Tracy Banghart

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    Monday
    Dec092013

    FINN FINNEGAN BOOK BLITZ!

    Hi there! I have a special post for you today. I've decided to become a host for Xpresso Book Tours, and today is my first official event! I bring you my post for the FINN FINNEGAN BOOK BLITZ!! I've got lots of cool stuff to share, including a guest post by author Darby Karchut, a fabulous giveaway, and more details on the book, FINN FINNEGAN! Read on...

    Please welcome Darby, who's going to tell us about her inspiration for writing FINN FINNEGAN. Take it away, Darby!

    ~~

    I am often asked: why Celtic mythology? Well, my undergraduate degree is in anthropology, so my fascination with world cultures and myths goes way back. But it was a chance comment from my sister (who travels to Africa every year) about so-called “fairy rings” found in the African bush.  The local people said they were created by magical beings. I started researching fairy rings, which led me first to Ireland, then the Tuatha De Danaan, and finally to the legend of Fionn mac Cumhail. And thus, The Adventures of Finn MacCullen were born. Plus, I come from Irish stock; hence my first name, which is an old family name on my father’s side.

    But my real inspiration comes from my students. I have always written for older elementary and middle school boys. Since I teach 7th grade (social studies), I am constantly surrounded by this age. I wanted to give my boys a hero their own age they can measure themselves against as well as an adult male hero they can emulate.

    I am such a fortunate author, for there is not a day goes by that I don’t see a copy of my book in the hands of one of my students. What a gift.

    What a treat to visit with everyone today. Please don’t hesitate to ask me questions or make a comment. I’ll be stopping by throughout the day.

    ~~

    Very, very cool! My interest is definitely peaked! And I'm always excited to hear about great books for young, male readers. Here is more info about the book!

    Book and Author Details

    Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut 
    (The Adventures of Finn MacCullen #1) 
    Published by: Spencer Hill Press
    Publication date: March 12th 2013
    Genres: Fantasy, Middle-Grade

    Synopsis

    Finnegan MacCullen: a thirteen-year-old apprentice with the famous Irish temperament.

    Gideon Lir: a legendary Celtic warrior with a bit of a temper of his own.

    Secretly, these blue-collar warriors battle the hobgoblins infesting their suburban neighborhood…when they are not battling each other.

    Finn (not bleedin’ Finnegan) MacCullen is eager to begin his apprenticeship. He soon discovers the ups and downs of hunting monsters in a suburban neighborhood under the demanding tutelage of the Knight, Gideon Lir. Both master and apprentice are descendents of the Tuatha De Danaan, a magical race of warriors from Ireland. Scattered long ago to the four corners of the world, the De Danaan wage a two thousand year old clandestine battle with their ancient enemy, the Amandán, a breed of goblin-like creatures.

    Now with the beasts concentrating their attacks on Finn, he and his master must race to locate the lost Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan, the only weapon that can destroy the Amandán, all the while hiding his true identity from his new friends, Rafe and Savannah, twins whose South African roots may hold a key to Finn’s survival.

    Armed with a bronze dagger, some ancient Celtic magic, and a hair-trigger temper, Finn is about to show his enemies the true meaning of “fighting Irish.”

    Here are some important links!

    Goodreads

    Book Trailer

    Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo

    Pick up your copy today because the sequel, GIDEON'S SPEAR, comes out in February!

    About the Author

    All her life, the archetypal hero and his journey have enthralled Darby Karchut. A native of New Mexico, Darby grew up in a family that venerated books and she spent her childhood devouring one fantasy novel after another. Fascinated by mythologies from around the world, she attended the University of New Mexico, graduating with a degree in anthropology. After moving to Colorado, she then earned a Master’s in education and became a social studies teacher.

    Drawing from her extensive knowledge of world cultures, she blends ancient myths with modern urban life to write stories that relate to young teens today.

    Darby is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Pikes Peak Writers Guild. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband, where she still teaches social studies at a local junior high school. She enjoys running, biking, and skiing the Rocky Mountains in all types of weather.

