Q & A with Lacey Weatherford

Today, I am honored to present to you a Q & A I was thrilled to have with the Queen of Hearts, Lacey Weatherford. Lacey is the USA Today Bestselling author of several books in the YA, NA, Paranormal, Historical, and Fantasy genres. For the YA crowd, you know her for the Of Witches and Warlocks, Crush, and Chasing Nikki series. 

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Do you have any writing rituals that really get you in the zone?

Not really. When I go to bed at night, I like to think about the next chapter I’ll be working on and things I want to put into it. I get up in the morning, grab a bottle of water and a cup of ice to drink and chomp on. I put on whatever song is really moving me with the storyline at the moment, and I start writing! I keep things pretty simple!

Whenever I’m reading a really great book, I always have to have a snack. For me, it’s popcorn and iced coffee. Do you have any writing/reading time snack favorites?

Writing, pretty much water and ice, as I said before. Reading, if the story is talking about something yummy in it, I may find myself craving that item. I’m more of a “salty” person, so if I am snacking it may be something like chips and cheese or a quesadilla. Cheese is my downfall in life. I’m part of the “No cheese left behind” program. haha

I just started the Crush series. I absolutely loved the Phantom references. Does music have a powerful impact on your writing? Do you like to listen to anything in particular when you write or do you prefer absolute silence?

For me, the more music the merrier! I compile playlists for every book/series I write. Sometime a song might really stick out at me, hardcore, and I’ll play it on repeat consistently. Any music that does that for me is a favorite of mine. Every time I hear it, it really moves me to write. It really helps me capture a series as well. If I’m writing a new book in a series, I always listen to the previous playlist because it takes me right back into that voice and place.

You recently had a new release, Love in the Crush series and Chased Dreams is coming up on May 25th. Do you have any other releases coming out this year?

I do, several actually. After those two, I have Allure, which is a pretty hot and steamy New Adult contemporary coming out in July 6. After that one, I will have a co-authored story with Belinda Boring called Fall for Me, coming our August 24th. It’s a dystopian novel—something neither of us has written before, and we are truly excited for it. Smolder, which is a companion book to the Crush series, will come out on October 12th. And Let It Snow, will be my latest Christmas novella on December 7th. All of those are available for preorder on iBooks right now too. I’m excited for all of them!!

Recently there’s been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere about love triangles in YA. How do you feel about them?

 I have TRIED to add triangles into some of mine in the past, but I just couldn’t manage to do it. I really love the one on one contact between characters. That being said, I do have an adult love triangle slated for release sometime next year. I believe when a triangle is done right, it can really pull the reader into an amazing, angst ridden, place of conflict. I’ve read ones where I, as the reader, couldn’t pick between the two options. I love stories like that, which keep you on the edge of your seat. They can be lots of fun.

What’s your favorite genre to write?

I’m not sure if I have a favorite genre. I’m happy to write anything that is a good story. I love doing paranormal, because it allows the imagination to go places that are so unique. However, the contemporary genre steals my breath away just as much. As a reader, I absolutely love historical stuff. I’ve got books to research the era—research can be fun and exciting, but also time consuming too. I hope at sometime to produce a historical romance.

Is there anything you’ve been dying to write but just haven’t had the time?

I have the makings of a vampire time travel series. I know where I want to go with it, but as stated earlier, it has lots of research behind it. I find it hard to build on it at all due to the massive amount of research it will entail. Hopefully someday!

Are you attending any signings or events in the next couple of months?

Sadly, I had to cancel some of my appearances due to family issues. So my next events are in August—the 14th in Orlando, and somewhere around the 20th of August in Maine as well. I’ll also be in Vegas in October for Love N Vegas, and then Hollywood in December, signing at Madame Tussaud’s.

What inspires you to write?

Anything and everything! Haha I’ve had story ideas come from the most random things—from the shapes of clouds in the skies, to my daughter dying her hair. I never know where the next idea will come from—dreams, songs on the radio, a billboard, something someone says. It’s all viable material.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers out there?

1. WRITE. Don’t try to develop the whole story in your head, first. Just start writing. Often times the characters will dictate the story to you as you move along. Don’t be afraid of “doing it wrong” either. It’s a rough draft…that’s what edits are for.

2. Before you sign with ANYONE, i.e., agent, publisher, editor, research them on the site predators and editors. They will give you the business reputation of the person in the business that wants to do business with you. Unfortunately, there are many sharks out there wanting to take advantage of unsuspecting authors. Don’t get caught in a trap you can’t get out of!

