Guest Post: How Doing What Made Me Happy Turned Into Sparrow by Mary Cecilia Jackson

My sweet father is eighty-seven now and was a scientist in his working life. (He’d be so tickled to know I was writing about him.) He has a Ph.D in physics (which honestly makes my brain hurt) and has always approached the world from a place of logic and reason and proof. When I was five, he explained surface tension – in excruciating detail – when I made the mistake of asking about the ripples in my bathwater. But he has always been so much more than a scientist. He adores classical music, especially opera, and was an avid fiction reader. He could quote the first lines of all his favorite books, among them Rebecca and Scaramouche. My dad understood his bookish daughter.

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Meet the Characters of Below by Alexandria Warwick + Giveaway!

Welcome to my stop on the Below blog tour! The author, Alexandria Warwick, is here to share an inside look at the characters before you read the story.

Apaay

Apaay is a young Analak woman who wants nothing more than to earn the respect of her people and to lead the summer hunt. Apaay’s steadfast, determined nature allows her to face impossible odds in the quest to find her sister’s stolen face. There is nothing more important to her than family. Let it be known that her dad jokes are terrible.

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Guest Post: A Guide to the Yokai in Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda + Giveaway!

Hi everyone! Courtney Alameda, co-author of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS and monster enthusiast here! I’ve long said that the Japanese are among the best storytellers in the world; not only do they have the richest folklore, but they have an extensive monster bestiary that includes some of the most interesting creatures on Earth. SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS features a mere fraction of Japanese yokai, or monsters, and I’m here to introduce you to a few of my favorites.

Unlike many western monsters, Japanese yokai aren’t necessarily “good” nor “evil;” some, like kitsune, can even be benevolent. So break out your moral alignment charts, because here we go!

NEKOMATA: Of course I’m including a monster cat in this list! Nekomata like Oni-chan, Kira’s cat companion in SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, are regular housecats for the most part . . . except these cats have two tails tipped in blue flames. When these cats transform from ordinary animals into supernatural yokai, their tails split down the center. Oh, and did I mention they can grow larger than tigers and occasionally like to eat human beings? No? (Art by MonMon Cats)

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Guest Post: The Story Behind the Cover of Spellhacker by M.K. England + Giveaway!

How, HOw, HOW do you create a cover that simultaneously says:

FUN HEIST!!

Super cool glowy magic fantasy 

Flashy hi-tech sci-fi!

Sarcasm and jokesssss

???????????

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Meet the Characters of Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz + Giveaway!

Welcome to my stop on the Jane Anonymous blog tour! The author, Laurie Faria Stolarz, is here to share an inside look at the characters before you start reading their story. You can also read my review of the book here!

Jane Anonymous

Jane is a soon-to-be senior in high school, excited for the next chapter in life. In her spare time, she works at a local clothing boutique, volunteers at a pet shelter, and runs cross-country track. Jane loves poetry, books, and hanging out with her best friend Shelley. It’s because of Shelley that Jane goes to work early one day – to pick up a gift she’d bought for Shelley’s birthday. But plans get derailed and Jane winds up kidnapped. She spends seven months in captivity. The novel serves as Jane’s journaled thoughts as she processes what happened and how she’s dealing day to day. 

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Sensational Sophomores: Katya de Becerra’s Playlist and Aesthetic Inspired by Oasis

Sensational Sophomores is a periodic blog series highlighting authors who are releasing their second book. Today, I am honored to be welcoming Katya de Becerra, author of What the Woods Keep and the forthcoming Oasis (1/7/2020) as she shares her playlist and visual aesthetic for Oasis!

If you are an author interested in being featured in this series please click here to fill out the Google form.

clockwise starting with the background photo for Oasis title:
Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash
Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash  
Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash 
Photo by Sander Weeteling on Unsplash
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Guest Post: From Visual to Verbal – How my Design Career Influences my Writing by Jacqueline Firkins

I’ve been designing costumes and scenery for the theatre for about twenty-five years now. I got into the career because I love working with a group of creative minds to bring a story to an audience. I particularly like developing the world the characters inhabit, and the feel of the characters themselves. How do they choose to express themselves? What objects or garments do they hold precious? Do they dress to be seen or to disappear? What resources do they have available? Connections to their past? Hopes for their future? Do they intentionally align themselves with a group or make themselves stand out?

These are questions we all grapple with, though seldom on a conscious level every day. With costume design work, they rise to the surface and need to be answered. I find the work endlessly fascinating. I do less scenic design than costume work because I love the detail, focus on personal expression, and working relationship I build with actors when I design costumes. However, scenery often allows for bigger symbolic gestures. I like these too!

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