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Friday, November 17, 2017

Blog Tour- TREMONTAINE Promo Post & A Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for TREMONTAINE! 

I have a promo post to share with you today! And make sure to enter the giveaway below!

Haven't heard of TREMONTAINE? Check it out!

Author: Ellen Kushner, Joel Derfner, Karen Lord, Delia Sherman, Racheline Maltese, Paul Witcover, Tessa Gratton, and Liz duffy Adams.
Pub. Date: October 11, 2017
Publisher: Serial Box
Formats: eBook & audiobook
Since launching last year, serial fiction startup Serial Box has been featured from coast to coast including stories on NPRWiredBuzzFeed and i09. Serial Box was called “a godsend for a niche market of readers” by The Chicago Tribune.

As one of the flagship serials from Serial Box with tens of thousands of readers across multiple platforms, Tremontaine has made waves in the serial, LGBTQ, and fan fiction community. 

Tremontaine introducers readers to a world where ambition, love affairs, and rivalries dance with deadly results. In this serial, Ellen Kushner and a team of writers return readers to the world of scandal and swordplay introduced in her cult-classic novel Swordspoint. Readers familiar with the series will find a welcome homecoming while new fans will learn what makes Riverside a place they will want to visit again and again. Tremontaine follows Diane, Duchess Tremontaine, whose beauty is matched only by her cunning; Rafe Fenton, a handsome young scholar with more passion than sense; Ixkaab Balam, a tradeswoman from afar with skill for swords and secrets; and Micah, a gentle genius whose discoveries herald revolution. Sparks fly as these four lives intersect in a world where politics is everything, and outcasts are the tastemakers. 

Team-written by some of today’s most exciting authors, Tremontaine season 3 is brought to you by Ellen KushnerJoel DerfnerKaren LordDelia ShermanRacheline MaltesePaul WitcoverTessa Gratton, and Liz duffy Adams.
Now on to the post
How We Wrote It


This piece originally appeared on the Serial Box blog. You can find a link here.

Tremontaine is the critically acclaimed prequel to Ellen Kushner’s beloved Riverside novels, which developed a cult following beginning with Swordspoint in 1987. The Fantasy of Manners” focuses on decadent world building and interpersonal intrigue, and has been noted for its progressive expression of gender and sexuality. Team-written by some of today’s most exciting authors, Tremontaine season 3 is brought to you by Ellen Kushner, Joel Derfner, Karen Lord, Delia Sherman, Racheline Maltese, Paul Witcover, Tessa Gratton, and Liz Duffy Adams. The first episode is available for free at Serial Box and can be found here. (link: http://bit.ly/TremS3RST)

One of the questions I keep hearing about Tremontaine is but how does the writing process work?” to which the short answer is Well, first we were all locked in a room together for three days.”

Serial Box serials start with a writer’s retreat, where the team gets together and figures out who the characters are, what the story is about, and who is going to write what. For Tremontaine, this was complicated by the fact that we were playing in an existing sandbox, and, like any good creator, Ellen wanted to give us free rein while also maintaining control and consistency over a world readers have known for decades.

So we went into the retreat, held in Ellen and Delia’s New York apartment, with Ellen’s draft of the pilot and some verbal sketches of our new characters, including Micah and Kaab (whose name was originally Chalchi). Other possible characters including a swordsman vanished as Rafe took shape and we realized who we could use that readers were already familiar with. Most of this happened on our first day.Tremontaine Series Cover

Which meant we came back into day two needing to figure out what on earth the first season of Tremontaine would be about, while also making sure each of main characters had personal objectives beyond just supporting the narratives of other people.

Overall, the Tremontaine writers are a loud, aggressive group. We shout when we get excited, flap our hands when we get really excited, and aren’t fantastic about letting each other finish our sentences.  And while that can be frustrating for everyone at times, it’s also a positive, because it means we’re all putting the story and our potential vision for it, ahead of pretty much anything else.

Deciding what Tremontaine would truly be about got intense. Sometimes we worried our idea were too complicated, odd, or complex. And every time we hit one of those doubts, we all looked at each other and doubled down. This was a room that loved anti-heroes.

After surviving day two and figured out what Tremontaine was about (and because it’s a mystery, I still can’t tell you), we had to decide what part of the story would happen in each episode.  This involved a lot of notecards on corkboards and borrowing the Friends episode naming convention of The one with.

Who would write what was a process defined by of how many episodes people were contracted for, what we thought would be easier for our guest author Paul Witcover to step in on (as he wasn’t a part of this room), and what people’s particular strengths and interests were.  Some episodes everyone wanted. Some episodes no one wanted. And much later, after all the episodes were written, many of us found our experiences with them were different than we anticipated. Writing, of course, is always like that. There’s fun, serendipity, and really hard work lurking in all sorts of places.

Most of all though, in a process like this there is knitting. Each episode has to not just lead into the next, but each episode has to successfully seed small details needed later in the plot. So while each story is absolutely that of its lead author(s), we all went to each other for help on things. What do Tess’s living arrangements look like? How should fighting styles differ between characters? What is the physical and political geography of Kaab’s homeland? Are household servant roles modeled on the 19th century or the 17th century or something else entirely?

During the weeks and months of Tremontaine we read each other’s drafts, offered feedback, reminded people of items we needed set up for our own episodes, and consulted experts on a wide range of topics including math and cards. We also enlisted outside readers in places, including regarding Micah’s experience of the world. Many of us had written ASD characters (or characters our world would perceive as ASD) before Tremontaine, but we wanted fresh eyes, especially because of Micah’s affection for numbers.

But before any of that could happen we had to, on the last day of the retreat, name the series. I’ll share some of those discarded names after this season concludes, as at least one of them is a spoiler, but the discussion went on for hours. And hours. By then, half of us were lying on Ellen and Delia’s floor eating bagels and moaning in pain. Would the retreat ever end? Would our serial ever have a name?

Eventually, Ellen asked, If it’s about the duchess, why can’t we just call it Tremontaine?”

We decided the duchess would be very pleased with that turn of events indeed.

About Seral Box:
A new kind of publishing company for a new age.
While technology has rapidly evolved, the way publishers and writers bring books to readers really hasn't. Storytelling in TV has become more sophisticated and multilayered, podcasts have risen to mainstream media statusbut ebooks are just books on digital devices, not easier, more fun, or more social than they were before.
Serial Box is here to change all of that: artfully blending together the best of series television and the convenience of ebooks and audiobooks to bring readers a new form of story telling. Releasing fiction serials over the course of 10-16 week seasons, Serial Box is about delivering addictive episodes straight to the user’s digital device to be read or listened to anytime, anywhere.

Taking a few pages from the world of television, Serial Box hires a team of a talented and award-winning writers to collaborate on each serial, pulling the best ideas to develop great characters and craft a narrative that captivates readers over the course of the season. A new ensemble of writers works on each series, so each will vary in genre and length, but they'll always be entertaining page-turners that keep you wondering what will happen in next week's episode.

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive season 1 of TREMONTAINE, International.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
Week One:
11/6/2017- A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt
11/6/2017- Jamieson WolfeReview

11/7/2017- Books,Dreams,LifePre Made Post
11/7/2017- BookishRealmReviewsSpotlight

11/8/2017- Novel NoviceExcerpt
11/8/2017- BookHounds YAReview

11/9/2017- Owl Always Be ReadingReview
11/9/2017- BookCrushinReview

11/10/2017- Read Lovely BooksExcerpt

Week Two:
11/13/2017- Owl Always Be ReadingReview
11/13/2017- YA and WinePre Made Post

11/14/2017- Hauntedbybooks13Review
11/14/2017- Texan Girl ReadsReview

11/15/2017- Hooked To Books- Spotlight

11/16/2017- A Gingerly ReviewReview

11/17/2017- Owl Always Be ReadingReview
11/17/2017- Two Chicks on BooksPre made post

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Blog Tour- INTO THE BLACK by Ava Jae an Interview & Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for INTO THE BLACK by Ava Jae! 

I have an interview with Ava to share with you today! And make sure to enter the giveaway below!

Haven't heard of INTO THE BLACK? Check it out!

Title: INTO THE BLACK (Beyond The Red #2)
Author: Ava Jae
Pub. Date: November 14, 2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Pages: 360
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: AmazonB&NTBDGoodreads
The world ruler is dead, technology foundational to their society destroyed, and Safara is on the brink of collapse. Half-human, half-alien Eros is the rightful heir to the world throne, but before he can return to the capital, he's abducted by a rebel group of humans who call themselves The Remnant--and won't release him until he swears to help them overthrow the very government he's inheriting. With Eros missing, ex-queen Kora is determined to stave off mad grabs for the throne. But as royalty from across the territories flock to the capital, and a new charismatic candidate takes the spotlight, Kora sets off into the desert with a skilled prince-turned-bounty hunter to find Eros before it's too late for both the future king and his kingdom.
Now on to the interview!

Hi Ava! First I want to say welcome back to Two Chicks on Books I’m happy you stopped by for a visit! INTO THE BLACK is going to be absolutely fantastic and I can’t wait to read it!

Is there a title for book 3 yet? How about a cover?

Book 3 doesn’t have a cover yet (though that process will be starting sooooon) but it does have a title: THE RISING GOLD. It also *cough, mumble* has a Goodreads page if you wanna, you know, do that thing 


Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?

Uhnope! Everyone in the trilogy have been purely fictional people without any real-life counterparts.

Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?

Deimos, who is a new character, was easily my favorite to write. From his very first line of dialogue I knew he was going to be an absolutely delightand I was right. J I’m not sure I really had a least favorite to writeeven the jerks were interesting to work with because they were jerks. Kora has remained the most challenging to write, though, from first book to last.

What is your favorite passage/scene in INTO THE BLACK?

I’m going to be vague about this because spoilers but there’s this one scene where Eros has to do this test, and before he does the actual testing portion he has to take some substances, which, er, put him in a good mood. He makes some really hilarious observations and his inner thoughts were super fun to write throughout that sceneplus the seriousness of the test hes taking mixed with the ridiculousness of his state of mind was just a total blast to put together.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

Off the top of my head, I remember doing research on PTSD, brain injuries and partial blindness.

Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?

Nikolai from the Shadow & Bone trilogy has remained a favorite of mine for years. (And yes, I am very excited he’s getting his own book!)

What inspired you to write YA?

I sort of started writing YA before I knew what YA waswhich I had no excuse for because YA was totally a thing at the time. But once I realized YA was actually what I was writing, I began reading more and more of itand the more I read the more I knew that was what I wanted to write.

Lightning Round Questions

What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

I’m in the middle of A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, which I’ve been reading for months nowbut between grad school and everything else Ive had verrrry little time for pleasure reading. So Im reading and enjoying that, and I have a mountainous TBR waiting for me, including The Ship Beyond Time, They Both Die at the End, There’s Someone Inside Your House, One Dark Throne, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, Heart of Iron and seriously so much more.

What Hogwarts House would the Sorting Hat place you in?


Twitter or Facebook?

Twitter, obviously. ;)

Favorite Superhero?

Gambit from X-Men. Also Deadpool from X-Men.

Favorite TV show?

Sense8. Also Vikings. Also Stranger Things.

Sweet or Salty?


Any Phobias?

Spiders and bees are 100% terrifying 100% of the time.

Song you can’t get enough of right now?

The fully Spanish version of “Despacito.”

Winter Movie you’re most looking forward to?

STAR WARRRRRRRRRRRRS oh god why isn’t it December yet?

Thanks so much Ava for answering my questions! I can’t wait for everyone to read INTO THE BLACK!

Thanks so much for having me! J

About Ava:
Ava Jae is a writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Her YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, is releasing March 2016 from Sky Pony Press. When she’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find her with her nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on her blogTwitterFacebooktumblr, GoodreadsInstagram, or YouTube channel.

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of INTO THE BLACK, US Only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
Week One:
11/6/2017- YA Books CentralInterview
11/7/2017- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
11/8/2017- Wandering Bark BooksGuest Post
11/9/2017- Dreamy AddictionsReview
11/10/2017- The Cover ContessaInterview

Week Two:
11/13/2017- Literary MeanderingsReview
11/14/2017- Emily Reads EverythingReview
11/15/2017- Seeing Double In NeverlandReview
11/16/2017- Two Chicks on BooksInterview
11/17/2017- Book-KeepingReview

Grab book 1 now!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Blog Tour- AIRWOMAN by Zara Quentin An Interview & Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for AIRWOMAN by Zara Quentin! 

I have an interview with Zara to share with you today! And make sure to enter the giveaway below!

Haven't heard of AIRWOMAN? Check it out!

Author: Zara Quentin
Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Zara Quentin
Pages: 316
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
A father murdered by magic. A daughter’s cosmic quest for clues could make her the next victim…

Jade Gariq dreams of a new calling. While she wishes she could join the elite force that protects her home world from interdimensional threats, she’s stuck working for the family business. But everything changes when her father is found dead with traces of magic on him… magic that should only belong to the mythical Dragon-Gods…

To uncover the mystery behind her father’s murder, Jade must follow the clues to an uncharted world. Beyond the portal, treacherous jungles, surprising betrayals, and a killer bent on tying up loose ends stand in her way of the truth. It’ll take every ounce of Jade’s cunning to solve her father’s death, but can she avoid his fate?

Airwoman is a high-flying YA fantasy novel set in a stunning new Dragonverse. If you like fascinating worlds, memorable characters, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love Zara Quentin’s action-packed adventure. 

Buy Airwoman today to let your imagination take flight!

For a free preview of Airwoman, find it at: http://www.zaraquentin.com/

Now on to the interview!

