Monday, October 2, 2017

Fathoms Below & Fathoms Above Giveaway Announcement



Calling all book bloggers and bookstagrammers! I had so much fun at the magic myth mischief event that I want to do more! So, I'm giving away 10 FREE ebooks of Fathoms Below AND Fathoms Above in exchange for a guest spot with review! If you're interested, just reply to this post or dm me by Friday October 6th.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fathoms Above Cover Reveal

It's here! It's finally here! Today, the cover for Fathoms Above, the second book in the Star Crossed series, was released, and I couldn't be more in love with it if I tried! The Ferris Wheel (an object that plays a VERY important part in Fathoms Above), the gold, the white lettering on the black: it looks so much better in real life than I could have imagined!



A huge thanks to Debra Presley and everyone from Book Enthusiasts and Buoni Amici Press who had a part in putting this event together, as well as all the book bloggers who so graciously participated in this event and made my cover look absolutely amazing! Click on any of the links below to visit these blogs and view the cover reveal for yourself! There's also an EXTENDED excerpt from Fathoms Above, and a giveaway for 5 free e-book copies of Fathoms Above and 5 signed Fathoms Below-themed bookmarks!

https://eskiemamareads.blogspot.com/2017/05/cover-reveal-preorder-blitz-wgiveaway.html

http://smutfanatic.blogspot.com/2017/05/fathoms-above-star-crossed-2-by-laura.html?zx=83ee2f816530220b

https://tfaulcbookreviews.wordpress.com/2017/05/25/blog-tour-cover-reveal-pre-order-blitz-fathoms-above-by-laura-holt-authorlauraholt-bookenthusiast1-buoniamicipress/

http://rustysreading.blogspot.com/2017/05/cover-reveal-preorder-blitz-fathoms.html?zx=6063b3bc73cc6

https://www.alliesstuff.com/2017/05/25/cover-reveal-fathoms-above-by-laura-holt/

https://allthingsdarkanddirty.blog/2017/05/25/laura-holt-fathoms-above-cover-reveal-preorder-blitz-excerpt-giveaway/

https://www.facebook.com/tangentsandtissues2/posts/424339407949318'

https://www.facebook.com/WereJumpinBooks/?fref=nf

https://www.facebook.com/nicolebookmusings/?fref=nf

https://www.facebook.com/buoniamicipress/?fref=nf


Monday, March 20, 2017

Last Chance to Enter the Fathoms Above Giveaway

Don't miss out, Star Crossed Lovers! Today is the last day to enter my giveaway for an Advanced Reader Copy of my new upcoming Young Adult Fantasy-Romance Fathoms Above or a Books-a-Million gift card! All you have to do to get your name in the drawing is reply to this post with the god or goddess who you think will make their debut in this second installment in the Star Crossed series. This contest is open to all residents of the US, Great Britain, and Canada who are 13 and older. Good luck!


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fathoms Above Research Sneak Peeks Part 2

Happy Star Crossed Saturday, everyone! Good news! I received the first draft of Fathoms Above back from my editor late last night and, minus a break this afternoon where I watched my niece at a pageant and went grocery shopping, I have been hard at work applying her noted revisions ever since. So many grammatical errors lol (I guess you just can't trust MS Word), but her notes always make me smile. I seriously could not ask for a better person in my corner.


Last week, I shared with yall a few sneak peeks at some of the book research that went into writing Fathoms Above. This week, I'm going to share some tidbits from my online research, particularly a little more about the myth retellings you'll get to read in Fathoms Above. If you read my last blog, you already know that two of these are Echo and Narcissus and Medusa. Another is Pygmalion. This story of the sculptor who fell in love with one of his own statues has always been one of my favorite Greek myths because of the poignant tragedy of their relationship. Or non-existent relationship rather, since a one-sided relationship isn't really a relationship at all, no matter how hard the more interested party tries to make it one. In the Star Crossed series, I took this myth a little bit further and made Pygmalion one of Pyramus's descendants. Though lucky enough not to fall in love with a descendant of Thisbe like Lee in Fathoms Below, Pygmalion was still unlucky in love because he fell in love with a woman who could never love him back...at least, not without divine intervention, and in Fathoms Above, as Hermes tells Cather to help take her mind off of their doomed relationship, that's exactly what Pygmalion seeks. Here's a little snippet from this retelling to wet your appetite, along with the link to the original version of this myth.

