Clean Teen Publishing Giveaway: The Viking’s Chosen by Quinn Loftis

 

Clean Teen Publishing is giving away 3 print advance reader copies of THE VIKING’S CHOSEN by Quinn Loftis!

His orders are clear: launch a raid against England and bring home the spoils of war. But the prophecy is also clear: General Torben will take a foreign bride—one who is a seer and healer just like his mother. The eldest princess of England is said to be just that…a beautiful, charming, and headstrong woman. But he’s a Viking army general and she’s an English princess—and one who is already promised to the king of Tara.

Two worlds collide in this epic historical fiction centered on an undeniable chemistry that smolders against the odds. Richly written and injected with moments of humor, this action-packed romantic tale will leave you breathless.

Quinn Loftis is the author of twenty novels, including the USA Today Bestseller Fate and Fury.

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New Interview and Giveaway at The Pen And Ink Blog

pen-and-ink

 

You’ll catch me this week at The Pen and Ink Blog where I talk about my latest release, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving, and give readers a chance to win copy. Please stop by and leave a comment with your email address at https://thepenandinkblog.blogspot.com/2016/12/interview-with-cheryl-c-malandrinos.html

Good luck to all who enter!

Character Interview from Faizah’s Destiny by Marva Dasef (Giveaway)

Faizah's Destiny 333x500

The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

The village magician has gone missing.  His four pupils think he has left a clue to his whereabouts in the Magicalis Bestialis–the book of magical creatures.  They must seek the help of the elusive Simurgh, the mythical birds who know all the secrets of the universe.

However, this is not an easy camping trip into the mountains.  Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are not aware they’re being set up by otherworldly forces for a much larger task.

A farmer’s daughter, Faizah is chosen to lead the humans in the battle. She must persuade a slave, an orphan, and a rich merchant’s son to join in the battle on the side of good. Although divided by Dev, the evil god of war, the teens must band together to find the Simurgh, rescue their teacher, and stave off Armageddon.

Excerpt:

She looked at Harib when he said, “Ahmajd is a good man, but he’s hardly the type to run off after mountain raiders. Matter of fact, I can’t think of anyone in the whole village who’d even consider it. You heard Faluj. He didn’t even suggest forming a search party. I don’t think anybody is going to do anything.”Faizah bit her lip in frustration. The villagers lacked any adventurous spirit. Most preferred to live their lives as quietly and safely as they could.

Leaning over the table, Parvaiz stared thoughtfully at the open page of the book. “I haven’t had the chance to get to know Master Wafai, or anybody else yet, but I have a feeling Faizah is on the right track. Still, I think he just meant for us to search for him in the mountains, not go looking for these birds.”

Bahaar stood looking down at his feet, lost in thought. Now he lifted his head to look at Parvaiz for a second and then turned to Harib. “How about you, Harib? What do you think?”

Harib sighed and scratched his head. “I agree with Parvaiz. But we can’t go charging into the raider’s camp and tell them to give him back. They’d just laugh at us…or worse.”

Parvaiz nodded. “However, we can at least try to track where he is. If we find some evidence, we can come back to tell the village elders.”

“All right. I’ll concede Master Wafai was just directing us to the mountains, but we still need to figure out how to get started,” Faizah said. “Once we convince our parents,” she continued, glancing at Bahaar, “or brother, to let us go, we can work out the rest ourselves.”

Parvaiz stared at her and then gave a short bark of a laugh. “What makes you think you’re going? This is going to be hard enough without having a girl tagging along. That’s the last thing we need!”

Faizah glared at Parvaiz, her face flushed with anger. “I can take care of myself! Nobody has to watch out for me. Least of all some slave boy,” she shouted at Parvaiz. She regretted the last comment the moment she said it. Still, it didn’t make her any less angry that these boys, she thought were her friends, would so casually dismiss her just because she was a girl.

“You have no call?” Parvaiz began and then shut his mouth. He looked at Harib and Bahaar, who were both studying their feet with intense interest.

Bahaar looked up at him and then over at Faizah and shrugged. “Sorry Faizah, I have to agree with Parvaiz. I…I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

Faizah turned to Harib. “Well? Do you agree?”

The boy’s face reddened, and he wouldn’t meet her eyes. “I’m sorry,” he whispered.

She glared at each of them in turn, spun on her heel, and stormed out of the house, her fists clenched and her head high. Stiff-backed, she marched across the tiny courtyard and through the archway. Only when hidden by the wall, did her shoulders slump and the tears begin to flow.

