Archive | January 2014

Nogiku Series Blog Tour

This is my stop during the blog tour for the Nogiku series by SJ Pajonas. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours . The blog tour runs from January 20 till February 2, you can view the complete tour schedule on the Nogiku series blog tour page on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.

So far this series contains two book: Removed (Nogiku series #1) and Released (Nogiku series #2).

Removed (Nogiku series #1)

By SJ Pajonas

Genre: Science Fiction Romance, Post-apocalyptic

Age category: New Adult

Release Date: September 11, 2013


Duty knows no family. Love has no price. Secrets can cost you everything. Twenty-year-old Sanaa Griffin, a sweet and smart half-Japanese girl, is about to get more than she bargained for when she wishes for love and excitement on New Yearís Eve 3103. Mark Sakai, who knows more about her than any stranger should, thinks Sanaa is the perfect person to spy on the heads of the three biggest Japanese clan leaders in Nishikyo. He wants her to gather enough evidence to keep them from going to war when they land on Earthís colonization planet, Yusei. Nishikyo, built by the Japanese 300 years ago to house the rest of mankind, is failing and everyone is preparing to leave. Sakai has known Sanaaís family all her life but she knows nothing of him! And despite all the time they spend together, he keeps his distance from her. Then one day, he brings her to Jiro, his nephew, to learn sword fighting, and it changes her life irrevocably. Between falling in love with Jiro and the information she is gathering on the clans, Sanaa realizes Sakai is holding back secrets about her family and her deceased parents, secrets as to why she was chosen for this job, and learning the truth puts her and all of Nishikyo in danger.


Nishikyō itself is mostly devoid of charm and uniqueness, except for a few temples and
theaters, but each building’s owner takes care to set their place apart from
the blandness around it. It’s not surprising I would have walked past this
place had Jiro not led me directly here. Its exterior is austere, simple.
Inside, they must have knocked out all of the existing structure and rebuilt it
entirely from the floor up. The walls are papered a lovely shade of cream and
lit softly from above. Real wood supports and beams are shellacked a deep, dark
coffee brown. I place my hand on one, and it’s warm and organic. Nothing like
the cool and precise composite material we use around the city to mimic the
real thing.
The genkan has an area of cubbies for shoes and sets of washed slippers for guests.
It’s cool in here as I thought it would be, but comfortable. Okiyas call
private contractors to bring in more cooling units so the geisha can entertain
in their silk kimono and not overheat. It’s something they can easily afford in
this business.
A doorway opens off to the right and a young woman dressed in a lovely pink and
green kimono comes out to greet us.
“Irasshaimase, Itō-sama! You’re expected. I hope you’re well.”
“I am, Shichi-san, and you?”
“I am well, thank you.”
“Shichi-san, this is another family guest, Sanaa.” He gestures to me, and I stand absolutely
still. I’ve never been to an okiya and am not sure how polite or formal I’m
supposed to be. When Jiro sees my frozen state, he puts his hand on the small
of my back. He probably thinks this is going to have a calming effect on me,
but now I’m fluttery instead.

You can find Removed on Goodreads

Want to view some inspirational images for Removed, visit the Removed inspirational Pinterest board

You can buy Removed here:

Amazon (Paperback)

Amazon (Kindle)

Barnes & Noble




Released (Nogiku series #2)

by SJ Pajonas

Genre: Science Fiction Romance, Post-apocalyptic

Age category: New Adult

Release Date: December 17, 2013



**Contains spoilers for those who have not read REMOVED (Book 1) Left in the desert to recuperate from her injuries, Sanaa Itami paces the floors and contemplates her mistakes. She trusted too easily, and now people she loved are dead, killed at the hands of men coming to assassinate her. Sanaa feels beaten, but life awaits her at home. While Nishikyo recovers from the earthquake, negotiations for Sanaa’s eventual rule on Yusei continue. New allies must be made, new friendships brokered, new skills acquired — at all costs. Life at the top of the chain is complicated and lonely, though. With relations in Sakai clan rocky and uncertain, Sanaa must learn to trust others again more than she’s willing. Who amongst the clans is left holding a grudge? And will the new family Sanaa has found with Jiro support or betray her? From Nishikyo to Yusei, RELEASED, Book TWO of the Nogiku Series, is the second book in a captivating New Adult post-apocalyptic romance series that harnesses the cultures and traditions of Japan and sweeps them into the future between Earth and a faraway land.


