Interview with Ellen Booraem, Author of Texting the Underworld and Giveaway!

Please welcome Ellen Booraem to the virtual offices this morning.  Ellen dropped by to chat about her latest release Texting the Underworld.  She also brought along 2 copies of her new book for you to win!

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

[Ellen Booraem] Lifelong daydreamer and late-bloomer, now living the dream.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Texting the Underworld?

[Ellen Booraem] It’s a hero’s tale, featuring a fearful South Boston 12-year-old named Conor O’Neill. One school night, a young banshee named Ashling turns up in his bedroom, telling him that someone in his family is about to die. (Banshees are ancestral spirits who wail before the death of a family member.) Convinced that the death will be his beloved grandfather, Conor comes to believe that he must prevent it. He ends up visiting the Underworld, hoping to strike a bargain with the Lady who runs things there.

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

[Ellen Booraem] Reading Abbey Lubbers, Banshees & Boggarts by the late British folklorist Katharine Briggs, I discovered that banshees weren’t always the ghastly old crones I’d thought they were. (I grew up in Massachusetts in a partly Irish household and neighborhood.) Briggs said that in some traditions they were maidens who’d died too young.

I got thinking about such a maiden and how she’d feel about losing her life and spending eternity as a harbinger of death. Inside of an hour, I had Ashling the banshee, killed by cattle raiders in fifth-century Ulster and offered a bargain by the Lady: Serve just once as a banshee, and she gets a new life. (In the universe of this book, we’re all reincarnated.) Fearful Conor arrived in my head next, and two hours later this was his story, a kid who finds his courage trying to save his family.

At first, I figured the afterlife would be Celtic. But I soon realized that (obviously) the Irish aren’t the only ones with an afterlife. So the Underworld became multicultural and a bureaucracy, with all these death gods wearily registering the Dear Departed and shipping them back to the world for their new lives.

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

[Ellen Booraem] Timid, smart, tortured.

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

“Songs from the Heart: Walking the Night/Give Me Your Hand” by Celtic Woman. (“And the song that we once knew/ Brings me back to you./Pipes play within me once more.”)

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

[Ellen Booraem] His cellphone.

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

[Ellen Booraem] A fake spider, a hockey puck, a rock-climbing carabiner.

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

[Ellen Booraem] A shower, a nap, and a walk in the woods. (Since we’re talking in threes.)

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

[Ellen Booraem] A computer (totally addicted to the keyboard), a quiet room (no music, unfortunately), and a calm spirit.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on Texting the Underworld?

[Ellen Booraem] The internet. Sometimes I turn off the modem, figuring that the time it takes to turn it back on will give me a chance to get my discipline back.

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

[Ellen Booraem] The Water Castle, by Megan Fraser Blakemore. Is it fantasy? Is there a fountain of youth, or is it all fakery and coincidence? You’re never really sure, and that’s a lot of fun. Also, the characters are utterly real and round.

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

[Ellen Booraem] I’ve been a reader since I first held a book in my hand. So I’d have to say Yertle the Turtle, by Dr. Seuss. Confirmed slightly later by Fair, Brown and Trembling (an Irish version of Cinderella).

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

[Ellen Booraem] Read! Also walk, garden, kayak in the summer, ski in the winter. Sit out and watch the trees move when it’s warm enough. If not, sit inside and watch the fire in the woodstove. I also like to travel, but I don’t do it as often as I’d like. The week has only seven days, unfortunately.

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

[Ellen Booraem] Through my website (ellenbooraem.com) , my facebook page (Ellen Booraem’s Books) or twitter (@EllenBooraem). I love hearing from readers!

These were very entertaining questions, Julie. Thanks for inviting me to Manga Maniac Café!

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank your for visiting today!

Ellen’s blog tour for Texting the Underworld ends tomorrow (August 22) at We Do Write. See you there!

Giveaway!

US shipping addresses only, please!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the book:

Texting the Underworld

A fantasy for ages 10 and older

Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers

In stores August 2013

Conor O’Neill always thought spiders—and his little sister, Glennie—were the worst kind of monsters life had in store. That was before an inexperienced young banshee named Ashling showed up in his bedroom.

The arrival of a banshee, as Conor soon learns, means only one thing: Someone in his family is going to die. Not only will Ashling not tell him who it is, it turns out that she’s so fascinated by the world above that she insists on going to middle school with him.

The more Ashling gets involved in his life, the harder it becomes to keep her identity a secret from his friends and teachers—and the more Conor worries about his family. If he wants to keep them safe, he’s going to have to do the scariest thing he’s ever done:  Pay a visit to the underworld.

If only there were an app for that.

About the author:

Ellen Booraem’s TEXTING THE UNDERWORLD, a middle-grade fantasy about a scaredy-cat South Boston boy and a determined young banshee, hits bookstores in August (Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers). Her earlier middle-grade fantasies are SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS (Penguin/DBYR, 2011) and THE UNNAMEABLES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008). A former weekly newspaper editor and reporter, she lives in coastal Maine with an artist and a cat, one of whom is a practicing curmudgeon. She’s online at ellenbooraem.com, and also blogs at enchantedinkpot.com and scene13ers.wordpress.com.

Meet George Upperton from Ashlyn Macnamara’s A Most Devilish Rogue and Giveaway!

 

Please welcome roguish George Upperton to the virtual offices this morning.  George even brought along two copies of A Most Devilish Rogue to giveaway

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[George Upperton] I can do it in one word: trouble. Or at least, I seem to land in it a lot.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a typical day in the life of George Upperton?

[George Upperton] Before or after my marriage? Either way, I might shock you if your sensibilities are at all delicate. Let’s just say both involve rising from bed as late as possible, but perhaps for different reasons.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words come to mind when you think of Isabelle?

[George Upperton] Strong—despite her delicate appearance, the woman is made of steel.

Proud—her reduced circumstances when I first met her aside, she hasn’t lost an ounce of her breeding.

Worthy—a damned sight more worthy than most of so-called polite society.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you find most exasperating about her?

[George Upperton] The deuced woman knows me too well. Erm, I mean… *runs a finger under his very high-pointed collar* This is embarrassing to admit, but she knows, at the heart, I’m not really that much of a rogue. Should she decide to tell anyone, my reputation would be in shreds. I can’t put a thing past her; she’s far too clever for her own good.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

[George Upperton] That’s a difficult question, because if I changed something, I might never have met Isabelle. I suppose I might have paid more attention to the marriageable misses when I was younger and possibly saved Isabelle from a harsh fate. But then she might not have paid me a whit of attention. See what I mean?

There’s also the matter of a certain grasping courtesan, shall we say, named Lucy, but the less said about her, the better.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[George Upperton] I always keep my best weapons on my person: my sharp wits and a wicked left hook.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t rescuing young children from drowning or rescuing them from kidnappers?

[George Upperton] The usual gentlemanly pursuits. I like my drink strong, my wagers daring, and my women willing. Since my marriage, I’ve naturally had to cut the number of women down to one, but I’m not finding that much of a sacrifice. And if anyone tells you I’m secretly a music-lover, they’re a bald-faced liar. *nods emphatically*

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.

[George Upperton] In five words? Not this time. This is strictly off the record, but I’d like to right a few of the world’s wrongs in my own quiet way. Not that I’d dream of going into politics and doing anything public, but I do what I can. I intend to set Isabelle’s son Jack on the road to a better life for one thing.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

[George Upperton] My pleasure. *bows, possibly offering a rather delicious view to anyone fortunate enough to be standing behind him*

Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the book:

Years ago, when Isabelle Mears was still a young miss too infatuated to know better, she surrendered her innocence to a dishonorable man. Though ruined and cast out from society, she has worked hard to shelter her illegitimate son, Jack. Having sworn off men in her quiet but dignified life, Isabelle is unprepared for the deep longing that rips through her when a handsome stranger rescues her rambunctious six-year-old from the pounding ocean surf.

George Upperton is a man in trouble with debts, women, and a meddling family. He is, by all accounts, the last gentleman on earth Isabelle should be drawn to. But loneliness is a hard mistress, and caution gives way to desire . . . even though Isabelle is convinced that happiness can’t be found in the arms of such a devilish rogue. Only when Jack is kidnapped does Isabelle discover the true depth of George’s devotion—and how far a good man will go to fight for the woman whose love is all that matters.

About the author:

Ashlyn Macnamara writes Regency romances with a dash of wit and a hint of wicked. She considers this writing gig her midlife crisis, but figures it’s less risky than rock climbing or skydiving. When not writing, she looks for other excuses to neglect the housework, among them knitting, reading and wasting time on the internet in the guise of doing research. Despite her insistence on looking toward the past, she can be found on her website, Facebook, and Twitter. She also likes to play at being a Duchess from time to time.

Waiting on Wednesday–NIL by Lynne Matson

 

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

The cover for NIL by Lynne Matson does absolutely nothing for me, but the plot sounds promising, and gives me a Battle Royale vibe.

 

In stores March 2014

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape—or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that she has to find a way to beat the clock, and quickly.

 

What are you waiting on?

Cover Reveal: All I Want For Christmas is You by Molly O’Keefe

LoveSwept has another holiday romance hitting shelves soon.  All I Want For Chiristmas Is You is penned by Molly O’Keefe, and it will be available November 4.  Because it’s a novella, I will more than likely bite on this one.

 

All I Want for Christmas Is You (Short Story)

By Molly O’Keefe

Loveswept | 978-0-345-54244-1

On Sale November 4, 2013

About the book:

In this touching eBook novella, a prequel to Molly O’Keefe’s Crazy Thing Called Love, a young woman swept up by first love is ready to say “I do”—until challenges arise during the holiday season.

Maddy Baumgarten and Billy Wilkins are spontaneous, in love, and prepared to elope the day after Christmas—that is, if Maddy’s family doesn’t throw a wrench in their plans. Her parents are more than a little reluctant to give their blessing to the impending nuptials. After all, Maddy’s barely out of high school and Billy’s a notorious bad boy. Maddy doesn’t care about Billy’s rough past—all she cares about is living in the here and now. But after Maddy’s mother stops speaking to her in protest, and a Christmas Eve heart-to-heart with her father leaves her with butterflies, Maddy starts to get cold feet. She loves Billy, but is she taking this big step too soon?

About the Author

Molly O’Keefe published her first Harlequin romance at age twenty-five and hasn’t looked back. She loves exploring each character’s road toward happily ever after. She’s won two Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice awards and the RITA for Best Novella in 2010. Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she now lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband, two kids, and the largest heap of dirty laundry in North America.

Pre-order ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU

Connect with Molly: Facebook | Twitter | Website