Thursday, February 25, 2016


Today is the official release date of the UK edition of NIGHT STUDY! My UK readers have waited patiently (well, most of them have ;) for three extra weeks.  To celebrate the release, we are doing a UK Blog Tour for the next two weeks.  I've been working hard on writing articles, answering questions, and putting together a few lists for the tour.  Some highlights: a Q&A with Yelena, and Valek takes some time to tell you about himself.

Below are links to the tour stops, and you can see them all on the banner.

February 25: Reader in a Reverie - The idea for Night Study
February 26: Feeling Fictional - Introducing Valek
February 27: Black Plume - Q&A with Yelena
February 28: Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne - Top Ten Reasons to Read Fantasy
February 29: The YA Commuter Reader - Introducing Ixia
March 1: Laura Jayne Online - Top Five Favorite Fantasy and SF Books
March 2: Under A Mound of Books - 5 Tips for Writing Good Romance
March 3: Words From A Reader - Q&A with Maria
March 4: My Little Bookish Corner - Planning Novels
March 5: Whispering Words - Q&A with Maria on inspiration
March 6: The Book Binge - Exclusive Excerpt
March 7: Serendipity Reviews - Top Five Childhood Books
March 8: The Fantastical Library - Q&A with Maria
March 9: The Review Diaries - Q&A with Maria

Thursday, February 18, 2016

THE SHADOW QUEEN Blog Tour Stop / Author Interview & Giveaway

Today I'm part of THE SHADOW QUEEN blog tour!  This is my first time being a stop for another author's tour and I'm so glad it's for C.J. Redwine.  C.J. asked me to read THE SHADOW QUEEN a few months ago for a possible cover quote. I loved the book and wanted to interview her on my blog and I ended up being a part of her tour.  Fun stuff!

About the book:

Author: C.J. Redwine
Pub. Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

Take 10 with C.J. Redwine:

1.) I really loved THE SHADOW QUEEN.  How did you get the idea to put your own unique spin on the classic tale of Snow White?

It happened in the car ride home from watching Snow White and the Huntsman. I was ranting about how disappointed I was that the queen wasn’t fleshed out with backstory and how upset I was to have Snow White be an insipid, nearly voiceless girl until she dies and somehow channels Joan of Arc upon her resurrection. I saw the potential for the story to be an epic showdown between two equally powerful female characters, and the more I talked about it, the more it came to life in my head, until I knew I had to write it. (Also my hubby finally looked at me and said, “If you think you can do better, then write it.” So I did.)

2.) I thought your twist on the huntsman character was so fun. Can you tell us more about Kol’s abilities and his character arc?

Kol is a Draconi, which means he has both a human heart and a dragon heart. When he gives control to his dragon heart, he shifts into dragon form. He begins the story as the playboy prankster second born prince who has just been expelled from Eiler’s Military Academy for the third time. He’s secretly aching for his father’s approval, but he doesn’t see that as a possibility because he can’t live up to his oh-so-perfect older brother (and frankly never bothers trying to). But when his parents and older brother are killed at the warfront, Kol is suddenly the ruler of a kingdom he deeply loves but never expected to be responsible for. He is a natural leader (note the many times he lead his large group of friends into helping with his legendary pranks), but it takes a while for him to really trust that he is the right leader for his kingdom. Nevertheless, from the start, the one thing he knows with conviction is that he’d sacrifice himself if it would ensure the safety of his people.

3.)  The cover art is stunning and I’m dead jealous!  Most readers know about the witch and the apple, but you have black apples and they’re very different.  Can you explain about the magical properties of those black apples?

The cover is jaw-dropping, and when I first saw it I just made incoherent noises for several minutes because really. The black apples are spelled apples that Irina uses to control people. Once someone eats the apple, they are filled with a desperate loyalty toward the queen (even if seconds before they’d wanted her dead), and they’ll turn against their own flesh and blood if she asks them too. 

4.) What do you find most interesting about Lorelai?  What does she do to drive you crazy?

I love that Lorelai is the soul of honor and responsibility and yet one of her greatest strengths is her ability to steal and use parkour to get away with it. I mean yes, she’s stealing from the queen so her motives are pure, but still. She uses crime in an effort to be honorable. That’s intriguing. She drives me crazy when she gets so focused on her plans that she misses other important things. Like romance, lol. 

5.) Did you have to do any special research for this book? What did you learn that you didn't know before?

I did a lot of research on the etymology of Russian words so I could create the incantors that are used in the magic that both Lorelai and Irina possess. And I research Germanic plants, foods, and architecture and used it as the basis for creating the scenery in Ravenspire. I think the most interesting thing I researched, though, was parkour. I learned how to do a shoulder roll and how to scale a wall. (And by “how” I mean I understand the fundamentals, not that I could successfully do it myself!) I spent a lot of time watching tutorial videos so that I could accurately describe the techniques as Lorelai did her thing.

6.)  How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself  growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

I’ve been writing stories since the second grade, and I always wanted to be a writer, but I never really saw a clear path toward making that happen. I wrote all through school (including college) but then stopped after I had three boys in four years. (HOLY NOISE AND MESS, BATGIRL) I figured I’d start writing again once my life slowed down and became a bit more sane. Spoiler alert: that’s not really what happens in life. When I was 30, I was diagnosed with cancer, and it was advanced enough that it scared me into doing things like updating my life insurance policy and instructing my husband to find a woman who’d be a good mother and get remarried. But then I survived, and I realized that it was foolish to put off my dreams because I thought life had to line up perfectly for me to accomplish them. I sat down and wrote my first book (a 140k word disaster but whatever!) and never looked back. 

7.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

Because I have five kids, run a busy website, and have a husband who is gone in the mornings doing a radio show and is also gone many nights critiquing movies, my routine varies by the day/situation. I carve out time in small chunks throughout the day and into the night, and I write in 500 word bursts. Do a few bursts a day, and I can have a 2000 word day woven in between all the other work and parenting I do.

8.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write?  A favorite?

I have an office but dear Lord do I need to replace the French doors with something that can actually lock …

9.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

Movies! We’re big movie buffs here, and because my hubby is a movie critic, we get to go to early screenings, which is fun. 

10.) What are you writing now?  What's coming out next?

Right now, I’m working on the proposal for the third, fourth, and fifth books in the Ravenspire series (each book is a companion novel set in an adjoining kingdom and inspired by a different tale). The next book that comes out from me is book 2 in the Ravenspire series. It’s set in SĂșndraille, the kingdom south of Ravenspire, and is the next chapter in Rumpelstiltskin’s life in which he is a very Faustian soul-broker.  

About C.J.: 

C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and Sherlock. She is the author of the Defiance trilogy, a post-apocalyptic fantasy from Balzer + Bray. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband and children. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day. 

Where you can find C.J.:

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a signed finished copy of THE SHADOW QUEEN and swag. US Only.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
2/8/2016- Adventures of a Book Junkie- Interview
2/9/2016- The Irish Banana ReviewReview
2/10/2016- Once Upon a TwilightGuest Post
2/11/2016- A Backwards StoryReview
2/12/2016- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post

Week Two:
2/15/2016- The Young Folks- Review
2/16/2016- Mundie Moms- Interview
2/17/2016- Supernatural Snark- Review
2/18/2016- Maria V. SnyderInterview
2/19/2016- FiktshunGuest Post

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Wickedly Powerful Author Interview + Giveaway!

I'm so excited to have Deborah Blake as my guest again!  She is one of the sweetest ladies I know! She's been super supportive of me and my writing since way back and I even had to pleasure of hanging out with her at a RWA conference in New York City. Her third novel in her Baba Yaga series of paranormal romance books, WICKEDLY POWERFUL has just been released.  I'm really enjoying this series of books and if you haven't read them, go buy the first book, WICKEDLY DANGEROUS right now....go on....I'll wait  ;)

Along with the interview, Deborah is offering a signed copy of her book plus an adorable "Be Wicked" broom stick to a winner! Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter.  Open to ALL!!

Cover blurb:

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

The only thing more fiery than Bella Young’s red hair is her temper. She knows that a Baba Yaga’s power without strict control can leave the people she cares about burned, so to protect her heart—and everyone around her—the only company she keeps is her dragon-turned-Norwegian-Forest-cat, Koshka.

But when Bella is tasked with discovering who’s setting magical fires throughout Wyoming’s Black Hills, she finds herself working closely with former hotshots firefighter Sam Corbett—and falling hard for his quiet strength and charm.

Sam may bear the scars of his past, but Bella can see beyond them and would do anything to help him heal. Only before she can rescue her Prince Charming, she’ll have to overcome the mysterious foe setting the forest fires—a truly wicked witch who wields as much power and even more anger than Bella…

Take 10 More with Deborah Blake:

1) WICKEDLY POWERFUL is the third Baba Yaga novel. In the story world you created, Baba Yaga isn’t one woman, but a title carried by a chosen few. Can you explain more about how this works?

In the original fairy tales, they sometimes referred to the Baba Yaga’s “sisters” (also named Baba Yaga, in case you weren’t confused enough). When I started this series, I decided that was the perfect excuse to have the name be more of a job title than anything else, and so the Baba Yagas in my books are the three women who fulfill that job in the USA. That way each book follows a different character, and a different romance, although they do tend to show up in each other’s stories now and again.

2) Are the books and novellas connected? Do you have to read them in order?

In theory, I have tried to make each book so that you can read it on its own. But like most series, they make the most sense if you read them in order. In particular, there are events in the second book (Wickedly Wonderful) that lead into the third one (Wickedly Powerful, just out). When you get to book four, which will actually be the first in the new Riders series, you will definitely want to have read Wickedly Powerful, since all kinds of important stuff happens in that book :).

3) How did you spark on the idea to have your third Baba Yaga deal with forest fires?

I see what you did there, Maria. The idea actually came from two different things that had been floating around in my brain for a while. One was the news story about the nineteen Hotshots firefighters who died a few years ago, leaving behind one surviving member of their team. I always wanted to write the story of that one guy who lived, and what he must have felt like. I also have a (female) friend who spent a number of years working the summers as a fire tower spotter in a tower in Wyoming, much like the one featured in this book. Put these together with a Baba Yaga whose main element is fire, and that spark became a flame, which became a book. [and I see what you did here Deborah ;)]

4) How much research on fighting wildfires did you do? Have you been to a fire?

I’m terrified of fire, to be honest. The closest I’ve ever been to a wildfire is a bonfire that seemed to take on a life of its own. I did some research into fighting fires, and into the Hotshots in particular, including reading a novel that was written by a women who had spent time doing just that.

5) I noticed all 3 of your Baba Yaga books deals with an environmental issue.  WICKEDLY DANGEROUS has fracking, WICKEDLY WONDERFUL has a toxin poisoning the water, and now WICKEDLY POWERFUL with wild fires. Is this something you feel strongly about?

It is. I’m a Pagan, which means I’m all about the connection to nature, and our responsibility to live on the planet responsibly. Plus, of course, I am well aware of how many disastrous issues there are affecting the environment these days. I have gotten some criticism in reviews about putting my political views in a novel (really?) but to me, these issues are part of the story. I’m not preaching at anyone. They’re just powerful components of the world we live in.

6) I saw on your website that you sold 3 more Baba Yaga novels and another novella. Congrats!  Have you planned out what those books will be about?

Well, Wickedly Powerful is the first of the three, and the novella is Wickedly Ever After, which came out last month and continues the story of the first Baba, Barbara. (My favorite, but don’t tell the others.) The next two stories will continue this series in a spin-off series (although the storyline follows directly after this current book) that feature the Riders, who are side-characters in the Baba Yaga books. The first book, Dangerously Charming, features Mikhail Day and the second will focus on Gregori Sun. But don’t worry, the Baba Yagas will show up too…

7) You also write non-fiction and have 9 books about witchcraft. Can you tell us a little about them?

The books are published by Llewellyn, and are all aspects of the modern practice of witchcraft or Wicca. I tend to take a practical, down-to-earth approach, which people seem to like. And, of course, my black cat Magic co-wrote three of them, so you know they must be good.

8) Is it hard to switch from writing non-fiction to fiction?

It wasn’t for me, but then I actually have been writing fiction my whole life, and the non-fiction was kind of a happy accident, although it was published before any of my novels. I actually like going back and forth between them, since they are so different in terms of writing. And thankfully, the fans of my Llewellyn books seem to like the novels too. Maybe it helps that there are witches in them!

9) You’re a super busy person, writing fiction, non-fiction, and running The Artist’s Guild cooperative while making jewelry! Do you have any time management advice? And does your writing inspire your jewelry designs or vice versa?

Don’t plan to get much sleep? Snort. Honestly, I’m still working on trying to juggle everything. There never seems to be enough time. But I do try to write almost every evening for about three hours, close to 365 days a year. Otherwise I’d never get the books done! As for the jewelry, sadly, I am doing less and less of it all the time because I am too busy writing.

10) What’s coming out next?

Next up is Day’s book, Dangerously Charming. I just did the cover reveal for that one over on my blog, but I’m happy to share it here too. I suspect your folks will enjoy it :). After that, I’m writing my 10th book for Llewellyn, 365 Days of Everyday Witchcraft, and working on Gregori Sun’s book. And next year I have a tarot deck coming out, which was probably the most fun project I ever worked on!

Thanks for having me here!


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