Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











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Author: Eric Garrison

Featured Book Release: Sinking Down

Book Two of the Road Ghosts Trilogy

February 24 to March 2, 2014

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Write Like a Roleplayer: How Gaming Shaped My Storytelling
by Eric Garrison

I’ve always been both a writer and a gamer. As a Dungeon Master, I did some very literal worldbuilding, with intricate maps with writeups of the places depicted. But true life wasn’t breathed into those colored-pencil-on-hexpaper realms until stories happened in them, laid out one adventure at a time by player characters. Same with online games like MUSHes, designing a character description was fine, but to truly know that character, they had to interact with other characters.

I see writing the same way. I’ve said elsewhere that I’m a seat-of-the-pants (pantser) writer who has come to do some planning over time. But I feel that those plans are just a framework, like a Gamemaster designs a roleplaying adventure. A favorite quote, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said, “No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.” Many Gamemasters will tell you that no adventure they’ve written survives contact with the players. Coming from this background, I can say my writing works similarly: No matter how detailed my plans ahead of time, the characters tend to do things that are in character and thwart those plans, forcing me to replan on the fly.

But that’s okay. I’m used to players doing that to my adventures, so I am accustomed to adjusting plans to fit the story as it unfolds. One major difference between writing and gaming is that I have the option of making the characters do as I please. Maybe so, but often the result rings false to me, I can almost hear the characters whining that they wouldn’t have done it that way. Sometimes they go on strike, it seems, and dialogue becomes stilted and flat until I let the characters do what they want to again.

Another luxury a writer has is the ability to change earlier parts of the book. Does the main character need a knife in Chapter 22? I have the option of rewinding to Chapter 5 and having her think to slip a folding knife in her purse, “just in case”. Does killing off the villain’s henchman in the first act mess up the ending? Well, a few tweaks of the wording and he’s merely wounded and is dragged off to heal up for a surprise appearance in the big fight scene (and this time, it’s personal). I can’t tell you I’ve never done that, because it’s as handy as a trash can with Wyld Stallyns graffiti on it to be able to do that when necessary.

My roleplaying roots make me resist going back and changing the plot. In gaming, that’s a story-destroying taboo we call “retconning”. Sure, you may just have realized that Wolfraven should have had 2 additional hit points regenerated, and that he should have been conscious to keep Eldrad the Merciless from throwing all the characters in his Gaol of Despair half an hour ago. That would change everything. We’ve moved on since then, and going back just feels wrong, and undoes all the brave deeds that have been done since then. In writing, I try to always write forwards until the first draft is done. Second drafts are for revisions and tweaks. I still resist major retconning in revisions.

So while you won’t hear dice rolling when you read my stories, you may notice a certain organic flow to them. That’s my gaming heritage shaping how I see storytelling. It’s not for everyone, but I think my writing is better for it.

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SinkingDownCover_1200X800Book Synopsis Sinking Down: Poor Little Ghoul

Paranormal investigators Brett and Liz find themselves back in over their heads when a forest hunt for a roadkill-eating creature offers up a little surprise. Back home with their ghoulish house guest, it becomes clear there’s more to this investigation than either of them thought. Worse than that, Brett’s own fate is linked to the little ghoul’s.

So it’s back out on the road, with plenty of time for pit stops with a greedy ex, a convention of ghost hunters, partying with fake vampires, and even drinking and fighting alongside good ole Uncle Gonzo. But as the investigation goes deeper, and unseen connections come to light, Brett finds there’s much more at stake than getting through a rough patch with Liz.

A rescue mission. A race for a cure. New friends and old adversaries. Unbreakable bonds and supernatural danger. It’s going to be a wild ride. Can the friends save the nearly undead tween? Can she and Brett stop themselves from …Sinking Down?

Sinking Down is the 2nd Book in the Road Ghosts Trilogy!

Amazon Links for Sinking Down

Print Version | Kindle Version

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EricGarrison_authorpicAbout the Author: Eric Garrison is active in the writing community in Indianapolis, Indiana. He lives in the Circle City with his wife, step-daughter and four cats. He also enjoys gaming and homebrewing beer.

Seventh Star Press published the first of his Road Ghosts trilogy, Four ’til Late, in July of 2013. Sinking Down was released in December of 2013, with the final title to appear in 2014.

Eric’s novel, Reality Check, is a science fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. This book reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon’s Kindle store during a promotion in July 2013.

Eric’s short story, “Drag Show” appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of Strange, Weird and Wonderful Magazine and Volume 2 of that magazine’s anthology series. His flash piece, “Dark Reflection”, appeared in the Indiana Horror 2011 anthology. He’s competed twice in the Iron Writer Challenge with two 500-word flash pieces, “Killer Cure” and “Moby Me.”

Author Links:

Website: http://sillyhatbooks.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EricGarrisonAuthor

Twitter: @erichris

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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE!!!

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Tour Schedule and Activities

2/24 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post

2/24 Laurie’s Thoughts and Paranormal Reviews Promo/Spotlight

2/24 Deal Sharing Aunt Tour Wide Contest

2/24 Lost Inside the Covers Review

2/24 John F. Allen Writer Promo Spotlight

2/24 Beagle Book Space Promo/Spotlight

2/24 Seers, Seraphs, and More Promo/Spotlight

2/25 Vampires, Witches, and Me, Oh My! Character Post

2/26 Bee’s Knees Reviews Guest Post

2/27 Sapphyria’s Book Reviews Promo/Spotlight

2/27 fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s Ramblins and Reviews Review

2/27 I Smell Sheep Guest Post

2/27 Jess Resides Here Character Interview

2/28 A Book Vacation Guest Post

2/28 Armand Rosamilia, Author Guest Post

3/1 Sheila Deeth The Art of Sinking Down

3/2 Come Selahway With Me Guest Post

Tour Page URL:

http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/eric-garrison-sinking-down-virtual-tour/

Tour Badge Html:

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I am so excited to share a huge excerpt for Chelsea Fine’s upcoming New Adult Contemporary Romance, Best Kind of Broken, with  you! It’s the first book in the Finding Fate Series, and it releases on March 4, 2014!!

Best Kind of Broken

You can read the Excerpt HERE! 

 But first, check out all of the information about Best Kind of Broken and Chelsea Fine!

Synopsis:

SOMETIMES MOVING ON MEANS MOVING IN

Pixie Marshall wishes every day she could turn back time and fix the past. But she can’t. And the damage is done. She’s hoping that a summer of free room and board working with her aunt at the Willow Inn will help her forget. Except there’s a problem: the resident handyman is none other than Levi Andrews. The handsome quarterback was once her friend-and maybe more–until everything changed in a life-shattering instant. She was hoping to avoid him, possibly forever. Now he’s right down the hall and stirring up feelings Pixie thought she’d long buried . . .

Levi can’t believe he’s living with the one person who holds all his painful memories. More than anything he wants to make things right, but a simple “sorry” won’t suffice–not when the tragedy that scarred them was his fault. Levi knows Pixie’s better off without him, but every part of him screams to touch her, protect her, wrap her in his arms, and kiss away the pain. Yet even though she’s so close, Pixie’s heart seems more unreachable than ever. Seeing those stunning green eyes again has made one thing perfectly clear–he can’t live without her.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

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See what others are saying about Broken Kind of Broken

“By turns humorous and heartbreaking, Best Kind Of Broken has become one of my favorites!” — CORA CARMACK, New York Times bestselling author of Losing It.

“You’ll fall for Pixie and Levi, just like I did!” — JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT (J. Lynn), #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait For You

“Tangled with friendship, history and heartbreak–not to mention a huge dose of humor–Chelsea Fine’s New Adult novel is not to be missed! Beyond an incredibly HOT read, Pixie and Levi’s longing for each other will have you rooting for them till the very end.” — JAY CROWNOVER, New York Times bestselling author of Rule

“This book destroyed me. Tore me into little tiny pieces. But somehow with lots of laughs and some very steamy times, Chelsea put me back together again! Chelsea Fine’s style is witty, visceral and fresh. All I wanted to do was crawl inside this book and live with the characters. And now all I want is MORE.” — CHELSEA M. CAMERON, New York Times bestselling author of My Favorite Mistake

“Sandwiched between laugh out loud moments and some serious heat, Best Kind of Broken is an unforgettable story of loss and forgiveness that will leave your heart aching.” — LISA DESROCHERS, USA Today bestselling author of A Little Too Far

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ChelseaABOUT CHELSEA FINE:

Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She’s ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen.

LINKS:                                                                 

Website:www.chelseafinebooks.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/ChelseaFineBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChelseaFine

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ChelseaFineBooks

Instagram: http://instagram.com/chelseafinebooks

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4984399.Chelsea_Fine

BEST KIND OF BROKEN Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18360175-best-kind-of-broken?ac=1



AlienatedFrom Melissa Landers: Hey, fiction lovers. I’m author Melissa Landers, and I’m thrilled to announce that my debut YA sci-fi romance, ALIENATED, is finally available from Disney-Hyperion! Cue the dancers and toss the confetti, because it’s been a long wait!

In a nutshell, ALIENATED is the story of valedictorian Cara Sweeney, who gets more than she bargained for when she agrees to host the nation’s first intergalactic exchange student, the gorgeous but emotionally-stilted Aelyx (pronounced A-licks) from planet L’eihr. The tone is light and humorous, but I explore some deeper themes as well.

What do reviewers have to say?

“The storyline is out of this world and character development paired with authentic voice is superb. Filled with intrigue and suspense, this book will appeal to both sci-fi and contemporary YA fiction fans.” –VOYA

“Interstellar relations heat up in this start to a new romantic science fiction series. Landers [explores] larger social, ecological, and ethical issues in this tense, fast-paced read.” –Booklist

“The perfect blend of sizzling romance, action, and suspense.” –#1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout

“Smart, funny, and epic. I am now awaiting contact from planet L’eihr.” Julie Cross, bestselling author of Tempest.

“Intergalactic exchange students? Yes, please! I fell in love with this story and couldn’t put it down.” Jodi Meadows, author of Incarnate.

If you like hot, swoony science fiction as much as I do, I hope you’ll give ALIENATED a try. It’s now available in stores and online.

Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Barnes & Noble | Book Depo (free international shipping) | Indie Bound

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Nook Giveaway:

To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a Nook Simple Touch. I’ll even throw in a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble so you can fill your new e-reader with whatever you want!

Now for the fine print: This giveaway is open to US residents only. (Sorry, international friends, but you need a US billing address to buy digital content on the Nook.) Due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate.

Best of luck, and happy reading!

To enter Melissa’s awesome giveaway, click this Rafflecopter link!

Check out A Book Vacation’s 5 star review of ALIENATED HERE!

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M.L.About Melissa Landers:

Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds.

A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids.

She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.”

For more information, or just to say hello, visit www.melissa-landers.com.



Bringing Dirty BackHeather Hildenbrand is currently working furiously on book five in her amazing Dirty Blood series, and today we have a teaser and giveaway to celebrate–she’s bringing Dirty Back!

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EXCLUSIVE**** Prologue to book five, coming Summer 2014!

Tara:

“Day 14. I know because I’ve scratched another notch into the wall with a piece of white plastic I found wedged into the baseboard. Is it weird I’m protective of this tiny sliver of plastic? If they tried to take it from me I’d … well, I’d fight. Not that I’d win. Still, it’s strange how protective one becomes when your possessions are limited. In my case, this piece of plastic is all that stands between me and NOTHING. No freedom, no contact, no possessions, and no power.

No means to escape.

Believe me, I’ve tried. And I’ve spent countless hours dreaming up plans and diversions and whatever else my foggy, exhausted brain can focus on between visits from Them.

I shudder and redirect my thoughts. But the only thing left besides contemplating my ownership of this plastic shard is Wes. Every once in a while I’ll think of him and my mind will wander to others. My mom, Grandma, George, Jack and Fee, Cambria, Angela, Alex.

My chest aches for all of them. But mostly, it hurts for him. I don’t know if he’s all right. Whatever illness he’d fallen prey to before I was taken—I don’t know if it’s something he can heal from and not knowing terrifies me.

My nightmares are filled with images of his face, pale and unmoving. No breath in his lungs. The more horrific ones include Them tossing him into a shallow grave and pouring dirt over his exposed body. I’ve woken screaming so many times, They’ve started giving me sleeping pills at night. I tried not swallowing them but frankly, the rest is better when I do. And my body heals faster when I rest.

I return the plastic shard to its hiding place against the base board and crawl away from the homemade calendar. It’s a sad attempt to stay sane, counting time, but it’s better than nothing. And it’s all I’ve got. Until someone comes for me. Or until I can find a way home.”

Check out my reviews of the series:

Dirty Blood: Review | Amazon

Cold Blood: Review | Amazon

Blood Bond: Review | Amazon

Blood Rule: Review | Amazon

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Heather HildenbrandAbout Heather Hildenbrand:

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. She now lives in coastal VA, a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean, with her two adorable children. She works from home, part time, as a property manager and when she’s not furiously pounding at the keyboard, or staring off into space whilst plotting a new story, she’s lying on the beach, soaking in those delicious, pre-cancerous rays.
Heather loves Mexican food, hates socks with sandals, and if her house was on fire, the one thing she’d grab is her DVR player.

