Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Feature: Miranda Kavi, author of the Aurora Lockette Series

CRUX (The Aurora Lockette Series book 2) is LIVE and ONLY 99¢!
Haven’t read FLEE yet? No problem – grab it for only 99¢ as well!
Find Miranda Kavi on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MirandaKavi
Release day PARTY tomorrow! Join us -

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Feature: Daniel Sherrier, author of the RIP Series


         He leaned against another tree and slid into a sitting position. He noticed the grass sticking through Serissa’s bare feet. “So I have to decide, basically, the course of my life from here on out—assuming, of course, I’m not simply losing my mind.”

        Serissa stood her ground, summoning Rip with her finger. “Give me your hand.”

Rip climbed to his feet and stepped forward, hesitant. He reached out, unsure what to expect from a dead, intangible girl.

Nor did the dead, intangible girl know what to expect. She had no idea if this would work, but her lips curled up in the anticipation that it might. Serissa slowly interlocked her fingers with his, and they both squeezed.

Contact. Solid contact.

“You’re warm,” Rip said, feeling a soft human hand, indistinguishable from any living person’s.

“Only to you,” Serissa said, smiling at her first physical sensation since…in a long time.

Paperback available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble
eBook available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Diesel, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords

What inspired you to write this book?
A random thought in the middle of the night—or rather, one random thought that built into an even better random thought. I was thinking about ghosts, naturally, and I thought about someone being able to physically interact with ghosts as if they were flesh and blood. Then I turned it around and wondered what if a ghost was able to touch a living person for the first time since he or she died? The first thought was a kind of interesting notion, but the second thought had substance and I knew this needed to happen.
Can you give us an interesting fact about your book that isn't in the blurb?
I originally wrote RIP as a TV pilot script. It was a finalist and semi-finalist in a couple of competitions, and I eventually got it in the hands of a producer who was nice enough to read it. He passed on it, though, as he preferred to see it executed as a procedural. That gave me the hint that maybe this might work better as a book series.
How did you choose your title?
Titles are always tough. At some point early on, I realized, “Hey, I can name the main character Rip and then call the series RIP.” See what I did there? I forget where “Choices After Death” came from, but I knew it was right the moment I thought of it, given that people generally aren’t used to making post-mortem decisions.
Tell us about the cover and how it came to be.
I hired a talented cover designer named Mike Messina. He found the image and made everything look great. He deserves all the credit for it.
Did you self-publish or publish traditionally and why?
I self-published. I can’t say whether indie or traditional is the better route, but my feeling is, in any creative medium, indie is the place to start (well, the place to start getting your work out there after you’ve spent many years refining your skills). That’s how you show you’re serious about this work and start building an audience. Then maybe after I’ve proven myself I might try looking into traditional publishers.
What do you consider the most important part of a good story?
It has to be entertaining. Your story can reveal all the secrets of the universe, but if it doesn’t entertain, it’s not a good story. Might be a good textbook or philosophical tome, though.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A bit of both. I plot enough at the beginning to assure myself the story will work and that it has somewhere to go, but I might be a bit vague about later parts. Things change along the way. In fact, RIP: Choices After Death originally had a different ending scene…until my trusty beta readers pointed out how it didn’t feel right. I had an ending I thought needed to happen all along, but the characters went and grew in a different direction than I had intended. So, yeah, I’m going to have to alter some of the plans I had for the second book now, and that’s why you don’t plot too specifically too far ahead.
What part of the writing process is the hardest for you?
Physical description. Much of my background is in playwriting, so I’m used to being very specific about what characters say and less specific about what things look like and precisely how everyone moves. In theatre, the director, actors, and designers fill in all those details. In books, I’m on my own. Sometimes I’m able to find my way into description by getting into a particular character’s headspace and viewing the scene in his or her idiosyncratic way.
What tips can you give on how to get through writers block?
Exercise has many wonderful benefits, including clearing your head.
What kind of music do you like to listen to while you write?
Mostly instrumental soundtrack music, plus some musicals and classic rock. With RIP, Les Miserables was playing a lot, as well as Alice Cooper and Buffy the Vampire Slayer soundtracks.
Who is your favorite character from a book?
My favorite character happens to be from my favorite book. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird is basically the soul of Superman, as I see it, and how can you beat that?
Read anything good lately?
I recently remarked that I had been failing as a nerd lately by reading books like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Silver Linings Playbook, both of which I enjoyed. But now I’m rectifying that by reading the first John Carter of Mars book, which is interesting mostly from the historical perspective. It’s the original sci-fi western, and it influenced everything from Superman to Star Wars.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Well, there’s always reading. But aside from that, I take a kickboxing class (I earned my black belt last year), I play with my four-year-old niece, and I occasionally get addicted to TV shows like Buffy and Doctor Who.
What advice would you give an author just starting out?
Don’t write about writers. Also, realize that it takes time to get good at anything new. I started writing when I was nine years old putting together homemade comic books, and I never stopped writing something. Comic books gave way to screenplays and novels and plays, but I was always working on some project. I published my first book, Earths in Space: Where Are the Little Green Men?, at twenty-nine. So that was twenty years of constant writing before I unleashed any books on the world. If you’re a nineteen-year-old college student eager to publish, then pause. Put the book aside, work on something else, and promise yourself you won’t publish anything until you’re at least twenty-five, maybe even older. You’ll thank yourself, because even if your teenage works have wonderful qualities, your first release years later will be that much stronger. I suspect I would’ve made the mistake of prematurely publishing if I had the option back then.
What's your next project?
I’m finishing up the second installment in the Earths in Space series. This series is basically adventurous space travel without the aliens. A team of explorers visits other Earths scattered throughout the universe, and each one has a unique human civilization. The second volume, We Must Evolve, will consist of four novellas that build on each other and show a clear arc for the main character, Amena. I’m hoping to get it out the first half of this year, but I won’t release it until I’m certain it’s ready.

Daniel Sherrier is a writer based in central Virginia. This is the guy who writes the Earths in Space and RIP series, which you’ve doubtless heard much about. Occasionally, a play he’s written gets performed somewhere. He graduated from the College of William & Mary in 2005, where he earned a degree in the  ever-lucrative fields of English and Theatre. Recently, he achieved his black belt in Thai kickboxing. And there was that one time he jumped out of an airplane, which was memorable.



Friday, January 24, 2014

Cover Reveal: Crossfire & Firestorm by Kyra Dune

In April, I plan to release my urban fantasy/spy thrillers, Crossfire & Firestorm, as a two-books-in-one special edition. If you like spies, lies, demons, secret organizations, and plots to overthrow the established government, then this may be the book for you.

Here's the cover.

Photo: In April, I plan to release my urban fantasy/spy thrillers, Crossfire & Firestorm, as a two-books-in-one special edition. If you like spies, lies, demons, secret organizations, and plots to overthrow the established government, then this may be the book for you.


Three factions rule Southern Archaides: the human faction - known as The Delegation, the demon faction - known as The Underground, and the saint faction - known as The Syndicate. But power between the three is far from equal and there are those who seek to change that at any cost.

Angel is a breed - half human, half demon - working for a private investigator in the city of New Hope. But when her boss goes missing she finds herself plunged into a world of spies, lies, murder plots, and deadly secrets.

It's a tangled web to unravel and for every answer Angel uncovers, a dozen new questions emerge. Someone is trying to pit the three factions against each other, but who and why? It's up to Angel to find out before all out war buries Southern Archaides in ash.


“So what’s up with the goons? Are you having me followed?”

“Only since this morning. I figured you’d show up at Bo’s eventually.” He drummed his blunt fingers on the table. “Sorry about bringing up bad memories over The Boneyard, but it was the only thing I could think of that might get you to come.”

Angel shrugged. “It worked. So why did you want to see me? I have a feeling it’s not so you can tell me where Bo is, even though I think you know.”

His fingers stilled. “I brought you here to tell you to back off. Stay out of this, Angel. It’s way too big for you.”

“You expect me to abandon Bo on your say so?” She laughed. “You’re crazy if you really believe I would do that. Where is he, Rez? What were you looking for in his office?”

“Still the same old Angel. Still living your life all about Bo. Wonderful, noble, heroic, Bo.” He snorted. “Tell me how noble it is to take a scared kid off the street and turn her into your little puppet.”

Angel stiffened. “Everything I’ve done is to repay Bo for taking me in and giving me a reason to live. It’s called gratitude, look it up.”

Rez’s lip curled back over his teeth. “Yeah, Bo gave you a reason to live all right. He also gave you a home and a family, then he took it all away. What do you owe him for that?”

“I didn’t fit in at the Shelter. Bo taking me out was the best thing for everyone involved.”

“You are so...” Rez growled, curling his hands into fists and shaking them. The muscles in his arms bulged. “Pigheaded, stubborn, stupid.... You still believe that bullshit? Bo took you out of the Shelter because of me. Because we were getting too close and he was afraid somebody besides him would have some influence over you. He was afraid he was losing control. I tried to tell you that the night you left, but you wouldn’t listen.”

“And I’m not listening now.” Angel drew her pistol and was on her feet in one quick motion which would have caught anybody less familiar with her completely off-guard.

Rez caught Angel’s wrist and held it tight enough to show he meant business. The barrel of the gun was pointed right between his eyes. “I could break your arm.”

“And I could shoot you in the face.” Angel’s finger hovered over the trigger.

“But you won’t.”

She thumbed back the hammer. “Try me.”

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review: Terra Vonnel and The Skulls Of Aries by D.C. Akers


Terra Vonnel and the Skulls of Aries; a thrilling high-seas adventure seen through the eyes of seventeen year old pirate Terra Vonnel, better known as the Sea Vixen. The roguish, yet charming girl has finally found one of the legendary Skulls of Aries, the greatest mystery known to man. With time running out she must now steal the remaining Skull from her vicious vampire nemesis, Count Dragos, and travel to Mount Aries to unlock the Gate of Monticule, which holds the Orb of Time.

But what the Sea Vixen and her valiant crew do not know is something waits for them in the shadows of Mount Aries- something so unimaginable that no one has lived to tell about it. Full of excitement, the Skulls of Aries is an epic, breathtaking voyage packed with suspense-filled adventure, sword-clashing action, mystery and unforgettable characters!


My Review

Terra Vonnel and The Skulls of Aries is an action packed pirate adventure full of swashbuckling adventure and danger. From the deck of a magical ship on the high seas, to a cave where a fabulous treasure awaits, this story is nonstop excitement that will leave you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next.

I absolutely love Terra. She is exactly what a pirate should be, fierce, strong, determined, and ruthless. She knows what she wants and she'll stop at nothing to get it. My only complaint with this story is the length. It's so short and I'm just dying to see what happens next. So far I haven't been able to find a sequel, so I'm not sure whether there's going to be one. With the ending it could sort of go either way. But I'll keep my eyes open and if I see another Terra adventure I'll be sure to pick it up.

If you like dashing pirates and breathtaking excitement, then I highly recommend this book.



Book Review: Haven by D.C Akers


Sam Dalcome thinks he is so completely average that no one ever notices him. Until he discovers a mysterious stranger outside his home. Bewildered, he tries to uncover the stranger's intentions. But Sam is sidetracked when he and his friend Travis discover a secret passageway deep in the town's quarry that leads to a hidden cavern. What they uncover next will not only change their lives forever, but will uncover the first clue to a deadly Dalcome family secret. Sam finds himself drawn into a world of mystery and magic he never knew existed, which brings him closer to a destiny he never knew was possible.

My Review

I'm not really sure what to say about this book. It had some interesting moments, especially toward the end, but I just couldn't get into it. It was pretty short, which doesn't bother me usually, but it ended right when things were kind of picking up story wise. Mostly I found the book rather dull and I didn't care much for the characters. I won't be buying the next book in the series.



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Book Review: Ironside by Holly Black


In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben's coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing -- her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can't see or speak to Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn't exist: a faerie who can tell a lie.

Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth -- that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother's shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben's throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?


My Review

Ironside is the gritty sequel to Tithe. Poor Kaye continues to stumble around making mistakes and generally causing trouble for everybody who comes in contact with her. Roiben remains the best character, the one with the most depth, whose actions can never be guessed at. I also really like Corny, a lot better than I like Kaye even though she's the main character.

This book is a dark journey into a world of manipulation and schemes, a world where the distinction between good and evil is hard to find and life might be thrown away on a whim. A world from which no one can emerge unscathed.

There is a lot of strong language in this book, but if that doesn't bother you and if you like YA urban fantasy with a dark side, you might want to give this one a try.



Sunday, January 19, 2014

Book Review: Tithe by Holly Black

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms -- a struggle that could very well mean her death.
My Review

Tithe is a dark and gritty YA urban fantasy where the difference between good and evil is a thin veil and not all things are what they seem.
This is an interesting story that moves along at a steady pace, pulling you along with it. Kaye can be a little clueless and annoying, but mostly she's an enjoyable character. My favorite character was Roiben, the darkly mysterious and dangerous fairy knight.
If you have a problem with strong language, you may want to steer clear of this book. But if that sort of thing doesn't bother you, and you like the genre, you might find this to be a good read. There are a few surprises and plenty of danger for Kaye and her friend Corny.
In a way, this book kind of reminds me of Twilight, but with fairies instead of vampires. Also, the romance isn't the main plot point, which is probably why I kind of liked this book but I didn't like Twilight at all.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Song Lyrics

This is a song I wrote. I'm not a songwriter, but sometimes lyrics pop into my head. They don't always make up a whole song, but this time they did. This is the first time I ever put one of my songs out for anybody to see. So here it is.


It started out so good
you and me together
like I never believed it could
feeling like forever
you were my light in the dark
I was your shooting star
burning through the night

this is where it's gonna hurt
this is where it's gonna end
you used to be my lover
now you're not even my friend
we tried to hold it together
but it just kept coming apart
nothing's ever gonna mend the pieces
of my broken heart

I never meant to do you wrong
I never thought you'd leave me behind
I only wanted your love
I never knew you could be so blind
we were heading for the fall
but we couldn't read the danger signs

this is where it's gonna hurt
this is where it's gonna end
you used to be my lover
now you're not even my friend
we tried to hold it together
but it just kept coming apart
nothing's ever gonna mend the pieces
of my broken heart

the pieces, the pieces of my broken heart

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Book Review: Taken by Charlotte Abel

Bound by love and magic. Betrayed by those they trust. Not everyone survives. In this second installment of The Channie Series, Josh and Channie are tested physically and emotionally as the tough choices they are forced to make affect not only their future together but their very existence. The risks are high but the rewards are even higher.

3 Stars
My Review
Taken was better than Enchantment, although Josh remains an annoying character who can't seem to think about anything but sex. At least in this second installment in the series, the plot moves forward in a sort of interesting way. There were some dark themes in the first book, but this second one takes it to a whole new level as Channie and Josh are beset by danger from all sides. With a mage war brewing, the young couple have to make some tough choices that will have real consequences
that reach far beyond themselves.

Although this book was kind of exciting at times and it did come with a couple of surprises, I'm just not feeling this series so I won't be buying the next book.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Flash Fiction Challenge

In Chuck Wendig's first flash fiction challenge of the year http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/01/10/flash-fiction-challenge-roll-for-title/ we were given two columns of words and told to use a random number generator to select a word from each column to write a short story based of off. Here's mine.


I was working in the garden, surrounded by pink tulips and yellow daffodils, when everything went dark. I froze in the action of pulling some weeds, my heart hammering in my chest. I thought I had been suddenly struck blind, that I was having a stroke or a heart attack or something. But I felt no pain, only fear.


I slowly got to my feet and tilted my head back toward a sky I couldn't see. I pulled off my gardening gloves and touched my eyes one at a time. First the left, then the right. How could this be? I wondered. How could a relatively healthy man in his early sixties be suddenly struck blind?


I turned my head this way and that, listening. No birdsong. Only a few moments before, I was trading tunes with a mockingbird while a chorus of cardinals played backup. Now, only silence. Was I deaf as well?


"Hello?" I whispered, then sighed with the relief at the sound of my own tremulous voice. Not deaf then, but still blind.


Knowing the layout of my garden as well as I did, I had no trouble negotiating my way back to the house. I always left the back door open when I was working outside because I could never remember the code and I didn't like to take my tablet out where it might get dirt in the fans. The damn things were so sensitive and I'd already broken three this cycle. If something happened to this one I wouldn't get a replacement until the start of the next cycle.


As soon as I stepped through the door into the kitchen, I knew something was seriously wrong. No humming. My appliances always hummed. They were never whisper quiet like they were supposed to be. I moved carefully forward, trailing my hand along the counter until I came to the refrigerator. I touched the door. The surface was cool, but the familiar tremble of the motor was missing.


Cold terror clutched at my guts. It was worse than I thought. I wasn't blind, the power was out. I pulled my trembling hand away from the refrigerator. The emergency generators should have kicked in within seconds of a power failure.


On a normal day, the emptiness of the house didn't bother me. Madge had been dead going on six years and I'd grown accustomed to be being alone. Now the emptiness was like a living thing lurking in the darkness, waiting to devour me.


"Don't panic," I whispered. The sound of my own voice was eerie in the stillness. "It's only this sector. Has to be. I just need to get to where I can call J-Block and everything will be fine."


J-Block was two sectors north of where I lived. Surely neither of those sectors would be dark. And even if they were, J-Block wouldn't be.


I made it through the house without running into or tripping over anything. Under a little table by the front door, a battery operated lantern waited for me. One good thing about living alone was that everything was always exactly where you left it.


I lifted the lantern and turned it on, casting the room in deep blue light. Madge had picked this particular lantern because of the color of its light. Cerulean, like the sky, she'd said. So much nicer than yellow or red.


Opening the front door was out of the question, but when I had the house built for us thirty-five cycles ago I had a failsafe put in. Madge laughed at me then, saying I was being silly to think we'd ever need it, and it was a running joke between us during the course of our marriage. Now it would seem it wasn't such a fool thing after all.


After setting the lamp on the floor, I pushed my recliner against the wall, revealing a trapdoor. I spent a moment studying it. The door hadn't been opened since the tunnel was installed. It was meant to be only used once, in the case of dire emergency. This certainly qualified.  


I bent over and slipped my hand through the narrow opening where a button waited. I pushed it and  a spring activated latch popped open. It wasn't hard to lift the door and once up it stayed open exactly as it was supposed to. Three steps led down into the tunnel.


With the lantern in hand, I descended into the confined space. The tunnel was made of steel and was just tall enough so I didn't have to crawl or even stoop. Blue light reflecting from the walls made the tunnel seem to glow all on its own.


The tunnel was short. It ended at a second set of three steps and another trapdoor. This one also lifted easily, tearing a small hole my front yard. I climbed out, then stood a moment, shining the light around. I saw no sign of anyone else. But I did notice the air had cooled considerably in the short time since darkness descended.


I walked slowly down the street, silence my only companion. The air tasted metallic. Then I heard the sound of pounding followed by muffled screams. My heart raced. I turned slowly toward the sound, wishing I'd thought to grab something to use as a weapon before leaving the house.  


The light of my lamp played out across the front of one of my neighbor's homes. Mary Watten's panic stricken face was pressed to the glass of the window beside her front door.


"Help," she cried, her voice small and distant behind the glass. "Please," tears rolled down her face, "we can't get out. The air...it's so cold. So thin. Please."  


I stared helplessly back at her. She couldn't get out; I couldn't get in. Unlike me, most people kept their houses sealed up tight and rarely ventured outside even though the temperature was carefully modulated. The Council discouraged people from leaving the safety of their homes more than was necessary. They didn't want people wandering around getting into mischief. In fact, this was the first time since Madge's death that I had even seen another person face to face, instead of through a video screen.


The only way I could help Mary was to get word of our troubles to J-Block. Turning my back on that terrified woman was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my entire life. I gazed north, expecting to see the black eventually end in bright blue. Instead, there's only more black.  


With a tremble in my step and the cerulean glow of the lantern to lead me, I continued on into the silent darkness.