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Posts Tagged ‘debut novel’

HIGHblogtourlogo2

I’m here today with an interview with debut author Corey M.P. If her cover doesn’t stop you in your tracks, her blurb will:

Sonja Fines is a thirty-year-old, uptight, sleep deprived, workaholic from Manhattan who hasn’t taken a day off in years. On a Friday before a Fourth of July weekend, she hops in a cab, late for an important presentation, but ends up in a coffee shop…in Montreal. Shocked by her sudden escape, she meets laid-back Chad Miller. They spend the next three days together, and quickly fall for each other. Sonja has never been happier. But when Chad suddenly reveals something from his past, Sonja flees in a hurry—and her life turns upside down. Overwhelmed with emotions, she embarks on a roller coaster of spontaneous decisions that change her life dramatically.

I’ve already read the first chapter and it is a very well written book with a great promise of escape. I can’t wait to release my next book so that I can really dive in. Corey was so kind to answer a few questions and please follow her on her blog tour if you want to learn more.

1. What is HIGH? As the author, what do you say it is about?

HIGH is a contemporary novel. It’s about Sonja Fines, a thirty-year-old, uptight, sleep deprived, workaholic from Manhattan who hasn’t taken a day off in years. On a Friday before a Fourth of July weekend, she hops in a cab, late for an important presentation, but ends up in a coffee shop…in Montreal.

2) How did the idea for this story come about?

It happened years ago. I was a fulltime graphic designer at the time, and I was in the middle of yet another hectic week of no breaks and long hours. One day, I managed to step outside for a quick coffee break. It was then I realized I was burnt out, and at that moment, I had the urge to escape. But I didn’t. Instead, I was inspired by that feeling to write HIGH.

3) Writing music? What is coming through your speakers when you’re writing?

It always varies. It depends on my mood.

4) If your book had a theme song, what would it be and why?

High by James Blunt. It’s actually in the book. ☺

5) For you, what is the most problematic portion of writing a novel? Plot lines? Character depth?

Editing is what I find the most challenging. Just when you think you’re done writing—you end up finding a sentence, or a paragraph that needs rewriting. It’s a long, grueling process, but a truly rewarding one.

6) When writing, are you ever stumped? How do you get over it?

Luckily, I haven’t had that problem yet.

7) Do you have a character that is most like you? If so, why and how?

Hmmm, this is a good question. I think a lot of writers have a little bit of them in their characters. I’d have to say the character that is most like me would be my protagonist, Sonja Fines. For starters, I based the story of HIGH on a feeling I had during one stressful day. It was the feeling of wanting to flee and escape the norm, which is a feeling she shares with me in the story. But that’s about the only thing her and I have in common, because unlike me, Sonja does flee.

8) Are there any characters that were difficult to write? If so, why?

Fortunately, I had no difficulty writing my characters. They just all came alive as soon as I started writing.

9) What are you working on now? What can we expect to see from you in the near future?

I’m editing my second novel, Hearts and Errors. It’s scheduled to release this June. You can also expect more novels from me in the near future. Also, I recently created Sammy’s Books, which is a collection of beginner books for children under the age of five.

10) Do you have a support system when it comes to writing? What was the reaction from those close to you about your novels?

Thankfully, I do have a support system when it comes to my writing. My dearest older sister and my mom have been so supportive. They read HIGH when it was only a few chapters long, and they encouraged me to finish it because they always believed it was a good story. After I completed the book, they read it immediately and gave me their feedback. They said it was a great story and that I should publish it…so I did. Aside from them, my husband and my dad have also been extremely supportive. And now that my book is out there, I am receiving wonderful feedback from family and friends. It makes it all worth it.

11) You’re about to write. Do you have a ritual?

No real ritual. As long as the ideas are flowing and I have either my computer, or a notebook and pen, then I’m good to go.

12) What are you currently reading?

I haven’t had a chance to read anything lately. But I do have a number of newly purchased books that are waiting for me. Hopefully I can get to them after my HIGH Blog Tour.

13) Do you plan on writing a sequel to High?

It has crossed my mind, but I’m not sure yet if I will or not. Let’s see what the readers say. If they want more of Sonja and Chad—I have no problem giving them more.

14) What do you want fans to know about High?

HIGH is about facing your fears, embracing new things, meeting new people, really tasting the coffee, forgetting the past, exploring life, and learning how to live and love all over again.

Click here to get your copy of HIGH or visit coreymp.wordpress.com.

Thank you so much, Lauren, for this wonderful interview.

Thank you, Corey! And best of luck on the rest of your tour!

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Party Confetti

Happy Friday everyone! And this is an even happier Friday for Saraflower, the winner of a $20 Amazon gift card! This will come in handy before the giving season. The random generator has spoken, but if you didn’t win you might take your chances in another giveaway over at Shannon Whitney Messenger’s blog. It’s a terrific prize of “The Book Babe’s” critique/consult/or event attendance. Totally awesome and worthwhile, check it out. Thanks everyone, for helping me get the word out about my launch. I love you guys!

Sara, email me your address and I’ll ship off your prize 🙂

EDIT: Sorry everyone, I misread the contest. She’s giving away five 25-page critiques from “The Book Babe”. Five! Still awesome, check it out.

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From one of my FAVORITE movies ever (Dumb and Dumber):

Lloyd: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me ending up together?

Mary: Well, that’s pretty difficult to say.

Lloyd: Hit me with it! I’ve come a long way to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?

Mary: Not good.

Lloyd: You mean not good like 1 out of a 100?

Marry: I’d say more like 1 out of a million.

Lloyd: So you’re telling me there’s a chance. YEEah!

So this pretty much sums up how I feel about self-publishing. In the vast sea of  books, my book is like throwing a pebble into that sea. I should be worried about how I’ll get my book seen among so many, yet, I feel just like Lloyd right now.

YEEah!

Why? Because I’m optimistic.

  • I’ve reached all my pre-launch goals.
  • I had a great launch day where I made some sales that weren’t actually friends or family (love you whoever you are!).
  • My early reviewers left fantastic reviews (thank you all so much!).
  • My crit partner, Bethany Yeager, wrote this truly amazing blog review (you have my undying gratitude).
  • I sent out like fifty ebooks to reviewers and already ten have promised me reviews within a few months.
  • Plus, I’ve got some promotional tools up my sleeve that I’ll use in the next few months.

So, I’m trying to think of sales like a swine flu…you infect one person who goes spreading it around to others and you have an outbreak. I’m happy to take this one reader at a time. I’m going to continue with Lloyd’s optimism for now, because I think it’s much better than looking back and saying,

“I could’ve been a contender.”

(PS remember to join the $20 Amazon gift card giveaway if you haven’t already!)

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For less than a latte, you can support a poor, fantasy-prone writer’s delusion.

Seriously though, I’m proud to say that I’ve reached all my goals thus far. I did everything I said I would, (besides losing all the baby weight), and in fact, launched on the day I chose months ago!

Yay!

*Crowds cheer*

I’m so happy to say that my debut novel and first of the Infinite Series, Infinite Sacrifice, can now be purchased at Amazon, Smashwords, and B & N. There is also a print version available here.

Maya’s shocked to discover it’s not the heaven she imagined;in fact, a life of adventure begins the moment you die.

Zachariah, her faithful spirit guide, explains the rules of the dead: in order to regain complete awareness and reunite with loved ones all souls must review their previous lives.

Maya plunges warily into her turbulent pasts as a sociopathic High Priest in ancient Egypt; an independent mother protecting a dangerous secret in glorious Sparta; an Irish boy kidnapped and enslaved by Vikings; and a doctor’s wife forced to make an ethical stand in plague-ridden England.

