For this blog tour I am going to do things a little bit differently. Previously, I posted my review along with all this information, but this time I will be posting my review at a later time. Meanwhile, courtesy of Novel Publicity, I am bringing you the following: an interview with the author, a guest post by the author, and an excerpt from the book.
Please enjoy this INTERVIEW with Sheryl Steines, author of the urban fantasy novel, The Day of First Sun. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.
If you could travel in a time machine, would you go back to the past or into the future?
I would go to the past, meet famous people, see history as it happened. I’d be afraid to go to the future. I’m not sure I really want to know when I die.
If you could jump into a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
This might be to expected, but I would love to live at Hogwarts, stroll through Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, play with all the magical stuff, and visit the Weasleys at their house. I saw the Harry Potter exhibit at the museum a few years ago, and it just seemed so fun.
If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?
Sandra Bullock. Since she became a movie star, people all over the place tell me I look like her. She’s also funny. I can only imagine how much more interesting and funny my life would be if she were the lead.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer. There were times that I thought I wanted to be an interior decorator, but in the end, I was always much happier writing and creating.
Who are your favorite authors of all time?
I have two. The first would be Stephen King. I was always amazed by the detail and imagination he used in his books, especially the earliest books. I watched him on an interview many years ago and he was talking about the things he was afraid of, one of which was sleeping with his feet outside the covers at night. He would always cover his feet so that the monsters under the bed wouldn’t get him. I laughed so hard because I do the same thing. J.K. Rowling is also a favorite. Her life story and Harry Potter reminded me that I wanted to be a writer when I was seven. She reminded me of the genre that I loved. It got me thinking about what stories intrigued me. I watched her interview on Oprah and cried through the entire thing. It got me thinking of ways to take my personal experiences and hide them in the fantasy world.
What do you do in your free time?
I read, a lot. In the winter, I spend time at museums and go shopping. In the summer, I love to go to flea markets. You could never have too many fleas. I love to travel. I spend most of the summer driving my 1966 Mustang convertible.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I’m a huge fan of Ninja Warrior. Yeah, the Japanese obstacle course. On one side, it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. On the other side of it, the obstacles are so challenging, and the participants are so revered for making it through each stage that it is a huge honor to win.
Favorite places to travel?
I love Europe, London being my favorite city. I’ve been to Scotland, France, Italy, Germany and Austria. The Austrian/German Alps are some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.
Favorite way to spend a rainy day?
In front of the television watching my favorite movies. Who doesn’t love Ferris Buehler’s Day Off and Sixteen Candles.
If you could have a superpower, what would you choose?
Telekinesis! Then I could clean my house without actually having to do anything.
Please enjoy this GUEST POST by Sheryl Steines, author of the urban fantasy novel, The Day of First Sun. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.
The Strong FemaleI am always amazed to hear that, in the year 2012, women are still talking about strong female characters. It’s funny that we’re always surprised when one comes along. Even in Hollywood, actresses still can’t find roles to sink their teeth into. As a reader, I look for characters that I can relate to in some way; a character who is more than a damsel in distress but less than an unfeeling, mean, witch. I’m putting it gently, but I’m looking for someone, who when facing a problem, doesn’t necessarily need a man to bail her out--a woman who can take care of herself in spite of her vulnerabilities. Because in reality, women are multi-layered and complex. We don’t fall to one end of an extreme or the other.
When I was younger, I started reading Danielle Steele, but I couldn't read her for long. Her female characters were far too needy and always put themselves in a position of requiring a savior. Even as a child, I couldn't help but wonder why these characters always needed a man to improve their lives. Why couldn’t they simply take care of themselves? It seemed as though female characters fell into two camps, and only two. They were either villains, witches, someone to be hated and despised, or they were weak, pathetic, your classic damsels in distress. Why is fiction lacking real women, women who can simply be human and celebrate all that they are?
As I got older, I found myself drawn to shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I saw in Buffy a strong character. Yes, she could kick ass, kill the vampires and fight the demons. She also had a brain, could plan, and could save the world each week. But she wasn't uni-dimensional. She also has a side that liked clothes, shoes and boys, a side that was feminine, a little vulnerable; a side that, okay, sometimes needed to be saved. She was a complex female character, real and human, a character with whom I could definitely relate.
