Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Author Spotlight: Billy Wong

Introducing fantasy author Billy Wong and his powerhouse female characters:
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a fantasy fan and video game player who writes fiction mostly about super tough female warriors.

2. When did you start writing, and why?I first wrote fiction in junior high, but started seriously writing after high school because I thought there weren't enough physically impressive female warriors on the level of their male counterparts in lead roles in fantasy, so I decided to make some of my own.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write? I write action-packed fantasy adventure with tough warrior heroines because I don't think there are enough of them (especially physically oriented ones) in popular fantasy, and I enjoy writing it because it's similar to what I'd like to read and the girls are so kick-ass.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?My latest book is "The Red Rider", inspired by Red Riding Hood with RRH growing up into a badass werewolf hunter, and my next release will be "Fists Against Fear", a short urban fantasy novel about a male MMA fighter who befriends a mysterious female pugilist and ends up teaming up with her against supernatural evil.

5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series."The Red Rider" takes place in a medieval land thrown into chaos after the fall of the old kingdom, with local lords each ruling whatever territory they are capable of holding onto, and also populated by assorted lycanthropes in several different types and flavors...

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?Hmm, there's a lot to choose from... well Rose, the heroine of my Legend of the Iron Flower series, is a huge and strong female warrior with superhuman resilience covered in scars from wounds that would kill any normal mortal, who for all her imposing appearance is down to earth, tends to think of others first and is not always assertive. The love of her life Finn (who doesn't appear until the second book) is more boisterous and can be self-centered, which leads to a fair share of arguments between them, but loves her with all his heart and would sacrifice his life for her.

I have too many books and more characters than I should probably go into but the thing I like most about my heroines is probably that they kick massive amounts of butt (of course) but they also usually have a caring side and aren't overly aggressive or trying to be "men with boobs". You won't see my leading ladies beating up their male allies or random men for no reason but to show off that they're "strong" (only to have to have rescued by the hero anyway later), they save their wrath for real enemies.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.I'm a huge fan of fighting games and especially the Soul Calibur series - guess which character is my favorite? Armor girl Hilde of course!

8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

My books are on Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, and Sony although new releases are first available by way of the first two.

Iron Bloom:
Action-packed fantasy adventure with a powerhouse female epic warrior in the spirit of Achilles or Beowulf.

The tale of a mighty warrior torn between the power of the sword and her longing for a peaceful life.

A young woman with a kind heart and extraordinary constitution, Rose becomes a warrior to better the world. Despite the wealth and fame she wins as one of the greatest champions of her time, the bloody reality of her new life is nothing like her ideal dream. She yearns for a chance to escape the violence.

She finds that chance in Ethan, the leader of an altruistic pacifist group. But when a barbarian horde invades their kingdom, Rose knows that she can make a difference by taking up her sword again. Will her need to protect her homeland cost her the man she loves?

First in the Iron Flower series. Free at Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Read Kyra's review of Iron Bloom!

About the Author:Billy Wong is an avid fan of heroic fantasy, with a special love for strong female warriors. He draws inspiration from the epic legends of old, and is on a quest to bring over the top deeds and larger than life heroes back to prominence in today's literary world.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Weekend Sneak Peek 4/26: Sarya's Song

Welcome to another weekend sneak peek! In this scene from Sarya's Song, Adan is being punished for attacking Master Uldo over something that Uldo did to Sarya, and Sarya has come to offer moral support:

Adan was kneeling in the center aisle before the altar, wearing only a pair of knee-length linen underdrawers, chanting the tropes of repentance in an undertone. Sarya looked at his lean, muscular back. His skin had a natural light bronze tone, and there was a dusting of freckles across the tops of his shoulders. She wondered what his back would feel like under her hands. Then, appalled, she scolded herself. The man was in Penance because of her; she was here to offer support, not to lust after him. She was only having those feelings because she was slightly – just very slightly – drunk and she had never seen his bare back before.

Carefully turning her mind to more virtuous thoughts, she examined his back for signs that he had been lashed too hard. In the low light, she couldn’t see any sign of lashing at all. The Hierarch must have been smart enough to not put Master Uldo in charge of Adan’s Penance. That would have been a disaster.

