Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Buried Threads by Kaylin McFarren Virtual Book Tour Highlights

It's so sad to see our authors go, but in tribute we do a recap of the highlights of their blog tour with us at Pump Up Your Book.  Today we're highlighting Kaylin McFarren and her Buried Threads Virtual Book Publicity Tour.

About the Author:

Kaylin McFarren is a California native who has enjoyed traveling around the world. She previously worked as director for a fine art gallery, where she helped foster the careers of
various artists before feeling the urge to satisfy her won creative impulses.

Since launching her writing career, McFarren has earned more than a dozen literary awards in addition to a finalist spot in the 2008 RWA Golden Heart Contest. A member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers, she also lends her participation and support to various charitable and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest. 
McFarren currently lives with her husband in Oregon. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Her latest book is Buried Threads (Book 2 of the Threads series).

Visit her website at www.kaylinmcfarren.com.

About the Book:

Rachel’s mouth sagged. “You mean you’re really a monk? But how’s that possible? You’re not even wearing a robe, and your hair…” 

He simply smiled.

 A disturbing prophecy sends a treasure hunting duo on an urgent race to rescue a country in Kaylin McFarren’s heart pounding new novel,  Buried Threads. Full of erotic suspense and wild adventures, this is one trip that readers will never forget!

Rachel Lyons and Chase Cohen work together as the successful owners of a treasure hunting company. But a seemingly simply assignment – to track down a priceless gem that is believed to buried in a shipwreck deep within the Sea of Japan – takes a starling, and dangerous, turn.

Faced with a monk’s dark prophecy that a natural disaster will soon strike Japan, killing millions, Rachel and Chase must embark on the mission of a lifetime in order to uncover the three cursed samurai swords that can avert the catastrophe.

Chaos ensues as their adventure takes them from shark infested waters and creepy caves to haunted hidden tombs and a confrontation with Yakuza gang members.

Time is running out as the prophecy’s day of reckoning draws near. Will Rachel and Chase succeed before disaster strikes?

Purchase at AMAZON

When I was a teenager going out on dates, I remember in every movie there was always an obligatory love scene – whether it was relevant to the story or not. This became a great opportunity to hit the candy counter, eventually returning with two cokes and an enormous bucket of popcorn. Looking back, I find myself wondering exactly why this would happen. Was it just that boys weren’t interested in love?

-- Guest Blogging at The Book Faery Reviews

Although I’m a relatively new author when it comes to writing romantic suspense, one suggestion that immediately comes to mind for fellow authors is to begin your story by stating what’s at stake while providing a glimpse at the challenges your hero or heroine are forced to overcome. I love a good mystery and have discovered that mystery authors tend to be more closed mouth and secretive about ultimate sacrifices and goals in their stories. Suspense authors, on the other hand, risk giving too much away by divulging all the elements of their stories way too early, which makes writing in this particular genre a bit of a balancing act.

-- Confessions of a Reader 

Remember to show, don't tell! I’ve heard this over and over again and it is the most common mistake among new writers. The fewer blocks of description or passive writing you include, the better. Avoid "info dumps" where you include sections of  research information and background details you might consider important. This will only serve one purpose: bringing your story to a screeching halt and turning it into a boring textbook. Instead, focus on current events or the overall point of your storyby including realistic dialogue and fun, action-packed scenes.

-- Guest Blogging at Acting Balanced 

Every book of fiction has a pivotal point for the reader that they can’t forget. What do you think is one of the pivotal points in your book?

Kaylin: I believe this occurs when Rachel convinces Chase to put aside his fears and keep going when he's almost killed by a swinging blade in a ghastly cave. Rachel's dedication pushes her to succeed and her growth is tremendous when compared to her original character flaws.
--Interviewed at PUYB Virtual Book Club
Personally, I think writers struggle to define success because there’s always another hill to climb, another obstacle to overcome. The first time I ever experienced a taste of real success was when I received my first piece of fan mail. The note was kind and generous with compliments, but it was also the first time I ever felt appreciated for something I wrote (other than the Mother’s Day poem my Mom loved when I was twelve). That was a great feeling and one that gave me a sense of what true success means to a writer.

-- Interview at Blogcritics 

For more than forty years, I’ve been fascinated with the arts and culture of Japan and have been fortunate in being able to travel across Asian with my family on numerous trips. Due to my husband’s business interests and roots stemming from Japan, I’ve had the remarkable opportunity to develop personal, long-term relationships with Asian shipping agents, politicians, company executives, sword masters, puppeteers, religious leaders and talented geikos and maikos who reside and perform in Kyoto’s Gion District. But to be honest, my fascination with the Japanese underworld truly inspired me to write this story.

--Interview at Bound by Passion

When trying to define true erotica, I’ve learned it’s nearly impossible to come up with an accurate or complete answer. This genre flows like a river, branching out into suspense, mystery, fantasy, science fiction and paranormal along the way. For some, erotica is a genre of its own. It’s not necessarily filled with explicit sex, although it might be laced with sexual imagery and language. And like romance, it quite often depends on sexual tension. In addition, it’s far removed from pornography, since the story within the book canstand alone despite sexual overtones. Erotica can also feature a vast range of explicitness, types of sex and even how frequent it appears on paper. As a result, publishers and division such as Ellora’s Cave and Brava utilize a ranking or rating system to better prepare readers for what’s waiting under the covers.

-- Guest Blogging at Sarah Ballance

Well developed characters, different points of view and a more than fair introduction into the Japanese culture, make this a page turning read.  Adding just the right touch of romance, and plenty of descriptions of the world in which the story takes place, Ms. McFarren’s book captivated me on an almost visual level.

-- Reviewed at Queen of the Night Reviews

The story is a smattering of suspense, romance, mystery, and a thriller. I loved that! There is legit something here for everyone to enjoy. There's also a little bit of a paranormal kind of angle with a character that was entirely awesome!

-- Reviewed at Must Read Faster

Excellent story, quick moving, dramatic, twists and turns you will not see coming, some hot and steamy scenes (definitely not for the under 18 set), it was just a very enjoyable read.
-- Reviewed at Not Everyone's Mama 

BURIED THREADS is an extremely well written novel that is classified as “romantic suspense.”  I found it to have more action and mystery than romance.  It’s a sequel to  SEVERED THREADS, but is definitely a stand alone novel.  Kaylin McFarren’s writing style is smoothly flowing, allowing the reader to become immersed through vivid descriptions.  I found the treasure hunting adventures to be very intriguing.  The romance is “hot” but is woven into the story in a way that doesn’t overtake the mystery and action.  I greatly enjoyed this book and it was hard to put down.  I will be reading more books by Kaylin McFarren.

-- My Book Addiction Reviews

This book will truly take you on a journey like no other. Everything from goblin sharks to reincarnation with mystery, suspense, mystical elements and some very steamy romance. There is no way you can't find something to love with this book. I am so in love. I can't wait to dive (no pun intended) more into this world with the first book and book three. Don't go into this expecting you are going to have things figured out. You won't have any idea until the very end. Highly recommend this read and it is definitely a favorite for 2013. 

--Offbeat Vagabond

Friday, December 13, 2013

PUYB Virtual Book Club Q&A with Young Adult Fantasy 'The Flight of the Griffin' C.M. Gray

C.M. Gray is here at the book club today to talk about his new young adult fantasy The Flight of the Griffin!

More about C.M. Griffin:
Born in England, C.M. Gray spent most of his youth growing up in the Essex countryside. A beautiful part of England, close to the Suffolk border, but he was born with the need to expand his horizons, so as soon as he could get a passport at the age of just seventeen he packed a backpack and went exploring!

A slightly risky decision, and one his parents were not too taken with, yet a number of years later he is still traveling…. but with a slightly larger bag. Over the years, C.M.Gray has been lucky enough to live and travel in many many parts of the world, met some incredible people and experienced some amazing places. In fact, he has now lived for more years outside of England than he ever spent living there – It is, after all, a very big and exciting world!

During his journey he worked and trained as a carpenter and a house restorer… picked more types of fruit over the years than he knew existed – from grapes in France to avocados in Israel. After living in Israel for a year, he was lucky enough to be invited to travel with the Bedouin in the Sanai desert for several months and then moved on travelled around India and then called a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayan Mountains home. A short while later he had changed tact, bought a suit and did a stint as a stock broker in the clamor of central Hong Kong.

To celebrate the millennium he traveled back to Europe, then found and restored an old farmhouse in deep rural Burgundy, France… but then looked to the open road and spent an number of years in Amsterdam… but the winters were cold so he went south again in search of the sun.

Always vowing to return and sink some roots back in English soil… he hasn’t quite got there yet, but maybe someday, it seems there are just too many interesting places out there to see first! He does, however, live a little closer to England now, just outside of Barcelona in Northern Spain, in the middle of the forest with his dogs and two wonderful children, he claims the Pyrenean mountains and forests of northern Spain are a great place to write and let his mind do the traveling.

As you will have noticed, his writing is mostly fantasy and he says that many of his experiences in Asia, India, Africa and the Middle East come to life in his writing. He has seen and done some pretty strange things on his travels, and bumped into some amazing characters, so writing fantasy is almost like writing fact for him… you just wouldn’t believe it if he presented it as fact – there are people and things out there in this world of ours that would simply amaze you!

His latest book is the mystery/thriller The Flight of the  Griffin.

To explore his life and writing more, please visit his webpage and blog at https://author-cmgray.blogspot.com

About The Flight of the Griffin:

The Kingdom is dying… 

The Darkness is coming… the balance between Order and Chaos is rapidly shifting and the world is falling towards evil and horror, and all misery that Chaos will bring. 

But there is hope… 

Pardigan’s had enough, he’s only 12, but he’s breaking into the home of one of Freya's richest merchants... and he’s doing it tonight… 

A burglary that will change their lives forever sets four friends upon a quest, a race against time, to locate three magical objects and complete an ancient and desperate spell. 

Sailing their boat The Griffin, the crew are quickly pursued by The Hawk, an evil bounty hunter and master of dark sorcery, and Belial, King of Demons and champion of Chaos who seeks to rule the world of man… yet first he must capture the crew of The Griffin and end their quest… 

Purchase your copy at AMAZON US or AMAZON UK

Thanks for coming to the book club today, Chris!  Before we begin the interview, I have to ask.  Who made that beautiful cover?

Chris: It really is awesome isn’t it! I’m thrilled, it really completes all the hard work it took to write and edit the story. The wonderful cover for The Flight of the Griffin was made by a very good friend of mine, a very talented graphic designer, Adriana Haganu. I struggled for ages trying to find a good cover and came up with several on my own, but they just didn’t scream PICK ME UP AND READ ME… which is what a good cover is meant to do! I looked around the web and saw some good designers, but they were either far too expensive for this poor old indie author, or they all seemed to specialise in the Romance genre. Covers with beautiful girls or young men naked to the chest! Adriana came up with this fantastic fantasy cover that has elements
from the story and is an amazing work of art, I absolutely love it, I hope you do too!

How did you get into the YA genre and do you think writing for young adults as a male adult has any drawbacks?

Chris: Okay, well firstly, I think there is a whole world of confusion with the genre YA. For so many people now YA means young love, eyes meeting across a room and moments filled with passionate embraces, but that of course is romance. I don’t write romance, I write fantasy books set in fantastical times. Adventures where clues are followed and demons walk the pages. I’m found in the Young Adult genre because The Flight of the Griffin doesn’t contain graphic violence, no steamy sex scenes and my characters don’t scream profanities at each other! The Flight of the Griffin is a great read for all ages. Young Adults as old as seventy read my books, and I know that because I get emails from readers of all ages, right up to seventy years old so far!

Being a male writer offering stories to younger readers? Why no, it’s great. My readers aren’t going to read about smouldering looks and heartfelt love, but they will read of smouldering dragons and burning ships! There are amazing male writers that, like me, offer stories to all ages. It hasn’t been a problem for Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) Rick Riordan with his Golden Compass Trilogy or Phillip Pullman and his Percy Jackson books!

Who is your main character and would you like to tell us more about him/her?

Chris: The main characters, for there are four of them, are the crew of the small sailing ship The Griffin. Pardigan is twelve and he’s the one that gets them all into trouble all the time. He has, as we say in the UK, sticky fingers… he’s a thief! Tarent and Quint are both fifteen, they do all the sailing of the boat and try to keep them all from starving, and the youngest member of the crew is Loras. Loras is the studious member one the group and can always be found with his nose in a book or gazing up at the stars. In the early part of the book a little magic takes place and transforms them as they set out on their quest. The other protagonist on the side of The Griffin crew is a girl called Mahra… she is a little older than the boys, just a bit, and acts as their guide on their quest, Mahra has some really interesting talents. So many girls that read The Flight of the Griffin and email me saying they love Mahra! My daughter, aged eight, has already requested the part should it ever get put into film!

What about secondary characters?  Would you like to introduce them?

Chris: The antagonists in The Flight of the Griffin centre around just a few unsavoury characters. Our story begins when Pardigan decides to break into the house of one of the cities wealthiest merchants, Bartholomew Bask. Bartholomew, a rather rotund and older gentleman, and I use the term gentlemen rather lightly, and he is, of course, justifiably furious that his valuables have been pilfered. He hires a very nasty bounty hunter, Matheus Hawk (The Hawk) and together they take off in pursuit of the thieves. The characters of Bartholomew and Matheus are a joy to write and are in some of the best parts of the book, I love writing their parts. They are truly awful people and view the world in totally self-centred ways - you are going to love hating them!

Every book of fiction has a pivotal point for the reader that they can’t forget.  What do you think is one of the pivotal points in your book?

Chris: Okay, well without giving too much away, the story is set about the crew’s quest to unite three magical objects. The second of these objects is supposed to be somewhere on an Island called Minster. After sailing there and leaving their boat in the harbour, they travel inland and visit an isolated race of people in search of their item. As they later try to leave the island, the antagonists are closing in. A host of demons have already made one vicious attack and are closing in again, whilst unbeknownst to the crew, Bartholomew Bask and Matheus Hawk are awaiting them close to their boat back in the harbour. The way ahead for the crew is unclear and the reader just cannot see how they will be able to move on in search of the third and final item, our pivotal moment comes as they make their attempt at escape.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell your readers?

Chris: I would like to thank you for reading this interview and thanks so much to you, Dorothy for having me here today. I would also like to say whether you are a reader or a writer, stretch the limits of your passion, search the winds of your mind for the edges of your imagination and enjoy the enchanted worlds authors of every genre try to create; reading and writing are awesome. Oh, and I hope you will join the crew of The Griffin on their quest, they are going to need all the help they can get!

Friday, December 6, 2013

PUYB Virtual Book Club Q&A: Interview with Jo Kessel, author of 'Weak at the Knees'

We welcome Jo Kessel to PUYB Virtual Book Club!  Jo is here today to talk about her new book, Weak at the Knees.

Here's what Weak at the Knees is all about:

We got so busy living life that we forgot to live our dreams.”

Danni Lewis has been playing it safe for twenty-six years, but her sheltered existence is making her feel old ahead of time. When a sudden death plunges her into a spiral of grief, she throws caution to the wind and runs away to France in search of a new beginning.

The moment ski instructor Olivier du Pape enters her shattered world she falls hard, in more ways than one.

Their mutual desire is as powerful and seductive as the mountains around them. His dark gypsy looks and piercing blue eyes are irresistible.

Only she must resist, because he has a wife – and she’d made a pact to never get involved with a married man.

But how do you choose between keeping your word and being true to your soul?

Weak at the Knees is Jo’s debut novel in the new adult, contemporary romance genre – a story of love and loss set between London and the heart of the French Alps.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON US or AMAZON UK

Thanks for coming to the book club today, Jo!  I have to admit – new adult fiction has taken off with a bang.  Why did you decide to write new adult fiction?

Jo: I think of ‘new adult’ as covering quite a broad age span, from 18yrs – 30yrs even. This is such an exciting time in a person’s life. It’s when there are infinite possibilities and a myriad of different paths to take and choices to make. This marks the beginning of our adult journey which I find a very powerful, pivotal and emotive period to write about, full of angst and dilemmas. I also think it has a very broad appeal for readers. Anyone from 18+ will either reminisce or relate as they read.  

You chose the French Alps as your setting. Have you ever been there and why the French Alps?

Jo: Yes, I worked for a couple of years as a ski guide in the French Alps, doing pretty much the same job as Danni Lewis (the heroine of Weak at the Knees) does in the book. I’ve always been a big fan of France, but it was the mountains where I worked which really struck me. I found them so powerful and dramatic – a silent, powerful force of nature. I think of them as sleeping giants who watch and observe everything going on. Ohhhh, and they know everything. They’ve seen it all before. I’m telling you, if mountains could speak………………….they would hold a billion secrets.

Who is your main character and would you like to tell us more about him/her?

Jo: Danni Lewis is our heroine. She’s very real and relatable to. She’s been stuck in a long, stable (and a bit boring) relationship with boyfriend Hugo, when her life is struck by tragedy. And it’s this tragedy/death which forces her to re-evaluate her life and be brave. She makes the decision to leave everything she’s always known behind and flee to France, to try to follow her dreams. It’s here that she meets sexy French ski instructor Olivier. Cue a romance filled with new adult angst and drama – because nothing in this period of a person’s life is straightforward.  

What about secondary characters?  Would you like to introduce them?

Jo: Danni has a couple of girlie friends (Amber and Gina) who act as her moral barometer/conscience. And she also has a few very important men around her. Most important are her long-standing boyfriend Hugo and the man she falls head over heels for: Olivier. Both of them have a lot going for them, but they are so completely different to each other. 
There are a couple of hotties in the supporting cast too. There’s Michel, Olivier’s brother, whose feelings for Danni are completely unrequited. And there’s Australian stud Rod, who injects a lot of humor into the story.  

Every book of fiction has a pivotal point for the reader that they can’t forget.  What do you think is one of the pivotal points in your book? 

Jo: I think the pivotal point in Weak at the Knees is *spoiler alert* when the person close to Danni dies. Tissues when reading are very necessary. There are a few very raw, emotional scenes.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell your readers?

Jo: If you’re looking to go on holiday this Christmas, Weak at the Knees is your ticket. It will cost a fraction of the real thing, but you’ll still feel as if you’ve been to France. Ooh, and the French smexy time is well worth immersing yourself in too.