Friday, May 4, 2018

The Love at the Edge of Seventeen Authors Talk About Their Characters

LOVE AT THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN
A YA ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY
Stars and Stone Books
Featuring: M.T. DeSantis, A.E. Hayes, Serena Jayne, Cara McKinnon, Mary Rogers, and Kylie Weisenborn.

OUT TODAY!
-Kindle
-iBooks
-Nook
-Kobo
-Google Play

Q&A
For our blog tour, we asked our authors to talk about their characters. Did they have a favorite? A least favorite? How did they pick the names? Was it hard or fun?

M.T. DeSantis, “Be Null, My Heart”
Jaqi, Emma’s best friend, is my favorite. She’s the confident person I wish I’d been in high school, and she’s not afraid to call people “bat dung,” instead of something with more curses in it. Claire, the popular girl, is my least favorite. Yes, I know, disliking the popular girl who treats the main character like crap, how original. But I wrote her to be unlikable. So, I did a good job, at least from my perspective.
As for my character’s actual names, I just picked names I like. Emma’s parents and uncle, though, have superhero names, too. Those were a lot of fun.
-Styrene (Emma’s dad – manipulates plastic) – I actually took this name straight from the plastics world (thanks, Google). Basically, I searched for types of plastic, read a list on Wikipedia, and liked Polystyrene, minus the poly. I also learned about thermoplastics, if Wikipedia is accurate on the subject. If you liked high school chemistry but don’t remember much of it, check it out. It’s cool. •
-Belvedere (Emma’s mom, heightened senses) – She’s essentially the watchdog of the group. Belvedere is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “a summer house or open-sided gallery, typically at rooftop level, commanding a fine view.” I kind of see her as the one standing on a rooftop and keeping an eye out. Also, the word belvedere sounds badass. •
-Remberandt (Emma’s uncle, memory manipulation) This one was the most fun. Emma’s uncle has the ability to manipulate memories, hence the “rember” part of this name. When I was writing, I thought about how the word “remember” would combine nicely with Rembrandt, the artist. Thus, Remberandt was born—the memory manipulating crime fighter who likes to spew random art facts at people.

A.E. Hayes, “Her First Fever”
I love Madeline – she is strong and independent, and she doesn’t rely on a boy to help her fulfill her dreams. She can be her own person without needing to date, but she can still open up to love. However, I identify with Johnny’s rough exterior and smart-ass banter, even if he is not always likeable. But “not always likeable” doesn’t equal “least favorite” to me. I don’t think I have a least favorite, to be honest: everyone in this story serves a purpose, and no one is specifically awful as a human being.
Since “Her First Fever” is such a personal story for me, I used two names I know very well, as they are… well, the easiest way to explain it is that Madeline and Johnny are friends and protectors for me, and they serve the same purpose for and to one another in the story. My memoir, Shattered: Memoirs of an Amnesiac as well as my follow-up collection of essays, Villain: The Voices of Shattered reveal a bit more about who Madeline and Johnny really are in real life.

Serena Jayne, “Dead Man’s Party”
Xander’s parents are my least favorite characters, because they put their dreams ahead of their son’s. Shay and Xander are my favorites. I love that their relationship evolves from a strong friendship.
Xander’s first name was inspired by the character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His last name was chosen to show his Russian roots. Shay’s name fit with her character, especially paired with her last name, Sinclair. Sometimes I change the names of characters during the course of writing, but Xander and Shay’s names stuck.

Cara McKinnon, “Three Jagged Pieces”
I don’t have favorites. All three of my protagonists are special to me in different ways. But least favorite would be Sam’s parents. There’s nothing I hate more in this world than people who use love as a weapon for control, guilt, and shame.
Character names either come to me in a fit of genius or are like pulling teeth. There’s no in-between. Noah and Sam were easy to name. Ava was much harder. I spent probably two or three hours going over popular baby names from 2000 until I settled on Ava.

Mary Rogers, “The Crayon Thief”
My favorite is Randall! By far, Randy. I mean, when you’re writing a romance hero, you want to fall a little in love with him yourself, don’t you? Randy has all the requisite romance hero traits, but he’s also someone who is sensitive, and kind. Not afraid of people who are not like him.
I was on the phone with my friend Susan when I was thinking of a name for my character who became—wait for it—Susan. Yeah, I’m brilliant like that. Randall came from an article I read that morning, and Tessa is just a fun name. Cindy came from another article, and Mueller—well, you may have heard that name recently.

