Branded Character Interview and Am I A Real Person!?!

Wait? Back-to-back posts from me? Couldn’t be! I know, I know . . . but I’m shaking things up a bit for Katie Teller/Hamstead in honor of her new release this month, Branded.

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Her characters, Ali and Nick, have stopped by for an exclusive interview!

Q: Tell us a little about yourselves.

Ali: Ah… I’m Ali, and I’m not an alcoholic.

Nick: Smart A. I’m Nicholas Qasim, I’d barely finished my bachelors at the University of Technology, Sydney, when the attack happened.

Ali: Let’s not talk about that.

Nick: Agreed.

Q: You two went to the same high school, but were never friends then. Why do you think that is?

Ali: He was two grades above me, and a super nerd.

Nick: *Laughs* Yup, I’ll take that; gaming, comics, anything nerdy you can think of and that was me. She never would have talked to me if I’d tried.

Ali: You don’t know that.

Nick: Really?

Ali: Okay, yeah, I probably would have blown you off.

Q: You guys are best friends now. Do you think things would have been different if you’d become friends before Ali met Damien?

Nick: *Stares at feet*

Ali: Maybe. Nick’s an awesome guy. I mean, yeah, in high school I would have ignored him, but I think if we’d met up after I graduated we would have been friends. He’s as loyal as they come. Who doesn’t want that?

Nick: Thanks, Ali.

Q: What is the earliest memory you have of each other?

Nick: Her walking into school with her older brother, Andrew, who, by the way, is more of a nerd than me.

Ali: That’s true.

Nick: All of us guys thought she was a hottie and wondered why Drew had her with him.

Ali: They have no taste.

Nick: Anyway, later she had tons of girls surrounding her, but Drew seemed to have vanished. A few days later we found out he hated having her at the same school as him and hid to avoid being associated with her.

Q: And you, Ali?

Ali: My earliest memory of Nick? Hmm… let me think… probably around the middle of ninth grade, so his eleventh grade, I remember him getting this math award. The school made a huge deal about it, and presented it in front of everyone. I think it helped you get your scholarship, right?

Nick: Yeah.

Ali: The school made a big deal out of that, too. But he was pretty shy about it. Unlike me, he didn’t thrive in the limelight.

Nick: Didn’t they have you and the choir sing at that assembly?

Ali: Ahh… Oh, no, that was the vocal ensembles. So yes, I sang.

Nick: I loved that. Ali is the best singer, you should hear her.

Ali: *Scoffs* I am not. You’re totally bias.

Nick: Nope, you’re the best. People would stop what they were doing to listen to you. I remember being late for class several times because you were practicing for something or another.

Ali: Stalker.

Nick: I’ll take that.

Ali: *Shoves his shoulder, grinning.*

Q: So, one last question: What do you want to do if/when the war ends?

Nick: Repair the bridges that have been broken. I hate the thought that people will hate me and my family and other like us because of everything that’s happened. Fear will make things like this happen again, so I hope to bring understanding and peace.

Ali: I just want to live my life, have a family, and enjoy being free without fear. I want to keep the people I haven’t lost with me for the rest of my life.

Sounds like a good plan! I mean, war, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

Buy Branded here. About the book:

Terrorists have invaded Sydney, and Allison King barely escapes her brother’s wedding reception alive. She and her siblings flee, but their parents are killed by firing squad.

Now Ali’s on the run and terrified. While searching for other survivors, she is captured by the General who leads the invasion. He’s smitten by Ali, and when she refuses to submit to his whims, he brands her for death. In a wild act of defiance, she snatches the branding rod and sears the mark onto his face. Marking not only him but also sealing her fate. Ali manages to escape and flees into the bush once more where she finds a group in hiding. Even with the scars left by the General, Ali learns to love and falls in love with the young man who found her—Damien Rogers.

But the General is hunting her. When he discovers their location, and finds her with another man—Damien—his wrath is kindled and his obsession is inflamed. Ali must put herself on the line or the General could kill her family, those who help her, and most significantly, the man she loves.

Also, visit Katie’s site to enter her Rafflecopter giveaway! And once again, I want to thank everyone for supporting me on my 18 Truths Blog Tour and playing along! I’ve contacted everyone personally to let them know they’re winners, so if you’re here looking for the prize list, it’s up at the top right-hand corner of my site ^ . . . $25 Amazon gift card and my swag pack were the first prizes to go!

What do you think of Ali and Nick? If you have time, I’d appreciate a visit over at Jennifer Eaton’s blog. She asked me an interesting question today: Am I A Real Person? You be the judge 🙂 Also, my publisher is making the Kindle version of 18 Things only 99 cents tomorrow for a BookBub promotion . . . I’d really appreciate some social media shout outs to help move it up in the rankings! THANK YOU!!

Can You Handle The TRUTH Blogfest (Kinda) Signup!

18 Truths  (click to add to your Goodreads shelf!) is coming in 13 days. Can you believe it? Almost a year has gone by since 18 Things released, the first installment of the trilogy, and it really is scary how time flies! But I’m so excited for readers to go on a new adventure with Olga!

I have a one week blogfest planned with lots of giveaways and then blog tour posts planned from January 27th through February 17th! (Full tour info to come . . . with 18 stops of course, and contest giveaways list is at the bottom of this post.)

Beginning January 22nd until release day, January 28th–I’ll be hosting the Can You Handle The Truth Blogfest. This is something anyone, anywhere can participate in.

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All you have to do is post a blog centering around the classic Two Truths and a Lie get-to-know-you game.

Players tell two truths and one lie. The object of the game is to hop around the blogs and determine which statement that each blogger posted is the false one.

I hope everyone who plays the Can You Handle The TRUTH? blogfest between January 22nd-28th will enter the Rafflecopter (and maybe post it on their own site) to win a number of prizes donated by 18 terrific people, including:

1) Jamie Ayres–18 Truths paperback + swag

2) Mara Valderran–Heirs of War ebook + swag

3) Eliza Tilton–Broken Forest ebook

4) Tara Tyler–query critique

5) Alex Cavanaugh–Cassa ebook

6) Ayden Morgen–ebook for Fade and Fall

7) Lynn Jake–journals

8) T.F. Walsh–Cloaked In Fur ebook

9) Sharon Bayliss–print copy of The Charge + critique of query and first chapter

10) Katie Hamstead–ebook of Kiya

11) Michelle Ziegler–homemade granola and bookmarks

12) Elizabeth Johnson–Moonflower ebook

13) Lindsey Loucks–signed bookmarks

14) Krystal Wade–ebook of Wilde’s Fire

15) Teshelle Combs–1 copy of Core (paperback) and 1 ebook copy of Core

16) Krista Rausin–2 copies of Mystic paperbacks

17) PK Hrezo–Butterman Time Travel ebook

18) Jessa Russo–Ever ebook

This is just my way of saying THANK YOU to all you wonderful peeps out there (like allll those peeps who donated–I’m blown away by their support!)

I can’t wait to visit each blog and read your entries! I’ve seen this question done before in author interviews & have used it in my classroom for years as an icebreaker, & it always provides lots of laughs!

Now to the (Kinda) part of this post: Don’t blog? Put the cover of 18 Truths or the blogfest badge ^ from above up on your FB wall and post your 2 Truths & a Lie under the photo, or pin it on Pinterest with your 3 statements in the comments, or tweet them.

Bloggers, sign up NOW for the blogfest in the LinkyTool below (and make sure you grab the 18 Truths badge to put on your blog and please link back to this site whenever you post). Let’s get this party started!

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Reading Isn’t For Me

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“Reading isn’t for you? But you’re a Language Arts teacher and published author!” Before you pick up that stone, let me explain.

I teach reluctant readers every day and realized the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Did anyone see a recent poll in the associated press that only one in four adults read?

Raise your hand if you think it’s sad only 25% of our adult population reads books? Okay, now put your hand down, people are staring (welcome to my world . . . and it’s not because I’m extremely good-looking, no matter what Mom says).

And out of those adults, most admit to only reading four novels a year! This mentality doesn’t make sense to me because I’d much rather read than do ANYTHING else. There’s a quote by Groucho Marx that goes, “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” HA! Raise your hand again if that’s you. (Again, put your hand down. People are laughing now.)

But I do understand this is a real mentality. I live with a husband who falls under the category of, “Reading isn’t for me.” In fact, he still hasn’t finished reading my debut novel, 18 Things, which released last January. Yeah, you read that right. LAST January. He said it’s his New Year’s Resolution to finish it in 2014. I’m not holding my breath, or I’d turn purple before you could say Ghastly Guilt Trip Glutton Reader!

And don’t even get me started on my middle schoolers! I’m required by my district to do a read aloud from a novel at least once a semester with each of my classes. This last semester, I chose 10 books that were award-winning YA literature and let each class (I have a total of seven) vote on what they wanted me to read. I thought they’d be motivated to listen if they picked the book. After all, I’m highly entertaining to listen to (aren’t most people with a coffee addiction? *downs eighth cup today*), so I wasn’t the problem. But I have to say, at times I wondered why I tried .While I do think students should be exposed to the beauty of actual literature (because they do read, but it’s usually just trash on the internet), I do not think my read alouds are having much effect on their capacity as readers. And at this stage of their lives as young students, more than anything, they need to read on their own. Otherwise, chances are, they’ll grow up and join the 75% of our adult population that gives the excuse, “Reading isn’t for me.”

Another quote. “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” –Napoleon Bonaparte

Raise your hand if you think the future of our world is looking bleak? (People are breaking out their smartphones now to take a picture of the freak who keeps raising their hand for no reason.)

I write and read as if breathing depends on it, so as an author and teacher, when I hear so many voices around me saying, “Reading isn’t for me,” I start to get more panicked than a sinner at church on Sunday.

When I think back to my own young adult days of reading (a long time ago in a galaxy far away), I can testify books made me everything I am. I started to believe in magic while taking up residence in Narnia and Hogwarts, craved adventures while sailing the raft with Huck and Jim, developed courage while sitting around the Round Table with King Arthur, expanded my understanding of everyday communication when laughing with Amelia Bedelia, learned to accept people for who they are with an ugly duckling, appreciated the value of trying new things when eating green eggs and ham with Sam I Am, overcame difficulties with the Swiss Family Robinson, utilized my critical thinking skills while solving mysteries with Nancy Drew, repented and cared about others with Ebenezer Scrooge, craved true love and romance with Miss Elizabeth Bennet, reveled in the power of grace with Jean Valjean, and became a good friend and writer alongside a spider named Charlotte.

These characters made me believe in a world where I could go anywhere and be anything I wanted to be. The stories helped me to know I wasn’t alone (even though I sat by myself in the cafeteria), evolved my perceptions about the world around me and how to sympathize with others, entertained me when I was bored, and made me feel emotions I lacked from growing up in a dysfunctional family.

Already, I know my case for why reading is for everyone is being drowned out by the sound of kids inhaling violent video games, by the sound of teens receiving yet another text message, by you (if you’ve managed to read this far, then pat yourself on the back until you get a muscle cramp) getting distracted by some shiny new object posted to YouTube.

With the release of my second novel, 18 Truths, coming this month (January 28th!), I’m willing to do just about anything to get people to read (short of sprinting across the field during the upcoming Super Bowl with my book’s title painted across my bare chest).

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Most of you reading this post are probably veracious readers . . . any ideas on motivating those around me, young and old, to READ?

Because I don’t think the “Reading isn’t for me,” should hold up in the courtroom of life. What better way to satisfy our curiosities, learn what we need to know, and come together to make sense of this world than through a good book?

So yeah, my reply? “You’re right. Reading isn’t for you. It’s for everyone!”

Don’t forget to visit other bloggers in the Insecure Writers Support Group ! And as always, mucho thanks to our Head Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating this wonderful group!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others on Facebook or Twitter . . . I could use allll the help I can get with name recognition before my book releases! ❤

Cyber Monday Blowout!

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The holidays are in full swing – which means it’s time to start shopping! For the first time EVER, Curiosity Quills Press is offering deals on the biggest online shopping day of the year. On Monday, December 2nd (and extending through December 3rd), prepare for savings you’ve never dreamed of.

Now is the time to add some of our best-selling titles to your bookshelves for jaw-dropping, heart-stopping, world-rocking low prices. You can read the best in science-fiction, horror, mystery fantasy and paranormal fiction by authors like A.K. Morgen, Aidan James, A.W. Exley, James Wymore, Katie Hamstead, and of course, Jamie Ayres for only 99 cents!

Here’s the link for 18 THINGS . . . it’s rocking the top 100 today in the Coming of Age category, but I’d love to see it in the top 50, or 20, or 10 (then it really would feel like Christmas)! Why not be a secret elf & gift someone an early Christmas present to their Kindle?!

P.S. You don’t need to own a Kindle . . . you can download the app onto your phone, iPad, laptop . . . for free!

P.S.S. I’ll see you Wednesday for my regular scheduled programing with Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

P.S.S.S. You should check out my friend’s Fairy Tales Out Loud podcast. His new comic fantasy novel STILTSKIN arrives in just 7 days! The unique world and writings of Andrew Buckley are highly entertaining!