Author Spotlight – LV Gaudet

Today’s post is an author spotlight/interview with LV Gaudet. This post, and the review I’ll be posting next month, were scheduled by the author via Silver Dagger Book Tours.

LV Gaudet writes dark mysteries and thrillers. She also writes for YA audiences under the pen name Vivian Munnoch. As LV Gaudet she has 7 books, as Vivian Munnoch she’s published 3.

Let’s head straight to the interview!

Author photo_270x400

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

When you are writing about serial killers and you ask someone, “Do you think I should just look this up online or go ask the RCMP (Canadian federal police)?” the answer will be, “No!”

If your McAllister series was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Groot. Just kidding. But, hey, wouldn’t that be fun? An evil Groot who scares the daylights out of the movie goers?  Honestly, I couldn’t say. I’m going to say the killer is that lead, since that’s whose story the series essentially follows. Someone charming but not too charming; and not too good looking. I would want the character to ring as real life and you just don’t get that in a gritty movie with plastic good looks. They would also have to play the mood swings well and be able to be disarmingly charming one moment and terrifying black rage the next.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

At some point in reading the McAllister series, you might wonder where the story takes place. You might search the books for a name, a location, any clue where the story is happening. That’s kind of the point. Hint: It’s near you. Surprisingly near you, wherever you are. I don’t give it a location because it can be anywhere. It is anywhere and everywhere.

How did you come up with name of these books?

Coming up with the name for Where the Bodies Are was horrible. Nothing felt right. I finally settled on taking a line literally out of the book, ‘…where the bodies are.’ I had to think fast because I had an Indy publisher putting the book out and I needed a title then and there.

The McAllister Farm was easier. They are the McAllisters and they live on a farm. Hunting Michael Underwood and Killing David McAllister are pretty much just explanatory names. They describe what the books are about. And titling the whole thing the McAllister series just made sense since the series focuses on them.

What is your favorite part of this series and why?

That’s a tough one. I’m not sure I can pick just one. Writing the scenes with Nathan, the character who was not even supposed to be in the story, was fun. When timid Marjory McAllister is forced to stand up against the bullying town ladies, watching this nervous little thing shine with her own inner strength. When Lawrence Hawkworth, the cowardly and not-so-moral reporter visits the old town hardware and lumber store and the old guys yank his chain. I laughed at that. I can keep going and going.

If you could spend time with a character from one of your books in the McAllister series whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Little Sophie McAllister from The McAllister Farm. Frankly, she’s the only one that doesn’t scare me. We would probably pick some flowers and play with those kittens in the barn.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

My characters are all purely fictional people. I use random observations of people and their behavior to build their personalities, but I do not base them on anyone. I even try to avoid using names of people I know just to avoid anyone wrongly thinking the character is based on them. I had to change Jim McNelly’s name for that reason. It was originally John McNelly. Then I knew a John and changed it.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

I’ve seen this analogy used many times in writer groups and blogs, that the characters somehow developed a life and will of their own and refused to listen to the writer. I kind of get where people feel that way, the story can feel like it takes on a life of its own. I think it’s more of where the story needs to go isn’t necessarily where I wanted it to go as the writer. And sometimes I get off track and take the story in an unexpected direction.

Convince us why you feel your series is a must read.

Do you like a story that is dark? Scenes that might shock you out of your comfort zone? Do you want to know where the bodies are?

Maybe I should convince you and your readers why you should not read this series. What if you can’t put it down? What if it makes you second guess what you thought you knew about the world you live in? What if the things you believed you knew about serial killers was just so … much less than the possibilities?

Here are two poems I jotted off that might help convince you why you should not read this series.

Walk In the Woods

When you walk in the woods and your nose picks up that slightly unpleasant musky smell.

When you look at your neighbor with new eyes and wonder… Could he? Is she?

When you see two vehicles parked tail to trunk, alone, silently brooding.

When that car seems to be following you just a little too long.

When someone does not answer their phone.

Do you know where the bodies are?

Where the Bodies Are

Where it is dark, cloying, musky. In

The place no person treads. Where

Bodies silently rot flesh from bone. Secrets

Are hidden in undisclosed graves.

The corpses silently cry. On

McAllister ground far away. In the

Farm of graves insects feast.

Hunting the lost and forlorn. Not a

Michael or any other can hide. In the

Underwood, the dark earth beneath the cowering trees.

Killing is desperation to send the darkness away. Where

David is the man of no name, no face, no man. On

McAllister ground far away corpses silently cry.

Thank you, LV Gaudet!

Even with these warnings, I’ll be reading the McCallister series this month and posting a review of the series on October 17th.

Individual reviews of each book will be posted on Amazon (.com and .ca) and on Goodreads.

Silver Dagger Logo

LIST OF BOOKS:

Where the Bodies Are

McCallister Farm

Hunting Michael Underwood

Killing David McCallister

The Gypsy Queen

Garden Grove

Old Mill Road (New Release)

The Latchkey Kids (as Vivian Munnoch)

The Latchkey Kids 2: The Disappearance of Willie Gordan (as Vivian Munnoch)

Madeline and Mocha (New Release as Vivian Munnoch)

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The Underground Cast Overview

I don’t want to pull a JK Rowling with this series of books, so I’ve done my best, in the books themselves, to make the nationality and sexuality of each character, as clear as the story allows. Now, as the final books are coming out for the Christmas season, I want to be even clearer by introducing some of the main characters and clarifying what the canon stance on their sexuality and nationality is.

Shawna Grieves – she comes out as a lesbian in book 4 and by the end of the series she has a steady girlfriend. I didn’t know that about her when I started writing book 1. She came out to me as I was working on book 3.

Maggie – she never explicitly comes out but by the end of the series, she’s Shawna’s girlfriend.

GIRL2 – she is one of Cheyanne’s friends in the bonus novella. While nothing is explicitly said about her, her friends go on about her hating drama and the “kissy faces”. She is Asexual and I really wanted to show her as a normal person with great friends who totally accept that she has no interest in dating.

GAY – he’s one of Cheyanne’s friends as well and is openly gay. He has a boyfriend and the two of them exist in the background of Cheyanne’s story.

Cheyanne – while Cheyanne is straight, she is unique in the story because she’s the only character who is expressly stated to be not-white. Shawna and Ethan’s father is of Irish heritage while their mother is German. Ethan and Shawna mention someone they’ve seen around the Complex as being black but he’s an off-page character. Cheyanne is the only other character whose nationality is mentioned, and she’s Ojibway (Anishinabe).

These books are geared towards 10-15 year old readers. I wanted the books to be fun, fast-paced, and full of drama, but I also wanted them to be safe reads. There’s no swearing and minimal violence. There are a few kisses but zero sexual content. And because of that it gave me the chance to portray a variety of characters without sexualizing them – they’re kids, pre-teens, on a mission, trying to survive, trying to find answers, first and foremost, and everything else is just a part of who they are.

As for why? My answer is, why not?

New Year, New Projects, New Goals

As we prepare to welcome 2019, it’s time to sit down and take stock of 2018, and look ahead to what the new year could hold.

2018 was full of turmoil for me. For those who don’t already know, I decided to close Schreyer Ink Publishing a the end of this year. All of our anthologies are going out of print. We will not be accepting anything new. The blog and email will close as well.

I took a chance on a lot of new shows and learned a lot about the market, and about different show organizers.

I learned a lot, about myself, about my desires, about running a business. I learned that I have a bad habit of undervaluing my time, my services, and my product. I learned that I have a few amazing friends who will come through for me every time and I hope that I can be there for them as consistently as they are for me. I learned that stretching myself too thin was a good way to fail at everything. I learned just how important my husband, marriage, and family are to me – and that my mental and emotional health, and the health of my family relationships, need to come first.

2019 is going to look very different. It has to, in the face of so many changes.

For one thing, I will not have to put aside time for reading submissions. Part of me is saddened by this as I really enjoyed all the stories that came my way. I don’t have to put aside time for layout, design, and marketing either, not for the anthologies. I can just focus on my own works.

