Wednesday, October 31, 2012

TBR welcomes Alex Granados

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Alex. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Alex: Well, Cemetery Plot is the first novel I’ve ever completed. I’m one of those people who has spent his entire life saying he wanted to be a novelist without ever completing a novel. When I was 32, last year, I’d finally had enough of half-finished manuscripts and decided to go all the way. The result is Cemetery Plot.

I grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia, but moved to Raleigh, North Carolina when I was young. I’ve spent most of my life here with a few years living here and there. I’m a journalism buff and have worked in newspapers and radio. Currently, I’m the director of a talk show called The State of Things on North Carolina Public Radio WUNC. It’s my dream job. All I do is research and book people to talk about things that interest me… including science fiction and fantasy.

TBR: Tell us about Cemetery Plot.
Alex: As I mentioned, I finished Cemetery Plot last year. I picked November, National Novel Writing month, as the right time to perform my experiment. I got about halfway through November before I decided I didn’t like the novel I was working on. It was about a future where cemeteries had overtaken the planet. I started work on a second novel, and about halfway through that, by the end of November, I’d decided I didn’t like it either. It was about a zombie apocalypse. Altogether, I’d written about 50,000 words, so I decided to see if I could combine the two and make one functional novel. Cemetery Plot was born.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Alex: This is a scene that introduces one of my main characters, Nathan.

“Hi. My name is Nathan Mickels. I guess I could tell you about the end of the world, and being one of the last remaining humans on earth or some of that apocalyptic crap. But the truth is that the world hasn’t changed much since it ended. Sure, the dead are walking and people are dying. But there’s still money to be made.
“Take me for instance. I specialize in a particular trade. You see, these Living Dead, they’re not the brightest creatures. Any mother hoping that her little Annie was going to come back and sit at her knee had a rude awakening. Little Annie was much more likely to bite her and turn her into a zombie than give her a hug.
“Nevertheless, people find out that the dead are coming back to life, and they just got to see. That’s where I come in. It’s my job to hunt down the Living Dead. Specific ones. If your uncle Andrew died last year, you might hire me to find him and bring him to you. Of course, if you were smart, you already checked out the graveyard. You probably only come to me if you find a hole where your uncle should have been.
“So out I go, and I track down your uncle. But what good is he going to be to you as a grunting hulk of shit for brains? None, that’s what. I have a unique talent that I get paid for. I’m kind of like what people used to think mediums were like. You know, they figured they could talk to the dead and all that crap. Well, I can talk to the dead. It takes some doing and some concentration, but leave me alone with a walker for a good six hours, and I can start getting something intelligible out of them.
“Mind you, it’s not what you’d think of as intelligible, but it’s a language of sorts. Some kind of guttural, grunting and wheezing that resolves itself into meaning in my head. Well, you don’t believe me? Ask me anything? How old was Uncle Andrew when he lost his virginity? What did he really do to lose that sales job? Was he really just being friendly with his niece that time you caught them together in the bedroom? (Here’s a hint. No. You ought to kill that bastard all over again.)
“Anyway. That’s me. The Living Dead medium.”

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Alex: I’ve been a fan of zombie themed literature and media for years. The earliest zombie movie I remember seeing was the original Dawn of the Dead. I remember being freaked out by the idea of somebody having to kill themselves because he was about to be eaten by a crowd of zombies. It was horrifying.

The idea for this book really came about when I was walking my dog Zoey. We walk past this graveyard everyday. It’s a historic graveyard, and people have a hard time being buried there because it’s nearly full and it’s reserved for people who have some sort of wealth or fame.

Anyway, I started thinking about the limited space provided by graveyards. I wondered what would happen on a long enough timeline. If you don’t get rid of any graveyards, but you keep on having to bury people, then far enough in the future, maybe a thousand years, maybe more, won’t all the available land be taken up by graveyards?

That was my initial thought. Then I started imagining that as the premise of a novel. Of course, I had to take away alternative forms of dealing with remains, so I invented a disease that made cremation impossible. Voila, a world full of cemeteries. 

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Alex: I’m definitely a pantser. I start writing and I just see where it takes me. Often, I have no idea what’s going to happen next, though I do try to think about it in between bouts of reading.

I’ve started to change my strategy some lately. I’m working on a new novel, and I’m plotting it out ahead of time with a detailed outline.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Alex:  My characters just come to me. I write and they flow out of the pen. Oftentimes, they end up being thinly-disguised versions of people I actually know. In Cemetery Plot, I make an appearance, as does one of my ex-girlfriends. I won’t tell you who’s who. I’ll leave it to your imagination.

