Thursday, October 23, 2014

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: PROJECT FIREBIRD by NICK GREEN

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Nick will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Don’t ask Leo Lloyd-Jones. Ask him how to steal a car, or why he got excluded from every school in Salford, but don’t come to him for help. This whole thing must be a daft mistake – and if anyone finds out, he’s done for.

Earth is on a deadly collision course that nothing can prevent. The only real hope is Project Firebird, deep inside a blast-proof bunker that shelters the brightest and bravest young people. Leo has got mixed up with the likes of Rhys Carnarvon, the celebrated teenage polar explorer, and other child prodigies chosen to keep the flame of civilisation.

Among them is the streetwise Paige Harris, a girl Leo likes a lot (but not in that way). Paige is desperate to rescue her little sister from London before the catastrophe strikes. But no-one is crazy enough to try that. Almost no-one.

‘Some of the brightest young people on the planet. Yet not one of you can make a cup of tea.’

Paige twitched into life.

‘That ain’t true! We’re not all useless around the house. I’ll do it.’

‘Thank you,’ said David. ‘One cup of tea, please. But you must make it all by yourself. No-one can help.’

Paige rolled her eyes – as if! David called after her.

‘I do mean no-one, Paige. No-one at all. Anywhere or anywhen.’

She turned. ‘You what?’

‘Tea,’ said David. ‘Let’s go. First you’ll need water. Clean water. I don’t want to get diarrhoea. So find some. Remember, no help. Not from water companies, or plumbers, or bottle manufacturers. Just you. There’s a lake a few miles away, but streams might be safer. Either way, you’d better start walking now. Maybe take some food along.’

A few uneasy sniggers trailed off. Paige stopped halfway to the door, her face daring David to make fun of her. He continued, counting on his fingers.

‘Something to carry the water in, you’ll need that. A sturdy vessel to boil it in. Pottery is good. Hunt for some clay while you’re out. Enough for a water pot, a teapot and a cup. Plus fuel of course. Wood for the fire. A bow-and-drill, or some other way of lighting it –’

‘This ain’t fair!’ Paige exploded. David held up a hand. Now his smile was kind.

‘It’s all right, Paige. You can sit down. Sorry to put you on the spot.’

About the Author: Nick Green lives in the UK. He is the author of seven fiction books to date, including the middle-grade CAT KIN trilogy published by Strident. His other books include THE STORM BOTTLE, a fantasy adventure about the dolphins of Bermuda, and most recently the FIREBIRD trilogy, a YA science fiction epic. nickgreen_catkin

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Spotlight and Giveaway: Vanished from Dust by Shea Norwood

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Shea Norwood will be awarding a $25 PayPal, Amazon or BN GC via rafflecopter. Click on the banner to see the other stops on the tour.



Eric Stark is not insane. Or at least he doesn’t think so. He wishes everyone in Dust, Texas, felt the same way. But that’s not going to happen since the whole town thinks he’s crazy. Why didn’t he keep his mouth shut?

No one understands. Eric is alone as he battles his sanity in a town of tormenters. Suddenly a new friendship emerges after the new kid, Kyle Barrett, moves to town.

Eric reluctantly reveals his secret. Is it a curse or a gift? He isn’t certain, but with Kyle by his side he finds the courage to seek the truth.

They soon realize that something sinister is descending on the residents of Dust.

Is it caused by Eric’s phantoms or is it something else? Is it connected to the mysterious death of hundreds of townspeople over sixty years ago? One thing is certain—only Eric and Kyle can save them.

They set out on a heart-pounding adventure and find themselves transported to a disturbed and deserted version of their small southern town. They quickly discover that this new world has mysteries of its own to uncover. What they find could prove more than they bargained for, and it only leads to more questions. Eric and Kyle must face a horrifying fact—they may never get out alive.

“We’re gonna die here,” Kyle muttered.

“I don’t believe that,” Eric said. “And neither do you.”

Will they survive their encounter with these dark and mysterious beings?

Will they find a way back home?

Or will they be lost forever?

The Vanished from Dust series is perfect for anyone who craves a hair-raising thriller packed with mystery and suspense. This paranormal story for young adults can be compared to Stand by Me, mixed with Odd Thomas, and a twist of The Dark Tower.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Anyone there?” A large man asked in a loud and forceful voice.

Kyle peaked over the hedge and ducked down quickly. “I think he saw me.”

“No way,” Eric said, his heart still pumping hard in his chest. He edged his head over the hedge.

There was no one at the door.

Seconds later the light went out.

“He went back inside.” Eric stood up, ready to leave.

“Let’s go do another one.” Kyle walked into the street. “This time it’s your turn.”

“Okay,” Eric said.

A porch light came on without warning.

Eric thought of his mantra to run instinctively but froze instead as a large man darted outside with amazing speed for his size. He was pointing a shotgun directly at them. They were standing in the darkness of the street just out of reach of the man’s vengeful eyes.

“Stop right there, you little pricks,” the fat man said in an authoritative tone.

The shotgun was still pointed at them. “I’m gonna call your daddies and tell ’em what you’re up to. Or better yet, shoot you with this salt rock I loaded just for punk kids like you who knock on my door in the middle of the night.”

“Let’s run,” Eric whispered. His heart was pounding even faster now.

“Screw that! He has a twelve gauge pointed at us.”

“What are your damn names?” The man, still in his overalls, stood in his yard. By now, his wife and two young children were among the audience.

The hammer on the shotgun pulled back, making a distinctive click.

“Run!” Eric shouted and bolted. He was reminded of Kenny Rogers’s well-sung advice, which correlated nicely with his innate nature to run when confronted with danger.

An ear-piercing explosion shot through the night sky as rock salt slammed into the road in front of Eric. It sounded like thousands of shards of glass crashing against the pavement all around him.

About the Author:
Shea Norwood is a West Texas native that currently lives in the DFW area with his wife and son. He's an avid reader and enjoys the craft of writing. The fictional town of Dust is loosely based on a small town south of Odessa, TX.

Twitter Handle: @sheanorwood

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Name is Thank-You by Kaizen Love - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kaizen Love will be awarding a $15 BN/Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks to Kaizen for stopping by to chat today!

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

Whenever I see this question, I get a bit excited. I am never too sure how to answer it. Should I start to list the books by name, or should I categorize them by genre? Growing up, I had a new (borrowed) book just about every other day. My favorites were books about love, real-life issues, and randomly...psychiatric disorders. Books such as "She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb, and "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden" by Joanne Greenberg topped my "favorites" list in middle school, and they have never left me.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

My sweet tooth is both my arch nemesis and one of my closest friends. I love almost anything covered in sugar, chocolate, syrup, sauce, sprinkles, and icing!

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

The letter to my teen self would be quite short. It would say:

One day you are going to be an actual grown-up, and be able to decide for yourself the kind of life that you want to have, and the kind of human that you want to be. Don't change a thing about yourself, because you are enough today, and every moment that you think you can't survive, becomes nothing more than a tool that you will use to build a better tomorrow.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

"The Art Of Communicating" by Thich Nhat Hanh. If you are in need of inspiration, or a kick-start to understanding how to live a better life, I highly recommend his books!

Favorite hot beverage. Why?

I think I may have to go with Teeccino Caffeine-Free Herbal Coffee, because I love coffee, and this has to be the first hot beverage that I have tried that comes close to being a suitable replacement, and a much healthier option.

Favorite pizza toppings.

Extra Cheese. Pineapples. Mushrooms. Onions. Banana Peppers. Yum!

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

This is a funny question, because my fiancé and I were laying in bed talking about this just the other day. We would buy a new house, a new car, and give the rest away to our families, and favorite charities.

Playlist for your current book.

I am a huge fan of Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, and use his albums as a gateway to my creative zone. The music that he has developed to enhance brain function in certain areas is wonderful. I am not trying to prove whether or not what he claims his music can do is legitimate. I am just a writer, trying to write to the best of my mental ability...and his music, for me, is an important part of my process.

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

Inspirational, at times devastating, and ultimately life changing; this is more than a novel, it is a journey into the power of gratitude.

My Name Is Thank-You allows us into the worlds of two very different thirteen-year-old girls. Each girl’s voice carries its own unique tone, as the girls beckon us to follow magically into their lives. One is a joyous story of hope against all odds, the search for acceptance, and the longing for unconditional love; the other a sad tale of unspeakable abuse, constant rejection, and an overwhelming sense of loneliness. Thank-You and Josephine create around us a world rich with emotion, one that will leave you inspired, breathless, and yearning for more words.