The Boys Have Their Say

*** Leave a comment for a chance to win a free ecopy of “Faizah’s Destiny.” ***

The Boys(Marva Dasef) I am the author of Faizah’s Destiny” and decided the three boys in the story might like to share their views while Faizah isn’t in the room.

(Marva) I’m pleased to have Faizah’s three male companions here today for the interview. How are you doing?

(Parvaiz) Sure, make us out as secondary characters. Typical. Snorts in disgust.

(Marva) A little testy aren’t you? After all, the book is titled “Faizah’s Destiny” not “Parvaiz’s Destiny.”

(Harib) Sorry about Parvaiz, ma’am. He’s a little touchy since he was a slave all his life. He’ll loosen up the longer he’s free.

(Parvaiz) Easy for you, Harib. Your father is the richest man in the territory. He owns slaves!

(Bahaar) Hey, Parvaiz, lighten up. Harib or his father weren’t ever mean to slaves. His dad has even freed most of his workers, and they chose to stay on.

(Parvaiz) mumble…

(Marva) Hey, sorry to hit a sore spot Parvaiz. Maybe if you talked it out a little. Don’t you feel a little grateful to your father for adopting you as his son and heir?

(Harib) What’s that, Parvaiz? I don’t hearrrr youuuu!

(Parvaiz) Yeah, yeah. I am grateful to Ahmadj, but at my age it’s a little hard to adapt to having a father.

(Bahaar) I wish I had even a fake father to get used to. Me and my brother are all on our own. We don’t carry a chip around on our shoulder.

(Parvaiz) All right! I’m grateful! Now can we just drop it?

(Marva) Of course. Tell the readers about your search for Master Wafai.

(Harib) Jabs his hand in the air. Oh, me, me!

(Marva) Go ahead, Harib.

(Harib) One day, we all went to school in the morning at Master Wafai’s house. But he was gone and the room was a mess! We couldn’t think of anything other than he was kidnapped.

(Bahaar) You see, his herb bag was still there. He wouldn’t go anywhere to treat anybody without that. It had to be a kidnapping.

(Parvaiz) But Faizah doesn’t accept that story. Well, she didn’t say Wafai wasn’t kidnapped, but she thought he left a sign we were supposed to find the Simurghs to find out where he was.

(Marva) Why did she think that?

(Harib) His book of magical beasts was open to the page about the Simurghs and a big X was chalked on the page. She figured he’d never mark up a book except for good reason.

(Marva) So you all set out to search for the Simurgh?

(Parvaiz) No way! I thought it was an idiot idea. Faizah being a girl and all…

(Bahaar) interrupting Hey! Faizah can take care of herself. She made that pretty clear when she caught up to us.

(Harib) Yeah. She never hid behind her skirts or us. She always jumped in and started swinging. Remember when Raziq and his gang were beating you up?

(Bahaar) Huffs I could of taken them. But it was nice you and Faizah showing up to help.

(Marva) So, you’re saying at first that you all didn’t want Faizah to go along on the search, but you changed your mind.

(Parvaiz) Well, yeah. I didn’t know her like these guys. She pulled her weight once we got going. She even saved the rest of us from Pazuzu’s ill wind.

(Marva) Ill wind?

(Parvaiz) Yeah, it’s a demon who makes everybody sick. Most of the time, people die, but Faizah knew what plants to use to cure us.

boysandfire(Marva) Speaking of demons, what was that all about?

Bahaar and Parvaiz turn noticeably red.

(Harib) That jerk demon didn’t take me over like these two.

(Bahaar) We apologized for that! It wasn’t our fault.

(Parvaiz) Right. Harib didn’t even have a very good demon try to tempt him to Dev’s side.

(Marva) Who’s this Dev?

(Parvaiz) God of war. What could we do? Both Bahaar and I wanted to be warriors, and the demons promised we would be great heroes.

(Harib) Yeah. All Nanghaithya did was try to make me feel bad. Not a good way to convince somebody to join the dark side.

(Marva) I know there’s plenty more to tell the readers about your search for Wafai, the battle with the demons, and so forth. But since I’d like to sell a few books, we’ll leave it for now and let folks read about it themselves.

Thank you, boys. You’ve been a great interview.

(Boys) Sure. Anytime. Hey how about a story starring me?

Purchase at: MuseItUp (all ebook formats): http://tinyurl.com/faizahsdestiny

Also available at Amazon, B&N, Nook, and other on-line stores

Marva Dasef lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two ungrateful cats. Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation. Marva has published more than forty stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with several included in Best of anthologies. She has several published books, including six since 2011 with MuseItUp Publishing. 

Website: https://sites.google.com/site/mdasefMarva/home

Blog: http://mgddasef.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/MarvaDasef

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/?tab=wX#107073845875601488093/posts

Twitter Handle: @Gurina

Book Trailers: http://www.youtube.com/user/MarvaDasef/videos

 

First Chapter Review of The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox and Giveaway (3 winners!)

First Chapter Review is a special feature I started at The Book Connection this year. I haven’t written any for this blog, but I figured this giveaway would be the perfect chance for it. Author Victoria Simcox has generously offered 3 electronic copies of The Magic Warble to 3 readers of The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection. Read the details on how you can enter this giveaway at the end of this post.

BLURB: Dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and an evil queen – all these and more can be found in The Magic Warble, an enchanting tale of adventure and friendship.

Twelve-year-old Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in her school. The kids all tease her, and she never seems to fit in. But when Kristina receives an unusual Christmas gift, she suddenly finds herself magically transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and the evil Queen Sentiz.

In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she’s honored as “the chosen one” the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz’s control. But it’s not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous “Magic Warble” in its final resting place. And she must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen’s “zelbocks” before she reaches her destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, as well as an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.

COVER: Love it. The artwork and colors are stunning. Though we can’t guess what the cover has to do with the story based solely on the first chapter, the book blurb lets us know that it is appropriate.

FIRST CHAPTER: Kristina drags herself out of bed on the last day of school before the Christmas holiday. A bit of a loner, she doesn’t have friends at school. She has wonderful parents, though, which helps to make up for her lack of friends. Her dawdling leaves her rushing to catching the bus on time.

KEEP READING: Yes. This isn’t a genre I read often, but I like to expand my horizons from time to time. The author has created a character that young people can easily relate to in Kristina. Though the first chapter is short, the reader gets an idea who Kristina is, what she likes, what she doesn’t like, and who is important in her life. Nicely done.

Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz. Besides being an author, Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children’s Celtic band. She also loves writing, reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends.

You can enter for your chance to win 1 of 3 available electronic copies of The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox. Entry instructions are simple. You get one entry for each item:

Follow Victoria’s blog at http://www.victoriasimcox.blogspot.com/

Like her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Magic-Warble/118277634882514

Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/VictoriaSimcox

Please leave a separate comment for each entry, including your email address so I can contact you if you win. All winners will be notified by email and have 72 hours to respond accepting their prize. Instructions on how to claim your prize will be provided by the author or her representative. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on Sunday, December 2, 2012.

Guest Blogger: Ellis Weiner, Author of The Templeton Twins Have An Idea (GIVEAWAY)

Suppose there were 12-year-old twins, a boy and girl named John and Abigail Templeton. Let’s say John was pragmatic and played the drums, and Abigail was theoretical and solved cryptic crosswords. Now suppose their father was a brilliant, if sometimes confused, inventor. And suppose that another set of twins—adults—named Dean D. Dean and Dan D. Dean, kidnapped the Templeton twins and their ridiculous dog in order to get their father to turn over one of his genius (sort of) inventions. Yes, I said kidnapped. Wouldn’t it be fun to read about that? Oh please. It would so. Luckily for you, this is just the first in a series perfect for boys and girls who are smart, clever, and funny (just like the twins), and enjoy reading adventurous stories (who doesn’t?!).

Hearty Har Har

Do funny books have to have “heart”?  I’m seriously asking.

In entertainment, “heart” is a term of art meaning sentiment, warmth, poignancy, and feeling.  It’s most often used in Hollywood, in script development for television and movies.  “It’s got laughs, but it needs more heart,” is the standard producer’s criticism, based on the assumption that large audiences need to feel something nice in addition to getting laughs.  “We need to care about the hero,” they say, even with regard to the silliest comedies.

In fact, in the arena of big studio movies, you’re not going to get your comedy made without a touching, “redeeming” heart moment at the climax.  No matter how raucous or “wicked” the comedy, the protagonist is going to come to a serious emotional confrontation before it’s all over, either with his/her antagonist or his/her self—even if it’s acted by Will Ferrell playing a completely unself-aware doofus.

