Thursday 30 January 2014

Book Launch: MINDERS by Michele Jaffe

Today marks the release of the young adult thriller/mystery/sci-fi/dystopian/romance MINDERS by Michele Jaffe. This book sounds so good, and it seems like it has everything! Take a look.

"A dark, dangerous and twisty near-future mystery from the incomparable Michelle Jaffe. Don't miss this book!"--Melissa de la Cruz, New York Times Bestselling Author of Blue Bloods

Q: If the boy you love commits a crime, would you turn him in?

Sadie Ames is a type-A teenager from the wealthy suburbs. She's been accepted to the prestigious Mind Corps Fellowship program, where she'll spend six weeks as an observer inside the head of Ford, a troubled boy with a passion for the crumbling architecture of the inner city. There's just one problem: Sadie's fallen in love with him.

Q: What if the crime is murder?

Ford Winters is haunted by the murder of his older brother, James. As Sadie falls deeper into his world, dazzled by the shimmering pinpricks of color that form images in his mind, she begins to think she knows him. Then Ford does something unthinkable.

Q: What if you saw it happen from inside his mind?

Back in her own body, Sadie is faced with the ultimate dilemma. With Ford's life in her hands, she must decide what is right and what is wrong. And how well she can really ever know someone, even someone she loves.

A high concept, cinematic read with a surprising twist, MINDERS asks the question: who is really watching who?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

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Wednesday 29 January 2014

Five Awesome YA Books That Launched Yesterday

In the dead of winter, there is nothing quite as good as curling up in front of a crackling fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa and a great book, or two, or five. Yesterday just so happened to be an excellent day for five fabulous new releases.

I swear, I need a clone to keep up with all of this awesomeness!

AND WE STAY by Jenny Hubbard
Publisher: Delacorte press
Amazon, B&N, Goodreads
When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

This inventive story, told in verse and in prose, paints the aftermath of tragedy as a landscape where there is good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

New Soul, Book Three
by Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Amazon, B&N, Goodreads
The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

Ana’s exile is frightening, but it may also be fortuitous, especially if she can convince her friends to flee Heart and Range with her. They’ll go north, seeking answers and allies to stop Janan’s ascension. And with any luck, the newsouls will be safe from harm’s reach.

The oldsouls might have forgotten the choice they made to give themselves limitless lifetimes, but Ana knows the true cost of reincarnation. What she doesn’t know is whether she’ll have the chance to finish this one sweet life with Sam, especially if she returns to Heart to stop Janan once and for all.

With gorgeous romance and thrilling action, the final book in the Incarnate trilogy offers a brilliant conclusion to the compelling questions of this fascinating world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions.

Under the Never Sky, Book Three
by Veronica Rossi
Publisher: Harper Collins
Amazon, B&N, Goodreads
Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it’s time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do—and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won’t even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission—because Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

Heir of Choir Trilogy, Book One
by Cayla Kulver
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Amazon, B&N, Goodreads
Magic was seeping out of me, black and agonizing. I could see it drifting away. The magic that would let me pass the Road to reach home again.

When sixteen-year-old Anya learns that her aunt, Queen of the Faerie Kingdom of Chrior, will soon die, her grief is equalled only by her despair for the future of the kingdom. Her young cousin, Illumina, is unfit to rule, and Anya is determined not to take up the queen's mantle herself.

Convinced that the only solution is to find Prince Zabriel, who long ago disappeared into the human realm of Warckum, and persuade him to take up his rightful crown, Anya journeys into the Warckum Territory to bring him home. But her journey is doomed to be more harrowing than she ever could have imagined.

The Archived, Book Two
by Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Hyperion Children's Books 
Amazon, B&N, Goodreads
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in
pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she's struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn't easy -- not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she's really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She's sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she'll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror, The Unbound delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.

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Tuesday 28 January 2014

Interview with Ron Corriveau + GIVEAWAY

Double header today! First, we have an interview with Ron Corriveau, author of YA thriller The Agent's Daughter, plus a giveaway. And second we reveal the 2014 Month9Books' trailer, so scroll down after this interview and check that out too. Now, on to the interview!