Enjoy an excerpt:

"There is nothing better than being able to swim in a pool of knowledge so deep it forces ignorance to be uncomfortable in its own skin, to where it no longer holds a sense of being, a sense of purpose. That’s what books do. They allow us to live in the minds of every type of human. They allow us to taste the kind of freedom that even the end of slavery didn’t bring."

Kaizen Love is an up and coming writer, spinning words into a beautiful web that should enrich the lives of all who read them. She has a positive and fresh take on life, and has mastered the art of storytelling. She grew up reading books by authors from every style, race, nationality, culture, and religious perspective; drawing inspiration from each one. Her greatest mission is to share love.

Amazon Link:




Goodreads: https://www.goodreads

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Broken by Tanille Edwards

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $15 Starbucks GC to one randomly drawn winner via the rafflecopter at the end of this post. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Meet Milan, a young supermodel with a disability from New York’s Upper East Side, who falls deeply in love as she is coming of age. In this romantic drama, the emotional conflict of a girl’s inner soul is revealed as she deals with a first love, the pain of loss, and the pleasures of stardom, all while coping with a lifelong secret. In the world of Milan, the people are real, the situations are rolling, and the truth is often concealed. Broken is a racy circle of sisterhood, laced with a touch of earthiness, glamour, wealth, and fame.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“See any cute guys yet?” I asked.

“The jury is still out,” Sierra said. Just then, I felt a light touch on my shoulder. It kind of tickled. I turned around and was met with friendly dark eyes. He was about six-foot-two. He was built, too. He had athletic broad shoulders, muscular legs, and a cute crooked smile. His T-shirt and cargo shorts were really lacrosse-boyish. He reminded me of a comic book character. He was kind of like Jughead with more of a sun-kissed complexion.

Had I eaten one too many five-cent bubble gums wrapped in Archie comics? I guess this made me Veronica—I laughed at the thought.

“I’m Merek,” he said. I turned around for a second. Sierra was out of sight. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Cara had made a beeline for Dimitri. Odd, yet interesting. What did she want with him? What did she want with us, for that matter? Maybe just to be friends. Was I that rusty at making new friends?

“I’m Milan.”

“You seem to know many people from my school,” he said.

“Is that so?”

“Maybe I should know you. You go there?” he asked.

“Yeah. What year are you?”

“I’ll be a senior next year,” he said.

“Where did you go before?”

“Beverly Hills High.”

“A West coaster! That’s where the wicked tan comes from. Beach bum.” I laughed.

He had very fine features. His petite nose added to my comic book theory. It was as if someone had drawn his nose. He had big, manly hands. I noticed because he kept fumbling with them.

“Well, not a true, as you call it, West coast boy. My father is a diplomat. I’ve lived in a few places. For now, we call New York home,” he said.

“Good choice.”

“Now that I met you. I will thank my father. New York is a great choice,” he said.

I felt something about him. Odd.

“Did you have something to drink?” he asked.

“Chai Tea Latte is my drink.”

He stood there for a moment, thinking.

“Uh. I got it,” he said.

I watched him walk away. What was I doing? He turned around and walked back toward me. I bit my lip a little. It’d been two years since I let a guy buy me anything. And for good reason, I had to remind myself. “I see you came here with three girls. Do they want something?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Tanille is the co-author and creator of the children's green book series "Jordan & Justine's Weekend Adventures." She is also the author of the new media young adult novel with music "Cameo by Tanille." Th¬e Undercover Starlet Journal is a title Tanille created to inspire young women and has extended Undercover Starlet into brand extensions that appear throughout her novels. Tanille has been writing since age 16.



Readers get free music downloads of the new Pop R&B hits "All of Me" and "What's a Girl to Do" by Tanille, and more with purchase.

Broken is on sale for only $1.99 for a limited time at all outlets
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Waiting For Dusk by Nancy Pennick

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Nancy will be awarding a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a PDF or mobi copy of Waiting for Dusk to a randomly drawn winner via the rafflecopter at the end of this post.Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks to Nancy for stopping by to chat with us!

Which of your characters would you most like to meet IRL? Why?

Andrew (Drew) Martin. He is from the recent past, growing up in the early 1900s. His perspective on the world would be so much different. Think of all the inventions since his time. Television. Smart phones. Space shuttle. The list goes on and on. The same goes for history. I think he’d be surprised to learn that the War to End All Wars—WWI—wasn’t the last. I’d want to know what he did for fun, where he hung out with friends. He did grow up in NYC so he’s a little more sophisticated than the average teen. What was NYC like in those days? Prohibition was in force so he might have some good stories.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

So far my young adult novels are the only ones that are published. I like writing in that genre and also reading it, too. Going back to a time in all our lives where we make mistakes, can be self-absorbed and sometimes easily influenced has great potential for story telling. The teen years are the growing up years, shedding childhood and forming new ways of looking at the world.

