Friday, May 30, 2014

The Edge of the Woods by Ceinwen Langley

Sub Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: May 14, 2014

ABOUT The Edge of the Woods:

‘You’re not the first young woman to try to bend the rules, my dear, but they failed and so will you.’

For as long as anyone can remember, young women have vanished into the woods. Believing them to be weak willed and lured by demons, the zealous Mayor enforces rules to protect them: rules that render the village women submissive and silent, or face being ostracised.

Emma’s only hope of a decent life is to be married by her eighteenth birthday, but her quick mouth and low social standing make her a poor prospect. Lonely and afraid, she finds herself dreaming of the woods, and of a mysterious boy who promises freedom and acceptance if she’ll only step across the border into the trees.

With her birthday fast approaching, she has a decision to make: run away from her future, or fight for it.


Maybe there's a way to get him to take it back before anyone finds out,' Mama frets, wringing her hands. The floorboards creak underneath her as she circles the table for the hundredth time. 'But one of those hateful women will still get wind of it and tell the whole village.'

'Can't we just say no?' I ask, watching Mama with concern. 'If you're so unhappy about going…'

'Don't be stupid Emma,' Mama snaps, and then looks sorry for it. 'The mayor asked me himself. What did you do to bring this on? Has Samuel spoken to you again?'

'Only last night, I bumped into him on the high street and he offered to walk me home. I said no, though.'

'That'll do it,' she grumbles, shaking her head.

'Why are you so upset, Mama?' I ask. 'Isn't this a good thing? Samuel will be the next mayor. Their house is so big you could have a whole floor to yourself!'

'You can compete with that sour girl for an irrelevant labourer's boy, you can't compete with the doctor's daughter for the mayor's son. He might be humouring Samuel now, but Mayor Jones will never approve of you.' She sighs. 'And I don't need a floor, Emma. I need you to be taken care of.'

'Then I'll be dull and rude and they won't invite me again,' I suggest, wanting to make her feel better but not really sure how.

'You can't!' she gasps.

'Mama,' I throw my hands up, exasperated. 'Tell me what you want me to do, then.'

She finally stands still and falls quiet for a long time.


'Forget Andrew,' she decides, her face setting with determination. 'We can't get out of this dinner unscathed. If you refuse, you'll offend the mayor, and Bill and Elise won't risk their son marrying someone who has done that. We'll go to this dinner, and we'll be perfect. If Samuel's taken a liking to you, you might have a chance.'

'But… Elise is coming on Wednesday.'

'We'll have to cancel.'

'Can't we just go to the dinner, give our apologies and go back to normal?'

Mama puts her hand on my cheek, smiling sadly. 'A girl in your situation doesn't get to court two boys. Like it or not, you're courting Samuel now.'

'But he didn't even ask me.'

'They never do. Put the dinner on, we'll talk more after.'

I fill a pot with fresh water. As I try to light the cooking fire, I see my hands are trembling. 'Mama?' I ask when I have the fire crackling.

'What is it?'

'Samuel seems like a nice person, doesn't he?'

'Yes, Emma. He's a very nice young man. With very good taste.'
Ceinwen Langley is an Australian television writer and author.

Born in a desert town with less than 300 people, one TV channel and nothing to do, Ceinwen learned to entertain herself by reading and making up her own stories. The habit stuck, and she's been trying to make a living out of it ever since.

Ceinwen has worked in development on several local children's shows, taught and spoken at schools and universities and worked as a storyliner and scriptwriter for long-running soap Neighbours. The Edge of the Woods is her debut novel.

~ Giveaway ~

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Lost Tales of Power, Volumes 1-3 by Vincent Trigili

Sub Genre: Space Opera
Release Date: May 17, 2014

ABOUT The Lost Tales of Power:

The Lost Tales of Power is a collection of novels that describe an immense persistent multiverse. The books are a mixture of standalone and miniseries all set in the same universe with overlapping and intertwining story lines.

Included in this collection is the full text of Enemy of an Enemy, The Academy, and Rise of Shadows. In addition to the three complete novels, included is a brief introduction to each book.

Enemy of an Enemy:

Everything seemed to be going Vydor’s way, until the Dragon Claw was sent on a rather unusual assignment to investigate a minor incident deep within the Empire’s space. That would send Vydor down a path filled with fantastically powerful enemies and extraordinary friends that would obliterate everything he ever understood to be true and threaten the very foundations of the Empire itself.

The Academy:

The Empire had fallen, and the Imperial Navy was disbanded leaving James with nothing but his nightmares to remind him of the role he once played in The Great War. James must now face his new life in a new era where science and technology must share the stage with sorcery and wizardry, and a new ever-present shadow of evil lurks over the remnants of the once great Empire.

Rise of Shadows:

In The Enemy of an Enemy, darkness came to the Empire, and magic was born from the bowels of men’s fears. The great and mighty Imperial Navy had to face and overcome unspeakable horrors. In The Academy, fledgling wizards were gathered and trained to fight back and keep the light, while the darkness laid in wait, biding its time and silently gathering its forces. Now as warriors of light, those wizards must begin to make a stand against the rising tide of darkness or watch their realm be overcome!


We did not get very far down the corridor when our vanguard again reported that they were under attack, this time by overwhelming firepower. They were wiped out before we could reach them. As we got close the Knights again deployed their mobile shield wall. As we rounded the corner behind it we saw six humans with wands, all firing very rapidly. The Dragon Knights returned fire and used the shield walls to slowly inch forward. We now knew the way to beat them was to close the distance between us and them, and the Knights would not be deterred. The humans were in a bad situation because if they stood to retreat their shields would fall and they would be gunned down, but if they stayed put we would eventually reach them and make the fight hand-to-hand. No human stood a chance against this squad in hand-to-hand combat. I thought we had a sure win here when we got a call from our rear guard. “More of those green humanoids are coming fast down the corridor, at least fifty of them in view and more coming.”

“Rear guard, abandon your position and return to the main group,” was the order from the sergeant.

About half of the Dark Knights turned and kneeled, preparing to open fire on the first sight of the rear attackers. The rear guard quickly reached us and dropped to do the same. As the green creatures came around the bend the Knights opened fire, but the enemy was holding some kind of shield in front of them and they charged forward, undaunted by the heavy fire. I pointed the wand weapon and fired it into their line. The bolt of energy smashed right through their shields and opened a hole in their defenses, which the Knights immediately took advantage of. This did not even slow their charge; they just kept coming. They soon reached us and the Knights drew their own blades and took  them on hand-to-hand.

I moved to the front line of our defenses and added my wand to our firepower, knowing that I could not compete in the rear line. The humans down the corridor did not let up their fire and seemed not to care at all if their weapons hit their own men behind us. I do not know how long we fought there but it was not long before I realized we were hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned. Knights were dying on both sides of me, and more humans had arrived to assist the wand group in front of us. I was really hoping the sergeant had some trick up his sleeves to get us out of this. We managed to kill what seemed like hundreds of the green humanoids, but they just kept coming. I was about to grab some grenades off a dead Knight’s body when someone grabbed me from behind and dragged me into a dark room. They put a cloth over my face and as I passed out I saw a very large explosion hit the center of the Knights. The last thing I heard was, “Sorry to do this, sir, but we have to get out of here …”

Amazon | Apple | Kobo

Vincent, father and husband of nearly two decades, holds degrees in both Math and Computer Science. In addition, he has published an astronomy journal and anchored popular blogs, along with publishing numerous articles, poetry and other works.

He got his start in writing fiction as a small child, losing himself in the worlds he dreamed up in order to escape the doldrums of normal life. Now, using his formal education and extensive career experience, he excels in creating fictional worlds of depth and rich fantasy, while maintaining a foundation of reality based on science and technology.

~ Giveaway ~

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sworn to Defiance by Terah Edun

Sub Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: April 28, 2014

ABOUT Sworn to Defiance:

Ciardis Weathervane returned to the imperial court of Sandrin to unite her foes. But her efforts hit a stumbling block. The imperial kind. She never thought that before rallying an empire, she'd have to fight the emperor himself.

An imposter sits the throne and the court she turned to for help is in turmoil. Ciardis hasn't survived assassination attempts, torture and really bad luck to be taken down by her own ruler. So she devises a plan. But first she needs to get Sebastian and Thanar to agree. Each seems to love her in their own way. But neither is listening to her. Pushing them to put aside their differences, in an effort to ward off catastrophe, might be harder than displacing an emperor who would do anything to keep his throne.

Butting heads at court isn’t Ciardis’s only problem. With the princess heir’s threat looming she is forced to travel to the mythical city of Kifar, where it is up to her small group to stop the destruction of the entire city while heading a rebellion that could foment a revolution. It wouldn't be the first revolution that Algardis has ever known. But with Ciardis Weathervane at its head—it would certainly be the last.

This fifth novel continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn To Secrecy.

~ Excerpt ~ 

It wasn’t long before Ciardis heard the gates of the imperial palace open to her traveling group of soldiers and friends. It would have been hard to miss as the sound of the massive iron doors swinging open was like a trumpet piercing the quiet morning air. Curiosity overcame her for a moment. She had seen the imperial palace many times. But never from this entrance. It was the entrance to the quarters of the second-most powerful person in the land.

The husband or wife of the current ruler.

The last person to call these quarters home was Sebastian’s mother. Empress Ryana, long may she rest in peace, had died in childbirth while bearing Sebastian into the world. His father, Bastien, after losing two wives successively in less than a decade, had declared he didn’t wish to lose another. So he refused a third marriage. It had been over fifteen years and he had kept that promise. As they passed through the gates, Ciardis wondered if the emperor’s choice to not marry again had more to do with the fact that Maradian had taken his place than personal problems about having a third wife.

Then she shivered. Because if that was true they had all been paying obedience to a man masquerading as the true emperor for almost as long as she had been alive.

As the palanquin was set down on the ground, she climbed out and thanked the soldiers for bearing them.

She may have been a noble woman and the future wife of the emperor, but Ciardis still showed respect and gratitude when someone did a task for her. She couldn’t imagine it had been easy bearing the palanquin. She knew from experience what a heavy load could do to the upper body. She remembered with an uncomfortable twitch of her shoulder blades, the aches and pains that would settle in the muscles of her shoulders after a long morning bearing a heavy load of wet laundry over to the drying lines in the village of her youth. This was no different.

The soldiers murmured their gratitude with surprise in their deep voices.

She smiled, curtseyed, and went to speak with their captain.

Staring into his hard eyes, she said, “Well, we’re here.”

He crossed belligerent arms and she swore a tic appeared in his right eye. “So we are.”

“So you can leave,” she said sweetly.

He raised an eyebrow, looked her hard in the eyes and slowly signaled with a loop of finger to his men that they were to pack-up and leave. She noticed that all of his wounded were gone, so the rest were quick to trot back into formation and head out of the palace gates. Their leader following shortly behind on a stallion with one last lingering look at Ciardis Weathervane.

Then Ciardis thought to take care of her own wounded.

She heard Skarar crying from inside the palanquin. His father had poked a ruffled head in between the curtains to soothe him but she knew he needed medical attention first. A woman came out of the palace wearing a linen maid’s uniform. She looked to be on her way home rather than toward Ciardis’s group for service.

“Please,” Ciardis shouted out frantically, “we need help.”

The woman looked at them, muddied, broken and obviously of ill repute, sniffed, and walked away toward the gate.

Then Sebastian stepped in her path. He was five feet away from the woman, but his face was like rolling thunder. Dangerous and deadly. He said something and whatever it was had the darker-skinned woman so frightened that she turned and ran back into the palace.

The Courtlight series is having a special sale! The Courtlight Boxed Set (Books 1-3) is available for $0.99 for a limited time.

~ Author Bio ~

Terah Edun is a young adult fantasy writer that writes the stories that she always loved to read as a young girl. Her Courtlight series can be seen on the USA Today Happily Ever After blog and her Crown Service series spent four weeks in the Amazon Top 500. Her latest book is Sworn To Defiance, the fifth in the Courtlight series. You can find her on Twitter or Facebook.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Michael Patrick Hicks Talks About How He Writes

Original Post
1. What am I working on?

Since releasing CONVERGENCE in February, I've been busy working on my second novel, which is currently on track for a 2015 release, once all the much-needed edits are finished.

I'll be releasing more details on EMERGENCE in the coming months, but here's what I can tell you right now: The story picks up three years after the end of CONVERGENCE and it's filled to the brim with action, identity hijacking, conspiracies, and a trip to the seasteading nation-states. If you liked my first novel, I think you'll enjoy its follow-up just as much. It'll be a big damn page-turner!

I am also working on developing my third novel. This is a book I've spent several years thinking about, and once the finishing touches are put on EMERGENCE, I plan on devoting my full attention to this new work. While Book 3 is still very much in the early outlining stages, it will be a stand-alone novel and with a greater emphasis on the mystery/thriller elements. I'm shooting for a more traditional noir vibe with it, but we'll see what happens. I do believe it will be a much more contemporary mystery novel, though, and hopefully it won't feel too alien to the DRMR fans by the time it lands. My big hope, of course, is that it's not only a comfortable fit for those who found me via the DRMR series, but which can widen my audience. I want it to appeal to my current readers, but also bring in some of those The Wire/Veronica Mars/Dennis Lehane/Michael Connelly fans.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think when most people think "science fiction" they focus on extraterrestrials, spaceships, alien planets, intergalactic war, first contact scenarios. Things like that.

My work has absolutely none of that.

I focus more on the Earth-bound, near-future, high-tech aspects of science fiction. While advanced technology plays a key-role, I work hard on keeping as much of the story as grounded as I can. As a product of the 1980s, one of the first TV shows I can remember obsessing about as a child is MAX HEADROOM, and to crib from him, I like to say that my book is coming at you from twenty minutes into the future. In fact, I'd say the late-80s sci-fi dystopia has played a significant role in my own work as a writer. I definitely favor the dystopic scenarios of HEADROOM, ROBOCOP, ALIEN(S), over the utopic fantasies of STAR TREK.

Publisher's Weekly called my book a "smart splice of espionage and science fiction" which is the sort of cross-genre blend that interests me. I tend to think of my work as a bit of William Gibson by way of Barry Eisler. Ultimately, I wanted to tell a thriller story that was more about deception, terrorism, a willful complicity in evil, war, kidnapping, tragedy and loss, fun stuff like that. The only thing was, I had this little technological hook about mnemonic data storage and replay and an altered geopolitical landscape that turned this thriller into a sci-fi thriller.

As a media consumer, I always like it when genre material gets elevated by meshing with something a bit different, or which allows it to strike some disparate chords that actually work well together. Like ALIEN - it's horror, but it's also sci-fi; it uses two different genre staples to elevate the work into something new and fresh that stands the test of time. Or Chuck Wendig's DOUBLE DEAD - could have been a zombie novel, or it could have been a straight-up a vampire novel, but by squishing these two often-separated tropes together you get a crazy, cool new breed.

So, that was my long-range goal with CONVERGENCE. I think the sci-fi elements actually get down-played a fair amount, and I tried to shape that world enough to let people in and make things feel natural. Enough so that when people are stealing memories and getting high on their playback, that's just a part of the overall mystery story that's simmering underneath.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Well, first and foremost, because it interests me! Although I certainly hope readers will find a lot to like in my work, I'm writing mostly to entertain myself. I'm also a bit of a tech-geek and a science junkie, and I try to stay current on what's happening in the world. CONVERGENCE grew out of technological advances over the last fifteen years or so, and has been influenced by clippings from Popular Science to DARPA research and BBC Future postings. Just a few days ago, Discovery reported that in a few weeks military researchers will unveil "new advances toward developing a brain implant that could one day restore a wounded soldier's memory." This concept sounds awfully familiar to me...

I began the DRMR series simply because that's where my current attention and fascination lies. But, I've also written horror, thrillers, mysteries...all of which (with the sole exception of one piece) remain unpublished, and for very good reason. I'm planning on returning to those old stomping grounds in the future, though, and have a few ideas in the back of my head, so we'll see what happens.

Now that I've begun establishing my own series, I need to take a step back from it for a little while and experiment with some different genres. Which is why, with Book 3, I'm planning on going back to my "roots" if you will, and trying my hand at something that is more broadly a straight-up mystery/thriller. I'm particularly excited to write this book since it draws on local Detroit events over the last decade and I get to return to a sort of investigative mode of story telling. I think it'll be fun!

4. How does my writing process work?

With EMERGENCE it bordered more on ritualistic dedication and a demand to craft than anything else. By staying focused and forcing myself to carve out a thousand words every day, or more whenever possible, I was able to knock out the book in only a few months.

Writing CONVERGENCE was definitely a big learning curve and helped shaped my approach in writing its follow-up. Prior to CONVERGENCE, my previous (and again, deservedly unpublished) novels were written in the early 2000s, so getting back into author mode after a long stretch away required strict attention. The first step was to become more of a plotter. Now, in the decade-plus since I last wrote a novel, I did a good deal of freelance journalism, and the fundamentals of writing seem, to me at least, to be generally the same. You need to have a story, and you need to know what your story is about. And, what that story is about can change as more information comes in. So, you need your idea, and you need flexibility to develop that idea.

Typically, before I begin writing long-form pieces (except, obviously, these blog posts...) I have a bare bones outlines. I know the end, at any rate, and usually the beginning. If I'm really lucky, I have a midpoint objective strung up in-between that I can build toward and then work down from to reach the resolution.

Plot-wise, I think CONVERGENCE was a bit more complicated since I was going for more of a mystery/thriller pulp set-up, and there's a fair number of twists and turns and shifting loyalties. For me, having a loose outline worked and I was able to afford myself more flexibility in developing the story and the characters, and their motivations. I didn't really need a heavy outline until about the last third of the book, simply so I could figure out how to unravel and deliver the big story points.

With EMERGENCE, I set out to write more of an action/thriller and ramp up everything as far as I could, and go bigger and wilder and more chaotic and violent. While it made for quick writing, that wouldn't have been possible for me without a stronger, more rigid outline.

Before I set out on EMERGENCE, I plotted. I did an outline and got comfortable with the world I was creating (partly easy because a lot of that legwork was done in the previous work, but partly not so easy because I'm expanding it and bringing in new players and changing the game a bit), and established motivations and back-story for the big, important characters. Villains are important, but they need to have clear motivations, which means that I, as the writer, need to understand their motivations and know why they're doing what they're doing.

So, with a pretty full outline set up, but still leaving a lot of wiggle room for the story to take over, I set out to write a thousand words a day, with the goal of finishing by May. And I did that. In fact, I wrapped up the first draft early by about two weeks! #humblebrag

But, look. My writing process can be a bit screwy and nonsensical and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants method one minute, and then finely tuned the next. It's one of those YMMV things. The most important aspect of any writing process, though, is sticking to your guns and finishing what you start.

And then editing the hell out of it. Which is the next stage for EMERGENCE, and it will be, by far, the more brutal, harder aspect. It's all worth it though.
Original Post

Monday, May 26, 2014

Warden (Book 3: Attack of the Aswang) by Kevin Hardman

Sub Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror
Release Date: April 27, 2014

ABOUT Warden:

Part lawman, part tracker and part magician, the Wardens are monster-hunters - tasked with protecting the people from the various, nightmarish creatures that have invaded the world of men.

For most of his life, 16-year-old Errol Magnus categorically rejected the idea of being a Warden. Growing up right next to the Badlands, he encountered enough bloodthirsty monsters in the ordinary course of events; he’d never seen much sense in assuming a post that required you to actively seek them out.

Recently, however, while competently and capably serving as Warden on behalf of his missing brother Tom, Errol’s had a change of heart. Now, for reasons of his own, he desperately wants the position. Unfortunately, being officially appointed Warden not only requires that Errol’s skills be tested by his peers, but that he also make a perilous journey to the city of Apolos in order to be examined by the High Warden himself.

Traveling with a group of colleagues, Errol thinks all danger is behind them once they reach the safety of the city. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Something has followed them out of the Badlands, and - one by one - his traveling companions are being viciously slain by something…inhuman. It’s up to Errol to find the creature and bring its killing spree to a halt, before he himself winds up the next victim.


Without warning, Errol’s Wendigo dagger began to glow with an eerie, eldritch light. While not particularly intense, the luminescence spread out to envelope Errol and Bander, who stood back-to-back, and their campsite.

“What are you doing?!” Bander hissed over his shoulder as the light from Errol’s weapon washed over him.

“It’s not me!” he responded. “It’s the dagger.” Errol looked at the weapon with something akin to fury.

Then, as suddenly as it began, the light from the dagger seemed to wink out. Errol was on the verge of breathing a sigh of relief when the forest unexpectedly came alive. Two trees directly in front of him started moving swiftly towards their camp.

Errol went tense; he involuntarily took a step backwards, inadvertently bumping Bander. The older man peeked over his shoulder, then turned so that he and Errol were now standing next to each other.

“Gods!” the veteran exclaimed, tilting his head up.

It took Errol a second to orient himself, for his mind to adjust to the spectacle in front of him. He quickly realized it wasn’t trees that he was seeing move; they were, instead, the legs of a gigantic hominid. Like Bander, he quickly adjusted his frame of reference to incorporate more height in his assessment of the creature.

In general, it was shaped like a man, with two arms, two legs, and a torso. Aside from that (and not taking into account that it was about twenty feet tall), the only difference between it and a normal person was that it appeared to have no head. Instead, its face was on its torso, with eyes on its pectorals, a nose below, and then a mouth on its stomach.

It was a monster that Errol recognized, but had never encountered: a Blemmye.

~ Author Bio ~

The sixth of seven children, Kevin Hardman grew up with a love of all things fantastical: comics, sci-fi, fantasy, etc. If it was unreal or imaginary, he could relate to it. Over the years, he has found employment in a wide variety of professions, including - among other things - a stint in the military, working for UPS, in a research lab, as a waiter, and as a telephone survey taker. Somewhere in between all that, he found time to earn 3 degrees and foster his love of reading and writing.

He has always been a voracious reader, but recently crossed trade lines to become an author. Since then, he has published the Kid Sensation novels and the Warden books. He is currently hard at work on the next book in both series, as well as a few other projects.

~ Giveaway ~

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dreaming of the Sea by Heidi Garrett

Sub Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Release Date: May 21, 2014

ABOUT Dreaming of the Sea:

Years ago when her mother traded her to the Sea Witch for a love potion, she became the witch’s apprentice. Now Gia Chantal must find her own apprentice. If she doesn’t, the Devil won’t take her soul when she dies, and she’ll spend eternity tormented for every spiritual crime she’s ever committed. However, it’s the 21st century, and Gia doesn’t know where to begin when it comes to finding her replacement. She’ll turn to social media mastermind Cole—an exiled mer prince—to help her.

Ten-year-old, Miriam, an orphan with visionary tendencies, sought refuge in a convent to escape a life on the streets. Now a young woman, the walls and rules that have kept her safe for over a decade feel constricting. When she comes across the ad to be the wealthy Gia’s caretaker, she’s never wanted anything more in her life… until she meets Cole.

Dreaming of the Sea is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. In the original tale, after falling in love with a human prince, the little mermaid yearns to win his love—and gain an immortal soul—thus her bargain with the sea witch…

In this contemporary retelling, after refusing to heed a merman's warnings, a young woman will make a different kind of bargain with the Sea Witch...

“I’ll take your second son, and the second son of your first son, and the second son of his first son, and the second son of his first son... You get the idea.”

“I will never agree to that.”

Gertrude flounced onto the nearest stack of bones. “Suit yourself. I’m not going to freeze to death.”

“It’s an exorbitant price. A payment so infinite, its value can’t be measured.”

Gertrude shrugged. “A single merman from each surviving generation or no surviving generations. Doesn’t seem like such a hard choice to me.”

The Mer King swished back and forth creating a whirlpool around himself. Customers often resorted to theatrics. Gertrude endured his with a practiced nonchalance.

“My wife warned me against coming here to bargain with you,” he said.

“Is your wife going to save you, then?”
Heidi Garrett is the author of the contemporary fairy tale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters.

She's also the author of the Daughter of Light series, a fantasy about a young half-faerie, half-mortal searching for her place in the Whole. Heidi's latest project is a collaboration with B. J. Limpin. They're cooking up a yummy paranormal romance!

Signup for Heidi's newsletter for discounts on all new releases!

Heidi was born in Texas, and in an attempt to reside in as many cities in that state as she could, made it to Houston, Lubbock, Austin, and El Paso. She now lives in Eastern Washington state with her husband, their two cats, her laptop, and her Kindle.
~ Giveaway ~ 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Threats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer Ellision

Sub Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: May 16, 2014

ABOUT Threats of Sky and Sea:

Sixteen year-old Breena Perdit has spent her life as a barmaid, innocent to her father's past and happily free from the Elemental gifts that would condemn her to a life in the Egrian King's army. Until the day that three Elemental soldiers recognize her father as a traitor to the throne and Bree's father is thrown in jail--along with the secrets from his last mission as the King's assassin. Secrets that could help the King win a war. Secrets he refuses to share.

Desperate to escape before the King's capricious whims prove her and her father's downfall, Bree bargains with him: information for their lives. It's a good trade. And she has faith she'll get them both out of the King's grasp with time.

But that was before the discovery that she's the weapon the King's been waiting for in his war.

Now, time is running out. To save her father's life and understand her own, Bree must unravel the knot of her father's past before the King takes his life-- and uses her to bring a nation to its knees.


When the dimly lit tavern is finally clear of anyone who doesn’t belong there, Da grabs the sack of the night’s profits for us to count out, while I let myself fall, stomach first, onto a bench. My breeches will be pulled even more than they already are from the splinters in the wood, but I can’t bring myself to care.

"I’m dying,” I groan. "The Makers are calling me home. I can see the light of the Great Beyond.” I turn on my side to look at Da through one eye. "Tell the cat I loved her.”

"We haven’t got a cat. There’s that stray that’s been lurking about. She’s taken a shine to me.

"Ah. Well then. Tell her yourself when you see her in the morn.”

"No sympathy for those at death’s door. I see how it is.”

I peer at the modest pile of copper, silver, and a hint of gold. The hustle in my step tonight may have been worth it. “How’d we do?

”You get to eat another day.

I stretch, sitting up. “That’s a comfort. Do I get to enjoy a roof over my head with my meal?
Jennifer Ellision spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn’t find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them. She loves words, has a soft spot for fanfiction, and is a master of the fangirl flail. She resides in South Florida with her family, where she lives in fear of temperatures below 60 Fahrenheit.
~ Giveaway ~

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Jason Gurley Talks About How He Writes

Original Post
1. What are you working on?

At the moment, two projects that couldn't be more different. I'm trying to finish Eleanor, the novel I've been working on since 2001. I'm still a good 30-40,000 words from the end, I think. I'm anxious to finish this story, get it to my editor, and start the hard work of getting it ready for publication.

The other project is a short story that's very different from my usual work. It's told from the point-of-view of a post-apocalyptic baddie – it is, I think, a rare examination of what goes on inside of those guys' heads. You know the guys I mean – every movie or story about the end of the world has them. They run around in battered leather outfits, usually wearing some kind of threatening mask, carrying knives, raping and murdering for no good reason. I think they all shop at the same store – Post-Urban Outfitters or something. But I can't recall ever seeing a story that made these fellows more than two-dimensional threats, so that's what I'm attempting here. It is, however, the single most violent story I've written, and it's full of misogynistic characters who I'm not sure are redeemable in any way, and I'm not sure it's the kind of thing I'll ever publish. I'm still searching for the ending. It may never come. I may just put this one aside and work on something else instead.

Oh – and I'm also taking part in a new anthology, one about time travel. I'm thinking of resurrecting a failed comic script that deals with this very topic. That script was originally called My Father Who Travels Through Time. I don't know if the title will survive or not, but the story just needs a bit of work. It's got real potential, I think. It's delightfully weird.

2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?

I don't often think about this sort of thing, really. I do read a lot of science fiction, and historically I read a lot of horror, though most was Stephen King, and I do find myself accidentally writing horror stories sometimes – but I don't think I often try to hold true to the tropes of the genres I write in. I sometimes think of the stories I write as simple human experiences that take place in a genre environment. The Man Who Ended the World is a story about a deeply flawed man and his simple desire for solitude, just blown up on a grand, terrible scale. The Settlers and The Colonists try to answer questions about what mankind's second and third and fourth acts would look like – how do we change when we leave our home world behind? – but they try to answer them in small, personal ways, using intimacy of characters who exist in a bigger, changed world. Those stories aren't always about the people doing the changing (though sometimes they are).

And Eleanor, may I finish it soon, is one of the more difficult-to-classify things I've ever written. It has elements of the fantastic, elements of science fiction, elements of fable and fairy tale... but it's all woven through a fundamentally sad tale of loss and lost love.

I suppose I just like to write about people, and sometimes they happen to be involved in some pretty strange and mysterious things.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I love to ask questions, and most of my work begins with a question. What would it be like if a closed society fell under the sway of a religious cult? How would a family respond to losing one of its own? What happens when we push our planet past the red line?

For years I wrote novels about human people living human lives right here on a human Earth. My first novel was about a young kid who found success as a published author. (No wish-fulfillment there, right?) My second was a long flashback about the '60s, told by a man who has just set his life on fire. My third was about the penalty for lies, about a boy who ran from his problems and only created more for himself. You might have classified all of those as literary fiction.

Eleanor arose from a very confusing period of my life, one in which I was asking questions about my own choices that I didn't have answers to. That story became a sort of vehicle for me to answer those questions, and because they were big questions for me, they became big questions for the book... and the story became very big to answer them. Over time it transformed into something entirely different – especially as I no longer needed to answer these questions for myself – and so it became my first book that took a small, human story and played it out in a magical way. It was my first real genre story, other than some scattered Twilight Zone-esque short stories I'd written over the years. That shift really informed my work, and taught me that it was okay not to try to write BIg, Important, Great American Novels every time I sat down at the laptop. It was okay to tell a story for the sake of telling a good story.

4. How does your writing process work?

I used to be fairly persnickety about writing. Everything had to be just so – the right light, the right amount of quiet, etc. A person's cough, or the sound of a lawnmower down the block, could tragically end the session. In those days I lived alone, and I wrote whenever I felt moved to do so.

But I think I've grown up as a writer. My life has changed in big ways – I have a wonderful family, a talented and beautiful wife and a smart and funny daughter, and our house is full of light and boisterousness almost around the clock. I've learned to steal any moments I find for writing. I can write without silence, and without solitude. These days, if I have fifteen minutes, I can jam out a couple of thousand words. I write fast out of necessity, and I think it's made me a stronger writer than before.

I'm also less insufferable. I think about the way I approached writing all those years ago, and I was quite a snot about it.
Original Post
~ Giveaway ~

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Irradiated by S. Elliot Brandis

Sub Genre: Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopia
Release Date: May 12, 2014

ABOUT Irradiated:

A man thrust a baby into Jade’s hands. It trembled in her arms. The man had a message: escape from the tunnels and never return, her parents were already dead. Jade had a sister; she was irradiated.

Thirteen years later, her sister, Pearl, is coming of age. Rows of sucker-caps line her arms and hands. Her skin is coral pink. Each night, her dreams fill with visions of violence, depression, and fear.

On the surface, people have grown wild and dangerous. They scavenge, fight, and steal. Below, in the tunnels, they're controlled by a ruthless leader and an army of beings known only as Shadows. When both groups come searching for Pearl, sensing the power her dreams may hold, only Jade can stand in the way.
The man thrust a baby into Jade’s hands. It was warm and wet and its cries were muffled. Thick fabric covered its face and body. It trembled in her arms.
“You have to go,” said the man. His voice was urgent and his movements were rapid. Each breath was hot and laboured.
“I don’t understand. Where’s Mum, where’s Dad?” Jade asked.
The tunnel was dark but she could place him by the sound, by the heat, by the air. His panic rushed into her, as though it was her own. He grabbed her with heavy hands and turned her around.
“There’s no time,” he said. “No time, child. They’re coming. The Shadows are coming. You need to get out of here.”
“B-But, what about my parents?” she stammered.
The man squeezed her shoulders tightly, his fingers digging into her muscles and between her bones.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “They’re dead. You have to trust us. This is your only chance. This is your sister’s only chance. You have to keep going and never turn back.”
He pushed her onward, and other hands grabbed her. They grasped her then passed her on to the next set. They all knew what was happening, all knew where she was headed—everybody but her. She clutched the squealing baby in her long, thin arms and yielded herself to their guidance. 
Jade had a sister; she was irradiated. More about Irradiated.

S. Elliot Brandis is a Speculative Fiction writer from Brisbane, Australia. He writes about societies on the brink of collapse, and civilizations that have long since crumbled. His debut novel, Irradiated, is a dark tale about survival, love, and moral ambiguity. 
When he’s not putting his characters through the wringer, he’s actually kind of a nice guy. He keeps literature on the same shelf as comic books, and mixes his beer with tobasco. He invites you to visit him at 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Welcome to the Speculative Fiction Showcase + $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Welcome to the Speculative Fiction Showcase. Expand your horizons and fuel your imagination with an endless variety of creative, intelligent, and thought-provoking stories: fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, magical realism, fairy tales, horror...

We'll be featuring Writing Process Blog Tour Speculative Fiction Blog Hop posts and new releases by spec-fic authors. The writing process blog tour is a popular blog meme that I've seen attributed to several sources. However, I've never been able to follow the links back to the original source, so I'm not sure who deserves credit for getting it started. If you know, shoot me an email!

Regardless, we'll be reposting posts from this tour, because it's a great tool to learn more about how Speculative Fiction writers generate their amazing stories. In each post, the author answers these four questions:

1. What am I working on?
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3. How do I write what I do?
4. How does my writing process work?

Each new release post will feature the book's cover, description, and an excerpt selected by the author.

Plus, every month we'll be having a giveaway. Beginning July 1st, the monthly giveaway will include a collection of ebooks donated by Kboards authors. The Kboards are the largest independent Kindle user site on the web. Besides covering any and all things Kindle-related, they have a dynamic forum for authors, the Writer's Cafe.

We hope this showcase will help you indulge your cravings for "What If... "