Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas/Seasons Greetings to Everyone

I've been mostly absent from blogging this year
but plan to return in January with regular reviews.
Thanks to all that have stuck with me and all the
best to to you and yours
.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Days of the Dead Tour with Gail Z. Martin



Author Gail Z. Martin is hosting her annual Days of the Dead blog tour, and she’s kicking it off with plenty of giveaways, special interviews, downloadable treats and hot news.  We have one of only five different interviews Gail has done with her vayash moru (vampires), a group that play a significant role in all of her Chronicles of the Necromancer and Fallen Kings Cycle books.

In anticipation of the release of The Dread, Book 2 in The Fallen Kings Cycle January 31, 2012, Gail has most generously provided a prize pack of a set of the books to date (signed!) which include The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen and The Sworn.  This is an action-packed epic fantasy with terrific supernatural elements and I highly recommend it to UF fans that also like fantasy.

To enter the contest, please fill out the form below. Feel free to leave a comment for Gail or if you have read the series share some impressions with other readers.




Interview with Kolin
By Gail Z. Martin, author of The Chronicles of the Necromancer and The Fallen Kings Cycle series.

Here, I'd like to introduce you to Kolin, a 250 year-old vayash moru in the service of Lady Riqua of the Blood Council.  In the Temnottan conflict, he has been charged with protecting Aidane, a Nargi ghost whore who has communicated vital information from the spirits to aid Queen Berwyn and the Principality forces.

Q:  What has immortality taught you?

A:  That memory is also immortal and a heart that no longer beats may still break.

Q:  Lady Riqua has given you great freedom, first to lead the efforts of the Ghost Carriage to help persecuted vayash moru escape from Nargi, and then to accompany Jonmarc Vahanian north to Principality City as Aidane's bodyguard.  Why?

A:  Jonmarc Vahanian has been a patron and champion of the Ghost Carriage, allowing us to use Dark Haven as a place of safety.  He has risked everything on our account more than once, although he is mortal.  For that, he has earned my loyalty and the admiration of Lady Riqua.

Q:  You have the skills to fight on the front lines, yet you remain in the Principality castle protecting Aidane and Queen Berwyn.  Is this the best use of your talent?

A:  The queen is young and newly come to her throne at a time of great danger.  My presence in the palace helps to assure her safety.  Aidane brings a rare and valuable gift to the service of the queen in support of the war effort.  I would protect both the queen and Aidane at any price.

Q:  What is your biggest disappointment about immortality?

A:  That even the passage of centuries does not erase regret.

Please check out my Days of the Dead online blog tour—there are lots of other free downloads, drawings for free books, excerpts, interviews and fun—details are at www.ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer.com




Saturday, August 13, 2011

Winner - Jennifer Estep "Touch of Frost" Giveaway


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Randomizer selected entry number 24 submitted by -

Sara Chamama

Sara is the winner of a copy of Jennifer Estep's debut YA fantasy Touch of Frost. 

Congratulations Sara and thank you Jennifer.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guest Author – Jennifer Estep



I’m always excited to welcome today’s guest,Jennifer Estep whose  Elemental Assassins series is one of my favourite urban fantasy reads.  Today Jennifer is here to launch the debut book in her new YA Mythos Academy urban fantasy series – Touch of Frost.

Jennifer is kindly offering a giveaway of a copy of Touch of Frost to one lucky winner from US/Canada. Just leave a comment responding to Jennifer’s question in her post and complete the giveaway entry form below.

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My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died. . .

MYTHOS ACADEMY SERIES

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to thank Doug for having me on the blog today. Thanks so much, Doug!

My name is Jennifer Estep, and I write the Mythos Acad­emy young adult urban fantasy series for Kens­ing­ton. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psy­chom­e­try, or the abil­ity to know an object’s his­tory just by touch­ing it. After a seri­ous freak-out with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos Acad­emy, a school for the descen­dants of ancient war­riors like Spar­tans, Valkyries, Ama­zons, and more.

Touch of Frost, the first book, came out on July 26. First Frost, a prequel e-story to the series, is also available now. Kiss of Frost, the second book in the series, will hit shelves on Nov. 29.

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Since I’ve just published a young adult (YA) book, I thought I would talk about some of the things that I think are cool about the YA genre. Here goes:

All the great books out there: Some of my favorite reads in recent years have been YA books, including new books that I’ve discovered like Beastly by Alex Flinn, along with old favorites like Beauty by Robin McKinley. There are so many terrific books that have come out in the past few years that it’s just a great time to be a fan of the genre – or to go back and discover some books that maybe you overlooked when they first came out.

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All the buzz: It seems like YA is the one genre that everyone gets excited about reading these days, from teens to parents to adults. There always seems to be some new book that everyone is buzzing about that I need to add to my TBR pile, and I love all the interest in the various titles. I think it’s great whenever folks are interested in reading a book, whether it’s YA or in some other genre.

The interesting covers: I’m a sucker for a cool book cover, and I think YA books have some of the most gorgeous and most eye-catching covers around. Every time I go to the bookstore, I always end up browsing through the YA section just so I can look at all the interesting covers. I really like the covers for Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series; White Cat by Holly Black; and Heist Society by Ally Carter, among many others.

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The action: I like books with a lot of pulse-pounding action, so YA is right up my alley. It doesn’t get much more action-packed than books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

37595179The strong heroines: I love reading about strong heroines, and the YA genre has plenty of them, including everyone from teen thief Katarina Bishop in the Heist Society series by Ally Carter to a princess who can kill with her bare hands like Katsa in Graceling by Kristin Cashore. You girls (and so many others in the YA genre) just rock.

The variety: Whether you like epic fantasy or mysteries or something else, you’re bound to find some YA books that appeal to you. The variety is one of the things that I love most about the genre. No matter what kind of book I’m in the mood for, I know that I can find a YA title that will take me away to another world. I consider it time well spent.


Jennifer’s Question
What about you guys? What do you like about the YA genre? What are some of your favorite YA books right now?


MORE ABOUT JENNIFER
Jennifer Estep is a USA Today bestselling author who also writes the Ele­men­tal Assas­sin urban fan­tasy series for Pocket Books. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assas­sin code­named the Spi­der who can con­trol the ele­ments of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing peo­ple and right­ing wrongs, Gin runs a bar­be­cue restau­rant called the Pork Pit in the fic­tional South­ern metrop­o­lis of Ash­land. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vam­pires, and ele­men­tals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

Books in the series are Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, and Tan­gled Threads. Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book, will be released on Sept. 27. Visit www.jenniferestep.com for free short stories, excerpts, and more.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cover Art – Unbroken by Rachel Caine

FORTHCOMING RELEASE

Release Date: February 7, 2012
Series: Outcast Season, Book 4
Genre: Urban Fantasy


Unbroken_full
 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Forthcoming Fantasy TV - Spartacus: Vengeance

VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED

Looking forward to the third season of this in January 2012.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hush, Rings, Queen of Kings and Other Things

This post was originally planned for this past Friday (the 13th haha) but went into the ozone during Bloggers meltdown. So here are some miscellanea for you today of items that have recently crossed my console. What news do you have?

QUEEN OF KINGS by MARIA HEADLEY
This book video came through my inbox and it the book sounds intriguing. Have a watch and let me know what you think. I'll be running a giveaway for a copy shortly.



HUSH, HUSH GRAPHIC NOVEL UPDATE
Hollywood Crush (MTV) offers up this teaser for the Patch character and an interview with the author for the new Hush, Hush graphic novel from Becca Fitzpatrick coming this October. Hollywood Crush remarks that after seeing Jennyson's vision of Patch and Nora, they're excited to see how he'll draw Nora's voluptuous BFF, Vee. Becca says -
"In my head, Vee is very attractive. In fact, Nora says that Vee is prettier than she is. But she is bigger-boned, and I'm curious to see how they draw her too," Becca said. And though she said some of her more vocal readers aren't big fans of Nora's sassy, boy-crazy friend, Becca stands by her character. "I love Vee. She's my favorite character. I've always said that. You have this angsty teenage moments going on, but you need something light. You need those moments where you can just step back and laugh, and Vee does that."



LORD OF THE RINGS BACK IN THEATRES
Return to Middle-earth as the most magical epic adventure in motion picture history comes to the big screen this June for a three-night theatrical event series. NCM Fathom and Warner Home Video are bringing all three The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition films to movie theaters nationwide so that you an experience them the way they were meant to be seen – on the big screen!

The events will begin with a new and personal introduction for each film from The Lord of the Rings™ director Peter Jackson captured from the set of his current film, and The Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit, and will be immediately followed by the Extended Edition feature presentations which altogether include nearly three hours of additional feature footage carefully selected by Peter Jackson.

The Academy Award®-winning trilogy will be featured in an exclusive series of three in-theater events including The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring™ on June 14, 2011; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers™ on June 21, 2011; and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King™ on June 28, 2011. Each event will begin at 7:00 p.m. local time.

Participating theaters and
tickets can be found at www.fathomevents.com limited seats available!

Be sure to check out TheOneRing.net and WetaWorkshop for more information about The Lord of the Rings™.

KELLEY ARMSTRONG APPEARANCE
Kelley Armstrong will be doing a guest appearance in Hanover Ontario this month.

May 31
7:30  P.M.
Reading Series
Hanover Public Library
451 10th Ave.
Hanover, ON

Info: hanover.ca
$5. Available at the Door.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Guest Post – Author, Heather Massey (and Giveaway)

HeatherMassey2My guest today is debut author Heather Massey who is also the publisher of the superlative blog The Galaxy Express. Heather is a leading proponent of the science fiction romance sub-genre and has recently publisher first SFR novel, Once Upon a Time in Space.

Those that think there isn’t enough action in paranormal romance or SFR should to take a serious look at Once Upon in Space. The clue is in the title to Heather’s novel which is an homage to film director Sergio Leone’s Once a Time in the West, a peerless spaghetti western. Heather discusses sex and violence and pushing boundaries in today’s guest post.

As part of todays appearance, Heather is offering a free copy of Once Upon a Time in Space to a random commenter.
Heather wants to know about a boundary-pushing book you’ve read—any genre, any medium—so readers seeking fresh territory to conquer can discover some new titles.
Complete details at the end of the post.

WELCOME HEATHER!



Pushing Boundaries


Preacher imageOne of the most controversial comic book series of all time is Preacher (1996), a darkly subversive paranormal action thriller from writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon. In fact, Preacher was so controversial that HBO even abandoned its planned film adaptation. The move was a surprising case of cold feet for the boundary-pushing network that brought us The Sopranos and other daring shows. Frankly, that kind of reaction just made me want to read the Preacher even more.

Here’s the premise, courtesy of publisher Vertigo:
“One of the most celebrated comics titles of the late 1990s, PREACHER is a modern American epic of life, death, love and redemption also packed with sex, booze, blood and bullets - not to mention angels, demons, God, vampires and deviants of all stripes.

At first glance, the Reverend Jesse Custer doesn't look like anyone special-just another small-town minister slowly losing his flock and his faith. But he's about to come face-to-face with proof that God does indeed exist. Merging with a bizarre spiritual force called Genesis, Jesse now possesses the power of "the Word," an ability to make people do whatever he utters. He begins a violent and riotous journey across the country in search of answers from the elusive deity.”
Preacher is a wild card not only because of its religious themes, but also its extreme violence, graphic sex, profanity, irreverent humor…the list goes on and on. Executed in a classic western style, Preacher definitely pushed, shattered, and destroyed boundaries. At times, it seemed as though the creators did so intentionally—and gleefully. Incest? Check. Sick, twisted fetishes? Double-check.

For readers who like a little bit of romance with their blood & gore & religious controversy, the story also follows the relationship between Jesse and his long-lost girlfriend, Tulip. Tulip is as kick-butt as they come (and being the lusty gal that she is, she also, erm, comes quite a bit!).

Preacher is a genre mashup of mind-boggling proportions, and if you’re interested in taking a tour of Ennis & Dillon’s mad, mad, mad, mad world then I highly recommend it. If you’re a jaded horror/paranormal/urban fantasy fan, then this series is guaranteed to rejuvenate you faster than a vampire can suck your blood.

All of which goes to say that pushing boundaries is important. Mining new territory and prompting readers to question previously held assumptions lead to variety and innovation.

OnceUponATimeInSpace_cover
While I’m not out to push as many boundaries as Garth Ennis or Steve Dillon, I ended up pushing my fair share when I wrote my erotic sci-fi romance Once Upon a Time in Space (Red Sage Publishing). When it came to the action, conflict, characters, and sex scenes in this high-octane space opera romance, I didn’t hold back one iota. The first scene, in fact, features my space pirate heroine torturing a rather unfortunate soul.

Want to see for yourself? Download the first three chapters for free at my Web site. (Multiple formats available.)

I took a lot of risks with Once Upon a Time in Space even for science fiction romance, a decidedly niche subgenre. Some of the other risks I took with the story include—but aren’t limited to—the following:

High concept premise: Hero Nick Venture, the last living descendant of Christopher Columbus, embarks on a desperate quest to find a new world. Frankly, this premise will either excite you or prompt you to utter, “WTF?” Both reactions are valid.

Subversive heroine: Raquel Donovan, a.k.a. The Siren, is a ruthless space pirate with a mysterious past. As the ultimate anti-heroine, she isn’t about to let Nick just waltz right past her on his way to the new world. As I stated in my blog post 5 Reasons To Avoid Heather Massey’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE, Raquel “doesn’t just talk or reflect about doing bad, dangerous things. She actually does them. Her path to redemption is a fierce one.”

Beta hero: Nick’s journey is that of the reluctant hero. With Earth dying, he simply wants a decent home and a loving partner to share it with. Yes, he can pack a mean punch, but his true strength comes from both his courage and high emotional IQ.

Sex and violence: Nick and Raquel are hot, hot, hot for each other and aren’t afraid to let the reader know it. And despite the story’s fantastical elements, the scenes involving violence are rendered with an intense touch. Whenever a reference is made to a character with a gun, you can bet your sweet bippy he or she uses it. Also, western genre fans will be happy to know that there are at least eight face-offs in the story. Long live Sergio Leone!

So when it comes to pushing boundaries, there’s no contest: Go read Preacher if you dare! But if you’re interested in boundary-pushing of a different kind, I’m giving away a PDF copy of Once Upon a Time in Space to one winner.

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment for this post. While you’re at it, tell me about a boundary-pushing book you’ve read—any genre, any medium—so readers seeking fresh territory to conquer can discover some new titles.

About the Author:
love_letterHeather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for science fiction romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express.

And for European readers, she covers the subgenre for Germany’s premier romance magazine, LoveLetter.

When she’s not reading, she’s watching cult films and enjoying time with her husband and daughter.



Thursday, May 5, 2011

Guest Post – Anna DeStefano (and Giveaway)

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anna_destefanoIt is with pleasure that I welcome best-selling author Anna DeStefano to the blog. Secret Legacy, Anna’s second novel in her paranormal fantasy Legacy series was just released on May 2, Anna says the stories contain elements of paranormal, SF and contemporary fantasy. Anna’s guest post explains how this eclectic mix comes together.

To celebrate Secret Legacy's May release, Dark Legacy, Book 1 in the series, is a FREE eBook from May 2nd-9th on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and Diesel Books. Grab yourself a copy and enjoy the ride!

GIVEAWAY:

One winner for a free ebook download of Secret Legacy direct from Dorchester and one winner for a signed copy of Dark Legacy from Anna. Open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes May 14.  Please complete the form at the end of the post.

Secret Legacy at Amazon
Dark Legacy at Amazon

As always feel free to leave a comment or question. WELCOME ANNA!

Sci-fi/Fantasy... I've had more conversations about the term in the last few years than I did in my entire geeky, Trekkie youth. On KindleBoards, on fantasy forums, through GoodReads networks, in person etc. Everyone has an opinion. Some are purist. Some enjoy variety. But everyone who digs what's now considered speculative fiction is searching for more of what they love, and there so much variety on the market there's little chance of the genre boring you.

Coming from a romantic suspense background already makes me an odd duck in many circles, including my growing involvement with International Thriller Writers. Especially there, since my thrillers are more psychic fantasy than mystery/suspense.

Well, they're contemporary fantasies with a strong scientific basis for my world building that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Three-fourths of the action in my latest release, Secret Legacy, takes place in dream sequences shared between the protagonist and the scientists and psychic warriors battling for control of her mind. Think of the movie Inception, and you'll get an idea of how the lucid dreaming and shared dreaming science behind these books plays out. Though, let me just say that Dark Legacy was written and published long before the movie hit theaters ;o).


Of course, Secret Legacy also focuses on the family dynamics between my psychic twins and the romantic relationship between my protagonist and the "watcher" who's already once before betrayed her to his Brotherhood. My reputation for writing something that doesn't quite fit into any genre box has been sealed.

The Legacy series is just different. Romance. But not really. Sci-fi/fantasy, but not space battles and warships. Thriller, but not procedural, even though the life-or-death focus on solving the mystery/crime is there from page one. Fantasy. The escape is so contemporary that I hope you'll leave my Legacy world wondering if things like this could really be happening all around you.

98427992It shouldn't be so surprising that these novels are now racked in sci-fi/fantasy. After all, that's what I craved when I read as a kid and a teenager. My research for current and future Legacy novels involves months of gleefully scouring books on metaphysics and parapsychology (my current favorite is Michio Kaku--I'm tearing through his backlist and his latest, Physics of the Future). I've based the alternate reality in my books, the Psychic Realm, on fringe science that I've always been fascinated with. For as long as I can remember, active (and interactive) dreams and odd kinetic occurrences have been a regular part of my life. And now they're part of my creativity. My career. My story.

darklegacyThe odd thing, when I think about it, is why it's taken me so long to embrace the "different" types of realities and characters I want to create, even while I continue to pursue my career in classic romance. What happens next in my fantasy novels remains to be seen. Going forward, I'm trying not to tie myself down to being exactly this or that, the way I have with other work. With these stories, I'm not so determined to fit within a single set of expectations. I'm committed to breaking even more boundaries.

All I know for certain, as I dive back into the series to write a three-book continuation for another Legacy family with even more interesting psychic gifts, is that I've never been happier or more creatively inspired!

A blurb for Secret Legacy is below, along with an interview I did for the series. An excerpt is up on my website (www.annawrites.com), and I blog weekly about the Dream Theories and Psychic Realm behind my psychic fantasies (www.annawrites.com/blog). Join me. I'd love to hear what you think!

Oh! And to celebrate Secret Legacy's May release, Dark Legacy, Book 1 in the series, is a FREE eBook from May 2nd-9th on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and Diesel Books. Grab yourself a copy and enjoy the ride!
**************
secretlegacy
“Help me...” cries the child from Sarah Temple’s nightmare. The voice haunts her more every day, whether Sarah's awake or asleep.

A month before, Sarah made the same plea. She barely escaped the covert organization experimenting with her psychic ability. Now, exposing their secrets is the only way to save the lost little girl who's become the next target–a special child who can manipulate dreams and alter people’s will.

But is Sarah’s mysterious link to the girl a clue, or a tactic of her captors to lure her back? The only way to be sure is to trust the man who broke her heart in order to save her life. A psychic warrior honor bound by a centuries-old brotherhood to protect Sarah and safeguard the...Secret Legacy.
"A gripping romantic thriller that will keep you turning pages to the very end." –New York Times Bestselling Author C. L. Wilson for Dark Legacy

“The Legacy books are a sexy, spine-tingling home run for me! ” –Jessica Andersen, Best-selling, Award Winning Author of the Final Prophecy novels

“Whether you prefer Thrillers, Suspense, Romance or even Fantasy this is the book for you...[Secret Legacy] will leave you utterly satisfied and yet demanding the next book in the series the moment you finish reading the last page.” –Rochester Writing Examiner

“A wonderful sequel to Dark Legacy. Unique worldbuilding with complex characters of psychic dreamers fighting to discover and pursue their own destinies. A powerful story of love, betrayal and redemption, beautifully rendered.” –Robin D. Owens, RITA Award Winning author of Fantasy, Futuristic Romance


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Guest Post – Jennifer Estep (and Giveaway)

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Jennifer-Estep Tangled Threads the fourth and penultimate book in Jennifer Estep’s deservedly popular Elemental Assassin series was released April 26. Gin Blanco and her allies draw ever closer to exacting their revenge on Mab, the powerful fire elemental and criminal leader that dominates the city. Fans should love this latest installment, as the action is non-stop with plenty of thrills and a terrific setup for the fifth and final book in the series Spiders Revenge.

I asked Jennifer if she would be willing to do a guest post talking about the intricacies of plotting out a multi-book series and she was happy to oblige. This series is one of the best urban fantasy series going and I urge you to give it a try. And in order to do that Jennifer has kindly provided a copy of Tangled Threads, to be won in a random draw (simply fill out the form at the end of the post).

Jennifer will be dropping by today to respond to reader questions and comments, so please comment away. Jennifer has also posed a number of questions for readers in her post. Have your say.

Welcome Jennifer!


Plotting (Not just another assassination)


Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks to Doug for having me back on the blog today. Thanks so much, Doug!

So today, Doug asked me to talk a little about “the Tangled Threads of plotting” – in other words, how I plan out story arcs for my books. I’m four books into my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series now, since Tangled Threads was released on April 26.

tangled-threadsI like five-book story arcs – that’s what I have planned for the Elemental Assassin series. In the first book, Spider’s Bite, I introduced by heroine, Gin Blanco, aka the assassin the Spider, and the dark, gritty world of Ashland. By the end of book five, Spider’s Revenge, which comes out in October, Gin will confront her nemesis, Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who killed Gin’s mother and older sister when Gin was a kid.

Why five books? Well, I think that’s enough time/words for me to tell a good story and for readers to get really invested in the characters and their relationships, but not so long that folks will get bored waiting for Mab to figure out who Gin really is. As a reader, I’m not the biggest fan of series that just go on and on without closing out any of the story arcs.

Originally, I was contracted for three books in the series, so I knew I was taking a risk thinking about a five-book story arc. So when my publisher offered to buy books four and five in the series, I decided that I would have Gin confront Mab at the end of book five. That way, I could give readers a complete story, something I wanted to do just in case my publisher didn’t want any more books after these five.

I’m not much of a plotter. When it comes to actually writing the books, I’m pretty much a panster. I think of the villain, the main plot points, and what needs to happen in the book to drive the main story arcs forward. Then, I just sit down and write the book. But for the Elemental Assassin series, these were the major plot points that I had in mind for each book that would drive Gin and Mab toward their inevitable confrontation:

Book 1 – Spider’s Bite – Introduce readers to Gin and the city of Ashland.
Book 2 – Web of Lies – Gin finds out that Mab murdered her family.
Book 3 – Venom – Gin declares war on Mab, and her long-lost sister Bria comes back to Ashland.
Book 4 – Tangled Threads – Mab hires another assassin to find and kill Gin.
Book 5 – Spider’s Revenge – Gin and Mab have their big smackdown fight.


I’m not sure exactly why I settled on five books. Three seemed to be too short to tell the story I wanted to, and seven too long. I think the five-book arc appeals to me because you can set up the characters/world in books one and two, and then sort of turn everything on its head in book three, which can drive the story through books four and five. For example, in book three, Venom, Gin declares war on Mab, which sets up the action in Tangled Threads and Spider’s Revenge. Of course, I want to write more Gin books beyond these five, but that’s a post for another day. LOL.

Hopefully, readers will enjoy the story arc and all the adventures that Gin has getting to the end of book five. Fingers crossed, anyway. ;-)

What about you guys? How many books do you like in a story arc or series? How many books is too few or too many?


MORE ABOUT JENNIFER
Jennifer writes the Ele­men­tal Assas­sin urban fan­tasy series for Pocket Books. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assas­sin code­named the Spi­der who can con­trol the ele­ments of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing peo­ple and right­ing wrongs, Gin runs a bar­be­cue restau­rant called the Pork Pit in the fic­tional South­ern metrop­o­lis of Ash­land. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vam­pires, and ele­men­tals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

Books in the series are Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, and Venom. Tan­gled Threads, the fourth book, was pub­lished on April 26, while Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book, will be released in Octo­ber.

atouchofffrostJennifer also writes the Mythos Acad­emy young adult urban fan­tasy series for Kens­ing­ton. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psy­chom­e­try, or the abil­ity to know an object’s his­tory just by touch­ing it. After a seri­ous freak-out with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos Acad­emy, a school for the descen­dants of ancient war­riors like Spar­tans, Valkyries, Ama­zons, and more.

The first book, Touch of Frost, will be out in August, while the sec­ond book, Kiss of Frost, will hit shelves in Decem­ber. First Frost, a prequel e-short story to the series, will be out in July. Visit www.jenniferestep.com for excerpts and more.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guest Post – Jackie Morse Kessler (and Giveaway)

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SONY DSCToday I welcome Jackie Morse Kessler to the blog. Rage, the second book in Jackie’s Riders of the Apocalypse YA series has just recently been released and Jackie updates us on some of the themes surrounding the series including a preview of the forthcoming third book.

GIVEAWAY

Riders of the Apocalypse giveaway! Three lucky winners will receive one copy each of HUNGER and RAGE along with postcards and a mini-poster! To enter, send an e-mail to RageGiveaway@gmail.com. In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and e-mail address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 4/30/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 5/1/11 and notified via email.

Rage and Hunger giveaway_low res (1)


Got Issues?


By Jackie Morse Kessler

One of the questions I’ve been asked on panels has to do with the balance of paranormal elements and contemporary issues. When writing a novel that has both, where is the focus? Is it a contemporary novel with paranormal elements, or is it a paranormal story with contemporary issues? And the answer is... it depends. (Don’t you hate those answers?)

When I wrote HUNGER, I set out to tell a story about an anorexic teenage girl who becomes the new Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The focus of the book is on eating disorders, far more so than on the fantastical elements. If I stripped out the Horsemen from the book, there would still be a story there. It would be a very different story, but it would be there. But if I took away the eating disorders, there would be nothing left. 

It’s a similar situation for RAGE, which is about a teenage self-injurer who is tapped to become the new War. The book focuses on self-injury and, to a lesser degree, coping with bullying; the protagonist’s journey as she becomes War is very internal, even when she travels across the world. How she relates as War reflects how she is dealing with her need to cut. These books are less urban fantasy and more magical realism. And even though they have building elements in the books as a series, each book stands alone.

That being said, the third book, LOSS, is a departure — and not just because the protagonist is a boy instead of a girl. While the story looks at bullying, as well as coping with the effects of Alzheimer’s on a loved one, it also delves far more into the paranormal elements than the previous two books. It’s also longer than HUNGER or RAGE—which probably goes hand-in-hand with there being more exploration of the Horsemen along with the hero’s personal journey. In LOSS’s case, the contemporary issues and the paranormal elements complement one another far more so than in the first two books. Why? Because it felt right. There is no right or wrong here; some authors may feel that they can slip in contemporary issues while they focus more exclusively on the paranormal story, while others may feel that the two elements, paranormal and contemporary, should be equal partners. That’s the fun thing about writing—there are so many different ways to tell a story. :)

As for what will happen when I write BREATH...well. Stay tuned!

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Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home—her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power—and the courage to fight her own inner demons?

A wildly original approach to the issue of eating disorders, Hunger is about the struggle to find balance in a world of extremes, and uses fantastic tropes to explore a difficult topic that touches the lives of many teens.
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Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.

That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation,Rageis the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.
Jackie also writes adult urban fantasy and paranormals as Jackie Kessler. You can visit her at her two websites www.jackiemorsekessler.com and www.jackiekessler,com.

Hell On Earth Series
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The Icarus Project Series
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Guest Post – Michele Hauf (with Giveaway)

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If you like to indulge in a good paranormal romance you couldn’t do better than to try a book from Michele Hauf’s Beautiful Creatures series. And it just so happens that Michele has a new offering called Forever Vampire, involving a sparkly vampire (just one is, not all of them). Michele has a special post for us about the book and the lead characters definitely non-Twilight sparkliness.

Michele has a busy year ahead of her. Here are just some of the titles she has or will be releasing in 2011.

Michele's 2011 Releases

Michele is offering a copy of Seducing The Vampire and The Other Crowd (Rogue Angel #30) to one reader in a random draw. Please complete the form at the end of the post.

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Michele loves to hear from her readers so leave a comment or question for Michele.

WELCOME MICHELE !


Faery Dust & Vampires


I think I had the story FOREVER VAMPIRE halfway drafted out before I sat back one day and had a good ole wonder about my hero, Vaillant.  He'd been striding through the story with confidence and ease so far, and I was thoroughly in love with him, and so was the heroine.  But I said to myself, "This vampire grew up in Faery.  He's spent his whole life there.  Shouldn't he...sparkle?"

Immediately, I shivered.  Some readers do not take well to sparkly vamps.  Heck, I've never read the YA book that features vampires that sparkle, nor have I seen the movies, but I didn't want to go down that route.  fairy_dust But with more thought, I couldn't not go that way.  Faeries sparkle.  At least in my world they do.  Anyone who has spent any amount of time in Faery is certainly going to have some sparkle issues.

So that's how my vampire came to the mortal realm, all cocky and looking for vengeance, and...giving off a glint from the faery dust that seeped from his pores.  He doesn't flash or glow, but if you look at him in certain lights, well then.  I love him that way.  And I hope readers will too.  It makes him unique and also, it's the monkey on his back, because he's got a serious addiction to faery dust, and he doesn't realize it.  Poor guy.  Sure hope he finds a sexy vampiress to help him get over that problem.  (I suspect he will.)  :-)

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Vail the Unwanted is a pure-blooded vampire. But raised by Faery, he has neither home nor peace, and when his aid is sought in the recovery of a priceless diamond gown, his price is information. Specifically the whereabouts of his accursed father. His goal is revenge, and the supernaturally sexy Lyric, the icy blond vampiress with whom he must work, is a distraction he can't afford.

Outwardly as cold as the diamond dress in which she was kidnapped, Lyric has her own secrets. Desperate to break free from her criminal family, she aligns herself with the brooding Vail. Together they seek justice while each secretly works for freedom and a fresh start. For Lyric that means holding herself apart, even from the smoldering blue-eyed Vail. For Vail, it means a battle to the death for revenge—and for a temptress he can't deny.
To read the first two chapters, go here.



And to learn about all the characters in my Beautiful Creatures world go here: clubscarlet.michelehauf.com

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Here are some of the additional titles in the series:
  • Bewitching the Dark
  • Wicked Games
  • Of Angels and Demons
  • Seducing The Vampire
  • "This Glamorous Evil"
  • "Monsters Don't Do Xmas"
  • The Werewolf's Wife
  • Forever Wild

Friday, April 22, 2011

Guest Author – Karen Dales

karen_dalesCanadian urban fantasy author Karen Dales celebrated the launch of Shadow of Death: Book Two of the Chosen Chronicles. Karen has dropped by to tell us about the series and her unique twist on vampire mythology, something completely different.
BIO: Karen Dales was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is the author of The Chosen Chronicles. She began writing Changeling: Prelude to the Chosen Chronicles and Angel of Death: Book One of the Chosen Chronicles after she was inspired to create the character of  The Angel for an on-line role playing game she was part of. It was from that experience the birth of The Angel was formed and through years of research Karen fleshed out The Angel and other characters that  came to her.

Having completed York University’s Creative Writing courses years previously, Karen began to write Changeling and Angel of Death as one novel. It was on their completions that it was clear they were two distinct novels of an evolving series that has come to include Shadow of Death: Book Two of the Chosen Chronicles, which will be released April 8, 2011. Karen is currently writing the next installment  - Thanatos: Book Three of the Chosen.

In January 2011 Karen won the Siren Books Awards for Best Horror 2010 and Best Overall 2010.
You can follow Karen on Twitter on Facebook, and join her Facebook Fan Group.

Karen is always interested in hearing from you so please leave a comment or question for Karen. Welcome Karen !




Vampires are Hot!


I’m not just talking about the vampires you see or read about who are leading men material in paranormal romance. I’m taking about the fact that now, more than ever, we’re seeing vampires on the rise in fiction, television and in movies. But why?

That’s the real blood in the mix, isn’t it?

I was on the “Vampires of the Future” panel moderated by vampire author Nancy Kilpatrick at Ad Astra to discuss some of these issues, and though the talk only lasted an hour, I’m sure we could have gone on for the whole weekend. Regardless of what some people may believe, vampires are here to stay and may in fact be a burgeoning literary genre rather than a trope. One thing, as a vampire fan, that I have discovered, is that there seems to be two distinct vampire camps: Vampires as lovers/heroes as in paranormal romance and Vampires as monsters who would do anything to dominate, subdue, enslave and devour you like the little cow that you are. Sometimes you have these two types coming together where the good vampire beats the bad vampire. It works, but it isn’t something that is new.

interview_vampireIn my opinion it was with Anne Rice’s vampire novels that we truly see a new invention on an old idea. In essence, she gave us a new mythology behind vampires. No longer did vampires descend from the lineage of Vlad or Dracula, Ms Rice took the mythos far enough back in time to tie her mythos to the Egyptian mythos. It was brilliant. Unfortunately, there really hasn’t been a new incarnation or mythos of vampires since.

At least not until now…

I have endeavored to do just that through the story of The Angel in my series The Chosen Chronicles.

wpa466c6e0_05When I started writing the series, beginning with Changeling: Prelude to the Chosen Chronicles, I had several questions that came to mind. The main one was what the hell did vampires call themselves before the word vampire was even created?

It came to me…they were Chosen. They were Chosen out of humans to become something more, something powerful, but for what exact purpose? The answer to even that question was lost to antiquity, and for an immortal that’s a pretty long time. I do plan on answering it in Thanatos: Book Three of the Chosen Chronicles, which I’m currently writing.

Little does anyone know, including himself, the answers all surround The Angel.

In Changeling the reader is given The Angel’s origin story. It is in this novel where many questions arise about him and what it meant to be Chosen. There are two great hints in it; the fact that the Angel is believed to be the Welsh Lord of Death and the Hunt – Gwyn ap Nudd, and The Angel’s interaction with the white faced demons.

wp165af247It is in the next novel, Angel of Death: Book One of the Chosen Chronicles, that we are transported through time to the late Victorian age in London. The Angel truly is one of death and I draw upon Christian mythos to help validate our current image of the cloaked figure with skeletal paleness and a blade that cuts down people. It is not a mistake on my part that Gwyn ap Nudd was/is considered an Angel of Death, even today, mythologically speaking. As an author I used those and wove them together.

In the time of Angel of Death: Book One of the Chosen Chronicles, the Chosen have ‘bought into’ the idea that they were the vampires that publishers and penny dreadful published for the mass mortal market. The Chosen have bought into their own bad publicity despite the fact that they haven’t come out of the coffin. The only thing that alerts them that what is being written is not the truth of what they are are the discrepancies of description.

In Angel of Death, The Angel is commanded to the Mistress’ presence or see his Chooser, Father Paul Notus, (yep, he’s a Christian monk and a Chosen), killed. He is then given the task of finding out how the Chosens’ food supply (ie. Mortals) are becoming poisonous to the Chosen and put a stop to it. A solitary creature for the most part, The Angel ends up teaming up with Fernando de Sagres. Fernando is Chosen, but he has fallen into the ‘Vampire lifestyle’ and attitude. He’s the guy you love to hate. He’s also the type that loves a good meal, if you get my drift. The two Chosen are joined by Notus’ mortal housekeeper – Jeanie. She becomes the love interest of The Angel and it is in part her participation in the quest that keeps things very dangerous and interesting.

I’m not going to spoil the end by telling you whodunit, but through Angel of Death, more questions to the true origins of the Angel and how that fits in with the Chosen come about.

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In Shadow of Death: Book Two of the Chosen Chronicles, which was just released on April 8, 2011, I bring The Angel and Notus to my home town of Toronto about 100 years after Angel of Death. It is here that revenge against the Angel for having thwarted the attempted genocide against the Chosen comes to play. Unfortunately for the Angel, it comes about in the worst way possible, and not all of it is due to those he hunted down in the first book.

Here I play more. I don’t want to give too much away, but needless to say, in Shadow of Death my take on vampires becomes different than what I’ve read (at least), and lends to even more questions about the Angel. There are more hints and more clues, but it won’t be until Thanatos is published in 2012 that a brand new mythos about vampires will be revealed.

Is it hard to do something brand new in the vampire genre, especially concerning its mythos? You betcha. But at the same time I have a plethora of real mythology, archaeology, and anthropology to draw upon. Yes, there’s lots of research that goes into making a mythology seem plausible.

The Chosen are evolving and that evolution will be seen in Thanatos.

Vampires are evolving and that evolution will be seen in the minds/imaginations of those that write about them.

I want to thank Doug the Sci-Fi Guy for having me on today. If you’re interested in a unique and award winning take on vampires feel free to check out my books or check out my website.

Cheers!
Karen

Thanks for visiting Karen and you are welcome to join us anytime!
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