Category: New Adult Fiction

#PubDay Book Review | “The Fourteenth of September” by Rita Dragonette

Posted Tuesday, 18 September, 2018 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. One of the benefits of working with JKS is the fact the publicists not only read my blog and understand my reading life but they have the knack for knowing what I want to be reading ahead of knowing which stories might captivate my own attention! I am thankful I can continue to read the stories the authors they represent are creating as they have the tendency of being beloved treasured finds throughout my literary wanderings.

I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 5th Year Book Blogger. I received my complimentary ARC copy of “The Fourteenth of September” from the publisher She Writes Press courtesy of the publicist at JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What inspired me to read ‘The Fourteenth of September’:

I personally love Feminist Historical Fiction – I trust the publisher as it’s one I’ve become fond of in recent years, whilst I adore finding strong female stories in #HistFic which are rooted in living histories and the persons who lived stories so incredible they are honoured in fiction. Definitely a good fit for me. Also, I never studied the Vietnam War in school – I had the memories of the era and generation from both my parents and my grandparents who openly discussed what was going on during those times but I never personally read or researched it myself. (with the exception of the Non-Fiction release ‘Those Who Remain’)

What captured me the most is the ‘coming to conscience’ moment for Judy and the choices she was facing which may or may not have correlated well with her military family.

Felt like the kind of dramatic story I would appreciate which is why I choose to read this title at the end of Summer in-line for celebrating it’s publication!

A side note about why I classified this as Historical Fiction rather than Contemporary – as I generally consider works post-1945 as being strictly ‘Contemporary’ but there are a few random exceptions to this particular self-driven ruling in regards to classifications of the stories I am reading on my blog. ‘The Fourteenth of September’ felt to me to be a brilliantly conceived and conceptionalised ‘time capsule’ of a particularly inclusive period of turbulence in American History – thereby, giving me a decided impression of a) a drama back-lit by a war everyone & their cousin has heard about irregardless of which decade/century of birth b) the particular mannerisms of the inclusivity of the story and c) although I am technically a close-cousin in years to the age of Judy, I feel like this was a firm step ‘back’ from whence I entered the world. Thereby, classifying this as ‘Feminist Historical Fiction’ because for me, it was a full generation behind me even if technically that is not theoretically accurate if you go by the fact I’m a GenX girl! (laughs)

IF your a regular reader of my blog, I won’t have to explain to you about my penchant for *Feminist Historical Fiction*, however, if your visiting with me through this review for the first time, you might want to give a nod of a glimpse into my archive for this niche of fiction I love discovering! Likewise, I have a few upcoming ruminations I’ll be sharing with you – the first of which will be ‘The Lost Queen’ by Signe Pike!

And, yes if you spied the collective works of Nicole Evelina featuring her incredible #Arthurian after canon series, I can happily *announce!* I shall be reading the concluding *third!* installment of her series this *October!* Mum’s the word on the rest of the titles which will be forthcoming!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#PubDay Book Review | “The Fourteenth of September” by Rita DragonetteThe Fourteenth of September
by Rita Dragonette
Source: Publicist via JKS Communications

Fifty years ago America was at a critical turning point in history as radical social and political unrest swept the nation. Tension built as the world watched the upheaval of change – from voting rights to feminism, from the assassinations of iconic leaders like civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Democratic presidential nominee Robert F. Kennedy, to the promise of space travel. Above all, the Vietnam War came to a head, casting a shadow over American life that profoundly affected most aspects of that and every generation since.

We think we know it well. And yet, with a half-century of distance, we’re only now fully appreciating the full impact and diversity of perspectives possible, and parallels to today, as evidenced by, for example, the recent Ken Burns PBS documentary “The Vietnam War.” Among what we’ve learned: we’ve only scratched the surface of the female stories of the time.

In her compelling debut novel, “The Fourteenth of September” (Sept. 18, 2018, She Writes Press), author Rita Dragonette uses her personal experiences as a student during one of the most volatile years of the war and gives voice to the women of her generation. In the story, Private First Class Judy Talton celebrates her 19th birthday by secretly joining the antiwar movement on her college campus. As the recipient of an army scholarship and the daughter of a military family, Judy has a lot to lose. But her doubts about the ethics of war have escalated, especially after her birthdate is pulled as the first in the new draft lottery. If she were a man, she would have been among the first off to Vietnam with an under-fire life expectancy measured in seconds. The stakes become clear, propelling her toward a life-altering choice as fateful as that of any lottery draftee.

“The Fourteenth of September” portrays a pivotal time at the peak of the Vietnam War through the rare perspective of a young woman, tracing her path of self-discovery and a “coming-of- conscience.” Judy’s story speaks to the poignant clash of young adulthood, early feminism, and war, offering an ageless inquiry into the domestic politics of protest when the world stops making sense.

“Though women weren’t in danger of actually being drafted, they were ‘in it’ sharing fear, outrage, and activism, particularly during the days of the first Draft Lottery and Kent State, when it felt an age group — a generation — was in jeopardy, not a gender, even if that wasn’t always fully appreciated,” Dragonette says. “It’s an important perspective with a rich and complex backstory that has informed the involvement of women in protests through to and including today’s ‘Never Again’ movement.”

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1631524530

Genres: Current Events, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Social Science, Women's Fiction


Published by She Writes Press

on 18th September, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 376

Published By: She Writes Press (@shewritespress)
originated from She Writes (@shewritesdotcom)
an imprint of Spark Points Studio LLC GoSparkPoint (@GoSparkPoint)
& BookSparks(@BookSparks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #FourteenthOfSeptember, #HistFic or #HistNov & #SheWritesPress

About Rita Dragonette

Rita Dragonette

Rita Dragonette is a former award-winning public relations executive turned author. Her debut novel, “The Fourteenth of September,” is a woman’s story of Vietnam which will be published by She Writes Press on Sept. 18, 2018, and has already been designated a finalist in two 2018 American Fiction Awards by American Book Fest, and received an honorable mention in the Hollywood Book Festival.

She is currently working on two other novels and a memoir in essays, all of which are based upon her interest in the impact of war on and through women, as well as on her transformative generation. She also regularly hosts literary salons to introduce new works to avid readers.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Posted Tuesday, 18 September, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, College & University Years, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Feminine Heroism, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, History, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Life Shift, Military Fiction, Passionate Researcher, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Realistic Fiction, Social Change, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, The Sixties, The Vietnam War, Vulgarity in Literature, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights

Book Blitz with Notes and Extras | “Twelve Months of Awkward” by Lisa Acerbo a new Digital First Contemporary Romantic Suspense which caught my eye!

Posted Monday, 3 September, 2018 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Books in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I have an announcement – I decided to start hosting for Xpresso Book Tours for showcasing new books which interest me to be #amreading, such as this spotlight blitz post and/or hosting guest features for authors on behalf of the stories I want to be reading! They mostly feature digital releases on their blog tours, which is why I am not expecting to be hosting review tours for them but I do like to find new Indie published authors and from what I can gather from their list of tours, they have the tendency of featuring quite a lovely variety of Indie writers!

As you know, my search for new Contemporary authors has had its fair share of ups and downs over the past few years, yet when I first read the premise behind this one it felt like it stepped out a bit from what I would usually expect to find inside a Contemporary plot. Especially since this is a story which is anchoured to someone who is trying to not just overcome a particular moment of their life but to find distance and peace from it as well.

Romantic Suspense threads of intrigue are becoming my jam lately – as you well know, I am over the moon in *love!* with #LoveInspired Suspense novels – each of those lovelies is a #RomSusp knitted taut and tight out of high emotions, dramatic passageways and the eclipse of a Thriller you are never fully sure if your prepared to handle but you *keep turning the pages!* all the same! Meanwhile, outside of my INSPY readings – I still love to see out these sorts of stories on the mainstream side of the ledger!

What set this particular book apart in my mind is the fact it’s #NewAdult – a tricky category of interest for me as I rarely if ever find an NA I can soak into and find myself enthused. Ms Acerbo held my attention in the extracts provided on this Blitz tour and that in of itself was a happy surprise! I am truly hopeful as I ever am this Digital First will one day be released into print or audio – thereby allowing me to read it.

What do you currently find yourself drawn into when it comes to Rom Suspense plot threads & especially when it comes to New Adult!? What are you personally seeking when you try to find stories which fit inside these particular categories of interest!?

As an aside, when I first saw the publisher was ‘Torrid’ – it brought back fond memories of a clothing store heralding the same name – you know, from the 90s and early 2000s before it was ‘altered’ out of its funkified state of loveliness to be just another ‘lemming’ of bland!?

Book Blitz with Notes and Extras | “Twelve Months of Awkward” by Lisa Acerbo a new Digital First Contemporary Romantic Suspense which caught my eye!Twelve Months of Awkward Moments
by Lisa Acerbo

Dani can’t wait for senior year at college. A straight-A scholar whose anxiety is a daily struggle, being awkward, introverted, and studious has become a way of life. She vows this year will be different. It’s time to move beyond her comfort zone, but that’s not easy.

Dani’s wild roommate and handsome best friend hate each other; her crazy family won’t leave her alone; and a new job forces her to be social. Unfortunately, when college romance finally calls, Dani is unable to answer thanks to a stalker who has her all tied up.

Can she stay alive long enough to find love and graduate?

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781682992937

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense


on 30th August, 2018

Format: eBook

Published By: Torrid Books (@torridbooks)

Available Formats: this is a Digital First release into ebook

*I am hoping this goes into print or POD eventually so I can read it!

Converse on Twitter via: #Contemporary #RomSusp

About Lisa Acerbo

Lisa Acerbo

Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct instructor at a local community college. Her previous novels have been published through a variety of indie presses. She has a short story “Carnivorous” coming out in October as part of an anthology titled Carnival of Nightmares. When not writing or teaching, she spends time with her family, friends and pets. She also fosters dogs to help them find their forever homes.

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Posted Monday, 3 September, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, College & University Years, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Domestic Violence, Indie Author, Modern Day, New Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Singletons & Commitment, Upper YA Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Brush with Love” by Lisa McKendrick

Posted Sunday, 10 December, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I have been a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past three years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

I received a complimentary copy of “Brush with Love” direct from the publisher Bonneville Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to read this story:

To be honest, the main reason I wanted to read this novel is because I wanted to give the author a second chance – the first time I read one of her novels, I couldn’t get excited about it as much as I had wanted to be excited about it. Even though I read quite a lot of the previous release, there were key issues I encountered moving through the story which I thankfully was hoping had either been polished in this release or were no longer an issue at all. Writers grow through their stories – you can even see the growth a writer undergoes through their career by how they approach telling their stories, which is why I try to remember to keep an open mind about reading a different story by an author I’ve previously found not to my liking.

Aside from this second chance attempt to read this author, I personally liked the premise behind the story but I was a bit surprised within the premise, it was not entirely highlighting how interesting the back-story was on the story itself. From the humble beginnings of Lana being left at an Eastern European orphanage before being adopted by an American family to the fact, part of the story is a reflection of what happens during memory loss and the pains of watching a loved one go through a degenerative disease which seeks to erase their time on Earth.

There is a lot of depth to this novel but I felt the premise and blurb on the back cover might not be as convincing to readers they should take a chance on this story – thereby, missing its heart.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Brush with Love” by Lisa McKendrickBrush with Love
by Lisa McKendrick
Source: Direct from Publisher

Lana, a talented Ivy League artist, is thrilled for a summer internship program where she'll get to study under an acclaimed artist, but she is soon disappointed to find that she'll be going to Bluegill, Idaho, for six weeks to study under the brilliant but aging artist LeVan Hitchpost.

As she spends more time with him, though (and more specifically with LeVan's grandson, Walt), Lana realises she may have to choose between following her dreams or following her heart.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1462121250

Also by this author: Letters to my Future Husband

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Romance Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Bonneville Books

on 10th October, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 257

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Stories I’ve read by this author:

Letters to my Future Husband by Lisa McKendrickBrush with Love by Lisa McKendrick

Converse via: #SweetRomance & #Contempoary #Romance

About Lisa McKendrick

Lisa McKendrick lives in Lakeland, Florida where she divides her time between writing, carpools, and occasionally folding laundry. The mother of seven children (all accustomed to wearing unmatched socks), Lisa is author of other books for the LDS market, including On a Whim , and thanks to her husband's support, has earned a master's degree in English from BYU. Lisa enjoys hearing from her readers and can be contacted at Utterance.org (linked below via Website).

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Posted Sunday, 10 December, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Adoption, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, College & University Years, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Indie Author, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Mormonism, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, New Adult Fiction, Orphans & Guardians, Realistic Fiction, Sisterhood friendships, Sweet Romance

Audiobook Review | “Halfway Hunted: Halfway Witchy, No.3” by Terry Maggert, narrated by Erin Spencer

Posted Friday, 10 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. I started hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions at the end of [2016] during “The Cryptic Lines” tour wherein I became quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Halfway Hunted” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the author Terry Maggert) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

On the heart tug of emotional angst stemming out of the cliffhanger from Halfway Bitten:

In case you’ve missed my full ruminations on behalf of the first novel in this wonderfully witchy series, please direct your mouse to Halfway Dead!

Halfway Hunted promo badge provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

When Halfway Bitten concluded – I had mixed emotions. In some ways, I had trouble sorting out my thoughts because I couldn’t quite say I had the same reaction to the second story as I did the first: wicked sweet admiration for the story in whole. No. I honestly had a difficult takeaway, as portions of the story felt ‘off’ to me somehow, something I have sorted out how to explain, if you read the ‘postscript’ on my review.

The hardest part about the ending is how it ends – to be direct, this is the second time I felt overcome by the ending of a novel. The first time was during a read-fest of Lady Darby, of which sadly ended with me unable to resolve my feelings in order to read the adorable pocket sized fifth installment. (see also post) By the time I resolved my emotional angst, I was facing a real-life medical crisis. (see also post) In this particular case, it was simply emotionally gutting – such a sad conclusion and yet, a heroic gesture for someone’s beloved. Wulfric grew on me – as he didn’t warm to me initially – it was through his love for Carlie and the overtures of sincerity he made started me to think about another vampire I liked (ie. Angel; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Angel series)

Each of the Halfway Witchy stories are progressively moving deeper into the heart of Carlie’s personal growth and the ways in which her life is exponentially complicated through her experiences as a white witch. Maggert threads a hearty threading of realism into the backbone of the series – there are happy moments, sure, but overall, this is a cheeky satire with high octane drama. It’s set in a world just out of the view of our own – if you kept the veil of the supernatural away from your eyes, you could say this is ‘present day, 21st Century’, too. It’s texture of familiarity is enhanced by how Maggert etches into his narrative exchanges of cultural and tradition Americans would readily recognise. This is decidedly American – not just in how he chooses to write his characters’ unique personalities or their delivery of their lines, but rather, how the story is told. You can perceive a lens of grounding out of the author’s own imagination and living memories whilst countered against the unseen and very dangerous supernatural world.

This is why I am so genuinely addicted to this series – you feel like brewing up a warm cuppa and settling in for returning back to a place that feels so much like home. Similar to Stars Hollow if you will. Or any small towne you feel you can cosy up inside and be recognised as a resident rather than as a passing through outsider. This is why despite the cliffhanger giving my heart a lurched out motion of ‘how could this happen!?’ I felt Maggert left in just enough Hope for things to turn around and/or have restitution given down the road a bit in the next installments to where I could handle moving forward. Unlike my feelings on behalf of the recent episode of NCIS: LA (see this thread of a rant of mine) which pushed the envelope too far for me to even consider rational and plausible in regards of ‘where’ a story-line in a family tv series should go.

As an aside, Lady Darby’s story-line crushed my soul, NCIS: LA disturbed my heart and disillusioned my loyalty to a series I’ve followed since JAG (ie: all 3x NCIS are spins of the original) and Halfway Witchy dealt with a twist of fate in such a better way. If you’re going to give a reader (or a viewer) a heart-wreck of a cliffhanger or turning of tides, take after Mr Magget. And, yes… I am going to be reading Lady Darby – after you nearly lose your father to a series of TIAs, even a crushed soul can be repaired. Or in my case, a severe case of amnesia occurred because something more important was hitting my reality. NCIS: LA is falling into the category of Castle & Downton Abbey; not everything can be forgiven. Then again, I boycotted Angel after S2 for similar reasons.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Audiobook Review | “Halfway Hunted: Halfway Witchy, No.3” by Terry Maggert, narrated by Erin SpencerHalfway Hunted
Subtitle: Some Prey Bites Back
by Terry Maggert
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Erin Spencer

Welcome to Halfway; where the waffles are golden, the moon is silver, and magic is just around every corner.

A century old curse is broken, releasing Exit Wainwright, an innocent man trapped alone in time. Lost and in danger, he enlists Carlie, Gran, and their magic to find the warlock who sentenced him to a hundred years of darkness. The hunter becomes the hunted when Carlie's spells awaken a cold-blooded killer intent on adding another pelt to their gruesome collection: hers.

But the killer has never been to Halfway before, where there are three unbreakable rules:

1. Don't complain about the diner's waffles.
2. Don't break the laws of magic.
3. Never threaten a witch on her home turf.

Can Carlie solve an ancient crime, defeat a ruthless killer and save the love of her life from a vampire's curse without burning the waffles?

Come hunt with Carlie, and answer the call of the wild.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Halfway Dead, Halfway Bitten, Heartborn,

Also in this series: Halfway Dead, Halfway Bitten


Genres: Cosy Horror, Ghost Story, New Adult Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Sci-Fantasy, Upper YA Fiction, Vampire Romance, YA Paranormal Suspense


Published by Terry Maggert

on 10th November, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours and 56 minutes (unabridged)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

the halfway witchy series:

Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions
Digital composite of Wooden table with library background. Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions; used with permission.

Notation on Cover Art Design: charmed by two, indifferent towards a third

Unlike my admiration for the first two covers, the third cover was slightly less inclined to be liked by me due to how ‘blood’ was the prime feature of the artwork. I’m not a girl who likes vampires or werewolves – not generally – I do have my exceptions (all girls do) but if you were to cast a wide net about the stories of the supernatural and/ paranormal suspense in general – I’m just not the kind of reader / viewer who digs a lot of er, blood. Unless it’s a medical drama – not that I can handle watching or reading medical dramas anymore – in my teenage years I could filter real life from fictional; as an adult, I’ve lived too many years with medical crises to care to always be locked into a soul-wretch of a fictional one. I even wanted to share the promo badges attached to this blog tour – as some of the quotes were my personal favourites – but again. The ‘blood’ is just too .. er, ick for me!? I always par down the blood – my imagination is tamer than most and more expansive in other regards – in true essence, I dial down the gore. Not that I would consider Maggert’s fiction ‘gory’ no, it’s still within what I consider ‘Cosy Horror’ or even ‘Horror-Lite’ but.. yes. This cover just didn’t win me over. I sort of wished for the continuity of the marker tattoos. That was something wicked original now discarded.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

About Terry Maggert

Terry Maggert

Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I've had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of-- well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You've been warned.

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Posted Friday, 10 February, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Apothecary, ArchDemons or Demonic Entities, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Author Found me On Twitter, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cats and Kittens, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Environmental Science, Equality In Literature, Faeries & the Fey, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Horror-Lite, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Immortals, Indie Author, Light vs Dark, Modern Day, Nature & Wildlife, New Adult Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Realistic Fiction, Shapeshifters, Small Towne USA, Sociology, Speculative Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Suspense, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, The Natural World, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Vulgarity in Literature, Walking & Hiking Trails, Werewolves, Witches and Warlocks, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction

Author Interview | Conversing with Terry Maggert the author of the YA series #HalfwayWitchy!

Posted Thursday, 9 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts! I am happy to announce I have two new showcases about the #HalfwayWitchy series by Terry Maggert alighting on my blog today! I knew even before I finished Halfway Dead, I wanted to interview the author, because of the content of his stories. Halfway Witchy is the kind of paranormal book series which becomes this fiercely addictive guilty pleasure of a read after awhile! You get so attached to Carlie, Gus (her Maine Coon!) and Gran, it’s hard to wait for the moment to arrive where you can soak inside the rest of the series!

It’s unique in how Carlie’s voice is both forthright in deadpan honesty and how realistically resilient she is to overcome everything she’s endured. She picked up the pieces each and every time she finds her life marred by circumstances outside her control but she never loses the hope of what tomorrow could still bring. She chooses to walk the fine line between white and dark magic – where she has to interact with creatures and situations which ebb out of dark magic but she herself, is a practicing white witch.

Mr Maggert has a wickedly delightful sense of humour within the personality of Carlie and he definitely knows how to make fiction read of smartly conceived satire!  He adds in layers of his own spirit and heart to the stories he’s penning whilst craftly his niche within the paranormal and Dark Fantasy branches of literature; brokering between YA, Upper YA and New Adult – depending on your interpretation of the genres. I tend to think he’s more Upper YA & NA given the context of the series, with only the first novel being just within what I’d consider traditional YA. Again reader discretion.

When I sat down to compose my questions, I was trying to sort out what I wanted to know most about the series and how to find a way to let the author shine through the conversation, too. I  hope you will enjoy the selections I’ve made to highlight and appreciate the honesty of Mr Maggert’s answers, as this was quite the enjoyable interview I’ve hosted in awhile.

Sit back with your own cuppa tea and a hearty stack of WAFFLES!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

the halfway witchy series:

Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions
Digital composite of Wooden table with library background. Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions; used with permission.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

How did you first decide to give the Diner such a clever addiction to waffles?! What was the impetus to have waffles be the sub-focus of the foodies who loved to dig into the food Carlie cooks?!

Maggert responds: I’m a huge fan of sugar, flour, and vanilla in any ration. Given that, it seemed natural to include something like waffles or pancakes or pie as the keystone of Carlie’s diner. I also rather enjoy the use of stacked waffles as a unique little detail, and naming them “The Carlie” reminds me of my own mom, who was only five feet tall. (She was also an excellent sport about jokes pertaining to her, ahh, lack of height).

I love finding out there was a familial connection behind Carlie’s height – when I first read your reply though, I was thinking of an excellent recipe for bread pudding rather than waffles! lol I do admit – I am a natural bourne baker moreso than I am a chef even though I regularly love concocting new recipes and even run a feature on here called: The Bookish Foodie. The truth of the matter is when it comes to baking, there is such freedom in the choices and in the way you can switch out ingredients as I have a preference for gluten-free vegan baking even though I don’t always get the pleasure of baking non-traditionally, it is something I aspire to do. Esp if I could master baking my own ‘breads’ – ooh, imagine if I could make m own homemade french toast with fresh baked bread!? Aye. #beyondyum So you can see, I definitely understand your motivation to make the diner Carlie’s passion and her beam of balance in life.

Halfway is such a happily quirky small towne – it’s a close knit community and full of eccentrics of a variety of characters; is there a real-life towne which inspired you to create the vibe of Halfway the way in which you did?

Maggert responds:I was born and raised in a city– but I came of age in a small town. The natural array of people are concentrated in a smaller setting, leading to an awareness and acceptance of that which is unusual or odd. I mean odd in the finest way possible– odd is interesting. Odd is us, it’s you, it’s me– it’s the things we consider a part of our day that are utterly alien to someone else. Taken in aggregate, it makes for an excellent fabric on which to write. I revel in the atmosphere of the city, but I’m wholly charmed by the pastiche of weird that comes in a small town.

Interestingly enough, we mirror each other – I am city bourne, growing up in the inner city and then, during high school opted to live in the country; if only to have a better chance at avoiding the issues of city schools during the mid-90s. I love small townes myself – either to live or to visit. There is something about them which is alluring – especially if you are not too far away from a city. You can live a bit more simply but the fact the natural world isn’t so far away is what truly inspires me. I also like how you’ve taken to express the quirks of everyday life in a small towne – using those as the nuanced backdrop of Halfway and in effect, given a charming presence of supporting cast I am unsure if all readers are keeping tabs on, as even before you broached something in this conversation, I was musefully ‘thinking ahead!’ Anyone who has seen ‘Overboard’ with Goldie Hawn will understand the benefit of knowing both sides of how life can be lived. You’ve done such a wonderful job of giving small towne life personality, I think your readers will learn the lesson we’ve been blessed to experience.    

Have you always had a healthy curiosity about the paranormal or did your interest in the paranormal grow as you developed the series as you have a strong command for elements of the paranormal which are easily digestable and recognisable to those who are well-read or versed in this thematic.

Maggert responds: Yes. Here’s why: Think about your childhood. Now, think about how much of it was at the periphery of your senses. If you’re like me (an observer), then there’s a great deal of life in the shadows. I find that fascinating, even scary-velous, and converting that feeling of awkward familiarity to the genre seemed like second nature. Do I think there are vampiric clowns in Central New York? I sure hope so.

Ah, some of my best moments in childhood and my growing years were spent observing – life as it was being lived. I liked to take stock of the subtle details or the curious unknowns of others as they walked through their living hours oblivious to everyone else. You can learn a lot about society simply by ‘looking’ at others as you go through your own routines. However, complimented to the fact we writers are constant observers of sociological behaviour, I also like engaging in spontaneous conversations with people you only ‘meet in the moment’ of where your paths cross. You gain so much by being open to talking to someone new and someone unknown yet of the same environment or surroundings. Sometimes you get lucky and their from out of towne, state or country. You took it into a new layer of usefulness by taking the quirky and mysterious and knitting those into the fantastical through the threads of your stories. Although there is a lot of sociology in your stories – if readers take a more critical assessment of them.

Carlie and Gran have a very close-knit relationship – based on mutual respect and a deep resolve of familial pride to carry on the legacy of their bloodline. What challenged you about bridging their generational gaps but also, the different perspectives and approaches of both women to the mindful art of witchcraft!?

Maggert responds: True story: Had my Nana asked me to swim the Atlantic, I would’ve had my shoes off before she could point east. That woman, as we say here in the South, “hung the moon”. I channeled that reverent love into a relationship in which Carlie sees her Gran as more than just an embodiment of age. My mom passed away twenty years ago, and until then, I thought of her as a personification of “Mom”, rather than Suzie Maggert. Now, years later, I know her as a person, too, thanks to the generosity of memory shared by my family and friends. That’s the foundation for Carlie and Gran. Carlie wants to be great, but she’s young. Gran sees that, and acts accordingly to let her fail when she must. It’s the only way I could make Carlie real, as if she’s a young woman you might actually meet. That’s what I wanted, both to respect my concept of familial love, and to make Carlie and Gran in three dimensions.

I love this answer – and it felt so instinctively ‘right’ to be the inspiration behind Carlie and Gran. You definitely tapped into your own relationship with your grandmother and fused your memories into ‘everyone’s memories’ of their grandparent(s), too. It is a very curious relatable portion of the Halfway Witchy series and the foundation of their relationship is such a lovely bit of personal back-story!

You have a particular quirk of including cross-breeds of species in your Halfway Witchy series – which character did you find the most approachable to write about in Halfway Bitten: Anna or Wulfric? Which of them did you feel was easier to conceptionalise based on their origins?

Maggert responds: ANNA. Oh boy. She’s– well, Anna is anathema to the lives of some women, so she’s easy to write. I’ve met Anna, or her type, and I see how the world treats them. She’s guilty of the most egregious sin of all: she goes her own way. She’s a voluptuary, seeking her own pleasure and damn the consequences. With that in mind, the reactive nature of Carlie just seems to flow.

I thought you might lean towards Anna… you pulled this off so very organically it’s almost as if those passages wrote themselves into the story-line!

You have an organic style of etching out Carlie’s introspective internal world into the narrative of the series – how did you develop her quirky style of where she’s one part humourous and one half seeking a better understanding of the world around her when her spirit feels heavy by her witchy experiences? What did you want readers to takeaway from Carlie’s resolute resolve to carry forward even when adversity struck her so very strongly?

Maggert responds: I’ll answer that by telling you why young soldiers are the best for terrible jobs: they don’t take it personally. Carlie is, in fact, a soldier. She’s at war, pressing for peace with an array of creatures and events that are too discordant to allow in her world. With that in mind, yes, she feels heavy, but in the style of the youthful, she returns to form because ultimately, she is loved. Youth, love, and honor will carry the day, even when the enemy has fangs.

I did observe this in Carlie even before you mentioned it – but I hadn’t proportioned exactly what I was sensing until I read  your response. Yes, she very much is a solider enduring and championing through her struggles to face things mere mortals would shirk away from due to how hideous most of it is and how emotionally crushing it is to be fighting for mankind. You truly did her justice by how you’ve portrayed her and by how you should her endurance to ‘carry on’ and never lose sight of hope, youthful fortitude and the legacy of her kin being honoured through her actions.

 Carlie is definitely connected to the natural world – not merely as a witch but as a soul who feels attracted to the natural world. How important was it to draw out this personal interest of hers whilst grounding her character’s passion for nature as a segue for readers to re-think how they think about the environment around them? As in Halfway Dead there is a beauty thesis surrounding preservation and conservation.

Maggert responds: When I realized that there had been four billion chestnut trees at one time, I felt a pang for something that had been gone prior to my birth. I grew up near the ocean, then, in the forest. I know the effects of humanity, and being a caring steward starts with seeing where you step. It’s simple, but through Carlie’s eyes (and Wulfric), I can describe something that is wild, free, and unknown. I want that sense of wonder, because I carry it with me from the last time I walked under pines that rustled overhead.

Once we are touched by the grace of the natural world and see how small we are in the scheme of what is far more ancient than our own humanity, you look at everything quite a bit differently. Trees are old souls and their spirit leaves an imprint on our own souls as we spend time amongst them. There is something quite grounding about the natural world – almost as if we are not completely ourselves without an anchour of footing in the wild. You truly owned your truth and the wisdom of what you’ve learnt by what you’ve stitched into the series. Readers without the same experiences I can only hope were touched by the depth of what you were trying to express to them.

Moving forward in the Halfway Witchy series – did you choose to cap the series as a quartet or are there more stories in-line after the fourth? Can you share a snippet of what we can expect in the next release?

Maggert responds: I’ve got six in mind, and in the next book I address a myth that I find. . .let’s say curious. I have a friend who playfully said she wanted to be a mermaid. I took that to mean she wants to drag men to their drowning death, which surprised her. Sirens and Mermaids are BAD. In Halfway Drowned, you’re going to see just how bad they can be. . .even when they’re on land.

Ooh, dear ghouls – yes, I know! I learnt about the true natures of both Sirens and Mermaids when I was in the 7th grade – courtesy of a teacher who loved mythology even if at the time I found most of it too droll and boring. There were certain things that just stuck with me and this tidbit was one of them!

How did you find Erin Spencer and what was your initial reaction when you heard her bring Carlie to life!?

Maggert responds: After carefully making an offering to the stars, Erin was revealed to me in a complicated ritual of– just kidding. I heard her voice on another book and the rest is history. She’s stellar, bringing a subtle, playful take on Carlie that is note perfect in every way.

You truly hit narrator gold with Ms Spencer. I love finding new things to share with my readers about how she approaches the series and why I consistently love listening to her voice Carlie and the rest of the cast! I still lament, I might never be able to read this series in print – unless I read and listen to Ms Spencer in tandem! There’s a thought! lol

Which secondary character or background character do you think might be overlooked but should be considered imperative lateron? If any?

Maggert responds: Do not overlook the staff of the diner. That’s all I will say at this time.

(rubs hands together) Ooh, now how did I know you’d say this!? No, seriously. I never overlooked the staff – it was almost as if they were hiding in plain sight for a reason and you never quite overly relate their personal lives in each of the stories either. Just drawing out a general scope of who they are and why they love to work there… hmm…

Gus plays such an important role in Carlie’s life – being a cat lover yourself – how did you pull together the personality of Gus to such a heightened level of realism he appears to meow off the page? Is he a composite of your own cats or was he inspired by one in particular?

Maggert responds: He’s an amalgam of two of mine (Jimmy and Stinker). Let’s face it, cats are remarkably consistent. They’re judgmental, independent, and loving all at once. Gus is all that, simply. . .larger. He’s twenty-five pounds, whereas his ideological forefathers Jimmy and Stinker are around seventeen pounds each. I upgraded for fictional purposes.

I smiled reading this response. Being a cat lover and one who cannot live without cats, I just loved it!

If you had to pick one gift of the paranormal to embrace yourself, what would you choose!?

Maggert responds: Reading minds. Is that altruistic? Not entirely, although I would like to know when people are hurting, so that I might help a bit. Could I profit? Of course. I would know– in advance– when people are going to take the last slice of pizza. We won’t be having any more of that nonsense, now will we?

Telepathy. I could see that. In some ways, you offer this talent to the readers because your stories are internally and externally interconnected to your characters. Almost as if the ‘narrator’ of the story is the telepath and is guiding us all forward through what he observes and intones.

What uplifts your spirit the most when you’re not researching or writing your next story?

Maggert responds: There is a moment,every morning, where I get to wake up my son. It’s electrifying to look at this human and realize he’s ours– sure, he belongs to himself, but for now? His simple presence is a tonic to anything else that might ever trouble me. A sleeping kid is the pinnacle of peace, and that image will go with me for good.

A blessed answer and one I was honoured you shared. I look forward to mumhood; one day I shall celebrate being an Adoptive Mum, until then, I can enjoy my nieces and nephews. Children are beautiful lights of how we carry on in this world long after we’ve left; they carry our hearts, memories and the love we endeared to give them as a way to live fully in an uncertain world. To inspire them and to guide them is not just an honour but a gift.

About Terry Maggert

Terry Maggert

Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I've had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of-- well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You've been warned.

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Thank you, Mr Maggert for sharing a bit of your writerly life with all of us today! And, thank you for giving us such evoking worlds of where humanity and ancient truths walk hand in hand. I cannot wait to see where you round out the Halfway Witchy series – if you do cap it at six novels – I have a feeling the ending might be harder to read than the beginning! Thanks for inspiring so many lovely hours of listening blissitude!

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 This blog tour is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

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Whilst participating on:

Halfway Hunted blog tour via Audiobookworm PromotionsI will be sharing my review of ‘Halfway Hunted’ tomorrow. My listening hours of this lovely series ran a bit too close to the deadline as my connectivity with the internet was vexed with issues last week and on top of that technologic nightmare, I had other things going on personally which seemed to eat away the free hours I had to listen to this lovely third installment. Therefore, instead of posting my interview and review in tandem, they will be separated a bit by a day. I look forward to your return visit and be sure to *leave your comments!* for Mr Magget in the threads below!

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Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Halfway Hunted”, collage graphic of the Halfway Witchy series, book synopsis, author biography, author photo, Audiobookworm Promotions badge and the audiobook tour badge were all provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Conversations with the Bookish Banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

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Posted Thursday, 9 February, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Apothecary, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Author Found me On Twitter, Author Interview, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Horror-Lite, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Immortals, Indie Author, Light vs Dark, Nature & Wildlife, New Adult Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Realistic Fiction, Shapeshifters, Small Towne USA, Sociology, Speculative Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Suspense, The Natural World, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and Warlocks, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction