Monday, May 1, 2017

Double the Reviews - Freefall and Incense & Peppermints #amreading

I'm proud to be a part of the fantastic group of authors at Untethered Realms. We have such talented writers among us, and I'm excited to share my reviews of two of their books today.

Freefall (The Backworlds #7) by M. Pax

The Backworlds and Foreworlds have banned together with the hope of defeating a terrifying enemy, the Quassers. Craze gave up his friends and livelihood to become the envoy for the Backworlds. All he'd rather be doing is brewing some malt and tending his bar, but there is much more than his pride at stake here. The alliance is shaky, and Craze can't afford to let it fall apart. They have one more chance at survival, and it's all or nothing.

I loved delving back into the rich universe of this space opera series. The settings, characters, and storylines are all marvelously varied, but twine together so very well. I'm often reminded of Firefly with Craze and his friends out to save the universe armed with their good hearts and sometimes good luck. But things don't go their way all the time.

The cast in this series is large, but none of them suffer from lack of depth. Each of them have their own tales, but a powerful love of friends holds them together. The twists in the plot had me shouting "Oh my God!" out loud, and several times, it tugged hard at my heart. Plus there were some clever bits in there like the crusties and the tendrils. This is an immensely heavy book, and I didn't want it to end. I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment in the Backworlds.

Buy links:

Incense and Peppermints by Cathrina Constantine

Sixteen-year-old Mary Monroe is an innocent girl in the years of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. She has new friends in her older brother's girlfriend and her group. They take Mary out of her reserved shell where she meets a handsome new student, Michael Covington. He's got bad boy appeal, but there's something more to him. Mary is assaulted at a wild party, and Michael rescues her. At least, she's pretty certain he did. Or was he the one who attacked her? What's even more, the more she gets to know him, the more she's falling for him.

This YA read takes place in the late 1960s, but the story is easily mirrored in life nowadays. It's colorful and light, and intense and emotional. The crazy days of trying to figure out who you are when you're a teenager. Mary is immediately likable. She's a good student, a little geeky, and takes care of her family even when they aren't the best. Yet she tumbles into hanging out with the popular party girls and doesn't want to admit it's more than she can handle. Plus the hot Michael is at all the parties, and she wants to follow where he goes. It pulls at your heartstrings a lot.

Buy link: Amazon

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Word Witch Wednesday - a writer's ups and downs


All writers have them. Sometimes it's like we're manic. Extreme euphoria and then end of the world depression. There are a few authors who find a good balance.

But for me, it's been an Indiana Jones mine cart ride. Especially this year.

I'm back after being a week away from my writer's life. Tons of emails and stuff on social media to catch up on. It's so overwhelming, I feel like I'm going to drown. It's hard to concentrate.

I'm gone a week, and my muse is refreshed, eager to get going.

The end of the Totem series is near. A nine book series. What was I thinking? It's exciting to see the end of the long tunnel, to share the whole story with the world. Even more exciting to know I'll be able to start on something new once I'm done.

I'm writing the last book of the series, and I don't know what's going to happen. I have no idea how the heroes will defeat the villain. None. I'm so stressed out about it. Sometimes being a pantser sucks.

Being a pantser is wonderful. I love the surprise twists and how my stories evolve all on their own.

I have so many ideas for stories. What do I go with? Should I concentrate on what I love or what's marketable? How do I know if both of them converge? Trying to figure out this whole publishing thing is painful. It makes me feel like a failure.

Yes, marketing is hard, but I'm doing what I love. How many people get to say that?

Up, down, up, down, around, loop, up, down, corkscrew, and repeat.

And you know, no matter how rotten the downs can be, the journey is worth it in itself.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks Release Day Blitz

I'm excited to be taking part in the release blitz for the Where Words Fail, Music Speaks Anthology, which is out now!



Where Words Fail, Music Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry by writers from all walks of life.

Each story is based on the titles of 90s Britpop songs, including Come Back To What You Know, Bittersweet Symphony, Animal Nitrate, Disco 2000, and more.

Our list of authors is: Kyra Lennon, Clare Dugmore, Annalisa Crawford, Ker Dukey, Wesley Copeland, Robb Turburville, D H Sidebottom, Audrina Lane, M.B. Feeney, Karen Frances, S.J Warner, Scout Dawson, Kimberly Morgan, Maddie Wade, Rebeccalou Heronpontin, Andrea Coventry

All proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to Clusterbusters.

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Week For Celebration

Happy birthday to my awesome little guy!
Well, not really so little anymore. He's turning seven this Thursday.

I'll be absent from the webs this week as my mom is down visiting, and we're celebrating this gorgeous young man.

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Shhhhh! Kinley has a secret


I'm cheering on everyone this month for The A to Z Challenge!

The lovely Decadent Kane has a spectacular theme this year: secrets. Click on over to find out the secret Kinley Dorn from my Totem series is keeping. You won't find it in any of the books. This is an exclusive post for Decadent's blog only.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The bartender asks what will you have?

Actually, I doubt Bear cares what you drink unless it has to do with how you taste!

Today I'm celebrating with the awesome A.A. Chamberlynn for her big Zyanniversary! If you haven't read her Zyan Star books yet, you need to check out these thrilling urban fantasy books.

My post today will have the heroes from my Totem series sharing with you what their favorite drinks are. Pop on over and tell us what you'd like to drink!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Heads Up, #PNR and #Urbanfantasy Authors!


Attention to all paranormal romance and urban fantasy writers! This is a great promo offer, and it's free. It's a fantastic way to get your book in front of new readers and boost your sales.

This May promotion from Fantasy Book Giveaways is taking sign-ups right now. Click to read all the guidelines and get in before we fill up. It's a 99c and free promotion through newsletters and on Facebook. Plus, if you donate to the giveaway, all books are bundled into one huge prize. Readers just eat that up!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#IWSG for April 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Chris @ Madness of a Modern Writer, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey!

The IWSG question of the month: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

I haven't, but I should. The A to Z Challenge is spectacular. It's a challenge to yourself as a blogger, great for meeting new friends and getting to know old ones better, and it's tons of fun.

April is a super busy month for me with my husband's and son's birthdays and family visiting for a week. So I have declined to participate the last few years.

I've done the challenge as part of a group and on my own. Being part of a group really helps when you're limited for time. Plus, it's so much fun seeing what other members come up for the theme you've chosen.

The first year I participated in the challenge, I wrote a little story called "Fearless." It was so popular, I self-published it. It's still available for free and has had over 100,000 downloads over the past four and a half years. Readers pick up this freebie and then they buy my other books. It has drawn so many readers to me.

The A to Z Challenge and "Fearless" helped start me on the road to being an indie author.

Good luck to everyone participating in the challenge this year!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sidney Valentine's Taming A Jackaroo


Title: Taming a Jackaroo
Genre: Aussie Cowboy Romance
Release Date: June 10, 2017
Cover Designer: Claire Smith

 Add to TBR

 PREORDER NOW FOR HALF PRICE 



City girl and serial non-dater, Affrica Clarke travels to Boulia, Australia, to investigate the environmental impacts of the local mining company. Unless she proves herself and wins that promotion, she’ll lose so much more than a pay rise. Yet everything goes wrong the moment she lands in the outback. With no research equipment, only skimpy clothes packed by her best friend to help her score a date, and a tight deadline to submit her report, she’s screwed. So when a sexy cowboy offers to play chauffeur, she’s all over it. But she’s there to shut down the mining activities, not fawn over the guy who’s supporting them, no matter how sizzling the attraction between them.

Billionaire jackaroo, Sam Preston tempts fate as an adrenaline junkie, living each day as if it were his last. Angry and wounded, he’s in town to sell his cattle ranch to the local mining company and be done with his past—until he meets hapless city-chick Affrica, who has no clue about surviving in the desert. Sam doesn’t know how to stop being a daredevil even though Affrica reminds him of the happiness he once had.

Can Sam let go of the past before he loses the one person who's finally breathed new life into him, or is it not possible to truly tame a jackaroo?


 PREORDER NOW FOR HALF PRICE 
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2mU7AAD 



Sidney Valentine is an Aussie girl who loves everything about traveling. She lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and spends her time exploring the wild outdoors. But she always carries with her a writing pad in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. While she works in marketing during the day, she never stops writing her romance stories set in Australia as a way to rejuvenate from the bustle of the real world. She is often found at local coffee shops with her laptop, writing about people falling in love.

Rescue Me Submissions


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Learn A Word In 100 Words & good luck to the A to Z Challenge bloggers!

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Good luck to everyone participating in the A to Z Challenge!
I won't be doing it this year, but I'm cheering you on. I can't wait to read all the awesome posts!

Here's some inspiration for the month!
A cool little collection of drabbles.

A collection of flash fiction inspired by unusual words. Each tiny tale is crafted around a word that is unique or no longer in use. Read them while waiting in line or before bed. They range from sweet and lighthearted to dark and disturbing. Look out for the supernatural, but don’t turn your back on the average human. A killer might be lurking underneath. Expand your vocabulary, and get some inspiration of your own.

Buy links: B&N * Kobo * Smashwords

 
About the Author:

Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was more of an art and band geek. Some stories are meant to be told, and now she can't stop writing. She writes Young Adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Links:

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Writing Update


The first draft of Totem #7 is done.
The first draft of #8 is almost done.
I have no idea where the story is going to take me in #9.

But then it will be done. I'm eager to move on to a new world.

And now I want to change all my covers to something like this!

I'm pushing to finish #8. I'll see you next Wednesday for the IWSG. Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Word Witch Wednesday - the dreaded author photo


I hate having my picture taken. I prefer to be the photographer. I work alone, tucked away in my writing cave, with no care how I look most of the time. My typical uniform during the week is a geeky t-shirt or hoodie and flannel pajama bottoms.

Most writers tend to be the same way. We want to share our words with the world. Not our faces!

I've had the same author photo for a while now, and I'm bored of it. I no longer think it looks like me. Okay, it does, sorta. But I want something different.

Plus, I want to cut my hair very soon. It's long right now. Every time I get more than 12 inches past my shoulders, I cut it and donate it. (Here's a good article with the differences of donating to Pantene and Locks of Love.) I don't wear short hair well, so I want to get in a photo with my long hair.

I put a lot of thought into my author photo. It is a key factor in branding yourself as an author. I'm not going to take a selfie in my writer's uniform or have my kid take one of me folding laundry. I want it to represent me as confident and professional.

I have a plain background in the photo I have now, but I either want books or something outdoorsy in the new one. Do I smile or scowl at the camera look serious? Do I go with a traditional pose or try something different? Can I pull off quirky?

I also have the difficulty rating of being an author of multi-genres. Romance authors tend to go with sexier photos. Fantasy authors with something a little magical. Urban fantasy writers go dark. I'm an author of all these things.

I could photoshop something great, but it has to be realistic. It must represent me as a writer.

What author photos stand out to you? Any favorites? Is it acceptable to take a picture of my cat in front of the computer and go with that?


Friday, March 17, 2017

Get Lucky Sale & Giveaway, Plus 3 Freebies!

http://fantasybookgiveaways.blogspot.com/

Happy St. Patrick's Day! While my little guy is making a trap to catch a leprechaun, I'll be filling my e-reader with all these awesome paranormal romance and urban fantasy books. These stories are on sale for a limited time, but if you have Kindle Unlimited (KU), you can read them any time for free! KU is as good as finding a pot of books at the end of the rainbow.

You can also enter to win a fantastic bundle of books. My urban fantasy, Of Blood and Sorrow, is included in the prize. Click on either of the images to take you to Fantasy Book Giveaways!

http://fantasybookgiveaways.blogspot.com/

* * * * *

More good luck is coming your way! I'm offering three of my steamy novellas for free for the next five days. Three for free! If you have KU, you can read all three series for free. Just click on the images to get your free copies from Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Loose-Corset-Dice-Debauchery-Book-ebook/dp/B01N7W21CP

https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Dancer-Paramours-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MTDBT8N

https://www.amazon.com/Big-Yearning-Sasquatch-Susies-Book-ebook/dp/B01NAXR6Q2

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks cover reveal!

I'm excited to help reveal the cover for the Where Words Fail, Music Speaks Anthology, which is scheduled for release April 21, 2017.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry by writers from all walks of life.

Each story is based on the titles of 90s Britpop songs, including Come Back To What You Know, Bittersweet Symphony, Animal Nitrate, Disco 2000, and more.


Our list of authors is: Kyra Lennon, Clare Dugmore, Annalisa Crawford, Wesley Copeland, Robb Turburville, D H Sidebottom, Audrina Lane, M.B. Feeney, Karen Frances, S.J Warner, Scout Dawson, Kimberly Morgan, Maddie Wade, Rebeccalou Heronpontin, Andrea Coventry

All proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to Clusterbusters.






Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Monday, March 13, 2017

Incense and Peppermints Blitz & #Giveaway


Incense and Peppermints
by Cathrina Constantine
Publication date: March 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Peace demonstrations, sit-ins, and burning the U.S. flag following the escalation of the Vietnam War are leading to a catalyst known to the world as the Sixties, and a musical revolution, flower power, hippies, marijuana, and drugs are carrying the generations—young and old—into a new decade. All the while sixteen-year-old Mary Monroe is caught between being an innocent good girl and an autumn of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.

When her brother offers a solution to her dilemma in the form of a little pill, Mary ignores the rumba in her brain and takes a walk on the wild side. Plunged into popularity and a life she’s only imagined, she meets Michael Covington, the hot newcomer, and she’s instantly drawn in by his less than flawless exterior and bad boy sex appeal. Caught up in the danger and excitement as they drift from party to party, into underground fight clubs, and through a series of drug and alcohol fueled adventures, Mary follows her new crush into a world where young girls are never truly safe from the predators lurking in the shadows and young men are hiding from the harsh reality of war.

Feeling buzzed and as if her life is spinning out of control, Mary is assaulted by an unknown man at a party, and she’s left questioning if the enigmatic Michael is truly her hero or if he is the face behind the terrible attack. With every piece of information Mary learns about Michael, her doubts grow deeper, but with every minute she spends in his presence, so does her love.

With the war and her fear threatening to separate Mary and Michael forever, only the death of a friend, a crushing confession, and her own sensibilities can carry her over the threshold between adolescence and adulthood.




AUTHOR BIO:
Cathrina Constantine is the Best Selling author of Don’t Forget To Breathe. Her book won Readers’ Favorite International Book Award for 2015 and The Literary Classics Seal of Approval and Literary Classics Gold Award. Her Paranormal Fantasy, Wickedly They Come has been awarded the 5 Star Seal from Reader’s Favorite. Tallas from her dystopian series received Literary Classics Silver Award and Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

Cathrina resides in Western New York with her husband, five children, two Labrador Retrievers and her cat, Bones. Author @chbbpublishing. Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly. When not attached to her computer, she likes to take long walks in the woods with her dogs, drink way too much coffee, and is an avid movie watcher. She loves music and doesn’t need a dance floor to shake a leg.

Author links: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


* * * * *
I can't wait to read Cathrina's new book! Maybe I'll get to this week. My little guy's on spring break. So I'll be absent from the digital world. Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Word Witch Wednesday - The Quest to Perfect the Newsletter


I've been trying different strategies when it comes to my newsletter (NL), and I'm forever researching them. I've even signed up for dozens of them. Probably more than 100. Yeah, you can imagine how my inbox looks!

But it is very helpful in seeing how authors set up their NLs, what works and what doesn't, and what motivates subscribers to keep reading.

Here's the info I gathered:
- authors who send out their NLs daily offer little more than "buy my or my friends' books"
- authors who send out their NLs weekly have more exclusive content, but still are mainly just advertising books
- authors who send out their NLs monthly (or less) feature the most personal content and news

- almost all authors offer something free to new subscribers
- a few authors offer something for free in every NL while more hold giveaways
- giveaways for gift cards get more responses than giveaways for books

- most authors only offer excerpts or first chapters when a new release comes out
- less than half talk about what they're writing now
- less than half have a NL and a blog
- less than 10% of authors talk about what's going on their lives

My preferences as a reader:
- I don't like the daily NLs, and I especially don't like the NLs where the author is advertising another author's books and says nothing at all about what they personally are doing
- I will enter giveaways, but only for books if I like the author's work
- I read NLs most often when they offer something special or personal like their experience at a recent signing, a family trip, or a regular feature that isn't focused on books

What I have tried as an author:
- I offered up a free ebook to new subscribers. It's not much of a motivator, and I would prefer to sell the book instead. After my poll on Monday, I have decided to write a short story that will be exclusive to new subscribers.
- I've tried drip campaigns (a series of NLs sent every week). Subscribers do not respond better or worse to them. I get the same amount of opens and clicks for the campaigns as I do normally.
- I sent out one NL recently that offered no giveaways or freebies. I had the most amount of unsubscribes I've ever gotten and my first spam complaint.
- I've tried numerous NL swaps. They did not bring me more subscribers or sales.

What I am going to try this year:
- I will pull back on how frequently I send out my NL. My next one comes out on March 17th, and then I won't send out another until mid-April. Monthly (except on special occasions) seems like the best way to go for me.
- I will try to always have a giveaway or freebie involved, whether it be one I'm participating in or a link to an author's I like.
- I want to add in personal news and/or a feature, but I still want to keep the NL separate from my blog. They are not the same thing, and I won't treat them as such.

Do you have a newsletter? Do you subscribe to any? What do you like and don't like about them?

Monday, March 6, 2017

I Want To Know Your Opinion


Do you subscribe to authors' newsletters? Why? What motivates you to sign up?

I've been striving to increase my subscribers. Giveaways attract new readers, but then there's a bunch of unsubscribes when they don't win or if you don't offer another giveaway in the next newsletter.

Right now, I offer new subscribers an ebook (The 13th Floor Complete Collection) as a thank you for signing up. I'd prefer to have readers buy the book, though.

I've been considering writing a new short story or novelette and offering that exclusively to new subscribers. I want my readers to know they're special, and I hope this lets them know they are. That way they'll stick around.

I want to know what you think. Would a new and exclusive story motivate you to sign up for an author's newsletter? What do you think is the best way to appeal to subscribers?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Great opportunity for promoting!


I'm part of a fantastic group called Fantasy Book Giveaways along with two talented authors, T.F. Walsh and A.A. Chamberlynn. Every month or so, we organize and host a sale and giveaway for paranormal romance and urban fantasy authors. It's a marvelous way to promote your book and it's free! We have a huge combined audience, and the more authors that participate, the more readers we can reach.

This month is our Get Lucky! book fair. We're featuring books that are in Kindle Unlimited. If you're interested, pop on over and sign up.

I'll remind you later this month about the event so you can enter to win the big prize bundle of books!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

#IWSG for March 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Tamara Narayan, Patsy Collins, M.J. Fifield, and Nicohle Christopherson!

IWSG Question of the Month: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I keep all my old stories. On occasion, I'll go back and read one, and most of the time I come away laughing or stunned. It is shocking how far I've come writing-wise. Some of those old ones are really, REALLY bad. But I keep them around just in case I ever do want to rewrite one or take an idea from it for something else.

I have one character that has been with me for over a decade. I wrote a trilogy for her many years ago and queried agents with it. I had no idea how to market myself properly, and so it didn't get picked up. Plus the writing was not as strong as it could have been.

This character would not leave my head. A few years ago, I started to rewrite the trilogy. I couldn't get it right. I tried a half dozen different beginnings, but nothing was clicking. So I pushed it aside again.

She's still with me. I have a new idea for her. One I think will work. She'll have to get into the queue with my other stories, though. Yet I believe she's strong enough to wait around. Maybe not quite so patient, but she's going to make certain I write her story eventually!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

RPGs & Writing - guest post by Steven Arellano Rose Jr.


RPGs: Child’s Play We Writers Still Play
By Steven Arellano Rose, Jr.

Many of us speculative fiction writers have been playing RPGs (role playing games) since as far back as kindergarten. However, the RPGs we played at that early age weren’t necessarily card, board or video games. Many of them were live action RPGs (also known as LARPs). Like other RPGs, LARPs involve players assuming the roles of a game’s characters. Unlike other RPGs, they involve the players physically acting out the characters and their situations.

Many gaming groups go to parks and act out their favorite fantasy, sci fi or even horror characters (zombies have become popular for this type of gaming). This form of activity, LARP, contains structured plots and rules where players are rewarded points when meeting certain challenges. But, because these are role playing games, the plots are often not fixed but are continuously developing by the players and their characters’ actions and decisions. Well, perhaps minus the game point system, many of us have been playing RPGs of this sort since as early as age five.

 
Before we reached teenage-hood when we would get more freedoms, our world was that of books, TV, movies and video games. And so we mimicked the characters of those medias. It wasn’t enough to simply watch them on screen or even maneuver them on it by way of a gamepad. We wanted to participate in the adventures of our favorite characters of science fiction and fantasy because we got tired of the everyday world of school and home controlled by adults. So we played LARPs. This was common with all us kids. The only difference between us writers of speculative fiction and other grownups today is that we never stopped playing out these childhood fantasies. We never stopped playing RPGs.

All that said, my first experience with LARPs that I can remember was when I was around five or six back in the ‘70s. I, my brother and friends would engage in our active fantasies of super hero adventures, especially Batman which was one of our favorites. We did similar with Star Trek’s characters. Then when the first Star Wars movie came out we played our favorite characters from that, acting out our own stories and adventures. That was the great thing: unlike the comic books, TV shows and movies these characters came from, we didn’t have to stick to the storyline of a single episode or movie; we could develop our own stories, creating our own adventures and journeys into our imaginations.

As an adult, I play RPGs in the form of board, card, and video games. I don’t get as much time as I would like to play them and much less time for LARPs. Whenever I get a weekend void of any events or am just plain board with everyday routine, I’ll play electronic RPGs such as Facebook’s Vampire Wars, Spore, or Beast Quest, or deck-based ones such as Arkham Horror. Some people can never stop playing their childhood fantasies and so are die-hard players of these and live action games. But don’t get me wrong, I’m proudly far from immune from this Peter Pan syndrome of a type. That’s why I write science fiction and horror.

Fiction is, in many ways, RPG in writing. When I write science fiction or horror, I have to take up the role and so the mentality of not only my protagonists but also my antagonists and secondary or minor characters. In order to advance the story I need to know what my characters would do in given situations and when I make one character handle a situation differently than another would, doing so takes the story in a direction different than the one it started in.

So I’m a writer of fantastic fiction because I am one of those people who can’t stop playing RPGs of a sort. We writers and artists of speculative fiction are Lost Boys and Girls; we refuse to grow up.


Author Bio

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. is a freelance writer and artist. He published his first short fiction collection, The Fool’s Illusion, in 2013 and recently came out with a horror short story, “Circa Sixty Years Dead”, on Kindle. Besides horror and dark fantasy, Steven writes science fiction, movie reviews and computer technology articles.
The following are Steven’s many other interests: treasure hunting for ‘60s and ‘70s pop cultural artifacts; jazz, rock and disco; video games; diet colas; history; mythology; Eastern meditation. You can catch him at his blog www.FarOutFantastic.blogspot.com or tweet him at @Starosep2.

 
Links To Books

The Fool’s Illusion: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F785ZJQ

Circa Sixty Years Dead”: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LHCFW5M

Monday, February 20, 2017

Doubling the Reviews, Doubling the Awesome Reads!

These two books are from the Fated & Forbidden series. A group of authors wrote stories which all took place in the same universe and share one amazing hook!

Dark Burn by Decadent Kane

Blurb: The challenge wasn't meant to be easy. They were set up to fail from the beginning.

Priya's the last of her kind...
After death takes the only family Priya has ever known, she ventures out to find others like her, those who catch fire and fly. But shadow hunters prowl the night ready to kill firebirds like her, and one has found her trail. After a narrow escape she runs into the kind of man she shouldn't want...a man with silver eyes as if the very moon has been trapped inside his gaze.
His help won't be enough when Nicholas finds her.

Doulzen is a shade by birth, shadow hunter by rite...
When an extinct white firebird flies through the night sky, fire blazing behind the creature, he knows he has to have it. Pulling the shadows in, he notches his arrow and downs his prey, but when he arrives to catch it, he finds a female running from someone instead. He promised himself he wouldn't be her protector, he'd get her where she needed to go, but when Nicholas shows up and takes Priya from him, Doulzen finds the mark that tells him she is his fated mate. With darkness at his heels, he will stop at nothing to get her back as his very existence relies on it.

When Priya and Doulzen find out each other's secrets, it will take a lot more than fate to bring them back together.

My review: Priya believes she's the last of her kind. A race of beautiful shifters called firebirds. When her Gran dies, she plans to visit family she never met in another city, but a man who is stalking her chases her away too quickly, and she is injured by a hunter. Doulzen is that shadow hunter, but he has no idea the mystery behind the creature he hunts. When he comes across Priya instead of his prey, he vows to help her in exchange for firebird feathers, but he might find more than he bargained for when her stalker steals her away. In that moment, Doulzen discovers she is his intended mate, and he'll stop at nothing to get her back.

A compelling paranormal romance that hooked me from the beginning and wouldn't let go. My heart went out to Priya immediately at not only the loss of her grandmother, but not knowing the anything about what she is and her past. Sheltered as she is, she's a strong and admirable woman. Doulzen is a sinuous hunter who must deal with finding out everything he knows may be a lie. The tension between him and Priya is sizzling. Nicholas is a detestable villain and puts the heroes in what seems like an impossible situation. Fast action, great tension, and oh-my-god twists.


Fallen Ashes by T.F. Walsh

Blurb: As the last of her kind, Fallen awakes in a holding cell, but being locked up is the least of her problems.

She's been magically bound to a cocky Queen's Guardian named Saber. Because Fallen is the last dragon shifter in Tapestry, she's on everyone's hit list... especially his... but she doesn't have time to die by his hand. Fallen has to find her life mate in four weeks or else all of creation in her world will be destroyed.

Saber never asked to be brought to life. He certainly never wanted to be hexed and forced to transform into a mindless shadow assassin. Exiled from the Kingdom, he must rescue his stepfather from the Collector to prove his innocence. Otherwise he'll be hunted and killed. But his plans are temporarily put on hold when he's captured, imprisoned, and bound to a mysterious blond-haired vixen with a major fire addiction.

With time ticking away for Saber and Fallen, will the two be able to come together to defeat the Collector and save themselves, along with the rest of the world?

My review: Fallen is the last of her kind and trapped in a holding cell. Bound by some frustrating spell to a gorgeous Queen's Guardian named Saber, they escape and flee. Their captors hunt them relentlessly as they try to learn to work together. Fallen has no time for the chase. She must find her life mate within four weeks or her world will be extinguished. Saber doesn't believe in her dreams and is determined to prove himself innocent of being exiled by saving his stepfather from the same villain that captured him. They must hurry or all could be lost for both of them.

This is one of my favorite books from T.F. Walsh. It's a unique premise of two parallel worlds; one our modern day society and the other, a magical fantasy land filled with both darkness and beautiful wonders. Walsh's lush descriptions of places and the monsters really bring the story to life. I especially loved she included the Hoia Baciu Forest. It's a haunting and fascinating place in Romania.

Fallen is a heroine that kicks butt. She's immediately sympathetic, and I rooted for her from the first scene. Paired with Saber, she's fiery in so many ways! I do love the story behind Saber and what motivates him. The tension between the two of them is hot, and I loved seeing how they worked with the chaos of their emotions with the conflicts going on. Noah is a villain you'll love to hate, and you'll wonder often if he's more than a match for Fallen and Saber. Tons of action and mystery. I couldn't get enough of this story. I ate it up as fast as I could!