Author Blog Tour Interview & CONTEST: Meet Jeth from Mindee Arnett's Polaris

Welcome to Working for the Mandroid's stop on the tour for Mindee Arnett's Polaris. This is the second book in her space heist sci-fi YA series that started with the awesome Avalon. The tour is being hosted by the lovely ladies over at Rockstar Book Tours. You can see the full tour schedule here. Make sure to stick around to the end of the post to enter to win a copy of both Avalon and Polaris.

I am beyond excited to have Jeth, the charmingly rougish space thief protagonist stop by for a few questions. Take it away, Jeth!

 

Hey Jeth! Thanks for stopping by Working for the Mandroid. I know it can't be easy taking the time to stop by a book blog when you're in the middle of a fight against the ITA and all sorts of other nefarious sorts. How are you and the crew doing today?

Hey, thanks for having me. It makes for a nice break from all the nefarious sorts you mentioned. But I’ve got to admit things are tough. We’re broke and looking for work. Only without Hammer, jobs are a lot harder to come by.  But don’t count us out just yet. Giving up is against our nature.

You and your crew seem to constantly be running from one group of baddies or another. What do you do to let off a little steam and prevent yourself from going crazy?

Well, unfortunately there’s not a lot do aboard a spaceship beyond video games, music, and video shows. Back at Peltraz Spaceport, we would unwind at the arcade, the menagerie, dance clubs. All kinds of stuff. My personal favorite spot to let off steam was the shooting simulator. Marksmanship is one of my hobbies. It’s come in handy in my line of work.

Do you think there are any other aliens out there other than the Pyreans? What would you hope they'd be like?

You know, I think it’s possible. As far as what I hope they’d be like…um…perfectly harmless? Alien fluffy bunnies? So long as they don’t want to eat us or anything, then I’m good.

It's adorable how you get along with Cora and help keep her calm by reading her faerie tales. Do you have a particular favorite from childhood that maybe your mom read to you?

Hansel and Gretel. What can I say? I like horror stories, and this one has it all—children lost in the woods, cannibalistic witch, murderous stepmother. But it’s definitely on my don’t-ever-read-to-Cora list.

I really admire the family you've created for yourself with your crew and the loyalty you seem to inspire in this group of ragtag teenagers. What does it take to become part of the Avalon family?

Well, there’s nothing that matters more to me than loyalty. We get into a lot of tight spots. I’ve got to know the people with me have got my back. You’ve also got to pull your own weight, pitch in. I suppose being an orphan doesn’t hurt any. Nearly all of us are.  Crew is just another word for family in my book.

Oddly enough I read about your latest adventures while on a ship myself, though mine was on the ocean. Joining you for your adventures helped me forget about my sea sickness. Is there a space equivalent of sea sickness and how do you and your crew deal with it?

Yeah, there is something similar. Whenever something goes wrong with the anti-gravity system, it can wreak havoc on the stomach and head. Fortunately, we always have Flynn around to fix it. If it’s got a plug, battery, or wires, Flynn can get it running.

You and Sierra make a great couple, but living and working together in a spaceship must be difficult. How do the two of you make things work without wanting to rip each other's heads off from being around each other all the time?

Oh, that’s easy. I never give her reason to want to kill me. I mean, whoever would want to kill me? Just kidding. Don’t answer that. Honestly, even though we share a cabin most nights, we still have our own individual cabins. So whenever we need alone time we can get it. But the truth is, Sierra is so easy to be around that it’s rarely an issue. For me, at least. She gets me better than I get myself.

Some day, when you're finally rid of the ITA and the mobsters who all want to utilize your skills, what do you imagine doing with the rest of your life? Settling down? Becoming a respectable spaceship captain? Going on not-so-lawful adventures?

Exploring. That’s what I want to do. I want to be free to find new things and just see what’s out there. But truthfully, so long as I have my ship I’ll be happy doing anything.

Thanks for your time, Jeth! Stay safe and if you ever need a hideout on First Earth, Mandroid's house has a safe room you can hide in and we have cookies!

Thanks for having me. I’ll definitely take you up on the cookies.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To celebrate Jeth's visit, we're giving away a signed copy of both Avalon and Polaris, so you can read up on all of Jeth's space adventures. The contest is opened to US mailing addresses only. Good luck!

