Sunday, April 28, 2013

Beyond the Glass Slipper: The Blog Tour and Fairy Tale Festival




Chicago, IL (April 16, 2013)  World Weaver Press (Eileen Wiedbrauk, Editor-in-Chief) has announced the trade paperback and digital release of Beyond the Glass Slipper: Ten Neglected Fairy Tales to Fall in Love With, an anthology with introduction and annotations by Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine Editor Kate Wolfordtoday, Tuesday, April 16, 2013.

Beyond the Glass Slipper: Ten Neglected Fairy Tales to Fall in Love With is available in trade paperback and ebook via, and other online retailers. You can also find Beyond the Glass Slipper on Goodreads.

Wiedbrauk commented, “I wish Kate Wolford had been my folklore studies professor! BTGS is intellectual without being boring, fun without being superficial.”

Some fairy tales everyone knows—these aren’t those tales. These are tales of kings who get deposed and pigs who get married. These are ten tales, much neglected. Editor of Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine, Kate Wolford, introduces and annotates each tale in a manner that won’t leave novices of fairy tale studies lost in the woods to grandmother’s house, yet with a depth of research and a delight in posing intriguing puzzles that will cause folklorists and savvy readers to find this collection a delicious new delicacy.

In celebration of the release of Beyond the Glass Slipper: Ten Neglected Fairy Tales to Fall in Love With, World Weaver Press is hosting a Fairy Tale Festival through May 6. From Brothers Grimm to Walt Disney, from films and illustrations to fictive retellings, the Fairy Tale Festival features Opal by Kristina Wojtaszek, Wolves and Witches by Amanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt, and Beyond the Glass Slipper, by Kate Wolford. For the ever growing schedule of the next three weeks, check out our Fairy Tale Festival main page ( follow us on Facebook and Twitter (#FairyTaleFestival) where we’ll be posting bonus content not seen on the blog!

Kate Wolford is editor and publisher of Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine at She teaches first-year college writing, incorporating fairy tales in her assignments whenever possible. 

World Weaver Press is a publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction, dedicated to producing quality works. As a small press, World Weaver seeks to publish books that engage the mind and ensnare the story-loving soul.

ISBN-13: 978-0615797359
ISBN-10: 0615797350 
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This book looks great! Review will be forthcoming...

Now for a visit from our guest.

Which Tales Were Worth It?
Picking the "right" fairy tales for Beyond the Glass Slipper was by far one of the hardest parts of writing the book. The ten tales needed to make up an intriguing mix, be representative of a good variety of tale types, and be in public domain.
The third item may seem like the easiest part, as I was only looking at old, if fairly obscure, tales. Yet, many of the most interesting and engaging tales are in translations still under copyright by the translator. This makes perfect sense. After all, without the translator's efforts, there would be no tale to read in English.
Such was the case with "Little Broomstick." I discovered this story of true friendship between two young women on the indispensable DL Ashliman site. To my chagrin, because I had already begun the annotation process, the translation that had so captivated me was still Ashliman's. I could not include it in the book. But you can read it here:
Finding a mix wasn't so hard. I knew I wanted to show that fairy tales go way, way beyond "Snow White" and "The Little Mermaid," obviously. I wanted to demonstrate that fairy tales are not only about or for girls and women--you'd be surprised at how many well educated people believe this. I wanted to emphasize that the fairy tale is not always about happy ever after--even if it is implied. Also, fairy tales can be about friendship, even if that doesn't happen all that often.
As for tale type, I did not look too closely at the Aarne-Thompson fairy tale classification system when choosing the ten tales (although I didn't ignore it either). Instead, I focused on how each story would read as "different" for the others, yet compatible enough with them to give the book a sense of wholeness. The result yielded an animal bridegroom story, a ghost story, a vampire story, a mermaid-type story, plus six more.
I hope readers will find the collection enchanting. Go to World Weaver Press for more information.

Friday, April 26, 2013

An Interview with Barry Lyga: I Hunt Killers and The Game

I Hunt Killers

1. How did you get started writing about serial killers?

It was sort of an accident, if you want to know the truth. My editor and I were chatting one day about the projects I was working on. One of them was very complicated, so I described it as “a real killer.” She thought I said “serial killer.” Long story short, I ended up with the idea for I Hunt Killers!
2. Cheeseburgers or sushi?

Oh, man! What an impossible choice! I’m tempted to say something like, “Let’s split the difference — raw burgers!” But, no. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but...sushi.
3. What is your favorite kind of character to write about?

I like honest characters. I like characters who tell it the way they see it, even if — as in the case of Billy Dent — the “way they see it” is twisted and vile beyond belief. Lisa McMann once said that I write about “broken heroes,” and I think that’s probably right. I seem to be attracted to characters who are broken on some fundamental level, but who realize it and try to deal with it.
4. Tell us a little about Game. What kind of adventures are we going to be glued to?

Game expands the scope of the series. We move from the tiny town of Lobo’s Nod to New York City, though there are still things happening back in the Nod. We have more points of view this time — in addition to Jazz, you’ll also see events through Connie’s eyes, through Howie’s, and, yes, through Billy’s. The body count is higher, the stakes are higher, and I promise you this: Not everyone you meet comes out of this thing alive.
5. Best vacation spot ever?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Scotland...

6. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Easy — coffee! But I don’t actually drink coffee. Weird, eh?

7. Are you a Dexter fan? What about Walking Dead?

I deliberately don’t watch Dexter. People already compare my books to that show, so I don’t want to even accidentally repeat something that they do. As to Walking Dead: I was sick recently, so I watched the whole series from the beginning to the latest season on Netflix. I recently blogged about how most of the characters really aren’t all that bright, but for all that, it’s a very compelling show and I plan to keep watching it.

8. Pantster or plotter and how do you decide how long to make your chapters?

Eh, to be honest with you, I’m not all that interested in the weird sort of dichotomy people try to enforce between “pantsers” and “plotters.” I think they’re false notions. “Pantsers” are plotting — they just do it in their heads, usually subconsciously. And “plotters” often go off-script and let their stories lead them down different paths. I don’t find it a useful distinction.
As to chapter length, I always think of the words of my high school Spanish teacher: When we would ask how long an essay had to be, she would respond, “It’s like a skirt: Long enough to cover the topic, but short enough to be interesting.”
9. Where do you see the series going?

I’ve already written the last chapter of the series. I’ve known where it’s headed pretty much since the beginning. And I ain’t tellin’! 

10. What is your best advice for anyone wanting to write YA?

I don’t have any advice specifically for YA writers — I think good writing advice is good writing advice, period. That said: “Just do it ‘til it’s done.” A friend of mine told me that once when I was struggling to finish something. I was getting all caught up in details and specifics, projected ahead to the revision process… And he reminded me: “Just do it ‘til it’s done.” At the end of the day, writing is about sitting down and typing until you get to the end. Sometimes we have a tendency to overcomplicate it and that gets us all tangled up in ourselves. Cut through that tangle. Just write. Figure out if it’s good or if it sucks later, and fix it if you have to. But first — get it done.

Called a “YA rebel-author” by Kirkus Reviews, Barry Lyga has published eleven novels in various genres in his seven-year career, including the New York Timesbestselling I Hunt Killers. His books have been or are slated to be published in ten different languages in North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.
After graduating from Yale with a degree in English, Lyga worked in the comic book industry before quitting to pursue his lifelong love of writing. In 2006, his first young adult novel, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, was published to rave reviews, including starred reviews from Booklist andSchool Library JournalPublisher’s Weekly named Lyga a “Flying Start” in December 2006 on the strength of the debut.
Barry Lyga publicity pic
His second young adult novel, Boy Toy, received starred reviews in SLJPublishers Weekly, and KirkusVOYA gave it its highest critical rating, and the Chicago Tribune called it “…an astounding portrayal of what it is like to be the young male victim.” His third novel, Hero-Type, according to VOYA ”proves that there are still fresh ideas and new, interesting story lines to be explored in young adult literature.”
Since then, he has also written Goth Girl Rising (the sequel to his first novel), as well as the Archvillain series for middle-grade readers and the graphic novel Mangaman (with art by Colleen Doran).
His latest series is I Hunt Killers, called by the LA Times “one of the more daring concepts in recent years by a young-adult author” and an “extreme and utterly alluring narrative about nature versus nurture.” The first book landed on both the New York Times and USAToday bestsellers lists, and the series has been optioned for television by Warner Bros./Silver Pictures.
Lyga lives and writes in New York City. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.

Thank you for being here today Barry!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Assured Destruction Blog Tour

Assured Destruction Book Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Jan Rose knows that nothing is ever truly deleted. At
least, not from the hard drives she scours to create the online
identities she calls the Shadownet.

Hobby? Art form? Sad, pathetic plea to garner friendship, even
virtually? Sure, Jan is guilty on all counts. Maybe she’s even
addicted to it. It’s an exploration. Everyone has something to hide.
The Shadownet’s hard drives are Jan’s secrets. They're stolen from her
family’s computer recycling business Assured Destruction. If the
police found out, Jan’s family would lose their livelihood.

When the real people behind Shadownet’s hard drives endure vicious
cyber attacks, Jan realizes she is responsible. She doesn’t know who
is targeting these people or why but as her life collapses Jan must
use all her tech savvy to bring the perpetrators to justice before she
becomes the next victim.

Michael F. Stewart's Bio:
After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun
in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage
and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his
writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra
and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and
diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of
the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of
the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan,
Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.

Formats: paperback & ebook
Release: March 22, 2013

Amazon paperback ($8.99)

Kindle ($2.99)



Michael F. Stewart's Web Site:

Michael F. Stewart's Facebook:

Michael F. Stewart's Twitter:

Michael F. Stewart's Goodreads:

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

Assured Destruction's blog tour site:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Unraveled Virtual Book Tour

Sixteen year old math whiz, Autumn, spends her days reading about serial killers and dreaming of becoming an FBI Profiler. She never dreams her first case will be so personal. Her world is shattered when she comes home from school and discovers her murdered sister’s body on the living room floor. When the initial evidence points to a burglary gone wrong, Autumn challenges the police’s theory because of the personal nature of the crime. Thinking that finding the killer will bring her family back together, she conducts her own investigation using her affinity for math and forensics, but her plan backfires and her obsession with the case further splinters her family.  When her investigation reveals the killer is someone she knows, Autumn offers herself up as bait and sets a dangerous trap to unmask his true nature and to obtain a confession for her sister’s murder.

Author Bio:
Susan grew up in South Texas, about ten miles from the U.S.-Mexican border. As a child she spent the summers in Mexico with her grandparents and extended family. During these vacations, she frequently created mysteries for her siblings and cousins to solve. These mysteries were her first stories. Nancy Drew soon became her childhood hero and inspiration to write mysteries for young adults.
Her greatest joy is her daughter who is quite the storyteller and likes to come up with the characters’ names for mom’s stories.
When she’s not writing or studying, you can find her looking after her personal mini-zoo which consists of two fish, one thief of a dog, and some hermit crabs.
Susan loves estates sales, traveling, spending time with her family, and discovering new books at the Columbus Metropolitan library.
Susan graduated from the University of Texas, is currently pursuing an MFA from Seton Hill University, and dreams of one day owning a touch screen murder board like the one on her favorite TV show, Castle.

“Autumn, yesterday you had told us that when you arrived home the front door was open. Is that correct?”
I leaned in toward the voice recorder on the table and said, “Yes.”
“Are you positive about that? We interviewed some of the neighbors, and none of them saw an open front door at your house?” No doubt Mrs. Jimenez had told them that. Now that she was retired, she had nothing better to do than watch her neighbors. I wondered if she had mentioned seeing anything to Detective Kasanoff. Maybe she saw something unusual that day, a stranger in the neighborhood, a suspicious car, anything.
“The door looked closed, but when I touched my key to the lock, it opened.”
“Do you know who was the last person to leave the house that day?” I looked over at my parents. Mami had her head buried in her hands. She shouldn’t be here, hearing about all of this. Papi had his arm around her and gave me an encouraging smile.
“I was.”
“What time did you leave that morning?”
“About 8:00 a.m.”
“Did you leave through the front door?” I didn’t like where this was going.
“Yes, and I locked it behind me,” I offered before he had a chance to ask the question.
“How can you be sure? Look, I know how it is. It’s easy to get on autopilot in the morning. You do the same thing every morning, you get into a routine.”
I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I don’t forget things, Detective. I know I locked the door that morning.” He studied me for a moment and flipped through his papers.
“That’s right. Here it is. You’re some kind of math genius. You almost made the US Math Olympiad Team last year.” I wanted to reach across the table and strangle him. Someone had butchered my sister in my own living room, and he was reading up on how I’d choked on a freaking geometry question during last year’s Math Olympiad final round and failed to make the team?
“I’m gifted, Detective. I’m not smart enough to be a genius.” He broke into a smile. The first I’d ever seen from him.
“Is there really a difference?”
“Yes, about five IQ points.” He wrote something down.
“Let’s move on. You said you had come home because you’d left your math questions on the kitchen table that morning. Is that correct?” “Yes.”
He lifted the folder up and produced some papers that were protected in a plastic bag. He placed them in front of me. “Are these the questions you were referring to?”
I looked at my parents, and both of them had their eyes glued to the plastic bag in front of me.
Without touching the bag, I looked at the front page and saw the first question. It was the Bernoulli equation question that Celeste had asked me that morning over breakfast.
“Yes, those are the ones.”
“Care to know where we found them?” What did he mean? I’d left them on the kitchen table when I went to brush my teeth after breakfast.
“On the kitchen table?” I asked, trying not to sound sarcastic.
“No. In your backpack. The backpack we found at the scene yesterday.” He looked over at my parents this time. My eyes grew wide, and my mouth fell open.
“Mr. or Mrs. Covarrubias, did either of you put these math papers back into Autumn’s backpack after breakfast?” Papi left for the bakery every morning at 5:30 a.m. so he wasn’t even home. Mami had left right after Celeste and I had eaten because she had a dentist appointment. Maybe Mami’d seen the papers and stuck them in my backpack. Celeste had left about ten minutes before me. Her boyfriend Voss had swung by to pick her up. He did that every day.
“Mami, did you put the papers in my backpack?” Her eyes were swollen, and I swear she was two seconds away from passing out. Her gaze wandered around the room until it fell on me. She shook her head. My heart sank.
“Then it had to be Celeste. She must have put them in there.”
“Her fingerprints weren’t found on the papers.” How was that possible? The oils from her hands would have been transferred onto the paper if she’d stuck them in my backpack. It couldn’t have been her then. That left no one, and I had no answer. That wasn’t good.
“Autumn, look, I’m going to be honest with you. There are some things that just don’t add up here. We have witnesses that say you and your sister were arguing at school that morning and that she looked very upset. Care to explain what that was all about?”
I could feel the cell doors closing in around me. This was a witch hunt, and I was about to be burned at the stake.
My parents were staring at me, begging me with their eyes to explain what was going on. The question mark stabbed my heart. They knew that Celeste and I hardly ever fought. The last time had to have been when I’d accidentally given her a black eye when I was five and was trying to learn to hit a baseball.
I looked at the detective and said the only thing I knew to say. “Detective Kasanoff, I want a lawyer.”

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Coven Virtual Book Tour

The Coven: Fire and Ice       
The Coven, Book 1
Verdell Walker

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

ISBN: Print – 1481981080
Ebook - 9781301450695

Number of pages: 454
Word Count: 114,679

Cover Artist: Gabriela Miyares

Book Description:

After her clique's bullying causes a classmate's suicide, Kat Grey trades the vicious world of the California "in crowd" for the chance to become a better person in Massachusetts. But when she steps in to protect a classmate from being bullied, Kat sparks a war with Hannah, Milton Academy's resident Queen Bee.

Kat's courage and compassion attract the attention of Blaze Ward, Hannah's ex-boyfriend. As they fall in love, Kat discovers that Blaze is more than the boy next door. He's a warlock. He is also the leader of an in-crowd like no other - the Brotherhood, five young warlocks charged with defending witches and humanity from a demonic adversary named Seth.

Kat challenges Blaze to become a better man and leader while he helps her find redemption as she makes it her mission to stop bullying at Milton. But when Hannah teams up with Seth to destroy her, Kat becomes a hostage in the age-old war between the Brotherhood and their greatest enemy. Saving Kat will require more than Blaze's strength and skill; it will mean breaking one of his kind's most sacred laws. Blaze will have to make a choice: his honor or Kat's life.

