Thursday, May 30, 2013

Early #Review : The Hero's Lot by Patrick W. Carr #fantasy

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The Staff and the Sword #2

When Sarin Valon, the corrupt secondus of the conclave, flees Erinon and the kingdom, Errol Stone believes his troubles have at last ended. But other forces bent on the destruction of the kingdom remain and conspire to accuse Errol and his friends of a conspiracy to usurp the throne.
In a bid to keep the three of them from the axe, Archbenefice Canon sends Martin and Luis to Errol’s home village, Callowford, to discover what makes him so important to the kingdom. But Errol is also accused of consorting with spirits. Convicted, his punishment is a journey to the enemy kingdom of Merakh, where he must find Sarin Valon, and kill him. To enforce their sentence, Errol is placed under a compulsion, and he is driven to accomplish his task or die resisting.

My Review

I’ve been dying for this book since I gobbled up the first, A Cast of Stones, back in January. You can find my 5 star review HERE.

In book one we were introduced to Errol Stone, a young village drunk, who as typically in fantasy stories goes on to be some one of great importance to the kingdom. I’m not a fan of giving plot points away in reviews, so I’ll just say that Mr. Carr wove the story in a fresh, new way that had me clicking away on my kindle until ‘The End’. Couldn’t get enough of his character, of the young man’s plight, and his flight across the country.

In The Hero's Lot, Mr. Carr once again takes the reader into a well thought out world, one full of intrigue and details to create and roll a movie though the mind. Without fluff or purple prose, Errol’s country comes alive. The characters are consistent and more than one tugs on the heart strings.

On occasion, fantasy sequels bring about one problem after another in order to make up a series, often feeling forced. Not so with The Staff and the Sword! Book two is a perfect continuation of the conflict from book one. There is a natural progression that is pleasing and comfortable for someone as nitpicky as I am.

In The Hero's Lot, the focus is on two journeys, and I have to be honest and say that Errol’s took a back seat to Martin’s, the priest, for me. The emotions Martin deals with, the choices he is confronted with moved me much more than Errol’s. Yes, our MC is once more facing danger and death, but *spoiler alert is a must here* an element of romance is brought in that fell flat and felt forced for me. There is zero emotional development between the two – nix that. There is some on the female’s side, but we’re not given enough insight into Errol’s thoughts concerning her beyond his confusion. I’ve never met a male as clueless as our Errol, and for me that’s a big believability issue, which you all know I’m a total stickler for.

For that reason, book two started out slow for me. Yes, I was interested, but I had no problem putting down my kindle when I got tired. Just wasn’t as compelling as book one until about the ¾ mark. THEN we got rolling. The problem is, is that once that climactic moment hit, there were a lot of scenes that were summed up – told in a way that lowered the tension. When a group of people are escaping death, I want to taste and feel their fear for as long as possible.

Now it could be that some scenes were skimmed over in order to keep the word count at a decent number, but I would have enjoyed this book much more had the first half been skimmed and what should have been heart-pounding ending drawn out until I sweated.

All that being said (can we tell I was woken up early this morning and only had ½ cup of coffee??) I really did enjoy this book. It is complex, well thought out, and well worth the read.

Will I read book three? I heard Mr. Carr has finished writing it, but it won’t be available soon enough in my opinion. Can’t wait.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

#WeeklyWriterlyWisdom : Darlene Fredette on Submitting Your #WiP #PubTip

Welcome to WWW where every week a guest will offer some insight into the world of writing and publishing. 

Today I'm thrilled to have my Weekend Writers Sister, Darlene Fredette, published author and editor, share a smidge on publishing. 

*These words were originally posted on Weekend Writers blog on April 4, 2013.


Think Twice Before You Hit Send

So, you’ve completed your story and you’re anxious to submit your manuscript to publishing houses. Is it as simple as a quick note introducing your story, attaching your manuscript, and hitting send? 

The answer is, NO.

Did you check the publisher’s submissions guidelines? Is your manuscript their requested font style and size? Do your margins and spacing meet their requirements? Does your query letter include the pertinent information?

As an editor, I see many query submissions and I’m very surprised as to how many queries do not follow submission guidelines. Eighty percent of submissions do NOT include all the details requested, and when we open the manuscript and see it full of typos, we wonder if the author even took the time to proofread their story.

Let’s rewind the clock here for a moment. 

We need to get through the opening email query first. When important details such as genre type, word count, heat level, previous writing experience, and address...(which were all clearly stated in the submissions guidelines)...are missing, we’re already forming an opinion of the author’s attention to detail even before opening the manuscript attachment. And if the guidelines state attaching your chapters, then why do so many queries include them in the body of the email?

One of the most important elements we expect to see in a query introduction is professionalism. When we read an email that has, ‘Hi, my manuscript is 54K, below is a synopsis, looking forward to hearing from you’, our expectations are lowered immediately.

Want to make an initial good impression on the submissions department? Think twice before you hit ‘SEND’.  Make your query email shine. Start with making a check list of the publisher’s guidelines. Be sure to include all the information they’ve requested. Add a synopsis and your chapters, or attach them if that’s how the publishing house expects to receive them. Go through your manuscript one final time. Check for typos, set your margins, spacing, font style and size to their guidelines. And most important, be professional. These are the main elements that can push your submission to the top of the pile or the bottom.

Good luck!


About Darlene Fredette

An avid reader since childhood, Darlene loved to put a pencil to paper and plot out stories of her own. Following a career path in administration, she excelled in the art of editing and design. Thanks to the support of her family, Darlene has been able to fulfill her dream to write full time, publish an electronic magazine, run a freelance editorial service, and be part of a reputable publishing house’s editorial team. When Darlene isn’t editing, writing, or reading she enjoys spending time with her family.



Books by Darlene Fredette

Samantha Witherspoon is a strong, independent, businesswoman, determined to prove her worth as the heir to her late-grandmother’s chain of caf├ęs. When she clashes with Matt Sullivan, the stubborn contractor who refuses her renovation project, Samantha returns to her childhood home to convince him. Sparks fly, tempers flare, and Samantha quickly realizes that befriending the rugged contractor isn’t as easy as she’d hoped.

  Purchase Links:

Re-release of Chocolate Kisses
Date: TBA

When Jackson Frost returns to Redford Falls, Candi Cane knows he's not only after her chocolate kisses. Their last encounter had Candi acting on desire and revenge. But Jackson has now discovered her secret. Is it her desperation for a Santa that has her pausing to sign her name on the dotted line or something closer to her heart?

Monday, May 27, 2013

#CoverReveal : Remember Me by Amaleen Ison #YA

Thrilled to bring you the cover to my Pen Sister, Amaleen Ison's, newest release!!


Release Date: TBA
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Genre: Young Adult
Author: Amaleen Ison
Format: E-book

Sera isn’t living. She’s existing—barely. Bedbound by illness, she has no memory of life before the freezing barn she now calls home. A mournful song haunts her dreams and hints at a past not completely buried—one she’s desperate to uncover. Yet Father’s whirlwind visits to draw blood and administer medication don’t provide answers. He only confirms the one thing she already knows; she’s dying. 
A lonely death without ever knowing her past seems inevitable until a sudden, mystifying return to health coincides with the arrival of a boy in the opposite out-building. The inextricable pull to the stranger, and the broken memories that storm her mind when he’s near, warn of a history quite different to any she could have imagined. If she’s to uncover the truth she craves, she’ll have to decide whether knowledge of the past is worth forfeiting her second chance at life.


Amaleen Ison is a married mother of one. She lives with her family in Hertfordshire, England, along with her cats (Oscar and Winston), guinea pig ( LouLou), and gerbils (Blackberry and Pumpkinseed). She writes Young Adult fantasy stories that meander into a variety of sub-genres.
As a child, Amaleen lived most of her life in her head. She imagined herself in mystical lands populated by the weird and wonderful. She still spends way too much time daydreaming, but now she writes about her imaginings and weaves them into stories. The fantasy element is always important, but more so the hodgepodge of emotions that arise from her characters first time experiences.
Social Media Links: Facebook | Twitter | Website/Blog | Goodreads

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

#WriterlyWisdomWednesday : M.L. LeGette, Author of The Tale of Mally Biddie #Giveaway

This week I'm excited to have M.L. LeGette, YA / fantasy author share on 'Why Fantasy' as part of her blog tour. Be sure to scroll down for the giveaway.


Click on image for tour schedule

When Mally Biddle agreed to spy upon the King of Lenzar and his overbearing knights she knew she was heading into danger. She didn’t know she’d find a family unlike any other.
Posing as a servant in Bosc Castle, Mally serves tea and tends fires for the most dangerous men in the kingdom. Her goal is to learn the truth of what happened sixteen years ago, when the infant princess met her death … a death that is surrounded by more questions than answers.
Along her search for the truth, Mally meets the energized Lita Stump, the strict and matriarchal Meriyal Boyd, and the opinionated Archibald Diggleby. Then of course there are the knights: Leon Gibbs who is slicker than a greased hog, Adrian Bayard, hot tempered and violent, and the worst of the lot: Sir Illius Molick, Captain of the Knights. And then there is Maud, a mysterious woman who just might know everything…

M.L. LeGette on Why Fantasy

Why do you love chocolate?

If your brain is starting to hurt at trying to answer that question, then you know how I feel when trying to explain why I love fantasy.

I have loved fantasy since the very beginning. Some children gravitate toward ninjas or pirates, zombies or ghosts. I wanted castles. I wanted sparkling gowns and crowns. I wanted horses and magic -- dragons and unicorns. I wanted to live in a world of moss covered oaks and misty moors. I wanted all this so much that I often escaped to these lands in my imagination. In bookstores, I hunted down covers that spoke to me of their mysteriously cloaked characters. My childhood upbringing was full of movies such as The Last Unicorn, Flight of Dragons, Princess Bride and The Labyrinth all of which I watched over and over and over again.

I was born to love fantasy.

Writing fantasy is empowering. I assume science fiction writers feel much the same. We are able to create our own worlds, sometimes entirely from scratch. We can give our cities and kingdoms the most bizarre, ethereal names. We can put them on the bottom of the ocean -- put them in the clouds! Our characters can be utterly ordinary or utterly extraordinary. There is no limit to monsters or magical creatures. Our imaginations can happily, merrily, run wild! It is incredibly freeing and downright exhilarating. I can't imagine writing a novel that has nothing to do with fantasy. I wouldn't have a clue where to begin.

I'm not exactly sure whether this post has been educational or enlightening. I feel that's it's more of a fan girl's overflow. If you love fantasy, then I am preaching to the choir. If you hate fantasy, I feel sorry for you. If you are on the fence, I hope I've shown enough of my own joy for the genre to energize you pick up some magic for yourself. 


Author Melissa LeGette
Melissa LeGette lives in Georgia where she helps run a family farm, so her nails are a fright. The Tale of Mally Biddle is her second novel.


Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 6/2/13

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Seven Secrets to Social Networking #MarketingTip #WritersLife

Get involved! Share YOU.

Ever met someone who loves reading the same genre you live for and suddenly the ‘so tell me about yourself’ becomes a gush fest over the latest books, authors, plot lines, and characters?

I love it.

That connection from shared hobbies & passions – connecting like this with total strangers always makes me feel like I’ve found a new best book bud. 

Am I strange? Perhaps. BUT this is a part of marking 101 – getting to know your potential audience. Social media can play a huge roll in this.

How? By helping us find like-minded readers.

There are tons of places, but first we need to make ourselves visible. Let people know who we are and build relationships - friendships - but most of all trust.

Where to start?

1.  Create a website.

It’s all about building your ‘brand’, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. I use because it’s a cinch for semi-computer illiterate peeps like me. Look at other author websites to see how they set theirs up. Blurbs, freebie chapters, bio, contact information, images – your headshot and cover - news & events. The ideas are endless.

2.  Build a blog.

WordPress or Blogger, it doesn't matter so long as you do it with purpose. Talk about what you’re going through in the writing, editing, or publishing phase, but don’t just write it for other writers!!

Let readers know how the process affects you, so they can get to know you better. 


Visit other author blogs, leave comments, and build relationships. Offer to help promote their work. Scratching backs can go a long way to help you get exposure.

3.  Join Twitter.

Is it really a useful social networking tool? I’ve argued with myself over this dozens of times wondering if I’m building relationships with readers OR writers of similar loves. 

Then I looked at it a different way – how do I respond to other writers? I’ve found a few on Twitter who I now faithfully follow. As soon as I see a tweet indicating news of them I’m on it like a fly on … well, you know.

So, yes. I decided to stick with the little blue birdie.

4.  Make a Facebook Page.

Is it any different than Twitter? Not really, but not every potential reader tweets. This is where automatic status updates comes into play. You can set up your tweets to post on Facebook and vice versa. You can also have your blog posts ‘share’ to both Twitter and your Facebook page.

5.  Set up freebie accounts with other groups of like-minded peeps.

Goodreads has tons of groups in every genre. Join them then join in conversations. Make friends. There’s also:

Writers Forums
Local book clubs

There are many more, but these are a couple I utilize. Ask family, friends, or cyber space buds where they go to chat about your genre of choice. Browse a bit and find new ones that look promising.

6.  Be consistent.

Not just in posting, visiting, and commenting, but in making yourself recognizable as well. Be sure to use the same headshot for each media outlet! 

Consistently be yourself. Remember, the whole point of social networking is to let people know who you are. You want to build a fan base of those banwaggoners who will help spread the word of your awesomeness!

7. Finally, set time limits.

This is my greatest struggle.

Allot time for each and every site, be it daily or weekly. Just be sure to stick to the schedule. Deviating like I do (much too often) can cost you time that you can’t afford – especially if you’re a busy parent like me.

Right now I’m under a deadline to complete the 2nd book of my contracted 2-book series, Pool of Souls. I’ve only 20k left to write, but I’ve been dragging my feet in every possible way, social networking and dreaming of my garden being the two biggest offenders!

Shame on me, I know. Daily I give myself a swift kick in the arse, but it doesn’t always have an effect.

Doubtless there are tons of other secrets to social networking, but these are the ones I’ve been dealing with the last two-ish years or so. Have a few YOU care to share? I’m all ears and willing to learn from those who’ve gone before me. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Early #Review : Caged by @JABelfield #HollowayPack #PNR #Werewolves

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Holloway Pack #3
Release Date: August 5, 2013
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: Romantic, Urban Fantasy, Werewolf

If the meek can become deadly, the strongest can be weak. 

For Ethan Holloway, his mission to find a missing werewolf should be simple. Crack a few heads, bust a few chops and the solution always reveals itself. Always.

Not this time.

Ethan’s reputation precedes him, and because it does, someone is ready. Waiting. Unbeknownst to Ethan, he’s about to go down. Hard. Against a foe he never suspected and in a world he never imagined could be real.

What awaits Ethan is a fight not only for his reputation, but also his pack, his female, and his life. If he survives, damage control will become priority number one. 

If he survives.

Because even Ethan’s not sure he’s strong enough to take on an entire race all by himself.

Especially one hell bent on exposing who and what he is in the name of sport.


My Review:

I’ve been WAITING for this book since I first read Darkness & Light. Ethan Holloway is by far my fav Holloway boy – and fav book boyfriend.

So what can I say about this book? I know Ms. Belfield nibbled her nails away when ARCs went out, but …

She has nothing to worry about.

Yummies:   Absolutely everything.

Caged delivers. In a BIG way.  We finally get a glimpse into Ethan. What drives him. What undoes him. All wrapped up in one thrilling ride.

