Posted in Book Extras, For Fun

#Blog Tour: Project Pandora – Guest Post with author Aden Polydoros and more!

 

ProjectPandoraTour

Welcome to my stop on the Project Pandora tour! I’m so excited to share information about this great book with all of you – including a guest post by author Aden Polydoros! Enjoy!

EntTeen-01224-webbanner-ad1-STATIC(800x800)opt5

Links:

Link to Goodreads

Purchase Links: Amazon – B&N – iBooksKobo

Giveaway Details: Project Pandora Prize Pack (US) or a $10 Amazon Gift card (INT)

Book Description:

EntTeen-01224-webbanner-ad2-STATIC(800x800)opt2Tyler Bennett trusts no one. Just another foster kid bounced from home to home, he’s learned that lesson the hard way. Cue world’s tiniest violin. But when strange things start happening—waking up with bloody knuckles and no memory of the night before or the burner phone he can’t let out of his sight— Tyler starts to wonder if he can even trust himself.

Even stranger, the girl he’s falling for has a burner phone just like his. Finding out what’s really happening only leads to more questions…questions that could get them both killed. It’s not like someone’s kidnapping teens lost in the system and brainwashing them to be assassins or anything, right? And what happens to rogue assets who defy control?

In a race against the clock, they’ll have to uncover the truth behind Project Pandora and take it down—before they’re reactivated. Good thing the program spent millions training them to kick ass…

EntTeen-01224-webbanner-ad1-STATIC(800x800)opt5

Guest Post by Aden Polydoros: How to Handle Pressure: Writing Under Deadlines

I have never been great at deadlines. I have a natural tendency to procrastinate on my work and wait until the last minute to finish it. However, with writing, I have found that it is easier for me to meet deadlines than when I’m working on schoolwork or other tasks. I have also come up with different strategies to compensate for my procrastination.

It is important to approach writing as a job. Although I love to write and hope to make a full-time career out of writing, I don’t want to view writing as a hobby. If I allow myself to fall into that line of thought, completing work by deadlines will seem less important to me and I might procrastinate more than usual.

For me, there are two different kinds of deadlines for my writing: Those I choose for myself and those that are given to me. The deadlines I have created are usually very short term goals, like write 1,000 words a day or complete this chapter by the end of the week. By thinking about it like that, the process of writing a novel becomes less daunting. I don’t have to worry so much about completing an entire novel, and can divide my work into small, manageable tasks.

This was one of the strategies I used while working on Project Pandora. I made a list:

  • Overall goal: Aim for 1,000 words a day
  • Specific goals:
    Add more status reports
    Add a romantic scene
    Make an event calendar to check for consistency
    Check for name and appearance consistency
    Research the D.C. metro system
    Write an outline for second half of the book
    Change names

I try to approach editor-enforced deadlines in a similar fashion. For example, let’s say that I have to complete edits by September 31st and it is currently September 1st. Before I even begin edits, I make a list of what I have to do based off of my editor’s notes. I estimate the amount of words that will need to be added to the manuscript. In the case of Project Pandora, I added 40,000 words to my 65,000 manuscript over the course of the editing process. I had aimed to add only 25,000 words, but when I reached that goal, found that there was still so much more to elaborate upon. I had aimed for 1,000 words added and one chapter edited each day. When I began to increase my workload, it felt like I was accumulating bonus points at a game instead of just meeting a deadline. I tried to beat each day’s previous “score”, and in doing that, the process of editing actually became more enjoyable than it would have been otherwise.

Which brings me to my next point: it’s important to enjoy what you are doing if you want to meet deadlines. When so much creativity and emotion goes into writing, if you are miserable at what you are doing, it will show. Even if you don’t think that your story needs a specific edit or that one chapter is good as is, it is important not to become resentful about the deadline. I try to approach writing as a job, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun while doing it.

I try to set awards for myself for each goal I complete. Usually, these are small things, such as watching a certain show on Netflix, going somewhere fun, or eating one of my favorite foods. If you are also motivated by rewards, what you can do is set aside some money after completing each task. Maybe you put two or three dollars in a jar after completing each chapter. Once you reach the deadline and submit your writing, you can spend the money on something special that you have been wanting to buy. It will make the purchase even more enjoyable, knowing that you met the deadline on time.

One of the most important things to keep in mind while working with deadlines is that if you don’t have time, make time. If a deadline is quickly approaching, I will write on the bus or train, or while in the waiting room during doctor appointments. If I don’t have my journal or laptop near me, I write on my phone. You can also dictate on your phone. If necessary, I cancel plans to meet with friends so that I can make a deadline.

