Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I met Nicole through a Facebook group, Binders Full of YA Writers, and the premise of both her books (one published in December, the other debuting next week on February 3) got me so excited that I emailed her immediately for an interview. Have a look-see:

Alessia Jacobs is a typical sixteen-year-old, dying to get out of her small town of Twin Willows, Maine. Things look up when a new family comes to town, but when she falls for the hot, mysterious son, Jonah, her life turns upside down.

Weird visions of transforming into an otherworldly falcon are just the beginning. Soon she learns she’s part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult of warriors with the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies and take on the forms of magnificent animals.

Alessia never would’ve suspected it, but her boring town is the site of an epic struggle between the Benandanti and the Malandanti to control powerful magic in the surrounding forest.

As Alessia is drawn into the Benandanti’s mission, her relationship with Jonah intensifies. When her two worlds collide, Alessia’s forced to weigh choices a sixteen-year-old should never have to make.

Georgie's new heart saved her life...but now she's losing her mind.

Georgie Kendrick wakes up after a heart transplant, but the organ beating in her chest doesn't seem to be in tune with the rest of her body. Why does she have a sudden urge for strawberries when she's been allergic for years? Why can't she remember last Christmas?

Driven to find her donor, Georgie discovers her heart belonged to a girl her own age who fell out of the foster care system and into a rough life on the streets. Everyone thinks she committed suicide, but Georgie is compelled to find the truth - before she loses herself completely.

And here are Nicole's answers to some questions!

According to your website, you are an actress as well as a writer. How do you balance both pursuits, and how does one feed into the other?

Well, I think it's safe to say at this point that I've forsaken my acting career for my writing. I also have a young daughter and writing is much more conducive to motherhood than acting. However, before I had my daughter, I found that I wasn't so easily able to balance the two. When I was working on a play, it would consume me, and there wasn't a lot of creative energy left over to write. It was when I was in between acting projects that I would get most of my writing done...and the writing definitely kept me sane while I was waiting for the next acting gig and going on endless auditions.
I do miss being on stage, but I like the world of writing better. There's a lot more support from your peers. So I'm happy just being a writer at this point in my life. That said, if anyone out there wants to cast me as Lady Macbeth, I wouldn't say no!

That's an excellent point--and it makes me even more thankful for fellow writers. I love the premise of WINTER FALLS! How did the idea come to you, and what do you want readers to take away from the story?

The idea for WINTER FALLS came to me one day while I was trawling Wikipedia. That site is like my porn. I can be on it for hours. For some reason, that day I was on the page for European witch hunts and there was a little link to something called the Benandanti. I clicked on it...and immediately knew that I had to write about this. But the original incarnation of WINTER FALLS was a historical novel set in 16th century Italy (where and when the Benandanti are documented to have existed). It wasn't until many months into working on it that I had a eureka moment that the book needed to be set in the present.

While there is a strong environmentalism theme in the series, what I really set out to write was a story that people could escape into. Those are my favorite kind of books. I really just want readers to live in the world while they're reading and fall in love with the characters and think about them long after they've finished the book.

Those kinds of books are my favorite too. On your blog, you posted a cover reveal for your other upcoming book, THE FORGETTING. Did this story shape itself before you wrote it, or did it develop as you went along?

I approached THE FORGETTING (which releases February 3rd) differently than I'd approached all my previous novels. I'd always been a pantser, but with THE FORGETTING I plotted the whole thing before I started writing. Because of that, I had a lot less work to do on the back end. The book only went through one major draft before we sold it, and one after. There were some things that came to me as I went along and I changed things to suit those new ideas. It's very important to me to be spontaneous when I write and allow for deviations from the original plan. Otherwise I get bored.

Your plotting experience definitely has me considering ditching my pantser way of life. What are the three books (other than your own) that you'd recommend to readers?

ZODIAC by Romina Russell. She's one of my best friends and CPs but I promise I'm not being biased! I'm not a huge sci-fi fan and I LOVED this book. If you want an action-packed story with great characters set in a really fantastic world, this book is for you.

POINTE by Brandy Colbert. Okay, she's also a friend of mine, but seriously this was one of the best books I read last year. There is a lot going on in this book but the way Brandy weaves it all together is masterful. The main character is one of the most interesting, complex, damaged and truly vulnerable characters I've read in a long time.

I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith. This book was written in the late 1940's (and takes place in 1930's England) but you can still completely relate to all the characters. And while it was written before YA was even a thing, it most definitely is YA. It's a wonderful coming-of-age, first love story filled with eccentric and colorful characters. It's one of the only books I reread over and over.

Excellent recommendations! Thanks Nicole, for a wonderful interview.

To snag WINTER FALLS and/or pre-order THE FORGETTING for yourself, feel free to click on the links below:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

CROW'S REST by Angelica R. Jackson: A Sneak Peek

Last year, I interviewed Angelica R. Jackson about her forthcoming book, CROW'S REST, which debuts this coming May. I'm happy to report that her book trailer is out! She also allowed a behind-the-scenes look at making a book trailer here

Avery Flynn arrives for a visit at her Uncle Tam's, eager to rekindle her summertime romance with her crush-next-door, Daniel.

But Daniel’s not the sweet, neurotic guy she remembers--and she wonders if this is her Daniel at all. Or if someone--or something--has taken his place.

Her quest to find the real Daniel--and get him back--plunges Avery into a world of Fae and changelings, where creatures swap bodies like humans change their socks, and magic lives much closer to home than she ever imagined.

