Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Review: Tears Of Requiem by Daniel Arenson


The nightshades cover the land. Demons of smoke and shadow, they fear no sword or arrow. They suck the souls from all who live, like a glutton sucking marrow from bones. The world falls under their darkness.

But the nightshades crave more than random ruin. The souls of mere humans will not sate them. They seek dragons.

Requiem's last dragons, a mere scattering of survivors, have fought off men and griffins. But how can they fight the nightshades, creatures they cannot cut or burn?

I give it 3 stars
My Review
The story of Requiem continues in book two of the Song Dragons Trilogy, Tears of Requiem. I did not enjoy this one as much as I did the first book in the trilogy. There were still some epic fights and interesting play between the characters, but I didn't feel like the story really progressed. It was almost like reading the first book over again, in a bad sort of way.
I still love the shape-shifting dragons and I still really like the characters, except I didn't like the turn the character of Dies Irae made. It lessened his appeal as a villain, in my opinion.
It's still a good book, but after liking the first one so much, I couldn't help but be disappointed. I've already begun reading the final book and I can only hope it better lives up to the potential of the first book, which Tears of Requiem failed to meet.

Feature: Zoe Cannon, author of The Torturer's Daughter

Today on the Shadow Portal, I'll be featuring Zoe Cannon as part of her virtual book tour.

December 27th only, this book will be .99 cents.

When her best friend Heather calls in the middle of the night, Becca Dalcourt assumes it's the usual drama. Wrong. Heather's parents have been arrested as dissidents - and Becca's mother, the dystopian regime's most infamous torturer, has already executed them for their crimes against the state.
To stop Heather from getting herself killed trying to prove her parents' innocence, Becca hunts for proof of their guilt. She doesn't expect to find evidence that leaves her questioning everything she thought she knew about the dissidents... and about her mother.
When she risks her life to save a dissident, she learns her mother isn't the only one with secrets - and the plot she uncovers will threaten the lives of the people she loves most. For Becca, it's no longer just a choice between risking execution and ignoring the regime's crimes; she has to decide whose life to save and whose to sacrifice.
It's easy to be a hero when you can save the world, but what about when all you can do is choose how you live in it? THE TORTURER'S DAUGHTER is a story about ordinary life amidst the realities of living under an oppressive regime... and the extraordinary courage it takes to do what's right in a world gone wrong.

Buy Links:


Becca’s steps slowed as she approached Processing 117. The floodlights of the parking lot shone down on her, exposing her. Past the lot, the darkness threatened to close in. There was no other source of light nearby except for the dim glow of the streetlamps, nothing but trees for at least a mile in every direction.
The concrete structure loomed taller than its five stories—maybe because of the invisible presence of the underground levels, or maybe because in a moment Becca was going to have to walk inside.
Heather can’t have been arrested. If she were a prisoner, they wouldn’t have let her call.
But when Becca remembered the panic in Heather’s voice, the thought wasn’t all that reassuring anymore.
Becca took the last few steps across the not-quite-empty parking lot. The windows of the upper floors glowed in a patchwork of lights, showing who was working another late night and who was at home sleeping… or down on the underground levels. Becca knew that in one of those dark offices, a phone had been ringing off the hook for the past half-hour, its owner oblivious to Becca’s pleas for her to answer, to find Heather for her, to fix this.
Becca reached the double doors of the entrance—and froze. Her heart thudded against her ribcage.
Heather is in there, she reminded herself. Heather needs me.
She pulled the doors open and stepped inside.
The doors slammed shut behind her, the noise echoing off the stark white walls. Security cameras stared down at her from the ceiling. The guards, one to either side of the metal detector, pinned her to the floor with their eyes, but said nothing.
Opposite the metal detector from Becca, the room was bare except for a huge metal desk with corners that looked sharp enough to cut. Behind the desk, a dark-haired woman with a headset clipped to her ear stopped mid-yawn and jerked up to face her.
Becca held her breath and stepped through the metal detector. Its light flashed green, and one of the guards waved her forward. She let her breath out and stepped up to the desk.
She eyed the woman’s crisp gray suit, and the desk that gleamed like it had never seen a speck of dust in its life. Then she looked down at her own clothes, the jeans and wrinkled t-shirt she had grabbed from her dresser after hanging up with Heather. She crossed her arms around her stomach.
The receptionist’s bleary surprise had vanished, replaced by a stone mask. “Can I help you?”
“I’m looking for…” Becca bit back the name on her lips. No. If she were in her office, she would have answered the phone. Anyway, Becca could imagine her reaction at finding out about this midnight walk to 117. Becca was on her own.
“…Heather Thomas,” she finished. “She called me half an hour ago and told me she was here.”
The receptionist’s expression didn’t tell Becca anything.
“She’s here… somewhere… she called me…” Becca’s voice trailed off. I’m not doing anything wrong, she told herself. I’m not a dissident. Heather’s not a dissident.
Which led Becca back to the question that had been circling through her mind since she had gotten Heather’s call. What was Heather doing here?
The receptionist turned away and tapped something out on her keyboard. It only took her a few seconds to find what she was looking for. She typed in something else and touched her earpiece. “We have a detainee in temporary holding,” she said to someone Becca couldn’t see. “Last name Thomas. Her file says she’s waiting for a relative to collect her. Right, that’s the one. Someone forgot to collect her phone, and she called a friend.” A pause. “No, that won’t be necessary. Just confiscate the phone.”
She turned back to Becca. “Heather Thomas is waiting for her guardian to arrive. Are you Lydia Thomas?” She gave Becca a skeptical once-over.
Becca considered saying yes, but even if the receptionist weren’t going to ask for proof, there was no way she could pass as Heather’s… aunt, she remembered after a moment. Aunt Lydia, the one who always looked at Becca and Heather like being in high school was catching.
The receptionist took her silence as an answer. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
Becca wanted nothing more than to do just that. But she couldn’t leave and let this place swallow Heather. “If she’s waiting for her aunt to get here, I can wait with her until she shows up.”
“I’m sorry,” said the receptionist, already turning back to her computer. “The policy is clear. The detainee will remain in temporary holding—alone—until her guardian arrives.”
Becca was losing ground. And somewhere in this building, Heather was waiting for her. “I’m not trying to take her home or anything. I only want to…” To make sure she wasn’t locked away underground. To make sure they hadn’t gotten her mixed up with somebody else, some dissident slated for execution. “…to let her know I’m here. I promised her I’d—”
“Your refusal to leave the building when instructed will be recorded.” The receptionist placed her hands on her keyboard. “May I have your name?”
“At least tell me what happened. Why is she here? Is she all right?”
“Your name, please,” the receptionist repeated.
If she stayed much longer, the receptionist would order the guards to drag her out—or worse, in. She could end up in one of those underground cells… She shivered. They couldn’t do that to her just for asking about Heather, right?
“Your name,” the receptionist repeated again, with a glance toward the guards.
Becca slumped. “Rebecca Dalcourt.”
The receptionist blinked.
“Well,” she said, her voice suddenly warmer, “I suppose we can make an exception.”

About the Author:

Zoe Cannon writes about the things that fascinate her: outsiders, societies no sane person would want to live in, questions with no easy answers, and the inner workings of the mind. If she couldn't be a writer, she would probably be a psychologist, a penniless philosopher, or a hermit in a cave somewhere. While she'll read anything that isn't nailed down, she considers herself a YA reader and writer at heart. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and a giant teddy bear of a dog, and spends entirely too much time on the internet.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review: Blood Of Requiem by Daniel Arenson


Long ago stood the kingdom of Requiem, a land of men who could grow wings and scales, breathe fire, and take flight as dragons. Requiem ruled the sky.

But Dies Irae, a tyrant leading an army of griffins, hunted Requiem's people, burned their forests, and shattered their temples. Requiem fell. This ancient land now lies in ruin, its halls crumbled, its cries silenced, its skeletons littering the burned earth.

In the wilderness, a scattering of survivors lives in hiding. The griffins still hunt them, and every day promises death. Will Requiem's last children perish in exile... or once more become dragons and fly to war?

I give it 5 stars

My Review
Blood Of Requiem is a dazzling tale of shape-shifting dragons, evil kings, and vicious griffins. This novel is an action-packed, thrill a minute ride full of danger, despair, hope, and love.
Dies Irae is a truly vile villain and yet he's no cardboard caricature, but a real person with qualities which, while not necessarily redeemable, make him a truly three dimensional character. The reasons for why he is the person he is do not justify his evil deeds but they do explain them. He is not evil simply for the sake of being evil.
The heroes of the story, the shape-shifting dragons, are each unique individuals you can't help but root for as they struggle simply to survive. Most of their kind were wiped out in a devastating war and they spend each day like fugitives on the run, their lives threatened for the crime of having been born.
Aside from the epic battles and intense personal struggles, there are truly wondrous moments which will dazzle your mind. If you love dragons, you must read this book.

Fantasy Novel Giveaway

To celebrate the holidays, I'll be giving away one copy of each of the following fantasy novels. It will be winner's choice.


Charlie is an elfblood, descended of a conquered people brought to the brink of extinction in the aftermath of a long war. Being able to pass for human gives Charlie an advantage over most of his kind. Only those who look at his record or those he chooses to tell, need ever know his secret. Growing up in an orphanage is hard enough without having to live with that stigma.
When soldiers come and haul the kids off to a prison work camp, Charlie finds himself no longer able to hide the truth of what he is. If that isn’t bad enough, the magic buried inside him is growing stronger and more out of control.  As Charlie struggles with his own problems, and with the dangers of the work camp, he finds himself swept up in a much larger struggle, one whose outcome could decide the future of the world.

 Brief Excerpt
Charlie’s first clue that something had gone awry was the sudden burst of automatic gunfire that cut up the grass before them. With a sharp curse, Charlie backed up, dragging Peter with him.

Fourteen years after fleeing his homeland, Charles Sydon lives under an assumed name, comfortable if not happy with his life as a bookkeeper. Until one night his past comes looking for him in the form of a ruthless dragon hunter.

Now, Charles must return to the Ice Ring on a deadly quest for a wild dragon, a quest that will pull him back into the world he left behind. But he soon comes to find there's more at stake as the past and present collide. Only Charles can save his people from their past mistakes, providing he can live through facing his own.    

 Brief Excerpt
This dragon was intelligent, I could tell. The look in her eyes made me sure she knew exactly what we were doing there. Who else but dragon hunters would try to sail a ship into the heart of the Ice Ring?

Daemon uth Friesard finds himself forced into marriage with a stranger in order to stop a war between their kingdoms. There is nothing he wants more than to make a marriage, and a family, work with his new bride. But a beautiful minstrel may prove too much a temptation.
Clayden Kiel is confident a marriage between his king and the princess of a neighboring kingdom is the surest way to prevent a war. As time passes, the revelation of prophetic dreams causes him to suspect he has prevented one war, only to bring about another. Clayden must seek to find a way to avoid such a thing. But will his actions stop the war, or cause it?

 Brief Excerpt
Marma stared into the face of the god as she related her dream. “There is a black tower that radiates magic from its very stones. Darkness flows from it and howling shadows fill the sky. Phalindros burns. I’ve never had a Seeing so clear, so vivid.”

Micayta’s world has long been gripped in the thrall of an endless winter that grows worse with the passing of time. Life is a constant struggle. Then catastrophe strikes the small town in which she lives, thrusting Micayta and her brother Pytaki alone into the snow laden countryside. To keep herself and her brother alive will take all the strength that she has.
Then a mysterious stranger appears to complicate matters. Tech has an amazing story to tell, but is any of it true? Old wounds and betrayals make Micayta slow to trust, but without Tech she and her brother will never make it across the countryside alive. Through bandits, wolves, and snowstorms, the three struggle their way to the city of Phadra. But the real danger lies within the city walls, where Micayta becomes a player in a deadly game with a dark-eyed mage.
Nothing is what it seems.
As the truth unravels, Micayta finds herself drawn into a struggle much bigger than she ever dreamed. Choices must be made and sides taken. But the question of who to trust is one not easily answered. Micayta will have to open her heart and find a way to let someone else in, or the flames that destroyed her home will consume the world.

 Brief Excerpt
Two long, black horns curved back from a reptilian face covered in crimson scales; sharp spikes ran all down a serpentine neck that was mottled with a faded shade of orange; clawed feet gripped the edge of the bakery roof; two leathery wings cast a dark shadow over the alley. The dragon’s black eyes gazed at something over the rooftops, seemingly oblivious to Micayta’s presence below.
Carlan Andrassis is a Firebrand, one who can create and control fire, as well as a Lord of the second most powerful House in the Ten Kingdoms. He is also a young man with a dark secret that makes him afraid to use his power. But as a terrible plot plays out around him, he must learn to conquer that fear, or be destroyed by it.
Jada Suvari is a Firebrand as well, and daughter of the High King of the unified kingdoms of Garden. A spoiled, willful young woman with a quick temper, her world revolves around herself and her whims. But when a little harmless flirting with a handsome young knight leads to danger, Jada finds herself forced to face a truth inside her own heart.

 Brief Excerpt
Carlan watched the dragon once more circling above them. He’d once seen a cat do much the same thing to a frightened mouse. Attack and retreat, attack and retreat, the cat had whipped the mouse into a frenzy of terror before killing it with a single swipe. Then the cat simply left it lying there, dead. It wasn’t hungry, it wasn’t hunting; killing the mouse was just a bit of sport.


Dagen is a thief and a good one, at least in his humble opinion. But he has more in mind for his future than picking pockets, and when he comes across the haul of a lifetime, he finally sees a way to impress the boss of his crew, maybe even enough to be made partner.
But things don't go the way Dagen had planned and soon he finds himself on the run with a sack full of stolen jewels, and more, for unknown to him, one of those jewels is the fabled Dragonstar, created in times long past by a powerful sorcerer.
The plan is to head for the port city of Braack, but the Dragonstar has other ideas. From the secret city of thieves, to the ruins of a castle, to the last stronghold of the elves, Dagen's whole life is flipped upside down by visions, haunts, strange beasts, and the looming possibility that one day, he just might have to kill a god.

 Brief Excerpt

Dagen’s stomach lurched as he slowly turned his head and saw Bolo grinning at him from the front door of the trading post. It wasn’t possible; Bolo and Hark didn’t have the brains between them to figure out that they could cut him off by getting to the ferry first. But the alternative was so horrible his mind refused to even contemplate it. Then Bolo stepped aside and Dagen didn’t have to worry about contemplating anything because a living nightmare was walking out onto the porch.
When Queen Eanndra calls the leaders of the Territories and their heirs to Star Mountain for a Conclave, none of them expect to have their lives changed forever by the repercussions of a war that ended three hundred years ago.
With the return of the Web of Light, chaos and destruction must surely follow.
Sides will be chosen.
Friendships won and lost.
For within every heart lies the dark seed of betrayal.
 Brief Excerpt
Valdor didn’t hesitate, didn’t take even a moment to think on what might happen, he simply ran. What he hit was not a solid wall, but a sort of thickness. For him, passing the statue was like walking through water with weighted feet. The air pressed against him, trapping the breath in his lungs. And it was cold. So cold what little breath he could manage frosted before his eyes.

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Feature: Jade Kerrion, author of Eternal Night

Eternal Night ebook

"What makes Kerrion’s writing so compelling is the beautifully flawed characters that find themselves in unexpected relationships...these kind of character level conflicts make Kerrion’s writing so deliciously addictive."—Noor A Jahangir, Author of The Changeling King

“Everything you want in a great story. Love, intrigue, action, betrayal, and understanding.”—Ch’kara Silverwolf, Author of Daughter of Light and Dark

Alone for a millennium, since a human murdered her beloved consort, Ashra, the immortal icrathari queen, rules over Aeternae Noctis, the domed city of eternal night. Her loneliness appears to be at an end when her consort’s soul is reborn in a human, Jaden Hunter, but their reunion will not be easy. Icrathari are born, not made. If Ashra infuses Jaden with her immortal blood, he will be a vampire, a lesser creature of the night, a blood-drinker rather than a soul-drinker. Furthermore, Jaden is sworn to protect his half-sister, five-year-old Khiarra. She is the child of prophecy, destined to end the eternal night and the dominion of the Night Terrors—the icrathari and the vampires. As Ashra struggles to sustain her crumbling kingdom in the face of enemies without and treachery within, Jaden fights to defend his sister and unravel a greater mystery: what is the city of eternal night, and how did it come to be?

E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

With Tera beside her, Ashra strode forward. A wall of vampires parted to reveal the other two icrathari, Siri and Elsker. A dark-haired human slumped at Elsker’s feet, his wrists cuffed behind his back.

Ashra stifled a chuckle. Surely Tera was overreacting; the human was by far the weakest creature in the chamber.

Tera knelt down, wrapped her fingers into the human’s hair, and pulled his head back. The human’s face was handsome enough—the slash of his cheekbones accentuated his perfectly proportioned, sculptured features—but taken as a whole, he was not compelling enough to justify the fuss. Ashra shrugged. “You’re wasting my time, Tera.”

Apparently undeterred, the icrathari warlord shook the human hard. His eyes flashed open. They were brilliant green, the exact color of the emerald ring Ashra wore on the index finger of her right hand. His gaze was unfocused, and the reflexive narrowing of his eyes matched the clenching of his jaw, hinting of wrenching pain. Tera looked up and met Ashra’s gaze. “Taste his soul.”

Ashra recoiled, her upper lip curling in disgust. She had no desire to taste a human’s soul. Over the centuries, humans had grown weak, their small lives consumed by superstition and fear. It was better to live on the edge of perpetual starvation than fill her hunger with the pitiful excuse humans called a soul.