If you had to choose one genre and stick with it for the rest of your writing career what would it be and why?

I hate placing myself in any one genre. I like being able to write whatever I’m feeling at the moment. But, if I were forced to chose, then I’d probably stick with contemporary. It’s nice to be able to pull from my real life experiences and I enjoy being able to fall back on what I know or have experienced.

There’s been a lot of chatter about the lack of diversity in YA books. What do you think is missing in YA? What would you like to see more of?

I think there is a lot of “trending” when it comes to YA. Almost like there is a “formula” for success authors are trying to hit. However, that being said, I also think authors are “blamed” for following that formula and accused of copying, even when it isn’t true. I once had someone compare one of my series to Twilight, for instance. I had purposely chosen NOT to read Twilight while I was working on this series so that people wouldn’t be able to say those very things. Yet, it is constantly compared to Twilight. What is the similarity? A girl finds out on her birthday that she is a witch and the guy she likes is a warlock. That happens while they were in high school. I’m sorry, but Twilight can’t “claim” the high school market. It’s like saying an author can’t ever write about cancer because another author did it before them.

In the case of my books, reviewers have said, “If you don’t like Twilight, then read these books. In the review right after, it will say, “This book is a Twilight rip off.” Yet, anyone who reads the series can clearly see…it is nothing like Twilight. So the “short” answer to this question for me is this. I think there is plenty of diversity in YA books. However, I think the reader is determined to say there is no diversity because that is all they’re willing to see.

If you go to a crime seen expecting to find evidence of a certain killer—you’re going to find all sorts of things that look suspect. Books are the same. Readers seem to be anxious to label and point at books and call them things they aren’t. My advice is for readers, (myself included) is to stop trying to find comparisons. Read each story and let it stand on it’s own.

Thanks a bunch for the questions! I always enjoy doing interviews and pretty much anything to do with books! I hope you and everyone reading this will find some amazing reads!! 😀

cooltext1547203286 copyLacey WeatherfordWebsite/Goodreads/Facebook/Twitter

Lacey Weatherford is the bestselling author of the popular young adult paranormal romance series, Of Witches and Warlocks, and contemporary series, Chasing Nikki and Crush, and Tell Me Why.

Lacey resides in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona. She lives with her wonderful husband and children along with their dog, Talley, and cat, Minx. When she’s not out supporting one of her kids at their sporting/music events, she spends her time reading, writing, and visiting with her readers on her social media accounts.

 

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The Trouble with Spells is currently FREE, pick it up today. Trust me, it’s awesome. 

Portia Mullins had always lived the life of a normal teenager, up until her sixteenth birthday. She is then informed by her grandma that she is actually a witch who is a descendant of a long line of witches and warlocks. After overcoming her disbelief she finds that being a member of the coven comes with one great perk in the form of the school’s handsome bad boy, Vance Mangum. Vance and Portia have an immediate connection as a budding romance begins, only to be threatened by turbulent skies on the horizon as Vance’s checkered past rears its ugly head to haunt them. Portia is forced to use her untried powers in defense of everything she loves in a desperate attempt to hold on to the one thing that really matters in her life.

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Crush is currently FREE, if you love The Phantom of the Opera or contemporary teen romance, check this out!

Cami Wimberley has a plan, and that plan includes no room for boys—especially the big time party animal, Hunter Wilder, no matter how handsome and charismatic he is. She’s beautiful, a senior, extremely talented, gets good grades, and is working her way toward her dream college to be a musical theater major. Everything is perfect.

Hunter Wilder does not want a girlfriend—that would complicate his life way too much right now. He especially doesn’t want this girl, Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes, so how come he can’t keep his eyes off her? He tries to keep her at arms length, but fate seems to keep pushing them together. Before long, it’s obvious to everyone they’re crushing on each other.

As sparks begin to fly, Hunter finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into hot water. Soon he’s scrambling to keep Cami from discovering his dark secret—one that can destroy their entire relationship.

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Chasing Nikki is currently FREE on iBooks. Get it while you can. 

Chase Walker used to be a good kid-charming, athletic, and with a bright future ahead, but that was before travesty struck his life, sinking him into deep despair. Caught up in a world of drugs and alcohol, he doesn’t notice time slipping away until he’s arrested for underage drinking one night. Fed up with watching her son destroy his life, Chase’s mom relocates him to live in a small ranching community with his ex-military grandfather. Chase is far from happy about the situation until he meets, Nikki, the cute cheerleader who won’t give football players like him the time of day. Chase enjoys a good challenge though and sets out to claim Nikki for his own. He soon discovers she’s more than a pretty face-she’s a balm to his troubled spirit also. But when tragedy strikes Nikki’s life too, suddenly Chase finds himself put to the ultimate test. Can he trust Nikki, and all that she’s taught him? Will it be enough?

