Monday, May 22, 2017

Book Blitz: Darkest Days


Darkest Days
N W Harris
(The Last Orphans, #4)
Publication date: May 22nd 2017
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
The ancient slave mongers who killed the adults and enslaved the children have angered a more advanced species of aliens. Composed of pure energy, this superior race has attacked the Anunnaki home world and is now setting a course for Earth.
The energy-based aliens believe in a system of trial by battle. They seek to push Shane and his friends into the arena with the ones who killed their parents. The results will determine if humans deserve to live, or if they should be made extinct as well. It’s up to Shane to keep his friends—and an army of kids who look up to him—alive. They’ll be fighting not just for their own lives, but for the fate of the entire human race. Can the enemy of Shane’s enemy be his friend, or is this just another species determined to exploit and destroy them?
GUEST POST BY N.W. HARRIS:
What would I tell a new author?
What to tell a new author, hmmm… There is so much to tell, though every writer’s journey is different. First off, I’d tell them to write for themselves. If one writes just to get published and make money, I think they’ll go mad and/or quit before they ever get close. Why? It takes years to polish one’s craft enough to be published by a creditable publisher. I think writing has to be looked at as a hobby that could become a career. A writer has to want to write because there is something that is inside them that needs to get out. Write for a creative outlet. Write like it doesn’t matter if anyone besides you ever reads it. Write almost everyday, but it is important to take days off too.
Much of the education for the profession comes from practical experience. Sure, a writer draws from their experiences and traditional education. My educational background is mostly based in science, biology and anthropology, and it provides a volume of information to draw upon. But, I had to learn the craft of writing by trial and error. Every writer has to find his or her voice. That can take years, and it can only be discovered by hard work.
I’d tell them to persist. It’s my favorite word. You have to write a novel. Destroy it. Rewrite it. Invest countless hours and sometimes even years. Then you have to be willing to let all that work go because it was just the classroom where you polished your craft. You have to swallow rejection after rejection and keep fighting. When you get criticism, you have to listen to it. I’m not saying a budding writer should try to oblige every critic, but growth is critical and growth comes from taking in criticism. Deal with any pain it might cause quickly, and then get into the game again by applying what you’ve learned.


Author Bio:
Born at the end of the Vietnam war and raised on a horse farm near small town north Georgia, his imagination evolved under the swaying pines surrounding his family’s log home. On summer days that were too hot, winter days that were too cold, and every night into the wee morning hours, he read books. He lives in sunny southern California with his beautiful wife and two perfect children.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Audio-book alert: The Midnight Sea (The Fourth Element #1) by Kat Ross


Audio-book alert: The Midnight Sea (The Fourth Element #1) by Kat Ross




Buy it on: Audible.com

Blurb: Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King's elite Water Dogs is that they leash wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.
Scarred by grief, she's willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he's possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other's emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.
As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius's past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…


I totally loved this book as you can see from my review over here

Excerpt: The Unforgiven



Excerpt


When the piles of deadwood reached halfway up the trunk, Cian stood up. He lifted my chain. “Van. It’s time.

I glanced at the sun. It hovered over the mountain peaks, its bright rays of gold, orange, pink and rose-blush streaking eastward as though yearning for the dawn. As you love me, your lordships, I prayed silently. As you love her, help me through this.

I offered no fight as Cian and Kado untied my hands only to retie them behind the stout, dried trunk of the old oak. Just more tinder to catch hold. I gazed down at the pile that shifted uneasily beneath my feet. I leaned my head back against the bark and shut my eyes. Focus, damn it. Focus.

Concentrating, I slowed my breathing, my heartbeat. I focused on my sword. If you’re there, I said, deep within my mind, I need you now. Slowly, too slowly, I sank deeper into a trance. Only by casting out all distractions might I call upon the sword’s power. As it lay outside my own, perhaps it was not constrained by the cold pewter collar around my neck.

“May you be reborn in Paradise,” Cian called, safely returned to the ground with Kado in tow.

His voice broke my infant trance. Frantic to reclaim it, I felt it slip from my grasp. I heard a torch lit with a whoosh, scented its smoky flame. I knew someone, probably Yestin, handed it with devout ceremony to Cian.

Down, I thought, my mind fogged, sluggish. Down, deep and down.

The trance hovered at the threshold of my mind, calling to me.

At my feet, flames licked the dry wood and found it palatable. Heat rose to warm my body, and smoke teased my nostrils, burned my eyelids. Ignore it, my mind whispered. Ignore it and control thy fear. Fear is your enemy. Make it your ally.

Dropping deeper into a trance, I called to my own blood, captured deep within the sword. Hear me. Feel me. I am yours and you are mine.

I hear, the sword hissed in reply. I obey.

The flames rose higher, hungry, feeding on the dry wood. I needed no eyes to witness Cian fall back, shading his brow against the terrible heat. I saw within my mind his companions curse in dreadful fascination as they stumbled into one another, seizing arms, tripping over themselves in their haste to escape the licking fires of hell.

Sweat burst from my pores only to dry an instant later under the searing heat. The pain from my busted ribs felt as naught to the savage terror that filled my soul, my heart. The trance slid back, panic emerging, my throat raw and ready to scream. I’m going to die!

Not yet.

The sword’s power caught my mind, my heart. I saw through its empty eyes, felt its calm regard, listened to its silent voice. It knew me. I knew it. Like lovers reunited after a long absence, we rushed toward each other. We collided like twin moons in the aether, sparks and smoke erupting in showers. I now owned its absolute power, the kind of power the gods themselves outlawed eons ago.

Break it.

Hot, lethal flames surged upward, licking my knees, straining toward my thighs. Raging hot flame climbed up my body, burning, destroying. I knew, distantly, my boots had melted and only my feet smoldered, not quite burning.

Break it!

I sharpened my mind and focused my will. Now!

With the sound of six-inch thick ice breaking, the collar about my neck shattered. As though hit with a divine hammer, it dropped into hundreds of pieces, into the licking flames, gone. My power roared through me, restored, my birthright. The agony of my injuries receded as the new flood of adrenaline forced it to the sidelines.

In a blink, I was airborne. The ropes that once bound my hands dropped to the flames, consumed. My falcon’s small form rose high into the violent colors of the sunset, my screech of triumph breaking across the sound of crackling flames and the scent of burning wood. My wings forced the dark smoke into roiling behind my tail, coiling like deadly serpents before the light evening breeze set it adrift. I soared high and free, climbing into the dusk.

“No!” Cian screamed, his voice echoing through the mountains.

Finish it. The soft voice whispered in my ear.

Yes. Let’s finish it. If I don’t kill him now, I’ll never be free of him or his vengeance. It’s time he met the true Zeani.

Folding my wings, I dropped like a stone. Straight toward the hot fires he set, the death he planned for me, I aimed my raptor’s beak. The wind whistled past my ears, rustled through my tail feathers. My keen eyes saw him, far below, watching the skies for me, his mouth open in a howl of despair. His boys flanked him, watching the sky, the wood, the mountain, huddled together like sheep before the onset of a storm. They feared me. They were right to fear me.

I was always the best. I won every contest. I defeated every prior champion. I could change forms on a pinfeather and slay with the fangs of a tiger before my enemy knew what killed him. My enemies feared me. My friends wished they could be me. No one ever bested me in a fight. I didn’t intend to lose now.

A rod from the ground, I changed.

Striking the ground in my human shape, sword in hand, I charged. From the darkness I rose, unseen. They searched the skies as I dropped among them. My first strike took Kado across the face, splitting his mouth from ear to ear. He smiled as he pointed his arrow at my knee. Then let’s permit him to smile forevermore.

His scream of agony alerted the others and they broke apart in panic. Cian yelled and seized steel, bellowing orders his men didn’t heed. Darkness hadn’t yet fallen completely, and the firelight glinted off our bared blades. Only the first stars twinkled from the heavens, and I half-wondered if Zeani watched from afar and hoped her lover would win this bout.

As Yestin and Tris reached Kado to succor his injury, Cian and I met. Our swords rang against one another, slithering in a shiver of sparks as I fought to kill him and he fought not to die. His fear worked against him just as my rage worked for me. I parried his amateur stroke and feinted a blow to his left. When he swung to block it, I lunged in, under his blade, to his right. The tip of my sword cut his thigh near the groin. Not close to his femoral, but enough that his leg buckled under him. I feinted again, striking close to his head. He ducked, parried and responded with a quick cut to my belly.

I jumped back easily, avoiding his blade and slashed downward and sideways. His sword swung hard left, harmless, leaving his right shoulder exposed. I cut backward, slicing through tough muscle and tendon.

His sword clanged to the ground as he staggered, blood gushing from two wounds. As desperate as he was, I expected him to change, to shift into a new body. His favorite form was the fox: swift, clever, and nimble. As a quick predator, he might escape my blade and my wrath. Instead, Cian cried aloud, screaming names, calling for reinforcements. “Broc! Yestin! Help me! Help!”

Finish it.

I swung my blade hard, from left to right, across his throat. Blood fountained high, spattering into the growing darkness. He stood still, his eyes wide and staring. What the hell? I know I killed him. Still he stood, gaping at me in astonishment. His mouth worked. His eyes bulged in his head. The scar across his cheek paled to a dim pink as the blood drained from his flesh. Damn it, why aren’t you dead? I tilted my head sideways, considering. A swift glance downward showed me a clean blade glinting in the bright firelight.

Uh, did I kill him or didn’t I?

“Van,” he mumbled, his lips moving slowly. “For–forgive me.”

Oh, bloody unlikely. I lowered my sword and watched in casual amusement as his head slowly, like a mountain collapsing, tilted sideways. Only a thin thread of flesh that my sword missed kept his head on his neck. Then it split, torn, as Cian’s head fell to the tundra and rolled, over and over, bumping his nose, to rest near my bare feet.

His body slumped to the stony soil, bleeding out from his empty neck, pooling in thick clots amid the thin grass and fallen pine needles. I swallowed the lump that formed in my throat. I killed a member of my own family. He was my kin, a Clansman, after all. But he sent my girl into the hands of a murdering prince with all the thought of ordering his next round of ale. For that, I kicked his head into the rushing river.

“You killed him,” Tris said, his tone low with awe and disbelief.

Broc, Yestin and Drust slowly rose from a still groaning Kado and stepped on light, cautious feet toward me. Zorn ran in, nocking an arrow to his bowstring, raising it, aiming. Their bared swords gleamed in the firelight as they circled me round, their eyes glowing redly. Spinning my sword in a tight circle, I raised my free hand toward them, grinning faintly.

I lowered my face and spat on Cian’s still twitching corpse. “I reckon you boys want to join your master, eh? C’mon, then. Let’s dance.”

Drust rushed me first, yelling for all he was worth, his sword raised. I lifted mine, braced to meet him head on. Instead, something from the near darkness seized him by the shoulders and yanked him high. His despairing scream of agony and terror trailed down to me at the same instant his sword clanked to the ground at my feet.

What the–

Zorn’s arrow whistled past my head as Drust’s flayed body, his skull crushed beyond recognition, fell to the ground behind me. I whirled to defend my rear. I saw nothing to defend against, yet the hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention. Blood poured from the myriad cuts and slices to his body, his neck half severed. His slowly glazing eyes stared at me, accusing. You did this.
No, I swear, I didn’t.

Tris rushed me, his eyes bugging with not just fear but outright terror. His sword swung so wildly, all I needed do to avoid it was step aside. I never bothered to raise my own. He staggered past me–and screamed. Something huge and darkly shadowed lifted him from the ground and hugged him close. I heard his bones snap as his ribs and spine gave in, his last breaths of life broken with bubbles of blood.

Thudding hooves warned me in time.

Spinning, my sword high and my body low, my narrowed vision watched as a huge dark creature galloped into the firelight. The red-orange flames glistened off black hair, black hide, a rayed star high above with gold gleaming around his throat. Moon and fire licked off a raised sword, but the creature’s face dropped my sword’s tip to the dirt. Oh, no way, this isn’t right, this isn’t happening–




About the Book

When the moon and the sun
Are joined as one, 
From tears of strife, from the bitter ashes,
From sorrow and from rage 
That what was once parted 
Shall again be one.

First Captain Vanyar: Disgraced. Outlawed. Haunted by the chilling murder of his own men, he is consumed by guilt and knows he can never find redemption for his crimes. The most talented Shape-Shifter ever born, only he can save Princess Iyumi from a Witch's evil, and help her find the child of prophecy. But his Atani brothers, seeking justice for the slaying of Vanyar's unit, plan his private execution against the King's orders.


Princess Iyumi: She is the legendary "She Who Hears", the voice of the gods, and the gods' chosen tool. Only she knows where to find the child spoken of in the ancient prophecy, the child who will unite two feuding countries and protect the world of magic from obliteration. Caught between two warring men, only her love is hers to give, to offer to the only man she ever wanted.

Prince Flynn: Despised by his own people, cruelly abused by his father, he fights to hide his magical gifts from those who would slay him for possessing them. By blood and by fire, he gains a terrible power, and condemns his own soul. He must find Princess Iyumi and the child, and bring them to his father's mistress, the Red Witch. Or the only people who ever mattered to him, his mother and his sister, will die.





Monday, May 15, 2017

Book Blitz: Lady of Sherwood


Lady of Sherwood
Molly Bilinski
(Outlaws of Sherwood #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 24th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult
Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever.
After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn’t the only thing she wants–she wants revenge.
As the sheriff draws his net closer, Robin’s choices begin to haunt her. She’ll have to choose between what’s lawful and what her conscience believes is right–all while staying one step ahead of the hangman.
Lady of Sherwood is a unique young adult retelling of the beloved Robin Hood legend. Filled with action and romance, this new series follows a teenage heroine through her fantastic, yet dangerous adventures.
EXCERPT:
Other girls—some of the youngest ones from the kitchen—came from the brush. Smoke clung to them like a shroud, and tears had run in rivers down soot-stained cheeks. Ginny, the youngest at six, ran to Jemma and attached herself like a limpet to the older girl’s legs.
“Where is everyone else?” Robin asked, glancing between them and then back at the flaming manor. “Where is—where’s—” Her face heated even as the rest of her body grew chilled, and she stuffed her first in her mouth to muffle her scream.
“We are the only ones.”
Robin looked up at Kitty, surprised to find herself on her knees in the damp grass. She curled her shaking fingers into fists, and then rested them on her thighs. “How—what happened?”
“That man,” the girl went on, absently twisting her skirt in her hands. “The one who’d been courting you… he came for you in the night. When he couldn’t find you, he gathered everyone in the great hall.”
“Except you lot?” Jemma inquired.
“He was hurting her.” Kitty’s eyes took on a glossy quality. “He had Maggie by the hair, and he was hurting her. She had Ginny behind her, protecting her. I—I hit him over the head with a candle stand.”
“We went through the old tunnel,” another voice piped up. Maggie slipped her hand into Kitty’s. “Me and Kitty and Ginny.”
“And my—my mother?” Robin took a deep, shuddering breath.
“She kept her secret. We heard ‘im, shouting. He wanted to know where you was.” Ginny, this time. She wandered away from Jemma, and Robin opened her arms for her to nestle into. She’d helped Jemma look after the younger servants on the sly for years. Whether they’d been orphaned at birth or left to the streets, Jemma had brought them each back to the manor, and she’d given them a home and a hope the rest of the world didn’t offer. “She didn’t tell, Robin. She didn’t tell him where you was.”
“I heard Charlotte say you were gone,” Maggie said quietly. “She’d gone to your mother’s chambers to tell her. Miss Jemma was gone, too, and so was your bow.” She shrugged, a delicate lift of her shoulders. “We all thought you had gone to the field.”
“And she said nothing?” Robin’s heart beat hard against her ribcage.
“Lady was very brave,” Ginny murmured.
“She was,” Robin agreed. “Like you are. You all.” She looked at each of the other girls, who stared back, clearly waiting.
It hit her then—they were waiting for her. With the only survivors of the manor in front of her, and her mother dead—God rest her soul, God hold them all in His hand—it occurred to her in that moment. She was the Lady of Lockesly.

Author Bio:
Molly is a 2013 graduate of William Smith College with a bachelors in chemistry. She puts her science powers to use by day and is a novelist by night (and weekend...and any five minutes she can find). When she's not writing or working, she's scoping out coffee shops, exploring her new city (Buffalo, NY), taking day trips to Canada, and putting together puzzles.

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cover reveal: Ever afer


Ever After
Aya Ling
(Unfinished Fairy Tale Series, #3)
Publication date: May 20th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Kat has survived. She returns to Athelia as herself, Katherine Wilson. Edward, elated at learning she is alive, vows to bring her back to the palace. The obstacles, however, seem impossible to overcome. Marriage between a royal and a commoner is not recognized, not to mention that he is already legally bound to Katriona Bradshaw, who will do anything to keep her position as princess.
And there’s even more to worry about. Due to an uncommonly harsh winter, the people of Athelia have been suffering from inflated food prices, and are getting irritated at supporting the small, elite group of aristocrats. An uprising in a neighboring country only adds fuel to the fire.
Can Kat and Edward finally get a happily-ever-after?
Previous books in the series:


Author Bio:
Aya is from Taiwan, where she struggles daily to contain her obsession with mouthwatering and unhealthy foods. Often she will devour a good book instead. Her favorite books include martial arts romances, fairy tale retellings, high fantasy, cozy mysteries, and manga.
She is currently working on Ever After, Book 3 in the Unfinished Fairy Tales series, to be released in 2017. For exclusive bonus scenes, giveaways, and new release info, visit ayaling.com

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Book Blitz: The Unseen


The Unseen
Jacob Devlin
(Order of the Bell #2)
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: May 9th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult
Crescenzo and his friends may have survived their confounding journey to the enchanted realms of Florindale, but now they find themselves fighting for their sanity and lives while stuck on the other side of the very mirror they set out to destroy.
With their families trapped by a former ally with a crippling fear of the queen, Enzo, Rosana, and Zack must play a deadly game in Wonderland, where shadows are on the move, kings are at war, and one of them wants Rosana dead.
As darkness hovers over the world, the friends must lean on each other and stop the King of Hearts from following through on Avoria’s orders: Break them.
Sequel to:
EXCERPT:
Zack wrinkled his brows. “Who are you? Why have I come to see you? I don’t even know you.”
“You wouldn’t know of Madame Esme. But she certainly knows of you. Lady Fortune keeps painting your name in the cosmos. It would appear there is an important role for you in the journeys of Pinocchio’s son.”
“Enzo,” Zack said quietly.
“Yes.” A chill rippled through the air, and Madame Esme cast a wary gaze around the tent. “Now, Madame Esme has very limited time to speak to you. Please listen carefully.” She lowered her voice, reached across the table, and then seized Zack’s elbow. “I have predicted the death of one of your own . . . the son of Pinocchio. Madame Esme cannot be sure of the circumstances, but it is to take place soon in the realm of wonder.”
Zack yanked his elbow out of Madame Esme’s grip. “What are you saying? Why would you tell me something like that, even if it were true? That’s . . . an evil thing to say.”
The woman edged forward, impossibly calm given the horrible news she delivered. “Madame Esme is never wrong, Son of Pan. Oh, how often she wishes she were! Avoria arrived seven days ago, and what a mess we have become! The lands of Roma are falling to ruins once more. The Grand Canyon crumbles to dust as we speak. Avoria seeks a territory in which to build her citadel, and nothing will ever be the same. But the son of Pinocchio is destined to lead us all to battle. Thus, we need you, Son of Pan. We need you all to dethrone Avoria and restore peace. But if The Carver dies, hope dies with him.”


Author Bio:
When Jacob Devlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake. Eventually, he traded his favorite blue crayon for a black pen, and he never put it down. When not reading or writing, Jacob loves practicing his Italian, watching stand-up comedy, going deaf at rock concerts, and geeking out at comic book conventions. He does most of these things in southern Arizona.

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Reveal Trailer: The Unforgiven by A.Katie Rose


THE UNFORGIVEN




About the Book

When the moon and the sun
Are joined as one, 
From tears of strife, from the bitter ashes,
From sorrow and from rage 
That what was once parted 
Shall again be one.

First Captain Vanyar: Disgraced. Outlawed. Haunted by the chilling murder of his own men, he is consumed by guilt and knows he can never find redemption for his crimes. The most talented Shape-Shifter ever born, only he can save Princess Iyumi from a Witch's evil, and help her find the child of prophecy. But his Atani brothers, seeking justice for the slaying of Vanyar's unit, plan his private execution against the King's orders.


Princess Iyumi: She is the legendary "She Who Hears", the voice of the gods, and the gods' chosen tool. Only she knows where to find the child spoken of in the ancient prophecy, the child who will unite two feuding countries and protect the world of magic from obliteration. Caught between two warring men, only her love is hers to give, to offer to the only man she ever wanted.

Prince Flynn: Despised by his own people, cruelly abused by his father, he fights to hide his magical gifts from those who would slay him for possessing them. By blood and by fire, he gains a terrible power, and condemns his own soul. He must find Princess Iyumi and the child, and bring them to his father's mistress, the Red Witch. Or the only people who ever mattered to him, his mother and his sister, will die.

About the Author

A. Katie Rose is a workaholic living in San Antonio, Texas. With her day job as a photographer, she writes in what little remains of her spare time. She enjoys long walks, reading (when possible), watching movies, red wine, and drinking beer around a fire with friends. Among her extracurricular activities, she rides her horses and rescues cats.
A Colorado native, she earned her B.A. in literature and history at Western State College, in Gunnison, Colorado. Her first novel, In a Wolf's Eyes, was published in April of 2012. Her second book, Catch a Wolf, was released in July, 2013. The third of the series, Prince Wolf, was released in May of 2014. The Unforgiven was published in March of 2015. Book Four, Under the Wolf's Shadow was published in June of 2016. She is busy working on the fifth of the Saga of the Black Wolf series, The Kinslayer.