Aside from that, it’s also important to mention that you should keep your emotional and mental health in check. Completing deadlines is actually very stress-relieving for me, but there are times when I feel completely overwhelmed with the task ahead. If I also have other problems in my daily life, this only worsens my stress. That being said, if you have something going on or there is an emergency, don’t beat yourself up over not meeting a deadline.

EntTeen-01224-webbanner-ad1-STATIC(800x800)opt4 (1)

About the Author

Aden PolydorosAden Polydoros grew up in Long Grove, Illinois, the youngest of three children. Aden’s family moved to Arizona when he was in second grade. As a kid, he spent much of his time exploring the desert near his home. When he wasn’t searching for snakes and lizards, he was raiding the bookshelves of the local library. As a teenager, Aden decided that he wanted to be a writer. He spent his free time writing short stories. He was encouraged by his English teacher to try his hand at writing a novel, which inspired him to begin PROJECT PANDORA. The YA thriller is set for publication with Entangled Publishing in Summer of 2017. He is represented by Mallory Brown of Triada US.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Advertisements
Posted in Lists

Thursday Musings: Recent book purchases

One of my favorite pastimes is scouting the Amazon Kindle books section for deals on some great books. My TBR pile is out of control and I love it. In recent weeks, it seems like there’s been plenty of great deals to keep me in books for a long time. Here’s some of my finds: 

The Betrayal by Laura Elliot

Nadine and Jake Saunders were married as teens. Tied to one another by a night of passion that resulted in a pregnancy neither could turn away from.

Now, years later, their children have all flown the nest and the pact they made as teenagers – to give one another the freedom to pursue their own dreams – has resurfaced. 

While Nadine and Jake begin to untangle their lives from one another, Jake embarks on a passionate affair with a beautiful woman, Karin Moylan. What he doesn’t know is the dark history Karin shares with Nadine. 

As lust spirals into dangerous obsession, Jake must break free from Karin. But he must also ask himself how well he ever really knew Nadine. What secret is she hiding? The truth, when it is revealed, could destroy them all. 
The Girl in the Maze by R.K. Jackson


When Martha Covington moves to Amberleen, Georgia, after her release from a psychiatric ward, she thinks her breakdown is behind her. A small town with a rich history, Amberleen feels like a fresh start. Taking a summer internship with the local historical society, Martha is tasked with gathering the stories of the Geechee residents of nearby Shell Heap Island, the descendants of slaves who have lived by their own traditions for the last three hundred years.

As Martha delves into her work, the voices she thought she left behind start whispering again, and she begins to doubt her recovery. When a grisly murder occurs, Martha finds herself at the center of a perfect storm—and she’s the perfect suspect. Without a soul to vouch for her innocence or her sanity, Martha disappears into the wilderness, battling the pull of madness and struggling to piece together a supernatural puzzle of age-old resentments, broken promises, and cold-blooded murder. She finds an unexpected ally in a handsome young man fighting his own battles. With his help, Martha journeys through a terrifying labyrinth—to find the truth and clear her name, if she can survive to tell the tale.

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel: A Novel of War and Survival by Louise Murphy

In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed “Hansel” and “Gretel.” They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called “witch” by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children. Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, this haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children, and tells a resonant, riveting story.

Posted in Lists

Thursday Musings: The DNF Graveyard

 

I’ve had a really great streak going lately – the last several books I have read have all been great. I’ve really been on quite a roll.

Which got me thinking about books that I didn’t mesh with – specifically ones that I wasn’t able to finish. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t make them “bad,” they just weren’t for me. Usually, if I only get a couple chapters into a book and realize it’s not for me, I don’t post a review. I don’t feel I can truly review a book having only read maybe two or three chapters.

So for the first time, I’m admitting which books I couldn’t finish – at least the first time I picked them up (See more on that below).

  1. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) by George R.R. Martin: After hearing all the hype about the TV series, I was really curious about the books, because that’s how I think. But I couldn’t get more than 100 pages in. Even though I knew it was a fantasy/epic/drama, it was just SO MUCH of all of that. I couldn’t stomach it, I guess for the same reasons I don’t like soap operas. Oh well.
  2. The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff: I have always been fascinated by the Salem witch trials, and have even visited Salem, Mass. But I couldn’t get into this book, which blended reality and legend and lots and lots of small details. I couldn’t follow it at all.
  3. One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell: I got about halfway through this book before letting it just drift off and finally putting it away. I just couldn’t really sympathize with others the characters here. But maybe that’s because they were just so different from me. Or the fact that I never liked “Sex and the City.” *shrugs*
  4. The Girl with the Dragin Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: Ok, so the first time I picked this book up in an airport bookstore, I let the Swedish names trip me up. I couldn’t focus on the Tory because I was distract d by the hard to pronounce names and places. But then, maybe 2 years or so later, I decided to give it another try. And I DEVOURED the entire series. I absolutely loved it. Which goes to show you: never give up on a book totally. You may change your mind.

