Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Winter in the Soul book blast!

Winter in the Soul by Jennifer Novotney
In a world divided by power and greed, seventeen-year-old Lilika harbors an intense desire to return to Winter in the Soul, the place her family left to escape the darkness that was manifesting from a coldness of the soul.
When she meets Talon, their connection is evident right from the start, and together they travel through the Black Kingdom to recover Lilika’s stolen locket. And in search of an answer to the mystery behind Winter in the Soul.
Lilika holds the key to stopping the darkness from spreading. The fate of their world lies in her hands. Will she stop the Black Kingdom before its darkness overtakes them all, or will they succumb to the darkness that is spreading across the land?

Praise for the Book
“This book is original, cleverly written and most of all a great read.”
“This novel is very suspenseful and can be enjoyed by young and old alike.”
“I really, really liked the story line, it is fresh take in the high fantasy/magic genre.”
Find it here on Amazon!
Find it here on Barnes and Noble!
Find it here on iTunes!
Find it here on Smashwords!
Or at Anaiah Press!


Spring Bloom

Pulling her blond locks away from her face, Lilika headed outside her cozy house to do her morning chores. When she hit the doorway, she stopped and lifted her face skyward, soaking in the sun’s beams. She reveled in the heat beating down on her and the feeling of warmth that bathed her skin.

She walked to the garden and sat down. Lilika pulled the weeds with the sun shining on her. Her fingers ran across something smooth.

“What is this?” she muttered to herself, digging quickly to try to see just what was in there. She exposed something gleaming from underneath the brown soil.

What could be under the dirt here? She pulled out a gold heart locket from the garden bed. It glittered in an almost magical way, like nothing she’d ever seen before.

Lilika!” Jet yelled through the open kitchen window. “It’s almost time for school.”

She shoved the locket in her pocket. “Okay! I’m coming.” Her little brother could be such a nuisance sometimes. She would have to wait until later to inspect her find up-close.

“Hello,” a female voice came from behind her.

“Hello?” She jumped up and turned around, shielding her eyes from the sun.

It was so bright, all she saw was a figure blocking out the light, a black silhouette outlined by the sun’s rays. As her eyes adjusted to the change in light, the figure became clearer and clearer: A beautiful, golden-hued woman stood before Lilika.

Lilika,” the woman said.

How does she know my name?

Lil! It’s time to go,” her brother yelled again.

She whipped her head around. “Okay, I’m coming.” By the time she turned back, the golden woman was gone.

She stood, walked to the side of the house, and peered around the corner, but the golden woman wasn’t there. She swiveled her head to each side, but didn’t see her. Could this all have just been a figment of her imagination? Maybe sitting in the sun was affecting her. Butterflies danced in her stomach at the thought of the locket she’d found, and she hurried into the house to get ready for school.


The mile-long walk to school was a quiet one except for Jet humming to himself. Children said goodbye to their parents and walked out of their rural homes surrounded by lush green grass and foliage, through the center of Spring Bloom. Boys in button down shirts and long pants and girls in light colored, pastel dresses lined the walkways when Lilika and Jet got closer and closer to their destination. Lilika walked along with a solemn expression on her face.

She couldn’t help but think about the golden woman, whether she’d simply imagined her or if their conversation had really happened. What did it mean? She couldn’t tell Jet or their mother or father. They wouldn’t believe her. Something was actually happening to her for a change.

The sun cast bright light over all the individual stone cottages and gardens.

“Good morning, Lilika!” Mr. Woodland waved from his garden.

“Good morning.” Lilika hurried toward school.

“Lil! Slow down,” Jet said.

“Come on,” she said with pursed lips, “we’re going to be late.”

More and more residents filtered out of their houses, tending to their gardens, trimming their bushes, and cleaning windows of their homes. With every stone cottage Lilika passed, the people smiled and waved. She greeted everyone with a wave and picked up her pace once she reached the hill.

Standing in front of the school, she paused and caught her breath before opening the classroom door.

“So, do you want to do something after school? Maybe we can go for a walk or something.” Bryony stopped her just outside the door. Lilika had been friends with her for as long as she could remember.

“Oh, I can’t.” Lilika sighed. “I have to do my chores right away when I get home since I didn’t have time to do all of them this morning.”

“Well, I found something I thought you might be interested in.” Bryony pulled out a big book from her backpack and wiped the dust off of it.

Lilika whipped her head around. “What? What is that?”

“It’s called The History of Winter in the Soul.” Bryony moved her fingers along the raised gold title on the front. “It’s all about Wits.” Bryony opened it and read from the book. “It was a cold that could only manifest out of the coldness in the soul. That is how Wits got to be known as the Winter in the Soul.”

“What are you doing?” Violet butted in. Great, she was always putting her nose where it didn’t belong.

“Nothing. Keep your voice down.” Lilika glanced toward the window to make sure no one was looking. Leave it to Violet to try and join in with them when they were trying not to bring attention to themselves.

“What do you have there, Bryony?” Violet put her hand on Bryony’s shoulder to get a glimpse.

“Nothing.” Lilika shook her head.

“Well, what is it? What’s so interesting?” Violet leaned in closer.

“Oh, please,” Lilika whispered, “just stop. Someone’s going to see, and then we’ll all be in trouble. Just mind your own business and leave us alone. Go, go on.” Lilika waved her hand at Violet.

“Fine.” Violet rolled her eyes and stormed off.

“Bryony, you really shouldn’t have that book. Where did you get it anyway?”

“I found it under my parent’s bed. Aren’t you curious about Wits?”

“I am, but…”

“But what?”

The golden locket popped into Lilika’s head. Who was she to tell Bryony not to ask questions about Wits? She had questions of her own.

“Nothing, come on, we’d better get inside. We’re going to be late.”

Bryony shoved the book back inside her backpack and followed Lilika into school.

Author Jennifer Novotney
Jennifer Novotney was born in Burbank, California and lived in Los Angeles for most of her life until settling in North Eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter. She attended California State University, earning a bachelors degree in journalism, and Northern Arizona University, earning a masters degree in English. After college, she spent several years writing and teaching, including at Pennsylvania State University.
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$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash  Ends 3/22/15
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from http://www.iamareader.com/ and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Finding my groove for my work in progress...

For the past week I've been attempting to find the perfect music for my work in progress.  It's been tricky. 

The story is set in a Division known as Wanda. A dusty dying community as west as one might travel before they wander into Calamity. I've been working on this story for a year and it is close to being finished and out with my Critique Partners as we speak.  Fingers crossed that it might be done by the end of the month or at the latest spring. 

Short and sweet blurb - A boy is caught in the fray as a dying town holds a celebration for their hanging tree.  

We all know that music can transport us to a memory, or a new land. With just a single verse our brain awakens.  In this article, Gregory Ciotti talks about How Music Affects Your Productivity! Seems listening to new types of music stretches our brains, causing us to create.  Even the Psalmist talks about singing to the Lord a new song. Psalms 96:1  Sing to the Lord a new songsing to the Lord, all the earth. 

But trying to find the perfect song has been difficult.  I'm looking for western, not country (not going to apologize, I've never been a fan), something that sounds sad, scary, and a tad bit magical.  Not spaghetti western music, and not musical westerns.  I guess the best song I could describe would be the music from the mini-series The Stand by Snuffy Walden.  Found it right, but I use Pandora because I simply sit for hours at a time. Yeah, I might be difficult, and Snuffy isn't on Pandora. Of course there’s not a creepy, lonely, tad bit enchanting channel.  

Yesterday after church, I found myself with a few hours of free time, so I dug my heels in to create the perfect Pandora channel.  I looked at steampunk music. Who knew there's a whole genre but there is. Steam Powered Giraffe came up, and while they’re pretty cool, they didn't fit the bill. I scoured the interwebs until I found this group, Voice of The Seven Woods.  Finally, this group checked all my boxes! If anyone has any suggestions for music additions I’ll be sure to listen.  I love new music!

Now to finish my creepy, sad and a tad bit magical work-in-progress! 

First Podcast

Tonight I'll be on Whisky, Wine & Writing at 8pm EST be sure to check it out as I chat with Nikki and Natasha about my debut novel, The Last Stored!

This will be my first podcast. So I have know idea what to expect, but I promise it'll be fun! I hope my tongue won't glue itself to the roof of my mouth. Or worse, the opposite happens, and I spew forth gibberish. Either way you get to see it live! 

Tomorrow I'll chat about it here!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bricks by John Davidson Blog Tour

I'm so excited to be hosting John Davidson today. His book, Bricks, was just released February 3rd. I love learning about where authors draw their inspiration from and just digging into a creative persons mind! 

Hi Sonia! Thanks so much for having me on the blog.

1. Where did you draw inspiration for Bricks?

My main inspiration was the tornado that struck my hometown of Moore on May 20th, 2013. The tornado went through the neighborhood where my wife and I bought our first house, through the neighborhood I grew up in, destroyed the elementary where I went to school, hit my daughter's junior high, and then destroyed my truck and the office buildings where I worked. Living in Oklahoma my whole life, I’d experienced other tornados, but this one literally hit much closer to home. Several weeks later, we were watching the Wizard of Oz, and I couldn't help but think of how the four travelers mirrored those impacted by the storm. Some just wanted to forget. Some were numb, as if they’d had their hearts taken from them. Some were, of course, afraid. And some just wanted to go home. I let the story idea stew in my head for a while, but it was on a 20 plus hour vacation drive to New York where things started to fall into place. Fitting I suppose since my wife had bought tickets to see Wicked.
2.   What is a day in your writing life?

I usually write on my lunch breaks and late at night. I’m not a morning person. I get distracted by thoughts of things to be done during the day. At night, with just sleep (or not) waiting for me, I can just write. I function pretty well on limited sleep, so this works best for me. I usually re-read what I wrote the day/night before and make edits. Then when I finally put things away, I close my eyes and think of new projects or conversations on the existing WIP until I fall asleep.

3.  What is your best writer's advice?

Authors are artists, but art is hard work. If you want to be a writer, you really have to decide if you are committed to being better—and better should always be the goal. “Best” is subjective. Styles and stories are just that—subjective. But better uses your own writing as a measuring stick. If you are committed to learning the craft, reading in your genre, and making every word count, everything you write should be better than what you wrote before.

4. What's your next project?

I just finished a Princess Bride type fairytale—a girl has a divorce court-ordered curse placed on her when her parents break the bonds of true love. It’s an attempt to take a humorous look at love and fairytales and how fairytale love differs from the real world.

5.    Who is your favorite character and why?
My favorite character in BRICKS would be Slim. As human beings we all know what the noble way to react to a situation is—the right way to handle things. Slim knows too, but he lets the jealousy overwhelm him before snapping back. J.R.R Tolkien once said that Sam was the true hero in TLOR trilogy. By no means does BRICKS approach that masterpiece, but I do think that in most books, the heroes need heroes. Slim is Cori’s hero.

6. Favorite snack to eat while writing?
Easy. Goldfish. Extreme pizza flavored preferably. (Have a bag with me right now.)

7. Which song would you use if they made your book into a movie?

I have a whole playlist with a song for each character—some obvious, some you would have to know the story. I think the best song would be Pompeii by Bastille. There’s a lot of BRICKS in that song.

8. Winter, spring, summer, or fall and why?

FALL. FALL. FALL. Don’t ask me why. Maybe the crisp Oklahoma air. The refreshing escape from the heat. The color of the leaves. It’s almost like the earth gets a chance to rest. I absolutely love fall.  

Bricks by John Davidson

Surge, Anaiah Press


Sixteen-year old Cori Reigns learns that not all tornadoes take you to magical places. Some take your house, your school, and life as you knew it. Struggling to put the pieces of her life back together, Cori learns to rebuild what the storm destroyed by trusting a family she didn't know she had and by helping friends she never appreciated.

Release Date: February 3, 2015

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Author Bio:
Married to my bride for twenty-four years, I have an amazing son and a wonderful daughter.
Born and raised in central Oklahoma, I work in education, first as a teacher now in technology curriculum. I write. I read. And in the summer I make snow cones.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Top five favorite movies and quotes

My husband and I speak in movie-ish. A certain language relating to all the movies we've ever seen, and since we've been married a good long time, we have a rather extensive vocabulary. Since he's not a big time reader, we found our common ground with movies.  You might think I love a good chick flick, but nope, I like to see things blow up or someone's got to die. (Boy that sounds morbid, I promise I'm not.)

I could name a laundry list of movies, but I thought I'd keep it to my top five favorite movies along with my favorite lines, in no particular order.

  1. The Village  - boy in the woods: There's something in these  woods. It turns my stomach to rot.
  2. Terminator  - little boy who snaps Sarah's picture: There's a storm coming.
  3. Amadeus - Salieri: That was God laughing at me. Through that obscene giggle.  
  4. The Gladiator -  Commodus: If you're very good, tomorrow night I'll tell you the story of emperor Cladius who was betrayed by those closest to him, by his own blood  They whispered in the dark corners and went out late at night and conspired and conspired by the emperor Cladius knew they were up to something.  He knew they were busy little bees. And one night he sat down with one of them and he looked at her and he said. "Tell me what you've been doing busy little bee or I shall strike down those dearest to you.  You shall watch as I bathe in their blood." And the emperor was heartbroken.  The little bee had wounded him more deeply than anyone else could ever have done. And what do you think happened then Lucius? 
  5. Labyrinth - Sarah: Give me the child. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered. I
    have fought my way  here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen.  For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great.  

You can see, someone died in all the above, wait, no one died in Labyrinth... I'll have to re-think my movie laws now. I could go on with other lines.  My husband has a completely different list. But most days we end up saying. "Come with me if you want to live."

So what are your favorite movies and quotes?