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Alex: I’ve heard variations on this quote, but the sentiment remains the same. It’s by Kurt Vonnegut: “Just because some of us can read and write and do a little math, that doesn't mean we deserve to conquer the Universe.”

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Alex: One of the most surprising things I’ve learned is the power of persistence. In the past, I’ve found that my thoughts tend to stymie me. I’ll stop working on something because I don’t like it or don’t think others will like it. Last year, when I decided to just try finishing novels no matter if I thought they were good or bad, something wonderful happened. I discovered that with revision, all things are possible. A bad novel can become good. All I had to do was finish. That’s the most important thing for me right now. Finishing what I start.

TBR: What's next for you?
Alex: I’m working on a novel loosely based on some of my childhood friends. I fell in with a rough group of kids and we had what you might call a wayward youth. I’m going to use that youthful time as the setting for a murder mystery. I want to explore the horrible things that people sometimes find themselves doing… the horrible things that we never imagined ourselves capable of. It’s a fascinating subject to me.

TBR: Any other published works?
Alex: Not yet, but I’m working on it.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Alex: The most challenging part of writing for me is sticking with it. There is a voice in the back of my head that is constantly telling me that I’m not good enough and I should just stop. Ignoring that voice is a challenge. The most rewarding part for me is when I have finished writing a novel, revised numerous times and arrived at the point where I know I’m finished and it’s time to send it off. I get a tremendous feeling of peace at that point.

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Alex: My favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut. I like all of his books, even the ones that aren’t very good. He inspired me to see how Science Fiction could be synonymous with literature. At least in my opinion. At the moment, I’m reading a collection of great sci-fi novels. Currently, I’m on “The Stars My Destination.”

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Alex: Find me at

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Alex: In the battle between independent novels and novels published by the big publishing houses, which do you find yourself drawn to and why?

TBR: Readers, Alex will give away one of his books to one lucky commenter.  He'll pick a winner next week and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so he can contact you.

Thanks for visiting TBR, Alex. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wicked and Wild Scavenger Hunt

BTS Tours and Wild Child Publishing are proud to present the Wicked and Wild Halloween Scavenger Hunt. 37 blogs have linked together to allow you to hunt for 37 different words that will be hidden in each post, so at the end of the hunt you will have 37 answers to plug into the rafflecopter. Please DO NOT leave your answers in the comment section. We want this to be fun for everyone, and not take the challenge out of the game. So this is how it works.

All the blogs listed below will post their game piece on their allotted date. You are looking for one word (related to Halloween) to plug into the rafflecopter as your answer. For Example:'
If you are on Close Encounters with the Night Kind, and find your word (clues will be provided for you in the banner) you log into the rafflecopter form and place your answer in the box marked Close Encounters of the Night Kind. Follow along the entire Scavenger Hunt and collect all 37 clues. We will be drawing for 4 $25 dollar Gift Certificates to Wild Child Publishing. Happy Hunting!


Title: Breathe
Author:  Abbi Glines
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing
Length:   Novel
Sub-GenresLight Romance, YA
Sadie White's summer job isn't going to be on the beach life-guarding or working at rental booths like most kids her age. With her single mother's increasing pregnancy and refusal to work, Sadie has to take over her mother's job as a domestic servant for one of the wealthy summer families on a nearby island.

When the family arrives at their summer getaway, Sadie is surprised to learn that the owner of the house is Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rockers in the world. If Sadie hadn't spent her life raising her mother and taking care of the house she might have been normal enough to be excited about working for a rock star.

Even though Sadie isn't impressed by Jax's fame, he is drawn to her. Everything about Sadie fascinates Jax but he fights his attraction. Relationship's never work in his world and as badly as he wants Sadie, he believes she deserves more. By the end of the summer, Jax discovers he can't breathe without Sadie.

But can their love overcome the disparity in their lifestyles? Or will they have to learn how to breathe again?

Once back in the kitchen, Marcus sat down his tray. “Okay, this is sticky. You’re supposed to take him his plate, and since his mother has left, I have no reason to return. I could go in your place, which would be the best idea, but I am afraid it will anger him. He has noticed you, which I knew would be pretty unavoidable, but I’d hoped since he is famous, he wouldn’t pay attention to another pretty face.” Marcus sighed and leaned his hip against the table and crossed his long legs. “I am leaving this up to you.”


“What do you want to do, Sadie? It isn’t about your job; it is about mine. If you don’t go back, I could lose mine for taking your spot. I think he has already picked up on my protecting you. If you go or not, your job is secure...for now.”