What books have you never been able to finish? Or do you think I should give one of these another chance? Let me know!

Posted in Book Extras, New releases

Cover Reveals: Thrillers coming soon!

Last week, we got two new sneak peaks at some upcoming books – both are thrillers due out within the next year and have stunning covers:

Beautiful Liars

(So far I only have the British release details – so keep your eyes peeled for American release details!)

Seventeen years ago Martha said goodbye to best friend Juliet on a moonlit London towpath.
The next morning Juliet’s bike was found abandoned at the waterside.
She was never seen again.

Nearly two decades later Martha is a TV celebrity, preparing to host a new crime show… and the first case will be that of missing student Juliet Sherman. After all these years Martha must reach out to old friends and try to piece together the final moments of Juliet’s life.

But what happens when your perfect friends turn out to be perfect strangers…?

The Good Sister

Release date is set for Aug. 16!

There are two sides to every secret.

She is staring back at me with exactly my expression – a mixture of wonder, bewilderment and horror. It’s like looking in a dark, cracked mirror.


‘Who are you?’ she whispers.

When her beloved father dies, Josie is devastated to uncover a secret life he has led with another family: a half-sister, Valentina, born in the same week, in the same hospital. They look so physically alike they could be mistaken for twins. But the similarities end there.

As an unlikely bond begins to form between them, Josie finds herself drawn into Valentina’s complex world; a world where Josie no longer has to be the good girl her father raised her to be. Could the same reckless, self-destructive streak that runs through Valentina’s blood, be running through her own?

Could Josie be capable of more than she had ever imagined? Could she be capable of murder? One of them is.

A tense and claustrophobic read that will keep you turning pages into the night. Perfect for fans of Louise Jensen, Claire Douglas and Sue Fortin.

Both are headed straight for my TBR pile!

Posted in Author Q&As

Author Q&A: Affinity Konar, “Mischling”

Mischling_Graphics3

To celebrate the paperback release of the amazing and emotional read, “Mischling,” I got a chance to ask author Affinity Konar some questions about the novel. I am a big fan of her debut work so I am thrilled to share her answers with you!

And if you haven’t read the book yet, go get a copy; you won’t be disappointed.


Why was this subject important for you to write about?
It was so important to me actually, that I wanted to not write it. My family left Poland in 1932, and were harbored safely in America, so while I was growing up I always felt pulled back to the period, and to what could have been, if my ancestors weren’t offered this refuge. I think it’s necessary to live with that warning in the back of your mind, especially today, to let it echo in remembrance. When I was a teenager, I found the story of the twins in Children of the Flames by Lucette Lagnado, and so many of the testimonies approached questions of to how to retain one’s own humanity, how to survive, resist, and attempt to restore oneself after unimaginable trauma. After I read that, I couldn’t stop imagining a conversation between a pair of twins whose bond was their refuge, their means to survival.


How did you find the balance between such a dark subject and an ultimately uplifting story?
The trickiness of finding that balance is one of the reasons that the book took so long to write. One doesn’t want to impose any kind of veneer that might lessen the trauma of a very real experience. But I wanted to pay tribute to stories of incredible endurance that I can’t help but be inspired by, specifically because they arose out of the extreme darkness of Shoah. So managing this element came down to voice for me, in the end. The imagery that arises out of the voices of Stasha and Pearl may be charming, but they function as veils for horror. It was my hope that the very necessity for these veils–or the fact that the girls would resort to such transformative thinking–would magnify the true peril that they endure.


What is your advice to aspiring authors?
I have to quote Sarah Manguso from “300 Arguments”. “I’ve written whole books to avoid writing other books.” That was my life for a long time. Nothing that came out of that avoidance was very good. So I’d say that honoring your desire to write about what scares you most is important. If it’s not terrifying you on a certain level, if might feel necessary enough to bring out the best you have to offer as a writer. Also, oatmeal is cheap and nutritious when times are lean, dogs are good for getting you out of the house, and you should read everything you can, whether you’re drawn to the text or not, because it all informs the kind of stance you’ll take on the page


What are you working on next?
It feels odd to talk about this, because this book has felt like my life’s work, and I honestly never expected to finish it, much less start another. But I have found myself writing in hotel rooms while touring, so I guess I won’t be stopping any time soon? It’s currently in chaos, but it’s a chaos centered by a search for meaning and restoration, and I suspect that this is an element that will always be afoot in whatever I attempt to do.



About the Author

2894415Affinity Konar was raised in California. While writing MISCHLING, she worked as a tutor, proofreader, technical writer, and editor of children’s educational workbooks. She studied fiction at SFSU and Columbia. She is of Polish-Jewish descent, and currently lives in Los Angeles.

