Black Werewolves Box Set by Gaja J. Kos – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Gaja J. Kos will be awarding $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

mediakit_bookcover_blackwerewolfboxsetEnter the world where myth becomes reality, where long forgotten gods walk the earth, and where love forms bonds that cannot be broken even in the raging winds of battle.

Box set contains: The Dark Ones, The 24hourlies, Chased (novella)

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Rose felt his muscles flex in graceful movement as he sprinted towards the courtyard that lay just beyond the alley. As soon as they left the narrowness of the walls, he leaped into the air and extended his wings, each bat taking them higher, until she could see the length of her street coming into full view below them. The simargl used the wind currents, leisurely taking her in a semi-circle around her neighborhood, before rising higher, his fur and his feathers shimmering in the unimpeded rays of sunlight.

The wind brushed against her skin as they gained speed; it would have been painful for a human, their less protected skin exposed to the elements like this, however, she welcomed the coolness it brought, knowing she still had the luxury of doing a half-shift at any time, should the strokes of fresh air become too aggressive for the tough, but nonetheless more sensitive human form.

The green landscape of Slovenia lay outstretched below them as the simargl kept a steady course, leaving the concrete circle of Ljubljana in the distance and taking them further southeast.

About the Author:mediakit_authorphoto_blackwerewolfboxsetGaja J. Kos is the international bestselling author of the urban fantasy series BLACK WEREWOLVES and the erotic paranormal romance novellas DROWNED. She is also a bilingual poet with 12 published poetry collections.

Gaja resides in Celje, Slovenia, with her husband and two Chinese Crested dogs.

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Pale Rider: Zombies vs. Dinosaurs by James Livingood – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. James will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

mediakit_bookcover_paleriderTwo worlds collide in this action novelette. Zombies have destroyed civilization. Gasoline fuel is no longer an option, but humanity must find a way to survive. In response to trying to restore our way of life, we engineer franken-monsters. Because of their small brains and massive sizes, these beasts make quick work of farming and clearing land. These large creatures are immune to the zombie virus and perform excellently in loud conditions. They are easy to train. They behave like war horses, prone to help charge in and defend our livelihood.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Blues often hunt for weaker and sick humans. Standing your ground and appearing strong will scare off blues. In the beginning, we had become so used to being the top of the food chain, that the thought of being hunted was frightening. Most of the population ran, and that led to massive feasts. Furthermore, our distaste for mandatory physicals meant pockets of blues formed. Gun owners and others brazen enough to stand their ground often kept their ground. Yet, as humans became replaced, the blue’s tactics became more complex. Soon, only standing your ground with a gun was not enough. The practice still works in isolated regions, but the best escape from a blue is to retreat to a safe city.

New Eye City was formed for just that reason. Survivalists knew how to build flash communities, which would then focus on walls. As many of you know, gasoline fuel was no longer an option as the infrastructure collapsed around humanity. Cars, trucks, and farming equipment gathered rust from disuse. Humanity needed a new approach to surviving.

About the Author:mediakit_authorphoto_paleriderJames was born in Montana, raised with three brothers, and provided trouble for two parents. In his 20’s he fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. He then moved out to Seattle after college and started a life. In 2014, he started to write full time.

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The Grotesques by Tia Reed – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tia will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

mediakit_bookcover_thegrotesquesDiscredited journalist Ella Jerome isn’t thrilled about working at Adelaide’s fanciful tabloid The Informer. So when zoologist Adam Lowell seeks her help in finding his missing cousin, she’s cynical of his claim a monster lurks near the Church of the Resurrection. The trouble is, solving the gruesome case could be her best shot at restoring her shredded reputation.

With her old instincts resurfacing, Ella combs the Port for clues. Experience tells her the only monsters are the human variety, and the bloodied stonemason certainly raises her suspicions. But when her investigation turns up everything from petrified remains to the headless carving of a dragon, the truth threatens to steal both her sanity and the man she’s falling for.

After all, gargoyles can’t be anything other than harmless stone. Or can they?

Enjoy an Exclusive Excerpt:

Ella opened the door. Her overweight editor had his feet on a battered desk, a bitten doughnut in one hand and a stack of papers in the other. When he saw her, Phil immediately dropped his feet, tossed the papers onto the desk and the doughnut on top of them. “Where have you been? You’re late with your copy. When I said you could have time off, I didn’t mean you could have a goddamn honeymoon.”

“I need you to print this. Front page. Tomorrow.” Ella held out the article.

Phil waved her in and took the printout. “So your source panned out?”

Ella felt a lump form in her throat. “He’s missing.”

Phil did not miss a beat. “Crap.”

She was not sure if his concern was for Adam or his story. “I think I know where he might be. I mean, I’ve got a lead so I’m on my way out again.”

Phil finished skimming the text and blinked like he was the one suffering from hallucinations. He threw her a puzzled look and reread. “You sure you want your name to this?” he said at last.

“I need my name to that. I need it to go to print. Tomorrow.”

Now he really looked at her. “Do you believe it?”

“Would you believe me if I say it’s the truth?”

“It doesn’t matter. This isn’t going to hurt business any. An original idea like this might even drum up some new customers.”

“You’ll get more once I chase down a few leads. In the meantime, I need some background.”

“Debbie’s got that covered. And I expect the next installment tomorrow.” The lights flickered. Waterman tilted his head to the ceiling. “Goddamnit!” As if in response to his swearing, the buzzing fluorescent tubes cackled out. While the room darkened, light still poured in from the large window behind the desk. “Those vermin are costing me a damn fortune in electrical repairs,” he said, standing.

“What vermin?” The regrettable words were out before she could think.

“Bats. Apparently, there’s a whole colony in the roof.” Waterman walked into the main area, leaving Ella staring at his back. The creatures were stalking her. She shook her head, hoping that thought did not make her even more certifiable.

About the Author: Tia Reed loves nothing better than burying her nose in a story of her own imagining, cuddling her bossy cat and rescuing chewed pillows from her hyperactive dog. She takes every opportunity to do all three when she is not teaching English as a second language. Her other hobbies usually take a back seat but include trying to tame her beast of a garden, hiking and travelling. The latter has thrown her many interesting, sometimes hair-raising experiences, which she loves twisting into stories. She was born in Malta, but lives in Adelaide, Australia.

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Ever Fiend by Randy Ellefson – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Randy will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

mediakit_bookcover_theeverfiendOnly a fool steals from a wizard.

Talon Stormbringer thought he knew the risk of stealing from Viland Shadowbreaker – until he got caught. The wizard will spare him if Talon performs a service – fetch the deadly silver elixir from the Everway, a supernatural land that Talon assumed wasn’t real. Only children believe the stories about what lies within – lost souls, corrupted magic items, and mysterious destinations that most people never escape. Ruling over it all is the Ever Fiend, a bogeyman that people use to scare unruly youngsters into behaving.

Talon agrees to go, if only to stop Viland from doing something unholy with the potent elixir once retrieved. Joining him are a band of people he can’t trust. Their leader, a sorelia with nefarious plans of his own. The sorelia’s battle-trained mynx, a large cat who obeys only its master. An alluring swordswoman who wants to enchant her blades with the elixir. A cocky guard whose bravado might prove more liability than asset. A warrior kryll whose curiosity about the elixir might cost him more than his life. And a tortured Knight of Coiryn who seeks redemption in a place where most are damned. Of all the things they might discover on their journey, one is the most obvious and yet the hardest to learn…

Only a fool steals from the Ever Fiend.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

While most in Talendor slumbered, Talon Stormbringer crept through a hallway dark with flickering shadows, his human ears and eyes alert. He’d already slipped undetected past a jhaikan and a mynx, undeterred by their ferocity and taste for man-flesh. Even the dozen sleeping riven in the courtyard hadn’t given him pause, when even fully armored knights would have turned away. The little monsters were infamous for stirring at the slightest sound and waking to become like a whirling dervish of steel, not unlike what Talon himself could unleash from the sword he gripped in one hand.

Now he heard nothing, not even his own passage, the supple black leather pants and tunic he wore never squeaking as he crept toward the doorway and his prize—the gold figurine of a great bird of prey, said to be magical and worth a fortune. Stories in taverns had piqued his interest but also warned him of the dangers, the greatest of those being the wizard whose white tower he now prowled. Some said Viland Shadowbreaker enjoyed unsavory habits when few were looking, his public persona of benevolent charm masking a dark truth. But men with great secrets often hide things of greater importance than their private sins.

About the Author:

Randy Ellefson has written fantasy fiction since his teens and is an avid world builder, having spent three decades creating Llurien, which has its own website. He has a Bachelor’s of Music in classical guitar but has always been more of a rocker, having released several albums and earned endorsements from music companies. He’s a professional software developer and runs a consulting firm in the Washington D.C. suburbs. He’s married and loves spending time with his son and daughter when not writing, making music, or playing golf.

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Dark Communion by CJ Perry – Spotlight & Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. CJ Perry will be awarding a $10 and a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to two randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

mediakit_bookcover_darkcommunionThe minotaurs have kept Ayla and Deetra’s people in chains for 200 years. With nothing left to live for, and a death sentence in her womb, Ayla trades her soul for a chance to break the curse which holds her people in slavery. Armed only with her faith, she and Deetra start a revolution, and bring about the return of the Goddess of Darkness.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

The woman’s lips curved up in a smile but no lines formed in her cheeks. She looked like a living statue, and not one bit like her mother.

“Who are you?” Ayla asked.

