The Darkest War by CL Parks – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The Author will be awarding one paperback copy of The Darkest War to a randomly drawn winner, One deluxe swag pack including paperclip bookmark, The Darkest War candle holder, paper bookmark, postcard, and playing cards will be awarded to another randomly drawn winner and One swag pack including book mark, postcard, and playing cards will be awarded to one more randomly drawn winner. All prizes will be awarded via the rafflecopter at the end of this post during the tour and are US ONLY. Please click the tour banner at the top to see other stops on this tour.

Tenna Massey hoped for a break after killing her possessed ex-husband, but the demons have other ideas. She thought her first Hunt was difficult; just wait until she sees what the demons have in store for her now. The latest attack on her points to someone she knows, causing her to doubt her relationships with her soul mate, Jason, and the rest of her newly adopted family.

While Tenna wades through all the new information, trying to learn whether one of her own has betrayed her, the entire family is on edge with the arrival of an enemy clan of Shifters, the same Shifters responsible for the slaughter of Jason’s entire family and tribe. Everything is hitting too close to home.

The closer Tenna gets to finding the demon doing everything it can to be the one to end the reign of the Huntress, the more she realizes it is, indeed, someone she loves. Sometimes the dead don’t stay dead.

Enjoy an excerpt:

A man close to Russell’s size stepped forward, staring down at her, a smirk playing at his thin lips. “You’re the Huntress?” The tone in his voice showed he was doubtful. He snickered and glanced over his shoulder at his buddies. They rolled their eyes at him, and then began to make their way down the walkway heading toward Stacy. Luckily for the women there were only three of them. Tenna could easily take care of the asshole standing over her and Stacy was always good for a fight. At six feet tall she was as large as most men and more capable of holding her own than just about anyone Tenna had ever encountered.

That feeling of confidence lasted about, oh, thirty seconds; four more Shifters filed into the media room and each was large enough to dwarf Tenna. Hell, a couple of them were bigger than Stacy. She needed to see Stacy, see if the woman was as scared as she was. But there was no way Tenna was going to turn her back on any of these guys.

“I asked you a question, bitch. Are you the Huntress?”

Tenna stared up at the man and tried her damnedest to commit every physical attribute to memory. If they got out of this alive she wanted this man to get a good ass kicking…herself being the kicker.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: CL Parks has had a passion for writing since reading Charlotte’s Web in kindergarten. After rewriting the ending to gift Charlotte with immortal life she became obsessed. Her tastes quickly moved from sweet and innocent to the supernatural after reading Stephen King in fifth grade. Since the moment she picked up Pet Semetary she devoured every supernatural and preternatural book she could get her hands on by authors ranging from Anne Rice to Stephanie Rowe.

When not fully engulfed in the latest release or typing away at her newest novel you can find her corralling her chickens, playing with her dogs, spoiling her large lizard or sewing a new vintage inspired dress. Her dream is to travel the country in an RV with her husband while writing more books…after the kids have gone on to college, of course.





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Pondering the Muse by J.P. Lantern – Guest Blog 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 backlist ebook copy to a randomly drawn winner at every stop during the tour and a Grand Prize of a $25 Amazon GC will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during this tour.

Pondering the muse

The muse for me has a few different qualities that are kind of hard to explain. It’s equal parts, at different times, a sort of suction engine, dilapidated skeleton, and giant badger mouth.
One way you might think of it is like the bad guy aliens from Space Jam. In the beginning, they’re these teensy, puny little things that are sort of inept and good-natured, but also kind of cruel. That’s where my muse is right now. After just completing a novel, the well of ideas is pretty much dry, and my muse has been absolutely emptied.

And where you want the muse to be is where those aliens from Space Jam get to—all pumped up and full of talent stolen from other, better people at the thing they’re trying to do. And that’s the process I take when trying to get my muse all filled up again: I read a lot, a whole lot, and the whole time I’m just refilling that well and taking as many tips and wholesale arcs and stories as I can from people who are smarter and better than I am. Some of this is conscious, but a lot of it is subconscious.

One other important tidbit of the muse is that’s sort of like the facehugger from alien. (My muse has various alien forms, I suppose). And the reason it’s that is because that once it latches onto an idea, it can’t let go. If it lets go, it just…you know, sprays acid everywhere and gives everyone a bad time. I’ve got the acid burns to prove it. But if the muse does stay latched on, then the whole time it’s pumping that idea full of all the stuff it’s collected over all that time you’ve spent reading and absorbing other people’s great notions.

For UP THE TOWER, I absorbed all sorts of stuff. Movies like Blade Runner and Sorcerer; the soundtrack to Assault on Precinct 13; Philip K. Dick books THE DIVINE INVASION and MARTIAN TIMESLIP, and of course a lot of Gene Wolfe. I think all those influences are pretty evident, but I think also they make for a pretty great read.

UptheTowerDisaster brings everybody together. A cloned corporate assassin; a boy genius and his new robot; a tech-modified gangster with nothing to lose; a beautiful, damaged woman and her unbalanced stalker—these folks couldn’t be more different, but somehow they must work together to save their own skin. Stranded in the epicenter of a monumental earthquake in the dystopian slum, Junktown, there is only one way to survive. These unlikely teammates must go…UP THE TOWER.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“This kid comes in, okay? Starts doing all this stuff with Wallop’s tech fists. Powering them up and such. You know, they can bend steel, they can punch a man so far a distance, all of that. At first, I think the kid’s pretty young, but then I see his eyes—they’re old enough. I seen his eyes, they’re about my age, those eyes. And it’s important, okay, how old he is. Because this kid? He looks a hell of a lot like me.”

“So what? Lots of kids look like you.”

“Yeah. So do Georgeson. So do Jonesboy. So do Figueroa.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying…” he palmed the side of his head. “I’m saying, it ain’t no secret that you got yourself a certain type of person that you pick up. A type of boy. I sort of thought I knew why. Last night I found out for certain.”

Konnor was right. Ore was angry.

“The hell are you saying to me? Just say it.”

“You said you had a brother. His name was Samson. He was good with tech, you said. Well this kid? The one tailoring Wallop’s new fists? Samson. That’s what Wallop called him. ‘Samson, touch here.’ ‘Samson, look at that, is that right.’”

Ore didn’t say anything.

“He’s alive. Your brother. In The Tower. He’s maybe been alive this whole time.”

Silence, then. Even the eyebots outside seemed to get quiet.

That goddamn Wallop. Her job, her Haulers, and her eye. Now he had her brother, or near enough. Everything. Would he take everything from her?

Konnor stood up and headed to the door. The shack squeaked beneath him.

“If it was any other sort of job…if it was a job that maybe wouldn’t have gone against the Faces…”

“Shut up, Konnor. It’s all against the Faces. It’s under ‘em or it’s with ‘em. You know that.”

“All right. All right.” He opened the door. An argument had started down the street; someone lit a fire in a barrel on the balcony above her shack; an eyebot stopped, scanned the two, and then zipped away. “It’s a hell of a plan, though, Ore. A hell of a plan. And maybe I won’t get around to telling Wallop what’s what for a little while.”

About the Author:MEDIA KIT Author PhotoJ.P. Lantern lives in the Midwestern US, though his heart and probably some essential parts of his liver and pancreas and whatnot live metaphorically in Texas. He writes speculative science fiction short stories, novellas, and novels which he has deemed “rugged,” though he would also be fine with “roughhewn” because that is a terrific and wonderfully apt word.
Full of adventure and discovery, these stories examine complex people in situations fraught with conflict as they search for truth in increasingly violent and complicated worlds.

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Lieutenant Henry Gallant by H. Peter Alesso – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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

In an era of genetic engineering, Lieutenant Henry Gallant is the only Natural (non-genetically enhanced) officer left in the fleet. Many of his superiors, including rival Anton Neumann, have expressed concern he is not up to the challenge. However, his unique mental abilities have proven essential to the defense of the United Planets in its fight against the Titan invaders.

Serving on the first FTL prototype, the Intrepid, on its maiden voyage to Tau Ceti, Gallant finds a lost colony on the planet Elysium. Cyrus Wolfe and his son, manipulate planet politics against the democratic opposition led by James Hepburn and his granddaughter Alaina. Wolfe has allied himself with an ancient Artificial Intelligence which had lain dormant on the planet for millennia, but is now willing to protect the colonists against the Titans.

With Alaina’s help, Gallant discovers the ancient AI has a sinister ulterior motive and he matches his unique and exceptional mind against the complexity of machine intelligence to escape the ultimate trap and prevent the extermination of humanity.

In Lieutenant Henry Gallant, one man pits the naked human mind against the perspicacity of machine intelligence.


Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

Alaina stood in the main courtyard, oblivious to her own stature, painting the portrait of a vivacious five-year-old child who was sitting on the grass playing with a small toy.

Approaching Alaina from behind, Gallant admired her figure—stately and beautiful—poised before an easel, paintbrush in her right hand, dabbing flesh tone color onto the cherubic expression of the little girl. Her long graceful brushstrokes captured the appealing vivid image of the child—compelling him to conclude Alaina was an exceptional artist.

He walked slowly, taking in the sight and stopping several meters behind her. In accordance with the sunny tropical weather, she was dressed in a pleasant flower print blouse and light blue pants highlighting her slender figure.

“Alaina?” His voice came close to her ear, giving her a start. “Alaina?”

She must have recognized his voice immediately because he was greeted with a stunning smile as she turned her head toward him.


Flustered for the moment, she turned back to her painting and the posing child as if reluctant to break her rapport. After a final stab of paint, she pulled a cloth over the painting and set down her brush on her easel.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come up behind you like that,” said Gallant, begging for forgiveness, yet unrepentant.

“No, not at all. It was silly of me—my mind was far away,” she said. She did not change her stance or move about; she merely returned his gaze.

