Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cover Re-Reveal: Hunter

Thank you, Mel, for having me here today to talk about cover art challenges and to reveal the new face of Hunter.

This is now the third cover Hunter has had in three and a half years (well, four if you count the minor font change when I received my rights back and re-released the book myself). Each time it was done with a lot of caution and thought.

First, I am not one of those writers who changes her cover like she changes her underwear. There are benefits to changing the cover art, in case you think it’s hindering rather than helping sales, but especially with a series you always run the risk of undoing any previous work done to brand the book and it can end up frustrating readers. Plus, hands up if it drives you nuts to have three books in a series on your shelf and then get the fourth with a totally different cover model/design. (*looks around* Just me?)

So yeah, this is not an endeavour taken lightly.

Initially the covers in the series were done using entirely digital people. The reason for this direction was simple: I couldn’t find the kind of stock I wanted to represent the characters.

It was important to me to be true to Ryann: she’s biracial, she had to be simply clothed and non-sexualized, and she needed her weapons (particularly a katana). While she doesn’t use a wooden stake in the book, I felt it got the whole vampire/demon hunter point across.

Around mid-2012, about a year later, sales weren’t where I’d hoped with the books, and just in case the covers were a factor my publisher agreed to go in a new direction. This time I went with stock photos and specifically people’s faces.

Once again, I ran into huge problems with Ryann.

In a perfect world, I’d be able to hire an illustrator like Chris McGrath (my dream artist for these books) to give them custom covers with good representations of the characters. Unfortunately, my real world requires me to worry about groceries and rent. So I had to stick to stock photos. Right now, head over to some stock sites, and search for African American women with swords. Go ahead. Tell me what you find.

Or let’s say any weapon, really. I’m easy! How about a gun? A knife? Anything? Now make sure she’s non-sexualized (this character is a nun FFS) so she's not licking a sword or wearing a miniskirt. What kind of results did you get?

The sad truth is that when your character isn’t white (or is full-figured--don't even get me started on that), the amount and variation of stock photos drop drastically. This left me with the option of white-washing the character (GOD NO), picking a model that didn’t represent her (CRINGE), or letting go of the classic urban fantasy look and picking someone who at least looked/felt like Ryann.

I went with the third option.

And this has been the face of Ryann for the past two and a half years.

I was never entirely happy with it, however. While Zara on the Bloodlines and Exhumed covers doesn’t have a weapon, frankly she has a look on her face that says she doesn’t need one to kill you (same with the fifth, Oblivion, which features a witch). Lineage has Peri holding a big gun, however, and it always sort of bothered me that Ryann was just a pretty girl without at least a sword. This is urban fantasy, after all.

Every so often, I searched the usual stock sites just in case something new appeared, all the while humming, “I stiiiillll haven’t fooounnd what I’m looking foooorrr...” Eventually I ran into a stock site that, praise the cover artist gods, had women of colour in classic urban fantasy poses. I debated awhile which one I wanted to go with and finally selected a model, updating Hunter’s look to coincide with the re-release of the print edition and the new series bundle.

So without further ado, here is the new Ryann.

This is actress/model Kimberly Gresham, as photographed by Taria Reed of The Reed Files.

I am tremendously happy with this new photo. She’s non-sexualized—no leather in sight!—and she has her sword, but despite her obvious strength she manages to display that level of quiet contemplation that represents the character. And despite the series being cancelled, I now want to write MOAR RYANN BOOKS because I am so happy with this model as the character.

Even as a kid, I remember reading some books and getting so frustrated when the cover didn’t match the words inside. The characters didn’t look like they were supposed to, didn’t wear the right clothes, etc. But now I get it. So next time you’re looking at a cover, particularly with non-white characters on it, pause and think about the challenges that went behind designing it. And photographers? WE NEED DIVERSE PHOTOS FOR OUR DIVERSE BOOKS. Please and thank you.

Hunter can now be found on Amazon and CreateSpace in print, along with Lineage and Exhumed (a re-release of Bloodlines to match is coming soon).

It's also in The Demons of Oblivion Bundle—the first three books gathered in one release—now on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, OmniLit, and available direct (for $1 off).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Review: Tales of a Tesla Ranger: A Tribute to PG Holyfield

Tales of a Tesla Ranger: A Tribute to PG Holyfield

Edited By:  Tee Morris & Valerie Griswold-Ford

Publish Date:  December 5, 2014

Format:  ebook

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  Stand alone anthology (but some of the stories are in worlds already created)

Recommendation:  By reading this you will get amazing stories of magic, ghosts, sea, clockworks and steampunk, and so much more.

P G Holyfield. Award-nominated podcaster. Award-winning author. Voice talent. Friend. Father.

Patrick was all these things and so much more to the people featured in this volume. His tragic loss to cancer was not only felt within his family and friends in North Carolina, but coast-to-coast from Virginia to California, and around the world from England to New Zealand. He was a voice we knew, a friend we loved, and this collection of stories — many of them inspired by, featuring, and written by P G Holyfield — stands as his legacy. He touched us all, and we will miss him.

All proceeds from this anthology will go to the Patrick Holyfield's Childrens Trust, benefiting his daughters.

Featuring stories from PG Holyfield, Jared Axelrod, K T Bryski, Jack Mangan, Nathan Lowell, Chris Lester, Tee Morris, Scott Roche, Allen Sale, Christiana Ellis, Kate Sherrod, and Philippa Ballantine

Purchase At:

My Thoughts and Summary:
You get so much for your buck here. You get 13 novella stories here along with poems and more. By reading this you will get amazing stories of magic, ghosts, sea, clockworks and steampunk, and so much more. You will also get to meet a kind soul in words of those who knew and loved him along with words of his own that will live on through time.

