Showing posts with label Author interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Author interview. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

PR Special Edition: Christian Schoon Interview!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition
Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition!  Our guest today is Christian Schoon, author of the soon to be published Zenn Scarlett, the first book in a series about teenage exovet and the craziness only space can bring about.

Summary: When you're studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school... is a different kind of animal.

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she's learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she's feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn't enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she's started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can't deny what she's feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what's happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she's actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients... or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year....


Welcome Christian to Poisoned Rationality!  Where I'm willing to bet that I'm even allergic to Space Zoo Animals just like every other animal :)
First off, hi to Lexie and to the Poisoned Rationality contingent. Thanks for letting me and Zenn drop by.  
Veterinarians, even exovets, aren't a common 'hero', especially in the YA crowd.  How did you come about making Zenn one?  Did you have the idea of the novel first and built her around it or did she come first and you built a story around her particular talents? 
You’re right: exoveterinarians aren’t a common career choice for most YA heroines. The quick story: I’ve been involved with various animal causes for a number of years; which brought me into the company of some dedicated, uber-skilled veterinarians who work with a number of really interesting exotic species. I’m also a marrow-deep sci fi geek. Mix these elements and you get a novel featuring a teen girl trying to pass – and survive – her first year of exoveterinarian training. So, basically, Zenn-as-exovet just showed up in my SF/animal-inclined frontal lobes one day, more or less pre-formed as a character. Then, it was my job to give her a world to inhabit, creatures to take care of and challenges to overcome.

Of all the animals mentioned through ZENN SCARLETT, and all the ones I'm sure we'll meet in the next book, do you have a favorite one?  
Good question, and very tough for a pan-species guy like me. On the smaller, personal critter level, I really do enjoy Katie’s company. She’s a rikkaset, about the size of a house cat, kind of like a cross between a raccoon, a Kit fox and a lemur, with the mental abilities of a two-or-three year-old human child and dexterous fingers that allow her to express her spunky self with sign language. On larger end of the spectrum, the Lithohippus indra, or Stonehorse, with an adult size reaching 700 feet, is also a fave. They’ve evolved the ability to “tunnel” through the fabric of space-time, and so they’re used to take massive starships with them when they burrow through the universe. These are amazing creatures, and pretty handy to have around for someone interested in star travel.
When creating the animals that Zenn and her Uncle Otha care for, did you have rules as to what could be similar to what on Earth?
The only rule in this respect was to try and provide the reader some “handle” with which to latch onto a creature’s description/traits. Humans as a species are pattern-makers. We automatically try to relate new phenomena to something that’s familiar to us, fit it into known patterns somehow. That’s one of the ways our brain works in order to help us make sense of novel experiences. So, no matter how “alien” a creature may appear on first view, humans will generally attempt to link its physical appearance to something they’re already familiar with. In this case, even tho Zenn lives on Mars, much of her background for understanding and relating to alien animals is necessarily based on her heritage as a human from distant-yet-still-Earthly origins, and that includes relying on Earther animals for comparisons when thinking about her alien patients.
Zenn, the character, seems to focus more on the everyday problems then the larger problems that as a reader we can see.  The book in general seems to focus on the daily life (and struggles) for an exovet in fact.  Without spoiling the end of the book, do you think that Zenn will get up to more madcap adventures in the next book?
You’re right. In the sequel (due out early next year) some of the issues hinted at in the first book will expand to involved Zenn in larger, “meta-plot” points including, dare I say it, saving civilization as we know it! No, really, she’ll do that and it’s gonna be one heck of a ride, if I say so myself.   :D
The answer to this is pretty obvious I'm sure, but what is the one thing you hope that readers take away from the character of Zenn?
Yes, no real surprise here… in general, when they’ve finished the book, I hope readers will feel like they’ve spent some time with a character worth knowing. I’d hope they found Zenn’s world sufficiently intriguing to engage their interest, and in the process, discover things about our own world, and its people, cultures, preconceptions and biases, in a new and revealing light. That’s one of the things that science fiction as a genre is particularly good at. And, in the end, I hope the whole experience of the first book will draw readers back for return visits as the series, and Zenn herself, continues to grow and progress.  
Thank you Christian for helping us dig a bit deeper into the psyche of an exovet.  I still contend I'd be allergic to all forms of animals, despite how spacey they are.

Wanna know more?

About the Author

Born in the American Midwest, Christian started his writing career in earnest as an in-house writer at the Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California. He then became a freelance writer working for various film, home video and animation studios in Los Angeles. After moving from LA to a farmstead in Iowa several years ago, he continues to freelance and also now helps re-hab wildlife and foster abused/neglected horses. He acquired his amateur-vet knowledge, and much of his inspiration for the Zenn Scarlett series of novels, as he learned about - and received an education from - these remarkable animals.

Author Links: Blog // // Goodreads // Publisher Page // Blog Tour


Thursday, April 18, 2013

PR Special Edition: Mia Hoddell Guest Post!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition
Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition!  Our guest today is Mia Hoddell, author of Deadly to Love, a young adult paranormal that has a decidedly different approach to relationships.

Summary: There is a love that is so dangerous, so powerful, so intoxicating that it embraces your heart and smothers your mind until it leaves you defenceless.

Serena knew that but still, it didn't stop her. His name was Kai. He was the most beautiful, irresistible man she had ever encountered. Their attraction was too compelling to fight and she knew she would go to the end of the world beside him. That is love.

However behind the allure was hidden a deadly secret – a secret that threatened her fragile life... But secrets best left unsaid never remain hidden forever. When Kai reveals his true identity, she is exposed to a frightening world she had no idea existed. Controlled by powerful Elemental forces her life is placed in mortal danger.

Unbeknown to them, their lives have been entwined from the beginning and it leads her to discover an even greater secret about who she really is. As the pieces begin to unravel and death becomes a reality, Serena is forced to decide what is more important...her love or life.

Top Ten Biggest Distractions

If I have been writing for less than an hour I am prone to getting distracted by the slightest things.
Here are the top 10 things that distract me from my work.

1. Food
Generally if I am hungry I won’t get any work done until I eat but snacking while writing also distracts me from my thoughts.

2. Facebook
I hardly ever use it but when I am signed in, if people message me I get distracted easily as I feel bad for not replying.

