Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Toll of Another Bell a Fantasy Anthology

edited by McKenna Gardner


A collection of out-of-this-world short stories that ring true in mortal hearts.

Breath: The Guardian of Souls realizes her life is incomplete and sacrifices everything to find 

what’s missing.

Awareness: To achieve the status of Magi, Jyn must pass his father’s ultimate test.

Phoenix: Orion loses his wife on their wedding day and uses dark magic to seek her in the 

afterlife.

Life Under Research Conditions: Can a bioweapon possess a soul and make choices to save 

humanity?

The Year of No Foals: A miraculous colt and a mysterious old man bring healing to a family 

ripped apart by tragedy.

Naoki No Yokai: Yokai have overrun a local village, and it’s up to Saga Naoki to discover the 

reason why.

Jilted River: An Appalachian fairy tale attracts visitors to a state park, but then they start to 

disappear.

Tower Gods: A thirteen-year-old boy with an oxygen mask befits the role of hero in Watcher 

Benson’s eyes.

Reality As We Know It: Where otherworldly magic fails, is Row’s friendship enough to mend 

Singer’s grieving heart?

60 Seconds to Midnight: Fleeing an ancient evil, a young woman from amongst the stars finds 

unlikely refuge on Earth.




This is an eclectic collection of short stories with many subgenres from fairy tale to fantasy, mythology and steampunk.
Some are much deeper and take more focus;
others are lighter and lean more towards fantasy delight.

The collection starts with BREATH, when Fauna, the Eternal Guardian of Souls, the only one in her family with a beating heart, who is responsible for comforting and guiding every creature everywhere. She has only raised one creature herself and now he has matured and is ready to find a mate. For the first time in her existance Fauna feels longing and lonliness. This story tells how her brothers and sisters try to aid her even when they can't truly understand the emotion.

In Phoenix, a musician meets his muse in the audience of his concert and falls under her spell. They marry soon after but she ides of a spider bite on their wedding day. Heis so distraught he considers suicide to be with her. Instead he visits a witchy woman and goes on a mystical journey.

The Year With No Foals seems to be the most popular story in this collection. Even with topics of child endangerment and poverty, this is one of the lighter fantasy reads. A colt born with six legs struggles to adapt and takes a young girl to magical heights.

Other stories in the collection feature goblins and deceit, a Sqid Panther and bioweapons, music, dispair and missing persons, Daimons, and ultimate challenges. A wide assortment of topics and styles.

As author T.C.Phillips su succinctly writes "strange is better than dead."

I did receive this collection as part of a blog tour. This review is my own


About the Authors:




Jodi L. Milner lives among the most epic vistas of the Rocky Mountains in Utah and uses them for inspiration when writing fantasy. When not shepherding her children, she dreams of magic and getting a good night's sleep. She's published fiction and poetry in the online literary magazine Soft Whispers.


Timothy Vincent splits his time between his home in Kentucky and his work in Nanjing, China. A published writer and scholar, he teaches for an American Overseas program. His previous creative writing publications include: “Prince of the Blue Castle” (The Bacon Review 2013); “Star-Crossed” (Winner, Terri Ann Armstrong Short Story Contest, Suspense Magazine, 2012); “The Blanket” and “Standing on the Doorstep with Borges” (The WriteRoom Literary Magazine). He was a top 25 finalist in Glimmer Train’s new writer contest in 2010.



Elise Stephens illustrated and wrote her own storybooks from an early age, binding them with staples, and displaying them to a captive audience of family and friends. She thanks her mother for teaching her the confidence to perform, and thanks her father for reading books out loud to her. She received the Eugene Van Buren Prize for Fiction in 2007 and was a quarter-finalist for the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. She has published two novels. Moonlight and Oranges (2011) and Forecast (2013). She lives with her husband and son in Seattle where she loves to paint, sing, see live theater, dance in the rain, and eat tiramisu in generous proportions.



Thaxson Patterson II is a 30-something, single, African American writer, living in Denver, Colorado. He is the child of an Air Force retiree and loving mother who’s wild about superheroes and fantasy literature. He graduated from the University of Denver in 2003 with a degree in Electronic Media Art Design. His lifelong obsession with a variety of literary genres including Lovecraftian horror, Stephen King supernatural tales, and the heroic myths from antiquity and Jack Kirby fueled his passion for art design. His family has been a constant thorn of encouragement in his side. Writing has been an ongoing journey full of creativity, joy, and tears spanning several years.



Scott E. Tarbet is the author of "A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk" from Xchyler Publishing; "Tombstone", in the paranormal anthology "Shades & Shadows"; "Ganesh", in the Steampunk anthology "Terra Mechanica". He writes in several speculative fiction genres, sings opera, and was married in full Elizabethan regalia. He loves Steampunk waltzes, cosplay conventions of all flavors, and slow-smokes thousands of pounds of authentic Texas-style barbeque. An avid skier, hiker, golfer, and tandem kayaker, he makes his home in the mountains of Utah. Follow Scott E. Tarbet online at http://scotttarbet.timp.net/ or on Twitter @SETarbet.


F.M. Longo spent most of his career as a software designer and consultant. An accomplished musician, he played professionally with several jazz greats, and he has won awards for his photography. He now has his own boutique publicity agency, and spends most of his time writing press releases, designing print ads, and producing radio spots. He is also the co-editor of the regional newsletter for a large non-profit organization. Longo lives in a small rural town in Western Connecticut.



Ginger Mann is a poet, musician, and digital security engineer. If you can't find her doing those things, look for a woman chasing around her small children with a camera. A Texas artist, she enjoys writing for other Texans. Her song, "River Night", premiered on October 12, 2013 in North Austin. During that same weekend, her first short story, "China Doll," began selling on Amazon.com.
She is also a key writer, and digital security adviser, for "Think Before You Click," the Cyber-Safety campaign of legal counsel, Rick Mann. Ginger lives with her family in the Austin, Texas area.



J.R. Potter has succeeded in the great dream of never growing up. He writesfor young readers, and those like him who don’t want to give up on magic. He like dinosaurs who can speak with polished accents, who wear vest coats and carry robotic briefcases; he likes fearless young girls with mechanical arms who risk everything for love and honor and a glimpse of the world above the clouds; he like to rewrite and re-imagine the past because it feels both old and new all at once, and well, the victors of history have been doing it for years.
Potter’s  world is equal parts fantasy, obsession, and transformation. He feels he has been lucky to bring this world to life through publication in The Portland Review, through winning short story competitions in the realms of Horror and Fantasy, and through a continued bond with his faithful publisher Xchyler Publishing who truly lives up to their motto “enhancing lives one book at a time." He invites readers to “come fly with me inside a WWII robot, or step out on the wings of a pneumatic ‘Whirly-Bird’ in my upcoming novel Pneumatica: Adventures in Steampunk. Together I know we will find some magic.”


Danielle E. Shipley's first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them.
She's also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she's not living the highs and lows of writing, publishing, and all that authorial jazz, she's probably blogging about it at EverOnWord.wordpress.com.


TC Phillips hails from tropical central Queensland in Australia, where he currently lives with his loving wife, three young children, a spoilt cat, and an overactive imagination. An avid reader from a young age, he has held a long standing attraction for the written word and is excited to able to make his own contributions to the vibrant and ever shifting world of storytelling. Holding degrees in both Theatre Studies and Education, he is also currently completing his Master of Arts (writing) through Swinburne University of Technology.



The Toll of Another Bell
a Fantasy Anthology


 Where to find and BUY The Toll of Another Bell
And on Goodreads here:








Friday, January 30, 2015

Loyalty and Lies (Chastity Falls #1) by LA Cotton ~Release Day~

Release Day BlitzLoyalty and Lies Release Day
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Book Title: Loyalty and Lies (Chastity Falls #1) Author: LA Cotton Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance Release Date: January 2015 Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Eighteen-year-old Savanah Parry just moved three thousand miles across state to escape. The memories…the whispers…the pain.
Chastity Falls Academy is supposed to be her fresh start; her salvation. And when Ana meets mysterious Jackson, she begins to think it is. She hasn’t smiled in almost sixteen months; not since the night her life changed forever, and despite her guilt…her loyalty, Ana can’t deny that Jackson is breathing life back into her. With Jackson by her side, Ana wants to believe she can heal and move on. But she isn’t the only one living a lie, and the small private Academy has secrets of its own. All is not what it seems, and Ana is about to find herself in a tangled web of lies; fighting for survival, again.
Loyalties will be tested, lies will be told. Welcome to Chastity Falls.


Teaser for release


excerpt
Gardner's class was nothing compared to the torture of sitting so close to Jackson in Shakespeare. After his warning to stay away from him, I thought he might pick an alternative seat, but that didn't happen. Instead, he brushed straight passed me, dropped into his usual chair and acted as if nothing had happened. I had to fight back the urge to ask him why he had told me to stay away from me. I mean, it wasn't like we hung out. There had been coffee at the shifty sea front hut…once, and then the embarrassing sprained-ankle-in-the-storm incident. “Today, class, I want us to look at the character Iago…” Professor Shacks’ voice echoed around the small room. “Iago is the voice whispering in Othello’s ear, playing to Othello’s own paranoia and insecurities around his relationship with Desdemona. Of course, Othello trusts Iago implicitly, why wouldn’t he trust his long serving friend and lieutenant? A fact that Iago uses to his own advantage…” Jackson shuffled next to me, and then quickly dropped a white note onto my desk. What now? I sighed, feeling frustrated at his mixed signals. How’s the ankle? Okay thanks I balled up the note and tossed it onto his desk, watching him through the corner of my eye. A slight smirk played on his lips, and it was obvious he was aware I was pissed at him. He started scribbling a reply, which landed in front of me seconds later. I’ve heard coffee (or a banana shake) can work wonders for a sprained ankle… healing properties or something. I scowled at his slightly scruffy handwriting wondering what game he was trying to play with me. Thanks. I’ll make sure I have a banana shake before bed Feeling pleased with myself, I held out the note for him and he plucked it out of my hand, silently laughing when his eyes scanned the words. How about a shake before bed… with me? My eyes blinked. And blinked again, feeling the heat of embarrassment wash over my face. Was he flirting with me? I felt thirteen all over again. Mikey Crand used to send me love notes in Biology and me and my friend Lacey would giggle over them. Feeling brave, I handed him my reply. Are you inviting me for a shake? Or to bed? Jackson’s eyes widened and he shuffled slightly in his seat. Take that mister confusing, I thought, pleased with myself. Are you saying yes? I inwardly groaned. Jackson: one, Ana: zero. I couldn’t keep this up without drifting into territory that terrified me. Jackson was the first guy—the only guy—that made me smile… made my stomach flutter… made me feel anything since Danny. It wasn’t the plan, not what I ran to CFA to find, but somehow I had found it. Found something—someone—that made me feel again. Was that enough to try and get to the bottom of whatever was going on with Jackson? Of why he had warned me to stay away? To the shake… maybe Meet me round back five minutes after class I was heading for a one-way trip into purgatory, because as I discreetly watched Jackson out the corner of my eye I knew. Knew there would be no way I could walk away. Right or wrong, sensible or stupid, he had awoken a part of me that I thought I would never find again…and I couldn’t just give that up. Not for all the warnings in the world.
~


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Ninety-minutes later, I was sitting in Black’s suffering some kind of post-Jackson whiplash. “I’m surprised you asked me for coffee again.” I slurped up the thick banana shake. Jackson watched me, his eyes were more the color of the bluey-green ocean today, than their usual shade. “Actually, I invited you for a shake.” He quipped back. I tried broaching the subject during the ride to Black’s, but he just shrugged me off, talking about the weather. The freaking weather. I was done with his evasion techniques. “After you warned me to stay away from you the other night?” He placed his mug back on its plate and sighed. I watched, captivated, as he ran his hand through his messy dark hair, the longer strands falling back into place, a five ‘o’clock shadow cloaking his jaw. “About that… I may have been a little hasty.” “Hasty?” “See the thing is…” His eyes held mine, smoldering at me, pleading with me. “I’m not sure I can stay away from you.” My lips moved to say something but nothing came out. Jackson watched me intently and I gulped. It felt like he was willing me to agree, to accept that there was a reason we should stay away from each other, but to ignore it. And I got the feeling it was a no questions asked kind of arrangement. “It’d be better for you… for us, if you stay away from me, Ana. But I don’t want you to. I’m too selfish to walk away.” “But-” Jackson cut me off. “No questions. That’s the deal. We spend time together, get to know each other, but you can’t ask any of the questions I know you have swimming round in that pretty little head of yours.” “Okay, but-” His hand found mine across the booth, and his fingers grazed my knuckles. “No questions. That’s just the way it has to be for now.” I nodded. Unsure what I was agreeing to. “You won’t regret it Ana Parry, I promise.”
Teasers


Teaser for release 3

Teaser for release 2

Book Trailer


playlist




Anyone who has ever moved away from home, whether to go to college or to start a new life, will appreciate all the emotions generated in this novel. You have to keep reading to discover and put together all of the clues.
This book is told from Ana's viewpoint.
I think the next book in this series will be from Pierce's point of view.

If you have lived any time at all in a small community, you understand that there are families that seem to wield more power and authority than others. Families others dare not go up against for fear of being more than hurt.
In Chastity Falls, there are the Donohues.
Braiden Donohue is a freshman at the college, so even if you did not grow up in the area, it doesn't take long to realize you don't cross him or get on his bad side. The former quarterback of the football team did not protest when suddenly he was now second string.

Savannah Parry is not from the area. She did not research anything about the college she had chosen except how far it was from her hometown. She had to start fresh where no one knew her or her history.
Fortunately for Ana, she is paired with the best roommate ever, Elena.
Ana wants to blend in, not stand out, stay towards the shadows. Elena wants to get as much from her college experience as she can.
As it turns out, Ana gets unwanted attention but is rescued. After that the secrets begin to multiply.
This novel will keep you turning pages and surprised by what happens next.

I found it suitable to ages from high school to adult.
The storyline is strong and the characters are well developed.

I did receive a copy as part of a blog tour.







Meet the Author
Author Pic
Author of NA Contemporary Romance, L. A. Cotton loves writing about those first looks, first kisses, and happily ever afters. A wearer-of-many-hats, L.A juggles being a full-time mum to two little people with two part-time jobs and college. In her spare time (and when she’s not camped out in front of the laptop) you’ll most likely find her immersed in a book, escaping the chaos that is life. LA has two books currently self-published: Fate's Love and Love's Spark. Loyalty and Lies, is book one in her NA college series: Chastity Falls. You can connect with her at: www.lacotton.com www.facebook.com/authorlacotton www.twitter.com/authorlacotton www.amazon.com/author/lacotton
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Climax (Book 3) Review

Climax  (Book Three)


Kate Mitchell has never forgiven herself for breaking Nick Lavigne’s heart. Now he’s back and he’s moved on, and it’s affecting Kate’s life more than she’s willing to admit.

Kate Mitchell has everything. She's the head of a crazy successful publishing house, engaged to the traffic-stopping sexy Mac Ellis and she's about to sign one of the biggest authors of her career.

And that's when everything falls apart.

Everything is perfect…until it’s not.

In a city of 8 million people Kate manages to run into someone she never expected to see again.

Nick is handsome, impossibly kind, every girl’s dream, and Kate’s former fiancĂ©. He’s also the brother of the rising star author she’s trying to sign. Now that Nick’s back in town and has moved on he insists he’s over Kate, but part of him still can’t get past how amazing they were, and his sister won’t let anyone forget how brutally it ended.

When Mac is dealt a life-changing blow, it forces Kate to question every single choice she’s made.

Follow Kate as she embarks on a journey of life and love, navigating through the decisions that will change it all forever.








There is so much in this amazing finish that I understand why it was divided into parts.

Kate and Mac have both left their former publishing house, M&D, but throughout this book other employees turn up.
Kate uses her severance pay plus money Allan left her as well as his final manuscript to open her own publishing house. Since she named it Lavigne House after Allan, Nick is obviously still a part of the equation, even if he refuses to take any profits due him. Kate still finds herself performing super hero deeds that were necessary to her life as a publicist. Almost unavoidably, Mac becomes the editor at Kate's new business.
So the potential for the triangle of messy love lives continues to exist.

Kate literally bumps into Nick as she is rushing off to an author emergency. 
I admit I loved the parts of the books with all the drama of author events.
Nick is in New York opening new stores for his own business, based in California.
He also is sharing an apartment with his much younger sister, Vivienne, whom Kate has never met in person.
Another female flies in to complicate his life further, but that comes a bit later.

Kate is trying her best to be honest with those in her inner circle, meaning Mac and Grace, Lulu, Andrew, and Nick, if he will allow her to be his friend. Her honesty tends to lead to some fiery confrontations. Her cicle will grow to include Viv, after a rocky start, and Kate's own "Dr. Ruth."
Besides publishing books, Kate is building a legacy of good works in Allan Levigne's name.

Mac takes every opportunity to satisfy his own cravings, need and desires. Even when he tries to "do the right thing" for his family, his sons and a now ill ex-wife, the bottom line is his self less acts are really selfish underneath. I do believe his heart is torn. He does love both Kate and Carolyn. He may be in his fifties, but maturity has not overtaken him.

Nick has never gotten over Kate. He feels that distance is the only cure for his love.
That doesn't seem to be working out for him. Even when a pushy female decides to convince him she is his girlfriend, and even manages to walk down the matrimonial aisle with him, Kate still owns Nick's heart.

Mac doesn't help his own cause any when he keeps taking weeks long trips with carolyn and their sons.
When Mac told Kate about the honeymoon trip to Paris that he never took with his wife, he had no idea how that would come back to haunt him.

Kate finally realizes how much of a doormat she has become, between the way she lets authors and men trample over her. I would add even Grace stomps on Kate now and again.

You will have to read Climax to find out who ends up with whom.
I was delighted, at the end of the book, wherre author Christina George shares that we'll visit these characters again.









Author's Bio:
Christina George has worked in publishing for twenty years (give or take). Here’s what this book isn't. It’s not a slam against publishing (though it is broken) and it’s not a slam against authors (though some of them are crazy). This book is not autobiographical though many of the stories are true. No you won’t know which ones, cause it’s more fun to guess, right? George continues to work in publicity and helps authors because at the end of the day she does love books, she loves publishing, and she loves authors. She hopes you’ll enjoy this romp through Kate’s world as much as she enjoyed creating it.

Connect with Christina: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~ Goodreads





Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Karen Rose Smith - Author Spotlight


Karen Rose Smith


Karen Rose Smith was born in the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania. Although she was an only child, she remembers the bonds of an extended family. Since her father came from a family of ten and her mother, a family of seven, there were always aunts, uncles and cousins visiting on weekends. Family is a strong theme in her books and she suspects her childhood memories are the reason.

In college, Karen began writing poetry and also met her husband to be. They both began married life as teachers, but when their son was born, Karen decided to try her hand at a home-decorating business. She returned to teaching for a while but changes in her life led her to writing romance fiction. Now she writes mysteries and romances full time. She is a USA Today best-selling and award-winning author. Her 86th novel, GILT BY ASSOCIATION, will be released in 2015 by Kensington Books.

When she isn't writing, she cares for four rescue cats and a couple of strays, gardens, and cooks. Married to her college sweetheart since 1971, believing in the power of love and commitment, she envisions herself writing relationship novels, both mystery and romance, for a long time to come!


Ten Things About Me
  1. I was an only child who always longed for a sister.
     
  2. During my childhood I always had access to a relative's farm.
     
  3. This summer my husband and I took in a stray pregnant cat and helped deliver her kittens.
     
  4. When I was in my late twenties, I learned to swim and ride horses!
     
  5. I attended the Beatles concert at Dodger Stadium.
     
  6. With my cousin I wrote a script for The Monkees tv show.
     
  7. I wrote for six years and finished 13 manuscripts before I sold two books in one week to two different publishers.
     
  8. I use a tape recorder to write and like to tape on the patio on summer nights under the moon.
     
  9. I love 60's fashion.
     
  10. I'm a crazy cat lady!


Join Karen Rose Smith's Street Team, Team Caprice



Staged to Death (Book 1) - on sale for only $2.99
Deadly Decor (Book 2) - on sale for only $1.99

Gilt By Association (Book 3)
Drape Expectations (Book 4)
Coming August 2015



Nathan’s Vow (Book 1)

Audio Book: Amazon ~ Audible ~ iTunes

Jakes’s Bride (Book 2)
Audio Book: Amazon ~ Audible ~ iTunes

Always Devoted (Book 3)
Audio Book: Amazon ~ Audible ~ iTunes

Always Her Cowboy (Book 4)
Audio Book: Amazon ~ Audible ~ iTunes

Heartfire (Book 5)
Audio Book: Amazon ~ Audible ~ iTunes

Cassidy’s Cowboy (Book 6)
Audio Book: Amazon ~ Audible ~ iTunes

Her Sister (Book 7)
Audio Book: Amazon ~ Audible ~ iTunes