Thursday, October 3, 2013

VBT - The Neiko Adventure Sago by A.K. Taylor


1)      First, tell us about yourself – where  you live, your family, and those sorts of details.

 I live in the backwoods of Middle Georgia.  I’ve lived most of my life in the backwoods, so I have spent/spend a lot of time outdoors and in the woods. Living this way also cultivated an overactive imagination. I was a natural worldbuilder as a child. I love adventure.
I am married, but I don’t have any human children right now. I have a Belgian malinois named Shadow and quite a few snakes (yes plural). I used to have an iguana and a bearded dragon at one time. I also have a large red-footed tortoise name Tori. She’s about ten pounds and her shell alone is about the size of a football. My husband rescued her about 4 years ago at a job site, and we’ve had her ever since. We both love animals and we seek to be wildlife rehabilitators and enthusiasts.
I am a full time writer and a blogger. I also started a new business this year: Soaring Eagle Publicity.
I love being outdoors and am an avid outdoorsman. I play musical instruments, draw, write, love the natural sciences (chemistry is my top favorite), love animals, read, play video games.

2)      How long have  you been writing?

 I’ve been writing in general since about age 8, doing short stories and poems. I decided to try out a novel at age 16, so that is when Neiko’s Five Land Adventure was born. Escape from Ancient Egypt followed in behind that, and it just exploded after that.
I started writing because my high school social life was nonexistent or sucked at best. This was the time during my life we lived in the suburbs, so I was cut off from the woods. Being a teenager meant I couldn’t embark on my childhood adventures like I used to. So, then I wrote began to write about them and writing gave me to portal to dive into them once again and escape my miserable reality. I had to fill the void with something, so I remembered how I loved to write as a kid and put the two together.

3)      Do you have a favorite place to write?

  I can write just about anywhere and my workstation is portable, so basically anywhere that is free of noise and has a comfy seat. Contrary to what you may think, I mostly do my brainstorming in the woods, not write. The laptop battery won’t hold up long enough or the bugs want to annoy me. I can’t concentrate on writing when I want to play slap music, lol.

4)      Why did you decide to write Neiko’s Five Land Adventure and Escape from Ancient Egypt?

 Part of the reason was answered in question 2. Another reason was to write the book that didn’t exist at the time, and the book I would have wanted to read. I wanted a fantasy book with a lot of action, and those were hard to come by, especially for YA and MG readers. I was a mature reader for my age and I wanted something that wasn’t for babies, but skip all the adult baggage. A little romance is okay, but I don’t like it a whole lot. I also wanted to put in my other interests. Before I knew it I had an entire series on my hands.

5)      Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

 I suppose Neiko, the main character. We’re almost twins, and she gets to do the things I dream of doing. I do put her through mortal hell and later immortal hell, but she somehow is able to make it through, but not unchanged. Her tenacity, her ability to attract trouble, strength, bravery, and her quick wit are some of my favorite qualities. The fact that she’s Native American is fun. She’s a better shot and a better tracker than I am, too.

6)      How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

 I would have to say Francesco. He is the type of person you learn to hate. He is loyal to no one but himself. He only serves someone if they have something he needs or wants, and if you are in his way he will try to get rid of you. He has a compulsive obsession with Ramesses II and that is partly what leads to the second book besides him getting his revenge on Neiko for something she did in book #1. You just have to find out for yourself how diabolical he is and find out if you hate him, too.

7)      Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

 I work with a critique partner and I hire a content editor to patch the plot holes and that kind of thing, but for the most part I do my own proofreading in the meantime and after my crit partner and editor do their thing.

8)      What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

 I like to read, do something outdoors, or play a video game.

9)      Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

 I read when I can in between everything else, and it is still a lot. My favorites are Terry Brooks, Brian Jacques, and Carolyn Keene

10)   What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.

How does you illustrations match the descriptions of the characters and places so accurately?

 I am directly involved with the creation of the illustrations. I provide the illustrator with sketches of my characters and a schematic of the setting which he/she puts it together. Because I love to draw, I had to use that talent for something!

Neiko’s Five Land Adventure
The Neiko Adventure Saga, Book One
A.K. Taylor

Genre: YA Fantasy Action Adventure
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Date of Publication: September 1, 2010
ISBN: 978-1936198856
Number of pages: 354
Word Count: Approx 101K
Cover Artist: A.K. Taylor, Kristeen

Book Description:

The Indians and the Crackedskulls are locked in the turmoil of war and presently in a stalemate. Her enemies, Raven and Bloodhawk, have come up with a scheme to up the ante and break the stalemate into their favor. Neiko later finds out that a land she thought she had only imagined is actually real and contains a legendary and otherworldly evil within it. Not only that, she becomes trapped there and must escape the world, the people within it, and the sinister evil within.

Neiko must find her way back home and turn the tables on her enemies. Can she come back home and escape the evil that seeks to claim her?

Neiko’s Five Land Adventure  Excerpt:

After her eyes adjusted to the glare, the two friends could see there was a cavern that was full of perfect crystals. They were in all shapes, sizes, and colors and they came out of the walls, floor, and ceiling. The beauty was spellbinding. “Wow! If I found this in Hawote, then I’d be rich! This is a rock collector’s dream come true!”

“Yeah, but didn’t you say that there were writings about Ramses somewhere in here? I wonder where the ruins of Shadazar are,” Quickstrike rambled.

“Somewhere in here, I guess, and I think we’re close. Let’s keep walking and look at the walls. If there are any branch-offs, then we’ll split up. If you find anything, then come looking.”

“Actually, I’d rather stick together, so we won’t get separated.”

“Good idea, well, I like that idea better too,” she said as they journeyed deep into the caverns. They walked and looked at the walls, but all they found were arrangements and shapes created by crystal; they gleamed and sparkled when the light hit them like multicolored diamonds. Luckily for them, there were no branch-offs, and the caverns appeared as if they were carved into the crystal. New formations were growing in the hewn walls.

Neiko found several broken pieces on the cavern floor; she picked them up and slipped them into her pocket.

“Look, there’s an exit up ahead,” said Quickstrike as he saw a break in the glamour and a darkened cave. As they entered the door, darkness overtook them and there were ruins just ahead. “We found what’s left of ancient Shadazar!”

 “Yeah, and we have an underground lake to cross. I wonder what’s on the other side.”

“I dunno, but I’ve noticed the further we go in, the further we go back in time, so that could mean the writings are probably after the lake. How do we get across?”

“There’s a boat right there.” They climbed into the boat, and Neiko got the oars and began to paddle while Quickstrike carried the torch. They could see broken columns and the remains of a bridge that possibly was a shortcut long ago towering over them. She kept paddling, and then they saw a waterfall just ahead. Neiko paddled around it and parked the boat on the bank of the hidden cavern. When they entered the hallway, there were pictures and writings. “Neiko, look! We found it!”

“Hmm,” she said as she looked at the letters which were surprisingly in the alphabet of her tribe.

“Well, it’s written in English, but it is written in the alphabet of my tribe. This will be easy for me to translate.”

“That’s good. So, what does it say?”

Neiko looked at the battling figures and the dark, shadowy form of the Dark Pharaoh fighting and slaying them. She ran her finger under the letters as she read. “This is talking about something called the Good Pharaohs. It says that God created powerful beings called Pharaohs to protect the universe from evil.

Escape from Ancient Egypt
The Neiko Adventure Saga, Book Two
A.K. Taylor

Genre: YA Fantasy Action Adventure/ Historical Fantasy, time travel
Publisher: Telemachus Press 
ISBN: 978-1484107355
Number of pages: 290
Word Count: Approx. 90K 
Cover Artist: A.K. Taylor, Steve Himes

Book Description: 

Seeking his revenge on Neiko for exposing him, Francesco banishes Neiko into ancient Egypt just like he did her friends eleven years ago. During her stay there, she unravels the mystery of what happened to her four friends. Now she’s faced with a bigger problem—how to get home. After a series of unfortunate events, Neiko is now entangled with Pharaoh Ramesses II. Francesco also comes to make sure their fates are sealed. Can Neiko and her friends beat impossible odds and return to Hawote and back to the present?

Escape from Ancient Egypt Excerpt: 

Neiko’s vision turned from the green light to the world spinning around her in dizzying speed. Neiko wasn’t moving, but she felt like she was in freefall—like someone had cut the cable from an elevator and she was plummeting with it. Descending in what—space and time? The evergreen and colorful deciduous vegetation of the Hawote woodlands changed to a desert with a river with some greenery and palms nearby. The cool autumn air of Hawote in October transformed into stifling, searing, dry heat. Pyramids, sphinxes, and strange statues spun around her after her house, porch, and front yard disappeared within the vortex. It was nighttime in Hawote, but the sun rose and set as time flew by—from west to east--backwards. Beneath her bare feet the wood from her front porch turned to nothing then into hot, soft sand.
Neiko’s world stopped spinning, and the sun was high in the sky. Neiko watched the sun to be sure it didn’t move again. Wherever she ended up, she guessed the time must be about high noon there judging by the sun’s position in the sky after a few moments of observation. The heat was intense, and she discovered she must be somewhere far from home. “Where?” was the ultimate question. A gust of wind blew the feathers in her long, black hair. Her hair wrapped around her face, and she brushed it back. Sweat beaded out on her body, and she tugged at her shirt and headband. “Phew! It’s hot out here! Where am I--Death Valley?” she asked. Death Valley was the only desert place she thought of off the top of her head. She had never been there, but she’d read and watched TV programs about the place. She looked around, and a city was only a few feet away. She could see the buildings down below from the high dune where she stood. She took a deep breath and fingered the fringed sheath of her knife to reassure her confidence—without thinking and by instinct. Then after a few more seconds, she trudged down to the city in the soft sand from the dune to go find some answers.
Neiko entered the city still dressed in her buckskin, decorated warrior clothes and painted for war. As she took in the sights and from the confusion, she had forgotten she was armed. Her machete was sheathed to her back, and so was her knife on her side. Incense, perfumes, and music filled the air. She didn’t recognize any of the smells, but the music seemed to be like Egyptian reenactments in movies. The buildings were white alabaster covered in brilliant wall paintings. Some men rode on camels like horses and others led them by a leash. Chariots cantered by. Neiko looked around in amazement. This ruled out Death Valley, Arizona. Neiko lifted her eyes to the sun to get a bearing on north. North was as good of a direction as any to begin a search for answers. After her eyes fell from the sun and to the north, she could see the Pyramids of Giza towering in the distance. She recognized them instantly. She had seen enough pictures and documentaries on the monuments—they were unmistakable. Even though they were miles away, they towered above the city and in view. This definitely wasn’t Death Valley.
In that case I can get on the first flight home, she thought. She believed that she had landed in Cairo. This city came to mind because it's the only one close to the Pyramids of Giza. Then she realized she didn’t have any money as she put her hands in the pockets of her buckskin shorts and only felt the house key. She had left her wallet in the car back at home when she left from Phoenix’s house after the battle.
 “Well, I can probably make up some story that I was abducted or something—which is sort of true. Really funny, Francesco. I guess you meant no way back since I’m broke. I’ll hitchhike back to Hawote if I have to. I’ll scrounge around to see if I can find some change for a pay phone on the road,” she remarked to herself, and maybe the phone book would have some information on where to find an airport or something. But, then again, would the phonebook be written in English or Arabic? It was a chance she had to take. The worst that could happen was not getting anywhere.
Neiko began walking to find help, change, a pay phone, the U.S. Embassy, an airport, or whatever she could find first. After a few more minutes of exploring, she recognized the clothing of the people: white linen kilts, some wore robes and fine jewelry, some wore headcloths while others did not. No one seemed to be dressed like the Arab residents of 21st century Egypt. “Why is everyone dressed like ancient Egyptians?” she asked herself. She wondered if this was some sort of a cult or a weird secret society that lived like the Amish in Cairo.
A small group of armed soldiers marched in front of her, but they didn’t pay any attention to her. They carried swords, shields, spears, and were dressed in ancient Egyptian armor. She had seen it in books and movies. They weren’t carrying guns or dressed in desert camouflage BDUs like Egyptian soldiers of the 21st century.
She headed farther in to the marketplace. It was obvious since people had shops and bazaars selling goods. People were yelling and haggling. People thrust things at Neiko trying to entice her to buy. Neiko put up her hands and shook her head. She couldn’t understand a word anyone was saying. Funny, no one seemed to be selling T-shirts, souvenirs, or that type stuff for tourists. Quite frankly, no one seemed to be selling any maps.
Neiko walked up to a man who was a merchant at a bazaar. He was selling all manner of fine jewelry. Heavy collars, bracelets, necklaces, arm pieces, earrings were on display. All gaudy like the ancient Egyptians liked. “Excuse me, can you tell me where I am? I seem to be lost. Do you know where I can find a map or where the airport is? A phone?” she asked as she made her hand like a phone and put it to her ear; her thumb the earpiece and her pinkie the mouthpiece.
The man looked at her startled because of her strange appearance and because he couldn’t understand her. He was dressed in linen like everyone else and sported some of that same Egyptian bling since he was a successful jeweler.
“That’s a little out of style, don’t you think? I mean, guys don’t wear eyeliner…and, that skirt and that sheet on your head are not how people dress nowadays. People dress like ancient Egyptians only on Halloween. Last I checked it was still three weeks away,” Neiko said to the man as she shook her head.

 About the Author:
A.K. Taylor grew up in the backwoods of Georgia where she learned about nature. She enjoys hunting and fishing, beekeeping, gardening, archery, shooting, hiking, and has various collections. She also has interest in music, Native American history and heritage, Egyptian history, and the natural sciences. A.K. Taylor has been writing and drawing since the age of 16. A.K. Taylor has graduated from the University of Georgia with a biology degree, and she shares an interest in herpetology with her husband.

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2 ebook sets of Neiko’s Five Land Adventure and Escape from Ancient Egypt (open to everyone)

1 Autographed Set of Neiko’s Five Land Adventure and Escape from Ancient Egypt (US Only)

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Schedule The Neiko Adventure Saga by A.K. Taylor
September 30- October 28

September 30 Interview
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

October 1 Spotlight
Lis Les Livres

October 2 Spotlight
Books & Tales.

October 3 Interview
Dalene’s Book Reviews

October 4 Spotlight
Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog

October 7 Interview
Author Leah DW

October 8 Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books

October 8 Spotlight
Kat de Falla

October 9 Spotlight
Indie Designz

October 10 Spotlight

October 11 Interview
Author Karen Swart

October 14 Spotlight
Rose & Beps Blog -

October 15 Spotlight
Eclipse Reviews

October 16 Guest blog (review later)
Offbeat Vagabond

October 17 Spotlight
The Writerly Exploits of Mara Valderran

October 18 Interview
happy tails and tales

October 21 Guest blog
BookwormBridgette's World

October 21 Spotlight
Book Suburbia

October 22 Spotlight Book 1
Sapphyria's Book Reviews

October 23 Spotlight Book 2
Sapphyria's Book Reviews

October 24 review book 1
Book Suburbia

October 25 Spotlight
Mythical Books

October 28 Spotlight
Ramblings of a Book Lunatic

October 28 Interview
Reading in Twilight

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Neiko's Five Land Adventure by A.K. Taylor

Neiko's Five Land Adventure

by A.K. Taylor

Giveaway ends October 28, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Escape from Ancient Egypt by A.K. Taylor

Escape from Ancient Egypt

by A.K. Taylor

Giveaway ends October 28, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.


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