I have a few Middle Grade/Preteen books in the works and would like to write some New Adult. The fun of writing is that you can let your mind go anywhere you wish. You can stay in reality, time travel in science fiction, have elves battle trolls in fantasy…the world is yours for the taking. I enjoy writing what I like to call fantasy or magical realism. I hope the reader can picture themselves in the every day world I create and then all of the sudden…a fantasy life happens.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

A teacher. Never changed my mind from third grade on. I was totally in love with my third grade teacher and wanted to be like her. I’ve taught first, second, and third grade in my first career as an elementary school teacher.

Who was your teenaged crush? Why?

Davy Jones of the Monkees. He was cute, he could sing and had a dazzling smile. What’s not to like?

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

All of them! Lol I remember wanting to read every book in my elementary school’s little library. I started with a row of biographies, working my way through them in order. I loved Little Women and anything written by Beverly Cleary. Her Ramona and Henry Huggins books were the best, very realistic. Dr. Seuss books were fun and clever. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is my all-time favorite.

Favorite hot beverage. Why?

Tea. I think I wrote a whole blog about it! There’s nothing like a hot cup of tea on a cold morning. One of my favorites is English Breakfast and as a flavored tea, nothing can beat Peach Apricot. When I write, I like to have a cup of tea nearby. It helps the thought process. I can lean back, take my cup in hand and think.

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

Read a book. Fall asleep. Meet a boy. Waiting for Dusk, a romantic fantasy for young adults. #Waitingfordusk

That's intriguing, let's find out more!

Read a book.

Fall asleep.

Meet a boy.

Is it real or just a dream?

Katie's everyday life suddenly turns exciting when she travels back in time and meets the boy of her dreams. Thinking of nothing else, willing to leave the real world behind, she's determined to find out if it's all a dream or not. Returning again and again, Katie almost has her answers until one day her precious book goes missing.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Drew!” Katie felt butterflies in her stomach.

He held out his hand. “Come on. I won’t let you fall.”

She slowly stepped onto the rock, and inched towards him. Her heart pounded but she felt safe. He put both arms around her, holding her tight as they both faced the canyon.

“There is nothing like it, is there?” He whispered softly in her ear.

Katie could have stayed like that for the rest of the day, but knew she had to get back to work. The magic had to end. “I have to go.”

“Yes, I know.”

They stepped back a few feet until they were on what Katie thought was more solid ground. She knew the rock was just an extension of the land but it felt as if she was miles from El Tovar. She turned to run back to the hotel, then stopped.

“Drew, I…” She looked into his eyes, his sparkling emerald eyes. Her heart flipped. “I hope to see you later.”

“You will. You definitely will. Tomorrow is Saturday.”

Katie ran up to the brush next to the hotel, grabbed the pails and headed to the back of El Tovar. Saturday couldn’t come soon enough. For now, she needed to finish her shift and then head to the boardinghouse and go to sleep. She knew the only way to get back here was through her dreams. How confident am I? Will I be able to return? I’ll just have to believe, like in all good fairytales. 

Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Nancy currently resides in Mentor, Ohio with her husband and their college-age son, plus a delightfully entertaining lovebird. Her writing is influenced by all the years of working with young people as a teacher and raising her own son. When not writing, Nancy loves to travel with her husband and enjoys a good cup of tea. Waiting for Dusk is the first in her three book series. Call of the Canyon and Stealing Time continue the story of Kate and Drew.


Twitter- @npennick


Wordpress blog-

Amazon Author Page-

Buy links:

Amazon -

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Publisher: Fire & Ice -

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Star Catcher By Molly Dean - VBT

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Molly will be awarding a $40 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Read the Blurb:

When fifteen year-old Hawke feels fed up with not being able to walk, he escapes in his mind to a misty island filled with moorlands, ancient forests, and monolithic stones: a place where he can move and run and accomplish heroic quests.

