BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY

As anyone who has been following my blog for at least the past couple of months, you will have seen my six part series based on an appearance Kelley Armstrong made at my local library. I took notes for most of the event just so I could share all I learned with you!

I was really lucky and was given this adorable tote bag signed by KA featuring the covers of the Cainsville books —the first novel of which, Omens, came out this past summer. I now use it for whenever I need to take my books back to the library, so it worked out well!

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KA also signed everyone’s books… as many as we brought! This made me regret only bringing two books *LOL* Apparently there is normally a two-book limit as KA’s audience tends to be quite large, but for any smaller groups she will sign as many as her fans have brought with them.

BUT there was something else I got signed with all of you in mind… KA had some bookmarks available for whomever wished them and I snagged a couple. So now I am going to hold a giveaway for the signed KA bookmark depicting a werewolf from the upcoming novella Brazen. When discussing the cover art for this story the designer jokingly suggested the character be wearing a Team Jacob shirt and KA said “Sure!” It is not the cover, but it did become the bookmark!

Along with this lovely signed artwork, there will also be a Darkest Powers bookmark featuring cartoon characters from the novel, plus two other bookmarks I received from other authors: Amarok by Angela J Townsend and Perfection by JL Spelbring.

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This contest is open to followers in Canada or the USA. In order to enter you must leave a comment on this post about why you love Kelley Armstrong books. If you also add in your comment the link(s) of  your tweet and/or facebook post about this contest,  you’ll get a bonus entry.

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All of your names will go in this lovely… okay, rather battered faux top hat (Don’t ask, it was part of a bridal shower game). The winner’s name will be pulled by whomever happens to be visiting me on my birthday, which is Friday December 20th and will be announced the following day.

You have just five days to enter… and go!

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Meeting Kelley Armstrong: Part Six

A couple of months ago my local library was having Kelley Armstrong come in to talk about her new books, do a Q&A session, and sign a lot of books! I took notes (nerd that I am) and have created this six part series in order to share what I learned with you. This is a continuation of the Questions and Answer segment where all of us fangirls pestered Kelley Armstrong about all the things we wanted to know. 

Pics 006Even though this event was supposed to introduce KA’s new Cainsville series, I think there was only one question about it. The girl was asking if there was any tie-in to KA’s other books in this new series (considering you could really see a connection between the Otherworld series with the Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies). She said yes and no; there were fun mentions that had absolutely no significance that would give her old readers an “in joke” but not affect the story. Things like a character having a name pulled from two from another book, etc.

KA was asked if any of her main characters were like her, and she said that all of her main characters had something in common that acted as a conduit for her to latch on to. Elena, the werewolf in Bitten, was of a similar age and grew up in Ontario. From The Summoning, Chloe’s last name is the same as KA’s high school, and she also has a stutter. Chloe’s friend Simon has juvenile diabetes like KA’s son (though the two boys are not similar in any other way).

That’s when I really lucked out and was chosen to ask my question…

See, I had gone to Word on the Street whenever I could while living in Toronto, and just around the time that The Gathering came out KA said that she was signed on to do third trilogy of this YA world. But during her talk she had mentioned that she wrapped up all her old series and needed to start something new. I was expecting and looking forward to three more books, and just had to know what KA meant. Did she already write them and they were awaiting publication or did they get canceled or what exactly?

When asked, KA said that it was true, but there was one small problem… She had planned from the start that the second trilogy, Darkest Powers, would focus on a second project, and had intended to do a third either the two groups meeting up or perhaps be about a third project.

Except when the second trilogy came out there was an uproar by some of the readers (more specifically American teens rather than older readers or Canadians) who were unhappy with the new project and new main characters, and refused to read her books until KA brought back Chloe.

After discussing it with the publisher, they agreed to hold off on the third trilogy and for KA to focus on something new. While she could have done some random adventures of either of the groups, KA didn’t really want to as she would much rather be able to write a cohesive trilogy. Now she is going to wait for the characters of that series to get a little more mature (and maybe older?) before possibly going back to them.

However, KA did tell us that she will have a novella around Chloe that will be posted on her website as she writes it sometime next year. It will stay up for a couple of months before being taken down, edited, and formatted for sales. So keep an eye out for it and other works on her website to get ‘em not only in advance but for free!

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Meeting Kelley Armstrong: Part Five

Just over a month ago my local library was having Kelley Armstrong come in to talk about her new books, do a Q&A session, and sign a lot of books! I took notes (nerd that I am) and have created this six part series in order to share what I learned with you. This is a continuation of the Questions and Answer segment where all of us fangirls pestered Kelley Armstrong about all the things we wanted to know. 

michelleAs had been mentioned, Bitten was being turned into a TV show and KA was asked if she was in it or if she would ever be in it. The answer was an unequivocal “NO!” KA would much rather be at home in her jammies while writing, than be on TV. Maybe be an author in her jammies writing before getting killed, but even that would be terrifying.

She was also asked if she had any say in what her graphic novel characters looked like or the actors for the TV show. KA does have a say in her graphic novels because the artist tries to go on KA’s descriptions though it is a “painful process” because she has trouble describing what she wants them to look like. In the end they are either spot on or extremely close.

For the TV show most of the actors look nothing like the characters. KA doesn’t mind that because she’d rather have good actors that don’t look right rather than lousy actors who appear identical. She said there was an attempt for Elena’s role as the actress cast was a slender blond, stating it was Supergirl from Smallville, Laura Vandervoort.

If you’re familiar with the Otherworld series, you know Cassandra the very grumpy vampire, and someone asked if she would have her own story. KA had always planned to write something, but eventually felt because there are so many other vampire stories that she really didn’t have anything new she could add to the genre. Now there won’t be a novel about Cassandra, but a novella is possible.

She was also asked if she planned to write further about the Russian Pack mentioned on the Otherworld books, and KA would love to… but she wants to go to Russia first. KA went to Vancouver Island to write the Darkness Rising books as it helps set the scenery and give it depth. KA wants to do the same with the Russian Pack storyline, but has to wait until her children are older before she can go.

There was also a question about the Darkest Powers books, when had KA decided that Chloe would end up with Derek rather than Simon? The answer was “I didn’t, Chloe did!” KA had every intention of Chloe dating Simon. “I have my own daughter and Simon is such a nice guy,” she said and stated that he is what a mother would want for her daughter.  “He’s the perfect boyfriend, but Chloe disagreed.” The reason why Chloe ended up with Derek is because he challenges her more, and Simon didn’t push her to be better.

There was another question about the series, a young wannabe author who had an idea for a story along the YA line and inquired if KA ever thought of having a character who found out about his or her powers on their own and struggled to deal with it alone. KA said it was another option for the third trilogy of her YA Otherworld book series  as it wouldn’t be repetitive due to both Chloe and Mia having other friends who all went through their experience together. “It would add a lot of conflict and that makes a more interesting plotline.”

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Book Review: The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

risingkaSynopsis: In the final book of the Darkness Rising trilogy things are getting desperate. Maya and her friends are being hunted and all they have is a name for someone who might be able to give them some answers. Maya isn’t sure she’s ready to learn the secret truths that await her, but has no choice but to face her demons. After all, no one can run forever.

Plot: The story picks up shortly after the second book ends, and then keeps your adrenaline pumping with more captures and escapes and fighting. You can’t stop reading from start to finish, because you just have to know what will happen as each plot point leads into the next.

Location: This story has some serious travel going on. The previous books had a lot of movement, but stayed on a single island. This one not only crosses provincial lines, but national one’s too. Starting in British Colombia in Canada and making their way south to Pennsylvania before heading northwards again into Ontario.

Romance: Love triangles tend to be inevitable it seems in YA novels. In this case it was so well written the “love” for two people barely overlaps, while still overlapping for the entire trilogy. Now that takes some talent!

 

Memorable Moment: It isn’t much, but this tiny portion of a scene really stood out for me. When the kids of both groups meet for the first time you expect it to be “interesting”, but it wasn’t their introduction per se that struck me. Rather it was the brief moment where werewolf and skin-walker faced off, each “protecting” their respective significant other. Their stand off/stare off may be the highlight of this novel for me.

Character: The kids from the previous trilogy, the Darkest Powers, make an appearance. I only had a vague recollection of them, and this novel reintroduces them as minor characters. They weren’t nearly as interesting as Maya and the phoenix project kids, but it isn’t the genesis project’s trilogy so that’s okay. I also loved how some characters form the Otherworld series show up, too. It makes me wish I paid more attention when reading those to have a firmer grasp of the tie-in. Had I missed mention of these two project kids in those too?

Ponderings: I heard a rumour there would be three more books to finish off this YA series. I was told it was yet to be decided if those final books would have a third project group or if they would be about combining the two groups. Seeing as the projects meet up towards the end of this book, I’d think the to-be trilogy is likely to consist of only these two groups. However, it was also being looked into how to “expand the dating pool” of these teens, so there is a chance the third group could be brought in and may fulfill that role—however inadvertently.

Quote: That’s the way it works in the world, Maya. The good guys have ideals; the bad guys have cash and firepower.

Verdict: Loved it! Finally “finished” the trilogy, and getting the resolution that would drive you crazy if you have to wait much longer for it. The characters are great, developed into real people for all that they are supernatural. I hope the final trilogy further delves into how these kids could or will fit into the supernatural realm.

Meeting Kelley Armstrong: Part Two

As I mentioned last week, my local library was having Kelley Armstrong come in to talk about her new books, do a Q&A session, and sign a lot of books! I took notes (nerd that I am) and have created this six part series in order to share what I learned with you.

kamarieIt was because of her daughter that KA decided to write a young adult series also set in the Otherworld. The daughter had turned thirteen and had been asking when she could read Bitten, and her mother said not yet and wanted to write something her daughter could read. The first draft of the first Darkest Powers book was written as KA’s first (?) NaNoWriMo project.  She wanted to try something new, and this writing challenge was the perfect opportunity. “It was crap,” KA said about her first draft of the book, “but I could see the possibilities there.”

KA still does take part in November’s National Novel Writing Month, just to prove that it’s a great way to start writing the book you’ve always wanted to do. She admitted that even she has trouble with the 50 thousand words in 30 days thing, but the point of NaNoWriMo is to write more than you ever had before and to finally get writing.

When KA’s two sons, now aged 11 and 12, asked when they could read their mother’s books she pointed them towards the YA books she started for her daughter. They wouldn’t touch the books and, when asked why, their answer was “it has a girl holding a necklace on the cover”.  That is how she ended up co-writing The Blackwell Pages series with friend and author Melissa Marr.

It has a strong basis in Norse mythology, which satisfies KA’s interest with legends and folklore. How they write the books together is that they alternate chapters…sort of. KA is used to writing from one perspective while Melissa generally writes from multiple points of view, so KA writes the voice of Matt and Melissa everyone else!

These younger books are written with a pseudo penname of the authors’ initials, in hope that the readers of these books won’t be making an easy connection between them and KA’s adult books in the Otherworld. She wishes she had done the same with her Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies as young readers are picking up her adult books after reading the teenager version. KA said that rather than giving the younger generation their own books to read, “instead they’re the gateway!” She has even found her adult books shelved in the YA section of bookstores rather than being kept separate.

KA had thought about using a pseudonym for her Nadia Stafford series, but was talked out of it. She was okay with that because not many people will pick up the books by accident thinking they are like the Otherworld books due to the descriptions being very clear: these books have no mention of werewolves, vampires, necromancers, or things of that ilk. Rather, the main character, Nadia, used to be a cop but became a hitman… er, hitwoman… um… Basically, it’s following the adventures of a female assassin. “Even when I do normal, I don’t really do normal!”

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Meeting Kelley Armstrong: Part One

This will be a six part series so I can share what I learned with you!
Most photos will be courtesy of Marie Landry. 

katalkWhen a friend of mine told me that Kelley Armstrong was going to be at our local library I couldn’t believe it. Literally. For the life of me I could not figure out why she would be coming to our tiny town… Okay, it’s a fair-sized city of fifty thousand, but considering my university had more people I think it is rather small. Nevertheless, it was being promoted all over the library and was even up on KA’s website on her appearances page. I had no choice, but to believe… especially when I saw her myself standing before me.

Our library doesn’t open until 9:30am on Saturdays and KA wasn’t to arrive until 11:30, yet people were already arriving for prime seating and the hope of meeting KA before the event started. The librarian in charge of the event said never before had people come two hours before an author was to arrive, and they’d never had so many people more chairs had to be added. We’d already gone into the overflow, and by the time the event started there was standing room only at the back and sides of the room.

With me at the library was my cousin, Jennah, who had found a love of books with KA’s Darkest Powers trilogy; the aforementioned friend who I hadn’t seen since high school and I now act as one of her editors, Marie Landry; and a friend of Marie’s from university, Michelle of the awesome Irish last name.  While Marie was smart enough to bring her camera—much better than my cell phone with that lighting—I was the dork with the notepad and pen who was taking notes. I’ll try to share with you all I learned, but it may be a bit disjointed and won’t be verbatim.

KA blames her love of the paranormal not on it being a taboo topic in her household, but because she grew up on Scooby doo cartoons. She always had a fascination with mythologies and could often be found in the reference section of her own library looking this up as she was growing up.

Her Otherworld book Bitten came about due to watching an episode of the X Files, the only werewolf show that was from the first season. It had the typical full-moon man-beast, and KA thought of how she would have done things differently. After that she researched wolf behaviour, because her werewolves were actually part wolf and would have wolf characteristics even when human.

Bitten was the first book she published, but not the first book she ever wrote. There were three other novels prior that, ones she says will never see the light of day because they were so horrible. Not that she realized they were horrible then, but as she gained more skills in writing it became obvious just how bad they were.

As a side note: the last book of the Otherworld series was called Thirteen because it was the thirteenth book and they had “run out of titles”.

Because her Otherworld series has been so popular it was picked up to be a TV show called Bitten, which was filmed this past (or maybe last?) summer. It is to be shown on the Space channel and was to be aired earlier, but the American Sci-Fi channel also wanted it. Now the two channels are now coordinating a release date for the thirteen episodes already filmed.

For fans of this series who want more books of the Otherworld, you don’t have to despair because KA plans to keep writing a novella each year set in this world. Also, all of her novellas are being put into three new compilation books, which will consist of about 60-70% of her old novellas and the rest new stories being written.

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Waiting on Wednesday (sept-1)

For anyone in the Toronto area you’ll know about the Word On The Street festival that takes place every September. My publishing program was asked to volunteer for the event last year, and I’m volunteering again this year.

It was actually at this festival that I heard Kelley Armstrong read from her book The Gathering, which has since become available. It was there that she told us it was the beginning of a new trilogy called Darkness Rising and would be based on another genetic-altering experiment.

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong

This year Kelley Armstrong will be reading at Word on the Street again, and I have to wonder: will she be give us a teaser from the next book in this series? Because that is the book I’m sure waiting for!

Previous Waiting: July-4Aug-1Aug-2Aug-3Aug-4