Monday, July 30, 2012

Cin Blog Tour


by Christina Leigh Pritchard
Genre: YA


Seventeen year old Lisa Brown’s life is falling apart. First, her mother and father divorce, then their house forecloses and now, her mother has decided to commit herself to a psychiatric hospital.

If that weren’t enough, she must leave sunny south Florida to attend a boarding school full of geniuses in cold, Lynn, Massachusetts. The city where the locals chant “Lynn, Lynn, city of sin; you never come out the way you went in.”

And, they aren’t kidding. Lisa must live in a tiny shack with two strange teenagers, a dog named Pig who growls when you look at him and a cat named Rat. “Mind the cat,” everyone says. What the heck is wrong with this place?

Lisa thinks she’s landed in her own house of horrors with the anti-social Alex and his facetious sister Ally. But, the real drama begins the day she is struck by lightning…


The Doctor said I should be dead.

My heart beat furiously. I looked up at the flashes of lightning in the sky. Yes, I should be dead.

Why wasn’t I?

Amber Checks In

“Lisa, if you don’t finish packing your things, I swear you’ll go with nothing.” My mother, Amber, threatened. She wrapped duct tape around a medium sized box and carried it out to the car.

Our home foreclosed and it was eviction day. My mother couldn’t keep a job; no matter how simple or easy it was. She was beautiful with long blond hair and bright green eyes that sparkled when she spoke. She landed every job she applied for but several weeks later and her new employer realized all Amber really was; was a pretty face.

I looked nothing like my mom. I was seventeen but still didn’t fit into my body. My hips were too big, my boobs too small and I had Dumbo ears which of course meant that I had to wear my hair down—always. I had long bangs that helped cover up my oddly round, black eyes and I could never find shoes that fit my big feet.

“Lisa, I’m not going to tell you again, we leave in twenty minutes. I can’t afford to miss your train.”

“Yeah well you could try to hide your enthusiasm.” I rolled my eyes and grabbed an empty box. I surveyed my room. What could I possibly take? I lived in Florida, the sunshine state. I was going to Lynn, Massachusetts. The old saying, “Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin” played over and over inside my mind. How could my mother just drop me off in such a place? Lynn was filled with high crime rates, lack of good paying jobs and supported virtually on nothing more than fish markets and the GE factories. At least it was by the water. I couldn’t imagine life without the ocean and sand between my toes. I could do without the sun tans, I guess, or the hot skaters who practiced on the benches but not the salty water and my toes buried in the warm sand.

“LISA! Get in the car.”

I evaluated the few things I had. I grabbed two pairs of jeans and anything with sleeves. I picked up my sneakers and my Adidas jacket from off the floor and I tossed my book bag over my shoulder. Inside the box, I put the only family heirloom I had; a picture of my mother and father; before I was born. …When they still loved each other, still laughed, still hoped. That must’ve been something to see. The only time my mother smiled or laughed was during an interview. It was never real and when her eyes set on me, she only frowned.

I placed the few articles of clothing on top of my picture and carried the box out to the trunk. My mom had an old 1993 Mitsubishi Mirage with hardly any paint left. The worst part—the air didn’t work; complete suicide in a place where the temperature stayed around ‘90 degrees.

“Just take your sweet, precious time there Lisa.” She tapped her fingers on the steering wheel. “I hope you don’t act up with your Aunt Millie. She would be just devastated and when she falls over with a stroke or heart attack from your disrespectful behavior you will have to carry her twenty miles to the nearest town.”

“A little dramatic, don’t you think?” I snapped, tossing my book bag into the back. The seat belt automatically locked me in when I closed the door. (The air conditioning didn’t work, there was hardly any paint left on the vehicle but, hey, at least the automatic seat belts still worked!) “Roll the windows down, mom, it’s hot in here.” I leaned my head out the window to catch the last, hot Florida breeze I’d probably ever feel.

“Aunt Millie said you could help her out with her chickens and she’d pay you so that you could buy some warmer clothes while you’re there. I’m sorry I am such a bad mother.”

“Why are you leaving me with some woman I don’t know? That’s bad parenting. Mom, you’ve never met this lady. What if she’s a serial killer or a chicken thief or some kind of lunatic?”

“I have to do this.” Her eyes stayed glued to the road, “I need to figure out what is wrong with me. I ran off your father with my emotional problems and I don’t want to drag you down with me too.”

“Mom, I don’t want to go stay with some stranger.” She couldn’t hear me. She blasted the radio and sang loudly, bouncing her head from left to right. She slapped me in the shoulder. “Stah—op!”

