Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Giveaway Blog Hop

This month, I've decided to join the summer giveaway blog hop! It's hosted by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Mary from BookHounds and Forever Young (adult).

So make sure to visit the other blogs and enter to win their fabulous giveaways!

During the month of July, my favorite book was Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews. Giving away series books is always hard, so I will let you have your choice of any Kate Daniels book by Ilona Andrews. You can choose from these 5 books:

Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, Magic Bleeds, or Magic Slays.

Here are the rules:

- This contest is open to anywhere the Book Depository ships!
- You must be a GFC follower to enter
- You must be 13 or over
- For an extra entry, you can follow me through Twitter
- For another extra entry, you can tweet: I want to #win a Kate Daniels book by Ilona Andrews from @ReadersRefuge!
- The winner has 72 hours to respond to my e-mail after I contact them; after 72 hours, I will pick a different winner
- Winners will be chosen by

Contest has ended. Thanks everyone for participating!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Favorite Author Spotlight (2): Eoin Colfer

I have yet to read a book by Colfer that I haven't liked. Whether it's a 13-year-old criminal mastermind, a young detective, or a girl who has to help a dead man take care of his unfinished business, I fall in love with his characters every single time. His stories are well-written, have a lot of humor mixed in with some serious stuff, and show a great deal of imagination. I always look forward to reading Colfer's novels, because I know they'll be fun, suspenseful, and they'll carry a meaningful message. (Also, they're set in Ireland!)

Eoin Colfer is most well-known for his Artemis Fowl series (which is brilliant, though I haven't read the latest one), but he has also published numerous stand-alones. You can visit Colfer's webpage or follow him on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Author Interview: Sean Thomas Fisher

Sean in Iowa, tracking children of the corn
I want everyone to welcome Sean Thomas Fisher, author of Cold Faith and Zombies (my review) to Reader's Refuge!

Sean Thomas Fisher was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa and is a graduate of The University of Iowa. He has written for Rock and Country radio stations across the United States since 1998. Other available releases include: First Zombie and Second Zombie. Sean is currently finishing a novella, entitled Cold Summer Nights (Paranormal Activity meets The Ring) and investigating strange noises in the basement...

1. Zombies aren't for everyone, strangely enough. What made you start writing zombie novels?

Thank you for the opportunity to be here, Alyssa! I’ve always been a huge zombie fan, from Night of the Living Dead to 28 Weeks Later, and often daydreamed about what I would do during a massive spread. But I felt that a number of zombie books either fell into the diary/journal/military category or broke the zombie contract with the reader by enabling zombies to talk and drive cars, etc. I’m also not a big fan of the virus spreading to animals. If that really happened, there wouldn’t be much of a story to tell because it would be over for mankind in a heartbeat. The aim of my zombie books is to execute fast-paced takes on modern day spreads with real people, without trying to reinvent the wheel.

2. What was the hardest part of writing Cold Faith and Zombies?

The story itself came together pretty nicely. I knew where I wanted to go with it and the hardest part was typing fast enough before I forgot something. Although, the scene where one of the main characters runs out of luck was emotionally tough to write. Not only did I really like that character, but had based it on someone very close to me. And the only way to catch that true grief and pain was to really plug myself into the story and go deep like Inception.

3. The characters in Cold Faith and Zombies seemed very real to me. Were they based off people you know?

I’m glad you think that because the most important aspect of putting this novel together was having real characters. It’s easy for zombie books to be guilty by association with cardboard characters, which are no fun to read or write. Some of my characters are based upon people I know or actors I envision playing them in a movie. Some are also made from scratch.

4. What did you do to get you in the mood for writing this novel? Listen to music? Play zombie video games in between chapters?

I like to ride my bike through night. That usually gets my juices pumping. That or lots of coffee and Diet Coke.

5. Some writers take years to finish a novel; others take a month. How long did it take you to write Cold Faith and Zombies?

I wrote CFAZ in about four months, but kept picking at it for another eight months while I queried literary agents.

6. Now time for some fun facts. Who is your favorite author? (You can name more than one if you have to.)

My favorite author is Stephen King. He is easily the best horror writer out there and no one has come close to putting points on the board like he did back in the eighties and nineties. I also really like Joe Hill (King’s son), Max Brooks, Brian Keene, and Chuck Palahniuk.

7. Chocolate or vanilla?

Chocolate with pieces of brownie.

8. And, finally, where is your reading refuge?

My reading refuge is usually in our panic room, where I can keep an eye on all of the security monitors at the same time.

9. Any upcoming releases we should know about?

There is a novella entitled Cold Summer Nights, where Rusty loses his partner in crime when Nick begins dating Summer. Things get worse for Rusty when the two friends begin experiencing paranormal activity, which ends up taking the lives of those around them. It doesn't take Rusty long to figure out that Summer isn't who she says she is. Cold Summer Nights will be available this August.

You can find Sean at his blog or on Facebook.

Pick up Cold Faith and Zombies at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords

You can pick up Sean's other books, First Zombie, and Second Zombie as well.

First Zombie: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords
Second Zombie: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords

Thank you so much Sean! And thanks to all of you for joining me. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Final Update

I definitely didn't get as much reading done as I'd planned. I had to babysit my 3-year-old niece for the first two days, but tried to make up for lost time on the last day. Overall, I'm happy with the results. I finished two books and made headway in two more.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - FINISHED! :)

The Green Mile by Stephen King - FINISHED! :)

The Briar King by Gregory Keyes - 25% completed (I'm really not liking this book and may just give up.)

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (on audiobook -- I resorted to this when my eyes got tired) - 6 chapters listened to

I wish I would have participated in more mini-challenges, actually, but now I'll just make that a goal for next time. I hope everybody had as much fun as I did!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Mini-Challenge Day 1

Hi everyone. Once Upon a Read-a-Thon has started! How have you all been doing with it so far? I fell asleep early last night so I haven't gotten as much reading done as I planned. However, I am going to the beach tomorrow, where I will lay in the sun and read, read, read.

IB Book Blogging has posted the second mini-challenge of the day, and here it is!

Mini Challenge Question 1:
What is your favorite type of myth (Greek, Roman, Egyptian etc)?

ANSWER: My favorite type of myth is Celtic. They have everything -- trolls, giants, faeries, evil witches, etc. It's also horrific. I think all myths have their dark side, but I think Celtic is really dark. Mostly this is because instead of gods fighting with each other, it's magical creatures preying on humans which is terrifying in a wonderful way. (Yeah, I'm twisted. :P)

Mini Challenge Question 2:
What is your favorite book with some type of mythology in it?

ANSWER: One series that is really good at melding Celtic mythology with the paranormal is Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series. Of course, my favorite book from this series has also been the darkest one. Go figure. That would be book 3: Iron Kissed.

Enough blogging for now. Back to reading!