Redesigning Isles and West

Happy Friday!

Whilst determining when to release A Cold Winter’s Night, I decided that the whole Isles and West series needed a redesign for covers. It was time for a freshen up and what better time than leading up to Sera’s first book? I will have these uploaded to retailer sites this weekend, and then the interior of the ebooks will be updated with the new cover as well and an updated book list a week or two later.

These covers were designed by the amazing Skyla Dawn Cameron (every author needs a Skyla in their life ❤ ). I am planning on putting these out in print either at the end of the first quarter or during the second quarter of this year, so look for that as well 🙂

Aren’t they beautiful! I’m so in love ❤

The other reason I decided to do this is because I am working a lot more with this series and this world, and I felt the need to really freshen up the look to match the newer books in the Isles and West world. I hope to have at least three books in this series out this year, but no promises at this moment. Might be only two 🙂

Don’t forget that A Cold Winter’s Night is up for pre-order!

Happy December

Hello, and happy first day of December 🙂 I hope you’ve all been well. I apologize for the blog silence- I’ve had a lot going on, including surgery, and that put me behind on a few things. Just a few things for you all today:

First: the Isles and West series has a new logo! Thanks to the lovely Niki at Once Upon A Design for creating this lovely logo for me. Look forward to some giveaways, swag, and merchandise in the near future.

 

Speaking of the Isles and West series…

If you hurry you can still get GHOULTOWN on sale for $0.99!

 

Second: Sera’s book is still writing well. Because of my surgery, I didn’t write anything for about two weeks, but I’m now starting to dive back in. It’s in the last quarter phase, so I’m about to put her through the Hells…because of I am 🙂

Third: I have a book recommendation for you. I’ve just finished Deadly Storm by Skye Knizley, which is the tenth book in the Storm Chronicles. I loved it, and suggest if you haven’t read the series to give it a try, and if you do read the series- go get this one right now! It was worth the long wait 🙂

click the cover to purchase from Amazon

 

And that is pretty much it for right now 🙂 I’m hoping to have news soon on one of the books I have on submission, and I’m hoping Sera’s book will be out by Spring 2018. Stay tuned!

 

Fantasy Friday: Urban Fantasy

One of my favorite genres 😀 Since this post will go on forever if I just listed all of my favorite books, I’m going to focus on the very first urban fantasy books I read that got me hooked, and a little bit about my feelings on the genre now.

I have always been an avid reader, and when I was in high school I read several vampire and werewolf/monster books that would probably be considered UF nowadays. The first UF books I ever read were by Mercedes Lackey. Her Diana Tregarde series 🙂

Shortly after finishing Jinx High, my mother surprised me with an omnibus from the Science Fiction Book Club. It was Club Vampyre, the first three books in the Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton. Once the second omnibus was released, The Midnight Cafe, she bought me that as well, which had the next three books in the series.

Another early UF book I read was Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

 

And after that I started reading so many UF books I’ve lost count. I’ve slowed down on UF, but I’m always on the lookout for new authors/series. I stopped reading several series, I’ll admit to that, and I find it hard to find quality UF because the market just became so over-saturated. But I still love the genre- to read it and write in it 🙂

What Urban Fantasy books did you first read?

Fantasy Friday: Lori Devoti

Hello, and welcome to another Fantasy Friday 🙂

I first read Amazon Ink by Lori Devoti in 2009, when it was released through Juno Books. I absolutely loved it. Not only was the story a different take on Urban Fantasy, but the main character was a strong female who was easy to relate to. I was so happy when the sequel, Amazon Queen, was released in 2010. The book stood on its own but had the same qualities that I loved in the first.

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BLURB:

Meet Mel: Business owner. Dedicated mom. Natural-born Amazon.

It’s been ten years since Melanippe Saka left the Amazon tribe in order to create a normal life for her daughter, Harmony. True, running a tattoo parlor in Madison, Wisconsin, while living with your Amazon warrior mother and priestess grandmother is not everyone’s idea of normal, but Mel thinks she’s succeeded at blending in as human.

Turns out she’s wrong. Someone knows all about her, someone who’s targeting young Amazon girls, and no way is Mel going to let Harmony become tangled in this deadly web. With her mother love in overdrive, Ms. Melanippe Saka is quite a force…even when she’s facing a barrage of distractions — including a persistent detective whose interest in Mel goes beyond professional, a sexy tattoo artist with secrets of his own, and a seriously angry Amazon queen who views Mel as a prime suspect. To find answers, Mel will have to do the one thing she swore she’d never do: embrace her powers and admit that you can take the girl out of the tribe…but you can’t take the tribe out of the girl.

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BLURB:

Being an Amazon ruler just became a royal pain.

Amazon queen Zery Kostovska has never questioned tribe traditions. After all, these rules have kept the tribe strong for millennia and enabled them to live undetected, even in modern-day America. Zery is tough, fair, commanding—the perfect Amazon leader.

At least, she was. A new high priestess with a penchant for secrecy and technology is threatening Zery’s rule. Plus, with the discovery of the Amazon sons, males with the same skills as their female counterparts, even Zery can’t deny that the tribe must change. But how? Some want to cooperate with the sons. Others believe brutal new leadership is needed—and are willing to kill to make it happen.

Once, Zery’s word was law. Now, she has no idea who to trust, especially with one powerful Amazon son making her question all her instincts. For Zery, tribe comes first, but the battle drawing near is unlike any she’s faced before . . . and losing might cost her both the tribe and her life.

If you haven’t had the chance to check these books out, and you want a fresh take on UF, I recommend giving them a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed 🙂

Fantasy Friday: The NeverEnding Story

Welcome to another Fantasy Friday!

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I’ve been in love with the movie The NeverEnding Story since I first saw it as a child. I still watch it as an adult every now and then and think I’m fonder of it now than I was then 🙂

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The cast is wonderful- the two leads, Bastian and Atreyu, were very easy to root for and feel for. And yes, I pretty much looked like this (see picture below) when a certain scene came around…and I still tear up!

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I always wished I had my own luck dragon, just like Falcor 🙂 He was pretty awesome.

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The secondary characters were fantastic as well. A great cast all around.

Quality: 2nd Generation. Film Title: The Neverending Story.  For further information: please contact The Front Row Press Office on 020 7551 5966.
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I even loved the Gmork ❤

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I will be honest and say that I’m not a fan of the sequel. They change in actors and the script really didn’t do much for me- I didn’t even like it as a kid. But the original will always be one of my favorites movies, and I suspect I’ll be watching it when I’m old and gray as well 🙂

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Fantasy Friday: Lily Luchesi

Hello, and welcome to another Fantasy Friday!

Today I’m highlighting the lovely Lily Luchesi, author of the Paranormal Detectives series. She recently released book three- Life Sentence. If you enjoy Urban Fantasy, I do suggest trying this series on for size 🙂

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click on covers to go to Amazon

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Blurb:

Detective Danny Mancini is on a case, following a murder suspect. When he catches him, he finds out that the perp isn’t even human: he’s a 200 year old rogue vampire!

The department doesn’t believe him, and puts him on early retirement, despite his many years of service to the Chicago Police Department, which sends him into a downward spiral.

Two years later, Danny gets an invitation from the beautiful, young and very attractive Detective Angelica Cross to join a secret branch of the FBI to help her track down Vincent, the wayward vamp.

But renegade werewolves, meddling immortal witches and Danny’s strange visions of a life lived a century ago with Angelica make things more difficult than it should be.

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Blurb:

The dead don’t always rest easy…

Retired detective, Danny Mancini, is haunted by nightmares after he found out that paranormal creatures exist. All he wants is to forget them…especially a certain half-vampire. When cursed werewolves show up trying to kill him, he is forced to go back to the Paranormal Investigative Division for help against a powerful old enemy. What he was not expecting was a dead ex showing back up after twenty-six years.

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Blurb:

She can fight evil, but can she fight the darkness in her own blood?

After the disastrous events with Miranda have subsided, Danny and Angelica have to adjust to a new kind of life at the Paranormal Investigative Division.

Fiona is still on the loose, and she has all of Hell on her side. Danny begins to enhance his psychic abilities with the help of a soul just like his. Angelica is caught between a rock and a very dark place.

Can their love survive these new trials, or will the past tear them apart?

As I said, if you haven’t given this series a shot, I recommend doing so. It’s a wonderful series, and there is a fourth book coming 🙂

Fantasy Friday: The Shannara Chronicles

Hello. As you know, Fantasy Friday isn’t just for books, but also for television shows and movies. Today, it’s The Shannara Chronicles in the spotlight.

I wrote a blog at the beginning of the year about the first two episodes and what I thought overall. That was a mostly positive post. This blog will not be as glowing as the first.

SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!

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I still hold my opinion that the first four or five episodes weren’t that bad. I could push past the differences, understand why those differences were there, and for the most part I enjoyed each of those episodes. But then the episode Utopia came about and…that killed it for me. That sent everything over the top and ruined what I could enjoy.

Let’s start with Amberle:

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Amberle is a character that I did not like from the very beginning. Nothing against Poppy Drayton, but I thought her performance was lackluster at best. There was no real emotion to the character- every line delivered grated on my nerves. The only time Amberle was likeable was during the Gauntlet, and just afterward. After that, the acting went downhill.

There were moments throughout the first season where that changed slightly, but those moments were few and far between. By the time she became the Elcrys, I cheered, and cried tears of joy that she was finally gone. That’s not how I should have felt- not by a long shot- but there it was. Utter joy.

But Amberle wasn’t the only character to get on my nerves…

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Oh, Will. His acting wasn’t horrible, but the writers changed his backstory and who he was in the book a great deal. Now, I could’ve dealt with those changes had the writers not made Will too stupid to live. At times, it was almost unbearable to watch his scenes. Not because they were poorly acted, but because the writing was so bad that it made Will’s idiocy, as well as his legitimate emotions, painful to watch. I just couldn’t stand watching most of his scenes.

Another pair of characters that were hard to watch? These two:

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The princes- Ander and Arion.

They had no depth to them. I mean, absolutely no depth in the first five episodes. By the time the writers gave them some real personalities, it was too late. If the writers wanted me to care for these two they should have inserted character development in the FIRST five episodes- not the LAST five.

Who did I like?

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Who doesn’t love JRD? I love the man 🙂 And I do find it rather amusing that he went from Gimli the dwarf, to King Eventine- an elf. He brought Eventine to life, which made some of the scenes with his sons a bit easier to bear.

I really hate that the writers killed him off so early, and the way they did it was a bunch of bs (in my humble opinion). When that happened, I actually cursed at the tv, as if the writers could hear my discontent. That was one of the worst decisions made by them, and stole a valuable asset from the show and other characters.

From the elf king to the druid:

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Many changes were made to Allanon, but I enjoyed Manu’s portrayal of the Druid. He really jumped off the screen and brought a good depth of character and charisma. Now, that doesn’t mean I liked his storyline- there were parts that really irritated me- but all in all, he was one of the reasons I tuned back in each week.

Which brings us to:

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My favorite character 🙂 I loved Eretria! She really made the entire show. She was kickass, badass, and was one of the few characters who really showed personality and emotion, so much so that I really didn’t see how Will would want Amberle over her. She truly risked all of herself, and didn’t hold back in any regard.

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The love triangle was one of the worst aspects of the show. The writers handled it so horribly. So, so horribly. They could have made the triangle part of the journey (as it is in the books) without turning it into what they did. It ruined so much of the show for me.

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Other characters, like Bandon, had promise but the writers failed them. Especially Bandon. From what I can see, he’s going to be one of the baddies for season two, which would have been fine had they written his descent with more emotion and thought.

And they really failed with the Reaper. I was so let down I could have cried.

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In closing, yes, I did enjoy the first five episodes for the most part. But once the second half started, everything fell apart. There were moments that shined, but those, like so many scenes, were few and far between. I had to force myself to watch the rest of the season after Utopia. Those little moments just weren’t enough to make up for the growing mess the writers spun.

Will I watch Season Two? Probably not. If they focused solely on Eretria I’d watch in a heartbeat, but that won’t be the case. There is just not enough meat to the story (which is sad, since there’s soooooo much source material to pull from). Chances are I’ll tune in for the first episode, to see if they’ve improved the writing, but I don’t have much hope. I think they’ve made it clear how they’re going to run the show. And I don’t think I could handle it if they brought Amberle back, in the flesh- there’s a reason she turned into that tree. A good reason. Bringing her back would a horrible decision (again, in my humble opinion).

Have you watched the show? Read the books? What are your thoughts?

Fantasy Friday: The Hob’s Bargain

Welcome to another Fantasy Friday!

I first read The Hob’s Bargain by Patricia Briggs several years ago, just after I’d started reading the third Mercy Thompson book, Iron Kissed. I fell in love with the characters, the world, and wish to this day that she’d write a sequel.

click on cover to go to Amazon

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this is the original cover

Blurb:

Beauty and The Beast

Hated and feared, magic was banished from the land. But now, freed from the spells of the wicked bloodmages, magic-both good and evil-returns. And Aren of Fallbrook feels her own power of sight strengthen and grow…

Overcome by visions of mayhem and murder, Aren vows to save her village from the ruthless raiders who have descended upon it-and killed her family. With the return of wildlings to the hills and forests, she strikes a bargain with the Hob, a magical, human-like creature imbued with the power of the mountains. But the Hob is the last of his kind. And he will exact a heavy price to defend the village-a price Aren herself must pay…

This book is a strong case of an author who’s a fantastic storyteller. The moment I started reading this book I was drawn into the world and very quickly fell into it. I read the entire thing in one sitting. It was much the same for me when I read her Aralorn books (Masques and Wolfsbane).

Aren is a great character, and easy to relate to. I loved her interactions with the rest of the cast, especially the Hob 🙂 I won’t get too spoilery in this post, but I will say that Aren’s inner strength is what really pulled me in. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to save her village, even at great cost to herself. But the deal struck with the Hob takes interesting turns, and I found myself loving him as well but for different reasons than I love Aren.

This is not epic fantasy, or, not what I consider epic. But it is well worth the read if you want to get lost in a wonderfully spun tale with magic, loss, action, and humor.

Fantasy Friday: Dru Pagliassotti

Welcome to another Fantasy Friday!

Once upon a time, there was a wonderful publisher called Juno Books. They published some of my favorite books for several years. Then, they became part of Pocket Books and some of those wonderful series were discontinued. One of the books I absolutely adored was Dru Pagliassotti’s Clockwork Heart. I was very happy to see that the series continued with another publisher, though I haven’t gotten the chance to read the two sequels yet- they are in the TBR pile 🙂

click the covers to go to Amazon

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BLURB:

Taya soars over Ondinium on metal wings. She is an icarus — a courier privileged to travel freely across the city’s sectors and mingle indiscriminately among its castes. But even she can’t outfly the web of terrorism, loyalty, murder, and intrigue that snares her after a daring mid-air rescue. Taya finds herself entangled with the Forlore brothers, scions of an upperclass family: handsome, brilliant Alister, who sits on the governing council and writes programs for the Great Engine; and awkward, sharp-tongued Cristof, who has exiled himself from his caste and repairs clocks in Ondinium’s lowest sector. Both hide dangerous secrets, in this city that beats to the ticking of a clockwork heart…

Taya immediately grabbed hold of me and I couldn’t stop reading her story.  I read this book in about three hours- that’s close to a record for me! The images conjured through the words are vivid, so much so that I could feel, smell, taste, and touch everything Taya could. Everything from the society she lives in, to what comes with being an icarus, to the romantic touches were fasinating and well thoughtout. The mystery was solid, and played out perfectly- I never found myself rolling my eyes or saying “this was too obvious and easy”.

