Case Maynard: The Interview

YAA

I’m so excited to be doing my third YAA! Chat (Review:YA = Young Adult, A = Adult, ! = Excitement, Chat = Interviews, getting behind-the-scenes with other writers).

 Today, I will be introducing you to super-talented, Case Maynard and her debut novel with Blaze Publishing: THE SURRENDERED. Tomorrow, I will post my actual review. So stay tuned! 

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<—–This is CASE! Author of young adult fiction. When not reading or writing, she can be found binge-watching Netflix or watching NCAA football (Go Noles!)

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This is the AMAZING cover for THE SURRENDERED! —–>

INTERVIEW TIME:

The “Serious” Questions

JKL: The CLIFF NOTES version of your writing journey . . . when you started, etc.

CM: I sometimes think I came out of the womb reading a book. I can’t remember a time in my life that wasn’t full of stories—humor, romance, horror, bad guys, and good. With the end of each story, I was often left feeling that “book hangover” that every reader knows about. I hated for them to end and wanted more! Sometimes I would daydream continuations to the stories, creating new plots and introducing new characters into them. And it wasn’t long before I realized that I was actually creating stories of my own. I knew then I was a writer.

JKL: What authors inspired you to write?

CM: There are so many writers who I love and who inspired me to write. When I was very young, some of my favorites were Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Francine Pascal, and Astrid Lindgren. As I became a teenager, my tastes in books changed, and I suddenly couldn’t get enough of Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Dean Koontz. Now, my absolute favorite author is Kresley Cole, but I also enjoy Monica McCarty, Sara J. Maas, Maggie Steifvater, and Marie Lu. There are really too many to name!

JKL: How do you pick your character names? (How did you pick Vera, Oliver, Cason’s names?)

CM: A lot of times my character names come from people who I actually know. For example, I have a great Aunt Vera, who is also known to my family as Aunt Vee. Another example would be Oliver’s character, who is loosely based on my son, Riley. When Riley was born, I wanted to name him Oliver, but my husband fought it. So I went with Oliver as his name this time around (and didn’t ask my husband’s opinion either lol)! Cason is actually the name that I chose for my daughter, Olivia—had she been a boy. It was a play on my own name, Case. John William, another character in The Surrendered, was based on my father, also named John William.

JKL: Are you a Plotter, Panster, or Staller (play on Facebook, Pinterest, clean, do tons of research…not much writing until the deadline is looming)?

CM: When I write, I generally just sit down and see where the words take me. I do normally have a broad idea of where I am going but don’t hold myself to any overall plot. I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my- pants type of writer! On top of that, I’m the world’s biggest procrastinator, so I often wait until the last minute to get started. Sometimes those two things are not the best combination of writing traits to have, but luckily, I work best under pressure!

JKL: Did you do anything weird while researching The Surrendered?

CM:All I can say is I hope that the government is not tracking my google searches. If they are, I have likely been flagged as a suspected extremist. While researching The Surrendered, I googled lots of information on topics like killing someone with herbs, ways that the government might fail under pressure, how to break someone’s neck, and how to live only off of the land. I need a special tag for my searches that let’s others know I’m a writer and not a terrorist!

JKL: Do you have any strange writing habits (like writing in the shower or writing under the covers at night?)

CM: Not really, but I do need extreme quiet while I’m writing. If anything is happening in the background, my head can start spinning. This is unfortunate because I have teenagers at home who are rarely, if ever, silent.

JKL: Which actors do you have in mind to play your main characters?

CM: I love to do Pinterest boards that depict actors and models for my characters. Some of the ones I have chosen for characters can be found at my personal Pinterest here: https://www.pinterest.com/casemaynard/the-surrendered/ 

JKL: What’s your favorite way to get past writer’s block?

CM: When I experience writer’s block, the best thing I can do for myself is to take a break from whatever it is that I am writing. I might take several day or even longer, binge watch some Netflix, or read one of my favorite books. Sometimes, you can be too close to a work, and you just need to take a step back and return later to reevaluate.

Are you an AM, PM, or ANYTIME I CAN writer? As I said above, I have to have complete silence to write which means, in my household, that my writing is mostly done early in the morning. Unfortunately, I’m not a morning person though. I would prefer to write deep into the wee hours of the night, but those are the hours my nocturnal teenagers keep.

JKL: What is your favorite quote?

CM: Passion, only passion, can elevate the soul to greatness.

—Thomas Diderot.

JKL: What do you crave when you’re writing?

CM: Solitude? A best-selling epiphany?

JKL: When writing with ink, which color do you prefer?

CM: Up until a couple of months ago, I would have said blue, but this really sweet friend of mine sent me some purple gel pens, and I absolutely adore them. The one downside to them is that everyone at work keeps trying to steal them.

The RANDOMNESS questions

Favorite accent: The sexy Scottish burr. Oh boy am I a sucker for a Scot.

Favorite party game: It, shit, or bullshit OR Drink, drank, drunk.

Favorite dessert: Coconut cream pie

Dream job: Trophy wife? Just kidding. Writer

Weapon you’d choose for a duel: Violence from afar suits me best!

Go to Karaoke song: Crazy by Patsy Cline

Song you’d choose for The VOICE: Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran or Not a Bad Thing by Justin Timberlake

Most interesting thing you could do with 400 pounds of cheddar cheese: Carve a sculpture? Maybe of some famous Wisconsin landmark.

Funniest thing to fill a piñata with: 400 lbs of cheddar cheese?

Pet pet peeves: Oh gosh, I have so many I don’t know where to start. Fairly OCD here.

Coffee or another type of drink and how do you take it: Coffee, with cream and Splenda

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And that’s it for now! Thanks for hanging out with us! Hope you enjoyed getting to know more about Case. Stay tuned for my review of THE SURRENDERED!

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The Carver: Jacob Devlin

I just finished reading THE CARVER by JACOB DEVLIN. It was extra special because I got to meet Jacob in person!

This is Jacob.

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He’s such a great guy. We had so much fun hanging out at UTOPIA—the jaawriters’ event/conference in Tennessee.

<=== We got to ride the employee elevator and get the unofficial tour of the kitchens and offices at the hotel where the conference was held. Don’t ask . . .

**Side note: He’s the one who got me hooked on FUNKO POPS!

This read was extra special because I got to be present when Jacob first saw it in print–first got to hold it! So exciting to see jajthe “inside” of published-author world. And, if that wasn’t enough for this first-time author, The Carver SOLD OUT at the conference!

* * * * 

So, my review . . . I gave THE CARVER 4 Stars. The storyline follows an epic ROAD TRIP with Enzo (the son of Pinocchio), Pietro (grown-up Peter Pan), and Rosana (the daughter of THE Alice—yes, the one who went to Wonderland) as they try to figure out what’s happening to their loved ones–who keep disappearing!

Plot: Here is the short version by way of a quote by HUA MULAN herself (p.191):

“Then let me give you the short version. Hansel is under the control of a dark queen who should have disappeared years ago. She’s trying to come back and using Hansel’s body as a vessel. But to come back in her true form, she needs to gather seven pure souls in the Cavern of Ombre . . . ”

Mood: The Carver was fun all around. There were some darker moments, but overall, I was sucked into both the fairy tale world, and our world–it was amusing experiencing our world through the eyes of the fairy tale characters that found themselves here. (I REALLY want to try Macaroni and Cheese on a stick . . . Didn’t know that existed!!)

Pace: Once I got the hang of the back and forth between the OLD WORLD PRESENT, NEW WORLD PRESENT, and OLD WORLD PAST, it was a fast read.

Characters: Jacob’s twist on the characters was reminiscent of Once Upon a Time, yet he did a wonderful job breathing freshness into the characters and adding lots of twists to the fairy tale world that we all “know.” The characters were unique, and you never knew which beloved (and not so beloved) fairy tale character would show up next.

I loved Jacob’s little snippet about The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

And I’m still chuckling about: Hook. James Hook. HA!

“You cannot win a fight without a pirate, and I’m the best there is.” -Hook p.252

Writing: Grammatically, this book was well-written.

Cons for me personally: At times the dialogue seemed a bit juvenile and forced. And the !’s were a bit over-used. And at times I was totally confused with where I was–which story line–and had to flip back to remind myself.

Level of Violence: There were several moments of evilness-in-action (loved the twists of the good being forced to do evil, but for great reasons…so intriguing!) and some great fight scenes.

My favorite fight scene being when Pietro and Enzo were forced into a joust at a Renaissance Fair! Pietro (Peter Pan) is such a sore loser!

Other Thoughts:  I think this sums up the takeaway of this story:

“ . . . I think it was a big shock when they got to the big twists, but, in the end, you have to realize that these fairy tales were also influenced very heavily by reality, and unfortunately reality sometimes includes tragedy. Even for the heroes.” -Heather McClavender AKA Violet p.231

Would I recommend this?: If you can’t get enough of fairy tales, this book is for you! Well, even if you are “eh” about fairy tales, this book is a great read! And, I must say, I think this book will be even better the second read through—now that I know what happens, and I can follow the back and forth of the story line.

The Carver ends with a TO BE CONTINUED . . .

BOOK 2 will be out next year, I will definitely be getting a copy so I can find out what happens to all the characters as they try to save their world and ours from the Ivory Queen—Avoria!

Grab your copy here . . . 

https://www.amazon.com/Carver-Order-Bell-1/dp/0997010452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471053590&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Carver

 . . . And check out BLAZE PUBLISHING for other AMAZING novels!!

Home

 

April Wrap-Up

Another month gone . . .

Life-Happenings Summary: April was such a fun, exciting month! I went out to Amish country in Ohio with my mom and sister. Did some sight-seeing, shopping, eating at the CHEESE BARN (survived eating ghost pepper cheese…), and a little bit of research for a novel idea I’ve been working on. It’s about an Amish girl (17) . . . But that’s where the similarities between Amish fiction end. Stay tuned! Gonna be a fun one . . . hopefully!

On the 23ponmrd, I went with my partner in crime, Laurel, to the CHILLER EXPO in New Jersey. I got to see (looked around a corner at him after waiting in line for 25 minutes…) Alice Cooper and Weird Al, and got to meet the guys from CHiPs! They were all genuinely-sweet men. Really enjoyed chatting (being mauled by Ponch) with them!

Larry Wilcox = Jon Baker.

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Robert Pine (Chris Pine’s dad!) = Sgt. Getraer
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Erik Estrada = Ponch.

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Writing Summary: I’ve been busy working on a series I started during NANOWRIMO. I’m hoping to have the first draft done soon so I can get to editing!

Editing = LOVE

Exciting things coming in June: Last week I was introduced to a writers conference, UTOPIA. After some, but really not much–all the doors opened wide–finagling, I’m GOING to Nashville, Tennessee in JUNE!! It’s a long drive, but gonna be so worth it! I’m especially looking forward to meeting, and hanging out with, the wonderful staff and authors of Blaze Publishing! I’ve been able to connect with a lot of their authors through Facebook–seriously, go check out this publishing house (their new website logo is AWESOME!). Their second book comes out May 17th! Already ordered my copy! http://www.blazepub.com/

Reading Summary: I read 9 books this month. That brings my total to 28 for the year . . . only 72 to go until I reach my year goal of 100 books!

Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine: 2 STARS. This was a Snow White, Evil Queen, Huntsman twist. It pulled me in at first, but then I quickly lost interest and ended up skimming through just to get to the end. The characters were okay, nothing memorable.

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell: 3 1/2 STARS. This was a neat, unexpected twist on Peter Pan and Captain Hook.

The Duff by Kody Keplinger: 2 STARS. . . I picked up this book after watching the movie. Must say that out of the two, I enjoyed the movie a lot better–there was more of a plotline. The novel, well all they did was have sex and try to keep that fact from everyone. I did like the ending of the book (but the ending of the movie I could watch over and over, I love their playful, friend-banter…and Robbie Amell…) . . . Overall, it was a quick read . . .

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson: 5 STARS. I absolutely LOVED this book! The characters were well-written and spunky. It had a Scarlet Pimpernel feel with a hint of Robin Hood. This was the first book I’ve read by this author, can’t wait to read more!

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey: 4 STARS. This was the second book in the series. It picked up right at the end of the last story and continued on it’s merry way. Can’t wait to pick up the next book and see what happens next for all the characters.

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly: 5 STARS. If you’re looking for a fun, fast read, grab this one. It was a riot! The characters were quirky and well-written and I laughed out loud several times at their antics.

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn: 4 1/2 STARS. (Adult romance). I’ve read several of Deanna Raybourn’s novels, but this was definitely my favorite! A quirky heroine living in Victorian England + A murder mystery = FUN! Can’t wait to continue in this series.

