Oceans apart, a young musician and a “special” soldier embark on a perilous journey for home fueled by the unyielding pursuit of freedom from the Authority.
Sixteen-year-old prodigy, Liza Randusky, waits imprisoned, blamed for the undead plague that’s slowly destroying the planet. Banished to an island where she’ll never play her beloved piano again, Liza’s steadfast sense of justice and passion for music may have the power to change her destiny. But will it be enough...
To strike back at the new world order, the troubled son of a preacher, Thomas Ripley-Hatter, suffers unspeakable alterations by the Underground to join a secret Army. Tommy knows that all hope lies in human-weapons like himself, and that somehow he must cling to his sanity…while letting loose the monster to win.
----The battle begins for the last-standing sliver of humanity: Anthem----
As independently published authors, we are presented with unique challenges. We must wear so many hats (writer, editor, designer, website host, blogger, marketing, PR, and soooo much more) that sometimes the weight makes it hard to hold your head up. Still, for all our struggles and uphill climbs, we are also blessed with one of the most supportive communities in the world. We are here for each other during times of stress, to share ideas and talk each other down, but more importantly we are there to lift each other to new heights. #indiebooksbeseen is a big part of that and it is in that spirit, that I will do my best to share my favorite indie reads as often as I possibly can.
Today, my dear friend and online banter-babe, Logan Keys released her new word-baby, Gods of Anthem. I had the pleasure of Beta-reading this little gem, and it is with the utmost confidence that I can tell you that I will forever be able to say, I knew her when...But you don't have to take my word for it, see for yourself why readers are calling GOA "Lyrical and Masterful!"
Gods of Anthem knocked me flat on my back, stole the breath from my chest and tore my heart out...and I loved EVERY damn minute of it! Logan Keys is to be commended for skillful manipulation of my ultimate favorite genre. Having read (literally) hundreds of dystopian, post-apoc and end of days novels and shorts, it is with the utmost confidence that I can say that Gods of Anthem is one of the greats. This story is more than words on paper--it has a pulse. GOA lives and breathes within your hands. The edges are sharp, the characters are raw and the story will gut you in the best of ways. The prose is immaculate and the pace is spot-on. Miss Keys, your words have left a scar that I am proud to display and I thank you for rejuvenating my own passion to create. One of my best book-hangovers of 2015!
The next time you pick up a great indie read, be sure to share it with the world, and tag that baby with #indiebooksbeseen so the rest of the world has the chance to love it too!
I officially took that leap and became an "author" in 2014. My first book, Killshot was the most daunting project I had ever taken on in my life but the process was so natural that it barely felt like work to me (at least until edits...lol). From start to finish, it was as if the words seemed to flow directly from my brain, out my fingertips and onto the screen of the crappy old, fifteen pound Dell laptop. She was my word-baby and I had been silently plotting her creation for most of my life. It was challenging and terrifying, but Killshot demanded to be heard. You see, Killshot is actually based on a reoccurring nightmare I have had since I was a child. While the individual elements of the dream and the people that starred in the show have changed and evolved over time, the core story has always been the same...
It was the end; flames and chaos surrounded me. I was terrified but never alone.
Killshot, the first book in The Icarus Series was forged in the embers and smoke of a nightmare that had gone from plaguing me to inspiring the very basis of my craft. Once I started writing I knew this was what I was meant to do...what I was meant to BE.
Writing was, by far, the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life but with each word I put down on paper, my heart felt more and more free. As an artistic soul, I had finally found my greatest medium...words. As overwhelming as the process had been, from the moment I wrote THE END I knew that my purpose was to share those words with the world. I had no expectations of stardom or becoming a best-seller. If even ONE person let my words into their heart, then I had done what I set out to do. To my astonishment (and immense relief) Killshot was not only well-received, but enthusiastically so. My circle grew and my books had a small but loyal audience. People started calling themselves "fans" and asking for more.
I began writing the companion novella, Before the Sky Fell, roughly 8 weeks after I published my first. Again, it was as if the words had been waiting around for their chance to escape. Liv's story, the very essence of who she is and why she is so important, was begging to be told. The voices of those closest to her refused to be silenced, and in less than two weeks the entire book was complete. I had created something raw, emotional, and necessary to the journey of my characters. The experience left me light and ready to face my next literary challenge...the next full length novel in the Icarus Series. I had great hopes that she would follow in her predecessor's footsteps and leap out onto the screen.
At 50,000+ words, I have the distinct feeling that she is only just beginning to stretch her legs (as well as the boundaries of my sanity). I have written, deleted, and agonized over thousands and thousands of words. With tears in my eyes and wine in hand, I surgically removed more than three chapters that just didn't fit. I have complained, vented, and cried over the pain and suffering this project has caused me. My PA/writing buddy (Jordan White, a.k.a. Brutus) has had to virtually smack me around on more than one occasion. "Get ahold of yourself Caesar," she says. "It's hard because it's supposed to be. Quit complaining, get off your butt, get in the cave and WRITE!"
Sometimes the words come and sometimes they refuse me. Ideas pop into my head when I am neck deep in kids (did I mention I have six of them?) and they disappear before I can write them down. My writer's groups (you know who you are), and my poor, poor husband have all listened to me vent over how hard it has been this go around....how much more COMPLICATED and exhausting this book has been. I have never doubted myself, my talents, or my place in this world so much as I have the last few months, but guess what?
And I have never been so happy in my life!
You read that right, I am profoundly...endlessly...wholeheartedly HAPPY! She has knocked me down so many times I have lost count, but each and every time I get back up, dust myself off and come back for more. Perhaps this makes me a glutton for punishment or at the very least a bit masochistic, but I am loving every torturous, agonizing minute of the constant battle that is this book. Ask any writer and they will tell you the pain is part of the pleasure. We suffer for our art, and we do it with great pride. We agonize over every plot point, character trait and first kiss. At any given point in time we can both love and hate our current project(s). My WIP is my best friend and my greatest enemy. She is the air I breath and the reason I sometimes struggle for breath. She defies me at every turn. She is a living, breathing monster and I love her.
I truly believe that the fans will too, but One thing is for sure, you had better brace yourselves because my girl has sharp teeth and she bites.
(**DON'T WORRY FANS! Book Two, the as yet defiantly untitled sequel to Killshot is still on track to be released on or around October 16th, 2015...which incidentally, just so happens to be my 1 year publiversary! Hmm.**)
Less than a year ago, I stumbled onto the Indie scene with a head full of dreams and a clueless heart. I had no idea what it took to make it in this game and likely never would have figured it out if it hadn't been for the love and support of those in the Blogiverse...to that end, now that I have my head above water so to speak, I have decided that whenever possible in the midst of my hectic writing schedule and being a mom of six, I would do what I could to give back to their community the way they have all given so much to ours. This week, we will all take a trip INTO THE BLOGIVERSE with Katy W. the sole bibliophile and creative mastermind behind The Katy, a blog that covers a little bit of everything from style and beauty tips to book reviews. (Click on the banner above will take you directly to Katy's blog). So, let's get right down to it, and see just what makes Katy tick, shall we?
1. How did you get into blogging, Katy, and what keeps you going when life gets hectic?
This is probably my 3rd attempt at starting a blog. Most of the time I would lose interest a few posts in...and drop it. Even this blog has a different name than I started with in the beginning! I love writing, even more so now that I am a member of the Band of Dystopian (BOD) group on Facebook. I started my blog for me. As a mother of two rowdy toddlers, I needed something that was just for me. So, I decided to start a blog. Again. I would post when I went to a cool event or other random things with averaging about 1-2 posts per month. Once I joined BOD, I decided to start posting book reviews. It's been really fun! What keeps me going is hearing positive feedback from people on my blog and via social media. It's pretty addicting to get comments. Plus, I love helping authors get the word out about their awesome books!
2. As a reader, what is your favorite genre to curl up with and why?
Tough one. Probably a toss up between Dystopian and Sci-fi at the moment. I read pretty much any genre though! Throw a little paranormal in there and we're good.
3. What do you feel is the greatest behind the scenes benefit of being a blogger?
I haven't had much behind the scenes events yet. I want to start attending book conventions and signings, but for now life is pretty dang busy between a full time job and raising two crazy toddlers. Maybe this summer!
4. What was your greatest FanGirl(Boy) moment?
Mostly, hanging on BOD has been one long fangirl moment. Getting to chat with legit published authors on a daily basis? Heck yes. Plus, I have win some signed swag and paperbacks which is super awesome!
5. If you could crawl into ONE book and live there for a month, which would it be and why?
This is a difficult question. Most of the books I've read lately are dystopian or post-apocalyptic...and I definitely don't want to spend a month in those books. I would probably need to choose "Awoken" by Sarah Noffke. I would be able to dream travel anywhere.I wanted in the world (or time, to an extent), which sounds awesome.
6. When we first start out, one of the first things an author learns is how invaluable the alliance is with bloggers. What advice would you give new authors as they take their first few baby-steps...Into the Blogiverse?
Join book groups to meet authors and readers. And just keep writing! I'm feeling 100% more confident after writing one blog per day for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year was my first year participating in the challenge, but apparently it's every April. Do it.
7. Any parting thoughts for authors?
Write what you love and other people who like the same things will find you. I'm still new to the blogging game, but it's getting to be one of my.favorite pastimes. Thank you, Aria, for featuring me!
See below for Katy's thoughts on the dystopian adventure, The Treemakers by Christina Rozelle. I am a huge fan of her work, and it looks like I am not the only one. Like what you see and want to check it out for yourself? Click on the book cover and it will take you to Amazon where you can download your own copy of this awesome read!
Me: I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to sit down with me today, Zander. I have to admit, in light of all you and the rest of the group are going through right now, I was quite surprised when you agreed to this interview. I know you are all about to get back on the road and you don’t have a lot of time, so let’s get right down to the fan questions, shall we?
Zander: It's no problem. It's important that people understand what is really going on. So, fire away, ma’am. (There is that crooked smile that Liv is always going on about...Holy hell, she wasn't kidding. It really is disarming.)
Me: One fan would like to know, what is your most treasured possession?
Zander: You know, if you had asked me that question a few days ago I would have said my bike—well, my dad’s bike, hands-down, but after everything that’s happened? It all just seems so trivial now, you know? (He laughs, but it sounds deflated and his smile doesn’t quite reach those copper eyes)
Me: How do you mean?
Zander: Thing is, when all you have left in this world is the clothes on your back and your memories, possessions don’t really mean a whole lot anymore. The only thing I have that means anything to me is little more than a useless scrap of metal. Still, it’s all I have left of my dad and Liv damn near got herself killed trying to get it for me. I can never repay her for that.
Me: Speaking of Liv, that brings me to our next fan question. The two of you seem like you have a real connection. Do you feel as though Icarus is responsible for that or is there more to it?
Zander: Wow, you don’t shy away from the hard ones do you? (laughs and runs his fingers through his hair) Yeah, we definitely have a connection but it’s kind of hard to explain. I mean, she’s probably the most stubborn and strong-willed girl I have ever met in my life, but…Liv is special and I don’t just mean her abilities, you know? She has this sort of reluctant strength, if that makes sense. And by the way, my faith in her and our connection, as you put it, has absolutely nothing to do with Icarus. Liv has always been a survivor—even before all this. I wish she could see what the rest of us see, you know?
Me: No, I totally get it. (swoon) Where was I…(deep breath) Oh, right. Okay, so our next fan question is: What is your biggest regret?
Zander: My biggest regret? I, umm…you know what? I don’t think there is room for regret in this world anymore. Life is just too short and there are no guarantees that there will even be a tomorrow. I think that rather than looking back with regret, I am choosing to look forward with hope. Salvation is out there and we are going to find it.
Me: Wow. I have to tell you Zander, that’s insanely optimistic given what you’ve all been through since Solar Storm Icarus hit. You've lost so much, and seen so may terrible things. Hell, if I were in your shoes, I'd be scared out of my mind. How do you stay so positive and hopeful when the world is quite literally crashing down around you…when everything feels so dark?
Zander: (He laughs softly and shakes his head. His dark hair falls into his eyes as they meet mine)
The dark is nothing to be afraid of, ma’am. Even the brightest star in the sky needs a little bit of that darkness in order to shine.
This month I set a goal for myself to participate in as many IRL (in real life) book events as humanly possible, and I am pleased to say that I did a pretty darn good job meeting that goal. At the beginning of the month, I committed to a local women's author group and I couldn't be more pleased with how it has gone so far. So far we have met twice and discussed everything from marketing strategy, to time management and even how to handle negative reviews. It has been a god-send, and I am truly grateful to have mentors in the industry like Misty Evans and Amy Manemann, just to name a few...the fact that we meet at an awesome coffee shop that just so happens to have the best brownies in town is just an added bonus. Together, the LitChicks (as we have taken to calling ourselves) have already held a signing to benefit the local United Way Chapter, as well as a book sale and author signing for our local library and education fund.
One of the highlights of the latter was getting to meet some of the Fulton High School Book Club. Their appreciation of my word baby means sooooo much to me, not just because they are the age group I was aiming for when I wrote Killshot, but because they are FHS future alumni (as I was, once upon a time) and FHS is where the story literally, and figuratively, began! Their enthusiasm and excitement served as an epic motivator for me, and I would like to let them know that I killed about 40 pages in book two after I met them!!! (WHEW)
A special thank you goes out to Amy and Stephanie at Fulton High School for connecting me with these awesome readers, and for encouraging their love of the written word. As long as we have books, we will never want for an adventure and those kids are lucky to have the two of you as tour guide!
My name is Aria Michaels, YA author of the dystopian thriller, Killshot (Icarus Series, Book One) and the Icarus novella, Before the Sky Fell. Welcome to my fun little stop on the 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt! As a fellow author and a YA enthusiast, I am both honored and excited to announce that I will be hosting the amazing and talented Author Shauna Granger this year!
She has some of the coolest YA reads out there and I couldn't be more pleased to be a part of this awesome event with her. If you are here, then you obviously love YA as much as the rest of us, which means you are adventurous, imaginative, and ready for anything! Afterall, YA is not just for the "young" but for the young at heart. If I have said it once, I have said it 79 times... #YnotYA right?
Now, before I share with you the TOP SECRET, never-before-seen sneak peek from Shauna's upcoming release, AGE OF BLOOD, let's get to know a little bit about this amazing author and see if we can't figure out what makes her tick...
Like so many other writers, Shauna grew up as an avid reader, but it was in high school that she realized she wanted to be a writer. She released the first installment of her Paranormal YA Series, The Elemental Series, Earth, on May 1, 2011 and has since released four sequels, with the series coming to an end with Spirit. In December of 2013 she release the first in her Paranormal Post-Apocalyptic trilogy, World of Ash. She is currently hard at work on one too many projects, trying to organize the many voices in her head...It's a writer thing.
And now, the special sneak peek you've been waiting for...
AGE of BLOOD
"Hope is a dangerous thing..."
“They’re getting pretty loud,” he says, looking over his shoulder.
The voices that brought me out of my reverie are carrying over the hillside, and I realize they aren’t behind us. They’re off to the side, up the hill.
“Weird,” I say, cocking my head to listen better.
Those aren’t seeking voices—those are voices raised in panic. Blue boofs, his whole body practically vibrating as he stares toward the voices, his ears lifted to listen.
“What do you think?” Dylan asks.
“Oh shit,” I whisper.
My hands move faster than my mind, instinctively strapping my thigh holster into place in seconds, then I’m on my feet and running. Dylan is calling out behind me, but Blue is at my side, running ahead of me in another heartbeat. I pull my pistol out of the holster, my thumb finding the safety without me looking. My feet carve into the grass, propelling me faster and faster. With my other hand, I’m pulling my bandana up over my face, covering my mouth and nose. I’ve been inoculated, but I won’t take any chances.
My lungs burn as my breathing becomes shallow, but then I crest the top of the hill and see the source of the screaming. Two boys I’ve walked the perimeter with on plenty of shifts, Edgar and Jeff, are at the fence and screaming.
Edgar’s shoulder is to the fence as I pound toward them, my gun trained on the dark form behind the fence, too close to Edgar. Her rattling breath crawls up my spine, louder in my ears than the boys’ screaming. Her hood billows and collapses in the breeze, and I almost see her face, almost see her milky green eyes. Her fingers reach, knobby and bone thin, the skin sickly and plastic looking.
Edgar screams again, his eyes wide and full of tears. He rips his body away from the fence, stumbling over his own feet, and almost catches the barrel of his rifle on the ground. The fence rattles, reminding me how flimsy it is, how far apart the support poles are. When I look, the Pesta is gripping the chain link, her black nails almost piercing her hands as she clutches the fence.
A cloud of green gas fills the air in front of her face. The sound of her breath is a death rattle. It fills my ears and drowns out the boys’ screams. Blue is jumping and barking but keeping his distance, the noxious gas enough to keep him back.
Panic claws and crawls in my stomach, twisting and reaching. Edgar has dropped his weapon to grab his shirt, pulling it off his head and twisting in every direction to check his body. Jeff screams at him, but I can’t make out his words over the sound of the Pesta and Blue barking. Jeff still has his rifle in his hands, but it isn’t trained on the monster in front of us.
Distantly I think I hear Dylan’s voice, the sound of my name being called, but I don’t answer him. He’s still recovering. He shouldn’t be hiking up this stupid hill to see what these stupid boys are doing—or aren’t doing.
“Kill it!” I scream, my voice ripping from my throat. My voice rends the air, shutting the boys up and making Blue fall to all four paws to look at me, his mouth open in a forgotten bark. “Kill it! Kill it now!”
I feel my gun in my hand, but Jeff is between the Pesta and me. She has cleverly kept herself out of my line of sight, and with Jeff swinging that massive rifle around, I have to keep Blue and me out of his way. But my voice seems to have reached him and pulled him out of his panic. Jeff spins around, lifting the rifle. The cloud of green gas is bigger, reaching for him, so he steps back and pulls the trigger at the same time. The shot is resounding and deafening so close.
My whole body flinches, but my finger isn’t on the trigger, so we’re safe from me at least. Dylan’s voice is louder. I know he’s making his way up the hill, and I could kick myself for not telling him to go back to the encampment for help instead of taxing himself by following me. Blue whines at my feet, and I realize I’ve grabbed his collar with my empty hand, keeping him at my side. I won’t—can’t—let him go yet.
Edgar is dry heaving, his hands braced on his knees, bent double as his stomach tries to give up whatever is inside, which isn’t much. The sounds crawl into my ears and twist my stomach, threatening to make me sick.
“Edgar, answer me,” Jeff screams. How his throat isn’t raw yet, I don’t know.
My gaze travels past Jeff to the crumpled mass on the ground behind the fence. Her black cloak pools around her emaciated body so I can’t see her face—I can’t be sure she’s dead. She looks dead, but they always look dead. I let go of Blue, and thankfully, he runs to meet Dylan as he makes to the top of the hill, pausing to catch his breath when he sees me alive and well.
“Edgar, did she?” Jeff asks, taking a cautious step toward his friend. He’s put some distance between him and the fence, so I can move behind him.
The toe of my boot touches the chain link, and it rattles, shifting with the tiniest of nudges. This fence is complete bullshit—a false sense of security that can and will come down with enough force.
The hem of the black cloak ruffles, but I can’t tell if it was the breeze that moved it or the breathing of the monster hidden in the folds. I can just make out the tips of her black, claw-like nails peeking out of the sleeve, stark against the green clover. My mouth goes dry, and I lift my gun. It’s awkward, but I slip the barrel through the diamond-shaped hole and take aim at where I think the head should be. The report of the shot stops Jeff’s screaming for a moment. The black fabric shreds, and her skull explodes in a mass of green and grey matter, leaving a gaping hole that oozes black and red.
PRE-ORDER LINKS BELOW
OTHER PERTINENT LINKS FOR AUTHOR SHAUNA GRANGER:
Into the Blogiverse is my weekly segment here on Aria Ever After that was created as my way of giving back to those within the blogger and bookish community. I have had the honor and privilege of connecting with so many awesome and supportive bloggers since I first tiptoed onto the scene in 2014. Without the help and influence of experienced biblio-blog geniuses, who knows where the hell I would be right now. The literary world, particularly that of the indie community can be REALLY overwhelming in the beginning (or, you know, forever) but bloggers have managed to make the journey fun and exciting, every step of the way.
Recently, I was lucky enough to do an event over at PBC All Genres Book Club (aka Paranormal Book Club), and I cannot even begin to describe to you how much fun it was for everyone. There were games, contests, and I tossed out some pretty sweet prizes. Still, the greatest part about the whole thing was the army of loyal fans that rallied over to support me and my word babies. PBC has a following of almost 70,000 and as far as I can tell you, they have earned each and every single one of them! As a thank you for allowing me the opportunity to hijack their page, and for being pretty awesome too, I sat down with Bella from PBC to see what got her onto the blogging crazy-train, and what makes her tick as a reader....Here's what she had to say!
