Saturday, January 28, 2017

Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage, Part 5: Kaniev


A few years ago, I did a series of blog posts called "Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage," comparing the heroes of my books to those popular romance tropes. This ended up being a pretty popular series, although a lot of the views came through the search term "bondage boys." Somehow, I have the feeling that a tongue-in-cheek look at how my fantasy heroes stack up against the romance tropes wasn't what those people were looking for and they probably went away disappointed. The popular trends in romance have moved on to include such things as mixed martial arts, rock stars, and motorcycle clubs, but billionaire bad boys who are into bondage seems to be a classic, and anyway I'm having too much fun with this concept, so I decided to update the series with a look at the hero of my latest book.

So here's Kaniev, the Source repairman from Source-Breaker, and how he stacks up on the Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage index. (You can follow the links back to the older posts for more detailed explanations.)

Billionaire factor: Kaniev, like many skilled tradesmen who are in high demand, has made a pretty good living for many years at his trade. He's good at what he does, not to mention he's the only one in the world who can do it, so he can command pretty much whatever rates he wants for his work, and he doesn't come cheap. As he says to one client who tries to short him in their bargaining, "You have no idea how much my services cost, do you?" As is the custom in certain societies and periods of history, he converts his money into more practical and portable items, namely, expensive black leather clothing and lots of silver jewelry. It serves as a calling card, showing that previous clients have valued his work enough to pay him generously. And he knows it looks good on him :-D

Unfortunately, the last six months, he's run into a string of bad luck in the form of a number of Sources with problems he just isn't able to fix. Whether it's something weird going on that he can't figure out or his skills are starting to slip, the results are the same: if he doesn't fix the Source, he doesn't get paid. He hasn't been paid in six months and has had to start selling off some of his jewelry. If things don't turn around soon, he's going to be in a tight financial bind.

Billionaire rating: 3

Bad Boys - Inner Torment factor: Kaniev is a pretty easygoing, well-adjusted guy. He had a happy childhood back home in the fiords, although his uncontrolled talent for magic got him into trouble a number of times. When the previous Source-Fixer found him and wanted to take him on as his apprentice, Kaniev, who was not looking forward to becoming a fisherman like all the men in his family for generations (boring), and his parents happily agreed. He loves his work, and he loves traveling and meeting new people. Lately, though, he's starting to get frustrated with his failures and just wants to go home and (oh, the irony) take up fishing. About now, boring would be good.

Inner Torment rating: 2

Bad Boys - Jackassery factor: Again, Kaniev is a pretty mellow, easy-going guy. He likes people and generally gets along pretty well with them. He especially likes women, all kinds of women, and he's a terrible flirt. He knows he looks good, especially for his age, and he never misses a chance to show off. (Fransisa's over to the side, rolling her eyes.) But it's all in good fun, and he doesn't mean for anyone to get hurt, though every once in a while, someone takes him more seriously than he wants to be taken and ends up disappointed. He does feel bad about that, but can't seem to restrain that flirtatious urge.

Jackassery Index: 4

Bondage: Yes, Kaniev likes the ladies. And the ladies like him, mostly (more eye rolls from Fransisa). He isn't looking for anything permanent, just a good time, and he certainly doesn't want to hurt anyone. Despite the black leather, he has no desire to dominate (or be dominated); while he enjoys all kinds of women, he especially likes being with a woman who can keep up with him as his equal. Not that he's averse to a little fun and games, but that's all it is, fun and games.

Bondage rating: 0

So, out of a possible 40 points, Kaniev comes in at 9. So it's a good thing he didn't try out for any hot tormented bilionaire romances but landed in my quirky fantasy novel instead. I think Fransisa's glad (even though she's stil over there rolling her eyes). Though with the black leather, he might fit right in in a motorcycle club story. (He likes this idea!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Author Spotlight: B.R. Kingsolver


Today I'm happy to welcome B.R. Kingsolver, author of the post-apocalyptic urban fantasy Chameleon Assassin, here with Ultimate Fantasy Books blog tours.

Question: Tell us a little about yourself.
Answer: I grew up in Santa Fe, The City Different, in the Land of Enchantment, surrounded by writers, artists, myths, and folklore. I’m a passionate lifetime skier, and our house was seventeen miles from the nearest ski basin.

After living all over the US and exploring the world — from Amsterdam to the Romanian Alps, and Russia to the Rocky Mountains — I trade time between Baltimore and Albuquerque. I have an eclectic education in history, social sciences, nursing, and biology and a Master's degree in business. I’ve done everything from painting houses to working as a newspaper editor,  making gold and silver jewellery,  to programming computers.

