her mother. The information she is learning seems out of place, something she should already know. This introduction to an otherwise extremely interesting world is a cop-out by Hall. Also, naming the country “The Unified States” is a clear attempt to draw the reader to the similarities between the future she painted for her world and the realities of ours. Instead of driving this important point home, it cheapened it, taking out a lot of room for reader interpretation.

Another issue I had was with Hall’s characters. Rachel, the most dynamic of the characters, is a young girl whose motivations are not usually clear. Her transformation is shallow and a result of new information rather than any internal growth. Rachel’s mother Vivian is even worse. It is clear she is hiding something for the entire first half of the novel and the reader is left with little doubt as to what the secret is. Elizabeth Moore is my least favorite character. Hall tries to give her an air of mystery by making her an aloof old woman, but leaves the reader with a cliche. I was not surprised to find that Ms. Moore really has a big heart.

I can, however, forgive those shortcomings if it wasn’t for one thing. The ending. I know that this book is supposed to be part of a series, but come on. You can’t make a series of novels by taking one long novel and cutting it into parts. There wasn’t a story in this book; Hall left me hanging like a two-part television show where the next episode doesn’t come out for a year. I am a firm believer that each novel needs to stand on its own. There needs to be an overreaching plot that spans the entire series, but each book needs to have enough plot so that I can pick it up, out of order, and enjoy it. Jeff is angry!

Anger aside, the book was entertaining. I tore through it like a tornado through a trailer park and became absorbed in the world Hall created. The Line won’t ever make one of my top ten lists, but it is worth reading and I will be buying the second one.

Jeff’s Debut Novel Awards*

pageturner Worldbuilder hulk smash nodiving

*hold your cursor over the icon to get a description of the award or click on any of them to be referred to the award guide.

A twenty-two-year-old University student, Jeff is the founder and coeditor of The Debut Authors Blog. He is an aspiring author and a self-avowed bibliophile. Also, he is not above shameless self-promotion and talking in the third-person.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jeff's New Review System

I don't like five star, out of 10, or any numerical type review. Even if it gives a rating on specific features of a book, it leaves something to be desired. In my experience a book either has something or it doesn't. I wouldn't give a book with a plot I didn't enjoy a 2/5 stars for plot, I would just state that I didn't like the plot.

That being said, I feel like I need some sort of system for my reviews so that books can be compared on some level. So the following is a system of awards I created which I will include, along with an explanation, with each book review that I do. This will not include reviews that are submitted by readers or other bloggers (unless of course you want to; I ask only that you credit me). Please comment and let me know if I should add any awards, you think I missed something important, or anything you want to say about them. The first review using this system will be posted tomorrow (I am finishing up Teri Hall's The Line (which I am also giving away; don't forget to enter!)

Positive Awards

The Page Turner - I couldn’t put it down; give me more please!

Emotionally Evocative - I cried, I laughed, I loved you, I hated you. My male brain can’t handle all these emotions, I’m going to explode!

Explorer of The Deep - Whoa! Don’t come up too fast, you’ll get The Bends!

World Builder - Can I move there? No? Okay, well then at least write another book.

Plot Weaver - Holy Cow! I Didn’t see that coming!

Originality - Okay maybe the Simpsons did it, but you did it better!

The Rubber Chicken - If writing doesn’t work out for you, maybe try stand up.

Seal of Approval - Go buy this book... now. Seriously, what are you waiting for!

Negative Awards

No Diving - Don’t break your neck on the shallow characters

Couch Potato - Lazy Plot

Yawn - Boring

The Hulk Smash - You made Jeff angry, you won’t like it when he's angry!

Don’t Read - Don’t waste your money on this one

Monday, March 15, 2010

Contest Continued....

To clear up some of the rules. You must leave a comment in order to be entered into the final drawing! Also, I have added a new rule. An extra two entries will be added for each relevant comment on any post. So if you go back and say something smart about a former post I'll give you TWO EXTRA ENTRIES per post. The only limit on this is the 50 entry limit I imposed before. You can still enter via the original rules, so go and spread the word get as many entries as you can and win one of these great books!

Under Construction/Fixed

Thanks for your patience! The Debut Authors Blog is back up and running!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Coming Your Way This Week...

The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtman

“Maybe his invention would even make him popular, like Mitch. Eddy hoped not, because he wouldn’t like to have so many people around him all the time. He preferred to be by himself, or maybe with one or two other people, like Justin and Kip, or Terry. Otherwise, with too many people talking, Eddy had too many of those stupid, unwritten social rules to decipher at the same time.”

Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

When a flawlessly dressed woman steps out of an iridescent bubble and wants to know, like, now if you’d like to become a substitute princess, do you

a) run

b) faint

c) say Yes!