I loved the world Taya lives in. It feels very raw and real, and the author does an excellent job of showing the reader the world instead of telling the reader what they should be seeing and sensing. I can’t wait to read the next two books!

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Overall, I would recommend this for those who love fantasy, steampunk, mystery, and romance. Pagliassotti’s writing cast a spell on me, and I think it will do the same to you 🙂

Fantasy Friday: The Hobbit

Finally, another Fantasy Friday post! Many apologies for the delay 🙂

I was talking to a friend about our favorite fantasy books, and what we still read from childhood. As those who’ve followed me on this blog for awhile know, I love The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I read it at least twice a year. That doesn’t mean I don’t see its flaws, I do, but I still greatly enjoy the story.

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I still cry reading certain scenes, and laugh at others. I’m still captivated by the tale, the journey, even after so many years of reading it. I love that- few books have stood the test of time for me in such a manner. Bilbo, of course, is my favorite character, but the dwarves hold a special place in my heart. I’m fairly certain if I were part of that world I’d be a hobbit or a dwarf 😀

Now, the conversation with my friend naturally went to the Peter Jackson trilogy. We have differing opinions on the subject but that has created lively debates, which we both love. And that is what this Fantasy Friday is about- the trilogy 🙂

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I happen to adore the movies. Not as much as the LOTR trilogy (that’s another Fantasy Friday post!), but I still love them. I think Jackson did a great job with the dwarves, and (unlike some fans) I loved Smaug. But Martin Freeman was a fantastic Bilbo Baggins- I don’t think there’s another actor who could’ve played that role so wonderfully.

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The dwarves were fantastic as well- I’ll admit Balin is my favorite 🙂 They were close to what I pictured in my mind. All the actors did a brilliant job. And Richard was spot-on as Thorin. He really made me love that character even more than I already did from the book.

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Lee Pace as Thranduil was perfection. Perfection. That was damn good casting.

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One thing me and my friend could agree on was the addition of Tauriel. I know many didn’t like her, but I really enjoyed Evangeline Lilly in the role, and loved that Peter Jackson added her because the lack of female presence in the book has always bothered me. I thought Tauriel was kickass, a fiesty, strong elven warrior with a great heart. She balanced Legolas well, and stood up for what she knew was the right thing to do.

Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel

Now, let’s talk a moment about what I didn’t like.

I really hate (yes, hate) what they did to Tauriel. Jackson basically wasted what is a great, kickass warrior and turned her into nothing but a love interest. I thought she and Legolas were a good pair- hinting at that would have been fine. But Jackson put her in a love triangle and highlighted that as if that was all she was for a good portion of the third movie. And yes, I am one of those readers of the books that disliked her falling in love with Kili. I love Kili, don’t get me wrong, but that was a pairing that never should have happened.

One of the things that always bothered me after reading The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy was that Legolas was not in The Hobbit. I always thought he should have been, so when Jackson added him to the movie I was pleased. He may not have been as stand-out as he was in the LOTR movies, but I did like that he was there.

Overall, I loved the trilogy. I could tell it was rushed in places, that not enough time was put into the movies- which would be because Jackson took over when del Toro had to back out and the studio wanted those movies NOW instead of giving Jackson time- but they’re still a good companion to the LOTR movies. I liked the tie-ins he did between this trilogy and LOTR. They made sense and I enjoyed the additions…though, I still wish that scene with Galadriel, Elrond, Saruman at Dol Guldur would have lasted longer than it did.

I try not to compare The Hobbit book to the movies because liberties are taken- they have to be in some instances due to constraints- but for the most part I think Jackson captured the heart of the heart of the story. I still cry during the scene with Thorin and Bilbo when Thorin is dying. Breaks my heart every time. And the party (re, rave) that Gandalf basically threw at poor Bilbo’s house is perfect (in my humble opinion).

And yes, I have indeed watched all six movies (extended editions) marathon style…and loved every minute of it 🙂

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