Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Robin Martin, author of Once an Alien, discusses character creation



Do you wonder how your favorite authors come up with their characters? Today, Robin Martin is giving us some insight into her character creation. You can also read an excerpt from her latest book, Once an Alien, the third book in The Alien Chronicles series, and then enter the giveaway after downloading your own copy! Be sure to leave her comments and questions and then visit the other stops on the tour for even more fun!


Once an Alien

Mischief, mayhem, and magic hit East Valley High when Pandora, the rogue alien, turns up. This sassy alien has one agenda, to have as much fun as she can before her people realise she's gone rogue and materialised on Earth in human form without their permission. Instantly popular, Pandora charms students and teachers alike as she parties her way through the term, but still aces her studies. Even Rion, is influenced by her as he begins to question whether he is still more alien than human. He and Zoe are finally together, but for how long? Zoe has worries too, especially about her mother's health. Everything is changing in this final year of high school. Zoe and Rion are crazy about each other, but can their new relationship last not only the ups and downs of human problems, but alien ones too!

Read an excerpt:
The music changed from an Ariana Grande pop song to the opening chords of a much older Deep Purple track my previous host, who had been around in the 60s, had listened to. I was surprised because I didn’t think many teens knew it today. Then I heard the thump of heels on wood, and I looked over to see Pandora on top of the coffee table, starting to dance and turn circles. Catching my eye, she stopped and lifted her glass. ‘This one’s for my favourite alien, Orion,—“Space Truckin’.” Woohoo!’

I sensed rather than saw heads swivel in my direction. I felt dozens of pairs of eyes on me. How could she do that? How could she blurt out the one secret I’d tried so hard to hide? I felt the blood drain from my face, and I dropped the can of cola I was holding as the opening lines of the rock song blared out. Pandora downed her drink, threw her glass into the crowd, and started to dance again.

Then I heard laughter and someone, I think it was Chad Everett, say, ‘Good one, Pandora. We always knew he was weird.’


Available on Amazon


Character Creation

A good plot is important, but characters bring life and breath to the story and make it come alive. I've always enjoyed creating characters, but they are not all made in the same way.

Some of them evolve with the story, and the more you write about them, the more you discover who they are. For example, Orion starts out as an alien with little understanding of human beings, even though he has known them for thousands of years. However, over the course of the series he discovers there is more to being human than he realised, and by the end he embraces his new-found humanity and his love for a human girl.

Other characters burst on the scene fully formed and ready for action. Pandora is one of these. Her personality was clear to me right from the very beginning. She's a life force ready to take anything and anyone on. Even though she's an alien, like Orion, she couldn't be more different. She wants to embrace all things human and have fun, but she knows exactly who she is, an alien. Pandora also has a lot of charm and a few alien powers, which she has no hesitation in using — much to Rion's dismay. She's also a party animal and loves a good time. Some characters, and Pandora is one of them, try to take over the book and they are just a little bossy to the writer. Occasionally, I have had to take her in hand and remind her who's in charge. Sometimes, she reluctantly agrees and does what I tell her, but not always!

Minor characters are also fun to write. Harry is my all time favourite. He's the guy who would be an ideal first boyfriend, and the boy every mother would like her daughter to date. I really had hopes for him and Zoe for a while, but Orion got in the way. I'm now casting a speculative eye at Lou. She's evolved over the series too, from the shy girl who can hardly express an opinion, to the more confident gal who decides she's never going to change herself for a guy again. I really think she and Harry would be great for each other — but they haven't let me know yet. Another character who has surprised me is Kerri. She's so studious and just that little bit socially unaware, yet sometimes she has amazing insights. I think she's been unappreciated at times, but I've a feeling that's about to change. And, finally, one of my all time favourite characters is Archimedes, a pompous and condescending alien with zero empathy for the human species. You'd really have to worry if all aliens were like him! Like Pandora, I'm pretty sure I had little to do with his creation. He just decided to gift us with his occasional visits to the books. However, sometimes he shows a weak spot, and I think Zoe's mum, Sue Brennan, might be one of those!

So characters come to me in many different ways. But what's common about them is how much fun they are to create (or perhaps semi-create in the case of Pandora and Archimedes) and, hopefully, how much they add to the life of the story.



About Robin Martin

Robin Martin is an author and teacher, who writes both adult and young adult romance. Originally from Canada, she now lives in Brisbane, Australia. Her YA sci fi romance series, The Alien Chronicles includes My Alien, The Alien Within, and Once an Alien.

Her adult books published under the name Robin Thomas, include High Stakes and Bonjour Cherie.

A member of the Romance Writers of Australia and Write-Links, for children's and YA writers, Robin also connects with writers and readers on her author's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/robinmartinthomas or on her website www.robinmartinthomas.com



Robin Martin will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall


Welcome to the book blast for Knightmare Arcanist, a new release fantasy from Shami Stovall. I have an excerpt for you to enjoy today before you download your own copy. Be sure to follow the tour to see even more excerpts and to check out reviews of the book. Leave questions and comments along the way for bonus chances to enter the giveaway!


Knightmare Arcanist


Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.

A fast-paced flintlock fantasy for those who enjoy How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.



Read an excerpt:
A flash of rain pelted the entire city, but only for a few seconds, as though the heavens coughed and forgot to cover their mouth. The man secured his pack shut, protecting his vegetables.

“Oh, this again,” he said.

“Does this happen often?”

“Storms happen frequently enough,” he replied. “This ain’t no storm, though. It’s those flashy arcanists. They like makin’ a show. Just you wait. You’ll see somethin’ good yet.”

Making a show?

I headed toward the docks. Despite the creeping chill, I moved with energy and purpose. Crowds of people clogged the roadways, making travel by foot damn near impossible, even for an arcanist. Frustrated, I jumped onto the wheels of a nearby carriage and used the extra height to pull myself onto the roof of a building. The A-frame roof made for a steep trek, but the tiles were easy to grip, even when wet.

Once on top, I turned my attention to the nearest pier.

A tremendous flash of lightning lit the sky. Thunder chased after, strong enough to rattle the windows and pierce straight to my bone. Luthair shifted through the shadows as another round lit the sky. I knew some arcanists could control the weather, but I had never seen a demonstration so showy before.

A flurry of snow soon followed, but like the rain, it lasted only a few seconds. People lifted their hands in the air, trying to catch the snowflakes as they approached the earth. Most evaporated before anyone could hold them, but I managed to catch a few on my tongue.

The ocean waters beyond the docks swirled into whirlpools. Two cyclones of saltwater rose upward, forming pillars of ocean as thick as forty oak trees, each stretching straight to the sky.

Rapt by the show of magic, I almost didn’t notice the massive leviathan snaking through the ocean. Its shiny scales glistened with each new flash of lightning. The serpent-like body must’ve been as long as ten galley ships and as thick as a three-mast sailing ship. Although the mystical creature never lifted his head out of the water, I already knew who he was.

Decimus—Gregory Ruma’s legendary leviathan.

Available on Amazon / BN
This does include my Amazon affiliate link. That just means should you make a purchase through it, I can earn a few pennies at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my websites!


About Shami Stovall

Shami Stovall relies on her BA in History and Juris Doctorate to make her living as an author and history professor in the central valley of California. She writes in a wide range of fiction, from crime thrillers to fantasy to science-fiction. Stovall loves reading, playing video games, entertaining others with stories, and writing about herself in the third person.

Website: https://sastovallauthor.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GameOverStation/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SAStovall/



The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner during the tour.

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Review of No Place Like Here by Christina June #NPLHBT #BlinkYABooks


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to another stop on the tour for No Place Like Here by Christina June. I posted an excerpt earlier this tour over at Andi's Book Reviews. After you read my review here, download the book and enter the giveaway below, be sure to check that out, as well as all of the other stops on the tour. Thanks for stopping by!


No Place Like Here
By Christina June
Young Adult Contemporary
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 288 Pages
May 21st 2019 by Blink

From Christina June, author of It Started with Goodbye and Everywhere You Want to Be, comes No Place Like Here, a modern twist on Hansel and Gretel.

Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She's just spent a year at boarding school and can't wait to get home. But when Ashlyn's father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for "exhaustion," a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.

The cherry on top? Ashlyn's father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn't even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed "indoor girl," not even Ash's habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes--inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere--can help her cope.

With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad's marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.

Fans looking for stories with elements of drama, romance, friendship, and an unflinching look into navigating and improving even the most difficult parent-teen relationships need look no further.

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryKobo
Yes, I am an Amazon affiliate, so I may earn a few pennies should you make a purchase through my links. It doesn't cost you anything but slowly adds up for me. Thanks for supporting my websites!




**My thoughts**
I do love to read coming-of-age YA novels, so I was intrigued by the blurb to this book. I was also intrigued by the idea of it being related to the tale of Hansel and Gretel. I have to admit that I had a hard time following that parallel, but it has been years since I last read that. But I didn't need the connection to appreciate this book and inhale it in one sitting.

Ashlyn made a mistake in her past choices. She has spent the last year repenting in a way, and I dislike her father a lot for being so hard on her. The more that she reveals about her father's demands for perfection out of her and her mother, the less I like him and the more I feel sorry for her. She's had an easy life, relatively speaking in a financial sense, but has to carry around this burden of that omnipresent voice in her head telling her that her thoughts and actions are inappropriate. She doesn't know how to be true to herself, but you can tell that she wants to discover how to do this. 

She also wants to reconnect with her family and her home live after having been sent away to school for the past year. But of course, her father has now been arrested and is going away to prison for a while. Her mother is completely unable to cope and sinks into a deep depression, so she is going away to a rehab facility of sorts to help her through this. Meanwhile, Ashlyn is being shoved off onto her aunt and uncle briefly until she has to start work at a resort that specializes in helping people to learn how to trust and to empower themselves. 

As expected, Ashlyn goes through incredible growth and discovers so much about herself and her strengths. She develops incredible leadership skills and forges relationships with some people she may not have otherwise. I love watching her journey and how she grows. 

I also love how much she loves words. She memorizes quotations, which she keeps in a quote journal. She has a tendency to write them down all over the place, thus leaving little breadcrumbs of inspiration for others to discover. I found myself even taking note of some of them.

I would also like to give kudos to the author for addressing mental health via Ashlyn's mom and how too often we like to sweep it under the rug and not acknowledge what is really going on.

I need to know where Ashlyn goes from here. And I am going to have to check out the rest of the series to find out more about her and her friends. (But fear not, this book definitely stands on its own.)

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.



Other Books by the Author


About the Author


Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives in Virginia with her husband and daughter. She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and NO PLACE LIKE HERE.

Tour Schedule


Bookstagram Tour


Tour Giveaway


1 winner will receive a print copy of NO PLACE LIKE HERE, a poster, and a book plate
US only
Ends June 5, 2019

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Win $150 Amazon Cash in the Giveaway from @homejobsbymom Ends 6/6

WIN $150 AMAZON CASH

Are your teens reading? Want to entice them to keep reading? Perhaps if you let them do a little shopping blast, they would be able to find a lot they like? There are so many great YA books out there! Even we adults love to read them! What would you buy if you won this giveaway?


GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize: $150 Amazon Gift Card

Hosted & Sponsored by: Home Jobs By Mom

Rules: Use the Giveaway Tools form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 06/06 and is open worldwide. Entrants must be 18 years old to enter. Winner will be notified via email.




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ONE entrant will be selected by the entry form to win a $150 Amazon Gift Card. Open for entry worldwide, 18 years and older from 05/06/19 thru 06/06/19. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to notification email to claim their prize or a new winner will be selected. Once a winner is drawn and confirmed, the name will be announced on the GiveawayTools form. Home Jobs By Mom will be responsible for sending the winner their prize.



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Monday, May 6, 2019

A Curse of the Lucky by Nathan Wrann


Fans of YA paranormal will want to check out A Curse of the Lucky by Nathan Wrann. It's the first book in the Mr. Lucky Trilogy. I have an excerpt for you to check out today. Plus you can follow the tour for even more of them. Make sure you leave your comments and questions as well, and be sure to enter the great giveaway at the end!


A Curse of the Lucky

Two things that Jack Smith has always had: bad legs and bad luck. With a violent attack at the Tarrytown Independence Day Carnival, that bad luck has caught up to him with deadly consequences. Going on the run with Jaelle–the mysterious girl of his dreams–he descends into a world of curses, blessings, and fortunetelling Gypsies. The deeper he gets, the more he realizes she might just be the one to save his life... or end it.

The Mr. Lucky Trilogy begins with A Curse of the Lucky.


Read an excerpt:
The microwave dinged, I slid the pizza onto a plate, and escaped back downstairs.

I didn’t see her at first, but with a cautious check behind the bookshelves, I found Jaelle sprawled out on my bed—A beautiful girl was in my bed—asleep.

I covered her with a blanket from the laundry room.

Emptying my pockets, I put my phone, wallet, and the crumpled up, blood stained hundred-dollar bill on top of the dresser. I stripped down to my boxers and tossed my wet cargo pants and shirt in the corner. Removing my leg braces would have taken some time and if Jaelle woke up to see me in my underwear it could be kind of weird. Instead, I slipped on a pair of dry sweatpants over them and threw on a T-shirt.

The recliner welcomed me. The pizza, the first thing I’d eaten all day, tasted amazing—like the best cardboard ever. I figured we’d have time to talk the next day before bringing her back to the carnival. By then, hopefully, her uncle would have cleared up the robbery thing and they would get out of town before the cops come to charge her with assaulting a police officer.

I took another bite of the “pizza” (which was quickly losing its appeal) and grinned, reflecting on the day that I’d had.

I had met a beautiful girl, and got her back to my room. She happened to be a Gypsy with a traveling carnival. And she was probably wanted by the police.

Just my luck.

Available on Amazon
Yes, this is my affiliate link. That means should you make a purchase through it, I may earn a few pennies at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my websites!


About Nathan Wrann

Nathan Wrann was born in Florida and moved around a lot as a child, growing up in New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, California and finally back to Florida. No matter where he lived you would likely find Marvel Comics or a book in his hand with genres ranging from fantasy (The Black Cauldron), to SE Hinton's teen dramas (The Outsiders), to Stephen King's entire catalogue from Carrie through Tommyknockers. At the age of seventeen he joined the U.S. Army as a Military Policeman, and following that, graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a degree in video production and theater.

Currently Mr. Wrann is a writer, publisher and (formerly) independent filmmaker living in West Haven, Connecticut with his rescued Chihuahuas Napoleon and Gatsby, pain-in-the-butt cat Konstantine, and wife Kimberly. Nowadays, in between books, you'll find him enjoying horror films, YA Paranormal TV series (Vampire Diaries, Sabrina, etc), and the Marvel and Star Wars Cinematic Universes.

Links:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005165L8O

Twitter: @nathanwrann https://twitter.com/nathanwrann 

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nwrann/


Author’s Note RE: the Mr. Lucky Trilogy & Dark Matter Heart:

The Mr. Lucky Trilogy is a Dark Matter Heart World Expander. The events in this series take place in the same world, with the same paranormal concepts and rules as Dark Matter Heart, but with all new characters and adventures. Opportunity abounds for crossover stories bringing all the characters together.

It is not necessary to read Dark Matter Heart to enjoy the Mr. Lucky Trilogy, but I think you’ll like it.

Get Book One: Dark Matter Heart FREE here: http://amzn.to/DMHKindle

Get Book Two: From Out of Chaos FREE here

https://mailchi.mp/f5ce21a5921c/freedmh2

Thank you Dear Reader, we have much fun ahead of us.

-Nathan Wrann


Nathan Wrann will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Read an exclusive excerpt from Heaven's Edge by Jennifer Silverwood


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to the book tour for Heaven's Edge by Jennifer Silverwood! This collection contains Novellas 1-3 in the series, all in one boxed set. Please enjoy an exclusive excerpt, follow the tour for more excerpts and reviews, and then enter the giveaway below!


Heaven's Edge Box Set
(Heaven's Edge #1-#3)
By Jennifer Silverwood
YA SciFi, Steampunk
ebook, 290 Pages
July 10, 2018 by JayHenge Publishing

Only by working together will they survive...

A group of refugees from a powerful, sophisticated Core World planet have been on the run for seven years. The mission was to get away and give their children some time to grow up and help them carry on the cause. The cause was to help the rebellion, win the war and go home. But things didn’t quite turn out the way they planned.

QEYA #1

Qeya, the future Queen of Datura, can't do much about her red hair, but she knows how to wield a scythe blade and suck the life out of her enemy, literally. Life seems great, if a little boring on heaven's edge. Until her ship is attacked and nearly everyone on board is murdered. Now, the miner who saved her is the only thing standing between her and the hungry beasts hunting them.

OHRE #2

All Ohre wants is the kind of freedom a life in the sea can give. But he doesn't want to live it alone anymore. He wants the princess and if Qeya won’t come willingly, he’ll make her.

TAMN #3

Tamn has always lived by a code. He doesn't question his duty. Until his crew is stranded on a hostile alien world and he's forced to watch the girl he loves burn in the sky. Stripped of his reason for living, the voices from his past haunt and guide him in a path of endless retribution. Only the strongest will survive the trials ahead and Tamn is determined to keep the family he has left alive.

MEET THE CREW HERE

**Box Set includes first three Heaven's Edge Novellas**


Read an exclusive excerpt:
QEYA

There are moments in time when the axis of the universe shifts, when life as you knew it is irrevocably altered. When the hiss and grind of the gears fell silent, some deeply rooted instinctive part of me knew this was one of those moments.

The constant dull clanging and press of our engine faded into an oppressive silence, where I could hear the beat of our hearts and shaky breaths. I wondered if I was losing my water because I knew the idea of Datura 3 shutting down was impossible. Even though we were still orbiting above the hostile world while Pioneer explored, our ship had not ceased in motion since we stepped on it seven years before. I counted the quiet by the beats of my heart. What took an instant to process in my mind was not much longer than the wait. The ship echoed a pained groan and then the floor beneath our feet began to shift. Ohre’s hand was on my arm instantly, steadying me before I could tip into the pipework lain against the wall.

The intercom blasted over our heads, pounding its way through the decks in one last warning. My father’s voice bled pure terror. “All hands to deck! Lock in and prepare for attack! Enemy ships closing in from—” The speaker fell silent.

The floor trembled with the first blast, knocked me off my feet and into Ohre’s arms. “Qeya!” he called when I twisted and ran for the lift. “Qeya there’s no time!” His boots clunked heavily behind mine on the hard metallic surface.

The second tremor began to tilt the ship and knocked me inside the lift at a harsh angle. Ohre braced himself on either side of the open door, his eyes fear-stricken. “Qeya, you can’t! If this is an attack they’ve already hit Navigation and the—”

“I don’t bleeding care about Navigation! I’m going to second deck!” In my panic, the rush of sudden essence burning in my veins, an eerie present calm coated my emotions. It barely veiled the images of my parents’ faces and what Ohre’s warning truly meant. Instead, I ignored the third tremor, the blast of energy tearing holes through the plasma hull of our ship and allowing the beyond inside.

Datura 3 tilted off its stable axis, making me unable to reach the lift controls. The fourth blast hit below our deck, and behind Ohre a tumbling roar became the screams of the dying miners, the impact of metal crushing metal and gasses exploding in subsequent bursts. I froze with the memory of our escape from home world, the fire and screams from the palace and sudden rapid images of deeper memory, of war and terror and bloodshed…

Ohre crawled inside after me, somehow finding a sure grip with his boots while clutching me by the waist and smashing his hand into the locking key. The moment his fingers pressed against my skin I broke free from the abyss of the past. “SECOND DECK!” he yelled and lights showered over us in a consuming wave, even as the lift shook on its path above.


About the Author

Jennifer Silverwood was raised deep in the heart of Texas and has been spinning yarns a mile high since childhood. In her spare time, she reads and writes and tries to sustain her wanderlust, whether it's the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, the highlands of Ecuador, or a road trip to the next town. Always on the lookout for her next adventure, in print or reality, she dreams of one day proving to the masses that everything really is better in Texas. She is the author of three series--Heaven's Edge, Wylder Tales and the Borderlands Saga--and the stand-alone titles Stay and She Walks in Moonlight. She recently released her first serialized Urban Fantasy, Angel Blue in August 2018.


Tour Schedule


Tour Giveaway


- 1 winner will receive a $50 Amazon eGift Card
3 winners will receive a digital/print copy (print to US only) of any book of their choosing in Jennifer's backlist
- Open internationally
- Ends May 8, 2019

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Spitting Post by Jason R. Barden

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to the Book Blitz for
The Spitting Post
By Jason R. Barden!

Enjoy an excerpt, sign up to review the book, and enter to win a $10 gift card!


The Spitting Post
By Jason R. Barden
Dark Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 220 Pages
December 8th 2017 by The Wild Rose Press

Vincent Carpenter’s life is a wreck. He has given up his dreams. He has lost his job after an economic disaster. His ten-year marriage is crumbling. Then he awakens in a maniacal land of frighteningly vivid realism with skull trees, glowing forests, ravenous beasts, and other psychologically haunting adversity.

While traveling through this demented unearthly world, he has a chance encounter with a beautiful maiden dressed in green; before he can start a conversation, she disappears into the unknown. Vincent must try to find her at a fantastical place known as the Spitting Post. But first he must overcome many macabre misfortunes and face nightmares that question his sanity. Will he reach her? What will the Spitting Post reveal? Will he suffer more disappointment and tragedy? Or will he find peace at last?



Read an Excerpt
I was lost in thought when again I heard the violin’s call. It was close this time—too close. I stopped and surveyed the land with terrified eyes, growing more anxious with each passing note. The ambient tune working itself into a manic frenzy. Can’t they shut up? With that racket the beast would find us, and I knew what would happen when it did. There would be no more violin playing for that musician, and I would never find The Green Maiden. 
I scanned the countryside for the insane violinist and spotted him on a small hill just to my right. When I saw his ghastly appearance, I almost wished I hadn’t found him. He was a stout man dressed in total blackness with a red violin resting against his shoulder. His skin was a brilliant white, as white as a bed sheet. On his head was a black top hat, and he wore a twisted grin on his porcelain face. 
“What are you doing?” I yelled. “It will hear us!” 
The man said nothing and kept playing his maddening melody. 
“Are you crazy?” 
The man opened his mouth wide and without moving his lips, he said, “Precisely.” 
Then he began to cry tears of blood, yet still he played. The blood rolled down his face and pooled on the grass. Then I came to a grotesque realization. He was not playing for amusement; he was calling the beast.

Looking for Reviewers


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About the Author

Jason R. Barden began writing poetry around the age of thirteen. At age thirty-three, he transitioned into dark fantasy and horror fiction. His first novel The Spitting Post is available at Amazon and other online retailers. In addition to writing, he enjoys hiking and photography.


Blitz Giveaway


1 winner will receive a $10 Amazon eGift Card
Ends April 21, 2019

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Rachel Clark tells us more about her characters in The Blackfish Prophecy


Welcome to the book tour for The Blackfish Prophecy by Rachel Clark. Today she is telling us a bit more about her main characters Miles and Terra and her dreams of turning their story into a movie. There's also an excerpt for you to enjoy before you download your own copy, as well as a great giveaway. Remember to follow the tour and leave Rachel your questions and comments along the way!


How did you come up with Miles and Terra’s characters for your book, The Blackfish Prophecy? Who are they and who would you cast to play these two characters if your book was made into a movie?

What a great question! Wow, it’s funny. I always knew Terra’s character. I had the idea for the book about 20 years ago, and Terra’s character was there from the beginning. She is probably a lot like me, and lives in a childhood setting that I – as a biologist- would have loved to grow up in. Writing Terra’s character is a little like writing about myself.

Miles is another story. He arrived out of nowhere as I began the book. He surprised me at every turn. And yet I felt like I knew him so well already. Miles is and was completely unpredictable but with a huge heart willing to take risks to do the right thing for those he loves. He does not give his heart easily but when he does, it’s for good. I adore Miles, and my sense is he came from somewhere ancient.

If The Blackfish Prophecy was made into a movie, I’d love to see it animated – my dream studio would absolutely be Pixar, for so many reasons!

I will have to think about who I would cast as human actors for these two! I’m not sure yet… But If I could choose someone to play Tiluk it would be Xiuhtezcatl Martinez of Earth Guardians. Xiuhtezcatl is an incredible, powerful indigenous climate and Earth activist who looks (and lives!) almost exactly the way I have always imagined Tiluk.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez



The Blackfish Prophecy


Best friends Terra and Tiluk live alongside the wild orcas of Washington State. On the other side of the continent, Miles wallows in anger and self-pity fueled by his parents' divorce. In a moment of harrowing fate, their lives converge when Miles witnesses a captive orca brutally kill his trainer at a marine amusement park.

When Miles contacts Terra and her family of whale biologists to better understand the "killer" whale, the three teens soon realize they are more linked to each other - and the whales - than they ever imagined. Driven by a primal urge to connect with the highly-evolved consciousness of the orca, the teens take extraordinary risks to challenge big business and renew lost traditions.

Their journey is set to restore an ancient mystical bond between humans and whales that ultimately reveals The Blackfish Prophecy…a revelation about Terra - and those like her - that's about to change everything.

Read an excerpt:
He wasn’t sure whether the fence was supposed to keep people out of the swamp, or keep the swamp away from the people. The snakes were seriously getting out of control. You couldn’t live in Florida and not know about the yellow anacondas, Burmese pythons and boa constrictors. They were a huge problem since they’d been accidentally introduced. The snakes loved it here, and they didn’t have anybody to eat them, so they were pretty much everywhere. He’d heard rumors at school about snakes that had even eaten little kids. Sometimes he’d just come here and stare over the fence, peering from the concrete stronghold of their subdivision into the dank, vegetation choked, black‐watered quagmire. The swamp creeped him out but, at the same time, it pulled at him, beckoning somehow.

The sidewalk was much smoother than the pavement, and he rocketed past all the backyards, blipping from fence to fence at high speed. He veered into the swamp on the fenced walkway that linked the back edge of his massive development to the business district on the other side of the swamp.

There was trash everywhere in here; soda bottles, needles, plastic bags, broken glass. This pathway smelled even worse than plain old swamp; like exhaust and beer mixed with the smell of a dead body rotting in mud. He raced past a couple of sleeping old homeless guys on benches, relieved it was getting lighter outside. He never came here in the dark.

Once he hit the business district, everything clicked. I’m going to OceanLand. He hadn’t realized it until that very moment. He slowed for a fraction of a second, Seriously Frost? Umm, Duh! YES! It was only a couple of miles from their house, which was one reason their mom took them so often—she’d bought a family membership after the divorce. Broken family membership, more like. He whipped through the back parking lots of the Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wendy’s and Exxon. When he got to Wal‐Mart, he knew he was close. Slowing, he narrowed his eyes and scanned the OceanLand perimeter. First was the gigantic parking area, which is what people saw when they pulled in. It was so big you could plunk down a freaking small town on that lot with room to spare. Behind that was the park itself, which was enclosed by a huge 12‐foot‐tall solid wood fence that snaked back into thick vegetation. Miles’ gaze fell against the trees back there, and instinctively he pushed his board toward them. But this time his foot came down carefully, gently. He’d gone on high alert. He was pretty sure that OceanLand wouldn’t want people sneaking around back there, especially after that Harvey Mott guy managed to get himself killed. Not to mention Dusky yesterday. The hair on the back of Miles’ neck went up as he realized what he was about to do. He pressed his mouth tight in resolve. I am doing this.


Book Links:

http://www.rachelclarkauthor.com/

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781945419003

https://www.amazon.com/Blackfish-Prophecy-Terra-Incognita-Transition/dp/1945419008/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27227443-the-blackfish-prophecy

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-blackfish-prophecy-rachel-clark/1123608352

https://shop.whales.org/the-blackfish-prophecy.ir

https://twitter.com/BlckfshProphecy


About Rachel Clark


Rachel is a writer and biologist. As a kid she got hooked on all things animal, vegetable, and mineral. To complicate matters, she was hatching up stories before she could hold a crayon. Once she discovered biology it was all over. Ever since her first class in 7th grade when she refused to dissect a frog, a little voice in her head said: You gotta share this amazing stuff about how nature works, and ask if we really need to harm it. The little voice only got fiercer once she went to college and worked with captive dolphins and Beluga whales, then got to see wild killer whales only a few weeks later. From then on it was an all-out quest to convey the wonders of nature, while pointing out the serious problems of our very bad habit of dominating others and the Earth. She’s been a card-carrying science writer for twenty years. The Blackfish Prophecy is Rachel’s first book.

These days when Rachel is not writing, reading, dreaming, or speaking, you can find her sculpting an unruly assortment of moose-pruned orchard trees & berry bushes, gathering veggies & eggs in her micro-farmyard, foraging for mushrooms, and feasting on local food with friends.

She is a lifelong yogini, devoted pack mate to her free-spirited Canid, and mama bear who's sustained by treks deep into the Pacific Northwest with her increasingly feral family. Rachel drives a 100% electric zero-emission car, and her family's home is powered by renewable energy. Their little house is nestled on an urban lot they tend for kids' play, territory Animalia, sequestering carbon, and a food forest to augment the bounty of local growers.

Her work is fiercely aligned with the science of Life, harmony & justice for all: the enduring dream of Earth.



Rachel Clark will be awarding 1 signed paperback of the Blackfish Prophecy 1 bookmark for The Blackfish Prophecy, 1 Orca-themed or book-themed mug to one randomly drawn US winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Monday, April 1, 2019

Soul Dark: Chosen by E.L. Reedy & A.M. Wade


Are you a fan of YA fantasy? Then you need to check out this book. I have an excerpt for you to enjoy before you download your own copy. And then of course, please leave comments and questions for the author as you follow the tour. You'll get bonus chances to enter the great giveaway!


Soul Dark: Chosen

War is coming between Lukas’ Goddess and an ancient Demon Lord. But the death of his parents shakes his faith, and with the loss of his remaining family it is shattered. Blinded by rage, Lukas turns away from his friends and trains under a deceptive, yet formidable master to hone his magic and prevent the demon’s final objective--obliteration of all life on earth.

War begins! A forged weapon, Lukas rejoins his friends and sets after the Demon King. From a hidden crypt, where evil lies waiting, to the Iowa countryside, they battle to prevent the end of all they know. Lukas must overcome his doubts and allow the Light to work through him--to defeat both the foe of his Goddess and a new more familiar one.

Soul Dark: Chosen is a coming-of-age tale in the modern-day world when a war between ancient deities and demons culminates in a winner-takes-all battle that could determine the fate of all mankind.


Read an excerpt:
Lukas stopped and faced his grandmother. He rarely questioned her judgment, but in every person’s life, there comes a first time for everything. “Grandma? Why? Why now?” he asked. “My friends are on the way. They’ll be here any minute now. And here we are, out back, telling ghost stories in the cold, moonlit snow.”

“I had to wait for you to ask. She is always most insistent upon that—the sign of readiness,” she said, “Lukas… Your name itself is a great power. It means Light Bringer. Open yourself now to our Mother Goddess and you’ll wield a power you can’t even imagine. Far more than this tired old lady could ever muster.”

He bit back his rising anger—a pubescent force within him he found increasingly difficult to control in times of stress and some of it spilled free. “Don’t ask me that,” he shouted, kicking at a snowbank. “I’m no one’s pawn, Grandma! Yours, God’s, Goddess’s, or otherwise! You love Her so much, you wield her damned light! And please… Just make Her leave me alone!”

“Lukas. As you well know, the night your parents passed,” she said, touching her amulet, “something attacked me at the farm. This helped to protect me, and it will defend you or any who wield it in Her name.” She removed the necklace chain from which the amulet hung and held it forth in both shaking hands, offering it to him as both a gift and a curse. “Resume your training, son—take up this ancient mantle—you know I won’t last forever.”

Before the first coherent thought passed through his mind, Lukas took a step back. “I remember now. I was talking to Elliot and then the deer ran out in front of the car. There were so many. All at once. Driven by… By something in the dark.” He paused, reflecting, his face revealing the roused rage he could no longer hold back. An undirected burst of power from within him knocked snow loose from every tree and branch around them. “That was my price for serving the Goddess?” He screamed. “The lives of my parents? It was them or us—me and Elliot?” He heard branches snap and twist in the windless night and the ground shook around them. Three snow-devils raced away from him at thought speed chasing each other in a game of tag that flung snow in every direction.

***

As I mentioned earlier, for druids, or any wielders of magic it is as important to control ourselves, our rampant emotions, as it is to control our otherworldly gifts. If left to themselves, either could become catastrophic to the world and everyone within it.

***

Undeterred, Grandma Helen stood firm. “Lukas, no,” she cried. “You know better and you’re much better than this.”

“The pain I see so much in my brother,” Lukas screamed. “Did you know he cries every night?” He turned away to hide his shameful tears and to bring his powers back in check. “Tell Her to find someone else,” he complained. He wiped his eyes then took Grandma Helen’s arm, indicating silence. “Your Goddess—She asks too much.”

Though there were countless questions left unanswered between them, neither spoke as they returned to the house. The grove had become colder somehow, darker, and uninviting. Lukas did however, hear the murmur of his grandmother’s unspoken thoughts. “Dearest Lukas, acknowledge Her or not, love Her or not, She’s your goddess too.”

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About E.L. Reedy and A.M. Wade

E. L. Reedy was born and raised in Iowa, where he devoured tomes of fantasy, sci-fi, and young adult novels as a child. In his free time, he is an avid gamer (D&D and Pathfinder). He has traveled the world as a soldier in the U.S. Army, and now lives in Iowa, where with his writing partner, he continues to pen works in the realms of Fantasy and Horror in the Young Adult Universe.

A. M. Wade was born the only girl in a family with five boys, she readily escaped into fantasy, sci-fi, and other fiction novels. Having traveled through most of the US, she enjoys using scenery and characteristics of the different states in the story adventures she created for the little ones in her family. Now, she writes sci-fi, fantasy and horror with a lifelong co-conspirator.

Together: Having lost many friends, associates, and even children from our home town over the years to suicide, they wrote their first novel, Upon Broken Wings. Told from the point-of-view of a young witness, the story teaches that suicide is not an end to suffering, but rather the beginning of unimaginable pain for those left behind and that there is always hope if we choose the path of life.

Twitter
@AuthorELR @keysmomma

Amazon
ELR– Amazon Author Page http://amazon.com/author/elreedy
AMW– Amazon Author Page http://amazon.com/author/amwade

Bookbub
ELR- Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/e-l-reedy
AMW- Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/a-m-wade

Facebook
Reedy & Wade's oflightandshadow FB Page
https://www.facebook.com/oflightandshadow/

Reedy & Wade's light and shadows FB Fan-Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/LightShadows/


Other Sites

Allauthor 


The authors will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Friday, March 22, 2019

The Next to Last Mistake by Amalie Jahn


Welcome to the book blast for The Next to Last Mistake by Amalie Jahn! Please enjoy an excerpt from this young adult romance. Leave questions and comments for the author and then follow the tour for more excerpts and reviews. Plus you have more chances to enter the giveaway!



The Next to Last Mistake

Tess Goodwin’s life in rural Iowa is sheltered and uncomplicated. Although she chooses to spend most of her free time playing chess with her best friend Zander, the farm-boy from next door, her skills as a bovine midwife and tractor mechanic ensure that she fits in with the other kids at East Chester High. But when her veteran father reenlists in the Army, moving her family halfway across the country to North Carolina, Tess is forced out of her comfort zone into a world she knows nothing about.

Tess approaches the move as she would a new game of chess, plotting her course through the unfamiliar reality of her new life. While heeding Zander’s long-distance advice for making new friends and strategizing a means to endure her dad’s imminent deployment to the Middle East, she quickly discovers how ill-equipped she is to navigate the societal challenges she encounters and becomes convinced she’ll never fit in with the students at her new school.

When Leonetta Jackson is assigned as her mentor, she becomes Tess’s unexpected guide through the winding labyrinth of cultural disparities between them, sparking a tentative friendship and challenging Tess to confront her reluctant nature. As the pieces move across the board of her upended life, will Tess find the acceptance she so desperately desires?


Read an excerpt:
I’m almost asleep, barely conscious of drifting off, when I’m startled by a noise outside my window. Before I have a chance to turn on the light and investigate, the sash slides open and someone steps into my room.

I hope beyond all hope I’m not dreaming.

“Zander?” I ask, not wondering if it’s him but why he’s here.

He’s all the way in the room now, standing at the foot of my bed. “Did I wake you?” he whispers.

“No,” I tell him. He blows into his hands, and I lift my blankets, inviting him under the covers to warm up.

“It’s colder than a polar bear’s butt out there.” He snuggles against me in my tiny twin bed like we’re still six-year-olds, camping outside in each other’s backyards. I wrap my arms around him, and he settles against my shoulder. “You left your own party.”

“It wasn’t really my party,” I say. “More New Year’s than anything else.”

“The cake was good. Red velvet. You would’ve liked it.”

There’s so much I want to say. Apologies I want to give. Promises I want to make. But the words are jumbled around in my head, and I’m afraid if I speak everything will come out all wrong.

“I didn’t have anyone to kiss at the ball drop,” he says eventually, and I wonder if whatever was in his Solo cup has gone to his head.

“Tina and Claire were there.”

He chuckles grimly and his voice turns serious. “We’ve been together every New Year’s since we were babies, you know that?” His words settle over me, and I strain under the weight of them. Heavier still is the burden of what he doesn’t say: And this might have been our last.

“I’m sorry,” I say, feeling the need to explain, “but it was so cold and I knew my dad was gonna need help with the herd and…”

He rolls over to face me, placing a finger over my lips. “It’s okay, Tess. I get it. It’s been hard being around each other for the past few weeks. I didn’t realize the anticipation of you leaving was gonna suck so bad. I didn’t know how horrible I was at long goodbyes.” Now he’s the one who’s apologizing. “I guess I didn’t know what else to do. I figured this day might be easier for both of us…”

“If you left me before I had the chance to leave you?”

“Something like that.” He sighs. “It wasn’t intentional. I guess I’ve been sorta messed up in my own head, thinking about not having you around. You’re the best part of my days.”

I blink back tears I don’t realize are already spilling down my cheeks. His admission is true for me as well—something we’ve always taken for granted.

“It’s only eighteen months, then we’ll both graduate and head to college together like we always planned. You and me. It’s not that long, right?”

“It’s not that long,” he agrees. “But it’ll never be the same, not having you right next door.”

His body is relaxed against mine, and I’m reminded of all the nights we spent together growing up, head to foot and back to back, me teasing him for his stinky feet and him making fun of my retainer. “Maybe someone better will move in here,” I laugh between sniffles. “Some Victoria’s Secret supermodel, schlepping around manure in waders and a thong.”

He chuckles, too, and I imagine him smiling in the darkness. “As tempting as she sounds, I still wouldn’t willingly trade you for her.”

There’s something unspoken in his words, a tiny invitation across a boundary we’ve never crossed. But I can’t cross it now. I won’t. There’s no reason to take something painful and make it complicated as well.

“I should go to sleep,” I tell him. “We’re leaving after the morning milking, and I gotta be alert enough to drive.”

He stirs under the covers and his warmth leaves my side. As he stands over me, silhouetted in the moonlight cascading through my window, I hear him sigh. Then, he leans down to place a kiss on my forehead like a father tucking in his child.

“Bye,” I say.

“Bye.”

“Love ya.”

“Love ya back.”

And then he’s gone, back through the window out into the night. I assume, in the wake of our farewell, it’s going to take me hours to fall asleep, but the next thing I know my alarm is going off, and it’s time to slide the chessboard of my past life onto the shelf and begin another match.


Buy links





About Amalie Jahn

Amalie Jahn is a USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 8 young adult novels, including The Next To Last Mistake, her latest release (Light Messages Publishing 2019).

Amalie is the recipient of the Literary Classics Seal of Approval and the Readers' Favorite Gold Medal for her debut novel, The Clay Lion. She is a contributing blogger with the Huffington Post and Southern Writers Magazine, as well as a TED speaker, human rights advocate, and active promoter of kindness. She lives in the United States with her husband, two children, and three overfed cats.

When she's not at the computer coaxing characters into submission, you can find Amalie swimming laps, cycling, or running on the treadmill, probably training for her next triathlon. She hates pairing socks and loves avocados. She is also very happy time travel does not yet exist. Connect with her right here in the present day at these social media sites:

Websites – amaliejahn.com and lightmessages.com/amalie-jahn
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AmalieJahn
Twitter - https://twitter.com/AmalieJahn
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/amalie.jahn.official

Visit amaliejahn.com to join Amalie’s FREE Readers Group and in addition to receiving promotional discounts, sneak peeks, and monthly newsletters, your membership will now grant you exclusive access to bonus material (shorts and novelettes) delivered right to your inbox!




Amalie Jahn will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway