Fantasy

The Call of Elespen Release!

Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake is proud to announce the upcoming release of Call of Elespen, the fifth and final book in her Keepers of the Wellsprings series.

This epic fantasy series tells the sweeping tale of a time when ruthless Sorcerers threatened the delicate balance of the Wellsprings--secret pools of magic revered and fiercely protected by fairy-kind for decades.

In Call of Elespen:

“Four offerings claimed. Two left. One, I can easily get. Ceras’lain. The other, Elespen. I don’t know much about that place. Only what I saw from the ship while I escaped from Sunteri. A jungle on either side of a wide river. A city I was forbidden to enter. Forbidden, even though I didn’t even realize it at the time…” -Tib, Dreamstalker, escaped slave

“They know our victory is nearing. They know we’re the Champions of Light. They’d rather keep us here, trapped in their lair, distracted from our quest to restore Brindelier and claim the Wellsprings.” -Flitt, fairy companion to Sir Azi Hammerfel

A vindictive Sorcerer King with a century-old grudge has spent decades gathering an army obsessed with claiming what their master feels he’s owed. Threatened by his dark dealings and sinister followers, will the Champions of Light succeed in claiming Brindelier’s Wellspring for the Dawn, or will its vast power fall forever into the hands of the unforgiving Dusk?

Who will triumph, Dawn or Dusk? Ally yourself with dragons, fairies, mages, knights, and muses in the epic conclusion to the Keepers of the Wellsprings series.

What reviewers are saying about the Keepers of the Wellsprings series:

“…this book had nice readability and should appeal to a wide range of audiences. Too often fantasy is written far too mature, or too childish. The author does a good job of not talking down to her audience, which leads to this readability range.” Fatho, Amazon Reviewer

Azaeli is an awesome young lady; one to watch in the role model stakes.” -T.L. Clark, Author

“…an enchanting read from start to finish.” J. Ortiz, Amazon Reviewer

“Epic, Epic, Epic, wow what an incredible book, story and entry to a fantasy realm. This has movie possibilities written all over it. Magnificent writing, adventure with good and evil and some that are in between the two. Dark forces and forces of light. It simply doesn't get any better.” -Kindle Reviewer

author pic.jpg

About the Author:

Missy Sheldrake is an author/illustrator who has been conjuring images of fairies in one form or another for as long as she can remember. The wind in the trees and the rich scent of forest earth are her most treasured sources of inspiration, and on most mornings you will find her wandering the wooded paths of her neighborhood, dreaming of the next adventure she hopes to put to the page. She published her first novel, Call of Kythshire, in March of 2015 and intends to keep writing as long as the fairies in her dreams allow it.

Galleries of illustrations and excerpts from the Keepers of the Wellsprings series can be viewed on her website and blog.

Missy can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Her books are available on Amazon.


In the epic conclusion of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series…

Fairies and dragons, mages and muses, Dreamstalker and knight band together in the name of the Dawn. Their quest: To seek the final two offerings required to unite the Allsource, to unite all Wellsprings, and to bring forth the Age of Kinship in the Known Lands.

When word reaches our heroes of the mysterious silence in Elespen, the location of one of the final required Wellsprings’ offerings, they must take quick action to seek out its cause. Faced with the ruthless Muse of Earth and her partner, the Muse of Darkness, Tib and Saesa band with a new ally to plunge into the lush, mysterious jungles of Elespen. Will they reach the Wellspring in time, or will the indigenous people of Elespen fall victim to the forces of Dusk?

Azi, Rian, and Flitt, meantime, have an even more serious threat to deal with. The forces of Dusk are rallying, backed by the most ruthless Sorcerers our heroes have faced yet. Called to delve into the depths of Sixledge, the lair of Dusk, they must face their enemy head-on to prevent their world from plunging forever into darkness.

The Keepers of the Wellsprings series has been called “An enchanting read from start to finish.”  Find out why—start the series today!

Call-of-Elespen-Book-Spotlight.jpg

The Release of Strong Armed by JC Boyd!

Strong Armed Cover

The BLURB

Balvoc had always earned his bread with blood on his hands. But when he is forced to protect an amoral merchant to keep his wife safe, he must decide whether his wife's life is worth the havoc caused by Sin-sim's greed.

The BIO

J.C. lives in the Midwest with his wife and two dogs. He recently earned his MA in English Literature and is working on his debut novel for his own fantasy world. Despite growing up with Dungeons & Dragons, Lord of the Rings, and a collection of both Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms novels, J.C. has an abiding love of classics and spends his free time reading anything he can get his hands on.

Pre-Order Strong Armed Amazon

Pre-Order Strong Armed Smashwords

Website

The INTERVIEW

1.    When did you start writing?

As I recall, my brother suggested we write stories one lazy, summer afternoon. I thought the idea was ludicrous, but being the younger, I followed his lead. The memory still lurks in the back of my mind as one of the best. Over the years, Joshua has continued to push me to write, so it is only fitting that my first published work, Anaerfell, was co-authored with him.

That lazy summer afternoon was in about 4th grade. I started writing my first novel, a horror story which featured kids from my class. Unsurprisingly, I did not finish. A similar attempt with a fantasy novel in junior high brought similar results. Not until my fourth attempt at writing did I finish my first novel, completing it my senior year of high school. The final product still makes me cringe, but elements, themes, and even characters from that book still creep into what I write now.

2.    What motivates you to write?

After I had first put my highly illegible pencil to paper, I never really put it down again. While my brother certainly pushed me, he knows as well as I do that I don’t do anything I really don’t want to and his task would have been fruitless if I didn’t find something engaging in the task.

In the end, what motivates me to write is, well, everything about the process. I love putting down the first words as much as I do the last. I cannot help but getting swept away in the imaginary world I create with the characters I craft to face that world. I enjoy tropes as much as I enjoy turning tropes on their heads—one of my first pieces in the fantasy genre featured an evil Gandalf character, seeking to betray those he was meant to help. 

However, the ideas and characters only inspire me as much as the words themselves. In fact, my family still pokes fun at me about reading the dictionary during my high school years. While I, like many of my contemporaries, list Tolkien as a major influence, I like to think I do so from the evidence of his philological background within his works rather than his epithet as the Father of Modern Fantasy.

3.    What genre do you write in and what made you choose this particular genre?

While much of my reading has been in Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, and Sword and Sorcery, I tend to lean (quite heavily) toward Dark Fantasy. I don’t know that I really chose Dark Fantasy. I simply realize that this is the genre in which I write. Because I like to play with certain tropes, I tend to lose traditional aspects that make me a writer of other subgenres. As I mentioned earlier, it is not so much that I dislike these tropes, but I cannot always reconcile myself to them within my stories. I have a desire to have exceptionally flawed individuals and, coupled with my rather morose outlook on life, they generally fail or step on others to achieve their goals. Real heroes are both rare and special. I simply haven’t found one in anything I write.

4.    What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?

I want to write stories I can stand behind with which people can identify. But I want my readers to have to think. I want more than simply a good book. I have read plenty of good books, at the end of which I can exclaim, “Thumping good read!” I then put down the book and never open it again. I don’t want to be in that stack. I want my readers to finish my story and immediately hand it to a friend (or stranger) and say, “Read this and then come talk to me. I need to discuss it with someone.” 

Ambitious, I know.

5.    Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

I would like to say that I don’t, but it just wouldn’t be true. I have simply figured out an effective way of dealing with it for myself. When I encounter writer’s block, I usually end up pacing. I walk back and forth in my house and talk to myself. A lot. Usually I talk through the plot, themes, character motivations. And my workout ends with me spouting dialogue back and forth to myself. I have found that the most people deal with their problems by talking and if I let my characters talk to each other, I usually figure out what had me stumped to begin with.

6.    What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

Start over. I have seen too many authors carrying the same novel around in their back pocket’s for years, trying to get it published without luck. They edit the piece over and over again, but can’t get it accepted. I am sure there are plenty of people who would like you to stick with your tattered manuscript, but throwing it out and starting over is usually best. If you are married to the story, read a chapter and re-write from memory. Don’t keep editing. You are a better writer at the end of your novel than you were at the beginning, but editing can only do so much.

7.    Please, tell us about your work. 

My first published work is Anaerfell, co-authored with Joshua Roberston, in the Thrice-Nine Legends setting. Strong Armed will be released on 08 March 2016 in the same setting. Meanwhile, Joshua and I are working on another co-authored novel, which will take place in a setting of my own creation.

The Release of Dyndaer

The Much Anticipated Sequel to Melkorka by Joshua Robertson!


The Blurb

Branimir emerges from the Netherworld as a living legend and learns the Ash Tree is still in danger from the cursed dagger, kaelandur. An old friend compels Branimir to finish what they started at Melkorka.

Once again, the former slave must keep kaelandur out of uncertain hands, while struggling to separate heroes from villains and friends from foes. Some evils never lessen.


The Bio

Joshua currently lives in Alaska with his wife and children. In 1999, he began crafting the world for Thrice Nine Legends, including Melkorka and Anaerfell. He is also the author of the A Midwinter Sellsword and Gladiators and Thieves in the Hawkhurst Saga. His short story, Grimsdalr, is inspired by the tale of Beowulf.


The Excerpt

A woman, unlike any Branimir had ever seen, emerged from the crowd and occupied the remaining chair. The bow slung over her shoulder, and the quiver on her back were the last things Branimir noticed. She was shorter than most Anshedar with an oversized head, a scrawny neck, and a sickly, thin frame. Yet her skin, smooth and colored a reddish brown, darker than Branimir, caused him to lean toward her. A sash, red as blood, hung across her shoulder, angled over her small chest.

She sat with her back stiffened and chin jutted forward. Pushing long black strands behind her ears, she introduced herself, “Hanna Bretka, daughter of Briv, from Danduher in Haemus Mons.” She sloshed her mug onto the table after taking a gulp. 

“Branimir and Dorofej,” Bran said, “And, excuse my asking, but what are you?”

Her eyes swelled like an owl, a circular black center and the rest filled with a cerulean orb. The colored ring twinkled like the Ojenek in his pocket. “What do you mean what am I?”

Adamus and Dorofej merged in laughter.

“Kras,” she said, “I am a Lilitu. How would you not know my kind? The Kras frequent trade with the Lilitu in Halderon.”

Branimir rubbed the back of his neck with a crooked smile, and meekly shrugged. He could not take his eyes off of her.

“What are you?” Adamus repeated, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye. “Best thing I have heard in two months. Having you travel with me never tires, Hanna.”

“Glad to please you, Adamus,” Hanna muttered, rolling his name off her tongue. “Is this why we detoured to Cavell? I thought we were aiming for debauchery, not expanding on our alleged friendship.” 


The Release of Anaerfell

By Joshua Robertson and JC Boyd

Erzebeth convulsed. Her fur and skin shedding away while she wheeled about on the ground in agony. The bones readjusted and organs reset from beast to human. Where a beast had stood was now the naked figure of Erzebeth. Cuts and scratches patterned her body, but none were fatal.

Tyran had no place for modesty. The Vucari woman, within the privacy of the ice dome, struggled to her feet. Again, her dark eyes met his own, filled with compassion.

“You need to be put down, young Red.” Her voice was calm as her feet crossed in front of one another, closing the distance between them. “Your power is greater than any I have seen before, even from the Anshedar.”

“What?” Tyran said, forehead wrinkled with confusion. He had never heard of the race before, whether beast or otherwise.

“You are like a rabid dog, young Red. You are the perfect companion, loyal, and possibly even loving somewhere deep inside,” Erzebeth bit her lip. Her breasts, barely covered by her dark hair, touched the front of his chest. She halted her feet. “But, you are tainted by a disease that is stronger than the goodness in you. You cannot be left to live in this world, or you will corrupt every living thing around you.”

Tyran tilted his chin, lips parting. His free hand touched her pale skin, as whitish as the ice fortress that veiled this moment.

“You would taint me, young Red.” She stepped up on her tiptoes. “As with the rabid dog, you need to be put down.”

He grabbed her by the back of the neck, and pulled her to him. He kissed her with more force than he had ever kissed any woman.

This woman was not Isolde. This woman was battle hardened, and a warrior. She was not plain.
She grabbed his shoulders and returned the embrace, her tongue touching his lips. Her body was far warmer than his own, as if it were heated by the darkness.

He did not know what he was doing in this moment. It may have likely been the first time that his mind was clear from thought, acting without thinking. Though, in time, he may consider that when his death was nigh, he found that this was something he wanted to do before death found him.

The crashing against the ice pulled him from the moment. Tyran pulled back, moving the Vucari’s hair from her cheek. “You won’t kill me, Erzebeth.”

“No,” she breathed. Her hands fell to his chest. “But, it still needs to be done.”

Interview with Joshua Robertson and JC Boyd

1.  Tell us a little bit about this project: what was it like working with another author?

JC: Far more rewarding than I would I have thought. I had always figured that trying to co-write something would end up a muddled mess, ending with anger and donuts, but that was definitely not the case. Although, it probably helps quite a bit that Joshua and I have worked together for years, so I know how to handle his over-exuberance and he knows how to handle my moodiness. The best part, though, was the fact that he really helped to compensate for some of my weaknesses as a writer. I just hope that he can say the same for me.

JOSHUA: Haha, absolutely! Yes, JC and I developed this idea for a book in 2004.  We wanted to create something that captured the themes of friendship, loyalty, and sacrifice. As with many writers, life continued to get in the way of writing the story. But, as brothers, we could not really escape one another’s pestering to get it done, and after eleven long years, Anaerfell is the final result of the original idea.

2. Describe your favorite scene (without giving away any spoilers).

JOSHUA: Oh man! No spoilers? There is a scene in the second half of the book when Tyran and Drast are discussing the best strategy going into battle. Drast’s response to Tyran makes me chuckle about every time I read it. Then again, most everything that comes from Drast makes me laugh.

JC: I, too, really enjoy most of the scenes with Drast as a central figure, because he never failed to surprise me—no matter how much of a hand I had in his creation. But my favorite scene has to be with the pair of them chatting towards the end of the novel. Joshua and I tried hard to earn the genre of Dark Fantasy with this novel, and when the two brothers have their heart-to-heart, I think that the novel finally finds its home, solidifying who they are, what they have done, and what they are leaving behind.

3. What can your readers expect from you in the future?

JOSHUA: I am releasing Book 2 of The Kaelandur Series in a few months called Dyndaer. This is the sequel to my best-selling, dark fantasy novel called Melkorka. For those who do not know, Anaerfell is the prelude (but a standalone novel) in the same world.

JC: Let me first say that nothing is set in stone. Joshua and I have toyed with a couple of other co-written works in the coming year or two, but I am not about to give away any spoilers. I joined him in Aenar, and if all goes well, he will be joining me in my world all too soon. I also have personal projects, which I will certainly be playing with in the coming year, including a novel set in Aenar with a character from Aenarfell—see if you can guess who!

4. Do you have any advice for authors just starting down the self-publishing road?

JC: Come back to your keyboard (or pencil, or pen, or voice-to-text program, or…smoke signals?). Joshua and I spent years playing with the concept of Anaerfell. It is easy to get discouraged or to struggle to see the end of the daunting process that is authorship, but we came back to the idea time after time until we had the words to say what we needed to say. If you leave, just make sure you come back again.

JOSHUA: I agree with JC. There is a lot of advice out there, but to echo what he is saying, I think the best advice is to keep writing.

5. Fun question: Your favorite movie producer of all time calls. Not only does he/she want to make your book into a movie, but he/she wants your help in a) deciding where to film and b) who to cast in the lead roles. What location would you pick and who would you case?

JC: I would hand the phone to Joshua. We had a bit of a “Ha ha, what if” conversation about this exact situation a few weeks back, and I told him that I could not resolve myself to make changes to Anaerfell for a movie. I would be such a pain in the neck for any producer that the movie would likely never get made. We determined then and there that I was not allowed to have any part of it.

JOSHUA: I am partial to Scotland or Ireland, and it would closely match the environment, but so would Newfoundland. Kevin McKidd (Gray’s Anatomy, Brave, Percy Jackson) would play a good Tyran. And, I would love to have Zach Ward (Chicago Fire, Resident Evil, Postal) play the role of Drast.

6. Fun question: What’s your favorite part of Halloween?

JOSHUA: I enjoy the history of All Hallows’ Eve with the change in seasons being a bridge into the world of the dead. And bonfires!

JC: Carving pumpkins. I can do without the candy, the children, and the pranks, but pumpkin carving is actually quite a bit of fun. I don’t know that I am very good at it, but I can still pretend.


The Highly Anticipated Release of Anaerfell

by Joshua Robertson & JC Boyd

The Blurb

Drast, cunning but reckless, is on the hunt for admiration. Tyran, calculating but tactless, is in search of affection. Bound by a friendship thicker than blood, the two brothers have been hardened by their father’s ambitions. Drast and Tyran are forced to set aside their own hopes and dreams during their struggle to fulfill their father’s desire for immortality. The two will face skin-switchers and dragons, ultimately leading to a final clash with Wolos, God of the Dead.


Author Bios

Joshua currently lives in Alaska with his wife and children. In 1999, he began crafting the world for Thrice Nine Legends, including Melkorka and Anaerfell. He is also the author of the A Midwinter Sellsword and Gladiators and Thieves in the Hawkhurst Saga. His short story, Grimsdalr, is inspired by the tale of Beowulf.

J.C. lives in the Midwest with his wife and two dogs. He is currently pursuing his M.A. in English Literature while continuing to craft his own dark fantasy world.  Before he had completed junior high, J.C. had received his first box set of Dungeons & Dragons and devoured the J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He has had a passion for the fantasy genre ever since.


The Teaser


Check back tomorrow for an excerpt and some other fun information!

P.H. Solomon

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Fact

  • Author: P.H. Solomon
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Books:
    • Trading Knives 
    • What Is Needed
    • The Black Bag
  • Official Site

Bio

P.H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. He is currently finishing the first book of a fantasy series and hopes to see it in print soon.


Interview with P.H. Solomon

Q. How did you get started writing?

A. I started writing this book out of high school several decades ago. I almost signed a contract for it with a small publisher in the mid-90's but backed off due to the terms. Since then I've toyed with writing off and on but decided to re-write the book and get serious about writing several years ago.

Q. How many books have you written prior?

A. The Bow of Destiny is my first novel-length book. I previously published a short story, The Black Bag, as an e-book.
Q. What genre do you enjoy writing the most and what is this book about? I enjoy fantasy the most so that's what I write. The Bow of Destiny is an epic fantasy whose main character, Athson has seen things that aren't there and suffered fits since being tragically orphaned as a child at the hands of trolls and Kregen the wizard. When a strange will mentioning a mysterious bow comes into his possession, he's not sure it's real. But the trolls that soon pursue him are all too real and dangerous. And what's worse, these raiders serve Kregen and his master, the hidden dragon, Magdronu, who are responsible for the destruction of his childhood home. Athson is drawn into a quest for the concealed Bow of Hart by the mystic Withling, Hastra, but Athson isn't always sure what's real and who his enemies are. With Kregen and Magdronu involved, Athson must face not only frequent danger but his grasp on reality and the reasons behind his tragic past.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it?

A. Chris Rawlins out of the UK designed the cover based on one of his own pieces named: Robin of Loxley.

Q. Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

A. Once I saw the artwork my cover is based on I knew that was what I needed. Chris was spot on with the design based on my descriptions. I'm looking forward to working with him again.
Q. Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

A. Tolkien heads the list but it also includes Patricia McKillip, Ursula K. Le Guin, Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, Anne McCaffrey and many others.
Q. What does your writing process look like?

A. Write like mad to get the rough draft out. Then make structural changes, followed by my editor's structural changes. Then it's onto nitty-gritty editing until the manuscript is ready for beta reading.
Q. Where do you write?

A. Wherever my laptop lands - it's my mobile office.
Q. Are you a plotter or do you write by the seat of your pants?

A. A little of both. I like a fluid, creative outline (not the structure kind from school, it just doesn't fit fiction). An creative outline allows for easy changes. Likewise, Scrivener is a great way to outline too since you can make structural changes easily.
Q. What book do you wish you could have written?

A. Armor by John Steakley or Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock - both are very under-read and under-valued books that very good and I highly recommend them.
Q. Do you have a pet or pets?

A. Actually, my dogs inspired Spark.
Q. Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before?

A. The Outer Hebrides Islands, The Galapagos Islands, Budapest and, well, all the parts of Europe I haven't been to yet.
Q. If you were any plant or animal, what would you be?

A. Cheetah - amazing runner!
Q. If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

A. Scottish is a fun-sounding accent but I'd really like to speak Gaelic.


Pending Projects

Book 1 of The Bow of Hart Saga: The Bow of Destiny releases 9/28/2015. It can currently be found for reservation at these select online retailers: Barnes & NobleKobo & iBooks (via the iTunes app)

Book 2 of The Bow of Hart Saga: An Arrow against the Wind due out 1/2/2016. It can currently be found for reservation at these select online retailers: Barnes & NobleKobo & iBooks (via the iTunes app)

Book 3 of The Bow of Hart Saga: The White Arrow is due out Fall of 2016 (links pending).

Prequel short stories to The Bow of Hart Saga:

Champion of the Stone Rats - tentative release 9/30/2015 for free, will be on Wattpad during 9/15.

A parallel series to The Bow of Hart Saga is also in process as three novellas.

There will likely be a sequel trilogy for The Bow of Hart Saga and possibly at least a prequel book.

The Black Bag found at AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboSmashwords & iBooks (via the iTunes app).

Guardians of the Gate epic fantasy is also a book/series in development.

The Black Glove adventure-fantasy series is also in development.


Alastair Swinnerton

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts

  • Author: Alastair Swinnerton
  • Genre: Fantasy/SciFi Blend (Time Travel with Fantasy Elements)
  • Books: The Multiverse of Max Tovey of The Hamdun Chronicles
  • Official Site

Bio

Alastair has been writing for children’s television for over twenty five years. Among his many credits are ‘The Wombles’, ‘Sabrina, Secrets of a Teenage Witch’, and the Bafta-nominated CBBC Christmas Special ‘The Tale of Jack Frost’, which he wrote, co-produced and co-directed. He was also one the co-creators of Lego® Bionicle®. ‘The Multiverse of Max Tovey’ is his first Young Adult novel.

Alastair lives in Somerset with his family, and spends much of his spare time walking the dog, more often than not at his beloved Ham Hill.


Accomplishments/awards

*Earned nominations for Best Animation at the BAFTAs and Best TV Special at the Pulcinella Awards in 2005 for The Tale of Jack Frost.

* Won Top-performing series on CITV for the summer of 2000 and received a special mention for graphics at the Pulcinella Awards in 2000 for his television show The Baskervilles, a cartoon series that developed a large cult following in the early 2000s.

*Emmy nominated in 1998 and won the 1998 New York Film & TV Festival Award for Best Children’s Program ages 2-6 for his work on Season 2 and 3 of The Disney Channel’s Amazing Animals.

* Nominated for an Irish Film & TV Award for Best Animation in 2008 for his work on Wobbly Land.


 Blurbs

 Fourteen year old Max Tovey’s world is blown apart when he discovers that his problems are nothing to do with him, and everything to do with being a Time Traveller. Following his mysterious grandfather’s funeral, Max finds himself on a wild journey through first century Celtic Britain, real and mythological, as his every action threatens to change the past, and his future.

Max battles demons – both real and psychological – on his mission to find the legendary Montacute Cross, stolen by his Viking ancestor Tofig, in order to close the gates to the Underworld, and lift the curse on his family.


Book Reviews

“Exciting… A Heart-racing Romp through Time”

–Alex Marwood, Edgar Award-winning author of ‘The Wicked Girls’

“This book was great, overall. Fun, a little dark, and I would buy it for every kid I know if I could! 4/5--fun and deep.”

—Kelly Smith Reviews

 http://kellysmithreviews.blogspot.com/2015/08/advance-book-review-multiverse-of-max.html?m=1&zx=b65602a428baa18f


 Excerpt

Max felt a little faint, almost like he’d just stepped off a boat and the world was still rocking back and forth.

“It will stop soon,” said someone behind him. Max turned, to see a man with short, well-cut blonde hair dressed in a smart dark blue suit.

“That feeling in your head. It will stop soon.”

Max looked around at his new surroundings, a white-painted room full of monitors, and a big window looking out onto what looked like hospital beds, their occupants seemingly asleep, attached to all manner of wires and tubes. A man in shirt sleeves came into the room and stopped and stared as he saw Max. “He’s here?” said the man in alarm. He sat down at the monitors quickly, checking the sleepers’ vital functions.

“It’s alright Wilson – Stenton brought him in. He had to think quickly.”

 “Where am I?” said Max. “And who are you?”

“I am Major Willoughby, and you are in the TRD. Time Research Department. Welcome Max – we’ve been following your life since, well since it began really.”

“Time Research Department?” said Max, a little cynicism creeping into his voice. “What, like a government department? Are you a secret agent or something?”

The Major laughed. “No Max, nothing so glamorous I’m afraid. This isn’t Doctor Who.”

Now Max looked closer at the occupant of one of the beds.

“That’s Nick! What’s he doing in that bed? He just rescued me from...”

“Yes, we saw. We can see everything The Dreamers do in these monitors here.”

Max stared at the Major, then held his hand up, taking a minute to try to work things out. But he couldn’t.

“Nick is a time traveller, as are the other five. Somehow they access the Multiverse - the infinite possible futures of the Fifth Dimension, and the alternative Presents of the Sixth. Like you, they have something missing in their brains that makes us see Time as a straight line – but unlike you, they can’t Travel when they’re awake. Only you can do that, that we know of, except of course your late grandfather, and anyone who has The Majyga. And so they sleep, and dream, and through them we make sure the Past, and the Present, remains stable. Which we have done - until now.”

“Where do they come from?”

“Percy found them shortly after he started Travelling himself,” said the Major. “He was still working for Intelligence as a code breaker then. Things kept changing in history, and he couldn’t work out why - then he found these guys. They didn’t even know they were doing it at first, but slowly they realised, and started taking advantage, changing history for their own ends. Percy tracked them down, one by one, and brought them to us. We were a dream research establishment at the time, but he realised we - and these Travellers - could be put to work for the good of the world, changing it subtly to right historical wrongs.”

Max was struggling. “So, you are government then...?”

“Well, a few people in various governments know about us, yes. But they don’t interfere. We rather scare them.”


 Connect with the Author


Aurelia Maria Casey

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts

  • Author: Aurelia Maria Casey
  • Genre: fantasy and science fiction, with occasional hints of romance and thriller
  • Books: Sorcerous & Beastly Season 1 from the Sorcerous & Beastly Series
  • Official Site

Bio

When I’m not hanging out in my fairy court conversing with you, my readers, and occasionally my characters, I am a fashion designer and a biomedical engineer because I love transforming ideas from my imagination to reality. It’s the same thought process as storytelling, really. Just a different medium.

 I write the stories that my imagination won’t let me forget about. These stories fall into many different genres and for many different age groups. (Don’t worry, I keep the forums and podcasts PG-13 and I rate my books the same way Hollywood rates movies, so you’ll always know what to expect). I love exploring story from many perspectives, so I started a book club where we can discover new authors in a breadth of genres.


Accomplishments

Editor of an annual Domestic Violence Awareness short story and poetry anthology, the proceeds of which get donated to support victims and survivors.


 Blurb

A villain Death is afraid of. One girl left to die in the Enchanted Forest, the other ran away and got stuck there. A lord playing prince and a prince who breaks the law. Can they overcome impossible odds and find each other in time to do what Death won’t?

 Hi.

I’m Death, and this is a story about a time I failed.

But honestly, I had almost nothing to do with anything that happened. So it isn’t really my fault.

You see, there’s someone who terrifies me. He’s done some truly horrific things. Basically, he’s the cruelest man alive.

I’m going to start at the prophecy, because until then I was avoiding my job. The prophecy made me hope that someone else would save me from having to be a hero.

Heroism really isn’t my thing. I traverse the world of the living and collect souls who are ready to move on to the afterlife. Nothing heroic about that.

Anyway, after the prophecy I started paying attention to life again, just to keep track of things. It’s taken me a long time to gather all the pieces of this story. It’s about some real strong girls and boys, men and women, who managed to accomplish something I thought was impossible.

I’ll let you judge for yourself whether or not I’m a coward for staying mostly on the sidelines.


 Excerpt

I suppose you might think that I’m only making excuses. You could be right. This story certainly wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been scared. Cowardly, perhaps. But I’m not telling you this story for my benefit. I’m telling you this story because someone needs to remember. Someone needs to hold me accountable for all the lives I’ve ruined.

So. To begin:

Once upon a time, far, far away, there was an enchanted forest. To the east and west of this forest were impassable mountains. To the north and south were two kingdoms which had almost nothing to do with each other. Many generations ago there had been a large road through the enchanted forest which connected these two kingdoms, but when the Wolf Queen usurped control over the enchanted kingdom it became impassable. After years of traders entering the forest on that road and never returning, these two countries grew apart. There remained a small amount of diplomatic contact but the sea-voyage was treacherous and ships were nearly as unreliable as the trade road had become.

The kingdom in the north was called Manassa and it was the most dreary of rainy, foggy, damp countries. The Manassans were primarily interested in fighting the nomadic reindeer-herding barbarians in the far north. Having no good grazing land, the Manassans fought fiercely to survive in their stone fortresses, scraping by with what little wheat could be grown in the stony soil. 

The kingdom in the south, known as Sacor, was vibrant and lush with the perfect balance of seasons. In fact, it was so lovely that the fairies caught in the Enchanted forest were jealous that mere humans could live in such a fairyland. As a collective of dukedoms, ruled over by one duke elected to the Governorship every twenty years, the Sacorans were a peace-loving and cultured society. They had little interest in warring with other countries, and luckily had nothing of value to other countries. The worst spat of violence Sacor had experienced in its history was a great duel between two young noblemen over who would marry the Governor’s daughter, fabled to be the most beautiful woman in all the world. Or so the fairies claimed.
But one day, all the magical creatures everywhere in the world disappeared. They vanished, and no-one could discover where they went or why they left. Fairies and elves became legend and hobgoblins and pixies became stories to frighten children. Sorcerers practiced their arts in secret, and witches were laughed at.

Still, nobody was brave enough to enter the Enchanted Forest.

Until one day a Sacoran father-to-be, desperate for a remedy for his pregnant wife, wandered over the edge of his garden and into the forest. He was chasing after snowdonia hawkweed, which is a real plant although it is extremely rare and difficult to find, because the midwife told him its healing properties would ease the birthing.

Fortunately for him, before he could go far enough to be noticed by the Wolf Queen’s spies, the last mamitu stopped him. She was bony-thin from hunger, her black hair hanging thin and stringy down her back. Despite this, her black ridged horns twisted delicately from her temples crowning her with dignity.

She sent him home, saying his wife would come through her labor safely and his firstborn would become the greatest queen in all the world. Before he could thank her, she loped away, drawing the wolf spies after her. The mamitu had stopped him before he could cross the inner ward and he returned unscathed from the forest’s edge to find all as the mamitu had decreed

-<>-

Almost exactly ten years later, Viola was almost to the stone wall at the very back of the gardens. She could see the ward crystals glittering when the breeze moved the foliage to let the sunlight through. The ward crystals were superstitious nonsense: everyone knew that, but everyone used them anyway, which was a good thing, because they did work only nobody remembered that because the magical creatures had disappeared centuries before. Viola and Robbie, the stable boy, had been sneaking out to play just past the wall, where none of the servants would think to look for her.

A bumble bee buzzed around the blooming roses, and she smiled. Soon she would have the freedom to stop and smell the roses too.

Viola was running away. She thought the stories her nurse told her of the monsters in the forest were scary, but she felt that her upcoming tenth birthday celebration was more terrifying than pixies and wolves and enchantresses. Dresses were inconvenient, hot, and itchy. She hated cakes and icing and fruit punch. But most of all, she hated how everyone would be expecting her to look the part of a future queen and would see her awkward, clumsy, shy, self. Somehow whenever she had to speak to anyone important she started stuttering and couldn’t remember anything she was supposed to know. Of course, this included her parents who consequently thought her to be stupid and lazy. But they couldn’t entirely ignore her because of the Mamitu’s prediction when she was born: that she would grow up to become a queen. Viola had no desire to be a queen. All she wanted was to be left alone. So far as she could tell, queens had to do everything she hated: studying boring books, planning parties, talking to strangers. Math and genealogies. Ugh! She shuddered at the thought and ran the rest of the way to the wall.

She was about to clamber up and over it when she heard a crash-clatter-thump behind her. 


Interview with Aurelia

Angela B. Chrysler: I want to take a moment to welcome Aurelia Maria Casey author of [add however many titles you would like] available on [add link]. Thank you so much for speaking with me, Ms. Casey. Please take a moment to tell us about your book.

 ABC: How did you come up with the idea for your book?

AMC: Well, unlike most of my stories, the story spark for Sorcerous & Beastly was actually a variation of Cinderella and Ella Enchanted that I came up with when I was about twelve. It wasn't the first story spark I had that was worth pursuing, but it's the first one that's finished.

 ABC: Stories always require some form of research. What kind of research did you do for your book?

AMC: I've read a lot. I think most of my research was understanding fairy tale and fantasy novel tropes, so I could pick which elements would work and which were too cliche and boring. There are a few cliche things that I kept on purpose because I wanted readers aware that there may be some fairy tale elements to watch out for. Sorcerous & Beastly definitely isn't pure fantasy. There are hints of mythological influences, most notably the fact that Death is a character: the narrator, in fact.

 ABC: Which scene or chapter was the hardest for you to write?

AMC: The scenes without dialog are always the hardest for me, because I worry that the narrative isn't engaging enough without conversation. However, there are a couple characters who have more of an internal journey than an external one, so that was definitely a challenge.

 ABC: Please describe your favorite scene or chapter in your book and tell us why it’s your favorite?

AMC: I love the part(s) where Death forgets he's a narrator and takes action within the story itself. Also, I like when he interjects into his own narrative with asides and commentary. That's always fun.

 ABC: Which of your characters, do you relate to the most (or) who is your favorite character and why?

AMC: In Sorcerous & Beastly I definitely relate to Viola most because she is based on my seven-year-old self even though she's ten. But my favorite character ever is Elethiere. She's an elf and I've been working hard on her story since before I had the idea for Sorcerous & Beastly. Elethiere's story is the one that propelled me to become a writer rather than merely someone with an active imagination.

 ABC: I once read that every author is simply a compilation of his/her favorite authors. Which authors have done the most to influence your writing and why?

AMC: I think every author I read has an influence on my writing. Sherwood Smith is my favorite author of all time. However, there are many other authors I love: Ilona Andrews, Patrick Rothfuss, Mercedes Lackey, Anne Bishop, Tolkein, CS Lewis, JK Rowling, Devon Monk, Lisa Shearin, Ashley Capes, Rachael Ritchey, to name a few. I'm working on building a database in my Fairy Court where you can find the books I would recommend from all my favorite authors.

 ABC: “Story” has always been the center of all human cultures. We need it. We seek it out. We invent it. What does “story” mean to you?

AMC: A story is something that entertains and teaches. Everything important about how people work and interact with each other and how to overcome seemingly impossible challenges I learned from reading fantasy and romance and science fiction and literature. It's way more fun than a psychology class, in my opinion. It's a way to dream collectively, and then we can collectively decide which dreams to transform into reality through innovation in tech, fashion, food, etc.

 ABC: Tells us about your next project.

AMC: Well, I have several projects in the works. The Necromancer of Many Faces is the first novel in the Intrigue series. If you want a peek at that world, you can read my short story Assassin, which takes place in between books 3 and 4. I'm also working on another serial called The Exclusives which is science fiction and I'll be reading that on my podcast Storytime starting in December. You can listen to all of Sorcerous & Beastly one episode at a time starting in September. And of course I'm working on Elethiere's story. Chains of Destruction is a short story that I originaly intended as the proglogue to Elethiere's Story.

ABC: Where can we find you and your book?

AMC: Join my Purple Court! You get access to all sorts of cool stuff including a forum where my characters sometimes drop by to say hi, and notifications and updates whenever I publish something new. I'm also entering everyone who joins in August into a drawing to get an e-book version of the complete first season of Sorcerous & Beastly. Go to http://amcasey.com/join and start reading the stories in your starter library!

ABC: Thank you again, so much for speaking with me.


A word with Death...

Q: Go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell the audience about yourself.

Death: I'm Death. I'm immortal and stuff, and I help souls transition from living to dead.

Q: Tell us where and when were you born.

Death: I guess I was born before the beginning of time. I don't really know. Time isn't the same for me as it is for you mortals.

Q: How would you describe yourself?

Death: I like to think I'm dedicated and hard working. But I know most people think I'm selfish and cruel. It's hard to be popular when your job is to help people pass from Life to the Afterlife. The Living almost never understand.

Q: Tell us about where you grew up.

Death: It was wonderful. The world wasn't overcrowded then, so I could take my time and explore the world of the living and the world of the dead. Now I'm overwhelmed with the vast number of souls I have to collect.

Q: Tell everyone what it is you do when you’re not [verb from previous question].

Death: It's been a really long time since I've been able to take a long enough break from reaping to do this, but I love collecting the stories of the dead. I find it so fascinating how their motivations change between life and death, and it's comforting for some of them when they first cross over to know that someone remembers what they were and cares.

Q: Are you serious with anyone?

Death: No. Unlike your Hades, I don't have a Persephone yet. Maybe I'll find someone, but for now I am alone.

