Hello everyone! Today I have a special guest. Ms Connie was very sweet to offer me a copy to review her new book and I am so grateful. But BEFORE I get too crazy, I wanna share a little secret!
Yep, today on Amazon, this book is a freebie, so go get your copy. It’s very cool! Now let me show you some goodies!!!
Synopsis: I have a YA/Urban Fantasy novel (with Paranormal Romance elements) that I’m hoping you’ll consider having on your blog. I’m the author (Connie L. Smith), and the title is Essenced (The Division Chronicles: Book One). Here’s the blurb:
Years ago, demons were forced out of the earth’s realm by a band of supernatural fighters, banished from the place and its people in the aftermath of a horrific war. It should’ve ended there – would’ve – if not for the final demon’s claw snagging on the open portal. What felt like victory became only a reprieve, the winning warriors understanding that the tear would spread, and the demons eventually would escape exile. It was only a matter of time, and a need for future defense – a question of genetics and essences, magic and power.
Now centuries later, a new army must bind together – one of teenagers with inhuman potentials and abilities.
AJ went to bed Sunday night an average teenage girl, clumsy to a fault and athletically lacking. So when she wakes up Monday morning with super-strength, she does what any rational person would do: She goes into denial. When a smoking hot guy in a suit shows up, rambling about the end of the war and demons spilling through some kind of rift, she refuses to listen, telling herself he’s insane. Except weird things just won’t quit happening, and the guy keeps popping up in her life, trying to explain the changes suddenly happening within her. Is she crazy, or is this guy… not so crazy after all?
The moments she stood staring at her painting did little to settle her tears. Surrendering, she turned – watery eyes and all – to the trainer waiting a few feet behind her, watching her. “Thank you so much,” she whispered as the drops began spilling down her face.
He walked to up her, wiped them away with his thumbs. “I’m glad you like it, swe… AJ.”
She shook her head, teary smile on her face. “You can call me sweetheart again.”
He smiled in return. “I’m glad you like it, sweetheart. But it doesn’t…”
Again, she shook her head. “It does. And I started it. I called you a coward.”
“But nothing. We were both mean, and you…” She laughed, still smiling and crying, with another happy scan of the room. “And this…” Shaking her head once more, she glanced back at him. “It’s perfect.”
He pressed his forehead to hers, closing his eyes to let the acceptance pour through him before he eventually pulled away, both hands remaining on either side of her face. “So we’re okay?”
“Yeah.” She grinned. “We’re okay. For now. I imagine you’ll drive me crazy again tomorrow.”
He laughed. “Pot and kettle, sweetheart.”
Ok, sooo, what happens is all of a sudden, you wake up, and instead of hitting the snooze button on your alarm, you break the whole table its on. LOL I seriously giggled when this happened to AJ. She was quite, uncoordinated, and really not so popular. And then she wakes up and everything is losing control, including her. I like AJ. She’s actually your more typical teenager. She’s not in the “big clique” but she’s not the bottom feeder either. She has interests and flaws just like every other teenage girl. She freaks out when a hot guy talks to her, because something my be up if this is happening. And then, things get crazy, she’s got to use those powers.
So it’s not really like school, more like a really really serious boot camp, run by crazy angels. LOL HAHAHA I’m sorry I’m still laughing. I actually loved this part because there’s no boring learning, they are working all these kids out like you wouldn’t believe. Like, I would be dying on my first hour of my first day. And jeez, I’m hungry too as the food isn’t superb. 🙂 And I don’t think I’d wanna be that sweaty all the time. But on the serious note, demons are coming, and if these kids can’t stop them, it’s lights out, for the whole world. It’s definitely a cool storyline.
There are so very many fun characters in this book. I seriously cannot wait to see so much more of them. Yes, AJ is mostly the main character, but you get to meet so many, including some small POV changes from some of the other “major” characters. Each character has their own different powers and personalities. I LOVED THIS! It was fantastic!
I am seriously impressed as this was the author’s FIRST book and it was really well written. It kept my interest from start to finish. It had me engaged with all the characters. And it’s only the beginning because this is really just the story of all these kids who are going to save the world. You are learning how does what, and who’s going to be allies, and what they’ve had to endure just to get there. The big part of the war isn’t even here yet. 🙂 I am very excited to continue this series ASAP!! If you liked the paranormal YA stories of all those kids who are supernatural beings and go off to school to better themselves, this is right up your alley. I happen to love all of those, except that it’s not school, it’s like supernatural boot camp LOL It’s got a little bit of everything, humor, romance, paranormal aspects, and some “finding yourself” moments that are pretty awesome! So, a wonderful 4.5 EXTREMELY VORACIOUS PAWS!
First, tell me a little about your book and why you wanted to write this particular story….
Essenced is the first book of The Division Chronicles trilogy. Millennia ago, there was a war between demons and a number of species, many of which only exist in myth anymore. Though those species won the war, and they banished the demons to another realm, the door between the realms was damaged before it could close, keeping it from closing completely. Instead, it would slowly open until everything that was banished – and more – would find its way back through. Magic was leaking out of the universe, so most of the species that had fought in that war wouldn’t survive to fight again. Knowing they would need warriors with extraordinary abilities to win the upcoming war, they bottled away what remained of magic and locked away the essences of many of the species in humans. In time, when the portal opened too far, the magic would be released, and the essences would be brought to life. This book is the beginning of that resistance.
I guess I wanted to write it because it wouldn’t quick floating around in my head. I left it alone for a while, not sure if I’d even be able to pull off writing it, but with its persistence (and encouragement from a friend – author, Catherine Peace), I eventually caved and attempted to write it out.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
My first writing love was actually songwriting. I can remember making up lyrics to songs I’d hear on the radio when I was still in elementary school. Of course they were highly plagiarized at the time, but I got better! Even with writing novels now, I still love writing verse. One of my characters actually has a tendency to randomly recite emo-poetry (not his fault – I promise!), so it’s something I was able to incorporate within this book. I just love the feeling, as far as songwriting goes, of making a little series of words sum up what someone else is feeling, but couldn’t really put to words. As an author, it’s more knowing that I can create characters and situations in a book that draw a reader in. Hopefully I’ve succeeded, but I guess that’s up to every individual reader.
What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
This actually is my first book! WOW well then well done!! Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Definitely not the overall storyline, but there are things that might pop up in the story from everyday life. In fact, I can think of one scene that might be in book three of the series that is like a chapter out of my own life. Pieces of me or of people around me can make cameos, but the story itself, without question, is nothing I’ve experienced.
How do you choose when/which characters die in your books?
This is so hard for me! I won’t give any major spoilers, but this is a trilogy of books based on war. Odds are characters will die, and if they don’t, then I’m not being very realistic. One in particular I knew would die, and it really just broke my heart because I enjoyed writing that character. I guess that’s the point. I don’t kill people in books unless it fits or is necessary, and I dread those moments until they happen. When it’s a pretty vague front, like a general battle without a set series of those kinds of consequences in mind… Things gets a little more muddled as I try to decide which ones have to go and which ones can stay. Know that, on my end, I’m probably grieving when it happens!
AWWW I mean I know some are gunna die but now I’m sad! Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I like quite a few newer authors. I absolutely adore Patch from the Hush, Hush series, so Becca Fitzpatrick should be named. Kody Keplinger comes to mind, though she’s contemporary, not fantasy. I could give you a few more contemporary names, but this is a fantasy blog, I do believe! Brent Weeks is among my favorites. I loved his Night Angel books. Quite a few newer ones on my bookshelf.
Who do you look up to as a writer?
