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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Book Review: Someone To Hold Me (The Gods Made Me Do It Book 6) by Lisa Oliver + giveaway

Someone To Hold Me (The Gods Made Me Do It Book 6)
by Lisa Oliver
August 11, 2019
395 pages
Hades, Lord of the Underworld, has spent years searching the world for his Fated Mate. He's watched his brother and nephews find their "light" and yet he can't find his. On the verge of giving up hope, Hades attends his brother Poseidon's wedding; so outside his comfort zone, but his discomfort proves worth it. Because there, at the reception, he finally sees his light.

It wasn't that Ali was uncomfortable around wolves - he'd been a good friend of Claude's for years. But when one of the wolves at Claude's and Poseidon's wedding gets verbally pushy, he feels he has no choice but to shift and find the alpha. What he doesn't expect is to find a beautiful man with soulful eyes, holding out his hand.

After all Ali and Hades have been through in their lives, you'd think the Fates would be kind to them. But between Cerberus's howling, Persephone's snarking, and Ali's family proving there is more to them than their blatant wealth, Ali and Hades have their hands full creating a life with each other. But maybe, just maybe, the Mother has a gift for them after all.

This is an MM paranormal true mates story intended for adults only. This book can be read as a stand-alone. Mpreg elements (Not the MCs, or the focus of the story)



Ali is a chipmunk shifter, and Hades is, well, Hades, lord of the underworld, ruler of all things dark and in charge of imprisoning and sentencing souls to their eternity in his realm.

In this story, Lisa Oliver presents Hades as the brother who drew the short straw and wound up with a job no one else wanted. He’s lonely, miserable, and excluded from almost everything to do with his family and has few if any, friends.

The story opens up in a club where his brother Sei is bewildered by the fact that Hades isn’t banging every piece of ass that looks his way.

But Hades is tired of sex and wants love. He’s looking for his fated mate.

Ali is a chipmunk shifter who has been turned out by his snobby family and left to his own in the big bad world. When a chunk of that big bad world on two legs decides he wants Ali to perform for him, Ali winds up in the arms of Hades, and it’s love at first sight. Or at least fated mates at first sight.

Story Concept: C
I hate to say it, but the Greek gods, the underworld, gods with mortals, gods banging mortals, lives depending on the fates, has been done, and very little has been done differently.

Shifters have been tossed into the mix, but they, along with the antagonist, feels like more of an add on rather than an ingredient.

Combine that with all-powerful beings who can snap their fingers so no one even has to crack open a bottle of lube, things get kind of silly.

World-Building: C
Worldbuilding isn’t easy and a lot of authors struggle with it. Considering the monumental concept Lisa Oliver chose to tackle, I’m surprised there was any sense of being grounded at all in the book.

Some places are fairly strong, such as the moral realm, a few spots in the underworld, but for the most part, the character interactions and experiences with their environment are rather flat.

There were so many missed opportunities to paint a fantastic visual as Ali took a tour through the underworld for the first time. The experience wasn’t rushed but there was no awe factor. Some scenes were obviously supposed to be disturbing or frightening, but the delivery left it feeling more like a Hollywood tour bus going through a carnival funhouse.

Characters: A-
As annoying as Ali could be (hyper chipmunk overdosed with optimism), he had a very distinct voice as did most of the characters in the book. They were definitely far more thought out than the actual world and held the story together even at its weakest points.

Secondary Characters: A- 
While there were a few characters I really didn’t care for, again they had distinctive voices, personalities, and were very believable, despite some of the awkward encounters.

Folsom was by far the best secondary character—humorous and very rich, even in his limited screen time.

Plot Execution: A/D
Two scores on this, and I’ll explain. Lisa did a very good job bringing about each obstacle, whether disgruntled Persephone or Ali’s less than stellar family, all the way to Hade’s facing his insecurities.

But here lies the problem. The gods were too powerful. While there were obstacles, at any time, Hades could have snapped his fingers (literally) and made it all go away. For me, this was the weakest and most detrimental part of the story. By making the gods have all, and able to do all (or almost all) dulled any physical threats and muted all conflict. Especially since this power followed Hades from his realm to the mortal world.

Now the contrast to that power (which is another part that connects to the A in this rating) is the gods' helplessness when it comes to emotional and mental challenges.

