Cover Shot! If I Fall by Anna Cruise

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I love the colors on this cover for If I Fall by Anna Cruise.  Very pretty!

In stores April 2013

 

Meg Calloway is at the edge.

Reeling from her parents’ sudden divorce, fifteen-year old Meg has never felt more alone. Her father is about to marry a woman she can’t stand and her mother’s only companion is an endless supply of alcohol. When Aidan Westwood, an older boy at school, shows interest in her, she grabs on and doesn’t let go, thinking he’s exactly what she needs to help stem her loneliness and despair. She quickly learns that Aidan lives a darker, more dangerous life than she does and the more isolated she feels from her family, the more willing she is to step into Aidan’s world.

As Meg drifts further from her friends, she tries to find comfort with a boy who is opening her eyes up to new things, none of them good. Will she listen to those around her who are warning her that she’s headed down a path of self-destruction?

Or will she fall too far…too fast…too deep?

Interview with Ros Baxter, Author of Fish Out Of Water

Ros Baxter is our special guest today.  Ros is visiting the virtual offices to chat about Fish Out of Water, her latest release from Escape Publishing.  Fish Out of Water blends mystery, crime fiction, and urban fantasy in one hard to put down story. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Ros Baxter]  Author of fresh, funny, genre-busting fiction. Mother of four lovely, noisy children. Omnivorous reader. Insane multi-tasker. Imposter Syndrome sufferer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Fish Out of Water?

[Ros Baxter]  Fish Out of Water is hip crime fiction meets urban fantasy – Stephanie Plum meets Splash – and available from Escape Publishing on 1 April.

My heroine, Rania, is part small-town cop. Part deep-sea mermaid. And she’s got a sinking feeling that she’s about to get wet. For the first time in 13 years.
Rania has a lot on her plate: a nicotine addiction that’s a serious liability for a mermaid, a solider-of-fortune ex who’s hooked on her Mom’s brownies, a gorgeous, naked stranger in her shower, and a mysterious dead blonde with a fish tattoo on Main Street.

Oh, and one other thing. She’s scheduled to die on her thirtieth birthday – in three weeks – unless she can ‘change the course of destiny and save the world entire’. But where to start? With her bad boy ex? With the smokin’ hot coldblooded swimmer who seems to know more than he’s giving up? Or with a ten thousand year old prophesy about the End of Days?

If she can just steal a corpse, get a crazy Aegirian priest off her case, work out who the hell’s trying to kill her and stop sleeping with the fishes, Rania might be able to unravel the prophesy, the mystery of the missing choirgirls and the secrets hidden in her Mom’s past.

And maybe even save her own skin while she’s at it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Ros Baxter]  I’ve always harboured a secret fascination for mermaids (blame seeing “Splash” at the tender age of ten!), love triangles, and things which are not as they seem.  My mermaid Rania has all that in spades – she hasn’t been home to the deep ocean for thirteen years because of a terrifying visit to a clairvoyant; she lives incognito in a small frontier town working as a cop; and she’s torn between land and sea.  She’s also torn between two men who represent those worlds – her solider-of-fortune ex and a sexy, wolfish merman with secrets of his own.

Most of all I wanted to create a heroine who was totally different from me.  Someone tough and cool.  Rania packs heat, dates the wrong men and can beat anyone in an arm wrestle. But she also has an over-developed sense of responsibility.  She’s trying desperately to keep everyone around her safe, while the clock’s ticking on her own life.

I loved intertwining romance, Norse legend, gumshoe mystery and modern pop culture to create this quirky, layered tale.  I hope readers love it too.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Rania?

[Ros Baxter]  Tough, vulnerable, BUSY!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Rania had a theme song, what would it be?

[Ros Baxter]  It’s got to be “I will survive” by Gloria Gaynor. Hey, she’s been told she’s only got three weeks to live!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Rania is never without.

[Ros Baxter]  On land, her glock and her beautiful Chevy Corvette Stingray, Ariel. In the sea, her BFF the Princess Lecanora.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Rania’s bedroom?

[Ros Baxter]  An Air Supply CD. A girly dress. Fish and chips.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Ros Baxter]  My mother – she taught us all to love words and books.

My kids – they tell the best stories of all.

The wordsmiths who shaped my world as a child and teenager – Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, Nirvana.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Ros Baxter]  Some paper or a keyboard. A place. A few minutes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Ros Baxter]  Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Ros Baxter]  Argh so hard, so many. It would have been something kind of lowbrow, because I remember my Mum being called up to the school for a “please explain” about my home reading list. As I recall, the offending title was “A Passion for Treason”. I was nine.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Ros Baxter]  Sleep. But it doesn’t happen often.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Ros Baxter]  email: roosbaxterink@gmail.com

facebook: www.facebook.com/RosBaxterInk

twitter: @RosBaxter

web site: www.rosbaxterink.com

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order Fish Out of Water from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below.

About the book:

Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum meets Splash in a sexy, smart-talking debut about a mermaid in a desert, a city under water, and the secret that no one is supposed to uncover.

Dirtwater’s straight-talking Deputy Sheriff Rania Aqualina has a lot on her plate: a nicotine addiction that’s a serious liability for a mermaid, a soldier-of-fortune ex who’s hooked on her Mum’s brownies, a gorgeous, naked stranger in her shower, and a mysterious dead blonde with a fish tattoo on Main Street.

Heading home to Aegira for a family wedding, Rania has a sinking feeling that’s got nothing to do with hydroporting seven miles under the sea and everything to do with the crazy situation. Now, if she can just steal a corpse, get a crazy Aegiran priest off her case, work out who the hell’s trying to kill her, and stop sleeping with the fishes, she might be able to unravel the mysteries. And maybe even save her own ass while she’s at it.

Fish out of Water is Stephanie Plum meets Splash, and the first book in a trilogy about Aegira, an underwater kingdom based on the historical Norse legend of Aegir.

About the author:

Ros writes fresh, funny, genre-busting fiction. She digs feisty heroines, good friends, quirky families, heroes to make you sigh and tingle, and a dash of fantasy from time to time.

Ros also runs a successful business consulting to government and the private sector. She teaches professional writing skills and has authored a writing guide, Clarity.

Ros lives in Brisbane’s North with her husband Blair, four small but very opinionated children, a neurotic dog and nine billion germs.

You can email Ros at rosbaxterink@gmail.com or find her at www.facebook.com/RosBaxterInk, @RosBaxter, or www.rosbaxterink.com.

Interview with Helen Sedwick, Author of Coyote Winds and Giveaway!

Please welcome Helen Sedwick to the virtual offices today.  Helen’s novel, Coyote Winds, is set during one of the most devastating environmental calamities to befall the Midwest.  I find the Dust Bowl, and all of the heartbreaking challenges it presented, fascinating, so I am thrilled to have Helen here for a chat.  After the interview, please enter for a chance to win a copy of Coyote Winds!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Helen Sedwick] An intense redhead who’s spent her life balancing restlessness and responsibility.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Coyote Winds?

[Helen Sedwick] COYOTE WINDS follows the adventures of a boy and his coyote living on the prairie in the years leading up to the Dust Bowl. It explores the American spirit that drew families to the wind-swept frontier and the consequences of that spirit, both good and bad. And it asks whether that spirit can survive the over-supervised life of a modern boy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Helen Sedwick] I was inspired to write COYOTE WINDS by my father’s stories of growing up during the Dust Bowl. While there was plenty of blowing dust in his stories, he also talked about freedom and adventure. With the schools closed, he spent his days hunting rattlesnakes and rabbits. And driving at the age of 9. I wanted to contrast my father’s unfenced boyhood with the over-supervised life of a modern, suburban boy who “couldn’t ride a bike without a helmet, play soccer without pads, or ride in a car with a driver under thirty.”

As I researched the Dust Bowl, I discovered that it is a classic story about American optimism. Our can-do attitude drew families to the prairie with dreams of owning their own land. They plowed up millions of acres of native grassland. Then the wind did what it always did–blow. What followed was one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in history, the Dust Bowl. COYOTE WINDS is about good families doing what they believed to be the right thing, only to have the results turn out so terribly wrong. I wanted to tell that story.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Myles?

[Helen Sedwick] Fun-loving, school-skipping punster.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Andy had a theme song, what would it be?

[Helen Sedwick] NO SUCH THING by John Mayer

“They love to tell you
Stay inside the lines
But something’s better
On the other side.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Myles is never without.

[Helen Sedwick] His Remington .22 rifle.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Andy’s pockets?

[Helen Sedwick] Andy is a 21st century suburban boy trapped in a life of rules.

At the beginning of the novel, he wouldn’t have a pen knife (too dangerous), an arrowhead (politically incorrect), or car keys (not until he has a B average, which means no time soon).

By the end of the novel, he has all three in his pockets.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Myles’s greatest regret?

[Helen Sedwick] Trying to chop off the head of a live rattlesnake.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Helen Sedwick] I love the power of a story to make us laugh, cry, learn, believe, and connect with others over distance and time. Whenever I experience a new story, whether it be in a book, a film, or a play, I am inspired to write more.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Helen Sedwick] Characters I love.

A vague yearning to express.

Time alone.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Helen Sedwick] Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Helen Sedwick] Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. If this 19th Century novel could move a 20th Century Manhattan girl, that says something.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Helen Sedwick] Hike the granite outcroppings of the Sierras.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Helen Sedwick] My website: www.helensedwick.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/helensedwickauthor

I also welcome emails at Helen@helensedwick.com.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Here’s the trailer for the book:

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Ready for your chance to win a copy of Coyote Winds? Just will out the widget below. Earn extra entries for following. US addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the book:

When thirteen-year old Myles brings home a coyote pup half-blinded by a dust storm, his father warns him a coyote can’t be trusted. His neighbor loads his rifle and takes aim. Yet Myles is determined to tame the pup just as his father is taming the land. The time is 1930. Tractors and fertilizers are transforming the prairie into the world’s breadbasket. The American dream is within every man’s reach. But when drought turns these dreams into paint-stripping, crop-killing dust, Myles wonders if they have made a mistake trying to tame the untamable. Seventy years later, when Andy remembers his Grandpa Myles’s tales about growing up on the prairie, he wonders what stories he will tell when he has grandchildren. Algebra, soccer practice, computer games, the mall? Determined to keep his grandfather’s memories alive and have some adventures of his own, Andy heads out to discover what’s left of the wild prairie. Inspired by her father’s tales of growing up during the Dust Bowl, Sedwick weaves insight, humor, historical details and unforgettable characters into a coming-of-age story that reminds us that chasing a dream, even if it brings heartache, is far better than not dreaming at all.

 

About the Author:

Helen Sedwick is the author of COYOTE WINDS. A finalist in the 2011 Mainstream Fiction Writer’s Digest Competition and the Lorian Hemmingway Short Story Contest, Helen Sedwick recently won second place in the Redwood Writers Flash Fiction Contest for a piece adapted from COYOTE WINDS. She is a lawyer and lives in the Sonoma wine country with Howard Klepper, a builder of handcrafted guitars, and an exuberant hound dog named Farlow. For more info, http://www.helensedwick.com.