Thursday, August 30, 2012

It's a Mad World Thursday Thirteen

Welcome back once again to Not Enough Time in the Day. Author Samaire Provost is sharing the first thirteen lines of her new book Mad World: Epidemic (Volume 1). In case you missed it, we put her under the spotlight on August 25th and learned about what inspires her to write. Click HERE and it will take you there if you want to learn about Samaire a bit before reading the first lines of her book. Go ahead. We'll wait...

Now let's take a look at Mad World: Epidemic. Leave a comment for Samaire and let her know what you think.


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      The Black Plague is ancient history. It killed 100 million people nearly seven centuries ago, halfway around the world from the technologically advanced research center at Stanford University. Scientists there have recently begun examining samples of bone marrow from plague-infected corpses unearthed in Europe. All the necessary safeguards are in place. What could go wrong?

      Alyssa and Jake are away with their class on a highly anticipated year-end trip to Broadway with their senior acting class when all hell breaks loose at home. Traveling back, and trying to find their families, they encounter deadly results. Riots are breaking out. People are being evacuated. And they have no idea what's happening to their families. 

      Horrific ordeals, heart-pounding tragedy, and chance encounters harden them for what lies ahead. Faced with tormenting decisions, they're forced to follow their instinct for survival at any cost - even when the cost is a heart-wrenching decision of life or death.

First Thirteen Lines

      Zombies. Who knew? No one. In early 2012, scientists at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, began to recreate the microbe that had caused the Black Death in 14th century Europe. They were successful. They awoke this deathly illness, and then it jumped to modern times, and they discovered some details not previously known. There was a reason those mass graves were so hastily dug, so quickly filled. There was a reason the sickness spread so quickly, a reason so many died. Stanford’s team couldn’t have known that the microbe’s virulence would be impossible to contain.

      But I jump ahead of myself. The Stanford scientists were in the middle of their experiments when my Advanced Acting class at Bullard High began planning our year-end senior trip to NYC. It was April of 2012, and six of us had been chosen to make the trip east. By the time we had flown across the country, seen our Broadway Play and toured the Big Apple, Stanford was already well on its way to dooming our country, and eventually, the entire world.

Intrigued? Well head on over to Amazon and pick up your very own copy and find out how the teens get through their very own zombie apocalypse. ~Tammy

Where to find more about Samaire

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Today's Spotlight is on...Zombies!

That's right. I said zombies. With all the talk over the Internet about a Zombie Apocalypse, have you ever wondered what if? Author Samaire Provost has and turned those thoughts into her new young adult novel Mad World: Epidemic (Volume 1).  I'm very excited to have her here today on Not Enough Time in the Day. Let's find out a little bit more about Samaire and the idea behind her new book.

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What inspires you to write?

My curiosity with the question “What if…?” in everyday life.  I get ideas from everywhere and for EPIDEMIC the idea came from an article I read last fall about scientists who had unearthed graves of the victims of the Black Plague. They were going to try to reawaken the bacteria Yersenia pestis, which causes Plague. And I thought, “well now, there’s a stupid thing to do, what if the infection escapes the lab?” …and BOOM!! There was my idea.  I get inspiration from everywhere!

I love when ideas like that pop up and just take off, having a mind of their own. For me, I end up being the "secretary" for my characters and just let them tell their story. Is that the same for you, or do you plot out every detail before you write?

I get an idea, and I think “what happens?” and as long as I have a scene or two in my head I write.  I have the general idea in my head of where it’s going, and I do write a general outline to help me along.  I guess you could say I write as if I’m going on a month long road trip.  I have a map with the general route laid out, but if something takes my fancy, I will not hesitate to take a detour to investigate “What happens next?” It makes everything very interesting!

Do your stories tend to be character driven or plot driven?
I get the idea for the plot and the characters are roughly outlines in my head, and then I begin writing and they speak to me.  They tell me what they’re like, what they are going to do in this scenario I’ve dropped them into, and then they grab my hand and run into the woods, pulling me along.

Do you listen to music while writing? 
Sometimes, but I mostly write in silence.  Although while writing EPIDEMIC I listened to Adam Lambert’s “Mad World” recording over and over.  That is where I got the series title.

