Tuesday, June 18, 2013

YA/NA Dancers & Divas Stars: Elena & Seb, plus 2 MAJOR Giveaways!!!

Some extra blogging was necessary for me to follow through with all the interviews and reviews I'd committed to, plus be ready for my summer blogging break, so I'm blogging on a Tuesday and ....

... I'm doing a Wistful YA Wednesday. Yes, on a Tuesday, but hey, after a while it all blends together anyway. :)
This next novel series I'm sharing with you is right up my alley. Being a life-long dancer myself, I totally fell into this story. Here's Book I & Book II:  

AMAZON LINK | Author WEBSITE
PASSION and PAIN (Book I in the Dancer & Divas series) by Kathy Petrakis
YA/NA Contemporary Romance

Description: Does passion and desire guarantee success? Can friends really be trusted? Can true love be found beneath lust and deceit? 

These are questions street dancer Elena Martinez faces as she struggles to compete against the most talented students at New York's top Performing Arts High School. Along with her best friend, the carefree and mischievous Sebastien Duval, they are determined to make center stage.

But the singing diva Letitia has other plans. Beautiful, talented and popular, her desire for revenge could ruin everything for Elena and Sebastien. Now, they must fight against prejudice, treachery and deceit as Letitia sets out to destroy Elena's friendships, her romance, her dignity and her dreams. Can Elena win the battle for true love, happiness and success? 
"The perfect package - FAME meets GOSSIP GIRL wrapped up with a touch of GLEE."  
"A compulsive tale of auditions, performances, friendship, first love and life's lessons not yet learned . . . both uplifting and tragic - completely captivating."  
"Entertaining, engaging drama that covers it all - determination, disappointment, success, love, lust, betrayal, heartbreak and forgiveness."
GOODREADS LINK | B&N

BITTER SWEET (Book II in the Dancers and Divers series) by Kathy Petrakis - a YA / NA Contemporary Romance. *Contains mature content - recommended for ages 15+*

Description: Can secrets stay hidden forever? Can people really change? Are some mistakes unforgivable?

As Elena and Sebastian embark on a fresh start, will Letitia keep his secret, or will she use it to destroy them? 

As Veronika falls in love, Frankie is out of rehab and trying to make amends, but will it last for either of them?

Meanwhile, as Anya is torn between loyalty to her Nana and love for Darius, could Darius fall for the new temptress, Rosa? With her stunning looks, her powerful, sensual dancing and her desire to seduce, she has everyone nervous but what secret is she hiding? 

Continue the roller-coaster journey with your favorite characters as they try to survive junior year at the country’s top performing arts school.
“There is drama, stress and anger all wrapped up in a neat bow just waiting to be unleashed.” 
“.. at first, it felt like I was reading a new version of Step Up 2... LOVE... then it merged into a little Glee... then it merged with Center Stage... then in the midst of it all was the Gossip Girl...” 
“It is extremely well written, and the plot is very engaging. I couldn't put it down..” 
BRING ALONG + 1

My Splats: Blood, sweat, tears, and courage is what it takes at a private school for talented kids; oh, and bit of spunk, too.

The story begins during Elena's middle grade years, giving the reader a slice of what made the young adult Elena. Then we travel to an active feel,  a cross between Fame of the '80s and the more recent Step Up series, with the setting an artsy high school, a scholarship, and Elena specializing in hip hip. The author includes tangible elements like Elena's elation during her first day upon seeing the performance stage; as a performer myself, I found these scenes accurate and easily visible.

I enjoyed the regular teenage obstacles such as not fitting in or crushing on the wrong boy that constantly blocked Elena's path to achieving her goals. By far, my favorite roadblock in this story was the villainist. Superb. Seriously, she's a character to despise. And Elena's goals weren't just about becoming a better dancer, but also to extend herself beyond her usual means and comfort zone, to push, explore, and be more.

Ultimately, what continually drew me back to the story was the friendship between Elena and her BFF-boy, Seb. Their relationship was real and, if we're lucky, one that any reader would cherish in real life. Of course, there has to be another complication of Seb having the sweetest crush on Elena since middle grade and her always being too busy to notice. That definitely added another human ingredient and humor; humor which is short-lived. Only after a tragedy, when it's curtain's last call, does Elena realize the true depth of her friendship with Seb. You'll have to read to discover their final steps.

So, on that note, I'm pleased to welcome Elena & Sebastian here!!! I can't wait for the Alleywalkers to meet you both. Being a former dancer myself--well, technically I still dance. Um, just not like I used to professionally--I totally related to your story, especially the setting. Care to tell the Alleywalkers a bit about yourselves?