His life is turned upside down, though, when he's thrust into this dream world and finds it real! He becomes 'Star Catcher.' The job? Track and collect shooting stars or meteors sent from a more advanced civilization, which have powers that protect the island from approaching evil. He finds many helpers along the way: a serving girl who can communicate with animals and create light, an alluring mermaid, a savvy one-eyed crow, and an old farmer with a secret.

Hawke must also discover what's going on inside the imposing mansion called Moon House. Why do rooms change? Why do objects mysteriously shift? Who lives inside the old forest behind the place and why is the Star Catcher forbidden to enter it? And most importantly, who are Hawke and his stars really battling against? An evil genius? A pirate-like group called the Shrikers who have taken over the island? An Ancient Magic? Or, maybe an aspect of himself?

My Review

Hawke has been injured in a car accident and can't walk--but the doctors encourage him to do his physical therapy and exercises so he can be as mobile as possible. However, his attitude is one of "why bother?" and he is definitely throwing himself a pity party in the first part of the book. As he sleeps, however, he finds himself in a world where not only do his legs work, but he has also apparently been expected as a Star Catcher. Is this just all an elaborate dream or is he indeed in an alternate reality?

Thus the adventures begin. And, Ms. Dean's world is one of wonder and the mystery Hawke has to solve is interesting. Ms. Dean introduces us to some very interesting characters who are very well drawn--I especially like Em. We join with Hawke in his confusion as he learns what he is to do and what a Star Catcher is exactly and, as he learns more, so do we.

I believe this book works best for the middle grade ages and early YA-- 12-16. It's not a difficult book to read and the action moves along pretty quickly. Good job, Ms. Dean. Rating: 4.

Hawke turned away from the Hedgerow Trail and found the rock path leading to the cove, the place where all of his adventures began. He scrambled down upon it, and after a few minutes, stood watching the waves, green and glassy, curling into the shore. The water looked clearer even than before, reminding Hawke of pictures he had seen of Caribbean waters, full of all the blues and greens that could be concocted on a painter’s palette. Hawke drew forward, peering down to the ocean’s bottom. He remembered the feel of warm saltiness, the healing properties of the water’s liquid massage. Kind of like the moving fingers of the nurses at home, except that this sea treatment worked. It had actually worked.

He carefully set his satchel into an alcove between rocks, and marked the spot with the fragment of an old gray scallop shell. Ripping off his Moon House clothes, he waded out a little way and then dove forward, splashing and kicking. ‘I am free,” he whispered the words aloud, feeling a need to define the moment.

Swimming a few more strokes, he decided that this cove was the only place he felt truly at peace, truly himself. Not at Moon House, not in Archenwood, certainly not at home in his hospital bed. A fish swam by and nibbled at his toes. A head with tangled copper locks surfaced in front of him. The mermaid!

“Aha! The Star Catcher returns. And no one is free,” she said. The mermaid drew closer, radiating a clarity and vividness. Did these qualities emanate from her specifically, or from the environment around her? Was her hair really such a pure copper hue? Her eyes, such a crystal blue-green color? She flaunted salt and sunlight on her face.

Looking into those eyes, Hawke lost his shyness and began to feel bold...even, reckless. “I am free,” he told her. “At least for now. And you. You are free.”

“Perhaps. At least for now,” she echoed in her taunting, musical voice.

All at once he wanted to kiss her. Was it a possible to kiss a mermaid, same as you did a human? As if reading his intentions, she drew back, treading water. “So how goes it, Star Catcher? Are your pockets overflowing with stars?” She gazed up and down his bare chest, half out of the water, and laughed out loud.

“I’ve caught one,” he replied, turning sheepish. “It’s hard work. Really. The stars don’t just fall like rain, you know. You have to plot and plan, and be just at the right place at the right time.”

“The plotting and planning must be dreadful.” She rolled her eyes, as if making fun of him. “The Red Star. They say it brings love and joy to those who touch it. I want to see the star, to hold it in my hands. I might let you kiss me, if you’d show it to me.”

Again, she’d read his mind. He glanced at the rocks where his clothes and satchel lay concealed, and turned back to her.

The mermaid’s eyes glowed as she twisted a wavy lock around one finger. She moved a tiny bit closer, and so did Hawke to her. “The kiss first,” he demanded.

“The star first.” Her eyes shone merry but uncompromising.

About the Author

After studying at Newcomb College in New Orleans and the London Polytechnic, Molly became a full time journalist and photographer and published over 80 articles in magazines, like Fine Gardening and Woman’s Day Specials. Molly’s first love, though, is writing fiction. She has completed three novels for teens and tweens, including The Twilight Garden, Dragon Dazzle, and The Star Catcher. Today she lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with probably too many cats.

Web site:
Twitter: Molly Dean@mollydean1
Barnes & Noble: ean=2940149517527
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Q&A with Marian Cheatham, author of RUINED

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Marian will be awarding an eBook copy of Ruined to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop during the tour. A Grand Prize of a signed paperback copy of Ruined plus a new DVD of Much Ado About Nothing starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson will be awarded to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour (US ONLY). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to Books in the Hall! What’s your favorite sweet treat?
I LOVE Twinkies. I rarely eat them because they are so darn fattening, but I love them nonetheless. I was devastated when Hostess closed in 2012 and Twinkies were gone. I called my sister and we both cried. Really, yes we cried. We grew up with Twinkies and to think we would never see one or taste one or smell one again was almost too much to bear. But then like a rainbow after a storm, Twinkies magically reappeared. I was so excited. The first time I saw one on the shelf at Walmart, I snapped a photo and posted it on Facebook. The new box read: “The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever.” I think that says it all.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?
As a teen, I was painfully, pathetically shy. Though I did very well in school, I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself. Today, I’m totally out-going. Public speaking as a teen would have meant the death of me, but today, I lecture about my books and writing in general to all sorts of group. Public speaking is not a problem for this 2014 woman. If I could address my sixteen-year-old self, I would encourage her to be more confident, more trusting of her abilities. I would dare her to take chances and tell her that she will succeed. She just has to believe in herself.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

This is a fun question. Thank you! I’d love to be able to fly. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to view the world from above? To see things from a radically different perspective? To have the ability to go places my walking self could never go? I’d fly over an ocean searching for whales. I’d soar with an eagle, catch a current and glide with arms outstretched. I’d observe lions on the prowl and join a flock of Canadian geese heading south for the winter. Life as a flying superhero would be truly exciting!

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?
Though I think Hunger Games was better written, I’d like to experience the world of Twilight more than I’d like to live in Panem’s District 12. Both books are extremely imaginative with dynamic, unique characters. A gorgeous vampire that sparkles? A brave teen who volunteers to die in place of her younger sister? Wish I thought of those characters. I enjoyed both series, anxiously anticipating the arrival of each new book. This is a tough call, but I’d have to say I’d choose Twilight for the danger, and fun, and romance of the story. Hunger Games was just too radical for me. Kids killing kids. No thanks. I’ll take my chances with vampires.

What reality show would you love to be on? Why?
This was an easy question. Anyone in my family would have known the answer because I live for “Say Yes to the Dress” on TLC. I want to work in those salons surrounded by hundreds of gorgeous dresses. But more than that, I love the staff in both salons – New York and Atlanta. I can’t seem to get enough of the brides and their bickering families arguing over what dress looks best. It’s crazy fun, and I’m hooked on that show. Bring on the drama! I’m ready for a new season.

Which of your characters would you most like to meet IRL? Why?
Can I count two characters as one for this question? Because I’d like to count Blythe Messina and DB Whitmore as one couple. They have such chemistry, even their arguments are entertaining. Based on Shakespeare’s Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing, Blythe and DB banter back and forth throughout Ruined. Their dialogue was challenging, but fun to write. Both characters are strong-minded, confident, and optimistic. All virtues I admire and appreciate. I know we’d have a great time together. No matter what we did.

What four literary characters would you most like to have over for dinner?

This was fun to think about. I pictured my dining room table set with my best china. Our wine glasses are full and there’s lots of laughter and terribly interesting conversation that goes on all night. Who there? Well, my first thought was to invite Edward Cullen. I know, he’s a vampire and doesn’t eat, but he’s still intriguing and polite. And of course, we can’t forget adorable to look at across the table. To add some mystery and intellect, I’d invite Sherlock Holmes, who would fill us all in on his latest murder case. Fearless Katniss Everdeen could sit next to me in case I get frightened by Sherlock’s stories and need to hold someone’s hand. My last guest would be Harry Potter because he’s the best of all worlds – cute, intelligent, brave, and I’m sure he could use a good home-cooked meal.

