Guest Post The Hunter

Writing Makes You Better

A title like that may sound a tad conceited, like writing “makes you better than everyone else around you”. That’s not the sentiment behind the title at all. Instead, it means that writing makes you (the writer) a better version of yourself.

(I’m a firm believer in Hemingway’s words: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” I strive to be a better man than I was yesterday, and the day before, and so on.)

There is a lot of research that illustrates how writing can make you a better person. Here are a few of my favorite ways:

  • Writing makes you happier. Writing is a form of art therapy. You express your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and beliefs onto a piece of paper. You’re no longer bottling them up or ignoring them, so you feel somehow “lighter” for getting them out. Creative and expressive writing can also help to motivate you. Putting the words “I will be more productive” on paper will oddly make you more productive. Call it self-motivation, positive vibes, good energy in the universe—either way, it works!
  • Writing makes you grateful. A lot of people keep journals as a way of tracking their daily activities, emotions, and feelings. They’re also a way to set goals and challenges, and have concrete evidence that you achieved those goals. You’ll find yourself more grateful for the good days, as well as for all the progress you’ve made in the past. This also goes for fiction writers. When you write about the obstacles your characters face, it makes you grateful that YOU don’t have to face those same obstacles. Life is suddenly brighter because your story has put it into perspective.
  • Writing makes you a more effective communicator. It’s easy to get lazy with your communication: emojis are pictures to convey your sentiment, texting slang and hashtags communicate your thoughts and feelings in fewer words, and you rarely get into deeper conversations over text or chat. But when you write, you HAVE to find the right word to communicate what you’re thinking or feeling. It forces you to think more, to try harder, and to work on your communication skills. Writing makes you more cohesive, coherent, and intelligent.
  • Writing is an outlet. Hold all those emotions in, and you’re eventually going to explode. Let them out, and they lose their grip on your mind and heart. Writing gives you a way to let all those emotions—positive and negative—out, clearing room in your psyche and emotions for other thoughts and feelings.
  • Writing can help you cope. If you’ve ever written a scene where a character rationalizes something, analyzes a problem, and finds a solution for it, you know how therapeutic it can be to go from A (problem) to Z (solution). You can come to terms with traumatic experiences by writing about them, and analyzing what you have written.

The truth is that writing taps into your psyche, your intellect, and your emotions. It helps you to access the deeper parts of yourself that may never or rarely see light. In the long run, it makes you a better person—better than you were yesterday!

Book Excerpt

 The Hunter peered out from behind the silent wagon. Good. No sign of Kellen or Graden. He’d have to keep an ear out for the caravan guards, but he should have plenty of time. The patrol had a lot of ground to cover.

Grunting, he shifted the heavy load on his shoulder and darted out from the row of shelters, hurrying toward the outcropping of boulders he’d chosen specifically for his task. He ducked behind the boulders and hurled his burden to the ground. A grunt and muffled cry came from the bundle, and something squirmed within.

He’s coming to. Good timing.

The Hunter pulled back the canvas, and moonlight shone on Rill’s pale, sweat-soaked face and wide eyes. Blood oozed from a wound on the bald man’s temple. The Hunter hadn’t bothered to be gentle.

“W-What?” Rill’s eyes darted around, and his gaze fell on the Hunter. “What is this?”

The Hunter struck the man hard. “Justice.”

Rill made to cry out, but the Hunter stuffed canvas into his mouth. “Ironic, isn’t it?” His fingers twitched a corner of the thick cloth. “You spend every waking hour stitching up canvas. Fitting that it will serve as your funeral shroud. There was more than enough of it around your area to wrap you up.”

The bald man’s eyes widened, and he mumbled something through the mouthful of fabric.

The Hunter shook his head. “Better you don’t speak. Nothing you say can change what’s coming. Best you die with a bit of dignity. Watcher knows you had little enough while you lived.”

Soulhunger, sensing blood, pounded louder in his mind, and the demon added its eager demands.

“I never understood men like you, knocking around your women.” He squatted on his haunches. “Just doesn’t make sense.”

Rill tried in vain to shout through his gag.

The Hunter narrowed his eyes. “Did you know there is a special hell reserved for your kind? Those who take advantage of the helpless.”

He slipped Soulhunger from its sheath, and held the glinting blade before Rill’s eyes. “You may tell yourself she belongs to you, you can do whatever you want.” He leaned forward, and his voice dropped to a low growl. “Just because you can, that doesn’t mean you should.”

Rill’s eyebrows shot up, and his expression turned pleading.

The Hunter shook his head. “Save your excuses for the Long Keeper. You’ll be with him soon enough.”

