Thursday, May 31, 2012

Author Interview with Alyx (2) & Giveaway!


I'm excited to have with me today an amazing author who brought us the magical apocalypse, Alyx Dellamonica.  Her books are Indigo Springs and the recently released Blue Magic.  Please give a warm reader welcome to her.

M:  Hi Alyx. Thank you for agreeing to join me in an interview.

AD:  I'm so pleased to have the chance to talk to you!

M:  I’m always taken with magic in fantasy stories, and your story if packed full of magic! The further I went, the more tie to fey, witches, and all magical creations. I really enjoyed seeing all this connect through the vitagua and Astrid. How long did it take you to create this magic system and history of it?

AD:  It came in bits and pieces, in many ways. I had published some stories about the magical objects called 'chantments' that appear in INDIGO SPRINGS, and in a few of these stories it came to pass that they were tied, somehow, to a place called the unreal. When I set out to write this pair of novels, I took the idea of the mystical blue fluid, vitagua, and had to find a way to make it and the unreal connect to chantments in a logical way. 

Writing the book took over a year and when I was done my agent suggested I work a little more on the magic system specifically: she knew I understood it, but felt I had to put more of it on the page. So I wrote scenes like the one where Astrid tours Will around the unreal, and extended a few other explanatory bits, just to help.

M:  Wow. I felt like I was reading a magical induced apocalypse. I’m getting ready to read Blue Magic in June. With the connection of the magic to all magically touched creatures and beings, anything is possible. Is there any surprising magical creatures, that will make an appearance, you could share with us?

AD:  Heh. Magically induced apocalypse is exactly what I was going for. As for magical creatures, there is an extremely brief appearance by a minotaur, on Crete. And there's a fellow named Teoquan whom I hope you'll like.

M:  Which idea came first, Astrid and characters or the magic creation? Or maybe something else entirely?

AD:  The chantments came before Astrid--because of those short stories--and so did the magical blue fluid, vitagua. I was obsessed with the idea of as a mystical contaminant and tried out several beginnings of a novel built around it before I finally got Astrid's story off the ground. 

What's more, Sahara Knax came before Astrid, too--a friend of mine said something uncharacteristically heartless one day, and I started wondering what it would be like to be in an intense friendship with someone who was incapable of forgiveness or empathy. The two of them were essentially inspired in that moment.

M:  You have a little different style in this story. There’s an interview in current times and in the moment of happening time. It’s well done and both feel like present when reading them, but there is no confusion of where you are in time. Well, for me, I can’t speak for Astrid. ;) Did you write one side first or both at the same time?

AD:  I mostly start my books on page one and write chronologically to the end. I'm playing with that a bit now, in my latest series--I'm writing the novels themselves as they happen, but every now and then I'm taking a break to write a short story about something that happened to the characters ten or fifteen years earlier. The first of these is up at; it's called "Among the Silvering Herd." 

The interview section, where Will is essentially taking Astrid's statement about how the mystical spill came to occur, was based on my experience as a crisis worker in the Nineties--I spent a certain amount of time with crime victims who were giving police statements, so I have a good sense of how that works. (Of course, this process plays out in a very unusual way in the book!)

M:  We only saw Will in a few of the passages, as he was evaluating Astrid and trying to get information. I’m hoping we get to find more out about his life, and what happened with his wife and kids, and the offer Astrid made to him. If feels like, he might become a bigger character to come?

AD:  Yes, Will's journey in BLUE MAGIC is much more front and center. It's only fair: his kids are still missing as the book opens, and finding them is his biggest priority.

M:  Okay, now a few fun questions for you Alyx…

One question I ask all visitors on their first visit… If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?

AD:  Where wouldn't I go? There's so much of the world I have yet to see, and I love traveling. I spent Christmas of 2011 in Sicily and that was a thoroughly terrific experience. In terms of travel fantasies, I'd like to go live in Rome for awhile; Palermo, too.

M:  Tea or Coffee?

AD:  Espresso. It's what's for breakfast.

M:  Favorite Color?

AD:  I'm pretty big on crimson these days. It's vivid and it looks good on me.

M:  Favorite Childhood Fictional Creature: 

AD:  My first love was The Amazing Spiderman.

M:  Now as an adult what’s your Favorite Fictional Creature? (Can be the same as when you were a child.)

AD:  I am currently madly in love with Bansh, the hero horse, from Elizabeth Bear's exquisite epic fantasy RANGE OF GHOSTS.

M:  Favorite Word? (Any word at all)

AD:  My favorites tend to change day by day. Yesterday I was rather enchanted with "twelve." The sound of it is so odd, when you pause to listen... and you can draw it out. "Tweeeeeeelllllve." I've also been fond of idiosyncracy. If we're talking meanings, but not sound, I'm really big on compassion and empathy. You can't get enough of either.

M:  Thank you Alyx, for stopping by and the wonderful interview.  I really enjoyed learning more about the magic and creation here in Astrid’s world.

AD:  It was a pleasure to be here--thank you so much! 

M:  I do wish you all the best in words and pages.

AD:   Likewise!

Sounds like an interesting take with magic, right!

If you would like to find Alyx Dellamonica:
Her site:  A.M. Dellamonica
Twitter:  @AlyxDellamonica
Facebook:  Alyx Dellamonica

If you would like to read Alyx's short Among the Silvering Herd.
And other stories on as well.

If you are interested in purchasing Indigo Springs:


Or Purchasing Blue Magic:



Please everyone, feel free to leave a kind comment for Alyx.

I have Blue Magic right her beside me to read.  I'll be getting to it this month. *whispers* can't wait!  