    Her debut middle grade book, Finn Finnegan, released March 2013 (Spencer Hill Press). The next book in the series, Gideon's Spear (Spencer Hill Press), will be released February 2014. Her YA books include Griffin Rising (2011 Sharp Writ YA Book of the Year), Griffin's Fire, and Griffin's Storm

    Visit her at: www.darbykarchut.com

    Links

     

     

    ~~
    And now for the giveaway! Good luck!
    Thanks for stopping by! Come on back tomorrow for more cool stuff from Xpresso Book Tours!
    Wednesday
    Dec042013

    Bookanista Review: Precious Things

    First things first...Happy Birthday to my brother!! :-D

    Now, on to business. Today I'd like to share with you my thoughts on PRECIOUS THINGS by Stephanie Parent. This is one of the first new adult books I've read, and I really enjoyed it!

    From Goodreads:

    Isabelle Andrews isn’t supposed to be here. She isn’t supposed to be a freshman at Hartford Community College, she isn't supposed to be living at home and working at her dad’s failing bakery, and she definitely isn’t supposed to be taking Intro to Electronic Music Production, a class that will get her nowhere toward her goal of an English Lit Ph.D. by age twenty-five. But when her dad’s latest business fiasco eats up her college fund, Hartford Community College is exactly where Isabelle finds herself—and thanks to her late enrollment, she doesn’t even get to choose her classes. Stuck with Electronic Music and way-too-easy English courses, Isabelle is determined to wallow in all the misery she feels entitled to.

    But community college brings some unexpected benefits…like the fact that a certain overworked, over-scheduled Electronic Music professor hands over most of his duties to his teaching assistant. His tall, green-eyed, absolutely gorgeous teaching assistant. When TA Evan Strauss discovers Isabelle’s apathy toward electronic music—and, well, all music—he makes it his mission to convert her. The music Evan composes stirs something inside Isabelle, but she can’t get involved—after all, she’ll be transferring out as soon as possible. 

    Still, no matter how tightly Isabelle holds on to her misery, she finds it slipping away in the wake of all Hartford Community offers: new friendships, a surprisingly cool poetry professor, and most of all, Evan. But Evan’s dream of owning his own music studio is as impractical as Isabelle’s dad’s bakery, and when Evan makes a terrible decision, everything Isabelle has gained threatens to unravel. Soon Isabelle discovers that some of the most important lessons take place outside the classroom…and that in life, as in Evan’s favorite Depeche Mode song, the most precious things can be the hardest to hold on to.

    My Thoughts

    I really enjoyed PRECIOUS THINGS. The biggest thing that stood out for me was how well-written it was...Isabelle's voice was consistent and authentic, and the writing "disappeared" within the story, which is a very, very good sign. It was very smooth and a joy to read. The plot took me a chapter or two to get into, but I didn't mind because I was really interested in Isabelle and getting to know her better. This is a "quiet" book, where the characters drive the action, not the other way around. I found that quite refreshing after reading several paranormals recently.

    I really enjoyed all the characters and loved all the little details that helped them come alive on the page. The only relationship that confused me, a bit, was Isabelle's relationship with her father. She seemed especially hard on him, dismissive even, and the "but I love him anyway" I was hoping for seemed to kind of be missing. I was also waiting for them to have some kind of confrontation or resolution of their feelings for one another and that didn't end up happening. Ultimately, though, the book wasn't about their relationship, so it wasn't a huge issue for me as a reader.

    I loved watching Isabelle and Evan get to know each other better. I can't say enough about Isabelle's voice...seeing Evan through her eyes felt so realistic. I related to a lot of her thoughts about him...and her situation at HCC. 

    Overall, I would happily recommend this novel to folks who enjoy a good romance, with a leading lady who has a personality, flaws, and depth...and who also has a point of view. I didn't always agree with her take on the world and her relationships, but I appreciated that she HAD a take and didn't seem to bend and change at the will of her creator. Isabelle feels like her own person from the beginning of the story and stays herself, even as she grows and changes throughout the book. So happy I picked this book up! I'll definitely be reading more from Stephanie Parent.

    A note: While categorized as "new adult" this book did not contain NC-17 material. It would be appropriate for mature high school readers.

    ~~

    Check out what the other Bookanistas are raving about this week!

    Thursday
    Nov212013

    SHATTERED VEIL cover reveal!!

    Happy Thursday! I am SO excited to be sharing SHATTERED VEIL's cover with you today. First, a little description...

    When everything that defines you is stripped away, who do you become?

    Selection

    War has come to Atalanta, infecting its quiet villages and lush woodlands, igniting whispered worries in its glittering capitol.

    All across the dominion, young men are being Selected for Military and sent to the front lines…and eighteen-year-old Aris Haan’s childhood sweetheart is one of them.

    Secrets

    Pyralis Nekkos, Atalanta’s leader, has kept the truth from his people, that their dominion will fall…and much sooner than anyone could guess.

    Galena Vadim, his reluctant ally, wishes she could forget their shared past...until her future seems to depend on it.

    Sacrifice

    And for the boy she loves, Aris, a talented wingjet pilot, will give up everything - her home, her name, even her face...

    ...only to become the key to her dominion's survival.

     

    And, without further ado, here's the beautiful cover, designed by the incomparable Regina Wamba at Mae I Design!

    And the full wrap...

    Isn't it amazing?? I really think Regina knocked it out of the park. I love the futuristic scifi vibe paired with the romance of the piece of jewelry.  Not to mention that beautiful image of the girl morphed with a sunset on the beach. And the back is very intriguing, no? ;-) It's everything I could have hoped for in the "face" of SHATTERED VEIL and I couldn't be happier! I hope you like it! :-)

    I'm SO excited about the cover - and SHATTERED VEIL in general - that I've decided to host a last-minute, totally random giveaway! So enter to win a prize pack of my favorite "girl dressed as guy" (not to give away a plot point of SHATTERED VEIL or anything ;-)) movies...plus one my BFF suggested because she is awesome and watches cool movies. 

    (Prize pack includes DVDs of Mulan, Connie and Carla, Shakespeare in Love, She's the Man, and Just One of the Guys)

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Good luck, and thanks for playing! 

    ~~

    Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week!

    Thursday
    Oct312013

    Happy Halloween from the Bookanistas!

    Hey y'all! Today a few of us Bookanistas are talking about our favorite scary books.

    I don't often read scary books, but there are a few that have stuck with me. Most recently, I've gotta say

    Second Verse by Jennifer Walkup

    It's got such great suspense and the ghost/murder elements were truly spooky.

    Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

    I haven't had a chance to read the sequel yet, but it's definitely on my list. This book was so creepy and awesome. I loved it!

     

     

    3:50 by Gretchen McNeil

    The intensity in this book is off the charts...and I loved the dueling worlds/realities. SO cool.

    Die Softly by Christopher Pike

    Okay, so I'm not exactly recommending this book. But if I'm writing about scary reads, this has to go on the list. I read it as a teenager and, honestly, it haunted me. Even to this day. I kinda wish I could unread it. But hey...that's the sign of a good book, right? That it stays with your readers? ::gulp::

    And my teenage years would not have been the same without the horror/suspense of Richie Tankersley Cusick. They weren't exactly "literature" - honestly, "cheesy" might be the better word - but boy did I love her "two dark strangers...which boy is sincere and which boy wants to kill her?" formula. Some of my favorites:

    So yeah. I was never hardcore, truth be told. I've still never read a Stephen King horror novel. But it's funny the books that stay with you...and the stories that give you that thrill of fear and excitement. 

    What are YOUR favorite scary books? Are you hardcore? Or a wimp like me? :-)

    ~~

    Check out what scares my fellow Bookanistas today!

    Monday
    Oct142013

    Open Call for Street Team!

    Hello hello!

    My next book, SHATTERED VEIL, will be coming out in February 2014, and I'm looking for enthusiastic folks to help me spread the word!

    SHATTERED VEIL is super special to me. I wrote the first draft when MAJOR HOTSAUCE was deployed, back in 2010. Maybe not surprisingly, it began as a story about a girl who didn't know how to survive while the love of her life was gone to war...because those were the feelings I was tapping into at the time.

    Since then, and through many, many revisions and re-imaginings, the book has changed - A LOT. At its heart, now, it's about the lengths we'll go to be with the people we love, what we'll sacrifice to do the right thing, and how war can change us, as people and as nations. It was written when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were still going strong, when "don't ask, don't tell" was still in place, and when the general public seemed to be less and less aware that our brave young service members were still fighting - and dying - every day.