1. How did you get into blogging, and what keeps you going?
I love books and I wanted to be able to get more involved in them and help out authors I loved… I kept going because I never stops loving books and the authors that write them!
2. As a reader, what is your favorite genre to curl up with and why?
OH well everything and anything good I really don’t have a fave to pick, but right now its Adult!
3. What is the greatest behind the scenes benefit of being a blogger? (i.e. meeting new authors, the books, events, etc...lol)
Oh just getting to meet all the amazing ppl out there… Authors and reader and other bloggers!!
4. What was your greatest FanGirl moment?
When I got to meet the Cast of the Mortal Instruments!!! Oh and just ALL the authors I have meet I mean they are so cool !!
6. If you could crawl into ONE book and live there for a month, which would it be and why?
OH NO I can’t answer that… Dang it! Ummmm…….Ok The Mortal Instruments I have to say and because they have a cool life! LOL Now there is many more but off the top of my head thats it.
7. When we first start out, one of the first things an author learns is how invaluable the alliance is with bloggers. What advice would you give new authors as they take their first few baby-steps...Into the Blogiverse?
Well be kind, understand bloggers are BUSY and have life outside of blogging as they do…. but keep pushing wha you do it will work in the end! Also, make sure your cover is good LOTS of ppl and bloggers look at covers then the blurb. Gaining fans will come it takes time just keep getting your book and name out there and it will all work out!
6. Any parting thoughts?
Have fun enjoy reading and don’t let anyone tell you what you read it garbage or bash you for being a reader. If you feel you love something enough to spend days doing it have it! Being a blogger is HARD and pays NOTHING so if you get into this remember its really about the fun and pimping you will do!
This week, we travel Into the Blogiverse with the luscious ladies over at Bare Naked Words. I have had the honor and privilege of connecting with so many bloggers since I first tiptoed onto the scene in 2014. Without the help and influence of experienced biblio-blog geniuses, like these two, I would be lost at sea...just another literary face the crowd of (literally) millions of hopefuls. With the guidance and support of bloggers and other industry insiders, I was able to keep my head above water and see my word-babies shining on in the top 100 in their Amazon categories. This segment is my way of giving back to the bloggers and behind-the-scenes heroes that help keep authors like me afloat.
Without further ado! Ladies and Gentlemen, Wendy Shatwell and Claire Allmendinger!! (....and the crowd goes wild!!)
1. How did the two of you get into blogging, and what keeps you going?
Wendy: In April of 2012 I was on holiday. I had just turned 37 (for the 3rd or possible 4th time? It’s hard to remember at my age lol). I was not having a great holiday. I was feeling a little lost because my daughter had just left home to start her first year at University (I was a gymslip Mum), and I was lying there on my sunbed by the pool thinking, “What the hell do I do now”?
So, I powered up my kindle and opened a book that I had downloaded the day before we left for holiday, something I didn’t really know much about but thought I’d give it a shot. And so it began, I read all day, only stopping to appease my somewhat bored husband. I finished the book and had my first WTF moment at the end of a book in quite some time.
The book was “Fifty Shades of Grey”. I practically sprinted to reception to get WIFI signal to download the next 2 books and finished all 3 on holiday. My love of reading was rekindled and over the following months I was reading every day. I knew nothing about “Indie” authors and self-publishing and suddenly I was finding some great people on Facebook and Twitter and do you know what? They interacted with their readers (Jenn Sterling & Madeline Sheehan were just lovely to me) and shared comments about their books and suddenly I felt like I was home. So a few months later i thought, why not start a blog to give something back to the inspirational writers that devote a huge chunk of their lives to giving us some of the best book boyfriends ever, those heart in the mouth moments, WTF, OMFG and the ultimate happy ever afters. It was then that I ‘virtually met’ Rachel Brookes and M.R. Joseph, I posted reviews for their new releases as my first posts on the blog and they have become my great friends.
What keeps me going? Mostly Claire lol, but also some of the amazing authors i have met over the last 18 months that I now consider my friends.
Claire: I’ve always been a reader, and I followed BNW as we had mutual twitter friends that the blog supported. I saw Wendy post asking for help and thought I’d give it a go as I had a few spare hours a week (my kids were getting older) I think I offered 10 hours didn’t I Wendy? I said a week, sometimes that’s a day...LOL.
Wendy: It’s true we never ever stop blogging, we do it in every waking hour we have spare and even in those hours that aren’t spare lol
Claire: What keeps me going? I love it, I’m love waking up to a message from an author, I love the excitement when I pick up a book that a ‘friend’ has written and realise that I’ve got goose pimples, and I love that authors, actual writers, respect my opinion (they clearly don’t realise I’m just squealing inside).
2. As a reader, what is your favorite genre to curl up with and why?
Wendy: I love, love, love contemporary romance and i am always looking for that extra something in a book that takes me completely by surprise or that has me reliving the scenes i have read over and over again in my mind. if i lose sleep over a book, then the author has done a great job.
Claire: I’m multi-genre, in fact I’ll pretty much try anything depending on my mood. I usually have 3 or 4 books on the go and feel a bit bereft if I haven’t.
3. What is the greatest behind the scenes benefit of being a blogger? (i.e. meeting new authors, the books, events, etc...lol)
Wendy: All of the above but I have also been very lucky to have become a beta reader for several authors that I have become friends with along the way, and to have earned their trust enough that they send me their manuscripts and want my opinion still makes me very proud. Then to see your name acknowledged in print in a book either as Wendy or as Bare Naked Words still makes me cry every single time it happens.
Claire: Oh my, too much to mention. This indie world is a whole other world I never knew existed. I’ve made some fabulous friends, read some amazing books, had a ball helping at author events, and I have access to fantastic books. But even more amazing than all of that is my relationship with Wendy! She is my rock; she has guided me through this, throwing her trust, encouragement and love of all things pink at me with no hesitation. I don’t think she will ever realize the difference her being in my life has made to me.
(Awwwwww. That gave ME the feels, folks.)
4. What was your greatest Fan-Girl moment?
Wendy: Oh my goodness, there has been so many. Meeting Abbi Glines for the first time, meeting Jenn Sterling, Samantha Towle, Pepper Winters and Jodi Ellen Malpas, receiving emails & personal messages in signed books from Tiffany Reisz, Madeline Sheehan, Pepper Winters and Katy Evans to name but a few.
Claire: Meeting Pepper Winters in Edinburgh, she was so lovely! But didn’t bring Q along, unfortunately…
4. If you could crawl into ONE book and live there for a month, which would it be and why?
Wendy: This is so hard, but I think I would have to say the Thoughtless Series by S.C. Stephens. This series truly broke me. I lost a lot of sleep over these books. They actually made me physically hurt inside. But I will always and forever love Kellan Kyle.
Claire: Can I choose two? Mallory Towers by Enid Blyton, I so wanted to play Lacrosse and have midnight feasts; that really happens, right? And…Fifty Shades of Grey. You have to ask why?
5. When we first start out, one of the first things an author learns is how invaluable the alliance is with bloggers. What advice would you give new authors as they take their first few baby-steps...Into the Blogiverse?
Wendy: My advice to new authors is treat people how you yourself wish to be treated. Bloggers voluntarily give their time to promoting books. A please and a thank you goes a long way. Don’t be afraid to contact the bloggers. We don’t bite and we are here to be approached for help, a nice message to our Facebook inbox or our Gmail is fine, we’ll help if we can. We would never be rude to anyone who approaches so expect the same courtesy.
Claire: Into the Blogiverse…LOL. Just to remember that bloggers are just fans, they aren’t in this for free books. Hell, I had no idea how much time this takes. They are in it because they love authors and they love their words, a quick thank you on a post or a chatty inbox goes a LONG way and you will have a very loyal ally in the crazy, tough world.
6. Any parting thoughts?
Wendy: Being a blogger is hugely rewarding, although its the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life. Having an author acknowledge a review you wrote is the best thank you we could ask for. When I started Bare Naked Words 18 months ago I had no idea really what I was doing. It’s certainly been a learning curve and the people I have met along the way have become some of my closest friends, even though I have still to meet some of them in person.
There really are too many people to thank, but my biggest supporters from the very beginning were Victoria L James & Jacqueline Ayres, they have taught me so much and given me valuable input and ideas along the way.
Claire: Thanks for doing this, Aria and spotlighting how hard we work. We do it though, because we love it – so keep those wonderful words coming, authors. I truly love being a part of this world.