What is Alternate History? by R.F. Dunham – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. R.F. Dunham 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.

What is alternate history?
When people ask me about my book the first question is usually something like, “What’s your book about?” or “What kind of book is it?”

To which I always answer, “Well, it’s an alternate history.”

The common response to that is something like a blank stare. Maybe a polite nod.

I typically follow up my answer with a question: “Do you know about alternate history?”

A few are brave enough to say, “No.” Most say the same thing with less precise language. Something along the lines of, “A little bit,” “Kind of,” or even, “Yes. But what is it again?”

Needless to say, I’ve found myself explaining alternate history quite a few times over the last few months and I thought I’d share some of that here with you.

Alternate history is a very broad genre. Particularly considering the fact that it’s basically a small sci-fi niche. Some of it looks a lot like historical fiction (see my current work in progress, The Other Side of Unity for an example), some could easily be mistaken for traditional science fiction (such as Lest Darkness Fall), some is steampunk (check out Jeff Provine’s Hellfire), and some is contemporary in its setting (like The Other Side of Hope). The genre allows for action, adventure, romance, thriller, drama, or anything else you want to include. For this reason, it has the potential to appeal to practically every reader on the planet. You could say there is an alternate history for everyone.

So what the heck is it?

The basic idea behind the genre, the unifying factor that connects all of those types of alternate history, is that some event in the past has been changed. History has been changed to create a timeline that is alternative to the one we live in. Sometimes it’s a big change, sometimes it’s small. It’s common to change the outcome of a major battle or war. Especially common is the good old, “What if the Nazis won WWII?” story. My book, The Other Side of Hope, changes the outcome of the Battle of Tours. But other things can be changed, too. In Hellfire, it’s the technology that’s different and the invention of the Newton Catalyst is what separates the alternate world from the real one.

Once you’ve got that change, known to alternate historians as the point of divergence, you project the effects forward in time to create the alternate world. In Phillip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, the point of divergence is that Germany won WWII (it’s common for a reason!) and the projected effect is an America split at the Rocky Mountains into German and Japanese controlled states. In The Other Side of Hope, the POD is the Battle of Tours and the effect is a world where Islam, not Christianity, is the dominant religion.

That’s really all you need for an alternate history. A point of divergence and its projected impact. From there, the possibilities and the variables are endless. Because, in essence, describing a story as “alternate history” is only describing the way the world came to be. Once that world is created, the writer is free to fill it with any story he chooses. It might be about what happens immediately after the change, or a few decades later, or a thousand years later. It might be an action-packed adventure, a steamy romance, a tense thriller, or an enthralling drama. All of those elements are embellishments on the alternate history foundation.

I hope this has sparked some interest in alternate history and maybe it will even open up a whole new genre you would never have considered before. It’s definitely a growing niche (thanks to Amazon’s TV series based on The Man in the High Castle) with lots to discover. If you want a place to get started, I’d recommend taking a look at Inklings Press and their new Tales From Alternate Earths anthology. It’s a great way to get eight alternate history stories all at once!

MediaKit_BookCover_TheOtherSideOfHopeIn 732 A.D., the Frankish and Burgundian forces led by Charles Martel defeated an army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi and halted the Muslim advance into Christian Europe. At least, that’s what happened in the world as you know it.

Step into the world of The Other Side of Hope, where the world as you know it is turned on its head. A world where Charles Martel fell on that field south of Tours, France and was never given his nickname, “The Hammer.” A world where Europe came under Muslim rule and Christianity was eventually forced to flee to the shores of a distant land in search of religious freedom. A land where, without support from European colonial powers, they found only conflict and poverty.

In the modern day, this world remains divided. The wealthy Muslim East and the poverty-stricken Christian West are constantly at odds. A single spark is all it takes to ignite fresh conflict and the cycle seems never-ending.

Follow the paths of Ethan Lewis and Hamid Damir as they are put on a collision course with the other side. Will they find hope for a brighter future or be lost in the despair of intractable conflict?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

The path to Elisa’s house was one Ethan had walked often. One he took every Sunday afternoon after church and sometimes other days as well. Since it was Sunday, all the shops were closed. Church had only just let out and most of the people in the town of Cayuga would be at home having lunch with their families now.

Most, but not all, Ethan saw.

A large crowd had gathered up ahead and he would have no choice but to elbow his way through once he reached it. The crowd was loud and raucous, enraptured by the words of a single man standing on a low roof above them. The man wore the loose fitting, layered clothing common to all in Lachlond and the closer Ethan got, the more clear the speaker’s voice became.

“The time of our oppression is drawing to a close. Our deliverer is coming soon. He will ride on the clouds with his name marked on his thigh to bring the judgment of God down on our enemies. He is calling. Our deliverer is calling you! Will you answer his call? Will you stand with him and wear his mark? He is calling you to cast off the chains that hold you down, to rise above the fear that holds you back, and strike back at the enemy that defies His name!”

Ethan had to fight the urge to cover his ears against the cheers of approval. He reached the crowd and pushed his way in. He wasn’t a large man, but he’d always been stronger than his average build implied. Still, it was a struggle to shove his way through the thick press.

“He did not come to bring peace, but a sword, and that sword will overcome the power of our enemy and bring freedom!”

The words grated on Ethan’s ears. They were all too familiar. The same words that had drawn his father into battle ten years ago. A battle he had never returned from.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheOtherSideOfHopeR.F. Dunham writes with one purpose: to take you places you’ve never been before. That might be a distant fantasy land, the far reaches of space, the future of earth, or simply to an idea you’ve never encountered. A student of language and culture, Dunham’s stories will pull you into complex worlds that challenge your perception of your own surroundings.

After working for over two years as a professional ghostwriter, the time has finally come for him to release his first full-length novel published in his own name, The Other Side of Hope. His short story, “Just a Drop,” was recently published in Nebula Rift Science Fiction magazine and an interactive version of the story is currently in beta testing. When he’s not writing, R.F. can be found playing the trumpet, writing his thesis in Arabic linguistics, or hiking in the mountains of Virginia.

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LASR Anniversary: R.J.Hore

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

Summertime, and the Living is Queasy

Summers tend to be short and hectic here. By mid-July I still don’t have the boat in the water, the garden is turning into a major jungle threatening to hide the house, and I haven’t had the top down on my car in a week or more.

This morning the contractor came to give me his expert opinion on why the basement has water in one of the carpeted spare bedrooms. This afternoon I have an eye exam to see how well my sight is holding up.

And the large demanding cat got me up at 5:15am this morning to inform me he decided he wanted to sit outside in the screened-in porch and watch the world go by.

While doing the walkabout with the contractor I noticed the pump on the fish pond seems close to being completely plugged. This is probably due to all that recent activity in there. I suspect we have two males and one female who have become extremely lively lately. That probably means when I empty the pond in the fall I’m going to have to use a screen and watch out for small fry again. We already have two babysitting tanks inside. Somehow I thought fish would be the answer to keep mosquitos from using the pond as a nursery. I’m still not certain how well that is working.

But I’m a writer, and all this should be grist for my mill, except I’m working on an epic project which has nothing to do with summer. While I crack the 70,000 word mark I keep wondering if my editor is going to scream and throw this back at me. I’m supposed to be finishing off a trilogy with a first draft of book three due by the end of August.

Then too, I should be promoting my latest novel, “We’re Not in Kansas.” A near future sci-fi thriller tale about a mother and daughter way in over their heads, it’s a slight departure from my usual fantasy trilogies or my fantasy detective series. I will be on three writer’s panel discussions in mid-August at When Words Collide. Something else I should do some homework for.

I just looked at my watch which decided as of yesterday to slow down. The magnificent piece of technology has lost ten minutes in the last two hours. Where does time go?

Summers seem to be passing by faster now. I remember, years ago, when we putted across county in a Volkswagen camper. There was the daughter who danced on a wasp’s nest, and also got her finger stuck in a tent pole at a remote campsite just before dusk. That raises the embarrassing memory of the woman who found a lost son in a campground, shortly after she returned a couple of lost daughters.

I think I’ll have my second cup of coffee and stare out the window at the things I should be doing today, while remembering summers.

Kansas CoverArchaeologist and single mother Macy and her teenage daughter Tiffany are off to a dangerous part of the world, on a fool-hardy search for traces of an ancient Egyptian cat-goddess, Bastet. What they find is far more than they bargained for: a dangerous dictator, a mysterious police inspector, and a grizzled Indiana Jones look-alike.

You might say the trip takes them right out of this world. Will they get home alive, or simply disappear into very thin air?
Set in the near future, with a blend of thriller and speculative fiction, and a hint of romance.

About the Author: After winning a Canadian Authors national contest with a ghostly tale, Ron connected with Champagne Books of Alberta to complete “The Dark Lady” high fantasy trilogy, followed by “The Queen’s Pawn” trilogy, and his fantasy detective effort represented by a series of seven novellas: “The Housetrap Chronicles.” His latest novel with Champagne, blending modern with Dark Age, is “Alex in Wanderland.”

