Honestly, I can't believe how fast time has come and gone - I'm still feeling like the first semester of 2015 has just started. That goes to show how much school is having an impact on me, but let's not focus on that. Love is in the air - Valentine's Day is only two days away! Do you have your Valentine's Day cards ready? Or perhaps you have a special dinner date in mind? Anyhoo, today we have one of the characters from Bricks by John Davidson, sharing with you his favourite memory of Valentine's Day! It's going to be an interesting conversation, so for now I'll hand over the reins to John Davidson, the author of Bricks!
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my rating for Crossing the Ice:
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Raven has lived by this first tenet since she was trained by her father to become a reaper. But since his death, she’s been spending years redeeming the lives she’s taken. By her count, she’s even and it’s time for that life to end. If she settles down and becomes a wife, she might just feel human again. But on the way to the life she thinks she wants, the baron of New Haven asks her to complete a task which she cannot ignore… Just when Raven decides to give up on her life as an assassin, she’s pulled right back in.
my rating for Raven:
'Tis the Season to Be Readin' is a month-long event in which Perusing Bookshelves is updated with Christmassy posts to spread the Christmas cheer and love of books. To know more, click the graphic above!
Hello, dear readers! You may or may not have rememberedthe time when I read The Silence of Six and enjoyed it. Either way that's totally fine. In The Silence of Six, we don't get to know much about Evan - because he killed himself. (Not a spoiler because it's included in the blurb) For some reason, I kept thinking about him and what he would do if he was alive. He'd be an interesting character, which leads me to my next point. Today we have the author, E. C. Myers, on Perusing Bookshelves to talk about Evan (and, of course, Max) which is awesome. What's even more awesome is that Myers has graciously offered to give away two signed hardcover copies of The Silence of Six (I'm sallivating myself) plus bookmarks or an electronic copy, which is so cool of him to do that. So grab a mug of hot chocolate and prepare yourself to know more about Evan and Max!
If Evan could be alive on Christmas -just for one day, what would Max have planned for their time together?
Thanks for inviting me to contribute this holiday guest post!
If you’ve read The Silence of Six, you know that Evan was deeply sentimental and generous, which made Christmas his absolute favorite holiday. He hadn’t made many friends in real life, but he loved making the people he cared about happy, and he had a special knack for finding them exactly the right present — sometimes the gift they didn’t even know they wanted.
Having Evan back for even a day would be the best Christmas present Max could hope for. As sentimental as Evan is, he wouldn’t want to dwell on their past mistakes and focus on making apologies, so Max would concentrate on enjoying every minute of their time together. Evan loves surprises and puzzles, and he’s very nostalgic, so Max would plan a sort of scavenger hunt that would remind his friend of the good times they had, knowing that Evan would figure out even his most complex clues fairly easily and lead him around on a fun adventure in their hometown.
Christmas morning would start with a big breakfast at Denny’s, where they used to spend late nights hacking into corporate servers. Max would rent out the small local cinema for a special screening of It’s a Wonderful Life, which Evan watched religiously every year, and a couple of other movies that Evan missed out on that Max knew he would love. (Unlimited popcorn!) They would drive around their hometown of Granville talking and listening to a special music mix he made just for Evan. They would sneak into Granville High School to fix themselves a school lunch in the cafeteria. (For some reason Evan liked the school lunches. Weird, right?) In the afternoon, they would trim the tree at Evan’s house, drinking eggnog and eating pie, before going to Max’s house for dinner with his dad, Evan’s parents, and their friends Courtney, Penny, and Risse. Then it’s the gift exchange!
Max’s present to Evan is a special photo album. Evan loved trains and had always wanted to visit the B&O Railroad Museum, the site of the B&O Railroad Depot, which received the first telegraph message in 1844. Evan never made it, so Max took a solo trip to the museum in Baltimore, Maryland and took photographs of him there with a cardboard standup of Evan.
Penny’s present is Evan’s old laptop, which she had recovered so they could spend the rest of their day in the place Evan had always been most comfortable: the internet. Back to Denny’s for an all-nighter! Do they hack any sites? Well, Evan may leave some “STOP was here” messages on various sites like whitehouse.gov, panjea.co, and the consulting firm Sharpe & Company — just a little holiday going away present.
If you want to read more about Evan, download the free prequel short story, “SOS”, on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks. The Silence of Six is available now from Adaptive Books in hardcover and eBook wherever books are sold online. Learn more at http://ecmyers.net.
