Maria V. Snyder's Blog

November 23, 2017

Here in the USA we celebrate Thanksgiving and reflect on what we are thankful for. I've a long list, but one of the main things I'm very thankful for are my readers! They rock! They've given me such joy over the years!  So I'm doing a Thanksgiving Give Away Extravaganza of 6 books!  This is for my readers so I've put in questions so I know you're a reader and not some random person hoping to win a book.  These give aways are open to ALL!!

Original Hardcover Edition of Poison Studya Rafflecopter giveaway

Chinese Edition of Poison Studya Rafflecopter giveaway
Advance Reading Copy of A Promise of Fire by Amanda Boucheta Rafflecopter giveaway

Whisper Advance Reading Copy by Lynette Nonia Rafflecopter giveaway

Dangerously Charming by Deborah Blakea Rafflecopter giveaway

An Advance Reading Copy of Firstborn (Book 2 in the Progeny Series) by Tosca Leea Rafflecopter giveaway

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Published on November 23, 2017 15:25 • 363 views

October 1, 2017

Hello!  Today I'd like to introduce you to A. L. Kaplan, the author of STAR TOUCHED.  She's a super lovely lady and talented author.  I had the pleasure of reading her book a few months ago for a potential blurb, which I happily provided.

She is also offering to give away 2 copies of STAR TOUCHED to two lucky winners.  To enter, go to the Rafflecopter form below. It's limited to US and Canada only.

Here's the cover blurb: Eighteen-year-old Tatiana is running from her past and her star-touched powers. Her power to heal may be overshadowed by more destructive abilities. Fleeing the persecution of those like her, Tatiana seeks refuge in a small town she once visited. But this civil haven, in a world where society has broken down, is beginning to crumble. Will Tatiana flee or stay and fight for the new life she has built? Only by harnessing the very forces that haunt her can Tatiana save her friends and herself.

TAKE 10 with A.L. Kaplan:

1.) How did you get the idea for STAR TOUCHED? (I know this is a standard question, but I always enjoy reading the answer).

STAR TOUCHED was born from a series of nightmares. Huge waves of water, giant fireballs – I probably shouldn’t have had that spicy food before bedtime. Then again, it did create a great world for my story.

2.) This is a post disaster story with a bit of a twist. Can you talk about what happened and how it affected your world?  Do you see this book as a science fiction story or fantasy?

The Cataclysm, or Day of Reckoning as the League of the Stars followers call it, began with a giant meteor crashing in the Atlantic. This not only created immense tsunamis, but triggered worldwide earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. If all the dust in the atmosphere hadn’t miraculously disappeared 10 months later, all life on earth would have died. As it was, very few survived and a lot of technology was lost, throwing civilization into chaos. Wow, that was a lot of technobabble. STAR TOUCHED is a dystopian science fiction with some fantasy elements. The star-touched powers are a bit magical, especially their ability to heal. Do I know how they got their powers? Of course I do, but I’m not going to tell you…yet.

3.) What do you find most interesting about Tatiana?

Tatiana is filled with guilt over things she really had no control over, but she hides her sadness and pain from everyone, even those closest to her. Despite everything that’s happened to her, she never loses her fundamental love of life and desire to preserve it. On a lighter note, she loves to read and remembers everything she’s ever read.

4.) I loved Fifi – the Teacup Poodle. What was the inspiration for her?

I’m not sure exactly where Fifi came from. I’ve had a fascination with wolves since a dream I had in high school. They’ve been the subject of many paintings, sculptures, and of course stories. I even made a couple of wolf costumes. It was important that Tatiana’s companion not feel threatening and a tiny little fluff ball is about as far from a wolf as you can get. Of course Fifi is anything but helpless. As for the name, it fit.

A.L. Kaplan with Fifi ;)5.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

I have a wonderful and energetic dog named Laila. She’s definitely high energy and an amazing jumper. (Look up Laila’s Escape A. L. Kaplan on YouTube.) We love agility and have entered a few competitions. At our first one, I learned that yes, you can get a negative score out of a possible 200. She’s since earned an agility degree.  I also love the outdoors and have been known to make a costume or two. There is a picture of my blue dragon spirit costume on my website.