This book was a hit for me. There were some surprises and moments when I realize the one story is related to a series (or two) that I've read. All these stories can be read at any time and do NOT have to be read with the series they are related too. They very well could bring new series and authors to your attention though. A taste of everything is found here.

The kind words inter-weaved through the book on P.G. Holyfield are heartfelt. I smiled at a few and sniffled at another. But it is a great way to remember an amazing person. These stories are all tribute to him and what he brought to the world, in one way or another. And amazing stories.

Through the Dark Glass by Jared Axelrod
The Tesla Ranger Holyfield is unusually late for the American Cryptozoological & Exploration Society meeting. The meeting is of severed giant tentacles...found on a beach. They are going to look for the giant squid they belong too, lead by one who's seen it.

A moment is spent on a subject that could be pondered over for a long time and discussed with others. I liked this topic. Upon arriving at the meeting Holyfield sees Grace. She asks if she really sees herself in the mirror. Holyfield says it's 'just a shiny patch of darkness'.

We join a team of people around P.G. that are talented and hold their own secrets. P.G. is the one to see his side of people, and easily accepts them all and they accept themselves.

The story is a kind of a 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea feel to it. There is double crossing and fighting to go along with the nifty tools! There is a little bit of everything in this story - clockworks, flying transportation, large creations, and science.

The Guide by Valerie Griswold-Ford
(A Pendragon Casefiles Short Story)
Malcolm is worried about Sapphire Pendragon while she's in the Ghostlands. Malcolm is looking to interview a ghost guide.

Valerie nailed it with this story! This is it's own story that can be read without reading the first book. And just enough here to give you drops of what happened and have you WANT to go to that story now. Oh, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I liked the idea here with the ghost setting. I want to read more in this world!!

We get the full story from a few views. We see Sapphire is special, and likes the freedom she has when roaming the Ghostlands alone and not under constant supervision. And now she's losing that too. But she knows she needs to learn how to protect herself (after the last trip in).

Patrick shows up in the story. The Ghostlands aren't all that safe and Sapphire realizes there is so much she has no clue about in this world. She gets her first taste in lessons this time as well.

There are drops of anothe story and I want to read it NOW! lol. And now, I'm curious about Sapphire's soul!

The Lighthouse Keeper by Jack Mangan
(written for P.G. Holyfield's Land of Caern)
Master Hardraada has returned as his number one apprentice killed his late pet kraken. Godwin had adopted Jillian as her father and now they see each other after years past, in way of battle. However, Godwin has other plans, the rift that lets the dark creatures in (and Master Hardraada's pets for his carnival) is becoming more trouble than he had known.

We get two stories in one! We learn about now and twenty-two years prior. We learn how Master Hardraada learned of Godwin and why. We then see the attachment that grew.

This is an interesting setting as Master Hardraada has a traveling Carnival with many dark and mysteriously dangerous pets. There is a terrible danger in the land, threatening to overtake all.

There are strange creatures and a hint of magic present in the land of Caern and all are present here in this story. Along with the struggles of a Child of Az who walks the land in the flesh.

Sonnets by Kate Sherrod
These are two short ballads in honor of Patrick

Flinchy and the Mexican Show Truck by Patrick McLean & P.G. Holyfield
P.G. and Patrick tell of their golf outing... and oh so much more.

This is something that starts out as a complete possibility on the golf course, then takes a crazy left hook and becomes a fun story. Leave it to the wild imaginations of creative authors. lol.

This story was so much fun to read. I could hear the seriousness and sarcasm in their voices as I read this. It sounds like a great story to enjoy and laugh at, and laugh I did. This is definitely a tall tale for the golf record books. lol.

The Astonishing Amulet of Amenartas by Nathan Lowell
(Tales of the Archives story)
Agent Heathcliff Durham is sent to meet with Tesla Ranger Holyfield in Africa to look for a man who the director of Ministries is concerned will be 'intending trouble with the natives'. A large group of 53 men was found dead after reporting the necklace of blue glowing stones with a pair of men they meet. And there is a history of large groups or villages being slaughtered over many years past. The agents travel for six weeks, on the verge of ends rope ~ Heathcliff's tea is running out and Holyfield's gin is dwindling ~ heading back to civilization to contact The Ministry, they finally come across a clue. A young boy who is missing a leg still living in a village where all others were brutally murdered. Will both the agents make it home? And from the attracting powers of the blue jeweled necklace?

This is a tale from the Archives that has been slightly adjusted to include P.G. as a character here.

This story does have the presence of fighting and blood. I did enjoy it. And we have neat steampuck items ever present again in this podcast. Heathcliff has a new mysterious steam trunk that he guides along behind him, but it kind of has a way of walking about with the use of steam boilers inside. Nifty tools mentioned here when comparing and then off to fight with too.

Outside Help by Scott Roche
Holyfield, Tesla Ranger, is in the Badlands to help Martial Susan with a weird case. Susan's not pleased to have the known Holyfield in her territory, but those up the chain have sent him here. Cattle went missing then a boy and farm hands. The strange flying object that people have seen is thought to be connected.

Oh wow! This is where we learn the specialty of the Tesla Ranger. So cool!! And where the name Tesla Ranger came from.. Oh yeah! You'll want to read this one.

This story had a Steampunk Cowboys and Aliens feel for me. I sooooo enjoyed the surprises in this story! I could keep reading stories of the Tesla Ranger forever. Thank you Scott!

Holyfield is wonderful at sticking to his word. He said he wasn't here to be in her way or make her look incompetent. He partners with Susan well. And, if anything, he makes her look great (even though is is already awesome at her job).