She tore her eyes away from Adan’s back. “Idiot,” she said. “You didn’t have to go and get yourself in trouble on my account.”

He stopped chanting. “It’s no trouble.”

“Why did you do it?”

“If you don’t know, there’s no point in me trying to explain it to you.”

Sarya's Song is available at:
Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Apple | Smashwords | OmniLit

For more sneak peeks, visit the Sneak Peek Sunday blog.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Author Spotlight: Kurt D. Springs

Today I'm pleased to introduce you to author Kurt D. Springs and his new novel, Price of Vengeance, here with Saskia Book Tours. And don't miss the giveaway down at the bottom to win one of three ebook copies of Price of Vengeance!

"Liam! What have you done?" Marcus demanded. "You know our teachings on revenge."

Suddenly, irrationally angry, Liam straightened. "How can you defend him after what he did? To you, to Mom, to my birth parents, to everyone we cared about?"

With a howl of despair and emotional agony, Liam dashed forward, through the shade of his father, blindly running into the sewers.

What is the Price of Vengeance? One could understand why Liam is angry. Orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin, he was adopted by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, and raised with their older son, Randolf, in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a soldier. After being cut off from the city, he finds that there is an alien intelligence behind the chitin. To defeat it, he must discover who he is and how to use his powers. When Liam discovers that a traitor responsible for his birth parents' deaths has also murdered his beloved foster parents, he might find that the price he has to pay in his quest for vengeance will prove to be an even more unbeatable foe.
Interview with Liam, a year after the events of Price of Vengeance:

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?Captain Liam, son of Seámus and Deirdre, foster son of Marcus and Lidia. However, after reconnecting with my Finnian relatives, I’ve taken my mother’s clan name of O’Connor. It makes Galactic Alliance paperwork easier to fill out.

2. How old are you?I am twenty-three years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?I barely remember my birth parents. They were killed by chitin when I was two years old. My late fosters parents were High Councilor Marcus and Lidia. I was raised with their son, Randolf who is five years older than I am. We were very close. Marcus and Lidia were always kind to me. They were my parents in every way that mattered. Randolf was always my big brother. I got a little annoyed when I was younger that he became so protective of me. Since the end of the Azurian Invasion (as it is now called) I’ve reconnected with my birth parents’ families. My aunt Máire and her daughter Gráinne helped bring me into Finnian society. Since getting married, my birth father’s parents (my grandparents), Patrick and Maggie McGregor, came to Etrusci and built us a home on the Island of New Santorini. I am very happy they decided to stay.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?I was a late bloomer there. When we were teenagers, my brother always had girlfriends. My first kiss was with Celinia. She was helping me with recurring nightmares in the dreamscape. What did I think of it? I married her!

5. What is your occupation?The simple answer is I am a soldier. After the Azurian Invasion, I was given command of Etrusci’s Special Operations Company.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?I’m a good cook. Celinia jokes that this is why she keeps me around. I do tend to get a bit melancholy.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?Until I met Celinia, I never really thought about it. I can best answer it by describing her. High Priestess Celinia, daughter of Thomasia, is beautiful and wise. Her hair is fiery red. Her eyes are intensely green. She has been put in charge of the Temple on New Santorini at the request of Arch Priestess Arria. She can be as stubborn as any O’Connor woman, which is one reason she gets along with my Finnian relatives. Most of all, she loves me.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?In addition to cooking, I do like to play the uilleann pipes. I never heard the instrument until I visited Éire Nua, which is where many of my Finnian relatives come from. Celinia plays a harp, and I love it when we play duets.

9. What is your greatest fear?Something happening to my family.

10. What is your most treasured possession?Before the Azurian invasion, I might have said my sniper rifle. It was given to me by my foster parents when I graduated from sniper school. The manufacture tweaked it just a bit for me. Now, I would say the uilleann pipes I inherited from an uncle. I am told they came down from General Aisling O’Connor herself.