E.C. Myers was assembled in the U.S. from Korean and German parts and raised in Yonkers, NY by his mother and the public library. He is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop and a member of the prolific NYC writing group Altered Fluid. In the rare moments when he isn't writing, he blogs about Star Trek at The Viewscreen, reads constantly, plays video games, watches films and television, sleeps as little as possible, and spends far too much time on the internet. His first novel, FAIR COIN, won the 2012 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.
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In case you need persuading (which you don't, this book is amazing), here's my review of The Silence of Six.
Hello, dear readers! Today I am featuring Mark Rollins and his book, The Labyrinth House on PB. In this story, the characters are trapped in a house and they have to find a wall to get out -that sounds sinister and fun. And oooh, look at that creepy cover. Scroll down to read an interview with the author himself, or enter a giveaway!
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LC: What are your favorite genres in which to write?
MR: When I was in high school, I took a creative writing class. My teacher wrote on my collection: “Do all your works deal with the supernatural?” I suppose this came from reading way too many comic books, which usually deal with speculative as well as superhero elements.
It was during that time that I created my own super-team, probably because I was a big fan of books like X-men and the Teen Titans. Most of the plots that I came up with were very unoriginal. In college, I rebooted this team but eventually dropped it. After college, I wrote a speculative fiction work, and never really could get my mind off of it.
This is not to say that I don’t have experience writing other genres of fiction. After college, I wrote skits for a college-age crowd, and they were usually comedy ones, sort of like Saturday Night Live. I actually attempted to write a romance novel from the guy’s POV, and I might develop that one.
LC: In The Labyrinth House, your main character is an architect. Do you have a background in architecture, or did you research the topic using other sources?
MR: I live in a college town of Pullman, Washington, and Washington State University is well-known for its college in Architecture. I know a lot of architects, and they really burn the candle at both ends when it comes to their major.
Architects think differently when they enter a room. They know what walls are load-bearing, and what is holding up the ceiling. They can detect weaknesses in the floor, and can do a free-hand sketch of their area with a very holistic knowledge of what makes the room tick.
In order to solve the puzzle that is The Labyrinth House, Bradley uses his aforementioned skills as an architect. By the way, Bradley went to Washington State University.
LC: When your characters find themselves trapped in a house with no way to escape, they use their heads to “solve the puzzle,” if you will. Did you have a particular inspiration for the challenges they undergo and the subsequent solutions? Did you find it challenging to come up with and solve the puzzles yourself?
MR: I had this idea of a TV series about a group of people who are trapped in a house, which is like Lost, but indoors. I went ahead and combined that idea with CD-rom games like Myst, where the player had to point-and-click in order to solve puzzles to win the game. I felt that the setting of a mansion would create a timeless setting for a place to house all kinds of interesting puzzles. The Labyrinth House is not supposed to be your typical decrepit haunted house or gothic mansion, but a pleasant place to be. This is what makes it so terrible to be trapped in, because there is no feeling of threat or timed-trial.
I think I wanted to create puzzles that would feel challenging, but you would not even consider a puzzle unless you knew there was a solution. It’s sort of like the FedEx logo, which has an arrow in it. Seriously, it is there. Once you see the arrow in the FedEx logo, you can’t unsee it. It seems so simple. A lot of the puzzles in the Labyrinth House are difficult, but they are always easy after you solved them.
As for what kind of puzzles are in the Labyrinth House, I just wanted types that I would see a point-and-click adventure. It would be nothing that you would have to think too far out of the box in order to solve; in fact, the problem is you are in a box. In point-and-click video games, there was always limits to what the player could do. This was always the frustrating part, because you always felt like you ran out of things to do and would never solve the puzzle.
So I didn’t really have any specific puzzles in mind, and might have been able to work in any puzzles, really. In the book, there is a puzzle with moving tiles that felt right, and that never changed. I like the idea that the user has to step on certain tiles to cross it, and it is sort of a combination of the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark with Alice and Wonderland. It has a certain surreal quality that I wanted to be its own unique style.
LC: Do you believe the Labyrinth house could be a metaphor for anything?
MR: It’s funny that you ask this, because while I was putting the final edits on the book, I realized what the metaphor is. I thought about adding a lot of narration at the end to kind of explain this, but then I realized that I didn’t want to explain it all to the reader like that.
