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Three Times Round the Witch’s Candle

Lisa : January 21, 2014 11:38 am : Blog

I spent part of last Friday at my son’s preschool, helping him celebrate his third birthday. He walked around a lighted candle (representing the sun) three times, while I recounted highlights of each of his years. Parker loved it — mostly because he got to run around a candle — but I did too. I’m no longer awed by candles, but I appreciated the excuse to stop and reflect on three magical years.Devil's Frost

Which is a long intro to say that I’ve been feeling warm and nostalgic all week. Mostly because of Parker, but also because we are releasing Devil’s Frost, the third book in Heidi R. Kling’s Spellspinners series.

You see, Heidi has been here from the beginning. She was Coliloquy’s first author. That, alone, would keep her close to my heart, but she also lives a mile from me and she is as amazing a person as she is a writer…so she has become a dear friend.

I met Heidi on February 23, 2011 at 9:30am, when Parker and Coliloquy were both brand spanking new. I was likely sleep-deprived and mentally fuzzy, but Heidi got what we were doing immediately and she told me about her new YA trilogy — Romeo and Juliet, but with warlocks and witches. She said that the beginning and ending were well-defined, but she’d written at least 30 different pathways. “Their fates are written, but how they get there? That’s the interesting part.”

And that’s also the interesting part about Heidi. Three years later, I feel like she could write an infinite number of pathways for her characters, because she inhabits them in a way that is very unique — she doesn’t so much tell stories as breathe life into these teens.

When I look back at her original manuscript, there are startling differences in plot, but the characters have remained remarkably the same. Heidi challenges them with new scenes, and they react differently to the new stimuli, but who they are never wavers.

The character who benefited the most from Heidi’s exploration of different pathways has to be British bad boy Jude. Did any of us EVER think Logan could be unseated in our hearts? I certainly didn’t. I predicted our readers would simply flip from one scene of Logan’s ink creeping up his arms to the next. (Aside: Could there ever be a more perfect YA metaphor for teen lust?) But as soon as Heidi started playing “what if”, Jude suddenly stepped into the frame and demanded our attention.

Fans of both guys won’t be disappointed with Devil’s Frost — Jude steams up the pages in a master class of YA hot boy-ness, and Logan’s mix of strength and vulnerability will melt your heart.

The biggest difference between Devil’s Frost and the prior two books is that we’ve reached Heidi’s well-defined ending from three years ago. There are no additional pathways to explore — just one blistering race down the home stretch. Devil’s Frost is very much Lily’s story, so Heidi tells it first from her perspective. Afterwards, you can reread the book from Logan’s point of view, filling in small gaps and (of course) swooning over his magical charms. As an ending bonus/teaser, Heidi also gives us our first look at the world through Daisy’s joyful and uninhibited eyes. Her short perspective at the end of the book teases a whole new layer of Spellspinners mythology, setting up the next chapter for our beloved witches and warlocks.

So happy third launch day, Heidi! Don’t forget to blow out the candle after you’re done circling it.

xx – L

 

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Reading Totlandia Book IV: Summer in the San Francisco Winter

Kiera O'Rourke : December 11, 2013 12:06 pm : Blog

I love winter in San Francisco–it’s cold enough to justify sitting in a warm cafe for hours, reading, drinking coffee, watching people catch up with old friends. Cafe-hopping (as I call it) has been my primary way of exploring this beautiful city. Hence, in the spirit of our latest launch, Totlandia Book IV: Summer, I trekked from my humble neighborhood, Inner Richmond, to the classier Pacific Heights.

And hello, Bettina’s world…Sitting at Jane’s on Fillmore, in the midst of the Brazilian Blowouts and five dollar mochas, I had fun playing director, casting the Lornas, Allys, Jillians and Jades of the crowd. In a corner sat a hunky, blonde forty-year-old pitching a business deal to two other men. His charm was all Brady and his subtle appraisal of every woman left no doubt he deserved the part. Another woman, furiously scrolling through her iPhone 5, made me think of Ally–a business woman struggling to balance her work and personal life.

There were many more matches–finding Art and Bettina was too fun, who doesn’t love browsing through whips to match that Marc Jacobs leather jacket?–but I won’t bore you with my musings. Josie Brown outdoes herself in this newest addition to her series. In Book IV: Summer, the lines between submissives and dominants blur, and the Pacific Heights Mom and Tots Club members seem to have a dark side.

This new character gradient reinvents Totlandia and its characters: Jillian, deserted by her husband, actually has a vindictive streak; Allie, the noble member of our beloved foursome, resents the club from which she’s been booted; and Jade, desperate for Brady’s affection, plays into Bettina’s manipulating games. But Josie bests herself in her portrayal of Lorna and Bettina, two women who, after starting on opposite ends of the spectrum, find themselves on a very similar path.

This installment races forward like no other, and leaves us dizzier than usual–but the book is more than just plot. For those of you who enjoy Bettina’s wickedness, Brady’s pulse-quickening sex scenes, and of course, Josie Brown’s captivating descriptions of motherhood, this author is for you.

After four hours at Jane’s (feeling completely underdressed) I noticed how makeup, designer clothing, and perfectly highlighted hair doesn’t change the fact that these women are mothers. Children wake up early, cry for companionship, want to help when they can’t–and they never, ever want to go to bed. Being a parent is exhausting. Totlandia gives readers a chance to laugh at these moments and share the experience of parenthood.

Whether you’re a mom looking for that sassy, understanding voice or a chicklit fan hoping for scandalous affairs, this book promises to satisfy. Check it out now!

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Season’s Greetings: Getting Into the Holiday Spirit

Melanie Downing : November 20, 2013 5:13 pm : Blog

I’m not one of those people who objects to Christmas decorations appearing around Halloween, or carols hijacking my favorite radio station on the fourth Friday of November. I say, the more seasonal spirit, the better.

So although Thanksgiving has yet to come and go, I am happy to feast on Season’s Greetings, Kira Snyder’s latest Parish Mail short novel. When I say feast, I do mean it. Kira’s series provides a veritable cornucopia of cute boys to fall in love with—and lucky for us we can choose more than one.

The Parish Mail series begins when Celia Macarty moves to New Orleans, a playground for the weird and wonderful. Celia develops an ability to cavort with the paranormal world, and realizes that not all is what it seems in her new hometown. Celia’s best friend Tilly is a witch with a powerful connection to animals; Celia’s grandfather may or may not be in on a secret involving century-old letters; and who can forget Celia’s hear-me-roar mom, a former punk-band bass player who’s picked up and moved to the Crescent City in hopes of starting over.

But that’s not what keeps me anxiously awaiting the next installments of Kira’s books. It’s trying to decide which of Celia’s three – that’s right, three! – love interests is the boy for her. Depending on how you decide to read the books, one of a trio of handsome helpers may or may not want to deepen their relationship with our fearless, lovable Celia.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Luc lived in the nineteenth century, and now his spirit roams the New Orleans streets with only memories to keep him warm…until he meets Celia who, sensitive to Luc’s kind, can see and hear him. Luc, always the gentleman, helps Celia unravel her otherworldly mysteries–as long as it’s after dark.

Another good choice for crime-solving is Donovan Blake, a detective’s son. Donovan’s handsome in a boy-next-door way, yet there’s more to him than broad shoulders and a cute face. Donovan’s capable. He can talk himself out of trouble, strong-arm unhelpful leads, and install a car windshield. Donovan’s kiss is warm, confident, and well, hot. Added bonus points for him being alive.

But who am I kidding? There’s one kind of guy that can make a ghost boyfriend seem like a safe choice and a street-smart kid seem a little ho-hum. That’s Sloan Carver, the bad boy, rich-kid with an attitude a mile long. Sloan might not be interested in Celia’s after-school activities, but when she needs him, he’s there. Plus his angelic singing leads to un-angelic thoughts, and he isn’t afraid to get a little chippy if somebody’s giving Celia a hard time.

I realize of course that prickly Sloan isn’t for everyone. But that’s what’s so terrific about Kira’s Parish Mail stories. If an old-fashioned romantic turns your insides to goo; if, perhaps, the boy next door with the killer, dimpled smile melts your heart; if you’re like me and just can’t say no to a devilish grin, you’ll find a way to love Season’s Greetings. Because you get to pick which of Celia’s three suitors she turns to for help…and, hopefully, for a little smooching.

And if you’re just a reader who loves a good yarn, then this story’s got what you need. It’s up to Celia to give somebody she loves a holiday filled with happiness, and the only way she can do that is to figure out the cryptic meaning behind an early twentieth-century Christmas card. It’s up to you who she asks for help.

Read it all three ways if you like! And please excuse me while I go order myself a Team Sloan t-shirt.

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Happy Colilo-ween!

Kiera O'Rourke : October 31, 2013 4:40 pm : Blog

Instead of regular Halloween costumes this year, I thought it would be fun if we all came to work dressed as characters from our books. With the unbridled glee of a recent college grad, I sent out a cheery email, helpfully including suggested character assignments.

Here’s a sampling of what I got back:

Ummm…we’re old, Kiera
NFW Waynn paints his hair pink
Wait…she really wants us to dress up? That’s adorable.
I retract my superawesome

OK, so no dressing up. But my character suggestions DID spark some extended commentary. Here’s my picks, followed by each person’s analysis.