I sadly underestimated my goals in 2018 so I’m upping the bar for 2019 and I hope I’ve landed on a good solid basis for my writing – one that challenges me without being so hard to achieve that I burn out.

This is my tentative schedule for 2019:

C4 Winnipeg Horror and Sci-Fi Convention in February – probably

Spring Craft Sales – I’ll only do 2 or 3 and only with a few trusted and liked organizers

C4 Winnipeg “Manitoba Comic Con” in April – maybe

KeyCon over May Long Weekend – already booked

Summer Street Fairs – Only doing 1 in Steinbach, and possibly 1 in Ste Pierre

C4 Winnipeg in October – probably

Christmas craft events – I’ll do half a dozen or so in November and early December, again, sticking to events with good organizers in good locations.

And, here are my writing goals for 2019:

Total Word Count Goal for the Year: 520,000 words (the equivalent of 10,000 words per week, or 2,000 words per day for 5 days each week)

Rose Garden: Book 4 is done. I need to finish book 5, get everything on the shelf, and host a massive series launch at the Jake Epp Library in the spring. (Approximately 65,000 words)

Underground: I need to write books 6 & 7 to finish off the series. There is also a spin-off book that needs to be written. (Approximately 24,000 words per book, or 72,000 words)

Underground Graphic Novels: I have an artist (I hope). Now I need to collect my thoughts for what I’m looking for in a graphic novel and sit down with the potential artist to get this project rolling.

Contract work: I have 56,000 words outstanding on a contract. When it’s done, I’m done. I will not be doing any further ghostwriting.

So far that’s 193,000 words, or roughly 19.5 weeks of work. (That only takes me to mid-May).

After that I will start on a massive 4-book project, my baby, my long-time backburner project, the one I’ve been dying to write for years. I’m looking at 350,000 words over four books (which takes me over my 520,000 word goal by about 25,000 words). My plan is to finish the four books by the end of January 2020 and then attempt to find an agent and a traditional publisher for them.

After that? Well, that’s 9 entire books in a single year (though I’ll only be publishing 4 of them) plus the graphic novels. I don’t think I want to plan past that point, or commit to anything past that point. But there are ideas. Lots and lots of ideas.

There will never be a shortage of things to write.

October Blog Hop – Scary Must-Read

Only a few more days until Halloween. For some people, October is THE month for scary things. For others, scary things, especially scary books, is a year-round passion. We have some authors and book bloggers weighing in on their scariest recommendations, so if you like a scary book, why not try these?

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti

Oh boy! There have definitely been a few that I’ve read that definitely creeped me out! For starters, there is Beasts of Babylon by E. A. Copen (a woman who can’t die wants to hunt down the werewolf and the cannibalistic skin-walker who killed her and her two children); Blood Hound by James Osiris Baldwin (a mystic hitman is tapped by the Russian mafia to investigate a string of gruesome occult-related deaths); Floor 21 by Jason Luthor (all of humanity is reduced to living in the upper floors of a tall Tower, since the ground and the lower floors of the skyscraper have been taken over by a sentient, hallucination-inducing, deadly goo called The Creep); Sanctuary by Pauline Creeden is also suitably shiver-inducing (the prophesied apocalypse is facilitated by an alien invasion–one of the effects of which turns ordinary humans into decaying, deathless zombies…). If you are a classic horror/Gothic literature aficionado, I would definitely recommend either Merely This And Nothing More: Edgar Allan Poe Goes Punk or Hideous Progeny: Classic Horror Goes Punk by the friendly, SUPER-talented Writerpunk Press Group! For “spooky” on a lighter note, may I suggest more humorous options like the Grave Reports by R. R. Virdi, or the Portal Prophecies series by C. A. King.

