authors, books, interviews, young adult fiction

In the Words of An Author: An Interview With A J King

AJ

A J King, young adult author.
http://www.thepowervestedinme.com

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

Stephen King and David Baldacci

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

It varies from book to book. In The Power Vested in Me trilogy the main characters are the five teenagers collectively known as the Stardust. I can’t pick a favourite from these because as my own kids tell me you can’t have a favourite with your kids. In fact, when I write I feel guilty if I have given one more page time than the others.

Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

In the last book saying goodbye to some of the characters was hard and I found writing these scenes emotionally difficult, probably because I had grown attached to them- however killing some of them off was scarily easy.

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

Without doubt it is when people give you positive feedback on the books, and speak to you sometimes quite passionately about scenes and characters they have enjoyed and loved. So much work goes into writing the books that knowing they are appreciated lightens your heart and your step.

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

On a disciplined day- I wake up mega early in the morning, convince myself I’m not going to go back to sleep, get up, put on my Rocky Balboa dressing gown, drink lots of coffee, listen to music on youtube and write. On an undisciplined day, I do all of the above minus the writing.

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Always, from an early age at school my absolute favourite thing was when the teacher would tell the class ‘you need to write a story about….’ I just love stories- hearing them, reading them and of course writing them.

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

It would definitely be Billie Jean King- she has been my idol since as far back as I can remember, my first book is dedicated to her and I have a tattoo of her on my left shoulder. To meet her and speak to her would be an absolute dream come true for me- although I would possibly just open and close my mouth like a goldfish and find no words come out.

Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?

Then, as random as a dream, through the dimmed light, a figure appeared in the centre of the room. It was a man. His shirt, tie, trousers, shoes and ankle-length overcoat were all black. His body was almost camouflaged in the darkness, but his spiky white hair and vivid blue eyes made his expressionless face stand out like a beacon in the night. For a moment he stood there, moving only his head, glancing around the room at the sleeping babies. Then he placed the palms of his hands together in front of his chest, with his fingers pointing to the ceiling. He closed his eyes and took a deep, concentrated breath through his nose. As he exhaled, he stretched his arms out to either side of his body. On the palms of each hand were stars. They glowed blue at first, and then white – as white as the stranger’s hair. Suddenly beams of light erupted from these stars, and fell like rays of summer sunshine upon some of the sleeping babies. The babies stirred slightly as the beams of light hit them, but they didn’t cry. In fact, none of them made a sound. They just slept peacefully while the light fell upon them, like fairy dust sprinkled by Tinkerbell herself. The man remained there for no more than half a minute with his palms pointed outwards, keeping the light directed at the babies. His eyes remained closed, but his aim did not falter. Eventually the rays faded. It was as if they have been sucked back into the stars on the palms of his hands. The man opened his eyes, put his arms to his side and then, as silently and as suddenly as he had arrived, he disappeared, his visit gone completely unnoticed. His work was done. The gift was given. The die was cast.

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authors, books, fiction, young adult fiction

New Release Spotlight: The Excelsior Witch Chronicles

What if everything you heard about magic was wrong? Hollywood has twisted the story of Tituba in the Salem Witch Trials to be an evil presence. It’s thought that she brought evil voodoo to the world, but that’s wrong. Bali, an unsure 18-year-old, African-American girl is a recent high school graduate, and is about to find out how her connection of lineage to Tituba gives her great powers of good magic. Bali, along with her two new friends, Leilani and James, set out to figure out how to navigate these new magical gifts they’ve been given. During their time together, they must also learn how to navigate their own insecurities and personal problems, while saving New York City from an evil witch named Adelram. This story weaves the true tale of magic, and how #blackgirlmagic is that of goodness and love. Come step inside a fantastic story with Bali, James and Leilani and learn how powerful diversity can be.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692063374

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Leilani and Bali both had tears streaming down their faces. The three friends embraced in a tight hug, as words could not express the joy and love that was in that room at the very moment.
Their embrace was interrupted by a loud rumbling. The great hall began to massively quake. The walls seemed to crumble and the chandelier that adorned the middle of the room was swaying back and forth. Bali dropped to her knees with her head down. It was as if her body had fallen lifeless unable to move. James and Leilani desperately tried to pick her body up, but it was as if it weighed a million pounds. Suddenly, Bali’s body began to slowly rise from the floor. It was as light as air and she began to float. Her arms, legs and head dangled while her body started rising higher and higher.
Her head flipped up, her eyes opened and she screamed and other-worldly scream, so loud, her friends fell to their knees and held their ears in agony.

Bali slowly and quietly said, “…help…me…”

About the Author!

Lyn Michael Kalani McClenathan was born in Georgia to Linda and Jim. He is of Hawaiian/Irish/Italian/Japanese descent and currently resides in New York City. He lives with his husband Nicholas and his two dogs, Ellie (an English Bulldog) and Pip (a chihuahua). He studies Liberal Studies at Arizona State University and after graduation with his BA, he began his graduate studies at Western New Mexico University in Social Work.
As a cardio workout he loves to put on loud music in his small, Hamilton Heights apartment in Manhattan and dance around the house. Currently, on repeat, is The Great Showman soundtrack. His favorite books are ones that have been/are being made into movies. The Help has been his favorite book, in this genre. He and his husband are also avid Disney fans!
You can follow him on social media!
Twitter: @lynmkm
Instagram: @lynmkm

authors, books, New Release, young adult fiction

NewRelease From A.D. Johnson

Wonders: A Wanderer’s Journey (The Wonders Series, Book One)

Wonders text at bottom cover book one(1)

Author Bio:

AD Johnson specializes in young adult fantasy adventures. She has a long-standing love for series such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and The Maze Runner. Between aliens, gods, and denizens of the land of the dead, AD Johnson will give you characters and tales to keep readers of all ages fascinated for years to come!

Story Synopsis:

It has been 400 years since the Wonders established themselves here on Earth. Shortly after they arrived, the walls were erected, the protected Cities were established, and the first deadly wave of the Pox swept the world. Now, the Lord Proctor, Draven Lucere, rules what remains of the once-free nation. His lineage has sought to cripple the population in more ways than one; some apparent and some despicable and underhanded.

While humanity has atrophied in the Cities, the Wonders have evolved and adapted to their new home. They live among us and sometimes even combine forms with earthborn creatures.

In this world of Wonders, Maia and those who accompany her must learn to adapt and survive, as they take the fight for freedom to the ruling elite who have held it from the rest of the population for generations.

Facebook and Amazon Author Pages:

https://www.facebook.com/adjohnsonswonders/

https://www.amazon.com/AD-Johnson/e/B075MP8M71/ 

Twitter:

@AshleiDaylen

Instagram:

@AuthorAshlei
authors, books, cover reveal, young adult fiction

Cover Reveal: Wonders: A Wanderer’s Journey by A.D. Johnson

Cover reveal yay

It has been 400 years since the Wonders established themselves here on Earth. Shortly after they arrived, the walls were erected, the protected Cities were established, and the first deadly wave of the Pox swept the world. Now, the Lord Proctor, Draven Lucere, rules what remains of the once-free nation. His lineage has sought to cripple the population in more ways than one; some apparent and some despicable and underhanded.

While humanity has atrophied in the Cities, the Wonders have evolved and adapted to their new home. They live among us and sometimes even combine forms with earthborn creatures.

In this world of Wonders, Maia and those who accompany her must learn to adapt and survive, as they take the fight for freedom to the ruling elite who have held it from the rest of the population for generations.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075MMR3SW/

Depression, Mental Health, TV, young adult fiction

The Importance of 13 Reasons Why

When I started this blog, I had three goals in mind:

  1. To share my work, to offer excerpts, sneak peeks, share short stories, poetry, whatever.
  2. To share other authors in hopes of bringing them a bit of new exposure, to partake in the community that I have come to love.
  3. To connect with readers and share issues that I am passionate about.

In fact, my first post was dealing with #3. It’s a hard one, though. Where do you draw the line? What thoughts do you choose to share and what thoughts should you keep private? The general dinner table rule is to avoid politics and religion, and in my professional world I try to keep those thoughts to myself, but this new issue that has come to the spotlight is not one I will choose to keep quiet on. A dialogue has been started and I want to continue it.

Many of you, by now, have probably watched the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why. Many of you have probably read the book. I have not had the pleasure of reading the book as of now, but I will tell you it is very high on my TBR list.

There’s a lot of controversy over the subject matter and how it was handled. There are people that have said the show portrays Hannah Baker as a seeker of revenge, that her tapes were meant to inflict pain and guilt onto those who survived her, those who she felt contributed to her ultimate suicide.

I don’t agree that it was about revenge at all. In fact, early on in the binging I remember saying, “talk about taking a suicide note to a whole new level.” A note is something we expect to accompany a suicide, is it not? Those left behind have questions, they want to know why. Hannah simply explained why.

Each person on her tape she had an intimate connection with. Each person let her down. In many instances, it wasn’t any of their faults alone. That’s why it was important every person listened to every tape. It wasn’t Alex or Jessica or even Bryce that singularly contributed to her decision to take her life. It was a culmination of all those events, twisting in her mind, reminding her that happiness was always just out of reach. Each person on her tapes effectively destroyed a part of her. Sure a lot of people go through similar situations and they don’t kill themselves, but there are a lot that do.