From the Ashes by P.C. Haring
(in the world of Ciris)
Chen Min-Weh is on a field operation. She doesn't do field work as she's comfortable in the office, working remotely. The hand picked team she's on left in the plane with little intelligence due to the quickness needed to respond. Someone is plotting to bring down the Global Telecommunication Satellite Network. Avedon, Chen's call name, is along as it's suspected to shut the network down they will do so by remote access - where Avedon specializes.

Another story in this book that I enjoyed! Chen doesn't want to be here, and even freezes. But she knows there is an importance to the mission and has to act. She grows in this short story.

P.C. is wonderful at balancing tech and action. Never do I feel as he's baffled my mind with words I'm not sure of what they refer to in the world of technology. Thank you!

Oh my. For a short story there is so much here. I loved the action and felt so bad for Chen. Then I felt excitement to see Ciris show up. Oh the brief moment and connection to Ciris is awesome! Will we see Chen in Ciris's next book? I do hope so and look forward to it!

Selfies by Allen Sale
This is a series of self portraits done through poetry. Some are of younger others of older and their past that lead them to where they are now. These are interesting as it's a mix of fantasy people; a pirate, a dragon, a shaman, a raving lunatic and more.

I'm not much of a poetry person, but these are quick sections that draw the picture of a moment or a life of the being telling. The last one, The Looking Glass, was one I really liked the connection of through it's telling.

Nemesis by Chris Lester
Master looks out over his city, irritated the elegant building he was orchestrating has grown still. But could Master be his own stumbling stone? Master then receives news of his nemesis...

Sometimes one's nemesis can bring out the best in someone. And that is the case for Master. This is a tale of one worlds creator learning of the fate of his nemesis and his reaction.

This story is a heartfelt reaction, and one that touches my heart as it is of the author and Holyfield, the wizened masters of their worlds. There even seems to be a moral bedded in this short tale. Very sweet read.

Queen Of Hearts by P.G. Holyfield
(featuring a character created by J.R. Blackwell - Dr. Mercury)
We meet Dr. Mercury. She's here on Earth and having a boring day. Jack has returned for vengeance...

Dr. Mercury is a supervillian. We see when she's "visited" by Queen and Jack, twin team of heroes. Dr. Mercury doesn't play around, she acts, but doesn't try to make it last to long. Only a little bit so she's not bored again. She is realistically cruel. lol. Yet she loves the game that comes with heroes attacking her. Dr. Mercury is an alien blood-sucking vampire.

Two stories in one. Now and what lead up to this point.

Wow! Didn't see that coming! Surprise! Great tale. Ew gross, but perfect.

In the Beginning by Philippa Ballantine
(A Chronicle of the Order story)
Life is hard and death is harder here in the highlands, but what death they find next is the worst. Myra was enjoying her early spring day with her flock of sheep, son, and two dogs. Following out a harsh winter the predators were on the prey, when suddenly wolves of strange behavior show, threatening her family. When Myra goes to get the healer what she finds... is death and loss and a question of why.

A view of the Break through an innocents eyes. Philippa brings the feel of worry and strange new in a world to the front for the people. New fears surface, and a far worse death than any could expect. This is a short story into Myra's life. It keeps you here, wanting to learn.  The things of campfire stories to scare children come to life... Geists now appear along with Geistlords.  What happens this night breaks Myra's thoughts on the religion she was raised on.  The world has changed and she has experienced it first hand.

Message in a Bottle by Tee Morris
(featuring a character created by P.J. Schnyder - in Tales from the Archives stories)
Sylvester is in America to see Miss Mabel Danvers. She has asked for someone from Miggin's Antiquities to authentisize the ruby she will be purchasing tomorrow, to go with the set of glowing gems she already has. When Sylvester reads the papers in his case file, sent by Wellington Books, on the Trinity Stones, things become more than expected on this 'simple' mission.

A Ministery Story!! It's always wonderful to get a Ministry tale.

Ah-ha! What a tie-in with the Tesla Ranger, OS&M, and Ministry along with a previous story in the archives. It was interesting to see the matching of the British agency and Tesla Ranger style in this story. Mystery, suspense, and action with a variety of weapons. Worth the read!

P.G. Holyfield's Magnificent Travelling Spectacular by K.T. Bryski
She does as she does most nights, stares at the dark walls while in bed as anxiety sets in. Tonight though, there are color lights glowing through the window that draws her attention. She looks out the window and is surprised to what she sees. A circus tent. Curiousity sets in and she goes to have a look.

The master of the circus lulls her with his voice. The words he tells creates an image that seems to calm her. When she wakes she's at home, and as the day goes she needs to see the Master of the circus again. He's here for three nights. Each night she goes and each night enjoying his voice and the stories of the God Az and Caern.

As you can guess, P.G. is the circus master and he is sharing his stories with the girl. In doing so he has shown the girl there are other things in the world one can do. He brings out a side to the girl that the girl didn't realize she had, and wants to investigate that imaginative side more. A door in her mind has been opened. She's ready to travel with her new friend to learn the ways of the creative world.

This was a bitter sweet story. I loved seeing the girl grow and come to realize that she is creative and can do the craft of world weaving. But...

Enjoyable moment in a persons life as they see beyond the walls of what life is suppose to be.

Death, Taxes, and Scott Sigler by P.G. Holyfield
While at a convention did you ever think of using the service elevators? (to avoid the crowds and broken guest elevators) P.G. has. And who joins him is more than he ever knew or expected.

LOL!! His imagination runs wild like all ours would when waiting and doing something you shouldn't do. This was so fun to read! I laughed. Then there was a serious moment that brings a reality to a crafty fun read. And the way P.G. writes Seigler! It's just awesome. (also makes me want to read Seigler's books.)

Between all these stories are several heart-filled memories with P.G. I hope by reading these you will get to see a glimpse of the kind person he was.

Prelude by Pamela L. Gay.
Interludes by:  Christiana Ellis, Nutty Nuchtchas, Chooch Schubert, Diana Schubert,

Monday, February 23, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Seraphina

I'm so kicking myself for not having time to read this book and series. Heavens do I want to! But the next best thing I can do is share it with others. I'm thrilled to share that Random House Publishing has offered one copy of this book for one person.

#1 Seraphina series
By: Rachel Hartman

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

The giveaway is for US and Canada only, sorry that's requested by publisher.
Fill out the Rafflecopter for your enter.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Book Review: Edgelanders


By:  Jennifer Melzer

Publish Date:  February 11, 2014

Format:  ebook

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  1st in Serpent of Time series

First Glance Feel:  A light fantasy weaved around a Celtic feel of three characters coming into their own.

When Princess Lorelei of Leithe overhears Trystay, her fiance, plotting to have her murdered on the way to their wedding, she does the only smart thing: she runs.

Into the Edgelands, a savage, wooded country along the western coast of Leithe said to contain the legendary U'lfer, a race of fierce wolves who walk as men, she knows she is as good as dead, but she'd rather be torn apart by werewolves than die by Trystay's hand.

Finn, a young U'lfer warrior, catches her scent on the wind and finds himself possessed by an unnatural desire to protect her from that which hunts her. From the moment he first lays eyes on her, Finn knows: she is his. He feels her heartbeat, knows her soul as well as he knows her own, and he will do anything, even suffer exile from the Edgelands, to be with her.

But there is more to Lorelei than meets the eye. She is like Finn, there is U'lfer in her blood, a beast beneath her skin she never knew was there. The answers she seeks about her origin and her purpose lie south, in the frozen tundra of Rimian, where a village of people just like her have been waiting for Lorelei to come since before she was even born.

First Sentence:
Transfixed by the streams of color that flagged the market stalls, Lorelei watched them ripple against the white-cloud dappled sky.

Purchase At:

My Thoughts and Summary:
Lorelie runs into the Edgelands, determined to have a say in how she will die. She'd rather be torn apart by the wolf U'lfer people than at the hand of her betrothed. To Lorelie's surprise she wakes alive, with the U'lfer.

Finn scented her on the wind. He knows she's different yet no one else seems to scent it. He feels a draw to her he's never felt before, and is willing to face exile to be with her.

There is an introduction (which the first sentence is from). I like this as it's a complete short story of an important event in Lorelei's past.

There is a Celtic feel to the U'lfer - descendants of The Wild Hunt and Fionn mac Cumhaill. They are were-wolves and people. By chapter 7 you will know and feel it too. I loved this creation and grow to express the feel to me.

We get to see the world through different eyes, Lorelie, Finn, and from time to time Finn's brother Viln. The characters spend a lot of time re-evaluating and evaluating through thought to themselves. I felt a very intimate feeling with the three characters. I felt the most for Finn though. However with these characters being in the same place, I felt there were sections that repeated things - how limited the U'lfer are in number, Finn's madness, Viln repeats many of these things and Finn. The actions tell a lot, so their thoughts aren't needed as much to reiterate what we know or have learned.

The focus is on Lorelie who's t save the half-breeds of U'lfer and who doesn't know much of the world as she was shielded from it by her father, and king. This gives a young adult feel to the story. She's young and finds her way along with a sweet romance highlight here.

The beginning had me with the strong feeling of The Wild Hunt and Finn influences. The ending...Oooo. Enjoyed the end and the take of the Serpent of Time here. The middle had it's slow moments and lots of reflection by the characters, but I'm curious more of Finn. And what is Lorelie to do in the journey to come. But Finn? He's where my thoughts are.

This book ends the first step in Lorelie's events and starts the next journey. Looking forward to reading that next adventure. I'm curious to see if what is 'seen' happens or if Lorelie finds a way... I have the second book and will be reading it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Book Review: Dirty Magick: Los Angeles

Dirty Magick: Los Angeles

Edited By:  Charlie Brown

Publish Date:  November 20, 2013

Publisher:  Lucky Mojo Press

Format:  Print

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  1st of the Dark Magick Anthology series

Recommendation:  If you enjoy noir mystery stories, pick it up.

"Dirty Magick: Los Angeles" is an urban fantasy anthology exploring the crossroads between magic and crime. Set in the city that invented noir, these stories comb the back streets and side alleys where the shadows are so sharp, they can shave you clean. Featuring such distinguished writers as Neal Pollack, Richard Rayner, Justin Macumber and Terry Mixon, this collection, edited by Charlie Brown, presents a whole new approach to urban fantasy.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles  /  Book Depository

My Thoughts and Summary:
The stories are all a mystery of the old feel blended with magic. Tommy guns, Dames and Dolls, and the noir old feel to detective case solving. All mixed with magic in Los Angeles. So many different takes on magic in the big city of Angels.

As I read, I enjoyed the stories that were shared here and the worlds created. I did notice that it seemed there was at least one copy edit error in every story. But I was able to over look them.

The Forbidden Pose: A Matt Bolster Yoga Mystery
Bolster is called to come to Silver Lake by his sometimes poker buddy and former partner from LAPD Homicide. A woman of about late twenties is dead in her home, frozen in her yoga pose like time stopped. Someone is teaching the forbidden poss to people that don't know what could happen.

It was cute with the yoga take. However, it wasn't my favorite of the stories. The mystery was an old feel of Bolster hitting the shoe leather and finding who's teaching people the pose and why. There even felt like descriptive words were in wrong placement as the describer is a few words from it's focus.

Cougar Witch Plot
Megan has found nothing helps her anger. She's made a lunch appointment with a witch who's suppose to be astounding at what she does. The jaded Megan wants the man to suffer.

I enjoyed this one from the starts. No it's not because I'm female and this woman wants revenge on an ex. It's the witch that caught me. She is the real dean and doing her magic on Megan. I did, however, get a kick out of Megan and what happened to her ex.

An Eye For An Eye
Al Blake is hired to assassinate the D.A. while giving his speech on the courthouse steps. His unknown client requested Blood Magic. Blood magic requires the mage to be close, but Al likes to be there just in case...

A magical assassin, blood magic, mob mention... Oh yes, I'm curious.

This has an "old" feel to the story. I love Al's feelings on hurting woman. I really enjoyed the turn of events with this story and the flow of it.

Almost Angels
Tom's on the case of a dead girl carved with intriget swirls and designs. There's a wizard that's draining people of magical power from their soul. Not able to get the sight of the girl from his mind, he goes to find the true killer.

I like the feel of our main character here. He gives a feel of himself in the story so I feel the emotions with him. I enjoyed this quick story of magic and protection.

Sign of the Times
The Mara demon he's got, and digging her prison, is more than he knows. A blast from the past as he learns about him, and she already knows about him.

I like the way this one starts and the connection between the capture and captured. There is a turn of events in this story and the end wasn't what I expected. Rather neat.

That Old Hill Magic
At the bar watching a female demon sing, Detective Darcy Winters is on the job.

I like the world hinted at here in this short story. I'd be curious for more. Bluesy ad futuristic blended with supernatural. The fight is my kinda read!

The Hounds of Tartarus
Chuck has crawled out of the ocean and made his way to L.A. for help from Hess. Now chuck is ready to avenge his death, and get his money back from Vince.

We get the story from Jose - an angel of death. He takes his time with those that are dead, to get them to their peace and move on. Cool twist to Chucks life after death. I like the draw of realization and stages of grief.

Well done!

Call It Intuition
She's a big band singer, who sees shades when emotions run high. Billy, the trumpet player of color, is killed and her abusive boyfriend is on the case. But Kyle, a patron of the club, is more than he seems. And Greg Maloni's crew is helping with the funeral. So what really happened to Billy? Why?

She sees shadows, shades that play out scenes. Others don't know she sees them. She learns what happened to Billy. I really enjoyed this one as it's an old time mystery in a jazz age. I liked the time frame picked for this story and the ability our main character has.

Hearts at Rest
Frankie is on a murder case. A man was killed at the film studio. It's a List killing with what is seen. But this killer is a mystery as Frankie and his crew know of no Lister this powerful.

We see a new creation here. The term Lister. It's a turn used for the division Frankie works in that refers to those with abilities.

Oh I loved the ending to this one. What we learn of the characters...Cool! There is a fae twist to this tale.

Mr. Mean
I started but ended up skipping it. I just couldn't get into it.

Tainted Hooch
Kincaid's called into a young actresses home with the young actress looking well beyond her years in death.

A djinn who owns a special club and a wizard that finds his way past the trips to get in. Miss Maurus's establishment becomes a tea house when the LADP - wizards - shows up looking for a missing girl.

Oh this was a lovely tale. I enjoyed the djinn and the 'bottle' feel of the club. A touch of love in this story from the history we learn along with the story. Two stories in one with the history and current. Lovely.

Seeing Dead People
Kelly brings Jet to the crime scene. Jet specializes in ghosts.

This is no run of the mill magick. Not even Black Magick. It's Dirty Magick!

This case takes us into unexpected moments. Dark, dirty magic is present.

The Winds
Jackie is on the case where his old friend was murdered. Everything scattered and blown around. The Santa Anas winds were strong...

A full mystery here. I think maybe the longest story in the book. Full with characters and explaining.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Post #74

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


So it seems as it was a good week in books. I got through one that I started this week (Cecy's books always seem to be a read I can't put down and have to finish fast) and one that I'd been reading and thinking on slowly.

We started the week off on the warm side for this year, then finished with bitter cold winds, and snow. I wish I could have a snow day, but life goes on and work still expects to see you. *sigh* Kids get President's Day off, and I still have to go in. I'm thinking there should be a government statement made that all have to take the same holidays. It sure would make it easier for parents and give everyone a rest to do family things. But... my wish, so won't happen unless I find that genie in a bottle somewhere.


The Fit Booker:

Goal:  Workout on Wii Fit (or any form of exercise) 2x's a week. (to feel better and hope to drop a few pants sizes)

How did I do last week... I did workout 2 days! Woot woot! That is my goal, as long as life cooperates. Both workouts were found on Comcast Demand. The first said it was a 30 minute workout, upper body while walking. Urm... 45 mins later I'm still going. In the end it was 70 minutes long! I was panting and sweating but it did feel wonderful. Helped work out some of the frustration I've been feeling. I think I'll try to find it again. Then the second night I did two workouts for abs. I think one was 8 minutes and the other was 12 minutes or something.


What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
Heartstealer by K.T. Bryski

Current Podcast Book Listen:
The Horde by Patrick Scaffido

Finished Last Week: (in last month)
A Curse Unbroken by Cecy Robson
Rhune by Michael J. Sullivan

Finished Podcast Book Listen:
None finished yet.


Last Week on the Blog:

Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)

Click the link to learn more about the books and their series:

Around the Internet...


Podcast Review:

Mama Bitchstress Reviews:


Weekly Posts:

Mythical Monday
Throwback Thursday


This Week to Come on the Blog:

What's to come....I am still working on this feature. I hope to get back on track enough to have this all worked out BEFORE Sunday Post comes.


Received Last Weeks:

Review & Review Consideration:
Kiss of Life by Seleste DeLaney
The vampire’s curse has been awakened, and Jocelyn has no choice but to accept her destiny as the Blood Kissed—the one destined to destroy the vampires…or rule them. While Max and Chad want to help her reach her full potential, not all of the supernaturals share their plan.

