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Author Interview: Aileen Erin

Check out this author interview with Aileen Erin!

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Welcome back bookies. Today, we say hello to our beloved and quirky Aileen Erin. For those of you who don’t recognize her off the bat, she is the author of the book, Cipher (The Shadow Ravens series).

Let’s start with a quick bio blurb:

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About Aileen Erin

Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd–from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.
I know what you’re thinking. How can I be as awesome as her? Well, you can’t. She’s a one-of-a-kind. But you can definitely learn from her! That being said, get to know her with our interview!

hardcoverlover: Hello, thanks for making some time for this interview! We love hearing from the authors of awesome books. You guys are often the invisible masterpiece writers that we mere mortals can only aspire to be! Just kidding. But seriously, we’d like to get to know you, both as a person and a writer. Let’s start from the beginning. Way back in the beginning…

What do your parents do?

Aileen: My father is an ex-federal judge, who now practices law with my mother.

hardcoverlover: Interesting. That was a very unexpected answer. Do you have any siblings and, if so, how do you get along?

Aileen: I have a lot of siblings, and I love all of them so much. One of my brothers and one of my sisters lives in LA with me. I don’t know what I’d do without them. My other brother and sister live in Texas, and I miss them dearly.

hardcoverlover: How sweet! Do you like your name?

Aileen: Yes. Love it! It’s the Irish form of my mother’s name, which makes it extra special to me.

hardcoverlover: That’s lovely. Speaking of names, how do you name your characters?

Aileen: Characters are actually very hard for me to name. I have a few baby name books to help inspire me, which sometimes helps. I also like to look for character aspects and see if there’s a name that could help describe a character further. I usually end up renaming characters a few times before I find one that fits.

hardcoverlover: Interesting. Names seem to be something that comes easily to me. Do you have a day job?

Aileen: No. I’m very lucky in that I make a good living from my books.

hardcoverlover: Ahh~ Living the dream. Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing on your spare time?

Aileen: I love to read, travel, and spend time with my family. But writing isn’t just my profession, it’s my passion. So, I spend a lot of what should be spare time writing.

hardcoverlover: Are you a morning person or a night owl?

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Aileen: I used to be more of a night owl, but since having a kiddo, I’m forced to wake up early. It’s painful! But I’ve always gotten the best writing done between 3-7pm. So maybe I’m neither. 😉

hardcoverlover: I can relate. When do you get your writing done?

Aileen: My nanny comes from 12-7pm. So, I have to get all of my writing done between those hours.

hardcoverlover: In addition to having to plan when you’ll write, where do you dream of traveling to and why?

Aileen: I’d love to go back to Peru. It’s such a beautiful country. I’d also love to go back to Ireland with my husband. He was busy working and couldn’t join me, but I think he’d love it. I’d also love to go to South Korea and Japan. I have a love of stationary and washi tape, and I’d love to go shopping there. I think I’d have to bring a second suitcase, though. But I love to travel all over, and I’m looking forward to taking my daughter to see the world.

hardcoverlover: Can I be your daughter? I’ll go with. Just kidding! Have you always liked reading/writing?

Aileen: Yes. I’ve always been a book nerd. I never went anywhere without a book, and now I almost always have my Kindle in my purse.

hardcoverlover: You are describing me and probably most of my bookies too! As a fiction writer, how do you get past the common feeling of “This is awful” when you start to write?

Aileen: The inner editor can be really harsh. Every writer has to deal with that voice in their head from time to time. It doesn’t bother me as much any more. I think that comes with experience. The more you write—taking classes, sharing with people and getting feedback, and eventually finding your voice—the easier it gets. And for me, it’s gotten more fun with every book I write.

hardcoverlover: Guess I just have to give a go too. What was the most difficult scene for you to write?

Aileen: It’s been a long time since I wrote Cipher, but for me—the first chapter of a book in a new series is always the hardest part. Where do you start the story? How much backstory does the reader need? And, depending on the genre, how much world building do you need to include?

hardcoverlover: I always figured that world building would be hard. What is the worst fiction writing advice you’ve heard?

Aileen: I’m not sure I’ve heard bad advice for writing. There sometimes are methods that don’t work for me—for example, I don’t like to do a ton of outlining, but some people like to do a 60 page outline before they “write” the book. If someone told me I had to do that before writing my book, that would be bad advice. But that’s because I’m not an outliner. The key to writing is figuring out what your best method is—outline or not? Storyboard? Writing every day for 1hr or do marathon sessions once a week? Every author is different, and what might be amazing advice for someone else might not work for me.

hardcoverlover: I like to go with the flow. But yes, if I start, I don’t want to stop because it’s so easy to get distracted. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Aileen: With the caveat that every writer is different, I will say know what you want to write. What do you love? What genre do you love? Read a bunch of that. Know what’s out there. What are the genre conventions? What do readers want and expect? Can you give them that and then make it 20% different? What rules do you want to break?

Then write. Finish a draft. Then, find an editor or reader or critique group that you trust. And when they give you notes, take them. Because what you think is on the page, might not be what the reader sees.

Since grad school, I’ve seen that the writers that have succeeded are the ones who were the best editors. Who took notes and then made their work shine. Being open to suggestions and changes is essential.

And once you’ve found your voice and know what you want, then you can start deciding when to take a note and when to ignore it. 

hardcoverlover: Okay. I’m jotting this down. Who is your mentor? Who do you look up to?

Aileen: In grad school, I had a few mentors. Karen Williams—who writes mostly children’s books. Lee McClain—who now writes for Harlquin. And Maria V. Snyder—who writes fantasy. They each were so helpful in pushing me to be the writer that I am today. I recently took a master class from Margie Lawson, which was amazing!

I really love Anne Bishop. Her Black Jewels Trilogy is amazing and I love her world building. I also love Terry Goodkind for the same reason. Patricia Briggs is another amazing author. Her Mercy Thompson series is fantastic.

hardcoverlover: My pal and sister is a huge Anne Bishop fan too. Are you currently working on something new? And if so, could you tell us more about it?

Aileen: I’m currently in edits on Off Planet, the first book in a new series.

Maité Martinez has always yearned for more than waitressing in a greasy diner, especially when most people have left the polluted ruins of Earth behind for a better life on other planets. It’s not just working at the diner that’s making life hard for her. Being a half-human, half-alien girl has never been trickier. With the corporate government hunting down the last of her father’s alien Auanare race living on Earth, hiding her growing special abilities has become a full-time job on its own.

Every minute Maité stays on Earth is one minute closer to getting caught. The stress is almost more than she can bear, and when a fancy Space Tech officer gets handsy with her at the diner, she reacts without thinking.

Breaking the officer’s nose wasn’t her smartest move. Now she’s faced with three years forced labor on the volcano planet, Abbadon. With the job she’s slotted for, it may as well have been a death sentence.

It doesn’t take Maité long before she realizes there’s more to the mining on Abbadon than Space Tech has let on. As she makes unlikely allies, Maité uncovers Space Tech’s plot to nuke the Aunare homeworld. The firepower stored in Abbadon’s warehouses is more than enough to do the job ten times over.

As the clock ticks, Maité knows that if she can’t find a way to stop Space Tech, there will be an interstellar war big enough to end all life in the universe. There’s only one question: Can she prevent the total annihilation of humanity without getting herself killed in the process?

hardcoverlover: That definitely piques my interest! Could you tell us a bit about your last release?

Aileen: Being Alpha came out July 17th! It’s the seventh book in the Alpha Girl series. It’s young adult paranormal with werewolves, witches, and magic. Definitely one to check out if you haven’t. The first in the series—Becoming Alpha—was free through the end of July.

hardcoverlover: How many books will there be in the series?

Aileen: For Shadow Ravens? I only wrote Cipher. I had plans to write more, but for now, it’s just the one book. The others in the series follow another character, Quanta, and are written by Lola Dodge.

hardcoverlover: How could you be so cruel? We need more Cipher!

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Well, in the meantime, how long has it taken you to write your current book?

Aileen: From start to finish, it takes me about 4 months, give or take a few weeks.

hardcoverlover: What were the challenges in bringing this book to life?

Aileen: For Cipher, it was all the world building. Making sure I set it up in a way that readers could jump in was a pretty difficult task and took a lot of trial and error and rewrites.

hardcoverlover: I can imagine. But you did a great job. Why did you choose the genre you write in?

Aileen: I love the immediacy of YA. I love writing in first person, past. The pacing also suits my voice. I think eventually I might transition to an older protagonist, but for now—this is where I’ve found a happy place.

hardcoverlover: Did you know the title before you started writing?

Aileen: For this one, yes. But for some of my other books, it’s taken a bit to find the right fit.

hardcoverlover: Now, it’s not fair if we just pellet you with inquiries. We have to give you a chance too. If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

Aileen: I always ask readers what they’d like to see next in the series at the end of my books. I’m always curious if there’s a side character that they’d like to know more about. I always wanted to write Bruja (in the Alpha Girl series—it follows Tessa’s cousin), but I never would’ve written Shattered Pack (about Tessa’s best friend, Meredith) if readers hadn’t been asking for it.

hardcoverlover: What is it you love most about writing?

Aileen: I love going on adventures with my characters and seeing new places. It’s always fun for me!

hardcoverlover: Living in the pages~ *drools*. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Aileen: Writing the second act is always difficult. They’re long and can get a little tedious or boring you’re not careful.

hardcoverlover: Wait! Then…do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

Aileen: I’m in the middle! I plot a little bit. I use the 40 notecard and beat sheet from Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat. 10 notecards for Act 1. 20 notecards for Act 2. 10 notecards for Act 3. Each have just a basic plot point to get me started. I let the story flow from that very basic framework, and then right before I hit Act 3, I look back at my notecards and read through the book to make sure everything making sense before diving into Act 3.

hardcoverlover: Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day?

Aileen: I aim for 2500 words per day when I’m writing my first draft. Then I aim to revise 2 chapters, give or take a chapter, per day during edits.

hardcoverlover: How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Aileen: Same as above. Four months, give or take a few weeks.

hardcoverlover: Ah. So it’s an average. Do you proofread/edit all your own books, or do you get someone to do that for you?

Aileen: I have a developmental editor and a few different copy editors! I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting out a book without at least 2 rounds of developmental editing (possibly 3), and thorough copy editing.

hardcoverlover: Some people like to attract more attention with trailer. What do you think of “trailers” for books?

Aileen: I’m so picky about them. On the whole, I think they end up pretty cheesy, but every once in a while I see one that’s amazing.

hardcoverlover: Since we have many aspiring writers among our bookies, we’d like to ask: what was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Aileen: On my MFA at Seton Hill University. I hadn’t taken a writing class until I started grad school, and I learned so much. More recently I took a Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson, and that was the best money spent since I graduated with my MFA.

hardcoverlover: So that is what was most useful. What about the opposite? What is your writing Kryptonite?

Aileen: Social Media. I have to use the Anti-Social app when I’m writing. It’s way too distracting!

hardcoverlover: If I gave you a time machine, what time period and in what place would you travel to?

Aileen: I think we live in a pretty amazing time. Modern medicine has still room to grow, but even looking back 20 or 30 years? The advancements are mind blowing. I think rather than go back in time, I’d love to see what’s going to happen in the next 20 or 30 years.

hardcoverlover: That’s cool. You’re looking ahead and thinking about improvements. But improvements aren’t always easy to come by. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Aileen: I’ve gotten some harsh criticism, but I try to ignore or not read bad reviews. I have to keep in mind that I don’t love every book I read, and my books aren’t for everyone. I write them for the people who enjoy them. I love hearing when a person who doesn’t like to read fell hard for one of my books. That’s the best compliment ever.

hardcoverlover: Again, you are so sweet! But now we want to start our fun trivia about Aileen. Are you a neat person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?

Aileen: Yes. I make my bed. Otherwise, I might be tempted to get back in it. 😉 I love sleep.

hardcoverlover: You and me both. E-reader or print book?

Aileen: eReader–Kindle

hardcoverlover: And we were getting along so well until now. *sighs*.

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Favorite color?

Aileen: Blue.

hardcoverlover: That we can agree on. Dogs or cats?

Aileen: Dogs. I’m super, super allergic to cats!

hardcoverlover: Shame. I have some pretty cool cats and dogs. Tea or coffee?

Aileen: Coffee.

hardcoverlover: Chocolate or vanilla?

Aileen: I love chocolate unless it’s ice cream. Then, I like vanilla. 😉

hardcoverlover: I concur. State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

Aileen: I made hands-down the best cheesecake. It’s legit amazing.

hardcoverlover: I’ll have to get the recipe from you. I’m on the quest for the best cheesecake recipe. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview?

Aileen: I’m not sure! I guess I haven’t thought about it…

hardcoverlover: Is there anything else you would like to say that hasn’t already been said?

Aileen: No, but if you think of something you want to know, ask.

hardcoverlover: I think that’s it for me. Thank you very much. But we invite all bookies to drop their questions in the comments section below. What do you want to ask author Aileen?

Featured

Review: Cipher (The Shadow Ravens Book 1)

Hi bookies (those that dream with their eyes wide open)! Have you heard of Cipher? Let me tell you all about it!

Title: Cipher (The Shadow Ravens Book 1)
Author: Aileen Erin
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Romance
# of pages: 330

Guys. I’d love to rave to you about how awesome this book is, but before I do that I should at least give you a chance to know what I’m raving about. Thus, I present to you the blurb:

Alone and on the run, Cipher doesn't talk about her secrets, her powers, or the people chasing her. She can’t let anyone get that close. At least, she shouldn’t.

Knight is working undercover for the bad guys. He’s done things that have marked his soul, but it’ll all be worth it if he can save the girl who means everything to him—the girl who saved his life by putting herself in danger. It’s been twelve years, but Knight knows she’s still alive, and he’s made it his mission to find her and keep her safe.

When Knight finally catches up to Cipher, electricity sparks. He’s crazy gorgeous, stupid brilliant, and begging to lift the burden from Cipher’s shoulders. Can she really trust him with her secrets? With her life?

She doesn’t have long to decide, because Knight isn’t the only who’s been looking for her. Now Cipher can’t run without leaving him behind. What good is being together if they’re both dead?

To save Knight, Cipher will finally stop running… one way or another.

I was actually not enthused about this book at first. I committed the all-too-common cardinal sin- I judged the book by its cover. Sorry guys, but that’s usually steered me right in navigating the dangerous shelves full of books I will leave half finished. Worse yet is when you have gotten in too far into the story to pull back out (or you’ll die of curiosity of whatever happened with the character or the situation) but you are actually not enjoying the story? Ever happen to you? Maybe it’s just me and my unending curiosity. Anyway, when I took a look at the cover of this book, it rather bored me. I thought it would just be a so-so book or one I would have to trudge through just to finish it. Boy, was I wrong!

This book was fantastic! I mean, it does make sense. It contains many of the elements that will attract a variety of readers. Just look at the genres. Those that don’t like one of them might read for the others. So, what made this book so good?

Firstly, we have the main character. Rarely do books feature such a strong-willed, hard-core woman as their protagonist. That’s not to say she’s only “macho” and nothing more. Nope, she’s balanced. She’s got her girly side, but doesn’t really have time for the luxuries often attributed to girls, like painting her nails or gushing over a crush. Her past has left her scarred and her survival depends on her being guarded and tough. But how can anyone live like that? Eventually, everyone craves some closeness to another person. That’s the point we find Cipher at. Her best friend knows she has secrets and she’s okay with that. What she doesn’t know is how far those secrets go.

Cipher must learn to let others in, learn to control her powers, and avoid getting killed in the process, since her whole life she’s been on the run. She reconnects with old friends, falls in love, and must help fight her dictator relative who’s out to kill her. Not boring, we can say that for sure. Give it a read. I’m sure you will be begging for a sequel like I was.

I don’t know about you guys, but I like futuristic books that aren’t too futuristic, like say, humanity is part alien or something along those lines. This book fulfills that requirement. Despite its futuristic techy tone, the character is one you can really connect to.

The good news? This is a gripping, well-written awesome book with a very interesting story plot and a strong protagonist. Small surprises are sprinkled throughout to keep the story moving without overwhelming the reader.

The bad news? Cliff hanger. There’s so much to be addressed in the next book.

More good news: the sequel is already out.

Bad news: the sequel is focusing on a completely different, new protagonist. It feels loosely connected to the first book. Also, the sequel is written by a different author, so even the writing style is different.

This book has so much potential. I want to see another book featuring Cipher.

For the book itself, I will give it a 5/5. I think most people will enjoy reading it and want to keep going. Note to author: please give us another! Want to find out where to purchase Cipher? Check it out here:

Review: Princess Academy: The Palace of Stone

A short review on the book Princess Academy (#2): The Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale.

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Hi bookies (those that wish a book fairy existed)!

A long, long time ago (even longer than the last time I wrote a book review!) I read the book “Princess Academy”. It was a really good book, and I enjoyed it. But I thought that was the end, single well-written book. Well, I was happy to discover recently that I was wrong. This series is a trilogy, and I was not disappointed by it. So, let’s talk about the second book of this series.

Title: Princess Academy: The Palace of Stone
Author:  Shannon Hale
Genre: Fantasy. Young Adult. Fiction.
# of pages: 336

Let’s take a look at the blurb:

Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city is a thrill to Miri. She and her princess academy friends have been brought to Asland to help the future princess Britta prepare for her wedding. There, Miri also has a chance to attend school at the Queen’s Castle. But as Miri befriends students who seem sophisticated and exciting she also learns that they have some frightening plans. Torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends’ ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city, Miri looks to find her own way in this new place.

Picking up where Princess Academy left off, and celebrating the joys of friendship, romance and the fate of fairy tale kingdoms, this new book delivers the completely delightful new story that fans have been waiting for.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? That’s because it is! I don’t know if you guys have ever read any books by Shannon Hale. She tends to write the middle school type of books that have a happy ending. Not the type you like to read? That’s all right. It’s not for everyone. But I definitely enjoyed it! Shannon Hale writes good, clean, enjoyable stories that teach simple but valuable lessons.

I missed the fun of Mount Eskel in this story. Part of the appeal of the first book was the fact that these simple mountain girls were rough and coarse and looked down on by others, yet they triumphed with their simple salt-of-the-earth attitude and the wisdom you gain from living life. In this book, there is less of the ‘country bumpkins vs city people’ struggle and is more about growing from an innocent girl with a simple life to a young woman who must decide who she is as a person. You get a little extra interaction with Miri’s sister, Marda, and get to know more of her thoughts and way of thinking. I really enjoyed this because I have always felt like Marda has a story to tell too.

Katar is no longer a rival in this story and depends a lot on Miri. Miri, as always, must take the lead in solving everyone’s problems. That includes everyone from Mount Eskel, Asland’s poor, the King and everyone in between. However, in the fight, will Miri lose what makes her Miri? It takes Miri from one problem to the next with no break in between. Let the poor girl catch her breath!

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It is a well-written book focusing more on inner conflicts and personal development. I really like it and can’t really find many flaws in it other than some small parts that seem to lack enough going on outside of Miri’s head. That’s why I will give it a 4/5. But don’t take my word for it. Read it for yourself! Tell us, bookies, what was your favorite part of the story?

Author Interview: Eric K. Edstrom

Hi bookies (you paper/hardback, audio, and ebook lovers). There’s nothing quite like getting to speak to the person that creates a new world for you. How did they come up with it? And for those of you that hope to pen your own work someday, what tips can the experts share? Read on for our interview with Eric Edstrom.

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hardcoverlover: Hi! Thank you for allowing us to interview. I must say, recently I listened to your new audio book, “Daughter of Nothing”, and I liked it a lot. You left me hooked. You mentioned that this book is the first in a series and the ending of “Daughter of Nothing” makes that clear. How many books do you plan on making for this series?

Eric: The series is done! It’s four books long.

hardcoverlover: Wow! Done already? I guess you really don’t procrastinate! Now, I’ve always wondered something, especially when a story isn’t completely written yet. How do you decide into how many books you will divide a story?

Eric: When I was writing the series, I planned on making it a trilogy. But once I got through the beginning of book three, I knew it would be four books. It was total instinct. I don’t outline, so I just had a feel for it.

hardcoverlover: Cool! You have the natural skills for your profession. Are you a fulltime writer or do you have a day job as well?

Eric: I write fulltime.

hardcoverlover: Dream job, right there. Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?

Eric: My parents read a lot. My mother sparked my love of language by reading me Dr. Seuss when I was a little kid.

hardcoverlover: Who was your favorite author as a child?

Eric: Charles M. Schulz. I devoured Peanuts comics collections in these little paperbacks my grandfather had.

hardcoverlover: So the love of books is a family tradition, I see. When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Eric: I was 40 or so when I completed the book now titled Bigfoot Galaxy: Expedition. I had tried and failed to write a novel many times prior to that.

hardcoverlover: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Eric: Probably when I was 14 or 15, reading fantasy novels all summer.

hardcoverlover: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Eric: I don’t take criticism to heart, so it isn’t tough. I think if anything I get frustrated if the criticism reveals the person hasn’t actually read the book. The best compliments are usually something about not being able to put the book down or that it kept them up reading. I love that.

hardcoverlover: I would too. How long does it take you to write a book?

Eric: I write between 1500 and 2500 words per day. But a first draft then goes through tons of revisions and editing.

hardcoverlover: Which writers inspire you?

Eric: Stephen King, Robert Jordan, Tolkien, and a zillion more.

hardcoverlover: Where do your ideas come from?

Eric: I just start typing sentences. Pretty soon I have a character in a setting. I just follow that.

hardcoverlover: Wow, that’s a pretty unorthodox method! Your creativity must run deep. Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Eric: See above. But sometimes writer’s block is due to depression or anxiety. I think those mental health issues should be dealt with first. Sometimes you have to give yourself a break. I’m fortunate in that I don’t get totally blocked. I just go through periods of lower productivity. That’s why I put an emphasis on my health, diet, sleep. Everything that gives me the physical and mental energy to keep writing.

hardcoverlover: Makes sense. Speaking of getting energy, what sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee, complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?

Eric: My YA dystopian heroine Jacey would order black coffee, because that’s all she’s ever had.

My fantasy heroine, Kila, would probably go for something super sweet. I suppose a mocha or something. Unfortunately, coffee doesn’t exist in her world.

hardcoverlover: I don’t really drink much coffee either. Maybe once a month? But on behalf of most people I feel I should say, “The horror! No coffee?!” Maybe this is what distinguishes your characters from others. Give us an insight into your main character. What does she does that is so special?

Eric: Jacey is a highly trained clone, though she doesn’t know it at the start. But she has an incredible ability to memorize anything she hears. This becomes in important power as she faces the forces that seek to oppress her and her friends.

hardcoverlover: Do all authors have to be grammar Nazis?

Eric: I am not a grammar Nazi, so the answer is no!

hardcoverlover: Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

Eric: My books are all professionally edited and proofread. I can’t see my own mistakes after going through a manuscript over and over.

hardcoverlover: Interesting. I recently received some tips on how to review your own work. It’s not easy, though. What did you edit out of this book?

Eric: Daughter of Nothing was originally very different. The first draft was only 60k words and the main character was Vaughan. But when I started revising it, Jacey stood out as a more interesting character. I deleted everything but one chapter and started over.

hardcoverlover: Whoa! Only one chapter?! I guess our readers will get to play “Guess which chapter”. Maybe you could have kept the other version, though. Those that are really big fans of your work would probably love to read the story from a new perspective as well. Who designed your book covers?

Eric: The current cover was designed by me.

hardcoverlover: Really? Wow! I guess you are talented in all the arts. Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

Eric: The only advice I feel qualified to give on this front is to write five or six before spending much time marketing. It might even be smart not to release any books until you have a handful ready. That way every dollar and hour spent marketing has greater earning potential over more books.

hardcoverlover: Thanks. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Eric: I love all reviews as long as they are honest.

hardcoverlover: You heard him, folks. Be honest in your reviews. How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Eric: My website lists all my books. http://www.erickentedstrom.com. The best way to learn about me is to subscribe to my newsletter.

hardcoverlover: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Eric: Both. When a scene really captures me, it pulls me along. That’s energizing. When I’m unsure about where things are going, it gets slower. Not bad, but slower. That tends to make me tired.

hardcoverlover: Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Eric: I have a pseudonym. Aric Shaw writes thrillers.

hardcoverlover: Ooh, nice. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Eric: I don’t look at it from either point of view. I write only what I want to read.

hardcoverlover: I guess I can see that, judging from your method of writing. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Eric: Finish! Just keep writing and finish that first novel. Then do it again and again and again.

hardcoverlover: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Eric: I collect typewriters and I have written a couple novels using only manual typewriters. So I’ll say the money I’ve spent on those.

hardcoverlover: Ink&Scales is also a big fan of typewriters. I will tell her to she’s not the only one. People believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

Eric: No. Anyone can be a “published author” by uploading a file and cover to Amazon. If you want glamour, focus on your Instagram and skip writing.

hardcoverlover: And here I thought you’d be wearing big sunglasses and dodging papparazzi. Do you like traveling or do you prefer staying indoors?

Eric: I don’t like the transportation part of travel at all. But I like seeing new places.

hardcoverlover: Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or you can just sit in the middle of a café full of people and write?

Eric: I can write pretty much anywhere. But I mostly write at home.

hardcoverlover: What is your favorite quote?

Eric: “Write. Don’t think. Relax.” —Ray Bradbury

hardcoverlover: Have you ever made a fake account to interact with fans over comments online to get some insights?

Eric: No.

hardcoverlover: Too bad. If somebody tries this, I want to hear about it. Can you tell us about your current projects?

Eric: I’m currently writing an epic fantasy series called Starside Saga. It’s about a 16 year old thief named, Kila Sigh, who awakens to a magic power she doesn’t understand and can’t control. It’s full of adventure, magic, twists and turns, and good vs evil. I love writing fantasy.

hardcoverlover: And I love reading it. Now for our fun questions:

Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and when realizing it, just said screw it?

Eric: No. I’m not that absent-minded.

hardcoverlover: That makes one of us. E-reader or print book?

Eric: I prefer print, but I’ve read lots of ebooks.

hardcoverlover: Do you go out of your way to kill bugs? Are there any that make you screech and hide?

Eric: I only kill them if they are on me or if they are a spider in my house. I don’t screech.

hardcoverlover: Suuuure you don’t… Just kidding! Chocolate or vanilla?

Eric: Chocolate is the only right answer.

hardcoverlover: Can’t say I disagree. Light or dark chocolate?

Eric: Dark!

hardcoverlover: Favorite color?

Eric: Black.

hardcoverlover: Few are brave enough to admit that. Dogs or cats?

Eric: This is tricky. I love them all. But right now we have a dog and due to his nature, we can’t really have a cat.

hardcoverlover: Tea or coffee?

Eric: Both. Coffee in the morning, tea the rest of the day. I put unsalted butter and coconut oil in both.

hardcoverlover: What kind of sick and twisted mind do you have? Butter and cococut oil in coffee and tea? I’ve never heard of such a monstrosity! *whispers* I’ll have to try it sometime. Favorite TV show?

Eric: Favorite of all time: Friends.

hardcoverlover: Do you like manga?

Eric: I have never read any manga, so I don’t have any opinion about it.

hardcoverlover: What question would you ask your favorite author if you could?

Eric: My question for any of them: Can I co-write a novel with you?

hardcoverlover: Is there a question you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview but never been asked?

Eric: Not really.

hardcoverlover: Okay. Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

Eric: I appreciate readers so much. No readers, no career. Remember, authors thrive on feedback and reviews.

hardcoverlover: Now you’ve heard it, bookies. Leave those reviews, give feedback, and spread the word! Thank you so much for your time, Eric!

 

Now tell us, dear bookies, who would you like us to interview next? Tell us in the comments below!

Review: Daughter of Nothing

Daughter of Nothing cover

Hi bookies (you book-venturers)!

Today, I will be reviewing my very first audio book! I had never tried listening to an audio book for various reasons. But now that I have, here is my review on it. Let’s take a look at the information provided first.

Title: Daughter of Nothing
Author: Eric Kent Edstrom
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi.
Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
 *While the powerful seek immortality, the Scions struggle for survival.*

Few people know that the Scion School exists. Tucked away on a private Caribbean island, the school hosts 36 exceptionally gifted students. They train every day to prepare themselves for an immense responsibility, to lead humankind back from the brink of extinction.

At least, that's what they've been told.

Only one student - a 17-year-old named Jacey - suspects the truth. Driven by her undying loyalty to her friends, Jacey races to untangle the truth of who the Scions are...and what the headmaster truly means when he says they are bound for a great destiny.

Daughter of Nothing is the first audiobook in an amazing new series for fans of young adult dystopian fiction.

Eric Kent Edstrom - author of Starside Saga - is back with more lovable characters, thriller pacing, and shocking twists you’ll never see coming.

This audiobook was really interesting. The author does a great job in initially disorienting the reader. You can’t tell what is really going on at first. Here’s a general description of the story without giving anything away:

This book is told from Jacey’s point of view, a 17-year old girl. She is a scion, which means she is one of the select few that are being trained in a special school for children to help restore the world after a cataclysm has destroyed much of it. Or is she? After a series of events occurs, Jacey begins questioning for the first time if the world she knows is real or a lie. Raised isolated from the rest of the world, the scion school on a remote island is all she knows. She wholeheartedly believes in their mission, but should she? What really happens upon graduation? Where do they go? And why is the director of the school showing such a special interest in Jacey’s progress? Obviously, these and other questions are answered in the book.

This was my first audiobook ever. At first, I felt that the narrator’s voice was a bit robotic. But her voice soon warmed up and adapted according to each character’s speaking parts. I think that she does a great job in making the story come alive. I didn’t want to stop listening and felt as if I were watching a movie.

I greatly enjoyed the story, but there were two things that detracted from it. First off, Jacey being so clueless was driving me crazy. It’s a good sign that the author is really able to show things from Jacey’s point of view. You see her struggle to put together all the clues, but with limited sources to draw information from and her upbringing, she takes a long while to put the pieces together. Because of this, I think the reader is able to deduce what is going on long before the main character does. This can be a source of frustration because you want to know what happens after Jacey figures everything out, but this is delayed for a while.

The second thing that detracted from the story is that I have encountered similar story lines in other books. That means that after the story reached a certain point, I knew, more or less, what was going on and what was going to happen. Of course, the smaller details are flexible, but I wish the waiting period between figuring out what was going to happen and it actually occurring was shorter. Despite this, I enjoyed the story overall and am hooked, left wanting to see what happens in the next book.

TL;DR

Pros: great story, interesting, well-written, left hooked.

Cons: familiar story line, slow progression of story line in some parts.

Rating: 4/5

To hear or not to hear… that is the question.

Hi bookies (those who go to sleep the next day because “just until I get sleepy” turns into “that was such a good book”).

shock bigger shock reading

As time goes on, we have busier and busier lives. But we always make time for a little reading. Actually, sometimes we should read less (like when we stay up late to read). But the point is that we know how hard it can be to find enough time to sit down and read a whole book. Fortunately, as time goes by and technology advances, books are not left behind. We now have ebooks in so many formats. Perfect for reading on our phones and tablets. But it doesn’t stop there. There’s also this amazing new thing called audio books! Alright, you win. Audio books have been around for a long time now. But they’re new to me!

Believe it or not, bookies, I had never listened to an audio book before.

what

Yes, I had listened to music, and the rare podcast episode. I had even tried an audio program for language learning. (It’s a work in progress.) But I had never tried listening to a book for fun. There were several reasons for this. Let me give you the reasons I had.

“It’s probably too slow.” Honestly, whenever I had heard of people listening to audio books, I was wondering if they did so because they really didn’t have the time or if they were to lazy to read it (as a lot of people say that is their reason for not reading). I figured that either they were incredibly busy or maybe the book was read to them quicker than they could read it themselves. Since I love reading, I figured I could read the book much faster than it could be read to me. Plus, I could read at my pace and according to my preferences (such as rereading). That’s what I thought. I listened to this audio book as I played computer games and did some light reading and was surprised to see that it played at a good pace and was easy to control (rewind, skip forward, etc.). I guess I hadn’t given it a fair shot. But, just so you know, I could probably finish the book in 4 hours or less rather than the nine it mentions it takes.

“It will probably sound strange hearing it from someone else’s voice rather than any voice I want to assign the character.” Well, it does take some getting used to. It probably took me a good 10-15 minutes. But after that, I came to appreciate the narrator’s reading. There were certain small parts later on where the character’s voice just seemed to come out differently from how I expected. Overall, not bad.

“I prefer to read it myself.” Okay, this one is still valid. No matter what changes go on, technology advancements for books just aren’t as good as the original stuff. No, I’m not talking about scrolls! I’m talking about the good ole hardcover or paperback book with the smell of old paper that we bookies love and the traces of ink. There’s the soft reassuring touch of the paper and slight rustle as we flip the page. Ahhhh… there’s nothing quite like it. Sure, I can see the appeal of the modern as it tries to improve on what’s already good. There’s the easy portability factor. No need to carry so many heavy books or run out of luggage room for the sake of your hobby. You can read even at night! No more hiding under the covers with a flashlight! But even with those different advantages, I can’t help but love the actual printed book. If you give me the option to choose between them, I will choose the printed book whenever possible. Practicality may drive me to use ebooks sometimes, but my heart will say, “Hand me the book, will you?”

no greater insult than book thrown in faceThis is how I imagine you would hand it to me though…

So those are my thoughts and preferences. Now it’s your turn. Are there any other advantages about ebooks and audio books I missed? What’s your favorite format and why? Let us know in the comments section.

I’m back!

Hi bookies (you world-exploring mind adventurers)!

I’m glad to say that I have finally gotten a better handle on my schedule. I’m sure many of you shed tears while I was away, right? I can imagine the tears, the fear that I wouldn’t return, the countless days waiting up for my next post…

cryingI miss her posts so much!!!

Okay, okay, I know. The more accurate description would be more like:

slow-blink You think I’m heartbroken? Yeah, sure. Whatever.

You robots! So heartless. Just kidding. But I am back. I’ve got a huge TBR list, from which many reviews will spout. And Ink&Scales aka Aramia will soon be posting her much-expected review on “The Magician’s Nephew”. yells over shoulder: You hear that Aramia? The fans call for you!

So, besides this little update, look forward to my upcoming author interview and a new book review! Okay bookies, let me run over to my TBR pile so that I can prepare more for you! Be expecting me.