I currently spend my  time writing and working with computers while living nine blocks from the harbor in Baltimore. My main job is servant in residence to a very demanding cat.

Q: When did you start writing, and why?
A: I tried to write a novel when I was fifteen. It was terrible and I was so sure I was a poor writer that I never tried again until five years ago. Now, in my professional life, I’ve worked as a business and technical writer and editor for a long time, but I didn’t try to write fiction. Then five years ago, my partner and I were discussing self-publishing and I mentioned that I had a story I thought would sell. She pushed me to write it, so I did.

Q: What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
A: Chameleon Assassin, the first book in a series by the same name. The second book in the series, tentatively titled Chameleon Uncovered, is about half written and should be published early in 2017.

Q: "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
A: The book is set 200 years in the future. Environmental pollution and climate change have drastically altered the world, and several nuclear wars have damaged the environment further. The book is set in Toronto, but the climate is like south Florida is today. Major parts of the world are so hot and dry that they’re uninhabitable.

As a result of all this, large businesses have taken charge and governments are basically organs of the corporations. There are four main tiers in society, the corporate bosses, those who work for the corporations, a small set of independent business people, and the desperately poor. Many of the poor are mutants.

Q: Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
A: The main character is Elizabeth (Libby) Nelson, a tall (6’2”) 25-year-old mutant who owns a small business as a security consultant. Her main business, though, is as a burglar and assassin. Libby’s main mutation is that she is a chameleon. She can essentially become invisible by blending into the background. She can also psychically project an image or illusion of herself as being anything she chooses. Very handy for a thief.

Libby’s mother is a madam, and her father was a cat burglar and assassin before a fall crippled him. So she’s had an unusual childhood, to say the least. She’s kick-ass, takes no sass, but dishes it out. She’s irreverent, snarky, and has a cutting wit and nasty temper.

She’s also a bleeding-heart altruist who gives a lot of her money away and is fiercely protective of her friends and those who can’t protect themselves.

Q: A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
A: I envisioned the character of Libby almost a year ago, but didn’t know what to do with her. I was in the middle of writing an epic fantasy/quest novel this past August when I had a story idea for an urban fantasy\dystopian sci-fi  novel and realized it was the perfect story for Libby. I stopped writing the epic fantasy novel in the middle of a battle and wrote the first four chapters of Chameleon Assassin before I went to bed that night.

Where to find B.R. Kingsolver:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

For special deals and news about new books, sign up for B.R. Kingsolver's newsletter.

Chameleon Assassin:
Libby is a mutant, one of the top burglars and assassins in the world. For a price, she caters to executives’ secret desires. Eliminate your corporate rival? Deliver a priceless art masterpiece or necklace? Hack into another corporation’s network? Libby’s your girl.

Climate change met nuclear war, and humanity lost. The corporations stepped in, stripping governments of power. Civilization didn’t end, but it became less civilized.

There are few rules as corporations jockey for position and control of assets and markets. The corporate elite live in their walled estates and skyscraper apartments while the majority of humanity supplies their luxuries. On the bottom level, the mutants, the poor, and the criminals scramble every day just to survive.

Chameleon Assassin is available at Amazon | Add to Goodreads
 
http://www.ultimatefantasybooks.com
 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Character Interview: Fransisa

Introducing Fransisa, the formidable Source-priestess from Source-Breaker.

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
I am Dama Fransisa Cortadella, of the duchy of Cortadella Fira in the Kingdom of Pacetino, one of the Independent Kingdoms. In my capacity as a priestess of Source Chaitrasse, I am known as Sera Fransisa.

2. How old are you?
They say that one should not ask a lady her age. That being said, I am forty years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
My father is a duke of the second degree; however, my family is more highly connected, to a ducal family of the first degree, through my sister's marriage. I also have three brothers. I have seen my relatives less than once a year since I came to Source Chaitrasse, and we are no longer close, if we ever were. Still, I have done my best to do my familial duty and be a credit to them.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
Now that is definitely not a question one should ask a lady. Anyway, I prefer not to remember it, for various reasons.

5. What is your occupation?
I am the senior priestess, after the High Priestess Sera Valara, at Source Chaitrasse. As Sera Valara is quite elderly and in frail health, I am also the acting managing priestess. I had expected to be the next High Priestess, until a young girl came to Chaitrasse less than a year ago, who is Chosen of the Source and therefore the natural heir to the position of High Priestess. Among my responsibilities are to teach and train her, to prepare her to step into the position.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I have an aptitude for organization and administration, which allows me to keep everything running smoothly at Chaitrasse. I'm quite skilled in magic.

I know that many people think of me as a harridan, a battle-axe. I suppose I do have a tendency to be stern, strict, overbearing, and impatient. I do what's necessary to ensure that the affairs of Source Chaitrasse are conducted in the proper manner.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
As an avowed servant of Source Chaitrasse, I am under a lifelong vow of celibacy. But were I free to marry and had the opportunity, I would prefer a man of excellent breeding, manners, and education, of intelligence and refinement, who would attend to his duties in a conscientious manner and be a credit to our families.

As long as I'm daydreaming, I suppose I will add that if he were kind and honest and did not trifle with my feelings, I would appreciate that very much.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
There have been times when I have felt discontent with my lot in life, and using Chaitrasse's magic is a great source of happiness and comfort.

9. What is your greatest fear?
Being useless and unwanted; having no place where I belong.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My ability to use magic and my affinity to the magic of Source Chaitrasse.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Source-Breaker Now Available

I'm happy to announce that Source-Breaker, the newest novel in the Tehovir world, is now available as an ebook at all the stores I sell through. The paperback edition will be coming in the next few weeks. The regular ebook price will be $3.99, but right now it's at the introductory price of only 99 cents, and will go on 99 cent promo a few times over the next few months. It's available at:

Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | iTunes | GooglePlay | Smashwords | DriveThruFiction

This was a fun book to write. It's a little more light-hearted than a lot of my work (though still with a good dose of angst and some serious themes). Unlike a lot of fantasy which is coming-of-age stories, in this novel I decided to feature two characters who are facing midlife crises. Kaniev is all of a sudden a failure at the trade he's worked in for 27 years, and Fransisa has had her expectations of career advancement pulled out from under her in favor of a much younger Chosen. I also enjoyed telling the story of the villain, Ardavos, and his mistress Sivael. I've written some backstories for Kaniev, Fransisa, and Ardavos and Sivael; they need a little editing, and then I'll make those available.

So now it's on to the next book, Heir of Tanaris, also set in the Tehovir world. Unlike my usual habit of working on two projects at once, I'm going to focus exclusively on Heir, at least until I get the revised draft out to the beta readers, and see if I can start getting stuff done faster. I want to get to the revision of Defenders of the Wildings, so I'll start on that while the beta readers are having at Heir. I love all my books, but Heir of Tanaris is one of those that just won't leave me alone and it's a story I feel deeply compelled to tell. I've already got the cover art for it, which is absolutely gorgeous, and I'm hoping to release it early this summer. Watch for the cover reveal and more information coming up this spring!

In other news, if you've noticed the disappearance of the OmniLit links from the site, OmniLit and its parent site All Romance eBooks suddenly closed in December, owing a lot of money to a lot of authors. (They offered a really insulting settlement of 10 cents on the dollar, ostensibly to help them avoid having to file bankruptcy.) I didn't sell much there, so I'm not losing more than a few dollars, but some authors are losing thousands. Anyway, as a result, I've decided to replace the old OmniLit links with the GooglePlay links for my books. GooglePlay is a relatively large, um, player in the ebook world, and I should have been promoting my books there more. If you use Android and the GooglePlay store, now it'll be easier for you to find my books there.

If you did buy any of my books at OmniLit/ARe and are now unable to access them (readers were given about four days in the middle of the holiday travel season to download and back up their purchased books; I'm hearing of readers who lost hundreds or thousands of books in their ARe libraries), contact me with some sort of proof of purchase and I'll set you up with replacement copies.

The ARe debacle has also emphasized how important it is for authors to not become too dependent on one company. Which is why I'm trying to cast my GooglePlay net more widely, and I'm also looking into setting up to sell books from my own site. I know which service I'm going to use if I do this (PayHip); now it's a matter of sorting out tax licenses and stuff. I do know that if I have to get a city business license in addition to a state sales tax license, I'm not going to do it because the two licenses together will cost more than I anticipate making in sales from my website. :P

Anyway. So I'm adding new links to the site, and getting the Tehovir section more put together, with information and reading order on the books and things like that. Watch for more Source-Breaker book extras coming up; I've got interviews scheduled with Fransisa, Ardavos, and Sivael, and I'll be revisiting the notorious Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage blog post series with a look at how Kaniev fits into those popular romance tropes; that should be fun.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

99 cent Science Fiction and Fantasy Sale

http://pattyjansen.com/promo/
Jan. 7-8: Big 99 cent Science Fiction and Fantasy sale! Over a hundred books - fantasy, science fiction, horror, dystopian, urban fantasy, sci fi/fantasy romance, and even some boxed sets - all 99 cents this weekend. All ebook stores, not just Amazon! Sarya's Song is in this sale (with its new cover!) so if you haven't yet read this tale set in a world where music is magic, now's your chance to get it for cheap.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Book Tour: Rise of the Queen



http://www.ultimatefantasybooks.com
Today I'm happy to welcome Aoife Marie Sheridan back to the blog with her new book, The Rise of the Queen. First, I was able to do an interview with Aoife, so you can get to know a little more about her, including what books she loves and what she's most passionate about lately!

1. How did you get started in writing?
I had read somewhere a statement that had me putting pen to paper. Being an avid reader I could never get enough, so when I read this statement “If there is a book you always wanted to read but couldn’t find it, then write it” and so I did. I started in 2012 writing my first book titled Eden Forest and since then I haven’t stopped. In total I have released five books and have two more written, and loads started.

2. Who is your favorite character?
At the present moment Abigail Thornton from The Demon Series. She’s a teenage alcoholic who hunts demons and has a horrible background, so she’s intense and tough to write which I enjoy.

3. Who is your favorite author?
I have several Maria V. Snyder, Kelly Armstrong, Charlaine Harris, Julie Kagawa, Dan Brown, Suzanne Collins, really I could go on all day. Just so many.

4. Where do you usually write?
In my study, it was one of the first rooms we did up when we built our home. It was something I had dreamed of and feel very lucky to have such a beautiful space to write in.

5. Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?
I do have different play lists for different stories, but I will only play at an emotional scene, or a kickass scene basically wherever the emotion is high. But normally I wouldn't play music.

7. What books have most influenced your life?
Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder. It’s what got me hooked on fantasy books.

9. What are you passionate about these days?
My baby girl firstly :) [Kyra sez: Congratulations!] Writing, reading, photography and also love watching Paranormal, Dusk Till Dawn, The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory and Games of Throne.

The Rise of the Queen:
FROM AWARD WINNING AUTHOR AOIFE MARIE SHERIDAN

The final Instalment of the Saskia Trilogy.

Sarajane struggles with her separation from Tristan as she moves towards the heart of Saskia to defeat Lucian. But her journey isn’t easy. She encounters The Forsaken, zombies and fights to recover her true form. But with Marcus beside her and the help of Willow she makes her journey to her final destination but nothing is as it seems.

Verona and Mirium try to understand why their visions are gone, what Prudentia is up to? and find Sarajane. All the while Tristan and Verona are at war with each other, and politics makes each decision difficult with Morrick.

Loved ones will be lost, decisions will be final, and all betrayals will rise to the surface.

Step into Saskia for the last time.

Available at Amazon

About the author:
Aoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age, starting off with Mills and Boon books given to by her grandmother. Her love for romances grew, by the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them.

Aoife has a passion for writing poetry or in her eyes her journal entries. It was something she did throughout her teens and into her twenties. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at a young age of just nineteen.

Aoife's first book Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy) took first place with Writers Got Talent 2013. Aoife continues to write tales of fantasy and romance.

To find out more about Aoife Marie Sheridan you can visit her at:
Amazon | Facebook | Website | email | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Google Plus | Linkedin | Pinterest
Subscribe to Aoife Marie Sheridan's Mailing List
http://www.ultimatefantasybooks.com

Monday, January 2, 2017

Cover Reveal: New Sarya's Song Cover

Just got this in, and I am really excited about it: a new cover for Sarya's Song! Here's the full wraparound:
And the front:

Like with the new Chosen of Azara cover, making the decision to get a new cover for Sarya's Song was really difficult. The old cover is gorgeous, and Katt of Design by Katt did a fantastic job with it. But I finally had to come to the conclusion that it didn't quite fit the story or genre. Because of the limitations of working with available stock art, it looked more like contemporary romance or paranormal romance than romantic high fantasy. I've said before, it's just really hard to find stock art that works with my particular style of story. Once again, Mominur Rahman came through with an illustration that I feel really captures the spirit of the story (even though I had trouble describing to him how I wanted the "menacing darkness" to look). I'm in the process of replacing the old cover images on the site and in the stores (along with updating everything in the newly-renamed Tehovir world - formerly Estelend - and finishing the edits on Source-Breaker and digging out from Christmas because I've been sick for a week, blarg). Sarya's Song will be on special for 99 cents this weekend; if you'd rather get it in the Love and Magic box with Urdaisunia and Chosen of Azara, that will be on special for $2.99 next week.