The Council of Elders, a crazed sorcerer assassin, and a vampire hunter out for revenge have driven Jocelyn into hiding. She and her ragtag army have holed up in the forests of Michigan’s upper peninsula to get ready for the fight. If training is any indication, they should be ready for war by the time she turns fifty.

But no one is going to let her wait that long. War is nigh, the death toll is rising, and when Michigan’s most famous harbinger of doom shows up on the scene, the army of the Blood Kissed is hoping for a miracle, praying to be graced with a little kiss of life…

Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn
Goodreads Synopsis:
National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the Empress of Rome series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome.

Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome’s brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vix’s beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperor’s latest obsession.

Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City . . .



Soul Born by Kevin James Breaux
Goodreads Description:

All Opal wanted was to be respected as a wielder of magic, but her teachers passed her over time and time again. When a mysterious warlord embarks on a conquest to destroy the lands of Illyia Opal seizes an opportunity to step out from the shadows of her instructors and take her rightful spot among them. Tala, an alluring young elf, was banished from her tribe, hunted and nearly killed by the beasts that dwell in the deep forests, but more than anything else she is a survivor. Joining forces with an ancient elemental power Tala finds herself in the center of an unrelenting human war. She never wanted any of this. Flesh like leather and bone as strong as steel Karn, a veteran from the first kingdom to fall, is fueled by vengeance. While pushing ever headlong into battle Karn begins to recall memories of another life; ghosts that haunt his dreams. 

Through death of soul, their world is born. 

Free Ebooks:
(On my Kindle App)

(On my Nook)

Free Audio Books/Stories:


Reviews to Come:

The Secret World Chronicle: The Hunt by Mercedes Lackey & Steve Libbey (in audiobook while at work)
The Secret World Chronicle: World Well Lost by Mercees Lackey,Steve Libby, Cody Martin, & Dennis Lee
Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Sentinel by Chris Lester
The Muse by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Making the Cut by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Whispers in the Wood by Chris Lester
Dirty Magick: Los Angeles edited by Charlie Brown
Edgelanders by Jennifer Melzer
Master of Myth by Starla Huchton
Tales of a Tesla Ranger: Tribute to P.G. Holyfield by (anthology)
Danube Waves by Katharina Bordet
Interlude by Krista D. Ball
A Curse Unbroken by Cecy Robson
Rhune by Michael J. Sullivan

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cover Reveal: Kiss of Life

Oh now this is a Valentine's Day treat!

I'm thrilled to be bringing you this amazing cover. I read and enjoyed the first book. A Paranormal Romance by Seleste Delaney. There is so much more to Jocelyn than we imagined at first. Can't wait to read more. Now...which man do I want to see more of.... Can I say ALL OF THEM!?? Even the one that's not in the running. ;) Yep, you have many delicious men to pick from in this world. lol.

But, on to the newest cover addition to the series.

Kiss of Life
Blood Kissed #2
By:  Seleste Delaney
Due Out:  March 2015
The vampire’s curse has been awakened, and Jocelyn has no choice but to accept her destiny as the Blood Kissed—the one destined to destroy the vampires…or rule them. While Max and Chad want to help her reach her full potential, not all of the supernaturals share their plan.

The Council of Elders, a crazed sorcerer assassin, and a vampire hunter out for revenge have driven Jocelyn into hiding. She and her ragtag army have holed up in the forests of Michigan’s upper peninsula to get ready for the fight. If training is any indication, they should be ready for war by the time she turns fifty.

But no one is going to let her wait that long. War is nigh, the death toll is rising, and when Michigan’s most famous harbinger of doom shows up on the scene, the army of the Blood Kissed is hoping for a miracle, praying to be graced with a little kiss of life…

Drool worthy, yes? I can't wait to read more of Max, Chad, and Jocelyn. I'm excited to see what Jocelyn can do!

Do you need the first book?
You can pick it up anywhere:
Kiss of Death
Too many years of killer vamps have triggered the curse of the Blood Kissed. They’ve awakened the bloodline that can alter their world, because her blood has the power to control them all—even make them destroy each other.

Jocelyn thought her troubles with vampires were over when she drove a stake through her boyfriend Max’s heart two years ago. Even though she’s engaged to Chad, she’s never really forgotten him. Now Max is back, and Chad is taking her into the heart of the vamp community—and they’re the ones trying to keep her alive. The ones who love her and each seek to claim her for their own. Because once the elders know who she is, they’re all going to want her…or want her dead.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cover Reveal: Birthright

I'm happy to share with you the next Ivy Granger cover. Per E.J. Stevens, the cover is accurate to what is happening in the book! (I love that with covers.) Ivy Granger's been growing with the use of knives. And it seems this is next horror that Ivy must face in Tech Duinn, on her way to Faerie.

What do you think of the cover?

Cover Reveal Birthright by E.J. Stevens an Ivy Granger Urban Fantasy Novel

Birthright (Ivy Granger #4) by E.J. Stevens

Being a faerie princess isn't all it's cracked up to be...

Ivy must go to Faerie, but the gateway to the Wisp Court is through Tech Duinn, the house of Donn—Celtic god of the dead. Just her luck.

Unable to share her secret with Jinx, and with Jenna called away on Hunters' Guild business, Ivy must rely on Ceff and Torn to lead her to Death's door, literally, and back again. As if that wasn't dangerous enough, there's no saying what horrors lay in store within the Faerie realm. Too bad the Wisp Court is the one lead Ivy has in the search for her father—and possible salvation.

Maybe hiding away and dodging sidhe assassins isn't so bad after all...

