Sunday, September 1, 2019

Jennifer Zamboni: Author Spotlight and Interview



Please welcome Jennifer Zamboni to Fantasy Fun Reads. I met Jennifer as a fan of my books several years ago and I had no idea at the time that she would go on to become a great author herself. Pack of Freaks is the second book in her series called Beasts Among Us.

Blurb:

Being alpha isn’t easy.

Gretchen wants a normal life: working in the salon, making music, and settling in with her new pack. If only her wolf side wouldn’t make decisions without her.

She survived betrayal and the fight for her freedom, so relationship issues and a group of fae-blooded circus freaks in her kitchen should be a breeze. But a plea from another pack and the exposure of the fae, including werewolves, to the human world just might tip the scale on her sanity.

Good thing she has good friends, a man who loves her, and music that soothed the savage beast.

Join Gretchen as she gives in to romance, discovers new truths about old friends, and embraces her role as alpha.


This one just released a few weeks ago and has already gotten some great reviews. If you haven't read the first in her series yet, check this out....


Start with Book One here:   http://bit.ly/beautyisthebeast

Interview:

What inspired you to write?

I love books! That would be the simplest explanation. The more in-depth answer is I love exploring a world and experimenting with all those little what ifs.

What do you know now that you wished you knew when you first started to write?
Grammar. I thought that because I got A’s on the English papers I wrote in high school, I knew grammar, and therefore completely neglected learning it. Now I’m kicking myself and attempting to educate myself. My early manuscripts are terrifying.

As far as the publishing industry itself goes, I’m still learning.

Tell us about your writing and publishing journey. What made you decide to go the traditional or self-published route?

I wanted to publish my writing years before I made it happen. I finished my first book when I was about 19, edited it the best I could (again, that grammar problem), and began querying agents. I received a handful of rejections and a bunch that never got back to me. As time wore on, I took another look at my writing and realized, it wasn’t ready, and quit querying.

I began working full time as a cosmetologist, and writing fell to the back burner. (Note: I still read a ton!) Working in a salon is absolutely exhausting. The only things I wrote were a few short stories that have never seen the light of day.

Then, in 2008, I discovered NaNoWriMo. I wrote a 70,000 word paranormal romance novel, though I hadn’t yet encountered PNR at the time, and didn’t have a clue that’s what I had written. Soon after that, I discovered urban fantasy and fell in love with the genre. My next NaNoWriMo, I wrote the first ¾ of Beauty is the Beast (which I called Mosquito Bites). I had fellow writer critique it for me, and then I let it sit. I wrote the first 30,000 words of Pack of Freaks (sequel to Beauty is the Beast), when I began dating my now husband (which is why I didn’t win NaNo that year). I wrote a few other books in the following years, but I was continually drawn back to the world I created for Beauty is the Beast and I decided to pursue publication.

As for why I chose to self publish, it’s all about control. Some of my favorite books in the genre are the Mercy Thompson novels by Patricia Briggs, but I almost didn’t pick up the first one because of the cover. Mercy is depicted wearing a teeny tiny top, low slung pants, and is posed provocatively. Now, let me just say, the covers for the series are beautiful, but I don’t feel like they reflect the story. Mercy is a mechanic, wears coveralls, and is a jeans and tee-shirt type of girl. I wanted my covers match what was in the pages. I also wanted control of what I did with my book. In the publishing world, for an unknown author, you’d be in charge of all your own publicity and marketing. Indie’s have to do that as well, but they also don’t have to share their profits with a publisher, or their rights.

I published Beauty is the Beast last October, and while I’m still learning how to sell, I’m happy with being an indie.

Who are your favorite authors today? What genres do you love to read?
I’ve already mentioned Patricia Briggs! I’d love to sit down with her and pick her brain. I read almost everything, though mainly urban fantasy and romance. I like reading about life, I just like a bit of magic thrown in there.

What are you working on now? What's planned for the future?

The third book is a completed rough draft, and I’m in the middle of the rough draft for the 4th. That will close out the series, but I plan on sticking with the world. There’s so much to explore! I also have a PNR duology in the planning stages, also set in the same world. After that, we shall see! I have a notebook of story and character ideas to fall back on!


