Saturday, October 24, 2015

New Release Alert: Strange Darkness by Danielle DeVor + Giveaway


Author: Danielle DeVor

Release Date: October 23rd, 2015


A new bastion of horror—named one of the Examiner’s 2014 Women in Horror: 93 Horror Authors You Need to Read Right Now for her novel Sorrow’s Point—the amazing Danielle DeVor brings us her first collection of stories—a showcase of wicked imagination and imagery.
In these tales, we see what happens when you use the skin of a vampire for a mundane purpose (The Case), a ghost hunting trip gone wrong (Love Me to Death), a little girl who has a furry friend with red eyes (Emmy’s Puppy), and more. This is DeVor at her best. Expect chills, gore, and stories that stay with you long after the lights go dim and the house begins to settle.


Named one of the Examiner’s 2014 Women in Horror: 93 Horror Authors You Need to Read Right Now, Danielle DeVor has been spinning the spider webs, or rather, the keyboard for more frights and oddities. She spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching “Salem’s Lot” way too many times. When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a mocha frappuccino.

Media Links:


 One Winner will get a signed copy of STRANGE DARKNESS Vol 1. (Open to US Only)
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Friday, October 23, 2015

Glittering Shadows by Jaclyn Dolamore - Excerpt & Giveaway

Check out the promo event for the second book in Jaclyn Dolamore's young adult fantasy series
hosted by Itching for Books

Series: Dark Metropolis #2
Release date: June 16th 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:

The revolution is here. 
Bodies line the streets of Urobrun; a great pyre burns in Republic Square. The rebels grow anxious behind closed doors while Marlis watches as the politicians search for answers—and excuses—inside the Chancellery. 

Thea, Freddy, Nan, and Sigi are caught in the crossfire, taking refuge with a vibrant, young revolutionary and a mysterious healer from Irminau. As the battle lines are drawn, a greater threat casts a dark shadow over the land. Magic might be lost—forever. 

This action-packed sequel to Dark Metropolis weaves political intrigue, haunting magic, and heartbreaking romance into an unforgettable narrative. Dolamore's lyrical writing and masterfully crafted plot deliver a powerful conclusion.


Originally, the antagonist of this book, Ingrid, was Freddy’s long lost sister! And Sebastian, the revolutionary leader, was originally the spoiled son of a wealthy man whom Ingrid fell in love with, and the true antagonist was a creepy traveling sorcerer. It was an utterly different story. And also a story that was not working at all! It took me some months to figure out what the real story was. Thank goodness for revisions. And time.

The key to figuring out this book? Marlis. Once the character of the Chancellor’s daughter walked into my head, the rest fell into place.

“Dark Metropolis” was inspired by Metropolis, the German silent film by Fritz Lang. As an homage to Lang, in the opening scene of “Glittering Shadows”, Marlis is watching an opera that is basically Fritz Lang’s “Die Niebelugen”, the silent film he made before Metropolis that is a retelling of Wagner's Ring Cycle and Norse mythology. 

The battle scenes in this book were so hard for me! I knew I had to write them, and I wanted them to be good and realistic. But I simply can’t conceive of how a battle ought to go, despite all the time I’ve spent playing Dynasty Warriors games... Luckily my guy is a military history buff. I made him draw me detailed maps and write very involved battle plans!

One of my favorite things about this book is that Freddy gets a new kitten. I want to put that out there, for everyone who was traumatized by the cat death in book one. I would never write an EXCESSIVELY sad pet death, but I still really, really wanted to fit a new kitten in there. At one point I wasn’t sure it was going to work, and I was like, “NOOOO, MUST HAVE KITTEN.”

Many of the names of minor characters and places in this book come from the anime “Legend of Galactic Heroes”, and there are two airships in the book named after Final Fantasy airships. 