    Now, having said that, it's a science fiction novel, and without political agenda. But those events and the feelings I had about MAJOR HOTSAUCE being gone all informed the story and my characters' journeys. And my love for adventure, cool gadgets, and characters who change and evolve...and become total badasses...also figure prominently into the story as well. ;-)

    Here's a one-line description:

    For one young, talented wingjet pilot, war means sacrificing everything: her home, her name, her face...and the one promise she swore she'd never break.

    For a more complete description, head on over to its Goodreads page (and while you're there, feel free to add it to your TBR shelf! ;-))

    So...are YOU interested in SHATTERED VEIL? Have you read By Blood and/or Moon Child and want to read more of my writing? Are you a fan of YA and/or NA scifi? Do you like promoting indie authors...and getting fun perks like early copies and swag? 

    If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, I invite you to join The Night Witch Squadron! 

    ~~

    Night Witch

     "is the English translation of Nachthexen, a World War II German nickname (Russian Ночные ведьмы), for the female military aviators of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, known later as the 46th "Taman" Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, of the Soviet Air Forces." (Reference)

    (I discovered these "Night Witches" as part of my research for SHATTERED VEIL and was absolutely blown away by their story. Such incredibly brave, inspiring women! For more on WWII's Night Witches, I recommend this article from The Atlantic and this one from the NY Times.)

    ~~

    So, what does becoming a member of The Night Witch Squadron entail? Well, mostly it's about spreading love for SHATTERED VEIL. Examples of ways street team members can participate:

    • Join the Facebook Group and chat about SV, writing, publishing, fun vacation spots...whatever you want! I'll answer questions and generally be there to get to know you.
    • Invite other readers (adults or teens) to join our team.
    • Talk the books up on social media when you feel inspired - FB, Twitter, pinterest, tumblr etc.
    • Lead contests on your social media platforms. (I'm happy to provide prizes!)
    • Spread the word to family and friends about SHATTERED VEIL.
    • Take promo materials to local writers groups, coffee shops, conventions, etc.
    • Suggest one of my books for any book club in your area.
    • Skype or Google me into your book club or schools to discuss the book and writing.
    • Recommend SHATTERED VEIL to your local library.
    • Talk SHATTERED VEIL up at your local bookstore.
    • Use hashtags to get discussions going about SHATTERED VEIL.
    • Post honest reviews on any site like Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.
    • Add SHATTERED VEIL to your Goodreads lists.
    • Post about SHATTERED VEIL on launch day and participate in the cover reveal.
    • Post about author news such as awards, appearances, etc.

    Basically, you'll be SHATTERED VEIL's awesomest, most talented cheerleaders. :-)

    In return, and with TONS of gratitude and smooshes and awkward virtual hugs, you'll get:

    • A welcome pack - which will include fun swag (like bookmarks, pens, and possibly candy ;-)) and a badge for your blog or website.
    • An exclusive "first look" at the cover of SHATTERED VEIL (and subsequent books) a week before it's unleashed on the world.
    • A free e-ARC of SHATTERED VEIL.
    • Access to a members-only Facebook group for open discussions of the series, indie publishing, and writing.
    • Monthly missions - A monthly drawing for members if you complete a special mission. Prizes will include Amazon/BN gift cards, books, query & first-page critiques, etc!
    • Cool extra details on the military history that served as inspiration for the book, as well as exclusive character info, sneak peeks of the next books in the series, and "for your eyes only" extras.
    • Free books and swag for giveaways on your blog.
    • If you have a blog, first dibs on blog tours, cover reveals and other special events.
    • And other fun stuff!

    This is NOT about spamming. I'm looking for people who are genuinely interested in SHATTERED VEIL, my writing, and who love talking up their favorite books and sharing book love. Nothing more than you feel comfortable, and no tactics that would make someone ELSE feel uncomfortable.

    If you're interested, please use the form below to sign up! The first event - an exclusive cover reveal on the Night Witch Squadron's private facebook page - will be happening in a couple of weeks. I hope you'll join me for all the fun!

    Here's a link to the form, if that's easier for ya.

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1NPtiorsxLH8LHV6CSk61MytLEsFqqYLiMHX9hcng5Ro/viewform

    Please spread the word to folks you think would be interested in joining! Thanks!! :-)