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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How #HoldOnToTheLight Happened - Gail Martin Day of the Dead tour + giveaway

How #HoldOnToTheLight Happened

What happens when 100+ Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors join the conversation about depression, suicide, anxiety, PTSD and self-harm? A world-wide blog campaign called #HoldOnToTheLight, that’s what.

#HoldOnToTheLight was inspired by #AKF #AlwaysKeepFighting, a campaign from the Supernatural TV show fandom ( I’m especially thrilled to see the #SPNFamily Crisis Support Network creating a fandom-based peer counseling training opportunity (Yeah, I’m a huge fan of the show.) As Bobby Singer said, “Family don’t end with blood.” In other words, your true family is the one you gather around yourself.

#AlwaysKeepFighting #AKF showed the reach media stars have when they talk about issues, and I wondered what would happen if genre authors opened a similar conversation. I recruited my usual partners in crime—John Hartness, Misty Massey, Jaym Gates, Jean Marie Ward, Emily Leverett and my husband, Larry N. Martin—as the steering committee, and we started asking our colleagues and author friends to join us.

We asked authors to talk about how depression, suicide, PTSD, anxiety, self-harm or other mental health issues had affected them, their characters, their books or the worlds they created. What happened next is extraordinary. We not only had more than 100 authors agree to participate, but the blog posts they have written are heartfelt, candid, and life-changing.

Participating authors include:
Robin Hobb, Jody Lynn Nye, Cat Rambo, Seanan McGuire, Laura Anne Gilman, Chuck Gannon, Kameron Hurley, Catherine Asaro, Gaie Siebold, Karen Miller, Rowena Cory Daniels, David B. Coe, Marc Tassin, Jonathan Oliver, Jeanne Adams, Nancy Northcott, Aaron Rosenberg, Jennifer St. Giles, Mark Van Name, Juliet McKenna, Jennifer Brozek, Darynda Jones, Christopher Golden, Clay and Susan Griffith, Gregory Wilson, Josh Vogt, Darin Kennedy, Jon Sprunk, James Maxey, Karen E. Taylor, Justin Gustainis, Misty Massey, John G. Hartness, Gail Z. Martin, Jean Marie Ward, Jaym Gates, Laura Taylor, Weston Ochse, Ron Garner, Kathy Lyons, Mari Mancusi, Leanna Renee Hieber, Davey Beauchamp, Cheryl Wilson, Rod Belcher, Travis Heermann, Cara Santa Maria, Michael J. Allen, Trisha Wooldridge, Alyssa Day, J. F. Lewis, Joshua Palmatier, Keith DeCandido Mindy Mimudes, Emily Leverett, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Tera Fulbright, Tamsin Silver, Stuart Jaffe, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Eric Asher, Rick Gualtieri, Chris Kennedy, Ken Schrader, Samantha Dunaway Bryant, Valerie Willis, Alexandra Christian, Jake Bible, Matthew Saunders, Jay Requard, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Kelly Harmon, Sascha Illyvich, Kelly Swails, Bishop O’Connell, Sherwood Smith, Peter Prellwitz, Tracy Chowdhury, Trevor Curtis, Leo Champion, Alma Alexander Natania Barron, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Addie J. King, Joelle Reizes, Gabrielle Faust, Selah Janel, Whitney Evans, Tom Leveen, Deborah J. Ross, Tally Johnson, Calandra Usher, Jada Diaz, Harry Markov, Brian Rathbone, Robert Greenberger, Linda Robertson, Leona Wisoker, Dianna L. Gunn, Emmie Mears, Lyndsey Harper, Tom Wells, Wendy S. Delmater, S.H. Roddey, Jeri Smith-Ready, Delilah Dawson, Phil Giunta, Myke Cole, Diana L. Gunn, and Amy Bauer.

We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

This past summer, ConCarolinas added a panel on coping with mental illness. The panelists were either authors who were medical professionals and/or authors who had personal experience with depression, etc. Not only was the panel standing room only, it ran over, and spawned a Facebook group. That’s one reason #HoldOnToTheLight is reaching out to convention organizers to encourage adding, promoting and expanding programming on mental wellness issues. ConCarolinas, Atomacon, Capricon, GenCon, Imaginarium and ContraFlow are all planning new panels, and we hope more cons will join in.

Links to all of the author blog posts are available at
Please—read the posts, share the posts, and change a life.

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories and for books by author friends of mine. You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Get all the details about my Days of the Dead blog tour here:

Let me give a shout-out for #HoldOnToTheLight--100+ Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors blogging about their personal struggles with depression, PTSD, anxiety, suicide and self-harm, candid posts by some of your favorite authors on how mental health issues have impacted their lives and books. Read the stories, share the stories, change a life. Find out more at

Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! All of my guest blog posts have links to free excerpts—grab them all!

Trick Or Treat with an excerpt from my novel Deadly Curiosities

Trick Or Treat DoubleDragonSampler#1

Have you seen the Vendetta video?

Treat! Use your free Audible trial to get my books! Try The Summoner

Enjoy a free excerpt from Steve Ruskin’s new A Deal With the Devil’s Broker

About the Author:
Gail Z. Martin is the author of Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC (Solaris Books); Shadow and Flame the fourth and final book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books); The Shadowed Path (Solaris Books) and Iron and Blood a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin. A brand new epic fantasy series debuts from Solaris Books in 2017.

She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

One winner gets a copy of The Summoner (Chronicles Of The Necromancer Series Book 1) and a copy of The Shadowed Path: A Jonmarc Vahanian Collection.
US only

Gail Martin Giveaway

Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Review: Dragons Against Them (Kingdoms of Fire and Ice Book Two) by Kyra Jacobs

Dragons Against Them (Kingdoms of Fire and Ice Book Two)
by Kyra Jacobs
Genre: Fantasy romance / paranormal alternate world
August 29, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-9976719-1-9
Word Count: 67K
Cover Artist: Kelly Martin
Blood is thicker than water…but can it melt a heart of ice?

Adelaide Miller gave up everything she knows to remain in Prince Zayne Godfrey’s alternate reality and assume her rightful place as eldest princess in the rival kingdom of Forath.

For an independent, free-spirited woman, however, royal life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it’s downright smothering. Especially since the vengeful Rosalind has gone AWOL.

Zayne is eager to wed Princess Addie—but their fathers seem more intent on keeping them apart. The longer Rosalind goes missing, the more suspicious each monarch becomes that the other is guilty of foul play.

Both kingdoms may soon face a strong, new rival intent on gaining power foretold by an ancient prophecy. To protect their chance at happily ever after, Zayne and Addie must partner with unlikely allies to save the one person intent on destroying them both.

But victory will not come without a price, and in the end, someone may have to pay—in blood.

The fairytale-esque Kingdoms of Ice and Fire, Forath and Edana, exist in an alternate reality. In this magical land, men transform into majestic dragons wielding either ice or fire, depending on their originating kingdom. Forath’s female heir, Adelaide “Addie” Miller, is an earthly transplant desperately attempting to navigate her newfound home. Kidnapped in infancy, Addie is recently returned to Forath via wizard magic. Upon her arrival, Addie falls in love with prince Zayne Godfrey; the fiery golden dragon shifter and heir to rival kingdom Edana. Addie’s existence in her new home is threatened by the machinations of her jealous half-sister Rosalind who, in this installment, seeks the assistance of a reclusive witch colony to assist in her own political rise to power.

The cover design for this series is exquisite. I was instantly attracted to the books for their provocative artwork. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not read book one. As a reviewer, I typically find I can jump into a series early with little difficulty. With this book, however, I feel I missed a lot of information critical to my enjoyment of book two. Gaps are filled in throughout the book, but I was confused for a lot of this read. If this book intrigues you, I advise you start with the first book, Dragons Among Them.

One of this book’s greatest strengths is its characterization. Jacobs avoids flat, black and white-type characters. Her characters harbour a whole host of motivations; none purely good or irrevocably bad. I liked Rosalind, for all her insecurity and misguided grabs for power, I felt Jacobs effectively wrote fully-fleshed characters a reader could identify with and enjoy. I preferred conniving Rosalind far more than Addie, whose observations, at times, were frivolous: “to die young would mean not having to worry about stretch marks, or living to see the day when Zayne grew tired of her.” Insert eye roll.

This plot twists and turns a lot. I found, at times, the shifts in alliances and motive changed too suddenly, without adequate transition or finesse. While this keeps the book from being overly predicable, the frenzied pace makes it difficult to feel grounded in the story.

Through this read there’s a core set of characters in which I’ve become invested. I’d like to see how this unfolds and I will definitely give The Dragon Within, the next installment, a try.

Three sheep

Bianca Greenwood

“…How long has it been since you stretched your wings, went on a leisurely flight?”

Tristan bristled. “I am unfamiliar with your customs in Edana, Prince Zayne, but here in Forath, those responsible for protecting our kingdom have little time for leisure.”

“A pity, that.”

“How so?”

Zayne bent to press a kiss upon his betrothed’s hair. Its silken strands tickled his chin, and her scent washed over him anew. His enjoyment in the continued battle of wits with her prick of a brother waned and was replaced by the desire for a new activity. One that involved himself, Adelaide, and far less clothing.

As if reading his mind, she shifted against him, teasing his length. Had they been alone, the temptation to take her now, here in the stables, might have been too great to resist. The thought of her naked body stretched out willingly beneath him spurred Zayne to cease his battle of words and hasten their retreat.

“Because to fly often is not only good for the soul, but also serves to strengthen your wings and keep your battle skills keen.”

“Of course. But as Adelaide cannot fly, she need not join you. It is her studies that should be my sister’s primary focus prior to your upcoming wedding.”

“Then I shall tutor her on your family’s lineage while we are away, as I am well versed in the subject.” He leaned down farther, pressing a kiss to the hollow beneath her ear. She shivered in his arms as he murmured, “A few hours is all it should take.”

“It won’t take anywhere near that long,” Addie whispered.

Her breathy, musical voice spoke to the beast within. Three days was all that had passed since he’d seen her last, yet it seemed an eternity. His bed had felt empty, her soft skin achingly absent alongside his. Zayne took several more steps toward the door, guiding her with him. Tristan, however, continued to follow.

"I have every confidence in your tutoring skills, Prince Zayne, but my father issued strict orders that Princess Adelaide shall not leave the grounds unaccompanied."

Addie tensed in Zayne’s arms. Of course a decree limiting her travels would create such a reaction in his free-spirited nymph. When they first met a few short weeks ago, she had been traveling alone. To now be restricted by King Jarin’s rules was undoubtedly difficult for her.

Ah, but he had ways to help ease her mind from these anxieties. Ways his body craved as much as the next breath. “An understandable decree, and one I pledge to uphold as her royal escort.”

“That is Blackstone’s assignment,” Tristan said. “Not yours.”

“Please, Tristan,” said Addie.

“Is Blackstone no longer your personal guard, then, my lord?” asked Zayne.

Tristan’s eyes narrowed and remained fixed upon him, ignoring his sister’s plea. “He has been assigned to protect the royal family, Adelaide included.”

“A difficult task when the prince and princess are in different locations, is it not?”

“Indeed. But as we are both here at the present, I feel he is quite capable of offering protection to us both.”

“I have no doubt in his abilities.” Zayne gripped Adelaide tighter with one hand and shoved the stable’s rear door wide with his other. “Unfortunately for you, the present has now passed.”

As he summoned his transformation, the air around them began to whip and swirl, masking their escape in a cloud of dust and straw. The beast within wasn’t to be denied, and not a soul in Forath Castle could stop them. In an instant, they were airborne, Adelaide safe and secure in his taloned grasp. 

About the Author:
Kyra Jacobs is an extroverted introvert who writes of love, humor and mystery in the Midwest and beyond. When this Hoosier native isn’t pounding out scenes for her next book, she's likely outside, elbow-deep in snapdragons or spending quality time with her sports-loving family. Kyra also loves to read, tries to golf, and is an avid college football fan. Be sure to stop by her website to learn more about her novels and ways connect with her on social media.

Shelley Russell Nolan Guest Post: Bicycles and books (Winged Reaper Book Tour) + giveaway

I never thought I would survive my teenage years. It’s not that I had a death wish or anything like that. I just really thought I was going to die young. And I wasn’t the only one. One of my friends was constantly amazed by my continued existence.

Why, do I hear you ask? Did I have the world’s worst luck? Was I a trouble magnet?

Well, when it came to riding my bicycle I was all of the above.

I have never been the most coordinated person around and quickly lost count of the times I fell off. There were the times someone opened a car door in my path, or a fellow rider would get too close, while buses seemed to have a need to run me off the road quite regularly.

Once I even ran into the back of a parked truck while riding home from school in the rain. I had to take my glasses off and couldn’t see a thing until it was too late. After that my mother made sure I was picked up from school on rainy days, though having my big brother trying to splash kids with his car was just as problematic.

But what amazes me now is that the times I deliberately risked my life while riding my bicycle I made it home unscathed.

You see, every two weeks I would go to the town library and stock up on books. As I was so eager to start reading them I would ride home with one propped open on the handlebars. I lived fairly close to the library so didn’t have too far to travel. But still, I was on busy roads and lots of drivers tooted their horns and yelled at me because of it. Yet I never once fell off.

So, this goes to show that reading is good for you. So go forth and read, though I wouldn’t recommend doing it on a bicycle. I may have survived, but you might not be so lucky.

Winged Reaper (Reaper Series Book 2)
by Shelley Russell Nolan
Genre: Urban fantasy, paranormal fiction
Publisher: Atlas Productions
1 October 2016
ISBN: 978-0-9953776-0-8
Number of pages: 224 pages
Word Count: 75,100
Cover design: Kris Sheather,
Two Decade Designs
Wing illustration: Katie Litchfield
Secrets, lies and the Grim Reaper: a recipe for disaster!

Twenty-five-year-old Tyler Morgan is only alive—technically reborn—because the Grim Reaper offered her a job. Now she has to find a way to stop her ‘boss’ from starting a war that threatens the survival of mankind.

Weak and in need of fresh souls, the Grim Reaper has sent his Wraiths to Tyler’s hometown, Easton, and by the time he gets his fill, it could turn into a graveyard.

Tyler’s resolve is tested when old secrets surface and a new betrayal has her questioning where her loyalties lie.

Supported by the intriguing detective, Sam Lockwood; the handsome, wealthy Chris Bradbury; and sources she never expected to come to her aid, Tyler must fight her way to the truth if she is ever to find the strength to harness the powers she has inherited, and vanquish the Grim Reaper forever.

About the Author: 
Shelley Russell Nolan is an avid reader who began writing her own stories at sixteen. Her first completed manuscript featured brain eating aliens and a butt kicking teenage heroine. Since then she has spent her time creating fantasy worlds where death is only the beginning and even freaks can fall in love.

A member of Romance Writers of Australia, Australian Romance Readers Association and Queensland Writers Centre, Shelley regularly attends workshops and writers festivals to meet other writers and readers.

Born in New Zealand, moving to Australia with her family when she was seven, Shelley currently lives in Central Queensland, Australia, with her husband and two young children. They share their home with two wrecking ball kitties, a deformed budgerigar and two dogs that are fairly normal as dogs go.

Tour giveaway 
2 paperback copies Winged Reaper 
5 ebook copies Winged Reaper

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Book Review: Vice (Fireborn Wolves Book 1) by Genevieve Jack

Vice (Fireborn Wolves Book 1)
by Genevieve Jack
September 13, 2016
215 pages
Genre: Werewolf & Shifter Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Some cravings can't be denied. 

Werewolf Laina Flynn longs to break from the patriarchal expectations of Fireborn pack. A successful entrepreneur, she doesn't have time to be bossed around by her alpha brother, Silas, let alone to act as a proper werewolf princess. 

But when a wolf is found murdered on Fireborn shifting grounds, Laina will do anything to protect her pack, even if it means posing as a waitress at a club that flies in the face of her feminist ideals. Unfortunately, her inner wolf marks the club's owner, Kyle "The King" Kingsley, as her vice--her metaphysical addiction. He becomes a hunger she can't that could threaten her life, her family, and her pack. 
˃˃˃ **Due to explicit sexual content, language, and violence this book is recommended for ages 18+**

Veterinarian Dr. Laina Flynn has a secret. While she’s confident and fiercely independent, she’s also forever tied to a patriarchal wolf pack. As princess to the Fireborn Wolf pack, Laina is expected to fulfill family and pack expectations above all else; a critical sticking point between Laina and her brother Silas. When pack loyalty forces Laina to work undercover, she must leave behind her practice and personal life to help combat a familiar, but very dangerous, threat.

Vice is an entertaining, action-packed story full of suspense and steamy romance, a formula that has served Jack well in the past. Laina is written with a feminist voice. As such, this provides a more modern romantic exchange. While I adore an alpha male in my fictional life most of the time, I don’t always enjoy the suppressive, at times abusive, undercurrent inherent to those relationships. Laina’s strength contributes to a fresh, equitable love story that doesn’t skimp on sexy.

I’ve been a long-time Genevieve Jack fan having read her entire Knight Games series, a solid saga from start to finish. Vice takes place in the Knight World with some character crossover. It was a nice touch to see an appearance from Grateful and Rick. I’m happy to report that Vice is a formidable fit for this world and I look forward to the rest of the Fireborn series.

Four Sheep

Bianca Greenwood
About the Author:
Genevieve Jack is a former registered nurse turned author of weird, witty, and wicked-hot paranormal romance. She grew up in a suburb of Chicago and attended a high school rumored to be haunted. There she developed a love for old cemeteries and ghost tours. Today, she specializes in original, cross-genre stories with surprising twists. She lives in Illinois with her husband, two children, and a Brittany spaniel named Riptide, who holds down her feet while she writes.

Winning the Internet this Week...Mad Max Kitty, Groot! and WTF book cover

These are my people...

Thanks to sheeple Leslie Church for this find...

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