Ingrid bent over and rummaged around on the floor. When she came back up, she had Thea’s book of fairy tales. “I saw this poking out of your bag. Running away with clothes and lipstick and a book of Irminauer tales?” She smiled a little. Her teeth were neat and straight.
“Father Gruneman gave it to me when I was little,” Thea said. “At my father’s memorial.” She thought Ingrid might know Father Gruneman, since he’d been a revolutionary leader.
“Father Gruneman must have understood that the forest always calls us home, even here in the city,” Ingrid said, putting the book in front of Thea and opening it to an image of a girl in beautiful stylized robes plucking a mushroom from the forest floor. “The pictures are lovely.”
Thea glanced at her uncertainly. She was still holding Thea’s wounded hand, her touch featherlight but never breaking contact. “Are you going to heal my hand?”
“Yes, of course I am. But it might hurt a lot, just for a moment. Have some more medicine”—Ingrid poured from a bottle on the nightstand—“and look at your beautiful book.”
Thea took the medicine. “It’ll be all right, though?” she asked. The medicine had deadened some of her fear, but in the back of her mind she thought that if she lost the use of some of her fingers, she wouldn’t be able to work many places anymore.
“It will be fine very soon.” Her voice was even, soothing. Thea heard the actual words less and the rhythm more. The words were like water running over rocks, constant and sweet, and she closed her eyes. 
“Your voice is like a song,” Thea said. “My mother used to sing to me when I was sick.” Mother sang all the time, before her sickness. Sometimes it was annoying, Mother throwing open the curtains and waking her up for school singing. But other times it was nice. She wished Mother were here now.
“I could give you a song,” Ingrid asked. “It will help.”
Ingrid began to chant—it was more like a chant than a song—long, beautiful tones. The music seemed to spin its way into the picture of the girl in the forest, so the colors grew brighter and Thea could almost smell moss and earth. Ingrid’s hand upon her arm was like a thread to another world, not unlike that fairy-tale forest that was a little bit frightening but also full of wonder. Anything could happen. The chant filled her with a sense of Ingrid’s power.
Thea felt something bite her wrist, heard a grinding, and her eyes snapped away from the book.
Ingrid held a bone saw in one hand, driving the blade just above Thea’s wrist with long, slow strokes. The saw was bright with Thea’s blood, but Ingrid had put cloths down so none would drip onto the bedspread or the carpet. Thea saw this through a haze of soothing tones and visions. She tried to say something, but her body was too dulled to speak or move. Ingrid’s eyes were half-closed, almost dreamy, as her lips moved with her strange song, but when she saw Thea looking, her note trailed off. 
“I’m sorry if it still hurts a little.” Ingrid’s words retained their rhythm. “I didn’t think I’d be giving this gift to you. But one must trust in fate.”

About the Author
Jaclyn Dolamore was homeschooled in a hippie sort of way and spent her childhood reading as many books as her skinny nerd-body could lug from the library and playing elaborate pretend games with her sister Kate. She skipped college and spent eight years drudging through retail jobs, developing her thrifty cooking skills and pursuing a lifelong writing dream. She has a passion for history, thrift stores, vintage dresses, David Bowie, drawing, and organic food. She lives with her partner and plot-sounding-board, Dade, and two black tabbies who have ruined her carpeting. |

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Review: Deadly Lullaby by Robert McClure

Deadly Lullaby

Robert McClure

Random House
September 29, 2015

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Goodreads

For readers of Harlan Coben and Robert Crais, Robert McClure’s rollicking crime novel of family and felony takes readers on a relentless thrill ride through the L.A. underworld.
Fresh off a nine-year stint in San Quentin, career hitman Babe Crucci plans to finally go straight and enjoy all life has to offer—after he pulls one or two more jobs to shore up his retirement fund. More than anything, Babe is dead set on making up for lost time with his estranged son, Leo, who just so happens to be a rising star in the LAPD.
The road to reconciliation starts with tickets to a Dodgers game. But first, Leo needs a little help settling a beef over some gambling debts owed to a local mobster. This kind of thing is child’s play for Babe–until a sudden twist in the negotiations leads to a string of corpses and a titanic power shift in gangland politics. With the sins of his father piling up and dragging him down, Leo throws himself into the investigation of a young prostitute’s murder, a case that makes him some unlikely friends—and some brutally unpredictable enemies.
Caught up in a clash of crime lords, weaving past thugs with flamethrowers who expend lives like pocket change, Babe and Leo have one last chance to face the ghosts of their past—if they want to live long enough to see their future.

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

Deadly Lullaby was a bit of a departure from my normal fare, and it was a really nice change of pace. 

What I liked:
The relationship between Leo and Babe- Mr. McClure managed a rather realistic relationship between two people who though chose different paths, are also quite similar deep down. Loved the dysfunctional relationship dynamics.
The action- Lots of high-stakes, intriguing action made this novel a real page-turner.
The twists and turns- Interesting criminals made for an engaging story. I wasn't keen on the gang aspect, yet it turned out to be quite provocative.