Resolution: B-
Multiple conflicts were running in this story that did not connect except by the fact the same characters were involved. Hades and Ali found each other too easily for me, the challenges I expected (ones hinted to) were not all that challenging. The delivery of the conflicts felt like a laundry list to be checked off as they were dealt with.

Hades and Ali got their fairy tale ending, of course, so there were no real loose threads left behind.

Enthusiasm: A
Overall I felt as if this author enjoyed these characters and the story. There were parts I wondered whether or not they struggled due to how those sections felt more like extra words than important events.

I think the most love for the characters came through Ali and his gregarious personality.

Conclusion:
If you love sweet, squishy, and safe, you’ll probably enjoy this story very much. It’s a good read to have when you don’t want any surprises, a little humor, some silliness, and very little action.

I think there are a lot of people out there who will find great enjoyment through the story Lisa Oliver crafted.


Guest Reviewer: Valentine


Excerpt
Cupping his hand carefully, Claude reached around his neck. Sitting on his palm was the cutest little chipmunk Hades had ever seen. He had pale gold fur, mixed with almost white on his belly and paws, and his face had two black streaks that ran from his sharp little eyes to the edge of his pointed ears. And he was pissed off. Sitting upright on his back legs, the little fellow jabbed his wee front legs around as though he was boxing, chattering nineteen to the dozen. Hades doubted anyone could understand what was being said, but they could understand the tone and it was all directed at the hapless Bart.

“Well, would you look at that,” Sei grinned reaching out a finger as it he wanted to touch. “Ali has to be the cutest little shifter I’ve ever seen.”

“Put your finger away,” Hades muttered quietly, more to himself than anyone else. “You touch him, and I’ll strip the skin from your fingers.”

But obviously he wasn’t quiet enough. “Brother?” Sei looked shocked and then a huge smile spread across his face. “You see the light at last?” Claude and the other wolves who’d all stood around wanting to be nosy, looked between them as if not sure what was going on.

Hades only had eyes for his cute little mate, who had stopped chattering and was now twitching his nose madly in Hades direction. “I’m not the greatest catch,” he said quietly, catching the little creature’s eyes, “but I’ll spend eternity doing my best to make you happy if you’ll let me.” He slowly held out his hand and waited.

Time stood still. Hades wasn’t even sure if his heart was beating anymore. The little chipmunk dropped down on all fours, looking over his shoulder at Claude who smiled, then at Bart who growled, and then back at Hades. Twitching his tail madly, he took a flying leap, landing directly on Hades’ palm. Hades quickly moved his other hand to cradle him. He didn’t want his little mate to fall off and hurt himself. But Ali showed no signs of falling. Looking up at Hades he pointed one of his front paws at Bart and started his angry chittering again.

“I know, I know. I completely understand.” Hades said, nodding, keeping an eye on the angry shifter. “This guy has upset you and he deserves to pay. I totally agree.”

“Er, bro,” Sei cast a worried look in Claude’s direction. “The wolves get upset when us godly beings interfere in pack affairs.”

“Ali’s not pack.” Hades called on his power. A voice screamed in the back of his head that this was not the right place, that he could lose his mate if the wee guy couldn’t handle who he was, but Hades wasn’t about to shirk his duty to his precious mate on the very first day. “Do you know who I am?”

The world looked different from his new perspective. In his god form, Hades’ head almost touched the ceiling – the wolves below him not even half his size. His power cloaked the room – dark, dangerous – there was not a being in existence who didn’t immediately recognize how menacing he could be, even if they didn’t know who he was.

Only Ali appeared unaffected. The tiny chipmunk looked even smaller in his huge hand, but the guy didn’t seem worried, rubbing his cheek against Hades’ thumb which Hades found rather soothing.

“I’ll say again,” Hades’ voice bellowed around the room. “Do you know who I am and who’s mate you’ve had the audacity to upset?”

“Oh, my gods,” Bart fell to his knees, blathering. “I’ve done it now. My sexy shaft is going to be the death of me. That’s who you are, isn’t it? You’re Death and you’ve come to take me away and fuck, I’m still hard. I can’t die before I orgasm, that’s just not fair.”

