The Hobbit

The Hobbit

Mark Twain

Of all the animals, man is the only one that lies.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Zombie Housewives (Zombie Housewives #1) by Ami Blackwelder

REVIEW:

Can Zombies be used as part of an allegory? How appropriate and easily digestible would be such an apologue for the readers who usually fall into two distinct categories: those who read stories about zombies and those that are looking only for, let’s say, the message... Amy Blackwelder had the courage of such approach of the zombie phenomenon and, in my opinion, Zombie Housewives should please both categories. The writer succeeded an excellent balance: there is enough gore, enough suspense and enough “zombie character” for the first category and for the second one there is a disguised social analysis and a disguised message for those that are "trapped" in an unhappy marriage.

History and happiness (more correctly lack thereof) of three neighboring couples, each with its own different problems are not the cause that generated the plague - because this cause is one terrifying by how absurdly banal it is, but the mandatory and contributory factor that triggers the "disease". Frustration, the feeling of incompleteness and finally ... the misery of married life may make us monsters and this time, to sound the alarm, the transformation takes place literally.

Another author’s success is the way in which the minds of Crystal, Jennifer and Carrie apprehend and how they think. The passing from one state to another occurs in limits that are… logical, normal, possible, the eventual exaggeration being used on purpose having the role of emphasizing an idea or another.

I also liked the fact that Zombie Hosewives meets the criteria required to be a truly short story, featuring a small cast of named characters, and being focused on a self-contained incident with the intent of evoking a single effect.

I could even say that it is a good anecdote. Anecdote that is defined as "„a short and amusing but serious account, which may depict a real/fake incident or character” even if in our case the funny part is not in the frontline, but only in the substrate, in the absurd of the story.

I liked it, try it!

Get it free for your Kindle April 22, 23, 24
About the author: 
Ami Blackwelder is a Paranormal and SciFi author. Her stories range from Tween & YA to Adult. Growing up in Florida, she graduated UCF and in 1997 received her BA in English and additional teaching credentials. Then she packed her bags and travelled overseas to teach in Thailand, Nepal, Tibet, China and Korea. She has always loved writing and wrote poems and short stores since childhood; however, her novels began when she was in Thailand in her thirties. 

Having won the Best Fiction Award from the University of Central Florida (Yes, The Blair Witch Project University), her short fiction From Joy We Come, Unto Joy We Return was published in the on campus literary magazine: Cypress Dome and remains to this day in University libraries around the USA. Later, she achieved the semi-finals in a Laurel Hemingway contest and published a few poems in the Thailand’s Expat magazine, and an article in the Thailand’s People newspaper. Additionally, she has published poetry in the Korea’s AIM magazine, the American Poetic Monthly magazine and Twisted Dreams Magazine.

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Interview and Giveaway: The Looking Glass by Jessica Arnold

Published: April 15th, 2014

Description:

Find the diary, break the curse, step through The Looking Glass!

Fifteen-year-old Alice Montgomery wakes up in the lobby of the B&B where she has been vacationing with her family to a startling discovery: no one can see or hear her. The cheap desk lights have been replaced with gas lamps and the linoleum floor with hardwood and rich Oriental carpeting. Someone has replaced the artwork with eerie paintings of Elizabeth Blackwell, the insane actress and rumored witch who killed herself at the hotel in the 1880s. Alice watches from behind the looking glass where she is haunted by Elizabeth Blackwell. Trapped in the 19th-century version of the hotel, Alice must figure out a way to break Elizabeth’s curse—with the help of Elizabeth's old diary and Tony, the son of a ghost hunter who is investigating the haunted B&B— before she becomes the inn's next victim.

MB's INTERVIEW
Thank you, Mrs. Jessica Arnold 
Why a retelling? How far from the original story a retelling can go?
I like to call The Looking Glass an ‘untelling.’ A strict retelling attempts to shine new light on an old story; an untelling takes one or several elements from a well-known story, but doesn't try to mimic the original plot or even theme. For stories like Alice in Wonderland, which has already been retold to death, untellings are a way to build on a story instead of just remaking it. If stories are Lego buildings, a retelling takes all the pieces apart, then reassembles them. An untelling takes the pieces apart, grabs a few, and then adds in a whole bucket full of other pieces.

Why an untelling and not a retelling? Because I like to have ALL THE LEGOS.

The way I see it, there's so much incredible literature out there that it would be a shame not to build on it. I didn't conceive of this story as an Alice in Wonderland retelling, but because Alice in Wonderland offered the perfect framework for what I wanted to do, I grabbed those Legos and never looked back.

What do you think about our day fantasy/paranormal young adult literature and where do you think The Looking Glass fits?
The nice thing about YA paranormal/fantasy literature is that it's a wide, WIDE field. There's a tremendous amount of variety, and that allows authors a lot of freedom. That said, The Looking Glass is a bit of an oddball book. It's a bottle story—meaning it takes place in a small, constricted area with a small cast of characters over a short period of time. Most of the epically popular YA hits right now are enormous stories with wide scopes, long timelines, and tons of characters. I'm honestly not sure how most YA readers will react to the very different style of story that I'm telling, but I'm excited to find out!

The Looking Glass has a beautiful cover. Many say that the cover doesn’t matter. How and on what criteria did you choose this cover?
The cover IS amazing! Thankfully I didn’t have much to do with the actual design. My publisher asked me how I imagined my cover, and I came up with something about mirrors and glass and … probably not the most illustrative ideas. When I received a mock-up of this design, I immediately loved it. (I actually teared up. Who knew covers could be so emotional?) I think of the cover as the starting scene of the book—Alice unconscious in the pool, just fallen under the curse that puts her life in jeopardy. Because covers do matter a ton (they attract the right readers and set the mood for the whole story), I was worried I would end up with one I wasn’t happy with. But I’m fortunate to have one I adore. 

I read your article “So You Got Your First Bad Review” and I must say that Mythical Books believe that art cannot be measured. My question is what do you think about all those book rating systems? What are their purpose, their advantages and disadvantages?
I think Mythical Books has exactly the right attitude! Truly art’s value can’t be determined by one person or even by a group of people! But I believe ratings can help readers decide which books they might enjoy. The most useful ratings are the ones in which readers don’t just rank a book, but also explain what they expected and then elaborate on how their expectations were or weren’t met. Because reading (and art!) is such a personal thing, by recognizing that we come into stories with different perspectives, we’re able to share the ways we enjoyed and didn’t enjoy stories in a safe way. And it’s all those unique viewpoints that make discussing literature such a rich experience.

You play a lot of Scrabble. How important is the language/words used by a writer and how it should be?
Haha, I do love Scrabble (and all word games)! Before I answer this question, I have to confess that I’m a literature-loving English major and am totally biased on any language-based topic. That said … words are everything. Black and white television shows tell a great story, but what a difference color makes! In the same way, stories can be told with careless words. But when a writer has an awareness of language—of the undertones that each word carries—the reader’s experience is richer and fuller and more impactful. Good writing is clear, well plotted, and tells an interesting story. But when we read writing that is beautiful, the words reach not just our minds, but also our hearts.

About the author:
Jessica Arnold writes YA, codes ebooks, and is currently a graduate student in publishing at Emerson College in Boston. She spends most of her time in class or work or slogging through the homework swamp. If she has a spare moment, she’s always up for a round of Boggle. Given the opportunity, Jessica will pontificate at length on the virtues of the serial comma, when and where to use an en dash, and why the semicolon is the best punctuation mark pretty much ever.


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Interview and Giveaway: z2 (46. Ascending #3) by Sherrie Cronin

Description:

Alex once walked away from a rare ability to warp time, thinking it was only a young man's trick to play basketball better. Now, as a father and teacher, he needs to relearn the skill quickly before the past begins to destroy his own future. To protect his daughter and his most promising student, he must stop the school at which he teaches from turning the clock backwards to an era of white supremacy. 

An old high school friend is in desperate need of Alex’s unique gifts to help solve an ancient Maya mystery. As the puzzling artifact offers a rare chance to bridge the past and the future, its story begins to intertwine with the growing tensions at Alex’s school. As both situations take dangerous turns, Alex knows that he must learn to control his temporal talents before he runs out of time.

z2 is part of 46. Ascending, a collection of loosely interrelated novels about five very different family members who each discover that they can do the extraordinary when circumstances require it. These books are designed to be read as stand alone stories or in any order.

MB's INTERVIEW
Thank you, Mrs.Sherrie Cronin

I must ask: what is the significance of the titles of the Ascending Series?
I’m married to a math teacher and work as a geophysicist, so these are titles that grew out of a love of math. I wanted to name my first book “One” but as you might guess this is a title that has been used often. So I decided to get a little more creative and use x raised to the power of zero (written x0) because it is a mathematical expression for the number one. Because the book x0 celebrates the ways we are alike, and the second book celebrates the ways that we are different, I went with y raised to the power of one (written y1) for my second title because y1 is always itself.

Once I got started, I just kept going. My third book, z2, is about time and cause and effect and the outcomes from our decisions and z2 fits. My fourth novel uses the concept light radiating out from a point, which is described by the title c3 perfectly. The fifth and six novels will have similar names.

I know this is a geeky approach, but to be honest, my books are geeky, speculative fiction books. My biggest problem is that superscripts are hard to do in so many places. I can’t get them on my own blog (where my books consistently show up as x0, y1, z2 and c3) or at Amazon or Goodreads, where they show up the same.

And also I must ask what means an “interactive novel”?
All the electronic versions of my books (those from Amazon, Nook, Apple, Smashwords and others) contain a few blue underlined links in each chapter that will take reader to blogs, websites and news articles that provide photographs and information that could enhance enjoyment of the novel. Each book also contains nine links to songs that are enjoyed by the main characters in the story. Readers who don’t like this idea, or who are reading the book on a device that does not support hypertext, can go to the links later for more flavor after the book is finished if they want. They can also just ignore them as none of the links are necessary to enjoy the story.

The full URLs are given at the end of each book, and there are live hyperlinks at each book’s website. I do monitor the URLs periodically to ensure that they ar still live and I ask my readers to contact me if they discover that a link is broken.

How the paranormal, ancient mystery can be entwined with the SF genre to obtain a great story?
My book intertwines three stories, each told over the course of a calendar year. One of these stories takes place in 1697, during the fall of the last independent Mayan city to the Spanish. The other two stories take place today. One concerns an archeologist trying to solve a mystery left behind in 1697, and the other concerns his friend, a physics teacher who is fascinated by the nature of time. Obviously all three stories come together in a way that I hope the reader will enjoy.

How did you choose (or how the “book” chose) the characters? Anyway, having in view that the book informed you that it is in fact a series of six books, who is the boss here: you or the book? Who has the ideas and who has the last word?
Ha, now that is a good question. Writing a book is a little like having a cat for a pet. You may start the relationship and provide all the worldly needs and therefore think you are in charge, but often the cat makes you reconsider that assumption.

I’ve started each book with a loose outline and a list of characters. In every case I’ve followed the outline and yet ended up with a story that was not quite what I expected, and yet in the end it felt like the way the story was really supposed to be. And in every case, I’ve had at least one minor character who just insisted on having a bigger part. In z2 I had two of them, Kyle and Kisa, and by the end they were two of my favorites.

Is my opinion that a good book should transmit a message. What do you think about that?
I agree completely and then some. I think that all books do transmit a message, even those intended to be nothing more than the lightest of entertainment. Writing is very personal, and your heart and your beliefs go with your words and are embedded in how your characters treat others and feel about themselves. That hardly means that the world needs nothing but fluffy light stories about good people with happy endings. Meaningful and important messages often can be delivered best through a dark tale. In the end though, I think every author needs to consider that a reader has let this particular book in, and however the tale is told, the end result should be that the reader is in better shape somehow for having read the book.

About the author:
Sherrie Roth grew up in Western Kansas thinking that there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer. 

She published her first science fiction short story pretty easily, and then waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next story. When it finally came, it declared to her that it had to be whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on. 

The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, asked her to calm down and explained that in a fit of practicality she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and had spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was that she had found it at least mildly entertaining and ridiculously well-paying The bad news was that the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money. 

Apparently she was now Mrs. Cronin, and the further good news was that they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved dearly, even though to be honest that is where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin turned out to be a warm-hearted, encouraging sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. "It's about time," were his exact words. 

Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already managed to become the first woman in space and apparently had done a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie's head for decades. The only problem was, the book informed her sternly that it had now grown into a six book series. Sherrie decided that she better start writing it before it got any longer. She's been wide awake ever since, and writing away. 

Blog x0 ** Blog y1 ** Blog z2 ** Blog c3 ** Goodreads ** Facebook ** Twitter

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Interview and Giveaway: The Queen's Pawn by R.J. Hore

Description: 13+

Young Harow just wanted to stay on the farm for the rest of his life, but his mother insisted he go to school in the City to study to be a priest. Now the City is in flames and he is racing across unfamiliar countryside trying to get the mysterious and sensuous Queen Reginee and her extremely annoying and very spoiled daughter Desiree-Rose to safety.


Of course there is a rebel army on their heels, black wizardry afoot, and sundry and dangerous creatures and villains, monstrous and common, seductive and evil, lurking along the way. If this were not enough for the youth to worry about, the Queen’s amorous chambermaid and bodyguard Mathilde, a smallish giantess, just wants to get him alone.

MB's INTERVIEW
Thank you, Mr.R.J. Hore
What do you think about our day fantasy literature evolutions/trend?
Trends seem to come and go more quickly than they used to. Paranormal romance has slipped a bit with the big publishers, zombies are still here, but the zombie mash-ups are fading, and vampires are still sparkling instead of bursting into flame or turning to dust. Which leads me to suspect that writers should avoid trying to catch the latest trend, or the next one, and stick to writing interesting stories. If you consider some of the top authors, they have either started their own trend, or simply written a compelling story that doesn’t fit into a common mold. I like the fact I can write about almost anything without being forced to follow the herd all the time. I have no objection to adding features from other genres into a fantasy tale. A little horror in a scene or a touch of science fiction can add to a story. 

What fantasy stories bring in our life?
The easy answer is escape. A fantasy story can lead the reader into a completely different world, or add magic to solve a problem. The character may be a normal person, or can be other-worldly. A good story makes the reader think. It can also make the reader want to expand their horizons. A tale of knights and derring-do might bring about an interest in history and the middle ages. A steam punk adventure set in the Victorian era could have the reader stopping to look at what actually happened. If not, these stories still broaden the reader’s experience. If nothing else, a good fantasy story will make the reader forget their own problems for a while, or might even encourage them to try writing their own tale.

What a fantasy story must have?
I write both medieval-style fantasy and fantasy detective. (urban?). The medieval story writer should have some basic knowledge of the actual time period being copied when they set down their tale. World building is important. The clothing, weapons, and buildings such as castles, all help to flesh out the story. Readers will complain if armies on foot or riders on horseback cover vast unattainable distances, never stopping to eat or rest. Fantasy doesn’t mean suspending all reality, unless you are writing something like Alice in Wonderland. A good fantasy story should have a well-built world, believable characters, and careful use of magic. Don’t have the hero flying off to escape danger in one scene, if you haven’t explained how he or she can do that before-hand. Be consistent with both the world, and the characters. Would the people you have created really act like that based on what has gone on in the story before? When they say write what you know, that also comes true in urban fantasy. Make that street scene or waterfront area stand out…because you have been there. The medieval writer has to either travel to the exotic locations, or do research through other methods, like museums and books.

What a fantasy story should avoid?
Try and avoid the common tropes. When doing your research of publishers to send the manuscript to, you will frequently see references to topics like: no talking cats, no vampires, or no zombies. Beware, if you are incorporating overdone similar ideas, your story has to really shine or have a different twist or point of view. Don’t overdo magic. If it’s too easy, if gets your characters out of too many problems without them (or the author!) having to come up with interesting solutions, that’s cheating. The plot is important, but the characters have to stand out. The setting can be almost as important as the characters. Beware of glossing over holes in the plot or description. If you can incorporate three actual facts about something, like a zeppelin, a steam train, or a sailing ship, your reader will believe you are an expert and may forgive minor sins. Of course, as always, avoid a slow start and try and open the story with something to grab the reader’s attention. Some book-store browsers never get past the first sentence, so catch them while you can.

What would you say to those who refuse to read fantasy?
Often the fans or authors of fantasy may have themselves to blame if they can’t attract new readers. Maybe we frighten them away when they ask what the story is about by confusing them with too much fantasy jargon. For example, take my novel The Queen’s Pawn. I could say it’s a questing adventure, complete with wizards and dragons and strange monsters. It’s the story of a youth who must rescue the queen and the princess from evil villains. You can picture their eyes glazing over. Alternatively, I could simple say it’s the story of a young man who must overcome the odds on a journey to guide a widow and her daughter to safety. It has humor, adventure, and romance. Take a look at another book I wrote, The Dark Lady. It’s the story of a young princess who discovers her parents have been murdered and she is beset on all sides by grasping men who wish to control her, and the kingdom. I could also simply say it’s the story of an orphan girl who must survive difficulties while trying to discover who murdered her parents. Once we lure the unsuspecting reader into opening the pages of a good fantasy tale, I think we have them hooked. 

About the author:
Ron can be found sailing on Lake Winnipeg when not writing novels or critiquing for an on-line magazine He won first prize for a Canadian Authors Association short story contest for a ghostly love story, but his preference is for longer works including a recent trio of medieval-style fantasies and the Housetrap Chronicles fantasy detective series through www.burstbooks.ca . Supervised by his understanding wife and a large demanding cat, most of his writing efforts continue toward fantasy, with occasional lapses into science fiction and horror.

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Cover Reveal: Descent by Kallie Ross

Description:

Seventeen year old Ollie Miller is ready to leave all of her hurt feelings behind, but moving on seems impossible while living next door to her ex-best friend, Mateo. When curious earthquakes begin to shake and rip open the foundation of her small town, the ground becomes as unsteady as her feelings for him. When they fall, they fall hard… 

Ollie’s disastrous attempt to save Mateo’s brother from falling into a curious chasm results in their descent into a cavernous wonderland. 

Ollie, Mateo, Jesse, and Alexis search for a way back home, and encounter a mysterious tribe of natives. Gabriel, the next in line to lead his people, is granted permission to guide them to the surface. 

On their treacherous journey, an overzealous elder threatens all of their lives, because he can’t risk them exposing his people, or the power he wields. The group discovers ancient secrets, unexpected truths, and uncharted feelings. 

Ollie must find a way out or risk being stuck in the caves forever—or worse, dead.

About the author:

Over time my love for learning gravitated toward studying conspiracy theories and contradictions in our culture. My conclusions have ignited a passion to write compelling young adult fiction that incorporates legend, conjecture, fantasy, and conviction. I love being a wife, mother, friend, writer, and teacher. I began teaching high school English in 2002 and started blogging and podcasting in 2008. I have a brilliant husband, two redheads, and never imagined my life would ever be this fun!



Cover Reveal organized by INK Slinger PR

Excerpt and Giveaway: Dark Light of Day and Fiery Edge of Steel (Noon Onyx #1,#2) by Jill Archer

Description:

Book#1
Noon Onyx has been accepted into the prestigious St. Lucifer’s Law School where her mother hopes she’ll be trained as a Maegester. But Noon doesn’t want to control demons, set fires, or destroy things. She wants to become a Mederi so she can grow gardens and heal people.

Noon's best friend, Peter Aster, is an Angel spellcaster who thinks he has the answer to Noon's predicament - an ancient, mysterious, lost spell that can turn Noon into the Mederi she always wanted to be. Only one person stands in the way of Noon's dream - Ari Carmine, a fellow classmate who seems fascinated by Noon's fiery side. 

Book #2
Noon Onyx is the first woman in memory to wield waning magic. Her unique abilities, paired with a lack of control and reluctance to kill, have branded her as an outsider from her peers. Only her powerful lover, Ari Carmine, and a roguish and mysterious Angel, Rafe Sinclair, support her unconventional ways.

When Noon is shipped off to a remote outpost to investigate several unusual disappearances, it seems Luck is not on her side. But when the outpost settlers claim that an ancient and evil foe has stepped out of legend to commit the crimes, Noon realizes that she could be facing something much worse than she ever imagined…

Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting...

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.

However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

EXCERPTs 


Excerpt Dark Light of Day:
“I’ve been watching you, wondering, waiting to see where you’d end up. After all, there are other demon law schools,” Seknecus said, making a moue of distaste that made it clear exactly what he thought of them. “But I was happy to see that you chose St. Lucifer’s.”

Technically my mother chose St. Lucifer’s . . . But there seemed no reason to interrupt to clarify that bit of misinformation. Seknecus wandered around the room, picking through papers, flipping open and quickly shutting the front covers of various leather-bound books, never meeting my eye. I had no doubt, however, that his attention was fully focused on me.

“So, you see, seeing your name on my list wasn’t exactly a surprise, although it appeared much later than I would have liked.”

He did look at me then, with a frown of disapproval. I did my best to look expressionless because none seemed appropriate. It wouldn’t do to look amused, bored or, Luck forbid, rebellious. Seknecus stared at me with narrowed eyes and then went back to wandering.

“You’ve got some catching up to do,” he said, addressing a copy of Sin and Sanction: Codification & Case Law. “It doesn’t matter why or what excuses you’ve got for yourself. You will be held to the same standards as everyone else, regardless of whose daughter you are. And you’ve missed a lot of class already.”

I opened my mouth to protest, but he cut me off with a wave.

“Manipulation class,” he clarified. “You’re going to have to work ten times as hard as everyone else just to pass. Quintus Rochester doesn’t go easy on students and he’s likely to see your absence during the early part of the semester as a challenge. You know, failing is not an option. Not if you want to live . . .”



Fiery Edge of Steel Excerpt

“You are familiar with Empyr wine, Ms. Onyx?” Rochester asked. 

I nodded warily. 

Angels were obsessed with apples. They took their love of this fruit very seriously, worshipping it as a symbol of the lost world they once ruled. A common motif in Angel art was the fallen apple that never rotted. Empyr wines were apple wines that were “enhanced” by some of the best Angel sommeliers in Halja. The enhancements were spells. Each batch had its own name, flavor, coloring, and associated spell. They were served upstairs in the Angels’ infamous restaurant on this building’s thirty-third floor. 

I’d had Empyr wine exactly two times in my life. Each time it had produced life-altering effects, although in an indirect manner and not of the kind I could have guessed. 

Friedrich turned back toward me and offered me the cup. Inside, the liquid was pink and fizzy and flecked with gold. I reached for the cup and there was a brief moment when I wasn’t sure Friedrich would let go. Was the spell tied to his touch? I yanked harder and the wine nearly spilled out of the cup as it broke free from his grasp. Rochester’s signature nudged mine, like a parent pinching an errant child. I glanced back at Ari, who gave me a tight smile. 

I tipped the cup to my lips and drank. Immediately, a bitter, chalky taste filled my mouth. I hid my grimace, finished, and handed the cup back to Friedrich. 

“This batch is called ‘Fortuna’s Favorites,’” Friedrich said. “Think you’re one of them?” 

Time will tell, I thought, but said instead, “Fortes fortuna adiuvat.” Fortune favors the bold. Another of Dorio’s sayings. Maybe Fitz had the right idea. 

Friedrich grunted. Ari grinned. 

Rochester held off magically pinching me again. Instead, he handed me a white linen napkin. 

“A gift from this batch’s sommelier,” he said. “Some words of wisdom regarding this semester’s assignment.” 

I choked back a laugh. From tea leaves to wine tannins, where Angels fear not to tread . . . I accepted the napkin and wiped my mouth gently. I’d been generous in this morning’s application of Daredevil Red lip paint. Who knew what my fortune might be if I added too much of that to the mix? But the laugh died in my throat as I looked down at my napkin. Slowly, a stain of words appeared: 

When traveling into the unknown, sometimes the biggest danger is the one you bring with you . . .


About the author:
Jill Archer writes dark, genre-bending fantasy from rural Maryland. Her novels include Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, and White Heart of Justice. She loves cats, coffee, books, movies, day tripping, and outdoor adventuring.


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Special Giveaway

Anyone who tweets one of these will be entered to win ANY fantasy book of their choice from Book Depository (so long as Book Depository ships to your address) (up to $10.00). Contest ends on June 3, 2014. One tweet/entry per person.

“Lucem in tenebras ferimus. Into the darkness, we bring light.” @archer_jill #DARKLIGHTOFDAY

“When traveling into the unknown, sometimes the biggest danger is the one you bring with you…” @archer_jill #FIERYEDGEOFSTEEL

“One out of every two hunters who follow the Old Trail will not return.” @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE

Finally! I’m looking forward to seeing Noon embrace her fiery magic. @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE

Ari Carmine is smokin’ hot. I wanna see if Noon can forgive him for that nasty surprise at the end of B2. @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE

I heard a rumor that Rafe Sinclair makes a wish and I wanna know if it’s granted. @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE

Nocturo. Tall dark handsome. Heard his scalpel’s put to good use. Is he gonna threaten Brunus w it again? @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE

I love the characters, but I’m really just in it for the monsters and magic. Bring on the ice demons! @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE

Armageddon is over. The demons won. But it’s not as dark as all that. Parts of it are romantic and sweet. @archer_jill #NOONONYXSERIES


Excerpt and Giveaway: Unsurpassed (No Rival #1) by Charity Parkerson

Published: April 16th, 2014

Description:18+

Book 1 in the No Rival series

Aubree is infatuated with two men, Max and Ryan. The two former Marines have been her close friends ever since she made her first misguided attempt at joining their kickboxing classes. When the pair invites her to join them at a weekend party thrown by Drew, a famous MMA champion, she has no idea what they have in mind. After spending one hot ménage night with the pair, Aubree learns the men’s intentions are not all about her. Feeling betrayed, Aubree turns to Drew who is also tugging at her heart. 

She must choose between the two men who have been the center of her fantasies, and the one man who could make all her dreams come true.

Inside Scoop: This sexy tale includes a ménage and male/male encounters that may leave you wishing for an alpha male fighter of your own.
 EXCERPT 



Leaning against the cool wood of the hotel room door, she met his stare trying hard not to smile like an idiot.

“This was fun.”

Drew’s eyes flashed. “If you ask nicely, I’ll let you take me to bed.”

She shook her head at his antics. “What if I’m not feeling especially nice?”

Drew brushed his hand over her hip. “You’re right. You do feel naughty,” he agreed. Holding her stare, he bent closer, giving her time to protest his advance. The door opened at Aubree’s back. If she hadn’t hit the solid wall of Max’s chest, she might have ended up sprawled across the floor. Tilting back her head, she took note of the angry expression on Max’s face before switching her gaze back to Drew. His eyes danced with humor as he mouthed, “Denied,” and Aubree slapped her hand over her mouth to smother her giggles.

“Have a nice night, Drew.” Drew ignored Max’s snarling words.

“May I see you again?”

“I’d like that,” she answered without hesitation. Max growled. At the sound, Drew flashed him a cocky grin before giving her a wicked version of it and turning away. As soon as he moved out of the doorway, Max slammed it closed, focusing his ire on her. She’d never seen him truly angry before now. She laughed nervously.

“Are you drunk?”

“No,” she answered, incredulous. “I’ve had two glasses of champagne all night.”

“Your face is flushed.”

Aubree shrugged. “I’m happy. I had a good time.”

Max prowled toward her. The hard set of his jaw caused a flutter of desire to run through her. “Did you forget who you came here with?”

