How a young messenger steals hearts in D.L. Gardner’s novel

Join me today in distracting author D.L. Gardner (Dianne Gardner) as she awaits a verdict on Rise of the Tobian Princess from the blog BOOKNEST. Gardner is a fellow contestant in #SPFBO7.

When I asked her about secondary characters who tried to have more of a role her novel, she told me of a young boy, Cephas. He not only plays a bigger part than she intended in her SPFBO novel , but, well, I’ll let her explain in her own words…

Little Cephas isn’t much older than ten going on twenty, he lives on the streets begging and sometimes stealing but he mostly steals everyone’s heart. He was meant only as a messenger for princess Erika when news of an invasion is brought to the castle and Erika pays him and his friend to bring a note to the high commander. But Cephas worms his way into the halls of the rich as well as the poor and pops in again in book two, lies his way into life on board a ship and in book 3 pretty much saves a day.

Gardner also sent this excerpt, so we could all see Cephas in action. Enjoy!

Three days after they had rescued Prince Barin, Cephas came to Erika’s door.
“You have a note for me?” she asked the lad. With Barin’s condition, a cloud of depression hung over the castle as if Skotádi had cursed the entire kingdom. Good news would be a healthy reprieve.
“No note. Just words,” the boy replied. His eyes were open wide, as if what he had to say would terrify her.
“And those words are?” she asked.
“There’s a rumor the sailors wanted you to know.”
“A rumor? Why do you worry me with rumors?” she asked.
“They told me you would want to know. Two anglers who were fishing near the island heard a great noise and threw down their nets. One of them hurried along the beach to see who had called out for help. He said he saw a man up on a hill wielding a great sword about as big as this room fighting those winged beasts. The flock became a black cloud and came at him like a twister swallows a farmhouse. The man didn’t win. The anglers saw him fall.”
She stared at the boy, not sure if the reason he came to her was because the rumor was about Arell. Her skin grew cold as her heart slowed. This is only a rumor, she told herself. It couldn’t be Arell. Odd how he was the first person who came to mind, as if the man were continually in her thoughts. She caught herself from falling by leaning against the door frame.
“Are you all right?” Cephas asked. She nodded.
“After the man fell, chanting began, and the skura were taken up into the sky. The men saw natives put the man on a horse and rode off. The fishers thought you and the king should know.”
Erika reached in the purse strapped around her waist and pulled out a few coins.
“Is that all?” she said, breathless, afraid she would faint in front of the lad if he didn’t leave soon.
“That’s all. Just that the anglers were sure this man was important. Maybe a king or someone. Just bringing the message. That’s what they told me to say. Only they didn’t say the sword was as big as this room, I said that because it had to be if he were fighting those monsters three at a time like they said he was.”
Erika listened intently, her heart sinking.
“Thank you, Cephas,” she said as she dropped the silver pieces in his hand.
“Much obliged!” He grinned just before a blood-curdling scream came from Barin’s room. Cephas jumped and looked down the hall. Feeding time.
“Go now,” she told him. He mustn’t know the condition of the prince. No one in Prasa Potama should know. After Cephas raced away down the corridor, Erika felt her head for fever, collected her balance, and left for her father’s chambers.

The Hotel (Series)

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Michael James and his urban fantasy series, The Hotel.

Author’s description

The Series

No one has ever escaped from the Hotel at the End of Time. Until now.

Vain only wants to be left alone, but the Hotel has other plans. Forces will align against her: a group of multi-dimensional felons collectively named The Wyatts; and their leader, Trick, a mild-to-medium psychopath with a fondness for impractical jokes.

The only way forward is to go back. Back to the one place in the world she swore she’d never return.

Back to the Hotel.

 The Hotel at the End of Time

Vain is the only person to ever escape from the Hotel at the end of time. On her way out, she took their prized possession: A Padlock that grants immortality.

They will do anything to get it back.

The forces of the Hotel are aligned against her: mundane items turned into weapons; a group of multi-dimensional felons collectively named The Wyatts; and their leader, Trick, a mild-to-medium psychopath with a fondness for impractical jokes.

Everything changes when Vain meets Emma, a timid grad student with impossible and terrifying powers. Together, they are propelled into an adventure that will see them battle the Wyatts, blow up several objects of significant value, and quite by accident, discover a way to stop the Hotel.

Even with Emma, Vain has a lot of problems to deal with.

She’s exhausted from being hunted.

Stopping the Hotel might kill them.

She has a hangnail.

But Vain is resourceful. Vain is clever.

And she always has a plan.

The Well at the Bottom of Everything

Vain thought destroying the Portal to the Hotel at the End of Time would mean freedom for her and Roman, but her happy ever after is coming to an end.

A horrible mistake and a stray bullet force her to infiltrate the Hotel and contend with a new and terrible power: The Well at the Bottom of Everything.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken.

The Hotel will have its revenge.

The Funniest Answer Award Goes to …

In my books I’ve always have one minor character who insists on playing a larger role in the story. So when authors visit this blog,  I love to ask them if there was such a character in their novel.

Well, sooner or later I was going to ask that question to someone like Michael James. I suspect he frustrated many a teacher during his childhood by refusing to take their very serious questions seriously.

Please enjoy his hilarious response. (I did!)

Speaking of secondary characters, this is probably a spoiler, but the ghost of John Milton lives in my books and I cannot shut him up. I don’t mean this in a literary sense; John Milton is not a character in the novel. I mean that reading the story literally summons the ghost of John Milton who will come live in your home.

On the surface, I’ve written a simple story about a girl with no memory who escapes a Hotel at the End of Time that uses humans as batteries to power itself. It’s a simple tale, almost a trope for how often this story shows up in popular literature. I’d like to think I put a unique spin on the genre. But where was I? Oh yes. John Milton.

How was I supposed to know that writing this book would represent the exact perfect sequence of words required to summon John Milton to your home? I honestly had no idea.

Things you can expect from the ghost of John Milton:

1. Tons of talk about Paradise Lost. We get it dude, you wrote a classic. Move on.

2. Cheats for Skyrim. Dude is a huge Skyrim fan. Apparently they have Skyrim in Hell. Oh, PS, John Milton is in Hell.

3. Really terrible dating advice. Wear hats? What does that even mean John Milton?

Anyway, so yeah. He really ended up taking over. But to be clear – John Milton is not in my book. Just he shows up when you read it. What is in my book is laugh-out-loud humor, non-stop action, memorable characters and just about the best possible time imaginable.

 The Author’s Story

Michael James spent his formative years writing, and when he wasn’t writing, he was writing. A mistaken belief that a “real” job would be more satisfying led him down a dark path that did not involve writing but did involve meetings. Fortunately, he has since course-corrected and is back on the right (write? Ha!) path. The Hotel at the End of Time is not his first book, but it is the one with the most Hotels in it.

He lives in Canada with his family. When he’s not writing, he does Canadian things – saying sorry a lot, being polite, talking about the weather, you know how it goes.

Find the Author

Website: https://www.michaeljamesauthor.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikeJamesAuthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMichaelJames
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mikejamesauthor/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-James/e/B07P8GJS8K

Buy the Book

The Hotel at the End of Time: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QG59SXL
The Well at the Bottom of Everything: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095CL2T6H

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

From The Well at the Bottom of Everything

“Can you unlock the phone?”

“I think so.” She pecked at the phone with her nose.

“Why don’t you have face recognition turned on?”

“I don’t like my phone judging me. I need to put on lipstick before I text? Come on.”

“That’s not how… it doesn’t matter. Is your code one, one, one, one? You need to change that.”

“This is the exact correct time to have that conversation,” she hissed. Her screen flashed with a green text bubble.

“It’s Roman,” she said. “He’s asking where I am.”

“Tell him to bring Emma and come save us. Actually, I don’t care if he comes. We need Emma.”

“Hey, Siri,” Vain whispered at the phone. “Call Roman.”

“Calling: Rome.” Siri’s robotic voice blared from the phone and Vain cringed. She stopped moving and waited for the Wyatts to come beat the crap out of them. Thankfully, they were still arguing and didn’t hear.

“Don’t call Rome. Turn your volume down.”

“Turning down volume,” whispered Siri. Better. Stupid phone robot.

“Call. Roman.” She spoke slowly, so stupid Siri would do better.

“Calling. Row Man’s boating supplies.” Vain hissed at Siri to hang up.

“Text him back,” Mark said, sounding frustrated.

“Siri. Respond to Roman. Wyatts. Come rescue.”

“Texting. Roman. Whites come stew.”

“We’re going to fucking die,” Vain said.

Thank you!

Michael James — we appreciate your sharing your series, The Hotel, with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.
And thanks for the excerpt and the guest post. They both made me laugh so loud my husband came out to the porch to make sure I was okay. (He doesn’t think I am and now he blames you. )

How the Doomsayer Prince took over Rune S. Nielsen’s debut novel

Please join me in distracting author Rune S. Nielsen as he awaits a verdict on Doomsayer Prince from the blog Fantasy Faction.  Rune is a fellow contestant in #SPFBO7 and when I asked Rune if any secondary character tried to have a bigger role his novel, I got this vehement answer!

Imagine my surprise

To my utter astonishment, one of my minor characters completely took over my debut novel. Phytiax just exploded onto the pages and extended my writing phase by months.

Because of Phytiax, my debut novel now begins in another part of the world than I first intended, and he completely took over the first many chapters of the novel. Mage Prince Phytiax even “stole” the title, as he is the Doomsayer Prince that my novel in SPFBO#7 is named for.

Mage Prince Phytiax was initially supposed to be this foreign hero. A legendary kick-ass, action-man, swordfighter, that just dropped in to save the day when the actual main characters needed someone like him the most. I thought up this scene in a castle where the reader suddenly finds her/himself reading about this uncannily tough swordfighter, chopping his way through the opposition, guard by guard.

Leading up to that would be a terrible situation like “Oh no, we are getting tortured! There’s no way out! We don’t deserve this. Why is it happening to us? We are just these simple and nice people.” Then more torture and “Nobody’s coming for us. Cry!!”

Then BAM! In jumps the hero. Kills the bad guys, rescues our main characters to their surprise, and completely saves the day.

At first, this was a sort of simple plot device (perhaps dumb, perhaps clever, I don’t know) to get them out of a bad spot unexpectedly.

For a while, it became a way to show just how not-very-hero-like the actual main characters were at that point in time, and it ended up being a story of a 3-dimensional really cool character you could relate to. With issues and troubles of his own, and the glue that sticks the plot together. Not to mention many of the reader’s absolute favorite.

How did that happen?

I fell completely in love with this character and his backstory. I dreamed about it, woke up many days (very early,) and was quite full of ideas.

First off, I decided it would be silly for Mage Prince Phytiax to show up out of the blue, and so at first, I wrote a prologue featuring him. The idea being the reader’s joy/surprise when he later showed up: “who is that dude? Oh, it’s that guy again!” However, I needed the prologue to be really good, since it’s the first thing you read, and to capture the reader’s attention, I needed a character with nuance and depth. Not just some guy with big biceps. I went back and forth, giving him strengths, and weaknesses, goals in life, a family, a country, even creating a wholly unique style of magic, which became his ‘thing.’

As a result, the prologue got longer. And longer!

Finally, it got to a point when it was impossible to call it a prologue any longer, and it became like the first five chapters or so. It was one of the main reasons that my planned 90K words standard-sort-of-sized fantasy novel exploded into a 300K work of epic and unintended proportions. It was so much fun!

Phytiax ended up being HUGE, and not only a part of the prologue and the beginning of the novel but the entire journey. From the reader’s perspective (in the finished novel) the whole backdrop to the plot comes from his story. His view of things. The book literally became about his quest to find the others and convince them to help him save everything they hold dear. Not about them doing their thing, and him giving a helping hand and a nudge in the right direction.

Thanks for sharing this story with us, Rune! Best of luck in SPFBO7, with the sales of Doomsayer, and with your next novel!

Note: Rune’s story is the first in a series of guest posts by SPFBO7 authors answering the question “did you have a minor character in your SPFBO7 novel who insisted on playing a larger role in the story?”  The question was prompted by my fascination with the creative process and how the story one finishes writing isn’t ever quite the story one started with!

A Link Between Two Worlds

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Gabriella Kikwaki and her bilingual middle grade fantasy series,  A Link Between Two Worlds.

Author’s description

A three book bilingual series

Book 1:
Two worlds, one goal. The story will all be revealed. Hey, my name’s Alaura. In this story, I found out that there’s a parallel universe to Earth’s called Aliese. I also have a long-lost relative, my sister Alia. But not everything is as great as it seems; there’re evil forces called the Gaulris out to destroy the worlds with their leader, Lord Zefron. My friends, my sister, and I must find a way to stop this force before they reunite the two parallel universes, which will be total destruction.

Deux mondes, un objectif, l’histoire va être révélée. Bonjour, mon nom c’est Alaura. Dans cette histoire, je découvre qu’il y a un univers parallèle à la planète Terre qui s’appelle Aliese. J’apprends aussi que j’ai une soeur, nommée Alia, perdue depuis longtemps. Mais tout n’est pas aussi beau qu’il n’y paraît, il y a également les forces du mal : les Gaulris et leur roi Zefron. C’est pourquoi mes amis, ma soeur et moi devons arrêter le roi Zefron avant qu’il ne réunisse les deux univers parallèles, ce qui serait une destruction totale.

Book 2:
The future is never a straight path.

Hey, my name is Alia. In this story my friends, my sister and I find out that we cannot destroy Lord Zefron because of his mechanism. We also find out the exact date that the parallel universe will merge. We later make it to Bartha’s place. She has a solution to how we can stop the universes from reuniting. But with every good thing comes a price to pay. We collect a load of items to prepare ourselves for this mission. So, we need once again to find a way to save the galaxy before the total destruction caused by the parallel universes.

Le future n’est jamais un chemin droit.

Hey mon nom est Alia. Dans cette histoire mes amies, ma soeur et moi ont découvert que nous ne pouvons pas détruire Le roi Zefron à cause de son mécanisme.

On a aussi découvert la date exacte à laquelle les deux univers parallèles vont se réunir. Quand nous sommes arrivés au château de Bartha, Bartha avait une solution comment empêcher les deux univers parallèles de se réunir. Mais pour toute bonne chose il ya un prix à payer. Nous avons donc collectionné beaucoup d’objects pour préparer à cette mission. Une fois de plus mes amies, ma soeur et moi doivent trouver un moyen de sauver la galaxie avant que les univers parallèles causent une destruction totale.

Book 3:
A light in the darkness . . .

Hey, my name is Lily and in this volume the nightmare truly begins. So, I, Alia Reven, and the rest of the group finally prepare a plan to stop the two worlds from merging. We had everything planned out, or so we thought . . . When The Telepathies sisters did the spell of Senyria, they awakened a hidden dark force that is out to destroy the world, which goes by the name of the black mist, or Devoile. Friends get possessed, new worlds are unlocked, hidden mysteries are discovered, and, worst of all, our friends, the world and realms are all in danger, ’cause in this volume the nightmare begins!

Une lumière dans le noire . . .
Bonjour mon c’est Lily et dans cette tome le cauchemar a commencé. Alors moi, Alia, Reven et tout le rest du groupe ont finalement trouvé un plan pour arrêter les deux mondes de se reunir. Nous avons prevu chaque etape ou on pensait avoir . . . Quand les soeurs Telepathie ont fait le sortilège de Senyria, elles ont révélé une nouvelle force du mal qui s’appelle la brume noir ou Devoile. Nos amis deviennent possedés, deux nouveaux mondes se montrent, des secrets inconnu sont révélé mais la plus mauvaise. Nos amis, l’univers et tout le monde sont en danger car dans cette tome le cauchemar a . . . vraiment commencer!

Guest Post

When I asked author Gabriella Kikwaki to tell us how much vocabulary she had created for her fantasy world, and what she used to guide the creation of her words, I didn’t know she was a middle grade student writing for other middle graders. Given how new she is to the field of writing, her answer is particularly impressive. And I think she does a great job of describing how we all create words.

The followings are most of the magical words I created:

  1. Syneria or Senyria: an ancient spell that can break the fabric of space but the price to pay would be to lose your life (from volume 3 and 4 of the ‘’A link between two worlds / Un lien entre deux mondes’’ bilingual series )
  2. The amulet of Elesca : an amulet that wields the power of time (from volume 4 of the ‘’A link between two worlds / Un lien entre deux mondes’’ bilingual series)
  3. The amulet of truth: an amulet with the power to deflect what has already happened (from the upcoming book ‘’A twisted destiny’’ go to my author website to find out more about this book)
  4. The forest of Everbloom: an enchanted forest on the planet Aliese, where many exotic and mystical plants bloom (from volume 1&2 of the bilingual book series ‘’A link between two worlds / Un lien entre deux mondes’’ )
  5. Devoile : a character made of black mist or rather is the black mist, with a dreaded evil that spreads within. (from volume of the ‘’A link between two worlds / Un lien entre deux mondes’’ bilingual series.)
  6. The kingdom of Aliese : a mystical planet that somehow seems caught in between the 21st century and medieval times. It is also a planet where many magical creatures live. Finally, it is one of the parallel universes of the story ‘’A link between two worlds / Un lien entre deux mondes ’’.
  7. The planet Moria: the magical planet that was divided into two worlds, has existed for millions upon, billions of years. This planet appears to never lose energy as if it was made to last forever. Finally, this planet was home to the strongest of magical species in the worlds (From the ‘’A link between two worlds / Un lien entre deux mondes’’ bilingual series).

Those vocabularies are products of my imagination. They may or may not already exist. The inspiration I got to come up with these words, are the most random things you could ever do……I just started saying mystical names I’ve never heard of before, for example:

  1. Zadrome
  2. Erius
  3. Destir
  4. The planet of Dynamuness

I just created those four words (that don’t exist as far as I know). As you can see, I just randomly think about it and then write it. In conclusion, my inspiration comes from my own mind.

The Author’s Story

I am an eleven-year-old girl from Ontario, Canada. I speak both French and English. At the age of 11 I wrote my first book in a series called A Link Between Two Worlds. I like gymnastics, dancing, singing, swimming and drawing characters. I also love writing fantasy stories. One day I decided to write a story about a magic galaxy, friendship, hope, courage and fantasy.

Je suis une fille de 11 ans. Je viens de l’Ontario, Canada. Je parle le français et l’anglais. À l’âge de 11 ans, j’ai écrit le premier tome de la série Un lien entre deux mondes. J’adore chanter, nager et faire de la gymnastique. J’aime aussi dessiner des personnages et raconter des histoires originales et amusantes. Un jour, j’ai décidé d’écrire une histoire sur une galaxie où se mêlent magie, amitié, courage et de la fantaisie.

Find the Author

WEBSITE: https://authorgabriellakikwaki.com/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/alinkbetweentwoworlds
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/authorgabriellakikwaki/

Buy the Books

Book 1: A Link Between Two Worlds / Un Lien Entre Deux Mondes : Volume 1 & 2
AMAZON.COM
https://amazon.com/dp/0228845793
KINDLE https://amazon.com/dp/B08VFFH61P
BOOKSHOP https://bookshop.org/books/a-link-between-two-worlds-un-lien-entre-deux-mondes-volume-1-2-9780228847410/9780228845799
INDIGO CHAPTERS https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/a-link-between-two-worlds/9780228845805-item.html
BARNES & NOBLE https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-link-between-two-worlds-un-lien-entre-deux-mondes-gabriella-kikwaki/1138748934
BOOK DEPOSITORY https://www.bookdepository.com/Link-Between-Two-Worlds–Un-Lien-Entre-Deux-Mondes-Gabriella-Kikwaki/9780228845799
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1066776
APPLE BOOKS https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-link-between-two-worlds-un-lien-entre-deux-mondes-volume-1-2/id1551859521

Book 2: A Link Between Two Worlds / Un Lien Entre Deux Mondes : Together Forever / Ensemble Pour Toujours – Volume 3
AMAZON.COM https://amazon.com/dp/0228849241
KINDLE https://amazon.com/dp/B091JGLY7H
INDIGO CHAPTERS https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/a-link-between-two-worlds/9780228849254-item.html
BARNES & NOBLE https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-link-between-two-worlds-un-lien-entre-deux-mondes-gabriella-kikwaki/1139273729
BOOK DEPOSITORY https://www.bookdepository.com/Link-Between-Two-Worlds–Un-Lien-Entre-Deux-Mondes-Gabriella-Kikwaki/9780228849247
RAKUTEN KOBO  https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/a-link-between-two-worlds-un-lien-entre-deux-mondes-1
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1077525
APPLE BOOKS https://books.apple.com/us/book/link-between-two-worlds-lien-entre-deux-mondes-together/id1561858856

Book 3: Releasing soonA Link Between Two Worlds / Un Lien Entre Deux Mondes : The Nightmare Begins/ Le Cauchemar Commence

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

The story of how it all began

Alaura — Wow, where is this place?

Elesore: this is the kingdom of Aliese. Welcome.

Alaura and Reven: Wooooooooooooooooooow! Reven — This is like a dream but real, and wait, how are we still alive? We’re in space with no air! We could die any second.

Elesore — Aliese has its own air source, but only those who receive its magical essence can stay alive.

Alaura — Wait, so we have magical essences?

Elesore: Yes, Alaura. The princess has been waiting and searching for you ever since.

Alaura — What do you mean? I don’t even know her.

Elesore — Are you sure about that?

Reven (whispers) — Hey, Alaura, this is a really big change. An hour ago we were regular high school students, and now we have, umm, made-up magical powers or something.

Thank you!

Gabriella Kikwaki — we appreciate your sharing your series A Link Between Two Worlds with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

The Secret of Drulea Cottage

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Claire Kohler and her historical fantasy novel, The Secret of Drulea Cottage.

Author’s description

Briony Fairborn, a midwife in eighteenth-century Scotland, comes from a family shrouded in scandal. Left with only one friend after her mother’s death, she has little hope of gaining any others, let alone finding a husband. Instead, Briony tries to live a quiet life and avoid her neighbors’ ridicule as much as possible.

 

But things in Everton take a drastic turn when a storm brings foreigners to the village docks.

 

On the night Santiago Mendes arrives, he comes with a broken ship, a broken leg, and a broken spirit that Briony finds herself profoundly drawn to. Her scarred heart slowly starts to open, and although Briony suspects he may be hiding something, she cannot help but dream of the possibility of love.

 

That is, until another stranger appears in town, intent on repaying a childhood debt. A dangerously handsome stranger who shows Briony that she’s even more different than she could have imagined. And that her past is far darker than she realized.

 

Magic, romance, and political intrigue collide as the secrets surrounding one Scottish woman begin to unravel. Secrets that she may not be ready to face.

About the Author

Claire Kohler grew up in Mooresville, NC, as the eldest of four daughters. Her love of stories began at an early age, and as a child, she could often be found borrowing way too many books from the library and scribbling away in a journal.

In 2016, Claire became a full-time middle school English teacher in a public school. In her second year of teaching, she also taught social studies. After becoming pregnant in 2018, Claire decided to shift careers and become an online ESL teacher so that she could also take care of her newborn at home.

She now lives in Statesville, NC, with her husband, two children, and three cats. She is also an active member of Christ Community Church Mooresville, where she often serves as a Bible study and small group leader.

Claire plans to continue creating exciting historical fantasy novels and potentially branching out into other genres as well.

Find the Author

Website Link: https://secretdruleacottage.wixsite.com/clairekohlerbooks

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/Claire-Kohler-Books-100151582291586

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

“Open the door! By order of His Majesty the King!” The harsh shout from the street below wrenched Santiago out of his reverie.

The sounds of merriment abruptly ended within the house, and nervous whispers took their place. Santiago peered down from the balcony at the ten quadrilheiros  standing right outside the door. He’d never seen that many gathered in one place, since they typically stayed in Lisbon near the king. What could be so important for them to show up here?

“Santiago!”

The man turned to find his sister standing before him, a nervous Andreas at her side. Her entire body was trembling as though she would fall apart at a moment’s notice, and Santiago observed the way she gripped Andreas’s arm with such intensity that her knuckles had turned white.

“Are they going to arrest us? Why are the quadrilheiros here?” Lucia whimpered in a low voice, her breaths so shallow she could barely get the words out.

Santiago reached out and patted her shoulder. “Calm down, sister. We’ve done nothing wrong. I’m sure they just need information for something—”

The door creaked open below them, and Santiago motioned for Lucia to be silent.

“What’s the meaning of this?” Tomas Cabral, head servant for the Mendes family, demanded. Santiago smirked at the older gentleman’s steady voice; it was difficult for anyone to intimidate Tomas.

“Are Senhor and Senhorita Mendes in?”

Rather than answering, the man said, “Why have you come?”

The leading officer growled and said, “Senhor Mendes is to be taken into custody and his sister brought in for questioning.”

Lucia gasped. “What!”

“Shh!” Santiago insisted.

“You’re arresting Senhor Mendes? On what grounds?” Tomas didn’t sound nearly as confident anymore, but Santiago was proud of the man for not allowing the quadrilheiros into the house yet.

“Treason! Now, stand aside!”

Thank you!

Claire Kohler — we appreciate your sharing your book The Secret of Drulea Cottage with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

… even more than I like writing

It’s true. I have a lot of fun making up stories. I enjoy research, and (unlike some writers) I even get a kick out of rewriting and editing my own work. But the thing I enjoy most — don’t ask me why — is taking my finished product and making these little promotional things.

Everything else about promoting makes me cringe, but creating these is like … I don’t know … doodling?

My latest book — book 4 — comes out today. Check it out. That means that today and tomorrow, I get to doodle all day if I want. 🙂

Sunday? I’ll be back to making things up, this time for book 6 which becomes my WIP (work in progress) now. Gypsum’s story (She’s the One who Won’t Behave) will fill my life for the next few months. Good thing I like to write fiction too.

Book Release: She’s the One Who Doesn’t Say Much by S. R. Cronin @cinnabar01 @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Book 4 is here! R&R Book Tours is hosting this fine release day blitz.

R&R Book Tours

Happy publication day to S.R. Cronin! Check out the latest installment in The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters! Read on for details and a chance to win a $20 amazon gift card and an Amazon gift copy of the first book in the collection, “She’s the One Who Thinks too Much“!

2021-0819 S R Cronin b04She’s the One Who Doesn’t Say Much (The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters)

Publication Date: August 13th, 2021 (Today)

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Do you know what your problem is?

Olivine knows hers. This quiet thirteen century artist has been hiding a secret as she travels to K’ba to meet her friends. Others assume she’s fallen in love with another artist, and it’s not a match Mother would consider suitable. But it’s much worse than that. For on the way to K’ba is the dirt poor nichna of Scrud, a place scorned by…

View original post 1,298 more words

I’ve been waiting until today …

I’m a lurker on fantasy blogs. Why?

I spend most of my waking hours writing fantasy, but my stories don’t conform well to the rules, or at least to the current fashions in my genre and I know it. Yet I persist in writing what I like to read. So, while I enjoy hiding in the shadows listening to what others have to say, I seldom feel that I have much to add to the conversation.

For the last couple of years, I’ve silently watched something called SPFBO. Short for “Self-published Fantasy Blog Off,” it’s a rather bizarre contest wherein 10 or so blogs judge 30 self-published fantasy books each (300 total) and select 10 finalists and one winner. It’s a great way for self-published authors to get much needed publicity, and the folks who put this together donate a lot of time and effort.

This year, with no forethought, I surprised myself by entering my novel “She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much.” Well, don’t expect much to come of this, I told myself.

Then, of the 25 of so possible reviewers, I drew the winner of last years contest as my reviewer. Yikes. That was intimidating. This guy can really do this shit.

Since June 1, I’ve checked every day. Has he reviewed my book yet? Not today. Maybe tomorrow.

Today, it got reviewed.

And???

The review was fair, containing criticism mixed with praise. I thought the reviewer was absolutely on the mark as to the books strengths and weaknesses. To my ear it was on the whole more good than bad, though it leaves me thinking I’m unlikely to advance even to the semi-finalist stage. (To be honest I never thought there was much chance of that anyway.)

My only quarrel at all is I wish the reviewer had been more familiar with alternate histories, in which components of our own world mix with imaginary settings. Then he may have been less puzzled by my Mongols (who are important to the story in their historical sense) and my one reference to Greek Mythology.

That aside, finally seeing my review was exhilarating.

Here’s the comments I left on the SPFBO Facebook Page.

Thank you for the review! It is always a joy when a reviewer “gets” what one is trying to do, even when it gives them niggles. I always wish I could buy such a reviewer a beer and talk through their observations but, alas, that isn’t an option. So I’ll just thank everyone — Justin Anderson, Booknest.eu, and SPFBO#7 — for this great opportunity.

And I do thank them all.

Whew … now I’m going to have to find something else obsessive to do every day.

The Lady Who Knew Too Much

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Alyson Chase and her steamy historical romance novel, The Lady Who Knew Too Much.

Author’s description

He’s an ex-boxer. She sips tea at philosophical salons. And when these two opposites meet, their lives will never be the same.

Lady Juliana knows someone is trying to kill her father. The problem is getting anyone to believe her. Her father thinks she’s imagining things. Her brother that she’s seeking attention. And the man her brother hired to bring her back home…well, he thinks nothing much of her at all.

Brogan Duffy has clawed his way up from the streets to become the lead investigator on his very first inquiry case. The fact that it is to retrieve a spoiled aristocrat playing at intrigue is of no consequence. Nor is the fact that she beguiles him like no other woman. He has a job to do, and he won’t let anything stand in his way, not even this illogical attraction.

But Juliana might not be imagining the threat. And when it’s her life that’s on the line, Brogan has to decide to what lengths he’ll go to keep her safe. Because in order to resolve this make-or-break case in his career, Brogan might have to hazard more than his heart. And with some gambles, there’s no going back…

About the Author

Alyson Chase lives in Colorado. A former attorney, she happily ditched those suits and now works in her pajamas writing about men’s briefs instead of legal briefs. When she’s not writing, she’s probably engaged in one of her favorite hobbies: napping, eating, or martial arts. (That last one almost makes up for the first two, right?)  She also writes humorous, small-town, contemporary romance novels under the name Allyson Charles, and paranormal romances as A. Caprice.

Find the Author

You can catch up with her at https://www.allysoncharles.com/alyson-chase-1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlysonChaseAuthor/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/1alysonchase
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBDDk6MbGufWiwi9cydVbZg
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/alysonchaseauthor/boards/
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alyson-chase

Buy the Book

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Who-Knew-Too-Much-ebook/dp/B094TH9B8R

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $40 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

His driver stretched from his spot underneath a willow tree and lumbered over. “Off to London, sir?”

“Yes.” Brogan looked back at Bluff Hall. The sun glinted off the front windows. Ivy climbed up the white walls. All in all, a cheerful picture.

A sliver of dread wedged in his gut.

He sniffed. It was Lady Juliana’s doing, filling his mind with unfounded suspicions. Yanking open the carriage door, he climbed inside, slamming it behind him.

He pounded on the ceiling, eager to be away. He’d done his job, and kept his promise to the lady. He had nothing to feel badly for.

He stretched his legs out, kicking the blanket-wrapped bundle underneath the seat opposite.

“Ouch!” The bundle shifted.

Brogan’s stomach twisted. He bent over and yanked the edge of the blanket toward him.

Dark hair spilled across the floor. Juliana pushed a hank off her face and peered up at him, blinking.

“Good afternoon,” she said, with the dignity of a princess instead of the stowaway she was. “I don’t suppose I could have a ride back to London?”

Thank you!

Alyson Chase — we appreciate your sharing your book The Lady Who Knew Too Much with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Frostborn

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Michael Haddad and his young adult fantasy novel, Frostborn.

Author’s description

The Frostborn—the one destined to end the war, the one blessed by the magic of Aether—was supposedly nothing more than a hopeless fairytale, a myth lost to time. But as the centuries-long war between the kingdoms of Eljud and Surtrol forces Elias Jökull to evacuate his village, a run-in with the fearsome Gjallarhorn army awakens within him a dormant power long since forgotten by the people—a power signaling the existence of the Frostborn.

With such critical news, hope of victory against Surtrol becomes contagious, yet Elias’s former life of slavery leaves him apprehensive about lending a hand to his own flawed kingdom. Even still, knowing the world will soon be in search of him, the newfound Frostborn must choose his allegiances quickly. And after encountering a ranked Surt captain, he does just that.

But while acting as a double agent, feeding intel to Eljud’s southern enemy and working both sides of the same border, his conflicted self struggles to anchor his loyalty to a single kingdom as buried secrets begin to unearth.

The incessant clash between the north and south is soon coming to an end and Elias will have to find a side to stand on. The hard question is: which side? Everyone wants the Frostborn for themselves, but for how long can Elias let the world string him along?

Grabbing a Moment in the Spotlight

In my books I’ve always have one minor character who insists on playing a larger role in the story. So when authors visit this blog,  I love to ask them if there was such a character in their novel. It turns out this happened in a big way in Frostborn, but Michael Haddad warns you that this answer is somewhat of a spoiler for his book.

This has happened quite a few times and I’m glad it’s not just me! When creating my standard cast of characters, I had planned for an obvious protagonist (Elias) and a secondary character that is significant enough to debatably be the second protagonist (Katerina). If I considered this as a tier list, below them is a group of minor secondary characters who appear in a handful of scenes. Just to warn you, what I’m about to say is a spoiler so don’t read further if you plan to dive into my novel.

One of Katerina’s peers, General Eira, is a compassionate and respectful character who does her best to please those around her. She rarely speaks out of turn and never argues against higher authorities. I never intended her character design to grow much from that, but when finalizing the plot, she somehow pushed through to earn a massive spotlight in the final arc of the story. During the siege on the city, Eira not only switches allegiances, but also unleashes a dark, otherworldly power to defeat the opposition and put an end to the bloodbath. It’s such a jarring revelation when the readers see that the demon-like wraith plowing through the battlefield is actually the sweetheart general they’ve known for years. In that moment, Eira took the spotlight and even confronted the main antagonist when the protagonist couldn’t. I enjoyed the contrast and decided to keep it.

From then on, I used the Norse goddess Hel as a frame of reference for Eira’s character design because Hel is a symbol for the duality of the universe and that juxtaposition only adds to the depth of my story. There are other characters who’ve done the same, but not to this extent.

 The Author’s Story

Hardworking university student and recent John Abbott College graduate, Michael Haddad doubles as a fiction author of the fantastic who throws himself into his own writing—who can’t stop imagining new worlds, new ideas, new characters. His passion for roleplaying games has earned him his fair share of teasing, but he’d be lying if he said it didn’t open his imagination. When not at his computer, typing away, Michael is often with his friends and family, losing terribly at tennis, hunkering down for movie marathons, and trying to get a good night’s sleep. As someone born and raised in Montreal, he is no stranger to having ice rinks for streets and snow up to the knee—but that’s nothing a warm cup of coffee can’t beat.

Find the Author

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Michael-Haddad-Author-106283484884430
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/mhaddad_author/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21313196.Michael_Haddad

Buy the Book

AMAZON.CA — https://amazon.ca/dp/0228849640
AMAZON.COM — https://amazon.com/dp/0228849640
BARNES & NOBLE — https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/frostborn-michael-haddad/1139075432
BOOK DEPOSITORY — https://www.bookdepository.com/Frostborn-Michael-Haddad/9780228849643

Win the Book

Michael Haddad is running a Goodreads ebook giveaway for Frostborn. Enter at  https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/325053-frostborn

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

The Gjallarhorn positions her weapon above her head.

The hand-axe plummets with a snap of her wrist.

Dalia has her arms up, but she knows they will be paper under the sharp edge of the axe. The life of a slave is not easy, yet Elias made it bearable. Seeing him with his ghostly face half in the mud, beaten down by someone who is supposed to protect the kingdom, enraged her. At this point, it is no longer a matter of survival. This is what has to be done. She needs to show the people of Brimir the corruption that spoils the ranks of the Gjallarhorn Army. Her death may inspire a movement of change. The chances are slim, but it is all she has left to give her life some droplet of meaning, of purpose.

Seconds pass and the axe has not run her through. She opens her eyes.

Elias is up on his feet, his fingers curled over the hand-axe’s blade, locking it in place. The shackles once constricting his wrists are busted and Rayna’s eyes grow wide, her jaw stuck in alarm. “How? You were as good as dead.”

“Elias?” Dalia says.

There’s no answer. His face is empty of emotion, with an expression as rigid as stone.

Rayna releases her weapon, stepping to the left then bolting forth, her fist ready to hit. Elias reacts, moving with a dexterity Dalia has never seen. He shifts his weight, using the back of his hand to guide the Gjallarhorn’s strike past his flank. He then tosses the axe away to free up his other hand and at a dizzying speed, he rams Rayna’s throat with the heel of his palm. The impact unleashes a blast of icy wind that rockets Rayna into the crowd, knocking over people nearby.

Dalia brushes her tears away and struggles to stand with her quaking knees. “Elias, what are you doing?”

The winds start to roar, loose snow picking up from the earth in a flurrying storm. The gales rotate around Elias and the very mud he once laid in has frozen over into a sheen of ice. The remaining Gjallarhorns circle him, fighting against the blustering wind as they close in.

Thank you!

Michael Haddad — we appreciate your sharing your book Frostborn with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.