“Actually,” Thanatos pushed through the crowds, his mate tucked in by his side, “I’m Death and I’m not taking you today, although your god reference was highly accurate.” He looked up at Hades and winked. “The man is a simpleton, Lord; I can see his soul. He is one of the classic examples of a man being led around by his dick, but I don’t believe he meant any permanent harm to your mate.”

Hades’ heart almost stopped when Ali leaned over his finger, chittering madly at Thanatos. Tilting his head to one side, Thanatos listened and then nodded. “You are quite right, little one, that anger of his is a grave concern. Any of the Doms here know they have to respect the laws of consent. I’m sure Claude has a suitable punishment for him, though, don’t you think? You really don’t want trash like this cluttering up the Underworld.”

Ali chittered a bit more and Thanatos laughed. Hades wished he had the power to understand all languages but only Death himself had been granted that power. “You’re probably right about that too, little one. But the Fates get upset when someone takes a life unnecessarily and this man isn’t bad, he’s just misguided. I’m sure he’s going to apologize, isn’t he?” He looked back at Bart who was watching, his mouth slack.

“Apologize,” Claude growled, stepping forward when Bart stayed silent, his fist raised. “You’ve upset two gods today and Death himself, not to mention my really good friend. Say you’re sorry, or I’ll castrate you and then we won’t have to worry about your dick leading you astray again.”

“Not my dick, not my dick.” Bart doubled over, clutching the body part in question. “I’m sorry. I’ll listen. I’ll take whatever punishment you give me, but don’t kill me, please don’t kill me.”

“It seems your presence has rendered him more useless than usual,” Sei sighed, digging Hades in the thigh with his elbow. “Why don’t you take your new mate somewhere special and get to know him. You have my word Bart won’t bother you or your mate again.”

Slowly moving his arm, Hades bought his hand up to his face. His sweet little chipmunk showed no fear – even reaching out for him with his cute front paws. “Are you ready to leave?” He asked keeping his voice as low as possible which wasn’t easy in this form. Ali’s excited bobbing of his head meant his fur brushed across Hades’ cheek sending tingles throughout his whole body. Closing his eyes, Hades enjoyed the sensation for just a moment, before translocating them to his favorite earthly home. No matter how accepting Ali was proving to be, he wasn’t about to subject his mate to the cold hardness of the Underworld until he absolutely had to.


About the Author:
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Lisa Oliver had been writing non-fiction books for years when visions of half dressed, buff men started invading her dreams. Unable to resist the lure of her stories, Lisa decided to switch to fiction books, and now stories about her men clamor to get out from under her fingertips.

When Lisa is not writing, she is usually reading with a cup of tea always at hand. Her grown children and grandchildren sometimes try and pry her away from the computer and have found that the best way to do it, is to promise her chocolate. Lisa will do anything for chocolate.


Giveaway

Lisa is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour – for a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

New Book Releases: January 21, 2020

Looking for something new to read this month?

Spotlight: Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers

Review coming soon

Rogue Princess
by B.R. Myers
January 21, 2020
304 pages
Genre: YA, fantasy, space opera, dystopian, 

Publisher: Swoon Reads
Sold by: Macmillan
A princess fleeing an arranged marriage teams up with a snarky commoner to foil a rebel plot in B. R. Myers' Rogue Princess, a gender-swapped sci-fi YA retelling of Cinderella.

Princess Delia knows her duty: She must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. Yet she secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. Determined to chart her own course, she steals a spaceship to avoid the marriage, only to discover a handsome stowaway.

All Aidan wanted was to “borrow” a few palace trinkets to help him get off the planet. Okay, so maybe escaping on a royal ship wasn’t the smartest plan, but he never expected to be kidnapped by a runaway princess!

Sparks fly as this headstrong princess and clever thief battle wits, but everything changes when they inadvertently uncover a rebel conspiracy that could destroy their planet forever.





CHAPTER ONE
It was the feverish gossip of the palace maids that got Aidan’s attention. He was bent over the rubbish bin, just outside the kitchen. Straightening up, he flicked a vegetable peel from the collar of his uniform and stood in the back doorway, concentrating on the girls’ whispers. Several princes from the neighboring planets of the Four Quadrants had been arriving since yesterday, each one more handsome than the last.

Normally, Aidan would brush off anything connected with the royal family—they were hardly his idea of decent human beings—but talk soon turned to the gifts each prince was rumored to be bringing as they all vied for Princess Delia’s hand in marriage. The idea of treasures brought in by potential suitors was too tempting to ignore.

With his usual stealth, Aidan slipped into the busy kitchen unnoticed. The other staff barely gave him a second look; it was just the girls, too busy with their own chores to afford him more than a blushing glance.

He spied the deliberate care the head chef took with displaying the flowers beside the array of mini cakes—plus the ornate napkin ring. Aidan knew the valuable piece would end up in his possession by the end of the day. His reflexes were so quick, sometimes all he had to do was notice an object and the next thing he knew, it was in his pocket.

He’d spent years successfully nicking cutlery and palace trinkets during his time as a kitchen chore boy, and had amassed a substantial escape fund. He pictured the almost-full metal box under his thin cot. He was so close to freedom! And with the headaches coming in faster intervals, he knew his time was dwindling.

The chef beckoned one of the serving androids lined up at attention, identical in their gray dresses and white aprons. “Take this directly to the guest suite in the east wing,” he ordered. “It’ll be my head if the prince’s tray is late.”

The android’s lack of emotion made her the perfect victim, or rather innocent accomplice. Aidan watched her carry the tray out of the kitchen, making up a plan on the spot.

Images of a room full of priceless treasures filled Aidan’s imagination as he waltzed through the bustling kitchen and down the servants’ corridor. He was enough of a constant to go unnoticed, plus experience in thieving had taught him that if you looked like you belonged, everyone assumed you did.

Aidan followed the android as she took the service transporter to the upper levels of the palace. The smooth lift swooped to a stop, making his stomach rise and fall. Wordlessly, the servant made her way down the hallway of the east wing. The bright polished area was a stark contrast to his stepfather’s cottage on the fringe of the Dark District. Built into the great mountain, the palace still had traces of the hard stone within the walls and floor. It was a perfect combination of technology and raw element.

But Aidan had no use for such luxury at the moment. He was focused on his new goal. The android stopped outside a door, then pressed her palm against the calling pad on the wall. The door slid open.

“Lovely work, darling,” Aidan said, reaching up and touching the soft spot behind her ear. There was a click under his finger and the android froze. It was a trick he’d learned a few weeks back while eavesdropping on the royal android technician—blending in to the point of being invisible had its perks.

Aidan took the tray from her and put on his best fake smile. “Compliments of Her Royal Highness, Princess Delia,” he called out, marching into the room. Then he added under his breath, “Heir to the throne, privileged daughter, and all around boring, typical spoiled royal.”

He noticed the fancy clothing on the bed. The jacket was adorned with shiny buttons and a pressed collar. Voices came from beyond the smaller door across the way. He couldn’t tell if it was a heated conversation or a lovers’ spat. No matter, all Aidan needed was a few precious seconds to scan the room.

Then he saw it. Nestled under one of the uniforms was the silver hilt of a dagger. Aidan put down the tray, taking care to first remove the gilded napkin ring and slip it into his pocket. It was a greedy gesture, but he reasoned a little insurance never hurt.

Picking up the embellished piece, Aidan noted the inlaid jewels and deduced this was probably a courting gift rather than a weapon. Something this beautiful should never shed blood.

The door opened. “You there!” A partially clothed man with a short haircut stood in the smaller doorway glaring.

Aidan gave an exaggerated bow as he hid the dagger behind his back. “Compliments of the royal kitchen, Your Highness.” He swept his other hand toward the tray, then did a quick twirl as he slipped the dagger into his pocket and made his way toward the door. “Enjoy the cakes,” he sang over his shoulder, unable to keep the smile off his face. Not only were his days of being the chore boy over, but the ornate dagger guaranteed the last bit of cash to get him a ticket off this miserable planet. The doors slid closed behind him and he let out a satisfied sigh.

The android was frozen with her arms out front as if she were still holding the tray. “Nice working with you,” Aidan said with a wink. “Forgive my hasty departure—”

“Thief!” the prince yelled from the other side of the door. “I’m calling the guards!”

Aidan scrambled for the servants’ lift only to find it was on another floor. Doubling back, he sprinted down the corridor, his boots slapping a guilty echo. He turned the corner and saw the main lift ten feet down the hall. It was a risk for a servant to use it, but he had no choice. He pressed the call button, swearing under his breath as nothing happened.

The voices of the Queen’s Guard echoed like rolling thunder from the far end of the hall. How did they get here so fast?

Aidan looked around and spied a tall alcove. Sucking in his breath, he slipped behind the life-size statue of some long dead royal he couldn’t care less about. Molding his back into the curved niche in the wall, he felt the familiar twinges to both temples and knew things couldn’t get much worse. Another headache was building, and this one promised to be the torturous kind that squeezed his skull to the point of passing out. And even though it meant relief, passing out now would guarantee him a lifetime in the dungeons.

Standing as still as stone, Aidan stared at the other statue across the hallway in its own alcove. He held his breath as the guards closed the distance. He estimated there were at least three of them, and all would be armed, he was certain.

From the corner of his eye, he saw the Queen’s Guard come into view. Tall and imposing, the black cloaks and swords evoked a chilling respect from anyone who came face-to-face with them.

The leader paused directly in front of Aidan’s alcove. The other two guards halted.

“Slippery bugger,” he muttered, looking down the long empty corridor. “Take the stairs. He can’t have gotten far.”

“Yes, Colonel Yashin.” There was a swish of capes as the guards turned and ran in the opposite direction. Aidan slowly relaxed.

The lift sounded as the doors opened. Aidan bounded inside. He reached for the main floor button, but then paused—the guards would be waiting for him, no doubt. His finger shifted and he hit the top button.

The lift came to a stop and the doors opened, revealing the launching bay. He was stunned for a moment, never having been close to this many grand ships before. Then Aidan saw a row of Queen’s Guard gliders. They had fifty times the maneuvering capability of the beat-up sky dodger he skimmed over Pirate’s Canyon. They were probably trickier to fly as well, but this day was apparently made for taking chances. All he would have to do was hop on one, and the sky would be his.

Before he could race to the nearest glider, a vessel on his left came to life. The door eased open as if summoning him. “A Queen’s Guard Patrol ship,” he whispered, equal parts awe and trepidation.

He could get much farther in a ship than an open glider, maybe even make it to another planet! No longer thinking about the metal box under his bed, Aidan seized the opportunity and eased his way inside.

He stared at the complex cockpit, suddenly overwhelmed. Anxiety set in. Aidan pulled at the collar of his shirt, frantically unbuttoning the top button. Then his hands felt the chain and the smooth disc around his neck—his medallion. Aidan touched it and closed his eyes. His mother’s voice echoed inside his head. “Always safe.”

With this new calmness, he took in his situation. “All right, you beautiful machine,” he said to the control panel, scanning the array of switches and buttons. “It seems you and I are destined to have an adventure.”

The general setup was similar to the smaller dashboard of the glider his stepfather owned. He was certain he could start the ship. But fly it? Er … no.

Aidan rubbed his thumb along his bottom lip, considering his next move. He knew what the future held if he didn’t take this ship. He imagined his stepfather, glowering from the head of the table, criticizing Aidan’s every gesture.

And never mind the sneers from his stepbrothers. There would be Drake, bulging arms and low forehead, grinning with each rude remark. Then Morgan, pale and apathetic, sitting beside his older brother, staring at the scene without comment—like always.

I’m done with them, Aidan thought. The dagger and the ship, and the opportunity they represented, were making him brave.

A jaunty sense of hope quelled his apprehension. “Machines are simple,” he said, hoping to sound confident. “Just tell it what you want it to do.”

He pressed what he assumed was the main power button. The computer-generated voice of the ship was serene. “Prepare for launch. In T minus ten…”

There was a shudder as the ship’s power thrusters came to life, knocking Aidan off his feet. The back of his head bounced off the hard floor. The computer continued to count down as Aidan fought the darkness creeping around the edges of his vision. This time he was certain things couldn’t get much worse.

Copyright © 2020 by B.R. Meyers


About the Author:
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B.R. Myers spent most of her teen years behind the covers of Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and Lois Duncan. When she's not putting her characters in awkward situations she works as a registered nurse. A member of the Writer's Federation of Nova Scotia, she lives in Halifax with her husband and their two children.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Excerpt: Pixieland Diaries by Christina Bauer + giveaway

Pixieland Diaries
by Christina Bauer
March 31st 2020
Published by: Monster House Books
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
WARNING
If you don’t like pixies, don’t read this diary.

If you don’t like loud-mouthed pixies who are really cool but sometimes get told they’re immature (for no reason), then definitely stop reading.

Oh, and if you’re His Awfulness The Elf Prince ‘Dare’ Darius, then you can kiss my butt. My hatred for you burns with the fire of a thousand suns. Thanks for getting me kicked out of Pixieland and exiled to attend some rando human high school on Earth. You’re the worst, even if you have a cute smile. And nice eyes. Your hair looks okay sometimes, too. But you’re still a creep and I loathe you.

And to everyone else: if you’ve read this far, then you better finish my entire diary.

My story is supernatural, wacked-out, and overall awesome.


***Meet the sassy pixie, Calla, in this 13,000+ word sampler!!!***
Available now!

EXCERPT:
DAY ONE OF THE NEW ME
Dear Diary,

Goodbye, old me! This journal will track my transformation into an all-new Calla. Not on the physical side, mind you. I’ll still be a fifteen-year-old pixie, five feet tall with pink hair and violet eyes. Instead, what will change about me is this: as of today, I shall never play another prank for as long as I live.

Definitely.

Maybe.

Hopefully.

Okay, having a diary means being totally honest. It’s true that I’ve made this no-prank promise before. But today the Elven High Council gave me another super-long lecture on my so-called silly attitude. What a bunch of grumps. All their panties were in a twist, too. Why? I just cast one little enchantment that transformed the council’s shampoo into hair remover.

Which was awesome, by the way. The council are way too snooty and into their looks. Plus without their hair, the council rocks an alien vibe. And their silken tresses will all be back to normal after a spell or two. I think. Prince Darius says my magic is too powerful for my own good. He’s too cute for his, so we’re even.

Anyway, back to the council’s lecture. They reviewed this crazy-long list of how I should act going forward. I wrote it all down super carefully:

Act mysterious – always

Be frivolous – never

There was more on their list but what can I say? I got bored. The council also waah waah waah-ed that if I didn’t change my personality and soon, then this was my last warning. One more infraction and I would be kicked out of Pixieland, my home within Faerie.

Exile would be the worst, so I’m putting together a New Me plan.

Next steps to the New Me: swap out my gossamer wings for a bat look … Only answer questions with a long and mysterious ‘maaaaaaybe’ … And no pranks.

For real, this time.

-The New Calla

About the Author:

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Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. The first three books in the series are now available as audiobooks on Audible and iTunes.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Stalk Christina On Social Media – She Loves It!


GIVEAWAY
Blitz-wide giveaway (INT)
Copy of Pixieland Diaries, swag & more! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Spotlight: Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror


Lullabies For Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror
by Caroline Kepnes, Kealan Patrick Burke, Gabino Iglesias, John FD Taff, Mercedes M Yardley, Mark Matthews
January 14, 2020
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Wicked Run Press
“A plunge into the agony and the ecstasy, the inescapable nightmare of addiction.”
~ALMA KATSU, author of The Deep and The Hunger
"Chilling and thought-provoking."
~The Library Journal, (Starred Review)
 
“Each story uses different techniques and tropes from the genre resulting in a volume that is chilling and thought provoking.” ~Library Journal (Starred Review) 
Addiction starts like a sweet lullaby sung by a trusted loved one. It washes away the pains of the day and wraps you in the warmness of the womb where nothing hurts and every dream is possible. Yet soon enough, this warm state of bliss becomes a cold shiver, the ecstasy and dreams become nightmares, yet we can't stop listening to the lullaby. We crave to hear the siren song as it rips us apart.
         
Six stories: three novellas, three novelettes, written by a powerful list of talent, all featuring the insidious nature of addiction--damaged humans craving for highs and wholeness but finding something more tragic and horrific on the other side.

FEATURING:
Caroline Kepnes author of You and Hidden Bodies
Kealan Patrick Burke, author of Sour Candy and Kin
Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Pretty Little Dead Girls        
John FD Taff, author of The Fearing
Mark Matthews, author of Milk-Blood
Gabino Iglesias, author of Coyote Songs

Excerpt: Mated to the Alien Series by Kate Rudolph + giveaway


Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Braxtyn?
Braxtyn features Braxtyn NaZade and Vita Minnick. Brax first appeared in his brother’s book, Shayn, alongside his twin brother, Dekon. He’s a half-Detyen, half-Oscavian mechanic who just wants to be an artist. Cinnamon roll? Maybe, I’ll let you be the judge. And he gets into a bit of trouble when a mysterious stranger abducts him from his new home on Earth.

That mysterious stranger? Vita. She was sold into slavery as a child and is now free and working as a bounty hunter. She’s tough, she can take care of herself, and she doesn’t know what to do with a man who treats her like she’s precious. I love her.

They don’t make sense at first, but the Denya Bond knows what’s up. They’re fated to be together… as long as Vita’s enemies don’t destroy them first.

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
In terms of marketability, I think my Alien Outlaws series would be the best to translate to a movie or TV show. It has an ensemble cast, a rollicking sci-fi plot, and some twists and turns. It would be awesome to see any of my stories on the big screen, though, so Hollywood, really, I’m right here! Come calling!

How long have you been writing?
I’ve probably been writing since middle school, and I’ve been telling stories my entire life. I know for a fact that my (now defunct) fanfiction.net account goes back to 2002, so I’ve been around on the internet for a good few years. But it took me a very long time to actually finish anything. I started writing a few novellas and short stories in 2013/2014 and they were the first things I ever finished. And just that process of finishing something really jumpstarted the rest of my career. Once it was possible to have a complete story, even if it was only 5000 words, it suddenly seemed possible to get a whole novel completed… someday. And that someday was 2016, when I completed Bear in Mind which was my first novel length story. And now I am able to write multiple novels in a year. Practice really does make things easier.

What is something unique/quirky about you?
I am a roller derby skater! I first started roller skating when I was a little kid since my aunt owned a roller skating rink. In fact, my parents met at that roller rink, so skating might just be in my DNA. Then about nine years ago I saw a flyer for a new team that was recruiting skaters. So for the past several years, on and off depending on where I was living, I’ve been skating roller derby. It’s fun, and a bit frightening, and if you have any inclination to find a sport full of awesome people, I’d suggest giving it a try.

Do you see writing as a career?
Writing is my career. I was fortunate enough to be able to transition to writing full time in 2017 and I hope I am able to continue to do so. I try and write every week day and I’m always looking for new ways to work on my books and get them into hands of readers. But it’s not just writing that is a career, it’s publishing in general. It’s producing different kinds of books, getting them into formats like audio and print, keeping in touch with readers, and learning how to be an entire marketing team all as one person. It’s tough, but I get to do all of it while wearing pajamas, which is a pretty nifty trade off.

What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I didn’t really like to read until middle school. At the time if felt like that was SOOOOOOO late in my life, but now, looking back, I was about twelve? But my best friend was a reader, and school always encouraged us to read, and until seventh grade I just didn’t like it. And in seventh grade I figured out why.

The books people gave me sucked.

Okay, maybe that’s not fair, but they didn’t appeal to me. And then we read The Westing Game in middle school and it’s the first school assigned book I remember loving. And, weirdly, one of the few I actually liked. And yet I was an English major in college. I never said I made any sense.

But along with The Westing Game I somehow stumbled across The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith (more than a decade before anyone would have thought to make a TV show) and Anne Rice. And that was it. I love love love genre fiction and that’s how I finally started to love reading.

And it’s because of those books that I knew I wanted to write. I started out with fanfiction, mainly of Harry Potter, and then moved on to trying to finish my own stories. It took a long time. Every January I’d make a promise: this is the year I’m finally going to finish my novel. And it was a different novel every year. And by December I’d have a few thousand words and no hope. It wasn’t until about 2013 that I was able to finish any original fiction, and I started publishing in 2015. This year marks my five year anniversary and it was absolutely the right decision to make. I’ve grown as a writer and learned so much over the past few years and I can’t wait to see what the next five years brings.

What do you think about the current publishing market?
The current publishing market is both terrifying and exhilarating. The last decade has seen an explosion in opportunities for authors to make a living, or at least pay some bills, telling the kinds of stories that didn’t used to be published. But there is A LOT that a person has to learn to do it successfully. And there are people out there who will take advantage of the unknowing, those who will ask for a lot of money to teach things that are readily available online for free. And those that will take thousands of dollars to publish an author’s book when she could do it herself for much less. So if you’re looking to publish, make sure you do your research. It’s scary, but it’s also fun.

