Sunday, October 5, 2014

Shout Out to Indies - An Unstill Life by Kate Larkindale AND She Dreamed of Dragons by Elizabeth J M Walker

We here at The Paperback Princesses often receive emails from Indie authors requesting reviews and are blessed with free book copies. Often we are unable to get to so many titles before our mass market published books take over our TBR shelves. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of great reads though! We want to give back to those Indie authors and  are declaring EVERY SECOND SUNDAY our SHOUT OUT TO INDIES MEME. For those of fellow bloggers, please feel free to add our meme to your regular schedule. We only ask that you quote and link back to us as a courtesy. For all of you Indie authors, we invite you to contact us at the contact link to your top left. We will select 1 - 3 titles (each time we post) that sound interesting. Lastly, for you readers, this is a bit of a test so please do comment and let us know what you think. We will also be offering up giveaway copies whenever we can! So without further ado, here is this week's pick:

Things at home are rough for fifteen-year-old Livvie Quinn. Jules, her beloved older sister is sick again after being cancer free for almost ten years.  Her mom becomes more frantic and unapproachable every day. School isn’t much better.  Just when she needs them most, her closest friends get boyfriends and have little time for Livvie – except to set her up on a series of disastrous blind dates.

Livvie seeks refuge in the art room and finds Bianca, the school ‘freak’.  Free-spirited and confident, Bianca is everything Livvie isn’t. Shaken by her mom’s desperation, her sister’s deteriorating condition, and abandoned by her friends, Livvie finds comfort and an attraction she never felt before with Bianca.

When their relationship is discovered, Livvie and Bianca become victims of persecution and bullying. School authorities won’t help and even forbid the pair to attend the Winter Formal as a couple. If Livvie defies them and goes, she risks expulsion and further ridicule from her classmates. At home, her mother’s behavior escalates to new levels of crazy and Jules is begging for help to end the pain once and for all.

While searching for the strength to make her life her own, Livvie must decide how far she’s willing to go for the people she loves.

I think the teenage years are the most important years of your life. This is the period in which you begin to discover the person you will be. You try on personalities, develop tastes, become engaged with the moral and ideological tenets that will guide your life. It's a time where you develop relationships outside your own family and maybe even fall in love for the first time.

It's a confusing, messy time and any little event can invoke a massive emotional response. Friendships that felt like they’d last forever when you were eight or twelve suddenly don’t fit anymore.  Some people change friends like they would their socks, trying different social groups for size. Cliques form and dissolve, bullying is rampant and acts of utter cruelty can be committed.

As a writer, this is dynamic stuff, and I can't get enough of exploring it. Teens are such a contradictory mixture of child and adult, it's a compelling voice to play with. There are so many opportunities to write about things that are really important without getting preachy or didactic. I love writing about the early, clumsy attempts at adult relationships, about the changing dynamic of families and friendships as children become their own people. I love it when my characters make the right decision at a crucial moment, but like it even more when, like teenagers do so often, they make the wrong one.

So, while I love adult literature, and read it, I write YA for the dynamism, excitement and wonder of growing up. For the voice that hasn't yet been ground down by hard life experience, for the hopefulness and idealism of youth, and for the opportunity to rediscover the moments that change you forever.

About the author:

Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale is currently residing in Wellington, New Zealand.  A cinema manager, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much.  As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.

Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.

She has written eight contemporary YA novels, five of which other people are allowed to see.  She has also written one very bad historical romance.  She is currently working on a new YA novel that is still looking for a title other than its Twitter hashtag, #juvvielesbian.

Author Links

Our second title for this week is:

Trina is more likely to set the palace on fire with her powers than be a princess – could a dragon mage be the next ruler of the magical kingdom of Dorlith?

Trina is a fifteen-year-old dragon mage in a kingdom ruled by witches and wizards – the same people who have brought dragons and other magical creatures near extinction. Trina can barely control her fire powers and is desperate for an apprenticeship, but finding a fellow dragon mage to be her teacher is proving more difficult than coming across an actual dragon. 

Then there’s the Royal Tourney – a competition presented by the Queen to find a successor to the throne. Trina heads to the competition in the hopes of sparking some interest in the mage society and earning herself an apprenticeship. 

She never intended to be a frontrunner in the competition. 

She never meant to catch the attention of the evil witch trying to take over the throne. 

She never expected to fall for a wizard. 

Now Trina must face tough decisions about who she is and who she could become. Trina must ask herself: Can she really win the Royal Tourney? 

We asked Elizabeth:

Why I chose to write for a YA audience: 
Why I write YA (and why I think YA is so popular, even among adults) is that the teenage years are such an interesting and life-changing part of life for everyone. Things like first romantic relationships, feeling like you’re growing up and changing into a new person, and making choices that will ultimately affect you for the rest of your adult life can all happen while you are a teen. It can be exciting, wonderful, frightening, stressful – or a combination of all of the above and more. For a writer it creates a wealth of material for stories, whether they be contemporary fiction or fantasy.

I also enjoy writing YA because I first started to really take writing seriously as a teenager – specifically YA writing, and it has remained a favourite style of writing ever since. The first draft of She Dreamed of Dragons was completed while I was in high school, which was over a decade ago. As an adult I still love to read YA, and as a writer I will continue to write YA stories.

About the Author: Elizabeth J. M. Walker has published zines for over a decade and lives in her hometown of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She Dreamed of Dragons is her first novel. Visit her online at

Author Webpage:

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