I just want you all to know that for a prego woman to sit on the couch from 9pm until midnight without getting up ONE SINGLE TIME to visit the bathroom is epic.

Best Holloway book so far, and NOT because it's Ethan. Kick butt tension & action. Couldn't put it down. I don't think I even paused to take a sip of water.

I wish you all could have seen my jaw drop when I clicked on next page & nothing happened - then a big grin because I realized I loved the ending just the way it was. THEN came another jaw drop when I looked at that clock.  *snicker*

Scared the crappola outta the hubs (his words the morning after) when I crawled into bed at that hour. 

Yuckies:  Yeah, right.

Recommend:  As with all the Holloway Pack stories, I highly recommend you nab a copy and submerge yourself in their world. You’ll come up gasping for breath, wishing there were such creatures as werewolves.

WELL done, Ms. Belfield. That is all.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Eye of the Soul #Giveaway time! #Swag

Uber excited to get a nice package in the mail the other day - Eye of the Soul bookmarks!  


What do they look like?


I also printed out a couple of 5x7 covers. 

Purdy, aren't they?

Want one? Want one of both? SIGNED?

Leave a comment letting me know what you think of Eye of the Soul's cover. Tweet or FB about this post & I'll throw your name in a 2nd time!

My 3 yr old will draw two winners next Friday. 

Best of luck!

*Need to clarify - international giveaway folks!*

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Demon? Dragon? Emi Gayle just wants to be human #DayAfter #Giveaway #YAlit

Super excited to have Emi Gayle here today for part of her Day After blog tour!!! After having read After Dark AND Day After, I was dying to know ...

which creature Ms. Gayle would choose if given the opportunity? Before she answers, here's a little about her latest release, Day After.

Release Date: May 6, 2013
Target Reader: Young Adult
Keywords: Paranormal Romance, Romance

Demon crypts. Vampire lairs. Glowing angels. Sexy sirens. The stuff of fiction.

Or so Winn Thomas always thought.

Since being accepted into the fold of the supernatural, he knows better. None of what he imagined is true, but everything he feared is, and binding himself to his Changeling girlfriend until her nineteenth birthday will give him an education far beyond what he’d get at his human high school.

Luckily, Winn’s not giving up, he won’t back down, and he definitely isn’t going to run away with his tail between his legs. After all, only werewolves have tails. Right?

In this, the second of the 19th Year trilogy, Winn’s facing the challenge of one lifetime. If he doesn’t learn the truth about mythological creatures, his girlfriend Mac Thorne won’t either. That means, in six months, when she chooses her final form, she won’t know what to pick.

Winn, though, has his own ideas about Mac’s final selection—plans she knows nothing of.

He intends to have her pick human.

Whether she can or not.

There's an ecopy giveaway happening RIGHT NOW on my blog. Head over HERE to enter!

Purchase Links:



Demon crypts. Vampire lairs. Glowing angels. Sexy sirens. The stuff of fiction. 

Or so Winn Thomas always thought. 

Since being accepted into the fold of the supernatural, he knows better. None of what he imagined is true, but everything he feared is, and binding himself to his Changeling girlfriend until her nineteenth birthday will give him an education far beyond what he’d get at his human high school. 

Luckily, Winn’s not giving up, he won’t back down, and he definitely isn’t going to run away with his tail between his legs. After all, only werewolves have tails. Right? 

In this, the second of the 19th Year trilogy, Winn’s facing the challenge of one lifetime. If he doesn’t learn the truth about mythological creatures, his girlfriend Mac Thorne won’t either. That means, in six months, when she chooses her final form, she won’t know what to pick. 

Winn, though, has his own ideas about Mac’s final selection—plans she knows nothing of. 

He intends to have her pick human. 

Whether she can or not.

Sitting in front of the twelve most powerful non-humans on the earth would have shaken a lesser guy. In my case, I’d almost thrown up. Twice. 

‘Don’t worry,’ Mackenzie Thorne, my girlfriend, had said. ’'It’s just a formality

She hadn’t known I’d have to go alone. 

