Sunday, 31 May 2015

Spotlight: Starchild: The Healing Stone by Vacen Taylor @VacenTaylor #Sci

Starchild: The Healing Stone

Published on 8 April 2015
Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – PG13
No. of pages – 145

After finding the Silvershade and escaping the attacking forces as the Wilder Forest city was scorched to the ground, Mai, Akra and Kalin must now face the evil that has consumed Long.
When they reach the land of Cruscar and enter the ice city of Algus, the children are confronted with an ice challenge to win an audience with Queen Isolda. A treacherous journey now awaits them if they are to reach the Healing Stone to save Long.

But Piceptus, the underworld king, will not give up his search and he will do anything to bring the pilgrims’ journey to an end. The children grow stronger as they begin to master their powers, but will this be enough to escape this danger and continue on their pilgrimage to fulfil the prophecy?


Australian author, writer, storyteller, occasional artist and amateur photographer. I’m a happy person with a zest for life and exploring the world at large.

My debut fantasy children’s book was released by Odyssey Books in March 2013. I describe my writing as a basic prose style with the occasional splash of creative penning. Just as my paintings have my own stylistic strokes. I believe in expressing the uniqueness of self and also enjoy the beauty of poetry in all its wonderful forms. I collect comics and love superheroes, anime and science.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Spotlight: The Author’s Guide to Working with #BookBloggers by @sugarbeatbc #Marketing

The Author's Guide to Working with Book Bloggers (Building Blocks 1)

Published on 2 April 2015
Genre – Non-fiction, Web Marketing
No. of pages – 83

Do you feel out of your comfort zone when dealing with book bloggers?
If book bloggers are the new gatekeepers to ‘book publishing success,’ do you wonder how you can tap into that source of free promotions? How you can move comfortably into that world, putting your best foot forward?

Look no further, because The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers combines the advice of over two-hundred bloggers, covering all aspects of communication between authors and review blogs. Whether you are a new author, or have many titles under your belt, let The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers demystify the promotion of your book on a book blog.
You’ll learn about whom and where book bloggers are, as well as the following:

• The Query
• The Review
• The Giveaway
• The Guest Post
• The Book Blurb Excerpt
• The Cover Reveal
• …and more!

˃˃˃ Start your journey to publishing success today!


Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Spotlight: Last Stop, The Twilight Zone : #Biography of Rod Serling by @joelengel

Last Stop, The Twilight Zone: The Biography of Rod Serling

Published on 22 December 2014
Genre – Biography
Rating – PG (as provided by author)
No. of pages – 322

This landmark first biography of Rod Serling offers fascinating insights into his life, from the nearly idyllic childhood that he could never recapture to the haunting World War II experiences that informed his imagination and his sudden emergence as one of television’s Golden Age luminaries, responsible for shaping the medium itself.

Last Stop, The Twilight Zone paints a startling picture of the complex, unhappy man beneath Serling’s gregarious yet suave public persona. Despite receiving critical and popular acclaim, Serling was doubtful of his own talent, compulsively accepting nearly any job offered, from writing to pitching products. Prolific by any measure, he felt imprisoned by his most famous creation, The Twilight Zone. Here is the Rod Serling we never knew, the man whose success overshadowed his ambitions and, eventually, his life—a life that ended long before it should have.


I have authored or co-authored nearly 20 books (including a New York Times bestseller). They range from narrative nonfiction, to essays, sports, satire, pop culture, biography, and autobiography. As a journalist for the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among other papers and periodicals, I once upon a time reported on everything from politics to hot-air ballooning, pregnancy to cancer research, pop culture to business. I’ve also sold several feature-film scripts to Hollywood and produced about 60 hours of (cable) television.

Two professional experiences that I remember with inexplicable pleasure are writing an infomercial hosted by a celebrity who insisted on being introduced as “the beautiful and talented actress” when in fact she was not quite either, and getting fired from a documentary about Elvis fans for telling the network executive–who until months before had been a Russian interpreter–that her clunky suggestion for the show’s opening sequence was “not good television.” On the personal side, I’m one of those happily married men and proud fathers you sometimes read about, wondering if they actually exist.


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Cover Reveal: The Unraveling by Laurel Wanrow

Welcome to the cover reveal for The Unraveling, Volume One of The Luminated Threads by Laurel Wanrow! This is a steampunk fantasy romance with new adult-aged characters and themes. The Unraveling ebook is on preorder for a special preorder price of only .99 cents from Amazon! A print paperback edition also features this beautiful cover artwork by the talented Craig Shields,

The Unraveling releases June 23, 2015.

About the Book:

In 1868 England, the competition to control agriculture is fierce…

…and nobody says no to Derby’s industrial magnate.

Except Annmar Masterson. The nineteen-year-old rejects his improper advances and instead takes an advertising position on a farm. She discovers the isolated valley is home to gifted species—including animal and plant shifters—who hide their lives from the rest of England. The blue threads only she sees on their clockwork machinery prove her heritage is rooted with theirs, but their world is so different that Annmar doesn't know if she'll ever belong.

Shapeshifter Daeryn Darkcoat blames himself for the death of his mate and swears he won't be responsible for another pack. But when the farm he loves falls victim to an endless run of strange pests eating the crops, he joins the hunt, taking charge of an unruly team of predator shifters. In the midst of the battle, Annmar stirs feelings he can’t resist.

As Annmar becomes entangled in the fight against the pests, and with Daeryn, she discovers her magic might help…if she can learn to use it properly. If not, she’ll be forced to leave the people she has come to care for and become what she fears most: nothing more than another cog in the magnate’s gears.

THE UNRAVELING is a full-length novel, approximately 350 pages, for readers 18+ (new adult and older).

Please note: This is volume 1 of a three-part serialized novel. Volumes 2 & 3 will be published in 2015 to complete THE LUMINATED THREADS, a steampunk fantasy romance. To be notified of these releases, sign up for Laurel's Newsletter.

Preorder from Amazon for the special price of only .99 cents! 


Laurel WanrowAbout the Author:
Laurel Wanrow loves misty mornings, the smell of freshly dug earth, petting long-haired guinea pigs and staring at the stars. She sees magic in nature and loves to photograph it.

Before kids, she studied and worked as a naturalist—someone who leads wildflower and other nature walks. During a stint of homeschooling, she turned her writing skills to fiction to share her love of the land, magical characters and fantastical settings.
When not living in her fantasy worlds, Laurel camps, hunts fossils and argues with her husband and two new adult kids over whose turn it is to clean house. Though they live on the East Coast, a cherished family cabin in the Colorado Rockies holds Laurel’s heart.

Visit her online at

To be notified of new releases: Laurel's Newsletter


One (1) winner gets a $10 Amazon gift card, and two (2) winners get paperbacks of The Unraveling by Laurel Wanrow (US/CA/UK)

Ends June 10, 2015

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This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Guest Post & Giveaway: A Mathematical State of Grace by Cathy McGough

Original Title: A Mathematical State of Grace
Series: Book #1
Author: Cathy McGough
Publisher: Stratford Living
Release Date: February 14, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction

The laws of the Universe are ordered and finite. Every mathematical equation has one perfect solution. Jocks lead the high school pack, and nerdy girls go unnoticed. 

But what would happen if one day, everything changed? 

In one fateful moment, sixteen-year old mathematical prodigy Grace Greenway and Vincente Marino, all-around high school athlete, are unexpectedly thrown together. From that moment on, Grace and Vincente are forced to navigate a strange and wonderful new world together, quickly learning that they must depend on each other if they want to survive. 

Now, imagine a world where the rules of the ordered Universe no longer apply, and the line between reality and fiction becomes blurred beyond all reason. 

Imagine living in A Mathematical State of Grace.

Buy @ Amazon


- Guest Post by Cathy McGough

I have always dreamed of having a room of my own to write in. I have my window in front of me, streaming in natural light and I have two screens to play with – which is really helpful when researching and editing. It also helps me to be super duper organised.

My chair is comfortable enough – although sometimes I wish it had arms to hold me – especially when something devastating happens to one of my characters…or when one I thought was a good character suddenly turns into a baddie. My desk looks pretty tidy here but trust me – it doesn’t always look this way.

Here you can see the reason I bought this desk, because it has a map of the world on its surface. It is inspiring to have the world just under my fingertips.

Still, I tend to pick up my laptop and travel with it – walking from place to place, listening to the world happening in real time – rather than staying inside. And because I live in such a beautiful city called Stratford, Ontario, Canada – inspiration is just a short walk away from where I live and nothing opens up the heart and mind more than being surrounded by beauty and nature.

A table can be created from nature – even when all of the snow hasn’t yet melted.

And below, I find a seat at The Art Gallery of Stratford. I took lessons here on Saturday mornings when I was a little girl. Returning here allows the child in me to see through my eyes.

Here now in Centennial Park, sitting on the famous bridge to nowhere. The structure remains, but when I was a little girl the Canadian National Railway ran trains under this very bridge. Shhhh, a secret is about to be told – it is here that I smoked my first cigarette. Now, there is a garden underneath and it is a lovely place to sit and write and contemplate.

Which only goes to show -
Wherever my laptop is – that’s my home.

I would be remiss if I did not introduce you to Rosie…


Cathy McGough lives in Stratford, Ontario, Canada with her husband, son and two cats Rosie and Layla. Cathy is the published author of three novels Three Friends, Interviews With Legendary Writers From Beyond and A Mathematical State of Grace, plus a book of poetry Painting With Words and several short stories including Death Wish. Cathy is the Publisher of a quarterly magazine which is distributed in print and digital form called Stratford Living. For information on Cathy’s writing people visit her website For information on Stratford Living


The author is giving away the following to one winner of the Rafflecopter.

1. 1 Signed paperback copy of A Mathematical State of Grace (signed personally to the winner)
2. 2 Ebooks of A Mathematical State of Grace

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The author is giving away one $50 Amazon Gift card drawn randomly from the names of those who buy her book between May 25, 2015 and June 30, 2015, and produce their order number in the below Rafflecopter.  One random winner’s name will be drawn on July 1, 2015. Winner will be notified via email. The Gift Voucher cannot be redeemed for cash value.

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Friday, 22 May 2015

Release Event & Giveaway: You Can't Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet by Juliette Harper

We're excited to announce the release for You Can't Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet by Juliette Harper! This is the first book in A Study Club Mystery series and it's now available for sale on Amazon and Smashwords for only .99 cents!

Dear Readers,

Yes, the day has arrived. My first cozy mystery, You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet, is now available in ebook form for 99 cents. If you’ve read the third book in The Lockwood Legacy, you’ve already met the main characters in this story.

Clara Wyler, Sugar Watson, Wilma Schneider, and Mae Ella Gormley are feisty old women in Alice’s Portrait. In Shag Carpet, they’re feisty young women with big 1960s-era Texas bouffants lacquered in place with a thick coat of Aqua Net hairspray.

When I wrote Alice’s Portrait these women absolutely demanded page time of their own. I confess, this book is a homage to a group of ladies who helped raise me. My Mother was a member of the Daedalian Study Club in Junction, Texas. I can’t actually tell you what a “Daedalian” is, and since my father consistently referred to them as the Dandelions, I have some difficulty to this day getting the name right.

While they may not have been as flamboyant as the women in Shag Carpet, they were all larger than life and had no concept of the need to be liberated since they were perfectly in charge in the confines of their own world. In a small West Texas ranching community, it’s difficult to “oppress” a woman who’s a better shot with a 30-30 than any man in her life.

These are the kind of women who help pull a kid goat during a difficult labor at 4 o’clock, have supper on the table at 6 o’clock, and show up for the Saturday night dance dressed to the nines at 8 o’clock. I loved and admired them all and I was scared to death of them.

The Study Club Mysteries is my droll look at the eccentricities of small town life, especially in the 1960s, which is a decade that colors my childhood memories.

As you know, I am actually two people and clearly these experiences are drawn from one half of me, but the other half recognized, appreciated, and polished the humor. This book is an absolute labor of love and was more fun to write than I can possibly describe. And if you think this one is funny, wait until you get to read the next one, You Can’t Put a Corpse in a Parade!


About the Book:
Wanda Jean Milton discovers her husband, local exterminator Hilton Milton, dead on her new shag carpet with an Old Hickory carving knife sticking out of his chest. Beside herself over how she’ll remove the stain, and grief-stricken over Hilton’s demise, Wanda Jean finds herself the prime suspect in the case. But she is also a member of “the” local Study Club, a bastion of independent Texas feminism 1960s style. Club President Clara Wyler has no intention of allowing a member to be a murder suspect during her administration. Aided by her younger sister and County Clerk, Mae Ella Gormley; Sugar Watson, the proprietress of Sugar’s Style and Spray; and Wilma Schneider, Army MASH veteran and local RN, the Club women set out to clear Wanda Jean’s name — never guessing the local dirt they’ll uncover in the process.


About the author:
Juliette Harper is the pen name used by the writing team of Patricia Pauletti and Rana K. Williamson. You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet is the first installment of Harper’s debut cozy Study Club Mysteries, an hilariously funny look at the often absurd eccentricities of small town life. The second book, to be released in coming months, is called You Can’t Put a Corpse in a Parade.

The droll series, set in the 1960s, is a light-hearted spinoff of Harper’s Lockwood Legacy a nine-book chronicle of the lives of three sisters who inherit a ranch in Central Texas following their father’s suicide. Three of the novels are currently available: Langston’s Daughters, Baxter’s Draw, and Alice’s Portrait. The fourth book, Mandy’s Father, will appear in Summer 2015.

And don’t miss Harper’s first foray into the world of the supernatural, Descendants of the Rose, Book 1 in the Selby Jensen Paranormal Mystery series. The second Selby Jensen book, Lost in Room 636 is also scheduled for a Summer 2015 release.

Pauletti, an Easterner of Italian descent, is an accomplished musician with an eye for art and design. Williamson, a Texan, worked as a journalist and university history instructor before becoming a full-time freelance writer in 2002.