“Itami-sama, I’m glad to see you’re feeling better. Sakai-san tells me you were injured
during the earthquake. How unfortunate.”
What a supremely cunning liar Minamoto is. I’m sure he knows everything about the
fight, my injuries, my recovery, and my near death again in the hospital at the
hands of an assassin. He has spies. We have spies. If only we all just told
each other everything, but instead we do this dance. To men like Minamoto, the
dance is everything, and if I don’t want to offend him, I will have to step
“I am quite well now, thank you, Minamoto-san.” I rise from seiza to lean forward
and lift my cup of tea from the table between us. Jiro is sitting silently to
my left, Usagi standing behind me, and Sakai is on my right.
I sit back on my heels and take the time to sum up Kentaro Minamoto. He’s
twenty-two, the same age as Jiro. He’s lean, fit, and possibly a little wiry
under his gray kimono. He has a thin face, long forehead, and short spiky hair.
If I had seen him out and about, I definitely would have thought, “Not my
type.” He has yet to utter a word, but he is watching me while I watch him.
“Minamoto-san, you said you had business to discuss,” Sakai says, setting his tea cup down and
placing his hands on his upper thighs. I continue to sip at the genmaicha.
Hmmm, this tea is not as bad as I remember it being.
Kentaro lightly shakes his head at Minamoto. Violences flashes over Minamoto’s eyes as
Kentaro turns towards me.
“Itami-sama, before the earthquake, I was prepared to get back to you about my support. I am
willing to throw the full weight of my house behind you, but I ask one thing in
I keep my face as passive as possible. Here it comes.
“You currently have no consort. You are twenty and of the age that such things are
permissible. It would be advantageous for both our families if you were to take
my son, Kentaro.”

You can find Released on Goodreads

You can buy Released here:


Barnes & Noble


About the Author:

S. J. Pajonas loves all things Asian and has been in love with Japan for as long as she can remember. Writing about Asia and Japan came naturally after studying the culture and language for over fifteen years. She studied film and screenwriting first and eventually segued into fiction once she was no longer working a full-time job.

Released is S. J. Pajonasís second work, book two of four in the Nogiku Series. The first book in the series, Removed, is described as ìa wonderful storyî with ìengaging characters, seamless world building, and an action packed plot.î Itís an ìup-til-3am-because-I-read-it-in-one-sitting book.î She also writes contemporary romance and her upcoming first book in the Love in the Digital Age series will be published in 2014.

S. J. lives with her husband and two children just outside of New York City. She loves reading, writing, film, J- and K-dramas, knitting, and astrology. Her favorite author is Haruki Murakami and favorite book is The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.

You can find and contact her here:









There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of the Nogiku series. These are the prizes you can win: Amazon Gift Cards, copies of REMOVED, and eBook copies of two fantastic Japanese books:

JAPANESE SOUL COOKING and THE SAKE HANDBOOK. Both will be gifted through either Amazon (kindle) or Barnes&Noble (nook).

Here are the links to both books on Amazon:

Sake Handbook on amazon:

Japanese Soul Cooking:

You can enter the tour wide giveaway here:

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From Australia With Love Blog Hop with giant giveaway

Australian writers rock. We know it, and we
love them. But it’s not always easy to discover the Australian talent that is
right under our noses.

Australia With Love
Blog Hop introduces you to 18
Aussie authors across a variety of categories and genres. Each author is
hosting three of their fellow blog hop participants between now and Valentine’s
Day to let you find out more about them. So follow them on twitter, like their
Facebook page and visit their blogs during the blog hop period to discover more
great Australian writers.

And to show how much these Aussie authors
love their readers, they’ve donated some great prizes for you to win!

Author & Facebook Page
New Adult and Young Adult
MG and Chapter Books*

*Also visit YAtopia for additional MG posts.




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Celebrating Aus Blog Hop

I love being an Australian. I definitely think that we are one of the lucky countries and that God has blessed us. But it didn’t always feel that way when I started writing. 

Not long after I finished the first draft of my first novel, I went seeking feedback and I found it on a site called Inkpop. It was a great place where other writers would post their works so you could provide feedback, and they in turn would give feedback on yours. The site was directly linked to a big six publisher and so they also had their editors come and do live chats in the forums. 

I managed to get myself online for one of the online chats and excitedly put my question forward, which was something along the lines of “What do you think about stories set in Australia?” I was devastated at his response. Basically he felt only stories set in the US or UK sold well, though he did add that an amazing story would shine through. 

I was gutted. My thoughts were (and still are) that teenagers think more globally and want to know about more cultures than just US and UK. 

Fast forward a few years and I know have my story published. One of the main positive feedbacks I get is on SLEEPER how Australian it is. People love the setting, love the language and the new concepts their being introduced to, like Schoolies and Gap Year. 

If my stories are set on earth then I want to set them in Australia, unless the story demands otherwise. One of the best pieces advice people give authors is to write what you know, and I know Australia. So I choose Brisbane, Mackay, Townsville, Airlie Beach, Emerald as places where I set my stories. 

The only exception is a story I am co-writing with a friend as she wanted a US setting and the story definitely works better there. 

Stories set in Australia are starting to break through. And the industry is starting to change their views on location. Beautiful Malice is evidence of this. 

I will continue to fly the flag for Australian settings and chant Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi to show my support for the Australian publishing industry. 

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Interview with Anaiah Press Executive Eden Plantz

Anaiah Press is a new publisher based in the United States that focuses on clean fiction and Christian fiction from throughout the world. Executive Editor, Eden Plantz, has shared with us some insight into the Anaiah Press from both a reader and author perspective.
If you want to pitch Anaiah Press, you can do so until the 26th January on YAtopia, or follow their regular submission process outside of this time.

The Interview:

1)      Please share with us a bit about Anaiah Press and its imprints.
Anaiah Press is a Christian, digital-first publisher. Our first books will release in eBook in July of 2014 and will move to audio and print soon after. We have five imprints, spanning all age groups.
·         Anaiah Adventures is our line for children, with books ranging from picture books to middle grade novels. Word requirements for this line cap out at 60,000 words.
·         Anaiah Inspirations is inspirational nonfiction: memoirs, devotionals, etc. Submissions need to be between 20k and 90k words.  *Senior Editor Jessica Schmeidler runs both Anaiah Adventures and Anaiah Inspirations, so personalized queries can be addressed to her.
·         Anaiah Romance is exactly what the name implies: romance novels and novellas. Word count requirements run from 20k to 90k words, and all sub-genres are accepted (barring erotica, of course).
·         Anaiah Presence, run by Senior Editor NateKurant is our speculative fiction imprint. This can be anything from dystopian, to sci-fi, to horror/thriller. No cursing please. Submissions to Anaiah Presence should be between 45k and 110k words.
·         Anaiah Surge is our upper YA (young adult) and NA (new adult) line with word requirements set at 45k to 90k words. There are no genre limits, but the same general rules that apply to all of our lines apply toAnaiah Surge as well. Managing Editor Kara Leigh Miller, and Senior Editor, Isabel Sterling run Anaiah Surge and are passionate about YA and NA books.
You can view our submission guidelines, special calls, and editors’ wish lists at www.anaiahpress.comunder the submissions tab.
2)      What have you pulled out of the slush pile so far that you’ve loved and offered on.
Our editors have eclectic tastes, and our acceptances reflect this. We’ve offered on a touching memoir about caregiving, and a contemporary romance that follows a woman in a struggling marriage. There’ve been some YA and even a picture book.
3)      What are you hoping to see in you slush pile?
I would love to see some futuristic spec-fic. Some dystopian or sci-fi, written from the perspective of a strong male lead with a fresh voice – I’m tired of the jaded, egotistical male MC’s. Show me a guy who knows how to be a gentleman, but is still strong/brave enough to save your life when it’s go time.
4)      What are some of the most consistent issues you’re encountering with submissions and what could authors do to avoid this?
The only issue we really see consistently is authors not following guidelines. They either attach the sample pages rather than pasting in the body of the email, don’t send a query letter, or things of this nature. So far, we’ve tried to give a fair read to the authors who don’t follow guidelines, but as our submission numbers increase, we’re not going to be able to devote so much time to submissions that don’t adhere to guidelines. It’s not fair to the authors who do read the guidelines carefully.
5)      What should authors do to grab your attention with a query?
Have a good elevator pitch – one sentence that tells the basic premise of your book. If there’s one thing and only one thing I can ever know about your book, what do you want it to be?
Expand from there. Use the query to summarize the opening 1-3 chapters of your book, and be sure to include lots of character voice.
6)      What stories are you still missing off your wish list?
Two items on my personal wish list that haven’t come across my desk yet are a pirate-themed historical romance and a psychological thriller. I’m still waiting for both of those.