There is nothing wrong with this.  It’s not (or, at least, it needn’t be) particularly dishonest, manipulative, or sentimentally phony.  Still, many comedy writers chafe at it, fearing—with cause—that a script heading toward a heart-rich climax will have to pull its comedic punches en route, lest the heart moment seem arbitrary and unearned.

Television provides a little more leeway; you can, and actually have to, provide less heart per episode.  A season of thirteen weekly emotional climaxes can, especially to a modern audience more emotionally sophisticated than ever, seem labored and forced.  Famously, when Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld were creating Seinfeld, David’s controlling aesthetic was: “No hugging, no learning.”  “No heart” was implicit.

But the above examples deal with adult (and teenage) entertainment.  What about books for younger people—for, say, children ages 9-13?  I have no idea whether a climax characterized by heart is necessary or not.

In The Templeton Twins Have an Idea, the climax of the action occurs when the bad guy is (literally) shot down and, with the other bad guy, flees in disgrace.  But the story itself has one more turn, which by any reckoning can be called a “heart” moment.  It deals with the twins realizing why their father felt it necessary to move to a new place.

I wrote that section because it felt like a legitimate aspect of an “origin story,” the first in a series.  And one or two reviewers praised it as “touching.”  I liked that.

But constitutionally, I don’t like heart—or, rather, I don’t mind reading it, but it doesn’t come naturally to me, the way parody and exaggeration does.  So recently, when I wrote the second in the series, I assumed I had to include a heart-ish moment at the end, and did so more out of a sense of obligation than anything else.

The funny part, though, was that, either because I was merely being dutiful (i.e., my heart wasn’t in it), or the story simply didn’t sustain it, my editor asked that it be cut.  As I recall, her hand-written comment about the scene was, “MEH.”  I was quite happy to agree.  What remains is a small exchange between the twins and their father, in which he praises them for doing something nice for a friend.

As heart moments go, it’s a small one.  In fact it barely qualifies.  In any case, I’m not so sure kids need a “touching” moment to help them “care” about the protagonist.  Once they commit to reading a story, they care plenty.  I’ll be interested to hear how readers react to the happy, but relatively heartless, conclusion of the second book.

Visit http://www.scribd.com/doc/94086414/The-Templeton-Twins to read a chapter excerpt from The Templeton Twins Have An Idea.

Stop by and pester the Narrator at http://templetontwins.tumblr.com/

WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY THE TEMPLETON TWINS HAVE AN IDEA!

Simply leave a comment that answers the following question: “Do funny books needs to have a ‘heart’?”.

Please remember to add your email address to your comment, so we can contact you if you win. Contest is open to those 18 years of age or older residing in the United States and Canada. Winner will have 72 hours to respond with a shipping address before a new winner is selected. Prize will be sent directly to the winner from the publisher or its representative. This blog is not responsible for products lost or damaged in shipment. Contest ends at 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, September 30th.

Visit Book Dreaming today at http://shannonkodonnell.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-templeton-twins-blog-tour-giveaway.html for another chance to win a copy of The Templeton Twins Have An Idea!

Be sure to tag #TheTTNarrator and/or @ChronicleKids when you Tweet about The Templeton Twins!

Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl Giveaway Winner

Congratulations go out to Apple Blossom, who picked up a free hardcover of Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl. I’ll contact the winner by email now. She’ll have 72 hours to respond with mailing information before I select a new winner.

Thanks to all who participated in our giveaway.

Interview with Gary Ghislain, Author of How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend (Giveaway)

Joining us today is Gary Ghislain, author of the YA humorous sci-fi slash romance extravaganza also known as How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend.

Thank you for joining us today, Gary. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

Here is a bit a about moi: I was born in France and I grew up between Paris and the French Riviera. I studied literature and linguistics in Paris with the definite idea of becoming a fiction writer. After obtaining a master’s degree, I decided to travel the world while writing. I lived and worked in Amsterdam, Lodz (Poland), London, Wellington (New-Zealand), and Stockholm, before returning to France.  I read and write in English, though my first language is French and I do speak like Inspector Jacques Clouseau. I now live in Antibes, in the French Riviera, where I write my novels, haunt the fantastic public library (a.k.a. la médiathèque), and occasionally enjoy the sun and the Mediterranean Sea. 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I got bitten quite early. And it was quite a bad bite too. I submitted my first completed novel to uber French publisher Gallimard when I was 16. I punished them with one strange manuscript every year after that. Until I thought, ‘mince, alors!’ and swapped to writing in English.  I’ve always been bookish.  As a kid. As a teen. And now as a wannabe adult. And I’ve always pictured myself as a writer, especially after trying all sort of odd jobs (everything but hanging people, as one of my colleagues once told me) and becoming a real ace at resignation letters. 

Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

I didn’t really choose that genre. I don’t even choose my characters or my stories. I don’t go like, “why don’t you write a vampire story where every teenager is either vampire, werewolf or food?”  and, poof, go off to a laptop and write a book. It goes the other way around for me: I need the characters and their story to choose me. I’m like Joan of Arc, in that aspect: to get into action, I need to hear a voice inside my head, the voice of my main character and narrator. If that voice belongs to a teenager, as David in How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend, then I will write a YA title. 

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

I love bringing back themes that were important to me when I was a teenager: first romance, the on-going war against adults, rebellion against the machine, the supernatural etc. I also love trying to impress the teen I used to be. I love nudging him and bringing him back to life and making him laugh too.

The greatest challenge, of course, is to stay true to that teenage boy I used to be, while at the same time staying true to the adult I’ve become. I remember my teenage years as being very intense and wild and dangerous and rebellious. But as an adult and a parent, I feel like I know better. I’ve given up on violence and destroying things and general wilderness. The hardest thing for me then, is to find a compromise between the adult I am and the teenager I used to be.    

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend is about an earthling boy falling in love with a girl from outer space. David is the son of a famous French child psychologist. Zelda is his father’s new patient. Zelda believes she’s from outer space. David believes she’s TOTALLY BONKERS. But totally bonkers doesn’t mean much to a boy who’s 14 and in love, and soon David and Zelda are tearing around Paris as she looks for her chosen one so that she can take him back to her planet. And who is her chosen one? The same guy millions of girls wish they could fly away with: Johnny Depp!         

Interviewer’s note: I concur with that last statement, especially since the Pirates of the Caribbean movies–though I thought he was a cutie back during his 21 Jump Street days.

What inspired you to write it?

Somehow, I’m always getting my ideas while traveling. Trains. Airplanes. Automobiles or Converse shoes. Every means of transportation goes. This one, I got it in a train, while crossing Sweden. I was thinking about the Norse mythology, the Valkyries, the Vikings, and the crude violence of the early Scandinavian cultures. And, well, I was mostly thinking about Swedish girls! And suddenly, between Gothenburg and Helsingborg, SHAZAM! Zelda was born. A violent space girl, a rude warrior and religious fanatic from outer space who would destroy anyone on her way to her soul mate. A few days later, I was walking through a wood toward Gothenburg City, thinking about Zelda’s story. I needed something more. Something very funny that would drive the story forward. Right there, I had my second SHAZAM moment: she wants what every girl wants: SHE WANTS JOHNNY DEPP! I started to laugh out loud and nearly ran back to my flat to write that story. 

Where can readers purchase a copy?

You can order it at my publisher website, www.chroniclebooks.com or add it to your cart at amazon.com, or just walk in your favorite bookstore and pick up a copy at the YA shelf, or just ask them to order it pronto. 

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, I do occasionally blog and drop ’10-points-how-to’ lists at http://garyghislain.blogspot.com.

What is up next for you?

Well, I’m working on a new hilarious YA title. Us versus the Galaxy – a fast paced humorous sci-fi meets romance YA extravaganza where all the adults turn into cold blooded Aliens (Invasion of the Body Snatchers Style) – and the teens/kids are left alone to do all the fighting and resistance– it has a good narrator with a funny voice and a deadpan sense of humor.

Do you have anything else to add?

Yes, I do: thank you so much for having me here

Thank you for spending time with us today, Gary. We wish you much success.

Now that y0u’re so stoked about this book, here’s how you can enter to win a free copy:

1. Leave a comment with your email address for your chance to win. You can’t win if we don’t have your email address.

2. BONUS ENTRY: Follow our parent blog, The Book Connection, at http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/ Leave a comment here that you are now following. +1

3. BONUS ENTRY: Like Chronicle Books on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/ChronicleBooks Leave a comment here that you have liked their page.  +1

4. BONUS ENTRY:  Follow Chronicle Books on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/ChronicleBooks Leave a comment here that you are now a follower. +1

Contest is open to residents of the United States only. Deadline for entries is 11:59 PM on June 28, 2011. A winner will be selected from all correct entries received. The winner will be notified by email and will have 72 hours to respond with mailing information. If we do not hear from the winner within the 72 hour time frame, a new winner will be selected.