Saturday, November 30, 2013

Book Review: Mistress Of The Empire by Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts

                                                                  (Empire Trilogy #3)

Blurb: Besieged by spies and rival houses, stalked by a secret and merciless brotherhood of assassins, the brilliant Lady Mara of the Acoma faces the most deadly challenge she has ever known.  The fearsome Black Robes see Mara as the ultimate threat to their ancient power.  In search of allies who will join her against them, Mara must travel beyond civilization's borders and even into the hives of the alien cho-ja.  As those near and dear to her fall victim to many enemies, Mara cries out for vengeance.  Drawing on all of her courage and guile she prepares to fight her greatest battle of all--for her life, her home, and the Empire itself.

I give it 4 stars

My review: A brilliant and thrilling ride from start to finish, Mistress of the Empire will sweep you away on a desperate journey of love, hope, and sacrifice as Mara struggles to protect those close to her from the machinations of the all powerful Black Robes and the spiteful anger of a jilted Lord.

This is a breathtaking fantasy novel of the highest order. Plot, setting, and characters are blended in perfect harmony, so no one aspect of the novel outshines the others. Intrigue abounds as two Houses vie against each other in an increasingly bloody game of politics and assassinations, and no less than the fate of an entire Empire rests on the courage and resolve of a single woman.

Mistress of the Empire is fantasy at it's finest and a must read for any fan of the genre.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mistress-Empire-Trilogy-Bk/dp/0553561189/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385848524&sr=1-1&keywords=mistress+of+the+empire

Friday, November 29, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge

This week on Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/11/29/flash-fiction-challenge-200-words-at-a-time-part-two/#respond  I'll be selecting the first two hundred words of someone else's story and adding two hundred of my own.


                                                               SILVER BULLET
                                                      (original 200 words by Gabe K)




I'm in the middle of my Witchcraft and Feminism in the 18th Century essay when Ree texts me. The preview says THEY SHOT M and I can feel heat and power rising to my face involuntarily. It takes three tries to put in my password correctly and I have a curse on my tongue by the time I get to the actual message: THEY SHOT MY BROTHER.

Mild relief.

Before I can ask how long it will take to heal, SILVER BULLET pops up.

Relief gone.

Hunters in Boston? This isn't some ladydamned podunk white trash middle-of-nowhere town. I flip open my trunk and grab a salt solution and my favorite amplifier, an obsidian wolf carving. Nana passed it to me when I hit sixteen. Did she know, somehow?

I send, Where are you?, before throwing on clothes. I don't bother with a bra; the wolves walk around half naked most of the time, they won't care.

RILEYS PLS HRY HES DYING

I mutter to the building to bring the elevator. Owen catches my eye as I pass his room.

"Shouldn't do that, Sanders."

"Hunters shot Ree's brother." I turn before reaching the elevator. "I could use your help."

With a sigh, Owen tosses his book aside and rolls off the bed. "Are you sure it was hunters?" But even as he asks he's kneeling by his weapon's chest.

"Who else?"

"We're not supposed to go out tonight." He pulls a crossbow and a sheath full of arrows from the trunk. He's already wearing his jade amulet, never takes it off.

"Screw the rules." I step into the elevator. "I'm not going to let Sean die. Now, do you have my back or do I go it alone?"

He hurries into the elevator, giving me a long-suffering look. "Since when do I not have your back?"

I don't smile, I'm too wound up. Lifting my phone I stare intently at the screen.

"Where are they?" Owen asks as the elevator descends toward the ground floor of the Academy.

"Don't know," I mutter.

"Well, you better find out, quick. We can't just run off with no idea of where we're going."

I grind my teeth together. "I'm working on it." Where are you? I text again. I know Ree must be freaking out, but I can't help her, or Sean, if I can't find them.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge

This week on Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/11/22/flash-fiction-challenge-200-words-at-a-time-part-one/  we're supposed to write the first two hundred words of a story which someone (hopefully) will pick up next week and add their own two hundred words and so on and so forth until a thousand word story emerges. So here's mine.



ACCIDENTAL APOCALYPSE

 
When I shot Satan I thought it would be the end of Hell. What actually happened isn't my fault, really. Okay, maybe it is my fault, technically, but I think I deserve some leeway in the blame department on account of intent.

I was trying to do God a solid by getting rid of the Devil. See, I've been a fallen angel a really, really long time and it was starting to get old. So I thought, what the heck, I'll get back into the big guy's good graces by ridding humanity of the temptations of evil. Turn Earth back into Eden and all that. I didn't mean to start the Apocalypse.

Cover Reveal: Desprite Measures by Deborah Jay

Today on The Shadow Portal, Deborah Jay reveals the cover for her upcoming fantasy novel, Desprite Measures.
 
 
 
 

Title: Desprite Measures

Author: Deborah Jay

Expected Release Day: 13th December 2013

Genre: Urban Fantasy



Synopsis:

On the surface she's a cute and feisty blonde, a slender pocket rocket fitness coach. But Cassiopeia Lake has a secret; she's really a force of nature – an elemental.

Water sprite, Cassie, has lived undisturbed in her native Scottish loch for eons. Now, one encounter too many with modern plumbing has driven her to live in human guise along with her selkie boyfriend, Euan. It’s all going fine - until a nerdy magician captures Cassie to be an unwilling component in his crazy dangerous experiment.

Escape is only Cassie’s first challenge.

She’s smitten by her fellow prisoner, the scorching hot fire elemental, Gloria. But how do you love someone you can never touch?

And what do you do when your boyfriend starts to hero-worship your persecutor? Not to mention that tricky situation of being the prize in a power contest between two rival covens of witches.

So when Gloria’s temper erupts and she sets out to murder the magician, can Cassie keep her loved ones safe from the cross-fire, or will she be sucked into the maelstrom of deadly desires and sink without trace?

Cassie learns the hard way that friendship depends on truth, and that love and lust are not the same.
 
 


 
 
 
About The Author: Deborah Jay
Deborah Jay writes fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.
Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find the time.
She has a dream of a day job, riding, training and judging competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under the name Debby Lush.
Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many horses, and her complete inability to cook.
A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, she started writing her first novel aged eight, and has never stopped. Her debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in a trilogy and winner of a UK Arts Board award, is now available from most ebook retailers, and her Urban Fantasy (first in a series), DESPRITE MEASURES, a tale of a Scottish water sprite trying to live as a human, is due out for the Christmas season.
Author Links
Also by Deborah Jay
The Princess Man
B&N  
Kobo  
 
 
 

 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Books by Kyra Dune

Check out all the great things people have to say about my stories. Because sometimes a girl just has to indulge in some shameless self promotion. :)   Thanks to all my fans for the book love. You're the best.

Elfblood (Elfblood Trilogy #1)

... The plot was good, the story so absorbing I don't even know if there were typos, and the characters were well developed. I stayed up late to read it in one go and was sorry when it ended.
Kyra Dune is a very good writer. I look forward to more of her work.  - louise3anne (via amazon.com)

The Silver Catacombs (Elfblood Trilogy #2)

.... Kyra Dune has written a gripping, fast-moving fantasy novel about humans, elves, and a whip-smart sprite named Spree.  .... Author Kyra Dune has shown Charlie to be a complex character with normal teen angst and his own set of worries and fears.  .... the main characters are multi-dimensional and fully developed. The conflict between the elves and King Richard is all too real. .... Ms. Dune captures the excitement of a story with extraordinary hurdles and nearly unbelievable odds. I found it difficult to put this book down and in fact, I read it in one sitting as I couldn't stop until I found out how it would all end. LAS Reviewer (via Long and Short Reviews)

City Of Magic (Elfblood Trilogy #3)

.... Kyra Dune has written an action-packed story filled not only with intrigue and betrayal, but also with love and sacrifice. Charlie is a strong character, richly defined. In addition, Dune has portrayed many of the other characters easily and fully by narrating events from several different perspectives. This use of multiple points of view is very effective and allows the reader to understand what is going on in each of the character's head, gaining a greater understanding of both the characters and the story. The reader is thus able to see into the hearts of the various characters, something that is very important in a plot that is all about betrayal. However, even with this insight, the plot still takes on some unexpected twists and turns along the way. .... City of Magic is the story of a heroic quest and also coming of age for several of the characters. It is a fun book, filled with action, but also a book which raises some important themes of loyalty, honesty, and of course, good and evil. Anyone who enjoys fantasy will certainly enjoy reading City of Magic. - LAS Reviewer (via Long and Short Reviews)


Firebrand (Firebrand Trilogy #1)

All I can say is that I'm so happy I decided to read this book. It was awesome! From the very first page, I was hooked. I would say, this is definitely during the Medieval Times age, with knights, kings, queens, and even magics....    I loved the character development and the foundation of the plot. ....  Kyra Dune does an awesome job describing the surroundings with such poise and finesse; its breathtakingly beautiful. I felt like I was running through the fields along with the characters.
.... The story was jam-packed. At no point was I bored and had to "skim" the pages. I just couldn't stop reading. I finished reading it in about 3 hours; with no breaks. The whole story is full of excitement, actions, and thrills. There is even a little romance thrown in; which I loved. Plus, it has dragons! Now, who doesn't like dragons?? If you love fantasy and adventure, then this is the book for you. I highly recommend this book. - Everything Marie (via amazon.com)

Flight Of Dragons

Enjoyed this book a great deal. It took me back and made me remember how important it is keep your imagination going. Looking forward to the next one.  - Babs (via amazon.com)

I think this is really good book. Very intriguing and engaging. I couldn't wait to find out what happens next, with both the dragons and his life; lots of things going on to keep your interest.  ....  Can't wait to see more from the author, Thanks Kyra! - Richard K. (via amazon.com)

Shadow Born (Time of Shadows Series #1)

I absolutely love this book. It's very addicting. I could not stop reading it. The story is so smooth and interesting and draws you in. The characters are very real and relatable. AshO (via goodreads.com)

Revolution

Revolution by Kyra Dune is a thriller of the highest calibre. .... Kyra manages to twist every ounce of tension from every tiny piece of detail until the reader is left with an ending that they will never see coming, unless they were looking through the scope of an assassin's rifle. Brilliant and topical.
This FIVE STAR thriller is a must read and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a conspiracy theory. - Simon Okill (via smashwords.com)

Once Upon A Blue Moon

.... really good! Nice use of details! - Ashlynn Elliott (via smashwords.com)

A Heart In Autumn
.... this features very good writing and a well-weaved atmosphere of melancholy. - Michael Carter (via smashwords.com)

The Fairy's Plight

Great short story! I just love the details! - Ashlynn Elliott (via smashwords.com)

This is a good story. It reminds me of the fairy tales I was told as a boy. My thanks to Ms. Dune for bringing back those wonderful memories. - David H. Keith (via smashwords.com)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge

Here's my story for this week's flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/11/15/flash-fiction-challenging-find-your-favorite-opening-line/  



                                                                  MONTHLY REPORT



I flicked the lighter open and watched the flame dance in the wind. But I didn't light a cigarette, much as I wanted to. Corben doesn't like the smell and if Corben doesn't like something, you don't do it. Leastwise, not where he can see.

But it was cold. Damn cold. I was shivering in my leather jacket and it sure would have been nice to light one up to take my mind off the mid-December weather. I looked around the little park and saw no one. No doubt anybody with half a brain was inside somewhere with the heater cranked up and a nice hot cup of coco in hand. Hey, even a guy like me can enjoy some coco now and then, though I do like mine with a shot of bourbon.

Since it didn't look like Corben was going to be showing up anytime soon, I took a cigarette from the half empty pack in my pocket, slipped it between my lips, and was about to lift the lighter to it, when a voice spoke up behind me.

"You know how I feel about those things."

I jumped, dropping both cigarette and lighter into the snow. "Holy shit." I spun around to find Corben standing right behind me. "You scared the crap out of me."

Corben's full lips dipped into a frown. "Language, Mr. Verdoux. Do we need to repeat our discussion on your use of swear words?"

I swallowed. "No, sir. Sorry, sir. Won't happen again." Think what you want about my quick switch in attitude. Unless you've ever sat down and had a 'discussion' with Corben Redret, you ain't got no room to be thinking I'm some kind of sissy boy. Sure, the guy's only about five foot three and weighs maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet, but don't let his looks fool you. This is one dude you don't want to cross.

Corben adjusted the ermine trimmed collar of his sable trench coat. "Now, if we might get down to business."

"Yes, sir." I reached into the satchel slung across my shoulder and pulled out a plain, brown manila envelope. "It's all there, sir."

A crisp nod was his only reply. He took the envelop and slipped it into an inner coat pocket without checking the contents. It's not like I could get away with coming up short even if I was stupid enough to try. Which I wasn't.

I cleared my throat. "So, same next month?"

"The boss has requested you double your quota," he said, straightening his gloves.

Shock made me speak out where normally I wouldn't have. "Double? That's impossible." I was already handling more workload than anybody else and pushing it every month to keep from falling behind.

He raised a brow at my tone. "Impossible? Really? You know, Mr. Verdoux, I was opposed to your appointment into this most important of offices from the very beginning. I told the boss you'd be better off in collections, that you were too coarse for handling contracts. No subtly, no manners, no charisma, all attributes I insisted were of utmost importance in this line of work. But once the boss sets his mind to something there's no turning it. And I must say you have proven me wrong time and again. However, your position remains tenuous. No one is irreplaceable."

I knew a thinly veiled threat when I heard one. He never had like me any, so I guess he would have been more than happy to 'terminate' my services personally. "I understand, sir. Double it is."

"Very good, Mr. Verdoux. Perhaps you have a higher intellect than I had credited you with. Good day." He turned and strode off through the snow.

I watched him go until I was sure he wasn't going to turn around, then bent over to pick up my lighter. When I straightened again he was nowhere in sight. I never had been able to figure out how he did that little trick. 

On the way back to where my motorcycle was parked, I lit a cigarette and dragged the sweet taste into my lungs. Double. I still couldn't believe it. I mean sure, I knew the boss was working up to something big, but you can only expect a guy to do so much. Even with all the people in the world willing to sell their souls for the craziest things, getting forty a month wasn't going to be easy.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cover Reveal: Fanged Outcast by Elisabeth Wheatley

 
 
 

How much would you sacrifice for a love that wasn’t yours?
Hadassah managed to befriend her kind’s worst enemies and save her brother and the human girl he loves from the Vampiric King—once. After a month spent in quiet hiding under the protection of the Huntsmen, a surprise attack from a band of Kaiju shatters their brief reprieve. Faced with new challenges and new threats, Hadassah and the others must once more fight for her brother and the girl who stole his heart. And this time, the Vampiric King isn’t the only one they need fear…

Action, suspense, humor, and romance collide in this anticipated sequel from teen author, Elisabeth Wheatley.

Add Fanged Outcast (Fanged Princess, #2)  on Goodreads
Add Fanged Princess (Fanged Princess, #1) on Goodreads

Author Bio & Links

Elisabeth Wheatley  is a teen author of the Texas Hill Country. When she’s not daydreaming of elves, vampires, or hot guys in armor, she is wasting time on the internet, fangirling over indie books, and training her Jack Russell Terrier, Schnay.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Book Review: Switch by Karen Prince

Blurb: Trouble is brewing in the secret African rift valley of Karibu and Gogo Maya, the witch, and her leopard are about to make matters worse. Of all the dubious magic tricks they know, they choose a risky ‘switch’ they’ve been working on, to escape from somebody lurking in the forest. Unfortunately they overshoot, switching right out of Karibu and drawing an ordinary Zimbabwean boy into the mess they leave behind them. The whole disaster that followed might have been averted if another boy had not gone and sucked up what was left of the witch’s power, leaving her too weak to switch back again. CPR, the daft boy called it. He should know better than to risk kissing a witch

If you had to choose between Joe’s two best friends or his cousin, Ethan, to lead an adventure into the bush to rescue him, Ethan would be the last one you’d pick because, well … he’s useless that way. Yet the witch’s leopard inexplicably starts issuing plans right into his head. Apparently he’s Joe’s best hope because he has absorbed some of the witch’s questionable magic powers. Powers which might come in handy if he ever learns how to wield them, and if he can endure the painful backlash he suffers every time he tries.

In a world that quite literally defies belief, where magic seeps into the drinking water for anyone to use or abuse, and the terrain is impossible to navigate without help from extremely risky sources, this is the tale of Ethan’s struggle to reach his cousin, Joe, before he falls into the wrong hands and gets himself killed.

I give it 3 stars

My review: Switch is a fun and exciting adventure through a world filled with witches, shapeshifters, and mischievous critters. The boys find help in the most unlikely of places, and danger where they never expected.

My favorite character was Jimoh, the expert tracker, but all of the characters were interesting in their own way and each of the boys grew and changed over the course of the story. Sometimes the dialogue seemed a little off for teenaged boys and there were a few elements of the book that felt kind of arbitrary, like they were thrown in just to heighten tension and didn't really have much of a tie in to the actual story. But all in all I enjoyed this book and would happily recommend it to any fan of YA fantasy.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Switch-Kingdoms-Karibu-Karen-Prince-ebook/dp/B009H28446/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384347004&sr=1-1&keywords=switch+karen+prince

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Book Review: Winter's Heart by Robert Jordan


Blurb: Rand, with Min, is on the run, and Cadsuane, in Carhien, is trying to figure out where he is headed.

Mazrim Taim, the leader of the Black Tower, is revealed to be a liar. Faile, with her companions, is a prisoner of Sevanna's Sept.

With Elyas Machera, Berelain, the Prophet, and an "army" of disparate forces, Perrin is moving through country rife with bandits and roving Seanchan.

In Ebou Dar, the Seanchan princess known as Daughter of the Nine Moons arrives. In Tar Valon, the schemers and counter-schemers in Elaida's White Tower are shaken to the core when the rebels appear suddenly outside the walls.

I give it 2 stars

My Review: This is an epic fantasy novel with a richly detailed and intricate world. Unfortunately, the focus on the world itself and it's many sects and religions and races, completely drowned out the characters and the story.

To begin with, this book is like reading three or four different books at once. It would have been much better had the author chosen one storyline to follow. Also, there are new characters being introduced almost every other chapter, so I couldn't connect to any of them or care what happened to them.

I lost the thread of the story somewhere along the way and I'm not entirely sure what the book was all about. Maybe it's my own fault for picking up #9 in a series when I haven't read the earlier books.

There is certainly a beautiful and fascinating world here and many characters I might have liked to know better. And maybe even several good stories. But the book as a whole was entirely too complex for my tastes.


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Winters-Heart-Wheel-Robert-Jordan-ebook/dp/B003H3IOKU/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383762861&sr=1-1&keywords=winter%27s+heart+robert+jordan



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Book Blast with author Emma Right






Publisher: Right House Books
Print Length: 170 pages
ASIN: B00ESVEVBQ

Eighteen-year-old Brie O’Mara has so much going for her: a loving family in the sidelines, an heiress for a roommate, and dreams that might just come true. Big dreams--of going to acting school, finishing college and making a name for herself. She is about to be the envy of everyone she knew. What more could she hope for? Except her dreams are about to lead her down the road to nightmares. Nightmares that could turn into a deadly reality.
Dead Dreams, Book 1, a young adult psychological thriller and mystery.



Excerpt

Chapter One
It started on a warm April afternoon. Gusts of wind blew against the oak tree right outside my kitchen balcony, in my tiny apartment in Atherton, California. Sometimes the branches that touched the side of the building made scraping noises. The yellow huckleberry flowers twining their way across my apartment balcony infused the air with sweetness.
My mother had insisted, as was her tendency on most things, I take the pot of wild huckleberry, her housewarming gift, to my new two-bedroom apartment. It wasn’t really new, just new to me, as was the entire experience of living separately, away from my family, and the prospect of having a roommate, someone who could be a best friend, something I’d dreamed of since I finished high school and debuted into adulthood.
“Wait for me by the curb,” my mother said, her voice blaring from the phone even though I didn’t set her on speaker. “You need to eat better.” Her usual punctuation at the end of her orders.
So, I skipped down three flights of steps and headed toward the side of the apartment building to await my mother’s gift of the evening, salad in an รก la chicken style, her insistent recipe to cure me of bad eating habits. At least it wasn’t chicken soup double-boiled till the bones melted, I consoled myself.
I hadn’t waited long when a vehicle careened round the corner. I heard it first, that high-pitched screech of brakes wearing thin when the driver rammed his foot against it. From the corner of my eye, even before I turned to face it, I saw the blue truck. It rounded the bend where Emerson Street met Ravenswood, tottered before it righted itself and headed straight at me.
I took three steps back, fell and scrambled to get back up as the vehicle like a giant bullet struck the sidewalk I had only seconds ago stood on. The driver must have lost control, but when he hit the sidewalk it slowed the vehicle enough so he could bridle his speed and manage the truck as he continued to careen down the street.
My mother arrived a half minute later but she had seen it all. Like superwoman, she leaped out of her twenty-year-old Mercedes and rushed toward me, all breathless and blonde hair disheveled.
“Are you all right?” She reached out to help me up.
“Yes, yes,” I said, brushing the dirt off my yoga pants.
“Crazy driver. Brie, I just don’t know about this business of you staying alone here like this.” She walked back to her white Mercedes, leaned in the open window, and brought out a casserole dish piled high with something green. Make that several shades of green.
I followed her, admittedly winded.“Seriously, Mom. It’s just one of those things. Mad drivers could happen anywhere I live.”
She gave me no end of grief as to what a bad idea it was for me to live alone like this even though she knew I was going to get a roommate.
“Mom, stop worrying,” I said.
“You’re asking me to stop being your mother, I hope you realize this.”
“I’ll find someone dependable by the end of the week, I promise.” No way I was going back to live at home. Not that I came from a bad home environment. But I had my reasons.
I had advertised on Craig’s List, despite my mother’s protests that only scum would answer “those kinds of ads.”
Perhaps there was some truth to Mother’s biases, but I wouldn’t exactly call Sarah McIntyre scum. If she was, what would that make me?
Sarah’s father had inherited the family “coal” money. Their ancestors had emigrated from Scotland (where else, with a name like McIntyre, right?) in the early 1800s and bought an entire mountain (I kid you not) in West Virginia. It was a one-hit wonder in that the mountain hid a coal fortune under it, and hence the McIntyre Coal Rights Company was born. This was the McIntyre claim to wealth, and also a source of remorse and guilt for Sarah, for supposedly dozens of miners working for them had lost their lives due to the business, most to lung cancer or black lung, as it was commonly called. Hazards of the occupation.

Buy Links:

About the Author:
Emma Right is a happy wife and Christian homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, a  bunny and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. She loves the Lord and when she doesn't have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one. Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cover Reveal: Dark Light by Kyra Dune

This is the cover for my newest YA fantasy novel, Dark Light (sequel to Web of Light), set to be released December 1, 2013.


Blurb:
The Web of Light, a magical force lost for three hundred years, has been recovered by the heirs of the land of Solice. But its return bears a heavy price. A price that will be paid in blood.
Seva and Valdor have fled to the Outlands, where an unanswered question drives them apart. And as Valdor seeks to prove his worth, Seva struggles to control the power threatening to consume her.
But the web is not what it seems and by the time the truth is discovered, it may be too late.   



Friday, November 1, 2013

Cover Reveal: Echoes of Balance by Cally Ryanne

Today on The Shadow Portal, Cally Ryanne reveals the cover for her upcoming novel, Echoes of Balance. The author was also kind of enough to do an interview with me so we could all learn more about her novel.




What inspired you to write this book?

 So, EoB is actually a really long time coming. A lot of the characters have been with me since I was a kid; I made them up and was constantly reworking them until I found their story. Chloe did a lot of growing up before she got to where she is now. Anyway, I sort left Chloe & co. off to the side for the end of high school/beginning of college because I was busy with so much life, but towards the end of college I picked them – and their stories – back up again. (Shout out to Megan for forcing a chapter out of me every day.)

 
Can you give us an interesting fact about your book that isn't in the blurb?

 

‘Pan’ and ‘Damonos’ are the Greek root words that formed ‘pandemonium.’ Together, they literally mean ‘All of the Demons,’ which was the working title I had for the book.

 

How did you choose your title?

 

Echoes of Balance wasn’t what I originally chose, because I’m actually the worst at coming up with titles. Seriously. I get too close to the details and I just can’t name the big picture. But the folks at REUTS are totally amazing and we had a group e-mail brainstorm chain – EoB came out of that.

 

Tell us about the cover and how it came to be.

 

Again, the REUTS folks are amazing. I think Kisa and Ashley wrote a pretty cool cover art blog series on the REUTS website a while ago, but they have a great process. They asked for my input, then we brainstormed together. I actually have a fine art background, but my work is pretty abstract, so they were a big help in getting something down that’s more concrete and genre/age appropriate.

About the cover: The dress is one that Chloe wears towards the end of the book (spoiler alert) and the knife gets a lot of play in the story.


 

Did you self-publish or publish traditionally and why?

 

I went with a brand-new super-awesome experimental publisher. Because I’m an art student and that feels right.

 

What is your writing process?

 

I need to be well removed from distractions, so I will either write at this little desk in my room or my living room, where technology goes to die. I have a decent sized apartment (don’t believe the lies – there are places in NYC that this exists) and for some reason, wifi and cell service just hates our living room. It’s the best place to write. Then I stick it all in a google doc.

 

I pace A LOT when I write, especially when there’s dialogue involved. I’ll stand up and walk around while repeating the phrase over and over with slight tweaks until it feels right for the character, then I put it down.

 

When I edit, I like to be in my bed where I’m comfortable. I have a pretty sweet lap desk I got on sale at Target. (It’s like the only big box store allowed in NYC aside from the kmart that lives in Penn Station.)

 

How did you get started writing?

 

I’m an only child (not counting my best friend of ten years who I now also live with), so I was always kind of making up stories and reading to entertain myself. Eventually I started writing them down. When I was like 10 or 11, my mom – who is super techie – built a computer and gave it to me, except it was pretty grim and only did the internet (NETSCAPE. SUPER SLOW. DIAL UP.) kind of and word processing. And MS Paint. But that gets old fast, so I did a lot of typing in the text edit-y program – sometimes it was nonsense, and eventually it started being stories that were RIDICULOUS but got longer and longer, especially by kid standards. I think my first novel was like 60 pages or something.

 

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

 

I like to keep it in a 3:1 ratio. I enjoy plotting – I like to know where things are going to end up eventually, because I like to know the motives of my characters – but I also enjoy trying to work my characters into life moments* and integrate that into the story. Some are totally not feasible (‘What would it be like if Chloe and Aurelia were in my zumba class?’) but some I try to work into the stories (‘What would it be like if Chloe got stranded somewhere ala the week after Hurricane Sandy?’).

 

*Finding moments that are actually logical was a big exercise in growing up. As a kid, I think I’d just go with all this silliness and the plot was just crazy town.

What tips can you give on how to get through writers block?

 

Just push through it. Open a blank document and start writing whatever comes in your head – even if it’s nothing, just write the word over and over until something else occurs to you. Don’t think about writing good. Think about writing anything, and eventually work your way back to your story.

 

Alternately, those not-feasible situations, like what if Chloe went to a zumba class and Ducante was an instructor? Write silly. Put it aside. Never show it to anyone but your best friend when she has a bad day. But use it as a spring board to get yourself somewhere better.

 

What kind of music do you like to listen to while you write?

 

I have the most perfectly trained Pandora station, it always knows what I wants. It cycles from like ratchet nonsense (A$AP crew, Tyga, etc) to old school jams (Destiny’s Child, TLC) to indie stuff (Postal Service, Her Space Holiday) and into electronic (Diplo) and back again. I love it.

 

If I have iTunes on, I almost always listen to stars.

 

Who is your favorite character from a book?

 

I love Cloud 9 and Dondi from Rage is Back. (Ya heard, youngblood?) Actually, I love Adam Mansbach characters overall – he gives them such great voice.

 

Real talk, I also love Holly Golightly. No shame.

 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

 

Oof, well, I work a real life job that takes up –a ton- of time, especially because I care about it a lot, so I spend a lot of time trying to be better and do well and be responsible. I’ve been on a ‘lets get in shape!’ kick lately, so lots of gym time, and I live with some awesome people, so I spend a lot of time chilling with them. Sometimes there are video games involved.

 

What's your next project?

 

So, Chloe’s world has spawned a lot of characters. A lot, a lot. Chloe’s book is a trilogy, so my most immediate project is to finish those guys (book two is maybe a quarter to a third of the way done), and then there is another trilogy that completes Chloe’s story that includes a character named Liadan as the protagonist. Maya also has a book of her own that’s half started, and I have another fantasy book that’s half started and has been living on the back burner for a while.

 

 

 

Echoes of Balance will be released on December 17th via Reuts Publishing. Stay tuned for buy links!

 

http://www.reuts.com/

http://ducanteoriginals.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/callyryanne

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18619622-echoes-of-balance