The Agent’s Daughter by Ron Corriveau
Publication date: May 18th 2013
Genres: Romance, Thriller, Young Adult

Melina has been preparing for a future career as a spy.

She just doesn’t know it.

Legendary spy Evan Roberts always knew that his fifteen-year-old daughter Melina also possessed the absolute lack of fear required of an agent. Without telling her his real profession or his intention, he began to guide her toward an eventual career as a spy. However, Melina’s world is shattered after her mom is involved in an accident that leaves her mysteriously unhurt but unresponsive. Her father’s plans on hold, Melina settles into life at a suburban high school, immersing herself in a world of schoolwork, her friends and a budding romance with Alex, the cute new guy in her class.

When Melina and her father uncover shocking new information about her mother’s accident, Melina is pulled deep into her father’s shadowy world. With Alex desperately trying to find her and only hours to go before it will be too late to save her mother, Melina and her father work together using their combined skills to find a way to reach her.

Barnes and Noble

Hi, Ron! Welcome to We Do Write. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello Dorothy, Elizabeth and Sandra. Thank you for welcoming me to your blog. I am a slightly middle-aged dude that grew up in Southern California, studied electrical engineering and then moved to Texas where I work for a large telecommunications company designing integrated circuits. I have been happily married to the lovely Denise for seventeen years, and we have two great kids: Melina, aged 14 and Travis, aged 11.

How long have you been writing?

Just a couple of years. It never occurred to me to write until, one day, I realized that my daughter was getting older and more independent. I had a lot of thoughts and feelings about being a dad bottled inside so I let them loose in a form that she loved. A Book.

What a great way to bond with your daughter! Tell us about THE AGENT'S DAUGHTER. What’s the story about?

It is about a young woman in high school, named Melina that has a father that is a member of a special top-secret presidential spy agency. He has kept this from her as well as his gut feeling that she has the rare qualities that it takes to join the agency. Eventually, Melina gets her chance as she is drawn into her father’s world where they work together to stop one of her father’s enemies. There is also a romance. My daughter has told me that all good young adult novels have a romance, so I included a young crush for Melina that is central to the story.

It sounds like your daughter knows what she's talking about. She must read a lot. How did the idea of the story come to you?

I knew that I wanted to have a father and daughter as characters and that I wanted them to work together as well as have a chance to talk. This brought me to the spy genre. The rest of the details were written and refined as I went along. 

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I didn’t show anyone a word until I was completely finished. Or thought I was finished. I gave it to my daughter and sister to proofread in electronic form and then once again in paperback form. Let’s just say they had a lot of good constructive ideas. I owe them a lot.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser. Other than having the general arc of the story in mind, I wrote in chapter order.  One caveat to that is that I wrote for at most one hour per day and at most one page. I found that if I went very slowly, I had more time to think about where the story could go. It was like steering a really slow boat. Later, when I finished the story, I looked at it as a whole and made changes on a larger scale.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

I studied engineering, so grammar does not come naturally for me. If a grammar problem got past me or my two crack readers, sorry about that. 

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

I don’t have anything that I need nearby, it is more what I don’t need nearby. I need silence, and I need to be alone. This is why I have tended to write at night when everyone has gone to bed. 

Ah yes! Vampire writing is the best. What are you reading right now?

I am currently not reading a book, but my daughter has mandated that I read Divergent before the movie comes out. 

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Invincibility. I could right a lot of wrongs in the world with that power.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

Okay, this question is going to cement my status as a geek. I do some amateur painting. Acrylic on acrylic. Abstract. So, I wanted to paint something for my son Travis’ bedroom. He is a science nut, so I did a Google image search for a picture of when they discovered the charmed quark. The picture shows the tracks made in the bubble chamber by the subatomic particles when they blew a proton apart. I thought that this image would make a perfect start for an abstract painting.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: agent, relatively, and platypus. 

Ah, but this is too easy:

“Perry the Platypus is a relatively great agent,” said Heinz Doofenshmirtz.

Ha! Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ... 

