Monday, 19 June 2017

Black & White blog tour signup

Happy Monday everyone! The sun is shining in Scotland and I'm hoping it's going to be a great week for everyone. I spent some of the weekend brainstorming marketing ideas for the release of Black & White, part 1 of my YA dystopian trilogy, and I'm pleased to announce that I've set a release date of 18th September 2017. This will be nearly five years since I started writing this book during NaNoWriMo 2012, so it's been a long haul, but it's finally ready to see the light of day!


As part of my launch celebrations I am planning a two-week blog tour, to end on 30th September, and I would love it if you could help by hosting a post from me (or one of my characters). I've embedded a Google form below to make it easy to respond. As I'm actively seeking readers for ARCs, there's an option to receive one as well as being a tour host, but don't worry if you can't do both. Alternatively, you can let me know in the comments if you can't do the tour but would like an ARC.

In related news, cover design is proceeding apace and I'll be ready to reveal this at some point next month. I'm surprisingly pleased with the results!

Friday, 16 June 2017

The Last God by Jean Davis

Happy Friday everyone! Today I'm helping out blogging friend Jean Davis with the launch of her new book, which releases on Monday. Here's all the details you need to know - it sounds like a really good one.


Blurb:
The General of the Unlata Kai has decreed that the time of her people is over. Jane’s race of god-like beings has caused enough chaos, leaving floundering hybrid races and war-ravaged planets throughout the universe. Kaldara, their home, is about to fulfill her wishes. When the planet goes, it will take her and the last of the Unlata Kai with it.

Logan Klevo sets out with the crew of the Maxim on a mission to warn the leaders of Kaldara of their imminent demise. Their announcement triggers a violent battle between gods. One of them holds knowledge that could restore the Maxim to its full strength. The possibility of a defense against the ruthless army of Matouk that destroyed Logan’s homeworld fills him with something he’s been missing, hope.

Abducting an angry and suicidal god might not be a wise choice, but if the god of war can learn to love they both might discover a future worth living for.

Excerpt:

Logan watched in horror as the king left the side of the queen and erupted into a towering being of light.

And then that’s all there was, heat and light. He shielded his face with his arms. Huddling against the wall, he blinked rapidly and waited for the ringing in his ears to subside while he got his bearings.

Beside him, Colonel Rice swore. “What the hell was that?”

Logan had no answers. He could only attest to witnessing the woman he’d seen when they’d entered the massive chamber cover herself in the same golden suit of armor they’d spoken with. Then she grew taller, brighter, glorious. Though his mind reeled with what he’d seen and he was only half certain this wasn’t another one of his nightmares, he hazarded a glance to where the king and queen had been.

The two beings of light exchanged blows of massive proportions. Bombs of energy exploded against their bodies. He couldn’t fathom how either remained standing.

“I’m pretty sure the queen exploded,” he said, knowing how absurd that sounded but having no other explanation.

Everyone else in the room had gone to their knees when the king had stood. The uniformed men that they had followed back here, now had their arms outstretched and their faces plastered to the floor.

While beings of light danced in his vision and bombs exploded against his eardrums, he achieved a single glimpse of clarity. Everyone who had been near the throne was blackened. Dead. Bile rose in this throat.

A thunderous clamor claimed his attention. He tore his gaze from the bodies to see the being of white light, what had been the king, sprawled among the remains of the thrones. He dimmed and then was nothing more than a battered and bloody man. His crown lay at the bottom of the stairs.

A shimmering sheet flowed from the General to hover over him and Rice. The ground beneath them rocked and the walls shook. The ceiling above began to crumble.

The colonel didn’t move. He found he couldn’t move either. He wasn’t easily scared, but he had no idea what was going on here and safety anywhere on this planet was questionable.

Without taking his eyes off the General, he said, “We’ve overstayed. The planet is going to go with us on it.”

“Maybe.” The colonel also stared at the giant golden glowing figure.

Debris thundered down on the sheet above them. A shield of some sort.

Logan prayed their ship wasn’t being crushed where they’d left it with the rest of their team inside. Then he wondered if he should hope that they’d left. He and Rice might not make it back. The shield didn’t look able to stretch that far. In fact, it didn’t even go as far as the archway.

A giant explosion struck the General. For a moment he was blinded again. Another blast of scorching air blew past them, though it seemed the shield protected them somewhat as the heat wasn’t near as intense as the first time.

“Holy shit,” muttered Rice.

The King was gone. Only a large scorch mark on the floor where his body had been. The General lay sprawled on steps, her feet just below the thrones. Her armor missing the golden glow and blackened. Blood dripped down the steps from the seam at her neck where her head was suspended over the edge of one of the stairs. She lay on her back as if she’d been blown over, unable to catch herself.

She was still moving. Slowly, but twitching enough to indicate she wasn’t as bad off as the rest.

“We’ve got to get out of here.”

“Agreed.” Yet, Rice crept forward instead of back the way they’d come.

Following behind, they checked the bodies of the others as they went. All of them had burnt to death. Pain on his own arms registered. He glanced down to find them blistered. Rice’s face and neck was red. He guessed his was too by the tightness that hit him now that the shock had worn off. His clothes were singed.

“Good thing we weren’t any closer,” Rice said, working his way toward the armored woman.

Logan rushed up the stairs. He knelt beside the General, who seemed to have returned to her original size. She weakly pushed him away but said nothing beyond a faint moan.

“Let me help you.”

She pushed at him again. He tugged on the helmet, trying to free her head so he could better assess the damage.

The voice that came from the blackened metal face was a ghost of the powerful voice that she’d used earlier, barely a whisper. “Leave me.”

He pushed her hand aside and felt up the back of the armor, searching for a lever or latch of any sort. There was nothing there but blood. He wiped his hands on his pants. “How do you get this thing off?”

 “You don’t.” Her voice grew slightly stronger. “Now go, I can’t hold the shield much longer.”

Rice crouched down beside them. “You’re coming with us.”

Pre-order sales links:
Amazon / Nook / Kobo  Also now available in Paperback

Release e-book sale price is .99

Author Bio:
Jean Davis lives in West Michigan. When not ruining lives from the comfort of her writing chair, she can be found playing in her garden, enjoying a glass of wine, or lost a good book. Her novels include The Last GodSahmara, and A Broken Race. Hershort fiction has appeared in Theian JournalBards and Sages Quarterly, Acidic Fiction, Tales of The Talisman, The First Line, Allegory, Isotropic Fiction, Liquid Imagination, Brewed Awakenings II Anthology, and The 3288 Review.
Follow her writing adventures at www.jeanddavis.blogspot.com
Special offer:
In celebration of the release of The Last God, Jean is also offering her fantasy novel, Sahmara for .99 for a limited time.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Goals for June 2017

Time to do a roundup of my goals from May and look at what's coming up for June. I'm trying to get back to posting these nearer the start of the month!


  • Add 5000 words to Book 3 of my series. Accomplished this and hit 50000 words; aiming to add 10000 more by the end of this month.
  • Start working through CP notes for book 2. Check. I'll be continuing this in June.
  • Start working on a promotion plan for book 1. This is taking shape, including putting ideas together for a cover, which for the first time I'll be designing myself. I'm hoping this'll be fun!
That's about it for now. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

IWSG June 2017

It's June already, and time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted as ever by Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. The aim of the group is for writers to support and encourage each other over whatever woes they are experiencing, in a safe and supportive environment. Today's co-hosts are J H MoncrieffMadeline Mora-SummonteJen ChandlerMegan Morgan and Heather Gardner.


So, as with every month, we have an optional question to answer and this month it is "Did you ever say 'I quit'? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?"

OK, this might be a corny answer, but without this online community being here I probably wouldn't still be writing. I spent two and a half years writing my first book - something that I poured my heart and soul into but without really having any idea what I was doing. I hadn't yet realised the importance of showing my work to other people and gaining those insights and advice that would lift it into something much greater. A family member arranged for an editor in London to have a look at it and it took a year for the feedback to come back - when it did, it was less than favourable. At this stage, I'd never heard the terms "critique partner" or "beta reader", let alone understand their significance to the overall process. Although I did get a few short stories published in the year before starting my blog, I wasn't sure if I would ever try writing another book - after the monumental amount of time and effort that went into it, it seemed it wasn't up to standard in the eyes of the industry. Of course, with hindsight and the knowledge I've absorbed during my time spent blogging I know there were many problems with that book and I was also incredibly naive to believe I could break through with my first effort after getting no outside eyes to point out the issues with the structure, voice, characterisation, pacing...

So yeah. If this community and its wonderful and knowledgeable inhabitants weren't here, it's doubtful I would still have the same large-scale ambitions or be pursuing them at all. Here's to all of you!

As to insecurities this month - I'm not doing so bad. Due to a range of issues I haven't had as much time as I would have liked over the past few weeks, but things are coming under control and I should get much more done in the remainder of this month. I'll do a recap of my May goals and post those for June in a couple of days. Don't forget to check out the other IWSG participants here!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Snowman blog tour


It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Yolanda Renée’s THE SNOWMAN Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.

This is a prequel to the author’s Detective Steven Quaid Mysteries. This story tells of Steven's first case as a rookie detective. It takes place 10 years before the events in MURDER, MADNESS & LOVE, the first book in the series.

The author is offering a tour-wide giveaway featuring both print and eBook copies from her series. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

◊ THE SNOWMAN

◊ by Yolanda Renée
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: TRACE Enterprises
◊ Series: Detective Quaid Mystery
◊ Novella
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ Contains explicit sex & violence

It takes a true artist to pursue his victims in the art of seduction, and Stowy Jenkins is no exception, especially with blood as his medium.

          Stowy Jenkins, aka, Stone, and as Alaskans refer to him, the Snowman, is a true artist. His muse, Gigi, is the ultimate inspiration for his painting. Her rejection inspires him to use a very unusual medium…blood.
          While art may be his passion, the taste for blood is his obsession, and multiple murders, the result.
          Rookie, Detective Steven Quaid, is no fan of the Snowman’s murderous exhibitions. A twisted and deadly relationship bond the two men and neither knows who will come out of it alive.

I also got to ask Yolanda a couple of questions:
1.   Where did the idea come from for this book?
When writing the first book in the series, Murder, Madness & Love, I introduced Detective Steven Quaid to the readers, through a discussion of his first case, The Snowman, and how his reputation had been formed when he solved that mystery. In the second book, Memories of Murder I mentioned the case again and how Steven was bothered by the fact that it had been the case that made his reputation. He felt that it wasn’t deserved and that his native background and rookie status had been used as a public relations ploy.
Those factors all played into the story I told in the prequel, The Snowman. I felt I had to stay true to the initial and yet very short explanation of Detective Quaid’s first case that I’d made in those first two novels.

2.  How much research goes into a story like this?
    Quite a bit, I’ve researched such items as the names of clubs, restaurants and bars, (I was told by an editor the more real names you use the better). From bow hunting moose to the codes police use to communicate via radio. I research locations for accurate descriptive terms, even though I lived in Anchorage, it’s been a few years and I know things change. For The Snowman, I researched the trees Stowy used as body dump markers, the Hemlock tree. For instance, the Hemlock, three different varieties are native to Alaska, but only grow so far north. I had to make sure that tree would grow in the area Stowy used as his dumping ground.
        I researched major details, such as the real serial killer Hansen, but also minor details, so I use the correct wording in descriptions. And I always check for the right sunrise and sunset times especially in a city that boasts a midnight sun! I enjoy research, and try to make my stories are real as possible even though the story line is pure fiction. (Each hyperlinked word goes to a research site that I’ve used.)


At one time Alaska called to me, and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I've traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influence my writing.


Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two handsome sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!

You can connect with me here:
Blog    *     Facebook     *     Twitter     *     Pinterest     *     Email

The other books in the Detective Quaid Series include:




          A killer plays cat and mouse with a young widow against the snowy backdrop of an Alaskan winter. Branded a black widow after the suspicious death of her millionaire husband, Sarah Palmer flees Seattle for Anchorage. However, the peace and quiet she hoped to enjoy in her hometown is soon shattered. A killer is murdering Sarah look-alikes on the 14th of each month, taunting Sarah with a valentine of evidence. After her experiences in Seattle, Sarah is slow to go to the police. When she finally does, she finds Detective Steven Quaid—Anchorage P D’s hotshot investigator—has not only heard the rumors, he believes them. Worse, her aloofness and composure only confirm his suspicions. Is Sarah a victim or a very skilled manipulator?




World damnation is a psychotic man’s goal, but two obstacles stand in his way, greed and a dedicated detective.
Catching Alaska’s most notorious serial killer as a rookie made Detective Steven Quaid a hero, but falling in love with the victim of his last case tarnishes that status. While attempting to repair both his personal and professional life, he stumbles upon an unusual case–and an even more extraordinary foe: a man who believes he is Lucifer. An insidious man who delivers Quaid the ultimate choice: save his fiancée from an assassin’s bullet or stop the sacrifice of a young girl.




Flames burn between a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist, but soon extinguish as another man’s obsession ignites into an inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness.
Detective Steven Quaid is ready for new challenges as Anchorage's top detective, but not until he marries the woman of his dreams on New Year's Eve. Determined to give Sarah the wilderness honeymoon she desires, he turns his grandfather's cabin into the perfect honeymoon retreat. After the final details are complete, Steven treks into the mountains to hunt. On his return to the cottage, instead of Sarah, he is greeted by several police officers and a bloody crime scene. Accusations fly, and Stephen flees into the wilderness, his heart racing and thoughts etching into his soul. The wilderness is unforgiving, but Steven faces it head on: Caught between a massive grizzly and a black bear in a deadly tug of war, he is barely saved from death's door by the fortuitous appearance of his uncle. Despite surviving multiple injuries, Steven continues his investigation as he recovers, but answers don't come quick or easy. Having enlisted the aid of his number one suspect, Steven faces a struggle that has become more than personal. This one just may cost him his heart.

You can find out more about the books and the author by following the tour HERE. You can also include your chances of winning in the giveaway.


This tour-wide giveaway features both print and eBook copies of the four books in the Detective Quaid Series. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, June 6.

The prizes include:

* Grand prize - Winner receives a print copy of all four books in the Detective Quaid Series (U.S. and Canada only).
* First place - Winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
* Second place - Winner will receive eBook copies of all four books in the Detective Quaid Series.
* There will be 3 runner-up winners and each will win an eBook copy of THE SNOWMAN or one of the other books in the series (winner's choice).

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Yolanda on her month-long tour. You never know what you might find out.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 22 May 2017

Hero Lost blog tour - guest post by Sean McLachlan

Today, I'm delighted to take part in the blog tour for the IWSG's latest anthology with a guest post from contributing author Sean McLachlan. I'm especially intrigued by this story as it features some old folklore that I've never heard of before.

The Witch Bottle

Hello everyone! I’m Sean McLachlan. I write fiction and nonfiction full time and recently had the honor of being in the Hero Lost anthology put out by Dancing Lemur Press. My story is called “The Witch Bottle” and is based on an actual bit of folk magic from England.

If someone thought they were being bewitched, they summoned one of the cunning folk to create a witch bottle. This bottle was filled with the victim’s urine along with bent nails, pins, fingernail trimmings, belly button fluff, hair, thorns, and similar items. The body parts would attract the witch, the thorny items would injure the witch, and the bottle would trap the witch.

The bottle could then be heated over the fire to boil the witch, or buried in some spot such as beneath the threshold or in a hedge or graveyard to catch the evil spell caster.

Archaeologists were fortunate to discover an intact witch bottle dating from the 17th century during an excavation in Greenwich in 2004 and analyzed its contents. It had been placed upside down in a pit. Various forms of inversion were often used in warding spells, such as the old custom of turning your coat inside out when passing a fairy mound. The bottle contained urine, bent nails and pins, fingernail clippings, naval fluff, hair, and a nail piercing a piece of leather in the shape of a heart. Interestingly, when the urine was analyzed it showed that the person had been a smoker. Tobacco was still quite expensive in the 17th century. That and the fact that the fingernails were those of someone who didn’t do manual labor shows the elite also believed in this sort of magic.

Witch bottles are first recorded in the 17th century and lasted in rural areas of England and Scotland well into the 20th century. Witch bottles were even made in former colonies such as Canada, the U.S., and Australia. Now, like so much of rural folk culture, the practice of making witch bottles has been forgotten.

This
strange silvery witch bottle was collected from a Sussex village in 1915 by the
famous historian of witchcraft Margaret Murray. It is on display at the
Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford. The witch is apparently still inside and the woman
who gave it to Murray warned that it should never be unstoppered or “there’ll
be a peck o’ trouble.” Photo copyright Sean McLachlan.

The earliest and most common type of bottle used for witch bottles are the so-called Bellarmine jugs from Germany from the 17th century. They sported a distinctive “wild man” face that probably added to their mystic appeal. This one is broken. Perhaps it was used in a spell? Strangely, witch bottles have never been found in Germany, only in England, Scotland, and the British colonies. This bottle is on display at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Photo copyright Sean McLachlan.

Sean McLachlan writes fiction and nonfiction under his own name and also works as a professional ghostwriter. Learn more about him at his blog and Amazon page. His post-apocalyptic story The Scavenger is free on Amazon through May 22.


Hero Lost
Mysteries of Death and Life
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group
Anthology

Can a lost hero find redemption?

What if Death himself wanted to die?
Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering
become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever
the caretaker of a house of mystery?

Delving into the depths of the tortured
hero, twelve authors explore the realms of fantasy in this enthralling and
thought-provoking collection. Featuring the talents of Jen Chandler, L. Nahay,
Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth
Seckman, Olga Godim, Yvonne Ventresca, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and
Sarah Foster.

Hand-picked by a panel of
agents and authors, these twelve tales will take you into the heart of heroes
who have fallen from grace. Join the journey and discover a hero’s redemption!




Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Marked Beauty cover reveal

Title: Marked Beauty

Author: S.A. Larsen

Publisher: Ellysian Press

Release Date: October 2017



Uncovering hidden secrets can sometimes kill you . . . or worse, steal your soul.

Anastasia Tate has a secret. She can feel the emotions of others through their life energy auras. Not a welcome gift for a teenager. Especially when a sinister presence begins stalking her.

Viktor Castle also has a secret. He’s tasked with protecting humanity yet cursed by an ancient evil to destroy it.

After Viktor saves Ana’s life, her abilities grow stronger. Drawn together, she senses Viktor has answers to lifelong questions. Only he shuns her at every turn, knowing he has saved her only to put her in more danger.

As Ana struggles with her attraction to Viktor, he tries everything to bury his unexpected feelings for her. But they must find a middle ground. For only together can they combat the dark forces threatening both their lives . . . and their souls.

ADD to GOODREADS

About the Author

S.A. LARSEN is the author of the award-winning novel Motley Education, the first book in a fantasy-adventure series for middle grade readers. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Marked Beauty is her debut young adult novel. Find her in the land of snowy winters and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty-five years, four children, a playful pooch, and three kittens. Visit her cyber home anytime at www.salarsenbooks.com.

Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads

Giveaway

This is a #hashtag giveaway, where two lucky winners will receive a FREE eBook of Marked Beauty upon its release.

To participate:

  • Share one of the premade images via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Or write up a blog post using one of the images.
  • Include #MarkedBeauty in your description.
  • Optional for extra entry: include Add to Goodreads (with link) in your description.

***Posts MUST contain the hashtag #MarkedBeauty for entry into the giveaway or we won’t be able to find you.

Pre-made tweets (you add the image)

"A lust 4 life energy. An ancient curse. One soul's journey thru death 2 find the cure." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0

"Uncovering some secrets can kill you, or worse ... steal your soul." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0 #YAlit

An ancient race. A timid girl. And a journey to the in-between. #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0 #YAlit

The giveaway begins May 17th and will be open until May 23rd. Winners will be announced May 24th via social media.