6.) Did you have to do any special research for this book? 

Research for STAR TOUCHED took me on an interesting tour. I needed to know just how big to make my meteor so that it wiped out most but not all of the human population, where it needed to hit to get the geological reaction I needed, and how long life could survive without sun. Clear Sky Day is precisely timed. I also needed to know the location all fault lines no matter how small, and active and inactive volcanoes. Those wonderful geysers in Yellowstone National Park are there because the park is on a super volcano. You don’t want to be visiting when it blows. I also researched places at risk for rising water levels and climate change. Then there was the issue of nuclear reactors, gun and ammunition factories… I’m pretty sure I’m on a few watch lists.

7.)  How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

Somewhere out there my old English teachers are laughing. I was the kid who couldn’t spell to save her life; the daydreamer who stared out the window. Ideas were never a problem. My mind created story after story, often keeping we awake at night. I would constantly rewrite scenes until I was satisfied with the result. Translating to the written word was entirely different, and I often felt frustrated and stifled. Art was my saving grace, particularly sculpture. My stories became the subjects for my art. It wasn’t until college that I gained the confidence to write. The images I saw in my mind finally gained a literary narrative and eventually dialogue.

8.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

Sometimes words just flow, but other times I end up staring at the screen. I find it helps to just start writing, even if most of it’s rubbish. That’s what delete is for. At times, the words come so fast I can barely type them. When I get one of those burst while I’m handwriting, the words often mush together. If I don’t type my scribbles within a day or so, it gets hard to remember what I was trying to write. I’ve had times where I really couldn’t read my handwriting.

9.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write?  A favorite?

Some people listen to music or write in coffee houses, but I work best in a quiet environment with no distractions. Right now my computer is in the bedroom, but soon I’ll be moving into the spare room. I need more space for all my sticky notes and I’d love to hang my maps on the wall. When I’m not at home my notepads travel with me. You never know when an idea will pop up. I just need to make sure I type things up in a timely fashion.

10.) What are you writing now?  What's coming out next?

I have several short stories in the works and a sequel to STAR TOUCHED.  There’s even a story about Fifi - Well, sort of.

Links to find more information about A.L. Kaplan and to get your own copy of STAR TOUCHED:
A.L. Kaplan Website
A.L. Kaplan's Facebook Page
A.L. Kaplan's Goodreads Page
Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble
Books A Million
Book Depository - Free Worldwide Shipping


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*Limited to US and Canada residents only

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Published on October 01, 2017 23:26 • 216 views

March 2, 2017

Now that the excitement of DAWN STUDY's release is winding down and the feedback I've gotten has been super fantastic, I'm giving away 20 copies of SHATTERED GLASS' audio book - narrated by the extremely talented Gabra Zackman.

If you haven't read SHATTERED GLASS - it's an eNovella about Opal and the story events happen after NIGHT STUDY and go into the beginning of DAWN STUDY.

Here's the cover copy: While trying to teach her adopted daughter, Reema how to work with molten glass, Opal receives a letter from Master Magician Zitora Cowan requesting Opal's immediate help. Zitora resigned from the Sitian Council over two years ago to search for her lost sister and no one has heard from her since. The letter is probably a trick, but Opal refuses to pass up the opportunity to help her mentor who may be in genuine trouble. Good thing Opal isn't that easy to fool and, with her two soldier friends, Nic and Eve providing backup, the three travel to a small town in the Jewelrose Clan with the hope of rescuing the Master Magician without being caught in the same trap.

You can purchase a copy of the eNovella for 0.99 US at the following US retailers (proceeds benefit Araella - a young lady who's been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer):
Amazon Kindle
Apple iTunes

The audio book is also available to download for $5.95, so if you don't win, you can still get your own copy here:
Apple iTunes Audio book
Audible Audio Book

International readers go here for links: Maria's Short Story page 


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Published on March 02, 2017 21:16 • 357 views

January 23, 2017

It's that time of year again, which means a new book! And to celebrate the new release, I'm doing another blog tour with RockStar Book Tours. Below are the links to the tour stops. As usual, I'm offering 10 copies of DAWN STUDY as prizes so make sure you check out the various posts and reviews throughout the tour.

Speaking of reviews, DAWN STUDY received a Top Pick 4.5 Star review from RT Book Reviews. They said "After an amazing run, über-talented Snyder brings her fantastic Study series to a close. Ever since being introduced in Poison Study, Yelena Zaltana and Valek have been truly riveting and unforgettable characters. As this series has evolved, Snyder has continued to build a remarkable world as well as develop a host of powerful secondary characters. Snyder really doesn’t disappoint, as Dawn Study is a fitting and thrilling conclusion to the remarkable journey of Yelena and Valek. Huge kudos to Snyder for a job very well done!"  YAY!

We're having another release party over at Cupboard Maker Books in Enola, Pennsylvania, USA on February 4th from 1 to 4 p.m.  If you can't make it Cupboard Maker Books is willing to take orders of my books and I will sign and personalize them for you. They have most of my books in stock along with Dawn Study of course!  They're also willing to ship international, but you might have to wait a few days for them to get the button up and working.

Here's the link to order signed copies through Cupboard Maker Books:


Week One:
1/23/2017 - - Interview with Janco
1/24/2017 - - Review
1/25/2017 - - Exclusive Excerpt
1/26/2017 - - Review
1/27/2017 - - Interview with Yelena

Week Two:
1/30/2017 - - Review
1/31/2017 - - Guest Post on Writing a Series Finale
2/01/2017 - - Review
2/02/2017 - - Interview with Maria
2/03/2017 - - Review

To read the first chapter of DAWN STUDY, go here:

To order DAWN STUDY in the US:
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Published on January 23, 2017 14:38 • 367 views

November 20, 2016

SHATTERED GLASS is a new eNovella and features Opal Cowan. I've been getting lots and lots of emails and questions about what happened to Master Magician Zitora Cowan (remember she retired as a Master and embarked on a quest to find her sister at the end of Sea Glass?). I've finally answered that question and you can read what happened to her in Shattered Glass.

This story fits in nicely between Night Study and Dawn Study - it actually overlaps Dawn Study a bit so you have to read it ;). Also the eNovella has the first TWO chapters of Dawn Study excerpted at the end.

The cost is 0.99 US.  A portion of the proceeds will be donated to my daughter's friend Araella's medical expenses.  Her world was shattered back in August when she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer - she's just 18 years old! :(

Here's the cover copy:  While trying to teach her adopted daughter, Reema how to work with molten glass, Opal receives a letter from Master Magician Zitora Cowan requesting Opal's immediate help. Zitora resigned from the Sitian Council over two years ago to search for her lost sister and no one has heard from her since. The letter is probably a trick, but Opal refuses to pass up the opportunity to help her mentor who may be in genuine trouble. Good thing Opal isn't that easy to fool and, with her two soldier friends, Nic and Eve providing backup, the three travel to a small town in the Jewelrose Clan with the hope of rescuing the Master Magician without being caught in the same trap.

Below are the links to download a copy. Also I'd appreciate it if you post an honest review on these sites - I'm doing this one on my own!

Amazon Kindle:

It will also be available on Nook and iBooks, but it's not up just yet!

And for those who enjoy audio books, there will be an audio edition with Gabra Zackman narrating!
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Published on November 20, 2016 19:57 • 495 views

November 3, 2016

My Australian publisher, Harlequin TEEN Australia is really excited about the release of the last Study book, DAWN STUDY and are doing a bunch of promotions for the book!  One promotion is a special fan edition of DAWN STUDY.  This edition will be printed in hardcover (aka hardback) and have a very cool cover.  It will be a Mosaic of photos uploaded by my readers!  How cool is that?  The edition will also have ICE STUDY, the prequel to SHADOW STUDY as bonus content and a letter for yours truly  :)

Details!  Only AU/NZ readers can upload photos - I know it's not fair, but according to the lawyers the privacy laws don't mesh from country to country.  You can try to upload a photo - but it might be weeded out due to your IP address.  Also please upload a photo of you!  This is your special edition and how cool that you get to be on the cover!

