Monday, September 1, 2014

Altera Realm: Discovery by Jennifer Collins - Book Review and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jennifer will be awarding a Grand Prize of a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a Mobi or paperback (paperback US ONLY) copy of Altera Realm: Discovery to a randomly drawn winner at every stop during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Syney Andrews has secrets—she just doesn’t know she has them. She spent the last eighteen years in the human realm with her adoptive parents unaware of her real powers and role in Altera Realm.
,br> Altera Realm has been at war for well over a century and is connected to the Human Realm by a portal and no human knows it exists. It is home to the five old and great races—Magic Users, Lycins, Vampires, Daemons, and Shifters. Each race is an entity of their own with its own life purpose, rulers and guarded secrets.

Syney is the prophesized “chosen one”, the one destined to end the over hundred-year war and become queen of the Magic Users. Not that Syney wants to rule or even knows anything about Altera. Falling in love with her Lycin Protector, a crime punishable by death, only serves to make matters worse and Syney’s new life more complicated.


This reviewer loves books about portals to another world and was one reason I chose to review this book. Add into that a world populated by some of my favorite paranormal creatures and I was in heaven. And, thank goodness, this book didn't let me down.

Syney made me laugh at can definitely tell this is a character who is part of the post-Buffy generation. A guy turning to wolf? She doesn't take long to accept the reality of the whole situation.

The author does a great job in sharing the history of the Altera Realm without going into an info-dump. It helps that as matters are being explained to Syney, they are also being explained to the reader.

Syney runs into a lot of problems once she is brought back to the Altera Realm...not everyone is happy with the potential change, which sets up the scene for a lot of controversy and intrigue. I could so see this as a movie.. or even a TV series (are you listening, Hollywood?)

4 stars for a book that will keep you wondering what is happening next (ps: not to give any spoilers away, but Ms. Collins--you will fix that situation with Hunter, right??)

Enjoy an excerpt:

Hunter looked back up at her and gave her a curt nod. “We need to go. The more time we spend in this Realm, the more dangerous it gets for us.”

Syney nodded and got up from the bed. She looked at Gabriel. “Thank you, for what you did.”

He stood. “It wasn’t free.”

Syney blinked at him, not understanding.

“I can kill him,” Hunter said quietly behind Syney, causing her to almost laugh from the absurdity of the comment.

“What do you want?” she asked.

“To go with you,” Gabriel said matter-of-factly.


Gabriel eyed her for a moment before cocking his head to the side. “Not all Vampires are fans of the Great War. We all are, however, very opportunistic.” He paused. “I want to be there, to see the new reign. And get in on the ground floor.”

Syney smiled. She liked this Vampire. He was honest, something she hadn’t gotten a lot of in the last couple of days. “Deal.”

Hunter spun to stand in front of Syney and glared at her. “No deal. Vampires aren’t to be trusted. They’re hired killers who care only for themselves. They aren’t allowed in the Village and for good reason. Their blood may have healing properties, but they also need blood to survive, and where do you think they get that from?”

Syney was taken aback by Hunter’s forcefulness. This was another side of him, one she only had seen when he was the wolf and fighting. “He saved my life.”

“Because he wanted something.”

“He saved my life,” she repeated.

“And now he’s charging you for it,” Hunter said.

Syney placed her hand on his chest. “Listen to me. He didn’t hesitate to save me. He even tried before she attacked me. He’s been nothing but honest with us. It was my life he saved, and I want to repay him. If this is what he wants, than then this is what I can do.”

Syney felt Hunter take a deep breath.

“And what if you’re leading a lion into a sheep’s den?”

Syney smiled. “When he starts eating the sheep, you can do what you like with him.” She looked around Hunter’s large frame to Gabriel. “You OK with that?”

Gabriel gave her a sly smile. “I will put up no fight to him.”

Syney looked back at Hunter. “You OK with that?”

After a moment Hunter nodded reluctantly.

About the Author:
Jennifer Collins holds a BA in English with concentration in Creative Writing from Montclair State University and completed a certification program at Kean University for teacher of English K-12 in New Jersey. She enjoys being a high school English teacher at the Plainfield Academy of Arts and Advanced Studies, a public performing arts middle school and high school in the urban inner-city school district of Plainfield, New Jersey.

For more information on the Altera Realm Series visit

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ignifer's Rise by Michael John Grist - Interview and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Michael will be awarding an autographed print copy of Ignifer's Rise to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

Go to ruins.

It's so hard to think of the right kind of advice to give. I don't have any big regrets, and most anything else I could say would probably end up changing who I am today. Big choices were hard enough at the time, who am I to second-guess that?

But go to ruins is good advice. I grew up on Indiana Jones and the Goonies. As a kid I adventured with friends in abandoned mills and factories in the North of England. Then I grew up, went to university, and it stopped. Subsequently I was bored for a lot of my university days. I should have gone to ruins then, modern ruins, overgrown by nature, not ruins on the tourist trail. I ended up doing it anyway, 6 years after uni, in Japan. I went to over a hundred ruins, took photos, stayed overnight, 'adventuring.' It was great fun and helped me through some difficulties.

Also, I'd tell myself: it's OK to not like doing stuff. I used to see people having such a great time in pubs and nightclubs, so kept putting myself into those environments, thinking I'd eventually get it. It took many years more to understand, those things may not be for me. I don't have to do them to have a good life. If I'd realized that a lot earlier, maybe I'd have focused on going to ruins more!

Sorry, so long and only the first question.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

I'm reading Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross. He counts every bit of time in seconds, which is a disorienting bit of fun. How long is a million seconds? It's about 11 days. Also he has slow, medium, and fast dollars. He says sixteen as hexteen. I love that stuff, reframing the world through new language. I try to do it myself too.

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

Hunger Games! Twilight, having only seen the movies, seems to be quite a passive story. We follow the heroine, who principally spends most of each movie pining for a vampire, trying to choose between a vampire and a werewolf, or being rescued by a vampire or a werewolf. Though it's a modern book and the target audience (I don't know if it's mostly teen girls, but maybe?) may be very 'girl-power', I'm not convinced Twilight shows that. Instead it seems to be saying- which man you choose to love is the most important decision you'll ever make.

That may be very important. But it is a really traditional value, far divorced from the recent spate of Disney and Pixar films that show the importance of women's choices irrespective of men (Frozen, Brave). Of course Katniss too. I dig that.

Girl power, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

What reality show would you love to be on? Why?

Ha, not Survivor. For a long time I thought that show was about outdoorsy cool stuff, like reality LOST, then I actually watched it and was pretty disgusted. It's this horrible, backstabbing, high-school manipulation popularity thing, whcih makes me feel queasy to watch. The slimiest people win. Gross.

Rather, I'd like to try The Amazing Race. There is a little room for slime and manipulation in that, but mostly you're out there running a race, seeing the world. Though I expect it's very stressful, and frustrating at times. Hmm.

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

In a brutal city splintered by caste, a condemned boy must confront the fate written in his scars, before the jaws of apocalypse descend.

You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?

This is such a great question, and it totally depends on what I want:

Escape from the island: The main character Sen. He is ingenious and resourceful, takes unexpected paths to solve a problem, and would make it his mission to get off the island.

To survive on the island: Mare, a street-waif halfhead girl who dragged herself up in a slum, knows everything there is about how to survive. She's city smart and not island smart, but she'd figure it out fast.

To get busy living and have fun: Alam, a loyal, fierce, sarcastic friend, who'd make every day more interesting, or Gellick, a rockman with a silly sense of humor. I'd have a fun time with either.

Create an ice cream flavor. What’s it called?

Babagasloosh - It's eggplant flavor ice cream. It just came into my head.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

Houses, ha, I win! Then I can basically save the money in real estate and sell whenever I want.

But if I can't do that, then probably whatever stuff I need, and that anyone in my family or circle of friends need. When the train comes in, everybody rides.

MEDIA KIT Book CoverThe fate of the world is written in scars. In a bleak industrial city where marks in skin are a sentence to death, Sen is a child condemned. Cursed with mysterious scars carved by his own mother's hand, he leads a fearful hidden life in the city's last abbey.

Then the King's brutal Adjunc attack, and Sen barely escapes with his life. Lost and alone in the city's dark hinterlands, he begins an exhilarating race to find the truth behind his scars. In stinking black sewers and the lava-buried ruins of an ancient civilization, he uncovers a truth far stranger than he ever imagined, laid out by his long-dead mother: an apocalypse god is rising, and only the legendary hero Saint Ignifer can stop it.

But Saint Ignifer is dead.

Revolution rocks the city. The blood of all castes runs in the streets. With a storm of new faith raging out from the barricades, Sen must embrace the terrible fate his mother wrote in his scars- in the volcano's caldera, at the end of the world- before the black jaws of the apocalypse descend. For the Rot is coming, and the Saint must rise.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Sen bolted into action.

His shoulder took the Spindle in the gut before he even knew he was moving. It drove a grunt from the taller boy and knocked him from his feet, sending them both tumbling across the dry spring grass. More images sparked through Sen's mind, hands stretching through a fence that were his father's hands, but not, a long and shameful walk led by bloodless Molemen, an overwhelming anger rising up.

Sen fought the images back even as he scrabbled in the grass, reaching instinctively for the weapon. He'd never fought before, but while the Spindle wheezed from the blow he managed to grasp the hard metal tool, wet with blood, and pried it away with both hands. Then the Spindle's elbow found the back of his head.

It drove Sen face-first into the grass, head spinning. He felt the weapon snatched back out of his hand and rolled away, expecting another blow to fall, but none came. Looking up he saw the Spindle running away back down the path for the gates.

Sen lurched up, catching a glimpse of Sister Henderson closing in. There was no time. He started after the Spindle at a ragged sprint, down through the trail of white chalk dust the boy had left. His vision was blurry from the blow to the head, the world was turning, and his mind reeled from the strange images and anger, but he could still just pick the taller boy out. He was nearly at the gate, and all Sen wanted to do was hurt him. He pumped his elbows hard, thumped his feet down on the chalk, and reached the gates just as the Spindle was about to straddle the top.

He leapt, snagged the boy's ankle with one hand, and wrenched him off the metal. The boy windmilled down with a thud into the chalk, and Sen threw himself on top, batting away the Spindle's efforts to lash out, throwing his own wild fists at the boy's long thin face.

MEDIA KIT Author PhotoAbout the Author: Michael John Grist is a 34-year old British writer and ruins photographer who lives in Tokyo, Japan. He writes dark and surreal science fiction and fantasy, inspired by authors such as David Gemmell and Orson Scott Card.

In his free time he explores and photographs abandoned places around the world, such as ruined theme parks, military bases, underground bunkers, and ghost towns. These explores have drawn millions of visitors to his website:, and often provide inspiration for his fiction.

You can buy Ignifer's Rise at Amazon or Amazon UK. Sign up for his releases newsletter and friend him on Facebook

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Girl by Lola StVil - interview and giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. The Rafflecopter to enter the contest is at the end of the post; click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Many thanks to Lola for visiting with us today!

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

An actor. Acting out a character in a different life and different world is releasing. You can be anyone, anywhere, anytime.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I want the ability to have my thoughts transferred to print. Carpal tunnel is not my friend!

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why? I love them both!

Twilight was a huge inspiration because if Stephenie Meyers could do it, I had no excuses. And I love Hunger Games because of the growth and the depth of the characters and plot.

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

Love, loss, danger and growth shape humanity’s heroes, a team of angels and one human, from doom. While saving the world, they discover themselves and risk it all for love.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

New notebooks and pens. As a writer, I have an obsession with a great pen and new notebook. I get giddy. And then I would buy a new home and spend the rest on my family.

Favorite class in high school. Why?

Drama. I’ve been fascinated with characters and drama and slipping into other worlds, other lives. It’s just like writing, and why I enjoy writing. You can be anyone, anywhere.

Sitting there in the car, a part of me bitterly resented what she was doing to me. I knew it wasn’t her fault. But does she have to be so... alluring? I need to focus on something else besides the spot between her earlobe and neck. It looked so soft. Her lips were slightly parted as she looked out the window. I wanted to part them further with mine. I put both my hands on the steering wheel. I could not allow myself to let go until she was out of the car. Suddenly she leaned in and kissed me. It was far better than I could even begin to explain to you. I've fought and died a slow and painful death on earth. And nothing, NOTHING can compare to how hard it was for me to pull away from her lips. I don't think any angel could do it twice in a lifetime...

Now enjoy and excerpt:

“Go to hell!” I cry out. Who the heck said that? I realize it’s me. I guess I’m more than in pain, I’m fighting mad. Well, verbally at least.

Agony shrugs his shoulders and says, “Okay, we’ll do it the hard way”

He raises his hand a final time and snaps off my finger...

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lola StVil is a Haitian born writer and actress. She lives in Hollywood, CA., and welcomes online interaction with readers.




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Friday, July 25, 2014

Gemini Rising: Ethereal Fury by Jessica O'Gorek - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. One randomly chosen host will receive a $25 Amazon/ gift card. The Rafflecopter is at the end of the post; click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What did you do on your last birthday?
I went to en exotic island in the Caribbean. Just kidding. Nothing exciting. Dinner and a movie.

Do you have any tattoos? Where? When did you get it/them? Where are they on your body?
No. I did get my belly pierced when I was drunk and twenty.

What are you working on right now?
I am half way through writing Gemini Rising Book Four!

What do you think you’re really good at?
Writing, reading, listening, running, signing, drawing, painting, being a mom.

What do you think you’re really bad at?
Caring about people who have betrayed my trust over and over, being sensitive to people who can’t take jokes, keeping my car clean and washing the dishes.

Angry at the human race and its methodical destruction of her resources, Mother Earth recruits souls who have just left their bodies to serve Her, and turns them against humanity.

Gemini, a clan of paranormal beings, picked from these possessed humans, emerges. A powerful, rising force proceeds to carry out Mother Nature’s plan to systematically destroy towns, cities, states... and eventually, the world.

Amidst the chaos, a forbidden relationship between a human girl, Violette, and Onyx, a lead Gemini, begins.

They will both find themselves in the middle of a revolutionary war that will either save, or destroy our world.

Onyx was hovering right beside the little stone adjacent to the swings. He tried to single out the perfect girl. Innocent and naïve is what he was going for. He located the one he thought might work. She was swinging; she was older, maybe fifteen or so. She had one girl on each side of her and a few nuns were standing near, giving her glances of adoration. She was cute and gentle looking, the perfect disguise for the likes of him. He moved in a little closer to his prey. Over the wall and around the thick maple tree, he paused, making sure he disturbed no air. He waited to hear her name. This would come in handy.

"Eleanor, come seesaw with me!" A cute redhead gestured to his target as she hopped off the swing. Now was his chance.

“Eleanor...” he whispered her name and she stopped. She turned towards the sound that she couldn’t locate.

“Over here.” He guided her with his hand from behind the craggy trunk, allowing it to be just visible enough to make her curious as to who its owner might be. At this point, an adult might run, scream, or faint at the sight of a translucent hand gesturing mysteriously. But Eleanor was an insightful little girl and wanted to know more. The redhead on the seesaw looked dismayed and repeated her plea. This annoyed him considerably; he was tempted to go shut her up, but her attention was now steady on the phantom arm that beckoned her. He controlled his visibility simply with his mind. If he thought it, it became a reality for him.

Eleanor's little blonde curls shook a little as she seemed to be attempting to clear her head. He could start to feel the gravitational pull from within her. It started to pull on his energy, almost gripping him and pulling him piece by piece, atom by atom, and ever closer to her.

"Come a little closer Sweetheart. How many fingers am I holding up?" If he distracted her with the game or a challenge, it would be that much easier. Anticipation started to build within him, like the sweet pressure of an inevitable release. Trance-like now, unable to resist the lure of his sugary voice, she walked right into his arm and it was over.

"Hey," he said. She jerked her head to the left and saw only his spiraling eyes. Before she could utter a scream he was in through her surprised mouth, busily working into her muscles, connecting with her spinal cord to coordinate her movements. Her sensory organs were pliable, and the tendrils that were extensions of his personality easily wrapped around every bone, every nerve ending. She was stunned into silence by the complete and sudden hostile takeover. He felt strong and empowered. It had been weeks since he felt a young, healthy host take him to dizzying heights of euphoria.

This was where Geminis were meant to be, where they felt the most in control and in touch with their true ability. To connive and manipulate, ruin and plunder the society around them was only justice. They were so weak and puny, murderers and thieves, liars, and rapists. They all took what they wanted from each other, and the earth, then sucked any generosity right out of the atmosphere. He always thought he was helping them shorten the time frame of their journey. They would all eventually die anyway; he just hurried along the process. He felt the need to justify himself after entering someone. He knew there was some deep hidden morsel of doubt that what he was doing was right, that every human should be annihilated from existence. He would never divulge these doubts to himself or anyone else. It was a hidden monster within him and he would never lend it credit.

I was born in Chesapeake, Virginia on April 19th, 1979. I was raised within the American Indian religion and was taught great respect for the earth and all its living beings. Powwows, sweat lodges, vision quests, you name it, I’ve done it. I was the weird kid who would confront kids on the playground in elementary school when they squished a bug. I would very sincerely tell them what they were doing was morally wrong and then I would pray for the bug to come back as a butterfly in its next life.

I grew up admiring my father, Barry Weinstock, as an author. He took me around the country to different places so he could research and write his Wilderness Survival books. One of his greatest works, “The Path of Power,” was written with a great medicine man, Sunbear. When I was twelve I started hand writing novels. My first one was two thousand pages. My dad always encouraged me and would rave about my writing. He gave me the confidence I needed to keep writing and follow my dream. My daughter, who is twelve, is currently working on her first novel. I hope to continue the legacy.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sleeping in the Mourge by Jennifer Tressen - Blurb Blitz and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter to win $25 Bath and Body Works gift certificate. The Rafflecopter is at the end of the post; click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Paige Thorton, a sweet overachieving high school senior only has one month to come up with ten thousand dollars to pay for college, but her family mortuary has no business. Desperate to escape her little town and go to her dream school, she decides to take matters into her own hands and drum up some clients.

Soon "accidents" begin happening to local residents.

However when her boyfriend, Brock Harrington, the rookie hotshot cop begins to investigate, things get hairy. Will Paige be able to pull it off in time or will she be doomed to forever sleep in the morgue?

“So I heard you got a corpse the other day,” Brock said as he drove his large pick-up. “Old man? He’ll likely be one of the last, huh?”

Paige twiddled her fingers and tried to figure out how to answer the question. “Yeah, some old man. Not sure how he died....he just sort of...”

Keep your cool.

She held her breath and looked at Brock.

“Old people just die. Happens all the time.” He chuckled. “Just not around here much anymore.”

“Yeah, he just died,” Paige said.

That was easy. No need for explanation. He just died. Why didn’t I think of that? It’s not like I killed him or anything. I just...helped him. Yeah, I helped him. There’s nothing wrong with helping people, right?

“Any more ideas on how to make the cash?”

Paige shook her head, “Your dad’s giving me a scholarship.”

“Oh is he?”

“Well, the town is. And it’s not official, so don’t quote me or anything; but he said he would. Three thousand dollars.”

Still not enough.

“That’s a good start.”

Paige nodded, still lost in her own thoughts. She was trying to avoid letting the guilt of what she had helped the kind old man do get to her.

“I really wish I could pay for school for you--”

“Brock, don’t.”

“But my rookie salary is barely enough to cover the bills and put a couple bucks away for you know, ‘someday.’”

“Brock...” She couldn’t help but smile. His sincerity was sweet. He would do anything for her and she knew that. But she didn’t want him to. She wanted to do this on her own, the best she could that is.

Jennifer Tressen is a wife, mother and writer. A former actor, she spent nearly ten years in the entertainment industry appearing in commercials, print ads and television shows. It was her love of storytelling that pushed her to the other side of the camera and sent her to film school at Chapman University. Although she entered as a Cinematography major, Jennifer graduated with a degree in Screenwriting after a single required screenwriting class forever changed her path. She found a passion for writing she had forgotten in her childhood. Everything she learned about screenwriting and especially storytelling she attributes to her mentor, the late Blake Snyder.

After several years of writing and editing for producers and other screenwriters her curiosity led her into writing novels. As a huge fan of Young Adult and New Adult literature this is where her pen tends to lead her. However, she does have plans to release a few middle grade fiction and adult novels in the future. Jennifer attributes her love of reading and writing to her mother who always reminded her of the power of literacy. Besides telling her and her siblings that they could do anything they wanted if they knew how to read and write, she said, “You can go anywhere in a book. You can be anyone.”

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Backward Compatible by Pete Clark

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter to win one of several prizes from the author. The Rafflecopter is at the end of the post; click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to Books in the Hall, Pete, and congratulations on your release. Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?

George is the kind of the person whose locker is a pile of unorganized nonsense that slides out every time he opens the locker, but hidden within the pile are pens, a gaming magazine (likely a year old), random dead batteries, and a math book he has never opened and forgot he owned.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I always loved those Choose Your Adventure Books, because I liked seeing different outcomes and I loved the control I had over the stories. In particular, I really enjoyed The Badlands of Hark.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I would love all-encompassing power, because then I could have ALL THE POWER.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

I am reading the Game of Thrones series. I’m still on the first one, because I started once I saw the show.

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

I always liked the Hanna-Barberra stuff, like Herculoids. Birdman and Thundarr the Barbarian. I watched a lot of cartoons, clearly. When I got a little older, I loved Cheers.

Ideal summer vacation.

I wouldn’t mind going back to Scotland. I like Italy, but I went in the summer and it’s too hot in the summer. Maybe somewhere I haven’t been, like Toronto, because I want to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame.

What four literary characters would you most like to have over for dinner?

Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Lecter, Jane Eyre, and Beatty from Fahrenheit 451

Create an ice cream flavor. What’s it called?

Peanut butter almond Snickers chocolate ice cream of death.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

I blow it all on hats. Or travel the world.

Who was your teenaged crush? Why?

Tiffany. Remember her? I liked Debbie Gibson as well, but I thought Tiffany was a little hotter. Got to be the red hair.

Not too long ago, in a town that, depending on your current location, is either not super far or actually quite close…

It is a time of chaotic hormones.

Two nerdy gents home for winter break have discovered a female gamer at a midnight release.

During the break, the gamer trio manages to reveal the game’s secret boss, a hidden enemy with enough power to destroy anything in its path.

Pursued by other gamers who want to be the first to beat this boss, George and Katie race to level up, and, in so doing, restore decency and sexual activity to their personal galaxy…
Enjoy an excerpt:

“These graphics suck,” George says and I look back at the screen. We’re standing in the middle of the Estate, colorful orbs quivering ahead of us. We each have to choose our starting advantage. Waterfalls shimmer in the distance and the sunlight streams over multicolored stones in the courtyard.

“Amateurs,” Lanyon concurs. “I mean, they couldn’t have five waterfalls?”

“Your ironic wit is mind blowing, but choose your damn orbs,” I tell them. I consider. Magic, defense, offense, stealth, and charisma. I always go for magic as a black mage, but I wonder if a druid needs something else. Screw it. I need charisma in real life, too.

“Charisma?” Lanyon asks. “No one ever picks charisma.”

“We’re a party of a thief, druid, and a bard. We’re screwed regardless.”

“You two underestimate the mighty power of my lute,” George argues.

“Did you start with charisma?” Lanyon asks.

“Hell, no. I have charisma in spades. I started with stealth.”

“Great. A stealthy bard,” I sigh.

“She’s right,” Lanyon concedes. “We’re screwed.”

However, it actually isn’t bad at all at first. We power through the Estate and make it to the Yobanaria Dale with no resurrections and all at level ten. I’m impressed. George hasn’t actually fought anything, but he has some pretty awe-inspiring charm mastery already. I think I might have a serious crush. He seals the deal when he buffs my hailstorm spell without even being asked.

“Can you guys watch El Thiefelo? My mom wants me to eat supper,” Lanyon says.

“Yeah, we’ve got it,” I tell him. “The first boss is in the elven ruins anyway, so we should grind a bit. I think he’s a twelve.”

George and I explore the Dale, taking out bats and Joba spores. It’s fairly quiet, except for when we combo with his charms and my spells and he yells out, “Eat lute, bitch,” but it’s nice. We work well, almost inherently understanding each other. I’ve never been able to play this effectively with anyone. I try not to think about his eyes. Stupid boys, being cute and stuff.

By the time Lanyon comes back, we’re all at level 12, although Lanyon leveled up just by standing by a door while we played. Still, we are ready to take on Balsa the Proud. As a black mage, it took me about nine seconds. Trees don’t like fire. However, druids don’t have the same level of black magic and all elemental magic is weakened by the need to draw from the elements nearby. Sadly, trees seem to avoid storing fire runes in their villages. I expect this to be a little more challenging. It might even take fifteen seconds.

“First boss. Also known as the freebie bitch to sucker the young folks into a false sense of security,” Lanyon announces as he runs into the center of Balsa’s lair. The cinema plays and then, in a moment of pure absurdity, El Thiefelo is squished as Balsa steps on him.

“Can someone revive me?” Lanyon whines.

About the Author: Pete Clark likes writing, animals, potato chips, and cheese. Midnight Riders is his first published novel, although he can also proudly say he finally finished Helix Crashing, the fantasy novel he has been working on for over a decade. In addition, he has written Across the Barren Landscape, a collection of linked Western short stories. He also writes plays, both dramatic and comedic.

When he is not writing, Pete tends to ignore everyone around him and obsess over sports.

Pete’s Twitter:

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ocean of Dust by Graeme Ing - Blurb Blitz and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Graeme will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host. Please click the banner to visit other stops on the tour and increase your chances of winning!

Fourteen-year old Lissa is snatched from her home and finds herself a slave on a trading ship traveling on a waterless ocean of nothing but gray dust. A feisty, curious and intelligent girl, her desire to explore the ship earns her the hatred of the cruel first officer, Farq.

Fascinated by the ocean of dust, Lissa becomes embroiled in its mysteries, sensing things that the crew cannot, while cryptic whispers in her head are leading her toward a destiny linked to the dust itself. Only one man aboard can help her make sense of her new talent, but can she trust him? All is not as it seems, and she must unravel the clues before it’s too late.

When a sinister plot casts her adrift on the barren ocean, her best friend is left in the hands of the treacherous crew. Everything hinges upon her courage, quick wits, and her ability to master her new talent.

... she spotted a brown conical shape lodged on a fallen stump between a pair of trees. Dozens of bugs with red striped abdomens swarmed above it - War-blits. She couldn’t keep up the pace for much longer, and her lungs felt ready to burst. Her hastily formed plan might be her only chance to escape the feline snapping at her heels. She sucked in air and urged her aching body forward. Up close, the bugs were as large as her thumb, with wicked, black stingers on their rear-ends.

Now she was caught between a swarm of spiteful bugs and an animal about to bite her in half. It was now or never. Screaming for courage, she launched herself at the War-blit mound, praying her timing was right. She clenched every muscle, waiting for the stings to stab all over her body. The furious buzzing engulfed her as she flew through the air and over the mound.

Her shoulders hit the ground on the other side, and she tumbled over and over, smashing into a tree. Something stabbed her leg. Agony ripped through her body. Then a sharp pain on her right arm. She flailed her limbs in all directions trying to keep the bugs from her face.

The feline had landed atop the stump and crushed the mound. The air turned black as a cloud of War-blits sprayed from a hole in the stump, buzzing angrily and covering the creature like a cloak.

Graeme is a writer of speculative fiction. He probably won't fall into existing pigeonholes, but hang around and you'll get to read tales of fantasy, science-fiction, paranormal, cyberpunk, steampunk and who knows what.

Born in England, Graeme now lives in San Diego, California. His career as a software engineer and development manager spans 30 years, including the development of a dozen computer games for consoles, home computers and online. Graeme is also an avid armchair mountaineer, astronomer, mapmaker, pilot and general geek. He and his wife, Tamara, share their house with six crazy cats.

Facebook Page:
Twitter: @GraemeIng
Buy Links
Amazon (Kindle/paperback/audiobook):
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