3. Twitter
There are new tweets every second and always giveaways going on. It’s safe to say if I stay signed in on twitter I end up entering giveaways more than writing.

Deadly to Love Playlist

4. Music
If I listen to music with lyrics I find myself singing along to the tracks (badly I might add) rather than writing. If I try to write while I’m singing I end up writing the odd lyric here and there. This does make the editing process slightly more amusing though.

5. Research
Sometimes I get to a point where I have either forgotten something or do not have enough research to continue. This means I have to stop writing to look up the information I need and therefore leads to me scrolling through many websites for hours and probably going off topic e.g. looking for books on Amazon.

6. Phone
I hate not replying to messages straight away so when people text me it distracts me as I stop writing to reply. I have started to keep my phone on silent though so this isn’t as much of a problem.

7. Family
There is always something going on in my house and it’s hard not to catch the odd conversation or weird event so inevitably I end up stopping to check it out. My cat is also incredibly needy so he also doesn’t help matters by sitting on my keyboard until I pay him attention.

8. Weather
Due to the fact we hardly get any sun in the UK, when there is a hot spell I will not get anything done as I am making the most of the weather. The same thing happens with snow.

9. iPod apps
If I hit a mental block when writing I turn to my iPod and one game leads to another. Before I know it an hour has gone by and I haven’t written anything more.

10. My tbr pile
There are so many amazing books I want to read and I just keep adding them to my pile. I think I have about 50 at the moment so when I’m not in the mood to write I will read. This causes a problem the next day though when I’m torn between finishing the novel or doing more writing.

Thanks to Lexie for hosting me on her wonderful blog and remember to check out Deadly to Love and the rest of the tour stops!

And than you Mia for stopping by to chat!!  I have to say that Mia's distractions are also my distractions.  Though in my case its mostly distractions from doing my blog stuff :whistles:

Wanna know more?

About the Author

Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading and her preferred genre is Young Adult, Paranormal Romance. Before 2009, Mia wouldn't even pick up a book and was more interested in sports. However she finally found some novels that captured her interest and developed a love of both reading and writing. Mia began with poems and after getting two published in separate anthologies she moved on to short stories. Although she enjoyed this, Mia found she had too much to tell with too little space, so later on she created her first series The Wanderer Trilogy and from there other ideas have emerged which she hopes to turn into novels as well. Elemental Killers is her second series and book two will be out soon.

Author Links: Blog // // // Goodreads // Tour Page

Friday, April 12, 2013

PR Special Edition: Bethany Wiggins Guest Post!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition
Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition!  Our guest today is Bethany Wiggins, author of Stung a post-apocalyptic tale of what happens when no one listens to me about how dangerous bees are.  Bethany is here today to discuss what (young adult) books she feels should survive the end of the world.  Welcome Bethany!


Summary: There is no cure for being stung.

Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered—her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right hand—a black oval with five marks on either side—that she doesn’t remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. She’s right.

Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded while a select few live protected inside a fortress-like wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.

Now Fiona has awakened branded, alone—and on the wrong side of the wall.


Top Seven Books That Would Survive the End of the World
I was asked what I think the top seven books are that would survive the end of the world. I tweaked the subject a little bit! I have come up with the top seven young adult fiction books that would survive the end of the world (because otherwise these would all be really boring--most of them ancient--nonfiction books. And who wants to read about that?). I don't do that well with nonfiction anyway. That's probably why I wasn't a big fan of college and dropped out before I got an associate’s degree!

Anyway, enough of the mindless ramblings and on with the post!

The Lord of the Rings—does this one need an explanation? No, I thought not, too. But I’ll throw one in anyway. This book was written between the years 1937 and 1949. That means it is about SEVENTY YEARS OLD and is still wildly popular. If a book can do that, there’s no way it is ever going to disappear.

Twilight Series—Stop with the eye-rolling! I love Twilight (cough*Edward*cough). If the end of the world comes, do you know how many teenage girls are going to risk life and limb to make sure that these books survive? Yeah. A lot.

Harry Potter Series—If nothing else, this one will magically save itself. And if it doesn’t, enough kids have read and reread it that they will know it by heart and put it back onto paper.

Lord of the Flies—this one will be used as a survival guide.

Hunger Games trilogy—see above. Survival guide! And it’s totally awesome.

The Chronicles of Narnia—This one will survive because I’ll make sure to put in into an indestructible box before the world ends, just to ensure that—if my children survive—they will not go through life without reading these! I loved The Chronicles of Narnia as a kid.

As for the seventh book to survive the end of the world here’s something to think about and then you can come up with your own answer. How many authors that have passed away and been buried in top of the line coffins had copies of their books buried with them??? Think about it. Robert Jordan? Diana Wynne Jones? Ray Bradbury? A lot of books might survive the end of the world . . . but who will be brave enough to resurrect them?


Thank you Bethany!  As for me I think I'd also choose...hm this is a toughie actually.  Maybe Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (important to have a book where the girl saves herself right?) Or The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey (she goes through a lot and comes out stronger for it)?  Brain candy like Julia Quinn or Sarah MacLean's historical romances?

I don't know, what do you guys think?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

PR Special Edtion: Marie Brennan Interview!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition
Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition!  Our guest today is Marie Brennan and yes I am over the moon about this!  Seriously, I told Leah (at TOR) waaaaay long time ago how excited I was.  You'll find no one more excited.
You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.
Hey Marie! Thank you for coming by Poisoned Rationality! As a fan of yours since Doppleganger (renamed Warrior) and fascinated by the Onyx Court books, I have to say I was really intrigued by what exactly A Natural History of Dragons would be.

That said, you didn't let me down :)

First things first, reading the prologue (or just obsessively looking at information online like me) can tell a reader quite a bit about what Dragons is, but can you tell everyone what A Natural History of Dragons is not?
A Natural History of Dragons is not a floor wax. Nor is it a dessert topping . . . wait, that’s probably not what you meant.

It isn’t set in the real world, though the setting obviously draws heavily from actual cultures. It also isn’t science fiction, although my protagonist is a scientist. And finally, it isn’t boring -- I hope!
As someone who has an interest in fantasy (in all its varieties) and anthropology (though mostly as a hobby and specifically related to certain cultures) I love your Onyx Court books because they play to both my interests. Can you discuss how you used one to blend into the other? Were there unexpected obstacles you encountered?

Historical fiction giveth, and it taketh away.

