Friday, November 20, 2015

Review: The Torment of Rachel Ames by Jeff Gunhus

The Torment Of Rachel Ames
by Jeff Gunhus
Publication date: November 10th 2015
Genres: Adult, Thriller

Suffering from writer’s block, novelist Rachel Ames escapes to a lake cabin to calm her mind and regain a sense of herself. The location is perfect. Isolated. Beautiful. Inspiring. It even comes with a good-looking landlord who shows an interest in her. But she can’t shake the sense that something terrible has followed her to the lake, something just beyond her consciousness, something out on the edge where the sounds of a raging fire and sirens linger whenever she slows down to listen. Determined to make the cabin work, she tries to settle in and give her new life a chance. But when strange things begin to happen around her, she wonders if she’s made a terrible mistake. As the darkness that’s followed her manifests itself in inexplicable ways, her concept of reality is stretched thin and she realizes nothing at the lake is what it seems. As she fights to survive with her sanity intact, she understands too late that the location she’s chosen for herself is far from perfect.

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

This book is hard for me to review. It was one of those stories that dragged me in, shook me up, and left me rather sad. I loved Rachel-- she had a wicked sense of humor. The plot sucked me in immediately, all the strange things occurring in the mysterious cabin on the lake. When I realized where the author was taking me, I wanted to stop reading- didn't want to experience Rachel's heartbreak. But it was too late. I was along for the ride, and there was no getting off until the end.

The book was extremely well-written and one of the best thrillers I've read in a long time. So many stories are over the top and in your face. This was subtle, gut-wrenching, and intriguing all at the same time. The ending was both a relief and tragic. Normally I despise books that leave me in danger of crying, but that's entirely personal. IMHO, Mr. Gunhus is one hell of a writer. Though I still haven't decided if I'm glad I read this one or not... yet.

An amazing journey. But not for the faint of heart, and definitely not for those who don't like experiencing another's gut-wrenching heartbreak.

Cover Reveal: Curses & Ash by Tiffany Daune

Curses & Ash (Book Two)
Release Date:  January 2016
Jester Ink Press

Summary from Goodreads:

Discover the spellbinding sequel to Coral & Bone...

A demented twin sister, a demon hijacking her powers, and a mysterious journal filled with more questions than answers—Halen needs her Guardian Dax more than ever. But if she confides in Dax, she fears he will never forgive her, not after all he sacrificed to help her vanquish Asair.Halen drowned Asair in a tornado of wings—at least, she thought she killed him. Why then does his mocking voice snake through her thoughts, enticing her to surrender her power?

Maybe she screwed up—big time—but she will never allow Asair to control her magick. And when Etils' fires threaten the Earth, suspicions surrounding Asair's death rise, igniting restlessness within the realms. Her life in balance, Halen must race time, purge the demon's soul before flames consume the Earth or the Tari strike first. 

Awesome Giveaway to Celebrate Upcoming Release!

Author Amalie Howard is celebrating her upcoming release with an amazing giveaway!

Two lucky winners -- one will win a Kindle Fire (US ONLY) and another will win a paperback copy of BLOODSPELL & BLOODCRAFT (US & INT).


Thursday, November 19, 2015

What's the Line Between Erotic Romance and Erotica by Ann Gimpel, Author of Dragon Maid

Welcome to Ann Gimpel, author of the Dragon Lore series. This is a great post on what separates erotic romance from erotica.

What’s the Line Between Erotic Romance and Erotica?

I suppose every writer has a slightly different definition, but for me one of the differences has to do with the presence (or absence) or a strong, believable plot. I see erotica as a series of sex scenes with either no plot, or a very thin one sort of tossed into the mix as an afterthought. Applying this definition, a book can have some amazingly smutty sex scenes, but still not be erotica if there’s a compelling plot that pulls the reader along. You know, something more than curiosity about what the next sex scene will look like.

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but books without plots aren’t very interesting to me. Yeah, it makes me look pretty dated, huh? Crabby, old woman who insists on books that actually have a storyline. I’ll write steamy, descriptive sex, but it has to be a normal progression of my story, not just a sex scene because we went a few hundred words without one.

Another big difference is erotica doesn’t require a HEA or HFN. All romance books do. It’s part of their timeless appeal. Digging a little deeper, for the romance genre, the romance is the story. I’ve gotten a complaint or two for some of my books that, if you took the romance away, there would still be a story. I just hang my head, blush, and mutter, “Guilty as charged.” Virtually all my books feature subplots that support the romance, but could easily exist on their own. I’m fascinated by complicated plots, different worlds, different timeframes, and mingling them into believable wholes with hot alpha men and strong, confident women.

I have several romance series, plus a bunch of standalone novellas/novels. While I enjoy series work, romance series require a new romance for each one. Hence, a new h/h combo. Sometimes, I’d prefer to write a two or three part series with the same protags. It’s actually not uncommon in urban fantasy, which is mostly what I write (with a smattering of historical tossed in).

The Dragon Lore includes an ancient, time-traveling dragon shifter who’s been asleep for three hundred years. It’s urban fantasy, but with strong romantic elements. To Love a Highland Dragon, has an HEA. The first book in that series, Highland Secrets, has a HFN. In book three, Dragon Maid, there’s yet another dragon shifter couple with an HEA. The final book in that series, Dragon’s Dare, doesn’t introduce any new major characters, but the couple from the first book finally, finally claw their way to an HEA.

There’s a time and place for every story. Erotica has an appeal, but I think it’s different from erotic romance, or the other romance genres. What do you think? Do you have a preference when you’re hunting down something new to read?

I agree-- erotica is sex with a bit of a story and erotic romance is a story with steamy sex. I'll take the romance every time :) Throw in some ghosts or shifters and I'm on cloud nine!

Dragon Maid
Dragon Lore Book Two

Ann Gimpel

Paranormal Romance
Dream Shadow Press
October 5, 2015

Amazon    Barnes and Noble    iTunes    Kobo

Tumble off reality’s edge into myth, magic, and Scottish dragon shifters

When pressed, Jonathan Shea admits magic runs through his blood, but he’s always been ambivalent about it—until a dragon and her mage show up in the Scottish Highlands, and then all bets are off. Jonathan’s charmed and captivated by the dragon—a creature fresh out of myth and legend—but the woman bonded to it is so enticing, he tosses caution aside and catapults into the magical power he’s avoided for so long.

Britta and her dragon prepare for a battle to save Earth. Freshly transplanted from a much earlier time, she feels awkward, out of place. The first person she lays eyes on is Jonathan. There’s something about him. She can’t quite pinpoint it, but he has way more magic than he lets on. Magic aside, it runs deeper than that. For the first time ever, she questions the wisdom of remaining a maid. If she doesn’t make up her mind damned fast, though, her choices will fritter away. Beset from every side, she’s never needed her magical ability more.

Surrounded by dragon shifters, Celtic gods, Selkies, time travel, and a heaping portion of magic, Jonathan comes into his own fast. Fell creatures target him, Britta, and her dragon. In the midst of chaos, he and Britta find scorching passion and love so heartbreakingly tender, it will change their lives forever.

About the Author

Ann Gimpel is a national bestselling author. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. Once upon a time, she nurtured clients, now she nurtures dark, gritty fantasy stories that push hard against reality. When she’s not writing, she’s in the backcountry getting down and dirty with her camera. She’s published over 30 books to date, with several more planned for 2015 and beyond. A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.

Find Ann At: 
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review: The Soul Summoner by Elicia Hyder + Giveaway


Welcome to my tour stop for for The Soul Summoner by Elicia Hyder. This is an adult contemporary fantasy. The tour runs November 9-20 with reviews, interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.

soul-sommoner-cover400 Book Title – The Soul Summoner
Series – The Soul Summoner Series Book 1
Publisher – Forge Creek Press
Release Date – November 9th, 2015
Genre – Contemporary Fantasy
Rating – PG13
Length –  290 Pages

About the Book:
Blessed–or cursed–with a connection to the souls of others, Sloan Jordan can see the best in people… and the worst. For twenty-seven years, she's kept her ability to judge the innocent from the wicked a secret, but eleven young women have been murdered in the mountains of North Carolina, and Sloan may be the only hope of finding their killer.

She has just agreed to help Detective Nathan McNamara with the case, when a stranger--who is as alluring as he is terrifying--shows up at her doorstep with a dark past and another puzzling mystery: she can't see his soul at all.

Now, Sloan is on the hunt for a deadly psychopath with two irresistible men. One of them would die for her, and the other would kill to keep her safe.

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

The Soul Summoner is a fast-paced read that pulls the reader in right away. Featuring unique characters in a suspenseful, urban fantasy plot, it has a little something for every type of reader.