For Desi Bascomb, who’s been longing for a bit of glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C–that is, once she can stop pinching herself. As her new agent Meredith explains, Desi has a rare magical ability: when she applies the ancient Egyptian formula “Royal Rouge,” she can transform temporarily into the exact lookalike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?
Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras. Like, what do you do when a bullying older sister puts you on a heinous crash diet? Or when the tribal villagers gather to watch you perform a ceremonial dance you don’t know? Or when a princess’s conflicted sweetheart shows up to break things off–and you know she would want you to change his mind?
In this hilarious, winning debut, one girl’s dream of glamour transforms into something bigger: the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Violet strained to see into the lake below. Multihued light seemed to be radiating up from beneath the water, centered among the reeds, and then diffusing outward as it reached the surface. Violet had never seen anything like it, and she knew that the spectrum of light was defying its very nature by behaving in that way.

It could be only one thing.

There was something dead down there.

Check out Lenore's review of The Body Finder on her blog Presenting Lenore

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Author Interview with Janice Hardy

I had the chance to interview the awesome Janice Hardy a few days ago. She is the author of The Shifter which is the first book I reviewed on this site and is one of the reasons this site exists in the first place. Do yourself a favor and go buy this book, you won't be sorry.

DAB: Hi Janice
JH: hello there
DAB: Thanks for agreeing to talk with me
most welcome
What gave you the inspiration for the Shifter?
I was playing with various common fantasy ideas, trying to see if I could turn any of them on their heads for a fresh take.
Then I started thinking about healing and how you rarely, if ever, see any downsides to healing. I wondered what would be the "bad side" of something that was always associated with good
And I came up with pain, and how you might be able to buy and sell it, and how a society that healed by removing pain might work
Once the world building started taking shape, the rest of the story developed pretty quickly

That's so cool. Was there a specific author who got you interested in the fantasy/dystopian genre or have you always been a fan?
Always been a fan. My father was a science fiction and fantasy fan, so he got me into it when I was young
DAB: I saw on your website that you have a pet eel. How did that happen?
I've always like eels, can't really say why. Maybe because they're a little dragon-like. My husband saw one in the pet store when he was buying so fish for our tank, and he brought him home to surprise me.
I really want one of those big green moray eels, but salt-water tanks are much harder to keep
DAB: Ah well I've heard they are a bit cranky anyways.
This is true ;) I'll have to settle for seeing them underwater.
Fair enough.
DAB: So can you describe a little bit of your writing habits? Like a schedule or rituals or anything like that?
I'm most creative in the mornings, so I usually start around 7-8am, then write until about noon. I've been writing almost every day lately (I'm on deadline for book three) but when I'm not on deadline, I like to write for a day or two then take a day off. I get burnt out if I write a lot every single day.
No real rituals, though I do usually read the last chapter I wrote to get back into the groove.

hmmm book three... can you tell us anything about what Nya will be up to in the next book?
Well, she's going to take a bit of a trip, and have her world view turned upside down. I'm pushing her way out of her comfort zone this time.
When I was reading I really liked the names of your characters and places. Where did they come from?
Many are just made up, but I based Geveg on the geographic area of Lake Victoria in Africa, so lots of names are based in Afrikaans.
Like Geveg means struggle, Baseer is hurt
pyn in the word for pain, which is where pynvium comes from
There's a lot more of that in books two and three

Neat. Sometimes when I need a name or place I just randomly zoom in on a place and find names that way. Was Lake Victoria a random choice?
Not at all. I knew I wanted to do a lakeside Venice, with a canal city. I started researching the world's biggest lakes, and Victoria is big and shallow, which made sense to me since you couldn't build a city on something deep.
I liked the idea of using the climate and having a tropical locale, especially since I grew up in South Florida, so I know hot and humid.
DAB: I live in Tampa. I know all about the hot and humid
Practically neighbors!
But yeah, I liked that idea. I was trying to avoid the whole "medieval England" feel

yeah that seems a bit tired
DAB: I bought your book after reading the first page on Kristin's blog. Was that something that was in the initial draft or did that come later?
JH: That was pretty much the first draft I ever wrote. I do spend a lot of time on my first line before I start a book though. I need to start off well or I just flounder
I think I revised it a teeny bit for clarity, but it's pretty much the same words I first wrote

I remember reading it and immediately forwarding it to my girlfriend with the message "I want to write like that!"
LOL, thanks!
you're welcome
Nya's been easy to write from day one. She just has a really strong voice for me
She is a lot of fun to read. So are you an outline person or do you let the story guide itself?
JH: I like a basic outline to provide framework for the story, but then I like to let the characters run and develop the story organically from there. I like to say I always know where I'm going, but rarely how I get there.
My outlines are usually the major act climaxes and set pieces of the story. So maybe six or seven key moments that create the overall story arc
Then I fill in as I write and get ideas. I'm always going back and fleshing out my outline. It's more of a paragraph summary per chapter abut what happens

Interesting, I always enjoy hearing about authors' different techniques
Me too
Well that is all the questions I have, anything else you want to tell the readers about?
Book two, Blue Fire, comes out Oct 10, 2010. That's probably good to know
Is it available for pre-ordering?
JH: I don't think so, but it probably will be soon. They (my publisher) just released the fall catalog, and the pre orders usually start after that *
DAB: okay well thank you so much for your time. I can't wait for the next book to come out
you are most welcome :) Thanks for asking me

Note from Jeff: Blue Fire is now available for pre-order on Amazon here

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

-Creating an Internet Presence-

By Kimberly Blackadar

If you googled my name a year and a half ago, you would have found some ancient race results from my old running days. But that’s about it! I mean, I didn’t even have a Facebook page until 2009. (Shocking, I know.)

Basically, I had zero internet presence and could have been placed on the “Most Unlikely to Succeed as an Author” list. All I had going for me was an unpublished manuscript and a desire to write.

Worse than that, I had kept my book a secret. So imagine my friends’ surprise when I not only got a Facebook page but started posting about my soon-to-be-released novel.
So—there are two very important lessons to learn here. For starters, don’t keep your writing a secret. Talk about it like you would a hobby—or even a job. Also, take advantage of online social networks and blogs. Here are some of my favorite sites: (A facebook fan page is a great way for friends—and strangers—to connect with you, the author.) (Gather is great social network, full of published and aspiring authors.) (Wordpress is a great site. It’s free, easy to set up, and has many themes for your blog.)
Once your novel is published, try out these sites to promote your work: (Enter your calendar of events on this site. It automatically links to your Amazon author page as well as other online calendar pages.) (With a staggering number of hits a day, this is a great publicity tool for authors. The site’s founder is an author herself.) (Of course, you’ll want to have your book featured on this site as well.)
Well, I hope you can learn from my mistakes and create an internet presence before you publish your debut novel. Trust me, it would be much easier that way.

This guest blog post is written by Kimberly Blackadar, author of Nothing but Trouble after Midnight. Follow the link to tomorrow’s blog post: And if you missed yesterday’s post, follow this link:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Review of Nothing but Trouble After Midnight

Review by Jeff

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into this novel. Clearly Kimberly Blackadar did not have twenty-two-year-old college guys in mind when she wrote her novel Nothing but Trouble After Midnight.
The book’s main character, seventeen-year-old Chloe, is woefully naive about the sexuality of the male gender and even more naive about just how naive she is. She dates the stereotypical asshole “hottest guy” on campus, Austin. She also has the typical brotherly best friend, Rob. The first two-thirds of the story build up to prom. The virginal Chloe plans on going with Austin until she discovers some condoms in his medicine cabinet and dumps him. Left without a prom date and a boyfriend, Chloe turns to Rob for comfort. They go to prom together and begin to date. The relationship flourishes until Rob has to go out of town for a few days.
Austin takes this chance to use his skills as a manipulator to rape Chloe. Her world collapses. She blames herself and dreads what Rob and her parents will think. She holds it in, pushing all of those close to her, especially Rob, away. Her reaction to the rape is all too common among girls her age.
Even if you aren’t a teenage girl, the novel is still a good read guaranteed to tug on some heartstrings. The characters are a tad cliché, and if you are a more mature reader it will get under your skin for the first half of the story. However, it does serve to set up the fictional high school ideal and subsequently expose its fallibility.
The book covers some extremely important issues for teenage girls. The fairytale strategy makes it enjoyable for its high school audience while effectively conveying the authors message. Having indirectly experienced the horrors that date rape can bring to a young woman’s life, I feel that the importance of this novel cannot be overstated. In an effort to shield their children, parents forget that high schoolers can have very adult experiences.
Chloe is a perfect example of how not to react to a rape. For this reason alone Nothing but Trouble After Midnight is a must read for all girls thirteen and up.

*Be sure to enter to win a copy of Nothing But Trouble After Midnight here. And come back tomorrow to read a guest post from Author Kimberly Blackadar*

A twenty-two-year-old University student, Jeff is the founder and coeditor of The Debut Authors Blog. He is an aspiring author and a self-avowed bibliophile. Also, he is not above shameless self-promotion and talking in the third-person.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Who Likes Free Books?!

Yesterday I announced that the Debut Authors Blog would be having it’s first book giveaway. Well, I have good news. I am not giving away 1 novel now, there are 2 books being given away! The first book is Kimberly Blackadar’s Nothing but Trouble After Midnight the review of which I will be posting tomorrow. The second novel is the newly released The Line by Teri Hall, which is en-route to my favorite Indy bookstore as we speak.

The Rules
To enter one must “join the site” via Google Friend-Connect in the right side-bar.
The contest will remain open until there are 51 people as members of The Debut Authors Blog.
Every person that is “a member” will automatically get +1 entry (If you were a member before today you get another +1)
If the contest information is twittered or retweeted +2 entries
If person subscribes to the RSS feed for the blog +2
If a person subscribes to the Calendar Feed +2
Friend The Debut Authors Blog on Facebook +2
Become a fan of the Debut Authors Blog on Facebook +3
Signs up for The Debut Authors Blog monthly newsletter +3
Mention this giveaway in a blogpost +3
Link to the contest in your sidebar +3
Add The Debut Authors Blog to your blog roll +4
Submit a debut novel to the Debut Calendar (one that isn’t already on there) +5
Write and submit a review for a novel that fits the criteria for the Debut Authors Blog (does not need to be accepted for publication here, just submitted) +10(per review)
In order to get credit for all or any of these entries a person must leave a comment on this post noting all extra points with links for proof and note what name they are following under.
Provide me with some means of contact, email me if you are more comfortable (still must post tally in the comments)
Entries will cap at 50 per person and must be totaled in the comments (unless you were a member before today then you are capped at 51).
I will pick a winner sometime after we get 51 members of the site.
Each entry will be written onto a slip of paper, thrown into a large bowl, and the winner picked via video feed on the blog.
Have fun and spread the word!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Debut Authors Blog's First Contest

You read correctly! I am giving away a book and the contest will open tomorrow. The giveaway will be one of the books that have been featured on the blog thus far, to be revealed tomorrow at 0700. I want to give my current readers a chance to get an entry before I really start to spread the word on the contest. The only way to initially enter the contest is to "join the site" using Google friend connect (in the sidebar on the right). The contest will close with the 51st member of the site and all of those who are followers will be automatically entered. There will be ways to gain entries but more about that tomorrow. Join the site now and make sure you are entered into the drawing!

Coming Your Way This Week...

Escaping the Tiger

Twelve-year-old Vonlai knows that soldiers who guard the Mekong River shoot at anything that moves, but in oppressive Communist Laos, there’s nothing left for him, his spirited sister, Dalah, and his desperate parents. Their only hope is a refugee camp in Thailand—on the other side of the river.

When they reach camp, their struggles are far from over. Na Pho is a forgotten place where life consists of squalid huts, stifling heat, and rationed food. Still, Vonlai tries to carry on as if everything is normal. He pays attention in school, a dusty barrack overcrowded with kids too hungry to learn. And he plays soccer in a field full of rocks to forget his empty stomach.

But when someone inside the camp threatens his family, Vonlai calls on a forbidden skill to protect their future, a future he’s sure is full of promise, if only they can make it out of Na Pho alive.

The Agency 1: A Spy in the House

It is May 1858, the beginning of London’s “Great Stink” — a blend of river pollution and heat wave that paralyzes the city. Tucked in the attic of a nondescript girls’ boarding school is the Agency, an intelligence service with a difference: it’s an elite, all-female group of private investigators with a reputation for getting things done. And it’s just hired a hotheaded, 17-year-old ex-thief whose on-the-job training goes completely wrong…

New agent Mary Quinn’s task is to pose as a lady’s companion and observe a merchant suspected of smuggling. But this straightforward assignment goes awry when Mary gets impatient and exceeds her mandate. Almost immediately, she finds competition in the shape of James Easton, an arrogant young man who’s doing some snooping of his own. They first tangle — literally — in a closet.

When pressed, Mary reluctantly joins forces with James. But as useful as the partnership may be, it’s also dangerous: their mutual attraction threatens to distract them from the real secrets of the merchant’s household. Eventually, they reveal a plot that threatens James’s life, as well as Mary’s own dark secrets…

The Savannah Project

Through adversity Jake steps out of the shadows into destiny. He can’t go back and change the events he put into motion. Instinct tells him to cross the line.

NTSB Investigator Jake Pendleton is called to Savannah, Georgia to investigate what appears to be a routine aircraft accident during the St Patrick’s Day celebration. But Jake’s ensuing suspicions of sabotage launch a deadly chain of events. Jake must elude an assassin if he is to expose the cause of the crash.

Secrets surface that could bring down governments and the search for the truth draws Jake to Ireland and a race against the clock before the killer strikes again.

The Sky Is Everywhere

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable