Entangled Teen Presents: Why I Love Urban Fantasy!

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Today, we’re continuing Urban vs. Epic Fantasy Week with Entangled Teen’s Urban Fantasy Authors discussing why they love their genre.

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Brenda Drake – Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers, #2):

I’m such a fan of Urban Fantasy for many reasons, but mostly because writers can take our normal world and, either secret or not, add a dash of the fantastical to it. With mystical creatures hiding from humans or living side by side with them, deliciously nefarious things can happen. There’s just something extraordinary about urban fantasy. It’s the ability of the writer to look at something normal in the human world and mix it up. Changing a simple book into something that can transport someone from library to library or hiding a zoo of magical beasts in a common suitcase.

Book Description:

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Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens. Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

 

Buy Guardian of Secrets

Chris Cannon – Fanning the Flames (Going Down in Flames, #4):

1. There are no maidens that need to be rescued in urban fantasy. More than likely the females are the ones kicking ass.

2. I love the snarky banter that occurs when you throw modern day characters into strange/magical/supernatural circumstances.

3. Anything is possible in urban fantasy. There are no rules about what types of paranormal creatures you can have. If you want to create dragons that breathe fire, ice, wind, sonic waves, and lightning, you can, just like I did in Going Down In Flames *cough cough* shameless self promotion

Book Description:

S9781633758773he isn’t afraid of anything…except losing the knight she loves. Bryn McKenna has it all, including her smoking-hot knight turned live-in boyfriend, Valmont. Even though she’s a hybrid dragon, she’s finally fitting into the new shape-shifting dragon world that’s become her own. But her grandparents want to ruin everything by making Bryn’s nightmare of an arranged marriage to Jaxon Westgate a reality. It doesn’t help that Jaxon’s father is on a witch hunt for Rebel sympathizers and Bryn finds herself in his line of fire.

If she doesn’t say, “I do,” she’ll lose everything. Good-bye flying. Good-bye best friends. Good-bye magic. But if she bends to her grandparents’ will and agrees to marry Jaxon, she’ll lose the love of her life—her knight.

Buy Fanning the Flames

Shonna Slayton – Spindle:

Urban fantasy reminds me that our own world is magical. We are so used to the way our world works that we take for granted how incredible it is that our heart beats, our brain imagines, that our eyes see color.

As a writer, urban fantasy allows me to open up my imagination on multiple planes. I still work with the real world, but I get to add layers onto that. It’s like going from black and white TV to color. Like Dorothy in dusty old Kansas stepping into the colorful land of Oz.

Book Description:

spindleIn a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger…

Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else.

Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?

When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness…and Briar’s not immune.

If Briar wants to save the girls—and herself—she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.

Buy Spindle

Tara Fuller – Inbetween (Kissed by Death, #1):

Book Description:

9781620610138_fcDeath doesn’t fall in love. Usually. Since the car crash that took her father’s life three years ago, Emma’s life has been a freaky—and unending—lesson in caution. Surviving “accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year- old, so Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it.

Falling in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option.

It’s not easy being dead, especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn’t let her die before, and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the only thing he has left…his soul.

Buy Inbetween

Danielle Ellison – Salt (Salt, #1):

Whether it’s witches, demons, ghosts or other types monsters, there’s nothing like escaping the sometimes mundane reality of our world, or giving what we know every day a spice of fantasy. Filled with kick-ass heroines who aren’t afraid to fight for what they believe in (and hot, just-as- fierce love interests) Urban Fantasy inspires you to look beyond what you see and be more than you think you can be.

Plus, life is more with some magic: more dangerous, more unpredictable, more chaotic, more fun.

Book Description:

9781622663484-1Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her parents—and stole her magic. Since then, she’s been pretending to be something she’s not, using her sister’s magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent away.

When she’s finally given the chance to join the elite demon-hunting force, Penelope thinks that will finally change. With her sister’s help, she can squeeze through the tests and get access to the information she needs to find “her” demon. To take back what was stolen.

Then she meets Carter. He’s cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic, too. He knows her secret—but he also has one of his own.

Suddenly, Penelope’s impossible quest becomes far more complicated. Because Carter’s not telling her everything, and it’s starting to seem like the demons have their own agenda…and they’re far too interested in her.