Happy reading all. It was lovely hearing from Lacey, I hope you enjoyed this interview,

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ARC Review: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant-Joanna Wiebe

3.5/5 Stars

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant (The V Trilogy, #1)-JoannaWiebe

***I received this ARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and BenBella Books.  17675434

Yes, that means I’m that girl. I’m the weird mortician’s daughter. The creepy girl the kids at school call Death Chick or Wednesday Addams. The eerie girl they shy away from whenever I wear black or look unusually pale. The poor girl raised with dead bodies in the basement, zombies scratching at the cellar door, and ghosts around ever corner. I’m that girl. 

***

If the tally of notches in your bedpost was any indication of your likelihood of finding love in the future, I’d be doomed to a life of collecting cats, culminating in death-by-suffication-under-a-hoard-of-creepy-china-dolls.

***

“I am not fiction. Hell does not cease to exist because you fictionalize it. No more than dark ceases to be because you flick on a light,” he growls from above. “It’s time you started believing in Hell and all of its demons, Miss Merchant. You’re separated by the thinnest layer. You’re so close to them-” he throws himself down, directly at me, halting inches over me “-they’re practically touching you.”

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is a profound glimpse into the human heart and the motivations that drive it. The greed, power, and ruthless desperation that pits good against evil, man against his best friend, and the strong against the weak is explored in a colorful and imaginative setting. The true horror is not in the demonic or the shadowed and sinister evils of the island but in the souls of those who have the ability to forsake their humanity to get ahead and eagerly sacrifice anyone and anything without a second thought. The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is a dark and twisted tale of the purest love and the gravest sins, those that straddle the same fine line and can easily topple over the edge from great good to the most vile of evils. 

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So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drum beats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks. One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is painted across the island or why she is forbidden to cross it. Her every move—even her performance at the school dance—is graded as part of a competition to become valedictorian, a title that brings rewards no one will talk about. And Anne discovers that the parents of her peers surrender million-dollar possessions to enroll their kids in Cania Christy, leaving her to wonder what her lowly funeral director father could have paid to get her in… and why. As a beautiful senior struggles to help Anne make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world without breaking the rules that bind him, she must summon the courage to face the impossible truth—and change it—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.

-via Goodreads


Anne Merchant gets a new lease on life. For years she’s been the outcast at her school in an infamous California zip code, the only poor girl, known daughter to a mortician, and with a dark story that everyone has been privy to. Anne has the opportunity to attend a boarding school, Cania Christy, where no one knows about her past, where she can reinvent herself as someone fabulous and envied, where no one knows her secrets and tainted background, here she could be free to be herself. But not everything is as it seems. Turns out that there’s no escape from her past, everyone knows her story and they’re rude and heartless enough to throw her circumstances in her face. Cania Christy is just like any other high school, complete with cliques, snobby rich kids, and the resident it girls but Anne has decided to rise above her situation and stick to her goal of becoming valedictorian and insuring a spot at her dream school, Brown. The only problem with this is that everyone at Cania Christy is gunning for the Valedictorian spot and it seems the rules are way more complicated than Anne ever imagined. Valedictorian at Cania Christy is the most coveted and important goal in the school and there are several guidelines that need to be followed to reach it. Anne is assigned a guardian, a goal, and given a list of forbidden activities to help her on her way. What Anne doesn’t count on is the creepy factor. Everything is monitored, every interaction, reaction, sleep pattern, body function, everything is examined and reported in a complex system to make sure students are on track. Anne’s every move is watched, just like the other students at Cania Christy and yet, Anne senses something is being deliberately hidden from her. Everyone looks at her as an outsider, hinting at things Anne can only guess at and shunning her from their close-knit group. As weird things start to happen on the island, disappearances, strange screams, lascivious relationships, and maybe even murder, Anne knows that this boarding school is a cover from something but can’t quite put her finger on it. As rules are broken and the threats mount, Anne realizes there’s more at stake than her academic future, her life is on the line and unless she can figure things out before she’s caught, she might not make it to graduation.

PROS:

  • Anne is a vibrant, wonderfully written protagonist with no filter. She’s bold, honest, intuitive and asks questions regardless of the risks. She puts her all into her goals and sifts through clues, digging beneath the surface to uncover mysteries that are unbelievable and tinged with sinister intentions.Anne’s artistic eye allows her to look at the world in a unique way, zooming in on superficial beauty, dissecting, and capturing, making off the cuff assumptions and interpretations. Her greatest strength is her biggest flaw, because she is so used to looking for perfection, she only sees her negative features and her scrutiny of the delicate Cania world is what gets her into trouble. Anne brings light and laughter to the doom and gloom of the story, though a tad perverse, her internal dialogue is hilarious, immature in an endearing and ridiculously fun way, and her confusion in social situations is always worth a few chuckles. Anne’s willingness to sacrifice everything, to fight against all odds for love is foolhardy but crazy admirable.
  • The atmosphere at Cania Christy is haunting, fueled by sickening bouts of pressure and adrenaline to make Valedictorian, the deadly dangers of breaking the rules, and the cryptic hints that nothing is what it seems, an ominous feeling carries throughout the story. The uneasy sense of dread and certainty that something terrible is going to happen will plague you throughout the read, leaving you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails in anticipation, afraid to turn the page. It’s fantastic.
  • Vilicus is a lecherous, vindictive, and irrefutably insane character. He preys and threatens, he’s downright terrifying. The power and wickedness rolls off his character but at the same time, his creepy roving eyes and despicable comments are enough to make him the most hated and disturbing of all.
  • The village is that perfect blend of rustic shamanism and The Hills Have Eyes. It’s secluded, built on mysteries, and eerie enough to rattle even the strongest. The rituals, barters, the strange dance of good and evil between the school and the villagers tosses everything up in the air, spurring more questions and even fewer answers. The red line between the two sections of the island, the rules forbidding association with the villagers, the lack of children, and the odd gatherings complete with paint and frantic chanting make the village a place of intrigue, excitement, and curiosity that borders on horror.
  • Molly is a sassy enigma of a character. She’s reckless, inquisitive, eager to embrace what life throws at her and take monumental risks because she’s bored. Molly is charming, energetic, and one of the few positive female characters.
  • An unexpected and wickedly shocking ending that will leave you reeling and unsure.
  • As a retelling this story is ingenious. Unfortunately, it’s not marketed as such because it would take away from the shock value and hinder the foreshadowing but still, what a creative, epic venture into an already fascinating story. The concept encompasses the insane pressure to succeed in high school, to make parents proud, and to fight to the death for class ranking. Wiebe really gets at the heart of just how far people are willing to go to get what they want and what they’re willing to sacrifice to get them there, whether it be personal or utter devastation for humanity.

CONS:

  • Some scenes were lewd and awkwardly written. The general skeeviness of some characters was off-putting and repulsive. While these were powerful aspects of the character’s overall nauseating personality, the lines read as weird, random, and ill-timed.
  • The Model UN from Hell was cliché and vulgar. The popular girls are bitchy, slutty, monstrous vixens who use their bodies to corrupt and get what they want. They’re lackeys headed by one main girl and the other members of the crew fade into the background, lacking in defining personality traits or as a part of the overall plot.
  • Anne’s back and forth insecurity and obsession over Ben is slightly annoying and diminishes the strength of her character. While this does reinforce her place as a young high school girl, concerned with how boys perceive her, it increases her naiveté and makes her seem a little shallow at times.Sometimes Anne is pretty delusional to the point where you’ll want to smack her. She’ll say things like…hmm, I wonder what that means, when it’s extremely obvious. Especially when it comes to Ben and Pilot, she’s completely blindsided.
  • Everything is revealed in the last 10% of the book making it feel a little rushed and convoluted.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Novella Tuesday: Hunter by Joanne Wadsworth

Hunter

Amazon

HUNTER (Magio-Earth Novella)

To love and protect…across worlds.

Nineteen-year-old Lieska Alura, a Dralion warrior from the planet Magio, calls an Australian Outback station her home away from home. Hounded by her skilled hunter senses, she is on a mission to track down one man, her soul-bound mate.

Peacian protector and hunter, Cole Cyrano, is driven by his soul’s demand to find his mated one, a woman he knows is his enemy. Dralion and Peacio are at war, and he ignores his soul’s call. Except Lieska shows up during a fierce training session inside his protectors’ arena, and his soul demands he protect her.

Completely, yet impossibly matched, they decide to renounce their bond, only not all goes as planned when Lieska receives word bushfires rage across her Outback station. She leaves, and now nothing can keep Cole from the hunt. He joins Lieska in driving the station’s cattle toward the mighty river, and the chase is on…against both nature and each other. Can the mated pair find their place together in a world at war?

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HUNTER

Chains cranked, and the solid paneled iron gates at the entrance rolled open. This was what I’d been waiting for. Finally I’d be able to see inside the three-story high open-aired arena. It was a beauty with its ancient circular architecture.

“Wow. Do you see that?” Hope whispered to me from where we hid in a bush.

I shoved the brush farther aside, and we both poked our noses in. The protectors’ arena was close in size to our fighting force’s in Dralion. Their blocked seats were layered back and up and able to hold thousands of spectators. Groups of protectors trained on the central sandy floor with swords and spears and axes, with likely more beyond. Some of the men wore red tunics with leather-flapped skirts, and they lunged and parried, as accurate with their brutally sharp weapons as any warrior would be. The women trained in their battle leathers. So close. This was the chance I’d been waiting for. It had definitely been right to bring Hope. Hopefully she’d be able to help me keep a level head.

“Let’s go.” I gripped Hope’s hand and ’ported us. Everything darkened as I made the short jump through space.

Hope wobbled as we arrived near the wall. “Lieska, what the heck are you doing?”

“You saw the gate open. It’s an invitation I can’t turn down.” I plucked the sides of my hip-hugging black leather pants. “Look at us. I’m dressed no differently to any of the protector women, and you’re completely unassuming in jeans and a t-shirt. Except for this. The Stetson has to go. It screams Earth.” I nabbed it and tossed it behind a flax bush growing beside the wall. “Now no one’s going to suspect we’re from Dralion unless we announce it. We’ll be normal people, not catching a second glance.”

“Geez, I hate how my own words come back to bite me.” She shook her head. “Just make sure you don’t announce our arrival your way. No throwing any daggers at the protectors, because that would be announcing it, in case you weren’t aware.”

“I’m aware, and I’ll try and keep them sheathed, maybe.” I couldn’t stop from rubbing my hands together. Finally I’d have a chance to sort this problem. The hunt was on. I strode in and the breeze lifted my long brown locks and swept strands across my face. Two men battled close by and one of the men’s blade’s struck flesh and bone. Blood spurted in a wide arc. My blood thrummed to join the fight. Oh yeah. I wish I’d been the one to inflict that wound. The injured man grasped his arm, holding the edges closed. His blood ceased running and his skin began to knit together. A fast-healer. Damn. What a shame.

“Ew.” Hope puffed as she caught up. “Are your senses still on fire?”

“Burning bright. So stay close in case I need to ’port us out of here quick.” I followed the safety rail around the perimeter. My senses flared. There. A man in black jeans stretched as if readying himself for training. The denim molded his butt. Mm-mmm.

He selected a two-handed sword from the rack and twirled it in a precise figure eight. Slowly he built up speed, and moved through a series of fluid training moves. He held the battle skills, and only those who had such an affinity for their weapon did.

“Is that him? The one you’re after?” Hope hauled me to a stop.

“Yes, and it appears he needs a battling partner. Wait here.”

“I’ll wait provided you agree not to kill anyone.”

“We’ll see, just don’t draw any attention to yourself.”

“Huh, I can’t believe you’re telling me not to draw attention to myself. Hello. Give yourself your own pep talk.” With a harrumph, she snuck under the railing. She plopped onto the wooden bench and grasped the edge under her knees, squishing her knuckles.

“I would take my own advice, except I don’t think I’m up for listening. That’s why I have you.” She was one of my best friends, even though she’d accepted a protector as her mate. I could deal.

Stroking the hilt of my ever-present side sword, I walked toward the one my senses had flared on.

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AUTHOR WEBSITE & BLOG/AMAZON PAGE (For books)/BARNES & NOBLE PAGE (For books)/FACEBOOK FAN PAGE/TWITTER/GOODREADS

Where Romance Meets Fantasy and Adventure…

Reading romance books captivated Joanne Wadsworth as a teenager, particularly when she tucked herself into bed at night and continued to dream those stories as she slept. She’d visualize the direction, taking the hero and heroine on an adventure unparalleled to what she’d read. Today she is devoted to writing romance, bringing her imagination to life within the lines of young adult, contemporary, and historical Highlander.

Born in New Zealand, Joanne works both as a writer and a financial controller, all while keeping up with her four energetic children and dreamy husband.

Visit Joanne Wadsworth at Author Site