ELENA: Okay. Hi, I'm Elena Martinez and I'm a student at Montacrue Performing Arts School.
SEB: Scholarship student
ELENA: Yes, I have a dance scholarship for hip hop but I also study acting.
SEB: Like me. I'm her best friend.
ELENA: I haven't finished Seb.
SEB: Sorry.
ELENA: I live in the Bronx and I have an awesome mom who wants me to live my dream.
SEB: Your mom likes me better.
ELENA: And I have annoying best friend who goes to the same school.
SEB: That's me. Sebastien Duval. My dad is French and I have twin younger sisters. I'm an acting student.
ELENA: ‘Cause you love being the center of attention.
SEB: Hell yeah!  I also help to keep Elena calm when she gets a bit....tense.
ELENA: And I make sure Seb keeps focused.
SEB: We're a good team.
ELENA: Yes we are.

Care to give us a little peek into your world?
ELENA: Rehearsal, audition, train, dance, act, study, rehearsal, audition, train, spend time with my friends.
SEB: Alright, there is a lot of work, especially if you're Elena and want to do EVERYTHING. But for me, I don't finding acting hard. I like spending time with my family and friends too. I love being at Montacrue.
ELENA: I do have great friends and they give me perspective.
SEB: It can get really competitive between the students sometimes.
ELENA: That's an understatement. As we know, some people would do anything to get what they want. But I guess that's what it's going to be like in the real world. I'm ambitious, but hurting others to get there..it's not me.
SEB: Not us.
ELENA: No. I don't know what that will mean for the future but I hope I'll work it out before I graduate!

What do you really think of each other? Now remember, I've read book I. *cheeky grin*
ELENA: Hmmm
SEB: Too many things to choose from actually.
ELENA: Ummmm. Does he need to hear this?
SEB: Come on…..
ELENA: He’s easy–going and funny which is completely opposite to me. I stress out but he takes everything as it comes, mostly. And he makes me laugh. Plus he’s considerate. He sees me. He notices things and I really appreciate that. There. Your turn.
SEB: Thank you Elena. Now what can I say about you. Hmm. Elena does have her moments. There have been times I wanted to kill her.
ELENA: Don’t hold back.
SEB: But I have to say her undying loyalty and affection for her friends is truly remarkable. She’s not okay unless her friends are okay and she would do anything to help them, even when they hurt her. Her heart is huge and she sees the best in people. Oh man, she’s crying. You can be annoying too you know.

What's been your biggest challenge in life?
ELENA: Learning to take life one step at a time and not stressing about things.
SEB: Getting Elena to relax.
ELENA: Very funny. (jabs Sebastien) Romance. I mess up every relationship. I am a disaster
SEB: I second that. She's doesn't know a good thing when she has it.
ELENA: Or a bad thing.
SEB: I struggle to get people to take me seriously.
ELENA: It would help if you stopped joking around. (she holds his hand) But I know you're there for me and your friends.

NOTE from the author: I was born and raised in Sydney Australia to Greek immigrant parents. I have always loved the performing arts – dancing, acting and singing but considered them merely hobbies with the expectation of a ‘serious’ professional career. I won an award when I was 11 for a short story competition but didn’t pursue any sort of creative writing at that point. My mother always encouraged me to keep writing but the most I did was entertain friends via emails about my endless travels overseas.

After nearly twenty years in the corporate world, my means of financing my passion for dancing, singing and acting classes, I decided to live in London for an indeterminate amount of time. I do not know why but I found myself with a desire to rekindle my creative writing, the first novel burning in my head. Thus began the birth of the Dancers and Divas Series. It began as one book and has evolved as a trilogy. Since then, I have not been able to stop and have so many ideas constantly begging me to be written.

I am also playing with Play and TV Script formats as alternate way of telling stories. Maybe the Dancers and Divas series will be a TV series one day – it is definitely the right type of story for it! If only my skills could keep up with my brain! I hope you enjoy my books and please feel free to contact me in regards to my writing or to ask any questions. Facebook | Twitter | Mailing List | Goodreads

 Regards Kathy

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Alleywalkers, do you dance???

6 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fun series. I loved the movie Fame.

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    1. Oh, I know. Me, too! I swear I knew that movie my heart. And then there was the TV show...

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  2. Really good interview, and it sounds like a great book series. I love watching dancers. They're so blessed to have such talent.

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  3. fun interview - I enjoyed the interplay between the characters.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jessie. They really were fun characters. I especially liked Seb. He's totally the cool BFF-guy, who the reader knows wants more than just friendship.

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  4. SO much fun stuff going on, you are one busy lady! Great interview. I don't dance, but I'd love to know how. Dancers inspire me so much!

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