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Monday, February 8, 2016

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light


by Ann Jacobus



This past Friday, February 5, 2016, Marcy and I posted our answers to Ann’s debut novel Romancing the Dark in the City of Light. Today, you get to read Ann’s favorite's. 

Great answers, Ann! We can’t wait for our readers to read the novel. And hopefully to give us a few of their favorites, too. 

And we are super excited!! Ann has offered to give away her book to one lucky reader! Please either leave your email address in the comments section below or tag @MarcyCollieron Twitter with #Romancing the Dark in the City of Light.

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

“I’ve learned to expect nothing from life,” Summer says, with a toss of her head and a little more vehemence than she intended.

“Hmm,” Moony says. “But what does life expect from you?”

This is at a point in the story when depressed main character Summer is only beginning to struggle with suicidality (the term for feeling suicidal). Her friend Moony has struggled for much of his life with staying alive, recovering, and regaining as much physical and mental ability as possible after a serious accident.


2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

Kurt is Summer’s hot but mysterious and creepy friend who encourages all her worst choices. After alienating her friend Moony and wandering the city alone and despondent for hours, she calls Kurt to meet her for a drink since alcohol is her go-to for coping (at 18, she’s legal in Paris).

Kurt narrows his dark eyes. “It’s esthetically pleasing as advertised, but a cold and heartless city, don’t you think?”

She runs her finger around the rim of her glass. “Now that you mention it, yeah.”

“I do have a treat for you tonight. An unusual outing. I think you’ll get a kick out of it.”

“Let’s see. How could you possibly top the sewers? The city morgue?”

“No. Much more lively.”

“Nascar racing?”

“No, more intimate than that.” He’s laughing.

“Nude mud wrestling?” She’s feeling downright loose and light. Sexy and funny. Thin and beautiful. Healthy and alluring.

“Ha. Drink up. Let’s go.”

“But you just got here.” She drains her glass.

He smiles. “Waste not, want not. It’s time.”


3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

No question, my character Munir Al Shukr was my favorite character to write. His nickname is Moony. His father is Kuwaiti and his mother is American, although he has grown up in Paris—a third-culture kid who is comfortable just about anywhere but isn’t quite sure where he belongs. He is also partially physically disabled from a serious childhood car accident that he wasn’t expected to survive. He is kind-hearted and befriends my difficult-to-like protagonist, then patiently if sometimes gruffly puts up with her because he sees beyond her bluster. In fact, he falls for her. He is spiritual because he fully understands the value and fragility of life. He’s stoic as he’s battling a number of physical problems related to past surgeries and the accident. Too perfect, you say? No, he harbors some secrets.


4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

“Everybody’s fragile, given the wrong circumstances.”

And conversely, “Humans are capable of incredible things. Full recoveries against the odds.”

When it comes to mental health, if you pile enough difficulties on just about anyone, they will break. But thankfully our wills to survive and thrive are (usually) strong and difficult to override.


5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

“The River Seine. Spectacular,” Kurt says, gazing down from the bridge. “Flowing like time. Cold. Patient. Romantic.” He squeezes Summer’s hand. “Easy to slip into.”


Congratulations to Ann on her debut novel, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light!

To read more about Ann Jacobus and her debut novel Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, please go to:


Friday, February 5, 2016

First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day

by Dave Amaditz & 
Marcy Collier





Welcome to February’s version of - First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day. In this monthly series, we ask five simple questions about a debut novel that will hopefully entice anyone reading this post to pick up the novel and read it themselves, and/or give them at a glance some insight into the author's writing style and voice as well as how some of the characters might think or act. We do this by presenting, first, answers to our Five Favorite Things, followed by the author's answers in a follow-up post.

This month we're pleased to highlight debut novelist, Ann Jacobus and her novel, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light. Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year after being kicked out of four boarding schools. Her inheritance is at stake if she doesn’t graduate from college by the age of 22. While she is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve all of her problems, it only complicates her life more.

And we are super excited!! Ann has offered to give away her book to one lucky reader! Please either leave your email address in the comments section below or tag @MarcyCollieron Twitter with #Romancing the Dark in the City of Light.

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

Dave – I had so many interesting lines to choose from throughout this novel, but in the end I chose to take this particular section because I thought it was one of the earliest times in the book when Summer seemed genuinely happy.

What’s interesting is that when she’s with kids, she feels like things will be okay. It’s always a fair exchange, too. She teaches them how to float and then do the breaststroke; they give back in respect and real growth and laughter. Like that kid who was dying to share the Robot Hamster story with her. She smiles. When she makes an effort, they make one back. That’s more than she can say for most people.

Marcy –  This one action plays a huge part for Summer’s growth and development. The first step is realizing she has a drinking problem, then making a conscious decision to stop. Having Moony in her life makes her want to quit drinking.

Summer pulls out her water bottle as soon as the door is closed, and pours all the vodka into the toilet.


2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

Dave - This particular chapter ending involves Summer’s dark romance partner, Kurt, but I could’ve chosen any of a number of endings where he happened to appear because I sensed the danger of what was to come and couldn’t wait to turn the page.

Before this particular encounter with Kurt, Summer had just spent time with a boy with whom a romance is beginning to blossom. After a taxi ride home, and acknowledgment that Kurt is a bad influence on her, this is what she sees.

As she enters their apartment building, Kurt’s leaning against the corner of the building across the street.

Marcy – This is such a sweet, touching moment in the story. I won’t give the details of “who” away. You’ll have to read the book!

He turns his head around. At the same moment she leans forward. Their helmets clunk and their noses brush. They both freeze. Then he kisses her on the lips.


3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Dave – I have to choose Moony. He is so supportive of Summer despite, or should I say, because of what he has gone through. This line, I believe, gives a perfect example.

Brave enough to die, then you’re brave enough to live.” He grips her hand. “Have the freaking courage to get help, to get better.”

Marcy –  No question, Moony. He is a three dimensional character with so many sides. He is good and caring and true. And funny. Like in this exchange between him and Summer.

“What about your dad?” she asks.

“Divorced post accident.”

“That sucks.”

“Reembraced Islam, lives in Kuwait with new wife and kid.”

She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. “But he can marry a second wife and still be married to your mom, right?”

“Over Mom’s dead body.”

“Ha!”


4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

Dave -  I chose this particular passage because I think it gives a pretty accurate description of Summer’s outlook on life.

Kindness is like hope. It feeds hope. Which just keeps us around to suffer more, she thinks, anger rising.

Marcy -  Summer is talking with Moony and finally confides in him about a terrible experience in her life. It’s the reason she doesn’t let anyone get close to her.

She’s glad he’s still listening. “One evening we, um, hooked up” – she glances at Moony – “then I was scared and avoided him for a couple of days. He duped me kind of…publicly.” She’s never told anyone the full story and won’t get into all the details now. It’s more complicated. The dickhead posted a horribly unflattering fat photo of her, eyes half-closed, clutching a vodka bottle, with the caption at the top, DRINKING TO FORGET… At the bottom it read, I’M A SLUT. He shared it with 743 friends. At least he got in trouble. But so did she. And at the time, it smashed her to an unprecedented low.

5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

Dave - Two lines. Both from Kurt, and… scary.

“You know as well as I do that you are the one to be afraid of. I have the answer to all of your problems.”

And, when Summer tells him she is going to San Francisco…

“To get away from me. But you stupid, stupid girl, you know that’s not possible.”

Marcy – This line made me giggle. It’s a conversation between Summer and her mom and so very teenlike.

“I am not Sylvia the Psychic!” Summer explodes, throwing up her hands.”


Congratulations to Ann on her debut novel, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light!

To read more about Ann Jacobus and her debut novel Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, please go to:


Monday, January 11, 2016

The Next Together

by Lauren James

unnamed (3)The Next Together

This past Friday, January 8, 2016, Marcy and I posted our answers to Lauren’s debut novel The Next Together. Today, you get to read Lauren’s favorites.

Great in depth answers and insight in to your characters, Lauren! We can’t wait for our readers to read the novel. And hopefully to give us a few of their favorites, too.

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

Beware, there are lots of spoilers in my answers!

Her thoughts kept flickering through thousands of memories; she couldn’t focus or process any of the scenes flooding her mind. She couldn’t place any of the moments, just had to let the snapshots of their lives together flow over her: images of Matthew smiling at her, snatches of conversation, kisses. They were on a boat, and then they were in a candlelit garden and now they were in a science lab.

This is the big pay-off for me, when Kate finally admits that she and Matthew had past lives together. It’s what the whole book was building up to.


2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

I prefer this over some other cliffhangers, which are more plot based and dramatic, because this was the first kind of ‘cliffhanger’ I ever wrote, back when I was 18 and first starting to write, and I was just so impressed with myself for it.

He shrugged her off, turning his back to her and beginning to slowly, carefully, dress. There was a flush of angry pink spreading down between his shoulder blades. She watched him, not knowing what to say. When he had finished buttoning his shirt, he walked away without turning
back to look at her.

For a long moment, Katy stared after him. There was a lump in her throat that wouldn’t go away however much she swallowed.


3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Tom Galloway, Matt’s brother in 2039. He’s a main character in the sequel, and I really loved exploring his personality more and developing him as a person.

Tom smiled seductively. “Like a feel?” He flexed his bicep. Kate gave an overdramatic sigh. She could almost feel the force of Matt’s annoyed glare.


4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

Kate’s gaze was focused absolutely on the cardigan on the back of the desk chair. It had faded to a pale cream from the force of twenty years of sunlight, but the knitted pattern was still obvious in the fabric. She brushed her hand over it, feeling the threads beneath her fingertips. Her breath caught. This was Katherine’s.

This is a small but poignant moment that I really love.


5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

Just because I laughed a lot when I wrote this (I write books primarily to entertain myself. If anyone else enjoys them too, that’s just a bonus. In this case, I really, really had fun.)

“I thought you were cool,” she said accusingly, sadly. “You misled me. All this time. With the retro haircut and the mismatched clothes, I thought you were being ironically hipster, but really you are just an old man! I can’t date someone who listens to farming radio shows. It will utterly ruin my street cred!”


Congratulations to Lauren on her debut novel, The Next Together!


To read more about Lauren James and her debut novel The Next Together, please go to:

Friday, January 8, 2016

First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day

by Dave Amaditz and
Marcy Collier



Welcome to January’s version of - First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day. In this monthly series, we ask five simple questions about a debut novel that will hopefully entice anyone reading this post to pick up the novel and read it themselves, and/or give them at a glance some insight into the author's writing style and voice as well as how some of the characters might think or act. We do this by presenting, first, answers to our Five Favorite Things, followed by the author's answers in a follow-up post.

This month we're pleased to highlight debut novelist, Lauren James and her novel, The Next Together. Katherine and Matthew are lovers who are separated by time. They travel through four different dimensions, find each other and rekindle their love, only to find themselves separated again while hoping that one day they can solve the mystery of what is keeping them apart.

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

Dave - There were quite a few sections that captured well Katy’s\Katherine’s\Kate’s growth as a character. Many, however, would give too much of the story away, so I settled on this particular section after Kate, in the year 2039 has just told Matt that she loves him.

She realized then that she always had. She couldn’t remember falling in love with Matt. She hadn’t had the butterflies in the stomach, the giddy absorption of falling in love. It hadn’t been like that. She’d just seen him, suddenly it had all clicked into place.

She’d always been in love with him, and had been quietly, patiently, waiting for him to turn up. Perhaps once there had been a time when she wasn’t tied to him with every molecule of her being, but it was so long ago it was impossible to remember.

Marcy –  As Dave said above, there are many choices for the development of the main character. This comes earlier in the novel when Katherine has a hint of jealously about Matthew.

She spotted Matthew leading a horse back to the stables, and quickly slipped outside to follow him, eager for a distraction.

He was talking to a maid when she reached the stables. The servants’ heads were close together, their conversation serious and intense, while the horse idly plucked at a patch of cow parsley.

Something turned over in the pit of Katherine’s stomach, but she shook the feeling away, annoyed with herself. Matthew could talk to whomever he wanted.


2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

Dave - I chose this particular chapter ending from timeline 1745 because of the tension and of the way Katherine addresses the individual who has taken the place of her lover, Matthew.

It didn’t reply, just looked at her. She knew what the look meant, though. He’d gone. Her Matthew wasn’t coming back, and she was left with this thing that appeared to be him but wasn’t. She turned and ran. The tears were streaming down her face. She dropped onto the bed and the guest bedchamber, barely able to stop herself screaming into the pillow.

Marcy –  I’m not going into any details here so I won’t spoil it.

“When she woke up, he was dead.”

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Dave - My favorite secondary character is Tom, Matthew’s brother, because… well… he’s… mysterious.

Marcy – I’m with Dave on this one, Tom is quite unique and interesting.

4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

Dave - There were so many great passages of description that made me feel like I was living and breathing the scenes, but I chose this particular passage because I felt that it could also have doubled as a passage for character growth. This is another scene with Kate, from 2039, as she is setting out to discover more about her past.

They picked their way cautiously through the empty, weed-covered car park towards the building beyond. The complex looked untouched, it’s huge windows unbroken, though green with mould. It didn’t look anything like Kate had imagined, and it was more like a library than the quarantined sight of the outbreak of dangerous bacteria. She couldn’t believe they were risking everything to chase down a long-forgotten mystery that had happened a lifetime ago. But she felt like this was her whole reason for being - her whole reason for living. She couldn’t stop. She had to do this for herself, for Katherine.

Marcy – This paragraph captures Matthew’s raw feelings toward Katherine.

He hadn’t noticed her silent fury, and continued, “I thought you were beautiful, and funny, and knowledgeable. You were so sad, but you still took the time to speak to me as if I was a person, not just a servant. I have never met anyone like you. You’re one of the bravest people I’ve ever known. You thought you’d found a Jacobite spy, and so you decided to spy on them. I don’t understand you at all. If you’d been a serving maid, I still wouldn’t have been able to stay away from you.


5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

Dave - I really liked a lot of lines of dialogue and I couldn’t settle on just one. The first I chose is from the beginning of the book and is a little lighthearted. For it to make sense you have to understand that Katy is posing as a boy. The second line of dialogue comes from later in the book and resonated with me on many levels.

“Kit! What are you doing?” Matthew asked. “Don’t be ridiculous - just take off your clothes. Does it look like anybody cares?”

I don’t think there are any true heroes. Just people who ignore their survival instincts long enough to do something incredibly foolhardy.”

Marcy – Loved this playful interaction between Matt and Kate.

She couldn’t help shaking her head at him. “I thought you were cool,” she said accusingly, sadly. “You misled me. All this time. With the retro haircut and the mismatched clothes, I thought you were being ironically hipster, but really you are just an old man! I can’t date someone who listens to this. It will utterly ruin my street cred!”



To read more about Lauren James and her debut novel The Next Together, please go to:


Monday, December 7, 2015

From Where I Watch You

by Shannon Grogan

Shannon writer photo crop 2From Where I Watch You Comp_Final (1)

This past Friday, December 4, 2015, Marcy and I posted our answers to Shannon’s debut novel From Where I Watch You. Today, you get to read Shannon’s favorite's. 

As a special holiday treat, our debut novelist, Shannon Grogan has offered to give away one copy of her novel! All you have to do is leave a comment below with a way for us to contact you (Email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). If you mention this contest on social media (mention this in the comments), we give you an extra entry. Leave a comment no later than December 11, 2015. We will pick a name out of our Santa hat and the winner will get the gift of an awesome book! Good luck!

Terrific answers, Shannon! We can’t wait for our readers to read the novel. And hopefully to give us a few of their favorites, too. 

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

My favorite paragraph is between page 270 and 271, when my MC Kara, who has spent the whole story resentful and angry with her mom, finally ‘sees’ her mom-- comforting her cafĂ© customers. Kara realizes how the changes in her reflects her dealing with her own grief:

My mom loves these people.

They are like family. And this is what she does with her family—she feeds them dinner, and asks them about their new project at work, and if they passed their math test, and if they’re speaking to their best friend anymore. She asks them about the best part of their day, and she bribes them with dessert so they’ll finish dinner. She rubs their backs when they are tired, and offers a tissue when their hearts can’t take it anymore. She does this because she doesn’t have her whole family—me and Dad and Kellen—all together to feed anymore.


2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

At the end of Chapter 28 when Kara receives the most disturbing and threatening note yet, revealing to her who she thinks her stalker is.


3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

My favorite secondary character is Kara’s best friend Noelle because she’s such a terrible best friend, meaning she’s really not there for Kara when she needs her. Yet, behind her barbed-wire armor, she’s all heart to the few who can get close enough. She’s dealing with her own unstable home life, and her defenses and on-the-edge behavior reflects that. She cares so much about Kara, but doesn’t know how to show that she cares. The thing I love the most about her is how she defends Kara against her former best friends, and against anyone who intends Kara harm in any way. So if anyone so much as looks at her the wrong way, Noelle will use her sharp tongue to slice right through them.


4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

My favorite paragraph of description is on page 5 when Kara is hiding in the yard of her beloved childhood home, smoking weed and missing her old room and her old life:

On my old front porch, a pile of U-Haul boxes sag from the damp Seattle weather. The boxes haven’t budged since the new family moved into my house, so there’s no room on the porch for a nine-year-old to sit and paint her toenails while her Barbies watch. No room to pretend to do homework while wishing for her crush to ride by on his bike, or to watch a summer thunderstorm and wonder if she should tell her best friends about that terrible secret she’s keeping.


5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

Truly my favorite line of dialogue is on page 227, something said by Noelle, but it might be too distasteful for your blog! So I am going with my second choice, for it’s creepiness, on page 170 when Kara has snuck away, from Seattle to San Francisco for the baking contest. She’s alone there, and is staying in university dorms, when the RA comes to talk to her.

“Miss McKinley, I’m sorry to bother you but I just wanted to let you know that a boy your age stopped by downstairs a few minutes ago. He claimed to know you?” She tilts and shakes her head a little. “He said he came here with you, but I’m sure I remember you told me you came alone, from out of state, right?”

The exchange goes on a little more between the two of them, and the RA gives her the number for campus security if she needs it, and Kara realizes her stalker probably followed her to the contest, and she’s all alone.



‘From Where I Watch You’
YA Thriller, Soho Teen, August 4, 2015

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Don't forget to leave a comment below. Shannon has generously donated one book for one of our readers. Good luck!