 

Title: POLARIS

Author: Mindee Arnett

Pub. Date: January 20, 2015

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Pages: 432

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

 

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of mercenaries are pulled into one last high-stakes mission in this breathtaking sequel to Mindee Arnett’s fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi thriller Avalon.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. The ITA, still holding Jeth’s mother in a remote research lab, is now intent on acquiring the metatech secrets Jeth’s sister Cora carries inside her DNA, and Jeth is desperate to find the resources he needs to rescue his mother and start a new life outside the Confederation. But the ITA is just as desperate, and Jeth soon finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing him and his crew—dead or alive.

With nowhere to run and only one play left, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he’d see again: Daxton Price, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. Dax promises to help Jeth, but his help will only come at a price—a price that could mean sacrificing everything Jeth has fought for until now.

The conclusion to the story Mindee Arnett began in her acclaimed novel AvalonPolaris is a dangerous journey into the spaces between power and corruption, life and death, the parts of ourselves we leave behind, and the parts we struggle to hold on to. 

 

About Mindee:

Mindee Arnett lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. She’s addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space. She has far more dreams than nightmares.

 

Website/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads

 

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

1/12/2015- Bewitched BookwormsInterview

1/13/2015- The Eater of Books!Review

1/14/2015- Nerdophiles Guest Post

1/15/2015- Blogging Between the LinesReview

1/16/2015- Working for the MandroidInterview                                                                                             

 

Week Two:

1/19/2015- The Cover ContessaGuest Post

1/20/2015- Spiced Latte ReadsReview

1/21/2015- Such a Novel IdeaInterview

1/22/2015- Reading YA RocksGuest Post

1/23/2015- Word SpelunkingReview

http://www.rockstarbooktours.com/2015/01/tour-schedule-polaris-by-mindee-arbnett.html

Author Blog Tour Interview & Contest: Christian Schoon, Under Nameless Stars & Zenn Scarlett

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Christian Schoon's blog tour for Under Nameless Stars, the sequel to last year's Zenn Scarlett. Thanks to Christian and Strange Chemistry, we have all sorts of goodies today. Christian has stopped by for a chat and he brought along with him an excerpt of Under Nameless Stars and an opportunity to win some great prizes. You can see all the tour stops here and learn more about the tour-wide competition to win copies of the Zenn Scarlett and even your own star! But first let's meet Christian.

 

Welcome to Working for the Mandroid, Christian! For those of our readers who are unfamiliar with your Zenn Scarlett series, how would you describe it in two sentences or less?

The books chronicle the adventures of a teen girl in her novice year of exoveterinarian training. Book one introduces us to Zenn’s occasionally disastrous experiences at the Ciscan Cloister exovet school and clinic on Mars and preps us for the interstellar conspiracy that ensnares Zenn and her friends in book two.

Your main character, Zenn, is an exoveterinarian-in-training. For those unfamiliar with the term, what is an exoveterinarian and why did you choose this particular profession for your character?

An exovet is a veterinarian specializing the diagnosis, care and treatment of diseased or injured alien life forms. Zenn’s is leaning toward a sub-specialty in off-world mega-fauna, so she regularly interacts with such species as Mu Arae whalehounds (marine predator, 80 to 100 feet), Tanduan swamp sloos (estuarine insectivore, 190 to 220 feet),  crypto-plasmoid seepdemons (giant unicellular organism, roughly 10-foot diameter), Greater Kiran Sunkiller (gas giant upper atmospheric filter-feeder, 1,500-foot wingspan) and Lithohippus Indrae, or Stonehorse (vacuum-dwelling synapsid, 500 to 800 feet).

I found Zenn’s choice of profession an interesting career since I hadn’t run across it anywhere else in SF novels. There were a few exo-physician types, and after I started my series I later found one or two passing references to vets treating alien animals in TV shows and fan lit, but nothing that really got down in the weeds of what it might take to become an exovet and what one’s life would then entail on a day-to-day basis. And, of course, because: Indra.

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Author Blog Tour Interview: Sherry Thomas, Author of The Burning Sky

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Sherry Thomas' blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours for her soon to be released The Burning Sky, an epic fantasy that involves a little bit of everything, including a Victorian boarding school and cross dressing. If you're interested in my thoughts, you can find my review of The Burning Sky over here. Stick around after the interview as Sherry is holding a giveaway as part of the tour. You can enter to win 

Welcome to Working for the Mandroid, Sherry! For those unfamiliar with The Elemental Trilogy, how would you describe the soon-to-be released first volume The Burning Sky?

I can list some of its ingredients: a girl capable of summoning lightning, a Machiavellian prince with good reasons for being Machiavellian, a villainess who can access your deepest secrets by destroying your mind, Eton College in 1880s, cross-dressing (on the part of the girl), dragons, cricket, elemental power, visions and prophecies, a book of fairy tales that you can enter, two young people trying to resist falling in love and not succeeding. 

In other words, magic.

After a career writing romance novels and gaining acclaim, what made you venture into YA fantasy?

I always have a blast writing historical romances, but I also want to write things that don’t fall so neatly into the boundaries of the romance genre.  Mystery, space opera, romantic comedy, martial arts epics—I am interested in writing everything I enjoy reading.  YA fantasy just happens to be the first genre outside romance in which I succeeded in writing a viable manuscript. 

The learning curve is steep when one steps out of what one is accustomed to doing.  I once wrote a contemporary romance.  My agent felt it was problematic, so I set it aside.  But with The Burning Sky, I loved the story so much I never set it aside.  Every time my agent sent it back with comments for revision, I would get right on it and bang out another draft.  Until the day she said, yes, I am sending this to children’s editor I know.

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Author Interview: Madeline Ashby, Author of vN and iD

Today we have a special guest here at Working for the Mandroid. Over the last few days, I've reviewed the first two books in Madeline Ashby's The Machine Dynasty series, and Angry Robot was kind enough to hook me up with Madeline to answer a few science fiction and robot questions. You can find my reviews of vN here and iD here.

Note: Thank you to Madeline being kind enough not to call me an idiot for not realizing that The First Machine Dynasty was the subtitle to vN and not the series name. That's what I get for reading an e-ARC of the second book with no real cover. I apologize for the error, Madeline.

 

Welcome to Working for the Mandroid, Madeline! For those of our readers who are unfamiliar with The First Machine Dynasty, how would you describe the series in two sentences or less?

Thanks for having me! 

To answer your question, I would first say that the series itself is titled "The Machine Dynasty." The first book, vN,  is subtitled The First Machine Dynasty, and the second, iD, is subtitled The Second Machine Dynasty. And so on. It's a series about self-replicating humanoid robots, the feuds between them, and how they decide to solve the human problem. 

 

It's unlikely that any of our readers are unfamiliar with robots, but in case a stranger wanders in from the summer heat, how would you describe the characters of Amy and Javier to someone unfamiliar with humanoid robots?

Amy and Javier stem from separate clades of self-replicating robots. That means that they each have one parent, who looks exactly like them. And any iterations they produce will look exactly like they do. Sort of like Russian nesting dolls who can walk and talk and think and fuck. Amy can kill humans. Javier can't. That's about it. 

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Author Blog Tour Excerpt: The End of the World Playlist by Dan O'Brien

Welcome to the sixth day of the The End of the World Playlist blog tour. It will run until August 1st and will feature excerpts and new author interviews each day. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this dystopian world:

The world as we knew it had ended. Deep in the mountains of the west coast, six men survived. In the town of River’s Bend, these six friends continued on with their lives as zombies inherited the Earth. As they navigated the world that had been left behind, the soundtrack of life played on.

 

A few questions for the author:

Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing? 

 

I am doing what I believe in, though it takes a lot of work. There is a high probability of failure when you do what you believe in. I do not believe in settling; life is too short.

 

If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? 

 

I wouldn’t change a thing. I am living the kind of life that I want, doing the kind of things I want do, and making the kind of goals that I think will increase my happiness. Though it would mean that I only had 8 years left…

 

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? 

 

There are many events in your life that are fixed points, but most of what we do is predicated on previous decisions. The consequences of our actions become the backbone of our lives. Think about your choices and the possible consequences and live life accordingly.

 

 

Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:

 

The two-vehicle caravan pulled into the empty streets of River’s Bend. The Bronco rumbled and then subsided. The van barely made a sound.

Doors opened; men emerged.

Kenny and Will were back at it again.

“You absolutely could not kill a zombie high. Fuck, you are high for even thinking that,” spoke Kenny riotously.

Will had dark sunglasses on.

He pointed an accusatory finger at Kenny. “It would mellow me out, calm me down, man. I get fucking stressed walking around here.”

Dan walked over and slapped Will hard on the back, jarring him forward. “Try and keep the bickering to a minimum. You guys sound like a couple.”