Bio:
Jen loves books. Reading them, writing them, reviewing them, and collecting them. (She claims it’s not hoarding)
Urban fantasy is the name of her game, and being a mom is her day job. She also is a licensed cosmetologist, though she no longer works in a salon.
She lives in the boondocks of Maine with her husband, 2 tiny tornadoes (girls), 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 1 vocally insistent cockatiel.
To learn more, check out: jenniferzamboni.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Tom Fallwell: Spotlight and Interview


Today on Fantasy Fun Reads, I'm pleased to be featuring Tom Fallwell, author of Heart of the Valkyrie.



Blurb for Heart of the Valkyrie
In a future among the stars, the origins of mankind have all but faded into the past. Nathan and his crew aboard the Valkyrie, an extraordinary but ancient ship, enjoy the freedom of the outer systems, away from the despotic rule of the Quanios Empire. But when they suddenly find themselves saddled with an equally extraordinary teenage girl, Sybille, who is now being sought by the Empire, things take a very unexpected turn. They are thrown into a desperate race to locate the lost planet of mankind's origin.

To stop the Empire, they must solve the mystery of Sybille's past and locate Earth first, or it could mean the end of freedom for the known galaxy.



Excerpt from Heart of the Valkyrie
Nathan stepped out of the bathhouse onto the hanging walkway in the upper sections of the Wandering Star Café. Located on the outer edges of Tranquility, the Wandering Star was a favored spot for crews like his—salvagers, traders, and smugglers—and he expected to find the rest of his crew already spending their share of gold bars on drink and other extravagances.

Having finished his bath and shave, he’d changed into some clean clothes and made his way down to join the others. No sooner had he stepped off the lift he heard the slurred voice of Simon cry out, “Hey, Captain! Over here!”
His eyes swept over the crowd, finally spotting his crew at a table in the back. The music was loud, half the customers well-inebriated, and a fight already in progress on one side of the large metal building. A typical evening for the Wandering Star.

The place was built from the salvaged hulks of old ships, the doorways made from old access hatches, with a high ceiling of gridwork and metal spans. Rusty stains decorated the metallic floor, the result of many spilled drinks and retched stomachs.

The entire crew of the Valkyrie sat at a long table. On one side were his First Mate, Yiesa, navigator Grayson, and the ship’s doctor, Ania. On the right were his engineer, Simon, his weapons specialist, Eamas, and the explosives expert, Jeffery Valkoris, who’d already passed out. His head lay on the table as he snored, drool dripping from the corner of his mouth and pooling beneath his face.

“Jeff still can’t hold it, can he?” Nathan asked rhetorically as he sat down next to Yiesa.

“His problem is he just drinks too fast,” commented Eamas with a deep laugh.
Yiesa had a bottle of a locally brewed beer that the people of the outer systems called Full Burn in one hand. She nodded agreement. “He didn’t last more than an hour, as usual.”

Nathan raised a hand to get the attention of the waitress a few tables away, holding up one finger. She nodded, knowing he was ordering a bottle of Full Burn. He then turned back to the crew. “Go easy, guys. Despite all that titanium, it didn’t get us near what I expected.”

“Maybe we should go back and get another load, Captain,” grumbled Eamas. “The share we got for this run won’t last long. There’s still plenty of titanium in that wreck.”
Eamas’ fierce attitude was as daunting as his appearance: a frame that stood over six-feet-five, large corded arms and legs, a bald head and skin as smooth and dark as onyx. His deep-set eyes could halt a charging beast, accompanied by a scowl that would cause the bravest of men to tremble. Yet within that intimidating frame dwelt an equally compassionate heart. Nathan was the only person he took any guff from, even though he and Jeff shared a mutual respect. In fact, they were kindred spirits, both infatuated with things that go boom.
Jeff, his face generally shadowed with stubble, his brown hair short and flat, was less impressive than Eamas, but no less aggressive. He thoroughly enjoyed blowing things up, which made him a natural for explosives. He and Eamas were usually the ones getting into the thick of things and doing the dirty work. Both were proficient warriors and knew their weapons.

