"When I’m not writing" with E. J. Stevens + giveaway!

E. J. Stevens Today’s guest is E. J. Stevens, the author of the Ivy Granger series and the Spirit Guide series from Sacred Oaks Press. She’s on tour now to celebrate the release of GHOST LIGHT, her second Ivy Granger novel. As part of the celebration, there’s a tour-wide giveaway so make sure to stick around until the end of the post. Please join me in welcoming E. J. to the blog!

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What do I do when I’m not writing? Honestly, writing takes up most of my time these days, but I do try to catch up on my favorite shows, games, and book series.

I watch Netflix, play Xbox, travel, and try to make a dent in my towering TBR pile.

E. J. Stevens smiling Maya

Of course, making time for hobbies can be difficult enough with the pressure of looming deadlines, but add an incorrigible corgi to the mix and it’s amazing I get anything done!

E. J. Stevens graveyard

It may sound strange, but I adore day trips to local cemeteries. We have many beautiful cemeteries here in New England and I’m always inspired by the combination of history and beauty that can be found in these monuments to the dead.

Netflix is another one of my guilty pleasures. When I’m in dire need of an immediate writing break, I turn to anime and Korean dramas. I currently have over 100 Kdramas in my streaming queue (so many dramas, so little time!). I’m also a huge fan of the TV shows Supernatural, Pretty Little Liars, and the Vampire Diaries.

E. J. Stevens Tower of London

A few times of year, I succumb to wanderlust and travel far, far away from my writing desk. A few of my favorite destinations include London, Dublin, Rome, and Disney World (Jack Sparrow AND a Haunted Mansion, what’s not to like?). This year I’m also going on a research trip to the medieval city of Bruges, Belgium. Bruges, known as the “Venice of the North,” is famous for its chocolates, beer, scenic canals, and medieval architecture. I have a feeling this beautiful city will be making its way onto my list of favorite places to visit.

E. J. Stevens bookcase I E. J. Stevens bookcase II

Globetrotting adventures are not always possible, so when I’m in need of a quick change of scenery I often escape into a good book. I enjoy reading young adult, paranormal romance, science fiction, and urban fantasy.

A perfect vacation day might include sipping tea in a foreign café while engrossed in a good book on my Kindle. Of course, my corgi overlord is not a fan of this idea. She’d much rather I stayed within easy reach of yummy treats and belly rubs. 😉

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Thanks for stopping by, E. J., and congrats on your latest release! =) I hope you have a great time in Bruges — it’s a lovely city.

For more information about E. J. and her books, check out her Ivy Granger website or follow E. J. on Twitter.

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Here’s the scoop on GHOST LIGHT:

Ghost Light by E. J. Stevens (Ivy Granger #2)Ivy Granger, psychic detective, thought she’d seen it all…until now.

With a vengeful lamia that only she can see on the city streets, reports of specters walking Harborsmouth cemeteries, and an angry mob of faerie clients at her office door, it’s bound to be a long night. Add in an offense against the faerie courts and a few foolish bargains and one thing is clear–Ivy Granger is in some seriously deep trouble.

Ivy Granger is back, gathering clues in the darkest shadows of downtown Harborsmouth. With the lives of multiple clients on the line, she’s in a race against time. Ivy finally has a lead to the whereabouts of the one person who can help her control her wisp abilities, but will she put the needs of her clients above her own?

If Ivy doesn’t find a solution soon, she could wind up a ghost herself.

Ghost Light is the second novel in the bestselling Ivy Granger urban fantasy series by E.J. Stevens.

Purchase: Amazon

Here are the earlier books in the series:

Shadow Sight by E. J. Stevens (Ivy Granger #1) Blood and Mistletoe by E. J. Stevens (Ivy Granger #1.5)

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giveaway

E. J. is offering a release day giveaway for her whole tour!

See the Rafflecopter for details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

"When I’m not writing" by Christina Mercer + giveaway!

Christina Mercer Christina Mercer has written a short but sweet post for us today for “When I’m not writing”. She is currently on a blog tour celebrating her latest release, a lovely young adult fantasy novel called ARROW OF THE MIST. Please join me in welcoming Ms. Mercer to the blog!

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Thank You Tynga’s Reviews for hosting me!

When I’m not writing I love to read, travel, hang out with the family and our pack of large dogs, tend to my garden, watch movies, spend time with friends, collect seashells, and after many years with a gear-head husband, I’ve grown fond of classic cars.

Christina Mercer beesBut perhaps my most unique activity when I’m not writing is beekeeping. I started eight years ago after taking a one-day class hosted by our local beekeeping store. I’ve had a lifelong fascination for the buzzing dynamos, and was thrilled to finally “get up close.” In that full classroom, there was only one other woman aside from myself, and we became immediate friends. She had two years of experience already under her belt, and offered to mentor me. I learned a ton, read everything I could get my hands on about honeybees, and barely scratched the surface of what I considered (and still consider!) a most wondrous undertaking.

Honeybees are true miracle workers. Their efficient organization, ability to create multiple (useful!) substances, including the tastiest substance ever, and their important contribution to our food supply continues to awe me.

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Thanks for stopping by, Christina! And thanks to Giselle at Xpresso Book Tours for organizing this! =)

For more information about Christina and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

You can also check out the other stops on the tour (scroll down to the bottom of the page):

Arrow of the Mist tour banner

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Here’s the scoop on ARROW OF THE MIST:

Arrow of the Mist by Christina MercerTerror strikes the Celtic inspired kingdom of Nemetona when barbed roots breach the veil of a forbidden land and poison woodsmen, including 15-year-old Lia’s beloved father. Lia and three others embark on a quest to the forbidden land of Brume to gather ingredients for the cure. But after her elder kinsman is attacked and poisoned, she and her cousin, Wynn, are forced to finish the quest on their own.

Lia relies on her powerful herbal wisdom and the memorized pages of her late grandmother’s Grimoire for guidance through a land of soul-hungry shades, trickster creatures, and uncovered truths about the origin of Brume and her family’s unexpected ties to it. The deeper they trek into the land, the stronger Lia’s untapped gift as a tree mage unfolds. When she discovers the enchanted root’s maker, it forces her to question everything about who she is and what is her destiny. Ultimately, she must make a terrible choice: keep fighting to save her father and the people of the lands or join with the power behind the deadly roots to help nature start anew.

Jenn’s thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon

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giveaway

Christina is kindly offering one (1) e-copy of ARROW OF THE MIST to a lucky reader!

Open internationally

To enter, listen to the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

"When I’m not writing" with Jessica Spotswood + giveaway!

Jessica SpotswoodOur guest this week is Jessica Spotswood. She’s the author of The Cahill Witch Chronicles and is here today to celebrate the release of the second book in the series, STAR CURSED! Please join me in welcoming Jessica to the blog.

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Let’s be honest. When I’m not writing, I’m…usually doing something else related to writing! Blogging. Checking Twitter or Facebook. Critiquing a manuscript for a friend.  Reading a manuscript for a potential blurb (or a book just for fun – that’s why I became a writer, after all!). Researching something. Reading blogs. Teaching a writing workshop for teens or tweens through Writopia. Going out for drinks and brainstorming and gossiping with my writer friends. Going to signings or on writing retreats. All these things take up a tremendous amount of my time.

But when I’m not doing any of that…well, I might be shopping.

I was not interested in fashion as a teen – or as a twentysomething. Throughout my twenties, I worked an office job in a small office – the university press – at Catholic University, where the dress code was business casual. I couldn’t wear jeans, but no one else was wearing dresses, which left me in the awkward land of ill-fitting slacks — so hard to size right for a curvy girl on a nonprofit paycheck! – and sweaters or polo shirts – because I refused to iron button-downs. After college, I also chopped my hair short – not the most flattering look for this curly-haired girl. And being a night owl trapped in a 9-to-5 job, I seldom did my makeup or bothered with jewelry until my lunch break. The girl in the mirror was decidedly not the artsy, whimsical girl I felt like.

I think it was around the time I turned thirty that I decided I didn’t care what my conservative coworkers thought of my style. I dyed pink streaks in my hair and got a tattoo. I discovered Modclothand Anthropologie and Betsey Johnson and started buying bright, colorful dresses in fun patterns. To be honest, when I’m working from home, I’m often in my yoga pants and t-shirts that say things like CINNA TOLD ME TO WEAR THIS SHIRT. When I go out to the coffee shop to write, I tend to favor headbands, jeans, pink Converse, and either literary tees or bright colors. (I’d never be a good black-clad New Yorker; my closet is a rainbow of bright yellows, reds, pinks, oranges, and blues.) But when I do book events, I’m all about the fun dresses.

Jessica Spotswood fave dresses

One of my recent favorite finds is Vera Bradley. I’m such a sucker for bright patterns! I started off looking for a laptop bag and somehow ended up with that plus a ginormous tote bag that was great for tour, a makeup bag, a wristlet, and a regular Vera bag that’s the perfect size for a book or my Kindle. I love how squishable and washable and easy they are. It’s kind of a problem.

Jessica Spotswood Vera Bags

Another recent favorite is the subscription box. I’ve been getting Birchbox for awhile now. Basically, they send me makeup samples every month and it’s big fun. But even better, imho, is Julep. Like Birchbox, for a small fee, they send me a package of beauty goodies every month. But Julep focuses on nail polish and you get to choose which colors you feel like (within certain parameters). They also do this thing every month where you can sign up for a Mystery Box full of who knows what products for $25 (but it claims to be worth $75 to $200). Who can say no to that? Unfortunately for my bank account, not me.

