Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Reading A-Z Challenge: H-N

Time for another update on my self-imposed A-Z reading challenge. (Part 1 is here.) The rules: Going A-Z by title, it has to be a book I already own on my Kindle (if I don't have a book for a particular letter, if I have a sample for one I can buy that), indie authors preferred. DNFs don't count; if I can't finish a book, I find another one from the the same letter. (Links go to Goodreads.)
The Hawk and His Boy (The Tormay Trilogy #1), Christopher Bunn
Really lovely fantasy, set in a world filled with ancient magic both wondrous and terrible, written in beautiful prose. The story is in part about a young thief boy, Jute, who stumbles across a magnificent and terrifying destiny in the course of a thieving job, and is befriended by a mysterious hawk. Full review here.

I liked The Hawk and His Boy so much that I went off track and read the rest of the trilogy right away. The Shadow at the Gate and The Wicked Day are both also excellent.

Iron Flower (The Legend of the Iron Flower #2), Billy Wong
The further adventures of Rose Agen, powerhouse female warrior. There's more magic in this book than in the first, as Rose, her lover Finn, and their scholar friend Derrick find themselves involved in the return of magic to the world. It reads more like three installments of a serial rather than a continuous novel. But it's lots of fun and the fights and the newly-rediscovered magic are exciting.

The Jongurian Mission (The Jongurian Trilogy #1), Greg Strandburg
Young Bryn thinks he's going to spend the rest of his life moving rocks on his uncle's farm. Then his other uncle, an Adjurian trade official, shows up saying it's time Bryn saw the world. Bryn goes with his uncle to an important trade conference in the capital city, then on a trade mission to one-time enemy Jonguria, where things turn far more dangerous and deadly than you would expect from a simple trade mission. The worldbuilding, history, and political/economic aspects are very detailed and well-thought-out, and readers who appreciate fantasy with a heavy emphasis on those things will find this book interesting. Full review here.

Keepers of Arden: The Brothers, Volume 1,  L.K. Evans
I really enjoyed this fantasy tale of two brothers - Wilhelm, big, handsome, good-natured, popular with the ladies, and Salvarias, dark and strange, gifted with magical powers beyond his years and terrified of the evil within him. We follow the two from the terrible conception and birth of Salvarias, Wilhelm's much-longed-for baby brother, through their childhood and teenage years and into early adulthood, as the two become part of a battle between forces of light and darkness to conquer Arden. Full review here.

Lady Falls (Black Rose Trilogy #1), Renee Bernard
Interesting concept, an orphan is adopted and groomed to be her guardian's means of revenge against someone who wronged him, but it kind of fell apart in the execution. The revenge ploy turned out to not nearly live up to the potential of how cool and devastating it could have been. I was also put off by the very explicit sex scenes involving the 17-year-old heroine. Otherwise, this could have been lots of fun. The subplot with the abused wife of one of the house party guests was much more interesting and well carried out.

A Mail-Order Bride for Jim Liley!, Raymond Cook
Jim Liley is a young man growing up in a Colorado quarrying town in the late 1800s. When he's blinded in one eye in a quarry accident, he's afraid no woman will ever want to marry him. Kristy Greenfield's hometown in Illinois is becoming depleted of marriageable men as they all head west seeking their fortunes; will she end up growing old alone? Then Jim places a wife-wanted ad in the newspaper, beginning a sweet long-distance courtship with Kristy which leads to her making the momentous decision to head out west to marry him. The story of Jim and Kristy's courtship is engaging (no pun intended!) and the tale of Kristy's trip west is full of excitement and danger, and a large amount of work and research clearly went into this heartfelt book. Full review here.