What I mean by that is, sometimes history handed me the most amazing details and coincidences on a platter, that were just utterly perfect for the story I was telling . . . and sometimes people stubbornly refused to be in the right place at the right time, or died too early, or were born too late, and I had to figure out some way around that. (Which I guess is a statement more about history than about anthropology -- but one of the nice things about not being in graduate school anymore is that I don’t have to worry about disciplinary boundaries!)

More anthropologically, I think my background in that field helped me wrap my brain around the atmosphere of the period. The fascinating part was walking the setting forward from the Elizabethan period to the Victorian; I absolutely adored seeing how London and its inhabitants changed through the centuries. I suspect that the experience contributed to me depicting Isabella's world in A Natural History of Dragons as a place with historical depth, that has seen some major changes between her youth and her old age.

On your website you mention that "Two Pretenders", which is to date the earliest set Onyx Court story, is outside the normal period and style of its companions. Do you think "Two Pretenders" will remain the earliest story or are there plans for more earlier set novellas?  (wouldn't mind seeing what the Fae were up to during Joan of Arc's campaign for French victory)

The Onyx Court per se didn't exist before the sixteenth century, so any faerie fiction I write before then may be in general continuity with the series, but won't be directly linked. (Bar, perhaps, the full tale of Suspiria and Francis Merriman, which -- if I ever write it -- will include a  deep-past strand.) But I'd be nervous writing about something like Joan of Arc; the Onyx Court set my standards for historical rigor pretty high, and I'm afraid my knowledge of French history is barely Wikipedia-deep.

Did you pitch the idea to your editor or was Dragons a book you had percolating so long that you bowled over your editor with your enthusiasm and they had no choice but to let you have your way else weather your thwarted passion? (please tell me there was a sword fight!)

Of course there was a sword fight! Atop the Flatiron Building, in a thunderstorm. He said "There can be only one!" and I said "No, I want at least three books in the series, and preferably five."

By which I mean I wrote thirty thousand words of this book several years ago, then dusted that
off more recently and pitched it to my editor, who offered me a three-book contract.

Sooo....Lady Trent mentions that this is only one of 'many' volumes. What can we expect in
the next volume? Is there a bribe I can offer to get the low down?
Isabella goes to Bayembe and Mouleen, two countries that are equatorial-African in their inspiration. There are cheetah-like dragons and crocodilian dragons and an invading army, and
a place based on Iguazu Falls, with a cliff island in the middle of the waterfall.

To know more than that, you'll have to offer me something pretty darn good . . . .
And because I really want to know--why so cool? Between your essays, your world-building,
your research, your writing and your very helpful posts (both on your blog and at Book View
Cafe), I'm not entirely sure you sleep. Do you sleep? Do you do anything not related to your
writing to kind of unwind?
The funny part is, all I see is the list of things I could be getting done, if I weren't so busy lazing
around! But yes: I study karate, and play a lot of roleplaying games, and have started practicing
piano again. I also watch an embarrassing amount of TV and movies ia Netflix's streaming
service -- usually as a bribe to myself to do things like catch up on e-mail or clean the living
Thank you Marie for coming by! For future reference I should just hand you my money now
because you've got a guaranteed sale in me every time.

Thanks so much for hosting me!


Throughout the book there are gorgeous black and white drawings by Lady Trent depicting her travels and studies.  My favorite would have to be the image of the Wolf Drake(which you can see below).

(c) TOR & Todd Lockwood
Now for some fun Linkage! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

PR Special Edtion: Sherri L. Smith Interview!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition
Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition!  Our guest today is Sherri L. Smith, author of Orleans (released earlier this month) a novel about finding a future worth fighting for. 
First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.

After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.
Welcome Sherri to Poisoned Rationality--where reading is not just a hobby but an obsession :)
Thanks, Lexie!  It’s a pleasure to visit the equally-obsessed!
From the first time you heard Fen’s voice, did you picture the trials she’d go through for a brighter future?  Was there anything you put to paper that you later decided to take out because it seemed like too much to put her through?
What a great question! When I first heard Fen’s voice, I think she was a little bit softer than she turned out to be. The first words I heard her say in my head were “O-Neg Davis, he beautiful,” so naturally I thought there might be an unrequited romance in there somewhere. As I listened harder and the world developed, I saw Fen differently. She might admire a handsome face, but in the end she’d write it off as trouble if the guy didn’t live up to her very exacting standards. (Something my husband would say is true about me, too!)

As far as putting her through “too much” goes, I have a bad habit of protecting my characters. Some advice I give students when I talk about writing is to think of the worst thing that can happen to your character, then make it happen. So, in early drafts, my editor said “This is a dangerous world, how come there’s no violence or weapons?” I had a reason for the lack of weapons, which is in the book to an extent, but I knew he was right and I was pulling punches.
So I went all in and put the things I’d been holding back. Which won me the comment, “That’s kind of harsh for a ten-year-old. Maybe you want to pull back?” But by that point, I was sold. So there was some haggling and, in the end, I did remove one moment early on in the book and I adjusted some character relationships not because it was too violent or unbelievable, but because in a sea of violence, Fen needed one quiet spot in her life to look back on. I’m happy with the final result, but I do think Fen could have handled the old version, too!
ORLEANS is a different manner of book from either FLYGIRL or SPARROW, but all three share a common thread of perseverance by sticking to what you believe is the right thing.  Is this something you believe to be true?
Absolutely. My brother likes to say, “Stand up for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” We both inherited a strong (maybe overdeveloped?) sense of right and wrong from our mother. And we’re stubborn people when we want to be. Sometimes that’s the only way to get to where you want to be in life.
You’ve described ORLEANS as a very personal book for you because of what your mother went through during Katrina.  Were you able to share Fen with her? 
Sadly, no. My mom passed away in September 2007. Fen was in my head back then, but she didn’t make it to the page until the following year. My mom was a big influence on her, though. One day, my mom and I were sitting around talking and she says, “that reminds of the time So-and-so pulled a knife on Miss Such-and-such and I took it from her!” I was like, “Whaaat?” Apparently, when my mom was in third grade, another student got mad at the teacher and pulled a knife. When the girl passed her desk to attack the teacher, my mom jumped up and disarmed her. Crazy pants. Just like that. My mom, the nine-year-old hero! 
I asked her what the heck she was thinking. She shrugged and said, “she had a knife,” as if that’s all the answer she needed. This was 1940-something so no cops were called and the school wasn’t put on lock down. The teacher was grateful and that was that. The angry girl, however, threatened to beat my mom up after school. So she did the only thing a nine-year-old hero can do in that situation. She left school right after the bell and ran all the way home! I actually wrote a short story based on that conversation called “Momfight.” It’s a huge a tangent from this interview, so I’ll shut up about it, but thanks for conjuring the memory. Today is my mom’s birthday. I love you, Mom!
What’s next?  Will you be revisiting historical fiction or speculative fiction again?
My next book is actually both! I’m working on an historical fantasy based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” which most people know from Tchaikovsky’s ballet, “The Nutcracker.” After that, there might be a mystery or two in the future. I like working in different genres, figuring out how they work, so the future is wide open.
For a first time visitor to New Orleans, what do you suggest they do to avoid being just like every other tourist?
Good question. Well, you want to be like all the other tourists and go to Café du Monde in the French Quarter. While you’re there, treat yourself to a dressed oyster po’ boy at Felix’s. Then you can ditch the crowds and go for some down home food at Two Sisters Kitchen (not to be confused with the tonier Court of Two Sisters in the Quarter). Don’t forget to hit Plum Street afterward for the biggest snoballs you’ve ever had! Oh, and if you’re there for Mardi Gras parades and there are beads or doubloons on the ground, step on them first, and then pick them up. Otherwise, you could lose a finger to a real parade veteran who knows to stomp before you stoop!
Thank you Sherri for joining us today! 

Thanks for having me. It was a blast!


A booked based on "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King"? Count me in!  Sherri's mother definitely sounds like she was someone who had stories to tell (and oh man how cool that she was a true blue hero!) didn't she?  At 9 I wasn't even allowed near knives, never mind disarming a rampaging student...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

PR Special Edition: Evie Manieri Interview!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition
Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition! That's right with the help of TOR I once again hoodwinked another author into being interviewed. Hint if you offer them cookies, they come running! (jk) Welcome Evie to Poisoned Rationality!
US Cover
Summary: Rising from their sea-torn ships like vengeful, pale phantoms, the Norlanders laid waste to the Shadar under cover of darkness. They forced the once-peaceful fisher folk into slavery and forged an alliance with their former trading partners, the desert-dwelling Nomas tribe, cutting off any hope of salvation.

Now, two decades after the invasion, a rebellion gathers strength in the dark corridors of the city. A small faction of Shadari have hired the Mongrel, an infamous mercenary, to aid their fledgling uprising—but with her own shadowy ties to the region, she is a frighteningly volatile ally. Has she really come to lead a revolution, or for a more sinister purpose all her own?

Set in a fictional quasi-Medieval Mediterranean region with a strong cast of male and female characters, the series “presents a striking world with civilizations similar to those of the Vikings and the nomadic cultures of the Middle East, and with the Mediterranean sensibilities of the ancient Greeks. Her characters are passionate and memorable, lending a personal touch to a complex tale of clashing cultures and philosophies.
You've described BLOOD'S PRIDE "epic rebellion told on a very personal level" and that there's a larger picture they [the characters] don't understand. Since the series is told from many different
perspectives, can a reader assume some of those perspectives will be unreliable in hindsight and some are more on point then they realize?

For the most part the characters in BLOOD’S PRIDE are just standing too close to the painting: they can’t see the whole picture, so they’re working from assumptions that are essentially faulty. That’s true on several different levels, from the political and military machinations of kings and emperors, all the way down to the characters’ understanding of themselves and where they fit into the world. I think that’s the fascinating flaw in our human intelligence… we tend to extrapolate and draw conclusions based on what we’ve learned, even when that knowledge is woefully insufficient. It’s our charming and doomed way of dealing with the uncertainties of life.
When creating a series from multiple angles, how do you keep what everyone knows (and how they found it out) straight?
It can be difficult, that’s true! With a book like BLOOD’S PRIDE, there’s the extra challenge of factoring in what the reader knows and when. I keep detailed timelines and arcs for each character – not just the point-of-view ones – and factor it all in. I see the story less as one big plot arc than as the journeys of the individual characters, so from that standpoint, when they learn certain things is just as important to their decision-making as the physical action. For instance, it’s only when Daryan finally learns of Eofar’s clandestine relationship with Harotha that he’s inspired to challenge the self-imposed barrier keeping him away from Isa.
The UK cover vs. the US cover is starkly different--the UK cover is a towering edifice in a barren
landscape, while the US cover has the Mongrel front and center looking fierce. Do you think one displays the content more than the other? Have you found the different covers driving different expectations from readers?

UK Cover
I think both covers are great (though I’ve also met a lot of people who prefer one over the other). Both covers make different but equally valid statements about the book. The UK cover has the stark, glaring loneliness that is a great metaphor for the world of BLOOD’S PRIDE. On the US cover, the scale of the figures is a marvelous way of representing that this is an intensely character-driven story, and the way the Mongrel is coming right at the reader emphasizes the personal confrontations (both internal and external) that drive the action of the book.
As for expectations I’m sure those vary from person to person, and my hope is that readers will connect with the world of BLOOD’S PRIDE no matter what version of the book they pick up.
Is there a genre of writing you'd like to explore outside of fantasy?
Historical fiction is appealing, since I studied history in college and still have a real love for research. Perhaps one day I’ll find a story somewhere in the past that needs to be told. I’m not entirely sure I could keep the fantasy out of it, though. Happily, there’s always historical fantasy!
What's your favorite way of relaxing?
Knitting and watching old (pre-1950) movies - usually at the same time. I love complicated lace and cable patterns. As for films, I particularly love the comedies of Preston Sturges and Ernst Lubitsch, but I’ll watch pretty much anything in black & white. I’m very proud that my nine-year-old daughter not only loves Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, but could pick Ward Bond and Felix Bressart out of a line-up.
Thank you Evie for stopping by!  While I had my reservations about BLOOD'S PRIDE, I can't deny that the world and the characters are fascinating and worth coming back for.  I look forward to the further adventures and see just what it takes to survive a rebellion.

Friday, February 15, 2013

PR Special Edition: RS Belcher Interview!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition
Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition! That's right with the help of TOR I hoodwinked another author into being interviewed. Don't worry folks, no authors were harmed in the creation of this post. Welcome Rod to Poisoned Rationality!
Summary: Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.

A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn…and so will all of Creation.
The cover of The Six-Gun Tarot is beautiful and eye-catching (pun totally intended). When envisioning the book what kind of cover did you think it would have? Did you have input on this cover?

It is amazing, right! I love it and I know it has got me a lot of sales. The artist is Raymond Swanland and he is a great guy and an incredible artist.

I was shown the cover art after they had commissioned Raymond for it and I thought it was perfect! I thanked Raymond for wrapping my words in such beautiful, powerful art. He said some very nice things about the book and said he read the manuscript and that it inspired him in his work. I’m very lucky to have my first book have such a great cover! I would love to work with him again, if at all possible.

Oh, and “eye-catching”…Ooofff. You really “blindsided” me with that.
With a tagline like "Buffy meets Deadwood", people must have had a varied idea of what to expect when reading the book. Have you read any responses that you didn't expect?

Yeah, a few. I’ve been said to be “deep and philosophical” and also “shallow and obscure”. I’ll take the lot (hahahahaha). If you please everyone then you produced gray goo and you deserve all the accolades such crap deserve.

I write what I think is fun, cool and interests me. My philosophy is all over the map and I try very hard to write with an open mind and from as many viewpoints as I can stretch my brain to hold.  I’m really happy the majority of folks who have read the book seem to “get” that I was having fun and trying to do something old in a new way. I am very grateful for the kindness and thoughtfulness of the folks who read and enjoyed the book. And I’m honored to have my book produce thought and discussion. Love me or hate me, just please don’t bore me (hahahahaha).

The funniest thing is that the folks I thought I’d get the most shit from about stuff in the book are the ones I haven’t heard a peep out of, and the folks who I thought would appreciate what I was trying to pull off are the most critical. I enjoy having my ideas and beliefs challenged in a thoughtful and respectful manner. In the end, I have to put all of that stuff aside and write what I want, the way I want and hope the reader will get something of value, to them, out of it.

Your story "Orphans" in the Star Trek anthology Strange New Worlds 9, was obviously set in
a universe that has some rules set in stone. Was it hard for you to work within a franchise that's
been around so long?

“Orpahans” was an experiment for me. I was trying out different kinds of fiction and I saw the ad for the contest on the trek.com website and decided to try a genre fiction piece set in an established universe. I am a HUGE Trek fan, by the way. I grew up with the original series in reruns and I love the philosophy Gene Roddenberry established in Star Trek and I love the show in all its incarnations (some incarnations more than others…)

And, to be honest I wrote “Orphans” pretty wild and free. I mashed up a bunch of stuff from many different incarnations of the series and just tried to make a thoughtful, enjoyable story (“fun” is a huge part of my writing philosophy) with the wonderful pile of Legos the Trek Universe offers a writer.  So, No I guess I should have felt some constriction but I didn’t. I won the Grand Prize that year and best of all; Harlan Ellison didn’t sue me (hahahahaha)!

Now, the next year, I did another Trek mash-up story and it made the cut from the editor, Dean Smith, but fell in to a hole once it went into corporate, and was not included in the final volume of the series. So maybe I did step on some continuity toes with that one, I honestly don’t know, but I got a damn good unpublished Trek story out of it.

The sequel to The Six-Gun Tarot has a working title of “The 32 Killers of Golgotha", which this being the business it is will likely change. Did Six-Gun have any other titles you threw around or a working title?

Yeah, the working title of Six-Gun was just “Golgotha”. There was concern that that title wouldn’t evoke a fantasy western vibe, so my Editor, Greg Cox (an amazing writer and editor and a great guy) went through a list of possible titles (I’ve got that list somewhere still...) and decided on The Six-Gun Tarot. In retrospect, I think it was a good choice to change it. I actually asked my friends on Facebook to pitch me title ideas in the middle of the process. I got some real funny ones- Lots of H.P. Lovecraft riffs-“The Horror that came to
Golgotha”, “The Ghoul, The Bad and the Tentacle”…You get the idea ( hahahaha).

I admit I'm highly interested in your other work in progress, The Greenway. Raymond Chandler has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid watching the movies with my granddad.

Me too! I love the noir esthetic and I love detective fiction. I think if you enjoyed Six-Gun, You will enjoy Greenway. It’s an occult detective story- it has lots of weirdness, kink, conspiracy, magic and violence. Think “Harry Potter, the Trainspotting Years” (hahaha).I’m finishing it up currently. I will be happy to talk more about it in future, if you’d like. 

Is there a genre you think you would never delve into?

Nope. If I think of one, I will try to do something in it, just to push me. I love storytelling
and I love trying new stuff and I hate having limits.

Thank you for joining us today!

Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed it. I hope we can talk again soon. You can reach me at my website or by email () twitter () and on Facebook (Author RS Belcher and The Six-Gun Tarot). Thanks again!

Readers you can be sure of one thing--soon as The Greenway is avail to consume I will be all over that. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

PR Special Edition: MC Planck!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition
Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition! Today we have M.C. Planck discussing his omnigenre debut The Kassa Gambit!
Summary: Centuries after the ecological collapse of Earth, humanity has spread among the stars. Under the governance of the League, our endless need for resources has driven us to colonize hundreds of planets, all of them devoid of other sentient life. Humanity is apparently alone in the universe.

Then comes the sudden, brutal decimation of Kassa, a small farming planet, by a mysterious attacker. The few survivors send out a desperate plea for aid, which is answered by two unlikely rescuers. Prudence Falling is the young captain of a tramp freighter. She and her ragtag crew have been on the run and living job to job for years, eking out a living by making cargo runs that aren’t always entirely legal. Lt. Kyle Daspar is a police officer from the wealthy planet of Altair Prime, working undercover as a double agent against the League. He’s been undercover so long he can't be trusted by anyone—even himself.

While flying rescue missions to extract survivors from the surface of devastated Kassa, they discover what could be the most important artifact in the history of man: an alien spaceship, crashed and abandoned during the attack.

But something tells them there is more to the story. Together, they discover the cruel truth about the destruction of Kassa, and that an imminent alien invasion is the least of humanity’s concerns.

Welcome Micheal to Poisoned Rationality!  I do believe this is the first time I've reviewed and interviewed a set of spouses at different times about different books, so this is a rather novel thing :)
We’re a novel family. Well, the latest addition isn’t, but we have hopes. :D

Easy question first!  Describe THE KASSA GAMBIT in 140 characters or less.
Aliens attack! Followed by much heroic brooding.

What was the very first thing (or one of the first things) you thought of when you began writing?

I had a dream about a wizard on a lonely island perpetually covered in storms. I didn’t want to lose the way that image made me feel, so I took a community college short-story writing class. I’m pretty happy with the story that came out of it, though I never sold it.

THE KASSA GAMBIT explores quite a different ideas about humanity's future--technology will make us unto Gods for instance and the 'okimune' (the collective human realm).  Are these concepts you've discussed before?  Where did 'okimune' come from?

Okimune is one spelling variant of ecumene, a word so obscure it’s hard to find in any dictionary.  It’s derived from Greek and mostly used in apologetics, but I got it from Jack Vance (although he spelled it ”oikumene” ). It’s a great concept; it distinguishes the civilized from the uncivilized; so pirate bases and lost worlds aren’t part of the oikumene even though they’re human.

The currently popular cyber-punk term “the Grid” has a similar meaning. To be off the grid is to be outside of civilization. In Vance’s books, the outside is called the “Beyond.” In my wife’s book (Song of Scarabaeus), she called it the “Crib,” as distinguished from the “Fringe.”

Prudence uses this word not so much to imply that the criminal elements should be left out of the loop, but rather to denote that this is a problem so large it is species-wide; everything that thinks of itself as human must be concerned with the first alien contact. The response to the aliens must not be a local or political act, but a collective act of all of civilization. Like global warming is for us, actually.

The transhumanist idea – that technology can remake our essential human nature – is actually handled quite skeptically in the book.

In Physics 101 the first thing the professor does is draw a lever and a weight. Then he draws a box around it and says, “We’re only going to worry about what’s inside the box.” This is a brilliant technique for reducing problems to something small enough to analyze, but the real world is still out there beyond the edges of your box. I have spent my professional career drawing bigger and bigger boxes, with more and more complex analyses, but invariably you run into the edge of the box and everything breaks. I doubt we can ever draw as big a box as the transhumanist idea requires.

Are we going to learn more about Pru's heritage--the gift from her mother, the planet she is constantly seeking?

I do have a sequel loosely sketched out, but right now I’m busy with a contemporary SF about dogs and a fantasy trilogy. Although I imagine I could be tempted to reorganize my priorities (hint hint, Booker Prize committee!).

Was it hard to come up with all the political and legal doubletalk that Kyle and to a lesser degree Pru, encounter during the quest for the truth? (its really impressive, especially the converse between Kyle and the Doc)

Actually, that’s just how I normally think. The hard part was not making the whole book like that.

Thank you for coming by Michael and I look forward to your next offering!
Thank you! - MCP

I should point out I have no issues with heroic brooding - its practically a requirement for the fictional men I love. And...quite frankly my idols have always been those on the outside.

What to know more?  Check out Michael's website, his blog MC Planck Rebooted, and my review of The Kassa Gambit!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

PR Special Edition: The Escape is Only the Beginning Blog Tour!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition

Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition! Today we have exclusive content from author Emily McKay! Trust is a thing of the past in The Farm, but hey I'd never steer you wrong right?  :whistles:


Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race...

You list many famous historical figures as abductura in the book. Is the idea of abductura something that has been addressed before? Do you believe it could be true?
I don’t know if it has been addressed before and I don’t think there really are abductura’s but I think we all need to be aware of the power that other people have in our lives—and the power we have in other’s lives.
If you were on The Farm, what would you do? Would you be a breeder, or try and escape? Would you just try accept your fate?
I’ve never been very good at accepting my fate.  I like to think I would be like Lily, determined to save those people who needed saving. 
Remember by answering whether you'd accept your fate or not you have a chance to win a copy of The Farm and a Vampire survival Kit!  Check out my Contest Post for all the details!

Me personally?  I would try and accept my fate.  Unless I had someone to fight for (like my sister), then all hell would break loose before I let them use her in any sort of fashion.

Thank you to Caitlin and Emily for letting me participate in the tour!  Please check out BREE'S BOOKS for the next leg of the tour and go to The Farm's Official Website where you can earn points for cool prizes!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

PR Special Edition: Tammara Weber Blog Tour Stop!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition

Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition! Today we have exclusive content from author Tammara Webber! After hitting high with her self-pubbed book Easy, she was picked up for print publication with Berkley!

A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.


In what ways to Jacqueline’s friendships mimic your real-life friendships? Are they totally imagined or are they based on your experience? 
Jacqueline’s friendships with Benji, Maggie and Mindi are similar to many that happen during college – you may never see that person outside class, study group or the dorm hallway, and you may go your separate ways forever when it’s over – but during that semester, you’re best friends for three hours a week. These relationships are situational, but still important. Work friendships are similar. Someone we might never interact with socially outside of that structured environment can become essential to our ultimate development, even if the relationship only lasts for a short period of time.

And then were are the often unexpected friendships that we grab hold of and never let go. Where Jacqueline and her high school friends drifted apart, her relationship with Erin is more likely to last. Erin is very like my BFF – she’s drop-dead gorgeous, hilarious, very self-confident, and she has at times forced me to be confident by pulling me along by the hand or standing behind me and shoving. She’s also been there to listen, comfort me through loss, and always be on my side, whether I was right or wrong. 
What do you guys think?  Did you have similar experiences?  I definitely did, my freshmen year of college there was a tight knit group of us in Theater class.  The four of us always sat together and always worked together (plus often got in trouble for talking...).  After that class though I didn't see them again--not because anything happened just...school did.  We were all in different majors and different schedules and levels of education. 

Thank you to Tammara and Rosanne for giving me a chance to participate in the tour!


Friday, September 7, 2012

PR Special Edition: Taylor Keating Interview!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition

Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition! Today we have the author team of Taylor Keating joining us to discuss their Guardian trilogy!

First things first! Fair Game is the final book in the Guardian trilogy, so I'll make this easy - can you describe the series in three sentences or less?
It all started out with the idea of a very smart heroine who unwittingly taps into a parallel dimension via cutting edge technology. We tossed in some magic, some bad guys, a sexy, strong hero who is literally adrift, his body safe at home while his astral traveling spirit is enslaved by our heroine’s (and the world’s) worst enemy. Then we added a sidekick who sometimes steals the show.
Writing as a team, how does that work for you both? Do you both outline the novel and then
develop certain parts independently or do you trade ideas back and forth constantly?

When we start a new story we create a story board and break everything down into chapters and turning points. We use different color sticky notes for each character and another one for world building. We don’t always follow it exactly but it is a guideline as we are writing. As for the actual process when we’re deep into a story we talk on the phone almost every day. I will write for a couple days a week, and then hand the work over to her. She’ll edit what I wrote (she’s the grammar queen) and then she’ll add new pages. After she passes it back to me, I’ll reread, and we’ll discuss direction, trade ideas back and forth, etc before I add my new pages. It’s a pretty good partnership, especially considering my weaknesses are her strengths and vice versa. Although I must say, we’re both learning from each other and overcoming our weaknesses.
What's next now that the Guardian books are over?
We just finished putting the touches on a shiny new proposal and our agent is sending it out for us now. The waiting to hear is always so hard!
Who came up with the story of River and Hawk? Did it undergo a lot of changes from original
concept to finished product?

Cathryn actually came up with the idea, then asked Paula if she wanted to co write it. Once Paula got her hands on it, the world grew and became something spectacular. I’m a concept girl and she’s the ‘big picture’ thinker.
Was there any special research you did for River's job? Do you enjoy video games? (obviously for Hawk that must have been easy--who doesn't have a hot Fae Guardian in their address book ready to dish on his life?)
Neither of us are gamers! But our sons are. You can’t imagine how many hours we had to spend watching them play. They were thrilled to get to be the authorities in our relationships for a change.
As for additional research, Paula was working for an aerospace company at the time and a friend of hers was a computer systems analyst and developer. Paula would ask her all kinds of questions as to what would work, or at least sound plausible to the reader. Then we’d add magic.

The hardest question of them all--I have a piece of cake, the most delicious cake there ever was
or will be, who gets it?

I’d like to say we’d share it, but that’s just not going to happen. When chocolate and Paula come together, I duck! LOL


Many thanks to Leah (at Tor Books), Catherine and Paula for joining us today!  Wanna know more?  Check out Taylor Keating's Website, their Twitter () or get a taste of their writing in the excerpt below (click the upper right corner to maximize)!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

PR Special Edition: Shobhan Bantwal Interview!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition

Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition! Today we have Shobhan Bantwal joining us for an interview!

SynopsisAt thirty-one, Meena Shenoy has a fulfilling career at a New Jersey high-tech firm. Not that it impresses her mother and aunts, who make dire predictions about her ticking biological clock. Men are drawn to Meena’s dainty looks and she dates regularly, but hasn’t met someone who really intrigues her. Someone professional, ambitious, confident, caring. Someone like her new boss, Prajay Nayak.

Just as Meena’s thoughts turn to romance, Prajay makes an astonishing request. He wants her to craft a personal ad that will help him find a suitable wife: a statuesque, sophisticated Indian-American woman who will complement his striking height.

Despite her attraction to Prajay and the complications of balancing work and her “marriage consultant” role, Meena can’t refuse the generous fee. And as her family is thrown into turmoil by her brother’s relationship with a Muslim woman, Meena comes to surprising realizations about love, tradition, and the sacrifices she will—and won’t—make for the sake of both.

A big welcome to Shobhan to Poisoned Rationality! I had the pleasure of meeting Shobhan
when she did signings here in my state a few years ago for The Dowry Bride. Thank you so much for being here!

Thank you for the enthusiastic welcome to your popular blog, and for your kind and continued support of my books.
Easy question--what's the best part of The Reluctant Matchmaker that you hope readers take away from it?
The best part of The Reluctant Matchmaker is that it is a heart-warming story with a protagonist that readers can sympathize with and root for until the very end. And I hope my readers get a better understanding of Indian-American immigrant culture by experiencing it through Meena, my petite heroine who falls in love with her super-tall boss.
From The Dowry Bride to your newest book, The Reluctant Matchmaker you've covered many
aspects of Indian culture--both here in America and abroad--that many folks may not even realize
are still a large part of the culture. What has been the hardest part about reaching an audience that knows very little about your culture?

One of the main reasons I tackle social issues that impact contemporary Indian women is to bring awareness to them by weaving them into fun mainstream stories that include strong romantic elements.  To that end, I try to make my stories entertaining as well as educational.

The hardest part about reaching a wide American audience has been to convince loyal romance readers to try a different kind of ethnic romance. While literary Asian novels and African-American and Latino romances have successfully captured the attention of readers, Indian romances still have a long way to go before they are accepted as meaningful mainstream fiction.
When Western readers comment on your books, what do they seem the most unsure about?
Are there other authors you'd recommend to them so they may learn more about Indian-American culture?

Western readers who send me feedback on my books typically seem to be pleasantly surprised that romance can indeed be found in a conservative, arranged-marriage culture like India. They also appear to be doubtful about how some horrific practices like dowry and female fetus abortion that plague contemporary Indian women, could possibly exist side by side with loving, caring relationships.

Consequently I try to portray my protagonists battling such antiquated customs and finding love and romance.

One of my fellow Indian-American mainstream authors that I recommend to my readers is Anjali Banerjee. She writes interesting women's fiction with Indian-American characters and hints of romance. Most other South-Asian authors write literary fiction and may not always appeal to romance readers.
You've often described your books as 'Bollywood in a Book' (for those who don't know, Bollywood is a specific genre of Indian film-making that often involves family politics, romance, singing and dancing), do you feel this helps new readers to know what they are to expect?
I describe my books as "Bollywood in a Book" because they combine the drama, emotion, tastes, and textures of India with a refreshing dose of reality to make them more interesting and vibrant. However, my books are not pure Bollywood, because there is none of the unrealistic singing and dancing typical of Indian movies. My novels are primarily tales of intelligent and passionate women who are willing to fight for freedom from their old-fashioned and often repressive Indian culture.

And yes, "Bollywood in a Book" does indicate to readers that my novels are indeed lively entertainment.
Are there other aspects of Indian-American culture you hope to explore in future novels?
I don't have any new books in the pipeline at this time since I just retired from my day job and moved to Arizona to spend some quality time with my two small grandchildren. I am enjoying a long hiatus from writing at the moment. If and when I resume writing, I may look to India once again for more women's issues. Homelessness is a topic that has caught my interest as a potential theme for a book.
And lastly a hard question--what's been the best part of writing for you?
For me, the most fulfilling part of writing has been the ability to reach so many thousands of
readers through my books. The feedback that pours into my mailbox each week is beyond my wildest expectations. More than the words of praise, it is the fact that I have brought awareness to contemporary Indian women's issues to such a wide readership that pleases me the most. Naturally, I love seeing my books in bookstores, signing books for readers, and speaking to book clubs and other readers groups. Nevertheless, the best part is being able to interact with readers not only in the U.S. and Canada, but across the world.

Thank you Shobhan!!  My favorite of Shobhan's books is The Dowry Bride, still holds me heart after all this time, but I encourage everyone to check her books out!  More than romances, these are intriguing looks into a culture often misunderstood.

Wanna know more?  Check out Shobhan's website and follow along on her book tour presented by Virtual Authors Book Tours!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

PR Special Edition: Michelle K. Pickett Interview + Contest!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition

Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition! Today we have Michelle K. Pickett, author of the recently released Concilium from MuseItUpPublishing answering some questions!  Stay tuned for the contest at the end to win a copy or an Amazon GC!

SynopsisA tale of deadly creatures and forbidden romance...

Leslee hit a strange animal with her car. Now she’s marked for death.

It was a simple car accident – the animal didn’t even die – but it drew the attention of the Cruor Imbibo. Driven by their insatiable need to feed, the secret society of Imbibo has devoured the dregs of civilization for centuries. Afraid Leslee will expose them, and put an end to their meal ticket, the Imbibo want her dead.

The Concilium is Leslee's only protection. Guardian of the ancient secret and the protector of humans, the Concilium fights to control the Imbibo and end their feeding frenzy. Miller works for the Concilium. Keeping Leslee alive is his next assignment.

Now Leslee is on the run, and the only thing between her flesh and the snapping jaws of the Imbibo is Miller. He and Leslee quickly form a bond, but will falling in love make Miller’s job more difficult? Because if he fails, Leslee will be next on the Imbibo menu.

The Cruor Imbibo are coming, and they're coming for Leslee.

Welcome Michelle to Poisoned Rationality!  I'm doubly pleased to have you on board today as your recent release Concilium has been thoroughly enjoyable so far and your future to be published novel PODs looks to be just as exciting!

Thank you so much for having me.  I’m very excited to be here!

First things first, tells us about Concilium and the world it inhabits; what can a person expect if they accidentally run over that strange animal on the back country roads?
The Concilium inhabits our world, just not the part of the world we see. So in a lot of ways their world and ours are very similar, except for the Imbibo, of course.

Generally, you’d be safe if you ran over the animal.  It’s the things in the forest that may be watching you that you have to worry about.  The Concilium tries to keep them under control, but one or two slip by and...has a snack or two. :)  That’s what we have to be careful of.  We don’t want to become their midnight snack.
What has it been like working with both a digital publisher (MuseItUp) and a print publisher (Spencer Hill) for your first novels?
First I have to say that I am very blessed to be able to work with the publishing houses that I do.  Both MuseItUp and Spencer Hill Press are wonderful to deal with.  The people are fantastic.  I can’t say enough good things about them.

As far as the books are concerned, in many ways it hasn’t been all that different between the two houses. Editing and cover art selection were handled the same.  The lead time for a paperback is a little longer than for a digital copy. I imagine the differences will become more apparent when I actually hold a paper book in my hand.
How did the idea for Concilium come to you?  Which is to say, its not autobiographical right? :D
No, it isn’t autobiographical. :)   I wish I had a really great answer to this question.  Stephenie Meyer of Twilight fame had her idea come to her in a dream...oh, if only it were that easy for the rest of us.  I honestly can’t remember exactly how Concilium first came to me.  I do remember that I was cleaning out some files on my computer when I found some notes and partial chapters I’d written months, if not years, before.  I thought about deleting them, but filed them away in my “junk” file instead.  Well, I couldn’t stop thinking about the story.  My mind kept rolling the idea over and over and I started playing the “what if” game.  What if this happened...then this...then this could happen...and what if he did this....and she did that...and before I knew it I had an idea so I started writing.
Who have been your main influences?  Any writers to recommend for your readers you think they may enjoy?
My main influence was my grandmother.  She instilled my love for reading in me.  I don’t think I’d be the reader I am today if she hadn’t taken me to the library every weekend when I’d spend the night with her.  And I know I wouldn’t be an author.

Oh, there are so many authors to chose from.  I just read a book by Meradeth Houston called “Colors Like Memories” that I enjoyed very much.  Emily White and Ednah Walters are both published through Spencer Hill and they are extremely talented.  Dan Cohen is also pubbed through Spencer Hill.  His book “Masters of the Veil” is a great book for boys.  I also enjoy reading Lisa Jackson, Wendy Corsi-Staub, Sandra Brown, and, of course, I’d recommend my book.  lol!
Any advice on how to avoid the Imbibo? Any chance we can get our own Miller to :ahem: safeguard us?
Chances are you’ll be fine when it comes to the Imbibo.  It’s a rarity that humans stumble across them.  As for Miller...sigh...I want one, too.  He’s almost the perfect man. Tall, dark and handsome with piercing green eyes and...well, he’s hot, I’ll just say that.  But he’s also a pain in the rear and has an attitude that would drive most people insane.

We learn a little about his past and what has happened that causes his unbearable demeanor in Concilium, but we really learn about him and his story in the sequel, Concilium: The Departure, which releases in November from MuseItUp.
And of course the hardest question you will ever have to answer so take this as seriously as you can: cake or pie?
LOL! I was gearing myself up for something ground-breaking when I read the first part of the sentence.  Now I can’t stop laughing because all I can think of is the movie American Pie and there is no way I can take that seriously!  So considering what happened to the pie in the movie, my answer is going to be cake.  Definitely, cake.

Thank you Michelle!!  Seriously guys, the Cruor Imbibo are nasty creatures--I don't envy anything that happens to Les during Concilium...even if Miller is smoking hot.

Wanna know more?  Check out Michelle's website, or check out the webpage specifically for the Concilium (I promise you won't be hunted down for learning their secrets!).

Michelle is offering the following prizes:
1 - Concilium E-Book
1 - $10 Amazon Gift Card

Just Enter the Rafflecoptor giveaway below!

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