Buy Salt

Rachel Harris – My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, #1):

Book Description:

9781620611364-1On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits…right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

Buy My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century

Gloria Craw – Atlantis Rising (Atlantis Rising, #1):

I love Urban Fantasy because it infuses normal life with myth and magic. It’s so exciting to have something in common with a character who finds a magic object, special ability or a secret origin. The possible ways her courage and passion might be tested are endless. When she does triumph against fantastic odds, I’m left feeling inspired and reassured that I can overcome great obstacles in my everyday life too. Urban Fantasy reminds me that the ordinary in us can sometimes be…extraordinary.

Book Description:

ar_500We’ve stayed hidden too long… I am different. I have always been different, but no one can know or my life will be in danger. So I hide in plain sight, wearing drab clothes and thick glasses and trying to be invisible. I’m so good at hiding, no one has ever noticed me. Until Ian…the mysterious and oh-so-cute boy I know I need to avoid.

Now I have been seen. And more terrifying still, I am wanted—by those who would protect me and those who would destroy everything and everyone I love. But if they’re all terrified about who I am, wait until they see what I can do…

 

 

Buy Atlantis Rising


Okay, that’s it for today! Come back tomorrow and learn all about Team Epic!

Entangled Teen Presents: Urban vs. Epic Fantasy Week!

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In my continuing effort to talk all about YA literature and the fantasy genre as well as introduce you to new authors and books here on the blog, I am participating in Entangled Teen’s Urban vs. Epic Week! 

The Urban vs. Epic Fantasy Week is a chance for readers – like me and you – and Entangled Teen authors to make their allegiances to either urban or epic fantasy known. You may have kept your preferences a secret until now, but now it’s time to confirm your #TeamUrban or #TeamEpic tendencies loud and clear over the course of the week. You bet I will.

Here’s what we’ll be doing over the course of the next few days.

Urban vs. Epic Fantasy Week Schedule: 

  • Tuesday, February 28th: Team Urban vs. Team Epic Fantasy Twitter Chat @ 9-10 pm EST
  • Wednesday Mar. 1st: Bloggers post a feature with authors who ascribe to #TeamUrban
  • Thursday, Mar. 2nd: Bloggers post a feature with authors on #TeamEpic
  • Friday, Mar. 3rd: Bloggers and authors can write / share related posts, including: why they’re Team Urban or Team Epic, their Top 5/10 Fave Urban or Epic Fantasy Reads, and/or the Top 5 Reasons They Loved _____ (an urban or epic fantasy read).

Wednesday-Friday’s events will be taking place on my blog as well as many others!

Enter the Giveaway hosted by Entangled:

As for me, I’m pretty sure you know where I land…

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See you for the rest of this week!

Author Spotlight: Raven Williams

Today, I’m interviewing my friend Raven Williams, who writes amazing Fantasy novels. The last book of her popular Realm Jumper Chronicles series is out today! Her work can also be found in A Horde of Dragons, an anthology with five other authors, and a true story called My Brother’s Keeper. She has hosted numerous interviews and marketed other authors, and is instrumental in the administration of Virtual FantasyCon every year. Get to know Raven and her books and find your way to a new series. All seven books, officially no more waiting!

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Q – Welcome Raven. Wow, seven books. How long did it take you to go from start to finish in this series?

A – I started writing the first book, Elven-Jumper in March 2014.  That one took the longest to write and released in February of 2015.  After that, the words continually flowed, and now, two years later around Elven-Jumper’s anniversary date, I’m releasing the last novel, Elven Blood Oath.

Q – Can you tell us a little bit about the series?

A –  When I started Elven-Jumper, the premise was what happened to Elven souls when the Elves died on Earth or other realms.  The first book delves into this the most.  I had originally planned for each book to focus on one character having memories of an Elven life, but during the second book, the characters had another story in mind and hijacked the series.  In Elf-Witch (book 2) they revealed a prophecy and the beginning rumors of a possible war.  From then on, each book features a mated pair and further steps closer to war, culminating with the final battle in Elven Blood Oath (book 7.)

Q – Which book is your favorite?

A— I love them all, but I think my absolute favorite is Elven Dreams (book 4).  The mated couple in that book just manifested more fully than the others.  One thing about the Elder species, they are a reserved bunch and don’t always show emotions like we humans do, so getting them to express themselves even a little was like pulling eye teeth.  However, in Elven Dreams, they were quite expressive and I love how the story evolved.

Q –  I really liked the Archangel Michael, and was it Tabris who was his leader?

A –  Yes, Lady Tabris was originally the leader of the Angels of Light.  Of course, things changed as the stories progressed and she stepped down, naming another to replace her.  In the future, there will either be a novelette or novella expanding on why Tabris stepped down.

Q – Okay, I told you my favorite character. Which is yours?

A – I think Damien (one of the Guardians) is my favorite.  Mainly because he appears to be on the side of Dark, but then we learn more about him and that he’s not as he appears.  His journey is something I can really relate to and I think he’s the one that has come the furthest of all the characters.

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Q – What was your biggest challenge when writing The Realm Jumper Chronicles?

A – Reigning in the characters.  I would plot something, and then they’d run roughshod over me and I’d end up having to not only replot the book I was working on, but subsequent books as well.

Q – You have some companion stories for the series. Tell us a little bit about those.

A –  Right now, I have two companion novellas published, Mixed Blood and Dragons of Pandryl.  The latter one is part of a multi-author anthology, A Horde of DragonsMixed Blood delves into the history of two secondary characters, Solana of the Elves and Izlal of the Guardians and takes place in the distant past.  Dragons of Pandryl tells the stories of the Ancient Dragons and their evolution to the Dragon-Shifters they are today.  I also have two short stories that are part of a Dark Fantasy Tale & Legends Collection, Haunted by Darkness.  Those two are Fall into Darkness, which tells the origins of the demon, Vaduxach, and Rise of the Dark Witch, which tells the origins of Cassie, the Dark Witch aligned with the demon.

Q – I’m crazy about worldbuilding and cultures. Do you have a favorite culture or creature?

A –  I really love the Elven culture.  So many things that the Elves revealed to me resonate with me and I can totally relate to.

Q – Now that you’ve finished The Realm Jumper Chronicles, what can we expect to see from you in the months ahead?

A – I’m working on a new dark paranormal series, Witch Hunter’s Society.  I’ve already released two short stories, Witch Hunter’s Rise and Witch Hunter Ordained, which are part of Haunted by Darkness.  I’m currently working on the first novel, Witch Hunter’s Prey and have plotted two more novels in the trilogy.  I’m also working on the second novelette in my Raven’s Twisted Classics series, The Beast & the Sleeping Prince.  It’s a mashup of Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty, but with a twist.  For those who’ve not heard of this series, the first novelette, Down the Rabbit Hole, released this past October.

Q – I heard there’s a taste of your next series at the end of book seven; Elven Blood Oath. Is that true?

A –  Yes.  The main protagonists of Witch Hunter’s Society make an appearance in Elven Blood Oath.  Of course, for those who’ve read the series, they also know that Daciana made a very brief appearance in Elven Dreams.

Q – When can we expect the first book?

A –  I’m hoping to release Witch Hunter’s Prey late Spring or early Summer.

Q – Where can readers follow you, or learn more about you?

A – Website: http://ravenwilliamsauthor.wix.com/booksandmore

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RavenWilliamsAuthorArtist

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RavenWilliams53

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/b/100047095810006000685/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/ravenwilliamsfantasyauthor/

Tumblr: http://ravenwilliamsfantasyauthor.tumblr.com/

Sign-up for Raven’s Newsletter here: http://ravenwilliamsauthor.wixsite.com/booksandmore/newsletter-sign-up

Q – Do you sell signed books?

A – I do.  There’s an order form on my website:  http://ravenwilliamsauthor.wix.com/booksandmore

Q – Where can we purchase Realm Jumper Chronicles; Elven Blood Oath, or other books from the Realm Jumper series?

A –  All the books are available in paperback and ebook on Amazon and in ebook on most ebook platforms.  For those who love hard covers, I have those available on lulu.com.

Here is the universal link to order Realm Jumper Chronicles; Elven Blood Oath at your favorite book seller. https://www.books2read.com/ElvenBloodOath

Q – Thank you for joining us today. We’ll be looking forward to seeing what you’re up to in the future. Best of luck on your new series.

A –  Thank you.  It’s been a pleasure.


