Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Tale of another Kind - Guest Post/Review

Kai Emery likes to be indiscernible; however, his infatuation for his classmate, Sienna Fynn, has made his invisibility status all the more impossible to upkeep. His world spirals out of control when he discovers that he is a shapeshifting were-leopard, and finds himself unable to control his newfound anatomy. An unpredictable vampire enters his life, leading him down a path that soon reveals his destiny, and discloses another world, filled with magic and terrifying darkness. When he finds himself in danger from the god of magic and darkness for disobeying a curse bestowed upon his kind, forbidding him from falling in love with a human, he has to fight for survival, and protect everyone that he loves

Why teenagers connect so deeply with YA Paranormal Romance/Fantasy

by Leandi Cameron 
When I was a kid, there was nothing more magical than finding myself engrossed in a wonderful book filled with magical creatures and horror tales of demons, vampires and werewolves – back then some of these stories seemed to be awfully frightening, yet absolutely captivating.

It transported me to a world where I found myself escaping from the normal mundane life of being a teenager, living a life where the friends I had closest to me being the actual people who were my bullies.

I have grown up now, and have become a much stronger person, and have worked hard at finding my self-confidence again, even though, I must admit, bullies do still exist in the “grown-up” world as well. However, during that time, I realised, that my world of books saved me – whenever I was depressed, or felt down, alone in a corner with no one to call my friend, I knew that I could go home, and I would find a host of friends within my stack of books I picked up from the travelling library, and that is where I would stay for the rest of the day.

Books were my salvation – my escape to a place where I was safe and able to live out the person I was feeling deep inside – the romantic who wished I could find my dark prince who would woo me and sweep me off my feet, ready to save me from the pain I had to endure during my day at school; or the strong female character that wouldn’t allow anyone to stand in her way and who was strong enough to stand up for herself.

A soft person I used to be – yes, she still exists, I must admit, but through my books and the beautifully crafted, strong characters, I have found, one thing that stood out for me – they were determined, and fought for what they wanted in life. And, even though I was a teenager who some nights cried myself to sleep, my books helped me understand that if I wanted anything in life, I must fight for it.

And that I why I feel so connected to young adult (YA) books – they speak directly to the heart of teenagers and to what they go through on a daily basis and what they long so desperately for.

And now, there’s no question about it that this market has skyrocketed and the audience for these types of books are ready to indulge themselves in anything that might transport them to another place. There simply is no steady growth with the YA market – it has already exploded.

But, with that, the readers have become more demanding, the market has become more tough and, therefore, writers are expected to know more about their target markets – if they miss the mark, they simply won’t get the YA market “on their side”.

So, the question is, what are the keys to writing a successful YA novel? It isn’t that simple, but if writers delve deep into their past, and feel what they felt when they too were YAs, then they could bring to life a world that makes sense to any teenager who picks up their books. In a way, having a tough teenage life could even have been the best thing that has ever happened to me as a writer! It has formed me, and given me a greater understanding into the psyche of what teenagers feel when they are in love with a boy or a girl but the love isn’t mutual; it makes me understand how it feels to be the outcast; it makes me know just how insecure one can be about yourself – I’m not pretty, skinny, or curvy enough, or I have braces, my hair is ugly or I’m not popular enough. Having experienced these things makes a writer of YA books indispensible.

When you’re young, everything you feel is much deeper and much more intense. Song lyrics speak to you in a way a grown-up could never understand – because, face it, grown-ups don’t understand – they forget how it was to be there and feel pain, hurt and exhilaration so intensely.

Being a teenager is like electrical currents running through you at all times – nothing pleases you and everything pleases you – all at once. You find a first love and you will experience your first heartbreak, you make bad decisions and will be betrayed by those around you who you trust the most. These are all things that we all have been through, and what all teenagers go through still, today. Nothing has changed – yes, times have changed and kids have better equipment to read their books with or Playstations and PS Vita’s, but they still have to experience what we, grown-ups, had to once experience ourselves.

They have to find ways to make important decisions and deal with the consequences if their decisions were wrong. When they look around them, they all believe that they are the only ones who feel this way, but what they don’t know, is that every other teen around them have to go through the same things, and everyone will make a different decision to the tales of their own lives, which will shape who they ultimately become.

When you are a teenager, everything is utterly intense.

That, however, is why the YA paranormal romance genre is so intriguing to youngsters – it is dark and it speaks to their very core. It takes them to the place they feel inside, and it makes them be something or someone else for the 300 or more pages the book in hand is – a world of escapism.

And that is what YA paranormal romance / fantasy is about – it is dark, broody, mysterious and… intense – just like teenagers.

Author Bio: 
Leandi Cameron
Leandi Cameron is an award-winning journalist and assistant editor for the the Boksburg Advertiser, and has now also added the titles "author" and "publisher" on her plaque with the release of her first novel, A Tale of the Other Kind: A Therian Novel.
Cameron is from Johannesburg, South Africa, (maiden name Rostoll).

At school she wasn't the most popular girl, as she was a victim of bullying, but found comfort in her books, and soon discovered her talent for writing at a tender age.

She, therefore, resorted to spending most of her time writing poems, short stories and songs during her afternoons and evenings.

Cameron confesses that she filled her nights reading every young-adult horror, paranormal, romance and fantasy novel she could get her hands on.

Her father used to take her to a travelling library that passed by their house on a weekly basis, and she would stock up on her weekly dose of young adult novels.

Cameron, obtained her Honours Degree in Journalism at Tshwane University of Technology and soon found her feet in the print media industry, walking away with the Siemens Profile Award and being nominated for the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award and a National Science & Technology Fund Award.

In 2009, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis, which she began suffering from when she was only 12 years old.

"No one, including myself, took it too seriously, as we shrug it off as growing pains. However, the trauma of losing my father to a heart attack in 2006 rapidly fastened my symptoms and aggressiveness of the disease within my body," says Cameron.

Cameron then had to put her life on hold, and had to leave the magazine she was working at during that time, while the doctors went through a trial and error process to treat her disease.

While at home, she wrote as a freelance journalist and established a writing and editing service company.

This was when Cameron decided to work full-time on her debut novel, A Tale of the Other Kind: A Therian Novel. This novel wasn't the first one to have made it onto the pages of her laptop, but it was definitely the one that stuck.

A Tale of the Other Kind: A Therian Novel, hit the shelves in September 2012, and she is working on the second novel in the series, called A Therian Struggle.

The story of Kai Emery, plays off in Sabie. He finds out that he is part man and part wereleopard (shapeshifter), and falls in love with the school beauty Sienna. He then has to fight for survival and protect everyone that he loves from danger. It is an interesting read for anyone who enjoys young-adult paranormal fantasy. However, this book is not just about paranormal romance, it has a rich cultural history and mythological background, deeply entrenched into the core of the story.

"When I write, I lived out every character, and each one has a bit of me in them," says Cameron.

Cameron also published her debut novel herself by establishing an independent publishing division within her multi-discipline business, House of LeaVik, which she co-owns with her sister Vikki Rostoll-Olivier.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA Paranormal Fantasy
Rating – PG13
More details about the author
Connect with Leandi Cameron on Facebook & Twitter

Jen's Review

Cute story - I liked the paranormal parts that were involved. Very different in every way.

Kai is a 17 year old kid about to turn 18. In the beginning of this book, we are struggling to figure out what was going on along with Kai.

Sienna, the girl he's been crazy in love with since she moved into their town, was involved with James, Her boyfriend who had hurt her, physically. Kai isn't sure what the pull was, but as soon as he saw what was going on, he stepped in and they fraught.

well ever since the fight, Kai's body has been going through some strange things. Every time he gets upset, he gets really dizzy and painful joints, and he just doesn't know what to do about it.

It isn't until Sienna finally agrees to go out with him, that he figures out what he really is.
When Sienna's life is in danger, his body transforms and he tries to save her. But she gets hurt.
Taking her to the hospital is all he could do for her, that and leave her alone. After all, since he doesn't know what' going on with him, he's afraid he's going to hurt her.

Well that doesn't go over very well for Sienna. She's upset and wants an explanation. But since Kai doesn't even know what's going on with him, there is no way he could explain things to her.

That's when Astrid shows up. Astrid is a Vampire of sorts, but she wasn't created, she was born the same way Kai was. They may have different shifting abilities, but they are made of the same characteristics.. Hibirds, or shapshifters, whatever you want to call them, they are only part human.

Astrid has a lot of answers, but keeping her in one spot isn't easy to do. Kai goes through a lot trying to find out more about his ability and soon feels like he can trust himself to be around Sienna again.

But Astrid makes her appearance and lets Kai know that being together with Sienna is a BIG mistake!
But it's too late, Kai already showed himself to Sienna, and Quinn found out about it..

Duh Duh Dummmmmmmm

Really a cute story, I struggled with some of the reading though. It's targeted probably for ages 13 + but it's told in a teenage guys POV - I'm not sure if that's why, knowing teenage boys myself and somewhat what goes on in their minds, they don't do the detail thing, so reading this story, I feel like it's flashing around and leaving some things out.

But other than that, it was really a fun story to read. The different types of characters in this story was fun to read about. I think Ogel is my favorite though :)
Fun start to a cute new series :) I'm anxious to find out what will happen in the next book !

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