She dearly misses writing about Pearl and Stasha, and is grateful to any reader who might find the company of the twins.

Posted in Author Q&As

Author Q&A: Justin W.M. Roberts

34122259I’m thrilled to be able to talk with another author about work and their craft. Justin W.M. Roberts, author of the action-packed “The Policewoman,” took some time to share his thoughts on his characters and his experiences as a writer.

– Where did the idea for this novel come from?

Drug trafficking is a problem faced by every country. It’s big business and it’s a matter of time drug cartels will try to take over a country.

 

– This novel not only had action, but a lot of emotion too – laughter, romance, etc. How did you balance that in your writing?

Well, the life a real police officer is not one action sequence to the next. In fact, 99% of it is boring. This book is art imitating the life of a police officer, albeit an extraordinary life.

– Why did you choose a female protagonist? 

Good question! This book is more of a military action thriller than a crime fiction novel. Since there aren’t any female officers in the UK’s Special Air Service, I need the main protagonist to be a female so there can be a romance element in the book.

– What authors do you enjoy reading in your spare time?

I enjoy reading Tom Clancy, JK Rowling, Andy McNab, and Chris Ryan

– What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Just write! Send your work to a lot of people so they can send their feedback.

– What are you working on next?

The Policewoman is book one of a series. I’m currently writing the sequel.


About the Author

Justin W.M. Roberts was born in London, son of a British Army General, and grew up in Hong Kong, Germany, and England. After graduating from Hull university with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Psychology, he continued traveling and living Europe, Africa, and Asia.

He currently lives in Indonesia where he is an analyst of political affairs and an active promoter of secular humanism.

Authors of military thrillers are welcome to PM him (on Goodreads) for book reviews.

Posted in Uncategorized

Author Q&A: Randall Silvis

two-days-gone

To celebrate the release of the thriller “Two Days Gone,” I’m excited to be talking to author Randall Silvis about the story and its unique storyline, which follows both the killer and the police.

Be sure to check out a chapter one preview and enter for a chance to win a copy of the book!

Below, Silvia talks about the story’s origins, his favorite authors and whether we’ll see Ryan DeMarco in the future.

Where did you get the inspiration for this story?

Inspiration comes to me in bits and pieces: an intriguing setting, an interesting character, an unconventional premise, and sometimes just a provocative title. For Two Days Gone, the setting came first: I crossed Lake Wilhelm three days a week while commuting to the university, and each time was beguiled by the dark water, the woods, the bogs, the menacing possibilities. The setting dictated that the book would be a murder mystery. This required an investigator. The character of Sergeant Ryan DeMarco, a lonely, gruff, haunted man dragging himself through the misery of his life each day, grew a bit more each time I envisioned him standing beside the lake. I then decided to make the prime suspect an academic, but one who, like me, saw himself on the fringe of academia. I then decided that I wanted to feature the most horrific crime I could imagine. Once all those pieces fell into place, the storyline wrote itself.

This book has a lot of literary allusions and symbols. How did you decide to incorporate that theme?

My prime suspect is a writer and literature professor. How could there not be lots of literary allusions and symbols?

One of the major themes also is about love and what that means. Why did you decide to show these deep subplots – particularly with DeMarco?

Love is all that matters. Can anyone be truly happy if he has no one to love and isn’t loved in return? The novel is, as most of my stories are, about redemption; love is the ultimate redemption, and the lack of love the ultimate failure.

Both main characters are deeply flawed in some way but find some redemption. What do you want readers to take away from their situations?

All I hope is that the reader cares enough to share the characters’ journeys, and to be emotionally connected to them, and therefore to their own emotions.

Will we be seeing Trooper DeMarco again?

At least once more. The working title for the second DeMarco mystery is The Bones’ Embrace. I will continue the series as long as readers want me to, and as long as I can find new ways for DeMarco to grow.

What is the next project you’re working on?

In addition to The Bones’ Embrace, I am also working on another stand-alone crime novel titled Dancing on Water, and a mainstream/magic realism novel called Esperando.

Who are your favorite authors?

The writers I cut my teeth on are Hemingway, Faulkner, Garcia-Marquez, and Flannery O’Connor. I also love the poetical prose of William Gay, the gritty prose of Pete Dexter, the musical prose of James Lee Burke, the lyrical prose of Karen Russell, the playful prose of Vonnegut and Barthelme, and the often comma deficient prose of Jim Harrison. And there are many others whose writing I enjoy as well, such as Katherine Vaz and Edith Pearlman and Eco and Atwood and Mailer and more. I like writers who write differently—whose prose does not sound like everybody else’s prose and whose vision of the world is a little or a lot sideways to the rest of the world’s. I abhor the conventional and any writing that never yaws from the conventions of its genre.

For more on Silvis’ work, follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/randallsilvis