Thursday, August 17, 2017

Peculiar County Book Blitz by Stuart R. West - Excerpts - Giveaways




Peculiar County
by Stuart R. West
Genre: YA Paranormal/Ghost Mystery
Release Date: July 30th 2017
Books We Love

Growing up in Peculiar County, Kansas, is a mighty...well, peculiar experience. In 1965, things get even stranger for Dibby Caldwell, the mortician's fifteen year old daughter. A young boy's ghost haunts Dibby into unearthing the circumstances of his death.

Nobody—living or dead—wants her to succeed. James, the new mop-topped, bad boy at school doesn’t help. Dibby can’t get him out of her head, even though she doesn’t trust him. No, sir, there's nothing much more peculiar than life in Peculiar County…except maybe death in Peculiar County.





Excerpt

I pushed through the doors. They swat at my backside, squeaking with mischief. Eee-hee, eee-hee…
Down in the workshop, the cold really packed a wallop. I rubbed my arms, stamped my feet. I rode my hand along the wall, searching for the light switch.
Tik…tek…tik…
Fluorescent ceiling lamps sprung to life, duller, deader than usual. Instead of providing warm luminescence, they cast everything in an odd light, everything touched in artificial tints.
Immediately, the strong, familiar odor of ammonia enveloped me. But I couldn’t place the other smell, couldn’t describe it. If pressed, I suppose I’d catalog it somewhere between sweet and metallic. Sorta the way blood tastes when you prick your finger and suck on it. I’d never smelled anything like it before, not in Dad’s workshop or elsewhere.
An overriding smell rode in like fog. A strong, wrong odor that brought to mind mold and rot. A primal scent from a different time or place.
Ching! Ding! Ting-a-ling!
Impatient as a hungry baby, the bell-ringer called.
Click.
The walk-in refrigerator door handle swung up.
Chumpf!
The door released its seal and opened, just a few inches. A pale blue—hardly blue, more like moon-white—cone of light fell across the floor. A swirl of frost slivered out, twirled in the bare luminescence.
Ding! Ding! Ching! Ting-a-ling-aling—
Cut off in mid-ring, the bell silenced. Everything hushed. No sound, not a peep, a tick, a drop. Just the silent shroud of death.
Slowly, I crept toward the refrigerator. Which didn’t make a lick of sense as I knew Hettie waited for me. There didn’t seem to be any real sense in maintaining silence either. But any noise—even my own—made me want to scream.
Above me, the light flickered off, on, then sizzled like bacon before settling on dark.
My hand gripped the handle. Arctic cold, I wrenched my hand back. I flagged it ‘till the stabbing needles of cold left. With my shoulder, I nudged the door. It pushed open half-way, then stopped. I followed with a mighty mule kick.
The door opened about as far as its hinges would allow.
I took a deep breath, held it. When I exhaled, I spouted out a frozen, visible vapor.
“Hettie?” I whispered.
I entered. To the left, the metal shelves on the wall were unoccupied. On the opposite side, all but one sat empty. A rumpled plastic cloth lay across the bottom shelf.
The eerie blue light had no visible source, but it provided ample light to see by. Maybe too much, considering.
“Hettie?” I repeated a little louder.
In the back of the unit, where Dad housed his supplies, a hanging shower curtain billowed out. Plastic crinkled. Something moved, fluid behind the curtain’s rippling waves. Not exactly flesh-colored, not much of anything.
Tinggg!
My heart urged me to turn back. Traitorous feet wouldn’t comply.
White snails of fingers crawled around the plastic and gripped it. Slowly, the curtain pulled back. Rusty rings on a rustier rod squealed screeeeeee.
Hettie stood exposed, naked. Except for the black “X” stitching up her innards. Varicose veins twined her legs. Toes exploded into corns the size of thumbs. Her scrubbing pad of hair stood up on end, a static raised brush of black and white.
Clouds had moved into her eyes, milkier than when I’d found her, yet intently focused on me. She showed that awful cavernous smile again. Barnacle-like teeth jabbed out of her gums.
Her lower jaw wobbled, then dropped ajar. Not an involuntary movement caused by gas either, the way sometimes happened to corpses. She gasped, a hissing radiator.
She took a doddering step toward me.
Ding!
The bell tied to her toe tolled.
Ding-a-ling!
Each step forward took great effort. A kind of ghostly arthritis hampered her dead limbs, encased them in cement. When she moved, wood cracked. More wood splintered, her body falling apart. She raised an arm. Dark veins spiraled around it, swimming upstream with determination. They rode toward her sagging bosom, traveled north up her neck, snaked beneath her chin, and set up house on her face.
And still she kept coming.


