Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Toby's Tails - a charming children's book by Susan Keefe



A review of Toby's Tails - Toby Visits Chats du Quercy

Normally I don’t review books. I find that books are like wine; some like red, while others like white, and we must each make up our own minds. I’m a fan of the bubbly kind myself, but that’s beside the point.

In this week’s author spotlight I’ve decided to review a children’s book, Toby’s Tails – Toby Visits Chats du Quercy, by Susan Keefe. As well as being an amazing book for children, there is another very, VERY, special reason I’m making an exception to the rule. Toby’s Tails novels are part of a series that donates a percentage of its profits to animal shelters. This particular book will be parting with a whopping 50% of its profits to Chats du Quercy. A lover of all things furry and (mostly) four legged, how could I not? (If you read the book, you'll understand that pun).

Chats du Quercy opened in 2010, and is unique in France in that it is the only Adoption Centre solely dedicated to helping abandoned cats. Run by feline behaviourist Lynn Stone, and her husband Ron, over the years it has helped, and saved literally thousands of cats and kittens, an average of 350 per year. For just one rescue shelter, that’s A LOT.

So, without further ado, Toby’s Tails – Toby Visits Chats du Quercy.

Toby leaves Fantasy Farms with his human mommy and daddy. He’s off on another grand adventure and his excitement is palpable. Saying goodbye to the cats, Rammy and Cleo, Toby has no idea that he is about to meet many more feline friends.

Arriving at Chats du Quercy, Toby meets Oggie first, a golden brown dog. Oggie introduces him to Billy, a cat whose owners didn’t have the money to look after him. Billy tells Toby how the Chats du Quercy saved his life by adopting him and paying for his medical bills. But Billy wasn’t the only rescue. He tells Toby about the many other cats and kittens that were rescued by Lynn and Ron Stone. Toby was saddened to hear the stories, but very glad that Chats du Quercy exists.

Susan Keefe’s wonderful style of writing is both whimsical and charming. I immediately fell in love with Toby and her whole family. Not only does she spin a wonderful tale for younger children, but also educates them on important matters, like how to care for your furry friends. She explains, very gingerly, what happened to each cat/kitten and the stories are heart-breaking but wonderful all the same. Included in her book are photos of the most adorable cats and kitten that make you want to just pick them up and cuddle them.

Toby’s tails is a book I would recommend for both children, adults, and fellow furry friends who just want to support animal welfare in general. 

Where can you buy this book?

 

Who is Susan Keefe?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Crystal Dreams, a delicate fantasy romance by Tracy Millosovich




In today's spotlight Tracy Millosovich discusses her debut novel, Crystal Dreams, a heart-wrenching fantasy romance. 

What is your book about?

After a grieving King Thomas Johnson vows to bring his deceased queen Mifa Tara Rosa back from the dead with a human army, he heads to Earth to find her reincarnation. Bringing her back to his planet, Tartan, and sacrificing her was his plan. Falling in love with her was not. Being a magical creature being in love with a human girl, when humans are greedy and cruel, is completely forbidden. That and the war between humans and his planet is not over. When Crystal, the human woman, learns of his real plan to kill her to bring his deceased queen back, the treachery is too much. Will she choose to save his kingdom and his people or side with the humans, her own race, against him?

What inspired you to write this book?

The inspiration behind Crystal Dreams began in the friendship with a boy I used to go to elementary school with. His kindness, inspired by friendship we shared, sparked the start of this novel, and flamed the fire that kept the spirit of this novel alive for two decades.

Who is your favourite, and least favourite, character in the book?

My absolute favorite character is Mifa Tara Rosa, Queen of Tartan. Even though she looked like a weak, fragile woman in a crown, she held onto her beliefs that everyone deserved a second chance. That’s why her laws on criminals being imprisoned were so lenient. Yet, despite her gentleness, she could really kick butt in battle!
My least favorite character is Jason. He’s an all around jerk to everyone. He’s always picking on his brother, challenging his wife, Ana, and has a bad temper towards the main character Crystal Rose even though she’s done him no harm. I’d say he’s the one who matures most of all….OK. Maybe he doesn’t, but at least his temper gets better.

What draws you to this genre? Do you write in any other genre?

I’m a hopeless romantic at heart. I have always been so it was natural to gear my novel towards romance. I also grew up on reading action, and science fiction comic books so I drew off of my love for action based storylines the most.

Is this a standalone book, or can we expect more?

Crystal Dreams is the first book in a series of four books, and it ends in a surprising cliffhanger. It was so surprising that even I didn’t plan for book one to end like that! I guess my characters have other plans, and I just go along with it.

Tell me about you and what drew you to writing? Are there any authors who inspired you to become a writer yourself?

I’ve always been a creative person who excelled in the arts and writing. I’ve been writing since I could write my name as a child. Writing had been a way to escape my childhood, and it just happened that there were people who wanted to read what I wrote. I’ve always had good with writing words so being an author was a natural choice after loving reading, and collecting books. 

Other than your own book, what is your favourite novel? 

I’ve always been a fan of the William Shakespeare plays. Especially Romeo and Juliet. My middle school teacher taught us to read them, and I’ve been a fan ever since. 

Have you written other books we should know about?

Crystal Dreams is my debut as an author.



If you could advise aspiring writers on only one aspect of authordom, what would your advice be? 

No matter what, never stop writing. Whether you sell a million books or 10, keep writing, because someone somewhere out there needs your words. Never quit.

Where can we find your book?

Check out the new paperback books now available for $8! Contact Tracy Millosovich for your signed copy before she runs out of books!

Where can we find out more about you?

Come stalk Tracy Millosovich and find out what she’s up to!


EERIE, a powerful debut paranormal romance by C.M. McCoy







 

In today's Author Spotlight, I have the distinct pleasure of interviewing C.M. McCOY, author of EERIE. We discuss her powerful YA paranormal romance novel, which was published with Simon and Schuster, and repped by agent, Michelle L. Johnson of Inklings Literary Agency.











What is your book about?

First of all, THANK YOU for hosting an interview about my debut novel, Eerie.

Eerie was featured in a 3-page interview published in the 4 April 2016 issue of PEOPLE Magazine. The novel is a Young Adult (YA) Paranormal with Romance set in Alaska and featuring an 18-year-old Irish dancer from Pittsburgh who enrolls in a ParaScience University in Alaska.  




The best way to learn about the book is to watch the book trailer here

Hailey's dreams have always been, well...vivid. As in monsters from her nightmares follow her into her waking life vivid.

When her big sister goes missing, eighteen-year-old Hailey finds the only thing keeping her safe from a murderous 3,000-year-old beast is an equally terrifying creature who has fallen "madly" in love with her. Competing to win her affection, the Dream Creature, Asher, lures her to the one place that offers safety--a ParaScience university in Alaska he calls home. There, she studies the science of the supernatural and must learn to live with a roommate from Hell, survive her ParaScience classes, and hope the only creature who can save her from an evil immortal doesn't decide to kill her himself.

What inspired you to write this book?

The premise for EERIE came from my childhood fear of the dark and the stories I used to tell myself at bedtime about creatures that lived in the shadows—creatures that could be good or bad.
The real inspiration for Eerie happened when I moved to Alaska from Florida in 2008. I was …surprised. Culture shocked, really, and everything that I saw and heard and experienced became sort of magical. My imagination took flight, and I knew I wanted to write about paranormal creatures in The Great White North. So when I began to write a sort of love story between the creatures in the shadows and a lonely girl, I knew this ancient creature would have a home in Alaska with a mission to do something big. In a nutshell, that’s where Eerie originated.

Who is your favourite, and least favourite, character in the book?

Which is your favourite child?  Lol!  It’s just as hard for me to choose my favourite character, but I’ll give it a go. My favourite character to write was Fin, one of the heroes of Eerie, because he literally came out of nowhere with this huge personality, tragic history and give-a-shit attitude toward death. His one focus is always to be a better man. Sometimes he succeeds and sometimes he fails, but no matter what, he’d lay down his life (and more) to save Hailey. I just love him and all his flaws. 

My least favourite character in Eerie is Tage, the star quarterback and Hailey’s first date. He comes across as an operator in Book 1, and I really, really despise people who put on an all-American-do-no-wrong face. I wanted him to try to hard to convince Hailey that he was the trustworthy-with-a-secret hero, and I hope I succeeded after all the cuts during editing. Originally, he had an important part at the end of Eerie, which tied up his storyline, but which was trimmed prior to publishing. He has a far larger role and more dimensions in Book 2, and I think Eerie fans who chose a Team Asher or Team Fin will be rethinking Tage altogether. 




What draws you to this genre? Do you write in any other genre?

I love writing about monsters—either the normal or paranormal kind—and everything I write has a “big bad.” The other genre I write is YA Thriller, with the human brand of monster. Actually, I think those ones are the scariest. I’m currently editing 30 DAYS WITH DR. DEATH for submission via my agent, Michelle Johnson. 30 DAYS features a 17-year-old protagonist who helps her psychiatrist father run a POW-style rehab camp in Alaska. Her mission: return them sober or in a body bag. There’s mystery, suspense and a little romance of course.

Is this a standalone book, or can we expect more?

Eerie stands alone, but I will be writing at least 2 more in the series. 

Tell me about you and what drew you to writing? Are there any authors who inspired you to become a writer yourself?

I started writing short stories when I was in grade school—2nd grade, I think—so about 8 years old. I actually made a “writer’s journal” by ripping out some tablet paper and stapling it together…lol. The stories were maybe two sentences long back then, and I still have that little journal. Ultimately, what made me sit down and get serious about putting a story together was a culmination of life changes. I’d retired from the military (early due to injury), and I’d moved to Alaska. I’d been telling myself bedtime stories for years (since childhood, really) about creatures that lived in the shadows, creatures that could be good or evil. From that came a romance story, and when I moved to Alaska, a horde of Paranormal creatures took shape in my mind. I knew my shadow creature had a past (he’d been on Earth for 3,000 years) and I knew he had a goal—to get back home. He was crafty and professorly (yes, that’s a word) and after writing the first few chapters of Eerie, I realized what Asher (the creature) was and that he’d likely have established a University with a mission to pierce the veil between this world and the next. Since I loved the mystery and seclusion of Alaska, I knew his University would be in Alaska.

Other than your own book, what is your favourite novel?

It changes. Right now, my favourite is GREY by EL JAMES. I love the way she writes her characters, and I love the love story she created. (Plus, I got to meet her at RT in Vegas this year, where she hugged me. Total fan of hers—she’s a lovely person and so, so grateful for her fans)

Have you written other books we should know about? 

Eerie was my debut, and right now, it’s the only book available. I did write a memoir regarding a high-profile crime from 2007, which is out on submission to publisher’s now. Also in the pipeline is my YA Thriller, and I suspect that may be the next book to hit the press. I anticipate the sequel to Eerie to come out this fall.

If you could advise aspiring writers on only one aspect of authordom, what would your advice be?

Certainly this: Don’t ever quit. You have to keep writing and keep trying and it might be your 5th manuscript that becomes THE book that gets published. Find support from other authors and write on.

Where can we find your book?

B&N

Where can we find out more about you?

            Website 
Blog