What I didn't like as much:
The pace- The story started out slow for me. Once I was about a third of the way through, it was fast-paced and kept my interest.
The writing style- There was nothing wrong with the style. It just didn't pull me in the way some fluidly-written stories do. Perhaps it's the genre. Like I said, I don't normally read thrillers, so maybe I wasn't used to the overall genre style.

Overall it was an intriguing story about dysfunctional family dynamics-- two men trying to connect again while embroiled in a clash with gang criminals. Expect lots of gritty, action-packed scenes.

About the Author

Robert McClure read pulp fiction as a kid when he should have been studying, but ultimately cracked down enough to obtain a bachelor’s in criminology from Murray State University and a law degree from the University of Louisville. He is now an attorney and crime fiction writer who lives and works in Louisville, Kentucky. His story “My Son” appeared in The Best American Mystery Stories, and he has had other works published in MudRock: Stories & Tales, Hardboiled, Thug Lit, and Plots with Guns.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Character Q and A with Megan Haskell, Author of Sanyare + Giveaway

Please help me welcome Megan Haskell, author of Sanyare. She is joining us for a Character Q and A with her main character, Rie. Don't miss her giveaway at the end of the post!

Interview with Rie from Sanyare
Before the official questions start, tell us a little bit about yourself.

The basics are pretty boring. My name is Nuriel Lhéthannien, but I prefer to be called Rie. I was born an orphan in the Human Realm, and taken to the High Court of Faerie to be raised as a changeling by lesser high elf nobles. I was lucky. My wardens, Curuthannor and Lhéwen treated me more as a daughter than the slave I could have been.
Curuthannor is King Othin’s general and high commander of his personal guard. When I showed interest in the martial arts, he ignored my human deficiencies and trained me to fight alongside his noble students.
At the same time, Lhéwen — one of the most sought after seamstresses in the Upper Realm — taught me how to interact with the nobility, how to serve and remain unseen while seeing and hearing everything around me. They turned out to be useful skills.
Ultimately, I earned a place in the High Court Messengers, a rare position of respect for a human.

1) Since you’re a fighter, what’s your favorite weapon?

That’s easy, the khukuri blades. The knives that I carry have an eight inch blade, and were designed specifically for my hand. Mine have red jasper grips inlaid with white aventurine, and a black jet palm ring set with red garnets. The copper bolsters — the metal caps at the front and back of the grips —  are enchanted with four runes: Ansuz for insight and communication, Perthro for seeing the future and knowing one’s path, Tiwaz for honor, justice, and leadership, and Uruz for physical strength and speed. They were gifted to me before I left…
Anyway, they’re my most valuable possessions.
But after everything that happened, I think I’m going to have to learn more about human firearms. Most of the fae haven’t bothered to pay attention to the human inventions of the last few centuries, military or otherwise. It turns out, a good pistol can be a fierce advantage.

2) You’ve traveled to many of the nine realms in your role as a messenger. Which is your favorite?

I really haven’t been to that many, yet. I was raised in the Upper Realm, in the glittering light of Curuthannor’s estate near Etsiramun. I’ve also visited the Human Realm, of course, and though your beaches are beautiful, the loss of magic is somehow heartbreaking. The Shadow Realm is too dark, but I love how the different races have begun to interact and participate. King Aradae has done a good job, in my opinion, of improving the relations across the different cultures. I’ve also been to the Winter Court, but I was only there for a few hours. It was cold.
So I guess, to answer your question, I would say that every realm has its good and bad, but my favorite location, the only place I’m truly able to relax, is in Lord Garamaen’s hall, here in the Human Realm. The walls of this estate hold a bit of magic, faerie creatures of all races are welcomed and respected — even the humans — and I don’t have to worry about court politics or maintaining appearances. I can just be.

3) What’s your number one tip for traveling the nine realms?

Always know where you’re going and do your best to blend in with the native population. I’m not always successful at this, myself, but I’ve found that the less conspicuous you are, the easier your path.

4) In the spirit of Halloween, what are some of the scariest monsters you’ve come across?

First of all, I reject the term ‘monster’. They are the fae, friendly or not. I’ll forgive the human terminology, but please use the appropriate term in the future.

That said, many of the fae would be considered scary, by your terms. Even the smallest, like the pixies, have a dangerous side. But if you’re going for pure physical intimidation, my friend Turant would rate high on the list. He’s a longma, and looks like a cross between a dragon and a horse. He has six flexible whiskers like the trunk of an elephant, spikes that run the length of his back and down his serpentine tail, and he can breathe fire. Bigger than a draft horse, I am unable to mount his back unassisted, and he’s not even fully grown. Some day soon, he’ll also be able to fly.
People clear out of his way pretty quickly.

5) Last, but not least, do you believe in ghosts?

Ghosts? No. Souls? Absolutely. The Daemon Realm is supposed to care for and guard the souls of those waiting to be reborn. I suppose, occasionally, they might escape their afterlife and return to the physical world to check on a loved one or attempt to snatch a body, but I’m pretty sure that’s against the rules. The Moirai would be quick to send out the reapers to reclaim the fugitive. The punishment wouldn’t be pleasant.

The Last Descendant

Megan Haskell

Dark Urban Fantasy
February 16, 2015

Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords

A human woman trapped between two great faerie realms…

Trained as an elite fighter and educated in the ways of the elves, Nuriel "Rie" Lhéthannien has worked decades to be accepted into the High Court messenger service. It's a simple enough occupation, but in a realm where humans are treated as little better than slaves, it's a position she'll do anything to protect.
On a routine delivery in the Human Realm, Rie is attacked by assassins from the enemy Shadow Realm and framed as a traitor. Facing execution at the hand of an unmerciful king, she evades capture and crosses the portal into enemy lands to prove her innocence.
Surprising allies arise from the shadows, assisting her search and uncovering secrets she didn't know she kept. With the risk of discovery lurking at every turn, Rie must use every weapon in her arsenal to uncover the truth behind the attack. If she fails, death will be the least of her worries.
Featuring a lowly human out of her element, a dark elf prince with unnatural fire magic, a blood sidhe merchant’s son with ambitions beyond business, and a mischievous swarm of pixies, Sanyare: The Last Descendant is a fast paced modern faerie tale with epic themes and a new adult tone. Start your adventure across the nine realms today!

The first five chapters of Sanyare: The Last Descendant are available free at

About the Author
Legend has it, I was born with a book in my hands. When I was a kid, my mom would ground me from reading in order to get me to do my chores. To this day, I can readily ignore the real world in favor of the imaginary one lurking between the pages of my current addiction. My dad — also an avid reader — introduced me to Tolkien in my late elementary years, and I never looked back. I love escaping to worlds where magic and monsters are real, especially stories with kick-butt heroines and dangerously attractive heroes.
Despite my voracious book appetite, I didn’t start creative writing until I was working as a number cruncher in a big accounting firm. With an hour plus commute by train every day, and a demanding left-brain occupation, I needed a mobile creative outlet. A pen and paper are about as mobile as it gets! As the pages began to fill, I quickly moved onto a tiny laptop, and a writer was born. Now I get to create my own fantasies!
I currently live in Southern California with my wonderfully supportive husband, two daughters, and a ridiculously energetic dog.

Social Media Links
Email: meganphaskell [at] gmail [dot] com
Twitter: @meganphaskell


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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review: Dark Screams Anthology

Dark Screams
Volume Five

Penguin/Random House
October 6, 2015

Amazon | B&N | BAM | Google Play
Penguin/Random House | Goodreads

Mick Garris, J. Kenner, Kealan Patrick Burke, Del James, and Bentley Little pry open a sarcophagus of horror and dread in Dark Screams: Volume Five, from Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the esteemed Cemetery Dance Publications.
It was supposed to be the night of his life: a celebration of his one hit slasher flick. But the price of admission is higher than this has-been filmmaker ever could have imagined.
When he was seven, Will Underwood’s nanny told him she had the Sight. Years later, a broken heart sends him to New Orleans . . . but it’s fate that leads him to Madame Darkling’s Voodoo Emporium.  
THE LAND OF SUNSHINE by Kealan Patrick Burke
Although she was mute long before the affair that nearly wrecked their marriage, her silence has tortured her husband ever since. Now he will seek out what he has lost—or be driven mad by remorse.
Arnold loves his ’68 Camaro almost as much as he loves his wife, and he’s willing to do anything to protect them both—especially after hearing strange noises coming from his garage.
THE PLAYHOUSE by Bentley Little
A real-estate agent is drawn into a children’s playhouse behind an abandoned property she’s trying to sell—and finds herself strangely reluctant to leave.

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

Twisted and creepy-- a great description for this horror/paranormal anthology. A couple of the stories were quite unique. I can safely say that I've never read anything even remotely similar. I've been telling anyone who will listen about one story... and maybe I shouldn't because it was definitely weird and NSFW.

Some I liked more than others, but they were all bizarre with interesting little twists, along with eerie atmosphere. If you are a horror fan, especially one looking for something beyond the stale, overdone fare that crops up at Halloween every year, pick up this anthology.

Warning: Not for anyone under eighteen, nor the faint of heart. Graphic at times, sexually and violently.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Portia by Christina Bauer - Excerpt & Giveaway

Angelbound Offspring #2

Christina Bauer

YA Fantasy Romance
Ink Monster LLC
October 27, 2015

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Unlike her famous older brother Maxon, Princess Portia isn’t known for killing demons or attracting admirers. The reason why is simple: a spell was cast on Portia, and the magic has marked her to one day transform into a dreaded Void demon. To fight this horrible fate, Portia’s spent her life hiding in libraries and learning magic. But when the Void demons threaten to destroy all the after-realms—and the handsome dragon Emperor Tempest offers his help—then Portia suspects that her future holds more than just a demonic metamorphosis. Fate is calling the bookworm princess onto the battlefield, and it’s a fight against both deadly enemies and her heart’s desires.

May be read as a stand-alone.


“Are we turning this into a guessing game, then?” I ask.
“Only if you wish it.”
I tap my cheek, pretending to consider this turn of events. “Fine. A game it is.”
“Let’s see. Are you maybe a quasi demon…But one who’s not from Purgatory?”
He shakes his head. “I’ll give you a hint. I’m a full-blooded Furor dragon.”
I scrub my hands over my face. Now, I’m really stumped. Mom and I have a drop of Furor blood in us. Enough for a tail, at least in Mom’s case. But Furor dragons are the real demonic deal. They have both human and dragon forms. That said, they aren’t exactly heavy into magic. I know hardly anything about them.
“Are you from the Hexenwing tribe of Furor? I know their Level One spells.”
The arrowhead end of his tail moves in a ‘no’ motion. “Wrong color dragon scales.”
I snap my fingers, as if the movement will jar my memory. My family has talked about these color schemes before. I just didn’t pay all that much attention. “Don’t tell me. Black scales on your tail mean that you’re from the Thornclaw tribe. Or is it Shrillroar?”
Another chuckle. “Neither.”
“Okay, I need a hint.”
“Why not ask your Mum? Her scales are the same color.”
I can’t help but laugh. “True.” I shake my head. “Wow, I need to take an interest in the after-realms outside of magic.”
“Maybe I can help on that score.” He takes a slow step closer. No. It’s more of a prowl. Like he’s a hunter and I’m the prey. “How about I explain over dinner?”
“Dinner.” My mental gears try to process this question. “As in you and me? On a date?”
He steps even closer. His body radiates heat. “Yes.”
The way he says the word ‘yes’ has my insides going all kinds of squirmy.
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”
He smiles again, like this conversation is our little secret. “And why’s that?”
I know nothing about people in general, let alone men?
“I have a very busy life.”
“Doing what?”
“Stuff. Books. Things. It’s cooler than it sounds.”
Wow. Do I ever sound like a loser.
“Quite busy, indeed.” He leans in closer. “Perhaps you could squeeze in one short dinner.” He scans me carefully. “In between Stuff and Things.”
His attention sends a delicious wave of heat across my cheeks. In fact, it’s so lovely that it takes me a while to process what’s actually happening. I gasp when I realize it.
“You’re looking at my marks.”
“I know. I like them.”
The moment freezes in time. This is a man. In fact, he’s a very hot man and he likes my marks. I shake my head in disbelief. “You like them?”
“Ah, you’ve no idea how much.”

About the Author

Christina graduated from Syracuse University's Newhouse School with BA's in English as well as Television, Radio, and Film Production. Her day job is in marketing for companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Brainshark. Back in the go-go 90′s, she founded her own software start-up, Mindful Technologies. Christina believes that, upon close examination of Tolkien's text, it's entirely possible that the Balrog was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers.

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