You need to act fast - the end date is 15 November 2016.  Here's a link: 

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Published on November 03, 2016 18:36 • 185 views

October 23, 2016

Original Magic Study coverCan you believe it's been 10 years since MAGIC STUDY was first published?  I can't. Then again I can't believe it's October 24th of this year already - where did September and early October go?  

Magic Study was first published as a hardcover in October 2006.  It was published a year after Poison Study hit the shelves and it was well received - it sold more copies than Poison and that's a good sign in the publishing world :).

During the last 10 years, Magic Study has gone through a number of cover designs.  The original hardcover matched the original hardcover of Poison Study - they were based loosely on two different Johannes Vermeer paintings - Poison on Girl with the Pearl Earring - and Magic on The Geographer.  Unfortunately, the model who had posed for Poison's cover had returned to her native Russia and another model was used for the second book.  Can you see the difference?

Original Poison Study coverI really liked the cover for Magic Study, but there wasn't a seashell or an astrolabe in the book.  Good thing I was still doing revisions and I managed to include those items in Master Magician Bain Bloodgood's office. :)

Then the covers of Poison and Magic were redesigned and re-released in 2007 as trade paperbacks.  I really loved the new covers and they're still my favorite of the US edition covers.  What do you think?

Trade Paperback coverIn late 2008, Magic Study's cover was once again redesigned and re-released, but this time with a YA cover and price.  I'd gotten so many emails from YA readers who loved the book, my publisher thought they'd print YA editions. Do you think this cover would be more appealing to teens?

YA coverAnd the latest incarnation of Magic Study is the new eBook cover that matches the covers for Shadow Study, Night Study and Dawn Study.  This is not available in print and was created in 2014.  Take a look - do you like this one?  I like the concept, but think Yelena's makeup is too much.

eBook coverMagic Study was written before Poison Study was published and I was very happy about that.  Because if Poison Study got terrible reviews and everyone hated it, I'd be devastated and unable to write.  If everyone loved it, I'd be terrified that I'd disappoint everyone with the second book and unable to write. So instead of obsessing over it, I was able to write it without any worries.  That came when I was writing Fire Study! ;)

My favorite part to write was when Valek appears in Yelena's room at the Magician's Keep.  Here's an excerpt from that scene:

     Valek held the Valmur statue I had bought for him long ago, admiring it in the f irelight. He wore
a simple black shirt and pants. The clothes did not appear to be as tight fitting as his hooded sneak suit, but seemed snug enough not to impede his movements.
     “How did you—”
     “Fool your guards? They’re not very good. They forgot to check the ceiling for spiders.” Valek grinned. His angular face softened.
     Startled, I realized he wasn’t in disguise. “This is dangerous.”
     “I knew falling for you was dangerous, love.”
     “I meant coming to Sitia. Being here in the Magician’s Keep with guards just outside my door.” I gestured wildly.
     “It’s only dangerous if they know I’m here. According to them, I’m just Ambassador Signe’s lowly and dull-witted aide.”
     Valek stood; his movements liquid. The black fabric of his clothes clung to his lean build. He stretched his arms out to the side. “See, I’m not even armed.”
     He made a weak attempt to look innocent, but I knew better. “Should I guess how many concealed weapons you have or should I strip search you?”
     “A strip search is the only way to be absolutely certain.” Valek’s deep blue eyes danced with delight.
     I took three steps and was wrapped in his arms, where I belonged. No confusion here. No worries here. No troubles here. Just Valek’s scent, an intoxicating combination of musk and spice.

Magic Study also was when Kiki made her debut.  I worried that my readers would think a horse that can magically communicate with Yelena would be cheesy and unrealistic.  I didn't need to worry - Kiki quickly became a reader favorite.  She is based on a real horse, who has an official name, but was nicknamed Kiki when the owner's young niece thought the large horse was an oversize cat and tried to call her Kitty, but couldn't quite say Kitty.  I learned how to ride with Kiki - her owner Susan, kindly taught me how to ride and care for horses when I was doing research for Magic Study.

Kiki died back in 2010, but she will always live on in my Study Series of books!  Here's a photo:

The beautiful Kiki!
And now on to the give away!  Here's the Rafflecopter form:

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Published on October 23, 2016 22:51 • 624 views

August 1, 2016

FIRE STUDY - Saihate no Yelena[Yelena at the Farthest Land.]FIRE STUDY was just released in Japan and my publisher was kind enough to send me a box of extra copies!  Currently being guarded by Valek (aka Kitty)  So I'm sharing the booty with my readers and giving away 3 copies to 3 lucky winners.  The contest is open to ALL worldwide!

The cover was designed by Tae and is gorgeous - just like the other two. Although I will admit, this one is my favorite of the three.  However together they're just super cool.

MAGIC STUDY - Yelena no Kikan  [Yelena’s Homecoming]

POISON STUDY - [Yelena the Poison Tester]

Here's the Rafflecopter:

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Published on August 01, 2016 21:00 • 416 views

June 13, 2016

Today I have an interview with Rebekah Turner, an Australian author who I met while traveling in Australia. A super nice lady who is also very talented!  I had the pleasure of reading her book, a near future, dystopian, science fiction, thriller a few months ago.

I provided a blurb for her book, THREADER. "This story threaded its way into my heard and wouldn't let go! Be prepared for a late night."

Rebekah is also offering 3 copies of her book as a give away! This is for readers in Australia and New Zealand only and I'm sorry to say the book is also only available in Australia and New Zealand, however I think you can order it (see below for a link).

Cover copy: Welcome to the Helios Academy: evolve or die...

It’s the year 2050 and life is increasingly hard for ‘non-citizens’. A slowly emerging young minority  has been exposed as ‘talents’;  they harbour mutations that give them special gifts – super strength, regenerative powers,  psychic gifts or the ability to sink through shadows and travel through time and space. As governments unite to form a global talent registry and powerful corporations step in to take control, a ‘talent’ can be a passport to citizenship and a better life, but there is a cost as Josie Ryder is about to discover.

Take the quiz and find out your talent here:  The website is AMAZING!!!

Take 10 with Rebekah Turner:

1.) I loved THREADER and was fascinated by the world you created. What sparked the idea?

I'm a big fan of monster movies, and loved the spin some of those classic characters were given in shows like Buffy and Supernatural. That’s when I came up with the idea of taking it to a future setting, which would allow me to bring in a bit more of a sci-fi spin, with the idea these ‘monsters’ were actually the just an evolutionary change. So I created Talents, people with a genetic twist that gave them abilities. These abilities were great, but depending on the gift, it may make life more difficult for some.

This also gave me a chance to change the socio-political landscape: governments don’t exist, or if they do, have very little power. Corporations have filled the void (or I would argue have created it to begin with) and the world is now a very harsh place for people who are outside of the ‘elite’.

2.) What do you find the most interesting about the main protagonist, Josie?  How did you decide to make her a Threader?

I like that Josie is a fighter, something that is instilled into her by her uncle. That no matter what the world throws at you, you can still get back on your feet to fight.  She's also someone who was forced by her parents to live off the grid. They knew her potential and based on their own experiences, they feared for her future. As she grew up, Josie could only see more and more what she had lost because of this ‘isolationist’ mentality, and yearned to be able to get access to the opportunities that may earn her a coveted ‘citizenship’. This is effectively a free pass out of the slums and into the clean corporate skyscrapers, where you could get services such as healthcare and fresh food, not the reconstituted bio-synth meat that are available in the satellite communities around the city.

The interesting thing with Josie, is that she could have changed her fortunes at any time. Instead, she respects her father and uncle’s wishes for anonymity, and only reveals herself on her own terms, which as we find out, is never the easy way.

Now, being a Threader makes Josie a rare talent. A sub-set of the Esper category, she has both telekinesis and telepathy as attributes, but the real talent is the ability for her to combine her gift with other talents to augment and strengthen their abilities, while also being able to adopt a measure of that persons gift as well.

While this seems like a powerful ability to have, it is also extremely difficult to master, and the stakes are raised as she’s had no formal training and Josie discovers she could be as much a liability to the Academy as an asset.

3.)  Tell me more about Blake and his abilities as a Slider – I thought being able to travel through the shadows was a really unique and cool idea.

The Slider talent was a great way for me to connect our world to the mysterious ‘shadow biosphere’: a dimension that folds around ours, and which may be where all these gifts have originated.

