Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Book Review: Of Flame and Fate

Of Flame and Fate

By:  Cecy Robson

Publish Date:  September 26, 2017

Format:  301 pgs

Genre:  Urban Fantasy Romance

Series:  8th book in Weird Girls series, 2nd in Flame series
Novella 0.4 ~ A Curse Awakened, Novella 0.5 ~ The Weird Girls, Book 1 ~ Sealed with a Curse, Book 2 ~ A Cursed Embrace, Novella 2.5 ~ A Cursed Moon, Book 3 ~ Cursed By Destiney, Book 4 ~ A Cursed Bloodline, Book 5 ~ A Curse Unbroken, Book 6 ~ Of Flame and Promise, Book 7 ~ Of Flame and Light

First Impression:  Taran is on a mission...

Taran Wird, who commands the power to wield fire and lightning, is an oddity in the supernatural world. But neither Taran nor her unique sisters compare to the bizarre entity known as Destiny. And Taran is assigned to protect her.

Born of two witches, Destiny is revered among the supernatural elite for her acute ability to predict the future. Her biggest prophecy involves Taran’s sister, Celia, whom Destiny decreed will bear children strong enough to take on the evil that’s rising. Yet Destiny is not alone in her predictions, or individuality.

When Johnny Fate, a rock star among humans and a male version of Destiny is discovered, his powers and Destiny’s clash, triggering the start of Destiny’s demise and altering the fate of Celia’s unborn children.

Taran, her werewolf lover Gemini, and their allies must determine if it’s Fate who will decide what will become of Celia’s children, or if their lives and the world will perish with Destiny.

First Sentence:
I'm shoved into a cold room where a band of bloodsucking fiends tear off my clothes.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles (Print or Ebook)  /  Book Depository 

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I offered to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Taran will do all she can to make sure her sister, Celia, and her baby will be safe. Even tracking down powerful relics at her own harm. Gemini, Taran's mate, is upset because she goes off without telling him. Though, she knows he would do all he can to stop her from what she feels she must do - protect her sister and baby.

Things are getting tense in the Alliance. Each group had a powerful leader attacked. Some group is acting to take out the powerful in order to get to Celia and her baby. The baby destined to do great things. All are assigned to protect the leaders, leaving Taran to protect Destiny. Destiny has fun plans for them, but when they go to a concert of rock star Johnny Fate things take a turn no one ever saw coming.

This beginning was a grabber! Wow, that's a way to start a book. And this scene is totally a Taran moment. lol. I loved it!

Taran is one of the most amusing characters to follow. Her colorful phrases and comparisons make me wonder what she'll say or think next. I love reading them. She makes me smile with each unique phrasing. Taran is a fighter. Dang girl. She may not fist fight in her pink heels but she won't stop going on and she'll fight if she has to. She's strong in her personality and determination.

Taran does what Taran does best...blow stuff up. Taran's arm... Yep. If you've read the previous books, you know her arm is rather special. Even seems to have a mind of it's own. But there is more to it. Totally awesome. I love how Taran has her own major spot in the way things will go in the future. These Wird girls are rather special, you can't deny that.

I get some view of Em here through Taran's interactions with her. This is interesting. I had questions regarding her at the end of Celia's last book. I'm glad to get some outsider view of Em and her interactions with others. I still have questions, but I feel like I'm getting pieces I am wanting.

As a whole the story gives us more tidbits on Taran and her sisters impact in the future. There's even talk of the girls children. Yes, girls, plural. This leaves us knowing there are more books to come to get to those moments. Also, the new enemy is known. So we'll have to deal with them as well.

Oh Cecy. You had me smiling with these crazy characters. And you had me tearing up. I should know by now that when I read one of these books, I'll feel an array of emotions with the characters. I love it!

Another entertaining installment to the Weird Sisters world full of action, determination, and love.

****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon. Thank you!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday Post #180

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.

This is a two week post. I've been keeping myself busy with keeping up around the house, football, and events here. An example was yesterday. We got up, had a few hours to ourselves so I got to chat with kiddo (before he left) and husband then off to watch kiddo's football game. When we got home, I cleaned up and we went out to dinner at a local Applebee's that had a few bands I wanted to hear on the patio. Sweet. When we got home, we watched our weekly movie and went to bed. Was a long day. Today I'm working up this post, worked on a few pictures, and will go visit my dad and hope to get to the mountains for some fall pictures.

