Sunday, February 24, 2013

Popular by Gareth Russel Blog Tour


Since Religion exams were not sat in alphabetical order but according to house, Cameron’s desk was across the aisle from Kerry’s, and as the papers were being handed out the two of them fell into conversation about how criminally gross the three boys in the bathroom were. ‘He sneezed right next to me,’ Cameron said. ‘It was so loud that it was like an elephant had taken a really bad line of cocaine.’


‘What gospel does the angel come to Mary in?’

‘St Luke’s.’

‘Super. And who replaced Judas?’


‘Who replaced Judas? You know . . . when he died, kicked the bucket, said sayonara, etc.?’

‘St Matthias.’

‘Hello all,’ said a nasal voice behind them.

‘Hello, Geoffrey,’ murmured Kerry, who watched as he warily took the desk on the other side of her. ‘What if he sneezes again?’ she hissed at Cameron.

‘No one’s asking you to look in his tissue,’ he answered.

‘Good! Because I’d die. The sound is bad enough.’

‘Greetings, delinquents!’ boomed the voice of the same PE teacher who had covered their Physics exam a week earlier. ‘In front of you are the Religious Studies examinations. I assume you all know the rules of the school’s examinations by now. You may begin!’

As they turned over the first page, Cameron understood why Imogen’s head had been so close to the table for five minutes and why she had asked those ‘last minute’ questions.

The first four questions in the exam were:

1. Who was the Roman Emperor at the time of Jesus’s birth (c. 4 BC)?

2. Who was the Roman Emperor at the time of Jesus’s crucifixion (c. AD 33)?

3. In which of the four Gospels is the visit of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary recorded?

4. According to the Book of Acts, who replaced Judas Iscariot as an apostle after his death?

Imogen was busy scribbling furiously, before stuttering to a halt at question 5. Kerry had got off to a wobbly start after answering ‘Julius Caesar’ for question 1 and ‘All of them’ for question 3. About twenty minutes in, she was distracted from her incorrectness by the constant sniffing of Geoffrey at the next table. She was in the business of shooting him her best dirty look when, quite without warning, Geoffrey’s head shot back as he let fly the most energetic sneeze in human history. Before Kerry’s traumatized eyes, a straight projectile of snot shot from Geoffrey’s nostrils and on to his desk.

And there it stayed – connecting Geoffrey’s nose to the table.

For a split second, nothing happened. The aqueduct of snot remained and Kerry looked as if she was developing the first signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now for a few words from our author.

Writing romances

Gareth Russell

There are quite a few couples in both my books - “Popular” and its sequel, “The Immaculate Deception,” and there’ll be even more in the next instalment in the series, “The Age of Vengeance,” which is out later this year. However, there are two main couples in the series who readers react the most strongly to – Mark and Meredith, who seem to despise each other at first, and Cameron and Blake. In both cases, the course of true love doesn’t exactly run smoothly!

Writing romantic storylines can create all kinds of challenges for a writer and when I began drafting “Popular,” I didn’t necessarily expect to enjoy them as much as I did. In the first place, everyone behaves ridiculously when they’re in love; that’s part of the secret fun of it, I think. Couples behave excruciatingly embarrassingly when in private, which is fine because it’s in private, but then you realize that characters in a book are never really in private, because the reader is always watching them. What’s cute between couples is often vomit- inducing for outsiders, so how do you write realistic scenes between fictional couples without leaving your readers wanting to reach for the nausea bucket? I tried to tackle that problem by having the character of Imogen (a blonde bombshell party girl who’s never without a boyfriend) invent a ranking system of the difference between PDAs (Public Displays of Affection) and PrADAs (Private Appropriate Displays of Affection.) Hopefully, if the characters are behaving realistically enough and not like one of those couples who seem to think they’ll die if they ever let go of each others’ hands, then the readers will respond positively to them.

More importantly, there’s always a risk with a love story that you’ll write something that seems like a fantasy or, even worse, an ‘if only that would happen to me’ fantasy. There is nothing more cringe-tastic than reading a book which you think is the author’s own personal fantasy. While it’s always a good idea for an author to draw on their own life, or the lives of those around them, in order to find some kind of truth, it’s far better to use that truth as a loose inspiration rather than to directly copy from it. The great theatre practitioner, Constantine Stanislavski, once said that when an actor starts to believe he is his character, then you should fire him. In the same way, if an author starts to believe their own story, then they’ve lost the plot. (If you’ll pardon the pun.) In “Popular,” a lot of the little anecdotes – like the teacher walking into a doorway or the epic projectile sneeze in the Maths exam – are directly inspired by things that really happened. The mannerisms and social values of my characters are also based on things I’ve observed in people around me. However, I was very careful to make sure that the storyline had its own voice and that it wasn’t based too closely on real life.

This is something I also made sure to stick to when it came to writing the romances. Every romance and every couple are unique. Every one of them has something which makes them special, whether it’s in a good or bad way. For me, finding out what that something is for a fictional couple is one of the most engaging challenges of being a writer. I sit down with the fact file of information I’ve created about the two characters (where they live in Belfast, what kind of music they like, books they enjoy, favourite colours, classes they’re taking in school, clothes they wear, articles I think they’d enjoy reading), I put together a play list of music that I associate with them and then I sit down and think what it is these two people will have, or should have, that makes their romance believable. It’s a strange process, but one that is so worthwhile once you finally figure it out. Once you’ve established the “feel” of your on-page couple, you find that writing them becomes instinctive, rather than cerebral. Once, when I was doing an author’s visit to my old school’s prep, a ten-year-old kid asked me what my favourite scenes to write were. I told him, “Actually, sometimes, to be honest, the lovey-dovey stuff. The romances.” He looked at me and grimaced, “Seriously? Yuck!” At ten, I’d have had the same reaction, but writing the romantic storylines of “Popular” and its sequels has been one of my favourite parts of the creative process. The final chapter of book two, “The Immaculate Deception,” remains one of my favourites and I hope that it has people cheering for the characters, rather than glancing at the page and thinking, “Seriously? Yuck!”

