Wednesday, May 25, 2016

CAMP ALIEN by Gini Koch

I've posted about Gini Koch's Alien/Katherine "Kitty" Kat series before, namely here, here and here. It's great for those who love science fiction with a splash of romance. Or, for the mere sake of Poofs.

Here is a Poof, near what some might consider a familiar landmark. 

Here is the same Poof, posing with "Dr. Hooves."

The newest book in the series, CAMP ALIEN, debuted on May 3. See below for a excerpt:

Antoinette smiled. It was the first smile I'd seen her crack in a week, so go me. "Possibly in private. But right now, we need your help. Formally."

Nodded, and turned to look down the long conference table. "Excuse me, Alex?"

Emperor Alexander, Ruler of the Entire Alpha Centauri System — at least as far as anyone on Earth other than those of us who actually understood the political system over there knew — nodded his head toward me in a regal manner. "Yes, Kitty?"

"Dude, you're asking for food that makes humans literally want to barf their guts out. It's a no-go. And anyone else requesting personal national or planetary specialties, up to and definitely including haggis, need to run those requests through me. So that I can say no in the nicest possible way."

"That wasn't what we were going for," Antoinette said quietly.

"No problem, Kitty. But they're really delicious," Alexander said, sounding far more like what he really was — Jeff's and his cousin, Christopher White's, younger relative who we'd put onto the throne of Alpha Four — than the Ruler of the Free Alpha Centauri Worlds.

"Dude, gag me. Seriously. Never speak of those things again in my or any other human's presence and we'll continue to love you." Turned back to Antoinette. "Learn this now — I may have been forced to be the American Centaurion Ambassador, but don't for one moment think that I enjoyed the job. I get far better results by living by the cat motto of asking for exactly what I want. And that includes being the FLOTUS. By the way, FLOTUS really makes me feel like I'm costarring in a Finding Nemo spin-off as the chipper strip of seaweed that helps the gang save the day."

Feel free to click the links below to grab some of the books in the Alien/Katherine "Kitty" Katt series. And also be sure to check out Gini's other books!


Buy: ~ Barnes & Noble ~  IndieBound


Buy: ~ Barnes & Noble ~  IndieBound


Buy: ~ Barnes & Noble ~  IndieBound

Gini Koch writes the fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine "Kitty" Katt series for DAW Books, the Necropolis Enforcement Files, and the Martian Alliance Chronicles series, as well as many other novels, novellas, and short stories. As G.J. Koch she writes the Alexander Outland series and she's made the most of multiple personality disorder by writing under a variety of other pen names as well, including Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch. She has stories featured in a variety of excellent anthologies, available now and upcoming, writing as Gini Koch, Anita Ensal, and J.C. Koch.

Twitter: @GiniKoch
Facebook Fan Page:
Official Fan Site:

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

STEAL THE SKY by Megan E. O'Keefe

When I went to Megan E. O'Keefe's reading, she completely blew me away. STEAL THE SKY is the first in the Scorched Continent series, and I can't wait for the rest. Have a look:

Detan Honding, a wanted conman of noble birth and ignoble tongue, has found himself in the oasis city of Aransa. He and his trusted companion Tibs may have pulled off one too many cons against the city’s elite and need to make a quick escape. They set their sights on their biggest heist yet—the gorgeous airship of the exiled commodore Thratia.

But in the middle of his scheme, a face changer known as a doppel starts murdering key members of Aransa’s government. The sudden paranoia makes Detan’s plans of stealing Thratia’s ship that much harder. And with this sudden power vacuum, Thratia can solidify her power and wreak havoc against the Empire. But the doppel isn’t working for Thratia and has her own intentions. Did Detan accidentally walk into a revolution and a crusade? He has to be careful—there’s a reason most people think he’s dead. And if his dangerous secret gets revealed, he has a lot more to worry about than a stolen airship.

I loved the voice in the beginning of STEAL THE SKY. Did Detan come to you fully fleshed or did he develop as you wrote him?

Detan is one of those rare characters who popped into my head with his voice fully-formed. I knew from the beginning that he was a flippant, glib man with a taste for danger and a dark secret to hide. The rest was just getting into the flow of his thought patterns.

He certainly has a way about him. In addition to writing, you tinker in a lot of different creative mediums, including arduino. In what ways do you feed your creativity when the well goes dry? 

