Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Win-a-Book Wednesday with Nicole Luiken!

Posted by: Jax Garren


Nicole Luiken wrote her first book at age 13 and never stopped.

She is the author of nine published books for young adults, including Violet Eyes and its sequels Silver Eyes and Angel Eyes, Frost, Unlocking the Doors, The Catalyst, Escape to the Overworld, Dreamfire and the sequel Dreamline. She also has an adult thriller, Running on Instinct, under the name N.M. Luiken and an epic fantasy romance series, Gate to Kandrith and Soul of Kandrith.

Nicole lives with her family in Edmonton, Alberta. It is physically impossible for her to go more than three days in a row without writing.

Sarathena Remillus, daughter of the newly-elected Primus of the Republic of Temboria, has been given a mission: discover the secret of slave magic. Anxious to escape the corruption and treachery of the capital, Sara welcomes the chance to finally prove herself far away in Kandrith, the tiny nation of former slaves.

Accompanying her on her journey is Lance, a Kandrithan to whom Sara owes her life. Lance despises the nobility and is determined to resist his desire for Sara and keep the secret of his magic.

Soon their travels become fraught with peril, and Sara falls victim to the ultimate betrayal. To end a war between two nations, she will have to make the ultimate sacrifice...

RT Book Reviews: 4 1/2 Stars 

"Filled with plotlines that range from the political to the fantastical, the adventure is what keeps readers engrossed..."

I'm giving away an ebook of the first book in the Kandrith series, Gate to Kandrith. However, if you'd prefer a different ebook of mine, please let me know and I'll try to accomodate you.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ELYSIUM: A Not Very Short Review

Posted by: Jody W. and Meankitty
My SFR that just came out, ANGELI, deals with what happens when the "Chosen One" doesn't stop the apocalypse, so the other night, the hubs and I decided we'd watch ELYSIUM, since it's all dystopian and science-fictiony. I thought for tonight's post I'd talk about our varied, and not so varied, reactions to the film.

Me: I heard this got meh reviews.
DH: ------- (he doesn't talk much)
*credits roll*
DH: Hey, it's the same guy that did District 9.
Me: Uh-oh. Not that I didn't like District 9, but, you know, it was depressing and dark and it didn't really have a good ending and...can you pause it?
DH: *pauses it while I write stuff down*
Me: So what does that make you expect about this film?
DH: It'll be gritty.

The film begins. Pans across a dirty earth, overpopulated, full of factories and skyscrapers and poor people. Then it pans to the Elysium space station which looks a bit like a giant Stargate.

Hero/heroine meet as kids. They're BFFs. I notice the hero (Matt Damon) is in an orphanage where they speak Spanish.

Scene switches to his adult life. He's not wearing a shirt! He's built and has tats! Wheee, eyecandy!

DH: *rolls eyes*

Now our hero has to go to work at some (gritty) job, and I notice pretty quickly that the characters are his tall Caucasian self and a bunch of smaller, darker, Spanish-speaking people. When we switch to Elysium, there are lots of white colors, pale clothing, Jodie Foster with blond hair, and people speaking French. Ok, so Spanish is for poor dark people and French is for rich people, though we do find out later that there are non-Caucasians on Elysium. Just not many of them.

Me: Hey, I think there's some social commentary.
DH: Do I have to pause it again?
Me: Nah, just keep going. I want to see if he takes off his shirt again.
DH: *rolls eyes*

So Dirty Bald Matt Damon, former car thief, runs into the heroine, now grown, when he has to go to the grubby, gritty poor person hospital to treat a broken arm inflicted upon him by robot cops. She's a nurse and he tries to ask her out but she says her life is too complicated.

Me: She totally has a sick kid or an abusive husband. Probably a sick kid. But she'll get threatened with rape at some point in here.
DH: -------
Me: Thanks for not rolling your eyes. Isn't that starting to hurt?
DH: *rolls eyes*

So, love interest isn't Caucasian. Basically only Dirty Matt Damon is. Eventually we switch back to Matt Damon working at the horrible factory.

DH: Hey, look, he makes the robot cops that beat him up.
Me: Robots are evil.
DH: You don't need to write that down, do you?
Me: He's still wearing a shirt. I'm good.

Still at the gritty, dirty robot factory. Some white dude in a suit from Elysium stares down at the dirty workers in the factory, and also white Dirty Matt Damon. Suit guy is being all elitist and shit. He's eventually in some plot with white, clean, French speaking Jodie Foster, but I won't spoil it for you. Suffice to say, he's not very sympathetic when the foreman (who's--hey! short and white and a bit less dirty!) forces Dirty Matt Damon to try to fix some equipment. Poor Dirty Matt Damon ends up getting a full dose of radiation that can't be cured unless he can get himself to the magical medical bed on Elysium.

That'll be hard because white, clean Jodie Foster likes to have dirty refugees who just want 2 minutes in a magical medical bed shot out of the sky...oddly, by a scary, dirty Caucasian AUSTRALIAN guy who looks like Road Warrior ran over him. Dude shoots a big gun from the surface of the planet to take out the refugee ships. And this is necessary because Elysium has a brown guy pacifist at the helm and Jodie Foster hates him because she has kids and he won't take the threat of refugees seriously. Like you do.

Shortly thereafter, Dirty Matt Damon also finds out his BFF love interest the nurse has a daughter dying of leukemia (NAILED IT) who can only be saved by a magical medical bed. He also has a male BFF who keeps saying things like, "We've always been friends" and "I'm with you to the end."

Me: That dude is so dead.
DH: --------

Thus begins Dirty Matt Damon's quest to get his irradiated self, his love interest, the child, some other dirty poor people (but not his male BFF because the guy gets killed, NAILED IT!), and a bunch of stolen seekrit evil plans saved in the organic matrix that is his brain to Elysium, where he always promised the love interest he'd take her. Also the scary Aussie and his cohorts are out to get them and want to rape the love interest (NAILED IT!)

Now, since this was by the guy who did District 9, you can guess about the cinematography, the violence, the dirt everywhere, the depressingness, and so on and so forth, as well as the ending I won't spoil in case you want to watch it. Not that you can't guess most of it because...NAILED IT!

Yeah, I guess I'm saying this movie was pretty predictable. Gritty, shaky-cam, and a heavy-handed indictment of rich-white-people-are-evil, it requires a bald, tall, dirty white guy amongst a bunch of small brown people to save the world. Mixed messages much?

Anybody else catch this one?

Jody W. *

PS Here's the stuff about my new release! It's less gritty and happier than Elysium, and a brown, Spanish speaking heroine saves the world :).

ANGELI (Book 1 of the Maelstrom Chronicles)
by Jody Wallace
Release Date: January 27, 2014
Genre: SF romance
Length: Shortish Novel
Rating: R (profanity, violence, sex–all the good stuff)
From: Entangled Ignite
Buy Links: Amazon, B&N, All Romance eBooks, Kobo
Add it to your Goodreads list!
Party with the Ignite Authors on January 30

Monday, January 27, 2014

Here Be News

Posted by: Unknown

New Releases

His only wish is to be free…

For centuries Gage has existed only to fulfill the most intimate desires of the woman who holds his bottle. Now Gage has a wish of his own—to be a real man and a have a real life even though he knows it’s an impossible dream. This time he plans to take his bottle and break it just to see what will happen.

Paramedic Sasha Watts has seen the damage falling in love does to people and she has no intention of being another of Cupid’s victims. She accidentally frees Gage without knowing what he is. After one kiss he walks away and she never expects to see him again, but the goddess Inanna has other ideas.

As punishment for breaking his bottle she erases Gage’s memory of everything but Sasha. Only Sasha can give him the life he longs for and only Gage can be the man she’s always dreamed of, but first she’ll have to open her heart and he’ll have to finish the job Inanna gave him. If he fails, he’ll cease to exist.

Buy links:

Cover Reveal!

Coming in February 2014 from Veronica Scott: 
After a childhood spent scorned and ignored by her family because of her crippled foot, Tyema was magically healed then installed as the High Priestess of his temple by Sobek the Crocodile God. But Tyema is still haunted by her memories, scarred by the abuse she endured. Despite Sobek’s protection, as an adult she’s become a near recluse inside the temple grounds…

Until Captain Sahure arrives in her remote town, sent from Thebes on an urgent mission for Pharaoh, requiring High Priestess Tyema’s help. From that moment on, her quiet, safe life is upended in ways she never could have expected.

This is the sequel to PRIESTESS OF THE NILE
Visit Veronica's blog for more information on both books:

Win-A-Book Wednesday Winner

Congratulations to Suzanne, the winner of South of Salemfrom last week's Win-a-Book Wednesday! Janni Nell will be contacting you soon about your prize.

This Wednesday we'll have another mystery giveaway; stop by for more chances to win!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

11 Shows You Don't Want To Miss...Unless You're On Deadline

Posted by: Marie Harte

I’ve been in revision hell, as I like to call it, for the past three weeks. Three sets of edits, two revisions, and a manuscript due by the 31st. Loads of fun for 2014. Ack. It doesn’t help that I’ve been distracted by some killer television. Since this is a blog devoted to magic and the paranormal, I thought I’d list some of my televised distractions. They don’t all involve the paranormal, but they sure are magical. You should check them out if you haven’t already. In no particular order, here they are...

  1. Grimm (NBC)—a new twist on fairytales, with a cop, who's also a supernatural cop--a Grimm--dealing with the creatures that go bump in the night…in Portland! Fun and always neat to see how they incorporate new fairytales.
  2. Bitten (SyFy)—based on the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelly Armstrong. I never read the books, but the premise of the only female werewolf working with her pack and dealing with the whole man vs. animal issue is great. I’m not a fan of the many, many, many commercials though. The show clocks in at an hour long, but feels about 20 minutes long with all the friggin’ advertisements. I want to love this, but I don’t know that I’ll have the patience to hang around.
  3. Helix (SyFy)—Billy Campbell. Check. Isolated genetics lab in the arctic with secret research. Check. People with secrets. Awesome. The threat of zombies...and I’m in.
  4. Hemlock Grove (Netflix)—A terrific series about supernaturals in Hemlock Grove. Lots of gratuitous sex and violence. No, you will not be disappointed. *grin*
  5. Almost Human (Fox)—Karl Urban. Need I say more? A police procedural set in the future where cops work side by side with androids. Urban plays John Kennex, a guy with attitude, whose partner is a quirky droid named Dorian—who also happens to be hot. Great chemistry between the leads, and it makes you think about what it means to be human. Love this show. (Do not confuse it with Being Human, which is about three paranormals living together.)
  6. Sleepy Hollow (Fox)—Ichabod Crane, you debonair spy! That accent, that look…those clothes. Ew. If they’d get him some new pant and a shirt made in this century, I’d be very thankful. That said, the play on the headless horsemen, good vs. evil, and fun with history make this a quirky show that entertains. I love that one of the lead characters is a smart woman with no sexual designs on the hero. She’s terrific. Oh, and have I mentioned Ichabod’s dashing accent?
  7. Blacklist (NBC)—LOVE me some James Spader. He plays a wanted criminal who turns himself into the CIA with some ulterior motive. He will only work with the cute young agent who may or may not be his daughter. Conspiracies abound, but Spader is so amazing in the role of Reddington you find yourself cheering when he kills people. Bad people of course. Except for… Well, watch it. It’s amazing.
  8. Intelligence (CBS)—Sawyer from Lost. Hurray! Now he’s a snarky government agent with a computer chip in his brain that allows him to access anything he needs. And he’s after a conspiracy involving his wife. It’s got promise if they don’t drag out the wife plot-line.
  9. Elementary (CBS)—Sherlock and Watson, where Watson is a woman! I love this show for its smart dialogue and snappy cases. And Jonny Lee Miller kills as Sherlock.
  10. The 100 (Fox)—coming out in March. In the future, after a nuclear apocalypse on Earth, 100 petty criminals, considered expendable test subjects, are sent back to the planet to see if they can survive. It’s Lord of the Flies meets The Toxic Avenger with Young/New Adult angst. Wowzers.
  11. Resurrection (ABC)—coming out in March. Based on the novel The Returned by Jason Mott. Looks promising. The dead return to life out of the blue. Not a take on zombies, but how to handle the return of your loved ones long after you’ve accepted their loss and moved on. Should have some real emotional pull and has a cast of great actors.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Deadlines Are Like Zombies

Posted by: Seleste deLaney/Julie Particka
No one ever sees the zombie apocalypse coming. Sure, there are signs of something amiss, but we trust that science has a handle on it. Maybe there are even portents, but no one believes in those. Then the next thing you know…zombies are breaking down your door and your life becomes nothing but staying alive.

Deadlines are kind of like that.

As authors, we know when stuff is due and we usually have a pretty good idea when edits are coming in. (Or at least we should if we've been at this a while.)

I was going to post a pic of my schedule I'd drawn up so that I stayed on top of everything, but I'm not sure if that would get me in trouble with any of my publishers, so just trust me when I say I thought science (me) had a handle on it. Basically I have until April to finish drafting two books, do edits on 3, and release one or two. Nooooo problem… (really, I was thinking "it's a little tight, but it's all good. I can totes do that.")

Until the pounding on the door started. You see, in my head, I had until April 30. Uh… no. April 1.

I gave myself an extra month in there.



So, now I'm running for my life (and still vaguely attempting to have a life), but a great many things are falling by the wayside. Like this blog post. I knew I had to write it--even had a nice little alert pop up on my laptop. And then I spaced because the zombies were eating my brain.

There really isn't a point to this story (other than "sorry the post is late…and kind of lame"). There is, however, a moral to it: don't get complacent, bust ass every day so when the zombies show up you're already on your way to Hawaii. (And now I'm going to go work on edits and try not to dream about a trip to Hawaii.)

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Inside Scoop

Posted by: Ruth A Casie
Ah, there you are and just in time. Thank you for coming I knew you wouldn't want to miss this. We've pulled a real coup. Let me give you a little background before they begin. Our investigative reporter is about to hold an interview the hero, Lord Alex, and heroine, Lady Lisbeth, of Ruth A. Casie's book, The Guardian's Witch. I see they are about to begin. I'll fill you in on their story when the interview is over.

Reporter: (Facing the audience) Welcome and good afternoon. Today’s guests are Lord Alex Stelton, the exceptional knight who put his life on the line for the woman he loves. Also here is his extraordinary wife, Lady Lisbeth. She too was willing to risk it all--to save the man she loves.

Alex Stelton is the seventh son of Lord and Lady Stelton. Alex’s father is also a seventh son, an oddity that arises in the Stelton family from time to time. Lady Lisbeth and her younger sister, Laura, survive their parents Lord and Lady Reynolds and their older brother Richard. Their parents were lost to us in a terrible carriage accident. Richard died valiantly on the Welsh battlefield.

Reporter:(Turning to his guests) Thank you both for taking time to talk to us today. The first question I have is for Lord Alex.

Alex: Please, call me Alex.

Reporter: Certainly. Alex, what was your first impression of Lisbeth?

Alex: I’m embarrassed to tell you.

Lisbeth: He avoided me for weeks.

Alex: (Taking Lisbeth’s hand.) That’s not quite correct. You made it perfectly clear that you wanted no part of me. As a matter of fact I got a very clear impression that you would’ve been quite happy if I had disappeared like the others the king sent to protect you.

Lisbeth: Well, what did you expect? You came marching into Glen Kirk all proud and self-important just like all the others.

Alex: (Raising an eyebrow to his wife.) Did I now?

Lisbeth: (A bit contrite.) Well, maybe not exactly like them. (She pulls her hand away from his and faces him.) How was I to know?

Reporter: (Cough.) How did this disagreement start?

Lisbeth: He didn’t tell me for weeks.

Reporter: I beg your pardon. What didn’t Alex tell you for weeks? (Looking at Alex the reporter noticed him squirm, just a bit.)

Lisbeth: He didn’t tell me we were married.

Reporter: Married? I don’t understand?

Alex: Wait a minute, Love. You didn’t exactly make it easy.

Lisbeth: Love— (She shot Alex a glance that could turn him into a pillar of salt.)

Alex: (Alex faced the reporter) I won a bet with King James. If I held Lisbeth’s Glen Kirk Castle safe for one year it would be mine. Having an estate of my own has been a goal of mine for some time.

Lisbeth: (Foot tapping.)

Alex: (Rakes his hand through his hair.) After meeting my part of the bargain, I went to London to collect my winnings and ended proxy wed to Lady Lisbeth by order of the king.

Reporter: He what? And you didn’t tell her for weeks?

Lisbeth: (Folding her arms in front of her glaring at Alex.) Exactly.

Reporter: Perhaps we should move on. Lisbeth, I understand you come from a long line of healers and that you are quite gifted. My sources tell me you’ve used that gift to save Alex more than once.

Lisbeth: (A humbled look crosses her face.) Yes, I work hard to keep the people I love safe.

Reporter: (Shows Lisbeth a charm.) I understand you place these charms in the trees around Glen Kirk.

Alex: (Takes the charms from the interviewer.) My wife has a notion that the pretty bits shine and distract. (He gave the reporter a cold stare.)

Reporter: I understand there are rumors that your wife… uses incantations—

Alex: (Stands dragging Lisbeth with him.) This interview is over.

Reporter: (Obviously upset.) I’m sorry m’lord. I meant no disrespect to your wife or you. But sir, your wife’s special talents are common knowledge far and wide. It is to be honored sir, not reviled as some may think.

Alex: I clearly told your man that those questions were not to be asked.

Reporter: M'lord, Alex, this woman was ready to risk everything for you. She was in the midst of conjuring up the true criminal responsible for the treason for which you were accused. She was using her magic in front of the king and his court, all to protect you. Surely you know what a grave risk she was taking.

Alex: Don’t you think I know that. (Alex took his wife in his arms.) I cringe each time I think of how close she came to being judged a witch and the consequences that would have been metered out.

Lisbeth: Alex, (she pulls gently away from his embrace) come sit down. No harm was meant, surely you know that. (She pats his arm.)

Alex: (Regaining his composure.) I will not dwell on it, Lisbeth. I will protect you always.

Lisbeth: Yes, Alex. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But all here know who and what I am. There is no longer a need to hide that I am a witch.

Reporter: We have a little more time. Alex, I understand that your wife is very talented. Her dreams of the future appear to come true.

Alex: (He looks at his wife and does all he can to contain his smile.) My wife has many talents. Her dreams are--exceptional.

Lisbeth: Shhh Alex.(She leans close to him.) No one else will understand.

Alex: (Totally forgetting the reporter for the moment.) You call me into your dreams and we… Faith, (A smoldering look passes between them and he rakes his hand through his hair.) I want to spend the rest of my life in your dreams…

Reporter: Well, thank you both very much. (Pulling on his shirt collar.) Is it warm in here? (The reporter turns to the audience) You can find out more about Lord Alex and Lady Lisbeth in The Guardian’s Witch by Ruth A. Casie available for their Nook or Kobo or Kindle

I hope you enjoyed the interview. Here's a brief overview of The Guardian's Witch.

England, 1290
Lord Alex Stelton can't resist a challenge, especially one with a prize like this: protect a castle on the Scottish border for a year, and it's his. Desperate for land of his own, he'll do anything to win the estate—even enter a proxy marriage to Lady Lisbeth Reynolds, the rumored witch who lives there.
Feared and scorned for her second sight, Lisbeth swore she'd never marry, but she is drawn to the handsome, confident Alex. She sees great love with him but fears what he would think of her gift and her visions of a traitor in their midst.

Despite his own vow never to fall in love, Alex can't get the alluring Lisbeth out of his mind and is driven to protect her when attacks begin on the border. But as her visions of danger intensify, Lisbeth knows it is she who must protect him. Realizing they'll secure their future only by facing the threat together, she must choose between keeping her magic a secret and losing the man she loves.

Do you have any questions for Lord Alex or Lady Lisbeth?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Win-a-Book Wednesday with Janni Nell

Posted by: Jax Garren

After growing up in a beachside suburb of Sydney, Australia, Janni Nell travelled overseas, working in the UK before returning to Sydney, where she now lives. 
Janni began writing in her late teens. She won prizes for short story but her dream was to publish a novel. Carina Press fulfilled that dream when Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator was published in June 2010. Janni has now concluded the Allegra Fairweather series with book five, Night of the Dark Horse. She is currently working on a cozy mystery.
When Janni isn’t writing, you can find her line dancing, walking the dog or working in her vegetable garden.


My mother thinks my job is crazy. I’m a paranormal investigator; she’s Nancy Reagan crossed with Martha Stewart. She’s always preferred my sister, Lily, who is following in her perfect footsteps.
But this time Mom needs my special skills. She believes my stepfather is possessed. I admit he’s not his usual dapper, charming self, but sleepwalking doesn’t sound that weird. Until the sleepwalking spreads through the family and cousin Donna walks right out of her seventh floor apartment window to her death. Then my sister goes missing and I have to find her and solve the mystery before Lily and her unborn child are harmed.
Normally I would have assistance, but my right hand, a hunky angel I’ve nicknamed Casper, has business of his own to take care of – business that might take him out of my life forever. The stakes are too high for me to lose, but I’m not sure I can do it alone… 


Janni is giving away a copy of South of Salem (epub or PDF format). She chose this book because it’s her favourite in the Allegra Fairweather series.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Throw Me a Life Preserver

Posted by: R.L. Naquin
Now that I’m writing book five of a six-book series, I’ve discovered a problem. It’s not a plot problem, exactly, because I’ve known the complete story for some time now. It’s not that I’m bored with the series, though—sure—some days are a little slower for me than others. It’s not a fear of disappointing my readers or finishing the series and never writing anything people like again. Those problems might show up later, but right now, it’s cool. I got this.

No. The problem I’m having right now is sort of an embarrassment of riches.

I’m drowning in characters.

I love my characters. Readers tell me they love my characters. Reviewers who weren’t in love with the plot often said they love my characters. But with each book, new characters have entered the already crowded world and made themselves important.

I’m on book five, folks. Demons in My Driveway. There’s only one left after this. Half my cast is standing around backstage, waiting for their cues. How can I give them each enough page time to complete their arcs? How can I keep all the most-loved players front and center when the pace of the story is moving too quickly for the character-building tea breaks and heart-felt talks on the front porch?

To make matters more complicated, writing book five isn’t like writing all the previous books. I’m not working on just one book. Book five is more like the first half of a two-part finale. The scope is so much larger. And I’m painfully aware that I really do have to start wrapping up all the storylines I started so many books ago.

This has all been Zoey’s journey. But part of Zoey’s journey was picking up new friends and family everywhere she went. That’s her thing. And it’s caused a huge headache for me. Every scene, it seems, I have to figure out where everybody is. If she’s home, who’s sleeping in which bedroom or tent? This includes monsters in closets and under beds—which closet and whose bed?

I’ve been sorely tempted to whip out a box of LEGO mini-figures so I could stage it all. People are everywhere. Creatures are everywhere. And as the danger increases—as it must—more people of all different types rally to Zoey’s aid, creating further crowding.

Zoey and I are drowning.

So, maybe some of the characters won’t get as much time on screen after this. But I did discover something I can do about it. I’ve started writing short stories in Zoey’s world. It helps me spend a little more time with Zoey and her friends without the pressure of the world coming to an end. So far, I’ve put out two short stories, “Ill-Conceived Magic” and “Hidden Holidays.” A few more are coming. In fact, I’ve got my eye on a whole group of people from the upcoming book four, Golem in My Glovebox. Characters who were that much fun to write deserve more than a chapter and a half. They might even get their own novella.

So, that’s my solution. Keep the plot moving forward and write short stories to keep the characters from feeling slighted. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’ll get me to the end of the series.

And who knows…maybe someday I'll write a spinoff.

Rachel's head is packed with an outrageous amount of useless Disney trivia. She is terrified of thunder, but not of lightning, and sometimes recites the Disneyland dedication speech during storms to keep herself calm. She finds it appalling that nobody from Disney has called yet with her castle move-in date.

Originally from Northern California, she has a tendency to move every few years, resulting in a total of seven different states and a six-year stint in England. Currently, she's living in the Heartland, planning her next grand adventure. Rachel has one heroic husband, two grown kids, a crazy-catlady starter kit, and an imaginary dog named Waffles.

She doesn't have time for a real dog.

Sign up for her newsletter for news, extras, and exclusive stuff: Newsletter
Hang out with her here: Website Blog Facebook Twitter

Buy her books here:  Amazon B&N Carina Press

Monday, January 20, 2014

Here Be News

Posted by: Unknown

New Releases

In the second seductive installment of Jeffe Kennedy's thrilling "Master of the Opera," a young woman falls deeper under the spell of the man who haunts her dreams, fuels her desire, and demands her surrender...With each passing day of her internship at the Sante Fe Opera House, Christine Davis discovers something new, something exciting-and something frightening. Hidden in the twisting labyrinths beneath the theater is a mysterious man in a mask who, Christy's convinced, is as real as the rose he left on her desk-and as passionate as the kiss that burns on her lips. He tells her to call him "Master," and Christy can't deny him. But when her predecessor-a missing intern-is found dead, Christy wonders if she's playing with fire...

If her phantom lover is actually a killer, how can she continue to submit to his dark, erotic games? And if he is innocent, how can she resist-or refuse-when he demands nothing less than her body and soul?

Buy here!


A whisper of butterflies’ wings promises a lonely old man his heart’s desire; mages draw upon music to work magic; and a fearful symmetry threatens an alien realm. Be it in our dreams or flights of fancy that take us into uncharted territory, our hopes and desires often birth twisted imaginings. This selection of tales, some devious or whimsical, others downright eerie and unsettling, offer glimpses into other, darker realities.

Allow Amy Lee Burgess, Anna Reith, Autumn Christian, Carrie Clevenger, DC Petterson, Don Webb, Liz Strange, Nerine Dorman, Rab Fulton, Sarah Lotz, SL Schmitz, Sonya Clark and Toby Bennett to remove you from what’s familiar – just for a short while – and bring you back changed.

Buy here!

Win-A-Book Wednesday Winner

Congratulations to Fedora, the winner of Reaper's Touch from last week's Win-a-Book Wednesday! Eleri Stone will be contacting you soon about your prize.

This Wednesday we'll have another mystery giveaway; stop by for more chances to win!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Looking at Home Through Someone Else's Eyes

Posted by: A. J. Larrieu

There’s nothing like reading to discover new places, but there’s something special about visiting places you already know through a book. I remember reading Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast while spending a summer abroad in Paris, and seeing the city through his eyes while I was discovering it through my own was an experience I’ll always value. It’s a rare joy to look through the lens of a gifted writer into a place you love, and see it in a whole new way.

I was born and raised in Louisiana, but for over a decade now, I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. I feel lucky that both places serve as settings for more than their fair share of stories, especially stories of the supernatural variety. Reading fantasy or science fiction set in San Francisco or New Orleans is like going through a rabbit hole to an alternate dimension.

One of my favorite ways to look at San Francisco is through the literary lens of William Gibson. He might be most famous for writing Tokyo and London, but his “Bridge Trilogy” (Virtual Light, Idoru, and All Tomorrow’s Parties) takes place partially in San Francisco, and he does fascinating things with the Oakland Bay Bridge. It becomes a community all it’s own, filled in like a sideways skyscraper and populated with squatters and some near-future equivalent of food trucks. I never drive across it without remembering his gritty vision of its fate.

There are plenty of other takes on San Francisco and its surrounding towns. Christopher Moore delivers the whole Bay Area in intimate (and hilarious) detail. He even sets part of Bloodsucking Fiends and its sequels in the Safeway where I used to buy my groceries. Seanan McGuire (and her alter ego, Mira Grant) is another author who knows and writes the Bay Area beautifully. There’s a scene in her urban fantasy Rosemary and Rue that takes place in the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, and everything from the ticket kiosk to the landscaping was exactly as I remembered it. (Except for the faeries.)

I'm glad I haven't run into any vampires in the produce aisle or mischievous Fae in the botanical gardens, but imagining them there sure is fun. What are some of your favorite stories set in places you’ve called home?


A.J. Larrieu is the author of Anchored and the upcoming Twisted Miracles, the first book in her urban fantasy series, The Shadowminds. She's a Southerner, a chocolate addict, and an incurable nerd. Find out more at
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