I got SUNBURNT at the football game. Yeah, I haven't been this bad in a few years. We are having some HOT weather this week, and week to come. In the 80F here. It was starting to cool and the leaves were starting to change, then last week hit. Wow. Those shiny stands and beating sun...yep, terrible combo.

What the week brings... I'm hoping to get to Phipps Conservatory Monday evening as it's Free admission day. I've never been there and would love to see and take pictures. The week's going to be busy. I have an eye doctor appointment and I think a few other things in the evenings.

Here's to a great week!


The Fit Booker:

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

How did I do last week... I'm reallllly hoping the change of weather will bring time for exercise for me. I neeeeed to get back at it. How do you do everything in one day!?

What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
Will start a new book on lunch Monday.
AND Content Editing work

Current Audiobook:
EverRealm by Jake Bible

Current Podcast Book Listen:
Stonebriar Casefiles: Bad Alchemy by Laura Nicole Spencer (You can listen for free too!)

Finished Last Week: 
Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson

Audiobooks from Audible:
Paying the Price by Terry Mixon
The Biscuit Witch by Deborah Smith
End of Days by J.F. Penn
EverRealm by Jake Bible

Finished Podcast Book Listen:
Nothing yet.



Last Two Weeks on the Blog:

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

Volatile Bonds is here!

Spellbound in a Flash:

Spellbound in a Flash now has a Facebook Page!
Football season has started, so you can catch my photos of the games at the Facebook Page.

Challenged Writers:
(I need to update)

Around the Internet...

Fantasy Online: Hyperborea by Harmon Cooper
"It's neat how the game world is connected to the real person. "

Paying the Price by Terry Mixon
"I love how each book builds on the previous events yet it is its own story. This is not a repeat of what we've already read, it's more. This is what keeps me thirsty for this series, along with the amazing characters and writing."

The Biscuit Witch by Deborah Smith
"It's a sweet story with Tal who's drawn to bake all sorts of goodies with heart and memories. Family and friends are everything, and will help you when you are in need."

End of Days by J.F. Penn
"Penn has crafted her stories to give details of the most important moments, wasting no time in telling us about what we are looking for and the connection through history and religion. (Mind, the story is NOT preaching, it's actually an interesting twist on Religious beliefs and history.) Her characters, Morgan and Jake along with Martin and others, are well versed in the beliefs and legends so all their logical connections is explained. I love that there is always action or worry of danger when at different sites."

Podcast Review:

Mama Bitchstress Reviews:



This Week to Come on the Blog:

I will write up two reviews and schedule.


Received In Last Two Weeks:
(Note: Links to Amazon are buy links where I could earn commission, in case you are interested.)

For Review Consideration:
A Dark and Twisted Heart by Merrie Destefano
Amazon Synopsis:
Katrina is so beautiful, she’s almost perfect. She only has two flaws. She’s possessive. 

And she’s dead.

William adores Katrina, but he almost forgets about her when he meets Adelle, with her gentle smile and winsome ways.

So what’s he to do? He certainly can’t be faithful to a dead girl. 

Even though he loves her, so much so he visits her grave every day. 

Even though she haunts him and constantly reminds him of the terrible thing he did.

Even though she might just drive him to do something terrible again. Very soon.

Audio Books Requested for Review:
Primordial by David Wood & Alan Baxtor
Goodreads Synopsis:

Sometimes, the legends are true. When eccentric billionaire, Ellis Holloway, hires renegade marine biologist, Sam Aston, to investigate the legend of a monster in a remote Finnish lake, Aston envisions an easy paycheck and a chance to clear his gambling debts. But he gets much more. There is something terrible living beneath the dark waters of Lake Kaarme and it is hungry. As the death toll mounts, Aston faces superstitious locals, a power-hungry police chief, and a benefactor's descent into madness as he races to find the legendary beast of the lake.

Air and Ash by Alex Lidell
Goodreads Synopsis:
Master and Commander meets Tamora Pierce in a seafaring adventure of duty, love, magic, and a princess’s quest to protect her kingdom on her own terms. 