Blake is a Slider, and the eldest of the Galloway family. The Galloways are the founders of Helios Academy and Galloway Industries. They're new players in the Corporate governance, with their fortunes increasing after the last of the Corporate wars and the advent of talents over the previous twenty years. Blake initially rejected his family as an act of rebellion and decided to find his own way. He joined the military and served in missions where his sliding ability came in handy. After he was forced to leave, he found his way back to the academy. While no longer estranged from his family, Blake is still distant, his main goal is to train others with abilities like his. Then of course, he meets Josie, and everything changes...

4.) Do you plot out your novels or are you like me and fly by the seat of your pants?

Instinct plays a big part, but I still like to plot and have guidelines of where I’m going. Otherwise, I have tons of trouble pulling all the threads together. I use the Michael Hauge's Six Stage Plot Structure idea. By breaking down the story and looking for the turning points, it helps me when I feel the plot is bogged down, or a character isn’t working right. I also like to look at popular films to examine structure! Classics movies like Speed, Aliens, Predator and Die Hard are great examples of good plot construction and effective characterization. I even held a workshop with my writing partner, entitled: Beyond Rippling Muscles and Uzi 9mms - Storytelling 101, as learned from 80s and 90s action movies. Funnest. Workshop. Ever.

5.) Did you have to do any special research for this book?

I waded through some scientific articles while creating my world, because having a basis in reality is important. If you're asking readers to take a leap of faith with some of the more fantastic elements of your story, it's important to have some real facts in place to ground it.

I also plotted a history, and at one stage had the 50 years prior to the novels setting mapped including the inciting incidents and the major skirmishes of the Corporate Wars (sorry to the countries I destroyed!), the destruction of the internet and the rise of the Helios Academy on the back of their replacement web and the emergence of Talents. I even had some more sketchy history going back to Victorian England where the Galloway Family (who may or may not be related to the Van Helsing line) first came across and hunted ‘monsters’, people who may have been the first unfortunates to be exposed to the Shadow Biosphere. But that's another story.

6.)  How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

I've wanted to be a writer from as early as I can remember. I have rejection slips from when I was in primary school, trying to get stories published (I had no clue - my stories where hand written in pencil with illustrations!). Growing up, television was banned in my house, so I read fantasy novels. And I read a lot. In high school, writing felt like a compulsion to me: I love telling stories! I'd spend my lunch break in the computer lab, writing. Those manuscripts were so bad, but so good. And I love creating new and interesting people to talk to in my head. But it wasn't until after I joined the Queensland Writers Center, that I refined my craft and improved.

7.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

My writing routine mostly consists of having a steaming cup of tea at my elbow and listening to a soundtrack. This will usually be the same soundtrack, played over and over, so it's almost hypnotic. I can hum the entire soundtrack to Man of Steel. And sometimes, despite the tea and music, the words are very bad, other times they are very good. But I try to get something down, every day.

8.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write?  A favorite?

My absolute favorite place to write is a coffee shop not far from my house, where they roast their own beans. Even the air is caffeinated. They also have a waiter there who looks like Chris Pratt, and he winks at me when he brings my coffee. Of course, it could just be a twitch in his eye from the steaming coffee…

9.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

I used to paint, but my time is a little squished with family and work. My interests now include eating exotic ice cream while watching old horror movies (Helloooo big scoop of Burnt Fig and Caramel while watching John Carpenter's The Thing).

10.) What are you writing now?  What's coming out next?

I'm currently finishing up a fantasy story that revolves around a mechanically talented girl who secretly races a motorcycle called a Hellcat. It's a story that has been lots of fun to write!

Rafflecopter! Open to Australian and New Zealand readers only.
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Threader Website - take the quiz and discover your talent:
Author site:
Twitter: rbkahturner

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Published on June 13, 2016 23:27 • 276 views

May 24, 2016

So much for my New Year's resolution to blog more :/  Can I blame spending the month of April in Australia and having to finish DAWN STUDY?  No? Sigh.  Well, I'm back with another Author Interview and this time with the lovely, talented Tosca Lee!  Her book, THE PROGENY came out today and I was lucky to be able to review an ARC and provide a blurb.