With a vicious smile, he drove Soulhunger through the canvas and into the man’s chest. The gag muffled Rill’s scream, but the dagger’s shriek echoed in his head with mind-numbing force. Soulhunger’s gem flared, red light bright in the darkness. The Hunter grunted as a finger of fire etched a line in his chest. Power coursed through him, setting his muscles twitching, flooding him with life, and pushing back the voices in his mind.

Slowly, the brilliance leaking from the gemstone faded to nothing, and Rill’s screams of agony and terror fell silent. The Hunter basked in the stillness of the night. A soothing breeze washed over him, the chill soothing the burning of his new scar. Glorious silence echoed in his head. The voices had been sated. He had peace, for a time.

He straightened and stared down at the bundled corpse. Perhaps the Long Keeper will have mercy on you.

An image flashed through his mind: a pitiful figure huddled at the entrance to Rill’s tent, covered in filthy rags and reeking of blood and coitus. Rill’s desire to punish Gwen had made it easier for the Hunter to slip in, knock the fat bastard out, wrap him in his own canvas, and slip out unnoticed. The man’s absence wouldn’t be discovered until morning. Few would care.

He took a deep breath, relishing the cool scents of the desert at night. He would wait a few minutes until he was certain Graden and Kellen had passed, then he would dispose of the body, bury the canvas, and slip back into camp. Without the voices shrieking and pleading in his mind, he might even be able to catch a few hours of undisturbed sleep before the morning breakfast bell.

Tonight would be a good night.

The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past

The Hunter, legendary assassin of Voramis, has a purpose: protect Hailen, the boy he rescued from a demon in Malandria.

He joins a caravan in the hope of safe passage across the Advanat Desert. Yet he cannot outrun his enemies: the Illusionist Cleric on a holy mission to capture him, the bloodthirsty raiders out for blood and gold, and the Abiarazi, demons who masquerade as humans.

Every step north reveals who he was before becoming the Hunter, unlocking the truth about the woman who haunts his memories.

Fans of Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, and Brent Weeks will love the Hunter…

About the Book

Title: The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past

Author: Andy Peloquin

Publication Date: March 31st, 2017

Paperback Price: 15.99

Digital Price: 3.99

Pages: 400

ISBN:

Links

Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Bucelarii-Book-Gateway-Past-ebook/dp/B06XDKVD47/

Book Launch Event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1264998616922413/

Join my Thunderclap:  https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/54027-the-hunter-s-journey-continues

Author Bio

Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious

I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.

Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!
Website: http://www.andypeloquin.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndyPeloquin
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andyqpeloquin

www.linkedin.com/in/andypeloquin/

https://plus.google.com/100885994638914122147/about

https://www.amazon.com/author/andypeloquin

https://www.facebook.com/andrew.peloquin.1

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYAKG5k06vcmc02Uy4fGLfA

http://andypeloquin.com/join-the-club/

 

Book Review: Vision: Seeing is Achieving

Title: Vision Seeing is Achieving

Author: Allan Sealy

Genre: Self-help, Spirituality
Rating: 4 stars
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Each of us needs to have vision. Not the vision that is seen through our eyes but that which is revealed in our hearts. The vision of your heart will enable you see pass the limitations of time, revealing to you a future that only you can create. The vision of your heart will reveal your true potential and power. The vision of your heart will elevate your mind and expand your thinking so that you would truly believe that all things are possible. We were all created on purpose for a purpose. Your parents cannot assign purpose to you. You must discover this yourself. However, the clues to your purpose are not hard to find. They are hidden in plain sight! It is only for you recognize that what you see in your heart is not a pipe dream but a window into your future and a revelation of your purpose.
This book was written to help you realize your purpose and your destiny by enabling you to:
 

  • Understand who really you are,

  • Discover your passion

  • Understand the significance of your vision

  • Discover your creative power

  • Manifest your vision

  • Unleash your awesome potential.

Vision: Seeing is Achieving is an interesting eye-opener of a book, talking about the vision of your heart, and how you can turn it into a future you can create. It talks about one’s own personal power, the power of our mind, and the strength that comes with finding a purpose.

The book asks a lot of intriguing questions, such as: what is man? which happens to be one of the first chapters. It’s a spiritual book, that deals both with divine purpose, but also with more earthly purposes, and how can accomplish our divine purpose here on earth. It’s an interesting read, the chapters are short and to the point but easy to understand and interesting. The writing is excellent, and once you start reading, it’s hard to put down.

 

Guest Post by Dane Cobain

This is a guest post written by author Dane Cobain.

Eleven Easy Author Blog Post Ideas

Blogging is a lot of fun, and many authors find it hugely rewarding. But it can also be a pain in the backside when you’re busy working on a new release and you’re out of ideas for things to write about.

Luckily, even when it feels like you’ve covered everything there are plenty of things for you to write about. Here are eleven of my favourites.

Interview yourself
Draft up a list of questions that you’d like to ask your favourite author, and then ask yourself those same questions. If you draft up a Q&A post and write a short intro and outro, you’ve got yourself a blog post. You can even deliberately ask questions that you want to answer so that you can release information to your followers.

Interview a character
Sometimes it’s best to let your characters do the talking. A character interview follows much the same format as a regular interview, except that you – as the author and the characters’ creator – get to respond to the questions in a different ‘voice’, potentially revealing backstory in a way that’s not otherwise possible.

Write about your writing
Be sure to post regular updates to keep your followers up to date with what you’re working on. This can include the word counts of your works in progress, the estimated release dates of upcoming releases, and information about any physical events that you’ll be appearing at.

Post a bonus scene
If you have any bonus material that didn’t make it into a book, posting it on your website can be a great way of stopping it from going to waste. If not, you can still consider posting excerpts of your books to drum up excitement and to give readers a free sample before they make a purchase.

Run a competition
Running a competition on your blog can have a dramatic effect on the number of visits that your site receives, and combining this tactic with tools like Rafflecopter can help to boost your social media following at the same time. Gift vouchers make a good prize and tend to pick up plenty of entries, but if money is tight then you can still give away e-copies of your published works.

Post a teaser
Readers love to see what you’re working on, so it can be a good idea to share a teaser from your current work in progress. This also has the advantage of opening your work up to reader feedback, which you can use to improve it before it goes through proper editing.

Review a book
By sharing your take on the books that you read, you can catch the eyes of mainstream authors by talking about their work while inviting readers to come and see what you’re into. Bonus points if you share your reviews on Amazon and Goodreads!

Introduce your workspace
Take a few photos of your office or workspace and share them with a blog post that talks about why you chose to set it up like that. Be sure to include fun facts about your writing that you haven’t mentioned elsewhere and to take individual photographs of any particular points of interest.

A day in the life
Share a post that takes your readers through a typical day in your life as an author. Be sure to include the times that you do things, such as editing in the morning, working on a new novel in the afternoon and catching up with emails in the evening.

Do a little travel writing
Next time you take a holiday or a short trip for work, keep notes about where you go and what you do and turn it into a blog post on your return. Share photos and videos if you have them, and tag any relevant businesses and organisations when you share the link.

Just write
Sometimes the best work comes from just letting yourself go and jotting down whatever comes to mind. Using this stream-of-consciousness approach to write a blog post tends to either work well or not at all, but even if you don’t end up publishing it, at least it’ll get you thinking and start the words flowing.

Your Turn
What do you do when you can’t think of what to blog about? Do you have any tips of your own to share with us? Let us know what you think!

About the author

This post is written by Dane Cobain and sponsored by Publishing Addict, an organisation that specialises in building websites for authors to help them to establish a brand, connect with their readers and to sell more books.

Teaser Tuesdays (66)

Teaser-Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Purple Booker. In this meme, we grab our current read, open it to a random page and share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page with our readers.

Click HERE to view all my ‘Teaser Tuesdays‘ posts.

Here is my teaser:

“I did something bad,” I sneered.

“Oh no.”

“I kissed Jesse.”

“You did?” She almost screamed.

“Well, he kissed me, if that makes it better.”

~ p. 77 Consumed by Elizabeth Miceli

What’s your teaser for this week?

Author Interview with Ash Gray

1) How long have you been writing?

Since I was twelve.

You usually hear people say “Yeah, I always wanted to be a writer! Since I was three!!!” But I never wanted to be a writer and never imagined I would be. I was a very avid reader growing up. I loved stories in all their mediums but never imagined I was going to ever tell my own. When I was six, I wanted to be a doctor and play the saxophone.

Then when I was twelve, my aunt died. She was very young – in fact, she was sixteen when I was born, because my grandmother had her late in life, so she was like an older sister to me. I was very quiet (still am) and would not talk about her death, so my mother handed me a journal and told me to write about.

I did. And I never stopped.

2) What is your favorite genre to write?

Growing up, I always loved epic fantasy. I would watch and read anything with dragons, pirates, swords, and elves. I still love epic fantasy and science fiction both, though I’ve been leaning more toward writing science fiction lately. I will always love epic fantasy the most, to be honest.

3) Which genre have you never tried before, but would you like to try out?

Bizarro, absurd fiction would be cool to write. I just don’t think I’m bizarre enough to do it but I would love to try.

4) Please tell us about your book.

I never know which book to talk about when I’m asked, as I currently have seven on Amazon. I guess I could talk about my series A Time of Darkness since I plan to spend some time working on it soon.

A Time of Darkness is the story of a female dragon slayer and her rise to fame – followed immediately by her downward spiral. The first book serves to set up the lore and gives you a good idea of how the people in the future view Nineveh Dragon Fall, so called because dragons were always falling where she walked.

In the first book, we see that people in the future venerate Nineveh as a great hero and something like a holy warrior, who vanquished the “wicked” dragons in the name of their various gods. But as the series continues, we go back to the past and discover how typically wrong history was. Nineveh wasn’t a hero, she wasn’t by any means perfect, and she only deserved maybe some of the praise she got.

I decided to go this way with the character because I’ve never tried writing an anti-hero before, and I love challenging myself. And because I don’t mind falling on my face – even publicly – I’m willing to use an entire series to experiment. It feels like a great deal of pressure to pull this off even half-way successfully, but the hilarious thing is that I don’t even really have an audience for the series yet. So I suppose I can just fumble and bumble under the impression that no one is really watching. Or . . . I could imagine the audience is just naked. That works too.

5) Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?

Owllwin is currently my favorite character in the A Time of Darkness series. He is mentioned in book 1, and appears for the first time in book 2, and is Cricket’s (Nineveh Dragon Fall’s) best friend growing up. He is a clumsy, goofy dork who is actually in love with Cricket, to the point that he is blind to her faults and puts her on a pedestal. Eventually, he grows up and realizes she is not perfect but he still goes on loving her.

What I love about Owllwin is that he isn’t a jerk. We like to act as if making our characters be toxic jerks is “realistic” and “relatable” but some people really are just nice. Owllwin expressed his feelings for Cricket at a festival while he was slightly intoxicated, and when she gently turned him down, he did not hold it against her, call her vicious slurs, threaten sexual assault, attack the man she did love or otherwise punish her for being a stupid stupid woman for – gasp! – having a sexuality and agency and not being attracted to a nice guy.

Owllwin sees Cricket as a person, not a slot machine that hands out sex-candy-bars when niceness is put into it. That isn’t to say that his feelings aren’t hurt when she rejects him, and because he has every right to be hurt, he goes off, takes time to heal, and stops talking to her for a while. But eventually, they go on being friends and he never punishes her for not falling love with him in return.

Later, when he has adjusted and moved on from the rejection, they are together in a sense. But not really, as Cricket only loves him as a friend.

My least favorite character in A Time of Darkness right now is probably . . . Actually, I can’t think of one. I love all my characters, even the villains. Kimaria from the first book is actually one of my favorites.

6) What was the hardest part about writing your book?

The hardest part of writing Time’s Arrow was getting the opening just right. When I wrote the first book back in 2014, the opening was vastly different and did not impress the many agents I sent it too. I kept rewriting it and rewriting it to emphasize Neferre’s grossness (and Cricket’s grossness) as a sort of hook, and even though agents liked it, they still . . . said no. Incidentally, Neferre and Cricket were always gross, I just emphasized it to grab the reader’s attention.

The hardest part about writing the second book Infinite Athenaeum was trying to handle Cricket’s sexuality. At one point I forgot her age, and I regret not embellishing on the ages of the characters, because from an outside perspective, all of it looks really, really wrong. But by the end of the second book, Cricket is eighteen, while Halima is still mentally a teenager even though she is an elf over a hundred years old, and Owllwin is only mentally nineteen or twenty even though he’s only, like . . . nine. I mean, Owllwin has the body and mind of an adult because his race grows up fast, but he is actually quite young in human years.

Yeah, writing about these three characters having sex was difficult. I don’t like writing about teenagers and young adults (sorry teens and young adults) in sexual situations but I felt it was necessary to explore. Because all too often, women are not allowed to celebrate their sexuality or to embrace it. Cricket does. Defiantly. And no one ever shames her for it (unless they’re a jerk – at one point, someone does call her a slur, I think).

7) What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing?

Whenever I’m asked this, I usually say I don’t have a writing routine, but the reality is I do. I just didn’t realize it until recently. I love listening to Peter Gundry, the composer. Some of his music is amazing, and it really gets me focused into creating fictional worlds. I also love listening to rain sounds because it helps me focus. And I like having a nice smell in the room, like a candle or incense. It all puts me in a relaxed and focused state, so that the rest of the world is tuned out and I’m there with my characters. It especially helps to write in the dark, as the cliché goes.

8) How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?

I wrote my first full-length novel when I was fourteen? Fifteen? And I think it took me a couple weeks because I wrote a little after school everyday. I don’t really count that embarrassing heap as a novel, though.

My first real attempt at a novel – not a novella — was when I was an early twenty-something. It was a huge, sprawling mess of a thing. Like 500 pages or something. I remember sharing it on the internet and sending it to agents, under the naïve belief that anyone would want to read that tripe. Some people liked it, but I mostly got mocked, derided, and bigotry on all sides. Young talent is so often anything but nurtured if it doesn’t belong to the right voice. People especially hated that one of the characters was – gasp! – brown and that yet another character was – gasp! – queer. It . . . was debilitating. It’s a novel I actually plan to revise and publish on kindle one day, if not out of nostalgia. But it’ll be a while because the story was so, so long and it needs a lot of work.

. . . I didn’t even answer the question. I don’t remember how long it took to write. That was over ten years ago.

9) Can you tell us about your editing process?

Write the first draft in a crazy rush, getting out all ideas. Go back, slowly look for mistakes, and cut out ridiculous chapters and unnecessary crap. Rinse and repeat fifty more times. And if you can afford it, get an editor.

10) Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?

A Time of Darkness currently has seven books planned. I’m knee-deep in number three right now. Before I started publishing on kindle, I actually had the first two books in the series written (so, no, I didn’t just write them) and was trying to start the third. I gave up and shoved the series in a drawer after being told over and over that my story had no audience or no place at so-and-so’s agency.

Also, hearing that you have potential is such a backhanded compliment. Especially when you’ve been writing almost twenty years.

11) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

No. I have no right to be dishing out advice. I’m a slushpile reject trying to eek out her own measly existence in the corners of the literary world. In fact, I’m living this existence because no one listens to people like me in the first place. Our voices have no value. So what value could my advice possibly have to anyone?

12) Why should everyone read your book?

If you love a good laugh, adventure, and romance, then read my books. That’s basically what all my books are. I’ve recently discovered that many, many people hate romance (silly me for not knowing that) and thanks to my unisex name – which is my actual name, not a pen name – people often assume I’m a guy. So they go into my story thinking it’s written by a man, realize that there is romance involved, and scream, “Nooooo! Fweelings are for girlssss! I’m meltingggg! Meltinggggg! Oh what a worldddd!”

Like, how dare I write about romance, even as a sub plot! We women are such dumb dumb heads. It’s not like romance is how half the planet got here or anything. . . .

So yeah. If you don’t like romance, laughter, adventure, and women in important roles, then I guess my books aren’t for you. Everyone else, however, is welcome aboard.

13) If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which authors would you choose?

I don’t want to meet any authors. Because over the years – and especially while I majored in English lit in college – I have slowly been discovering that just about every author I love is some kind of jerk. It’s wearing me thin. I’m scared that if I ever met Mercedes Lackey, she’d turn out to have some vile personality trait. Just . . . I can’t take anymore.

14) What inspired you to write your book?

I read The Witcher series a while back and had a love-hate reaction to it. He can write some amazing fight scenes, but the context is . . . unfortunate. I was then inspired to write my own series (A Time of Darkness) where queer women are not dehumanized and punished with death for being queer. Where women aren’t a collection of prejudices and stereotypes.

The women in Sapkowski’s books are all in two categories: the good women are straight and want to be mothers, the bad women are queer (Triss the date rapist and emotional manipulator, Philippa), bad mothers (Geralt’s mom), and hate children or don’t want them (Philippa). Ciri goes on a journey to learn that being queer is bad, is punished by witnessing her girlfriend Mistle’s brutal death, and ends the story by making the correct choice to love a man and fulfill the prophecy by becoming a mother. Because that’s what women are: we are broodmares. We exist to have sex with men and have their sons. That’s it. We can’t be good people and at the same time be queer. Oh nooooo. And not wanting to be a mother is the end-all of evil! Abortion is evil!!!! But spermicide, that’s okay.

Meanwhile, every woman in the book worships Geralt and either wants to sleep with him or be his mother/ daughter. I was especially annoyed when Milva the archer couldn’t make a decision about her own pregnancy and had to curl up like a little child and ask the men folk what she should do. They all make the choice for her that she should not abort her fetus. It was . . . infuriating. And the sexist belief that women are too stupid, childlike, fickle, and inferior to make their own healthcare decisions is why men make our healthcare decisions right now.

So yeah. Long rant short, A Time of Darkness was born out of my disgust for Sapkowski’s depiction of women. You don’t have to actively hate women to depict them in a sexist manner, and he was very sexist. Whether this is something he was taunt and subconsciously embraced or he actually just harbors these sexist ideals consciously is something that remains to be seen, as I don’t personally know the man. I only know that he sees women as his idea of what women are and not fully fleshed nuanced individuals, who can make decisions for themselves and who serve a function higher than supporting men (figuratively and literally). If you don’t want to be a mother, you’re evilllll because women are supposed to want that. It’s all we exist for. Right? Right????

And the lodge of sorceresses was about as anti-woman as you can get, upholding the old fairy tale trope of women meddling in politics and the disaster there of.

People can hate me for my opinion. I really don’t care. Not when I have to see queer women and women in general constantly patronized and dehumanized in fiction. Eff that.

15) Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it?

I’m working on A Time of Darkness, but I just blathered about that nonstop, so I’ll be happy to tell you about my science fiction series The Prince of Qorlec.

It’s actually about the lost princess of planet Qorlec, which is under siege by another planet. To escape her enemies, the princess spends several books actually pretending to be a boy. The first book (which I recently published) is sort of like a goofy cross between Men in Black and Terminator II and all my favorite science fiction movies – except the gun-toting, cursing, smoking action hero is a woman, though she’s not the protagonist. There are dual protagonists in the first book, both of which are the princess of Qorlec – Quinn – and her mother Rose.

The first book is really short and funny because it’s just an introduction to a longer series. The comedy is supposed to be a hook. I’m not saying the rest of the series isn’t funny, but it’s a bit more serious. Or at least, I intend for it to be.

About the Book

Rose, a sweet and kind librarian, is on her honeymoon with her goofy gym teacher husband when the trip takes a turn for the worst and she is abducted by aliens. When the spacecraft is attacked by the enemies of Empress Nashal, Rose makes it back to Earth freshly impregnated by alien royalty with said enemies on her heels. Now faced with running for her life, she is joined by Zita, a cheerful alien marine, and must make the choice between her unborn alien child and her baffled husband, who believes the child is his.
 

Author Bio

Ash Gray is a dragon with minuscule spectacles perched on her nose, living in a wonderfully dank, musty cave far away in an alternate universe. She types her stories with gigantic claws on a ridiculously small typewriter before sending them through a membrane and into your dimension for your enjoyment.
Goodreads
Amazon
 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (102)

itsmonday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by BookDate. It’s where book bloggers gather to talk about what books they read and reviewed last week, what books they’re currently reading and what books they’re planning to read. This is a great way for me to plan my reading week, and to take a sneak peek at what others are reading.

Finished Reading

Currently Reading

What are you planning to read this week?

Guest Post Eternal Darkness

Guest Post: SMALL TOWN HORROR

By Tom Deady

I was thirteen when I picked up Salems Lot from one of those spinning wire book racks in a local Woolworths. Vampires in a small Maine town? Sounded good to me! I devoured that book, reading late into the night despite having school the next day. How could I go to sleep and leave the Glicks and Ben and Mark and the Marsten House? ‘Salem’s Lot felt like home to me. And so began my lifelong journey as a horror fan turned horror writer.

Forty years later, ‘Salems Lot remains one of my favorite novels. Others on that list include IT, Boys Life, and Summer of Night. It doesn’t take long to see the common thread that runs through these stories – aside from the great writing – is the small town setting. What is it about these stories that draw in so many?

Small town life is an interesting dichotomy. On one hand, everybody knows everybody, and there are often more social gatherings like farmers’ markets or parades for people to get together. There is a sense of community, more than that, a sense of comfort.

On the other hand, does anybody really know anybody? You trust your neighbors and those in positions of authority (mayors, police officers, even parents, etc), but should you? When everybody is worried about “what will the neighbors think?” you have to start to question what they’re up to behind closed doors.

There are many examples, in several horror stories, where the people you think you can trust are really the villain. Stephen King uses this concept often: Big Jim Rennie in Under the Dome and Frank Dodd in The Dead Zone come to mind. Another person of authority often used as a villain: a parent. It’s a special kind of terror when a person has nowhere to turn. After all, home is supposed to be a place you think of safety, comfort, shelter. A place where you can retreat when you need to. When your home is unsafe, there is no comfort. No safety. No protection.

Small town life can also mean isolation. Long stretches of tree-lined country roads are the only way in or out. Deserted houses on the outskirts of town. Lonely ponds or lakes or river beds. No public transportation to hop on, no heavily populated places to just blend into the crowd. Just you and your town, your home, and all your neighbors, good and bad. Throw in a blizzard, a washed out bridge, or a power failure, and then what do you do? Isolation is a powerful component of horror.

I recently reread Salems Lot and was not surprised to see it holds up against the test of time. Small towns may not be the same as they were forty years ago, and technology makes it difficult for anyone to ever feel isolated, but there are some things that never change. Growing up is always going to be hard: there will always be bullies and cliques and cool kids and misfits. The coming-of-age themes found in Salems Lot and the other books I mentioned isn’t a trope, it’s a fact of life.

Relationships, whether friendships or romances, are also difficult. For kids and adults. Ben and Susan in ‘Salem’s Lot, Bill Denbrough and Beverly Marsh from IT – the challenges are always there and seem magnified under the lens of a small town.

Reading Salems Lot as a young teen, I took comfort in knowing – even though it was fiction – that other people were facing the same struggles I was. Today, as a writer, I would like to be able to capture that same feeling and pass it along to my readers.

  I used small town settings in both Haven and Eternal Darkness, as well as a strong coming-of-age theme in each of the stories. If I’ve done it right, older readers will get a whiff of nostalgia, but maybe, just maybe, younger readers will find a nugget of hope to help them through their struggles. Either way, I hope I at least throw a few good scares into them!

Perfect For Fans of The Paperback Horror Days, Don’t Miss Eternal Darkness by Tom Deady!

Available For Pre-Order Now – Reserve Your Copy Today

Holliston, MA – January, 12, 2017 – Tom Deady, acclaimed author of Haven, is releasing another horror book, Eternal Darkness. For fans of old-school horror and character-driven stories with people you can identify with, this is sure to be a hit. Following the author’s debut novel Haven, Tom Deady’s Eternal Darkness novel promises a deeper look at the secrets people hide from one another, and the malice right next door.

“First and foremost, that’s what Tom Deady is about as an author: story. And those are my favorite kinds of writers,” says Richard Chizmar, owner of Cemetery Dance and author of A Long December. “Tom understands this traditional school of writing very well, and if his first two novels are any indication of his focus and growth as an author, all of us readers are in for many more treats in the future. Tom Deady is a true storyteller, and I can offer no higher words of praise,” says Chizmar.

Something is killing the people of Bristol, Massachusetts. Do you dare to find out what? First, a young boy goes missing. Then, his abusive father is slaughtered. Next, his grieving mother burns in an unnatural fire. The only thing you know for sure? Something’s not right. Ben Harris and his best friends Richie and Jack know the stories. Now, they must separate truth from lore when they dig for answers. Who will survive and who will succumb to the eternal darkness?

If there are three things to know about Tom Deady’s Eternal Darkness it’s:

  • Someone Has Moved Into The Old Brewster Place
  • Something Is Killing People
  • Sometimes You Can’t Fight Your Own Destiny

“Tom Deady writes the type of novels that made me a fan of the genre decades ago – big, hefty books about regular folks fighting monsters against incredible odds,” says Pete Kahle, owner & founder of Bloodshot Books. “I’m ecstatic that we are able to debut Bloodshot Books’ line of original novels with Eternal Darkness. We need more authors like Tom,” says Kahle.

Perfect for fans of the paperback horror days. Richard Chizmar says, “It would be too easy to tell you that Eternal Darkness is reminiscent of early Stephen King. Sure, it features a small town New England setting, a large cast of colorful children sprinkled with a handful of flawed adults, and a monster straight out of your nightmares. If it sounds like I just described ‘Salem’s Lot or IT, there’s probably a good reason for that.”

Whether you are a fan of Haven looking for more, or new to Tom Deady’s work, Eternal Darkness from Bloodshot Books should be on your 2017 release radar. Pre-order your copy of Eternal Darkness on Amazon Kindle today: http://amzn.to/2ibyj9p

About Tom Deady:

Tom Deady, born and raised in Malden, Massachusetts, is not far from the historic (and spooky) town of Salem. He has endured a career as an IT professional, but his dream has always been to be a writer.

Tom has a Masters Degree in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University, and is a member of both the Horror Writers Association and the New England Horror Writers.

Tom’s first novel, Haven, was released in 2016 by Cemetery Dance Publications.

His new release, Eternal Darkness will be published by Bloodshot Books.

As always, he is actively working on his next novel.

Book Review: Someone to Stay by B.M. Sandy

Title: Someone To Stay
Author: B.M. Sandy
Genre: New Adult Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Life is short – this Cassie Mills knows. In the wake of a devastating loss, she has reshaped her life, carving out a limited place for herself with her grief-narrowed perception of the world. But when Jake Mason, an elusive yet famous British actor, comes to her small Pennsylvania town with an entire movie crew to film for two months, she is asked to cater to him and his colleagues in the hotel restaurant where she works. After a strange, but memorable meeting, she tells herself she’ll never see the kind and handsome man up close again. The very next night, though, he shows up again for dinner, and the spotlight is on Cassie again.

