Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Guest Post - Brenda Corey Dunne with SKIN Blog Tour

Today, I'm so happy to have an old friend and an amazing writer on, answering some questions for us on her stopover for Skin Blog Tour.

First, all about this new release.

With a name like Ocean, you’d think moving to Prince Edward Island would be simple. But since seventeen year old Ocean crossed that huge bridge to the land of red sand, her life has been far from normal—it’s been downright dangerous. Trouble seems to follow her everywhere, and she’s got the bruises to prove it. 

And then there’s her mysterious neighbour, Sam...who seems to know more about her history than she does herself. When Ocean finally steps into the salty waves with Sam, she realizes that her life has been based on a lie, and that she is missing something...something she never knew existed. 

Her skin.

And now, Brenda graciously agreed to answer some questions for our readers. Brenda, take it away!

Interview with Brenda Corey Dunne

1. Tell us more about the book and its characters (whatever you feel is good for this question). It sounds very mysterious :)

I wrote SKIN a few years ago during NaNoWriMo, after an idea popped into my head of having selkies on the beaches of beautiful Prince Edward Island. Everyone knows PEI as the place where Anne of Green Gables smashed her slate over poor Gilbert Blythe’s head, but the thought of having a couple of magical creatures hanging out on the red sand beaches near Cavendish was just different enough to stand out in my mind. I wrote for a month straight and boom! SKIN was born. 

The main character of the book, Ocean, formed initially with a military lifestyle bent—she is moving from a place she knows and loves to a place she knows very little about. She is not happy about starting a new high school, has to deal with making new friends in a town that’s not used to outsiders, and has all kinds of other life changes going on that she doesn’t understand. 

But then she meets Sam, her dark, more worldly, curly-haired neighbor, and things improve. Well, they get more interesting, anyway. 

2. Where did the idea for Skin came from? 

Like I mentioned above, it started with a visit to PEI—my favorite area is the Thunder Cove area—and a stretch of the imagination. It grew from there. I have no idea where the selkie part of it popped up from…I guess I just really like seals, and selkies aren’t an over-explored magical creature. No sunshine restrictions either. I did a little online research and the idea just continued to grow until November and NaNoWriMo.

3. Tell us about your writing process and routine.

Currently? Non existent. L But generally I start with a setting. We travel a lot, and some places just seem to scream storylines at me. 

I really need quiet and focus when I write, so I tend to write during the day when my teens are at school. I am fortunate enough to be able to work part-time at my day job, so I have a few days a week that are intended for writing. I write best in the morning, but sometimes write in the later evening as well. I listen to quiet instrumental music (think spa without the waves) because music with words distracts me when I write. And I have a great big wooly sweater that I love to wear…it’s my ‘writing sweater’, and is about 5 sizes too big, but it keeps me toasty. J

4. What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Write for you. Write what you want to write, what you want to read, what you know. The publishing world is very fickle—and there doesn’t seem to be any formula to figure out what will work. So pick something you enjoy writing about, and just write. Write every day if you can. NaNo is awesome, because it forces you to just power through everything…and edit later. 

Take a class. Being with like-minded people, and examining your work from a different perspective really helps. I’m in serious need of a class right now, but life is getting in the way! Soon.

5. Who are your favorite writers that you would recommend?

I like to read entertaining books, and a lot of what I read is popular YA fiction (Gayle Foreman, Kristin Cashore, Sarah Dessen, Maggie Stiefvater). 

One of my favorite authors to just read and enjoy is Tammara Webber. She’s a self-pubbed turned traditional published writer who is successful because she writes good stories with believable relationships. Her Between the Lines series is one of my favorites. I’d recommend her to anyone who likes YA/NA relationship stories.

Thank you for stopping by, Brenda! 

Brenda Corey Dunne grew up in rural New Brunswick, Canada. She originally trained as a physiotherapist and worked several years as an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force before meeting her Air Force pilot husband and taking her release. She has two other published novels, DEPENDENT (2014) and TREASURE IN THE FLAME (2012).
Brenda is represented by Frances Black of Literary Counsel. She currently resides on the Pacific Coast of Canada, but home is wherever the RCAF sends her hubby, and she’ll be moving to the Washington, DC area in the summer of 2016. When not writing, working or taxiing her three children she can be found either in the garden or on the beach with a book in one hand and a very, very large coffee in the other.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Art & History - Urban Sketching

Urban Sketch by Shari Blaukopf
I'm starting on an interesting art journey and I'm inviting you along. What is it, you wonder? It is an art practice called Urban Sketching.

Definition: Wikipedia defines Urban Sketchers as "a global community of artists that practice drawing on location in cities, towns and villages they live in or travel to. It was a movement started on Flickr by a journalist Gabriel Campanario. Urban Sketchers is now a nonprofit organization and its manifesto has been translated into multiple languages.

It's mottos is: "We show the world, one drawing at a time!"

There are also now a number of vritual urban sketching events and groups, where the sketchers "travel" and sketch places through photos and Google Images.

Why did I get interested?
I have always been a watercolor artist, and have recently come back to it. However, over the past couple of years, I also started painting and drawing using other art mediums, such as oils, pastels and watercolor pencils. My goal for the next months is to improve my drawing skills. I'm also fascinated with graphite and pen drawing. Urban sketchers usually use a mix of all of these medium, especially pens, pencils, watercolor pencils, ink and watercolors. I also love history and architecture, something which, again, figures heavily in urban sketching.

Taken from Urban Sketchers blog

What do you sketch? 
Everything you see. Architecture, people, animals, what you see out of your window, by your job or on your travels anywhere.

Books on Urban Sketching: 

 The Urban Sketchers: Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location

 The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around the World

 Urban Sketching: The Complete Guide to Techniques

The Urban Sketching Handbook: Architecture and Cityscapes: Tips and Techniques for Drawing on Location

Urban Sketchking kit by Gabi Campanario


Alena Kudriashova – Sketch travel Journal

 I'll be posting my sketches as I progress and learn. I would love to see yours, as well.

Monday, May 2, 2016

I'm back!

I apologize for being absent from my blog for so long. It's been a few crazy months of hard work, wonderful book releases from City Owl Press, getting ready for, and then attending, the RT Booklovers Convention in Las Vegas, paining, and much more. But I promise that I'm now back and there will be posts at least 2-3 times a week from now on!

So see you very soon.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Wishing all the wonderful friends, authors and readers a Very Happy Year, filled with joy, love and happiness!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Cover Reveal - Purgatory's Angel by B. Hughes-Millman

Everyone has a dark side where their inner demons roam. When the devils of our nightmares murder in their sleep, only one can stop them.

eBook Edition
April 2016
Price: $3.99


Jaime Connor was once one of the mightiest archangels in heaven. Sent to earth to stop demons from claiming another victim in their sleep, she has battled far too long. Tired of all the killing, she awaits the demon who will overpower her and send her back to heaven. 

Yet her life lingers on and a dream she can’t remember plagues her thoughts. Only remnants of her memory remains in the image of a gorgeous demon who circled her before the kill—the scent of Ireland on his breathe, a brogue on his tongue, and the sea in his penetrating eyes. 

The demon must have died. She never would have woken if he hadn’t. That’s how it works. How it’s always worked. So why did he appear in her world the next day? And why is he trying to seduce her? Will he be the fated one to finally steal the life of the strongest dark angel the world has ever known? If she’s lucky, that will be all he steals. 

Find out more from the Dark Angel series by B Hughes-Millman 
including specials for Subscribers only!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Oracle Book Tour - Guest Post by D.J. Niko - The Perils of Writing What You Know Too Well

02_The Oracle_Cover 

The Oracle (The Sarah Weston Chronicles, Book Three) by D.J Niko

Publication Date: November 10, 2015 Medallion Press Paperback; 456p ISBN-13: 978-1605426273 Genre: Historical/Archaeological Adventure

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 In Delphi, the mountain city deemed by the Greek gods to be the center of the Earth, a cult of neo-pagans re-create with painstaking authenticity ancient rituals to glorify the god Apollo and deliver oracles to seekers from around the world. When antiquities are stolen from a museum in nearby Thebes, British archaeologist Sarah Weston and her American partner, Daniel Madigan, are drawn into a plot that goes beyond harmless role-playing: someone’s using the Delphian oracle as a smoke screen for an information exchange, with devastating consequences for the Western world. Pitted against each other by the cult’s mastermind, Sarah and Daniel race against time and their own personal demons to uncover clues left behind by the ancients. Their mission: to find the original navel stone marked with a lost Pythagorean formula detailing the natural events that led to the collapse of the Minoan Empire. But will they find it in time to stop the ultimate terrorist act?


Guest Post

The Perils of Writing What You Know Too Well
By D.J. Niko

Every time I gear up for the release of one of my novels, I hold my breath. I don’t know if this happens to every writer, but it sure happens to me. Four books into my career, I still think: What will the critics say? Will anyone buy it? Will the reviews be glowing, scathing, or, worst of all, lukewarm?
The feeling is amplified when the book’s subject is something I am particularly close to. This month’s release, The Oracle, is one such instance. It is set in Greece, where I was born and raised, and delves into both the ancient history and the current state of this great nation. I’d always known I wanted to write a Greek setting, yet I’d hesitated, waiting to build up storytelling experience—or, perhaps, nerve. Since The Oracle was the third book in my Sarah Weston Chronicles series of archaeo-historical thrillers, I took a deep breath and told myself it was time.
The widely accepted “write what you know” logic might dictate that this was the easiest book for me to write. In fact, it was the opposite. I can’t tell you how many plot lines I scrapped and started over, each time sweating my looming deadline. I even had full-blown anxiety attacks—twice.
While writing what you know is a good policy, writing what you know too well is fraught with peril. It demands that you dredge up your deepest emotions, let go of long-held biases, and be unafraid of telling it like it is, even if you might be judged for it. It’s scary, anxiety-inducing stuff, but, if handled correctly, it can lead to some of your best writing.  
In my case, there were two imperatives: to describe the settings with the authenticity one would rightly expect from a native, and to give some insight into the culture, past and present, and into the sociopolitical minefield of a nation bogged down by crisis and instability. The first part: no sweat. The second was harder to nail, and the jury’s still out as to whether or not I’ve managed that.
I’ll share an example. In the excerpt below, I describe the scene in Omonia, which in my childhood was the commercial and cultural hub of Athens but has since been blighted by neglect and crime. I struggled with whether I should tell it like it is or avoid it altogether. Writing is all about taking risks, of course, so I opted for the latter.

Sarah wandered the back streets of Omonia, the square in the heart of downtown Athens. She needed time to process what she’d just heard and a distraction to keep from doing something she’d regret.
She glanced furtively at the faces around her: Bangladeshi men, dressed in sarongs and tank tops, chewing paan as they sat idly on stoops of shuttered buildings; homeless waifs lying on filthy blankets on the sidewalk, staring vacantly at passersby and on occasion summoning the energy to extend an open palm; an emaciated young woman dressed in a cheap, skin-tight micromini, standing against a corrugated metal construction wall, cigarette in hand, soliciting business.
She couldn’t believe how Omonia Square had changed in the years since she’d visited Athens. Apart from the die-hard souvlaki stands and tobacco kiosks, businesses had gone under, leaving behind boarded-up buildings that eventually became magnets for posters and political graffiti. The apartments, once desirable real estate, had been left to decay and converted to low-rent immigrant quarters, many with no heat or running water. The Greeks had all fled to other neighborhoods, handing the spiritual keys to their Omonia over to poor, jobless foreign settlers—some legal, some not—and letting them turn this former hub into a cesspool of debauchery.
Sarah stopped by the temporary wall, behind which was an abandoned construction site now strewn with garbage. She took a cigarette out of her jacket pocket and fumbled for a lighter. The streetwalker walked up to her, offering a light. Sarah accepted it, noting the multiple needle marks on the woman’s arms. She met her gaze and realized she was probably no older than sixteen. The girl flashed a smile, a heartbreaking playfulness in it. Sarah nodded her thanks and walked on.

It’s a hundred percent accurate, yet it was hard for me to write. But I’m glad I did it. There is a certain acceptance that comes with committing something to paper and putting it out there for the world to see.
Many scenes like this one unfold in The Oracle, and—I hope—enrich the narrative. Though it cost me some sleep and tears, the decision to paint a true portrait of Greece, for better or for worse, ultimately was a good one—if for no one else, for me.
Truth is, after all, one of the paragons of ancient Greek philosophy. As Plato said in his seminal work, The Republic, “When the mind’s eye rests on objects illuminated by truth and reality, it understands and comprehends them, and functions intelligently.” It’s sage advice for all of us.

The Oracle is available this month from Medallion. For more information, visit or the author’s Facebook page.


About the Author

Daphne Nikolopoulos, photography by Lauren Lieberman / LILA PHOTO Daphne Nikolopoulos, photography by Lauren Lieberman / LILA Daphne Nikolopoulos in an award-winning journalist, author, editor, and lecturer. Under the pen name D.J. Niko, she has written two novels in an archaeological thriller series titled The Sarah Weston Chronicles. Her debut novel, The Tenth Saint (Medallion Press, 2012), won the Gold Medal (popular fiction) in the prestigious, juried Florida Book Awards. Her follow-up release, The Riddle of Solomon, continues the story of British archaeologist Sarah Weston as she seeks the relics—and mystical secrets—left behind by the biblical King Solomon in remote Israel. Daphne is currently at work on The Oracle, book 3 in The Sarah Weston Chronicles, which releases in 2015. Also slated for publication in 2015 is her first historical novel, The Judgment, which is set in Israel and Egypt in the tenth century BCE. In addition to writing fiction, Daphne is editor in chief of Palm Beach Illustrated magazine and editorial director of Palm Beach Media Group. Prior to that, she was a travel journalist who logged hundreds of thousands of miles traveling across the globe, with emphasis on little-known and off-the-beaten-path locales—many of which have inspired her novels. Daphne frequently lectures about her research on the ancient world. She is an instructor at Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society, teaching on the subject of archaeology. She has also spoken to audiences at the Jewish Community Center of the Palm Beaches’ Academy for Continuous Education, and several libraries and private groups throughout Florida. Born and raised in Athens, Greece, Daphne now resides in West Palm Beach with her husband and twin son and daughter.
You can find her on the Web at and connect with her on Facebook (AuthorDJNiko) and on Twitter: @djnikobooks.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 9 Review at A Book Geek  
Tuesday, November 10 Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection  
Wednesday, November 11 Review at Back Porchervations  
Friday, November 13 Spotlight at I'd So Rather Be Reading  
Monday, November 16 Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More  
Tuesday, November 17 Review at Book Nerd  
Wednesday, November 18 Review at History From a Woman's Perspective Spotlight & Excerpt at The Lit Bitch  
Thursday, November 19 Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
 Friday, November 20 Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book  
Monday, November 23 Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews  
Tuesday, November 24 Guest Post at Yelena Casale's Blog
 Friday, November 27 Spotlight at Teatime and Books  
Tuesday, December 1 Review at Kristin Un-Ravelle'd  
Wednesday, December 2 Review at Book Lovers Paradise  
Friday, December 4 Spotlight at Diana's Book Reviews  
Thursday, December 10 Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
 Friday, December 11 Guest Post & Giveaway at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
  04_The Oracle_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Eclipse The Flame by Ingrid Seymour - Cover Reveal & Giveaway


Eclipse The Flame by Ingrid Seymour
(Ignite the Shadows #2)
Published by: HarperVoyager
Genres: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

In the new world of The Takeover nothing and no one will be safe. Marci must choose: love or vengeance.
One night she secretly follows her lover to a club. To her horror she discovers those closest to her, mingling freely with parasitic creatures which have secretly possessed human minds. A bloody ambush follows, leaving Marci a shadow of her former self.

Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious attacks. Ignite, the only resistance group, is disintegrating. As the world catches fire, Marci struggles to control the buzzing spectres in her own head.

Her hardest battle is between the forces of good and evil within herself. For Marci must fight. She was meant to burn

Ingrid Seymour is the author of IGNITE THE SHADOWS (Harper Voyager). When she’s not writing books, she spends her time working as a software engineer, cooking exotic recipes, hanging out with her family and working out. She writes young adult and new adult fiction in a variety of genres, including Sci-Fi and urban fantasy.

Her favorite outings involve a trip to the library or bookstore where she immediately gravitates toward the YA section. She’s an avid reader and fangirl of many amazing books. She is a dreamer and a fighter who believes perseverance and hard work can make dreams come true.


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