The author that made me fall in love with reading, and fantasy books, is R.A. Salvatore. The Legend of Drizzt series stole my focus for many weeks of my life a few years ago, and I’m still reading about Drizzt when Salvatore releases new ones. (Not the YA series he wrote, even though I like YA.) He just has a way of telling a story that’s so fluid. I’m also a fan of Terry Pratchett, and all the humor that he brings to the table. I like books from so many different types of authors, and I’d like to think elements of each bring themselves into my writing. Again, I guess that’s up to each reader to decide.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Just last weekend, I finished the rough draft to a prequel novella for the series, and I really regretted the timeframe I put for the first war. Three years was a bit long for what I’d had in mind, and I had to change my approach. As it is now, in general, I can’t think of any major things I’d want to change. It’s actually why I’m attempting to stick with self-publishing for this book. I like it, and I don’t want to have to change pieces of it to fit a publisher’s ideal.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Like any sane writer (are there any of those???), I HATE editing. Other than that, I would probably say that I don’t look forward to writing battle scenes, which is a particularly bad thing when your book is about war! Everything is just so detailed, and there are only so many verbs I can use for that situation. In fact, when I think of a new one, it’s an exciting experience. But on the flipside, I’m much more comfortable having someone read a battle scene I penned than a romantic scene. There’s more vulnerability there, I think, and it can be a little awkward.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre? My followers love author’s opinions!
Right now, I’m reading a contemporary book that’s fairly terrible, so I won’t be mean and tell you what it is. I’m also somewhere around halfway through Going Bovine by Libba Bray, though I’ve been sidetracked by editing, other books (Drizzt had a new one!), and whatever else had surfaced. I’m afraid my writing career has limited my reading time 🙂 So, I’m falling back on old answers – go read The Night Angel books!
Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?
I LOVE that you asked this question! I’ve haven’t had an interviewer ask me about it yet, so I haven’t had the opportunity to brag on the designer. Her name is Laura Gordon, and I bought it from a website (http://bookcovermachine.wordpress.com/). I cannot recommend this site enough. They have premades, and if you want a custom cover, you can get one for as little as $50. If you’re self-publishing, take a look!
Basically, I told Laura what I wanted – and it wasn’t overly specific – and she ran with it. They were a couple of revisions to change things I didn’t like until I got the book’s cover. Actually, she sent me a secondary option in case I didn’t like the first one, and it’s currently on my computer, waiting to be released as book two’s cover. She did an amazing job.
I LOVED THE COVER!!! Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?
I learned quite a bit through the process that has made writing a little easier now. After having to go back and rework things to take out “was” for the seventh time in one paragraph, or rearrange a sentence to kill dialogue tags, I’m more careful now when I write. Of course, I still have to edit, and I find language issues, but just being more aware of what I’m not supposed to do helps me to prevent future headaches when I have to fix messes I’ve made.
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
I’ll go with Lexia. She’s Fairy-Essenced and has sparkly wings. Yes, please.
I loved her too, but I believe I’m all werewolf 🙂 Are there any books you think some of us should read, just because?
I guess it really depends on what kind of fantasy you like. As I’ve already said, Salvatore, Pratchett, and Weeks come to mind. Robert Asprin’s Myth Series is fairly priceless as well. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. Covet by J.R. Ward. A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang (though I haven’t had the opportunity to read the rest of the series.) I’m a pretty big fan of some of the more lighthearted YA books available, but I don’t know how much they have in common with this blog! You can look at some of my favorites on my Goodreads page.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes! On September 19th and 20th, Essenced is scheduled to be FREE on Amazon! Beyond that, I have a prequel novella (it’s Paranormal Romance) that should be released probably in late October/early November. And, of course, keep an eye out for book two, Emblazed which should be out early next year. Thanks for having me on your blog!
You are so welcome! PLEASE come back when Emblazed comes out!!!
About the author:
Connie L. Smith spends far too much time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and will be forever sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. When she isn’t reading or writing, there’s a good chance she’s goofing off with her amazing, wonderful, incredible, fabulous nieces and nephew, or listening to music that is severely outdated. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either) and likes to snap photos. Oh, and she likes apples a whole big bunch.
So don’t forget…
A big thanks to Ms Connie who was so gracious and fun to work with! I wish you all happy reading, especially with a fun freebie, and later gators! PS HAPPY FRIDAY too 🙂