Nathan peered at Eamas thoughtfully about his suggestion, then shook his head. “Too dangerous. Word is, the Empire’s been seen around the outer systems a lot more than usual. Likely as not, they’ve already located the wreck.” After being handed his bottle from the waitress, Nathan took a long swig of Full Burn. “Unless you've got a mind to take on the Empire.”

Eamas stared back, his brows furrowed, and his brown eyes determined, but he capitulated. “I know we can’t do that. Not with the Valkyrie in her current condition. I just wish we could fit some proper weapons on the old girl.”

“I’ve been saying that,” chimed in Simon. “If we could get her properly fitted, I know I could initiate more of her biologically enhanced systems.”

Yiesa glanced around the crowded café, but no one seemed to be listening to them. “Keep your voice down. If anyone knew what the Valkyrie is, we’d be hard pressed to keep her.”

“She’s right guys. Let’s not discuss this here,” Nathan whispered.
“So, what’s this talk about the Empire?” asked Ania, changing the subject.

Nathan cast a glance at her. Long brown hair, brown eyes, and a button nose framed a mousy face, which made her appear considerably younger than she actually was. It also camouflaged her unparalleled medical skills; a wizard with medicines and combat surgery. She was no stranger to space travel, either.
“Just something Victor said,” Nathan replied. “He said they’re up to something. Rumors floating around about another expansion campaign. Maybe even another Ascension War. But that’s just talk, as far as we know.”

“As far as we know,” commented Eamas. “Those sons of misfired thrusters are always sticking their noses where they’re not wanted. Preadolescent turfers, the lot of them.”

Yiesa chuckled. “True, but they have guns.”

“Maybe, but we know how to use them.”

“It doesn’t matter,” said Nathan. “Regardless, there’s no way we can take on the Empire. With the Valkyrie in the shape she’s in, we couldn’t even stand against a small scout, let alone a patrol squad.”

Nathan finished off his bottle and raised the empty to order another. “Enjoy the evening, guys. Tomorrow, we need to find another job.”


Links
Book Link for Heart of the Valkyrie: https://books2read.com/hotv
Author Page on Facebook: https://goo.gl/6KjdHz
Twitter:
https://goo.gl/mhdzrZ
YouTube Channel:
https://goo.gl/EYqoh8
Amazon Author Page:
http://Author.to/Tom
Book Trailer for Heart of the Valkyriehttps://youtu.be/v_FP2zhOS7U


Interview

What inspired you to write?

Two things, a runaway imagination and an encouraging friend. I’d always had ideas for stories in my head, and had attempted on occasion to write them down, but I just never really had the time or the skill (I thought) to write a book. But after retiring from my career as a software developer, I found I had tons of free time on my hands. I had been speaking to a friend, Jeri, about my story ideas, and she said I should write them. Due to her encouragement, I started writing. My first story was short, but she liked it, and so did others that read it. So, I decided that maybe I could do it after all and began my first novel.

What do you know now that you wished you knew when you first started to write?

I had no idea what I was doing at the start, so there are literally tons of things I’ve learned over the past five years that it would have been wonderful to know when I started. Perhaps the most important thing I learned was that self-publishing is a lot more work and cost than I first expected.

Tell us about your writing and publishing journey. What made you decide to go the traditional or self-published route?

As I’d said, I started with a short story, which I didn’t publish at first. Next, I wrote a novel, and I considered sending the manuscript to a publishing agent, but after researching the chances of being accepted I decided to self-publish. From there I went on to write a fantasy trilogy, then went back and re-wrote my first book and published again under a different title. By now, I was feeling much more confident about my ability to write. Since I began in 2014, I’ve published six novels and an anthology.
Two main reasons for my decision to self-publish were: the amount of time involved in pursuing the traditional publishing route, and I liked the idea of having complete control of my creations. I love controlling the pricing and distribution of my works.

Who are your favorite authors today? What genres do you love to read?

