Introducing Martine Lewis

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Martine Lewis, the author of the young adult title, Crossing the Barrier: The Gray Eyes Series Book One. She’s also hosting a book giveaway on Goodreads!

_JEF6320Why don’t you start by telling us about yourself.

This is always the hardest part, isn’t it?

We’ll get the hard part out of the way first.

I start writing when I was eleven years old, and have written on and off ever since. I wrote mostly fanfictions and some bad originals when I was younger, mostly inspired by people I knew. Fanfiction was a good way to hone my skill and when I tackled the writing of my own original fiction, I was ready.

Now, I write original fictions with no end in sight.

On a more personal side: I work full time as a Project Scheduler/Planner to pay for my “writing addiction”. Hopefully one day, my writing will support itself and me, and I’ll be able to do it full time.

As a Project Scheduler/Planner, you probably don’t have the organizational problems that plague me and so many other authors.

Tell us about Crossing the Barrier.

It’s the story of a football player who falls for a band girl. It was heavily inspired from my attending high school football games here in the suburb of Houston. I came to love the atmosphere at those games, and I got to know a lot of the parents. It’s an interesting world, where the players are very devoted to the sport, and the band is having the time of their life, and I wanted to explore it more.

It turns out this book worked very well in the universe I created. While this is the third book I wrote in that universe, it was only fitting that it would be the first one to come out. It worked best in the series timeline.

Blurb:

High school student Malakai Thomas, star wide receiver of the varsity team, collides with band member Lily Morgan on his way to football practice. As days go by, Malakai cannot get the petite clarinetist out of his head.

Lily Morgan can feel everyone’s emotions. She loses her ability to shield herself against them the day Malakai runs into her. Now she must try to maintain her sanity in the emotional jungle that is high school, as well as deal with her growing feelings for Malakai.

Can Malakai get over the social stigma and his own internal struggle to be with Lily? Is Lily’s secret too big to accept, even for him?

Who is your target audience?

I would say young adult/new adults between the age of 16 and 20.

How many volumes do you plan to write in the series?

This book is part of a series of six, the Gray Eyes Series.

A few days ago, I received the development edit comments for book 2, and I am currently revising book 3 to send it to my legal reviewer. All my books go through her. I think it’s important for me to get my legal facts right and I take good care in doing just that.

I will complete the first draft of book 4 in April during Camp Nano. I began in November and got halfway through before I had to go back to book 1 (Crossing the Barrier) to address my copyediting comments.

Book 5 is written, at least a first draft. I should begin my first revision of it in September.

Book 6 is the only one that is not yet written, at least in part. I should be writing it during Nanowrimo this coming November.

It certainly sounds like you’ve got a great start on the series. How long did it take to write?

Usually, I can write 95,000 words in a month. I use challenge months such as the National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo), Camp Nano and Junowrimo to complete my first drafts, and off months to plan. It works for me to have the pressure of a challenge in order to obtain a good word count by a certain date. I think my first draft is by far the easiest part to write.

Then I do revising, at least two passes, then the editing cycle.

I’ve always wanted to try the challenge months. They don’t fall at good times for me.

What are some books that influenced/inspired you in the writing of this one?

This particular book wasn’t inspired by any books. It was mostly inspired by what I witnessed at the football games I attended.

Who are your favorite authors?

While I write Young Adult, Cambria Hebert, who mostly writes New Adult, is a big inspiration for me. I especially like her #Hashtag Series, which I read three times in the last year. I also like CM Doporto and her University Park Series, and Tammara Webber’s Easy.

And of course, I would be remiss not to mention JK Rowling. She really created a wonderful universe in which I took an enormous pleasure to write in. I wrote hundred of thousands of words of fanfiction in the Potterverse.

J. K. Rowling? Would I have read anything she’s written? Joking. I too am a huge potter fan. I recently read the series with my oldest son, now I’m on book three with my youngest.

On which aspect of your writing do you work the hardest? (Characters, plotting, prose, etc.)

Prose. English is my second language and I do struggle with it a lot. My first draft reads like a paper from a third grader. The words are not very diverse and the phrases are frequently worded using French grammar. That’s why I do so many revisions. That’s why I put so much importance in my editing effort too. I have surrounded myself with editing professionals who know English is my second language and are a great help in varying my vocabulary and finding the right word for what I’m trying to say.

Characters are sometimes a challenge too. While I was writing book 4, or trying to, Malakai, my main character of book 1, kept on talking to me. In fact, he was talking so loud, I couldn’t hear the characters of book 4. That’s part of the reason I couldn’t finish book 4 during Nano, like I would usually have done.

Now plotting is usually not very hard as long as I have an idea already in mind. Subplotting can be challenge sometimes but after a long drive, I can usually figure it out… Yes, I love to plot while I’m driving. There is nothing else to do!

From what little I know of you, I’d have never guessed English wasn’t your first language.

What’s next?

The second series, believe it or not. I plan to be around for a long long time.

Starting in 2017, I will begin writing the Blue Eyes Series which is set in the same universe but with different characters. If my schedule holds – remember, I’m a Project Scheduler by profession – I should write book 1 of the Blue Eyes Series for Camp Nano in April 2017, and book 2 for Nano in November 2017. Let’s see if the schedule will hold.

Crossing the Barrier eRev09-eBook
By link:
Don’t forget to enter the Goodreads book giveaway.
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Truth or Lie with Crystal Collier Concludes

If you checked out my Truth or Lie post with Crystal Collier last week, where I told two truths and a lie, now you can learn which story was a lie. The stories went like this:

1. I know some guys in a local St. Louis band called Earl. Back stage at one of their shows at the Pageant, they asked me to go out after the break and play bass, which I did.
2. I’ve met Rob Zombie. In a strange sort of creepy, quazi-ironic way, I met him on Easter Sunday.
3. I have a tendency to win front row seats to concerts. I’ve seen Billy Joel, Elton John, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers all from the front row.

Check out Crystal’s blog post this week to learn which is the lie. And congratulations to Susan Swiderski for guessing correctly. She wins a paperback copy of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud and an eBook copy of The Squire and the Slave Master. While you’re there, you can check out Crystal’s Top 10 List of books in 2015.

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Exciting Book News to Start the Holiday Season!

Two new books are available in time for the holidays. Well, one new book and a new version of an older book.

Unveiling the Wizards Shroud is now available in paperback.

Literary Classics International Book Awards - Young Adult Award Winning Book

As the only son to King Kendrick, Owen despises the idea of being king one day. Magician may be the only career he’d like less. He has dreaded the days leading up to his fifteenth birthday, when his father will certainly declare Owen heir to the throne. But at the birthday celebration, his father falls ill. The only person in the kingdom that may be able to save him is a magician-the very same magician Owen holds responsible for the death of his mother.

Owen and his companions will have to travel the continent of Wittatun in search of the cure for King Kendrick. On the journey, they will battle strange beasts and harsh climates, befriend extraordinary magicians, and meet a dragon before returning to Innes Castle-where much has happened in the days since they departed.

 

Paperback available for $9.95 from:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

eBook available for $5.50 from most retailers; on sale for $2.75 (USD) from Amazon and Muse It Up Publishing:

Muse It Up Publishing

Amazon:

USUK; CA; FRAU; BR

Barnes & Nobel
Smashwords
OmniLit
Apple iTunes

Coming November 26, The Squire and the Slave Master: Saga of the Wizards: Book Two. It’s currently available for pre-order at the special price of $2.99 (regular $4.99) from select vendors with more to come. Currently an eBook only.

The Squire and the Slave Master 333x500The award winning Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud (CLC’s Best First Novel 2014) chronicled Yara, Owen, and Cedric’s quest to revive King Kendrick from a dark, magical spell. After the adventure to save King Kendrick, Yara’s everyday life has grown monotonous. The dull work of learning her father’s blacksmithing trade and the pressure from her parents to decide what she plans on doing with her life has her nerves too stressed.

Lucky for her, a surprise messenger from the castle brings the king’s request. She’s to join a collaborative mission between the Central and Western Domains of Wittatun to stop a recently discovered slave operation in a land to the west.

It’s imperative she keep secret not only her magical abilities from any possible traitors, but also her gender. The people of the Western Domain have a superstition prohibiting girls from sailing. But a chill wind carries the distinct odor of sabotage. Can one girl survive to destroy an evil rooted much deeper than mere slavery?

Pre-order from:

Amazon
Muse It Up Publishing

 

ALL IS FAIR IN LOVERS’ WAR now on Lightning Quick Reads

My newest post on Lighting Quick Reads is now available to read. Actually, it’s been available since the 17th, but I didn’t want to run a second post on the same day Group 15 got their version of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud Chapter Three showcased. If you missed that project, here’s a link to the beginning.

As for the LQR post, I really like this main character. Not because he’s a great guy. He’s not! Wait until you meet him. But I like his voice, and how he’s ever so slightly out of touch with reality. See what you think.

****

ALL IS FAIR IN LOVERS’ WAR
or How I Got Schooled In Love

Dagger

Through the window of the taxi, I could see a tear in her eye. She still had feelings for me. When she rolled down the window, I knew I would take her back the second she said, “I love you.”

Thunder cracked, and the downpour of rain splattered her face. She looked ready to burst with emotion, and she said, “If I ever see you again, you will regret ever meeting me!”

She rolled up the window and the taxi sped away. I thought it was a tear in her eye–I guess I was mistaken.

****

From the moment I met Mariana, I knew she was “The One.” She had everything I was looking for in a woman: intelligence, a sense of humor, light-brown hair flowing halfway down her back, perky breasts, a Russian accent–I didn’t even know I was looking for a Russian accent until I met Mariana.

I got a job right out of college designing set pieces for plays. Skip ahead a few years to when I landed a job to create the set for MACBETH. I delivered it to the theater the day of the first dress rehearsal. Enter Mariana.

Mariana had gotten her first acting role as the Third Witch. I should have guessed I would fall in love with a witch.

I wasn’t supposed to be at the theater when the cast arrived, but I had gotten a late start that morning. Nelly, a girl I had been seeing for a few weeks, got suspicious that I was cheating on her. Her suspicion aroused when my phone rang. I had gone to take a shower. The caller’s name was Tiffany, and she introduced herself to Nelly as my girlfriend.

In my defense, Tiffany was not my girlfriend. Nelly was. Tiffany was just a girl I had met at a bar a few nights before. I had drunk too much to drive, and she lived within walking distance. I don’t even remember giving her my phone number.

Nelly didn’t give me a chance to explain. I’m finishing my shower when her hand reaches in and turns off the hot water. I scream and turn off the cold. I can hear her yelling about “some slut on the phone,” not wanting to be “the other girl,” and “we’re through!”

I grab my towel and follow her into my kitchen. As she slams the door and leaves, I finally figure out what has happened. I step onto my second story balcony and waited for her to appear outside.

“Nelly, come up here so I can explain,” I say. But she grabs a flowerpot from the patio below and throws it at my head. I duck and the pot shatters against the wall behind me–covering me with soil.

Nelly climbs into her car and peels away, and I have to take another shower. This in turn makes me late setting the stage, and gives me the chance to meet Mariana. To quote MACBETH, “So foul and fair a day I have not seen.” If I had known how bad showering would soon become for me, methinks I may have quit bathing.

 

You can read the rest of the story on Lightning Quick Reads.

Vote for Your Favorite Student Version of Chapter Three

LycÇe-International-ok-952x980

It’s time! You’ve read fifteen different versions of Chapter Three written by groups of high schools students in Nantes, France. Now you get to tell us what you think. Voting ends on September 25. If you leave a comment as to why you liked the one(s) you picked, I’ll hold a drawing for someone to get a FREE copy of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud. If you win and already have Unveiling, I’ll upgrade the prize to The Squire and the Slave Master when it comes out.

Find the submissions here:

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6
Group 7
Group 8
Group 9
Group 10
Group 11
Group 12
Group 13
Group 14
Group 15

Thank you for your time and consideration in reading all of these stories. We’ll take a break from posts tomorrow, and on Sunday, September 20 (my birthday) you can read the version of Chapter Three from Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud.