What I Liked
*No doubt, my favorite thing about this novel was the characters, especially main character Sloan. I immediately connected  with her and loved following the story through her eyes.
*The voice-- that ineffable something that makes a story for the reader. This novel had a voice that I really enjoyed.
*Author's style-- I liked the author's writing style- fluid and easy to read.
*Plot-- Loved the crime aspect mixed with the paranormal.

What Didn't Work
*Love triangle-- I hate them. I knew it was in the book going in, but I still hated it, especially since both guys were quite intriguing in their own rights.
*How quickly Sloan opened up to Det McNamara-- She went her whole life keeping her power secret (revealing it landed her in the hospital when she was a child). Even her parents didn't know. She didn't tell her best friend until they'd been friends for twelve or so years. Within a couple meetings, she bares all to the detective. It seemed out of character for one who has kept her secrets in the past. He also accepted everything a bit too easily, especially for a cop. I was surprised that he didn't accuse her of being part of the first crime he investigated with her. That seemed more likely than her being supernatural.

Even with the love triangle, it was a very good read. The flow, the pace, the plot, and the characters were all aces.

About the Author:
Elicia Hyder is the author of several contemporary fantasy novels such as The Soul Summoner, The Siren, The Angel of Death, and The Daughter of Zion as well as a few contemporary romances, The Bed She Made and To Be Her first. Elicia studied American Literature and Creative Writing at the American Military University. She lives with her husband and five children in central Florida.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Character Bios from Cursed Black Swan by Ryan T. McFadden + Giveaway

A warm welcome to author Ryan T. McFadden! Here's a post about two characters from Cursed Black Swan.

Nathaniel - A scoundrel, a thief, an assassin, and whatever else he needs to be for his clients. Nathaniel accepts jobs that are too bizarre or too dangerous for others. And while he’ll tell you that he’s very good at what he does - he often tags his jobs as incomplete rather than the true failures that they are. He doesn’t fail because he’s inept. He fails because he really doesn’t care what the job is. It’s only another day longer that he’s tricking himself into surviving, then he wants nothing better than to give up:

Amber ran her finger along the straight pink-and-white scar under my left nipple. "How'd you get this one?" she asked.
"Hugo the Hellion stuck his knife in me."
"I heard Hugo was dead."
"He was after he stuck his knife in me."
She looked at me with a tightened expression. "I was there when Hugo and his attack dogs plundered the Fjords near Oldbank. His sword was so great it took two slaves to carry. You're telling me that you brought down the Scourge of the Succession?"
 "A man has to defend his honour."
"I didn't...well, I didn't think you had honour."
"It wasn't my honour. He caught me cheating at dice and stabbed me. You remember O'Meara? With me bleeding on the floor, he went into a rage and brutally beat Hugo. The sawbones sewed me up but there wasn't much they could do for Hugo."
"That's quite a friend you have."
"O'Meara? He didn't do it out of friendship. He did it because I owed him three drake. He owes me. Instead of jailing him for murder, the Bronze appointed him the Sherriff of Havencastle."
She tucked a loose strand of auburn hair behind her ear. She was attractive, her skin soft, her earlobes delicate and flowing into a perfect line of her pronounced neck. She regarded me thoughtfully, her grey eyes dark in the meagre candlelight.
"And this one?" Her fingers played at the edges of a messy puckering of tissue along my side.
"A rhino."
She slapped my stomach, a little too hard. "Now you're mocking me."
"I'm not," I protested. "You've heard of the Grand Violence?"
"The Grand Violence?"
They were the most famous, and most dangerous, performance troupe in the Succession. "I joined them in DunGhūl. They were the perfect cover when I needed to blackmail the Merchant of Maul."
"You're an acrobat?"
"No, and that was the problem. The whole debacle ended with a rhino loose during the performance. The rhino gored me and trampled the Merchant." I smiled fondly at the memory. "The rhino rampaged across DunGhūl for three days before the City Watch were finally able to chase it over a cliff. After my performance, the Grand Violence was able to double their admission price."
She asked about my scars and I explained each of them: shark, molten gold, cedar tree, razor-tipped sawfish. Finally, exhausted of stories, we fell into a relaxed silence. As I was drifting to sleep she asked, "Who were you running from tonight?"