One (1) winner gets a $25 Amazon Gift Card (INT), one (1) winner gets Langston's Daughters, Baxter's Draw and Alice's Portrait in paperback (US) and one (1) winner gets Descendants of the Rose in paperback (US)
Ends June 10th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Cover Reveal: Ensnared by Kriston Johnson

Welcome to the cover reveal of Ensnared by Kriston Johnson! Ensnared is the second book in The Legends of Elyndia series. The first book is Awakened. This is a young adult fantasy and will be available in August 2015.

About the Book:

Facing monstrous demons, a ravenous dragon, and a malicious faerie queen are the least of Jade’s worries. 
It has been a fortnight since Jade confronted Draven, and he has emerged from the battle more terrifying than ever. Armed with a new plan and fueled with unrelenting determination, Draven casts a dark spell and calls forth new players that no one ever expected, bringing him one step closer to opening the portal to The Fathom.
Back at the Citadel, the people are divided and succumbing to the dark magic that threatens to encompass the entire realm. To unravel a tangled web of hidden truths, Jade plays a dangerous game of her own and works in secret to uncover something the Council is refusing to share. But the more she learns, the more she begins to question if she is doing the right thing.
Jade vows to bring an end to the madness she feels responsible for and works to harness her elemental power, but unforeseen consequences arise. Her power is growing beyond what she can control, and it’s on the verge of destroying her from within. 
Was learning to use her magical ability the beginning…or the beginning of the end?


Check out book one, Awakened, available now!

IMG_1102About the Author:

Kriston Johnson lives in Southwest Washington with her husband, teenage son, and miniature Australian Shepherd. Her home rests at the fringe of an old growth forest that she insists is the home of Jason Voorhees. Her husband thinks that’s a ridiculous assumption, because everyone knows it’s really Bigfoot. Every summer Kriston participates in the annual pilgrimage to Faerieworlds, a real life faerie realm here on Earth, and has an unhealthy obsession with Star Wars, The Vampire Diaries, and Iron Man. 

Author links: 

Blog | Facebook | Twitter @KristonJohnson


$25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Ends June 3, 2015
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Outlaw River Wilde by Mike Walters

Original Title: The Outlaw River Wilde
Author: Mike Walters
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery
Buy @ Amazon | B&N | Smashwords | Kobo | iBook

Who of us, at one time or another, hasn't wondered if we’re alone in the universe? Mitch Wilde never had until a failed attempt at pulling an arrow out of his best friend Jack’s shoulder began a string of strange and unexpected events in the small Pacific Northwest Town of Outlaw River.

When Native Americans start vanishing throughout the country and re-appearing in strange places on horseback, Mitch is challenged in ways he never dreamed. In addition, who are the uninvited strangers ransacking some of their homes? Added to this, Jack has taken to odd nocturnal treks. The local sheriff releases hostility he has held against Mitch since high school and something—nobody wants to call them UFOs—has just crashed into several surrounding lakes.

Can Mitch keep himself out of jail? Can Mitch figure out what the strange entities emerging from the lake are and why? Can Mitch protect the beautiful life he and his wife Mabey worked so hard to create? Finally, can Mitch help his eccentric neighbor save the residents of Outlaw River before it's too late?


When Debbi gave Mitch, the description of what she and Cindi saw, the hair on the back of his neck straightened. Her description took Mitch back to what he and Mabey saw on the road the other night. There had to be some connection. His sub-conscious had been working nonstop trying to make sense out of what they had seen. Mitch couldn’t put his finger on exactly what it was. Hearing Debbi talk about their incident brought Mitch’s thoughts into focus: kachina dolls. A real in the flesh, kachina. At least in Mitch’s mind it was real.

“Debbi, you remember the other night—the flower club fundraiser?”

Debbi moved her brown hair over her ears, using both hands, pushing backwards along the side of her head. Mitch was fascinated the way the hair perched behind the ears as if on command with only a few strands breaking ranks.

“Yeah Mitch, please tell Mabey I’m sorry I wasn’t able to stay. I had to close the Shack myself that night and was just too tired.”

“Sure, I’ll let her know. She knows how hard you work. Besides, I think after the way things went she wishes she hadn’t gone, either.”

“Oh, do tell.”

“Oh, nothing really. Just Mayor Jenkins being his typical charming self. He had several of the flower clubwomen feeling as if they were failures for not raising more money. He’s an ass most of the time. That night was no exception.”

“No argument from me.”

“Okay, anyhow, Mabey and I left about ten or so. She was driving. We took Riverside Drive home. Near Deadman’s Bend, she hit the brakes hard and I slammed my head into the dash. After greeting her with a couple of properly chosen expletives, I saw why she stopped the car so quickly. Smack dab in the middle of the road was what appeared to be an Indian on a magnificent looking white horse.”

