Tough Girl by Libby Heily
"The moment I started reading "Tough Girl," I couldn't--and wouldn't!--put it down. In fact, I've been done with it for a few days but didn't know how to wrap my head around the novel enough to begin to review it." - Witchy Reviews
Danger lurks everywhere in eleven year old Reggie's world—from the bully next door to the unwanted attentions of a creep at school. Raised by her mentally ill mother, Reggie is left to fend for herself in a rough neighborhood. She escapes in daydreams, battling aliens with her alter ego, Tough Girl.
When Reggie's mother disappears, her fantasy life spirals out of control and starts to invade reality. She is hunted by a creature of her own design, and even Tough Girl is not strong enough to stop him.
Will Reggie survive long enough for her mother to return, or will her dream world take over?
*This book contains adult themes and adult language.
Hello there, Libby Heily. I'm excited to have you here to talk about yourself and this impressive debut. I read excerpts during the A-Z blog challenge and loved this journey to publication. I witnessed your decision on your blog to forgo several covers in favor of investing in a professional cover artist. You are my self-publishing idol. So, now for some questions...
Is there any scene in Tough Girl reminiscent of an event from your own childhood?
The story takes place in my hometown and the middle school is definitely modeled after the middle school I attended. There were no scenes directly lifted from my life, but I did use the book to explore the sense of powerlessness I felt as a child. I always felt as if I didn't quite understand what was going on around me and that I had little to no control over my life. It's not something that's much discussed, but I've often wondered if more children aren't creeped out by the lack of control they have over their day-to-day lives, not to mention how and where they are raised.
I remember reading the excerpts that you posted of Tough Girl. I was totally engaged. There are so many important themes touched on in this book--poverty, bullying, and neglect. At first, I thought this book was meant for middle-grade readers. Now, I see I was wrong. Can you recommend a target audience?
Ideally, this book is for adults and mature teens. I try to be as up front about that as I can. I could have and would have read this in middle school, but I know that's not the case for many kids. My hope is, by adding the bit about adult themes and adult language in the blurb, parents will check out the book before letting their kids read it.
What is the easiest and most difficult part of writing for you?
The easiest part of writing for me is the beginning. My first drafts are pretty terrible as a rule. Since I have low expectations, I feel a sense of freedom that isn't quite there in the later drafts.
The most difficult part is finding the story. I never have it right at the first draft, often times I don't have it right at the third or fourth. My plays take 12-15 drafts to get in good shape. I just need time with the characters to figure them out.
I'm fascinated that you're a filmmaker. What about making films bleeds over into your writing style?
When I first started writing, I had no grasp on visual thinking. I was writing plays and there were no visual cues to the audience as to what to think or feel. I really had no grasp of the visual until I attended film school. Film making really broadened my palette. I've learned to connect with readers on a whole new level.
I loved the line in your bio that you are a "foodie and a beer snob". Take me to your favorite restaurant and recommend a dish and beer, please.
I LOVE THIS QUESTION. You and I are going to Brasserie Beck in DC. Our meal will not begin until we've had at least one Belgian beer at the bar; the type will be your choice because they are all yummy. Then we'll move to the dining room where water will accompany our meal. The food here is too good to mix with alcohol. We will start with French onion soup, and it will be delightful. Then we'll move on to Roast Duck, which will make you want to cry it's so good (I almost did). For dessert, we will skip the ice cream and cake and go straight to Founders Breakfast Stout. It's an excellent blend of dark beer with a hint of coffee that is perfect for post-meal libations. I'm sure it is also more than adequate for breakfast, but there is no way I'm going to drink beer before 11 am. That's what mimosas are for.
Okay, Libby, I am showing up for Mimosas soon. So where do you live? You're not giving me the address? Okay. For now, I guess I'll follow you online. You can follow Libby or buy Tough Girl :
I'm a bookworm and a writer, a nerd that's seen every episode of Farscape and can't wait for the next Dr. Who Season to begin. I enjoy running and playing sports and am always hopeful the Baltimore Ravens will win a superbowl. I love movies but don't care about the Oscars.
I eat apples regularly but find apple juice bitter and don't like it. I'm a foodie and a beer snob. I eat babies. Okay, just baby carrots. I studied acting, video production and creative writing. I've had very few jobs that reflect any of those years of study. I am Libby Heily, and it's nice to meet you.
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Today, we're celebrating The End of the World Book Blast and Giveaway with Theresa McClinton. Theresa has a debut release called The Stone Guardian.
I'm crazy about the cover and blurb for The Stone Guardian. I think both are very original and exciting. Theresa is giving away prizes in the Rafflecopter below, so be sure to enter!
When myth becomes reality, reality becomes a nightmare.
Like any other teenager in America, Ashley just wants a normal life. But growing up in an orphanage for the insane is anything but normal. After endless therapy and increasing medication, her nightmares have only gotten worse.
Probably because they’re not nightmares.
When Ashley’s mysteriously abducted, she finds a reality even less normal than the orphanage. And she discovers something else—she’s no ordinary orphan. Faced with enemies thought to only exist in fairy tales, Ashley discovers she possesses a powerful Maya bloodline. She’s the daughter of an ancient Maya Guardian, whose duty is to protect the Stone of Muuk’ich, an enchanted relic blessed by the gods. But first she must get it back from Sarian, a power-hungry demigod who slaughtered the last guardian—Ashley’s mother. Without the stone, all will be lost.
When she meets Arwan, a hot Belizean time bender, his delicious olive skin and dark eyes make her feel a little less alone. But his gentle whispers and reassuring touch might not be all they seem. How can she balance love and duty when it’s up to her to prevent the rising of the underworld? Especially when the guy she loves might be its crown prince…
About Theresa McClinton
A long time enthusiast of things that go bump in the night, Theresa started her writing career as a journalism intern—possibly the least creative writing field out there. After her first semester at a local newspaper, she washed her hands of press releases and features articles to delve into the whimsical world of young adult paranormal romance.
Since then, Theresa has gotten married, had three terrific kids, moved to central Ohio, and was repeatedly guilt tripped into adopting a menagerie of animals that are now members of the family. But don’t be fooled by her domesticated appearance. Her greatest love is travel. Having stepped foot on the soil of over a dozen countries, traveled to sixteen U.S. states—including an extended seven-year stay in Kodiak, Alaska—she is anything but settled down. But wherever life brings her, she will continue to weave tales of adventure and love with the hope her stories will bring joy and inspiration to her readers.
Congratulations to M. Pax with her new release! Check out her novel and the tournament I've entered. I need your help to win. Before I ask for your support in the tournament, check out M. Pax's novel.
A New Adult Urban Fantasy, The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear is the first book in a new series. And it’s now out! The main character, Hetty, is a twenty-two-year-old, stumbling about in an effort to become a full-fledged adult. She struggles with self-esteem, weight, relationships, and making the transition between college and the real world.
Graduation from community college isn’t the magic elixir Hetty Locklear counts on for becoming an adult. Her parents, who work the Renaissance fair circuit, insist she spend part of the summer with them. Hetty doubts pretending to live in the Middle Ages will help her find her way. To make it worse, an entity haunts her at her dead-end job, warning her of a dangerous man she doesn’t know. The ghost leads her to a lover who has a lot of secrets. He pulls her farther into peril and into a strange, hidden world of genetic experimentation. New Adult Urban Fantasy with a contemporary sci-fi twist. Mature content. Available as an ebook at the following online stores:
I am the Knight of the Whispering Woods!
M. Pax is celebrating her latest release with a jousting tournament and contest at http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/
. Help me win. To score points I need you to comment at her website before Saturday, November 17th, and tell her you’re cheering for me, the Knight of the Whispering Woods
to earn me a point. Score me an extra point by using the medieval word s’wounds
, which means ‘wow’. Example, I’m here for the Knight of the Whispering Woods. S’wounds she uses that lance well
For each day you comment, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a free ebook of The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear
. Tell all your friends. Win me the championship! Win a book! Huzzah!
Winner will be announced on Monday, November 19th.
In addition, I'm giving away a $5 Amazon or Starbucks gift card
every week. Leave a comment for this post over at M. Pax's blog ( http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/ )
through Friday at 11:59 pm. CST, and I'll count those comments. I've closed the comments here. So if you have time, please supporting the Knight of the Whispering Woods and tell M. Pax what you think of her new release.
Krystal Wade is having a huge party for her recent release, Wilde's Meadow. Her YA series is called Darkness Falls, and readers are crazy about it.
Krystal and I first got to know each other on Twitter. She would always make me laugh when talking about her drive to and from work. We both have this commute that would drive most sane folks INSANE. Thank goodness that didn't happen to us. (Or so I say.) It only made us writers who dream up tales while on the road.
I asked Krystal to name the five biggest distractions from her writing.
4. Day Job
Yeah, there you have it. The reason I haven't written twenty books yet. One day . . . .
Ah, Krystal, you silly author. Who needs sleep? Or money? Or that highly addictive social media? Get to work on your next book. :) Make sure to enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win the daily giveaway of Wilde’s Fire ebook (international). Krystal is giving away some major prizes, including a Google Nexus. Click here to see all the blog stops: http://krystal-wade.com/wildes-meadow-release-day/
Happy endings are hard to find, and even though Katriona is in the middle of a war with someone who’s already stolen more than she can replace, she aches for a positive future with her Draíochtans.
Armed with hope, confidence in her abilities, and a strange new gift from her mother, Kate ventures into the Darkness to defeat a fallen god.
Losses add up, and new obstacles rise to stand in the way.
Is the one determined to bring Encardia light strong enough to keep fighting, or will all the sacrifices to stop those who seek domination be for nothing?t?Wilde’s Meadow: Goodreads
Last, but not least, be sure to enter the Wildest Moments Blogfest (bloghop) for your chance to win a Kindle Fire! Click HERE to join.
Halloween is tomorrow night, so I thought I'd help get us into the spirit of things. When the talented Julia Kavan told me that she had some chilling stories and pictures, I knew she had to be my guest. Julia is the author of "Dreaming, Not Sleeping" from Touched by Darkness.
After you read Julia's tales, be sure to leave a comment. One name will be drawn from all my blog commenters this week and receive a $5 Starbucks card or Amazon gift certificate. Let us know what scares you.
Chillingham Castle, Northumberland
Places to Get Inspiration for Writing Horror by Julia Kavan
I love disappearing into the British countryside – mostly to walk in forests, clamber up waterfalls or explore crumbling ruins. I’m often inspired to write stories when out and about, not only using the places I visit as settings but remembering how I felt while I was there, what I could hear and so on. My short story, Dreaming, Not Sleeping was inspired by a walk in the woods, and the novel I recently completed features overgrown gardens, historical buildings, isolated houses, intimidating forests and dark city streets. I’ve tried to capture the feelings each of these places have provoked in me – and it’s not always fear, even though I write horror – it can be the sense of someone having just left a room despite no one else being around, or the feeling of being watched – perhaps the sense of feeling like an intruder...
I’d like to share some of the places I’ve visited with you – a few of them are the settings for real life ghost stories. Chillingham Castle, Northumberland
A fully-furnished castle complete with well-equipped torture chamber, narrow winding stairs, a claustrophobic cell, and a curse for good measure – woe betide anyone who takes anything from the castle with them when they leave. There is even a collection of returned objects from people hoping to reverse the curse – including a large door handle (just the sort of thing you accidentally pick up...). As for any ghostly encounters – there was one bedroom I was very uncomfortable in, as if someone was angry that I was in their room. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chillingham_Castle#Chillingham.27s_ghosts
The paranormal activity alleged to have taken place at Borley rectory is well documented http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borley_Rectory#Hauntings
. Now the rectory no longer exists, activity was reported to have moved to the church – a ghostly nun has been seen walking near the cemetery and noises have been recorded in the church itself – the sound of doors closing and odd thumps. I’ve been to Borley several times and simply find the place peaceful... with a sense of being watched. I’ve been inside the church once and my companion couldn’t wait to get out. I have found it impossible to take a good photograph there – any images inside the church have been ‘foggy’, while outside I seem to catch light flares and other anomalies, although I have never had this problem elsewhere.
A village dominated by an ancient stone circle – and the strangest place I have ever been. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury/
Avebury is far more impressive than Stonehenge to me, as the huge stones are very much a part of the village. Although I have no family/historical connections to the area it is a place where I feel ‘at home’, despite skull-crushing headaches which strike as I enter some of the buildings, then vanish when I leave, hearing someone giggle and whisper in my ear in the Red Lion pub when there was no one next to me, and being overwhelmed with a sense of grief when leaving the village. A very unsettling place – I love it.
Roads haunted by devil dogs (Black Shuck), and fields roamed by big cats (the Fen Tiger), mists that creep across the roads and a long history of witchcraft (Wicken, Coveney...). I find the area eerie – for the silence when you’ve walked along a drove to what feels like the middle of nowhere, surrounded by flat fields and a vast sky, and hoping it’s only the wind whispering in your ear... or the feeling of unease creeping up your spine like clammy fingers when walking in Wicken Fen at dusk, with just the bats for company – or at least they’re the only company you can see
. The city of Ely has plenty of ghosts wandering the cathedral and its surrounding buildings - which sometimes vanish... http://www.catherinecavendish.com/2012/09/stranger-than-fiction-julia-kavan.html
| || |My horror story "Dreaming, Not Sleeping" is part of the horror anthology Touched by Darkness available from Amazon as an e-book and in paperback.
You can find out more about me here:
WEBSITE / TWITTER / FACEBOOK
Angela Brown and Gwen Gardner are my guests today with a post related to their releases and TWO giveaways. It's all yours, ladies.
You Take the Ghost. I’ll Take the iPad ~ by Partners in ParanormYA
If you’ve seen the movie Ghost
, the one with Patrick Swayze
(RIP) and Demi Moore
, then you’ve seen how technology can play a part in paranormal activity. First, get that really weird yet somehow romantic scene from your mind, you know, the one where Patrick-possessed-Whoopi Goldberg
danced with and kissed Demi, and think about how Patrick’s character shared his message with the bad-guy-that-was-supposed-to-be-his-best-bud. Was it by jotting a note that said, “Hey buddy, what was the deal having someone rub me out?” Nope. Too easy to ignore. So Patrick’s character used the technology available at that time to spread his message of “I know what you did” by typing the message out on a computer. Had the bad guy ready to crap in his Brooks Brothers slacks. Gave a whole new meaning to ghost writer.
Well, technology plays a big part in our daily lives, so it’s no surprise technology had a hand in paranormal activity for both Neverlove
and Givin’ Up The Ghost
. When you read Neverlove
, you’ll get to know a little about The Society and some of the technology they use:
A hush gripped the room, the silence wool-thick. Each priest turned a wide-eyed gaze upon Jon. A few shifted in their seats, starched fabric whispering against the metal fold out chairs. He handed the last card to a gentleman, the silver hairs of his brows arched, curious. “The Society demands anonymity,” Jon said in answer to the elder priest’s unspoken words. “The biometric advanced technology within these cards allows them to maintain a level of…invisibility, so to speak, with subtlety.”
In Givin’ Up The Ghost
, a certain dame – only Indigo Eady could see her so you know she was of the ‘deceased’ variety – took quite a shine to technology:
Heated mutterings of “blasted phone” kept escaping under Riley’s breath and a frown of frustration wrinkled her forehead. The ghostly serving girl, the one we had seen coming in, hung over her shoulder. A look of rapt wonder shined from her eyes. She copied Riley and used her finger to scroll through messages. The action was counter to what Riley tried to do.
So the next time you catch a couple of ghost swipes happening willy-nilly on the iPad, don’t be too afraid. It’s just the resident spirit learning how to play Fruit Ninja. What are some other examples of paranormal activity and technology crossing paths?
For Abigail and Basil, there is a choice they both fear making. Duty or love? There can be only one
Indigo Eady's life erupts into mischief and mayhem when a ghost enters her teen abnormal life demanding answers for his death.
Can I send a personal message to all my readers that will be read instantly? No, I'm not talking about email. Do you even read all your email? I thought so. I'd like to introduce a tool called Broadtexter. Get the news out about your next book tour/release/interview/giveaway.
I'm over at Word Wranglers today with a post about how authors might connect with readers. No, it's not Twitter or Facebook. It's Broadtexter. http://wordwranglers.blogspot.com/2011/08/giveaway-today.html