Blogoversary Giveaway!

StudentSpyglass is officially a year old this week!  To celebrate, I’m throwing a giveaway for you guys, the readers!

  • Open internationally, as long as The Book Depository ships to you
  • The giveaway runs until the end of the month
  • Prize is a book (or books) of your choice, up to the value of £10 (sorry, I’m a very skint student!)
  • Winner will be contacted by email within 48 hours of giveaway end, and will have 48 hours from my email to respond before a new winner is chosen.

Just click here to enter the Rafflecopter!

Thank you to every one of you who has read this blog, encouraging me to carry on with StudentSpyglass and helping me to reach a year!

She Wulf Tour: Sheryl Steines Interview & Giveaway

Please enjoy this interview with Sheryl Steines, author of the action-packed urban fantasy, She Wulf. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of She Wulf, and 5 copies of its companion, The Day of First Sun.

1. When you start a book do you know how it will end or do you create the ending as you go along?

I have a rough idea of what the book will be about and I have some scene ideas and a rough ending. When I wrote The Day of First Sun, I knew that a high profile, non-magical person was going to be murdered by magic. I wrote out a paragraph of things that I wanted to see in the story and began writing. I didn’t look at the paragraph again until after the book was published and realized that I didn’t keep to my original thoughts at all. I tend to work without an outline because I feel tied to the story as if I’m trying to make everything fit. I prefer to let it flow and change. I like the freedom and the discovery. Sometimes I’m wildly surprised.

2. Do your book characters ever visit you in your dreams?

Yes and no. Not as much when I’m sleeping, but I daydream about them all the time. It’s how I work out characters and storylines. It’s almost as if a movie is playing in my head and I can change and add to storylines.

3. What are your favorite authors as either an adult or a child?

When I was a kid, I loved Nancy Drew. I read every one of them, but I didn’t just want to read them, I wished I had wrote them and started to write my own detective stories when I was seven. As I grew older, I read Judy Blume and Stephen King. Both made me feel something and from that I wanted to keep writing. I still read Stephen King and was very inspired by his autobiography On Writing. It was J.K. Rowling though, that reminded me of what I loved to read and that’s what inspired me to write my own fantasy novel.

4. How do you go about finishing a chapter when you can’t get it right?

I skip it…Just kidding. No, actually I’m not. Sometimes, I make a note in all caps reminding me I haven’t finished the chapter and other notes that I might be thinking about for the chapter and start the next one. Sometimes you just need to move on. The answer will eventually hit you upside the head when you least expect it.

5. Describe your reaction when you saw and held your first book?

I think I was numb when The Day of First Sun was published. Almost as if I had only done it to satisfy a selfish desire. It didn’t seem real. It was when I held She Wulf in my hands for the first time that I was overcome with emotion. This book consumed me for so long and I was so amazed by the final product and it seemed more than just a fantasy.

6. What is your biggest achievement to date?

Writing my first book. I always wanted to and never gave myself the opportunity. One day I decided it was time. It changed my life, gave me confidence. I lost the extra baby weight, changed my wardrobe, straightened my hair and gave my girls a role model, an example of taking control of one’s life and being the best person you can be.

7. What’s your favorite color?

Pink. I’ve always been a girly girl. As much as I’d like to be a sporty girl, I’m just not. It’s all about the pink, purses and shoes.

8. Favorite sound?

I love the sound of rain on the roof. Not during the sunlight hours, but early in the morning when it’s still dark out. I snuggle under the covers. It makes me happy.

9. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

An interior decorator. I love being creative and crafty and picking paint colors and getting lost in a fabric store. It’s almost as good as getting lost in a bookstore.

10. Worst fear?

I fear the alligators under the bed. Since I was a kid I can’t sleep without something covering my feet incase they come and get me. Don’t laugh, Stephen King admitted the same thing in an interview once.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the She Wulf eBook edition is just 99 cents this week -and so is the price of its companion, The Day of First Sun. What’s more, by purchasing either of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of She Wulf for just 99 cents
  2. Purchase your copy of Day of First Sun for just 99 cents
  3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  4. Visit today’s featured social media event

About She Wulf: Annie is sent through an ancient time portal with only a prophecy to guide her; she struggles with a new destiny as she tries
to figure out a way to destroy an un-killable demon and return home. Get it on Amazon.

About The Day of First Sun: A vampire, a rogue wizard and an army of soulless zombies are par for the course for Annie Pearce and
Bobby “Cham” Chamsky of the Wizard’s Guard. But when the non-magical princess, Amelie of Amborix, is murdered by magical means, a deeper plot unfolds. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Behind the wheel of her ’66 Mustang Convertible, Sheryl is a constant surprise, using her sense of humor and relatable style make her books something everyone can enjoy. Visit Sheryl on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

[After Dark] Giveaway: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty

From bestselling author Anne Rice, writing as A.N. Roquleaure.

The first in a recently re-released trilogy, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty puts a (very!) adult twist on a well-known fairytale.  Both e-book and print copies are available, with beautifully understated covers.  There are plenty of bloggers currently reviewing the book, and revealing exerpts on the website – keep up with them here!

Length
: 272Pages
Source: Review copy

Summary (from Goodreads.com)
In the traditional folktale of ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ the spell cast upon the lovely young princess and everyone in her castle can only be broken by the kiss of a Prince. It is an ancient story, one that originally emerged from and still deeply disturbs the mind’s unconscious. Now Anne Rice’s retelling of the Beauty story probes the unspoken implications of this lush, suggestive tale by exploring its undeniable connection to sexual desire.

Here the Prince reawakens Beauty, not with a kiss, but with sexual initiation. His reward for ending the hundred years of enchantment is Beauty’s complete and total enslavement to him as Anne Rice explores the world of erotic yearning and fantasy in a classic that becomes, with her skillful pen, a compelling experience.

Amazon | Goodreads | The Book Depository

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Praise of Motherhood Tour: Phil Jourdan Guest Post

Summary (From Goodreads.com)

When Phil Jourdan’s mother died suddenly in 2009, she left behind a legacy of kindness and charity – but she also left unanswered some troubling questions. Was she, as she one claimed, a spy? Had she suffered more profoundly as a woman and a parent than she’d let on?

Jourdan’s recollections of his struggles with psychosis, and his reconstructions of conversations with his enigmatic other, form the core of this memoir. Psychoanalysis, poetry and confession all merge to tell the story of an ordinary woman whose death turned her into a symbol for extraordinary motherhood.

 

Please enjoy this guest post by Phil Jourdan, author of the touching memoir, Praise of Motherhood. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $500 in Amazon gift cards and 5 autographed copies of the book.

The Story behind this Real-Life Story

by Phil Jourdan

Back in late 2009, when I began working on Praise of Motherhood, I had envisioned a book very different from what I ended up submitting to my publisher. I’d just lost the woman who’d raised me, and when I wasn’t sitting around numb and brooding, I was frantically trying to contain the universe of loss and suffering in a single Word document on my laptop.

I wanted to write a book that expressed the impossibility of letting go. We’re often told, when someone close to us dies, that we have to move on, that things will get better. I couldn’t accept this back then: I didn’t think it was possible to let go of my mother, who had been so patient and kind during my weird teenage years.

The first two versions were entirely different from each other in form and tone, but they did have a certain delight in chaos in common. I was mourning the only way I knew how: by adopting a hundred different voices, each trying to say something about my mother that the others couldn’t say. One chapter was pure dialogue; another was a series of letters; for a while I wrote in breathless page-long paragraphs because it was the only way I could feel “honest” about what I felt. I’d swing from rage to self-pity to sadness to bliss to sheer bafflement.

It was only when I decided to turn this book into something that others could actually read without going insane that I figured out how to structure a book like this. I cut a great number chapters because they were “honest” but unhelpful. I tried to make myself a sort of antagonist, so my mother’s qualities as a human being could be emphasized. I left things relatively ambiguous instead of offering anything like words of wisdom to my readers. I tried to leave the book as open as the wound that stayed after my mother died.

This has irritated some people. They ask why I don’t provide a real sense of what my mother was like on a day-to-day basis, or why I focused so much on how she affected my life instead of just writing about her, as a person in her own right. Fair questions — but I never set out to just “write about my mom”. I wanted to write about the struggle of losing her, and what made losing her so painful. That’s why I ask questions in the book that I never really answer: because I was never able to answer them myself. They are questions that will remain.

Praise of Motherhood isn’t a book praising all mothers across all ages. It’s not meant to praise the idea of “motherhood” itself as some glorious ideal. I wrote this book because I wanted to transmit something of my mother to those who didn’t know her; those who, perhaps, need to hear that it’s okay to say you love your mommy and you wish she could still be here when you feel like crying.


As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Praise of Motherhood eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $500 in Amazon gift cards and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

Praise of Motherhood Tour: Phil Jourdan Interview & Giveaway

Summary (From Goodreads.com)

When Phil Jourdan’s mother died suddenly in 2009, she left behind a legacy of kindness and charity – but she also left unanswered some troubling questions. Was she, as she one claimed, a spy? Had she suffered more profoundly as a woman and a parent than she’d let on?

Jourdan’s recollections of his struggles with psychosis, and his reconstructions of conversations with his enigmatic other, form the core of this memoir. Psychoanalysis, poetry and confession all merge to tell the story of an ordinary woman whose death turned her into a symbol for extraordinary motherhood.


1. Who was your mother?

Hey, perhaps the obvious thing is that she was the single greatest person in my life–a woman who set everything aside to help me when I went through a few rocky years, a lover of animals and nature, a professor of mathematics and computer science who worked because she needed something to do…

She was that lady who’d bring clothes out to the homeless people in the streets when it was cold. She spoke Portuguese, French, English, and Russian fluently. She took people into her life and made them stronger, happier. She drove very carefully.

She was one person among many to die from something as trivial and terrible as an aneurysm; just one out of all the people who died on November 11th, 2009, for no reason, and without saying goodbye to any of us.

And, now, she’s the subject of my book.

2. Who are you?

I’m a bearded, forever-anxious guy in his mid-twenties living in the UK. I’m working on a PhD in Literature and Religion. I have a band, I run a press, I write articles for various publications, and I pace around a lot when I talk about things that interest me.

3. Why did you write Praise of Motherhood?

Because I couldn’t bear the idea that my mother’s death might be just another sad event in the lives of a few people. I wanted my mother to be remembered somehow — not just by those who knew her, but by those who could end up wishing they had known her.

It’s not easy losing a parent, and I wanted to write my way out of some dark places. To focus on the good things. To remember with gratitude the way she did everything she could to make her children feel okay.

4. Were you a mama’s boy?

Of course, I was. She was worth the teasing from my young classmates. I loved her even when I was furiously angry with her.

5. When were you furiously angry?

From the age of 14 to 16, I was so psychologically unstable that I had to leave school for a while to stay in a private clinic and “recover” — which means they pumped me full of medication and made me sleep for a few weeks. This happened twice. My mother’s support was crucial back then, because I was a mess. I hallucinated, I was paranoid, and I wanted to die. Of course, like any screwed up kid, I took it out on my mom.

I’d get so angry that I couldn’t breathe. Everything seemed to hurt me–physically and emotionally. Because I trusted my mother so much, I took her for granted, too. I knew she wouldn’t abandon me if I broke down or lashed out. She was a saint about my outbursts.

6. Is that what Praise of Motherhood is about?

In part. What you’ll find in Praise of Motherhood is a series of short chapters on various ways I related to my mother. Let me be clear that it’s not a book about mothers in general. It’s a memoir about my relationship with my mother, before and after her death. It deals with my weird adolescence, then it moves on to questions about her private life that I’ll never be able to answer, and then it turns toward fiction. I imagine a world in which mother didn’t die on that day. I try to reconstruct conversations I had with her and my father. Then I end the book because I could go on forever and I think it’s best to be brief.

7. What was it like to show the book to your family?

It was less terrible than I’d anticipated. My great fear was that someone might object to the way I’d written it. It’s not “conventional” — there’s a scene in which I imagine my mother breaking into pieces and my sister and I have to tape her back together before she accuses me of having killed her. That scene worried me: what if my sister hated it?

I’m happy to say it all went well. My sister found that chapter moving, and my grandparents each expressed their support. My father, who hadn’t been married to my mother for over a decade, was equally moved and helped me through the various drafts.

8. Is everything you write in Praise of Motherhood true?

If you read it, you’ll see that some of it is obviously fiction. I don’t think the right distinction here is between fiction and nonfiction; it’s between truthfulness and untruthfulness. The book is certainly truthful: if I make things up, as in the chapter where I imagine what my mother’s “secret life” as an occasional spy might have been like, it’s to show what I think about when I wonder about her as a private person. I paint myself pretty much as I was back then: irritable, self-involved, afraid. I paint my mother just as she was: patient, terrified of losing her child, and often helpless but willing to do anything.

The events that I depict in the more “conventional” chapters are true. The dialogue is obviously not going to represent exactly what was said, but the spirit of the past is contained within it.

9. Who is this book for?

It’s for people who have lost someone they loved and want to know how someone else handled their pain.

It’s for parents who need a reminder that their children can and will end up appreciating all the sacrifices, all the patience, all the secret suffering.

And it’s for anyone who is interested in teenage depression, psychosis and anxiety, and wants to read a memoir about how those conditions affect family relationships.

10. What’s next?

A novel that begins with a mother’s funeral… and then goes in a totally new direction. I started it just as I was wrapping up Praise of Motherhood, and I was ready to let go of those memories for a while, but the image of my mother’s coffin going into the earth has stayed with me so vividly that I had to begin a work of fiction with it. But beyond that, it’s an entirely different thing.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Praise of Motherhood eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $500 in Amazon gift cards and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

Please note: This giveaway is hosted through Novel Publicity NOT StudentSpyglass – you can enter here, but full details of the competition can be found at the link above.
a Rafflecopter giveaway