Showing posts with label Bewitching Book Tours. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bewitching Book Tours. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Spotlight: A Campfire Nightmare


A Campfire Nightmare
Nightmare Series
Book One
Jeffrey Stagg

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Stagg Literature, LLC

Date of Publication:  March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1517744441
ASIN: B01CRQKFZO

Number of pages: 344
Word Count: 117,824

Book Description:

IN AGES PAST, the Flathead Native Americans fought a war against a monstrous force that stalks the woods surrounding Flathead Lake. So says William Rox, legendary musician and director of the prestigious Colman’s Amateur Music Program, known as CAMP.

Jimmy Downs is thrilled to be attending CAMP—or he would be, if he weren’t being bullied by campers who seem to think wealth can buy talent. Jimmy doesn’t have money, but he can drum like no one else. As for the bullies, at least his best friend, Michael Munday, is with him. The two have had each other’s backs all of their lives.

But bullies are about to become the least of Jimmy’s worries. Dark, hulking figures begin surrounding the woods around camp…figures that bear more than a passing resemblance to Rox’s campfire stories.

Jimmy and Michael are about to become players in a very old war—assuming they survive.

Amazon       BN       Createspace


PROLOGUE
The black-cloaked figure knelt by the lake, examining the muddy soil. A great northern storm had rolled through hours ago, but the air was still frigid. Waves crashed against the stony shore, waterdrops splashing up against his waterproof black covering.
His fingers traced along the print clearly pressed into the mud. It was a large paw print, something like the shape of a wolf’s but the size of a bear’s. He examined the mark on the ground and then moved to where he should have found the creature’s front paws, but not surprisingly, he instead found what appeared to be humanlike handprints, with long, triangular fingernails jutting out from the tip of each finger. The cloaked man placed his own right hand within the print, knowing that the muddy outline was easily twice the size of his own pale hand.
His left hand tightened around the shaft of his bow as he stood up.
Even though it was nearing one in the morning, his eyes clearly made out the many prints that had been made throughout this particular clearing.
He had warned the other guardian that something was going on.
“Why so many?” the man asked aloud as he pulled down the hood of his cloak. “There shouldn’t be this many here anymore.”
“What’s that?” a British man’s voice called from the darkness.
A flashlight’s beam bobbed through the trees, weaving back and forth until it fell upon the pale man’s form. The man lifted one of his hands to block his sensitive eyes from the somewhat dim beam. He indicated the soil in front of him that marked the passing of their quarries.
“A pack,” the pale man told his companion, moving the tip of his weapon to indicate how many individual creatures had passed through there. “You should keep the camp closed this year.”
“No,” the huge British man answered, snapping his response a little more testily than he had wanted. “It needs to be open. You know just as well as I do that we need to stay open.”
“Even at the risk of the lives of hundreds of people?”
His companion stepped forward and jammed a double-edged longsword into the ground as he examined the pathway. The flashlight was a head lamp, mounted with a pair of bands that wrapped around his head. As his head shifted from one set of prints to another, a feeling of anger began flooding into his soul.
“I need you to thin out this pack. You can shoot the sods from afar, and with that horse of yours, you’ll be able to stay ahead of them.”
“I can do that,” the pale man agreed, pulling his hood back up, still watching the back of the big man.
“There’s something going on this year that we don’t understand quite yet,” the British man told his friend, standing up and pulling the sword from the moistened ground. “Something feels different. It feels wrong…and right at the same time.”
“Maybe the legends are true, and the natives’ stories are coming to pass,” the archer suggested, beginning to stroll into a particularly dark portion of the forest, his fingers tightening on the dark wood of his bow as he disappeared into the night.
Finding himself alone, the swordsman stood and peered up into the sky at the bright round moon hanging in the air, twinkling stars engulfing the night. This was Big Sky Country, and it was true to its name. His eyes searched the heavens, hoping that an answer would reveal itself.
He let out a huff of hot breath, and the air clouded before his flashlight dimming the light slightly.
Shaking his head and turning to stare at the spot where his companion had disappeared, he whispered to himself, “I hope not. We’re not ready for them yet.”
As his words disappeared into the night like his breath, a clear rumbling sound thundered through the night on his left. Reaching down slowly, he drew his sword once more, its silver blade sparkling with the light of the moon.
“God above, keep me safe that I might be able to open the camp.”
The rocky growl turned into a mix of a scream and a roar as the furry eight-foot monstrosity leaped at the man, humanlike hands reaching out with razor claws. Swinging the sword out wide, the man pivoted to meet the demon in the darkness.