 Q: Tell us about your worst fear.

Death: He's the cruelest man alive. I refuse to allow him into the afterlife because he'll continue to cause problems for the dead if I do. That's all I want to say.


http://amcasey.com/join Go to my site and join the purple court for a chance to win the complete Sorcerous & Beastly Season 1, open during August only. Winners will be congratulated on Storytime at the end of Sorceorus & Beastly Episode 1 and emailed.



Buy the Books!

 For the month of august, anyone who joins the Purple Court (http://amcasey.com/join) will be entered to win an ebook copy of Sorcerous & Beastly the Complete First Season. Whether or not you win you'll get access to the starter library, world building documents, forum, and more as soon as you join.

See the Brain to Books Blog Tour Giveaways with Lu!

A Brain to Books Production

 

C.L. Schneider

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Fact

  • Author: C.L. Schneider
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Books:
    • The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price
    • The Crown of Stones: Magic-Scars
  • Official Site

Bio

Born in a small Kansas town on the Missouri river, I grew up in a house of avid readers and overflowing bookshelves. When I was sixteen I wrote my first, full-length novel on a typewriter in my parent's living room. My main focus is adult epic fantasy, but I also write urban fantasy, and the occasional science fiction or post-apocalyptic story.

I am proud to be a self-published author and a member of the #indiebooksbeseen community. My goal as a writer is to stir emotion and make the reader feel, whether it be good or bad. I believe in writing fearless, and that telling a story as it is meant to be told, is far more important than word count.

The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price is my first published novel. The second book in the trilogy, Magic-Scars, was released earlier this year.


Magic Price

Blurb

Ian Troy is one of the Shinree, a fallen people with an inherent addiction to magic. Scorned and reviled for the deadly side of their spells, the Shinree are bred as slaves. Their magic is suppressed by drugs and used only as it serves the purposes of the other races.

Descended from a long line of soldiers, Ian is conscripted into the Rellan army and made to fight in their longstanding conflict against the ruthless Langorian invaders. The downfall of Rella imminent, Ian goes against orders and turns to the Crown of Stones, an ancient Shinree relic of untold power. Ignorant of its true purpose, Ian uses the crown to end the war, and pays a terrible price.

A decade later, still tortured by the aftermath of that day, Ian lives as a bounty hunter in self-imposed exile. Having renounced his magical heritage, he curbs his obsession with a steady stream of wine and regret. He struggles to put it all behind him, until a fateful encounter with a pretty assassin brings Ian’s past crashing into the present. Targeted by a rogue Shinree, and a ruthless old enemy, Ian is forced to use magic again. His deadly addiction is rekindled and his life of isolation is brought to a swift end.

With the land he gave up everything to protect once more in jeopardy, and his people’s future at stake, Ian becomes embroiled in a violent race for control of the Crown of Stones. To save the realms and those he cares for, Ian must embrace the thing he fears most: his own power.

Magic-Price is the first installment in The Crown of Stones trilogy.


Excerpt

Prologue

Bodies pressed in on me on all sides. More were piled up beneath my feet. The grass, gorged with assorted fluids and trampled remains, squished under my boots as I carved open my opponent’s chest, pushed him aside, and moved onto the next.

There was always a next. The Langorians were a swarm…an inexhaustible, savage, mindless swarm. And we had no choice but to become like them to survive. To become animals, going at each other, mechanically pushing against the tide, battering whatever stood in our way with whatever we had; clubs, axes, swords, knives—our bruised, bleeding bare hands. Fighting for days, months, years, striving to hold out against an enemy that knew nothing of mercy, an enemy stronger, and far more brutal than us, we’d become something less than we were.

And we were still losing.

I grabbed the Queen’s arm and steered her out of the fray. “We can’t take much more of this.” Needing to be heard, I drew her closer. “We should pull back.”

“Pull back?” Queen Aylagar Arcana yanked herself free. She gave me a wild, defiant look. Full of passion and reckless resolve, it made her exotic features come alive. “My order stands. We press on, Troy. As always.”

I shook my head. “Our numbers are dwindling too fast. We can’t win this.”

“We can and we will.” Aylagar raised a hand. She touched my face and the sound of metal clashing and men screaming seemed to fade away. Brushing back the blood-splattered white strands that had come loose from my braid, she ran a finger down the strong line of my jaw. “Trust me, Love. The Langorians will not have Rella.”

“How can you still believe that?”

“Because I must. Because I have faith.”

“Ayla…” I stopped myself. Then I started again. “I saw the messenger arrive from Kabri. I know he carried orders from the King. You can’t keep ignoring them.”

“I can. And I will.” She dropped her hand and backed up. “My husband is a fool. I don’t care how many messengers he dispatches from his throne, he is not out here. The blood of these men bathes my skin, not his. This is my war, Troy. Mine!” she cried. “We fight. We die. We go on until we prevail—by my command. I will not surrender. That is the way of it. That is the only way.”

My throat went dry at the fire in her. The way she stood, outlined by the backdrop of chaos, flanked by the crackling flames that consumed our camp, with sweat beading on her dark skin and battle-lust glazing her stare, I wanted to pull her into my arms. I wanted to go back to this morning, on the furs of her tent, when Aylagar’s flawless, ebony skin was on me. Where status and race didn’t matter and death felt far away. Mostly, I wanted to believe her, as I had so many times, that every battle brought us closer to victory. That persistence was our greatest strength and it would carry us through.

But this was it. King Draken of Langor was throwing everything he had at us, making one final push to wipe us all out. To once and for all, lay claim to the land his forefathers had sought, and failed, to conquer. Surrendering was unacceptable; she was right in that. Yet, Aylagar had lost her way. Somewhere along the line, the outcome had stopped mattering to her as much as the fight, and my affection, my awe of her, had blinded me for far too long.


Magic Scars

Blurb

Magic doesn’t wound the same as a sword.

The story of Ian Troy continues in Magic-Scars, the second installment in C. L. Schneider’s riveting epic fantasy trilogy, The Crown of Stones.

Captured by his old enemy, King Draken of Langor, Shinree magic user Ian Troy was sentenced to prison. Tortured and drugged, robbed of his will, his memories, and his magic, Ian was made to do unspeakable things. Rescued, as his body slowly rids itself of the drug, Ian realizes he has returned to an unfamiliar world gripped with fear. In the wake of his fall, those he cared for were left to their own grim fates. Draken has seized control of the realms and named himself High King. His brutal rein has sparked a desperate rebellion that Ian now finds himself a part of. His one task: recover and repair the Crown of Stones, in hopes it will tip the balance in the revolution that is brewing. In pursuit of the reason behind the artifact’s strange loss of magic, Ian is driven to release an explosion of retribution and power that leaves him irrevocably scarred.

Struggling to reconcile the man he has become with the man he once was, Ian strives to understand the growing number of magic-scars adorning his body. He searches for the truth behind his link to the Crown of Stones and uncovers shocking secrets buried for generations beneath the sand. To become the weapon the resistance needs, he must assume responsibility for his magical inheritance. But can he curb the destructive appetite that comes with it?

The price of Ian’s magic and his addiction have never been higher.


Excerpt Book 2 (Magic-Scars)

I eyed the door. Instinct told me to hold off. I tried to listen. I crouched among a group of snow covered barrels and waited to see if a sentry was on watch.

It took less than a minute to know waiting wasn’t on my list of favorite things. I was pretty confident I didn’t like eerie silences either, as the longer the quiet stretched, the more it unnerved me. Swiftly, uneasiness became panic, then dread.

With each scrape of the swinging lantern and flap of the sail, the calm ate at me.

It ate until I was hollow. Until that same nagging notion (the one I had just started to ignore) crept back. It was a noiseless, internal clamor. An urge that gouged into what was left of me, chiseling pieces off, scooping them out even as it reminded me that I’d lost the very thing that once filled the hole.

Something was missing.

It’s more than that, I realized. It’s someone.

He was out there, past the night and the snow. He was in trouble. He was suffering and it was my fault. Or was it? I had no memories to match my guilt. No face or name to prompt such urgency. All I had was intuition ringing like a claxon in my head telling me to go, to find him.


Interview with C.L. Schneider

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started writing?

How did I get started writing? You can blame books on that one. I was a huge reader and an early reader. But, honestly, it feels like I have always been writing. I can remember being very young and rewriting the scripts for my favorite TV shows because I didn’t like how the story was evolving or what the writers were doing with the characters. Sometime I would write commercials or fake news reports and make my poor family sit down and pretend to be my audience. I wrote poems and started more short stories than I can count. It was rare when I read a book I couldn’t finish, but at sixteen, I had a streak where I picked up and put down several book in a row that weren’t cutting it. I thought I could write a book at least that good, so that’s what I did. I spent the rest of that summer on the draft of my first full length novel; a post-apocalyptic monstrosity entitled A Twist of Fate. Looking back now, I’m fairly certain it was no better than those books I couldn’t finish. But, was the start of something. Twist of Fate set me on my path, and one of these days I’m going to pull that monster out of the box in my closet and give it the shine it deserves.

What do I do when I’m not writing?

That’s an easy one. I’m always writing! If it isn’t on my laptop, or on paper, it’s in my head. Occasionally, it’s on a napkin in a restaurant. The rest of my day is spent letting the dog and cat in and out, and ignoring the laundry.

What is the one thing that would surprise us?

I’m not sure if it’s surprising, but it’s something not many people know.

There was a time in high school when I seriously considered a career in special effects make-up. Since I was a young child I’ve been fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes in a theatrical production. As part of the drama club in school, I worked on the stage crew, building the scenery, creating props, putting together the costumes. I even choreographed a musical once. But what truly fascinated me were the creatures and characters created for fantasy, sci-fi, and horror movies. I wanted badly to be a part of that world and to create my own fantastical creatures. For several years I read everything I could find on the subject. I looked into schools and even narrowed down my choices. But, life had other plans for me. Now, I create my creatures with words—and binge watch Face-Off every chance I get.

Is this your first book?

I have a closet full of unpublished works (some completed, some not), but The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price was my first published novel. The second book in the trilogy, Magic-Scars released earlier this year.  

What genre is it and what is it about?

The Crown of Stones trilogy is adult, epic fantasy. It follows the trial of Ian Troy, a man born with a crippling addiction to magic. As Ian struggles with his addiction, he faces enemies, old and new, in an attempt to unravel the secrets of The Crown of Stones and unite the realms.

What inspired you to write this book?

The Crown of Stones trilogy was mostly inspired by the character of Ian Troy. I believe the most interesting characters are flawed. The more flawed, the more real they feel to me. Super Heroes are great. Yet, I’m more interested in what’s behind the mask. How much muck were they dragged through before they became super? When I created Ian I did a very lengthy profile. I wanted my story to revolve around magic, so I made magic (what should be his greatest strength) his greatest flaw. I added in a few traits inspired by some of my favorite books from childhood, and the story evolved from there.

How did you come up with the title?

I had this gorgeous piece of amethyst sitting on my bookshelf for years. I always wanted to work it into a story. So when I created the character of Ian and his magic, the original title of the book was The Amethyst Crown. But as my magic system evolved, so did the crown and the title.

Tell us a little bit about the cover art?

The covers for both Crown of Stones books were done by Alan Dingman. Alan is a personal friend of mine as well as an incredibly talented local artist. When I decided to self-publish I looked first at the covers CreateSpace was offering. They were all well done, but none of them could live up to the image in my head. The cover of Magic Price has been bouncing around in there for a long time. I couldn’t compromise. Working at Simon & Schuster as well as having his own portrait business; I knew Alan was a busy man. I approached him about taking on the work as a side job and, thankfully, he jumped at the chance. The way he can pull an image out of my head, and enhance it with his own flair, amazes me.

I believe if a cover I done right, an author can convey so much to potential readers. With both Magic-Price and Magic-Scar, I wanted to convey the tone of the book as well as provide a glimpse into a pivotal moment in the main character’s life. I’m very picky. Every detail has to be just right. Alan is very patient. Though I wouldn’t doubt he’s sick of me by the time the project is done!

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

People ask me that all the time, and I find it such a hard question. The characters are all so unique to me. I find it hard to squeeze them into the mold of someone else’s body and features. It is fun, though to see my characters through other people’s imagination. Some readers have come up with great suggestion for actors to play in a Crown of Stones movie. Have a look: The Imagine Film List | Magic-Price (The Crown of Stones Series)

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Different writers have inspired me at different times in my life. Some whose titles I have devoured over the years (in no particular order) are: H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Margaret Mitchell, Emily Bronte, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Jennifer Roberson, C. J. Cherryh, Stephen King, Andre Norton, Ray Bradbury, Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, and Mary Shelley.

What does your writing process look like?

Almost every book I’ve ever written has started on paper. I love a blank page. But a blank screen…not so much. My drafts are a messy vomiting of ideas, half of which don’t make it between the lines. I call it my skeleton. The story is usually coming to me fast and furious at this point so it’ also easier to carry around a notebook rather than the laptop. When I have enough down to start really working with, I head to my laptop and put the meat on the bones. I usually go back and forth a couple of times from notebook to computer. I don’t write linear at this stage. I write whatever scenes I see most clearly in my head. Later, I marry them together on the computer. Once the draft is done I start revising. After the first revision I start sending some to my beta readers. The second and third revisions are my favorite. By this time the story has really come together, and I can start adding in all the nuances and massaging sentences and paragraphs, making sure they have the proper rhythm and flow. By the time I start obsessing over a fourth revision, is when my editor steps in and pries it from my hands.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I do read my reviews, every single one of them. I know some authors who have sworn off reading their reviews, but in the beginning I don’t think most can probably help it. At least I couldn’t. I distinctly remember the shock at my first five star and the tears at my first one star. I thought I was prepared for the praise a much as the candor, but it takes some getting used to. Your blood is on those pages. It’s never easy to hear someone bash not only their content, but you as a writer. But, it gets easier. You learn what is really constructive and what to ignore, and if you’re lucky, the good outweigh the bad.

I read a quote once by Tibor Kalman: “When you make something no one hates, no one loves it.” Those words helped me immensely when it comes to dealing with reviews. I still say them to myself from time to time. They remind of the diversity of human taste and how you really can’t please everyone. All you can do is be true to the story that’s in you, and tell it. That being said, if enough reviews highlight the same issues or potential problems with your work, it might be time to take a look at it.

As far as responding to reviews, I may thank the reviewer on social media for reading, or for their kind comments. I think that’s only polite. But, in my opinion, engaging someone who wrote a bad review is never a good idea. People are entitled to their own views, no matter how you might not agree with them. Not to mention, there is too much emotion wrapped up in your work. You’re for more likely to answer with your heart than your head and make things worse. Read them and move on. Resistance is not futile!

What is your favorite Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?

My favorite costume is when I went to a party a couple of years ago dressed as a female version of Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. I had the crossbow, the ear necklace, the red handkerchief, the knife. I even attached the angel wings to my vest. It was as much fun to put together as it was to wear.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on Magic-Borne, the final book in The Crown of Stones trilogy. It’s heading off to my editor in September so I’m scrambling to be sure it’s exactly how I want it first. I’m finding it very bittersweet. These characters have been a part of my life for so long. There is so much to wrap up and touch on, I want to make sure Ian and his friends get the proper send off.

I recently started work on my next book, which centers on the story of a half dragon woman who flees her world to seek sanctuary in ours. I have two hundred pages of a draft done. I wrote it about a year ago, but my idea has expanded quite a bit since then. I reworked the plot just last week, so I’m unsure yet how much of the draft I’m going to keep.

I’m also in the beginning stages of co-writing the first book in a Viking-themed epic fantasy trilogy with fellow author Jeremy Swiger. We have some draft finished, the first book plotted out and a loose plot for books two and three. So I have a lot to keep me busy.

What genre do you enjoy writing the most and why?

I think this one is pretty obvious. Fantasy, of course! I love fantasy in all its forms and offshoots. To me, fantasy is endless possibility. I’m not sure a writer can’t ask for much more than that.

 What do you wear while writing?

Since I squeeze it in during every free moment I have, especially in the summer when the kids are home, I write with whatever I have on. But what do I prefer to write in? My PJs. Or my yoga pants. For marathon writing sessions I want anything comfortable, where I’m free to pile in the chocolate and not feel the pounds creeping on.

Do you have a pet or pets?

Yes, we have pets. Unfortunately, our Beta fish, Happy and Bro, died recently. But, we still have Skittles the cat, who spends her days trying to figure out how to sleep on my laptop while I’m writing, and her nights plotting on how best to off the dog. As you can see below, she also does a bit of zombie modeling for her immature owners.

Woodstock, (otherwise known as Woody, Woodrow, or Drop It) is our 70+ pound, 1 ½ year old lap dog. Despite repeated attempts on his life, he still believes Skittles is his best friend.

What is your favorite snack food?

Is coffee a snack food? If not, I would have to say chocolate covered pretzels (chocolate covered anything, really) or chips and salsa. Do not leave a bowl of either in front of me. It will likely be empty by the time you come back.

Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?

I would love to meet Amelia Earhart. She was the first woman aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic. We were born in the same small Kansas town, and I’ve always found her quotes inspiriting. Amelia Earhart was bold and gutsy, and didn’t listen to the naysayers. She believed in herself. I admire her fearlessness.


Connect with Schneider


M.T. McGuire

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Fact

  • Author: M.T. McGuire
  • Genre: Humorous science fiction fantasy action adventure with a dash of clean romance
  • Books:
    • Short story prequel of the K'Barthan Series, Unlucky Dip
    • Few Are Chosen, K'Barthan Series: Part 1
    • The Wrong Stuff, K'Barthan Series: Part 2
    • One Man: No Plan, K'Barthan Series: Part 3
    • Looking For Trouble, K'Barthan Series: Part 4
  • Official Site

Bio

M T McGuire is a 46 year old stay-at-home mum. She used to do stand up but sat down to write books when she got married. Sixteen years later, she has finished the K'Barthan Trilogy. She still checks all unfamiliar wardrobes for a gateway to Narnia, which probably tells you everything you need to know about her. She lives in Bury St Edmunds with a McOther a McSon and a McCat.

If you've read any of her stuff, she'd like to say, 'thank you' and hopes you enjoyed it.

 Read the blurbs here!


Interview with McGuire

 Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?

My name is M T McGuire and I’m an authorholic. Seriously though, I think the reason I started writing was because I couldn’t not ... although it was a while before I realised that was the root cause. Also, my mind spent so much time away with the fairies that it seemed logical to try and show people where it went. I am a stay at home mum so when I’m not writing, which is a lot of the time, I’m looking after my boy, or checking up on my folks, who are a bit doddery and live a long way away, or doing social other things so that I have more stuff to write about. I also like wine tasting, gardening, reading, painting and I go metal detecting quite often. Some of the stuff I’ve found is hundreds of years old but I’ve yet to find anything worth more than about ten quid.

Is this your first book?

It’s my first series – The K’Barthan Series – and it stands complete at four full length novels and a short. Writing them did feel like writing one huge novel at times and I was mightily relieved when I finally got the whole story out there. The beginning of the series, Few Are Chosen, K’Barthan Series: Part 1 was the first decent book I managed to write. It took me 13 years during which time I wrote 3 other books I heartily wish someone else had written.

What genre do you enjoy writing the most and what is the book about?

My genre; when people ask, I say I write humorous science fiction fantasy for teenagers. Unfortunately, it’s a lie as I actually write what pleases me. So take the K’Barthan Series, which is the extent of my novels in the public domain. There’s quite a lot going on. It’s basically about a bumbling cowardly getaway driver in a parallel reality (K’Barth). He’s blacklisted, which means his existence is treason and he’s an outlaw. All he wants is a quiet life but the more he tries to blend in and disappear the more trouble he gets himself into. Eventually he has to take on the nation’s despot leader to save the life of the woman he loves.

There’s a lot of humour, there is science – the cars fly and the mobile phones run on static (rub them in your hair to charge) –the parallel world, K’Barth, is full of weird and wonderful creatures in varying sizes, degrees of hairiness, shapes, colours etc. The Pan’s ex boss is a 6ft swamp thing with orange skin and antennae, the head of the Resistance movement is a Blurpon: a small monopedal cat like creature with red fur, a propensity to extreme violence and unsurpassed laundering skills – shirts, not money.

It’s quite non standard.

What inspired you to write this book?

To be honest, I just wrote the kind of book I wanted to read. To me it’s just an updated version of the Narnia books, which I loved, with funny bits and some ritzy modern gadgets thrown in. A kind of Douglas Adams meets James Bond, except I wouldn’t pretend to be able to write like Douglas Adams and if we’re going to start comparing it to the greats it’s probably more like Pratchett. Except I can’t write like him yet, either but I like to aim high (just a bit) so I’m working on it.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

The idea of a pimped parallel version of reality has been with me since I can remember. It went through several incarnations before K’Barth indeed it almost went to press as Yarth and the Yarthan Series, but by the time I got to publishing the first book, I discovered that Yarth was some really obscure realm of Dungeons and Dragons invented by a chap who had died and therefore wasn’t alive to ask. So I thought of G’Barth, my husband suggested K’Barth and it stuck. The book titles were easier because I wanted to project that kind of British comedy feel. Also, K’Barthan Series is the weird bit, so the titles need to be a bit less odd. Hence generic choices like Few Are Chosen, The Wrong Stuff, One Man: No Plan and Looking For Trouble. I hope these say ‘comedy’ first and foremost because that’s what it is.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

The covers were designed by a bunch called A Trouble Halved, who are based in Stratford Upon Avon. They are contacts from my previous life when I worked in marketing. I wanted someone who I could guarantee would be able to interpret my warped ideas and since they have form in that respect they were the obvious choice.

The plot of the K’Barthan Series hangs on getting hold of three artefacts. Their significance is revealed one book at a time until the last book which is just a good old battle between the forces of good and evil. From the point of view of the covers, I wanted to have whatever artefact was relevant to the story on the front of each book with the characters tumbling over one another to try and grab it. I had drawings of what my characters looked like and asked them if they could do it. They told me it would be very expensive and came up with the idea of the hands (less drawing so it was cheaper). After a bit of discussion, we added the flying cars on the back as I thought they’d be brilliant for merchandise, and they are. It cost a lot but to me it was well worth it.

If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaption of your book, who would play them?

That’s a tricky one I am really useless on actors and actresses. I have no clue who anyone is and I’d need a time machine. Many of the people I’m suggesting are a lot older than the stage of their lives at which I’m offering them the part or, coughs politely, dead. Time machine procured, off we go.

The male lead, The Pan of Hamgee, is a lot like David Tennant as Dr Who, only with a slightly less rubber face and a dash of Joel Fry thrown in (Stylax from Plebs), for Lord Vernon, the evil baddie, I’d have to find Timothy Dalton, as playing Mr Rochester in a 1980s BBC TV adaption of Jane Eyre, and teleport him to now but actually this fellow is close – in that picture, at any rate. There’s definitely bit of Daniel Craig about General Moteurs. I think Ada would be Maggie Smith and I suspect Judy Dench or Catherine Tate would both make an equally good Gladys. Big Merv is Samuel L Jackson with antennae and a cockney accent but Ruth and Lucy are tricky... I think I’d cast Anna Friel as Ruth maybe, although she’s not quite as comfortably upholstered as I imagine Ruth. Lucy is easier, I imagine her as Claire Danes (Carrie out of Homeland.

 When and why did you begin writing?

I think there were two reasons: first, because nobody else seemed to be writing the kinds of stories I wanted, I loved books like Children of the New Forest and the Three Musketeers – yeh, I’m a historical novel sap. Give me a frilly shirt, a big hat with feathers in (or a tricorn) and a sword fight and I’m a happy bunny. However, I also love Day of the Triffids, StarTrek and all those 1960s TV Science Fiction shows like the Avengers and the Prisoner. I love fantasy but I was shy of writing books about dwarves and elves and dragons because knowing my luck all I would get out of it would be a deluge of e-mails from experts in dwarves, elves and dragons telling me I’d done it wrong. Anyway, who wants to write about things someone else has already made up? I wanted creatures. Really, really weird creatures but who were actually quite like us under the green skin, purple fur etc. I wanted James Bond gadgets with sword fights and Terry Pratchett humour. And I wanted romance in it too.

So, what happened, eventually, was the K’Barthan Series, where only some of the characters are human; where the cars fly but the baddie and one of the heroes have a sword fight in the last scene. The book I’m currently plotting – Space Dustmen – is supposed to be straight science fiction, but our heroine, Driff, will probably have horns or something and a laser sword.

What does your writing process look like?

Like a very disorganised thing. I don’t write much down, except as part of the book. I keep it all in my head, which works well but it does take up rather a lot of short term memory. That means it tends to impact on other areas of my life like ... I dunno ... being able remember my own name, my ability to finding my own arse with both hands, that kind of thing. I probably drive the people in my life nuts. Actually, there’s no ‘probably’ to that statement, I know I do.

What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m putting the finishing touches to a fifth book, with a working title of Scary Space Creatures which I hope to release next year. It’s been a gas to write but it is a bit mad and it’s single stand-alone story, when the accepted advice is to write a series – always one to buck the trend, me, and keeping the same stuff in my head for eight years while I wrote about K’Barth near fried my brain. I am plotting a sixth full length novel, Space Dustmen, and I have an idea for a spin off about K’Barth for my seventh. I’m also fiddling about with a couple of children’s books, I’ve no idea what they’re called yet or what to do with them but the tinkering process is fun.

Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

Yes there are two and the first is the racy stuff. At one point I thought I should look at trends and write what was selling well, rather than what comes out. So I thought erotica. Now, I am OK at gentle romance, you know, a poignant snog, I can do those, so I thought I should read some erotica books and then try a hawt one. The resultant sex scene could well be the funniest thing I’ve ever written in my life, but so not in a good way. I learned that there’ll be no earning millions as an erotica author for me and resigned myself to closing the bedroom door on my characters and leaving readers to imagine the squelchy bits.

The second thing I have failed to write successfully is anything that doesn’t turn into weird science fiction fantasy. No matter how hard I try, unless the book is set in space, there WILL be Creatures by the end of the first chapter. To be honest, it tends to happen when the book is set in space as well, but they’re aliens so that doesn’t count.

What, when you’re not writing, do you do to support yourself?

I lean very heavily on McOther like a giant, book-writing money sponge.

 What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

It’s a cheeky ask but if you can manage it there are three things you can do:

  1. If you enjoyed it, say that you’ve just finished it on social media and share a link.
  2. Sign up for my mailing list so you will actually know when the next one comes out. Like many authors I sell my pre and new releases for a short term promotional price so this is worth doing from your point of view as well.
  3. Write a review on whatever site you bought it from and any others if you can. It doesn’t have to be long, just a couple of lines: what was good, what could be better, why it moved you – if it did. Reviews help in too many ways to count, so yeh, if you can, please leave one.

Thank you so much for inviting me here today, it’s been a gas.



Buy the Books

See the Brain to Books Blog Tour Giveaways with Lu!

A Brain to Books Production

Jessica Marie Baumgartner

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts

  • Author: Jessica Marie Baumgartner
  • Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy/Children's/Paranormal Romance
  • Books:
    • By the Stars: Book one of the Embracing Entropy Series
    • Tale of Two Bookends
    • My Family Is Different
  • Official Site

 Bio

Jessica is a member of The St. Louis Writer’s Guild. Her stories have been featured by The Horror Zine, Blood Moon Rising magaizne, Bewildering Stories, Fiction on the Web, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, Postcard Shorts, Hellfire Crossroads, and others. She has recently released book one of her Embracing Entropy Series, By the Stars, through European Geeks Publishing. Her previous books include a Paranormal Romance novelette titled Tale of Two Bookends, and a children’s book called, My Family Is Different.


Accomplishments and Awards

Received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 All Write Now Short Fiction Contest


By the Stars Blurb:

A nightmare is realized when Allie boards a space ship that will transport her and her children from their home forever. The human population has dwindled to around 15,000 as the Earth’s become hostile. If they stay they will die.

The alien race who’s come to their rescue seem to have no concept of selfishness, but Allie has her doubts. She’s separated from her husband and left to fend for her family on her own. It’s up to her to make sure that they survive the trip across the stars. 


Tale of Two Bookends Blurb:

Since the beginning of time Incubi have lived alongside humans without detection. Dane is an Incubus who can have any woman he wants and is intrigued when Jenna turns him down. He is determined to have her, but begins to develop feelings for this mortal.

Working to gain her favor, he wins her over and is compelled to reveal the truth. They enter a strange relationship as he feeds off of her sexual energies, but over time his lack of variety begins to show. Jenna must put aside her preconceived notions about relationships in order to keep her lover alive.


My Family Is Different Blurb:

A young Wiccan girl realizes that her friends celebrate different faiths than she does. As she questions them about their beliefs, she learns that all families are different and accepts the true nature of friendship.

Read the Reviews!


Excerpt from By the Stars

chapter 1

I used to have nightmares about this. I would wake up screaming as they forced me to leave. People giving up; abandoning Mother Earth. The thought alone caused my heart to race, my under arms to sweat.

Here I stand clutching my children, one on each side, as we prepare to be torn away from everything that’s tangible. Before me, a gargantuan structure glares from above. This beast, this ship is supposed to save humanity, or at least what’s left of it.

I’ve lived through mass devastation. It’s hardened me enough. But leaving? It still scares me.

We have no idea what’s out there for us.

My husband has faith in the alien colony that is aiding us. They made contact just in time. Said they had revolutionized their space program and stumbled upon our signal.

I don’t know what I believe.

As the line moves forward, I pull my girls along. They stumble ahead with fright, carrying their backpacks strapped to their bodies. Our packs are the only human luggage allowed on the crowded craft. But that’s not what they’re worried about.

It’s not the new race they fear. Or even the new world. It is the missing presence of their father.

He has his duty. He’ll stay with his men until we pilgrims are secure, then meet up with us in a smaller craft. I’m glad for it. They’ve already had to break up some fights. People get pretty riled up in situations like this. It’s good to have someone who remains behind to keep order for a while, and to try and find any last survivors before leaving.

Finally we’re ascending the dock and I’m able to see our temporary home. It’s nothing like I imagined. The smell is what draws my attention first.

“Eww mommy.” My youngest daughter, Gwen, pinches her nose.

The odiferous enclosure is beyond human comprehension. I’ve smelt plague pits, leaking sewage, the rank smell of sea life left to rot on beaches. Although this isn’t as horrendous, it does make my eyes water. Despite the nausea I’m fighting, I grind my teeth. “Gwen, these people are saving our lives. Don’t insult them.”

“But…”

“No,” I demand, and watch her eyes swim as she lets go of her nose.

“Look.” My eldest, Maddi distracts us as she points to one of the aliens.

I spot them as the line moves up – the Cih’lnarians. We’ve glimpsed them from afar before. Closer, they’re not as unsightly. Definitely not of this world, but the lack of symmetry in their bodies is more becoming inside boundaries built for them.

The contrast of the human official standing beside the alien as we enter sends my thoughts spinning. Cih’lnarians are about a foot taller than humans, with grey skin, and lop sided features that often give them the look of melted wax. Still unused to these new people, I do begin to compare facial expressions as the man converses with the alien beside him. They seem to smile the same.

 The ship itself looks off. Doorways, landings, stairs, none of the usual architecture is visible, just walls. Walls everywhere, but none of them reach the ceiling. It’s a network of big squares, meant to contain us, to keep us out of the way. I don’t know what I expected. Our own officials gave the craft a once over and approved.

Group by group, each living boundary is divvied out. When it’s our turn, the alien in charge of us hands me a chip with a symbol on it, and points the way. As we walk along, we can see that none of the cubicles have doors. There are light beams that penetrate up from the floor to create a boundary. It offers a slight comfort, but anyone could walk in. I desperately hope that the neighbors opposite us are reasonable enough. One sliver of hallway between strangers can leave a person feeling exposed.

I’d heard about this. The Cih’lnarian culture doesn’t know the ideals of living separate. They consider themselves one being; like a single hair growing from our bodies. Very seldom do we concern ourselves with the individual follicles unless there’s a problem. They’re only concerned with the greater good.

I admire their lack of selfishness, but it makes me feel insignificant.

Reaching our new living space amplifies this feeling. The small square room is plain and simple. Three walls alone protect us.



Chess Desalls

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Fact

  • Author: Chess Desalls
  • Genre: YA, fantasy, time travel
  • Books: Travel Glasses from The Call to Search Everywhen series
  • Official Site

 Bio

I recently authored the first two installments of the YA time travel serial series, The Call to Search Everywhen. I'm a longtime reader of fantasy and sci-fi novels, particularly classics and young adult fiction. There's nothing quite like a good fairy tale or fable. When I'm not writing I enjoy traveling, reading and trying to stay in tune on my flute.


 Accomplishments

 I work and write outside of my creative writing. My work has led to both academic and industry publications. I'm a contributing editor for my local writing club's monthly newsletter. I also received a first place award for best short fiction from the California Writers Club, South Bay branch.

(I wish I could say more, but I routinely deal with confidential information and prefer to keep that part of my background separate.)


Blurb

Calla Winston’s mobile devices sit in a corner of her room, covered in dust. Weeks ago, she shared photos and laughs with her best online friend. Now, after having felt the sting of betrayal, she prefers being hidden and friendless. She equates privacy with security and technology with pain.

Then she meets Valcas, an otherworldly time traveler who traverses time and space with a pair of altered sunglasses. When an ethereal being knocks Calla to the ground near her family’s lakeside cottage, Valcas uses the Travel Glasses to help her escape. He offers his further protection in exchange for a promise. Intrigued by Valcas and the possibility of time travel, Calla accepts. That is until she learns that his search for her was no mere coincidence.

Calla sets off on her own, taking the Travel Glasses with her. Torn between searching for her estranged father and reuniting with the rest of her family, she tracks down the inventor of the Travel Glasses in hopes of discovering more about Valcas’ past and motivations. The Travel Glasses take Calla’s mistrust of technology to all new levels. But without them, she’ll never make it back home. With Valcas hot on her trail, Calla hopes to find what she’s looking for before he catches up.

The Call to Search Everywhen is a serial series of novel-length installments. Travel Glasses is YA fantasy filled with metafiction and other literary twistiness. It's a thought-provoking narrative about trust, relationships, reality and illusion.


Review

"This book is really unique and unlike anything I've read" ~ Goodreads reviewer

"The sci-fi aspect of the novel was perfectly executed, everything was wonderfully explained and it felt real to me, it felt very possible, less fictitious. The TSTA, glasses, rules, bright light, nowheres and everything made sense to me. Best of it all, this is a theme I haven't hear of. Its not a copy of any other sci-fi novel I have ever heard of, and trust me, I've heard of a lot." ~ Goodreads/Amazon reviewer

"I also enjoyed the originality of the devices and means of time travel in this book." ~ Goodreads/Amazon reviewer

"The story of the travel glasses is very original and inventive, props to the author for coming up with this story and keeping it believable." ~ Goodreads reviewer

"Time travel, mystery, romance and plenty of adventure, this book captivated me with interesting characters and a plot that was unlike anything I had ever read before." ~ Goodreads reviewer

"Its a really fun read, very unusual and with some novels like this I’ve a shedload of questions that never get answered, but here – each time I think “ I wonder why/how/who/what?” the answer comes, and not through that horrible device so often used of simply telling the reader the answers, but by Calla thinking her way through, using logic to find them, or by looking at what’s happening to her, or sometimes just asking questions of another traveller. That makes the story so much more realistic, more interesting than what often happens, where we just read pages of text giving the reader the answer." ~ Amazon top reviewer


Excerpt

The fireplace glowed and crackled behind me as the light of the flames reflected off of Valcas’ lenses. I sipped tea while sitting cross-legged on a sleeping bag.

“Time travel is possible and has been in operation for a long time,” he began. “There are at least two known methods of travel. This,” he said as he removed his glasses and handed them to me. “Is my way.”

Valcas’ sunglasses did not look extraordinary. They were large enough to block light from the front and sides. Both the frames and lenses were of a similar black opaque material, light and smooth like plastic. The tops and sides of each rounded rectangular lens were shuttered. I turned the glasses in my hands, looking them over, expecting to see a power switch and control buttons. There weren’t any. Still holding the glasses in my hands, I looked up at Valcas—I was finally going to see his eyes. When I did, I froze.



Joshua Blum

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts

  • Author: Joshua Blum
  • Genre: YA, NA, Fantasy
  • Books: The Thirteenth Hour from The Thirteenth Hour Series
  • Official Site

Bio

A child of the 80s, Joshua Blum, like many other people, remembers wishing he had Marty McFly's hoverboard from "Back to the Future 2" to ride to and from school. For awhile, he wanted to be an American Indian hunter and spent many a misspent day making bows and arrows out of tree branches, ultimately leading to a love of archery which continues to this day. After entering that penal colony known as middle school, he decided that he ought to learn to defend himself, leading to the wide world of martial arts and lots and lots of push-ups, both of which he enjoys to this day.

All of these elements were inspirations for aspects of "The Thirteenth Hour," which he wrote after finishing high school and edited little by little until the present day - in effect growing up with the characters. During this time, he was educated at Princeton and Penn State Universities. In total, he estimates having spent 23 years of his life in school (give or take). Despite that rap sheet, he still enjoys learning new things. He credits his mother for instilling in him a love of literature, music, and yard sales. He credits his father for teaching him to do, you know, manly things, like hit a baseball, ride a bike without falling over, and most importantly, never give up on the important things in life. He credits his younger brother for helping him stay young at heart.

He currently enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. Although not surprising given the decade in which he grew up, he still enjoys breakdancing, though he will admit the bruises take longer to go away now that he can no longer consider himself a young adult. He hopes to forever avoid corporate middle management and is currently at work on a graphic novel for adolescents as well as a sequel to "The Thirteenth Hour." He hopes it does not take sixteen years to finish.


 Accomplishments

Finishing this book!


 Blurb

Do you remember those 1980s fantasy movies with the big hair and electronic synthesizer soundtracks - movies like The Neverending StoryLadyhawke, and Labyrinth?  If you can imagine those films in illustrated book form, you have some idea what The Thirteenth Hour is like.

It's essentially a fairy tale aimed at adults, chronicling the adventures of a young man named Logan who grows up in an orphanage with his best friend, Aurora.  When Logan is eighteen, he's drafted into the Imperial Army, where he is ultimately picked for a mysterious mission to find the elixir of eternal life for a petulant, immature, and thoroughly narcissistic ruler.  On the way, he is unexpectedly reunited with Aurora, and both characters have to reconcile adulthood with who they were as children.  

 One could classify the story as adventure or fantasy, though not a serious JRR Tolkien-style fantasy.  The book doesn't take itself too seriously, though there are plenty of introspective, psychological parts where the characters grapple with balancing that difficult no-man's land of feeling older than an adolescent but too young to classify oneself as an adult.

 In some ways, the book grew up with me, since I wrote a very early draft of the book the summer after I finished high school.  I'd drawn from some of my favorite novels and (mostlty 80s) sci-fi and fantasy films as inspiration for the narrative and illustrated a number of black & white and color pictures to add visuals.  Although I'd written the story because it was the sort of thing I'd always wanted to read but never found, I never really intended to publish it.

 So life went on - going to many years of school, working to pay the rent, getting married, changing diapers, etc.  But the story wouldn't let me go, and I kept working on it, little by little, over the next sixteen years, reworking and editing the story and characters until I felt like they, too, had grown up.

 If you're interested, there are two short stories that serve as bookends to the novel that are available free on Smashwords that may serve to whet your appetite, available here:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/writejoshuablum


 Review

 "The Thirteenth Hour by Joshua Blum is one terrific book! This science fantasy has a detailed, creative, fast-paced adventure with a quest for immortality and well-considered musings on life. The tongue-in-cheek humor is just wonderful. Darien IV is a king mortally afraid of dying. His father was “the king of all things stingy, prejudiced, and cruel…and he lived long enough to instill some of these fine characteristics in his son.” The clever illustrations capture the essence of the story and add to the value of this book.

Logan is an orphan who joins the army when he’s 18. The social commentary is perfect. “I don’t think I was ever quite able to reconcile how a city full of people and possibilities could leave me feeling so grimy, dejected, and alone at the end of the day.” He’s inept and a misfit, younger than the other soldiers in his group, which made me root for him to succeed. Finally he begins to find his place. “I began to dance with the wind, sword in hand. I leaped and turned, kicked and swung, lunged and dove. The wind was my partner, and I was following her lead.” Aurora, another orphan, is his best friend. The quest is filled with deadly dangers and magical beings; the ending is as satisfying as a good dream remembered. Definitely worth reading, for all ages." (from Amazon.com)


 Book Excerpt:

In this section, the main character, Logan, has become lost in the King's castle and finds himself in the women's quarters by accident.  The society he now lives in is very conservative in terms of gender relations, and there are stiff penalties for breaches in conduct.  But nothing ventured, nothing gained, and it's during this adventure that Logan finds something of a fabled treasure ...

...I had to find a way out fast before one of the female guards found me and had me castrated or something.  Naturally, at that very moment, I heard footsteps.

So, I did what anyone would probably do when faced with such dire straits.  I panicked.  I started running around, trying to open all the doors.  They were all locked except for one, a janitor's closet. I ran inside, closed the door, and waited for the guard to pass.  When the footsteps abated, I breathed again and turned the knob of the door.  It wouldn't budge.  Great.  I tried it again.  And again and again and again.  Somehow, I had picked the one janitorial closet in probably the whole castle that locked.  It was pretty dark inside, and of course I didn't have any matches to see if there was a latch or lever that could spring the door.  I felt my way around the doorframe.  Nothing.  I sank to the floor to think.  And then I saw it, and it all came rushing back.

 * * * * * * * *

 In order to understand what I was thinking, I must first digress.  There was a running rumor among all soldiers in training about a stash of treasure hidden somewhere in the castle.  Not the King's treasure vault; no, this was different.  This treasure vault contained all the things that we soldiers wanted but couldn't afford, since no one was paid until after all training had been completed.  Nobody was entirely sure what was in there, but there were plenty of speculations: gold coins and jewels, alcohol, tobacco, and dirty magazines, exotic weapons, fine clothes, and fancy preserved foods ... the possibilities were endless. 

There was even a whole legend that had been built up around the rumor.  No one knew how much was true, but according to the story, long ago, when times were stricter, the King would send his soldiers out across his realm to make sure no one was selling or harboring any illegal substances.  If they found any, they were to confiscate them immediately and bring them back to the castle for inspection.  What constituted an “illegal substance” was a hotly contested point whenever the legend was told, but as the story goes, a few bored recruits decided to turn pirate, hijack the convoy carrying these contraband materials when it returned back to the castle, and then disseminate the goods among the rest of the soldiers.  Thus, they had the support of all the troops, who went out of their way to make sure the ringleaders had every spare moment free to plan the attack, their method of transporting the goods, and where they would hide everything.  On the night the convoy returned, they attacked.  The convoy guards were caught completely by surprise, and everything went as planned.  The stash was hidden, the location known only among the enlisted men, who had to swear upon the penalty of death to keep the location a secret. 

The raid had been so successful, in fact, that the next time the convoy returned, the recruits tried again.  They almost got away with it, but their luck ran out as they were carrying the last bit of contraband to their hide–out.  They were caught, a fight broke out, and one of the recruits was killed.  His name – Ian McCroff.  And ever since then, the stash was known as McCroff's treasure.  No one involved would talk, and eventually, the matter was forgotten.  Over time, even the secret of the treasure's location was forgotten.  But the story lived on, passed from one generation of soldier to another, all the way down to me.            

I was as curious as anyone else, but the whole thing had always sounded like a crock to me, something somebody had made up and spread around to see how far it would get, just to pass the time.  It was a nice idea – hidden treasure always was – and it put some mystery and hope back into our lives.  In that sense, it was a good thing.  But like a lot of other folks, I found it hard to take seriously.

Up until that moment, that is.  When I’d shut the door to the closet, another door to my back had popped open.  You had to squat down to see it, and when I sat down on the floor of the closet to think, it caught my eye.  By then, my eyes had adjusted to the dark, and I found that I was staring into a passageway.  A faint glimmer of light emerged from its depths, allowing me to just make out a little plaque someone had mounted on the inside of the doorframe.  “MCCROFF – WE REMEMBER,” it read.

Could it be?  I crawled in the direction of the light.  I eventually came to a fork in the path and chose the one that seemed brighter.  It was getting really hot in there, and though I couldn't see too well, I felt all grimy, like I was covered in dust and dirt.  But I kept crawling, and finally, the air seemed to get cooler.  I found myself looking down into a large storeroom.  The faint glimmer of light I'd seen all the way at the other end of the tunnel was due to a small window near the ceiling that let in some light from outside.  It didn't exactly make it bright inside, but I could make out stacks of boxes.  I lowered myself down from the tunnel opening onto a few of the boxes and stepped onto the cool floor of the storeroom.

I pushed the lid off one of the wooden boxes.  Inside, packed in hay, were several dark bottles.  I opened one up and sniffed it.  Wine.  I popped the lid on the next box.  More wine.  Then I peered around the room.  The boxes, some of which had blankets thrown over them, seemed to be grouped into piles.  Perhaps some kind of organizational system?  I ran to the pile across from me.  Those boxes were filled with little vials that contained powders that seemed like spices.  The next was forks and knives.  Was this just a storeroom for the castle kitchen?  My heart sank a little at the thought, but I ran to the next pile of boxes and was trying to pry the lid off when I heard the sound of a match striking.  The sound of hard heels against the stone floor reverberated off the walls.  I froze.

“Freeze!  You've seen enough,” came a female voice.  My heart sank even lower.

The guard carried a lantern and a spear.  She hung the lantern from a hook in the wall and walked towards me, spearpoint first.

“Where did you come from?” I asked forlornly.

“That's none of your concern.  How long have you known about this?”

“About five minutes,” I said.

She studied me over.  “You used the closet entrance, didn't you?”

“I ... I guess,” I said.

“Yeah.  You're filthy.  Alright, enough gaping.  Get down from there.”

In trying to avoid the spear she had poked in my side, I sidestepped and slipped on a dusty blanket.  Flailing my arms to regain balance, I fell right on top of the next pile of boxes.  The boxes and I hit the floor with a crash.  I landed on my side, but something soft kind of eased my fall.

“You clumsy idiot!  Look what you've done!” the guard shouted.

I was going to say something when I realized what I was lying on top of.  A pretty woman's picture stared right back at me. And another and another.  A broken box lay near my head, and from it spilled volumes and volumes of old, yellowed magazines.

“Whoa,” I think I said, as my virgin eyes, suddenly less so, stared in a mixture of confusion, curiosity, revulsion, and admiration at my latest find.  Maybe this really was McCroff's treasure after all ...

“Hey!  Quit stalling!  Get up!” yelled the guard.  She walked over with a lantern and peered down at me.  She gasped.

“Hey!  Gimme those!  They're mine!” she yelled and kicked me off the pile of magazines.  She carefully picked them up, one by one uncreasing bent pages, and stacked them neatly back into the somewhat injured box.  “Nosy good–for–nothing–grumble–grumble–grumble ...” was all she said as she worked.  I couldn't help but shake my head in amused bewilderment.

“Umm ... sorry I busted the box,” I said.  “All those are yours?”

The guard glared at me, then in a flash, drew her dagger and grabbed me by the throat.

“You tell one person what you found here today, and I will personally hunt you down, cut your balls off, and toss them in the moat.  Do you understand?”

“Gurrghhh ...”

She loosened her grip a little.

I panted for air.  “Alright, I won't tell anyone about your dirty magazines, okay?”

“No, no, I mean this whole place!”

“You mean ... this really is McCroff's treasure?”

“Yes, you idiot!  Didn't you see the sign?  Or can't you read?”

“Well, yeah, I saw the sign ... but all I found was some wine and some cooking stuff.  Well, and that your porn collection ... how come you keep it locked in here?  Kind of inconvenient to get to, isn’t it?” I couldn’t help blurting out.

Her grip tightened again.

“Okay, okay, I promise not to tell.”

She let go and eventually succeeded in clamping my hands behind my back with heavy chains despite my struggling.

“Jeeze, take it easy.  How come you get all this stuff, and no one else does?  In the story, this junk was for everyone!” I protested as she led me out at spearpoint.

“Don't believe everything you hear, kid.  Like you said, that was just a story.”

“Where are we going?”

“You'll see.  Or rather, you won't.”

A sack was tossed over my head, and all the guard could hear were my muffled protests.  I kept stumbling ahead blindly, lead only by the point of the guard's spear and her gruff commands.  At one point it became light, and we kept walking awhile before I was ordered to stop.  I felt myself being pushed down and stumbled onto a pile of hay.  The sack was removed from my head.

“Open your eyes.  I have too much to lose by killing you,” said the guard.  “An investigation is the last thing we need right now.  But I need to be sure you're not going to talk.  That 'treasure,' as you put it, is the only thing worth keeping in this castle, as far as we're concerned, and its secret stays with us.  It's been safe for hundreds of years – as long as we've been around, and it's going to stay that way.  That entrance you found – it won't be there tomorrow.  The one I led you out of – that won't, either.  As far as you're concerned, it won't exist.  Gone, vanished,” she said, with a snap of her fingers.  She paused.  “So, what did you really see?  The truth this time.”

I looked around.  We were standing in the royal stables, near the back.  I could see daylight ahead.  I could make a run for it.  I looked at the guard.  She'd whipped out the dagger again and was flipping it around in her hand.

The dagger was at my side in an instant.  “Just because I said I wouldn't kill you doesn't mean I can't make the next few minutes very, very uncomfortable.  Are we clear?”  The dagger moved down and hovered at my groin.

Oh, boy.  What a day.  “I told you already.  Just the kitchen stuff.  The magazines.  Honest.  That's all I got to see.”

The guard paused and considered this for a moment.  Then she straightened up, taking the dagger with her. 

“Oh.  Well, then it's nothing to you.  Just another overblown rumor.  You know what the penalty is for being caught in female quarters?”

I nodded.

“Say anything about any of this, and you get that and worse.  Now look up at the watch tower.  Wait till the guard isn't looking, then hightail it to the wall.  She can't see you there.  Then go back to your camp.  If all goes well, no problems for either of us.  I don't wanna explain this to my commanding officer.  Or it won't be just your body parts in the moat.  Now go on, run, get out of here!”

 * * * * * * * *

 That night, after dinner, I was walking back to the barracks when a hand reached out from the shadows and yanked me into an alley.

The now familiar face of the female guard that had caught me that morning greeted me.

Oh, boy.  Not her again.

“I didn't say ...”

She pressed a strong, gloved hand over my mouth.  I looked up into the shadowy face of the guard, which spoke of tension and worry.

“Don't worry, kid.  Your nuts are safe.  But it's trouble.  On my end.  Someone overheard us in the stables.  One of us.  Word got around.”  The guard sighed.  “Let's just say that things within the female guard aren't as rosy as I made them out to be.”  She uncovered her hand and let me go.

“What does this ...”

“Have to do with you?  Simple.  The word's out now that you were seen in the female quarters.  Nothing official.  Just a rumor.  Figured I’d let you know.”

I sighed.  “I guess it's just been one of those days.  Hey, what's so bad about being caught in the female quarters anyway?”

“Ah, you're not from around here, kid, you wouldn't understand.”

“You know, where I grew up, boys and girls lived together in the same room for years, and it was never any big deal,” I said, shaking my head.

“Really?  I didn't know there were places in the world like that.  Never would have guessed!   Good for you.  All men could take a lesson from you.”

“Well ... I doubt that very much.”

“Ahh, modesty.”

“No ... it's not that,” I said.  “I mean, there were always plenty of girls around when I was growing up.  And sure, there were plenty of people fooling around, but ... I never really did.”

The guard laughed at first, then did a double take.  “Wait, you're joking, right?”

“No.”

“Why?”

I shrugged.

“Maybe you prefer men?”

“No, I like women.”

“So, you mean you never had a sweetheart?”

“No.”

“Didn't you ever want one?”

“Sometimes.”

“Then why didn't you get one?”

I thought about it awhile then shrugged again.  “I dunno.”  When she continued staring at me, I blurted out, “I was busy with ... other things, I guess.” 

“Geeze, kid.”  The guard stared at me curiously then said, “Well, at least you're honest about it.  Most men think they know more about women than they really do and end up looking like jackasses.”

“Yeah.  Well, thanks for the compliment,” I said, not without bitterness.

“Ha!  You're still pretty pathetic, but hey, you're just a kid.”

I shrugged.

“But seriously, what a shame,” she said.  She actually sounded like she felt sorry for me, which was probably the last thing I needed.  “All those opportunities you might've had when you were growing up – all gone, never to be had again.  And goodness knows you won't learn much in this dump.  Aren't you at all curious?” she asked incredulously.

“Yeah, I guess.  But why are we talking about this?”

“Hey, it's none of my business, but I'm just looking out for you, kid.  What would your mama say if she knew you were out here all alone with no one to look after you?”

“My mama's dead ... but ... thanks, I guess, maybe she would've appreciated it.”

The guard's face softened a little, and she said, “I'm sorry, kid.  Well, your dad then.”

“No, I'm an orphan.”

“Geeze, kid, you're full of great news.  Don't you have anyone?”

“Well ... I have this one friend.  Far away.”

“Do you pray?”

“No.”

“Well, maybe it's time to start.  Though I can't say I blame you.  You got dealt a lousy hand.”

“Are you religious?” 

She snorted.  “Me?  Are you kidding?  Gave that up a long time ago.  But still ... at one time, it was ... nice to have something to believe in.  Anyway, the world's a strange place.  You grow up with girls, and that's not what you think about.   Here, men and women live separately all their single lives, but that's all they can think about, know what I mean?  You'll see.  Things are different here.  You may have it tough for a few days.”

“Maybe it'll just blow over.”

“Well, hopefully it will.  You know, I was watching you.  You didn't talk.  To be honest, I was surprised.  Is it just today?  You didn't seem to talk much to anybody.”

I shrugged.  “They're older.  I dunno what to talk to them about.”

“Well ... we all gotta have a few friends.  It's tough to go through life all by yourself.  That's all I'm saying.  Anyway, I gotta go.  Sorry, kid.  I never meant for all this to happen.  Just thought it would be a stand–up thing to do if told you first.”

“Thanks.  I appreciate the risk you're taking.”

“Forget it.  Here, I brought something for you.  For not talking.   Entertainment for most soldiers, but, in your case, I'd lean more towards education.”  The guard held out something for me to take.

I laughed when I looked at what it was.  It was one of her prized adult magazines from the treasure trove.

“But it's one of your magazines,” I said, laughing.

“No big deal.  I've got doubles of this issue.  Besides, what are you, eighteen, nineteen?  If I knew then what I knew now ... believe me, if your folks were alive, they'd thank me.  All I'm saying is that you need to get with the program.  You're not exactly in a profession that comes with a pension, you know?   You'll be lucky if you make it to thirty.  You gotta get out there.  In a way, you guys have it lucky.  We become women whether we're ready for it or not.  But you guys ... well, it's never too late to learn to become a man, you know?”

I nodded even though I didn't really understand.

“And while you're at it, sow your oats.  You might not be around to do it tomorrow.”

“What, have kids, you mean?”

“Why not, I got three, how many you got?”

“Well, none, I ...”

“Hey, you gotta grow up some time, kid.  Might as well start today.  Just take the magazine.  Read it, look at the pictures.  The drawings in that one aren’t the best, but maybe you'll get some ideas.  Hey, it worked for me.  Anyway, I gotta scram and get the kids in bed.  Later.”

Then she winked at me, and just like that, she was gone, leaving me standing alone in that dark alley.  I stood there in shock for a minute before realizing that the magazine was still cradled in my trembling hands.  I looked down at the cover.  For a moment, society's voice chirped in, and I felt like throwing it out.  But curiosity got the better of me.  What did “society” (whatever that was) know anyway?  The hell with them.  This was part of McCroff's treasure, and how many soldiers could lay claim to even a little part of that?  Besides, it was probably more educational than anything else around here.  I stuffed my hard–earned treasure in my pocket and walked out of the alley.