All the while, Maya yearns to be with those she cares about most and worries that she hasn’t learned all of heaven’s most vital lessons. Will she be forced to leave the tranquility of heaven to survive yet another painful and tumultuous
life? Or worse, accept the bitter reality of having to go back alone?

To kick-off off the launch, I wanted to host a little giveaway…

A $20 gift card from Amazon!

$20 can buy you…

…and you might even have enough left to buy a certain someone’s newly released ebook . *wink-wink*

Rules of the giveaway:

1) One point for subscribing to my blog or already being a subscriber (you guys rock!)

2) One point for twittering news of my book launch

3) One point for mentioning my book launch on your blog

4) One point for answering this question in the comments:

If we really do reincarnate, do you have a particular affinity for a time or place? Feel free to list them all.


No purchase is necessary. Please post in the comment section your total points, each point will get your name added into the random generator-thingy, and I’ll announce the winner on my blog next Friday.

Well, good luck to all you launch promoters, and I just wanted to say thank you to all my amazing, supportive blog followers for sticking with me throughout all of this.

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      Well, all my fantasy-prone blog followers and friends, I’m sure you all must love Halloween as much as I do. The night you can pretend to be whoever you want and roam the streets under the guise of darkness, the crisp leaves crunching under your costumed-feet, collecting CANDY from strangers! The night where fear is confronted and spooky is embraced. The night where the veil between us and the afterlife thins and the dead can mingle with the living.

Oh I LOVE Halloween.

This year we actually have a white Halloween.

Yes, snow in the fall everyone.

They say it hasn’t snowed this early in these parts since the Civil War. I actually love the snow (as long as I keep my power that is), but it’s pretty strange to be trick or treating in half-a-foot of snow. Our area has actually sent out a public message strongly discouraging going out due to power outages. In lieu of house-to-house, they are offering candy at the town hall from 2-4. Well, that sounds terribly depressing. I’m going to look up which neighborhoods still have power and drive my son around to all the Halloween friendly houses. I’m sure my son will be telling his grandchildren about this one day. One of those — “When I was a boy we had to trudge through four feet of snow to get our candy!”

I’m even more bummed this Halloween since I usually host a huge Halloween party where I do things like this:

                 Welcome to the haunted house…muh-ah-ah-ah!

                           (Harry Potter music blasting)

         (Um…the ectoplasm thing in the lower left corner appeared after I took the picture 😮 )

                              Every haunted house needs a cemetery

                       Some of those guys pop-up!

                           The grim reaper on his phantom steed

Oh seeing all these pics makes me miss having my party this year, but since I have an infant to take care of into the wee hours of the night, I decided to forgo it. Boy am I glad I didn’t try though, the snow would have wrecked everything. I would have been rushing around trying to save all of my decorations and animatronics. I hope it still feels like Halloween a little bit tonight. It feels like Halloween Grinch has stolen it from us.

So in honor of trick or treating, I’ve posted a little more of my book below:

                                                                                                           Chapter 2
Years later, my palm-wood-sandaled feet trot along the stone path through tall desert trees that provide much-needed relief from the dry heat of the land. I come to the end of my purification walk from my family dwelling outside the sacred city of Memphis. My thirty days of service is about to begin, and I’m eager to reclaim the position of my late father and his father before that. I already feel strength from my fast. I walk steadfast under the towering statues of Ra lining the walkway to the temple entrance. I’m beginning to feel alive again, every muscle tingling.
Above the door bears the sacred inscription: “The House of Life—The Learned Ones of Library Magic.” Every time I pass under that engraving, pride consumes me. I’m the high priest of such a temple. The six guards at the entrance step aside and bow to me, allowing me access. I point for my lagging slave, Nun, to go to my sleeping chamber and prepare it for the evening. The interior of the temple drops twenty degrees, and my sweat cools instantly, causing a slight chill. Torches illuminate a path down the corridor as the smell of incense engulfs me.
Another guard opens the massive cypress door and bows on one knee while holding the heavy door open. Inside the high- ceilinged room stands an imposing statue of Serapis, God of Dreams, to which our temple is dedicated. All around the statue, offerings of fruit, nuts, beer, wine and fresh-killed lamb are piled up. Expensive oils and incense are burned in wide pots at the perimeter of the vast room, casting light on the papyrus plants, lotus, and palm trees painted to the top of the walls. I look to the flying birds and stars painted to the greatest height across the vaulted ceiling. A harpist plays soft music while beautiful virgins dance slowly. I walk to the altar and bow as a priestess wafts a cloud of incense and natron around me.
I head through the pyres to my right which lead me to the cleansing pool. I stand at the pool’s steps, waiting with my arms out, as a stolist priest unties my cotton loincloth. Naked, I kneel down as another stolist lathers my head with scented lotion and shaves my hair to my scalp. I stand again as he shaves all of my body, hand-plucks my eyebrows and each eyelash.
As a viper feels after shedding its skin, I breathe deep and glide into the cool, pure water, then sink beneath. Breaching the surface and rubbing the water from my eyes, I catch my reflection in the golden mirrors lining the edge of the pool. Water runs down my brown skin, causing a glistening effect in the glowing dimness of the room. With all my hair gone, my features look chiseled, emphasizing my prominent nose and thick lips.
As I exit, the priests anoint my body in balanos oil and tie a clean white linen loincloth around my waist. I bow my head as one places the moonstone eye of Serapis around my neck and a gold arm cuff around my biceps. I turn to another who paints my eyes, brows, and lips black with kohl out of a lotus-shaped glass container. To finalize the cleansing, I rinse my mouth with salty natron water and spit into an alabaster flask. The priests bow to me as I walk back into the central room of the temple, again bow to Serapis, and continue to the dream-incubation chamber. I am to prepare the evening’s special ceremony to find Nebu’s—God Wife of Serapis—adopted Royal Daughter.
I walk into the large central chamber, where two lower priests are tending the giant fire pits on either side of my podium that holds my sacred books. I take my place at the altar, enclosed by the thick, stone columns, to review the last priest’s journal entries. The tended fires blaze, illuminating the carvings of the dream gods carved on all four walls. Gods who are waiting for pharaohs, priests, scribes, wealthy merchants, and commoners to come to scry for cures, magical spells, hex removal, fertility, and prophesy. I hold their most vital hopes and dreams in my hands.
The two priests finish with the fires, refill incense oils, and then bow as they back out of the chamber; I wave them away.
Hearing sandals clicking down the corridor outside, I can tell it is Nebu’s quick light feet as she comes to greet me. She is beautiful, as all of the wives of gods are expected to be. She wears her gold-and-lapis lazuli collar, gold headdress, and gold-painted long skirt wrapped around her hips. I bow before her, appreciating every inch of wasted splendor, since no earthly man can ever have her.
“Sokaris,” she says with her hands out for me to grasp in greeting, “I hope your leave was restful?”
“I grew fat and bored as always, and I’m eager to dedicate myself again.” I hold her hands and bow with her.
She begins to walk, silently commanding me to follow her down the corridor.
“It is time for me to pass down my position, but I do not want to choose poorly. I need to adopt an apprentice who will not merely fulfill my wifely duties but also please Serapis.”
As we are approaching the main chamber, Edjo—Nebu’s favored apprentice—comes limping down the corridor in tears. As Edjo is normally a graceful and tranquil beauty, this is an abnormal event. Her tears cause her kohl to make black rivers down her fine-featured face, and her amber eyes look beseechingly to Nebu.
“Most High, I awoke this morning with a large and painful lesion above my knee.” She points to a festering wound seeping clear fluid down her right leg. “It is a curse, I tell you! I dreamed of a jealous enemy last week!”
Nebu turns to me, and I nod in validation.
“I also have a rash that has spread all over my face and down the back of my neck.”
We lean closer with a torch and see her skin is indeed raised and red.