About the Author:

Jeffrey was born in Ogden, Utah in 1989.

Born to a podiatrist from Utah and a rancher's daughter from Montana. Stagg was able travel throughout his childhood finding solace and inspiration in the wild.
His interest in nature has made Stagg realize that the melding of natural world with magic was where he could excel. To keep ideas alive, Stagg is an avid nature photographer, imagining book scenes wherever he travels.

While attending Weber State University, Stagg was able to work as an artisan cheese maker for the award winning Beehive Cheese Co. in Ogden, Utah. It was there that the details of A Campfire Nightmare came together. During the 5 years he was employed at Beehive, Stagg has created story lines for many series he is in the process of writing.

Now, Stagg works as an educator and works with students in reading and writing. Encouraging those around him to spend more time in books.






Tour giveaway

5 - $10 Amazon gift certificates 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Cover Reveal: Worthy of Song and Story







Worthy of Song and Story
Stian the Viking Series
Book  One
Neal Chase

Middle Grade Fantasy

Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing

Winter 2016

 Book Description:

Twelve year-old Stian’s plans to be The Greatest Viking Ever appear to be over before they even begin. He’s captured by Dahlia—a dark elf and a girl. If that wasn’t bad enough, he discovers he may be the son of Loki, the greatest enemy of the Viking gods and the one foretold to bring about the end of the world.

Knowing he is meant to be extraordinary, Stian decides to discover the truth for himself and free Loki from the clutches of Odin. Only then, will he discover who he is and what he is meant to do.

Stian must out-think, misguide, and defeat Thor’s children. To do this he will need the power of Gram—a sword with magical powers. There is one catch, only one pure of heart with the desire to help others, is worthy of wielding it. If Stian succeeds, he will become the world’s most famous Viking, but if he fails he will fall victim to the gods’ merciless justice.


About the Author:

Neal Chase lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife, two children, two dogs, and a bird, which strangely has the same name as his dad. He is a member of SCBWI and the Writers’ League of Texas. When he is not writing and reading, you can find Neal coaching football or adventuring with the help of his PlayStation.




Friday, April 8, 2016

Guest Blog: The Part That Doesn't Burn


The Part That Doesn’t Burn
Goetia Series
Book One
Sam Poling

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

Date of Publication: March 23rd, 2016

ISBN: 9781310401916
ASIN: B01BW0Q2Y4

Number of pages: 319
Word Count: 97,000

Cover Artist: Cora Graphics

Book Description:

In an overpopulated city-state where technology and magic are forbidden by the corrupt church, young witch, Mirabel Fairfax, plots the creation of a deadly plague to cull the burdensome rabble.

That is, until she falls in love with the very alchemist she has been deceiving.

Now, with soul-hungry geists flooding the city, the church scrambling for their prey, and her own mind at war with itself, Mirabel must decide what she's fighting for before she loses everything to the evils of Autumnfall.



Excerpt:

Mirabel waited in the darkness.  Each passing second made it exponentially less likely the power would return.
“Mirabel? Did we lose power?” Felix’s voice quivered in the darkness.
“It should return momentarily.”
They waited. Mirabel could practically feel Felix’s demeanor evaporating.
“M-Mirabel?”
“Unbelievable, the singular time I am protecting company on the geistlines, a train dies. We are not coal powered. We are coming to a stop. Perhaps your pessimism rang true. Sour fortune must have followed you from Haugen. We need to leave.”
“L-leave? As in, leave the train, and go out there?”
“Felix, without power the only thing stopping a geist from swooping in here and taking your face off is nothing. One hundred percent nothing. Essentially, we already have the cons of being outside, along with the narrow space of being inside. Not a survivable combination.”
Without hesitation Felix took to gathering his tools, and corralling them into his bags.
“No time for that.”
She tugged him out of their room and through the train car. One side of the car featured the cabins. Asleep and unaware, no one else left their rooms. Windows with their blinds drawn and a faint cyan shimmering through adorned the other side.
“They’re lining both sides of the tracks. How long do we have?” said Felix.
“Geist behavior is a constant mystery, even to me, but eventually some will strike. Even those with eternity run out of patience.”
They reached the door to the next car and Mirabel mashed on the panel. Nothing. No power, no doors. She tried the manual handle, but it wouldn’t budge. If only Miss Perfect-Priestess were here, then the door wouldn’t be able to fly open fast enough.
“Oh bother,” she said.
“Door haunted too?”
“Handle denies me. Seems rusted, and I wonder if they automatically power lock.”
She could barely make out Felix’s nervous wince. “I wouldn’t expect that, Mirabel. Emergency situations would turn fatalities.”
“That is not happening with us.” She put her weight on the lever. It didn’t amount to much, and the lever knew it.
“Let me try.”
Felix consisted of average build and height, if not a tad lanky. Certainly not the strong type. Petite Mirabel stood quite small, a whole head shorter, also not the strong type, but she expected she could generate more strength. The alchemist didn’t have the mind for it.
“Felix, darling, put your hands here.” She directed his hands next to hers. “Press down on three, yes?”
Violet light washed over the handle they gripped before she got to “one.” She didn’t have to turn around to know its source. It traveled up her arms and across the door. If another passenger had opened a blind, the light source wouldn’t be nearing them.
“Three-three-three,” she shouted.
Felix threw down on the handle alongside her. Perhaps he did have the mind for it when terrified. With a shriek the lever punched into the open position, and the partners threw their hands into the crevice at the door’s left.
“Get the blasted thing open. Pull, Felix, do not look back.”
She made a mistake. Everyone looks back when instructed not to. He turned his neck and got an eyeful of something that forced a spate foul language. Such words didn’t suit him. Pulling with whatever force her slender arms could muster, she joined his blunder and looked over her shoulder.
A geist, two-thirds down the corridor, drifted closer. Its face partially lifted from its head, hanging a few inches from where it belonged. The glowing wisp mimicked the body it used to have, but poorly. The translucent skin melted and slid ever downward. She knew the face would contort any moment: the precursor to assault. And it had the gut-wrenching violet hue. Of all the geists to enter first, it had to be a damned giftgeist. She had no hope of generating enough magic to destroy it before it reached them.
The broken door started to grind open. She fit her thin body part way into the opening. Her heels dug into the carpet and her back braced against the door’s narrow edge, with her hands pressing against the wall. “Felix, pull.”
The geist twisted into a monster far fiercer than before; its face warped into elongated grief and its jaw stretched to the side to give a dry, raspy howl. Passengers meandering into the hall heard it. They slung their own screams and ran the opposite way. The worst decision during a geistline incident: running toward the rear of the train. They wouldn’t live long.
She reached above her head and flicked her fingers. “You want electricity, you fromping door? H-have some.” More white flashes fluttered between her fingers with each flick. “Come on, I had this spell mastered yesterday.”
“Mirabel? Mirabel,” yelped Felix. “It’s-it’s coming.”
“Simmer. I am focusing.”
“Focus faster!”
With a final flick, current rushed from the witch’s fingertips up into the door mechanisms. She had no idea what it accomplished, but the lights around the immediate vicinity flashed, including the door panel. Her left hand dropped and swatted it. The door grinded opened halfway before its lights died again. Halfway gave them more than enough space. The partners darted through into the next car. Glancing back, Mirabel saw the geist stop and turn to its side. Another passenger had peeked out of their cabin an arm’s length from the specter. It shot from Mirabel’s view before the rattled cries of a man and woman reached her ears.
Felix stopped as abruptly as the geist had. “It’s attacking someone.”
“Keep moving.”
“Mirabel, you’ve got to do something, there are three cars full of people back there.”

“And we are the only valuable ones.”



"Would you ever give up writing, even if you never made any sales?"

Sam Poling – THE PART THAT DOESN’T BURN

Every writer has something different to tell when they are asked about their motivations. Some do it to advance the art of writing itself, some are compelled by the stories and characters circling around in their head, and others want the career of creative writing to save them from their tedious day jobs. In most cases it’s a mixture of those reasons, and others. But do we give up writing altogether if we don’t make the sales?

No, we don’t give up. I never carried a checklist around with me and asked the question of all the writers across the globe, but I am confident the vast majority of our breed would not stop writing. We simply would not be able to, myself included. The characters don’t stop nagging, the ideas don’t stop coming, and the urge to create doesn’t dissipate because we aren’t being handed money. Art is a human drive, a need. Each of us have that need within us, and it must be expressed. In my case, it is expressed in creative writing.

However, part of the need to create art is the need to share it. It is expression, after all. It is social, and we are social creatures. We evolved to be. For myself, as I expect it is for many writers, sales are more important to us because they show we’ve done this. We’ve shared our experience and made a small change in the world. Deep down, even if just one person reads the novel it feels as though it was worth it.

Failure in sales can be punishing. It can make one feel dejected, to be sure. But that is only because we strive to become better, as all artists do. We want to see that translation, that reflection of the effort we put into our work. And sometimes we don’t always get that. And it doesn’t matter. It’s more room to grow, more avenues to explore. It’s painful, but thick skin and fortitude are what define the writer, if not the artist.

The day job does get in the way. It is important: it pays the bills and brings value to your life as you do your part for society. The day job is honorable, noble, and fulfilling if you take pride in your work. But it still gets in the way when you need to create that next masterpiece. Because of this, sales do take on another meaning. If they grow high enough, they could be the ticket to a life where your most beloved hobby is your career. But that treasure has to be hard fought and earned. And it requires a massive amount of luck.


The link between monetary compensation and art of any kind has always been seeded in this frank, honest relationship. Sales are not an excuse to fail and forfeit; they are fuel to help you grow. They do help, they do encourage, but in the end our human desire to create, teach, and learn supersedes it.

About the Author:

Sam Poling has been writing fantasy and science fiction for the thrill of it his entire life, from short stories to screenplays. His love for each of the subgenres led to dedication to writing genre-skirting fiction with all the elements that make up the human condition. He holds a strong enthusiasm for medical studies and currently works as a medical assistant in a large clinic while taking classing for nursing. He also serves on a health and safety committee, including disaster preparedness and infection control. His interest in epidemiology and medical science tends to spill over into his writing endeavors.

Author’s site: www.samuelpoling.com


Twitter: @SamuelPoling


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Release Day Blitz: The Passion Season



The Passion Season

Covalent Series

Book One

Libby Doyle



Genre: urban fantasy/paranormal romance



Publisher: Fairhill Publishing LLC

Date of Publication: March 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9972985-0-5
ASIN: B01CCE4U8E

Number of pages: 303 in ePub
Word Count: 117,259

Cover Artist: Damonza

Book Description:

In loving him, she overcomes her pain, but to discover his true identity would shred the reality she thought she knew.

He is Barakiel. Warrior. Exile. Hopeless romantic. Barakiel is Covalent, a race of ancient beings who use their great power to keep the elemental forces of Creation and Destruction in Balance. The Covalent Council exiled Barakiel to the Earthly Realm as the price of the treachery of his father, Lucifer, who wages perpetual war against it. Lucifer also relentlessly pursues his son. The Council thinks Lucifer views his son’s power as a threat, but Barakiel knows his father seeks to destroy even the memory of love.

She is Alexandra “Zan” O'Gara. FBI Agent. Army veteran. Recovering drunk. Zan’s troubled past left her with little interest in men, but she had never encountered anyone like the stunning Rainer Barakiel. Zan believes Rainer is a wealthy businessman with expertise in edged weapons who can help her with a case. From the moment she meets him she wants him more than she’s ever wanted anything, but her intense attraction is as frightening as it is thrilling.


This is their love story. As Zan’s deepening feelings for Rainer lead her to confront her emotional damage, he struggles to meet the demands of his home world so he will be free to love her, and to reveal his true nature. Through the gruesome crime that first brought Zan to his door, Barakiel learns that his presence in the Earthly Realm has placed some of its most vulnerable citizens in danger. Compelled to protect them, he undertakes a series of duties he may not survive, even as Zan rescues him from centuries of a deadened heart.

