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BCP Creative Dreams is Backover Promotions online magazine which is featured in their tour section of their site for a 3 post bundle.

BCP Creative Dreams is also available free for anyone that books a tour through them.

1 post in Creative Dreams is £2 – to book a slot please contact them kate[at]backcoverpromotions.co.uk

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Win paperbacks, magick wands, and a $25 Gift Card! (see below)

Warrior Faeries and Math Magick by Susan Kaye Quinn

My new middle grade fantasy, Faery Swap, is about a fourteen-year-old boy who is tricked into swapping places with a warrior faery prince and has to find his way back home before the dimensional window between their worlds slams shut.
2 minute book trailer
In my prior life, I worked for NASA and got a lot of degrees in engineering. (Yes, I really am a rocket scientist and have the Ph.D. to prove it!) I used the logical-left-side of my brain to design aircraft engines and study global warming. Now that I write fiction, I love using the creative-right-side of my brain to create compelling characters and dramatic adventures as well as the logical-left-side to weave math, science, and technology into my stories. Math and science have always seemed wondrous to me, so it made sense to me that the warrior faeries in Faery Swap would steal mathematical knowledge from humans in order to enhance their magickal faery powers.
In my story, knowledge is literally power.
I’m passionate about this message – that knowledge is power and math is magick – and the ethical use of that knowledge is a key theme throughout the story. I wanted to share this message, so I created a Virtual Author Visit, Common-Core-based Teacher’s Guide, and a card-based game, so any teacher, anywhere on the planet, could share this message with their students.

9 minute Virtual Author Visit

In this video, I share my background in science and engineering and talk about the book, then show how humans use math in the real world to do amazing things… even without magick to help them. The Teacher’s Guide, activities, card game, and videos are meant flexible – teachers and librarians can spend as little as 2 minutes sharing the trailer or they can use the materials to create a whole unit around the book and the Knowledge is Power When Math is Magick theme.

My hope is that some of my love for math and science will rub off on young readers, and that kids will see they each have an inner warrior faery capable of seeking knowledge and performing great deeds with it!

(Click here to find out more about the Virtual Author Visit).


Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, which is young adult science fiction. Faery Swap is her foray into middle grade, which is her first writing love. Her business card says “Author and Rocket Scientist” and she always has more speculative fiction fun in the works. You can subscribe to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!) or stop by her blog to see what she’s up to.
Faery Swap
Fourteen-year-old Finn is tricked into swapping places with a warrior faery prince and has to find his way back home before the dimensional window between their worlds slams shut.

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Previous Articles:

February 27th 2014: Why I’m “Lost:” the Peers of Beinan, world-building, and the “Lost Tales” by Laurel A. Rockefeller

February 28th 2014: Herbert’s Dilemma by Mysti Parker

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girl clour lindaThe Girl Who Could Change Colour is the first in a super new series of YA paranormal fiction from exciting author Linda Dent Mitchell. Our heroine is teenager Lizzarda Lexx who is headstrong yet also very vulnerable, having been orphaned young and then sent into a string of homes and foster care. She’s a tough cookie but not as impervious to her own and other people’s feelings as she tries to make out.

She finds herself in the small town of Little-Riddell with the Swallow family in their aptly named house, Swallow’s Rest. Sally Swallow is a wonderful foster-mother, kind, understanding and patient. She already has two foster-children under her wing, Lulu and Nathan, the latter who doesn’t take to Lizzarda and has a few problems of his own.

Little-Riddell is dead boring as far as Lizzarda’s concerned, so when a group of ‘undesirables’ start appearing regularly in the park, they become a focus of her attention. At least they’re exciting. However, Lizzarda soon finds she’s out of her depth but fortunately her strange, new ability comes into play just in time. Linda can change colour to blend into her surroundings. However, this ability also causes problems, not least of which is to make her feel as though she’ll never fit in.

How will she cope with her uniqueness? Will she use it for good or sinister reasons? And what do other people really think of her? This novella, that touches on difficult issues such as fostering and underage drinking, sensitively explores this unusual teenager’s psyche and introduces us to a very complex yet likeable character. I look forward to her future adventures as there’s a lot more to Lizzarda than meets the eye.

Only a very interesting author could come up with such an interesting story, so I had to find out more about Linda. I asked her some questions about this book, her writing and herself.

Linda_MitchellWhat inspired you to write The Girl Who Could Change Colour?

I was inspired to write The Girl Who Could Change Colour because I was interested in how a troubled teenage girl might overcome her problems. As the story unfolds Lizzarda discovers how her ‘amazing powers’ can not only be used to her advantage, but also the advantage of others. The combination of these things, and the events which take place in the subsequent books change the way Lizzarda values herself and other people.

