books

Spotlight: Tune in Tomorrow – Randee Dawn

Tune in Tomorrow [ISBN-13: 978-1786186300, August 23, 2022, Solaris/Rebellion] by Randee Dawn is a curious, calamitous, cockamamie story of a small town girl and the greatest mythic reality show ever.
    Starr Weatherby came to New York to become… well, a star. But after years of unsuccessful struggling, she’s offered a big role – on a show no one has ever heard of. An over 400-year-old reality TV/docusoap, Tune in Tomorrow is shot beyond the “Veil” by mythical creatures, stars humans – and “streams” out to a fanatical audience of fantastic creatures, who are positive that they are getting a peek into real human lives. And in a way, they are.

But Starr’s transformation from astounded newcomer to fan favorite is hardly smooth: A desperate, devious diva wants her gone; a handsome Lothario’s advances are suspect; her assistant is organizing a strike – and was her predecessor dropped into a bottomless pit? Starr vows to do whatever it takes to keep her dream job, but her struggle to save the show quickly becomes a fight… for her life.

Weaving together a unique combination of pop culture, fantasy and humor, Tune in Tomorrow takes readers on a roller coaster ride behind the scenes to see how the TV sausage gets made. But amid all the wackiness, tough questions arise: What is “reality”? And what might it mean to win a prize that makes you immortal?
    “Tune in Tomorrow is a book packed with some of the things that make me happiest: TV, divas behaving badly, being torn between two lovers, magical creatures and mangoes. Yes, mangoes,” Dawn says. “It’s a nutty tale of redemption and renewals, and I’m hoping everyone will tune in!”
    A funny, thrilling and mysterious adventure into the alternate world of reality television, Tune in Tomorrow is perfect for fans of Jasper Fforde, Terry Pratchett, and Christopher Moore. 

Maryland-born Randee Dawn is now a Brooklyn-based entertainment journalist who scribbles about the glam world of entertainment by day, then spends her nights crafting wild worlds of fiction. She’s a former editor at The Hollywood Reporterand Soap Opera Digest, and these days covers the wacky world of show business for Variety, The Los Angeles Times, Emmy Magazine and Today.com. Dawn’s obsessive love of all things Law & Order led her to appear in one episode and later co-author The Law & Order SVU: Unofficial Companion.  Her short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and online publications; she also dreams up trivia questions for BigBrain Games. Once a month she can be found hosting Rooftop Readings at Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn, and when not writing she’s focused on her next travel destination, and hangs out with her wonderful, funny husband and fluffy Westie. She admits she reads way too many books and consumes far too many mangoes.

Find Randee on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, BookBub, Goodreads, and her website RandeeDawn.com

Tune in Tomorrow is available for pre-order through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and anywhere books are sold.


Question: Tell us what Tune in Tomorrow is all about?

Randee Dawn: There’s the story part of the book, which is about a reality TV show run by mythical creatures, for mythical creatures … but starring humans! They just find our antics as charming and hilarious and intriguing as we do theirs: We make movies and TV shows about castles and dragons and quests and fauns; well, they love hearing about our mundane things like clipping the hedges or embezzlement or adultery or changing light bulbs! But in a bigger sense it’s also about what it might mean to be immortal, and how “reality” might mean different things to different people. And it’s about finding your inner Starr/star!

Q: You typically write non-fiction – what inspired you to write this story and take on a whole new genre?

Dawn: I have always wanted to write a novel. I actually had written several other books about fantasy and fey creatures, but they tended to be very serious – and didn’t sell to publishers. My brilliant agent gently suggested, “Maybe you should try something different.” Humor is tough, and I had no idea if I could write it successfully, if not write it all. But once I dove into Starr’s world and heard her in my head, the silliness came naturally. 

Q: Reality TV and soap operas aren’t often considered “prestige” TV – is this a mistaken perception? What are your thoughts on that, as a pop-culture writer?

Dawn: Most all of the entertainment business is goofy and strange. But it is also an endeavor people take seriously – soaps and reality shows are no different. They are their own art form, and require hard work. And, time has shown that people continue to love them!

Q: What do you hope readers will walk away with after reading Tune in Tomorrow?

Dawn: Early on, Starr gives herself a pep talk by recalling a particularly strange improv routine she had to do once: pretend to be a singing mango. It was in that strange circumstance that she was “discovered,” and also where she truly fell in love with acting. So she tells herself throughout the book, whenever she needs an extra dose of courage: Be the mango. Sometimes, being the mango isn’t sufficient to save her, but I hope that amid all the pratfalling and puns and general shenanigans that people come away feeling that they, too, have an inner mango. And all they have to do is tap into it to get that extra push to make their dreams come true.

Q: Out of all the fruits, why a mango? 

Dawn: Because it is the most delicious of all, and I am somewhat obsessed. Also, it has a delightful name that’s just fun to say!

Q: How do you get inside your character’s heads during the writing process? 

Dawn: I have the whole movie of what my stories are about in my head as I’m writing, and though I don’t think about this consciously, if I need to be in a character’s head, I just start seeing the world through their eyes, as if I’ve put on virtual reality goggles. That really helps. Also, if I do write something that doesn’t seem right for a particular character to do or say, it will just feel wrong. That’s when I know I have to go back and make it true to the person.

Q: How did your background as a national pop-culture journalist influence the way you wrote Tune in Tomorrow?

Dawn: Often, authors are told “write what you know,” which is how we as a society end up with a lot of 20-year-olds writing memoirs. Which is fine! But limiting. When you have no other expertise, you write about yourself. It took me years in the entertainment business, and years removed from covering the soap opera world, to feel ready to use that as my backdrop. And yes, it’s true: Tune in Tomorrow has its roots in soap opera. Because that’s what reality shows are, anyway! Soaps are wonderful ways to tell story, and even if they look like Keeping Up with the Kardashians or Selling Sunset or Grey’s Anatomy today, all of those formats have their roots in the greats, like General Hospital, Days of Our Lives or The Young and the Restless. I wrote what I know!

Q: What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

Dawn: Be in it for the long haul. Don’t expect that your first draft will be the final draft, or even the thing that you first publish. The first draft is you telling yourself the story – I heard that a long time ago, and it’s incredibly true. After that, it’s about making it into a story that’s ready for the world to read, and that can take a lot longer than you’d expect.

Q: What is next for you? Is there another installment in Tune in Tomorrow, or what can readers expect?

Dawn: A lot depends on how Tune in Tomorrow fares. If it sells well, I’ve got part of a sequel planned that takes place in some of the other TV shows and movies that mythics have been cooking up. But there’s always a chance I’ll go back to a novel I finished during the pandemic lockdown and get it smartened up to show to my agent – about a world where all the superheroes are women.

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New Book Alert: Last to Love – Alexa Whitewolf

Today we’re celebrating the upcoming release of Last to Love by Alexa Whitewolf! Read on for an exclusive sneak peek, and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

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Last to Love (Moonlight Rogues #4)

He’s the last one standing… So they sent the best one to break him.

Lucas

Love is for fools. I left all that wuss shit behind, and no fairy-like, smiling godmother will change my mind. I’ve got enough on my mind with a beta pushing my buttons and a town to keep safe. Never mind these urges inside me surfacing again, when I thought I’d buried them for good.

My wolves are falling in amore like bowling pins, and no amount of reasoning will make them stop. Now the third one’s gone over the moon, and they all expect me to be the last to love.

Only, they’ve got another thing coming. ‘Cause the only way I’m falling in love? Is over my dead body.

Monica

One more job, they said. One tiny thing I have to do, to bring the prodigal son back home in the warm arms of his beloved family. They said it would be easy. They gave me all the tools. But the minute I’m facing Lucas, I know all those plans have just failed. Burned, thrown out the window, type of failed. And I fully expect he’ll throw me out on my ass. So why is it he’s suddenly more interested in getting me in bed, rather than exiled? And what happens when I fall for it, but it’s too late to stop the events I’ve set into motion?

Book IV in a paranormal shifter series filled with werewolves of all kinds, feisty females who stand up to them, and enough suspense to make it interesting. Can be read as a standalone for the romance, but for a better experience it’s suggested you read the full series first.


Alexa Whitewolf is a fiction writer, newspaper columnist of daily issues and author of the critically acclaimed Moonlight Rogues shifter series.
Alexa has been a lifelong writer and first began creating other worlds and characters at the ripe age of 12. Growing up in the Transylvania region surrounded by epic mountains and a never ending stream of legends and stories was bound to create an overactive imagination. This shines through Ms. Whitewolf’s writing by creating worlds filled with unique folklore, life wisdom and plenty of furry creatures.
An avid traveler, Alexa writes under a penname and spends her days between an office job and writing, in Canada’s capital when she’s not flying somewhere with lush landscapes and plenty of hiking trails.
Her series focus on strong heroines, kind yet sexy men, fights of good and evil and the never-ending learning curve of humanity’s strong – and weak – points. Romanian folklore is intertwined with her writing, more notably in her shifter romance series, the Moonlight Rogues. Her other series draw on world mythology, such as the Avalon myth and Arthurian legend (the Avalon Chronicles) and Ancient Egypt (The Sage’s Legacy).

 

 

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To win a signed copy of Last to Love, click the link to enter the Giveaway and follow the instructions there.

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New Book Alert: Till Human Voices Wake Us – C.S. Johnson


Sometimes the difference between reality and insanity is only a matter of absurdity.

There is nothing Milo Bishop fears more than the thought that he is going insane.

Having grown up hearing his Uncle Jay’s stories about the strange mermaids Milo never had a reason to believe they were actually true. But when a near-death experience gives Milo a vision of a mermaid calling to him for help, Milo is forced to test his uncle’s claims. And when he winds up in Rasulka, the mermaid community tucked away, deep under the southern California seas, the question of his uncle’s sanity is the least of his concerns.

For in the heart of Rasulka, a growing whirlpool in the ocean-sky and the terrarium’s changing climate — along with a discarded prophecy that says their end will come when humans appear — all suggest that the end is near. Along with his uncle and best friend, Moss, and Eluia, a young mermaid who grew up hearing myths about humans, Milo has only hours to sort through his doubts and insecurities and face down unimaginable terrors if he is going to find his way home — before Rasulka, and everyone in it, is lost forever.

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C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family.

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Are you awake?”

Much like the time I’d woken up in the hospital, I was beckoned back to reality by a familiar voice—but instead of my mother, this time it was her voice.

Am I dreaming? Am I dead?

I could hardly believe it. My eyes were covered with sand and dirt, and I squirmed as something nudged my foot, and hard.

“What is it?”

A new voice spoke from the other side of me. This one was a male voice, one that sounded older and much more disgruntled.

“I … can’t say.” She was the one who answered, and I knew from the gentle innocence of her voice, she hadn’t been the one who’d been prodding me.

“Well, is it alive, Eluia?”

Eluia.

Her name was Eluia, and before I could open my eyes to see her, I already knew she was the one I’d seen before. She was the one I’d spoken to while I was saving Moss from the whale.

“Yes, it seems so,” Eluia said. A soft whisper of a touch grazed my forehead. A shiver went through me at its chilling warmth.

“Let me see.”

“Don’t poke it with that stick!”

Right on cue, something stabbed my cheek, right underneath my goggles.

“Ouch,” I grumbled, tasting the salty thickness of air and musk through the mask of my wetsuit. “Watch it.”

“It’s making noises.” Eluia’s voice rang with excitement. “See, it is alive.”

“Hey!” I yelped, as another jolt of pain hit me, as I was prodded in the ribs.

“Ceros!” Eluia’s rebuke came quick. “Stop. You’re hurting it.”

“Just because it’s alive doesn’t mean it has value,” Ceros scoffed.

I didn’t have to see Ceros to know I didn’t think I was going to like him.

Ceros.

He was in one of Uncle Jay’s stories.

That moment was too surreal; I found myself debating with myself, torn between whether or not I was going to open my eyes and find out what destiny had in store for me.

Uncle Jay had told me before that some people don’t want to heal. But as I lay there, with my back to the ground and my limbs all sprawled out in different directions, I realized that it wasn’t just healing that people didn’t want. I didn’t want to be stripped of my ideas about life—and I didn’t want to take a leap of faith into a new world where things could be different or frightening.

“Just because that’s your opinion, doesn’t mean I value it,” Eluia murmured under her breath. From the sound of it, Ceros was already walking away, so I doubted he heard her.

Hearing her voice again—and the spirited defiance behind it—I decided I wanted to know the truth about her, if nothing else.

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New Book Alert: Vile – Keith Crawford


Elianor Paine is a Magistrate of the Peace in the Kingdom of Trist and a republican secret agent. She has 6 days to subvert her investigation, supplant war-hero Lord Vile, then coerce his adult children to start a revolution, before her masters discover the truth and have her killed. Just how far is she willing to go? And can she change the world without changing herself?

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Keith Crawford is a retired Navy Officer, a disabled veteran, a Doctor of Law & Economics, a barrister, a stay-at-home Dad, and a writer. He has written for collections of scholarly works, academic journals, and newspapers including The Economist. He has had more than thirty plays recorded or produced for stage, been listed in a variety of short story competitions (in spite of his hatred of short stories), and runs a radio production company, which regularly runs competitions promoted by the BBC to help find, develop and encourage new writers.

In 2014 he was lecturing at Sciences Po in Paris and negotiating a contract to write a book on banking regulation, when he and his wife discovered to their delight that they were due to have their first child. Rather than writing more work that would only be read by his poor students, and then misquoted by politicians, he decided he would do his bit to stick his fingers up at the patriarchy and stay home to look after his own kids rather than the grown-up kids of rich people. Two more children swiftly followed. Keith has discovered that if you recite Stick Man backwards you get the lyrics to AD/DC’s Highway to Hell.

This (looking after the kids, not satanic rites with Stick Man) allowed him to support his wife’s career, which appears to be heading for the stratosphere, and also gave him the space to write about swordfights and explosions. And spaceships. All of which are more fun than banking regulation. As an extension to his work in radio production, he set up his own small press, and his first novel, Vile, is due to be published in December 2019. More novels will swiftly follow, like buses in countries that don’t privatise the bus companies.

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