Today I have a surprise for you!

1 copy of Blue Magic by Alyx Dellamonica,
shipped from the Publisher

I want everyone to feel comfortable to leave a comment,
~~~ +2 so to enter you MUST say:
"I want Magic!"

~~~ US & Canada Entries only please

~~~ Giveaway Ends:  June 12, 2012

~~~ Extra Entries?
+3 to Share: 
Facebook, Blog, Tweet:
Giveaway for BLUE MAGIC by A.M. Dellamonica Full of Magic! Ends 6/12/12 @MelLHay

~~~ YOU MUST leave a link to the tweet or any sharing you do.  Only one share is registered for the entry.

~~~ Must leave an email address to contact you if you are the winner

Goodreads Synopsis:
This powerful sequel to the A.M. Dellamonica's Sunburst Award–winning contemporary fantasy Indigo Springs starts in the small town in Oregon where Astrid Lethewood discovered an underground river of blue liquid—Vitagua—that is pure magic. Everything it touches is changed. The secret is out—and the world will never be the same. Astrid’s best friend, Sahara, has been corrupted by the blue magic, and now leads a cult that seeks to rule the world. Astrid, on the other hand, tries to heal the world.

Conflicting ambitions, star-crossed lovers, and those who fear and hate magic combine in a terrible conflagration, pitting friend against friend, magic against magic, and the power of nations against a small band of zealots, with the fate of the world at stake. 

Blue Magic is a powerful story of private lives changed by earthshaking events that will ensnare readers in its poignant tale of a world touched by magic and plagued by its consequences.

Thank you!

Book Review: Indigo Springs

Indigo Springs

By:  A.M. Dellamonica

Publisher:  Tor

Publish Date:  October 2009

Format:  Paperback 317pgs, trade size 5 1/2" x 8 1/2"

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  1st book in Astrid Lethewood series

Recommendation:  Yes!  A current world that becomes twisted with an amazing magic long ago run off.  If you love magic, and magical creations, this is one to read watching the magic explode into the world.

Book Synopsis:
Indigo Springs is a sleepy little town.  When Astrid's father dies and she inherits his old house, she discovers that he had been harnessing the magic that flows, literally, in a blue stream beneath the earth, leaking into their house.  The blue liquid enchants everyday items, and the results seem innocent enough: A watch becomes a charm that endows the wearer with perfect timing; and a pencil sharpener turns shavings into gold.  She realizes this magic can be a force for good...

When her best friend starts to use the magic, Astrid worries about what her emotionally volatile friend might do.  As events in Indigo Springs unfold and the true potential of the magic is revealed, Astrid and her friends unwittingly embark on a journey fraught with power, danger, and changes that could literally reshape our world.  Astrid has loosed a genie that is herself, and as she faces her destiny, she must learn to cope with a power she may be unable to control...

First Sentence:
"You're going to fall in love today."  It is the first thing Astrid Lethewood says to me.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Will Forest goes to interview Astrid where she is held in an underground apartment, vaulted in with surveillance cameras that have taped her and he has watched to learn of her condition mentally.  Will has several questions the damaged Astrid could answer, for his boss to save others from destruction, and of his own personal thoughts for his family.  All revolves around one magically powerful woman Astrid created, Sahara.   How she got the collection of magical items Astrid has, and how her friend used those items to create an eco-terrorist cult.

Astrid tells her story, starting with Sahara Knax leaving her cheating boyfriend and agreeing to stay with her.  Astrid told her she could stay forever, Sahara said she'd have to make life pretty interesting to keep her around.  And Astrid does, without expecting to.  Astrid also has her step-brother living with her in the home she inherited from her father, a house she never knew he owned.  Astrid just wanted to help her 'family' - two friends in need, and keep them with her as they were her only two friends, and receive the love from them as well.  Astrid quickly finds magical toys, chantments, of her fathers and tells her two best friends of them.  This all leads to learning of the vitagua through any memory she can find of being with her father.  The three of them take care of the business of creating and sending chantments (magiced nick knacks) to needy people.  Each has their own part, but there are those her dad had mentioned that look for the magical items and will do anything for them, even kill.  Which leaves Astrid wondering...was Astrids dad murdered like her mystery-solving-mailman (from the books she reads) mom believes? Why?

As we read, we view the story from two time views.  This is interesting as we know what's happening, and what the result is by the different views.  We get Astrids story of finding magic, using it, and how things happen and grow.  We then get a current view of the world in which there is chaos everywhere with the release of potent magic into the world.  Quickly I became increasingly curious as to what really was going on in the current world, and how did it get that way.  I wanted both stories, and both I got as the raced together by the end of the book.

I start off with so many questions at the introduction to Astrid and ever present magic and all the tidbits of hints and clues as to what the world is like, making us wonder on the world we are getting into.

Chapter one we are in the present with an interview by Will of Astrid, which raises lots of questions by the quick reminders to Astrid and hints to the past.  Then the next chapter we are in the past, the memory of the days to Astrid, which feels like we are there with her.  With the help of a paintbrush and a deck of cards; playing and tarot, Astrid uses the ink on each to draw pictures of the past to go with her story, showing it to Will as well as telling it.

I felt like I was witnessing a magically induced apocalypse, gushing like a geyser back into the world.  The magic!  Oh, I'm a magic lover.  Magic of any kind, that is well played out.  Here, I loved the description of the magics existence and how or why it went into hiding.  The history we know of with witches and fear of magic is all brought into play here, so we are not completely out of our element with what has happened.  The Fey are mentioned as part of this history as well, but they no longer exist from the people that believe magic should not exist, and maybe those people are still present in the world, ready to hunt and burn it away.