My favorite traditional authors are pretty much that same as they’ve always been. Mainly, J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Ann McCaffery, Robert E. Howard, and Roger Zelazny, to name a few. I haven’t read a lot of the traditionally published contemporary authors. As far as Indie Authors, like myself, I have really enjoyed the works of Aaron-Michael Hall, Patrick Hodges, Michael R. Stern, and A.J. Leigh, also to name only a few. There is more to read and I’m sure I can increase both lists above in time.

As you can see from the authors above, I’m quite partial to fantasy and science-fiction. However, I have enjoyed books in other genres as well. Mostly, thrillers and mystery, like Stephen King or Agatha Christie

What are you working on now? What's planned for the future?

Having just released my first science-fiction novel, Heart of the Valkyrie, I’m in the process of deciding which project to do next. I have several ideas for books, and want to write them all eventually, but I’m leaning towards a fantasy tale about pirates.

I have ideas for more fantasy and science-fiction stories, science-fantasy tales, and even a modern-day mystery tale with a bit of the paranormal in it. Time will tell, as I haven’t decided just yet. Regardless, you can rest assured I will continue writing, as long as I can.









Saturday, July 27, 2019

Lisa Lowell: Spotlight and Interview


Please welcome author Lisa Lowell to Fantasy Fun Reads. Lisa is the author of the Wise Ones Series.

Owailion awakens with no idea who he is.  However, dragons and magic are somehow a part of his life.  He has become an apprentice to the dragons who are going into hibernation.  They will leave him alone to defend an entire world from demons and sorcerers.  Then there’s the woman.  Book #1 in the Wise One Series.



Vamilion is torn.  His Wise One instincts drive him to seek for the lady who will one day be a Queen and his beloved.  He also yearns to be faithful to the wife he loves, even as she is turning him away. One the other hand, outlander sorcerers that covet the Land’s magic, are invading.  Only Vamilion can sense the ley lines that they are tapping.  The Ley Lines lead right into the heart of the Land.  Now even Owailion is driving his protégé until he will crack the Ley Lines, or crack himself into pieces. Book #2 of the Wise One Series.



Fighting against fate, a wielder of magic seeks balance as he is gifted with unbridled power – and an inescapable destiny.

Link:  http://mybook.to/lifegiver 

The Wise Ones (3 book series)
The link to the entire series is here:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077LQ4HFS

INTERVIEW

What inspired you to write?

I have always had artists around me in my family, but didn’t want to compete directly. Since both my grandmother’s wrote and I had access to keyboards from infancy, writing came naturally. My love of magic and mystery led to fantasy and sci-fi and the rest is history.

What do you know now that you wished you knew when you first started to write?

I wish I had realized that what you are writing does not have to be perfect from the get-go. So many valuable starts, inspired ideas and weird twists were tossed simply because they did not fit in with what I’m doing right now. They can be held for later and worked inot something worthwhile.

Tell us about your writing and publishing journey. What made you decide to go the traditional or self-published route?

The Wise One series (and it is a series of nine) has been over thirty years in the making. The book Talismans, that is officially the first in the group was written in 2016. However, the first concepts for the Wise Ones began as early as 1986.




It started life as a fairy tale about a mousy little girl from humble circumstances. I was reading Andre’ Norton’s Gryphon series at the time and found a beautiful drawing of a glorious castle in the book’s illustrations. I wondered how my shy, sheltered girl (thinking of myself at the time) could change herself to become someone worthy to live in such a place. So I crafted a tidal wave of trials, and she transforms herself slowly into a lady. The Sea Queen was born.
All of my friends and family enjoyed the story, but began begging for the back-story of my supporting characters. Unfortunately, there were a lot of them. I ended up having to write each character or two into their own novel and I did this backwards. I used this method to deepen my 'world' and magic system. Thus, they are all written as stand-alone stories with a different antagonist and protagonists in each.
As a result of this unconventional creation, I had to write all nine books before I could approach any publisher. Creativia, my publisher, delighted that all of them are ready to go. And so, the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.

Who are your favorite authors today? What genres do you love to read?
I always need some element of mystical in whatever I read, so mostly I stick with historical fiction from ancient times, sci-fi and fantasy. I also dabble with biographies because of my love for history, but I have to respect or find the person interesting before I’ll pick it up. Right now, my favorite authors are David Brin, Brandon Sanderson and Erik Metaxas. It’s funny that they’re all male. Hummm.