Was it an easy story to write? After all, you deal with some quite tough issues such as foster care and underage drinking.

I don’t think any story is easy to write – not for me anyway. The death of Lizzarda’s  parents, foster care and the underage drinking are issues that she struggles with. In time, her ‘amazing powers’, and the people she grows to trust help her to deal with these issues.

Did you design the cover yourself?

The book cover was a collaborative creation. I’m from an art background. I trained in textile design and worked in a design studio for thirteen years. I also taught art and design in schools having gained a BA, MA and a PhD. I work with a digital designer called Jacqueline Abromeit. I send her my ideas for the covers, she interprets them, sends them back, then we finalise the details. This is the fourth book cover she’s done for me and she gets it right every time!

Which character from the book are you most like? Lizzarda? Mrs Swallow? Hopefully not one of the Hoodies!?

I’m probably most like Lizzarda in that I have her independent streak. I looked similar to her when I was younger (but I didn’t have body piercings and multi-coloured hair. I’m from a different generation and those things weren’t as accepted as they are now).  That’s where the similarity ends because (fortunately) I came from a happy loving family and didn’t leave home until I was twenty five.

Who’s your favorite character and why?

As well as Lizzarda, I’m quite fond of Lulu Lang. She’s so bubbly, happy and friendly. Unlike Lizzarda she’s grateful for her new home at Swallows’ Rest – and for the care her new foster parents are giving her.

What are you working on now? Will it be out soon?

I’m working on a few things: The second book in the Lizzarda trilogy, and the third book in my Oribliss castle series for 9-12 year olds. I’m working towards these two books being published this year. As I’m a very creative person, I have lots of notebooks on the go and other titles ‘in progress’.

Which authors or books are you reading at the moment?

I read all sorts of things. As well as children’s books I read lots adult books. I love mystery, suspense, fantasy, paranormal and murder mysteries. I also like ‘tongue in cheek’ humour. I love my new Kindle Fire! I think it’s a brilliant invention. It’s opened up a new world for readers and writers and I download lots of sample chapters to see what books are like. I generally have a few books on the go, then dependent on my mood I can switch from one to the other. I love to give new authors a try. I recently saw an ad in a national newspaper, a book for teens called Fugitive by Louise Miles, so I downloaded a sample, decided I liked it and bought it.

When did you first realise you wanted to be an author?

I never decided that I wanted to be an author. It sort of ‘came upon me’. My art and design background and my educational studies led me to it. I used to get lots of inspiration for my painting and drawing from literary themes, and then a few years ago I suddenly started writing. My biography is on my website www.ldmitchell.com which gives more details about myself and my books.

What one snippet of advice would you give to aspiring self-published authors, adults or children?

If I was to give advice to self published authors it would be similar to that given to me by my PhD supervisors: KEEP GOING. A true professional never gives up. Don’t cut corners! You need a good book cover, a good story, and a punchy website – and the work MUST be professionally edited and proof-read. Use social networking sites, respond to emails and interview requests, advertise in your local area. You need to be visible – if you’re not no one will know your work exists. The hardest part is marketing your work independently, this is one of the disadvantages of self-publishing. I’d also keep trying to get a mainstream publisher, but if you’re lucky someone might find you.

OK, enough of the serious stuff. What are the three favorite things in your wardrobe?

zebraNow that’s a hard one! My wardrobe is overloaded (so is my jewellery box) as I’m a bit of a hoarder. So I’ll say what my favourites are at the moment: The first is my all-in-one that I wear in the evenings. It’s a zebra with a hood and pink ears (no – it doesn’t have a tail) You may smile, but with all this extremely cold weather, and living in a two-hundred-year-old cottage with fluctuating heating, it’s a garment that I look forward to wearing. The second are a pair of black leather shoes that a bought from Dune. There’s something very witchy about them. They’re very plain, with a tiny heel, laces, and a little pointed toe. I’m struggling on my third…but I do like my green tourmaline and diamond ring…

What food can’t you resist?

Easy – a cool glass of wine at the end of the day. White or rose are my favourites. I also like chocolate. I’m veggie so I like fresh fruit, salads, pasta and rice dishes.

Describe your perfect day out

This is another one that’s easy for me to answer. I love a day out by myself – no Kindle – no telephones. I like market towns and cultural cities. I enjoy wandering round streets, window shopping and going for lunch. My daughter lives in Leeds so I love to meet up with her. We always have a restaurant booked in advance – and because I don’t drive on those days I can have a glass of wine…or two!

 

zombies acpocalypse z greg swansonWe all know that zombies are reanimated corpses, brought back to life by whatever means, but it’s a lot harder to define why they are so popular. People love reading and writing about them. Is it because of a general fascination with dead things? A terror management tactic (overcoming death by killing it in the form of zombies)? Is it Freudian – allowing our inner zombie to express itself?

It doesn’t really matter. Zombies provide us with a lot of entertainment and particularly in Apocalypse Z and Uncommon Ground, two zombie novels by indie author G. E. Swanson. These two fast-paced books follow the adventures of a group of youngsters attempting to survive after the United States has been stricken by a deadly zombie virus. The core characters are brothers Mark and Jeff, sisters Lisa and Dedee and their friend Jet, and nurses Tami and Sheryl. Others join them in the two adventures – some survive, and others don’t. In Apocalypse Z the group are trying to get to Mark and Jeff’s family’s remote cabin which has been prepared as a survival centre with weapons, food and energy supplies. The youngsters face goon squads as well as zombies, not to mention their own fears.

In Uncommon Ground the group need supplies so have to run the gauntlet of the zombies again. They pick up some more survivors and meet with the mysterious Smith. They also encounter a very different type of zombie who looks like becoming quite a force to reckon with in the future. They also learn that the government isn’t worried about killing off groups of survivors in their drastic attempts to keep zombie numbers contained. Yet another threat to cope with.

Both novels are exciting, unpredictable, full of action and the work of a very imaginative, energetic writer.

So time to here from the author. Over to Greg.

zombie uncommon ground greg swanson1. Tell us briefly about Apocalypse Z and Uncommon Ground.
Apocalypse Z and Uncommon Ground are the first two books of the series. It’s about a group of young adults that were brought together through a twist of fate shortly after an outbreak of a deadly zombie virus. Their first goal was to get to a safe place and ride it out; hoping things would go back to normal soon. When they discover that things may never be what they once were, they start work on a safe haven for the living to give humankind a chance to start over.

2. What’s the story behind the stories? Why did you write the book?
When I sat down I knew that there were scads of zombie books already out there, so I wanted to something a little different. Almost all the ones that I’ve read have adult heroes, but there were little to none with young adults/teens as the hero. Teens are smarter than what some people give them credit for, they can quickly adapt to new situations, and are willing to extend a hand to others in need. The parents were removed, making them orphans with only each other to rely on for protection and support.

3. What do you enjoy most about writing about zombies? Do you ever scare yourself?
The zombies, smash, bash, guts and gore. I have been a big zombie fan since the 1980s and can’t get enough of them. Though I haven’t scared myself with zombies, there are a few other creatures I have in mind for future books that had me looking over my shoulder at times.

4. Which of the main characters are you most like? Mark? Jeff? Lisa? Jet?
In one way or another, most of them have a tiny little sliver of me in them, but not enough to say they are like me. However, I would have to say that Mark has a few more slivers than the others.

5. Did you design your covers yourself? What was your aim in the designs?
I have a basic idea before I get with a friend of mine who is a very talented artist. I’ll select a few characters from the story to be on the cover, give him a little information on the story line, and what I had in mind. Zach is really amazing; he’ll take that, fill in any gaps and make it all come together. The cover has to reflect a little on the genre; it must be exciting and graphic.

Greg Swanson26. When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
Actually, it was something that happened over time. When I was in the fourth grade I had a teacher that had us do quite a bit of writing. Once there was a contest between three classes (fourth through sixth grade) to write a poem and a short essay. I got first place for my essay and third place for the poem. This is what first inspired me, plus my mother always told me I have and over active imagination. Later in Junior High I tried finding books about writing, but they always seemed to be checked out by others. Fast forward about twenty years and the internet came along and shortly after that was news groups, some of the very first social networking. I would jot down short stories and post a couple paragraphs a day through them, but that was as far as it went. Over the next several years I checked into it a couple of times without success. Unless you had just the right connections, or the money to do it yourself, it wasn’t going to happen. I had neither. Then eBooks came along and evolved to a point where book sellers like Amazon made it possible, so I went for it.

7. What one snippet of advice would you give to aspiring self-published authors?
Don’t just aspire, do it. Put your fingers to the keys and start typing. Book sellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble has made it possible to get published without an agent or publishing house.

8. How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and self vs. conventional publishing?
I like printed books, but they aren’t that convenient. I would usually have several with me and it got tiresome having to lug them around. When I decided to self-publish, I went to Amazon and bought a Kindle Touch just so I could see what eBooks had evolved into. Once I saw how convenient it was to carry not just a few, but hundreds of books, I was sold. Also, it seems that everything is going mobile and people can have all their stuff on one device, music, movies, and now books. Cost is another factor. A person can get two or three eBooks books for the same price as one printed book.

I’ve only self-published, so I can’t really compare the two. All I can say is that I’ve talked to a few authors that have gone that way, and they weren’t completely happy with the results. Something else that must be kept in mind is that with self-publishing comes self marketing and promotion. I would say to try it as an independent first; if it isn’t working, check into publishers that can help you with it.

9. How do you keep sane as an indie author?
I write and have fun doing it. I’ll start typing and get so focused on the story that anything that might have been bothering me is forgotten.

10. Do you have any writing rituals?
No, I clear my mind and start typing.

11. Anything else our readers need to know about you?
I’m an adrenaline junkie of sorts and used to take things to the extreme for the rush. But I don’t bounce as well as I did twenty years ago and the healing process takes longer, so I’ve had to slow down.

12. And finally, would you secretly like to be a zombie?
I don’t think so. It would be really boring walking around all the time with nothing to do, wearing the same torn and dirty clothes every day, and the stench of rotting meat would get pretty gnarly after a week.

Visit Greg’s Facebook page here.

Buy the books here:

Apocalypse Z on Amazon.com

Uncommon Ground on Amazon.com


Mind over Mind by Karina Fabian grips you from the first page. Eighteen year old Deryl – or Ydrel as he prefers to be called – hears voices in his head that make him act in certain ways, and because of this he’s been in a mental asylum since he was 13. He doesn’t believe he’ll ever get out. Dr Malachai seems quite happy to keep him a patient forever and hopes to make some kind of mark, and hopefully money, with his studies of Deryl. It looks pretty hopeless for Deryl, but then a home-schooled, precocious, over-confident psychiatric intern, Joshua, is sent in to try and make friends with Deryl. Apart from friendship, Joshua plans on bringing neurolinguistic programming to bear in helping out the troubled teenager. He has some success but then things seem to get worse. It turns out that Deryl isn’t imagining the voices. Various beings from other worlds are calling on him for services such as advice and foresight and even to perpetrate crimes. In fact, an entire alien civilisation is depending on his help to survive a war. Not surprisingly Deryl is overwhelmed by his unwanted telepathic abilities which he doesn’t understand and can’t really control.

This is a paranormal psychological novel, unique and amazingly effective. It’s brooding, bordering on the dark. There is an air of menace, particularly around Dr Malachai with his ulterior motives for keeping Deryl as a helpless patient. There is some romance, and a few light moments, but generally this is a serious, powerful novel that explores how to differentiate between fact and fantasy. Hero Deryl is conflicted and socially inept – grumpy and rude on the outside but in desperate need of help and support on the inside and so Joshua is a ray of hope.  The real world of the hospital and the blundering efforts of family and suspect methods and motivations of Dr Malachai to help Deryl are sharply and well portrayed. So too are the fantastic realms of the Barin and the Kanaan. We get a real feel for their plights. The interaction between these parallel worlds facing physical destruction with Deryl in hospital facing a mental battle and possible breakdown is both poignant and ironic. This novel is a superb piece of writing and a more-than-promising start to a series.

Thrall by Jennifer Quintenz is a zesty and very enjoyable YA paranormal novel. The opening seems a little conventional. We meet teenager Braedyn, bright and gutsy but a bit of a social misfit, against the usual background of American high school with the moody beauties and aloof good looking guys. However, suddenly a handsome new neighbour, Lucas, arrives on the scene and sticks up for her at school. Up to now there’d always been just Dad and Braedyn. He’s never talked much about her mother, whom Braedyn never knew, despite her thousands of questions. But suddenly circumstances change and Dad is forced to tell Braedyn the truth. This is where the author stops teasing us and shows what an original novel she’s created. Suddenly Braedyn learns that there are humans and hunters and guards and Lilitu, demons, in the world, and she’s very, very involved in all this. The crucial question for her now is can a demon ever turn out good? Can a demon ever become human? She has to find out.

This is very much a character-driven story with plenty of action and fast-paced, authentic dialogue. Braedyn, like her friends, and enemies, is a typical modern kid, a little more complicated than most, but ready and able to face up to massive challenges. She develops throughout the novel, as do all the other main figures. Dad, Murphy, moves from shadowy parent to a strong leader, and Lucas becomes way more than the boy next door. Events twist and turn and keep us all guessing in this well thought-out story. And good news – it’s only  the start of a series!