29 October 2014

Interview with Jeff Gunhus, Author of the Templar Chronicles and Night Terror

Yesterday I reviewed Jeff Gunhus' newest book Night Terror, about a young girl Sarah Tremont who is still recovering from being updated ten years later. Sarah and her parents and Joseph Lonetree must fight the evil still hunting for Sarah and others like her - as well as fighting the evil living inside of her. Make sure to check out my review - I know you will want to read it!    
But best of all, I had the chance to interview this amazing writer and get his insight into his writing process, find out what inspires him, and what he's working on next! 

The descriptions in the book Night Terror are vivid, terrifying, and more than occasionally grotesque. How did you get into the right mindset to write these scenes? 

I like to listen to film scores while I write so that really helps the atmospherics. I think the fun of writing is that when you're locked in and pounding away at the keyboard, the visual images at floating in front of you as if you were watching a movie. Once you're in that space, it's just play. However, for the more emotional scenes I try to imagine how I would react in a similar situation, especially if my own child was put in danger or harmed, and that's definitely draining. There is a father/daughter moment at the end of Night Terror that almost wiped me out. I also read in the genre I'm about to write to get into the right mindset. I had read Joe Hill's Horns right before writing this and felt liberated by it. Whenever I felt like I might have gone too far, I remembered Horns was way more gruesome.  

This book is the sequel to the book Night Chill. Did you intend to create this sequel?

I left the possibility open with the ending of Night Chill, but I wanted to gauge reaction to the book first. Night Chill is my bestselling book and readers seem to connect with it so the sequel seemed like a good idea. I was excited by it because I really enjoy the characters and I was curious what happened to them after the events of Night Chill. Now I know. 

I realized that while the book Night Terror is a sequel to Night Chill, Night Terror can pretty much stand by itself. How did you approach writing this book so that a reader who may not have read the first one, can still enjoy this second one? 

That is a challenge. Certainly I think the best experience is to read the books in order, but I tried to make it possible to jump in. Making that possible requires some dreaded exposition in the early chapters to get across the main history of the first book. The trick is to embed it and hide it the best you can. What you need to avoid is a character walking into a scene and spitting out a monologue of everything that's happened. It feels clunky and it can alienate readers of the first book who don't want to endure a summary. One technique is getting exposition out of the way during conflict which I use in Night Terror. 

Which authors influence your writing? 

In this genre, certainly Stephen King reigns as my greatest influence. Dean Koontz, Blake Crouch, Joe Hill.

What is your strangest writing habit? 

I have a ceramic steampunk skull on my desk that stares at me while a write. It's a reminder of my mortality, so I ask myself if I should be writing or if I should be spending time with my family. I tend to write before they get up for the day or once they are at school. On more than one occasion, I've heard my kids playing outside my home office, felt the stare of the skull and wrapped up for the day. 

What are you working on now? 

I'm working on the sequel to Killer Within, my thriller which is coming out from Thomas & Mercer in February. 

Why did you decide to self-publish your books initially? How was that process for you? 

I really enjoyed the creative control over every aspect of the process. I had published a non-fiction book with a traditional publisher and had not been happy with the cover selection and the editorial process. However, Thomas & Mercer acquired Killer Within recently and I've been having a great experience so far with their team. 

For aspiring authors, what advice can you pass along to them? 

Read Stephen King's book, On Writing. Part autobiography, part writing advice, pretty much every line of advice I give writers come from that book. My favorite is that to be a writer you have to read a lot and write a lot. Sounds basic, but ready every day and writing every day is essential. 

And one final non-writing question, what is your favorite amusement park ride? 

I like It's A Small World at Disneyland. I am a horror writer after all. What could be creepier than all those dolls staring at you, singing that song over and over. Yikes!

About the Author - Jeff Gunhus

Jeff Gunhus is the author of both adult thrillers and the Middle Grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His book Reaching Your Reluctant Reader has helped hundreds of parents create avid readers. As a father of five, he and his wife lead an active lifestyle simply trying to keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

His latest book is the thriller/horror novel, Night Terror.  Visit Jeff Gunhus online by checking out his website, and connecting with Jeff on Facebook and Twitter.

28 October 2014

Night Terror by Jeff Gunhus - Horrifyingly, Excellent Horror Story [Review] #AmReading

I had the honor of reviewing another book by Jeff Gunhus. Previously on this blog, if you happen to remember, I read and reviewed Jack Templar Monster Humnter (The Templar Chronicles Series) last year! I thoroughly enjoyed book one and I've heard so many good things about the rest of the books in the series.

The thing is...if you were a fan of the Templar Chronicles, don't walk into the latest book by Jeff Gunhus with the same mind frame. Jeff Gunhus' latest book, "Night of Terror" will send you under your covers with a flashlight. This book is freaky, vivid, and scary all the way through. The descriptions are incredible and as a writer, I could learn a thing or two.

About Night Terror by Jeff Gunhus

Ten years after her abduction and near-sacrifice to the Source, Sarah Tremont struggles to be a normal teenager. As much as she’s tried to suppress the power inside of her, it’s grown dangerously strong and has drawn the attention of those who want to possess her power for themselves.
The nightmare that she thought was long over starts again as powerful forces descend upon Prescott City to seek her out. With her parents and Joseph Lonetree’s help, Sarah must stand up to an evil much more powerful than the one she faced in the caves a decade earlier. But in the end, she discovers the greatest danger might come from the power living inside of her.

What I Thought

I'm usually a fan of reading a book in one sitting but I actually had to take a few breaks when reading this book! This will send your mind into some pretty dark places. The plot and the intensity of the main character, Sarah and the evil she is dealing with, pulls you right back in. I thought the characters were vivid and most of all, the descriptions just jumped off the page. It actually made my skin crawl a bit, so if you are on the squeamish side, take warning! If you aren't, this is the perfect book for you. Although this book is the second in the series, you don't have to read the first one to enjoy it. It can definitely be a stand alone book.

About the Author - Jeff Gunhus

Jeff Gunhus is the author of both adult thrillers and the Middle Grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His book Reaching Your Reluctant Reader has helped hundreds of parents create avid readers. As a father of five, he and his wife lead an active lifestyle simply trying to keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

His latest book is the thriller/horror novel, Night Terror.  Visit Jeff Gunhus online by checking out his website, and connecting with Jeff on Facebook and Twitter.

Make sure you come back to my blog tomorrow, because I have an interview with Jeff Gunhus! He will be sharing his writing process, how he got into the right mindframe to get those descriptions as vivid as they are, and so much more!

24 October 2014

No NaNoWriMo for This Writer (And Here's Why)

In just about a week or so, writer's everywhere will be giving up showers, eating, and blissful reading time to hit the 50,000 word mark for their potential novel in honor of National Novel Writing Month.

I've tried NaNoWriMo in the past and it hasn't worked out for me. First of all, lately, I've gotten more interest and involved in writing short stories. They don't have the same all encompassing quality working on a novel does, which I do miss sometimes, but I love the tightened quality of a short story.

But most of all, my biggest weakness right now isn't racing to finish a first draft. My biggest weakness is editing and rewriting. Getting critiqued and rewriting. Submitting, being rejected, and rewriting. Do you see a common thread here? I have the first draft part of things down. The huge chunk of finished, but not typed, short stories proves that.

So I will dedicate my November to not a first draft but to buckling down and actually getting stories typed, edited, submitted, rewritten, and repeat.

Will you be taking part in this year's NaNoWriMo? Or will you be pursuing a different challenge?  

18 October 2014

Read My Published Poem 'Immortality' - Featured on The Voices Project

I've had so much going on lately that I forget to share my published poem with you all! It was published about a month ago on The Voices Project. It was my first publishing success and I am happy to say that I've printed out the poem from their website and taped it to my bedroom wall next to a newly posted sign that says, "PUBLISHED." (You don't know how happy I am to have that on my wall now!)

Anyways, I want to invite you to read my poem and let me know what you think. Follow this link to read Immortality by Nicole Pyles.

17 October 2014

Enter to Win Coffee by Aroma Ridge [Giveaway Ends 10/30]

Looking for coffee to add to your kitchen cabinet? Enter to win coffee made by Aroma Ridge featured on my blog Fancy That!

Visit this link to purchase the Baba Roast and Mama Roast blends from Aroma Ridge. Visit this link to purchase the Black Tea by Aroma Ridge.

You can also follow Aroma Ridge on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Enter quickly via Rafflecopter below. Contest ends 10/30.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

08 October 2014

Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout - Learning About Emotions [Children's Book Review]

I purposely chose this book to review for the very subject that it handles. Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout by Peggy Krugertietz, Ph. D talks about emotions and what these emotions feel like and situations you may actually feel them.

About the Book:

Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid's Guide to Feelings is an essential guidebook for adults in steering children through the confusing behaviors that emotions evoke. When you understand the purpose of emotions, behavior becomes understandable. Each of the eight emotions is clearly defined thorough vignettes and illustrations, keeping both adult and child captivated, thus creating an opportune time for discussion. By recognizing that all humans experience these emotions throughout their lives, the book provides a true sense of comfort. Emotions are not to be shunned, but rather embraced and explained to provide a positive development environment for all children.

In My Opinion

My mom and I have talked a LOT about how important it is for kids to learn about emotions and learn how to handle them.  We both read this book and both of us agree that this should be in every single classroom. 

Dr. Peggy Kruger Tietz
What I enjoyed most about this book is that it truly doesn't make emotions too complicated or too scary. We all feel angry and sad and afraid sometimes, and discussing these emotions are so important!  This book will generate discussions in your home with your child about emotions. It will get you talking about "what do YOU do when you feel such-and-such an emotion." 

About the Author

Dr. Peggy Kruger Tietz is a licensed psychologist and maintains a private practice in Austin, Texas. She sees a wide range of children with normal developmental problems as well as children who have experienced trauma. Her Ph.D is in developmental psychology from Bryn Mawr College. Before entering private practice Dr. Tietz treated children in multiple settings, such as family service agencies and foster care. Dr. Tietz, trained at the Family Institute of Philadelphia, and then taught there. She specializes in seeing children individually, as well as, with their families. She has advanced training in Play Therapy as well as being a certified practitioner of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, for children and adults). She has conducted workshops on parenting, sibling relationships, and emotional literacy.

Her latest book is the nonfiction/psychoeducational book, Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings.

For More Information about the Author

Visit Peggy Kruger Tietz’s website.
Connect with Peggy on Facebook and Twitter.
For More Information about the Book

Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings is available at Amazon.
Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

02 October 2014

My Thoughts on Passwords (And Who Won the iPad Mini?)

Talking about passwords has made me very conscious of my online security. One of the key pieces of information I learned through the process of talking about this and listening to your advice is basically staying "in the know" about the newest dangers impacting your security.

I find that staying active online and keeping informed through either word of mouth, social media, or national news on what accounts may be at risk. I have so many different online accounts that keeping up to date with everyone is so hard. That's why I was so excited to hear about F-Secure KEY and the ability to have at least one central place (aside from the notebook in my purse) to keep passwords (and keep them secure).

I also wanted to share with you an infographic that talks about passwords and keeping your information secure (and away from prying eyes)! (Click the image below to see a larger version!)

I highly recommend you download the app (or the desktop app) and experience the latest technology in online security. You can download the app here.

Download KEY on Android/iOS
Android: Go to Menu-Help- Enter PREMIUM VOUCHER
iOS: Help Menu- Promotional Code
*After redeeming offer on mobile device PREMIUM works on PC/Mac as well

Last, but certainly not least, I wanted to announce the winner of the iPad Mini giveaway - Amanda S from Massachusetts! The winner has already been contacted (and the info is now displayed on the Rafflecopter Widget).

Congrats to Amanda and thanks to everyone who entered!

This is a sponsored post for which I will receive compensation. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. 
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