Only the intake and exhalation of air in the room made any sound. Eerie light flickered from the tips of candles mounted along dark, oak-paneled walls.

I refused to look anywhere but ahead of me. To the long, wooden, medieval-length table. 



Holding my own breath. 

For a moment, it seemed the walls began to close in on me. 

At almost midnight on the first day of the year, I prepared to accept a fate no other human had ever taken on, been given or even offered. In response, sweat pooled under my armpits as alternating cold and hot ran through me. 

The scratch of wood against wood had heads turning. Mine included. 

Nahir, the oldest of the twelve, rose from his chair. “Winford Richmond Thomas, please rise.” His voice had a gravelly, hoarse sound. 

I did as requested, my knees pressing against each other. 

Nahir moved closer to me, his grandfatherly, human form disappearing under protruding scales of deep green. His arms lengthened into dinosaur-like paws and hit the rock floor, making the room around us shake. Thick wings extended from his body, and a tail lashed out against the wall behind him, rattling the candles. 

A dragon, in the color of tropical ocean water, stood before me, huffing air from horse-sized nostrils. 

Oh. God. I’m going to die. 

Not going to die. It’s part of the test. Remember, you have to see them all. Mac’s words flowed through my mind. 

Keep breathing. 

“Master Thomas.” Josie, a siren and one of the most beautiful women I’d ever met, rose, her long flowing gown matching the color of her reddish-gold hair. I couldn’t help but stare at her. “You’ve been asked by our current changeling, Miss Maya Mackenzie Thorne, to be her teacher. Have you willingly agreed to take on this duty?” As Josie talked, she stalked forward, shimmering, shifting, the already-pretty woman becoming deadly man-hunting female—according to the legends I’d read. 

Vibes ebbed from her like the rocking tide. If she sang, throwing up would be the least of my worries. I’d be dead by sexual self-implosion. 

With a rough cough, I gathered my wits. “Yes. I have accepted. Willingly.” Every nerve ending in my body urged me to go to Josie, to let her take me and do with me whatever she wanted. A groan built in my throat, tension straining my limbs, most particularly, my crotch. Not now! The need to shift what grew sent heat to my cheeks even as Mac’s words played through again. Force yourself not to react to any of them. They’ll think you’re stronger than you are since you’re only human. 

Only human. Problem number one. 


Now let's hear what Ms. Gayle has to say ...

This is the most popular questions I get about this series that I’ve written. What will Mac choose? What would you choose? 
I think it’s obvious, since I wrote this book and came up with this series, that maybe I don’t even know what I’d be. I mean, Mac hasn’t chosen yet (or maybe she does) so maybe I haven’t either. 
Think about it ... a changeling with the option to be anything. Yeah, see, that’s what I’d want to be. I’d want the opportunity to be anything. Anyone. Any size, any being, to fly, to walk, to go invisible. All of that. I would want it all.
But there’s always that catch, that rule that says ‘pick’ ... like why do we have to pick 1 flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins when there are 31 awesome flavors to choose. Why pick just one? 
I can admit that in writing this series, I didn’t know what Mac would pick until I was about 75% done with the last book. Nope, I didn’t know what she’d pick. Would I pick what she picked? Well ... having seen what she’s gone through? I don’t know. But I would want the being that can do it all. And unfortunately, that being comes with a lot of rules and problems that I wouldn’t want.
So now I’m torn and luckily for me, I’m not Mac. So today I will say fairy. Tomorrow, you can ask me again and I’ll probably say something else.
Or maybe I’ll just stay human.

Emi Gayle just wants to be young again. She lives vicariously through her youthful characters, while simultaneously acting as chief-Mom to her teenaged son and searching for a way to keep her two daughters from ever reaching the dreaded teen years. Ironically, those years were some of Emi's favorite times. She met the man of her dreams at 14, was engaged to him at 19, married him at 20 and she's still in love with him to this day. She'll never forget what it was like to fall in love at such a young age — emotions she wants everyone to feel.

Stalking links!

 Web  |  Blog  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads


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