Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review: Interlude

Interlude

By:  Krista D. Ball

Publish Date:  February 28, 2015

Format:  eARC

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  In the world of Tranquility. Book 1 ~ Tranquility's Blaze, Book 2 ~ Tranquility's Grief 

Recommendation:  For the fun of all that is Bethany, yes, pick this up to remember what fun the crew is. (And meet a new character to be in Fury.)

Synopsis:
Love Notes is about Bethany and Arrago’s first month working together. I’ve never been happy with how I developed their relationship in BLAZE, so this was a great opportunity to explore those early days between two very different people.

Knight’s Day Off is a story my Facebook people will have seen before. This one also takes place during those early days between Arrago and Bethany. Only this time, poor Bethany tries to take a day off work. Things don’t go according to plan. At all.

First Day on the Job is set after the events of GRIEF and is set about a week before the events of FURY. Myra, a Knight apprentice, is assigned a simple task: get Arrago, Edmund, Bethany, and the rest of the senior staff to attend a party hosted by Queen Celeste. However, it’s soon obvious that there’s more than just a party in the works and none of the main players are following the rules. (Myra will appear in FURY, so this is her introduction, plus an outsider’s view of where we find Bethany, Arrago, Jovan, and the rest of the gang.)

Purchase At:
Amazon 

My Thoughts and Summary:
It's been a while since I've had the pleasure to read Bethany. This is a fun to see Bethany, Arrago, Jovan, and Kiner back at their ways. The banter between them all is a hoot. The first two stories happen during Tranquility's Blaze. The last story brings us back to where everyone is before Fury is released. And now I can't wait for it to come!

Love Notes
Bethany is an extremely busy knight. So most of their inter-office communication (and banter) is through notes.

Bethany and Arrago are so different that they complement each other and make me smile while bantering. Arrago really is good with Bethany and her rough exterior.

Oh this is fun to read and see how their work relationship and friendship grows through these letters. I just love seeing these two together and as their banter turns to flirting, and they realize it. So much fun!

Knight's Day Off
Bethany, Jovan, and Kiner have three days off! At the same time.

The Tranquility Trio. Allric was to represent the Knights at the arrival of Relas as the three are off. The Relas arrives early and Allric isn't anywhere to be found. And a Knight is needed. Mother Aneese knows of the new order - a ledger to tell of who's off.

Bethany only wants to take a bath and rest before leaving for two days. Three men invade her room while she's trying to do just that. LOL! Oh the results. And what Jovan and Kiner kidnap Arrago... Oh my! LOL!

Then theirs the history that Relas has with the trio. Hahaha. This crew are a rowdy bunch, and such friends. It appears Arrago is part of the crew now too.

First Day on the Job
Myra has just walked off the boat at the castle. She wants to be a part of Lord Kiner's team and help with the war. Kiner assigns her to Queen Celeste's personal administration, to relay messages from queen to senior members.

Myra's first job will interact with all the main players in Tranquility. Oh boy, the interaction! This story brings them all into focus and where they are now. Bethany and Arrago get to banter by way of messenger.

Myra sees obstacles of her age (she's so young) and parentage, but she's determined to life beyond those and be the best she can. Myra is half Rygent and can read peoples feelings along with their body language, and things are mixed up along with her own fears and feelings mixed in.

This is a great read while waiting for book three! The jokes are fun yet truths and secrets are discovered.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Review: Kiss of Life

Kiss of Life

By:  Seleste DeLaney

Publish Date:  March 2, 2015

Format:  ebook

Genre:  Paranormal Romance

Series:  2nd in Blood Kissed series; Prequel #1 ~ Of Course I Try, Prequel #2 ~ The Ghost of Vampire Present, Short Stories ~ 0.1 ~ Christmas in Chains, 0.2 ~ Devil's BargainShort Story 0.3 ~ What Have I Done, 0.4 ~ The Cost of Love, 1st Book ~ Kiss of Death

First Glance Feel:  Paranormal Romance of one woman learning of what she is, growing stronger, and choices to make to try and save her followers.

Synopsis:
The vampire’s curse has been awakened, and Jocelyn has no choice but to accept her destiny as the Blood Kissed—the one destined to destroy the vampires…or rule them. While Max and Chad want to help her reach her full potential, not all of the supernaturals share their plan.

The Council of Elders, a crazed sorcerer assassin, and a vampire hunter out for revenge have driven Jocelyn into hiding. She and her ragtag army have holed up in the forests of Michigan’s upper peninsula to get ready for the fight. If training is any indication, they should be ready for war by the time she turns fifty.