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Book Review: Bound by M. J. Stevens

Hey guys! Heather here, with my monthly
post. Up for slaughter, ahem, review
is this little gem.
Bound by M. J. Stevens
 If Mellea had known that helping an injured stranger would result in an engagement – hers – she probably would have left Leo lying where she found him.Forced into the world of Selestia’s ruling family, the Guardians, Mellea must learn to negotiate politics and personalities she never thought she’d encounter. But this secret and glamorous world is not all as it seems. 

When a timeworn enemy remerges and threatens to bring a new era of war and destruction, Mellea is forced to make a choice that will change her life forever.

Bound is exactly my type of book, so
forgive me if there is a little gushing I can’t control.
Set in a land ruled by Guardians, who live
in a shiny, crystal (like, actually) castle, with mega-rich, mega-swoonworthy
characters and I was hooked. That’s without the action,
cute-as-a-baby-button-on-a-bonnet side characters, AND VIDEO GAMES.
It was pretty great.
Mellea was the type of strong character I
love to read about. She’s stuck in a pretty shitty life, with high-strung
parents, and an awesome-sauce best friend who doesn’t return her feelings, but
she doesn’t whinge and bitch about it like any normal person would. She has a
plan. Of course, no book would be a great book if the MC’s plans actually went
accordingly. Fast forward a few pages and in flies (yes, flies) Leo with his cocky attitude and her plans are sent right out
the window.
Leo is exactly the stubborn, cocky,
internally wounded, love interest that makes me swoon. There are secrets and magic
and power and such cute little scenes that Leo’s character is put together bit
by bit. At first, I really wanted to hate him, but Melanie makes that nearly
The only bit of criticism I had was that I
would have liked to feel the book
more. There were some pretty intense scenes – especially what happens at the
end – but we are only told what Mellea is feeling, and I think if I’d been made
to feel it along with her it would have made the climax that much more powerful.
If you enjoy thorough world building,
action, love, and monarchy check out Bound. It was a very cozy, enjoyable read.

Friday Finds

Each Friday my assistant Heather and I will be bringing you our favourite online literary finds from around the web for the week.

Open Education Database offers a Quick Guide to Library Cats that highlights six of the most famous library cats. Fur and books! My favourite mix. 

Love pitch contests? Then here’s a cool one for you: Sun Vs Snow. I’m one of the mentors and this week the submission details were revealed. 

This is Teen has a great post on how to create bookish quote art

Agent Janet Reid pointed out how evil conference pitches are and encouraged event organisers to look at other options for connecting agents and writers. 

Ex-agent Nathan Bransford has a guest post on how 5 Ways to Make Money Writing Today.

Aussie Owned & Read contributor Cassandra Page is calling for nominations for your favourite YA and NA romance novels for an upcoming  AOandR poll. It can be any genre as long as there’s loving. 

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Writing an authentic female POV: Vision of Shadows blog tour stop.

Today is my stop during the blog tour for Vision of Shadows by Vincent Morrone. Vision of Shadows is published by Entranced Publishing. This blog tour runs from 30 December till 19 January, you can view the whole tour schedule on Vincent Morrone his website.

seen a lot of talk about women being able to pull off an

 authentic male POV, so
when I saw my publishing pal Vincent Morrone wrote from a girl’s POV in his
debut novel, I decided it was time to turn the tables on that question. And
here’s what he had to say:

One question that I keep getting asked is
about how I as a male author came up with an authentic voice for a female main
character. Or in other words, how does a dude write a chick?
The funny thing is that while I was
writing it, it didn’t seem strange. After all, unless you’re writing the next
installment of Lord of the Flies, you’re going to have both male and female
characters. You need to be able to make them all sound authentic.

Plus I’ve had plenty of exposure to women
throughout my life. (No, I’m not a stud.) I was a momma’s boy, through and
through. I have a sister. I’m married with 2 teen daughters. At one point I
lived with my daughters, wife and her grandmother as well as 2 female dogs. I
had estrogen dripping down the walls.
Back in High School, I often had many
close friends that were girls. I was the guy who was the good listener. The
safe guy who girls would often talk to. Don’t get me wrong, I had guy friends
too. It’s just that I often had many friends that were girls.

Plus, some of my favorite authors are
women. I simply adore the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling. (Did anyone ever
ask her about creating an authentic male main character?) And I’m a big fan of
Nora Roberts and her alter ego JD Robb. (When I thought about using a pen name,
I had considered JD Vincent.) Not to mention authors like Janet Evanovich,
Tamie Hoag, Lisa Jackson, Angie Sage and so many others that I’ve read through
the years.
When you read Vision of Shadows, I hope
you don’t think though out the book, ‘hey this is pretty good for a male
author’s take on a female MC.’ Rather, I hope you just lose yourself in
Bristol’s story.

Vision of Shadows (Vision #1)
by Vincent Morrone

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Release Date: December 30, 2013

Is Bristol Blackburn about to meet the love of her life…or her killer?
After the death of her parents, Bristol Blackburn’s life is thrown into chaos and she’s forced to move to Spirit, a small town where shadows are stirring. As she learns to navigate her new school and figures out how to keep her psychic abilities secret from her family, Bristol comes face to face with the boy who makes a regular appearance in her dreams: the gorgeous, possibly deadly, Payne McKnight. Soon sheíll find out if Payne will be the love of her life, or the end of it ó and she has no idea which possibility scares her more.
And that’s not even the worst of it. Strange shadows are haunting her dreams, and they’re up to something that could put Bristol and the lives of everyone she loves in jeopardy.

Buy it now on Amazon.

You can add Vision of Shadows to your to-read list on Goodreads

You can find more about Vision of Shadows on the Entranced Publishing website.

Want to chat with Bristol, the main character of this series? Well she has her own twitter account.

Vision of Secrets (Vision #0.5)
by Vincent Morrone

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Release Date: December 2, 2013

Bristol understands secrets. She’s got plenty of her own, ranging from the annoying ghost that keeps showing up and attempting to sing Copacabana, (badly) to the visions of a terrifying future that is getting closer each day.
Bristol knows secrets can kill. She’s getting flashes of a boy racked with guilt over his secret. And a girl who’s prank might lead to someone’s death.
Vision of Secrets is a free prequel introduces you to Bristol Blackburn before the explosive events in Vision of Shadows and let’s you see how a young girl deals with her Visions of Secrets!

You can add Vision of Shadows to your to-read list on Goodreads

You can download Vision of Secrets for free from smashwords

About the Author:
Born and raised in Brooklyn NY, Vincent Morrone now resides in Upstate NY with his wife. (Although he can still speak fluent Brooklynese.) His twin daughters remain not only his biggest fans, but usually are the first to read all of his work. Their home is run and operated for the comfort and convenience of their dogs.

Vincent has been writing fiction, poetry and song lyrics for as long as he can remember, most of which involve magical misfits, paranormal prodigies and even on occasion superheroes and their sidekicks.

As they say in Brooklyn: Yo, you got something to say to Vincent?
Check out where you can learn about Vincent and leave him a comment. You can also connect with Vincent on Twitter and Facebook

You can find and contact Vincent Morrone here:

Vincent also participates in a group blog called YA Rush which consist of YA and NA Entranced authors. You can find YA Rush here:

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Vision of Shadows.
Here is what you can win:
– 1 Vision of Shadows Pen
– 1 Vision of Shadows Calender
– 1 Vision of Shadows Pen & calender
– 1 Vision of Shadows Pen and calender in a Vision of Shadows canvas bag
– 1 Vision of Shadows Pen, calender in Vision of Shadows canvas bag and an e-copy Vision of Shadows

Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win:
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