Release Date: July 14, 2015
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

About the Ivy Granger Series
The Ivy Granger series is an urban fantasy series written by E.J. Stevens. The series is told in the first-person point of view of Ivy Granger, a psychic detective with ties to the paranormal underworld of Harborsmouth--ties that ensnare Ivy and her friend Jinx in the Machiavellian schemes of the city's teeming population of bloodsucking vampires and psychotic faeries.

Books in this series: Shadow Sight (Ivy Granger #1), Blood and Mistletoe (Ivy Granger #1.5), Ghost Light (Ivy Granger #2), Club Nexus (Ivy Granger #2.5), Burning Bright (Ivy Granger #3).

About the Author
E.J. Stevens is the author of the Spirit Guide young adult series and the bestselling Ivy Granger urban fantasy series. When E.J. isn't at her writing desk she enjoys dancing along seaside cliffs, singing in graveyards, and sleeping in faerie circles. E.J. currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing.

Connect with E.J. on Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook, and on her Blog.

We are celebrating this cover reveal with a fantastic Birthright giveaway...

Cover Reveal Giveaway

We are giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card, Birthright mini-poster, and signed Birthright postcard to one lucky winner. 

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Giveaway begins Friday, February 13th and ends Friday, February 27th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Happy Friday the 13th!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tales from the Archives, Vol 3: #5

Tales from the Archives, Vol. 3: #5

By:  Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

Written & Narrated by:  Suna Dasi

Format:  Podcast, Part 1: 41:40 minutes Part 2: 35:51 minutes

Genre:  Fantasy, Steampunk

Series:  5th in Tales of the Archives Vol. 3 podcasts, part of A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series

Recommendation:  Nice way to meet new characters and authors in this steampunk-ish world particularly if you enjoyed the book; A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel, Phoenix Rising.  The archives are full of stories to be told.

Part 1:
Those Dark Satanic Mills

Beehive Mill
Ancoats, District of Manchester, England

Agent Imogen Feaveryear finds herself investigating a mysterious panic overcoming a mill in the countryside of Manchester, England. The unassuming mystery, dismissed by other agents of the Ministry, leads her to India, the approval of Doctor Sound on granting the young agent the latest in R&D technology. This case only twists and turns harder as Imogen confronts an enigmatic intruder, obviously aware of her clandestine work.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Three textile companies have had accidents and all the workers end up dead. Agent Imogen can't let the case go and alone will follow the leads to India to learn what has been going on with the factories that

We start with Tybias, a textile company worker. He uses the press to cut fabric.  I was curious about the dirty man with glowing orange cloth and a trident in his hand. Sounded like he was a clan master or magic involved.

Surprise! Agent Smith is backing away and wants Agent Imogen to do as well. He's changed since last case together (in India). We first meet Agent Smith in The Shadows of Calcutta by Phil Rossi in Volume 1.

I'm curious about the mysterious device Doctor Sound gave Agent Imogen. That there is a tie to her heritage! Makes me curious about her as well.

Then we are left wondering what the person that broke into her room wanted. How is he connected to the case she is working on with the mills? How did he heal so fast!?

Part 2
Kolkata, India

Traveling alone through the mystery and intrigue of India, Agent Imogen Feaveryear follows the clues from Manchester, England to unearth a grand conspiracy against the Empire. Feaveryear, armed only with facts and the basic of armaments from R&D technology, dares to discover the true cause behind the dark magic haunting England's industrial progress.

My Thoughts and Summary:
The few survivors of the mill attacks are not faring well. It's a mass hysteria of dog like reactions from them. The Indian sorcerer that is cursing the fabric mills keeps striking. Agent Imogen is alone in India as Agent Smith prefers working from London.

All from the mills end up passing away. It's suspected there was a poison used.

Imogen finds out what the intruder wanted in her room. It wasn't what he took but what he left. She sees a herbalist in India to help her. Then things start to fall into place for Agent Imogen. When she visits a fabric mill, she catches on to what is happening here.

A surprise in the end. Agent Imogen solves the case.

Would you like to listen to these? For a taste of the characters or in addition to the book... Visit The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.

You can find these for your Reading pleasure in any eFormat you would like at Smashwords.

You can find the Archives: Amazon Kindle ~ Tales from the Archives Scroll through the list for them all, and the ones you still need.

There are short stories always added to the listing. So keep checking back!

I listened to this short story for my own enjoyment.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cover Reveal: Heir to Koloso

I've had the great honor of working with K.L. Bone on this book. And I'm looking forward to seeing it do amazingly well in the wild when it's released.

But today I have the cover and description for you to check out.

Heir to Koloso
Rise of the Temple Gods #2
By:  K.L. Bone
Due Out:  Coming Soon!
“Fear to the fearless. Hope to the hopeless. Mercy to those who hate you. Death to those who love you. That is your destiny, Princess of Kale, Princess of Koloso, heir to both.” – Prophecy of the Kalian Twins
The struggle for the throne intensifies as twin Princesses Ameria and Mariana are forced to contend with their bitter rivalry and haunted past. In this sequel to Heir to Kale, the sisters learn that they must first expose the secrets of their past before they can begin to unveil their shadowed destiny.
Awaiting the Temple bout which will determine her fate, Princess Mariana struggles to unite a Kingdom long bereft of leadership.  She must navigate a labyrinth of rival families, power-hungry lords, and the ever-widening rift between those who serve the Temples and those who do not. Unprepared and still grieving the loss of her mentor, Mariana must decide for herself what is right for the kingdom and who, if anyone, can be trusted.
Meanwhile, Princess Ameria is more determined than ever to discover the true identity of her father’s killer and is willing to risk everything in order to find the answers she seeks. Embarking upon a quest which takes her from gleaming Temples to darkened castles, she endeavors to learn the truth about her family, the Prophecy, and the future of the Kingdom. Eventually turning to her estranged grandfather, the powerful and dangerous Lord Riccard, Ameria uncovers a truth about her family’s past from which will threaten to challenge the very foundations of her beliefs.
However, as the sisters come closer to revealing their past and the prophecy which haunts their future, the wraiths watch from the shadows, an ever-present reminder that time is running out and that the fight for the throne looms upon the horizon.

This is a Young Adult read set in a facinating Fantasy world K.L. has created. That is one of the twins, and yes, her personality comes across strong in the image on the cover. lol.

Curious about the series? Want to see the other twin? You can currently pick up the first book:
Heir to Kale
Rise of the Temple Gods #1
“Fear to the fearless. Hope to the hopeless. Mercy to those who hate you. Death to those who love you.” – Prophesy of the Kalian Twins

In the land of Kale there lies a delicate balance between the powerful Temples and the rulers from an ancient, royal bloodline. The Temples are ruled through combat, determined by a series of tournaments. Of these tournament champions, sixty are chosen to become Defendants, an elite team charged with protecting the realm from all enemies. Selection to this team is considered the highest of honours and leadership of the team is decided only once every thirteen years. 

Princesses Mariana and Ameria, twin daughters of two such champions, are taken as children to separate, yet equally powerful Temples. Through years of rigorous training both are educated in the arts of combat, swordplay, and the ancient traditions of the Temple Gods. Both eventually obtain the rank of Kalian Champions with the expectation of one day serving upon the coveted Defendant Team. 

Then, not long after their seventeenth birthday, the childless King declares that one of the sisters must succeed him as the future Queen. As the race for the throne begins, the sister’s long standing rivalry intensifies, leading both upon a dangerous path that threatens not only their lives, but the fate of the very kingdom. 

Unbeknownst to the twins, this treacherous path to the throne is the elaborate collaboration of an ancient prophecy and two creatures charged by the Gods themselves ensure it comes to pass. As primeval powers awaken, the two sisters must struggle to learn the truth behind the prophesy and search for a way to change their inevitable fate. 

Pick up Heir to Kale on Amazon now:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

AudioBook Review: Ravenwood


By:  Nathan Lowell

Publisher:  Podiobooks

Publish Date:  January 2010

Format:  Podiobooks

Series:  1st in Tanyth Fairport Adventure series

Recommendation:  A low key relaxing read full of nature and human magic.

Book Synopsis:
A Tanyth Fairport Adventure.

After twenty winters on the road, Tanyth makes one last pilgrimage in her quest to learn all she can about the herbs and medicinal plants of Korlay before settling down to write her magnum opus. Her journey is interrupted when she stops to help a small village and learns that much of what she knows of the world may not be quite as it seems.

In this work, Nathan Lowell blends wiccan tradition and shamanistic lore into a fantasy quest and creates a world for a new - if unlikely - heroine to explore. She learns that the familiar sometimes hides the fantastical and that, even when you think you’ve made your decisions, life doesn’t always agree.

First Sentence:
Somewhere up in the canopy, a jaybird greeted the dawn loudly and with the vigor usually reserved for mating and feeding.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles

Listen At:
iTunes  /  Podiobooks

**I listened to this book for my own enjoyment.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Tanyth has spent the last twenty winters, of her fifty-three, travelling between different herbal experts. She learns something new from each. She's on her way to the last of the old witch women, who kept old knowledge of plants and seeds - Gerdie Pinecrest. Tanyth passes through a little town. Her kindness remembered when one of there own falls ill. The next morning they go out looking for her for healing help. Finding these young couples need help Tanyth stays for the winter to teach them of healing herbs. Tanyth finds she helps them through more troubles for a raising new town than they all expected.

So descriptive! Drew a whole picture here of Tanyth and the woods she travels through. A calm and peaceful connection here, like being one with Mother nature. Respectful to nature, take only what you need and say thank you along with nurturing her back. So much knowledge of plants and herbs also, which is the center of the story until we get into the meat of the town and troubles Tanyth comes across. She even learns about herself as the story goes.

The folks in this small village are kind and goodhearted. They take Tanyth in and accept her, even when she thinks she's talking like a crazy old woman. Nathan drew a strong friendship between Tanyth and the folks here in Ravenwood. One that in the end brought tears to my eyes for an honor they felt was owed to Tanyth (it's just a hearth).

The more you read Tanyth and see the towns reaction to her blessings, you start to wonder if she doesn't have a touch of magic to her. Even her dreams through the crows eyes. Creative with a touch to let your mind wonder about it. And look forward to more tales of Tanyth's adventures to learn about herself.

The little village seems very productive and organized. Something Nathan is meticulous at. Nathan has an amazing mind for creating set rules. Then, he throws in the rule breakers. The folk here are innocent to the troubles that could come down the road they are so close to, even things they tried to leave behind in the big city. Nathan takes his characters and town to the brink in the way of terrible things that could happen. Well done.

It's a slower pace story of a life in a healer's shoes as she travels and helps others. I keep thinking while listening if I would read this book, rather than listen to it. Honestly, I don't think I would. It's a bit calm for me. The beginning is slower start as we meet Tanyth and the town. This is not a bad thing, so many love this in a book. But, as the story went, I couldn't stop from listening. Something caught me and I kept going. And I'm thrilled I did.

The book is slow starting, for me, but the ending is well worth the extra care at the beginning.

Gardeners and Nature lovers might enjoy this story. The relaxing feel nature gives is how I'd explain how Nathan reading this story makes me feel with words and descriptions of nature.

Nathan makes it very easy to understand the book when reading to us. I would recommend Nathan's audiobooks any day to anyone. Even if you have a hard time with audio, give Nathan's books a try. You might find you catch much more than you thought you would.

I'll be looking for the next Tanyth Fairport Adventure: Zypheria's Call. (already available in ebook.)