http://hompi.sogang.ac.kr/anthony/classics/ovidpygmalion.htm

“Are you cold?”
“A little,” she lied, turning her head enough to meet his gaze over her shoulder. “Would you…could you tell me a story to help me fall asleep? Maybe something from Greek myth that doesn’t have to do with my family’s curse?”
“Of course,” he agreed, like she had known he would, because he would always put her well-being before his own, even when he shouldn’t. Settling back onto the pillow, she listened to his breathing for a minute—in, out, in, out— before he spoke again.
“Not all of Pyramus’s brother Caius’s descendants were as unlucky as Lee and Leander. One of them, Pygmalion, never even met a descendant of Thisbe. Instead, he fell in love with, of all things, a statue.”
“A statue?” Cather asked, unable to keep quiet although she was supposed to be going to sleep.
“Yes.” Hermes nodded, his hair tickling the nape of her neck. “To this day it remains the most untraditional love story of all those that I have witnessed. You see, Pygmalion was a sculptor who lived in Cyprus in the second century. He was the best at his craft, able to give a life-like appearance to every one of his creations. Naturally, his success made him appealing to every woman of marriage age within the town walls. Yet his devotion to his art left him with no time to admire the beauty of any living creature. As the years wore on, and Pygmalion remained alone, with only his sculptures for company, he began to grow bitter. There was an empty hole in his heart that he did not know how to fill, until one night, while attending the annual Festival of Aphrodite, he saw a beautiful young girl dancing by the fire and understood.
“He needed a wife, a companion, someone who would fill his waking hours with laughter and love and give him the family he craved. He had spent so long shunning the women of, though, the city that he knew not how to talk to them. So rather than seek a real bride of flesh and blood, he did instead what he did best. He carved a statue in the image of what he thought the perfect woman should look like. It was an unparalleled work.”
“You saw it?”
“I did.” Cather felt Hermes’s hair brush her cheek as he nodded. “Michelangelo himself could not have done better. The statue’s skin was smooth from hours upon hours of sanding. Its body was slender, supple, clothed in an ivory toga that covered one shoulder and left the other bare. It wore sandals on feet that would never walk. Its wrists held unmoving bangles, and every toe and finger had been hammered out with exquisite detail.
“As real in appearance as the women in the village, the statue stood on her stone pedestal, proud and strong and gentle and divine. Her hair appeared to flow down her back in white ripples that reminded the artist of spilled milk, so he named her Galatea, which means she who is white like milk. Yet it was her eyes that captivated Pygmalion the most, for he had carved them so well that, impossible though it was, when he gazed into them, they seemed to be filled with life, light, and intelligence, and the more he stared at his creation, the more he longed for her to be real, to become a person of living flesh and blood, like him.
“Ignorant then in the ways that love can affect a person, I assumed the sculptor would come to his senses in a few days and sell the statue like all the rest he’d made. As the days went by, however, he only fell more in love with her, and, as love is want to do, it began to make him act a little crazy. He dressed the statue in real garments instead of the ones he had carved for her, adding color to her otherwise pale appearance, and put two sweet smelling flowers behind her ears.
“He purchased all manner of gems and sweets from the market that he thought she would like and placed them at the base of her pedestal. Instead of working from dawn until dusk as he normally did, the artist sat for hours upon end on a stool, engaging in one-sided conversations with his lovely creation.
“A full year went by in this manner, until Pygmalion had become so obsessed with the flawless statue that he no longer ventured from his home. I admit that I laughed at him on more than one occasion, and the people in his village whispered in the streets about how he had gone mad. But when the Festival of the goddess Aphrodite neared again, and the villagers began to work on preparations day and night outside his window, the sculptor got an idea. He would go to the Festival and pray to the goddess of Love to turn his ivory figurine into a real woman, one whom he could love and cherish for the rest of their days. And on the day of the Festival, that is exactly what he did. While everyone in the city was making their own offerings to the goddess of Love, Pygmalion left his home and traveled to the shrine that’d been erected in the city square in her honor. There, he got down on his knees and beseeched the goddess to answer his prayer.

