Q&A with Author J. A. George (Author of the Hayven Series)

Here for a Q&A, is the lovely author J. A. George, the author of the Hayven Series. Her book, Gifted, came out in April this year, and is the first in the series.
Review of Gifted HERE.

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Tell us about yourself in four sentences

My author name is J.A. George and my full name is Jessica George. I like to eat, read, write, bake, hang out with my friends and can often be found at the cinema. I’m the author of GIFTED – The Hayven Series, a four book series. I love sweet things – chocolate, pancakes, cheesecake, doughnuts, you name it; if it’s sweet and doesn’t have peanuts, walnuts or pistachios (because I’m allergic), I’ll like it!

What’s your favourite TV show at the moment?

Even though the season has just ended, Game of Thrones! I loved the books and although a lot has changed from the book to the TV show, it’s still just as amazing! I’ve never eagerly awaited a next season of anything! After a month goes by, I sort of forget about it, but I think I’ll be counting down the days until the next season of Game of Thrones.

Tell us about your book.

Gifted is all about a nineteen year old university student who meets a woman a little on the strange side before meeting a young man a little more on the stranger side. These meetings lead to the eventual discovery of Hayven – a city separated from the rest of the world where only those with gifts can go. She makes an eclectic bunch of friends, who, even though I’m biased, are just awesome. But Hayven has its dark side and they’re called Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, Cliders are determined to see Hayven return to the way it was one thousand years ago when the city was under the dominion of Madrina.

What genre is Gifted?

It’s a contemporary YA fantasy. I started off writing Gifted because I wanted to read it. I wanted to read a contemporary YA fantasy novel that didn’t feature instant-love, a chosen one or a girl growing up in a dystopian society. I just wanted to read about someone normal, someone I could relate to. Someone who worries about the way she looks, but never says it out loud, has a sense of humour, thinks about the small stuff. Then I wanted to take her and place in a world she never thought existed. I wanted to explore real young adult relationships, friendships and modern-day topics such as, body weight issues and cheating in relationships. Hmmm, it’s probably difficult to tell but Gifted is a fun read, I promise!

Do you type straight away or use pen and paper?

I use pen and paper before I type AND THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT! Recently I had a kerfuffle with my USB, also known as, the ONLY place I had saved the second book of the Gifted series. One day, the file got corrupted and I lost 40,000 words! Luckily I was able to visit a few computer specialists and they restored it so that I only lost about 1,000 words, but because I had written everything down before, typing it out again was no bother!

Where do you do most of your writing?

Either at a desk on a chair, or on my bed with my laptop on my knees. Right now, I’m typing this all out on the latter.

What Harry Potter house would you be in?

I want to say Gryffindor, but you have to be brave to be in that house and spiders render me speechless. But I’m much too soft for Slytherin. Can I be in Ravenclaw, please?

Where did you draw inspiration from when creating the world of Hayven?

I didn’t really draw inspiration from anywhere in particular, to be honest. I just spent a lot of time thinking about a city I’d like to visit and then threw in a few extra-ordinary elements into the mix.

Friendship is a huge part of this novel. Which character from Gifted would you most want to hang out with?

All of them! When readers read the first novel they can quickly pick out a character or two they’d like to befriend because they feel closest to that person. But because I’m currently writing book two and I have planned out bits from books three and four, I feel closest to all the characters. Besides, because they work so well with each other, I think hanging out with them as a group would be more fun than hanging out with just the one.

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Thank you for this great Q&A! I loved Gifted, and can’t wait to read the next books in the series!

Check out J.A. George’s Social Media and Book-Buying Links:

Blog: www.thejourneyofgifted.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JGeorgie_

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/182-5427114-8218342?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Gifted+J.A.+George

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_12?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=j.a.+george+gifted&sprefix=j.a.+george+gifted%2Caps%2C263

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29915954-gifted

 

 

 

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COVER REVEAL + EXCERPT | Scar (Celestial Talisman Book Two) by Caitlin O’Connor

I’m super excited to be be participating in the cover reveal for Scar (Celestial Talisman Book Two) by Caitlin O’Connor, set to be released on 22nd July!

Read my review of Finding the Phoenix (Book 1 in this series) HERE!  


About the Book:

Secrets surface when a traitor returns

The scar on Vinny’s wrist is nothing compared to the scars on her psyche. She isn’t a hero, she isn’t even a good person, and when a skirmish with one of the Handmaidens of the Skaath Diurga ends badly, she knows it’s partly her fault.

Nobody in the Circle could’ve guessed at the truths that attack would uncover.

One woman has sacrificed everything to end the war between Handmaidens and Awakened. Now, she’s prepared to damn everyone for her freedom. One final betrayal is all it will take to change our world forever.

Scar is the second instalment in the Celestial Talisman sequence, an adult Urban Fantasy series featuring dark, psychological themes. If you like multifaceted, compelling characters and unusual settings then this novel is sure to thrill you.


About the Author:

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Caitlin O’Connor is a fantasy writer who searches for truth in fiction. She loves messy, complicated characters who blur the lines between Good and Evil.

A proud eccentric who aspires to be omniscient, she enjoys listening to music, trying to understand physics, and admiring unusual works of art.

She lives in the central region of South Africa with her son.

 

Keep in touch with Caitlin O’Connor on her website: Inspired Chaos

Follow Caitlin O’Connor on Goodreads

Follow Cailtin O’Connor on Amazon

Caitlin O’Connor on Social Media:

Facebook

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The Cover…

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Scar Excerpt:

The wings faded and they tumbled to the ground. Vinny twisted away from Blake. Sharp pains lanced through her hip and elbow on impact. Blake cried out, and Vinny scrambled to her feet.

“Blake.” She put a hand on his back. “Blake! Say something.”

He groaned and pushed up on his left arm. She put her arms around him, helped him to his feet, and shifted her body under his shoulder.

“Let’s go,” she urged as she pulled him along.

“Leave me,” he groaned. “I’m slowing you down.”

She didn’t bother to answer, just kept going. Blake had made her study a map of Denysrus, and all the places where she could summon the Sages in an emergency, like this one. She remembered being confused by the names, and the sound of his voice explaining that Arta Togarm was the singular name, and Artana Garm the plural form. A diagram of the city shuffled itself around in her mind’s eye, locations she wasn’t sure of moving around those she was. There was an Arta Togarm nearby, on Steyn Street. Adnes could heal him when they got there, but she had to hurry. If the Handmaiden survived the fire then she’d call in back up.

The alley opened into a street. Vinny kept close to the shadows of the buildings as she walked up it. Her shoulder was throbbing, gnawing pain. She had to stop, but not in the open. There was always the chance they’d run into some cops looking to round up druggies and drunks heading home from the nightclubs, and she couldn’t afford a run in with the Pigs. If the drunks and druggies bugged her, she could fight, but she didn’t have a cent on her to bribe the police.

She dragged Blake across the road and through the overgrown bushes and trees growing alongside a small theatre. Branches scratched at her face and arms.

Vinny collapsed back against the wall with Blake and panted for breath. Her legs trembled. If only the strange rush of strength she’d felt in the alley had lasted a little longer. She peered through the tangled branches. There was no sign of the Handmaiden, or anyone else, so she turned her attention to her Guardian.

It was too dark to see much of anything so she traced her fingers across his chest to find his injured arm.

“Don’t,” Blake growled as her fingertips made contact with something warm and sticky. Blood, lots of it.

“Suck it up man, we can’t leave a trail to Adnes.” She had to stop the bleeding somehow.

Vinny wiped her hand on her pants and tried to stay calm, ignoring the queasiness in her stomach as the rich, metallic smell invaded her nostrils. She had to focus. There wasn’t time for fear and anxiety.

Blake was always sensible, stable, and reasonable. Things she wasn’t. She didn’t know how to handle this situation like he would. Part of her wanted to just hide away, like all of this would vanish if she could find a small enough space to crawl into.

But Blake would die.

With shaking fingers, she removed the belt on her cargo pants, looped it around his shoulder, and pulled it tight under his armpit. Blake let out a strangled cry, but she ignored him and knotted the belt as securely as she could.

“Stop wasting time on me, Vinny, you need to get to safety. I can’t protect you like this.”

“Don’t be a dumbass, Blake, I’m not leaving you.”

Self-control. She’d spent years perfecting it under a sadist’s thumb and she called on it now, forcing herself to think. It didn’t look like they’d been followed, that was the most critical worry, but she had to get Blake to the Sages. She wasn’t strong enough to carry him and she cursed herself for not spending more time training as she ducked her shoulders beneath his uninjured arm and prepared to move off again.

“Come on, it isn’t much farther.”

“No,” he groaned. “Call Al.”

The image of a man with dark hair, a stubble-lined jaw, and brown eyes leapt to her mind. With it came memories of soft lips, the sandalwood and musk scent of his skin, and the sting of betrayal and harsh truths.

She did not want to call Alistair, but this was an emergency. Without further hesitation, she pulled her phone from her pocket, found his number, and pressed ‘call’.

“Vinny? Hey…”

“I need your help,” she interrupted him. “Blake is badly hurt, we’re in the bushes surrounding the theatre in town.”

“What happened?” he asked. She heard a door bang.

“Handmaiden. I don’t know if her dog got him or the Skaath but he’s bleeding.”

“Apply pressure to the wound, I’m on my way.”

He hung up and she shoved the phone back in her pocket. Apply pressure to the wound with what?

“I need your knife,” she said to Blake as she reached for his belt.

“Al’s coming?” he asked.

“Yeah.” Vinny pulled the blade free from his hip sheath and hacked at the bottom half of her shirt.

“I have to apply pressure to your wound,” she said.

Blake didn’t reply. She reached for his arm and held her breath as she probed for the wound.

Blake grunted. “Higher up,” he groaned.

Vinny gritted her teeth as he guided her hand towards his wound. He let out a weird, strangled cry as she pressed the wad of cloth against it. She turned her face to press her nose and mouth against her arm, hoping to block out some of the smell of his blood. It would help if she had something else to focus on, an intricate pattern or repetitive movement.

“One and one is two,” she muttered against her arm. “Two and one is three, three and two is five, five and three is eight, eight and five is thirteen…”

“Are you reciting a Fibonacci sequence?”

“I’m playing a game with myself to distract me from the smell of your blood, don’t make me lose count.”

“Eight and five is thirteen,” he replied.

“Thirteen and eight is twenty one,” she continued.

“I’m sorry; I forgot you don’t like blood.”

“And you got hurt on purpose, did you? It’s not your fault so don’t apologise.”

Somewhere nearby a car’s hooter honked out three short blasts, followed by one long.

“That’s Al,” Blake mumbled.

“Hold the cloth; I’ll signal him at the road.”

 

COVER REVEAL: Shadow (The Romany Outcasts #2) by Christi J. Whitney

I am very excited to be bringing you the cover reveal for Shadow (The Romany Outcasts #2) by Christi J. Whitney…

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About the Book:
Title: Shadow (The Romany Outcasts #2)
Author: Christi J. Whitney
Release Date: 2nd June 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager UK
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Synopsis:
The second volume in this incredible YA trilogy.
When stone hearts break they shatter.
Sebastian Grey used to be a normal teenager. Now he’s a creature whose sole purpose is to be a guardian for secretive gypsy clans.
When the Romany gypsies claim him, Sebastian is given a second chance to protect Josephine Romany – the girl he loves. But some clan members would rather see a gargoyle in a cage than have one by their sides.
If Sebastian is to keep Josephine safe from the shadow creatures attacking her people, he might have to embrace his changes. Even if that means choosing between his humanity and becoming the monster everyone believes him to be.

About the Author:
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Christi J. Whitney is the author of The Romany Outcasts Series (HarperCollins/HarperVoyagerUK).
She’s a former high school theatre director with a love for the dramatic. Christi lives just outside of Atlanta with her husband and two sons.
When not spending time with them or taking a ridiculous number of trips to Disney World, she is usually directing plays, geeking out over Doctor Who, making costumes for sci-fi/fantasy conventions, watching superhero movies, or pretending she’s a tad bit British.
Connect with her on Twitter @ChristiWhitney

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Aaaaaaaaand here’s the cover…

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Isn’t it absolutely stunning!
If you like the sound of Shadow, and haven’t already read Grey (book 1), I have reviewed it here on my blog!
I would highly recommend this series to anyone who loves urban fantasy, male protagonists, and something a little different to your usual YA read!

 

Amazon Links:
Grey eBook
Buy GREY now on Amazon UK 

 

 

 

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Preorder SHADOW now on Amazon UK

 

NIGHT STUDY BLOG TOUR: Where did the idea for Night Study come from? + Review!

Welcome to the first stop of the UK Blog Tour for Night Study by Maria V. Snyder! For those of you who have been with me for a while, you will know just how much I LOVE the Study Series (aka The Chronicles of Ixia). Night Study is the 5th Study novel, and is released today (25th February 2016)! If you haven’t already, you really need to start this epic, amazing fantasy series, which begins with Poison StudyKeep reading for a feature from Maria V. Snyder on ‘Where did the idea for Night Study come from?’. 

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Night Study 
Maria V. Snyder

Another book in The Chronicles of Ixia

Published by MIRA in paperback and eBook
25th February 2016 – £7.99

 New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder transports readers back to the realms of Sitia and Ixia in an exciting new novel from The Chronicles of Ixia Series full of magic, danger and intrigue.

“This is one of those rare books that will keep readers dreaming long after they’ve read it” — Publishers Weekly

“Books that fantasy fans everywhere should enjoy” – SciFi Now

“A compelling new fantasy series” – SFX Magazine

“The story… is peopled by convincing and well realised characters” – Total SciFi

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About Night Study: Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana’s life has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear. Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he’s quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he’s been keeping secrets from Valek… secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander’s mysterious plans, they realise it’s far more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

Night Study is a powerful female-led epic fantasy perfect for fans of Game of Thrones.

maria v snyder author imageAbout Maria V. Synder: Meteorologist turned novelist, Maria’s been writing fantasy and science fiction since her son was born.Maria has won numerous prizes for her writing including the Golden Leap Hall of Fame, Wirral Paperback of the Year Award, Compton Crook Award and the Salt Lake County Library Reader’s Choice Award. She’s been on the New York Times bestseller list and earned her Master’s degree in Writing from Seton Hill University. Traveling is one of her biggest distractions from writing and Maria hasn’t said no to a trip yet. She has visited China, Dubai, Malaysia, Europe, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada — all provided wonderful fodder for her stories. Maria lives in Pennsylvania with her family.

For more information about Maria please visit www.mariavsnyder.com

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My Review: For those of you who don’t know (which is probably hard because I talk about these books all the time) the Study series/Chronicles of Ixia by Maria V. Snyder is my favourite series. Poison Study is my favourite book, and I compare every book I read to it, in the back of my head. So yes, I’m probably more than a little biased when it comes to reviewing this book! First of all, let me just say, I would read a book all about Yelena and Valek doing their supermarket shopping if that was all I was allowed (that would probably be pretty funny actually!). I just LOVE this book couple so much. Maria is absolutely magnificent at developing their relationship with each new book. Even when you think there’s nowhere new for their story to go, there are more problems and obstacles to face. Their relationship is just one that you want to read about forever. And boy, are there some serious progressions in this book! If you read Shadow Study and know that killer cliff hanger – you will probably end up just like me, in fangirl-excitement mode, with the first chapter of Night Study!

My favourite thing about all of Maria V. Snyder’s books are the characters, and this book is certainly no exception! Yelena is just as strong, witty, practical and clever as ever. And Valek (winner of no.1 fictional boyfriend award at least 5 years running) reaches some major new dimensions in this book. I love that in these new books, we are able to see a new, emotional side to him. Janco’s sarcasm of course remains one of the joys of this series! There were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in this book, as per usual! The Commander becomes even more intriguing. Basically – the characters are great! And what I especially love about all of the characters, are their very logical minds. We see strong, brave, physically powerful characters all the time, but to see these attributes mixed with the intelligence and logical, practical processing of these characters is much rarer!

And Maria’s writing is as wonderful as ever! This book was especially quotable – my favourite was:

“Dark shadows of grief haunted his expression. More than any one person should be asked to bear. But that was the problem with grief. No one ever asked for it. It arrived with its bags packed for an extended stay. It settled into your best guest room and demanded to be waited on all day long, and when it finally shuffled out the door, it left behind permanent scratches on your furniture.”

Basically, if you have already read and enjoyed the previous Study books, you will love this book! (And if you haven’t, you need to get on this series already, like yesterday!). As an addition to my favourite series, it was very satisfying, and makes me VERY excited for what Maria has up her sleeve for the final book. I’m going to have to spend the rest of the year mentally preparing myself, if its going to have as many pivotal moments as this one!

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Where did the idea for Night Study come from? Night Study is a continuation of the events that started in Shadow Study so the best answer would be how I came up with the idea for the new set of books in the Chronicles of Ixia J.  My readers have been emailing me for years about continuing Yelena and Valek’s story and, while I enjoyed writing about them, I thought Fire Study ended things quite nicely.  But the more I thought about it, I realized it ended things more for Yelena than Valek and my readers didn’t really know that much about him or his past.

So I sparked on the idea of bringing in a new hotshot assassin to challenge Valek’s job.  This would trigger his memories from his past, which I could layer into the story. That appealed to me more than doing a prequel about his life.  That would be fascinating, but Yelena wouldn’t be there and I like having romantic elements in my books.  I also needed current day problems to challenge them and there’s nothing like a secret Cartel that is plotting to take control to keep things interesting.  And since Yelena’s Soulfinding powers are rather powerful, it added lots of conflict and tension to block her magic and see how she copes.

I also wanted to show the story from Valek’s perspective as well.  In Night Study, he is put through the emotional wringer and has to decide where his loyalties lie. This is key in his character arc.

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Be sure to keep up with the rest of the Blog Tour for Night Study…

NIGHT STUDY BLOG TOUR BANNER (1)