29 Jun 2018

Author Interview / CG Coppola

Autumn Sommers wants to forget what happened on the bus. It's been three years, but avoiding Alex Wolf has become standard, especially since everyone knows about his sketchbook—and the drawings of her inside. The incident followed them from junior-high and now, in their sophomore year, the two have been paired on a project.

Autumn just wants to get through it. She needs to maintain her grades to keep her terrible Aunt Milly from moving back in, but working with Alex might be impossible since they have to pretend to be a couple for their assignment. Forced to put their past on hold, the two focus on their fictitious relationship until the lines between real and fake get blurred, and they discover there might be some truth to the façade. But things have changed since seventh grade. Alex has a secret, and it could mean the end of their new friendship…and more.

After everything they’ve been through, Autumn isn’t sure she can go back to the way it was. With their project—and her heart—on the line, she’ll need to prepare for whatever happens, even if it means a return to silence with the boy she wants the most.


If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
Oh, geez. I think I’ll say Rainbow Rowell, but I’m not sure if it’s because I think we’d collaborate well (we totally would) or because I’d be *literally* fangirling over her, and that does not make for great production. Seriously though, she writes beautiful love stories and since that’s what I love to do, I think we could come up with some awesome stuff.

What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
During the week, it’s in the evening after the boyfriend and dog have been fed. I retire to my office and work for an hour, sometimes two. On the weekends, it’s first thing in the morning. I write best at the start and end of each day. The DREAM schedule would be writing (and lots of coffee) in the morning, marketing/networking in the middle of the day, and after spending some family time, back to the writing cave at night. One day I’ll get there. One day 😉
What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
Gah—probably the second draft. I’m sure a lot of people say editing, but taking a look at the first draft—which is shit, let’s be honest—and transforming it into some semblance of what the final product will be can be daunting. The first go-round is exciting and fun, but the second is when you get serious and really make important decisions. I don’t know. It’s never been my favorite part.

When and why did you first start writing?
Waaaaayyy back in the day. Elementary school. Creating stories was the best, especially when you outgrow your dolls, because you can give life to something else. I wrote a lot of fantasy with evil lords and magic crystals and the such. Ah, the good old days.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?
It was actually a scene I had in my head. I’d been toying with a scenario about a high-school girl who discovers the quiet skater-boy has been keeping a sketchbook of her, and I decided to write the scene. There was no plan to let anyone read it, so I indulged myself and paired them together, just to see what happened. I kept going until I realized I was writing a series, but it wasn’t until I heard Kodaline’s “All I Want” that I understood the depth of my story. The boy with the sketchbook becomes a current-day famous musician known for his songs about the girl who got away.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
YES. Don’t give up. Ever. It feels like the easiest thing to do—to just assume you’re not good enough or that your story is never going to be told the way you want it to. You are and it will. Writing, as I have learned, is a journey and not a destination. Always believe in yourself and know that every other successful author has at one time felt like giving up. And look where they are now.
Continue reading Author Interview / CG Coppola

24 Jun 2018

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Series Review / Theodore Boone Series by John Grisham

A perfect murder
A faceless witness
A lone courtroom champion knows the whole truth . . . and he’s only thirteen years old
Meet Theodore Boone

In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only thirteen years old, Theo Boone thinks he’s one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk—and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom.

But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much—maybe too much—he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth.

The stakes are high, but Theo won’t stop until justice is served.

Brimming with the intrigue and suspense that made John Grisham a #1 international bestseller and the undisputed master of the legal thriller, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer will keep readers guessing and pages turning.

Published:     2010
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1 to 6, Theodore Boone
Source:  Owned 


This was such a fun series to read.  In between reading John Grisham's adult novels I thought it would be fun to switch it up a bit and read his young adult series.  In this series we follow Theodore Boone, a young kid, who spends a lot of his time visiting the courtroom and spending time with his parents at their law firm.  Both his parents are lawyers who own their own law firm and Theodore Boone even has his own little office.

In this series, you see Theodore Boone come across various smaller legal issues, such as visiting 'pet court' and listing to the 'legal problems' of some of the kids in his school.  As well as that, you have the bigger stories that run through the series such as the court case of a particular person who is accused of killing his wife. 

Although it is a little bit far fetched that you have his kid who is 'practising' law at his young age and even attending 'pet court' to get pets off their various misdemeanours and other things, this book was really fun to read and one that you do not need to take too seriously.  This series would be a good 'starter' series for a younger audience who wants to start reading legal style stories.  A good stepping stone to reading other young adult and adult legal fiction. 

Continue reading Series Review / Theodore Boone Series by John Grisham

Blog Tour Author Interview / The Man on the Roof by Michael Stephenson

Someone has been creeping in the dark while the others sleep, and they've done terrible, terrible things.

