Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book Blast for "Confronting the Demon" by Ciara Ballintyne plus Review

Confronting the Demon

The gates to hell are thrown wide when Alloran is betrayed by his best friend, Ladanyon, and framed for forbidden magic. He is hunted by the guards and the wizards both, tormented by the gruesome murder of his friends and loved ones, and crippled by fear for the living. Now Alloran    must face his demons, or damn the woman he loves.

Including bonus short story A Magical Melody

When a lethal spell is stolen from a locked and warded room, Avram must hunt down the thief before the song of power buries a city of innocents beneath a thousand tons of ice.

Book Information

Confronting the Demon by Ciara Ballintyne
Date of Publication – 1 October 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0-9923466-0-7 (print)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9923466-1-4 (ebook)

Where to buy:
Kindle book on Amazon
Print book on Amazon

My Review of the Book 

Alloran is wrongly accused of a terrible crime and being stalked by a former friend who has been driven insane through the use of dark magic and influenced by jealousy. Can Alloran clear his name, save the woman he loves and keep the city safe? (You'll have to read the book to find out!)

I absolutely loved the book. It is in my favorite genre and the pace is quick. You learn enough about Alloran from the very first page to start rooting for him, and, as the bodies start turning up, the suspense heats up along with them.

My only complaint is that it's too short! I read it in about an hour (I'm a fairly fast reader though), and I was sad when it ended because I didn't want to leave the world Ciara Ballintyne had created. I will definitely be reading any other books written by her in the future!

About Ciara Ballintyne

Ciara Ballintyne was born in 1981 in Sydney, Australia, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, one masochistic cat, and one cat with a god complex. She holds degrees in law and accounting, and has been a practising financial services lawyer since 2004. She is both an idealist and a cynic.
She started reading epic fantasy at the age of nine, when she kidnapped Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings from her father. Another two years passed before she began her first attempts at the craft of writing. Confronting the Demon is her debut book.
She enjoys horse-riding, and speculation about taking over the world. If she could choose to be anything it would be a dragon, but instead she shares more in common with Dr. Gregory House of House. M.D.

Ciara Ballintyne's social media links:


Ciara Ballintyne will be signing copies of "Confronting the Demon" at the IndieVengeance Day Book Signing in Dallas, Saturday, October 12, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (CDT). Register for free here if you’re interested to come along -

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Karen Pokras Toz has written a number of children's chapter books and has been kind enough to guest post on the topic of writing them both years that ChaBooCha (the Chapter Book Challenge) has been running. So when she asked for hosts for the book blast for her new chapter book "Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas," I was more than happy to host it here.

Interview with Karen Pokras Toz

Tell us about Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas.

“Pie” is really two stories in one book. First it is about 12 year old Georgie Harris. Georgie’s family just moved to a new town to be closer to her grandmother, Jane, who recently moved to a nursing home. Because of the move, Georgie’s family can no longer afford to send her to dance lessons. Instead, Georgie spends most of her time baking pies to bring to her visits with her grandmother. The second story in the book is about Eve – Georgie’s grandmother’s roommate, who we quickly learn was a ballerina in Russia “back in the day.” Not only that, Eve studied and danced with a world famous ballerina named Paulina. Georgie loves to visit Eve and hear stories about what it was like to study ballet in a different time and country, and especially what it was like to dance with the great Paulina Strofsky.

What inspired you to write this book?

I grew up dancing and now two of my three children dance. I knew I eventually would write a book about dance – it was just a matter of time. I began writing Pie while waiting for my daughter to go on stage at one of her dance competitions last winter. The book originally was going to be about the competitive dance circuit – but turned out much differently once I got to know my characters (which is usually the case).

Are you working on anything new at the moment?

Of course! I’ve just started writing the 4th (and final) Nate Rocks book – Nate Rocks the City. Normally, I write my Nate books pretty fast, but I find myself procrastinating on this one. I’m sure it’s because I just don’t want to say goodbye. I’m also working on another Adult Contemporary novel called “Woven Wishes” to hopefully be released this time next year.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’m a writer? LOL. It still sounds odd for me to call myself that. I don’t know what I am. I’m a mom, and I write. Sometimes if someone asks me what I do, I’ll say I write children’s books (even though now I also write adult books, too). But I have yet to say, “I’m a writer.” I guess after six books, it’s time, huh?

When and how do you find time to write in your daily life?

All three of my children are in school all day, so I try to squeeze in some writing time then. Of course, I always think I’m going to have hours and hours to myself to write, but after I get done doing the million other things on my “to-do” list, there are some days where it is hard to fit it in. Sometimes I just have to put everything aside, and remind myself that this is my job now. It helps that I love to write.

Any advice to aspiring writers looking to self publish?

Be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort – and time – and effort. You need to think of your book as a product, and yourself as a brand. As such, you need to put out the best product possible, and be prepared to compete in a very competitive market. This means – (a) write the best book you can possibly write, (b) put together a test market/group of beta readers, (c) have your book professionally edited, (d) have a professional cover made, (e) have your book professionally formatted, (f) put together a marketing/business plan – and most importantly, keep writing and improving your craft.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I have to have coffee, I need silence, and I don’t outline. I generally have a very loose story idea and then let my characters guide me. Sometimes (like in Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas) the story goes in a completely different direction, and sometimes (as is the case with most of my Nate Rocks books) I have to steer my characters in a particular direction (Nate tends to get a little out of control.) Also, I always like to have a title in place before I start writing. I don’t know why – maybe that’s my quirky thing.

Of all the characters you have written, who is your favorite? 

Well now, that’s like asking me which of my three children is my favorite! So, no, I can’t really answer that one. I will tell you this – I had a great time writing Millicent Marie Is Not My Name, and I get a lot of requests to write more books about her. I don’t think I will, but she does live on with her very own blog on my website.

Is there a writer that you would love to co-write a book with?

It is no secret that I am a huge Judy Blume fan. Whenever someone compares my writing style or one of my books to her, I feel like I’ve hit the lottery (not in a monetary sense, but in a self-fulfillment sense). I recently (as in last year) sent her a fan letter (read – stalker letter) and was thrilled when I received an email back from her assistant wishing me well. However, I’m pretty sure I was put on some sort of ‘crazy lady stalker fan stay away from list. But – just in case they are reading this (In a ‘we should really be monitoring this nutjob’ sort of way)  well then ... Judy – call me ...

Do people judge a book by its cover? Who makes yours?

Yes, I do think so, and I also hope so! Now before you think I’m tooting my own horn – don’t. I do not make my own covers. I’m not nearly talented enough (in fact, I have zero artistic talent.) It was only by shear luck that I met my amazing cover artist Deana Riddle of She is the genius behind the incredible artwork that I am fortunate enough to have on my covers. Thank you, Deana!!

What is your greatest challenge as an author?

Time. Writing is only half the battle – and if you really want to break down the time, it’s probably only a quarter of the battle. The other three-quarters is marketing and there is not enough time in the day to market and write. If you are also self-publishing you have the challenge of distribution thrown into the mix and the problem of having upfront costs to deal with – as you can see, there are many challenges – but there are also many rewards.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

Hearing from readers – whether through parents, educators, or the kids themselves. Nothing makes me happier than getting a note (whether it be via email, a tweet, on FB, through my website, through my blog, etc) that says my child usually hates to read, but I can’t get them to put your book down! THAT is what it is all about to me.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Two things really: When I first started writing my adult contemporary novel Chasing Invisible (titled “invisible” at the time) it was the first anything I had ever written. I hired a writing coach to read through the first few chapters and give me advice. She told me it was awful. (Don’t worry - I have since re-written that story more times that I can count & I am proud to say it recently won an award!) Anyway – she told me that I had a very young voice, and I should consider writing books for kids. I had never considered this before, but I put invisible to the side, and started working on Nate Rocks the World. That was awesome advice, don’t you think?

The next piece of advice I received was when I proudly handed Nate Rocks the World over to my editor – she said, “I know you are tired and want to take a break – but don’t. Start writing the next book.” I didn’t. But, it was great advice, and it’s something I do follow now as I finish up each book.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

I get asked this question a lot. Now that I have several books out, you may notice a trend with my kids’ books. They all have moms who have “issues.”  For example... Nate’s mom is a terrible cook and homemaker, Millie’s mom is a little bit of a shop-a-holic, and now Georgie’s mom is a little high strung. Let me say this. They may or may not be based on me. That’s all I’m saying.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

While I have always loved to read, writing was always my worst subject in school. I was always a math/numbers person. In college I took calculus and differential equations for fun (and they were!) I worked as a tax accountant until just recently and only started writing a few years ago. I have no explanation for why I suddenly felt the urge to start writing, but now that I’ve started, I can’t stop!