Excerpt from "The Coven: Fire and Ice"

The body had left a spider web of cracks in Kat’s windshield. Still wrapped in her seatbelt, Kat clutched the sides of her seat, stricken with shock and fear.  A rational voice in the back of her head screamed at her to move, someone was injured, maybe even dead. Trembling, she forced herself to get out of the car. On wobbly legs she rounded the front of the Prius and scanned the area for the body. Spotting a large, still lump lying in the grass, Kat sprinted over to the person’s side. Kneeling, Kat placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. She couldn’t detect any signs of blood; there was also no blood on her windshield. Whoever he was, he smelled awful. Maybe it was a homeless person.
“Hello? Can you hear me?”
The man moved faster than the blink of an eye. One minute he was lying immobile on the ground, the next he had his hand clamped on her mouth and an arm around her throat. A shot of cold fear zoomed down Kat’s spine as she felt herself being hoisted up. She kicked and thrashed in a desperate attempt to get away, but the arm on her throat was like steel. Her cries were muffled by the foul-smelling hand, and the stench of the grave enveloped her. Kat thought she was going to faint until adrenaline and her fighting spirit came to her rescue. She bit down on the stony fingers and used all her weight when she stamped her foot on her attacker’s instep. The taste erupting in her mouth was worse than the smell and made her want to vomit, but she concentrated on wrenching herself free. The thing made no sound but jerked its hand back from her sharp teeth. Kat used the opportunity to let out an ear piercing shriek. Before it could silence her again, she tipped them both forward and sent them sprawling toward the ground in a heap. Kat aimed another kick at its stomach and managed to escape. It reached out and grabbed her foot but only pulled off her sneaker.
Kat shot off into the night, racing back to her car. She paid no attention to the gravel jabbing her shoeless foot as she ran. As she ran she continued to scream, hoping someone, anyone, would hear her. Her thighs burned as they ate up the distance, and she could hear her attacker gaining on her from behind. Fear and a desire to live propelled her onward despite the pain in her foot and throat, and tears ran down her cheeks from the biting wind. Soon the Prius was in sight, but her attacker had almost closed the gap between them. She could feel those disgusting fingers reaching out and trying to grab her. Kat pressed on, even though every muscle in her body screamed to stop.
Suddenly, a thick mist rolled in and enveloped the area, blanketing everything. Because of it, Kat couldn’t see the exposed root sticking up in her path. She tripped over it and pitched forward. As she fell, the attacker’s hand grasped her hair, yanking it violently. Kat thought her neck was going to break. She hoped it would, and that it would kill her before this person, this thing could. She thought of the mother she was just getting to know again, and felt sick. Then something hot streaked past her face, and the ground beneath her shook.
“Kill the mist, Q! I need to see!”
Kat’s heart lifted – was someone coming to help her? She didn’t want to believe, but then she heard another gruff, masculine voice.
“It’s not alone! Hold back till I clear this place!”
The mist receded, like water draining from a bathtub. Kat was on the ground, and through her watery vision she could see two pairs of boots racing toward her. Her attacker’s fist was still wound tightly in her hair and she could hardly breathe for the stench. She tilted her face upward and relief fled when she saw her saviors’ eyes cast an unearthly light in the darkness, the color of the glowing embers of a fire.
“Oh my God,” Kat breathed.
Another shot – of lightning?! – whizzed past her. The tension on her hair slackened. She heard a dull thud behind her as the blast of whatever-it-was nailed her attacker in the chest and sent him flying backwards. Her rescuers ran past her in a blur. One of them was a tall blond boy, the other African American with close-cropped black hair. Her attacker tried to crawl away from them but they surrounded him. The black boy brought his boot down on his ankle, pinning him to the ground. The blond kicked him savagely in the ribs, his body flipping over onto his back. He brought a knee down onto the attacker’s scorched chest and placed his hands on either side of its head. The blond boy’s hands glowed brightly as he twisted the attacker’s neck 180 degrees. A blinding white light filled the night, and the attacker’s body was gone.
If Kat thought she was scared before, she was absolutely terrified now. She pushed herself off the ground and tried to run away, but a sharp pain in her ankle brought her back down. She must have sprained her ankle when she tripped. Kat gritted her teeth against the pain and rose again. She would crawl the last few feet to her Prius if need be, but come hell or high water she was getting out of there.
“Hey, stop!”
Kat didn’t look back as she half ran, half hopped away. She was almost to the Prius. Impossibly, the blond boy was right next to her in an instant, blocking her path.
“Stop,” he commanded in a voice accustomed to being obeyed.
“Go to hell,” Kat spat back as she moved around him. She tried to evade the long, powerful arms that reached out for her, but she was too slow. Or rather he was unbelievably fast. On instinct, Kat fired her elbow into his ribs. The blond let out a grunt and she slipped halfway out of his grasp. He tried to regain his hold, but Kat reared back and scraped her nails across his cheek. This made him angry, but she didn’t care. She was pissed. If he took her, it wouldn’t be without a fight.
“Get away from me!” she screamed. Despite her best efforts, he caught her again. His arms were like stone pinions around her.
“Relax,” he said into her ear in a deep, rich bass. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
“You expect me to believe that! You just broke someone’s neck!”
“You’re welcome, miss. It was a pleasure saving your life.”
Without thinking, Kat spat in his face.
A low whistle sounded behind him. It was the other boy.
“A girl who is immune to Blaze Ward’s charms – I do believe this is a first.”
The one called Blaze lifted his right hand to wipe her spit away, while still keeping her imprisoned in his left arm. She struggled against his hard body uselessly.
“Do me a favor and hold onto her while I call Etienne.”
Oh no, there are more of them, Kat thought as she was passed like a ragdoll between the two of them. The other boy held her just as tightly. Her ankle throbbed. She thought about screaming again, but figured it was impractical as there was no one else around.
Her captor leaned down to her ear and spoke to her in a calm voice. “Don’t be afraid. We won’t hurt you. Just keep still and quiet. And please keep your saliva to yourself.”
Blaze stepped away from them and closed his eyes. He made no sound or movement, but he seemed to be reaching out to something or someone. Moments later, another huge blond appeared with eyes as green as hers. Out of thin air.
“Oh, good Lord,” Kat said aloud.
The new blond turned to look at her. “Crap – a norm. What’s she doing here?”
“Dark One had her,” Blaze replied. “We rescued her.”
“And she thanked Blaze with a nice, big loogie,” Kat’s captor said gleefully.
Mirth twinkled in the new blond’s eyes. “Did she see anything?”
“Too much. Which is why I called you,” Blaze said.
“You need me to wipe her?”
Kat stiffened with terror. Her captor felt the change, and rubbed her arm soothingly. “Calm down – he’s not talking about killing you.”
The new blond moved toward her. “No, baby. I promise this won’t hurt, and you won’t remember any of this.”
“Get away from me,” Kat said in a hard, angry voice. He said nothing, bringing his face closer to hers. Kat could make out the individual hairs of his prickly stubble. His green eyes flashed gold.
Something pricked at Kat’s consciousness. She closed her eyes and shook her head. The pricking continued, and some force deep within her mind resisted. Kat squeezed her eyes and opened them again. The pricking stopped, and she fixed him with a glare.
The blond frowned. “This one’s mind is strong. Most norms would be drooling wrecks by now.”
“Try harder,” the first blond said.
Suddenly, a feeling of tremendous calm washed over Kat. Her muscles relaxed, and the pain in her ankle drifted away. Those golden eyes mesmerized her, held her in their sway. If her captor hadn’t been holding her, she was sure she would have fallen to the ground. Her mind tried to fight back, but this time it was impossible.
“You’re calm,” he whispered. “You’re safe, and warm.”
“Safe and warm,” Kat repeated drowsily, in spite of herself.
“Give her to me,” the first blond said. His voice sounded far away and she nearly collapsed into his arms. He wrapped her arms around his neck. Reaching down, he slipped an arm behind her knees and lifted her off the ground. Cradling her to his chest, he turned to the others.
“Etienne, do something about her car. Q, conjure up another shoe for her, will you?”
If she had been alert, she would have thought their conversation was insane. But now all she could think of was sleep.
The one called Q stepped forward with her white and pink Puma sneaker. Kat wondered idly where he had found it.
“I wonder who she is, and where she lives?” Blaze asked Q.
“Never seen her before. Probe her mind for it,” Q suggested.
“No need,” Etienne shouted. “Got her license here. Katherine Grey, lives at 223 Shady Oak Lane.”
“Pretty sure she’s breaking curfew now,” Q said. “We should get her home before she’s grounded for life.”
A thought occurred to Kat. “Text Mom,” she murmured.
Blaze shushed her. “Etienne, is there a phone over there?”
“Yup. Texting her mom now. Man, there are like 10 messages from Momma Bear on this thing.”
“Q, go back to the others and make sure there are no more Dark Ones roaming around. Etienne, drive her car back to her house. I’m going to run ahead with her.”
Kat looked up at the young man holding her in his arms. His handsome face was angular and sculpted, with high cheekbones and a strong, masculine jaw. He must have felt her looking at him, because he peered down at her. His narrowed eyes were a translucent, shimmering blue. She breathed deeply, inhaling his scent. He smelled of sweat, dark spice, and pine. In spite of herself, she felt completely safe and taken care of. He stared at her for another second, and his eyes were inscrutable. The next thing Kat knew they were moving, the night rushing past them at incredible speed.
Copyright 2013 Verdell Walker. All rights reserved.

This is an interview with Katherine “Kat” Grey, the heroine of my novel The Coven: Fire and Ice and human love of Maximilian “Blaze” Ward. Deeply affected by the suicide of a girl she once bullied, Kat turns her life around and vows to become a better person. She takes a stand against bullying and is not afraid to fight for what she believes in.  

What is your family like?
My parents are Claire McDonough and Nicholas Grey. They divorced when I was younger. I’m super lucky because they still get along really well. A lot of my old friends in Cali have divorced parents that hate each other. I’m glad mine aren’t like that.
My mom is wise, warm, funny, and a terrible cook. After she and Dad divorced, she moved to Massachusetts and pursued her dream of becoming an artist. She’s pretty successful and her paintings are really amazing. It was a little awkward at first when I moved in with her, but now we‘re super close. I’m glad she’s in my life now – I can talk to her about anything.
I miss my dad Nick like crazy since I moved to Massachusetts. To a lot of people, he can be downright intimidating – big time lawyer, Harvard grad, dyed-in-the-wool Republican. It’s funny to me because I know him as this goofy guy who loves practical jokes and fishing. He can be a little overprotective at times, but I guess that’s what dads do.
What is the thing you are most proud of?
The GED tutoring program I started at Mercy House. Mercy House is a home for runaways, mostly abused teenage girls who got mixed up in drugs and prostitution. My friend Bronwyn and Q [a member of the Brotherhood] tutors there too, as well as some other kids from Milton Academy. The first group of girls I worked with all just earned their GEDs last week – that was an incredible feeling.
If you had a day to do anything you wanted, what would you do?
Riding horses with Blaze at his family’s lake house. It’s the most peaceful place in the world. I always ride Ariel, a gray Arabian.  Blaze has a black stallion named Baltazar. He’s had Baltazar since he was a foal and they’ve literally grown up together – it’s really sweet.
If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?
Too many to count. I hurt a lot of people back in California by being a bully. I’ve been able to get in touch with some of them on Facebook and stuff, but some people won’t respond to my messages. I don’t blame them; I’d probably be skeptical too if I was in their shoes.

What is your most prized possession? 
My talisman* that Blaze gave me. It’s a gold necklace with rubies. It’s really extravagant so I mostly just wear the main ruby on a plain gold chain. I never take it off, because it makes me feel close to Blaze. That’s because the ruby carries his essence – he’s never far away from me when I have it on.
What do you find really grates on your nerves?

Stuck up, pretentious people who think that they are better than everyone else. Don’t get me started.
What is your greatest fear?

I’ve got two. The first is Blaze getting hurt – or worse – fighting in the Brotherhood. It’s something I have to deal with on a daily basis and I try really hard not to think about it too much. He’s a great fighter, but I still obviously get worried. My second greatest fear is not living a meaningful life. When I say “meaningful”, I mean not making a positive impact on the world. I think it would be terrible to die without having made at least one person’s life better.
*In the world of The Coven, a talisman is a piece of jewelry, featuring a jewel that contains the warlock’s essence, that a warlock often gives to the woman he loves, be she human or witch. When the woman wears the talisman, the warlock can sense her emotions, be alerted if she is in danger, communicate with her telepathically, and envelop her in a magical defensive shield even when he is not physically present.

About the Author:

Verdell Walker is the author of THE COVEN series. Born and raised in the South, writing has been her escape from reality for many years.

Verdell is an avid sports fan and absolutely devoted to the Green Bay Packers. A gifted cook and baker, few things make her happier than making a meal for her family and friends. Except maybe writing about her favorite boys.