Monday, December 29, 2014

Stocking Your E-Reader Sale! Dec. 29-Jan. 2

Stocking Your E-Reader Sale I'm really excited to be part of two great sales going on this week. The Stocking Your E-Reader Sale starts today, and features more than 100 books by over 60 authors, 99 cents or less, plus prizes! Urdaisunia is on sale at Amazon all week for 99 cents (also on sale at the international stores). Click the image or the name of the sale to go to the sale page, to discover tons of books 99 cents or less!

And coming up on New Year's Day, the Science Fiction and Fantasy MAD January Sale - watch for details!

Update: in addition to being on sale at Amazon, Urdaisunia is also on sale at
Apple, OmniLit, DriveThruFiction, and Smashwords! I'm waiting to see if the sale price also goes through to Barnes&Noble and Kobo; I'll post here if/when it does.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Author Spotlight: Daniel Casey

Daniel Casey
Introducing multi-faceted author Daniel Casey and his fantasy novel, Adversaries Together (Ascendant Realms, Book 1):

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve lived in several states over the last fifteen years, but consider myself a Minnesotan, adopting the state where my wife grew up and still has family. I’ve run for US Congress, founded and edited a literary magazine, been a college English professor, published poetry and criticism in several small magazines, covered professional soccer in North America, and am currently a house spouse.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I started taking writing seriously in college. My focus for a long time was on poetry. I eventually went on to earn my MFA in creative writing-poetry from the University of Notre Dame. Poetry, especially lyric poetry, appealed to me because it became a medium that allowed me to blend my love of language, metaphor, and philosophy.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
For the last few years, I’ve written mostly nonfiction and of that it has mostly been articles on North American soccer. I still write poetry but have come to keep that work rather to myself. With the novel, Adversaries Together, that I self-published late this year (2014), I am making my first foray into regularly writing fiction.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
Adversaries Together is my first book and the first book in a long series I have in mind. Right now I envision a seven book series, called Ascendant Realms. It’s an epic fantasy story—swords & sorcery—where I’ve taken away magic and imaginary beasts, sex and violence, and replaced them with politics and wrangling of would-be nations, religions, and commerce.

Adversaries Together 5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
In the world of Syr Nebra, there is no such thing as magic, yet every human clings to their faith and country. The nation of The Seven Spires has imperial ambitions while the seat of the world's great religion, The Cathedral, plots its own crusade to control the world. The once prosperous city of Rikonen has been under siege for more than a thousand days and is crumbling. All the while, deep to the south the city of Lappala, the only source of the most precious substance in the world, is a sleeping giant.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
In this opening book, I introduce seven heroes who will appear throughout the series: Avery Roth, a secretive wanderer; Kira Ambrose, a young priestess; Goshen Staad, a chivalric paladin; Wynne Landis and his daughter Fery, two nobles responsible for saving their city; Jena Char, a woman ranger who is as tough as nails and kinder than most; and Declan Rainway, a world weary mercenary. What I like about these characters is the chance they afford me to show how every individual truly needs others in order to become what they are.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
This first book was written during National Novel Writing Month; I wrote every day over thirty days. The manuscript, warts and all, is the product of that event. After writing the novel, I decided to pull the trigger and self-publish. I’m now planning on completing the series over this next year.

Adversaries Together:
In the world of Syr Nebra, there is no such thing as magic, yet every human clings to their faith and country. Avery Roth is a wanderer scratching out a living in the hinterlands trying to avoid the religious zealots of The Cathedral and the imperial ambitions of The Seven Spires. But when a young woman and her paladin guardian literally run into him in the wild as they are fleeing bandits, he is entangled in a political web that tightens the more he struggles to free himself and others. Roth aids the duo on their way but in so doing is drawn into the duplicitous schemes of the elites from rival realms.

Adversaries Together is available at:

Amazon (Kindle and paperback) | CreateSpace (paperback)

Where to find Daniel Casey:
I frequently post supplemental information about the series on my personal blog, https://misanthropester.wordpress.com/
Goodreads | Twitter

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Author Spotlight: Lydia Rodriguez-Clement

Lydia Rodriguez-Clement
Today I'm happy to welcome paranormal-romance author Lydia Rodriguez-Clement to the blog:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Let’s see. What can I say? Well, just like my main character Sarah, I live in San Antonio, Texas. I also come from a large Hispanic family, and I have a wonderful supportive husband, five children, and a dog. Yep, I said five children. Large families run in my family.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I started writing back in high school. My English teacher really encouraged me to write after a poetry assignment. She had liked my poetry so much that she entered a couple of them into the Pegasus Poetry Competition. Unfortunately I didn’t win. I know, I know. My heart has mended since then. But that was when I started writing my short stories, which she read aloud to the class every other Friday. From then on I was hooked. I loved the way I could express myself through the stories, give out a message, and have people really understand and like them.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
My primary genre is Paranormal Romance, but I would like to give Contemporary Romance a shot in the near future. I LOVE writing Paranormal Romance, because you can do absolutely anything in them. You are only hindered by your imagination.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
My book THE GUARDIAN is the first installment of what I hope to be a series. It is actually a revised version of Angelus, so DON’T read that one. My progress for the second one is slow, but I do have three chapters done already. And like I mentioned earlier, I would like to start on my Contemporary Romance somewhere in between.

