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Monday, March 11, 2013

Aura by Rebecca Lynn Talley Blog Tour! A Review, Excerpt, & Guest Post

Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Fantasy Romance)
Date Published: November 9, 2012
Publisher: Self

The Blurb:
"I half-turned to her and shrugged, still processing what I'd seen, or at least what I thought I'd seen, in Ms. Neal's eyes--like they weren't hers. Obviously, they were her eyes, but it looked like she'd plucked them from someone else's head. A dead someone else's head."

In the fight between good and evil, Light is your only weapon.

Crystal Scott finally feels like a normal teenager. She has a lead in the high school play, a best friend, and a gorgeous boyfriend. With prom only a few days away, Crystal's ordinary life seems perfect.

Endowed with great Light because of her virtuous choices and her inherent gifts, Crystal's aura has become visible to those with the ability to see auras. Unfortunately, her power has also attracted the attention of demons intent on destroying all Light.

When Vincent Crandall, the human host for a powerful demon, discovers that Crystal's Light is strong enough to disrupt the connection between demons and their hosts, he realizes she may be able to sever the connection altogether. Determined to stop her from interfering with his plans to rule the world, he orders operatives to neutralize her.

Crystal is thrust into battle against a demon army she didn't even know existed. With the help of a mysterious young man and his mother, Crystal must learn to use the power within her before the demons kill her parents and Vincent harnesses her Light for himself.

My Review:
Aura by Rebecca Lynn Talley had a wonderful message within the story that is beneficial to both young adult and adult readers alike. I really like the idea that the choices we make and how we live out lives are what bring out the light and dark within us. I definitely think this is true in many ways... probably not to the extent it was in this story, but that's part of what made this book fun. The characters all had integral roles they played within the plot. At the same time, I was frustrated by how Crystal tolerated the behaviors of Erin and Nate. It took away some of the believability of her character. This book had some intense moments, but it stayed clean and, I feel it was engaging enough to catch and keep the attention of readers of all ages.

Aura by Rebecca Lynn Talley was provided to me by the I'm a Reader Not a Writer for review. The opinions are my own.

Guest Post: Finding Ideas by Rebecca Lynn Talley 
I'm often asked how I find ideas for my stories. Most of the time, an event in my own life has inspired the story.

One day when I was on my hands and knees cleaning the bathroom, my young children came in and wanted to play a cooking game. They wanted me to ask for food and then they'd "fix" it and bring it back to me. I was trying to get my cleaning done but decided to play along. I asked for sunflower soup and watermelon burritos, among other things. The kids were excited to bring me my pretend food. I made lots of gobbling noises, which made them laugh.

For dessert, I asked for grasshopper pie. They ran out of the bathroom and I went back to scrubbing the floor. I heard the front door open so I got up and went out to find them in the rose garden. When I asked them what they were doing, they said they were looking for a grasshopper. Suddenly, I realized our pretend game had become all too real and my kids were planning to feed me a live grasshopper. Fortunately, the game didn't get to that point, but it inspired me to write, Grasshopper Pie, a picture book about a mom who isn't quite as observant.

My first novel, Heaven Scent, was inspired by my mother who died when I was a little girl. She always wore this unique perfume. During trials in my life, I have smelled her perfume and known that she is still close and watching over me, and that life does not end with death. 

Altared Plans is loosely based on the courtship with my husband and includes a scene when the main character meets the mother and sister of her love interest while she's dressed as a clown. I met my future mother-in-law right after I'd volunteered with Special Olympics, and I was dressed in a clown suit with lots of make-up. Thankfully, all that make-up hid my bright red cheeks :).

The Upside of Down is about a woman who is trying to keep up with all the demands of raising a large family and dealing with a difficult mother when she discovers she's pregnant. I used experiences from my own life such as the time my kids called 911 and the sheriff came to the door, when my daughter cut off all her hair, and when I discovered a melted crayon in the dryer that ruined all the clothes. 

For my most recent novel, Aura, I've always been able to see auras and I wanted to write a story about a young girl with a very bright aura who could combat evil. While there are many books about fighting demons, there's a twist in my book that I hope makes people think. 

I like to mine my own life for ideas and inspiration, but there are plenty of other places to find ideas for stories--newspaper articles, current events, dreams, twists on fairy tales, historical events, family stories, passages of scripture, religious beliefs, overheard conversations, and many more. I recently heard a news story that's given me a great idea for a novel.

Ideas are everywhere. It's up to us to turn those ideas into compelling and entertaining stories.

The Excerpt:
A strange sensation crawled up my back and settled at the base of my neck. My skin pricked and sent tiny impulses through my scalp. I tried to shake it off, but I couldn’t. I figured I needed to stand up and move around.

I stood too fast and the room started to tilt, so I moved toward an open window. The air felt heavy against my chest, as if I were hiking through deep water. I’d never experienced such a bizarre sensation. I gazed out the window.

Under a large evergreen tree, not far from the classroom, stood a tall guy who looked like he was in his twenties. He had black hair, and his gaze was locked on me. I felt someone come up behind me so I spun around and faced Ms. Neal. When my eyes met hers, fear blasted through my veins. I took a few steps back.

“Are you lost, Miss Scott?” she asked in an ice-filled tone, a facial tic flashing across her right cheek.

“Um, no.” I swallowed hard. Her eyes again. They were flat and glassy, like she was in a coma or something. And, even though the lights were on, there was a shadow across her face. I rushed back to my desk and plopped down. Definitely not my imagination.

About the Author:
Rebecca Lynn Talley grew up in the gorgeous seaside city of Santa Barbara, CA. She met, and married, her husband, Del, while attending Brigham Young University. She graduated from BYU with a degree in Communications. She currently lives in rural Colorado on a small ranch with a dog, too many cats to count, and a herd of goats. She and Del are the proud parents of ten wildly-creative, multi-talented children.

Rebecca is the author of a children's picture book, Grasshopper Pie (WindRiver 2003), a children's chapter book, Gabby's Secret (DuBon Publishing 2011), four novels, Heaven Scent (CFI 2008), Altared Plans (CFI 2009), The Upside of Down (CFI 2011), and Aura (DuBon Publishing 2012). She has also authored numerous children's stories and articles for both print and online magazines.
When she isn’t writing, Rebecca loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house. She has folded at least one million loads of laundry, baked hundreds of batches of chocolate chip cookies, and eaten 5,478 gallons of ice cream.

To learn more about Rebecca Lynn Talley and her books, visit her website & blog.You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Blog Tour Giveaway:
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3.21.13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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