Cover Reveal: Spirit (Elemental #5) by Shauna Granger

Title: Spirit (Elemental, #5) Author: Shauna Granger Release date: April 19, 2013 Genre: Urban Fantasy;  YA/New Adult/Adult: YA/New Adult
Title: Spirit (Elemental, #5)
Author: Shauna Granger
Release date: April 19, 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy; YA/New Adult/Adult: YA/New Adult

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Synopsis:

Not even a guardian angel is more powerful than Death.  Always careful to watch out for others, Shayna put too much trust her  abilities to keep herself safe and has been cut down by crazed man. Now she is  trapped in the land of the dead, watching as her two best friends suffer the  consequences of her death; their powers are fading and soon they will too. Shayna  is desperate to return to the land of the living to save them from a similar,  cold fate. To save her friends Shayna must turn away from the Light and, in  doing so, sacrifice her wings.  But the longer Shayna stays among the dead, the further she slips from sanity.  If Shayna cannot find her way back she will be condemned and lost forever among  the restless souls of the dead. With nothing left to lose, she will do whatever  it takes to fight her way back, with or without her wings.

shaunagrangerAbout the author and where to find her:

Like so many other writers, Shauna grew up as an avid reader, it was in high school that she realized she wanted to be a writer. Five years ago Shauna started work on her Elemental Series and released the first installment, Earth, on May 1, 2011. When not reading and writing, Shauna enjoys cooking and playing hostess whenever she can.

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Last but certainly not least, thanks to Julie at AToMR Tours!

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Descension by B.C. Burgess: Creating the Chemistry between Layla and Quin

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Hello and welcome to my stop on the AToMR Tours-sponsored tour of B.C. Burgess’s Descension: Book One of the Mystic Series.   Today I am pleased to offer you a guest post from the author in which she describes how she was able to create the chemistry between Layla and Quin.  Following the post you will find a Rafflecopter giveaway and if you would like to check out the rest of the stops on the tour, just click here.

Format: Paperback, 2nd, 324 pages Published: March 27, 2013 by Bandit Publishing (first published April 4, 2012)   ASIN: B00BZE8PNY Edition language: English Series: Mystic #1
Format: Paperback, 2nd, 324 pages
Published: March 27, 2013 by Bandit Publishing (first published April 4, 2012)
ASIN: B00BZE8PNY
Edition language: English
Series: Mystic #1

Synopsis:

The Angel: After three years caring for her dying mother, Layla Callaway learns she was adopted under unusual circumstances. Following a cryptic message to seek her birth family in Oregon, Layla uproots her lonely life, quickly finding she descends from witches and wizards. Magic is in her blood, and a handsome family friend is eager to prove it. Through a ring imprinted with her birth parents’ memories, Layla’s enigmatic past comes to light, presenting possibilities and trials more chimerical than her wildest dreams.

The Guardian: Quin’s natural charisma yields plenty of witches, but he longs for the lost witch – the mysterious Layla. He’s dreamed about her his entire life, envisioning the day he would lay eyes on her face and aura. When that day arrives, not only is he breathless, he’s confronted with the challenge of a lifetime – an innate need to keep her safe and forever by his side.

The Hunter: Employing fiendish manipulation and manpower, Agro uses the arcane force of others to elevate his supremacy and wealth. Nothing pleases him more than latching on to a mystical vein, and never has there been a more enticing source. The divine witch will be his.

Creating the Chemistry between Layla and Quin:

DESCENSION contains an abundance of touching moments, literally. Many of the witches and wizards are “hands-on” by nature, so there’s plenty of PDA. But the chemistry between the characters lies mostly in dialogue, internal and external. I love external dialogue, and witches and wizards tend to be extraordinarily vocal, which allows a lot of dialogue play. I also love getting glimpses into both the hero and the heroine’s point-of-view, so I give readers’ insight to both, enflaming the chemistry with full-disclosure. As for Quin and Layla’s chemistry specifically, I must give the majority of credit to Quin. There’s an immediate attraction when they first see each other, and for Quin, it’s not only physical (you’ll have to read the book to see what else Quin finds when he looks at Layla). But even if Layla’s smitten, she’s also naïve and insecure and has no idea how to handle sweaty palms and a speeding heart. Thankfully, Quin is the opposite of naïve and insecure and has no problem proving it. He’s also gorgeous and charismatic and could blow up a chemistry lab with nothing more than his dimpled smile.