History: Nathaniel was a child prince, though he doesn’t remember for where or whom. When his family’s kingdom was consumed by another, he was sold into slavery in Cresek-Tawn. He learned to survive in that hellhole. More than survive: thrive. He became a champion of the Saturday Night Fights. His infamy in those fights raised the attention of Joshua, the prince of Cresek-Tawn. Then he had to fight again, to claw his way above the other purchased slaves until he became the only survivor, and Joshua’s man. But rather than a reward, he was cursed with a darkness:

The pie pulsed. Nathaniel couldn't help but think once he cut into it, vipers would explode from the pastry.
"This is a gift I'm giving you, Nathaniel. A great gift. Now eat."
Nathaniel stared warily at the pie. Joshua placed a fork in his hands.
"You have worked so hard. This is your reward. You are the last of my disciples. The one that I have chosen."
Killed all the others, Nathaniel thought. Yet he knew better than to question Joshua. His master had unmercifully beaten a woman to death when she dared question 'why'. That was on the second day. Since that time, his lessons had been followed religiously. Do not question. Only do.
Nathaniel dipped his fork into the pie. The outer shell broke, flaky. The filling was a dark, rich purple. Elderberry, Nathaniel thought. Perhaps Joshua was doing something kind.
He took a bite. Sweet. Juicy. And wrong.
He began to retch but Joshua was already scooping another bite to Nathaniel's mouth.
"Eat. Get it in you. This will make you strong. Make you powerful. All your training was simply so you'd be strong enough for this gift."
Nathaniel's stomach revolted, but he knew if he vomited that Joshua would be harsh, perhaps deadly. As he had been trained to do, Nathaniel quelled his body, voided the sensation of the pie and its wrongness. He ate with a frenzy, swallowing down the pastry until there was nothing left except crumbs.

Creed - An ugly giant of a man with a murky past.

He was not an attractive man and as he laid eyes upon the sword and his concentration heightened, so did his ugliness. His body was a slab of meat with large, oversized hands even too large for his monstrous body. While his left eye was blue, his right was white, perhaps useless. He had no hair, but his scalp was so laden with scar tissue, I wasn’t sure he could grow any. His face was almost as equally scarred. His exposed hands and arms were covered in a matte of dark, course hair.”

His strength and anger are near limitless, and as Nathaniel discovers, nearly indestructible. However, he driven not by rage, but his desire to be reunited with his love:

My love's name was Aliénor and she made me whole. Several lifetimes ago, I made a terrible mistake— one that I regret every moment I am on this earth. Ironically, my mistake allows my time to never end. Now, I will rip apart heaven, earth, flesh, and bone to get her back. I know that you'll do the same. Black Swan is the instrument to make me whole again. It's the instrument to make you whole again.

Cursed Black Swan
A Fixer Novel

Ryan T. McFadden

Genre- Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
Published By- Dragon Moon Press
Publication Date-October 30th

"Let's get one thing straight—I'm a fixer. You need someone murdered? Then hire an assassin. You need something stolen? Call a thief. But if there's something no one else can do, or a job that no one else wants, then you talk to me."
Nathaniel specializes in the strange, the weird, and the dangerous. But no matter how far he runs, he can't leave behind his bloody past, nor the ghosts that chase him.
His latest job was supposed to be simple—recover the sword Black Swan. Except there's no such thing as a simple job. When the operation goes bad, the Crucifiers, the Crooked Hand, assassins, and Crusaders are all hot on Nathaniel's trail...for a sword he doesn't even have. All he has to do to get it back and set his world right is to find the woman of his dreams...and kill her.


About the Author-
Ryan T. McFadden is a writer of fantasy and horror, with short stories and novellas published through Dragon Moon Press, Edge SF & F, and Absolute X-Press. In 2014, his novella Ghost in the Machine won the Aurora Award (Canada's most prestigious award for SF&F) for Short Fiction.

His motley past involved such dangerous work as database administration, ice cream flavouring (seriously, that's a thing), hockey league administration, screen printing, web design, furniture building, and home renovations.

He lives in London, Ontario, with his two beautiful, but sometimes diabolical daughters, who he is sure are plotting to one day overthrow him.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thankful for Cash $250 Giveaway

Need some cash for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Be sure to enter our Thankful for Cash giveaway!

Thankful for Cash Giveaway

Thankful for Cash $250 Giveaway - November 15th to December 15th
An Awesome Group of Authors & Bloggers have joined with me to bring you 1 fabulous prize!! We’re giving away $250 in Paypal Cash! Or alternately you can choose a $250 eGift Code!   Sponsor List – Thanks to these awesome bloggers & authors for sponsoring this giveaway!!

Sponsor List

Giveaway Details $250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 eGift Card Ends 12/15/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or who can redeem an Gift Code. 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 and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.