What are you working on now? What's planned for the future?

At present I am working on the revision for book #4 of the Wise One series, Heart Stone. I’m also promoting #3, Life Giver and tinkering with a new book for the Dual I wrote two years ago. Three is enough at any one time.





DIGITAL MEDIA
Web Page: www.magicintheland.com
Blog: https://magicinthelandlisalowell.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vikingauthor/
YouTube: https://youtu.be/uMcAG3Xh7B0

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Laura Daleo: Spotlight and Interview


Please welcome Laura Daleo to Fantasy Fun Reads. I first met Laura when she agreed to co-host one of my big events. She is a big supporter of other authors and if you haven;t connected with her yet, you really should. Today we are going to spotlight her Immortal Kiss series.

Immortal Kiss blurb:
Centuries ago ten powerful vampire gods first walked the earth; their blood thirst knew no boundaries. The destruction of mankind was inevitable. Recognizing their weakness, they selected twelve wise human beings to transform with their godly blood. These twelve, known as The Old Ones and The Council, govern The Ten. A blood lottery appeasing The Ten’s hunger was set forth into the human world and passed down every fifth generation, continuing into the present day.

All of Beth Ryan’s life a mysterious mist has watched over her; a mist she believed to be a vampire. On a cold winter night, Philippe Delon, a 700-year-old vampire walks into Beth’s life. She is drawn to him, certain he is the vampire behind the mist...but is he?

Beth and Philippe cannot deny their love for each other, nor do they try to fight it. Within days of their encounter, Beth accepts Philippe’s invitation to move into his mansion. The mansion unlocks the door to the vampire world and exposes secrets from Beth’s past. Within its walls, she learns the true identity of the mist, her link to the blood lottery, and betrayal of her loved ones. Surrounded by lies, Beth stands before The Council begging for resolution.



Bound by Blood blurb:
Five years crawled by at a painfully slow pace for young vampire, Beth; each year more agonizing than the next. The powerful unyielding spell which masked Amon’s whereabouts showed no signs of weakening. Influenced by the binding ritual and Amon’s blood surging inside her, Beth will stop at nothing, and risk everything, to find him and turn the tables on Osiris, Isis, and Hathor. In foggy streets of London, lives are threatened by a new breed of hunter, and nothing is what it seemed. Beth once again finds herself surrounded by betrayal. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between Philippe and Amon – knowing that her decision will change one life forever. But whose?



The Vampire Within blurb:
Brandon Cass is not your average teenager. He has a taste for blood—human blood. For sixteen years, he stumbled through life without a hitch until the enigmatic aroma of blood awakened something dark within him. Visions of a beautiful young woman with chocolate brown hair and ocean blue eyes haunt his mind, yet her identity is a puzzling mystery.

His hunger for blood strengthens, and the cravings become too powerful to control. No one is safe, not even his family. To safeguard all he once found dear, Brandon sets out on a quest for answers. In an unfamiliar city, he comes face-to-face with the beautiful young woman, confronts the dark force which controls him, and learns what he must endure to reclaim his soul.



Interview:



1. What inspired you to write?

Actually it was Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. After finishing Tale of the Body Thief, her next book in the series wasn’t coming out for a year and I couldn’t wait that long as I wrote my own.

2. What do you know now that you wished you knew when you first started to write?

Persistence is key, don't ever give up. I completed Immortal Kiss in 1996 and was accepted by an agent. After six months of submissions, I put the whole writing thing aside as I'm an impatient person. If I'd kept up with the process, who knows where I'd be today.

3. Tell us about your writing and publishing journey. What made you decide to go the traditional or self-published route? As I stated, I had started out with an agent in 1996, but then stopped. Once I was older and wiser, I started looking again. Twilight had just come out and agents and publishers had had enough of vampire stories. I was able to find two publishers that were still accepting vampire stories and was given a contract by a small press publisher. After being with the publisher for 2 years, I made the decision to start my own publishing company. In 2016, I started Story Bound Publishing and switched over my books to my own label.