I used to believe that writers should have a theme and then write a plot that fits it. Now I honestly believe that the best stories are those that have a situation, and the moral, if any, has to be found by the reader.
For this reason, I’m not going to completely answer this question, but I will say this. Everyone has been in a situation where they feel trapped. Perhaps it is a situation where you have a terrible job, and don’t see any way out but completely changing the status quo to something potentially even worse. In the case of The Labyrinth House, it is a situation where you are trapped and may never escape. This leads to the question of how you deal with it if you are in this scenario.
LC: We see personal growth in many of the characters as they fight to get free of the house, and the house is compared many times to purgatory. Do you feel that the house has “rehabilitative” powers?
MR: I have noticed that when people go into trials, it is really impossible for them not to take it personally because they simply cannot be anyone else. There is a reason why bargaining is one of the five stages of grief, because there is this idea of “maybe if I can do this, then that will happen.” The idea that if we can change ourselves, then our external situations will change, only goes so far.
Considering that the characters find themselves trapped in a supernatural place, it is only natural to assume that The Labyrinth House kind of “has it out for them”. Of course they are going to look for reasons why they have been forcibly incarcerated, because most bad things happen for a reason. Sometimes, people are forced to look at themselves during a tragedy, and they often change, just so they won’t have to face more tragedy. So people might better themselves for the wrong reasons, but it is still the right thing.
LC: What character do you think you would get along with best?
MR: That’s easy. Joshua. I think once I realized that I wanted to have a former southern slave in the book, I modeled the character, unconsciously or consciously, after my best friend, Ike Egwautu. Sadly, Ike passed away about 4 years ago, which is why the book is dedicated to him.
Ike was a person who I felt really understood me, and I could talk to him about anything. He was really good at listening, and this is one of Joshua’s good traits. He also never held a grudge, which is also incredibly admirable.
LC: What is your writing schedule like?
MR: I try to be a writer for more than 40 hours a week. However, it really is feast or famine for me. I spend an hour or so a day updating my own personal tech and gadget blog, www.TheGeekChurch.com. I also write for another tech blog called smartwatchreviews.com. On some days, I go up to WSU and work as a tutor at the Writing Center.
All that keeps me busy, but not quite busy enough. Unless I have other writing work, I am always looking for a way to make more with my writing, or whatever job that I can get.
LC: Do you edit as you go, or do you go over the entire manuscript after a draft?
MR: As I mentioned before, I originally envisioned The Labyrinth House as a TV series. I had the pilot written, so all I needed to do was essentially adapt it. I don’t really remember the editing process back then. I had written this screenplay in 2003, and when I adapted it, I saw some changes that I wanted to make.
Some authors begin a work without knowing how it will end. Fortunately, I knew how the story was going to end, and I was completely satisfied. The only thing that was left to do was go through the plot one step at a time. I was able to spot points in the screenplay that I could make better, and made certain that one event did realistically lead to the other.
There is, of course, little changes that were made in the copy-edit review, but they really were quite minor. For the most part, I was pretty satisfied with it.
LC: Are you working on anything new?
MR: I have several ideas for other works of fiction, and one of them is an epic speculative fiction masterpiece that will be in four books. I have some other ideas that I am working on as well, but none of them is a sequel to The Labyrinth House.
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Mark Rollins was born in Seattle in 1971. He attended Washington State University in Pullman, Washington and graduated in 1994 with a degree in English. After college, he began to write skits for college-age groups. He was always interested in fiction and non-fiction writing, and decided to pursue a full-time writing career in 2005. Since then, he has written for many tech, gadget, and video game blogs.
In 2009, Mark decided to create his own tech and gadget blog known as www.TheGeekChurch.com. The purpose of the blog was to report on the latest in technology, as well as inform the church-going crowd (who are often not very technically adept) on the benefits of using more technology in the ministry. Since 2012, Mark has completely devoted his time to this blog, and considers it his ministry and mission. Recently, Mark has become a tech consultant, offering his years of experience in technology to consumer electronics companies. Mark currently resides in Pullman, Washington, with his wife and three children.
You can see Mark Rollins’ latest work on www.TheGeekChurch.com!
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Kat is a voracious reader who enjoys nothing more than losing herself in a good book. Fantasy is definitely her cup of tea. She often complains about never having enough time to read and constantly struggles with keeping her TBR pile a considerably decent size. Read more or keep up with her bookish whims on Goodreads or bloglovin.
none at the moment!