Author Spotlight

Introducing Born In A Treacherous Time by Jacqui Murray

I am delighted to help Jacqui celebrate the release of her latest novel Born in a Treacherous Time. I would highly recommend visiting Jacqui’s post, where she has provided a schedule for the blog hop (here). You will find a lovely interview here, and a review of the book here.

I have my copy, and will provide a review within the next couple of weeks. I can’t wait to join Lucy and her band on their adventure!

Find out more about the book, including an excerpt, below.

born in a treacherous timeBorn in the harsh world of East Africa 1.8 million years ago, where hunger, death, and predation are a normal part of daily life, Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive. It is a time in history when they are relentlessly annihilated by predators, nature, their own people, and the next iteration of man. To make it worse, Lucy’s band hates her. She is their leader’s new mate and they don’t understand her odd actions, don’t like her strange looks, and don’t trust her past. To survive, she cobbles together an unusual alliance with an orphaned child, a beleaguered protodog who’s lost his pack, and a man who was supposed to be dead.

Born in a Treacherous Time is prehistoric fiction written in the spirit of Jean Auel. Lucy is tenacious and inventive no matter the danger, unrelenting in her stubbornness to provide a future for her child, with a foresight you wouldn’t think existed in earliest man. You’ll close this book understanding why man not only survived our wild beginnings but thrived, ultimately to become who we are today.

This is a spin-off of To Hunt a Sub’s Lucy (the ancient female who mentored Kali Delamagente, the female protagonist).

Kirkus Review:

“Murray’s lean prose is steeped in the characters’ brutal worldview, which lends a delightful otherness to the narration …The book’s plot is similar in key ways to other works in the genre, particularly Jean M. Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear. However, Murray weaves a taut, compelling narrative, building her story on timeless human concerns of survival, acceptance, and fear of the unknown. Even if readers have a general sense of where the plot is going, they’ll still find the specific twists and revelations to be highly entertaining throughout.

A well-executed tale of early man.”

–Kirkus Reviews

Click here for the entire review

An early reader’s review

Born in a Treacherous Time sheds light on a period of time that gave birth to the human race, and allow us to bear witness to the harshness and tenacious spirit that is uniquely human—to survive and endure. Readers with a thirst for knowledge and who enjoy historical fiction, this is a must read. I am looking forward to reading book 2 when it is published.

“I devoured the book in 2 sittings.”

–Luciana Cavallaro, author of Servant of the Gods series and webmaster of Eternal Atlantis

series logo born in a treacherous time

Book information:

Title and author: Born in a Treacherous Time

Series: Book 1 in the Man vs. Nature series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Cover by: Damonza 

Available at: Kindle

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Wild seriesShe is also the author of over a hundred books on integrating technology into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

Social Media contacts:

http://twitter.com/worddreams

http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

https://worddreams.wordpress.com

https://jacquimurray.net

 

Excerpt

Chapter One

Lucy Leaves Her Homeland

The scene replayed in Lucy’s mind, an endless loop haunting her days and nights. The clear sun-soaked field, the dying Mammoth, the hunters waiting hungrily for its last breath before scavenging the meat, tendons, internal organs, fat, and anything else consumable—food that would nourish the Group for a long time.

But something went horribly wrong. Krp blamed Lucy and soon, so too did Feq.

Why did Ghael stand up?  He had to know it would mean his death.

Lucy wanted to escape, go where no one knew what she’d done, but Feq would starve without her. He didn’t know how to hunt, couldn’t even tolerate the sight of blood. For him, she stayed, hunting, scavenging, and outwitting predators, exhausting herself in a hopeless effort to feed the remaining Group members. But one after another, they fell to Snarling-dog, Panther, Long-tooth Cat, Megantereon, and a litany of other predators. When the strangers arrived, Feq let them take her.

By this time, Lucy felt numb, as much from the death of her Group as the loss of Garv. Garv, her forever pairmate, was as much a part of her as the lush forests, Sun’s warmth, and Snarling-dog’s guidance. Now, with all the other deaths, she could leave his memory behind.

Forests gave way to bushlands. The prickly stalks scratched her skin right through the thick fur that layered her arms and legs. The glare of Sun, stark and white without the jungle to soften it, blinded her. One step forward became another and another, into a timeless void where nothing mattered but the swish of feet, the hot breeze on her face, and her own musty scent.

Neither male—not the one who called himself Raza nor the one called Baad—had spoken to her since leaving. They didn’t tell her their destination and she didn’t ask, not that she could decipher their intricate hand gestures and odd body movements. She studied them as they talked to each other, slowly piecing together what the twist of a hand and the twitch of a head meant. She would understand it all by the time they reached wherever they headed.

It was clear they expected her to follow. No one traveled this wild land alone but her reasons for joining them, submissively, had nothing to do with fear. Wherever the strangers took her would be better than where she’d been.

Lucy usually loved running through the mosaic of grass and forest that bled one into another. Today, instead of joy, she felt worry for her future and relief that her past was past. She effortlessly matched Raza’s tread, running in his steps at his pace. Baad did the same but not without a struggle. His sweat, an equal mix of old and stale from the long trip to find her and fresh from trying to keep up, blossomed into a ripe bouquet that wafted over her. She found comfort in knowing this strong, tough male traveled with her.

Vulture cawed overhead, eagerly anticipating a meal. From the size of his flock, the scavenge must be an adult Okapi or Giraffe. Even after the predator who claimed the kill—Lucy guessed it to be Megantereon or Snarling-dog—took what it needed, there would be plenty left. She often hunted with Vulture. It might find carrion first but she could drive it away by brandishing a branch and howling. While it circled overhead, awaiting a return to his meal, she grabbed what she wanted and escaped.

Feq must smell the blood but he had never been brave enough to chase Vulture away.  He would wait until the raptor finished, as well as Snarling-dog and whoever else showed up at the banquet, and then take what remained which wouldn’t be enough to live on.

Sun descended toward the horizon as they entered a dense thicket. They stuck to a narrow lightly-used animal trail bordered by heavy-trunked trees. Cousin Chimp scuffled as he brachiated through the understory, no doubt upset by the intruders. Only once, when a brightly-colored snake slithered across her path, did Lucy hesitate. The vibrant colors always meant deadly venom and she didn’t carry the right herbs to counter the poison. Baad grumbled when her thud reverberated out of sync with Raza’s, and Cousin Chimp cried a warning.

Finally, they broke free of the shadows and flew through waist-high grass, past trees laden with fruit, and around the termite mound where Cousin Chimp would gorge on white grubs—if Cheetah wasn’t sleeping on top of it.

I haven’t been back here since that day…

She flicked her eyes to the spot where her life had changed. Everything looked so calm, painted in vibrant colors scented with a heady mix of grass, water, and carrion. A family of Hipparion raised their heads but found nothing menacing so turned back to their banquet of new buds.

As though nothing happened…

Lucy sprinted. Her vision blurred and her head throbbed as she raced flat out, desperate to outdistance the memories. Her legs churned, arms pumped, and her feet sprang off the hard earth. Each step propelled her farther away. Her breathing heaved in rhythm with her steps. The sack around her neck smacked comfortingly against her body. Her sweat left a potent scent trail any predator could follow but Lucy didn’t care.

 


Thanks for stopping by

Mel

Advertisements

To Hunt a Sub by Jacqui Murray

I was so excited about this post I dragged myself out of hibernation. To say it’s a pleasure to be part of Jacqui’s blog hop is an understatement. I’ve been waiting for the release of To Hunt a Sub for a while, so I’m going to leave you to soak up the details and head over to Amazon to get myself a copy.

But, before I go, I want congratulate Jacqui on her debut novel. She’ll be stopping by at some point today, so if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments. There’s nothing quite like the excitement of release day, so let’s commence with the festivities.

THAS-small [16806]

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

 A brilliant Ph.D. candidate, a cynical ex-SEAL, and a quirky experimental robot team up against terrorists intent on stealing America’s most powerful nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. By all measures, they are an unlikely trio–one believes in brawn, another brains, and the third is all geek. What no one realizes is this trio has a secret weapon: the wisdom of a formidable female who died two million years ago.

Quote from author:

What sets this story apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the captivating prehistoric female who unwittingly becomes the guide and mentor to Kalian Delamagente as she struggles to stop a madman from destroying her life.

Book information:

Title and author: To Hunt a Sub by J. Murray

Release Date: August 15, 2016 by Structured Learning

Genre: Thriller

Cover by: Paper and Sage 

Available at:

Kindle  August 15th

 Author bio:

jmm pic [16808]Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.


THAS-small [16806]Purchase Link



Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be catching up with all my friends over the next couple of days.

Mel

Review: Cadence of Consequences: The Chronicles of Xannia Series (Book 2) by M.J. Moores

I had the pleasure of reading Cadence of Consequences early, given that I was lucky enough to beta read the second novel in The Chronicles of Xannia series. To be completely honest, after reading the first, I jumped at the chance. You can read my review of Time’s Tempest here.

So, before I share my review of this great adventure, here’s a little more about the book itself.

TheChroniclesofXannia3_1400She risks losing her life above-ground, in the city she loves, and for what? Possibly harming the innocent if she remains hidden below…

Trapped in a foreign Underground world, Taya battles inner demons and alienation as the man she promised to protect… to love… remains firmly planted in the government’s cross-hairs; hell bent on fulfilling his destiny to change the world. Constantly accosted by a fanatic sect of the Followers of Light, praising her as a false goddess in a religion she never truly believed in, Taya searches for something to return a sense of meaning and purpose in her life. As her skepticism for the impending coup grows so too does Gerrund’s lack of trust, undermining not only her sense of self-worth but their ability to overthrow a corrupt government.

Even as Taya desperately works to establish a communication network spanning the Deserts in an effort to keep a promise she never should have made, her past interferes causing any sense of the future to spiral out of control. It is up to Taya to fix herself and her fractured relationships in order to embrace her destiny and help two very different men attempt to alter the course of history.

Cadence of Consequences – Review

In the first book of the series we were introduced to Xannia, and got a real feel for this new and exciting world. We joined Taya on an epic adventure as she led Dezmind and a group of his followers across the Deserts. We saw Taya use her expertise as a guide to keep the group alive, and learned the origins of Dezmind’s prophecy. These revelations led to a different fight for survival and culminated in an explosive finale – one which made Taya a target.

In Cadence of Consequences we journey with Taya below ground. Separated from Dezmind, lost and determined to return to her duties topside, Taya faces a multitude of challenges. This chapter in the series packs an emotional punch, which cements a reader’s loyalty to Taya and her friends. Not only does she suffer a crisis of identity, this sense of loss is exacerbated by a group of fanatics known as the Followers of Light. They plague Taya mercilessly, delaying her journey into a renewed sense of self.

Despite the turmoil, Taya’s true personality shines through and her skills are as admirable as ever. I particularly enjoyed the differing points of view within Cadence of Consequences; both the scenes in the Deserts, where a group remains, and of Dezmind’s own struggles in a changing world.

It is a story of unrest, fear and mistrust. But it is also a tale of love, discovery and Taya’s interminable strength. As a reader I was rooting for her. I’m drawn to the connection she has with Dezmind, and though the two are apart in this particular adventure, the author managed to show us the link they share in a variety of ways.