Picture Necromancer Awakening (The Mukhtaar Chronicles #1), Nat Russo
Necromancer Awakening is an interesting and original fantasy novel with a very different kind of magic that also makes some profound reflections on topics such as faith, redemption, priesthood, and the relationship between life and death. Nicolas, an archaeology student in Texas, is plagued by horrifying visions whenever he's in the presence of death - and especially in the wake of his adoptive father's funeral. The visions lead to him being swept from Texas to another world, where he discovers the reasons for his visions - he's a necromancer, a wizard-priest who uses the power of death to purify the dead. Full review here.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Rancher's Daughter now available

Picture The Rancher's Daughter, book 3 of Daughter of the Wildings, is now available at a multitude of fine ebook retailers, and the paperback edition will be coming in a few weeks. This marks the halfway point of the Daughter of the Wildings series, which feels amazing because there was a time early last year/late in 2013 when I was genuinely afraid I might not be around long enough to start releasing the series. But prayers were answered and it turned out to not be anything serious, and so far, so good.

Rancher's Daughter, like all the books in the series, was lots of fun to write. It gets more involved with the A'ayimat, the indigenous people of the Wildings, who, yes, have blue-toned skin. It also introduces one of my favorite supporting characters in the series, the wealthy rancher Brin Coltor. He has an influence later on in the series, and even appears again. I've been kind of nervous about this release; Beneath the Canyons has been very well received, and Bad Hunting even more so, so I feel like I have a lot to live up to, and hope I don't let down the readers who've enjoyed the first two books. I put my very best into every book I release, and hope my readers will have as much fun reading my books as I did writing them.

And so, on to book 4, To the Gap. It involves a cattle drive, and required a lot more research than most of my books do, and was also a lot of fun to write. I don't think it needs as much work as the last book did, but then I think I say that about every book. I'm aiming for a release in mid-summer; we'll see how it goes.

The Rancher's Daughter is available at the following ebook retailers, and through Sunday, April 26, it's only 99 cents! (The regular price will be $3.99.) And to celebrate the release, Beneath the Canyons is also 99 cents, through Tuesday, April 28.

Amazon | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | OmniLit | Smashwords | DriveThruFiction | Scribd | Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Book Review: Demon Divided

Demon Divided
Demon Divided (Gallows, book 2) by Sharon Stevenson

Urban fantasy isn't my usual reading, but I really liked Blood Bound, book 1 of the Gallows series, so I decided to keep reading and I'm happy to say that I liked Demon Divided even more.

Demon-hunting twins Shaun and Sarah Gallows are back, trying to track down the vampire maker responsible for the vampire they have locked up in the basement. (Why you need a locked cage in the basement - to keep the vampire in, of course.) Along the way, Shaun finds himself being suspected of the grisly murder of a drug dealer, and Sarah is in thrall to the demon who is possessing the vampire in the basement (you thought regular vampires were bad...) - and that's just the beginning of their troubles! There's also serial-killing ex-vampire zombies (again, you thought regular vampires were bad!), a winsome human psychic who Shaun knows is the wrong girl for him but that doesn't seem to make any difference, Shaun and Sarah's mom (as scary as anything else they have to deal with!), the evil and corrupt Melissa from book 1 and her evil and corrupt dad, and a werewolf who just wants to be patted on the head and told "good doggy". It's lots of dark, gruesome fun, written in a clear, sophisticated style with an undercurrent of wit; one of my favorite lines is "He'd shifted into his furry skin and was looking a lot less feral than he had in human form, even if he did have a zombie arm hanging from his mouth." And Shaun, my favorite character, is back in fine curmudgeonly, junk-food-inhaling form.

I did have some trouble remembering things from the first book and working out what was going on and why - the author doesn't stop to just explain things, she trusts the reader to be smart enough to figure it out on their own - but after a while I got the hang of most of it, and where I didn't, I just went along for the ride anyway, trusting that Ms. Stevenson knows what she's doing and it'll all come together eventually. And what a fun ride it is. Recommended both for fans of urban fantasy and those who aren't sure if they even like urban fantasy.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Character Interview: Orl Fazar

Here's an interview with Orl Fazar, the drifter and renegade mage from Bad Hunting (Daughter of the Wildings Book 2):

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name? I'm known as Orl Fazar. Maybe it bears a resemblance to my real name, maybe it doesn't.