Ron recently signed on with a second publisher, eTreasures Publishing of Florida. His first novel there is, “We’re Not in Kansas,” a near future thriller. A what-if trilogy, “The Toltec Series,” is nearing completion with the first book due out shortly.

In his spare time he reviews genre novels for an on-line magazine and is a member of several writing groups.
Ron lives in Winnipeg with his understanding wife and a large demanding cat. On rare occasions he escapes to his sailboat on Lake Winnipeg.

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LASR Anniversary: Shakyra Dunn

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

FINALITY

I can still remember the scent of gunpowder drifting along the crisp summer air as I gazed out of the window. It was my eighteenth Fourth of July; my last in my hometown before I would take off and go to Houston for college in a month.

I don’t know what provoked me to want to stroll down the Chicago streets to the bridge a few blocks away. But I knew that there was a strong chance that I wouldn’t get to see the sight of the blooming fire-flowers again anytime soon. At least not with my closest friend.

How would I forget the last Fourth of July that I would ever spend with my mother?

The streets had been dully lit to keep from overpowering the fireworks. Popping echoes encircled the entire block. Children dragged their parents along the sidewalks in a frenzy, all to reach the barbeques taking place at the park or the bridge to cross over to the lakeside view of the annual show.

The scene was typical. We had gone through this same situation every year for at least a month after the day itself, listening to fireworks being set off, having to endure laughter late into the evening. But now time was setting in, and those bountiful days of youth were coming to a steady end.

Maybe that had been why I desired to spend one last moment watching the show with her.

The bridge was abundant in noise, and several bodies littered the area like flies. It was too much of a hassle for either of us, so after ten minutes, we ended up walking back. We roamed the local track across the street and spoke of future goals. I would be leaving for college—my mother would finally have the chance to live her own life now that her work was coming to an end, her only child leaving to become an adult and make a place in the world.

Or so we had both wished. It was something neither of us realized would never be upheld.

The night in itself had been simple… but far from then did I realize that such a night would hold such meaning in my memory.

A few more fireworks of that final summer.

Left Behind 3.1Many generations have passed since the Guardians crafted the world of Nimestria, planted underneath the aurora of seven moons. Great power courted even greater enemies. It was a trumpet’s blow heralding the arrival of the Creator. Within the realm of Fracturis, a fleet-footed rogue named Frayle and his best friend Relek journey west when they’re set upon by a man vehemently riding a Behemoth. After a narrow escape, the two continue their route to seek guidance away from a roving band of beings called Savages. The Church before them lies in ruin, but this only belies the true mystery. After unspeakable events unfold before his eyes, Frayle is thrust twenty years in the past to right the wrongs of his splintered time. Wandering the thin lines of fragmented memories, a Time-Jumper named Nova Avery whisks Frayle through the windows of the Phantasm and together they unearth the mystery of the Guardians and the origins of the Creator in the first installment of the series.

About the Author: Shakyra Dunn has been bound with chains to a life of fantasy. What was the crime? She couldn’t stray away from the impression that there is always an adventure down every corner! When she isn’t playing the role of the Creator, she is marching through the worlds of her favorite video game characters or taking drives around her city to see the sights. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she currently resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, striving to experience more than the little town.

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LASR Anniversary: Mary Patterson Thornburg

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How to Get Over on a Mango

To me, one of the greatest tastes of summer belongs hands down to a mango – the tropical fruit, that is, not the bell pepper that some folks in the American Midwest inexplicably call “mango.” Mangoes can go in smoothies or be baked in sweet breads, they can top ice cream, or best of all they can be eaten raw. I’d describe their taste as something like a cross between a bright peach and a smooth cantaloupe, with a little extra magic that nothing else but a mango possesses.

But really, how do you get to that taste? No doubt the best way to eat a mango is naked, in the shower, first peeling the thing with a sharp knife and then eating it like an apple right down to the ridiculous seed, at which point you’ll be covered with sticky mango juice and can discard the seed and turn on the shower.

Second best is like this:

1) Buy a ripe but not too ripe mango, about the softness (or firmness) of a ripe but not too ripe avocado. Color doesn’t really matter too much… a little red, more green, works fine. But maybe it’s all green or all red, or even yellow if it’s a “champagne mango.” Color is kind of arbitrary – it’s the feel of not-too-firm firmness when you squeeze it that counts.

2) Get a bowl to catch some juice and the mango pieces. Have the bowl handy.

3) Over the sink, slice off the little stem thingy and then score the peel with a sharp knife in six or seven cuts from top to bottom. Grab one end of each resulting peel section and pull it down and off the fruit, helping it off with that knife if it resists being pulled. Throw away the peel.

4) Holding the naked fruit in one hand, score the fruit itself top to bottom in similar sections, cutting clear down to the seed, which is more or less oval and flat, kind of bulging on two sides and kind of sharp all around the edge. Do this over your bowl, so extra juice can drip into that.

5) Reposition the fruit and score it all around horizontally the same way four or five times, so you end up with the fruit still whole and more or less together but with checker-board type cuts, down to the seed, all over the surface.

6) With knife and fingers, starting just about anywhere, pull and cut the sections of fruit away from the seed and drop them in the bowl. At this point you’ll have a bowl full of pieces, more or less equal in size, and you’ll be holding that big flat seed, still juicy and dripping.

7) Chew and suck on that seed until you’ve got all the fruit you can off it and you’re going “mmmm” with pleasure.

8) Throw away the seed, rinse your hands, wash your face, and do whatever you wish with the pieces of fruit in the bowl – use them in a fruit salad, mix them up in the batter of mango bread, serve them as a sweet garnish with roast pork, toss them in the blender with yogurt and whatever for a smoothie, chop them up and put them in your mango chutney or mango salsa… or just get a spoon and eat them on the spot. Yum!

I’m convinced it wasn’t an apple that Eve fed to Adam to get them kicked out of Eden – it was a mango. And she knew exactly how to peel and cut and serve it. Maybe the serpent whissssspered the instructions to her…

glimmero_200Vivia has guile. Using only the power of her mind, she can make water boil, heal the sick, create illusions, and even transform herself into a bird or a pirate. But guilish folk are considered witches by most people, and that frightens them.

Her first teacher taught her healing arts, and after that she studied with Taso Raym, the most powerful male witch in the land. He taught her many things, and not just guilish skills. Unfortunately, neither Vivia nor Raym could ignore their attraction to each other, and intimacy between them would have meant the end of her guile. So she joined Ladygate, an all-female community, and accepted that love was not for her.

After a while, though, she realizes Ladygate is not where she belongs either. So she accepts the task of investigating the disappearance of a lord’s son, kidnapped, it seems, by the malevolent witch Orath. Her guilish training is not quite complete, and she hopes Raym can help her.

But Raym has also disappeared. Vivia is on her own, with a task to do—one that now touches her heart. She’s almost sure she has the necessary strength and skill…

…unless Raym and Orath are in league with each other?

About the Author:Mary Patterson Thornburg was born in California, grew up in Washington State, moved to Montana when she was 18, and spent many years in Indiana, where she studied and then taught at Ball State University. Her dream was always to write fantasy stories and novels, but she didn’t get started until she and her husband moved back to Montana in 1998. When she’d finished her first story and it was published, she took off running and never looked back. Two of her short stories earned honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (2006, 2008), and “Niam’s Tale,” in the July/August 2010 Cicada, won the SCBWI 2011 Magazine Merit Honor Certificate. Her first fantasy/romance/adventure novel, A Glimmer of Guile, was published by Uncial Press in 2014. Her second book for Uncial, The Kura, came out in April, 2015.

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LASR Anniversary: R.J.Hore

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

Memories of Summer

Somewhere our family caught the sailing bug, and every summer since 1986 we’ve owned a sailboat. In the summer of 1997 we bought our third boat, a 26 foot craft that the brochure said slept six. One of the reasons we upgraded was my crew. My father was 97 and my granddaughters were 14 and 11. We needed a bigger boat.

Fortunately the next year the sailors at our harbor decided everyone should learn how to use their vessel for serious cruising. We joined in.

With the bigger boat we started making a one or two week long trip north each year, into the wilderness islands beyond our old day-sailing waters. As the girls grew older, and other matters took their interest, their mother, our eldest daughter, often replaced them. I didn’t mind. She was far more useful. I no longer had to do all the cooking on our one burner galley.

I remember the start of one trip. It was the first day and we were heading up the lake with a fleet of a dozen boats. Late in the day we were caught in a sudden squall, heavy rain and wind. We started losing contact with the fleet. On this trip my crew consisted of my daughter and her youngest. They were both down below with the hatch closed. I remember yelling at them that if the boat started going in circles I’d gone overboard. As usual they ignored me. We were still a long way from our intended anchorage for the night when we heard friends on the radio in a nearby boat were breaking off and heading for a closer port. We decided to join them.

We made harbor safely but the granddaughter had had enough. She phoned her father the next day and he drove the three hours with my wife to pick her up. Fortunate for her, because that was our last stop at civilization where they could have made a connection. My daughter and I continued on for the rest of the week but I don’t remember anything else about that particular trip. They all start to blur together after a few years.

I do remember one trip looking out the window while at anchor and watching a bear wandering on the shore. I do recall eating dinner in the cockpit while a moose feasted not too far away. Then there was the evening we drifted in a quiet remote bay watching a half dozen young eagles practice aerobatics. There were the parties in out-of-the-way locations, the laughter and the magnificent sunsets, and some fearsome thunderheads. The eldest granddaughter even swears she saw a ghost ship in the middle of one night while we were moored on a rocky beach.

Of course there were also the far too-exciting times: when the steering broke two days from home, the two thunderstorms experienced in the middle of the lake, and the one wild trip when my crew had to make it back to work the next day and I vowed never to do something that stupid again.

So far I have drawn on my sailing experiences to write one short story. There are probably more plots lurking out there.
But now my crew and I are getting to the point when we wonder how much longer can we do this? Maybe it is time to part with the good ship Legacy and dig out the lawn chairs. But I really hope we will always have those memories.

AlexWanderland-Ebook Cover ArtAlexis is tired after a long day at work and her husband Alexander is being more annoying than usual. Their lives might not be perfect, but at least their relationship was something almost approaching normal, that is until his new toy landed both in an alternative universe.

How would you feel if you were considered to be the latest saviors of the land, with subtle hints of a slow and painful death as your ultimate reward? A married couple find themselves on a not-quite-typical quest. All they have to do is fulfill a ridiculous ancient prophecy. Their travelling companions: the priest, the protector, and the thief, are suspect, and everyone else seems out to stop them from reaching their ultimate goal. Of course, if they reach the end safely…
A tale of adventure and romance, filled with pitfalls and leering villains. Did anyone mention there might be hungry dragons too?

About the Author:After winning a Canadian Authors national contest with a ghostly tale, Ron connected with Champagne Books of Alberta to complete “The Dark Lady” high fantasy trilogy, followed by “The Queen’s Pawn” trilogy, and his fantasy detective effort represented by a series of seven novellas: “The Housetrap Chronicles.” His latest novel with Champagne, blending modern with Dark Age, is “Alex in Wanderland.”

Ron recently signed on with a second publisher, eTreasures Publishing of Florida. His first novel there is, “We’re Not in Kansas,” a near future thriller. A what-if trilogy, “The Toltec Series,” is nearing completion with the first book due out shortly.

In his spare time he reviews genre novels for an on-line magazine and is a member of several writing groups.
Ron lives in Winnipeg with his understanding wife and a large demanding cat. On rare occasions he escapes to his sailboat on Lake Winnipeg.

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LASR Anniversary: S.M. Schmitz

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A South Louisiana Summer
Readers familiar with my work know that I set many of my scenes in my home state, and if you’ve read Resurrected, then Dietrich has already described for you the misery that is summertime in Louisiana.

So how do we beat the unbearably hot and humid weather as well as the mosquito plagues?

Well, I stay in the air conditioning and write books, but that may not work for everyone. For those who prefer a little more interaction with other people, try this New Orleans’ cocktail, mentioned in The Immortals.

Vieux Carré (French Quarter)

1 ounce rye whiskey
1 ounce cognac
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 teaspoon Bénédictine liqueur
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Mix all ingredients and stir well. Pour over ice to serve.

Sounds like a potent drink, doesn’t it? Now: you can search the history of the Vieux Carré cocktail and you’ll find a story about its invention in the 1930s by a New Orleans bartender, but I have a different suspicion about its real reason for being created. All of that alcohol is intended to make people forget how hot and miserable our summers are down here.

Like Dietrich says, aside from the heat and humidity, Louisiana summers are known for two things: massive mosquitoes and the potential for devastating storms. The Hurricane is probably New Orleans’ most famous drink, and if you get a chance to visit, stop by Pat O’Brien’s for their legendary cocktail. The name of this popular drink comes from the iconic shape of the glass in which it’s served, which resembles the shape of a hurricane lamp – oil lamps that every south Louisiana household used to have for those potentially catastrophic summertime storms.

Can’t make it to New Orleans? I’ll bring The Hurricane to you.

Hurricane

2 ounces light rum
2 ounces dark rum
2 ounces passion fruit juice
1 ounce orange juice
½ ounce fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon simple syrup
1 tablespoon grenadine
Orange slice and cherry for garnish

Mix all liquid ingredients in a shaker then strain into a hurricane glass with ice. Garnish with orange and cherry.

You’ll notice that neither cocktail has vodka in it. If you’ve read Resurrected, you’ll understand why Dietrich wouldn’t let me offer readers any recipes with vodka in them. He’s such a baby sometimes.

Enjoy the rest of your summer with one of these Louisiana inspired cocktails and a good book. Happy reading!

rsz_101_shadows-of-the-gods-2As a powerful demigod, Selena has been running from the gods who control the government agency, the New Pantheon, for the past three years, but now, they’ve caught up to her.

When they trap Selena in an alleyway in New Orleans, she is ready to admit defeat. But an unfamiliar demigod rescues her, and the more she learns about Cameron, the more she discovers their common bonds may be the key to unraveling her own mysterious history.

In the first book of The Unbreakable Sword series, Selena and Cameron must not only evade the New Pantheon, which is ruthlessly hunting the remaining gods and their descendants, but an angry Aztec god that wants Selena’s power to himself. And they will discover in the impending final battle of the gods, no one can be trusted.

About the Author:S.M. Schmitz has an M.A. in modern European history and is a retired world history instructor. Her novels are infused with the same humorous sarcasm that she employed frequently in the classroom. As a native of Louisiana, she sets many of her scenes here, and like Dietrich in Resurrected, she is also convinced Louisiana has been cursed with mosquitoes much like Biblical Egypt with its locusts.

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LASR Anniversary: Erika Gardner

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A Summer Night’s Dream

I am a fantasy writer so it seems only fitting that my favorite aspect of the summer months lies in their magical qualities. I live in Northern California, about forty-five minutes from lovely San Francisco. My home sits just past the first set of hills past the east side of The Bay. Thus situated the days can be quite warm, even hot in June through September. However, if we are lucky then tendrils of a marine layer, fog, seep in to cool things off. It’s those evenings, those warm but not sweltering evenings, the ones with a light breeze when the magic happens.

They are the nights when anything seems possible, the senses heighten, and one has the expectation of endless promises fulfilled. It’s a bit like being sixteen again. A few years back on one of those nights with the echoes of wind chimes in my ears, I gazed at a little green statue of a dragon in my garden and driftingly musing, “What if she was alive? What if she was merely hiding, pretending to be a statue?” I never doubted that she was a she. In fact, as I realized at that moment, she’s named Daisy. Next thing I knew my first published novel, The Dragon in The Garden, launched into the world bringing Siobhan, Tim, Alex, Turel, and Nefta with Daisy.

Every summer since then a new idea has come to me in the night and another book born. This summer I’ve been outlining Dragon’s sequel, The Gryphon in The Tree, as I finish the final chapters to my latest novel, The Grays of Galliano, an urban fantasy featuring P.I. Charlotte (“Charlie”) Watts who has a devil of a client. Because during these balmy evenings with their long twilights, all things are possible and I can dream big under the stars.

TheDragoninTheGardenbyErikaGardner-1800HRThere is magic beneath the mundane and in The Dragon in the Garden, Siobhan Orsini witnesses it all. No lie can fool her, no glamour or illusion can cloud her Sight. She sees through them all and wishes she could close her eyes. Returning to face her past, Siobhan inherits her grandparents’ house in California’s wine country. She encounters a talking dragon, a hot fallen angel, a demon lord, a Valkyrie, and, oh yes, her ex-boyfriend. And that is just in the first twenty-four hours.

It’s time to find out why she has this power.

Siobhan seeks out the Oracle and learns that only her Sight can help mankind navigate the travails of an ancient war. Our world is the prize in a battle between the dragons, who would defend us, and Lucifer’s fallen angels, who seek to take the Earth for themselves. Using her gift, she will have to make a choice that will decide humanity’s future.

About the Author: Erika is a sixth generation San Franciscan of Irish descent. She attended the University of California at Davis and completed degrees in Medieval History and Biological Sciences. A lifelong lover of books and a scribbler of many tales from a young age (her first story was completed at age five) she turned to writing full-time in 2011.
Erika resides in Northern California with her incredibly hot husband, their three amazing kids, and their chocolate Labrador named Selkie. To reach Erika regarding her books, wine recommendations, or to debate which Iron Maiden album is the best (clearly, it’s Brave New World), you can find her online at www.erikagardner.com.

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LASR Anniversary: Jennifer Macaire

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

After a particularly wet and cool spring, it looks like it’s going to be Hot in Europe this year – the weather report from the official sites are announcing a hotter and muggier than usual summer, so everyone is gearing up to beat the heat.

There are few air conditioners here, but most people have fans. We have three in our apartment, one in each bedroom and one in the living room, and when it gets really hot we hang a wet sheet in front of it to cool the air by evaporation. Does anyone else do that? Since there are few bugs, windows stay wide open to catch the breeze, but when the sun hits, the shutters close. So what to wear? This year Indian cotton is in, as are Indian type skirts, sandals and loose, flowing dresses. Shirts and dresses sparkle with sequins and beads, and even make-up is shiny this year. My newest eye-liner has gold-sparklys in it. Very chic. Ethnic is in. Preppy is out. The brighter the colors, the better the look. Flower prints are everywhere in Paris. And in the shops, Brazilian style bikinis have started to make their appearance. The bottoms are skimpy, without being strings, and the tops are colorful triangles often beaded or sequined. Hot styles on the beach include the mis-matched bikinis – a solid bottom with a bright print top. Toss your beige, white, and navy blue clothes and go for orange or purple (the season’s hottest colors) lime green, fuschia and buttercup yellow. Forget drab…this summer’s coolest look is Brilliant! And to welcome summer officially, I’m going to make watermelon salad – my favorite cool, sweet salad !

•1/4 cup balsamic vinegar – reduced
•6 cups diced seedless watermelon
•4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
•1/4 cup mint leaves
•2 tablespoons olive oil

To make the balsamic reduction, put balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil until thick and reduced, about 4-5 minutes.

•In a large bowl, combine watermelon, goat cheese, mint leaves and olive oil.
•Serve immediately, drizzled with balsamic reduction.

Riders-of-the-Lightning-Storm-evernightpublishing-JayAheer2016-ebook-smallpreview (1)Twins Carl and Meagan Cadet are the youngest herders in the Federation. Their parents and younger sister were abducted by the enigmatic Raiders, and now they are alone with their horses. Aware of the dangers, they continue to herd the horses that somehow open passages between planets.

They are on Tauii 3 when Luke Jeffries arrives on the scene with his herd. Luke and Meagan are pulled together as they come to grips with their losses. When raiders capture Meagan and Luke, they become prisoners working in mines on an isolated asteroid. Escape seems impossible, but they encourage each other to keep up the hope even as they begin to fall in love.

But before they can escape, they must somehow unlock the mystery of the horse passages.

About the Author:Jennifer Macaire lives in France with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating French chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

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LASR Anniversary: A.L. Kessler

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

An Abigail Collins’ Day Dream…

I sat in front of my computer, swiveling from side to side in my chair. I had vacation hours that needed to be used, but I couldn’t decide where I wanted to go. Summertime normally consisted of murders, haunted houses, and werewolves, just like any other time of the year, but now was the perfect time for me to get away. Beach packages covered my browser window, taunting me with pictures of blue oceans and white sand. I could already feel the sand tickling my feet with the cool waves of the ocean teasing my toes as I drank in the silence around me.

I closed my eyes, imagining sitting on the beach with a cold drink in my hand. Maybe I could find a place that had ocean side drink services provided by shirtless men. If I listened hard enough I could hear the waves crashing against the shore. The sounds in my imagination drowned out the sirens and hustle of the people downtown. The salt in the air would replace the smell of rotting bodies in the summer time and I highly doubted that explosions happened often on the beach. The sounds of the beach would soothe my tired soul. It was exactly what I needed. I opened my eyes and looked back at the packages the vacation company offered. My hand hesitated over the mouse to confirm what I wanted. Murders could still happen on the beach, sirens lived in the oceans, and enemies could be found anywhere…maybe it would be safer to stay home for the summer.

NMBM_cover Explosions, body parts, and black magic are all part of Abby Collins’ typical day. As the top Paranormal Investigation Bureau agent, she only gets the best cases, but when the Cult of Ra comes to play she might be in over her head. Finding a murderer while up against a hex, an overprotective coven, and a stubborn werewolf reminds her that nothing in the paranormal world is easy. As the death toll rises and a decades old crime, linked to Abby, is uncovered, disturbing information is brought to light. Abby must unlock an ancient language steeped in black magic to uncover the truth before the murderer comes for her.

About the Author: A.L. Kessler is the author of the Amazon Best Selling series Here Witchy Witchy. She’s a member of the Pikes Peak Writers and Midnight Writers in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her newest book Edge of Darkness (DWC #5) was released July, 2016 Her coffee and chocolate addiction get her through her busy life of being a mom, wife, student, and author.

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Sonar the Surge by B. Truly – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon Gift Card, Sonar book mark, & Sonar The Surge Photo magnet to a randomly drawn winner, and $10 Amazon Gift Card, Sonar book mark, & Sonar The Surge Photo magnet to another randomly drawn winner, both via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_SonarTheSurgeEclipsed by darkness, the Romelands must face the ultimate quest. If they are forced toward the umbra peak, they will be completely obscured.

Symone struggles with her most challenging battles … the conflict within herself. Losing loved ones steals part of her soul. Despair has created a gaping hole where her heart should be. Symone doesn’t even recognize herself. She has to determine if this is the person she’s turned into, or if it is who she has always been.

Nile is an attractive aristocrat whose charm and arrogance drives Symone insane. Beyond Symone’s control, Nile is spun into her life. But she’s not sure if she can have a relationship with him or where that could lead her. Embracing love could make her whole again, but it may also destroy her. Symone must travel through the opaque light in order to find where her destiny lies.

Symone’s family, Shiray and Syira, continue to fight in the feuds of their galaxy. Together they have to find the balance between compassion and sacrifice. Kadanans are being held captive, and they hold the fate of their world in their hands. They have only begun to understand the consequences of the devastating realities of war.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend, is the philosophy the Romelands now abide by. With chaos and turmoil at every corner, they may forget what is worth fighting for. The surge for power has erupted. Only the strongest race will be left standing.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

* * * Symone * * *

“Nile, please calm down.”

Nile narrowed his eyes at me. “I’m not talking to you.” He turned away. My heart stung. I didn’t want him to be angry with me. He must think I wanted to be with Cessar. I’m sure it looked that way.

“Bryan, please let me go. I’m not going to start any more trouble.”

Bryan seemed unsure, but he complied. Nile stormed out the room without giving me a backward glance.

I looked everywhere for Nile. His room, then the conference and recreation rooms. I ran into Kumar, who told me that he had seen him go down to the basement. I headed downstairs. He wasn’t in the cargo department. Maybe he was inside his ship. I placed my hand in the center of the moon triangle symbol on his ship, and beamed aboard. Nile was in the cockpit, sitting at the control panels. He appeared to be running diagnostics.

“There you are. I’ve been searching for you everywhere.”

“Really? I figured you would be with Cessar.”

I rolled my eyes. He was still pissed. He wouldn’t even look at me. “I don’t want to fight, but you’ve got the wrong idea about me and Cessar.” He remained silent. “Well, it’s obvious you’re still angry. Maybe we can try to talk about this later. I’ll leave you alone for now.”

“Wait,” he said, finally meeting my eyes. I turned around and walked over to him. “How did I get the wrong idea? You were holding hands and he was leaning into you. His thoughts were screaming that he wanted to kiss you.”

“Cessar told me he wanted us to be more than friends.”

Nile’s jaw muscles flexed. “He was about to kiss you.”

“Maybe those were his intentions. But I wouldn’t have kissed him back. I was telling him that we could only have a friendship … nothing more.”

“Oh,” Nile sighed, blowing out his breath. “Cessar wants you, though. His thoughts are loud and clear. He’ll always want more.”

“He will have no choice but to accept that we can only be friends.”

“Why? You get along better with him, anyway. You said so yourself.”

I took a deep breath to calm myself. He was going to give me a hard time about this. I swirled his chair quickly, so that he was facing me. His eyebrows rose. Then I sat on top of him, straddling him in the chair. I wrapped both of my arms around his neck. This was a very intimate position. He gasped and bit his lip. That was new. Nile never got nervous.

“Because he doesn’t make me feel the way you do.” I captured his lips. He was taken aback at first, but then he returned my kiss, deepening it. This made me giddy. I’d been scared he would reject me. His grape flavored tongue heightened my senses. My head swam in desire and my body began to burn as his grape enhancer pumped through my veins. I moaned and started to move my body against his. I could feel every inch of him, sitting on top of him this way. I could also taste my pineapple enhancer swirling with his, enticing him. Nile groaned, caressing my back while we continued to explore each other’s mouth. Suddenly he pulled back abruptly, just when things were getting electric.

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t like feeling like this. I have no control over you,” he exclaimed.

“You’re not supposed to control people, Nile.”

“So, what’s next?”

“We continue to see where this leads.”

“I’d like that.”

“Me too.”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_SonarTheSurgeB Truly has wanted to be an author since she was fifteen years old and is grateful to have accomplished this dream. She has very vivid dreams and a wild imagination. She likes to read, watch tons of TV shows, and movies. She is addicted to romance and gets a thrill out of action and suspense. She writes New Adult, Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Paranormal-Romance.

In the Sonar series, B Truly said, “It was fun to explore different elements of Sci-fi romance and create various realms of powers for my characters. I want to show my readers that Sci-fi can be fun, but also traumatic. I hope you guys enjoy the Sonar Series.”

B Truly has three wonderful children and a husband who defines the person she is today. She works full-time as an Ultrasound technologist in Sugarland, Texas.

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