Category Archives: book giveaway

Emily’s Heart Release Celebration and February Book Giveaway

The Akasha Chronicles
by Natalie Wright
As you know, my third book, Emily’s Heart, *officially* released on February 1. And what better way to celebrate a new release than with a giveaway? What’s up for grabs? How about a copy of Emily’s Trial, book 2 of The Akasha Chronicles (*see details in the Rafflecopter below). And a gift card. And a swag bag! I’ve given you lots of ways to enter and the easiest is to leave a comment here on this blog post. 

And to increase your chances of winning the giveaway, you can stop by other blogs hosting me this month and comment and tweet to increase your odds 😉 I’ll update this list all month to add additional blog links, so check back often.

As always, thank you for stopping by my blog. Happy Reading!


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The lovely Abby Flores is featuring me and my novel, Emily’s House, today on her blog, Bookshelf Confessions. It’s part of her month long anniversary celebration. Happy Anniversary Abby! She has a lovely blog and does tons of great giveaways. So be a good bunny and hop over to visit her where you can enter  to WIN a copy of Emily’s House.
Bookshelf Confessions

Happy Release Day!! Emily’s Trial, Now Available WORLDWIDE!

Emily’s Trial & Giveaway Goodies!

Hooray! The lovely day has arrived – Emily’s Trial is here!


Today, October 15, 2012, is the official release date for my newest baby. If you haven’t read Emily’s House, Book 1 of the Akasha Chronicles, I’ve priced it at a nice price point of 99 cents for the e-book at all retailers. You can easily find the version of your choice by clicking on the “Buy” button at the top of this page. 

If you haven’t seen the trailer yet for Emily’s Trial, check it out: 

Several lovely ladies are hosting me on their blogs today to celebrate the new release. Hop over to these great blogs and make sure you leave comments and enter the giveaway. For goodness sakes, I must be nuts – I’m giving away an Emily-inspired armlet handmade by Lady Steel just for me! 


Christy’s Love of Books (*GREAT Blog :-D) 


Maghon’s Happy Tales and Tails (A Must See Blog)


Sittin’ Under the Oak Tree 


Biblio Thoughts


Did you see the promo goodies in the picture at the top of this post? I’ve got fun Emily merchandise that I’ll be throwing into the Giveaway goodie bags going out to lucky winners over the next few months 😀


And here’s an excerpt of the first page of Emily’s Trial:

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“The Apocalypse didn’t start
with four horsemen, harbingers of the horror to come. It didn’t start with a
plague, or pestilence, or even zombies rising from the dead.
It came
slowly and without warning. It crept up on people in the shadows, no more than
a vague darkness that spread like an unseen cancer.
And it wasn’t
set into action by a divine hand. A teenage girl was the catalyst for the End
Times.
I should
know. I’m the one that started it.
I didn’t
plan to. I didn’t want to start the End Times, and I’m not evil.
Madame Wong
taught me to tell the truth, and so here it is. I’m the one responsible for the
Apocalypse. And this is the story of how I unwittingly unlocked the door to the
darkness; of how a Priestess of the Order of Brighid, entrusted with powerful
magic that was supposed to be used for the benefit of all humankind, unleashed
a force that would destroy it instead.
And it all began with desire.”


Happy Reading!

October Blog Tour & Giveaway!

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It has been a while since Emily went on tour 😉 So in preparation for the worldwide release of Emily’s Trial, Book 2 of the Akasha Chronicles, I decided to send Emily back out to tour the net. Heather, the lovely owner of NR Book Tours set up a tour this week for Emily. Hop around the blogosphere with Emily this week and read reviews, posts and make sure you enter the Giveaway. I’m giving away not only signed copies of the books, but a handmade armlet created especially for me by Lady Steel, in honor of Emily’s golden torc. You know you want one! Gotta play to win 😉


Hippity-hop yourself over to these blogs:



10/8/12 – Happy Tails and Tales Blog


10/9/12 – Kaidans Seduction


10/10/12 – Tana Rae Reads


10/11/12 – Sittin Under an Oak Tree


10/12/12 – Crazy For Books


10/15/12 RELEASE DAY PARTY!! Go to all of the above blogs on Release Day + these two additional lovely blogs


A Bibliophile’s Thoughts On Books


Black Hippie Chicks Take on Books & World

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review Friday: LEVERAGE, by Joshua C. Cohen

Today I’m reviewing Leverage, by Joshua C. Cohen. In case you missed it, please check out my interview of the author, Josh Cohen, AND enter the Giveaway for FREE, signed copy of Leverage, by clicking here.


Let’s start with the description of Leverage from Goodreads:


Leverage
“The football field is a battlefield

There’s an extraordinary price for victory at Oregrove High. It is paid on – and off – the football field. And it claims its victims without mercy – including the most innocent bystanders. 

When a violent, steroid-infused, ever-escalating prank war has devastating consequences, an unlikely friendship between a talented but emotionally damaged fullback and a promising gymnast might hold the key to a school’s salvation.

Told in alternating voices and with unapologetic truth, Leverage illuminates the fierce loyalty, flawed justice, and hard-won optimism of two young athletes.”


Okay, this is accurate description – sort of. But I found it odd that nowhere in the description of this book does the publisher ever use the word “bully.” And that’s odd, since this is a book largely about bullying.


Yes, there is an ever-escalating prank war, but that makes it sound like what happens in the book is somehow the shared fault of the victim of things gone too far. And that is NOT how the book is written.


Yes, there are football players – and male gymnasts. Yes, they engage in a prank war. And yes, the school’s pride – in fact the whole town’s pride – in their football team is at the heart of the story. It informs as to why some of the characters make the choices they make.


But in Leverage, sports is part of the setting. It’s the background of the human drama. And Leverage is, more than anything, a human drama, and a story about bullying.


In our social media age, bullying these days often takes the form of cyber-bullying. But in Leverage, bullying is the old-fashioned kind. “I’m big, you’re small, therefore I can do to you what I want. And because I’m seen as popular (i.e. powerful), I’ll get away with it.” 


Bullying is pervasive in our society and it doesn’t end when you become an adult. A person can be bullied at work, in their marriage, or even bullied by media. For that reason, books like Leverage are so important. We need to discuss this topic. We need to explore it. 


Leverage is not a sports book. It’s a book about bullying, choices, courage and relationships – and that’s why it’s worth a read. So take the cover and the cover copy blurb (chosen by a publisher, not the author), with a grain of salt.


The story is told from two different perspectives – Danny and Kurt. Danny is a sophomore, small and a gymnast. Kurt is a large, hulking football player. He’s not stupid, though his stutter makes him appear so. Danny and Kurt form a strange duo and an unlikely pair.


Of the two, I enjoyed Kurt – liked Kurt – so much more than Danny. Kurt’s story is entirely sympathetic. We root for Kurt and hope that it all works out for him. Kurt is a well-crafted character and one of the highlights of the story. 


The poignant thing about reading a book like Leverage is that you just know that there are Kurt’s out there. People who have suffered abuse like he has. Who have been dealt shitty cards like he has. You just  hope that real kids dealt cards like that find the inner fortitude that Kurt finds to do the right thing and to lift themselves out.


I am not a fan of sports stories. If it wasn’t for hearing the author discuss this book at a book festival, I probably would not have picked it up based on the cover and description. I would have judged it by its cover.


I am so happy that I picked it up, despite the cover. Leverage is a tautly woven tale about making choices, about finding courage, and about the consequences of our actions. Cohen creates wonderful tension in the book. You know from the first couple of chapters that something bad is going to happen. You don’t know what and you don’t know when. But you know it’s coming.


The “bad thing” that happens comes at about the 40% mark. And as a reader, I felt the tension – actually began to sweat – as the “bad thing” began to unfold. Author Cohen did a great job of “showing” just the right amount. The big scene isn’t for those who cannot abide any form of sexual violence (fair warning). As someone who avoids contemporary realism (I love Ellen Hopkins’ writing but find her books too harsh to read), I was able to read Leverage. The author didn’t resort to sensationalizing the scene to emotionally manipulate the reader. 


The remainder of the book explores the aftermath of the horrible thing that happens. The main characters, the ones involved – even the town itself – is explored.


Joshua Cohen is a bright star of a writer, giving us a wonderful first book that makes us want more from him.


I highly recommend Leverage and give it:

 5 Hawks

A WORD OF CAUTION: Leverage deals with mature themes and includes graphic violence of a sexual nature. I do not recommend this book to those under 13, and give it a PG-13 rating.






First Annual SciFi Brigade Midsummer Blog Hop!!

Welcome midsummer revelers to the Science Fiction Romance Brigade Midsummer Blog Hop 2012! If you got to my page from the SFR Brigade page, welcome, and make sure you enter my Rafflecopter Giveaway below for a chance to snag my book and some bookish swag. If you are one of my regulars or happened upon my page, make sure to click this link to hop from blog to blog so you can check out all the amazing posts – and enter to win! Remember, your comments on the blog posts enter you in the giveaway for the prizes offered by the Brigade, namely a Kindle OR Nook!!

Here, my ode to midsummer:

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet mush-roses and the eglantine.
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight.
     -From A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare

Ah, midsummer. Shakespeare’s lines capture it well, don’t you think? When reading these lines, you can almost smell the sultry perfume of abundant flowers, their blooms brazenly open, releasing their musky scent. I’m picturing a lush, green English garden – a perfect place for faerie folk to linger.

Midsummer has long been a time of celebration for many cultures. When researching my novel Emily’s House, I was intrigued by ancient Celtic rituals. Though the Summer Solstice was not the most important celebration for the ancient Celts, it certainly was honored.

On my trip to Ireland in 2010, I had the opportunity to visit Loughcrew. Loughcrew is a megalithic site dating to 3500 to 3300 B.C. To put that in context, the Great Pyramid at Giza was completed in 2560 B.C. That means that the ancient Celts in Ireland created large, planned structures for burial and ritual over a thousand years before the Egyptians built the pyramids.

Loughcrew has a small hole in the capstone of the structure which is aligned with the sun at both the Spring and Autumnal equinox. As the alignment occurs, the sun illuminates the back wall and the petroglyphs and symbols etched there.

This hole still aligns the sun at the spring and autumn equinox, as it has for over 5000 years.

Loughcrew isn’t the only cairn in the area. There is also Carrowkeel with its cairn aligned with the setting sun at the Summer Solstice.


Summer Solstice Sunset at Carrowkeel Cairn G viewed through the roofbox

Scholars aren’t sure why our ancestors built these sites. But clearly it was important to them to observe the cycles of the sun. Their livelihood likely depended on it.


I can’t say for sure the purpose of Loughcrew, but I can say that when I was there, I felt its spiritual power. It is my belief that objects and places retain the energy signatures from the people who touched or used them. At Loughcrew, you feel the spiritual energy and solemnity of the site.

An alter? A view of the outside of the Cairn at Loughcrew.

As I walked the grounds and laid my hands on the stones, I tried to imagine why the ancients had built the structure and what had taken place there. I could almost smell the smoke of the burning wood of the celebratory fires. The odor of roasting meat filled my nose. I could feel the pulse of the deep ritual drums. As I stood on top of that hill, feeling the Irish wind whipping my hair, I felt the power of the words spoken by ancient Druid priests calling upon the sun god for blessing.

Sheep share the hill at Loughcrew
The cairn at Loughcrew, Ireland

Fire was, and still is, a significant component of midsummer celebrations. In midsummer, our ancient ancestors were concerned with making sure their crops would have plenty of sun to help them grow to maturity for harvest. Fire was considered “sympathetic magic,” used to amplify or call down the power of the sun.

The ancients relied on the cooperation of nature for their survival. These ancient sites reveal that their rituals were tied to nature’s cycles.

When I wrote Emily’s House, I knew that I wanted to include a scene with an ancient Celtic ritual. What fit with the story was a ban feis, a ritualistic marriage of the King to the Goddess (representing the land). Once I’d been to Ireland and Loughcrew, I rewrote the scene entirely, calling on my impressions of the ancient rites that I received subconsciously while I was there. While at Loughcrew, the whole place imbued with the lingering imprint of the spirits of our ancient ancestors who built it, I felt like I’d been there before.

Perhaps we’ve all been there. Maybe the collective memory of the days when our ancestors danced and feasted around the bonfire is buried in our DNA. Just maybe our need to mark the seasons with ritual and merriment is an ingrained part of our human nature.

Being a desert dweller, the fires of midsummer will burn in my heart rather than my yard. Sláinte!



Midsummer Blog Hop Participants

1.  Pippa Jay   13.  Liana Brooks   25.  Debra A. Soles  
2.  Misa Buckley   14.  A. R. Norris   26.  Marlene @ Reading Reality  
3.  Arlene Webb   15.  L.J. Garland & Debbie Gould   27.  Rae Lori  
4.  Pauline Baird Jones   16.  Sandra Sookoo   28.  Bella Street  
5.  Frances Pauli   17.  Cara Michaels   29.  Kyn Hatch  
6.  Imogene Nix   18.  Sheryl Nantus   30.  T.K. Anthony  
7.  Natalie Wright   19.  Diane Dooley   31.  Jo Jones  
8.  Greta van der Rol   20.  Kathleen Scott   32.  A.B. Gayle  
9.  Jessica E. Subject   21.  Ella Drake   33.  Sue Ann Bowling  
10.  Kayelle Allen   22.  Cathy Pegau   34.  S. Reesa Herberth and Michelle Moore  
11.  Joanne Elder   23.  T. C. Archer   35.  DL Jackson  
12.  Melisse Aires   24.  Kitty Roads   36.  Hywela Lyn  

Summer Teen Reading Party with Emerald Barnes & A Giveaway!

Happy Friday! Please welcome my guest, Emerald Barnes, to this Friday edition of the Summer Teen Reading Party. Emerald is the author of Read me Dead – a fascinating title that makes me want to find out what it’s all about! Recently I had a chance to chat with Emerald and this is what she had to say.


NATALIE WRIGHT (NW): Do you have any
news to share about your work?



EMERALD BARNES (EB): I recently published a new
YA Romantic Suspense, Read Me Dead, at the end of April, and I’m working on a
new YA series and a women’s fiction novel.



NW: What books have
you written so far?


EB: I’ve written a novella,
Piercing Through the Darkness, and a full-length novel, Read Me Dead.

NW: What was the
inspiration for your book?

EB: The inspiration for Piercing
Through the Darkness
was one of my first short stories I’d ever written.  I had this vision of a young woman running
from someone who wanted to kill her for a crime she believed she didn’t commit.
Read Me Dead was based on a
dream I had about a young girl telling a secret, a secret that could get her
killed.

NW: What is your
favorite scene from your book and why?

EB: There are so many of my
favorites to choose from.  But in Read Me
Dead
, I have to say, I believe that it was when Alexia, my main character,
finally tells her best friends her secret. 
The secret she’s kept for seven years, that she knew who killed her
parents.

NW: What genre do
you write in?

EB: I generally write in the YA
genre, but I’m branching out to women’s fiction.  Also, I’m working on a YA paranormal series
when I usually write suspense.

NW: Which book do you wish you had written?

EB: The Hunger Games
Trilogy!  It is simply brilliant!
NW: If you walked through a portal to dimension without
books, what three books do you want to take with you?

EB: Oh man.  That’s such a tough question!  Hunger Games, To Kill a Mockingbird, and any
of the new Doctor Who books.
NW: Describe your perfect Saturday.

EB: Spending the day with my nieces
and nephew and somehow managing to find some time to relax.

NW: What do you hope readers will take with them from your
writing?

EB: I just want them to be
transported to another life and live vicariously through my characters.  That’s always been my goal in writing.

Goodreads Summary of Read Me Dead:

Alexia Wheaton’s problems go beyond picking a dress and a date for homecoming.

For seven years, Alex has lived with a painful memory – her parents’ horrific murder. As the sole witness, she has kept quiet to protect herself, but when the local newspaper reveals her secret, Alex is plagued with fear that her parents’ murderer will soon find her – and silence her forever.

Alex is catapulted into a race against time to save her own life and bring her parents’ murderer to justice.


Emerald Barnes, Author
 You can Purchase Emerald’s Books here:

And you Can Connect with Emerald Here:
Piercing Through the Darkness is currently
priced at 99cents for the duration of May as a special promotion for the Summer
Teen Reading Party!

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Summer Teen Reading Party & My Best Ever Giveaway

Ah, summer is in the air. School is ending. The heat is cranking. Time for the beach, the mountains, laying by the pool, cutting the grass.


And time for books! Enjoy this first-annual Summer Teen Reading Party blog hop designed just for summer reading. Snag some great reads at sale prices for your summer reading pleasure.


You must check out the home page for the Summer Teen Reading Party and hop your way around the blogs to enter great giveaways and download these fun reads to your e-reader.


And enter my giveaway here! This Giveaway will last the entire month of May! Lots of chances to win my best giveaway ever.


Have fun!

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We Have a WINNER!

Congrats to Jason G. Alexander, winner of my “Judge This Book by the Cover” contest. Jason will receive a signed copy of my forthcoming novel, H.A.L.F. Here is the winning cover that all of you helped create through your comments and input:

I’m working on revisions to H.A.L.F. now. I’ll keep you posted on the release date as soon as I firm it up.

Judge this Book by the Cover – VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE & WIN!

It’s time to judge a book by the cover! Those of you who follow my blog know that I’m working on a science fiction novel, The Deep Beneath, the first in the H.A.L.F. Trilogy. I’m hoping to have it in the hands of readers in May (*crosses fingers*).

My cover artist for this project, Derek Murphy, has created some draft covers. I don’t know which concept to choose!? Can you help me decide?

Cover Option 1
Cover Option 2

Cover Option 3

Please submit your vote in the comments below by stating whether your favorite is Option 1, Option 2 or Option 3. And let me know what you like and what you don’t like about these design concepts.


But wait! Why not make a contest out of it?! If you pick what ends up being the winning cover, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a signed ARC of The Deep Beneath!


Rules & Fine Print for the Contest: In order to win, you must leave your e-mail address either in your comment OR sign up for my newsletter (at the very top of my blog on the right side). Winner will be picked at random from all those who voted for the winning cover.


Thanks everyone!