You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?
I’d like to be stranded anywhere with Stratford High’s principal, Dr. Bard. He’s really Shakespeare in disguise and since I’m a huge Shakespeare fan (some might say freak), spending some alone time with the Bard would be a dream come true. My husband would be jealous, so I couldn’t be stranded too long or I’m afraid there’d be some trouble. Maybe just a day or two. Long enough to pick Dr. Bard’s brilliant brain. I wouldn’t want to be endlessly stranded like Gilligan and the Skipper.

Favorite pizza toppings.
I usually behave myself and get a veggie pizza with mushrooms, onions, and extra tomatoes. But if I could make the pizza of my dreams, it would have a thin, crispy crust, spicy sauce, and be smothered in pepperoni and green olives. Oh, great, now I’m getting hungry. I think I’ll check the freezer. Good-bye!

When your life has been ruined by lies, do you seek justice … or revenge?

Blythe Messina spends her senior year focused on her studies and college, and not on her ex, Stratford High's lacrosse star, DB Whitmore. At least, that's what Blythe keeps telling herself. But her younger cousin, Bonni, knows otherwise. Same goes for DB, who swears to be over Blythe and their breakup, but his teammates aren’t fooled.

When scandalous photos of Bonni and the team captain are texted around Stratford, Bonni's virtuous reputation is ruined. She professes her innocence, but no one believes her. No one, except Blythe and DB, who come together to uncover the truth. But, will they stay together?

Ruined is a modern twist on a classic Shakespearean romance.

"Deceit, loyalty, honor, and romance--Ruined has it all! A teen version of Much Ado About Nothing that Shakespeare aficionados are sure to savor!” ~ Kym Brunner, Author of Wanted: Dead or in Love & One Smart Cookie

All books in the Stratford High series will be modern retellings of a Shakespeare classic. Ruined is inspired by Much Ado About Nothing.

Enjoy an excerpt:


I’d been bitchy and on edge ever since that blasted luau last Saturday. Seeing DB, talking to him, being near him again, had taken my life off course. For days now, I’d been ordering my brain to STOP THINKING ABOUT HIM. We were ancient history, two people doomed from the start, like Antony and Cleopatra or Marie Antoinette and King Louis. So why couldn’t I regain control of my world? I snatched up my backpack and my Coach crossbody bag, and did a quick once-over in my bedroom mirror. The hair was tied back in a no-fuss ponytail. The jeans were clean, well, relatively. This faded ASPCA tee was past its expiration date, but good enough for school. I turned off my bedroom light and went in search of Bonni.

She wasn’t in her room or downstairs in the kitchen. So I grabbed a frosted Pop-Up and headed into the garage, where I was blinded by piercing sunlight. Someone had left the outer door open, and my new hybrid was nowhere to be found. I shaded my eyes and peered outside.

Halfway down our long driveway, I spied Bonni and Uncle Leo with their backs to me, their heads together under the opened hood of my car. They were talking, but in this quiet morning air, their voices carried. Even from this distance, I could hear fragments of their conversation. And if I heard them, so could our neighbors. I was hurrying toward the hybrid, anxious to warn my cousin and uncle to keep it down, when I heard something that stopped me in mid-stride.

“… believe what Cory told me … DB and Blythe …”

Had Bonni just mentioned DB and me in the same sentence?

I ducked behind the six-foot-tall hedges lining the drive.

“What else did Cory say?” Uncle Leo asked.

About the Author:
Marian is a full-time writer of contemporary and historical young adult fiction. A native Chicagoan and a graduate of Northern Illinois University, Marian taught special education and worked in the business world before pursuing her dream of becoming a writer. She would rather be at her desk than almost anywhere else, but of course, that isn’t always possible. So when she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, gardening, walking the dog, travelling with her husband, and researching new projects. Not necessarily in that order.

She adores anything Shakespeare. An avid reader of Shakespeare biographies, she has travelled the world to see his plays, visiting Stratford, Canada as well as Stratford-Upon-the-Avon, Great Britain, and the new Globe Theater in London. Her latest YA novel, Ruined, Book One in her new Stratford High series – modern retellings of Shakespeare’s plays - is inspired by the Bard’s classic romance, Much Ado About Nothing. Book Two, inspired by the Merchant of Venice, is due out fall 2014.

Her debut YA, Eastland, came out in February 2014. Based on the real-life story of the 1915 Eastland boat disaster in Chicago, Marian lectures about the Eastland to schools, libraries, and book clubs, as well as co-hosting haunted Chicago tours of Eastland disaster sites. She writes a post on the subject on the Tribune’s Chicago Now blog site.

Visit her at:
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