“She might have exactly the power he needs…” The Forbidden Things Series by Nikki McCormack [Character Interview & Giveaway]

Dissident

“Dissident” (Forbidden Things #1) by Nikki McCormack

Published as… Epic Fantasy

Exile

“Exile” (Forbidden Things #2) by Nikki McCormack

Published as… Epic Fantasy

Apostate

“Apostate” (Forbidden Things #3) by Nikki McCormack

Published as… Epic Fantasy

A Chat with…Indigo

Bella: What is the name of the book where we’ll find you? Can you tell us a little about it?
Indigo: I can be found in all three books of the Forbidden Things series; Dissident, Exile, and the last installment, Apostate.

In the beginning of the series I am afraid to reveal my ascard power because my country, Caithin, fears and regulates it and I am in a precarious position in society due to my father who was put to death for treason when he tried to stop the slave trade. When that very power allows me to encounter a man from another country who needs help escaping his ascard prison in order to continue waging war against his emperor, I decide to take a chance and help him. In doing so, I open the door to discovering much more about my country, my power, and my capacity to love.

Bella: Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you fit into the story? What should we know about you?
Indigo: The story follows my journey of personal discovery and growth. I don’t always make the right choices, but I am determined and powerful and I always try to do the right thing if I can. That said, I will do almost anything to protect those who are most dear to me, even if it requires a small degree of moral flexibility.

Bella: What do you think of the author? Be honest. We won’t tell.
Indigo: Nikki works hard and tries to do well by us, though she has a definite feisty streak and can be easily distracted by other shiny characters at times.

Bella: How do you feel about the story you’re in?
Indigo: I love this story, though I do wish I knew how it ended at the beginning. There are some things I would have done differently. I suppose that is how life goes though. Hindsight is so much clearer.

Bella: Do you like being a character in the book?
Indigo: Most of the time I do enjoy it. The adventure. The passion. The wonderful discoveries. Other times things happen that are so very sad or painful and I can’t say I enjoy it as much then. I like to think we all learn and grow when bad things happen, but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way and I just have to be strong and move forward.

Bella: How do you see your future? Without giving anything away about the story, naturally.
Indigo: I will always try to use my power to protect the ones I care about and others who need protecting. I also love to learn and could see myself continuing to study my ascard ability, maybe even teaching others how to use ascard. I hope to find a place I can truly call home and I really hope that I will have my love at my side, but only time will tell.

Bella: What do you know about your author’s plans? Can we expect to see you in any future stories?
Indigo: I know this series was written as a trilogy. Now that all three books are out, I don’t know that I will be seen in any other stories. That said, I have caught Nikki thinking about us and our world a few times lately, so who knows. Anything could happen.

Bella: Let’s say they make a movie about this book. Who do you want to play you, and why?
Indigo: I think it would be a great opportunity for a lesser known Indian actress. I’m not Indian, but their skin tone is close to the skin tone of the Caithin people and I would love to see the diversity of the races in the book represented well in film.

About the Books

BOOK 1: DISSIDENT

Ascard power can strengthen, heal and create. It also has great potential to destroy, enough to topple entire governments. Indigo’s country places strict limitations on the use of ascard so she must channel her talents into the healing arts or risk severe punishment. An orphan from a disgraced family, trapped by her father’s treason, Indigo struggles to reclaim her place in a society that has driven her into an abusive engagement.

Then a mysterious stranger from a neighboring country contacts her using ascard. He needs help escaping his prison so he can bring an end to his emperor’s oppressive rule or die trying. His unshakable devotion to his cause and the passion hidden behind his cool arrogance move her to help him at the risk of being branded a traitor herself.

When the politics of society bring them together a second time, Indigo decides to use her growing powers to help him fight his war. If only she dared fight for her own future with such passion. Perhaps she can find the courage to do so by helping the man she has fallen for win his revolution. She might have exactly the power he needs to succeed.

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BOOK 2: EXILE

Yiloch, the newly crowned Emperor of Lyra, stands accused of arranging the assassination of the Caithin royal family. Torn between love for Yiloch and her close ties with the royal family, Indigo wants nothing more than to prove the accusation false, but the evidence puts the blood of the family on his hands.

Trying to protect the Lyran prince from the swift descent of Caithin justice, Indigo exposes the workings of an enemy who is willing to kill to protect his secrets. In desperation, she unleashes magic that sends Yiloch deep into the desert of Kudan before fleeing for her life. She must find him again to save his life as well as her own.

Betrayed by ally and by love, stranded by uncontrollable magic, Yiloch struggles to make his way back to the Lyran capital before Caithin can declare war, but standing between him and his empire is a lethal new enemy, wielding magic unlike anything his people have faced before.

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BOOK 3: APOSTATE

Being rejected by the man she loves hasn’t stopped Indigo from trying to save his country. Since her own country now sees her as a traitor, she must look elsewhere for help. While Yiloch rushes back to the capital to prepare his empire for battle against an enemy that appears untouchable, Indigo turns to the least likely place to build an army of her own.

The Kudaness, split apart by intertribal rivalries, are bound together in several things, not the least of which are their hatred of her people and their belief that using ascard is an affront to their gods. If she can convince them to excuse her those sins, she still faces the challenge of persuading them to go to war on behalf of their Lyran neighbors. Even if she succeeds, they must defeat a powerful army and then she will have to find a way to clear Yiloch’s name and prove to her country that she is no traitor.

And somewhere out there, Myac is still hunting them both.

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About the Author

Nikki McCormack Author Photo
Nikki lives in the magnificent Pacific Northwest with her husband, two horses, two cats, and one slightly crazy dog. She feeds her imagination by sitting on the ocean in her kayak gazing out across the never-ending water or hanging from a rope in a cave, embraced by darkness and the sound of dripping water. She finds peace through practicing iaido or shooting her longbow.

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“Good things come from unexpected places…” Good Things Anthology [Cover Reveal & Giveaway]

Genre: Urban Fantasy
To Be Released: August 18th, 2016
Good things come from unexpected places…
Magic and mayhem. Vampires and gods. Cops and werewolves. The binding thread of mysticism in the modern world and acts of kindness, small and large, random and focused. Join these ten authors as we travel through their worlds.
All of the author proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to the Random Acts Organization, sponsoring kindness throughout the world. This is not official Random Acts merchandise, but is a fundraising project under permission from the charity.

 

A. STAR (DIANTHA JONES)

Diantha Jones loves writing fantasy books filled with adventure, romance, and magic. She’s the author of the Oracle of Delphi series, the Mythos series, and the Djinn Order series (as A. Star). When she isn’t writing or working, she is reading or being hypnotized by Netflix. She is a serious night-owl and while everyone else is grinning in the warmth and sunlight, she’s hoping for gloominess and rain. Yeah, she’s weird like that.

 

ANGELA B. CHRYSLER

Angela B. Chrysler is a writer, logician, philosopher, and die-hard nerd who studies theology, historical linguistics, music composition, and medieval European history in New York with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm. She lives in a garden with her family and cats.

In 2014, Ms. Chrysler founded Brain to Books: the marketing promotional engine and online Encyclopedia for authors. A passionate gardener and incurable cat lover, Ms. Chrysler spends her days drinking coffee and writing beside a volume of Edgar Allan Poe who strongly influences her style to this day. When Ms. Chrysler is not writing, she enables her addictions to all things nerdy, and reads everything she can get her hands on no matter the genre. Occasionally, she finds time to mother her three children and debate with her life-long friend who she eventually married. Her writing is often compared to Tad Williams. Her influences are Edgar Allan Poe, The Phantom of the Opera, and Frankenstein.

 

J. KIM MCLEAN

Kim’ love of reading came after her mother introduced her to Tolkien and the Hobbit, followed by Lord of the Rings. She also lovingly blames her mother for her love of Science Fiction and Fantasy, thanks to being raised on Star Trek. Kim has always had a vivid imagination, but it wasn’t until she finished with graduate school (where she earned a Master’s of Science in Geology) that she found she could focus her imagination into creating her own characters and stories. Much of her writing has been for various play by email or forum role play universes, though Kim does hope this will be the first of many more stories she writes for publication.

When not writing, Kim can be found snowboarding, hiking, or doting on her furry beasts.

DARIEL RAYE

Dariel Raye is an award-winning author of powerful IR/MC (Interracial/Multi-cultural) paranormal romance and dark urban fantasy with alpha male heroes to die for and strong heroines with hearts worth winning. Her stories tell of shifters, vamps, angels, demons, and fey (the Vodouin variety). Dariel is currently writing three series: “Dark Sentinels” (wolf shifters), “Orlosian Warriors” (Vampire-like Nephilim), and “Gateway” (a crossover erotic paranormal suspense with romantic elements).

For more about Dariel, follow her blog or visit her website. She also publishes a new release newsletter. If you enjoyed this book, please post a review on review sites. You can also follow her and contact her on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

 

MIA DARIEN

Born a Connecticut Yankee in nobody’s court, Mia Darien grew up to brave snow and talk fast. She started reading when she was three and never looked back, soon frequently falling asleep with a book under her cheek. (Something she still does, though these days it?s her Nook as often as a paperback.)

At eleven, she discovered Night Mare by Piers Anthony and entered the world of grown-up fantasy fiction and it was all over from there. She started writing at fourteen, then met vampires as a teenager and the concept for what would become Adelheid was soon born. Epic fantasy remains her first love, but she enjoys writing whatever stories come to mind in any genre.

Now she loves both writing and helping her indie community with her freelancing. A geek till the end, she enjoys role-play by email games and World of Warcraft when she has the time. Married to her very own Named Man of the North, she lives with him, their mini-tank (also known as their son) and pets, who usually act more childish than the child.

 
ABIGAIL OWEN

Award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance author, Abigail Owen was born in Greeley, Colorado, and resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two adorable children who are the center of her universe.

Abigail grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. A fourth generation graduate of Texas A&M University, she attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.

 

CRYSTAL G. SMITH

Born a small town Missourian, Crystal grew up in a time where reading was used for her escape from the everyday worries of a young girl.  She then began developing ideas of how she would write a book and what she would do with her characters.  Soon, idea came to typewriter and then thankfully computers.

Her love of reading is not centered on one specific genre, but with her writing, she has a tendency to stay with the romance genre.  Whether it be modern day romance or paranormal romance, and a lot of steamy, she enjoys writing a story where characters find love in one another no matter how twisted their lives.

She has written several stories for charity to date and continues to write novellas and novels.  She is an indie author with a large imagination and even larger heart.  She is married with four children, (even though two of them have four legs).  She works full-time as a pediatric nurse and when she isn’t acting goofy with family, you can find her reading or writing.

 
KAT JAMESON

Kat Jameson has been having just plain wicked thoughts for about as long as she’s been writing, so it seemed like a very natural progression that the two would end up together. She is a woman who seems perfectly average on the outside, but believes in a great capacity for the power of love and the joy of sex and thinks constraints should be put on neither so long as everyone involved is happy. So that’s what she writes about.

 
CHRISTI RIGBY

Christi Rigby lives in Colorado with her husband and her two teen boys, rounding out the group is a bernese mountain dog and an old orange cat that can’t seem to sleep in the morning past the need for some kibble at 5 am, then returns to the bed after it has been vacated but the owners. She has written a number of short stories for publication and is working on her first book to be published. When she is not writing at a keyboard she is always writing in her mind, so to say writing is her real life over the job she holds would be a fair representation. An avid guide along the path to geekdom for her children and friends, she is a fan of comic books, any number of Science Fiction/Fantasy television shows and movies, computer and console gaming, and just about anything Scandinavian or British Isles in nature. One day she hopes that her choice to make writing her life will lead to a visit to the Isle of Man.

 

JESSICA NICHOLLS

Jessica Nicholls is originally from Northern Illinois. She lived in the Northwest of England for just over ten years, where she studied and had her children. Jessica still lives overseas with her husband and two school age kids. Running, reading and watching films are her favourite hobbies. She loves spirits, passionate love stories, vampires, shape shifters, mythology and almost anything historical. The most important thing for her is for a story to feel real, something to genuinely escape into. Writing the type of stories she would enjoy reading is a passion.

 

“What will save Eirwen?” Eirwen’s Dream by Kristen Reed [Book Blitz]

Eirwen’s Dream: Inside Snow White’s Sleeping Mind

“Eirwen’s Dream: Inside Snow White’s Sleeping Mind” by Kristen Reed

Published as… Fantasy

About the Book

Three months after her father’s death, Princess Eirwen, affectionately nicknamed Snow White, is preparing to become the Queen of Talfryn. Unfortunately, as the princess rises in power and beauty and her love for Prince Roderick blossoms, envy drives her stepmother, Nerys, mad. The widow poisons her stepdaughter with an apple on the eve of her coronation, sending the princess into a dream like none she’s ever had before.

In Eirwen’s Dream: Inside Snow White’s Sleeping Mind, the fair princess sets off through the fantastical realm of Edwig with only a dwarf at her side to face trials and defeat a nefarious queen who acquires her power by bathing in the blood of virgins. However, what will save Eirwen from the poison running through her veins in the waking world, where there is no power in true love’s kiss?

Buy the Book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or iBooks

About the Authors

Kristen Reed Author Photo
Kristen Reed, a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, is an artist, filmmaker, and author from Dallas, Texas. As a Christian, her faith heavily influences her writing and is the driving force in her life.

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“These are real stories, gritty and true…” Code Name: Papa by John Murray [Excerpt]

Code Name: Papa

“Code Name: Papa” by John Murray

Published as… Thriller/Memoir

John Murray’s Excerpt

After a nice little walk, talking all the way, we came to the study. The butler opened the doors for us, and then quietly closed them behind us.

Panicking a bit, I blurted out, “Jake, just who in the hell are you?” He calmly replied, “It’s not who I am; it’s who my father is.”

I took a deep breath and asked Jake for a drink; he asked what I wanted and I said a Jack and coke with one cube of ice. Bill wanted a beer. As Jake fixed the drinks, it dawned on me that in every room in the house, there was someone available to wait on us, but not in the study.

We made small talk while sipping our drinks. At precisely three p.m. by the clock on the wall (and not by my watch because I had a weary old Timex), the big doors opened and Jake’s father walked in. Smiling, he asked how our stay had been. Jake asked his father if he could fix him a brandy. He replied, “Yes, I’ll have a brandy, very small.”

I noticed all the bottles at the bar were top of the line brands. Other than the Jack Daniels, I’d never heard of them. But the brandy Jake’s father asked for was Christian Brothers that struck me as odd given how inexpensive it was compared to the rest.

Jake’s father began talking about the day he’d received word from me about my injuries, where I was, and how I needed help to get home from Japan. Other than this brief review, he spoke about nothing out of the ordinary.

Finally, he said, “Gentlemen, what I’m about to discuss with you must remain within these four walls. If you disagree or do not want to be any part of it, or have no desire, I demand our conversation be left here. Do you agree to that?” Of course, we agreed. I briefly glanced over at Jake, trying to pick up if there was something I could get from his expression, but there was nothing. He did the same thing as we did: He just looked directly at his father.

His father continued, “There is an organization, and my position in the organization is second in command, and this organization is what you might call ‘peacekeepers.’ We are not soldiers of fortune; we work within the confines of the United States government. You might say we’re legal on one hand and illegal on the other. You will never, if you choose to become a part of this, receive a paycheck from the U.S. government, but you will be paid and paid well through a dummy corporation. My son Jake will hopefully be able to be the front man for your group. If you choose to join us, there is a lot of training involved. It will consist of four months of physical and mental training— and I do mean training. You will see and do things you’ve never done or heard of before in your entire lives. is work will involve going after people who are a threat to national and international security. Your wives, your children, and your best friends will never be able to know what you do for a living.”

“Now Bill, you’ve already been set up because you now, through my help and in other ways unknown to you, have a logging company. Your company is a cover.”

Turning to me, he said, “Your cover is yet to be determined. It probably will involve many things. Possibly we’d set you up in real estate, because that’s an avenue that might free you up to move at a moment’s notice without arousing suspicion. (It turned out, however, Papa decided my cover should be that of a construction engineer, hired by a European firm.) Jake, you already have an avenue; you’re an attorney.” I don’t know why, but Jake’s father’s statement shocked me with this disclosure. Who knew?

Looking at us very intently, he asked, “Does anyone want to leave before I proceed further?”

About the Book

After a lifetime of working for a secret international group, John Murray finally reveals his journey with the help of his wife, Sharon, and co-writer Abby. His memoir, Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight, details his time within an organization that, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government.

“With this book, I hope to educate the public and open up the conversation about what our country and others have really done on dangerous secret missions to help the world,” says John Murray (Papa), who deftly tells his fascinating and memorable life story, laying out facts but leaving it to readers to determine how they feel about each mission.

The highlighted missions include the deaths of eight counter covert operators in a major Las Vegas hotel conference room during a mission that has “stayed in Vegas” until now; a European mission to save sex slaves from major drug dealers; a successful all-out effort to save a small European country from takeover, and much more.

These are real stories, gritty and true—not the fantasy world of James Bond, Scandal, and others.

Synopsis:

Who’d have thought a bright, but fairly ordinary young man from middle class America who got just above average grades, dated the same girl throughout high school and went to church most Sundays, would grow up to eventually head a very secretive band of brave individuals–both men and women–who regularly put their lives on the line because they wanted to protect the rest of you. Yet that’s what we did, often sacrificing our personal lives (four marriages for me, all in the book) and our health (countless broken bones, major surgeries, even death) to do it.

Meanwhile you’re just going to have to call me “Papa” like everyone else around the globe has through most of those wildly unpredictable and dangerous years.

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About the Authors

For the sake of their own safety and that of their loved ones, the writers have chosen to move forward in revealing this story under aliases.

John Murray:

A Vietnam vet, John Murray, later known as “Papa,” has spent the majority of his adult life working as an undercover agent for the U.S., Canadian and various European governments. During this time, he rose from agent to the head of US Operations.

John was raised in the South by his grandfather who taught him at an early age how to survive by hunting and fishing, which all served him well for his future. He firmly believes that if he had not had the guidance of his grandfather and others who influenced his life that he never would have survived the ordeals that he did.

John, who enjoyed a very average American childhood, always wanted to be a ‘normal’ husband and father, but you’ll eventually understand why that was impossible.

Papa and his crews bore the responsibility of taking care of much of the world’s evil – evil that could never have come to the public’s attention.

Now retired, he and his wife are living in a small rural Western town. As ‘normal’ as he tries to live, he will always be haunted by the visions of what he saw and what he tried to prevent or rectify.

Sharon Murray:

Sharon is a retired business executive who has lived in many parts of the US and in Asia.  Happily married to John for over five years, she had no idea about his work until she experienced his nightmares about the past.

After discussions about how she might help John, he asked Sharon to help him write his memoirs just as something to leave behind, unpublished. After several years of working on them, Sharon convinced John it was a story worth telling to the world.  Working on this project has helped John start to face some of the things he experienced while trying to be a good guy in a world gone awry.

Abby Jones:

This is Jones’ fifth book.  She also writes for numerous magazines.  The original manuscript was handed off to Abby, a friend of Sharon, who has a reputation for her easy, conversational writing style.

Abby worked with John and Sharon for approximately eighteen months to make sure John’s voice was never lost in the rewrites.  She notes that both John and Sharon were wonderful to collaborate with via phone, computer and text.  By the way, she has never met John!

Abby currently lives on the West Coast. She has traveled extensively and lived in many other parts of the US as well as in Europe.

Code Name: Papa—My Extraordinary Life while Hiding in Plain Sight is the first in a planned trilogy. John, Sharon, and Abby are currently working on the second book, about Papa’s mentor, Amy.

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“…a civil war that will literally bring about Hell on earth.” Prophet of Chaos by J. Hamlet [Character Interview & Giveaway]

Prophet of Chaos

“Prophet of Chaos” by J. Hamlet (Chaos Theology #2)

Published as… Dark Fantasy

A Chat with…Derek Watts

Bella: What is the name of the book where we’ll find you? Can you tell us a little about it?
Derek Watts–Enchanger, Sort of: You can find me in Prophet of Chaos. For most of the other people in that story, it was just a continuation of more of the same. Maybe a little bit more hairy and violent than their usual, but not too much above and beyond what they’re used to dealing with. At least, not until the end. No one expected the kind of insanity that came out then.

For me, though? It was the end of everything I knew and the beginning of a whole new life. I walked into those events in a fog, thinking I knew who I was and what I was about. I was a graphic designer with a boring but well­paying job. First world problems, I know. Afterwards, let’s just say I’m a new and different man. If you can even call me that anymore.

Bella: Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you fit into the story? What should we know about you?
Derek Watts: I grew up in the suburbs of Philly. My dad was a composer, so I come from a bit of an artistic background. I lost my mom early on, but the circumstances around that ended up being more complicated than I’d originally thought. After a bad run­in with the police, I played it safe most of my life. My dad took me to this therapist who did something to me, something I’m just now beginning to understand. I wouldn’t call it brainwashing, but it was definitely a mind­trick that kept me from knowing a piece of myself, a piece of myself that was dangerous. I had gifts for calling on supernatural, occult powers. Specifically, I could enchant things. The therapist, a practitioner herself, ensured that stayed buried for as long as it could.

Nothing’s ever permanent though. As much as that part of me was held deep down inside, it wanted to come out. It did, and it attracted the notice of some bad people.

A Demon­worshipping cult wanted to kidnap me and force me to use my powers to finish a weapon they were building, one that would make it a lot easier to bring Demons over into our world. Thankfully, there were some people who tried to look out for me and protected me. One of them was Nathaniel. They called him the Prophet. He was the one who did the most to protect me from harm. He was also the one who taught me the truth about myself. I even left out the part about the Muse that visited me, the High Artisan of Limbo herself, but that’s a whole thing I’d rather not get into. It’s private.

Nathaniel and I wandered all over DC, trying to hide from the people hunting me and trying to get me to safety. Nathaniel knew what would happen if they got their hands on me. They called him the Prophet for a reason, and he saw a dark future if he failed to protect me. One where my powers would complete their weapon. I don’t even want to talk about what they planned to do with it.

Bella: What do you think of the author? Be honest. We won’t tell.
Derek Watts: He’s long­winded. And sadistic. Neither of those worked out very well for me. The shit he put me through was unbelievable. I mean, I understand that there were truths I needed to learn about me, about who I am. What I am. But did he have to send a group of armed cultists after me who also happened to be skilled at black magic? I mean, there had to be a more delicate way for all of that to go down. To start with, he sent some guy who mutated his body with Demon blood. Disgusting, and terrifying. Then there was another guy who could summon Hellhounds and all sorts of unsavory shit from down below. I got the point early on: magic is dangerous. It can get me killed. He could’ve stopped there, but he had to keep throwing things at me and Nathaniel, each one worse than the last. There had to be a better way.

Bella: How do you feel about the story you’re in?
Derek Watts: It was a tough thing to get through. I don’t think I’ll be right for years after what I saw and what happened to me. And then there were all the people that died. Plenty of them deserved it, don’t get me wrong, but it was a brutal experience. In some ways, it could’ve turned out so much worse. Nathaniel told me all about that. His power of Prophecy showed him there were worse “versions,” as he called them. Maybe what happened to me, all that hiding and fighting and running, was the best possible version of what could have happened. At least I came out alive. The life I live now is so different than before. My powers, I’m learning to control them, to use them for something good. Even if those cultists made me do terrible things with them for the brief time they had their hands on me. I have to make sure something like that never happened again, that’s what this story told me.

Bella: Do you like being a character in the book?
Derek Watts: Everyone is a character in someone’s story, whether we want to admit it or not. Sometimes it’s about us, sometimes it’s not. I certainly wish this particular story had been about someone else, maybe someone stronger who could’ve rolled with the punches more. Maybe it could’ve been someone weaker, though, someone who would’ve cracked under the pressure. Maybe, like I said, it had to happen to me. It had to happen so I’d become more than I was.

Bella: How do you see your future? Without giving anything away about the story, naturally.
Derek Watts: As an enchanter, I can turn mundane objects into sources of arcane power or weapons. There’s clearly going to be no shortage of people lining up wanting me to do that for them. So far it’s paying a lot better than being a graphic designer, but I always have to worry about all the people that would just as happy to put me out of business permanently and with extreme prejudice. My life is more exciting now, what you’d call high­risk, high­reward, but I’m always going to be looking over my shoulder. There will always be threats, but there will also always be good people who need my help.

Bella: What do you know about your author’s plans? Can we expect to see you in any future stories?
Derek Watts: I’m sure the author, sadistic man that he is, isn’t done with me yet. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be too broken up about sitting a few volumes out if I have to, though. This work is exhausting.

Bella: Let’s say they make a movie about this book. Who do you want to play you, and why?
Derek Watts: Probably J. D. Williams or Maestro Harrell. Neither of them are exactly but my age, but they’ll do. I’m a huge fan of the Wire, even if I didn’t exactly grow up anything like that.

About the Book

Nathaniel is a man of many gifts. First and foremost is the power of Prophecy. Whenever he sleeps, he dreams of triumphs and tragedies alike, and how to either make them happen or prevent them. With that knowledge, he’s thwarted the world-shaking schemes of Angels and Demons alike. Not surprisingly, every elite agent of both Heaven and Hell are always hunting him, wanting to be the one to take down the notorious man known to most as The Prophet. He’s spent most of his life as a homeless drifter: hiding, dreaming, and passing along the intel from his revelations to those who can take actions, be they government agents, freelance wizards, or less savory occult figures.

Recently, he’s been plagued by a series of recurring visions that threaten to force him out of his shadowy life and into the spotlight. He’s seen the world ready to plummet into a new dark ages. A Senator with presidential aspirations is on one side, backed by the most ruthless of Heaven’s forces and seeking to transform the world into a brutal theocracy. A church of Demon-worshipping terrorists also stand ready to launch a bloody revolution through mass murders, demonic possession, and civil war that will literally bring about Hell on earth. Nathaniel stands in the middle, struggling to stop both sides from realizing their chosen versions of humanity’s future with everything in his mystical arsenal. And he can’t do it alone.

Buy the Book at Amazon

About the Author

J. Hamlet Author Photo
Everyone needs a hobby. And, like most people, I hope one day that my hobby will liberate me from my mind–­numbing day job. I chose writing. Not one of the easier ones. I chose it at the tender age of 14, churning out terrible science fiction novels that heaped on the cliches and barely hidden tropes of all space operas. Thankfully, those creations reside in the prison of an old Commodore 64 hard drive and several 3.5″ disks (kids, ask your parents) in a landfill somewhere. And, let me be clear, the world is better for it.

Along the way, I kept writing. Through college. Through grad school. Through the beginning of my career, such as it is. I like to believe I picked up skills. I wanted to write novels that had things I wanted to see. Hand of Chaos, my debut novel, brings together elements of a spy thriller and a police procedural with dark and urban fantasy. I followed that with Scarred Earth, a serial alien invasion novel I’m releasing entirely through tumblr. I’m probably going about this all wrong, but I don’t know any other way.

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Off Hiatus

Hello!

I have decided to not shut down the blog. I would still like to read and review, but I have decided to be more selective in the books I accept for review, my expectations, and what I accept for promo posts. So, to go with this new outlook, I’ve done some freshening up to the look and also updated the pages. 🙂

Thanks!

Bella

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“In Napa Valley, he who has the best grapes wins…” Crushed by Deborah Coonts [Character Interview & Giveaway]

Crushed

“Crushed” by Deborah Coonts

Published as… Contemporary Romance

A Chat with…Nico

Bella: What is the name of the book where we’ll find you? Can you tell us a little about it?
Nico Treviani: CRUSHED by Deborah Coonts. Yes, it’s a story about wine and love, two of my favorite things. A wonderful woman comes into my life, Sophia Stone, and she has cultivated some very unique grapes. And in Napa Valley, great grapes can bring out the worst in people.

Bella: Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you fit into the story? What should we know about you?
Nico Treviani: I’m a winemaker, by trade, quite successful at it, if you don’t mind a bit of bragging. But, my brother and I really were the team. My brother just died, you see. His daughters, thirteen-year-old twins, have come to live with me. I never had kids of my own, so things are a bit….crazy right now. And then, I don’t know if I can make good wine without Paolo—we balanced each other. Just when you think you have life figured out…

Bella: What do you think of the author? Be honest. We won’t tell.
Nico Treviani: Deborah? She’s nice enough. She let me tell my story, which I like. But she sure complicated my life, and just when I felt I’d hit my stride. Paolo and I were making incredible wine, life was going good. Then Deborah kills Paolo and life takes a ninety-degree turn. Change, it’s inevitable, I know, but couldn’t she have let me enjoy the smooth part for just a bit? And then, taking my brother away… I don’t like that at all. If you see Deborah, tell her that for me, will you? She broke my heart. But then, she did give me the girls…

Bella: How do you feel about the story you’re in?
Nico: It’s a wonderful story, evocative and sensuous…just like wine…and just like Sophia. Wine is about love, and friends, and family.

Bella: Do you like being a character in the book?
Nico Treviani: I’m a character in a book? I guess we each are the stars of our own lives. so, to the extent that’s what you mean, of course I like it. I’m made some choices I regret, born some burdens perhaps I didn’t have to, let a bit of the free-run juice slip through my fingers. But that’s life, right? The only real mistake is to not learn from your less than ideal choices. I try to do that. Men aren’t very self-aware or introspective. Most I know aren’t particularly interested in personal growth. I try to do these things. My mother, she is very strong and she has made my brother, my sister and myself.

Bella: How do you see your future? Without giving anything away about the story, naturally.
Nico Treviani: Complicated. I’m Italian, and surrounded by women—my mother, my sister, my nieces—need I say more?

Bella: What do you know about your author’s plans? Can we expect to see you in any future stories?
Nico Treviani: Oh yes, many more. The story of Napa, and of Sophia and her friends has just begun. The valley is a fertile place where money and ambition collide.

Bella: Let’s say they make a movie about this book. Who do you want to play you, and why?
Nico Treviani: Do people really think this way? I’m not a movie star; I’m a wine maker. But, to indulge you, whoever he is he would have to love children, find passion in life, be enamored of women, and appreciate the art of wine.

About the Book

In Napa Valley, he who has the best grapes wins.

And in the pursuit of perfection, dreams and hearts can be crushed.

Sophia Stone is a widow on the brink of an empty nest, stuck in an unsatisfying job managing the vineyard for a mediocre Napa vintner. Faced with an uncertain future she wonders how do you choose between making a living and making a life? Between protecting your heart and sharing it? Five years ago, after her husband was killed in an accident, Sophia put her heart and dreams on ice to care for those around her. Now her home, her dreams, and her family’s legacy grapes are threatened by the greed of the new money moving into the Valley. Sophia has a choice—give up and let them take what is hers, or risk everything fighting a battle everyone says she can’t win.

Nico Treviani has one goal in life: make brilliant wine. A woman would be an unwanted distraction. So, while recognized as one of Napa’s premier vintners, Nico finds himself alone… until his brother’s death drops not one, but two women into his life—his thirteen-year-old twin nieces. In an instant, Nico gains a family and loses his best friend and partner in the winemaking business. Struggling to care for his nieces, Nico accepts a job as head winemaker for Avery Specter, one of the new-money crowd. And he learns the hard way that new money doesn’t stick to the old rules.

Buy the Book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo or iBooks

About the Author

Deborah Coonts’ mother tells her she was born in Texas a very long time ago. Deborah isn’t so sure—her mother can’t be trusted. These things we are fairly certain of though: Deborah was raised in Texas on BBQ, Mexican food and beer. She is the author of WANNA GET LUCKY? a humorous romantic mystery set amid the glitz, glamor and gaudy of Las Vegas that was a NY Times Notable Crime Novel and double RITA™ Finalist and received several starred reviews as have the five sequels. CRUSHED the first novel in her Heart of Napa series is out now. Deborah can usually be found at the bar, but also at her website.

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“Aemilia takes up her own pen in her defense and in defense of all women.” The Dark Lady’s Mask by Mary Sharratt [Character Interview]

The Dark Lady’s Mask

“The Dark Lady’s Mask” by Mary Sharratt

Published as… Historical Fiction

A Chat with…Aemilia

Bella: What is the name of the book where we’ll find you? Can you tell us a little about it?
Aemilia: You’ll find me in the pages of Mary Sharratt’s brand new novel, THE DARK LADY’S MASK: A NOVEL OF SHAKESPEARE’S MUSE. Of course, I’m also mentioned in Shakespeare’s Dark Lady Sonnets, but Mary’s portrait of me truly brings me to life as a fully fleshed, nuanced woman, a poet in my own right.

Bella: Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you fit into the story? What should we know about you?
Aemilia: I was born in 1569, the daughter of an Italian court musician, Battista Bassano, who was a Marrano, a secret Jew living under the guise of a Christian. It broke my heart when he died. I was only seven. After his death, I was fostered and educated by Susan Bertie, the Dowager Countess of Kent, who I immortalized in my poetry as the noble Mistress of my Youth. Lady Susan gave me the kind of humanist education generally reserved for boys in my era. Thanks to her largess, I learned Latin and Greek, philosophy and rhetoric. My time with her at Grimsthorpe Castle was one of the happiest in my life. But then my Lady Susan remarried and moved to the Netherlands. As an orphan with no title or fortune, I didn’t have many prospects. As a girl I had no way of putting my education to use to earn a living. All I possessed were my youth and beauty.

So I became the mistress of one of the most powerful men in England—Henry Carey, the Lord Hunsdon, who was Lord Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth. As Henry’s paramour, I enjoyed a few years of glory in court where Queen Elizabeth herself made much of my beauty and accomplishments. But all this came to an abrupt and inglorious end when I found myself pregnant with Carey’s child at the age of 23.

Reader, he dumped me and pensioned me off at £40 a year, then married me off to a man of a similar class background to my own—a court musician named Alfonso Lanier who only wanted my income, which he then proceeded to waste. You can imagine my horror and despair.

But one day in 1593, when I was desperate enough to visit an astrologer to see how my destiny would play out, I chanced to meet a young, ragged, obscure poet called Will Shakespeare and that changed everything. What could keep us two outsiders from beginning a secret literary collaboration? Then the plague came to London and we ran away to Italy. The rest you can read about in The Dark Lady’s Mask.

Bella: What do you think of the author? Be honest. We won’t tell.
Aemilia: Mary Sharratt says it’s her mission is to write women back into history and she certainly did that for me. I was England’s first professional woman writer, Shakespeare’s Dark Lady, and the author of the ground breaking poem, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum, which is basically a vindication of the rights of women couched in religious verse, the only literary genre considered acceptable for women to write during my era.

Despite all my hard won achievements, I died in obscurity and my life and work were lost to history. Can you believe I was only rediscovered in the 1970s? Even now only a few English grad students and professors seem to know about me and what an important writer I was.

The Dark Lady’s Mask is aimed to make my life and work accessible to a much wider audience of readers so they will know why I matter. During my lifetime, I wrote praise poems to the women patrons who supported my literary career. The Dark Lady’s Mask is Mary Sharratt’s 397 page tribute to me.

Bella: How do you feel about the story you’re in?
Aemilia: It’s smart and thrilling, both literary, romantic, and fun. I get to cross-dress! I get to smoke a pipe and quote Kit Marlowe and exchange bon mots with Ben Jonson. But it’s also serious and insightful. I travel all the way to Italy to explore my father’s secret Jewish roots, a pilgrimage that takes me to the Venice Ghetto and beyond. It’s riveting to see my life spun out in all its tragedy and triumph. Even in the scenes of deepest betrayal, Mary lets me emerge as a strong and resourceful woman. She’s framed my life to make me a real heroine who survived all manner of misfortune and defamation and still emerged victorious.

Bella: Do you like being a character in THE DARK LADY’S MASK?
Aemilia: I was a so unjustly maligned in Shakespeare’s sonnets. He said my breasts were dun and my hair was like wires. Hell hath no fury like a bitter ex-boyfriend, eh? He even complained my breath reeked, as if he were one to talk! What a relief to have a sympathetic woman author turn my life into an epic novel. Finally I get to be the center of the story, not just a footnote in Shakespeare’s more famous narrative. This year the whole world is celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary with countless celebrations to honor his legacy. But what about his female literary peers? Why is it that so many people—including smart, literate people—struggle to name a single woman writer before Jane Austen?

Mary redresses the balance in The Dark Lady’s Mask. In her book, you’ll learn not just about me about other female poets of my age, such as my dear friend Anne Locke, who was the first person to write sonnets in the English language.

Bella: How do you see your future? Without giving anything away about the story, naturally.
Aemilia: After our break up, Will wrote those bitter sonnets about me and I can’t let him have the last word, can I? After having him call me his “female evil”? No, I’ll pick up my quill and write the most passionate poetry, not just in my own defense, but in defense of all women.

Bella: What do you know about your author’s plans? Can we expect to see you in any future stories?
Aemilia: Mary’s new novel-in-progress is about Alma Mahler who lived in a completely different era—fin de siècle and early 20th century Vienna. But interestingly there are many common themes. The young Alma Schindler yearned to be a composer in her own right and was making significant progress with her own music when the great Gustav Mahler fell in love with her. He made it a condition for their marriage that she give up her own composing to serve his greater genius, and she was so in awe of him that she agreed. This, of course, cast a dark shadow over their marriage and would haunt Alma for the rest of her days.

Bella: Let’s say they make a movie about THE DARK LADY’S MASK. Who do you want to play you, and why?
Aemilia: I’d love Andrea Riseborough to portray me. She has gorgeous, raven black hair so similar to my own, and she is such a sensitive actor who has done period pieces and Shakespearean plays. She was born to play a Jacobean poet and she certainly deserves much bigger roles. Jane Campion will direct it, for she’s both a poet and a crowned muse among the living female film directors. If I were alive I would write her praise poems!

About the Book

Shakespeare in Love meets Shakespeare’s Sister in this novel of England’s first professional woman poet and her collaboration and love affair with William Shakespeare.

London, 1593. Aemilia Bassano Lanier is beautiful and accomplished, but her societal conformity ends there. She frequently cross-dresses to escape her loveless marriage and to gain freedoms only men enjoy, but a chance encounter with a ragged, little-known poet named Shakespeare changes everything.

Aemilia grabs at the chance to pursue her long-held dream of writing and the two outsiders strike up a literary bargain. They leave plague-ridden London for Italy, where they begin secretly writing comedies together and where Will falls in love with the beautiful country — and with Aemilia, his Dark Lady. Their Italian idyll, though, cannot last and their collaborative affair comes to a devastating end. Will gains fame and fortune for their plays back in London and years later publishes the sonnets mocking his former muse. Not one to stand by in humiliation, Aemilia takes up her own pen in her defense and in defense of all women.

The Dark Lady’s Mask gives voice to a real Renaissance woman in every sense of the word.

The Dark Lady’s Mask will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Buy the Book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Mary Sharratt Author Photo

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“It’s not about the war.” AFTER: The Battle has Just Begun by RJ Belle [Author Interview & Giveaway]

 
It’s not about the war. It’s about the warrior.

 

Publication Date: March 6, 2016
Genre: Military Non-Fiction

Meet eight combat-injured men who sustained life-altering injuries. Read eight inspiring stories of heroism and the re-building of independent, productive and fulfilling lives after seemingly impossible circumstances.

This project looks at the struggles of these incredible men to reshape their lives after combat. It also sets these stories within the context of current veteran healthcare; injury, suicide, and disability statistics; and looks briefly at the impacts on the caregivers who support these men. Being face-to-face with combat-injured veterans has given me an insight that all Americans should have. Veterans of the Vietnam era began the process of opening our eyes to the grim realities that await veterans both psychologically and physically. These men’s stories show how much more we have to accomplish.

This book isn’t about war or politics – it is about figuring out what it takes to move forward AFTER the war. I wrote this book to raise awareness of what our warriors need most when they return, what the government does and doesn’t provide and why there is a high demand for private non-profits to fill the gaps. Make no mistake – we are in this period of recovery and rehabilitation for decades to come. It also introduces the non-profit organization Warrior Foundation~Freedom Station which has taken on the task of helping our combat-injured men and women make the daunting transition from military to civilian life. 100% of the proceeds benefit them in this much-needed labor of love.

It’s not about the war. It’s about the warrior.

100% of the proceeds benefit Warrior Foundation~Freedom Station.

Amazon | GoodReadsShort Interview with RJ Belle…

1. Do you have any special writing habits or routines? Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

2. DC or Marvel? Marvel

3. If you were a superhero, what would your powers be? Predicting the future.

4. Who is your most popular character, and why? More people ask me about Colonel Carmichael than about Sutton. I believe he is looked at as the co-hero and everyone loves a hero.

5. Are your characters or plots ever based on real people or events from your life? Maybe

6. Who controls your books: you or your characters? They do!

7. Are you a plot/outline writer, or by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer? Both. I begin with an outline but my characters frequently take over.

 

R.J. Belle began writing as a teenager as a way to express her creative side. In 2013 she made the jump into writing for publication. R.J. left her career to write full time and within three months published her first Fiction Novel, First One Down: A Paul Sutton series novel. With a new stunning cover and additional editing First One Down is set to re-release in April 2016. Book two in the Paul Sutton series, Second Sight, will release summer 2016.

R.J. released her first non-fiction project in 2016 – AFTER: The Battle Has Just Begun. After explores the daunting task of physical and emotional recovery and rehabilitation for eight combat-injured men and the private non-profit that assisted in all eight transitions.

R.J. lives in Southern California with her family.

 

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“Shakespeare in Love meets Shakespeare’s Sister…” The Dark Lady’s Mask by Mary Sharratt [Book Blast]

The Dark Lady’s Mask

“The Dark Lady’s Mask” by Mary Sharratt

Published as… Historical Fiction

About the Book

Shakespeare in Love meets Shakespeare’s Sister in this novel of England’s first professional woman poet and her collaboration and love affair with William Shakespeare.

London, 1593. Aemilia Bassano Lanier is beautiful and accomplished, but her societal conformity ends there. She frequently cross-dresses to escape her loveless marriage and to gain freedoms only men enjoy, but a chance encounter with a ragged, little-known poet named Shakespeare changes everything.

Aemilia grabs at the chance to pursue her long-held dream of writing and the two outsiders strike up a literary bargain. They leave plague-ridden London for Italy, where they begin secretly writing comedies together and where Will falls in love with the beautiful country — and with Aemilia, his Dark Lady. Their Italian idyll, though, cannot last and their collaborative affair comes to a devastating end. Will gains fame and fortune for their plays back in London and years later publishes the sonnets mocking his former muse. Not one to stand by in humiliation, Aemilia takes up her own pen in her defense and in defense of all women.

The Dark Lady’s Mask gives voice to a real Renaissance woman in every sense of the word.

The Dark Lady’s Mask will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Buy the Book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Mary Sharratt Author Photo

~* Website * Facebook * Twitter * GoodReads *~

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