Thursday, May 29, 2014

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I know of) by F.J.R. Titchenell

F.J.R. Titchenell pays us a visit today as she travels along the Blog Tour for her new novel, Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (that I know of).

If you have not already gotten your copy of this amazing book, you are in for a treat.  Inside you will mortal danger salted with a humor that draws you ever deeper into the story and its characters.

Visually gripping for both its locations and characters, the pictures the words created in my mind still linger—creating a few questions.

Do you write with images in your mind of what is happening?

FJR: Of course. I'm admittedly not the most visual-minded of people. The words themselves are a lot easier for me. I thrive on dialogue and internal monologue, have to remind myself to slow down and describe the surroundings, and when I get inspired, it's almost always words bouncing around my head waiting to get out, not an image waiting to be made into words, but even I have to be able to picture what I'm writing about. If I can't see it, the reader won't see it, and the story loses vital sensory engagement. Or worse, the reader will see it, filling in the blanks as well as possible, and discover that the choreography unconsciously contradicts itself because I wasn't paying attention.

The non-stop action in Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (that I know of) stretches across California to New York City. How did you choose or research each setting or step along the way?

FJR: I chose most of the locations based on my familiarity with them and how logically they fit along the most likely route our heroes would take. I followed their progress chapter by chapter on Google maps to make sure everything made sense, though I have been busted by readers for getting some details wrong on places I didn't know firsthand, specifically Tulsa Zoo. Sorry! I needed a good sized zoo to come up in that part of the trip, and there's only so much you can figure out from brochures and aerial shots!

How do you feel about road trips? Did you draw from your own experiences to make the trip so realistic?

FJR: Love them under the right circumstances, and yes, definitely. My husband and I took a cross country road trip in college that was easily a life highlight so far, and the Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) road trip follows our route fairly closely, so I have been to most of the places Cassie goes, except obviously Tulsa Zoo. Also some of the New York locations. I've only driven across a small corner of New York City so far. Matt and I got to see a lot more, though, without a rescue mission hanging over us, and we went further than New York, all the way up to Maine. It's something I'd recommend to anyone who has the opportunity.

Each character’s attire or appearance is distinctive. How did you use this to further the story?

FJR: I'm not really a fashion type, but I do love costumes. Back when I was studying theater, I always felt closer to characters once I got to dress up as them. I think I do the same thing with dressing up some of the Zombie Slayer characters. Do you ever look back at what you wore in high school and wonder what you were thinking? Well this bunch has no parents or school dress code or budget keeping them from taking that to extremes. We get to see a lot of how they see themselves worn almost literally on their sleeves, and we get to see how they grow out of it or don't. It's one of my favorite extensions of writing visually in Zombie Slayer.

Can you share a scene that is memorable to you?

FJR: Well, some favorites are naturally the funereal vandalism at the music institute and the battle of the Costco, but the one scene that started it all, the one everything else grew out of, is the moment when Cassie sees the first zombie sit up and she thinks about all the romantic things she should be thinking about at that moment, about conquering death and the like, and then she bashes its brains in because she's a geek who's already nursing a healthy fear of zombies before they start existing in her world. 
Thanks, Fiona!

Now, here is a taste of what you will discover inside this book.

The world is Cassie Fremont’s playground. Her face is on the cover of every newspaper, she has no homework, no curfew, and no credit limit, and she spends her days traveling the country with her friends, including a boy who would flirt with death just to turn her head. Life is just about perfect—except that those newspaper headlines are about her bludgeoning her crush to death with a paintball gun, she has to fight ravenous walking corpses every time she steps outside, and one of her friends is still missing, trapped somewhere in the distant, practically impassable wreckage of Manhattan. Still, Cassie’s an optimist. More prone to hysterical laughter than hysterical tears, she’d rather fight a corpse than be one, and she won’t leave a friend stranded when she can simply take her road trip to impossible new places to find her, even if getting there means admitting to that boy that she might just love him, too. Skillfully blending effective horror with unexpected humor, this diary-format novel is a fast-paced and heartwarming read.

Where can you find this book? Click below:


Meet the author!

F.J.R. TITCHENELL is an author of Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Horror fiction. She graduated with a B.A in English from California State University, Los Angeles, in 2009 at the age of nineteen, and she currently lives in San Gabriel, California, with her husband and fellow author, Matt Carter, and their pet king snake, Mica.
The "F" is for Fiona, and on the rare occasions when she can be pried away from her keyboard, her kindle, and the pages of her latest favorite book, Fi can usually be found over-analyzing the inner workings of various TV Sci-Fi universes or testing out some intriguing new recipe, usually chocolate-related.
You can find her at the following links:

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Friday, May 16, 2014


123RF Stock Photo/schrades
The night sky was deep black, cloudless and filled with stars.  Though a thin crescent moon was peeking over the Slate Range Mountains, it gave little light.  The lights from the chemical plant burned as brightly as ever, but Trona, California is such a small town, so far out in the desert, there is almost no light pollution.  It was a perfect night for star gazing, except for one small distraction.
Floating hundreds of feet above the town, a small, reddish-white light burned fiercely in the sky, swinging gently in the breeze and drifting slowly to the south-east.  The time was almost 9:30 pm.  If anyone was outside watching, the floating, swaying flare would have been a strange sight.

Without warning, the night sky filled with a brilliant, bright-white flash.  Light flooded the sky for less than a second, and then was gone—taking the small reddish light with it.  For several seconds, only silence and the deep black of the cloudless sky remained.  Suddenly a roaring rumble blasted across the town, followed immediately by a shock wave that rattled windows and socked you in the chest as it passed. 
Faces peered out of windows and open doors.  Was this lightning and thunder heralding a storm?  Those rushing onto their porches, found only a totally clear sky.
123RF Stock Photo/eteimaging
At that moment, Ed, Herb, Bill and I huddled at the back of the Trona football field, grinning at each other.  We had spent weeks planning and preparing for this spectacular event.  Herb, the science class assistant, who was a year younger than the rest of us, had borrowed a condenser and heat resistant beakers from the high school science lab. Bill had set up the equipment on his back porch where we had some privacy.  Ed brought aluminum foil and Drano—the key ingredients in creating hydrogen balloons. I brought dynamite.

After hours of careful work we drove to the Trona Cemetery behind the chemical plant and launched our creation into the night sky.  We knew we had only five or ten minutes to reach the football field before the big display.  The results exceeded our expectations.

The next day others asked, “Did you hear the explosion last night?”  “What happened at the plant?”  As was our practice, we said nothing, only shrugged and smiled.  Though often accused we were never convicted. 

Although I would never encourage others to attempt this prank, I admit growing up in the Mojave Desert provided unique educational opportunities.

Monday, May 12, 2014

MOJAVE GREEN launch date announced with Giveaway!

Thanks to all our faithful readers who read Pitch Green and promptly asked, “When does the next book come out?”  We have an answer.
Mojave Green release date
OCTOBER 7, 2014
Check out Mojave Green in the new Jolly Fish Press Fall/Winter 2014Catalog to learn more.  We cannot wait to hold a copy of Mojave Green ourselves.
To celebrate, we are giving away a signed “limited edition” hardback copy of Pitch Green, Book 1 in the Dimensions in Death Series.  Just enter the Giveaway below.  Celebrate with us!

Links to books:
     Pitch Green:          Amazon    Barnes & Noble 
     Mojave Green:     Amazon     Barnes & Noble
Links to us:                Facebook    Twitter    GoodreadsBerk

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Friday, May 2, 2014

BLOG TOUR: New Sight by Jo Ann Schneider

New Sight is an exciting read, one that grabbed me from the start. In no time, I was immersed in the characters and their struggles to survive and to find answers as to why they get these wild destructive urges.

We are lucky to have the author, Jo Schneider, with us today to answer a few burning questions we needed answered:

You obviously know how to invest the reader in your plot and characters.  What do you see as important ways to accomplish this?

Torture them. Both the characters and the readers. It sounds terrible, but there you go. Taunt them with little details, small victories and moments of rest only to snatch these niceties away and replace them with more mean-ness. I honestly wish I was even better at this! 

Where do you draw from to create your characters? Do you see yourself in any of them?

In order to create a character, I draw from everyone and everything I know. I ask myself what role I need this character to fill in the story then I start tossing problems, questions and talents at them. What do I need them to do? In what way will they really mess up? Weaknesses? Strengths? Compatibility with others? All of those questions.

And yes, I totally see a bit of myself in almost all of my characters. Brady especially. He’s the snarky, geeky one. That’s totally me. However, Inez has inherited a bit of my cranky side, and Peter my optimism. Honestly just tiny bits and pieces, but they’re there. Of course, my characters also suffer from injections of my friends in real life, my family, my co-workers and whatever TV show I’m hooked on at the moment. Like I said, I draw from everywhere. 

As you write, how do the plot and your characters influence each other? Any surprises along the way?

I’m more than a little OCD, so I’m an outliner. I haven’t had any really huge surprises from the characters in New Sight, but little things come along. Like I didn’t have Inez liking Brady at all in the first drafts of the book. I think in the final copy shows a different story, one I wasn’t totally expecting.

If characters try to change too much of the plot I simply get rid of them. Trouble makers! 

What do you enjoy about creating characters?  Is there anything difficult about the process for you?

I love popping a name on a face and then letting them play in my story. It’s fun to come up with how the cast of characters will react to one another. Sometimes I just enjoy watching them freak out over their worst fears come true.

I’m actually working for the next few months to get better at creating characters. I never feel like I go deep enough into their personality or world, and let’s face it, why do people read stories? For the characters. So expect my next book to have characters that are even better than those in New Sight.

We can't wait to read Book 2. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts (and answers) with us, Jo. 

The next step for all you intrigued readers is to read New Sight and meet Lysandra (Lys for short), Kamau, Brady, Inez, Peter, Mark, and a host of others. 
CHECK OUT WHAT'S BELOW to find out more about Jo, her book, and a GIVEAWAY!

The scoop about Jo:
JO SCHNEIDER lives in Bountiful, Utah, but she has spent countless hours traveling all over the world. Her goal is to visit all seven continents, and she's nearly finished. Being a geek at heart, Schneider has always been drawn to science fiction and fantasy; she writes both. Based on her travels and her experience obtaining a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate, Schneider's works feature authentic, impressive settings and extraordinary action sequences.
Here are places you can hang out with her:
Want to know more?  Check out the book blurb: 
After succumbing to the sudden and terrifying urge to rip people’s eyes out of their sockets, 16-year-old Lysandra Blake finds herself tied down in a psych ward, convinced she’s crazy. The doctors have no answers, and Lys is ready to give up when the mysterious Jeremiah Mason appears, telling Lys that she’s not insane—she’s addicted to a rare and deadly drug that she has no recollection of using. Mr. Mason offers to take her to his facility where he can treat her. Desperate yet suspicious, Lys agrees to go with Mr. Mason to his facility where she meets with a fellow addict, the tall and handsome Kamau. Together they discover that Mr. Mason may not have told them the truth about their condition— they’re thrown headfirst into a world of daunting powers that are not only unbelievable, they are dangerous.
Where can you find this book? Just click on one of the links below:


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