After a lifetime of training, seventeen-year-old Princess Nile Greysik, a lieutenant on the prestigious Ashing navy flagship, sails into battle with one vital mission—and fails. 

Barred from the sea and facing a political marriage, Nile masquerades as a common sailor on the first ship she can find. With a cowardly captain, incompetent crew, and a cruel, too-handsome first officer intent on making her life a living hell, Nile must hide her identity while trying to turn the sorry frigate battleworthy. Worse, a terrifying and forbidden magic now tingles in Nile’s blood. If anyone catches wind of who Nile is or what she can do, her life is over. 

But when disaster threatens the ship, Nile may have no choice but to unleash the truth that will curse her future. 

Steamborn by Eric R. Asher
Goodreads Synopsis:
Jacob, a tinker's apprentice and sometime thief, has lived his entire life in the mountain city of Ancora, protected by the city walls. These towering barriers keep the Deadlands creatures at bay, but the monsters move higher into the peaks every year. More and more, they breach the defenses of the Lowlands while the Highlands rest easy.

A swarm overruns the walls and wreaks utter devastation on the Lowlands. Charles, the old tinker, suspects the attack may not be natural. With help from Jacob's closest friend, Alice, and Samuel, one of the city's elite spider knights, Jacob and Charles will uncover a terrible darkness at the heart of their city.

Steamforged by Eric R. Asher
Goodreads Synopsis:
There are old wounds in the forgotten places of the world, and some are soaked in blood.

Jacob and his allies flee into the Deadlands after the fall of Ancora. Charles, the enigmatic smith, hopes to find answers in the desert city of Bollwerk that could prevent a war.

Their enemies are many, and here Jacob will learn the cost of life in the Deadlands.

The Half-Assed Wizard by Gary Jonas
Goodreads Synopsis:
A couple of jerks wake me up at the crack of noon. Seems my klepto uncle stole an ancient deck of Tarot cards from a high-powered wizard, and too many losers want to ruin my day to get them back. 

The cards are cool, so I check them out, but my magic-happy cousin, Sabrina, tells me I'm not supposed to touch them. Oops. Too late. Now the damn cards are tuned to me, and if someone else wants to use them, I have to die. Why couldn't she have led with that information? 

Magic was never my scene, but my dad is one of the most powerful wizards in the world, so I've got unrealized potential if I ever bother to apply myself. I'd rather power nap, but with wizards, gunslingers, and cannibalistic shark dudes coming at me, that's not gonna happen. 

They say I'm a half-assed wizard, but if I don't play my cards right, I'm gonna get my whole ass killed.

Elementals by Lindsey R. Loucks & more authors
Goodreads Synopsis:
Elemental Magic has never been so terrifying.

What do you get when 14 Kick-Ass Urban Fantasy Elementals are set to face a horde of Bad-Ass villains with enough magic to end life as they know it?

14 spell-binding, earth-shattering, electrifying tales of magical mayhem and destructive power from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling authors.

Each one of the brand new, exclusive stories in this anthology transforms the elements into something magical…and more than a little frightening.
This explosive anthology is on fire!


Free Ebooks:
(On my Kindle and Nook App) Links to books under title. They may or may not be free at this time.
The Yarn Spinner by Deborah Smith
Goodreads Synopsis:
A Crossroads Café Short Story 27 pages long
She's destined to love Gus MacBride--if she survives her first year in the Crossroads Cove.
A thread of hope is all she needs.
Damaged, confused, alone. Cathy Deen Mitternich recognizes her old self in the fragile survivor huddled in the sheep barn's storage room at Rainbow Goddess Farm. Former art teacher Lucy Parmenter may be beyond even the tough-love magic of the farm, a live-in counseling center for abused women. Afraid to set a foot outside, drugged on medication, and filled with despair, Lucy needs the big biscuit magic of the Crossroad Café's Delta Whittlespoon. Together, Cathy and Delta search for a lifeline that represents Lucy's best hope of holding on. 
Their search ends in Lucy's new home at the barn. When Lucy discovers the magic there, neither she nor Cathy will ever be the same. 

Daring the Devil by Natasha Larry & Lindsey R. Loucks
Goodreads Synopsis:
Hell hath no fury like its princess… 

Every sixteen-year-old thinks her mom is the Devil sometimes. But Kiera Morningstar’s mother really is the Queen of Hell. And she expects Kiera to earn her right to the throne by taking a soul. When Kiera fails—again—her mom banishes her from Hell to live among humans. 

At least, that’s what she wants Kiera to believe. 

When Kiera lands at Miss Molly’s School for Troubled Teens, she learns that someone is dead set on de-throning the Morningstars by any means necessary, including stealing the key and opening the Gates of Hell.

Now, demons are free to roam the earth—and both Kiera and her mother are in danger.

Even stripped of her powers, Kiera refuses to be a meek princess. With the help of angels, saints, and an oddball group of human friends, she sets out to recover the key and close the gates. 

But what she finds instead could change Heaven, Hell, and everything in between. 

DARING THE DEVIL is Game of Thrones meets The Godfather meets The Exorcist--get your copy now for a Hellish good time!

Night of the Chalk by Samuel Gately
Goodreads Synopsis:
Two spies. Five nights. A weapon that will change their world. 

Cal has been squandering his time on cards and drink since his old partner Aaron Lorne vanished. A midnight summons changes all that. Aaron is back in the city, enemies on his heels. Dragons have returned to the world. And Aaron holds the secret to unlocking their loyalties and claiming the skies. 

Greedy government agents, entitled nobility, and ruthless street gangs all hunger for a piece of this new power. On top of that, the stunted, shadow-loving Chalk have been sighted in the city. Together, the spies must scheme and fight for their prize. And keep themselves out of a shallow grave. 

Night of the Chalk, first in the Spies of Dragon and Chalk series, combines elements of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels and crime noir into a thrilling world of epic fantasy.

Venture by Riley Russell
Goodreads Synopsis:
Growing up in a world ruled by the elite Crested Warrior class, Venture and Jade are inseparable. But there is no escaping the terrible truth—he’s a lowly bonded servant, and Jade is Venture’s wealthy master’s daughter. The world tells them that Jade must marry a Crested man, and that Venture will always be bonded scum. 

Venture will do anything for Jade, anything to prove them wrong. And the powers that rule their world will stop at nothing to keep him from winning the title that could change his life and the world as he knows it, forever. That title is nothing less than Champion of All Richland. 

Venture must leave behind everything he knows and become what everyone tells him he can never be—a champion prize fighter. Little does Venture know, his quest will put those he loves most in terrible jeopardy and rip the powerful nation of Richland apart. 

Readers call VENTURE “gritty without being dirty, smutty, or gory.” Some say VENTURE “reminds me of The Princess Bride, but more serious—and with prize fighters!” Set in an alternate world, VENTURE is filled with colorful characters who will capture your heart, packed with action, and complete with twists you’ll never see coming. 

Embellish by Demelza Carlton
Goodreads Synopsis:
A maiden dying for adventure. A prince on a perilous quest. Monsters that must be slain. 
Once upon a time… 
After losing a battle with a dragon, George is desperate to salvage his reputation. Only he can’t do it alone – he needs an assistant. 
Royal tailor Melitta longs for adventure, so when she hears of a job opening for an apprentice hero, she jumps at the chance. Slaying monsters must be more exciting than sewing. 
Can the unlikely pair still succeed at their quest – or will they fall for each other instead? 

Beyond Dead by Jordaina Sydney Robinson
Goodreads Synopsis:
Dead less than twenty-four hours, with a job that doesn’t pay, a fashion disaster for a uniform and more afterlife rules than she can shake a stick at, Bridget Sway thinks it’s as bad as it can get. And then she finds a dead ghost stuffed in her locker.

Since the police are desperate to arrest her for murder, Bridget’s new best friend convinces her the only way to save herself from an eternity in prison is to solve the murder themselves.

With a handsome parole officer watching her every move, an outlaw ghost befriending her and two persistent mediums demanding her attention, solving the murder is not quite as easy as it sounds. And when “murder” turns into “murders” Bridget needs to solve the case … before she becomes the next dead body stuffed in her locker. 

Beyond Dead is the first book in a paranormal cozy murder mystery series set in a ridiculously bureaucratic afterlife. It is rife with cozy humor (or more accurately cosy humour) that cozy British mysteries are famous for. 

