Songs of Destruction and Dating Nerds

Today I’m so excited to let one of my favorite publishing sistas from Curiosity Quills take over my blog to promote her new release!

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Let me just say that I LOOOVED her first book, Fade, and recommended it to anyone looking for a paranormal read.

Let me also say that Ayden has been served a pretty large cup of suffering as of late, and she could really use our help promoting her new book right now. You can visit her blog if you’d like the full story. But as always, Ayden is keeping strong and carrying on . . . . so take it away, Ayden!

Songs of Destruction:  FALL’s Playlist by @AKMorgen

Music is such a big source of inspiration for me. Nothing invokes a certain emotion, memory, or frame of mind quite like the perfect song. Naturally, one of the first things I do when I sit down to write is to create a playlist that reminds me of the story in some way.

In my new release, FALL (The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two), we see this struggle unfolding between Arionna Jacobs and Dace Matthews, our apocalypse stopping heroine and hero, where they both have their own ideas on what’s best for everyone. They end up clashing over those differences of opinion and reacting to this added element of angst in their relationship in some pretty intense ways at times. As a result, this created a sort of dark, melancholy tone for FALL in places.

I’m not exactly a dark and melancholy kind of person, so it was critical that I found music that captured that feeling or it simply wouldn’t have worked. But because FALL took over a year to write, I often reached this point where I literally could not listen to a specific song again without wanting to scream. I had to switch things up for my sanity, so the playlist for FALL evolved and changed a lot while I wrote.

Luckily, there is an endless supply of music out there that really captures the more angsty parts of FALL, so I had a lot of good choices. 🙂

Here are some of my favorite angst-ridden songs from FALL’s playlists:

  • Letters      From The Sky – The Civil Wars      – This song so perfectly captures Ari and Dace’s relationship, and the      whole hopeful yet melancholy apocalypse theme of the series, I added it to      the list the first time I heard it.
  • Closer      – Burn Season –      This song reminds me so much of Dace at times. He’s so screwed up, and yet      so amazingly good at the same time, I always feel a little sad for him.
  • Maybe      Tomorrow – Stereophonics – I      can’t think of any other song that says so much with so little. It’s sad,      it’s hopeful, and just all around powerful.
  • All      Falls Down – Adelitas Way – This song was an early favorite.      I love it for Ronan, who we see a lot more of in FALL, and really start      getting to know. It also perfectly captures some of the darkest points of      the entire Ragnarök series.
  • Radioactive      – Imagination Dragons – This      song has such a great feel to it. There’s that apocalyptic vibe, and then      that self-loathing vibe, and then underneath all of that is the story of      an awakening or desire to change. We see a little of each in FALL.
  • Always      – Saliva – This is      one of my all time favorite pissed off songs. It’s so spot on when it      comes to that “breaking point” of relationship angst. I rocked      it a time or five.
  • One      More Night – Maroon 5      – This is another great dysfunctional relationship song. Plus, I don’t      know anyone who can make dysfunction sound as hot as Adam Levine does.
  • Hold      it Against Me –      Sam Tsui – Speaking of hot, I love, love, love Sam Tsui’s cover of this      song. It’s so raw and lovely at the same time. There’s a specific scene in      FALL where this song fit perfectly.
  • Tears      of an Angel – Ryandan      – If I had to pick a single song to listen to while writing the entire      Ragnarök Prophesies series, this song would be it. It’s haunting,      beautiful, sad, hopeful, and just all around amazing.

You can listen to this playlist, as well as a few bonus tracks, here.

About the Author:

A.K. Morgen lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her husband, three dogs, and demonic cat. She has a graduate degree in Criminal Justice and Law, and plans to save the world some day. When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching her niece and nephews how to cause mischief. You can also find her dancing in the grocery store, building a spork army, and fundraising for nonprofits close to her heart.

You can learn more about Ayden at http://akmorgen.com or by following her on Twitter, GoodReads, or Facebook.

FALL – The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two (summary)

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How do you save someone who doesn’t want to be saved?

Those called to stand guard against the end are broken, and Sköll and Hati run free. Now Arionna Jacobs and Dace Matthews face a threat unlike any before. Ragnarök is coming and they aren’t strong enough to stop it.

Arionna thought she understood sacrifice, but she never counted on her destiny tearing Dace apart. Ever since she nearly died, he has been consumed with guilt. Now it threatens to turn him into the monster he always feared.

It’s up to Arionna to stop him before it’s too late, but the path to hell is paved with good intentions, and Dace is hurtling toward self destruction. This time, Arionna isn’t sure she can save him from himself. Can she convince him to let the past go, or is her true destiny to sacrifice her heart in exchange for the lives of the people she loves?

You can read the official prologue to FALL here.

FALL – The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two will be available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble on October 5, 2013 from Curiosity Quills Press.  FADE – The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book One is available now at Amazon US, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

*Thanks for visiting, Ayden! You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers! I loved your playlist! Maroon 5 and The Civil Wars are two of my favs!

What song is at the top of your playlist right now? I don’t know why, but I’m loving Royals by Lorde. I heard it for the first time on the way to my retreat last weekend when I was in the car with teenagers, and now it’s stuck in my head. Sooo catchy . . . .

Last but not least, I’d also like to give a shout out to the hilarious Cassie Mae! Happy Book Birthday, chica! Be sure to pick up her new release on Kindle today for only $2.99!

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Suffering IS NOT Failing

There’s many different cups of suffering . . . in physical aches, emotional pain, motherhood, friendships, loneliness, marriage issues, financial hardships, rejection (writing has dealt me an overflowing cup of this one), abuse, divorce . . . we don’t deserve these cups of suffering, but even though God loves us, He doesn’t take these sufferings away.

Coffee

Oh, how I wish a cup of suffering meant Starbucks getting my order wrong and therefore, ending up getting coffee wasted which results in a massive sugar withdrawal incident that has me sprinting across  eight busy lanes of traffic chasing after SpongeBob (you don’t want to know).

Our pastor’s daughter, Kristy Turner, shared the message, “Suffering Is Not Failing,” at the Women’s Retreat I attended for our church at South Seas Plantation this weekend. She shared from Matthew 26:36-46 when Jesus asks his Father to take the cup of suffering from him because he knows he’s about to go to the cross. It’s because of the anguish Jesus went through that he can relate to our suffering. Ultimately, it’s our sufferings that mold us in life . . . it keeps us humble, reminds us of our constant need for God, and benefits those around us as they see God at work in our lives.

I thought a lot of my sufferings during this retreat . . . I felt God whispering to me during her message that I’ve always been so self-sufficient because of the sufferings I endured as a child. I HAD to be independent for survival, and now it’s a difficult habit to break. I don’t admit weakness or ask for help easily. This wouldn’t be so hard if I just sat back and relaxed, but my adult life has been filled with one big project after another. Hubs often feels the need to ask me, “Why do you have to take on the world?” I just thought I liked activity, but this weekend I realized that deep down in my soul, I felt the need to prove something to myself and to the people who ignored me and made me feel insignificant growing up. Jesus reassured me that even if I didn’t do allll those things, he still loves me and I was worth dying for *wipes tears from eyes*

So will I still “think big”? Sure I will! It’s a part of me, but I’m gonna ask for more help along the way and believe my husband when he tells me that sometimes “less is more.” I’m going to take more time to enjoy the simple things in life . . . things I got to enjoy this weekend. The smell of coconut scented sunscreen melting into my skin as I relaxed on the beach, the whispering of the waves, laughing with my friends, the horizon of a sunrise, the treat of a cold Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino from Starbucks, the warm breeze and water washing over my sandy toes as I read a good book.

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Keep calm and carry on!

It’s easy to get caught up in the suffering, the “failing,” and the busyness of life. But it is possible to have peace with God in all things. To end with another cliché (hey, don’t give me that judging look that says you’re a writer–you have no business posting a blog filled with clichés), “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Take a deep breath, and know that God loves you!

What about you? Have there been times in your life when you felt like you needed to think small instead of big? Have you drank from the cup of suffering and thought it was because you failed in some way?

Harry Potter, Evade, and Taking the World By Storm!!!

So, if you’re a follower of Pottermore News, you might’ve heard a few days ago that the President and CEO of NBC Universal, Steve Burke, revealed during his remarks at a conference that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, the expansion of the current WWoHP in Orlando, will open in Spring 2014. As luck would have it, we got free tickets to the Universal and the Islands of Adventure theme parks yesterday, so I was able to take a sneak peek at Diagon Alley! Here’s the view from Universal: DSC06987As you can see, I’m trying to hurry up construction with my magic skills. It didn’t seem to work though . . . .
DSC06990And that’s the view from the Islands of Adventure side. But Harry Potter news isn’t the only thing making my heart happy this weekend!
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One of those great things is arriving October 1st . . . that’s when Evade will release, the anticipated sequel to Ever!
In this thrilling sequel, Ever Van Ruysdael’s race to beat the odds—and the clock—begins with the introduction of an integral part of her past. As secrets are revealed, and truths uncovered, she learns her imminent death is the least of her problems: Ariadne did more than just put an expiration date on her life; she marked Ever’s soul by upping its value for greedy collectors looking to buy their freedom.
Condemned by the countdown on her life, and hunted by hired Seekers, Ever’s journey leads her to question everything she’s known and everyone she’s trusted, while growing closer to the one person from her past she was determined to avoid—and the one guy she never could—Toby James.
With her ex-boyfriend by her side, and the countdown clock rapidly ticking away, Ever tries thwarting fate’s plans. But as her nineteenth birthday approaches, and desperate Seekers follow her every move, she may be too late.
A marked soul is hard to come by … and even harder to escape.

This weekend, sites around the blogosphere have been revealing Evade‘s cover, so let’s take a look-see!

EvadeFront-Cover
EVADE’S LINKS:
JESSA RUSSO’S LINKS:
GRAB A COPY OF EVER: Book One of The EVER Trilogy!
COVER CREDIT: 
Cover Photo: Face On By Tamara Website | Facebook | Twitter

Also, this week I commented on the Head Ninja’s blog and asked him the million-dollar question for a chance to win a Cassa mug, mousepad, magnet, and swag! The last book in his trilogy is releasing this Tuesday, September 17th!

Q: Burger or steak?

A: Burger as long as it’s a turkey or chicken burger. I rarely do beef. Too unhealthy.

CassaStorm

By Alex J Cavanaugh

From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“Cavanaugh has created wonderfully moving moments of great poignancy… CassaStorm could have been a dark story full of hardship and angst, but instead it’s a cleverly balanced story about hope and triumph.” – Lynda R. Young, author of Make Believe

“Cavanaugh makes world building on the galactic scale look easy. The stakes affect the entire known universe and yet Cavanaugh makes it intensely personal for our hero. The final installment of this series will break your heart and put it back together.” – Charity Bradford, science fantasy author of The Magic Wakes

“One thing Alex does really well is ‘sell’ the reader on his world building. …an enjoyable, fast-paced read that not only delivered on the final climax, but also managed to pleasantly surprise me.” – Bob Milne, Beauty in Ruins

Find CassaStorm:

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

Amazon Kindle

Goodreads

$16.95 USA, 6×9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.

Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera

Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019

$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Website

Twitter  

Goodreads

*Are you excited about these things too? What other things are coming up that I should be excited about? I love to hear from you 🙂

P.S. Any advertisements you see at the end of this post are not from me . . . just another annoying perk of a free wordpress account!

Guest Post from E.D.C. Johnson, Author of Moonflower

Today, I’m excited to welcome a fellow author to my blog. But first, I just have to post this music video, because it’s A*M*E*S*O*M*E*S*A*U*C*E (okay, I admit that I use that word in ridiculous amounts on this blog, along with excessive squees, exclamation points, smiley faces, and hearts, but I mean it in the truest definition of the word here). I seriously LMBO watching this & didn’t anticipate the surprise at all (and wonder if they got J.J. Abrams to direct it considering all the lens flares, hahaha).

So, if you didn’t find that funny, it’s okay, you’ve just lost your sense of humor 😉 Now, here’s a little bit about E.D.C. Johnson before we get started with the interview.

EDC Johnson

EDC Johnson grew up in the Midwest, graduating from Michigan State University with her BFA in Art Education and her MA in Art Education from Western Michigan University. She currently lives with her husband and daughter in Palm Harbor, Florida. Her decade of experience as a public school art teacher has inspired her to write fiction novels that will entice young readers. You may see some of her illustrations in Renee Mallet’s: Fairies, Mermaids, and Other Mystical Creatures.

J: Tell us about what you write.

EDC: I write young adult paranormal fantasy romance novels (and yes I believe paranormal and fantasy are two different things, with Moonflower bordering on both).  It is my desire to write books that will entice students to read. My illustrations are a segway for those young readers that are intimidated by novels.  The writing I do is not childlike.  It respects their real life struggles as they become adults and I write in a way that addresses important issues, which appeal to the young and “more experienced” alike.

J: As a middle school teacher Language Arts teacher, I applaud your efforts! Can you tell us what part of your main character is in you?

EDC: Josephine Woods is much like me at her age.  I put a few of my quirks in her.  Like me, she doesn’t eat eggs and she hates to cry.  Her experience with her father’s death was inspired from my interactions at the age of 16 with my own paternal grandfather on his deathbed.  Her propensity for inner monologue reflects the inner dialog I live each day as I personally over analyze the interactions I have with others.  I’m sure there are even nuances that I’m not aware I wrote into her but these are a few of the big ones.

J: It’s funny how those nuances sneak in there! Many of my friends often say they think of my MC in 18 Things as me, but I thought I was hardly like her (not a geek at all, okay, that’s a total lie!) Can you tell us something fun about yourself, related or unrelated to writing?

EDC: I like to travel and hope to do much more in the future.  I have been lucky enough to travel around the world to Paris, France; Seoul, South Korea (and outlining areas); Costa Rica; all over Ireland; the Bahamas and of course Canada.

J: That’s awesome! Out of those places, I’ve been to the Bahamas (three times on cruises), Canada (we used to camp there when I lived in Michigan), and I also went all over Ireland (in the summer of 1999 with a group of friends from college).

Okay, now for the lightning round, The Fabulous Fun Five! (for my students reading my blog, and you know who you are, brownie points if you can tell me in class tomorrow what kind of title that is)

M&Ms or Skittles? Skittles

CD or iPod? CD

DVD or Movie Theater? DVD

Day or Night? Night

Staying In or Going Out? Staying In

Wow, I didn’t guess that last one with all your travels 🙂 Be sure to check out Moonflower, and spread it around the blogosphere like peanut butter and jelly!

Moonflower Cover

Synopsis: After Josephine Wood’s father dies of cancer, her mother up-roots the two of them and moves to the city. Josie hates her city life, but her teenage issues are of little consequence when they have a car accident and she wakes up in a strange land alone. Lost, with her school backpack as the only connection to her world, Josie struggles to find her way home. She is found by Lucius Conrí, the son of a Marquess, who possesses royal blood and the gift to shift into a wolf’s form at will. Can the kind-hearted Lucius help her find her way while winning her love, or will she fall for Donovan Conrí his older, more serious brother and heir to the Conrí wealth?

Thanks for visiting, EDC, and I wish you the best on your publishing journey!

I’d like to know what everybody is reading this week. I’m reading Gone by Lisa Gardner for book club, and I since I’m A*L*W*A*Y*S reading a YA book, I also picked up Possession by Elana Johnson this past weekend. I’m enjoying both of them . . . reviews to come soon 🙂

My Bipolar IWSG Post . . .Nah, I don’t need no stinkin’ encouragement this month! Oh, wait! Who’s that knocking on my door at this hour? My good old friend REJECTION!

Uh-oh! Guess what day it is? Huh? Anybody? Oh, come on! I know you can hear me! It’s . . . Happy*Over*The*Hump*Day! Are you happier than a camel on Wednesday, because I am . . . or I was until an hour ago . . . but more on that in a moment.

The first Wednesday of every month is also officially known as Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Our mission via Head Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh: Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer.

Buccaneer Blogfest and IWSG

This past month I was feeling pretty encouraged with all the feedback I received from four of my Beta/CP’s over the sequel to 18 Things, 18 Truths (if you’ve read book one, I put a sneak preview up top ^ for book two, so go check it out and tell me what you think, if you’re so inclined). Here’s what some of them had to say in their email comments:

Beta Reader #1: “JAMIE! What are you doing to me! I already finished 18 Truths!!!! I got to read it all day long…best day ever! I have so many thoughts swirling through my brain about it, but I just want to say this…..I’m dying here! If I had book three, I would pick it up this instant and start reading! The ending was absolutely perfect! It made my “Nooo” moment in 18 Things all okay ….  I just wanted to say another great read. And seriously, just as soon as you get book three done I’ll happily beta read for you again. You wrapped the second book up so well, in addition to leaving us hanging just enough that I’m salivating for the final book!!!!! You know I want you to send it JUST as soon as you write The End! I can’t wait to read it!!! ”

Beta Reader #2: “Truth: I LOVED 18 TRUTHS! 🙂 Now, I have to be honest with you, because A.) I consider you much more than “just” a writing friend, and B.) I really love your writing. 18 THINGS blew me away. The story was such an emotional journey for me, and I’m assuming anyone else who’s ever picked it up shares those feelings. My heart was wholly invested in Olga and the rest of the cast from the very first page. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel that immense connection with 18 TRUTHS until I’d read a good chunk into it. So, what I think happened, is that some of the deep emotional connection we had to Olga in the first book, was lost in this second book. I think that in 18 THINGS, you concentrated on Olga’s emotional and spiritual journey, but you focused more on the story as a whole in 18
TRUTHS. . . 18 THINGS was powerful and profound . . . 18 TRUTHS was just a really good book. I guess I was missing that emotional and
spiritual journey aspect a little bit. But I am just one person, and my thoughts might be one among a million opposite perspectives, so take what you will, or don’t. 🙂 You truly have a gift, and I am so happy to be able to read such God-centered stories because at times, I really need the reminder.”

Beta Reader #3: “Brilliant! That’s all I have to say, love. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  My comments are very, very few. Take them or leave them.  Thank you for letting me be a part of this incredible read. This was an un-put-downable book, filled with twists and turns and while I was hoping for the ending you gave us, I didn’t really think you’d go there.  I am thrilled you did.  I love the way you weaved the stories, linking them all together in unexpected ways.  The complicated relationships between the characters were expertly told with just the right about of passion, sizzle, and pure love.  I have chosen my one and only for Olga, but I will gladly wait until book three to find out if my wishes come true or if God has other plans. Beautifully told story, strong characters, well-thought out plot, expertly written.  A true storyteller. Bravo.”

My other beta reader also sung praises for 18 Truths, but she’s totally old school and printed out my entire novel and left comments all over it, and I’m too lazy to hunt through my pages and retype comments at this late hour (anyone else usually still up around 1:30am?). I always take the path of least resistance (A.K.A. letting my computer do most of the work), so I’m in awe of  her ways!

So anyhoo, I was thinking I may not need any of that encouragement stuff this month, until I read an email tonight from Curiosity Quills, my publisher, that said Barnes and Noble turned down their pitch to stock 18 Things in stores nationwide 😦

Hear that sound? That was the SOUND OF MY HOPES AND DREAMS BEING CRUSHED!!! Anyone else ever feel like they can’t be too happy over something because bad news is just around the corner? *raises hand* Truth is, there are sooo many events in our lives which we have no control. It’s all up to chance, luck, and timing. However, we do have control over whether we press on or give up. The secret of survival is in fact trusting in God’s perfect timing for our lives (yup, you may recognize a line like that in 18 Things). I can sit here and question and whine about why other novels got chosen over mine, or I can trust in God’s plan for my life. Maybe he’s taking me in a different direction . . .maybe the whole nation isn’t ready 18 Things yet . . . maybe my writing just isn’t good enough. All I know is I’ve had the longing to be an author from a very young age, and I believe with my whole heart that it was divine inspiration.

So yeah, I got knocked down tonight, a dramatic power-bomb slam that put my lights out for a good hour while I cried on the couch. Then I blew my nose, took a deep breath, and remembered that it’s all in God’s hands, not mine. Even in this small room, sitting still, I am moving closer to the plan he has for me by holding onto faith.

Anyway, before I go, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to another fellow author in need of some help. My dear friend, Jessa Russo, re-launched her debut novel this week. If you haven’t read Ever yet, you seriously need to! And stop by Jessa’s website because she’s giving away some totally A*W*E*S*O*M*E prize packs!

What about you? Do you find it hard to surrender things to the universe? How do you find your peace when things don’t go your way? Have you ever had a setback that ended up being a blessing in disguise? I could still use some encouragement after all . . . . ❤ Jamie

~xoxo

It’s Labor Day! Pop Into Travel!!

Happy Labor Day! Hope you enjoyed your weekend as much as I did. Hubs and I stayed at the Inn on Fifth in Naples while my mom watched the kids (Thanks, Mom!) . . . we walked the fancy Fifth Avenue while sipping on the Starbucks early released Pumpkin Spice Frappucciono’s Saturday afternoon, took a swim in the rooftop pool, then rode on The Naples Princess Dinner cruise Saturday night while salivating over the multi-million dollar homes along the way (of which only 25% are full-time residences). Then Sunday we enjoyed beautiful Naples beach (lots of pelicans, flying fish, and dolphins to watch at the pier), then ate lunch at Tommy Bahama (our first time doing so and all I can is Fish Tacos=YUMM-O!), walked up and down the historic Third Street district while sampling bad a** coffee (not my words–it’s the title of their shop, lol), then did dinner at Agave Mexican restaurant before enjoying some drinks at the closing of McCabe’s Irish Pub and Grill. This morning we slept in before traveling to Tin City for some delicious breakfast at the Mon”Key” Bread Factory (if you’re ever travelling this way, you seriously need to stop here for some treats!).

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On The Princess Dinner Cruise

While all of this was fantastic, I would’ve been perfectly content just relaxing in the hotel room, where the mattress wasn’t as old as our 15 year marriage, where there were nine different HBO channels to choose from (hey, we don’t even have basic cable!), and where I could finish reading an excellent book. It seemed fitting I was reading Pop Travel by Tara Tyler, since I was traveling! Anyone who has ever wished they could escape airports and the endless delays of flying (and who hasn’t?!), will love this novel. In Tyler’s novel, teleportation was the answer, but every new technology has glitches. Tyler says she was Inspired by Michael Crichton’s incredible style to take on the challenge of writing a fast-paced techno-thriller. I think she succeeded and that you’ll enjoy the ride . . . . the book also reminded me of the highly acclaimed novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Before I delve into my review, here’s the scoop on Pop Travel:

In 2080, technology has gone too far for J. L. Cooper. He is happily hidden in his simple, secluded life as a private detective in a small town, far from any pop travel laser teleportation stations. Until he takes on a client who insists pop travel made his fiancé disappear.

When Cooper investigates, he finds evidence of pop travel’s deadly flaw, sparking a series of murders, attempts on his life, and threats to his brother. He’d like to pass off the evidence but knows he’s being watched and can’t trust anyone. And who would believe him?

The only way he can save his brother is to fool his observers while looking for a way to expose the problem. He decides to go to the source and confront the Creator of pop travel. On his way, Cooper meets Southern siren, Geri Harper (an undercover FBI agent) who tags along despite his protests. When they reach the Creator, he has plans of his own and leads them on a wild detour.

Pop TravelI had the pleasure of meeting Tara Tyler, my fellow Curiosity Quills sister, in July, and let me say, her novel is every bit as lovely as she is!

Tyler didn’t waste any time jumping right into the action–I was hooked from page one! There was just enough back-story presented for clarification without the annoying info dumps. I commend Tyler’s ability to write strong characters . . . specifically, the mixture of external and internal conflict with Cooper was very well done.  And the setting was so cool and the plot that rotated around it very believable! I could easily imagine the United States heading down this scary road. Coincidentally, I’ve become increasingly wary of that white panel van surveillancing my neighborhood on a weekly basis. Yeah, it has ice cream stickers on the sides and blares the “Do Your Ears Hang Low” jingle, but my guess after reading Pop Travel is it’s all a cover-up for Big Brother to keep their ears low . . . to the ground . . . listening in carefully to all of us.

Hey, some of you may laugh, but after the Edward Snowden scandal, the Intelligence community have been up to their ears in hot water (hey, my middle school students are reading my blogs now–I have to use as many idioms as I can to educate them!) . . . Spying on regular citizens through their compucenters (computers)? Reading our vid messages (e-mails)? Monitoring our Qnet (web) searches? With the direction the NSA is heading, I can totally picture Tyler’s storyline happening in real life. Okay, I am a writer myself and frequently hear voices in my head, so my paranoia may just be my muse whispering to me in the dark corners of my mind again (or am I just saying all of this as a coverup so the NSA won’t send the ice cream man to kidnap me?)

You decide. In the meantime, what are your thoughts? Want to read Pop Travel? Do you think it could be a case of fiction imitating life? I’m really hoping Pop Travel will be made into a movie one day because it’s the type of plot that would be PERFECT for the big screen . . . if the FBI and NSA will allow it 😉