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Friday, February 28, 2014

Feature Friday & Giveaway: Stronger than This by David-Matthew Barnes


Stronger Than This
David-Matthew Barnes
Genre: Literary Fiction/LGBT/Death/Dying/Grief
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Date of Publication: February 18, 2014



Book Description:


Charlene’s soul mate, Samantha, has been killed in a car accident. Daniel’s partner, Martin, has been murdered in a robbery gone wrong. Seeking comfort, Charlene and Daniel attend a support group where they meet for the first time.


Emotionally devastated and discarded by their loved ones’ conservative families, Charlene and Daniel feel an immediate connection. Rather than reveal their pain to a room full of strangers, they decide to see each other through their shared anguish.


As a beautiful friendship emerges from grief, slivers of new hope are found.


About the Author:


David-Matthew Barnes is the bestselling author of ten novels, including the young adult novels Swimming to Chicago and Wonderland, which were nominated by the American Library Association for their annual Rainbow Books, a list of quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content for children and teens.


He is also the author of a collection of short stories, Boys Like Me, and two collections of poetry, Roadside Attractions and Souvenir Boys. He has written over forty stage plays that have been performed in three languages in eight countries. Collections of his theatrical works include Deuces: Stage Plays for Two Actors, Monologues That Kick Ass, You Think You Know Us: Stage Plays for Teen Actors, and more. He is the writer and director of the feature film Frozen Stars and the dramatic short film Threnody.


His literary work has been featured in over one hundred publications including The Best Stage Scenes, The Best Men's Stage Monologues, The Best Women's Stage Monologues, The Comstock Review, and The Southeast Review. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina.


He teaches college courses in writing, literature, and the arts.





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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thursday Takeover: Interview with Paul DeBlassie, Author of The Unholy


Today's Thursday Takeover is with Paul DeBlassie III, author of The Unholy. Before we do, allow me to introduce Mr. DeBlassie and his book.

The Unholy
Paul DeBlassie III
Publisher: Sunstone Press
Genre: Psychological thriller

A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, the Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.
Amazon

About the Book:

Part psychological thriller, part supernatural heroine’s journey and part gothic horror, The Unholy lures the reader into a twilight realm that pits two old worlds against each other: the medicine woman against the church. Witchcraft, magic, demons and religion each play a role as healer confronts slayer. 

“Paul DeBlassie III has brought us a richly imagined supernatural thriller set in the high mountain desert of Aztlan, where Claire Sanchez, an herbalist and medicine woman, has come to reclaim her healing heritage and uncover the secrets of her mother’s death. The book digs deep into legend, folklore, and the author’s own imagination to paint a stirring picture of traditional curanderismo pitted against the oppressive forces of institutional religious power. Make sure you have lots of time; once you start reading this book, it will be hard to put down.”—Stephan V. Beyer, author of Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon 

Rich in the native lore of the southwest and set in the mythical, yet modern, land of Aztlan, you will follow a young curandera (Spanish medicine woman) Claire, who is intent on uncovering the secrets of her past, secrets that lead her into a life-and-death battle with an evil archbishop. As women die in mysterious circumstances, Claire must decide how much faith she has in her own powers and how far she can go before putting her own life in mortal danger. 

The Unholy will appeal those who are fascinated by the old traditions of healing and magic as well as those who simply desire a fast paced battle between good and evil, masculine and feminine, darkness and light…

“The Unholy, an excellent novel by Paul DeBlassie III, keeps the reader engaged throughout in mystery, suspense, and church politics. In addition to vividly depicting the beauti- ful landscape and culture of New Mexico, it exposes and strengthens the traditional work of the medicine women of the Southwest. I am looking forward to Dr. DeBlassie’s next book.”—Eliseo “Cheo” Torres, author of Curandero: A Life In Mexican Folk Healing, professor, and university administrator 
About the Author
Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist and writer living in his native New Mexico. A member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association, and the International Association for Relational Psy- choanalysis and Psychotherapy, he has for over thirty years treated survivors of the dark side of religion.

SoulCare, his professional consultation practice  is devoted to the tending of the soul. One of the few therapists writing fiction with a healing emphasis, Dr. DeBlassie has been deeply influenced by the surreal beauty and natural magic of the mestizo myth of Aztlan.

The Unholy is his first novel.


Question: I get the impression that The Unholy is a book only you could write, because of the setting, and because of your own background. Let's start with the setting. Tell me about Aztlan.  
Paul DeBlassie III: Aztlan is the mythopoeic realm of the mestizos (mixed bloods of southwestern United States). I am mestizo. Aztlan is New Mexico, especially  the region of Albuquerque (southern Aztlan) and Santa Fe (northern Aztlan) and extends to the four corners area. Spirits, dreams, visions, and natural magic are woven seamlessly into everyday life. 

Q: Your protagonist, Claire Sanchez, is a curandera, a term which roughly translates as "Medicine Woman." What exactly is a curandera? What led you to choose this occupation for your heroine? 
Paul: A curandera is a healer. She spoke to me as the story evolved, told me who she was and told me of her struggle to find herself. The path of a healer is fraught with danger. She dramatizes the life of so many women and men seeking to face their fears, find themselves, and walk the path of healing, natural magic, and life.

Q: Faith and religion are central themes of The Unholy. You explore the abuse of religion and the conflict that can come from spirituality. What would you say is the central theme or message of Unholy? What impact are you hoping to have on your readers? 
Paul: The central message of The Unholy is Religion Kills. It is made explicit at the end of the tale. News media broadcast Religion Kills as they describe the battle between the evil Archbishop and the young curandera. 

Q: You live in New Mexico, in the general area where the novel is set. How has this affected the writing of The Unholy? How important was your knowledge of the places and people and culture? What kinds of personal knowledge did you draw on as you crafted your characters and setting? 
Paul: New Mexico is Aztlan. My lineage reaches back for over three-hundred years in Aztlan, a long line of medicine people, healers.  I live here, breathe its air, am sheltered under the canopy of its turquoise sky. The Unholy and the natural magic of the medicine women, forces of darkness and light, exist side by side in the daily, mythopoeic realm of Aztlan. I live here. It is my homeland.

Q: How has your training and experience as a psychologist impacted your writing in general?  
Paul: For over thirty years I have treated survivors of the dark side of religion. I chose to write a novel about this human drama. Stories cut to the chase. I’ve written three other books in psychology and spirituality, but there is nothing like stirring the imagination via story to set the mind working and the heart healing. 

Q: I know you've had some specific experiences in your role as a psychologist that led to your decision to write this book. Tell me about that.  
Paul: Religion can be both terrifying and damaging. I help people to heal from the dark side of religion. Decades of such experience led me to write this book and the ones that will follow. Each phantasmagoric story, much like The Unholy, plumbs the dark and light sides of human nature and spiritual experience. 

Q: The cover image for The Unholy is striking and haunting, and it's not just some random stock photo. Tell me about that picture.  
Paul: It is the Devil’s Throne, an actual site between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The evil archbishop performs atrocities there. The land has been contaminated by evil, women desecrated, the air itself befouled. It is the Devil’s Throne in the realm of Azltan!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Release Day Blitz for Knights of Rilch by Rachel O'Laughlin

It's here! It's here! It's here! Okay, so I already reviewed it yesterday. But now YOU can purchase your own copy, or win some great prizes like a signed copy of the book and swag! If you want to read the first chapter, head on over to Rachel's blog where she has the entire chapter posted. =D

When Serengard rebelled and the Orion monarchy fell, former crown princess Kierstaz Orion’s love for her people became a burning desire to set things right. With a price on their heads, Kierstaz and her brother Mikel led a handful of men against the new army, fighting skirmishes all along the border of Dreibourge. But months of heavy bloodshed forced her small band of knights to abandon the border—and all of Serengard—to the rebels.


Nine years and a thousand betrayals later, Kierstaz and Mikel again find themselves on the run—only this time, they’ve a boy in tow: Malcom, the son of two of the Seren rebellion’s strongest leaders. The new regime wants him dead, Mikel wants him alive, and it’s all Kierstaz can do to keep their tracks covered. Desperate to preserve the innocent life she swore to protect and the brother who has always stood by her, Kierstaz must gamble the last thing in the world she owns: her identity. Secrets are a staple of the Orion family, and those Kierstaz keeps are as dangerous as the ones kept from her.


KNIGHTS OF RILCH is the sequel to COLDNESS OF MAREK, and the second book in the SERENGARD Series.


Author Bio:
Rachel O’Laughlin grew up writing adventure stories in which heroines tend to get their hands dirty, bad guys sometimes win, and someone always gets kidnapped. Her passion for history morphed into a love for fantasy in her mid-teens, when she took a brief pause from reality for immersion in the arts and a hands-on education in sustainable living. She lives in New England with her husband and two boys, listens to The Fray, and drinks too many lattes. Two novels in her SERENGARD fantasy series have been released, and a third is scheduled for October 2014.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up: Review of Knights of Rilch (Serengard #2) by Rachel O'Laughlin

You guys...this book. This SERIES. If you haven't already read Coldness of Marek, the first book in Rachel O'Laughlin's Serengard series, I highly recommend it. Because this series only gets better. I was lucky enough to read the next book in the series Knights of Rilch before it releases tomorrow, and you should be jealous. Definitely.

About the Book:
When Serengard rebelled and the Orion monarchy fell, former crown princess Kierstaz Orion’s love for her people became a burning desire to set things right. With a price on their heads, Kierstaz and her brother Mikel led a handful of men against the new army, fighting skirmishes all along the border of Dreibourge. But months of heavy bloodshed forced her small band of knights to abandon the border—and all of Serengard—to the rebels.

Nine years and a thousand betrayals later, Kierstaz and Mikel again find themselves on the run—only this time, they’ve a boy in tow: Malcom, the son of two of the Seren rebellion’s strongest leaders. The new regime wants him dead, Mikel wants him alive, and it’s all Kierstaz can do to keep their tracks covered. Desperate to preserve the innocent life she swore to protect and the brother who has always stood by her, Kierstaz must gamble the last thing in the world she owns: her identity. Secrets are a staple of the Orion family, and those Kierstaz keeps are as dangerous as the ones kept from her.

KNIGHTS OF RILCH is the sequel to COLDNESS OF MAREK, and the second book in the SERENGARD Series.

About the Author:

Rachel O’Laughlin grew up writing adventure stories in which heroines tend to get their hands dirty, bad guys sometimes win, and someone always gets kidnapped. Her passion for history morphed into a love for fantasy in her mid-teens, when she took a brief pause from reality for immersion in the arts and a hands-on education in sustainable living. She lives in New England with her husband and two boys, listens to The Fray, and drinks too many lattes. Two novels in her SERENGARD fantasy series have been released, and a third is scheduled for October 2014.

Goodreads  Website  Facebook  Twitter






My Review:
Knights of RilchKnights of Rilch by Rachel O'Laughlin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rachel O'Laughlin does not disappoint with the second book in her Serengard series. This book is filled with action and intensity from the very start, and Rachel has woven a careful web of stories around each of her main characters, constantly pulling them apart only to draw them back in again with Trzl's schemes. I really liked how the history of what happened directly after the rebellion was told, and how it helped you to understand everything happening now and how the characters have evolved.

What I love the most about these characters is that there really is no 100% bad guy, aside from maybe Otreya. Trzl, Mikel, Kierstaz--they've all done things that they feel have tainted their character. Their moral lines can be blurred at times, though this seems to weigh the heaviest with Mikel (which is a nice turn of events since female characters are stereotypically the softer and more full of regret).

Reading this book, you feel completely immersed in the world and the war. The violence is everywhere, and we are reminded of that without having our noses rubbed in it. I've said it before, and I will say it again: Rachel O'Laughlin has a brilliant gift for detail without boring the reader. She knows how to enchant you, and that is exactly what she does with this series. Her world exists so purely, and so vividly. The plots are intricately played out, the characters well developed and believably flawed, the relationships strained but not beyond hope, and the politics and action creating a tension that takes hold of you and doesn't let go, even with the last page. Brilliantly done!


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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday Takeover: E Van Lowe On Why Parting with a Series Can be Bittersweet Sorrow


As a writer, saying goodbye to a series is never easy. When you start the first book, you can't wait to write the last and get it all out. But once you get there, it can be harder than you think to say goodbye. E. Van Lowe recently released the last book in his Falling Angels Saga, Falling, and is here to talk to us about what it was like to let go of his series and look to the future.

Saying Goodbye To a Series

When I was a kid my brother had a record (yes, there were records back then, 45s, in fact)  by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles entitled  “What’s So Good About Goodbye.” *Singing*  What's so good about goodbye, all it does is make you cry.  Today that song has new meaning for me.


A few weeks ago I turned in the final draft of the final book in The Falling Angles Saga.  And with it, I said goodbye to Megan, Guy, Maudrina and Aunt Jaz.  I've never written a series before so I never knew the feeling of finishing one.  From what I've read, some writers can't wait to get on with their lives, while others have a tear in their eye.  For me it was a little of both.  I'm happy to have finished the series.  More than a handful of fans have written me asking about the final book.  For those who've hung around for the entire series, I want it to be a satisfying experience.  I'm happy to give this final book to them.  I'm also excited about what's next.  I've been doing notes on a new book in the horror genre for several months now.


Yet another part of me will miss this series.  I really loved writing Megan and Guy.  I call these my growing up novels because I could see my writing improving, getting sharper as the series progressed.  I started writing Boyfriend From Hell in 2008, just after I'd made my first young adult book sale with Never Slow Dance With A Zombie (Tor/teen).  I've been with these characters for more than five years.  I've had a wonderful time with them.  I will definitely miss them. 


It took me so long to write the second half of the last book, partly, I believe, because it was hard letting go.  During the writing of the book (Falling) I thought of all sorts of spinoffs and ways to keep the series alive.  However, now that some time has passed, I'm ready to move on.  I may revisit one or more of the characters later, but for now, it's goodbye.  It feels very much like a break-up.


Those of you who've been waiting for the final book, I'm sorry it's taken so long.  I want you to know I've poured my all into this book.  I hope you think it does the series justice.
So that's this author's take on ending a series.  Saying goodbye is difficult, but moving on is exciting.  And you know what they say about one door closing.  I'm ready.


Well if leavin’ causes grievin'
And to part will break your heart
Tell me what’s so good about it
I could've done without it
What's so good about goodbye

More on the Falling Angels Saga:


Falling
Falling Angels Saga
Book Four
E Van Lowe

Genre: Paranormal YA

Think twice before you agree to marry Satan. Theres no divorcing the devil.

The End is Near

Will Megan Barnett go falling back into the arms of dreamy earth angel, Guy Matson? Or, is she in fact, falling in love with the demon, Orthon?  Or, will her out-of-control abilities send her falling into Satans open arms?

In the final, heart-stopping chapter of the Falling Angels Saga, Megan Barnett is on a quest to rid her life of Satan forever, but Satan has other plans, including a lavish wedding, and hes willing to destroy her family and everyone she loves to have his way.  To add to the drama, rogue demons have risen from hell with plans of their own.

Will Megan finally have her happily-ever-after, or is she doomed to an eternity in HELL?

As Amanda Ashby, author of Zombie Queen of Newbury High, writes, “E. Van Lowe is a writing force to be reckoned with and you are in masterful hands from the first page to the last.” 

Preview Chapters 1-6 here or purchase it while it is on sale for just $0.99


Boyfriend from Hell
Falling Angels Saga 
Book One

Aww, Hell No! 

Fifteen year-old Megan Barnett and her single mom, Suze, have a special relationshipthey are friends, close friends, who do almost everything together.

But come on, guys, shes my mother Can I really tell her that while were snuggled up on the sofa watching Spider Man Three, Im secretly undressing James Franco with my eyes?  Of course not…”

The special bond takes a turn for the worse when Suze decides to start dating again.  She hasnt had a man in her life since Megans father left ten years ago. 

Enter two mysterious young men, Megans new classmate, sinfully attractive bad boy, Guy Matson, and the dangerously handsome art dealer, Armando.  Before long Megan and Suze both wind up in steamy relationships.  But neither of the handsome guys is quite what he seems.  In fact, one of them is Satan, with his sights set on a new bride.  Megan has precious little time to figure out how to stop him.  If she doesnt, either Megan or Suze are quite literally going to HELL.



Earth Angel
Falling Angels Saga 
Book Two

Heaven Can Wait!

Just because Megan Barnett recently defeated Satan, has a fantastic new best friend, and has won the love of deliciously handsome, Guy Matson, doesnt mean her troubles are over.  Far from it.  For Megan doesnt realize it, but in her possession is a powerful weapon, a weapon sought after by both angels and demons and everything in between.  They will do ANYTHING to get it.

In E. Van Lowes humorous, romantic and thrilling sequel to Boyfriend From Hell, Megan winds up in a gripping life or death battle to save herself, the boy she loves, and all of mankind from unthinkable evil.

Megan Barnett has recently defeated Satan, found a fantastic new best friend, and has won the heart of deliciously handsome, Guy Matson.  But that doesnt mean her troubles are over.  Far from it.  For Megan doesnt realize that she is in possession of a powerful paranormal weapon, a weapon sought after by both angels, demons and everything in between. 

In E. Van Lowes romantic yet thrilling sequel to Boyfriend From Hell, Megan finds herself in a gripping life or death battle to save the boy she loves, and all of mankind from unthinkable evil. 





Heaven Sent
Falling Angels Saga 
Book Three

What Does It All Mean?

Readers who devoured Boyfriend From Hell and Earth Angel will be captivated by the third book in the Falling Angels Saga.

As summer break for Glendale Union high begins, heartsick Megan awaits Guy's return while struggling to control her emerging abilities.  Love is in the air, but can the new loves in Megan, Maudrina, Suze and Aunt' Jaz's life be trusted? Nothing is what it seems.  Meanwhile, the Satanists are set to hatch their most diabolical scheme ever, and if it comes to pass, Satan may finally win out.

Megan has precious little time to unravel the cryptic message hidden in the riddle she received at the end of Earth Angel. If she doesnt, the life of someone most dear to her will be lost forever, and Megan may yet find herself living in HELL.











About The Author
E. Van Lowe is an author, television writer, screen-writer, playwright and producer who has worked on such TV shows as "The Cosby Show," "Even Stevens," and "Homeboys In Outer Space." He has been nominated for both an Emmy and an Academy Award. His first YA Paranormal novel, "Never Slow Dance With A Zombie," was a selection of The Scholastic Book Club, and a nominee for an American Library Association Award. The first two books in the Falling Angels Saga: Boyfriend From Hell” and “Earth Angel,” are best sellers. The Zombie Always Knocks Twice” is the first book in the Hollyweird series.

In December 2014, he received a letter and certificate from the Writers Guild of America for his work on The Cosby Show, which had been selected as one of the 101 best television shows in history.

E lives in Beverly Hills California with his spouse, a werewolf, several zombies and a fairy godmother who grants him wishes from time-to-time.




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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cover Reveal for Kiya: Rise of a New Dynasty by Katie Hamstead

The end is nigh.

The end of the Kiya series by Katie Hamstead, that is. I am equal parts excited and sad about this. As you guys probably already know, this is one of my favorite series right now, which means that I am very reluctant to see it go. But knowing Katie, there is something awesome in store. And I already read the first book of her next series to be published, so that gives me comfort (hint: it's going to be AMAZEBALLS). ;)

Today marks the beginning of the end with the cover reveal of Kiya: Rise of a New Dynasty, the last book in the trilogy. Take a look:


Title: Kiya: Rise of a New Dynasty (Kiya Trilogy Book #3)
Author: Katie Hamstead
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: New Adult Historical Romance
Release Date: February 25th, 2014

Blurb:

Tut has grown into his position as Pharaoh, but he is a wild young man. Naomi fears for him, not only because of his recklessness, but because he has put his trust in Ay–the man determined to destroy Naomi—despite her and Horemheb advising against it.

Meanwhile, death and slavery hang over Naomi and her family. With fear of the booming Hebrew numbers causing talk of enslaving them, conscription is reinstated and Naomi fears for the lives of her other children. Especially since Ay's children are now adults, and just as dangerous as their father. They threaten to take Itani, conspire against Tut, and pushing for power.

But Tut is in trouble. While Ay's daughter draws Horemheb's attention, and Naomi deals with the struggles of her family, everyone's distraction could spell death for the young Pharaoh.

Add it to Goodreads



About the Author:

Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.

After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.

She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. She is currently at school studying English and Creative Writing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as a Clerk with a lien company in Arizona to help support her family and her schooling. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.