Cover Reveal: Super Bad by Kai Strand

Today I’d like to welcome back Kai Strand. I’d have to go back and check to make sure, but I think she now holds the record for the most frequent guest here on authorericprice.com. I’m not sure what more I could say about her. She writes fun middle-grade and young adult novels, and I understand she’s going to be trying her hand at adult soon. She’s also the mastermind behind the Lightning Quick Reads blog. If you haven’t checked that out, you should. So here she is with the cover to the third book in her Super Villain Academy series. Of course I recommend it too. I intended to have reviews of books 1 and 2 ready before this cover reveal, but I failed. I guess Kai will just have to come visit again in a few weeks. Oh yeah, and there’s a giveaway.
Being good isn’t so bad – oh, but it’s so good to be bad.
Excerpt from Super Bad:
Source stepped in front of her, balancing on the edge of the curb. He grasped her shoulders and stared her straight in the eye. “Everything, everyone, will be all right. You have to believe that, Sandra.”
Tears flooded her eyes again. She hated that she didn’t believe him. “I’m scared, Source. I’m afraid Whisper will never wake up. Or that I’ll never walk right again. I’m worried about Mom’s state of mind. I’m scared the world will never right itself, and all this violence will become the new normal.”
Source drew a ragged breath and lightly dragged his thumb across her tear-stained cheek.
Closing her eyes, as though afraid to see the full truth, she whispered her biggest fear. “I’m scared we’ll never find Jeff.”
SUPER BAD The unexpected conclusion to the Super Villain Academy series.
The world is in chaos. Violence and thievery reign. And with the supers still balanced, it’s only getting worse. Without good versus evil, the supers care less and less. In order to restore purpose, the world needs its super heroes and its super villains, but the one who balanced them in the first place is missing.
Sandra’s concern over finding her brother, Jeff, isn’t her only problem. Her pathetic excuse for super powers has left her needing a new ankle. And though she’s still very much committed to her boyfriend, Source, she’s growing unreasonably attracted to Set, the boy who double crossed Jeff by stealing his girlfriend.
When Sandra is taken and held as bait by kids who want to unbalance the super world, it becomes the inciting event that changes things for supers everywhere and forces them to answer the question, “Hero or villain?”
***
Super Bad is scheduled for release in June, but there have been whispers of it releasing sooner. Don’t miss out. Subscribe to Kai’s mailing list and be among the first to know.
***
King of BadJeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. Is Jeff bad enough for SVA?
 
Polar Opposites – Heroes and villains are balanced. After Oceanus is kidnapped, Jeff learns the supers are so balanced, they no longer care to get involved. Ironically Jeff’s superpowers are spiraling out of control. Will they find Oci before he looses it completely, and will they find her alive?
***

Win a $10 Amazon gift card or an ecopy of either King of Bad or Polar Opposites. Plenty of chances to win. Open internationally. Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway About the author: When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.

Survival Colony 9 Review and Interview with Joshua David Bellin.

One of the first authors I met (with a publisher other than my own), after signing my contract and trying to establish a presence on social media, joins me today. By the time I met him, Joshua David Bellin had gotten a good start on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, and he had recently created his blog, The YA Guy, where he reviews and promotes other young adult books, as well as his own. I pre-ordered his book, Survival Colony 9, and anxiously awaited its release–though, I did wait a little extra time so I could get an autographed copy. I read it as soon as it came, enjoyed it, wanted to have Joshua join me here . . . but I got busy. So, after a several month delay, here he is, the author of Survival Colony 9, Joshua David Bellin. Read on after the interview for a review of his book. But I admit, I’m not comfortable writing reviews, so it will lack the eloquence with which Joshua writes his reviews.

Ok. I want to get this out of the way right off. We all know you’re a huge King Kong fan. I didn’t notice any references to the giant ape in Survival Colony 9, but I may have missed something. Of all the sequels, remakes, guest appearances, parodies, and references, which is your favorite of the great ape’s RE-appearances?

 

Joshua David BellinWell, we can rule out the ’76 version immediately. The Peter Jackson remake isn’t horrible, except it’s about two hours too long and relies too heavily on CG effects. I’m going to go with another Willis O’Brien vehicle, the original Mighty Joe Young. Even better stop-motion (thanks to O’Brien’s assistant, Ray Harryhausen in his first feature film), and thought the plot and acting are on the weak side, it was nice to see a giant monster film that ends happily for the giant monster!

I intended to insert a clip from How I Met Your Mother here. There’s a scene where a monkey climbs a model of the Empire State Building and they throw paper airplanes at it, but I couldn’t find it.

 

On to your book. I know authors don’t like to speculate which actors should play characters in their books. The best reason I’ve heard for this is they don’t want the reader to have a presupposition for what a character looks like. After all, when you first read Lord or the Rings, did Frodo look anything like Elijah Wood? (Yet for me, Gandalf did look a lot like Ian McKellen.) So I won’t put you on the spot here, but what do you think of *whispers name of a top billed action star* as Laman?

 

I think he’d be great in the role of Laman! Impressive presence, very authoritative, but with an edge of something dangerous or unbalanced. For the same reason, I think [cough, cough] would be just as awesome.

 

A few aspects of this book reminded me of The Walking Dead. We’ll skip the obvious world in ruin stuff. Laman, as a leader, reminded me a lot of Rick. Laman had a bit more of a grip on his sanity, but he grew up in his world, Rick grew up before the world ended. This could be hard to adjust to. Both had a son under their wing, and both sought a permanent shelter. (Of course, I think we, as people, want a permanent shelter. If not, we’d have never started building houses.) Can you expand on some similarities/differences you see?

 

You’re not the first person to make a Walking Dead connection with my book, but I have to admit: I’ve never seen the show. (Or that’s not entirely true—I watched the first episode simply to see if it was as similar to my book as people were saying, but I didn’t like it.) In general, I’m not a huge fan of zombies. I feel like they’ve been done to death, and with very little originality to the story line. They’re undead cannibals who turn their victims into other undead cannibals and destroy the world in the process. Been there, done that.

The reason I made the connection (and I can’t speak for the show, I’ve only seen an episode or two), is the comics really aren’t about zombies. Sure, they exist, and when it’s time for a character to get killed off, they can always get bitten, but the stories are about the people learning to live in a new world. It’s character driven more than any other Zombie medium I’ve seen. It could be a world taken over by mutant lions and have the same result. (Hum, a world taken over by mutant lions.) Anyway, In Survival Colony 9, the Skaldi made them live in constant fear, but the book was really about the characters.

I also intended to compare the Skaldi to the byrus in Stephen King’s Dreamcathcer, but I forgot.

 

In one scene, Laman makes everyone give up the items they carry that aren’t absolutely necessary. In our world, so full of hoarders there’s even a TV show about it, how hard do you think it would be for people to give up sentimental items in the event of the apocalypse?

 

I think it would be nearly impossible. Though I personally feel we in the western world care far too much about material possessions—this is an ongoing dispute with my wife and kids, by the way—there’s no denying that this stuff defines us. So if the world were to collapse, and on top of that (as in my novel) memory were to fade to the extent that people have practically no reference points to the past, I think the importance of material stuff would be greatly magnified. Which is one thing that makes Laman a problematic leader—he doesn’t understand this. But as readers will discover, he has his own reasons for not understanding.

 

I always like to ask authors about characters they like or dislike. I did not like Yov. Who are some of your favorites/least favorites?

 

I actually like Yov, because he’s such a smart-mouth jerk he got some of the best lines in the book! But leaving him aside, I love Aleka and Petra, two of the strong women in the colony, and Korah, because she’s so much more complex than I’d originally planned. She was one of those characters who took on a life of her own and refused to be limited by my first intentions. If I had to choose a character I don’t like—which is hard, because in this book I very much wanted there not to be simple heroes and villains, so I got to know all my characters too well to hate them—I’d say it’s Araz. I get where he’s coming from, but I simply can’t condone some of the things he does.

You’re the second person in a row I mentioned the character I liked least, and the author pointed out that the character is smart-mouthed. Interesting. What does that say about me? Maybe I don’t like characters too similar to myself.

 

All right, enough about Survival Colony 9. As you wrote in the book, “Life isn’t about looking back. It’s about looking ahead.” What can you tell us about Skaldi City? I assume it will also be about Querry. What’s next for him? Do you know an approximate release date?

 

I don’t have a release date yet, alas. But you’ll know as soon as I do (as will the rest of the Twittersphere). SKALDI CITY picks up right where SURVIVAL COLONY 9 leaves off, but it takes Querry and the others into very different territory, revealing much more of the world, as well as much more of his personal history. I think readers will be surprised by what they discover. And they’ll also meet a new character who is, hands down, my favorite in the series. So it’s something to be on the lookout for!

I look forward to it. I’d pre-order a copy now if I could. On to the review.

Survival Colony 9 Review:

Querry Genn can’t remember who his is, or how he got to Survival Colony 9, but he needs to remember to save himself . . . and possibly the human race. In a world destroyed by war, the remaining people formed survival colonies, but harsh climates, including lack of food and water, aren’t the only threats in this post-apocalyptic world. They also have to contend with the Skaldi. No one knows what these monsters look like. No one has seen them and lived to tell. You see, they possess a human host and mimic them perfectly. They could be anyone, even me.

Joshua David Bellin creates a completely plausible dystopian world. When the Skaldi attack, and Survival Colony 9 has to pack up and run, you’re there. When they find a place to set up camp, possibly for a long-term, you feel their relief. And you share in their losses when members of Survival Colony 9 fail to survive the Skaldi.

My only complaint is the book left me wanting more. Sorry for the vagueness, but I’m not actually sure what ‘more’ I wanted from it. I may have wanted more interaction between Querry and Laman. Or perhaps I wanted more information about Querry or the Skaldi. If that’s the case, I guess it’s a compliment not a complaint. In which case, I should get my ‘more’ in Skaldi City.