Excerpt

Slowly, I crept toward the refrigerator. Which didn’t make a lick of sense as I knew Hettie waited for me. There didn’t seem to be any real sense in maintaining silence either. But any noise—even my own—made me want to scream.
Above me, the light flickered off, on, then sizzled like bacon before settling on dark.
My hand gripped the handle. Arctic cold, I wrenched my hand back. I flagged it ‘till the stabbing needles of cold left. With my shoulder, I nudged the door. It pushed open half-way, then stopped. I followed with a mighty mule kick.
The door opened about as far as its hinges would allow.
I took a deep breath, held it. When I exhaled, I spouted out a frozen, visible vapor.
“Hettie?” I whispered.
I entered. To the left, the metal shelves on the wall were unoccupied. On the opposite side, all but one sat empty. A rumpled plastic cloth lay across the bottom shelf.
The eerie blue light had no visible source, but it provided ample light to see by. Maybe too much, considering.
“Hettie?” I repeated a little louder.
In the back of the unit, where Dad housed his supplies, a hanging shower curtain billowed out. Plastic crinkled. Something moved, fluid behind the curtain’s rippling waves. Not exactly flesh-colored, not much of anything.
Tinggg!
My heart urged me to turn back. Traitorous feet wouldn’t comply.
White snails of fingers crawled around the plastic and gripped it. Slowly, the curtain pulled back. Rusty rings on a rustier rod squealed screeeeeee.
Hettie stood exposed, naked. Except for the black “X” stitching up her innards. Varicose veins twined her legs. Toes exploded into corns the size of thumbs. Her scrubbing pad of hair stood up on end, a static raised brush of black and white.
Clouds had moved into her eyes, milkier than when I’d found her, yet intently focused on me. She showed that awful cavernous smile again. Barnacle-like teeth jabbed out of her gums.
Her lower jaw wobbled, then dropped ajar. Not an involuntary movement caused by gas either, the way sometimes happened to corpses. She gasped, a hissing radiator.
She took a doddering step toward me.
Ding!
The bell tied to her toe tolled.
Ding-a-ling!
Each step forward took great effort. A kind of ghostly arthritis hampered her dead limbs, encased them in cement. When she moved, wood cracked. More wood splintered, her body falling apart. She raised an arm. Dark veins spiraled around it, swimming upstream with determination. They rode toward her sagging bosom, traveled north up her neck, snaked beneath her chin, and set up house on her face.
And still she kept coming.

About the Author

Stuart R. West is a lifelong resident of Kansas, which he considers both a curse and a blessing. It's a curse because...well, it's Kansas. But it's great because…well, it’s Kansas. Lots of cool, strange and creepy things happen in the Midwest, and Stuart takes advantage of them in his work. Call it “Kansas Noir.” Stuart writes thrillers and mysteries usually tinged with humor, both for adult and young adult audiences.
Stuart spent 25 years in the corporate sector and now writes full time. He’s married to a professor of pharmacy (who greatly appreciates the fact he cooks dinner for her every night) and has a 25 year old daughter who’s dabbling in the nefarious world of banking.


Links
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebookAmazon Page

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Awakenings by KT Webb - Review




Awakening
by K.T. Webb
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: June 21st 2017

Plagued by dreams of a dark shadow, Sutton Stone is convinced she’s losing her mind.

Lucy Marks turns to her Wiccan aunt when a woman with mismatched eyes visits her with answers to questions she never thought to ask.

Being kidnapped on her birthday was a terrifying surprise, but when three girls show up and call her a witch, Grace Trudeau quickly realizes they mean it literally.

After years of helping run a museum in the City of Witches, Harper Landry discovers that magic is far closer than she ever imagined.

On the run from a trio of brothers who want to resurrect an evil past, the coven will discover their bloodline is old, powerful—and deadly. From high school to hell, follow them as they realize that nothing is harder than being a teenage witch.




Review
⭐⭐⭐⭐
4 1/2 Stars

Have you every wondered what it would be like to wake up and find you have magical powers? What if the people in your nightmares, both good and evil, were real? If you find these questions enticing, this book is for you.

The main characters are strong willed teenager girls going on sixteen. The problem is that they will receive magical power they know nothing about on their birthday. Strange dark men are chasing them, and they have to find out why. Character development is consistent as the girls learn what it means to work as a group, and be part of a coven. The responsibility of a nation falls on their shoulders, and each one rises up to the occasion with what they have to offer. They also have a fairy and sprite queen, tagging along.

Ms. Webb starts with tension and maintains it at an even keel until she reaches about the middle. She turns up the temperature, and keeps it rises from there. There is no swearing, although there is some violence, but it isn't over the top. The boy/girl thing is absent, although who knows what will happen in book two. While this story has a satisfying end, it does end with a cliff-hangar.


About the Author

KT Webb is a big city girl living in small town South Dakota with her husband and two children. She believes in the power of words and enjoys writing stories that make the impossible seem possible.

KT loves reading, listening to pop-punk music (especially when she’s writing), having adventures with her children and traveling. She believes in magic, that there’s a hero inside everyone and that characters should be just as flawed and intriguing as the people we meet every day.



Monday, August 14, 2017

New Release: The Wolf of Kisimul Castle by Author Heather McCollum two Rafflecoptor Giveaways




The Wolf of Kisimul Castle
by Heather McCollum
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Publication date: August 14th 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

Mairi Maclean is kidnapped on her wedding day by the enemy of her dead husband. Taken north to the water-surrounded Kisimul Castle, she is held captive in the name of retribution. But The Wolf of Kisimul Castle soon learns Mairi is not a docile pawn in this game of war between neighboring
Scots. Nor will she be frightened into walking down the aisle to wed the fierce Highland chief.

Alec MacNeil is set on revenge. When he finds his enemy dead, he takes his wife to replace the one that was murdered. An eye for an eye. A bride for a bride. But Mairi is more tiger than kitten and refuses to bend to his will. Set stubbornly against one another, the passion that flares between them threatens to tear Alec’s strategy to shreds.







About the Author

Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical and contemporary YA paranormal romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology from the University of Maine, much to her English professor's dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, won the 2015 Readers' Crown, and was a 2009 Golden Heart Finalist. Ms. McCollum has twelve historical romances released in both electronic and digital formats. She also has three YA paranormal romances released in both formats.

When she is not busy writing and answering calls of "Mom", she can be found educating women about ovarian cancer. She is a teal warrior herself and slayed the ovarian cancer beast in 2012.

She currently resides with her very own Highland hero and three spirited children in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

More information about Ms. McCollum and her books can be found at www.HeatherMcCollum.com.

Links
Twitter
Website
Facebook
Goodreads






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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Review - Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney




About the Book

Black Dawn
by Mallory McCartney
Genre: YA/NA Fantasy
Release Date: February 14th 2017
Clean Reads Publishing

The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory's arrival she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows.



Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

It's with a bit of sadness that I'm giving this book four stars, because this Author has great potential. There are a few error's that an edit could easily correct, but they are not enough to harm the story.

The premise is about a woman taken from earth, back to the world where she belongs to help her people. Emory is a good character. She's strong willed and has a mind of her own. As such, she is not easily manipulated, but that doesn't stop some of the people around her from trying. The supporting characters are also strong, but not always honest. They all have something to learn, and while the book has a stand alone ending, it still leaves the characters of the edge of what I expect to be much more discovery. There is a lot of room for sub-plots in the upcoming novels.

The story starts with two men retrieving Emory from Earth. It's a great start, with good tension, but the story soon slows it's pace to a lot of set-up, information and backstory. It didn't grab me until the middle where it takes off, and maintains tension. While there are a few stories that need that kind of set-up, I don't feel like this one does. It could easily have started earlier, and kept us in the moment, while endearing us deeper into the characters, and the motivations that drive them. 

I'm hoping the next book will kick-off faster, moving forward, with less backstory, which is what I expect, since the history has already been covered.


About the Author

Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.







Tour by YA Bound Book Tours


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Character Madness and Musings: Cover Reveal - The West Woods by Suzy Vadori

Character Madness and Musings: Cover Reveal - The West Woods by Suzy Vadori: The West Woods by Suzy Vadori Genre: YA Release Date: September 22nd 2017 Evil Alter Ego Press Magic, sacrifice and the quest for...

Cover Reveal - The West Woods by Suzy Vadori




The West Woods
by Suzy Vadori
Genre: YA
Release Date: September 22nd 2017
Evil Alter Ego Press

Magic, sacrifice and the quest for freedom.
Courtney Wallis wants nothing more than to escape St. Augustus boarding school. After uncovering a well-kept secret about the school’s founder, Isaac Young, Courtney turns to the school’s magic to convince her dad to let her leave. Things take a turn when she meets Cole, who lives in the nearby town of Evergreen. He gives her hope that things might not be so bad. However, the school's fountain has other ideas, and binds Courtney to her ambition, no matter the cost.
As Courtney struggles to keep the magic from taking over, she and her friends get drawn into the mystery woven into the school’s fabric. Everything seems to lead back to the forbidden West Woods. Together, she and her friends seek out the spirits of the past to ask for help, and find themselves in much deeper than they’d bargained for.  If they succeed, Courtney could be free of the magic. If they fail, she may never be the same.




The Fountain on Goodreads (The West Woods is the prequel)


About the Author

Suzy Vadori is an Operations executive by day, Writer by night. The Fountain is her debut novel for Young Adults. Suzy is an involved member of the Calgary Writers' community, service as Program Manager for Young Adult at When Words Collide (a Calgary festival for readers and Writers) since 2013. Suzy lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband and three kids.

Links
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook



Cover Reveal Organized by
YA Bound Book Tours


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Cover Reveal - The weather War by Stephanie A Cain


The Weather War Cover Reveal
By Author Stephanie A. Cain




The Weather War 
by Stephanie A. Cain 
Publication date: September 19th 2017 
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Princess Azmei died for her country three years ago–or so everyone but a trusted few believed. Having survived assassination attempts, the desert, dragons, and a treacherous plot designed to destroy her entire family, Azmei has finally managed to save her kingdom.

Now she has to save the world.

Azmei travels to Amethir, whose prince she promised three years ago to marry. With her is Hawk, the man who loves her, and Yar, the Voice of Dragons. They carry a terrifying message for the king of Amethir: the gods are waking and the world is about to shake.

Prince Vistaren of Amethir has also received a frightening warning, this one from a powerful stormwitch–weather magic is failing. Patterns of storms are beginning to build outside their prescribed season. While the Stormwitch Academy officially denies any problems, there are hints of trouble yet to come.

Azmei and Vistaren know they must act. But the king refuses to listen to them and the land is beginning to tear itself apart. Facing pirate attacks, seadragon swarms, and a strange woman who uses magic in a way no stormwitch should, Vistaren and Azmei know they must find a way to set things right.

But what price is too high to save the world?






Pre-order



About the Author

Stephanie A. Cain grew up in Indiana, where much of her urban fantasy is set, but unfortunately has been unable to visit Amethir or Tamnen, where her epic fantasy novels are set.

She graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Creative Writing, with a Medieval Studies minor. She has two-thirds of a Master of Library Science, but ran out of money and enthusiasm for grad school at about the same time. Despite this, her years of work in libraries were not wasted--besides having a lot of librarian friends (everyone should have at least one) she also spent a great deal of time hanging out in the stacks at 398.2, which gave rise to many of her urban fantasy stories.

She currently works at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum, where she spends her time doing historical research, giving tours of a Victorian man-cave, and serving as a one-woman IT department.

Stephanie's favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Elizabeth Moon, Tamora Pierce, Garth Nix, and Robin McKinley.