Okay, that’s all for today! If you found Raven’s books interesting, please follow her on social media, and pick up your copy today. As for me, I’ll be back with my next post very soon.

Thanks for reading!

Bibliobattling

According to Bibliobattle’s official website, “Bibliobattle is a social book review game which was developed in the Graduate School of Informatics at Kyoto University in Japan.” The first and second American Bibliobattles took place at Kinokuniya NYC and I happened to be part of both of them. Because I would like for you to someday be a part of them as well, I’d like to describe my experience to you and see if I can maybe get you to sign up for a future Bibliobattle.

Me and Megan, putting up our dukes
No, it’s not engaging in fisticuffs, but little sis (Megan Manzano) and I thought it would be a great pic.

How it Works:

The organizer assigns a topic in advance to determine what kind of books will be used to battle. This can take place up to a month before the actual battle. When a date is assigned, the organizer asks what book each battler will use. Those books will actually be available on the table for reference or purchase during the battle.

On the day of the battle, the contestants pick a number and that selects the order. Then each battler goes up one by one. They get five minutes to discuss why they love their chosen book, and three more minutes of Q&A time with the audience. Once all battlers go up, a vote is taken in the audience. Which book do you want to read the most?

The winner gets a prize, but everyone gets a little something for participating. I usually walk out with a handful of books that I’ve now grown interested in after watching the other battlers at work.

Technique:

How you Bibliobattle is up to you, but this is what I’ve learned after two Bibliobattles (admittedly, not that many, but everything is a learning experience). The first time I participated, the theme was YA novels, and I chose a whopper. If anyone has ever read the Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, they can tell you the sheer breadth of material it covers: war/peace, misogyny, racism, fear of “the other”, the power of being unique, religion and how it can be corrupted, what makes a man a man. It’s an amazing novel, but it is a very deep read.

So, when I sat down to prepare my Bibliobattle speech, I wrote a book report. I loved my chosen book because of all of the deep topics it delved into, and the way it presented them. I wrote a five page paper on these things, how the voice, the structure, and the formatting of the book informed the way these issues were brought across and why they hit so hard.

I had a lot of good points, but when I sat down to actually battle, I ended up jumping through my original pitch and being cut off in the final lines of my report by the ringing bell. Oops. (If you check out the link to the first battle at the bottom of the page, you can watch me run out of steam. It’s a tad embarrassing. Luckily, I like to make fun of myself).

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Me during my first Bibliobattle

When I was asked to do a second Bibliobattle, this time for the Supernatural genre, I signed up without having a clue about which book I would choose. I loved Supernatural books, and I could probably talk about them for DAYS, no problem. So I agreed to tackle it again, this time from a different angle.

Using Kelley Armstrong’s Omens, the first book of my absolute favorite book series, made my new approach easier. I love Ness’ series for many cerebral reasons, and they are just as worthwhile as the reasons I love Armstrong’s series. But while there is middle ground regarding both books, the main reasons I love Armstrong’s is all heart.

I fell in love with the characters. I loved the mythology. The mystery of it all intrigued me. Yes, the story covers interesting history and contains important character studies that subvert the tropes of strong female characters and leading men. Yes, the mystery was twisty and surprising. There were intellectual reasons to love it, but there was also plenty of heart reasons to love it.

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Me at Bibliobattle 2 with moderator CJ Malarsky

So, I sat down and wrote out all of the reasons I enjoyed the book. I read it a few times so it stuck in my head. And when the day of the battle came, I spoke from memory and from heart. Though I didn’t win that time either, I did finish it without running out of steam, and I felt better about the way I’d spoken, because I’d been able to speak to the people reading, rather than read to them. I think I found my technique!

Videos/Images:

Want to see the Bibliobattles I discussed? Well, here’s the first: 

And here’s the second one, in which YA writer Zoraida Cordova participated:

To stay in the know regarding upcoming Bibliobattles in the US, follow Kinokuniya on Twitter and Facebook. See you at the next battle!

Show or I’m Telling

I’m posting to let you know that it has been a great month so far. Both of my special projects are off the ground! 

The Inkwell Council has completed its first manuscript review and we’ve posted a blog about our experience that includes some great writing tips. 

Personally, I’m discussing show vs. tell and why it’s not really one or the other, but how to use both. If you’re interested, check out the Roundtable

I hope everyone’s New Year is going strong!