She was dressed so differently from their days in the jungle, and her demeanor was likewise so demure that he wondered,

Is this Alaina, or an impostor designed to confuse me, more than usualif that were even possible?

Alaina cast an approving eye over Gallant’s newly tailored and sharply pressed uniform.

“I know that look,” Gallant said, reaching toward her and touching her shoulder.

“Oh,” she murmured.

“What’s this strange magic you have over men?”

“Why, what do you mean?” she asked innocently, pursing her sexy pouty lips.

Gallant laughed out loud at her pose.

“Well, individually, I will admit men can be something of a puzzle, but I find a solution after a bit.”

“And then what?”

“Why then I move on to something, or someone, more challenging of course.”

“Is that your plan for me? Dropping me because I’m no longer so different, or intriguing?”

“But, Henry, you’re so handsome in your uniform. I’ve always found you fascinating.”

Gallant was trying to sort out his own feelings. Despite his excitement to find Alaina, he wasn’t sure how this day would play out.

“I’m here to learn more about Elysium’s people,” Gallant explained. Suddenly he didn’t want to admit he had been hoping to see her despite his ostentatious excuse.

“You’re not looking for another adventure then?” she asked, her voice trailing off as she tilted her head slightly to one side, her questioning eyes growing wide, her body language exhibiting a curled tension.

Gallant hesitated—the question appeared superficially guileless—but he suspected if he plumbed its depths, he could find hidden meaning.

About the Author:

As a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of computer scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of seven books.

You can visit his Web site at:

Goodreads Address:

YouTube trailer for Henry Gallant Saga: SciFi Book Trailer: Midshipman Henry Gallant

Facebook for Henry Gallant Saga:

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Amazon link for Volume 1 of the Henry Gallant Saga:

Book Reviews for Volume 1:

Past Reviews of the first volume: Midshipman Henry Galant @2013

“The author has created a wonderful piece of work with his first novel in the Henry Gallant Saga. Between Henry Gallant beginning his new life on the United Planets’ battle cruiser Repulse and trying to save the world the author has came up with it all. Henry Gallant is an admirable character with many wonderful features such as courage, intelligence, humility, kindness and special powers. … the odds stacked against him pretty high. But maybe through it all, Kelsey will see the remarkable things about him.” Ashley Patts, Teenage Rush

“This story moves along at a swift pace, with interesting character development and plot surprises. The characters are complete and engaging. This could develop into a good series.” Rae

“Its style and flavor reminded me of The Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell.” – JJH

“Space Opera at its finest. Rousing read, introverted young man against impossible odds, a girl to win or lose, an enemy or is he? Way too much fun…can’t wait for the next one.” – vrzepka

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Being an Author by Kristi Strong – Guest post and giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kristi will offer a signed paperback copy of The Lady of Steinbrekka, along with a Land of Kaldalangra bookmark prize pack. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Hi everyone, and thanks for having me here!

Today I was reflecting on being an author. It is fun, it is stressful, it is a completely different world from my other roles in life as mother, wife, or tech support. I was thinking about what my greatest fear as an author would be, and came up with a couple different things.

First off, the first reaction when I send out beta versions of my newest work. Even though there is still so much finessing to be done, I’m still waiting, heart in my throat, to get the responses from readers, hoping and praying that they love it just as much as I do. This fear is only amplified when I finally hit that publish button, and the reviews start coming in from bloggers, readers, and other authors. Most of the time, I’m literally holding my breath as I read the first line, and it never seems to get easier!

The second one that comes to mind is the public speaking portion of being an author. Sure, most of my work is done behind a keyboard, safe in the nest I’ve created, free from having to get over my fear of socialiality (totally a word!). But then there come times when I have to come out of the cave: signing events, like when I do a local author signing at the library, or speaking events, such as Creative Writing classes in the local high schools. I had the greatest challenge this past summer when I attended the Believe, Hope, Live conference and was surrounded by (totally awesome) strangers. Talk about diving into my awkwardness headfirst and having a blast.

My biggest fear though, is the fear that people will associate the not-so-nice events and characters in my books, with my life. Whenever I write about torture, imply rape, or give a character a parent that abuses them, I fear that a reader may read too much into it, and may think that those things are a direct reflection of my life. It almost makes me want to write in the acknowledgments “P.S. My parents are wonderful,” because I would hate for people to think badly of them after reading my books, by assuming too much.

Ah fears, some irrational, some rational, but everything still valid.

9_5 Cover_Lady of SteinbrekkaRhea Aralia lived an uneventful life in Virginia, until the fateful night of her kidnapping. Taken to a strange realm of destruction, despair, and mysterious people with dark secrets, the young woman must learn a new way of life to survive.

With the help of her new companions, Rhea discovers the courage to defy the tyrant King Verikhan and his heir, the cleverness to deceive the court, and the power within herself to transform this world of darkness into one of beauty and hope.

Will Rhea triumph over those who seek her destruction, or will she be forever lost in the darkness known as Kaldalangra?

Join Rhea as she fights to take destiny back into her own hands.

