Monday, 19 August 2019

Why Writing Fantasy Is Awesome


I have never really thrown myself into the world of high fantasy. I've tended to focus on contemporary reality, even when including paranormal elements. In many ways my books, even those involving


VAMPIRES

ANGELS
FAIRIES

have been rooted very much in reality with the paranormal elements weaving themselves into everyday life, or at least as every day as you can get with the fey or shifters or vampires.

I've thought about writing fantasy for a long time. I love to read it after all. I hate the thought of being one-note in my writing and love to experiment with everything from setting to point of view to genre. I've dabbled in sci fi and toyed with paranormal but never committed myself all the way.

Then, an idea came to me and I ran with it. The result is not yet fully crafted but has been contracted with eXtasy as my first series.  I have a well-formed idea for three books, with possibly a fourth bubbling away in the back of my head. It's so new that, although I have named each book, I have no idea what to call the entire series. I'm hoping it will come to be soon.

Creating a world is, in itself, an exciting project. "Fairyland" is such a huge concept and has been written about so many times, it was a challenge to come up with new things. Thankfully, my twisted imagination and experience of living for more than fifty years in my own world, has come in handy in that department.

As usual, I started in the "real world" with a very ordinary sixteen-year-old boy and his ordinary friends, who are in the middle of their school exams. Tay has plans. He's going somewhere, although the last place he expected to go was Fairyland. This is a new take on the old trope of "Fairy prince sent to the human world to hide from demons". Tay takes his ordinariness into the other world, along with his best friend Caleb who's possessed by the very demons Tay was unknowingly hiding from. From there, he dodges assassins, makes powerful friends and tries desperately to come to terms with the fact that his parents were never his parents and his true family are fairies, people he's never met who expect him to slot into the role that should have been his. He's so lost he needs a map to find his way around his own head.

We follow as the strange new world unfolds, and my imaginations does crazy things to everyday animals and even inanimate objects. Feathered flying panthers, amphibious foxes, double-ended snakes and buildings that turn out to be sleeping dragons.


This is one of the places featured, where Tay meets the feathered panther with Wisp.

With images like that to work with, it's easy to let your mind go crazy about the wondrous creatures that might inhabit this place. Other things, like the skink wizard, are just plain crazy




The biggest challenge I've come up against is what the heck to name the series. I have names for the individual books - Willow's Way, Tay's Trials and Cale's Cunning, but what to call them all together?

Look out for Willow's Way coming soon (hopefully by the end of the year) from eXtasy to find out what I finally chose as the series name.

Monday, 5 August 2019

COVER REVEAL: V. J. Allison Away to Me


Hi everyone! V.J. Allison here. I’m so excited to show off the cover for my new book, Away to Me, which is Book 1 in the Tri-Town Series. It will be published by eXtasy Books later this year, so keep watching for it!

Many thanks to eXtasy Books/Devine Destinies cover artist Martine Jardin for her amazing work on the perfect cover. It’s so Nova Scotian, which is exactly what I wanted. I adore it!

The town in the background is Lunenburg, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home of one of the most famous schooners in Canada – The Bluenose II. The couple represents Neil and Kelsey perfectly… It’s amazing seeing them come to life for the first time. I’m so happy!

Before we do the big reveal, here’s some information about the book:

What would you do if you found out your late spouse wasn’t the biological parent of your stepchild as they had led you to believe? Would you let it go, in hopes the child wouldn’t go looking for their birth family, or would you help them in their search?

This is the dilemma Neil Falcon faced when he first discovered his late wife, Rita, wasn’t the biological mother of his teenage stepdaughter, Rikki.

His decision to look for her roots puts them on a path that leads them to a part of Neil’s past, one he thought was locked away forever.

Away to Me is about family, overcoming one’s troubled past, and finding that one special person to love forever.

Here it is, the gorgeous cover for Away to Me, Book 1 of the Tri-Town Series.




Away to Me
Book 1 of the Tri-Town Series


Tagline: Sometimes you have to go back to move forward…



“What doesn’t lie? The evidence.”

The evidence in front of Neil Falcon proved that his late wife wasn’t the birth mother of his stepdaughter, Rikki. If Rita lied to him about Rikki’s roots, what else did she hide from him?

The confused pair begin a search that leads them down a road that makes an unexpected backwards turn, to Neil’s past, and the woman who once held his heart.

Kelsey Wagner is shocked to see the man she once adored appear on her doorstep with claims that Rikki may be her biological child. After finding out her daughter wants her to be a part of her life, she agrees. With Neil’s help, Kelsey settles into the role of helping him raise their daughter.

Amidst the confusion of raising a teenage daughter and dealing with the antics of a mischievous corgi, the old feelings resurface.

They know their daughter wants them to become a family, but can they make it work?

Coming soon from eXtasy Books!
(Book 2 is currently “under production”, keep watching for updates on my blog!)



About the Author


V.J. Allison was born and raised in southern Nova Scotia, Canada, and her work reflects her strong Maritime roots. She is a stay at home mother to a son on the autism spectrum, married to the love of her life, and “mama” to a rescued Maine Coon cat named Marnie.

She has been writing various stories of novel length and short stories since her school days, and sees writing as a vital component to her life.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to read romance and science fiction novels (notably Star Wars); listen to music (heavy metal, rock, alternative); watch various crime and forensic dramas; watch science fiction television shows and movies; and spend time with her large family and many friends.

This self-proclaimed geeky rocker chick is a warrior and advocate for various chronic illnesses including Occipital Neuralgia, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Diabetes, Migraines, and Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia. She is also an advocate for the prevention of animal cruelty and is a voice for Autism Awareness.

Her first book, Stricken, was released by eXtasy Books on March 17, 2017, and has garnered positive reviews.



*Special Thanks to Maggie Blackbird, Denise Wheatley, Cheryl Headford, and Taryn Jameson for doing the cover reveal for me. Y’all are amazing! Big hugs, and love to all of you!*

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Writing Hints and Tips: Dialogue

Some people love writing dialogue. It comes easily to them. They are simply the scribe for the voices in their head, living the conversation and letting it flow onto the page. For others, it's not so simple, and even when your dialogue flows well there's no guarantee it's punctuated properly.

I am by no means an expert on dialogue in particular or grammar/punctuation in general, but I have picked up some tips along the way that I would like to share.

1. Listen to people. If you want to write dialogue with good flow, using age/class/area etc appropriate words, particularly slang or accent, there are no better teachers than the people themselves. Listen to the conversations going on around you - on the bus, in the restaurant, hanging around outside the liquor store, etc - and think about it. What words are they using? What kind of things are they talking about? How might the accent look on the page?

2. Following on from above be careful that the words you put in the mouths of your characters are appropriate for that mouth, that person. There is nothing more frustrating than to read a young character using words or phrases their grandmother might have been familiar with but have never, realistically, entered their head. When was the last time you heard a teenager say things like "atop", "unseemly", or "uncouth"? Unless they're members of the aristocracy in which case they use ancient language all the time.

3. Make sure the words used are appropriate to the setting. You won't hear British characters using words like "diaper", "sidewalk" "store" or "trunk"(of a car). Think about who your character is, where they're from, how old they are and what social class they belong to.

4. Consider names carefully. During your eavesdropping...er...research, notice how many times people use the name of whoever they're speaking to. Not often. You can spend a whole day with someone and say their name no more than a handful of times, if at all, and usually when you're calling them. It's particularly frustrating to read dialogue that's full of names. If you have to rely on dialogue to convey who is speaking to whom then dialogue is not your main issue.

5. Free up on the grammar. We don't always speak correctly, so get into the head of the character and if the character would say something that is not grammatically correct then be true to them when you write them.

6. Some punctuation tips

If dialogue ends with the end of a sentence, punctuate it as if it was the end of a sentence then start a new one.

"It's raining outside." She picked up the umbrella to keep dry.
"Is it raining outside?" She picked up the umbrella to keep dry.

If dialogue does not end with the end of a sentence, punctuate it with a comma, and continue with no capital.

"It's raining outside," she said, picking up the umbrella.
"Is it raining outside," she asked and picked up the umbrella.

The same thing applies at the other end. If the dialogue continues afterwards, then think about whether a new sentence is required or whether the bit in the middle simply interrupts a sentence.

"It's raining outside," she said, picking up the umbrella, "and I really don't want to get wet."
"It's raining outside," she said, picking up the umbrella. "I really don't want to get wet."

Dialogue that ends with things such as ellipses and dashes do not have any punctuation after them whether they end a sentence or not.

"It's raining outside and..." She sighed and picked up the umbrella.

7. Action tags. Try to avoid "he said", "she said" and be careful about adverbs (the "ly" words). It actually hurt me to say that because I love adverbs, but it's true. Instead of saying things like, "It's raining outside," she said miserably, picking up the umbrella." use an action tag. An action tag is simply a short sentence conveying an action or emotion. "It's raining outside." She thrust out her bottom lip and gave me than hangdog expression. "I'd better take the umbrella."

Not particularly inspiring examples of dialogue I know, but I hope you get the idea and have a little bit more confidence about writing good dialogue.

Note: I am not particularly good at punctuation generally. I'm confident that the specific comments regarding dialogue are correct, as for the rest...maybe not so much.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Wendy Rathbone. The Foundling Trilogy


I'm happy to announce all three books in The Foundling Trilogy are now live on Amazon and in KU! The third book just went live today!

#Billionaire, #amnesia, #organized crime, #romantic, #hurt/comfort, #tropical hot-hot, #happy ending
Great for summer reading! But have a cool drink or breeze on hand. These books are erotic.
"Rescue Me"
What do you do when you find an unconscious man floating on a raft in the middle of the Caribbean?
Rescue and fall in love with him, of course!
"Sacrifice Me"
What do you do when your beautiful new lover’s life is in danger and he wants to be bait to catch the enemy? You protect him with all your might.
"Remember Me"
What do you do when your memories return and the most horrific nightmare you can imagine is real?
You try to bury it. You try to run. But none of that works.
Your lover is rock solid. He is always there for you, but is it enough?

Friday, 12 July 2019

NEW RELEASE: UPSTAGED 4: ARIA



Due to a tad of miscommunication, we were taken by surprise with this release. It's out today guys! Head over to eXtasy and get your cope and find out what our boys are up to now. 

WARNING: This book contains serious issues of mental health and suicide. Also, there is some stereotyping of women with regard to taking over weddings.

Blurb

You think you’re holding someone close, but if you’re not paying attention, they could slip right out of your arms and fall.

Asher and Erik are getting married, but Asher isn’t happy about the pressure being put on him by their families and unwittingly by Erik himself. Issues that have plagued him for a long time come bubbling to the surface and threaten to overwhelm him. Although he cries out for help, no one hears; instead they write it off as Asher throwing a tantrum again. Only Angel sees the cracks, but it’s too much for him to handle on his own, although he tries.

The pressure builds, and even though there are breakouts, still no one sees the extent of the problem until the night before the wedding, when Asher is confronted by Erik in front of all their family and friends, and bolts.

Fortunately, Asher is rescued by Vince’s Uncle Tony, who makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

The Band heads off to London for a three-month tour, and not everyone is happy about it. Vince is stressed out and worried that Angel is not being entirely faithful. Should he say something? Then Connor meets an old friend, just when he starts having doubts about his relationship with Angel, and the fur starts to fly.

Will any of the couples survive?

Excerpt

“So, how’re the final touches on the wedding coming, guys?”

Erik waggled his eyebrows in mock horror. “For heaven sake, Vince. Don’t say the W word in front of Asher. He might explode…or kill someone.”

Asher punched him in the arm, none too gently, and scowled. “I told you from the very start this would get out of hand and we’d have been better off eloping. But no, Mr. Von Nordgren had to have his day in the spotlight. Not as if he doesn’t have enough of them. I knew damn well as soon as the women got their hands on it, things would get out of control.” He said women as if it was a swear word. “I feel like I’ve been catapulted into hell and surrounded by she-demons, constantly beating me over the head with seating plans and menus and flowers.” He shuddered. “Can you believe my mother actually believes she’s going to get me into a suit?”

“And so she will,” Daisy said, firmly. “It’s your wedding. You have to be smart.”

“What’s smart about wearing a suit? When have you ever seen me wearing a suit?”

“At Grandma’s funeral.”

“It wasn’t a suit. It was black slacks and a vintage jacket with silver buttons and—”

“It was close to a suit,” Daisy snapped, “and this time it’s your wedding.” She sat back as if the point was decided.

“And, because it’s my wedding, how about cutting me a bit of slack?” Asher growled back. “You’ve already blown every idea I’ve had about the stupid wedding right out of the water and if you really think—”

Daisy huffed. “Your ideas have been ridiculous. Who gets married at midnight in a cave with the officiant dressed as death?”

“I do,” Asher said grimly. “Or rather, I don’t.”

“We’ve reached compromises—”

“Compromises? You mean you’ve thrown me a few scraps, like agreeing to have the wedding in the evening, putting some black serviettes on the table, and going for red roses instead of white ones. Big deal. Well, I’m warning you, keep pushing me and you’ll be sorry. If you force that fucking suit on me, I’ll walk down the aisle in a dress.”

Vince nearly dropped his drink. “Oh gawd, Asher. I shudder to think what else you’d wear. You’re at the very least—er, how can I put it—shocking with what you choose to wear.”

Billy nodded. “Truth there, baby. You looked smokin’ hot at our wedding, but I can’t fathom what you’d wear to yours if you had the chance. Something toeing the line of legality, I’m sure.” He laughed. “Aw, Ash. You’re setting a bad example for Angel. That boy looks up to you, you know.”

“Tsk, tsk. Must behave now, mustn’t we?” Vince joked, catching the scowl Asher sent to Billy. 
Thankfully, Asher smiled and relaxed back into his seat. He was such a powder keg lately, and the last thing Vince wanted was a stand-up row. “You’re not the only ones, you know. Our mothers took 
over our wedding, and the hens clucked so damn much together over it they became best friends.” He chuckled, lost in memories.

“Sure did. How are yours getting along? Have you had much of a chance to help out, Daisy, or have the moms just hoarded it all?”

“Are you serious?” Asher said, still hyper. “She’s a fucking woman, of course she’s doing her bit to help. And as for our mothers…” He shuddered. “You’d swear they were twins separated at birth.”

“Whoa, there. Just simmer down, Asher.” Erik laid a hand on his arm.


Asher shook it off. 

Biographies


S.L. Danielson began writing at the age of six. She knew it was her calling from the moment she put pen to paper. In her teens, she began writing alternative works, and the genre stuck. She also wove more elaborate tales and finally, in her college years, began to weave her new love of male romance into long novels.
She is classically trained in business, accounting, and education, holding both undergrad and graduate degrees. Her other hobbies include painting, gaming, and spending time with her husband and two cherished cats.

Contact S.L. at:
or follow her blog at:


Cheryl Headford was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was sixteen, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden, and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry, and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.
Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews, and cousin, and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.
Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re-enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.
It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller, the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.
In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and two cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close.



The Upstaged Series also has it’s very own Facebook page

And if you want exclusive snippets, gossip, more information about the group and what our boys look like as Sims then you can have an exclusive Backstage Pass

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

June Newsletter (Received in July)



First, why am I sending out the June Newsletter in July? Answer: because it was mostly completed in June and I'm hopeful I will be able to get another one out in July with some more exciting news.

To enter the giveaway for June's newsletter, please comment below.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

COMING SOON Upstaged #4 Aria



Upstaged is back for its fourth installment





Erik and Asher are getting married, but the pressure is getting to Asher and the lid is about to fly off the pressure cooker. 

Vince and Billy are celebrating a year of married life, but stresses of separation and new life are plucking at the seams of their relationship.

Connor and Angel are steaming forward, but one of them is pulling a little too far ahead.

The Von is on its way to stardom, but it's a bumpy ride for members and their partners. 

If you thought these guys had settled down and the angst level must be dropping by now, you're so wrong a whole different ballpark.

With the book in final line edits we're hoping for a release date at the end of this month or the beginning of the next. Keept watching this space or head over and get a Backstage Pass for news, views and snippets.

Friday, 7 June 2019

New Release: Asta Idonea - Blood is Forever





Blood is Forever

Asta Idonea

NineStar Press

3 June 2019

74,000 words

MM/Paranormal Romance/Murder Mystery



Sometimes catching a murderer means risking one's heart.
As a fae-vampire hybrid, scorned by all, Holden’s life has never been easy. The one bright spot is his job testing blood at supernatural crime scenes. It’s routine work, until the day he finds a victim he can’t read.

When one murder becomes two, and then three, it’s clear there’s a serial killer on the loose—one with a penchant for collecting hearts. Finding the bad guy could cement Holden’s career, but he’s drawing a blank. And it doesn’t help that the expert his boss calls in to assist him is the man Holden’s been crushing on for years.

With lives hanging in the balance, Holden and Val must solve the case before the killer strikes again. But will they come out with their hearts still intact?



SoundCloud Excerpt: https://soundcloud.com/nickijmarkus/blood-is-forever-by-asta-idonea-audioexcerpt

YouTube Excerpt: https://youtu.be/CuYWU05z_8w

NineStar Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/blood-is-forever/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07S8Y4J15

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07S8Y4J15

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/blood-is-forever-1

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131770704?ean=2940161326251


Interview


Let’s start by telling us, in twenty words, or less, what your book’s about.

Blood Is Forever is a tale about overcoming prejudice, set against the backdrop of a paranormal murder mystery.

What was it that led you to write in the genre(s) you write?

I write a few different genres, but my main focus is fantasy/paranormal (whether contemporary or historical), and that’s probably because I love to read and watch those kinds of stories too. I find it easier to fire up my imagination if there are fantastical elements. Writing contemporary tales is a lot harder for me, unless there’s a prompt of some kind.

Are your books character led or plot led, or both?

It really depends on the story. In pieces written in response to themes/open calls, I’d say plot takes the lead. However, works that come to me independently tend to start with characters, and they then influence the plot.

What is your favourite part of the writing process?

Getting that first draft down and discovering the characters and their story.

What is your least favourite part of the writing process

The final proofread. By then, I know the story so well it’s hard to spot any remaining typos, and you always end up missing one or two.

If you could have one wish what would it be?

I’d love to have the opportunity to go back in time to the late 18th century and meet some of my idols from that period. If we are talking more materialistically, I’d wish to win the lottery--enough that I could live off the interest from my investments and dedicate myself to writing and all my hobbies and interests without having to work.

What's your deepest fear?

Growing old.

If I came to dinner what would you feed me?
Assuming I’m the one doing the cooking (which is something I hate), it would probably be a pasta dish of some kind.

Which of your characters would you like to be sharing the dinner table with us?

Val, if we are talking about from this book. He’s cultured and charming and would be excellent company.

Tell us in the character’s own words, what he/she would have to say about you.

Nicki is a great conversationalist; although, she can be a little intense. 

What would they say (again in their own words) about themselves, and their story that will make us want to read about them?

I’m someone used to presenting a mask to the world. It’s how I’ve always survived and I do it well. However, the events related in this story forced me to confront the truth about myself and my past. It wasn’t easy, but I think I came out the other side a better person for it.

Which other fictional character(s) would you like to be present at the dinner party?

Perhaps Gareth from the Vampire Empire trilogy and Saint Germain from the Saint Germain series. Maybe Morozko from the Winternight trilogy.... Honestly, there are so many I’d invite, I’d probably need to hire ten ballrooms to get them all in!!

Which character from literature, would you most like to have invented?

This can vary depending on my mood, but at present I would say Morozko from Katherine Arden’s Winternight trilogy. I’m so in love with him!

What kind of books do you read, and where do you read them?

I read really widely across a lot of genres. The only things I’m not into are true crime, heavy horror, and chick lit. Otherwise I’m up for anything. I do the bulk of my reading in bed. I like to spend an hour with a book before turning off the light.

What makes you cry in a book or film?

I am terrible for crying in films or while reading books. Character death is the main one, but also happy or poignant moments too. I will sob over something in a movie that wouldn’t affect me at all in real life. My husband finds that weird.

What makes you laugh that might not make other people laugh?

I have a very black sense of humour, so that doesn’t always mesh well with others.

What’s the weirdest thing you own?

Hmm. I do have a standee of Loki (Thor: Dark World) in my library/music room. That sometimes freaks out visitors, as they think someone is there! I also have a Viking-style drinking horn on the shelf.

And finally

Do you have any other projects in the offing we should look out for?


At present I am looking to rerelease (self-pubbed) a few of my older MF titles, so hopefully those will be coming late 2019/early 2020. In the meantime I am working on some new MM stories, but all are in first draft stage at present.

Where can we find you?

I am everywhere on social media! If you visit my Linktree page (https://linktr.ee/nickijmarkus), that will take you wherever you wish to go. Or you can visit my website at http://www.nickijmarkus.com.

Author Bio & Links


Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.



Blog: 

Newsletter: 

Twitter: 

Instagram:

YouTube: 

Linktree (for all other links):







Friday, 31 May 2019

Release Day - Contumacy (Book 5 of the Veiled Elimination Series) by Taryn Jameson and Gabriella Bradley




Series Blurb:

Earth is a cesspool of poverty and disease ruled over by one government, the World Leadership Organization, known as WLO. They will do anything to protect the wealthy, including sanction and fund the Institute—a highly classified facility that experiments on children and babies, then trains them to become emotionless killers.

Ripped from their families, sold, stolen, or kidnapped off the streets, these children and babies become the tools of the Institute and WLO to eliminate those that stand in the way of furthering their intergalactic agenda.

They are the Veiled Eliminators.

We are unique. We are the best. There is no one on Earth like us, and there never will be. We will succeed. We are strong beyond belief. We are the eliminators, and no one can touch us.




Contumacy
Veiled Eliminators Book 5 
By Taryn Jameson and Gabriella Bradley


Buy Link: https://www.extasybooks.com/veiled-eliminators/contumacy/

Turn about is fair play when death is the hand you have been dealt.

Thirty-three has no past—at least none that she can remember. Raised by the Institute from infancy she has been through hell and back due to a training incident that took her limbs and almost killed her.

Paired with her cybernetic tiger, Belle, Thirty-three is selected to eliminate the terrorist, Dominic Durant, and his men, and regain control of the refueling station on the planet Zahiria. Things go awry when instead of following orders meekly, she retaliates against the one man she hates most.


EXCERPT:

Behold the portal.” Schultz gestured at the monstrosity with pride.


She almost snorted. My escape to freedom? That thing? It looks like an oversized ugly picture frame.

They led her to it, then Rob appeared with Belle on a leash. When the big cat saw her, she pulled free and bounded toward her. Thirty-three bent and kissed her on the nose. Belle was wearing her metal armor. Good. She hated the thought of anything happening to her sweet friend. The cladding would protect her most vulnerable body parts.


Schmidt touched her arm, and when she turned to face him, he handed her a small dagger while throwing a furtive glance at Schultz. “WLO wants indisputable proof that the terrorists have been terminated. We cannot allow a phaser, as their bodies would be disintegrated but I refuse to send you completely unarmed. Good luck, Susan.”


“Thank you, sir.” Susan gazed down at the knife. The hilt fit perfectly in her hand, the blade almost four inches long and the edge looked razor sharp. How incredibly magnanimous of you, asshole. It would have been much simpler to use a phaser.

She increased her chances of being caught by leaving a trail of bodies in her wake. She sure as hell wouldn’t order Belle to attack a human to make it look as though an animal mauled the terrorists. The tiger had never been fed raw meat. One taste of human flesh and blood could turn Belle into a killer. If that happened, the big cat would have to be put down. Fuck that.

“Are you ready?” Schultz drew close to her, making her feel crowded.


“Yes.” Susan tried to ignore his nearness and looked at the grey oval,  which was now glowing.


In the center, a mass of what resembled mercury, swirled and flowed, then merged with colorful darts shooting across it. Rob had left, and Schmidt went to stand behind the glass partition in the computer room, leaving Schultz standing beside her. Schultz placed a hand on her arm, lightly caressing her. That feeling of nausea pooled in her belly. She could almost read his thoughts by the look on his face.


“Such a delectable body. It is a shame that you will no longer be with us.” He dropped his hand, an imperious smile on his face. “Take Belle and step into the portal.”

Monday, 13 May 2019

New Release. Healing Glass by Jackie Keswick

Healing Glass
  
A Gifted Guilds novel
by Jackie Keswick




 Genre:                  M/M Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy Romance
·         Length:                 87k
·         Publisher:           Self-published
·         Release Date:    13th May 2019

Blurb

A dying city.

An ancient, forgotten accord.

And two gifted men caught in a web of greed and dark magic.

Despite belonging to different guilds, glass master Minel and warrior captain Falcon are friends. Their duties keep them apart, but when Minel falls ill and chooses death rather than the only known
cure, nothing can keep Falcon from his side.

As their friendship grows into more, old wrongs and one man’s machinations threaten the floating city and leave both Minel and Falcon fighting for their lives. Can they learn to combine their gifts to save the city and its magic, or will everything they know and love perish before their eyes?

Healing Glass is an LGBT fantasy adventure with its head in the clouds. If you like medieval backdrops, impressive world-building, three-dimensional characters and a touch of magic, then you'll love Jackie Keswick's socially-conscious adventure.

Buy Healing Glass to visit the floating city today!

Tagline / Quote


Introduction

Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Cheryl. I’m delighted to be here to talk about my new release, Healing Glass. It’s a fantasy novel about a glassmaker, a warrior and a city in the clouds… and since I’ve not written fantasy in a while, getting the story ready for release caused me some sleepless nights.

As writers, most of us worry whether the stories we’re creating are good enough. That’s a theme that runs through Healing Glass, too. It’s a world where some people have special gifts, and gifted children start their apprenticeships when they’re ten years old. They become journeymen at sixteen and they learn and practice for years after that on the road to become craft masters. 

One part of becoming an artist is about learning the craft. The other part is talent, inspiration and confidence. And in Healing Glass, one of the characters has been a glassmaker’s apprentice for years. He knows his craft, but he’s convinced himself he has not enough talent to ever become a master, and he doesn’t listen when his master or even his friends and family tell him otherwise.

That lack of confidence isn’t just holding him back when he makes glass. It actually leads him onto a path that threatens the floating city and the three Gifted Guilds, and forces Minel, the glassmaker, and Falcon, the warrior captain, to risk everything they have and are to stay alive and save their world. It won’t be an easy journey, and they’ll have their own moments when they feel they’re not good enough - very much like the rest of us.

And like most of us, they’ll help and support each other. After all, that’s what friends are for.

Excerpt

The tiny plate of glass could change the workroom’s atmosphere in the time it took Wark to draw breath. It hung on a thin chain just off the largest window. Intricate and delicate like fine lace, it glowed in all the colours of the rainbow and hummed with power. The ornament had been in his workroom for ten years, a gift from Minel on the day Wark had become a councillor.

Wark had touched the small item and all joy over his achievement had drained from the day. Because Minel, barely a third into his apprenticeship, had crafted something so wonderful it had left Wark speechless. The glass was exquisite, carefully made and coloured, and the wash of delight Wark felt when he touched it spoke of more than craftsmanship. Minel had every right to be proud of his work, but instead he’d apologised for the simple design of his gift.

Wark had wanted to shove his fist down the boy’s throat. He’d trained for more years than Minel had been alive. He’d worked and studied, and he’d never produced anything even close to the beauty and power of that small ornament Minel had gifted him.

If he needed a reminder that he would never be what he’d so desperately desired, he just needed to look at Minel. That awkward, skinny boy with his coltish legs and too-large eyes would grow into a glass master who created pieces that left people speechless. It was all Wark had ever wanted to do. And he was just not good enough.

Buy Links  

·         Payhip Store: (this offers a lower price than mainstream retailers) https://payhip.com/b/uPRI
·         Books2Read – universal link:  books2read.com/HealingGlass
·         Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R44YVB8/
·         Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07R44YVB8/
·         Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07R44YVB8/
·         Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07R44YVB8/
·         Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B07R44YVB8/


Jackie Keswick Author Bio and Social Media Links


Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She's worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.

Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don't follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.
And she still hasn't found the place where the bus stops.

For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops, or recipes for traditional English food, join her in Jackie’s Kitchen on Facebook or find her in all the usual places:

Newsletter: eepurl.com/ctY9RD



Thursday, 11 April 2019

Why I Am So Bad At Blogging 3 - Crafts

This is the third installment of my "Why I Am So Bad At Blogging" series. You will notice they are currently the only posts on my blog, but more about that particular situation next time. It's the reason this post is short.

As someone with autism, I have certain "special interests". You've already seen two and this post will cover the third (although there are more little ones and, of course, writing is the biggest). You should notice a theme running through all my interests, and that is creating things. This interest is the most overt in that respect as it looks at my crafts. I'm piling quite a lot under this one, so bear with me.

My biggest love in this section is, of course, my art, of which I enclose a selection below. It's been my second love (next to writing) for a long time and I can't see my interest waning anytime soon. One of my biggest regrets is that I don't have the skill I would like, but it brings me joy and that's the most important thing. I usually paint with acrylic on canvas.








The second part of this category is my cross stitch. I don't actually have any photographs of this as I tend to give it away a lot. Here is a selection of what cross stitch looks like. I have done them all myself but these are not the actual ones I've done. The one I'm working on at the moment is the dragon.







Then there are the soft toys








And finally just general stuff