Jake Mason’s career is flooded with endless Do Not Disturb signs. He’s notorious for hiding during shoots; nobody seems to really know him. He’s worked hard for his career, and he accepted a long time ago that privacy was a valuable commodity that he should never relinquish. Accepting a leading role in a film that places him in a small town in Pennsylvania, he is forced his first night there to attend a private dinner with nineteen of his fellow cast and crew – definitely outside of his comfort zone. But after losing his phone, he finds himself intrigued by the waitress who helps him, and begins to wonder if some sacrifices might be worth making after all.

In Someone to Stay, Cassie Mills’ life was turned upside down because of a terrible loss, and she’s struggling to reshape her life. Jake Manson, an elusive yet famous British actor, come to her town with his movie crew to film for two months, and Cassie is asked to cater to Jake and his colleagues in the hotel restaurant where she works. She has a strange but memorable meeting with Jake Mason, the actor who is otherwise best known for keeping to his privacy. Cassie fears she may never see him up close again… But then she does, and the two of them connect in ways she never thought possible.

Cassie and Jake are amazing characters. The author did a phenomenal job crafting them as believable and realistic. The story may not be the most original (superstar falls ofr small town girl) but Cassie and Jake’s personalities make it really worth your time. The story is sweet and swoonworthy, and the writing is excellent.

Recommended to anyone who enjoys sweet NA romance novels.

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Book Review: Blood Rain by Nancy Gray

Title: Blood Rain
Author: Nancy Gray
Genre: YA Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

The night the blood rains from the sky, Mind of Mercy’s world changes. The savage Blood Wings, bestial creatures that feed on the blood of Mercy’s people, attack her treetop village in frenzy.

Mercy’s father, the chieftain, tasks her to leave during the fight and find the source of the storm. The journey takes Mercy across the continent of Lacern where she must make allies, even from some of the enemies of her people, to survive. The search forces her to get help from the least likely of sources, one of the very Blood Wings that attacked her.

During her journey, Mercy and her companions discover lies that are widely accepted as truths, secrets hidden by the beast men, and a power buried deep inside of Mercy herself. Magic is resurfacing in the world and the blood rain is only the beginning. A hidden power is pulling the strings to cause a continent wide war that could result in the destruction of humans and beast men alike.

Blood Rain was an intriguing, well-developed fantasy novel with a colorful, unique cast of characters. The savage Blood Wings have attacked her treetop village, and Mercy’s father, the chieftain, asks her to leave during the fight, and find the source of the storm that is raining blood upon them.

Mercy travels across the continent of Lacern where she must make allies to survive, and she has to befriend the most unlikely of sources, one of the Blood Wings who attacked her. But Mercy discovers secrets and lies accepted as truth during her journey, and the Blood Rain is only the beginning.

The world-building is solid, and the characters are amazing, in particular Mercy. She’s an easy to root for main character, and while she had several flaws, I loved her from the start. The cover art fits the story well.

Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop, and I can imagine it will be similar for a lot of people. This is a solid fantasy read, and I would recommend it to all fans of the genre.

Book Review In The Prison Of Our Grief

Title: In The Prison of Our Grief
Author: S.E. Amadis
Genre: Action Thriller

A harsh prison in England.

The grisly, tragic murder of three babies.

The murderess is on the loose… And Carrie Anne’s made friends with her.

Will she be able to find out the truth in time? Or will she become this sadistic murderess’ next victim?

Once again, Carrie Anne finds herself in the centre of another terrifying ordeal…

In this exciting sequel to Patricia, we follow seventeen-year-old Carrie Anne Houghton and her new comrades-in-arms in a whirling, dizzying, action-packed adventure that spans two continents, from the glitzy high-rises of New York City to the lonely expanses of rural Canada to the glamour and colour of Mediterranean tourist resorts.

Persecution, murder, lies and deceit. Traps, stormy Gothic settings, abandoned mansions and secret passageways. All of this comes to vivid life in the pages of In the Prison of our Grief.

A gripping, fast-paced, action-packed thriller featuring a strong female protagonist and a quirky male counterpart. This book can be read as a standalone.

I hadn’t read this author’s first book in the series, Patricia, but I was nevertheless, eager to get started on this book, because the plot seemed very interesting. And it was! Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down.

The characters were the most interesting for me. I loved Carrie Anne Houghton, our main character. She was complex and just the right amount of intriguing. The secondary characters all had three-dimensional personalities, and appeared quite realistic.

Three babies are murdered, and Carrie Anne needs to stop the murderess. But will she be able to find out the truth in time, before she becomes the next victim?

The writing style was very fluent, and I quickly got immersed in the world of Carrie Anne Houghton. This was a nail-biting, edgy, suspenseful thriller. I look forward to reading the author’s next book, or maybe taking a look at book one in the series when I have some time.