“Go deep,” Tera said. But why? Ashra’s brow furrowed. She glanced at Siri and Elsker, but the two icrathari shrugged, apparently no more clued in than she was. She looked back at Tera. The icrathari warlord known as Ashra’s Blade was the epitome of calm understatement. If she was so insistent, she must have had a reason.

Ashra knelt beside the human. Without flinching, she placed her hand against his muscled abdomen. It was bloody, his flesh ripped by a vampire’s talons. The man tensed at her touch, and his eyes flared wide with agony when her soul-sucking powers leeched into him. His breath came hard and fast, his chest heaving with the effort as he twisted in Tera’s unyielding grip, trying to break free. Ashra’s eyes narrowed. The human was weakened—tapped into his life source, she waded through his dazed thoughts and shivered from the echo of each spasm of pain that wracked his body—but still, he fought Tera on the physical plane and Ashra on the psychic dimension, denying her access to his memories and to his soul. She frowned and slammed her will against his, tearing an anguished scream from his throat, but still, his will did not crumble. Askance, Ashra looked at Tera. “Did you taste him?”

Tera nodded. “It wasn’t hard the first time; he didn’t know what to expect, but apparently, he does now and is doing a fine job of fighting back.”

Was that grudging respect she heard in Tera’s voice? “Does his soul really matter?”

The icrathari nodded again. Ashra’s shoulders shifted with the motion of a silent sigh. His resistance left her with little choice. She leaned forward and glided her lips over his in a whisper of a kiss. Human myths spoke of succubi and incubi—demons that, with a touch, could stir lust in their unwilling victims. All myths were based in reality. The maddening beauty and soul-sucking powers of the icrathari had spawned the legends of succubi and incubi. With a touch, the icrathari could lure their victims into a state of sexual ecstasy, bending the will and baring the soul. The human tensed against Ashra, resisting the intimate contact. She almost recoiled. Had the centuries dulled her innate powers? Surely she had not forgotten how to lure a man. She closed her eyes and remembered love.

As always, Rohkeus’s fine-featured face—those beautiful gold-flecked green eyes, so unusual for an icrathari, and teasing smile—came to the fore. With a dreamy half-smile, she deepened the kiss, driving the memory of love before her like a sharpened stake. At last, the man relaxed, succumbing to the kiss. She leaned into him, heedless of his crimson blood staining her white gown. He was warm, feverish even. Just skimming over six feet, he had more than twelve inches on her, but his physical strength, compared to hers, was puny. She was well aged; over four millennia old, she was the oldest of the icrathari and the strongest. She could have broken his neck with as little effort as a human child snapping a twig. Her hand trailed across his muscled torso. He made it easy for her to be gentle. His body trembled as if he longed for her. His mouth was hungry for her kiss. He arched up against her, as if craving more. His need was like a living creature, wild and aching for her touch. Eyes closed, Ashra shivered. Only one other person had desired her as much. And he was dead.

She forced her way through the memories of pale bodies tangled upon cool silk sheets. When her soul-sucking power leeched out, it found no opposition. Images of the human’s life rewound in a blaze of vivid sights, sounds, and sensations. Ashra looked up at Tera, her smile little more than a barely perceptible curve of her lips. “He fancies himself the protector of the child of prophecy. Was she among those taken tonight?” Tera nodded. Ashra chuckled, the sound without humor. “It’s a pity her genetic heritage wasn’t sufficiently superior to prevent her from being culled.”

“There’s more. Go deep.”

She pushed past the blackness at the start of his memories, expecting deeper darkness. Instead, the colors shifted into shades of ochre and gray. Memories, older than his body, resided in his soul; memories of an Earth long since lost to them—a planet surrounded and nourished by water; images of tall buildings glistening beneath a benevolent sun, and of thriving cities filled with the bustle of humans; memories of quiet and intimate conversations beneath a silver moon, the same silver moon that now graced Malum Turris with its light, though a thousand years older and viewed only from beneath the protection of the dome. She saw herself as he must have seen her, a much-younger icrathari, still hopeful for the future, never realizing that the Earth they had all known and loved was irretrievably lost. Had she ever looked that vulnerable? Had her smile ever been so beautiful, so filled with love as she looked upon— “Rohkeus?” Oh, blessed Creator, was that stricken whisper her voice?
E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository Connect with Jade Kerrion at: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Feature: Maer Wilson, author of The Thulukan Chronicles

Today on The Shadow Portal, I'll be featuring Maer Wilson and her novel, Portals, as part of her virtual book tour.


Portals Cover Blurb

For supernatural detectives Thulu and La Fi, “normal” is a relative term. La Fi is a medium, Thulu is a finder, and their usual clients are already dead.
But when their friend Reo is shot, and a group of stranded angels show up at their house for help to find a missing child, things are striking too close to home.

And now the portals that let the magical races return to Earth have started opening on their own.

With trips off-world, a kidnapped psychic and changes to their own abilities, Thulu and La Fi are hit with a lot more than they usually handle. Of course, their magical friends are there to help, but even they may not be enough to save an increasingly unstable Earth.
Portals is the sequel to Relics and is Book 2 in The Thulukan Chronicles.
Excerpt from Portals

That night Parker had popped in to wake us at two in the morning to tell us our best friend, Reo, had been shot. The young ghost was distraught and panicked.
“They're on the back porch! You have to go help.”

“Where is he?” I asked groggily, as I jumped out of bed.
Thulu was instantly awake beside me, although he didn’t seem any more alert than I did.

“Back porch.” Parker enunciated each word in slight exasperation. “Go, please!”
Thulu looked at me, and I told him what Parker had said. Thulu can read lips, but even with a night light the room was too dark.

Thulu threw off the sheet and we both ran from the room. I was briefly glad we’d been wearing PJs.
Heart pounding, I took a few precious seconds to check on our three year old son, Carter. His night light showed him blissfully unaware of anything. Whatever happy dreams he was having made him smile slightly in his sleep. I sighed in relief that he wasn’t having another of his nightmares.

Downstairs, Thulu had turned on the kitchen and porch lights. In spite of the panic moments before, none of the three people on the porch seemed frantic when I joined them.
Thulu looked relieved, Reo was on the floor, but seemed stoic, and Sloane knelt beside him, brow furrowed only slightly in concentration as he dealt with the wound.

My heart rate slowed down and my own fear started to slowly dissipate. My heart gradually dropped from my throat back to its accustomed place in my chest. Still my hands were shaking, and I felt the slight chill from outside. The porch was screened in, and the late August day had been hot, but the night brought a cool breeze that made its way along my arms.
The scent of flowers from the backyard didn’t quite mask the smell of the blood that pooled on the porch floor around Reo. Sloane, his partner and an elf, had already removed Reo’s jacket and shirt. A bullet lay on the floor, and I could see the shoulder wound was already healing and closing up. In a few moments, only the blood would remain as evidence that he’d been shot.

Reo's face was white. The strain showed around his brown eyes and his handsome face had the sheen of sweat on it.  His short brown hair that was usually spiked, lay damp and flat against his head, but he gave me a shaky smile.
“Bastard ruined my favorite jacket.”
Buy Links



What inspired you to write this book?

Kyra, thanks so much for having me on your blog today! This is the sequel to Relics, Book 1 of The Thulukan Chronicles. While Relics can be a stand-alone, the characters weren’t done with me yet and I knew I had to tell more of their stories.

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

Hmmm…fun question. This book takes what I feel is a very unexpected turn as to the reasons for magic returning to Earth. Some things are not what we thought in Relics.

How did you choose your title?

This one was very easy! Because the portals seem to be intertwined with many of the events in the book.

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

My cover was designed by the fabulous Ida Jansson. Ida has designed all the covers in The Thulukan Chronicles. I wanted a shattered portal (for reasons that will become clear in the book. J) At the same time we have the branding we used for the rest of the series.

Did you self-publish or publish traditionally and why?

I self-published Portals and the two prequel novelettes, “Ghost Memory” and “Unwanted Ghost” myself. Relics was released through a small press. Self-publishing is very challenging, but I’m learning as I go and I have an enormous support group of other authors to help with advice. I really wanted to be able to put my work out much faster than the Big Five does. The once-a-year or longer schedule doesn’t work for me.

What do you consider the most important part of a good story?

That would be character for me, hands down. I have to care about the people I’m reading about. I find character driven stories to have more depth, but coming from a stage background and building my own characters for so many years, it’s a natural progression.

What is your writing process?

I like to have music playing. I have my study set up so I’m very comfortable and don’t have an excuse to wander away for whatever reason. That includes a nice executive chair with a footstool under my desk.

How long have you been writing?

I tried my hand at a play back in 2000. It was awful, so I rewrote it as a screenplay in 2004. It was better, but I didn’t do anything with it after editing. In 2010, I got the idea to write my first novel, Relics. So only a few years for writing novels. But as an actor I wrote many character studies and backstories, so that sort of work I did for ages. I just never formally considered myself a writer until 2010, when I wrote my book.

How did you get started writing?

The characters made me do it! They sprang to life in my head and I thought it might be fun to try. I mean, you never know if you can do something until you try. So I did. And so far, I’ve had a blast and I’m actually getting my work out there.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a total pantser. I have a general idea where I want to end up, but I work organically to let the characters get me there. It doesn’t always go exactly where I plan, either.

 What part of the writing process is the hardest for you?

The marketing. It can be daunting and exhausting, trying to come up with ways to get my work seen.

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

Interesting question. I’m not sure I believe in writer’s block.

I think some people might not be happy with the direction something is going, or maybe they aren’t sure exactly how to get to where they want to go. But real writer’s block, as in “I cannot write anything”? There could be a lot of different reasons someone might not be writing, but a true block? I sort of doubt it.

The trick is to not let yourself get eaten up with excuses and procrastination and just write that first sentence down! Any old sentence will do. It doesn’t have to be good. But make yourself get in there and write, no matter what. You can go back and fix it in the next draft, but don’t let yourself fall into the trap of saying you have “writer’s block.” Self-fulfilling prophecies and all. J I tell my students that with regards to creating art, there is no such word as “can’t,” only “won’t.” People get too hung up on trying to make it perfect the first time and that’s not going to happen. Just put those words down and fix them later. As you do that things will get easier and ideas will flow.

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

I listen to film and gaming soundtracks, classical music, anything without words to distract me.

Who is your favorite author?

I have way too many favorite authors to pick only one, but my two of my favorites are George R.R. Martin and J.K Rowling.

Who is your favorite character from a book?
Again, there’s no way to have one. I’m fascinated by what Martin is doing with the characters in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. I especially like Tyrion, Bran and Dani. And Arya. And…

 What is your favorite book?

Well, I’m sure you can guess I love the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series. However, also Harry Potter. They couldn’t be more different, though. And I don’t have a fave.

Read anything good lately?

I’ve read a lot of good books lately! Because I do a podcast where I interview a lot of authors, I read at least one of their books for their interview. One of my fairly recent faves has been The Aylesford Skull (Tale of Langdon St. Ives) by James P. Blaylock and Nightingale by Dave Farland. I’ve also read a ton of wonderful books by Indie authors and I encourage everyone to take a look at those. There is some excellent work out there.

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

Listen to music, watch TV. I’ve got a lot of shows I watch this season. Lots of cool fantasy and mystery stuff. J I enjoy hiking, when I can find the time. Oh, and I get to play with my dogs, who are my kids. Of course, they demand that daily.

What advice would you give an author just starting out?

Don’t stop. If you really want something bad enough and are determined to work for it, then stay the course and don’t let anything stop you – including you.

Have you had anything else published?

Relics, Book1 of The Thulukan Chronicles
“Ghost Memory” (A Thulukan Chronicles Story, #1)
“Unwanted Ghost” (A Thulukan Chronicles Story, #2)

What's your next project?

I’m writing the third book in the series, Magics. I’m not sure if this is the last one, but it brings major changes and challenges for my characters to overcome.

Kyra, again thank you for letting me stop by and visit!

You're very welcome, Maer, I was pleased to have you and I wish you the best of luck with your writing.

Maer’s Bio

After a successful career being other people, and later teaching others the many tricks of that trade, Maer Wilson has decided to be herself for a while. Turns out she's a writer. She's always loved stories, especially fantasy, mystery and sci fi. Maer was born in the Year of the Dragon and has a dragon-themed room in her home, but sadly no dragons in the back yard. When she's not writing, Maer plays online video games, teaches college and reads. She also co-hosts the literary podcast, MythBehaving and writes for two gaming fansites. Maer lives in the high desert of Southern Nevada with her two dogs, a chihuahua and a poodle. Portals is Book 2 in The Thulukan Chronicles. You can find all books and novelettes in The Thulukan Chronicles at Amazon. You can visit Maer’s website at

Maer’s Links

Maer’s Website:

Maer on Twitter:

“Ghost Memory” (A Thulukan Chronicles Story, #1) -

“Unwanted Ghost” (A Thulukan Chronicles Story, #2) -

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Book Review: Speaker For The Dead by Orson Scott Card

(The Ender Quintet #2)

Blurb: In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War.

Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening...again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery...and the truth.

I give it 3 stars

My review: Speaker For The Dead is a strange and powerful story about confronting truth and dealing with the cultural difficulties in trying to live alongside an alien species both similar to, and yet drastically different from, human beings.

Ender Wiggin seeks redemption for an action he carried out as a young boy. Thus he travels across the galaxy, speaking for the dead, telling the truths of their lives, and forcing those left behind to reevaluate their own views.

Novinah seeks to be punished for a death she believes herself responsible for. In a desperate attempt to prevent more death, she drags herself and those she loves into a miserable life filled with secrets and hate.

When Ender arrives on Lusitania to speak a death, he finds himself drawn into not only the lives of Novinah and her family, but also those of the planet's native inhabitants, the pequeninos. What follows is a journey of discovery, pain, and healing, with a profound message of love and understanding.

This a story about looking beneath the surface in order to see the ties that bind all intelligent life to one another, no matter form that life might take.

Fans of Ender's Game will find Speaker For the Dead to be a very different sort of book, but one they may well come to love as much as the first book in The Ender Quintet.


Flash Fiction Challenge

Welcome to part four of Chuck Wendig's five part flash fiction challenge. In this challenge we're supposed to add two hundred words to a story started by someone else until we reach a thousand word story. Here's my contribution for the week.

                                                                            (Paul  J.Willet)

The first time I saw it snowing in Los Angeles it was the sixth day of a three-day juice cleanse. Snow was definitely not something one normally saw down in the basin, at least, not then.

Because of my need to purify my body and aura, the news and media, filled with nothing but anger and pain, had been cast away along with the other toxins. My base aural color had always been a lavender or sky blue. Recently though, it had started to get muddied and dark. I would have thought my third eye would have seen the unusual weather coming, but it didn’t, so I was caught off guard.

When I first saw the falling flakes I thought I might have overdone the cleanse. Last time I had seen Elvis riding an ostrich on the seventh day. My transmundane counselor had resolved the issue with some orange juice, chocolate, and a sandwich, but that solution didn’t work on the weather. It was still snowing on the pier.

In Santa Monica we only got three inches, but of course it was more than enough to spread gridlock all the way to Riverside. Then, of course, things got much worse.

                                                                         (Michael D. Woods)

Wolves sprinted northward along the shoulder of the Interstate. Spectral at first, their forms quickly firmed from fog to massive, grey-white beasts, all fur and fang. Screaming people climbed from cars and ran eastward, away from the pack. The pack, on the other hand, paid little mind to the panicked masses.

I finished my sandwich, tipped back the last of my orange juice, and glanced over longingly at the waiting chocolate. Damn it. Opening the car door, I stepped out and manifested my Third Eye. My gaze followed the wolves, past the traffic, beyond the mundane. And there, further north, a silver radiance fluoresced from sky to soil, the obvious beacon guiding the will of these dire wolves.

Gridlock held my Taurus in its palsied grip so I opted for a more direct mode of travel. Delicately, I pulled along the seam of my own aura. With practiced ease, I unthreaded the edge and stepped beyond it into–

My third eye slammed shut, transcendental tears splashing my cheeks. Before me, what had once been a paradise of color and fragrance was now a blighted wasteland of ash. And in the distance a brilliant wound ripped the world from Heaven to Hell.

                                                                                         (Liz Neering)

The wolves were moving towards the rift. With my newly clear vision I saw the beasts for what they were: I saw them in all their terrible glory, fearsome and monstrous and beyond mortal comprehension. Their spirits resonated with my own, their primal power dragging me, and the aura around me, back into darkness. I gasped for breath, but nothing came; it caught in my throat, hard as a stone.

I walked on.

With each step my legs felt weaker. I looked back, only to see my footprints were unsteady, of varying depths and direction. I looked back to the rift, attempting to regain my bearings. But the rift had shifted, now, its silvery light coming from somewhere else altogether. I stopped, then turned to each point of the compass, making my signs of respect and power each time. At first the familiarity of ritual calmed me. But my troubled aura confirmed what I already knew.

I was lost.

I heard the howling of the wolves around me, harsh and cold and wind. Snow flurries kicked up at the sound of their voices. Winter closed around me, and true darkness followed close behind.

                                                                                  (my contribution)

With my mundane senses in a whirl, I had no choice but to force my third eye to reopen.  A sharp lance of red-tinted pain shot through my head, but gradually the world around me came into focus.  Once it did, I almost wished to close my eye again and reside in darkness once more. Better that than to continue staring into the grinning visage of a wolf which was not a wolf at all.

Oh, it still looked like a wolf, for the most part, only it kept shimmering to show me glimpses of something otherworldly beneath the guise. Something ghastly. But though I was desperate to look away, I dare not.  I had the feeling if I showed the least hint of weakness the grinning monstrosity before me would gladly rip my head off.

I mentally chanted a mantra for peace and serenity, drew my aura more tightly around myself, and stood to face the beast. If I was going to die in that place then at least I could do so on my own two feet and with some dignity.