A proud crazy cat lady, Stephanie is happily owned by Eowyn, Strider, and Eustace Clarence Scrubb. In her free time, she enjoys hiking (except for the spiders), bird-watching, visiting wineries, and collecting anything with owls on it. She likes to unwind by playing World of Warcraft and Skyrim. She enjoys organizing things, is overly fond of notebooks, and visits office supply stores for fun. She owns way more movie scores and fountain pens than she can actually afford.

Links



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Another Old Guest Post - When Cultures Clash: Why I love Writing Historical Fiction


When Cultures Clash: Why I love Writing Historical Fiction

The last old post I found was fun, so I decided to post another. I actually don't remember writing this one, but it's still good fun. I found it while looking for a more comical article I wrote. 

The Victorian, and Regency Era's are a writer's dream. I mean, really, what's not to love? 


There are creepy postmortem pictures. The one's in the casket don't bother me, but trying to make them look alive has a bit of a twilight zone effect. Many families couldn't afford the pictures we take for granted today. Selfie anyone? This might be the only image the family had in memory of their loved ones.




Freak shows.

                                                                   


 The forever famous
 Charles Dickens.
 There is a fictional
 scene I created in
 The Carriage, from
 his last performance.
 I found the descriptions             Romance.
 difficult because the                  And the 
 theater has burned                     Language of  down some time ago.                Flowers.
                                        







Hans Christian Andersen brought us Little Matchgirl and Little Mermaid, among other great stories. Here he is with a great quote and his childhood home. 



< We all love a Victorian Christmas

    Hans Christian Andersen was >
    excited to meet the famous
    Brothers Grimm





     


     And then there were those damnable corsets
     that made everyone, including women believe they      were the weaker gender.




So, now I present you the original
When Cultures Clash: Why I love Writing Historical Fiction.


My name is Jena Baxter and my newest novel, The Carriage, is set in Victorian, London. My first novel, Reflections, began in the Regency Era. I had already written a couple of fantasy in motion stories, but while doing research on Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Matchgirl, I found some interesting things to ponder.

Burial customs were pretty out there. The dying person takes their last breath and the first thing the servant or family does is stop the clock. Then they covered the mirrors and windows so the deceased couldn’t get trapped in them on their way out, and then placed a black wreath on the door so the world would know they were mourning.

I have a vivid imagination so all I could see was some poor soul banging on the back of the mirror yelling, ‘Let me out. I took a wrong turn. This isn’t funny Uncle Grufus.’ I know its poor humor but my brain works that way. Don’t even get me started on the hired mourners following the funeral procession to the graveyard. My mind went wild with that one.

I love humor and my favorite emotion is laughter through tears. Check out the end of Steel Magnolias if you’re not sure what I’m talking about. Sally Field does an awesome job in that movie. Be sure and get out a box of tissues first, but I’m digressing. After letting my mind go wild with the spirit stuck in the mirror, Reflections was born, and while it does have its humorous moments, the setting is very different.

Fast forward to my newest novel, The Carriage. I was planning a trip we never took to New York, and thinking about taking a carriage ride through Central Park. While I don’t know much about the carriages, they have been there an incredibly long time. I saw a historical photo and that was all it took for my mind to flip to the Victorian Era. I was supposed to be working on a YA/NA contemporary romance based in New York.

Alexis came into existence, and I made her deal with the unfriendly truths of the era. You should see her face when a servant calls Ezra, the Master. Are you laughing yet? Well, she gives him a run for his money because Alexis won’t be calling any man, Master. Ezra is a paranormal creature, a shipyard owner, and a man on the cutting edge of the age. He doesn’t understand Alexis, but she brings laughter and joy to his dark, broken heart.

I’ve often said, I love cultures, whether it’s a bygone era, or something I create myself, which is something you’ll see in Veiled Memories. But using modern women, and a young man as well in Reflections, shows the contrast by allowing us to see what the culture was like a little closer.
Alexis found she couldn’t battle the era she was trapped in, she had to conform to it because it wasn’t going to conform to her. Brayden, in Reflections found the same, even though he never lived in any age but his own.

Culture is steeped in our DNA, and while we can change opinions and emotions over time, it will always be a part of who we are.




Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Review - Thompkin's School for the Dearly Departed by Tabi Slick

Book Review
Tompkin's School For The Dearly Departed
Book 2 in the Tompkin's School Trilogy




Tompkin's School: For the Dearly Departed
by Tabi Slick
Genre: YA Paranormal/Dark Fantasy
Release Date: August 2nd 2017


 Visions of the past, powers beyond belief, and a school that has been waiting for them for over a hundred years. Kain and Izara's abilities have advanced far greater than they ever imagined possible and it's all due to their new friend that has joined them. This year will bring the Torvik twins closer to solving the mystery of who they are, why they have these powers, and even closer to unveiling the school's most haunting secret.


“The lights of the Artesian Hotel flickered as the party drew on into the night. I saw Bart Bessler dancing with Mary, and the bright, dazzling yellow eyes of the French, red-headed woman as she drew in the light around her. I shivered at the sight of the wolf-man killing one of the intruders that night they had chained Bart to the ground.“Destiny of beings is about to come to fruition,” the voice of the being’s human companion rang in my ear.The scene turned to liquid and then I saw Izzy standing in front of me.“You know his face,” a voice that didn’t belong to my sister bellowed from within her.I will return....I will return to my children.
My whole body writhed in pain as the voice filled my head.”


My Review

⭐⭐⭐
Beware Possible Spoilers
I was given a copy of this book for an honest review.

This book is about a brother and sister who have acquired powers they don't want, and don't understand. It's difficult for them to know who they can trust with some pretty dark secrets. They have enemies as well, and they don't know who they are, so their responses are often based on instinct. I love the premise.

The characters are diverse in personality, as are their friends. Izzy is bolder than her brother, and a 'take the bull by the horns', sort of personality. Her brother Kain, is more cautious. Both want to learn more about what they are dealing with. Choyce is a shady sort of gentleman from just before the Flapper era, and he needs something from them. 

This book is considered 'stand alone', and I agree that it is, but you will get more into it, and capture the plot sooner if you read book 1, first. I had trouble following and understanding the beginning, due to not knowing previous events and characters. There were also times when I had trouble knowing what specific setting or time we were in, since there is some time-travel, as a few posts transferred as reminders from the first book. There is also a need for editing, as there are places with a word that doesn't belong, and other places with missing words. While the editing issues are minor, there are enough to momentarily kick you out of the moment.

While there is a satisfying ending, there is also a twist which is always fun. The next book is set-up from there, so there is more to look forward to.

Book 1





About the Author

Tabi Slick was born in Kansas and grew up in the country where she was homeschooled for the greater part of her childhood. In middle school, her family moved to Davis Oklahoma where she attended public school for several years. Here she began her writing adventure and soon the world of Tompkin's Academy came to life. After graduating from high school in 2008, she spent a few years in Puerto Rico and wound up in Texas where she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington. She was born with an immense appreciation for literature and continues to dedicate her time to her passion of writing.

Author Links

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Quirky Interview with Author Assaph Mehr

Sitting Down With 

Assaph Mehr

Author of Murder in Absentia




Genre

Historical Fantasy

Bio

I have always been fascinated by ancient Rome, from the time I was in primary school and first got my hands on Asterix. This exacerbated when my parents took me on a trip to Rome and Italy - I whinged horribly when they dragged me to "yet another church with baby angels on the ceiling", yet was happy to skip all day around ancient ruins and museums for Etruscan art.

A few years ago I randomly picked a copy of a Lindsay Davis' Marcus Didius Falco novel in a used book fair. I fell in love with Rome all over again, this time from the view-point of a cynical adult. When I decided to sit down and write a novel, the setting was clear in my mind.

---
Assaph now lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife Julia, four kids and two cats. By day he is a software product manager, bridging the gap between developers and users, and by night he's writing - he seems to do his best writing after midnight.



Hey Assaph, What made you decide you wanted to write?

Always wanted to, just never thought I’d do it before retirement. Then one hot night in January (it’s Australian summer) two years ago, my wife complained that she has nothing left she wants to read. So after everyone was in bed, I sat down and started to write – and didn’t stop until I finished the manuscript for Murder In Absentia.

Who inspires you?

In terms of writing? The list is too big to make it justice… I grew up on classic sci-fi and fantasy. Read plenty of detectives and thrillers. Loved ancient Rome since my first Asterix.

These days it’s authors on a range from such as Neil Gaiman to Boris Akunin, from Ruth Downie to Jim Butcher.

Tell us about your stories.

My stories are subtitles as “Togas, Daggers, and Magic.” They draw in equal amount on my love for ancient Rome, Hard-boild Detectives, and Urban Fantasy.

Any quirky characters?

Most of them. Felix, the protagonist, is a bit miserly. He’ll never pass on free lunch, and tends to abuse his employer’s expense accounts. He’s not fussed about morals in general. Of his two cronies in Murder In Absentia, while he will never utter a swear word, the other uses them as punctuation.

Then there is Araxus, with his cursed mind and independently wandering eyes…

If you were a character or creature in one of your stories, what would you be, and why?

I certainly wouldn’t want to be the griffin!

I’d probably love to be Felix. He’s a bigger and better extension of me, after all. Though I wouldn’t want to live in his world, doing what he does. Too many narrow escapes, too many trips down the sewers.

Ewww. 
If you could disappear in any story, (aside from your own) which would you choose?
Ooh, something utopian. Nice comfortable meadows and an immortal lifespan to read all the books I want to read. Would be boring to read about me, but I’d be happy.

I laugh.
Your lost in that story right now. Which character are you?Oh, we’re doing it this way, are we? I’d pick Eric Klein’s upcoming book, The One, and his protagonist BJ Armstrong. There is a LOT to be said about a world where 3D printers can fix you faster than any surgey today.

Why?

Because, as I said, I do appreciate my modern niceties, like medicine and hygiene. The worlds I usually read about are a lot more gritty. Something with advanced technology, but not too far ahead so I lose myself. And I think I’d get along quite well with BJ and his life style.

If you were a fantasy creature, what would you be, and why?

A unicorn, to ride all the maidens…

Oh, it’s the other way around, you say? Never mind…

Sorry, you can't win them all.

I love bouncing around with alternative choices, so …

Angel or demon?

Demon. They get to meet a lot more interesting people.

Fairy or Witch?

Fairy. Not enough warts for a witch.

Land or air?

Air! I dream of flying.

City or Country?

Why can’t I have both? Which I do, actually. Living on the edge of the suburbs, working in the city with access to everything, and taking frequent drives in the country.

I do too, actually.
Candy or Cake?

Cake. Definitely cake.

Red or blue?

Purple.

Ah, you're out!
Black or White?

Are merely an illusion. Life is made of shades of grey. (Or grey shades, if you read my latest short story).

That should be fun. Check it out everyone. While the price is right.
Coffee or Tea?

Coffee mostly, but I’m not averse to the occasional cup of tea.

Music or Television?

Neither. Books. They account for both.

Paperback or Kindle?

Love paperbacks, can’t compete with carrying a kindle.

Boat or Plane?

Plane. I dislike floating jails surrounded by hungry wildlife.

Is there anything you’ve really wanted to do that you’ve never done?

Walk on the moon.

Are there any books planned for the future that we can look forward too?

Lots and lots! Some of them even written by me…

Scary Hahaha.

I’m close to finishing the second full-length Felix mystery. By the time you read this, I’ll probably be deep in edits. It’s titled “In Numina” and the subtitle is “A story of haunted houses and house-hold gods”.

Household Gods. I like that. Wonder if any of them vacuum.
Do you have a website?

http://egretia.com

Blog?

http://egretia.com/news

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook: http://facebook.com/AssaphMehrAuthor

Twitter: @assaphmehr

How about an Amazon page?

Murder In Absentia on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1XbfKN1

Is there anything you want to add before calling it a day?

I’ll take my Scotch like my women – single (malt) and of legal age. Two fingers, neat. I can also be bribed with a good martini.

It’s was great having you Assaph. Thanks for joining me today.

Thanks much for hosting me!

Cover Reveal! Demon's Blood by Lissa Bilyk

Cover Reveal
Demon's Blood
By Author Lissa Bilyk


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

Book Review - Fractured (Mirrorland #1) by Majanka Verstraete





⭐⭐⭐⭐

Genre: Romantic Thriller

Summary
When Piper discovers an old antique mirror on the attic of her new home, she has no idea what terror she unlocked.

Eerie shadows lurking in the night and estranged voices crying out for help are only the beginning. As Piper’s world comes crumbling down, she realizes everything that she believed was imaginary, might have been real all along.

Something is very wrong with that mirror. And if she doesn’t find out what, the mirror might end up killing her.

With some help of old and new friends, Piper tries to get to the bottom of the mystery. One thing is for certain: the mirror preys on the guilty. But what exactly is she guilty of?


Author Bio

Majanka Verstraete is a twenty-four year old author from Belgium. She studied law and is now studying criminology at university. She writes speculative fiction for children and young adults. When she's not writing or helping other authors with marketing, she likes spending her time playing World of Warcraft and binge-watching Netflix.

She's the author of "Valentina's Spooky Adventures", a picture book series for kids with a vampire as main character, and of the "Weirdville" series, chapter books for fans of "Goosebumps". Her young adult series include "Mirrorland" (YA Dark Fantasy) and "The Angel of Death Series" (YA Paranormal).

Her newest book, "Reflected", the second book in the Mirrorland series, will release in May 2015.

She blogs about herself and her writing on http://majankaverstraete.com




I was given a copy of this book for an honest review

I loved this book, and really wanted to give it five stars, but there were things at the end that I felt needed more explanation. I understand this is book 1, but still felt there were a couple of issues. Those issues don't destroy the story, however, it has a strong plot that plays out well. So, I'm going with four stars.

There are a couple of places with an extra word, and one place with a missing word. I don't rate grammar, but since these can't be avoided, I figured they should be mentioned.

After the prologue, the story starts off a little slow. I think the goal was to introduce characters and give a little set-up, but once you get past that, hang on for the ride. The tension is strong throughout. The main character Piper, (love that name), lives with her mother who likes to fix up old houses and move on to the next one. Both she and Piper love antiques, and they are grounded people, who are not easily frightened. That is shaken when Piper falls in love with an antique mirror and moves it into her room. 

Piper has a good relationship with her Mother, but finds herself in a situation where she has to find the answers she needs on her own, and protect herself in the process. Even her best friend isn't always able to be at her side. While that scares Piper, it does not stop her. She goes from a non-believer who is a little weak due to a difficult background, to a young woman who takes the bull by the horns. That's not to say it's easy. 

I won't give any spoilers, but will say that this story has all the things that make a story strong. Friendship, suspense, love, betrayal, a strong and balanced backstory, and character growth. I can't wait to see what happens in book two.

Find Marjanka Verstraete's books
Amazon
Barnes&Noble
Goodreads






Thursday, July 13, 2017

Reflections - The California Gold Rush

Revisiting Reflections



California wasn’t even a state when gold was first discovered in the Sacramento Valley in 1848. The state joined the union in 1849.

Over a hundred thousand foreigners uprooted their lives, moving to California by any means necessary, hoping to find their fortunes. In 1849, San Francisco’s harbor was so inundated with boats that it took days for travelers to be able to disembark.

Imagine reaching down to retrieve a shiny nugget of gold. There was a time we could do that. But it didn’t last long, and soon the miners had to dig and pan to find this precious metal. By 1855, less than ten years after it started, the Gold Rush was history.

For more information on the California Gold Rush, check out my Reflections Pinterest board.




Cursed to live in a world behind a mirror, Juliette learns the skills of survival from a unicorn, blood-thirsty beran, and a cantankerous, but beautiful, centaur, while being forced to watch her family and friends grow old without her.

Amazon US http://tinyurl.com/ReflectionsUS
Amazon UK http://tinyurl.com/ReflectionsUK
Paperback https://www.createspace.com/5054082
Audible: http://tinyurl.com/AudibleReflections