LISA  = TILLY from Parish Mail

I was torn over my choice…I really wanted to be Nevra from KSW because she’s BASED ON ME (yes Jen, I am riding this one as long as possible). But then I would want to run around recreating her incredibly badass scene all day, and that would be HIGHLY inappropriate…

Then I thought of Lily from Spellspinners, because I understand her Northern California-ness and was lucky enough to run into my own soulmate (xx Doug) at a young age. But the whole iliac crest thing also seems inappropriate…

So I approve of Tilly — I’ve always had an unusual bond with animals and I am pretty quirky. I also need to get dressed quickly in the morning, thanks to my 2-year-old terrorist’s current early morning wake-up time, so the ease of Tilly-fying myself (black clothing + crow) is also a plus. And yes, I do have a spare crow in my attic. What – you don’t?

WAYNN = JONAH from Spellspinners

I love Jonah for 2 reasons: pink hair and hipster coffee. Ever since a miscommunication at SuperCuts caused me to go an entire summer in college looking uncomfortably close to a white supremacist (even though I’m Asian…and not a supremacist), I’ve been curious about other hairstyles and colors. Pink hair would go great with the unofficial Shirt.Woot of Coliloquy in a Christmas-y kind of way. And everyone at the company already knows my affinity for awesome coffee spots, even if I can’t tell the difference between any of the coffees…

JEN = JJ from Getting Dumped

I do dream about one day leaving my desk job to crush garbage with a 150,000 pound machine. And a hard hat, overalls and general grunge construction wear would be so much more comfortable than the corporate clothing shenanigans that Lisa and Waynn insist that we all wear so we look “professional”. As for other ways I’m like JJ…

  1. I love to cook.
  2. With the exception of my husbie, I have generally and previously had questionable taste in men (luckily none of them turned out exactly like Daniel).
  3. I too have drunk weird teas in Chinese restaurants.
  4. I have used choice points to figure out who to call while in crisis.

The best part about being JJ? Blue Cat!

AIMEE = TARYN from Georgetown Academy

It would be an absolute dream to walk into my closet and come out looking like Brinley or Ellie, however I have to admit that I have absolutely nothing in common with either of these fashionistas, so I’m going to have to pass on being a GTA socialite for the day.

However, I definitely think I could pull off being Taryn. Not only do I love her bohemian style and laid back attitude, I can also relate to her being a California girl & snowboarder! Both of which are near and dear to my heart!  There are very few things in this world that I enjoy more than strapping on my snowboard and hitting the slopes.

SHAYAN = JACK from Game. Set. Match.

I’m down with Jack, mostly because I think I already have the costume taken care of. I’ve been trying to play tennis off and on since I was 11, so I’ve collected the tennis balls, racket, wristbands, sunglasses and short shorts to pull it off. As an added bonus, I even went to Harvard *cough* summer school *cough*.

KIERA = BRINLEY from Georgetown Academy

Personality aside, I’d want to go as Brinley and dress up in a fabulous outfit. We get to expense our costumes, right?! I’m also uber competitive, but I’m working on it.

MELANIE = LENORE, Tilly’s raven in Parish Mail

Oh, I like this. I’ll fly in from New Jersey and sit on Lisa’s shoulder. Unless you’ll let me be one of Sloan’s girlfriends from Parish Mail…

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If I Were A Wife…

Jen : October 14, 2013 12:55 pm : Blog

KingSolomon1875x2500Today we celebrate the launch of Holly McDowell’s Sacrificed, the tantalizing third episode of King Solomon’s Wives! Little known fact about this book: one of the new Wives is based on Lisa.

It all started when Lisa very innocently said that she would never survive as a Wife because her tolerance for risk was too high: “I fear that I would be dead already…my comfort with risk is way too high, so I’m pretty sure I would have been doomed centuries ago.” Her comment inspired Holly to create Nevra, the “Lisa” character in King Solomon’s Wives: Sacrificed. Which, of course, pleased Lisa to no end and has made her utterly insufferable for the past few months – though I do have to admit that Nevra has one of the most badass scenes EVER (Note: Lisa made me put this line in).

But now that Nevra is making her official launch day debut, the rest of Coliloquy HQ is ready to audition to be a Wife in a future episode. So I interviewed everyone and asked a few simple questions:

  • What kind of Wife would you be?

  • What would be the hardest part about being a Wife?

  • What would be the best part?

  • What would you do with your addictive touch?

Here are the results:

Holly

My favorite Wife is Dilara. I know she’s an antagonist, but she’s tough and practical, and she has an unselfish reason for [almost] everything she does. Plus? She’s fun to write. I also like that she has a serious vulnerability; every time she sees her secret girlfriend, her strictness melts away. 

If I were a Wife, I’d be like Pasha. She’s creative—a musician—and wants to use her talents to engage with the outside world. But Wives aren’t allowed to, of course. They’re not supposed to even keep diaries, much less publish poetry or perform songs they’ve written. Most Wives believe the only way they can endure past death is to give birth to a daughter. Pasha has other ideas.

