Saturday, December 21, 2013

Blog Tour: Another Shot At Love by Niecey Roy - Review

Another Shot At Love

Niecey Roy

Contemporary Romantic Comedy

Available at Amazon

Imogen Gorecki has a problem—her twin sister just got engaged, and guess who’s the best man? That’s right, her scum-of-an-ex-boyfriend whom she caught cheating with a bottle-blonde, with fake breasts and a stripper’s flexibility. There’s a disturbing possibility her eyes will never recover.

Gen needs a date for the engagement party, but finding Mr. Perfect in a time crunch is proving impossible. Just when she’s about to give up, she face-plants into the crotch of the sexiest guy she’s ever met.

Matt Sesnick is everything Gen wants in a man —except he’s not interested in a relationship. Can she convince Matt to take another shot at love, or will Gen’s pregnant, hormonal older sister, her bridezilla twin, and all of her past Mr. Wrongs get in the way of their happily-ever-after?


My Review: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Another Shot at Love is a laugh out loud romantic comedy, so I advise taking your surroundings into consideration before you start reading, unless you enjoy making a spectacle of yourself. By the end of the book when Gen finally makes it to the engagement party, I was laughing so hard I could barely read. From the way Gen meets Matt to the riotous engagement party, there is never a dull moment.

I fell in love with Gen from the very beginning. She's such a caring, free-spirit, I just couldn't figure out what she was doing with a bore like Brent to begin with. She's so lucky he cheated on her or she might have married the jerk. Gen is an artist, her creative nature apparent in her appearance (pink highlights in her hair) and her overall personality. When he older sister starts fixing her up with losers, she handles it with more aplomb than I ever could. With a twin sister, an older sister, and a meddling mother, Gen has a hard time living her life without never ending drama.

Sometimes I wondered how Gen managed to deal with her female relatives without maiming one of them. Catherine, the older sister, is overbearing and refuses to take no for an answer. Twin sister Lexie is so wrapped up in her wedding plans, that are quickly spiraling out of control, to support Gen. Mom, like lots of mothers, worries that twenty-three year old Gen will never find a man. The only voice of reason, best friend Roxanna, is crazy in her own right - so basically reason flies out the window in this novel.

When Gen meets Matt, she's immediately attracted to him. They become fast friends with an obvious mutual attraction, but neither is ready for a relationship. Gen quickly realizes that she wants more from Matt, though, she's afraid to say anything to scare him away. Between dealing with two lunatic sisters, a nosy best friend, a relentless ex, and a delusional guy from work, I can't help but wonder how Gen stays sane. I loved the characters in this book, all of them. Ex-boyfriend Brent was so fun to hate. The crazy sisters were a source of constant entertainment. I can't help but wonder about Lexie. Things were falling apart with her domineering and snobby future in-laws, and fiancee Jeremy was no help. I really want to know what happens with her relationship.

If you're looking for a sweet romance, and you love to laugh (it's good for the soul), add Another Shot at Love to your TBR list.


About the Author

Niecey Roy knew she wanted to be a writer from a very young age, but her moment of enlightenment came after watching the movie You’ve Got Mail. It was then she realized her place in life, and happily parked her butt on writing romance. Her dream was to create sexy vixens, hunky, half-naked heroes, and above all, romance; lots and lots of butterflies in the belly, breathless first kisses and happily-ever-afters.

When she’s not at her day job where she works as a legal assistant, she can be found at home at a cluttered desk, pounding her tired little fingers away on a keyboard with nothing but black pepper flavored sunflower seeds and Visine as her weapons for mass-romance-novel-creation. When her fingers need a break, you’ll find her at a table with friends, drinking a few martinis and showing off a new pair of (sometimes ridiculous) high heels. She’s usually the loudest at the table and most often the one snorting with laughter.   

Niecey is the author of Fender Bender Blues, a contemporary romantic comedy published by The Wild Rose Press. Her new novel to be released November 2013, Another Shot At Love, is the first novel in the What’s Love??? series.


Cover Reveal: Romance Through the Ages - 7 Book Boxed Set - $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Romance Through the Ages
Coming February 1, 2014 Romance through the Ages brings you SEVEN NOVELS from 7 bestselling authors (including New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestsellers). Join us for a fabulous collection.   *7 Romance Novels, 7 Bestselling Authors, 1 Amazing Price*   99 cent Romance Boxed Set for a limited time only!

Running Barefoot by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Amy Harmon!— Deeply romantic and poignant, Running Barefoot is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind them to their homes and families, and the love that gives them wings.

Masquerade by Janette Rallison, who has sold more than 1 million books!— It's hard for a woman to keep up the masquerade when her boss is as handsome as Slade Jacobson and the job takes her to Hawaii with him. In between handling his whirlwind four-year-old daughter and dealing with a whole cast of Hollywood personalities, Clarissa has to keep a tight hold on her heart.

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson, Amazon Bestseller!—Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town's charity event, Shelter’s Bachelorette, Taycee Emerson is in for the ride of her life. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it's up to the viewers—not her—to decide which bachelors stay or go.

Pride and Precipitation by Heather Horrocks, Amazon Bestseller!— Breezy Jones is crazy about the weather, rain or shine, which makes her job as the local television station’s meteorologist perfect. That’s before she meets the attractive new general manager, Noah Drake, who is determined to repackage everything—including Breezy’s down-home delivery.

My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White, Amazon Bestseller!— Lizzie falls hard for Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy character and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. When she meets two men, Chad—a science teacher, and Matt Dawson—who looks and acts like Mr. Darcy, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

She Owns the Knight by Diane Darcy, Amazon Bestseller!— Why does Gillian Corbett have to travel seven hundred years through time to find a decent guy?... Why can't Sir Kellen Marshall find a lady who is obedient, submissive... or at least not trying to kill him?

Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore, Amazon Bestseller!— A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . . What more could Eliza Robinson want? Except for maybe her life. When Eliza discovers that Jonathan Porter’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.

Giveaway Details $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/1/14 Bloggers who put up a spotlight post about these books on their blog can enter to win an additional $25 gift card or paypal cash. See details in the Rafflecopter. Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Friday, December 20, 2013

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop - Enter to Win a $15 Amazon Gift Card!

Welcome to my stop on the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop, hosted by Bookhounds & I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Since we don't always get what we want for the holidays, I decided to give away a $15 Amazon gift card so you can buy whatever book you'd like.

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This is a giveaway hop. After entering my giveaway, be sure to visit the other blogs on the Linky for a chance to win tons of great prizes!

Blog Tour: Dare to Breathe by M. Homer

Dare to Breathe

M. Homer

New Adult Contemporary Romance

Available at Amazon

Can you learn to forget?

Sam is plagued by nightmares she can’t understand with dark visions of a past she suspects may be her own. When she moves into a new co-ed house, she is drawn to the handsome but aloof Nathan. The housemates welcome in Sam but all withhold their own secrets from her which she knows she needs to unravel to truly understand Nathan. But her past is destined to torment her, can she find the strength to face her fear?


My Review: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Dare to Breathe is a story about two wounded hearts finding each other, and helping one another come to terms with a painful past in order to have a chance at a future together. From the very first page I felt such sympathy for main character Sam. To have so many debilitating nightmares and wonder if they're repressed memories must be awful. It doesn't help when her sleep problems turn off her first college roommate.

Moving in with Nathan and his friends is really the best thing that could have happened to Sam. Through them, she begins to learn what friendship should be. Sam gains the courage to explore her past, to confront the nightmare images in an attempt to overcome the powerful hold they have over her. Every single one of her nightmares made me cry. Ms. Homer does an amazing job making Sam such a strong character in spite of the horror she faced as a child.

Romantic interest Nathan has his own demons that he copes with on a daily basis. He's a womanizer, jumping from bed to bed, refusing to get emotionally involved with anyone. From the moment Sam moves in, she and Nathan are attracted to each other. Nathan's room is above Sam's, and from the very beginning he's been holding her after her nightmares. How could Sam not fall in love with the sexy guy providing such comfort.

I enjoyed Dare to Breathe. The romance between Sam and Nathan is really sweet. This novel contains sexual situations and mature content and is suitable for ages 18+.


About the Author 

M Homer lives in the beautiful country of New Zealand with her very understanding husband, two children, two cats and one fat chocolate labrabor!
M has always loved reading and remembers one of her first books being "The Lord of The Rings" Trilogy which she read repeatedly. Her main passion however is writing books about young adult love. Michela loves to write stories about characters based on emotional struggles and how despite these, love can overcome all. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Blog Tour: Fallen by Laury Falter - Spotlight & Excerpt


Laury Falter

YA Paranormal Romance
Published by Audeamus

Available at Amazon * B&N * Smashwords

Maggie is unaware of the terrifying fate that awaits her. It isn’t until she lands in New Orleans for a full year at a private high school and her unknown enemies find her does she realize that her life is in danger.

As a mystifying stranger repeatedly intervenes and blocks the attempts on her life, she begins to learn that there is more to him than his need to protect her and that he may be the key to understanding why her enemies have just now arrived.



“So you’re warning me away from you?” I was appalled. “Then why are you doing this…guarding me at all? Why the torment? Why watch over me when you know that…that we should be more?” I felt on the verge of tears, which amazed me. How could pain be so sharp in the afterlife? “Answer me, Eran. Why?”

He sighed. “Because it is my job.”

I gasped, more offended than I’d ever been. “I’m a job to you?” I stared at him and waited for his head to rise but he refused to look at me.

“Yes,” he said weakly, defeated. His beautiful, rugged voice released as a whimper and the pain inside me grew. “You are just a job.”

I didn’t think it was possible but the emptiness I’d felt with Eran being gone those many weeks held no comparison to the magnitude of what I was experiencing right now.

I felt as if I had been gutted.

“No…” I shook my head. “I don’t believe you because you see, Eran, I can feel your emotions run through me. Whether you want to admit them or not, I know how you feel about me.”

Stunned, his head jerked up, his brilliant blue-green eyes drilling into mine. “You feel me too? How can that be?”

“I don’t know. But I do know that I feel in you the same emotions I have.”

He groaned and turned away. “That’s not possible…” he muttered, pausing. When he spoke again his voice was strained, determined. I drew in a breath as the intensity of these emotions ran through me. “It doesn’t matter. I won’t let this happen. This will not happen…I will not let us be together.”

“Because you are my guardian? Then let me make it easy on us…You’re fired.”

“It doesn’t work that way, Magdalene,” he said, quieter but still resolute.

“I didn’t want you to watch over me, Eran. I never asked for it.”

As if he’d become an entirely new person, his reply was flat and detached. “You’re a messenger. You require a guardian. It’s as simple as that.”

“Then we’ve just solved the issue, didn’t we?” I said causing him to finally look up. “This will be my last message. It’s from me to you…goodbye Eran.”

Turning swiftly, I walked away just before the tears came.


About the Author

Laury Falter is a bestselling author of young adult romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She has three series out: the Guardian Trilogy, the Residue Series, and the Apocalypse Chronicles. 

Author Links

Book Spotlight: The Conduit by Stacey Rourke - Free on Amazon Now!


Book Info-
Title: The Conduit
Author: Stacey Roarke
YA Paranormal Pages: 212

ISBN-10: 0985266368
ISBN-13: 978-0985266363
Date Published: November 2011 (rereleased November 13, 2013)
All 18-year-old Celeste Garrett wants is to head off to college and make those fun, yet ill-advised, choices college kids are known for. And maybe to spend some time with the hot cameraman she just met. Instead, because of a pact her ancestors made in the 17th century with a mythical creature, she has to save the world. While normal kids are slamming energy drinks and cramming for exams, Celeste will get her adrenaline rush fighting a fire breathing dragon. She wants to meet friends in the quad to exchange lecture notes, but first she must exchange blows with a shapeshifting demon on the rooftop. Life isn’t always fair for a superhero, but at least she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her brother and sister as sidekicks, they alternate between saving lives and getting on each others’ nerves. Together the trio encounters unspeakable odds, mystical forces and comes face-to-face with an image that will haunt them forever—their grandmother in a leopard print bikini.
Book Links-

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blog Tour: North Pole Reform School by Jaimie Admans - Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!

Welcome to my stop on the North Pole Reform School blog tour, hosted by Oops I Read Again. Below you'll find a great excerpt and my review. Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!

 North Pole Reform School

Jaimie Admans

YA Fantasy/Romantic Comedy

Available at Amazon

Mistletoe Bell hates Christmas. So would you if you had a name like hers. Her Christmas-mad parents make the festive season last all year, and with another Christmas looming, Mis doesn’t think she can take any more. After her carelessness causes an accident at school, it seems like things can’t get any worse.

Then she wakes up to find The Ghost of Christmases Ruined in her bedroom.

She is taken to the North Pole, to a reform school run by elves determined to make her love Christmas. Stuck in a misfit group of fellow Christmas-haters with a motley crew of the weird and even weirder, watched over by elves day and night, she doesn’t expect to meet cute and funny Luke, who is hiding a vulnerable side beneath his sarcastic exterior. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with him.

But all is not as it should be at the North Pole. A certain Mr Claus is making the elves’ lives a misery, and pretty soon Mistletoe and Luke are doing more than just learning to like Christmas.

A YA romantic comedy in which Santa is the bad guy, teaching reindeer to fly is on the curriculum, and zombies have a fondness for Christmas music.

Suitable for older teens and upwards due to bad language.



When dinner is over, if you could call two mince pies and a candy cane dinner, Tinsel and Navi start leading us back to our quarters.
Luke falls into step beside me. “Hi.” His green eyes sparkle under the Christmas lights.
“Hi,” I say shyly.
“So this place is messed up, right?”
“Yeah,” I say. “Really strange.”
“I feel like you’re the only normal one here. Is that weird?”
I shrug. “I don’t know. Nothing has been exactly normal today.”
“Tell me about it. I wish I could figure out what’s going on.”
“Are you buying everything they’re telling us?” I ask quietly.
He shrugs. “It’s too impossible to believe, and yet I have no other explanation. The fact is I’m in a cold, snowy place, surrounded by elves. You and I both know that shit like this doesn’t exist, but somehow we’re looking at it, you know? I’m not a kid, I haven’t believed in Santa since I was like, four years old, but I just met him. So either this is for real or they’ve put a hell of a lot of time, money, and effort into a very elaborate prank.”
“I’m leaning towards the prank angle,” I admit. “Not that I know who would do it or why they’d want to, but none of this makes sense to me.”
“Me neither, but these elves… they do remind me of my grandfather, and he wasn’t a prank, and neither are my ears, sadly.”
“Your ears are cute,” I say, then blush from head to toe when I realise what I’ve said.
Luke smiles. “Thank you. And for the record, Mistletoe is a pretty name, but I can see why you dislike it.”
“Are you kidding? It’s got to be the worst name in the world. I get nothing but insults in school.”
“Yeah, well, try having to hide these ears from your friends. It’s not fun.”
“Bloody Christmas,” I say.
He laughs. “I don’t think you’re supposed to say things like that here. It’s probably their equivalent of the F-bomb.”
I’ve been so distracted by Luke that I don’t even realise we’ve taken another turn.
“This is a side of the dome,” Tinsel announces.
I look up and in front of us is a wall of curved glass. It stretches way above our heads, so far up into the night sky that you can’t see where it ends. The side curves so far behind the trees that you can’t see an end to that either.
Luke walks forwards and taps it a couple of times. He shrugs. “Glass. Feels pretty solid.”
“It’s very solid,” Navidad says. “Don’t you worry about that—nothing can get through it.”
Emily is peering out, her hands around her eyes to block out reflections.
“You won’t see anything,” Tinsel tells her. “Firstly, it’s too dark, and secondly the visibility is poor in this blizzard.”
“There might be ducks out there.”
I think it’s sweet that Hugo goes over and takes hold of her hand. “Ducks would die in that weather.”
It seems to make her feel better. Until she says, “But they might be inside the dome with us. They might have followed me here.”
Joe bursts out laughing. “Paranoid much?”
Tinsel gives him an angry look.
“Hey, can you see any zombies?” I ask.
“The zombies don’t usually come this close to the dome. Sometimes you see one wandering around if they come closer to hear our music.”
“God knows why,” Luke mutters and if Tinsel didn’t hear him then she probably wonders why I’m grinning.
“And this seriously goes all the way around?” Emily asks.
“Indeed it does. There’s another visible side behind the reindeer stables, but other than that the barriers are quite far away in the forest. We might be elves, but we do need our space after all.”
We head back after that. Tinsel and Navidad stop outside the door of the building we first woke up in.
“Elf Wenceslas will let you through,” Navidad says. “Take it easy tonight. Get to know each other, watch some TV, and have an early night. Talk to Wenceslas if you need anything, and don’t even think about trying to sneak out in the night because you won’t get anywhere and he will know. Wenceslas knows everything.”
“I thought he was too busy looking out on the feast of Stephen,” Luke says and everybody laughs.
Everybody except Tinsel and Navidad.
“Don’t forget we’ll be here first thing in the morning for an in-depth discussion of what you’ve all done to ruin Christmas,” Tinsel says. “I suggest you spend some time tonight thinking about it.”
“Remember not to judge a book by another man’s fridge freezer,” Navidad says as they shoo us into the building.


My Review: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Jaimie Admans has created a wonderful holiday story that made me laugh out loud and left me feeling so happy at the end. Frankly, North Pole Reform School was just what I needed today to laugh the stress away. It's such a creative premise, and the North Pole world created by Ms. Admans is both familiar and strange. We all picture Santa's village with the festive Christmas lights, happy elves, and nonstop Christmas music. But I have never considered that the poor elves had to deal with the potential threat of zombies. Who knew?

Five individuals are spirited away by elf magic in the middle of the night, sentenced to reform school for deliberately ruining Christmas for others. Main character Mistletoe Bell has hated Christmas for a long time. Not only does she have what she considers a miserable name, but she was born on Christmas Eve, making her birthday a far second to Christmas with her family. Luke Wyatt suffers during Christmas as well, and he takes out his frustrations on the neighborhood decorations (I get it, Luke. I really do.). Little do Mistletoe and Luke know that what they consider the worst thing to happen to them may just turn into the best. The budding romance between the two is so sweet. They make a great couple.

The three other characters at the reform school all have pretty good reasons why they hate Christmas, with the exception of Joe, who needs an overall adjustment on his outlook on life. My favorite part of this novel was the comedy. I swear it will be a while before I look at ducks the same way. What do ducks have to do with the North Pole? Sorry, not telling - you'll have to read the book! The way elves Navidad and Tinsel screwed up idioms was hilarious (there's one at the end of the excerpt). I enjoyed following Luke and Mistletoe around as they experienced the entire North Pole operation. This book is very hard to put down once started. There's really never a dull moment in the story. The ending was great, perhaps a tad sappy, yet adorable nonetheless. Never underestimate the power of a funny book with a satisfying ending.

I highly recommend North Pole Reform School to everyone high school and up that enjoys an interesting plot with great characters and a healthy dose of hilarity. There was quite a bit of coarse language, so keep that in mind. This is a great book year-round, but especially satisfying this time of year. It's one of my favorite reads this year.


About the Author

Jaimie is a 28-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, drinking tea and watching horror movies. She hates spiders and cheese & onion crisps. She has been writing for years but has never before plucked up the courage to tell people. Afterlife Academy is her third novel and she hopes you enjoy it. There are plenty more on the way!

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cover Reveal: A Boat Made of Bone by Nicole Grotepas



New Adult Paranormal Romance/Urban Romance
Cover designed by: Nathalia Suellen

Kate Miller has been having recurring dreams about the same man . . . a dead man. Will Hawke, to be exact, a celebrity who died long before Kate had any reason to pay attention to celebrities. While the night-world she enjoys with Will beckons, her waking world has suddenly gotten intriguing. Ty Watts--a guy with looks that could set a thousand housewives free--just walked into her life. He's got a smile and a secret that begs to be found out. But is Ty a distraction or a savior? Kate's dreams threaten to take over. She must negotiate the edge of reality, solve the mystery of her nightly rendezvous with Will and either set him free or lose herself forever in the seductively dangerous world he inhabits. A Boat Made of Bone is a love story that spans worlds, generations, and reaches beyond death into the realm of fantasy.

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About the Author Nicole wrote her first fantasy novel in 7th grade on her mother's old Brother typewriter. It was never finished but it strongly resembled a Dragonlance plot and she's forever wondered what happened to the manuscript and Tonathan--the handsome elven protagonist. After living in Nashville where she worked as an editor, she returned to the Utah desert where she was raised. Nicole now lives near the Wasatch mountains with her husband. She writes and raises her son and three cats full time. Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Google +

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Spotlight: The Wings of Dragons by Josh VanBrakle - Author Interview & Excerpt!

The Wings of Dragons
Book One of The Dragoon Saga

Josh VanBrakle

YA Fantasy
Available at Amazon * B&N

Blurb from Goodreads

From fantasy author Josh VanBrakle comes the first volume in an epic new trilogy of friendship, betrayal, and explosive magic. Lefthanded teenager Iren Saitosan must uncover a forgotten history, confront monsters inspired by Japanese mythology, and master a serpentine dragon imprisoned inside a katana to stop a revenge one thousand years in the making.

Lodian history declares lefthanded people chaotic, dangerous, and devil-spawned, but Iren, the kingdom’s only known Left, thinks that’s an exaggeration. Sure, he loves pranking the residents of Haldessa Castle, but that’s harmless fun to get a little attention.

When one of his stunts nearly kills Lodia’s charismatic heir to the throne, Amroth Angustion, however, Iren confronts a no-win choice. To avoid execution, he must join a covert team and assassinate a bandit lord. The mission is suicidal, and Iren’s chances aren’t helped when he learns that his new katana imprisons a dragon’s spirit, one with a magic so powerful it can sink continents and transform Iren into a raging beast.

Adding to Iren’s problems, someone on the assassination team is plotting treason. When a former ally launches a deadly plan to avenge the Lefts, Iren finds himself trapped between competing loyalties, and the fates of two nations will depend on his choice.


Interview with Author Josh VanBrakle

What inspired you to write The Wings of Dragons?
I started forming the ideas for The Wings of Dragons over a decade ago in high school. After I graduated, though, I set it down in favor of college, career, and life in general. I came back to it in 2011 thanks to a pair of coincidences. The first is that my wife got a job working evenings, so I was suddenly on my own after work. The second was seeing an article in a local paper for a writing workshop series hosted by Shannon Delany, author of the 13 to Life series and the Weather Witch series. I was looking for something to fill my evenings alone, and after attending Shannon’s workshops, I was inspired. I dug up those old notes, brought in my life experiences with forestry to improve my settings, and used Shannon’s advice to hammer it all into a book. It was a wild two-year journey, but I’m glad I went for it.

Tell us about the main character in the story. Who is Iren Saitosan?
Iren Saitosan is 18 years old, and he’s the only lefthanded person in his country. Lore where he lives says that lefthanded people are demon-spawned, and as a result, Iren has lived an isolated life. Hated and feared by everyone in Haldessa Castle, Iren starts off more immature than his age suggests, and he commonly gets in trouble for pulling pranks on the castle’s residents. At the same time, because of his suffering, there’s part of him that yearns for companionship. He wants to trust others and help people, but even he doesn’t realize it at first. When his reputation as a Left gets him drafted into a dangerous mission, though, Iren finally becomes part of a team. It’s a chance to form friendships, but it could also kill him. No one on the team is who they appear to be, and to survive, Iren has to figure out who – and how – to trust.

I noticed this is book one of the Dragoon Saga. How many books do you have planned for the series?
Fantasy loves trilogies, so that’s what I’m shooting for with the Dragoon Saga. That said, I have some thoughts on other books that could connect to the main three if the series takes off. At the least I’d like to do an origin story for one of my female leads, Rondel Thara. She’s a deep, complicated character, and she wears so many masks sometimes even I don’t know who she really is. I’d love to delve more into her long and sometimes ugly past.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what type of music provided inspiration for The Wings of Dragons?
I’ve tried to listen to music when I write, but I have this bad habit of getting distracted and singing along (badly). So I stopped doing that. When I do listen to music, I’m open to a lot of styles, but I especially enjoy classic rock.

Who are some of your favorite authors/influences?
I guess I wouldn’t be a fantasy author if I didn’t list Tolkien here. Like most who get into fantasy, The Hobbit was my introduction to it. I enjoy injecting suspense and mystery into my novels to keep the reader guessing, so I’m also inspired by works in those genres. A few of my favorites are Michael Crichton, Ian Fleming, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Finally, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Shannon Delany. Shannon mostly writes YA paranormal romance, which is not usually my genre. But Shannon hosted the 2011 writing workshop series that inspired me to finish The Wings of Dragons and get it published. She’s a skilled writer, a giving person, and without her, you wouldn’t be reading these words right now. If you haven’t picked up her latest novel Weather Witch, I recommend it.

What do you do when not writing?
At this point I still work a day job at a nonprofit promoting farm and forest conservation, so that and writing take up most of my time. When I can get a few minutes, though, I enjoy reading, hiking, kayaking, nature photography, and doing just about anything outdoors.

What’s next for you as a writer?
I have a couple projects going right now. The first is the sequel to The Wings of Dragons, which is now in revisions. I hope to see that released in 2015. I’ve also started a non-fiction book based on my first career (forestry). That project is still in drafting stage, but I’m very excited about it. There are a lot of big changes happening in our forests, and the story isn’t being told. I feel like forests are waiting for their Rachel Carson, someone who can tell the complexities of what’s happening in the environment in a way that the public can understand and that inspires them to act. I don’t know if I’m that person, but I want to give it my best shot.

Do you have any advice for new writers just entering the shark infested waters?
I could put far more here than would ever fit into an interview, most of it from the long list of mistakes I’ve made along the way. In the interest of brevity, perhaps the best advice I could give is “Let yourself fail.” You will write a lot of junk before you write something decent. Don’t sweat it. I’ve learned far more from my failures than I have from my successes.

A book that inspired me while I was on my journey with The Wings of Dragons was Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. I recommend this book to writers and to anyone who wants to excel in their field. One story from it in particular always stands out to me. Toward the end, Colvin talks about female Olympic ice skaters. Think about these poor women for a minute. They go out there on the hard ice every day in a skimpy outfit with no padding whatsoever, and then they try to do jumps and spins and other moves that would put me on my butt. And you know what happens? They fall on their butts too. They fall on their butts over and over and over again. It’s only because they keep falling that when they finally get to a competition, they don’t fall and in fact make every move look effortless.

Do you want to succeed as a writer? It’s easy. Just fall on your butt ten thousand times.

This or That

Paper or ebook?
I read both, but I prefer paper. I’m just old fashioned that way. It’s one of my dreams to have a library in my home with the walls lined with shelves full of books.

Mac or PC?
I use a PC, much to the dismay of both my wife and cover designer. I have no problem with Macs, but I’ve grown up with PCs and am much more familiar with the nuances of Windows.

Forests or Mountains?
Yes! I love nature in all its forms. Even though I wound up writing fantasy, my first career was in forestry, and that’s also what I went to college for. I still work at an environmental non-profit, and most of my hobbies involve the outdoors. I also live in the Catskill Mountains, which are heavily forested, so it’s like getting the best of both.

Sunrise or Sunset?
I’m a late riser, so I’m going to say sunset. I’d love mornings, if only they didn’t come so early in the day!

Coffee or Tea?
Neither. As my wife will tell you, I’m a hot cocoa kind of guy, especially around the holidays. I think it comes from growing up in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I’m pretty sure there’s chocolate in my veins from all the years I spent there.

City or Country?
I love living in the country. Life moves at a little slower pace here, and I find it more relaxing, which helps me write. Plus, since I love the outdoors, living in a rural area puts nature a lot closer.

Chocolate or Vanilla?
Which one do you have more of?

Movies or TV?
I don’t watch a lot of either to be honest. I just don’t have time. We’re still one of those families that only gets channels 2-12 (seriously). That said, there are a few TV shows I enjoy. I prefer shows that are serial in nature so that I get a chance to grow along with the characters, much like in a book. But I also enjoy movies because they give you a chance in just a couple hours to see the full arc of a story. I actually learned how to pace my novels from watching great movies like Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon. I studied at what times in these movies different parts of the plot, like twists or turning points, happened. It’s paid off too. One of the most common compliments I get regarding my work is that its fast pace keeps readers guessing and engaged.

Dragons or Griffins?
I’m pretty sure the answer on this is obvious. I’ve always had a thing for dragons. I think it comes from my childhood obsession with dinosaurs. As a kid, I wanted to dig up dinosaur bones, and I even learned to read using dinosaur books (they always put the phonetic spellings after those crazy names!). Dinosaurs still fascinate me, and a flying, fire-breathing dinosaur? That’s just straight up awesome.


About the Author

Josh VanBrakle is an unrepentant lefty who is overjoyed to live in an age when authors can type their stories instead of handwriting them. His love of fantasy and science fiction, kindled by The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, led to a dream of publishing a novel that refused to let itself get pushed aside. A late-bloomer to writing professionally, Josh first trained in forestry and economics. In his day job, Josh works for an environmental non-profit promoting farmland and forest conservation. When he’s not working or writing, Josh enjoys reading, hiking, kayaking, and nature photography. Originally from Hershey, Chocolatetown USA, Josh now lives in the Catskills region of upstate New York with his wife Christine and their two ill-behaved cats.
Goodreads Author Page




Descent into Darkness

After a hasty breakfast at dawn, Balear and the others headed to the entrance to Veliaf’s mine. Hardly an elegant structure, the mine’s opening was nothing more than a large hole in the ground covered with a pair of hinged wooden doors that swung to either side. Next to the doors sat a gargantuan chunk of blue stone with heavy ropes and pulleys wrapped around it. Dirio explained that it had come from a slag pile near the mine’s entrance. Balear wondered how many villagers it had taken to haul the boulder over the entrance.
Captain Angustion motioned for Dirio to take the lead alongside him. Rondel came next, still grinning in that way that made Balear want to punch her in the face. The Castle Guard’s code forbade him to strike a woman, in particular an old woman, but Rondel really, really pushed him. After her display yesterday, though, Balear was in no mood to challenge her.
The captain had ordered Balear and Iren to serve as rear guard. They hadn’t seen any more Quodivar in the village, but that didn’t necessarily mean they weren’t there. Moreover, even if the bandits Rondel had killed yesterday were the only Quodivar left in Veliaf, the spiderweb of mine passages could hide any number of them.