Hi Guys. Thanks for stopping by. Today, I’m excited to be a part of the ECHOES OF BALANCE Blog Tour, the first title releasing under the REUTS Publications name! YA Paranormal author Cally Ryanne has stopped by today for this fun, virtual visit to talk about her debut, ECHOES OF BALANCE, her character Chloe, the Naimei, and the Ways.
First, let's take a peek at the gorgeous cover. I'm glad to say, what's inside is just as great!
Echoes of Balance
(The Ways Trilogy #1)
by Cally Ryanne
For Chloe Moraine, fighting wild bears– and the occasional vampire– is a better pastime than the tediousness of keeping the universe in balance. But balancing is the family business. It comes with being one of the last in the ancient line of Naimei.
So when the impending return of the Original Demons threatens global harmony, Chloe is obligated to help. Even when that means the dull-as-dirt task of following a human girl who “might be involved, maybe,” instead of the thrilling hunt she craves.
With their powerful magic and ancient Ways, Chloe’s family is unconcerned, certain they’ll quickly fix the imbalance while she’s preoccupied with human high school. But when the Ways start to fail, the threat becomes more serious, and the only person that seems to know anything is a debonair vampire with an offer to help.
If Chloe chooses to trust him, and the darker side of the supernatural he represents, she’ll betray her family and risk losing them, and herself, in the process. But if he’s right, he may just be their only chance to stop the return of the Originals and save the world.
Maybe high school won’t be so boring after all.
So, why did I want to read Echoes of Balance? If you follow my reviews, you probably know I love discovering new authors, and enjoy reading paranormal more than just about anything. After reading the books description about Chloe, the Naimei, and The Ways, I couldn't resist requesting this new paranormal read from REUTS. I was also extremely interested in REUTS as publishers. I liked the idea that they are a new, smaller publisher of YA and NA, and who seem to offer a lot of hands-on and personal attention between their authors, readers and reviewers. And to be honest, it was that damn dress and the knife being held behind our heroines back. I immediately loved the juxtaposition of the frilly, feminine, and gorgeous dress our heroine is wearing with the mysterious and deadly intent of the knife. I'm happy to say that after reading Echoes of Balance, what's inside the covers is just as great as what's on the outside.
What's Echoes of Balance about? Basically, it's about our heroine Chloe Moraine who is the youngest member of the Naimei, an ancient line of beings responsible for keeping the universe in balance. The Naimei use the Ways, a unique mixture of science, oracles, and magic, to keep the world/supernatural in balance. The only problem is, Chloe is bored with the Ways. She rather actively hunt vampires and shifters instead of using the Ways. So, when two of the original demons threaten the balance, the members of the Naimei decide to send Chloe on the joke job of following a human girl who "might be involved, maybe,” and to keep Chloe from hunting the supernatural. What better place than High School to keep her out of trouble. Suddenly Chloe has her hands full as she juggles High School, a new friendship with a ‘human girl’, and a charming, yet mysterious vampire named Josef who knows way more about Chloe and the threat of demons, than he should.
With Echoes of Balance, author Cally Ryanne has created the beginnings of a unique setting- a world inhabited by all the supernatural guys you like in your paranormal reads. There's of course the magical Naimei, in charge of keeping the balance, then there's also shifters, vampires, witches, and yes, even demons. But don't worry, she doesn’t throw them at you all at once, but slowly introduces various characters from each, some good, some bad, and some in-between.
The Magic was one of my favorite aspects of the book beside Chloe’s character. The book did a good job introducing the unique magical nature of the Naimei, and their use of the Ways. Then there’s a cool sets of silver scales that they use to interpret the balance that I thought interesting. It reminded me of something out of a Steampunk novel with it’s odd gadgets and workings. The magic also causes havoc for Chloe, often disrupting ‘human technology’ an endless annoyance for her and fun for the reader. I’m excited to see the next book take this magic even further (hint-hint.) Echoes of Balance gives us a nice look into the magical workings of the Naimei, but I would have liked even more.
Chloe Moraine is a nice combination of strength (fighting skills and magic used in the ways) and vulnerability (having no real friends and a family that does not show much emotion.) It was fun watching her being dropped into a High School setting, and dealing with normal ‘teen angst ’ while trying to help save the day. There’s a sweet nerd who crushes on her, mean girls, Prom queen nominations, not to mention the shifter who keeps showing up at her doorstep, nor the cute vampire who seems to be stalking her. I especially enjoyed her new friendship with ‘human teen’ Aurelia. The other Characters were all interesting since they belong to various supernatural fractions, but besides Chloe, I wasn’t able to get as much of a connection with them as I would have liked.
There’s just a hint of romance in Echoes of Balance. No love triangles, yay! Josef, as a vampire, is a dangerous and enticing temptation for Chloe. There’s some chemistry between the two, which I liked. It does not overshadow the story.
The vampire grinned. “Fantastic. Eight o’clock, then, we’ll say. Ducante’s.” He took a step closer, leaning forward so that his lips almost brushed Chloe’s hair as he said quietly, “Just ask for Josef.”
His breath felt icy on her skin. He gave her a wink before swinging a leg over the motorbike, kicking it to life and pulling the handlebars around to zoom off down the street.
It was only then, as wave of dizziness passed over her, that Chloe realized she’d been holding her breath.
The ending is action packed, if somewhat rushed, as the book left me wanting to know more about about it’s sequel and the fascinating world of the Naimei. Filled with unique magic and paranormal elements, author Cally Ryanne’s YA debut is off to a great start!
My Rating: 4 Stars. I really liked it.
A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by REUTS Publications in exchange for my fair review. Thank you REUTS Publications for the review opportunity!
Now for the virtual Interview with author Cally Ryanne!
Welcome Cally! Please tell us what inspired you to write Echoes of Balance and Chloe's story?
Cally: I finally wrote everything down with prompting from a co-worker; I used to write chapters and leave them on the work computer for her to read the next morning, and she was really great at urging me on to continue.
Chloe as a character has been with me for awhile, and EoB was kind of just the synthesis of a lot of things that allowed for an actual Chloe story worth telling (one with villains and battles and a climax and interesting action, and not just sort of this background and random moments in her life).
Can you tell us a little about Chloe, the Naimei, and the Ways?
Cally: Oof, I was so excited to see this question, but it's also so tough! I use Google Docs for organizing all my work, and I have a file titled 'mythology' in which I keep all of these notes on different paranormal factions and how they exist in Chloe's world. The Naimei section is, like, three pages long, but here are some important selections:
"Unlike witches, who often need objects, artefacts, or spells (incantations/mantras) with certain magical properties to help channel their power, Naimei can often do without, but will require such things if they are to do very intensive magics (most of these being beyond the power of a witch to begin with). Because so few Naimei run into problems they cannot solve with their own powers, many of these ‘intensive magics’ have been lost to them."
"Naimei are also able to channel and use the Ways, which refers to the general flow of the natural order as well as the sets of silver scales that they use to interpret them. All that is needed to focus the Ways is a Naimei who has come of age, though it is often several years before that Naimei is able to understand what the scales are showing them."
"The constitution of a Naimei has a very slow cell turnover rate (which is why they retain such a youthful appearance). This does mean, however, that they are more likely to retain things that they take in. Being given blood from another supernatural can produce a Taint that tinges their aura with aspects of that being. Other things can stay in a Naimei’s system, too - while some poisons will not affect them as drastically as they might a human, they will slow them down for longer."
And there's the stuff we know already - Naimei are balancers of the universe, Chloe is the youngest, etc, etc. They're super magical, so high technology (computers, cell phones, etc) get glitchy around them, and their own powers are strongly tied to their physical state. I think an important thing to remember about Chloe is that she IS a Naimei, no matter how much she grapples with her family or struggles to transcend to something beyond their Ways. The next few books sort of reveal more of her Naimei-ness; she really just can't escape it.
What made you decide to write about a book that incorporates so many of popular characters from fantasy and paranormal – vampires, witches, and shifters?
Cally: I love the idea of all those things coexisting. And why not? They're all major players, and they stick around fantasy and paranormal worlds for a reason - they're interesting, they have staying power, and they're just classic and fun. I like to think in the EoB world they all coexist in a place where there's lots of room for else outside of just the classics, but they're what shows up on the surface.
Did you have any fun research moments?
Cally: This is such an awesome question, I wish I had a better answer! I didn't do a whole ton of research for EoB; it was a lot of sitting and meditating on what I wanted this world to look like, but since it's set in fictional North American towns, most of it was just sort of off the cuff. However, because it was strictly made up, it required a lot of write-and-record. I'd work something into the story and then have to go back and put it in a document of world facts so I remembered to hold it true. Like, 'Ducante's bar is in downtown Molten which is southwest of the school' or something, and then I would record it and continue building the world around that.
What was the hardest part about writing Echoes of Balance? What was your favorite part?
Cally: For me, the hardest part of writing is always when I know I have a really exciting scene to write but it can't happen yet. Like there are all these little - sometimes also exciting, sometimes just necessary - moments that have to happen before I can get there, and I find that it makes me really anxious and actually gives me this sort of weird block where I don't want to write anything because it's not this super fun scene yet. It requires a lot of wading through silly junk writing to get to the fun stuff, then I have to go back and fix the rest of it later.
For the record, I'm terrible at just writing those scenes stand-alone, because then the slightly-less exciting sections that come out junky never get super well developed, because they don't have to. I have to sort of force myself.
My favorite part, though, might be doing edits, if only because I like to see other people's opinions. :)
Do you have any favorite quotes from Echoes of Balance you can share with us?
Cally: There's way too many to narrow it down! But basically any scene with Gregory Ducante is probably one of my particular favorites, he's one of my favorite characters.
Abandoning her half-made drink for a moment, he leaned across the bar, beckoning her forward. Chloe leaned in hesitantly as the bartender raised one finger to his lips in a hushing gesture. His eyes, formerly dark brown, slid to a bright red color.
Chloe jumped backward so quickly she slapped her right hand on the metal edge of the bar. A crimson blotch instantly appeared on her palm and she cursed, snatching the half-made gin and ice and pressing it to the injury.
She’d never met a demon before.
What can you tell us about upcoming books in the Echoes of Balance series, or something new you're working on?
Cally: The Ways is a trilogy - Echoes being the first book. I'm about half-ish way through the second, and the third is planned. There is a second planned trilogy that spins off of The Ways and will tie off some loose ends that it leaves behind.
I've also just sort of invested in Chloe's world - there are a lot of minor characters that have developed back stories of their own, and I'd love to see them get books. Maya, who shows up in book two (she might get a mention in Echoes, and she definitely shows up in some of the bonus material that's cropped up on the blog tour) is a character like that. She's an incredibly minor character in The Ways, but she has her own story that I've started writing on the side that takes place probably 5-ish years before Echoes starts in Chloe's world, but has nothing to do with Chloe or the Naimei.
What's the best advice you can give to aspiring writers?
Cally: It's cliche, but stick with it. Nothing you write the first time is good, but writing anything is an accomplishment. I wish I still had the files from the first drafts of Chloe's various stories from back in the day, when I was in middle school; plot holes, bad writing, all kinds of stuff that just didn't make sense. You get better every time - but be willing to realize you have to start over, occasionally.
Just for fun:
What books are on your must-read list at the moment?
Cally: Oof, so tough. I love everything Adam Mansbach. I just started Decoded by Jay-Z and I'm a fan. YA wise, I just read The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa - it's a nice fresh take on vampires.
Tell us 3 things someone would be surprised to know about you.
Cally: I'm a math nerd in real life. I'm a vegetarian. I like to work while listening to people talk.
Where is your favorite spot to write? Would you say you have an interesting writing quirk?
Cally: No real quirks, really - I'll write wherever I'm comfortable, which is frequently in my bed.
If you could have a super/paranormal power what would it be?
Cally: Teleportation, for sure. Until you've tried to wait for a subway at 3am that you know is going to run local the whole way uptown, you won't truly understand how strong the desire for teleportation is.
Whant to know more about Cally:
Cally Ryanne is a vegetarian, with a serious avocado habit, in search of the perfect leather jacket. She graduated from a Midwestern art school in 2012 with a BFA in Drawing and a minor in Creative Writing, and then proceeded to do exactly what most art students do after graduation – nothing to do with art. She currently teaches math in New York City to a bunch of kids who call her “Miss.” In her spare time (between the day job and the night time superhero persona), she writes, piecing together characters and stories that have been following her around since she was a child. She currently lives in uptown Manhattan with some awesome roommates – including her best friend from middle school – and a cat that can’t keep his tongue in his mouth. Echoes of Balance is her debut novel and the first in The Ways Trilogy, a Young Adult urban fantasy.
THE ECHOES OF BALANCE BLOG TOUR - CHECK THEM OUT!
12/17/2013 – REUTS Official Blog
12/20/2013 – Nightwolf’s Corner
12/24/2013 – Mission To Read
12/31/2013 – Veronica Park’s Blog
1/3/2013 – Much Ado About Books
1/5/2013 – Book Swoon
1/7/2013 – Art Over Chaos
1/9/2013 – Diane’s Book Blog
1/13/2013 – Fault in our Words
1/17/2013 – Ducante Originals (Cally Ryanne’s wrapping us all up!)