To pre-order CROW'S REST for yourself, feel free to click the link below:


Angelica R. Jackson, in keeping with her scattered Gemini nature, has published articles on gardening, natural history, web design, travel, hiking, and local history. Other interests include pets, reading, green living, and cooking for food allergies (the latter not necessarily by choice, but she’s come to terms with it). Ongoing projects include short fiction, poetry, novels, art photography, and children’s picture books.

In 2012, she started Pens for Paws Auction, which features critiques and swag from agents and authors to raise money for a no-kill, cage-free cat sanctuary where she volunteers, Fat Kitty City. She’s also been involved with capturing the restoration efforts for Preston Castle (formerly the Preston School of Industry) in photographs and can sometimes be found haunting its hallways.
An incurable joiner, she is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (where she serves as Twitter Diva for her local chapter), Romance Writers of America, the group blog Operation Awesome, and the collection of 2015 debut authors known as The Fearless Fifteeners.
She shares a home in California's Gold Country with a husband, two cats, and far too many books (if that's even possible).

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Operation Awesome: Pixar and High-Impact Fiction

So in an effort to not over-exert myself this year, my first order of business is to better divide my time between my two blogs--this one, and the group blog I'm a part of, Operation Awesome.

So every other week, when I have a new Operation Awesome post, I will link to it from here. This week, I talked about Pixar, high impact fiction, and a few other things.

Here's the Pixar video I referenced in the post, in case you'd like a quick peek without clicking too many extra links:

Finally, I'm curious as to whether this is a format that might work for the blog. I'll still be doing author interviews (there are a few exciting ones coming up!) and I'll still have content here every Wednesday.

 So, are we down with the new format? Feel free to comment. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

THE ETERNA FILES by Leanna Renee Hieber

Happy New Year, everyone! We start off 2015 with a Gaslamp fantasy, THE ETERNA FILES, by Leanna Renee Hieber. I met Leanna at Phoenix Comicon last year, which I posted about here.

Here's more about THE ETERNA FILES:

London, 1882: Queen Victoria appoints Harold Spire of the Metropolitan Police to Special Branch Division Omega. Omega is to secretly investigate paranormal and supernatural events and persons. Spire, a skeptic driven to protect the helpless and see justice done, is the perfect man to lead the department, which employs scholars and scientists, assassins and con men, and a traveling circus. Spire's chief researcher is Rose Everhart, who believes fervently that there is more to the world than can be seen by mortal eyes.

Their first mission: find the Eterna Compound, which grants immortality. Catastrophe destroyed the hidden laboratory in New York City where Eterna was developed, but the Queen is convinced someone escaped—and has a sample of Eterna.

Also searching for Eterna is an American, Clara Templeton, who helped start the project after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln nearly destroyed her nation. Haunted by the ghost of her beloved, she is determined that the Eterna Compound—and the immortality it will convey—will be controlled by the United States, not Great Britain.

And here are Leanna's answers to some questions!

According to your website bio, you are an actress, playwright, and author. How do you divide your time among these pursuits, and what sources do you recommend for writers interested in play writing?

I have to be honest in the fact that while these three are related fields, they are very different worlds, with wholly different connections and networks, so it is a lot of changing different hats, mind-sets and contacts. So while I can't necessarily be on novel deadline and in a theatrical show at the same time, I shift from one to the next as opportunities allow. Working as I do in occasional film and television is less a time commitment than a full run of a theatre production, save for the occasional workshop, staged reading or benefit concert, so I find myself less on the stage and more working in TV/film and in webseries work. The single most helpful resource I found as a playwright was/is the Playwright's Center, even if you're not local to Minneapolis their mailing list of opportunities is vital: And my theatre/playwrighting mentor Michael Bigelow Dixon just published a book I highly recommend: Breaking from Realism.

Breaking from Realism sounds like a great book! And I love the premise of THE ETERNA FILES. Where did the idea come from, and how did it develop as you wrote it?

I am so glad the premise appeals, it was a confluence of inspirations ranging from anger at the fate of Harry and Rose at the end of the BBC show MI-5, to brainstorming the kind of series my editor (the fabulous Melissa Singer) wanted to work on with me, to weaving the threads of my previous Gaslamp Fantasy series together (characters from both my Strangely Beautiful and Magic Most Foul sagas make cameos in Eterna) and creating a 'grown up' kind of Historical Fantasy with more elements of horror than I've been allowed thus far in my work. It's a culmination of sorts, and it has a TON of characters spanning two separate offices, and I've been so thrilled to work on something that's been allowed such a big cast on such a dark stage.

I'm so glad your characters cross over--I read the first book in the Magic Most Foul saga, and loved it. 
You also write short fiction that has appeared in various anthologies. What do you like most about short fiction, and what's been the best part of dabbling in different mediums?

Short fiction is actually a lot harder for me than full length novels. But once I get the key to a good short story; a specific, contained but high-concept scenario or twist, I am off to the races. My short fiction tends to focus on moments of selfi-actualization and characters coming into their own, for better or worse. I love the differing scope of the impact of lyrical language between a long and short form, like in my very intense piece "Charged," found in Queen Victoria's Book of Spells.

What a great anthology to be a part of! What are some of your current projects?

Eterna! I'm hard at work on the sequel to THE ETERNA FILES, which releases 2/3/2015 and is available now for pre-order in print and digital!  I am also hopeful that the musical based on my debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, will go to the next level of production. Our concept album is now available, and Tor has bought the series so the formerly out of print Strangely Beautiful saga is available for pre-order, I am so excited about this freshly edited, revised, author-preferred edition.

You can follow all my news and stay tuned for Eterna contests at on and check out my book list and free reads at

Thanks for your time and Happy Haunting!