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Showing posts with label teens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label teens. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Title: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

Series: Book #1

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/ Harper Collins

Release Date: May 3, 2011

Book Summary:

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.


Title: Insurgent

Author: Veronica Roth

Series: Book #2

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/ Harper Collins

Release Date: May 1, 2012







To celebrate the release of Insurgent, Harper Collins is sponsoring a click through challenge. 50 Blogs have been selected to promote the release of Insurgent by driving traffic to specific links.

Team Abnegation's goal is to get the most clicks to these links:

Harper Teen Insurgent Page:

To help Team Abnegation reach our goal I Am A Reader, Not A Writer has organized this giveaway for a $100 Amazon Gift Code.

This giveaway runs from April 18th to 30th. You can enter daily to increase your odds of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 21, 2011


I would like to welcome an up and coming author Sherri Wilson Johnson to Books R Us. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once More. Thanks for stopping by.

Hi! I am Sherri Wilson Johnson. I write heart-warming Inspirational fiction (Historical and Contemporary) that challenges readers to have faith even in life's most difficult of storms. Pure Romance is usually the main theme of my books but there is so much more to them than just that. I love to sprinkle in suspense and mystery, as well. Although my primary focus is ministering to women readers, I am a former homeschooling mom so much of what I write is suitable for the Young Adult market.
Writing has been a hobby of mine since I was a little girl. As a young adult, I began writing Inspirational Romances, which quickly became my favorite pastime and grew into a calling. My debut novel, To Dance Once More (OakTara), is set in Victorian-era Florida, bringing the romance of the beach, Victorian times, and debutante balls together (some of my favorite things). I hope to prove that true love still exists and that it is worth the wait. I never shy away from speaking candidly of the purity of not only the heroine but of the hero, as well, because I believe in today's world, we need to encourage both men and women to live pure lives. Writing is so much a part of who I am that I must use it to share what I am passionate about. I desire to point others to Jesus through my words.

Several things inspired me to write To Dance Once More -- my love of the beach, Victorian times, romance, and purity. But it takes little inspiration at all to make me write. I would write 24/7 if I could and often forget to eat when I'm heavy into my work. Becoming a published author has been a life-long dream and although getting that coveted contract was a long process, I can say it was totally worth the wait. For years I submitted manuscripts to publishers and agents. Looking back, those manuscripts and even the proposals were sloppy. But after taking a two-year writing course through the Christian Writers Guild, my writing improved and so did my submissions to publishers. Eventually, I received the contract from OakTara and what an exciting day that was.
My next book, Song of the Meadowlark (OakTara), will be out in May 2012 and the sequel to To Dance Once More should be out by the end of 2012. I am also polishing a third novel, After the Raging Storm, and working on a legal mystery and a sequel to Song of the Meadowlark. In addition to fiction, I also write homeschool resources and Bible studies, which I self-published, and are available on my secondary website .

Connect with the Author-
Book trailer:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I want to welcome Heather Frost  to Books R Us. Heather  is the author the Seers and is touring the blogosphere. Thanks for stopping by.

About the Book-
Seers (Seers - Trilogy)When Kate Bennett survived the car accident that claimed her parents' lives, she knew her world would be forever changed. But her life is more dramatically altered than she first realized. Not only is she able to see “mood auras” on the people around her, she's even started seeing invisible people with no colors at all. And no matter how attractive the new addition to her American Lit class is, Kate sees what no one else can—the dangerous truths this mysterious man threatens to pour into her life.

Patrick O'Donnell was killed in the Irish Revolution in 1798. He's here now to try and keep Kate alive, and stop her life from spinning out of control. The one thing he's not going to do is fall in love with her. But plans change, especially when Demons are involved . . .

Kate is about to enter the world of Seers; where immortals are at war with each other, and unfortunate mortals like Kate are in over their heads.

My Thoughts-

This was a different type of book and when I first started reading it, I did not know what to expect. I liked all of the characters especially Kate's grandfather who is sincere, lovable and cool. I was unsure of Patrick and In the beginning, I thought he was a bad boy but my opinion of him changed as I read on. I liked the way the author used the aura to portray Kate's powers and how she utilized it to read people. I read it rather quickly and I enjoyed it very much. The novel is a typical YA novel with a twist. There is a hot new guy, gossip, and two sisters and paranormal events that makes the novel interesting. I recommend this book to everyone who likes paranormal romance. Heather did a great job with the characters, the scenes and the plot. I cannot to read the next book in the trilogy

The novel will be available October 8th and can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online retailers.

Check out the other stops on the tour

Disclaimer: I received a free ecopy of the book for my honest review and I was not compensated for my review.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I would like to welcome Lacey Weatherford to Books R Us. Lacey is the author of The Witches and Warlocks series and is presently on a virtual tour with book 2- The Demon Kiss. Thanks for stopping by. 

Books, BFF's & Rants

The Demon KissI’ve had wonderful experiences ever since I started releasing my books, meeting amazing people from all over the planet, from new folks in my hometown, to vogue models, and actors.  I’ve loved every minute of it!  But one of the greatest blessings out of all of this was meeting the wonderful woman who became my best friend.
A little over a year ago I met Belinda on Facebook after she’d read my first book, The Trouble with Spells.  She was dying to get her hands on book two, The Demon Kiss, which hadn’t been released yet.  We quickly hit it off, and became fast friends.  It wasn’t long before we were gushing over book loves and telling each other everything that was going on in our lives.  We exchanged phone numbers and literally began texting almost every minute of the day, much to the delight of Verizon when we had to bump up our texting plans.  I asked Belinda if she would like to be a beta reader for my manuscripts and give me her opinions, to which she responded with giddy delight.
In a wonderful twist of fate, I discovered that this fabulous Aussie gal was married to my husband’s 1st cousin.  We were related by marriage!  We’d even been to some of the same family reunions in the past and had never met one another.
We finally made arrangements to meet in person and we were terrified that we wouldn’t know what to say to one another face to face.  All our worry was for naught.  The first thing we did was hug each other warmly.  It was like twin souls being reunited and it’s been this way ever since.
Shortly after we met we went to a book store together and I remember walking through with Belinda and she would point at book after book and tell me what she loved about the plots of each one.  I was amazed!  I immediately told her she needed to be a book reviewer.  She hemmed and hawed and told me she would think about it, so I did what any self respecting BFF would do.  I went home and made her a webpage, called her up and said, “Here’s your site.” Then I got on Amazon and posted about the awesome new book reviewer I’d discovered.  The Bookish Snob has been taking the world by storm ever since!
One of the things The Bookish Snob is famous for is her rants over all the luscious book heroes she comes across.  Well, Vance was her first rant, so I felt it only right to invite her here today to share one her rants with us and tell us what it is she loves about Vance Mangum.  Take it away Bels!

"Vance. What can I possibly say to do this hunky piece of man candy justice? From the second I met Vance in The Trouble with Spells, I was completely smitten and he's held my heart ever since. There's something about the bad boy that pulls me close and when you add a tortured, romantic, honorable soul - it was inevitable that I'd become a forever fan. People laugh and say "but he's just a character" but if you're the type of reader I am - books become real, the stories having a life of their own and you develop a deep connection with their characters.
I have swooned, laughed, yelled and cried over Vance, and of course, I've also had heavy lust fests. You know you have it bad when you're on Twitter with other Vance-a-holics, waxing poetic on his rock hard abs, sexy swagger, and divulging all the wicked things you'd love to do with him if you ever had him cornered.
Lacey shared a guest post with Donna over at the Book Lover's Hideaway about which Vance to pick - warlock Vance or demon Vance. I know it's turned some people green with envy, but one of the perks of being the BFF for a genius writer, *points to Lacey* I get an inside look at what’s to come and OH MY GOSH ladies ... you think Vance curls your toes now? Keep reading because as each book progresses and we watch our beloved hero battle the demon attributes, he becomes incredible.
You see his sweetness in The Trouble with Spells and as you read through The Demon Kiss, you begin to see the darkness he fights. Your heart races and breaks a little for him and you want nothing more than to take him in your arms and hold him. You cheer Portia for looking into his heart and soul and loving the goodness in him, but you also get those tingly feelings - you know the ones in your stomach when you see him buckle a little, when you see him come just that more darker.
Keep reading through to Blood of the White Witch - here's a small tease - Vance in a kilt! Yep, for all my Highlander loving friends, Vance dons a plaid and he is spectacular. I have serious love for book 3 because Vance really explodes in it and if you aren't a fan of his yet, you will be once you're done.
But the Vance I'm completely devoted to... the Vance I'm tempted to have tattooed on a secret place ... the Vance I want to have babies with, is Vance of book four and you'll all get to see him in a month. This is Vance at his greatest and I have one word for him in The Dark Rising - EPIC. I get goose bumps just thinking of him because he is positively DELICIOUS.
In your mind, what do you imagine Vance to be like if he lost the battle again the dark within and gave in to the demon aspect? Would he still be Vance, or would he be something more? What if he wasn't as sweet as before but had a more arrogant, evil nature? What if instead of ravishing you with kisses, he pulled you into his arms and bit you? Vance with that kind of "edge" will seriously blow your mind and it's what sealed the deal for me.
My name is Belinda and I'm a Vance-a-holic and if there's a cure - I want no part of it. Forget Team Edward, Team Jacob, Team anybody.... it's all Vance Mangum, baby! Come join the team!"
  Woo hoo!  There you have it people!  Thanks Belinda!  I couldn’t have said it better myself!  So I wonder how all the rest of you feel about Vance?

About the Book-

The Demon KissCan someone else's past come back to bite you?

After being drained of nearly all the blood in her body, novice witch, Portia Mullins, wakes up to find that her warlock boyfriend, Vance Mangum, has fled in search of his demon father. Determined to keep him from facing the evil alone Portia follows after him, unknowingly setting herself on the path of a new adventure that will take her, Vance, and their coven over international borders, into a foreign place where they will discover that the black magic which awaits them is far worse than they ever imagined. Portia finds herself tangled up in a web of lies and deceit in another's quest for demonic power in the excitingly romantic second paranormal novel in the Of Witches and Warlocks Series, The Demon Kiss.

About Lacey- 

Lacey Weatherford has always had a love of books.  She wanted to become a writer after reading her first Nancy Drew novel at the age of eight.

When she is not reading, writing, blogging, or doing book tours for her current series, she can often be found out at sporting/musical events which her kids are in or texting like crazy with her best friend.

Lacey resides in the White Mountains of Arizona, where she lives with her husband, six children, one son-in-law, and the family dog Sophie.

The Demon Kiss Tour Grand Prize:

The Grand Prize winner will receive swag, signed copies of books 1, 2, 3, & 4, AND will be written into an interactive scene with VANCE in book four too!

Want extra entries? You can get 1 more entry for every time you comment on the tour, and 5 more entries for every time you send a Tweet or Facebook the link to that day’s blog post. Make sure you keep track of those as you will be asked to submit verification links when you enter the giveaway. 

Good Luck!  May the “Vance” be with YOU!

Check out my review of this great book!

My Giveaway:

Thanks to the author, I am able to give away 2 digital copies of the book. (Through


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Contest ends June 8th at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be receiving a coupon code to be used on . Please make sure that your email is correct so I can send you the coupon code.

Friday, May 6, 2011



I would like to welcome Jamie Magee to Books R Us. She is virtually touring the blogosphere with NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™

Insight (A Young Adult Paranormal Romance) (Insight series)Some say that dreams are the doorway to the soul. Willow Haywood is no stranger to that doorway. Each night she shares a blissful, silent dream with a stunning blue-eyed boy. With each new moon she is haunted by a painful nightmare shared with a different boy, who’s always hidden by the shadows.
In her waking hours she must battle her sixth sense. The one that allows her to feel others emotions as if they were her own. This insight is exhausting and frustrating causing her to draw inward, only trusting her family and few close friends. Oddly, this sense also attracts ghostly images that seem to appear out of nowhere.  With a touch, they take her to wherever they may be, allowing her to change their emotion. This alone would cause most to go insane, but Willow filters her aggression by painting, capturing the emotion she changed.
One August night a nightmare came days after the new moon. In this dream the shadowed boy marked her wrist with star, leaving her father no choice but to share a family secret that would tie all of the odd attributes of Willow’s life together. Now, she has no choice but to outrun the fate that is closing in around her.
 In an attempt to lure her, the shadowed figure captures her closest friends.  In order to save them, she must weave through broken myths, half truths, and the undeniable power of the Zodiac. With each step she takes Willow comes to realize that she has lived before, her path is one that she chose, and this trial is simply the beginning.

About the Author-

Jamie Magee has always believed that each of us have a defining gift that sets us apart from the rest of the world, she has always envied those who have known from their first breath what their gift was. Not knowing hers, she began a career in the fast paced world of business. Raising a young family, and competing to rise higher in that field would drive some to the point of insanity, but she always found a moment of escape in a passing daydream. Her imagination would take her to places she’d never been, introduce her to people she’s never known. Insight, her debuting novel, is a result of that powerful imagination. Today, she is grateful that not knowing what defined her, led her on a path of discovery that would always be a part of her.

My Thoughts-

I have always been a fan of fantasy and I really enjoyed Ms. Magees's debut novel. She has a wonderful writing style that is able to bring the reader into a world of magic, danger, astrology, adventure and love.  The use of soul mates and alternate dimensions made the novel intriguing and I was hooked from page one. Her scene descriptions made me feel that I was right there interacting with the characters. There were quite a few characters that I had to keep track of but it did not take away from the story. I really liked Willow and Landen and the way they interacted together. Although there were some minor editing errors, I had no difficulty reading the book. I recommend this book and I look forward to reading the next book in the series Embody. Would you like to win a digital copy of the book? Enter my contest below.

Contest- International
Thanks to the author, I am able to give away ONE copy of the book. 
Digital copy only-(Kindle, Epub or PDF)


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Contest ends May 14st at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be picked by The winner will be sent an email and has 48hrs to respond or another winner will be announced.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for my honest review and I was not compensated for my review.

Sunday, April 24, 2011



I would like to welcome Frank L. Cole to Books R Us. Frank is the author of The Hashbrown Winters series and The Guardians of the Hidden Scepter. Thanks for stopping by.

How I Became A Writer 

The Guardians of the Hidden ScepterEveryone has unique stories… even good ones. The key is in the telling of the story. So, how does one become a storyteller? That's a question I've been asked from time to time and it's not always an easy one to answer. Maybe the question should be; "What was the route I took to become a writer?" I could share with you the long, grueling process of rejection letters and broken hearts. I could emphasize the important role networking and honing your craft will have on your writer career as it did for mine. But today I’ve decided to answer this question by sharing with you 3 defining (albeit unusual) moments from my life that steered me in the right direction. 

1. Fourth Grade - I cannot remember a day in my life that I wasn't thinking in narrative form. There's daydreaming, which every healthy kid should do and then there's taking your imagination to the next level. If I hear a catchy saying, or see a weird shaped tree, or come across some unique landscape, I almost always imagine the story behind it. When I was in fourth grade I stayed home sick for the day from school. For some reason, I couldn't sleep because some idea wouldn’t let my mind relax. I kept thinking about this story of the city of Atlantis. Finally, I went and asked my mom is she would type the story as I dictated. Instead, she handed me a mini tape recorder and I told the story myself. I listened to that tape and my high-pitched squeal of a voice over and over until I had memorized the story. I wanted to share it with my friends and family. I wanted them to laugh along with me or cringe in horror as the werewolves (yes there were werewolves) attacked Atlantis. From that moment on, I knew simply writing or recording a story would never be enough. I needed to share my stories. 

2. Freshman year of college - My first year of college was somewhat of a joke. I hardly ever went to class and ended the year with a pathetic 2.2 GPA. I was too busy having fun, hanging out with friends, basking in the freedom of a new college student to give any thought of the misery I would go through later in life trying to correct the mistakes of that year.

There were few highlights as far as grades were concerned, but one of them snapped something in the back of my mind and started the wheels turning in a new direction. We were asked in my English class to write an essay on what gave us "Absolute Joy." It was a cheesy assignment, but worth a hefty sum towards our final grade. Every student in that class wrote something touching: Their family, their church, their wife, their children, their memories of deceased relatives, etc., etc.

I opted to go a different route and wrote mine about a Whopper with cheese without onions. I got an A+ on the paper and the praise from my teacher for my creativity. Writing a story and having fun with it had paid off. Hmmm. I learned a valuable lesson. If you’re not having fun with your story and the process takes on a work-like feel, your writing projects won’t achieve your desired result. You have to enjoy it!

3. A skunk nest under the house. One afternoon my family discovered an awful smell literally saturating the walls of our house with stench. Apparently, a skunk or two had taken up residence beneath our home. An exterminator would be needed, but unfortunately, none were available until the following day. My brother, Michael, demanded that the family stay at a hotel for the night because he couldn't stand the odor. Though he adamantly protested, my mother and father insisted it wasn't that bad and that they would just endure that evening and all would be well the next day.

The next morning, my parents went looking for Michael only to discover that he wasn't in his bed. After searching a few moments in the room and in the hallway, they couldn't find him anywhere. Finally, my mom noticed something under the closet door and opened it to find Michael lying on the floor with several pairs of jeans rolled up under the door and two grape Jolly Ranchers shoved up his nostrils. When I heard about that, I was literally dumbfounded with laughter. Just the thought process that must have lead my brother to go to such extremes amazed me. From that moment, I realized that not only had I grown up living with a comedic master, but also I needed to open my mind to new possibilities. A great story can come from any situation. Any circumstances. One must look around for the possibilities.

Though many significant events in my life positioned me to become a published author, I firmly believe these 3 provided the strongest kick. 1. I wanted to share my stories with others. 2. I needed to have fun doing it. 3. I needed a skunk (I think you know what I mean.) 

Frank L. Cole.

Check out all of the other stops on the virtual blog tour here.

Author's Page. 

Monday, February 28, 2011


When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth? 

This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats. 

ClarityClarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift. 

And a curse. 

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most? 

My thoughts-

Ms. Harrington's debut novel is fantastic. I really liked Claire and her family. Each of them had a unique ability that made the book interesting. I finished the book rather quickly because I could not put it down. I have always enjoyed books about mediums and psychics but Clarity is one of the best I have read so far. Claire "Clarity" and her family were considered freaks by the townspeople in their town but they have a lot to give to the town. Claire was a remarkable teenager full of spunk, adventure and was able to stand up for what she believes. The plot was fantastic and had me guessing throughout the entire book. The opening line "YOU DON'T WANT TO KILL ME," I SAID, "Of course I Don't, Claire. But I have to." had me hooked. I thought that I knew who the killer was but I was surprised at the end. Ms. Harrington is a wonderful writer and I hope that she continues to write about Claire and her family. This is a 5 star novel.

Disclosure: I received an ARC from Book It Forward Tours for my honest review and I was not compensated for my review.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


The Book of Tomorrow: A Novel

In the Book of Tomorrow, Tamara Goodwin lived a life of luxury and got everything she wanted but when her father suddenly dies her life falls apart. She and her mother are left with a pile of debt and has to live with her aunt and uncle. When a traveling library comes to town, Tamara finds a leather bound book with a gold clasp and a padlock. There is no author or title and when she finally gets it open, she is surprised at what she saw. There are entries written in her own handwriting but dated for the next day. In her quest to find answers, Tamara soon learns that some pages are better left unturned and that, try as she may, she mustn't interfere with fate.

My Thoughts-

I liked the book but it was not easy to read. There were a lot of characters that I had to keep track of and each one was developed fully. The book was full of mystery, humor, relationships, detailed scenery and a little craziness. Tamara was a spoiled brat and there were times that I disliked her. As the plot developed, Tamara started to mature, grow and she uses the magical book to make sense of her life and her new home. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to escape from reality for a while.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for my honest review and I was not compensated for my review.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


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Em never believed in angels. That was until she met Zak and Kai….

 Em - shy, sensitive, with her head in the clouds - and Caitlyn - gorgeous, popular and talented - have been best friends forever, in a sleepy, nondescript town called Philiton.

But when new boy Zak moves into town, Philiton suddenly becomes a much more interesting place.  With his meltingly hot looks, sense of humour and a smile that has even the hardest-hearted girls falling at his feet, Zak has the female population of Philiton Comprehensive School convinced he's an angel.

Caitlyn usually has the boys worshipping
at her feet, so it’s a shock when Zak seems to be more interested in Em. Cracks appear, tensions arise, but surely Em and Caitlyn’s lifelong friendship can survive?

Em feels beset by demons. At home, she’s looking after her grandmother, who is slowly deteriorating, whilst despairing at her normally sensible brother, who is going off the rails just to fit in with the ‘right crowd’.  Even
Zak’s unexpected attention causes jealous girls to shower Em with spite – not least Caitlyn.  If only she had a guardian angel…

Then a second boy steps into Em’s life. Dark and brooding, a captive to the secrets of a past he’d rather forget, Kai, who has appeared as if from nowhere and fallen head over heels in love with Em, is the exact opposite of Zak. 

And although he may not seem like it, Kai is the real thing. He really is an angel.

About the Author-

Alex Smith is 17 and lives in Hertfordshire, England.  She started writing when she was just four and says, ‘To me, writing is like breathing’.  She wrote her debut novel, Calling For Angels, at the age of 14, ‘as a way of relaxing’. 

My Thoughts-
This is a wonderful debut novel. I really enjoyed the relationship that Em had with Kai. The story is basically from Em's point of view but there are parts when Kai is telling the story. Kai is a very interesting character sent to help her with her problems and I wish I had learned more about him.  The beginning was a little slow moving but it picked up quickly. The story was sad, funny, romantic, emotional and has a wonderful ending. I recommend this book for teens and the young at heart. Great Job, Alex.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from The Red Telephone Publishers for my honest review and I was not compensated for my review.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010



I want to welcome Melanie Nowak to Books R Us. Melanie is the author of Almost Human ~ The First Trilogy . Thanks For stopping by.

Almost Human ~ The First Trilogy ~ 3-in-1 Bundle

What is Almost Human about?

Melanie: ALMOST HUMAN puts a venomous new twist on the classical vampire, and blends elements of many genres. It has drama, humor, romance, some action, and a pinch of horror and even a touch of science fiction in the 2nd trilogy.

The story begins with a vampire who found that in losing his life, he gained his faith and a purpose. He now spends eternity trying to teach younger vampires to exist without hurting humans – working the will of God among the undead. Enter a young college girl in danger, the beginnings of an ill-advised love affair, and a few vampires who aren’t eager to follow the advice of an elder, and you have the opening of the ALMOST HUMAN series. At the start, it may seem like a familiar story, but as readers become involved, it reveals itself to be an original new experience, immersing readers in fresh insight. The books can be read as fun and light, to a certain degree, but they also lend themselves to deeper contemplation.

For me, the driving force behind the series is the emotional connections of the characters. I do not have black and white villains and heroes in my books, although different characters fit those roles from time to time. I have a core group of realistically evolving characters with different motivations, making choices throughout the story. Each reader will connect with the characters differently; some they’ll love, and some they’ll love to hate. Some readers will agree with the character’s decisions, and some won’t, but hopefully all can understand the characters on an empathetic level. The story prompts the reader to ponder what they would do in similar circumstances.

I am not in the habit of quoting from reviews and things, but I recently received a fan letter from a reader who described what I was striving for beautifully:

“I fell in love with the characters and your wonderfully descriptive use of language. There was something different about your books, some element that put me right into the storyline, giving a fantastic dramatization of what was unfolding before me. Almost as if while reading, I was inserted into a vivid dream-like representation of not only the plot, but the characters feelings and emotions as well. Your books are so much more than just vampire novels. You are writing about real people, who have real emotions.” Alison Irvine.

(I hope she doesn’t mind my quoting her, but I so greatly appreciate her letter, and want to give her credit for her own words!)

It is so rewarding to know that what I feel in my heart as I write, actually does get transcribed to the paper in a way that strongly resonates with readers. I don’t think I can describe the books better than that. It is a story of vampires and humans, interacting in circumstances that can be fun, exciting, romantic and scary at times, but most of all, hopefully they will stimulate your mind and touch your heart.  

Can you tell me who or what was the inspiration for the book?

Melanie: A few things came together to bring ALMOST HUMAN to life. I’ve always been interested in bats. Vampire bats have a anticoagulant in their saliva called “draculin” (named after Count Dracula!) that keeps blood from clotting. I had the idea that such a thing would be useful for vampires as well. It would also be useful if they had something to keep the victim calm, like a drug.

I always wondered about a vampire’s ability to put victims in thrall. In old movies, vampires are always able to hypnotize people, and it’s never really explained. People are just ‘under their power’. I always wondered – why? How does it work? I put those questions together with the anticoagulant/drug idea, and took it further. What if vampires could inject their victims with venom – like a snake? Only the venom would not be deadly poison, but a combination of drugs that kept blood from clotting, kept the victim calm and even willing, and also could mark territory for the vampire – leaving a mark that other vampires could see. The vampire could then use the existence of this ‘drug’ in their victim’s system, to put them in thrall as well. 

The idea of venomous vampires seemed so logical to me, that I assumed for sure that someone else had done it already. I began searching my library for a book like that, so I could read it! This was probably in the early 90’s and there weren’t very many vampire books around at that time. I never found what I was looking for, and I filed the idea away. It never occurred to me to write it myself, LOL.

In the late 80’s, I had discovered Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles and absolutely loved them. That was the first time I read something from the vampire’s point of view. The way that she captured emotions and described surroundings was mesmerizing to me, and I really connected with her story. I’m also a huge fan of the T.V. series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Joss Whedon is a genius! That said - towards the end of the show, I started disliking some decisions the writers made. I understood their vision, but I also saw missed opportunities. I would have done things differently.

That started me thinking of my own storylines and my own characters, incorporating my venomous vampire idea. None of this was written down, just daydreamed during housework. Then one day I realized that a lot of the ideas I had were really good, and it depressed me to think that it would all just be forgotten. So, I sat down one night at the computer, to write out a few things so I wouldn’t forget, and could look back at them one day. The scenes just came pouring out and before I knew it, I’d been up writing almost the whole night! That’s when I realized that I had a real story to tell, and wanted to write it all out from beginning to end. That is how my ALMOST HUMAN vampires were born.

How long did it take to write the book, and how long did it take to get the book released?

Melanie: That’s not an easy question for me to answer, because I did not start out writing a book that I planned to publish. Bored with housework and lacking a creative outlet, I began making up a story one day, using my venom idea, just for my own entertainment. I had no aspirations of relating it to anyone, I just didn’t want to forget it. So one night, I sat at the computer and decided to just write it down for myself, so I could look at it again one day.

Before I knew it, I'd been writing for hours! It just came pouring out! I never planned to publish it, I just had fun writing it. The story was very long but I knew just where I wanted it to go, and what I wanted to happen. I knew it was too long, so I decided to break the story into 3 parts and make it a trilogy. I still wasn’t sure what I would do with it, but it was nice to feel the accomplishment of finishing the books. I wrote all 3 books in 2 years (I was completely obsessed, I wrote every free moment, staying up until 2 am most nights). Then I spent the next year polishing them up, editing and such. I let a few people read it; family and friends insisted my books were better than many others they'd read, and should be published, so I decided to try.

I first tried publish my series back in 2004, and as it is for most authors, it was a long and difficult endeavor. I spent a few years trying to get published by traditional methods. I researched the whole process and jumped through every hoop. Unfortunately, most publishers and agents are swamped with inquiries these days, and are unable to give each submission the attention it may deserve. I got numerous rejection postcards without a single request to actually read my manuscript.

As a busy wife and mom, I wasn’t able to attend conventions or camp out on door-steps to be read. I was earning my Masters Degree to be a school librarian, when a professor mentioned that Amazon would accept previously unpublished books for the Kindle. I knew that once you self-publish, most traditional publishers will not consider your work, but no one was considering my work anyway. After some research and deliberation, I decided to publish on Kindle in 2008, because it was an effective way to share my stories with the public. I could have closure, feeling like I'd done something with the books, and be able to move on. I wanted to begin writing the 2nd trilogy for the series, which had already been playing out in my head, no matter how I tried to focus on other things.

After my series began to gain Kindle readers, I got many requests for print copies of the books. To try and make that happen, I shopped around again for agents & publishers in January ’09. This time I had verifiable sales to show them – but it didn’t help. There is still a stigma against ‘self-published authors’ (although I believe that is slowly changing). They didn’t like the fact that my books were already out in e-book format, even though they had never been printed. Again I was constantly rejected without even being read first. I finally decided to publish in print independently, because I was more interested in sharing the stories with readers, than waiting for a publishing house to back me.

There are quick and almost instant methods to publish, but I wanted to be very thorough in doing everything myself, and owning all rights and my own ISBN numbers. I handled every aspect from editing & formatting, to cover photos (that's me on book 1). It took a lot of time, research, learning what needed to be done, and finding the most cost effective way to carry it out. I chose a printing company that allows me complete control, and I learned what was involved to become Independently published in print. In April of 2009, WoodWitchDame Publications was born. Word-of-mouth through readers has helped spread the addiction of my venomous vampires, and I’ve been blessed with many devoted readers. I am very happy with the success of my series being Indie published.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

Melanie: Being asked to choose a favorite character, is like trying to pick a favorite child. I can’t choose one among the others. Honestly, I really am all of the characters in this book! It may sound strange because my characters are pretty diverse, but it’s true. Each of these characters has been taken from the seed of something within myself. I have been lucky enough in my life never to have been sexually abused or addicted to drugs - but everything that goes into making up the personalities for my characters, how they feel and react to things, has come from some little grain of dealing with something in my own life - magnified. At some point in my life I have totally identified with and "been" these people. Even if it didn't outwardly show - this is how I felt and wanted to react.

