Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wistful YA: SHIFTING PRIDE & Creator Laura Diamond + a Giveaway!

GRAFFITI PROMOTIONS is a regular feature on Writer's Alley, where authors and aspiring writers, editors, publishers, and anyone from the publishing world, to share their journeys, valuable wisdom, and to promote their work along a road of humor, encouragement, and inspiration. Features include Author Interviews, Book Promos, and Character Introductions.

Alleywalkers, meet LAURA DIAMOND! *I feel ridiculous saying that since most of you know her.* And if you don't know her, well here she is. But first, she has THREE surprises for you today. 1. She's provided an excerpt of her story. 2. I'm giving you a sneek peek into her next release. 3. She's GIVING AWAY TWO eCopies of SHIFTING PRIDE!!

Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, horror, and middle grade. Her short story, CITY OF LIGHTS AND STONE, is in the DAY OF DEMONS Anthology by Anachron Press (April 2012). Another short story, BEGGING DEATH, is in the CARNAGE: AFTER THE END Anthology Volume One by Sirens Call Publications. Her Young Adult Paranormal Romance novelette NEW PRIDE and novel SHIFTING PRIDE debuted late 2012 from Etopia Press. She has just signed with Pugalicious Press to publish another Young Adult novel, ZODIAC COLLECTOR, due Winter 2013. When she's not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond--Lucid Dreamer, and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion. She is also full-time staff member for her four cats and a Pembroke corgi named Katie. 

It is wonderful to have you here, Laura. We've known each other through cyberspace for a while, now. I'm thrilled for your success. A huge 'thank you', too, for being so patient with the release of this interview. I can't wait to hear your insight.

Do you have any specific methods for developing your story ideas?
It's really the main character who presents themselves first. Then, I imagine the world they live in and the trials they experience. I identify what's most important to them and make sure to put as many roadblocks in their way as possible. 

Now, SHIFTING PRIDE, your novel that debuted in late 2012, what moved you so much you just had to write it?
I always start with a character. Nickie popped up in my mind and she shared her story--how her dad went missing and how she was the only one who believed he was still alive. And there was a mystery behind it. I traveled with her on her journey of discovery, from finding clues leading to her dad to when she grew whiskers and pointed ears!

A story can't be without at least that one character that speaks to us. So true. Let's give the readers the description of the book.

Curiosity brings out the Kitty...

Sixteen-year-old Nickie Leone has proof her father is still alive. His watch arrives in the mail, with a note telling her to “keep it hidden,” and her curiosity is piqued. She obeys the request, even keeping it hidden from her mother. But when an email from her father disappears before her very eyes, she begins to question her own sanity.

And things get even more complicated when she meets Xavian Katz, the blue-eyed, blonde hottie whose contagious smile and ridiculous sense of humor make her want to tell him all her secrets. But there’s a current beneath his charm that she can’t quite read. He’s hiding something.

When Nickie grows pointed ears and whiskers…and then a tail!...Xavian (who always seems to knows the right time to be around) seems unsurprised. He’s a shapeshifter too, a coincidence that Nickie can’t deny or ignore. She needs his help to master her new abilities, because her father’s rival, Derek, wants her to join his tribe. The last thing she wants is to be under his rule, but Derek’s got something to do with her dad’s disappearance—she knows it. And maybe letting herself be captured is the best way to find out…

Can I say I'm all GEEKY over this cover! Um, yum... Moving on...How did you go about structuring the story?
I started with action and danger and carried that through every. Single. Chapter. It keeps Nickie on her toes and propels the story forward at breakneck speed. The momentum drives everything to an epic blowout at the end.

Nickie seems popular on your mind. Can you give us a peek into her?
Nickie has faced the loss of her father. He's been missing for a year and everyone but her believes he's dead. But she doesn't give up on him. Or herself. Despite the pain of his loss, she bucks up the courage to survive, to keep moving forward, and to never lose hope. Her tenacity is admirable and she'll always have a special place in my heart because of it.

Alleywalkers, here's surprise #1. Read on...

Walking with my head down to fend off the stiff breeze, I rounded a corner and smacked into someone leaning against a tall, chain-link fence.

“Oh my God! I’m so sorry!” My arms shot out and my fingers latched onto the guy’s leather jacket for leverage. Hard muscles tightened under my weight. Lucky for us, whoever it was had good balance and didn’t topple beneath me. He took the force of me crashing against him and held me upright at the same time.

“No problem. I don’t mind being tackled by a pretty girl.”

I lifted my gaze, helpless in the stranger’s arms. Blond hair, cerulean eyes, cocky smile. Holy crap. It was Xavian.

“Hi there. Long time no see.” He smiled. His earthy scent hovered in the air around him. It made me forget where I was, but only for a second.

“What are you doing here? And I did not tackle you.” I squared my arms against his chest and tried to push away.

“Where do you think you’re going?” His hold tightened around me, and I should have felt a surge of panic, but I didn’t. “Yeah, tackled. You’re like a linebacker.” His smile widened. Oh, he enjoyed this way too much.

My mouth dropped. “So, first you call me pretty, then you say I’m a linebacker?” His cuteness didn’t absolve him of being a complete idiot. I gave him another shove. Oh, man. His chest felt solid under his coat. My mind projected an image of him shirtless in the midst of a grueling workout and a foreign heat rose from my belly.

“You’re not listening. You are pretty.” Xavian’s grip held firm.

I was a weakling compared to him. Damn it.

“Oh.” Wait. He really thought I was pretty?

His smile faded as he stared into my eyes. His jaw squared, and his Adam’s apple bobbed.

My breath caught in my throat. He’d gone so serious. “What?”

The edge of his mouth slid up into a half-smile. His stare intensified. Our faces were inches apart, and he didn’t move. At all. My eyes dropped to his full lips. I held my breath as his mouth moved closer to mine.
His head tipped to the side, and his lips parted. A lock of hair slipped in front of his right eye. I tipped my face to meet him. His smile widened. “We’re going to be late.”

Something snapped in my brain. He’d faked me out! The simmering heat in my stomach ignited and flared to the top of my skull. What a jerk. I curled my fingers into fists and cocked my head to the side and away, far away. “So, are you going to let me go or not?”

Xavian frowned. “Are you sure that’s what you want?”

I stuck my chin out. “Why wouldn’t I want that?” Damn how breathy my voice sounded. He probably thought he could make any girl swoon with a simple smile. Well, he couldn’t win me over that easily…despite the fact that he almost had.

He squinted. “I don’t know. This feels right. And you seemed to be so comfortable in my arms.”

It was hard to tell if he was flirting or joking. “Why do you say things like that?”

“Like what?” He smiled again.

“Please let me go.” I backed this up with an exaggerated sigh.

“All right. Since you said please.” He relaxed his grip, drawing his fingers along my waist before tucking his hands in his coat pockets.

Instant fire blazed along the trail he’d traced. I bet he knew exactly what he was doing. He was definitely a jerk. A goofy, cocky, incredibly hot jerk.

I extended my right leg and took a healthy step away from him. Holding his gaze, I refused to surrender, despite the fact that my cheeks were ebbing heat. “So, you didn’t answer my question. Why are you standing here?” I tucked a random strand of hair behind my ear and imagined my shoes melding with the concrete. Visualization was barely enough to keep me from flinging myself at him. Pretty sad considering how he’d embarrassed me.

He’d also called me pretty and said being in his arms felt right.

“Waiting for you.” His eyes flashed with the confession.

My heart accelerated. “How did you know I’d be here?”

“Lucky guess.” He advanced, closing the gap between us.

“That’s kind of creepy.” I slid to the side in case I needed to lean on the fence.

He chuckled and continued his advance. “It’s always nice to be told you creep people out.” He tucked his fingers into the fence links, an arm bracketing each side of my face, and rocked on his heels. Each rock in brought him closer to my mouth.

Oh no, not again, buddy. I stuck my index finger in his face. “You’re following me.”

“How could I be following you if you’re the one who ran into me?”

I curled my finger. “Oh, yeah, you’re right.” I peered down the street toward the school, hating that I’d just admitted to him that he was right about something.

“Come on. I’ll walk you to school.” He sounded bored all of a sudden.

I snorted, knocking his arm out of the way so I could brush past him. “Don’t bother.” Hot, cold, serious, joking, who could keep up with him? I didn’t want to bother, not with everything else going on. My shoes obliterated the leaves littering the sidewalk, crunching with protest. I shook my head. Who was I kidding? I wanted to bother—I wanted to bother a lot. But I was so caught up in finding Dad that I didn’t have the time, or the wherewithal, to figure out the mystery called Xavian.

“Walk as far ahead as you like. Then I’ll really be following you.” He chuckled

Whoa...that is an awesome voice! Way to go!!! What do you think, Alleywalkers? Like the voice?? But before you answer that, here's surprise #2: 
Unofficial BLURB: Seventeen-year-old Justin's anemic blood is a blessing. Or a curse. It all depends on who you ask.
In a Post-Collapse world where the immortal Vie lord over the rapidly diminishing mortals, Anemies like Justin and his sister are rabidly sought after. Their blood is a drug--and a scourge.
When Justin's sister is kidnapped by Alex, a secretive and enigmatic Vie, he vows to rescue her. He strikes a deal with the human resistance, but they're nothing but a cult with delusions that a messianic Anemie will free them all. They think that person is Justin, whereas Justin thinks they'll need someone stronger than a teenage boy who gets dizzy after running twenty feet. Then Justin falls for Cara, Alex's mortal slave, and he's left with a terrifying choice.
Saving what's left of humanity.
Saving his sister.
Justin can't decide which option is going to get him killed first.
ENDURE Book One is the first in a two book YA dystopian series, due out by Etopia Press on July 12!

Yeah...I know. Sweet, huh? Pre-congrats to Laura!! Now, for surprise #3: ENTER to WIN one of two eCopies Laura is giving away!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***Don't forget to ENTER my other giveaways: HERE, HERE, & HERE!***


  1. Great excerpt! And thanks for the giveaway!

  2. What a delightful interview and excerpt! Wishing Laura the best of luck on her paranormal books. :-)

    1. Thanks for the cheer about the interview! It's always nice to know the work that goes into these interviews matters and is interesting! (Can't wait to have you on here, CP! Thrilled for you.) And yes, that's an awesome excerpt.

  3. Fun interview and great excerpt! Good luck to Laura!!

  4. Did I mention this went on my TBR list before I ever saw a giveaway? Can't wait to read it!

    1. That's awesome! I'm sure, for Laura, that's nice to hear!

  5. Congratulations, Laura! Characters always come to me first as well.

  6. Hi Laura - Congrats on the books! You're writing is lovely and here's hoping to win a ebook but no matter, I'll buy all of your stuff anyway! It's so nice to see all of us old Query Tracker peeps doing so well! Yippie!

    Kat de Falla

  7. Hey all! Sorry I'm late to the show--literally *just* got five minutes between things at the day job--EEP! Glad y'all stopped by. ;)

    Kelly--Thanks! I really enjoyed these two characters and how they interacted together.
    Lexa--thank you! Sheri has some great interview questions. ;)
    Meradeth--thanks so much!
    Crystal--awww, I'm so honored to make it to your TBR list!
    Alex--thank you. Yes, definitely the characters are where it's at!
    Kathee--you're so sweet!!!! thank you! :) GO QT!

  8. Nice to see Laura here! Wishing her all the best! :)

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm really glad to have Laura here, too!

  9. Catherine and Karen--THANK YOU!!! :D

  10. Great guest spot! And thanks for blitzing by my site today! Always fun to know there are other Mainers out there.

  11. Hi, Sheri, Hi, Laura,

    A very intriguing premise.... I like the idea of modern day shapeshifting ...


  12. Interesting snippet, and wow, Laura has many irons in the fire!!! Impressive.

  13. Congratulations, Laura! Love the blurb, love the cover.

    1. I totally agree! And I can't wait for Laura's next release.

  14. Donna--Sheri's got a great series here, right?
    Michael--Thanks! I really love shape shifters, especially werecats.
    Catherine--So glad you liked the excerpt! And yep, SUPER busy, LOL!
    Pk--Thank you!
    Julie--Thanks so much! Etopia does FAB covers. :)

    Will be doing a cover blitz next week for ENDURE's cover. Hope everyone checks it out. ;)

    1. It was an honor to have you here, Laura! Thank you. :)


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