Monday, January 16

Half-Black Soul Blog Tour

Welcome to the first stop on the Half-Black Soul Blog Tour!

This blog tour is so celebrate the upcoming release of Half-Black Soul, the second book in the Alexa Montgomery Saga by HD Gordon.

Check out my review of book 1 Blood Warrior HERE

Book 2, Half-Black Soul is due for release January 31st and I'm going to do an exclusive cover reveal for Book 2.
Are you ready?

Isn't it beautiful? I love this cover. It's so different from Book 1 but I think it's really elegant and pretty. I was hoping to have a review for it up on this post but I know HD is still working super hard on it so hopefully I will have a review posted for you soon.

So I have two more exclusive things to share with you today.
The first being an interview with HD Gordon herself.

Hi Heather, thanks for joining us on K-Books today. When did you know wanted to be a writer?

Hmm, well, I can honestly say that I have been writing for as long as I can remember, but I think it began with my love of reading. As a child, I would come home from school every night and read aloud to my mother, who would be reading her own book, but was patient enough to define certain words for me or stop to explain something when my comprehension wasn’t up to par. She introduced me to all types of books, books that were well beyond my reading level, and helped me to understand and appreciate the beauty of them. I spent a good portion of my childhood doing this with her. I became obsessed. I found myself wanted to create written work of my own, so the reading sessions turned into writing sessions. As my mother would read, I would write. I made her listen to every crappy poem and story I scribbled down. She would tell me that my words were amazing, even though I assure you that that was rather generous on her part, but her encouragement and praise made me feel special; happy, though not even those words can describe it. To this day I call her with material and make her listen to my babble. To this day she still believes in me.

Did you take personal experience and adapt it into the book?

Oh, certainly. Well, if you’re asking if I know how to kick everyone’s butt and have super hot guys falling all over me, then, no. But, I think that every story stems from some personal experience or another. When I come to a part in the book that involves pain and misery, I try to recall a time when I felt pain or misery, and the same with all emotions. As humans, we tend to believe that others don’t know or understand our battles and struggles, but they do. We may have different experiences, but we all feel when certain things happen. I try to take people back to those moments.

I personally loved Blood Warrior, where did the idea for the story come from?

First, let me say thank you! You couldn’t give me a finer compliment.
I have to tell you, I began this book because I have always been a huge paranormal lover. When I say huge, I mean that when I was into Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I carved chopsticks into stakes and carried them around with me. I was never a princess or a ballerina for Halloween, I was a leprechaun or a demon. I will be honest and say that I got fed up with reading novels that I felt were written and published because the people who sell books wanted to cash in on a trend, and were compromising the genre as a result. I wanted to write a book that I would want to read; to tell a story that I wouldn’t be disappointed with. Blood Warrior was born of that.

My favourite character has to be Kayden, where was your inspiration for him?

Ah, yes, Kayden. When you write a book, you get the opportunity to build characters as you see fit. Kayden is the man I would build if God called me up to heaven and told me to have at it. I wanted him to be strong and smart, handsome and humble. I also wanted him to be able to put up with a hard-headed girl like Alexa, because we happen to share that trait. Most of all, he had to be loyal, as this is one of things I personally hold in high regard. Alexa needed someone to look out for her, whether or not she will admit it. And, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want a man like Kayden looking out for them?

Alexa is such an awesome heroine and she's totally kick-ass, did you want a strong lead female character and where did you get the idea for her?

Some of Alexa’s traits I took from myself. Ironically, they are probably the weaker parts, but I felt they were essential in balancing her out. But, mostly, she is everything I wish I could be. She’s strong and loyal, and has a true sense of what is right and wrong. Throughout the story, I tried to put myself in her shoes and imagine how I would react in those situations. This is a secret, but originally, Alexa was a thirty-something year old werewolf. I got twenty thousand words into that story and decided to start over.  At twenty three years old, it was easier for me to become a character who was seventeen, rather than a character who was at a point in her life I haven’t reached yet. Also, YA has always been one of my favorite genres. At seventeen, we are still finding ourselves, and there is so much room for emotional growth. I hope that the readers will enjoy watching Alexa grow up, because she will be forced to whether she wants to or not.

In this book I love both of the guys in the love triangle which is very unusual for me, did you intend for it to be difficult for readers to pick teams?

Ha, no, that wasn’t intentional. Again, I just wanted to tell a story that I could lose myself in, and okay, having a couple hot guys chasing after my main character was appealing. I mean, come on, ladies, if you could write your own life story, wouldn’t you want that too? Jackson was built around the idea of a best-guy-friend I never had. His accent, clothing and demeanor are taken from some of the guys I grew up with in Missouri. He was one of the first characters that came to me once I got going on the book, and he stuck. I fell in love with him, as I did my other characters. Like a true first love, he just decided to stay.

Do you have any authors that really inspired you?

Oh, yes. My idol would have to be Stephen King. My all time favorite book is The Shining. The way he digs into the characters minds is an ability I hope to gain with much, much more practice. But, many other authors inspired me as well, too many to name, in fact. As a child, I was obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe. I would read his stories and poems and try to emulate his style. But, I love and respect all writers. I learn from all of them. If not for them showing me the way, I’m sure I would be lost.

What kinds of books do you usually read?

Obviously my favorites are fantasy/paranormal types, but I read everything. When I say everything, I mean newspaper articles to signs to labels and everything else that holds words. I want to grow in my craft, and I feel that reading is like studying for me; only it’s studying I actually want to do. With every book I read I learn something new about writing, whether it be just a turn of phrase or a new word. I take what I like and try to make it my own. I also recognize what I don’t like and try to avoid it. If it’s written well and grabs me, I’ll read it!

And finally, do you have any advice for budding authors?

Well, I’m really a “budding author” myself, so I’m not sure what help I can be, but I suppose I do have a few things to say. First, don’t let anyone discourage you! Writing is hard enough with just you as a critic of your own work, and it is okay to disagree with people’s opinions. When the words fall onto to the page just right, you’ll know. If you’ve got a story that you love so much it makes you giddy, then I guarantee there will be others who feel the same way; you just have to find them. Also, don’t be afraid to dream big. If not, what is the point in dreaming at all?

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer the questions and good luck with the rest of the tour.

No, no, Kay, my dear, Thank You!

Not only has Heather shared the interview with us but she has also shared an exclusive character post from Alexa on one of her childhood memories.
You know you want to read it:

Sam was our neighbor’s dog when we lived in Joplin, Missouri. We didn’t live there long. In fact, we’d moved there right after I had my tenth birthday, and we had moved on to the next town by the time I turned eleven. Our house at the time, just like most of the places my Mother chose to rent, had a good deal of open land surrounding it. We never had a dog, and Nelly, my younger sister, and I would sometimes see Sam roaming the fields behind our house, and we would bring him treats and play with him while our Mother worked odd jobs. We were home schooled almost until we reached high school, and since our Mother worked most of the day, and taught us our lessons when she got home, Nelly and I usually had the whole day to ourselves.
            We liked Sam. Nelly was especially fond of him. But, by this point in my life, my Mother’s extracurricular training, the training that many times left me in bruises, had numbed me to the essential emotions that are required to feel something like attachment to an animal. But, even looking back, I remember Sam, and even though our relationship ended the way it did, I still think of the dog fondly when I reflect on our time with him.
            We got used to seeing him. He was a sweet dog; gentle mannered and patient. Sam was a mutt, and as my experience with dogs was next to nothing, I never did know what breeds he was. But, I remember he had a salt and pepper coat, a sturdy build, and at the time, he was big enough, and I was small enough, that the top of his head stood almost to my neck. 
            It was late October when it happened. Sam stopped coming by, and after a week passed with no sign of him, Nelly became worried.
            “What do you think happened to him?” she asked me.
            I shrugged. “Maybe his owners locked him up or something.”
            “I want to go check on him,” she told me, and by the set of her jaw, I knew that she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
            We crossed the field that encased the rear of our house, with me grumbling the whole way. I wasn’t worried about the dog. Why should I be? He didn’t even belong to me. I figured he’d probably just found something better to do than hang out with two girls all day. Maybe he’d found a mate. Either way, I really wasn’t concerned.
            Well, I should have been.
             We had to pass through a small patch of trees to get to the neighbor’s yard. Nelly tripped and fell over a downed branch, scraping up her hands and knees. She didn’t cry, but even then I could that she was holding it back because she didn’t want to cry in front of me. I sat her down on a nearby log and examined her injuries.
            “You’ll be fine,” I told her, after blotting some of the blood on her palms with my shirt.
            “I know,” she said, but she sniffled as she did so.
            I put out my hand to pull her to her feet. Behind her, Sam appeared from around the trunk of a large tree. I must have squeezed Nelly’s hand a little too hard, because she spun around and saw Sam, and seemed to freeze in her spot. I was frozen as well.
            Foam bubbled from the dog’s mouth, and his lips pulled back, baring teeth that I’d never before noticed to look so sharp. His body shook with his low, hungry growls. His eyes flashed with something I recognized instantly, even back then. This dog may look like Sam, even once had been Sam, but he was no longer the sweet, gentle dog we’d spent the past few months playing with in the fields behind our house.
            “What’s wrong with him?” Nelly whispered, and the way her voice shook betrayed her fear.
            “Get behind me,” was all I said.
            Sam snapped his jaws with audible clicks. My body grew tense. Behind my back, Nelly was shaking. He moved quickly, and this was the first time in my life that I was thankful for all the “training” my Mother put me through. I shoved Nelly to the side and got my own body out of way just before Sam launched through the air, snapping his jaws where my throat had been only heartbeats earlier. A thick branch lay by my feet. I scooped it up fast, without thought. Sam spun around to face me.
            In the small moment before he attacked again, excited anticipation welled up in me. My left eye twitched, and the world seemed to slow around me. He jumped. I swung. A loud crack! ripped through the air. Sam’s body flew to the side and landed on the ground in a heap. I spotted a large rock nearby, picked it up, and moved over to the dog that I’d once considered a friend.
            Somewhere near me, Nelly said, “What are you doing? Alexa, what are you doing?”
            My voice came out too deep for any ten year old. “Putting him out of his misery,” I answered, and the thought made a crooked smile touch my lips.
            I expected Nelly to scream at me to stop, but even back then, she seemed to understand that Sam was beyond salvation. Or maybe she just understood that I was beyond it. Either way, she didn’t stop me.
             I never took my eyes from the poor animal that lay at my feet. I watched as I slammed the rock down on his head. And, though I would never admit it to Nelly, I enjoyed watching the way Sam’s body shook, and then ceased to move all together. My body shook as well, but not with anything that could be considered bad. No, I felt no remorse, no pain or regret or hurt. I felt… good.
            When I turned back to my sister, the tears that she’d been cradling had made their way down her cheeks. She looked terrified, and I remember wondering just what, or who, she was afraid of.
            She surprised me when she threw herself into my arms. “Thank you, Alexa,” she whispered, in a voice full of hiccups and shivers.
            I smiled once more, but only one side of my mouth pulled up. “What else would I have done?” I said, and even then, I knew the voice wasn’t quite mine.

Well I don't know about you but I had to read it with my hands over my eyes looking through my fingers. Everyone knows I'm a dog-lover. That's horrific but it does show a lot of Alexa's great qualities, her strength to do what needs to be done and her fierce protectiveness of Nelly.

***********Information for the Rest of the Tour***************

Join us on the rest of the Half-Black Soul tour.....

January 17th - Shieka @ Doctor's Notes
January 18th - Cecelia @ Cecelia Robert's Written Word
January 19th - Tana @ Tana Rae Reads
January 20th - Vanya @ YA Story Teller

January 23rd - Karla @ Book Addict
January 24th - Tt @ Never Ending Stories
January 25th - Maghon @ Happy Tails and Tales
January 26th - Erica @ Ink Spots and Roses
January 27th - Lissa @ The Book Nut Reviews

January 30th - Taneesha @ A Diary of a Book Addict
January 31st - HD Gordon

*If you stop by all of the blogs and leave a comment you will be entered to win a paperback copy of Blood Warrior.

Grab the Blog Tour Button

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  1. I am in love with this cover. It is so pretty. I can't wait for book 2.

  2. Such a great post! And a great insight of the series! I can't wait for Half Black Soul, and the cover just amazes me!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I want to Thank Amber for her hard work in getting this cover ready on short notice.

    I think Everyone knows HD is one of my Best friends and I help her quite a bit putting together everything other than the writing, lol. And yes while HD approved everything I worked with trying to get this cover together for her. The first thing you have to know about HD is that she is a single mom with a two girls 3 & 4 years old. I still don't know how she is able to accomplish everything she does in a day and still be able to write us amazing books.

    Anyways the first artist I had lined up for months to help us with the cover was not able to meet out needs at the last minute and Amber jumped in and saved the day, I am absolutely in love with this cover it fits what this book is about, Nelly and her journey, along with Alexa's.

    Again thank you so much Amber, I would recommend any author contact Amber for cover work, it is breathtaking and perfect.

  5. Thank you all for the great comments about the cover!! It was a joy to make, and you can't go wrong when given such an amazing storyline and character to design a cover for. HD is an outstanding author! And Nicole, you are such a beautiful person for all you do for these authors! Also, a HUGE thanks to Kay for hosting this an all your other amazing posts!!! Excellent Blog!

  6. Great interview!! I love the cover & I can't wait to read it!!! I'm sooo excited!!!

  7. Great interview Kay! I love the cover, too. Very nice Amber! Can't wait to read the book :)

  8. The excerpt was a bit tense for me to get through. I love dogs, too, Kay. That being said, I think this shows that there is something inside Alexa that takes over when she needs to get things done.

    As for the cover, great work as always, Amber!

    I second Nicole's comments about working with Amber. She does such a great job and is able to get the feel of the book with a few simple explainations.

    For all you authors out there wondering if it is worth it to spend the cash for a great cover, I think it is.

    The cover is what people see first, and Amber is fantastic to work with!

  9. I'm beside myself waiting for HBS. I can't wait!

  10. Kay your review and post was great, and the covers is fantastic, greatjob Amber.

    I cannot wait to read Half-Black Soul.

  11. That cover is BEAUTIFUL!!!! and great interview...I really enjoyed reading through it!

  12. This was a great interview! Loved seeing something from Alexa's past.

  13. Sounds great! Would love to read this!


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