“There was a man on your roof,” claims curmudgeonly lane-hermit Herbert McKinney. Then, he initiates an unprovoked fight with a local punk. Drama escalates when that punk's dead body is found hanging at mid-street one August morning—a boastful killer messaging their next prey. All fingers point to Herbert as the culprit. Soon, the five couples he calls neighbors come under suspicion, too. When detectives divine blackmail as the motive, eyes cross to find who hides the most shameful secret. Husband versus wife, friend versus friend, the shiny suburban veneer of innocence has been forever tarnished. As hidden deviousness boils from their pores, there lurks a thief, a pill addict and a sadist—secrets worth killing for.

Now, as the man on the roof helps guide justice and watches devious neighbors slip in and out of sleepy houses, confusion and questions persist. Who dies next? What have they learned? Who is becoming a monster? Who already is one? And just how many secrets can a small group of multi-ethnic Ohioans have? Only one cemented truth exists: the killer will kill again.

A taut domestic mystery-suspense thriller, The Man On The Roof propels the reader through a tangled, volatile and suspenseful thicket of deception, murder and friends, inviting the reader to discover the murderer and who hides which lie. First there was Gone Girl. Then there was The Girl on the Train. Now, there's The Man On The Roof


1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
Gillian Flynn. At this point, I think our styles line up a bit more. Neither of us hold any punches in our writing and give you the story real, raw and a little mean, while also including a heart within our writing. I think we both try to study the characters on the most human level we can and create fictional people that feel like real people, living in real situations that can happen. Not to say that my book is the next Gone Girl, but I do think that it fits well with how she writes. Speaking of, I think I might have an intriguing idea for a GG sequel if Gillian was interested.

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
I write in my family room where my computer is. While writing The Man On The Roof, I had a bulky desktop from seven years prior. It had a streaky screen where every other line of its display was either red, white or black and I could barely see what the hell I was writing, but it managed to limp to the finish line with me. Now I have a laptop but still tether myself to that little office space set aside in my family room. A typical writing day is me getting up at around 10am, checking the news (and celebrity gossip) for the next hour, then getting up to go write. I’ll write up until about 6pm in the summers, then go on an hour and a half walk around my town, come back, make dinner, spend some family time with my people, then I’m back to writing at 10pm. I’ll finish sometime around 2:30-3:00am. Then I’ll spend about two hours cooling my brain with some reading or TV watching before I go to bed.

3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
The grammar. I’ve noticed that when you are writing for a big-house publisher, you can get away with a lot of stuff grammar-wise because the marketing machine behind you is so good. Misplaced or misspelled words, oddly constructed sentences, clauses galore—it’s all on the table and people will accept an artsy explanation for why you did it, so long as they like the story. In self-pub or indie books, people don’t like that, even if you do have legitimate artistic reasons for doing it. The worst is that I was never good at grammar in school (I was going to go for the easy grammer school wordplay joke there, but I held back. Now I’m a little proud of myself). Learning where to cut run-on sentences, learning when to use semicolons, learning how to not make long parenthetical references—all of it somewhat baffled me. The story comes easy to me, I let the characters build themselves through their actions and I never struggle to create tension in my mind, but making sure that the grammar is correct is really hard, even with an editor. So I’m always worried that I may have written a really good, really engrossing book, but won’t get the big-house publisher bias and be called out for poor sentence structure.

4.  When and why did you first start writing?
I first started writing when I was 11. I decided I would probably be a writer at 8, but didn’t really start studying and trying to build a career from it until three years later. I was inspired not by books but by film and TV. I always wanted to be part of the entertainment industry and wanted to do a bit of everything. I think that to be really good, to be a legend in it, you have to try to do at least some of all of it to know how hard it is. Writing is the most technical part of entertaining and is one of the most technical art forms because you have to weave a spider’s web every time. You have to somewhat control the mind of the reader and make sure that they get context, they get tonation, they get voice, they pick up on all of these cues that normally we would only pick up on when viewing something. And I always had stories I felt I needed to tell because if I didn’t, they’d nag me. Everyday, for the last 15 years, I’ve thought about one particular story and have yet to write it, but it keeps nagging me. I know some authors talk about that nagging, but that’s what it really feels like, looks like.

5. When starting your novel, what was the first thing that you wrote, like, the first completed scene or chapter and why?
I wrote all of the first person “asides” first. Readers of the novel will understand this only after finishing the book, but I wrote Allegra’s introduction first. Out of all the characters I had, I knew her the best from start to finish because I knew people like her. I knew her flaws and her triumphs and why she is the way she is. That made writing in her voice so much easier than writing in just about anyone else’s voice. Shanna was the second easiest to write because she’s so similar, in my mind, to Allegra. Using Allegra as the template, I tried to keep each aside no longer than a 1000 words to keep the narrative going at a decent pace, even though it can get really confusing really quickly. Also, writing her first helped me to remain focused on creating unique voices for each character rather than having them all sound so similar that they run together in the reader’s mind. If you don’t pick up on the differences, then chances are that you are trying to read too fast. Slow down. Enjoy it. Let the mystery envelop you.

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I think that depends on what your idea of a big reader is. Some people’s main entertainment is reading and, while I adore that, I do find watching something easier some of the time. With that said, in between my own writing, I will generally read at least one book every three weeks. Currently, I am reading Gillian Flynn’s The Grownup in anticipation of HBO’s miniseries Sharp Objects. I already read Sharp Objects last year, but I felt I should read some Flynn before seeing the HBO show, so I chose her only other work I hadn’t read.

7. If you had to start your writing career over, what would be the one important lesson you would want to know that you’ve learned in your career?
Hmm? If I had to start my career over? Like, if I had lost all knowledge and ideas and everything and I had to start from scratch, I would want to keep the knowledge that standardization is everything. Inspiration is amazing to have, natural talent is pretty good too, and even perseverance is a necessity, but I have learned in all of my writing years that if you can find ways to standardize your process to such a point that you don’t need all of the creature comforts you think you do, and can still get a good amount of words out on a page per day/week/month, then it will help you to deal with the stress of writing so much that you won’t agonize over the process. It’s more than routine, it’s almost mechanical. And it sounds like it would strip away the magic, but having a standardized process allows you to enjoy the magic more. So, I guess it boils down to things going a lot smoother when you’re wholly committed and know what you want and don’t allow yourself to beat you out of that idea. 

Continue reading Blog Tour Author Interview / The Man on the Roof by Michael Stephenson

22 Jun 2018

Author Interview / Khaled Talib

A stolen piece of history, an abducted actress and international intrigue…

When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen.

After Blake’s return from overseas, he receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana. With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue. What he doesn’t expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.


1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
I'd like to work with New York Times bestselling author, Gayle Lynds, who is also the co-founder of the International Thriller  Writers. She has a colorful writing history. Her first thriller, Masquerade, was ultimately bought by Doubleday. Ironically, it was a woman at another publishing house who first turned her book down, saying that it had to be a fake because no woman could have written such a book. But Ms. Lynds did write the book. She has also co-written Robert Ludlum's Covert One series, so there's a lot to learn from her. It's also an honor that the author wrote an endorsement for my most recently novel, Gun Kiss.
2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
There's nothing extraordinary about my typical work day. But I write everyday, and I normally begin at dawn with a cup of coffee or two. It's the best time for me because it's quiet, and there's no interruption.

Recently, I spent a week writing a scene over and over again because I couldn't get it right. And then there are days when I could produce a perfect page in half an hour.
Sometimes, I can't move on to another page because I have to wait for email replies from experts after querying them about certain things that I hope to incorporate into the story. So, there's plenty of interaction with others from gun experts to forensics specialists to lawyers.
I write in my bedroom because it's the only place that I really feel comfortable. If I try to write at a cafe, I might end up day dreaming and people watching without getting anything done.  
3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
Sometimes, I make the mistake of creating too many characters and delivering a confusing plot. I always have to remind myself to keep it simple so that the story flows nicely. Also, rewriting for me is tough. Writing the manuscript for the first time is fun, but as everyone knows, the first draft is never perfect. You have to edit and rewrite. Try to imagine eating a dozen hamburgers at one go. There you are...
4.  When and why did you first start writing?
I started being interested in the world of imagination when I was six, especially when someone tells me a story. You'll never see me giving the same attention to math.  I'm always writing something; experimenting with words. I tried writing a detective novel when I was about fifteen, inspired by The Hardy Boys and Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators. I worked on it on my school text book. It was an amateurish attempt but I didn't give up. I tried again and again, working on different ideas until I finally got published. At the end of the day, it's what you want.
5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I find stories from here and there. It could be a newspaper article, a conversation with someone or a personal experience.  I have written a thriller based on my travel experiences. My latest book, Gun Kiss, happened when I went jogging one morning after a long break.  I couldn't sleep that night because my legs were aching. So I decided to watch an old movie, which starred a famous Hollywood actress. She inspired me so much that I decided to write the fun and breezy thriller set in Southern California.  
6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I have a pile of TBRs.  These days it's mostly thrillers. On my Kindle, I've got Haris Orkin's You Only Live Once and Bev Jones' Halfway. I read all kinds of books though my personal favorites would be mystery, suspense and thrillers.  
7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
You must not give up. As Rocky once said, "It ain't how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward..."

Continue reading Author Interview / Khaled Talib