Thursday, December 5, 2019

12 Days of Christmas Book Buying Event


This event has become a tradition in the Indie Author Community. It's an event where readers post their wish list, including genre and price range and authors comment on their posts with book suggestions. We have a big pile of donated prizes and we have games and contests happening daily.
I hope you will click the link and head over to participate.


This is always a lot of fun ♥

https://www.facebook.com/events/2821895054501278/

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Christmas Rescue

Just a little Christmas themed short story. It's not been edited so expect more than a few errors.
Enjoy!

Copyright © 2019 Rose Montague

The Christmas Rescue
by Rose Montague

“Wait on the front porch,” I told Tigger, a tiger of over four hundred pounds who happened to be my house cat. “You may growl, but don't attack. I want to see if they have the guts to walk past you.” I was a skinwalker, able to shift into many different forms and had met Tigger in the wild. He was extremely intelligent and really just a big pussycat. I had always liked the big cat forms the best.
I hadn't had visitors in many years, there were reasons for that. Two men approached my house, a sprawling log cabin style ranch in the middle of the forest. They had come on foot because of the sign at the entrance to my property which told them no vehicles were allowed past that point. It was a hot day and the nearly three mile walk had them sweating. They were wolves and I knew the first man from some work I had done for the CIA. The other was an alpha, most likely of the same clan as the man I knew, The Red Mountain Pack. The power radiating off him was obvious to those of us who shifted. It was as clear to see as if he were wearing a sign around his neck.
I was standing over the sink in my kitchen and had a good view of the front of the house. They had both seen me looking and I had smiled, showing my teeth. They had glanced at me but briefly, all attention now on Tigger who opened his mouth to show his teeth as well. A shifter knows a shifter in any form and the fact that this was a real tiger would be obvious to them. Tigger roared and they hesitated. When he didn't attack they continued on, walking past him, the alpha leaning over and rubbing Tigger under his chin.
I got to the front door about the time the doorbell rang. “Dog,” I said, leaning forward and giving him a hug.
“Cat,” he replied, hugging me tight. “It's good to see you again.” Dog and Cat had been our working names, he had seen me as various big cats before. The Seal Team he had been a member of had been carefully assembled and made up of all shifters. The CIA had known about us for many years, although the rank and file in the military and the government did not.
“This is Mike Lee, Alpha of the Red Mountain Pack.”
I shook his hand, “You may call me Cat as well,” I told him.
I led them into the living room where I had prepared a tray of glasses full of iced tea. They both drank deeply.
“What brings you to my neck of the woods?” I asked. “It's been a long time since I had any visitors.”
“Probably due to that big group of weres from the Gridiron Pack that came here ten years ago and never came back,” said Mike. “What happened to those guys?”
“They intended harm,” I answered. “I dropped the lot of them in an active volcano.” Shifters have a fine sense for determining the truth of a statement. They could tell I was being honest. “This is my territory, registered with the Shifter Council. I have a right to defend my home.”
“Most of us assumed they were no longer among the living. Good riddance to a bad group and a worse alpha. Still, it's understandable that most would stay away from a casual visit.”
“This would not be a casual visit then?” I asked.
“No,” Mike said. “We need help.”
“You, of all people, would come to me asking for help?”
“I was not in charge when that happened. I apologize for past mistakes on the part of the pack and am prepared to make things right. The lives of three of our kids is at stake. Paul, the one you call Dog, tells me that you have performed impossible rescues in the Middle East. That is what is needed to save our kids.”

…...............................................................