There are plenty of bad things about being a Wife (the early death, the inability to get close to an outsider, hiding from Hunters). But I would *love* to have my ancestors’ memories. I love studying history so much, I wouldn’t mind that part of the curse.

Jen

I would be the quiet but sneaky Wife. Who am I kidding…if I live only to 24, I would delude myself into believing that the man I’d choose would be Bernahu and together we would save the Wives. But in reality, I’d end up choosing someone like Jonah.  

And the hardest part of being a Wife? All the rules. No relationships outside of the clan? Sacrifice yourself for your daughter at the age of 24? I wouldn’t last long and would likely run away or be imprisoned. Or run away and THEN be imprisoned. The flashbacks might be tough too, especially if they happen while I’m watching Law & Order.  

The best part would be the Sisterhood. Being surrounded by a variety of strong, independent women—I’d see different models on how to be and then I’d choose wisely. Also sharing clothes would be pretty awesome.  

I would use my addictive touch to touch all baby animals, and then be sad that my addictive touch doesn’t work on them. And then I might use my touch for good (hey, not like that!) and touch all the depraved people on Earth, have them follow me when I turn 24, lock them in a compound on a deserted island to deal with the withdrawal. Though I’m pretty sure this would backfire on me.

Lisa

As I’ve already mentioned, I’m pretty sure I would have died a few centuries ago…for good or bad, I’ve always been comfortable managing a higher level of risk than most people. In today’s tech age, that makes me a good entrepreneur, but I doubt historic times would have been so kind.

The best part of being a Wife? I know everyone else is going to say lovey dovey things about community and relationships, but let’s get real: I LOVE candy corn. LOVE it. But I don’t eat it because I know it is bad for me. But if I was going to die at 25? I would eat candy corn every day.

Kaamna

I thought really hard about the kind of Wife I would be because I think how you react depends a lot on the stimulus with which you are faced. In that sense, I would be a combination of all of them. If I were in love, I would act like Sonya or if I had to give my life to protect my own, my inner Sumarra would surface. For the protection of the clan I think I would try to maintain the order and vigilance expected of us sisters, but would also find ways to change the system that keeps down the same members it claims to protect. So, a bit like Dilara then.

The hardest part about being a Wife—Inflicting punishment on my own for simply being human.

And the best part: Having access to the treasure that is the wisdom and experience of my mothers before me. And being motivated enough to think beyond the immediate danger to what we can use this treasure for the betterment of the clan as a whole.

What would I do with addictive touch? I would camp outside Daniel Craig’s home until I could get one solid moment of contact. Or Adam Levine. Maybe both.

Waynn

Due to severe jet lag, Waynn gave us (Lisa and Jen) full consent to answer on his behalf.

Waynn would be the watcher Wife. He’d know where everyone else was at all times.

The hardest part about being a Wife is twofold for security/location purposes they wouldn’t allow Waynn to: 1. order t-shirts from shirt.woot.com and 2. Waynn couldn’t post photos of all the yummy food he’s eaten (in this life or in his previous ones).

With addictive touch? Waynn would secretly touch people, stroking them gently. Most likely targets: Blue Bottle coffee baristas.

Shayan

I would create a startup and use my powers of touch to convince/force the best engineers and business minds to join my company and make it wildly successful. If the idea doesn’t work out, I can sue everyone for sexual harassment and collect the insurance money.

Kiera

I’m similar to Sonya—not nearly as selfless as Sumarra and not as ambitious as Dilara. I imagine I’d get frustrated by the rules/isolation and would run away.

What would be the hardest part about being a Wife?  Living with women all the time! Actually being childless/dying for your child is worse—I don’t know why that didn’t come to mind earlier.

The best part would be going back in time through memories; understanding your ancestors’ emotions and thoughts.

I’d use my addictive touch to start a restaurant! I love to cook and with my addictive touch (I’d allow some of my chemicals to go into the food), I’d beat the awful food industry odds.

Melanie

I would definitely be a rebellious Wife, like Sumarra, and especially if my leader was a bossypants like Dilara. I fear that I’d end up locked in the prison room with Esme. Or on the run like Sonya. Because following rules made up three thousand years earlier is really, really a bummer when you could be out with your Sisters making memories to pass down to your daughters and their daughters!

The best part? Definitely the travel. And having lived through famous world events. See above about making memories.

I couldn’t think about what to do with my addictive touch, then saw Kaamna’s answer and realized that I’d totally sneak into Daniel Craig’s house before she could get to him. 

For those of you who haven’t laid a finger on any of the enthralling King Solomon’s Wives episodes, it’s your lucky day! In addition to the release of King Solomon’s Wives: Sacrificed, we’ve also released Books I-III in a single volume. So go dive into the rich history of these beautifully depicted Wives and let us know what kind of Wife you’d be.

 

 

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