Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Little Red Gem" by D. L. Richardson

Little Red Gem
by D. L. Richardson

Little Red Gem is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and a giveaway. You can also read an excerpt and my review. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Love can make you do crazy things as Ruby Parker discovers when she dies and returns from the grave to unearth how much Leo Culver loved her. With the aid of bad advice from a ghost who is trapped by a curse, a little bit of magic courtesy of her unsuspecting half-sister, and a televised music talent show coming to town to hold auditions, Ruby Parker makes more of a mess in death than she ever did in life. Can she fix everything before it’s too late? Or will she spend eternity as a ghost, haunted by the unknown depths of love? Either way, one thing Ruby learns is that while love can make you do crazy things, it can make you do amazing things too. But at what cost?

Book Video

“I’d know if I was dead.”
While I watched my two best friends walk with arms around each other for emotional support, I wrestled with accepting Audrey’s version of the story. To do so meant I was dead. And dead meant I would never again speak with Leo. And there were so many words left unsaid, so much business left unfinished.
The final nail in my coffin came when a customer walked out and Audrey pushed me directly in front of the customer’s path. Instead of bumping into him, I fell through him, landing on my hands and knees. My skin tingled with pins and needles from where the body had passed through me. A loud noise filled my ears, similar to water flowing from a dam. For a split second my vision blurred. Then I watched in absolute horror as my hands and legs split into millions of tiny fragments.
Audrey might have been capable of delving into her mother’s magic bag to produce this neat trick, but I wasn’t.
I crawled into the gutter because it seemed the most suitable place for a reluctant spirit to bawl her eyes out. Audrey was kind enough to sit beside me with her hand resting on my shoulder; although we were both apparitions the contact still registered. I forgot about being angry with her and welcomed her company.
“Okay, I’ll admit this has been a rather extraordinary morning so you may be right.” I sniffed back the tears and turned to face her. “How did I die?”
“Your car slid down an embankment. You weren’t wearing a seat belt. Leo dragged you out of the car but it was too late.”
I jumped up. “Leo!”

Praise for the Book
"...The storyline flowed well and the characters were well developed. I would recommend this to anyone who likes YA paranormal stories..." ~ Amazon review
"SLAM, and Ruby is dead! Who knew a simple fight could end someone's life forever? Well, Ruby soon finds out that it indeed could... This was a marvelous book. When I read this book it made me realize how a fight could mess up your entire life..." ~ Lit Pick Reviews
"Older readers too will find this a quick and easy book to get into, with not only the paranormal aspects of the novel, but a great link to music within the story, and more particularly the role lyrics can play in telling a story..." ~ Radar News
"This book was the perfect mixture of real-life teenage angst and romance combined with the paranormal side of ghosts and possessions..." ~ Goodreads review
"...At first I thought that this book would be more like a fairy tale. However it was so much more. It had time travel, ghosts, curses, family life and most of all love. I would say that the main theme of this book is following your heart, rather than letting your life be ruled by a sense of duty. I also want to mention that the author is a very good writer..." ~ Deal Sharing Aunt
"...What I ended up loving about Little Red Gem is that it's a classic example of a teen freaking out and doing all the wrong things in trying to resolve her issues, except the adults surrounding her weren't portrayed as neglectful parents, awful teachers, or otherwise bad influences. That kind of trope is something I love if it's written by the right person (like Lemony Snicket), but not so much in general when it comes to YA..." ~ Geekory Do
"...A lovely paranormal romance with an ending that will make you smile as you definitely do not see the opportunity she has coming!..." ~ TiffyFit
"LOVE THIS!!! When I first read about this book, it sounded similar to a series I just read. This book however, had much more love and wonder that I loved reading. When I read it, I was like how sad is it to die and not know how much that one guy loved you. When she came back to find out and got the truth I was so happy for Ruby, even if it wasn't the easiest thing. Love is AMAZING, for anyone who finds it and knows just who you want to spend forever with..." ~ Lovely Reads

My Review
Ruby Parker dies in a car crash after having a fight with her boyfriend, Leo, but she doesn't realize she's dead until she encounters her half-sister Audrey, who is able to communicate with her. With a bit of help from Audrey and a couple of cursed ghosts, Ruby sets out on a mission to find out if Leo really loved her.
This is a complex narrative full of interesting characters and back stories. Music, fantasy, and romance combine to create a magical story of young love. The author's musical background and talent shine through in the song lyrics, which are particularly poignant.
This is a sad, heart-wrenching book that will end up putting a smile on your face.
I really enjoyed this one.

Interview With the Author
Hi Debbie, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Little Red Gem.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
I’d recommend this from readers aged 13 right up to adults, both male and female. Yes, even though it’s classified a paranormal romance, males have thoroughly enjoyed Little Red Gem. It’s basically a love story about a girl who has to know how much her boyfriend loved her. Doubt is one of those emotions everyone in love experiences and is driven crazy by.
What sparked the idea for this book?
It was a seed of an idea from ten years before that I brainstormed until I came up with what it is today. I can’t even remember where the original idea came from. I have a drawer full of ideas. I write them down and often look over them and say to myself, “ooh, I like that idea”, or “what was I thinking?”. Little Red Gem is a blend of the original idea of two girls who, on the cusp of death, end up swapping souls, with lots of new ideas like music and ghosts.
So which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
Usually for me the story idea always comes first, though not always. With Little Red Gem it was the story idea that came first. My characters tend to come alive during the writing process and sometimes they won’t budge their personalities no matter how hard I push. And in some ways with Little Red Gem the characters came first. I always wanted the two main characters to be named Ruby and Audrey. I didn’t quite know their profile at the time, but I knew they existed.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The hardest part to write about Little Red Gem was the ending. I didn’t want Ruby to have gone through everything she did without coming out of it a stronger person. But I also wanted a happy ending, after all it is a love story. I decide to go with my gut instinct and give her the “I Am Woman Hear Me Roar” ending.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope that young readers especially will learn the importance of loving yourself and being happy with who you are and not focusing on changing yourself too much for anyone else. Yet I also hope they learn that it’s completely okay to do stupid things for love because we all do them.
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me a year from start to completion to write Little Red Gem. I’m getting faster at novel writing and I can get one completed in five months. It takes discipline and practice to get to that stage. And there’s a certain level of business acumen that needs to be applied. Use the head for the first draft and the heart for editing is usually the approach I take.
What is your writing routine?
I write every day, even if it is a blog post or an interview or a synopsis. When I start writing a novel I will break it down into sections and write each section as I go, without focusing on editing. I do what I call “building the work bank account”. It’s much easier to edit when you have words on a page. In fact you can only edit once you have words on a page. So I get the first draft completed, and then I do a few editing rounds, then a final read through. Then the book is usually given to someone to read to look for any giant holes I may have missed.
How did you get your book published?
For Little Red Gem, I went down the self-publishing road. Not that I didn’t want a publisher to publish it. But I wrote this book at a time when editors were fatigued from paranormal romance. It was simply a case of wrong book at the wrong time. I suspected publishers were after contemporary fiction, and when I was talking to a friend of mine she said that I couldn’t change what I write, and she was right. I couldn’t make this book anything other than what it is. So I decided to self-publish it. I could not have done it myself had I not had two early works published and gained the experience of editing and writing blurbs and cover design.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Firstly, even though it’s taken years to get that first draft written, never submit your first draft. Secondly, keep writing. This advice is what you’ll hear from the major publishers and it’s what I hear too. Sometimes a rejection is a case of wrong book at the wrong time. Nothing personal about it. As was the case with Little Red Gem.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to read, or renovate my house or do gardening. I also enjoy playing the piano and the guitar. I love walking my dog and the walks we do often take us close to the beach. I also love watching my Supernatural or Star Trek DVDs. I’m a real home body, the walks I do are close to home, everything I do is close to home. I feel grounded when I’m at home.
What does your family think of your writing?
They are very proud of my writing, and they are my biggest fans. I have family in Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, and I’ve connected with them through my writing in a way I never would have.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up in the suburbs in a crowded house. At one stage in our house there were five kids, two parents, three dogs, a cat, a bird, and three mice. We had no money growing up but it wasn’t like it is now with the pressures of having to have iPods or iPhones and laptops or DVD players or video games. We had to wait for Christmas and birthdays to get something nice. But we got on with the business of being a kid which usually meant we were creative and invented games to play. Every Sunday was roast night. We’d share one roasted chicken and baked potatoes between the seven of us. I enjoyed school and was a good student. School was a great way for me to express my creativity through music class and art class. I also hung out with friends all the time, doing nothing but it was as if we were doing everything.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Loved reading, though I wasn’t a bookish child every day. Some days I was more of a catch up with friends child. But I often curled up with a book on days when nothing was happening and read from cover to cover nonstop. I borrowed lots of books from the library too, and on rainy days at school you’d find me curled up in a beanbag reading a book ignoring the boys who acted like monkeys.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It wasn’t until I was about 21 that I realized I wanted to be a writer. I began with short stories. I had no idea what to do about achieving this dream and it took a long time to figure it out. My personality, though, is the type who appreciates the journey more than the destination, so to take the long way to where I am now, while frustrating, is also immensely satisfying.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
I find that I have to leave much of my childhood experiences out of my YA novels because things are very different than they were when I was growing up. I’d only be able to put myself into my novels if I was writing a retro 70s YA story. There are some aspects - for example much of what is in Little Red Gem around the live music performance and the rehearsal studios - that are directly from my own experiences.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Dean Koontz and Stephen King were big influences. When I decided I wanted to be a writer, it was specially a writer of novels. And these guys were pumping them out. That’s what I decided I wanted to do. Be a prolific writer. And I’m on my way. It’s a great tool for writing to know that I have to get it finished if I want to get stuck into the next book. It stops me getting too caught up with a book that it never gets finished.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do hear from readers, and I’m always honored that they take the time to contact me. Usually it’s to say that they read one of my novels and it’s now their favorite or that they loved a book and couldn’t put it down. Having a reader contact you to say they’re looking forward to reading more of you work makes writing seven days a week for little money worthwhile. It definitely gives me that boost that I need to keep going. Sometimes I hear from readers letting me know that if I’m ever in the area that I’m welcome to go visit their child’s school. I’ve visited a few schools and totally enjoyed the experience.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m currently working on a series of books based on virtual games that go wrong and trap players. It features adult characters this time, and I have four books planned. Book One is finished and with a publisher, and I’m halfway through writing Book Two. Then, after that series is finished, I have to get stuck back into the dystopian novel I was writing at the time. Then I want to write follow up stores of the YA novels currently published. The list is endless and I just don’t stop getting ideas for novels. It’s crazy but I love it.
Fantastic! Thank you for taking the time to stop by today. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Music first captured the creative interest of young adult author D. L. Richardson. From choir, to her first acoustic guitar at age ten, to singing with the school band and performing in school musicals. When she left school she helped form her own rock band where she sang lead vocals, played bass guitar, and wrote all the lyrics. At age 26 she sold her equipment and focused on writing instead. She now has three novels and one short story anthology published.
Little Red Gem is a tribute to her former life as a musician and contains some of the author’s actual experiences, though she has never entered a national singing competition to capture the attention of the boy she loves. It is also a tribute to those brave young women who charge forward in pursuit of their dreams.
She lives in Australia on the NSW South Coast with her husband and dog. When she's not writing or reading she can be found playing her piano or guitars, renovating the house, or walking her dog.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win some great prizes. Prizes will be awarded at each tour stop, so follow the tour and leave a comment at each stop to increase your chances of winning. Please note that at this tour stop you MUST use the Giveaway Tool below to record your entry, otherwise your comment will not count.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"Dark Prophecy" by Ann Gimpel

Dark Prophecy
(Soul Storm Book 1)
by Ann Gimpel

Dark Prophecy is the first book in Ann Gimpel's new Soul Storm series. Also available: Dark Pursuit.

Dark Prophecy is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

More books by this author: Witch's Bounty (read my blog post) and Witch's Bane (read my blog post), and Witch's Rule (read my blog post).

When the dream world spills its murky contents, everyone’s worst nightmares run free.
Dr. Lara McInnis reads auras and flirts with an elusive ability to foretell the future. Ambivalent about the magic within her, she’s done a fine job ignoring other aspects of her power - until now. After several patients - and a student or two - describe the same cataclysmic dream, she uncovers ancient evil intent on draining her power. Lara knows next to nothing about her psychic side, but it will destroy her if she can’t come to terms with it.
Trevor Denoble has secrets, but he shields them well with a stunning body and a boatload of British charm. The airline he works for folds because there’s no fuel for the planes, and Lara’s changing into someone he barely recognizes. Though he doesn’t know it yet, the rest of his carefully crafted life is about to come crashing down too. 
Living in a world teetering on the edge of anarchy, Trevor and Lara are faced with a series of painful decisions. Is the love between them enough for Trevor to swallow his distrust of Lara’s burgeoning paranormal ability? Will their personal demons tear them apart in a world gone mad, as shortages of everything from electricity to food escalate?

Book Video

Hours later, Lara let herself out of her office, reached back in to activate the alarm, and then locked the door behind her. Arabel had gone home at six. Normally her receptionist left a note if there was something she needed to communicate. Tonight there hadn’t been any notes because there weren’t any patients she needed to call. But there had been a few zucchinis from Arabel’s lovingly-tended garden. Lara was grateful, both for the organic produce and for the lack of patient-related affairs to attend to. She was tired and hoped nobody had a crisis that evening.
She double-checked the pager that lived clipped to her belt. As she moved away from the front door of her building, she stumbled. The outside light was out - when had that happened? - and it was very dark in the shadows of the cavernous front porch. She made a grab for the railing to steady herself and took a tentative step toward the street.
“Stop right there,” a familiar harsh voice boomed from behind her.
“Mr. Beauchamp. That is you, isn’t it?” Alarm ricocheted through her, but she knew intuitively it was important to hide her fear. “What do you want?” Though she aimed for nonchalance, her voice sounded thin and shaky. Is it Ken? Aw, Jesus, who else could it be? She closed her eyes, gathering data from an unseen realm she knew well. Once her energies were focused, she discerned his twisted energy field throbbing against the darkness. Better the devil you know flashed through her mind. Not necessarily came close on its heels, as she realized, with a sinking feeling, that Ken Beauchamp really was dangerous. She’d known it the first time he walked into her office, but drawn in by his wife’s soft helplessness, she’d ignored her concerns, compassion overriding common sense.
“I want to talk. No, don’t turn around.” The man’s voice held menace as it sliced into her tumbling thoughts.
“What do you want to talk about, Mr. Beauchamp?” With effort, she kept her voice steady. “Surely whatever it is can wait until tomorrow. You really do need to call my office and make an appointment.” There, that seems like about the right amount of bravado.
“What did you tell my wife today? When you were in the bathroom. You’d better tell me the truth.”
“Are you threatening me? Because if you are, I’ll call the cops and have you thrown off my property.” Anger was rapidly displacing her fear - or at least coexisting with it. She reached a hand into her bag in search of her phone.
“That wouldn’t be smart, Doc, not very smart at all. Take your hand out of that purse.”
Ken Beauchamp’s voice was mild, but an ominous undertone chilled her. Sweat gathered in her armpits and dripped down her sides. Think! she commanded herself. There’s got to be a way out of this.
“Well, Doctor?” Ken’s voice oozed sarcasm, with undercurrents of something darker and far more primal. “I asked you a simple question. Answer it and we can both go home.”
What was he doing? Lara dug deeper with her hyper-honed senses. His breathing seemed … uneven. Was he getting off by intimidating her?
Something clicked ominously. The snick of a gun’s safety mechanism? What else could that cold metallic snapping sound possibly be? Fighting fear that threatened to paralyze her, Lara asked, “How’s Bethany, Mr. Beauchamp? She’s all right isn’t she?” Despite her concerns for herself, Lara was suddenly frantic about Bethany.
“That’s none of your business anymore. We won’t be back. I just want to know what you told her today.”
“Why is that important to you?”
“I ask the questions around here.” Yes, Lara thought as she listened intently, he was practically panting. Oh shit, this guy’s a pervert on top of all his other less-than-stellar attributes. She flirted with flying down the porch steps and trying to outrun him, except she had dress shoes on and her heavy shoulder bag. What if he really did have a gun? She hadn’t heard the metal click again.
A car pulled to the curb in front of her building and she started, heart beating like a mad thing. Christ, is it one of his henchmen come to help out? Practically moaning aloud, she wondered what Ken Beauchamp had in mind for her …

Praise for the Book
"I totally fell in love with the characters and their story. It's a touch dark, and triggers some deep thinking... but in a wonderfully good way. This storyline mixes real world issues, like how human greed and industriousness is leeching our planet of its resources with magic and the paranormal. It's a perfect blend." ~ Missie Kurr
"All in all this is another terrific story from Ann Gimpel and one I don’t think you will want to miss out on!" ~ Cherri-Anne Boitson
"You need to pick up Dark Prophecy, I guarantee you will not be disappointed." ~ Holli
"One of the things I like about all of Ann Gimpel’s books is the different slants and mythos she brings to her stories and characters, and Dark Prophesy is no different. This dark, pre-apocalyptic fantasy is filled with gritty realism even with the presence of the Sidhe Fae. [...] The secondary Sidhe characters are very interesting, and I hope we get to see much more of them in the future books. Note the story does continue in future books in the series, but it does not end in a cliffhanger. I think readers of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic as well as fantasy will like this story." ~ Wild About Bones
"As always I wanted more; Ann’s books are never long enough for me. Loved this book. Can’t wait for the next one. Hurry, please." ~ Sierra Bird

About the Author
Ann Gimpel is a national bestselling author. She’s also a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent. Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. She’s published over 20 books to date, with several more contracted for 2015 and beyond.
A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.