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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Fantasy Author Stephen Zimmer' heroine Rayden Valkyrie shares her thoughts with him + giveaway

Rayden Valkyrie Shares a Few Thoughts With Her Writer

By Stephen Zimmer

Today, I am sharing a few thoughts that I sensed from Rayden in the aftermath of the events in the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy. Below are those thoughts of hers along with my responses.

Rayden: “Where will I be going next? I see a lot of possible roads ahead now that the fighting against the Teverens is over.”

Stephen: That’s the biggest question I hear from Rayden Valkyrie now that the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy has concluded with the recent release of When Shadows Fall. The events that take place across the pages of Heart of a Lion, Thunder Horizon, and When Shadows Fall do come to a solid conclusion that I am confident will satisfy readers of the trilogy, but there is no question that there will be much more ahead for Rayden. The alert reader will definitely gain some hints about what lies beyond over the course of the trilogy.

Rayden: “I have seen it happen too many times that the wicked things of this world are part of even greater evils yet to be faced. I have a lot weighing upon my mind, and my thoughts keep returning to a journey I took to the east, long before I ventured across the sea and to the lands far to the south where I stood with a noble people swept up in the storms of a vicious tribal war.”
Stephen: I think that Rayden is referring to the events depicted in the stand-alone novellas Blood of a Queen and Prowling the Darkness. Both took place in lands farther to the east of the lands inhabited by the Gessa and other northern warrior tribes that Rayden grew up among.

Following those adventures, her travels eventually took her far south, across the Great Sea and deep into rolling grasslands inhabited by other warrior tribes where she helped bring a bloody war to the end. A sorcerer named Dreaghen then called out to her from the far north, using his arts, with a plea for Rayden to return to her homeland. Her journey back to the north in the company of her friend Ammanus is what begins the story told in Heart of a Lion.

Rayden: “A shadow has been lifted from many lands with the fall of the Imperator, but an even greater threat lies out there. Things that should have been left in the depths of the Abyss have been allowed into the world and doors have been opened. In their arrogance, sorcerers believe they can control the things they discover and set loose, but sometimes those things have a purpose of their own.”
Stephen: I suspect that Rayden senses something even deadlier than the threats she has just overcome is beginning to rise somewhere within her world. I know that she has made some big discoveries and witnessed several things in the events that occur in When Shadows Fall that point to an underlying menace of a supernatural nature, indicating the presence of an adversary whose threat to Rayden and the world she inhabits spans beyond the Imperator and the Teveren Empire.

Rayden: “I also know I have friends in need of me. Doros still needs to search for her family and I do want to do what I can for her. My heart tells me that Ingassa will not remain in place in the areas being settled by the former slaves on Tega land.”
Stephen: Rayden’s intuition regarding her friends is accurate, in what I see ahead. Doros proved to be a stalwart and loyal friend during the events of the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy. She is a tough fighter, very skilled with a bow, and has some valuable additional skills with her knowledge of boats and navigating currents on rivers. Rayden is definitely sympathetic to Doros’ desire to find and reunite with surviving family, and I foresee a time when the two of them undertake a quest together.

In the same way, Rayden is very sympathetic to Ingassa, the strong Teveren woman that she wrestled early in When Shadows Fall. Ingassa, like Rayden, has no family of blood left. In some ways, she is on the outset of the kind of journey that Rayden took when she stepped out of Gessa lands at a young age. I think Ingassa will be looking to Rayden as a mentor in addition to her being a friend. I have a strong hunch that Ingassa will have a part to play in some future Rayden Valkyrie stories.

Rayden: “There are many times I have seen my journey take a turn that I did not see coming. When I rescued Hamilcar from being sacrified I did not think I would soon find myself being pitted against an entire empire. The unexpected happens and some may call upon me that I do not anticipate. Queen Murithesos and her fae may have need of me someday and I must be ready if I am called upon. I do not make promises idly.”
Stephen: Rayden has made many new friends and allies during the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy and she does not take it lightly when she tells another that she will be there for them if ever they are in need of her. Her promise to Queen Murithesos stands and may end up becoming of those unexpected elements at some point in the future. One thing that Rayden has come to know well in her life is to expect the unexpected.

Rayden: “If you think that telling my story can be of help to others traveling along their own life journeys, then keep telling it, Stephen.”
Stephen: I definitely will, and I am honored to do so, Rayden. 😊

When Shadows Fall (Dark Sun Dawn Book 3)
by Stephen Zimmer
December 2, 2019
339 pages
Publisher: Seventh Star Press; 1 edition
When shadows fall, the dominion of light reigns.

Rayden Valkyrie and her companions enter the Imperial City, the heart of the rising Teveren Empire. Never before has her gaze taken in a city so vast, wealthy, and populous.

Sensual delights, grandiose spectacles, and the spilling of blood enthrall wealthy and poor alike. Beneath the surface, Rayden senses an undercurrent of a darker nature.

Learning everything she can of the venomous secrets lurking within the shadows, little time remains before a host of northern tribes arrives outside its walls.

Power lies within blood, and dark rituals have unlocked mysteries from the depths of the abyss.

Legions are on the march, a storm is about to unleash, and a dark sun will soon rise.

When Shadows Fall, the conclusion of the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy!

About the author
Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), and the forthcoming Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

Tour Schedule and Activities 
1/15 MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape Author interview 
1/16 Armed with A Book Guest Post 
1/17 Armed with A Book Top Ten's List 
1/17 Sapphyria's Books Guest Post 
1/18 I Smell Sheep Guest Post 
1/19 Jazzy Book Reviews Author Interview 
1/20 The Literary Underworld Guest Post 
1/20 Beauty in Ruins - She Leads he Reads Guest Post 
1/21 Sheila's Guests and Reviews Guest Post 
1/22 The Book Junkie Reads . . . Author Interview 
1/22 Willow's Thoughts and Book Obsessions Review 


Friday, January 17, 2020

Excerpt: Sister of Embers & Echoes (Rogue Ethereal, #4) by Annie Anderson + giveaway

Sister of Embers & Echoes (Rogue Ethereal, #4)
by Annie Anderson
January 17th 2020
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Demons, murder, and a trip straight to Hell…

I thought I’d get a little time off before the veritable poop hit the fan, but fate — or rather the Fates — have other ideas. The witch who tried to have my sister possessed has escaped, and not only do I find him dead, but I don’t have a clue who he was working with. Or working for…

Now I have a Council Member in human jail, a ragtag bunch of stuffy law-abiders to lead, and a solid inkling that the next person on the chopping block is me.

All of that would be bad enough, but I’ve got bigger problems. Maria isn’t quite right after a demon almost stole her body, and I have a hunch it’s going to require a trip to Hell to get it fixed.

Time to sharpen my athames, vacation time is over.

My eyes narrowed over the rim of my teacup. My grandmother crossed her legs, matching my glare as she sipped her own tea. In all likelihood, she was holding in a laugh. Bernadette had seen oceans rise and fall, empires crumble to dust, entire civilizations wiped from the face of the earth. As one of the first demons in Hell, nothing short of a full-blown apocalypse was going to phase her.

Especially not my paltry little glare.

Fair enough.

Uncrossing my legs, I folded them underneath me, sucking down another sip of my tea as I settled deeper into the overstuffed armchair. I wasn’t a big tea kind of person, but the herbal blend I’d concocted in a fit of nerves last week seemed to be growing on me. I’d been doing a lot of things like that—things that Maria would have done herself if she’d just freaking wake up.

“I’m not setting foot in Aether until Maria wakes up, and that’s final.”


Like that word ever stopped my grandmother. I was pretty sure if she had even a single shred less class, she’d have given the Fates the old double middle-finger salute while telling them to kiss her ass.

That last bit might just be wishful thinking on my part. At least it was amusing to think about.

“It’s been a week, Maxima,” Bernadette chided softly, her voice full of understanding, but her message clear. I couldn’t wait much longer to interrogate Elias. The Fates were running out of patience, and I was running out of time.

“Have they gotten anything out of him at all?” I asked, unable to keep my gaze from shifting from Bernadette to Maria’s closed bedroom door.

I didn’t like being on this side of it. I didn’t like that I wasn’t watching her.

I didn’t like that I couldn’t figure out a way to help.

A week ago, Elias Flynn tried to use my sister as a sacrifice by offering her up to a demon as a host. Bernadette helped me stop him, but Maria still wasn’t awake. The longer her sleep lasted, the more I realized we might not have been as successful as I once thought.

If we were successful at all.

About the Author:
Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad. As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she'll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, an old man of a dog, and a young pup that makes life... interesting.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

UF Author John F. Allen's heroine Ivory Blaque's top 5 rules for living in her world


Hello, my name is Ivory Blaque and welcome to my world!

I live in a world very similar to your own, but HUGELY different in the fact that aliens, mythological gods, super powered beings, masked vigilantes and preternatural creatures EXIST!

To live in my world, is NOT for the faint of heart, or weak of mind, body and spirit.

However, there are forces for good to combat the dark forces which threaten us and I’m one of the-…never mind!

So, since it appears that you’ve decided to visit my world, perhaps I should give you a few rules to help ensure your survival, especially since I may not be around to save your tail.


– I would think that it would go without saying, but I’ve learned that sense isn’t so common as it used to be. I’m not saying ALL preternaturals are EVIL. As a matter of fact, my boyfriend is a werewolf. But, as a generally rule, humans are their source of food and entertainment, so you should never look them in the eyes, make threatening gestures and most definitely err on the side of caution where they’re concerned, AT ALL TIMES!

– I know you’re thinking, didn’t this chick just say her man is a fur-face? Well yes, I most certainly did. However, let it be known again that there are most definitely exceptions to the rules. Although I’d strongly advise against pushing that particular envelope, if you know what I mean. What makes my situation a bit different that the average woman, is that I’m…well, I suppose you should read John F. Allen’s novel, The God Killers to find out!

– Again, I’d think it would go without saying that not only do the freaks come out at night, but the monsters do too! So, all of you Nightowls who like to go galivanting around at night in dangerous parts of town, should think twice and STAY HOME!

– If you have fond memories of being with your grandma at the market and seeing the newsprint magazines on the stand at the check out counter, yes that was my life, only to be told that the stories within were fantasies, then guess what? YOU WERE HOODWINKED! All of the conspiracy theories, alien abduction rumors and Batboy stories were 100% TRUE!

– Some of the myths about preternatural creatures are true and others, not so much. Vampires and werewolves are highly allergic to silver. Garlic only makes vampires smell funny and become even more angry. Zombies require a shock to the brain or decapitation. Immortals can only be destroyed if they are decapitated and their remains disintegrated. And, the only way to truly kill a mythological god is to CALL ME!
A great new blog tour featuring a fantastic rising talent in speculative fiction awaits you, celebrating John F. Allen’s The Best Is Yet to Come, an exciting new collection featuring an array of stories in urban fantasy, fantasy, science fiction, horror and more!

by John F Allen  (Author) 
September 29, 2019
190 pages

Publisher: Seventh Star Press, LLC
Enggar Adirasa (Cover Design)
 Featuring ten stories collected for the first time ever, The Best Is Yet to Come, presents nine years of creativity spun from the mind of John F. Allen. Action and adventure are ever present in these stories, but be prepared for some drama, horror, fantasy and science fiction as well. 

This volume includes a holiday story, “An Ivory Christmas,” featuring Ivory Blaque, Allen’s bold heroine from his acclaimed urban fantasy series The God Killers, and the center of his literary universe, The Ivoryverse. 

Also included are: 

“Forest of Shadows” the debut of a fabled, ancient warrior named, Jaziri, Prince of Kimbogo Province. 

You may want to think twice before venturing out into the dark woods of rural Indiana in “The Legend of Matchemonedo.” 

A young, set assistant of a 50’s science fiction serial gets to embark on the journey of a lifetime in “The Adventures of Star Blazer.” 

A young woman in late 1970’s Indianapolis, learns to be careful what you wish for in “HoodRatz.” 

When a woman struggles to care for her ailing father, she discovers the truth behind her troubled past in “The Sweetest Autumn.” 

Long ago, a noble samurai finds forbidden love with a beautiful, ebony skinned princess in “The African Princess.” 

A mysterious, military operative is sent on a covert mission in Egypt, when he encounters an alien monster bent on revenge in “Lazarus.” 

Forty years ago, a young boy discovers that family means everything in “The Chocolate Malt.” 

The Best is Yet to Come also features the special bonus short story, “Witch Way is Up.” 
Explore the words of John F. Allen today! 

About the author
John F. Allen is an American writer born in Indianapolis, IN. He is a founding member of the Speculative Fiction Guild and a member the Indiana Writers Center. He began writing stories as early as the second grade and has pursued various forms of writing throughout his career. John studied Liberal Arts at IUPUI with a focus in Creative Writing and Literature, received an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force and is a current member of the American Legion. John’s debut novel, The God Killers was published in 2013 by Seventh Star Press, and he has had several novellas, short stories and articles published since. He is also an avid reader, accomplished visual artist and Jazz music aficionado.

John currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Tour Schedule and Activities 

1/13 MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape Author Interview 
1/14 Jazzy Book Reviews Author Interview 
1/15 Sheila's Guests and Reviews Guest Post 
1/16 I Smell Sheep Top Ten's List
1/17 Beauty in Ruins - She Leads he Reads Guest Post 
1/18 The Literary Underworld Guest Post 
1/19 The Seventh Star Blog Guest Post 
1/20 The Book Junkie Reads . . . Author Interview 
1/20 Willow's Thoughts and Book Obsessions Review 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Excerpt: What to Do About POTASS: A Comedic Novella of Political Errors Publication by Dr. Glenn Shephard

Welcome to the blog tour for What to Do About POTASS, a hilarious political satire by Glenn Shepard! Read on for more details and an exclusive excerpt!

What to Do About POTASS: A Comedic Novella of Political Errors Publication
by Dr. Glenn Shephard
October 4th, 2019 
Genre: Political Satire/ Comedy/ Novella 
Tongue-in-cheek satire that will have you laughing out loud!

What To Do About POTASS tells the story of the bumbling antics of legislators and The President or, as he is known in the book, POTASS.

When Capitol Hill maintenance worker Thomas Wilson (or Will Thompson, as POTASS calls him) overhears different groups of legislators scheming about saving the country through various plots, he believes it’s incumbent on him to notify The President, who has recently hired him part-time to collect press clippings. But The President dismisses Wilson’s pleas. Will the legislators bungle their way to greater disaster or can they succeed in their efforts to rescue the country? Where does Thomas Wilson fit in? How will they all ultimately decide What To Do About POTASS? Read this book to find out!

This new novella is the first comedic endeavor for surgeon-turned-thriller-author Glenn Shepard (Dr. Scott James Thriller Series, including The Missile Game, The Zombie Game, The Ebola Game, and The Encryption Game). Ever with an aim to heal, in What To Do About POTASS Dr. Shepard offers the sorely needed medicine of comic relief in this politically divisive age.

“I like Diet Cokes.” The President pointed to the button. “This guy brings a Diet Coke each time I press it, at least eighteen times a day. Diet Coke stimulates my whole body and my brain as well. It improves my performance, which I need to stay on top of everything I do. I drink one before my every tweet. In fact, during my most productive days, when I do two dozen tweets in an evening, I just about pop from the heavy intake.” He laughed.


“How about I bring you a hamburger for dinner tonight, one of those monster burgers with onion rings and bacon? That’ll get your mind flowing strong again. And I have a few ideas to float, if you are in the mood to listen.”

The President looked up and nodded slowly. “The burger sounds good, but I want two of them, with a double order of French fries. And I don’t know if I want to hear your ideas or not. There are just too many people who seem to think they know better than I how to run this country. I’ll have burgers delivered to the West Gate at six. Pick them up and return here. Just come in. No need to knock since I’ll know it’s you.”


Wilson awakened in the morning with a start. He looked around and saw that he was in The President’s office, lying on a sofa that was not a part of the office yesterday. The President was there reading at his desk.

Wilson sat up and rubbed his eyes. “Where are all the people that were here last night?”

“I dunno. I hope Congress is in session today, but no one has told me that.” A President who was so warm and open to Wilson last night was coldly indifferent, like someone else.

About the Author:
GLENN SHEPARD is the author of The Missile Game and The Zombie Game. His first novel, Surge, was written while he was still a surgical resident at Vanderbilt. In the following years he wrote The Hart Virus, a one-thousand-page epic about the AIDS crisis, as well as three other novels. In 2008, he created “Dr. Scott James,” his Fugitive-like action-hero, and began publishing the series. The first volume of the Dr. Scott James series was originally released as Not For Profit, but was later changed to The Missile Game.

Born on a farm in eastern Virginia, Dr. Shepard lives and maintains a thriving plastic surgery practice in Williamsburg. The third volume of The Dr. Scott James Thriller Series, The Ebola Game, is due out this year, through Mystery House. 

Blog Tour Organized By: 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New Release: The Rabbit Hunter: A novel (Joona Linna Book 6) by Lars Kepler

In THE RABBIT HUNTER, Detective Joona Linna and Security Police Officer Saga Bauer team up to investigate brutal killings which, at first glance, appear to be connected to a drug kingpin in Stockholm. Linna’s shrewd intuition, however, quickly unveils a far more sinister truth: a connection linking victims back to an elite boarding school and a sinister secret society. Now, Linna and Bauer must race against the clock to unravel a killer’s brutal scheme before he can take his final revenge.

by Lars Kepler
January 14, 2020
511 pages
Alfred A. Knopf
Ten little rabbits, all dressed in white
Tried to get to heaven on the end of a kite.
Kite string got broken, down they all fell,
Instead of going to heaven, they all went to...

It begins with a nursery rhyme. Nineteen minutes later you die.

A masked stranger stands in the shadows. He watches his victim through the window. He will kill him slowly—make him pay.

Soon the Rabbit Hunter has claimed another three victims. This predator will stop at nothing to reap his ultimate revenge. It’s up to Joona Linna and Saga Bauer to untangle one of the most complex cases of their career, and follow the killer’s trail of destruction back to one horrific night of violence.

“[THE RABBIT HUNTER] holds strong appeal for American thriller fans, especially those of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series.” –Booklist

“Kepler has never been better at hiding key clues in plain sight.” –Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Fast-paced and fluent … Sure to be a hit.” –Kirkus

About the Author:

LARS KEPLER is the pseudonym of the critically acclaimed husband-and-wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril. Their number-one internationally best-selling Joona Linna series has sold more than fourteen million copies in forty languages. The Ahndorils were both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler and have each published several acclaimed novels. They live in Stockholm, Sweden. Translated by Neil Smith.