Blog Tour and Guest Post: Erin Rhew “Things I Didn’t Know About Being a Writer” and The Outlanders Promo! + Giveaway

I honestly didn’t think I was capable of coming up with a longer title than that, but I proved myself wrong. Whoa! I’m impressed with myself.

Now, I’m here to share some info about an author named Erin Rhew and her books, The Prophecy and The Outlanders, mostly about the second one in that sentence. The Prophecy is Erin Rhew’s first book of her Fulfillment series, and recently went through a cover change and a republishing and you can learn all about that here. Definitely check that out and then head back to learn more about Erin and the SECOND book, The Outlanders.

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Exclusive Interview with the Ultimate Fangirl, Sasha Alsberg!

If you’re part of the Mortal Instruments fandom at all, generic and are on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook…well, I’m sure you’ve heard of Sasha Alsberg.

Sasha is the brains behind @TheShadowhunters on Instagram, an admin of Better in Black, and part of the blog Fandom News. She is also very well known for being Lily Collins doppelgänger.


I’m not kidding. The girl looks SO much like Lily Collins, it took me awhile to learn to distinguish the two. Because of her uncanny resemblance to Lily, and her humor and charm in her Instagram videos, Sasha has grown to 28,000 followers on Instagram, and counting. But I’ve been curious, and I know you guys probably have to, to know the story behind the girl on Instagram. So I emailed Sasha, and we set up an interview, and now, everyone, sit back and learn more about this awesome fangirl!

Sara: Most people know you as Lily Collin’s doppelganger or as the admin of TheShadowhunters, but we don’t really know you. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Sasha: My name is Sasha Alsberg (as most of you know), and I live in the beautiful city of Chicago (Divergent). I go to an all girls high school, which I’ll be graduating out of soon, and I hope to go to college somewhere on the west coast. I have five sisters, and I’m the baby of the bunch! I’ve been in love with books for as long as I can remember, and it wasn’t until about two years ago that I decided to take my love for books online!

Sara: How did you get into the Shadowhunter Chronicles? When did you discover them and how did they become so important to you? 

Sasha: It’s a funny story actually. A year and a half ago, my friend told me to read the TMI books but I was in a dystopian phase at the time, so it wasn’t until the summer, when I went to Europe for a month, that I actually read City of Bones. Right then, I knew these books were something special. I read the whole series in one week and I decided once I got home, I had to make a TMI Instagram account. That’s where it all started, and @TheShadowhunters was made!

Sara: What is your favorite book in the Shadowhunter Chronicles, and who is your favorite character? 

Sasha: The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass, and Clary Fray :)


Sara: How did you discover you looked like Lily Collins? What was it like meeting her, and the rest of the cast members? 

Sasha: I didn’t really think much of it until one day, I posted a photo of myself on my account and my followers told me.

It was surreal, I still cannot believe I met her. The whole experience was amazing. When Lily and Jamie spotted me in the crowd during the Q&A, I was stunned! I was especially surprsied when Lily wanted to take a photo of me and her on her cell phone! Jamie was just shocked; there’s a YouTube video of his reaction when he saw me; its quite funny.

When I met them again in Chicago, Lily told me how she sent the photo of me and her to her mother, and even her mother said we look alike!

I was still in shock when Lily said, “its crazy how we look alike!”

Sara: How does it feel to know that people recognize you from your instagram, your blog and from being Lily’s doppelganger? What is the coolest thing to happen because of that? 

Sasha: Its such a compliment because Lily is gorgeous and so self confident. It really makes me smile when I get compared to somebody like that.

Lots of cool things have happened because of it. I do cosplay as Clary Fray, and it has really opened doors for me. For example. I’m traveling to Kansas City this weekend for a TMI cosplay photo shoot, portraying Clary Fray because I look like Lily. It’s just all very exciting!

The photo shoot took place this past weekend, and the photos were done by Carmen Desiree Seda. You can see photos from it on Carmen’s photography facebook page, on her instagram account, and on Sasha’s instagram account and blog


Sara: What are some other authors and books that you enjoy to read? 

Sasha: Divergent by Veronica Roth, Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Hunger games by Suzanne Collins, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Sara: What are your goals for the future? I know that totally sounds like a college admissions essay exam haha but what are your goals, do you want to travel, what are your career aspirations? 

Sasha: My goal would probably be getting into a west coast college, going to conventions and studying social media or book publishing (marketing). I would also love to keep blogging about books and fandoms. I would love to travel to London again to meet my followers who live there, and just see friends. That would be amazing.

Sara: What are some things on your ‘fangirl bucket list’? Who are some authors or celebrities you’d like to meet, or places you’d like to go? 

Sasha: My fangirl bucket list was largely accomplished this summer but I would love to meet Cassandra Clare! I’ve never met her sadly. I was supposed to but she got sick and couldn’t make it. I would also LOVE to go to Comic Con this summer, which I’m planning to do.

Sara: What are some quirky facts about you that most people don’t know? 

Sasha: I’m not exactly sure, but I am a very stubborn and dedicated person. If I set my mind to something, I won’t let anything stop me.

Sara: Who is your fictional crush? 

Sasha: Jace Wayland, Daemon Black, Jem Carstairs, Will Herondale, Augustus Waters…the list is endless!

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Thanks everyone for tuning in to this AWESOME interview with a super cool fangirl. Don’t forget to check her out on Instagram, on Better in Black, on her YouTube channel and on Fandom News!

All pictures in this post are property of Sasha Alsberg or Carmen Desiree Seda. Please do not reuse or reprint for any reason. 

LA Teen Book Fest Interview with Francesca Lia Block!

This weekend, nurse at the Los Angeles Central Branch Library, teen librarian and soon to be published author, Mary McCoy is hosting a ton of fantastic YA authors for the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest, which I wrote about yesterday. You can find out more information about the event here.

One of the authors that will be attending the event is Francesca Lia Block, a veteran author of more than a dozen books. She writes mostly in the YA genre, and writings reimaginings of fairy tales, and infuses fairy tales into her novels.


Her most recent novel, Love in the Time of Global Warming, tells the story of Pen, and her journey across post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, searching for her family, and a trusty copy of Homer’s The Odyssey in her back pocket to guide her.

Check out this awesome interview I was able to do with her . I can’t wait to meet her on Saturday!

Sara: Which book was easier to write: your first ever book, or the second one? 

Francesca: The first one! WEETZIE BAT pretty much wrote itself. WITCH BABY was a challenge and I had a lot of help from my editor at the time, Charlotte Zolotow. I had also written THE HANGED MAN before WITCH BABY but it wasn’t published until afterwards. That flowed pretty easily and is one of my favorites so I guess technically my second book was easier than my third.

Sara: You’ve written so many books, how do you keep yourself writing fresh and where do you get your inspiration from? 

Francesca: I look to my daily life and the lives of my friends. Human existence is full of love and pain so there is never really a shortage of inspiration if you stay open to it.

Sara: Was being an author something you always wanted to do or did you have other career aspirations? 

Francesca: I always wanted to be a writer. At first, it was poetry. I also wanted to be a fashion designer  or a modern dancer and am interested in psychotherapy, anthropology and art history.

Sara: What advice do you give to aspiring writers? What’s the best advice YOU’VE been given? 


Francesca: Read. Write. Find a mentor. Never give up. Dig deep. Express your truth from your heart and because you have to do so.

Once I called my dad from my dorm room at UC Berkeley. I was crying because my writing teacher didn’t like something I’d written. My dad practically shouted at me, “You’re a writer!” This stuck with me always. I think if you are compelled to write, you are a writer. You just need the tools to do so. What my dad said wasn’t advice but I try to remind my students (at UCLA Extension, Antioch University Los Angeles and in my private that if you feel that complusion to write you must honor it.

Sara: What are some of your favorite things to do outside of writing? 

Francesca: Yoga, movies, reading, running, walking, listening to music, taking photographs, looking at fashion, eating at vegan restaurants.

Sara: What are some of your favorite books or authors to read? 

Francesca: Anais Nin, Emily Dickinson, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, JD Salinger, Harper Lee, Colette, among many others.

Sara: What made you want to spin fairy tales, and use fairy tale feels, into your novels? 

Francesca: I have always loved dark fairy tales and myths. They inspire me and make me feel less alone in the world because the truths they tell are still so relevant. I like to mix these ancient tales with things that re happening in my own life.


Sara: What has been one of the best parts of being an author? 

Francesca: Meeting my readers!

Sara: Who is your fictional crush?

Francesca: Atticus [Finch] from To Kill a Mockingbird

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I hope you all enjoyed this interview with Francesca Lia Block, and are able to catch her at the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest this coming weekend! Check her out at the Classically Inspired panel with other awesome authors like Josephine Angelini, Gretchen McNeil and Cornelia Funke!

See you all there and Happy Reading!

Exclusive Interview with Jewelry Designer Viviane Hebel!

Its not hard to be part of the fan girl world, prescription and not run into the awesome and talented, Viviane Hebel.

Vivi Hebel runs her own business, Hebel Design, which specializes in handcrafted jewelry based on your favorite novel series like the Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, the Curse Workers and Faerie stories by Holly Black, Unremembered by Jessica Brody, the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, the Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout and SO many more.


The first I heard of Vivi and Hebel Design is when I met Cassandra Clare back in March, and interviewed. As a gift, Cassie gave me a clockwork angel necklace, that I wear SO often. Almost exactly a month later, I met Vivi at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books when she pointed out that I was wearing her necklace. I’ve been addicted to her stuff ever since. Her family rings, rune bookmarks, and jewelry for all books are just TOO beautiful.

She’s also been featured in Huffington Post, Epic Reads, The Examiner and more!

So, of course, I had to try and get her on this blog, with an interview and I’m really excited to bring her to you guys today!

Sara: How did you get into jewelry making and jewelry design? What sort of skills did you have to learn? 

Viviane: I went to college for integral design-graphic, textile and industrial. So I had my base in materials and methods. I’ve always been more interested in 3D than 2D work so it was more of an evolution for me. Some 10 years ago, I took classes in silversmithing and so it began.

Sara: How did you get involved with all these authors like Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah Rees Brennan, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Anna Banks, Jessica Brody, etc? 

Viviane: I read Cassandra Clare’s 3 first books from TMI, what was published so far, and fell in love with the world and the Runes. I had some kind of vision and did some research before I contacted her to present my idea. There’s always been a market for movie props and replicas so I thought fans of the books would like them too. It’s been an evolving thing since then I thought of expanding to other series. So the process is the same, contacting the author and proposing my ideas. Since I’ve been in business for a bit, sometimes authors come to me with their ideas.

Sara: Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you read the books to design these pieces, or do the authors ask for something specific? 


Viviane: I always like to read the book first, to get the whole context. Whenever there’s a new book in the series that is not available to read yet I have to rely on author’s descriptions. Then I try to get details of when, where, why, who…and so on.

Sara: What is your favorite part about having this business? 

Viviane: Being able to create an actual piece that an author just conjured in her head. Sometimes it’s a real challenge to go from imagination to reality, I like those the most.

Sara: Was having a jewelry making business always something you had wanted to do, or did you have other career aspirations? 

Viviane: As I said, its been an evolution as a designer. I like looking for new things to do. Jewelry has been the longest one so far, so many possibilities.

Sara: What is the process like when making a piece for your business? 

Viviane: First, I need to visualize how it would look more or less, then sketches and possible materials. Making samples and prototypes, sometimes it stops there, sometimes production of molds and such.

Sara: What are some of your favorite books to read, movies to watch and bands to listen to?

Viviane: The list is super long. I am a big fan of fantasy, paranormal and science fiction. In movies too, I like animated movies a lot! I just love their attention to detail. Music is very eclectic, if you looked at my playlist, it has all kinds of old and new, from pop to rock to latin, country, new age. All time favorites that I never get tired of are James Taylor and Prince…Goo Goo Dolls, see a pattern here? Not really.

Sara: What are some of your favorite book-related pieces that you have designed? 

Viviane: The ones that have been more of a challenge. The Clockwork Angel, the Morozova Collar, the Family rings. The Midnight Flower just came up in my head and it actually came out like I imagined. Not always it happens like that. I also like when I can reproduce exactly what’s described in a book, like the turquoise necklace. I love the new Lynburn hands.


Sara: Do you have any pieces, or new collaborating authors that we can look forward to? 

Viviane: There’s always new stuff in the works…just to keep the interest up!

Sara: I ask this to all my interviewees, who is your fictional crush? 

Viviane: You’re allowed to have more than one, right? Rhett Butler, as a classic, growing up. Will Herondale tops this list, but there’s so many more, I could actually embarrass myself.

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I hope you enjoyed this interview with Viviane, and that you are able to head to her website, and check out her awesome work. I seriously want EVERYTHING, especially a stele pen and the Lightwood family ring. Her stuff is awesome.

All pictures are courtesy of