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I Belong

Fall Carnival: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

October 2nd, 2014 @ 12:05 am
Posted by Kristie under Fall Carnival Tags: Dark Caravan Cycle Series, Exquisite Captive, Fantasy, Heather Demetrios, Young Adult

Fall Carnival Event

Would you be interested in purchasing a Jinni? We currently have a few for sale from the Dark Caravan.  The jinn are from Arjinna, a world full of magical powers and home to all different types of jinn. Each jinni  has a power associated with one of the four elements: earth, air, water, and fire. There is one type of jinni known as the Ghan Aisouri that has the ability to control all the elements, but their entire race was recently destroyed.  There have been rumors that one may have survived, but no one knows for sure.

For the right price you can purchase your own personal jinni, who will grant you three wishes.  There are a few limits to what the wishes can be, but for the most part you can wish for whatever your heart desires.  To vouch for our product today we have invited a very satisfied customer of ours.  Malek Alzahabi purchased one of our most powerful jinn to ever come to earth. Nalia has served him well and he has agreed to tell us a little bit about himself and his jinni.

Exquisite Captive

*Enter to win a copy of Exquisite Captive at the end of this post*

*Don’t forget to enter the grand giveaway for your chance to win 2 books featured during the Fall Carnival Event!!! Click HERE for your chance to win!*


DFT: Thank you so much for taking time out of your extremely busy schedule to sit down with us today! To start things off would you please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be the rich and devastatingly handsome man you are today?

Malek Alzahabi: Well that’s a marvelous introduction, isn’t it? Flattery will get you everywhere. That being said, I hate to disappoint you, but I’m not in the habit of sharing my secrets. I’m rich because I’m a good businessman. Of course, having a jinni doesn’t hurt. And the handsome part—I certainly can’t take credit for that.

DFT: You have currently been granted two out of your three wishes. Would you mind telling us about the two wishes you made and if you were satisfied with the results?

Malek: Sorry—I don’t kiss and tell. But I will say this: I am quite satisfied with my first two wishes.

DFT: I know that at times you struggle to control your temper and you end up doing things you later regret.  Do you constantly have an inner battle going on inside you or are there moments when your inner monster is tamer?

Malek:  Inner monster? Hmmm. I’m not sure how I feel about that phrase. Though it makes me sound dangerous, doesn’t it? Nalia would agree with the terminology used, of course. I admit that I have anger issues, but that’s more from the traffic in LA than anything else. And I do have my regrets—though they’re none of your business.

DFT: When you purchased Nalia did you have any idea how truly powerful she was? Did she seem any different than the other jinn you had encountered previously?

Malek:  The slave trader certainly charged me enough for her! If she hadn’t been as powerful as he promised, you better believe he would have been dead within the week. Luckily for him, Nalia more than met my expectations. She exceeded them. I don’t make a habit of socializing with jinn, but from the ones I’ve come in contact with—yes. You can’t deny she’s exceptional among her race.

DFT: I know at first your relationship with Nalia was rough, but after a while you started to develop feelings for her. What was the first thing that made you start to see her differently?  What do you think is her best trait?

Malek:  My, my you certainly aren’t afraid to get personal, are you? I’m feeling generous, so I’ll answer your question. The first thing that made me start to see her differently happened at one of my parties about a year ago. You’ll hear all about it soon enough, I’m sure. I think her best trait is her ferocity. She’s not afraid of a damn thing and she’ll fight for what she wants, tooth and nail.

Exquisite Captive

DFT: In your life you have done a lot of awful things to get to where you are today.  Do you have any regrets from your past that if given the opportunity you would want to go back and change?

Malek:  Well, “awful” is relative, now isn’t it? Regrets—well, I’ve lived long enough to accumulate them. No, I’m not a vampire, if that’s what you’re thinking. But I certainly won’t tell you my anti-aging secrets. Back to your question: I have one regret. Just one. And nobody—especially Nalia—will ever know what it is. Next question.

DFT: You have accomplished much while on this earth, but to my knowledge you have never visited the land of Arjinna. Have you ever considered visiting there and seeing where the jinn are from?

Malek:  Why would I want to go to some backwoods place like that? Listen, Arjinna is a war zone. Stepping foot through that portal is a death wish. Besides, they don’t have cell service and they’ve never heard of absinthe, caviar, or Ferraris. I’m fine right where I am.

DFT: I know that you are pretty secretive about your past for the most part, but it sounds like you had a good relationship with your mother.  I think that is really sweet and was wondering if you could tell us some of your traits that you inherited from her?

Malek:  My mother was a saint. She was good through and through. Clearly I am neither of those things. The only trait I share with her is blood. And her eyes. Everyone always said I have her eyes. What my father put her through…let’s just say that he’s lucky I never found him.

DFT: Being a man of great wealth and means has allowed you to live a very comfortable life. But that doesn’t mean you have lived a happy one.  What is the one thing that you think would bring you true happiness?

Malek:  I only figured that out recently: Nalia. Spending the rest of my life with her. But I have a backup plan.

DFT: Even after everything that has happened do you still think you have a shot at winning Nalia’s heart?

Malek:  I’m arguably the most powerful man on Earth—what do you think?

DFT: For this last question I wanted to ask a fun carnival themed one. If you were to return to your childhood self and were able to attend a carnival what do you think would have been your favorite ride?

Malek:  We didn’t have carnivals where I grew up. We had camels, snake charmers, and jinn that haunted the deserts. I have no idea what rides are at a carnival, but I suppose I would have wanted to go on something fast. Something that could have gotten me killed.


Heather DemetriosAbout Heather:

When she’s not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real, which Publisher’s Weekly calls “[An] addictive yet thoughtful debut” about reality TV stardom. Sheis the author of the upcoming EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN fantasy), as well as I’ll Meet You There. Coming from Macmillan in Winter 2015, I’ll Meet You There is a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. Heather is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for underserved youth. She is proud to have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can always find her on Twitter (@HDemetrios), ogling the military dogs she wants to adopt (but can’t because her NYC apartment is way too small). See more HERE.

You can visit Heather around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Heather Demetrios?

Something RealExquisite Captive (Dark Car...I'll Meet You There



This giveaway is provided by HarperTeen!

One lucky reader will win a copy of Exquisite Captive
(US only)

Exquisite Captive

Available October 7, 2014 from HarperTeen

About this Book:

Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Fall Carnival: The Game of Boys & Monsters by Rachel Wilson

October 1st, 2014 @ 12:05 am
Posted by Kristie under Fall Carnival Tags: Paranormal, Rachel M. Wilson, The Game of Boys and Monsters, Young Adult

Fall Carnival Event

What do you say we play a game? Have you ever been in a relationship where your boyfriend was super good looking but he had a dangerous side to him. A side that could potentially be very harmful to you if he decided to snap and take it out on you? Everyone has a dark side but some contain it better then others. For our fun game today we decided that everyone falls into two separate categories: Vampires or Werewolves! We picked out some of our favorite celebrities and discuss why we think they are a vampire or a werewolf!!!

Fall Carnival Event-001

*Don’t forget to enter the grand giveaway for your chance to win 2 books featured during the Fall Carnival Event!!! Click HERE for your chance to win!*


In “The Game of Boys and Monsters,” Evy says to Les, “Okay, so here’s the game … Every guy is either a vampire or a werewolf. Our job is to decide which.”

The story explores my mixed feelings about monster boyfriends—on the one hand, they’re compelling and fun. On the other, there’s something … uncomfortable to say the least about romance with a guy who might at any moment snap and kill you.

For the Dark Faerie Carnival Tour, we decided to apply Evy’s game to celebs. Because I’d feel awkward poring over photos of young male celebrities alone, I asked a few writing retreat friends to help me. Many thanks to Steve Bramucci, Mary Winn Heider, and Rachel Hylton.

Now, you might be asking, is it really fair to classify these young men as one of two brands of monster based on some whimsical assessment? Is it fair to vampires and werewolves to suggest that their mythic natures can be fully captured by young Hollywood? I mean, probably not. But the merit of the game is questioned in the story. Evy says we shouldn’t let that spoil our fun.

The Game of Boys and Monsters

So here’s the game . . .

Each of these celebrities is either a vampire or werewolf. According to Evy, physical traits are less important than essence. Just because a guy is hairy doesn’t mean he’s a werewolf, and playing a vamp on TV doesn’t make a guy a vamp in real life.

Yes, I’m aware how that sounds. I’ve made my picks with a little help from my friends. Let me know yours in the comments!

First off, The Hunger Games guys . . .

Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson

Liam HemsworthJosh Hutcherson

This might come as a shock since we’re used to vamps and werewolves being pitted against each other, but The Hunger Games has TWO werewolves. Different breeds of wolf, but wolf nonetheless. Maybe this has something to do with them both spending so much of the Games out in nature. To my mind, Hutcherson is more of a werepup, while Steve could hear Hemsworth saying, “Bro, I just want to party. It’s not my fault it’s a full moon.”

Ansel Elgort

Ansel Elgort

Elgort was hard to decide on. We all agreed with Mary Winn that “He’s new at whatever he is.” I vote vampire, though, because I could see him being manipulative . . . in an adorable way! Okay? Okay.

Matthew Lewis aka Neville

Matthew Lewis

Despite the long face, which makes me want to say vamp, there’s a certain purity about him that makes me vote werewolf. Either way, kudos to Lewis for pulling it together. Steve says “10 points Griffindor.”

Ian Somerhalder

Ian Somerhalder

We had to put at least one plays-a-vamp-on-TV in the mix. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that despite his excellent fangwork on TVD, Somerhalder is a WOLF. He’s certainly the wolfier in his vamp brother pair, plus I refuse to believe he’s coldblooded.

Tristan Wilds

Tristan Wilds

He has a certain vulnerability and access to pain that makes me say vamp. You know, the Anne Rice creature-of-conscience kind of vamp? Yeah.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon Levitt

My take was that “he would like you to think he’s a werewolf, but he’s actually a vampire.” Steve’s take: “He’s a vampire who drives around with a fixed wheel bike asking organic farmers if they have blood that was harvested in a consensual way.”

Theo James

Theo James

I don’t have a lot to go on since I’ve yet to see Divergent. The accent makes me lean vamp, but he looks honest. I vote werewolf.

Harry Styles

Harry Styles

Mary Winn: “He’s a teen wolf.”

Steve: “He’s a preteen wolf.”

All agreed.

And finally, the much-beloved Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch

I could see him rocking a widow’s peak and a cape. My sister would insist he’s a were-otter. Apologies to Evy, but I don’t think Cumberbatch can be hemmed in by the rules of this game, so I hereby declare him neither vampire nor werewolf, but WARLOCK. Deal with it.


Rachel M WilsonAbout Rachel:

Rachel M. Wilson recently debuted as the author of Don’t Touch from HarperTeen. She dips her toes into the horror genre this October with “The Game of Boys and Monsters,” an eerie and utterly compelling short story about best friends Leslie and Evy, whose friendship changes when the enigmatic Marsh brothers move to town. Rachel writes, acts, teaches, and dreams about monsters in Chicago, IL.

You can visit Rachel around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Rachel Wilson?

The Game of Boys and Monste...Don't Touch


The Game of Boys and Monsters

Available October 7, 2014 from HarperTeen

About this Book:

From Rachel M. Wilson, author of Don’t Touch, comes an eerie and utterly compelling short story about best friends Leslie and Evy, whose friendship changes when the enigmatic Marsh brothers move to town.

Pre-Order from


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Fall Carnival: Firebug by Lish McBride

September 30th, 2014 @ 12:05 am
Posted by Kristie under Fall Carnival Tags: Firebug, Firebug Series, Lish McBride, Paranormal, Young Adult

Fall Carnival Event

We have a very special treat for you today. Have you ever seen a fire juggler? The way they can manipulate fire and the amazing way they display their talents can be mesmerizing. But I can promise you that all fire handlers you have seen in the past are nothing compared to ours.  You see Ava here can start fires with her mind.  She has complete control over what the fire does and she can put on quite a show if she wants.  Now I do need to warn you that in her past Ava hasn’t always used her skills to entertain people. There was one time in her life where she did use it to hurt or more specifically kill others, but don’t worry she has promised that she will behave.  But just to be on the safe side I wouldn’t make her mad.

In Ava’s story there was a time where her and some of her closest friends thought about running away and joining a circus but we convinced her that joining a carnival would be a lot more fun so she’s here to answer a couple of questions for us!


*Don’t forget to enter the grand giveaway for your chance to win 2 books featured during the Fall Carnival Event!!! Click HERE for your chance to win!*


DFT: Hi Ava thanks for joining us today.  Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself and your very special ability?

Ava: Mind telling you about my super-secret ability that makes people want to hunt me down and kill me? Or even better, sell me off to the highest bidder? Ah, thanks but no thanks. As far as everyone is concerned, I’m just like any other seventeen-year-old girl that lives in a small town and works in a used bookshop. I vehemently deny any wildly bizarre accusations that I can start fires with my mind or that I work for some sort of supernatural crime family. I mean, c’mon. A magical mafia? Like that’s believable.

DFT: As a firebug contracted by the Coterie you have had to do some things that you would rather not do, but if you refused the consequences were brutal for you and everyone you care about. If given the choice to live your life however you pleased what would you do? Where would you want to live?

Ava: You have a suspiciously large amount of information about me. What is your name? Who have you been talking to? I don’t know this “Coterie” that you speak of. As soon as I figure out some details, I plan on going to college—either online or somewhere close. To be honest, I traveled enough growing up and I prefer to stay close to my guardian, Cade, and my best friends Ezra and Lock.

DFT: Lock is an amazing guy that has the ability to talk and interact with trees.  He is a member of the Coterie as well and has been one of your partners in crime since you joined.  He takes care of you and Ezra and always makes sure you are safe.  He also isn’t the type of person to sugarcoat things and he tells you how it is whether you want to hear it or not.  As of right now I know that you consider Lock as just a friend, but I was wondering if you have ever fantasized about becoming more?

Ava: I’m totally not answering that question. Seriously, who have you been talking to? Is it Ezra? I bet its Ezra. He’s a meddler. Lock is my best friend. That’s it. Friend. Is it hot in here? Can we open a window? I need some air.

DFT: Ezra, the final member of your group, is just one of those guys you can’t help but love!!! With his model good looks and dashing personality it’s hard not to fall for him. He also has the ability to change into a fox which has come in handy a few times when you were on assignments for the Coterie. Out of all of Ezra’s qualities which one is your favorite?

Ava: Ezra is a pain in the…well, something that’s not really fit to print. Sure, he’s pretty and loyal and full of guile, but he’s also obnoxious and he can’t take anything seriously. And full of himself, for sure. But if you ever lock your keys out of your car, he can break into it in less than thirty seconds, and let me tell you, that is a handy skill to have. Also, if you ever lose your wallet, you can just ask him, because he probably has it. Unless you actually lost it, but then he will still probably know where it is. Ezra always knows where my wallet is. Always. He’s also a pretty good shot with a crossbow, which is a skillset I value in a friend.

DFT: Cade is everything you could ever want as a father figure. When he became your guardian after your mother died did you think he would treat you like his own child? Did you ever wonder if you were a unwelcome burden to him?

Ava: The thought never even crossed my mind. I’m sure I am a burden—any dependent can be classified as such. I’m a financial sinkhole, for one. Plus, taking on a teen girl who’s just suffered a trauma and has serious issues? That’s an undertaking, hoss. So yes, I am totally a burden in pretty much every way, but Cade would never, ever consider me one, nor would he treat me that way. I think anyone who’s spent any time with him knows that. Except maybe his parents. Those people are clueless.


DFT: Ryan is your very normal and very human boyfriend that had no idea you were a firebug.  He is cute and charming but there were times when he definitely wasn’t the best boyfriend.  What was it about him that you found so intriguing? Why did you try and date at all when you knew that any type of attachments could be used against you?

Ava: Why try and date? Because I’m not dead. You stay dateless your whole life and see how you like it. And I’m not talking about not getting a date, but refusing to ever go out with people. Saying no to fun. Never holding hands and all that romantic garbage. Even if you know it’s a bad idea, you’ll still do it unless you’re eyeing the priesthood as a future profession. Like any other human, I’m weak when it comes to gooey heart stuff. Yeah, Ryan’s not perfect, but he can be sweet. He’s pretty and funny, and to be honest, it’s not like I have a lot of people breaking down my door for a date. (Ezra would like me to state that I have my lovely personality to thank for that. Ezra can stuff it.)

So Ryan might not be perfect, but he had his upsides. Besides, I live in a small town. Slim pickin’s, you know?

DFT: There’s probably no one in this world that you despise more than Venus.  She is the leader of the Coterie and quite a piece of work.  Between the things she has made you do and the punishments she has inflicted on you it is pretty obvious that she is a cruel person.  Do you think there was ever a time when she felt remorse for her crimes or do you think she is a just a villain at heart?

Ava: If and I want to stress that if, I knew what this Coterie was, or if I acknowledged knowing that the head of such a hypothetical underground crime organization existed, I’m sure I couldn’t speculate on her inner feelings of guilt. I could say that, were I to imagine her childhood, I could easily postulate that she wasn’t born but hatched from under a dark and slimy rock. But since I don’t know what you’re talking about, I can hardly say that she’s a stone-cold psycho, now can I? Nor could I put forth that her sidekick, Owen, is a few monkeys short of a circus, either.

DFT: Having the ability to create fire with your mind can be very dangerous, but I also imagine that it is also a pretty cool talent to have.  What is your favorite part about being a firebug?

Ava: My hot chocolate never goes cold. It’s the little things.

I mean, you know, if such a thing as a firebug were real. Which it totally isn’t.

DFT: If you had the chance to visit a carnival similar to the one we are at today and just enjoy yourself what food would be on the top of your list to try?

Ava: I love fair food. Well, I love food, but especially fair food. Cotton candy? Check. Elephant ears? Yes, please. Carmel apple? Absolutely. I like the classic ones. None of this deep fried soda or anything like that. Freaking weird. I tried a deep fried Oreo once. It was okay. Not my favorite. Also, I went to this one fair where you could get corn. Fair corn is like the unicorn of fair foods. Rare. Majestic. And better with toppings.

Not that I would eat a unicorn. Because that is illegal. Yup. Totally against the law.

Unless you know a guy.

Which I don’t.

DFT: For our last question today I was wondering if you could possibly give us any hints as to what we can expect to see in your stories to come?

Ava: Psh, I don’t know the future. You should go to a seer for that kind of thing. The goods ones aren’t cheap, either. If they charge you any less than a hundred bucks a session, you walk. Anything less than that, you get a crappy future.

As far as my future goals…well, if such a thing as a Coterie exists (and I’m still denying that) then I suspect I would be one of those people that are in for life. Which limits my options to, “Ava, go there, find this person, and make sure they don’t see tomorrow.” I suspect my future adventures would be a lot like that. But hey, I have an elephant ear. I have fair corn. And Lock just bought Ezra some cotton candy so he’ll leave my food alone.

Which means Ezra is going to be hopped up on sugar.

Which means that in about fifteen minutes, this fair is going to get really entertaining. Jeez, Lock—you don’t give a fox sugar. Didn’t we learn that from the great taffy debacle of 2012? This is why we can’t have nice things!


Lish McBride PicAbout Lish:

Lish McBride was raised by wolves in the Pacific Northwest. It rains a lot there, but she likes it anyway. She spent three years away while she got her MFA in fiction from the University of New Orleans, and she liked that too, although the hurricane did leave much of her stuff underwater. Her main goal in going to college was to become a writer so she could wear pajamas pretty much all the time. She currently resides in Seattle, spending most of her time at her day job at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. The rest of her time is divided between writing, reading, volunteering at 826 Seattle, and Twitter, where she either discusses her desire for a nap or her love for kittens. (Occasionally ponies.)

She plays a fierce game of potato hockey, and by “fierce” she of course means that she plays dirty, not that she plays well.

You can visit Lish around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Lish McBride?

Firebug (Firebug, #1)Heads Will Roll (Necromance...Necromancer (Necromancer, #...Hold Me Closer, Necromancer...Necromancing the Stone (Nec...



Available September 23, 2014 from Henry Holt and Co/Macmillan

About this Book:

Ava is a firebug—she can start fires with her mind. Which would all be well and good if she weren’t caught in a deadly contract with the Coterie, a magical mafia. She’s one of their main hitmen . . . and she doesn’t like it one bit. Not least because her boss, Venus, killed Ava’s mother. When Venus asks Ava to kill a family friend, Ava rebels. She knows very well that you can’t say no to the Coterie and expect to get away with it, though, so she and her friends hit the road, trying desperately to think of a way out of the mess they find themselves in. Preferably keeping the murder to a minimum, in Lish McBride’s Firebug.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Fall Carnival: Catalyst by S.J. Kinkaid

September 29th, 2014 @ 12:05 am
Posted by Kristie under Fall Carnival Tags: Catalyst, Insignia Trilogy, S.J. Kincaid, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Fall Carnival Event

You can’t have a carnival without an arcade center.  We have games that range all across the board testing your computer skills, your ethics, and your all around ability to always come out with a win.  But there is a catch if you choose to enter; you see these games aren’t just for fun. They are the way we determine the outcome of wars between countries.  We will place a special neural processor inside your brain that will allow you to enter the games.  You will be in charge of drones that you will take to battle and fight players all over the world. While this does stop innocent bloodshed, it doesn’t mean that loosing doesn’t have very dire consequences. So what do you think? Do you have what it takes to win?


*Enter to win 1 of 3 eBooks of Catalyst at the end of this post*

*Don’t forget to enter the grand giveaway for your chance to win 2 books featured during the Fall Carnival Event!!! Click HERE for your chance to win!*


DFT: To start things off can you give us a short synopsis of the Insignia series and where you got the idea to write it?

S.J.: The INSIGNIA series follows Tom Raines, a fourteen-year-old video gaming prodigy who is recruited to join the Intrasolar Forces waging World War III over territory in space. He makes friends, and makes some incredibly powerful enemies. In a future where large corporations control everything, and money is revered above all, Tom begins to challenge those others don’t dare touch.

There were several things that inspired INSIGNIA. The idea itself came from an article I read hypothesizing that future warfare will be waged between advanced nations by drones controlled remotely .That put this image in my head of two combatants with whole armies at their remote control, waging epic battles against each other. I wondered who these two enemies were and what their relationship was to each other—and that’s where Tom and Medusa came from.

The other inspiration was the Supreme Court Citizens United ruling which basically determined that money equals free speech. I wondered what sort of world Chief Justice John Roberts had helped create, and that put this idea of a corporate owned surveillance state in my head. Those two things together helped inspire the series.

DFT: Tom is a very talented young man, but he is also only 15 years old and at times he acts like it.  Throughout the series you get to watch Tom mature so much, but I loved that he never quite loses his fun side.  What is Tom’s best quality? What is his worst quality?

S.J.: Tom’s best quality is in certain ways his worst qualities. He has a lot of strength and stubbornness. If you’re his friend, he’s totally devoted to you and will go through most anything for you. He doesn’t waver in his friendship or affection, and he’ll go through fire for you. On the hand, this rigidness is also a huge weakness. He’s bullheaded and very inflexible in more than just one area, even when it comes at cost to himself. I really enjoyed writing this aspect of the character because much of the storyline comes from this quality of his. He is relentlessly  stubborn for better or worse.

DFT: Personally my favorite character in the series is Medusa.  She is extremely gifted when it comes to strategy and is pretty much unbeatable in the games. But she is also a young girl with a lot of insecurities.  When creating her character what was the one thing about her you really wanted to shine? Did you always plan for her to be a love interest for Tom?

S.J.: I considered making Tom’s character a girl early on because I wanted to sell INSIGNIA and figured it would have a better chance of selling with a girl MC. However, the two things that dissuaded me were 1) Elliot Ramirez would probably become a love interest, and 2) Medusa would be a guy. That number two completely turned me off the idea. I feel like we see these physically disfigured, brilliant men more often than we see women with those qualities. I just really loved the idea of her character, this incredibly awesome opponent who is in most every way superior to the main character, who also fills a role that’s more atypical of girls (being physically unattractive to the main character yet being so awesome that it doesn’t matter in the least—forcing the MC to transcend his more superficial inclinations).

DFT: Vik and Tom are partners in crime. Whenever one is getting into trouble you know that the other isn’t far behind.  I loved the camaraderie between these two, they always kept things interesting.  What was your favorite Vik and Tom moment in the series?

S.J.: My favorite Tom and Vik moment has to be during the war games in book one when they keep trying to hatch unsuccessful plot after plot together, and of course, form the most inept duo of supervillains, the Doctors of Doom. That’s pretty much a very perfect scene for their relationship to me, because it exhibits why they’re such good buddies. They just have so much fun together when they’re both being stupid, being playful, failing mutually, or whatever else.

InsigniaVortex Kincaid

DFT: Wyatt is the smart one in the group.  She has a nerdy shy side but you don’t want to get on her bad side because she really knows how to make your life miserable if she wants to.  I felt that she was one of the characters that grew the most throughout the series and I really liked that.  What was your favorite thing about Wyatt? Is she inspired from anyone you know personally?

S.J.: I love Wyatt because of the character’s humor, voluntary and involuntary. She’s not inspired by anyone in real life, but she is inspired by one person in particular: the main character of the first manuscript I ever wrote to completion. It centered around a brilliant, maladjusted girl who kept involuntarily pissing people off. Wyatt’s actually a nicer, gentler version of that character.

DFT: If Tom, Vik, Wyatt, and Medusa were to attend a carnival together what do you think each of them would want to try from the food booths?

 S.J.: Tom is a carnivore with rather basic tastes. He’d grab a burger or something similarly greasy and meaty. Vik doesn’t eat beef because of his upbringing, so maybe a chicken or lamb kebab. Wyatt was raised in a refined Connecticut well-to-do family, so she’d pick something exotic Tom had never heard of, and if it wasn’t there, she’d scorn the very unhealthy selection. Medusa’s real name is the Chinese name of one of my best friends, so just like my best friend, she would go for nachos.

DFT: All of your characters have a neural processor implanted in their brains which gives them the ability to do all sorts of interesting and extraordinary things that they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. If given the chance would you want a neural processor implanted in your brain? What would be the one thing you would want to try if you did get it put in?

S.J.: Honestly, I probably would. It would probably IRL bring some terrible side effect like brain cancer once day, but it would be worth it to be able to speak every single language in the world like a native. Also, I’d be able to get good enough at math and science to have a shot at being an astronaut, which I would sign up for in a second.


DFT: I know that during the editing process there are many scenes that don’t make it into the final books.  Throughout the series was there a specific scene that you really loved that you wish could have made it into the books?

S.J.: There was one scene where all the characters made fun of Tom’s table manners. The idea is, Tom was raised from casino to casino and not very well, so I subtly inserted the fact that he has absolutely no table etiquette. It was made more explicit in one scene and it was a funny scene, but alas, I didn’t get to incorporate it in any final versions. There was another scene when this character, Clint, mocked Wyatt and we got to see all the boys then turn on Clint in a subtle, yet aggravating way, especially Yuri who is normally very mild but was very cleverly malicious here. It was a very funny scene, too, but alas, I cut it from book two (along with Clint) and then again from book three (but not Clint). I love the fun scenes between the kids but the plot comes first. You can’t shoehorn in something just for a laugh if it doesn’t fit.

DFT: Catalyst is sadly the ending to this wonderful series, but I am really excited to see what you come out with next.  Can you tell us what you are currently working on?

S.J.: Currently, I have a YA  I may or may not pursue, and a middle grade sci-fi that may or may not get picked up. We shall see.

Quick Fire Questions (Which do you prefer?):

DFT: Cats, dogs, or fish?

S.J.: Dogs! Cats give me allergies, and fish are boring.

DFT: Happily ever after, open ended, or gut wrenching but satisfying endings?

S.J.: Gut wrenching but satisfying. Hell, just give me satisfying anything and I can take any of the three.

DFT: Intelligent girls, fearless boys, or ruthless villains?

S.J.: Ruthless villains!

DFT: Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?

S.J.: Hot chocolate! Though these days I stick with coffee. :-(

DFT: Soul mates, star crossed lovers, or unrequited love?

S.J.: Unrequited love.

DFT: Living in Alabama, California, or New York?

S.J.: California. It’s beautiful, even if it’s crowded and expensive. Alabama’s a bit too hot for me, and New York a bit too overwhelming.


S.J. KincaidAbout S.J.:

S.J. Kincaid was born in Alabama, grew up in California, and attended high school in New Hampshire, but it was while living beside a haunted graveyard in Scotland, that she realized that she wanted to be a writer. Her debut, Insignia, came out in July of 2012. The second book in the series, Vortex came out in July of 2013. The final book in the INSIGNIA trilogy will come out in Fall of 2014.

You can visit S.J. around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from S.J. Kincaid?

Insignia (Insignia, #1)Allies (Insignia #1.5)Vortex (Insignia, #2)Catalyst (Insignia, #3)



This contest is provided by S.J. Kincaid!

Three lucky readers will win an eBook of Catalyst
(US & Canada)


Available October 28, 2014 from HarperTeen

About this Book:

The explosive conclusion to the series reviewers have likened to Ender’s Game and “Hogwarts-in-Space”

This exhilarating, explosive, and heartrending conclusion to the Insignia trilogy brings Tom and his intelligent, passionate, and brave young friends stunning tests and dangerous confrontations and through to an impossible future they could never have predicted.

Tom Raines and his friends are eager to return to the Pentagonal Spire to continue training for the elite Intrasolar Forces, but they soon discover troubling changes: strict new regulations and the revelation that the Spire is under new military control. What begins as an irritating adjustment soon reveals a dangerous shift in reality. Those now in control are aligned with corporate sponsors and their ruthless agendas. And when the military academy begins welcoming new cadets with suspicious neural processors, the first step in a plan with horrifying worldwide ramifications, Tom is desperate to stop it, even if that means keeping secrets from his closest allies.

Then a mysterious figure, the other ghost in the machine, begins fighting against the corporations, but with methods even Tom finds shocking. And when the enemy comes for Tom, how much can Tom endure in the battle to save himself? He must decide if he can still fight when the odds of success seem to be sliding from his grip.

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Fall Carnival: Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout

September 28th, 2014 @ 12:05 am
Posted by Kristie under Fall Carnival Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout, Paranormal, Stone Cold Touch, The Dark Elements Series, Young Adult

Fall Carnival Event

Have you ever been to a kissing booth? Well I can guarantee you have never been to one like ours? For starters none of our wonderful guests will be able to participate in any kissing today because if you do you won’t have a soul left when you leave. So for your safety you will just be watching today.  We invited Layla Shaw to our carnival today and she has a very unique power where she can steal your soul with just the touch of her lips. She tries very hard not to use her power because she doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but sometimes the temptation is just too great.  If we are lucky maybe we will get to see a small demonstration of her powers, but be warned the aftermath of the kiss can be rather gruesome to see. Layla has agreed to do a short interview with us, so what do you say are you ready to meet her?

Stone Cold Touch-001

*Enter to win a signed copy of Stone Cold Touch at the end of this post*

*Don’t forget to enter the grand giveaway for your chance to win 2 books featured during the Fall Carnival Event!!! Click HERE for your chance to win!*


DFT: Thanks so much for joining us today. To start things off will you tell us more about your powers and what you can do with them exactly?  

Layla Shaw: My kiss can kill anything with a soul so I’m not exactly your typical teenager.  I definitely couldn’t take part in a kissing booth.

DFT: I heard a rumor that your powers are starting to evolve. Is that true? Can you now control whether or not you can kiss someone without stealing their soul?  

Layla Shaw: My abilities are changing, but even I don’t know what that means for me.

DFT: I’m going to steer the questions in a different direction now and focus on the HOT guys in your life. Zayne has been one of your best friends for a really long time now, and you have always had a crush on him.  With this new ability to control your powers do you see a possible future for you and Zayne? What is the one thing about him that you like best?  

Layla Shaw: Zayne has always been there for me and we have a special relationship.  I can always count on him.  But I don’t know what the future holds for us.

White Hot KissStone Cold Touch

DFT: Now I want to ask you about Roth.  He is a sexy demon that you didn’t have a problem kissing because he doesn’t have a soul, but when he left it kind of broke your heart.  Do you think you could forgive him and maybe give him another chance?  Do you think it is even possible to have a future with him since he does happen to be a demon?  

Layla Shaw: What would I be forgiving him for?  Roth sacrificed himself for me, so there’s nothing to forgive.  But since Roth’s not here, I can’t even think about whether or not I could have a future with him.

DFT: Since we are at a carnival and we are hosting a kissing booth answer me this: If you could kiss anyone in the world without any consequences whom would it be and why?  

Layla Shaw: I’d kiss Zac Efron. Because, well, why not?


Jennifer L. ArmentroutAbout Jennifer:

# 1 New York Times and International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

You can visit Jennifer around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Jennifer L. Armentrout?

Shadows (Lux, #0.5)Obsidian (Lux, #1)Onyx (Lux, #2)Opal (Lux, #3)Origin (Lux, #4)Opposition (Lux, #5)Daimon (Covenant, #0.5)Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)Pure (Covenant, #2)Deity (Covenant, #3)Elixir (Covenant, #3.5)Apollyon (Covenant, #4)Sentinel (Covenant, #5)Bitter Sweet Love (The Dark...White Hot Kiss (The Dark El...Stone Cold Touch (The Dark ...The Return (Titan, #1)Wicked (A Wicked Saga, #1)



This giveaway is provided by Jennifer L. Armentrout

One lucky reader will win a signed copy of Stone Cold Touch
(US only)

Stone Cold Touch

Available October 28, 2014 from Harlequin Teen

About this Book:

Every touch has its price

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.

But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…

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