Saturday, January 21, 2012

Otherwise by Jennifer B. White, Blog Tour

Reluctantly, Delilah Gray has returned to her childhood home—a ramshackle cottage where her compulsive, hoarding grandmother, Meema, raised her. Meema’s ghostly manifestations refuse to let Delilah clean the filthy house, or to stay there peacefully. And that’s just the beginning of Delilah’s problems. Lonely, angry, and hiding a painful secret, she tries to find a place for herself in a town that she once discovered was “in-between”—a portal to the worlds of the supernatural. Upon her arrival, Delilah unwittingly gets caught in the middle of important business between The Keeper, whose job it is to keep souls on the physical plane, and The Sender who helps speed the dead on their afterlife journey. When Delilah discovers that she is connected to Lily Defoe, a woman who leapt to her death many years ago, and to a man who refers to himself as The Gravedigger for Lost Souls, she realizes there is more to her homecoming than she anticipated. Who she is, and who she’s been, crosses the boundaries of life and death. Nothing—not the people she meets, not this very moment in time, not even the tragic death of her daughter—is what it appears to be. Not only does Delilah have her own “soul searching” to do, but she must work with some of Green Lake’s oddest characters to uncover the mysteries of several unsolved deaths that have never been forgotten. While strange and supernatural occurrences threaten Delilah’s already fragile emotional state, she still has a crucial choice to make that will change everything. She comes to understand that there are some things that are worse than death. There is Otherwise—to be confined to a twilight state between the spiritual and the physical worlds. OTHERWISE is a chilling tale about lonely spirits, protective forces, and departed loved ones who are never really gone—and a woman who, after wanting to die, finds a reason to live and to love again. Only to discover what it is to be Otherwise.

Jennifer B. White has written a boatload of books, a mass of movie scripts, and, from time to time, epic poems that all begin with the words; This is a very long sonnet, so grab a drink. Go on, get on it!
Growing up, her family understood that a certain amount of supernatural phenomena was to beexpected. Her father foretold his mother’s death and witnessed her ghost. Many years later, Jennifer received a “sign” that her father was dying when her house was filled with the scent ofincense. She got to her dad in time to hold his hand as he passed away. It’s okay, she’s made peace with his death. She’d just prefer if he’d stop playing with the dining room lights.
These experiences, and others like them, left Jennifer with seeds for several good stories like DEAD ASLEEP, OTHERWISE and THE WITCH AND THE DEVIL’S SON—novels that explore intriguing topics like ghosts, witchcraft, dreams, time travel, reincarnation, and the lines between life and death.
As well as penning novels, Jennifer is a screenwriter and Hollywood tagline writer. She lives and writes in Boston, Massachusetts, when she’s not in Los Angeles, California working on movies. She holds a BA in communication and an M.Ed in psychology. She has three boys—all were born in late October, the youngest on Halloween.
You can follow her on Twitter @nakedhollywood where she exchanges pithy comments with the celebrities that follow her. She’s also on Facebook because she enjoys seeing what people are eating for lunch. Jennifer responds personally to all her emails and tweets. It’s just the way she was raised. Go figure.

You can see my interview with Jennifer here, and connect with her on her Website, blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Check out all the stops on the tour:

Jennifer B. White Interview-1/21/12

Blog Interview Questions for Jennifer B. White

1.Tell me about your books Dead Asleep and Otherwise. How did you come up with that story angle or idea?

The character of Kevin Macy (Dead Asleep) came to me fully developed, and with loads of attitude. Naturally, I told him where to go. When he didn’t go there, I had to write him—and his story—onto paper. That man is very persistent.

The back story to Dead Asleep began when I was a child. I had a terrifying nightmare, fleeing a demon through tunnels. In my dream, my father appeared and deftly scared off the demon. I woke and ran to my parent’s bedroom. My father was awake and sitting on the edge of his bed. Before I could tell him about my dream, he said, “You just had a nightmare, didn’t you?” I nodded. Then he told me, in perfect detail, what had happened in my dream. So, the seeds of “dreamsharing” were planted.

Otherwise was a story that rolled around in my head for years. In ways, it was very romantic to watch Shane and Delilah, wondering what had happened to them, and what was going to happen next. Like Dead Asleep, Otherwise begged to be written.
2. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?

Growing up, a certain amount of supernatural phenomena was to be expected. My father foretold his mother’s death and witnessed her ghost. Many years later, I received a “sign” that my dad was dying—my house was filled with the scent of incense. I got to him in time to hold his hand as he passed away.

These experiences, and others like them, left me with an interest in topics like ghosts, dream, demons, reincarnation, time travel and the lines between life and death.
3. What kind of research did you do for these books?

Dead Asleep involves time-travel. I researched a multitude of aspects (clothes, songs, food, world events) on the different time periods that Kevin Macy visits (1996, 1932, etc.). Much of the book takes place on Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts, and my personal Shangri-la. I spent a lot of time there pinning down details for Dead Asleep. For the cover, two photo shoots were held on the island, so the beach on the cover is, in fact, Menemsha—a great final touch!

Like Dead Asleep, Otherwise also deals with different time periods. (You’ll notice vernacular changes with different characters.) While I did extensive research, it was more work “mapping” and plotting the book. There are so many twists and turns that occur in both the plot and the subplot. Every loose end had to be tied, every hole had to be filled, every question answered so that the conclusion is satisfying for the reader.
4. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

I write at least five hours a day, every day, in a home office with a cherry desk, a fireplace, two cellos and an upright piano.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

Factor in my phone ringing constantly, Skype going off every two minutes, and three children interrupting me every ten minutes. In between writing, I prepare to hop a plane every few weeks to go to L.A. where I write Hollywood taglines, pitch my screenplays to various major film companies, and meet with industry professionals.

I’ve learned to work when I’m sick, persist when I’m disrupted, write when I’m exhausted, and to never ever succumb to writer’s block. I don’t set goals because I’m constantly in motion. (And I already know what I want to accomplish.) I’m usually working on several projects at the same time (film treatments, scripts, novels and blogging).
Actually, it really is lovely, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

While I’m passionate about storytelling, I don’t romanticize the hard work and perseverance that goes into writing, selling and marketing my work. The American writer, Jessamyn West said, “Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.”

The hardest part of writing is balancing my life. I write as much as I can, spend time with my family, and accept the fact that there will always be laundry and bathrooms to clean.
6. What’s the best thing about being an author?

I get to wear pajamas all day and don’t have to worry about someone noticing that I have food stuck in my teeth. Except when I’m on an author’s tour. I did that once. It wasn’t very pretty.
7. What are you working on now?

I’m writing a movie script about a conspiracy theory. It’s a thriller, who-done-it with supernatural elements. It’s intended to be an independent film, but if we option the film before it goes into pre-production, that will be great, too! I’m also working on the first in a trilogy of supernatural young adult novels that will have accompanying movie scripts. I’m giving a final edit to my book, Hummus for the Holidays that was also adapted for film, and is currently being reviewed by a major film company. (The release date on that book will depend on what happens with the movie.)

I also help out other writers whenever I can. At the moment, I’m reviewing a movie script for a friend who’s received prestigious awards and accolades for her work. She’s written a terrific movie adapted from a famous children’s picture book. I’m helping her with tagline ideas and a logline, and looking forward to seeing her movie on the big screen.
8. What advice would you give aspiring writers?

If you’re an aspiring writer, you’re not writing. Stop what you’re doing and write. Then, kick down some doors!
9. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?

Pat the Bunny. But, I wore that out. Then, I moved on to Stephen King novels. Honestly, I don’t care who the author is, as long as I like their voice and they’ve crafted a great novel. I love books and movies that can combine a variety of elements—comedy with action and a sprinkle of romance—and aren’t afraid to push out boundaries.
10. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

I wish someone would ask me how a movie was written—like Christopher Nolan’s Memento. I have the answer! (But, you’d have to ask me first.)
11. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

If you Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now.

Flash Questions:

1) If you could trade places with a person for a single day, who would it be and why?

Will Ferrell. No one would question why I was in a thong, ringing a cow bell.

2) What was the last movie you saw?

The real question is, what movie haven’t I seen? I just took my kids to Sherlock Holmes 2 and enjoyed the ride immensely.

3) What is your biggest TV addiction?