Tell us about the different types of characters you like to write about? Why are these types so appealing to you?
I generally like to write about brave females, because I am brave.  I am the bravest person I know.  So I am my lead character.  I also like to write about ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

In what ways are your characters like you?
Each of my characters has a little of me in them.  I write in first person in EPIDEMIC and the lead character is mostly me, brave, and she doesn’t hesitate when something unpleasant has to be done.  But she has a heart, too.  She is all of us, at our best.

What are the recurring core issues in your stories?
EPIDEMIC is my first novel and the reoccurring theme in it is Survival in the encroaching Zombie Apocalypse.  It’s just starting.  How would you cope?  What would you do?  Alyssa and her friends are going through this.  They are everyteen.

What are your favorite fiction genres to read from?
I like odd stories.  Fantasy, YA, Paranormal, Dystopian, anything Odd.

What are your favorite non-fiction genres to read from?
I don’t really read nonfiction.  LOL!

Who are some of your favorite authors and why do you think they appeal so much to you?
Neil Gaiman is my favorite author.  He writes Odd stories.  I’ve learned a lot from reading his books.  Susan Cooper, Madeleine L’Engle, Stephen King.  King, now there’s a master of every day individuals in extraordinary circumstances.

Stephen King is by far one of my most favorite authors because as you said, he can take normal John or Jane Doe, put them in the most extraordinary circumstances and still manage to leave you begging for more. His characters are memorable and stick with you years after you've read their stories. What kinds of stories are your comfort reads when you are sick or feeling low?
The oldies but goodies. “The Dark Is Rising” series.  Pure comfort!

Who is your favorite all time heroine? 
Ripley from “Alien”

Why do they resonate so well with you?
Because she’s a survivor, and brave as heck.

Who is your favorite all time hero? 
Will Stanton from “The Dark Is Rising”

Why do they resonate so well with you?
Because at eleven years old he is trust in a life or death battle and he rises to the occasion.  He is also very brave, and wise.

Besides reading and writing, what activities do you enjoy in your leisure time?
I like to read, for hours a day.  And I like to garden.

What's your "day" job? Do you like it? Why/why not?
My day job is writing and I love it! Why? Because I am going for my dreams….finally!!  LOL!!

In one or two sentences, give the core premise behind your story.
What would you do if your whole world was turned upside down?   If your family was missing, and there was a terrible threat and you and your friends had to survive at any cost?

When and where does your book take place?
My book takes place in present day California.

How does the time and setting weave into the plot and persona of the characters?
They are high school students and they have to survive.  They are your average high school students, and they have to survive in their own town, but a town gone mad.

Who is your heroine and what drives her through the story?
Alyssa Gonzalez. At first she is determined to find her family.  Later, when thrust into life or death situations with her friends, the will to survive drives her as well.

What is she running away from (literally or figuratively)?
The zombies.

What obstacles will she encounter in this story?
The zombies.

What draws her to the hero in this story? 
She’s always liked Jacob.  Now he has noticed her. 

Who is the hero? 
Jacob Hill

What drives him?
The will to return home and survive, the need to protect his friends.

Alyssa has always liked Jacob, but besides having to help each other get away from the zombies, what attracts him to her now?
Her bravery.

What makes Jacob as your hero hot and lovable? What will draw the reader in and make them sympathetic to him?
His quiet strength and the help he gives his friends throughout this ordeal.

I see that this is the first book in a series. What is the overall theme of the Mad World series?

The theme is survival throughout the beginning of the zombie takeover of the world.
This story is the first installment.  I have two more planned.

Will these characters show up in the next installments and what is the title of the next one? 
Yes, these characters do show up again in the series and the next one I'm currently working on is part two Mad World: Sanctuary.

I've just purchased my own copy of your book for my Kindle and can't wait to dive into it. Thank you for joining us today, Samaire. I hope you visit with us again when Sanctuary is finished but until then, we'll look for you on August 30th for Thursday Thirteen. 

Where to find Samaire Provost

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bellvara's Sienna and Friends Chat with Author Jessica Slater

Once again I'm happy to welcome to my little corner of the world author Jessica Slater. Instead of me doing the interrogation...I mean interviewing, I decided to turn the blog over to Jessica so she can get a bit more background for our readers from the characters of her book Bellvara. So sit back, relax and let Sienna and her friends tell a bit of their story.~Tammy

What was going through your mind when your mother was kidnapped, Sienna?
I was beyond scared. I knew my mother and I never had a stable relationship but she was the only family I knew. I had to save her no matter what the cost. Everything happened so fast and I just couldn’t understand why someone would want to kidnap my mother. Why did they want her? It all made sense in the end though.

Riley, what were your thoughts when you first met Sienna?
I first met Sienna when I went to get some lunch at the pizza parlour. The first thing I noticed when I walked in the place was her. She was beautiful and in a way I felt drawn to her. The first time we talked to each other was the time right after she fell over and I caught her in my arms. I knew in that moment I had to get to know her.

Tamelia, what made you want to be a part of the adventure?
Everybody took me for a shy, weak girl and I wanted to prove to them that I was so much more. I could sense something was up with Sienna. We never talked before that day but I had a feeling something was going on. I felt she was in danger so I scried for her. Sure enough she was in danger. I thought to myself that she could use someone with my knowledge of the monsters and beasts in the forests as I knew she was heading there when I scried for her. So I did what I had never done before. I just walked up to her front door and I invited myself along on her adventure.  Of course she was hesitant at first, but once she realised I would give her a good advantage, she said I could tag along.

Ella, what does it mean to be a Varwin?
A Varwin is a beautiful, radiant creature in the form of a human. Even though we have the form of a human we are said to have way more beauty then the average person. A Varwin has certain types of powers (which will be explained more on our second adventure). We have the ability to turn invisible when we sense evil. We are flexible and can jump very high and we also have very good balance. But the biggest power we have is making time standstill. This power is a rare one and hard to use as it takes away so much energy and power. To be able to pull it of you’d have to be a strong Varwin and of course you’d have to know what you were doing because if one thing goes wrong, one step, you could die. I am proud to be a Varwin and hopefully one day I’ll have the guts and strength to try bringing time to a standstill…we’ll see.

Eric, what made you follow the others into the forests?
When I spoke to Sienna I knew something was up. She is bad at keeping any kind of secret. Even though things between Ella and me weren’t going so well, I knew if they were in danger I would never forgive myself if something were to happen. So I followed them and when the time came I revealed myself.

What was going through your mind when you found out who your father was, Sienna?
There was so much going through my mind. I couldn’t believe who he was. How I came to find out about him was an even bigger shock. My feelings were scattered and all over the place but now I’m glad I finally know. The question of who he was no longer haunts me.

What was it like to see the beasts you learnt about your whole life, Tamelia?
It was definitely scary. I have never been a powerful witch. I’ve always been book smart but never good at the practical side. My father taught me all about Bellvara’s beasts and how they are very similar yet different from some of Earth’s creatures. I had been learning about them my whole life so to see them up close was definitely horrifying because I knew everything they could do. However, once I got over the initial shock of it I swept right into action, helping my friends bring them down. 

Eric, what was going through your mind when you found out what Ella did to you?
I never expected her to do such a thing to me especially since we had been together for such a long time. But she did, and I can’t change that. I’ll always remember it and of course it will always hurt but I had to move past it.

Sienna, what was it like going through the experiences of your dreams? 
I didn’t know what was going on when I was having weird dreams. I didn’t know where I was or who I kept seeing but every time I went further into a dream, I would learn a little something new. Eventually, it got easier to deal with and I started to look forward to my dreams. 

In your opinion, what was the scariest moment of the adventure, Ella?
The scariest part was definitely when our adventure was nearing an end. None of us knew what to expect, and we knew the worst was yet to come. It was very scary not knowing what we were walking into. When we came face to face with the evil that kidnapped Sienna’s mother, we knew everything we went through before that moment was a piece of cake. Nothing could have prepared us for everything that happened, but we took it each step at a time and basically just winged it and hoped we’d get out alive. 

Intriguing. Sienna and her friends gave just enough information to make me want to find out more. I've got my copy of Bellvara. Do you? Well, what are you waiting for? Click on the link and get yours today!

Want to connect with Jessica?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturday Spotlight is on new author Jessica Slater

Welcome once again to Not Enough Time in the Day and our Saturday Spotlight. I'm excited to introduce you to a new author from Australia, Jessica Slater. She's just released her very first book Bellvara. It's a fantasy/paranormal novel about Sienna, a 16 year old girl searching for her kidnapped mother. The girl is only half human, with the other half that of a witch. With the help of her light Elf boyfriend and three other friends, Sienna must travel deep into the forests of Bellvara, uncovering more of her own past in order to find out who kidnapped her mother.  

Let's find out a bit more about Jessica and her writing, shall we?

What inspires you to write?
I think what inspires me to write is a lot of different things. My mother is a big inspiration for me as she writes books as well and her writing, as modest as she is, astounds me. My past is also a big thing that inspires me. I had a pretty bad past and I always thought it helped to write poems but then the poems turned into books as I got older.

Are you a plotter or panster or a little of both?
I am definitely a bit of both. I do plan every detail of what I want to write and what I want my chapters to entail but sometimes the characters take over and want to change things.

Do your stories tend to be character driven or plot driven?
All my stories are driven in different ways. For Bellvara I believe it is more plot driven then anything.

Do you listen to music while writing? What kinds of music work best for you? Do different types of music help you for different types of scenes?
I am usually one of those people who can’t listen to anything while I write or read. If I do I tend to read sentences over and over until I get frustrated. However, on the rare occasion I can listen to music while writing and I tend to listen to Megan Nicole (a youtube artist), Christina Grimmie (another youtube artist) and Taylor Swift (who I have just recently started loving). 

Tell us about the different types of characters you like to write about? Why are these types so appealing to you?
Well in Bellvara, I've made Sienna (the main character) a strong 16 yr old who still loves being rescued on the odd occasion. She has more strength and power than any of the other characters' but she loves being cared for also. This appeals to me because I believe I am somewhat like this. I have so much strength from my past that I am an independent type of person' but I also love having caring people in my life who are always there for me.  

In what ways are your characters like you? In what ways are your characters not like you?
I actually didn’t think about it until presented with these questions, but Sienna is a lot like me' and I believe her trying to find her mother is kind of me trying to find the relationship with my mother that I lacked when I was in school. Don’t get me wrong me and my mum are close and I love her to death' but I think my relationship with her now is a whole lot better than when I was younger. 

What are the recurring core issues in your stories? Why do you think you are drawn to these types of characters/plots again and again?
I always tend to write about romance and family. I believe I am drawn to these types of stories because it is what is most important to me and due to my past experiences I have learnt family is the most important thing. Romance comes a very close second.

What are your favorite fiction genres to read from?
The genre that I read the most is definitely Fantasy. Other than that I like Horror, Mystery, Romance, Historical Fiction and Young Adult novels.

What are your favorite non-fiction genres to read from?
I don’t read a lot of non-fiction books but when I do it is mostly history books. I am a sucker for modern history, learning about the wars, the great depression and other stuff like that just excites me. I am actually at university majoring in Modern History.

Who are some of your favorite authors and why do you think they appeal so much to you? 
I am a crazy fan of Richelle Mead, she is my favourite author, and I’d do anything to meet her. I also love Lauren Kate, Cate Tiernan, Kim Wilkins, Jessica Sorensen (who is a fellow self-published author) and Julie Kagawa. I think they appeal to me because there books are so different from any other. Sure they have witches and vampires and stuff like that but their storylines are just so captivating and different. 

What kinds of stories are your comfort reads when you are sick or feeling low?

Definitely something like Richelle Mead’s ‘Vampire Academy’ books or even Cate Tiernan’s ‘Wicca’ Series (that I have read about 10 times).

Who is your favorite all time heroine? Why do they resonate so well with you?
My favourite heroine would have to be Rose in Richelle Mead’s ‘Vampire Academy’ books. She is such a strong character and always cares for others above herself. I think of myself as this kind of person, I always prefer to put others above myself.

Who is your favorite all time hero? Why do they resonate so well with you?
Probably a silly one but definitely Batman. I love the fact that he is just a man. He has no super powers or anything special like that, he just uses his riches to pay for all these different things so he can go out and save Gothem without anyone knowing who he is, which shows he is a man who wants to protect his home and doesn’t care if he gets the credit for it or not. I believe that kind of person is a true hero.

Who inspires you and why? (loved ones, friends, authors, public figures, historical figures, actors, teachers etc)
There are many people who inspire me all the time. My mum is a big inspiration to me with all her fantastic writing, Kim Faulks is also inspirational as she helped me get my book out there and helped me self-publish it. Richelle Mead, Lauren Kate and Cate Tiernan are all a big inspiration to me. I read their books and want my books to be just as good. Another person who is a big inspiration is my modern history teacher from last year. She always knew I had it in me to succeed and she kept pushing me. The biggest inspiration of all though is definitely my boyfriend, Luke Fuller, without him I woud never have finished ‘Bellvara’ and I never would have written Life Shifted.

What inspires you and why? (Art, poetry, music, movie, book, etc. Please share something specific if you like.)
Music is a big one. I love listening to different music and getting lost in the songs. I definitely get inspiration from books and movies as well. Richelle Mead and Cate Tiernan’s books helped me write Bellvara. They inspired me to write that kind of genre.

Besides reading and writing, what activities do you enjoy in your leisure time? 
What’s your day job? Do you like it? Why or why not? How has your job affected your personal development? How has it affected your writing life?

My biggest enjoyment is modern history. Every time I read something new about history I get excited. I am in university at the moment majoring in Modern History and English and also studying to get my teaching degree as I want to be a high school teacher. I don’t have a job at this time in my life as I have made university my top priority and am studying fulltime. History has definitely helped me with my writing as well.

In one or two sentences, give the core premise behind your story.
Bellvara is a story about family dramas and what a person is willing to do with the right motivation to save the people they love. 

When and where does your book take place?
My book takes place in a completely different world. The world is a magical place called ‘Bellvara’ and although Earth does come into the book, Bellvara is the main world. My book is most definitely in the present time.

How does the time and setting weave into the plot and persona of the characters?
Well Bellvara is a magical place and all of its inhabitants are magical in one way or another. Magic plays a big role in this storyline and I try to give it a more modern setting.

Who is the heroine?
The heroine is a strong and determined half witch named Sienna who will stop at nothing to ensure the people around her are safe. She sometimes has a playful side but most of the time she is serious and ready for anything.

What drives her?
What drives her the most is her never knowing who her dad is and her mother getting kidnapped. Sienna drops her life to try to find and save her mother. Although they didn’t have the best relationship, she would do anything to protect the only family she knows.

What is she running away from (literally or figuratively)?
I guess in a sense she is running further and further away from her past. From the bad relationship she had with her mother mostly.

What obstacles will she encounter in this story?
This story has a crazy amount of obstacles that Sienna and her friends (who accompany her) have to get past in order to save her mother. They must go deep into the forests of Bellvara which is crawling with all sorts of terrifying beasts. Another big obstacle for Sienna is the dreams she has throughout the book, figuring out what they mean and who is in them.

What draws her to the hero in this story? What gives her that push away from him?
Sienna is the heroine in this book but she is drawn to a good looking light elf named Riley who does save her in some circumstances.

What does she need to learn to make the happy ending possible?
She needs to learn how important family really is and that no matter what family comes first.

What about her will make readers sympathetic to her?
Probably the fact that she never knew her dad. That is emotional for her because she always wonders who he is and what he is doing. And the fact that she has an estranged relationship with her mother makes it worse. 

Is there a villain? Who is he? What’s he like? Why is he/she the way they are? What motivates him/her to cause oppositional force to the characters?
Without giving any spoilers, can you give a hint as to what sort of opposition he/she gives to the main characters? In my book there are actually two villains. I can’t really say too much without giving it all away but these two people play a big part in her life. There reasons for kidnapping her mother come at the end of the book so I can’t really say anything. 

What is the theme at the heart of your story?
The theme of my story is finding out what it truly means to be a family.

What message do you hope readers take away from this story?
The main message I want readers to take away from this is that even if you don’t have a strong relationship with your family they are the most important people in your life and would do anything for you.

Is this book a part of a series?
This book is a part of a 3 book series. The second book in the Bellvara series is still in Sienna’s point of view but focuses on Riley a lot and his past. I have never released the name so here it is for the first time: Snake of the Elves.

What are you working on now?

I am working on the second book in the Bellvara series at the moment and also a completely separate book. It is set in Roman times and it is called ‘Last Touch’. I have also just finished my second book called ‘Life Shifted’ which is loosely based on my experiences with my boyfriend and our past.

What’s coming soon?
In around 2-3 weeks I will be releasing ‘Life Shifted’. ‘Last Touch’ will probably come next year some time as will the second book in the Bellvara series.

Thank you so much Jessica for joining us today. I hope you stop in again soon to share more of your work. ~Tammy

Where to find Bellvara

Where to find Jessica Slater

Wildfire Romance Series