The Occasional Diamond Thief by J.A. McLachlan (Guest Post - Do you like your name? + Giveaway)

The Occasional Diamond Thief
by J.A. McLachlan
Release date: May 15th 2015
Publisher: EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
Genres: Sci-fi
Age category: Young adult
No. of pages:  N/A
The Occasional Diamond Thief is the tale of Kia, who is courageous and practical with a quirky sense of humor, and a loner.

When 16-yr-old Kia is training to be a translator, she is co-opted into travelling to Malem. This is the last place in the universe that Kia wants to be — it’s the planet where her father caught the terrible illness that killed him — but it’s also where he got the magnificent diamond that only she knows about. Kia is convinced he stole it, as it is illegal for any off-worlder to possess a Malemese diamond.

Even worse, Kia must translate for Agatha, who is as different from Kia as it's possible for two people to be - Agatha is idealistic, naïve, and compassionate.

Using her skill in languages – and another skill she picked up, the skill of picking locks - Kia unravels the secret of her father's mysterious gem and learns what she must do to set things right: return the diamond to its original owner. But how will she find out who that is when no one can know that she, an off-worlder, has a Malemese diamond? Can she trust the new friends she’s made on Malem, especially handsome but mysterious 17-year-old Jumal, to help her?

And will she solve the puzzle in time to save Agatha, the last person she would have expected to become her closest friend?

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EDGE Publishing has a thank you Gift for anyone who buys the print version of the book. If they send an email to with their Amazon receipt, they will receive a copy of a short story that features Kia.

Hello, I’m J. A. McLachlan, the author of The Occasional Diamond Thief. I’m so pleased to be meeting you, and I’d like to thank Jane and the The Bookdragon for having me here today. This blog tour is part of my online launch of The Occasional Diamond Thief, and my publisher, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing is offering a rafflecopter prize of a $10 Amazon Gift card. I’ll have something different at each stop – book excerpts, author and character interviews, vlogs, reviews and blog posts – for you to enjoy. You can find The Occasional Diamond Thief here -

Guest Post:

Do you like your name?
As a child and teen, I didn’t like mine. I like it now, I should add, since our hostess shares my name: Jane. It’s simple and elegant and timeless. But in my youth, I thought it was boring. I wanted an unusual name. Even as a child I liked words with music in them, and both parts of my name, Jane Ann, are blunt, abrupt, unmusical, I thought. The only redeeming thing about my name was that my father, who died when I was a baby, gave it to me, and he named me after my favorite relative, his sister, my Aunt Jane.
I gave my daughters unusual, musical three-syllable names: Tamara and Caroline. But I don’t think any teenager likes their name. Just as you’d imagine, my daughters both disliked their names when they were young. Tamara got tired of having to explain “it rhymes with camera” to people who mispronounced it, and Caroline was frustrated by having to say “it ends in ‘line’, like mine, not ‘lyn’ like 'tin'. They both told me, repeatedly, that they wished I’d named them a more well-known name. You can’t win.
It’s interesting what finds its way into your books. I’ve only realized now, while writing this post, that I wrote some of that into my book, The Occasional Diamond Thief. At the time it was unconscious.
My protagonist, sixteen-year-old Kia, was named Akhié by her father, before he died. She loved her father, but hates her name, which means ‘sorrow’ in Edoan. The reason he named her this is revealed later in the book, but Kia has to grow up being teased for her name by her peers – as many of us were. In real life, changing one’s name is complicated, and few people dislike their names enough to do it. Most of us, in fact, come to like our names when we leave behind schoolyard teasing.
Fortunately, as an author, I get to write my own “do-over” through my characters. In my book, Kia is able, and spunky enough, to change her name. Here is the passage in the novel where she learns that she can do what so many of us wished we could have:
“At least he didn’t name you something awful.” Etin means “strength” in Edoan. A good name, unlike mine, which means “sorrow.” Who names their kid that?
“Akhié isn’t your official name. Mother wouldn’t name you sorrow. But that’s all he called you when he got home, and he was so fragile, always on the brink of fever and despair, she was afraid to openly name you something else. Soon everyone was calling you Akhié.”
“What’s my real name, then?”
He frowned. “Mother called you pet names—little bird, babydoll—your first few years. Then she called you Akhié, like Father did. I don’t think you have an official name; just your birth registration number. I guess you could pick one and register it, if you wanted.” He grins at me.
What does he want from me? ‘Oh goody, I don’t even have a real name’?
“I’ll think about it.”
Check here for the other places I’ll be:

About the author:
J. A. McLachlan was born in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of a short story collection, CONNECTIONS, published by Pandora Press and two College textbooks on Professional Ethics, published by Pearson-Prentice Hall. But science fiction is her first love, a genre she has been reading all her life, and Walls of Wind is her first published Science Fiction novel. Her new science fiction novel is The Occasional Diamond Thief. She is represented by Carrie Pestritto at Prospect Agency.
Author links:
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