The series follows the newly dead Bridget Sway as she tries to adjust to her new life as a ghost while solving the odd murder along the way. Bridget exhibits all the best virtues of cozy mystery women sleuths in terms of wit and humor but, as the amateur sleuth of a cozy ghost mysteries series, she is something most others are not – and that’s dead.

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things by Martina McAtee
Goodreads Synopsis:
17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is. 

They take her to a small Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death. 

As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.

The Vesik Series Books 1-3 by Eric Asher
Goodreads Synopsis:
This collection includes Days Gone Bad, Wolves and the River of Stone, and Winter's Demon! That's over 800 pages of Damian's darkest, greatest, and occasionally hilarious urban fantasy adventures.

Days Gone Bad (Book 1) My name is Damian Valdis Vesik. I am a necromancer, an ability feared and hated as much as the powers my master and I set ourselves against. We've vanquished many evils, but now something is releasing an old darkness, forcing us to hunt an enemy beyond anything I’ve faced before. I was already busy enough with vampires, fairies, witches, Watchers, weddings, and … damn, I need a vacation.

Wolves and the River of Stone (Book 2) Philip, Zola’s boyfriend from one hundred and fifty years ago, is not nearly as dead as we thought. I really wish he was. Not only has he kidnapped Zola, but he’s raising an army to scour humanity from the earth. Hopefully the local werewolf pack will help. What could possibly go wrong?

Winter's Demon (Book 3) Some things can never be undone. The horrors I've defeated—or even caused—with my own hands … they are nothing compared to what’s coming. Philip Pinkerton has brought his madness upon my family, my own blood. His army of necromancers is on the move, harbingers of a great darkness. I fear the war has begun... and damn, I don't get paid enough for this.

Free Audio Books/Stories:

Reviews to Come:

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
Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
Spark by Starla Huchton
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
Tales from the Archives Vol 4 #5 - Old Sinner's Bones
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
EverRealm by Jake Bible
Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Audio Book Review: End of Days

End of Days

By:  J.F. Penn

Publish Date:  January 1, 2017, Audiobook Release April 4, 2017

Format:  Audiobook - 6 hrs 27 mins
Narrated By:  Veronica Giguere

Genre:  Fiction

Series:  9th in ARKANE series; Book 1 ~ Stone of Fire, Book 2 ~ Crypt of Bone, Book 6 ~ Gates of Hell, Book 7 ~ One Day in New York, Book 8 ~ Destroyer of Worlds

Impression:  A race to stop the serpent from being raised before the end of days comes to pass.

The thousand years are ended.

An ancient tablet is found in the ruins of Babylon that warns of the resurrection of a banished serpent in the final days. A sarcophagus is discovered in the deepest ocean locked by seven seals that are scattered through the ancient world.

As the Brotherhood of the Serpent race to find the seals before a rare lunar eclipse over the heart of Jerusalem, Agent Morgan Sierra and Jake Timber battle to find them first.

But this time, evil threatens to destroy all that Morgan loves and she must wrestle her own fear as well as an apocalyptic foe.

In a fast-paced adventure from the ruins of Iraq to the snake-handling churches of the Appalachian Mountains, from archaeological digs in Israel to snake-worshipping cults in Egypt, Morgan and Jake must find the seven seals and stop the resurrection of the Serpent before it’s too late.

End of Days is Book 9 in the ARKANE action adventure thriller series, but can be read as a stand-alone story.

First Sentence:
It was dark when Massoud went back to the tomb.

Purchase At:


My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

I'm going to warn you up front. I've been loving this series, author, and narrator so my thoughts are probably going to sound like rambling praise.

The narration. Veronica is one of my favorite voice actresses. Her work feels to create a whole character in voice, emotion, and personality in compliment to the authors words of actions and personalities. This world of Morgan and Jake is wonderful while listening to Veronica. I find myself slipping into the world with the characters and don't even realize she's narrating. This is a hats off to the author and Veronica. An amazing bond between the words and voice, great pairing!

J.F. Penn has a way of writing senses that liven the book. The red sand or smelled of freshly turned earth... These sound like simple phrases, but I knew exactly what they looked or smelled like. And when used in the phrasing Penn uses to describe things, oh, they tell all and heighten the feel of the story. The use of senses so familiar gave me a quick reference to what is happening, drawing my senses with me to feel the emotions of the moment with the characters. And, being of a familiar reference, gives me time to focus on other things that are happening.