Raising Hope. Great writing! (Love Maw-Maw)

4) Guilty pleasure?

Chateauneuf du pape with dark chocolate and a movie. On the couch. Alone.

5) Fruits or veggies?

Veggies. I’m a huge foodie, so I eat anything that doesn’t get off my plate and walk away.

6) Favorite childhood toy?

Fisher Price’s Music Box/Record Player. It’s a million years old. My seven year-old has it now and plays with it all the time, even though he has an iPad.

7) What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Coffee and thyroid medication.

*Thank you for taking the time to answer these interview questions for me.

You’re most welcome! That’s all? I was having fun! Ask me something else!


Please stay tuned for my Otherwise by Jennifer B. White blog tour stop!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1) by Amanda Hocking, Book Review

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - a world both beautiful and frightening, and Wendy's not sure she wants to be a part of it.

Title: Switched
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 293
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback

Rating: 4/5

*I received a review copy of Switched by Amanda Hocking from St. Martin's Griffin in exchange for a 100% honest book review.

I loved this book!  I first heard about Amanda Hocking when she was still an indie author and self-published the Trylle Trilogy, and based on the positive reaction of the majority of book bloggers online, my interest was piqued from the start--and then it was announced that St. Martin's Griffin bought the trilogy and was going to traditionally publish the series and I was so excited!

I felt as if the beginning of Switched started off really strong--the prologue draws you in, and you literally can't seem to put the book down.  I read Switched in one sitting--that's how much I loved this book!

The romance in Switched felt very authentic to me.  In most books, authors try to make the characters fall in love too quickly and un-realistically, but the relationship that develops between the protagonist Wendy and her Trylle bodyguard, Finn, was very honest and realistic, and that made the love story that much more concrete for me.

I really liked the characters in Switched--I felt as if they were relatable and flawed, but not so much that it affected the book in a negative way. I loved how Wendy was strong and empowered and stood up for herself--I love a strong heroine. I also really enjoyed Wendy's spunky, cynical humor--it gave the book a little comical relief, but not too much.

I enjoyed the level of action and adventure in Switched. I felt as if the action scenes were realistic, and the adventure was entertaining. I loved the scenes with magickal abilities, combat, and fighting and wish that Hocking would’ve written more of it into the storyline.  I can honestly say that there was never a dull moment!

I loved the cliffhangers almost at the end of every single chapter. The cliffhangers really kept the pages turning, and I was kept thoroughly entertained. I felt pleased that Hocking wrote Switched so that the reader would feel the element of surprise, which I definitely did.

I rated Switched 4/5 stars--it was a really good read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt as if I were on the journey that Wendy goes on and discovers who she is while discovering what she is as well. I am excited to see where Hocking takes the story and to see more character development in the following books Torn (2/28) and Ascend (4/24).

Prepare to be enchanted…Switched by Amanda Hocking is a fast-paced read thoroughly laced with action, adventure, fantasy, and romance. Hocking has created a magickal world that I am excited to return to and will definitely be following Wendy and her gang of friends throughout their spectacular journey into the world of Trylle.

Until next time, happy reading!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Interview + Giveaway with Heather M. White, author of When Destiny Knocks

Hey, guys! I got the chance to interview Heather M. White (left), author of When Destiny Knocks (right). Make sure to check out the giveaway at the end of this interview, because Heather has kindly donated a digital (PDF, Kindle, Nook, etc.) eBook to two lucky readers!

Heather: First of all Casey - thank you so, so much for having me on your blog today! :) It is such a honor!

Casey’s Crew: Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Heather M. White: I've always loved to write stories. The idea just came to me. I wanted a story where the lead girl is not just a damsel in distress. I like that Karlie is kick butt, and that she can rescue herself... most of the time anyway ;)

Casey’s Crew: How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children's books, etc.)?
Heather M. White: I have ALWAYS known that I wanted to write Young Adult books. Considering 95% of the books I read are YA Paranormal Romance, I decided I would stick to what I know and love.

Casey’s Crew: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Heather M. White: I looked up a lot of different myths and folk lore. I've always been interested in paranormal creatures - I combined everything I've heard with my own imagination.

Casey’s Crew: What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Heather M. White: I do set a daily goal. I try to get a minimum of 5k words a day. I try to get more than that most days. I do my best writing from about 6pm to midnight, sometimes later. But I write ALL the time.

Casey’s Crew: What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Heather M. White: Hmm... Well I'm really ADHD. Sometimes I find it hard to sit still. Also, there is this condition called writers butt. It's real, lol :-P.

Casey’s Crew: What’s the best thing about being an author?
Heather M. White: Honestly - seeing my finished project. Beings a writer takes a LOT of HARD work. Writing, editing, book cover design, more editing... Oh, and did I mention editing??? Also, I like going to work in my pajamas! (Yes, I'm wearing pajamas right now!)

Casey’s Crew: What are you working on now?
Heather M. White: I am working on book 2 in my Destiny Saga, as well as a new series. My Fairytale Life, the first in my Vampire Hunter Series, will be releasing in February. Also, I plan to have book 2 in the Destiny Saga out by the end of March.

Casey’s Crew: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Heather M. White: Just write... EVERYDAY, even if you don't feel like it. It's totally worth it in the end. Never give up. Also, read a LOT. Be creative! It's your book, your world. Have fun.

Casey’s Crew: Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Heather M. White: I have a LOT of favorites. I love the Significance Series by Shelly Crane, The Fallen Star Series by Jessica Sorencen and My Blood Approves Series by Amanda Hocking. Those are my current favorites.

Casey’s Crew: What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Heather M. White: If you weren't a writer what would you want to be? Easy - a ROCKSTAR. I play guitar, bass and drums. I sing. I've been playing for over 10 years now, I've wrote over 200+ songs, and I LOVE MUSIC.

Casey’s Crew: If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Heather M. White: The title would be: Don't Do What I Did... LOL, seriously, I have done a lot of stupid things in my life... It's all apart of growing up, I guess.

*Flash Questions*:

Casey’s Crew: If you could trade places with a person for a single day, who would it be and why?
Heather M. White: I'm going to go with Lady Gaga, because I have ALWAYS wanted to be a rockstar... As long as she was performing that day. What a rush! :)

Casey’s Crew: What was the last movie you saw?
Heather M. White: From Prada to Nada - on Netflix, Breaking Dawn - in theater.

Casey’s Crew: What is your biggest TV addiction?
Heather M. White: VAMPIRE DIARIES (I'm obsessed). And True Blood.

Casey’s Crew: Guilty pleasure?
Heather M. White: I am addicted to caffeine. Dr. Pepper, Red Bull, NOS, Coffee, Mtn. Dew, Coke... EVERYTHING lol.

Casey’s Crew: Fruits or veggies?
Heather M. White: FRUITS! :) I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE (almost) every fruit!

Casey’s Crew: Favorite childhood toy?
Heather M. White: Barbies. I loved to play with Barbies as a kid.

Casey’s Crew: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Heather M. White: A turkey sandwich........ I'm in the middle of writing right now, so I don't really have time to "cook" lol.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these interview questions for me!

Here is the synopsis and a sneak peek at When Destiny Knocks by Heather M. White:

16 year old Karlie has had a pretty normal life... But when her Mom dies she is force to move over 1,000 miles away to live with her Dad. That's when things start getting weird. She can't explain the earthquakes that nobody else feels, or why she no longer sleeps. But most of all she doesn't know why she trusts Shane so much, even though his Dad wants her dead. Suddenly, Karlie's normal life is turned upside down and she enters a world she never dreamed could really exist.

“Don’t worry. You are completely safe with me.” Shane put his arm around me and pulled me out to the dance floor.With Shane I lose myself. I forget that he’s half-demon. I forget that I’m the chosen one. I forget the world where vampires, werewolves and demons exist. I forget his Dad wants me dead. It’s just me and him – and for that moment I feel special. I feel normal.I could feel my heart race as Shane dips his head down to mine. When his lips touch mine I feel like my heart is going to explode. In that moment I almost let myself dream of a future with him.Before I get to deep in my thoughts a terrible feeling comes over me. I pulled back from Shane’s embrace to see his Dad standing beside us.“Hello Karlie,” his voice was full of hate as he said my name.I grabbed Shane’s hand and did the only thing I knew to do… I ran.

Up next: Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1) by Amanda Hocking, Book Review