Thursday, August 15, 2013

A visit with author Cindy Bennett

I recently was able to ask author Cindy Bennett some questions and here are some of her answers...

Tell us about your latest books.

I recently released two books, Whispers of Razari and The Experiment. Both were collaborations with other authors. Whispers of Razari I co-wrote with Jeffery Moore, a singular story that we both wrote entirely together. The Experiment I wrote with Jeffery as well as Sherry Gammon. That one was a little different because we each took a character, and then wrote each chapter first person from our characters POV, alternating between them, though it is also a singular story. It was a lot of fun to write a book that way, to see what the next person would bring to the story, and how it would affect the storyline.

When working with other authors on collaborations like that, you have to be willing to be very flexible. You have to accept that the other author/s have their own thoughts and ideas, and their own creativity. You might have an idea of where the story is going, and then someone changes it, and you have to accept that and go with the flow, so to speak, rather than trying to pull it back to your idea of how it should be. You need to be open to discussion about the story, and listen to the other author/s. Sometimes you might feel strongly enough to fight for an idea, but you have to pick your battles. In both of these cases for me it was an easy process without any bickering or hurt feelings. We all managed to agree fairly easily on a variety of things.

What are the differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing?

I’m a “hybrid” author, meaning I’ve been both traditional and self-published. The authors I worked with are self-published so we didn’t even question that was how we wanted to publish these two books. For me, I like the control you retain with self-publishing, but you have to understand that it means not more work but different work than traditional publishing. That includes cover, formatting, and editing, all things done for you with a traditional publisher. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, and willing to pay someone to do the things you can’t do for yourself, you not only have higher earnings on your sales, but you can also retain complete creative control. There’s something very satisfying in that.

Whispers of Razari
When sixteen year old Olivia Adams wakes from a horrible car accident that killed her parents, she knows she’s something different. Olivia died, and now the soul inhabiting her body needs to find out who - and what - she is. A glimpse of a world called Razari burning is the only clue to her previous existence—a tragic memory, sparking events that endanger the people helping her.

Jacobi McKenzie has lived in Crescent, Montana for more years than he can remember, even though he's only seventeen. He's been waiting, but for what he isn't sure. Jacobi recognizes Olivia for what she is before she's even aware of it herself and the effect she has on him threatens to expose his true identity--a thing he’s worked hard to conceal.

They come together in an explosion of emotion that neither of them is supposed to feel. As Jacobi fights for Olivia's life, protecting her from those who would use her for their own selfish purposes, together they unravel the mystery surrounding the destruction of their race.

To learn more go toWhispers of Razari
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The Experiment
Time is running out for the Collaborative's oppressive rule of the remote world Senca One. The government attempts to suppress the escalating riots, even while seeking to further their experiments. When their parents are taken, triplets Juliet, Cilla, and Emiah Tripp set out to locate them, and soon discover they are at the center of a hunt to capture them.

Evading the Collaborative across Seneca One’s harsh terrain, they’re confronted with the trials of survival. They also discover something that changes the very core of what they are: they’re morphs. Struggling to adapt to the strange new ability, they question what they really are . . . and why. Are the rumors of experiments done on children true? Did their scientist parents have anything to do with it?

Their quest brings them to the capitol city of Brighton, which is on the verge of revolt. While searching for information about their parents, the Tripps align themselves with the very people fueling the rebellion. They unwittingly spark the revolution they want no part of and discover something more dangerous than they suspected.

To learn more go toThe Experiment
Purchase Amazon
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About Cindy Bennett

Bennett is the YA author of several books. She lives in Utah with her husband and two daughters. Both of her sons have married, giving her two more daughters (in-law). She loves gooey cookies, dark chocolate, and cheese popcorn. She hates housework and cooking, and has no plans to become a domestic goddess. She occasionally co-hosts a geek podcast with her son, called Geek Revolution Radio. Her favorite pastime is riding her Harley.
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Monday, July 29, 2013

Review of The Reluctant Blogger--by Ryan Rapier

If it was a movie it would be described as a dramedy—a drama and a comedy. Since it is a book I have to use different words to describe it: words like refreshing, enchanting, fun, poignant, hilarious, though-provoking, profound.

Ryan Rapier’s debut novel, The Reluctant Blogger, takes a candid look at Mormon life through the eyes of an active priesthood holder who is dealing with one heart-aching layer of life after another. The plot is braided together in so many ways it is impressive. Rapier has done a great job of bringing together the lives of the main characters. The author’s ability to also weave words into that glorious fabric is another big part of the charm of this novel.

Hero Todd Landry has lost his wife of fifteen years. Before he can heal from that loss he finds himself reluctantly blogging about his life and his loss. He also finds himself shopping at Wal-mart with a cart full of kids and potato chips, looking for the fastest check-out line.

“Regardless of a person’s ability to predict or prophesy,” Todd blogs, “choosing an express lane is always tricky business.....Crossing my ļ¬ngers, I inhaled sharply and ventured forward. At first, things looked positive as my cart made steady progress toward the cashier. Then suddenly things came to a grinding halt. The individual two spots in front of me began to raise her voice regarding which brands should be included in the price match guarantee for whipped cream. Seriously?"

When I read that I wanted to shout out with Todd..."Seriously??!!! It's called an express lane for a reason! If you're going to argue over price matches, go to a regular line!"

In addition to Wal-Mart trips, Todd blogs about golf, Boy Scout paperwork, the calling of a bishop, making pies for Thanksgiving, and his own first attempt to enter back into the LDS dating scene. At his first Single Adult activity it doesn’t go well for Todd and his memories of high-school and college dating angst causes him to blog about what the Discovery Channel might have to say about LDS dating rituals. The hilarious script (complete with British accent) is right out of a nature documentary. (I had to wonder how many documentaries Ryan Rapier watched to perfect the wording! Nicely done, Ryan!)

After one particularly spontaneous decision the hero finds himself committed to date someone he loathes. Later he is bluntly asked, “Tell me, had you given any thought to asking this woman for a date prior to the moment you began to verbally vomit all over yourself in front of her?”

I LOVED the description of verbal vomit! I think we’ve all done that.

And there are unique, fun and enchanting descriptions on every page, like the time Rapier returns the novel’s momentum after an awkward silence. “Slowly, the noise level in the room returned to normal, like a 45-speed vinyl record starting up with the needle already in place”

And his description of Ms. Turcel is wonderful when Todd derisively blogs, “She’s the only woman I’ve met who clearly missed her calling in life as an IRS auditor.”

But there are also endearing moments through out the book as Todd struggles with the loss of his wife and how that affects every aspect of his life. Some of the fallout is deep and soul searching—like the time Todd blogs, “Up next is the ambivalence—the day when everyone’s life starts again and yours doesn’t.”

Other moments are light-hearted, like the night he tries to dress his youngest son for bed and places both of the boy’s feet into the same pajama bottom leg…three different times.

Though Todd blogs about the routine things in life there are also moments of deep, honest reflection. Slowly, Todd’s blogging helps him recognize that he needs to build a closer relationship with his domineering father, help his daughter Alex grieve, and repair a falling out with his best friend. Yet through all of his ups and downs and growing understanding, Todd still manages to painfully ignore the one good thing that has happened to him in the last eighteen months—Emily. Will he realize he also needs to heal the hurt he has caused her?

I found this book so engaging—from the writing style, to the plot and characters, to the way Rapier manages to get the reader laughing and reflecting tenderly on their own attitudes at the same time. When demands pulled me away from the book my thoughts reflected on his novel until I could return to its pages and even after I finished I found myself often thinking about the life issues handled by the author.

Though Todd faces plenty of diverse turmoil the humor and humanity on each page lightens the mood without detracting from the message. I loved a question posed toward the end of the book and I felt this question (which I’ve slightly reworded to avoid any spoilage of the story), really underscored every part of this novel. As Todd struggles with so many different things, one person lovingly asks, “What if this isn’t God’s test for him? What if it’s God’s test for us?” I think many problems in life faced by those we love are just that—tests for us more than for them.

Great job on a first novel, Ryan! I look forward to reading more of your wit and wisdom in the future.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Emerald Ring--an excerpt

The Emerald Ring
Cleopatra's Legacy series
Book One
by Dorine White

Twelve year old Sara Guadalupe Bogus spends the last few days of summer anticipating middle school and helping her Grandma Dora around the house. Her ordinary life turns upside down when she discovers an emerald ring once belonging to Cleopatra. Touching the ring sends a lightening like zap through her system, while putting the ring upon her finger causes it to stick like glue.

Now strange things are happening to Sara. She has troubling visions, can understand animals and learns to transform herself into an Egyptian cat. However, the worst thing is the strange man that shows up in town. He is hunting for the emerald ring, and will not stop until he acquires it. With the ring stuck on her finger, Sara has no choice. She can be hunted, or become the hunter.