B.C. BurgessAbout the author and where to find her:

I’m a small town girl with big dreams and a wild imagination. I’m addicted to coffee and writing. The combination is my idea of heaven. I read every day, if only to my young son, whom I hope to someday inspire with my passion for writing.

love hearing from my readers, so feel free to contact me through any of the links below.

Facebook Fan Page          Amazon Author Page          Twitter          Website

Want to own your own copy of Descension: Book One of the Mystic Series?

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Up for grabs are eight (8) eCopies and the giveaway is open internationally.  Just fill in the ‘copter boxes and good luck 🙂  Rafflecopter

Last but certainly not least, a shout out and thanks to Julie at AToMR Tours for organizing this tour.

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Cover Reveal: Bitter Angel by Megan Hand

Title: Bitter Angel Author: Megan Hand Expected release date: April 1, 2013 Genre:  Thriller Age Group: New Adult Cover Designer: B Design;  http://bdesignpublishingservices.wordpress.com/
Title: Bitter Angel
Author: Megan Hand
Expected release date: April 1, 2013
Genre: Thriller
Age Group: New Adult
Cover Designer: B Design; http://bdesignpublishingservices.wordpress.com/

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Synopsis:

Torn between two realities. A choice that will mean life or death.  She won’t know anything… until she wakes up.  College sophomore, Lila Spencer lived Friday night twice. She doesn’t know how or why, just that she did. As if she split in half and went in two different directions.  Out clubbing with her friends, Heather and Nilah, the girls rock it out and party hard. What begins as an innocent night will lead to a deadly fight for their lives, and Lila might be their only chance for survival.  In bed with her boyfriend, Jay, Lila is safe and warm as she drifts to sleep in the arms of the man she loves. Until she is sucked into a horrifying nightmare of her friends’ deaths.As the sunlight warms her face on Saturday morning, the two scenarios collide. But there can be only one outcome. Will she wake up in her warm bed with Jay by her side, devastated and grieving for her friends? Or was she there to save them?  The answer is just the beginning.

megan handAbout the author and where to find her:

At twelve, Megan decided to write a novel. A month later, she quit. A reading junkie by nature, she started writing again in her twenties as a way to get the voices out, because who wouldn’t want to create a Real Living Person out of thin air? Megan also plays the piano and sings. She teaches little kids and takes pictures of pretty butterflies. She eats way too much chocolate, is sort of a mad scientist with her blender, and spends an unhealthy amount of time LOLing on Facebook and Twitter. She lives in Ohio with her husband and very smiley son.  Bitter Angel is her first published novel.

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Last but certainly not least, thanks to Julie at AToMR Tours for this cover reveal!

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The Story of Rachel (Tales of Pandora #1) by K.D. McLean: Review

Title: The Story of Rachel Author: K.D. McLean Format: Kindle Edition,171 pages Published: January 15, 2013 by Monarch Moments (first published July 2012)  Edition language: English
Title: The Story of Rachel (Book #1: Tales of Pandora)
Author: K.D. McLean
Format: Kindle Edition,171 pages
Published: January 15, 2013 by Monarch Moments (first published July 2012)
Series: Book #1: Tales of Pandora
Edition language: English

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Synopsis:

: is immediate and intense. Rachel, who sees vanilla as only a baking ingredient, enchants him. Michael can whip up some pretty hot delights himself, outside of the kitchen. He introduces a curious Rachel to powerful experiences of sensuality. Her Ladylike sense of propriety engages in a running battle with her now sparked Tinderbox desires.
Michael is an excellent cook and knows how to turn up the heat. Sampling the flavors offered, Rachel experiences humorous hiccups. On a date, Michael ramps up the risqué, resulting in a memorable skirt swirling salsa dance. Rachel’s “What the hell, I ain’t getting any younger” attitude spurs Michael to take her to the exclusive, adults only club Pandora’s. Here, Rachel witnesses even more variations of earthly delights, and begins a lifelong friendship with another guest.
Michael is a realist, convinced that within 90 days, his affair with Rachel will be but another painful memory of loss. He is neither willing nor able to yell ‘Geronimo’ and fall for her. He can’t, and that’s that.
Maybe he should just get a damn dog.
This modern, urban, grown up love story is a recipe –three cups romance and one cup of slapdash humor. Blend in spices of eroticism, and beat until smooth.

