Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Help! I can't decide!

Hello fellow Junkies,

In a few short months I will be heading to an Indie author convention being held on the Goldcoast in Queensland. But I have a problem. I need to get some swag made up to give away, but I can't decide on 2-4 designs for the front and back of my bookmarks. A little help? Vote with your preferred design number(s) in the comments box and help me to decide!


Design #1
Design #3
Design #2

Design #4
Design #6
Design #5

Design #7


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Interview with Anna Zaires

Hello Fellow Junkies,

'Tis the season for interviews here on the Fantasy Junkie. I have loads of favourite authors, and some have graciously answered a few questions for me, while some have kindly offered to giveaway copies of their e-books and swag. This week's author is Anna Zaires, author of the Krinar Chronicles and Twist Me. I love this woman to pieces! She's so incredibly talented. Her books have been made into audiobooks and recently Close Liaisons was translated in German. How awesome is that?

Want to see what I asked her? Of course you do! Here's my interview with the amazing Anna Zaires...

1. You've had amazing success with your Krinar Chronicles series. Were you expecting it to be as well-received as it has been?

Thank you, Lauren! I am beyond ecstatic that the books have resonated with so many readers. We honestly didn’t know what to expect when we first came out with Close Liaisons - and we certainly never thought we’d become full-time authors in less than a year. Writing a book was just something fun to do, and nobody was more shocked than me when halfway through the first draft of Close Liaisons, we realized that we might actually have a real novel on our hands.

2. What is your ritual before you begin a new book? Are you a planner or a pantser?

Lately, we’ve been planning the books way in advance. We usually go on a nice long walk and brainstorm together, then jot down the resulting big-picture plot ideas. Dima (my husband) likes detailed outlines, but I’m more of a pantser, so we compromise and meet somewhere in the middle when we write together.

3. All three of your books are now available as audiobooks. What prompted your decision to make them available in this format?

To be honest, that was entirely Dima’s idea. I didn’t know much about audiobooks before we started working with ACX. It turned out to be a good move on our part, because the audiobook market is rapidly growing, and we’ve found that many fans appreciate being able to listen to the book during their commute or while doing household chores. 
 
4.  You're currently working on something a little different - Twist Me, which is a slightly darker themed book than your previous works. Can you tell us a little about it?

Absolutely. The premise of this book is pretty disturbing, actually. A young woman is kidnapped and taken to a remote island by a beautiful, enigmatic stranger with sadistic tendencies. Their relationship is wrong and twisted on every level, and that’s what makes it so fascinating to me. Julian is very much an anti-hero – a gamma hero, if you will. I find him both compelling and frightening, and I think others will too. This is not an easy book to write, but I feel like I have to tell their story - as dark and non-traditional as it might be. 

5. Your husband, Dima Zales - an author in his own right - has collaborated with you on previous projects. Why do you think you work so well as a team?

I think we both have different strengths and weaknesses, and we happen to complement each other. Dima is excellent with big-picture ideas and has a very logical, scientific mindset that helps with plotting, while I have a certain feel for emotional interactions and character development. We also happen to be crazy about each other, so spending lots of time together is not exactly a hardship :) 

6.  In the Krinar Chronicles, there's a lot of vocabulary specific to Ks. How did you come up with it all, and how did you develop such a deeply-rooted back story/history for them?

Honestly, the world-building just happened. The Krinar are very real to me, and I wanted to make them real to the readers. It’s all about being logical and thinking about what would actually happen if we encountered a more advanced civilization. What would they be like? How would everybody react?

7. Who would your dream cast be for Mia and Korum if this series were made into a film?

Ooh, that’s a toughie. I don’t think there’s a human alive who could do Korum justice, but if I had to choose, I’d probably go with the following:


8. If you were a super hero, what would your name and super power be?

 The Readerator. My superpower is being able to read crazy fast.

9.  Who would you say inspires you?

My family. Without their love and support, none of this would’ve been possible. 

10. What's one thing you can't live without in the world and why?   

Books. Definitely books. I don’t think I have to explain that one :)




I'd like to thank Anna for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer some of my questions. If you haven't read The Krinar Chronicles I highly recommend you do. Anna is an amazing author and an absolute sweetheart of a person, too.

 


Anna Zaires fell in love with books at the age of five, when her grandmother taught her to read. She wrote her first story shortly thereafter. Since then, she has always lived partially in a fantasy world where the only limits were those of her imagination. Currently residing in New York City, Anna is happily married to the man of her dreams and closely collaborates with him in the writing of the Krinar Chronicles. 
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Interview: Sawyer Bennett (Part 2)

Off Sides - Off Series #1
Well, well, well, I hope everyone enjoyed the first part of my interview with Sawyer Bennett, author of the Off Series, Forever Young and To Catch a Dark Thief. Here’s the rest of my questions with this amazing author. 

Me: When you’re not writing, what are you doing? 
Sawyer: When I’m not writing, I’m reading. I read two to three books a week, everything from romance to horror to crime thrillers. I also love spending time with my husband and dogs. Fall is the best because we are usually glued to a TV watching football, or we are flying off to watch a football game (college and pro). In fact, we just got back from Chicago watching my husband’s alma mater, Ohio State play at Northwestern. And for the record, I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and yes, I know they suck this year. 


Off Limits - Off Series #2
Me: You also write in other genres (YA & Paranormal). Do you have a preferred genre, or do you like to mix it up a little bit?
Sawyer: When I started writing, I went with paranormal because that is my preferred genre to read. I hardly had ever read contemporary romance and I certainly had no clue what New Adult was. In fact, when I wrote Off Sides, that idea had come to me in a dream and I decided to give it a shot. When I published it, I didn’t even know that it fit into the New Adult genre, but I learned as I went along. Going forward, I’ve certainly developed a fondness for writing contemporary romance, and I do think it’s easier for me. Your imagination has to go to a different level when writing paranormal, but I still enjoy that as well.

Off the Record - Off Series #3
Me: USA Today Best Seller…how does that exactly happen? 
Sawyer: Hah! If you figure that out with any certainty, let me know!  It obviously has to do with sales… the big lists calculate the amount of units you sell in a particular week. It has nothing to do with pricing, just the amount of books sold. I was so blown away when Off The Record made the list as it’s something that every author dreams of.

Me: You’re published by Big Dog Books. What can you tell us about them?
Sawyer: I formed to be able to have my royalties paid through to an LLC. Big Dog Books is a tribute to my three pups… my Bernese Mountain Dog, Atticus, and my two Golden Retrievers, Piper and Scout. I’m a little dog nutty in case you haven’t figured that out.

Off Course - Off Series #4
Me: What advice would you give to other authors out there who aspire to be as successful as you are in the publishing/author world? 
Sawyer: My biggest piece of advice is to keep writing. I’m seeing a lot of authors publish one or two books, and getting frustrated because they aren’t selling. The romance market is saturated right now and chances of you having a breakout book are slim. You need to develop a fan base and that will take time… lots and lots of time. So keep writing so you have more product out there to sell.

Me: How do you feel about social media? Can you give any advice on how you use it successfully?
Off Chance - Off Series #5
Sawyer: I think social media is crucial to a self-published author, because you don’t have the marketing backing of a traditional publisher. The key to social media is to be consistently engaging with your fan base. And by engaging, I mean engage them. Get them to talk to you, get to know your fans… make them want to be your fan.

Me: Finish this sentence: The thing(s) I can’t live without is(are)…
Sawyer: books, my family and my dogs… oh, and The Walking Dead.

Yeah, I’m totally with you on that one, Sawyer; everybody loves a good zombie...this one's for you...



About Sawyer:

Sawyer Bennett is the pen name for a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.


Stalk Sawyer...legally





Monday, October 14, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Sorcery Code by Dima Zales


Once a respected member of the Sorcerer Council and now an outcast, Blaise has spent the last year of his life working on a special magical object. The goal is to allow anyone to do magic, not just the sorcerer elite. The outcome of his quest is unlike anything he could’ve ever imagined – because, instead of an object, he creates Her.

She is Gala, and she is anything but inanimate. Born in the Spell Realm, she is beautiful and highly intelligent – and nobody knows what she’s capable of.

Augusta, a powerful sorceress, sees Blaise’s deed for the ultimate hubris that it is. She still cares for Blaise and wants to save him before he has to pay the ultimate price . . . thanks to the abomination he created.


Want a little taste of The Sorcery Code?...

There was a naked woman on the floor of Blaise’s study.
A beautiful naked woman.
Stunned, Blaise stared at the gorgeous creature who just appeared out of thin air. She was looking around with a bewildered expression on her face, apparently as shocked to be there as he was to be seeing her. Her wavy blond hair streamed down her back, partially covering a body that appeared to be perfection itself. Blaise tried not to think about that body and to focus on the situation instead.
A woman. A She, not an It. Blaise could hardly believe it. Could it be? Could this girl be the Object?
She was sitting with her legs folded underneath her, propping herself up with one slim arm. There was something awkward about that pose, as though she didn’t know what to do with her own limbs. In general, despite the curves that marked her a fully grown woman, there was a child-like innocence in the way she sat there, completely unselfconscious and totally unaware of her own appeal.
Clearing his throat, Blaise tried to think of what to say. In his wildest dreams, he could’ve never imagined this kind of outcome to the project that had consumed his entire life for the past several months.
Hearing the sound, she turned her head to look at him, and Blaise found himself staring into a pair of unusually clear blue eyes.
She blinked, then cocked her head to the side, studying him with visible curiosity. Blaise wondered what she was seeing. He hadn’t seen the light of day in weeks, and he wouldn’t be surprised if he looked like a mad sorcerer at this point. There was probably a week’s worth of stubble covering his face, and he knew his dark hair was unbrushed and sticking out in every direction. If he’d known he would be facing a beautiful woman today, he would’ve done a grooming spell in the morning.
“Who am I?” she asked, startling Blaise. Her voice was soft and feminine, as alluring as the rest of her. “What is this place?”
“You don’t know?” Blaise was glad he finally managed to string together a semi-coherent sentence. “You don’t know who you are or where you are?”
She shook her head. “No.”
Blaise swallowed. “I see.”
“What am I?” she asked again, staring at him with those incredible eyes.
“Well,” Blaise said slowly, “if you’re not some cruel prankster or a figment of my imagination, then it’s somewhat difficult to explain . . .”
She was watching his mouth as he spoke, and when he stopped, she looked up again, meeting his gaze. “It’s strange,” she said, “hearing words like that in real time. These are the first real words I’ve heard.”
Blaise felt a chill go down his spine. Getting up from his chair, he began to pace, trying to keep his eyes off her nude body. He had been expecting something to appear. A magical object, a thing. He just hadn’t known what form that thing would take. A mirror, perhaps, or a lamp. Maybe even something as unusual as the Life Capture Sphere that sat on his desk like a large round diamond.
But a person? A female person at that?
To be fair, he had been trying to make the object intelligent, to ensure it would have the ability to comprehend human language and convert it into the code. Maybe he shouldn’t be so surprised that the intelligence he invoked took on a human shape.
A beautiful, feminine, sensual shape.
Focus, Blaise, focus.
“Why are you walking like that?” She slowly got to her feet, her movements uncertain and strangely clumsy. “Should I be walking too? Is that how people talk to each other?”
Blaise stopped in front of her, doing his best to keep his eyes above her neck. “I’m sorry. I’m not accustomed to naked women in my study.”
She ran her hands down her body, as though trying to feel it for the first time. Whatever her intent, Blaise found the gesture extremely erotic.
“Is something wrong with the way I look?” she asked. It was such a typically feminine concern that Blaise had to stifle a smile.
“Quite the opposite,” he assured her. “You look unimaginably good.” So good, in fact, that he was having trouble concentrating on anything but her delicate curves. She was of medium height, and so perfectly proportioned that she could’ve been used as a sculptor’s template.
“Why do I look this way?” A small frown creased her smooth forehead. “What am I?” That last part seemed to be puzzling her the most.
Blaise took a deep breath, trying to calm his racing pulse. “I think I can try to venture a guess, but before I do, I want to give you some clothing. Please wait here – I’ll be right back.”
And without waiting for her answer, he hurried out of the room.

Want to know more about Dima?
Dima Zales is a full-time science fiction and fantasy author residing in Palm Coast, Florida. Prior to becoming a writer, he worked in the software development industry in New York as both a programmer and an executive. From high-frequency trading software for big banks to mobile apps for popular magazines, Dima has done it all. In 2013, he left the software industry in order to concentrate on his writing career.

Dima holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from NYU and a dual undergraduate degree in Computer Science / Psychology from Brooklyn College. He also has a number of hobbies and interests, the most unusual of which might be professional-level mentalism. He simulates mind-reading on stage and close-up, and has done shows for corporations, wealthy individuals, and friends.

He is also into healthy eating and fitness, so he should live long enough to finish all the book projects he starts. In fact, he very much hopes to catch the technological advancements that might let him live forever (biologically or otherwise). Aside from that, he also enjoys learning about current and future technologies that might enhance our lives, including artificial intelligence, biofeedback, brain-to-computer interfaces, and brain-enhancing implants.

In addition to his own works, Dima has collaborated on a number of romance novels with his wife, Anna Zaires. The Krinar Chronicles, an erotic science fiction series, has been a bestseller in its categories and has been recognized by the likes of Marie Claire and Woman’s Day. If you like erotic romance with a unique plot, please feel free to check it out, especially since the first book in the series (Close Liaisons) is available for free everywhere. Keep in mind, though, Dima Zales's books are going to be much more PG 13 . . . at least that’s the plan for now.

Anna Zaires is the love of his life and a huge inspiration in every aspect of his writing. She definitely adds her magic touch to anything Dima creates, and the books would not be the same without her. Dima’s fans are strongly encouraged to learn more about Anna and her work at
http://www.annazaires.com.
  
Want to stalk Dima?