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Brandy Potter www.brandypotterbooks.com

Let’s start with the master, Stephen King’s IT. Taking away that one scene (and if you have read the book you KNOW what scene) the book is terrifying. It plays on every child’s nightmares and drags them through to adulthood. Next, the original haunted house story, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I have not read it yet, but what a great day to read it on yes? Next we will go to my favorite spooky author of classical literature, and hometown hero, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado. I have always loved this story. Finally a more contemporary novel that I love, The Supernaturals by David Goleman.

 

I have read so many deliciously scary books and I would like to recommend Wendigo Whispers by Alex McGilvery for those who love a thriller with a touch of paranormal.

I always want to mention a project I’ve enjoyed heading-up over the last year, and that’s the Twilight Madhouse short story collections. As the acquisitions editor I’ve read over 300 scary short stories for the 4 volumes of Twilight Madhouse and the 1 volume of Hell’s Talisman. We’ve released over 40 stories in these 5 volumes (none written by me) by over 40 authors.

Hell’s Talisman is definitely 18+ but the others are more 14+ (depending on the teen) with stories ranging from black magic to boogey men to twists of fate, labyrinths, and demons. Volume 4 of Twilight Madhouse came out at the beginning of the month and I was beyond impressed with the quality of the stories we received.

If you’re looking for twisty, shivery, short stories I highly recommend these books.

October Blog Hop – A Day Out With a Fictional Character

Wouldn’t it be lovely to spend the day with Mole and Water Rat out on the river? Or perhaps you’d rather visit the Harkers in London? We all have our favourite or most memorable characters and it’s fun to imagine spending real time with them, either in the world of their books, or here in ours.

Jo Linsdell Percy Jackson

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

I’m a bit obsessed with Percy Jackson at the moment and so would have to pick him. He could take me to Camp Half-Blood and show me around. I’d love to see all the different training grounds. It would be awesome to try some of them.

I pretty sure there would never be a dull moment. Percy has a habit of attracting trouble, but he’s also very protective and loyal to his friends so I’d be OK. Adventure is guaranteed. We might even get to go on a quest 🙂

Outlander Season 2 2016

Kim Jacque www.writersideoflife.com

I would love to spend a day with Claire Fraser from Outlander. I first read this book about eighteen years ago and have read the whole series many times since. Obviously, it would be in Scotland in the 18th century not the 20th century. Claire is so capable in any situation, from riding horses to scolding Highlanders and using herbs to treat medical ailments to cavorting in high society.

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

Okay, so one character in particular I would love to meet and hang out with would probably be Emma from Amy Hopkins’ Talented series! I would stop by her London tea shop for a chat, and we’d just hang out, and maybe we’d find a bookstore (magic or not!) to visit and we’d just bum around London and life would be grand!

Brandy Potter

Brandy Potter www.brandypotterbooks.com

Sooooo many characters to pick. I actually thought about Hannibal Lecter. I decided against that though because if he didn’t like me back it might not end well. Ultimately though, I went with Aphrael/Danae/Flute from David Eddings The Elenium and The Tamuli series. She gets to meet everyone. I do mean everyone from all races and since she is a goddess, she knows all the gods and goddesses too. Meeting all of my favorite characters from those books would be so amazing and that would be the perfect day for me! But I would have to be careful. She does have a way of making people love her and stealing their souls (in a way).

 

casauthor

There were some good answers here, and Danae from The Elenium series would be fun to visit for sure. But I think if I had to pick one for myself (aside from the Winchesters because they’re on TV first and foremost) it would be the Baginses. I would love to spend an afternoon in Bag End with Bilbo and Frodo, perhaps on a day when Gandalf dropped by and the smell of pipe tobacco filled the air. A warm afternoon spent in the garden, watching birds and shadows, eating and drinking and talking. And perhaps a hooded figure will appear at the door in the long dusk shadows and bow and say “at your service” and we will have a little dinner party of our own and hear all the news from the Lonely Mountain.

Good food, a warm hearth, and the best of friends. What could be better?

October Blog Hop – Favourite Book Turned Movie

The dreaded moment. Some big Hollywood studio has announced that they’re turning yet another book into a movie or TV show. Every reader who ever loved the book waits, anxious and fearful. Will they butcher it? Will it live up to the book? Will it *gasp* be better than the book?

Today’s stop in the October Blog Hop asks what book-turned-movie people actually enjoyed.

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

I would have to say, off the top of my head, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. That was one of those that completely blew my mind with the way it was formatted and written–such beautiful imagery! The unorthodox style, the way the author interrupted himself with “A thought”–I had never seen a book do that with such sincerity. Death as the narrator, too, gave the opportunity for a unique perspective on the most mundane things… I love it when authors do that! And then the movie absolutely 100% did it justice, which is sometimes hard for a movie to do! But there’s other books-turned-movies that I also enjoyed. In fact, I wrote A Blog Post About It. And then there was The One Where The Book Was Still Better. (Yes, I kind of get a little persnickety about film adaptations!)

kim jacque

Kim Jacque www.writersideoflife.com

Ahh, so many to choose from – I love movies made from books! They are some of the most in-depth thoughtful films. My best movie made from a book would have to be The Princess Bride. It is also that most rare of beasts; a movie that is, in fact, better than the book it was based on. I also like Blade Runner, which is based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick and Memoirs of A Geisha by Arthur Golden. Both of these are wonderful books and were faithfully made into great movies. It doesn’t matter if you read or watch these first. Both are utterly enjoyable.

 

Brandy Potter www.brandypotterbooks.com

I am about to fool EVERYBODY. Why do I say that? I know that anyone who has read my entries for the blog hop the past few years is thinking “She’s gonna say Lord of the rings.” Nope. Not gonna. Can’t make me! I LOVE the adaptations of Lord of the Rings. However a lot of my favorite scenes from the book are missing. Therefore, not my favorite. And do NOT get me started on The Hobbit…. It’s 1 book people if you can make 3 books into three movies, you should be able to make 1 book into 1 movie like seriously Peter. Ok Ok I digress.

 

So what is my favorite book to movie adaptation……..

So since we said movie, I omitted the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice as technically that is a mini-series. So my favorite book to movie adaptation is 1995’s Sense and Sensibility starring Emma Thompson. Admittedly there are some characters missing but they weren’t needed. The cast is amazing! And Alan RIckman as Colonel Brandon… sigh.

Second favorite would be 2011 Jane Eyre with Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska. NOT my favorite adaptation of Jane Eyre. They omit too much of her childhood. They sort of have to I get it so that’s why it’s still excellent in my eyes. If you want to know my favorite adaptation, message me and maybe I will talk about it in a vlog post 😉
ElineLovelyAudiobooks

Eline LovelyAudiobooks.info

I’ll cheat here just a little bit. I love the American Gods series! This has been one of my absolute favourite books since I first read it. And I’d say it shaped my idea of what an Urban Fantasy is, which is now one of my favourite genres. Part of me would have liked to see the series closer to the books, but regardless of that it has the feeling of the book to it. I’m very much looking forward to the next seasons.

 

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

I’m obsessed with Percy Jackson at the moment so part of me wants to say those (and yes I think they should have made more films. I personally loved the first two), but there are so many other great film adaptations that deserve a mentions too.

Harry Potter definitely deserves to be on this list, as does the Narnia series. There have been lots of good adaptations of Janes Austen’s books too.

 

Tania Richardson – The Bookworm Mummy  tania_richardson.com

My favourite book turned movie is also one of my favourite movies ever, and that is The Princess Bride, of course! It also happens to be one of those rare adaptations that turns out to be better than the book it’s based upon! This may be due to Goldman buying back the movie rights after The Princess Bride spent 12 years in production hell, and writing the screenplay himself… He had the chance to tell the story exactly how he wanted it, and maybe even improve on the original. Another movie I want to mention is 2004’s The Phantom of the Opera… A movie based on a musical, based on a book and a massive guilty pleasure of mine!

 

casauthor

I’m an odd duck apparently in that I greatly enjoyed Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth. I recently reread The Hobbit with my kids (their first time) and I was amazed that I’d forgotten how slow it was. I think Jackson did a good job of picking up the pace of the stories without losing the richness of the world.

I know the movies don’t follow the books exactly, but I’m not too much of a literalist when it comes to adaptations. I figure if the director and scriptwriter can capture the feeling of the book, the personalities of the characters, and the overarching plot, then it’s a win.

Bookish Summer: Non-Fiction Reads

I’m a fiction writer, and a fiction reader, for the most part. But today’s post is all about non-fiction. Hello! If you’re just tuning in, this is one of the final stops on the Bookish Summer Blog Hop Tour. At the bottom of the post is a schedule so you can go back and catch up on all the great book conversations we’ve had this month.

Today’s topic is: The last non-fiction book you finished reading.

Tangled in Text Logo

Kelli Quintos www.tangledintext.com

“We just tiptoe around things, afraid we’ll offend or look ignorant, be misunderstood. Honesty is a risk few are willing to take.” – Flow by Kennedy Ryan 

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

I… don’t read a lot of nonfiction, quite honestly! I’ve only read from a select few… one of those being Felicia Day. Her book You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost) is a beautiful dissection of somebody who is instantly relatable and very much All Of Us. Sure, she had different opportunities than you or I might experience, and her list of achievements is astonishing–but she gives the backstage glimpse, the real-world perspective, the oftimes harsh reality of the whole situation–while imparting the nuggets of wisdom and truth as only  she can. Reading her book inspired me to write an entire blog post on “How I Learned To Stop Hiding And Embrace My Own Weird” and I hope one day to achieve her level of confidence and charisma!

 

Allie Bock http://girlwithagoodbookandherdog.blogspot.com

The last non-fiction read I read was The Eighty Dollar Champion. It’s a true rags to riches story. The book also has photos from real life.

Book Blurb from Goodreads:

November 1958: the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Into the rarefied atmosphere of wealth and tradition comes the most unlikely of horses—a drab white former plow horse named Snowman—and his rider, Harry de Leyer. They were the longest of all longshots—and their win was the stuff of legend.

Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a bleak winter afternoon between the slats of a rickety truck bound for the slaughterhouse. He recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up horse and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, the horse thrived. But the recent Dutch immigrant and his growing family needed money, and Harry was always on the lookout for the perfect thoroughbred to train for the show-jumping circuit—so he reluctantly sold Snowman to a farm a few miles down the road.

But Snowman had other ideas about what Harry needed. When he turned up back at Harry’s barn, dragging an old tire and a broken fence board, Harry knew that he had misjudged the horse. And so he set about teaching this shaggy, easygoing horse how to fly. One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping.

Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo, based on the insight and recollections of “the Flying Dutchman” himself. Their story captured the heart of Cold War–era America—a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all. Elizabeth Letts’s message is simple: Never give up, even when the obstacles seem sky-high. There is something extraordinary in all of us.

 

My last non-fiction read was a memoir: Call me Adam by Arthur Adam. Arthur grew up poor in a small town not far from where I live. His memoir details his path from poverty and abuse to successful businessman. He is honest about his mistakes and his faults and the story reads like he’s sitting there talking to you. I had the chance to talk with him as we read his memoir for book club and he joined us one evening, and he’s an entertaining man with a storyteller’s voice.

Do you read non-fiction? What type? What was the last one you finished? Check out the rest of the tour! There’re a few days left but this is my last day hosting. Have a great summer, and keep reading.

bookish summer 1

A Bookish Summer: Best School Reads

School is out for the summer over here, but that doesn’t stop us from reading, or from talking about books! Welcome to the halfway point of the Bookish Summer Blog Hop. At the bottom of this post is a schedule so you can catch up on any posts you missed.

Today we are discussing the very best books we had to read for school.

Tangled in Text Logo

Kelli Quintos www.tangledintext.com

I only remember reading two books for school. The others I sparknoted or BS’ed my way through the book reports. They were The Outsiders by  S. E. Hinton and Animal Farm by George Orwell and although they were both superb, I’m still quite obsessed with Animal Farm. I had no idea a book could be that awesome, when I hated reading at that time. I loved that a book could say one thing and mean another and just have a darker, twisted agenda than ever expected. That was the first book discussion I ever participated in during class and I still remember getting enthusiastic because of all the different ways people interpreted scenes and meanings.

