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Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Fog Index by Pat Jourdan ~VBT

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/literary-fiction-book-tour-the-fog-index-by-pat-jourdan-72814-8414/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 7/28/14 – 8/4/14

Genres: Short Stories, Literary Fiction



Blurb:

A painting is a suspected forgery and an hotel disappears; people try to make sense of strange events but cannot unravel them.
 

Excerpt:

Tenements were like giants’ houses but really they were buildings that managed to cram entire families next to each other on landings. I had to walk along those concrete balconies, counting out the front doors. However, the only way up was by steep stone stairs. Old men slumped in corners of the landings, drunk, asleep, passed out. More stray dogs snarled, interrupted in their staircase naps.

Bits of graffiti told that G+N, true. Billy is a…(crossed out.) Everyone had to walk past this every day until it became lost in history, which would take about five years.

“Coming back from school, they wait for me on the stairs, the lads, at times, and go to grab my school beret and swipe my satchel,” Marianne said, “But I always fight them off, and they’ve stopped doing it now, really.” Perhaps they had seen her going off in full Everton glory and came to respect her as a fellow supporter. Winning the scholarship and getting to grammar school was where she had betrayed them and they had to make it obvious. No one was supposed to escape, leaving them kicked aside.

Wind gusted up from the river and from the third balcony, looking across, large ships glided past, a hint of black and white glamour. Seagulls yapped and perched on anywhere high enough to satisfy their pride. The Mersey knitted them together; most of the men here worked on the docks and warehouses. Old women, wrapped in fringed black shawls, leant over the balcony, looking at the large concrete patch below them.

What should have been a lawn or playground was a decaying potholed area where some boys played a desultory game of football. Their shouts echoed up. The women had faces like pug dogs, riddled with lines, greying hair scraped back into a bun. They gave me a grunted “hello” and went back to surveying their echoing kingdom.


Buy Links:





About The Author:

Pat Jourdan, born in Liverpool, studied painting at Liverpool College of Art, with several exhibitions held since. Winner of several prizes, including the Molly Keane Short Story Award, second in the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award, Quality Women’s Fiction and widely published in magazines. Editor of The Lantern Review. “Little-known but gifted poet of the Liverpool School” – Ian Mc Ewan,in “Saturday.”

Novels “Finding Out” and “A Small Inheritance” and short story collections “Average Sunday Afternoon,” “Rainy Pavements,” and “The Fog Index.” Also seven poetry collections.



Author Links:






Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Calculated Risk Mystery Tour & Giveaway: Interview With K S Ferguson

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/mystery-book-tour-giveaway-calculated-risk-by-k-s-ferguson-71814-81514/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 7/18/14 – 8/15/14
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Sci-Fi





Blurb:
Rafe McTavish, charming self-made businessman, owns the most successful private security firm in the galaxy. Estranged from his family since his wife's bloody suicide fourteen years earlier, he's honor bound to find out why his brother-in-law, CEO of the family mega-corporation, has jeopardized the company by purchasing a dilapidated deep-space mining station. Arriving at the station to investigate, Rafe takes on hostile miners, faces accusations of murder, chases a blackmailer bent on his destruction, and matches wits with a beautiful corporate-hating computer hacker, Kama Bhatia, who just may be the love of his life—if they both survive.

Excerpt:
“I apologize for disturbing you outside our normal communication channels,” Kama said, acknowledging their unsecured line. “I wanted to let you know that I’d arrived safely. I would have contacted you sooner, but the station experienced communication issues.”
One almond-shaped eye twitched. “Issues?”
“Yes, but it didn’t prevent me from sending your… birthday present. It’s on a cargo drone headed for Earth orbit. It left here shortly after I arrived. I wasn’t able to check your present’s condition.” She held her breath.
Samir went very still. She expected frost to form on the view screen so cold was the displeasure in his gaze. He hated complications, and she’d barely started listing them.
“Inconvenient. I’ll see the package is retrieved.” He smoothed the front of his immaculate gray suit with long, thin fingers.
She plunged on. “Unfortunately, your present isn’t complete. Pieces are missing, and other collectors have taken an interest.”
His hand stopped in mid-stroke. “Other collectors?”
Kama swallowed. Sweat moistened her palms where they rested on the console. He really wouldn’t like the next news. “There’s also a problem with the grant work I’m to do here for Independent Mining. Seems EcoMech claims to have bought the place, and Leon Goldman came in person to take possession. He has Rafael McTavish in tow.”
The intensity of Samir’s stare rocked her back from the console.
“Is Mr. McTavish aware of your presence?” he asked in a deadly calm voice.
“We’ve been introduced.”
“It’s a large station. Enjoy those parts where Mr. McTavish is not found,” he ordered, his brows pulling down.
“Well, that’s the thing,” she said, her voice rising in pitch. “There’s a bit of a shooting war going on here, and he’s been taken prisoner by the miners.”

Buy Links:

About The Author:
K S Ferguson has already published one critically-acclaimed novella, Puncher’s Chance (co-written with James Grayson,) which appeared in the June 2006 edition of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, America’s longest-running science fiction magazine. She enjoys writing suspense and murder mysteries in futuristic and fantasy settings, and also writes fiction in the guise of technical manuals for unfinished software—otherwise known as help documentation.

Author Links:


Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Complete Self-Publishing Indie Authors Resource Site Interview With K.S. Ferguson

When did you decide to write your first book?

Thanks for inviting me to your blog! About ten years ago. I wanted to get out of the corporate world and thought a career in fiction writing might suit me.

How long did it take you?

I raced through the writing in eight weeks, and then I spent two more weeks working on rewrites. As soon as I was done, I shipped it off to a publisher. Their rejection letter was polite. On further investigation, I discovered I'd made every mistake a beginning fiction writer could make and then some. It was back to the drawing board for six years before I'd learned enough to write what I'd set out to write.

Do you do a lot of research?

I do a fair amount, mostly on the Internet. I probably shouldn't mention the homemade smoke bomb tests in the driveway, eh?

How do you design your covers?

I slap together something, ship it to my good friend James Grayson, and cringe while he shreds it and tells me to get a pro to do the covers. Then I go back to work again, making changes and rethinking my approach. Calculated Risk had at least five iterations before I stopped at the current cover.

In long-gone days, covers could have lots of subtle detail, but now, everyone's looking at itty-bitty thumbnails and the detail is wasted, especially if it reduces contrast of the various elements on the cover. I started out wanting highly detailed covers because I enjoyed those so much back when everything was print. They looked like blurry mud in thumbnail, so those went on the scrap heap. The move to thumbnails must make the real artists out there cry.

Can you tell us some about what you're working on now?

I've just published Hostile Takeover, the sequel to Calculated Risk, and I also just finished the first book of a supernatural PI series set in 1968, No Place Like Hell. I'm in hair-on-fire mode promoting both of those. When I'm not doing promotion stuff, I'm working on Undercover Madness, the sequel to my contemporary/urban fantasy, Touching Madness.

Is there anything you wish you would have known when you first started writing?

Oh, my! I don't think you have the space for the gigantic list of things I needed to learn when I first started writing. It took a ton of reading books about writing, attending conferences and workshops, and finally working one-on-one with a professional developmental editor before I could write something that people wanted to read. And I still learn new things whenever I read about writing or attend an educational event.

Do you have any tips for new writers?

The sages claim that practice, practice, practice is what makes you a better writer. That's bunk. What makes you a better writer is having someone who's a lot farther along than you look at your writing and give you feedback about what you're doing right and what you need to change. It's one thing to read about techniques and something completely different to have a professional guide you as you attempt to execute those techniques in your own work. So read all the writing books you can, attend all the classes you can, but save some of your hard-earned money to spend on having a pro mentor you as you grow.

Can you tell us about your current releases?

Buy them, they're great!

Okay, all kidding aside, what I write are mysteries with thriller pacing. Sometimes they're in futuristic settings (Calculated Risk and Hostile Takeover are set in 2040) and sometimes they're in fantasy settings or incorporate fantasy elements (Touching Madness and No Place Like Hell). But no matter what I set out to write, sooner or later, someone's been murdered and the chase for the killer begins. I would recommend that anyone considering my books check out the sample chapters I post. The voices across the three different series are quite different. Readers who like one of the series don't always like the others, and I want people to be happy with what they buy.

Do you see writing as a career for you?

It already is. I've been a technical writer for sixteen years. I'm gradually building the fiction side of writing.

What are some of your favorite books? Movies?

So many books, so little time! I enjoy Lisa Gardner's thrillers, Patrick Lee's SF thrillers, Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels fantasy series, The Sebastian St. Cyr historical mysteries by C. S. Harris. And then there's a long list of dead writers, for example, Dick Francis, Tony Hillerman, Agatha Christie.

I don't watch a lot of movies. I was knocked over by Atonement. When I want something lighter, I watch comic book movies like Spiderman. And I like Bollywood films. They're doing some amazing things.

What's one thing in life that you haven't done yet but would like to?

Visit India, and as long as I'm going that far, a stopover in Australia would be fun. And it would be very cool to move to Mars.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Just to say thank you again for inviting me to your blog. I hope readers find my work to their tastes, and if they do, that they'll tell their friends.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Daughter of the Goddess Lands Tour Stop and Interview With The Author - Sandra Saidak

The Complete Self-Publishing Indie Authors Resource Site Interview With Author Sandra Saidak:

When did you decide to write your first book?  I read this question two ways, but I’ve decided to talk about my first published book, not the one I wrote in high school.  I began Daughter of the Goddess Lands during the long wait between books 4 and 5 of the Earth’s Children series by Jean Auel.  So I guess I started it in about 2000.  If I couldn’t read good prehistoric fiction, I decided I had to write it.  It was the only way to stay engaged in the genre.

How long did it take you?  The first draft was done in about two years (keep in mind, I had two young children and a full time job at that time.)  But as for the series it grew into: I’m still working on it!

Do you do a lot of research?  Research was probably my favorite part of writing Daughter of the Goddess Lands.  And since the setting is so early in human history, and well before the birth of writing, there is a limited amount of information out there.  This made it easier to research than, say, a novel set in Imperial Rome or Tudor England, where an author gets overwhelmed by the volume of writing, both primary and secondary sources.  I love the books that include artists’ impressions of how things looked, as well as photographs of artifacts.  All of that helps me visualize how my characters might look, where they live and what they own.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

How do you design your covers?  I have found www.istockphotos.com to be a wonderful resource.  Key words like: nomad, horse, yurt, and steppes have brought me to some gorgeous photographs for my Kalie’s Journey series.  At least twice I’ve looked at a screen full of postage-stamp sized pictures and had one just jump out at me—at which point I shout “That’s it!”  I have used photographs—most purchased for less than $20.00—for all of my cover art so far.  It helps that I have some friends who can do amazing things with photoshop and other programs.  I like the way all of my covers have turned out so far.

Can you tell us some about what you're working on now?  I am currently finishing up book three of Kalie’s Journey.  Book one, Daughter of the Goddess Lands, is the one featured in this blog tour.  I want to give this series a satisfying ending; the kind that will make my readers say “That was great!”  “I don’t feel like I’m left hanging.”  And “I hope this author starts a new series soon.”  (That’s what I hope for; we’ll see how it works out).  If it turns out that my readers want more of this world, there is a possible spinoff series in the works, but I’ll only do it if the fans tell me they want it.

Is there anything you wish you would have known when you first started writing?  That it’s highly addictive, and that once I started, I would never be able to stop.  But I’m not sure that would have made any difference.

Do you have any tips for new writers?  Yes: write!  And then keep writing.  Write what you love, whether or not it’s popular or likely to sell.  Write it even if someone tells you, “There’s already a best-selling author with a lock on that market, so don’t bother.”  In today’s world, you can go directly to the readers and let them decide if they want to read your work, without the gatekeepers of traditional publishing telling you (in form rejection letters) that there’s no place for your writing.  Lastly: when you’re finished, find a good editor to proofread your work before you ask anyone to buy it.

Can you tell us about your current releases?   I love prehistoric fiction, and Celtic-based fantasy, so that is what I write.  Kalie’s Journey is a feminist trilogy, set at the end of the Stone Age, during the rise of agriculture and the first cities.  I’ve also written two stand-alone novellas set in the same universe, which are available on Amazon.  The Seal Queen is a stand-alone fantasy set in Bronze Age Ireland, filled with selkies, roane, merrows and beautiful misty (and mystical) beaches.  Hopefully, the website you’re reading now has more information.  But just in case: http://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Saidak/e/B006C1QZR8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Do you see writing as a career for you? I currently see writing as a hobby that pays money.  My day job is teaching (certainly a career, and one which I love, although sometimes if feels like glorified babysitting).  I’ve dreamed for many years of writing becoming my day job.  And yes, I think it might happen.

What are some of your favorite books? Movies? Most of my favorite books are series.  Probably my all time favorite is the Earth’s Children series by Jean Auel, which also inspired much of my writing.  Other favorites, such as Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, have turned into series—several, in Ender’s case—with what I consider to be mixed results.  My favorite movies range from Titanic to Braveheart, to Aliens, and probably a few more I’ll think of tomorrow.

What's one thing in life that you haven't done yet but would like to?  Travel to the distant lands where my books take place and actually smell the air and see what things look like.  Of course, what I’d really like would be to see those places at the times my books occur.  But until I get a time machine, that’s not going to happen.  Probably just as well; those places were probably a lot more dangerous than I’ve imagined them to be.


http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/prehistoric-fiction-book-tour-daughter-of-the-goddess-lands-by-sandra-saidak-7714-72114/

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 7/7/14 – 7/21/14

Genres:  Prehistoric Fiction




Blurb:
Daughter of the Goddess Lands is the unforgettable saga of Kalie, a courageous young heroine born into the untamed beauty of prehistoric Europe.
Kalie’s peaceful life is shattered when a brutal attack by horsemen from the east leave her scarred in body and soul. As the sole survivor of the assault, Kalie makes her way home, and warns her people to prepare for the invasion that she knows is coming. But the goddess-worshiping farmers of her home have no concept of battle, and dismiss Kalie’s warning.
When the marauders strike again, they cut a swath of destruction and death that prove too late the truth of Kalie’s words. Then Haraak, the leader of the invaders, demands a tribute of gold, grain and women in exchange for sparing her village. Yet it is in Harak’s cruel show of power that Kalie sees a chance to save her people–and gain revenge for herself.
Kalie leads a group of volunteers to infiltrate the horseman’s society, and then destroy them from within. Once she is among them, Kalie uses her skill as a storyteller, and her knowledge of healing to penetrate the horsemen’s inner circle and to discover the secrets that could lead to their destruction.
But Kalie discovers that price of revenge is high, and that a quest for vengeance can become a journey of healing and redemption.



See the Book Trailer on Youtube
 

Excerpt (from Ch. 12):

But what does he mean?” asked a young woman, whose plaintive tone reminded Kalie of a sheep. “People cannot be owned! Women or men, it makes no difference. Can’t you just explain that to him?”
Kalie sighed, tired of answering the same question, no matter how many different ways it was phrased.
“Well?” demanded the man seated next to the speaker, his arm around her. The meeting was being held in the largest shrine in Riverford, much larger than the one Kalie had met them in the night before. Perhaps eight hands of people were crowded inside, with several times that number waiting anxiously in the courtyard outside.
Kalie looked at the young couple, afraid that if she tried to explain yet again, she would say something that she would regret.
She was spared having to answer by Maris. “Whether we like it or not,” the ancient healer said in a voice that belied her age, “we have been called to deal with people who are entirely different from any we have ever encountered. Or imagined. Kalie has explained this notion of ‘slavery’ to us. Refusing to believe it will not change the fact that it is.”
“I will gladly hand over the gold and cloth,” said Yelene. “Even weapons of copper, though I shudder to think of those tools in the hands of such creatures. And as for food, I say give them our honey and wine and every bit of seed grain we have. All of that can be replaced! But I cannot give them human beings! I cannot ask any one of us to even consider such a sacrifice.”
A heavy silence settled over the room. Kalie knew it was now or never.
“There may be a way,” she began. “Yelene is right when she said that material wealth can be replaced. But now that these beastmen know of us—of great wealth in the west, held by people who know nothing of war—they will return, and in greater numbers. If the lands of the Goddess are to survive, I believe that the answer lies within Haraak’s demand for slaves.”
There was a roar of protest, but Yelene silenced it with a glance. “How?”
“What I am going to suggest will sound like madness—and it may very well be.” She faltered, suddenly unsure of how to continue.
“It’s all right, child,” said Maris. “The words are in you. Just let them out.” She whispered to the apprentice beside her, and the young woman brought Kalie a cup of something steaming. Kalie thanked her and sipped carefully. A rich, flowery tea greeted her tongue, and while she was trying to guess the ingredients, inspiration struck.
“There is a story I learned while I lived with the healers at Hot Springs.” Kalie’s voice took on the cadence of a storyteller. “Far in the north, where the snow never melts, there lives a bear that is pure white. When it stands on two legs, it is the height of three men, and no spear or arrow made by the hand of man can kill it. But the people who share this bear’s domain have developed an unusual weapon, for such times as when a bear ravages a village, or when hunger makes the people desperate.
“They take a ball of fat, softened by fire, and into it they slide a double bladed knife, folded together, and held in place by the fat as it hardens. They then leave the ball by whatever water source the bear drinks from. The bear usually swallows the ball whole, and goes on his way.”
“And when the fat melts inside his stomach…” Maris took up the story. “The knife springs open and kills the bear—from the inside.”
“A rather cruel way to hunt,” said Yelene.
“Killing is often cruel,” said a man across the room. “As much as we might seek to make it otherwise. But when threatened, all creatures will use whatever means are available to be the one who survives, even if another must die.”
Yelene fixed Kalie with a piercing gaze. “What do you have in mind, child?”
“Haraak has demanded slaves. I say we should give him slaves. Women, willing to sacrifice their lives to save our world from his. We will be the knife swallowed by the bear. We will destroy their world—from within.”

Buy Links:


About the Author:
Sandra Saidak is a high school English teacher by day, author by night. Her hobbies include reading, dancing, attending science fiction conventions, researching prehistory, and maintaining an active fantasy life (but she warns that this last one could lead to dangerous habits such as writing). Sandra lives in San Jose with her husband Tom, daughters Heather and Melissa, and two cats.
Sandra’s prehistoric fiction series, Kalie’s Journey began with the novel, Daughter of the Goddess Lands, an epic set in the late Neolithic Age, and published in November 2011 by Uffington Horse Press. Book 2 of the series, Shadow of the Horsemen, was released in July of 2012. Book 3, Keepers of the Ancient Wisdom will be released later this year. Stories set in the Kalie universe can be found in Sandra’s short story collection, In the Balance and in the stand alone novella, Oathbreaker’s Daughter.
Sandra loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to post a comment on her Author’s Page, or her website at http://www.sandrasaidak.com/.

Author Links:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fantasy Spotlight, Giveaway, & Interview: Shardfall by Paul E. Horsman

Today The Complete Self-Publishing Indie Author's Resource Site welcomes Author Paul E. Horsman - Read on for the Interview!

If you had to sum up your book in thirty words or less, what would your tagline be?
- Shardfall’s a fast-paced fantasy adventure in an alternate world. It has history and magic, vikings and vivid landscapes, antagonistic heroes, a usurper and a young wisewoman/huntress heroine with a baby.

How do you come up with the titles of your books?
- I had a bit of a puzzle with this one. I wanted a title I could use for both the English version and my later Dutch translation. I didn’t find any, so it became Shardfall, the fall of the sky shard pivotal to the story, just as Muus is the Shardheld, the one both held by and holding the sky shard. For the Dutch version I’ll have to find something similar.

Do you design your covers? What do you look for in a book cover, both as an author or as a reader?- I don’t design them myself. This cover was by Jos Weijmer, of JWArt Studio, NL. It depicts a scene from Chapter 1, when the two male MCs struggle for possession of the sky shard.
A good book cover must trigger my fantasy. Just a sword, or some symbol can be stylish, but it doesn’t work for me.

Did you have a special inspiration for your book?
- I wanted a medieval story, but not the traditional knights on horseback. Thereby was I very inspired by the idea of seidr, the Nordic magic only used by women. It was the basis for Birthe, the female MC. She has her own goals and purpose in the story, and with seidr she has the power of the chant, of visions and songs, magic uniquely hers.

When it comes to self-publishing, what are your thoughts about it? Would you recommend indie publishing to an aspiring writer?
- I’m both trade published in NL, and self-published, so I speak from both sides. For myself, I prefer the freedom of self-publishing.
To any writer I’d say, Both choices are all right. You’ll get rich with neither. Only self-publishing is the harder road, without agent or editor to fall back on. So take a good look at yourself. Are you prepared to invest (time, money, creative effort) in your work? Do your nearest and dearest support you? Self-publishing is a commitment, not an act of desperation.

What is the writing process like for you, from the creation of your book all the way to having it live and available for purchase?
- A wrestling-match. I’m a terrible doubter, so I sit at my pc fighting with that infernal story, going through deep dales of hopelessness, till that final moment you reread the story and everything falls into its place. After that, it’s beta readers, rewriting, editor, rewriting, final check for those pesky missing punctuation marks.
By then the cover should be finished, with blurb etc.
Then all goes into the grinders of Amazon, Kindle and Smashwords, to emerge as beautiful books.
At this stage, I’m already working on the next book.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
- Write. Don’t worry too much about the technique, and not at all about genre, agents, publishers and those things. Just arrange for a time and a place you can work undisturbed. Every day. No ‘Today I Don’t Feel Like It’ – your manuscript is your boss and he doesn’t care. Sit down and write till it’s done.

What can readers expect from you next?
- The third book in the Shardfall trilogy, Shardheld, is out for beta reading. I hope to bring it out in late Summer.
Also, I’m working on a stirring fantasy adventure with a great, colorful cast (and with that I mean both skin and gender).

Is there anything else you'd like to add?Only to thank you for having me here.


http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/fantasy-book-tour-giveaway-shardfall-the-shardheld-saga-by-paul-e-horsman-61214-71014/

Virtual Book Tour Dates:  6/12/14 - 7/10/14

Genres:  Light Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Action-Adventure


Tour Promo: Use Coupon Code AR72V at Smashwords through July 31, 2014 for a free copy!








Blurb:
Muus is only a thrall, a chattel without rights, but he knows the small, blue shard he picked up belongs to him alone. His commonsense saves their lives from cold and starvation.
Kjelle, heir to the Lord of a rich mininghold, is spoiled, and covetous of his
thrall’s tantalizing find. His greed causes an avalanche that leaves both
young men marooned on an icy mountain slope.
Birthe, young wisewoman and huntress, mother of baby boy BĂși, is brave and clever. She knows her way through the snowy wilderness of the Norden and her songs are filled with magic.
Now they are bound together on a danger-laden journey to a lost and burning land, where Muus needs to connect the skyshard to the Kalmanir, the standing stone that is the world’s fount of all magic. The Kalmanir’s time is almost up and it urgently needs to be replenished before the magic of Gods and men runs out.
The two boys have to learn to trust each other, for all around them, enemies abound.
Rebels threaten both the kingdom and Kjelle’s holding, and a tribe of mad idolaters is trying to recall the banned primordial Old Gods.
Even more imminent is Muus’ danger, for it comes from nearby, from the shard itself.


Excerpt:
After a bend in the path, Hagen halted. He peered at the ground, uncertain like a hound that found a fresh bear track. ‘Holderling, the snow – I don’t trust it.’

Kjelle cast a suspicious glance at the ground. ‘What about it?’
The karl hesitated. ‘I don’t know if it is safe to go further. The snow isn’t solid. An avalanche …’
‘Nonsense,’ said Kjelle, turning away. ‘The slope looks fine. Keep moving; we’re almost at the high pasture.’
The nearer they came to the plateau where in summer the sheep grazed, the brighter the blue glow became. The last stretch seemed like walking through the cold fires of Helheim, past rocks and snow, covered with dancing light. Muus glanced at Kjelle’s face. He noticed the glistening sweat on Kjelle’s forehead, the staring eyes and the hasty white puffs of his breathing. Muus knew Kjelle was scared. Muus remembered Kjelle’s training sessions with Oskar, the drunken, blustering weapon master. Muus had been there, guarding the Holderling’s weapons, watching his master fight, sweating and shaking, while Oskar shouted and pressed him. Kjelle was always angry after those sessions with Oskar, angry at his slave, never at the weapon master. Muus laughed soundlessly. Kjelle must be the only Nord who’d completed his manhood’s Testing by hunting a nearly dead bear. Muus had been there. He’d carried his master’s spears and he knew someone else had gone first and done the real work. It was because the Holderling’s life was precious and he couldn’t be risked, people said. Muus knew the truth. The Holderling with his blustery mouth and his hard hands was scared.
After three hours on the mountain, they reached the high pasture.
‘By Thor’s Beard.’ whispered Kjelle. In the middle of the field was a round hole, about a foot deep and round as the shield of a giant. The blue light radiated from the shield’s center.
The men murmured uneasily. ‘Alf work,’ shouted Orn. ‘We must get away from here, before the svartalves drag us into the mountain.’ Muus saw his whole face contort in fear.’
‘Svartalves are a bard’s tale,’ said Hagen. ‘Shut up and wait for orders.’ He looked at Kjelle.
The Holderling wiped the sweat from his face. ‘Go see what it is,’ said he, poking his slave.
Muus shrugged. The blue glow didn’t scare him and he walked into the circle. The light enveloped him as if in welcome. In the middle lay a shard the color of a cloudless winter sky, translucent like a lump of ice and as big as the palm of his hand. This was where the glow came from. Without thinking, Muus picked up the shard. A noiseless flash covered him; a sharp pain came and went. As he stood there in a daze, staring at the glowing stone, Kjelle came up to him.
‘What have you got there?’ he snapped. ‘Give it to me.’ The Holderling held out a compelling hand.
Muus started to give him the stone, when a voice in his head said, ‘No.’
‘No?’ said Kjelle in disbelieve.
With a shock, Muus realized that he had spoken aloud.
His master exploded in wrath. ‘You mangy rat! Give it to me, or I’ll leave your carcass here for the wolves.’
The skyshard strengthened Muus’ resolve and he shook his head. ‘It’s mine,’ said he in a soft voice. ‘I found it.’
‘You’re a slave,’ yelled Kjelle. ‘Nothing is yours.’ He grabbed Muus’ hand and squeezed.
Muus tried to break free, but the Holderling was stronger. When Kjelle bent his middle finger back, he had to give in. He opened his hand and eagerly Kjelle grabbed the blue stone. The moment his fingers touched the shiny surface, a thunderclap echoed against the top of the Silfjall and shook the plateau. A massive tremor threw Kjelle and Muus hard against the mountainside. From somewhere came a cry of deadly fear, which was drowned out by a growling like the awakening of a large, hungry snow bear. Dazed, Muus saw an immense load of snow pass within an arm’s length of where he lay. Without thinking, he pressed himself against the mountain, his ears filled with the wild roar of the avalanche. It happened in three or four heartbeats, before a final boulder bounced past and a swirling cloud of fine powder rose above the pasture. The roar died into deep silence.


Buy Links:
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords
iBooks
Google Play


About the Author:



Paul E. Horsman is a Dutch and international Fantasy author-publisher,
Born in Bussum, a quiet little suburbal village in the Netherlands (1952).
After finishing school and doing a stint in the army in tropical Surinam, he served for thirty years as a Scoutmaster. Professionally, he earned his bread in various business capacities.
From 1995 to 2012 he was an instructor at a large educational institution – where he taught foreigners the wonders of the Dutch language and customs – until Governmental budget cuts terminated both the school and his job.
Since then is Horsman a full-time fantasy author.
His first three Dutch books have been trade published in The Netherlands by Zilverspoor.
His English books are published under the Red Rune Books label and appear at Amazon and many major on-line book stores.
His tales are light fantasy, characterized by their positive mood. Equality and friendship, courage and determination, humor and growth form some of the colors with which Horsman paints his stories. His worlds and their peoples are diverse and full of adventure. And behind it all there is always that dusty scent of old death so characteristic of dungeons, and the smell of dragons, kobolds or other denizens of other worlds.

Connect With The Author:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
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Goodreads

Giveaway:
Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card! The giveaway will run the length of the tour. Open internationally.


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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Guest Post & Nonfiction Spotlight: I Will Never Forget by Elaine C. Pereira Alzheimer’s Dementia

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/non-fiction-book-tour-giveaway-i-will-never-forget-a-daughters-story-of-her-mothers-arduous-and-humorous-journey-through-dementia-by-elaine-c-pereira-62314-72114/

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 6/23/14 – 7/21/14

Genres:  Non-Fiction; Memoir; Aging








Blurb:
I Will Never Forget is the incredible true story of the author’s talented mother’s poignant and often humorous journey through the mystifying haze of Dementia. Through superb stories of Elaine’s childhood, from her controversial name, tales of smoking’ dragons and the feisty teenage years, her mother Betty Ward’s wonderful character is revealed.
Over time, as their relationship evolves and a new paradigm is formed, Betty begins to exhibit goofy actions, uncharacteristic verbal assaults and bizarre thinking. Although clearly mystified by her mother’s irrational behaviors, Elaine does not appreciate the extent of Betty’s mental decline. Her amazing ability to mask the truth clouds Elaine’s vision and prolongs her denial until one cataclysmic explosion of reality over an innocuous drapery rod launches a waterfall of destructive events.
As her mother’s brilliant mind is steadily destroyed by Dementia’s insatiable appetite for brain cells, Elaine accompanies her mother on her journey. She witnesses Betty’s fascinating visions of her own mother, masterful Houdini-like disappearances and finally a stunning rally to take control of her own destiny.
I Will Never Forget is a heartwarming, humorous, honest and deeply moving story pertinent to everyone touched by the insidious effects of Dementia. Learn from Elaine’s unwitting mistakes as she weaves her way through her mother’s unpredictable disease to capture insightful and effective intervention strategies.

Chapter 28: The Ugly Truth:

But as the adult, the nebulous abyss of being a parent to your parent is a delicate responsibility. Balancing respect and autonomy and naturally expecting them to be accurate when they tell you, I’ll be fine is a daunting challenge. Somewhere deep down, you know it’s not true. They are no longer fine.


Connect With The Author:


Elaine Pereira retired as a school Occupational Therapist with more than 30 years experience in pediatrics and a decade in adult home care. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Wayne State University in OT and her Master’s in Liberal Arts. Pereira maintains her OT licensure and holds Certifications as a Dementia Caregiver and Practitioner. She and her husband Joseph live in southeastern Michigan with their two big dogs Bailey and Maddee and Snoopy the cat. Together they have five adult children, Elaine’s twin daughters and Joe’s three sons and five grandchildren.
I Will Never Forget-A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Arduous and Humorous Journey Through Dementia is Elaine’s first book, a memoir in tribute to her amazingly talented mother. Pereira writes for MariaShriver.com, Alzheimer’s Reading Room, Endear For Alzheimer’s and a variety of guest blog posts. She has been featured in four television spots, Fox 2 Detroit, Living Dayton and Fox 45 Dayton and The Best of Aging magazine, April 2013 edition.
Her hobbies include golf, sewing, hand-craft projects and gardening. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States and world wide including Europe; Madeira, Portugal; Australia; Seoul and Hong Kong.
Now she networks extensively to advance Alzheimer’s awareness and donates from each book sold to Alzheimer’s research.


Author Links:

Giveaway:
Win one of thirty print copies of I Will Never Forget. Entry is restricted to the USA! Enter through Goodreads.



   

    Goodreads Book Giveaway  

   
        I Will Never Forget by Elaine C. Pereira    
   
     

          I Will Never Forget      

     

          by Elaine C. Pereira      

     
         
            Giveaway ends July 21, 2014.          
         
            See the giveaway details             at Goodreads.          
     
   
   
      Enter to win


Guest Post by Elaine C. Pereira

My book practically wrote itself. It is not an unusual sentiment expressed by authors of memoirs. Especially written in a state of heightened emotions, as mine was, the story can pour out faster than one can keyboard it. I envied the shorthand skills of court stenographers as I tried to decipher my pathetic chicken scratch, sticky notes and the bizarre results of autocorrect.

Writing a book was never on my “someday” list. That said my mother’s was a story that needed to be told. Consistent with the phrase, Fact is stranger than Fiction, the drama that unveiled in especially my mother’s final months would not have been believable were it not absolutely true.

Before my manuscript was finished, I started investigating my options for getting it published. A lawyer friend of mine, with several publishing company contacts, sent out feelers in my behalf, but to no avail. Then she casually mentioned that her son has his “stuff” self-published.

Self-published. What exactly is self-publishing? Is That Like Pumping Your Own Gas?
I literally – not wine induced literally - but real life, can’t imagine anything else literally - visualized cranking out page after page on some out dated copier in my kitchen. Hmmm, maybe that’s not what she meant.

A Google search quickly revealed many self-publishing companies but as the industry jargon was so foreign to me I couldn’t compare the package options. Then I discovered that one of the few books I had read recently was self-published. If it was good enough for her, it was good enough for me and the rest, as they say, is history.
In May 2012, my first copy of I Will Never Forget arrived. I burst into tears to see in living color and a lot of black and white text, the culmination of a powerful story and an incredible journey. I relished my well-deserved moment of triumph as I slowly slid my fingers across my name on the book jacket. Mesmerizing!

In the morning, when the bliss wore off and reality set in, I stared at the 350+ books camped out in my dining room and thought: Okay, so now what? And it wasn't the only rhetorical question floating around in my head.

Self-marketing has proven to be a formidable undertaking: expensive, exhaustive, and sometimes quite frustrating. My goal is to land the elusive book deal and recoup my ghastly out of pocket expenses.

In doing so, then I can focus exclusively on why I wrote the book in the first place: Donate to Alzheimer’s research in order to help fund preventative measures, treatment options and someday find a cure!

Help Me Help Others. Buy a Book!”  



Elaine C. Pereira

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Interview With Rachel Bateman - Author of 99 Days of Laney MacGuire Tour Stop & Giveaway

Interview With Rachel Bateman - Author of 99 Days of Laney MacGuire



 
1. If you had to sum up your book in thirty words or less, what would your tagline be?

Wow. Way to throw out the hardest question of all questions right off the bat. I suck at taglines. How about I give you the one-sentence logline I used for my beat sheet (more on beat sheets later):

A troubled teen seeks refuge at her dad’s lake resort for the summer, only to find out things aren’t as unchanging as she’d hoped.

Plus kissing. And forks.

There, 28 words.



2. How do you come up with the titles of your books?

It’s different for every book. 99 Days of Laney MacGuire went through probably eight titles before I settled on this one. Some titles come much easier for me. A random turn of phrase that sounds nice, or a single word that has a nice ring to it.

Often, I’ll spend tons of mental energy trying to come up with the perfect title, but nothing will stick. Then, as soon as the whole thing is out of my mind, the perfect title will fill the empty space. That’s what happened with 99 Days of Laney MacGuire and my upcoming rock star romance, Forever Last Night.



3. Do you design your covers? What do you look for in a book cover, both as an author or as a reader?

I’ve had a hand in designing all my covers, collaborating with graphic designers who have finalized them and done the fancy graphic design trickery. The 99 Days of Laney MacGuire cover, after many iterations, was a design I came up with after finding the perfect stock photo. Then the lovely Stephanie Mooney worked her magic to make it way more beautiful than I ever could.

The cover for the Incubus serial was much the same. The ever-patient Steven Novak sent me a few designs based on what I told him, but none of them were right. (They were all gorgeous—in fact, I nabbed his first attempt for another project in the works.) Then, I found a stock model I loved, and he created the perfect cover around that.

I’m currently taking graphic design courses so I am better equipped to execute my own designs in the future.

As far as what I look for in a cover? It’s pretty much the same whether I have my author hat on or my reader hat. I want something eye-catching and beautiful, a cover that works with genre conventions but isn’t so much like all the others out there that it fades into the background.

4. Did you have a special inspiration for your book?

99 Days of Laney MacGuire came from several sources of inspiration. It all started when a song came on my Pandora station—you know how sometimes a song hits the radio and just takes you back? That’s what happened here. As soon as the song started playing, it’s like I was back in the summer of 1997, the summer everything changed. I remembered all the emotions from that summer, the rush of fun and intensity and urgency of being thirteen and knowing it all.

As I wrote, the story took a new life of its own. The characters were older than I was back then, and some other, darker events in my life snuck into the manuscript. (I’m not giving details here to avoid being all spoilery and stuff.) In the end, the book is much different from what I originally sent out to write, but I think it’s a much richer book for the changes.



5. When it comes to self-publishing, what are your thoughts about it? Would you recommend indie publishing to an aspiring writer?

When I first decided I wanted to be a published author, I was all about taking the traditional route. I would query agents and then submit to publishers and have all the things fall into place. I never even considered that I would self-publish—not even as a “last resort” as some authors do.

Then I set out to rewrite 99 Days of Laney MacGuire after a few years of it sitting on my hard drive begging for attention. About half-way through the rewrite, it became clear to me that I wanted to self-publish this book. It was something that had been in the back of my mind after reading several books and articles, but not something I’d thought I would do still. But it just seemed right for this book. So after all my years of thinking it was traditional or bust, I ended up releasing my first book (and first serial) without ever querying an agent or submitting to a publisher.

I love indie pubbing, and I would recommend it to a fellow writer...as long as I think it’s what is right for their particular book. Self-publishing is not for everyone, nor is it for every book. Certain genres do better than others, just as certain genres do better in traditional publishing. It really is a case-by-case decision.



6. What is the writing process like for you, from the creation of your book all the way to having it live and available for purchase?

I used to write completely by the seat of my pants—that’s how I did the first draft of 99 Days of Laney MacGuire—and I find it to be a totally fun, exhilarating rush. I also find that when I write on a whim, I end up having a first draft that needs to be totally rewritten.

Now, I make a basic outline following Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet from his book Save the Cat. It’s a book about screenwriting, but his methods have completely changed the way I look at storytelling. My plots and pacing are so much stronger using his guides. Once I have my beat sheet in line, I start writing like mad until I get stuck. This usually happens about a third of the way through, and when it does, I start making lists of what needs to happen in each scene. Nothing major—just several bullet points I need to cover. Having a list to follow makes the writing flow so much easier.

I tend to be a binge writer. If I take things too slow and steady, I tend to just fizzle out. If I write like mad, I get caught up in the rush of the book, riding the wave until I finish.

My books go through a couple rounds of edits—my critique partner, Ashley Maker, is the best. My books wouldn’t be nearly as good without her. Once edits are all done, I do the ebook formatting and print layout (this is one of my favorite parts, oddly) and upload them!


7. Do you have any advice for new authors?

Read a lot. Write a lot. Find great critique partners—they are the best partners you will have in this journey. Keep practicing your craft, and keep loving what you do. Don’t worry about publication until you are really ready. Once your first book is out there, you can’t ever go back to that blissful time before. Don’t get me wrong, being published is amazing, but there is something special and joyous about writing just for yourself with no pressure. Enjoy it while you have it. It’s easy to get caught up in all the shoulds and to-dos about publishing, but what the big focus always needs to be on is the writing. Never lose the joy of writing in the business of publishing.


8. What can readers expect from you next?

My YA paranormal serial, Incubus, is ongoing, and the third episode will be out any day now. I have a NA rock star romance, Forever Last Night, in the works.

And, finally, a surprise for all the Rory fans out there. (Rory has been a big fan favorite. :) ) He’s getting his own book! One Week Month with the Girl Next Door will release later this year.



9. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Just a big thank you for having me! This has been fun.



http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/ya-contemporary-romance-tour-giveaway-99-days-of-laney-macguire-by-rachel-bateman-61114-7914/

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 6/11/14 – 7/9/14
Genres:  YA Contemporary Romance
Tour Promo Pricing: $.99













Blurb:
Laney can’t wait to spend the summer at her father’s lake resort. It’s a place where time stands still and nothing ever changes—the perfect thing for Laney after the year she just had. But when she gets there, she discovers the lodge isn’t quite as unchanging as she once thought.
Some of the differences are good, like Rory’s new look; some are bad, like whatever secret Karissa is keeping. And then some things are just confusing, like Weston.
Weston, her mysterious new co-worker, who is the cause of so many of the changes Laney hates. She wants to despise him, but she can’t deny the attraction she feels, nor the desire she has to be around the one person who didn’t know her before the summer—the one person she doesn’t have to pretend for.

Excerpt:
Ripples pulsated against me, the tiniest change in movement, and I sensed he was behind me before I could actually feel him. Then, there he was, his hands resting gently on my hips below the water. I mentally braced myself for the involuntary tensing. It would come eventually; it did every time a man touched me. Except, I remembered, on the walk home. Not with Weston. Heat from his hands spread through my body, and a need built deep within me. So foreign, yet so familiar at the same time. The pull below my navel brought back sensations I thought I would never feel again. For the first time since that night, I felt fully like myself again.
I turned in his hands to face him. His eyes were slightly unfocused, and he wore a grin that barely pulled his lips up on one side of his mouth, but his desire was clear. Alcohol still warmed my veins, encouraging me as I let myself relax into him. I could let down my guard, follow my instincts and urges again. Right?
His lips had been chilled by the air, and were cold when they touched mine, ever so lightly, but they warmed up quickly when I pressed my mouth against his in return. He slipped one hand off my hip and wrapped his arm around my back, pulling my body against his. God, I fit in there so well. Urgently, but still gently, he pushed my mouth open with his own. His tongue played against mine, and desire roiled beneath the surface.
I have no idea how long we stayed like that, intertwined in each other’s arms. The thrill of kissing Weston was even more intoxicating than the bottle Derek sent home with us. Each brush of his lips excited me more, setting my nerve endings on fire. The water caressed my skin, tickling my back, as we bobbed there in our own little world. I couldn’t get enough. I pressed myself tighter and tighter against his slick skin until the tingle in the pit of my stomach grew into a silent roar. Finally, there with Weston, I was alive again.
He stroked his hand along my back as he kissed me even more deeply. He traced the line of my shoulder blade and down my arm. Then he reached my wrist, and his mouth froze against my own. His fingers played against my scar. And as quickly as things built up, they fell down again. His hand on my wrist brought the last four months crashing back, and the intensity swelling within me died out instantly. I pulled back and swam off to join Karissa and Rory, leaving Weston standing chest-deep in the water. I turned once to see him still watching me, but he never made a move to follow.
Smart boy.


Buy Links:

About the Author:


Rachel Bateman is a writer and editor who spends too much time thinking she can out bake the Cake Boss. (Spoiler: She can’t.) She is from Great Falls, Montana, but dreams of living by the ocean. Rachel is the owner of Metamorphosis Books, an author services company offering edits and formatting/interior layout for independent authors. When not writing, editing, or reading books, she can be found playing with her husband, young son, and small zoo of pets.

Connect With The Author:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads 

Giveaway:
Author Rachel Bateman is giving away a Nook Simple Touch, a signed paperback of 99 Days of Laney MacGuire, and a $25 B&N gift card. USA only please!



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