4. Who are your favorite authors today? What genres do you love to read?

Anne Rice and Stephen King are my favorite authors. I love to read urban fantasy, dark fantasy, paranormal (no romance), and horror.

5. What are you working on now? What's planned for the future?

I'm finishing up my 5th book, The Soul Collector, a supernatural thriller and my first non-vampire tale. It will be released summer 2019. My next project is The Doll, another supernatural tale with a bit of horror. Eventually, I would love to begin accepting other authors books to publish under Story Bound Publishing.




Author Bio:

Laura Daleo was born and raised in San Diego, California where she majored in Fine Arts at Mesa College. She is best known for her love of animals and shares her home with three humorous Basset Hounds, Stuart, Morgan, and Dexter, her toughest critics. Laura has held positions in several industries, Restaurant, Telecom, Biotech, Research, and Retail. Throughout Laura's professional career, she furthered her writing skills by taking courses and by joining writer’s critique groups and Writers Digest. She is now the owner of Story Bound Publishing, a fresh voice in the supernatural realm of ebooks and traditional print, committed to publishing unearthly tales of Aliens, Angels, Demons, Fairies, Ghosts, Shifters, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Zombies and all other creatures that go bump in the night.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Tabitha Scott: Spotlight and Interview



Please welcome Tabitha Scott to Fantasy Fun Reads! I first met Tabitha when I read the first book in her Dark Witch series which was really awesome. Who knew evil doing could be so fun?

Tabitha has a new release, The Lasts and the Faerie Curse which is currently on pre-order and will come out in just a few days. This is book four of the the series and if you haven't read book one, it's FREE TODAY....


Blurb: Clara and Precipice Last live rough on the streets of Dublin. When they're not sleeping in cardboard boxes they're avoiding the toughs of the Southbank gangs. Precipice is pretty scary for fifteen, and watches out for her ten year old sister, but when they discover Jimmy the Blade in pieces in a backstreet dumpster things take a turn for the worst. It seems that magical creatures have been watching the Lasts, and these might be more dangerous than the human predators they dodge.



Interview:

What inspired you to write?


I’ve been writing since I was little. I’ve loved books since I could first read, and I think I realised even back then that they were an outlet for my own imagination. I remember being called up to the Principle in Junior High to have discussions on my writing for the school paper, it was a bit graphic, even then.


What do you know now that you wished you knew when you first started to write?

Wine and coffee are both writing enablers.


Tell us about your writing and publishing journey. What made you decide to go the traditional or self-published route?


I wrote some books that were on a now defunct writing site called Authonomy, they were taken up by a small publisher, but didn’t go that far. I wanted more control in regards the advertising, so the next one I self-published under a pseudonym, and was able to get more sales, so now I self-publish under the name Tabitha Scott. That’s right, Tabitha Scott isn’t me, I’m actually a 70 year old hag with boobs that droop down to the ground. Or maybe I’m an earthly sprite whose real image creates a glamour allowing me to seduce men to their deaths. I could be anyone, really.


Who are your favorite authors today? What genres do you love to read?

I like fantasy books, I’m an escapist. Life can be hard enough, so I write and read to get away from it. I like Richelle Mead, Angelika Rust and even that urban fantasy indie Rose Montague.


What are you working on now? What's planned for the future?


I’ve been working on an urban fantasy series called ‘The Lasts’. It’s about fifteen year old Precipice Last and her ten year old sister Clara, who live rough on the streets of Dublin. The two girls were staying clear of the local gangs with the help of their friend Old Straw, but when Jimmy the Blade ends up in pieces in a backstreet dumpster that plan goes out the window. A battle erupts between two magical groups who want control of the girls. What’s so special about them? Well, they’re the last witches left in Dublin. Anyway, it’s a serial, and I’m just finishing the fourth book, ‘The Lasts and the Banshee Queen’.


What’s planned for the future. I’m a panster when it comes to writing, so I don’t know, the stories just happen, and I never know where there’ll lead. Another Dark Witch is in the offing, probably lots of Lasts. Who knows what else?



Follow Tabitha at these links....