When I first heard about Deb Kerry’s novel, BETWEEN, the fantasy lover in me rejoiced. I’ve loved fantasy and sci-fi all my life, and BETWEEN sounded great.
Then I heard about the penguin.
In fairness, I have a *thing* for penguins. Always have. I can spend hours in the penguin exhibit at Sea World or the zoo. The Madagascar penguins are my Firefox theme. And all my life, I’ve found it cruel that gummy penguins only come in peach (I don’t like peach candy…).
BETWEEN’s protagonist, Vivian, grows up with a special dreamcatcher. It has a penguin in the center. When she finds her way into the Between, she learns that her totem penguin is real … and very much alive.
His name is Poe. (I won’t spoil the surprise and tell you why.)
Poe becomes Vivian’s loyal and lovingly awkward companion, and his presence is an unusual, entertaining, and refreshing take on the fantasy concept of animal companions. (My favorite line in the book has to do with Poe, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.)
Unlike the typical “lions, tigers and bears” (oh, my!) Poe is a penguin. A real penguin. He doesn’t talk, or have magical superpowers.
He can’t even fly.
And yet, he still manages to help Vivian and to make her stronger than she was alone. He’s also remarkably communicative and endearing.
Poe is my favorite character in BETWEEN – a fantastic book that left me looking forward to a sequel. (Yes, I got my copy early. Yes, you should be jealous.)
But how does a penguin do this? I hear you asking. How does a feathered bowling pin help Vivian save the day?
You already know my answer, right?
You’ll have to read the book and find out for yourself.
What’s the most unusual hero’s “sidekick” you’ve ever read about? Do you like penguins? Have you seen Kerry’s friend the #RandomPenguin on Twitter? (If not, go search his hashtag…it’s well worth seeing.)
Kerry and I would love to hear from you in the comments!
Hey readers! Deb Kelly here reminding you that BETWEEN is on sale now! NOW! As in go to the store, silly, and buy your copy NOW!
Are you back? Got your copy in hand? Good.
Because now it’s time to cook.
Friends, in case you haven’t heard yet, I like to eat. And I think of books as an excellent excuse for eating. Lots of novels lend themselves to particular menus, like Proust and 50 Shades of Gray (well, that’s more of a diet plan). And when you dig into Deb Dana’s novel–available soon!–you’ll probably find yourself wishing you lived with a private chef to keep up with all the cravings that book will induce.
BETWEEN, though, does not feature food overmuch. In fact at one point I think the heroine is actually starving to death. Things are far too dangerous and high-stakes for characters to be sitting around digging into a good nosh all the time. And yet, somehow, I managed to focus all my attention on a small passage midway through the book when Vivian, our Dreamshifter heroine, is forced to sup with her enemies, and they feed her some sort of suspicious seafood stew.
Deb Kerry does not, in this passage, describe the unctuous soft creamy deliciousness of a scallop chowder or the rich buttery meatiness of a lobster bisque. Nay, because Deb Kerry takes the “torture your characters” concept of writing quite seriously, she writes about what to me sounds like a Dream version of overcooked squid floating in a puddle of hot potato water. The sort of thing you only attempt to consume when you know that if you don’t play nice you might be immolated by a dragon. The sort of thing you feel perfectly comfortable feeding to your pet penguin but don’t really want to eat yourself. That kind of suspicious seafood stew.
But today I want to serve up a menu suitable for book clubs and launch parties, not for entertaining your penguin. (But did I just come up with the title for a capricious Poe Spin-off series, Deb Kerry?)
And THIS is what I think you should cook for those purposes:
Vivian Maylor’s Famous “Get The Taste of Fear out of my Mouth” Salmon Chowder
Serve with Dragon’s Breath Smoothies
- 3/4 lb fresh salmon or one of those space-aged vacuum packages of cooked salmon. Two, if you have a very hungry penguin.
- a few slices of bacon.
- 1 small white onion, diced. If you don’t have time to dice it, ask the extremely sexy and pleasantly tortured Warlord to run over it with his giant sword a couple of times.
- 2 stalks celery, also diced (see above)
- 1 clove of garlic, smashed under the tread of your extremely uncomfortable shoes. Or just use a mincer, it’s so much more sanitary.