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury: 4 STARS. I really enjoyed this twist on Aladdin (Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves). “Aladdin” made his wish to be a prince and marry the princess . . .  but what happens if ithe genie is female and he starts to fall for her instead? The characters were very well-written, and it had several twists and surprises along the way

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton: 4 1/2 STARS. This was a very unique and fun story. I loved the main characters and the journey they went on. Looking forward to picking up the next book in the series.

 

 

ASLEEP by Krystal Wade

Asleep Facebook Cover

To celebrate the release of the spine-chilling YA psychological thriller ASLEEP by Krystal Wade, we have a full blog tour and exciting giveaways ahead! ASLEEP is the debut novel from Blaze Publishing, and answers the question of what happens when Sleeping Beauty meets Freddy Krueger. If you want to see more of ASLEEP, you can still find the Ten Weeks of Teasers and other great content on the Blaze Publishing blog. Order your copy now!

Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Kobo   Signed Copy of Asleep   Goodreads

aslThat was the first time he’d spoken her name, and she would have celebrated the fact she’d made a connection with someone—anyone—had her world not been spinning.

Betty just gave me something before I came outside.”

Something’s changing, something big.” He nodded once, agreeing with himself most likely. “You’re like me.”

The sounds of the door opening and closing, the women squabbling near the oak tree over who drew the better picture in the dirt, and people’s feet crunching on the gravel path leading to the door all felt trapped inside her head, loud and somehow touching her, upsetting her system more. God, even the smell of antiseptic made it out here and into Rose’s nostrils… 

I think I’m going to throw up.”

You are.” Phillip gently placed his hand on her back and rubbed small circles. “And they’ll get you.”

I don’t understand. What’s changing? Why do you keep saying I’m like you? Who’ll get me?”

He was paranoid. Crazy. Unpredictable. Yet part of him seemed to know things, to understand, to want to help. How much of what he said was real? How much was just crap made up in his head?

Different. Everything’s different. Except it’s not. And you . . .” He fell to the ground with Rose as she began vomiting. Phillip held her hair back and talked softly, the lunatic whispering, “It’s okay,” a couple times and touching her raw wrist before continuing, “I wish you never had to fall asleep again.”


“To cure fear, you must use fear.”asleep

Rose Briar claims no responsibility for the act that led to her imprisonment in an asylum. She wants to escape, until terrifying nightmares make her question her sanity and reach out to her doctor. He’s understanding and caring in ways her parents never have been, but as her walls tumble down and Rose admits fault, a fellow patient warns her to stop the medications. Phillip believes the doctor is evil and they’ll never make it out of the facility alive. Trusting him might be just the thing to save her. Or it might prove the asylum is exactly where she needs to be.


Follow the Blog Tour!

Tuesday 2/16 Wednesday 2/17 Thursday 2/18
Vicki Leigh: First Chapter Reading Jordan Elizabeth: First Chapter Reading Eve Langell: First Chapter Reading
Case Maynard: Promo Post What A Nerd Girl Says: Interview A Thousand Books: Teaser One
Friday 2/19 Saturday 2/20 Sunday 2/21
OriginiquEquanimity: Promo Post Janelle Howard: Teaser Two Archaeolibrarian: Teaser Three
Ryan Hill: Interview Nerd Girl Official: Promo Post
Tesairie’s Book Reads: Promo Post

Giveaway!

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We’re giving away some awesome prizes to celebrate the release of ASLEEP, including this stylish cuff! Enter with the Rafflecopter below and tell your friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


“To cure fear, you must use fear.”

asleep Rose Briar claims no responsibility for the act that led to her imprisonment in an asylum. She wants to escape, until terrifying nightmares make her question her sanity and reach out to her doctor. He’s understanding and caring in ways her parents never have been, but as her walls tumble down and Rose admits fault, a fellow patient warns her to stop the medications. Phillip believes the doctor is evil and they’ll never make it out of the facility alive. Trusting him might be just the thing to save her. Or it might prove the asylum is exactly where she needs to be.

 

kryABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Krystal Wade can be found in the sluglines outside Washington D.C. every morning, Monday through Friday. With coffee in hand, iPod plugged in, and strangers-who sometimes snore, smell, or have incredibly bad gas-sitting next to her, she zones out and thinks of fantastical worlds for you and me to read. How else can she cope with a fifty mile commute?

Good thing she has her husband and three kids to go home to. They keep her sane.

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