Hey Zara!! First I want to say welcome to Two Chicks on Books I’m glad you could stop by for a chat! AIRWOMAN sounds AWESOME and I can’t wait for everyone to read it!

For the readers: can you tell us a little bit about AIRWOMAN and the characters?

Airwoman is about a young womanJade Gariqwho dreams of exploring the Dragonverse. All her life, shes heard stories of far-flung worlds, that she’s never been able to visit. That’s because Jade is stuck working in the family business that she’ll one day inherita large, cross-portal trading company.  Her future is set, though its a life she doesnt want.

She dreams of joining the Traveller Forcethe elite Taraqans who traverse the Betwixt, filled with terrifying beasts, and who protect and patrol the Dragonverse. Despite having been Travellers themselves once, Jade’s parents refuse to risk their daughter’s life. When Jade’s father dies suddenly, she inherits Gariq Industries, with all its assets and social responsibilities.

It seems her fate has, once again, been decided.

Meanwhile, Axelher close friend and secret crushdisappears without a trace. Then Jade discovers the circumstances surrounding her fathers death are not what they seemthere are whispers of impossible magicand her uncle Zorman suspects foul play.

To uncover the mystery behind her father’s murder, Jade must follow the clues to an uncharted world. Beyond the portal, treacherous jungles, surprising betrayals, and a killer bent on tying up loose ends, all stand in the way of the truth. It will take every ounce of Jade’s cunning to solve her father’s death, unless his killer finds her first

How many books do you have planned for the series?

I plan for the series to be a trilogy. Originally, I had planned for about five books, but I decided to shorten itpartly because when I looked at the series arc, I thought it worked better as a trilogy, and partly because there are other writing ideas that I want to explore too! However, I really like the world of Airwoman and I think it lends itself to other stories, so I’m open to writing more from the perspective of other characters tooWatch this space!

Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?

None of my characters are specific people that I know, but some of their personality traits come from people I know. For example, Zorman is a very charismatic character who has the kind of charm that makes everyone in the room believe they’re his best friend. This aspect of Zorman’s character was inspired by a friend of mine who has a similar trait. However, my friend also has many other traits that make her different to Zorman. While I see aspects of people I know in some of the charactersbecause when authors invent characters they are drawing on their experience with people in real lifebut none of my characters are completely based on any one person in particular. Theyre unique that way.

Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?

I also really enjoyed writing Namaje who is a native Premyan woman. The Premyan people use a ‘finger-language’ (like sign language), rather than verbal speech, so when they interact with Taraqans, their language is not at the same level as a native speaker. I found it challenging to convey her meaning and ideas in a way that was not verbal. I couldn’t have her explain things in the way that other characters might do, so I had to be inventive in the way that I had her express complex ideas. I enjoyed that challenge.

I’m not sure any of the characters were really my least favorite. I found some characters harder to write at times, such as Axel. I think I found him a little more difficult because, though he’s front and center in the story, as a reader, we experience him through Jade more than we experience him through his own words and actions. He’s also more of a secretive, quiet type, so it was a challenge to create depth for him.

What is your favorite passage/scene in AIRWOMAN?

I really like Magnus Gariq’s funeral scene (Jade’s father). The way people bury their dead says a lot about their culture and beliefs so I got to bring in a lot of elements of Taraqan society that wouldn’t have had any other place in the book. I really enjoy the world building process and a lot of the elements of world building that I’d done came together in this sceneelements of the Dragon-God religion, social strata, burial rites, the differences between air-based peoples and land-bound peoples. I mostly pantsed (as in, wrote it by the seat of my pants) this scene (though I knew it would be in the story from my outline) and really enjoyed letting my imagination loose. Interestingly, it was also one of the few scenes that I barely touched in revision.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

One of the great things about writing fantasy is that I don’t have to do a lot of real world research (which I hate). However, I do have to do a lot of world-building (which I love) and that involves asking myself lots and lots of questions about how the world works, and why. I consider this to be my “research”. I like my worlds to evolve organically. In the real world, usually a species has evolved to deal with their environment in a particular way because it improves their chances of survival. So, when I was developing the world of the Dragonverse, I did a lot of work to make sure that it made sense.

For example, if a species of people had wings, it wouldn’t make sense for them to build their houses on the ground where they could be attacked by land-based predators. They would probably build towns and cities in places where they would be easily accessible by air. So, Ingresston (the capital of Taraqa) was situated at the top of the cliffs, below the sky-based Portal that links Taraqa to the other worlds of the Dragonverse. Another reason I set the Taraqan homes in the clifftops, rather than in treehouses in a forest, for example, was because people roughly the same size as humans would need an immense wingspan to be able to fly. Therefore, a forest would likely be too dense to accommodate many winged people. That’s also why, when Jade goes to Premye (a densely forested jungle), she is forced to walk more than she’s used to, because her wingspan is too large to navigate between the trees.

Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?

Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J Maashes a great example of someone who is comfortable enough with themselves to value an equal partner in the relationship, who respects and values his partner’s decisions, and he’s intelligent and funny with a keen moral compass.

What inspired you to write YA?

When I first started to love readingreally fell in love with itI was reading YA books. I remember reading voraciously at that time in my life (I’d like to do that now too, but I have less time for it!). Devouring books in days or less, because I was so immersed in the experience.

Also, I think that, at about the age people start to read YA, they are in a place where they can choose to read or choose to do something else. By this I mean that they don’t have parents and teachers breathing down their neck to read a chapter of their reader every night. While I have no hard data for this assertion, from my experience and my observation of others, it seems that in this period of their lives, kids either become people who voluntarily read because they love it, and people who may only pick up a couple more books in the rest of their lives.

Whether you like to read YA fiction or adult fiction, I think the experience of reading fiction (as opposed to reading non-fiction) is important to foster empathy, understanding and imagination. I’m passionate about getting kids reading (and adults). When people tell me that they don’t read much, I feel so sorry for them because I know what they’re missing out on.

So I write because I want to recreate that experience for other readers, and especially those who might be sitting on the fence between loving books and being one of those people who will only pick up a book if they’re forced to. If I can be part of an enjoyable reading experience for someone who might not otherwise read, then that makes me happy!

Lightening Round Questions

What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

I’m currently reading an anthologyMyths and Magicbecause Im keen to discover some new authors and I find anthologies a great way to do that. Ive also got Dragons of Nova (Loom Saga #2) by Elise Kova on my TBR that Im dying to read.

What Hogwarts House would the Sorting Hat place you in?


Twitter or Facebook?


Favorite Superhero?

Wonder Womanmainly because I really liked the Wonder Woman movie and I thought her backstory was interesting!

Favorite TV show?

At the moment, it’s got to be a tie between Game of Thrones and Outlander.

Sweet or Salty?

Sweet. Mmmm chocolate

Any Phobias?

That global warming is going to send cocoa and coffee plants extinct and I’ll have to live in a world without chocolate or coffee eek! Ok, if I’m honest, I’m more immediately frightened of spiders and heights.

Song you can’t get enough of right now?

Feels by Calvin Harris and Supercut by Lorde

2017 Movie you’re most looking forward to?

I hardly ever get to the movies so I barely even know what’s coming out this year! Probably, the next Kingsman moviethe first one was hilarious, so I have high hopes for the next one too.

Thanks so much Zara for answering my questions! I can’t wait for everyone to read AIRWOMAN!

About Zara:
Zara Quentin is the author of Airwoman, the first book in the Airwoman series. She was raised in Adelaide, Australia, with one younger sister. Zara grew up with a strong sense of adventure, which she inherited from her parents, who took her and her sister on trips to the United States, Europe, and Asia.

She also inherited a love of reading from her mother. Throughout her childhood she explored fictional places through books, and in particular, through fantasy novels. She’d turn the black and white text on the page into the colourful worlds of her imagination.

After graduating from high school, Zara studied at the University of Adelaide and has lived in France, London, and Auckland, New Zealand. She is always determined to fit in as much travel as possible, spending time in Europe, the United States, southern Africa, Morocco, Peru, the Pacific and south-east Asia. 

Zara now resides in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children. She is currently working on the next instalment in the Airwoman series.
 Find Zara:

Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a $25 Gift Card to the book retailer of their choice from Amazon, B&N, or TBD, International.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
Week One:
10/30/2017- Mythical BooksInterview
10/30/2017- Blushing BibliophileReview

10/31/2017- Rabid Readers Book BlogExcerpt
10/31/2017- To Be ReadReview

11/1/2017- BookHounds YAGuest Post
11/1/2017- jrsbookreviews- Review

11/2/2017- Maddie.TVInterview
11/2/2017- My Creatively Random LifeReview

11/3/2017- Books,Dreams,LifeExcerpt

Week Two:
11/6/2017- The Hermit LibrarianGuest Post
11/6/2017- J Heart Loves Books- Review

11/7/2017- YA and WineInterview
11/7/2017- Lori's Little House of ReviewsReview

11/8/2017- Hooked To BooksExcerpt
11/8/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview

11/9/2017- Spilling WordsExcerpt

11/10/2017- Daily Waffle- Interview
11/10/2017- Perspective of a WriterReview
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