Friday, August 31, 2012

Guest Post: Ashley Robertson

Hey, everyone! Today, I'm pleased to announce that we have Ashley Robertson, author of Unguarded and Crimson Groves here with us to tell us a bit about how she maintains a balance between her writing and her everyday life. 


Keeping a Little Balance—and Sanity!

Most authors like me would absolutely love it if writing were the only thing we had to do every day. Oh my goodness, just thinking about how much I’d get accomplished pulls my lips into a smile, but then reality sets back in and I remember all the other things piling up on my “to do” list. My smile fades as the stress rolls in. But there has to be a way to balance things out, a way to keep things simplified. A way to get everything else done so our writing can take center stage with a mind free of daily worries and hiccups. Sounds good, right?
First of all, I think it’s very important to create some kind of schedule—and do whatever it takes to stick to it. More often than not, I’ll see writer friends of mine complaining about being on Facebook and not finishing their edits. I’m certainly guilty of doing that myself, so that’s why I think it’s very important to set social media boundaries, and including that in your schedule can be very helpful. Also, setting a goal as to how many words you’re required to type each day is a crucial detail. Know how much time it typically takes for you to reach your daily word goal. That way when you block out X amount of time for writing, you’ll know how much to allot yourself. What other daily tasks do you have? Perhaps you can bundle those up and do them weekly instead? For example, house chores and laundry can be done once or twice a week, and the same can apply to grocery shopping and running other errands. On the days you have those extra things going on, obviously it’s going to cut into your writing time, so try to get extra words typed on other days to make up for the slack. Typically I work Monday through Friday on my books and my daily goal is 1,000 words, which gives me 5,000 words a week. If, by the end of the week, I haven’t reached my objective, then that means I’m working on the weekend. That way when Monday comes rolling around, I’m not already stressed from being behind.
Another way to keep some balance is by creating an outlet in the form of a hobby, something you absolutely love doing that will take your mind off everything else if only for a short while. A couple of my hobbies are exercising and horseback riding. I get up early every morning to incorporate my workouts, and once a week, I’ll steal a few hours to go on a horseback ride. Though this creates something else to squeeze on the calendar, I think it’s vital (and healthy) to make it work—whatever your hobby may be. I also enjoy getting my hair done, which thankfully I only have to do about every six weeks, but still, I have to plan that time accordingly as my hair appointments can easily take three hours of my day. So I’ll either need to try to make that time up on another weekday, or…that’s right, I’ll be writing on the weekend. 
So what about you? Would incorporating a schedule help you accomplish the tasks you’re not completing? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you keep the balance between writing (or reading) and all your other responsibilities. 


Thanks so much for stopping by, Ashley! I hope you all enjoyed that. And be sure to check out both of Ashley's books, Unguarded and Crimson Groves.

Review: Crimson Groves by Ashley Robertson

"Abigail Tate was a normal human girl. Until the day Bronx the vampire barges into her life and turns her against her will. Held captive while forced to deal with never ending cravings for blood, Abby prays for a way to escape. Only when an opportunity arises, it's with the aid of an innocent human named Tyler--except vampires are forbidden to interact with the unbitten. But Abby quickly learns this human has secrets of his own...secrets that can either help her or get her killed. Only Abby discovers that she was the one with the biggest secret of them all."

Abby's life hasn't exactly been the easiest, especially lately. First, her father abandons her when she's just a little girl. Then, her mother decides to leave her, too. And now, to top everything off, she finds that she's been betrayed yet again by someone who claims to love her. But all of that seems to pale in comparison after the night Bronx enters her life. Before she even knows what's happening to her, she is forced into becoming a vampire and held prisoner by Bronx. Taking the first opportunity to escape that she can, Abby finds herself in the company of Tyler, a human with secrets of his own -- more secrets than he's willing to share with her. As she struggles to adjust to this new life, Abby will soon find out more about herself than she ever thought possible. Crimson Groves is a fantastic book that will leave you wanting to know what happens next.

I rate this book: 

While I have to admit that Crimson Groves presented with a bit of a slow start for me, the action eventually picked up and I was able to really get into and enjoy the story. I absolutely loved how Abby started out as a sad and frustrated young woman who couldn't seem to catch a break and turned into a very strong and confident vampire, however resistant she was to become such a creature to begin with. That's another thing I really liked about this book: Robertson successfully turns the usual theme for vampire novels on its head. Instead of reading about some girl who is desperate to become a member of the undead, we get to see a young woman who has no knowledge of the existence of vampires, let alone any interest in becoming one herself. This is something I find incredibly refreshing about Crimson Groves. Not only does it show us a different aspect of the vampire novel, but it also features a strong female character who is able to adapt to what she has become, taking the good with the bad in her particular situation. If you're tired of reading the same old vampire novel, then you should definitely check out Crimson Groves. It's a book that you won't regret reading, I promise.

Ashley Robertson resides in sunny Orlando, Florida and loves reading and writing about everything urban fantasy and paranormal romance. When she isn't writing you'll find her spending time with family and friends, training in her home gym, traveling and exploring new places, drinking fine red wines, and making gourmet coffees with her Nespresso machine. Visit her website to learn about her upcoming releases, guest blog posts, and featured giveaways at

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mainstream Monday: Double Movie News

Happy Mainstream Monday!!

Woah, I have been MIA due to my laptop being worked on. But while that was happening so was a bunch of really exciting stuff. Shall we discuss? For starters the rest of the main characters for the adaptation of TMI: City of Bones were casted.

Kevin Zegers, who you may know from a childhood favorite, Air Bud or CW hit series Gossip Girl, has been casted for the role as Alex Lightwood. While I have a hard time seeing him as a gay teen, maybe because of his sleezy man whore ways on Gossip Girl, it think that he really looks the part and am excited to see him stretch his acting wings while bringing Alec to life for us.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers is going to be playing the one and only Valentine Morgenstern. I didn't have anyone in mind for him so I think that this is also a great choice. Jonathan has played King Henry the VIII in The Tudors and a soccer coach in Bend it Like Becham so he knows a thing or two about protraying a leader. Plus he just has something about him...

One of my favorite characters in the book, Luke, will be played by Aidan Turner. Aidan has also been in The Tudors and will be in this decembers depiction of The Hobbit. In my mind this is not exactly how I pictured Luke. Aidan seems a bit too young to me. I also haven't seen him in anything personally so I really have no idea what to think of him as an actor so I guess I'll have to wait and see until The Hobbit comes out this winter.

Last week they began filming the movie in Toronto, Canada. You can follow all of the filming news, plus see pictures of the set and cast on Although, wouldn't it make more since to film a story based in New York, in New York?

Second up on things that happened while I didn't have my computer: THEY CASTED FINNICK!!!! And incase you didn't know, Finnick is my favorite character from The Hunger Games Trilogy. Needless to say I am a bit disappointed that they casted Sam Clafin to play him. I didn't like him in Snow White and the Huntsman and was thrilled when I discovered that he wasn't her love interest. And I was picturing someone, Taylor Kitsch actually, as Finnick. Or just someone less British.

What do you guys think of all of this casting news?!?!? Are you all pleased or disappointed? Would Taylor Kitsch not make a better Finnick?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Feature Friday: Olivia Hardin

Today we welcome Olivia Hardin here on The Ink Puddle! I recently read Bitten Shame and if you haven't, you need to jump on it. You're missing out. I'm very, very excited to have her share about The Women! Without further ado...

I’ve been known to use music to set the mood when I'm writing. One day this song "Calling Me" by Alva Leigh shuffled in when I was in the middle of reading a paranormal romance novel.
I was in a "magical" frame of mind and so I began to wonder about one of the lines in that song, "Sometimes I feel that I'm changed by those women on the hill in the rain."
Who are those women? And why are they on the hill in the rain?
And so when I finally did begin writing Witch Way Bends a few months later, those Women remained in the recesses of my mind. In Book 1 Devan learns that the mysterious Women on the Hill have been involved in shaping the things happening in her life.

In Bitten Shame, Devan and her BFF Jill finally get to meet The Women.
So may I present to you, The Women on the Hill:

I hope you'll check out the world of Bend-Bite-Shift soon. Happy reading, All!

Review: Bitten Shame by Olivia Hardin

“Jill Prescott returned from self-imposed seclusion to help save her best friend Devan’s life. Throwing herself into Devan’s problems and bringing an evil organization to its knees might just be the distraction she needs to keep living without the only man she’s ever loved. Her life changed forever when she was hired to spend a week with Doc Massey. On the day she became a vampire her youthful innocence ended, but Doc’s love rescued her from being consumed by the darkness. The shadow of that former life continues to loom over her, keeping her from realizing her own self-worth. Running from her past only brings her closer to a destiny that is inextricably connected to what she is trying to escape… Every gift has both a reward and a price, because All of it fits…”
First off, I have to admit that I was not a huge fan of the first book in this series, Witch Way Bends. I had a really hard time connecting to Devan and I felt the writing was all around confusing to me. It took me honestly about halfway through the book before I could really grasp what was going on. Needless to say, Bitten Shame was a whole other game.

This book is all about Jill, Devan’s old college friend who is now a vampire. The story takes place from where the characters are now, after book one and goes back in time to tell Jill’s past. Words can’t describe how in love I fell with Jill and Doc’s relationship. The pure and sweet intentions that never turned sour. To see the strength of Jill and watch her character develop was astounding from the ditzy blond college student who wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with life to someone, who took a chance when she thought it was all she had left and became a bit of a superhero herself. I felt awful to watch her go through her loneliness and fight for the will to live, there were times I questioned on whether her and Langston would become a couple but soon realized it’s simply more of a father figure.

My Rating for this Book:

 Basically guys, you have to read this book. And I’m not just saying that because Olivia Hardin is here with us today. Although she is! If you haven’t had a chance to read the guest post, check it out.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And the winner is....

Congratulations, Sara! We'll be in contact with you soon to make sure you receive your copy of Unguarded

Thanks so much to everyone who participated. And be on the lookout for more 
giveaways in the future. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Unguarded Giveaway Reminder

Hey guys! Just wanted to remind everyone that our giveaway for a free copy of Unguarded by Ashley Robertson is still going on. In fact, we're giving you guys until Sunday night to enter for a chance to win a copy of this book. The winner will be announced on Monday. 

Click here for the full details about the giveaway. You don't want to miss out on this one! 

Be sure to tell everybody you know about it, too! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Interview: Kathleen S. Allen

Hey everyone! We have Kathleen S. Allen, author of Lore of Fei, here with us today to answer a few questions! Please welcome, Kathleen. 


1) Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure. I am a YA author but I also write in other genres. I have been writing since I was eight years old but it might’ve been younger. I started writing poetry, then short stories, then novels.

2) What was the inspiration behind Lore of Fei for you?
I wanted to write about faeries.

3) Do you have a character from Lore of Fei that you enjoyed creating the most?
I enjoyed writing both Ariela and Rion. I found it interesting to write from a male POV, even if that male is a faerie. I also tried to make the human characters different from the faeries.

4) Ariela is such a strong character in your book, even though she is faced with some pretty impossible odds. Did you find writing her character to be difficult at all, or did that particular character just develop naturally as you were writing the book?
No, she developed on her own. I began to write the story and the characters developed from there. I usually write as I go, more of a “pantser”---writing by the seat of my pants---than a plotter but for this book I plotted it out first with a timeline and did a chapter by chapter synopsis. I didn’t write dialogue just a general sense of what I wanted to happen. For example, in chapter one I wrote: Ariela is mistaken for a human child and is kidnapped by the human warriors. How did I want the kidnapping to take place? What happens when Ariela is no longer in her homeland of Fei? This is what the rest of the chapter is about. How would she feel being out of her own land? She has never been in the company of humans, what does she think of them? And so on.

5) Is there something specific about faeries that makes you enjoy writing about them?
Their magos or magic fascinate me. I took a class at Eastern Michigan University when I was working on a Master’s in Children’s Literature called Legends, Ballads and Myths, taught by Dr. G.B. Cross (Professor Emeritus) and I learned about different types of faeires and I wanted to write about them.

6) Your website says that you write in several different genres, but that the young adult genre is your favorite. Why is that?
Well, I took a fun test called find your mental age and mine was 23 even though I am clearly not 23. LOL.

7) In your book, Lore of Fei, you use several different words that are clearly your own creations. How did you manage to come up with them?
Ah, I perused medieval dictionaries, etymology dictionaries (meanings of words), the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) and foreign languages to find similar or odd words I could use. I had fun finding the words to use. Some, of course, I made up! I put a glossary at the end of the book in order to help readers figure out what the words mean.

8) Was there anything in particular that served as your inspiration when creating the world of Fei in your book?
I wrote it two years ago during my first NaNoWriMo competition. That’s the competition where national and international writers attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days during the month of November. It was my first time doing NaNo and I wrote LORE OF FEI over the course of the month. I ended the month with just over 50,000 words and the final novel is 86,000 words after editing several times. I edited over the course of several months before I submitted it to the publisher and then went through five edits with the editor. This past NaNo I wrote WAR OF FEI, the second Lore of Fei book coming out in Feb. 2013 and this coming November I plan on writing VEIL OF FEI, the third and final book in the series.

9) Speaking of other worlds, Hege, the human world in Lore of Fei, is very different from the world we live in today. It’s almost as if it was set in a different time period. Was there anything that served as a strong influence for you when creating Hege?
I had just finished writing a space opera with a planet similar to earth and I wanted Hege to be more medieval rather than more modern. I based it on medieval villages during the time when countries had small fiefdoms with warlords running their kingdoms. So, not exactly medieval but not present day either.

10) Are you working on anything new right now?
I am always working on something new! I have a YA zombie book I am querying to agents, I have a YA contemporary out to publishers, I have another YA book I have a premise for but haven’t started writing yet. I have the space opera out to possible publishers/agents. I have a murder mystery (not YA) that just got accepted to the publisher who did the first one (IF IT’S MONDAY, IT MUST BE MURDER). The new one is called IF IT’S TUESDAY, IT MUST BE TROUBLE. It’s the story of female cop turned P.I. after being shot. It’s the Mel Thompson, P.I. series.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Kathleen. Be sure to check out her book, Lore of Fei

Review: Lore of Fei by Kathleen S. Allen

"Ariela is a mutant faerie, born without wings. No wings means she has no magic. Her faerie parents hide her deformity from the humans in Hege, especially from Kel, the Warlord of Kel’s Lair. But, when rumors of a human child living in Fei reach his ears he sends his warriors in to rescue her. In one horrific night her faerie parents are murdered and she is brought to Kel’s Lair to live. It is there she learns the truth about her parentage. The Veil of Enclosure that separates Fei from the human world is dissolving allowing the humans to enter Fei and kidnap the faerie children in order to enslave them and take away their magic by clipping their wings. In the faerie Book of Lore is a legend that a silver-winged faerie will be born to save Fei but no such faerie has been born. The Faerie Council asks Ariela to free the faerie children and restore the Veil before it’s too late. But, Ariela has no magic, or does she?"
Ariela has lived her life among the faeries of Fei in secret due to the fact that she has been born without wings. However, after her parents are brutally murdered and she is taken prisoner by a human warlord, Kel, her quiet life in Fei is disrupted. When she is brought to Kel's Lair, Ariela learns secrets about herself, as well as the warlord's plans for the remaining faeries who reside in Fei. She soon realizes that she is the only one who can save Fei from being wiped off the map by humans who wish to enslave faeries for their own personal gain. Can she save an entire race from extinction, even though she has no wings or faerie magic? Lore of Fei is a book that will leave you guessing until the very end and will leave you begging for more once you've finished it. 

I rate this book: 

I absolutely enjoyed reading Lore of Fei. Once I started reading it, I couldn't seem to put it down. I've always really liked reading about faeries, so the fact that the main characters were faeries made the book that much more interesting for me. What really got me, though, was how strong Ariela was as a character. While a strong female isn't exactly out of the ordinary in many books these days, it was really refreshing to see a character that was very strong and well-developed, especially despite everything that she had to face in the novel. Ariela's strength throughout the events of the entire book made me enjoy it all the more because she felt like a very real character to me. If you enjoy books that delve into the realm of faeries and the myths surrounding them, then you'll definitely want to look into reading Lore of Fei. Chances are, you won't be able to put it down, either. 

Kathleen Allen has been writing since she was eight years old and self-published a book of poems. She published her first poem when she was 15 years old. She has had short stories, poems, lyric essays and novels published. She writes in different genres but YA is her favorite.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Unguarded Giveaway

Hey, everybody! I'm extremely pleased to announce that Ashley Robertson is doing a giveaway with us today. She's giving away a free copy of her book, Unguarded. And I've got all the info for you guys about how to get in on it.

Just leave a comment on this post with your answer to this question: "What would you be willing to give up to save someone that you love?" We'll choose a winner at random and announce it next week.


Guardian angel Selene was close to becoming an archangel—until she fell in love a vampire. Now her dark lover has been kidnapped and the only way to save him is by abandoning her human charge. But her choice to save him doesn’t come without a price. Selene must push her diminishing angel abilities to where she risks becoming fallen, praying she can save the ones she loves before her fate is sealed.

Add to your Good Reads shelf:
Buy now on Amazon:

Author Bio:
Ashley Robertson resides in sunny Orlando, Florida and loves reading and writing about everything urban fantasy and paranormal romance. When she isn't writing you'll find her spending time with family and friends, training in her home gym, traveling and exploring new places, drinking fine red wines, and making gourmet coffees with her Nespresso machine. Visit her website to learn about her upcoming releases, guest blog posts, and featured giveaways at:

Review: Unguarded by Ashley Robertson

Guardian angel Selene was so close to becoming an archangel—the supreme of all beings—until she fell in love with Cole, a forbidden dark one. Once she discovers her vampire lover has been kidnapped and the only way to save him is by abandoning her number one priority—Caitlyn, her human charge—there really is only one answer in Selene’s mind, even though leaving Caitlyn unguarded will most likely cause Selene to fall from grace. But her choice to save Cole doesn’t come without a price…and now Selene is racing against time to not only save her dark lover, but find a way to keep Caitlyn alive as well. With the help of a new vampire ally, Luke, Selene will push her diminishing angel abilities to the point where her very existence lies in the balance. Now threatened with the chance of becoming a fallen angel or even dying, Selene can only pray she’ll have enough time—and good grace—to save the ones she loves.
All Selene ever wanted was to be an archangel. That is, until she met -- and fell in love with -- a vampire named Cole. In addition to being a relationship that shouldn't be able to happen at all, their love is forbidden. But Selene will do anything to be with and protect him. Unfortunately, that means she's willing to put aside her duties as Caitlyn's guardian angel. Suddenly, Selene is torn between her duty to keep Caitlyn safe and alive and her desire to save Cole from danger when she realizes that he's been kidnapped. Can she find a way to save both her human charge and the vampire she loves? And, if so, will Selene be able to do so without any messy consequences getting in the way? Unguarded answers these questions and manages to maintain the reader's interest, but leaves the reader with more questions than answers by the time they reach the end.

I rate this book: 

I really wanted to love Unguarded. And I did when I first started reading it. The book's plot is interesting and it's really easy to get immersed into the lives of the characters as you're reading. I loved the characters in Unguarded so much. They were so realistic for me that I found myself worrying about their safety just as much as if they were real people. However,I got to a point in the book where I felt like there were aspects of the story that were making things confusing for me. By the time I'd finished it, I came away from the book wanting answers to questions that those parts of the story had raised. For example, one of the really confusing points for me was how the plot seemed to change about halfway through the book. By the time I'd reached that point in the novel, I felt like I was reading a completely different book. Now, while I didn't love Unguarded, I did like the book. I liked it enough to recommend it to other readers. The fact that I didn't love this book does not mean that other readers out there won't love it either. We all have different opinions and interests when it comes to everything in this world and books are certainly no exception. So, please don't take this review or my rating of Unguarded -- which is based on my own personal opinion -- as the deciding factor for whether or not you read this book. If you like books that are packed with supernatural creatures, well-developed characters, and have an interesting story, then you should definitely give Unguarded a chance. You never know, you might love it. 

Ashley Robertson resides in sunny Orlando, Florida and loves reading and writing about everything urban fantasy and paranormal romance. When she isn't writing you'll find her spending time with family and friends, training in her home gym, traveling and exploring new places, drinking fine red wines, and making gourmet coffees with her Nespresso machine. Visit her website to learn about her upcoming releases, guest blog posts, and featured giveaways at:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review: Spells by Aprilynne Pike

"I can't just storm in and proclaim my intentions. I can't ‘steal' you away. I just have to wait and hope that, someday, you'll ask," Tamani said.
"And if I don't?" Laurel said, her voice barely above a whisper.
"Then I guess I'll be waiting forever."
Although Laurel has come to accept her true identity as a faerie, she refuses to turn her back on her human life—and especially her boyfriend, David—to return to the faerie world.
But when she is summoned to Avalon, Laurel's feelings for the charismatic faerie sentry Tamani are undeniable. She is forced to make a choice—a choice that could break her heart.

Laurel saved the gateway of Avalon is now forced to spend her summer there to train.  Fall faerie training turns out to be much more difficult than she had anticipated and discoveres that she is behind but lucky for her she has the ever so charming Tamani to keep her entertained and show her Avalon.
Summer for her ends too soon and not soon enough.  With her parents aware of her true identity her fall bloom is much easier to cope with although her mom can't hardly look at her with out freak written all over her expression.   But her mother is the least of her problems when Laurel and David are attacked by trolls but this time is saved by a womam named Klea who is more shadey than the sunglasses she wears twenty four seven.

One of my favorite things about this book is that the reader gets a peak into Avalon and the faerie world as opposed to Laurel learing that she is a strange plant being.  In Avalon the reader sees a whole new system of order in which Laurel is almost at the top of the food chain and Tamani is at the bottum, although in my opinion, I think the spring faeries powers are much more impressive than the fall and summer faeries, to whom they are inferioru too.  I think that if a spring faerie and a winter faeried teamed up they would make the most badass team of faeries you could get becasue spring faeries can control animals and winter faeries can control plants.

I like the new characters that are introduced into this part of the story.  Klea saved Laurel and David and seems to be on their side.  But she hunts the supernatural in general so does she know about faeries?  Does she hunt faeries too?  Does she know that Laurelle is a faerie and if so is she going to try to use her to get the the gateway of Avalon and kill all of the other faeires?  Her character alone adds a ton of new possible directions for the story to go in.

Although I believe I mentioned this in my review of Wings, the first book of the series, it one of my favorite qualities of the series so I must mention it again.  I love that the faeires are the most advanced, evolved form of plants.  Laurel literally blossums in the fall, Tamani pollenates.  They exhale oxygen and inhale carbon dioxide and get sick if they consume anything other than fruits, vegetables, water, and pure sugar.  While they have magical powers like your usual faeries, they are fragile like a lot of plants.  It is a completely unique take on faeries.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

Cover Reveal: Avenge by Sarah Ross

I'm not sure if you took my advice when I posted my review on the first book in the Patronus series, Awaken and read that book, but now would be the time to jump on it! To see our review, click here.

The second book, Avenge is expected to be released early October 2012. But for now, we have the COVER REVEAL! Are you ready for this?!

"Six months ago, Lucy Donavan thought that being killed by a drunk driver was the worst thing that could happen to her. She was wrong. Now, the person she loves most has been ripped away from her, soul held hostage and Lucy has vowed to stop at nothing to get it back. Part of a new team with enhanced powers, Lucy and her friends begin a quest to avenge the souls that have been stolen. Enemies of the Patronus have united, however, and a spy from within the Patronus realm is feeding the enemy their every move. When a mission goes horribly wrong, Lucy's soul becomes compromised. It will take strength she didn't know was within her to escape the darkness, return to the light and avenge the soul she loves."

We want to send out a special thanks to Sarah Ross for giving us this opportunity to share this cover reveal, also to AToMR Tours! I can't wait to hear what's next for Lucy!