9_5 Cover_Kylassame-ebookIt has been two years since the reign of the tyrannical King Verikhan has ended, and the realm of Kaldalangra flourishes.

Nyssa has taken her place as Queen of the realm, with her secret love, Sebast, now openly at her side. She rules with a fair hand, striving for justice and prosperity for all of her people.

Rowan and Rhea travel the realm, spreading peace and healing wherever they go. In Kylassame, they have formed a strong bond with friends and spread deep roots in the community.

The people of Kaldalangra are joyful, and life in their world is better than ever before.

But a string of tragedies has the ability to bring Rhea to her knees, and with her, the entire realm. While Rowan struggles to recover the village of Kylassame from a devastating crime, Rhea’s faith in her own strength weakens, with dire consequences.

Re-enter the world of Kaldalangra, and join the adventure as Rhea and Rowan endeavor to continue upon their chosen destiny.

9_5 Cover_Soul of Asimina - Kristi StrongIn the land of Kaldalangra, one woman stands at a crossroads

Sabina de Nespa has known a life of freedom and peace, thanks to the actions of her heroic parents. As a child of royalty, she has kept her intentions pure and her heart guarded, always aware that the crown of the realm may one day rest upon her brow.

When two strangers stumble across her path, she finds her peace shattered as dangerous family secrets begin to emerge, along with a malignant force that threatens to destroy her entire world. These men have the ability to help her rise to brilliant heights, or cause a devastating plunge into darkness.

It is now up to Sabina to continue her parents’ legacy of honor, courage, and strength through adversity. With the fate of Kaldalangra upon her shoulders, she has vowed to follow the path of righteousness, or die trying.

Enjoy an excerpt from Soul of Asimina

Katrina sat next to their father, her face even paler than usual and eyes red from terror-induced tears. Her friends had been forbidden to speak with her until this drama played out, and for Katrina the feel of being a pariah had been nigh unbearable.

Sabina placed a hand on her sister’s shoulder and leaned forward to whisper, “We are strong. We will rise. We are the rightful children of this realm and we will not lose our place to lies and manipulations.”

“Pretty speech.” The unfamiliar male voice whispered from the empty seat to her left.

She looked over quickly and jumped in her seat, grateful that her family’s attention had been transferred to the arena as Lasarre and Darian walked through the wide doors.

Blue eyes looked down at her and a chilling smile played across his crimson lips. “Blood will flow today. I can smell it. It has been a long time since a fight to the death occurred in this arena. Too long since the sand was heavy with its weight, the air filled with its metallic balm.”

A soft, mournful feminine voice spoke from beside him. “It should never have flowed in the first place, my love.”

Both Sabina and her grandfather turned to see her grandmother, Sula, sitting regally beside Nyssa. They looked like mirror images, though her father had been the child to inherit his mother’s green eyes. She felt the ghost-man beside her grow rigid with shock. Terror and panic pulsed from his image in waves, the air shimmering in its wake.

“Sula,” he whispered. “My love.”

About the Author:9_5 Author photo Krist StrongFixing broken computers, wrangling a very spirited little toddler, and creating a world with a tyrant king, are all parts of the average day for Kristi Strong. While she has called Virginia her home for two decades, her head has rested in two countries, three states, and far too many houses to count. She was more than happy to give up her nomadic lifestyle and settle down with her husband, daughter, cat and chinchilla.

While attending James Madison University, she was given the rare opportunity to work as part of an archaeological team on a variety of dig sites in Virginia, including the homes of former Presidents, James Madison and George Washington, civil war sites such as The Stevens’ House and Fort Evans Mississippian Encampment, and a variety of pre-historic hunting sites and camps.

Kristi now uses her extensive studies in human cultures to create her own world in her fantasy novels, beginning with her debut novel, The Lady of Steinbrekka, and continuing with Heart of Kylassame and Soul of Asimina.

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Buy The Lady of Steinbrekka at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in print.

Buy Heart of Kylassame at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or in print.

Buy Soul of Asimina at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or in print.

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Ten Fun Facts about Rose Shababy – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rose will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Ten Fun Facts about Rose Shababy

1) Shababy is Lebanese, although the family name was changed up a bit when my ancestors came through Ellis Island. Originally, they didn’t have surnames in Lebanon. Their names went something like, Joe the son of the butcher of the town of Sidon. Somewhere, there is or was a town in Lebanon that sounded something like “Shababy” 100+ years ago, hence the name.

2) I’m a fantastic cook. I worked in the gourmet food industry for years. I’ve been accused of being a foodie, a food snob, a picky eater, you name it. That said, I can enjoy McDonald’s French fries as much as any dish.

3) I’m pretty OCD, although not the kind that has to wash their hands fifty times a day. Which isn’t to say I don’t have quirky habits. For instance, I put silverware in the dishwasher one piece at a time, per slot, to ensure they’re distributed as evenly as possible. For cleaning purposes. And I don’t put spoons together if I can possibly help it. They nestle and don’t get as clean.

It’s such an ingrained habit that my kids used to clump all the silverware together just so they could watch me pull it all out and redo it. And they’d laugh and snicker the whole time. The brats.

4) I love playing games. Cards, board games, you name it. Especially Scrabble, so when Words With Friends came around, it was an instant hit with me.

5) I HATE my smartphone. If I could get rid of it and go back to a landline, I would, but alas … social media marketing prevents me!

6) I love Star Trek. This isn’t news, but as far as I’m concerned, there isn’t a nobler figure in all of television than Captain Jean Luc Picard. I even have a little action figure of him that sits up on a shelf and watches me while I work. Instead of stick figures in the back window of my car I have Star Trek characters. My husband is a Gorn and I am an Orion.

7) I can’t whistle.

8) One of the characters of my debut novel, The Blue Effect, is named Kasimir, which was almost the name of my 20 year old son, Quinton. According to the baby name book I was reading at the time it meant “great ruler,” although if you google it now, it appears to mean “great destroyer.” My mother convinced me it was too unusual and he would be teased with a name like Kasimir Shababy. As a side note, the first time I told him of his almost name, he exclaimed that it was “way cooler than Quinton,” and still to this day expresses disappointment that I changed my mind.

9) I have two guilty pleasure TV shows that I will share with you in the hopes that no one will ever mention it to me: The Vampire Diaries (I blame my best friend for starting me on this habit … her and Ian Somerhalder for being so sexy) and Girl Meets World (I loved Boy Meet World back in the 90’s and couldn’t help myself when the spin-off began. It is literally the only Disney channel TV show I’ve ever watched).

10) In secret, away from the general public, I swear like a sailor. Like, all the damn time. I’ve read that swearing a lot shows a lack of creativity but I call BS on that and use Blue Brennan, the main character of The Blue Effect, as an example to prove otherwise. She has mighty cursing skills and finds often hilariously creative ways to swear.

Blue Brennan is jaded and bitter despite her pinup girl looks and quick wit. Night after night, she scours the Seattle club scene looking for someone or something to fill the emptiness inside.

When she meets the mysterious Kasey, her world stops… literally. He claims she has the ability to control time and stuns her even further when he reveals his own gifts.

Blue is inexplicably drawn to Kasey and reluctantly enters his world filled with a new breed of humanity. They’re misfits like her, blessed or cursed with powerful abilities, struggling to hide their differences from the rest of society.

Then the group discovers a nameless, faceless sociopath with nightmarish powers; and he’s coming for Blue. She’s left reeling when they discover her gifts are the key to defeating his terrible evil and saving them all.

Now she must race against the clock to harness her own powers and save her new friends. Can she be more than a renegade? Can she be a hero too?

Enjoy an excerpt:

He held out his free hand and I reached for it without thinking. Taking the hand of this stranger seemed like the most natural thing in the world.

Our fingers touched and my skin came alive. I felt a surge of electricity as some sort of energy shot from his hand into mine, running through my whole body and back to his like an endless circuit. I couldn’t stifle the gasp that broke through my lips. I stared at him, my vision narrowing until his face and eyes and smile were the only things I could see.

The energy between us exploded outward like a wave into the crowd, through the people and everything around me stopped. The music ended like a switch had been flipped, the people froze mid-step and even the air around me seemed to stop moving.

About the Author:

Rose Shababy and her family reside in eastern Washington State. Rose grew up in the Northwest but swears she’s going to move to warmer climates someday. She’s claimed this for over 20 years, however, and has yet to move more than 75 miles away from her mother.

Rose has a deep love of all things Star Trek and yearns to travel the heavens, as well as an intense desire to be bitten by a radioactive spider. Unfortunately she sucks at science and math so she hasn’t been able bring her dreams to life, instead living vicariously through books, comics, television and film. She hopes to someday make a million dollars so she can afford to buy her way to the international space station, but she’d settle for being able to fly around the world and leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Rose also loves to cook and worked for years in a gourmet Italian grocery and deli where she learned to hone her skills. She prepares culinary masterpieces for her family, but fervently wishes the dishes would wash themselves. Especially now that her dishwashers/children are nearly grown and only one still lives at home.

Rose likes to use her free time wisely. For instance, she likes to daydream, will often read for hours until she falls asleep on the couch with an electric blanket and a warm tabby cat curled up on her hip, as well as spending cozy weekend days watching Syfy movies like Sharknado and Mega Piranha with her husband.

If Rose were a cartoon animal, she’d prefer to be a wise old owl or a sleek and sexy jaguar, but in reality she’d probably be a myopic mole with coke-bottle glasses.

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On September 8, attend her Release Party on Facebook.

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LASR Anniversary: Keith Wayne McCoy – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon/BN GC and more!

Leave a comment on THIS POST for a chance to win an additional prize – one free Kindle copy or PDF of the book to those readers who show a propensity for mainstream/light science fiction-fantasy literature through comments to this post.

Summer brings the sentimental memory of reading under a tree or at the foot of a bed before an open window to mind. It seems in early childhood that despite the preponderance of teaming with neighborhood friends for a lively game of tag, swimming, or firefly-chasing, there was always the compulsion to find that quiet place with a cherished book in hand. In very early childhood, I remember “The Ghost in the Swing” which transported me to the adventures of a 4th grade girl, my age, who went to her mother’s ancestral home for summer vacation and encountered the apparition of her aunt who died in the house at her age. Far from terror, it was a tale of a mischievious ghost caught forever a child. I firmly believe that book with its supernatural element leaned me toward the fantastical in my own writings. I passed the tattered book on to my younger sister and she read it more times than I and, in fact, still has it!

In a later summers, I begged to stay up to watch the film “Burnt Offerings” with Bette Davis and Karen Black. The house used, Dunsmuir House and Gardens, and the musical score by Robert Cobert entranced me. Based on a decidedly adult book by author Robert Marasco, I assured the librarian that my parents would approve. Indeed, it became a bastion of summer memories as I sat on the porch swing with it, firmly fascinated, and scolded friends and my sister for urging me to play. I admit that much of the adult dialogue was beyond me but the sinister house and the ambiance of mystery and obsession remains locked deep inside me. I could absolutely see, feel, and smell those corridors and the lush lawns which slowly came to life as the family succumbed to its will of rejuvenation.

In high school in the 80s, “The Shining” had already been published for well over a decade and even made into the infamous film with Jack Nicholson. I was a teenager so the dialogue was not beyond me but even though the story thrilled me, it was not as exciting and memory-inducing as my earlier forays into the supernatural, perhaps because the sense of trespassing into the world of the supernatural seemed manipulative by the author. (No offense, Mr. King!) “The Ghost in the Swing” and “Burnt Offerings” will always be the quintessential books of summer for me. So when I wrote my own supernatural-themed novel, “The Travelers”, it took place in the summer. A dark, gloomy setting seems a necessary atmosphere for most ghostly tales but for me, the bright, fresh, seemingly “normal” setting of summer sunshine can be a catalyst for a superior foray into the supernatural.

keith Travelers-EBOOK (2)“The most intense journeys are never geographical.”

In 1947, the luxury liner QUEEN MARY transmits a message which is intercepted by an extraterrestrial intelligence. This errant radio signal serves as a beacon for a North Atlantic encounter between James and Jess Bennett, a GI and his British war bride, and an otherworldly, desperate mother and her two small children. The Bennetts left Southampton with only each other but arrive in New York as a family. In the present day, Guy Turner, a black, melancholy film maker, finds himself at the center of a supernatural mystery after a haunting prelude with the now elderly mother in a corridor aboard the retired liner in Long Beach, California.

Standing at the edge of eternity, the old woman and the Bennetts have the complex task of setting certain aspects of the past in order as the doors to their lives are closing. Guy is thrust into an unwanted and unexpected voyage of self as he is solely enjoined to bring the three together one last time. “”The Travelers”” is a journey to the limits of despair, grief, anxiety, and joy that are common to every human experience of suffering and growth.

About the Author: Keith Wayne McCoy majored in English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing at the University of Southern Indiana. “The Travelers” was a quarter-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. In addition to writing, Mr. McCoy is a world-class collector of furniture and memorabilia from the 1930s luxury liner QUEEN MARY. He lives in southern Illinois.


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LASR Anniversary: K.M. Tolan – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Baby It’s Cold Inside

Welcome to the fine state of Texas where we’re looking at cracked earth and bone-dry creek beds. Another blazing summer, and a real challenge for poor authors such as Yours Truly. Yes, my air conditioner is struggling to keep up, but what I’m hearing in my head right now is crunching sounds from stepping through crusted snow drifts.

I’m not really in Austin, you see. I’m west of Calgary in the dead of winter, and it’s a train wreck. Literally. I’ve got a sparse flurry of bitterly cold flakes sweeping across tumbled freight cars. There’s steel rails skewed along a hill like frosted pretzels. Sure, such icy mayhem is all in my imagination, but getting this scene nailed down isn’t getting any easier. My ice cream sandwich just melted.

I’m busy writing my next fantasy novel “Storm Child”, a sequel to “Tracks” where rail barons take on a whole new meaning. No, things aren’t going great with the Canadian National (that’s the folks owning the afore-mentioned train) and I can’t say I’m having a rosy time in this heat, either. Writing is as much about environment as it is characters, and right now we’ve a tad bit of, uh, “contrast” between what I have to portray and what’s beating down on my head.

Look, I’ve heard all about suffering for my art, but honestly this isn’t about some masochistic need to mentally stick my head in the snow in the middle of summer. Bad enough that I have to head out for another ice cream. It’s about cause and effect. I’ve a character who needs to head to cooler climes ‘cause of her hot head. Slick rails on a treacherous hill and nature takes its course. A north-bound freight reaches the end of the line way earlier than planned. Again, cause and effect. The things fantasies are made out of – down to earth stuff like this summer heat and my need to ignore it.

So, gentle readers, when you sit back and enjoy those stories about sandy beaches and warm ocean breezes, raise one to the author. He or she was probably freezing their butts off when they wrote that.

Kerry (aka K M Tolan)

tracks (2)Vincent’s sister is swept away by a steam locomotive riding rails that vanish along with her. Ten years later he rediscovers those tracks, and heads down them to bring her back.

About the Author: K M Tolan is a SFF author with Champagne Books. He has published six novels, two of which were finalists in the Epic E-book awards. His other works include the Dancer series, Waiting Weapon, and recently Tracks.

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LASR Anniversary: Carmen Fox – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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The other day, a friend asked me why Urban Fantasies or Paranormal Romances are never set on the beach. Sure, vampires wouldn’t last long under the beating sun on Balboa Pier, but the paranormal isn’t all about fangs.

Favored locations for the para-, preter- and ubernatural seem to be nightclubs, as in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, or the dark streets of Seattle, as in Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series or, indeed, my own book.

Others have been drawn to sunnier climes. Joss Whedon set his hit show Buffy The Vampire Slayer in a small Californian town called Sunnydale, and the Buffy spinoff Angel was filmed in Los Angeles, although for obvious reasons, the tall broody one spent pretty little time on the beach.

In fact, California is a popular locale for Urban Fantasy. My own sequel will largely take place in—drum roll, please—Pasadena. Yes, this time round, my characters will get a tan. But (and you knew there would be a but, didn’t you?) despite the high SPF factors and fashionable straw hats, much of the action will play out at night.

Why? Although my series does not feature bloodsuckers, half of my cast relies on the darkness to access their powers. After all, night time is when bad things happen. Spooky things. Every sound takes on a new meaning. Every shadow makes your heart go cold. As much as I enjoyed the city-feel of Seattle, I also love the dichotomy of The Golden State. The white sandy beaches under a cloudless sky, and the black nights where evil lurks behind every palm tree.

carmen summerblog (2)So why not take it further? Pick ever more cheerful and sunnier places? Why not set an entire fantasy book in Disneyland or Tijuana? Or spark a romance on Spring Break? Those sexy, smoldering heroes would look pretty good catching some early waves or boogying around the pool in their bathing suits.

Orange County or Boston – no matter where you are, the streets are always dark at night, and anywhere would be perfect for unleashing the contents of Pandora’s box.

But my friend’s question got the cogs spinning. Is there a way to make the plain-as-day stuff scary, and the darkness a place where our hero could find respite? Perhaps if there were beings that traveled the sun’s rays to spy on us or influence us or even possess us? Beings that relied on a high UV factor to function, but who fell asleep at night, giving heroes time to plot? That would be pretty scary.

This reminded me of a half-written book that lies abandoned in my drawer. In it, our heroine is a young vampire. The first vampire to be turned in a hundred years (or so they think), she’s still immune to sunlight. But her bloodlust rages and makes her too dangerous to let roam. After all, vampires have lived in happy coexistence with humans for centuries. Every day she is trained in restraint and the old vamp ways. Very Buddhist. Until one day, a hoard of young vampires that thrive in daylight upsets the balance. They consider themselves the superior race, and their violence and killing sprees bring back old fears among the humans. Our heroine must venture outside her comfort zone to take on the evil fang brigade, finding only short moments of peace at night. Who created the daylight vampires? And will she be tempted by their abandon and by her own cravings for fresh blood?

The reason I didn’t finish was, although it was a neat idea, I wasn’t sure this upside-down of our expectations warranted a book. Besides, I have so many plot ideas, I can’t possibly bring them all to life, and my current series of books keep me plenty busy. Yet a couple of years down the line, who knows? Should the project ever come to fruition, remember: you read about it here first.

Why not leave a comment? At the end of the Anniversary Week, I’ll pick a winner out of a hat, who will receive a $20/£15 Amazon giftcard. Woot!

carmen DACCover (2)“Don’t go out at night.” The words ring in Lea’s ears, but she’s not buying the crazy-ass story from the woman in the come-whip-me leather outfit. Lea’s told she’s from another realm, has magic powers, and Shades are out to kill her. Shades? Shades are window covers, not assassins. She just wants an exciting job and a boyfriend. She’s made zero steps toward the job, but at least one toward the boyfriend—Kieran, a hottie she met over the weekend. It isn’t until Lea’s attacked by a bunch of helmet heads that she finds all is not right in Seattle… because in the midst of the fight she discovers her little legs can actually kick butt. But her new-found confidence crumbles when betrayals smash through her life like a wrecking ball. If she wants to see her parents again – or get another date – she’ll first have to save the world.

About the Author:Carmen lives in the south of England with her beloved tea maker and a stuffed sheep called Fergus. By day she translates technical texts, by night she sleeps. It’s her mission to squeeze as much geek in-between as she can. Besides a more than casual interest in physics, she plays and invents tabletop games, reads across genres, and maintains a blog that’s become a bit of an obsession. Divide and Conquer is her first book.

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LASR Anniversary: Elizabeth Fountain – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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I still expect summer to be different. Slower, somehow; fewer demands. More spontaneity. A break from the busy routine.

It’s been over three decades since the turn of the calendar to late June through early September meant ‘summer off’ from school, but that rhythm lives on. Truth is, when I was a kid, ‘summer off’ held a certain level of dread for me. The hot summers in my smallish town held few options for a girl like me who wasn’t athletic, adventurous, or popular. I remember many summer days spent indoors, sipping cold Cragmont grapefruit soda, reading a favorite book: Horse stories like My Friend Flicka, Misty of Chincoteague, and the Black Stallion; mysteries starring Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys; the occasional Judy Blume tale snuck home from the library.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStill, though I looked forward to the cooler days of fall and the chance to return to the routines of school, those years engrained in me the expectation that summer should be different. Nowadays, a break from the busy-ness of everyday happens so rarely, in any season, it becomes a thing of wonder. Longer, warmer days call out for a change, but seem to fill with more and more tasks so quickly. Making an adult living doesn’t offer us the ‘summer off.’

Maybe all that industry is good, but I think the kid in us, the one who expects life to slow down, has some wisdom to impart. Maybe we need to remind ourselves to grab a cold drink, find a shady spot, and open a favorite book.

And let summer be different.

elizabeth fountainyou-jane_300dpi (2)Jane Margaret Blake’s problem isn’t her drinking. Sure, she’s missing work, and forgetting she’s already fed her cat, who’s getting a little fat. But Jane’s real problem is the reason she drinks: she writes stories that come true and wreak havoc in her life. In her “fables” animals, people, angels, and the Universe itself conspire to destroy Jane’s last chance to be with her old love, or, just maybe, to bring her into the arms of a new love. Years ago, a fable pushed Jane’s best friend Charlie into marrying another woman. Now another fable shoves Charlie’s little boy in front of an angry dog  – or worse, a wicked spirit bent on getting Jane and Charlie to face the truths they’ve spent a lifetime avoiding. As her drinking and writing spiral out of control, Jane must finally discover how to write her own happy ending.

About the Author: Elizabeth Fountain left a demanding job as a university administrator in Seattle to move to the small town of Ellensburg, Washington, and pursue her dream of writing novels.  She started writing in grade school; fortunately, most of her tortured high school poetry and song lyrics are lost to posterity. Her first book, “An Alien’s Guide to World Domination,” is a tale of people, aliens, and dogs who face the impossible, and do it anyway.  Her second novel “You, Jane” was published by Champagne Book Group in June, 2014. She takes breaks from writing to teach university courses, spend time with family and friends, and take long walks while leaning into the diabolical Kittitas Valley wind. Liz strives to live according to a line from British singer-songwriter Chris Rea: “Every day, good luck comes in the strangest of ways.”

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LASR Anniversary: V.A. Hezaran – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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The Predicates of Fate: Robots and Time Travel Make for a Quick Summer Read

Ah, summer. The time when you just want to grab a fun book for a quick beach read. There’s nothing like sitting outdoors with a cool drink and a great story. The main character in my book, “The Predicates of Fate”, starts off just like that (except a crossword puzzle is his diversion of choice) when he’s suddenly confronted by some nasty aliens and a rift in time.

One of the joys of the written word is its ability to take you away to wonderful new worlds where imagination is limitless. My debut novel fits that mold: it has time travel, space ships, robot uprisings, distant worlds, martial arts and swordplay. And jokes. Don’t forget the jokes.

I wrote this book to be something that would have entertained me; it’s the kind of science fiction book I would have loved…had I not written it myself. Among the points going for it:

  • Not very long
  • Not very expensive (i.e., it’s cheap!)
  • Fast-paced with lots of action
  • Contains some big sci-fi ideas

As a life-long sci-fi fan, I wrote the book both as an entry into the genre I love but also as somewhat of a parody, purposefully using many of the tropes commonly seen in speculative fiction, but not in a mean way. I poke fun lovingly.

So if you find yourself at the beach this summer with a hole in your reading schedule, give “The Predicates of Fate” a shot. Just like our main character, you’ll be thrust into a future robot war. Figuratively, of course. I hope.

“The Predicates of Fate” is sure to thrill and amuse fans of adventure sci-fi comedy like Red Dwarf, Futurama and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Get it today from:

VA Hezaran book coverA journey through space and time forces a gang of outcasts to stop an evil robot plan to annihilate all sentient life in the galaxy. Along the way, they inadvertently stumble upon the secret nature of time and destiny…or do they?

About the Author:VA HezaranV.A. Hezaran lives outside Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with his wife and dog, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from McGill University. In his 33 years on this planet, he has absorbed an inordinate amount of sci fi, both good and bad, and decided to give it a shot himself.

When not reading, or watching TV or movies ranging in quality from the truly excellent to the highly dubious, he enjoys exploring science fiction and fantasy worlds of his own devising, of which there are many more to come.

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