But no one is going to let her wait that long. War is nigh, the death toll is rising, and when Michigan’s most famous harbinger of doom shows up on the scene, the army of the Blood Kissed is hoping for a miracle, praying to be graced with a little kiss of life…

First Sentence:
Into every life a little rain must fall - though at this time of the year, snow was more likely.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles

My Thoughts and Summary:
Jocelyn has been training for 7 months, and raising an army of separate groups of supernaturals. She's also been avoiding Chad and Max, and they have been behaving and working hard as her generals. A supernatural war is on the horizon along with so much more in the works. The newest member of their cause, the Nain Rouge. But is it good or bad to have him on their side? Remy, a rock star elder vampire, has his own plans which stirs things up faster. The sorcerer Jocelyn, Chad, and Max tangled with before wants his revenge. Someone is attacking those close to Jocelyn to draw her out in the open.

The first third or so of the book is from different point of views. I didn't feel invested in anyone fully until about 35% into the book. Another thing I felt was the author seemed to be pushing to tell us there were characters up to no good and direction others like puppets. A few comments would have been good, then let it shack out for the reader, which it did do after the beginning.

Then something clicked for me and it took off. All ironed out and flowed smoother for me. The characters started to come together, in good and bad ways, and I started to want to read the characters more and what was to come from the attacks and the pending war. I wanted to see each side as to if they would live, find love, and what would happen next to drive them over the edge.

The different point of views we get are from Remy, Jocelyn, Chad, Max, Dominick (a Vampire Elder), Pierre Maisson (an assassin among the supernatural), Logan (a werewolf on Jocelyn's team), and Vianco Nago (A Hunter of vampires). All these characters show all the works and strings that each player in the story is pulling to drive the world and characters. So many events in the works.

Don't let this discourage you. This is a great way to see it all as it's happening. And you'll want to know. The small quirks that I felt early on in the story will NOT stop me from continuing with this series. I love the world and the romance here in Jocelyn's story.

Each character has their own personal baggage along with the supernatural baggage of the world where different beings don't easily blend and work together. Things are moving forward and Jocelyn is trying to pull as many elements into her army as possible to fight the powerful Elders of the Vampires. This draws a bigger world of supernatural and beliefs by bringing these beings together and seeing how they react.

There is romance here, a blooming one along with the heat of those familiar. Jocelyn is still battling herself in need to make a choice. Events bring her closer to her men, then also pull her away. It's hard in a time of war and conniving others work against her for their own benefits.

At the end... oh my! Where the characters end... Gah! I am curious and want to see what is next with all of them. ALL of them. lol.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Mythical Monday: The Nain What?


It seems there are many books based on or influenced by Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are so many different Mythology and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.


This week we have:
Author Seleste DeLaney
Talking of the Nain Rouge.

I've read the first book of this series, Blood Kissed series, and enjoyed the romance and story here. Now Seleste has the second book coming our way. Kiss of Life is now available! And to share about the book, Seleste has a Mythical post for us to day.


The Nain What?

If you didn’t grow up around Detroit, you’ve probably never heard of the creature known as the Nain Rouge. Honestly, I’ve lived here most of my life, and until I started researching local legends for Kiss of Life, I’d never heard of him either. Once I did, however, I knew I needed him.

Nain Rouge translates literally to “red dwarf” or “red gnome.” Variations on the legend consider him either a protector of the city or…a harbinger of doom. And really, just because something bad happens doesn’t mean it wasn’t ultimately for protection. So, I try not to judge the guy.

Some examples of things the Nain Rouge has been blamed for:

  • The loss of Cadillac’s fortune (Cadillac was the founder of Detroit)
  • Battle of Bloody Run
  • 1805 fire that destroyed much of the city
  • The 12th Street Riot in 1967
  • Great storm in March 1976

Basically, the stories say that if he shows himself, bad things are coming.

Now, Michigan has its share of weird legends including the Michigan Dogman, the Ridgeway Monster, the Leelanau Lake Monster, the Paulding Light, and even supposed sightings of Bigfoot. (There are probably more, but that’s just a brief example. The Dogman is probably the most famous of the list.) But you see, the thing is, I wanted something different. A dogman is really just kind of a werewolf. And Leelanau is a whole lot like Nessie from what I can tell (also…water kind of limits its use). But the Nain Rouge…when you’re talking about ancient supernatural beings and war, a harbinger of doom is just too good an opportunity to pass up.

So, if you happen to see what looks like a little person dressed in red and black fur (possibly with horns), be careful not to offend him. The Nain Rouge tolerates much, but a single offense will change the course of your life.

Plus, fans of the series will be more than a little excited to find out exactly who he’s in cahoots with ;-)

About Kiss of Life:

The vampire’s curse has been awakened, and Jocelyn has no choice but to accept her destiny as the Blood Kissed—the one destined to destroy the vampires…or rule them. While Max and Chad want to help her reach her full potential, not all of the supernaturals share their plan.

The Council of Elders, a crazed sorcerer assassin, and a vampire hunter out for revenge have driven Jocelyn into hiding. She and her ragtag army have holed up in the forests of Michigan’s upper peninsula to get ready for the fight. If training is any indication, they should be ready for war by the time she turns fifty.

But no one is going to let her wait that long. War is nigh, the death toll is rising, and when Michigan’s most famous harbinger of doom shows up on the scene, the army of the Blood Kissed is hoping for a miracle, praying to be graced with a little kiss of life…



About Seleste:
At a young age, Seleste deLaney discovered the trick to not being afraid of the monsters under the bed was to turn them into heroes. Since that time, she’s seen enough of human monsters that she prefers to escape to fictional worlds where even the worst demons have to play by the rules and the good guys might end up battered and bruised (or dead), but they always win. And really, isn’t that the way it should be?

She resides in the Detroit area with all her favorite monsters (nice ones—some are furry and the others call her Mom) and is hard at work on her next book. In those rare moments when she isn’t battling terrorists, vampires, or rogue clockworks, she can be found all over the Internet, where she loves to interact with readers.


Find Seleste:
Her Website:  http://selestedelaney.com/
Twitter:  @SelesteDelaney
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/seleste.delaney


Purchase the book (& the first) at Amazon:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Post #75

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

~~~~~~~~~~

I didn't post last week. I've been feeling a bit on the down side. I think I've been coming down with a head cold or sinus infection for over a week now. I think it was a head cold as I think I might have fought it off, and won. lol.

It's snowing here, again. And lots to get done around the house along with editing work.

I do have a question. For those that are using Wordpress. I'm thinking of making the switch. Blogger has been troublesome lately and I think I am about to the point of making the jump. I'll do a post later to check in with everyone on the whole thing and ask lots of questions but for now... What host do you use? Are you happy with them?

~~~~~~~~~~

The Fit Booker:

Goal:  Workout on Wii Fit (or any form of exercise) 2x's a week. (to feel better and hope to drop a few pants sizes)

How did I do last week... Well, the previous week (which I didn't post about last week) I only did one day if you count the hour it took me to shovel and scrap a portion of the drive way. Other than that I've been to run down to do anything.

This past week, I didn't get one day in. I've relaxed each night as I wanted to get rid of that head cold. And I'm feeling much better so I think it worked. I think I might be able to breath well enough to start back to my two days this week.


~~~~~~~~~~

What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
The Diamond Conspiracy by Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine


Current Podcast Book Listen:
The Horde by Patrick Scaffido


Finished Last Week: (in last month)
Heartstealer by K.T. Bryski
Kiss of Life by Seleste DeLaney

Finished Podcast Book Listen:
None finished yet.

~~~~~~~~~~

Last Week on the Blog:



Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)

Click the link to learn more about the books and their series:
Posts:
Diversity in Covers and why change a cover by Author and Cover Artist Skyla Dawn Cameron

Around the Internet...



Reviews:
GIVEAWAYS:

One Copy of SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman!


Weekly Posts:

Mythical Monday
Throwback Thursday


~~~~~~~~~~

This Week to Come on the Blog:

I have a few posts scheduled! Yes I do!

Mon.:  The Nain What? - guest post by Seleste DeLaney
Tues.:  Review of Kiss of Life by Seleste DeLaney
Wed.:  Review of Interlude by Krista D. Ball
Thurs.:  Guest post by K.T. Bryski

~~~~~~~~~~

Received Last Weeks:


Review & Review Consideration:
The Exile by C.T. Adams
Goodreads Synopsis:
Brianna Hai runs an occult shop that sells useless trinkets to tourists—and real magic supplies to witches and warlocks. The magical painting that hangs in Brianna's apartment is the last portal between the fae and human worlds.

A shocking magical assault on her home reveals to Brianna that her father, High King Liu of the Fae, is under attack. With the help of her gargoyle, Pug, her friend David, and Angelo, a police detective who doesn't believe in magic, Brianna recovers what was stolen from her and becomes an unwilling potential heir to the throne.

The Diamond Conspiracy by Tee Morris & Philippa Ballantine
Goodreads Synopsis:
For years, the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has enjoyed the favor of Her Majesty the Queen. But even the oldest loyalties can turn in a moment…

Having narrowly escaped the electrifying machinations of Thomas Edison, Books and Braun are looking forward to a relaxing and possibly romantic voyage home. But when Braun’s emergency signal goes off, all thoughts of recreation vanish. Braun’s street-wise team of child informants, the Ministry Seven, is in grave peril, and Books and Braun must return to England immediately.

But when the intrepid agents finally arrive in London, the situation is even more dire than they imagined. The Ministry has been disavowed, and the Department of Imperial Inconveniences has been called in to decommission its agents in a most deadly fashion. The plan reeks of the Maestro’s dastardly scheming. Only, this time, he has a dangerous new ally—a duplicitous doctor whose pernicious poisons have infected the highest levels of society, reaching even the Queen herself...
 


Purchased/Winnings/Gifts:



Won:



Free Ebooks:
(On my Kindle App)
Tainted by Julie Kenner
Goodreads Synopsis:
Lily Carlyle has lied, cheated, and stolen her way through life.

But in death, she'll really get to be bad...

When her little sister is brutalized, a vengeful Lily determines to exact her own justice. She succeeds at the cost of her own life, but as she lies dying, she is given a second chance. Lily can earn her way into Paradise by becoming an assassin for the forces of good.

It's the job Lily believes she can really get into--but she doesn't realize that she may not be able to get out.

Aphrodite's Kiss by Julie Kenner
Goodreads Synopsis:
Zoe Smith might look like your average, ordinary elementary school librarian, but she’s about as far from normal as a girl can get. Because Zoe is descended from a line of superheroes … and as her twenty-fifth birthday approaches, she has to decide if she’s going to embrace her heritage (including all the wackiness that comes with X-ray vision and her extraordinary senses) or submit herself for mortalization and be that average, ordinary girl. Considering how lousy she’s done so far on all the Council-imposed tests, chucking the whole superhero thing might be very best thing … especially when she realizes that sexy, private investigator George Bailey Taylor is more than a little interested in her—and he’s more than a little convinced that Zoe is one-hundred percent “the girl next-door”.

An ex-cop turned PI, George Bailey Taylor’s had one hell of a life being bounced around from foster home to foster home. All he wants now is a normal life with a normal wife in a normal neighborhood. The typical American dream—and when he meets Zoe Smith, he’s certain she’s the typical American girl. Except she does have an overprotective brother who seems able to appear and disappear at will. And a creepy cousin who’s always lurking about. And why does everyone in her family pretend to actually talk to the pet ferret?

With her super powers, Zoe can do just about anything … except make Taylor fall in love with her.

For that, they’re both going to need a different kind of magic …
 

Discordia Ascentant: An illustrated Demon Squad story by Tim Marquitz
Goodreads Synopsis:
An Illustrated short story featuring Rahim.

Determined to rid El Paseo of a supernatural menace, Rahim finds himself face to face with his past.



(On my Nook)
Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
Goodreads Synopsis:
If you’d asked me a week ago, I would have told you that the best cupcakes were dark chocolate with chocolate cream cheese icing, that dancing in a crowd of magic wielders — the Adept — was better than sex, and that my life was peaceful and uneventful. Just the way I liked it.

That’s what twenty-three years in the magical backwater of Vancouver will get you — a completely skewed sense of reality. Because when the dead werewolves started showing up, it all unraveled … except for the cupcake part. That’s a universal truth.

Free Downloads From Newsletters:
Darkest Before the Darkwater by Tee Morris & Philippa Ballantine
Goodreads Synopsis:
A group of survivors from the airship Guy Fawkes find themselves washed ashore on an uncharted island. In their search for survival they uncover one mystery after another.


Karma Kommandos by Paul Cook
Goodreads Synopsis:

Chuckle has just hit the streets of 21st century L.A. with devastating results. A member of L.A.P.D's Protean Set--special detectives who can change their appearances--Rory Koestler sets out after Bob Thermopylae, L.A.'s main dealer in Chuckle. Problem is, someone else is after him as well--assassins who step out of walls or just appear out of nowhere. Soon, they turn their sights on Koestler and several other citizens. Who are they? Where do they come from?
They are the Karma Kommandos . . .


Free Audio Books/Stories:


~~~~~~~~~~

Reviews to Come:

The Secret World Chronicle: The Hunt by Mercedes Lackey & Steve Libbey (in audiobook while at work)
The Secret World Chronicle: World Well Lost by Mercees Lackey,Steve Libby, Cody Martin, & Dennis Lee
Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Sentinel by Chris Lester
The Muse by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Making the Cut by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Whispers in the Wood by Chris Lester
Master of Myth by Starla Huchton
Tales of a Tesla Ranger: Tribute to P.G. Holyfield by (anthology)
Danube Waves by Katharina Bordet
Interlude by Krista D. Ball
A Curse Unbroken by Cecy Robson
Rhune by Michael J. Sullivan
Heartstealer by K.T. Bryski
Kiss of Life by Seleste DeLaney

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cover Re-Reveal: Hunter

Thank you, Mel, for having me here today to talk about cover art challenges and to reveal the new face of Hunter.

This is now the third cover Hunter has had in three and a half years (well, four if you count the minor font change when I received my rights back and re-released the book myself). Each time it was done with a lot of caution and thought.

First, I am not one of those writers who changes her cover like she changes her underwear. There are benefits to changing the cover art, in case you think it’s hindering rather than helping sales, but especially with a series you always run the risk of undoing any previous work done to brand the book and it can end up frustrating readers. Plus, hands up if it drives you nuts to have three books in a series on your shelf and then get the fourth with a totally different cover model/design. (*looks around* Just me?)

So yeah, this is not an endeavour taken lightly.

Initially the covers in the series were done using entirely digital people. The reason for this direction was simple: I couldn’t find the kind of stock I wanted to represent the characters.



It was important to me to be true to Ryann: she’s biracial, she had to be simply clothed and non-sexualized, and she needed her weapons (particularly a katana). While she doesn’t use a wooden stake in the book, I felt it got the whole vampire/demon hunter point across.

Around mid-2012, about a year later, sales weren’t where I’d hoped with the books, and just in case the covers were a factor my publisher agreed to go in a new direction. This time I went with stock photos and specifically people’s faces.

Once again, I ran into huge problems with Ryann.

In a perfect world, I’d be able to hire an illustrator like Chris McGrath (my dream artist for these books) to give them custom covers with good representations of the characters. Unfortunately, my real world requires me to worry about groceries and rent. So I had to stick to stock photos. Right now, head over to some stock sites, and search for African American women with swords. Go ahead. Tell me what you find.

Or let’s say any weapon, really. I’m easy! How about a gun? A knife? Anything? Now make sure she’s non-sexualized (this character is a nun FFS) so she's not licking a sword or wearing a miniskirt. What kind of results did you get?

The sad truth is that when your character isn’t white (or is full-figured--don't even get me started on that), the amount and variation of stock photos drop drastically. This left me with the option of white-washing the character (GOD NO), picking a model that didn’t represent her (CRINGE), or letting go of the classic urban fantasy look and picking someone who at least looked/felt like Ryann.

I went with the third option.



And this has been the face of Ryann for the past two and a half years.

I was never entirely happy with it, however. While Zara on the Bloodlines and Exhumed covers doesn’t have a weapon, frankly she has a look on her face that says she doesn’t need one to kill you (same with the fifth, Oblivion, which features a witch). Lineage has Peri holding a big gun, however, and it always sort of bothered me that Ryann was just a pretty girl without at least a sword. This is urban fantasy, after all.

Every so often, I searched the usual stock sites just in case something new appeared, all the while humming, “I stiiiillll haven’t fooounnd what I’m looking foooorrr...” Eventually I ran into a stock site that, praise the cover artist gods, had women of colour in classic urban fantasy poses. I debated awhile which one I wanted to go with and finally selected a model, updating Hunter’s look to coincide with the re-release of the print edition and the new series bundle.

So without further ado, here is the new Ryann.



This is actress/model Kimberly Gresham, as photographed by Taria Reed of The Reed Files.

I am tremendously happy with this new photo. She’s non-sexualized—no leather in sight!—and she has her sword, but despite her obvious strength she manages to display that level of quiet contemplation that represents the character. And despite the series being cancelled, I now want to write MOAR RYANN BOOKS because I am so happy with this model as the character.

Even as a kid, I remember reading some books and getting so frustrated when the cover didn’t match the words inside. The characters didn’t look like they were supposed to, didn’t wear the right clothes, etc. But now I get it. So next time you’re looking at a cover, particularly with non-white characters on it, pause and think about the challenges that went behind designing it. And photographers? WE NEED DIVERSE PHOTOS FOR OUR DIVERSE BOOKS. Please and thank you.

Hunter can now be found on Amazon and CreateSpace in print, along with Lineage and Exhumed (a re-release of Bloodlines to match is coming soon).

It's also in The Demons of Oblivion Bundle—the first three books gathered in one release—now on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, OmniLit, and available direct (for $1 off).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Review: Tales of a Tesla Ranger: A Tribute to PG Holyfield

Tales of a Tesla Ranger: A Tribute to PG Holyfield

Edited By:  Tee Morris & Valerie Griswold-Ford

Publish Date:  December 5, 2014

Format:  ebook

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  Stand alone anthology (but some of the stories are in worlds already created)

Recommendation:  By reading this you will get amazing stories of magic, ghosts, sea, clockworks and steampunk, and so much more.

Synopsis:
P G Holyfield. Award-nominated podcaster. Award-winning author. Voice talent. Friend. Father.

Patrick was all these things and so much more to the people featured in this volume. His tragic loss to cancer was not only felt within his family and friends in North Carolina, but coast-to-coast from Virginia to California, and around the world from England to New Zealand. He was a voice we knew, a friend we loved, and this collection of stories — many of them inspired by, featuring, and written by P G Holyfield — stands as his legacy. He touched us all, and we will miss him.

All proceeds from this anthology will go to the Patrick Holyfield's Childrens Trust, benefiting his daughters.

Featuring stories from PG Holyfield, Jared Axelrod, K T Bryski, Jack Mangan, Nathan Lowell, Chris Lester, Tee Morris, Scott Roche, Allen Sale, Christiana Ellis, Kate Sherrod, and Philippa Ballantine

Purchase At:
Amazon

My Thoughts and Summary:
You get so much for your buck here. You get 13 novella stories here along with poems and more. By reading this you will get amazing stories of magic, ghosts, sea, clockworks and steampunk, and so much more. You will also get to meet a kind soul in words of those who knew and loved him along with words of his own that will live on through time.

This book was a hit for me. There were some surprises and moments when I realize the one story is related to a series (or two) that I've read. All these stories can be read at any time and do NOT have to be read with the series they are related too. They very well could bring new series and authors to your attention though. A taste of everything is found here.

The kind words inter-weaved through the book on P.G. Holyfield are heartfelt. I smiled at a few and sniffled at another. But it is a great way to remember an amazing person. These stories are all tribute to him and what he brought to the world, in one way or another. And amazing stories.

Through the Dark Glass by Jared Axelrod
The Tesla Ranger Holyfield is unusually late for the American Cryptozoological & Exploration Society meeting. The meeting is of severed giant tentacles...found on a beach. They are going to look for the giant squid they belong too, lead by one who's seen it.

A moment is spent on a subject that could be pondered over for a long time and discussed with others. I liked this topic. Upon arriving at the meeting Holyfield sees Grace. She asks if she really sees herself in the mirror. Holyfield says it's 'just a shiny patch of darkness'.

We join a team of people around P.G. that are talented and hold their own secrets. P.G. is the one to see his side of people, and easily accepts them all and they accept themselves.

The story is a kind of a 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea feel to it. There is double crossing and fighting to go along with the nifty tools! There is a little bit of everything in this story - clockworks, flying transportation, large creations, and science.

The Guide by Valerie Griswold-Ford
(A Pendragon Casefiles Short Story)
Malcolm is worried about Sapphire Pendragon while she's in the Ghostlands. Malcolm is looking to interview a ghost guide.

Valerie nailed it with this story! This is it's own story that can be read without reading the first book. And just enough here to give you drops of what happened and have you WANT to go to that story now. Oh, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I liked the idea here with the ghost setting. I want to read more in this world!!

We get the full story from a few views. We see Sapphire is special, and likes the freedom she has when roaming the Ghostlands alone and not under constant supervision. And now she's losing that too. But she knows she needs to learn how to protect herself (after the last trip in).

Patrick shows up in the story. The Ghostlands aren't all that safe and Sapphire realizes there is so much she has no clue about in this world. She gets her first taste in lessons this time as well.

There are drops of anothe story and I want to read it NOW! lol. And now, I'm curious about Sapphire's soul!

The Lighthouse Keeper by Jack Mangan
(written for P.G. Holyfield's Land of Caern)
Master Hardraada has returned as his number one apprentice killed his late pet kraken. Godwin had adopted Jillian as her father and now they see each other after years past, in way of battle. However, Godwin has other plans, the rift that lets the dark creatures in (and Master Hardraada's pets for his carnival) is becoming more trouble than he had known.

We get two stories in one! We learn about now and twenty-two years prior. We learn how Master Hardraada learned of Godwin and why. We then see the attachment that grew.

This is an interesting setting as Master Hardraada has a traveling Carnival with many dark and mysteriously dangerous pets. There is a terrible danger in the land, threatening to overtake all.

There are strange creatures and a hint of magic present in the land of Caern and all are present here in this story. Along with the struggles of a Child of Az who walks the land in the flesh.

Sonnets by Kate Sherrod
These are two short ballads in honor of Patrick

Flinchy and the Mexican Show Truck by Patrick McLean & P.G. Holyfield
P.G. and Patrick tell of their golf outing... and oh so much more.

This is something that starts out as a complete possibility on the golf course, then takes a crazy left hook and becomes a fun story. Leave it to the wild imaginations of creative authors. lol.

This story was so much fun to read. I could hear the seriousness and sarcasm in their voices as I read this. It sounds like a great story to enjoy and laugh at, and laugh I did. This is definitely a tall tale for the golf record books. lol.

The Astonishing Amulet of Amenartas by Nathan Lowell
(Tales of the Archives story)
Agent Heathcliff Durham is sent to meet with Tesla Ranger Holyfield in Africa to look for a man who the director of Ministries is concerned will be 'intending trouble with the natives'. A large group of 53 men was found dead after reporting the necklace of blue glowing stones with a pair of men they meet. And there is a history of large groups or villages being slaughtered over many years past. The agents travel for six weeks, on the verge of ends rope ~ Heathcliff's tea is running out and Holyfield's gin is dwindling ~ heading back to civilization to contact The Ministry, they finally come across a clue. A young boy who is missing a leg still living in a village where all others were brutally murdered. Will both the agents make it home? And from the attracting powers of the blue jeweled necklace?

This is a tale from the Archives that has been slightly adjusted to include P.G. as a character here.

This story does have the presence of fighting and blood. I did enjoy it. And we have neat steampuck items ever present again in this podcast. Heathcliff has a new mysterious steam trunk that he guides along behind him, but it kind of has a way of walking about with the use of steam boilers inside. Nifty tools mentioned here when comparing and then off to fight with too.

Outside Help by Scott Roche
Holyfield, Tesla Ranger, is in the Badlands to help Martial Susan with a weird case. Susan's not pleased to have the known Holyfield in her territory, but those up the chain have sent him here. Cattle went missing then a boy and farm hands. The strange flying object that people have seen is thought to be connected.

Oh wow! This is where we learn the specialty of the Tesla Ranger. So cool!! And where the name Tesla Ranger came from.. Oh yeah! You'll want to read this one.

This story had a Steampunk Cowboys and Aliens feel for me. I sooooo enjoyed the surprises in this story! I could keep reading stories of the Tesla Ranger forever. Thank you Scott!

Holyfield is wonderful at sticking to his word. He said he wasn't here to be in her way or make her look incompetent. He partners with Susan well. And, if anything, he makes her look great (even though is is already awesome at her job).

From the Ashes by P.C. Haring
(in the world of Ciris)
Chen Min-Weh is on a field operation. She doesn't do field work as she's comfortable in the office, working remotely. The hand picked team she's on left in the plane with little intelligence due to the quickness needed to respond. Someone is plotting to bring down the Global Telecommunication Satellite Network. Avedon, Chen's call name, is along as it's suspected to shut the network down they will do so by remote access - where Avedon specializes.

Another story in this book that I enjoyed! Chen doesn't want to be here, and even freezes. But she knows there is an importance to the mission and has to act. She grows in this short story.

P.C. is wonderful at balancing tech and action. Never do I feel as he's baffled my mind with words I'm not sure of what they refer to in the world of technology. Thank you!

Oh my. For a short story there is so much here. I loved the action and felt so bad for Chen. Then I felt excitement to see Ciris show up. Oh the brief moment and connection to Ciris is awesome! Will we see Chen in Ciris's next book? I do hope so and look forward to it!

Selfies by Allen Sale
This is a series of self portraits done through poetry. Some are of younger others of older and their past that lead them to where they are now. These are interesting as it's a mix of fantasy people; a pirate, a dragon, a shaman, a raving lunatic and more.

I'm not much of a poetry person, but these are quick sections that draw the picture of a moment or a life of the being telling. The last one, The Looking Glass, was one I really liked the connection of through it's telling.

Nemesis by Chris Lester
Master looks out over his city, irritated the elegant building he was orchestrating has grown still. But could Master be his own stumbling stone? Master then receives news of his nemesis...

Sometimes one's nemesis can bring out the best in someone. And that is the case for Master. This is a tale of one worlds creator learning of the fate of his nemesis and his reaction.

This story is a heartfelt reaction, and one that touches my heart as it is of the author and Holyfield, the wizened masters of their worlds. There even seems to be a moral bedded in this short tale. Very sweet read.

Queen Of Hearts by P.G. Holyfield
(featuring a character created by J.R. Blackwell - Dr. Mercury)
We meet Dr. Mercury. She's here on Earth and having a boring day. Jack has returned for vengeance...

Dr. Mercury is a supervillian. We see when she's "visited" by Queen and Jack, twin team of heroes. Dr. Mercury doesn't play around, she acts, but doesn't try to make it last to long. Only a little bit so she's not bored again. She is realistically cruel. lol. Yet she loves the game that comes with heroes attacking her. Dr. Mercury is an alien blood-sucking vampire.

Two stories in one. Now and what lead up to this point.

Wow! Didn't see that coming! Surprise! Great tale. Ew gross, but perfect.

In the Beginning by Philippa Ballantine
(A Chronicle of the Order story)
Life is hard and death is harder here in the highlands, but what death they find next is the worst. Myra was enjoying her early spring day with her flock of sheep, son, and two dogs. Following out a harsh winter the predators were on the prey, when suddenly wolves of strange behavior show, threatening her family. When Myra goes to get the healer what she finds... is death and loss and a question of why.

A view of the Break through an innocents eyes. Philippa brings the feel of worry and strange new in a world to the front for the people. New fears surface, and a far worse death than any could expect. This is a short story into Myra's life. It keeps you here, wanting to learn.  The things of campfire stories to scare children come to life... Geists now appear along with Geistlords.  What happens this night breaks Myra's thoughts on the religion she was raised on.  The world has changed and she has experienced it first hand.

Message in a Bottle by Tee Morris
(featuring a character created by P.J. Schnyder - in Tales from the Archives stories)
Sylvester is in America to see Miss Mabel Danvers. She has asked for someone from Miggin's Antiquities to authentisize the ruby she will be purchasing tomorrow, to go with the set of glowing gems she already has. When Sylvester reads the papers in his case file, sent by Wellington Books, on the Trinity Stones, things become more than expected on this 'simple' mission.

A Ministery Story!! It's always wonderful to get a Ministry tale.

Ah-ha! What a tie-in with the Tesla Ranger, OS&M, and Ministry along with a previous story in the archives. It was interesting to see the matching of the British agency and Tesla Ranger style in this story. Mystery, suspense, and action with a variety of weapons. Worth the read!

P.G. Holyfield's Magnificent Travelling Spectacular by K.T. Bryski
She does as she does most nights, stares at the dark walls while in bed as anxiety sets in. Tonight though, there are color lights glowing through the window that draws her attention. She looks out the window and is surprised to what she sees. A circus tent. Curiousity sets in and she goes to have a look.

The master of the circus lulls her with his voice. The words he tells creates an image that seems to calm her. When she wakes she's at home, and as the day goes she needs to see the Master of the circus again. He's here for three nights. Each night she goes and each night enjoying his voice and the stories of the God Az and Caern.

As you can guess, P.G. is the circus master and he is sharing his stories with the girl. In doing so he has shown the girl there are other things in the world one can do. He brings out a side to the girl that the girl didn't realize she had, and wants to investigate that imaginative side more. A door in her mind has been opened. She's ready to travel with her new friend to learn the ways of the creative world.

This was a bitter sweet story. I loved seeing the girl grow and come to realize that she is creative and can do the craft of world weaving. But...

Enjoyable moment in a persons life as they see beyond the walls of what life is suppose to be.

Death, Taxes, and Scott Sigler by P.G. Holyfield
While at a convention did you ever think of using the service elevators? (to avoid the crowds and broken guest elevators) P.G. has. And who joins him is more than he ever knew or expected.

LOL!! His imagination runs wild like all ours would when waiting and doing something you shouldn't do. This was so fun to read! I laughed. Then there was a serious moment that brings a reality to a crafty fun read. And the way P.G. writes Seigler! It's just awesome. (also makes me want to read Seigler's books.)



Between all these stories are several heart-filled memories with P.G. I hope by reading these you will get to see a glimpse of the kind person he was.

Prelude by Pamela L. Gay.
Interludes by:  Christiana Ellis, Nutty Nuchtchas, Chooch Schubert, Diana Schubert,

Monday, February 23, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Seraphina

I'm so kicking myself for not having time to read this book and series. Heavens do I want to! But the next best thing I can do is share it with others. I'm thrilled to share that Random House Publishing has offered one copy of this book for one person.

Seraphina
#1 Seraphina series
By: Rachel Hartman
Description:

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.


Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.



GIVEAWAY!!
The giveaway is for US and Canada only, sorry that's requested by publisher.
Fill out the Rafflecopter for your enter.