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little about me and my books – thanks for having me on your blog!

The story will grab you from page one, and keep you mesmerized until the last page.
~ Kristy James

My nine year old daughter and I enjoyed it very much. ~ Gman Writes

From the Award Winning Author of Millicent Marie is Not My Name

Ballet and baking pies – these are two of twelve year old Georgie Harris’ favorite things. When her parents decide to move closer to her grandmother’s nursing home, Georgie quickly learns the bad news: dance lessons are too expensive in this new town. 

Georgie spends most of her time baking pies to bring to her grandmother at the Willow Lakes Nursing Home. There she meets Eve, who inspires Georgie with stories of having danced with a world famous Russian ballerina many years ago.

As Georgie and Eve’s friendship evolves, their tales intertwine in this feel good story showing dreams really can come true.

Buy at Amazon and B&N


a Rafflecopter giveaway

A GWR Publicity promotional event paid for by the author. Giveaway is sponsored by the author who is responsible for the delivery of prize.The Chapter Book Challenge received no compensation for this post. 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Imagine! Create! Writes! 5 Year Blogiversary!

Imagine! Create! Write! has now been around for five years!

It's hard to believe I have been writing here for so long already. When I first began writing, I was still tentative about my writing. I hadn't been published before and, although I had big ideas and dreams for my writing, I was not very sure of myself.

While I still sometimes let self-doubt get to me, most of the time things have really changed in that respect. I am now running my own small Indie publishing company. I've had short stories published in several anthologies with more to come soon. I have even edited and published some anthologies and my doodle books.

I have met many wonderful writers and found out that other authors are great people to socialize with. I've been made ever-so-welcome in the writing community. I've learned loads about writing and, in the process, about myself.

I had a one-year stint writing a regular feature for a magazine. I joined in the writing madness of NaNoWriMo four times and won each time. I am the NaNoWriMo municipal liaison for my region.  I have completed the first draft on more than one full-length novel, written many, many picture books and completed the first drafts of one chapter book and one middle grade novel.

I joined a picture book writing group (12 x 12) and have been part of it for two years now. I am one of the assistants in the group this year. My picture book writing has improved a great deal in the past two years.

I started the Chapter Book Challenge (ChaBooCha) and it grew from 23 members in the first year to almost 100 people the second year. It will hopefully grow even more in its third year.

Next year, you will see at least one full length novel, one chapter book or middle grade book and one picture book written by me PUBLISHED.

I know it takes a lot of hard work and creativity. Wish me luck anyway?

To celebrate Imagine! Create! Write's 5 year anniversary, I will be giving away one copy of the my collection of short stories which will be published in the first half of 2014. All you need to do to be added into the drawing is to comment on this post by October 4th.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Talisman Chronicles - Submissions by Children Only!

Do you have children (up to age 15) who like to write? Draw? Would they like to take part in an anthology that is made up of stories and drawings that are completely done by kids?

Your Kids' Creations, a division of Melusine Muse Press, is having a call right now for submissions by children for the anthology "The Talisman Chronicles."

Click here to read the rules and deadline.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Writer's Reveal - Wonder

We have changed the name of the Secret Subject Swap to Writer's Reveal. This month, I was given the topic of "wonder" by Jodi Gibson.

Of course, because I was working today writing a Christmas story for kids for the Jingle Bells Anthology, the idea of wonder brought me straight to my children and their sense of wonder on Christmas day. I can even remember the looks on their faces when they opened gifts from Santa that were exactly what they had asked for. I love how easy it is for them to believe in the magic of Christmas, but it doesn't stop there.

Children know how to look at things with a sense of wonder. They know how to appreciate things as they see them. My children believe that when they see a pure white horse, it is really a unicorn using an illusion to hide its horn from the world. They believe that there are fairies in our garden. They even think I can occasionally read there minds.

They believe that, when a butterfly lands on one of them, it is giving them a blessing. And they believe that, when the wind blows in the trees, the sound the leaves make is really the trees talking, and that I know how to understand the language of the trees. I often hear, "What are the trees saying today, Mommy?" One day, I answered my son's question by telling him that the trees wanted us to dance with them. And that's exactly what we did; in the middle of the park, surrounded by wind and sunshine while under the trees, we danced.

Now I know that they will outgrow these things someday, but for now, I am loving every minute of it. And I am using their wonderful, joyous and innocent sense of wonder in the world around them to help me learn how to write my picture books. Because, the children that will be reading those books? - They are full of wonder too.


The the other writers in Writer's Reveal are:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Achievements - Insecure Writers Support Group Post for September 2013 #IWSG

 This is my sixth monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group post. The IWSG is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the IWSG is:
"to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!"
This is my post for Insecure Writer's Support Group for September 2013. The topic I chose for this one is "achievements."

One of the biggest things that has helped my confidence in my writing has been getting my short stories into anthologies. My longer novels may not be ready for print, but those short stories keep working for me. Every time I get to see another of my stories in print, I feel a little bit more confident in my writing and it strengthens my belief that I am a capable of finishing my novels and getting them out there into the world.

I've found my critiquing skills have grown as I help other writer-friends by looking over their stories and I know that I am strong at proofreading. Each achievement is another step taking me in the direction I want to go.

Now, here is where I get to boast a bit about some of my recent achievements. As some of you know, I run the Chapter Book Challenge (ChaBooCha) every year in March, and the ChaBooCha Facebook group stays open all year. The members of ChaBooCha (mostly ones who are active in the Facebook group) all came together to write flash fiction stories for an anthology of fairy tales with proceeds to benefit ChaBooCha.

On August 10th, Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales became available on Kindle. And any day now, the print version of the book will become available on Amazon.

This book is a wonderful anthology of fairy tales, from twists on the classics to band new stories. The stories are enchanting, and getting wrapped up in the magical worlds created within Teapot Tales' pages is a terrific way to spend a bit of time. I had help editing some of the stories, but overall, I edited, put together, formatted and created the books. There were 35 stories in total, including two poems, and there were 21 authors.

Getting Teapot Tales out into the world feels like one of those achievements I've been writing about in this post. It feels terrific!

And, I have achieved another small achievement. The doodle books I created are now available for purchase on Amazon too! The doodle books are pattern coloring books with pages for doodling in the back. Both books are the same inside, but are different sizes. Their titles are Doodle Your Heart Out and Little Book of Doodles.  My blog Designing Doodles has a post that shows some of the interior designs within the books.

The doodle books are books created completely by me (using some of my husband's art too) and I am so pleased with how they came out. No, they aren't an example of my writing, but I still think they are fun little books and creating them was another notch in my editing and publishing knowledge. And they will make some wonderful Christmas gifts for kids!

I am currently working on putting together the female superhero anthology, which is an anthology with 27 stories and 24 different authors. It still needs some illustrations for the interior and a cover. The proceeds from it will be benefiting the charity Because I Am a Girl.

Added to this, I have a story in an upcoming anthology, Crock of Charms. And I have three stories which will be in an anthology that will be out later in 2014 called Keepsakes. Another group I am a part of is creating an anthology of Christmas flash fiction which I will be contributing to, and the Chapter Book Challenge group members are now creating an anthology (for kids) of short stories with a Christmas theme, called Jingle Bells.

All of this means I have a lot of work ahead of me over the next few months, but I am loving every moment of keeping busy and CREATING!

If you want to contribute to the Jingle Bells anthology, check out this post for details. It is open to everyone.

If you are an illustrator and would like to donate a female superhero drawing to the female superhero anthology, you can e-mail it to me along with your bio (which will be included in the anthology if we use your illustration. Interior illustrations are to be of one of the superheroes in the stories ( links to posts with the stories can be found here) and to be in black and white.

Oh, and another achievement to mention: I now have an Amazon author page!

What I've learned is this: Every time you create something tangible using your own creativity, it is another nail in the coffin of your self-doubt.

So what are you waiting for, get out there and start creating!