- 1 big bag of frozen corn (like, 16 oz or so). If you don’t have this on hand, try shifting into the Dream of someone who shops at Trader Joe’s a lot.
- Two cups of broth. Lobster broth is great but chicken broth will work as long as your penguin’s not offended.
- a generous splash of half and half (or plain yogurt if you’re worried about fitting into your slinky sorceress dress).
- and salt and pepper to taste
Broil the salmon for 8 minutes or so, or open the vacuum pouches. At this point your penguin may become agitated.
Cook bacon in a big pot and remove it from the pan. Or just hold it in front of a dragon with very long tongs. Then, simmer onion, celery, and garlic in that yummy bacon fat. When they’re soft, add the corn and broth to the pot and season a little bit and let it all get nice and warm.
After 10 minutes or so, take your immersion blender and whir it around in there until you’ve got chowder consistency, and then add the cooked salmon, all flaked with a fork, and the bacon, chopped up. Stir in the half and half and serve with…
Dragon’s Breath Smoothie:
In a blender, whir:
- 1 banana
- 1 can of pineapple in juice or a quarter pineapple
- 1/4 c. coconut cream
- juice of half a lime
- 1/2 seeded jalapeno (really! or use less if you are squeamish about these things, you can always go back and add more.)
- a small handful of ice cubes
You should absolutely double this recipe because it’s the sort of thing that is so surprisingly tasty that you will keep exclaiming about it and making other people want some. It’s also dynamite for you, unless you add rum.
Happy reading and eating!
Today, I have the strange and surreal experience of welcoming myself to the Ball and interviewing myself. Not that I’m unfamiliar with the art of conversation between me, myself, and I, but I don’t think I’ve interviewed myself before. It’s customary to begin the Deb Ball Interview with a photo and a bio, but as my photo and bio are up here on the site all day, every day, for 365 days, I thought we’d switch it up a little. Instead of a bio, you guys get to ask me questions at the end. And here is a different picture of me than the one that is already here. All set? Let’s get on with the interview.
1. Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
I always have a hard time picking favorites, but in this case I’m going to go with Jo March from Little Women, because she had such a profound impact on me. Jo was a tomboy with a big mouth and a hot temper. She also aspired to be a published author. As I was similarly afflicted, she was an inspiration and a comfort. All right, I’ll confess that I used to know entire passages of that book by heart, and that there were times when she might, possibly, have been my best friend. Moving on…
2. Which talent do you wish you had?
This isn’t a case of wishing I had talent, but of wishing I had more talent. I play the piano, or at least I used to until writing started stealing every spare minute. When I was younger I busted my butt practicing, and I succeeded in reaching a decent level of competence at reading music. I dreamed of being a) a concert pianist b) one of those people who can play anything by ear and c) just generally more gifted. The irony? Both of my sons are highly talented natural musicians.
3. Which animal would you like to be and why?
Beloved and pampered house cat. Need I explain? Luxurious naps, fun toys, tasty treats, and the right to look down my nose at the servants who conform to my every whim.
4. Do you have any phobias?
It’s not a phobia, exactly, but I have an aversion to phones.
5. Do you have a regular first reader? If so, who is it and why that person?
My Viking is my first reader, for a variety of reasons. He’s available and willing, for one thing. He’s got a great eye for continuity and character problems and is brilliant at discovering plot holes. Plus, since he’s had to put up with me vanishing into the writing cave for months on end, I figure he deserves to be the first to see what it is that I’ve been up to. Last and best, I love that I can share my excitement and enthusiasm for the creation of my books with the man who is both my lover and my very best friend.
About the Book
Vivian Maylor can’t sleep. Maybe it’s because she just broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a new town, or it could be the stress of her new job at the hospital. But perhaps it’s because her dreams have started to bleed through into her waking hours.
All of her life Vivian has rejected her mother’s insane ramblings about Dreamworlds for concrete science and fact, until an emergency room patient ranting about dragons spontaneously combusts before her eyes—forcing Viv to consider the idea that her visions of mythical beasts might be real.
And when a chance encounter leads her to a man she knows only from her dreams, Vivian finds herself falling into a world that seems strange and familiar all at once—a world where the line between dream and reality is hard to determine, and hard to control…
Your turn – what would you like to know about Kerry Schafer or Between?
For those of you used to catching the lovely and gracious Deb Kerry on Mondays…surprise! Deb Dana here, stepping in for Deb Kerry to tee up the 2013 Debs’ very first book launch, a gripping urban fantasy by Ms. Schafer herself!
Let me tell you: I am so excited for Kerry’s debut to hit the shelves tomorrow. And you should be, too. Before reading Between, I didn’t have much experience with urban fantasy — or any fantasy, for that matter. But Kerry hooks you in right from the start with an amazing premise: what if certain people among us had the ability to shift between dreams and reality? And what if there were a third world between dreams and reality that these Dreamshifters could enter as well? And what if you discovered YOU were a Dreamshifter? That’s exactly what Kerry’s main character, Vivian, discovers following the mysterious death of her grandfather. Kerry takes Vivian — and her readers — on a wild adventure filled with dragons, princes, sorceresses, and magic. Throw in an enigmatic potential love interest and a fat little penguin as a sidekick, and you have a recipe for a page-turner that grips you from the first page.
And here’s the good news for all of you: Kerry has generously offered to give away a free copy to one lucky commenter! Not only that, she is including a dragon-in-a-bottle and a little bag of dream stones as well! Here are the contest rules:
Leave a comment today telling me about your craziest or scariest dream. Then, on each day this week, leave a comment in response to the other Debs’ posts. You don’t have to comment every day, but all of the comments will be taken into consideration, so if you comment each day this week, that’s five separate entries — and a greater chance you’ll win!
To give you a sense of what you can expect for the rest of the week, here’s what we have planned:
Tomorrow, we turn the tables on Kerry and have her take the Deb Interview.
Wednesday, Deb Kelly will write about what you should eat while reading Between — and provide a recipe.
Thursday, Deb Susan will talk to us about penguins — specifically Poe, Vivian’s sidekick (and my favorite character!).
And on Friday, Deb Amy will talk about the lovely Deb Kerry herself — as a writer but, more importantly, as a friend.
So buckle your seat belts — it’s going to be an exciting week! Let the celebration begin!
From the 2013 Debs…
Deb Kerry would like you to know that BETWEEN IS OFFICIALLY OUT IN TWO DAYS!!!!! (Ahem. We apologize for the shouting.) Due to this being release week, Deb Kerry has more news than will realistically fit on this page, so we’ll stick with the highlights. Join her for an Online Launch Party at Bitten by Books on February 29, which JUST HAPPENS TO BE LAUNCH DAY!!! (Sorry) You can find the Official Blog Tour schedule here.
Deb Dana had lots of book activity this week! She saw both her Italian and German covers (link to the German one coming soon!), did a little interview over at Barnes & Noble, and announced a reading at The Spiral Bookcase in Philadelphia (Feb. 23, 5pm)! Oh, and if you’d like to sneak a peek at the first two chapters of THE GIRLS’ GUIDE TO LOVE AND SUPPER CLUBS before it comes out in a week (!), you can do so here!
Deb Amy has the final cover THE GLASS WIVES! Grab a cup of coffee or tea and come see THE GLASS WIVES cover!
Deb Dish – In Celebration of Deb Kerry’s Release Week: Who is your favorite character from BETWEEN?
Deb Amy: I have to say that my favorite character is Zee. Need I explain?
Deb Dana: POE!!! No contest .
Deb Kerry: I can’t pick favorites. They are all my children.
Deb Kelly: I love Vivian. She’s so kick ass. This book makes me want to watch Nikita and Alias!
Deb Susan: I’m with Deb Dana – Poe is the BEST!
Your Turn!! You may not have read BETWEEN, but what do you think about penguins in Fantasy stories?
*** READ ON FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A FREE BOOK! ***
Priscille Sibley grew up loving the rocky coast of Maine, her family, and babies. Now a neonatal intensive care nurse, she has the privilege of caring for infants so small that they fit in her hand. She lives with her husband, three tall teenage sons, and their Wheaten terrier. The Promise of Stardust, her first novel, is an Indie Next Pick for February and Target’s February Book Club Pick.
The Promise of Stardust sounds absolutely riveting: When a tragic accident leaves Elle brain-dead, her husband Matt is devastated. Though he cannot bear losing her, he knows his wife, a thoughtful and adventurous scientist, feared only one thing—a slow death. Just before Matt agrees to remove Elle from life support, the doctors discover that she is pregnant. Now what was once a clear-cut decision becomes an impossible choice. Matt knows how much this child would have meant to Elle.
But Linney, Matt’s mother, believes her son is blind with denial. She loves Elle, too, and insists that Elle would never want to be kept alive by artificial means, no matter what the situation.
Divided by the love they share, Matt and Linney fight for what each believes is right, in a disagreement that escalates into a controversial legal battle, ultimately going far beyond one family and one single life.
The Debs are thrilled to welcome Priscille, who will be taking our Deb Interview today.
Tell us a secret about the main character in your novel — something that’s not even in your book.
It is difficult to divulge secrets. How about this? I never described my protagonist’s appearance. The only thing I said was Matt was six-two and in the epilogue I spilled that his eyes were dark. Although he often describes his wife, Elle, how he sees himself is irrelevant. The story opens with a call from the ER. Elle has had an accident that resulted in a devastating brain injury. Just as he agrees to take her off life support, he learns she’s eight weeks pregnant. So he as he remembers their years together (they’ve known each other their entire lives), he describes her from the time she was eight years old with white blond hair until the night before her tragic accident when she is backlit by the sun reflecting off the river – to when she lays dying. What she looks like matters to him. In my imagination, what Matt looks like depended on the day I was writing. I admit most of the time I pictured him with dark hair; but sometimes he was a redhead or a dark blond. He is a runner so he has an athletic build. He’s simply too concerned with his circumstances to think about what he looks like.
Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
I never had any inclinations to run off to join the circus, not even after reading Water for Elephants. If that was all the story was about, I would have said, “It’s a great book. But for me, the hook was the old Jacob, sitting in a nursing home years after his early adventures. There he mused about how his family thought they were treating him well by visiting but not troubling him with their problems. I had one of those aha moments Oprah likes to talk about. Asking the elderly for their input into the currents of our everyday lives shows them respect. Their wisdom enriches us. And it keeps them connected to the present. Sara Gruen’s book was brilliant. She entertained us. But more importantly for me, her insights changed how I interacted with my ailing mother-in-law.
Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
Jean Valjean. I read Les Miserables before it was a Broadway play and found Jean Valjean’s story of redemption very compelling. I think he was always a good man, but he falls, and he rises, and he’s tormented by his internal demons over and over. It is never easy. The play is wonderful, the music is addictive, but the book is… amazing.
Where do you love to be?
I’m a Mainer, born and raised, currently living in exile. New Jersey has great things about it, but my heart belongs in Maine. I love to watch the surf crashing on the rocks. I’ve driven 8 hours to go “home” and sit by the water of my favorite lighthouse for an hour or two.
What time of day do you love best?
Dusk. I love the light at the end of the day, the pinks that color the tips of those crashing waves and the quiet that settles on the trees as the light fades.
Thank you for joining us, Priscille!
You can learn more about Priscille’s life and work on her website, by liking her on facebook, following her on twitter or doing whatever it is you people do on Pinterest. Buy The Promise of Stardust here or at your local indie.
And don’t forget to leave a comment below to get your chance to win a free copy courtesy of the author!
When I was pregnant the first time, I had baby boy dreams. We never picked a girl’s name.
I had a baby boy.
I was in college when I woke up the morning of my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah and recalled my dream from the night before, that my history professor was at the service. I told my father about my funny dream, and prompty forgot about it, as we’re apt to do, until the service was over. Until my history professor walked out of the service and said hello.
The night before my ex-husband died I dreamt about life insurance.
I have learned to listen to my dreams.
The trick, though, is remembering our dreams. And that is true for all kinds of dreams, isn’t it?
Dreams take two forms. The kind we’re not in control of that run through our visual psyche as we sleep. Then there’s the kind for which we close our eyes and clench our fists. The dreams for which we hope and plan. The ones that inspire doodles and daydreams and book deals.
And those can be the easiest dreams to forget.
Have you ever forgotten a dream (of any kind) and then remembered it later? What did you do about it?