2. How old are you?I'm 33 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them? They're mages. More powerful than some, maybe not as powerful as others. You might have heard of them. Or maybe not. My parents had ambitions for me, which I like to think I'm carrying out in my own way.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it? It's been so long, and there's been so many women since then, I don't remember. It was probably a girl at school, but I was taken out of school when I was twelve or so, so I was pretty young.

5. What is your occupation? I'm just a simple, peace-loving mage, looking to make a better life for myself out in the Wildings away from the Mage Council. They call me a rogue mage, but just because I don't care for authority doesn't make me a renegade.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?Like I said, I'm just a simple mage, minding my own business, don't mean harm to no one. I'm pretty smart; you've got to be, living by your wits out here in the Wildings. I've beat some of the best gamblers in the Wildings at Dragon's Threes, using some, let's say, little tricks of my own. And no filthy blueskin's been able to get the better of me yet.

My worst qualities? Well, I reckon I've got my weaknesses like any man, but I don't think they do any harm.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?I'm on the lookout for a nice Wildings gal with mage power. Keep the gift in the family, so to speak. I do like a woman who's feisty. The harder they fight, the better I like it.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?Well, heh heh, see my answer to your last question. Other than that, I just enjoy being a peaceful fellow, not bothering anyone and not having anyone bother me.

9. What is your greatest fear?I don't really think I've got anything to be afraid of, except getting hauled before the Mage Council. I'll give up everything else before I let some damned hunter take me in.

10. What is your most treasured possession?My freedom and my power. Material possessions just don't mean much to a fellow like me, so long as I have those other things.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Author Spotlight: Antoinette J. Houston

Red Summer
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a back-up cook for a franchised restaurant, I've just turned forty, I'm enjoying my adventures in writing and I'm a chocoholic.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I started writing when I was about 12. Mostly because I was a book-worm with a big imagination and I couldn't contain the ideas that were growing in my head from the fantastic worlds I was reading about.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I write fantasy, adventure, urban fantasy, and sci-fi. All with a bit of suspense and romance. Because none of it's real. It bends to my rules and I can shape it to my will. My Imagination. It never ends and it continues to surprise me.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
Latest book was the sequel to my Red Summer series: Wil's winter. A series that was supposed to be as I had originally wrote Red Summer as a stand-alone story. But the characters decided they didn't want to end there. So currently I'm working on a third book for that series, to tie up all the loose ends. At the same time I'm putting the final touches on the first book of my sci-fi series 'Mostly Human'.

Wil's Winter 5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
Mostly Human: A sentient ship, called L’loi, arrives and begins preparations for a mass exodus to other galaxies in order to preserve Human lives and cultures. Honey Cantrell is the girl we follow as her life is drastically altered when one of seven Orbs L’loi sends out to find qualified leaders find her instead. Violently. On top of that her Orb had been tampered with and filled with surprises none of them are ready for. All of the drama and action takes place on a bracelet of terra formed islands in the Pacific Basin.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
                Major Char.- Honey Cantrell (Human)
                Major Char.- Sammus De (Djins)
                Minor Char.- Evvie(Human)
                Minor Char.- Jet(Djins)
                Minor Char.- Jelia(Djins)
                Minor Char.- L’loi (Ship)
                Minor Char.- Bo(Djins)
                Minor Char.- Kiet/Ke’lil (Gaimarian)

I like that my characters are all going to be themselves to the fullest. Selfish, smug, arrogant, biased, evil, vindictive all of it. I have no formula for them.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
I’m a geek. I love and collect anime, comics and video games. I love getting lost in RPGs and escaping real life in my imagination. My stories are never planned. They’re all either daydreams or dreams that have stuck with me until written.

Antoinette's books are available at Amazon.

Where to find Antoinette:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Beneath the Canyons on Reading in the Attic podcast

Picture Now this is really cool: the awesome Camille Laguire reads an excerpt from Beneath the Canyons on her fiction podcast, Reading in the Attic. I've known for a while she was going to do this and I've been so excited to hear it, and it turned out AMAZING! She has a fantastic voice, and did a great job with the accents - perfect for the characters. Go check it out, at iTunes or the Reading in the Attic blog.

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 2015 - What's ahead

Picture Ducking in for a quick look back at March and look ahead at April. Yes, I know April is almost halfway over! I've been busy. March was basically working on revisions of The Rancher's Daughter (I discovered that about a zillion other books, mostly western romances, have that title, but mine's the only one with an old blue shaman dude on the front!). April is working on revisions and edits on The Rancher's Daughter and getting it out. Tentative release date April 28 (though I'm really shooting for a few days earlier). I still want to write The Healing Tree but right now I'm finding it hard to shift focus. Still, now that Daughter of the Wildings is almost halfway out, I've started thinking ahead to what comes after. I've got three novels waiting to go through initial revisions and a whole bunch of Estelend short stories including the Tales of Azara collection. And I'm still developing ideas for a sequel to Urdaisunia and for a follow-up series to Daughter of the Wildings.

The A-Z reading challenge is still ongoing. Up to N now, been reading some really good things and some things that aren't quite as good. I'll have a round-up again soon with some recommendations and notes.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Author Spotlight: Lynn Thompson

Picture Introducing author Lynn Thompson and her short story collection Dark Fates:

Just in time for nightfall, fun, but still on the dark side:

Wrong Number
Valerie’s insomnia is getting worse. Every time she closes her eyes darkness surrounds her and something scary lurks in its wake. If she doesn’t get sleep soon she’ll go crazy, but can she face her dream filled fears?

Dwarfs Eve
Amber, Derrick, Lydia and Josh visit the cemetery on Halloween night under the full moon. Ambers gut instinct tells her not to go, but she never could say no to Derrick…

Tavern Cat
The local tavern was Ranald’s second home, until one night he didn’t show. The bartender gets worried about him. After visiting the sick old man at his home the bartended is convinced that once the Scot is better he will be back to warm his favorite barstool…

Ghostly Wanderings
Bar fights, ghosts, and Summer… Harry doesn’t realize this will be his last night alive. If he’d only changed his ways before the beginning of the evening things might have been different, but Harry was out to have some fun...

The Devil in Disguise
Pete puffed out his chest to try and show some enthusiasm. The last time and only time he fought he almost killed the guy because of his size. But this man was entrancing his woman, along with all of the others and the women either didn’t seem to notice or didn’t care...

Te Amo
Victoria’s restaurant is booming and all it took was a couple of spells; unfortunately the church down the hill is not happy with her or her methods of successes. Victoria is surprised and not prepared at how far they will go to close her down and run her out of town.

Shadow Man
Killian had heard the rumors about this place being haunted, but was hard pressed to believe them. At least not until this night, working graveyard shift…

Belle is on a mission to keep bad karma in its place. Katrina wants to play and Lori’s stuck in the middle without realizing it. Can Lori fix her karma before Belle has to fix it for her?

What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
Dark Fates is my last short stories book. It was so much fun to write I wanted to write another one. Dark Fates-Madness will be coming out soon, though the short stories in Dark Fates-Madness have a more serious note to them than in Dark Fates. I am also writing a YA novel, Samantha Sungold- Tarnished Gold. which I hope to have published in 2016.

"Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
Dark Fates-Madness has four short stories: One Way Ticket, Teen Spirit, Calla Crossing, and Zack's Promise. Dark Fates-Madness deals mainly with teen angst and how fragile teen age minds can be. Though Tyra's story does evolve into her later years.

Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Where to start? Some of my characters I wouldn't even hang out with!

Tyra, Calla, and Zack top the list of favorites. Tyra for her strong will, Calla for her love of life, and Zack because of his kind heart.

