Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Blast: Escape Forbidden by Ruth Silver @writeawaybliss


Escape Forbidden
Ruth Silver
(Aberrant Prequel)
Publication date: June 15th 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Fight to stay alive.
The Gravelands are a dangerous place.
In a world of uncertainty, Cora Manning knows one thing without a doubt: getting into Genesis will offer her a brighter future.
When the intake coordinator agrees to let her in because of her genetic makeup, Cora discovers the promised city of utopia is nothing like she imagined.
The rebellion has begun.
EXCERPT:
“Sit,” Noelle said and gestured toward the cot positioned on the floor.
Without much thought I wandered over and stretched out to lie down. Had it not been a trying day and with bombings outside, I’d have opted to go home or at the very least refused special treatment. That was what Noelle offered me, wasn’t it?
“You don’t have to stay here all night,” I said. It felt weird to be watched as I slept. “If I need anything, I can let you know. Or I mean, whoever stays.” I didn’t want to assume she wouldn’t go home either. I shut my eyes and relaxed against the cot. It wasn’t the most comfortable bed I’d been in, but it beat the straw in the barn.
“Toby and I will alternate, unless your fever breaks. Then we’ll both go home and let you sleep in peace.”
Hearing her words was enough to help me relax. “Okay,” I mumbled. If only I had the ability to control my own body temperature.
Noelle shut off the lights which helped ease the throbbing pulse behind my eyes. The distant wail of the siren ceased. Had it ended? Was everyone safe? I took momentary comfort in the quiet of Noelle’s office and allowed myself to fall asleep.
During the night, I heard the door whine and I attempted to roll over, only half cognizant of where I was. The cot groaned beneath me and I felt the warmth of metal against my cheek.
“Wake up, little girl,” an unfamiliar voice said, and I heard the distinctive click of the safety released from a gun.
My eyes flashed open, staring up at the intruder, the gun tight against my skin. How would I get out of this mess?


Author Bio:
Ruth Silver enjoys reading, traveling, writing, photography, boardgames, and playing with her dogs.
REFUGE FORBIDDEN (Aberrant Book 4) by Ruth Silver will be available June 29, 2018.
She also writes adult romance under the name Allison West.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Book Blast: Splash by M.E. Rhines @MERhines


Splash
M.E. Rhines
(Mermaid Royalty #3)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: June 12th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Fawna is happy with the new life she has made for herself on land. She has her child and her youngest sister Pauline by her side—plus an amazing new human boyfriend named Randy. So when an old friend from Atargatis shows up, she immediately feels the weight of everything she stands to lose. But the news can’t be ignored – there’s been an attack on their kingdom; her aunt Myrtle is dead and her mother is missing. Angelique, their middle sister, is now ruling a kingdom to the north, leaving Fawna as the only royal left to help save Atargatis. Torn between responsibilities in two different worlds, the decision is made for her when the powerful sea witch who attacked the kingdom also takes Fawna’s son. Now she has no choice—to save her life on dry land, she’ll have to dive back into the ocean…
The final installment in the beloved Mermaid Royalty series, Splash is a heart-pounding fantasy romance that will have you feeling like you need to come up for air!
Grab book 1 – SINK – for FREE!
EXCERPT:
”And if you’d acted before you did, defied your mother and refused her order to kill him, do you believe you could’ve won?”
“Honestly? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. For all we know we could’ve stopped it long before Gene. Aunt Margaret just kept telling us to be patient, that the catalyst would show itself. We rallied against my mother more because Pauline was in danger, not so much because of Eddie. To me, that was the ultimate incentive to proceed. Seeing her in danger was the reason we stood so strong together.”
“Maybe your aunt knew a human wasn’t a strong enough reason to fight such an epic war. I mean, you might’ve rallied behind Gene, but could you say the others in your resistance would? With everything Gilcrest has told you, you’ve got magic in you, Fawna. You stood a chance against your mother. Your aunt probably knew that.”
“You may be right, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve committed some terrible atrocities.”
“Because you were scared! You didn’t have a choice. I wasn’t even here and I can see that.” He clanged his knuckles against the cast iron frame of the cauldron. “You said you wanted to give this old heirloom a second chance, an opportunity to be used for good. Why can’t you give yourself that chance? Cut yourself a break.”
A smile cracked on my lips, and I shook my head in exasperation. “Why is it you always insist on seeing the good in me, even now when there’s none to be found?”
“There’s plenty of good in you, Fawna. If there wasn’t, you wouldn’t be so ready to risk your soul to rescue the ones you love the most.”
“There’s no talking any sense into you, is there?” I wrapped my arms around his torso, using his weight to anchor myself in place.
“Not a chance,” he grinned, planting a sweet kiss on my cheek. “I’m not going anywhere. It’s like I said before, Queen, my heart is yours and only yours. The sea is in my blood, always has been. Now I know why. I was meant for this life, down here with you and Sebastian. Don’t take it away from me because of a past you can’t outrun.”


Author Bio:
ME Rhines a southwest Florida native currently living in North Port with her two beautiful children and a third, much larger child whom she affectionately calls husband.
She writes young adult paranormal romance to feed her belief that fairy tales are real and
nonsense is necessary.
You can visit her on most major social media sites:
www.facebook.com/merhines
www.twitter.com/merhines
She also writes adult romances under her edgier alter-ego, Mary Bernsen.

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Book Blast: Spectacle by SJ Pierce


Spectacle
S.J. Pierce
Publication date: June 4th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Avatar meets Gladiator in this spellbinding Young Adult, Science-Fiction seriesby bestselling author S.J. Pierce.
Two hundred years after the Great Disaster, the day earthquakes ravaged Earth’s landscapes, humanity has finally regrouped and is working toward a better future. But in New America – one of three remaining landmasses – overpopulation makes a better future seem bleaker by the year.
Mira (Mirabella) Foster and her parents are citizens of New America, and with the threat of starvation and disease looming on the horizon, a discovery threatens to push everyone to the brink of chaos:blue markings develop on people’s skin. Markings that allow them to camouflage,but also make them feared, and eventually, targets of violence.
Mira’s dad is one of them.
Spectacle, Part One is the beginning of a three-part series. Suitable for ages fourteen and up.
On sale for 99¢ for a limited time!
Spectacle has made it to my TOP TEN LIST OF DYSTOPIAN BOOKS to read. ★★★★★
This book is totally ADDICTIVE, FAST-PACED and SUSPENSEFUL, with great lead characters and complex world building. ★★★★★
HUNGER GAMES meets AVATAR in this spellbinding Young Adult, Science-Fiction series by bestselling author S.J. Pierce.
EXCERPT:
When Luxxe and I make it into the crowd, they part for us, their cheers and attentions trained on him – the camp’s hunting trainer and star of our monthly hunting expeditions. In other words, their well-respected (and sometimes feared) hero. I’ve seen him hunt enough to know why too. He’s precise and brutal. No holds barred. It’s safe to say he’s the best one here, and I have to admit, though anything violent makes my stomach turn (even for the purpose of food), to see him in his element is like witnessing the athleticism of an Olympian god. This is what he was made for – to kill.
His arm slips from my shoulder as he turns to hug his best friend and training assistant, Cole – another mountain of a teenage boy. He wears his dreads shorter, and his eyes are the color of liquid metal. His markings have harsh angles like bolts of lightning and cover his arms and half his torso. They’ve multiplied since I last saw him.
The cheers around us ebb as they wait for Luxxe to finish his greetings and lead us into the forest; this is the part where I have to fend for myself. Then we’ll part ways into smaller groups and kill whatever we can carry. Our group is usually me, Luxxe, Taylor, and Cole.
While I stand with my hands clasped and looking at the ground, the lonely snowflake in a frenzied bed of coal, I feel some of their eyes on me but pretend not to notice. I know they wonder about me – the blonde, pale girl with no markings who hardly ever comes around; the girl Luxxe is close with even though he has a very committed girlfriend, not that it’s any of their business; the daughter of the former head liaison who met with the President all those years ago. Though most believe my dad is innocent, I think some blame him for starting the war that placed us here, though they don’t say it. At least not to me. I’ve overheard rumblings in the market a time or two about how he went ‘mad’ or ‘rogue’ and secretly planned to take the President out but was taken out instead. And it might be my imagination, but I feel their resentment when they look at me, still fresh after all this time. Like I was somehow in on whatever they assume he did.
Oh, well. Screw them. He was innocent.


Author Bio:
Multiple Award Nominated and Bestselling Author Susan James Pierce has a degree in Marketing Management, works for a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta, Georgia, and devotes her precious, spare time to writing Paranormal, Sci-fi, and Contemporary Romance novels.
Please visit www.sjpiercebooks.com and sign up for her mailing list or subscribe to her blog if you'd like to hear when new books come out!

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Cover Reveal: Rival by Arwen Paris


Rival
Arwen Paris
(Fate of the Stars, #2)
Publication date: July 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
It’s a role she didn’t want…
One deadly week has passed since seventeen year old Allison Delaney realized she must save Earth from the parasitic race of Ma’tiok. But the task is even more complicated than Allison feared, and she’s being set up to fail. Blamed for a fatal blow to the Alliance fleet that killed dozens of soldiers, Allison must face judgment for their deaths. The High Priestess Kiobaan is Allison’s only hope. Kiobaan sees the warrior spirit in Allison, along with her potential both politically and physically and agrees to train her.
And a game she can’t afford to lose.
Meanwhile, though Allison is the human host of Eenoki, protector of life, she’s not yet ready to harness their combined energy. Their bond is unpredictable at best—volatile at worst. Time is running out for Eenoki and Allison to trust each other—all or nothing—or she’ll never gain the power she needs to defeat the Ma’tiok and save Earth. When Allison is marked for death by an unknown enemy, the High Priestess Kiobaan must step-up and fight. But in return Kiobaan extracts a pledge from Allison, one that will compromise her new status and make her a target.
Sequel to:


Author Bio:
Arwen Paris is the author of young adult fiction. Her debut YA Sci-fi Urban Fantasy novel FATE OF THE STARS releases September 1, 2017. The actions packed pages of her novels are filled with characters that are forced to face fears they never expected. When she's not writing, you can see posts of her (too many) vacations that keep her sane. Arwen lives in Washington, has a big crazy family & after the day job, she writes Fiction For the Fearless - #F3Fanatic

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Blog Tour: Reality Gold by Tiffany Brooks


Reality Gold
Tiffany Brooks
Published by: Dunemere Books
Publication date: May 22nd 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
“There are only two ways to survive Internet infamy: drop offline and play dead or give everyone something bigger and better to talk about. I’ve tried the first strategy. Now it’s time to try the second…”
A year and a lifetime ago, Riley Ozaki was just an ordinary high school junior in San Francisco, stressing over boys and grades. But an ill-conceived editorial in her school paper brought her an internet avalanche of public-shaming and ruined her life.
Now Riley’s on a helicopter dropping into a deserted island with nineteen other teens, to star in a reality show that will be her redemption. She has no other choice. National attention was what got her into this mess, and only the same level of exposure can get her out. Besides, Riley has a few tricks up her sleeve.
With a cast of vivid characters who will stop at nothing to win the show, a cursed island setting, and a priceless treasure waiting to be discovered, Reality Gold will drop readers right into a scheming web of lies, love, and betrayal.

1.    Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else? 
  I always knew I wanted to do something with books. I was what my family called a professional reader—I read fast, and it was normal for me to visit the library, leave with a stack of books and then return the next day and repeat the process. On Facebook or whenever I run into an old friend from growing up they will always mention how they remember me with a book.
2.   How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
I have some projects sitting in folders on my computer that I’ve spent a couple of years on and they’re not even close, but it took about a year to write Reality Gold.
3.   How do you come up with themes for your stories?
I read once that all authors are simply writing the same story over and over but in different ways, and I think that’s true for me. I have a couple of themes I’m really obsessed with and I know at least one of them will show up in every book. I love the idea of perception, of looking at things in different ways. I like wondering ow our own life experiences and view affects our actions, and thus the events that we choose to participate in, and that theme is present in Reality Gold. The other concept I think about constantly is how small decisions can change the trajectory of our lives. I’ll see a car accident, and wonder what if one of the drivers had left their house a few seconds before or after, would the accident have still happened? Or would those few seconds have placed those cars far enough out of reach from each other? I’m a huge fan of things that explore this--like the movie Sliding Doors, and these books are some of my favorites: The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.
4.   Do you have a schedule of when you write? 
Yes, and right now I’m imagining my family’s answer: a crazy one. I would really love to be one of those people who wakes up early and gets typing right away but that rarely happens. Instead I find myself doing the most work from 10pm to 1 am, or even later.
5.   How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
Oh, I find this the hardest part. First of all, to really accomplish anything, I need to be hyper-focused and really sink into the work. That’s hard to do with a family, plus I run a small business. I find myself getting very, very cranky with the things that tear me away from writing, so I have to work on managing my expectations and being realistic about when I can submerge myself and when I need to be present and thinking about the other things in my life. I’m not always successful. We order a lot of food in our house because the fridge is often empty, the laundry piles up, packages go unsent, things like that.
6.   What elements do you think make a great story line? 
 I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, because I just finished a book where the writing was not that great and the characters weren’t fully realistic, but I really liked the book because the story itself was so interesting. I think there are really two parts to creating any book: the story, and then the actual writing. For a long time, I worked on the craft of writing. I had all these beautifully written single chapters stored on my hard drive, but they never went anywhere because there was no story to back them up. 
7.   What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Actually forcing myself to sit down and write it every day. It’s hard writing a book because the end goal is very far off in the distance. You can’t write a book in a day, so accomplishing a daily page allotment can sometimes feel…unfulfilling. There were days when I’d say to myself, just take the day off, what does it matter? You still won’t finish for months whether you write today or not. So I had to be very strict with myself and set small deadlines—a certain number of pages per day, per week, etc.
8.   How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite? 
In some ways, Reality Gold is my favorite because it is my first finished, published book. But on the other hand, I have some stories floating around in my head and I love them—and right now they’re full of potential because they haven’t been committed to paper yet. So in some ways, those stories are my favorites because I don’t quite know yet where they’ll go.
9. Where do you write?  
This is another one of those questions that I want to answer one way but the truth is a little different. I’d love to say I write at my desk, or in a specially created office, or in a favorite reading nook but honestly I write in bed. I like to be comfortable when I write and for me, that’s my bed.
10. Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
            I’ve gotten feedback from family members that’s everywhere from “It’s amazing!” to “I don’t hate it.” Honestly, I would have found it a little suspect if they all gushed over it, so I preferred hearing about the parts they didn’t like, and overall their opinons were really helpful even if they weren’t always positive. But overall yes, they do like it!
11. What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
Definitely read, that’s number one. I am never not reading. After that, I’m a little obsessed with my cats and my dog, and I tend to torture my family with an endless stream of photos of our pets doing cute things all day. The kids hated it when I started working with photoshop because I like to make memes and I know they’re terrible, but it’s fun.
12. What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? 
The best advice I’ve ever gotten, and really, it’s the only advice any new author needs: write. Actually write. Put words on a page every day. One of my writing teachers explained it like this: authors are artists, and our medium is words. You need words so that you can shape them into something, and until you have them on the page to work with, you can’t effectively create.
13. What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write? 
I am crazy about Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy. It’s amazing—so creative. I felt like he wrote it just for me, a child who walked around opening random doors and hoping that would be the one to finally lead to Narnia. The books are so funny, yet the stakes are high. I love every word. I could pick them up and flip to any page and be engrossed for hours.   
14. Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such? 
            Yes, definitely. The key is to find readers whose opinions you trust, which is harder than it sounds. The people around you—family and friends—might be the most available, but not the most helpful. My husband read the first chapter of Reality Gold and asked if there would be any car chases…hmmm. A deserted island, a treasure hunt, a bunch of teens—the answer was no. I think(?) he was joking, and he might have had great insights but I’ll never know because every time he offered them all I could think was, this was the guy who wanted a car chase on a deserted island.
15. Are you working on anything now? 
I’m working on two different series, both of which are connected to Reality Gold. One of them is a series that follows other characters from Reality Gold as they go off on new adventures. The other one is a series that plays with the idea of characters challenging their reality.
16. Tell us 5 things that make you smile:
Ben and jerry’s Phish Food ice cream, getting a great book recommendation, the movie Groundhog Day, anytime something crazy happens in the news and people run to twitter to make fun of it, my cat when she sleeps with her paw over her eyes.
17. Tell us 5 things that make you sad:
            When my dog asks for another treat but I’ve run out, when I get in my car and the gas gauge says I have 4 miles of gas but I’m fifteen minutes late already to wherever I’m supposed to be, when I come home and see a “sorry we missed you” UPS notice on my door, when someone eats all the Phish Food but leaves the carton in the freezer, when I come downstairs in the morning, open the kitchen door, and remember I forgot to buy coffee the day before.
18. If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
            Italy. 100% Italy. I spent a semester there in college and I’m constantly scheming ways to get back there.


Author Bio:
Tiffany Brooks lives in San Francisco with her family and a bunch of pets, who luckily don’t object to being featured on her Instagram. The best thing about living on the west coast is she can find out what happens on Game of Thrones three hours ahead of air time. That, plus not having winter weather, means she’ll never move back east, although that doesn’t stop her New England family from asking when she’ll be moving “back home” to NYC or Connecticut. Reality Gold, her debut novel, kicks off the Shifting Reality Collection, a YA trilogy.

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Book Blast: Moonlight and Midtown by Christina Bauer @CB_Bauer


Moonlight And Midtown
Christina Bauer
(Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #1.5)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: May 27th 2018
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult
After battling werewolves and evil aunties, Bryar Rose is ready to enjoy her new life. No more crazy aunties. Her curse is toast. And Bry’s new man, Knox, is literally a dream come true. Best of all, Bry will soon attend a regular high school. Forget those sketchy tutors! To get ready, Bry is dedicating the rest of her summer to some serious back-to-school shopping with her best friend, Elle. It’s a blast, except for one thing:
Mysterious strangers are following Bry across Manhattan.
All these stalkers have oddly familiar scents and an uncanny ability to slip into the shadows whenever Bry tries to confront them. Even worse, their presence is making Knox act crazy with a capital C.
But Bry’s having none of it. Enough of her life has already been ruined by secrets. With Elle’s help, Bry plans to confront these strangers, find out what they want, and send them packing. Trouble is, the truth about their identity won’t be so easy to manage, especially when Bry finds out how these stalkers could change her future with Knox…and not for the better.
***An interim novella between WOLVES AND ROSES and SHIFTERS AND GLYPHS***
About The Series
The Fairy Tales of the Magicorum series includes WOLVES AND ROSES (Book 1), MOONLIGHT AND MIDTOWN (Novella 1.5) and SHIFTERS AND GLYPHS (Book 2, Fall 2018). Eight full novels are planned in total.
EXCERPT:
“That’s why packs have Alphas,” says Knox. “You need to set her loose, and then, let her attack me.”
Every inch of my body goes on alert. “Attack you? Why?”
“Your wolf has been through a lot. Ritual fighting is how wolves work out their place in the pack. Your wolf needs a firm hand.”
I stare at my palm. “Firm hand?”
“I’m not talking about physical power here. I’m talking magic. My power is Alpha energy, but you’ve got your own magic. Once I subdue your wolf, I think you’ll get the idea.”
My head feels woozy. “Ritual combat? Really?”
“Yes. Release your wolf and attack me. Now.”
I hug my elbows. “I’m not sure. If I’m patient, my inner wolf might just calm down on her own.”
“That’s not how wolves work, even when they aren’t of the magical variety. And a werewolf? Our animals are far more intense. I’m your Alpha, and if I let this go on for one more minute, I’m putting you at risk.”
Something in his tone sets my nerves on edge. “Meaning?”
“Your wolf will go feral. When it happens, it’s fast and intense. Your wolf will take over and you’ll disappear.”
I suck in a shaky breath. “She wouldn’t.”
My wolf’s voice sounds in my head. “We will run! I demand we shift NOW!
That manic tone to her voice is now higher than ever before. Every inch of my body trembles with the urge to shift. I reply to my wolf in my mind.
Didn’t you hear what Knox said?” Normally, my wolf can’t help but listen in on most of my conversations. “Our mate thinks you’re going feral.
Mate?” The manic tone to her voice hikes up an octave. “We have no mate. All we have is the need to run.
A chill runs up my spine. “You don’t remember our mate?
No mate! Run, now!
My blood chills. No matter what happens, my wolf always knows her mate. In fact, my usual complaint is that she won’t shut up about him.
This is really happening. My wolf is going feral.
All of a sudden, it’s like I can’t pull in enough air. “You’re right. My inner wolf is losing her mind.”
“Hey, I won’t let that happen.” Knox rests his hands on my shoulders. “Breathe, Bry.”
It takes serious concentration, but I slow my racing pulse a little. “Okay.”
“Now, you need to set your wolf loose and trust me. Can you do that, yeah?”
“I can try.”
“Good.” Knox pulls off his dress shirt over his head and tosses it aside. “Set her loose.”
Normally, the urge to shift is a constant tug of war between me and my wolf. Most times, all it takes is for me to stop fighting the urge to shift. After that, I turn furry. So that’s what I do now—I drop my guard and let my wolf take over.


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

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Cover Reveal: Awakened by Dot Caffrey


Awakened
Dot Caffrey
(The Power Trilogy, #1)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: August 31st 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Power and Prophecy!
Seventeen-year-old Regnaryn grew up in an idyllic land among mythical beings. She believes she is the last surviving human.
Her world begins to shatter when Evil invades her dreams, demanding she relinquish unknown powers foretold by her long-deceased mother. When Graeden, a young human male, arrives, he further disrupts her once-orderly life. Her emotions in chaos, Regnaryn flees the only home she’s ever known, only to be captured by the servants of Evil from her dreams. Now she must take a stand, confronting her late mother’s prophecy while also attempting to survive and protect those she loves.


Author Bio:
I was born and raised in New York, mostly on Long Island not “The City”. After high school, I moved to California and then did a three-year stint in the Navy before going to college and getting a Microbiology/Medical Technologist degree.
According to my Dad, I’ve been a storyteller from the time I began talking (which was at a very young age). But, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to take my passion for writing and my love for all things magical or mythical seriously and set out to write fantasy novels.
When I’m not at my day job or writing, I enjoy creating and wearing costumes (cosplay), playing video games (though, I’m not very good at it) and watching NHL hockey and assorted other things many of which are merely time wasters. Of course, hanging out with my friends and my cats also pleasantly fills my time.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Blog Tour: The Forest Beyond the Earth by Matthew S. Cox @mscox_fiction


The Forest Beyond the Earth
Matthew S. Cox
Publication date: February 6th 2018
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Under the watchful eye of the Mother Shrine, twelve-year-old Wisp ekes out a simple, but challenging life with Dad, foraging for food and losing herself in old books from the world that came before. She loves the Endless Forest ― except when the Tree Walkers come for her.
In ages past, the great rain of fire and ash destroyed the Earth, wiping out the ancients and everything they had made. Nature has reclaimed much since then, spreading out in a vast forest full of wonder and dread. Ever in fear of being taken away, she follows Dad’s rules without question while learning to survive off the land.
No longer a small child, she accompanies Dad on one of his treks, her first time more than a few steps away from the cabin. A day exploring with him is the happiest time of her life, but joy is short-lived.
A monster follows them home.
Safe in her Haven, she hides while Dad goes outside to confront the beast. She wakes alone the next morning, and waits. Alas, her hope of his return fades with the daylight. Desperate, she breaks his strictest rule and goes outside alone. Not far from the cabin, she discovers his rifle abandoned next to the monster’s strange footprints.
Afraid but determined, Wisp sets off on her own into the Endless Forest to find Dad ― before the Tree Walkers catch her.

Today we welcome the author for an interview!

1. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else? 
It took me forever to figure out it. I never really did “figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up,” and coasted around a few things until writing became more than a hobby. I suppose the signs had been there at least in terms of creating worlds and characters for a long time, as I’d been heavily into roleplaying games as a kid. Unfortunate experiences with mandatory summer reading lists rather soured me on the idea of reading (prior to that I did often read for fun). It wasn’t until I was teasing forty that I started thinking about writing long form fiction.
2. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
The time can vary quite a bit depending on how strong my inspiration is. The more into a book I get the faster I go. I used to be addicted to playing World of Warcraft, and I could go for twelve hour benders without thinking twice about it. Now, that same energy goes into my writing. I think the fastest book I’ve written has to be Citadel: The Concordant Sequence. A reader asked me to write “more post apocalyptic stories with a young protagonist.” (Which is also what The Forest Beyond the Earth is). I spent a Wednesday developing the outline of the story, which I finished in a day. On Thursday and Friday, I wrote after the day job. Saturday and Sunday saw pretty much all day in front of the computer. I lost Monday/Tuesday to doing an edit on someone else’s book that my publisher needed fast. Taking Wed-Fri of that next week off work let me finish the book by Saturday. So basically ten days from zero to finished first draft for that one.
By contrast, the longest one was Virtual Immortality (also the first one I finished) which took me about three months.
3. How do you come up with themes for your stories?
The novels set in the Divergent Fates universe are using the setting for a roleplaying game world that I have been developing since 1996. They’re not “litRPG” books since I’m only using the setting. No one is ‘playing a game’ so to speak. With that setting comes a lot of story potential, some of which includes storylines modified from old game sessions. Other books hit me as the muse fancies. For example, I was in a Barnes & Noble doing a book signing for The Summer the World Ended, when something made the title Nine Candles of Deepest Black hit me. That title simply came out of nowhere, and I liked it, so I sat down and came up with a story to go with it.
4. Do you have a schedule of when you write? 
Nothing more organized than “if I’m not at the day job, eating, sleeping, or spending time with friends, I write.”
5. How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
Simple. There aren’t many other aspects :|
6. What elements do you think make a great story line? 
A protagonist the reader can empathize with going through situations that a reader can find relatable even if fantastic. If there’s a person antagonist (as opposed to a hostile environment), their motivations should be complex enough that from their point of view, they are doing the right thing. Of course, every now and then a “this guy is just bad” type antagonist can be fun to read about but it can get stale fast.
I also think having the protagonist evolve over the course of the story and end up in a different place (mentally or emotionally) than where they started makes for a great story.
7. What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
The waiting. Waiting for beta readers to give me their feedback, waiting for cover art, waiting for everything to come together. Of course, I may have brain damage as I tend to enjoy editing.
8. How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite? 
Counting co-authored novels, I’ve recently completed number 52. It’s difficult to pick a real favorite out of all of them as I like them for different reasons. Though, it’s probably a close tie between The Forest Beyond the Earth and Prophet of the Badlands.
9. Do you have a favorite character?
Althea from Prophet of the Badlands. She’s so fun to write… a combination of significant power, total innocence, and curiosity.
10. Where do you write?  
At home.
11. When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took? 
Most of my books are published via a small press, Curiosity Quills. However, as of late I’ve decided to take a stab at publishing myself. Given the current state of things, it’s becoming more and more difficult to see the benefit of small presses. Self-publishing is more work and more initial out-of-pocket cost, but the returns can be better and maintaining control over the book is also quite nice.
12. Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
Not yet. I don’t have a lot of family left, and if any have read my work, none have told me about it.
13. What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I used to dabble with illustration but not so much these days. Video games, movies, also roleplaying games… but that, too, has kind of fallen aside with age. It’s difficult to get the group together.
14. What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? 
Grab a copy of Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King. Also, seek out unbiased critique partners. When receiving feedback, don’t rush to change something the instant one person says it should be changed. If two people offer the same opinion, start considering it. If three or more people suggest a change, it’s probably a good idea to do it.
Also, writing isn’t a race. Some people like me can do 20k words in one day. Some are elated to hit 1000 in one day. The pace isn’t important at all (unless you’re looking at a publisher’s deadline). Just write.
15. What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write? 
Hmm. I’d have to say Neuromancer by William Gibson. It inspired my love of the cyberpunk genre.
16. Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
Yes. I have quite a few wonderful people who beta read for me. In no particular order: Denise Keef, Dianne Webb, Danny Cox (no relation), David Cox (no relation), Louise Fegans, Leslie Whitaker, tend to do most of the beta reading. Denise also helps me out whenever I have questions about police type stuff. 
17. Are you working on anything now? 
Always. I have several projects swirling around at once. Out of Sight (a YA sci fi novel). The Menagerie of Jenkins Bailey (a MG urban fantasy), a few edits, and I’m working on the outline for the second Alexis Silver novel with J.R. Rain.
18. Tell us 5 things that make you smile
Cats. Videos of soldiers reuniting with their kids. Finding a new review of one of my books or having a reader tell me something in one touched them/made them cry/laugh. Realizing it’s actually Thursday when I’ve spent all day thinking it Wednesday. Coffee.
19. Tell us 5 things that make you sad
The news. Bad things happening to kids. Pictures of abandoned pets. The deaths of fictional characters I’ve come to like. Coffee mug being empty.
20. If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
I’d love to visit the UK or Ireland or Scotland. Likely quite a bit of inspiration for my Tales of Widowswood series there.