Heather is a co-founder of Accendo Press, a publishing group she operates with fellow authors: Angeline Kace and Jennifer Sommersby. Accendo (a-CH-endo), A Latin word, means “to kindle, illuminate, inflame, or set fire.” This is something Accendo strives to do inside a reader’s imagination with every title released. For a complete list of titles and author bios, visit www.accendopress.com.

Author Links:
Website:  www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Heather.L.Hildenbrand
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherHildenbrandsFanPage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherHildenbr
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4607856.Heather_Hildenbrand
Newsletter:  http://blogspot.us4.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=77abacb38959bc9c0f7b4e81b&id=739fdcef83

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And now for the giveaway!!

Blood RuleClick this link to go to Heather Hildenbrands giveaway!  You could win a signed paperback of Blood Rule and Signed Dirty Blood Swag!



A Risk Worth Taking, my (Heather Hildenbrand’s) new NA contemporary, is set on a crop farm in the mountains of southeastern Virginia. The male characters are alpha and sexy and country. I couldn’t help myself. These are my favorite characters in a guy! And I made a list of what a guy needs to qualify.

Top 10 Things That Make a Sexy/Sweet Country Boy:

  1. A Risk Worth TakingA Truck. This is such a pre-req that if he doesn’t have that, I don’t care HOW many other items he has on this list, he’s not a country boy. Sorry. It doesn’t need a gun rack on the back and a dead animal in the truck bed to qualify and it doesn’t need mud splatters all up the side and along the tailgate—although you get points for that—it just needs four wheels, a cab, and a bed. Oh and that bench seat can’t be overlooked. I think it is the most adorable thing in the world when a girl can scoot and cuddle next to her country boy while he drives.
  2. A love for fried chicken and beer. If you go to the bar and order a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, we’re in a fight.
  3. Respect for Women. He better kiss his mama every Sunday and call every woman older than him ma’am.
  4. A know-how either under the hood or with a hammer. Somehow, I can’t conjure an image of a country boy who doesn’t know how to either fix his own truck OR build his own house. Or both. Mmm, yeah swing that hammer with a grease-stained hand…  and when you’re done, I need an oil change. Thanks, baby.
  5. Slightly-snug jeans that hug all the right places. OHMYGOD I am a sucker for slightly-tight (NOT skinny-fit) jeans on a man. Snug at the hips and ass with boots at the bottom and a slight swagger…. *swoon* Country boys Do NOT wear suits to work. Your business attire is jeans and a button-down with the sleeves rolled to ¾ length—or you’re a poser.
  6. A love for sunsets and the woods at twilight. Country boys do not stay inside all day. They don’t have to hunt and fish every weekend, in fact that’s not preferred because I’m not into that and … well, ain’t nobody got time for that. But enjoy a bonfire or take me four-wheeling and we’re in business.
  7. The body of a country boy. Big arms, toned abs. Prove you’re not a stranger to manual labor. Mmm, yeah, throw that haybale while I watch your back and shoulders flex from the strain…
  8. Smarts. Do NOT succumb to the stereotype that “country” means “backwoods” or ignorant or less brain cells. Country boys are smart. Entrepreneurial. Educated. With deep thoughts and perceptive minds. And they even read for fun once in a while! Show me a girl that doesn’t think this is hot and I’ll show you a LIAR, LIAR, Pants on FIRE!
  9. Love. Maybe at first, he’s tough and rough at the edges—or all the way through. But by the end of the story (yours or the one you’re reading), this boy is sweet and loving and caring all the way through. And he says thinks like, “your eyes are unending depths, an ocean of love, and I want to drown in them forever.” Or something.
  10. Loyal. Once he’s met you and seen your “awesome” he knows no other girl will do. Ever. He’s so stuck on you he can’t see straight, let alone see other women. Except his mama, he will always love and appreciate his mama and shower her with gifts and kisses on Sundays.

What did I miss? Any other requirements for being a sexy/sweet country boy?

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Enter to win a signed paperback of A Risk Worth Taking, an ebook of Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon, an ebook of Wicked Thing by Angeline Kace, and a coca snowman jar by clicking this Rafflecopter Link.



Character & Disney Love Song Match-Up:

mail.google.com

by Heather Hildenbrand

Because I’m a mom and watch a ton of Disney stuff, I put together a list of songs from Disney movies that match each of these couples from my Dirty Blood series. (For those that haven’t read all 4 books yet, this doesn’t mean each of them are a “boyfriend-girlfriend couple” So, #TeamAlex and #TeamWes … calm down!)

Here’s the match-up:

Tara  & Wes – Beauty & The Beast theme

*Wes and the Beast have many similarities. Also, Wes and Tara sort of developed by accident or almost grudgingly, which reminds me of this love story. Very cute!

Tale as old as time
True as it can be
Barely even friends
Then somebody bends
Unexpectedly

Just a little change
Small, to say the least
Both a little scared
Neither one prepared
Beauty and the Beast

Ever just the same
Ever a surprise
Ever as before
Ever just as sure
As the sun will rise

Tale as old as time
Tune as old as song
Bittersweet and strange
Finding you can change
Learning you were wrong

Certain as the sun
Rising in the east
Tale as old as time
Song as old as rhyme
Beauty and the beast.

Tara & Alex – Can You Feel the Love Tonight? (Lion King)

***In the movie, it’s Timon and Pumba singing the beginning to each other. I picture Cambria singing this to Logan about Tara and Alex in Cold Blood:

I can see what’s happening. And they don’t have a clue
They’ll fall in love and here’s the bottom line
Our trio’s down to two.
Ze sweet caress of twilight.

There’s magic everywhere
And with all this romantic atmosphere
Disaster’s in the air
Can you feel the love tonight?
The peace the evening brings
The world, for once, in perfect harmony
With all its living things
[Simba… aka ALEX]
So many things to tell her
But how to make her see
The truth about my past? Impossible!
She’d turn away from me
[Nala: aka Tara]
He’s holding back, he’s hiding
But what, I can’t decide
Why won’t he be the king I know he is
The king I see inside?

 

George & Tara – You’ll Be in My Heart (Tarzan)

*Weirdly enough, George reminds me a lot of Tarzan. Haha. And the “Always” at the end reminds me of the Bon Jovi song that is in Cold Blood. It’s their song. So this is perfect!

For one so small, you seem so strong
My arms will hold you, keep you safe and warm
This bond between us can’t be broken
I will be here. Don’t you cry

‘Cause you’ll be in my heart. Yes, you’ll be in my heart
From this day on. Now and forever more
You’ll be in my heart. No matter what they say
You’ll be here in my heart always
Always

Jack & Fee – Candle on the Water (Pete’s Dragon)

*Jack and Fee are so steady and soul-deep in their commitment. Not just to love but to nurture and protect each other. Think: hippie love. With violence on the side. That’s Jack and Fee.

I’ll be your candle on the water
My love for you will always burn
I know you’re lost and drifting
But the clouds are lifting
Don’t give up you’ll have somewhere to turn

I’ll be your candle on the water
‘Till ev’ry wave is warm and bright
My soul is there beside you
Let this candle guide you
Soon you’ll see a golden stream of light

Derek & Cambria – Kiss the Girl (The Little Mermaid)

Derek and Cambria’s relationship has such a playful, fun side. This song seemed perfect! It started out very simple and physical but what they have goes very deep. You’ll see… ;)

There you see her
Sitting there across the way
She don’t got a lot to say
But there’s something about her
And you don’t know why
But you’re dying to try
You wanna kiss the girl

Yes, you want her
Look at her, you know you do
It’s possible she wants you, too
There is one way to ask her
It don’t take a word
Not a single word
Go on and kiss the girl

Sing with me now
Sha-la-la-la-la-la
My, oh, my
Look at the boy too shy
He ain’t gonna kiss the girl
Sha-la-la-la-la-la
Ain’t that sad
Ain’t it shame, too bad
You gonna miss the girl

Now’s your moment
Floating in a blue lagoon
Boy, you better do it soon
No time will be better
She don’t say a word
And she won’t say a word
Until you kiss the girl

Sha-la-la-la-la-la
Don’t be scared
You got the mood prepared
Go on and kiss the girl
Sha-la-la-la-la-la
Don’t stop now
Don’t try to hide it how
You wanna kiss the girl
Sha-la-la-la-la-la
Float along
Listen to the song
The song say kiss the girl
Sha-la-la-la-la-la
Music play
Do what the music say
You wanna kiss the girl

Whisper & Dylan – If I Never Knew You (Pocahontas)

*It makes the song choice even better to know it’s from Pocahontas!!

In this world so full of fear, full of rage and lies
I can see the truth so clear, in your eyes, so dry your eyes
And I’m so grateful to you, I’d have lived my whole life through
Lost forever, if I never knew you.

If I never knew you, I’d be safe but half as real
Never knowing I could feel a love so strong and true
I’m so grateful to you, I’d have lived my whole life through
Lost forever, if I never knew you.

I thought our love would be so beautiful
Somehow we make the whole world right

I never knew that fear and hate could be so strong
All they leave are worthless whispers in the night
But still my heart is saying we were right.

What do you guys think? Are there any Disney songs that would fit better for these couples?

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REVIEW:

Blood Rule LargeFrom Goodreads:

Forty-six.

That’s how many hybrids survived the Hunter attack in the woods after I revived them with an injection of my blood. That’s how many followed me home to Frederick Falls. And that’s how many were now mentally linked to me through a blood bond.

Two days. Three valium. Fourteen hours of sleep.

That’s what it took to realize I wasn’t losing my mind as a result of the noise in my own head. 

Sixteen.

That’s how many days have passed since I almost killed Alex. That’s how many days I’ve sat by his bedside, waiting for him to wake up. To ease the guilt, to understand his betrayal, to remember the exact shade of brown in his eyes.

Zero.

That’s my chances of skating by with Gordon Steppe and the Hunter Council. They want me for questioning. I’m afraid what’ll happen if I give them answers.

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Heather Hildenbrand’s Dirty Blood series is one I’ve been fascinated with for the past few years.  Her debut novel, Dirty Blood, was my first taste of Hildenbrand’s writing, and I must admit, she’s held my attention ever since, and I’ve read and enjoyed all her novels, including those separate from this specific series.  But, the werewolves started my love for Hildenbrand’s books, and I hold a special place in my heart for these novels, so it is no surprise that I become extremely ecstatic whenever a new one releases, and I’m so happy to say that Hildenbrand has, once again, written an intriguing gem of a story.

So much has happened and changed for Tara as the novels have progressed, and Blood Rule finds our heroine once again in a predicament as she tries to not only keep her pack of hybrids safe from the Hunters who would destroy them, but also protect them from themselves, all while attempting to keep her feelings in check.  Taking on a much darker feel than her previous novels, Hildenbrand shows the depth of pain and hurt that Tara undergoes as she adjusts to her pack and her position as leader; it is a bit of a depressing tale.  She must do things she never dreamed of in order to keep the peace, and this includes quelling fights and, if need be, putting one out of his/her misery.  And as if this isn’t a difficult enough task, her feelings and self-loathing concerning Alex further muddle and complicate her life at a time that everything, and I do mean everything, has gone through upheval.

Though darker and ending with a cliffhanger that has me biting my nails in worry for Tara and her entire pack, I found this novel to be one that really takes a look at the characters’ inner being, showing their growth and making them even more real.  Though I’m not a werewolf (I wish), I can identify with Tara as she is forced to make difficult decision after difficult decision, and I love that she never gives up, even when adversity is staring her in the face.  I am equally impressed with the characters of Wes, George, Fee, and Alex, though we do see too little of Alex, in my humble opinion.  These characters have come very far from the beginning novel that started it all, and faced with complications, heartbreak, and danger behind every tree, I’m very much impressed with their growth and how Hildenbrand handles them throughout the story.

Filled with tragedy, fighting, angst, and heartbreak, this novel has few uplifting scenes, but those that accompany it do shine through, and as this is book number four in the series, a very difficult book to write, I’m sure, I believe that it can only get better for our characters.  After all, one can only fall so far before they must be lifted up.  Four stars.*

4 stars

Buy the Book:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ECL1OZS/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_pZyasb1V8KETS

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-rule-book-4-dirty-blood-series-heather-hildenbrand/1116310366?ean=2940148570240

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Heather HildenbrandAuthor Information

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. She now lives in coastal VA, a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean, with her two adorable children. She works from home, part time, as a property manager and when she’s not furiously pounding at the keyboard, or staring off into space whilst plotting a new story, she’s lying on the beach, soaking in those delicious, pre-cancerous rays.

Heather loves Mexican food, hates socks with sandals, and if her house was on fire, the one thing she’d grab is her DVR player.

Heather is a co-founder of Accendo Press, a publishing group she operates with fellow authors: Angeline Kace and Jennifer Sommersby. Accendo (a-CH-endo), A Latin word, means “to kindle, illuminate, inflame, or set fire.” This is something Accendo strives to do inside a reader’s imagination with every title released. For a complete list of titles and author bios, visit http://www.accendopress.com

Website: www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Heather.L.Hildenbrand

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherHildenbrandsFanPage

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherHildenbr

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4607856.Heather_Hildenbrand

Newsletter:  http://blogspot.us4.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=77abacb38959bc9c0f7b4e81b&id=739fdcef83

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Click the gif below to go to Heather’s AWESOME giveaway!

bloodrulegiveaway

For more tour stops and information:
http://heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com/2013/08/blood-rule-release-day-blitz-blog-tour.html

*A Book Vacation received the novel from the author in exchange for an HONEST review for this blog tour.



coverFrom Goodreads: AVERY PIKE is a commodity. No, more than a commodity. Her existence is guarded at all costs.