I wondered a little at first, whether I would be able to write a believable ‘guy’, but when you come down to it, we are all just people. I take care to really examine his motives throughout each scene, and to try and observe and notice things the way I think a man would. It’s actually rather fun writing for my guys Cain and Ben, and stepping into the male perspective.

Outwardly I’m sure my friends and family would say I am most like Felicity. Physically, I have modeled her after myself; intellectually and emotionally she is very much the girl that I was at that age. I was usually pretty quiet and shy, constantly reading my fantasies rather than trying to live them out. Because of that, I identify very closely with Felicity, but I have to admit that it’s often more fun to write for my other ladies, Allie and Sindy. Allie is much more sassy and daring than I have ever been in life, and Sindy… well let’s just say it; She can be an evil bitch – and who wouldn’t think that was fun to write?

Do you have any tips for a young writer starting out?

Decide why you are writing. Is your ultimate goal to be on a bookstore shelf, or to tell an amazing story? If you just want to see your name on something, that is an entirely different path from someone who wants to truly express & share feelings and ideas. If you are passionate about your writing & want to share your story with readers, here’s my advice: 

1st - If you have a story inside of you yearning to be told, then be unafraid to really give in to it and write your true thoughts and feelings. The passion will come through! You cannot write while worrying about who might read it or what they will think. First, be true to that inner voice and write the story that you want to write. 

2nd – Edit – a lot. You’ve poured your heart out onto the page and it’s a moving and wonderful work. Now you need to look at it with a critical eye for grammar, story structure, continuity, and make decisions about what you’re comfortable sharing with the public. If you’ve bared your soul (writing can be wonderfully cathartic) you have to decide if anything should be kept strictly in the “author’s edition” rather than shown to the public. I made the decision to keep everything I’ve written in the original story – but that isn’t right for everyone. Do not write “down” to your readers – it is important to be sure they can follow the plot and understand the story, but don’t be afraid to write something that will make people stop and think. Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation is so important I have to say it again. If you’re unsure about something – look it up! EDIT!

3rd – Believe in yourself and be strong. Getting published is HARD. Even if you have the best book ever, getting the right people to read it will be even harder than writing it – you have been warned. I was rejected over 200 times without anyone even being willing to read my manuscript! Do not give up!

4th – If you want to share your story, you will find a way. Traditional publishing isn’t for everyone – neither is Independent publishing. You have to figure out what is right for you. Large publishing companies will be hard to reach without connections. It’s not impossible (but close). Be aware - larger publishers often want you to edit your work to fit their image. There are many small presses that are more open to accepting new work without many changes, you just have to find the right one for you. Otherwise, Independent publishing is also a good option to keep your story true to your own vision – but be prepared to put in the effort.

5th - Decide how you will define your success. If to you, success = money, quit now, LOL. To me success is the feeling of accomplishment and the swell of excitement I feel when someone tells me they read my book and it really resonated with them. In my experience, take care of the emotional success and the physical success will follow. I concerned myself with telling a good story, putting in tons of work to research certain elements, refine and edit it to the best of my ability, and learned what was needed to publish and promote it. I make myself accessible to readers and view it all as a labor of love. Through that sincere effort with no help from paid promotion, I have earned approx. 7,000 readers in 2 years. That number may seem small by traditional publishing standards, but for an Indie, it’s more than I ever expected! Now writing is my full time job and I can pay my bills with it!

What was some of your favorite books when growing up?

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony
Split Infinity by Piers Anthony
The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope
WitchDame by Kathleen Sky
The Secret Country by Pamela C. Dean
Ariel by Steven R. Boyett
Wolfwalker by Tara K. Harper

Those were (and still are) some old favorites.

I would sincerely like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to introduce everyone to my venomous vamps. The ALMOST HUMAN series is available in ebook and paperback, online and in your local bookstore – if it’s not on the shelf – ask for it!
Also available through the authors website, where you can read free sample chapters:

And on Amazon:

Happy reading!
~ Melanie Nowak
 Check out my review of  Volume 1- Fatal Infatuation and check back for my review of Volume 2- Lost Reflections coming soon.

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Contest ends 12/18/10 at 11:59pm EST