Talking Story

Blog Tours, Guest Posts, & Interviews

Another stunning cover from Jolly Fish Press is Dependent by Brenda Corey Dunne. It’s the story of 45 year old Ellen Michaels who loses her husband in a tragic military accident and has to rebuild her life. Can you imagine having everything you count on disappearing? Available July 2014,  I’m clearing my reading calendar for this one.

cover 1

Coming from Fox Hollow Publications December 2013 is Christine Haggerty’s debut novel Acquisitions, the first in the Plague Legacy series. I had the privilege to read an early version of the manuscript and can’t wait to read the final. It’s an amazing YA dystopian fantasy set in a possible future. Don’t miss it.


F.J.R. Titchenell’s newest book, Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know Of)  will be available in Spring 2014.  It’s a Young Adult horror/comedy novel structured like a diary that sounds fascinating.

Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) book cover

Continuing the week of Jolly Fish Press’s book cover reveals for their 2014 Spring/Summer catalog is New Sight by Jo Ann Schneider. It’s a terrifying tale of drug addiction and treatment that’s not what it seems. For the older YA reader, New Sight is speculative fiction at its best.

New Sight Cover

Here’s the amazing cover for Citadels of Fire by L.K. Hill available Spring 2013. Set in medieval Russia, it’s the story of Inga, a maid in the imperial Russian palace who must break the oppressive chains that have bound her since birth. Congratulations, Liesel!

CoF Cover Image

I’m really excited about Eleanor by Johnny Worthen, available Spring 2014. Johnny says, “Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.” Eleanor is a young adult paranormal novel published by Jolly Fish Press.  Isn’t the cover beautiful?


Borst 14

Mother and daughter writing duo Amie and Bethanie Borst just published their first book in a fractured fairy tale series called Cinderskella. They stopped by the blog to answer a few of my niele questions.

What inspired Cinderskella?

Amie: I would say Bethanie inspired Cinderskella.

Bethanie: Being nearly bored to tears when my school librarian was telling my class about fairy tales and Cinderella retellings.

Amie: Well, that’s probably not the nicest way to put it…. Perhaps it might be best to read the full post about our inspiration at Ann Marie’s blog.

Writing as team can be tough when only one person can type at a time! What are some of the ways you work together to create this amazing series?

Amie:  Thankfully we have more than one computer in our house! I use my laptop dedicated to writing while Bethanie is on the family desktop computer.  Typically I’ll ask her to write a particular scene, she’ll type it up in an email and then send it to me. I’ll copy and paste that scene it into the manuscript.  Other times she’ll sit across from me at the table and I’ll read what we’ve written aloud. She’ll usually stop me mid-sentence, tell me it’s lame and then she fixes it orally while I type the non-lame new stuff into the manuscript.

Bethanie: My mom had me write it up with pen and paper. Then she’d type it up to her liking. Then I’d tell her it’s lame. She should have just done it the way I said.

Amie: When Bethanie was younger – before she could really use a computer or had an email account – she did write it by hand.  I’d correct her grammar and punctuation, which sometimes affected the voice. So we’d have to change it to make it sound more authentic. As Bethanie grew, so did our teamwork and writing strategy. Our second book was done mostly via email as I first stated.  We also create a story board out of poster board and post it notes – that’s really our sounding board, giving us a starting ground from which to write the story.

Bethanie: Why do they have to be color-coded posted notes?

Amie: So we can see the different parts of our story.

Bethanie: But that’s so boring.

Amie: Would you rather they all be one color? How would you tell the parts of the story apart?

Bethanie: Ah….nah. Nevermind. Can we do it in a collage form so it’ll at least look cool?

Amie: No, we can’t do it in a collage form so it’ll look cool. *shakes head*

If you could change one thing about your writing partner what would it be?

Amie: Nothing. I love her input and suggestions. She really has wild ideas and isn’t afraid to implement them.

Bethanie: I don’t know. I guess I wish she wouldn’t read aloud. I’m not an auditory learner.

Amie: But you’re not learning – we’re reading and writing.

Bethanie: Still, I won’t remember it if you read it aloud.

Amie: (That part is probably true. Bethanie has CAPD and ADD) That’s why I print it off for you to read.

Bethanie: But then I would have to re-read it. For like the fifth time.

Amie: Welcome to the world of being an author.

Bethanie: Ugh. I wish this conversation would stop.

Amie: *Snort* Lehua, look what you’ve gotten us into!

(And nooooo….this NEVER happens when we’re writing! *wink, wink*)

What’s next in the Cinderskella universe?

Bethanie: Little Dead Riding Hood. It’s a book about a vampire. It’s about…*gaze drifts to television*

Amie: Turn off the TV!

Bethanie: No, no, no. It’s not distracting me. I promise.

Amie: *gives ‘I don’t believe you’ evil-eye*

Bethanie: I don’t know what to say. It’s a book. *gaze drifts back to the television*

Cinderskella CoverAmie: Little Dead Riding Hood is Scarlet Small’s story, who just so happens to be a vampire. She enjoys drinking Bloody Tom’s (Tom is short for tomato) and isn’t sure of how to adapt to her new middle-school. You’d think being over one hundred years old, she’d have the “fitting-in” thing boiled down to a science, but Scarlet’s not your average middle-schooler. You see, when you’re the new kid at school it really sucks. But when you’re a new kid and a vampire, well then it just bites!

Thanks for dropping by Amie and Bethanie! Cinderskella is published by Jolly Fish Press and available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Connect with Amie & Bethany Borst





Johnny WorthenJohnny Worthen’s debut novel Beatrysel was recently published by Omnium Gatherum and is available as a trade paperback and eBook from Amazon. (Read my review here.) Beatrysel is a multi-genre melange of occult horror/thriller/love story/philosophical treatise on the nature of man, God, angels, and demons.  I caught up with Johnny the other day and asked which came first–did Beatrysel spur his research into the occult or did his research spark the story?

I have this motto to explain why I do what I do: “I write what I want to read.” This at once conceals the fact that as a multi-genre author, I’m all over the freakin’ place – horror here, YA there, comedy coming up behind you fast – LOOK OUT! But this motto applies especially to my debut occult thriller Beatrysel.

One of the reasons I wrote Beatrysel the way I did was because I couldn’t find any fiction titles that looked at or used magic in a non-fantasy way. Magick, with a K, and the occult, are not fantasy. They are real schools of thought, living religion and are still practiced today.

And thus I wrote Beatrysel.

Like my character Julian Cormac, I was moved by the stupid Disney movie, Bedknobs and Broomsticks. It stuck in my head and I wondered as a kid at a Saturday afternoon matinée, if it could be true. This was way before Harry Potter. It was before the internet. Before running water. No, wait. Scratch that last one.

Anyway, it piqued my interest and I did some digging. I stumbled upon a lot of turn of the 19th century stuff, before and right after. Occultism was big back then. Seances and such, but also a new vigor to actually investigate the possibility of the supernatural. That work was what interested me most. One thing led to another and a research hobby was born that led me into dusty book stores for most of my teens and into my forties.

A while ago I was cursed to watch a cluster of my friends all go through divorces at the same time. My sister too and some of her friends fell to the same pandemic. It was awful. I hunkered down, circled the wagons around my own marriage, and watched.

I learned many things from those times. I did not come through them unscathed – the blast radius was too large. But I learned enough and survived better than they. What I was particularly moved by was the depth of raw emotion such traumatic breakups could have on people who had previously been everything to each other. The power was so intense, so alive, so basic that it was easy to imagine it as a living thing, or as my studies suggested, as a spirit. Or a demon.

To explore this, I turned to my books. Occult philosophy – Modern Magick – gave me a real structure with which to bring love into the world as an entity to itself in fiction. By doing it this way I had a familiar mythology and belief system to draw from, one which would be recognized and appreciated by those readers familiar with it. If the reader wasn’t familiar, I knew them to be consistent at least and, hopefully, interesting.

BeatryselWS“It doesn’t matter if you believe the world is populated by demons and angels,” a magician once said. “But the universe behaves as if they do exist.”

Watching my friends ravaged by love, the loss of it, the betrayal of it, I came to believe this might be true. It gave me an idea. The idea become will, the will became form.

And thus I wrote Beatrysel.

Connect with Johnny Worthen



Twitter:  @JohnnyWorthen

Buy the Book: Amazon

Cinderskella Cover

Borst 14From the dynamic mother-daughter writing duo of Amie and Bethanie Borst comes a brand-new middle grade title, Cinderskella. Here’s what they have to say about their debut book–

Cindy is just a normal 11¾-year-old girl. At least until she wakes up one night and finds out she’s dead. Well, she isn’t technically dead—she just doesn’t have any hair . . . or a nose . . . or skin. Yep—all bones, no body.

Human by day and skeleton by night, Cindy is definitely cursed. And because her mother recently died, Cindy has no one to turn to except a father who is now scared of her and an evil stepmother who makes her do the housecleaning with a toothbrush. To make matters worse, the Spring Fling dance is approaching, and Ethan, the cutest boy in sixth grade, doesn’t seem to know Cindy exists. Of course, Cindy doesn’t think letting Ethan find out she’s part skeleton is the best way to introduce herself.

While facing such perils as pickled pig’s feet, a wacky fortune teller, and a few quick trips to the Underworld, Cindy’s determined to break the curse—even for a single night.

Cinderskella is available for pre-order on Barnes & Noble.

To celebrate, Amie and Bethanie are hosting a $25 gift card extravaganza. Just enter the giveaway for your chance to win.
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