UMBRAE Blog Tour

Today on the blog, I’m welcoming author Debbie Manber Kupfer with her new novel UMBRAE, the third book in the P.A.W.S. series. You can follow the rest of the March blog tour through the banner below:

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Step into the Shadows of Umbrae …

Miri’s world at P.A.W.S. in St. Louis is falling apart. First, Danny is accused of stealing her opapa’s charm. But before he can defend himself, he mysteriously disappears. Miri seeks Josh for help and advice, but he too has gone missing.

Then Lilith has a vision – Miri dragged away by wolves. Miri needs answers, answers that she feels sure are hidden in the blank pages of the book of Argentum.

With the help of Lilith, she travels to the ancient city of Safed. There, with the aid of a mystical rabbi and an outspoken werecat, her omama’s story is slowly revealed. And Miri uncovers something else, a world hidden deep beneath our own – the labyrinth of shadows also known as Umbrae.

Available in Kindle or Paperback

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Now, onto my interview with the author!

Interview with Debbie Manber Kupfer

Give us a short summary of what UMBRAE brings to your world in P.A.W.S..

In Argentum (P.A.W.S. 2) Miri receives a mysterious book from an old crone in New York. But the pages are blank. In Umbrae we follow Miri to Israel to the ancient city of Safed where she meets a mystical rabbi and an opinionated werecat and starts to uncover the story hidden in the pages of the book of Argentum. The story of her omama, Celia and a place hidden in the shadows – Umbrae.

How did the P.A.W.S. story come to be?

Back in 2012 I had a sudden flash. I clearly saw a young girl receive a silver cat charm from her grandmother just before her grandmother died and I knew it was important. Over the next few days the story of P.A.W.S. emerged in my head and I started taking notes. This was in October. I had heard about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and decided to give it go. During November I wrote frantically each day until by the end of the month I had the first draft of P.A.W.S.

What did you find the most difficult aspect of writing UMBRAE?

Keeping my timeline and my ever-growing character list straight. I don’t write linearly, yet Umbrae is essentially historical fiction, based around the years of the Second World War. Everything had to be matched up and crossed-referenced.

What inspires you to write?

Anything and everything. I’m an avid people watcher. I often take walks to local cafes and like to observe and listen. Often times people and snippets of conversations end up in my stories.

What is your favourite part of writing?

The ability to let go, to escape. When the story is flowing it’s a wondrous thing. I’m a discovery writer. I only have the vaguest idea of the directions my story is leading and often times my characters lead me off into the most delicious paths.

When did you realise you were interested in being a writer?

When I was about 8 years old. I used to keep notebooks with novels I was writing all based around our school playground. But although I continued writing stories and poems through the years I only got serious about writing in 2012 after I came out of cancer treatment. Dealing with cancer made me realize my own mortality and that if I truly wanted to write a novel I needed to do it and stop procrastinating.

What do you like most about the world in your P.A.W.S. Saga? Why?

Well I like that it’s supposed to be hidden in our world. That most of the places I mention are real places. I imagine readers searching Forest Park for the entrance to P.A.W.S. and I smile.

Why did you decide to self-publish the P.A.W.S. series?

I didn’t at first. I started off traditionally published with a small press. Then when my contract expired I decided not to renew it. Today I self-publish with Createspace/KDP and love the control I have over the process. The ability to set my own publication dates, prices, and choose my own covers. I’m not saying I’d never go back to traditional, but for now I’m happy being indie.

What would be your one piece of advice for authors working on a sequel?

Make yourself a timeline and character list and add to it whenever you add a new character or event. It is easy to just go with the flow when you are writing book 1 or a standalone story but for series you need to make sure it all matches up.

What’s next on your writing journey?

Londinium (P.A.W.S. 4) will hopefully by ready in late 2017. I’ve written the first draft and am just beginning the editing stage. In it (as you might expect from the name) Miri will be visiting the P.A.W.S. Institute of London.

Apart from that I’m also currently working with a local artist to draw pictures for a children’s story I’ve written, Cecilia’s Tale, and hopefully will be sharing this with the world some time in the next few months.

Thanks!

About the author:

debssmallI grew up in the UK in the East London suburb of Barking. I’ve lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where I work as a writer and freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. I live with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline. I believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

 

Find Me Series Book 4 Cover Reveal

Today on the blog I’m hosting the cover reveal of book 4 of the Find Me series by Trish Marie Dawson, part of the series rebrand by Elizabeth Mackey Graphic Design:

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I wanted him to stop talking. To just close his mouth and forget everything he was going to say so I didn’t have to hear the words. He could tuck it away into the back of his mind, I knew he could, because I’d done that with so many things already. But, as if playing a cruel joke on me, he wouldn’t shut up. It’s like he couldn’t.

At one point, I tuned him out, because it began to replay in my mind. I didn’t need his account of my first feverish night in his care, and the sordid tale of my abduction and torture through raging fits of insanity, because I was the one who had lived through the real thing. I was the one who had gone wild. Turned savage, like a caged animal freed after a lifetime of abuse and neglect. I was the one who wandered off into the woods, running away from the ghosts of the dead and the living. Running until I collapsed not far from Jin’s doorstep. He took me in, nursed me back to health, and shared his wisdom, though he didn’t realize it. He’d become a friend.

I felt myself fall backwards, hitting the snow-covered rail with my lower back, and I wondered, for just a moment, if I could fly. Would it be so terrible to die? To let go of the anger, the hate, to accept the pain as it was, a never-ending storm of doubt and grief. I could do it, I thought. To be with my kids again, wherever they were, I could do anything.

But the drawl of Jin’s calming voice pulled me forward, back to the cabin porch we stood shivering on. Back to the frozen pines, and the secrets hidden in the rings of their cores. Away from the jar and its contents. I couldn’t be angry at him, not for repeating my own words, so I did all I could. I let some of it go, some of that grief and pain that so desperately wanted to ruin the good that was left in me. I passed it on to the breeze, and let it drift down the valley with the fading sun. Because I didn’t want to carry it any more.

For the first time since the night he found me in the woods, I let Jin hold me. The two of us couldn’t change what had happened, and we couldn’t prevent the next storm from coming, but our hearts were still beating. We were alive. As we held each other under the first twinkling stars of the early evening, I reminded myself that life hurt because it was worth living; the best things in life were always worth fighting for. Through all the pain and loss, there was also love and friendship. And despite what I’d been through, I still had a family somewhere out there, searching for me. I refused to lose them too.

– © Trish Marie Dawson, Where Hope is Lost, Book 4 of the Find Me Series

THE FIND ME SERIES

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About the author

I was born and mostly raised in San Diego, California where I live nowTMDPromoPic with my family and pets. I began writing short stories and poetry in high school after an obsession with Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’. After over fifteen years of crazy dreams and an overactive imagination, I began my first book ‘I Hope You Find Me’ in December of 2011. I didn’t realize then that my first Fantasy series had been born.

When I’m not writing or researching or editing or formatting, I’m home-schooling my amazing daughter and mildly autistic son, reading whatever I can get my hands on, or enjoying the Southern California sun. As a strict Vegetarian, I hold a special place in my heart for animal rights and dash into the backyard weekly to rescue lizards and mice from our three rescue dogs. They all share the house with River, the rescue cat, who is part dog and part old man. I hate roaches due to an unfortunate childhood incident, like, LOATHE COMPLETELY, though I often fantasize about seeing one in Steampunk gear and I have an unhealthy obsession with a certain bow & arrow wielding zombie hunter. Don’t judge me – every girl has dreams

7 Quick Takes: Prayer, Trust, and All the Choices

I’m back for the Friday 7 Quick Takes today. Hosted, as usual, by This Ain’t the Lyceum. Check ‘em out!

Seven Quick Takes

~1~

Choices, Choices, and More Choices. I’ve been trying to make a few *big* choices, difficult choices. Retrospectively, they’re not things that would seem that important to other people, but making choices is something I struggle to do definitely. I’m a maybe person; I like things in the middle. And, so, making a singular yes is difficult.

~2~

Inviting God into the Everyday. After going to World Youth Day, I have been trying to put God first (or, being honest, more first) in my daily life, even in just waking up and thinking about my day. That was one thing that helped me during exam revision. God and I working together.

~3~

Prayer is Enough. I will admit, however, that I’m not one of the best people to stick to a daily prayer schedule. I am trying, though.

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~4~

Thankfully… I am definitely doing a Masters in London. I have officially finished my pre-enrolment, so all that is left to do is wait the days out until my new term.

~5~

There Are Always Options. I’ve got to remember the mind-set that whatever happens and comes to be is part of God’s ultimate plan for me. Things go wrong, as they always seem to do around me, but in the end, they were always meant to go wrong; or, rather, they were always meant to happen differently to what I might have expected or even hoped for.

~6~

How is life, though? It’s good. I am enjoying the company of the three cats with which I am now living. Thus, the photo below. That’s Bovril, and she’s a sweetie.

~7~

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Rain and Cherry Blossoms

I think it’s fair to say that it’s spring. Granted, the clocks don’t spring forward until the end of March, but the English days have been getting warmer (even if the nights haven’t), to the point that it’s awkward to where loads of layers. In fact, as I remarked recently, it’s almost cardigan weather again. Good for me, as I recently bought a new CollectIf clothing jumper in the sale. It arrived today, the cute little thing, gold and apt for Spring, though it was first in the AW/15 collection.

It’s been raining on and off. Mostly on, but there are days where the sun makes it unbearable to wear a coat – and days where one must travel with enough piece of wear to change if necessary. But speaking of which, the change of weather heralds the change of season.Even if it isn’t really Spring, I think it will be in my mind, because of the showers. That, and this:

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This shot I spotted on my walk into town. I go a variety of ways, but this is the crossroads of smaller roads. Sometimes it’s nice not to have to walk next to the main road. And then I come across this. Almost walked past it. But the blossoms called to me, with their lovely dappled heads. Against the sky, they were so vibrant and noticeable.

It’s not the best shot, but it’s something I rather like. Spring is on its way, with a flourish, and hopefully better spirits.

DIVIDED by Sharon M Johnston

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DIVIDED: AN OPEN HEART NOVEL

Sharon M. Johnston

Publication Date: November 24 2015

New Adult Science Fiction Romance

A new heart should mean new life, instead it’s a living nightmare. 

Mishca Richardson’s life is at an all-time high after her heart transplant. With new boyfriend, Ryder, she has the perfect summer romance. Even the nightmares plaguing her sleep since her operation can’t dull her new dream world. Yet, life starts to unravel when Mishca develops superhuman abilities. She does her best to hide them so as not to end up a science experiment in a lab, but she can’t ignore the strange instant attraction she experiences when she meets her university professor, Colin Reed. Torn between love and the obsession, Mishca must decide between the two men. But as the organization responsible for her weird powers moves in, she’ll have a lot more to worry about than romance.

FIND DIVIDED ON GOODREADS

BUY DIVIDED: AMAZON // BARNES & NOBLE // KOBO // iBOOKS // CITY OWL PRESS WEBSITE

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SOMEONE MUST DIE so I can live. I’ve come to terms with that. Before it turned my stomach, thinking about my donor’s death, but now I’m used to it. Most likely, it’ll be a car accident or a drunken fall. It won’t come from illness or any other natural causes that corrupt human organs and make the deceased ineligible to be a donor. A violent, painful death will be my savior. It’s the only way I’ll ever get my new heart.

I open my eyes and stare upward, hoping the white fluffy clouds splotched against the blue sky will distract me from my imaginings of people dying. I guess I’m not as used to the idea of getting someone else’s heart as I thought. The harsh Australian sun makes me squint.

I swing my legs around and hoist myself upright on the stadium bleacher, looking over the sports field. Readjusting my tank top strap that had slipped off my shoulder, I try to conjure up happier thoughts. At least I won’t be responsible for the person who dies, even if I get a new heart out of the mess.

Yeah, happier thoughts.

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Giveaway

I’ve got one BIG prize bundle as part of the celebrations!

You could win:

  • Heart Marcasite Earrings
  • $10 Amazon Gift Voucher
  • Owl Christmas Decorations
  • Dinosaur Christmas Decorations
  • Owl Pen
  • Heart Pen

Author Bio:

Sharon JohnstonSHARON JOHNSTON is a New Adult author from sunny Queensland, Australia. She specializes in intriguing stories and soulful contemporaries across category boundaries. Working as a PR specialist by day, in her spare time she writes, blogs for YAtopia and Aussie Owned & Read, spends time with her fur babies, and plays computer games with her family. She’s also been trailed by women wanting to know where she buys her shoes.

Find Sharon on TWITTER and FACEBOOK and on her WEBSITE.

A Shot of Reckless By Maddie Paige

Today on the blog: a cover reveal for a new college New Adult book coming out with Elephantine Publishing – A SHOT OF RECKLESS by authors writing under the name Maddie Paige.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Art major, Roxy Thompson, is a ball of fun—but she’s also careful to keep her walls intact when it comes to men. She likes relationships just like her coffee: light and sweet. After having her heart shattered once before, she’s determined not to ever feel that broken again.

College senior, Lake Foster, is just tempting enough to make Roxy rethink her rules of engagement. Suddenly, high-dollar shots and a no-strings night out aren’t enough anymore. But Lake isn’t looking for long-term. His future is set, and in four months, he intends to graduate and leave Georgia—and everything in it—behind. Luckily, short-term fun is Roxy’s specialty, and Lake can’t resist what he promises will be a fleeting taste.

Will Roxy and Lake really walk away when their time is up? They only have one shot to find out.

WHO WE ARE
Maddie Paige
Writing duo Maddie Paige bonded over books, shirtless boys and Step Up movies. One lives for her coffee while the other prefers hot chocolate. Both lovers of romance, they tag teamed a manuscript over late nights at Steak ‘n Shake. They live in Atlanta, GA and A Shot of Reckless is their debut.
A Shot of Reckless comes out October 14th! 
You can follow us on Facebook
Pre-Order here:
HOW TO ENTER TO WIN AN EBOOK

Beautiful People: the Friendship Edition

For this month’s Beautiful People (hosted by Cait and Sky), I’m going to look into the friendship between two characters (the main characters, in fact) of mine in my work-in-progress short. Kazia and Joel haven’t known each other for so long, but they soon become firm friends, and a bit more…

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  1. How long have they known each other, and how close are they?

By the end of the short story, they’ve known each other for a few months, five or so—but seeing as they meet at the beginning, their knowledge about each other is limited, as it should be. I’m writing a romance, not a stalker thriller.

Throughout the short, they get closer and closer mentally, but physically, they are miles apart so relish time spent physically in each other’s company.

  1. What’s their earliest memory of being best friends?

Of being close? Difficult to say. I think it finally clicks that they rely a lot on each other the closer to the climax of the story—but telling you about that would be spoilers, as their emotional interactions make them better friends.

  1. Do they fight? How long do they typically fight for?

I wouldn’t say they fight for a temporal length of time. It’s more that they get miffed at each other frequently and have arguments that are short, to-the-point, but resolve said arguments on the spot, or within a few hours of thought and snapped discussion.

  1. Are their personalities similar or do they complement each other?

They both have a quirky side, which is what drew them to each other, but, fundamentally, their personalities are different. Kazia is studious and focused on her studies and animal anatomy as a passion, whilst Joel is less academically inclined, but good with his hands. Not a euphemism.

He is good at building things, okay? Even if he doesn’t quite know where he wants his career or future to go—whereas Kazia is happy to stay in research.

  1. Who is the leader of their friendship (if anyone)?

Kazia and Joel have similar temperaments in terms of how they interact around each other. I’d say that they both lead different parts of their friendship and how they get to know each other. Or, if one is the more socially submissive, I’d say it’s Joel, as he does not have as much confidence as Kazia.

  1. Do they have any secrets from each other?

Yes, many. Most because they’re afraid of upsetting each other with facts that would probably be worked out in the time it would take them to discuss what would happen. Nevertheless, they keep those secrets and pretend everything is fine.

  1. How well do they know each other’s quirks and habits?

Not very well, to be honest. However, that is what I, as a reader, would expect; because they have not known each other for so long, it follows that there would still be a lot for them to know about each other beyond the confines of 10-ish-thousand words.

  1. What kind of things do they like to do together?

They like to go to role-playing events, and they Skype a lot (trust me, I know some technophobes who prefer to talk via phone, so being able to use an application-based conversation device is a hobby). I can imagine that they would play board or card games together, as neither are very competitive, but I can also imagine that Kazia would be confused as to all of these new boardgames that have come from nowhere. She may be geeky, but only when it comes to biology. Her nerd radar is sufficiently lacking compared to Joel’s.

  1. Describe each character’s fashion style (use pictures if you’d like!) How are their styles different/similar?

dress1In their daily life, both Joel and Kazia dress quire casually – unlike his brother, Joel isn’t much of a ‘macho’ football playing guy, so doesn’t have any jerseys or leave his kickers hanging around his den. Instead, it’s just t-shirts. Kazia’s the same. She likes t-shirts because she doesn’t see the point in dressing up for a normal day. She is a jeans-wearing sort of person.

Being role-players, they also have their own style of outfits for the weekend: Kazia went for a classical NeoVictorian lady’s day wear of what Joel calls a ‘teapot skirt’ (no manners, the man!) and a blouse. Joel tends to wear two- or three-piece suits, with a particular emphasis on the waistcoat.

  1. How would their lives be different without each other?
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Lovingly beheaded

I think they both would have less direction in their lives if they hadn’t met each other. Through Joel, Kazia worked out where she wants to study for her PHD; through Kazia and her academic determination, Joel realised that he needed to get his life together a bit more and look towards a career rather than just a job.

That’s it from me for this month! Check out the rest of the hop to see what the other writers have been up to with their characters.