It had happened a little more than ninety years ago. A skinwalker had been born to the pack. I had offered to take her away and train her, making it possible for her to live with the pack without endangering them. Skinwalkers always had some witchy powers to go along with the ability to take many forms. Sometimes those powers could be quite dangerous. My request had been refused and an argument had taken place. I had a choice to either challenge that alpha for leadership, something that would make the pack uncomfortable as skinwalkers are generally feared even among the pack or stealing her away from the pack. I consulted the fates, asking for an Intervention and was also refused. My relationship with the Alpha deteriorated, resulting in him exiling me from the pack.
A few years later the pack had been on a hunt and had cornered a bear. The resulting fight had blood flying and the skinwalker couldn't control her powers, shifting into a huge bear and killing several pack members before being killed herself.
“Your Alpha was wrong,” I said.
“Yes he was,” Mike agreed.
Dog laid a folder on the table. “Two months ago three of our teenagers went on a camping trip and were kidnapped by a squad of Army Rangers.” They have been taken to a facility run by the FBI under a program investigating supernatural creatures led by Senator Bradford. They were on pack territory when this happened. The Shifter Council has used back channels to demand their return, without response. It is a pure and simple case of kidnapping. The kids are being experimented on like lab animals. Of course, with their connection to the pack, we know where they are being held. We believe we can rescue them, but not without considerable loss of life on both sides. There is a chance the kids might be killed as well. This folder contains all we know about the facility where they are held.”
“This carries considerable political implications,” Mike added. “The Vampires were the first to make a deal, before the humans had a chance to think about it much. The leadership in Washington now is one that stands against anyone who is different from the norm. Shifters like us have little chance in today's political climate. If we take action, it's possible the entire pack as well as other packs across the country could be in danger of being hunted down like wild animals. My daughter is one of those that has been taken. Unfortunately, I have to consider what's best for the pack.”
I took a big swig of tea and leaned back, thinking. “This will have major consequences and I will need to consult the spirit world. Leave the folder and your contact information and I will get back to you tomorrow.”

…........................................

With great power comes great responsibility. I had been granted power by the three Fates with the understanding that it's use would be with their approval, unless I was under personal attack. A case like this required a consultation. Deep into the spirit world I flew, following the signs left for me. I was pretty sure these three had once been witches who had been offered a position in the spirit world. Like me, they had a responsibility, and that was to maintain the thread of human life. Three lives meant little in the great scheme of things unless their life or death had a great impact on the overall thread. I had a feeling this was a key moment in history.
Cee, as usual was waiting for me. It's hard to surprise the Fates. They once had names but had long forgotten, focusing as they should on the future. I called them Bea, Cee, and Dee, weavers and snippers, they added strands as well as clipped them here and there on the main thread as well as special threads, like mine that they sometimes let me see. Time had little meaning here, I once spent several days with them on a particularly complicated Intervention project, returning at the same time I left.
“I am requesting an Intervention,” I told Cee. She already knew, of course, and led the way to the others. They had the main thread behind them, the place marked where, in the future, the Intervention would or would not, occur. The split was obvious, three strands, two leading to many deaths and a thinning of the main weave, one leading to a health and full strand. “Tell me what I am looking at,” I said.
“One of the two bad ones is if you do nothing. The other bad one is if you rescue the shifters but don't take certain actions that will prevent future violence. You must show your full powers, they will not take you seriously if you don't. You must also do something with Senator Bradford, his help is crucial in this. These are the three main possibilities, but other strands can develop, some with good consequences, some that will require much work and good fortune to correct. It's very important you follow our suggestions to the letter on this. Don't get side-tracked. Now sit down, listen, and commit to the plan.”
As plans go it was a good one. A simple and straightforward use of my main power, that of teleportation. I was not to hide my power as I had always done in the past, leaving false clues as to how I had done a rescue. I would have to go into hiding, leaving my land and home behind. The Senator was not a good person but if the plan worked, had a shot at redemption. I was to leave a powerful message, one that would get the attention of not only my government, but others as well.
On the way out, Dee showed me my thread. Big changes were coming but instead of just a few random threads interacting with mine, there were now many in my future. Some were bright and shiny new ones growing out from mine. I had seen enough threads to know these would be my children. “Who?” I whispered, afraid of the answer.
“The one you call Dog,” Dee answered. “It will take some time for folks to realize you were the cause of this. Use that time to get yourself a new identity, something he can help you with. Convince him to go with you and start a new life and a new family.”
I had been alone for so long. “Piece of cake,” I said.

…................................

The Senator was at his desk, in his office at the Capital. I had used my powers to teleport straight in behind him. I extended a claw from my finger and scratched him on the back of the neck. He exclaimed and jerked around, grabbing hold of the wound and bringing his hand back around, staring at the blood on it. With his other hand, he went for the button under his desk but I was faster and stronger and grabbed both of his hands in a painful grip. “Shout all you want, your secretary has left for lunch and most everyone else has left for home. You are one of the few still working on Christmas Eve.”
“What do you want?” he demanded, trying to rise from his chair. I pressed down, letting him feel my strength. He was no match for me.
“You have just been infected with the shifter virus,” I told him. Ninety-nine percent of those that are infected will die at their first full moon, only a week away from today. With the help of the shifters you can cut that chance of dying more than half.” I let go of him, he was now looking at me in shock. The shifter community needed an ally and I had just given them one. “Call this number,” I told him, handing him a card with a number written across it. “They will send a car to pick you up.”

…....................................

Christmas Eve and an hour before midnight, there was just a skeleton staff in the building with roughly a third of the usual guard detail around the building. I took the guards first, letting them keep their guns but leaving their radios and cell phones behind. Then I took the rest of the staff, scientists, and medical personnel, again leaving them no means to call anyone. I dropped them all in the middle of Yellowstone. It would take them a day or two to get back to civilization.
I took the kids last teleporting them straight to my living room. They had been asleep but woke immediately from my living room floor, looking wild eyed and afraid, focusing on Tigger, sprawled across the sofa. “You have been rescued!” I shouted, and handed Mike's daughter my cell phone. “Call your dad, tell him you are at Cat's place and they will come for you. They should make it here by morning. If you are hungry, there's steaks in the fridge, already thawed and a grill on the back deck. Make yourself at home. Give the biggest one to Tigger here. He won't hurt you and he loves attention.”
“Where are you going?” she asked me.
“A few loose ends to tie up,” I replied. “I'll be back before you know it.”

…......................................

I wasn't sure if it was a really big meteor or maybe it would be called a rather small asteroid but it was the one the Fates had picked out, giving me both the trajectory and entry point, keeping the speed the same as it was currently traveling. Big enough for a half-mile wide crater. The Fates had assured me if I moved everyone out there would be no collateral damage. It was an super secret facility and isolated for that very reason with only one road in or out. I hadn't done anything this size before but followed the instructions they gave me, double checking I had the right angles before I moved it.
Definitely a sight I would never forget and a really big boom. That place was vaporized, instantly. Popping back in on the kids after a few minutes they were eating their steaks and watching it on the news.
“You smashed them,” they said.
“I got the people out first,” I told them. “They are on a camping trip in the middle of Yellowstone. I bet it's cold out there this time of the year. I thought it would be only fitting under the circumstances.” Everyone got a laugh out of that one.
I called Dog. “Are you on the way?” I asked.
“We're coming,” he said. “Almost to the entrance, then we'll have to hoof it.”
“I'll suspend the no vehicles beyond that point, just for once.” I answered.
“No volcano?”
“Not this time.”
It was a great reunion with Mike, his mate, and the other parents that had come. I sat next to Tigger and watched all the hugging going on. It was the middle of the night, but also Christmas morning by now. I couldn't think of a better gift to have than to see that happiness. As they were getting ready to leave back to pack territory, Dog sat down next to me, reaching over to give Tigger some attention but also brushing against me at the same time. I liked him and could easily see myself falling for him. We had done a little flirting but nothing serious when we had served together. There was always something dangerous going on. He was still holding out for a true mate, I knew because I had done a little snooping.
“Why don't you come back with us?” he asked. “Spend a few days and get to know the pack over again.”
“What do you know about weaving?”
“Weaving?” he questioned. “Not much.”
“There are some bright and beautiful strands I want to talk to you about. Stay with me a few days. I think you will be intrigued.”
“I would love to,” he said, and snuggled up against me even closer.
That's when I realized it was me that had been rescued that Christmas morning.


Friday, November 8, 2019

New Release: The Gaia Solution by Claire Buss



 A New Book from Claire Buss
The Gaia Solution, book 3 of The Gaia Collection
AVAILABLE ON KINDLE HERE– mybook.to/gaiasolution
Release Date 8th November 2019



The Blurb:

Kira, Jed and their friends have fled New Corporation and joined the Resistance, but their relief is short-lived as they discover how decimated the human race has become and learn of an environmental crisis that threatens to destroy their existence. Kira and Jed must travel up the mountain to the New Corporation stronghold, City 50, to bargain for sanctuary while Martha and Dina risk everything to return to City 42 and save those who are left. With the last of her reserves Gaia, the fading spirit of the Earth uses her remaining influence to guide Kira and her friends but ultimately, it’s up to humanity to make the right choice.



More about The Gaia Collection series
The Gaia Collection is Claire's hopeful dystopian trilogy set 200 years in the future after much of the planet and the human race have been decimated during The Event, when the world went to war with high-energy radiation weapons. In The Gaia Effect, Kira and Jed Jenkins – a young couple who were recently allocated a child – together with their closest friends, discover Corporation have been deliberately lying to them and forcing them to remain sterile. With help from Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, the group of friends begin to fight back against Corporation eventually winning and taking over the governance of City 42.


The Gaia Effect – mybook.to/gaiaeffect

In The Gaia Project, Corporation fight back under a new, more terrifying organization called New Corp and Kira, Jed and their friends end up fleeing for their lives trying to find a safe place to live. They travel to City 36 and City 9 in vain and must go further afield.


The Gaia Project – mybook.to/gaiaproject



What Readers Say

Praise for The Gaia Effect, winner of the 2017 Raven Award for best sci-fi/fantasy book

'A story filled with emotion, angst & hope'
'Brilliant post-apocalyptic science fantasy'

'Wonderfully written, with a warm friendship at its heart'

'A fantastic debut novel'


Praise for The Gaia Project

'A fantastic read from start to end'

'Great book, thought-provoking read'

'Mums are the heroes of the story and it’s the relationships that make it all work'

About the Author

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet based in the UK. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead, Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and Pinterest addict Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 with her debut novel, The Gaia Effect, setting her writing career in motion. She continues to write passionately and is hopelessly addicted to cake.




Social Media Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/busswriter

FB Group: www.facebook.com/groups/BussBookStop

Twitter: www.twitter.com/grasshopper2407

Website: www.cbvisions.weebly.com

Blog: https://www.butidontlikesalad.blogspot.co.uk

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

May J Panayi: Interview and Spotlight


Please welcome May J Panayi to Fantasy Fun Reads!


Love. Finding people, discovering places, it's like a virtual holiday in the sun. Soak up the pace and feel of Greek island life as you explore the islands with the characters.

Sun, Sea, And Secrets...
Set on a beautiful Greek island in the sun, this is a tale of mystery and searching. Ella is looking for someone whose name she does not even know. The islanders are friendly and welcoming, but everyone, it seems, has a secret of their own. The island is paradise, but what secrets does paradise hide under stunning vistas, and overwhelming scents? Can Ella find who she is searching for? Will she find the answers she needs? What else will she find along the way?
A story of Love in all its forms, love of Greece, love between past characters, new love between friends, cats, nature, and of food.




Return to Aegos...
Return to Aegos is a continuing story of life on a Greek island, but can be read alone as well as part of a series. In this book, lots of the characters are coming back to the island, some finding family and rebuilding bonds, some finding love. All set against a backdrop of Greek island settings that will make you feel as if you are strolling in the Greek sun as you read. Magnificent scenery, great views, hospitable Greeks, boats, fabulous food, and of course the cats. Life, the Greek way, goes on, against a back drop of beauty and warmth.




INTERVIEW:

What inspired you to write?

I’ve always written, ever since I was a little kid; poems, diaries, magazines, articles, short stories, non fiction and then finally, full length novels. Even when I take time off to travel, I always take a note book so I can write travel blog notes, or other musings. Sometimes I even get story ideas when I’m travelling. My best selling Sun series, was inspired by travel to Greece and finding long lost family in Cyprus.

What do you know now that you wished you knew when you first started to write?
I wish I’d discovered the indie author scene in its earliest days, as it was much easier to sell books back then, before the market got saturated, and the big companies started doing weird things with their marketing algorhythms. Also I’d tell myself ‘don’t beat yourself up about times of no writing- think of it as thinking/plotting time.’ Maybe I’d tell myself not to bother sending stuff round the legacy houses and collecting rejection slips and low self esteem.

Tell us about your writing and publishing journey. What made you decide to go the traditional or self-published route?
I think the previous answer gives some idea on this one. I have had some things picked up by magazines and anthologies by sending them around, but I have earnt more money and reached many more readers by using indie publishing. Self publishing has brought me great joy as I see the sales and pages read and know that people are reading, and hopefully enjoying, my stories.

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

I like to read horror. My favourite authors are Stephen King and Dean Koontz, so I await new arrivals from them. I liked James Herbert, H.P. Lovecraft and others, but I have read all their stuff and they’re dead so not bringing out any new stuff. Horror from beyond the grave lol- I’d read that! My favourite Indie horror authors are Iain Rob Wright, and Michael Kelly. I have dabbled in the genre with my horror novel Malbed Mews and horror shorts collection; Tales from the Library of a Twisted Mind, but they just don’t have the popularity that my Sun series does.

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

Currently I’m working on three projects; In Search of Small Treasures, the final book in the Sun trilogy, Paradise in the Pumpkin Patch, a stand alone travel romance set on the Isle of Wight, with a twist, and a non fiction book called Confessions of a Former Witch. Not sure which one is going to get finished and on the market first, it’s a coin toss. I write whichever I’m most in the mood for, and it’s been a very strange year so far in real life, so my moods have fluctuated greatly. For the future, I’m not sure. I have been feeling kind of tired out lately, and like I’m bashing my head against a brick wall with the writing. I’m just rubbish at promotion really, which is a shame because as an Indie you have to be able to do your own promo. I think I will probably have an ongoing file of short stories, adding to it as the ideas come in, and publishing it when it gets long enough, moving onto the next volume. I’ll keep them about half novel length and cheap, probably permanent 99p. That way, I can still create but without any real pressure. Ask me in a year, I’ll probably have changed my mind again.

May Panayi reads from her book here....


You can follow her at these places...


Saturday, September 28, 2019

Randall Allen Dunn: Author Spotlight


Today I'm featuring Randall Allen Dunn, author of The Red Rider.
_______


My name is Helena Basque. When I was seven years old, I was attacked by a savage wolf that killed my Grand’Mere and left me with triple scars across my face. It also left me with endless nightmares of the wolf that stood upright and spoke to me.

I’m sixteen now, and I know it was no wolf. Nor was it alone. A pack of those creatures now threaten my family and everyone else here in La Rue Sauvage. Since no one will stand up to defend our province, I will hunt down the wolves myself. To stop them, I must do things I never planned to do, and become something I never planned to become.

For several years, I’ve trained myself to hunt and to fight and to show no fear. I have donned a red hood and cloak like the one I was forbidden to wear in childhood, to show them that at least one person is fighting back. I’ve armed myself with a repeating crossbow and other assorted weapons, and I refuse to stop or slow down until I destroy every last one of those wolves … whatever they actually are.

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XBGB35L
Fans of Marissa Meyer, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, and Sarah J. Maas will love The Red Rider, a dark fantasy superheroine combination of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Batman!



This book has 34 ratings, all 4 and 5 stars with a 4.7 average.


Hooves thundering through the forest.
Cloak billowing in the wind.
Repeating crossbow armed and ready.

She’s back.
You can relax now
.

You can get Book 2 in this saga here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078NN5V6N






AUTHOR BIO:

Randall Allen Dunn studied acting at Judson University, learning how to
create compelling characters and powerful stories through acting
techniques. He served for 9 years afterward as Drama Director at his
local church, writing weekly dramas and teaching acting and storytelling
basics to adult volunteers. He now writes action thrillers that read
like blockbuster movies. Action-packed, fast-paced & fun, with larger
than life heroes facing off against diabolical villains as they struggle
through deep moral dilemmas. His stories are published as Character
Entertainment - building character through fiction, with stories that
demonstrate courage, friendship, acceptance, faith, honor, and
self-sacrifice.


You can find his books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online
booksellers. You can also subscribe to his newsletter for advance alerts
of new stories at www.RandallAllenDunn.com.

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....




Saturday, July 6, 2019

Debbie Manber Kupfer: Spotlight and Interview


Please welcome Debbie Manber Kupfer to Fantasy Fun Reads! Debbie is the author of The P.A.W.S.Saga (5 book series). Cotula is the 5th book in the series and is currently on pre-order for 2.99 (regular price 4.99).

Follow the Cotula. The stone will show you the way.
Rifka is lost, far away from home. Kidnapped by an insidious werewolf.
Far off in Manus Wu, a plan is set in place. An Old One sends colutae out into the world. These stones when brought together have the power to release Rifka. Yet does she truly want to go home?
Meet an empathic goat, a family of otters, a girl who loves to draw fairies, and a dragon in this new installment of the P.A.W.S. Saga.




The entire series is available via Kindle Unlimited!

Interview:

What inspired you to write?


I’ve been writing much of my life (sent my first short story to the Puffin Post when I was around eight years old), but I didn’t finish a novel until 2012. While I always wanted to write a book I felt I had all the time in the world, but in 2011 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through treatment. Luckily today I’m cancer free, but my brush with cancer made me realize my mortality. I learned that if I really wanted to finish that novel I needed to do it now, so in November 2012 I attempted NaNoWriMo and wrote the first draft of P.A.W.S. And the rest as we like to say is history.


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

That first drafts don’t need to be perfect. They just need to be written. I started so many books over the years, but only when I tried NaNo and just ploughed through did I actually get something finished.


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


Well after I finished P.A.W.S. I didn’t really know what to do with it. I’d edited it and sent it to a friend who beta read it (and is still my number one beta reader today) but now what?
With some trepidation I took my prologue to a local writers’ group and read it aloud. Silence. Was I really so bad? Apparently, no – the opposite. The group that was filled with far more seasoned writers than I loved my story and encouraged me to find a publisher.
I then discovered that while I could write a 60K novel I couldn’t write a query letter! I sent one off to a New York agent and got a standard, not for us form letter back. I probably should have kept going, but instead I started talking to one of the members of my writing group who ran a local small press. I submitted P.A.W.S. to her and she accepted and just nine months after I’d written my first draft, P.A.W.S. was published.
I ended up publishing books 1 and 2 with the same small press, but then when my contract was up for renewal I decided not to renew and instead reedited the books and published them myself. While I appreciate the start my original small press gave me, I love the control I get self-publishing, and I would only go back to trad nowadays if it was one of the big boys.


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

I mostly read fantasy and sci-fi with the occasional mystery and lit fic thrown in for good measure. Favorite authors include Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling and Cornelia Funke. I also read A LOT of indie authors and highly recommend E.A. Copen, R.R. Virdi, Michelle Proulx, Misha Burnett, Robert Franks and um Rose Montague!


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


Book 5 of my P.A.W.S. Saga, Cotula, will be out in August (currently on presale) and I’m currently writing Book 6.


Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in the London. She has lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a writer, editor, and a freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. She lives with her husband, two children, and a very opinionated feline. She is the author of the young adult fantasy series, P.A.W.S. which features a secret institute of shapeshifters hidden deep beneath the Jewel Box in Forest Park, St. Louis. In addition she has stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Stardust, Always, Winter Wishes, Sins of The Past and Sins of the Future and is the editor of the Sins of Time anthology series. She has also published a book of puzzles, Paws 4 Logic, with her son Joey. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!
Connect with Debbie on her blog, Facebook, Twitter or sign up for her newsletter