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I’ll confess, my writing method is pretty boring. I sit down and plot out the main structure of what I’m going to write, going chapter by chapter and doing a sentence or two. They’ll read like “Vita kidnaps Brax” or “Sexy times.” I also usually do character sheets with basic information: age, physical description, important history, etc. Then I start at chapter one and go through to the end. And I usually only write one book at a time, though sometimes I’ll work on other projects to make sure I don’t get bored. So sometimes I’ll work on my main story in the morning and then do a short amount of work on a different story in the afternoon just to stretch some different creative muscles.
Braxtyn (Mated to the Alien #8) 
by Kate Rudolph
January 10, 2020
170 pages
Genre: SciFi Romance
She’s hunting a bounty, not a mate…
Vita Minnick has one job: hunt down lowlifes who owe her boss money and deliver them for a profit. When a ticket for Braxtyn NaZade comes up it should be a job just like any other. But from the moment she sees him, Vita can’t help but think he’s… different. She’s not going to fall for one of her marks, but what if there’s been a mistake? 


Brax doesn’t owe anyone anything…
When a masked woman steals him away from Earth, Brax knows he’s in trouble. At first, he just wants to go home. But when he catches sight of the red headed huntress all his plans change. Who would have thought his fated mate would be the one to abduct him? 


When a betrayal rocks Vita’s identity to the core, she and Brax will need to work together to get to the bottom of the mystery… and to get justice. But can a Detyen claim a bounty hunter who refuses to be tied down? Brax might have found his denya, but he’ll need to convince her he’s worth the risk… before they both perish.

Read Braxtyn for fated mates, a heart-melting hero, a tough and world-weary heroine and adventures that are out of this world!

Braxtyn is the eighth book in the Mated to the Alien series about a race of aliens doomed to die if they don’t meet their fated mates. The series can be read in any order and there are no cliffhangers!


Excerpt:
The space was another thing that was taking some getting used to. They’d lived on Honora Station for so long that he’d forgotten what it felt like to be able to stretch his arms without risk of running into a wall or smacking someone else.
“Ow,” hissed Deke.
Okay, the smacking someone else was still a bit of a problem, but Deke was his twin so that didn’t count. “Watch where you’re going,” he shot back.

Shayn (Mated to the Alien #7)

Kayleb (Mated to the Alien #6)

Krayter (Mated to the Alien #5)

Cyborg (Mated to the Alien #4)

Stoan (Mated to the Alien #3)

Tyral (Mated to the Alien #2)

Ruwen (Mated to the Alien #1)


About the Author:
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Sign up to her mailing list to receive notifications of new releases and deals. The link can be found here: http://katerudolph.net/index.php/subscribe 

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Kate Rudolph is an ex-derby girl who lives in Indiana. She loves writing about kick butt heroines and the steamy heroes who love them. She's been devouring romance novels since she was too young to be reading them and had to hide her books so no one would take them away. She couldn't imagine a better job in this world than writing romances and sharing them with her fellow readers. 

GIVEAWAY
3 ebook copies of Mated to the Alien Volume One (featuring books 1-3 in the series) 
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

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 http://mylifemybooksmyescape.wordpress.com Author interview 
1/16 Armed with A Book http://www.armedwithabook.com Guest Post 
1/17 Armed with A Book http://www.armedwithabook.com Top Ten's List 
1/17 Sapphyria's Books https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/ Guest Post 
1/18 I Smell Sheep http://www.ismellsheep.com/ Guest Post 
1/19 Jazzy Book Reviews https://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com/ Author Interview 
1/20 The Literary Underworld http://www.literaryunderworld.com Guest Post 
1/20 Beauty in Ruins - She Leads he Reads https://femledfantasy.home.blog Guest Post 
1/21 Sheila's Guests and Reviews http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com Guest Post 
1/22 The Book Junkie Reads . . . https://thebookjunkiereadspromos.blogspot.com Author Interview 
1/22 Willow's Thoughts and Book Obsessions http://wssthoughtsandbookobsessions.blogspot.com/ Review 

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