Kylie Weisenborn, “Now I Am”
Well it’s pretty easy since I only have two characters – Annalyn is my favorite. And she was actually much weirder and heavily accented in my first draft, so you’ll see I toned her down a bit.
There’s not too much method to my madness when it comes to naming characters, I pick mostly based on how they sound out loud and how easily readable they are. I changed Carter’s name a bunch of times (he was Gavin for a long time), but Annalyn’s was pretty easy for me to decide on.

It's never easy to go through the fraught transition into adulthood, but the teens in this anthology have more to deal with than most: super powers, magic, illness, and prejudice against sexual orientation and gender identity. Fortunately, they all find love at the edge of seventeen.

M.T. DeSantis – “Be Null, My Heart” Teen love…with superpowers.

A.E. Hayes – “Her First Fever” Can a smart, stubborn girl look past the things she desires the most in life to help out her annoying, enigmatic biology partner – even if helping him comes with an emotional price?

Serena Jayne – “Dead Man’s Party” Despite formidable evidence to the contrary, Xander was magic.

Cara McKinnon – “Three Jagged Pieces” Boy meets girl meets boy.

Mary Rogers – “The Crayon Thief” The last time they talked, he stole her crayon. Now he wants to take her on a date. But why?

Kylie Weisenborn – “Now I Am” Annalyn is dead…so what is she waiting for?

~CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR AUTHORS

~Add LOVE AT THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN on Goodreads

~Follow Stars and Stone Books on Twitter

~And check out the anthology website

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: Between Venus and Mars

Title: Between Venus and Mars
Author: S.C. Mitchell

Book Riot Challenge Category: one-sitting book

I signed up to review this book for a virtual tour with Goddess Fish promotions over on my book blog. As it turns out, my boyfriend decided to put modular shelving in our closet the other night, and I had some free time. I figured I’d start this book while he worked and finish later. Either the shelving took him a really long time, or I flew through this. Whatever the case, it was done in one sitting.

I’ve been on a science fiction kick lately. Science fiction romance is probably my favorite romance subgenre, so this was such a treat. Between Venus and Mars didn’t disappoint my scifi addiction. In addition, the romance plot was beautiful, and the humor was hilarious. Zana is the bff I never knew I wanted. She’s smart, quick on her feet, and curses like a sailor. Kyle is hot and protective without being over bearing. He’s also got a superb sense of humor on him. Together, they were an award-winning couple.

The world (or should I say universe) Mitchell built was really interesting. Earth has been abandoned for hundreds of years. It’s only inhabitants now are livestock and sentient kangaroo-type creatures. Zana travels there to bring back animals for her starving people to both eat and care for. Kyle is accidentally summoned, naked, to Earth by Zana touching the Soul Mate Tree, a mystical tree that unites people who are meant to be together. Poor Kyle just happened to be in the shower when love called. From cover to cover, Between Venus and Mars kept me entertained with snappy dialogue, fast-paced action sequences, and sweet-and-spicy romance. It’s really no wonder I finished it in one sitting.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Saturday Seven: Books I Geek Out With

Saturday Seven

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews

Wednesday was Pi Day, a holiday I celebrate without shame. So, here are seven books to get your geek on.

-Geekerella by Ashley Poston

-Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

-The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

-Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

-Dating on the Dork Side by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance

-I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo

-The Boyfriend Thief by Shana Norris

What books do you geek out with?

Come say hi on Twitter

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Saturday Seven: Books I Enjoyed as a Kid

Saturday Seven

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews

In honor of the new A Wrinkle in Time movie hitting theatres this weekend, I give you…

Seven books I read as a kid and loved.

-A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (my all-time favorite book)

-Book of Enchantments by Patricia C. Wrede

-Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit

-The Hermit Thrush Sings by Susan Butler

-The Fifth of March by Ann Rinaldi

-Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

-Cinderella 2000 by Mavis Jukes

What book did you love as a kid?