Price of Vengeance is available in ebook and paperback at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the author:
Kurt D. Springs is presently an adjunct professor of anthropology and archaeology in New Hampshire. He holds a PhD. in anthropology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, as well as a Master of Literature in archaeology from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and archaeology from the Harvard University Extension School. His main area of interest is megalithic landscapes in prehistoric Ireland.

You can find Kurt at:
Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google+

a Rafflecopter giveaway  


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Couple Interview: Adan and Sarya

Here are Adan and Sarya, from Sarya's Song, to tell us a few things about how they met, what they see in each other, and more about their relationship:

1. How did you meet?
Adan: The day she arrived at the Skola in Sucevita, she caught my eye. She was standing all alone in the courtyard and looked like she needed help finding her way around. So I helped her.

Sarya: I don't think he was doing it just to be helpful. I think he had an ulterior motive.

Adan: *looking innocent* Ulterior motive? Me?

2. What was the first thing you noticed about the other person?
The look on her face, completely lost and scared and completely determined. And her hair, the color of sunshine, and the music I heard when I looked at her.

Sarya: He was the most handsome boy I'd ever seen, and I could tell he was rich and popular. I couldn't believe someone like him would take the time to help someone like me. He seemed really nice, then something happened that really wasn't his fault but I blamed him for it anyway. Everything went wrong, then, but I've realized since then that was more my fault than his.

3. Did you know when you met that you would end up together?
Ha! Him and me? A mining town debt orphan and a rich boy? No way.

Adan: Yes. Or, I hoped so. From the moment I first saw her, I knew there would never be anyone else for me. If I couldn't have her, I would be happy to remain a singer in the Service, unmarried, the rest of my life.

4. What do you like best about the other person?
Her beautiful hair - like sunshine. Her beautiful voice, the songs she writes, that loveably hapless yet muleheaded personality of hers, her strength - she pulled herself up from nothing with just the force of her own will and abilities. And, well... but that's private ;)

Sarya: His voice, before... things happened. And now, even though it's different. That smug grin of his. The fact that he loved me for so long even though I kept pushing him away. And he really cares about other people - I never would have thought that a rich man would care so much, so genuinely, about people not of his station in life.

5. What is something you enjoy doing together? (Besides the obvious!)
She taught me how to sing again.

Sarya: Singing together. And he's just fun to be with. Just talking with him makes me laugh.

6. How has the other person changed you?
He taught me to be less prejudiced, to see people as they really are instead of by the labels I put on them. He also taught me that by guarding my feelings too tightly, by building those walls of pride around my heart, I might have been protecting myself from getting hurt but I was also preventing myself from having any happiness in life.

Adan: I learned that it's worth making some sacrifices, reining in your appetites and giving up your indulgences, to gain the respect of someone you care about. She's also helped me to find real ways to help people who are less fortunate than I am. Caring about them is one thing; actually doing something about it is something else.

7. What are the biggest differences between you? How important are these differences?Sarya: He's the handsome, talented, popular heir of one of the richest families on both continents - Msaka Dolna and Msaka Ras. I'm an orphan from a mining town in the Burnt Hills. Because of those differences, we might as well have lived on completely different worlds. The difference was important to me - I knew I could never have a place in a rich man's life, or, at least, a place that was acceptable to me. I could have settled for being a mistress, but I promised myself many years ago I would never devalue myself like that. I also didn't want anything to do with anyone from the upper classes, the people who destroyed my family and my life when I was a child. It took me a long time to realize that Adan was different, that he was his own person and not anything like the labels I put on him and the preconceived ideas I had about him.

Adan: The differences never meant anything to me. And I was willing to wait for her to decide they didn't matter to her, either.

8. What do the two of you have in common?
Besides music, not very much.

Adan: We love each other. Isn't that enough?

9. What are the greatest challenges you have faced in your relationship?
Mainly my prejudices against him, and my unwillingness to open up my eyes and my heart and see him as he really is. I still regret the years we could have had together, that were wasted because of that.

Adan: Then, after she finally accepted me, things... happened, and I was afraid her spirit had been broken and that I'd lost her. We were both badly hurt, and had a lot of healing to do. In the end, though, we were able to use that to grow closer together instead of apart.

10. What does your family think of your partner, and what do you think of your partner's family?
I lost my family when I was a child, but I think they'd be pleased that I did so well without having to compromise myself :) Adan lost his family, too, but judging by him I think his parents must have been good people.

Adan: I never knew Sarya's family; she lost them long before we ever met. What happened to them happens to too many people, and that's why I've decided to try some different ways of managing my properties and business interests, to try to change the way things work. So no more children will lose their families the way Sarya did. As for my family, Sarya might not be what they would have expected for me, but I think they would have trusted my judgment and accepted her.

11. What role does magic play in your relationship?
"Magic" is a superstitious term. But I know what you mean. We met at the Skola, where singers and musical arrangers are trained in the art of using tropes and chants to influence the natural world and human affairs. If it weren't for our talents in those areas, we never would have met in the first place.

Sarya: Also, it was Adan's ability to hear my "trope," the natural song associated with me, that bound us together and kept us from being torn apart forever.

12. What are your plans for the future?
To raise our family. If I'm not able to have more than one or two children, or even if I am, we plan to adopt some children as well.

Adan: Like I said before, I'm also exploring new and different ways of managing my properties and interests to eliminate the kinds of unjust practices that have destroyed so many families like Sarya's. I've also founded a couple of orphanages, one in the Burnt Hills to care for children like Sarya was, and one in Sucevita, to care for the orphans left after the recent disasters.

13. "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts" How is this true for the two of you?
Well, we did save the world, so there's that ;D

Sarya: I'm a lot less bitter and close-minded than I used to be, and he's found a positive outlet for all his energy and caring and passion. We're both better people for being together, and I think that together we can make the world a better place.

Sarya's Song is available at:
Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Apple | Smashwords | OmniLit

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Weekend Sneak Peek 4/19: Sarya's Song

Welcome to this weekend's sneak peek! Last week, Sarya had a bad day at the office; this week, the physician, Master Baroda, has decided she's just suffering from overwork and needs to rest, and Adan uses all his manly wiles to try to convince Sarya to spend a few days in the infirmary:

“You can’t go on like this. Just a day or two, all right?”

“Don’t order me around, Muari.”

In answer, he took her face in his hands and kissed her again. It was a good thing Sarya was already sitting down because her legs turned to water at the touch of his mouth on hers. The kiss was warm and insistent, and she felt her lips parting beneath his though she tried to will them not to, and she couldn’t decide if she was mad that he hadn’t asked first or glad that he hadn’t asked because if he had she would have said no –

He pulled away, leaving her gasping for breath and stupidly wishing the kiss hadn’t ended. The physician was gazing off to the side, an amused expression on his face. Sarya reminded herself that Adan was an arrogant, overbearing ass and that she didn’t want him kissing her. “That might work on other women, but it won’t work on me, Muari.”

He gave her a smug smile. “Good luck, Baroda.”

“I will mostly likely need it,” Master Baroda said.

For more sneak peeks, visit the Sneak Peek Sunday blog.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some Blogs Where I've Been Featured

Picture A couple of weeks ago I was the featured author in my Goodreads group. One of the fun things about that is getting to be a guest feature on other people's blogs. Since this was right as Sarya's Song was being released, that was the focus of the features. If you want to learn a little more about Sarya's Song and about me (and some awesome authors too!), go check these out:

Author interview with Lisa Marie Gabriel
Indie Author Spotlight on J.J. DiBenedetto's blog
Book Spotlight on Sharon Stevenson's blog
Interview with H.M. Jones on Elite Indie Reads 

And I also want to give a shout-out to these other wonderful people who Facebooked, Tweeted, Google+ed, posted the book blurb and links on their blogs, and otherwise helped me out:

Aoife Sheridan | Steve Downes | Antoinette J. Houston 
C.J. Wright | Lynn Thompson | Brandy Isaacs 
Neely Powell | A.S. Johnson  | Jamie Eubanks 
D.A. Rhine | Catherine L. Vickers | Heather Heffner 
Shannon Pemrick | H.M. Jones | Lenore Sagaskie 
Lyn C. Johanson | Baine Kelly | Billy Wong 
Denna Holm | Alyson Dunlop 

Go check them out; your new favorite author might be waiting for you!

Book Review: Shadow Pack

Picture Shadow Pack, by Marc Daniel
* * * * (4 stars)

(I won a free copy of Shadow Pack in a giveaway, and would like to thank the author for the book.)

The ingredients for a perfect crime thriller:

Series of mysterious and bizarre murders - check.
Honest cop on the case - check.
Outside expert brought in by his old army buddy the honest cop to help out - check.
Frick and Frack, the detective team who aren't quite as clever as they think they are - check.
Corruption in high places - check.
The Mob (Russian, in this case) - check.
Femme fatale - check.
Spunky lady journalist - check.
Vengeful daughter - check.
Pack of werewolves - check.
Thousand-year-old Viking shapeshifter - check.
Wizard in a pointy hat - check.

Paranormal suspense isn't my usual reading, but I do enjoy the occasional crime thriller, and I really enjoyed the way Shadow Pack puts the two together. The story is fast-moving and suspenseful, with lots of exciting action, and I really enjoyed the character of Michael Biorn. It's kind of gory in places, but that's about par for the course when you've got both werewolves and the Mob involved.

The story seems pretty straightforward - not so much a mystery, since we're seeing things from the bad guys' point of view as well as the good guys'; the suspense comes from seeing who will get the better of the other. But there's also a very nice twist to it, very cleverly set up, and it took me a while to catch on to the fact that there was a twist. Once I realized there was something else going on under the surface, I didn't have too much trouble figuring out what it was, but it was fun to read the rest of the story to see if I was right.

There are a few rough spots in the prose, and the ending seems kind of abrupt, but overall the writing is very clear and readable. Fans of werewolves or crime thrillers, or fans of crime thrillers about

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Character Interview: Adan

Introducing Adan Muari, from Sarya's Song:

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

My name is Adan Muari. My name doesn't have any specific meaning, though we are one of the older and more prominent families on Msaka Dolna and Msaka Ras.

2. How old are you?

I am 26 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?

I'm the oldest of my parents' eight children; I have four brothers and three sisters. We're very close; much closer than most families of our social station usually are. I believe this is because of how our parents raised us (and are still raising the younger ones). They've been much less indulgent with us than people of our class usually are with their children. I spent my fair share of nights hungry in the toolshed, for playing pranks and being irresponsible.

My father also makes us work in the fields on our lands, so we can learn what's involved in producing the goods that give our family its fortune. Even at my age, even though I'm a full working member of the musical Service, I'm still expected to spend the month working our lands when I visit my family every summer. I think it's paid off in more ways than one *flexes muscles* But mostly, because of that, I understand a little better what life is like for those less privileged than me, and I'm also used to the fact that sometimes life can bring discomfort and hardship.

When I was younger, this was the thing I liked least about my father - what boy likes being sent out to the toolshed without any supper, and having to work when his friends don't have to do anything but amuse themselves? But now I'm grateful to him for raising me this way, and should I leave the Service and marry, I intend to raise my own children the same way.

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

Um. I'm afraid I don't remember. There's been a lot of kisses since then. There's one first kiss that if it ever does happen, I know I'll always remember it.

5. What is your occupation?

I am a singer in the musical Service in Sucevita, and the baritone soloist in the Great Choir there.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?

My best qualities are my voice, both in aesthetic quality and in its power as a True Voice. I'm friendly and easy to get along with, at least for most people. I'm not afraid of hard work, and I have more compassion for the less fortunate than a lot of people of my station in life. I'm also good-looking, and an excellent swordsman - in *ahem* more ways than one. *grins*

I also don't believe in false modesty.

My worst qualities? I've often been told by someone whose opinion I respect that I'm an arrogant, overbearing ass who has no morals. So there's that. Members of the Service are encouraged to be celibate, though it isn't strictly required, but I'm just not any good at celibacy. I'm also not much of a scholar, but that doesn't really bother me.

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

She has hair the color of sunshine, a loveably hapless yet stubborn personality, a beautiful voice - though it isn't the type of voice considered suitable for the choirs. She Arranges and composes the most glorious music you've ever heard, and thinks that I'm arrogant, overbearing ass who has no morals.

Oh, wait - this was just supposed to be a theoretical question?

8. What is your favorite thing to do?

My second favorite thing to do is sing. My favorite - um, see what I said above about not being good at the celibacy thing.

I also enjoy swordfighting and other athletics (and no, that's not the same as not-being-celibate).

9. What is your greatest fear?

Losing the people I care about - my family, my friends, and Sarya. Not that I have her in the first place, but losing what we do have, and all hope of anything more.

10. What is your most treasured possession?

My voice, and my friendship - or whatever you want to call it - with Sarya.

Sarya's Song is now available at:
Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Smashwords | OmniLit 

Coming soon to other retailers and in paperback.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Guest Character Interview: Abigail, from Monochrome by H.M. Jones

I'm pleased to welcome author H.M. Jones back to the blog. Last December I introduced you to her and her novel Monochrome; this time, here's an interview with Abigail, the main character from Monochrome:

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
Abigail Rose Benett (maiden name Pierce).

2. How old are you?

I am 23, but just barely. I will be another year older soon, alas.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
My family is just starting, really. My husband, Jason, and I have been together for a few years, and recently had a baby, Ruby Lavendar. I guess I feel like my husband doesn't really get me right now. I've been having a hard time with motherhood, and he is such a natural dad. It's the first time we haven't been on par with each other, and it's tough. But he is smart, sensitive and loyal. I really love that about him. Ruby is beautiful, smart and a great cuddler when she's not crying. I only wish I could be a better mother to her. She doesn't sleep well, and seems overly active. The doctor says she is smart, and that smart babies are harder. It wears me out, and then I feel guilty. I don't want to think of her as a burden. I just don't feel right about family right now. I don't really want to talk about it anymore.

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

I was ten, and it was too wet. I waited a while to be kissed again, but I didn't really enjoy kissing until I kissed a good friend of mine in high school. Kissing Stephen was great because I already adored him. I think that's what it takes to make a great kiss, trust and love.

5. What is your occupation?
I'm a full-time student, part-time community college teacher and full-time, less than perfect mother. I guess you could say that my profession is being continually tired.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?

It's hard to see my good qualities right now, but I feel like I am very loyal, strong and smart. My worst qualities are more apparent lately. I get angry easily, have a hard time appreciating life, being positive, I guess.

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

Communication and understanding. Jason and I used to have more of both, but it's been hard lately. He has a great sense of humor, though, and I used to really love that. I still do, when I'm at my best.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?

I love to read, write poetry, run, teach, learn and dabble in MMA. They are hobbies, but they also make me who I am.

9. What is your greatest fear?

That I might hurt the people I love the most.

10. What is your most treasured possession?

I treasure my baby, above all else, when I'm in my right mind. I would do anything it took to make her happy. I don't always remember how wonderful she is...

Video trailer for Monochrome:

Monochrome is available at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Visit H.M. Jones at:
Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Weekend Sneak Peek 4/12: Sarya's Song

Welcome to another sneak peek into Sarya's Song. Here, Sarya hits a rough spot in her search for the mysterious music she's been hearing:

Flames burst out of the book and engulfed her. She screamed in terror and in pain at the searing heat, and beat at her face, her hair, her arms, trying to put the fire out. But it blazed even more fiercely, burning, blistering, turning her hair and clothes and skin to ash –

“Sarya!” Adan’s voice cut through her screaming and the roar of the flames. A pair of strong arms caught her up and carried her through the wall of fire and upstairs, where he set her down on a bench. He crouched in front of her. “What in the Hells of Torment happened in there?”

Once she was free of the flames, Sarya’s screams had died away, but she was still shaking badly. She looked at her hands, her dress, her half-undone braid hanging over her shoulder, expecting to see them burned away. They were completely untouched, with no sign of burning at all. She glanced towards the stairwell; smoke should have been pouring up from the basement, but there was none. “There was a fire –”

“No, there wasn’t,” Adan said.

“There was. The book – fire came out of the book when I opened it – I could feel it burning me –” Her teeth started chattering in spite of the day’s heat.

“There was no fire, Sarya. Everything’s all right.”

Sarya's Song is available at:
| Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Smashwords | OmniLit

more retailers and paperback coming soon!

For more Sneak Peeks, visit the Sneak Peek Sunday blog.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Character Interview: Sarya

Picture Introducing Sarya dyr-Rusac, the title character from Sarya's Song:

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
My name is Sarya dyr-Rusac. That just means I'm the daughter of a man named Rusac; I don't have a proper family name.

2. How old are you?
I am 24 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
 My father was a miner in the Burnt Hills, and I had a mother and several older siblings. I lost my family when I was eight years old, when my father fell into debt and they were sold off as debt-slaves. I was too young to be worth paying for as a worker, so I was left to fend for myself. Sometimes I resent my father for falling into debt and letting our family be destroyed that way, but the way things work in the Burnt Hills mining towns, it's almost impossible to avoid.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
 I would rather not talk about it. I was far too young, and the man involved was no one I care to remember.

5. What is your occupation?
 Until recently, I was an Arranger in the musical Service in the city of Sucevita. As an Arranger, I arranged tropes, which are melodies with magical properties, into pleasing musical numbers for rituals such as weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies. Something went terribly wrong with a wedding ritual I Arranged, and I was forced to leave. Now I'm trying to earn my way as a traveling minstrel, but with the bad conditions lately, people everywhere are struggling to get by and there isn't any extra money for traveling musicians.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
 I'm a hard worker, and intelligent, and determined. My worst qualities are that I'm stubborn and sometimes I have a hard time looking beyond my prejudices and pre-conceived notions.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
My options in that area are extremely limited, even if I was interested in finding someone. Which I'm not.

But, if it was a possibility, I would like someone who loved music as much as I do and who would respect my independence, and who understood that life is hard for a lot of people and cared about the less-fortunate.

...Well, and I do have to say that I'm partial to auburn hair and baritone voices. For whatever that's worth.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
Anything having to do with music. Singing, playing my lute, Arranging, writing songs.

9. What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is falling into debt-slavery like happened to my family.  I made it out of the Burnt Hills with my freedom, and I would die before I would give it up.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My lute, and my freedom.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour Guest Post: James John Loftus

Today I'm pleased to present James John Loftus, who has asked me to host him on the Writing Process Blog Tour:
Picture 1) What am I working on?
I am working on a sequel to my debut novel, ‘Celtic Blood’. Celtic Blood is set in early 13th century Scotland and traces the rise of clan MacAedh. The MacAedhs in time became known to us today, as clan MacKay. MacKay is a fairly common Scottish surname with a very illustrious history which few people know anything about.

Bar for an accident of history the MacKays could of ruled Scotland instead of the Margaretson’s. The Margaretsons became the Stuarts, who became … wait for it … Windsors - yes, those Windsors, the English Royal family. An accident of history made one family prestigious another forgotten but back in the day.

My new novel again delves into that heroic age, also a time when the land was wild and a mass of greenery, of forest, and wildlife. I find great spiritual fulfillment in the untamed wilderness, far from the madding crowd, where the Green Man has his kingdom. Both novels have supernatural content dealing with witchcraft. Scotland is the perfect place to depict the dark, the dark of men’s minds, away from the light the demons glare out with red-glowing eyes ready to devour the unwary. Seek not the light and the darkness will find thee, and it does so in my medieval Scottish world.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

It differs, in that it is written by me, like all writers I have my personal writing style and through my life experiences I bring a unique perspective. I am a knowledgeable historian adnd I bring a wealth of historical fact to my writing.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write many kinds of stories. I also write screenplays and have screenplay writing credit for ‘Underdog’s Tale’, which was a million miles away from ‘Celtic Blood’ Underdog’s Tale is a Ocker (Aussie trailer-park types) comedy, with heart, a love story, where a lovable loser invents a persona to impress a girl and is found out then seeks to redeem himself in her eyes, and all others, remakes himself into a very modern very successful man. No it isn’t autobiographical.

By the way, doing a film was a hoot. The distributer of my film also distributed Adam Sandler’s movies so for a while I moved in exclusive circles and thought I was someone, that lasted about a week.

4) How does your writing process work?

At the moment I am chipping away at my sequel which is pretty casual doing a bit here and there on my days off. My day job is a hospital orderely, which I enjoy no brain work involved so I have energy to engage with the page when I get home.

Celtic Blood is available from Amazon.

Celtic Blood trailer:

Don't miss next week's Writing Process Blog Tour stop!

C.J. Wright:
C J Wright has had a fascination with all sorts of horror fiction since childhood, and it has been the driving force of his desire to write. He has published 5 novels so far, with more on the way.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Weekend Sneak Peek 4/5-4/6: Sarya's Song

For this weekend's sneak peek, a look into Sarya's Song. Here, Sarya first sees the chained man:

She awoke with a start and found herself – somewhere else. She was still kneeling on a stone floor, but it wasn’t as cold as the floor of the Shrine. The air on her bare arms and feet also felt warmer. Looking around, she realized that she was in a small room about the size of a dormitory room – or a prison cell. The room was dimly lit, and shadows veiled the walls and corners. The cramps in her legs and the sting on her back where the lash had broken her skin seemed very distant.

A sense of presence, of someone waiting and watching, brought her to full alertness. She didn’t feel afraid, though. Instead, a desire filled her to know who was there and what they wanted. Her mind and body strained in eager anticipation as she waited…

“Sarya dyr-Rusac,” a deep, quiet voice said from a dark corner of the room.

Sarya caught her breath at the sound of the voice. It resonated deep within her heart and soul, in places that she had shut away long ago, and stirred feelings that she had tried for years to pretend she didn’t have.

She looked in the direction the voice had come from. The shadows in the corner lifted to reveal a man sitting on the floor. He had long black hair, a pale face that was achingly beautiful yet entirely masculine in its lines, and a lean, firmly muscled body. A complex pattern of curving black lines cascaded over his right shoulder and right breast, and Sarya felt a sudden wild urge to trace her fingers along those lines, to feel the skin of his chest beneath her fingertips.

The light in his corner brightened a bit to reveal the color of his eyes, deep sapphire blue. He appeared to be tall, but his wrists and ankles were bound with short chains attached to an iron ring on the floor, which prevented him from standing up. He met Sarya’s eyes with a gaze that reached as deeply into her as his voice had. He looked at her as though he saw her standing naked before him, with all her thoughts and secrets and yearnings revealed, and desired her.

Sarya's Song, coming April 10, 2014! For release news and information about the special low introductory price, sign up for my email alerts!

For more Sneak Peeks, visit the Sneak Peek Sunday blog. #SPeekSunday on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Review: The Dreamweaver's Journey

The Dreamweaver's Journey, by Diana L. Wicker

[I would like to thank Library of Erana and the author for the free copy of this book which I won in the Library of Erana Valentine's Day giveaway.]

The Dreamweaver's Journey is a sweet fantasy for preteens and teens that takes the reader on a tour of a world the author invented for her children. It starts out with two pairs of young sweethearts becoming engaged at a ball. When one of the teens goes missing, the other three go searching for her, and find themselves on an adventure through their magical world where they meet the mythical Guardians and learn more about their own powers.

At first I had trouble with this book until I realized it's written for a much younger audience than the books I usually read are written for. With that perspective, I was better able to enjoy the journey through the world and the gentle lessons (mostly gentle; there's one shocking moment) our young heroes and heroines learn. There's a framing device where the story is being told by a Storyteller to a group of children, which makes the target age of the book seem much younger. Going by the reviews, some readers enjoy this story around the story, but I found it distracting. The sections that cut away to the Storyteller can be skipped without missing anything important if you prefer to concentrate on the main plot. The novel also includes legends and history, which aren't essential for understanding what's going on, but are fun to read and add interest to the tour of the author's world.

The pleasant writing style invokes a charming, colorful world and is very easy to read. Recommended for readers of all ages who enjoy light YA fantasy.