Monday, July 30, 2012

Blog Tour - Made the Grade: A Howl in the Night by Courtney Rene | Interview, Review, & Giveaway

Today I'm turning my blog over to Courtney Rene, who I interviewed about her latest novel "A Howl in the Night!!"

ALSO -- Be sure to comment on this post to be able to sign up for this tour's GIVEAWAYs (listed below)!! [Blog Tour will run from July 30 - August 3, 2012]

My Q&A with Courtney Rene :

Jess : What books have most influenced your life?

Courtney : I think this changes depending on where my life is at the moment. Right now though, I would have to say: V. C. Andrews. She gave me great incite into the darkness of life. A real darkness, not the monsters and stuff you find in Anne Rice or Stephen King. The Heaven series was a great one in that regard. Seeing how real people can be so screwed up, and look just as normal as you and me, changed my view of the world in general. Took some of the rosy color out of the world.

Jess : Which of your characters would you most & least like to invite to dinner, from which book and why?

Courtney : I would most like to have dinner with Gabriel from my book, "Shadow Warrior." I picture him as a Viking or maybe a gruff but handsome man from the highlands of Scotland. If you could get him to talk, it would be fun to see what he would say. Plus he’s kinda hot. I know for the teen reader, Gabriel is old, but to me an adult, he’s a gorgeous, buff, masculine guy. I would love for him to come to life and sit down at my table.

I would least like to invite Grandfather Staton, from my book, "A Howl in the Night." I have a snarky mouth at times. My luck it would get the best of me and he would go on the attack. Plus I don’t do the whole, “man is greater than woman” thing. That would get under my skin pretty quick!

Jess : Which character spoke the loudest to you when writing? Do any of them clamor to be heard over the others? Who is it, and from which book? What type of things do they say?

Courtney : A lot of my characters will chat me up now and then. I don’t mind in general, as it’s a great way to really connect with each of them. I know this sounds mental to un-writer people, but I promise we aren’t nuts. Well not about this anyway.

However, Abby, the main character, in my book, "A Howl in the Night," was loud as all heck! All the time. She would wake me up at night demanding to be heard. She would pester me while I was trying to do other things, like read. Her biggest problem was, that she didn’t like Derek. No, that’s not even accurate. There was a period there that she loathed him. If she’d had her way, he would have been neutered at one point. There was also a point at the end where she wanted to basically have a blood bath between the two clans of wolves. I wrote the scene for her and realized, it was too, too much.

Jess : What was the hardest part of writing "A Howl in the Night?"

Courtney : I am pretty good with horror and fantasy writing, but I struggle big time with the love parts. There I am, trying to put myself into the scene to see if it’s working and I get all giggly and embarrassed, and red in the face. I can feel the blush on my cheeks. Blood and guts no worries, a bit of touchy feely and Courtney freaks out. All in all it turned out pretty good (even if it’s me saying so) but man, that was rough.

Jess : If "A Howl in the Night" were to be made into a film, who do you see playing the main characters and why?

Courtney : Oh, great questions. I hadn’t even thought about a movie for this book. I would say Selena Gomez is still young enough to pull it off. Plus she has the dark hair already with the small form that Abby has. Oh! Miranda Cosgrove from iCarly. She would be great. She even has a good face for it. Yeah. I like her for the part.

Jess : Which usually comes first for you, the character(s) story or the idea for the novel?

Courtney : Usually just a random thought pops in to my head and it takes off from there. Something like, “It would be so cool to shape shift into a wolf. Where do werewolves actually come from? Do they all get along?” Next thing you know, you have two warring clans, fighting over a female shape shifter, and taa daa, novel in motion.

Jess : Please describe your heroine, from "A Howl in the Night," in one to two sentences.

Courtney : Abigail Staton – A confident, yet strong willed, sixteen-year-old girl. She has a bit of a mouth now and then, but has a soft heart that surprises even her at times.

Jess : In regards to your most recent novel, if you could write it all over again, would you change anything about it?

Courtney : I am always second-guessing myself when it comes to my novels. For this one, I wonder if it should have been more violent in the end. I tried to hold back on too much violence as it is a teen novel, but I wonder if in doing so, I made it not violent enough.

Jess : How many books have you written? Which is your favorite and why?

Courtney : I have written four at this time.

"Shadow Dancer"
"Shadow Warrior"
"A Howl in the Night"
"Shadows End" (to release Fall 2012)

My current favorite is "Shadows End." I think its because I am neck deep in it right now with final edits as we get ready for release. I have gotten very attached to the characters of the Shadow Dancer Series and this book is the climax of that story. It has love. It has deception. It has murder, mayhem, and death. It’s a great story. I can’t wait for it to come out so that everyone can read it.

Jess : Do you have any other projects in the works? If so, can you share a little of your current work with us?

Courtney : I am currently writing a new story about angels and demons. Not much to tell at this point except that I found this old book of the bible (that had been removed by the church centuries ago) called "The Book of Enoch" about the fall of the angels from heaven. So I decided to write a story about one of the fallen. It has potential.

Jess : Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and when realizing it, just said screw it?

Courtney : Yes, yes I have, more than once and many different silly things too. I once realized I needed to put on a slip under my white skirt as I could see in great detail, the little pink sunshines that covered my panties through my skirt. Then I got busy feeding the dogs, and getting the girls off to school that I completely forgot until I was out in public with the sunshines out for the world to see. That was a fun day... Not much you can do about it some days, so you just have to plod on and yes, say screw it.

Jess : If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?

Courtney : "Out of the darkness."
"From the bottom, up."
"Oopsy, sorry about that" (Ha! This one is the best if you know me at all).

Jess : What book are you reading now? How do you like it so far?

Courtney : "Blood Trails" by Sharon Sala (The Searchers Series). I’m only about 2 chapters in and...oh I hate to say it, but I am bored. I know if I can just get to the good stuff it will be great but yeah, slow start to this one. Too much back story.

About the Author :

Courtney Rene lives in Ohio with her husband and two children. She is a graduate and member of the Institute of Children’s Literature. Her writings include magazine articles, short fiction stories, several anthologies, and her Shadow Dancer series, published through Rogue Phoenix Press. For a complete listing, visit Feel free to contact her at

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Kindle Edition - File Size: 330 KB | Expected Release Date: June 2012 | Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press | Obtained: Goddess Fish Promotions

"A Howl in the Night" by Courtney Rene

My Book Summary : Abigail (Abby) sixteenth birthday goes from promising to bad to worse in just a few hours. First, her best friend, Brian, announces that he's in love with her, yet she doesn't feel the same way about them, so they end up arguing. Second, she receives a birthday present from her father who she has never met and knows nothing about. Third, she finds out from her mother that her father is a werewolf. Which are all great ways to ruin her birthday and change her world forever, especially when her father decides on coming back into her and her mother's lives. Now she's thrust into a world she isn't prepared for and into the middle of a war between two werewolf clans that has been brewing for a while. Will she be able to get up to speed with the new changes in herself and her life before everything else around her comes crashing down? Is she the key to change everything for the better?

My Book Review : 3.5 out of 5 stars! This fast-paced young adult novel is filled with unexpected twists that lead you to its surprise ending and wanting for more! Abby is a strong lead character who knows who she is (for the most part) enough to stay true to herself throughout this novel. Also, I really liked her spunk and resourcefulness when she dealt with all the changes coming at her.

Even though it worked well for the plot, I really hated how Abby's mother suddenly changed once Abby's father came into the picture. It made the novel harder for me to read since I couldn't get over the thought of 'how could she do that to her daughter?' Yet even because of that and the how slow the beginning was of this novel, it makes the middle and ending all the better!!

Since I typically read romance novels (yes, YA ones too) I was a bit surprised at how Abby went about her feelings for the men in her life. However, because of that it definitely makes you intrigued as to where she'll be going and whom she'll be with in the sequel to this novel whenever that'll come out. I really have high hopes for this series. =0)

I recommend this to anyone who likes paranormal romance/horror young adult novels!

Author's Novel Extras : Cover Reveal - A Howl in the Night | ...and then I thought, RADIO

Book Teaser(s) :
As I was closing the door, I heard her softly say, "Night," but I didn't respond back. I just closed the door and locked it.
Shadow was sprawled out on my bed like the King of Spain. It brought a smile to my face if not my heart. I shook my head and then turned out the lights. I crawled under the covers on my bed, shoving Shadow over a bit to get some room. I flung an arm over his warm body, buried my face against his furry side and slept.
I was not afraid. I was not alone. Shadow was enough for me, for the night. ~ within Chapter 5
Why did I even try? Because I needed to make him understand who I was, what I wanted...but then what? He would still be Derek the great and wonderful wolf, and I would still be stuck with him.
"Oh good. You need to remember that love is evil. It makes you weak. It makes you a fool. I mean, look at the first Staton Wolf. He was in love and look what it did for him?" Derek said.
"It wasn't love that made him an animal," I said.
"Yes, it was. It made him crazy and loose focus. No, I don't want love and neither should you."
I shrugged. "But I do want it," I said. "Where does that leave us?"
"Well, you have two years to get over it."
If only it was that simple. My wolf shifted under my skin, making me aware of her presence. She was both a curse and a gift. She was also going to be my salvation, if I could just figure out how to use her. ~ within Chapter 10
For more information on this book and/or any other books by Courtney, then please check out her website.

Book Excerpt :

“What’re you cooking?”

“I just got in, so nothing yet.”

I felt a bit confused for a moment, because I could smell something. It smelled salty and something else I couldn’t put my finger on. I tipped my head up a bit and sniffed the air. The smell was really strong and pungent in the kitchen. It was there somewhere.

“What’s that smell then?” Suddenly, I was starving.

She turned around and looked at me, but before she could answer, I spied a white package sitting partially unwrapped on the counter. I went over to it and pulled open the paper to see what smelled so good.

Inside was a chunk of bloody, raw meat. My stomach churned and flipped suddenly, not in sickness but in desire. My brain may have been saying eww gross, but for some reason my body was saying, oh yeah, give it to me now. I backed away from the counter. I had a feeling if I didn’t, I would have pounced on that slab of meat and chawed down on it, raw or not.

“What’s wrong?” Mom said, “It’s not for you, I promise. I have stuff to make pasta salad too. What else you in the mood for?”

I decided she didn’t really want to know the answer to that question.

I couldn’t take my eyes off the white paper, sitting there, unattended, smelling up the house with its heavenly scent.

Giveaways!! :
  • A $5 Amazon Gift Cards to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour

To Enter : Please leave a comment on this post, with a valid email address included at the end of it.

Soo .... COMMENT, COMMENT, COMMENT on this post!! And you could WIN!! =0)

ALSO -- Be sure to follow the tour around the other blog sites! Commenting on the other stops on the tour will also increase your chance of winning!

Find Courtney Rene :


  1. I enjoyed the interview thank you. HOWL IN THE NIGHT does look like an interesting read.

    Thank you for your review.


  2. Jess - Thanks for having me at your blog today and for taking the time to review my latest book.


  3. I just came to read the interview, as I already have the book--thoroughly enjoyed it, and the interview! :)

    Interesting how Abby kept talkin' at you like that; not crazy at all, no. ;) And if you do have Gabriel over for dinner, let me know, 'kay? I might have to be passing through the neighbourhood that day.

    1. Hi Carrie! Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.

      :) Some days I wish I knew someone that was like Gabriel. The stories I am sure he could tell.

  4. Hi Courtney,

    You are a new-to-me author and I have to say, your genre is not one that I read often. That said, I did enjoy what I read about your book, so during this week, I'll be looking closer at it to decide if it is, in fact, a book I would like.

    Jess already asked several questions I usually like to ask, so I guess I'll expand on something you already said. Your characters talk to you...most authors say that. So as they chat and you type, do you only hear what's being said inside your head or do you verbalize the conversation out loud...just to hear what it actually sounds like?

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

    1. Hi Karen, thanks for stopping by. I truly hope you take the plunge and give my books a whirl.

      That being said, I had to giggle at your question. It sounds like us authors are a bit mental. Ha! As to whether or not I chat back at my characters, the answer is: Sometimes. My family is known to gossip back and forth about me. "Mom's talking to herself again." or "Mom, who ARE you talking to?" Sometimes I just let my characters rant away in my brain. No conversation needed. Esp. if I am annoyed with them at the moment.


  5. Great questions and interview! I have already read A Howl in the Night and must say I loved it from beginning to end. I recommend it to anyone who likes paranormal or for that matter, anyone who likes to read. I'm not a big paranormal fan but I may be changing my mind now!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. I am so happy you enjoyed this book.


  6. Just popping my head in to see who's here...Wow! This is an awesome interview! Great questions and answers. Thanks for hosting, Jess, and good luck with your writing, Courtney.


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