Spending as much time as I can with my family.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

My wife has been extremely supportive, offering countless words of encouragement. My sister and my daughter have been invaluable, not only for their editing capabilities, but for insight into how some of the female characters should be written.

And finally, where can people find you and your books online?

The book is available pretty much everywhere. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, you name it. All of the links, including a link to the Goodreads page are right on the front page of the family website

Ron Corriveau is an electrical engineer and works designing custom integrated circuits. He started writing to prove to himself that he actually does have a right side to his brain. Originally from Southern California, he currently lives outside of Dallas with his lovely wife and two awesome kids. He has only recently come to terms with the fact that he is a geek, although he would like to stress that he doesn’t hold any kind of leadership role in the organization.

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Month9Books' 2014 Trailer Reveal!

How exciting! Today, I not only get to debut the trailer for Month9Books' 2014 list, I also get to debut  five of their covers! And WOW they are pretty!

Month9Books is proud to present a trailer for its 2014 list. This year's theme is Month9Books for everyone! From middle grade and young adult readers who love horror, paranormal, fantasy and whimsy, there's a Month9Books title for everyone in 2014. This video features 16 titles, 5 of which make their cover debut here. Please note that not all of these covers are finalized. Visit to learn more about our books and authors.


The Looking Glass
The Undertakers: Secret of the Corpse Eater
Daughter of Chaos
Of Breakable Things
Gabriel Stone and the Wrath of the Solarians



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Monday 27 January 2014

Interview with Kim Baccellia PLUS Giveaway

How's your Monday coming along? Not so well for me. Feeling under the weather and dealing with a nasty cough and migraine. Bad combination, because each time I cough, my head feels like it's splitting in two. But let's talk about a good combination, shall we? Here's one: We Do Write and an interview with NO MORE GODESSES author, Kim Baccellia.

Welcome to We Do Write, Kim. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in Sacramento, California, the oldest of seven. I earned an elementary teaching degree from Brigham Young University.I’ve been a telemarketer, library helper at the university, assistant manager, sales clerk, tutor, and bilingual teacher. Now I’m a stay-at-home mom and writer.

I love to read and write!

I am also a reviewer for Young Adults (& Kids!) Book Central.

How long have you been writing?

Since I can remember!  In the fifth grade I loved writing and my teacher Mrs. Clements encouraged this with her positive feedback.  I also was a staff member of my Middle School and High School newspapers.  Even as a bilingual teacher, I loved writing and had a writer’s workshop in which my first graders would write and put together their own books.

Tell us about NO MORE GODESSES. What’s the story about?

Fifteen-year-old Jordan loves vintage clothing, romance, Audrey Hepburn, and listening to her grandmother’s tales.  When she finds an ancient bracelet similar to the one AH wore in her favorite movie, she uncovers some family secrets.  Her life takes on a sinister twist.  Seems she can get couples together but at a cost.  Getting a date to the dance shouldn’t be this hard!

How did the idea of the story come to you?

It came to me after a string of rejections on Crossed Out.  I was a reader for a YA romance imprint and thought I’d try my hand at writing a lighter romance.  I basically went over the whole premise on one of my daily runs.  Then I pitched the idea to the editor at the imprint, who loved it and asked for more. She gave me wonderful feedback and insight.  

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I have a Beta reader who goes over my writing and the complete manuscript before I hit ‘send’.  I also have a writing mentor, Joyce Sweeney, who helps me with plot work.  My former writing mentor, Louella Nelson, still helps me out whenever I need a second reading or two.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Totally a plotter.  I wouldn’t have finished any of my books if I hadn’t plotted them out first.  But that doesn’t mean that plotline is set in stone.  I add to and delete.  The basic plot line helps me with getting my thoughts about the premise out in writing.  Then I go from there. I use Joyce Sweeney’s Plotting Clock which is wonderful!  I also use a plotting paradigm.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Writing from home!  Now that my husband works from home and I also homeschool my 12 year old son, it’s really been a challenge to get any writing done.  The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf coffee house close to my son’s student center has been wonderful!  It’s calm and I’m able to get some serious writing done!  I also love my local library and use the quiet room to write.  I also have a notepad and pen in my purse and write whenever I find that opportunity.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

I swear by my iTunes Playlists to help me get into the minds of my characters.  Also I have on my Nook Tablet, The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman which is a must have for any author.

What are you reading right now?

I usually read more than one at a time!  Plus, I’m a reader for Month9bks.

Right now here’s a taste of what I’m reading:

The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton; Devil’s Frost by Heidi Kling; and The Sugar Smart by Anne Alexander.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Wow, this is a hard one!  Maybe the power of flight.  How cool would that be?

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

I have to say it would have to be this one conspiracy theory that I’d heard from a sister-in-law about FEMA stockpiling coffins for the end of the world.  It sounded like a bad dystopian idea but I was shocked to see that it is actually out there!  I ended up using this idea in one of my current projects.  So bizarre not to use!

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: theology, abrasive, and petticoat.

The preacher’s theology wasn’t really that abrasive considering she wore a petticoat and loved the Dali Lama.

Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...

If I’m not writing, I’m probably either reading another amazing book or practicing a new yoga posture.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

Thanks to everyone who’s been so amazing and supportive!  Liz at Zumaya Publishing; Joyce Sweeney; Christine Marciniak; P.J. Hoover; Christine Norris, Marlene Perez;  Mandy and everyone at YA Books Central,  and everyone at RWA!  You guys rock big time!

And finally, where can people find you and your books online?

Twitter: @ixtumea
I’m over at YA Books Central:
FB: kbaccellia
No More Goddesses is available through Amazon; Barnes &; and Indie Bound

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Saturday 25 January 2014

Excerpt: Indigo Incite, by Jacinda Buchmann

An exciting excerpt from Indigo Incite, the first book in the Indigo Trilogy:

Without thinking, Liliana grabbed Tyler's pillow and swung her legs over the side of the bed, bringing her feet to rest on the rough, threadbare, motel carpet. Then, she silently made her way to the sofa and knelt on the floor. She lifted his arm and secured the pillow beneath it. With her hand still on his arm, she gave it a gentle squeeze and whispered, “Here ya go.”
“What’s this for?” he whispered back.
“Maybe I felt sorry for you.”
“Oh, so my trick worked? You bought my poor, poor, pitiful me story?”
“What?” Liliana snagged the pillow from under his arm and smacked it on his head. Then she turned toward her bed.
He laughed and then caught hold of her wrist to stop her. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. He tugged on her wrist to pull her down to the floor and then sat up on the sofa. He reached out for her other wrist and held both of her hands in his. The lighting was dim, but she could vaguely see that he had taken his shirt off. She could see the outline of his broad shoulders and muscular arms. His large hands held hers with a firm grip.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered again. “Everything I told you is true. Other than my brother, I have no family to speak of. And I swear I didn’t do anything wrong to get sent to military school.”
“Well, if you did something wrong, or not, it doesn’t matter to me.”
“It matters to me, that you believe me.”
“Because…I li—Because I’d like us to be friends.”
“I’d like us to be friends, too.” Liliana wondered what he had been going to say. Because I like you? She pushed the thought aside.
He squeezed her hands and then released them. “You’d better get some sleep.”
“You too.” She stood and said, “Sleep good…on the sofa.” She laughed softly and then hurried to crawl back under the warm blankets.
Sweet dreams, Tyler thought.
Same to you, she thought back. As she drifted off to sleep, visions of a shirtless Tyler, lying alone on the sofa, were the last images to float through her mind.

Jacinda Buchmann lives in Arizona with her husband and three children. She graduated from Carroll College, in Helena, Montana, with a B.A. in elementary education and later received a Master’s degree from Northern Arizona University, in school counseling. After spending several years as a teacher and later a school counselor, she now spends her time writing, any free chance she can get, that is, when she’s not spending  time with her family or creating a new concoction in the kitchen.

You can buy it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and check out the reviews on Goodreads.

Check out the tour-wide giveaway at the Rafflecopter link below.

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Friday 24 January 2014

Review: RATGIRL: Song of the Viper by Gayle C. Krause

It's funny how the sun is so far away, but it's one of the most vital and influential things for all of us. Without it, of course, we wouldn't exist at all. Spend too much time out of it, and our vitamin D levels drop, our immune systems weaken, and we suffer depression. It can burn us, but it also helps us grow our food. We need the sun. You need the sun. I need the sun. But for Jax, the main character from Gayle C. Krause's post-eco-apocalyptic YA dystopian novel, the sun is an enemy. The sun is too hot, the ozone layer too thin, and even minutes outside during the day will mean third degree burns, and longer spells certain death.

In a world where the poor have taken to the sewers and the wealthy have fled to the new continent, a ruthless dictator has taken over the city Jax grew up in, and even though she and her brother were barely surviving, he stands to come between her and the meager existence she's managed to scrape together. While Jax was accustomed to fighting the rats and dodging the sun, escaping Culpepper's crack down on all the city's two legged vermin is going to take more skill and cunning than Jax dreamed.

With echoes of the pied piper and the story of Saint Patrick, the fraternal responsibility of The Hunger Games, and an underclass that puts me in mind of Invitation to the Game, Krause's novel draws the reader in with quick prose and fills her world with every unpleasant detail of the awful world she's created. RATGIRL: Song of the Viper has both momentum and staying power. I found myself reading a few chapters, (I admit it, I do most of my reading on the elliptical these days) then quietly analyzing and speculating through the rest of the day- wondering where they got their water while doing dishes, contemplating the implications of a world without books, wondering at the maturity of a child my son's age if raised in such a horrid environment, staring horrified at someone who tosses a metal can into te waste basket. I like it when a book stays with me and gives me things to think about when I'm not nose deep in the e-ink.

Availible on Amazon, Barnes & Noble.
Follow Krause on Twitter

Check below for the tour-wide giveaway Rafflecopter link for a chance to win a Kindle!

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Thursday 23 January 2014

Excerpt: Arcadia by Jesi Lea Ryan

Good morning, lovelies! Today we have an excerpt of Arcadia by Jesi Lea Ryan, a series we featured earlier this month. Here's a bit of a reminder if you've forgotten, or haven't stopped by lately.


Most people who experience death don't live to tell about it. When sixteen year old Arcadia "Cady" Day wakes in a hospital after experiencing what can only be called a psychic episode, she finds her family in tatters. With her twin sister gone, her dad moved out, her mom's spiraling depression and her sister's boyfriend, Cane, barely able to look at her, the only bright spot in her life is Bryan Sullivan, the new guy in school. When Bryan's around, Cady can almost pretend she's a regular girl, living a regular life; when he's not, she's wracked with wild, inexplicable mood swings. As her home life crumbles and her emotional control slips away, Cady begins to suspect that her first psychic episode was just the beginning...


Think high school sucks? Try being an empath who has to experience everyone else’s suckage on top of your own. (Literally.) In the months since her family life imploded and her psychic gifts began to arise, Cady has struggled to figure out how she can fit into her normal life without going crazy from the constant presence of emotional energy. Her grades have tanked. Her best friend is afraid of her. And she begins to have doubts about why her boyfriend, Bryan, is really keeping her around. But a chance meeting with another gifted girl online opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Unfortunately, this new world comes at an awful price.

Find The Arcadia Novels here: Amazon (Arcadia's Gift)/Amazon (Arcadia's Curse) AUDIBLE Audio Book of Arcadia's Gift

And now... the EXCERPT!

“I better go—”

“Are we ever going to talk about it?”

We spoke at the same time, our eyes finally meeting, the pale green of his irises locked on mine like a trap. I couldn’t turn away. My breath caught in my throat. His hand moved to fall heavy on the shoulder of my down coat.

“I can’t talk about it, Cane. I-I don’t want to. It was wrong.”

A fire lit in his expression as he ran his fingers down my arm and clutched my hand. His fingers were as cold as mine, but joined together they created kindled warmth. That warmth nudged on the mental barrier between us, trying to worm its way into my head. I was sure I would pay for it with a headache later.

His eyes shone with damp heat. “Cady, I can’t stop thinking about that night. About our kiss.”

 “Not our kiss,” I said, yanking my hand out of his and struggling to stand up on stiff legs. “You kissed me. Big difference”

While that was true, we both knew I had kissed him back with a ferocity that stunned both of us, and the memory of which stung me with guilt whenever Bryan—my sweet, kind Bryan—brushed my lips with his.

“You don’t have to go,” Cane called, walking after me. “I’ll leave. I didn’t mean to ruin your birthday or your time with Lony.”

I stopped and turned to him. A shadow of shame and guilt clouded his face. It was the face of an angel, perfectly handsome and symmetrical. He was almost too beautiful to look at directly for fear of never getting his image off your burnt retinas. That shadow over his features looked grotesque and unnatural and immediately made me want to wipe it away.

“Cane,” I said, my voice breathy and low. “We can’t do this. I know how you feel about me. I don’t get why, but I know your feelings are real.”

 “Even if I could hide how I feel from you, I wouldn’t want to.”

“It doesn’t matter, Cane. I’m with Bryan.”

“Do you love him?”


Jesi Lea Ryan grew up in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, IA. She holds bachelor degrees in creative writing and literature and a masters degree in business. She considers herself a well-rounded nerd who can spend hours on the internet researching things like British history, anthropology of ancient people, geography of random parts of the world, bad tattoos and the paranormal. She currently lives in Madison, WI with her husband and two exceptionally naughty kitties. Stalk Jesi Lea here: Facebook/Twitter/Website/Blog

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Wednesday 22 January 2014

Interview with Iain Reading PLUS Excerpt

Happy Hump Day, everyone. It sure feels like the week is dragging. Well, to me anyway. Let's try and perk things up with an upbeat interview. Today we're chatting with author Iain Reading about his Kitty Hawk Series.

Welcome to We Do Write, Iain. Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been writing?

I am actually still quite new to all of this and have only been writing books for a little more than a year thus far.

Tell us about Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold.  What's the story about?

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the first book in a series featuring a super cool teenaged pilot named Kitty Hawk who has this big idea that she wants to fly around the world.  Or should I say that she will soon have this idea, after finishing her first adventure up in Alaska and the Yukon where she stumbles across a band of gold thieves and is swept along across the rugged nature and history of the land of the midnight sun.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

The first thing that came to me was the idea of the main character herself.  Once I had that I am not sure I was much in control anymore. From that point everything almost seemed to write itself, with each new twist and turn of the story becoming clear to me as I wrote it.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

For this first book in the series I had a number of different people read the book first and got their feedback about it as beta readers.  It was very interesting for me to realise how different readers are - so much so that it made sorting through their feedback rather challenging.  What some readers disliked others liked, what some readers loved others hated.  The lesson there, I suppose, is that you should work to make a book something that you yourself are happy with and perhaps worry less about trying to make it perfect for everyone.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A combination of both, I think.  I like to have a fairly clear idea where things are going and have a good idea how to get there, but I also love the element of discovery along the way where the characters and the story lead you to places you never planned or expected.

What's the hardest part of writing for you?

Finding the space and time to actually write is always a challenge.  But I guess that has been a problem since the beginning of time.  There's a reason why living in a cabin in the woods is the ideal writing environment for many people.  There are just too many distractions otherwise.  

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

The internet, which I suppose goes against the idea of a cabin in the woods.  The internet is the epitome of distraction, but it is also full of information and inspiration.

What are you reading right now?

A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

The ability to freeze time, like Hiro on Heroes.  That seems to me to be the most practical super power.  That is what I look for in a fantastical super power - practicality.

What's the weirdest thing you've Googled?

Painted mountains china.  Try it for yourself.

Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably...

If I'm not writing, I'm probably working.  Sad but true.

And finally, where can people find you and your books online?

There are currently three books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series available for sale on Amazon:

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue:

Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Iain. Good luck with the series!


As soon as the engine began to sputter, I knew that I was in real trouble. Up until then, I had somehow managed to convince myself that there was just something wrong with the fuel gauges. After all, how could I possibly have burnt through my remaining fuel as quickly as the gauges seemed to indicate? It simply wasn't possible. But with the engine choking and gasping, clinging to life on the last fumes of aviation fuel, it was clear that when the fuel gauges read, "Empty," they weren't kidding around.
The lightning strike that took out my radio and direction-finding gear hadn't worried me all that much. (Okay, I admit it worried me a little bit.) It wasn't the first time that this had happened to me, and besides, I still had my compasses to direct me to where I was going. But I did get a little bit concerned when I found nothing but open ocean as far my eyes could see at precisely the location where I fully expected to find tiny Howland Island—and its supply of fuel for the next leg of my journey—waiting for me. The rapidly descending needles on my fuel gauges made me even more nervous as I continued to scout for the island, but only when the engine began to die did I realize that I really had a serious problem on my hands.
The mystery of the disappearing fuel.
The enigma of the missing island.
The conundrum of what do I do now?
"Exactly," the little voice inside my head said to me in one of those annoying 'I-told-you-so' kind of voices. "What do you do now?"
"First, I am going to stay calm," I replied. "And think this through."
"You'd better think fast," the little voice said, and I could almost hear it tapping on the face of a tiny wristwatch somewhere up there in my psyche. "If you want to make it to your twentieth birthday, that is.  Don't forget that you're almost out of fuel."
"Thanks a lot," I replied. "You're a big help."
Easing forward with the control wheel I pushed my trusty De Havilland Beaver into a nosedive. Residual fuel from the custom-made fuel tanks at the back of the passenger cabin dutifully followed the laws of gravity and spilled forward, accumulating at the front and allowing the fuel pumps to transfer the last remaining drops of fuel into the main forward belly tank. This maneuver breathed life back into the engine and bought me a few more precious minutes to ponder my situation.
"Mayday, mayday, mayday," I said, keying my radio transmitter as I leveled my flight path out again. "This is aircraft Charlie Foxtrot Kilo Tango Yankee, calling any ground station or vessel hearing this message, over."
I keyed the mic off and listened intently for a reply. Any reply. Please? But there was nothing. There was barely even static. My radio was definitely fried.
It was hard to believe that it would all come down to this. After the months of preparation and training. After all the adventures that I'd had, the friends I'd made, the beauty I'd experienced, the differences and similarities I'd discovered from one culture to the next and from one human being to the next. All of this in the course of my epic flight around the entire world.
Or I should say, "my epic flight almost around the entire world," in light of my current situation.
And the irony of it was absolutely incredible. Three-quarters of a century earlier the most famous female pilot of them all had disappeared over this exact same endless patch of Pacific Ocean on her own quest to circle the globe. And she had disappeared while searching for precisely the same island that was also eluding me as I scanned the horizon with increasing desperation.
"Okay," I thought to myself. "Just be cool and take this one step at a time to think the situation through." I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing, slowing it down and reining in the impulse to panic. Inside my head, I quickly and methodically replayed every flight that I'd ever flown. Every emergency I'd ever faced. Every grain of experience that I had accumulated along the long road that had led me to this very moment. Somewhere in there was a detail that was the solution to my current predicament. I was sure of it. And all I had to do was find it.
Maybe the answer to my current situation lay somewhere among the ancient temples of Angkor in Cambodia? Or in the steamy jungles of east Africa? Or inside the towering pyramids of Giza? Or among the soaring minarets of Sarajevo? Or on the emerald rolling hills and cliffs of western Ireland? Or on the harsh and rocky lava fields of Iceland?
Wherever the answer was, it was going to have to materialize quickly, or another female pilot (me) would run the risk of being as well-known throughout the world as Amelia Earhart. And for exactly the same reason.
"It's been a good run at least," the little voice inside my head observed, turning oddly philosophical as the fuel supplies ran critically low. "You've had more experiences on this journey around the world than some people do in their entire lifetime."
"That's it!" I thought.
Maybe the answer to all this lies even further back in time? All the way back to the summer that had inspired me to undertake this epic journey in the first place. All the way back to where North America meets the Pacific Ocean—the islands and glaciers and whales of Alaska.
All the way back to where this entire adventure began.

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