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)

banner
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)

banner
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.