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Welcome author Emerald Barnes with her new release The Marked!

The Marked blog tour badge (1)

Thanks for hosting me. Today, I want to introduce you to Myka Williams from The Marked.

My name is Myka Williams. I’m seventeen, and I go to Knight’s Academy in Crescent Hill, Tennessee. I live in the dorms here with my best friend, Olivia Michaels.

Some days, I don’t recognize the girl staring back at me. Some days, I can barely function because I can’t sleep. There’s this wolf in my dreams, and I get the sense that she’s real somehow. Like I can sense her thoughts. Like I’m the wolf. Which isn’t possible, but it feels so real. And it keeps me up at night.

There’s also this guy. His name is Milo, and he’s so frustrating! He’s cute—like really cute—but he’s so…broody. I guess that’s the right word.

One day, he’s giving me gifts, almost kissing me, and the next, he ignores me, basically pushes me away. Something happened between us during Parents’ Weekend, but he won’t tell me what it is. See, I fainted and hit my head, but that doesn’t explain the weird snake-like mark on my neck. No one knows what happened but him, and he won’t talk to me.

Then there’s Preston. If Milo is frustrating, Preston is so much worse. He’s possessive—and he has a really bad anger problem, like he should take anger management classes it’s so bad. He won’t leave me alone. No matter how much I tell him to. Something is wrong with him, and I hate being around him.

I miss my family, and that can’t surprise anyone more than it does me. I thought being at Knight’s Academy would give me purpose. I thought I could figure out who I was, but I was wrong. I’m still adopted, and I still don’t know who my real parents are. My adoptive family, Barry and Jilly, are great, don’t get me wrong. I love them, and I can’t imagine life without them. But, there’s something missing, and I can’t put my finger on it.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just want to run, much like the wolf I’m dreaming about. As if life wasn’t complicated enough…

The one good thing that has come from being at Knight’s Academy is meeting Olivia. Liv is in every way my opposite, but she keeps me distracted from what’s running through my head on a daily basis. She’s great, really. I’ve never had a best friend before. I tend to push everyone away. That’s why I was okay with moving from Mississippi to Tennessee. I didn’t have anyone at home to hold me back. At least that’s what I thought until I came here. I miss Barry and Jilly. I want to go back home, but I need to finish my year out at Knight’s Academy.

At least I have my art to keep me company. That’s about the only thing I can count on these days. But, I keep painting the wolf… Maybe it’s not the best distraction after all.

Well, I have to go. I have classes to get to. Pray for me. Trig is my first class. I hate Trig.

TheMarked1400x2100About The Marked: Knight’s Academy Book 1:

Myka Williams has never fit in with her peers, and although her adoptive parents are loving and supportive, she feels most at home alone in the woods.

When she’s offered a full scholarship to Knight’s Academy in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she takes the opportunity for a fresh start. She soon learns that Knight’s Academy is more than just a school. Within the stone walls of the institution, humans and vampires are mixing, and their offspring are going unnoticed.

As Myka falls prey to the evil plan of the school, she makes a chilling discovery about her own heritage and realizes that she’s at the Academy for more than just an education. Myka must yield to her birthright at the risk of losing everyone she loves or succumb to the fate that Knight’s Academy has in store for her—a fate worse than death.

Where to Buy The Marked:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Nook

iTunes

Kobo

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About Emerald:

Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie, a youth leader, a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor. She’s addicted to tv and binge-watching shows, and she has a thing for superheroes.

Connect with Emerald:

Website: http://www.emeraldbarnes.us

Blog: ebarnes23.wordpress.com

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/emeraldbarnes

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fanpageforemeraldbarnes

Twitter: www.twitter.com/emeraldbarnes

Street Team: http://www.facebook.com/groups/emeraldbarnesstreetteam

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/emeraldbarnes

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/emerald_barnes

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LONE WOLF

Lily Peterson is a wolf who hunts alone. Haunted by the attack that left her best friend permanently human, she will do whatever it takes to catch her prey.

FATE

Jason North is one of the Neuri, a pack of werewolves with special abilities. He knows he’s never met Lily before, but his instincts tell him he has. He’ll keep her close until he figures out why.

EVERYBODY LIES

A war that has played out across lifetimes threatens to consume Echo Falls. Friends become enemies, and old enemies become allies. Lily fights against memories that aren’t hers, forced toward a fate she doesn’t believe in.

Fate is about to learn that Lily doesn’t like being told what to do.

Jaime McDougall is a chocolate-addicted paranormal romance author living in country Australia. She likes kidnapping her husband and jaimenaming her pets after science fiction authors.

When she is not writing or thinking about writing, she is baking all kinds of sweet concoctions. It’s been said that she makes the best brownies in Bendigo, but she couldn’t possibly comment.

She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: High School: The Real Deal, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles, Painted Words 2012, and Painted Words 2013. She has also published the paranormal romance novels Echo Falls, Fading Echoes, and Dark Echoes as well as the So You Want non-fiction series for authors.

Find out more at Jaime’s website: http://www.inkyblots.com

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In order for paranormal fiction – any fiction, really – to have an impact on the reader, you’ve got to strive for that old cliché, “the willing suspension of disbelief.” In effect you’re inviting the reader into funhouse of your own creation. You meet him at the entrance and whisper in his ear: “Hey, look, dude: We both know that there’s no such thing as vampires, and demons, and ghosts, and all that. But let’s pretend, you and I – just for a little while. And who knows, maybe you’ll feel a bit differently about such things – in the dark. Now take my hand – it’s time to go inside.” Then the reader turns to page one – and so it begins.

So how do you help the reader get to that cooperative frame of mind that will allow you to really mess up with his head? The answer, in a word, is plausibility. Apart from the vampires, or ghosts, or werewolves (or, as in the case of my novel Hard Spell, all three and more) everything else in the story has got to seem as realistic as possible. It seems to me that there are two ways to achieve plausibility, and the wise speculative fiction writer will use both of them.

One is consistency. Not only do the supernatural elements have to remain consistent with each other (if sunlight fries vampires in your world, then you’d better not have one going for a noonday stroll later in the story – unless he’s using a lot of sunscreen), but also with the reader’s understanding of the real world.

So, say you’ve got a couple of cops, in a universe where the supernatural exists and everyone knows it. Sometimes supernatural creatures break the law, and you’ve got to bust ‘em. But the writer should treat it as normal police routine. You bust a vampire – perhaps you have to use the threat of a crucifix or some garlic to subdue him, but you’ve done it before. You put on the cuffs – maybe a pair that’s silver-plated – read the vamp his rights, and take him to the station. On the way, you and your partner talk about sports, or women, or bitch about your boss. You don’t make a big deal about having a vampire in the back seat, because in your world it isn’t a big deal. Your cops are acting consistent with the way cops act in “normal” TV and movies (which presumably reflects real life, more or less), and that gives you plausibility.

The other route to plausibility is detail. You make your world seem real by putting real things in it, to the greatest extent possible. Your cops don’t stop at “a fast food place” and have lunch. They stop at the Mickey Dee’s on 4th Street where one cop orders the Double Whopper with Cheese and the other gets the nine-piece McNuggets, even though he’s always getting the barbecue sauce on his shirt, which pisses his wife Margaret off no end when she has to launder it. And those cops, they don’t carry “guns.” Each holster contains a 9-mm Beretta, the same model used by the U.S. military, even though Harry’s brother, who’s with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan, says the things haven’t got near the stopping power of the old .45s that used to be standard military issue. Stephen King does this a lot (and very well), and some critics get on him for it, saying that a King novel is a “pop-culture extravaganza, full of brand names and trademarks” (that’s not a real quote, but it’s close). They say that like it’s a bad thing – but its not. It’s one way of making it real. And for your reader to believe the unbelievable, he or she has to be visiting a world that seems real. That’s the only way to gain willing suspension of disbelief – which in paranormal fiction is just another word for “entertainment.”

So take my hand, and let’s go through the fun house together. Yes, I know it’s dark, but the floor is even – you won’t trip. Probably. And if something should reach out for you from the dark – something with cold flesh and sharp claws and breath that reeks of the graveyard – just remind yourself: “It’s only a story.”

About the author:

Justin Gustainis was born in Northeast Pennsylvania in 1951. He attended college at the University of Scranton, a Jesuit university that figures prominently in several of his writings. After earning both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, he was commissioned a Lieutenant in the U. S. Army. Following military service, he held a variety of jobs, including speechwriter and professional bodyguard, before earning a Ph.D. at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

He was married to Patricia A. Grogan of Toledo, Ohio, from 1977 until her death in 2007. He misses her a lot. Mr. Gustainis currently lives in Plattsburgh, New York. He is a Professor of Communication at Plattsburgh State University, where he earned the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2002. His academic publications include the book American Rhetoric and the Vietnam War, published in 1993, and a number of scholarly articles that hardly anybody has ever read. In the Summer of 2008, he attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop.

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Please welcome my special guest, New York Times bestselling YA author Maggie Stiefvater! Maggie is the creator of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. SHIVER was released last year and has garnered some excellent reviews. This month, however, Maggie is touring the blogosphere to promote the release of the second book in the series, LINGER.

About LINGER:
(Blurb taken from the author’s website)

In Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love—the light and the dark, the warm and the cold—in a way you will never forget.

Interview:

It’s a pleasure having you on my blog, Maggie! In the first book, SHIVER, the story is told from two points of view, that of Grace’s and Sam’s. What made you decide to use four points of view in LINGER?

I really wanted to make the story a bit of a wider focus, both to see Sam and Grace’s relationship from the outside but also to get a different perspective on life in Mercy Falls. Isabel’s point of view was a very late addition to the manuscript.

Isabel has an important role in this book. What compelled you to continue her story? Did you know in book I that she would eventually have such a major role?

I actually just put her in Shiver as the mean girl with Reasons for Being Mean, and the more I wrote her, the more interested I got in the nuances of her character. I was a bit of an ice princess in the first few years of college, and people tend to take that icy princess shell at face value. So frosty = bitch. When sometimes frosty = hiding, shy, or uncomfortable with making sincere relationships. Isabel lets me dig deep into what the girl behind the mascara.

In SHIVER Grace’s parents are almost nonexistent, hardly ever getting involved in their daughter’s life. In book II their attitude seems to change. Why?

Ah, Grace’s parents. When I sold Shiver, I prepared myself for reviews that grumbled about the sexual content. What I didn’t expect was to get more reviews talking about the absentee parenting of Grace’s parents. The thing is, I’ve met a lot of parents like Grace’s — more and more, actually, as I get older. They don’t see themselves as bad parents. They did their job; got their kids into high school without bad grades or drugs or wiccan rituals or an extreme love of World of Warcraft. They’re upper middle class white folks. Well-spoken, well-educated, two-income families that look quite ideal from the outside. But they aren’t families, they’re solar systems. Solitary planets who just happen to be in the same orbit due to the gravitational pull of the same last name. You might even know some of them. But I’ve talked to these teens who come from these families. Teens who drive themselves home, who have the house to themselves while their parents go on second and third honeymoons for a long weekend, who know more about their college plans than their parents. They exist. Trust me. Ask any high school teacher.

Anyway, in LINGER, Grace’s parents, floating as they were, get shocked out of their complacency when the natural order of things is disrupted. I try to be truthful in my characterizations even when it’s as annoying as all get out for me as a writer.

What was your inspiration for Cole and what made you decide to make him a rock star?

Cole! Cole was originally designed to make Sam look good. Sad, but true. I really, really have this thing for opposites in my fiction. Before a really bad scene, I’ll have a really pretty one. For every good relationship, a bad one. For every really nice boy, a really bad rocker one. *evil grin* Anyway, Cole was to be everything that Sam wasn’t. He also had to have a very good reason for choosing to go with Beck.

I just realized I still haven’t actually said “why rock star.” I can’t remember the exact moment I decided to make him a famous musician, actually. I remember that he had his roots in a character that I toyed with in a short story [http://community.livejournal.com/merry_fates/37340.html] I wrote on Merry Sisters of Fate, called Heart-Shaped Box. You can kind of see the scaffolding there for his personality and for the the relationship between Cole and his friend Victor.

How do you go about maintaining your characters’ motivations believable throughout your stories? Is this a conscious decision or does it happen automatically as you write?

Wow, you have good questions (and hard ones). I think of my novels as character driven stories so therefore, to me, the characters’ motivations are always the most important thing. I can’t write the next scene until I ask myself: how will this affect them? What are the possible things they would do next?

Of course, I know the character arcs beforehand, so sometimes I have to come at it backwards. Like: I want this character to change in this way. What needs to happen to make that happen?

It is definitely not automatic.

Thank you for having me on your blog!

Thank you, Maggie, and best of luck with your tour!

LINGER trailer…

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