Penn has crafted her stories to give details of the most important moments, wasting no time in telling us about what we are looking for and the connection through history and religion. (Mind, the story is NOT preaching, it's actually an interesting twist on Religious beliefs and history.) Her characters, Morgan and Jake along with Martin and others, are well versed in the beliefs and legends so all their logical connections is explained. I love that there is always action or worry of danger when at different sites. The story is constantly moving forward with troubles and what we are searching for.

We are back with Morgan and Jake, on a dangerous mission before the groups out there seize the opportunity to bring the End of Days to pass. There are signs surfacing with the stars and tablet found.

The story is told for a few different POV's. But! Before you worry, Penn does an amazing job at dropping enough details or descriptions that you know exactly who's head you are viewing through. There is NO confusion. What you learn in each moment with different characters is spot on to the events happening and draw you in even more. You know what's happening on the inside of the troubles along with our agents trying to stop it from happening. Penn blends these in a way that you want to rush Morgan and Jake along to get there in time! Awesome!

As for the characters, I do love them. I enjoy them together as they have different strengths that is highlighted by the other on their missions. Morgan is starting to see her job in a new light. What about her family? After the last book, she fears that she's putting them in danger with her work. But, she seems to like the adrenaline and research blend of working for the ARKANE. And Jake too. We get to spend time with Martin and learn a bit about him, and see him out in the field. Yep, it's a little hard on him in this book but with working in this secret agency it can happen.

Another magnificent installment to the world or ARKANE. I'm curious about the next mission and what Morgan will decide.

****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Author Guest Post: Countering the Lone Wolf Heroine Trope

I've posted about this book and this series. It is totally one of my favorites for many reasons. The mysterious and sexy West. The adventure and danger. The Pulse activated world. And, last but most important, the family structure. Sure, it's a little different here with Livi Talbot. Her family are her friends that have been there and will continue to be there for her and her daughter. I love this creation!

Today, Skyla is here to share a bit about that special family structure. Also! 
THE BOOK'S ON SALE!!! 99c for TWO DAYS! Go get it!
**Deal only good for September 20 & 21 2017

If you like what you see, please share with the world so they can get the deal too! Here's a tweet written you can copy and paste:
99c book deal for SOLOMON'S SEAL by @skyladawn --EX-DEBUTANTE. SINGLE MOTHER. TREASURE HUNTER. Only 20th & 21st!

Countering the Lone Wolf Heroine Trope

Every writer has something she’s trying to do with her book. Beta readers and editors can pick up on it, but it’s easy to wait on pins and needles for reader reactions later. Sometimes we succeed in what we’re trying to do.

Sometimes...we don’t.

I breathed a sigh of relief that this time one of my messages connected with the audience, as most reviews of Solomon’s Seal highlight the portrayal of friendship and family in the book, specifically between Livi Talbot and her best friend Pru Cortez.

When I conceived of the series—Tomb Raider as a soccer mom (or Lara Croft meets Gilmore Girls)—one thing was clear: the usual lone wolf urban fantasy heroine wasn’t going to cut it. It takes a village to raise a six-year-old, and Livi is a lot of things but she’s not a whole damn town. This meant filling her life with the support systems she’s developed over the years, and making these characters integral to the story.

Don’t get me wrong—I love lone wolf heroines. I think a lot of people do. And I imagine a lot of elements are at play to explain the popularity of the trope in urban fantasy. One is that writers write what they know, and writing is a very solitary act. We know what it feels like to be in our own realities, the weight of the world (or deadlines) on our shoulders.

I do think sometimes—though certainly not every time—the trope comes from a sort of internalized misogyny and sexism. The lone wolf heroine is Not Like Other Girls and often Super Duper Special. When she picks up a supporting cast, it’s often other male characters, as if to underscore she is, again, Not Like Other Girls by putting her in a “man’s world” with a lot of men. This can be written by male and female writers a like, and we rarely challenge the assumption that surrounding oneself with men is obviously a sign of being strong, right?

As I said, I like me some lone wolf heroines, and I find it’s a natural character for me to write. But I also get tired of it sometimes, because in my experience...I like having friends. I can’t imagine my life without them. People who have my back always, people I would do anything for. People to validate what I’m feeling when I get red flags from someone. There is no replacement for my close female friends.

It was important for me to have that with Livi and Pru—just as important, if not more so, than ensuring the action was thrilling and adventures entertaining. They’re opposites in many ways, not the least of which is that Livi is an adrenaline junkie and Pru is decidedly not. And they each have their own challenges, from Livi adventuring for a living to Pru with the ticking clock of multiple sclerosis over her head. But their personalities also complement one another and their shared love for Livi’s daughter cements their bond as family.

Whether the series spans three books or a dozen, and no matter how their ‘found family” evolves, Liv and Pru’s friendship is the backbone of this series for me and hopefully for readers as well.

Solomon’s Seal turns one year old on September 20th and my birthday is on the 21st, so I’m having a two-day 99c sale! Read on for an excerpt between Livi and Pru.


Excerpt from Solomon’s Seal:

“It’s Martin’s fault,” I said immediately as I pressed the cold pack to my elbow. It had seemed okay an hour ago, but then the swelling came back and I was hoping some ice would quiet the ache again.

She shook her head and set her book on the end table. “So you’ve said.”

I’d already called and filled her in when I didn’t think I’d make the meeting with Em’s teacher, but I still felt defensive about it. “This is the second time he’s done this.”

“Third if you count the time he had customs waiting at the airport for you.”

Right. I forgot about that. “Fratricide isn’t illegal, is it?”

“You’d be convicted before opening arguments.”

It was true. He was the altruist, the good guy, the one who hadn’t been disinherited. Archaeology doctorate, top of his game. I was the ex-debutante party-girl, now single mother with no education, who stole supernatural artifacts for private clients. No question who won the Favorite Talbot Kid Award. “Did you get a line on who he gave the knife to?”

Pru yawned and brushed curls of black hair from her face, then stretched her arms over her head. “Not yet. Short list should be narrowed down by morning. You’re really going after it?”

“I need the money. We need a new fridge plus Em’s tuition doesn’t pay itself.”

“She’s six. She doesn’t need a private school.”

We’d already had this conversation approximately seventy thousand times. “I totaled the Jeep, but that and the plane tickets were the only expenses. Grant will give me fifteen grand for the knife.”

“Probably,” she said. “That was fifteen grand for the first shot—if you draw attention to him stealing it back...”

“Yeah, yeah. But Grant likes me. I think.” Truthfully, I’d never actually met Iluka Grant; he was some dealer in Australia I worked with sometimes, someone who hired out help if clients requested something found stateside. He’d hired me a few times now, so I was guessing he liked me well enough. “And if I make a fuss about losing my deposit on the rental, I’ll be able to squeeze out more.”

She shook her head. No sense arguing with me.

“How are you?” My question was weighted and I studied her, not trying to disguise it.

Pru knew it, too. “Fine. I skipped my nap yesterday.”

“You know, if you have a bad day, and I’m not here—”

“I know, I know—”

“—the munchkin doesn’t need to go to school.”

“I’m fine,” she insisted. “I got her to class, skipped the therapy pool, came home and took a nap, and got her from school again.”

I bit my tongue. The last thing I would ever do was treat her like an invalid but I did worry about her pushing herself for Em’s sake when I wasn’t around to help. It required trust, I knew, but I could be a little mother hen-ish sometimes.

And that the Pulse four years ago managed to activate relics and powers and supernatural creatures of old but didn’t do fuck all to bring about a cure for real world things such as multiple sclerosis pissed me off to no end. What’s the point of living in a supernatural world when it didn’t cure the lesions on her spinal cord and brain?

Prudence changed the subject, of course. “There’s a package for you on the kitchen counter.”

Huh. “Bomb?”

“Hasn’t exploded yet, and why do you always ask that? Has anyone ever actually sent you a bomb?”

They hadn’t but as daughter of a rich guy, my childhood had its share of worst case scenario discussions, usually kidnapping but occasionally miscellaneous topics like bombs. Apparently it traumatized my psyche. “Give it time.”

“Delivery boy said it was for Olivia Talbot and that’s it. You also received two phone calls. Richard Moss?”

I groaned and held my eyes shut for several seconds. “Tell him we’re lesbians.”

“I’m not doing that anymore.”

Ugh, just ’cause it scared off a guy she liked one time. “Tell him...I died. From...a mail bomb.”

“He was very polite.”

Of course he was polite—that’s how he finagled my phone number from someone in the first place. I looked at Pru and cocked a brow.

“Where’d you meet him?”

Uh... “A couple of months ago...remember that Inca necklace?”

“That you were trying to steal from the museum?” Pru’s voice turned sharp with disapproval.

She was not happy about that job—museum thefts were frowned upon, in her opinion. I’d deemed it too difficult after I was arrested just casing the joint—my brother’s work, of course, when he was visiting with the curator and saw me there—but Prudence still made her displeasure known. “Yeah, that one. I ran into him before I was surrounded by a dozen terribly handsome uniformed men with handcuffs. Just a patron. Took me twenty minutes to lose him and the bathroom trick didn’t work.”


“Understatement. He’s pushy, about six-four, wicked hot, and thinks me dating him is a foregone conclusion. You know how that normally turns out.”

“Either you sleep with him or you punch him.”

I nodded. “Sometimes both. I don’t need this right now. Also, his name is Dick Moss. Dick Moss.”

“He said it was Richard—”

Clearly she wasn’t listening to me. The ice pack crackled against my elbow as I leaned forward for emphasis. “Dick. Moss. It sounds like a venereal disease.”

“You shouldn’t judge someone by their name.”

“Can I judge him for leaving flowers on my car? Twice?”

Her mouth opened. Closed. She frowned. “That’s...”

“Something someone with the middle name ‘McStalkerpants’ would do. I’m done with his type, I told you. Then he tells me he’s at the museum for a ‘story’ because he’s in the newspaper business—uh, no, he owns the newspaper business. Well, blogging, but still.”

“You mean—”

“Yeah. That Moss.” No date in eight months, no sex in ten, and the first guy who seriously gets sniffing around me is set to inherit The Stargazer—tabloid extraordinaire with an online presence that specialized in making unsubstantiated rumors believed—and is incapable of understanding the word ‘no’? Former celebutante karma, apparently.

Pru raised her hands. “You win. He must be avoided. Should I see about changing the number?”

I waved her off. “He probably didn’t get the memo that I’m broke now, or doesn’t realize what girls who did the pageant circuit grow up to be. I’ll scare some sense into him.”


About Solomon’s Seal:

Disowned and left penniless for getting pregnant as a teen, former celebutante Olivia Talbot was willing to do whatever it took to provide for her daughter…including become a treasure hunter. Since the Pulse hit, activating relics of legend, there are plenty of artifacts to be had—not to mention wealthy clients willing to pay top dollar for them.

Just as her daughter’s private school tuition cheque bounces, Livi gets an offer that could be the break she needs to return to some semblance of her former life. A potential new client wants her to travel to Ethiopia and retrieve the Seal of Solomon—a mythical ring said to control demons and djinn—and this bounty comes with one hell of a financial pay off.

The deadline: a week. The team: unreliable. The competition: her world-renowned archaeologist older brother. Nothing Livi can’t handle… Except the danger goes beyond a few subterranean serpent-dragons she might encounter or tangling with her employer’s deadly second-in-command. This client isn’t all he seems, and handing him the ring might be worse than what he’ll do to her—and her daughter—if she doesn’t.

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About Skyla Dawn Cameron:
Skyla Dawn Cameron has been writing approximately forever.

Her early storytelling days were spent acting out strange horror/fairy tales with the help of her many dolls, and little has changed except that she now keeps those stories on paper. She signed her first book contract at age twenty-one for River, a unique werewolf tale, which was released to critical and reader praise alike and won her the 2007 EPPIE Award for Best Fantasy. She now has multiple series on the go to keep her busy.

Skyla is a fifth generation crazy cat lady who lives in southern Ontario, where she writes full time, works as a freelance designer, stabs people with double pointed knitting needles, is an avid gamer, and watches Buffy reruns. If she ever becomes a grownup, she wants to run her own Irish pub, as well as become world dictator.

You can visit her on the web at When she’s not writing or being glared at by cats, she’s probably on Twitter. You should ping @skyladawn and tell her to get back to work and get exclusive stories monthly at