Drop me a line on Twitter @desantismt

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Read Harder: HEART OF IRON by Ashley Poston

Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron, #1)Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read Harder Challenge: new-to-you ya or mg series

I first heard of Ashley Poston when Geekerella came across my radar. A modern Cinderella retelling about a geek girl and a movie star steeped in fandom? Yes, please. I read Geekerella very soon after discovering it. It wasn’t the geekily ever after/all my dreams came true I hoped it would be, but still, I enjoyed it. Poston went on my watch list.

At the beginning of February, Goodreads sent me the new books from authors you’ve read email for the month. Poston was right at the top with Heart of Iron. The premise looked intriguing, so I decided I’d try it when it came out at the end of the month.

And I’m glad I did. I’ve been on an intensive world-building kick lately, and Heart of Iron delivers in spades. The political setup of the universe, the descriptions of ships and planets, the entire goddess mythology—it was all so well done. Going in, I didn’t realize this was a series. Based on that and from the description, I expected a first-person narration from Ana with many declarations of undying love set against a scifi background. What I got was so much more than the romance I thought. Ana is just one of many points of view in this complex and brilliant tale. Everyone has something to lose, down to the most side minor characters, and the ending left me startled breathless at how this could even happen.

The characters in Heart of Iron are so real. Even D09, the Metal who supposedly cannot feel emotions (who can obviously feel emotions), is exquisitely three-dimensional. Ana’s crew is family, if not by blood, and their bonds are felt so strongly. Side note: I really want the captain’s hair.

Rob goes through such a transformation in this story, dealing with hard truths and really finding his own. I wanted to kill his mother and, for that matter, all the villains. They were terrible, horrible people I got behind hating easily. The lengths some of them went to…I won’t spoil. Just be prepared to glare a lot.

So, now that I know this is a series, I’m eagerly anticipating the next one.

And for my dopy moment of the month, I totally did not realize this was an Anastasia retelling until I saw something on Twitter. So, if you enjoy this, also read the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, which I realized were retellings before reading them. Carry on.




View all my reviews

Monday, March 5, 2018

Cover Reveal for LOVE AT THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN!

It’s cover reveal day! (squeals like Anna from Frozen)

LOVE AT THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN
A YA ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY
Stars and Stone Books
Featuring: M.T. DeSantis, A.E. Hayes, Serena Jayne, Cara McKinnon, Mary Rogers, and Kylie Weisenborn.

It's never easy to go through the fraught transition into adulthood, but the teens in this anthology have more to deal with than most: super powers, magic, illness, and prejudice against sexual orientation and gender identity. Fortunately, they all find love at the edge of seventeen.

M.T. DeSantis – “Be Null, My Heart” Teen love…with superpowers.

A.E. Hayes – “Her First Fever” Can a smart, stubborn girl look past the things she desires the most in life to help out her annoying, enigmatic biology partner – even if helping him comes with an emotional price?

Serena Jayne – “Dead Man’s Party” Despite formidable evidence to the contrary, Xander was magic.

Cara McKinnon – “Three Jagged Pieces” Boy meets girl meets boy.

Mary Rogers – “The Crayon Thief” The last time they talked, he stole her crayon. Now he wants to take her on a date. But why?

Kylie Weisenborn – “Now I Am” Annalyn is dead…so what is she waiting for?

~CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR AUTHORS

~Add LOVE AT THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN on Goodreads

~Attend the Facebook release party

~And check out the anthology website

Find Stars and Stone Books online:

-website
-Twitter

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Saturday Seven: Series I Want the Next Book in RIGHT NOW

Saturday Seven

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews

Seven series for which I have grabby hands for the next book

-The Akata Witch series by Nnedi Okoraafor (ya/mg fantasy)

-The Wayward Children series by Seanan Mcguire (dark fantasy)

-The Upside-Down Magic series by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins (children’s fantasy)

-The Thousandth Floor series by Katharine McGee (ya dystopia/thriller)

-The Heart of Iron series by Ashley Poston (ya scifi retelling)

-The Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen (adult historical mystery)

-The Adventurer’s Guide series by Wade Albert White (middle grade fantasy)

What series do you love? Tell me. Feed my reading addiction…

Also, come hang out with me on Twitter.