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Last Witch by Debbie Dee blog tour


Author Debbie Dee has stopped by today with an excerpt from her book The Last Witch (Incenaga Trilogy).

Stay here,” he ordered.

Emmeline nodded and wrapped her arms around herself. This was it. This was how all the other witches lived out the end of their days. Cold, alone, and chained to a relentless master.

“Pace yourself as you near the soldiers, Emmeline. When they recognize you many will try to run. Kill them.”

Emmeline gasped. “Please, don’t make me do this.” But she was already stepping toward the soldiers.

“Wait,” her master said. “Only kill those who run. My men are in need of sport. Detain the remainder until we come to you. You may go.”

Emmeline fought every step, but the need to obey was stronger. Her movements were jilted like a wooden puppet on a string. There was nothing she could do to stop. With the torch still in her hand, her face shone like a beacon. The soldiers narrowed their eyes as she neared. A few drew their heads back, their eyes wide.

“An Incenaga!” one of them shouted. “Run for your lives!”

“No!” Emmeline called out, her voice a strangled cry. “Don’t run!” But they couldn’t hear her and her arms were already lifting in obedience.

16035850   Title: The Last Witch

Author: Debbie Dee

Publisher: Dolce Books

Pages: 248

Book Description:


For generations the Incenaga Witches have been forced to use their power to fulfill the wishes of others until they are drained of their magic and left to die. Desperate to protect his infant daughter - the last surviving witch - Emmeline's father escapes with her to the forests where he vows to keep her hidden from the world and from the truth.

Sixteen years later, Emmeline is discovered and finds herself in the grip of a traitor who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if it means abusing her power until she dies. She is taken to a distant country and told she must marry the Crown Prince or her own country will be overtaken, its people slaughtered. But what sort of prince would marry a witch? And why would she be the difference between war and peace?

As she fights to regain her freedom, she is faced with a choice between a prince who offers a lifetime of security and a common gamekeeper who has no idea of her power, but offers his heart.

But who can she trust when her power can be used against her?

About Debbie Dee


Debbie Dee recently moved to southern Idaho with her husband and three children where she is learning how to be a country girl in her favorite pair of blue heels. She adores fairy tales and happy endings, but secretly crushes on the bad guy now and then. As a dedicated musician who practices way too much, she never expected writing would sweep her off her feet until she jotted down a scene from a daydream, which turned into two scenes, which turned into a messy house and her first novel. Since then she hasn't been able to let a day go by without writing. Her website is   Author’s Links




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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Stacking the shelves 2/16/13 #4

So today I did pick up a book because it was on sale

This is a meme on Tynga's Reviews You can see all the other book bloggers taking part in this right here. You just post about the books you have picked up this week and plan to read.

Beautiful Creatures from Amazon for my kindle for $2.99

and I got from my library

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement Moore

Hopefully I will be reading more.. soon

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Hunt Killers By Barry Lyga a review

I saw this and picked it up but it sat in my too read pile for quite a while.

Taken from :

It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field.

Except for the body.

Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer, some might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, "Take Your Son to Work Day" was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could--from the criminals' point of view.

And now, even though Dad has been in jail for years, bodies are piling up in the sleepy town of Lobo's Nod. Again.

In an effort to prove murder doesn't run in the family, Jazz joins the police in the hunt for this new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret--could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

From acclaimed author Barry Lyga comes a riveting thriller about a teenager trying to control his own destiny in the face of overwhelming odds. "

My Thoughts :

I really enjoyed this book. The mash of characters and the plot came together very wonderfully. The main character Jazz is the son of a serial killer stuck in his head, worried of becoming a serial killer himself. Then his small town has a girl show up dead and he takes it upon himself to help the police find out who the killer is. He follows the clues the way his serial killer father taught him how to track victims.

I really loved Jazz's internal monologue, and his fight over his choices that could change his life. I love the way that he wants to change the way that he thinks. The way that there is a chance to be something greater then he is.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Faery Tales and Nightmares by Melissa Marr a review

So after reading Carnival of Souls I picked up this book from the library because it looked good and I liked the author.

The book has 11 short stories, most of them relating to her Wicked Lovely series. I have not read those books but I enjoyed reading this book.

Each story has something to do with fairy's and supernatural beings. I think she really weaves a good story. I enjoy the characters she creates and the worlds she places them in.

My favorite story was Transition the story of a newly created vampire and the sire that created her because he didn't want his old partner. Its an interesting take on vampires.

If you like faery's or supernatural stuff pick up this book. I give it a 4 out of 5. Quite Enjoyable.

Stacking the Shelves #3 2/9/13

This week I didn't read anything.. other then

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

is the only book I picked up this week

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mercy by Rebecca Lim a review

I picked this up at the library because the cover looked interesting and the book sounded like something I might like.

The book is about an angel who is stuck living inside Human's until she has earned her way back into heaven. I didn't know this was part of a large number of books about this character and now Im going to look for the rest of them. The book was interesting and well written. I didn't even guess the ending and I do that a lot.

Our character Mercy in this book is in the body of a high school student doing a opera concert on the road and is left to stay with a family who's daughter has been abducted. She meets the girl's brother and spends time trying to help him solve the case because he believes the sister is still alive.

The book leaves you with a lot of questions, mostly because a lot of things about the angels are not explained at all in the book. I guess that it might be explained more throughout the other books.

Other all the book is entertaining, the characters believable, the plot twisty and interesting. I enjoyed it. I give it a 3 out of 5