Monday, January 23, 2017

Stealing Magic by Alex C Vick - Book Tour and Giveaway



Stealing Magic
by Alex C Vick

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Today I have author Alex C Vick here to tell us how she does her world building. I also have the blurb and an excerpt from Stealing Magic.

Firstly, thank you very much to Jo of Mixed Book Bag for inviting me to write a guest post today!

The subject is world building. My books are contemporary fantasy, which means that it’s an ongoing challenge for me. Of course, all stories require world building to some degree, but there’s an expectation with fantasy that you’re going to give the reader something brand new to discover.

On the one hand, that’s great, because you can let your imagination have some serious fun. On the other hand, it’s tough, because all this new information has to blend seamlessly with the plot and the characters. If your magical fantasy world keeps interrupting the story, your reader is eventually going to get fed up with it. No matter how amazing that world might be, or how brilliant the new spell you’ve just invented (and dropped into your character’s lap out of nowhere!).

I cannot claim to be any kind of expert on world building. I absolutely love doing it, but it shines a very unforgiving spotlight onto my writing skill. As with most things about being an author, I’ll be learning for the rest of my life. But right now, a few books into my series, there are three things that work for me.

1.     Believe

Bear with me on this one! I’m not suggesting that I think Androva and Imbera, the two worlds I’ve created so far, are real. But in my head, when I’m writing, they are. I know how they look, how they sound, and what it feels like to live in them. I’m there. If I ever struggle, it’s usually a sign I won’t be able to write that part of the story very well and something needs to change.


2.     Plan, and keep a record of it

Even if you're not a natural planner (and I’m not!), you should know a lot more about your world than will ever make it onto the pages of your book. And you should try not to contradict what you said about it ten chapters ago.


3.     Remember your reader

I  write for a Middle Grade audience, which means that I need to strike a careful balance. There has to be enough description for my readers to believe in the story, but not so much detail that they get bored. And I’ve learned to leave some gaps, too. I’m fortunate to have a couple of advance readers that are in Middle Grade, and sometimes they tell me they’d rather imagine certain things for themselves. They actually don’t want me to describe it for them.


No author approaches world building in exactly the same way, and different readers like different things. What are your favourite imaginary worlds, old or new? If you could spend one day in a world of your choosing, which would it be?

Thank you for reading, and thank you again to Mixed Book Bag for featuring my post!


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GENRE:   Middle Grade Fantasy

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BLURB:

Shannon thought there was no such thing as real magic. Until that day. The day that changed everything.

Put yourself in her shoes. Would you open your eyes, if you were the one that heard them? Two magic-takers from another world, arguing about whether they can collect what they came for before you wake up. It sounds like a crazy dream, or a practical joke.

But what if the air around you started to vibrate with an invisible force field? What if, all at once, it felt scary, yet familiar too? You would have no way of knowing that this discovery would set you on a path no-one from our world has taken for centuries. Towards a deadly enemy, and a fight you will almost certainly lose.

All you know is that your heart is beating so fast you're worried they will hear it, and your brain is starting to buzz as the force field reaches it. Would you open your eyes?

Join Jax and Shannon as they live through the most exciting and terrifying ten days of their lives!



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EXCERPT

“I knew it!” shouted the voice triumphantly.


Shannon nearly jumped out of her skin at the unexpected words. Abruptly the force field seemed to snap back inside her head, leaving her hands and the surface of the tree completely back to normal.

She scrambled to her feet to confront the owner of the voice, knowing already who it was.

“Jax, I presume?” she said, as calmly as she could manage, though her heart was still jumping from the shock, and she was already half-smiling in amazement at what was happening.

Jax, standing with his hands in his pockets, and smiling the same mischievous, slightly mocking grin that she remembered from last time, raised his eyebrows.

“You have the advantage over me, Terran,” he said. “I don’t know your name.”

“Shannon,” she answered. “And you knew what exactly?”

Jax gave a half-bow. “Pleased to meet you Shannon. And I knew you were a magician.”

Shannon’s mouth fell open. Before she could reply, he continued.

“I shouldn’t even be able to travel here on my own. You see this symbol on my shirt?”

He pointed to the star, the centre of which was spinning again just as it had the week before.

“It wasn’t until I met you that it started to spin. It’s not supposed to be able to do that until I come of age. In four years’ time.”

He paused, to make sure she understood the significance of this fact. “Who are you? Why is this happening?”

Shannon laughed. To think that Jax was the one asking questions of her!

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Alex writes contemporary fantasy books for a middle grade audience and older. There are three (self-contained) stories in the Legacy of Androva series so far, with a fourth on the way. You can contact Alex, and find more information about Androva, including a character interview, at http://www.alexcvick.com
Alex lives in the South of England with her husband and two daughters. When she's not working, or writing about magic, she also loves reading and photography.
Stealing Magic Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LXQEPYR
Stealing Magic Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LXQEPYR

Stealing Magic will be $0.99 during the tour.


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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION 

Alex C Vick will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56 - January 20, 2017


I'm linking up with Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings and Freda's Voice for Page 56. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Pick the closest book on your book stack and join the fun.

The Beginning:

Prologue: "When she came to, Evelyn Talbot could hear nothing. She couldn't see anything, either."

Chapter One: Twenty years later... :He'd kill her if he could. He'd attacked her once before. She had to remember that.



Page 56:

"The alcohol had mellowed him and made her talkative, maybe too talkative, but she couldn't remember when she'd had a better time, especially with nothing but Led Zeppelin playing in the background, a fire raging in the hearth and a man she barely knew for company.

From Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Look Back Wednesday - January 18, 2017 - Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder


LOOK BACK WEDNESDAY IS A FEATURE HERE ON MY BLOG.  I DECIDED TO  FEATURE BOOKS FROM DIFFERENT SHELVES ON GOODREADS.  SOME HAVE BEEN FEATURED ON MY BLOG AND SOME HAVE NOT. 
Touch of Power (Healer, #1)Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder, Maria V.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Avry of Kazan is a healer. She can take the pain, wounds and diseases into her body healing the patient. While they cause her pain she recovers to heal again. She should be honored but instead she is hunted. A plague came through the land and healers died if they tried to cure plague victims. People did not understand why healers refused to cure plague victims. Instead they decided that healer had spread the plague and most had been killed. Avry has been hiding and moving for years trying to survive. When she is finally captured and sentenced to death she is saved by a band of rogues who value her gift instead of wanting to kill her for having. The catch is that they want her to heal a leader who has the plague, a leader she hates and one she really does not want to die for.

Touch of Power is the first book in the Healer series and while some things are resolved, many are not. I started reading and had trouble putting Touch of Power down. I liked most of the characters. Avry was a strong powerful character. I liked the supporting characters. The one I did not like was the lead male, Kerrick. I never like a man who abuses a woman and in the first part of the book Kerrick was very abusive to Avry. Avry had tried to escape but I just could not see Kerrick as anything but a man who abused his power and for me he was not a very good hero. I will still be looking for book two.


View all my reviews

Monday, January 16, 2017

Musing Monday - January 16, 2017


Follow This link to The Purple Booker

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: How do you make time for reading when you are very busy? Or how do you find a better balance between wanting to spend time reading and other commitments?

I was gone the first four months of 2016 and my blog sat idle.  When I came back May 1, I saw that Musing Monday has disappeared from the blog that had been hosting it.  There was no link to a new site do I thought it was gone for good.  I was disappointed as I enjoyed have the weekly muse on my blog.  Well this week it showed up with its new home (I think it is just new to me and has been around for months) on a Bloglovin digest email.  I plan to participate mosts week from now on.

How do I make time for reading when I am very busy.  It is very hard.  Even though I am retired I still have a busy life.  In addition I often have too many books on my Too BE Read Pile so I have to schedule.  I exercise on a stationary bike every morning for 40 minutes.  After I read the newspaper I read whatever book I have on hand.  I also listen to audio books when I am busy doing work around the house.  I do the same when I am in the car driving.  The TV goes off at a certain time every night and I have at least 30 minutes to read my current book.  Then any other time I can find that is free for reading.

Food, Health and Happiness by Oprah Winfrey

I was very excited when I first heard about Oprah's new book.  I am working on losing weight and have joined Weight Watchers to help with my journey.  Food, Health and Happiness sounded like a great additional tool to help with that journey.  I went to my local Barnes and Noble store on the day it released.  Here are my reactions to the book.

First:  Food, Health and Happiness was on display as I walked in door.  It had a 20% off tag on the cover.  I was surprised at the size of the book.  It was much taller and wider than I expected and when I picked it up it was uncomfortable to hold and read.

Second:  I looked at the price.  $35.00 was the cover price so even with 20% off it was still a pricy book.

Third:  I took it over to a table to check out the content.  I read several of the recipes and was very surprised at the ingredients needed for most.  I keep a fairly well stocked kitchen as I have trouble digesting both gluten and soy and have to cook using mostly fresh ingredients.  To fix most of the recipes I checked out I did not have everything needed making my grocery list cost much more.  I am not talking about the main ingredients but the extras needed for the correct taste.  For a family it would be even more expensive.

I went in to buy the book and left without making a purchase.  I came home and checked the online price.  It was less than the 20% off price at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon but still a little steep.  The next week I got a 20% off coupon for Barnes and Noble and decided to look at Food, Health and Happiness again.

The in store price was changed.  It was now 30% off the $35.00 price.  I had a coupon for another 20% off and as a Barnes and Noble member I also go another 10% off.  30% off made it 24.50.  20% off of the 24.50 made it 19.60.  Then my 10% off of 19.60 made the final price 17.64.  Still a lot when you can buy books with Weight Watchers recipes for much less.

I took it back to look through again and decided that it was not worth the price for me.  I have seen the reviews and they are all over the place.  Less than half are 5 star on Amazon and 30% are 1 and 2 star.

In my opinion this is not a book for the average person.  I found it to be a big disappointment and went from making a special trip to buy on the day it come out passing it up after it had significant addition price reductions.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56 - January 13, 2017


I'm linking up with Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings and Freda's Voice for Page 56. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Pick the closest book on your book stack and join the fun.

The Beginning:

"Dammit!" Sage's favorite cuss word bounced around inside her van like marbles in a tin can, sounding and resounding in her ears,"

Page 56:

"We don't have cats." Creed opened the door and pointed. "You do now. Those are newborn kittens right there. Recognize the big old hello mother?"


From Mistletoe Cowboy by Carolyn Brown. I pick this on up at the library used book store. I had not read any of Carolyn Brown's Contemporary Western Romances and thought this would be a good way to start. Since I love cats page 56 really caught my attention.