Book Trailer 

Amazon     iTunes     BN


Excerpt from part one, Vernal Equinox, Chapter 1

The front of the main building had a set of massive wooden double doors and a smaller heavy wooden door to the side with the bell. She rang, and when the door opened she forgot she was supposed to speak. He was gigantic, at least six foot eight, with broad shoulders and a lithe, athletic build. A few strands of his unruly, mid-length blond hair fell over eyes that seemed to be several shades of blue at once. They drew her in with more than their beauty, as if something primeval was hidden in their depths, just barely restrained. He faintly smiled. She knew her face was getting red.
What the hell. Don’t be such a fool.
“Um, hello, I’m Special Agent Alexandra O’Gara of the FBI.” She stuck out her hand. “My office made an appointment.”
“Yes. I’m Rainer Barakiel. A pleasure to meet you.” His voice was rich and deep and he spoke with a slight accent. When he shook her hand, she held it too long. She still felt flushed.
“I, um, I appreciate you taking the time for this, Mr. Barakiel.”
“I’m happy to help.”
God, so lame. He must have to deal with swooning women all the time, but I doubt he expected it from an FBI agent.
Turning gracefully, he showed her through the door. Zan tried not to stare at the way his jeans fit his hips, or the contours of his muscles beneath his gray cashmere sweater. Gripped by a strong urge to run her hands all over him, she was lucky his place was filled with fascinating things to distract her. Antiques and art were arranged tastefully in the open space, among brown leather couches and chairs and colorful woven rugs. Pale sun from high skylights glinted off a sunburst mosaic above the mantle of a huge concrete fireplace. Zan tried to concentrate on her surroundings, at least until her pulse slowed down.
“What a fantastic place.”
“Thank you.” He dipped his head toward her in an old-fashioned display of manners that she found charming.
“This whole property is great. What was it used for, before you lived here?”
“This land was part of the old Rohm and Haas Chemical plant you can still see as you enter. The facility was shut down in 2010.”
“I wish more people would reclaim these abandoned places by the river. Most of it just goes to waste, and meanwhile they’re developing Chester County farmland.”
“Yes.” He looked at her intensely. “I felt good about redeveloping a brownfield. I had to do a lot of remediation, but now it’s an excellent place to live.”
“All you need now is for the city to buy the front parcel and turn it into a park.” Zan gave him her best sunny smile, with an openness she knew made people trust her.
“That would be ideal,” he replied, “but I’m not holding my breath.” He returned her smile.
My god, you’re beautiful. How are you that beautiful? Why am I here? The knives.
“Um, in the interest of not taking up any more of your time than necessary, these are the knives in question.” Zan held up the case. “Daggers, I think. Did Professor Carson explain where we found them?”
“Superficially, yes.”
“Well, someone conducted some kind of ritual in Independence National Historical Park. We wouldn’t be that concerned with weird people doing weird things at night, but we found a human spleen. We tested the DNA and ran it through the database and discovered that the spleen came from a body found this past winter by the Philadelphia police. All its internal organs had been removed. The police called us because they thought it might involve organ trafficking, but we never found any evidence of it, so we weren’t much help. No one ever filed a missing persons report on this man, and Philly PD was never able to identify the corpse, let alone solve the crime.”
“Disturbing,” he said.
“Very. We thought if you could tell us something about the knives it might give us some insight into what this whole thing was about, maybe generate some sort of lead. They look old, and Professor Carson said you are an expert in antique bladed weapons.”
“Yes. I collect them. I’ve learned a lot over the years.”
“Let’s take a look,” Zan said. He led her to a massive carved table to the left near the kitchen area. She opened the case and laid the daggers out on a cloth. After he leaned down to scrutinize them, he said they were ceremonial daggers and asked if he could pick them up. Zan told him that because they were evidence, he would need to wear latex gloves. She handed him a pair. He tried to put one on for a minute, then frowned at her.
“I’m sorry. It’s too small.”
Zan stared at his hands. They were huge, but not meaty. They looked like they could crush a man’s skull, but also assemble a fine Swiss watch.
Or maybe gently touch me.
She felt the heat rise to her face again. He raised an eyebrow.
“You can use the glove like a handkerchief and just pick it up that way,” she said, fixing her gaze on the floor.
Picking up a dagger, he held it level with his eyes. When he had done the same to all four and they were back in the case, he motioned Zan closer and directed her to lean down. He showed her the intricate motifs and the manner in which the blades were joined to the hilts. He explained that from these features, he could determine that the blades were ceremonial, made in France in the late 19th century. She struggled to listen to what he was saying. That impossible face was so close, and she could smell him. He smelled like a pristine forest in the spring.
“What kind of ritual was it?” he asked. “These daggers would have been used for ceremonies, like the opening or closing of a formal meeting. They are valuable as antiques but they are not real weapons.”
“We haven’t really explored the evidence in terms of the ritual yet, because we’ve been concentrating on the spleen.” Zan shook her head. “That sounds odd, doesn’t it?”
“It’s an odd situation.”
“If I showed you some crime scene photos, do you think you would have any insight?”
He rubbed his chin. “I might be able to say whether the daggers were related to the ritual.”
“That could be helpful. May I bring them by?” Zan asked, failing to disguise her pleasure at the idea.
“I’m leaving town for a few days tomorrow. Can you come back this evening?”
“Yes, I think so.” She paused to consider for a moment. “I need to remind you that you can’t discuss anything about this with anyone. Did you read the agreement?”
“Yes. I understand that I’ve agreed to keep all this confidential.”
“Good. I should be able to come back around 7:00.”
“I’ll be here. In the meantime, if I may take some photos of these daggers, I can send a few emails. My contacts may be able to discover their provenance.”
“That would be extremely helpful. Just don’t reveal that they were involved in a crime.” He nodded and began to snap pictures of the knives with his phone.
“I have to say, Professor Carson was right,” Zan said. “I’m amazed you were able to identify a time period and a use for those in just a few minutes. I would love to have that kind of expertise. I know a lot about guns because it comes with the job, but I love edged weapons. They’re so elegant.”
“Yes.” He looked at her intensely again. “Would you like to see my collection?”
“It’s here?”
“Of course.”
“I’d love to.”
Just great, O’Gara. One handsome face and you toss your professionalism right out the window.
They moved to the left, behind the open kitchen, to an ultra-modern staircase of black and silver and honey-toned wood leading to a mezzanine lined with bookshelves. Zan enjoyed following him up the stairs.
Look at that ass. That ass is perfect.
They walked along the mezzanine to a huge sunny room at the back. Zan stood gaping when they entered. Save for several large windows, every square foot of the stucco walls was hung with bladed weapons: axes, pikes, halberds, and swords, mostly swords, in more styles and sizes than Zan knew existed. Wood and glass cases filled with daggers and other small blades sat at the far ends, with an island of leather couches and chairs at the center, rimmed around a thick Persian rug in velvety red.
“This is the coolest room I have ever seen,” she said. He chuckled and thanked her.
That was adorable. God. Get ahold of yourself.
“So, um, Mr. Barakiel, what kind of time span do these weapons represent?” she asked.
“Please, call me Rainer.” Zan flushed and looked up at him. He still had that adorable look on his face, like a little boy showing someone his secret clubhouse. Before she gave a thought to what she was doing, she had asked him to call her Zan.


About the Author:

Libby Doyle is the pen name of an attorney and former journalist who took a walk around the corporate world and didn’t like it. Considering she’s written an extravagant yarn filled with sex and violence, she thought a pen name would be prudent. She also thinks it’s kind of fun.

Libby grew up on the East Coast of the United States. She attended college in the 1980s and became immersed in the underground music scene. She met talented people and troubled people. She met people who taught her what it means to be your own person. In the 1990s, she went back to school to get a master's degree in journalism. Before beginning work in her chosen field, an attack of wanderlust set her traveling. For all that Libby loves books, she believes nothing compares to the education of travel.

After her wanderings, she returned to her career. For more than a decade, Libby worked as a journalist, until her interests led her to law school. She kept her full-time job while attending law school at night, the most brutal experience she’s ever had. She cursed her own stupidity countless times as her body and mind became sick with exhaustion, but she’s glad she did it.

Libby knows she’s a lucky woman. She’s had countless adventures, memories that feed her imagination. She stood atop a hill in Connemara in a cold wind, watching sunlight sparkle off the pristine sea below. She crested a trail after a grueling hike to find the glory of the Continental Divide spread before her. She was followed by a howler monkey in a Mexican jungle, shared the midday meal with Buddhist monks in Korea, and got pummeled by an opponent in a martial arts test in Japan. She trekked for days among the Himalayas, mountains so high and timeless they made her feel completely insignificant.

She’s married to a man who is funny and kind and patient enough to listen to her chatter on about her characters. They're not even real, but she feels like they're her friends. She’s confident they'll keep you entertained. Through her fanciful tale, she hopes they speak to you.






a Rafflecopter giveaway






The Passion Season©
Book I of the Covalent Series

Playlist
This music was chosen by Libby Doyle as a soundtrack for the novel. Some songs reflect the state of mind or aspirations of the characters. Some pieces are performed by the characters as part of the story, and others are meant to reflect the plot. Libby hopes you enjoy them.

Love Reign O’er Me – The Who
Cannonball – The Breeders
Burn – Nine Inch Nails
Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones
Rosary Sonata n. 6, The Agony in the Gethsemane Garden – Heinrich Biber -- played by Le Bizzarrie Armoniche (Riccardo Minasi, violinist)
Indiscipline – King Crimson (live, feat. Adrian Belew)
Brendan -- Fugazi
Top of the World – Shonen Knife
Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down – Lester Flat and Earl Scruggs
Caprice 24 – Paganini -- played by Hilary Hahn
Nasty – Janet Jackson
La Cumbia Campesina – Luis Ornelas
There Goes My Gun – The Pixies
Sex Machine – James Brown
Perfect Day – Lou Reed
The Weirdness – The Stooges
Salt Creek – The Tony Rice Unit
Chaconne, Partita No. 2 – Johann Sebastian Bach – played by Hilary Hahn
Dark Road – Sarah Jarosz
My Idea of Fun – The Stooges
War Pigs – Black Sabbath
Angel of Death – Slayer
To Be Over – Yes
Love is Blindness – Jack White
The World’s a Mess; It’s in My Kiss – X

Monday, February 29, 2016

Interview With a Villain: Christian A. Brown



Blurb:

Morigan lives a quiet life as the handmaiden to a fatherly old sorcerer named Thackery. But when she crosses paths with Caenith, a not wholly mortal man, her world changes forever. Their meeting sparks long buried magical powers deep within Morigan. As she attempts to understand her newfound abilities, unbidden visions begin to plague her—visions that show a devastating madness descending on one of the Immortal Kings who rules the land.

With Morigan growing more powerful each day, the leaders of the realm soon realize that this young woman could hold the key to their destruction. Suddenly, Morigan finds herself beset by enemies, and she must master her mysterious gifts if she is to survive.


Feast of Fates, Excerpt #2 (533 Words)

Morigan took the bracelet.
            “I accept your offering.” The Wolf’s face lit and she thought that he would leap at her. “Yet first, I have a request.”
            “Anything, my Fawn.”
            “I would like to see…what you are. The second body that shares your soul. Show me your fangs and claws,” she commanded.
            Perhaps it was the steadiness of her voice, how she ordered him to bare himself as if he belonged to her, that made the Wolf’s heart roar to comply. He did not shed his skin but for the whitest moons of the year, and even then, so far from the city and never in front of another. In a sense, he was as much a virgin as she. With an unaccustomed shyness, he found himself undressing before the Fawn, confused for a speck as to who was the hunter. The flare of her nostrils, the intensity of her stare that ate at him for once.
            I have chosen well for a mate. She is as much a Wolf as I, he thought, kicking off his boots and then shimmying his pants down to join the rest of his clothing. No bashful maiden was Morigan, and she did not look away from his nakedness, but appreciated what she saw: every rough, hairy, huge bit of him.


Blurb

As two queens plot each other's destruction, a small band of adventurers continues its quest for the knowledge needed to defeat the mad King Brutus and his unearthly parasite, the Black Queen. Their search brings Morigan and the Wolf to the perilous forests of Alabion, where they and their companions will face the darkness of their pasts-and discover equally dark destinies.

Meanwhile, far from Alabion, the queens of the East and West continue their deadly dance. One seeks a relic of great power, while the other puts her faith in a mix of military and technomagikal force. Both are aware they have a slim window of opportunity to settle their power struggle-after all, Mad Brutus's recent defeat is at best a setback. The mad king is already amassing a new army of soulless husks in the wastelands of Mor'Khul.

Unknown to the great powers struggling for control, a father and son wander those same wastelands, scavenging what they can as they weather Brutus's gathering storm. They too have a role to play in Geadhain's fate-a role which may just provide a last remnant of hope.


Portraying Evil by Christian A. Brown

A while ago, I had a lovely blogger review that praised many aspects of Feast of Fates. On that list—and what stuck with me the most—were the reader’s commendations toward some of the darker material in my book. Life is composed of many shades and colors: passionate reds, golden acts of kindness, and the blackest evils. I believe that stories of the scope I wish to tell should encompass that spectrum. Therefore, while I write some beautiful scenes, I also feel the need to balance the scales, to flesh out a realistic environment by adding the unsavory. Neglect, depravity, racism, murder, physical and sexual assault. None of these topics are comfortable to discuss. None of these topics should be handled with anything but care. I deal with each of them in my work. I choose to depict them in the raw, ugly fashion in which they are experienced by their survivors (not victims—there is a notable distinction). As a survivor of assault myself, I see no other way in which these events should be portrayed. As horrific as one imagines—or writes—these scenarios, I assure you the reality is worse. More crippling, more haunting, and usually more violent.

I don’t write dark things because I am a lover of the macabre or a sadist. In fact, often writing these scenes makes me feel as repulsed as when my readers read such material. Good. If whenever Brutus comes onto the page, your skin crawls and you are terrified of what deplorable act he will do, then I’ve done my job. Evil should not have a soft-touch (unless it’s the insidious kind). Evil should make you shiver. How soon we forget in our comfortable North American lives that we live in the same world where Malala was shot for going to school. Where the Montreal Massacre of women seeking to better themselves happened. Where we have genocides and child soldiers. I wish that the events that I write were less dark than those occurring outside Geadhain. Though, they’re not. I feel it is necessary for evil to be accurately described in order to illustrate the journey one (character) takes toward healing.

A Feast of Fates case study, if you will. Please stop reading if you’re spoiler averse and haven’t read the first book yet. (And hurry up! The second book is out now!) In Feast of Fates, we meet any number of characters who have endured trauma. Mouse, who is sold into sexual slavery. She breaks this fate at the cost of her humanity—which she later regains and then some. Macha, who is a displaced indigenous girl that also suffers a reprehensible separation from her family. Kanatuk, another indigenous person who endures a lifetime of horrific abuse—he, too, eventually finds his humanity and strength. Vortigern, who loses his family, his memory, and lives in a state of living-death and forgetfulness. The list goes on. I do not discriminate between male and female, between who should be “fairly” suffering and who shouldn’t. That’s the nasty part about life: it doesn’t give two shits who suffers or why. I’m a sensitive person, and it hurts to write these horrible fates for my characters. However, like the reader and like those of us in the real world, I hold to the hope that these people will learn from their lessons of pain. I believe in them. I believe that they have the power to heal themselves, and to remember the good of humanity. Most of the time, my characters do not disappoint me.

In what is a less easily perceived emotional struggle, we have Lila. She is Queen of Eod and living a glorious and seemingly immortal life with the Everfair King. Long ago, Magnus saved her from a misogynistic, caste-driven society (and marriage). And for a thousand years thereafter she and Magnus were happy together, blissfully happy. That happiness lasts until a horrific—and again, this incident has to be ghastly to sunder a bond of one thousand years—assault by her husband while he is under the possession of an entropic force. A number of complex issues and questions stem from this event. How responsible is Magnus? Can Lila forgive him for this one grotesque incident in their thousand year marriage? He certainly feels guilty. Lila, at the time, puts on a brave face and forgives him. After all, she is the stoic queen of a nation of hundreds of thousands, and her country must come before her needs. She has that mothering sense, of sacrificing her emotions and comfort for others, even though she has not borne children from Magnus (the Immortal king is sterile—at least with her physiology). So she buries her trauma (as people do), and says that she forgives him for the pressing sake of dealing with what evil took over her husband. Sadly, Lila’s story is not unique. Most first time incidents of domestic abuse are forgiven or simply unreported. That’s a statistical reality.

As time and progression through the novel shows us, however, Lila neither forgives nor forgets. The scars are too deep, and those wounds cannot possibly heal in weeks or months—not to a woman that knows eternity. In many ways, Lila is brought back to the very situation and oppression from which she believed herself to have escaped. She questions everything about the brother-kings, their connection to each other and to her, and her sense of individuality and pride. She questions who she really is, for she has become a stranger to herself. The growth and arc of her character is quite broad, spanning all four novels. I have to say though, she is one of my favorite and certainly one of the most inspiring characters once she finds herself. Lila’s journey is one to which many women can relate—regardless of whether Lila is real or not. Being confused. Being lost in the darkness. Forging ahead, even when all she knows is a sickening fear and agony that she can tell no one about. Lila is a composite of all that I’ve learned and seen of women pushing past their station, pushing to define themselves after trauma, and discovering new limits on who and what they thought they could be.


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