The pacing of the story is one which allows a reader to settle in and appreciate the journey. It’s a definite page turner, a book you’ll find hard to put down. As with the first in the series, Cadence of Consequences is a rollercoaster ride, and it is one which will stay with you. I can’t wait to join Taya and Dezmind for their next adventure.


Chronicles of Xannia Poster

Purchase Links:

Time’s Tempest

Cadence of Consequences

Excerpt – Cadence of Consequences

I float under a clear lid, in a sealed grey metal box filled with red-tinged water. Holding my breath, wanting desperately to feel the pain of my marks release, but my gills refuse to open. I heave my body around in circles as the metallic cuffs rip into the tender flesh of my wrists and ankles. A thick, muffled, tick-tick-tick ebbs through the water. I try kicking out with my bound feet to free myself. My heart pounds in my ears, even as the ticking echoes through my brain. My lungs burn.

A faint pin-point of light flashes somewhere above me. Help me! I scream in my mind. My neck goes limp; my chin drifts to my chest. Help me Four bubbles of air escape from my nose. The light disappears as the metal walls push in toward me

Gasping for air, I jerked backwards. The island stool fell away and I smacked my head on the edge of the breakfast bar as I crashed to the floor, cracking my hip against the stone floor.

I opened my eyes, but they refused to adjust; the room remained black. Grasping at the smooth floor, I pulled myself forward on my stomach until the glow from the timer on the coffee pot became visible through the pulsating ache above my right eye. My chest constricted against my lungs before I managed another gasp, taking in oceans of air. Great sobs wracked my over-taxed body. In the pool of dim light illuminating the kitchen floor, I curled into a ball and wept.

That feeling of helplessness and confinement clung to my skin like cobwebs. The nightmares were evolving and coming more often now. What hurt even more was the reminder of Gerrund’s words after leaving me alone in my new apartment for the first time: They found you once, theyll find you again. No amount of body art is going to change that. They know you.

He’d claimed that the Kronik’s Special Agents evolved from the CTF just as I had. That my employer’s knowledge of my actions, reactions, body language and vocal patterns made me easy prey in the wrong company.

Being abducted and tortured in the Warehouse showed that I wasn’t invincible after all… that maybe Gerrund and Dez had a point about it being safer for me to remain Underground – but the only things this cage reinforced were failure and susceptibility to the whims of others. The truth serum had been in my veins… if Gerrunds team hadnt saved me, could I have held out against it?

Sitting on the cold floor, against the half-wall of the kitchen island, I leaned my head back as the last remnants of tears dried in salty streaks along my cheeks. I sat there, in the dark, afraid to move and ignite an electric shock-wave in my head. My arms hung limp beside me, my legs at odd angles on the floor, as my breath came in shallow, uneven wisps.

I had no idea how long I’d been there. It was obviously still twilight, so I hadn’t slept for long – just long enough. The more time that passed, the steadier my breathing became. The longer I waited, the clearer my mind got; until a plan formed.

As my brain eagerly welcomed the onslaught of budding thoughts, the feeling slowely returned to my fingers and toes. This was what I was trained to do: identify the situation, analyse it, deconstruct it, and plan for the offensive.

I had to stop the dreams. If I didn’t, they’d kill me. I couldn’t go on like this. Its time to get mobile again gain some semblance of control. Reaching forward, I rested on my hands and knees before crawling into my bedroom.

I sat beside the nightstand with my back against the bed. Yanking the drawer out, I spilled the contents on the floor in front of me. My eyes finally adjusted to the dark. This simple function took three times longer than usual, and had never really worked since the nightmares started. My half-Talian abilities were rendered useless.

I sifted through the mess on the floor: pens, paper, a book, some loose hair clips, and a couple of small plastic containers… until my wrist bumped the empty bottle I searched for.


Melissa6 portrait - AM.J. Moores began her career as an English teacher in Ontario, Canada. Her love of storytelling and passion for writing has stayed with her since the age of nine. M. J. relishes tales of adventure and journeys of self-realization. She enjoys writing in a variety of genres but speculative fiction remains her all time favourite. M.J. is a regular contributor to Authors Publish Magazine and she runs an Emerging Writers website called Infinite Pathways where she offers editing services and platform building opportunities. Her debut novel Time’s Tempest is currently available in print and e-book with Book 2 launching September 28th, 2015.

Connect with M.J.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Sunday Spotllight: WR101 – Geoff Le Pard

sunday spotlight

This week at Writing Room 101, Geoff Le Pard popped in for a visit and shared a great article with us. Geoff just finished his book tour – My Father and Other Liars, and you can learn more about the tour and his new book, here.

The treatment of the adult orphan.

When I started writing My Father and Other Liars I had been thinking about the grieving process. My own father died in 2005 and, while his death came naturally as the end of a process the family lived through, I was intrigued by how the impact of grief worked. I vividly recall the moment I was told he had been diagnosed with cancer. I was sitting in my office, about 3.30 in the afternoon when the phone rang. Mum. She never rang me at work. I knew Dad was in for tests but her news hit me like a set of punches. It wasn’t a long call and by the end of it the initial shock became numbness. I sat staring at the conference table at the other end of my room and realised I couldn’t talk, not without breaking down. I was 47, head of this that and what have you and breaking down would have been embarrassing, humiliating. I got up, walked to the toilets and shut myself in a cubicle.

And that was it. An hour later I was off home to pick up the car and drive to my parents. From there on until well past his actual death a year later and well past the funeral I shed not a tear, felt rather divorced from all the emotion around me. He died in March 2005. In August I cried for the first time. I’ve had those tearing up moments since, never when I expect them and always difficult to deal with.

I talked to a friend about this, about how no one really seemed to understand this late flowering grief. He said something to the effect that being an adult orphan isn’t taken seriously. It’s expected, parents dying before their children. When that occurs at an expected age, people understand your loss, are sympathetic. But they expect you to be ‘grown up’ and ‘get over it’. Why? That’s what I asked myself. I read an excellent book ‘The Orphaned Adult’ by Alexander Levy. In it he takes a series of case studies to examine how grief impacts us as adults when we lose one or more parents.

I wanted to incorporate this theme into my book, since it was about fathers and my father’s death was still quite raw. My main character, Maurice Oldham is in his thirties and has lost his mother, blaming himself for her death. His father is also lost to him, but emotionally not because he’s dead. The book begins very shortly after Maurice finds his father – he believed him dead for many years – and he is angry and, in many senses, grieving for both parents. Finding his father alive robs him of his grief and that causes anger and a different grief in its own right. One of the themes throughout the book is how Maurice tries to come to terms with his father’s continued existence and the betrayals he feels at his father’s hands.

When Mum died five years later, the process was as erratic and difficult. I stood at the graveside and felt an awful heavy lump. This was truly it. Both parents had gone and the tangible connection to my past, my youth, my ancestry gone with it. I tried to bring out some of that in My Father and Other Liars, that linkage and to see in Maurice’s stuttering steps towards a reconciliation with his father the attempt to postpone that loss of one’s own living history.


my father and other liars

My Father and Other Liars is the second book by Geoff Le Pard. Published in August it is available as an ebook and paperback here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com


dead flies and sherry trifleHis first book, Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle can be found here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com


GeoffGeoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Sunday Spotlight: WR101 – Rose B. Fischer

sunday spotlightThis week at Writing Room 101 I shared a character interview with Aldra Malimore from Doubling Back – A story of Synn by Rose Fisher.

Doubling Back Part 1Doubling Back Part 2

Aldra Malimore’s hope for a career as a sorcery scholar is over. Now, she’s working as waitress in the capital city of Arcanion and trying to resist the strange pull she feels toward Sorrell DeGray. When she stumbles on a thief with advanced technology that mimics the behavior of Synn’s color magic, it’s Sorrell she must turn to. But will trusting Sorrell be a mistake or a new beginning?

Interview with Aldra Malimore (The Foxes of Synn)

Mel: You trained for several years as a sorceress, can you tell us about your experience?

Aldra: In the Northern Realms, you have to apply to one of the schools. There are seven.  If you’re wealthy, a teacher or mentor affiliated with one of the schools comes to you, or if you’re poor but really lucky, you can get a scholarship to live at the schools. I was fortunate because two of my parents are already sorcerers, so I had a mentor.   He taught me some things and helped me design a personal curriculum taking different classes at various schools.  I was also allowed to incorporate classes from Earth.  Sorcery is an interdisciplinary field.  You study magic and a variety of other things.  We know how the weather works, and chemical processes, and geology, and things like that. We can combine that knowledge with Colored magic to do things.  Lifespans are longer, especially among people who know magic, and that puts a different perspective on continuing education.  You have to be able to do a little bit of everything, including employable trade skills.  Magic doesn’t make money, though some well-known magicians have noble patrons. Most sorcerers have more learned skills than innate powers and abilities.

I guess we’re more “the people with special knowledge” than “the people with special powers” although we have powers that others don’t.  Witches have inborn powers to manipulate nature, so they don’t always need as much technical knowledge.

Magicians work in groups and there’s more of an academic emphasis than a standard “adventurer” one like your readers would probably expect.  The degree I have, called an Intermediate Holdership, typically takes between 8-10 years to acquire. It’s worth about as much career wise as an Associate’s Degree on Earth, and once you get it, you need a research grant and approval from one of the schools to go to the next level.

Mel: That’s quite an educational system. It has me all the more intrigued by the magic in Synn and the commitment to your craft. In Doubling Back you mentioned a few spells and, I’m curious, what’s your favourite?

Aldra: Synn has several different magic systems, so “spell” can mean a lot of different things. The main type of magic that’s really widespread is Color magic. That’s what you saw in Doubling Back. I have a hard time picking favorites, but in Color magic there are styles of spell more than stock phrases or rituals to perform.  A spell is like a painting or sculpture.  You learn the technical skills and history; you study memorable ones, but when you’re working with magic, you make your own.  I do have a few of my father’s spells that he let me modify for practice when I was younger.  I still use those because I’m sentimental, I guess. Usually that’s frowned upon, like plagiarism.   I like experimenting with combinations and incorporating woodworking.  One of my nephews does magic with words and runes.  It’s really interesting, older magic than the Color practices.

Mel: It does sound fascinating, but then, mastering Color magic must certainly have its challenges. You shared a little about the different ways to travel across worlds, one being by magic mirror. How does this work exactly, can you share anything about the fairies without giving too much away?

Aldra: Sure. The mirror fairies live in a transitional dimension that exists between Synn and other places. You can go in and out of Mirrorveld through a magic mirror, and once you’re there, you need to pay a guide to lead you to the right exit.  They don’t let very many humans in, and even foxes have to be vetted before we’re allowed to come and go freely.  My father, Thad, is friends with Nyx and Eos, the Queens of the Skies there, so we’re allowed more leeway, but the queens are not people you’d want to cross, so we’re always careful there.

Mel: In that case, I’d want you at my back if venturing to Mirrorveld! You’ve had various experiences in the past few years. What is the most memorable?

Aldra: Ummmmmmm…Honestly, the most memorable was getting mugged, because I didn’t even know I was being mugged until I was halfway on the ground.  But that’s probably not what you’re asking about.  I lived with a merchant family in the city for a while and learned their trade.  Worked on a riverboat.  I’ll go back to that someday.  Semi-dated a princess, memorable because it was horrid…

Mel: I get the feeling the less said about that the better! I’m sure those experiences influenced you, and it’s clear you feel a great deal of responsibility – especially when it comes to protecting people. Did your fathers influence this desire to make the world a better place?

Aldra: *laughs* The less said the better, though I’m sure someone will decide to write that story eventually.  Did my fathers influence my social concerns? Indirectly, maybe. My fathers are thousands of years old. They were all victims of exploitation when they were younger, and I think they feel like they’ve paid their dues and done their time getting involved in world affairs. For most of my life, we just lived on our mountain, visited the city once in a while, went shopping on Earth, and didn’t get involved in causes, because that’s how my parents want to live.  Micah used to be involved in the world-literacy movement in the more recent past, but he retired from it to build their magic greenhouse and help manage the Rangers who keep the family forests safe. Diana represents us in the Royal court during the summer and fall months, but that’s just a game to her. The only goal is to keep the family in a position where we have leverage with minimum involvement in any conflicts.  It’s all about maintaining equilibrium so we can be as non-involved as possible, and I think it’s boring.   Everybody else says “it’s not important as long as the family’s safe.” I can accept it from my parents.  They’ve all lost their families before.  Their priorities are different.  From my sisters, it’s harder to relate to.  Anyway, that’s not how I feel about it.  I don’t want anybody to suffer the way my parents suffered. I want to be involved.  I grew up with all these priveliges.  If I can help somebody, why shouldn’t I?  I want to contribue something meaningful to the world.

Mel: You’re right. Why shouldn’t you. I agree with that philosophy, and admire your commitment. The ability to absorb energy is a wonderful gift. I know you battle against the draw of shadow magic – is this a unqiue gift within the family?

Aldra: Thank you. Yes and no. Foxes are… Well, the only way I can think of to explain it is “energy vampires,” but that’s an oversimplification. We gain sustenance from intimate relationships and contact. The energy most foxes need isn’t just the color magic you saw me absorb; it has to be personal energy from another being.   Young kits get what they need from cuddling with their parents, but as we get older, most of us can only get it from sex.  Micah is part of a plant species that  absorbs ambient energy of all kinds.  Sunlight, colors, whatever’s there.  Its autonomic, similar to photosynthesis; he can’t pick and choose.  On Thad’s side, there’s a family gift for being able to draw shadow magic out of people who’ve been possessed, or release ghosts, but I’m the only one who can ingest the shadows or pick what magic I take in.

Mel: That sounds like a great deal of responsibility, and dangerous too. You’re all unique, which is a good thing, but it must be difficult not being able to change into a fox as your father and some of your siblings do. Do you gain support from your family?

Aldra: Some foxes can change and some can’t.  Some only have two forms; some have three.  Some have the upper body of a werefox and a fish tail like mermaids. I shouldn’t let it upset me as much as I do. It’s really not a big deal if I’m thinking clearly. The problem is, once I get upset, I’m upset about everything, and I think the reason it bothers me is that I have so little in common with my family. That is one of the most obvious things, but it’s a lot more about how we think differently and have different interests and  values.  I  feel like an alien speaking some strange dialect that only has minor similarities to whatever language they’re speaking. They’re wonderful people and great about practical help if you want to learn something or there’s a problem. There’s always someone to spy for your back you up in an emergency, but for anything emotional, I’m more likely to go to my wife — I mean, my girlfriend — I mean…okay, spoiler.  Sorry.  >.<

Mel: Oops, let’s skip over that part! I can relate to those feelings, even if I’m not a fox; all families are challenging! But I’m glad to hear you have someone to rely on for emotional support.


Next week on WR101 Geoff Le Pard will be guest posting – a stop he kindly agreed to make on his two week tour – My Father and Other Liars. Below you will find details of his schedule, and I highly recommend visiting.

Blog Tour 2 poster 2


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Character Interview: Aldra Malimore from Doubling Back by Rose Fishcher

I recently had the pleasure of reading Doubling BackA Story of Synn (The Foxes of Synn, Book 3) by Rose Fischer. Needless to say I loved the story, and fell for the charming and talented fox, Aldra Malimore. So imagine my excitement when I got to interview Aldra! Now I get to share that with you.

RBF_08-27-2015_3023RBF_08-27-2015_3024Aldra Malimore’s hope for a career as a sorcery scholar is over. Now, she’s working as waitress in the capital city of Arcanion and trying to resist the strange pull she feels toward Sorrell DeGray. When she stumbles on a thief with advanced technology that mimics the behavior of Synn’s color magic, it’s Sorrell she must turn to. But will trusting Sorrell be a mistake or a new beginning?

 

Interview with Aldra Malimore (The Foxes of Synn)

 Mel: You trained for several years as a sorceress, can you tell us about your experience?

Aldra: In the Northern Realms, you have to apply to one of the schools. There are seven.  If you’re wealthy, a teacher or mentor affiliated with one of the schools comes to you, or if you’re poor but really lucky, you can get a scholarship to live at the schools. I was fortunate because two of my parents are already sorcerers, so I had a mentor.   He taught me some things and helped me design a personal curriculum taking different classes at various schools.  I was also allowed to incorporate classes from Earth.  Sorcery is an interdisciplinary field.  You study magic and a variety of other things.  We know how the weather works, and chemical processes, and geology, and things like that. We can combine that knowledge with Colored magic to do things.  Lifespans are longer, especially among people who know magic, and that puts a different perspective on continuing education.  You have to be able to do a little bit of everything, including employable trade skills.  Magic doesn’t make money, though some well-known magicians have noble patrons. Most sorcerers have more learned skills than innate powers and abilities.

I guess we’re more “the people with special knowledge” than “the people with special powers” although we have powers that others don’t.  Witches have inborn powers to manipulate nature, so they don’t always need as much technical knowledge.

Magicians work in groups and there’s more of an academic emphasis than a standard “adventurer” one like your readers would probably expect.  The degree I have, called an Intermediate Holdership, typically takes between 8-10 years to acquire. It’s worth about as much career wise as an Associate’s Degree on Earth, and once you get it, you need a research grant and approval from one of the schools to go to the next level.

Mel: That’s quite an educational system. It has me all the more intrigued by the magic in Synn and the commitment to your craft. In Doubling Back you mentioned a few spells and, I’m curious, what’s your favourite?

Aldra: Synn has several different magic systems, so “spell” can mean a lot of different things. The main type of magic that’s really widespread is Color magic. That’s what you saw in Doubling Back. I have a hard time picking favorites, but in Color magic there are styles of spell more than stock phrases or rituals to perform.  A spell is like a painting or sculpture.  You learn the technical skills and history; you study memorable ones, but when you’re working with magic, you make your own.  I do have a few of my father’s spells that he let me modify for practice when I was younger.  I still use those because I’m sentimental, I guess. Usually that’s frowned upon, like plagiarism.   I like experimenting with combinations and incorporating woodworking.  One of my nephews does magic with words and runes.  It’s really interesting, older magic than the Color practices.

Mel: It does sound fascinating, but then, mastering Color magic must certainly have its challenges. You shared a little about the different ways to travel across worlds, one being by magic mirror. How does this work exactly, can you share anything about the fairies without giving too much away?

Aldra: Sure. The mirror fairies live in a transitional dimension that exists between Synn and other places. You can go in and out of Mirrorveld through a magic mirror, and once you’re there, you need to pay a guide to lead you to the right exit.  They don’t let very many humans in, and even foxes have to be vetted before we’re allowed to come and go freely.  My father, Thad, is friends with Nyx and Eos, the Queens of the Skies there, so we’re allowed more leeway, but the queens are not people you’d want to cross, so we’re always careful there.

Mel: In that case, I’d want you at my back if venturing to Mirrorveld! You’ve had various experiences in the past few years. What is the most memorable?

Aldra: Ummmmmmm…Honestly, the most memorable was getting mugged, because I didn’t even know I was being mugged until I was halfway on the ground.  But that’s probably not what you’re asking about.  I lived with a merchant family in the city for a while and learned their trade.  Worked on a riverboat.  I’ll go back to that someday.  Semi-dated a princess, memorable because it was horrid…

Mel: I get the feeling the less said about that the better! I’m sure those experiences influenced you, and it’s clear you feel a great deal of responsibility – especially when it comes to protecting people. Did your fathers influence this desire to make the world a better place?

Aldra: *laughs* The less said the better, though I’m sure someone will decide to write that story eventually.  Did my fathers influence my social concerns? Indirectly, maybe. My fathers are thousands of years old. They were all victims of exploitation when they were younger, and I think they feel like they’ve paid their dues and done their time getting involved in world affairs. For most of my life, we just lived on our mountain, visited the city once in a while, went shopping on Earth, and didn’t get involved in causes, because that’s how my parents want to live.  Micah used to be involved in the world-literacy movement in the more recent past, but he retired from it to build their magic greenhouse and help manage the Rangers who keep the family forests safe. Diana represents us in the Royal court during the summer and fall months, but that’s just a game to her. The only goal is to keep the family in a position where we have leverage with minimum involvement in any conflicts.  It’s all about maintaining equilibrium so we can be as non-involved as possible, and I think it’s boring.   Everybody else says “it’s not important as long as the family’s safe.” I can accept it from my parents.  They’ve all lost their families before.  Their priorities are different.  From my sisters, it’s harder to relate to.  Anyway, that’s not how I feel about it.  I don’t want anybody to suffer the way my parents suffered. I want to be involved.  I grew up with all these priveliges.  If I can help somebody, why shouldn’t I?  I want to contribue something meaningful to the world.

Mel: You’re right. Why shouldn’t you. I agree with that philosophy, and admire your commitment. The ability to absorb energy is a wonderful gift. I know you battle against the draw of shadow magic – is this a unqiue gift within the family?

Aldra: Thank you. Yes and no. Foxes are… Well, the only way I can think of to explain it is “energy vampires,” but that’s an oversimplification. We gain sustenance from intimate relationships and contact. The energy most foxes need isn’t just the color magic you saw me absorb; it has to be personal energy from another being.   Young kits get what they need from cuddling with their parents, but as we get older, most of us can only get it from sex.  Micah is part of a plant species that  absorbs ambient energy of all kinds.  Sunlight, colors, whatever’s there.  Its autonomic, similar to photosynthesis; he can’t pick and choose.  On Thad’s side, there’s a family gift for being able to draw shadow magic out of people who’ve been possessed, or release ghosts, but I’m the only one who can ingest the shadows or pick what magic I take in.

Mel: That sounds like a great deal of responsibility, and dangerous too. You’re all unique, which is a good thing, but it must be difficult not being able to change into a fox as your father and some of your siblings do. Do you gain support from your family?

Aldra: Some foxes can change and some can’t.  Some only have two forms; some have three.  Some have the upper body of a werefox and a fish tail like mermaids. I shouldn’t let it upset me as much as I do. It’s really not a big deal if I’m thinking clearly. The problem is, once I get upset, I’m upset about everything, and I think the reason it bothers me is that I have so little in common with my family. That is one of the most obvious things, but it’s a lot more about how we think differently and have different interests and  values.  I  feel like an alien speaking some strange dialect that only has minor similarities to whatever language they’re speaking. They’re wonderful people and great about practical help if you want to learn something or there’s a problem. There’s always someone to spy for your back you up in an emergency, but for anything emotional, I’m more likely to go to my wife — I mean, my girlfriend — I mean…okay, spoiler.  Sorry.  >.<

Mel: Oops, let’s skip over that part! I can relate to those feelings, even if I’m not a fox; all families are challenging! But I’m glad to hear you have someone to rely on for emotional support.

Thank you for talking to me today, Aldra. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning more about you, your family, and how things work in Synn. Taking the journey with you (in a manner of speaking) in Doubling Back was a pleasure.

So now it’s over to my readers, who I’m sure are as charmed by you as I am.

If you have any questions for Aldra, or indeed the talented Rose Fischer, please leave them in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Sunday Spotlight: WR101 – Charles E. Yallowitz

sunday spotlightThis week at Writing Room 101 I shared details of Charles E. Yallowitz’s latest release – The Merchant of Nevra Coil (Legends of Windemere Book 8).

merchant-of-nevra-coil

When the mischievous and random Goddess of Chaos gets angry, all of Windemere becomes her plaything.

It all starts with a collection of toys that have taken the populace by storm. People of all races flood the marketplaces to gather figurines of the champions whose adventures are starting to spread across the land. Stemming from the flying city of Nevra Coil, these toys bring with them a terrible curse: Fame. Every town becomes a mob of fans that hound their new idols and the delay is bringing the world closer to the hands of Baron Kernaghan. Perhaps worst of all, the creator of these toys forgot to include a certain exiled deity who is now out to earn herself a figurine.

Who would have thought a bunch of toys could cause so much trouble and lead to the breaking of a champion’s confidence?

SOUND EXCITING?
CLICK HERE TO GRAB IT ON AMAZON FOR $2.99!
ALSO ON GOODREADS!

If you would like to read the excerpt from Nevra Coil, please click here, to view the original post.

charles-e-yallowitzCharles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

BLOG: LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE
TWITTER: @CYALLOWITZ
FACEBOOK: CHARLES YALLOWITZ
WEBSITE: WWW.CHARLESEYALLOWITZ.COM

AND DON’T FORGET!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

CLICK HERE FOR THE $4.99 BUNDLE TO START YOUR JOURNEY INTO WINDEMERE!


Also on Writing Room 101:


Thanks for stopping by.
Mel

Sunday Spotlight: WR101 – Patricia Josephine

sunday spotlightI’m a little late with my Sunday Spotlight, at least in UK time. But it’s still Sunday in other parts of the world so that counts, right? Right.

This week at Writing Room 101 I shared Patricia Josephine’s latest release – Gabriel, which is book four in the Path of Angels series. I also shared a review of Gabriel.

PatriciaLynneAuthorPicPatricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn’t regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/plynne_writes

Website: http://www.patricialynne.com

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108938106639683446081/posts/p/pub

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/patricialynne07

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13460894.Patricia_Josephine

Path of Angels: http://www.patricialynne.com/path-of-angels.html

GabrielPoACoverThe end is in sight.

To stop Uriel from freeing Lucifer, Gabriel and his brothers must fall and go to Hell. It is a sacrifice Gabriel is not entirely ready to make. Will he fight alongside his brothers or forge his own path? There is only one choice.

Alexander doesn’t want to help Uriel nor does he trust him, but the angel has promised him a better life. He swore to protect Charlie, and he’ll do whatever it takes. When he meets the archangels and learns the depth of Uriel’s lies, he understands the true meaning of sacrifice. If there’s any hope of stopping Lucifer from being freed, Alexander, Charlie, Zephyr and Lake will have to get to Hell and help Gabriel and his brothers in the fight against Uriel.

The path is finally ending, but the price may be too high.


Also on WR101 this week, you will find a cover reveal of Alicia by Gloria Weber.


As this post is about spotlighting, it’s not too much of a divergence to shine a light on the winners of the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2015. I met some wonderful people on Saturday, and thoroughly enjoyed the day. I was nervous when I arrived,  but Sacha, the organiser of this fabulous event, gave me a big hug and I immediately felt at home. I’d already discussed my anxiety with Hugh, who took me under his wing – that’s the kind of man he is; warm, welcoming and generous with his time. He has a wonderful sense of humour, and together he and Geoff made me completely forget the nerves. It really was lovely to meet Suzie, Helen, Lucy, Marje, Esther, and Sue. So many wonderful people; my only regret is that I didn’t get the chance to completely catch up with everyone. I did get the opportunity to meet Conny in person, who I’ve shared many a chat with over at Weekend Coffee Share, which was a lovely treat.

So, check out Sacha’s blog, and her terrific committee members; Hugh, Geoff and Ali.

Here are the awards and the winners:

Services to Bloggers – Suzie Speaks

Funniest Blogger – Lucy (Blonde Write More)

Inspirational Blogger – Suzie Speaks

Informative Blogger – Sarah Hardy (By the Letter Book Reviews)

Best Dressed – Concierge Librarian

Best Overall Blog – Chris Graham (aka The Story Reading Ape)

Congratulations to all the winners.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Sunday Spotlight: WR101 – Celine Jeanjean

sunday spotlightI’ve been spotlighting indie authors on Writing Room 101 for a while now, and whether that is reviews, interviews, cover reveals or guest posts, it’s always a lot of fun. So, to draw attention to the wonderful authors who visit WR101, I decided to create a Sunday Spotlight here on my own blog.

This week Celine Jeanjean stopped by for an interview, and earlier today I posted a review of her novel The Viper and The Urchin.

PhotoCeline Jeanjean is French, grew up in the UK and now lives in Hong Kong. That makes her a tad confused about where she is from. During her time in Asia she’s watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat, lost her shoes in Vietnam, and fallen off a bamboo raft in China.

Celine writes stories that feature quirky characters and misfits, and her books are a mixture of steampunk, fantasy and humour.

To find out more about Celine or just to chat, visit  her on:

viper_promoBeing Damsport’s most elegant assassin is hard work. There’s tailoring to consider, devilish poisons to concoct, secret identities to maintain… But most importantly, Longinus has to keep his fear of blood hidden or his reputation will be ruined. So, when a scrawny urchin girl threatens to expose his phobia unless he teaches her swordsmanship, he has no choice but to comply.

It doesn’t take long for Rory to realise that her new trainer has more eccentricities than she has fleas. But she’ll put up with anything, no matter how frustrating, to become a swordswoman like her childhood hero.

What she’s not prepared for is a copycat assassin who seeks to replace Longinus, and who hires Rory’s old partner in crime to do away with her, as well. Rory and Longinus must set their differences aside and try to work together if they’re to stop the copycat. But darker forces than they realise are at play, and with time running out, the unlikely duo find themselves the last line of defence against a powerful enemy who seeks to bring Damsport to its knees.


You will also find recent reblogs; links to new releases such as Alex Hurst’s D.N.A, an illustrated serial novella; Natacha Guyot’s upcoming Talyn’s Heroic Journey in Farscape, and Nicholas C. Rossis’ Infinite Waters (a collection of ten speculative fiction short stories).

Earlier in the month, Phyllis Moore, author of the Pegasus Colony, stopped by for an interview, and Louise Findlay wrote a guest post (short story).

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Review: The Viper and The Urchin by Celine Jeanjean

viper_promoBeing Damsport’s most elegant assassin is hard work. There’s tailoring to consider, devilish poisons to concoct, secret identities to maintain… But most importantly, Longinus has to keep his fear of blood hidden or his reputation will be ruined. So, when a scrawny urchin girl threatens to expose his phobia unless he teaches her swordsmanship, he has no choice but to comply.

It doesn’t take long for Rory to realise that her new trainer has more eccentricities than she has fleas. But she’ll put up with anything, no matter how frustrating, to become a swordswoman like her childhood hero.

What she’s not prepared for is a copycat assassin who seeks to replace Longinus, and who hires Rory’s old partner in crime to do away with her, as well. Rory and Longinus must set their differences aside and try to work together if they’re to stop the copycat. But darker forces than they realise are at play, and with time running out, the unlikely duo find themselves the last line of defence against a powerful enemy who seeks to bring Damsport to its knees.

Review

The Viper and the Urchin is a thoroughly entertaining read; with intriguing characters, unique plot, and a world so vivid it springs to life from the page. There are laugh out loud moments, from the vain assassin who is obsessed with his own image, the smart-mouthed urchin with an attitude twice her size, and the clever machinist who is full of surprises.

The story follows Rory, an urchin who dreams of being the best swordswoman in the world, and Longinus, an assassin who values his reputation above all else. A fact which makes his secret all the more amusing; it has the power to ruin everything he holds dear. When Longinus’ path invariable crosses with Rory’s, the pair begin a humours adventure which is fraught with dangerous twists and intriguing turns.

The descriptions are wonderful. It is well written, and the pace never lets up. In a good way. It keeps those pages turning. My favourite part of the tale is undoubtedly the characters; each has a complicated history, which adds to the enjoyment and left me hungry for more. The friendship which develops between the two main characters is unexpected, and yet even this relationship is unusual. It’s what sets them apart.

I highly recommend this novel.


PhotoCeline Jeanjean is French, grew up in the UK and now lives in Hong Kong. That makes her a tad confused about where she is from. During her time in Asia she’s watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat, lost her shoes in Vietnam, and fallen off a bamboo raft in China.

Celine writes stories that feature quirky characters and misfits, and her books are a mixture of steampunk, fantasy and humour.

To find out more about Celine or just to chat, visit  her on:


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

The Darkest Tunnel

Find yourself in the Chaos

CrapPile

A blog about writing, society, and life itself

tonysbologna : Honest. Satirical. Observations.

Honest. Satirical. Observations.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Wrangling literary arts for writers: words for people!

Crazyforwords

Real. Happy. Foodie.

The Little Mermaid

MAKING A DIFFERENCE, ONE STEP AT A TIME

Planet Pailly

Where Science Meets Fiction

at Milliways with a pen

the writer's desk at the end of the universe

The Lonely Author

A quiet corner for writers to get inspired one word at a time.

The Opinionated Reader

I am as stubborn as it gets, but I'm a good soul...really...

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

The Writer Next Door|Vashti Q

Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Author, Horror, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Suspense/Thriller Short Stories & Articles

Jane Dougherty Writes

About fantastical places and other stuff

Julie Powell - Photographer & Graphic Artist

Creating & Capturing Life's Precious Moments

Author Don Massenzio

Independent Authors Unite!

Melissa Barker-Simpson

Multigenre Romance Author

Journey To Ambeth

by Helen Jones

Rachael Ritchey

Worlds of Fiction

Dr Gulara Vincent

Re-write your inner story to (re)launch your writing career

s o F a r S o S t u

Working It Out

Robin Gott

Artist, Actor och occasional blogger

yadadarcyyada

Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure

But I Smile Anyway...

Musings and memories, words and wisdom... of a working family woman

TanGental

Writing, the Universe and whatever occurs to me

Sincerely Kate

The Obsessive Blog of a Compulsive Pen Pal

Steve McSteveface

"just a guy, writing stuff on a blog - hoping that people will read it"

Judith Barrow

Writer & Author

Sue Archer

Wordsmith | Editor

Leisure Lane

A leisurely place to visit where anything is possible!

Planetary Defense Command

Defending the planet from bad science fiction

I came for the soup...

Nourishing the Faith, Arts, & Vision in The Creative Soul