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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Story Behind the Story: Heir to the Underworld: The New Gods of Olympus, Book 1 by JB Dennis

Like most of my generation, Disney’s animated movies played a large role in our formative years. They gave us brave heroes to admire, catchy songs to sing, witty lines to laugh at, and (at least for me) acted as our electronic babysitters. We were, for good or ill, molded by our love for Disney. In fact, it’s because of a Disney movie that you are reading this post.

Before 2002 my favorite Disney movie was Aladdin, thanks in no small part to the talents of the late Robin Williams. However, I, unfortunately, wasn't lucky enough to have that movie in my possession. So, instead of watching Aladdin on rewind, I had to settle for my second favorite movie at the time, Hercules. It was funny, clever, and dripping with personality. I consider it one of Disney’s best. I mention this because I want you to be left in no doubt that I truly do love this movie. However, DISNEY GOT IT WRONG!

A natural part of growing up is the shattering of certain childhood illusions. Storks don’t deliver babies to expectant parents, rainbows don’t lead to pots of gold, and Santa Claus doesn't deliver presents all around the world. That's Amazon's job. This simple fact of life is no less true when it comes to Disney movies. I can't exactly blame them for a more childish interpretation of Greek mythology. The myths surround Zeus and Hera alone are enough to give children nightmares for months. And yet, I still have a problem, a major sticking point of contention, if you will. My problem is Hades. 

Sure, Hades made a great villain. He was funny, fast-talking, temperamental, and sleazy. The perfect combination of traits to engage the masses of juvenile minds under the, somewhat monopolistic, sway of Disney Animation. Eventually, however, those minds grow up and they find Wikipedia. In true Greek mythology, Hades was not a villain. True, some saw him as such because of his association with the dead but every myth regarding the god of the Underworld showed him to be a gracious host, a loving husband, and a fair ruler (at least, as fair as a Greek god could be). And yet, despite the fact that Hades was one of the better gods, he is often characterized as petty, spiteful, jealous, and (in some case) evil. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of versions of Hades I’ve seen in which he is portrayed in a positive light and still have several fingers left over. Enough is enough. It’s time to put down another finger. 

Of course, my burning desire to give Hades his day is not the only thing I cover in my book. Heir to the Underworld has a diverse cast of 14 main characters across several different nationalities, sexualities, and socio-economic backgrounds. Yes, you read that right, 14. And to answer your next question, “Yes, I know I’m insane.” So, if you are interested in a character-driven story about Greek mythology, I invite you to give me a chance. Also, I got Hades right. And, if you disagree with me on that fact, then, in the vernacular of today's youth, "Fight me!"

Heir to the Underworld: The New Gods of Olympus, Book 1
by JB Dennis
January 14, 2020
242 pages
Fourteen young mortals find themselves the unexpected heirs to the powers of the ancient Greek gods. Benjamin Darke, the new god of the dead, soon discovers that being a god isn’t as easy as one might expect.

About the Author
JB Dennis has been obsessed with Greek mythology ever since he watched Disney's Hercules.  This started a lifelong study of the various gods, goddesses, monsters, and heroes that make-up, in his opinion, the greatest series of stories ever told.  The New Gods of Olympus series is JB's way of sharing his love for the Greek mythos with a new generation.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Badass Female Characters of Big Cranky by James Pyne + giveaway

The Badass Female Characters of Big Cranky
Was it planned that way? Nope. But the women in my life have always had been strong with an edge to them. With characters like Athena, Lilith, Muerte, Calliope, Medusa, Hera, there are no shortage of female characters in Book 1 who bring their game and I wonder how much the women in my life have influenced these characters? It’s a given the Misses in my head (my Muse) has a lot of say in it but I think there’s a little of my mother and sister in some of those female characters, along with every other woman who’s left a positive mark on me.

Though the female angels are smaller, they have bite, and at times, can hang with their male counterparts and even better them. They don’t shy from speaking their mind and can protect their nest and younglings without the help of their husbands.

If I had to pick a favorite female character from Book 1, it would be Muerte. Without her spunk, the leader of the Death Angels, Gabriel, wouldn’t be the angel he becomes. Some might argue that’s a bad thing. But come on, folks, live a little. 😊 There’s Athena, a disgruntled daughter who was abandoned by Zeus as a youngling . . . she has quite the chip on her shoulder. Without giving much away, Calliope and Medusa are game changers. Hera, well we all know she can’t help herself but cause trouble. And Lilith is Lucifer’s other half, together they are a force to reckon with.

Big Cranky: Fall Into Darkness 
by James Pyne
July 15, 2019
331 pages
Genre: Dark Mythological Fantasy, Action
Forget everything you think you know about myths and legends, James Pyne’s Big Cranky connects them all in an epic web of deceitful betrayal, love, and loyalty. A capricious tale of gods, showing human quirks are not only wasted on the mortals. A tale of many deities treading lightly around a superior as the world begins.

About the Author:
James Pyne hails from Nova Scotia, Canada, and has been a scribe for the Universe much of his life. He's a firm believer in being able to write in every genre, to make his world building and characters hopefuly come out genuine. No matter what he writes it will have some form of darkness, nothing is pure light in any worlds James creates and rumor has it, his surviving characters are plotting his demise. When it comes to his past time, much of it is spent learning the craft, but he does enjoy gardening and playfully tormenting those he loves. When he's not writing, or working his day job, he's traveling. The Andalusia region of Spain the last place that tolerated him.

Favorite authors: John Gardner (Grendel, Sunlight Dialogues). Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov). Clive Barker (Imajica, Weaveworld, Books of Blood). Terry Pratchett (Good Omens, Bad Omens). J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings). And all the scribes who carried on the tradition of myths throughout the ages.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$25 Amazon – 2 winners! 

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Cover Reveal: Spells for the Dead (A Soulwood Novel Book 5) by Faith Hunter

Another incredibly beautiful Soulwood series cover!

Spells for the Dead (A Soulwood Novel Book 5)

by Faith Hunter
July 28, 2020
Publisher: Ace
Nell Ingram faces a dark magic with no known origin in the newest pulse-pounding paranormal procedural in the New York Times bestselling Soulwood series.

Nell is a rookie PsyLED agent, using the powers she can channel from deep within the earth to solve paranormal crimes. Together with her team, she's taken on the direst magic and the most twisted foes. But she'll need to tap into every ounce of power she has for her newest case.

Nell is called to the Tennessee mansion of a country music star and finds a disturbing scene—dead bodies rapidly decaying before everyone's eyes. The witch on her team, T. Laine, has never seen magic that can steal life forces like this. PsyLED needs to find this lethal killer fast. But when a paranormal-hating FBI agent tries to derail the investigation, and the dark magics begin to spiral out of control, they find themselves under attack from all sides.

About the Author:
Gwen Hunter
New York Times and USAToday bestselling fantasy author Faith Hunter was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. Altogether she has 40+ books in print under the names Gary Hunter, Gwen Hunter, and Faith Hunter. As Faith, she writes two contemporary Urban Fantasy series: the Jane Yellowrock series, featuring a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires, and the Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. Her Rogue Mage novels are a dark, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. The role playing game based on the series, is ROGUE MAGE, RPG.

Character Muse-ings: Author Alicia Anthony talks with her muse + giveaway

Hi, everyone! Thanks so much for having me on I Smell Sheep. I am honored to be here celebrating the release of INHERENT LIES, the second installment of the Blood Secrets series. This book begins across the pond, in Ireland, so I’d intended to give you and your readers a little insight into the inspiration behind it, but let’s just say my muse had other ideas. Call it pandemic paranoia or quarantine crazy, but every time I sat down to pen this post, the hero of the Blood Secrets Trilogy, Ridge McCaffrey, kept butting in, so I finally gave in and let him take the lead. Hope you don’t mind this little snapshot into of one of our recent creative differences. 😉


Ridge McCaffrey stepped into my office as I typed. His body filled the doorway behind me in what had become a familiar routine. He leaned over my shoulder and the scent of him wrapped around me. Freshly showered with a hint of musk, he tapped a finger on the computer screen.

“Look at this. You’re making me look like an arrogant ass. I would never say that to Liv. If you keep this up the readers are going to hate me.”

“They won’t hate you,” I soothed. “You have to trust me, remember? I know where this is going.”

I watched in the reflection of my computer monitor as Ridge crossed well-toned arms over his white t-shirt, pulling himself up to his full 6’2”.

“You’re asking a lot of me, Anthony. Trust isn’t exactly my forte, remember? Do I need to remind you that the word ‘irredeemable’ has been tossed around in the same sentence as my name?”

I laughed and turned from my computer screen. “You are hardly ‘irredeemable,’ Ridge.” I drug my gaze over the ex-agent who’d selected me to chronicle his life. “Besides, you picked me, remember? Not the other way around. Writers don’t get to pick their muses.”

“Muse.” He chuckled, the dimple in his right cheek making a welcome appearance. “Is that all I am to you?”

He raised his hands in surrender, his cerulean eyes piercing my resolve. His shirt stretched over the muscles in his chest and breath caught in my lungs, a flush of heat surging to my cheeks. He was right. It was no wonder Liv had fallen so hard, so fast. And her instincts were right. There was definitely more to Ridge McCaffrey than met the eye. I cleared my throat and turned back to the computer screen, tamping down the flicker of excitement in my core.

“What would you have me do? Write you a boring little storyline? Let you ride off into the sunset with Liv without so much as a quarrel?”

“Wouldn’t be all bad, would it?” he asked, the baritone of his voice sinking through me, stoking the fire that I’d handed off to Liv, my fingers flying over the keyboard.

“You have to work at it, Ridge.” I sensed him move closer, his hand on the back of my chair as I typed. “You have to deserve it,” I said, breathing him in.

“So what are you going to make me do in this book? Reject her? Abandon her? Throw her to the wolves?”
I shrugged. A smile playing at the corners of my lips as I tipped the screen in his direction. He bent over me, eyes widening as they skimmed the newly penned scene. Ridge exhaled a curse.

“See,” I said. “She’s proven herself, Ridge. It’s your turn to suffer.”


Inherent Truth (Blood Secrets Book 1) by Alicia Anthony
January 14, 2020
358 pages
A woman with buried secrets...
An agent with an impossible mission...
An inheritance that will destroy them both...

When Liv Sullivan’s grandmother beckons for help from beyond the grave, the reluctant psychic returns to her small Ohio hometown. Scrambling to make sense of the clues left by the vision, Liv finds herself face to face with undercover agent, Ridge McCaffrey.

Assigned to protect a woman whose gifts unnerve him, for a covert psychic intelligence operation he doesn't understand, Ridge struggles to place duty over desire. But when a gruesome discovery is unearthed at Sullivan Farm, the truth becomes clear...

Some family secrets are best left buried.

Inherent Truth is the first book in the gripping new Blood Secrets psychological thriller series about the cost of truth and the price we pay for love. If you like pulse-pounding page-turners laced with a touch of romance, and shocking twists that will leave you dying for the sequel, Alicia Anthony’s thrilling debut is for you.

Books 1 and 2 of the Blood Secrets series are available at all major online retailers.
Book 3, Inherent Fate, is coming soon.

About the Author:
Alicia Anthony’s first novels were illegible scribbles on the back of her truck-driver father’s logbook trip tickets. Having graduated from scribbles to laptop, she now pens novels of romantic and psychological suspense in the quiet of the wee morning hours. A full-time elementary school Literacy Specialist, Alicia hopes to pass on her passion for books and writing to the students she teaches. Her works of fiction have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Golden Heart®, Claymore, and Daphne DuMaurier Award for Mystery/Suspense. Alicia’s most recent release, Inherent Lies, was a Golden Heart® Finalist and Silver Quill Award winner. Alicia finds her inspiration in exploring the dark, dusty corners of the human experience.


To celebrate the release of INHERENT LIES by Alicia Anthony, one lucky I Smell Sheep reader will win a $15 Amazon gift card and winner’s choice of INHERENT TRUTH or INHERENT LIES (Ebook).

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Reaper Unexpected (Deadside Reapers #1) by Debbie Cassidy + giveaway

by Debbie Cassidy
March 26th 2020
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Your dead are our business.

Got a loved one who’s passed? Want to ask your dead aunt where she hid that elusive will? Head over to Necro city and look no further than Soul Savers Inc.

One day the world was normal, and the next, it was filled with ghosts. And then the reapers came. Blood-sucking hot dudes with wings and wicked scythes. They took control, and now we have a system.

Now we have Necro city, the hub of all things untethered.

As a soul relocation agent, it’s my job to rehouse the dead until the reapers come to collect, but with so few of those dudes about, the wait isn’t pretty. Thank goodness for decent coffee, frosted donuts, and a pending promotion.

Things are looking good until they’re not.

One bar fight and a dead reaper later, I’m left holding the scythe.

Not just any scythe, but a scythe belonging to one of Lilith’s four favored sons—the most powerful reapers in the world.

For some reason, it’s chosen me.

Now, three very large, very pissed off reapers are on my case.

It looks like that promotion is going to have to wait.

A kickass Urban fantasy with a why choose romance. Vampires, ghosts, angels, and demons. Perfect for readers who enjoy forbidden romance, enemies to lovers, or friends to lovers.

About the Author:
Debbie Cassidy lives in England, Bedfordshire, with her three kids and very supportive husband. Coffee and chocolate biscuits are her writing fuels of choice, and she is still working on getting that perfect tower of solitude built in her back garden. Obsessed with building new worlds and reading about them, she spends her spare time daydreaming and conversing with the characters in her head - in a totally non psychotic way of course. She writes Urban Fantasy, Fantasy and Reverse Harem Fantasy. All her books contain plenty of action, romance and twisty plots.


Blitz-wide giveaway (INT)
$15 Amazon gift card
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