“Sing with me, Lisa, it may be a long time before we get to do this again. I may be in that loony bin for a while.”

I didn’t think it was funny at all. Who wanted a mother that was crazy? What would I tell people when school started? So, Lisa, where is your mother? Oh, new potential friend, she’s probably in her padded cell wearing a strait jacket. How about your mom? I’ll be miss popularity for sure.

The Interview:

1. Being a teen is one of the most awkward times in your life. What inspired you to write Cin?
I had a dream about Alex and Ally with their crazy pets. I didn't have a clue what the book would be about until Tony, my boss' father read, the one paragraph I had. That's when he quoted "Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin; you never come out the way you went in." He told me all about the geography and history of Lynn and wha-lah! I had a place, then the words took over from there.

2. Lisa's family is disintegrating. Has divorce touched you and how did you handle it?
Unfortunately, it has. Both my parents have been married and at least 3 times and both my grandmothers and grandfathers have been married at least 3 times as well. That's 12+ grandparents and 6+ mothers and fathers!

How did I handle it? I considered it a blessing to have so much family. I'm still very close to most of them! And, of course, I wrote my heart out through the not so good times. 

3. Having a family member committing themselves to a mental hospital has to be tough. Where did that story line come from?
Experience. My grandmother has been committed several times to a mental hospital. She has a chemical imbalance and sometimes, when her medication is off whack she tries to kill herself. It's very sad. 

4. I love stories about creepy boarding schools. What are some of your favorites?

The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys by Chris Fuhrman and School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer

5. Do you have a playlist for Cin?
Yes I do! It's long and set up by chapters. 

Christina Leigh Pritchard’s Play List

Chapter One

“Everything to Everyone”
By Everclear

“Jane Says”
By Jane’s Addiction

“Dear Mama”
By Tupac

Chapter Two

“Father of Mine”
By Everclear

“Evil Deeds”
By Eminem


Chapter Three

“#1 Crush”
By Garbage

“I Would Die 4 U”

Chapter Four

By Britney Spears

By Pink

“Eat It”
By Weird Al Yankovic

“Danger Zone”
By Kenny Loggins

Chapter Five

By Hanson

“I‘m Just A Girl”
By No Doubt

Chapter Six

“Murder Was The Case”
By Snoop Dogg

“Eyes Without A Face”
By Billy Idol

Chapter Seven

By Nine Inch Nails

Chapter Eight

“Guilty Conscience”
By Eminem featuring Dr. Dre

“Let Me Be”
By Britney Spears

Chapter Nine

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun”
By Cyndi Lauper

“Insane in the Membrane”
By Cypress Hill

“Run Away Run”
By Hanson

Chapter Ten

“Pictures of You”
By The Cure

Chapter Eleven

“Purple Pills”
By D-12

“Dock of the Bay”
Otis Redding

Chapter Twelve

“Gin and Juice”
By Snoop Dogg

“Send The Pain Below”
By Chevelle

Chapter Thirteen

“Chicken Head”
By Project Pat

“When Your Gone”
By The Cranberries

Chapter Fourteen

By My Chemical Romance

“The Ghost of You”
By My Chemical Romance

Chapter Fifteen

“I’m a Slave 4 U”
Britney Spears

“Spider Webs”
By No Doubt

Chapter Sixteen

By B.O.N

Chapter Seventeen

“Teenage Kicks”
By The Undertones

“Think of Me”
By Andrew Lloyd Webber

Chapter Eighteen

“Love is Blind”

“Just Pretend”
By Elvis Presley

Chapter Nineteen

“It’s Gonna Be Me”
N Sync

“I Just Want To Make Love To You”
By Etta Jones

Chapter Twenty

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun”
By Cyndi Lauper

“Torn Between Two Lovers”
By Mary McGregor

Chapter Twenty One


Chapter Twenty Two

“Caught Out There”

“Comfortable Liar”
By Chevelle

“Don’t Want You Back”
By Backstreet Boys

Chapter Twenty Three

“Heart Strings”
By Secret Garden

By Britney Spears

Chapter Twenty Four

“Don’t Speak”
By No Doubt

6. Are you a plot liner or a seat of your pants writer?
Both. Mostly 'seat of your pants' but I do go by a lose--very loose--outline or plot.

7. What is your favorite thing about writing?
Being able to step into another world and create life on the printed page.

8. Do you have any pets?

I do! I have 2 dogs, Teacup, who is half German Shepherd and half Teacup Yorkie (she looks like a mini shepherd) and Buddy, a black lab/pit bull mix!
9. What is the weirdest scene you have ever written?

I can only pick one?! :o)

One of the weirdest scenes I've ever written has to be from The Fall of Gadaie (A pure, straight, dark fantasy novel of mine). The main characters are falling from the sky and land in some weird orange goo that resembles Jello. If that weren't enough, in that same section, they meet a talking horse who says he's not a horse, walk through a village made of candy and one lead character is taken by a loony who has roller-skates for feet...
10. What are you working on now?
Several things! (I can never just write one book) I'm working on a dark mystery, a horror (first ever) and fixing up a Novel entitled Shame. It's about a teenage girl who has to chose between protecting her brother and doing the right thing. No matter which choice she makes, she's going to hurt someone. And, of course, I'm working on more books in the C I N Series!


What I Liked:

This book grabs your attention on the first page. You really feel for Lisa and the position she is being forced into because her mother is a bit of a kook. Sending her to live with a relative she doesn't know in a weird boarding school with creepy animals and even weirder room mates is just plain awful. 

What I Didn't:

Some of the dialogue was a little odd. Also, there were some reactions from the room mates that felt forced and not natural. I totally got that they were supposed to be above average intelligence and to the rest of us mere mortals, misunderstood, but it came off a little stilted.


The creepiness factor got this one for me. Having Lisa go and live in a spooky boarding school with pets that are beyond weird, classmates that are even weirder and paying for her keep by feeding chickens was pretty wild. Other than some awkwardness with the dialogue and some of the action with the roomies, I liked the book and was engrossed in it. I wanted to find out why Pig (the dog) was so cranky and the cat was untouchable. What was up with the roomie that hated to be touched and a whole host of other little tidbits. Great story, original plot and a page turner. The element of family drama also pulled some heartstrings. Divorce is really tough, and so is mental illness. Both subjects are great plot elements and add depth to the story. 


About the Author:

Christina Leigh Pritchard was born and raised in South Florida. Her first stories were written at the age of nine in $0.15 wide ruled, spiral notebooks (which were supposed to be used for class), and in the various diaries she kept. Stories she wrote from age nine to twelve fill about four storage boxes!

Since she's upgraded to a computer, she's completed over fifty books and still going strong. Her genre's include dark fantasy, young adult, drama, suspense, historical romance, multicultural, comedy, poetry and many more.

5. Web and social media links:

Book trailer:

C I N Series Blog:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Burning Star Interview and Giveaway

Can she reach her destiny before tragedy strikes?

The doctors have told Kay that she will die before she reaches her eighteenth birthday. Her mother’s determination to save her life leads them to a move outside of Asheville, NC to a new set of cancer specialists in the hopes to help her. But it’s not what Kay and her Mom find in the doctor’s offices in Asheville that lead them on the journey to save her before time runs out. It’s what Kay finds in the woods outside of Asheville, and an inhumanly gorgeous guy named Ryan, instead.

Myths and fairy tales come to life before Kay’s eyes, bringing her closer to the ultimate cure if she can stay alive long enough to get there. And if the cancer doesn’t kill her before she finds the cure the secrets her mother has hidden from her may be the beginning of the end.


The Interview:

1. In your book, The Burning Star, you write about a teenage who is diagnosed with cancer. Have you been touched by this disease in real life?

Crystal: A few years ago I had to have a spot removed from my skin because otherwise the doctors said it would turn into Melanoma. I was 21 when that happened so it totally freaked me out because I felt like I was too young for anything to happen. Now I have to be diligent about my skin and sunscreen. Also recently my father was diagnosed and successfully treated for thyroid cancer. So yes cancer is something that has impacted my family but I’m glad to say so far we’ve been very fortunate about it.

Melissa: Not the exact kind of cancer that Kay is dealing with herself. However there is something in my life that could lead down that path. So understanding her fears, yes I can totally relate to that.

2. Mythology and fairytales also play a role in your book. What are some of your favorites?

Crystal: I LOVE fairytales and myths. Myths more than fairytales though. Really big fan of Greek and Irish mythology. I love the stories about banshees, kelpies and fairies.

Melissa: I am definitely an ancient Egyptian mythology nerd. I also love the idea of werewolves, nephilim, and some vampires.

3. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Crystal: When I was a teenager. Writing was an outlet for me during difficult times. Although I kind of considered it a dream job like others might consider playing professional football. So pursuing this dream is still very surreal for me.

Melissa: I think I was around fifteen. I started writing in a journal with just quotes and lyrics that meant something to me. I still have those actually. My mind is always wondering and asking ‘what if’.

4. Do you have a playlist for Burning Star?

Crystal: Mayday Parade and 30 Seconds to Mars. It’s amazing my cd’s still work because I played them constantly. Especially Mayday Parade. In fact two of their songs called “The Memory” and “The Silence” kind of became anthems for the book to me.

5. What is the funniest scene you ever had to write?

Melissa: It’s actually from a different series we are writing together. I was laying in bed listening to music and a thought about three totally different sisters popped into my head. It’s more of an adult conversation and I actually saw Crystal and myself as two of the characters. Everything these two said to one another is how we talk to each other. It took me about two hours before I could calm down from my laughing fit to call Crystal and tell her about it. I wrote it up in like fifteen minutes and it deals with one sister trying to explain to the other sister of how a certain undergarment is going to help her become a man magnet so she can stop being such a tomboy. While in the middle of the conversation the man who the tomboyish sister is working with happens to wander by while the two sisters are arguing over the usefulness of said undergarment.

6. What are some of your favorite YA authors?

Melissa: Cassandra Clare, P.C. Cast, and Melissa Marr.

Crystal: Everyone Melissa mentioned and Julie Kagawa, Lesley Livingston, Lauren Kate, Holly Black, and Carrie Jones.

7. What is your current writing project?

At the moment we are simultaneously working on two other books for two different series before we continue writing on the sequel to The Burning Star, which Crystal has already started, called The Frozen Star. We are branching out into the adult paranormal and contemporary romance genres. One book is titled Secret Maneuvers and is the start to our Ex Ops series about a black ops type group secretly run by the CIA with very alpha like heroes and the woman that love them. (Or want to strangle them depending on the situation) The other novel is titled Big Bad Bite and is the start of the Big Bad Bite series starring all kinds of fun supernatural characters and their crazy love lives. The Frozen Star is what Crystal works on when she needs a break from the other two books but she has every intention of finishing it within a year or so.

The Review:

What I Liked:

This story is original and brings elements of the supernatural and fae worlds into a story line that just keeps getting better and better. It is a great summer read that will have you turning the pages pretty quickly. The world building, character development, dialogue and plot are well done. The characters you really begin to care about, especially Kay. The desire to feel normal is such a universal teen theme, and it really fits in this case, as Kay is anything but normal.

What I Didn't: 

Reading as much as I do, small things can distract me. This book has some grammar and spelling issues that need to be tweaked and in the first sentence, it goes from third person to first. 


Once you get over the grammar, spelling and POV issues that a little more editing could have taken care of, this book is a great read for fans of the fae and paranormal. If you like True Blood, you will love this! The twists and turns of the plot will grab you and the best part about this is you think you are reading one story and end up with much, much more. Paranormal hunks abound! I looking forward to reading the second installment of this book!

Who is Jessie Lane?
‘Jessie Lane’ is actually the writing team of Crystal Leo and Melissa Pahl. Coming up with our name was just the first in a long line of learning how to work and compromise with another author. Instead of playing rock, paper, scissors, or having a wrestling smack down over what our name should be (which with the two of us are very real possibilities), we both chose some of our favorite female fictional characters and wrote one long list. In the end we both agreed on ‘Jessie Lane’. ‘Jessie’, is Melissa’s favorite female lead character from the movie, Queen of The Damned, and ‘Lane’ after Crystal’s favorite female lead character from Karen Marie Moning’s ‘Fever Series’ with MacKayla ‘Mac’ Lane.

Author Bio:

Jessie Lane is the writing team of Crystal Leo and Melissa Pahl. The two sister-in-laws share a great love of breath-taking romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them. Because really, it is ALL about the characters. (They’re kind of megalomaniacs)

When not loosing themselves in a story they remember they have real lives. Crystal lives in Kentucky with her husband and two little girls who plot daily the many ways they can drive their poor mother crazy. At the end of the day Crystal then calls Melissa and threatens to ship her two nieces to their favorite Aunt with lots of air holes punched through their box. Melissa answers Crystal’s crazed calls in Washington state where she lives with her husband and big furry baby of a Rottweiler named Yuffie and reminds her that children are not shippable.
This is their first novel but they are all geared up and excited to be releasing other projects soon!

Want to win an e-book copy of Burning Star? Leave me a comment about your favorite fae or paranormal character. Contest from 7/20-7/27. Please leave your email in the comment form so I can contact you if you win.

Happy reading!