It’s been said, even by the creators, that Hannah could have cared more, could have tried harder. While I don’t disagree, it is a tragic reality in our society. People slip through the cracks. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Let me make one thing clear, I DO NOT CONDONE HANNAH’S DECISION TO END HER LIFE. But it happens. We shouldn’t be sugar coating this issue, or dancing around it. 13 Reasons Why calls the issue out, demands a conversation. So, let’s have a conversation, why don’t we?

I know depression. I’ve seen it in those I love, have seen it in myself. I have lived with it, battled it, struggled with it even when things are going my way. I’m a big supporter of the “fake it until you make it” strategy. Honestly, what else are you going to do?

I remember I wrote an article about combating depression a few years ago. There were a lot of suggestions on my list that often offend those who are in the midst of their own battle, but as someone who has been there, you know what I say? You have to have something. Hannah, at the end, had nothing. She’d been broken down on so many levels, each person effectively destroying a part of her until there was nothing left. She had no safety zone, each place that could have been a sanctuary for her was taken from her, including her own mind.

Hannah Baker deserved better. A lot of people deserve better.

Not only does a conversation need to be had about suicide and finding help, but a conversation needs to be started on the butterfly effect, which was mentioned in the show. We need to be talking about how to be kind to our fellow humans, how to take responsibility for our actions. We need to rediscover what it means to be a community. It’s that human connection that will help when all else fails. That knowledge that someone is there, that someone would care, that someone’s life would not be improved by one’s lack of existence. Like Alex said, “Why not put up posters telling people not to be an *******”.

The next issue I’ve had with some articles I’ve read on the show deals with Hannah’s final act. Why show the suicide? People are saying that now people who are contemplating suicide know how to do it. Are you freaking kidding me? If someone is really seriously considering that option, they have plenty of resources to find out HOW to get the job done. If anyone thinks this information isn’t readily available to someone seeking the information, hop on over to google and see for yourself. It’s my opinion that this was an important scene. People contemplating the idea need to see what they are going to be leaving behind. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem that can’t be reversed. It’s messy. It’s heartbreaking. Sure, it was a difficult thing to see, but shouldn’t it be? If we’re going for a real, truthful dialogue, shouldn’t the whole ugly truth be laid out?

We’ve become a society of safe zones and trigger warnings. You know what I say to that? Life is messy. Life is hard. If we can’t start a dialogue that focuses on the hard, ugly truth, then we will forever be a society that hides behind the light and fluffy and more and more people will continue to fall through the cracks.

books, contemporary romance, cover reveal, fiction, new adult fiction, New Release, young adult fiction

Forever In Her heart: Surprise Release!

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SYNOPSIS

Callie is a creative writing student whose final assignment is forcing her to relive a past relationship.

With a surprise homecoming from the hero of her story, her past and present collide.

Can she resist the boy she’s longed for all this time, or will she admit he’s the forever in her heart?

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EXCERPT

Twelve. That was the age I was when I first saw him. My angel. A fantasy that had never fully manifested itself inside my young mind finally realized. A secret dream for my future given flesh and turned reality.

The afternoon sunlight had cast a glow around his head, illuminating his golden hair. I’d always believed in signs and this was the only one I needed. My immature perception of the world may have been skewed, but in those first few moments, I planned out my entire life.

It was weeks before I learned the boy’s name, Darren. Weeks after that that I finally saw him again. Slowly, cautiously we became friends. He was two years older, which explained why I’d never noticed him around before. My fragile conception of fate was solidified by his air of sophistication.

Our friendship blossomed. From casual encounters, to near-daily telephone conversations. There were no subjects that were off-limits, no filter to any of the crazy thoughts that popped into either of our heads. He was my safety, my sanctuary, the one place I never questioned where I belonged....

Callie ripped the page from her notebook. What was this? Crap. Utter crap. She couldn’t turn this dribble into her professor. This was her final assignment before she would receive her creative writing degree, not some diary where she refused to admit to the truth, even if most of it was, in fact, centered in reality.

She had been thirteen, getting ready to enter high school as a freshman. Maybe some would say the age was close enough so as not to matter, but to her that one year felt like the largest lie she’d ever told herself. After all, how else would this older boy ever get her attention?

It shouldn’t matter, she told herself, but it did. To her, that one line distorted the facts of everything else she’d penned. Made the truth seem more like fantasy. There had been a halo shining down over his head that day. She remembered it with picture-perfect clarity. He’d never seen her watching from the crack in the curtains, but she’d been there mesmerizing the lines in his face, the structure of his body.

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Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Forever-Her-Heart-Sandra-Ely-ebook/dp/B06WWFG68Q/

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