In the end I was left amazed with the tale told.  I loved the magical creation, and the way the world was left leaving us ready for the next book, Blue Magic.  I liked the way the two times come together in the end, giving us a close, yet leaving the story to what will happen in the here-and-now.  I will be reading Blue Magic to see how Astrid corrects the contaminated world, or how magic takes it's place again.

If you are interested in purchasing Indigo Springs:


I read a copy of this book for an honest review from the publisher.
Please remember this review is of my personal thoughts and opinion.

Throwback Thursday

Trinity-college-library-dub-3 with blog title
I found this picture of Trinity College Library, and thought it would work for this meme with a little play with lighting and adding the words.

Let's talk about those books already on the shelves, yours or the stores.

I have a post for books I'm looking forward to coming out;
Looking Forward To...
But what about all those wonderful books that are ALREADY on the shelves.

Whether it be on your shelf waiting to be read or on the shelves in the stores waiting for you to give it a good home.

So, I thought I would share a book a week that is just waiting for me to travel through it's world.

Now... where do I start? Lets go by Published Date on the books...

This Week:

This one I found for free on Barnes & Nobles browsing around the site.  And I've seen the author on another series and liked the fantasy sound to this one.

Goodreads Synopsis:
The sorceress Lusiradrol, exiled to human form thousands of years earlier from her life as the black dragon, has awakened her Red Clan. Only one being can unite all who serve the Light, but he is not ready. Lusiradrol will do all she can to prevent his return by ending the life of the woman who bears his spirit and his power. No man nor mage will stop her in her quest to destroy the world.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Interview with Author Krista D. Ball, & Giveaway

*****Giveaway Closed*****
Today I have with me an author of a fantasy book I've recently read and thoroughly enjoyed.  Tranquility's Blaze by Krista D. Ball.  Please give a warm welcome to Krista!

M:  Hi Krista!  Thank you for joining me for an interview. J  I have to say, I started thinking up ideas right away when I started the book.  Some interviews just pop so easily, so I’m thrilled you agreed to join me.

I had learned about a month or so ago about Tranquility’s Blaze, and couldn’t wait for it to be released April 17th.  Have you always been a Fantasy buff?

You mentioned to me that Tranquility’s Blaze was the kind of fantasy you wanted to read as a 16 year old girl.  What really stuck in your mind when you where younger that you wanted to expand on in Fantasy?

KB:  Mel, I’m going to answer both of these together, since they are related.

M:  Please do Krista!  I had a feeling these two questions might blend together. :)

KB:  I’ve been an everything buff, to be honest. I grew up in a small town (4000 people) in Newfoundland – at the time, Canada’s poorest province. Our public library was tiny and they didn’t have a lot of current books, though they tried to bring in as much as a small town library could. I lived at that library so much that my mother would often call down and ask the librarians to send me home for supper.

I read everything I could get my hands on, so I read pretty much everything there. They didn’t have a lot of fantasy, so I never read the typical spread – Dragonlance, anything by Piers Anthony, and the Wheel of Time series. I missed all that. Instead, I was reading more obscure authors and books.

But, whenever I picked up a fantasy at that age, I was generally disappointed. I didn’t care about vapid women, fainting at the sight of blood. I didn’t get books where the women whined and complained about doing any labour. I grew up chopping cord wood, for Pete’s sake, yet these books always featured helpless and useless women.

Fast forward a decade or so. I decided that it was time to write a novel and to write the novel that I had wanted to read when I was younger. So, that’s where Tranquility’s Blaze came from.

M:  I will say, I enjoyed the view of the fantasy from a strong woman character here.  It was a wonderful journey and she worked hard to get where she is.  As I've always wondered why woman always have to be so sub-servant.

M:  What are a few of your favorite fantasy reads/authors?  (I have to say authors, since several might be in same series.)

KB:  This is a tough question for me, since I don’t have favourites so much as binges. Now, I confess I am a Harry Dresden fan and have the audiobooks, ebooks, and hardcovers. Generally, however, I’m not that fanatical. One thing I do like is to read obscure authors and books. I heavily read Canadian science fiction and fantasy, however.

M:  I mention in my review that I am a sucker for the verses at the beginning of each chapter.  This is the prophecy, line by line?  Do you think they set the mood for the chapter to come?  (And yes, I had to go back and read them all after I was done with the book ~ told you, sucker.)

KB:  Prophecies and “the chosen one” are pretty standard for epic fantasy. Sometimes, they help and sometimes they get in the way. I wanted to take that trope and have some fun with it. For one thing, “the chosen one” doesn’t give a flying fig. For another, the other “chosen one” is too stupid to know. Also, we work with the issue of the prophecies being understood wrong, and there is a rather large, scary issue with the prophecies that comes up in later books.

For setting the mood, I like to use the verses at the beginning of each chapter. Some are to tell you what’s about to happen. Others, are meant to lead you astray for the entire series.

M:  Now, chatting with you on Twitter I’ve learned you are the goddess of mass destruction and death.  Oh, maybe you destroy a whole village or two, or even a planet?  Would you please explain you powers in this area. LOL.

KB:  I love blowing shit up.

One of the coolest days of my life was the first time I got to fire a rocket launcher at a tank*. It isn’t like in the movies, though. There was no fire ball, and my ears rang for quite a while afterward despite ear protection.

In my books, I’ve had a village overrun with Viking and Beothuk spirits. I’ve blown up a brothel. I’ve destroyed the atmosphere of a planet. I’ve burned a town to the ground.  I caught a holy place on fire.

Yeah. Property damage is hawt.