The Guardian
5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
This contemporary story takes place around the beautiful Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio, Texas where we have people that are born with a special gift - the ability to see Angels. They are called ‘Seers’, and they are pretty much a secret society. The dark veil between our world and the Angels’ is thick, and many events happen without us even knowing. Some events take place in dark shadows, in out of the way places, or kept hidden by Angels who stay invisible. But these Angels are no ordinary Angels that people usually think about. These Angels are soldiers…warriors. They engage in epic battles with demons and Fallen Angels. The primordial battle between good and evil in this story is one that goes back three hundred years. They fight with swords, spears and battle axes like ancient armies, but with one major difference, powers. They have been given powers beyond imagining. Teleportation, power over the elements and the ability to stop time, to name a few. All of these are shown in this story when one Angel dares to love a human woman.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Jacob is my hero. He is a Guardian Angel who gets abruptly reassigned to a new post. I really like him, because he is so relatable. He fights and loves with every fiber of his being. Sarah is the heroine who has lived a very sheltered life. I like her, because throughout the story you can actually see her grow as a person. Caleb is Jacob’s best friend that is also his Captain. That is a really hard relationship, but somehow they always seem to work things out. Now the bad guys are Seth and Samuel. They are Fallen Angels who focus their hatred on Jacob. Samuel wants to rule Jacob, while Seth wants to overpower him. I like Seth, because he showes that evil can come in sweet and handsome forms.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
Hmm? A fun fact about me or my book? I’m not sure if this is fun, but I do LOVE to eat peanuts while I write. I ate while I wrote this book and I eat peanuts while I’m writing the second book. What kinds? All kinds! Chocolate covered, salted, roasted, spicy, and limon.

Where to find Lydia:
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

The Guardian:
THE GUARDIAN is a story about how Sarah's spiritual beliefs are reaffirmed when the existence of Angels and Demons are horrifically revealed. Never had she dreamt that her mundane life would be caught in not only a struggle to stay alive in this clash of worlds, but also in a sadistic plan by the Dark Angels to lure Jacob, her own Guardian, to fall.

The Guardian is available at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author:
Lydia Rodriguez-Clement, a native Texan, grew up in the beautiful city of San Antonio where this story takes place, and where she attended a local college and university. It was in high school, however, where she was told she had a flare for writing, and decided many years later to persue this noble art. She has been married for 19 years, and has five children and two dogs. Her family life keeps her very busy, but after surviving Leukemia, with the help of God, family and friends, she followed her life long dream to write a book.

Read on for an excerpt from The Guardian:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Guest Post: Derek Alan Siddoway on Medieval Westerns

Out of Exile
Hi everyone, Derek here with a guest post for all you Kyra Halland readers. Below, I’ve painted a small picture of what you’ll find in my novel, Teutevar Saga: Out of Exile and how the genre I call “medieval western” came about. If you like what read, I’ve made Out of Exile free today [Wed. Dec. 17] on Amazon just for you guys. You can also get a free short story by signing up for my newsletter here. Thanks and enjoy!

Imagine it: wide, sweeping plains as far as the eye can see. In the distance, a herd of buffalo roams through the tall prairie grass. On the edge of a watering hole, a pack of coyotes hunker down, watching a group of mule deer as they drink. The wild mustangs surrounding the edge of the pond discourage them from attacking, for now.

It seems like a peaceful morning on the range but then, the buffalo alert. Their dark, woolly heads shoot up, their tails rise like flagpoles and the herd circles. An ominous thundering noise fills the distance. The mustangs and the deer are looking now as well, their ears pricked toward the coming thunder. It sounds as if the buffalo are stampeding, but they’re still huddled and alert.

In the calm morning air, a series of yips and whoops fill their air, but it’s not from the coyote pack. Were you on the Great Plains, you might expect a war party of Native American horsemen to crest the ridge. But you’re not in America, you’re in Peldrin.
Horsemen indeed ride over the hills and their ponies and shields are painted for war. Their hair is dark and braided. Tomahawks, bows and quivers of arrows are close at hand, but these aren’t Sioux. These are Simarru warriors from the Sube Lowlands, the northwestern edge of the Simarron Plain. In addition to tomahawks, the riders carry thick lances and sabers and wear leather and mail armor. They pull their horses to a stop and grow quiet. The valley below is empty now, the bison and other wildlife have fled.

The Founding of Athel
Over the opposite rise to the north, another line of horses appear. These, however, aren’t agile Simarru ponies. These are war horses, seventeen hands tall, and on them, Skaldean knights in plate armor. Behind them ride buckaroos, lighter horsemen in the service of the Cattle Barons to the east. Before the Republic brought peace, the Cattle Barons and their buckaroos waged endless war against the nomadic Simarru — their longhorn cattle against the endless buffalo herds.

The Skaldean knights form a wedge and sound their battle horns. The Simarru horse archers ride down the ridge and ready their bows. Behind them, the lancers shout war cries into the endless skies above. For a moment, neither side moves. And then the peace is shattered by the thundering of charging horses and whirr of arrow fire.

What do you think? Snag a free copy of Out of Exile to read more.

You get a powerful thing mixing epic fantasy, medieval historical fiction, mythology, American folktales and westerns all together in a book. The result, what I’ve coined as the medieval western genre, is a compilation of everything I love in a story. It’s my debut series: Teutevar Saga.

Picture Even as I devoured the works of Tolkien, George R. R. Martin, Lloyd Alexander, C.S. Lewis and more, part of me wanted something different, something closer to home. That part of me was fostered from countless John Wayne movies, L’Amour books and the landscape and culture of the American West where I call home. Much like Kyra, I appreciate the rich mythology we have here in the west and want to share it with the world. Why, I thought, can’t a book have all of these things: the power and awe of a traditional epic fantasy, steeped with the rugged, action-packed grit of a western?

Most authors get into writing because they’ve got a story they want to read that exists only in the realm of their imagination. I was no different. I grew up reading the greats, but when I came across books like S.M. Stirling’s Dies the Fire and Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country, I saw a glimpse of what was possible, what was brewing in my writer’s mind.

Although it took me over a decade to write, rewrite, revise and publish, Out of Exile was a realization of that dream. With each book of the Teutevar Saga, I hope I continue to build and expand the rich world of Peldrin, a world, I hope to be unlike any other. If you’re a fan of western fantasy, you’ll feel right at home in one of my medieval westerns.

Happy reading,
Derek Alan Siddoway, author of Teutevar Saga
P.S. Don’t forget, Out of Exile is free for you on Amazon. You can also get a complimentary, award-winning short story by joining my newsletter.
Out of Exile
:

War is brewing. The hunt begins. Exile is over.
Revan Teutevar is the exiled heir of an extinct country fed up with a life in hiding. He’s also a boy on a manhunt with blood on his hands, tracking his mother’s kidnappers. Aided by a renegade leprechaun and a smooth-talking minstrel, the young Teutevar pursues his foes across a land on the brink of war. Faced with trials at every step, Revan learns quickly that, out of exile, the line between right and wrong is blurred in the best of times…and nonexistent in the worst.

Visit Derek at his website: http://derekalansiddoway.com/

Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Kyra sez: Thanks, Derek! It was great meeting you and finding out about your medieval westerns.
Click here to read my post on western fantasy on Derek's site.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Author Spotlight: Sue Perry

Sue Perry
Introducing author Sue Perry and her latest novel, Nica of Los Angeles (Frames #1):

1). Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a seasoned yet new writer. I published a novel in hardcover with Bantam-Doubleday-Dell some 20 years ago, then stopped writing until recently. In that hiatus, I was a low-budget TV producer, a disaster scientist, a college professor, and more, until I finally acknowledged that writing is the only work that matters to me.

2). When did you start writing, and why?

When I was growing up, teachers always told me I was a writer, and at some point I came to believe them. However, for a long time, I had little to say. So I would start writing then stop, pick up again then set down. Nowadays, however, the "stopping" is over and I feel considerable urgency to write.

3). What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?

I write novels, and the occasional novella, about whatever most preoccupies me at the time - I have many interests! To date I have written a psychological thriller involving split brain research, animal rights, and a love quadrangle ("Was It A Rat I Saw"); a novella about an oddball group of scientists and techies who solve crimes ("C.R.I.M.E. Science"); literary fiction about a family with secrets ("Scar Jewelry"); and a fantasy detective adventure ("Nica of Los Angeles"). Although my books span many genres and perspectives, they share key features. They all have smartass dialog, strong female characters, and stories that unfold like mysteries. There will always be a cat, and there will usually be a musician.

4). What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?

"Nica of Los Angeles" is my latest novel, the first in a quartet of novels that will make up the speculative detective series FRAMES. Book 2 in the series, "Nica of XXX" (location currently embargoed), will be out in the first half of 2015.

5). "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.

Frames are dimensions, and there are an infinite number. No one has been to them all. Landscapes are similar from Frame to Frame, but structures and beings vary. What seem to be inanimate objects in one Frame may in fact be animate and/or sentient beings in other Frames. You just never know. For example, a lawn chair, a volcano, and a building - among other non-human characters - are all sentient in "Nica of Los Angeles".

Nica of Los Angeles 6). Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Narrator Nica S.T.A.T.Ic. (Sheridan Taggart Ambrose Taggart Ickovic) has recently appointed herself as a private detective. She is an upbeat person in a very noir world. She never loses her wits, her wit, or her enthusiasm for life, and she never lets details like fear or inexperience slow her down.

Miles and Monk are siblings. In our Frame, they are known as the tallest of the Watts Towers, inanimate folk art sculptures. In other Frames they are animate as well as sentient. Monk is a quiet philosopher given to inscrutable remarks; Miles is a lively gadabout and a flirt.

7). A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.

I'm adopted and as an adult, met my birth family, who (luckily!) turn out to be awesome people with amazingly similar attitudes and senses of humor. Turns out that, after I was adopted, my parents got together and had five more kids. I wrote about some of this in my novel "Scar Jewelry" (Btw, that wasn't a spoiler - that isn't the secret the characters grapple with in SJ.)

Nica of Los Angeles (Frames #1):
When rookie private eye Nica takes on a mysterious case, she enters a world of multiple dimensions called Frames, where buildings and lawn chairs can be sentient, a stray cat has great powers, books can be killers, and clouds can be spies. At home, Nica tackles missing person cases, while in the larger reality of the Frames she is swept into an escalating battle with stakes that could not be higher.

Read a three-chapter excerpt from Nica of Los Angeles here.

Nica of Los Angeles is available at:
Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | Apple

Where to find Sue Perry:
Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon author page | Smashwords author page

I rarely post to my Facebook fan page, but it does exist: https://www.facebook.com/SuePerryAuthor

Music is crucial in the shaping of my novels. As user "scperryz" I have playlists on Spotify for "Scar Jewelry" and "Nica of Los Angeles".
Nica of Los Angeles: http://open.spotify.com/user/scperryz/playlist/61lXhpNJCeYEcAVwOXvnyO
Scar Jewelry: http://open.spotify.com/user/scperryz/playlist/5515fvDrOfhpwBqYye4atP

Friday, December 12, 2014

Calibre for Readers - A Useful Post

Calibre Logo Busy busy with editing Bad Hunting and getting ready to write another Estelend novel, and oh yeah Christmas and stuff, but I wanted to take a minute to link to this very useful post on Indies Unlimited: Calibre for Readers, part 1. Calibre is a free ebook management program, which a lot of authors use for doing ebook conversions. It's also designed as an ebook library, where you can list all the ebooks on your computer, group them by authors, series, and tags, transfer them on and off of your ereader, and other cool stuff. If you buy ebooks from a variety of stores such as Amazon and allRomance and Smashwords, it's a great way to aggregate them all in one place. If the book doesn't have DRM, Calibre can also be used to convert ebooks from one format to another (for example, if you find yourself with a book in Kindle format and want to convert it for your Nook).

You can also use it to convert personal documents in various formats, such as DOCX, PDF, RTF, and TXT, into an ebook file for easy reading on your ereader. I've done this with fanfictions I've written, just for fun :)

Anyway, Calibre is a very cool and useful program, and it's free (though they welcome donations), so check out the blog post for more information!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

November 2014 Wrap-up and Look Ahead at December

NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner Badge
So, I won NaNoWriMo (or as I like to think of it, successfully completed the challenge, since everyone who validates 50,000 words or more "wins") for the 6th year in a row :-D The result is the rough draft of The Source-Fixer (working title, or possibly the permanent title if I can't think of anything better) and three accompanying short stories giving the backstory on the main characters. Like a lot of my books, this was based on yet another old unfinished story fragment I was stuck on. I decided to go a different direction with the characters, which I'll write about another time, and, as so often happens when I take a fresh look at the characters, this is what got me un-stuck.

I also printed out my very first novel ever, Prince of the Trozdozh (another meh working title, I suck at thinking of titles) and its sequel (untitled, the one with Travarac and Kilahra). I think there's hope for them, I started reading the sequel while I was printing it out and couldn't stop.

So the pile of manuscripts awaiting revision grows even bigger.

Also in November, Beneath the Canyons had a fantastic release. Thank you, everyone, for your support! Book 2, Bad Hunting, is now under revision.

On the A-Z reading challenge, I'm still on D (Darkmage, by M.L. Spencer). It's very long, and I'm also dividing my reading time with The Plains of Kallanash by Pauline M. Ross, a lovely author I've gotten to know on Goodreads and Google+.

Bad Hunting Besides Christmas, the main focus in December will be on continuing with the revision and editing of Bad Hunting, aiming for a release hopefully in the first part of January. Between NaNoWriMo and Thanksgiving, I didn't get as far with this as I wanted to in November, so it doesn't look like I'll be able to get it out this month. I'm writing a lot of new material for the book, filling out some things that needed to be filled out, and so far I've added over 5,000 words.

I've also started revising the fanfiction I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2013. Now that the big, heavy first revision on Daughter of the Wildings is done, I have time for a side-project, and some of my fanfic readers have been asking about it. So it's time to get it finished and posted.

Which leads into the big dilemma I'm having right now. I've got lots of stories I want to write, and lots of things awaiting revision (including but not limited to books 2-6 of Daughter of the Wildings). The more time I spend writing new stuff the less time I have to spend on revising, but, as always happens during a NaNo event, I'm reminded again of the importance of writing every day, to improve my craft and stay in practice. So it's a matter of trying to figure out how to allocate my time and, more importantly, mental and physical energy. Right now I'm thinking maybe 30 minutes a day of planning (if the project is still in the planning stage) or a daily writing target of 1000 words (which takes me about 30 minutes to do) will fit into my schedule and energy limitations, with the remaining 2-3 hours of writing time spent on revisions.

Also on the to-do list is to finish the paperback edition of Beneath the Canyons and do some work on the website. My list of books is getting too long to display them all individually in the sidebar (not that I'm complaining!), so I'm looking at some other ways of letting website visitors know about my books. Weebly (my site hosting service) has a nifty slideshow widget, so I'm thinking I'll put my first six books into that and have the Daughter of the Wildings books separately as the current and upcoming releases. (I started my first website in Jan. 2001, and I've been a happy website-fiddler ever since).

For the A-Z reading challenge, I think I need to start choosing shorter books. Will not finish by the end of the year.

Finally, there's another special blog hop event coming up Dec. 19-22, the Winter Warm-Up romance blog hop.

This should be enough to keep me out of trouble for another month.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Author Spotlight: Dawn Marie Hamilton


Dawn Marie Hamilton
Introducing Dawn Marie Hamilton, author of Scottish fantasy-romance:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Here is the official bio: Dawn Marie Hamilton dares you to dream. She is a 2013 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist who pens Scottish-inspired fantasy and paranormal romance. Some of her tales are rife with mischief-making faeries, brownies, and other fae creatures. More tormented souls—shape shifters, vampires, and maybe a zombie or two—stalk across the pages of other stories. She is a member of several chapters of Romance Writers of America. When not writing, she’s cooking, gardening, or paddling the local creeks of Southern Maryland with her husband.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
As with many young girls, I kept a journal as a teenager. In high school, I wrote dark short stories. During my corporate career, I wrote computer software manuals and training material. Not very fanciful. While on a business trip in Brussels, I saw a billboard with a hot Highlander advertising whisky. I decided I wanted to write stories featuring smexy Scots.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
Scottish fantasy and paranormal romance with time travel elements. I enjoy taking readers to another place. A place of magic. A place of faeries and brownies and other fae creatures. A place of vampires and shifters and other dark creatures. A place where love spans centuries and is ever-lasting.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
Just in Time for a Highland Christmas, a holiday novella, recently released as part of my Highland Gardens time travel series fraught with meddling fae. Just Wait For Me (A Highland Gardens Novel – Book 3) is scheduled for release Spring 2015. I’m also working on the second novel in the Crimson Storm vampire-shifter series, Raven’s Revenge.

5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
In the Highland Gardens series the Queen of the Fae challenges a banished faerie to craft three nearly impossible matches. The characters journey through time either from the lush gardens of the present day Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and the fictitious Village of Anderson Creek—a place over-run by Scottish ex-pats—to 16th century Scotland and vice versa.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
The Highland Gardens cast of characters stroll through multiple books. Robert and Archibald are twins. Smexy Highlanders. Archibald is the hero in Just in Time for a Highland Christmas and is the chief of Clan MacLaclan in 16th century Scotland. He’s gorgeous and proud and everything swoon-worthy. Lies have turned his betrothed (previously his twins betrothed), the raven-haired Isobell against him. She seeks revenge against him and his clan. Her pride matches Archibald’s. Caitrina is an auburn-haired beauty, a halfling faerie disguised as a gardener in the present, but releases her fae power in the past. Often at odds with Caitrina, Munn is the three foot tall bumbling clan brownie who’s trying to bring the couple together. As in all romances, by the end of the story, Archibald and Isobell find an everlasting love.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
Having previously been a Master Gardener, garden themes are included in most of my tales.

8. Where can we find you?

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | email

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas
Just in Time for a Highland Christmas:
Can a determined brownie craft a perfect match in time for Christmas?

When the Chief of Clan MacLachlan travels to the stronghold of his feuding neighbors to fetch his betrothed, she is gone. A year later, she is still missing. Making life more vexing, a band of reivers are stealing clan cattle, leaving behind destruction. Archibald MacLachlan determines to capture them and administer harsh punishment.

Though once in love with the man, Isobell Lamont refuses to wed her clan's enemy. After running away, she joins the band of reivers set on revenge.

Can Archibald forgive the raven-haired beauty? Will a journey through time bring them together for a Highland Christmas?

Here's a sneak peek inside:

Let us not harbor thoughts of troubling events from our past, even if only for this night.” He clasped her hand and held it over his heart.

She tilted her head to the side and her brow wrinkled, as if trying to understand. Then her lips curved into a smile filled with, could he hope, love. “If that is your wish, then ’tis my desire also.

[Dawn Marie: Of course, you can guess her being amenable will be short-lived.]
Just in Time for a Highland Christmas is available at Amazon.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

NaNo 2014 Check-In

Picture I just realized I hadn't done any NaNoWriMo progress updates this month. I got a late start, busy with the release of Beneath the Canyons at the beginning of the month, and other things came up, which made it hard to catch up and stay caught up. But now, with one day left (I make myself take Sundays off from writing) I've got 1700 words to go, so I'll finish today *knock on wood* I finished the actual story at around 40,000 words, so the last 10,000 words is an extended epilogue, which will probably be trimmed in the final version or maybe not, and back stories on each of the main characters, which may or may not find their way into the final version; if they don't, I'll release them as separate short stories. You do what you gotta do to get those 50,000 words honestly. My proudest moment of doing whatever it takes to get the word count was for Camp NaNo last year. I was writing book 3 of Daughter of the Wildings and, short of my goal and running out of story, in desperation I threw in a conversation about Silas's chest hair - and made it relevant to the plot!  And that *will* be in the final version.
In other news, Beneath the Canyons had a great launch - thank you for your support! The revision of Bad Hunting (book 2) has been slowed down a bit by NaNo, but it's still continuing, and I'm looking at a release date in January. I'm undecided as to whether to keep the series exclusive to Amazon for a while, to take advantage of the Kindle Unlimited program and other perks, or release them to all platforms once the 90-day exclusive period on Beneath the Canyons is over. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, and I'm trying to figure out what will get my books in front of the greatest number of readers.

To everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving this week, Happy Thanksgiving! And to those who didn't, happy day of your choice! Among many other things, I'm thankful for you, my readers. You're wonderful, and your support means a lot to me. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Character Interview: Lainie Banfrey

Meet Lainie Banfrey from Beneath the Canyons (Daughter of the Wildings Book 1):

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?

My name's Lainie Banfrey. There's nothing significant about it; it's just a plain old name. But it's my name, and I like it.

2. How old are you?

I'm 19 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?It's just me and my Pa, Burrett. He owns a big ranch in the Bitterbush Valley. My mama, Vera, died of a fever when I was six, and my older brother Blake got killed in a shootout just a few months ago. It didn't have nothin' to do with him, he was just minding his own business and some miners just started shooting things up, pissed off at a ranch hand who said something they didn't like. I really miss both of them a lot. Blake and I were real close, and it's hard to believe he's gone.

I love my Pa and we get along pretty well, running the ranch together, but we don't agree on everything. He's real picky about what men I'm allowed to talk to - he's got his own idea about who I should marry, and that's just how it's going to be. And he don't want me using my magic power. Most Plain folks hate wizards, and he's no exception, but with him it's personal, you know? But he won't tell me why he hates them so much. And I want to be able to use my magic, but I know it's wrong, and I don't want to be someone my Pa will hate. So it makes me feel all torn up inside sometimes.

I've also got my mare, Mala, and two cattlehounds, Bunky and Snoozer, and then there's Rat, he's a fat old orange-striped tabby tom with one ear. The other ear got chewed off by a rat, his first big catch when he was about five ninedays old. We've got a whole bunch of barn cats, but Rat's the one who decided I'd be his special person.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?

I've never kissed anyone. My Pa is really protective and don't like me being alone with a man, and I think every man in the Valley knows if they try anything my Pa'll come after them with a shotgun.

5. What is your occupation?I've been working on our family's ranch almost since I could walk. I take care of the house and the cooking and cleaning, and also do a lot of the ranch work, mend fences, herd cattle, stuff like that.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?I'm a hard worker, and I always try to do the very best I can at whatever I do. I'm a good cook, and everyone says I ride herd on the cattle as good as any man. I also love my Pa and do my best to honor him and be a dutiful, obedient daughter, even when we don't agree on things.

I guess I'm kind of stubborn sometimes, and sometimes I want to see things the way I want them to be instead of the way they really are. And sometimes I'm not very honest with my Pa. I don't lie to him outright, but sometimes I don't tell him everything because I also don't like arguing with him.

I don't know if my magic power's a bad quality. I don't think it should be, but everyone says magic is wicked and evil, and I don't know, maybe it would make me bad whether I want it to or not.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?

I want a man who's honest and a hard worker and who treats me good and with respect. If he wants to protect me, that's good, but I don't want to be treated like I'm stupid or fragile. It would be nice if he's nice-looking, though I'm not real picky about that, and if he's smart and fun to be with and talk to.

And... I guess this is silly, but I'd like a man who makes me feel all tingly and glowy inside, a man like the heroes in the penny-thriller novels. None of the men around here are like that, especially the man my Pa has his eye on for me. He's a good man, just not very romantic and exciting. So I guess all that's okay for stories, but real life don't work that way.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?

I love riding my horse Mala out on the range, and I like to cook, and read the penny-thrillers. Most of all, I like playing Dragon's Threes. I always win, too. :-D Men who've never played with me before can't believe it when they get beat by a girl!

9. What is your greatest fear?

I'm afraid that because I've got magic power, that means I'll turn into a monster with no heart and no soul, like everyone says wizards are. I don't feel like a heartless monster, and I don't want to do no one any harm, but maybe using magic just makes you that way whether you want to be or not.

10. What is your most treasured possession?

My horse Mala, and my certificate from the Bitterbush Springs town school - I went for the whole six years, starting when I was 9, and passed all the examinations - and the bird-in-a-cage quilt my mama made for me before she died.

Beneath the Canyons is available at
Amazon.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Author Spotlight: M.L. Crum

M.L. Crum
Introducing M.L. Crum, author of the paranormal romance Irony of Time:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Frederick, Maryland.  I now live in southern Pa.  I wrote all the time as a child into my college years but writing took a backseat as I began my career in education then became a wife and mother.  I have been a first grade teacher for over 15+ years now.

2. When did you start writing, and why?I started writing in 2013.  Why?  Well, here comes the background story:   I had just devoted several months to preparing and then participating in the Avon 2-Day Walk in D.C. with 2 of my closest friends.  It was an incredible event and cause that filled me with a new purpose to my life-a peaceful, happy life as a wife, mother and teacher-a life where I gladly gave what felt like 120% of myself everyday, but now found great joy in paying it forward with another 120% of myself to a great cause.  We completed the walk (raised close to $6,000), my team members then drifted off into new adventures in their lives including a new job and a new home, summer came so school was out, my kids decided they did not need me to plan their summer days and I found myself sitting on the couch for several days feeing like I was in "a state of deflation."  I sat wondering what else can I do?  What were my interest anymore?  My hobbies?  Did I have any other aspirations? Who was I other than a mother, wife and a teacher?  Sadly no answer came Until...two weeks later I woke up from a dream that was very vivid.  I couldn't release that dream from my thoughts.  I had to know what happened to these individuals in my dream especially after the one made such a life altering decision.  Plus, there was such an intense connection between two people that I wanted to know more about.  I found myself at my computer that day and the dream became my first chapter.  The writing just flowed and so did the joy I got from writing it.  Then it was like a huge reminder hit me over the head....Uh, hello?  You love to write.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?

I write some poetry.  My novel is a paranormal romance because that was revealed to me in my dream.  The fact that I wrote a paranormal romance still even surprises me. I love a good romance and I tend to read anything with a good love story.

But to be honest I had burned through several paranormal romances over a few years and vowed not to read another one because I needed a change.  I switched over to historical romances.  So when I had this dream I actually wanted to argue with myself over the fact that it was paranormal romance.  I tried to even change that aspect, but it is what it is and I am so glad that it remained just that.  I now have fallen back in love with that genre again.  I love developing the character arc with all the small and big details that makes each one of them so real and intriguing.  I also enjoy surprising the reader throughout the whole story.  I am a big fan of a plot driven story with twist and surprise turns.

And Last, I enjoy how wonderful it is to get lost in a world that is nothing like my own except for some smal elements here and there.

Irony of Time 4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
My debut novel is called Irony of Time. [Kyra sez, is that a gorgeous cover or what?] Here is the summary:

When irony falls upon Miriam… she slams head on into the face of destiny.

Miriam Duvall is followed by a shadow cast over her by irony itself. Feeling reborn and falling in love—all within blissful amnesia—this feisty woman accidentally transcends the rules of time, regaining her memory right at the precipice of the most tragic event in her past. Seizing this opportunity, she looks destiny square in the eye and declares this time around, she’s the one in charge. She proceeds to manipulate the events leading to that fatal accident before it deteriorates the family she dearly loves and hurls her down a guilt-ridden path of self-destruction again.

Her opportunity for redemption knocks in the form of a handsome but mysterious physicist named Dr. Ian Stone. Shrouded in secrets, this man’s whole existence revolves around preventing the moment evil claimed his soul, robbing him of a life worth living. He has spent centuries calculating how to harness an exorbitant amount of energy, wherein making time travel a reality. However, one variable was never factored into his equations: falling in love. His obsession fuels a deep denial, deflecting his true
feelings until his heart wins out at the exact moment he loses Miriam back in time.

Their contrasting worlds cohesively collide and repel during a series of climatic events spiraling around a man harboring a dark secret as he travels back in time to fight for a second chance at love, ironically placing this exceptional woman in a  position where she must choose between a past life she desperately wants or a future with the man she undeniably loves.

Her slap-the-face-of-destiny decisions could deliver her into heartbreaking sadness or possibly set her on a journey of forgiveness that will reset her soul.

It is part of a series, but I'm just not sure what to call the series yet.  The second book is something I call a "parallel novel" to the first one.  It moves through the same time period with the main character, Miriam, but it centers on a very minor character from Irony of Time. They move through the same few weeks interlapping and weaving through each other until my minor character becomes the true focus and releases from the same path of life as Miriam onto her own adventure into a very mysterious world.  I have started the third one too that does the same exact thing, but with a surprising character.

5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.It takes place where modern world meets a not of this world character.  The story begins in 2013, but Miriam is transported back in time to 2003.  The settings include the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains to the Carolinas and to Frederick, Maryland.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?Miriam is my heroine.  What I love about her is the arc of her character.  The reader will get to know the many versions of her throughout a ten year period.  You get to see how destroyed emotionally and physically she was and how everything she was suppose to become deterorated.  Then she shows you her light hearted humorous, fiery confident side she has discovered all while living blissfully, away from the pain,  with amnesia and then you get to go travel back in time with her
into her teenage self once again where she now remembers the upcoming family tragedy that was about to destroy them all again and finds this incredible will to try and bend destiny into the life she feels her family should have been given. 

Then there is Ian.  Or Dr. Ian Stone.  I like him because his character will make you debate with yourself over who he is and whether you love or hate him and how that changes every few chapters.  His love for Miriam runs deep, but his secret runs deeper.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.

It is the kind of story that has many small Aha! moments that you might not catch the first time through.

Irony of Time is available at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CreateSpace
Where to find M.L.:
Website | Goodreads

Saturday, November 8, 2014

October 2014 Wrap-up and November Preview

Picture
So I'm about a week late with the monthly wrap-up and overview. My excuse is I've been busy :D Lots of good productivity going on!

First off, in case you haven't noticed, Beneath the Canyons, Book 1 of Daughter of the Wildings, is now available. Through tomorrow, Sunday November 9, you can get it for only 99 cents! After that, the price goes up to $3.99. Or, while it's exclusive at Amazon for the next few months, if you have Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited, you can borrow it for free! If you don't have a Kindle and don't want to wait till I release it on the other ebook platforms, you can download the free Kindle reading app for Windows, iOS, and Android. Also, the paperback edition will be coming soon.

So, that's how I spent October.

Bad Hunting I've started revisions on Bad Hunting, Book 2, and hope to get about a two-month turnaround time on it, looking at a release date in late December or early January. The revisions, editing, proofreading, and formatting on Canyons took a little less than two months, so that seems like a reasonable target. Book 2 does need a lot of work, right now it reads more like a summary than a fully fleshed-out novel and I anticipate adding 15,000-20,000 words to it by the time it's done. But the plot is fundamentally sound, and it's a shorter book than Canyons.

November also means National Novel Writing Month, and I'm using it to get a new novel written after having spent a year working mainly on revisions. This new project is The Source-fixer (working title, I'm so bad at titles :P) and you can read more about it on the Still to Come page. This is an old, abandoned idea that I picked up again. It's better developed than it was the first time I tried to write it, and I've made some significant changes to the main characters that I think will help drive the story.

On the A-Z reading challenge, I'm on D right now. For some reason, I keep choosing really long books so it's taking a while.

So that's where I am. I'll update my NaNoWriMo progress from time to time; right now, after starting late, I'm at about 10,000 words with another thousand or so to add tonight.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Author Spotlight: Ellen Allen


Introducing Ellen Allen, author of the YA thriller The Sham. Read on to learn about her and her book, and enter the giveaway on Facebook!

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Three years’ ago I quit my job in London and moved with my small daughter to the south of France. The plan was to stay for a few months – to fulfill a lifelong dream of lollygagging in rosé wine vineyards, writing a book, getting the hang of French grammar, etc. – but we haven’t been able to leave!

We’ve built a new life here, complete with jobs, schools, and French subjunctive tenses – as well as the vineyards and writing! – and the best part is that we’re only a few hours away by train from our family in London. It’s also sunny here, roughly 300 days a year…

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I never set out to be an author but I’ve always been writing: at school, it was often some sort of trilogy involving magic kingdoms and dwarfs (I loved Tolkien); throughout my teens, I religiously recorded monumental events in my diary but mostly filled it with inconsequential lists of things I had to do each day (have a bath, feed the cat…); when I was pregnant with my daughter, I finally finished something serious. I wrote a play for the BBC. The play was rejected but it was the first time that I actually considered that I might be able to write; I received a really encouraging critique. Since then, I’ve written a few more plays as well as my first book, The Sham. It sounds a bit silly but I believe I do it because I simply can’t not write.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
My first book is a Young Adult thriller which was fun to write because I got to work through some of those teenage neuroses; the huge difficulties you have at 17 or 18 trying to reconcile what you want, what you know and what you can actually do. I remember feeling continuously pushed and pulled between huge insecurities (am I good enough? will I do well enough?) and a burning desire to burst onto the world and mould it to my liking.

I’m not sure contemporary thrillers are an easy genre to market in YA – too old for younger YA readers, too young for adult readers – but it’s one I’m keen on pursuing. I’ve just started my second YA thriller; it seems to suit me.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?

The Sham is a YA contemporary thriller, set in England. The idea came to me in a nightmare. I dreamed that I was 17 again, back in school, with the same group of 4 friends, involved in a murder of one of them. It was so vivid that I couldn’t get back to sleep and the only way I could get it out of my head was to write it all down. It’s a standalone novel.

5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.

The Sham is set in the fictional town of Clevesham in the Midlands, England. It’s based on many of the towns I know very well in that region along the river Avon, which floods quite a bit (a dead body is washed downriver in the local floods) and is close to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace. A pivotal scene in the book occurs at Shakespeare’s grave.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Emily Heath, the protagonist in The Sham, is a composite of the person that I wanted to be at 18 and the person that I thought I actually was; I probably wasn’t anything like her in real life. I really love her – she’s smart, feisty and ever so slightly damaged.

Jack, her boyfriend, is slightly more prickly. He seemingly has no past, his body is failing, his brain is shutting down and he is very cagey about everything. The book has two main mysteries: 1) who is the killer; and 2) who is Jack (and ultimately if the two are linked) so I can’t really talk about Jack in much detail without a spoiler. He was great fun to write!

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.

I’m not sure that I have many strange quirks but I love wild swimming; my favourite spots are under Pont du Gard in the south of France and Dosthill quarry in the Midlands, England.

The Sham
The Sham:
Eighteen-year-old Emily Heath would love to leave her dead-end town, known locally as "The Sham", with her boyfriend, Jack, but he's very, very sick; his body is failing and his brain is shutting down. He's also in hiding, under suspicion of murder. Six months' ago, strange signs were painted across town in a dialect no one has spoken for decades and one of Emily's classmates washed up in the local floods.

Emily has never trusted her instincts and now they're pulling her towards Jack, who the police think is a sham himself, someone else entirely. As the town wakes to discover new signs plastered across its walls, Emily must decide who and what she trusts, and fast: local vigilantes are hunting Jack; the floods, the police, and her parents are blocking her path; and the town doesn’t need another dead body.

WARNING: this book is unsuitable for younger teenage readers. It depicts adult situations, murder scenes, conversations about sex and profanity.

The Sham is available at Amazon

Ellen Allen on her inspiration for The Sham:
The idea for this book came to me in a nightmare. It was so vivid that I imagined I was 17 again, at school, in the same group of 4 friends that I used to hang around with. We were involved in a murder and cover-up. I started writing partly as a way to get it out of my head and then the characters turned into real people... and Emily and Jack were born.

More about Ellen Allen:
In a previous life, Ellen Allen was an Associate Director in a small consultancy firm (focusing on Sustainable Development and Climate Change) running research projects and writing client reports. She doesn’t find fiction writing too dissimilar in process but she gets to use her imagination considerably more! She now lives in the south of France with her small daughter. If you want to contact Ellen Allen you can find her on twitter @EllenWritesAll or facebook www.facebook.com/EllenWritesAll or on her writing blog: www.writingright.net.

Amazon author page | The Sham on Goodreads

If you would like to win a free e-copy of The Sham (in epub, mobi or pdf format) there is a current giveaway on facebook. (Through November 10)