The stranger leaned over Ayla, resting her palms on the altar. Her voice took on a hollow yet resonant quality. Her breath suffused the air with a heady fragrance like scented oils.

“I am the dark corner that hides those in need. The eternal ruler of the Abyss.”

“You’re a God?”

“I was once their Queen.”

“Am I dead?”

The Goddess kissed Ayla on the forehead with cold lips. “You are at His doorstep.”

“Where’s my mom?”

“The dead cannot hear your pleas. I have come in her stead, my child.”

Ayla never believed in the Gods. And if they did exist, she wanted nothing to do with any who would leave their people in chains.

“I’m not your child.”

The woman grabbed Ayla under the jaw, fingers digging into her cheeks. Her icy eyes remained impassive but her voice lowered threateningly.

“You are the daughter of Steelhorn, the grandson of Tor, who is my son. I am not just your mother, but the mother of every woman born from a breeding cabin.” The Night Goddess let go of Ayla’s jaw. The closest brazier’s flame shone blue in the Her black tresses. “I have waded through the River of Dreams to answer your call, and this is how you thank me?”

“I’m dreaming?” Ayla asked.

About the Author:My deep and abiding love of fantasy began when I was six when I first saw the 1981 film Dragonslayer on VHS with my father. He loved fantasy movies too, but didn’t have the courage to be a dork about it like I did. That movie was a gateway drug that led me straight to the hard stuff – CS Lewis. I was far too young for such potency but by the time I was ten I had read the whole series. That’s when I found my first Dungeons and Dragons group. When I started playing, my friends and I used pre-made campaign settings and published adventures, but I quickly grew restless with their limitations and trite story lines. I needed my own persistent world: something adaptable to my whim and that no one else owned.

Back in my day, there was no internet, so I took out every book about castles and medieval history from the school library and read them in Math class (I’m still terrible at math as a result). I came up with an entire world and brand new history. I read books on cartography and hand drew maps of my new world. I created a cosmology, a hierarchy of gods, and the tenets of their religions. I read the Dungeon Master’s guide a dozen times, and every fantasy novel I could get my hands on.

Then, one day, I sat down and told my friends, “Hey guys, wanna try my story instead?”
Even 15 years after the original D&D campaigns ended, former players tell me that they share our incredible stories with their children. I’m honored to say that most of those players still have their original character sheets 16-20 years later, and a couple have even named their children after them.

Now, I’m 39 years old and a loving father of 2 girls, and I still play those games on occasion. My passion has evolved into putting those ideas and amazing stories on paper for the whole world to enjoy. My first novel took me and co-author DC Fergerson 10 years to write and topped out at 180,000 words. Being too long and too complex, I finally ended the project and took its lessons to heart.

I learned that Dungeons & Dragons did not translate well into a novel. D&D made for great times, but also for some meandering plot lines, pointless encounters, and poor character motivations. No matter how memorable some of the moments were, if I wanted anyone to read my story, I needed to learn a lot more about writing.

I threw myself into being a full time student of novel crafting. I read every book on writing by Dwight Swain I could find. I paid Chuck Sambuchino (Editor for Writer’s Digest) to critique and edit my older work. I took James Patterson’s Masterclass, went to college, and joined online writing communities. All the while, I read my favorite fantasy novels again, only this time with a mental highlighter. I reworked my stories, outlined them, and decided to start from the beginning.
Many, many years later, I am in the final edit and proofreading stage of Dark Communion, the first installment of the Shadowalker Chronicles. My role as a father of two girls heavily influenced the characters I’d known for over 20 years, shaping them into women that my own daughters could respect. My characters took on a depth and quality that brings them off the page and into the minds of readers, because they have become all too real. I was privileged enough to work on two careers at the same time to accomplish this feat – a fun-loving and involved stay-at-home dad, and a full time writer.

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The Hardest Part About Writing by MH Snowy – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. MH Snowy will be awarding $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The hardest part about writing is…

The never-ending frustration that there’s never enough time to write.

There, I’ve said it. Now I’ll have to let you know what I mean.

In Harms WayFor me, writing is an interesting process of constant detailed struggle in amongst enormous fun-filled worlds. I start with a scene, and then identify the theme I’m expressing.

For example, my first novella, In Harm’s Way, started as a scene about Harm, the legendary warrior who performed amazing deeds, but who could never remember them; nor hope to repeat them when he could remember. Harm’s story is about heroism and truth. Okay: theme tick.

From there, I build more scenes, develop the characters, and set out the whole structure of the story, before writing the events in detail. Phew! Does that sound like a lot a lot of work to you?

And here’s my catch—due to my secret-identity, the main time I have to write is when I commute. Thank God for smart phones! For years, I’ve been writing stories on the train, one paragraph at a time. I tried writing at night, but that just left me spinning and sent my well-being down the toilet. Weekends, you say? I’ll get to that.

After weeks (or even months) of train-rides, I will have finally written each scene, and the story as a whole appears before my eyes. A few weeks later the scenes even hang together and the what of the story is ready. But a what does not a story make. Eh?

You see, unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Writing coherent words is hard work. Writing words that flow and zing is even harder. Welcome to the how of editing! Good bye weekends.

I’ve been writing Jeremy’s story for a while. The 12 Nights of Jeremy Sunson is the first novella, but a book in its own right. Jeremy’s story began life from momentary lapses in memory—as in ‘did I really do that?’ In Jeremy’s specific case, his confusion when game-hunters from the future blow up his apartment—and the evidence disappears the next day. To me, Jeremy’s struggle to save the world, and avoid the assassins who crave Armageddon, represents the unlikely hero in all of us. Jeremy’s an accountant on stress-leave: if he can make a stand, we all can!

In writing Jeremy’s story, I’ve learnt that creating individual stand-alone novellas is more difficult than to tell the same stories as one novel. But if I waited until I completed a whole novel, I’d be writing for ages. This way, though harder to write, lets my stories out to the world earlier.

But it still takes time: the how can take almost as long as writing the story in the first place. Good thing it’s so worthwhile. And the outcome after months of train-rides and hair-tearing weekends? The extracts and the previews on Amazon and Goodreads will give you an idea, but I’m quite chuffed.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the sequel to Jeremy’s story is demanding more hair …

mediakit_bookcover_the12nightsofjeremysunsonHidden inside the most unlikely person can be the most extraordinary hero…

Jeremy Sunson is surrounded by crazy. Mrs. Abercrombie, upstairs, is widowed because her husband glued feathers to his arms, jumped off the building and tried to fly. His neighbour, Stuart, has gone mad since his wife died in a freak car accident— his only thread to reality the doomsday machine he’s building and his daughter… and, of course, there’s spacemen in Jeremy’s living room.

Every night, in glorious Technicolor, there’s a battle royal between two high tech assassins who continually blast Jeremy’s apartment to shreds. Each man has one mission: Red wants to kill Jeremy, Blue wants to save him!

Though his therapist insists he’s just having bad dreams—Jeremy knows better. It’s time to fight. He’s sick and tired of being sick, scared and tired! Armed with rare confidence and a baseball bat, this night, Jeremy fights like the crazy man he isn’t!

But how can he ever imagine when he’s won the battle, the war is only just beginning… over and over and over again?

The 12 Nights of Jeremy Sunson – ride a wave of laughter, fun and sci-fi fantasy all the way to Armageddon!

Enjoy an Excerpt:

“Dear me.” Dr Smith snapped up his ever-ready notepad, pen poised to take dictation. “Another dream? That is terrible,” he said with the grin of a Cheshire cat. “You must tell me all about it.”

But Jeremy didn’t have the energy to worry about Dr Smith’s behaviour. In mournful tones he related the story, unable to understand the way Dr Smith’s pen flew across the page, devouring every word that passed his lips. Jeremy shrugged—at least someone was getting a boost from his misery; though what that could be, he hadn’t the foggiest.

“Incredible … I mean, how terrible for you,” Dr Smith said, pen not pausing for a moment. “And they didn’t interact with you at all?”

“No,” Jeremy replied. “Though I’m pretty sure Fin scrunched his mouth at me.”

“He did what?”

Jeremy’s head snapped up. Dr Smith’s expression made Jeremy gulp. “Ah, he … he scrunched his mouth at me. I think. Raised it a bit on one side.”

Dr Smith jumped up and paced.

Jeremy followed the muttering figure with his gaze. “Does it … does it mean anything?”

Dr Smith stopped in his tracks. “Mean anything?” he said with a cry. “Why, it means everything!” He paced anew and then stopped. “Contempt, Mr Sunson. It means contempt.”

Fantastic, Jeremy reflected, now even my dreams think I’m a loser.

But Dr Smith continued. “It means you are not acting as Fin expects you to. He—your dream saviour, the alpha part of your personality if you will—showed that you are not assisting him with your behaviour. He is trying to save you and you are not helping yourself. Battle, Mr Sunson! Your dreams are instructing you to battle.”

About the Author:



Melindra Hattfield Snowy, a part-time writer and full-time dreamer, who of course prefers to be known as MH. She is the author of In Harm’s Way, the first novella in Harm’s story published by Pygaso Productions, described as epic fantasy meets The Truman Show.

MH has also penned several short stories including We Three Laws of Robotics Are and The Secret Invasion of George Kranskii which explains how road rage is result the result of an alien invasion.

When not writing or occupied with her dual-identity, MH walks through the mountains with her partner or tries to unravel the secrets of her great-grandmother, an adventuress who disembarked from the French steamer Laos in 1931 seeking to uncover rumours of Mayan temples deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle, and disappeared, never to be heard of again.

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The Joined Realm by Robert Vane – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Robert Vane will be awarding a $75 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

“Control the water, control the world”

From inside the lush expanse of the Inner Realm, the Ghosbane family and their fellow waterlords rule the Joined Realm through their mastery of the ancient aqueducts that feed the vast Drylands beyond their domain. After being accused of a terrible crime, Arlon Ghosbane, the inheritor of a secret legacy of the vanquished overlords of the Joined Realm, is forced to flee from his family and the only life he has ever known. Guided by a renegade howler intent on freeing his race, Arlon discovers that a world far different than one he had been taught about lies beyond his water-rich homeland. The fate of humanity will be determined by the decisions of a young fugitive and a former slave as they fight for the future of the Joined Realm.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Tattered banners displaying the sunflower sigil of this dusty frontier holding hung behind the lord and his men, all of them pressed together like a clutch of hens. The chamber’s walls looked like they could crumble at any moment, but at least they kept Raz’s pounding light at bay. Sand infested the rough-cut limestone of the floor, but Bellamy supposed that was inevitable in such a water-starved place. He busied himself trying to dislodge the bits of filth ensconced beneath his fingernails as Lord Lowen droned on. When Bellamy finished his manicure and looked up, he noted with annoyance that Lowen and his meager retainers did not have sand strewn in their hair or stuck in the crevasses of their fingernails.

“That’s quite enough, Lowen,” Bellamy declared, his tone as dismissive as that of a disappointed tutor. “Scribble your excuses on some parchment to send to our Lord Idris. I’ve heard enough of them. You are responsible for every drop of water that flows out from this portion of the aqueduct. That is your oath. You retain your holdings, and your life, only so long as you uphold that oath. You have failed.”

About the Author: Robert Vane has been writing stories since he was eight. It’s been his full time job for two decades – but not the stories he wanted to write.

Inspired by a lifetime of reading, beginning with “classics” like Privateers, the Amtrak Wars, Darkover, and the Belgariad to name a few (yeah, he’s old), Rob has been pecking away in his spare time. The Joined Realm isn’t the first full length novel Rob has written, but it’s the first that he felt ready to share. Big thanks to Amazon!

Keep reading and writing.

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My Take on Critique Groups by Siri Paulson – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

My take on critique groups
Siri here on behalf of Kit Campbell and myself. Thanks so much for having us!

I’m a big believer in critique groups, as long as they’re helpful and not toxic. Learning how to critique someone else’s story will teach you a whole lot about analysing what works and what doesn’t, about separating your personal reading preferences from objective quality, and about your own writing.

It’s much easier to see problems in other people’s writing than your own. Conversely, it’s much harder to see what needs fixing in your own story. Having other people you trust to tell it like it is? Invaluable.

I’m lucky enough to be part of an in-person critique group that works really well. Here are some reasons why…

We’ve learned to check our egos at the door. Separating your writing from your heart is a hard thing to do. It’s tough to take critique – to sit there and listen while people tell you what’s wrong with your story. But it’s a really important thing to learn, because sooner or later it’s going to happen to you (editor? agent? review?), and you’d better know how to handle it with grace. On the flip side, it’s also important to learn how to give criticism without making it personal.

We’ve learned how to deal with the feedback. I’ve learned that there are some times when I just should not submit a story. It’s still too close to my heart, or too early in the process. For example, when I’m in the middle of a novel draft, I should not submit early chapters – I’ll get defensive (not out loud) and also start second-guessing everything I’m doing. But other people find it so helpful to get feedback with plot problems along the way. Figure out what works for you! I’ve also had to learn how to filter the critiques, to pick and choose what’s helpful for the direction I want for the story.

We trust each other. Part of this is because we all write in the same genres, and most of us are at a similar stage in our careers (published a few books or just on the cusp of publishing). Part of it is because we’ve learned how to give a balance of positive and negative feedback, with specific issues identified and specific solutions suggested. Part of it is just familiarity – we’re not friends, exactly, but we’ve been meeting a long time. And we tease each other and just generally keep a sense of humour about the whole thing.

We have an established process. Here’s how we do it: Meetings are once every two weeks and usually run about two hours. We have two victims, er, critiquees per meeting, submitting up to 10,000 words each – either a short story or some novel chapters. Submissions are emailed around the previous week so everyone can read them twice and make notes (ranging from broad strokes to line edits, depending). Sometimes the author includes specific questions about how certain aspects are coming across, or a synopsis of earlier chapters if relevant.

During the meeting, the critiquee takes notes and doesn’t talk much, although they’re allowed to ask questions or clarify their intentions. We go around the room, more or less, taking turns giving a verbal critique – it might cover plot, character, pacing, worldbuilding, logic gaps, stuff that doesn’t ring true, whatever’s relevant. Sometimes a meeting turns into a free-for-all where everyone’s contributing to the discussion at the same time, other times we stick to talking in sequence. We don’t dwell on the more nitty-gritty line edits during the meeting – the critiquee can go over those on their own time. At the end of the session, the critiquee can ask further questions. Finally, we give the author our copies of the submission with our edits marked (either by hand or with the comment function in MS Word).

This method is really helpful because it’s detailed but not too detailed. We get feedback from multiple people on every scene and every plot/character development, which usually doesn’t happen if you email your entire novel to beta readers. Not to say betas aren’t useful! Getting a reader’s broader impressions is important too. On the flip side, there’s no point in getting hung up on the sentence-level writing if the scene isn’t working…plus if you get too much feedback on that level, you run the risk of losing your unique voice. But personally, I find it much easier to write pretty prose than to write effective scenes, so that’s where I need the help.

So there you have it – everything I know about critique groups! Over to you. Love ’em, hate ’em, wish you could find one?

mediakit_bookcover_cityofhopeandruinEvery night the monsters hunt.

A city that is the whole world: Theosophy and her companions in the City militia do their best to protect the civilians from the monsters, but they keep crawling from the Rift and there’s nowhere to run. Theosophy knows she’ll die fighting. It’s the best kind of death she’s seen, and at least she can save lives in the meantime.

They say the Scarred carve you up while you’re still alive.

A village in the shadow of a forest: Refugees from the border whisper about the oncoming Scarred, but Briony can’t convince her brother to relocate his children to safety. Briony will do anything to protect them. She owes them that much, even if it means turning to forbidden magic.

When Theosophy and Briony accidentally make contact across the boundaries of their worlds, they realize that solutions might finally be within reach. A world beyond the City would give Theosophy’s people an escape, and the City’s warriors could help Briony protect her family from the Scarred. Each woman sees in the other a strength she lacks—and maybe something more.

All they need to do is find a way across the dimensions to each other before their enemies close in.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Dean Prosody was pacing in her cramped office when Theosophy arrived. Her bayonet and whetstone lay forgotten on her desk.

Theosophy stopped just inside the door. “Sir?”

“He’s not in his quarters, and he took his spear,” said the dean, not looking at her.

Theosophy reached into her belt pouch and pulled out her double crystal, tuned to her partners. One side had gone dark, of course, but the other pulsed weakly. She could feel the direction of the pull—toward the ruins—but that meant nothing, surely he wouldn’t be such a complete…

“What did you say to him?” Dean Prosody demanded.

Theosophy shrugged.

“Nothing about avenging Rhetoric?”

“I should hope not,” she said. “I was a little busy fighting for my life. With one partner gone and the other just standing there…”

The dean gave her a look, blue eyes snapping.

“What? I let him mourn after. But he still let the third one get away, and almost got me killed. I had to say something.”

The dean sighed.

“There’s a reason I’m the longest-serving fighter. And it’s not because I’m nice.”

“About that, Theosophy…maybe you should consider stepping down.”

She opened her mouth, but nothing came out.

“I know you’re the reason a lot of these kids are still alive. But you’re turning sour. It’s not healthy.”

Theosophy grimaced. The thing was, staying alive the longest wasn’t any kind of mercy. It just meant everyone you used to know was dead.

About the Authors:

It is a little known fact that Kit was raised in the wild by a marauding gang of octopuses. It wasn’t until she was 25 that she was discovered by a traveling National Geographic scientist and brought back to civilization. This is sometimes apparent in the way that she attempts to escape through tubes when startled.

Her transition to normalcy has been slow, but scientists predict that she will have mastered basics such as fork use sometime in the next year. More complex skills, such as proper grocery store etiquette, may be forever outside her reach.

Kit can be found cavorting about the web at her blog  or website, on Pinterest , and even occasionally on Twitter.

Siri Paulson writes all over the fantasy and science fiction spectrum, including (so far) secondary-world fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, Gothic, historical paranormal, and YA with spaceships. She is also the chief editor at Turtleduck Press. Siri grew up in Alberta, Canada, but now lives in an old house in Toronto. By day, she edits non-fiction for the government. Her other current passion is contra dance, a social/folk dance done to live Celtic and roots music. Her favourite places in the world are the Canadian Rocky Mountains and a little valley in Norway.

Siri’s short fiction and the anthologies she has edited can be found on Turtleduck Press. She blogs at and tweets at

Multi-region buy link for ebook:


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My Take on Critique Groups by Karin Rita Gastreich – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Karin will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

My take on critique groups

The first advice I give to any aspiring author is this: Find a writers group that can provide you with honest, supportive feedback on your work.

The critique group is the ideal place to vet those early drafts. You benefit from multiple perspectives at once, and you will often find authors familiar with your intended market and able to speak to specific expectations of readers. Most importantly, a critique group is made up of people who are writers, like you. They not only understand the craft, they get how difficult and courageous it is to show your work to someone for the first time. They will lift you up if you’ve earned it, and let you down easy if you haven’t. If that first draft needs work – and it probably will – they will provide the necessary guidance to become the best writer you can be.

Critique groups can also be a source of support during querying and publishing. Most writers groups offer workshops on the business of writing, covering everything from securing the interest of an agent to marketing your published novel to managing your tax returns. When your novel is released, often your critique partners will be the first to post Amazon reviews, giving you a small but important nudge toward visibility. They may host you on their blogs or talk about your novel to their friends. They will visit you at book signings and keep you happily distracted in slow moments when no one seems interested in your book.

Critique partners can become good friends and essential advocates as you begin publishing. I’ve lost count of the number of important contacts I’ve made through my different writers groups, but they include agents, editors, and well-known authors that I might never have had the opportunity to interact with otherwise. For authors taking the self-publishing route, critique partners can provide tips on cover artists, free-lance editors, and other professionals that you will have to work with along the way.

Issues can come up with critique groups, so you want to be careful about selecting the right group for you. Look for writers familiar with the genre you work in, but don’t shut yourself off to the possibility of receiving critiques from writers outside your genre. Good story telling is good story telling, and many useful ideas and techniques can come out of cross-genre fertilization.

Make sure the critique group members are more-or-less at or above your writing level. If you are an intermediate writer, you will learn very little from beginners. If you are a beginning writer, a super-advanced group might leave you feeling lost and discouraged. Find a group that will push you to constantly improve your technique while setting realistic goals every step of the way.

Finally, pay attention to chemistry. Critique partners should be able to “get” what you’re trying to do, even if that first draft is poorly written. Their advice should center on how to strengthen your voice and reach your own goals as a story teller. If you start to feel like your vision is getting lost inside the advice of others – that they are trying to get you to write their story, not yours – then you may want to think about shopping around for a new writers group.

That’s my take on critique groups. What about you? What experiences have you had, both positive and negative, with the writers groups that you’ve joined?

mediakit_bookcover_swordofshadowsSisters in magic, Eolyn and Adiana seek to revive a millennial tradition once forbidden to women. When war strikes, their fledgling community of magas is destroyed; its members killed, captured or scattered.

Determined to defend her people, Eolyn seeks to escape the occupied province and deliver to King Akmael a weapon that might secure their victory. Trapped by the invading army, Adiana is taken prisoner and placed at the mercy of the ruthless Prince Mechnes.

Even as their world is torn asunder, Eolyn and Adiana cling to a common dream. Courage and perseverance guide them toward a future where the Daughters of Aithne will flourish in a world set free from the violence of men.

“War propels the story forward, and the characters are at their best when circumstances are at their worst.” -Publishers Weekly

This is the second book in THE SILVER WEB trilogy. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, or as the sequel to the first book, EOLYN.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

A hush of wings on the windowsill interrupted Eolyn’s thoughts. She looked up to see a Great River Owl, its proud silhouette outlined by moonlight.

Eolyn rose to her feet in surprise, keenly aware of its penetrating gaze, though she could not see its round eyes in the dark. A breeze ruffled its feathers. Its aura was impossibly familiar: intense shades of gold, burgundy, and forest green, shot through with streaks of deepest indigo.

She held her breath and let it go in a whisper. “Akmael?”

More than a question, it was a hope, a fear, an invocation.

A shimmer passed through the owl, followed by a flash of white light. Suddenly Akmael was with her, the heat of his hand upon her throat, the strength of his fingers intertwining in her hair, the demand of his lips upon hers, warm and full of passion. The magic of the South Woods blew through the window in a humid gust, swirling about them, begging Eolyn to remember who she was and what she once meant to him.

Akmael kissed Eolyn until she had no more breath to give. Then he paused and held her close, their foreheads touching as her fingers traced the familiar prominence of his cheekbone, the line of his jaw, the curve of his full lips.

All she could hear was his desire, carried on the rhythm of his heart. She dared not speak, for if she did, she might stumble upon words of caution or prudence or common sense, and none of that had any place here. Not when he was so near, nearer than he had been in such a painfully long time, closer than he might ever be again.

This is a gift from the Gods, Akmael had once said. To deny it would be an insult to them.

“Eolyn, I—”

She hushed him with a kiss.

About the Author:mediakit_authorphoto_swordofshadowsKarin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands for over twenty years. Her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to THE SILVER WEB trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.

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Buy EOLYN, Book One of THE SILVER WEB at Amazon.

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My Take on Critique Groups by TK Thompson – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddes Fish Promotions. TK Thompson will be awarding $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

My take on critique groups
Just recently I have joined several writing groups. I am still trying them out. I have found that the online one has been more effective than the meet up group. I am still giving them a chance. I think that one of the most vital parts of being a writer is receiving feedback. It can be the hardest thing hearing honest feedback, but it can help you grow. I liked my online one because we shared content beforehand and were able to take notes and such for the other pieces. The meet up group happened too quickly and had too many participators to get a good feel for everyone’s work and thoughtful feel back on your own. Smaller groups aren’t necessarily bad. Honesty is what you are looking for, so find a group that is willing to be honest with you, not mean, honest. Don’t be defensive of your art or you will be unwilling to see how you could make it better. Stick with your story though, don’t let some ones view change what your story is about. They don’t know what your end game it. Hopefully you know your end game. What I look for in my critique groups is: What they liked, what they didn’t like or were confused about, what emotions they felt during the chapter, and what they think will happen next.

Another important thing is to join one that enjoys the genre you write and have the same standards as you. For example a steamy love group probably won’t help with the children’s book.

Feedback is the best part of the process for me. To be able to see inside the readers mind it exciting and to see what they think is going to happen has more than once proven to be comical. I also do a test reader group with mixed ages and gender. Everyone’s view is important.

mediakit_bookcover_darkeveYoung Audim Basile hates life dominated by his cold, controlling father. But his dreams of fortune and adventure are turned upside down when he runs off to weigh anchor with the toughest, most barbaric band of pirates the criminal underworld has ever known.

Together with their dark, mysterious female captain, Acantha – who’ll run her sword through anyone who looks at her the wrong way – Basile and his fellow swashbuckling bandits sail the globe, fighting hordes of terrifying supernatural creatures that would make even the hardiest buccaneer quake with fear.

Together with his newfound crew mates, Basile must help with finding Acantha’s sister – who’s been missing for over a year – while being consumed with trying to solve the mystery of Acantha’s illusive past – before the evil Wraith King sends all of them to a premature watery grave.

Will Basile survive the fiercest test of his young life? Will Acantha sacrifice her own ship and crew (including young Basile) just to save her sister? Will young Basile come to terms with the price of the high-seas way of life and fortune?

In her stunning debut novel, T.K. Thompson launches readers on the most exhilarating ocean journey since Pirates of the Caribbean. Only time will tell if Acantha, Basile, and their hardy shipmates will live to tell this heart-stopping tale and fight another day.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Cornelius leaned over the bar, his voice wispy and deep. “They say she was born with the mark of darkness, killing her first man at two.”

The bartender’s voice grew louder. “A vixen and horror of the seas, she is. She’d be the rarest beauty ever to fall upon any man’s eyes, but dare you gaze upon her, and your eyeballs would be plucked from your skull with her twin blades at her side. Her only love is the darkest parts of the sea where sharks follow her like babies to a mother. The Dark Eve, her ship, be stained red with blood, and sirens sing at the helm, estranging men from their souls. And treasures,” Cornelius paused, his voice straining, “mountains of gold, cursed by her blood, hidden.”

Hurly lifted an eyebrow in response as Cornelius continued.

“I tell you, be careful!” he warned, his voice rising. “She’s not to be messed with. Her heart is black!” he stressed, spitting out the words. The air of the tavern had grown thick with the influence of the old man’s speech.

About the Author:mediakit_authorphoto_darkeveI was born in Provo, UT and raised in copper mining towns in-between Arizona and New Mexico. I can be compared to a lizard. The warm weather makes a great home, but I have always had a love for the rain and overcast skies, extremely contradictory from my given habitat. That’s how I see myself sometimes, a lover of opposites. I would consider my childhood to be groundless when it came to my imagination. I was trapped inside my own mind and I believe I learned the world in small harsh but necessary truths, like a slow awakening. My little stories had their encompassing place along with underdeveloped drawing skills. But rationality whispered in my ears through my upbringing. I sought out what I felt to be important, the events of graduating high school, Silver City, NM 1999. I went to a safe community college in Thatcher, AZ. They say that college is a large defining time in a young person’s life. It’s where they start to wonder about who they are, what they know as truth, and far away from those that defined it for them. I was of course set with innate knowledge and experience and given power with irrational brain resources. My heart had plenty of stitches and I gave many to others. But I could not find peace in a single person. My ideas of life, love, and the world that I wanted to exist in felt unattainable. Having the whole picture felt like an impossible task. I went on a mission for my church in Washington, where I happily got my rain and clouds. Spending eighteen months dedicated to serving others and not yourself is a mind-opening task. It set me up to find the true roots within and be ready to insult my future husband Dustin Thompson when he walked through the door. I am as plain as I want to be. I have three crazy children to help fuel my life and since have received my Bachelors Degree in business management, UOP. But most of all I have tapped back into my imagination, pushed aside all rationality, and finished one of my best thoughts so far. Every day I continue to face my vulnerabilities.

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Buy the book at Amazon The Dark Eve will be $0.99 during the tour. The sequel to this book series is also available. The second book is called “The Dark Eve: A Witch’s Curse”.

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