I sighed and reached for the tray holding the dessert. I wouldn’t jeopardize someone else’s job to help myself out. “I’ll do it.”

Without another word, I headed back down the hall all by myself.

Once I entered, steel blue eyes met mine and he smiled. “Ah, so he did let you come alone. I wondered if I would be seeing him instead.”

I didn’t want to smile at his comment but I did. I sat his dessert down in front of him and took my place.

“Do you speak?” he asked.

“Yes.” Marcus had spoken for me all night.

“We don’t normally have young female employees. How did you get through Mary?”

“I am mature for my age.”

He only nodded and took a bite of some sort of chocolate cake with more chocolate oozing out of the inside. After he chewed and swallowed, he looked back at me. I turned to stare out the window at the waves crashing against the shore.

“How old are you?”



Abbi Glines can be found hanging out with rockstars, taking out her yacht on weekends for a party cruise, sky diving, or surfing in Maui. Okay maybe she needs to keep her imagination focused on her writing only. In the real world, Abbi can be found hauling kids (several who seem to show up that don’t belong to her) to all their social events, hiding under the covers with her MacBook in hopes her husband won’t catch her watching Buffy on Netflix again, and sneaking off to Barnes and Noble to spend hours lost in the yummy goodness of books. If you want to find her then check Twitter first because she has a severe addiction to tweeting @abbiglines. Facebook is also somewhere she visits a little too often. She blogs regularly but rarely about anything life changing. She also really enjoys talking about herself in third person.

Scavenger Hunt Schedule

October 3 - Riverina Romantics
October 4 - Book Swagger
October 6 - Book Devotee Reviews
October 9 - House Millar
October 10 - Literal Addiction
October 11 - S.J. Maylee
October 12 - Fictional Candy
October 13 - Sweet Southern Home
October 15 - Salacious Reads
October 18 - Full Moon Bites
October 19 - The Bunny's Review
October 21- The Jeep Diva
October 23 - Beagle Book Space , Pippa Jay
October 24 - All She Wants and More
October 25 - Ex Libris
October 26 - Close Encounters with the Night Kind          
October 28 - Noracast
October 29 - TBR

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fun week coming up at TBR!

One event and one author are confirmed for this week:

M - 29 - Wild and Wicked Halloween Scavenger Hunt
W- 31 - Alexander Granados
Thanks to the authors who shared their Halloween blurbs this weekend! TBR had about 36 unique visitors  so hopefully some will add your books to their TBR lists.

Thursday begins a new month! There's still time to visit the October Featured Authors, contributors to the Spirited anthology

Depending on how long Sandy overstays her visit here in central Pennsylvania, I may or may not be able to get the November Featured Author up on time. Apologies in advance to this week's authors, as I may not be able to welcome you as I normally do.

I'm still looking for ideas for the two blurb fests in November - any suggestions?

Thanks, as always, for your support!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween BlurbFest this weekend!

Authors, do your stories contain Halloween themes? Then you're invited to share your book blurbs this weekend for the inaugural Halloween BlurbFest!

It's easy to participate. In the comments section, post the following:

- book title
- author name
- book blurb
- buy link

One blurb per author, please.

Readers, get ready to add to your TBR list. :)

Post away!

Friday, October 26, 2012

TBR welcomes Darlene Jones

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Darlene. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Darlene: A long time ago, I lived in Mali. Every single day, I wished I could wave a magic wand to relieve the heart-wrenching poverty. The story line of my books reflects my desire to wave that wand and make the world a better place. If only wishes could come true. And of course, every novel needs its love story, so along with the sci-fi magic, I’ve added the requisite romance.

TBR: Tell us about EMBRACED and where it's available.
Darlene: When Principal, Abby Davies, shows Curtis a page of scribbles and asks him to try to figure it out, Curtis isn’t sure what to think. He likes Miss D and all. She isn’t too bad for a school teacher. You can talk to her and she doesn’t make fun. But, sheesh, a secret code from aliens? That’s just too sci fi for him. To keep her happy, he says he’ll help. Thing is, once he starts studying the scribbles, he can see messages. 

Coder Guy, as Abby calls whoever is sending the messages, wants her to fix things. What things? Abby and Curtis find the answer when letters with Abby’s signature appear in newspaper offices. The things asked for come true. But, who’s writing the letters? Coder Guy? Or Abby?

Then the reporter shows up. What is a war correspondent doing in their little town? He says he loves Abby, but he sells her story to the world; her face splashed over every television and computer screen. The next day Miss D and Curtis are the only ones who remember the reports.