Switching mediums is what keeps me from burning out. When something isn’t working for me with one medium, I’ll play with another for a while to see if I can spark any fresh ideas. Switching things up like this can not only keep my from stagnating, but provide me with valuable hands-on experience I can use in stories.

Sounds like a winning method. What are some of your current projects?

Right now I’m working on the final revision pass of BREAK THE CHAINS, the second book in the Scorched Continent Series. Break is the direct sequel to STEAL THE SKY, but I’m endeavoring to make it standalone as much as possible, so that if new readers stumble across book two in a bookshop they don’t lose their footing. It’s been a fun experience to stick with these characters as they grow and change from the events of book one, and I’m really looking forward to writing their final hurrah in book three.

Hurrah indeed! Thanks for writing such enjoyable characters.

Megan E. O'Keefe was raised amongst journalists, and as soon as she was able joined them by crafting a newsletter which chronicled the daily adventures of the local cat population. She has worked in both arts management and graphic design, and spends her free time tinkering with anything she can get her hands on.

Megan lives in the Bay Area of California and makes soap for a living. It's only a little like Fight Club. She is a first place winner in the Writers of the Future competition and is represented by JABberwocky Literary Agency.

Buy: ~ Barnes & Noble ~ IndieBound

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

INVISIBLE FAULT LINES by Kristen-Paige Madonia

Long ago, I pre-ordered copies of Invisible Fault Lines for the Sacramento Public Library, and I am happy to report that it is now available for purchase. It offers a fascinating lens into the same date one century apart, and how it impacts those affected by it.

"My father disappeared on a Tuesday that should’ve been like any Tuesday, but eventually became the Tuesday my father disappeared.”

Tired of living in limbo, Callie finally decides to investigate her father’s disappearance for herself. Maybe there was an accident at the construction site that he oversaw? Maybe he doesn’t remember who he is and is lost wandering somewhere? But after seeing a familiar face in a photo from the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, she wonders if the answer is something else entirely.

According to your website, you've been to a variety of different writing residencies. In what ways have these been helpful to you, and what suggestions, if any, do you have for people interested in taking part in them?

I'm so grateful to the organizations who supported my efforts writing by inviting me to spend time at their residencies -- I wrote the first draft of Fingerprints of You in 5 weeks at The Studios of Key West and Invisible Fault Lines was primarily composed during stays at Hambidge, VCCA, the Vermont Studio Center, and Wildacres. Essentially, the idea is that they are offering the gift of time and space, and those fellowships have played an incredibly important role in my development as an author. Now that I'm a mother, I can't sneak away so often to work in residencies, but whenever anyone asks for advice about attending one, I always suggest to apply widely and often. They're very competitive, like all things in this line of work, but if your submission lands in the right hands, a stay at a writing residency can be monumental for you as an artist and for your work-in-progress.

I'm definitely considering a few, and I've heard nothing but good things about them. And I love the mystery you've strung together in Invisible Fault Lines. What inspired the story, and what do you hope readers will take away from it?

I've had a hard time finding the right way to talk about this book -- it's a hybrid novel that blends a contemporary missing person mystery with historical fiction sections set during the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Firestorms, so in that way it's much different than my first book. And that was intentional -- I set out to write something unlike anything I'd written before, as I wanted to push myself and see if I could branch out from my previous style. When I set out to begin writing, I also decided I wanted to write a book that considered the impossible as possible, so there are hints of time-travel as well. I never imagined writing about the possibility of alternate universes, but I wanted to be braver on the page and to take a risk and do something different than what I had done with Fingerprints of You. And because of those risks, I feel incredibly vulnerable as I send the book out into the world. More vulnerable than I did with my debut. It's a book about loss and grief, about one teenager's way of coping with a traumatic event, the disappearance of her father. So my hope is that the book reminds readers there is no one right way to grieve or manage pain, that you have to find your own way, and each method of processing loss and hardship is equally valid.

You've also done this very well in Fingerprints of You, which explores the life of a girl named Lemon, and her journey toward figuring out what she wants for herself. I love the name Lemon for a character; did she come to you fully formed, or did she develop as you wrote her?

I was fortunate with that novel because it began with Lemon's voice -- it was fairly easy for me to imagine the way she sounded and to see the world through her eyes. Of course the challenge was unpacking her backstory, so that I could understand why she sounded that way and how she'd developed that distinct perspective, but in general I felt immediately connected to her character. As I said, I wrote the first draft of the book quickly, and I think I was able to do that because I was so grounded in her voice.

I love when characters come fully formed that way. If you were stranded on a desert island with five books, what would they be and why?

There is absolutely no possible way for me to answer that! But I'll give it my best shot with the full disclaimer that this is an incomplete list, that my tastes change depending on my mood and what I'm working on.

I do always tend to recommend the following books, though:

Extremely Lound & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff
Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Kristen-Paige Madonia is the author of the young adult novels Invisible Fault Lines (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016) and Fingerprints of You (Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2012). Her short stories have been published in various literary magazines including FiveChapters, the New Orleans Review, the Greensboro Review, and America Fiction: Best Previously Unpublished Stories by Emerging Authors. She has received awards or fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, VCCA, Hedgebrook, Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Key West Literary Seminar. She was the 2012 D.H. Lawrence Fellow and was awarded the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Prize in 2010. She holds an MFA in fiction from California State University, Long Beach and currently lives in Charlottesville, Va. She is a member of the University of Nebraska low-residency MFA Writing Program faculty and also teaches creative writing at the University of Virginia, James Madison University, and WriterHouse.


Buy: ~ Barnes & Noble ~ IndieBound


Buy: ~ Barnes & Noble ~ IndieBound

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

MY KIND OF CRAZY by Robin Reul

My Kind of Crazy intrigued me when it first crossed my desk as an ARC. I mean, what's more epic than a failed sparklers "promposal" attempt that goes aflame?

Hank Kirby can't catch a break. He doesn't mean to screw up. It just happens. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spelled "prom" in sparklers on Amanda Carlisle's lawn...and nearly burns down her house, without ever asking her the big question.

Hank just wants to pretend the incident never happened. And he might've gotten away with it-except there is a witness.

Peyton Breedlove, brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, saw the whole thing, and she blackmails Hank into an unusual friendship. Sure, Hank may be headed for his biggest disaster yet, but it's only when life falls apart that you can start piecing it back together.

According to your website bio, you have a background in film. Can you tell us more about this experience and in what ways, if any, it influenced your writing journey? 

My father was a film producer and I grew up on movie sets. It was only natural that led to studying film in college and ultimately working for several years in film production and development. As a result, I read a lot of screenplays and learned a lot about what makes for good story, pacing and dialogue. It had a huge impact on the visual quality I try and bring to my writing. I would honestly say that my writing is far more influenced by films I loved even moreso than books. Every scene plays out like a movie in my head as I’m creating it. My writing tends to be very character and dialogue driven, which also reflects the types of movies and books I tend to enjoy the most as well.

I'm the same way, and your writing definitely sucked me in from the beginning. I love the cover of MY KIND OF CRAZY, especially how it relates to the plot. Did the story come fully formed, or did it develop as you wrote it?

This story completely developed as I wrote it. In fact, when I sat down to write the book, I really only had the opening scene and the vaguest idea of where I wanted Hank to be by the end of the story. I knew the characters I wanted to create, but hadn’t fully sewn together how their lives all needed to intersect and how their stories would change if they didn’t. For example, there was a day when I was finishing a scene that was to be followed by one where Hank has to do something big. I ended the chapter by writing “And then I came up with a plan so crazy it just might work.” I had absolutely no idea what that plan might be, and left it for the me of the following day to figure out. That turned out to be one of my favorite scenes in the novel, and part of the fun of it was having the story unfold for me at the same time as the reader.

Further proof that the best ideas come when we least expect them! If there were five books you could take to a desert island with you, what would they be and why?

1. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell because Scarlett O’Hara is the original Katniss and she taught me that tomorrow is another day.
2. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - because sometimes a book comes along that speaks to you on a soul level and reading it again is like being able to revisit a friend.
3. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp - because I could read that book a hundred times and never stop wishing I wrote it because it’s such perfection
4. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb - the first book that made me reach the last page and have to sit with it and savor it for a good hour after I’d finished with such deep admiration for the writing.
5. Walter The Lazy Mouse by Cindy Szekeres and Marjorie Flack - one of my absolute favorite books as a child. I have fond memories of reading it with my mother over and over, and I still have my tattered copy on my shelf today.

All the Bright Places is still on my TBR list, and I love your comparisons between Scarlett O'Hara and Katniss. Thanks so much for such great answers!