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Interview: Emma Newman, Author of Between Two Thorns

A few weeks ago I reviewed Emma Newman’s Between Two Thorns, the first in her Split Worlds series. I had previously been unfamiliar with the parallel universes Emma had created in a series of short stories online, but I quickly became a huge, obsessive fan. Luckily Emma was kind enough to take some time out of her day filled with writing, tea and facilitating crowd-sourced magic to answer a few questions for us here at Working for the Mandroid.

***

First of all, any advice for someone trying to find their way back to the real world after spending time in the Split Worlds? It's been three weeks and I still haven't found my way back to the real world!

You're asking me? I have no idea. I've been half here and half there for years now! 

 

How would you describe your Split Worlds series to someone who has no idea what a faerie is?

Blimey, I find it hard enough explaining it to people who do know what a faerie is! A review said it was JK Rowling meets Georgette Heyer and I thought that was pretty cool. I've described it as the aristocratic side of Downton Abbey but with mad sorcerers and evil faeries. Whoops… erm… how about: A man without a soul and a woman rebelling against her family and the supernatural beings who control it try to solve a mystery set in the real world and its magical reflection. 

(Note: The review Emma is referring to was a really great write up in The Guardian newspaper.)


 If you could choose, would you prefer to stay in Mundanus, join the Faerie touched Great Families in the Nether or prance around with Fae royalty in Exilium?

Well there's a question! I've never been very satisfied with Mundanus. It simply doesn't have enough magic in it. However, living in the Nether would be awful. No sunshine, no rain, just mists. Urgh. It's a sure recipe for depression when you consider how women are treated there too. Exilium is truly beautiful but absolutely terrifying to me. Can I stay in Mundanus but have a friend from the Nether who sneaks me into the parties? 

 

If the Shopkeeper of the Emporium of Things in Between and Besides allowed you one item, what would you ask him to take from the shelves?

This is officially the best question I've ever been asked in an interview! I'd be tempted to purchase a luck egg – because who doesn't need a huge dollop of luck once in a while? – but I think it would have to be a Persuasion Pearl with a delicate filigree setting, threaded onto a strand of silk. I would then seek opportunities to speak to male-dominated organisations to expound upon the valuable role women can play in business, government and scientific research. Whilst I don't think the arguments need magical aid – they can stand up on their own after all – I would be a lot more effective with a little bit of magic behind me. There are several other things I can imagine using it for, but they would be rather unethical!  

 

Which Fae overlord is your favourite?

Lord Poppy. He is deliciously insane and makes the most awful threats in the same tone as one would use to offer ice-cream to a child. I wouldn't want to meet him though; it would be so easy to get something wrong and end up with an appalling curse. 

 

What made Angry Robot the perfect publisher to bring the Split Worlds into book form?

There are several reasons. One is that they specialise in fiction that has a healthy disregard for strict genre boundaries. The Split Worlds series is broadly speaking urban fantasy but has noir elements and Austen-esque alt-historical society politicking alongside real world computer programmers getting tangled up in fairy curses. I guess I'm saying it's a bit weird and Angry Robot gets that.

 The other reason is that Angry Robot does a grand job of being responsive to readers and quick to adapt to changes in the market. For example, they've been selling DRM free e-books for ages and are pioneering a scheme to give paperback buyers in independent bookshops the e-version of the book for free. The way they keep in touch with reviewers and readers is great too.

Thirdly they are just fabulous to work with. My editor, Lee Harris, not only knows his stuff but also handles my anxiety brilliantly and is very understanding. For example, he knows that phone calls out of the blue freak me out, so he texts beforehand to let me know he's going to call and that there is nothing to worry about. He also makes me laugh and he really gets what I'm trying to do with the Split Worlds. He and my agent Jennifer Udden (DMLA) have both helped me make the series what it is now and improved my writing too.

Lastly, Angry Robot commissions some of the best covers out there.

 

Was it your idea or Angry Robot's to publish all three books in the series within nine months? Will the series continue after book 3, All Is Fair?

When I planned to self-publish the series I intended to release on that schedule and was delighted when Lee wanted to follow that plan too. As a reader I hate long gaps between books in a series and by the time the contract was on the table with Angry Robot I had a fairly polished first book and the first draft of the second novel, so we were hitting the ground running.

All I can say about whether the series will continue after All is Fair is that the Split Worlds contains a lot of stories and there are more I'd love to tell. I've written 55 short stories set there as well as the three novels and there's still stuff left to explore. (Note: You can find links to the short stories set in the Split Worlds on Emma’s website here.)

 

Where did the idea of Three Wishes come from and why start crowd sourcing magic now?

I think I had it when I was writing the first book and it was probably because Cathy has to deal with being granted three wishes by Lord Poppy. I love the idea of crowd-sourcing funding for creative endeavours and simply mashed the two up. I wanted to wait until enough people had read Between Two Thorns to have a decent shot at building a community large enough to be able to help each other's wishes come true. It's been running for a week at the time of writing this and two wishes have been granted and I've heard from others saying they're getting help to make theirs come true.

 

What would be one of your wishes?

You know, I've been struggling to come up with my three wishes since I launched it! The first one was easy, however: to meet Stephen Fry and have the opportunity to thank him for instilling me with an adoration of language, frivolity and surreal humour. He is one of my heroes and if that opportunity also involved a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake, I'd be in heaven.

 

You mention that the Split Worlds will be joining the real world starting in August. What should unsuspecting citizens of Mundanus expect? Should we be worried about Fae kidnappings?

I've got all sorts of ideas in development but I don't want to give anything away at the moment. I've been a role player for many years, so it feels like a natural progression to me. Some things have already been seeded in the Split Worlds stories. I can say that, all being well, the first real world stuff will be happening at the Nine Worlds convention in August and that there's no need to worry about kidnappings!

 

Thank you so much to Emma and the wonderful people at Angry Robot, who hooked me up with this interview. The Split Worlds series is utterly delightful and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Any Other Name, which comes out next week on May 28 in the US and June 6 in the UK. You can learn more about the crowd source magic of the Three Wishes project on Emma’s website here, and she recently started a podcast called Tea and Jeopardy, which you can download from her website here.

You can also find more of Emma around the internet at her personal website, at the official Split Worlds website, on Twitter, and Facebook.

To learn more about the awesome Angry Robot, visit their website and check out their catalog. It’s full of crazy, unusual and fascinating things.

 

About the Author

Emma Newman was born in a tiny coastal village in Cornwall during one of the hottest summers on record. Four years later she started to write stories and never stopped until she penned a short story that secured her a place at Oxford University to read Experimental Psychology.

In 2011 Emma embarked on an ambitious project to write and distribute one short story per week – all of them set in her Split Worlds milieu – completely free to her mailing list subscribers.

A debut short-story collection, From Dark Places, was published in 2011 and her debut post-apocalyptic novel for young adults, 20 Years Later, was published just one year later – presumably Emma didn’t want to wait another nineteen… Emma is also a professional audiobook narrator.

She now lives in Somerset with her husband, son and far too many books.

Author Blog Tour Interview: Toni de Palma, Author of The Devil's Triangle

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Toni de Palma's blog tour for her new book, The Devil's Triangle. Her new book is a hilarious teen romance that just happens to involve the Devil's sister, a dead teenage boy who comes back as a star football player, and a mysterious girl he's been tasked to save. This is the first in her The Devil's Triangle series. Welcome Toni de Palma to Working for the Mandroid!

What inspired you to first start writing?

The first time I thought of becoming a writer was when I was eight. We'd moved to a new neighborhood with no kids. It was then I discovered the Ramona and Beezus books by Beverly Cleary. Ramona became my best friend and I decided I wanted to write for kids so I could make them feel part of something the way Beverly Cleary made me feel.

Who have been your biggest writing influences? Why?

I have always been a reader and books have shown up when I've most needed them. In high school I loved John Steinbeck and Victor Hugo, but now I love contemporary YA writers a lot like Patricia McCormick and Jacqueline Woodson.

What is your ideal writing location and atmosphere? Writing snack of choice?

I have an office in my house, but lately I like to write early morning in my kitchen with the company of my dog, Chester. I try not to snack, but the crunchier the better.

Do you have a particular routine that gets you in the mindset to write your supernatural characters?

I like to write early in the morning. I also read a few pages from a book with a voice and style similar to my own. It warms me up.

Why did you choose to set The Devil's Triangle in the POV of Cooper? What additional challenges came with writing from a teenage boy's perspective?

My characters direct me, telling me what is happening in their world. My son is a huge influence. He was around Cooper's age when I started writing this book. He is quite different from Cooper, but having him around gives me a good peek into the boy world. I was also very much a tomboy when I was young and boys make a lot of sense to me.

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