Nebu shakes her head with disappointment. “I am sorry, Edjo, but these are all signs the gods do not find you fit for this position.”
Edjo crumples to Nebu’s feet.
“Once you are healed and purified, you are welcome to be one of my esteemed dancers,” Nebu says as she pats her heaving back.
Edjo begins kissing her feet. “Please, Nebu, please see this for the treachery it is! I have been groomed for Serapis, raised to be his wife! I am Edjo, the daughter of Amun! This is my birthright! My family will be shamed!”
Nebu shakes her off her feet and starts moving down the hall to the other dancers.
Edjo shrieks from behind us, “I cannot bear this shame! I am going to drown myself in the Nile, and the one that has cursed me will be damned!”
Neither Nebu nor I give her a second look. Nebu whispers under her breath, “Clearly not ordained.” The rhythmic drums and cymbals are heard from the corridor,and the chamber is filled with movement. Twenty royal dancers twist and turn to the beats, striving to stand out and impress Nebu. They can all turn the head of any man, but they dull like the dust stars next to the brightest and shining star. I stop hearing the music when I see her.
She watches her hands and the intricate movements they’re making as her hips click with the beat. I don’t know which part of her to watch first. She is the waves rolling from the center of the sea with no end and no beginning, an unrelenting ripple of her whole body. She starts with a large movement of her middle and lets it flow to an undulation out the tips of her hands and then back down to her toes. Her body reflects all of the flickers of the fire, making her cast a marbled glow. Her motions hypnotize me, and when I find the music has stopped—I want more.
I shake my head to break the spell and look to see if Nebu notices the trance she put me under, but she too is watching the girl. She claps her hands. “Satisfactory.” Then, motioning to the harpist to begin playing, she commands, “Sing for Serapis.”
When it’s my dancing girl’s turn to sing, she doesn’t have perfect pitch, as did other girls, but she sings quietly and so sweetly. Her eyes! Her eyes are large, honey pools you can fall into and never climb out! She is the most intriguing and captivating woman I’ve ever seen. Something is different about her—something powerful—something mystifying. She moves, and my eyes follow; she speaks, and my ears tune out all other sound. I feel far away from her and want to be closer. I wish no one else were in the room.
Nebu interrupts my pain. “I see you agree with my choice.”
I pretend to be only slightly interested. “There are many talented girls for you to pick from, but one does seem to have a magic air to her.”
“Ah, you have noticed. Yes, that is a good way to put it.” She smiles while gazing upon her. “I wonder, though, if she seems devout and disciplined enough?”
“That is hard to see in the arts. We will need to probe deeper and let our ancient knowledge guide us.”
My heart races at the thought that I’ll get to spend some time alone with her.
“Yes, we will have to trust the ancients—and you, Sokaris.”
I leave to take my place in the dream-incubation chamber before Nebu sends her. I have to regain composure and steady myself for the important task ahead. I look up at my reflection in the brass incense burner, and I see her float in behind me. I turn, avoiding her eyes, and stare at my papyrus.
“Name?” I ask. “Bastet, daughter of Ketuh.” Her voice is melodious. “Age?” “Fifteen and a half years.” She’s older than most royal daughters, but it is not unheard of for someone her age to be considered. Her blue glass ear studs catch my eye.
“Let me see your palm.”
She outstretches a fragile, long-fingered hand and slowly turns it within my palm as she looks directly in my eyes. I feel a charge at her touch but continue my task. She has many great talents on her hand but carries three of the most ominous signs: a weak and broken lifeline that foretells a short life; she lacks the gift of willpower whorl on her thumb; and most intriguing to me, her mount of Venus is well padded, showing immense passion. Normally I wouldn’t even let a candidate stay after this miserable reading, but I can’t stand the thought of her leaving.
“Please follow me to your chamber for the night.”
I lead her to the smaller chambers where dream incubation takes place. I motion her to enter the room first, pushing aside the urge to pull her to the bed with me.
She sits down on the side of the linen-draped bed and asks, “Who is looking upon me as I sleep?”
I freeze at her unabashed forwardness but thaw when she points to the carving on the headboard.
“That is the midget god, Bes: the Dream Protector.” I motion her to come to the table beside me. When she nears, I can smell the remnants of scented wax in her braided wig releasing its sweet perfume. “Tonight you must pray to the god Serapis to send you a fortuitous dream, one that can tell us of your destiny with him. Please write his name on the papyrus.”
She obeys with some skill, and I roll it up and place it in a lamp beside her bed.
I pray, “Will it be granted that Bastet, daughter of Ketuh, be Royal Daughter to Serapis? Reveal it to me; answer this little written prayer.”
I light the papyrus to burn while she sleeps. She bows, and I leave her chamber to attempt to retire in the chamber next to hers. It must have been hours before my body relaxed enough to sleep, knowing she is so close.
I’m getting back into bed and am fixing the scroll with my god’s name when I feel something move by my leg under the sheet. I throw back the sheet to expose a writhing mass of snakes crawling and hissing on top of me. I scream as they all bite into me at once, igniting me in flames.
I wake, thrashing and breathing hard.
The same dream again and again!
I write on my papyrus: GET SEHKET!

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I want to extend an offer for a free ebook review copy to all my awesome and supportive blog followers. You have all been so fantastic along this journey and I wanted to say thanks by giving you all a chance to get my book for free!

The first ten people who privately email me (see sidebar for address) I’ll send a free Smashwords ebook coupon to. If there are those out there that are not familiar with Smashwords (me, before self-publishing) then I will be more than happy to give a little instructional. You don’t need an ereader or kindle either since you can download a copy that you can view on your computer screen.

If you have some free time to read this quickly, and to leave a review on Amazon upon my launch or shortly after, I would be so appreciative. It would be so wonderful to have a few unbiased reviews up around my release date: 11-11-11. *Gulp*

I’m asking everyone who reviews my novel to be completely honest. I know that no book is perfect and I welcome everyone to say what they liked and didn’t like. Sometimes if someone sees all rave reviews they’re suspicious that they’re left by family members, (funny thing is my family members will probably be the most critical on me–remember family of eight-no mercy there). Sometimes negative reviews make readers more interested in the book. So please, feel free to review critically.

If you don’t have the time to read right now or prefer not to leave reviews, I will have other opportunities in the future to get my book and other goodies for free, so keep an eye out.

Thanks everyone!

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The good news is that my second proof arrived and this time the cut of the book is perfect.

The bad news is that I’ve come across a change that I will need to go back to my formatter for and I hope he can work on quickly. I decided (hopefully not too late) that I need to include a bibliography in the back of my book.

Most traditionally published historical fiction authors don’t include a bibliography, but that is usually due to the publisher not wanting to pay for those extra pages. However, in this electronic age, it seems much more cost-effective to post up sources on your book’s website and direct your readers there through a mention in your forward. So this is what I planned.

This weekend though, I spoke to my editor who advised me to add a bibliography to be extra safe. I don’t hesitate to include my sources, in fact, I wish I could use footnotes to cite historic events. I would love my reader to see that many of my ideas, details, and events are actually inspired by true accounts. Although, most readers seem to detest the interruption of footnotes in fiction. The last thing I would want to do is to disengage my reader so I have restrained myself from citing. I decided to include an interactive page where my reader can click on links to sources that will further educate the reader. I planned to use this page to give credit to my excellent sources as well, but I realize that I should also include my sources within the book to be sure I acknowledge to each reader that I was inspired and informed by those talented non-fiction writers.

I have to hurry my bibliography and get it off to my formatter now so that I can approve yet another proof. I am getting down to the wire now and I might have to put-off some of the less critical tasks to do this right.

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