Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Do you own a cat? The Black Cat Blog wants proof (a picture).
No, but I do have a rabbit! She’s a pretty cute diva

WORST life advice you ever received.
I once went to the eye doctor for an ocular migraine. The issue went away, but he told me to just, “Come back if it happens again, and Google the symptoms to try preventing it.” He said it was just because lots of things can cause ocular migraines, but what he didn’t know is I’m a bit crazy when it comes to medical stuff…

(***Ann here: Let me tell you a story about my poor eyesight induced headaches that Mayo wouldn't help me with so I had to get a second opinion... ***)

BEST life advice you ever received.
Trust your gut, and do what you love—the rest will come.

Please share a picture of your favorite shoes.
They may not look like much, but I LOVE these. They match almost everything I own that’s not meant for work, and are super comfortable.

While checking out your blog, I discovered you’re part of the “Waiting-On-2016-Authors” group. So, tell me more about this group. Is it all first time authors? How does one join in the fun?
The Waiting-On-2016 authors group is for anyone publishing a book in 2016, not just debut authors. The WO2016 group is a place for authors to support each other throughout the editing, proofing, arcs, release, and promo processes, and beyond! We’re accepting new authors every day. If you’re interested in joining, you can message me on Twitter or Facebook, or send a message to us on our website, and I can get you set up.

(***Ann here: I am definitely signing up! Hooray!***)

On your blog, I also learned you’re attending the New York Comic Con. Will this be your first time at one of these events? I’m curious about them, but I’ve never attended. (I keep asking Andrew Buckley from Curiosity Quills to take a picture of James Spader for me, but I’m still waiting…)
Oh Comic Con. This will be my second New York Comic Con, but I only went for one day last year. I think they’re equally fun and overwhelming. I’m used to “smaller” conventions, like Anime Boston and ConnectiCon, so NYCC was a lot. But it’s a fun space to meet people with similar interests, check out amazing cosplays, swag, and even books! If I manage to find James Spader there, I’ll snap a picture for you :) 

(***Ann here, screaming with joy. haha***)

What event would you call your breakthrough as an author?
Definitely the RT Booklover’s Convention last year in New Orleans. Until then I’d been in the same write-query-get rejections-want to give up-don’t write for a month cycle. At RT 2014 I hung out with my critique partners and other new adult authors, and was just so inspired to start writing again. It was like a lightning strike in its swiftness and intensity. So I went back to the drawing board on GYRE (I blog more about this journey here), and less than a year later, I landed my deal with Curiosity Quills Press :)

What do you know now that you wish you knew much earlier as an author?
I wish I’d known early-on to never give up and to not compare your publishing path with anyone else’s. Everyone moves at different speeds and in different paths in this industry. Looking back, I wasted a lot of time I could have spent writing by worrying about these things that are just not worth worrying about. Your time will come when it’s meant to, you just have to keep writing and keep your head in the game. Make friends, find critique partners, and go through it together. 

What was the inspiration for your upcoming (February, 2016) book, GYRE?
GYRE has a few inspiration points—it wasn’t really ever just one thing. I’ve always been fascinated with the Atlantis myth and other ancient mysteries. It’s why I studied archaeology in college. And I think I’ve always had a massive love for the ocean and all things under the sea. The inspiration for my main characters Chelsea and Trevor, and their series-long relationship arc, sparked in Big Bang style from Calvin’s Harris’s Feel So Close. All of these things kind of hit at once my senior year of college and it all sort of just came together in a mish-mash of ideas :)

Pinterest Inspiration
Find Jessica's Pinterest Board for GYRE here.

How did you come up with the title for your book? And how painful was that process?
It actually wasn’t painful, looking back. It’s probably been more painful trying to change it before I decided not to. “Gyre” happened because I was in environmental sustainability class in college, and we were talking about ocean gyres— any big system of rotating ocean currents, especially if they’re involved with massive wind movements. My first thought was, “Huh, that’s metaphorical.” Then I noticed on the map of gyres on earth that the North Atlantic Gyre sits where Plato’s version of Atlantis might sit, and suddenly it all just clicked. I searched for fiction books—especially YA and NA books—with the same title, found none, and called it done in 2012.

Over the years people have told me to change it because they were concerned about the pronunciation and meaning of the word being an issue, but nothing else has ever fit quite as well as GYRE, so it’s stayed :)

Name 5 books you wish you’d written (and not just for the money and fame).
This is a hard question!
1.      Ender’s Game inspired me, gutted me, thrilled me, and left me begging for more. It was my first real introduction to the sci-fi genre in book form, and has molded me in many ways. I wish I’d written it so I can have that impact on readers, because I don’t think I’ll ever write a book that impacts my readers the same way Ender’s Game impacted me.
2.      Mockingjay, so I can fix certain characters’ fates… yeah.

I really can’t think of any others! I’d never trade the joy of reading my favorite books for the first time for having written them. Don’t get me wrong—I love GYRE just as much as I love Ender’s Game, but it’s a different kind of love. And that difference is so, so important!

(***Ann here: Mockingjay does break your heart. Sigh.***)

List 5 books you loved as a child.
I actually didn’t really like reading as a child, as strange as it sounds. But I’m pretty sure my favorite kid’s book was Rainbow Fish. I also know I read and loved Flight of the Dragon Kyn by Susan Fletcher, and I still have it on my bookshelf. But it wasn’t until I got addicted to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer tie-in novels in middle school (much to the dismay of both my parents and my English teachers) that I really started to enjoy reading. In high school I found Amelia Atwater-Rhode’s Demon in my View and fell in love with that world of vampires and shapeshifters (before it was a thing), and the rest is history!

I see you’re reading RED RISING and just read RED QUEEN—two books on my overwhelming, towering and about to collapse on me TBR pile. List some other recent favorites.
RED QUEEN was AMAZING. You need to pick it up next! And I’m enjoying RED RISING very much JHmm… recent favorites. OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord was awesome. THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir was quite a ride, too. And all of Mindee Arnett’s AVALON books are some of the best YA Sci-Fi I’ve ever read, so I’d recommend those as well.

Just curious, are you in love with Joss Whedon?
Oh absolutely, 100%. The man’s a genius. I mean, come on. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Dr. Horrible. Cabin in the Woods. FIREFLY. What more do you want (other than more Firefly)?

(***Ann here: Although I liked Firefly, and it was much more short-lived than Buffy, as you can see below what I want is MORE BUFFY--more, more, more!!!) 

Thank you, Jessica Gunn, for you fabulous answers! I really enjoyed reading them (and finding pictures was easy since you supplied half of them--and the rest are Buffy, so that was fun too).

Author Bio:
Jessica Gunn is a New Adult author and avid science-fiction and fantasy fan. Her favorite stories are those that transport the reader to other, more exciting worlds. When not working or writing, she can be found binge-watching Firefly and Stargate, or feeding her fascination of the ancient world’s many mysteries. Jessica also holds a degree in Anthropology.
To catch up with Jessica, follow her on Twitter (@JessGunnAuthor).
GYRE back of the book blurb (cover is coming soon):
Chelsea didn’t try to teleport. All she wanted was to play the Battle of the Bands show. But after accidentally teleporting onto classified Navy vessel SeaSatellite5, all she’s rocking is the boat. Once it’s sorted out that Chelsea’s not a threat, SeaSat5’s top scientist offers Chelsea a position on the crew as an archaeology intern. Dr. Saint studies people with powers, believing them to be descendants of Atlantean refugees, except Chelsea’s powers are beyond anything on previous record.
While great for everyone else onboard, the miracle of Chelsea is Trevor’s worst nightmare. The same girl who’d given him a brief lifeline to sanity three months ago literally fell from the sky, under a mile of ocean, and onto the very station where he’s employed. Making matters worse, Trevor’s family are Lemurians, Atlantis’s enemy, and Chelsea’s presence is unpredicted—a wrench in an already unstable situation. But Trevor wants no part of his family’s war. The only thing he wants is Chelsea, Atlantean or not.

Days into Chelsea’s sudden appearance, SeaSatellite5 uncovers Atlantean ruins and a massive artifact cache, placing its entire, hundred-man crew in the crosshairs of an ancient war. There are those who want the Atlantean relics inside the ruins destroyed, and only Trevor knows the treasures for what they really are: Link Pieces, tools used by the ancient civilizations for their time-travel war.

With lies and shifting alliances abound, Chelsea and Trevor will have to think fast in order to save the station. If they don’t, the Lemurians will seize the artifacts and Atlantis will be destroyed forever.


Blurb for The Heartless City, YA Historical Fantasy:

Henry Jekyll was a brilliant doctor, a passionate idealist who aimed to free mankind of selfishness and vice. He’s also the man who carelessly created a race of monsters. 
Once shared secretly among the good doctor’s inner circle, the Hyde drug was smuggled into mass-production - but in pill form, it corrupted its users at the genetic level, leaving them liable to transform without warning. A quarter of the population are now clandestine killers - ticking bombs that could detonate at any given moment.

It’s 1903, and London has been quarantined for thirteen years.

Son of the city’s most prominent physician and cure-seeker, seventeen-year-old Elliot Morrissey has had his own devastating brush with science, downing a potion meant to remove his human weaknesses and strengthen him against the Hydes - and finding instead he’s become an empath, leveled by the emotions of a dying city.

He finds an unlikely ally in Iris Faye, a waitress at one of the city’s rowdier music halls, whose emotions nearly blind him; her fearlessness is a beacon in a city rife with terror. Iris, however, is more than what she seems, and reveals a mission to bring down the establishment that has crippled the people of London.

Together, they aim to discover who’s really pulling the strings in Jekyll’s wake, and why citizens are waking up in the street infected, with no memory of ever having taken the Hyde drug…

Heart-eating monsters, it turns out, are not the greatest evil they must face.

Cover artist: Amalia Chitulescu

Release date: August 17
Links: amazon preorder:

Author bio:
Andrea Berthot’s last name has a silent “t,” like the word “merlot” - which fits, since that is her favorite drink to have at the end of the day. Back when she was born in Salina, Kansas, her last name was Price, and she grew up loving singing, acting, reading, and of course writing. By day she teaches high school English, creative writing, forensics, and directs the yearly musical, and by night (or rather, by early morning, as her brain is more alive at 5am than 5pm) she writes Young Adult stories involving history, romance, magic, literature, and some good, old-fashioned butt-kicking. She lives in Winfield, Kansas with her amazing, hard working, choir-teacher husband and her beautiful, creative, bundle-of-energy son, Max.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Q: I'm sad you hate math, but understand it's not everyone's favorite. I have a good junior high teacher friend whose goal in life is to make math interesting to her kids. If you had a teacher who brought in a crapload of honest to goodness pies every March 14th, do you think she could've won you over?

A: While I love a good 3.14159... there's no way banana creme once a year could gap the gorge that is between math and I. We are like olympians and titans, aesir and ragnarök, like mac and pc. weekly pie however might have been enough for me to actually have done my homework, or to keep me in class. Maybe not both, though. My brain is just stuck in the anti-math position. The hulk has an easier time managing his condition than I, if I tried.

Q: From your website: "Craves actual honest to goodness ball-bearing, adrenaline, die-if-you-fall, "don’t you dare go out without a helmet,” distance times time, kind of speeds. Still has a driver’s license."
Is this all auto-related, or do you bike? fly? skateboard? rollerblade? (you may laugh at the last one, but not if you were witness to the second to last time I tried to kill myself rollerblading...)

A: I don't discriminate. Roller blading is fun, but I refer to longboarding. I never could get ollie a skateboard, but bombing hills at breakneck speed is a favorite past time. And falling is half the fun. Though macho, I don't recommend putting ones shoulder back in its socket by ones self.

The quote also does refer to how I used to drive. I never did lose my license, but I came close, awfully close. but I drive much more slowly now.

Q: I'm perplexed by everyone's obsession with sushi. What can you say to sway my inherent aversion to the whole idea? :)

A: Sushi? baby steps. get your sticks on a real genuine 'murican tempura dipped roll. even get the steak version if you have to. get extra sauce. mix your wasabi and soy sauce like a westerner, and let it take you. maybe just tempura shrip next, or one of the soy paper wrapped ones. but work your way from there, because eel is the best.

(***Ann: EWWWWWWW! I'm such a food weenie.
I'm totally grossed out right now because you said "eel."***)

Q: From your blog: "Into post rock, lo-fi, EDM, prog-house, most anything-tronicaneo-folkchiptune, and 2nd wave emo. (ask at your own risk)" Please provide a short definition of all these words/phrases, particularly "prog-house" (which I keep seeing "frog-house in my head, and I don't think that is right.)

A: This is a huge can of worms... and I usually treat it on a case by case basis. I find out what you like first, then suggest music from there. I'm like a missionary out to convert anyone who will listen to "good" music. but... post rock - the foals, lo-fi - múm, EDM - zedd, prog-house - deadmau5, most anything-tronica, neo-folk - menomena, chiptune - anamanaguchi, and 2nd wave emo. still (ask at your own risk)" 
I feel like noise rock is missing from this list... battles, and yeasayer.

(***Ann here: I'll admit it. I'm totally lost. I don't know what half those words/phrases mean.***)

See? You all knew I'd HAVE to put a cat in here somewhere, right?

Q: Please describe the basis for your love for the color NEON PINK. I'm quite curious.

A: I... have no idea. it's just really rad, especially in tandem with neon blue. yes, I understand chemically saying "neon" makes no sense... but I had crayons in the 80's. y'know, actually I think my love for pink and blue also has roots in pens. those pilot uniball pens that come in varios colors. I remember playing with them, and doing biology homework in neon...
round two.

Lucy Honeychurch, this is not.

Q: What's your favorite movie version of any of the literary fantasies you enjoy reading?

A: Alice in Wonderland, the Tim Burton one. Hands down. 

This movie is so fab--I am in full agreement.

I mean Lord of the Rings is good and all, and I'm all for as much cinema as they want to milk the Hobbit for, but Alice! I am so hype for the next one! also I want to say, on the record, that I loved john carter, and I balled like pregnant Meg Ryan fan, when I saw the great and powerful oz.

(***Ann here: it took me THREE TIMES to realize the FAN was pregnant, not Meg Ryan. Wow. Slow on the uptake--that's me today, I guess.***)

Nathan Croft does NOT approve of this sign.

Q: What's your favorite 80s song? Be honest.

A: *cringe* I take it you saw the facebook controversy I started a while back... there isn't a lot that I hate as much as 80's music... some of it is even worse than maths! 

Prince is mad at you now. Watch out.

But... there are some songs I can tolerate. 80's music that I actually do like? the Pixies, the Cars, Huey Lewis has a couple songs in there as well.

Seriously, what about the CURE???

And technically the smashing pumpkins started in '89 and they're my favorite band.

Q: Describe the most embarrassing event which occurred as an author.

A: Either I'm not trying hard enough, or ive got a jacked up threshold for what embarrasses me. but really, as an author, the only embarrassing moments were introducing myself twice on accident during a pitch to and agent, and just general sort of misplaced jokes meeting a particular author I look up to. It sounds like I havent paid my dues in this regard yet... stay tuned.

You heard it here, folks. Everybody's waiting for this man--Nathan Croft--
to embarrass himself as an author in public.

Q: If you're willing to share--what was the worst date you ever endured?

A: Um, im going to deflect a little. I never had any terrible dates or anything. but....

Q: Please share a picture of your favorite triple striped shoes, nearly every color.
A: this picture included
round three. insert mike tysons punchnout reference here.

Q: What event would you call your breakthrough as an author?

A: My breakthrough as a writer, which in many ways is far more important than the breakthrough as an author, is when I first found my voice......

Q: What do you know now that you wish you knew much earlier on as an author?

A: How to write. specifically how I personally put pen to paper... proverbially. (I type) my own processes for getting past distractions and over walls when I hit them. I had no theory for combating "writers block" for a long time, and as such, my first novel took over 6 years to write--compared to less than 6 months to write Homunculus and the Cat.

Q: What's the best marketing advice you can give other authors?

A: I will answer this with a question. What  do you get when you cross and elephant and a rhinoceros? Elephino.

No, this isn't an "elephino," it's an elephant playing soccer, which makes so much more sense.

 Seriously, though I have no idea. 

Happy elephants make everyone feel better, right?

I don't buy into the whole follow and favorite en masse thing. I won't follow you because you followed me, and I certainly wont follow you to try and get you to follow me and then ditch you next week. 

(***Ann here: Yes, what is up with that? I don't understand the numbers game at all.***)

I will use ANY excuse to post pictures of elephants.

I try to be genuine and honest, but I've also gotten a lot of crap for that....
I will say that if you have anything unique at all, anything you are passionate about. Pursure that. and maybe you can find a correlation there with your writing...

Q: Name 5 books you wish you'd written (and not just for the money and fame).

A: Oh, man. I don't think I've ever thought this, not in these terms. I have thought a lot about what I would have done differently with many books. That's actually how I got into writing fiction in the first place. I hated Tolkien's and Rowling's elves. I was sure I could do better....

Here's Nathan's book. Not sure about the elves...

Q: List 5 books you loved as a child.

A: I... confession time... didn't real a lot as a kid. I loved jeremy thatcher dragon hatcher. I read it like 5 times. and I read a kids version of 20,000 leagues under the sea a few times. I had a non fiction book on space, and a beginners guide to greek mythology that I loved. but thats really it. I mean, I don't count the Bernstein bears books. I didn't read them by myself. In high school I was given enders game and loved it, but I actually finished the series. Xenocide changed my life. but that still wasn't my literary awakening. Harry Potter got big when I was a junior in high school, and around the same time, before the lord of the rings movies, I read those. The hobbit transformed me. Between that and Potter, I couldn't get enough magic. I learned the term fantasy and I started picking up random books off my english teacher's shelf. I don't think she knew. She never made any recommendations and I had no idea where to start or what to read. I actually read a bunch of crappy books. I don't remember half of them. and then I graduated. I got absorbed in morrowind: the elder scrolls III, and it wasnt until I was 21 or so that I started reading again. I hit Narnia for the first time at 23. I read earthsea. eventually I read sanderson zelazney and mieville. I do audio books like crazy now. I'm still trying to make up for all that lost time.
Sorry, that was more than you asked...

I'm just sad you didn't know Aslan until you were in your 20s.
The child in me is so sad for you right now.

***Ann here again:***
Thanks for reading and thanks for the interview, Nathan.
It's been fun getting to know other authors (and to find ways to insert cat pictures in each blog post--the top focus of my life, to be sure).

If you're eager to learn more about Nathan Croft, check out his author blog HERE.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Hello again-

If you have the time and inclination, please vote for my first line in my current fairy tale work in progress:

"Once upon a time every palace employed a chemist."

in the Red Light Green Light Contest, which can be found HERE.

Please and thank you!

Here's a happy update--my entry into the Red Light Green Light Contest made it into the second round.

Which, of course, means I'll be back asking for your help (and vote) this Wednesday.

Thanks again!


I'm delighted to share another great review of HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS from the Teasippinnerdymom blog. Best of all, it's from a fellow UWEC grad! Read more HERE.

In other news, my YA/NA crossover dystopian to be released this October is getting a cover very soon. I'm quite excited (and nervous) and thrilled.

Here's the back cover of the book blurb for DEAD GIRL RUNNING:

Eight years ago, SILVIA WOOD's father died in an industrial accident. After suffering through years of Psychotherapy Services and Mandated Medications for depression and multiple suicide attempts, she longs to work in Botanical Sciences. When the Occupation Exam determines she must work in Mortuary Sciences instead, she wonders if the New Order assigned her to the morgue to push her over the edge.

To appease her disappointed mother, Silvia enters the Race for Citizen Glory, in an attempt to stand out in the crowd of Equals. After she begins training with "golden boy" LIAM HARMAN, she discovers he also lost his father in the same accident that ruined her childhood. Then Silvia meets and falls for Liam's older cousin, whose paranoid intensity makes her question what really happened to her father. As the race nears, Silvia realizes that she's not only running for glory, she's running for her life.

The best description for DEAD GIRL RUNNING is a cross between The GiverThe Handmaiden's Tale, and Agenda 21.