Thank you so much for being with us today, Matthew!


Author Bio:
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- after="" also="" and="" cats.="" deliberate="" fiction="" fond="" happens="" he="" intellectual="" is="" it.="" life="" nature="" of="" p="" questions="" reality="" science="" that="" the="" what="">

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Blog Tour: The Phoenix Cycle by Bob Collopy




The Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise

by Bob Collopy
Genre: YA/Adult Dystopian
Release Date: July 21st 2017
The Department of Smoke

Summary:

The Best Shall Rise

New San Francisco is the last city standing on a world ravaged by storms of ash and debris. The city survived by putting the ideals of the American dream on steroids and inspiring its people to persevere, though they have become ruthless in the process. Its citizens are ruled by the General, who has made sure that his people understand that gentleness and pity have become weaknesses that nature no longer tolerates.

Now Steve and Leslie must choose whether they will apply for the General’s once in a lifetime opportunity to “Rise from the Ashes” and join the Inner Circle that rules the city. If they don’t, they will be damned to spend the rest of their lives in the ghettos of Edingburg, a place where virtual reality has become a government-subsidized addiction.

For Steve, the choice is easy. His loyalties lie with the IRA, a revolutionary army led by a voice only known as “Mom.” They are trying to overthrow the General and free the people of New San Francisco from the cruelties of the City Guard. Steve’s mission is to broadcast a recording of a speech that a famous philosopher died to tell. Many thousands have and will perish to get this message out, but is anyone willing to listen?

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My … Diary?
Journal Entry #3
I guess I should make something clear to you. I know this diary isn’t personal, and I’d hate to ruin your reading experience, you lying piece of shit.
With the passage of time people come and people go. That I can deal with; it’s the people that never came at all who continue to pack the growing bags beneath my eyes.
Part of me is sorry. Another enraged. I have so many years left that it seems like I’ll never run out of them. But somehow, on that single day, I lost an entire lifetime. And no matter what I do, I can never get it back.
I just want you to know. I blame myself for not stopping you. For not putting you in this cage instead the other way round. But at this point it really doesn’t matter who enchains whom. It doesn’t matter that you’re the master now and I’m the slave. We’re both miserable and nothing we do to each other can ever change that. This fight we’re having, this hatred for you that still keeps me warm at night, it’s all just a distraction from the fact that we both failed to sculpt this world into something resembling the beautiful.
For now I think it’s best I tell our story. Perhaps once I tell it to ourselves, we will finally receive from our actions what our soul really wanted: transcendence. Don’t scoff; allow me this final ember of hope.
This next part is the only truth I’ve found from what we’ve done to each other and to our world. It is important to remember it always.
I am not made of one, I am made of many.
Each and every person is made up of many smaller people. Everyone has a saint. Everyone has a lover. Everyone has a sinner. Everyone has a monster.
What defines us is not what people we have within us, but which people we develop most and how great those people become.


About the Author
Bob Collopy was raised on southern values. A world of rigidity and blind faith. He was then moved to Sedona. A near cult­like world, grown from 1960's flower children. He was then moved to Scottsdale. A world of extreme wealth and vice. He then went to college and joined a fraternity so notorious it was on national and world news multiple times. 
Due to these shifts, Bob always found himself the the semi­lucid observer; constantly confused and adjusting to new and opposing sets of norms few cultures would ever call normal or even acceptable. 
The city Bob has created is a blending of these intense and opposing cultures and the people trying to survive and conquer them.

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