Now, some of you are probably wondering: I have mentioned before that the Star Crossed series is a retelling of the fairy tale Cinderella. However, Cather doesn't exactly have a habit of losing a shoe when it's least convenient. So who is Cinderella then? Well, in Fathoms Above, you get your first glimpse at that answer, and the first look at my version of this classic tale. To write it, I took the original version of Cinderella, titled Rhodopis, by the historian Strabo (you can read it for yourself by clicking on the link under this paragraph), and combined it with some of my favorite versions of Cinderella from around the globe, including the most popular one by Charles Perrault illustrated by the Pinterest collage below. Will the slipper be glass? That I can't tell you. Will there be a prince, a fairy godmother, or a pumpkin carriage? Perhaps, though not in the traditional sense. What I can tell you, though, is that this Cinderella, or Sinderella, as she is so nicknamed in the series by Hermes, is an unconventional heroine who, like Cather, will dare to stand up against the deities of Olympus and do everything in her power to break another of their divine curses.

https://litscribbles.wordpress.com/fairy-tales/rhodopis-the-egyptian-cinderella/


Want more research tidbits? No problem. As promised in last week's blog, here is a closer look at some of the main characters in the Star Crossed series, starting with the heroine, Cather Stevens.


For those of you have read Fathoms Below (and for those of you who haven't yet), you know that Cather is an average girl-next-door-type from the South who likes chocolate, cheerleading, history, and murder mysteries. She is logical, stubborn, and a little bit sassy, which at first made her a very difficult character to write, as I am driven more by my emotions than anything else. She doesn't have time for things like love and fantasy until her eighteenth birthday, when she discovers that things are not always as they seem and that she is not quite as ordinary as she always believed. This Pinterest collage is one of my favorites that I saved to my Star Crossed Book Research board, and at the time I wasn't even looking for it. Though at times I wanted to strangle her for her decisions (you will see why when you read Fathoms Above), I had a very clear picture in my head of exactly who Cather was and what she looked like from the start of my writing. So when I stumbled upon this collage while researching deities, I was ecstatic, because it encompasses her perfectly! Except for the green eye color, that's wrong lol. Still, it illustrates the rich brown color of her hair, her tanned skin, her Greek and southern heritage, her family's tragic history, even her love of sweets and simple girly things like makeup!


The other main character in the Star Crossed series is Hermes, the Bookkeeper and Messenger of the gods, and, at the end of Fathoms Below, Cather's boyfriend. (I can't tell you whether things will stay that way between them or not when Cather meets the descendant of Pyramus in Fathoms Above. You will just have to read and find out for yourself.) As the youngest and arguably most intelligent son of Zeus, Hermes was entrusted with upholding the star crossed curse that his father placed on all of the female descendants of Thisbe. Obviously, in Fathoms Below, that changed, and in Fathoms Above we get to see Hermes as one deity standing alone against the might of Olympus, risking life, limb, and his heart for the girl he loves. Of all the collages that I saved for Hermes to my Star Crossed Series Book Research board, this one is my favorite. It includes his wings, some maps (which I like to think helped him keep track of Cather's ancestors and document their whereabouts over the years), and the winged staff he carried in Fathoms Below. There's also a cool shot of a misty forest that reminds me of a scene from Fathoms Below when Cather went running and found Hermes lurking in the woods. As for the drachma, well, let's just say that in Fathoms Above you get to learn more about Hermes's powers, his past, and his family, including his father, Zeus.



Ah, Zeus: King of the gods, unfaithful husband of Hera, caster of the star crossed curse, and all around bad guy. Despite his divine good looks and immortal charm, Zeus is really nothing more than a spoiled, entitled little rich boy who wasn't happy with what life had to offer him. So, naturally, he overthrew his parents and the rest of the Titans, used Hera's feelings for him to elevate himself to power, had a couple of powerful kids who he proceeded to train as his own personal army, and set about crushing anyone who dared to stand against him, including his best friend. Needless to say, he isn't wild about the idea of a mortal breaking his curse, which is why he sends Athena to stop Cather before she can find and marry the last living descendant of Pyramus. Why, you may ask, doesn't he just stop her himself? After all, he does have an entire sky full of lightning bolts at his disposal that he could use to strike both her and Hermes down at any given moment. Let's just say that, when it comes to divine curses, things are always more complicated than they at first appear, even for the King of gods. And when it comes to love, well, it's not only the descendants of Thisbe and Pyramus who have suffered at the hand of the star crossed curse. One god or goddess had their life changed by it forever. Want to know who? Follow me on Instagram by clicking on the link below to go to my page, and stay tuned for a special giveaway contest for Fathoms Above that will be starting Monday, March 6. Until then, star crossed lovers. :)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fathoms Above Research Sneak Peeks

Only five days left until I get the first draft of Fathoms Above back from my editor! I'm so excited to read all of her notes and get to work fixing my mistakes. (Busy, busy lol.) So much work went into writing this sequel to Fathoms Below. In fact, part of me still can't believe it will be published in a few months. It seems like only yesterday that I was sitting behind my computer at my old desk, typing out the first words of the prologue. Now, two years later, it's almost a reality! True, there are still lots of grammatical errors to correct, spellchecks to be performed, margins to be re-aligned, and questions to be asked. Plus, this is only the first draft. There will be two more after this one before Fathoms Above is ready to hit the shelves. However, I wanted to take the time to share with yall some of the research that went into creating Fathoms Above and the rest of the Star Crossed universe that Cather Stevens and Hermes Preston live in.



To me, writing a book is a labor of love, one that requires time, effort, sweat, blood (think broken nails on a keyboard), tears, and sacrifice, like the kind found in the story of Medusa. I read two different volumes and searched online archives extensively for everything that I could find about the snake-haired Gorgon whose gaze turned anyone who looked upon it to stone. All of them seemed to share the same two origins, which I remembered from my days devouring Greek mythology in high school. One, that Medusa was one of three Gorgon sisters, daughters of the sea deities Phorcys and Ceto who were born monsters. And two, that Medusa was a beautiful maiden who was turned into a monster by the goddess Athena, either because she angered her or because Athena took pity on her. Both make sense. Yet I have always had a burning question in the back of my mind when it comes to this particular myth. Specifically, why does Medusa's gaze turn people to stone? Of all the powers she could have had, why did it have to be that one? Was it genetic? Accidental? A weapon to protect her against men who might harm her for her beauty? Or was it punishment for something? So I took that question and allowed it to fuel my own version of how Medusa came to be, exactly what she did that made Athena so angry that she would curse her (because let's face it, it would take something more than someone simply defiling my temple to make me curse them, and weapon or not, turning all who look at you to stone is a curse sooner or later), and what happened between her and Athena after that.



If you can't tell already, I think research is one of the best parts of writing a book, along with the actual writing part and getting to see your finished product once its published. Not only is it an excuse to read new books and reread old favorites, but it's also an adventure in itself, one where pages are my roads and my imagination is my compass. Research allows me to take well-known, and not so well-known, tales like that of Cerberus, the three-headed Guardian of the Underworld, piece them together with histories, dreams, and my own experiences and weave them together into a single story. In this case, a story about a dog named Fear who was given to the descendants of Pyramus by Hades, god of the Underworld, as protection against Zeus and the other deities of Mount Olympus.



I also like research because it helps me learn more about my characters' backgrounds, especially the deities. Each Greek myth I read and rewrite to fit my story line helps me turn untouchable Olympic gods and goddesses into seemingly-real flesh and blood individuals just like you and me. They have likes and dislikes, habits, and pasts, sometimes good, sometimes bad, that drive their emotions in the present. Hermes, who for centuries spent his time upholding Zeus's star crossed curse until he met Cather, is one such character, driven by the love he feels for the mortal girl and the guilt he feels for all the lives he took at the hand of the curse. In Fathoms Above, we see a little more of this love and guilt mix as Hermes remembers the tale of Echo, another of Cather's tragic ancestors, and her love Narcissus, and hopes that his and Cather's story doesn't end up like theirs.



Want to read more about the research that went into Fathoms Above? Then stay tuned for next week’s blog, where I will talk about some of my favorite online research finds, including some special character insights on Athena, Hermes, and Cather. Until then, happy reading!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

♥ FATHOMS BELOW SPECIAL VALENTINE’S DAY BLOG ♥


 Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! J Normally, I would wait until the end of the week to post this. However, as I am going out of town with my daughter for a special Valentine’s outing this weekend, I will be MIA from my computer and other devices. So I figured I should go ahead and post it today.


For those of you who don’t know me, I am a HUGE holiday person. I love to decorate, bake, exchange gifts, celebrate with my family and friends, watch holiday specials, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. The hearts, the chocolates, the flowers, the cards and romance: I love it all, and this year, I wanted to share it with my readers.  So, for the next week only, the Fathoms Below e-book will be on sale for only $0.99! If you or someone you know are like me, and Valentine’s Day puts you in a romantic mood, then this YA paranormal romance centered around Greek mythology and fairy tales is the perfect addition to your holiday gift list! If you’re anti-Valentine’s Day, don’t worry! I’ve got that covered too! The tragic endings to the love stories in Fathoms Below will definitely help you not-celebrate this holiday of hearts. Find this special holiday deal on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo E-readers by clicking on the links below.



Nov 28, 2016



$0.99

I also wanted to share some of my FAVORITE Valentine’s cards this year. For those book-lovers like me, Marissa Meyer, author extraordinaire of The Lunar Chronicles and Heartless, has free printables of her Lunar Chronicles Valentine’s (for the pro and anti-Valentine hearts) posted on her blog! I gave these to all my friends and extended family (as well as kept one for myself lol), and they were a huge hit! Get to them for yourself by clicking on the link to Marissa’s blog.

http://www.marissameyer.com/blogtype/happy-valentines-day/

For those of you busy mom’s like me, here is a link to the free printables (noticing a pattern here? Yes, I love free DIY things!) I used for my daughter’s classroom Valentine’s this year: adorable pink, red, and black Tic-Tac-Toe cards by Nest of Posies, which I handed out with little boxes of white Tic-Tacs. (Get it? Tic-Tac-Toe, Tic-Tacs? Too cute!) These were a huge hit, as my daughter and all of her friends love games, and super easy to pull together! Just print out as many cards as you need (there are 4 to a sheet), cut them out, and attach your favorite candy to the front or back. Voila!


Another thing I love about Valentine’s Day is—you guessed it—the books! (Actually, that’s something else I love about every holiday, because it’s an excuse to buy, get, and receive books, but tomato, to-ma-to.) There are so many good romances, both pro and anti, to read around Valentine’s Day! Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, Antony and Cleopatra: and I have pulled together a list of recommended Valentine’s Day reads just for you, my fellow book lovers! Some of these yall have probably heard of, while others might be a little less well-known. But all of these are either my personal romantic favorites or are on my to-read list for this year. Plus, they all fit in either the pro or anti-Valentine category, or are just fun holiday-themed fluff. And yes, before you ask, I included Fathoms Below on this list. After all, what kind of author would I be if I didn’t love my own books enough to recommend them to other avid readers? J





Some other fun bookish Valentine-themed things I’ve done or will be doing this week? One, I am participating in Romance Week on Goodreads using the hashtag #RomanceWeek. Check out all of the love-related articles, quizzes, and 14-word author love stories (including one by yours truly!) by clicking on each of the links below. Or check out my Twitter feed at the bottom link for a full recap of all the fun stuff I did.

https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/810-it-s-romance-week-on-goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/524370-14-word-love-story

https://twitter.com/authorlauraholt


I participated in the IWC (Indie Writers Corporation) Valentine's Day Event on Facebook. It was so exciting getting to talk to actual, experienced romance authors like Natalie Bennett. If you missed this event, you can view it now at the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/events/725381740968413/permalink/731945270312060/?notif_t=event_mall_reply&notif_id=1486835559785209

I went on my first online book-promo scavenger hunt, hosted by the YA Giveaway Queens. These ladies are a truly amazing group of writers and book lovers, and the scavenger hunt was so much fun! Hopping from page to page, finding code words and entering giveaways? I was hooked from the get go! Needless to say, I didn’t get any work done this morning lol. This Valentine’s Day event will last all day today, so if you like hunting for buried treasure as much as my daughter and I, or if you just want some free books (both are totally acceptable reasons), then check out the scavenger hunt here.

https://gleam.io/XutuI/hot-new-reads-scavenger-hunt

Well, that’s all! Don’t forget that Fathoms Below is on sale for the next week only on all e-book devices, so get your copy at this special discounted price before the promotion ends! Just make sure you have some tissues on hand before you start reading. You’re probably going to need them. J Hope you all have a safe and happy (if not loving) Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Book Signings, Social Media, and Queries, Oh My!

Lots of exciting news, Fathoms Fans! I have spent the week doing lots of fun, bookish things. First, Fathoms Above went to my editor on the 1st! Yay!! I'm so excited to finally start the editing process on this book, and I absolutely can't wait to see the finished product! Three months can't go by fast enough lol, but for now, here's a little sneak peek at some of the research that went into Fathoms Above.



I sent out a brand new query for Fathoms Below (bites fingernails) and finished updating my Book Art board on Pinterest and added two more: Book Research and Character Inspiration. I love seeing what other authors used to create their books and how they view their characters, and I hope yall enjoy this look at mine as well. :)

https://uk.pinterest.com/holtlara2

I also created the first half in a two-part series of pictures on Instagram for a bookshelf tour through my house. This was a really fun little side project, inspired by all the fabulous photos posted by other bookstagram accounts like @jessbooklover and @lisa_lostinlit. One of my favorite things to do is share what I'm reading with other book-lovers, and talk with them about their favorite characters and reads, and this was a great way to do that! Plus, it gave me a reason to reorganize all my bookshelves, which needed it badly lol. Now when I go look for a book on one of them, I don't have to move other books out of the way!







I participated in Write On Con on Saturday, February 3, which was a totally awesome experience! There were so many fantastic articles and videos by acclaimed authors, editors, and illustrators that it was super hard to pick my favorites. I even got to participate in a Live Q&A with Literary Agent Emily S. Keyes from Fuse Literary. See the links to all my highlights from this online convention at my Twitter account below.

https://twitter.com/authorlauraholt

The best and biggest news I have, though, is that there is officially ANOTHER book signing for Fathoms Below in the works! This one will be held sometime in April at the M. E. Roden Memorial Library in Hawkinsville, GA, which I'm super excited about because it's my hometown library where I grew up learning to read and nourishing my love of reading. More updates on this, and the book signing at Hawkinsville High School, to come this week, along with more sneak peaks at the research that went into Fathoms Above - follow me on Instagram and Twitter to stay in the loop -, a special surprise promotion for Fathoms Below that will be happening around Valentine's Day, ARC giveaways of Fathoms Above, and maybe even a book trailer for Fathoms Above! Who knows? I'm feeling inspired. Until then, happy reading everyone!