She’s a water Elementalist, the strongest of her dwindling kind. She creates steam to provide energy to fuel Dome Four: the only thing standing between humanity and an earth ravaged by World War III. No steam, no Dome. No Dome, no life.

Or so she thinks.

That is, until a mysterious man offers her a way out of having to donate steam. A way to escape the corrupt government of Dome Four. While the offer seems too good to be true, Avery is intrigued.

But when she arrives to her new home, she realizes the grass isn’t any less dead on this side of the fence. Instead, the lies are just hidden better.

…Which means digging deeper.

When Avery enlists the help of her friends to uncover the truth, she learns that while some secrets are better left concealed, humankind was never meant to live in a cage. And when you can control the most sought after resource, you can learn to control anything…including the fate of your world.

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If you love dystopian, elemental, or steampunk reads, then this is definitely the book for you.  Combining all these genres into one, Megan Curd has created a masterpiece that glues readers to the pages from the very beginning, taking them on a whirlwind journey full of adventure, deceit, mystery, mayhem, and of course, a little swoon-worthy romance as well.

Avery Pike doesn’t know how she got her power to control water.  She doesn’t know what happened to her parents, either.  What she does know is that the government needs her, and they’ve given her a flea infested bed in a run down apartment and an education, which might not sound great, but it’s better than what most of the population gets.  In return, she needs to create steam in order to keep Dome 4 alive.  Fair trade?  Maybe not.  Because Avery’s been kept in the dark for much too long.

Curd drops her readers into the world of Dome 4, populating the pages with riveting descriptions and situations that help make Avery’s world tangible and real.  The corrupt government, the dire living situations, and the intense rules and regulations make the story come alive as readers watch in horror as the powerful abuse the weak.  Thus, it is with open arms that the reader welcomes the appearance of Riggs, a strange man offering Avery a chance for escape and, like Avery, the reader is baited into believing her luck is about to change.  But trading one prison for another isn’t what she expected.  And as it turns out… nothing is as it seems in this novel.

Enter Jaxon, dear, sweet, Jaxon.  It took me a little while to warm up to his pompous nature in the beginning, although his wit and clever banter made me snicker and fall for him quite quickly.  It is also because Curd expertly unveils his true inner soul as we get to know him, and it becomes clear that his hard external self-important demeanor is actually only a cover for a much deeper scar that lies beneath his put-together frame.  The fact that his father, Riggs, has never treated him with any amount of dignity is part of the problem.  The vast tests, pricks, and prods he endured as a child makes up the other part.  And yet, he is truly a loving young man who, though suffering through multiple ordeals as a child, has turned out to be one fine young gentleman. And a swoon-worthy one at that.

Honestly, all the characters in this novel are exceptionally well developed, and I loved that Avery is a strong willed female lead who doesn’t need a man to take care of her.  Her loyalty to her friends, Alice and Legs, also makes her an exceptional and likable character, and her sheer will power makes her a force to be reckoned with.  Though both Alice and Legs struggle a bit in the story, especially with coming to terms with some rather disheartening events, their struggles show their depth, and Curd has done a phenomenal job fleshing out these side characters.  What I love the most is that there are absolutely no flat characters in this novel—everyone changes, in some way, and that takes talent.

Curd also keeps this novel relatively clean, making it the perfect recommendation to give to readers of all ages, but especially YA and, in my case, my students.  With both a strong female and male lead, this book isn’t just for girls, and with it’s unbiased, yet beautiful cover, I expect to see this one eaten up by readers male and female alike.  Five stars.

5 starsI received an ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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EXCERPT:

JaxonA hand grasped my shoulder.

“Jesus!”

“Nope, Jaxon. Although, I can understand why you’d confuse the two of us.”

I clutched my chest and felt my heart threatening to pound its way out.

He didn’t show his usual conceited visage. His cheeks were flushed, giving him a much younger appearance. His head was turned downward, but his eyes held mine. “Can I borrow you?”

“I have people in line before you. I can pencil you in around midnight.”

He didn’t flinch. “Then midnight it is.”

“Are you kidding?”

“I never joke about midnight rendezvouses with fiery beauties.”

“You’re a torrent of sarcasm.”

“That’s vastly different than kidding. Kidding is frivolity, and I am not frivol. Is that even a word? If it isn’t, insert something else—serious…brooding, perhaps?” He turned to the side and stroked his chin. “Does this look brooding to you? Wait, don’t look. You’re over your five minute ogling allotment.”

“You do know that sarcasm is the refuge for a shallow mind, right?”

“Depth is irrelevant when you can’t find the lake, my dear.”

I opened and closed my mouth, unable to think of a comeback. He always one-upped me. One day I’d come up with something. I’d start writing comebacks down to practice for when the occasion arose.  Because that’s not lame at all.

Book Links

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Steel-Lily-Periodic-Series-ebook/dp/B00EH0DF8S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376335474&sr=8-1&keywords=steel+lily+curd

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17828413-steel-lily

Author’s Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Megan-Curd/e/B0054LTV3M/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1375839802&sr=8-1

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Guest Post: This or ThatFrom Jaxon’s POV

Vanilla or chocolate? ::grins:: well, you know you could have both if you go with me. Why choose one or the other when you can have both?

Edward or Jacob? Say what? Who? How about Jaxon? I’m right here, and they don’t have dreads. Or, can I pick from girls? ::dodges Avery’s death stare:: Okay. I pick Avery. I mean, it’s not like Katniss’s deadly aim with a bow and arrow is all that appealing…I’ll take death by Elementalist any day. ::Pats Avery’s leg::

Hockey or soccer? Football. I’m making my own option. Don’t worry, I do it all the time. ::smiles::

Ebook or paper? Paper. I love the feel of a book in my hands. Plus, without much power, the eBook wouldn’t last that long, now would it?

Salty or sweet? Salty. I’m the sweets anyone needs. ::winks::

Beach or mountains? Mountains. I want to camp and see wildlife. I want to see trees and wake up to a real sunrise. Someday, maybe that can happen.

Phone call or email? Neither. I want to see people in person!

Early bird or night owl? Night owl. I do some of my best work at night. ::looks over and winks at Avery:: Get your mind out of the gutter. I meant real work!

Dog or cat? Cat. They’ve got minds of their own, and I can respect that.

Messy or neat? ::points to dreads and shakes head:: Do these look neat to you? I like a bit of disorder in my life. Makes more sense to me.

Ninjas or pirates? Well ninjas, obviously. I have my own ninja! ::nudges Avery::

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meganAbout the Author:

Megan Curd is a graduate of Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota. While having always enjoyed reading any books she could get her hands on, Megan didn’t begin writing until a friend encouraged her to do so while in college.

When not writing, Megan enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves to snowboard and travel to new places, and doesn’t turn down the opportunity to play xBox with her brother and friends when it presents itself.

Megan currently resides in Stanton, Kentucky with her husband, son, and Great Dane named Dozer.

Top Ten Books on TBR

1.)  Prodigy by Marie Lu

2.)  Allegiant by Veronica Roth

3.)  This Wicked Game by Michelle Zink

4.)  Raksha by Frankie Rose

5.)  Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

6.)  Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

7.)  Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

8.)  Splintered by A.G. Howard

9.)  Enemy Within by Angeline Kace

10.) The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

LINKS:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
TWITTER
FACEBOOK
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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mail.google.com

And now for the Giveaway:

What you can win:

GRAND PRIZE: 1 Steel Lily T-Shirt, Autographed Steel Lily book, & bookmarks

3 Runner-Ups: Autographed Steel Lily books & bookmarks

5 Runner-Ups: eCopies of Steel Lily

Click the Rafflecopter Link to Enter!

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August 12th

Into the Land of Books-Author Interview, Top Ten, Excerpt

Life Between the Pages-Review

Kelly P’s Blog-Excerpt

Books For A Delicate Eternity-Review, Character Interview

August 13th

A Book Vacation-Review, Guest Post/Top Ten, Excerpt

Indy Book Fairy-Review, Guest Post

This Is How It’s Supposed To Be– Review

Literary Meanderings-Top Ten List

lilybloombooks-Review

ReadingToTheStarsAndBack-Review, Author Interview

Kaidans Seduction-Review, Excerpt

August 14th

SassyCat’s Books Review– Guest Post, Author Interview, Character Interview

Oops! I Read A Book Again– Guest Post/Top Ten, Character Interview, Excerpt

Little Hyuts-Review

BookEnd 2 BookEnd-Review, Excerpt

Fabulous and Fun-Review

August 15th

Upon The Wings of Greater Things– Review, Author Interview

Such A Novel Idea-Review, Interview, Excerpt

Shelfspace Needed-Review, Character Interview, Excerpt

the flirty reader-Review, Interview

Little Bookworm Reviews-Excerpt

August 16th

TSK TSK What to Read-Review, Character Interview

bees knees reviews-Review

Books Forget Me Knot– Review, Excerpt

paranormal book club– Review, Excerpt

Book 2 Book-Review

Read-A-holicZ-Review

August 17th

The Book Ninja-Review

Adventures in Reading-Excerpt

Life with Lesley-Review, Excerpt

August 18th

Black Lilies Are Deadly-Review, Excerpt

Reader Girls– Review, Top Ten List

Write Away Bliss-Review, Character Interview

Paperback Princess-Review, Author Interview, Character Interview, Top Ten List

abookandalattee– Review

Girls With Books– Review, Guest Post

Musings of a Blogder-Review

August 19th

My Bookopolis-Review & Excerpt

Mercurial Musings-Guest Post, Author Interview, Character Interview, Excerpt, Top Ten List

TeamNerd Reviews-Review, Excerpt

Brooke Blogs-Guest Post

JeanzBookReadNReview-Review, Interview, Excerpt

Jess resides here-Guest Post, Excerpt, Top Ten List

Working for the Mandroid-Review, Guest Post, Top Ten List

deal sharing aunt-Top Ten List

The Bearded Scribe-Review, Interview



Wicked Thing by Angeline Kace

September 2013

AddtoGoodreads _______________________________________________________________________________________________

wicked thingSynopsis:

Carmyn Rafferty witnessed the aftermath of her mother’s affair. She learned at a young age not to trust anyone. Especially not your spouse. So she’s planned. She’s planned every detail of her life: who her husband will be, what their careers will be, what their lives will be like. All to avoid the pain of infidelity.

Dallas Brown lives a life all his own. He doesn’t do relationships, he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him, and he doesn’t live up to anyone’s expectations but his own. 

When Carmyn’s fiancé cheats on her, it sends her into a whirlwind of one-night stands with the most infamous player on campus. She can’t seem to stay away from this tough guy and his dangerous motorcycle. Everything about him is the complete opposite of who she’d planned to fall in love with: tattoos, dark stubble along his jawline, and hair that brushes his shoulders.

As Dallas and Carmyn begin to fall deeper and deeper into each other, they learn that love can truly be a wicked, wicked thing.

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WICKED THING EXCERPT

DALLAS

I shoot some darts with the guys, losing some, but winning mostly.

Carmyn looks over at me a few times, always looking away when our eyes meet. She’s watched us play most of this last game, so I grab the darts out of the board and walk over to her. “Play me.”

She tries to hold back her smile. “I don’t have any cash on me.”

“Then if I win, you kiss me.”

She looks me up and down. “What the hell.” She shrugs. “And if I win…” She studies me as if she’s not sure what’s worth my price. “You have to teach me how to drive your motorcycle.”

The crowd roars with a loud, “Ooooohhhh!” and she’s grinning like a god damn magician. That’s a good one. She’s gotta know I don’t let anyone drive my bike but me. Everyone knows it. It’s my baby. But I’m confident I’ll win. She’s dancing tonight like she’s reached a perfect buzz level—drunk enough to let loose, but not too drunk to fall ass over face. And on the point-oh-five percent chance that I do lose, it’ll get her on my bike, spreading her legs to straddle the leather and steel. No matter how much I’ve stuck to my self-imposed rule of “no chicks on the bike,” that alone might be worth the small risk.

But shit. To let her drive it. I just don’t know. That’s a lot. “You know I don’t let anyone drive it, right? Hell, I don’t even let the ladies on for a ride.”

She grins, again challenge accepted. “Well, you know I don’t go around betting to let just anyone kiss me, right? And I doubt this is anything less than a once in a life time opportunity.”

It only has a single seat, so I won’t be able to be on there with her to help her drive it. I specifically asked for the single 1939 Harley Davidson seat during the build. Every detail of this bike was thought through.

Vick’s glaring at me from the sidelines. She’s tried on numerous occasions to talk me into taking her for a ride. Even going so far as to offer sexual favors, or incentives as she calls them. Which of course I could never accept. She’s gonna be pissed.

“Do it. Do it!” the guys start chanting.

I’ve never seen her play when the brothers get a game going. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her watch much of our games before, either. And that pussy of an ex-boyfriend of hers has never had the balls to throw any money down. Shit. I gotta do it. I present the darts to her. “Do you wanna start, or shall I?”

The crowd whoops, and Ava runs up and hugs her. “I’m so proud of you,” she yell-whispers into Carmyn’s ear. Carmyn pats Ava’s arm and then steps forward, wrapping her fingers around the darts in my palm.

I curl my hand, catching the beveled darts between our fingers. “Do you know how to play?”

“Outer ring is double, inner ring is triple. First to zero wins.” She yanks the darts out of my hand when I’m too stunned to do anything but let them go.

Shit. Is she trying to hustle me?

She walks back to the line we’ve taped on the scratched hardwood. It’s sexy as hell seeing her walk over there like she owns it. That doesn’t mean she’ll win, though. My shot is straight and accurate. Even if she does know how to play, I doubt she’s better than me.

She shoots pretty well. I’m surprised why she never plays more; she could win a shitload of money from these drunk clowns.

Still, I should win this round. Carmyn has one hundred nine points left, and I’m down to fifty-four. I could hit a triple eighteen, but I can’t win on the first dart because I’ll appear too eager. And I can’t win on the third and final dart of this round because I’ll look like a chump. I survey the board and do some quick math, figuring out where I have to hit to get the numbers I want from each dart. I shoot the first dart and hit a single four.

The guys cheer.

“Only the inner bulls eye is left,” Nate says. He’s keeping score.

“He’s got this,” Randall calls.

I do. I look over at Carmyn and she’s holding back a smile, shaking her head. “Nope. You’re not gonna hit it.”

I’ve been avoiding that the whole game. She doesn’t think I can hit it. I wet my lips. That kiss is mine. I throw the second dart and it sinks into the center of the board.

I raise my fists into the air and hop on my toes while the crowd cheers.

Carmyn’s jutting out her jaw and shaking her head.

I move the couple of steps over to her, taking my time. “I’ve come to collect what’s mine,” I warn her.

“Right here?” She glances around at all the bystanders.

“They’re all invested now too. They’re not about to look away now.” I drop my voice. “Better make it good.”

She swallows, hesitating.

“I believe this is yours.” I hand her the last dart in my hand. “And this is my mine.” I cup her face in my hands before she can think anything else, and I kiss her.

Her lips pucker, but I’ve worked for this, so she better give me more than that. I open my mouth slightly and she mirrors me. My tongue strokes her upper lip gently. Hers reaches out and caresses mine. When she pulls her tongue back to stroke again, I open my mouth to a full kiss. Our tongues run along the other’s, tasting, taking in the firm but giving sensation as they meld together and then pull apart.

The room is loud around us, but I tune everyone out. I’ve kissed a lot of women before, but Carmyn’s is more than that. From her breaths mingling with mine, to the delicate way she tilts her head. I knew the bet would be worth it.

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Angeline KaceAuthor Information

Angeline is a Scorpio living in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and dogs. She loves all things paranormal, believes ghosts are real, werewolves aren’t, and vampires? Definitely real! At least in the Vampire Born world they are. She is currently at work on her first New Adult Romance, Wicked Thing, which releases September 2013.

Website:  http://www.angelinekace.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Angeline-Kace-YA-Author/122820374454142

Facebook Fan Page:   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Angeline-Kace-YA-Author/122820374454142?fref=ts

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Angeline_Kace

Goodreads:   http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4641669.Angeline_Kace



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Click the blog tour button above for giveaway!!

Enemy Within by Angeline Kace

Vampire Born, #2

Accendo Press – April 2013

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12304744Synopsis:

Two guys who’ve stolen her heart.

Three races and only one of them worthy.

Countless enemies with insatiable bloodlust for power.

Will one girl’s curse ultimately save her? 

Half-vampire Brooke Keller barely survived the slaying of her worst enemy, only to learn that Zladislov—the world’s most powerful vampire, leader of the vampire world, and her father—wants her dead. However, this time, she’s not only fighting vampires but a raging monster within her that endangers what’s left of her humanity. And when a deadly disease threatens to take her best friend’s life, Brooke tries to convince Kaitlynn to accept a monster of her own: becoming a Zao Duh. 

As a former slave to the Pijawikas, Mirko is driven to protect the innocent at all costs, but he has never faced a foe more formidable than Zladislov. And when the Commission bears down on Brooke, Mirko finds the stream of enemies runs deeper than he ever imagined. 

Buy Now:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

 

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Excerpt:

Brooke

I chase after the vehicles as they tear down the street. Jaren’s bound and gagged in the first one, and Mirko’s bound and gagged inside the one directly in front of me.

I pick up my speed and dig deep to reach all of my Pijawikan strength, but I can’t tap into it right. No matter how hard I try, I can’t flex my Nestati right to jump space and arrive inside one of the cars, let alone go fast enough to touch the bumper. But when the cars accelerate, I’m able to speed up in tandem with them. What the . . . ?

Fear clutches at my heart. Both Jaren and Mirko captured at the same time. How did this happen?

I don’t know—I can’t remember.

I’m confused, frustrated I can’t gain any ground and do something to help them.

I chase and chase after the cars for what feels like hours, never gaining or losing ground, always the same distance between me and the cars.

The next thing I know, I’m in a big, open space.

A warehouse maybe?

Jaren’s tied to a pole holding up a ceiling beam; Mirko’s tied to another one across the room. Both are still gagged. Both look at me with horror in their eyes.

“Which one will it be?” a gravelly voice behind me asks.

I turn to see a man dressed in a sharp, expensive suit, but I can’t make out his features. They’re blurry, or dull, and when I try to focus on his nose or his chin, it swirls and changes and goes blurry again.

“You have to choose. You can only save one,” the faceless man says.

I turn back to Jaren and Mirko, but now men stand about three feet in front of each of them—holding rifles.

My heart stops.

“You have until my count of three to choose which one you will take the bullet for. “One,” he counts. Confusion drowns me.

Can he really do this?

Are the guns loaded?

Will those men really pull the triggers?

I can’t think.

I don’t know what to do.

I glance back and forth between Mirko and Jaren, both of them screaming at me with terrified eyes to save them.

I step toward Jaren to save him.

“Two.”

I hesitate and turn to Mirko, stepping toward him.

“Three.”

The guns go off and bullets tear into Mirko and Jaren at the same time.

I scream until my voice dies.

I can’t move.

Burnt gunpowder lingers in the air.

The gunfire rings in my ears as their bodies hang from the poles, bloody and broken.

I hesitated too long.

I didn’t save either of them.

I open my eyes to darkness.

My heart pounds, and I verge on hyperventilating.

I try to focus, breathing heavily in and out, and soon the moonlight allows the room to take shape. My desk, the closet door, the corner lamp.

Oh, thank God.

It’s only a dream. But that doesn’t calm me in the slightest.

I jump out of bed, run across the room, and throw open the door.

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Author Information

 untitledWebsite:  http://www.angelinekace.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Heather.L.Hildenbrand

Facebook Fan Page:   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Angeline-Kace-YA-Author/122820374454142?fref=ts

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Angeline_Kace

Goodreads:   http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4641669.Angeline_Kace



Number_blog_tour

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Guest Post:

As a fantasy writer, sometimes I get asked, “Where do you come up with all of this stuff?” Though, to be fair, I think every writer gets asked that question a few times in their career. It all boils down to inspiration. Inspiration can strike anywhere and at any time.

For me, I get my inspiration through dreams or when I’m out and about. I’ve always had really vivid dreams that deal with magical realms or special powers. And often times when I’m out at the mall, I don’t really process what’s going on in my surroundings. There’s a good chance that I’ll end up daydreaming. I see people around me and I notice things, often minute things, but it’s sort of all jumbled up and my brain processes it as: that man looks like he could be a villain or I wonder if she has a secret life or that’s an odd looking item, I wonder if it used to belong to a witch and still has some semblance of powers within it.

If I’m suffering from writer’s block, often the inspiration that works best for me is to go hiking. Being surrounded by nothing but trees and natural landscapes is absolutely refreshing. You can just picture elves roaming around and nymphs skipping around to the nearest clearing to pick flowers. The landscape often finds itself back into my works, too. Experiencing the same sounds, lighting, smells, and foliage as my characters helps me with the description and atmosphere and hopefully helps make the world a believable place.

I suppose my brain, and other creative people’s brains for that matter, are just hardwired differently. We see the mundane and turn it into something less mundane. Why can’t pictures move like in Harry Potter and closets take you to a vastly different world where you learn you’re the ruler of a kingdom like in Chronicles of Narnia? Inspiration is everywhere around us. We just have to look and remember that seeing is not always believing.

–Sheenah

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The_NumberThe Number by Sheenah Fritas

Genre: YA fantasy

Kaia disappeared for five years. Now she’s back and her planet is on the brink of war.

The new “Numbers” program, created by the Tueors’ leader, tracks and isolates demigods. Kaia’s friend, Catrina, refuses to take part, and that makes her the most dangerous Number of all.

It’s Kaia’s duty to gather and protect the treasures of the gods. But neither the treasures nor Catrina are what they appear to be.

As the day a dire prophesy foresees draws near, will Kaia reverse the gears of fate, or will everything she’s ever loved be burned away by the flames of war?

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Buy The Book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | iTunes | Smashwords

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About the Author
A neek at heart, Sheenah Freitas has a love for the whimsical and magical. She looks to animated Disney movies and Studio Ghibli films for inspiration because of the innovative twists on fairytales, strong story structures, and character studies. When not writing, you might find her in a forest where she’s yet to find any enchanted castles.

Connect on Social Media:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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And now for the giveaway!!!  Enter to Win:

  • Ebook copies of The Chosen + The Number
  • Your choice of art print by the author
  • Bookmarks

Click HERE to go to the Rafflecopter Giveaway!!!



TourBadge-AnthologyExtravaganza

The Perfect Flaw Anthonlogy Tour!

Genre: Dystopian

Perfect Flaw (editor Robin Blankenship): Readers everywhere are invited to experience adventures of a dystopian nature in the anthology Perfect Flaw, from editor Robin Blankenship! Featuring seventeen speculative fiction tales, spanning many genres, Perfect Flaw explores the subject of societies gone wrong.

From “utopian” societies masking an underlying controlled state, to stories of people fighting back against repression, in hopes of a better world, the flaws that create a dystopian atmosphere are brought to light. Thought-provoking and entertaining, Perfect Flaw will be a welcome addition to any reader’s collection of dystopian literature.

Leslie J Anderson – “Michael’s Gate”
Jason Campagna – “Hope Unknown”
Frank Roger – “Cracks in the Concrete”
Mandi M. Lynch “Under a Pomegranate Sky”
Shaun Avery – “The Job Hunter”
Cathy Bryant – “Cost Benefit Analysis”
Carolyn M. Chang – “Smilers”
SC Langgle – “The Bird Below Ground”
Delphine Boswell – “Tomorrow’s Children”
Tanith Korravai – “Your Comfort is Important to Us”
DeeDee Davies – “The Ultimate Sale”
Ellen Brock – “Useless”
Herika R. Raymer – “Seventh Degree”
H David Blalock – “Guardian”
H.S. Donnelly – “First Head”
Jay Faulkner – “System Error”
Michael O’Connor – “The Choosing”

But it on Amazon:

Paperback | Kindle

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PerfectFlaw-coverGuest Post: Top 5 Ways a Dystopian Society Might be Brought About

By Ellen Brock

Dystopian societies suck. They are these strange fictional places that (unlike Narnia and Hogwarts and the firefly-class spaceship Serenity) we don’t want to live in. We’d probably be too scared to even visit. So naturally we love them, in a morbid sort of way.

There are almost an infinite number of ways in which one of these sucky dystopian societies could be brought about. To put it simply, they happen when emotions are overruled by logic, when practicality trumps empathy, when efficiency is valued over passion, when uniformity is more important than uniqueness, or when mother nature is having a really, really bad day.

So here are my top 5 reasons (in no particular order) a dystopia might be brought about (plus a bonus reason, because I couldn’t choose):

1. Robots

Yes, robots always seem like a good idea, for about five minutes. Then they get super powerful and take over the world and we humans get screwed. Usually we become slaves. Sometimes we just become unnecessary burdens to our mechanical overlords.

Also, sometimes humans create dystopias for robots, but that’s a whole different story.

2. Genetic Testing

What could be better than knowing what you will probably die from? With genetic testing, you can take some pills or get a surgery and your life will be long and happy. But then some government somebody decides genetics are a good way to determine who gets which occupations and you’ve got yourself a caste system based on genetics. Then suddenly you can’t become an astronaut because you’re nearsighted and will probably have a heart attack some day.

3. Viruses

Whether it’s an accidental pandemic or biological warfare, killing most of the population (and/or turning them into zombies) is a pretty good way to create a dystopia. People get quarantined (which never works) and all the important people get flown away in helicopters. Then you either accidentally get quarantined when you’re actually totally healthy or you’ve got to travel around looking for other uninfected survivors to repopulate the planet.

4. Totalitarian Leadership

Those totalitarians, they always think they can make these crazy societies where everyone is repressed and nobody has any rights. The next thing you know you’ve got to send your kids off to kill each other or you’re not allowed to read books. But the good news is that totalitarian leaders are (usually) only human, and you can always overthrow (or kill) a human being.

5. The Eradication of Emotions

Humans have a lot of feelings, and sometimes these feelings are very inconvenient, especially when you want to make a lot of money or take away people’s freedoms. So what’s a fictional leader to do? Take the emotions away of course!  This is the happiest of dystopias because unless you forget to take your pills, you won’t know what you’re missing.

6. (Bonus!) Natural Disasters

This is one type of dystopia that doesn’t have all that much to do with humans. Maybe the sun blows up or a giant meteor destroys 80% of the earth or maybe the ice caps melt and everything is sucked underwater. Whatever the cause, fighting against nature itself can create a pretty frightening dystopia. You can’t just find a cure for the virus or unplug the robots or overthrow your totalitarian leader, you’ve got to dig deeper than that, you’ve got to rebuild with whatever the earth has left for you.

Check out 17 different views of dystopia in the Perfect Flaw (http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Flaw-Robin-Blankenship/dp/1937929116/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368812883&sr=1-1&keywords=perfect+flaw) anthology. My story “Useless” is at the very end.

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Ellen Brock PhotoAbout the Author 

Ellen Brock has loved books since the day she learned to read. She also loves animals (especially dogs and rats), hot sauce, paper crafts, and geocaching. She owns an editing company called Keytop, Inc. (www.keytopservices.com), where she edits manuscripts for established and aspiring authors.

Ellen enjoys sharing writing and editing advice on her blog (https://thewriteditor.wordpress.com) and is currently finishing a novel.

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RobinandAndrewbwEditor Bio

Robin Blankenship

Robin Blankenship, a freelance editor and book reviewer, has a background in teaching and social work.

When not working, or reading, or editing, she can be found at home in Kentucky with her husband, Andrew, and two children, Christian and Beatrix.

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AND, you can enter the tour wide giveaway for the Seventh Star Press Anthology Extravaganza below!  Prizes include:

  • 2 Grand Prizes: Each winner gets a hardcover copy of Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy (never sold ANYWHERE, a true, rare collectible book, only 100 exist!) and $25 Amazon Gift Card (this prize limited to US/Canada residents)
  • 5 Winners get to pick whichever new anthology they would like in softcover! Choose from All 5 books featured on this tour! (this prize limited to US/Canada residents)
  • 10 Winners will get to pick whichever of the five anthologies featured on this tour they would like in eBook format (International)
  • 15 Winners get 2 eBooks of their choice from the SSP Catalog! Any book or anthology! (International)

Click HERE to ENTER this awesome Rafflecopter Giveaway!!

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Perfect Flaw Tour Segment

May 16    Armand Rosamilla, Horror Author     Guest Post

May 17    Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews     Interview

May 19   Angela Meadon Blog    Guest Post

May 20     The FlipSide of Julianne     Guest Post

May 21  The Dan O’Brien Project   Guest Post

May 23  Workaday Reads   Guest Post

May 24   Books, Owls and Tea    Guest Post

May 30  Darlene’s Book Nook  Guest Post

June 1  Readings Sunshine    Review

June 4  Jess Resides Here    Guest Post

June 5  Book Reviews and More    Review

June 6  A Book Vacation     Guest Post  — ME!

June 7     Word to Dream s    Review

June 8   The Witchy Contessa   Review

June 10  WTF Are You Reading    Review

June 12  Bookishly Me    Review

June 14  Sweet Southern Home  Guest Post

June 16   SpecMusicMuse    Review and Interview

June 17  Spellbindings   Guest Post

To see the entire tour schedule for all anthologies, click HERE.

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Social Media Links for Seventh Star Press

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/seventhstarpress

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/7thstarpress

Website:  http://www.seventhstarpress.com

Blog:  http://seventhstarpress.blogspot.com

Contact: Stephen Zimmer at Stephen@tomorrowcomesmedia.com

Or C.C. James at ccjames@seventhstarpress.com



13494365From Goodreads: With power comes enemies. Lots of them.

Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He’s learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can’t seem to afford any allies.

He’s up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait.

Then there’s Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She’s not hostile. She’s bold. Funny. Hot. But she’s got an agenda, too.

With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he’ll have to find someone he can trust…
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Brigid Kemmerer whisked me away in her first novella, Elemental, making me a fan of Michael Merrick from the get go.  In the first full novel of the series, Storm, I fell in love with all the Merrick’s, learning about their abilities and just how difficult their life was trying to be mainstream.  In the novella, Fearless, I was able to see what made Hunter Garrity tick, and I glimpsed a deeper side of him I hadn’t seen before, changing my overall perspective.  Then, in the second full novel, Spark, Gabriel Merrick stole my heart, and I was forever transfixed by his brooding nature as his deep-rooted goodness shown through.  When I read Breathless, the third novella, I learned that looks can be deceiving and Nick’s yearnings and desires follow a different path than that of his brothers.  And now, in Spirit, Hunter Garrity once again takes the forefront, opening his heart and bleeding red among the pages.  And I loved it.  I loved every last minute of it, and of all the books that came before.  Kemmerer is a sheer writing goddess, and her Elemental series is absolutely to die for.  Her characters come alive off the pages and endlessly live among the memories and dreams of her readers. At least, they do in mine.  And I am already eagerly awaiting the next segment in this amazing series.

Hunter Garrity has been a constant in Kemmerer’s fabulous stories since the first full novel, Storm.  We all know him, and at one time or another, we all loved to hate him, but things change, truths are laid bare and, in Spirit, we learn the deep truth about Hunter, about his family, his upbringing, his fears, wants, needs, desires… we learn it all.  And, it’s heartbreaking.

Hunter Garrity is very real.  Yes, the story is fiction, but the way Hunter carries himself, his heartbreaks, and his disposition are all real attributes that bring him to life in a very real sense.  On multiple occasions, while reading, I cried for Hunter—his life is brutal, and to know his background is to understand his past transgressions.  If it were possible, I would reach through the pages and give Hunter a hug because, as those of you who have read this astounding novel already know, this boy needs it more than anyone else.

Kemmerer, the master storyteller that she is, weaves a tale that forces readers to feel deep emotions for Hunter, as well as many of the other characters as the events unfold.  From unbridled love and passion to the deepest regret, fear, and depression, we feel it all right alongside Hunter, and it takes a true literary genius to really take the reader that deep into the story, to make them one with the characters, and that is exactly what Kemmerer does.  I have loved every single one of Kemmerer’s novels to date, but I do believe that Spirit takes the cake.  It’s so poignant and breathtaking that I believe I just might have to sit down and read it again.  Five stars.

5 starsI received an ARC of this novel from Kensington Publishers, via The Midnight Garden Blog Tours and Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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Buy it:

Amazon | B&N | BAM | IndieBound | Kensington Books

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Want to preview this awesome novel BEFORE you buy?  READ THE FIRST CHAPTER NOW:

Spirit – Chapter One – Brigid Kemmerer

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FREE NOVELLA:

Haven’t read any of the books in the Elemental Series?  Want to whet your appetite?  Kensington Publishing Corp. is offering the first novella in the series, Elemental, for FREE through May 31st!!!!! The promo code is: VCARD

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4629194Author Bio:

Brigid Kemmerer was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, and several stops in between, eventually settling near Annapolis, Maryland.

Brigid started writing in high school, and her  first real “novel” was about four vampire brothers causing a ruckus in  the suburbs. Those four brothers are the same boys living in the pages  of The Elemental Series, so Brigid likes to say she’s had four teenage  boys taking up space in her head for the last seventeen years!

Connect with Brigid:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

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A Poll and Giveaway:

TMG blog tours

Visit The Midnight Garden for more information and to follow along with the tour!

ALSO, enter the poll to vote for your favorite Elementals guy, and the one with the most votes will be  featured in a short story written by Brigid!

The poll is located on The Midnight Garden’s Page!

An awesome INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY is also running on The Midnight Garden’s Page, so be sure to hop on over and check it all out!



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Jason S. Walters–A Guest Post

Virtual Tour May 1 to May 31, 2013

JasonSWaltersPhotoMy name is Jason Walters and I have problems with my character.

Okay – that’s not what I mean. I don’t have any problems with my character. Well… not so that most people would throw me out of their house in any case. (Or at least not right away.) My problem lies with the creation of two particular characters from my upcoming novel Nakba: Mitchell Green and Cassidy Brazo. Both are main characters. Both are living in outer space. And both have Down syndrome.

I know, I know: in the future there aren’t supposed to be any people with Down syndrome. They’ve all been cured… or aborted… or, well, they’re just not there. And certainly not trundling happily about in the artificial, distant worlds of outer space, going about their business more-or-less like they do today. And yes: in the distant future of Nakba Down syndrome – indeed, all genetic aberrations and differences – are completely treatable. Yet there are some who have chosen not to be cured, and even to reproduce various variant and different strains of humanity with little concern for their society’s utopian ideas of perfection.

Just like today, actually.

However, as you may of guessed, that’s not the character problem. That’s editorializing. (Which is undoubtedly also a character problem – just not the one I’m having with the novel.) You see, I wanted to write a science fiction novel in which their would be major characters with Down syndrome – not as victims or objects of pity, but as important people performing heroic tasks. I have a daughter with Down syndrome. And I find as she’s growing up that I’m more and more confident in her abilities, and less and less worried about her shortcomings. Which set me asking myself: with all of the advances in medicine and technology today, why couldn’t people like her survive in outer space 100 years from now? Or a 1,000? And even be relatively self-sufficient? If you’re raised in a certain habitat, certain things become second nature. Like not running in front of a car or cutting yourself with a knife.

Or not opening the wrong airlock, for that matter.

Why couldn’t she care passionately about something to fight for it? From my experience with my own child and in meeting other people like her, I see no reason why not. They’re certainly stubborn, opinionated, and foolhardy enough to be heroic. And if they often don’t seem to grasp the deeper meanings of things or complex abstractions … well, since when is having a degree in semiotics a prerequisite for heroism? Sergeant York did okay – and I’m not even certain he could read.

But that’s also not the character problem. That’s digression. (Which is admittedly another one of my character problems.)

Trying to get the inner voices of the characters with Down syndrome right was the real challenge. Crafting the urbane, disillusioned inner voices of the characters that populate the first half of the book was easy. Because I am that person. So that’s not a particular challenge.

But I’m not my daughter. I don’t really know how she thinks. (Though she often surprises me with common sense insights.) So I spent a lot of time worrying about “Goldilocks” stuff: that sounds too smart. That sounds too stupid. It that just right? How do you judge the inner voice of someone whose cognition literally functions differently from yourself? And, with advanced artificial intelligence handling the duties of translation between different peoples, how much do speech impediments and odd sentence structure even matter when expressing oneself?

The inner dialogue of the characters worried me in particular. I took great care to make certain that their spoken words were simple and direct – though not obnoxiously so – and that the two characters got flustered and confused by certain complex concepts and abstract ideas.

But the inner voice of someone whose cognitive processes must by definition be different from your own is a difficult thing to accurately portray, even for a more talented author than myself. For example:

Mitchell nodded slowly, again not really knowing what to make of the woman’s alien glances and gestures. They seemed to be waiting for his permission to proceed. It struck him for the first time that Un-Deux-Trois had no idea he was a Special. This seemed crazy (he looked very much like one after all), until he remembered that they had never actually seen a man before, either. And, really, were his small stature, flat features, and epicanthic folds any more alien to them than the towering height, dark skin, and alien thinness of the Maasai? The women of this sequestered, strange culture had withdrawn not only from the Earth, but from all contact with opposite sex. Which, effectively, put them out of contact with practically everyone. Like himself, they probably had only a vague concept of the complexities of the outside world.

Did I get Mitchell’s clash-of-cultures confusion in dealing with an entire colony whose population is entirely comprised of clones of Monique Wittig correct? (And who wouldn’t be confused?) It’s hard to quantify without having Down syndrome myself. I’ve tried to compensate for this problem somewhat by reading the small library of books actually written by people with Down syndrome (there are four). But, in the end , all I can hope is that I’ve managed to strike a balance – one that is fair to people like my daughter without being absurd.

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Author Bio:

Jason S. Walters is an author, essayist, and publisher best known for running Indie Press Revolution (IPR), a distributor of micro-published roleplaying games. He is also one of a small group of investors that purchased Hero Games in 2001, and serves as its general manager. After owning a San Francisco bike messenger service for 15 years, he and his wife Tina moved to Midian Ranch: a homestead near the town of Gerlach, Nevada. It is also the location of IPR’s warehousing complex. They have a daughter with Down syndrome named Cassidy and animals too numerous to mention.

Blog | Facebook

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Nakba CoverNakba

A thousand years ago humanity’s dissidents fled, leaving behind a peaceful, unified world content to exist in a state of perpetual hedonism. Then a daring escape plunged civilization into chaos, forcing its rulers to expand outward to maintain order. Now all that stands between a newly imperial Earth and the rest of the solar system is a loose coalition of Maasai tribesmen, cloned feminists, shape shifting humannequins, and vengeful Berbers led by the least likely hero in human history: a young woman with Down syndrome and a bad attitude.

TheUnforgivingLandReloadedCoverAn Unforgiving Land Reloaded

In the desert life is hard. It can also be surreal.

In the absence of congestion and convention, imagination takes you by the hand: or the balls.

In this macabre collection of riveting tales, ENnie Award-nominated author Jason S. Walters grabs the reins of storytelling as if it were a wild stallion, leading the reader ever deeper into the physical and spiritual wasteland of the Black Rock Desert.

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Tour Schedule and Activities

May 1 – Read 2 Review – Guest Post

May 2 – Makayla’s Book Reviews – Interview

May 3 – The Dan O’Brien Project – Promo/Excerpt

May 5 – Crossroads Reviews – Review

May 6 – Beauty in Ruins – Guest Post

May 8 – Reading Away the Days – Contest/Giveaway

May 9 – Ian’s Realm – Guest Post

May 10 – Angela Meadon – Interview

May 12 – A Book Vacation – Guest Post

May 14 – Azure Dwarf – Review

May 15 – Book in the Bag – Interview

May 16 – Word to Dreams – Spotlight and Giveaway

May 17 – The FlipSide fo Julianne Guest Post and Excerpt

May 18 – Mom Cat’s Book Blog – Guest Post

May 20 – Lost Inside the Covers – Review

May 21 – I Read a Book Once – Contest/Giveaaway

May 22 – Rachel Tsoumbakos – Review

May 23 – Darlenes Book Nook – Guest Post

May 26 – Bee’s Knees Reviews – Review

May 28 – Once Upon a Time – Guest Post

May 31 – Library Girl Reads and Reviews – Character Post

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Contacts:

Tomorrow Comes Media Contact: Stephen Zimmer email: stephen@tomorrowcomesmedia.com or C.C. James email: ccjames@seventhstarpress.com

JasonSWalters-TourBadge



Blast_from_the_Past_Tour

Guest Post: So Many Murders, So Many Plotlines

By Lauren Carr

Last night, my son brought up a discussion that he and some of his classmates had in school. According to something one of them had read on the Internet (so it must be true), there are only seven basic story plotlines. All of the stories and books written are variations of any of these seven plots. Therefore, my son said with a cocky grin, my books are not original because all of the basic plotlines have already been written.

Stab me in the heart, why don’t you? Writers are always striving for new ideas or new twists to old ideas.

As a mystery writer, I confess that I do work off of one basic plotline: commit murder, search for clues, piece together the clues, identify the killer, catch the killer. Hopefully, my main characters can have some fun and adventure along the way.

Now, this is not to be confused with being a formula writer, which I believe is what my son was insinuating. Writers who use formulas work almost from a template, not unlike an administrative assistant will use a Word Doc template for a letter: para 1 (introduction), para 2 & 3 (message), para 4 (closing).

While the basic plotline for murder mysteries may be the same, the genre has come a long way, baby. Since Edgar Allen Poe’s The Purloin Letter, the murder mystery genre has grown and branched and sprouted new sub-genres: thriller, suspense, cozy, romance-mystery, medical-mystery, courtroom-mystery, hobby-cozy, etc. As a writer or a reader, you name what you like or what you don’t like and you can find it in this genre if you hunt hard enough.

The twists and turns that a murder investigation can go are as numerous as the setting (small town/big city), motives, weapons, and suspects.

One website I found listed eighteen common motives for murder from money to jealousy to desire for fame to survival. We aren’t even talking about the less common ones: to benefit someone else. An example is bumping off someone in order to have a loved one inherit.

In my latest Mac Faraday Mystery (Blast from the Past), Mac Faraday has to check off a few of these motives when looking at multiple deaths at a café. One of the victims is a major mob boss. The obvious conclusion is that he was the intended victim. Or was he. There are other victims in the café. Maybe it was the FBI agent working undercover. Maybe he or one of the other victims was the target and the mob boss was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Even if Tommy Cruz was the intended victim, what was the motive? Revenge for a past crime? Or could it be the thirst for power, in order to let the second in command move up the ladder. Or survival? Could someone on his hit list have decided to take him out first?

Weapons: Used to be knives, guns, and poisoning with arsenic or strychnine were the standard weapons for murder. I remember reading a mystery that was written years ago where the detective concluded that the killer was a woman because the weapon was poison. Such sexism would not fly anymore.

Do you want your victim to drop dead instantly or do you want a delayed reaction? Choose your poison wisely.

Yes, the genre has really changed since the basic plotline was created.

Old school murder mysteries used to have the mystery end with identifying the killer, who, in the face of all the evidence against him or her, breaks down and confesses. However, in recent years, readers have become so savvy about the justice side of things, that it is not enough for the detective to simply identify the killer. How many cases have made the news of known killers walking free because of a mess up by the investigating officer violating a suspect’s right, evidence being compromised, or some other legal loophole or twist by the defense attorney?

No, now mystery writers have to be on top of how the legal system works. It is not enough to identify the killer. The detective also has to catch him in such a way that there is justice in the end. The reader has to close the book knowing that the killer is going to jail for a very long time.

Yes, maybe my son is right in that there are seven basic plotlines. Maybe at the very root of a book or story, this is the case.

When it comes to a murder mystery, the possibilities are endless if you use your imagination. In the hands of an imaginative writer, anything can sprout from those roots.

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Book Spotlight: Blast From the Past

Blast_from_the_PastThe Past Comes Back with a Blast!

In Blast from the Past, Mac Faraday finds himself up to his eyeballs in mobsters and federal agents.

After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, mobster Tommy Cruze arrives in Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise the execution of the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday!

Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town of Spencer, Maryland, things may be hotter than even he can handle.

In this fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mysteries, readers learn more about Archie Monday’s past in a flash—as in a gun fight when the syndicate comes to town. “Readers love to be surprised,” mystery author Lauren Carr says. “In Blast from the Past, they are going to be surprised to discover the secret of Archie Monday’s past, which threatens her and Mac’s future.”

Blast from the Past also takes the Mac Faraday Mysteries to a new level as his relationship with Archie Monday moves onto a whole new level. “I do listen to readers,” Carr explains. “They have been clamoring for Mac and Archie to get together for three books.”

What about Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s canine inheritance—the only German shepherd to be dishonorably discharged from the United States Army? “It’s not a Mac Faraday Mystery without Gnarly,” Carr promises. “Let’s just say Gnarly kicks things up a notch in his own way.”

Available through: CreateSpace, Ingram, Baker & Taylor,
Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, and Everywhere Fine Books are Sold

ISBN: 0985726776 • ISBN-13: 9780985726775
Pub. Date: January 11, 2013 • Trade Paperback/Kindle • $13.99 (Print)/$0.99 (EBook)

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About the Author:

Lauren_CarrLauren Carr
Author/Publishing Management

Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award.

Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Blast from the Past is the fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series. The next installment in the Mac Faraday series will be released in October of this year. Released September 2012, Dead on Ice introduces a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. The second installment in the Lovers in Crime series will be out in 2013.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers

Ferry, WV.

Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:
E-Mail: writerlaurencarr@comcast.net
Website: http://acornbookservices.com/  and   http://mysterylady.net/
Blog: Literary Wealth: http://literarywealth.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991
Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries

Lovers in Crime Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/LoversInCrimeMysteries?ref=ts&fref=ts
Acorn Book Services Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AcornBookServices?ref=hl

Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie



ImitationFrom Goodreads:

Everyone is exactly like me.
There is no one like me.
The rough fabric of my cotton nightgown chafes so I lie very still. They say my discomfort comes from being built like one accustomed to niceties. How is that fair when I myself have never experienced anything but copies of the real thing?
My entire life is an imitation.
I am an Imitation.
I’ve been here five years. Training. Preparing. Waiting.
And now I have a letter.
My assignment has begun.
I am a prisoner.
I am not Raven Rogen.
I am here to die.

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Though the idea of clones is nothing new, Hildenbrand has created a completely unique storyline, giving an old idea new flight.  Imitation follows the life, or lack thereof, of Ven, a scientifically engineered “product” created to serve her authentic if the need ever arises.  What’s different here, though, is the fact that Ven and her friends know they are not “human.”  They’ve been told this from the beginning, when they first awoke as an imitation, and I found this aspect very interesting.  Knowing your purpose is to serve another changes things, quite literally.  The imitations have also been told they cannot feel emotions like love and sorrow, which further adds to Ven’s belief that she’s not human and, therefore, expendable.  As the plot unfolds, throwing Ven into the realm of the living, impersonating her authentic, Raven, in order to draw out a threat against Raven’s life, Ven must make the choice to either fulfill her purpose or to fight back.  Either way, especially with the kill switch in her arm and a growing love for bodyguard Linc, the going will not be easy.

I really liked that, unlike every other novel or movie I’ve seen concerning clones, the imitations in Hildenbrand’s novel are not just meant to be harvested for their parts should their authentic die.  Instead, these authentics know they’ll serve a purpose on the outside, and they’re trained in combat, are physically fit, and are ready for anything, because their purpose is quite broad—from total assimilation of the authentic’s life, to acting as an expendable decoy, to being used for parts, the options are endless.

I loved Ven’s struggle.  As soon as she’s on the outside, her “life” is thrown upside down.  The constant fear of death and fulfilling her purpose, along with the close calls, creates much anticipation for the reader.  I was extremely worried for Ven, and I couldn’t believe that Raven’s father, Titus, could be so cruel, continually taunting Ven with the threat of the kill switch—either die by his hand, or that of Raven’s attackers.  I can’t imagine being in her shoes.

Likewise, there is a mystery afoot.  Who is trying to kill Raven in the first place, and why?  How is Raven’s father, Titus, in cahoots with the creation of imitations?  And, why are more and more imitations suddenly flooding the city?  All these questions lead up to some awesome answers, twisting all we thought we knew and presenting a completely different picture, while some of these answers leave us with even more questions… especially as Hildenbrand leaves readers with a pretty big cliffhanger that left me yelling, that’s it?!

This is a great read that I highly recommend.  The writing is as beautiful as the cover.  Four stars.

4 stars

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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And now for an excerpt!!!

***Everyone is exactly like me.

There is no one like me.

I wrestle with these contradicting truths most nights while the rest of them sleep. Tonight is worse because Marla has left me a note to see her in the morning. No one sees Marla and comes back. Lonnie reminds me of this after she snatches the note out of my shaking hand and reads it for Ida, who promptly bursts into tears. No one speaks after that as we lie in our bunks counting the breaths until lights out.

In the bunk above me, I can hear Lonnie breathing steadily in and out. She’s not worrying herself out of a good night’s sleep. She’s not the one going to see Marla. Below me, Ida is quiet. I suspect she is awake, worrying, but I don’t call out. There is no talking after lights out, and even whispers carry in the sleeping room.

The sleeping room is a long rectangle with high ceilings and a bad echo. The walls are lined with triple-level bunk-beds. Everyone here is part of a trio. Lonnie says it’s because three’s a crowd. It creates diversity and therefore animosity. It discourages bonding that happens when there are only two. Ida tells her she’s wrong because the three of us have bonded just fine. I see both points. No one else seems as close as we are. But then no other trio has lasted this long.

I’ve been with Lonnie and Ida since I began. Most others have lost at least one of their threesome to a note from Marla, only to have them replaced by a stranger. Ages vary in Twig City, but the children are kept elsewhere so most new additions come in looking aged at least sixteen human years. The oldest I’ve seen is somewhere around fifty. There is no rhyme or reason to how long you’ll stay once you’re here. Could be a week, could be a year. I’ve been here five years. Training. Preparing. Waiting.

And now I have a letter.

The rough fabric of my cotton nightgown chafes so I lie very still and let my mind race. They say my discomfort comes from being built like one accustomed to niceties. How is that fair when I have never experienced anything but copies of the real thing? My entire life is an imitation.

I am an Imitation.

The constant hum of the building is annoying tonight. I’ve never experienced a moment of my existence without it. From the time the tubes were removed from my throat and air was forced into and out of my lungs, until my petri-grown organs learned to contract on their own, the humming overhead has been constant. They say it is the sound of life being poured through plastic piping and into the tiny tube-grown humans housed downstairs. Any other night, the humming is nothing more than white noise. Tonight it’s not a comfort. Nothing is.

All I can think of is Marla. And what comes after.***

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And now for the GIVEAWAY!!

Heather is giving away an eBook copy of this awesome read to one lucky winner!

To enter my giveaway, you must:

-Be 13 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)

-Agree to HONESTLY REVIEW the novel via a blog (if you have one), or Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or any other media format you use for book reviews

-Fill in the mandatory question on rafflecopter (extra entries optional)

Click here to go to the Rafflecopter entry form!

This contest is open internationally and will end at 12:01am EST on March 27th. Please only enter once. The winners will be announced later on March 27th, and will receive email notifications later that day! Please read my giveaway policy.  Good luck!

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About Heather Hildenbrand:

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. She now lives in coastal VA, a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean, with her two adorable children. She works from home, part time, as a property manager and when she’s not furiously pounding at the keyboard, or staring off into space whilst plotting a new story, she’s lying on the beach, soaking in those delicious, pre-cancerous rays.

Heather loves Mexican food, hates socks with sandals, and if her house was on fire, the one thing she’d grab is her DVR player.

You can find out more about her and her books at www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com

Or stalk her here:

Facebook

Facebook Fan Page

Twitter

Goodreads

Newsletter

Heather is a co-founder of Accendo Press, a publishing group she operates with fellow authors: Angeline Kace and Jennifer Sommersby. Accendo (a-CH-endo), A Latin word, means “to kindle, illuminate, inflame, or set fire.” This is something Accendo strives to do inside a reader’s imagination with every title released. For a complete list of titles and author bios, visit www.accendopress.com.

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Between Dark and Light by D.A. Adams

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Between Dark and Light Synopsis

The stakes are higher than ever in the fourth installment of the popular dwarven saga!

The Great Empire has surrounded the Kiredurks and are preparing to conquer the kingdom, but unknown to them, Kwarck, the mysterious hermit of the plains, has his own plan in action.

To the east, he has summoned an elven army and charged Crushaw with leading them into battle. To the south, Roskin will gather an army from the fractured Ghaldeon lands. But to the west, an ancient and powerful evil stirs.

The Great War is about to errupt, if Roskin can overcome the Dark One…

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Excerpt from Between Dark and Light: From Chapter 9 – “Unleash the Dark One”

Bordorn awoke to the smell of fish frying. He sat up and saw Roskin at the fire, sprinkling fresh herbs over the skillet. The other two still slept, so Bordorn rose quietly and moved closer to his oldest friend.

“I woke early and caught these in the stream,” Roskin said, flipping one of the fillets. “And I found these herbs along the bank. Thought I’d surprise you all with a fresh breakfast.”

“You okay, Pepper Beard?”

“Yeah. Why?” Roskin asked, turning another.

“You were acting pretty odd last night.”

“Really?”

“Like you had a fever or something.”

“I feel great. Haven’t slept that sound my whole life.”

“I’ll rouse the others so we can get going.”

BDaL-Cover_FINAL-LargerRoskin nodded at him and smiled. Bordorn wasn’t sure which was more odd, how Roskin had acted the previous night or how he was acting now, but he woke the guide and Krondious and told them about the fish. They rose from their blankets, and Roskin served each a plate. Bordorn tasted the fresh meat and couldn’t believe how delicious it tasted.

“Where’d you learn to cook like this?” he asked.

“Just picked it up, I guess,” Roskin said before taking a bite.

“Well, I have to say,” the guide said. “This is delicious.”

“Ma’am, you and I got off to a bad start. Please, forgive my rudeness. I was impatient and took it out on you.”

The guide accepted his apology, and all four ate their fish slowly, savoring each bite. When they finished, they packed the campsite, doused the fire, and soldiered on. Roskin walked beside the guide, asking her about the area’s history and her life. Bordorn walked between them and Krondious, watching his friend closely. With all that had happened in Kehldeon, he already felt on guard, but with Roskin acting so peculiar, he was certain nothing good would come of this task. Part of him wanted to turn them all around and abandon the quest, but they needed the troops, and he knew Roskin wouldn’t turn back.

For five more days, they marched without incident, and Roskin showed no more signs of the fever. If anything, he was more pleasant and well-mannered than Bordorn had ever seen, offering to cook each meal and filling their waterskins when they ran low. By afternoon of the fifth day, they reached the base of Mount Delkhun, and the guide showed them the trail leading southwest to where the problem existed. She explained that she would go no further and wished them luck. Roskin handed her five gold coins for her trouble, and she stared at the money with wonder.

“Well, I sure was wrong about you,” she said, stuffing the coins in her pocket. “Please, be careful. There’s real danger up there.”

“You be careful heading home,” Roskin said. “Maybe we’ll meet again.”

She shook their hands and turned east, marching steadily without looking back. Bordorn looked up the trail she had pointed out, but the way it curved, he couldn’t see more than a few hundreds yards. Roskin moved beside him and asked if he were ready.

“What do you think’s up there?” Bordorn asked.

“Shadow and rumor, my friend. Nothing more.”

“All the same,” Krondious chimed in. “We should arm ourselves.”

“Are you two scared of dragons,” Roskin chuckled, fastening his swords to his waist. Once they were secure, he slid his axes into the slits on his backpack.

“I’m not scared of anything,” Krondious snapped, hoisting his double axe over his shoulder. “But I ain’t getting caught unarmed, either.”

Bordorn strapped on his sword before slipping his shield onto his left arm. When he was finished adjusting the straps, the three of them began up the trail. The first thing Bordorn noticed was all the terraces on this slope had been long abandoned. Any built of wood were completely gone, rotted into soil, leaving only odd shapes on the terrain. The stone ones remained but in varying degrees of ruin. Most of the walls had collapsed outward from decades of neglect and were overgrown with trees and underbrush. As much as the functional terraces had filled Bordorn with pride, these filled him with sadness and a deep longing to restore them.

The trail climbed steeply and was overgrown with raspberries. The sharp thorns scratched their exposed skin, and each hacked at the stalks with their blades as they went. Roskin led the way, followed by Bordorn, and then Krondious, who guided the uneasy horse. After a mile, they were soaked with sweat and stopped in a small clearing to catch their breath and rest their legs. As he took a drink from his waterskin, Bordorn noticed that no sounds came from the forest. He looked at Roskin, who seemed relaxed and nonchalant, and then at Krondious, who appeared uneasy.

“The last time I heard a forest this quiet,” Krondious muttered. “I got jumped by rock wolves.”

“We probably startled everything,” Roskin said, shrugging.

“Let’s stay alert,” Bordorn said, stroking his beard.

They resumed the hike, and Bordorn spotted honeysuckle on the ground. Reminded of his adolescence in the valley, he reached out and plucked a blossom from a vine and sucked the nectar from the flower.

“What’s that?” Roskin asked.

“Honeysuckle.” Bordorn said. “Try it.”

“Ha, that’s pretty good,” Roskin said, dropping the blossom and plucking another.

They kept marching, and Roskin and Bordorn occasionally plucked a flower and drank the nectar. After a few minutes, Krondious spoke:

“I spent several years in the forest, and something’s odd about this honeysuckle.”

“What’s that?” Bordorn asked, looking at the vines on the ground. They appeared normal.

“They usually grow up, wrapping around trees and strangling them, but these all sprawl along the ground. Not a single one is climbing anything.”

“Hmmm, that is odd,” Bordorn said.

“Look at these,” Roskin said, pointing to an area several feet ahead.

On the edge of the pass, a cluster of vines sprouted from the earth. Each base was as thick as Krondious’s arms, and for dozens of feet in each direction, the brown stalks spread along the ground like long tentacles. In all his years in the valley, Bordorn had never seen such a menacing cluster of honeysuckle. The horse bristled behind him, and Krondious tried to soothe it. From the corner of his eye, he thought he saw one of the vines move.

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Synopsis on the Rest of the Brotherhood of Dwarves Series Novels:

Cover 1.inddThe Brotherhood of Dwarves

The dwarven saga begins… Roskin, heir to the throne of a remote, peaceful kingdom of dwarves, craves excitement and adventure. Outside his own kingdom, in search of fortune and glory, he finds a much different world, one divided by racial strife and overrun by war. The orcs to the south want to conquer all dwarves and sell them as slaves.

The humans to the east want to control the world’s resources. Caught in the middle, Roskin finds himself chased by slave traders and soldiers alike as he discovers that friendship is the best fortune of all. Just when he thinks he has triumphed, an act of betrayal sends him into bondage.

His only hope of escape is the faltering courage of a disgraced warrior whose best days are behind him…

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RedSkyAtDawnCoverRed Sky at Dawn

The dwarven saga grows… Crushaw, Molgheon, and Vishghu have liberated the Slithesythe Plantation. They must make their way to safe lands before being caught and returned to certain bondage.

Across the orc lands, they and Roskin recruit and train an army of freed slaves, for between them and freedom are thousands of well-armed, well-trained orc warriors. Near the Pass of Hard Hope, in the shadows of the eastern mountains, they make their desperate stand.

But even if they succeed, Roskin’s ordeal is far from finished, as he is haunted by visions of something awful back in Dorkhun…

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TheFallofDorkhunCoverThe Fall of Dorkhun

The dwarven saga continues…

The Fall of Dorkuhn, the third installment in The Brotherhood of Dwarves series, continues the adventures of the dwarf Roskin. Having escaped slavery, and survived the Battle for Hard Hope, Roskin returns home to a kingdom divided by war with the ogres.

On one side, his father desires to restore peace. On the other, Master Sondious, hungry for revenge after having been crippled, seeks to escalate the aggression. Roskin and his friends hasten to the capital, to make a desperate attempt to resolve the growing rift, but unknown to the dwarves, new and powerful menaces threaten to destroy the entire kingdom…

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DAADAMS-FullResD.A. Adams Bio

D. A. Adams is a novelist, a farmer, a professor of English, and in my estimation, a true gentleman. His breakout fantasy series, The Brotherhood of Dwarves, transcends genre and illuminates the human soul in all its flashes of glory and innumerable failings.

He is active on the Con circuit and has contributed writing to literary as well as fine art publications, and maintains his active blog, “The Ramblings of D. A. Adams”. He lives and works in East Tennessee, and is the proud father of two boys, Collin and Finn.

His ability as a storyteller breathes life into every character, and his craftsmanship as a writer makes these stories about relationships; human or otherwise.

D.A. Adams Links:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authordaadams

Twitter: https://twitter.com/biggunsalex

Website/Blog: http://www.daadams.com/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1418876.D_A_Adams

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AND now for the GIVEAWAY!

Seventh Star Press is giving away the full set of current Brotherhood of Dwarves eBooks (for either Kindle or Nook) to TWO winners!  That’s ALL 4 titles in eBook format!  How cool is that? (International)

AND, one lucky winner will win a paperback of Between Dark and Light (U.S. Only)

Click this Rafflecopter entry link to enter!

Seventh Star Press Links

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Website: http://www.seventhstarpress.com

Blog: http://seventhstarpress.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/7thstarpress

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/seventhstarpress



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I am extremely excited to be hosting M.R. Merrick on the blog today for his Release tour, and we’ve got a special treat for you! Riley, Chase’s father (in the the Protector Series), is also making a special appearance in order to give us some insight into his version of things… so, without further ado, here’s Riley:

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As I sit here, writing this, I can feel the dagger’s energy rolling through my veins. It stares at me, gleaming in the light and pouring its power into my soul. I can feel the darkness it carries, but my will is stronger. I will overcome it. I must. I need its power to create peace.

Man casts its hate across the world. They invade one another’s countries, killing their own kind for oil, money, power, and greed. Little do they know, none of it matters. In the shadows of their great wars is something bigger; something more powerful: demons, monsters, darkness. It swells in the moonlight and drags it’s blade across innocence.

For decades I’ve watched the blood of my comrades’ spill in the name of this war. It stains the pavement and turns black in the moonlight. But I am not without guilt. I’ve taken my own share of lives. I’ve looked into the eyes of true evil and I’ve turned it to ash. But it has achieved nothing. I’m only one man. I was, only one man.

I never believed in the goodness of demons, but the Brothers showed me the error in my ways. They saved me and unveiled a new beginning—the beginning of truth. The Brothers are like me; they want to put an end to all of this. They want all creatures to live together in harmony. They want the innocent to be safe and the evil to be persecuted. And they want to help me do it. They showed me the power I needed, and they’ve helped me obtain it. Even with just a small portion inside of me, I can feel the difference I’m making. It’s a physical presence that pulses in my soul. Even if my son thinks otherwise.

Chase has passion but he is weak. He is not strong enough to stand beside me. If it were not for the Brothers’ insistence that we need him alive, I would destroy him. The boy who was once my son is now only a creature who rejects amity. He is my own flesh and blood, but he is blinded by hate that he masks as honor. Chase believes that in stealing their freedom, I am harming everyone, but what he doesn’t see is the good it will bring. He sees me as a monster, but he does not understand. There is no sacrifice too large to achieve true peace. When I rule over all the dimesnsions, all creatures will bow to me; humans, demons, and hunters alike. And with their loyalty, I will end their hate. I will end their suffering. I will end their wars. I will guide them through the valley of darkness, and show them the serenity they deserve.

I have Ithreal’s blessing, I have his dagger, and soon, I will have his power. I will not let Chase’s hatred get in my way. He rejects peace, he accepts hate, and he breeds fear. He is no longer my son. He cannot be. Chase is my enemy. Anyone who stands in the way of peace is my enemy. And my enemies will be struck down. Through death, they will be cleansed of their sins by the hands of a new god. They will be cleansed by me.

–RILEY

WOW–this kind of changes some of my impressions of Riley, to say the least!

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And now for the GIVEAWAY!!

M.R. Merrick is giving away LOTS of prizes, to 28 different winners, to be EXACT!

 

Grande Prize Pack (3 Winners)

3x Signed  paperbacks (Exiled, Shift, Release)

3x  Signed 8×10 posters (Exiled, Shift, Release)

5x Bookmarks

1x Notebook (Winner’s choice of cover)

1x Magnet

01 - Grande Prize - Release Blog Tour

 

Runner-up Prize Pack (5 Winners)

1x Signed  paperback (Winner’s choice of Exiled, Shift, or Release) with signed poster

1x  bookmark (Winner’s choice)

1x  Magnet

Your Choice

 

Secondary Prizes A (10 Winners)

Release eBooks

04 - Secondary Prize A - Release eBook - Release Blog tour

 

Secondary Prize B (10 Winners)

1x bookmark (winner’s choice)

1x The Protector magnet05 - Secondary Prize B - Swag Pack - Release Blog tour

Winners  will be chosen as follows: First 3 names drawn from  Rafflecopter will get the grand prize. The following 5  names get the runner-up prize. The following  10 names win ebook copies of Release, and the final 10 names win the swag pack.

 There  will also be multiple opportunities to win signed paperbacks, signed  posters, notebooks, swag packs, and bookmarks throughout the tour on  both Twitter (@MRMerrick) and M.R. Merrick’s Facebook Fan Page.

To enter, click this Rafflecopter Entry Form and fill it in (the blog that sent you is A BOOK VACATION)! !  There are extra entry options for those interested!

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Why Write About Gods in Fantasy?

by Gwen Perkins, author of the Artifacts of Empire fantasy series

One of the aspects of my fantasy series, Artifacts of Empire, that has been commented on many times is the fact that the primary culture featured in the story is one in which the people believe that they have killed their god.  Although this plays a lesser part in my first novel, The Universal Mirror, it comes into play in the sequel, The Jealousy Glass, as the characters travel to a foreign land where the inhabitants possess a strong religious culture themselves.

Why write about gods or the lack thereof?  Personally I feel that although spirituality is a difficult thing to write about, it should not be ignored in any novel.  Humanity is set apart by its desire to understand where it came from and to seek out the unknowable.

That quest does not have to focus around organized religion.  I’m fortunate in that I spend my time with a wide variety of people, who practice a variety of beliefs.   From them, I’ve learned to respect religion but also to respect those who aren’t religious.  The Jealousy Glass was born in part from my desire to communicate the need for tolerance to others and my own lack of understanding about what it would be like to be a part of a system that didn’t believe in a higher power.

Religion doesn’t in and of itself denote morality—it is possible to be a deeply moral person and not believe in a god or gods.  It does, however, make it easier when writing a fantasy novel, I found, to have that as a basis for culture.

Consider for a moment all of the things in Western culture that are influenced by religion.  The name that you bear, the curses that you use, the references, even slang… many of these have some basis in faith.  It makes it difficult to work around if you’re writing about a culture that has no god but it can also be rewarding.

In the case of my own series, Artifacts of Empire, I perpetually have to recall that, for the Cercians, God himself is an artifact to them.  While religion is important to other nations in the series, it takes on a different meaning to a group of people that has deliberately forsaken their own.  Their basis for right and wrong isn’t based on belief in an afterlife but in the importance of a life well lived in this one.  It is a challenge but one that forced me to examine my own life in a context that I would not ordinarily have undertaken.

 Gwen Perkins is the author of fantasy novels, The Universal Mirror and The Jealousy Glass (Hydra Publications, 2012). She can be contacted through email at gwen@ironangel.net.

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The Jealousy Glass

BOOK BLURB:

“We came to stop a war before it came to Cercia.  And it seems the war has come to us.”

Responsibility and patriotism spur Cercia’s new leader, Quentin, to protect his beloved country at all costs and he assigns Asahel and Felix to serve as ambassadors and secret agents to Anjdur. Their journey quickly turns awry and Asahel and Felix barely escape a devastating shipwreck, walk a tightrope of political tension, and rescue an empress before they learn they must face an enemy closer to them than they thought.

Will they be able to uncover an assassin’s plot before it’s too late? Will Asahel be able to unearth a secret that is vital to their mission? Will Cercia survive its own revolution? In The Jealousy Glass, Perkins boldly continues a series of unforgettable characters and events that will leave you begging for more.

AMAZON PURCHASE LINKS:

The Jealousy Glasshttp://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AFESVVQ

The Universal Mirror:  http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Mirror-Gwen-Perkins/dp/0615596517

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GIVEAWAY:

In conjunction with the release of The Jealousy Glass, Gwen is running a giveaway for an autographed, first edition paperback of The Universal Mirror through Goodreads at: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/37726-the-universal-mirror.  This Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!!!

The giveaway officially ends on December 21, 2012—the author’s birthday and supposed date for the oncoming apocalypse.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gwen Perkins has always regarded the deep rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula as the one place that she feels most at home. Gwen grew up in small towns across the Pacific Northwest, going to slug races and strawberry festivals when she wasn’t scribbling on any scrap of paper she could come by. She boasts the dubious distinction of going to a public school with only eight students, learning Irish sea chanteys from a man who sang with the Clancy Brothers, and catching tadpoles during classes.

Her adult life is generally just about as much fun.

She lives in the City of Destiny (better known as Tacoma, Washington). Her hobbies include wandering beaches, baking pies and lampworking. In between all of this, Gwen has written two novels in the Artifacts of Empire series: The Universal Mirror and The Jealousy GlassThe Universal Mirror has been nominated for a 2013 Endeavour Award.

She is presently at work on future novels in the Artifacts of Empire series while working on another series in collaboration with Wilson Fabián Saravia.

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SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Website & Blog: http://artifactsofempire.com

Twitter: @helleder

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gwen-Perkins/227456783969902

G+: http://gplus.to/gwenperkins



 I’m very excited to be hosting Michael West on the blog today as part of his Spook House Blog Tour!  So, without further ado:

Write Like a Fan

By Michael West

Why does the stuff I write connect with people?  I really don’t know, and I still find it hard to believe.  The only answer that comes to mind is the fact that I write like a fan.  I create stories that I’d like to read, movies that play out in my head that I wish Hollywood still made but no longer seems interested in.  When I sit down at my keyboard, I’m still that wide-eyed child searching for the next creepy thrill, the next heart-stopping jolt, the next rollercoaster ride.  I respect the genre, and from what people tell me, it shows.

You see, I’ve been a Horror Fan all my life.  When I was a child, I used to trick babysitters into letting me stay up late so that I could watch classic Hammer films and reruns of Night Gallery.  I had a room that was plastered with posters of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Pumpkinhead, Creepshow, and Phantasm.  I always knew when the next issue of Fangoria would hit the stands.  And when I wasn’t standing in line for the newest Horror film, you would find me with my nose in a book by Clive Barker or Stephen King.  Yes, I didn’t just love Horror growing up…I lived it.

Now as an adult, I still have the posters; they hang in my office–in neat frames instead of simply being tacked to the walls.  And I still find myself staying up late to watch reruns of Night Gallery, but now it is with kids of my own.  And strangest of all, I’m actually finding other people with their noses in books by Michael West.

I still can’t get used to that.  I remember sitting in darkened theaters, watching movie stars up there on the screen, and now…to have those same stars come to my table at conventions and tell me how much they enjoy my work.  Well, let’s just say that my life has become quite surreal.

When I write, I write as a fan of the genre I love so much, a genre that has provided me with joy and thrills.  I write what I want to read.  And it tickles me to no end that others want to read it too.

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Synopsis of Spook House:

There are some places in this world that go far beyond any normal definition of “haunted.” These places are so evil, so diabolical, that they become gateways to Hell itself. The Fuller Farm is one such place.

It is said that old man Fuller conducted unspeakable acts, blood rituals and human sacrifices, all in an attempt to gain the ultimate knowledge, the ultimate power. And then, he was killed–horribly murdered on his own lands, leaving the house to stand as a vacant monument to his wickedness. But once a door is opened, it can never really be closed.

Now, the stars are right. The gateway is ready to once more unleash unspeakable horror upon the town of Harmony, Indiana. And this will be one Halloween that they will never forget!

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About the Author:

Michael West is the critically-acclaimed author of The Wide Game, Cinema of Shadows, Skull Full of Kisses, and The Legacy of the Gods series. He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, their bird, Rodan, their turtle, Gamera, and their dog, King Seesar.

Every Halloween, he turns his garage into a haunted house.

Check out Michael on Facebook or on his blog!

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Tour Dates October 25-November 27:

10/25 Book Lover’s Hideaway – Guest Post

10/25 Great Minds Think Aloud – Review

10/26 Bookishly Me – Review

10/27 Red Headed Bookworm -Excerpt

10/28 Book and Movie Dimension — Review

10/29 Azure Dwarf Horde of Science Fiction & Fantasy – Review/Giveaway

10/30 Reading Aways the Days -Interview/Giveaway

10/31 Ginger Nuts of Horror – Review

11/1    WTF Are You Reading? – Review

11/2    Darlenes Book Nook – Guest Post

11/3    JeanzBookReadNReview – Excerpt

11/4    The Independent Review – Review

11/5    Fictional Candy – Character Post

11/6    Book Den – Review

11/7    Vilutheril Reviews – Excerpt

11/8   Beauty in Ruins – Review

11/9    Beagle Book Space – Review

11/10 Bunny’s Review – Review

11/11 Splash of Our Worlds – Review

11/12 A Book Vacation -Guest Post

11/13 A Daydreamer’s Thoughts – Review

11/14 Crossroads Reviews – Review

11/15 Bee’s Knees Reviews – Review

11/16 From the Bootheel Cotton Patch – Excerpt

11/17 Sheila Deeth – Review

11/18 Kayla’s Reads and Reviews – Excerpt

11/19 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia – Review

11/20 I Smell Sheep – Review

11/21 Ali’s Bookshelf – Excerpt

11/22 Full Moon Bites – Excerpt

11/24 Stuck in Books – Guest Post

11/26 The Rabid Fox  – Review/Interview

11/27 Jess Resides Here – Excerpt

Spook House by Micheal West

Presented by Seventh Star Press Tour page: http://www.seventhstarpress.com/blog-tours/spook-house-blog-tour/



H. David Blalock, the author of Traitor Angel, stopped by the blog today to discuss the idea of “escape,” and I’m so excited to share it with you! So, without further ado:

We Need the Escape

Books. Movies. Television. Radio. We need to be entertained, to be diverted from the mundane demands placed upon us by the world at large. For that entertainment we are willing to part with time and money, sometimes more than we can really afford. We expect that entertainment to be satisfying, a real value for the sacrifice. As writers, we need to honor that expectation.

When I write, I write to touch a nerve. In my opinion, good writing entertains the reader but great writing moves the reader emotionally. It makes the reader think, immerses them in the story so that they become a part of a world so different from their own existence and so engaging that they can forget their troubles for a few minutes or a few hours then come back to the real world with a different perspective – with a better understanding of themselves, or of their place in life.

This is ambitious, I know. That a mere book should change a person’s take on life in general seems ludicrous, but there have been those works in the past that moved me and opened new vistas to my imagination. They inspired me to see the world differently and take that new perspective onto the written page, transferring it into images and thoughts and stories. I became a writer because of what I read. I wouldn’t have done so otherwise.

I value economy of words. I once heard that Hemingway would spend days considering the right word to use for a particular thought. Whether or not that is true, I believe it has merit. The tools of my trade are words, and I intend to use them sparingly and only after careful measurement. I intend to keep them in good shape, well-oiled, sharp, and bright. I intend the reader to be able to see themselves in their mirrored surfaces. In the finished work, the readers will find themselves and I will not be visible. The craftsman should never be the focus of the work.

— H. David Blalock

Synopsis of Traitor Angel:

In Traitor Angel, the second book of the Angelkiller Triad, the war between The Army of Light and The Enemy continues behind the scenes.

Unknown to the general population, the battle for control of humanity is heating up.

the world outside draws closer to Armageddon.

As Mason and his friends pursue their campaign against Dorian Azrael’s global megacorporation, Andlat Enterprises, the stakes get higher with each desperate foray into the enemy’s computers. They are fated to lose one of their number and gain an unlikely ally, but any advantage they gain could be fleeting at best.

If they fail, it could mean the end of The Army and all resistance to the forces of Darkness.

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About the Author:

H. David Blalock has been writing speculative fiction for nearly 40 years. His work has appeared in print and online in over three dozen publications, spanning every format from short stories to novels, non-fiction articles to screenplays. He is also editor of _parABnormal Digest_ for Sam’s Dot Publishing. To find out more visit his website at www.thrankeep.com.

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Tour Dates October 29 – November 24th

 10/29  Great Minds Think Aloud  – Review

10/30  Splash of Our Worlds – Character Post

10/31  A Book Vacation – Guest Post

11/1  The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia – Excerpt

11/2  JeanzBookReadNReview  – Interview

11/3 Vilutherial Reviews  – Interview

11/4  Crossroads Reviews  – Review

11/5  The Bunny’s Review  – Character Interview

11/6  Ali’s Bookshelf – Review

11/7  Red Headed Bookworm  – Guest Post

11/8 Azure Dwarf Horde of SciFi & Fantasy – Review

11/9  From the Bootheel Cotton Patch  – Character Post

11/10 A Few Words – Review

11/11 The Independent Review – Review

11/12  The Oaken Bookcase – Review

11/13  Beauty in Ruins – Interview

11/14  Ginger Nuts of Horror – Interview

11/15 Bookishly Me – Review

11/16  Full Moon Bites – Interview

11/17  A Daydreamer’s Thoughts – Guest Post

11/18  Stuck in Books – Guest Post

11/19 Sheila Deeth – Review

11/20 Bee’s Knees Reviews – Review

11/21  The Cabin Goddess – Review

11/22  Darlene’s Book Nook  – Guest Post

11/23  Book and Movie Dimension – Review

11/24  Jess Resides Here – Interview

 Traitor Angel by H. David Blalock

Presented by Seventh Star Press Tour page: http://www.seventhstarpress.com/traitor-angel-blog-tour/



et cetera
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