Tuesday, August 28, 2012

GIVEAWAY- Copy of Clint Morey's novel, 'When I Fall in Love'

Enter the Giveaway of When I Fall in Love using this Rafflecopter form!  Starts August 28th and goes through September 9th.  Please note this is for US mailing addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Endless Day of Literary Ecstasy will be giving away a print copy of Clint Morey's new book, When I Fall in Love.

When I Fall in Love by Clint Morey

Title: When I Fall in Love

Author: Clint Morey

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Published Date: July 1, 2012

Format: Paperback & Kindle

Buy on Amazon: Paperback or Kindle

Synopsis from Back Cover:

Amy Prescott is just your ordinary, everyday high school senior -- beautiful, brilliant, athletic, able to pick the hunk of her choice, and a scholarship to Harvard nearly in her hands. 
Okay, maybe not so ordinary. 
Her perfectly planned future starts to unravel when she has to care for her grandparents in Montana.  As the family fights over who gets what part of the estate, Grandpa tells Amy the story of how he met his wife in Vietnam.

But Amy has more pressing concerns.  Is her boyfriend seeing someone else?  How does she put off the Montana boy who takes an interest in her?  And then there's Harvard.

Amy doesn't need any of this.  Not now.  Her life is planned.  It's a perfect plan.

At least it was.

My Thoughts:

Clint Morey's When I Fall in Love is a captivating young adult novel.  It has a healthy mixture of romance, comedy, and tenderness.  Amy, the main character, is the perfect high school student on her way to earning a spot at Harvard.  Her parents have meticulously planned out Amy's life to ensure she is accepted, from Cello lessons, to Physics tutoring, and even which sports Amy will play and dominate.  However, everything is put on hold when Amy's grandfather has a stroke. 

Amy dreads flying to Montana, where she hasn't visited in five years.  Once she gets there things are not as they once where.  Her grandmother has Alzheimer's and her grandfather is too weak to take care of her after his stroke.  After witnessing the devotion and love between her grandparents, Amy decides she will rally behind her grandfather in his attempts to keep his family together.  As Amy's bond strengthens with her grandfather, he tells her the story of how he and Lynn met and fell in love, many years before.

I really like how Morey presented Alzheimer's and how it can differently affect family members.  When I Fall in Love views the disease from many aspects.  Grandpa Robert lives for the moments when Lynn, his wife, makes a brief appearance from her own little world.  He has kept things the same in the house to help her feel more comfortable, and is always there for her.  Amy's mother, aunt, and uncle decide that things can not remain as they currently are.  Instead of being mature about matters, the siblings act more like children.  After their father has a stroke they immediately want to put their mother in a nursing home and have the estate signed over to them.  They act very selfish and it seems at times that they are looking out for only themselves and their inheritance.  Amy has not been around her grandmother since Alzheimer's took over her life.  She takes it upon her self to be there for her grandmother and grandfather.  She wants them to remain together and will sacrifice whatever is needed to see that happen. 

Clint Morey's When I Fall in Love is a very quick read at only 149 pages.  Once I started the humor and witty dialogue pulled me in.  The scenes with Amy and her boy troubles are very funny, as well as the flashbacks of Robert and Lynn in Vietnam.  I definitely recommend Clint Morey's When I Fall in Love to fans of Young Adult literature.  You will find yourself laughing and tearing up at this poignant novel.

Clint Morey has provided me with a complimentary copy of his book, When I Fall in Love, for the purpose of review. 

Clint Morey has graciously donated a copy of his novel, When I Fall in Love, for a giveaway.  This giveaway will be running from August 28th-September 9th.  Enter to win the copy on the Rafflecopter form on the above Giveaway Post.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Guest Post & Interview of Author Bryan K. Johnson

 On August 14th, Bryan Johnson's novel Yield (Book One of the Armageddia Series) was released.  I am very excited to present to you both a Guest Blog Post by Bryan, and an interview I conducted with him.  Enjoy!!!!!

Title: Yield

Author: Bryan K. Johnson

Publisher: American Book Publishing

Published Date: August 14, 2012

Format: Paperback & Kindle

Buy on Amazon: Paperback or Kindle


Ex-fire chief Devin Bane rises above the thick clouds for an interview in Seattle and the promise of a better life. Packing up his carry-on items for their descent into the city, Devin is blinded by a distant flash, followed by the screams and chaos of a crash landing. 

 Outside the plane's wreckage, a new nightmare surrounds him. Seattle's iconic skyline is gone.
Searching for answers as he flees through the ruins, Devin and a handful of survivors are surrounded by the most primitive side of human nature. Plunged into the darkness of a broken society, their tattered souls are each tested by the horrors they face. Even if Devin can escape the city, a far worse danger now blocks his path back home . . . 

Back to his family and the dawning of a changed world.

"To sequel or not to sequel..."
by Guest Writer Bryan K. Johnson

It seems like many writers these days are confronted with the same conundrum of continuance. Should I turn my story into a series? At face value, it's a simple enough question. The word "trilogy" can cause a million possibilities to fire inside the depths of our synaptic web, tracing down through dynamic characters and immersive worlds all painted in glorious verbal detail. There are certainly enough success stories of formerly unknown writers finding fame and fortune with a captivating book series: J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga, Suzanne Collins and the Hunger Games. Audiences and critics alike enjoy multi-part story arcs, often bringing unparalleled success to their creators.

I have also set out down that same long and layered path, taken by many but finished by few. My debut novel, YIELD, is book one of the chillingly intense, shockingly unforgettable, (enter your own superlative here) Armageddia trilogy. The only problem? It's not all written yet.

Marketing a series of ethereal ideas without the concrete parts already in hand is a very real challenge for new writers. How do we know if the first story is going to be well received? What if we haven't been lucky enough to find a publisher with the patience to see our series through? What if there is too long of a gap between releases and all of that hard fought momentum is lost?

The highly competitive book business can be an unforgiving place. Having even one novel pop on the charts as a new writer is hard enough, let alone trying to ride your own coattails years later when all of the intended companion pieces are finally done.

Being new to the industry, I've realized I really don't have a bulletproof answer to the sequel question—not one that applies to everyone. The answer, just like the stories themselves, depends largely on the motivations and commitment of their authors.

My advice, from that place somewhere between hope and disappointment in my gut, is this:

If you are certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will complete your series—even if book one is an abysmal failure, even if the critics hate it, even if everything else in your life crumbles away—if you are that passionate about your story and have a clear vision for what it can be, then I say do it. Commit to it, and don't give up on your idea even if Dante's inferno opens wide and threatens to swallow you whole. It might just take that kind of commitment and sacrifice to make it.

On the other hand, if you are just testing the waters and trying to get a foothold in the writing world any way you can, you might be better off having several weapons in your literary arsenal. A good writer is a good writer, regardless of the specific story. Having a few finished manuscripts in your hip pocket to show your versatility and style to a prospective agent or publisher may just get you that shot. There can be strength in playing the numbers. Not everyone will like a particular series concept. And if you put all of your eggs in that one basket, your writing career may get poached before you've even had a chance to hatch.

For a special sneak peek at my own sequel, go to: www.armageddia.com. I've posted an exclusive excerpt on my blog there from book two of the Armageddia Series. Book one, YIELD, will be available August 14th in paperback and e-book formats.

Happy writing! (...and writing....... and writing..........................)

Interview with Bryan K. Johnson
Author of Yield: Book 1 of the Armageddia Series

Bryan K. Johnson

Q. Can you tell us a little something about YIELD?

At its core, Yield is a journey of self-destruction and redemption. When our country's entire infrastructure is crippled by a brutal attack, the survivors are thrown into an unthinkable world full of chaos and anarchy. We're thrust right into the middle of that madness with the characters, without understanding what happened or why.

Yield is a story about that shift between the life we know and the very dark world that emerges from the ashes. If everything you knew suddenly changed in a flash of hatred and violence, how would you react? What would you be capable of to protect the ones you love? Yield's characters come face to face with those extremes of humanity, trying to overcome their own savagery and demons while fighting to survive.

Q. Share something about yourself or your writing that you haven't told fans?

Before becoming a novel, Yield actually started its life as a screenplay. I thought the concept made for a very visual type of story, so I initially fleshed out Yield in a traditional screenplay format. Putting it together as a screenplay actually helped me quite a bit while writing to better visualize the scenes, structure the story, and tighten up my dialogue. But screenplays have to be so concise and heavily formatted that it really limited the emotion of the story. I received a lot of feedback from prospective agents and production companies that the screenplay was overwritten and just too literary. So I took a deep breath and jumped in with both feet to expand Yield out into a novel. It took a few more years, but was extremely liberating to be able to flesh out how my characters felt and thought—how the fear inside them was palpable and crippling. It allowed me to really explore my own style of writing and create a much deeper story.

Q. What inspired you to write the YIELD trilogy?

Books two and three of the Armageddia Series are receiving their own flashes of inspiration, but for Yield, it was a singular experience. About six years ago, I was on a plane from San Francisco to Bend and the fog was so thick over the bay that it completely blotted out the sky. As we took off above the cloud bank, everything just disappeared beneath me. Mankind and all our worries seemed to fade into the grey. I wondered what would happen if the world changed at that very moment. What if the life I knew didn't exist when I landed? What if my world died somewhere under those clouds?

That flight started my entire thought process for the Armageddia Series, and even turned into one of my favorite scenes in Yield. As our main character, disgraced firefighter Devin Bane, takes off on the way towards his own interview, everything he knows changes while he's in the air. Devin crashes headfirst into a chaos he doesn't understand, fighting not only to get back to his wife and kids, but also to protect the other survivors now looking to him for a leadership he wants no part of.

Q. Do you have a favorite scene and character in YIELD?

That's a hard one. I'm partial to each of the characters in Yield for different reasons, but Devin Bane is probably my most interesting one. He is an exceedingly complicated protagonist, flawed with addiction, full of razor-sharp skepticism, and with an almost constant sense of conflicted purpose. He doesn't want to be a leader, yet his instincts are to rise up when needed. His unrestrained and often harsh sense of humor can cut you down in an instant, but his charm can also brighten the darkest of days. Devin is at a crossroads in his life and still trying to find himself. His biggest problem is what he finds lurking in the shadows.

Q. When writing YIELD, did you take anything from real life?

I integrated some contemporary news headlines into the narrative to give it a greater sense of relevance and realism. Aside from that, I really wanted to take the story down a very dark and dramatic road—one that was uniquely gripping and terrifyingly real. Everything is just a step or two past where we are now. I love science fiction and fantasy, but didn't want Yield to have that fantastical and unbelievable quality to it. I wanted the story to feel horrifyingly possible in every way.

Q. How do you write? Do you have a set routine each day? A word or page goal?

I lead a very scattered and chaotic life. I'm a moonlight writer with a busy day job, spending a lot of time on the road in addition to working 50+ hours a week. I write when I can, while also balancing time with my wife and kids when I'm at home. I was actually still writing Yield while finishing up a very challenging MBA program, too. I don't know how I juggled everything, but somehow you just find a way when you're passionate about it. Lately I've been more focused on the marketing of Yield, but when I'm in creation mode, I'll write in the evenings until the ideas stop flowing. No word or page goal. I think creativity is hard to force a finite number on. It just happens, in the quantity and breadth it chooses to bestow.

Q. What types of genres do you like to read?

I like to read everything from Dan Brown's thrillers and Tom Clancy's military ops novels, to sci-fi, fantasy and dystopians. I'm a big fan of multi-book story arcs like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Eddings's Belgariad. I also just finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and was really impressed by the author. She created such an intense pace through the entire three-book series. I think I read each one in about a day. They were just too good to be put down. I love books like that.

Q. Is there a particular author or book that influenced you as a writer?

I loved exploring the science fiction worlds of Tolkien, Brian Jacques, and David Eddings growing up. I was always amazed by the feeling that a good book series could give you. I remember as I finished up one of Eddings's five-part story lines in high school, having this almost overwhelming feeling of disappointment that it was over. I didn't want the characters that I had been through so much with to leave my mind. Great writers make us feel like we truly know the characters, and can bring them to life in a way that is so real and personal. We feel their fears. Laugh at their triumphs. Cry at their pain. I started writing in high school at first to continue some of those incredible stories that I just didn't want to end. I moved on to graphic novels, toying with the idea of being a comic book illustrator, then on to screenplays and finally my debut novel, Yield.

Q. What aspect of the story, YIELD, did you find most challenging?

I think the biggest challenge for me was the process after all the writing was done. Becoming an author isn't simply putting together a compelling story with a unique hook, then watching the floodgates of success open wide. Becoming a published author with tangible numbers is far more difficult than writing the story itself. There are a lot of other very talented writers out there, all competing with one another to reach prospective readers. New writers must be well versed in social media, able to network and build connections, be willing to invest their own time and resources, maintain engaging presences on a host of different platforms, and always be looking for ways to market themselves and their brand to new customers. I have an MBA in marketing, so thankfully I have a bit of experience in that arena. But trying to build credibility and a following takes time. New writers start at ground zero, regardless of how great you think your book might be. Don't get discouraged, but don't underestimate that either.

Q. Any final thoughts?

Thanks for featuring me! It's been a lot fun so far and the Armageddia journey is just beginning. Buckle up!

For a special sneak peek at book two of the series, check out my blog at www.armageddia.com. I've posted an exclusive excerpt there. Yield, book one of the Armageddia Series, will be released on August 14th in paperback and e-book formats. I hope you all enjoy it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia

Title: Poughkeepsie
Author: Debra Anastasia
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Published Date: November 18, 2011
Format: Paperback & Kindle

Buy on Amazon: Paperback or Kindle
Author Website: http://www.debraanastasia.com/#!poughkeepsie

Synopsis from Back Cover:

He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him-just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he's homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day. 

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She's the same as a million other girls-certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe. 
When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she's surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it's not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives. 
Blake's heart beats for Livia's, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right? 
In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.

My Thoughts:

I need to be honest, Debra Anastasia's Poughkeepsie is a book that I started to read with great hesitation.  I had read fantastic things about Poughkeepsie on numerous GoodReads message boards.  I had also seen that it was recommended to read if you enjoyed the Fifty Shades trilogyThis wasn't where my reluctance was coming from.  My problem was that I had read a synopsis of Poughkeepsie which basically said the book centered around a homeless man who fell in love with an educated woman.  The lady cured said homeless man of his issues, he got a job, and they all lived happily ever after.

WRONG WRONG WRONG!  My perception couldn't have been more flawed.  I would really be kicking myself had I not read Poughkeepsie.  Debra Anastasia has written an excellent novel that grabbed me in the beginning and never let me go.  She was able to create a world with extremely flawed, yet realistic, characters that I came to love. The plot was very solid, with many surprising twists and turns.  Poughkeepsie really is a great novel, and I am already looking forward to rereading it.

In Anastasia's novel, Grad student Livia goes to the Poughkeepsie Train Station every morning to get to school.  There she observes Blake, a quiet, homeless man who is always there.  She is the one person who doesn't look right through Blake; instead she always has a genuine smile for him.  One morning, Livia stands up to a group of teenagers that were harassing and roughing Blake up.  Things were never the same as Livia realizes there is more to Blake than meets the eye.  What starts as a friendship quickly develops into something much more that they expected.

Blake's two brothers are Cole, an aspiring Priest, and Beckett, a man who wears many hats (mainly the hats of drug distributor/pimp/arms dealer.)  While these three men are not biological brothers, they became foster brothers at an impressionable age.  When the world turned its back on these three abuse survivors, they came together and created their own family.  After aging out of the Foster Care system, Beckett, Blake, and Cole remained brothers.  Even though each brother chose a very different life path they remained incredibly devoted to one another.

While Blake and Livia are the main characters in Poughkeepsie, I really fell in love with the supporting characters.  Cole, Kyle, Beckett, and Eve were all great 3 dimensional characters.  Kyle had me laughing out loud at pretty much every word that came out of her mouth.  My absolute favorite characters in Poughkeepsie were Beckett and Eve.  Beckett and Eve are the most violent characters, and start chaos without blinking an eye.  However, these are two beautifully flawed characters that I really bonded with.  Beckett and Eve are who they are because of their painful pasts. Life is definitely not fair, but these two characters took the reins and made their own destiny.

Please be aware that this book is NOT for minors.  Debra Anastasia's book is filled with profanity and graphic scenes.  If you do not like cursing or violence in the novels you read, Poughkeepsie is probably not for you.  Nevertheless, I think the language accurately reflects the people and circumstances in the novel.  

I really hope there will be a sequel to Poughkeepsie.  I would love to see more of all of the characters, but especially Beckett and Eve.  I felt that their romance was left open ended, and I would really like Anastasia to revisit these two for some closure.

Debra Anastasia's Poughkeepsie is a fantastic book.  I loved reading it and became attached to the characters she wrote about.  Poughkeepsie is definitely a book that I recommend.  This is one that deserves to be on everyone's TBR list!

Debra Anastasia and Omnific Publishing has provided me with a complimentary copy of the book, Poughkeepsie, for the purpose of review.