That’s when real fear sets in.

Meanwhile, Yves, who fell in love with Em, has loved her through her life as Jasmine, still loves her in this life as Abby. He fumes as one of the rookie gods fumbles communication with her. Once again, Yves breaks the rules to help Abby, but with deadly results.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
“More drawings?” Curtis gestured at the papers she held.
Abby looked down at the pages and willed her hand to stop trembling. The three pages of code drawings seemed to shimmer and shiver with a life of their own. “Yes. Three pages. From Friday, Saturday, and last night. They’re pretty … they’re … pretty well done, I’d say.”
But Curtis was no longer listening.  He waved the papers she’d just handed him and almost shouted with excitement. “These are amazing. Way better than the first drawing you brought us.”
Abby stifled a small grin, but she had to agree. The drawings outclassed her scratches a million times over. “My friend developed instant artistic talent.”
“I’ll say.” Curtis shuffled the pages back and forth. He shook his head slowly and muttered “wow” over and over. Finally he looked up at her. “Miss D, thanks for getting so many. Now we have four to compare. We’ll see if there are any repeated patterns or sequences of symbols. Your friend is great to share these with us.”
“No problem.” Oh God, I’m such a liar. Of course there was a problem, and not just because she was lying to Curtis. My friend. How lame was that? The mere existence of the pages was the real problem. Some nights the clickings chattered incessantly in her fillings, almost driving her crazy. Those were the nights of very little sleep. The weekend had been eerily silent. That was a new phenomenon since Friday, no clickings, instead Coder Guy had begun leaving the pages filled with drawings. Either way—no escaping the code.
A while back, she’d grown tired of sharpening the pencil she used each night and replaced it with a pen, which was now almost out of ink. She’d have to remember to get out a new one tonight. Or maybe not? What would happen if there was no writing utensil?
“What’s so funny?” Curtis asked. Abby hadn’t realized she’d laughed out loud. The lack of pen wouldn’t stop her night visitor. She stifled another burst of laughter she knew bordered on hysteria. Truth was, much as the pages of code scared her, she’d be devastated if no more came. The person—being, alien, Coder Guy—was an integral part of her life now; his existence had established a rhythm that kept her balanced. Or so she thought. Maybe she was completely off her rocker.
Whatever the case, she didn’t want to lose that contact. Coder Guy’s presence warmed her, kept her from feeling alone and lonely. Oh, man, I am losing it here. Really losing it.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Darlene: LOL – a bit of both. I plan out the story in my head for a long time before I start to write and I work from a very sketchy outline. Once I start writing the characters and plot seem to take over and then I fly with it. More ideas grow when I can’t sleep so I jot notes on yellow stickies in the dark and often can’t make out my scribbles in the morning.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Darlene: I have a general idea in my head of what each character is like and find that they develop over time as the story grows partly from what a particular situation might demand of them. A character might be mild and unassuming, but when courage is called for, they surprise me with their tenacity. In another instance I planned for one character to have a minor role, but he was so likable that I had to give him a greater presence in the story.

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Darlene: You know, I don’t think I’d want any of them in my house – not because I don’t love them, but because they have their own setting and I’d much rather visit them there; venture into a new world with them.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Darlene: Laugh! That one book wouldn’t cut it and that I would end up writing four to complete the story. The other thing that surprised me was that I could make each book a complete story on its own.

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Darlene: My books are set on Earth with regular ordinary people. It’s when the beings “from out there somewhere” decide to take over a woman’s life that things really get exciting. I've always believed we can't be the only beings existing in the vastness of the universe. There must be others and I brought some of them along for the ride. The setting stays, for the most part, within the realities of our world, but I've found that I love the magic the sci-fi element of other beings can bring to the story.

TBR: What's next for you?
Darlene: I’m working on the final draft of book four now. It completes the series. I haven’t yet thought of what I want to do next, but I will continue writing. I can’t imagine life without it.

TBR: Any other published works?

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Darlene: The time it takes to write and edit and reedit a book and the time it takes to market are all challenging. The most rewarding is having a print copy in my hand with my name on it.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Darlene: Yes. As an author trying to get the word about my books out there, I’d like to know what attracts a reader to try a book? What in an author’s marketing, entices you to say, “Hey, I’ll give this book a try”?

Thank you so much for this opportunity to talk about my work.

TBR: Readers, Darlene will give away a copy of EMBRACED to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner on Sunday, October 28 and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.

Thanks for visiting TBR, Darlene. All the best to you.