“Seriously, Mitch, what did you guys do? What happened?”

“Well, you know me. I was fumbling for my camera on the phone to take a picture. I know I got the shot, but later there was nothing but night sky and dark road. The Indian was gone.”

“Jesus. Have you guys told anyone?”

“I told old man Jasper and now you. I don’t think Mabey has mentioned it to anyone. We thought briefly about calling Gunther like you did.” Debbi and Mitch let out a simultaneous laugh.

“Yep, we certainly know how that would have turned out,” Debbi replied.

“So what do you think you guys saw?”

“I have no idea. However, it was startling and it felt real. Hell, the whole atmosphere in the Shack felt odd. You could tell something was there. Nevertheless, as I said earlier, it was more startling and unexpected than frightening. Why the coffee shop, though?”

“It’s strange that something like that would go in there, unless he had heard really good things about your espresso. You do make an outstanding espresso, Debbi.”

“Very funny. Jesus, how does Mabey put up with your shit? Want another lemonade?”

“I do, but better not. I need to get home soon. This does put some clarity on what Mabey and I saw.”


“What I’m trying to say is your description gave me a clearer understanding. I’m surprised I didn’t think of it before, actually.”

“Really, do tell. I’m all ears.”

“Have you ever heard of kachina dolls?’

“No, I can’t say as I have.”

“Well, I don’t know that much about them, but I do know that they derive primarily from Hopi Indians. I think the Navajo had them as well. Anyhow, my brief research online when I first became interested showed the Indians used the dolls to teach their young about their spiritual beliefs.”



A typical day for me is getting up at 5:30 a.m. I try to write right away or work on marketing my current novel. After a quick shower and shave, a ten-minute commute gets me to the office at about 7:15. I then focus on the job of Marketing Library Software for Auto-Graphics, Inc. until 4 to 5 p.m. Quitting time just depends on how busy we are. I head home and either get on my road or mountain bike for ride or head to the clubhouse for a short work-out. I will cook dinner usually, enjoy a glass of wine, or meet my son sometimes at a local Micro-Brew - - - Claremont Ales, for some socializing and a Porter or Stout. Back home and watch a rerun or two of Law & Order, Seinfeld or a documentary on Netflix. Rinse and repeat until the weekend. On the weekend, I will take longer bike rides and try to visit the Westside German Shepherd Rescue in Los Angeles with my lady-friend. She will walk the dogs and I will photograph them for Westside’s social media sites with the hope of helping them find their “forever” homes.


Mike Walters and his debut novel, The Outlaw River Wilde, sprung from an idea while watching Ancient Aliens on the History channel. He intertwines his love of Native American culture and a passion for the Pacific Northwest, primarily his birth state of Oregon. Mike sat down one day and started writing. The characters and story were revealed each and every day he wrote.

"Every session was as if I were reading something new myself for the first time. It was a blast seeing what would happen next. This is why I enjoyed writing this novel so much. "

Mike is a Director of Marketing & Product at Auto-Graphics, Inc. based in Ontario, CA. That's California, not Canada. A-G makes software for Libraries, primarily public. So on your visit to the library, when you sit down to search for a book this is the software that A-G makes.

"I am very fortunate to work in an industry that has a meaningful impact on society. It makes going to work each and every day enjoyable. I mean who doesn't think we need, and who doesn't love, libraries?"

Mike learned photography as a freshman in high school and later took the passion and used it as a photographer in the United States Air Force. He loves to ride bicycles in SoCal year around, volunteers in Los Angeles at the Westside German Shepherd Rescue taking photos of the beautiful dogs, and has a passion for Micro-brews, particularly Porters and Stouts. You will frequently find him sampling, with his son Alexander, at Claremont Craft Ales, a personal favorite --- or one of the many fine breweries in and around Claremont, CA. Mike is currently at work on the follow up to The Outlaw River Wilde, which will be titled - Still Wilde in the Outlaw River. The book should be out later this year or early 2016.


The author is giving away paperback copies (INTERNATIONAL) to 5 winners of the Rafflecopter.

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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Excerpt & Giveaway: The Keys of the Watchmen by Kathleen C. Perrin


Welcome to the tour for the New Adult Historical Paranormal The Keys of the Watchmen by Kathleen C. Perrin.

The Keys of the Watchmen by Kathleen C. Perrin
Katelyn Michaels plans on hating every moment of her visit to Mont Saint Michel with her father’s new French wife. Once there, she is confused when she experiences sensations of déjà vu and hears voices as she and her younger brother explore the medieval village and abbey.

When the oddly-dressed but alluring Nicolas slips Katelyn a strange medallion, she is whisked back through time with him to the 15th century where her Watchmen hosts tell her she is the only hope to save Mont Saint Michel from the invading English armies. Even worse, she learns those armies are led by a fallen angel intent on learning the mount’s closely-guarded secret.

Katelyn is torn by feelings of anger at being taken back in time, inadequacy at finding a modern solution for a medieval problem, and responsibility for the mount’s starving inhabitants. She is also perturbed by her surprising attraction to the ill-tempered Nicolas. Will she stay to learn why she was chosen by the Archangel Michael and find a way to save his mount?


Chapter 36 
            Nicolas turns to the right and hugs the shoreline of the mount some distance around the island before he heads out into the open sands. I match him step for step. I understand what he meant about the sand pulling shoes in. In some spots, I can hardly pull my feet out of the goo. Nicolas is walking quickly, confidently, not using his stick yet.
            After about twenty steps, I feel the coldness of water and the heavy tug of a current. This must be the Couesnon River, which has cut a shallow channel in the sands, and is being pulled out to sea with a tremendous amount of force. Without his stable strength, I would fall. The water comes up to our knees, but we get through it quickly. Then when we reach the other side of the channel, Nicolas begins to use his ‘divining rod.’ It’s a slow, methodical process as he bends slightly to inspect each stick placement. From that point onward, every foot closer to the shore is a victory. At times, we’re forced to move sideways. As we zig and zag, attempting to make forward progress, Nicolas pats my hands clenched around his waist, as if to reassure me that all is well.
            I can no longer feel my feet, but I still match his every step. At one point, he stops completely, and I feel the whistling of something close to my ear. An arrow! I recognize that unhallowed sound from my escape from the English ship. But unlike that experience, there is no shouting, no sound of angry Godons. We remain standing stationary like that for at least a half an hour, and all the while, Nicolas squeezes my hand. I don’t even want to know what just happened, but I trust him.
            The sound of our breathing under our makeshift tent is the only sound I hear. And the staccato clogging of my heart begging for relief because I can feel my feet again, and they’re a pulsing mass of pain. I want nothing more than to move, sit down, or run. Just standing there without moving an inch is one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced. I feel the throbbing in my arm and thigh as the blood pumps against my stitches, threatening to explode. I think I might die if I have to stand immobile for one more instant but I can’t let Nicolas down. I promised I would do exactly as he says. And so I do.
            Finally, he shifts slightly to the side and I breathe out in relief at being able to move, but he stops again. I bite my lip to keep myself from screaming out in agony. And then slowly, step by miniscule step we continue. However this time, he stops after every step and waits for what seems an eternity, but is probably only about five minutes. Now I really know what it means to cross the Fire Swamp, avoiding the flame spurt, fighting the Rodents of Unusual Size, and navigating the lightning sands, and it is by far the most difficult voyage I’ve ever made.
            When my feet touch a different texture, I don’t even realize it at first because they are so numb. Not until Nicolas pulls me down to the ground do I realize we’ve made it to the mainland. We’re in the salt marsh, the tufts of salty grass I remember from our drive to the island. I’m hoping we might find some of those salt marsh sheep. They’d be just fine in place of a fat pig.
            After we remain flat on our stomachs for another eternity, Nicolas finally sits up. He pulls my shoes and socks out of his knapsack and hands them to me. I can hardly get them over my swollen, frozen feet, but I finally begin to feel some relief. I’m grateful they’re dry. Nicolas puts on his sabots. He won’t find any warmth from them, but they will provide some protection. He indicates that we’re going to move along the marshy land on our bellies. The ordeal is not over. I’m beginning to wish I’d let Nicolas go alone after all.
            It takes us at least another two hours of working our way over the damp, bumpy terrain. Now, it’s not only my feet that are cold and wet, but every inch of my body as well. I’m grateful that Nicolas’s course robe is between me and the ground, because it provides some protection for my wounds. Now I know why the Montois are starving. I’d just as soon starve as go through the Fire Swamp ever again. And then the reality hits me: I’ve got to go back the same way I came.
                Finally, we make it to a dilapidated farmhouse. Nicolas pulls me to my feet and we press ourselves against the wall as we work our way around to the door. It hangs askew, and creaks as he attempts to open it. Inch by inch, he creates enough of a gap for us to slip inside. When we finally make it, I collapse with fatigue.


Kathleen C. Perrin holds Bachelor’s degrees from Brigham Young University in French and Humanities, and graduated summa cum laude. She is a certified French-to-English translator. While completing her education, Kathleen met and married a dashing young Frenchman. They have spent years investigating the mysteries and beauties of his native country, and have a cottage in Brittany. For a ten-year period they took tourists to Mont Saint Michel, where she served as tour guide.

Kathleen has lived in Utah, New York City, France, and for eight years in French Polynesia. She has worked professionally as a language and music teacher, translator, interpreter and writer. She has published several non-fiction articles, academic papers, and a religious history about Tahiti.

Traveling and learning about new countries and cultures is a passion for Kathleen, but her latest passion is sharing the mysteries of France through her fiction.

The Perrins have three children, and currently reside in Utah.

AUTHOR ONLINE: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
The author will be giving away $25 Amazon Gift Card (INT) to the winner of the below Rafflecopter.  The giveaway ends June 3rd.
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Monday, 18 May 2015

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Lives We Fear by Dan Otsuki

Original Title: The Lives We Fear
Author: Dan Otsuki
Publisher: Mbedzi Publishing
Release Date: April 2, 2015
Genre: Horror, Short Stories
Buy @ Amazon

Fear.  From childhood it is instilled in all to fear monsters, ghosts, and other terrors within the realm of the unknown. As adults, we easily forget about the boogeyman who lurked under our bed or in the shadows of a dark corner. Our grown-up fears take on an even more disturbing twist that frequently mingles with reality.

What happens when the things we really fear—the things we can’t bare to lose—invade our lives? The truest form of the human condition is exposed. Whether rational, or irrational, survival—at any cost—becomes paramount, morals be damned. The Lives We Fear is a compilation of short stories that examines these chilling and very plausible scenarios: what does one do when the people one loves are endangered? When life spirals from beyond one’s control? Or, even when one’s humanity is in jeopardy?

From lost loves, to lost friends, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and even getting caught amidst seemingly innocent mistakes, these stories examine just what keeps us up at night and what preoccupies our nightmares when we finally sleep, because it’s not always our own demise that forces us to shiver.


It felt like a movie: the extras standing in the background, overacting their sense of excitement, or sorrow, or terror; the sound seeming to distort, as though the editors wanted the shot to drown out the world, make the audience focus on what just happened, to give them the sense of how important and terrible what they just saw was. There was blood, too, and not the cheap stuff they get for bad indie films, but the kind that looks real as it spreads through the victim’s clothing like a cancer, then falls with the body. The victim, bless his role, should get an award for his performance—bags dropped to the ground, chest and shoulders shuddering from the impact as he fell with a gasp and nothing more. The shooter should at least be nominated for something, his face cold enough to cut himself from the scene, as though he could see it all unfold as a bystander. Maybe he’s the director. If so, he knows exactly what he’s doing—no ad-libbing. The victim falls, and the boys in the editing room know exactly how to work slow-motion, milk it. They really want the audience to see him fall, his head smacking the pavement, and the red wine in one of his bags falling out and cracking open and mixing with the blood around his head and that spilling from his chest (they’ll call it a symbol for a halo). The audience will cringe, maybe shriek, but after the climax, the falling resolution will leave them feeling satisfied, like that was bound to happen. Peaceful. Because a movie isn’t real. Even those “based on real events” aren’t really real. It’s just a bunch of actors, sets, props, directions—but none of it’s real.

Daniel swayed back and forth, gun trembling in his hands. He wished it was a movie. In the movies, it always works out for the good guy. Right? Wasn’t he the good guy? Wasn’t he? It sure wasn’t Jackson. Jackson’s dead.


Really dead. Not like the movies.



            There are two types of days, if I’m being broadly general, that I have. One is when I’m in school, and the other is when I’m on break.

            When I’m in school largely studying and reading for classes consume my life. Double majoring and minoring (along with a part time job as a floor lead and barista at a café) surprisingly don’t make for a ton of spare time. I have also found that, when in school, not only do I have less time to write, but what I do write is bogged down and generally worse. I have a hard time simultaneously writing fiction while writing a thesis paper on the ethics of teaching world religions in public schools—from a purely secular, non-academic standpoint. Just too much back and forth from creativity to arguments. My weeks are filled with class, work, and homework (along with some gym time), and weekends are filled with more homework, some friend time, and if I’m lucky to get a decent chunk of alone time, a bit of writing.

            When I’m on break, however, my life changes rather radically. By and large, I’ll sleep in everyday, go the gym, work, and writing a minimum one thousand words on whatever collection of short stories or novel I happen to choose for that day. Being able to close the café and then just sit in there while it’s completely empty and write is a really cool and sobering feeling. I’m not hugely into the outdoors, but give me an empty space in a chill, laid back environment (like a coffee shop) and I’m sold.


Born on October 14, 1993, Dan Otsuki grew up an only child. As his early life found him a good thirty minutes or more away from kindergarten and preschool friends, Dan found solace in action figures and Legos, making up his own narrative of their lives and adventures. Starting in high school, and inspired by authors like Stephen King and media like The Twilight Zone, the Mass Effect video game series, and a plethora of horror films, Dan began to pursue his passion for writing. Since attending the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington—where Dan currently lives as he works on his undergraduate degree—Dan has found a passion for religious studies in addition to English and creative writing. He currently works at Diversions Cafe on the Puget Sound campus, and spends much of his free time engrossed with all kinds of movies with his close friends.


The author is giving away e-copies of THE LIVES WE FEAR for 4 winners of the Rafflecopter.

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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Spotlight & Giveaway: Spelled by Betsy Schow

Sourcebooks Fire
June 2, 2015
Advance Praise for Spelled
“A cute adventure with romance set in a world full of fairy-tale mash-ups. Readers will love Dorthea’s evolution from spoiled princess to strong, confident heroine… For Oz fans, this work is a great clean-read alternative to Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die.” -School Library Journal
“This wickedly funnyfast-paced adventure has it all: brains, courage, and heart. (Plus a kickin’ pair of heels.) .” --Jen Calonita, author of The Secrets of My Hollywood Life and Fairy Tale Reform School series
“Fairy tale survival rule #1, do NOT read this book late at night. You will wake up your entire family with loud laughter. Fairy tale survival rule #2, if you love the Wizard of Oz, clever fairy tale mash-ups, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing what will happen until the very end, you MUST read Spelled.” --J Scott Savage, award winning author of FarworldCase File 13, and theMysteries of Cove series.
A hilarious and snarky reimagining of the world of Oz, along with many other fairy tales injected throughout, "Spelled" is one fabulous read…Kick off those silver slippers and tuck in with this wonderful tale!” —Senator Sipes, Lil Book Bug (Palmdale, CA)
Book Info:
Talk about unhappily ever after. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the not-so-charming prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving Dorthea with hair made up of emerald flames and the kingdom in chaos. Her parents and everyone she loves are stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed-off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.

Amazon | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kindle |  Nook

Betsy Schow:
Betsy Schow is the author of the memoir Finished Being Fat, and has been featured on The Today Show and in The Wall Street Journal. She lives in Utah, but travels the country with Color Me Rad 5k, and partners with nonprofits to teach kids creative thinking and how to reach their goals.
Excerpt from Spelled:

Most of the crowd had dispersed. The final few stragglers looked at me with the all­too-common look of fear mixed with trepidation. Pix ’em. They were just servants. It wasn’t like their opinion mattered.
Only one remained, watching me with open curiosity. He looked to be in his late teens or was magically enhanced to appear so. He could have been a hundred for all I knew. I’d never seen him before in my life. He was handsome enough, for a commoner, even in his worn leather pants and cracked work boots. A foreigner, his hair was unruly and dark auburn, which complemented his tanned but dirt-smudged complexion, though the tall, dark stranger vibe was ruined by his piercing pale blue eyes.
Well, I’d had enough of being a sideshow for the day. “If you’re the new gardener, the hedges are overgrown and in need of a trim.” I pointed in the direction of my father. “While you’re there, you can help the king with the wisps.”
The young man’s expression clouded over, but he didn’t move.
I stamped my foot and pointed more forcefully. “Off with you. Courtyard’s that way. Be sure to clean those awful boots before coming back in.”
“Someone told me I’d find a princess of great worth here. One with the strength to be the hero this realm needs.” He stared at me with those unsettling blue eyes. They were cold, like ice water—made me shiver from head to toe. Then his gaze seemed to search even deeper. Finally, he looked through me, like I was nothing.
In brisk steps, he strode across the marble to the courtyard. But before crossing the threshold, he turned back to glare at me with his lip curled ever so slightly. “It seems she was mistaken.”
Just like that, I had been sifted, weighed, and found wanting.
I felt my own lip curl in response. How rude! Who the Grimm was this peasant to judge me? I was wearing a Glenda original. Original! Not some fairy-godmother knockoff worn by those servant girls turned royal. I was a crown princess, for the love of fairy, and no one dismissed me.
Before I could put the boy in his place—down in the dirt, where he belonged—a clatter came from behind, making me nearly jump out of my shoes. I checked and was relieved that Sterling had simply dropped his sword. By the time I looked back, the gardener was gone.
After stowing his blade, Sterling held up his shield, not in defense of the entrance but so he could look at his reflection. “Clearly he’s blind and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
I didn’t ask for Sterling’s opinion, but it made me feel better.
Until he opened his mouth again.
“Worth, pffft. I mean, look around at all the jewels. Your palace has everything you could ever want. Honestly, I don’t know what you’re fussing about. Why would anyone want to leave?”
Because a cage is still a cage, no matter how big or glittering the bars are.
And I would find a way free, no matter the cost.


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