Jessica Spotswood nail polish

So there you have it. When I’m not writing, I might be painting my nails, or trying a new product that swears it will tame my frizzy curls, or switching my signing pens and wallet from one bag to the other before I head out, or trying on a new dress, or exclaiming over a package that just came in the mail! (I’m still most excited when it contains books, though.)

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Thanks for stopping by, Jessica! =)

For more information about Jessica and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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Here’s the scoop on STAR CURSED:
Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #2))With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate’s friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.
Cate doesn’t want to be a weapon, and she doesn’t want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood’s schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she’ll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.
In the highly anticipated sequel to BORN WICKED, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess’s quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository
Here’s the first book in the series:
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1)
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giveaway
Jessica is graciously offering one (1) signed copy of STAR CURSED to a lucky reader!
To enter the giveaway, listen to the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!
Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!
Jenn

"When I’m not writing" with Jenn Bennett + giveaway!

Jenn Bennett Today the wonderful Jenn Bennett is stopping by to tell us what she does when she’s not writing her amazing Arcadia Bell stories, or her upcoming Roaring 20s paranormal romance series (which I’m so excited to try!). Jenn’s one of my favourite authors, and not just because we share a name, so I truly hope you’ll enjoy this peek into her life. She’s been gracious enough to give us a peek into her life, complete with never-before-seen-online artwork and the evilest of pugs. =)

Jenn has also been gracious enough to offer up a giveaway of a signed copy of one of her Arcadia Bell books, so make sure you stick around to enter that. It’s a prize I’d love to get!

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Jenn Bennett painting Death Warm

I wasn’t always a writer, but most of my interests have been creative. When I was in college, I was certain I’d be making a living in the art world. Little did my starry-eyed 20-year-old self know that my super-cool degree in Fine Arts would later be virtually useless. But at the time, I didn’t care about things like Jobs and Money and Adult Responsibilities, and painted almost every day—mostly in oils, and usually figures (like the one in the photo here). Over the years, I’ve made stained glass, mosaics, metal jewelry, screen-prints, and pottery. I still draw on occasion, and I’ve taught myself how to paint in photoshop. Some of the character sketches I’ve done are up on my website.

Jenn Bennett ouija boards

Later, when I began working real-world jobs, I channeled all that creative angst into my living space. My kitchen is rainforest-frog green, and my living room is decorated with flea-market finds and oddities my husband and I have picked up on our travels. I have a lot of unique collections, including vintage ouija boards (see photo), Fiestaware, early 20th century postcards of redwood trees (weird, I know), and small statues of toadstools (weirder, I know).

Jenn Bennett evil pug

Now that I’m writing, most of downtime is spent unwinding. I have two Evil Pugs (see photo of the most malevolent one), who basically hold me hostage in my own home. I like to play video games—mostly survival horror or adventure, like Bioshock and Uncharted. I watch a lot of old movies (1920s-1950s is my sweet spot), and I love to cook. Usually. When I’m not on a horrible writing deadline. But the thing I probably enjoy doing most when I’m not writing is: reading. Funny how life circles back around, isn’t it?

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Thanks for stopping by, Jenn, and sharing your collections and artwork with us! =)

For more information about Jenn and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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Here’s the scoop on BINDING THE SHADOWS:

Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett (Arcadia Bell #3)Renegade mage and bartender Arcadia Bell has had a rough year, but now the door to her already unstable world is unhinging. When a citywide crime wave erupts, Cady’s demon-friendly tiki bar is robbed by Earthbounds wielding surreal demonic abilities that just flat-out shouldn’t exist. With the help of her devilishly delicious boyfriend, Lon Butler, Cady sets out to find the people who wronged her—but her targets aren’t the only ones experiencing unnatural metamorphoses. Can Cady track down the monsters responsible before the monster inside her destroys everything—and everyone—she loves? If she survives this adventure, one thing is certain: it’s last call for life as she knows it.

Jenn (from the blog)’s thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Here are the earlier books in the series. Click on the cover to see Jenn (from the blog)’s thoughts:

Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett (Aracdia Bell #1)

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giveaway

Jenn is offering one (1) lucky reader a signed Arcadia Bell book!

To enter the giveaway, listen to the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

"When I’m not writing" with Jen Grayson

Jen Greyson Today’s guest is Jen Greyson, author of the upcoming adult fantasy novel, LIGHTNING RIDER. Jen is one busy lady — she has a degree in Equestrian Studies, she writes university courses and corporate training material, and more. To find out just how she keeps busy, stick around and get to know Jen a bit better!

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A huge thanks to the superstar ladies of Team Tynga for letting me come ramble about what I do when I’m not writing. Sometimes deadlines get overwhelming and since I write for my not-making-stuff-up-for-books job, there’s not a lot of time in the day that doesn’t involve the computer, so when I do get a break, I’m usually headed outside.

We live in Utah, and there’s no shortage of amazing things to do around here. With two little boys, my Spring is filled with baseball games (seriously–we’re averaging 4 nights a week with games!), but we do manage to cram in lots of yard work, and once the weather gets nice (which for Spring in Utah is anything over 58 degrees!) we hit the lake.

Jen Grayson greenhouse Jen Grayson yardwork

We live about 20 minutes from the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Utah Lake is a crazy huge lake that’s about 10 feet deep — perfect for wakeboarding. I just learned how to wakeboard last year and I’m horrible at it, but it’s a blast and my element must be water because I’m just completely at home on the lake. I love being out there.

Jen Grayson wakeboard

Or maybe it’s just because I love the break from yard work 🙂

We have a tradition to go camping on Memorial Day weekend — which usually results in lots of snow because we always go way up in the Uinta mountains by the Utah/Wyoming border. But I don’t camp without a generator and about a billion propane tanks and those huge patio heaters, so we manage to make it fun–and warm. You’d think we’d pick another weekend to ring off the camping season, but it’s become a bit of a challenge now to try and outsmart Mother Nature. We’re totally losing so far.

Summers are usually split between camping and boating, with the occasional camping/boating trip thrown in. We are seriously the Swiss Family Robinson when it comes to camping…it’s a rare weekend when we’re home. (I do take my computer with me though, so that’s technically not a “when I’m not writing” event, but there’s no better place to write than in the middle of a huge forest with nothing but creatures and nature surrounding me.)

Jen Grayson camping

Once Fall hits, we’re usually putting the boat away *major sad face* but we try to camp as long as we can (since we’re obviously not afraid of snow).

You’re probably asking yourself when the heck I do write, but that’s what Winter’s for 🙂

I’d love to know how everyone else spends their free time — and especially any tips about how to get better on a wakeboard. Thanks again for listening to me ramble…my writer’s life is a great one.

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Thanks for stopping by, Jen! It’s been great getting to know you. =)

For more information about Jen and her books, check out her website or follow her on Twitter.

You can also check out the other stops on the tour (scroll down to the bottom of the page):

Lightning Rider tour banner

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Here’s the scoop on LIGHTNING RIDER:

Lightning Rider by Jen GreysonFor Evy Rivera, thunderstorms have always caused her physical pain, but she’s never known why. When a record-setting storm arrives on the same night her father finds ancient ancestral documents, Evy is set aglow with mysterious tiny lightnings she can command.

Even worse, she alerts some people in the universe who’ve been looking for her family for a very long time.

Thrown back into ancient Spain and tasked with killing a Spanish legend, she must train alongside Constantine, a sexy yet obstinate Roman warrior. He teaches her how to wield her lightning as a weapon, through more errors than trials. With a relationship as explosive as their late-night training sessions, Evy and Constantine battle their push-pull relationship while trying to ignore the two-thousand-year difference in their birthdates.

Ilif Rotiart, her quasi-mentor, is appalled at Evy’s skill. He would prefer to train her father and keep Evy on the sidelines—where women belong. Evy has a feeling Ilif is keeping something from them, but she must play nice until she uncovers the truth. And if he’s lying, it will be the worst day of his four-hundred-year life.

Penya Sepadas claims she’s Evy’s rightful trainer, and she has the prophecy to prove it. Penya doesn’t share Ilif’s misogynistic attitude, but she does have her own agenda…and her own secrets.

Evy must sort through the lies and find the truth behind her family’s time-traveling past before the wrong history obliterates the future. She’s spent her whole life fighting for her place. Now, as the first female lightning rider, she’ll dedicate her existence to fighting to save the world.

But will Evy learn to manage her lightning and find the truth before it’s too late?

Read an excerpt

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

"When I’m not writing" with Gabrielle Bisset + giveaway!

Gabrielle Bisset This week we’re welcoming indie author Gabrielle Bisset to Tynga’s Reviews as part of her blog tour to celebrate the release of her newest Sons of Navarus book, BLOOD PROPHECY. As part of the blog tour, there’s also a fantastic giveaway so make sure to stick around to the end of the post!

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When I’m not writing the Sons of Navarus PNR/UF series, I can often be found watching movies. I’m a huge movie fan! As much as I love reading a great book, seeing a great film is just as enjoyable.

I think I fell in love with movies in college. I took a course called Film As Art, and I’ve never watched a movie the same again. That course taught me about sound production, lighting, symbolism, themes, and so many other interesting facets that are a part of a great film. As an English major, I knew a lot about the symbolism and themes in great writing, but learning about how moviemakers use lighting and sound made movies different from that point on.

The English PatientEven more than that, I enjoy movies for their great stories. While I enjoy an action-adventure film or a great comedy too, the best films for me are the ones that touch my heart. Take The English Patient, for example. What a great film! The love story between Ralph Fiennes and Kristen Scott Thomas’s characters is so subtle, yet so powerful. The gorgeous setting of North Africa and the coming of the Second World War provides the backdrop for their illicit and disastrous affair. Simply stunning is the only way to describe this film.

Another of my favorites is The Age of Innocence. Edith Wharton’s storytelling is deft, and Scorsese makes the story translate perfectly in this film. The story is subtle, but oh is it powerful. Daniel Day-Lewis’ acting steals the show, setting the perfect tone for a film about the stifling social customs and expectations of late 19th century New York society. An entire scene is conveyed by a mere look he gives or through the movement of just one of his hands over the sleeve of the woman he so longs to be with but can’t be because of the constraints of the world he must live in. So moving!

The King's SpeechThe King’s Speech is a favorite too. I remember the first time I told someone about it and they thought I was crazy for liking it. An entire film about some king’s speech impediment? But it’s so much more. The film shows the growth of a true closeness between King George VI and his therapist, Lionel Logue, as the monarch works to overcome his stammer caused by years of neglect as a child. Colin Firth as King George and Geoffrey Rush as Logue are fantastic, making the simple idea of friendship come alive on the screen.

So that’s what I do when I’m not writing. It’s not all serious films, and I can never pass up the first Back To The Future movie or the 1980s classic, Better Off Dead, but I love to sit down to watch a great film that moves me.

Thanks for having me here today! I want to let readers know that they can find more information on the Sons of Navarus series at my website at www.gabriellebisset.com including excerpts, buy links, character profiles, swag (romance trading cards), and free desktop wallpapers to bring those delicious Sons to your computer. And look for Blood Prophecy, available now at all major booksellers!

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Thanks for stopping by, Gabrielle! And thanks to Iris of Paranormal Cravings for arranging this blog tour. =)

For more information about Gabrielle and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

You can also check out the other stops on the tour (scroll down to the bottom of the page):

Blood Prophecy tour banner

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Here’s the scoop on BLOOD PROPHECY:

Blood Prophecy by Gabrielle Bisset (Sons of Navarus #4)I am everything you fear. I am vampire.

As the two Sons chosen to decipher the Prophecy of Idolas, Ramiel and Thane journey to find the key to defeating the Archons. Together with Noele, a born vampire, they confront their fates as they fulfill their duty to their world. Along the way, they’ll find love, but death and betrayal lurk in the shadows, threatening everything dear to them.

Descended from the gods and warriors all, each Son’s loyalty will be tested. Every action has consequences, and the choices they make now seal their fates. Alliances as old as the vampire world itself are reforged, and the Sons’ duty is clear. Stop the Archons. Or die trying.

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon

Here are the earlier books in the series:

Sons of Navarus by Gabrielle Bisset

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giveaway

Gabrielle is providing a tour-wide giveaway: a Blood Prophecy bookthong, Sons of Navarus swag, including a mousepad, cover flat, signed bookmarks, pens, and trading cards for five of the Sons, and a signed copy of BLOOD PROPHECY!

To enter the giveaway, listen to the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

"When I’m not writing" with Jocelynn Drake + giveaway!

Jocelynn Drake Jocelynn Drake is our guest this week for our “When I’m not writing” feature. She’s got multiple titles under her belt as the author of two series: the Dark Days books and The Asylum Tales. Jocelynn is here today to celebrate her latest Asylum Tale, DEAD MAN’S DEAL, which was released last week. She’s also providing a giveaway of the first novel in the series, ANGEL’S INK, so be sure to stick around to the end of the post!

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Sadly, I feel like when I’m not writing, I should be writing. But everyone needs a break from work to let their brains rest just for a bit. During my downtime, I am a gamer. I’m not one of those hard-core gamer chicks who can school you on any game and/or system set in front of her (But it would be cool if I was.) However, I do know my way around a PlayStation controller.

Final FantasyMy first love is the Final Fantasy series by SquareEnix. I fell in love with Final Fantasy VIII on PlayStation One. Enraptured by their detailed storytelling, I have played Final Fantasy 7, Crisis Core, 8, 9 10, 10-2, 12, 13, and I’m now working on 13-2. I’ve also played their Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, which are the Disney/Final Fantasy mash-up games.

Jocelynn Drake tattooOf all the Final Fantasy games, I think Final Fantasy X is my favorite, but then who doesn’t love a tragic love story. The graphics were beautiful. The battle system was brilliant. The storytelling was epic. I guess it should be no surprise that I have a Final Fantasy X tattoo to commemorate my love.

A couple years ago, my love of video games found a new addition – the Assassin’s Creed series. While I will freely admit that I’ve skipped the first game in the series, I am hopelessly in love with the rest of the games, particularly those featuring Assassins CreedEzio Auditorre d’ Firenza. What’s not to love? Suave, passionate, dedicated, and so very handsome. The storytelling is superb (which is pretty important to me if you haven’t figured that out) and I love wandering around renaissance Italy (or even running across the rooftops).

The added bonus is that Assassin’s Creed series has an online feature that lets me play assassination missions against other gamers. (So, if you happen to be killed by a JDrake while playing Assassin’s Creed online – my bad.)

UnchartedBesides epic battles and sexy Italians, I also love building cities and civilizations, so I’ve naturally gotten addicted to SimCity. I’m also planning to start the Uncharted series soon, and not just because I share a last name with the main character (though it doesn’t hurt). What’s not to love? Explosions and treasure hunting.

Playing video games allows parts of my brain to space out for a time or to even work on a plot issue while I concentrate on things like locating all the Borgia flags and figuring out a clue 6to get me to Eldorado. Video games allow me to escape into another world while avoiding the written world for a short time, because sooner or later… that book I’m working on will be calling me back.

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Thanks for stopping by, Jocelynn! Always great to meet a fellow gamer!

For more information about Jocelynn and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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Here’s the scoop on DEAD MAN’S DEAL:

Dead Man's Deal by Jocelynn Drake (Asylum Tales #2)In a world where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires swim free in a sea of humanity, sometimes you need an edge. Looking for a little love? Need some luck? Desperate for revenge? Gage can give you what you need. The most talented tattoo artist in town, he knows the right symbol and the right mix of ingredients and ink to achieve your heart’s desire. One tattoo is all it takes. But remember, everything has its price…

Gage learned that lesson long ago, in ways he’d rather not remember. But the cruel and powerful wizards in the dreaded Ivory Towers he escaped aren’t about to let him forget. Though Gage has managed to stay out of sight, he can’t outrun the past forever. The wizards know Gage is using forbidden magic, and they intend to punish him for his transgressions.

Too bad if innocent humans and monsters—entire cities—get in the way. They will quell a nascent magical uprising and Gage will be the sacrifice they need. First, though, they have to find him…

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Here are the earlier books in the series:

Bronx by Jocelynn Drake Trixie by Jocelynn Drake Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake Blood by Midnight anthology

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giveaway

Jocelynn is kindly offering up one (1) copy of ANGEL’S INK, the first book in the series, to a lucky reader!

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

"When I’m not writing" with Lisa Voisin + giveaway!

Lisa Voisin This week we’re welcoming Canadian author Lisa Voisin to Team Tynga’s Reviews as part of her blog tour for THE WATCHER. As part of the blog tour, there’s also a fantastic giveaway so make sure to stick around to the end of the post!

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As I sit here, I realize that much of my life is devoted to writing. Between a full-time job as a technical writer, writing fiction in my time off, taking writing courses, and reading as much and as often as I can, I feel my time is a bit skewed toward writing.

However, one thing I make a point of doing every day is meditating. In fact, I teach meditation and energy work, and I also support my students with meetings every month. It’s something I’m quite passionate about. I don’t think I’d be where I am today if I didn’t meditate, so I make time to do it and teach it whenever I can.

I try to get outside. Depending on the day, I may go for a walk, a hike, a bike ride, or a jog. I live in Vancouver, Canada which is located on the West Coast, surrounded by mountains and ocean. So there’s always something fun to do outdoors—when it’s not raining! During the winter months, I sometimes head up the mountain for some snow shoeing. In fact, if I don’t get outside once in awhile, I begin to feel guilty, like I’m missing out on something.

Lisa Voisin Grouse Grind
[This picture is of my fiancée on the Grouse Grind, a steep 1.2 mile uphill hike.]

I also take courses, not only in writing or meditation (though I study both). I also try to learn something different. Most recently, I took sword fighting classes where I learned a Renaissance style of sword fighting with a rapier. It was a great deal of fun and made me feel as though I’d stepped out of a Three Musketeers movie. To this day, I look at fight scenes in books and movies in a completely different way.

When I’m not doing all of that, I go to the movies or watch TV. I love story, so I engage with it in many different forms. I’m hooked on Supernatural, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and Once Upon a Time, so I’m often keeping up on my shows, especially during the rainy season (November through April). It also gives me time to just be at home with my fiancée and our two cats.

Lisa Voisin cat
[My cat, Leopold, telling me it’s time to stop writing now.]

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Thanks for stopping by as part of your blog tour, Lisa!

For more information about Lisa and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

You can also check out the other stops on the tour (scroll down to the bottom of the page):

The Watcher tour banner

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Here’s the scoop on THE WATCHER:

The Watcher by Lisa VoisinMillennia ago, he fell from heaven for her.

Can he face her without falling again?

Fascinated with ancient civilizations, seventeen-year-old Mia Crawford dreams of becoming an archaeologist. She also dreams of wings—soft and silent like snow—and somebody trying to steal them.

When a horrible creature appears out of thin air and attacks her, she knows Michael Fontaine is involved, though he claims to know nothing about it. Secretive and aloof, Michael evokes feelings in Mia that she doesn’t understand. Images of another time and place haunt her. She recognizes them—but not from any textbook.

In search of the truth, Mia discovers a past life of forbidden love, jealousy and revenge that tore an angel from Heaven and sent her to an early grave. Now that her soul has returned, does she have a chance at loving that angel again? Or will an age-old nemesis destroy them both?

Ancient history is only the beginning.

Sneak peek at the characters

Purchase: Amazon| The Book Depository

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giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway: Lisa Voisin and Inkspell Publishing are giving away print (US/Canada/UK) and ebook (INT) copies of THE WATCHER as well as this lovely angel wing necklace.
Lisa Voisin winged necklace

To enter the giveaway, listen to the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

"When I’m not writing" with Kelly Meding

Kelly Meding The talented Kelly Meding is joining us this week for “When I’m not writing”! She’s the author of the urban fantasy Dreg City series and the superhero series MetaWars. She’s here today to promote the upcoming third MetaWars novel, TEMPEST, which builds on the two previous novels in the series, TRANCE and CHANGELING. Please join me in warmly welcoming Kelly to the blog!

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I’m half tempted to complete the sentence with “…I feel like I should be writing.” Because that’s very, very true. I suppose it’s part of trying to balance writing with working a full-time job. I tend to feel guilty when I’m doing something else besides writing. But since that would make for a very short, very boring blog post, I do actually have a few hobbies that I occasionally find time to indulge in.

One of those hobbies is making jewelry. I’ve been dabbling in this for years. I grew up in a very crafty family. My aunt sews, scrapbooks, and crotchets. My mother can sew and knit. My grandmother was also a knitter. I’m pretty good with a sewing machine (I even made a corset once!), but I never picked up on knitting. My crafty habits skew away from fabric and thread. Over the years I’ve played around with ceramics painting, candle making, and glass painting.

The one hobby that’s stuck around since high school, though, is jewelry. Jewelry is my thing, and it’s one of the ways I express myself. I have two jewelry boxes worth of funky earrings, wild necklaces, rings shaped animals, and all kinds of bracelets. Most of these are store-bought, but my own pieces are sprinkled in here and there.

The majority of what I make is pairs of earrings. I still own the first pair I ever crafted:

Kelly Meding Earrings 1

I made these when I was in junior high. I found the gems in a tourist trap store in the Smokey Mountains during a family vacation. All I did was attach them to French hooks. They’re twenty years old now, those earrings, and I still love them.

This is my work area:

Kelly Meding work space

All of those plastic containers? Yeah, you can guess what’s in them. Lots and lots of beads, gems, findings, and other random things I’ve decided will one day make fun jewelry.

Did you know packs of wine charms are great for earrings?

Kelly Meding earrings 2

And bits of pins and broken jewelry can be repurposed into a necklace?

Kelly Meding necklace

I don’t get to sit down and make things as often as I’d like to nowadays, but I still collect items to use in the future. I pick them up at yard sales, flea markets, and in the bargain bins at Michael’s. One day they’ll become something beautiful.

Thank you for listening to me ramble! And a big thanks to Tynga for inviting me to be a part of this!

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Thanks for stopping by, Kelly!

For more information about Kelly and her books, check out her website or follow her on Twitter or Pinterest.

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Here’s the scoop on TEMPEST:

Tempest by Kelly Meding (MetaWars #3)The public doesn’t trust them. The government wants to control them. Being a superhero has never been this hard, especially for Tempest.
Two months after the discovery of the powerful, non-Meta Recombinants, the former Rangers—Meta-powered humans dedicated to preserving the peace—have made no progress in uncovering the newcomers’ origins, or convincing the public to trust them. Newly powered Metas are popping up and causing trouble, while the former Banes—Metas who harm humans and create chaos—show no inclination that they even want to leave the island prison of Manhattan. With a presidential election looming, the hot political debate is all about Meta rights—and whether they deserve to have any.

Still haunted by the murder of so many in the Meta War fifteen years earlier, Ethan “Tempest” Swift accepts an assignment in Manhattan, working with a team that’s interviewing Banes to determine which are still threats and which have reformed. But Ethan has a personal reason for going to the island as well. Armed with questions for the Bane who just might be his father, Ethan’s quest for answers is interrupted by an unexpected assault on the island. Forced to side with old enemies to uncover who’s responsible for the devastating attack, Ethan begins to question more than just his past—he questions his place in defending a world that sees him as its enemy.

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon

Here are the earlier books in the series. Click on the cover of TRANCE for my thoughts:

Trance by Kelly Meding (MetaWars #1) Changeling by Kelly Meding (MetaWars #2)

And here’s Kelly’s other series. Click on THREE DAYS TO DEAD to see Tynga’s thoughts.

Three Days to Dead by Kelly Meding (Dreg City #1) As Lie the Dead by Kelly Meding (Dreg City #2) Another Kind of Dead by Kelly Meding (Dreg City #3) <img style="border-right-width: 0px; margin: 0px; display: inline; border-top-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px" title="Wrong Side of Dead by Kelly Meding (Dreg City #4)" border="0" alt="Wrong Side of Dead by Kelly Meding (Dreg City #4)" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-kb0n69BLBpc/UWycqgaPrKI/AAAAAAAAFuc/jPJ_6cXyL2s/s320/wrong+side+of+dead.JPG&quot; height="150" /

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

"When I’m not writing" by Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer This week, we are delighted to have the talented Marissa Meyer joining us for “When I’m not writing”. She’s the author of the young adult sci-fi-spin-on-fairy-tales Lunar Chronicles quartet, which kicked off with the amazing CINDER and its sequel SCARLET. Stéph has reviewed both books and she really enjoyed both books. She says that the “merging of a fairy tale within a science fiction realm is original and refreshing”. Needless to say, we’re quite excited to have Marissa joining us today!

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I like food.

I mean, I really like food, with an obsession I suspect borders on unhealthy. (Luckily, I like both healthy and unhealthy foods, so I can attempt to bring some balance into said food obsession.)

I like the how some flavors combine to be greater than the sum of their parts, and I like that anticipation when you enter a very fine restaurant or a fancy chocolatier, and I like the unexpected craving when you pass a street-food vendor and encounter the smell of simmering onions and roasted meat wafting toward you. I like how a great meal is a delight to all the senses—taste, of course, but also sight and smell, and even touch, such as how an element of crunch might meld with a silken creaminess to form one perfect sensation in the mouth.

I even love reading about food. As a writer and reader, food descriptions have long been one of my guilty pleasures. I think it’s the adjectives. Buttery, tangy, crisp, succulent, smooth, aromatic, doughy, melted creamy gooiness…

The subject of the sentence is unnecessary. My mouth is already watering.

For the past five or six years, this love of all things delicious has begun to translate into a love of cooking. It isn’t a great passion—for me, that honor seems to be strictly reserved for writing—but it is a fairly regular delight. I suspect it started when I moved in with my boyfriend-now-husband, who’s a contractor and built his house with a big, gorgeous kitchen. A dream come true! Suddenly having acres of counter space and an honest-to-goodness pantry, I started to experiment with cooking in a way I never had before.

I’ve since found that I enjoy every step of the process. From tearing out recipes from magazines or hunting them down on Pinterest (seriously, what did we do before Pinterest?), to planning the meals and going grocery shopping, to the actual chopping, seasoning, and execution of the meal. Well, except when it comes to chopping onions. Ugh, how I loathe chopping onions.

I also love experimenting with new ingredients. Rarely a week goes by that I don’t add something to the shopping cart that I’ve never purchased before, and over the years I’ve experimented with everything from caviar to squash blossoms to carrot greens, which it turns out taste kind of like parsley. (This week, the experimental ingredient is pearled barley, which will make its way into a barley-mushroom-dill salad tomorrow afternoon. We’ll see!)

So when I’m not writing or reading (my top two activities of choice), I’m probably eating. Or thinking about eating. Or cooking and then eating and then thinking about what I’ll eat next, or some combination thereof. It might be a bit obsessive, but at least it’s an obsession that comes with a bit of nourishment and its own brand of creativity.

Now if only I could get half so excited about my next trip to the gym…

Jenn’s note: Check out this video from Marissa’s CINDER tour:

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Thanks so much for stopping by, Marissa!

For more information about Marissa and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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Here’s the scoop on SCARLET:

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #2)Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Stéphanie’s thoughts

Read an excerpt (scroll down)

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Here’s the scoop on CINDER, where it all began:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #1)Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Stéphanie’s thoughts

Read an excerpt (scroll down)

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn