Sunday, January 27, 2013

daynight Blog Tour: guest post & giveaway

Tour Schedule
daynight by Megan Thomason

Meet The Second Chance Institute (SCI): Earth’s benevolent non-profit by day, Thera’s totalitarian regime by night. Their motto: Because Everyone Deserves a Second Chance™. Reality: the SCI subjects Second Chancers to strict controls and politically motivated science experiments like Cleaving—forced lifetime union between two people who have sex.

Meet Kira Donovan. Fiercely loyal, overly optimistic, and ensnared by the promise of a full-ride college scholarship, Kira signs the SCI Recruit contract to escape memories of a tragedy that left her boyfriend and friends dead.

Meet Blake Sundry. Bitter about being raised in Exile and his mother’s death, Blake’s been trained to infiltrate and destroy the SCI. Current barrier to success? His Recruit partner—Miss Goody Two Shoes Kira Donovan.

Meet Ethan Darcton. Born with a defective heart and resulting inferiority complex, Ethan’s forced to do his SCI elite family’s bidding. Cleave-worthy Kira Donovan catches his eye, but the presiding powers give defect-free Blake Sundry first dibs.

Full of competing agendas, romantic entanglements, humor, twists and turns, daynight is Megan Thomason’s debut young adult dystopian novel and first in the daynight series.

Purchase: Amazon

Author Megan Thomason
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Megan Thomason lives in paradise aka San Diego, CA with her husband and five children. A former software manager, Megan vastly prefers writing twisted tales to business, product, and marketing plans. When she isn't typing away on her laptop, she's reading books on her phone—over 600 in the last year—or attending to the needs of her family. Megan’s fluent in sarcasm, could potentially benefit from a 12-step program for road rage, struggles with a Hot Tamales addiction, loves world travel & fast cars and hates paperwork & being an insomniac. Daynight is Megan's first published novel, but fourth written one.


Dystopian governments-the real star?

The dystopia category is pretty broad these days. By definition a dystopian world must have extremely bad living conditions due to deprivationoppression, or terror. I personally prefer dystopias that explore interesting societal and moral dilemmas to catastrophic conditions/survival stories (though, if the entertainment value is high, I’ll still read the latter). 

The very best dystopias, in my opinion, have a well formed government enforcing extremes. I’m fascinated by these entities, and in particular:

- What events drove them to shift the way they governed? In The Hunger Games the government instituted the games to punish and remind the districts of their former rebellion (and failure to succeed).

- What results are they looking to achieve? In 1984, the desired result was control over every action and thought. In Brave New World the government desired peaceful coexistence and happiness for its citizens.

- What methods do the governments use to achieve the desired result? The capitol in Hunger Games uses the games to terrorize its citizens into subservience, and tightly controls resources by segregating districts and limiting what each could produce. In 1984 the Inner Party uses surveillance (telescreens, microphones everywhere), controls information (in fact, rewriting history to support claims in the ultimate form of censorship), and all citizens are indoctrinated to be whistle-blowers on those committing ‘thought crimes’ (any thought contrary to the government. In Brave New World, the government breeds and then conditions (through their sleep) citizens to be in (and only desire to be in) a certain caste, to be sexually promiscuous, hate solitude, and to down the drug ‘soma’ if any contrary thought occurs.

Character development in the dystopia

Equally interesting is how the characters in the novel react to the dystopian government. Do they acquiesce? Do they rebel and in what ways? Outwardly? Inwardly? Each well done dystopia will have characters that question the status quo and their actions will cause us to reflect upon our own, and how we would react in a similar situation. Katniss in The Hunger Games defies authority by bringing out a handful of berries and in essence, depriving the Capitol of a winner—and ultimately, forcing her desired outcome on them. Winston and Julia in 1984 both commit thought crimes and engage in an illicit affair, but are outed by an informant and tortured into both subservience to Big Brother and ratting out each other. John (the Savage) in Brave New World is so disgusted when he caves to societal immorality that he takes extreme measures to escape.

daynight’s dystopia

The Second Chance Institute reigns supreme on Thera, the main setting for daynight. The SCI is an interesting entity, being in the business of providing second chances. But instead of nurturing and fostering the downtrodden, they use the Second Chancers as science experiments for new political ideas they want to push on Earth. One such idea, Cleaving is an extreme enforcement of morality. If two people have sex, they’re automatically Cleaved, a forced lifetime union. Violation of Cleaving results in exile or death. This contrasts Brave New World’sapproach, where the government conditions people to be immoral. Although, interestingly enough… as the SCI desires everyone to beCleaved, they push immorality to get people to Cleave, but then expect the newly Cleaved to adopt a strict moral code thereafter.

Some of the things that went through my mind that I intended readers to think about while reading daynight were:

- Freedom of being able to do whatever we want vs. consequences of our choices
- When is it appropriate for the government to intervene in moral issues?
- How should the government enforce rules? What is acceptable/not acceptable for enforcement?
- When does ‘research’ cross the line? Is it ever OK to have test groups, when subjects don’t know they are a part of the research? Does our government ‘use’ certain segments of our population to press their agendas?
- Can altruistic purposes get so skewed they are no longer altruistic? The SCI claims to be giving people a second chance at life. Despite this being true and seemingly noble, is it ok if they are only do it to further their own agenda, and not to truly benefit the Second Chancers?
- Is there ever an appropriate time for a government to play Big Brother (as in 1984)? Does our government do this to us? Where’s the line between societal protection and personal violation?

Of course, Cleaving merely scratches the surface of what the SCI is up to, what they are testing & how far they are willing to go to push their agendas on Earth. The SCI’s actions and agendas in book two of the daynight series will have a lot of real world parallels.

In addition to the dystopia itself, daynight explores a lot of personal behavioral extremes intended to have readers think about what they would do if placed in a similar situation. As I wrote daynight, here are some of the things I thought about:

- At what point is it appropriate to forgive?
- If a person has no memory of an action, can you still hold them accountable?
- How would we personally react when in difficult circumstances or around people making bad decisions?
- All actions have consequences. On Thera, if two people have sex, they are Cleaved for life. Is it different from making the same decision, getting pregnant, and being responsible for a child for life? 
- Kira is extremely loyal. Loyalty is an admirable quality, but how does her loyalty affect her negatively?
- Is revenge ever appropriate?
- How does a child maintain respect for and obey their parents while still making their own choices? What if their parents expect them to do things inconsistent with their own moral compass?
- When should we toe the line versus make a stand? 
- Are second chances truly a second chance if we can’t learn from our mistakes?

You can read a sample of daynight here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A6NG014

Dystopian novel recommendations

Any great dystopia will not only provide an entertaining story, but cause you to reflect. The Hunger Games (a personal favorite) has a full book of essays written on the underlying themes. Some other exceptional dystopias I recommend are Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Wool by Hugh Howey, and The Giver by Lois Lowry. 

Some contemporary dystopias with considerable merit are Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Maze Runner by James Daschner, The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness, The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Legend by Marie Lu, Deliriumby Lauren Olivier, and Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.

Praise

“Sure to win over YA readers looking for a dangerous, dystopian adventure story” —Kirkus Reviews

“Gripping young adult dystopian novel; compelling conflicts; high stakes; powerful narrative; surprises keep coming; strong writing; page-turner; engaging characters; Readers will be hungry for the sequels.”—BlueInk Review (starred review)

“The writing is impressive and the story is a real page-turner. So many twists and turns… I’m hooked… I can’t wait for the next installment to come out…4.5 out of 5 stars”—Self-Publishing Review

“Delicious humor, intelligence, and sparkling dialogue” —Amazon reviewer

“Strangely brilliant and imaginative”—Amazon reviewer

“Grips you from the first page and keeps you wanting more”—Amazon reviewer

“Plot twists kept me reading till late at night”—Amazon reviewer

“Every page a thrilling experience”—Amazon reviewer

“Hooked from the first chapter and could not put it down”—Amazon reviewer

“It's like a CW fantasy TV show in a book with a really interesting environment.”—Amazon reviewer

“I'm a little tired of dystopian novels, but Daynight has a unique and fresh story line that didn't have any trouble keeping my interest.”—Amazon reviewer


Blog Tour Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card
Signed copy of Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Signed copy of daynight
Ends 2/7/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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