My blurb: Be warned, once you start this book, it's impossible to put down!

Also Tosca is giving away one copy of THE PROGENY - see the Rafflecopter below to enter to win! This is open to residents in the USA and Canada only.

Cover copy: Emily Porter is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted. She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.

Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. A story about the search for self amidst centuries-old intrigues and Europe’s underground scene…and one woman’s mission to survive.

Take 10 with Tosca Lee:

1.) THE PROGENY has a very unique premise.  How did you spark on the idea to use the descents of Elizabeth Bathory?

A fan suggested it! I was signing books in Orlando and a fan wanted a picture but didn’t have a phone/camera, so I got his info., and we took a photo and I sent it to him. When he wrote me back to thank me, he said, “How about a book about Elizabeth Bathory?” While this book is more about her descendants than Bathory herself, the idea came from him. (Thanks, Keith!)

2.) What do you find most interesting/exciting about Emily?

I like her moxey and her smarts. She may not know what’s going on, and she’s a little weird (aren’t we all?), but she relies on her intelligence.

3.) Did you have to do any special research for this book?
I did a lot of reading about Elizabeth Bathory, about epigenetics, and about all the locations that the scenes are set in. Since the story starts in Maine, my then-fiancé (now husband) and I took off for one of my favorite U.S. escapes: Greenville, Maine, where we fished and took a small plane over Moosehead Lake.

4.) Parts of the story are set in Europe.  Did you do travel to these locations?

I did—I went to Hungary, Croatia, Vienna, Slovakia and Italy. Best of all, I got to take my mom with me. My mom and I have a history of globetrotting together, so it was a fun adventure to go tromping around through castle ruins and churches and ruin pubs with her!

5.) Do you plot out your novels or are you like me and fly by the seat of your pants?

I try to plot a little… and then end up pantsing the rest of the way. Because try as I might to outline the entire thing, it’s totally different looking down at a map from 30,000 feet and being in it, boots on the ground. I find I just have to get in there and see what the terrain looks like before I know which way to go.

6.) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself  growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

It was a surprise—despite winning writing contests all through school, most of my early life I meant to become a ballerina. And then I tore a groin muscle and that really set me back. By the time I was in college, I thought maybe I should become a news anchor or go into advertising. During spring break my freshman year, I was talking enthusiastically with my dad about how my favorite novels felt like roller-coasters, and how I thought it might be fun to make one for someone else to ride around on. And I just blurted it out: “I really want to write a book.” He made me a deal: he’d pay me what I would have made that summer working as a bank teller (I was a terrible bank teller the summer before) if I worked full-time writing a novel. I wrote my first novel that summer—about the Neolithic Stonehenge people. It’s currently in my basement with the rest of my skeletons.

7.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

I’m very bad at routine. And now that I’m a new mom—I married a single father of four last January—I’m still trying to figure out how to juggle five lives at home… and dropping a lot of balls (moms, how do you do it all???). Generally though, I work during the day, and write a lot at night the closer I get to deadline. I aim for 2000 words a day, but am usually doing closer to 5000-8000 or more closer to deadline. My husband and kids are used to me staggering to bed some time after they’re sleep, or even after they’ve gotten up in the morning.

8.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write?  A favorite?

My husband is a farmer, so I write most of the time in the attic of the farm. Every now and then I sneak off to our townhome an hour away, where I have an office, when I really need to buckle down. But I prefer to be around my family. And my husband is a great cook, so…

9.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

As a new mom (and farmer’s wife!), I cook—though truth be told, my husband is better than me and he bakes from scratch. I’m also a TV junkie. I love The Walking Dead, The Blacklist, Outlander, Orphan Black, The Path, Game of Silence… too many TV shows. I still dance, just because it’s the one discipline I understand, and enjoy Pilates. I love organizing drawers and closets. It’s a sickness. I’m learning to trap shoot and play video games with the kids. I’m not very good at either… but I’m enthusiastic!

10.) What are you writing now?  What's coming out next?

Right now I’m working on edits for Firstborn, which is the sequel to The Progeny and comes out in February. It’s full of action and was so fun to write!


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Published on May 24, 2016 20:15 • 119 views