Monday, December 28, 2015

The Italian Word for Kisses

1. I write because…
It just happens? I've been making up stories since I could talk -- especially about how I was totally nothing to do with whatever was lost or broken -- and writing them down since I figured out what pens were for. (Hint: not drawing on your siblings, apparently.)
My brain makes up stories all  the time. Writing them down became the natural way of working them out and getting further into the story. And then writing books was the natural extension of that.
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?
I'm not really much of a biscuit person...
3. Plotter or pantster? least it starts that way. Then the manuscript wanders off from the plan around chapter four, comes back for a visit in chapter ten, then sods off and stays away until the final four chapters, when it returns and is totally faithful to the original plan. But I can't get started without all the chapters outlined in theory, so I'm still more plotter than pantser.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why?
Northerners, especially blue-collar Yorkshire folk. They're very rough and colourful people, and I like writing them largely because I'm one of them and we get left out of romantic fiction a lot, kids and adults alike. LGBT fiction especially is very geared towards a very middle-class  southern structure, where characters mustn't be too mean to each other, and certain words are banned except to be spoken by the most obviously evil of villains...and that's a bit of an alien concept to the people I grew up with. I like to turn the tables a bit, and say, "Look, love happens in the sink estates and wet British summers too. It's not all Cornish  beaches and country villages." So I write about kids falling in love at boxing gyms (The Suicidal Peanut), people tackling everyday racism with a sense of humour (Thicker Than Bone) and kids solving homophobic bullying by quite literally fighting back (The Italian Word for Kisses). Plus you get to write phonetically with their accents, which is amazing for bringing a character to life.
5. Hamburgers or sushi?
Burgers. I hate sushi.
6. Name three things on your desk.
Right now? Paperwork, paperwork, and my flat keys. I just moved house, so I'm lucky there even is  a desk right now. It's been an expensive couple of months.
7. What books have influenced your writing style?
I'm not much of a reader anymore, but in my teens I read a lot of books with quintessentially British humour -- especially those by Ben Elton, Douglas Adams and the Grant Naylor duo. Doug Naylor and Rob Grant's science fiction in particular, and of course the great Douglas Adams, were huge influences, because they stood out so much as writers bringing something uniquely British to their genres. And it wasn't all this slightly twee, home counties or London approach that dominates the LGBT fiction market -- it was idle-but-well-meaning Scousers, it was  Arthur Dent and his towel.
As I got older, I found less and less books in that kind of irreverent vein, and I stopped bothering with reading fiction at all in the end. But when I came to writing my own books, I found I had the most fun writing those same thoroughly British characters, both main and side, so I'd definitely say those guys left an impression.
8. Tell us a little about your book.
The Italian Word for Kisses is at its core about homophobia. The main characters, Tav and Luca, have been together for a while and it's old news round their way. And then along comes a new kid at school and Luca's swimming club, Jack, who is vehemently disgusted by gay people and wants Luca especially out of the picture.
What made it such fun to write was that none of the characters are shy or retiring in the slightest. My last proper look at homophobia in YA was Vivaldi in the Dark, and the character subjected to it was very timid as a result. Tav and Luca are quite the opposite -- Tav is so prone to fighting at school that he's a step to the left of being expelled, and Luca is the third of five boys in a large half-Yorkshire, half-Italian family. Neither of them take kindly to Jack showing up, and they're both very volatile in the way they respond to it.
And honestly, getting to write kids literally fighting back, and having the confidence to tell this bully that he's a bigot for what he thinks and force him to back off, that was a lot of fun and a pretty unusual way of going at the topic.
9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors?
Don't be afraid of writing hard things, or stepping outside of the genre's conventions. There's writers and publishers would be horrified by this book, because it features teenagers fighting, swearing, having off-colour in-jokes, having sex -- but that's what some teenagers are really like. This situation, this little world in their corner of Yorkshire, is one that real kids are living with every day. Don't be afraid to show that, even if it makes others uncomfortable sometimes.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon?
I'm hoping to finish up a couple of transgender YA books during 2016: Girls Will Be Boys and Fatso Farrier. Both feature female-to-male transgender boys, though in very different ways. Girls Will Be Boys is really about the transgender experience, and follows a fifteen-year-old trans boy handling his first relationship with absolutely no idea what the rules are for transgender people. Fatso Farrier is actually about a cisgender bisexual lad , Max 'Fatso' Farrier, who's given up on his dreams thanks to his weight, but gets the motivation to turn his life around when he's forced into training in muay thai with a very confident, very self-assured transgender lad, Cian. I'm hoping to get them done and dusted and out there sooner rather than later, as there's a serious lack of transgender YA available, and they show two extremely different FtM people.

Top 5 favorite movies:
I really like movies where the characters seem like real people, and their lines come off more natural than scripted, so flashes of really natural comedy totally sell a movie (or a book!) for me.
1.       Hot Fuzz. Easily the best British comedy I've ever seen and will always, without fail, be my favourite movie of all time.
2.       Guardians of the Galaxy. I love the off-beat humour, and how it feels more natural and less artificial  than most action movies. I mean come on, the "I'm distracting you" dance scene was hilarious.
3.       How To Train Your Dragon. All the characters felt real. They pulled faces, they did awkward hand motions, they side-eyed each other and were sarcastic. I fell hard for the movie when Hiccup just gave up on getting Toothless to be obedient and said, "Thanks for nothing, you useless reptile." Just, yes!
4.       Wild Wild West. The entire exchange of lines between Will Smith and Kenneth Branagh whenever their characters came face-to-face had me crying with laughter. I'm a firm believer that nothing is sacred when it comes to humour, and this movie is up there with the best of them. (Plus steampunk spiders, always a win.)
5.       Kind of a cheat, but The Hobbit and LOTR trilogies. Peter Jackson's use of regional accents for both humour and severity was just perfect. Accents are massively underrated for how to portray a character, and I loved both trilogies for a) using them at all and b) using them so beautifully well.


It’s no secret Tav and Luca are going out. After the accident, it’s also no secret that new kid Jack Collins has a raging case of homophobia, and is not best pleased about having given the kiss of life to a gay guy. Either Luca quits swimming, or Jack is going to make him.

Tav favours the tried-and-true method of knocking Jack’s teeth down his neck, only he can’t really afford another school suspension. Luca favours just ignoring him, only ignoring a penknife being held to your throat at New Year’s Eve is downright stupid.

Thing is, Luca suspects Jack is a victim of something himself. And time is running out for Luca to get through to Jack, before Jack gets rid of him.
Pick up a copy at JMS Books or All Romance Cafe today.

"Alright, Collins."

The bang of the changing room door and the amiable greeting from one of the other boys caught Luca's attention, but the sudden, sharp silence made his blood run cold. All at once, Luca was both afraid, and angry with himself for being afraid. So he squared his shoulders and turned on his heel, folding his arms over his chest and meeting Jack's scowl with a glower of his own.


"What the fuck are you doing here?" Jack snarled.

"Fuckin' swimming. What about you?"

"I told you not to come."

It was like the rest of the team didn't exist. Luca didn't dare break eye contact, and Jack -- although he tossed his bag onto a bench and unzipped his jacket, was zeroed in on Luca in a way that made the hairs on Luca's arms stand on end.

"Dunno what kinky shit you're into, Collins, but I don't follow your orders." Being both an older and a younger brother had made Luca able to bluff with ease, and despite the impotent anger, the tart tang of shame around the edges of his brain that this moron had somehow gotten one over him and seized some power in this stupid fucking game, his voice sounded -- even to him -- arrogant and bored.


"You what?"

"I said go," Jack repeated. The other boys hovered uncertainly, but Aaron and David had both closed ranks to Luca's shoulders, and Luca took a fortified breath. Aaron looked steely. David looked a little more confused, but determinedly hostile all the same.

"Like hell I'm going," Luca said. "You got a problem with a pouf on the team, you need to fuck off and get your head out your arse. I'm here to swim. I'm not going nowhere."

"What the fuck is going on?" David asked.

"Jack, mate, leave it," one of the other boys said. "It's just Jensen, Jensen's sound --"

"He's a fucking faggot, and I won't have his kind here -- I warned you, I fucking told you, and you're still fucking here!"

"What's your problem, mate, he's taken up wi' that Chris in Jan Krawczyk's tutor group ..."

"Yeah, Jack, lay off already, who d'you reckon you are anyway, you're new--"

"I know there's a fucking faggot on this fucking team and I --"

"Don't fucking call him a faggot, twat," one of the other boys -- a lad called Ryan that Luca had never so much as spoken to outside of the club, and was in the year below them anyway -- sneered, and he shot out a hand to shove at Jack's shoulder.

"I told you to stay away!" Jack bellowed, and his hand vanished into his unzipped jacket. "I told you, I fucking told you --"

The changing room erupted; the flick-knife flashed under the sickly halogen lights, and Luca's back slammed into the wall of locker doors as Aaron and David shoved him back as one. Both doors -- one to the foyer and one to the pool -- banged loudly, and the bolshy kid, Ryan, lashed out with a fist, smashing into Jack's jaw from the side. A couple of men came rampaging over from the showers in their wet trunks, all the noise bouncing off the walls until it was dizzying. Coach arrived with a shrill shriek of the whistle, and the knife had gone somewhere but Luca couldn't tell where in the ruckus, and then Aaron's hand was on his shoulder and he was being steered off into one corner of the changing room, and --

A flush of hot, furious shame boiled up Luca's stomach and into his guts, and he twisted away from Aaron's hands and grabbed for his kit bag. He didn't need Aaron to fucking protect him. He didn't need anyone to protect him, he wasn't some pathetic little kid who needed their hand holding. He shouldn't need defending, he was a Jensen! He should be able to defend himself.

He grabbed his bag and bolted. As he fled up the stairs, a burly security guard and Coach were wrestling the knife out of Jack's hands in the corridor, both shouting at him, and Jack shouting back, face red and voice hoarse and shrill with fury.

"You fucking steer clear of me, Jensen!" he bellowed after Luca, who didn't dare look back. "F'you know what's good for you, you'll stay out of here, you fucking queer!"

Luca reached the top of the stairs, and ran.

Author bio:
Matthew J. Metzger is  an asexual, transgender author dragged up in the wet and windy British Isles. He writes both adult and young adult LGBT fiction, with a particular fondness for writing about people and places that don't usually make it into romantic fiction: the council  estates, the mentally ill, the people solving problems with their fists, and finding love on the local Arriva bus route.

When not writing, Matthew is  usually asleep or crunching numbers at his day job. He can be found on Facebook and Twitter, or contacted directly at

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hunters Moon

The Hunter's Moon (Book 1--Secret Warrior Series)
by Beth Trissel


GENRE: YA Fantasy  Romance



Seventeen year old Morgan Daniel has been in the witness protection program most of her life. But The Panteras have caught up with her and her younger brother. Her car is totaled, she's hurt, and the street gang is closing in when wolves with glowing eyes appear out of nowhere and chase away the killers.

Then a very cute guy who handles a bow like Robin Hood emerges from the woods and takes them to safety at his fortress-like home. And that's just the first sign that Morgan and her brother have entered a hidden world filled with secrets.


Excerpt Two:

Oh, no. Was the wolf hit? Morgan prayed not. She sensed him trying to protect them, and couldn’t imagine why, or why he seemed like ‘her wolf’.

Cries, like the shrieks of a panther, carried through the trees. A chill crawled down her spine. Were the woods filled with creatures she thought long gone from these mountains?

More wolfish snarls erupted and snapping, tearing. Good. He lived. She nudged Jimmy. “Can you see anything?”

He craned his head around the rocks. “Not through the smoke and fog.”

Eerie howls rose from the surrounding woodland on every side. A whole pack must be gathering. Morgan wasn’t certain whether to be frightened, fascinated, or hopeful of rescue. Still light-headed, not sure she even saw clearly, she watched the black wolf reappear; with him, a great white wolf whose green eyes shone like starlight. The most extraordinary yet. Together, the two loped after the brown and gray one. Judging by the high-pitched calls, there were more wolves out there. And panthers, or were they mountain lions?

Snarls, growls, and the shrieks of enraged felines ripped through the smoky shroud. The pack wasn’t after her and Jimmy. Not now, anyway.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Married to her high school sweetheart, Beth Trissel lives on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by her human family and furbabies. An avid gardener, her love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into her work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans, and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of her inspiration. She's especially drawn to colonial America and the drama of the American Revolution. In addition to YA fantasy romance, she also writes historical, time travel, and paranormal romance, plus nonfiction.

For more on Beth visit her blog, One Writer’s Way, at:

Connect with Beth on Facebook: Author Beth Trissel:

Visit Beth’s Amazon Author Page where all her books reside: Amazon Author Page


Beth will be awarding a $30 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Warrior: Initiation by Rebecca Royce

Keep your friends close...and your enemies closer. 
Rachel Clancy has had to learn the hard way that you can't always trust who you know. 

Born with a specific set of genes that lets her fight monsters, Rachel has trained her entire life to kill vampires and werewolves. Unprepared for the level of deception and betrayal she faces as she journeys Upwards to battle her enemies, it's not long before Rachel finds herself on a quest that will alter the lives of everyone she knows. 

Including Rachel's... 

Here is a recent review:
Rebecca Royce knocks it out of the park with the first book in The Warrior series. A dystopian tale of earth after Armageddon, after the Werewolves and Vampires have destroyed human civilization and sent humanity into hiding.  For fourty years humans have lived underground.

In this book we meet Rachel Clancy on the eve of her sixteenth birthday.  Turning sixteen is signifcant but not in the way we are accustomed.

Rachel was born with a specific set of genes that designates her as a warrior.  Her childhood has been one of training, preparing to fight the monsters.  On her sixteenth birthday she is sent out on her first mission, alone - scared but determined.

It's the beginning of great change for humans and monsters alike, because Rachel is more than she imagined.  She's the catalyst that will cause dark secrets to be revealed, and hidden truths to rise to the surface.

I'm typically not a fan of books written in first person, but I honestly was captured by page two and could not put the book down.  Ms. Royce has always had a wonderful ability to build worlds that come alive in a reader's mind, and characters who are so well developed their voices ring in our heads.  This, however, is Ms. Royce's flagship.  Her voice rings with vibrancy, the world she has created is so clear we feel we are there.  These characters live and breathe, we feel their emotions and walk along with them as they traverse a dangerous landscape.

I can't give enough praise to this book and cannot wait to read the rest of the series.  It gets my highest recommendation.  This is definitely a must read.  by Lou Jones

It is a Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Here is the Amazon Link:

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Get Pop Cultured with Barnes and Noble

Lillian Reitz
5303 FM 1960 West, Houston, Texas 77069
Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest Announces a Month-Long Celebration of Pop Culture
in July
Second Annual “Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble” to Feature Unique Special Events, Author Appearances, Exclusive Content, Giveaways and More
Highlights Include Throwback Thursdays, Time Travel Weekend, DC Comics Days, Comic Convention Collectibles, a Harper Lee Celebration, Minions Fun, Fangirl Friday, Vinyl Day, a Dr. Seuss Spectacular and Much More

New York, New York - June 25, 2015 - Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the nation’s largest retail bookseller and the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced the second annual Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble, a month-long celebration of pop culture with special events customers won’t want to miss. Building off the success of last year’s campaign, this year’s Get Pop-Cultured celebration at Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest will feature a series of 20 very exciting events and activities perfect for the whole family to enjoy, in addition to author signings, panel discussions, contests, exclusive content, giveaways and prizes, and more.
Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble was first established in 2014 to bring to life customers’ favorite books, characters, movies, artists, illustrators and pop-culture icons. This year it expands to feature an even more robust lineup of events great for customers of all ages, including weekly Throwback Thursdays celebrating a different decade each Thursday from the 1950s through the 1990s, DC Comics Days, a Harper Lee Celebration, a Minions Fun event, Star Wars Saturday, Manga Mania, Fangirl Friday, Vinyl Day, James Patterson Day, a Dr. Seuss Spectacular and many more unique events and promotions. For more information on what’s happening during Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble month at Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest, customers can visit the store or<>. 
Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest Lineup:
·       Throwback Thursdays - July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
The cornerstone of the Get Pop-Cultured campaign, customers are invited to Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest every Thursday in July for a nostalgic journey through the most iconic moments in pop culture from the 1950s through the 1990s. Customers will experience the decades as they explore the dynamic influence that books, toys, games, music, movies, TV and fashion had on society during those time periods. The store will feature a specially crafted display wall containing fun facts, images, products and more that influenced each decade and brings them back to life. The display wall changes weekly for each new decade and is perfect for taking pictures to share on social media, using the hashtags #TBT and #GetPopCultured. Celebrate the 1950s on July 2, the 1960s on July 9, the 1970s on July 16, the 1980s on July 23, and the 1990s on July 30. Special offers, giveaways, and events and activities each Thursday will round out the fun. 

·       Time Travel Weekend - July 3-5
Designed to take customers on a journey through time, Time Travel Weekend will transport fans into the intriguing worlds of the following:
Doctor Who
On July 3 at 7pm, Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest is celebrating Doctor Who. Customers will enjoy trivia, giveaways, a special offer and more, and are invited to come dressed as their favorite character.

Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark
On July 4 at 10am, customers will travel back millions of years with Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark. Young paleontologists are invited to explore the age of dinosaurs with fun activities, giveaways and a special offer.

On July 5 at 2pm, customers will be transported to the intriguing world of the popular Outlander series with trivia, giveaways and more.

·       DC Comics Days - July 8-12
Customers are invited for a special offer on all DC Comics graphic novels and a free Young Gotham comic collection and poster, while supplies last. There will be other giveaways and activities, and as always during Get Pop-Cultured, cosplay is welcome.
·       Comic Convention Collectibles - July 9-12
Customers can visit Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest to get the highly anticipated convention exclusives representing some of the hottest licenses, including fan favorites, while supplies last. Customers should get to Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest early on July 9 as many of these collectibles will sell out fast!
·       Harper Lee Celebration - July 13-14
On July 13, all Barnes & Noble stores nationwide will read Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird from start to finish. The Read-A-Thon will feature a variety of special guest readers, including local authors or celebrities. On July 14, Harper Lee’s highly anticipated new novel, Go Set a Watchman, goes on sale. Barnes & Noble stores nationwide will open early at 7am so customers can get their copy first, and those who visit the Barnes & Noble Café from 7am to 10am will get a free tall hot coffee with their purchase of Go Set a Watchman. Plus, the first 20 customers to buy the book in every store will receive a free exclusive To Kill a Mockingbird reusable tote.
·       Minions Fun  - July 17 at 7pm
Customers are invited to sign up now for the Minions Fun event and become a certified Minion and attend Villain-Con in Barnes & Noble stores, where they will search for the most despicable villain to follow. Activities and giveaways will round out the fun. Customers can contact Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest to sign up today.
·       Star Wars Saturday - July 18
Star Wars fans of all ages are invited to Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest for exclusive products, activities, cosplay, trivia and a chance to win a Star Wars character standee (terms & conditions apply). Customers should contact Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest for complete details.
·       Manga Mania - July 19
Customers can visit Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest to discover this popular style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels. Manga Mania will feature a special offer, activities, and giveaways.
·       Fangirl Friday - July 24 at 7 pm
Barnes & Noble is inviting fangirls to unite and celebrate fandom. Fangirls should visit their local store to get introduced to the Women of Marvel, enjoy cosplay, giveaways and much more. Additionally, while supplies last, customers can pick up the Vinyl Vixen Metallic Wonder Woman, available only at Barnes & Noble.
·       Vinyl Day - July 25
Fans of vinyl records can explore Barnes & Noble’s growing assortment and participate in events celebrating vinyl culture, including giveaways, special offers and exclusives.
·       James Patterson Day - July 26
Customers are invited to Barnes & Noble to celebrate America’s bestselling author with a special one-day-only offer on all adult, kids’, and teen books by James Patterson.
·       Dr. Seuss Spectacular - July 28 at 7 pm and July 31 at 7 pm
In celebration of the newly discovered Dr. Seuss book What Pet Should I Get?, kids of all ages are invited to help Barnes & Noble decide what pet to get at a special Storytime event on July 28 at 7pm. Get Pop-Cultured ends on a high note on July 31 at 7pm with a Dr. Seuss Spectacular, a celebration of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known to the world as the beloved Dr. Seuss. There’s fun to be done before Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble comes to an end!
More ways to Get Pop-Cultured include:
·       Authors, Illustrators, Celebrities and More
Throughout the Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble campaign, stores across the country will welcome customers’ favorite authors, illustrators and celebrities, including Arlene & Alan Alda, Keegan Allen, Gretchen Carlson, Chris Colfer, Chuck D, Rob "Gronk" Gronkowski, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Mary McDonough, Christopher Paolini, James Patterson, Kate Pierson, Joe Satriani, Brad Thor, Cindy Williams, Charlie Wilson and many more. Customers should contact Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest to find out which authors will be appearing there during Get Pop-Cultured.
·       Get Pop-Cultured Sweepstakes from NOOK®
At all Get Pop-Cultured events and throughout the month of July, customers can visit the NOOK Counter to enter for a chance to win a $1,000 Barnes & Noble Gift Card. To enter, customers can visit the NOOK Boutique® at Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest anytime between July 1 and July 31, where they should look for the specially created Get Pop-Cultured NOOK App on the NOOK devices displayed.
·       Get Pop-Cultured Giveaways and Exclusives
Throughout July, Barnes & Noble will have tons of giveaways at all stores, including samplers and posters from DC Comics’ Young Gotham series, as well as Marvel, Star Wars and Manga posters, and much more. All giveaway items are available in limited quantities; for more information visit Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest. In addition, Barnes & Noble will have a large offering of exclusive products and items during Get Pop-Cultured, including exclusive book editions during Throwback Thursdays, Comic Convention collectibles, select vinyl records and more. For more information, <>.
·       Get Pop-Cultured on Social Media
Pop culture fans should follow Barnes & Noble on Twitter <>, Instagram <>, Tumblr <> and like Barnes & Noble on Facebook <> for the very latest information on Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble, including announcements about upcoming events and promotions. Pop culture fans can also follow NOOK on Facebook <>, Google+ <>, Twitter <> andInstagram <>.
Barnes & Noble @Champion Forest will be announcing many more events such as giveaways and exclusive content and products, throughout the Get Pop-Cultured month. For a full schedule of local events and author appearances, and for more details regarding giveaways, competitions and sweepstakes, visit <>.
About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) is a Fortune 500 company and the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products. The Company operates 649 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states, and one of the Web’s largest e-commerce sites, ( <>). Its NOOK digital business offers award-winning NOOK® products and an expansive collection of digital reading and entertainment content through the NOOK Store® ( <>), while Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC operates 717 bookstores serving over five million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States.
General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained by visiting the Company's corporate website: <>.Barnes & Noble®, Barnes & Noble Booksellers® and Barnes &® are trademarks of Barnes & Noble, Inc. or its affiliates.
For more information on Barnes & Noble, follow us on <>, <> and <>, and like us on<>.
About Nook Digital, LLC
NOOK reading and entertainment products make it easy to Read What You Love, Anywhere You Like with a fun, easy-to-use and immersive digital reading experience. With NOOK, customers gain access to the expansive NOOK Store® of more than 4 million digital books in the US and UK, plus periodicals, comics, apps, movies and TV shows, and the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices through Free NOOK Reading Apps. Find NOOK devices in Barnes & Noble stores and online at <>, as well as leading retailers including Best Buy, Walmart, Target and many others. NOOK products are available in the United Kingdom at leading retailers; NOOK content can be purchased at <>.
NOOK® and the NOOK logos are trademarks of Nook Digital, LLC or its affiliates.
For more information on NOOK follow us on: <><>,

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Shadowgirl by Kate Ristau

I write because…

I write because I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in grade school. I would read books and wonder who the authors were. How did they come up with such amazing stories? Then one day, I realized that I could write stories too — that I had my own stories to tell. The moment I realized that, my life suddenly made so much more sense. I started to see the world, the past, the future, as a series of stories to tell.
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?
If you were my favorite cookie, you would be eaten. You would have been snickerdoodle, or, if I was really lucky, you would have been a chai cookie made by my friend Jenna.
3. Plotter or pantster?
I tend to be a pantser in my first drafts. I have an idea of where the story will go, but the story inevitably takes me somewhere else entirely. Then, when I finish the draft, I immediately write a reverse outline, thinking about the story and what happened. I consider what I wrote, what makes sense, and what was just a distraction. Then, I start revising.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why?
My favorite type of character has depth and drive and a fair amount of magic. I love fantasy stories and the idea that we are more than we think we are: that there is magic and joy and possibility in our world (or in another).
I try to write stories in the “real” world, with “real” characters. Then, I slip up, give them magic, or superpowers, and make them awesome. I do not feel sad about this.
5. Hamburgers or sushi?
Cookies. Is that still a choice? Because forget about dinner: I’m just in it for the cookies.
6. Name three things on your desk.
Plant. Statue. Peacock lamp.
The plant is a beautiful succulent that refuses to stay contained. The statue came from the middle of a king cake. The lamp was a gift from my husband that appeared on my desk one night.
7. What books have influenced your writing style?
I could go on and on. But I’ll limit it to two particular books that I love. The first is The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. It is a gorgeously beautiful, yet deceptively simple fantasy novel about a unicorn’s quest to discover what happened to the rest of her kind. Beagle tells this story in such a straightforward manner, and I fell in love with the unicorn’s perspective and language. I also love how Robin Hobb approaches animals in the Assassin’s Apprentice. Hobb’s books draw me in and make me think of the possibilities of a good fantasy book. Both of these authors take their time and build their worlds with beautiful scenes and complex characters. Each time I go back to their books, I find something new and unexpected that challenges me in my own worldbuilding. 
8. Tell us a little about your book. 
Shadowgirl is a young adult novel, but it is not a fairy tale. Áine lives in the light, but she is haunted by darkness, and when her fey powers blaze out of control, she escapes into the Shadowlands. But she cannot outrun her past. Fire fey and a rising darkness threaten the light, burning a path across the veil. Her fiery dreams come to life, and with the help of Hennessy, an uninhibited Irish girl, Áine dives into the flames to discover who she truly is. Her mother burned to keep her secret safe, and now Áine wields the deadly Eta. She must learn to fight in the shadows — or die in the flames.
9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors?
I used to be a writing instructor, and my students heard this phrase over and over again: Just write. Write when it’s easy; write when it’s hard. Write when you hate your pen; write when you can’t imagine doing anything else. Writing is a joy and a delight, but it is also hard work. Get in that chair, and get to work. Just write.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon?
I have quite a few books up my sleeve and on my laptop. The one I am currently working on is the follow-up to Shadowgirl. No plot spoilers, but…it is awesome. 
Top 5 favorite (pick one) desserts, movies, things to eat, ice cream flavors, books.
Five good books I read so far this year: 
1. The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains, Neil Gaiman
2. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel
3. The Ice Dragon, George R.R. Martin
4. Red Rising, Pierce Brown
5. The Slow Regard of Silent Things, Patrick Rothfuss


Kate Ristau is an author and folklorist. She writes young adult and middle grade fiction, along with grammar primers that won’t make you cringe. In her ideal world, magic and myth combine to create memorable stories with unforgettable characters. Until she finds that world, she'll live in Portland, Oregon with her husband, her son, and her dog. If you can’t find her there, you can find her at

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Áine lives in the light, but she is haunted by darkness, and when her fey powers blaze out of control, she escapes into the Shadowlands. But she cannot outrun her past. Fire fey and a rising darkness threaten the light, burning a path across the veil. Her fiery dreams come to life, and with the help of Hennessy, an uninhibited Irish girl, Áine dives into the flames to discover who she truly is. Her mother burned to keep her secret safe, and now Áine wields the deadly Eta. She must learn to fight in the shadows — or die in the flames. This is not a fairy tale.


Áine dug her feet into the ground, gathered her strength, and then burst through the undergrowth. She tore through the tree line and dashed toward the back door of the building. A light suddenly flashed in front of her, and before she could stop her- self, she crashed into a short girl holding the flame. They fell to the ground, and Áine wrestled the fire out of her hands, afraid they were both going to get burned. She rolled off the girl, then grabbed the edge of her cloak and beat down the flames. 
“You idiot!” the girl yelled. “What are you doing to my phone?” 
The girl reached over and tapped the blazing light, mumbling anxiously, and the color of the fire shifted under her fingers. 
Aunt Eri had warned Áine about this strange magic. Eri said that the Shadows had harnessed the power of the sun. No one re- ally knew for sure, as few fey had made the Crossing since then. But now Áine saw this girl—her own age—holding cold fire in her hands, and her heart raced, afraid of what other magic the girl might know, and of what she could do. 
“What’s wrong with you, freak show?” the girl asked. “Why are you attacking my phone?” 
Áine could barely understand what the girl was saying. Her accent was thick and blended, mixed with phrases Áine had never heard before. 
“Hello?” she shouted, waving her hands in front of Áine’s face. “Earth to weird girl. Seriously, what’s wrong with you?” 
“Nothing,” Áine said. “I’m sorry—I didn’t mean to attack I have never seen—” 
“You’ve never seen a phone before? Oh my God, where are you even from? Mars or something? Seriously, you run out of the woods like David Beckham and clobber me and then you’re all like you’ve never even seen a phone before?” 
When the girl stopped for a breath, Áine said, “I didn’t mean I’ve never seen one before. I just meant I have never seen one like that before—” 
“An iPhone? God, you must be from Mars. Or maybe Cork or something.” The girl suddenly lightened up and smiled. “My name’s Hennessy, by the way. Yes, like the cognac; my da thought it was sooo funny. What’s your name?” 
“No, Áine.”
“On-ya. Good. That’s so much better than Tonya. How awful 
would it be to be stuck with that name? I like Hennessy myself, and Áine’s good too.” Hennessy smiled, grabbed a tie out of her back pocket, and pulled her jet-black hair back into a ponytail. She wore a tight, short black shirt that said “The Eolian” on it. She wasn’t wearing a cloak, and she wore strange pantaloons with lots of pockets. “Where the hell is Tom?” she said. “He was sup- posed to meet me here after my shift. I’ve already been outside for like twenty minutes. He probably forgot. He always does this. You going in?” 
“Yes, inside, dimwit. Into the pub. You don’t have to. You can stay out here with me. If you want to. I’m kind of starting to like you. Can’t imagine why. Maybe it’s the cloak. So vintage. But the scarf—or whatever that is—has got to go. You’re cute, though. Quiet, but nice. Except for when you tackled me.” She laughed hard, and Áine couldn’t help but smile. The girl’s energy rubbed off on her. 
After a moment, Hennessy quieted down and stared into the blazing light of her phone again. Áine glanced back toward the edge of the forest, looking for any sign of the Guardian. The forest was dark and quiet. 
“Do you know how to get to the ferry?” Áine asked. 
“Those are the most words you’ve ever said to me.” Hennessy laughed and put her phone in her pocket. “And talk about ran- dom. You mean the Aran Islands?” 
“I’m going to Inis Thiar.” 
“You mean Inisheer. It’s one of the Aran Islands. Only old people call it Inis Thiar. And you’re not old. The ferry’s over in Rossaveel by my house.” She pulled out her phone again, tapped it, then suddenly shoved it back in her pocket. “Screw Tom. I can take you there if you want. It’s only about ten minutes away, but it would take you a couple of hours to walk it. I’ll give you a ride.” 
Áine remembered what Ciaran had said: Shadows can’t be trusted. They’re liars. Thieves. Murderers. She shook her head no. “Oh, shut up. It’s not that big of a deal. And Tom’s pissing me off. Come on. I don’t wanna go back in there, and I really don’t want him to think I’ve got nothing better to do than sit around the 
pub and wait on him all night.”
Áine heard a tree branch snap, and her head whipped back 
toward the forest. Branches rustled, and she caught the gleam of an eye. Two eyes. Had Ciaran followed her? She told him not to— wait—four eyes. Six. No—eight. 
“What is that?” Áine whispered.
“Nothing. I really have to go. Thank you for the help.” “What? You’re leaving now? Like, right now?”
A loud crash sounded through the forest, and then a scream, 
like the very trees were being torn apart. A crow burst out of the darkness, and then another. Áine had only ever seen crows in her schoolbooks, with their long black feathers and sharp pointed beaks, but she knew what they were. Traitors. Come back from the Hetherlands. 
“We need to go!” Áine yelled as she grabbed Hennessy’s hand and pulled her toward the side of the building. “Now!” 
“What’s going on?” Hennessy asked as she stumbled after Áine. “What’s with those birds?” 
Áine turned back and saw a dark swarm crashing through the forest. The light from the tavern gleamed on their sleek feathers; they barreled toward her with unnatural speed. Áine yanked on Hennessy, trying to get her to run faster. “Come on! We have to get out of here!” 
Áine’s words jolted Hennessy back to life, and she let go of Áine’s hand and broke into a full sprint. “Come on—I’ll take you!” Hennessy yelled over her shoulder. 
The crow’s wings beat against her back as she ran after Hen- nessy. It clawed at her sleeve, tearing her shirt, and a wave of pain rolled through her as she whacked it into a tree. She glanced down at her arm and her stomach churned. The crow had scratched its way down her arm in a fury of pain and red. 
Red. Blood. Everywhere. 
Her foot stuck something hard. She stumbled, but caught her- self before she hit the ground. Blood. Blood. Dripping down her fingers. She shook her head and jumped back to her feet, running toward the front of the tavern, trying to not even think about— 
She ground to a halt, her breath catching in her throat. Beasts. Everywhere.
“Why are you stopping?” Hennessy grabbed Áine’s arm and 
pulled her toward a bright white beast. Its eyes flashed red, and then it cheeped loudly. 
Áine recoiled, but Hennessy wasn’t afraid: she shoved Áine toward the beast and yelled, “Get in the car!” 
“No!” Áine yelled. She turned to run from the beast just as several crows swooped down, ripping at Hennessy’s hair with their long black claws. Áine swung her heavysack at the incom- ing birds, knocking several to the ground. Hennessy flailed wildly at the crows, pushing them out of the way as she ran around the beast. She jerked on the beast’s arm and, without stopping, she jumped inside it. 
“Stop!” Áine screamed. “Let her go!” She pounded on the beast with her fists, but it was hard as iron, and she left smears of blood with every punch. The beast roared in response, but that didn’t stop her. She had to get Hennessy back. She slammed her body into the beast and a beam of light suddenly lit up the night. Áine turned to see a man, dressed in a long black cloak with a hood, standing by the tavern door. The ground turned to ash around his feet and smoke poured from his fingertips. She could almost taste his repulsive sulfur smell. His piercing red eyes glowed from beneath the shadow of his hood and the moment she caught sight of them, she was transfixed. 
Fire. Flames. His pale white hands wrapping around her throat, his long nails scraping away at her skin—