Unable to think of a single retort, she shrugged again. “I’m young and single. Why shouldn’t I enjoy myself?”

Max’s eyes flashed dangerously. His tone had a bite to it when he spoke. “You are not single.”



About the author:

Charity Parkerson is an award winning and multi-published author with Ellora's Cave Publishing. Born with no filter from her brain to her mouth, she decided to take this odd quirk and insert it in her characters. *2013 Readers' Favorite Award Winner *2013 Reviewers' Choice Award Winner *ARRA Finalist for Favorite Paranormal Romance *Five-time winner of The Mistress of the Darkpath *Named one of the top 10 best books by an Indie author in 2011- Paranormal Reads Reviews *Best Paranormal Romance of 2012- Paranormal Reads Reviews

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Happy Release Day! Excerpt and Giveaway: Written On Her Heart (Callaway Cove #1) by Paige Rion

Description:

Andi Callaway has dreamed of becoming a published author her entire life. 

Ford Delaney has always wanted nothing more than to escape his past. 

An opportunity of a lifetime. This is what Andi finds when she returns home to Callaway Cove on summer break. A chance to work for her literary idol Ford Delaney is up for grabs, and she’s willing to risk everything—her boyfriend, her best friends, and her education—to get it. 

She’s positive this will be the key to reaching her dreams. But the moment she begins working for the reclusive author, Andi realizes there’s more to him than just a name. As attraction builds between Andi and Ford, she begins to discover consequences must come hand-in-hand with something great—which could loosen control over her tightly wound life. And once romantic sparks fly, Andi’s other relationships start to crumble, Ford’s fame comes back to haunt him, and the heat they generate will either forge a powerful, enduring love or threaten everything she holds dear.

Written On Her Heart is a new adult romance and the first in The Callaway Cove series. The books take place around three women—best friends. There will be three books and each will be from another one of the girls’ perspectives. Written On Her Heart focuses on Andi Callaway. She’s an aspiring writer who discovers her literary idol, Ford Delaney, has fled to her small hometown for the summer. And she’s given the chance to work for him. But it might come as a price. She’s soon risking her friendships, her boyfriend, and her education just for the chance. But what she doesn’t expect is to have a shot at love with the reclusive Ford Delaney.

 EXCERPT 



“What kind of books do you want to write?” Ford asked, turning his attention back to his plate. 

The question brought her back to reality. “Romance.” 

“Ah, fairytales.” 

At her narrowed eyes, he said, “I’m not judging. All writers, myself included, create whole worlds to give people a reprieve from their real lives. That’s what I do, too.” 

Andi laughed but there was no joy in the sound. It was exactly how she felt about the kind of books she wanted to write and something Peter never understood. 

Interestingly, Ford’s words meant he didn’t believe in real love—that he considered the beautifully written romantic plotlines in his own books ‘fairytales’. “I don’t buy it. You can’t write books like yours and not believe in love, at least to some extent.” 

Ford’s mouth tightened. He ran a hand through his hair. “Why?” 

“Because there’s hope in love.” She met his gaze. “And a world without hope is a sad one. If you truly feel what you say, you want to leave people with the feeling that good exists and that love, no matter how impossible, is possible. If love is such a lie, I can’t see you selling it like you do.” 

Ford’s eyes flashed. “I believe people leave you when you need them most in life. I believe real love is something people tell themselves exists because it makes the world a better place to live in. When love fails, and it always does, people make excuses. He wasn’t the one. She was too critical, bossy, fat…whatever.” 

Andi frowned. “So why write romance into your books at all? If you don’t buy into the notion it’s real?” 

Ford smiled but his eyes softened, something sad lingering in his gaze. “Because there’s nothing wrong with giving false hope. Even if true love is a lie, it makes life easier to swallow. And that’s what’s important—finding a way to get through the rough parts. Love is the Achilles heel of man. It’s something we can’t help pursuing even if it ends in heartache, even if it is an endless pursuit of happiness. Shakespeare, Jane Austen—they got it.” 

Andi sat in silence. The sadness in his eyes shot clear through her heart like an arrow, and her mind raced through his books, trying to piece together what she was missing, what piece of heartbreak had been embedded between the pages that explained the way he felt now. 

“You think I’m wrong?” he asked, breaking through her thoughts. 

She wanted to argue with him, to come up with a line that would disprove everything he had just said about love, but she had none, so she said what she felt instead. “I think a world without true love is a world without hope, one I don’t want to be a part of. So, I choose to believe, whether it’s real or not.” 

She saw it. The flash in his eyes, a glimmer of something unexplained as his molten gaze met hers, pinning her to her seat. She caught her breath, unable to look away, the blood humming in her veins. In that moment, nothing and no one else existed. It was just him and her and the intimate conversation between them. 

He placed his hand over hers and leaned into the table. “Andi?” he whispered. 

Heart knocking against her ribs, her eyes flickered to his mouth and the hard contours of his jaw. He had shared so much of himself with her. This broken, brilliant man. Maybe all he needed was a little hope? 

He reached out, cupping the side of her face. She’d never wanted anything as much as she wanted to kiss him in that moment. The warmth of his palm burned through her skin, and the feel of him exploded all thought, scattering it to the far corners of her mind. She curled her fingers around his and leaned closer. She could hear the soft sound of his breathing. 



All she had to do was close her eyes. Move just a bit closer…

The book is only 99 cents for the blitz
About the author:
Paige Rion is a contemporary romance author. She’s a mother, wife, blogger, hopeless chocoholic, coffee-addicted, wine-lover. Her debut, novel—a new adult romance—Written On Her Heart, is the first in the Callaway Cove series. The next in the series is to be released this summer. She loves connecting with readers on her blog and social media. You can visit her website at:


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Cover Reveal and Giveaway: The Tycoon’s Reluctant Bride (BBW Romance - Billionaire Brothers 2) by Jenn Roseton

Release Date: May 2014

Description:

When city tycoon and part-time cowboy Alex Trask proposes to curvy Laura, she thinks he’s crazy. After all, they’ve only met once and haven’t even kissed!

But when he offers to help her company solve its cash flow problems and stave off bankruptcy, what other choice does she have?

Since he’ll only help her if she agrees to marry him, Laura becomes a whirlwind bride. Since one of Alex’s conditions is they have a real marriage, she risks her heart by falling in love with the enigmatic billionaire.

But will she ever discover the real reason Alex proposed? Could he ever fall in love with a curvy girl like her?

EXCERPT

     His lips claimed hers, his tongue demanding immediate entry. Surrendering with a small sigh, Laura curled her arms around his neck as he deepened the kiss ...
   “The bed’s comfortable.” A sexy grin rumpled the corners of his mouth. “I come here whenever I can get away from the city.”
    Alone? Laura wanted to ask, but didn’t, in case she didn’t like the answer. A sudden thought occurred to her. What if … what if their definitions of marriage differed?
Book#1
   “Alex.” She licked suddenly dry lips, barely aware that he’d caught the small movement and turned all his attention on her. “When … when you said a real marriage …” she paused. This was so awkward. Why on earth hadn’t she thought of this before she’d married him?
    “I meant a real marriage.” He pulled her towards him, until there was barely an inch of space separating their bodies.
    Finding it hard to think, let alone breathe, Laura tried again. “Yes, but what about … other people?”
    He scowled. “There won’t be any one else in our marriage, Laura,” he said firmly. “Just you and me.”
    Relief flooded through her. “Okay,” she whispered, allowing herself to relax in his embrace.
     The next instant, he tightened his arms around her. “I hope we’re clear on this point,” he growled.
   “Very,” she managed to utter, before he kissed her.

About the author:
Jenn Roseton believes that romance and happy endings go together. When she’s not writing, she indulges in delicious gourmet chocolate.

Although she’s spent time in Wyoming, unfortunately she didn’t meet a sexy cowboy of her own.


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Cover Reveal organized by Book Enthusiast Promotions

Trailer Reveal: Aqua by M.A. George

Description:

Meet Layla McKelland:

Novelist (unpublished, but cut her some slack…seventeen is a bit early to despair),

Slightly neurotic introvert (Alright, let’s be honest…there’s no “slightly” about it),

International Woman of Mystery, and…

Okay, just scratch the bio.

The only real “mystery” in Layla’s life is why her father has never been on the scene. Or why her mother drags Layla to a new coastal home every year.

Nothing about the latest hometown seems too newsworthy…until a routine day at the beach leaves Layla questioning whether she’s read one too many paranormal fantasy novels. The plot thickens when a random guy claims to know things about her father—a bizarre claim he backs up with an equally impossible stunt. And Layla soon finds herself on the wrong side of a mysterious attempted drowning…on her own kitchen floor.

When all is done, Layla will attest that fact is far stranger than fiction. And nothing in real life is ever as transparent as it seems…Not even water.

About the author:
M. A. George is part proud mother of two adorable children, part super top secret agent…Oops, probably just lost that job.

Writing is what keeps her up into the wee hours of the night. Fortunately, she has a lot of energy (Read: caffeine is her friend). She has a bit of an obsession with music (It does a fantastic job of tuning out rambunctious children while she attempts to focus).

She sincerely hopes people out there enjoy reading her work as much as she enjoys writing it. And if anyone hears of work for a super top secret agent, she’s now available (Discretion guaranteed…).