Source: Author for a fair and honest review

My Rating: 4½/5 stars

My Review: 

**adult –only read**

I have been reading books for a very, very (sigh, I am old), very long time and I can honestly say I still, every once in a while, get ahold of a book that is nowhere close to what I was expecting it to be.  Now this, of course begs the question, what kind of “what was I expecting” is she referring to – the “Oh! Crap, that was awful and I thought it was going to be amazing!” kind of not expecting or the good kind of not expecting that?  In the case of K.D. McLean’s The Story of Rachel, it is the very, very good kind of got what I totally was not expecting. J

Meet Rachel, a thirty (OK, closer to 40) something journalist who lives a pretty charmed life.  As a part of her job she gets to preview and review art openings, concerts, and new theatrical productions; she has an apartment she loves and; friends and family who adore her.  What Rachel doesn’t have is a boyfriend and while she is pretty happy with her life, a little roll in the hay from time to time sure wouldn’t hurt.  And then one night, everything changes . . . .

Meet Michael, an intelligent, witty, and clever author with a care-free lifestyle designed to bring him maximum pleasure with little to no commitment.  Michael is a highly successful author who travels frequently; has a couple of close friends he enjoys hanging out with and; doesn’t mind at all that he doesn’t have a girlfriend.   Several times a year Michael engages in an extended fling he can end easily with no hurt feelings on either parties’ part.  And then one night, everything changes. . .

Rachel and Michael’s first meeting at an art opening is like being struck by lightning for both.  Each is intrigued by the other and by the art which features tastefully presented BDSM images.  Rachel knows little to nothing about the lifestyle and Michael seems to know quite a bit.  The two are so taken by one another they decide to continue their conversation over dinner.  Dinner is as enlightening as it is delicious and both Michael and Rachel want to see more of the other as soon as possible.  Most intriguing to both is Rachel’s expressed desire to take a more hands-on approach to understanding the world of BDSM.  Naturally, Michael is more than willing to be Rachel’s guide and partner.

For the next several weeks Rachel and Michael engage in a whirlwind romance which involves all manner of naughty fun.  Rachel is learning, in a most delightful and satisfying way what it is to be a Sub to Michael’s Dom.  Some of the funniest moments in this novel involve Rachel’s two inner voices (Ladylike and Tinderbox) warring with one another about Rachel’s behavior with Michael and how she should proceed.  Almost everyone (the exception being a horrified Ladylike!) agrees they should proceed to a night at Pandora’s, an ultra-exclusive, member’s only club for those interested in BDSM.  After an absolutely stimulating night out, Michael and Rachel go back to her apartment where they finally, truly consummate their relationship.  All is going completely according to plan until Michael shouts out, multiple times (no pun intended) “I love you!” and then stunningly and epically panics and runs out on Rachel.  At this point, all love for Michael is gone and both Rachel and the reader are left at a total loss as to what the hell just happened?  Over the next few days Rachel wracks her brain trying to understand Michael’s sudden departure and why he hasn’t called.  Over those same few days Michael convinces himself he is absolutely not in love with Rachel and can certainly live his life without her.  And then one night, everything changes . . . .

Rachel shows up at Michael’s place wicked pissed and in a deliver an ultimatum kind of mood.  Rachel gives Michael precisely one week, no more and no less to pull his head out of his ass and come back to her.  This is the part I was so not expecting!  The week Michael and Rachel spend apart is gut-wrenching for everyone.  Rachel is miserable, Michael is trying to convince himself he is not miserable, the reader is miserable, and the warring voices in Rachel’s head are no longer warring but consoling one another.  Yes, misery does indeed love company. L  The conclusion of the week apart is just as unexpected and surprising as the events of the week apart.  Michael is forced to face his past and confront the issues that have kept from committing to a relationship and acknowledging how he truly feels about Rachel.  When he finally comes to his senses, it is just in the nick of time and yet another singularly hilarious moment occurs– seriously, the series of phone calls Rachel receives during this moment had me laughing so hard I was shaking the bed J

The Bottom Line: I went into this book expecting and perfectly fine with a naughty little romp through the BDSM world.  I was prepared for sex on every other page and hoping for a decent plot to wrap around the sex.  What I got is an exceptional plot with two fully-developed characters who both like their sex with a little bit of kink.  Ultimately, The Story of Rachel is just that, the story of Rachel, a slightly naïve woman with an open mind and willingness to explore new things with the right partner.  The Story of Rachel is also very much Michael’s story, a handsome and delightful man who is slightly broken and in need of a good woman to help heal his heart.  Certainly the sex is a large part of this read but it does not define this novel, it enhances it and fits both logically and convincingly into the plot line.  The Story of Rachel is further proof that erotic novels can be so much more than just hot sex!  I can honestly say I am thrilled to have not gotten what I expected and am looking forward to the next installment in the series.

Want to own your own copy of The Story of Rachel (Tales of Pandora #1)?

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My Week with Darby K.: Griffin’s Storm (Book Three: Water/Griffin #3): Review

Title:  Author: Darby Karchut Format: Paperback, 200 pages Published: November 10, 2012 by Copper Square Studios  ISBN:  0974114553 (ISBN13: 9780974114552) Edition language: English
Title: Griffin’s Storm (Book #3: Water/Griffin #3)
Author: Darby Karchut
Format: Paperback, 200 pages
Published: November 10, 2012 by Copper Square Studios
ISBN: 0974114553 (ISBN13: 9780974114552)
Edition language: English

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Synopsis:

An old enemy returns. A new alliance is formed. And Griffin finds himself in the eye of the storm when an ancient racial hatred is set loose, jeopardizing the very existence of the Terrae Angeli.
Once again, the teen guardian angel is forced to battle his worst nightmare. But this time, Griffin comes back swinging. With a vengeance.
After all, an eye for an eye…

Source: Darby K. for a fair and honest review

My Rating: 6 stars and I only use a 5 star rating system!!

My Review: 

It is absolutely no secret how much I love Darby Karchut’s Griffin series and while I was eagerly awaiting the third installment of the series I was in no way prepared for the awesomeness that is Griffin’s Storm.  Fire!  This book is excellent!

With Griffin’s Storm Karchut came ready to play and has delivered a read which has a totally different feel and flow than the other two installments.  From the very beginning there is an air of tension: Griffin and Basil’s missions keep going sideways, Sukalli keeps making appearances, a newly-promoted Sergei is back in a protection capacity, and Katie is struggling with life as the girlfriend of a Terrae Angeli.  Let’s take this one step at a time, shall we?

*It takes about four seconds to figure out Nicopolis is the reason Griffin and Basil’s missions keep going sideways.  The rat bastard is playing for keeps and causing serious injury to both Griffin and Basil at every turn.  As a result, the two angels are removed from active duty and asked to leave their home and go into hiding until Nicopolis can be tracked and neutralized.

*I can’t say I really warmed up to Sukalli in the earlier installments (did anyone?) but he sure does gain my affection in this novel.  Not only is Sukalli an expert healer but he is hot on the trail of Nicopolis and determined to see the rogue angel brought to justice or brought down.  Sukalli is a beast who is more than prepared to do whatever is necessary to see the threat to his friends and colleagues shut down!

* I can’t say I really warmed up to Sergei in the previous installment (did anyone?) but he sure does gain my affection in this novel.  Wait a minute, didn’t I just say that? J  Well, it’s true, again!  Sergei has been promoted to full guardian status and has been assigned to help protect Basil and Griffin, much to everyone’s displeasure.  There is true evolution in Sergei’s character and I like how he and Griffin learn to not only like but truly trust one another.  Even with the arrogance, Sergei turns out to be a true and loyal friend ready to serve and protect his fellow Terre Angeli.

*I am so over Katie and her drama!

While all of the above would have made for a fine novel, Karchut goes four kinds of crazy and introduces some fine new characters and amps up the action to full-throttle awesome.  Making their first appearance in the Griffin series is Nan-ja and her young tiro, Vassar.  Like Sergei, the girls have been assigned to both aid and protect Griffin and Basil while Nicopolis is still on the loose.  In order to better prepare their tiros for the coming battle, Basil and Nan-ja trade tiros.  I cannot tell a lie: I thought Basil was pretty hard-core until I met Nan-ja.  I. Love. Her.  As a fellow Earth/Fire, Vassar and Griffin have an immediate connection to one another that is both endearing and sweet.  We have certainly not seen nor heard the last from these two lovely ladies but to tell you more at this point would just spoil the read for you.

As for the action, WOW!  The final unfolding of events is both highly informative and action-packed.  Nicopolis is absolutely, 100% bat-sh*t crazy and like a bad rash, his crazy has spread to other Terre Angeli.  With his group of psychos and some “fun” new toys (wait till you read about this!) Nicopolis leads a mission meant to destroy Griffin and everything and everyone he holds dear.  Here’s the problem with crazy, you’re CRAZY!!!  For Nicopolis this means he has gone so far ‘round the bend he has actually become fanatical and completely blinded by his hatred and misguided beliefs.  If he wasn’t so bloody awful one might actually feel sorry for him.  I am not that one, however J  Without giving anything away, I have to say the ending of this one was significantly satisfying!

The Bottom Line: I have never, ever added a sixth star to my reviews but feel it is completely warranted for Griffin’s Storm.  This novel is a perfect combination of: characters, both old and new; strong character development; a large leap forward in the on-going plot line with room to add a fourth book (Dear Lord, I desperately pray there is going to be a fourth book. Amen); a very new and exciting feel to the read in terms of tone, tenor, and flow and; quite simply, superb writing!  I have recommended this series to young and old alike twice before and I am whole-heartedly doing so yet again.

Darby K.About the author and where to find her: Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, teacher, and a compulsive dawn greeter. She lives in Colorado with her husband and owns more backpacks than purses. As she should. Her YA books include GRIFFIN RISING (2012 Children’s Literary Awards Gold Medal, 2011 Sharp Writ YA Book of the Year), GRIFFIN’S FIRE (2011 Readers Favorite Bronze Medal for YA Fantasy), and GRIFFIN’S STORM (November 2012).  Her debut Middle Grade novel, FINN FINNEGAN (Spencer Hill Press) will be released March 2013. The next book in the Finnegan series, GIDEON’S SPEAR (Spencer Hill Press) will be released February 2014. She has also co-authored a non-fiction book for teens entitled MONEY AND TEENS with her husband, author Wes Karchut. Visit the author at her website:   www.darbykarchut.com

Want to check out/buy the Griffin series?

Goodreads:     Book #1     Book #2     Book #3

Amazon     Barnes & Noble

My Week with Darby K.: How I Became a Writer, Part Two

Darby K.About the author and where to find her:

Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, teacher, and a compulsive dawn greeter. She lives in Colorado with her husband and owns more backpacks than purses. As she should. Her YA books include GRIFFIN RISING (2012 Children’s Literary Awards Gold Medal, 2011 Sharp Writ YA Book of the Year), GRIFFIN’S FIRE (2011 Readers Favorite Bronze Medal for YA Fantasy), and GRIFFIN’S STORM (November 2012).  Her debut Middle Grade novel, FINN FINNEGAN (Spencer Hill Press) will be released March 2013. The next book in the Finnegan series, GIDEON’S SPEAR (Spencer Hill Press) will be released February 2014. She has also co-authored a non-fiction book for teens entitled MONEY AND TEENS with her husband, author Wes Karchut. Visit the author at her website:   www.darbykarchut.com

How I Became A Writer

Part Two

After Enlightenment

It was a Saturday morning, in late November, four months after I started, when I typed the words The End on the bottom of the last page.

Wow. Cool. I had written a book. A poor one. But a book, nonetheless.

So I hit the save button. Then compulsively hit it again. Then dumped the manuscript on my flashdrive. Then dumped it on a second flashdrive, turned off my computer, and went downstairs for a celebratory cup of coffee.

And I was quite certain that I was now a different person. But I wasn’t. I was still just me. I still had to go to work, clean house, shop for food, clean the litter box, and all the other mundane tasks of life. And that was okay. Healthy, even. A famous Zen Buddhist expression kept running through my mind: “Before Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

Exactly.

(That said, finishing a book remains a rarified thing in this society. There’s a popular statistic that although 85% of population wants to write a book, less than 4% of authors get published. And only 0.2% of those get a chance to publish a second book.)

So I refilled my coffee mug, kicked off my fleece lined flip flops and fired up my laptop.

And began re-writing Griffin Rising that day.

Because I now had a new goal.

To improve my writing. And make those characters so real, so compelling that they would stop yakking in my head and go pester other people. You know. Murmur in their heads all night and leave me alone.

Winter came and went. And I rewrote Griffin’s tale over and over. Some sections just a few times, some sections over twenty times. Added and took away.

I continuously e-mailed new and improved chapters to my beta reader. Than handed the manuscript off to a few friends, including my school’s librarian.

And I rewrote it.

I gave it to my sister and brother for their opinion.

And I rewrote it again.

And it was agony. Excruciatingly painful. I found it was more difficult to accept criticism after I had learned a thing or two than before. With my earlier drafts, I would justify negative remarks by reminding myself it was just that: a draft. But as I re-wrote it and found my voice, the criticisms hurt worse because now it was truly me they were judging. I would force myself to nod and listen, really listen, and then I would look at the section or chapter through their eyes, and I would have to agree.

But finally, on a snowy day in mid-winter, I found myself jotting down some ideas for the sequel. And I knew I was getting closer to the beginning of the ending of the editing process.

Which, I recently discovered, never really ends.

But I loved editing. I loved polishing each sentence until it gleams, each chapter until it was smooth and sharp. The more I edited, the stronger it became. And the stronger I became. Just like a cross country runner, I found my stride, working my writing into the rhythm of my existence, so that writing was a part of my life, not my life.

Yes, sir, nothing could stop me now.

Until I sent out my first round of query letters.

Okay, those left some bruises. But ice and aspirin helped and I kept working on the manuscript. And the query letter. And sent out another round of query letters.

And finally, eleven months after I began writing my first book, Griffin got his wings with Twilight Times Books.

It Takes What It Takes

So what really, really helped me write my first book? Well, lots of things and lots of people. But the three most important things that enabled me to reach my goal were to read a lot, write a lot, and read about writing a lot.

Read a lot.

The other day, I attended a book talk given by an up and coming young adult author at our city library. As I sat poised with a yellow pad balanced on my knee, ready to mine nuggets of brilliance, my mouth fell open at the following statement from the author: “I really don’t like to read that much.”

What the …?!

How can an author not like to read? It’s like a cook who doesn’t sample his dishes or a teacher who doesn’t like children.

Now it used to be the custom, in Europe, that young artists would begin their apprenticeships by studying the works of the masters. For centuries, one would find youths in museums or galleries, feverishly sketching one masterpiece after another, learning the craft by practicing the craft.

Okay, maybe it was different with this guy. I don’t know. But like most authors, I read constantly. All the time I was working on Griffin Rising, I read three or four books a month, mostly young adult fantasy. I read to relax, but mostly I read to learn from the masters.

But I also read several biographies and even a history of the Battle of Thermopylae.

Read. Read everything.

Write a lot.

As I mentioned earlier, I managed to train myself to write whenever and wherever I could. For me, daily self-discipline was the key to finishing my first draft. Yes, I had to compromise in some arenas, but not as many as I had first thought. Oh, sure. My house was not as clean as I usually kept it, but I soon grew proud of my dust bunnies. The bigger, the better was my motto. And I had to keep introducing myself to my husband so he wouldn’t forget who I was.

The two arenas, however, I never neglected were my job and my exercise regime. I still had a life to live outside of my head. And I began to find that when I took a break from my book, my subconscious mind did a lot of work for me, solving plot holes, enriching the characters, and so on. I just needed to give it a chance.

Read about writing a lot.

I continued to study everything I could on how to improve my writing. Everything I needed to learn was available, in books, on-line, in magazine or from the local library. Incredible!

And I am still learning.

Springtime in the Rockies (why, yes, that is an oxymoron)

Finally, in the spring, after months of stalling, I screwed up my courage and attended my first writer’s conference. Which I should have done before I began my book, but since I seemed to have done everything else backwards, what the heck.

I arrived an hour early and stood around the lobby of the hotel, my knees shaking as I watched other writers milling around, chatting with each other, no doubt discussing their fourth book deal and the outcome of a private lunch with the editor-in-chief at Random House.

You know, they probably all have been writing since they could hold a pencil, I thought to myself. Or they have master’s degrees in literature and live in New York City. I gulped and went for my sixth cup of coffee.

But once I was registered and bleeding copiously from stabbing myself with my nifty pin-on nametag (the name tag, which, I was quite sure, said ‘Wanna Be’ in neon letters under my name), I crept into the first workshop and hunkered down in the back.

When I looked around, I noticed a lot of others had the same deer in the headlights expression as me. The workshop began, the panel of agents and publishers helping the audience lighten up by wisecracking about the foibles of the publishing industry, and as I heard other writers asking the exact same questions I had, I relaxed and just soaked it all in.

Over the next few days, I lunched and talked with other writers just like me, and scurried from one workshop to another, learning a mile a minute, and even met some future friends with whom I formed a critique group. I came away from that weekend with a renewed determination and a wonderful discovery: for the most part, the writing and publishing world is made up of some of the finest, most gracious people in this round world.

Rearview Mirror

My first book was such a backwards journey. I have often wondered if I would have done better to learn more before writing it. I’ll never know, because I cannot repeat that first expedition.

Writing is an odd duck of a profession. You do not need have a degree or a license or spend a lot of money. Just determination. And almost every bit of information, from how to write to how to get published to how to market your book is easily and cheaply available.

Since then, I’ve written the sequel to Griffin Rising as well as the first novel in another young adult fantasy series. And I will always strive to improve my craft. That will never change. Writing is infinite; my next book will always be better than the one before and rightly so.

Enough of me.

Now go write your book.

Want to check out/buy some of Darby K.’s books?

The Griffin Series on Goodreads:     Book #1     Book #2     Book #3

Finn Finnegan: Book One of the Adventures of Finn MacCullen on Goodreads

Amazon     Barnes & Noble


My Week with Darby K.: Griffin’s Fire (Book Two: Fire/Griffin #2): Review

Title: Griffin's Fire (Book Two: Fire/Griffin #2) Author: Darby Karchut Format: Paperback, 200 pages Published: April 15, 2012 by Twilight Times Books  ISBN:  1606192124 (ISBN13: 9781606192122) Edition language: English Series: Griffin #2
Title: Griffin’s Fire (Book Two: Fire/Griffin #2)
Author: Darby Karchut
Format: Paperback, 200 pages
Published: April 15, 2012 by Twilight Times Books
ISBN: 1606192124 (ISBN13: 9781606192122)
Edition language: English
Series: Griffin #2

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Synopsis:

For centuries, there have been rumors about a lowly caste of supernatural beings known as the Terrae Angeli. Armed with the power to control Earth, Fire, Wind and Water, these warriors and their apprentices clandestinely serve as guardians for humans in danger.
Forced to become mortal, ex-teen angel Griffin has been banished from the Terrae Angeli. Struggling to adjust, he enrolls in the heaven-and-hell known as high school. In spite of his friends’ support, Centennial High proves to be a battleground, complete with a malicious math teacher.
And to make matters worse, his Mentor, Basil, has been ordered to take on a new apprentice, the gifted and egotistical seventeen-year-old Sergei, whose covert attacks make Griffin’s home life as bleak as a Siberian winter.
Caught between school, Sergei, and a desperate secret, Griffin is certain of one thing: the only way to fight a Cold War is with Fire.

Source: Darby K. for a fair and honest review

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Review:

At the end of 2011, my bloggy boss asked me to put together a list of the best reads of the year. On that list was Darby Karchut’s Griffin Rising, and this year, book two in the on-going series will make the list! Griffin’s Fire is an exciting and somewhat tragic read that I absolutely could NOT put down.

Griffin’s Fire opens with a very angry and depressed Griffin, who has had his angelic powers stripped and is now facing life as a mere mortal. Sadly enough, this is not the only trial Griffin is facing. He’s also challenged with high school and algebra, a new Tiro Sergei
moving into the house, and a girlfriend who is absolutely stoked about Griffin’s new mortal status. Too bad Griffin isn’t as stoked. (HA – stoked, fire!)  A delightful and extremely patient Basil tries his hardest to help Griffin adjust to his new reality, but the road is long and arduous, and Griffin is quite resistant to change. Griffin does his best to fit in at school, but trouble seems to follow the poor kid, and incident after incident (and detentions) piles up. The hits just keep on coming at home, too: Sergei is an arrogant butthole, and Griffin is forced to sit on the side lines while Basil and the butthole go out on mission after mission. For Griffin, the future is little more than a bleak existence, with his only hope coming from his intense desire to somehow, someway, and despite all the odds, earn back his angelic abilities.

The greatest strength of this book is its characters! Karchut literally had me sighing at each of the incidents in which Griffin found himself
involved, hating the new Tiro and Nicopolis (oh yes, he’s back!), wanting to thump Basil on the head for not paying enough attention to Griffin, and wanting to slap Katie for being selfish, even if it is only in her diary. Additionally, the key moment in the book when everything changes for everyone had me obnoxiously cheering out loud, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Karchut has a knack for creating substantial characters in whom the reader can become absolutely invested. When you place these kinds of characters into a roller coaster plot, everything just gets better. Karchut has done just that. The plot line for this book is a fast-paced roller coaster ride and believe me, you will
gladly strap yourself in and hold on for the ride. It’s OK if you squeal a little as well; roller coasters have been known to cause such behavior.

The Bottom Line: book one of this series was so good that I was afraid book two would not be able to live up to the high standards set by book one. (Do I really need to make an Alanis Morissette “Jagged Little Pill” reference here?) I needn’t have worried, as I am beyond impressed with book two! Karchut delivers once again with a smooth, exhilarating, and wild ride that has the reader hooked from the beginning. The plot, the characters, the writing, the pace, everything about this book is top notch. Overall, the series is perfectly appropriate for young adult readers, but I would encourage adult readers not to overlook this series because of its young adult classification. I highly
recommend this book and its predecessor to anyone looking for, quite simply, a fantastic read.
Next up in the series is Griffin’s Storm: Book 3: Water.

Darby K.About the author and where to find her:

Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, teacher, and a compulsive dawn greeter. She lives in Colorado with her husband and owns more backpacks than purses. As she should.
Her YA books include GRIFFIN RISING (2012 Children’s Literary Awards Gold Medal, 2011 Sharp Writ YA Book of the Year), GRIFFIN’S FIRE (2011 Readers Favorite Bronze Medal for YA Fantasy), and GRIFFIN’S STORM (November 2012).  Her debut Middle Grade novel, FINN FINNEGAN (Spencer Hill Press) will be released March 2013. The next book in the Finnegan series, GIDEON’S SPEAR (Spencer Hill Press) will be released February 2014.
She has also co-authored a non-fiction book for teens entitled MONEY AND TEENS with her husband, author Wes Karchut.
Visit the author at her website:   www.darbykarchut.com

Want to check out/buy the Griffin series?

Goodreads:     Book #1     Book #2     Book #3

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