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Denise Alicea

This blog was created by Denise in September 2008 to blog about writing, book reviews, and technology. Slowly, but surely this blog expanded to what it has become now, a central for book reviews of all kinds interviews, contests, and of course promotional venue for authors, etc


by L.A. Morton-Yates




GENRE: YA Fantasy






A Shade. A Storm. A Soul.


Cursed with forbidden knowledge, 19-year-old Dela must hide her secret from her nomadic tribe or face exile into the frozen wasteland of the Bitters. When she becomes separated from her people during a blizzard, a mysterious and dangerous wanderer named Talon promises to help her find her way back to them. She quickly learns that nothing is what it seems, that her curse may actually be a gift, and that the Bitters are far more dangerous than she could have imagined.


Packed with unexpected twists, Bittersouls is a mixture of survival, adventure, and slow-burn romance that is sure to get your heart pounding.



Excerpt One:


A Shade


Something moved at the edge of the horizon. It was like a shadow, black as a cloud but moving fast across the snow plain. Time seemed to stop, but Dela could feel herself sliding forward as if she were standing on a lake of ice. Freja was still yelling, but she couldn’t hear her. Her arms were flailing, but Dela hardly noticed. 


A wave of lights moved in front of the thing, jumping and turning, quick as sparks. It was like a field of quails fleeing into the sky before a coming wolf, but the wolf—the shadow—followed them. The closer it got, the more the shiver racked her spine. She knew exactly what it was, though she’d never seen one. No one in the congregation had. There were no stories. No whisperings. Only a name.




Freja stared at her, bewildered into silence. Perhaps she was going to speak, but then—





Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!


I grew up a short ways south of Denver, Colorado. I moved to Montana for school, where I met my wife, and we recently moved back to CO for a professional opportunity and to be closer to my family. My education is in biochemistry, but I have been writing since I was very young. It has always and will always be my passion, no matter what my day job is.

Tell us about your book? How did it get started?

This book was inspired by a song, Setting Fire to the Third Bar by Snow Patrol. I had heard it a few times before, but during one listen was struck with this image that I worked into a couple pieces of worldbuilding. I didn’t intend to write the story that it belonged to for a while, but after a conversation with my wife where she expressed a lot of excitement about the idea, I decided to move forward on it a lot sooner. In the end, it was my first actually readable rough draft of a book (I had finished one other, which will never see the light of day).

How do you create your characters?

It depends on the character. Some characters seem to just appear in my head and introduce themselves. Sometimes they are created to fulfill a purpose for the story, then grow to fruition during the drafting process. I do my best to allow for characters to be themselves (at least up until the point that they start messing up the story around them). 

What inspires and what got you started in writing?

As I said above, I have pretty much always been a writer. I don’t really remember a time before being a writer, some of my earliest works were from when I was only 7 years old. I draw inspiration from all over the place, like many writers, but one of the most common is music and random concept art I find online (although trying to explain how the writing connects to the inspiration after the fact has routinely proven rather difficult).

Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)

I write anywhere and everywhere. Right now, I am sitting and waiting to get a blood test drawn and am writing this on my phone. I use a standing desk at home to make writing easier to balance with my duties as a father. I sync everything via cloud so I can write when the opportunity arises at work.


I do, however, write a lot better when I have music to listen to. I compulsively make new writing playlists on Spotify (you can look me up, if you’re interested), and my only real requirement is that it can’t have lyrics (which I find distracting). 

What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?

Keep going. You are going to go through phases where you hate your own work (I am currently emerging from one such phase with another upcoming book), but that is what they are: phases. If you keep pushing. Keep writing. Keep honing your craft, and you can dig your way back out of that rut. It won’t be easy, but if you persist no matter what, it will be worth it. 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:


A life-long lover of the magic of storytelling, L.A. wrote his first story at the age of 7 and has been writing ever since. Speculative fiction, particularly fantasy, has always held a special place in his heart for the uniqueness of the places and the questions it can address. Though veiled by apparent strangeness, he has always seen it as capable of revealing deeper truth about our own reality. 


L.A. graduated from Montana State University in 2015 with Honors in Biochemistry and a minor in Music Composition. This helped nurture his critical thinking and research skills which continue to be instrumental to his writing.  During his collegiate years, he also met the love of his life, Julie, whom he later married. At once his greatest supporter and his staunchest critic (when he is wrong, which is more often than he’d like to admit), she has been an integral part of his creative process ever since.


In February of 2018, L.A. became the father of his first son, Griffin. His second son, Tiber, was born in December of 2019 and his third son, Malachi, was born in January of 2022. Though life has become considerably busier since he became a family man, L.A. continues to work on writing in what little spare time he can find. He hopes to one day pass on his love of literature to his sons.




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L.A. Morton-Yates will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Goddess Fish Promotions

Thank you for hosting.

L.A. Morton-Yates

Thanks for hosting! I should be around periodically to reply to comments.

Tracie M Cooper

What inspires the themes in your book?

L.A. Morton-Yates

Thematically, Bittersouls asks questions about the value of genuine human connection and whether or not risking your own safety and happiness is acceptable in the pursuit of it. I feel that these themes are nearly universal to humanity and I draw them from my own life and experiences.


This sounds like a good book.


I definitely want more from this excerpt. What happens next?

L.A. Morton-Yates

Only $4.99 to find out! 😉

Bea LaRocca

Happy weekend! Not sure if you will see this as I am a day late with my comment. I enjoyed reading your interview, I could see myself living in Colorado or Montana although moving to Alaska is my dream. In any event all of these states are on my bucket list to visit. My question for the day is if you have any specific reading or writing plans for the weekend?

L.A. Morton-Yates

I’ve been trying to check back on older posts, sorry it took so long for me to see this one. It was a busy weekend, but I managed to put a little time into outlining for the next book I am planning to draft, which is book 1 of my cyberpunk fantasy trilogy. I am partway through an unrelated professional program that has been eating most of my time, but I am hoping to sneak some writing over the coming months and have the first draft done by the end of the year.

I have really appreciated you following my tour and asking such excellent questions. It’s always nice to talk with a fellow writer. If you haven’t already and want to stay posted on my journey as a writer, you should subscribed to my Substack ( I send a monthly update on my life and writing as well as occasional other blog posts. I’m always excited to answer questions and discuss various topics in the comments there, as well.


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