The strong female character isn’t a caricature or stereotype. She’s not a total wimp like Snow White, and she’s not a total monster like the evil queen. She falls somewhere in the middle. She’s reactive, emotional, human, sexual, confident and sometimes unsure of herself.
When I originally wrote my character Annie Pearce in The Day of First Sun, I wrote her as a no-nonsense person, strong and smart, the girl who could survive on her own. But she didn’t feel genuine. As the story unfolded and changed, I rewrote her, gave her friends and family with whom she could interact. I gave her feelings, gave her stress. I let the other characters take charge once in awhile and offer some support. I melded two halves into one woman--a strong woman, who can take care of herself and ask for help when necessary. We’re not perfect, so why should our characters be? Instead, why can’t we make them simply authentic?
Charlize Theron made a really compelling comment regarding her character in the movie Young Adult. She said, "Women are usually either really good prostitutes or really good mothers. Maybe women are finally getting the chance to play more honest characters," Theron said. "We usually don't get to play bad hookers or bad mothers -- or anything in between."
Maybe it’s time to be a little more real and a little more honest.
Please enjoy this EXCERPT from the urban fantasy novel, The Day of First Sun. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.
Sturtagaard chose not to speak, though it was he who had called for the meeting. They both checked their watches and realized they had been sitting across from him for ten minutes, watching him sniff the air. If he wanted to play this, they would play along at least for a little while longer, though both were tired of the leering. As the vampire sniffed again, Cham finally figured out why.
"You know, you called us. We really don't have anything to say to you, so if you're just playing games, we're happy to leave. I've got other, more important things to do than watch you sniff and leer," Cham finally said, and stood up.
Sturtagaard smiled as he watched Cham open the door because he much preferred dealing with Annie, but when she stood up, too, he realized he'd overplayed his hand.
"If I talk, my employer will have me staked. I'd like some assurance that you won't do the same," he said rather quickly, before they left.
They turned and looked at him, both rolling their eyes.
"I'll have you staked if you don't talk," replied Cham, as he stood by the door.
"You're out of options if you ever hope to get out of here again," Annie said calmly, focusing on his face.
Sturtagaard squirmed a little in his seat, as Annie's expression was somewhat disquieting and unemotional. He looked at Cham, whose face was expressionless, and then back to Annie, who hadn't moved a muscle. The vampire sighed.
"You heard right. I was hired to create a zombie army to overthrow the Wizard Council," Sturtagaard said. His voice remained steady and calm with resignation.
"Who wants to overthrow the Council?" asked Cham, his hand still clutching the door.
"My employer. I've told you, I don't know who he is. I always dealt with his associate. He'd show up, leave notes, or send others with messages. I've never contacted him." He looked from one to the other, but they both remained stony and detached. "Come on, now. I can't give you information I don't have." Sturtagaard was charming.
Annie rolled her eyes again. "You really don't have any idea who the employer is?" she asked with sarcasm.
"Really, I don't," he said.
"So you're building an army of the dead. How long did you have to get this done?" Annie took out her phone and pulled out her calendar.
"He wanted it ready for September first."
Annie looked up with a grimace, and Cham looked surprised. She didn't need to mark the date on her calendar or research its significance, though neither could figure out why a zombie army had to be created for that day, the Day of First Sun. It was a very powerful and ancient day for good magic.
"So, your employer wants an army of the dead on that day? Why?" Cham asked in a flat, emotionless voice.
"He's a black wizard. What do you think he wants? He wants to overthrow the Council, take over the world, practice magic in the open. You know, the typical magical fantasy." Sturtagaard grinned because he believed that would benefit the entire supernatural world.
"Wipe the smirk off your face, Sturtagaard. Having free reign won't be as good as you think, with all the angry mobs, torches, and stakes through the heart."
Annie smirked at Cham, who shook his head and laughed. He waited to compose himself before looking back at the vampire.