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

One of the benefits of being homeschooled was that I got to choose what I read, or at least choose how fast I read things or in which order. Basically, we had this “Master Reading List” to go through, and as soon as I finished one I could go right onto the next one. I loved to read, and the bookshelves at my house were always full of classics and obscure books from the early 1900’s, or from the Victorian era. But as far as assigned reading, I would have to go with one of the books I read in college, for a class on The Life And Works of Jane Austen. Yep, I got to read romance novels for one whole quarter! My favorite out of that was Persuasion. Just the simple, straightforward protagonist, Anne, whose only goal was to do right by everybody and not to meddle with other people, and who got blamed for a whole lot… I really connected with her on many different levels, and I just enjoyed that novel immensely. So much, in fact, that I wished to give it more adaptations, as has been done with Pride and Prejudice over and over again. I have a contemporary adaptation, as well as a dark fantasy mashup that I hope to write someday!

Jo Linsdell author Pic Feb 2018

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

By far it has to be The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. This book really touched me, and is, in part, responsible for me becoming a writer. It was so raw, and powerful. I felt like I was there with her. I’ve always been interested in history too so it fascinated me to read about the details of that time. I truly believe that everyone should read this book.

Rachael Beardsley

Rachael Beardsley https://variancefiction.wordpress.com/

My favorite book from high school was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. We were supposed to read it during freshman year, but we ran out of time. We’d already paid for our copies though, so they were given to us anyway. Funnily enough, I hated the book the first time I tried to read itI couldn’t get interested in the story at all. But I picked it up again some time in junior or senior year and immediately loved it. The story was suddenly powerful and I couldn’t put the book down. I’m not sure why it failed to click with me the first time, but I’m so glad I tried again!

Two Cities

Brandy Potter www.brandypotterbooks.com

I had a heck of a time with this. I honestly struggled. The Diary of Anne Frank, The Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, Lord of the Flies how do you pick just one? I mean all of them influenced my reading so much. And Anne Frank made me question my pride in my German Heritage (luckily I found out that we immigrated before WWI so…) but having to pick one, I went with A Tale of Two Cities. With characters like Madam Defarge, Dr. Mannette, Sydney, and Charles that just grip you. And how amazing like a reverse Prince and the Pauper… I don’t want to spoil it so.. But this book made me realize that romance can exist in a book and not make it mushy and icky. Which is now why I write romance lol.

 

I have a BA in English so I read a lot of books over the years. Einstein’s Dreams was one we read in high school and it really stuck with me. In grade 3 we read The BFG by Roald Dahl. In university it would have been The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde.

School doesn’t bring up the best of memories all the time – the work, the boring hours spent in a classroom, bullies, bologna sandwiches, but maybe there’s a silver lining in there somewhere. What were your favourite teacher-assigned books? And don’t forget to visit the rest of the tour.

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A Bookish Summer: The Very Best Villains

Welcome to stop #6 on the Bookish Summer Blog Hop. Yesterday was hosted by Leslie Conzatti  and the topic was “Some of your favourite authors”.

Today we are discussing villains. The bad guy makes the book go round. Or at least they make the plot go forward. We all love to hate a bad guy, and a really well written bad guy can ramp up the tension of a book until we just can’t put it down.

Here are some favourite villains:

Jo Linsdell author Pic Feb 2018

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of the Shepherd series by Ethan Cross. One of the main villains in this series is Francis Ackerman Jr, a prolific serial killer. He’s brutal, cunning, and dangerous. There are so many parts to his personality though, and whilst he is incredibly evil you somehow end up feeling sorry for him and even rooting for him at times.

 

Rachael Beardsley

Rachael Beardsley https://variancefiction.wordpress.com/

The main character from The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes. Calling him a villain would be inaccurate, but he definitely did things that were…. not good, to say the least. The book follows the true story of Billy Milligan, a man diagnosed with multiple personalities. It doesn’t take long before the reader begins rooting for him despite his crimes. He was treated at the psychiatric hospital that’s now a part of my college’s campus, so for me, it was very surreal to read descriptions of places I see every day.

Andy

Andreas Ganz: https://www.facebook.com/GraftonGanz/

Hmm. That’s tough. If you’d said movie, it would have been an easy choice. From a book? I’d have to go with The Cardinal from The Three Musketeers. No, you know what, change that to Svidrigailov Crime and Punishment.

He is seriously a bad piece of shit no grey what so ever and totally un- apologetic – you cannot read it and not hate the guy … but the Cardinal is snippy, more of a clown than a villain, you know what, I change my mind, go with the first answer.

 

As for me? I’d say Dr. James Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes and Randall Flag from Stephen King’s The Stand.

Moriarty was such a wonderful pairing for Holmes and you could sense a mutual admiration beneath the loathing. He was sharp, calculating, and deceptively charming. Not to mention educated and well-dressed. He was a villain with ambition and drive, not just a random mad-man.

Randall Flag, on the other hand, was a man bent on destruction for the sake of destruction, a master manipulator and deceiver. He had a dark magic at his disposal and he used it to twist a horrible situation into something far worse, drawing the conmen, the manipulators, to him to build an empire from the rubble.

 

So, now it’s your turn. Who is your favourite book villain and why? And why not check out the rest of the tour?

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A Bookish Valentine Blog Hop: A Series You Love

And now for today’s post in the Bookish Valentine Blog Hop, everyone’s favourite book series. But before we get started on that, here’s the blog hop list so you can go check out past entries, and click ahead to the ones still coming.

 

Jo Linsdell started us off with a list of her favourite book bloggers.

V.L. Jennings hosted for “A book other people love, but you haven’t read yet”

Tomorrow you can pop back here for “A Series you Love”

Then on to Skye Hegyes for “Your Fictional Crush”

We’ll have a list of books with hearts on the cover on the 12th.

On the 13th it’s a book you love that no one else is talking about, hosted over at Bold Book Geek.

And on the 14th it’s a list of books to read for Valentine’s Day.

Allison

Allie Bock – Girlwithagoodbookandherdog.blogspot.com

One of my favorite series is the An Unfortunate Fairy Tale series by Chanda Hahn. The main character is so likeable. Each book is actioned packed and there are plot twists. Of course, she falls in love at the end. What’s not to like!

Jo Linsdell

Jo Linsdell – www.JoLinsdell.com

So many to choose from… one of my favourites is the Shepherd series by Ethan Cross. He has this way of creating complex characters that blur the lines of good and evil. If you like thrillers, I highly recommend checking them out. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling also deserves a mention, as does pretty much any series by Susan Hatler.

vljauthorpic

V.L. Jennings – www.virginialorijennings.com

Do I have to pick just one? Too bad… Harry Potter, Redwall, Narnia, The Left Behind series, Star Wars New Jedi Order- though they are no longer canon. See, told you I couldn’t pick just one.

Skye Hegyes

Skye Hegyes – www.skyehegyes.com

Admittedly, although I love a lot of series, there aren’t many that I’ve completely finished beyond the Harry Potter series. I realized this when trying to come up with an answer for this question actually. I think the first one that comes to mind is actually Riders of the Apocalypse series by Jackie Morse Kessler as well as the Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore, which I’ve read all of. Most series I’ve read a couple of the books from, but not all.

 

Now me, I’m a huge series reader. Redwall, Song of the Lioness and the other series in that world, Dragons of Pern, The Rowan books, The Green Mile … I’ve read a lot of series over the years. There are so that I come back to over and over again. The Mercedes Thompson and Alpha & Omega books by Patricia Briggs, the Black Jewels books by Anne Bishop, the Society of Immortals books by Geralyn Wichers – those are probably my top 4.

What’s your favourite series?