Dark Fates is available at:
Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Find out more about Lynn Thompson and her books at:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Join Lynn's mailing list at contact@lynnthompsonbooks.com for New Release Dates. Attn: Add me to the mailing list.

About the author:
Lynn Thompson’s place is in the Land of Enchantment, where the sky is turquoise blue, the fires rage, and there is rain and/or snow without a cloud in the sky.

Lynn lives with her husband, son, dog, cat, and a tank full of fish. In her spare time she loves to hike, camp, read and write fiction.

She has a degree in graphic arts and web design, but doesn’t have a specific genre that she writes her books in.

She has written two novels: Blake-A Montana Dayton Novel and Sterling-A Montana Dayton Novel. She also has written two short stories: Dark Fates and News Worthy.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

99 Cent Book Blast: April 10-12

This weekend only, don't miss the 99 Cent Book Blast! Over 175 ebooks from over 150 authors--including USA Today Bestsellers--are on sale for 99 cents. Beneath the Canyons is on sale, along with lots of other books in a multitude of genres - fantasy, paranormal, romance, historical, horror, and more. The sale is April 10, 11, and 12 only, so don't miss out - click on over to 99 Cent Book Blast and find your next favorite book!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Author Spotlight: K.K. Gould

Introducing K.K. Gould, author of paranormal romance/suspense:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.I live in Northern Michigan with my husband and two beautiful kids. When I'm not busy refereeing 'potty talk' between my 4 and 6 year old, I enjoy reading, writing, crocheting, and knitting. As a family we love being outside. Northern Michigan's four seasons provide the perfect setting for camping and exploring the outdoors.

In order to pay the bills I work as a CT technologist in a busy ER. I have worked in the medical field for fifteen years at many different hospitals around the country.

2. When did you start writing, and why?I went through a time in my life where I hated my job. I dreaded going to work and dealing with my patients. I work third shift in a busy emergency room. Part of my frustrations stemmed from policy changes that affected the way I cared for my patients. I allowed myself to get to a point where I saw all of my patients as drug seekers, alcoholics, or just plain crazy, and Administration was 'the enemy.' I didn't like feeling this way about people, and I didn't like feeling trapped. I tried journaling. As I sat staring at a blank piece of paper a story popped in my head. I started writing ideas, building characters, and scenes. Next thing I knew I had an entire book series in my head. I had all the characters pictured and they've been clamoring to have their stories told. I began writing and suddenly I realized many of my patients were actually sick, and not just there to take up space. I felt like I was back to my old self. The old self that had some level of compassion for the people in my care.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write? I write paranormal romance/suspense. I love a story with a strong female lead and her male counterpart. A 'big picture' element is critical. A part of the story that's bigger than just the romance between two people such as; good vs. evil or saving an entire species from extinction. I think these elements add great suspense in a story. I love being able to save the world in my writing.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?I am currently working on a paranormal romance/suspense series titled the Immortal Savior Series. At this time I'm planning on five books. However, I have a couple novellas in mind. This is my first published work. The first book in the series, titled Vengeance, was released in March. The second is titled Awakened and is due to be released in the next couple months. My first novella featuring Shane and Layla from Vengeance will be out in the fall, no title yet.

5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.My books are paranormals that take place hidden within the human world. These vampires, shifters, fae and other immortals live, work and play hidden amongst the humans. The Organization is responsible for maintaining the secrecy of Immortals. Eliza the main character works in a human hospital. The first book contains scenes of her interacting with human patients and physicians. She must suppress her immortal abilities in order to maintain her secret.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?The main character in the Immortal Savior Series is Eliza North. She is an Immortal hybrid; part vampire, shifter, and fae. She has a tortured past, which helped mold her into a strong, self-sufficient female. She's not afraid of anything. My favorite thing about her is her strength and her vulnerability.

Jovey Morris (Jo) is Eliza's best friend. She's a nurse and an empath. She is also very strong and independent. She always says what she's thinking even if it offends. It earns her friends and enemies.

Jace Waylen is another of my favorite characters. He was the one that found Eliza after she escaped from her prison. He and Liza are close. He treats her like a little sister. My favorite thing about Jace, besides his sex appeal, is his sense of humor.

Fredric Hahn is the main villain in Vengeance. He is a vampire that was hired to catch shifters and fae to sell on the vampire 'black market.' He captured Eliza and became addicted to her blood. When she escaped he searched for her, determined to find out why her blood was so powerful. Hahn is a villain, but his over the top brutality keeps you wanting to know what he'll do next.

Vengeance is available at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Where to find K.K.:
website | Facebook | Pinterest | Tsu | Goodreads

Monday, April 6, 2015

Author Spotlight: J.L. McFadden

J.L. McFadden
Today I'm happy to welcome author J.L. McFadden back to the blog, here on his tour with Saskia Book Tours. You can read my previous interview with him here; now he's going to tell us a little more about himself and his books. And don't forget to enter the giveaway for an Amazon gift card and a copy of Choices down at the bottom!

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?Jamie Lee McFadden. I was named this, because my Dad did not want a junior. Mom wanted to call me David after him. McFadden is an old Scots/Irish name and our family has a long history in Sctotland and Ireland.

2. How old are you?36

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?My youngest brother I am very proud of. He is a great father and husband, a man of few words and his family comes first. My wife Lenka and I are waiting for our first child. [Kyra sez: Congratulations!] Lenka is full of fire and compassion for people. I love that she and I have the same ideals about family and friends.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?Grade K and she was a 4th grader. She taught me to kiss and was so proud to show her friends in the hallway one day.

5. What is your occupation?I think I am a writer.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?That would be for those who know me to answer. I don't think any person can really give an honest answer here. I have a lot of patience when teaching people and I am very loyal to those who are good to me. I am usually refered to as big brother by a lot of people.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?Loyalty and them trusting me.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?Aikido

9. What is your greatest fear?That people will not learn to stop fearing the unknown or actually learning from history instead of just reading it on the dead pages it is written on.

10. What is your most treasured possession?My guitar that my father bought me. He bought it when he did not really have enough money to spare and I have kept it all of these years.

This book is written in such a way that it can be read as a stand alone or after the first book of the series- The Guardian. After so much more loss Adela finds herself in the middle of a love triangle and the fight for the head of Covens.

Adela and John both have their fair share of choices to make. Adela must think of her coven, but at the same time she feels a burning desire for her great, great niece's Guardian John. She is torn because though fate has blessed her great, great niece with a Guardian that is connected to her by Mother Earth to protect her from anything, she keeps rejecting him. John is torn between the woman he is fated to and Adela. He fears that it is Adela's powers of seduction that is tempting him. He feels a desire to protect Gala, but also feels a yearning for Adela. At the same time Adela must search for the secret journal known as the Guardian journal and protect those she loves from the dangers that lurk in the shadows.

Choices is available at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

About the author:
J.L Mc Fadden is  the author of the Guardian Series: Guardian, released; Adela, release in September; Choices, released in May 2014; Adela’s Lost Guardian, March; more to be named at a later date. McFadden spins tragedy and romance into all of his stories with picturesque descriptions that vividly paints and melts the scenes into your pleasure cortex that is a valid and important part of every readers mind. ;) Jamie Lee was born in a mixed Celtic and Slavic family in the river valleys of Pennsylvania. In his earlier years he played in bands in New York and ended up working his way into H.Q of the largest musical retailer in the world, Guitar Center; while working at the store level he managed multiple departments at once and handled all the stores merchandising logistics. He has explored the world and became the first American to be accepted into the Interregional Federation of Aikido Aikikai of Crimea & Sevastopol, where he enjoys learning from great masters from around the world, where he has developed his himself. He explains that the people rich and colorfully different people he has met spawned a lot of his characters.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads