Saturday, April 18, 2015

Q&A with Dale Ibitz, Author of Kiss Me Dead

A warm welcome to Dale Ibitz, author of Kiss Me Dead, a new adult urban fantasy! Here's a quick Q&A with the author:

Please tell us about yourself using 3 verbs, 1 quirk and a pop culture addiction
I’m a disorganized animal lover who’s addicted to the outdoors and chocolate and passionate about The Walking Dead series.

Who do you consider the most swoon-worthy man in the literary world? How about on tv/in the movies?
Without doubt Damian from the Vampire Diaries, Ian Somerhalder
I totally agree! *sigh*

What’s the last song you listened to?
Take Me To Church, Hoosier
Something Different by Godsmack is playing right now as I prepare the post.

What are your thoughts on book covers- in your opinion do they make or break a book?
They definitely make a book. People need to be attracted to the cover before they even read the blurb.
I admit- I do judge a book by its cover. Perhaps its human nature.

Do you have any advice for anyone that would like to be an author?
Take classes, be persistent, and keep writing. The more you write, the better you get.

There you have it. Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today!

Kiss Me Dead

Dale Ibitz

New Adult Urban Fantasy/Romantic Suspense

One curse . . .

Christian, a nineteen-year-old reaper-human hybrid enslaved to the Other World to harvest souls, earns his freedom by making a bargain with the Goddess of Death. As part of the bargain, he’s been cursed with the kiss of death.

One kiss . . .

The only way Christian can break his curse is for an angel to kiss him. Willingly. He finds Brooke, a nineteen-year-old descendant of a Naphil whose destiny is to hunt rogue reapers, suffocating in a semi-agoraphobic cocoon since witnessing a reaper steal her brother’s soul.

Two destinies . . .

Christian has found the angel who can break his curse, and the seduction begins. To break her phobia’s hold, Brooke embraces her angelic role and makes it her mission to kill rogue reapers to avenge her brother’s murder. Christian can break his curse by kissing Brooke dead . . . but will she figure out his game and kill him first?


About the Author-

Dale Ibitz was born in Connecticut, grew up in the state of Washington, and then re-located back to Connecticut as an adult, where she studied English at Central Connecticut State University. Always a lover of books, she spent much of her childhood reading, visiting the library (her best friend’s mother was a librarian), and writing. In sixth grade, she placed 3rd in a writing contest, and she’s never stopped.
Dale’s a fan of hiking and the outdoors, seriously good writing, and she never, ever starts the day without chocolate and coffee (preferably together). Music inspires her, and she likes to listen to alternative metal.

If you were to visit Dale’s house, you'd meet her husband, 2 kids, their dog Lea (most people simply refer to her as The Beast...and for good reason), their cat Luna (affectionately known as Loony Luna), and a couple of loud-beaked parakeets.

Twitter: daleibitz

Friday, April 17, 2015

Pigsty Princess by Nancy S. Brandt - Excerpt

I'm so happy to welcome Nancy S. Brandt, author of Pigsty Princess, to the blog today. This looks like a great novel-- and I just love the cover!

Pigsty Princess

Nancy S. Brandt

YA Fantasy
Clean Reads
February 3, 2015

In a country where Elemental Sensitivities determine a person's place in society, Mariana, fourth child of King Jonathan and Queen Alexandria, was born an Insensitive. She is given the made up title of Progenna, because she can't be in line for the throne and therefore, can't be a Princess. All her life, she is reminded that she isn't quite good enough. When her father decides she is to marry Pir Leo Valentine, an eighty-four year old man with a scar across his face that took his eye and only one hand, she runs away from the palace.

Orlando of Talla is a pig farmer and former soldier who served the King until he watched his Sovereign burn an entire harbor town rather than lose a battle. Now he tries to live a quiet life while leading a band of rebels who steal from the nobility to bring prisoners home from that war.

Orlando is also the bastard son of a nobleman, and therefore, he has a Sensitivity, one of Blood that allows him to feel the Sensitivities of others.

He finds the injured Progenna in the forest and immediately realizes that the stories about Mariana aren't true. Rather than being an Insensitive, Mariana may be the most powerful Sensitive in Valborough.


Mariana sniffled. “He said I was a commoner, and that I’m not Father’s daughter by blood.”

Ramone sighed and shook his head. “Gossip only. Not even worthy of the servants, and for it to come out of the mouth of a Rieravo and a Presumptive…I am surprised he would suggest that out loud to you.”

She adjusted herself so she was off her brother’s lap and faced him. “Ramone, what if what Darius said is right? What if Father isn’t…my father? No nobleman will ever want to marry me if that’s true.”

“First of all, it’s not true, and second, even if it were, Father has claimed you as his daughter. He will take care of you.”

It didn’t make her feel any better.

“You mean he’ll force someone into marrying me.” She got off the loveseat and went over to sit at her mother’s writing desk. Picking up one of the quills, she glanced at her brother in the mirror.

“It might not be like that,” he said after a moment of silence. “There must be some man who doesn’t care about bonding. Someone who will be content with having only his own magic.”

She spun around to stare at him. “Name one person you have ever heard of, male or female, who was willing to throw away the potential power of their Sensitivities to bond to someone with nothing. What do your history and peerage books say about that?”

He said nothing, but he didn’t meet her eyes.

Mariana nodded. “Just as I thought. I was stupid to think being a Proge…the daughter of the King would be enough. No one with any Sensitivities wants to wed someone they can’t bond with.
I wish Mother and Father would have prepared me for this.”

“What could they have done, Mariana?” He walked over to her and, taking her hands, brought her to her feet. “You are special, one of a kind. You are my beautiful baby sister.”

“But I’m not like the rest of you. Father and Mother are strong Sensitives. By definition, Father is the strongest in thekingdom. You, Liliana, and Ursula have sensitivities in three areas.. Me? You know what the Abilities Master said when I finished my testing.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Do you remember? Father came out of his meeting with Kylan and said, ‘It is as we thought.’ Mother cried.”

He took her in his arms. “She loves you. She was crying because she knew your life would be harder because of this.”

“Was that it?” she asked. “Did Mother cry because I don’t have any Sensitivities or because Father found out about my true parentage? I have to know if I am a Princess in truth or just the result of some mistake Mother made.”

About the Author

Nancy S. Brandt is a stay-at-home mother of two children, a daughter, 25, who is an appointment's clerk at an orthopedic clinic and an editor and book reviewer; and a son, 12, who studies karate, and wants to be either an historian or an artist. Nancy's husband, Steven, is also an author and an adjunct professor of computer science at Louisiana State University.

In about sixth grade, an English teacher gave an assignment to write a descriptive essay. Nancy's was all about a wonderful cave filled with diamonds, emeralds and other precious gems. From that experience, she walked into every English class hoping to get to write something, and she learned three things:

1. The difference between stalactite and stalagmite,
2. That fantasy was probably the genre she should concentrate on, and
3. Never end a story with "It was all a dream."

Nancy is a kidney transplant recipient (her husband was her living donor), a thyroid cancer survivor, and an Army veteran. She is currently working on the sequel to Pigsty Princess, called Questionable Queen.

Social Media Links:
Twitter:  @NancySBrandt
Instagram: nancysbrandt
Pinterest:  nancy_s_brandt

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Alice in Wonderland High by Rachel Shane - Excerpt & Giveaway

Welcome to the promo event for Rachel Shane's YA Contemporary Retelling Alice in Wonderland High. I love Alice in Wonderland retellings and can't wait to read this one :)

23111784Release date: April 18th 2015
Publisher: Merit Press

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Alice suppresses her need for rebellion after a petition to start a farmer’s market receives more snickers than signatures. That is until Whitney Lapin, a girl who speaks in cryptic riddles and spends her free time turning abandoned warehouses into beautiful gardens, leads her on a rabbit trail into the underground–aka secret society–of Wonderland High. Curiouser and curiouser.

Even though Whitney’s group of teenage environmental vigilantes operates on the wrong side of the law, Alice has never felt more free to be herself. Soon she stomps on her good girl image by completing a series of environmental pranks to impress them: flooding the school and disguising a pig as a baby in order to smuggle it out of a testing facility. But the group refuses to help with the farmer’s market or reveal their hidden agenda. She wants to trust them, and she especially wants to trust (or maybe kiss) Chester Katz, a boy with a killer smile, a penchant for disappearing, and a secret that will really turn Alice‘s world backwards. When one group member tries to frame Alice for all the pranks, she must figure out their secret before she ends up in front of a jury that’s screaming, “Off with her head!”


The plan had seemed utterly attractive while lying in bed. Foolproof, even. Take the keys. Go inside. Find the information to link someone to the crime. Sole the case. What I hadn't factored into everything was guts, which happened to be something I lacked.

I paced in front of Town Hall, my heart pounding as if it was ready to escape my chest and ditch me completely. I paused in front of the rows of white rosebushes lining the entrance and took a deep breath.

You're not breaking and entering, I liked to myself. You have a key.

I counted to three and yanked the keys out of my pocket, but my hands were too clammy. The keys leapt out of my fingers and hit the ground with a metallic clink. 

I should go home and forget about Kingston's stupid-as-hell plan. I tried to move, but my feet wouldn't budge, weighed down by cemented desire. As scared as I was, I wanted to do this. I fumbled for my phone. 3:10 blinked back at me on the LED screen. If I had Chess's phone number, I would call him. Accomplices equaled encouragement.

But it wouldn't have mattered; Chess had refuted Kingston's idea. So had Whitney. If I called her, she'd try to talk me out of this. I knew what a bad idea it was. I'd broken up with my sense of reason when I first followed Whitney through the woods. Might as well descend even farther down the path of wrong and stupid. I let out a crazy laugh that echoed in the silent darkness.

Morality bites.

Before I could stop myself, I flipped through my cell phone until I found Kingston's number. It was absurd that Whitney had made me add my least favorite person's number when I still didn't have my own boyfriend's. Tonight, though, it came in handy.

"What?" he said when he picked up. He didn't sound tired, more like…prepared.

"Hey, it's Alice. I have a weird question."

"Wow. Didn't strike me as the booty-call type."

My nerves erupted out of my mouth in a laugh that sounded almost flirty. I covered it up with a cough. He was calling me crazy, and this was the first time he made sense. "I'm outside Town Hall."


"Yeah." The word came out all choked.

"Be right there."

"As soon as I hung up, the gravity of what I'd done hit my stomach like a cartoon anvil. I'd just committed to committing a felony. With my enemy.

Rachel Shane studied Creative Writing at Syracuse University and now works in digital publishing at in New York City. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, young daughter, and a basement full of books. ALICE IN WONDERLAND HIGH is her first novel. |


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Finding My Voice Again by Zen DiPietro, Author of Seeking Sorrow + Giveaway

I'd like to extend a warm welcome to Zen DiPietro, author of Seeking Sorrow. I love the guest post she penned for us today. It's rather inspirational-- ugly socks and all :)

Finding My Voice Again

I used to have an ugly sock collection. When I was a kid, I loved the most horrid patterns and designs on socks. I had one that was mustard yellow and covered in little embroidered outhouses. They were the crown jewel of the collection.

When I was in grade school, the other kids didn’t care but once I got into middle school, believe me, the unsolicited reviews on my socks were not favorable. I didn’t care. I was a veritable honey badger of footwear choices.

I’ve always had my own ideas and ways of doing things. I don’t have an ugly sock collection anymore (unless you count my new cyborg knee-highs, which I don’t because they’re awesome), but I still have my own whimsical way of experiencing the world. I was at my kids’ swim lesson one day when I noticed a small spider on the wall, very near an ant. I wondered if the spider felt the way I do when the Krispy Kreme truck drives by me on the road. All of that proximity euphoria. So much yummy nearby, and yet just out of reach.

I started thinking that I should get back to writing, with all of the little stories like these that wrote themselves in my head. But it wasn’t until a few years later when a friend wrote a book that I finally started writing again. I’d taken a 10-year hiatus from writing books, but I’d had a story fleshing out in my head for several of those years. Once I resolved to push it into text, it all poured out, and the product was Seeking Sorrow. And then Facing Fortune. And now the not-yet-named Book 3 of the series.

I think things happen the way they need to, as long as you keep your mind open to the possibilities and refuse to let yourself be pinned down by others’ opinions.


An earth-like world of high-tech humans faces the reality that their world is not as safe as they thought it was. Five people are thrown together to quietly get to the bottom of an unfathomable mana event that must stay quiet. If the population of Terath becomes aware of the truth,
it will spark a civil war. That war would pit the majority of the population against the powerful minority with the ability to harness and manipulate mana. The resulting cataclysm would decimate the population and tear apart the foundation of society.

The five people chosen for this must reconsider everything they thought they knew about manaeven as they learn to trust one another’s abilitiesThey must embrace everything they never wanted in order to prevent the devastation of their world. One of them will be forever changed. Love will be denied, badassery will be unleashed, and Terath will never be the same. 

Even success comes at a price.


About the Author:

Zen DiPietro is a lifelong bookworm, a fantasy/sci-fi writer, a dancer, and a mom of two. Also red-haired, left-handed, and a vegetarian geek. Absolutely terrible at conforming. Particular loves include badass heroines, Star Trek, British accents, baba ganoush, and the smell of Band-Aids. Writing reviews, author interviews, and fun stuff at Very active on Facebook, Twitter (@ZenDiPietro), and Pinterest.  

$10 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Ends 4/28

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This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review: Cracked by Janine A. Southard - Excerpt

A Magical iPhone Story

Janine A. Southard

Contemporary/Humor/Slight Fantasy
Cantina Publishing
January 2015

Amazon | Smashwords | Goodreads

What can your phone do for you?

This is the story of a girl and her iPhone. No, that’s not quite right. This is the story of a middle-aged statistician and her best friend. Though she didn’t consider herself middle-aged. And the best friend was more of a roommate-with-whom-she’d-developed-a-friendship. And this description completely ignores the 6,000-year-old elf with whom the woman and her best friend enjoyed story gaming.

So let’s try this again.

This is the story of a woman who wished to find love, but who would rather play story games than actively look for it. Especially in the wake of a horrid break-up six months before from a man who had never sent her a single gift.

Until this Valentine’s Day, when she received a brand new iPhone in a box with his name on it.
Between story gaming and succumbing to the phone’s insidious sleekness, she learns that friendship trumps romance.

In Cracked! A Magic iPhone Story, award-winning author Janine A. Southard (a Seattle denizen) shows you how the geeks of Seattle live, provides a running and often-hilarious social commentary on today’s world, and reminds you that, so long as you have friends, you are never alone.


     This is the story of a girl and her iPhone. No, that’s not quite right. This is the story of a middle-aged statistician and her best friend. Though she didn’t consider herself middle-aged. And the best friend was more of a roommate-with-whom-she’d-developed-a-friendship.
     And this description completely ignores the 6,000-year-old elf with whom the woman and her best friend enjoyed story gaming.
     So let’s try this again.
     This is the story of a woman who wished to find love, but who would rather play story games than actively look for it. Especially in the wake of a horrid break-up six months before from a man had who never sent her a single gift.
     Until now.
     That man, who is otherwise unimportant to this narrative, had no sense of timing.
     He had, foolishly perhaps, expected something different from their three-year relationship. He’d been after crazy spontaneity and over-sexualized Carnivale stereotypes from his Brazilian-American girlfriend, whereas she’d merely expected companionship and a proposal.
     So when the breakup arrived instead of a ring box, it came as quite a shock to Morena (for that was the woman’s name). And on this day, when she saw a package on her kitchen table sporting his return address (likely carried inside the night before by her staggeringly drunk roommate), she almost took it down, unopened, to the recycling bin in her apartment building’s garage.
     But she didn’t.
     In a fit of whimsy disguised as righteous fury, she wielded a utility knife and tore into the obviously reused box with emblazoned on the side. She slashed at the cardboard and threw packing peanuts all over her matted beige carpet, which had witnessed many a discarded packing peanut before.
     The carpet didn’t mind, but it would have worried about usually sensible Morena’s mental state if it had the kind of mind that knew how to worry. But it was a carpet, so it didn’t.
     If this book were a movie, the non-trash-bound contents of the box would now be surrounded in a soft yellow glow. There would be swelling music whose pulsing undertone would let the viewer know that this, THIS, was a significant moment. But since this is a book (and, for Morena, this was real life), these things did not happen. Instead, she got a paper cut from the crumpled newsprint that cushioned a very ordinary-looking iPhone.

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

Cracked was a fun, fast-paced story with rather endearing characters and an unusual plot. The narration was interesting, almost like the author was talking directly to the reader with a bit of a fairy tale cadence. Though babbling at times, it became rather enjoyable once I was used to it. Though, I will admit, it had me scratching my head at the beginning.

I enjoyed the humor, the light fantasy elements, and especially main character Morena. The setting- Seattle- was perfect for this story. I can just imagine something crazy like this happening under those dreary skies (I lived near Seattle for a couple years... strange things happen there). I wasn't a huge fan of the head-hopping in third person POV, but it didn't keep me from enjoying this cute story. If you're looking for a light, humorous diversion, Cracked fits the bill.

About the Author
Janine A. Southard is the IPPY-award-winning author of Queen & Commander (and other books in The Hive Queen Saga). She lives in Seattle, WA, where she writes speculative fiction and reads it aloud to her cat. She’s story gamed a few times and hopes to someday make a tie-in game for this novel, but first she needs to finish writing all the other books on her list. Besides Cracked! A Magic iPhone Story, she is also the author of:

Queen & Commander (The Hive Queen Saga, #1) – IPPY award-winner for Science Fiction (2013)
Hive & Heist (The Hive Queen Saga, #2) (2014)
“The Robot Who Stole Herself” (A Hive Queen Tie-In Short Story, 2014)

If you want email updates when Janine A. Southard's latest books are released, sign up here ( You'll be contacted for new releases and release-related news (like when her next Kickstarter project is coming). Usually, this is once a month or so, but sometimes goes longer or shorter. Your address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Plus, you'll get a free short story!

Author Links

New Release: Scion by Kelly Oram - Excerpt & Giveaway

Scion (Supernaturals #3)
from bestselling author Kelly Oram
Just $3.99 on AMAZON
Supernaturals #3

Kelly Oram

Publisher: Bluefields
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Other books in the series: ChameleonUngifted

Russ Devereaux used to have it all—loving father, beautiful best friend, a carefree life in a town he loved, and strong magic. He was the king of his happy universe. Five months ago, that life was taken from him. Do not pass Go. Do not collect two hundred dollars. 
He’s spent months fighting back and building himself a new life, in a new city, with new friends he now considers family. But suddenly, his new life might be in jeopardy of getting shot straight to hell just like the last one. Literally, this time. 
He’s discovered power inside of him—an ancient, dark power that he shouldn’t have, can’t explain, can’t control, and definitely needs to keep secret. He needs answers, but before he can get them, he finds himself arrested and on his way to face the supernatural council. The same council that stole everything from him the first time. 
As Russ struggles to keep his new power under wraps, his old life and he new one are about to collide and it’s bound to be explosive. He may not have all the answers he needs, but one thing is certain: he’ll be damned if anyone is taking his new life from him. That is, if he’s not just plain damned.


Each book in the supernaturals series focuses on a different character and is told in there point of view. Scion (Book 3) is Russ's story, and he is excited to finally have his voice heard. If you'd like to get a sneak peek inside of his head, please enjoy this bonus scene from Chameleon written in his perspective. It's the very first chapter of the entire series, so even if you haven't started the Supernaturals series yet, you can still read it. It's totally spoiler free! (And hey, then you'll know what you have to look forward to in book three!) Here's a short excerpt:

     I was trying to make her nervous on purpose. My whole intent tonight was to make her see me in a new way. What better way to do that than to crawl into bed with her in the middle of the night?
     We hadn’t been in bed together since we were kids. Back when the fact that we were the opposite sex didn’t matter. It definitely mattered now. She looked so incredibly sexy at the moment that I could hardly think of anything other than the fact that I wanted to obliterate the word “friendship” from all known languages.
     “What happened to the Disney Princess nightgown you wore the last time we were in bed together? That was hot.”
     But not nearly as hot as the tank top and panties she was wearing right now. Damn. I hadn’t expected her to sleep so risqué. I’d genuinely been prepared for Captain America pajamas or something, considering her infatuation with Chris Evans. But this…she looked… Double damn. Even if this plan totally backfired on me tonight, right now it felt like the best idea I’d ever had.
     As I took a mental picture of her, Dani finally realized she wasn’t wearing a bra and freaked out, pulling her covers up over her chest while glaring at me. If she hadn’t been awake before, she definitely was now. “You’d better have a damn good reason for being here or you’re going to be very sorry.”
     She was pissed but it was worth it. I gave her a pout. “Since when do I need a reason?”
     She opened her mouth to unleash a verbal tirade but I lifted a hand to stop her. I didn’t need to hear her rant. No lecture in the world was going to make me feel bad for sneaking in here and catching a semi-naughty glimpse of her. Am I shameless? Why, yes. Yes I am. It’s one of my many talents.
Click here to read the entire RUSS POV Bonus Scene from Chameleon.

Or you can get started reading the series now. Chameleon, the first book in the series, is available for FREE DOWNLOAD on Amazon now through April 18th. 
It's a limited time offer, so don't miss out on the promotion! Snatch it up, while it's free!


For small-town rebel Dani Webber magic and monsters are no more real than the Easter Bunny… until the day she accidentally stops time. Dani quickly discovers that not only do supernaturals exist, but she herself is one of them. This is great news for her life-long best friend Russ, who can finally come clean about his own supernatural status and his undying love for her. Before the two can start to enjoy the long overdue relationship, Dani is taken by a powerful council of supernaturals who believe she is the Chosen One destined to save them from extinction. 

As if being kidnapped and expected to save the world isn’t bad enough, an ancient prophecy warns of the Chosen One’s dark nature: “Only the truest love will keep her an agent for good.” The council believes they know who this “true love” is and, unfortunately, that person isn’t Russ. The mysterious, powerful and devastatingly handsome Seer is the last person Dani wants in her life, but when she starts having visions of a horrific future, she has no one else to turn to for help. 

Soon Dani finds herself torn between two very different boys with two very different opinions of whom she can trust. With the visions getting worse and time running out, Dani is forced to put aside her feelings and work with both the Seer and Russ before an ancient evil is unleashed upon the earth.

Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and loves to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and a cat named Mr. Darcy.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Interview with Ann Gimpel, Author of the Earth Reclaimed Series + Excerpt

I'd like to extend a warm welcome to Ann Gimpel, author of the Earth Reclaimed series. Ann was kind enough to join us and answer some questions regarding her new series.

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog. One of the best parts of these virtual tours is all the amazing blogs I discover along the way.

Tell us about the main character in the Earth Reclaimed series. Who is Aislinn?
Aislinn Lenear was a nineteen year old college student when her world turned on its axis. Three years later, not much is left in her world—or her soul. She’s been conscripted into a mercenary role and has discovered the safest course is to not trust anyone. Over the course of the three Earth Reclaimed books (300,000+ words) the scabs over her heart are torn off again and again. She’s courageous, feisty, bitchy, and willing to go to the wall for those she loves. Because she’s such a strong character, she goes head to head with anyone or anything standing in her way. In a rare moment of introspection, she tells Fionn that she goes balls out because if she stopped to think things through, she’d be immobilized by fear.
In many ways, Aislinn is my hero. She’s been handed a rotten hand, but she can’t trade her cards for something better. Instead of giving up, she plants both feet firmly and says, “Bring it on.”

What inspired the series? Did you do any special research while prepping and writing?
What inspires any author? My muse can be an overbearing witch. At the front end of things, I knew I wanted to include the Lemurians. I’d read a lot about them and their mythical city, Taltos, beneath Mount Shasta. Actually, I had no intention of having Celtic gods in the first book. No one was more surprised than me when Fionn strode out of that forest with Bella on his shoulder. Not only that, he brought Gwydion, Bran, Dewi, and Arawn along before the first book ended. At that point, I just kept at it and let the story flow.
I didn’t need to do much research into the Celtic deities because I know that pantheon fairly well. However I did boatloads of research on the early Irish kings and queens as I wove them into the story. In fact, a research paper titled, Genealogy of the MacLochlainn Families of Inishowen is still on my desk.

I love your covers! Did you have any input in the design?
Oh yes. One of the huge benefits I’ve found in self-publishing is being able to work hand in glove with Fiona Jayde, my cover artist. It’s so much better than getting an email with a cover and a short note that says, “Here it is.” I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I’ve hated some of my covers. Arguing with a publisher about covers is a waste of breath because they all tell you that the author isn’t a good judge of such things.

I love Celtic and Norse mythology. What role does it play in the Earth Reclaimed series?
I touched on this some in one of my earlier answers. Norse mythology comes into play with Nidhogg, the Norse dragon in book two, and is expanded in book three with Thor, Odin, and the full complement at Asgard. Until then, the Norse deities had taken the same tack as their Celtic brethren, sitting out the carnage as the dark gods rampaged through Earth.
The Celts play a more central role because of Fionn and Aislinn. I don’t want to include plot spoilers, but let me just say there are good reasons for their intense attraction. Once Fionn decides all bets are off and he’s in with both feet, the other Celts join him.
And then there’s the dragon angle. Both the Celtic and the Norse deities include dragons, and they’re featured in this series. Not as shifters, but as themselves.

The series looks like an interesting mesh of urban fantasy and dystopian. Tell us a bit about how they blend together in the story.
I’m smiling. I’m the queen of crossed-genre fiction. I blame it on my muse. If you look at traditional descriptions, urban fantasy takes place in an urban setting in the real world, but with fantasy elements added in. There are indeed urban settings in the Earth Reclaimed books, but the buildings stand empty. Most humans are dead. That leads to the dystopian label, but it’s not entirely accurate. Actually a dystopia is government gone bad. Think utopia, with dystopia as it’s opposite.
There’s no evidence of government in this series unless you count how the Lemurians are organized. Since pigeonholing books is critical to their placement in the vendor search engines, I picked what I felt the series fell closest to and what readers searching for something specific could latch onto and feel satisfied after reading the books. No one’s complained—yet, so I’m thinking I got close.

Fun Question—If you could have dinner with any fictional character, who would you entertain? What would you serve?
Any fictional character, huh? Gosh, there are so many yummy leading men out there, but lots of strong, dynamic women too. I think maybe I’d want to have dinner with Kate Daniels. She’s one of my favorite heroines. Since I’d rather spent my time talking than cooking, we’d eat simply. Maybe a large green salad with goat cheese and smoked salmon and a freshly made balsamic vinaigrette. Nuts too. Macadamias chopped fine and sprinkled over the salad. We’d have bread fresh from the oven, one of my paleo recipes with plenty of grass-fed butter. Wine, whiskey, and a sinful dessert (paleo style) would finish things off.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you or your novel?
I love connecting with readers. If you read any of the Earth Reclaimed books—or any of my other books—please connect with me and tell me what you think.

Where can readers find you online?
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)
I’m also on Goodreads, Pinterest, Wattpad, and Tsu.

Earth's Requiem
Earth Reclaimed Book One

Ann Gimpel

Dystopian/Urban Fantasy
Dream Shadow Press
March 1, 2015


Resilient, kickass, and determined, Aislinn's walled herself off from anything that might make her feel again. Until a wolf picks her for a bondmate, and a Celtic god rises out of legend to claim her for his own.

Aislinn Lenear lost her anthropologist father high in the Bolivian Andes. Her mother, crazy with grief that muted her magic, was marched into a radioactive vortex by dark creatures and killed. Three years later, stripped of every illusion that ever comforted her, twenty-two year old Aislinn is one resilient, kickass woman with a take no prisoners attitude. In a world turned upside down, where virtually nothing familiar is left, she’s conscripted to fight the dark gods responsible for her father’s death. Battling evil on her own terms, Aislinn walls herself off from anything that might make her feel again in this compelling dystopian urban fantasy.

Fionn MacCumhaill, Celtic god of wisdom, protection, and divination has been laying low since the dark gods stormed Earth. He and his fellow Celts decided to wait them out. After all, three years is nothing compared to their long lives. On a clear winter day, Aislinn walks into his life and suddenly all bets are off. Awed by her courage, he stakes his claim to her and to an Earth he's willing to fight for.

Aislinn’s not so easily convinced. Fionn’s one gorgeous man, but she has a world to save. Emotional entanglements will only get in her way. Letting a wolf into her life was hard. Letting love in may well prove impossible.

Earth's Blood
Earth Reclaimed Book Two

Clinging to their courage in a crumbling world, Aislinn and Fionn vow to save Earth, no matter what it takes.

In a post-apocalyptic world where most people have been slaughtered, the Celtic gods and a few humans with magic are all that stand between survival and Earth falling into chaos. The combination of dark sorcery leveraged by the enemy is daunting. Destruction is all but certain if the small enclaves of humans who are left can’t get past their distrust of the Celts.

Captured by the enemy, Aislinn Lenear wonders if she’ll ever see her bond wolf or Fionn, a Celtic god, again. She’s had nothing but her wits to rely on for years. They haven’t failed her yet, but escape from her current predicament seems remote.

An enticing blend of dystopian urban fantasy and romance, this second volume of the Earth Reclaimed Series provides fertile ground for Aislinn and Fionn’s relationship to deepen. Headstrong and independent, the pair run up against each other’s demands time and time again. Fireworks spark. In the end, they learn to savor every moment in a bittersweet world where each day may well be the last.

Earth's Hope
Earth Reclaimed Book Three

Power so old, deep, and chilling it hurts to think about it will overrun Earth if nothing changes. Targeted, furious, and fighting back, Aislinn runs wide open, gathering allies and putting her life on the line.

Aislinn Lenear has traveled a long road since the dark gods invaded Earth better than three years ago. After seeing her father slaughtered in front of her, and her mother sink into madness, Aislinn built strong walls around her heart. First her bond wolf, and then Fionn MacCumhaill, changed all that, but she and Fionn are far from home free.

Four of the six dark gods are still sowing destruction, and they’ve joined forces with Lemurians, a desperate lot, running just ahead of the tide of their own mortality. In a bold move, they try to coopt a group of young dragons, and very nearly succeed. Dewi, the Celtic dragon god, and Nidhogg, the Norse dragon god, banish their brood to the dragons’ home world, but they refuse to stay put.

In a fast-paced, tension-riddled closure to this dystopian, urban fantasy series, Earth's Hope sweeps from Ireland to the Greek Islands to the Pacific Northwest to borderworlds where the dark gods live. Fionn’s and Aislinn’s relationship is strained to the breaking point as they struggle to work together without tearing one another to bits. Fionn is used to being obeyed without question, but Aislinn won’t dance to his tune. If they can find their way, there may be hope for a ravaged Earth.

Excerpt from Earth's Hope

…One of the red dragons leaped from the water, wings flapping, and dive-bombed her, showering her with slimy moat water.
“Ewww.” Aislinn sputtered the dank water away from her lips.
“Play with us,” the female dragon demanded.
“It’s almost time for bed.” Aislinn tried to sound stern, but she had the same problem with the younglings that plagued Dewi. They were so damned cute, it wasn’t easy to pull rank.
“Bed?” echoed from six other dragonlings. They vaulted from the water and converged on her, nearly crushing her beneath their bulk.
“Get off me,” Aislinn cried. “You’re heavy.”
“Yes,” the one black dragon announced proudly and nudged Rune with his scaled snout. “Once I rode you. Soon you’ll fit atop my back.”
“Don’t count on it,” Rune snarled.
Aislinn snickered. Flying atop a dragon wasn’t the wolf’s favorite activity. He tolerated it when he had to, but avoided it when he could.
“How’s it going, leannán?” Fionn strode down the greenway separating the moat from his castle.
Aislinn scrambled to her feet and shook water out of her hair. Her beige trousers were thick, boiled wool and fairly resistant to moisture. A cloak woven from the same wool wrapped around her body. She’d found the clothes in one of many trunks in Fionn’s attic. He couldn’t recall who they’d belonged to, but she assumed it was an earlier wife or girlfriend since he’d been born in 1048.
“Good, you’re here.” She squinted through the gloom. When he got close enough for her to see his face, the welcoming smile died on her lips.
“Aye, well at least someone is glad of my presence.”
“Didn’t go well, huh?” She held out her arms. He walked into them and wrapped his around her.
“Nay. Mostly the humans want to wait until we’re attacked. Bran wants to annihilate the Lemurians first.” He tightened his arms around her shoulders. “I want to bash our way through the dark gods until they get fed up enough to retreat, but I canna do it by myself.”
“We’ll help.” The black dragonling tried to wriggle between Fionn’s and Aislinn’s bodies. His scales caught on Aislinn’s pants.
“We will, we will,” other young voices chimed in.
“The dark ones killed our sister,” the black dragon went on, his piping voice serious. “We want revenge.”
“Mother won’t let us fight,” a green dragon spoke up. “She already said so.”
“Father disagreed,” the red dragon who’d invaded Aislinn’s lap said.
She’d gotten better at telling them apart, but it would be a relief once they named themselves. In all, there were two red females, three green males, the black male, and a copper male.
“I fear all of us will get our chance in battle afore this is over.” Gwydion, flanked by Bran, walked into their midst. “Come with me. Time to give Aislinn a break.”
“Will you tell us a story?” the copper dragon demanded.
“Yes,” a red dragon clapped her clawed forelegs together. “You tell the best stories.”
“I’ll be your bard tonight.” Bran made a sweeping bow. “Mayhap you’d care to hear about how dragons came to be.”
“Yes!” the red female shrieked.
“Follow Bran,” Gwydion urged. Once the dragons were in motion, some flying, some walking, he rolled his eyes and brought up the rear.
“Thanks,” Aislinn shouted after him.
“Ye owe me, lass,” he called over one shoulder.
Aislinn leaned her head into the nook between Fionn’s neck and shoulder. “Would you like to walk a bit before we go inside?”
“Aye, lass. Now ye mention it, I’d like that verra much.”
“Do you suppose we could go as far as the sea?”
“I thought we’d remain within my wards—”
Bella flapped out of the darkness and landed on Rune’s back. “We’re coming,” she announced.
“Of course we are,” Rune seconded. “My bonded one would never consider leaving me behind.”
Aislinn stifled a snort. The bond animals had their own network and frequently shared things among themselves that they’d never tell their humans. Apparently Bella had complained about Fionn ditching her, and the wolf was reminding her of that in a less-than-subtle manner.
“Since we’re all going,” Aislinn cut in before Fionn got into another argument with the cantankerous raven, “let’s do this. I sat for so long, I’m cold.” She wriggled out of Fionn’s embrace, reluctant to leave the warmth of his body.
“Would ye like me to find you a warmer wrap?” Fionn asked.
She shook her head. “I don’t want this to be a big production number. Mostly, I want to work the kinks out of my legs before we go to bed. Thank Christ Dewi will be back by the middle of tomorrow.”
Fionn hooked a hand beneath her arm and guided her toward the wall that rose all around his manor. He’d had the mansion built in the fifteen hundreds to exacting specifications. Flat, gray stones comprised the outer wall; they fit together so precisely it was nearly impossible to detect their edges. The house itself was built from huge wooden beams and river rock. Five stories, with turrets and a tower and leaded glass windows, it looked like something out of a movie set.
Aislinn fell into step beside him, grateful for her long legs that let her keep pace easily. They passed beneath one of four curved gateways set into the outer wall and out onto open moorland. Humans who’d been assigned sentry duty nodded as they passed. The salt tang of the sea deepened, tickling her nostrils. For a moment, she felt homesick for the dry air of the American west where she was from. Rune jumped to one side, jaws snapping, and came up with a small, wriggling creature.
“I shall hunt too,” Bella declared and launched herself off the wolf’s back. The black of her wings melted into the shadows until Aislinn couldn’t see her anymore without magic.
“Why’s she unhappy this time?” Aislinn asked.
“What it comes down to,” Fionn replied, “is she doesn’t enjoy sharing me. Aye, she likes you well enough. Not like your mother, who she detested, but jealousy still gets the better of her.”
“She’s good to have by our side in battle, though.” Aislinn licked her lips and tasted salt from perpetual mists that hung in the air. “Speaking of which, I assume there’s another pow-wow with the humans.”
“Aye, that there is. If nothing else, we must craft a defensive plan should we be attacked.”
“Not if, but when,” she cut in. “I can’t put my finger on it, but time grows short. I feel it here.” She laid a hand over her chest.
“Ye and Bran, both. He says the Lemurians are closing, and I presume the dark gods are masterminding whatever they’re up to.”
Rune growled from around his impromptu meal. “I’m ready.” He shifted to mind speech because his mouth was busy.
Aislinn waited for the raven to jump in, but either Bella was out of earshot, or biding her time. The roar of breakers on sand got louder as they closed the distance to the beach. Fionn stopped walking and spun her in his arms until they faced one another. He murmured a string of Gaelic endearments just before he closed his mouth over hers.
Aislinn wove her arms around Fionn’s muscled torso and opened her mouth to his insistent tongue. Need flared, hot and urgent, but Fionn always had that effect on her. From the moment their bodies had first slammed together, passion drove reason from her mind.
She’d lost her father to Perrikus and D’Chel the night they’d pierced the veil separating Earth from their borderworlds. Lemurians had killed her mother a year later, and Aislinn had vowed to never let another soul get close enough to hurt her if something hideous happened to them. She’d held firm for two years, but first Rune and then Fionn, had walked into her life and changed everything.
Too late. It’s too late to worry about it now. Her breath quickened, and her nipples formed hard peaks where they were squashed against his chest.
Fionn dropped his hands lower and cupped the curves of her ass, pulling her hard against an obvious erection. She tore her mouth from his. “So, do you just want to fall into the wet grass and get it on?”
He made a decidedly male sound deep in his throat. “Not a bad idea, leannán. I can make us a dry place with magic.” He butted his hard-on against her pelvis. “At least we’d have a shred of privacy. No telling who’ll burst into my rooms back in the house.”
“No kidding. Do you suppose the dragons have figured out how to work their way past the deadbolt?”
“Och, lassie. Now ye mention it, I caught the black one using magic to do just that earlier today.” He tugged one of her arms from around him and pushed her hand over his engorged flesh. “We willna be long. Think of the adventure aspect.” Muted humor ran beneath his words…

About the Author

Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.

Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.

In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.