*No one was inside and it was a decommissioned one.

M:  Okay,  now a few fun questions for you Krista…

One question I ask all visitors on their first visit… If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?

KB:  I’d like to see the UK and also the far north.

M:  Tea or Coffee?

KB:  Tea, though I’m a fan of lattes.

M:  Favorite Color?

KB:  Green

M:  Favorite Childhood Fictional Creature?

KB:  I didn’t have one.  Or, at least not one I can remember.

M:  Now as an adult what’s your Favorite Fictional Creature?  (Can be the same as when you were a child.)

KB:  Same thing, I don’t really have one.

M:  Favorite Word?  (Any word at all)

KB:  Huh

That’s probably the word I use the most LOL

M:  Thank you Krista for stopping by!  Really.  I’m thrilled to have read Tranquility’s Blaze and look forward to Tranquility’s Grief.  And in the mean time, I think I need to look into some of your other works as well.  I see you have a serial on your site you are working on, and a paranormal novella series, and so much more! 

Thank you again, and here’s wishing you all the best in words and pages.


I have a lovely surprise. I feel generous this week, maybe it was the fun weekend, but I want....
to giveaway 1 ecopy of Tranquility's Blaze.

I've decided on 1 eCopy (any format you need) to make this easy to include my International Friends.
Must be at least 18 to enter in this giveaway.

I want everyone to comment whether you want to enter for a copy or not. So, I'm giving a question, and ONLY those that answer the question will be entered to win a copy. Otherwise, comment away so Krista knows you were here.

~~~ What is one of your favorite fantasy reads? And one reason you remember it sticking out to you.

Giveaway Ends:  June 9, 2012 11:59 pm EST 

**Leave an email address so I can contact you.  If you don't feel comfortable leaving an email address, please email me.

If you don't want to wait, you can purchase the book at any book store.  But here's links to Amazon:


Book Review: Tranquility's Blaze

Tranquility's Blaze

By:  Krista D. Ball

Publisher:  Mundania Press

Publish Date:  April 2012

Format:  eBook

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  1st book in series

Recommendation:  Yes, I want more of Lady Champion Bethany in this classic fantasy feel with a view of a strong woman, who is more than meets the eyes.

"What will I do?  What I do best.  I'll find him and I'll kill him.  And then I'll kill Garran's murderer."

Even if the killer is my sister.

A half-breed and a female, Lady Bethany clawed her way to the ranks of the Elven Service's top military elite.  They only knew her as their champion against Magic, and not the daughter of a Goddess.  She'd expected a long, rewarding life protecting those under her care.  But that was before her twin sister returned from exile, addicted to brutal Magic and human sacrifice, twisted inside, and abusing ancient prophecies to overthrow their mother and destroy everything Bethany holds sacred.

The world will burn in flames and innocents will die, unless Bethany can stop it.  Unless she can take the life of her own sister.

First Sentence:
"I am your goddess now, gutter drudge."

My Thoughts and Summary:
In a world where woman are thought to be the baby producers of more males, Bethany holds the third highest position in the most powerful army in the world, The Elven Service of the Silver Knights.  She is also much more than anyone realizes, having only a select few know that her blood is mixed with that of a goddess' along with her elf origin as well, these two things and the first born of the Goddess makes Bethany to fit in a prophecy.  Bethany receives an urgent letter during the new spring session of fresh human recruits, a letter that tells of her Kings, and betrothed, death.  This is the start of the foretold prophecy and Bethany is thrown off a little by this, as she fears losing what she has built as a normal life for herself.  Bethany finds there is one recruit not ready for the service of knight, and finds her heart softens to help this young human who was raised by Elven monks as she helps prepare him for next years recruit time and keeping an eye on him after her vision.  Bethany's world might change forever while she fights to prevent the visions she sees, and the magic users, lead by her twin sister, who are coming for her.

Bethany figures out it's her sister who is killing and coming for her with her dark magics.  She is the only one that knows enough about the prophecy and who the people are that could fit the pieces, along with the magic notes and happenings; her exiled twin sister.  Now, with her "protector" dead Bethany is vulnerable to the Viper, whoever it is, to kill her.  And she won't be the liberator of the world as thought.  There is a dark magi on the lose and Bethany wants to find him (or her) for the death of Garren, and passing a magic text to an initiate inside the Temple of Tranquil Mercies, home to the Goddess of Apexia.

This has an older fantasy feel to it for me, a deep feeling and meaning behind it, yet there is a newer take to it as well.  We have a prophecy, a strong soldier, gods, and magic.  We have Bethany, a strong female, and a potential love for her.  This love could open her up to understand more than she expected, especially about a people that she grew to hate for what they did in the past.  But, how will he react to her heritage, this is why Bethany doesn't want to acknowledge that side of her so she can live as normal a life as possible.

We have a few views of magic here.  The magic is described as being dangerous and the dark is deadly to who you are as it eats away inside to take over twisting all thoughts.  We have the dark magic, which is used and grown more by Bethany's twin sister, Sarissa.  Then we have the Rygents, which are a group of people who's god died for them leaving a touch of his powers in them.  They range from healers to those how can see into ones thoughts.  And lastly we have the Power which Bethany possesses, being the eldest child to a goddess.

I found I would sit down with my two hour block of reading time and before I knew it, It was gone!  And I'm completely bummed I had to stop reading to go to bed so I could get up to do that dreaded work thing in the morning.

This character driven fantasy novel hit the spot for me.  I had all I love in fantasy here; magic- good and bad, prophecy the main character is fighting - to just be normal, fighting and bloodshed.  Not everything is perfect and happy.  And left me wanting to keep reading this series.  The world building is done nice and neat through the characters and their personalities and heritage.

We mostly see through Bethany's eyes in the book.  But we do get a few different point of views, which are short, but helps us learn about the other characters and Bethany too.  They are:  Arrago, Sarissa, Apexia, and Amber.  Sounds strange, but once you get going, you will see what we learn.  I loved the strength in Bethany to be a hard character, but she quickly became one that I thought had more heart to share and she was just afraid to do so.  I enjoyed the friendship she has with Javon and Kiner.  The three carry one tormenting each other, but also are not afraid to tell Bethany the way it is either, even if it means a fat lip.

I have to mention the chapter headings, or phrases.  This has to be parts of the prophecy, and as a fantasy sucker, I LOVE it.  I love having these present, and I did go back through just to read them all when I was done.

I ended the story looking forward to the next book.  I need more of these characters.  I have my suspicions with Arrago.  There is more of a reason and bigger plan with him, especially if Apexia is involved.  And I want to see where Bethany goes after this fireworks of an ending, it sure ended with a bang.

Since fantasy novels have maps, Krista has posted one on her site for us.

You can find Tranquility Blaze on Amazon:


The Janus Affair BOOK TRAILER!

I'm THRILLED, Ecstatic! to share this trailer with you all!  This trailer is like a little movie, and gives me all new questions and excitement for the book.  I want to know what the heck is going on!  They are hinting at so many happenings and then at the end!  The electricity!  Ooooo.  Okay, I don't want to spoil anything for you but listen to what they say and watch the scenes that are flashed... Just watch it...

So, after watching that trailer, what are you still doing here?  You should be heading, no running! out the door to get this book, The Janus Affair, and Phoenix Rising (the first one) as well.  :D

You can us the links below to make your way to Amazon and order up The Janus Affair, and even Phoenix Rising.

I really can't wait to dig into this one.  Hope you enjoyed the trailer and the books as well.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Evildoers beware! Retribution is at hand, thanks to Britain's best-kept secret agents!!

Certainly no strangers to peculiar occurrences, agents Wellington Books and Eliza Braun are nonetheless stunned to observe a fellow passenger aboard Britain's latest hypersteam train suddenly vanish in a dazzling bolt of lightning. They soon discover this is not the only such disappearance . . . with each case going inexplicably unexamined by the Crown.

The fate of England is once again in the hands of an ingenious archivist paired with a beautiful, fearless lady of adventure. And though their foe be fiendishly clever, so then is Mr. Books . . . and Miss Braun still has a number of useful and unusual devices hidden beneath her petticoats.

Order The Janus Affair from Amazon:


Goodreads Synopsis:
Evil is most assuredly afoot—and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade . . . and a librarian.

These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences—the Crown’s clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling—will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest . . . and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray.

For a malevolent brotherhood is operating in the deepening London shadows, intent upon the enslavement of all Britons. And Books and Braun—he with his encyclopedic brain and she with her remarkable devices—must get to the twisted roots of a most nefarious plot . . . or see England fall to the Phoenix!

Order Phoenix Rising from Amazon:


Who? What? Where? (68)

Who are you with? Where are you at? What's happening?

Share with us just a little bit of what is happening in the book you are reading, right where you are now.

Just a tiny taste of what's happening, remember try to not give spoilers of the book.

(This is a new meme I'm going to try and will tweak as I go. And please don't laugh at my lame attempt at drawing. ;D )

I'm watching Malcolm in the workout room as he is watching himself in the mirror.  He is trying to find his magic, whatever it might be.  But he sees on the wall weapons with a magical aura around them, and selects a dagger from the wall to wear.  He now looks more comfortable to have some sort of protection.

Eyes of Magic
By:  S.A. Archer & S. Ravynheart

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Visit to Balticon46, May 2012

Wow.  That is all I can really say.  It was one amazing trip, and I'm hoping to save up the money to do it again next year.  I took a long list of people I wanted to meet, and...well... met most of them along with many new faces too. (well, new faces and names to me)

I think this is going to be the marathon post for a Convention post for me.  Yes, I did that much stuff, and saw that many people.  Well, what do you expect in 3 days?  Okay, if you really want to count, it was 48 hours total, but man was it packed!

Michael Sullivan, Me
I guess I'll start at the beginning... I left my house at 7am picked my brother up and on our way we went.  About 3 1/2 hours later we arrive, uneventful, at Balticon!! In Hunt Valley Maryland.  Easy to get there and I think I bored my brother with all the details of a few authors I was planning to see.  Oh, I did make him listen to the first episode of Tales from the Archives Volume 2: Sins of the Father where we learn more about Wellington's history, then the amazingly fun episode (which I share with everyone) by the amazingly talented J.R. Blackwell, Women of the Empire.  Not only did I laugh out again! he laughed too.  It was a hit!  Then, I told him about The Gearheart: Artifice and over the weekend he started listening to it as well.  He's hooked!! Poor guy really didn't have a chance. ;)

Sorry for all the babbling in between here, but this was such a fun trip and I got to share it all with someone who is into this stuff, but all I had to share this weekend was brand spankin' new to him.  Love that!

Okay, on we go.  We are now at Balticon.  We found the ticket booth by accident (ladies bathroom upstairs was closed and had to go downstairs).  Checked in to get my badge for the Con.  The room wouldn't be available till after 4pm (which it really wasn't, I tried early.)  Down here we found Artist Alley.  We browsed through the hall, and I'll mention it's not a long hallway, but plenty to see as you walk down, and through the art gallery we went (where you can bid and purchase art).

Me, Elaine
One of my many main reasons (7 of them really) for coming to the Con was to meet an author and her husband that where located in just this Alley... Elaine Corvidae!!  She is a wonderful person.  I've been chatting with her online for quite a while and reading her online graphic novel, Riven Sol.  I had already planned on purchasing her print version of Riven Sol while here.  And this was my very first purchase at Balticon!  And, my very first signature!  I got to stand with Elaine and chat with her for a while, and met up with her a few times through the weekend. Lovely people, and amazing work.

Then we decided to walk around the halls to get to know where we were and what was going on.  We didn't plan on hitting any panels just yet (although they were going on, several each hour through midnight).  I don't really remember what we did all afternoon, really.  We walked through the dealer room which was like a huge book store.  People where selling books everywhere!  First thing I said, It wasn't fair.  I didn't have enough money to buy all the books in there. *pout*

Me, Michael Sullivan, Robin Sullivan
Okay, on we go...walking through the crowded halls.  And low and behold, I see Michael Sullivan and his amazing wife Robin!  I stop them, introduce myself (although the figured it out before I finished ~ thank you name tag).  Michael and Robin where on the top of the list to see while here.  If I only saw a few people, Michael and Robin where on that list....of about 7 MUST SEE PEOPLE.  We chatted for a few as they where on their way to a panel, and Michael signed the one book of his I still needed an autograph in.  Of course they got a kick out of my colored sticky-notes (you will see, many authors find these interesting yet rather scary).

On we went to the... yes, you guessed it, I'm on vacation people.  Kid and husband are at home.  Time to cut loose!  I suggested the bar.  I'm a bar hound, what can I say?  We had a few beers until our room was ready.  Took a bit to get that all taken care of, I ordered 1 room with 2 double beds, got a room with 1 king.  Um, this is my brother people, not my husband.  But the hotel was great and fixed it up.  We got the right room.  But in the afternoon visit to the bar I got to see Jon Sprunk and chat with him, also Peter V. Brett was there.  We meet his girlfriend and got to pick on Peter.  It was fun, and he made it so easy.  LOL!  Sorry Peter, but it was fun.
When does an alien or a magic-wielder become a god or a demon?
Some where in there we went to our first panel, one my brother picked and it was about science and physics.  I'm sorry, I felt like I was back in school.  I had no idea what they were talking about, but Heath did, so cool.  Now settled in we went to another panel:  When does an alien or a magic-wielder become a god or a demon?  This panel was all new people to me: Moderator: Barbara Friend Ish Speakers: Neal Levin, Justin R. Macumber, Bernie Mojzes, Joshua Palmatier/Benjamin Tate.  This was interesting hearing people talk.  And as we thought, believes and religion started to cloud thoughts.  Not that there was any arguing but there might have been if it went much longer.  Very cool to see authors thoughts on this.

Then, back to the bar!  Yes, that happens a lot this weekend.  Glad to say Michael Sullivan walked in and joined us.  Also, was thrilled to see Jon Sprunk (1 of the seven as well) walk in and chat sit with us as well.  Heath and I ordered food, and beer.  I got to chat with Michael for a time.  Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris come in (two more of the 7 I must see), and I get to say hello to them.  I mention to Pip I need to find Alex White (the remaining of 7 I must see) and she calls over to him and he stops by.  Great to finally meet these amazing and talented people!  So, I chat and stuff my face.  Then off to a nine o'clock panel.
Dynamic Voice Acting 1
The nine o'clock panel was Dynamic Voice Acting 1 Moderated by Alex White Speakers were: Veronica R. Giguere, Laura Nicole Spencer, Michael l. Stokes, and Jay Smith.  Let me tell you, these people, all!, have talented voices and control of voices and emotions coming out of them.  Alex created a conversation he gave each, told them the circumstances and they voice acted it out.  Then, dun dun dah, Alex took that situation and turned it completely around, creating something completely opposite with the exact same words.  No matter how silly, or funny they thought it was, they acted it out completely.  Wow!  Amazing guys!
Tee Morris, Tad Daley, Pip Ballantine at Reading
Now it's 10 o'clock and I'm meeting my brother to go to the reading by Philippa Ballantine, Tad Daley and Tee Morris.  Yes!!  A reading by the authors themselves!  Pip read from her new book to come out here in June, Hunter and Fox.  Tee read from their book just released May 29th, The Janus Affair.  AMAZING to hear these two read their work.  I have to say they have amazing voices, hence the podcasts they do.  Loved hearing these stories.  I had already read Hunter and Fox, so I knew exactly what Pip was reading, Loved it!  And was so excited to get any tidbit of The Janus Affair I could get.  Loved it!! ;D

Okay, back to the bar.  (yes, I told you this happens a lot!  Give me a break. Geez.)  Michael Sullivan is at the table we left (we had said we'd be back, and we were) with a few others.  Now, this is where I have to say I'm horrific with remembering names.  Really.  And it wasn't from the beer, I didn't have that much to drink.  But, the one person that was there and stayed to talk and laugh with us was Collin Earl.  A new author to me.  But we had a wonderful time talking about all sorts of things, bookish and not.  Before we know it, it's 2 o'clock am.  Yeah.  Where the hell did the time go?  So, we left the bar to step out in the courtyard where others where hanging out.

Here I got to talk with Alex White some along with a few others.  But my eyes where getting heavy and headed off to the room shortly after saying hello.  It had been a long day!  I woke up at 6am to get ready to go and load up, and didn't get to bed till midnight on Friday.  My poor body can't take the 6am to 2am time frame any more.  Dang, I'm really not that old!

Saturday morning, which is the marathon day of panels for us, I can sleep in some... right.  I was up by 7:30am.  Dang that internal clock!  Five hours of sleep just doesn't do it for me anymore...okay, truth, it never really worked for me when I was 21.  So we found the little cafe, got muffins and COFFEE! and off we went for the 9 o'clock reading with Chris Evans, Ruth Lampi, and Janine K. Spendlove.  Yes, did you see that!?!  Captain America himself! LOL.  No this is the wonderful fantasy author Chris Evans of the Iron Elves trilogy.  They decided to do little pieces of their stories and hold us all in suspense!  Darn these amazing authors. lol.  I had never heard of Ruth Lampi or Janine K. Spendlove before this reading, but they are wonderful.  Ruth read from her YA fantasy series, sounds rather good, and Janine read her short story for an anthology coming out.  Loved her story!  Reminded me of Men in Black movies.  Chris read from his third book, Ashes of Black Frost, and the beginning of a new work he has at the editors.  Really descriptive reads.  Wow.
The Fantasy of Physics panel
11am we are at the panel for The Fantasy of Physics with Panelists discuss how to make your magic believable.  Moderator: John C. Wright, Speaker: Peter BL!X Bryant, Chris Evans, and Jon Sprunk.  This was talking about the different magic systems and how in depth the authors go with them.  I was interesting in this one.  I wanted to see what all authors do to figure out there magic.  And, like all else, they are all different, but that's what I like hearing.  And there was lots of mention of other fantasy books and authors and their systems.

Jared Axelrod
12pm We are off to find the Book Launch party for Battle of Blood & Ink by Jared Axelrod.  This is a graphic novel published by Tor just released in May.  Wow!  He packed in the room.  Jared is also the new podcast I've been listening too.  The one about Ashe.  I just started, but it is affiliated with this graphic novel he just put out.  Jared also read the last episode for his podcast of this series and talked about the wonderful new book.  Yes, I bought a copy and got it signed right then and there.  That was the intention you know. ;)

1pm We are now sitting in the reading of several authors affiliated with the Broad Universe Reading.  This session was 1hour and 20minutes, longer than the normal 50minutes.  We got through many authors which several were new to me, but a few I knew.  Elaine Covidae, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Kelly A. Harmon, Danielle Ackley-McPhail (those are the 4 I knew of), Jean Marie Ward, Trish Wilson, P. Bush, Roxanne Bland, Jody Lynn Nye, T.J. Perkins, S.J. Tucker, and a few new additions as well.  Elaine read from her book which I just reviewed not so long ago, The Sorceress's Orc.  Eep!

So, we took a break for lunch.  We were starved.  Walking down the road to find cheaper food we realized just how stinking hot it was outside, and I was baking in the hotel during the convention!  Wow!  Then back to the hotel and to the room for me to unload my weighted book bag. (yes, I'm the big geek, carrying tons of books to get autographed by these amazing authors.)

Tee Morris, Me, Pip Ballentine
Tee Morris @ Shared Desk
Pip @ Shared Desk
Now we are on to 4pm.  And I HAVE HAVE HAVE to go to this panel.  It is a live recording of The Shared Desk podcast by Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine.  Like I said, these two are amazing together.  Every time they walk into a room it's like seeing movie stars.  They have a strong presence about them.  Not a presence that's bad, no, one that you want to talk and laugh with them.  They are wonderful and kind people.  One that make you want to laugh and crack a joke with them.  God!  They packed that room FULL!  But it was so well worth the show.  They even brought Uncle Charlie with them.  LOL!  Pip got control of the drops and got a little happy with the buttons.  GO PIP!  You deserve a time behind the wheel there. ;D  It was just so much fun.  Oh! OH!! I can NOT forget to tell you... WE GOT TO SEE A ROUGH CUT OF THE JANUS AFFAIR BOOK TRAILER!!!!  This thing is amazing, REALLY!  When it is complete I'll share it here on the blog.  It's like a little movie.  Amazing people can create work like this.  WOW!
Panel for Making the Jump, from Indie House to Corporate Publisher
5pm we are back downstairs for a panel on Making the Jump, from Indie House to Corporate Publisher with Tee Morris as Moderator and the Speakers: Brian Koscienski, Philippa Ballantine, Michael Sullivan, and Joshua Bilmes.  This was interesting to hear the authors talk about self publishing, small press publishing, and the big 6.  And it's neat to hear the idea of mixing all together when you are out there.  Very interesting conversation.

After this I was able to catch up with Pip and Tee for a short while.  I got books signed, and they signed my winnings for me as well.  We got to chat for a few.  This was nice to have a few calm minutes to talk.  Then on to dinner everyone went.

Alex White, Me
Heath and I went to sit down.  My body was starting to ache, yes I did it to myself with lugging that book bag of books to be signed around, but it was worth it.  To me it was.  I meet Brand Gamblin and his family (new author, the one I think will be rather promising, that I mentioned earlier).  Very nice people.  I had the opportunity to chat with him a few times and with Michael Sullivan again, along with meeting Nathan O. Lowell (a science fiction author I hope to get a chance to read one of these days, darn this pile keeps growing!).  Then we sat in a hall that was not getting as much traffic.  I needed a break from people, they were starting to wear on my nerves a little bit as I was tired and getting cranky, and well...people can be stupid.  (shocker I know!)  But, while we were sitting peacefully, Alex White came past as he was heading to the signing table.  We did make our way down to the table with him to chat, and got our signed ebook copies of Maiden Flight Of the Avenger.  People, I'm telling you I can't wait to read this novella!

I got to talk with Veronica R. Giguere.  See while I was in the Dynamic Voice 1 I kept looking at her name. I knew I knew it.  And I did.  I know Veronica from Twitter.  She found me through Tee, and we chat every once in a while.  So it was great to finally get to meet her and talk to a person for a change.

8pm I head up to the next panel on my list: Which comes first: Main Character or supporting cast?  Moderated by: David Wood, Speakers: Jean Marie Ward, barbara Friend Ish, James Maxey, Elaine Corvidae, David Sherman, Pete Prellwitz.  I picked this panel because Elaine was on it and I was curious about the subject.  They got to talking about the supporting cast pretty good here.  Always interesting to see what authors come up with and how.

J.R. Blackwell, Me
So, 9pm and back to the bar I go, meeting up with my brother and having a few more beers.  Hey, we went all day and no beer, so I don't want to hear about it. ;) Got to talk with J.R. Blackwell.  Love her!  Her sense of humor is wonderful.  And she helped me find a few others to sign my Gimme Shelter book.  Mur Lafferty was there, and the young man who wrote the introduction, John Cmar.  I'm proud to say I was his first autograph.  It was a great thing.  He enjoyed it and everyone got pictures.  I'm so glad I was the first to ask. :D  (that man won't forget me easily. lol!)  Anyway, got to talk with Michael and Robin Sullivan more, took more pictures.  Goodness I do love these people.  Hard to say that about people you just meet, but yet I've been talking with them for years (or it feels) now.  Got a chance to talk with the amazing Tee and Pip as well.  There where people EVERYWHERE on Sunday night at the bar.  Really!
What the Frak is Steampunk panel
11pm rolls around, and I'm BEAT!  Seriously.  I'm dragging ass.  I had one more panel I really wanted to go to before calling it a day.  Just What the Frak is Steampunk Anyway?  The panelists got an adjustment here. And for the fun too.  Tee Morris took on the Moderator, the Speakers were: Philippa Ballantine, Bradon (Brand) Gamblin, and Alex White.  Now, this is where I got to hear about one of Brand's books.  Not the one I received from his wife, but another one.  Now I love the sounds of the one I got, Discount Miracles, it's a fantasy read (which is perfect for me) but I also got to hearing about his Neo-Victorian book.  Now, with what he was saying in this panel, I liked it.  And as an update, I have this book he was speaking of; The Hidden Institute.  I do look forward to reading it.  This panel was interesting on the idea of Steampunk, and I learned there are many other names out there as well...some of which I don't care for, but what do I have to say in that matter right?  I just choose which ones I will, and will not use here. :)

After the panel, I was beat.  Really.  I couldn't hold my eyes open.  I wanted to party hearty, but just couldn't do it.  I took more pictures and said my good-byes to Tee and Pip afraid I would not see them in the morning before I left.  And I'm glad I did, because I didn't see them before I left.  And I went to bed.
Reading by Nathan O. Lowell, Alex White, and Michael Sullivan
Now I had told Alex I'd be at his reading at 9am Monday morning.  And I was, but a tad late.  Sorry Alex.  I did not miss any reading I had several great reasons to be here; I wanted to hear what Nathan's writing was like, I have loved Michael's books, and Alex's Gearheart, but man I died when my head hit that pillow.  But we are on to Monday, 9am.  I really wanted to be at this panel.  Alex White was reading, Michael Sullivan was to read (but he left early as daughter was coming home from Ireland) and an author I've been curious about was reading as well, Nathan O. Lowell.  Alex reads from a new piece he has, one of when Jonathan (if you listen to The Gearheart you would know exactly who he is...) and his Uncle go on their search, and find a massive find.  *cough cough* no clues here people. ;D  *clears throat* Alex better get this story done and printed as I will have it...Please?  Nathan reads from his second act about the Bible, God and the Devil.  Oh did I love this one too.  I do hope Nathan gets this published some day as I do want it.  Nathan was also kind enough to read the first chapter of Michael Sullivan's first book.  Wonderful.  This was one of the best readings I went to.

10am and we are looking for Elaine Corvidae to say good bye, I couldn't leave with out saying bye to her.  We walked around the Dealer room after it opened, I purchased a short audio story for one of the amazing voices I'd heard the night before; Laura Nicole (which we did listen to on the way home).  And bumped into Alex.  I got to say my good byes to everyone and we were gone.  On the road after getting gas and lunch.  All to be home by 3:45pm.

I held up rather well on the drive home and after getting home.  I surprised myself.  I even tweeted and Googled a few people from the Con.  Found some on Twitter and played around online some before reading for an hour and to bed.

Are you curious what books I took with me to get signed?  Here's a picture for you.

What books did I come home with?  I'll share that with you too.

Keep in mind I purchased:

  • Riven Sol
  • Battle of Blood & Ink

Received from my winnings in the Billibub Baddings contest:

  • The Janus Affair
  • Geist
  • Spectyr
  • The Case of the Singing Sword
  • The Case of the Pitchers Pendant

Free from an author who found a whole book when he moved:

  • Dragonseed

A Novella from an author whom I've been enjoying listening to his tales:

  • Maiden Flight Of the Avenger

And for Review from a brand new author I think will be promising from what I've heard of him this weekend:

  • Discount Miracles

So, a full weekend I would say.  Lots of wonderful people too.  I am hoping I can save up the money to go next year, and every year after.  I think I might have found a Convention I could call home.  It's close enough and so many amazing people there.

Now, I have tons more pictures, but they didn't fit.  I'll have to put them all up on Facebook one of these days soon.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but hope you enjoyed it and do check out all the links.  These people are amazing and well worth the visit.

Thank you!  And Thank you all at Balticon for a wonderful time.