Monday, December 8, 2014

Interview & Giveaway: Sarah Daltry

          Sarah Daltry is an extreme introvert who writes a variety of fiction, all character-driven and blending lyrical imagery with philosophical questions about belonging and defining yourself. She lives in New England. 

Favorite reads?
 The Book Thief, The Catcher in the Rye, The Lovely Bones, The Sun Also Rises, Nineteen Minutes.

Inspirations for the book?
         Nothing really - it just came to me one morning

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
          Yes and no. I always wrote because books were the only place I felt okay, but I didn't know what authors were to be honest. I'm not sure I do now, either, because I'm still more interested in giving readers a place to feel safe and comfortable with characters like themselves than I am about marketing. 

Any Pet Peeves?
          I try not to be negative, but I don't like the way the world is in many ways. 

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
          Peanut Butter

The weirdest thing you've ever done?
          I have done many weird things, since I can't remember ever being "normal."

Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music?

Do you need anything to write? 
          Quiet

How long do you write on any average day?
          It depends - I go many days when I don't write at all and others when I write for 10 hours. 

Give us the number one reason to read your book.
          It's a blend of philosophy and traditional epic fantasy and the story could really take place in our contemporary world as much as in a magical land. It's about accepting even the darkest parts of yourself as strength.

Author Info:





In a world ravaged by war and oppressive forces of evil, a princess must fight to claim her bloodright and save her people.
When the princess, Alondra, falls for the beautiful, blue eyes of a hooded stranger, it awakens in her a taste for freedom and an escape from her duty.
But her parents have other plans; they have a Kingdom to protect and Alondra must marry to ensure the peace between nations. Only what happens when your parents choose a cold-hearted assassin as your betrothed?
As lies, illusions and long hidden vendettas surface, the princess has to confront a very secret history. One that makes her realize that she not only risks losing her liberty, but also everything she has known and loved.



Saturday, December 6, 2014

Saturday Snatch & Giveaway: A Fistful of Evil by Rebecca Chastain



       

  

Madison Fox just learned that her ability to see souls is more than a sight: It’s a weapon for fighting evil. The only problem is she doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing. On the positive side, her money problems are over, she’s possibly discovered her purpose in life, and her coworker is smoking hot. On the negative side, evil creatures now actively hunt her, and deadly experiences are becoming the norm. 


When she thinks it couldn’t get worse, a powerful evil sets up shop at a local hotel’s video game convention, and it’s got its eye on more than the gaming geeks: it is hungry for Madison’s soul. Madison needs to become an expert illuminant enforcer overnight to save her job, her region . . . and her life.





Chapter 1
Don’t Follow Me: I’m Lost, Too

The interview was a catastrophe. It started out fine—better than fine. Kyle, the sales manager for the bumper sticker company, Illumination Studios, met me in the warm confines of a nearby Starbucks, purchased me a grande green tea, and selected a table in the corner, away from the door and the cold blast of November air every customer brought in with them. Soft music, cappuccino-machine clacks and whirs, and the murmur of conversation created a cocoon of privacy.
I handed Kyle a copy of my resume, determined to prove myself the mandatory employee for the boring junior sales associate position. I wasn’t particularly qualified and I would normally have rather peeled hangnails than perform cold calls—which is what I strongly suspected the position was—but four weeks of unemployment, seven failed interviews, and escalating credit card bills proved very strong motivators.
Strong enough for me to ignore the desperate reason I’d applied for the job in the first place. Never trust your soul-sight, I told myself for the thousandth time. But my imminent eviction trumped mistrust of my bizarre, mutant vision.
Kyle dropped my resume to the table without glancing at it. He scrutinized me over the top of his dry cappuccino. Kyle exuded salesman, from his maroon button-up shirt and khaki trousers to his thinning brown hair with its frosted tips. His face was pinched, as if someone had pressed his baby flesh between their hands and pulled, extending his nose and pulling his lips and eyes in tight. He couldn’t have been much older than me, despite the sullen brackets around his mouth and deep grooves between his eyebrows. Maybe his expression fell into disapproving lines naturally.
“How many years’ experience do you have, Madison?” Kyle asked.
“Specifically in the bumper sticker business, none, but I believe my time at Catchall Advertising will—”
“I don’t care about the bumper sticker crap. I care about your experience in the field.”
My weirdo radar, dulled by the overpowering mix of desperation and determination, flickered to life now.
“I honed my sales skills while working as a saleswoman at Sundage Cars. My experience there taught me how to connect with people from all walks of life.” Though it hadn’t taught me how to sell a car. In the six months of my employment as a used-car saleswoman, I sold a grand total of zero cars, which is why David Sundage, my cousin-in-law and owner of Sundage Cars, had fired me at the beginning of September. But I wasn’t going to concern Kyle with that minor detail.
Kyle set his cappuccino down on the table and leaned back in his chair. “How old are you?” he asked.
“I’m not sure I understand the relevance—”
“What regions have you worked in before this?”
Regions? “I’ve worked mainly in Roseville since I—”
“With who? Not with Brad or Isabel.” Kyle leaned forward, his dark eyes intense.
Who? I eased my tea to the table and ran my palms down the sides of my black knee-length skirt, telling myself it was only nerves that were making Kyle seem so volatile.
“Um, most recently with David Sundage,” I said.
“Where are his headquarters?”
Headquarters? What is this, the FBI? Hadn’t he bothered to read my resume?
“Down Douglas,” I answered, pointing vaguely west toward Douglas Boulevard and the car lot.
“Before that?”
“Also in Roseville, at Catchall—”
“Look, we can both stop playing this game. I don’t care about what jobs you’ve had to take between IE positions.” Kyle deflated into his chair with a gusty sigh. “To be honest, you’re the only qualified person to apply for the job—my job. I’ve been ready to transfer for months now, so I’m not going to make this interview hard on you. I want you to take this job as much as you want it. I just need to make this interview look good so Brad signs my walking papers, okay?”
I nodded and tried to look like I understood more than the English words he used. I didn’t know what he meant by “IE positions” and I knew I wasn’t qualified for his sales manager position. I wasn’t even qualified to be a junior sales associate, but who was I to argue? Managers probably didn’t have to make cold calls, which automatically made the job more appealing. Plus, a management position would pay better, and I was pretty sure I could fake it until I got caught up on my bills. By then, I could find a more suitable job. Something more Indiana Jones and less Bridget Jones.
“Okay, let me make this perfectly clear,” Kyle continued. “Which wardens have you worked with?”
“Wardens?” As in prison?
Kyle leaned forward, placing his hands on the table. “What’s the largest evil you’ve ever tackled? A wraith? A pissed-off dryad?”
I cast a quick glance around for a candid camera, noting the nearest exit in case I needed to make a run for it. I’d been nervous on interviews before, but never because of a mentally unstable interviewer. Was that why Kyle had insisted we meet away from the company office? Did he even work for Illumination Studios?
I eased my hand through the strap of my purse and slid it onto my shoulder, careful not to make any sudden movements that might spook the deranged man. “I don’t think I’m the right person for the job, after all,” I said, and pushed away from the table.
This is why I never used my soul-sight, never followed its false leads. I shouldn’t have made an exception for this job. To the marrow of my bones, I knew soul-sight was untrustworthy.
“Hang on, Madison,” Kyle said, grabbing my arm as I started to stand. I froze. “You’re definitely the right person for the job. You’re the first enforcer to walk through that door in nearly two weeks.”
“I don’t even know what that means. I’m going to save us both some time and leave now.” I tugged to free my arm.
“Holy crap! You’re a rogue.”

```````
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Check out these links for more info!

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5660379.Rebecca_Chastain

             Rebecca Chastain is the author the fantasy novella MAGIC OF THE GARGOYLES and the urban fantasy A FISTFUL OF EVIL, an Amazon Fantasy Top 100 bestseller in the United States, Canada, and Australia. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. She has been employed as a VHS sales clerk, bookshelf straightener, government pseudo-employee, professional finder of lost sporting goods, and strategy guide wrangler in the video game industry. Dreaming up the absurd and writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old. She lives in northern California with her wonderful husband and two bossy cats.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Interview & Giveaway: K. Ferrin

          During the daylight hours K. Ferrin lives in a world filled with satellites, windowless buildings filled with humming machinery and robust HVAC systems, and networks spanning half the globe.  When the working-day ends magic, myth and adventure come out to play.  Her heart lives here, along with her blog and writing.  She lives at the foot of the Rockies with her husband and two pooches.

Favorite reads?
           I love the Mad Ship books from Robin Hobb.  Of course Lord of the Rings is on the list, as are the Song of Ice and Fire books. More recently I really enjoyed The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. 

Inspirations for the book?
         Magicless started live a very long time ago as a character sketch of a small but square whisky swilling chain smoking Irishman who investigated the paranormal. Of course he himself had no magic, so things were a bit hard on him. This character was shelved in favor of other books but when my nephew started having trouble with bullies in his neighborhood Magicless reappeared.
          Bullying is often about punishing those who are somewhat different than others. For reasons I don’t understand humans seem to seek out uniformity, but our real strength lies in diversity. I started thinking about  a story that explored these ideas, where differences were not only interesting and fun but essential. 
          Magicless himself changed quite a bit in this process I’m sure you can imagine! 

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
          I have always written stories. In fact I recently stumbled on a story I wrote when I was in second grade called Goast (actually about a ghost). Fortunately my spelling has improved over time!
          While I’ve always written stories I didn’t really think seriously about being an author until High School. Like many others, I shelved my passion for words and began working on a more acceptable career in technology, but I always wrote.  Then last year something just clicked and I decided no more waiting. Since then I’ve published two books and am finishing up on a third. I’ve got ideas for future stories coming out my ears and I can’t write them fast enough!

Any Pet Peeves?
          I have a strong distaste for close mindedness and uniformity. I really do believe our greatest asset is diversity. I try to embody this in my writing and in my life.

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
          No no... you are mistaken.  It’s chocolate AND peanut butter. :)

The weirdest thing you've ever done?
          Hmm... Well, I love to travel and I’ve had many amazing adventures over the years. Perhaps one of the most uncommon things I’ve done is spending six weeks living in a tent working on an archaeological excavation. That was so much fun! I also took a two month solo backpacking trip to Europe in my twenties. I camped my way around France and Spain. I loved every minute of it. My mother, however, was not so enthused about it!

Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music?
          I am sometimes inspired by a certain song, album or artist in my writing. While writing my second book I listed to one specific song over and over again as I wrote - it really inspired the story. Magicless was driven more by my nephew and his experiences, there really wasn’t any musical inspiration that went along with it.

Do you need anything to write?
          I need at least a couple of hours in order to write. I’m not someone who can sit down for ten minutes at a stretch and hammer out words. I’m also far more productive in the morning than I am in the evenings.

How long do you write on any average day?
          I write for three or four hours on average. My all time record was eight hours and just over 8,000 words - my muse was on fire that day!

Give us the number one reason to read your book.
          Because it is awesome, of course! ;)  
          If you enjoy fantasy and love an adventure I think you’ll enjoy Magicless. My readers seem to really love the characters in the book and love that it is a character driven adventure, rather than just a series of plot points strung together. When you read it please leave a review or shoot me an email and let me know what you thought, I’d love to hear the feedback!

Author Info: 
You can find me at www.kferrin.com, I’m very active on Twitter: @ScrivK, and I pop onto Facebook pretty regularly as well:https://www.facebook.com/ScrivK



Deep in the Oakwood, a boy is born without magic.  


In a land where powers flow through one’s veins as naturally as water down a mountain stream, Micah is an aberration detested by everyone—everyone except Alekka, a gifted but solitary mage who understands the price of isolation. Her sensitivity to the thoughts of others drives her to seek solace in the forests surrounding Aclay, a small village that has been living under a malevolent shadow for hundreds of years. 

As fear and loss ravage the countryside, the two outcasts form an unlikely bond forged in loneliness and surrounded by the flickering silhouettes of destiny. When their home is destroyed, the outcasts must join a volatile group of their peers on a journey that threatens to strip them of everything they cherish, imperil everything they’ve ever known, even force them to question the nature of reality itself. Can they find the key to stemming the tide of darkness without losing themselves along the way?



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Interview & Giveaway: Geoffrey Saign

          Geoffrey Saign can often be found looking for interesting critters, and magic, while swimming, snorkeling, sailing, or hiking in the woods. His passion for nature and wildlife inspired his novel, WhipEye, and led to his nationally endorsed book, Green Essentials: What You Need to Know About the Environment, as well as African Cats and Great Apes. He has a background in biology, assisted in field research with hummingbirds and humpback whales, and sailed as far away as Australia. With more than twenty years of experience working in special education, he has taught adults and children everything from sailing to self-awareness and novel writing. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Favorite reads?
          Sabriel by Garth Nix, Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, The Hobbit by Tolkein, the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson..and many more…

Inspirations for the book? 
          My love for nature and wildlife inspired WhipEye, along with the desire to create a great, unique fantasy thriller that explained the presence of all magical creatures in all mythologies and fairy tales worldwide.

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
          I came home from the library every week with an armful of books in grade school, and thought about writing. But it wasn’t until my teacher in a creative writing class in high school, Mrs. Stifter, said one day, “I’m going to read a piece of writing from a writer that comes around once in seventeen years,” that I got inspired to be a writer. She shocked me when she read my piece.

Any Pet Peeves? 
          Not really, but crazy drivers in a hurry to get somewhere make me wonder why they would risk lives to do it.

Chocolate or Peanut Butter? 
          I always loved Reeses cups! But peanut butter would have to win out. Almond butter is actually my favorite.

The weirdest thing you've ever done? 
          I took $500 and went to the South Pacific and told people that I had no idea if I was coming back. I didn’t return until a year and a half later.

Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music? 
          Yes, it’s in the WhipEye book trailer on You Tube!

Do you need anything to write?
          No, but PJs are great when I’m writing.

How long do you write on any average day? 
         I try for 3 hours. In summer I don’t teach, and then that can go to 6 or 8. But last summer I was marketing WhipEye and writing went in spurts.

Give us the number one reason to read your book. 
          A great fantasy thriller with heart and substance. (Oops! That might be more than 1!)


Author Info:

Teacher resources for writing on my website:http://www.geoffreysaign.net
My book trailer on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQQt4_0PIO0


This debut thriller novel from St. Paul author Geoffrey Saign portrays twelve-year-old Samantha, who is in love with wildlife, suffering from loss, and trying to find her way again in an unsteady world. Samantha must overcome huge obstacles and challenges, while repairing her relationship with her father and finding her way back to her mother’s love. Her guide is a thousand-year-old parrot who imparts his wisdom with wisecracks. 
Her friend Jake is also missing his absentee father. The two children and parrot have twenty-four hours to save two worlds, by figuring out how to use a supernatural staff, WhipEye, while facing their greatest fears.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Giveaway: Sceaudu by Prashant Pinge (Ebooks and Gift Cards)


All this while, Matilda’s shadow had been growing larger and larger. Suddenly, it lunged out of the ground and swallowed her, like a python does its unsuspecting prey.

Nine year old Matilda ends up with a century old book through a series of strange coincidences. And disappears. Her brother and cousins are forced to suspend their hostilities and pursue her to Sceadu, a land inside the human shadow. Once there, the reluctant visitors find themselves chased by the vicious Hefigans, creatures of Sceadu. However, everything changes with the revelation of an ancient prophecy that foretells the doom of the world they left behind.

With the stakes suddenly raised, the children must now navigate the dangerous terrain, overcome grave challenges, and unlock the secrets of the shadow. But can they do it in time to thwart the plans of the treacherous Hefigans? Or will they succumb to the guile of a ruthless enemy who is equally determined to destroy mankind?

Sceadu is a fast-paced adventure which blurs the boundary between the physical and the psychological, the real and the mythical.

lders relaxed; he was in control, at least for the time being. There would be challenges ahead, grave ones. The boy had probably complicated things. But he could deal with all that later.





          Prashant Pinge is a published author of short stories and books in the genres of children’s fiction and young adult fantasy fiction. He also writes historical fiction and romantic comedies. His book, Raja & the Giant Donut, was shortlisted for the Economist Crossword Book Awards in the Children’s Writing category in 2011.

          Prashant lives in Mumbai, India, with his wife, Avantika, and son, Arjun.

Author Info:
Book website – http://sceadu.net
Author website - http://prashantpinge.com
Sceadu Facebook page - http://facebook.com/SceaduTheBook

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Interview & Giveaway: Agostino Scafidi

          Agostino Scafidi is an author from Montreal, QC, Canada. He's also a guitar player. Always been friends with creativity and exploration. Writes fiction of varying kinds.

Favorite reads?
         Millennium series by Stieg Larsson, Tales of Power by Carlos Castaneda, Justine by Marquis de Sade

Inspirations for the book?
         Simply wondering what to write about next, I was inspired one night by a particularly intense dream. It reminded me about my experiments with dream journaling years ago and I thought of the idea to pick it up again but also to use each dream as the basis for a fiction short story.

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
         Funny question to me because I did enjoy writing stories as a child. I never thought about being an author though. From my teenage years to my mid-twenties I was pursuing my dream of being a guitar player in a rock band.

Pet Peeves?
        Noisy eaters, and communism.

Peanut Butter or Chocolate?
        Chocolate!

The weirdest thing you've ever done?
           I don't know, I've done lots of weird things in life, haha! Maybe one thing just came to mind, but if I shared it here, it'd be pretty embarrassing.

Is their a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music?
          I listened to a lot of metal when writing this. I listen to metal usually anyway.

Do you need anything to write?
         I need absolutely nothing to write, but my writing tools (laptop or pen/paper).


How much do you write on any average day?
         When I'm working on something I'll spend anywhere from up to an hour to more than 2 hours writing. It's not always done in one sitting either, sometimes I prefer spreading it out. When I'm not working on something, I maybe write for a few minutes. However, I do use my computer a lot during a day and I like to look at everything I write, no matter how simple or functional, to be writing practice.

Give us the number on reason to read your book?
          My reason for you to read my book is because I am pleading with you to! Haha, no, but a real reason I guess is because I feel like I'm offering something unique, insightful, entertaining, and stimulating.

Author Info:
My online store is at http://agostinoscafidi.bigcartel.com
On twitter I'm @AgostinoScafidi
I also occasionally blog on http://thehermitrant.blogspot.ca


A collection of short stories based entirely on dreams the author recorded in his journal. Over a period of almost three months he used techniques learned from various sources (Castaneda, Thelema, Occultism) to record his dreams. The author goes into detail about this process in the Introduction. Mixing fiction with the journal entries, intent on entertaining the reader as well as heightening awareness of the role of dreams in our lives, here is Dreams, Fiction and Me.



Saturday, November 15, 2014

Review: Lockwood & Co. --The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud




In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn't made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood's investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper.

Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well-until George's curiosity attracts a horrible phantom. 

Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood's annoyance. Bickerstaff's coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found. 

The author of the blockbuster Bartimaeus series delivers another amusing, chilling, and ingeniously plotted entry in the critically acclaimed Lockwood & Co. series.


           A snappy sequel to The Screaming Staircase, featuring our favorite crew of tough, yet refined, psychic agents who continue with enough zest to balance out the darker aspects of the story. Lucy, determined and utterly loyal to her ghost-hunting agency, is blissfully free of the pitt-falls action-inclined females typically trip over. And she works so smoothly with George and Lockwood it's an equal pleasure to see them fighting a ghost or drinking cocoa in their kitchen. We see their metals tested, literally, and watch their dynamic trio evolve. No stale characters here, just heroes with enough flair to survive a world like theirs.
Characters: 5 Stars

          After the climax of The Screaming Staircase, I was interested to see what the Whispering Skull had in mind: it's hard to top what happened there. After all, I thought, there's only so much you can do with ghosts before they lose their chill. I was wrong. This is a ghostish story set not to paralyze the reader but to send a pleasant shiver up the spine. And it certainly does, with the haunting of a vicious new specter set against the backdrop of an abandoned sanitarium. Don't read this book in the dark, and the grisly ghosts we meet ensure it's a bad choice while eating too. Mr. Stroud has excellently plotted an entirely new adventure with plenty of ghosts, enough sword-play and perfectly human villains to run your nails raw, and just enough glimpse of the great underlying mystery that ties the series together to set your teeth on edge.
Plot: 5 Stars

          Set in an alternate history, Stroud's world rings disturbingly true to our own. The Problem (ghosts only started appearing 50 years ago) and its affects on society are so masterfully incorporated into the story the fact that restless spirits do appear feels completely natural. Looking for a series with depth to snag your interest? Well this is it! In short, this book was no less enjoyable than the first, and I can safely say Lockwood & Co. has earned it's place next to Stroud's also wonderful series, The Bartimeaus Trilogy.
Style: 5 Stars

Rating: 5 Stars
Length: 424 Pages
Source: Library
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
YA Fiction

          Check out my review of Lockwood & Co. -- The Screaming Staircase  and be sure to catch the sample on Amazon!