Echo Fox

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Fact

  • Author: Echo Fox
  • Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
  • Book: Air Riders from the Equilibria Series
  • Official Site

Bio

Echo Fox lives in a sleepy town in the south of England with her partner-in-crime and a mischievous cat. She loves triple chocolate fudge cake, snuggling up in front of the fire with a good book and going on adventures when it's not raining.


Accomplishments

I currently run an Indie Author Spotlight interview series on my blog on Mondays. I'm also starting a how-to marketing school for indie authors on my blog on Saturdays.


Blurb

Tai is in love and he wants to fly across the mountain shouting it to the skies. He is ready to share his life with Keiko, when a strange event turns his world upside down.

The Daiku, long-time prey of Tai’s tribe of Zephyrus, start fighting back. With the whole tribe in danger from the reptilian creatures that roam the dark forest below, Tai must put all his knowledge of hunting to the test to help safeguard his people. 

With the Daiku becoming an ever more erratic threat, control of the hunters is given to a fast-rising star of the Hunting Wing, Aiko, and for a while all seems to be going to plan. The Daiku can be defeated and Tai can finally live his life with Keiko.

 However, is everything as it seems? Is Aiko really the Zephyrus’ salvation? Or will Tai need to gamble everything - and everyone - he loves for the greater good?

 Read the reviews


 Excerpt

Tai closed his eyes and was transported back into his memory. He remembered the rush of cold air over his shoulders, pressing against his head as he rose through the hair. He was following Keiko, upwards, towards the Ororan undulating through the sky above the mountains.

Keiko dipped through the gossamer curtain, the waves of light flickering over her skin and casting rose pink tones to her hair. A glimmer of soft sea foam green swept over her shoulder as she glanced back over her shoulder at Tai.

‘Race you!’ she called.

Tai grinned and summoned a wind to bear him along but before he could gain on her, she flipped; diving deep into the curling colours, riding the air faster and faster, disappearing from view behind a deep purple wave of light.

Blinking in shock at her speed, Tai shook his head in wonder and then jumped onto the back of the wind he had summoned. Whooshing through the air, Tai clashed through the delicate ripples of colour. He raced along on the wind, glimpsing the ground in the distance as he flew above.

Every other second or so he caught a glimpse of Keiko’s long white blond hair whipping fast around a pattern of deep pink or coloured pale green as she dove alongside a curtain of moving light. She was so fast!

Tai felt an exhilaration bursting in his chest, he was smiling so widely he could feel his cheeks begin to ache in the cool air rushing over his face. His own white hair flickered around his neck and back as he flew. He wondered briefly what they would look like to anyone down below.

-How did you make Hunter when you’re so slow?- Keiko’s voice snickered joyfully in his ear as she darted over a shimmering wave of lilac. She laughed, he could hear that without her pushing her voice to his ear, and blew him a kiss.

Determined to catch her; Tai stopped chasing and dropped through the light like a stone. He plummeted down, feeling his adrenaline spike as he went into free fall through the glimmer. Catching himself in a bundle of warm air, Tai eyed the wheeling and dipping Ororan above him and spied Keiko following the movements of the light ahead of him. Sneakily, he flew straight underneath the colours, watching to see where the next ripple would place Keiko.

Smiling, he rose up through the air and appeared directly in front of her, catching her startled face just before she crashed into him.

He wrapped his arms around her, holding them both still in the air as she pummelled his shoulder.

‘You cheated! Couldn’t catch me after all, huh?’ she squealed, laughing.

‘What do you mean I cheated?’ sputtered Tai. ‘I think you’ll find I’m the one who tracked you down and caught you. And that’s why I made Hunter.’

She curled into his chest, allowing him to carry both of them through the soft streams of colour as they descended back to the ground. Tai alighted and started to stoop, to put Keiko back on her feet but she stopped him. Her hand crept up his arm and caressed the side of his face and they looked at each other.

Tai saw himself reflected in her violet eyes as she leaned forward and planted a sweet kiss on his lips. Tai felt his heart race and he hugged her tighter.

‘I think I may be falling in love with you Tai.’ whispered Keiko in his ear.

He smiled and kissed her again.

‘I know I’m in love with you.’ he murmured. ‘Absolutely, irrevocably, in love with you.’



LG Surgeson

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts

  • Author: LG Surgeson
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Book: The Winter That Follows from The Black River Chronicles Series
  • Official Site

Bio

LG Surgeson lives in the Wilds of Wales because it's better than the real world and writes novels in the spare time she creates by not sleeping properly.

Born in 1980 in Durban South Africa, shortly afterward she found herself being whisked North to a childhood in Southern England. Leaving the comfort of the family home for West Wales, she studied Physics and Maths at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth before qualifying as a teacher in 2004. Since then, she has been gainfully occupied trying to convince teenagers that mathematics isn't evil and failing to move out of West Wales and back to the real world. She has two cats that like to help. They aren't very good at it.


Blurb

The Summer of Fire has burned away. The younger gods and their champion have defeated Krynok the Hunter, who had called himself the All-Father. General Salamander has been destroyed and slowly Tartaria is reuniting to heal the Clans and the land. The world has been left dazed and flattened, trying to pick up the pieces. Those that have survived find themselves standing amongst the ruins with empty hearts, waiting for faces they will never see again. It has not occurred to many that this might be the greatest challenge of all.
Once the glorious struggles of the Summer are over, somehow you have to find a way to live through the winter that follows.


Reviews

From Musings on fiction related stuff

The Winter That Follows: Aberddu Adventure is an excellent background to the other tales in the series. The characters are rich and deep, and give the feeling of having lived. Also it was nice to see a little more of the rich world in which these tales are set. I look forward to the next in the series.

The Black River Chronicles by LG Surgeson are a fun and interesting fantasy world adventure story of the old school. With brave adventures and evil so and so’s.


Excerpt

Charlie heaved the barrel up through the trap door and lumped it down beside the other two. It was unusually quiet this morning. The Law Temple nine-hour bell had rung long since, and yet there was no noise in the street. He wiped his forehead and hands with his apron and went to the door of the Tavern.

Charlie was used to goblins, some of his best customers were goblins. In fairness he didn't have many customers that weren't goblins - which is what happens if you open a bar called 'The Startling Toad'.

Today was suffering from a conspicuous lack of goblins. The sound of no goblins always made Charlie nervous. It usually meant they were up to something. Mind you, goblins were up to something whether you could hear them or not, but if you couldn't hear them it meant they were up to something organised. Charlie was still recovering from the chicken rustling plot of 1099ac, he couldn't live through that again - militia, goblins and chicken feathers everywhere and he was still finding grain in places he could have sworn he had cleaned. He tried to rack his brains, what had he heard? One of them had been muttering about the Temple district he thought, and another couple had been mumbling about the Adventurers Guild. He hoped it was the Temple District. It was already a pile of rubble and therefore there wasn't much more damage they could really do to it. If it was the Adventurers Guild things were not likely to go so well. The combination of a bunch of self-obsessed hero types and a load of piss-head goblin dock-hands was not something that Charlie wanted to contemplate at this hour of the day. 


Connect with LG Surgeson


Elizabeth A. Cooper

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts

  • Author: Elizabeth A. Cooper
  • Genre: YA, Fantasy, Fiction
  • Books:
    • Numbers: Where Their Story Begins from the Numbers Series
    • Terrible Me
  • Official Site

Bio

Elizabeth Cooper is the author of the Numbers series as well as her short story Terrible Me. She currently works as a nurse, while writing in her free time. She lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband, one year old son and boxer. To learn more about Elizabeth and download a free copy of Terrible Me visit www.intentionalfamilylife.com


Accomplishments

Elizabeth loves helping those around her, this inspired her to become a nurse. She has worked at various levels in the nursing field Sent from my iPad


Blurb for Where Their Story Begins

Destiny Sojourns is a senior in high school who has lived her life on the run. The Number on her side marks her difference and gives her good fortune. The Necromores want to take away the Numbers abilities and claim them as their own by drinking their blood.

 Destiny discovers that fate has placed her as the salvation for the Numbers. She must find the Sacred Garden, a place neither seen nor heard of in centuries. Can she save her race before the Necromores find her or will she be too late?


 Blurb for Terrible Me

The Emerald Thief holds your gaze, turning your thoughts into her own. There's no stopping the string of robberies that follow her. Until she meets Rebecca, a detective, someone with the same emerald green eyes as her. She can't understand why Rebecca's  trying to help her and not just arresting her like she should. What are Rebecca's plans for Emerald Thief? Will she survive them?


Reviews

Written by Kimberly Murphy

Numbers takes you on an action packed adventure, tangled with mystery and romance, you won't want to miss. Cooper leaves you on the edge of your seat yearning for more. This is a must read!

Written by Pamela Lyon

 Excellent book. Once I started reading it, it was difficult to put down. I had to see what happened next!! The characters draw you right in! Enjoyed it a lot! A must read!!!


 Excerpt from Numbers

My feelings explode from my chest as if I can't contain them anymore. Chris, it's as if I am seeing his features for the first time, the soft scar that spreads across his cheek, the shimmer of his lashes in the sun, the way his muscles flex as he's holding the clock. I want to run to him, hold him, never let go, but I can't, my feet are frozen in place. I can't do this, I would be going against everything that I've learned, everything that makes me a Number. But Chris, what would I do without him?


Interview with Elizabeth Cooper

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Cooper: Well no one really calls me Elizabeth, all my friends and family know me as Liz. I grew up knowing I wanted to help people, so I put myself through nursing school and currently work full time int eh medical field. I have always enjoyed reading young adult novels and I woke one morning with an idea. I wrote the idea down and couldn’t stop writing, i kept having new creations and ideas flow through my mind, by the time I was down I had my first novel Numbers in my hands. I live in NH with my husband, one year old son and my boxer mix. When I’m not writing I’m usually hanging with my family, wrangling my one year old and entertaining the dog.

Is this your first book?

Cooper:  Yes! Numbers: Where Their Story Begins is my first released title. I have since completed a short fiction story, called Terrible Me, about a teenager battling the addiction fo power and greed. I am also working on the second and third books in the Numbers series as well as a short on the origins of the Numbers.

What genre do you enjoy writing the most and what is this book about?

Cooper: I enjoy writing young adult novels, it seems all the stories i have written fall into that category, they also tend to be fantasy, about magic, time travel and powers.

Numbers follows Destiny Sojourns a high school junior who has lived her life on the run. The Number on her side marks her difference and gives her good fortune. The Necromores want to take away the Numbers abilities and claim them as their own by drinking their blood.

Destiny discovers that fate has placed her as the salvation for the Numbers. She must find the Sacred Garden, a place neither seen nor heard of in centuries. Can she save her race before the Necromores find her or will she be too late?

What inspired you to write this book?

Cooper: I was inspired by all of the other great young adult authors there are. I have discovered so many amazing stories from indie authors to big time. I love reading and I wanted to create an amazing story of my own.

How did you come up with a title for your book series?

Cooper: The title Numbers came form the Numbers marked on each side of the members of the race. They end up calling themselves Numbers when they discover that the roman numeral is not just a symbol or lettering but an actual Number. Since the them of the stories revolve around them as a race, I wanted the title to clearly portray that. As for the subtitle where their story begins, I thought this was fitting since this was the first book in the series as well as Destiny’s first time discovering who the Numbers truly are and the race she is part of.

Tell us about your cover.

Cooper: The cover was designed on a website called Fiverr, after a few botched designs an amazing artist under the name jeshart. I would give her the description of the book and a few details that were really important. Based on that informations he designed a cover that she felt portrayed the story. After that I was able to work with her to tweet and add images that I wanted portrayed on the cover such as the sword in Destiny’s hand.

Destiny being the main character in the story I definitely wanted her to be a part of the cover, the sword being the most important object also needed the spotlight. I wanted Destiny to look fierce, yet still the childish heroine she is. The background of the school portrays how Destiny had to break out of the school routine and take on the challenge of saving her race.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaption who would they be?

Cooper: Destiny, I feel would best be portrayed by Dakota Fanning, someone strong and confident, as well as younger in age. Chris I think would be best portrayed by Jamie Campbell Bower, someone also with strong confidence but can show his emotional side.

What does your writing process look like?

Cooper: Usually every morning I get up around 4 am. I write for an hour and edit for an hour. I have a nice office and desk upstairs, for some reason i always prefer to sit at my kitchen table and write.

What book do you wish you could have written?

Cooper: I wish I wrote the Mortal Instruments Series. I love love love those books. There incredibly captivating and always keep me wanting more. I love the relationship between Jace and Clary, I love how they have to struggle like a normal couple would. they learn each others ups and downs yet love each other despite that.

What so you consider your best accomplishment?

Cooper: Until recently I had always though my greatest accomplishment was completing nursing school. I never thought about really doing anything else with my life. Now that I have written and completed a few novels I would definitely say writing and publishing my first book is my greatest accomplishment. I have never faced a bigger challenge, one that I have to continue to fight through, learn and grow. i’m incredibly proud of myself for with standing the failures and choosing to fight despite loosing a few battles.

Do you have any other talents or hobbies?

Cooper: Yes, my husband and I enjoy snowboarding in the winter. Living in NH we get quite the snow storms around here. Sometimes I feel as though I live in a perpetual winter like Narnia, snow boarding helps me stay sane during the winter months. I also play piano, I started when I was 15, I play in my churches band.

What are your current projects?

Cooper: I am currently working on the second and third books in the Numbers series. I am hoping to make a trigly. I am also writing a short story that explains the original origins of the Numbesr, how their race first began. I am hoping to release the second numbers book- Legacy of the Necromores at the end of this year. Tune into the blog for sneak peeks.

If anyone is interested in beta reading I’d love to give you a copy, send me a message at contact@intentionalfamilylife.com

What do you wear while writing?

Cooper: Um… it’s early in the morning so usually Pjs like sweat pants and a t shirt.

Do you have a pet?

Cooper: Yes I have a dig named Remy. He is a boxer mix, our vet seems to think he’s mixed with grey hound but who knows really. He’s brindle with a long lean body and big floppy goals on his face.

What is your biggest fear?

Cooper: To not succeed, this is something I’ve always wanted to be, a writer and to fail would mean to start over and I’m not ready to do that yet.

What is the one place you want to visit that you haven’t been to before?

Cooper: I really want to go to Hawaii. I don’t know if that’s because I have friends that live in Hawaii and I have to constantly look a their beautiful pictures on my news feed or because I actually want go there.


Interview with Destiny Sojourns of Where Their Story Begins

Destiny, as a junior in high school did you ever imagine your life would turn out this way?

Destiny: “No, of course not. I thought I was going to take a year off from college, get a decent job and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I’d never imagine I would be stuck facing down fate.”

 You have a Number, what does that mean?

Destiny: Numbers have good fortune placed on them, they beat odds they shouldn’t. Many Numbers are in high ranking positions because of there good futures.

 That must be amazing to be Number, I wish I had one!

Destiny: Being a Number comes with a lot of great rewards but many of us have lost family and friends. We are being hunted by the Necromores, they want to take our good fortune away, they want to destroy us. We constantly have to live on the run, hiding and defending ourselves.

What about Chris, didn’t you land the handsome side kick for this heroic adventure?

Destiny: Yes! Chris’s green eyes, short styled hair and even the cute little scar across his left cheek made me head over heels. If only I could be with him, if only I could tell him how I really feel.

Do you think you will ever be able to be with Chris?

Destiny: No, there are details I can’t say right now, but there are rules and if we were together we’d be breaking a lot of them.

What was the most dramatic change for you int he book?

Destiny: Finding out my family’s secret, the Sojourns family being named the ones to save the Numbers from the Necromores. I didn’t know what to do, I still don’t know how I’m going to save them. My mom gave me a giant sword, come one, what am I supposed to do with that?

 Did you like the ending to the book?

Destiny: I wish I had all of this figured out by the end of the book, now there are new threats, new challenges I have to face to save my race, to save the Numbers. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to finish. I’m glad Chris will be sticking around to help me save the world.



Angela B. Chrysler

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts:


Bio

Angela B. Chrysler is a writer, logician, and die-hard nerd who studies philosophy, theology, historical linguistics, music composition, and medieval European history in New York with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm. She lives in a garden with her family and cats.

Click here to read the full bio of Angela B. Chrysler


Accomplishments

In addition to writing, Ms. Chrysler is very active with her online community and social media. Her passion to help others has driven her to launchBrain to Books, an online beginner's manual for indie authors. Free Author Promotion is her purpose and Ms. Chrysler uses Brain to Books to create and host a number of projects including, but not limited to The Annual Brain to Books Cyber Convention and the annual Brain to Books Summer Blog Tour. She also runs "The Bookshelf" on Goodreads.


And now...without further adieu...the Books!


Broken by Angela B. Chrysler

Genre:

BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY > Personal Memoirs
PSYCHOLOGY > Psychopathology > Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The Official page for Broken is here. Read Excerpts, listen to Audio readings from the Author, and more!


Joshua Robertson’s Review of Broken by Angela B. Chrysler

In the writing world, I am recognized as an author and the owner of a small press. There are few individuals who are aware of my – long-standing – profession, education, and related experience. Briefly, I need to share this with you before reviewing Broken by Angela B. Chrysler.

For over a decade, I have worked in the social services field. I have my graduate degree in social work with minors in psychology and sociology. I have been a behavior specialist in residential treatment, a therapist in child welfare, a supervisor in a psychological ward, and I currently train in areas of abuse/neglect, resiliency, and mental illness. I am also well versed in the areas of human trafficking, the neurobiological impact of trauma, and attachment disorders. In my practice, I have worked with hundreds upon hundreds of children and families that have experienced similar scenarios found in Chrysler’s BrokenIn reviewing this book, I will be addressing this story through my expertise as a clinician and a practitioner – as a human being – and not as an editor, writer, or publisher.

Broken is raw. Chrysler has done the unthinkable, demonstrating the uncanny ability to capture what most would have no concept of understanding. This story has the complexity of The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy but written with the flow of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. This is the type of literature that social workers and psychologists are forced to read during their internships to give them some understanding of what atrocities they will face while working in the field. Broken is a memoir, and although haunting, this story gives an intensely, vivid image of how dysfunction within the family can impact children for a lifetime. But, Chrysler does not stop with such a simple message. Instead, through her crafted language, the reader falls helplessly into the main characters struggle to find some sense of safety, of control, and of self. To give a glimpse into this powerful theme, allow me to share a note from the author.

From the Author…

I wrote Broken from 7 March to 20 March. During that time, I relived thirty years of trauma, and Broken records it all: the triggers, the hyperarousal, the breakdowns, and the panic. I explain the rationale behind my behavior and the thoughts I used to justify my behavior in a philosophical discussion with an interviewer. I show you the four worlds in my head where I lived for more than twenty years, as well as the four fictional characters I created in place of the human relationships I lacked. I record the conversations I have with my fictional friends and lovers as they took place.

Broken shows you what trauma is like for some survivors years later before they even realize they have a problem, and what it looks and feels like to emerge from the mental cocoon I lived in for thirty years. It shows the road I took to awareness while going down that road. It shows how I began my recovery.

Broken is not suitable for all audiences. I will reiterate the author’s own warnings with this novel. Broken portrays sensitive subject matters including animal abuse, torture, and graphic sexual violence. There is strong language, drug reference and is not suitable for some audiences. Please proceed with caution. With that being said, readers will find themselves fighting everything within themselves to not scream at the pages. Readers will find realistic dialogue (external and internal) representing the voices of trauma survivors. Readers will be emotionally charged from beginning to end, wondering how such violence can occur in an ‘educated, civilized’ world. This story is life changing, and the Chrysler is unyielding – and courageous – in its delivery.

Broken is worthy of a reward. It should be shared and read among professionals as well as anyone who aspires to be an advocate against child maltreatment, family violence, or societal mayhem. I have already recommended this novel to many colleagues and professors. Help me spread word of her talent.

--

I received Broken as a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Read a quick excerpt from Broken

Ten years.

For ten years I had suffocated. Yes. It feels like a long slow suffocation. The desperation, the loneliness, the feeling of complete helplessness, lack of control, inability to direct your own fate…all of it.

You kill everything inside of you, anything that makes you feel, you destroy it just so you can live without the pain. After a while, you forget that you feel nothing. You get used to the state of perpetual numb. You forget that you aren’t feeling.

When Isaiah walked through my front door that night I saw his hands.

His hands. Those hands that I had remembered. I never touched him. Not then. I had no idea what he would feel like or taste like. I only remembered his hands.

We were shaking. Like we had been chained to the sea floor for ten years and suddenly, we both were being forced to the surface and experiencing the bends. Our bodies shook, we gasped for air, unsure what to do with so much air. It breathed life into me again. It wasn’t lust. It was need. Obsession? Perhaps.

Relief? So much relief. I didn’t fall into his arms. I wasn’t calm or content. It was a surge of relief so great that I felt my legs give out from under me and he caught me. I fell into him and we both broke. Our bodies trembled so violently we felt brittle and we were certain we would break with how much we shook.

Disbelief. Constant disbelief. That is what a separation like that feels like. It would take us another two years to look at one another and not say, ‘I can’t believe you’re here.’

You asked me if we made love. Yes. We did…during a Winter thunderstorm.

 * * *

 I should end the story here.

If this were a romance, the story would end here. Part of me wants to end the story here. To send you on your way and tell you that you have your biography now get out. You’ll hear no more from me. That is how I should end this. Right now, with Isaiah and I making love in December rain.

That is how it would have ended if…

Maybe I’ll give you a choice. If you want your happy ending, close the book and stop reading right now. Consider the story over and we lived happily ever after in New York. And I never went to Ireland. I never had a problem that was too great that Isaiah couldn’t fix.

Close the book here and pretend I was never broken.


Buy Broken

Broken releases on 11 September 2015...the reason for this date is in the story. For now, Broken is available for pre-order.

Preorder Broken for your Kindle

Preorder Broken from Smashwords where all downloadable eBook formats are available

Broken will be available this September on Paperback so you can smell the pages!

 Broken is a work of creative nonfiction. All events, opinions, and views are that of Angela B. Chrysler and are portrayed through subjective perspective based on the memory of Angela B. Chrysler. While all the events are true, the author has altered and changed the names, places, characteristics, and relationships to protect the identity and privacy of the people involved. Some characters have been combined into one character while others have been divided into two to suit the story.


Dolor and Shadow by Angela B. Chrysler

Genre:

FANTASY>Dark Fantasy
FANTASY>Epic Fantasy >Norse Mythology & Celtic Mythology

 The Official page for Dolor and Shadow is here. Read Excerpts, listen to Audio readings from the author, and more!


Erin S. Riley's review of Dolor and Shadow

I was a huge fan of sword and sorcery novels growing up, but hadn't picked one up in a while as an adult. Dolor and Shadow reminded me exactly why I loved the genre, and still do. This novel is big, detailed, and sweeping in scope. The characters are very well done, multi-layered and deep. They don't give up their secrets immediately, a fact I greatly appreciate in novels of any genre. Kallan is an amazing heroine, strong, spunky, but full of conflicting emotions about ruling. She has to grow up fast and make some selfless decisions for her people. Kallan is also conflicted about her feelings for Rune, the man she owes her life to, but whose kingdom she is at war with. The two sworn enemies have to work together if they want to survive a common threat, leading to much verbal sparring and sexual tension. I love the level of detail the author gave to world building. Norse place names, culture, and snippets of history were seamlessly interwoven into the narrative, making it clear the author did her research. This is a sweeping, epic novel to sink your teeth into! I highly recommend it to all fantasy lovers.


Read a quick excerpt from Dolor and Shadow

Empty and forgotten, the third flask lay among their bags as Kallan stared up at the crescent moon. With every image that plagued her imagination, her sanity slipped further from rational. Huffing, she flipped to her side. From across the fire, light spread up and over Rune, spilling over his back.

Just like Emma, she thought and again sorted through endless variations of Rune and his Englian strumpet.

Hatred swelled, clawing her insides with a maddening rage that urged her to march back to Nidaros and kill the wench while he slept peaceably, free of the demons he beset upon her.

How dare you sleep while I lay tormented?

The words rent all thoughts, stirring awake other memories—barely forgotten memories—of her father as he lay dying and her blood-soaked hands. A wave of hate washed over her, abating all thoughts of Emma, and Kallan gazed at the Ljosalfr asleep beside her. A new darkness consumed her and the eye of the dragon awakened.

Dead men breed no pain.

Her eye settled on the black and reds of Gramm’s pommel.

While he sleeps…he wouldn’t even know…and I could return and conquer Gunir.

Throwing off the blankets, Kallan grabbed the nearest saddlebag and rose to her feet. With full force, she threw the satchel into the back of Rune’s head, jerking him awake.

Before he could turn and assess, before he could comprehend, Kallan took up his sword and unsheathed Gramm, its blade ringing out as if sounding off the opening note to his dirge.

Within two long strides, she came to stand over the Ljosalfar king and gave her battle cry. Seeing the blade turned down, Rune visibly braced for the sword to penetrate his heart as Kallan dropped all her weight onto him and plunged Gramm into the earth.

Blocking her face in shadow, her hair hung free as she heaved. Blood flowed where the blade nicked Rune’s ear. Against the black of Gramm’s hilt, Kallan’s white fists shook. The fire popped as Rune watched.

“Far too long I’ve dreamt of my sword stained with the blood of your people.” Kallan said. “Too long I’ve sought your death. Too long I’ve moved to strike. Even as you pulled me from the rancid darkness and I lay dying, did I plan to kill you and avenge my father’s death. Even now, all I have to do is strike. At the end of it all, I must decide. Should I kill you? Should you die?”

Rune watched, ready for whatever choice she made next.

“I should kill you,” Kallan whispered, “and watch your blood run with the blood of my people. If I kill you, all my troubles end. And I go home to Lorlenalin, my father’s death avenged.”

“And if you’re wrong,” Rune said, “if it was another who stole your father’s life, leaving him to die dishonorably upon the fields of Alfheim, whose life then will you have avenged by wrongfully killing me?”

The heavy burden of understanding weighted down her eyes, and, all at once, there was doubt.

“What wars may come by staining your hands with my blood?” Rune’s hush swept through her. “What lies then will you tell yourself once you’ve lied to your people? Can you risk being wrong, Kallan? Can you risk all the lives that will die and mine, all from your mistake?”

“Why did you save me?” she breathed. “Why did you kill my father only to save me?”

“I didn’t kill him,” he whispered.

“I can’t believe you.” Her voice wavered as the words caught in her throat.

“A king’s head is worth its weight in gold,” Rune said. Her eyes widened with unshed tears as she recalled Aaric’s words to her. “Name your price,” Rune said.

The back of her throat burned as she forced all other thoughts aside.

“Crawl through Svartálfaheim,” she said, “into the depths of Hel, beyond the roots of Yggdrasill, and bring him home to me.” Kallan stifled a sob. “That is my price.”

The chill from Rune’s eyes was gone, replaced instead with a pity that reached down into her and shook the walls she had built on anguish.

“Find the father you took from me,” Kallan bade, “and restore him unto me.”

“I can’t,” he whispered thickly.

Kallan’s dagger was suddenly unsheathed and pressed against his throat.

“Please.” The word tripped on a gasp. A tear slipped from her eye. “If I let you live,” she said, “please give my father back to me.”

He visibly swallowed against the blade.

“Please,” she said.


 A word from Angela B. Chrysler

This is the part where I interview the author, but it felt weird filling out my own interview. Therefore, I will simply provide you with a link to my newsroom where you can read through my collection of interviews or tune in to my radio appearances on Whistle Radio. So...instead of an interview, I will address you directly.

*grin* Hello dearest reader. I hope you are well.

First, I wish to send out my deepest and warmest thanks to all of you for attending the 2015 Brain to Books Summer Blog Tour. I also wish to express my gratitude to the co-hosts for their help and participation in this as well as all the authors who participated.

When I sent out the email back in April, I had no idea there would be such a large response. With 120 authors making an appearance over these 40 days on 20 websites, this truly has been quite an extraordinary experience. And for those of you who have been wondering...yes! The Brain to Books Summer Blog Tour is an annual event. I will be hosting the 2016 Summer Blog Tour next year along with The Brain to Books Book Blast.

In April, I host the annual Brain to Books Cyber Convention. Think comi-con only free...and online. We accept authors of all genres. If you are an author wishing to participate, you can join here. If you are a reader, we encourage you to stop in to any of these events. We are, after all, holding them for you. We have giveaways, games, and new releases coming your way. Updates and information on Brain to Books events can be found at both my sites: Brain to Books and Angela B. Chrysler.

I have two additional publications scheduled for release this year. "To You" is a macabre romance written in the second person. It is a short story scheduled to appear in an anthology published by the very talented Mia Darien. Also, "Bane," a novella featuring Bergen from Dolor and Shadowis scheduled for release this coming winter.

In 2016, I will be releasing Lorlenalin's Lies (Book #2 of the Tales of the Drui Series)

Sign up for my newsletter here to receive news and updates on upcoming Brain to Books events and approaching publications!

Thank you again, so much, for your ongoing support. Without the reader, an author is just a writer. Thank you. And may the kindest of words always find you.

Warmest wishes,

Angela B. Chrysler



Marie J. Phillips

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts:

  • Author: Marie J. Phillips
  • Genre: Science fiction and fantasy
  • Books:
    • The Furlites of Aroriel: Curse of Koris
    • The Furlites of Aroriel: Book I- On Matissia Wings
    • The Furlites of Aroriel: Book II- Earth-bred, Matissia-born
    • The Furlites of Aroriel: Furlitian Short tales.
    • Khan: A Maine Coon
    • Old Gent
    • The White Dragons of Suvwilur & Other Stories
  • Official Site

Bio

Born in 1957, in Huntington, on Long Island, I've been driven by an insatiable love of writing, art, and the sciences since very early childhood. My love of animal tales fueled my desire to write, always manifesting in stories from the non-human point of view. I invented my very first character at six years old, creating picture books with a tree as the main protagonist. I included, on the inside covers, my very own publishing logo, complete with rainbow and shining sun!

Back in my senior year of High School, one of my teachers lent me a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, which changed my reading and writing life forever, driving me into the unique and futuristic world of Fantasy/Science Fiction.

In college, I majored in Art and Earth Sciences, where inspiration fired my vivid and eccentric imagination, planting the seeds for my Furlites of Aroriel novels, Over the years, I honed the complex world of this alien family saga. My husband's love and support over the decades proved invaluable, since his scientific knowledge and expertise quickly surpassed my own, once we graduated high school, went off to college, and entered the working world. With his help, and that of my mentor, David Ayscue, who passed away in 2010, I completed the first two of these books, On Matissia Wings, and, Earth-bred Matissia-born, which are now available. A tale loosely connected to the first two,  CURSE OF KORIS,is the book featured here. Other tales are in the works, including the third book in the main series, called EYES IN THE DARK, and FURLITIAN SHORT TALES, a book of shorter tales featuring other characters in the books.

I dabbled with another tale many years ago, using my Khan as a character, when my big Maine Coon became seriously ill. While battling Khan's insidious disease, I completed the story, which took on deeper impact far beyond my intended feline fantasy yarn. KHAN: A Maine Coon is the result, a biography of his life, with fictional elements, written from his point of view. My special furbaby's bit of immortality has collected mostly five star reviews over the last few years.
THE WHITE DRAGONS OF SUVWILUR and OTHER STORIES, is a collection of fantasy /science fiction tales from the point of view of many characters, from an Appaloosa Pegasus, a white furry Dragon, and others, including a Collie /Human hybrid created by genetic manipulation by aggressive aliens.

In OLD GENT, I return to those very roots of my writing career, penning the true tale of our beloved ancient Norway Spruce tree and his sapling son, done from the trees' point of view, reminiscent in style to my KHAN: A MAINE COON, and, an older tale I read as a child called BIG TREE.

Owned by two cats, one of which is a Maine Coon cat, I live with my husband in the rolling hills of northwestern Connecticut.


Book Blurb for The Furlites of Aroriel: Curse of Koris

This is Kutius' story, a tale of infamy and rags, to riches, Furlitian Style. In this complimentary novel to THE FURLITES OF ARORIEL series, after his mother and grandmother have a nasty argument, young Kutius and his parents move to the small town of Gabbruss in the State of Burstal, a place very different from the open farmlands he grew up on. Upset and angry, the youngster hates his new hometown, longing for the happy home of his grandmother, filled with loving clan and domestic animals. Upon meeting new classmate in Fundamental school, Murkuria of Clan Darius, a feud explodes between them. It escalates over the years, until a fight between them causes Kutius’ expulsion from school. His mother blurts out the family secret, and Kutius blames Murkuria for his predicament. She becomes the bane of his existence, until she stows aboard her Clan’s starship, disappearing from his life.  He feels relieved, and life settles down until Kutius and his mother suffer the dire consequences of admitting the Clan secret. All descended from Koris the Tyrant must be sterilized, and Officers come to enforce that law at the worst time. His family loses their cozy home and end up living in a dirty old bunker converted to a house. Kutius puts full blame on Murkuria and hopes her clan’s ship wrecks out there and never comes home.
After graduating Preparatory school, Kutius, despite the bias against who he is, improves his life, leaving the musty home he abhorred. He finds peace in the city of Astrolis, until the Starship, thought lost, returns, carrying back into his life the girl he despises. His hatred rules him, and he connives to hurt her, her Clan, and the Felakoon abominations she created out between the stars and brought home.
At a large Hearing, where he accompanies the Governor of Burstal for whom he works, he tries to stop a Felakoon kit from bonding to the Governor, and Hellara reacts with fury, reminding the world who Kutius is, in front of the entire populace on worldwide video. Tossed of the grounds, he leaves the city, angry and hurt, but as he travels to escape his old life, a new one opens to him, and, despite the trials, proves to be full of extraordinary surprises. His only thought, when will that Darius girl drop in and ruin his life again?


Excerpt from The Furlites of Aroriel: Curse of Koris

He arrived home from school one stormy winter afternoon, happy with his day. Classes went well and nobody bothered him with taunts or laughter. Kutius entered the foyer, and wiped the snow off of his feet. He placed his school sack in the sack bin, then trotted into the Common Room. He found his mother sobbing. His father sat silent, a rare hard copy letter in his hand.
“What is going on?” Kuitus asked. His mother said nothing, but wept harder. His father slowly lifted his head.
“We cannot afford to pay what we owe on the house. The Clan we purchased it from is asking we sell to pay off the debt.” Winferis heaved a huge sigh.
“We did not buy it outright?” Kutius asked.
“No, we had enough for half, and the Clan agreed to payments every cinth to pay off the rest as fast as we could. I cannot pay them what I promised. They do not trust us to come up with payments.”
“Surely they can understand?”
“They do, but are very distrustful after what has occurred. I cannot even meet a quarter of what is left,. They have every right to their credits.”
“But they let us pay over the last two years! What changed?”
“I paid them on time. Now I cannot, and because of what happened they want to cut all ties to us. If we owned outright, there would, be no issue, but we do not.” Winferis heaved a huge sigh.      “ It will not leave us much, but we have no choice.”
“What choice?”
“To sell.” Wnferis answered. “And as quickly as possible.”
Kutius stood, in horror, as his father listed the house with the landbroker in Astrolis. To his utter dismay, the home sold for half its worth in less than a quat of the listing. Kutius’ stomach knotted.  He wished to eat nothing, and, by the lack of any evening meal preparations, neither did his parents. He sat in the Common Room, watching his father sift through listings. He glanced around at the familiar walls, and heaved a sigh.
“Father, why look? Why do we not ask Grandmother if we can return home?”
“Never!” Kutora suddenly snarled through her tears. “My mother hates me. I will never go back! Never.”
Kutius heard his father sigh again.
“Mother, you are not thinking clearly. Why can you and Grandmother not make amends so we can go home?”
“She is unreasonable! She does not understand me.” Kutora snapped back, then broke down into weeping.
Winferis slowly typed our short messages to Clan, asking for help. Nobody responded with a vidcall, but a few short clipped replies came back. Credits for the house sale entered the family vault.
“Well, the credits are in, for the house and from Clan who decided to help us.” Winferis said softly. “We have to find somewhere to go. My family will not help us get a place, but they did send us some credits. Yours did as well, Kutora. We have to be out by next cinthend.”
Kutius looked over his father’s shoulder at the screen, staring at the message history over the last few years as his father sifted through them. His father’s family, living in northern Cyal on the coast, shifted credits to his parents’ bankrupt account, but did not make any further contact. Clan from Port Gol, including Zalius, Zoptius and his other relatives sent very little.  Kutius knew they abhorred what his mother had done. Unlike most clan relationships, the bond between his parents did not bring the two clans as close as most. Once the truth filtered back to them, the Port Gol Clan Wylarius virtually disowned his parents, helping occasionally only out of Clan duty. His mother's Clan, despite their outrage, sent food and paid miscellaneous debts, but did no more than that. Nobody called on vid, nor sent messages, and nobody offered to take the in.
Kutius thought back to the wonderful holidays at Zoptius’ home, and back at his grandmother’s farm, and felt tears sting his eyes. How his fastidious, level-headed Grandmother birthed his lazy scatter-brained mother baffled him. Though of Koris’ line, Karetura never displayed his mother's pomposity and obnoxious conceit. It pained him to think this hurt his grandmother in any way, and he vowed, somehow, to make it all up to her someday.
“I found something,” Winferis announced, and Kutius scowled.
“Father, what is that? “ Kutius squinted at the photo of a small ramshackle building. The stonework looked terrible, with crumbling grout, mold and moss growing on the stone surface. Brush crowded the walls, and trees covered the roof with extensive boughs.
“Clan Karklinos is selling this place. It has been in their family for octuaries.”
“It is nothing but an ancient storage shed!” Kutius exclaimed.
“Yes, it dates back to the Great War. Karklinos’ Clan used it to store their weaponry that won that war there.” Winferis twitched his tail. “It has historic value. Maybe we can fix it up and sell it.”
“Maybe,” Kutius muttered, hatred knotting his stomach. Clan Darius ancestors also participated in the construction and use of that building. He shuddered. “I really wish we did not have to live there.”
“It is all we can afford now,” his father whispered. “I am sorry, Son.”
Moving day arrived all to swiftly. Kutius packed his travel sack with all his belongings, and silently left the little house. He glanced back once, gazing at the home through the gentle snowfall, then faced forward, recalling the storm-tossed day he left his grandmother’s farm. His throat constricted and tears filmed his eyes as he climbed into the old bronze shuttle. Silently his father drove to the center of town, and up the broad street past the Town Hall. He turned the shuttle into the long narrow shuttlepath to a overgrown parking area in front of their new residence. The grass stood an octafet tall, poking through the deep snow.
The cottage sat an octyle behind the Town Hall, merely a remodeled storage bunker. Kutius grumbled, climbing out of the shuttle, and shivered when he entered the building.  Stuffy and damp, the place screamed impoverishment. The Common Room and Dining area merged, creating one room. The kitchen, with its tiny window, looked and smelled like a swamp. Kutius walked up the hallway, his talons clicking on bare plain stone floor. He halted at the end of the hall and peered into the two sleeping rooms. He stepped inside the end room with its two windows, gaping at the old bed and lumpy worn out cushions, then faced backwards to gaze into the tiny room that served as a lavatory.
“Ughh!” he howled. “There is no bathing pool!”
“The lake is nearby,” his father mumbled. “We can make do.”
Winferis shuffled into the other sleeping room. Kutius stared aghast. Since the day he bathed to impress that female, Kutius abhorred getting dirty.  He stared, unable to believe this bad turn of life. The musty cottage revolted him, but he had not choice but to stay. The computer terminal in his room looked ancient, and he hoped it worked.  He counted quickly in his head, and decided to put every bit of energy into his studies for the next five years. He slowly put his sack down.
“Five years,” he muttered. “How will I stand it?”


Reviews

By Robynne Wildman (on Lulu.com)  8-Aug-2014
This was a wonderful story! I enjoyed this read and loved 'rereading' parts of the story from Kutius' point of view, while learning more about Aroriel and its inhabitants. My only complaint is that the book ended too soon. I still want more! Thanks.


Interview with Marie J. Phillips

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)

I started writing when I learned to hold and pencil. Drew out little picture stories. Then when I learned my alphabet and how to write, I wrote picture comic type tales about a tree. Then I graduated to writing dog stories and finally to science fiction and fantasy. When I’m not writing I play in the Model Horse hobby, horseback ride, garden, and indulge in photography.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?) List other titles if applicable.

his is actually my sixth book, which is tied to my science fiction trilogy which is The Furlites of Aroriel: Book-OnMatissai Wings, Book-II-Earthbred, Matissia Born and unfinished Book III-Eyes In The Dark.  Other books; KHAN: A MAINE COON,  OLD GENT, and The White Dragons of Suvwilur and other stories. Furlitian Short Tales is unfinished but almost ready.

What genre do you enjoy writing the most and what is this book about?
Science fiction/fantasy and cat stories. This is a scifi novel involving a character from the trilogy, following his life from early childhood where a family spat forced him into poverty, and it follows his journey to find a way out. I describe it as a it rags to riches story Furlitian Style.

What inspired you to write this book?
Wrote this as a short story to include in the Furlitian Short Tales book, and it morphed into its own novel. 

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

That is a long weird tale that began in collage with Magritte’s painting of candle snakes on a beach. I drew a Candle Monster, which morphed over time into the current Furlite, (candle head on a furry body = Furlite-) which solidified in a Historical Geology class where I studied one of my early interests in life; dinosaurs. Now my new alien beings had a body type and then the world building began and progressed over several decades. They no longer have, ahem, candle heads.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I designed the entire thing. Took an old illustration from the short story and embellished it.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
That is a tough one since they’d have use a lot of CGI. But for voice for my main character, I suppose anyone with a strong deep male voice will do.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
Most likely serial killers and criminals like that. I have no interest in figuring out how their mind works.

What book do you wish you could have written?
The Warriors series by Erin Hunter. I was writing books similar to that in my youth. They are right up my alley. (I admit writing fan fiction for these books!)

What other books/authors are similar to your own? What makes them similar?
There isn’t any that are like them. The closest is perhaps the Quintaglo Ascension trilogy by Robert Sawyer.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

Absolutely-since as far back as my long memory stretches.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Never give up. Don’t let the rejections get you down. Go Independent if you can.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes, I do read them, but I don’t respond to them. I can’t please every reader, and since I do write to a specific niche, I don’t expect all reviews to be five star, though with Khan: A Maine Coon it is close; 33 five star and 2 four star. I hope this book can do as well, and perhaps help entice people to read the other books in this series. As far as advice, you have to develop a thick skin and not let the bad reviews bother you.

What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

Promotion! I am terrible at it.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Not really since I was under two when I learned to hold a pencil and scribble out stories in picture form. I never remember a time when I did not write. For me, it comes from deep within.

Do you have a pet or pets?

Yes. Two cats. One is a blue smoke Maine Coon kitten named Darwin, and he is the 6th Maine Coon in my life. He follows in the pawprints of big red tabby Kai who was a huge 25 pound individual. I just LOVE Maine Coon cats!

8. What is your biggest fear?

Going blind.

If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?

To Fly like a dragon!

Do you recall your dreams? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

Yes. They are in vivid color and my favs are the ones in which I have wings and can fly! I often have reoccurring dreams about having to move or losing a loved one or trying to find someone or something. True nightmares are rare. Oddly enough I never get ideas from dreams. They all come from my waking mind.



Charles McGarry

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts:

  • Author: Charles McGarry
  • Genre: Fantasy, Sci-fi/Fantasy blends, and some inspirational.
  • Book: Dragon Shorts: A Collection Of Outlandish Tales
  • Official Site

Bio

Charles McGarry is an author, a blogger, and a truly unique individual. A self-proclaimed free thinker who loves to think deeply about many issues, Charles is constantly immersed in questions about reality. He is married to the love of his life, has two amazing children, and a rather eccentric cat. He was raised on a small hay farm in southern Utah. As an only child, his home terrain gave a perfect backdrop to explore his active imagination. A very eclectic
individual, Charles enjoy all kinds of different movies and music and is a huge bookworm, of course. His genres of choice are inspirational non-fiction and Fantasy, and he is a huge fan of authors like Terry Brooks, JRR Tolkien, and Christopher Paolini, Rob Bell, and CS Lewis. Charles is enamored with ancient world history, especially Egyptology, and also likes to play video games. He is also a proud health nut, and a huge fan of yoga and meditation for releasing stress. Charles writes books within the broad Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, as well as some inspirational material, and is defined by his unconventional nature, If asked about his claim to fame, he would answer "I have a thing for dragons.”


Accomplishments

Charles works full time as an auto and property insurance agent. He is also a Reiki Master (energy healing).


 Blurb

Within these pages you will find a variety of different stories to satisfy your inner dragon. It is chock full of magic, strange worlds, fantastic creatures (including dragons of course), and numerous other little oddities that are sure to keep you entertained. So, relax with your favorite dragon and be transported. Journey to the realm of Cartissia where a young ruler must face a despicable evil, and unleash the power within him to stop it. Enter the parlor of an arcane tattoo artist who can alter the fabric of his patron's lives. Join a young water mage and her symbiote as they are forced to deal with an elemental corruption that threatens their world. Follow a consignment store employee in unusual adventures via a magical and mysterious cloak. These and many other worlds and adventures await you, and are sure to provide you with countless hours of reading entertainment.


Book Review

 "This is a fantastic collection of short stories - fantastic in several senses of the word. Its other-worldly, slightly surreal feel evokes old fashioned fairy tales, whilst the vein of quirky humour that runs through it has echoes of Terry Pratchett.
The stories have an ethereal feel to them - like worlds contained in soap bubbles, that sparkle and float and carry the reader away and then burst prettily, leaving one wondering, somehow, what they were all about - but with a sense of having experienced something indefinably good. There seems to be no agenda with any of McGarry’s stories, which makes for a gentle and pleasantly escapist reading experience, but metaphors and lessons lurk within them nevertheless. “Benders of Light”, with its introvert but philanthropic main character and “Hyppochryn”, in which humans discover more within them than they had previously realised, were two of my personal favourites. An extraordinary book that will take you to places usually reserved for dreams."  RCM


PURCHASE YOUR COPY TODAY


Jay Norry

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts

  • Author: Jay Norry / J.K. Norry
  • Genre: Fantasy / Spirituality
  • Book:
    • Demons & Angels book 1 of the Walking Between Worlds series
    • Rise of the Walker King book 2 of the Walking Between Worlds series (New!)
  • Official Site

Bio

Jay Norry is the author of "Stumbling Backasswards Into the Light", and the "Walking Between Worlds" series. He writes a monthly blog about spiritually charged subjects, self publishing, or whatever else he feels like writing about.

Jay has been studying metaphysics and philosophy his entire adult life. He is a teacher and practitioner of Reiki, and the creator of Awaken Reiki.

Jay currently resides in Northern California with his girlfriend/partner-in-crime, Dawn, and their dogs, Mammoth & Ximena. When he's not busying writing, Jay enjoys working in the garden, wine tasting, drawing, painting and fixing things Macgyver-style.


Accomplishment

Owner/Editor-in-Chief, Sudden Insight Publishing. We are putting together the first of what we hope to be several charity anthologies. All proceeds from this volume will be donated to the SPCA.


Blurb

Meet the unsung heroes of the supernatural, those who walk between worlds to help humans battle their demons. This is the spellbinding tale of a special group of people whose lives were changed forever. Watch the ordinary collide with the extraordinary to test the mettle of their souls and the power of their love.

The first book in an exciting new series, 'Walking Between Worlds; Book I: Demons & Angels' introduces us to a new way of looking at both the natural and the supernatural worlds. Join Paul Stone and Kris Reed as they walk between worlds in search of answers and themselves.


Interview with Jay Norry

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?

I started writing in a deliberate attempt to find myself. One of the most important aspects of fulfillment is identifying what you were born to do and doing it as much as possible, and it was not long before I realized that writing was to be a multi-faceted companion for me forever. Writing is how I define myself and refine myself, but it’s also how I entertain myself. The books I write are books I would love if somebody else wrote them, and that in itself is worth the tremendous effort that goes into seeing each completed in turn and in its time.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?) List other titles if applicable.

My first book is an autobiographical account of my own sacred rite of passage. It is a new age story designed to help those curious about the spiritual path form their own questions and find their own answers, and to remind those that have walked the path for some time that it can be as enriching to look back as it is to look ahead.

My second book is the beginning of a trilogy. “Walking Between Worlds; Book I: Demons & Angels” is the title, and it is a story that is set in modern day, with heroes that use ancient weapons to battle today’s demons as they always have. The best description of the genre I have heard came from a reader, who aptly described the book as “Philosophical Fantasy”. The philosophy is pretty light in both tone and texture, but it is certainly a character in this trilogy.

The book I am currently promoting is the second book in the trilogy, “Rise of the Walker King”. It is important to me that I keep the reader waiting as little as possible in a project of this mature, so releasing this book and the next have been priority one for me this year. I am happy to say that this book was released several months prior to its anticipated release date, and the conclusion is slated for a Christmas release.

What genre do you enjoy writing the most and what is this book about?

There are many facets to my personality, and I can’t do any of them justice by picking a favorite. Sometimes I want to meditate. Sometimes I want to watch a movie where dreams come to life and the good guys alway win. Sometimes I want to hold my sweet love in my arms and murmur sweet somethings in her ear. A good story is often a multi-faceted one, and often there is a personal journey going on within the character or characters that reflects or contradicts their outer journey, as well as a love interest or two that are not the whole story but are integral to it. If a good story finds me and asks me to write it, I’ll write it. If there were a genre for that, it would be my favorite genre to write in.

What inspired you to write this book?

This book was a coming together of many things for me. The story came to me over a decade ago, and has been a part of my thinking and a part of my life since we first met. I knew that I had to figure out a way to write and publish all three installments as close together as possible, and that meant my whole life had to change to create that opportunity.

My need to write it got book one written, but that wasn’t enough to get it published. I was flummoxed by what route to take, so I asked my partner in life and my manager in writing what she thought. It was her that decided that we should start our own publishing company, and it was her that learned how to do all the formatting and graphic design that made book one of this series the first original publication of Sudden Insight Publishing.

“Walking Between Worlds; Book I: Demons & Angels” was inspired by my own desire to bring myself completely to the task of beginning to tell this story. But not it’s sequel.

“Walking Between Worlds; Book II: Rise of the Walker King” was inspired by my Awesome Girl, Dawn. She made the story I wrote into a beautiful book that filled me with excitement and compelled me to throw myself into writing as much as possible to complete this series and watch our publishing company’s library grow.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

Titles are like fish. You can stand there on the shore, contemplating and casting your line for hours. It is entirely possible to catch a whopper that way, but I usually don’t. You can take the scientific approach and equip a boat with radar or cast a wide net. Then you can choose from all the little metaphors flopping about in the bottom of your boat and throw the rest back. I prefer to dive into the story or essay, feeling the shock of the water on my skin as I move about in the natural and alien environment. They usually swim right up to me then.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

Covers are like titles for me. They are as much a character in the story as any other, and they speak pretty clearly to me when I ask them what they want. I saw the image for the cover of this book in my mind, described it to my partner, and let her do all the actual work. It turned out better than I had imagined it, another part of working with Dawn that I am pleased to have come to expect.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

I was casting these characters in my head while I was writing. I saw Danny Trejo as Roche right away, though the physical descriptions don’t really match; I think he could embody the old devil like no one else. Brenna is best played by Kristen Kruek, who supposedly looks much like her. I would cast Jaime Lunar as Lilia, the dragon queen; she was the red-headed temptress from Melrose Place. I have always thought that Reese Witherspoon’s face seemed to be the personification of sweetness, and I can see her playing Jessica in all of her varied expressions. For the leads, I think Paul could be played by Henry Cavill perfectly, if he’s not too busy being Superman; and Charlie Hunnam from “Sons of Anarchy” would round out my perfect cast as Kris. That being said, I would be about as happy as happy gets to see any team of artists come together to put this story on the big screen or the little one.

Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

I hate killing characters. As a person who puts great stock in the power of hope and the possibilities of redemption, I don’t like to see even the most despicable villain cross that final unforgiving line. That being said, I am not in charge of the stories I write. i am in charge of making sure I tell the story as true to the way I see it as possible; and sometimes that means writing about someone I have become rather attached to as they draw their last breath, or lose their head quite literally, or as they are turned to ash by supernatural flame.

I had to understand this before I could do it, and I hope that my readers understand it as well: I don’t kill characters. Characters may kill other characters, or themselves, or they might just die. It is not my decision when a character lives or dies; my only decision is whether or not to tell the tale.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

There is only one subject I would not write about, and it is the subject of having one thing I refuse to write about. Writing must address an author’s deepest issues to be authentic, while not being mired in one stagnant viewpoint. Whether in journals or books or stories, the writers truest voice is found by confronting and conquering their greatest pain. If any writer has some subject that they consider off-limits, they should write about that first and foremost.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

Most of the names in my books come to me when the stories do. When it’s my decision, I choose a name that seems to fit the character and the way I see them. I hate making names up as much as titles; I prefer when they just swim up to me. When I make them up, I check online to see if it’s common or uncommon enough, and if it means something weird. Names are important to me, and I want to make sure that I am giving everyone the name they deserve as much as I give them the voice they need.

 Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I haven’t gotten a whole lot of reviews, but I have had a few on each of my published works. There have been a couple of bad reviews, if you go by their star rating. The reviews have been honest, however; and in their honesty they describe books I would want to read even when stating that they didn’t like it. I think that’s about all an artist can ask for, and it’s silly to want everyone to like everything you write. I haven’t ever gotten a three word review that said “piece of crap”, but I don’t see why it would bother me any more than if someone came up to me and said “You have ugly brown eyes!” I don’t have brown eyes, and my book is not a piece of crap. How could that bother me?

 What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

There are two things readers can do to help make my book successful. First, please buy a copy and read it. Second, go on Amazon and write an honest review. Write as little or as much as you like, and give the book however many stars you think it deserves. Do that with all your favorite artists and products if you have the chance; people are looking for the things they want and need, and their wants and needs may be similar to yours. Connecting a writer with a new reader can be a great way to help them both.

What projects can we expect from you in the future?

This year has been all about figuring out the best ways to write and publish, and how many books we could complete while meeting our own high standards each year. I am happy to say that readers can expect two to three books from me every year from here on out. This year will wrap up the “Walking Between Worlds” trilogy, and next year will be a whole new story that already waits to be told.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part of writing this book, and every other I have written, is just the sitting down and writing part. It’s not that difficult to do; it’s just a lot of time that must be deliberately put aside. It’s easy for me to work without interruption; I kind of disappear from the world when I’m writing, even as it goes on around me. I also schedule time and request that I be left alone, and only allow those who respect that need the opportunity to compromise it. Even so, the time and concentration required to write for long enough to be pleased with the day’s accomplishments is approximately what leaves me happily drained.

What literary character is most like you?

I have only been compared to literary characters twice in my life. One person told me that I was like Howard Roark from Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”. Another told me, in a different time and place and setting, that I reminded her of John Gault, from Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”. Both times I laughed, for my own reasons, but I took them as two of the highest compliments I have ever received. I don’t see myself as heroically as I do those two classic favorites, but I do see that I am as happily enslaved to my vision of what I need to do as they were.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

My favorite author is Richard Bach, hands down. From his tales of flying airplanes to his classic spiritual masterpieces to his stories about ferrets wiser than any human I know, I’ll read anything he writes at least once. Somehow he writes in a way that makes each person feel like he wrote a passage or a book or a library just for them, and I’m always pleasantly surprised at how many people from different walks of life feel that same way.

Do you have any scars? What are they from?

I don’t notice the scars on my body so much anymore. Most are pretty faded, two dog bites and where a brick that I myself threw somehow found its way back to my head, along with that spot on my leg where I got tangled up one day instead of clearing the barb wire fence. It seems like body scars are different from soul scars; one goes away if you ignore it and the other only goes away if you address it.

Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?

If I could meet anyone, it would be Richard Bach. I have a lot of heroes, but none like him. I understand that he keeps himself pretty busy and doesn’t much care for folks seeking him out just to tell him what they thought of his books, so I would never make it a point to barge in on his life. It would be nice to have a chance to say what I think is always best to say when meeting someone you admire: Hi, I love the thing that you do and the way that you do it.