Books and a Thank You!

I just want to say Thank You to everyone who came out to BrazCon on Saturday! It was a wonderful time, I got to meet some amazing young writers, and I can’t wait for next year!
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I was fortunate to meet some awesome authors as well! Here is a glimpse of some of their books!

D. Marie Prokop enjoys writing and reading stories with riveting adventures, spiritual insights, and enlightening cultural or social critiques. Her favorite authors include Madeline L’Engle, Pearl S. Buck, John Green, and C. S. Lewis.

A member of WriteSpace Houston and the Houston Writer’s Guild, D. Marie gains both education and comradery from her local writing community. She’s written and published YA, children’s fiction, science fiction, adventure, fantasy, and horror.

In 2011, D. Marie discovered the National Novel Writing Month challenge and became enamored with writing fiction. The challenge of NANOWRIMO helped D. Marie create her YA Sci-Fi trilogy, Days of the Guardian. The Days of the Guardian trilogy now includes The Red String, The Red Cloak, and The Red Knot.

D. Marie is also a singer-songwriter and avid fiber artist/knitter. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, the former Yankee now resides in Houston, Texas, along with her loving family, their feisty cats, a beloved ukulele, and much, much yarn.

Follow her literary exploits at Daysoftheguardian@wordpress.com

Check out her books:
The Shorter Things Collection: Poems, Flash Fiction, and Short Stories by [Prokop, D. Marie, Prokop, D. Marie]
Welcome to my non-young-adult collection of shorter things: poetry, flash fiction, and short stories that span various genres, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, and memoir. Every piece in this volume is under five thousand words.
Sifting through my files, I gathered a collection of shorter pieces written over recent years that do not fit comfortably in the young adult genre. Some of these works were the result of writing workshop exercises, and some were prompted by specific challenges, for example, National Poetry Month and various literary magazine submission themes.
Fair warning—though each piece is short, they are not all sweet.
The Red String (Days of the Guardian Book 1) by [Prokop, D. Marie]
It is the year 2053. Ainsling Reid is a spirited and happy 16-year-old. Though she suffers from debilitating seizures, she has hope in the one doctor who has promised to cure her.
Li Griffin wishes his father would let him live his own life. He is angry and resentful that he has been forced to work at his Clinic. His feelings are harsher for the mother who abandoned him many years ago.
Despite their differences, these two teens form an unexpected bond when their lives cross paths.
In “The Red String,” Ainsling and Li will find themselves in need of a rescue.
It’s a good thing that’s what the Guardian does best…

Adam Holt was raised in Friendswood, Texas near NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where his father worked for NASA in Mission Control during the Apollo missions. He was born into the space program and did not realize how special that was until he arrived at college. “Your dad put men on the Moon? No way!”

He attended Baylor University for his undergrad, SMU for his grad degree, and taught English at Greenhill School in Dallas for a decade; however, he left teaching to devote himself to his writing full time as well as sharing his love of human space exploration. He responds to fan tweets: @adamholtwrites.

He travels abroad when he has time and money, loves Victor Hugo and C.S. Lewis, respects Rick Riordan, and loves the crunchy boom of a rocket launch.

Check out his books:
The Conspiracy Game: A Tully Harper Novel: A Tully Harper Novel (The Tully Harper Series Book 1) by [Holt, Adam]WARNING: YA fiction about space travel, friendship, and love. No glittery vampires allowed.
Commander Harper is searching for water on Mars when he makes an unexpected discovery. It makes him a living legend, but that only leads to more missions. Once again, he has to leave his son behind.
Not if his son has anything to say about it.
This summer Tully Harper puts away his video games and plans a mission of his own – to sneak into space on his father’s ship. To do that he will need plenty of help from Little Bacon, his pint-sized android, and his two best friends. Along the way, they will uncover The Conspiracy Game and change the fate of the solar system.
This time Tully Harper won’t be left behind.
“Tully’s enthusiasm for space travel and commitment to his friends sends this story deep into our solar system. It’s a quirky, fun book that also manages to treat space travel seriously.” – Astronaut Jerry Ross, author of Spacewalker
The Rathmore Chaos: The Tully Harper Series Book Two by [Holt, Adam]“Tabitha was kidnapped in the Florida Everglades. That’s what we told the world, but it was a lie. Now I must find her real kidnappers – the Ascendant – before they return for us all. To do that, I’m going to need a lot of help. And another spaceship. This time it’s not for me. It’s for the girl that I left behind.”
With that, Tully Harper begins his second mission into space, an epic journey that takes him to an alien world. A superior race awaits him there, ready to invade the Earth. Will an unexpected partnership – and the return of Tully’s powers – be enough to stop the Ascendant?
In his second book, Adam Holt weaves a wild web of space travel and mythology, humor and drama. The Rathmore Chaos is a redemptive coming-of-age story that takes his young protagonist to the edge of himself – and our solar system.
Martine Lewis
Martine Lewis is a forty something who was born and raised in the French speaking province of Quebec, Canada. She spent her childhood looking forward to her summer vacations at the farm, which were a nice escape from the suburbs where she lived.

Her first written endeavor was a 200-page handwritten Duran Duran bandfiction which she wrote when she was eleven years old. Of all her written work, this is the only one she no longer has.

All throughout high school, Martine wrote more bandfictions and some original work, then she went to write fanfictions in the Star Wars, Buffy and Harry Potter universes. Her fanficiton in the Potterverse are mostly centered on characters of her own creation and can be found on fanfiction.net.

Following her viewing of Roswell on Netflix in 2012, Martine wrote book two and three of the Gray Eyes Series, then went on to create the Gray Eyes Series universe in which she has been playing ever since. She writes contemporary coming-of-age romance fiction (young adult/new adult) with a twist.

Martine is an avid reader and rollerskater. She loves sushi, hot chocolate on a cold day, and the beach. But what she loves above all else is to curl on her chair with her computer and write more stories for her readers.

Martine currently lives in Houston TX with her two cats.
Check out her books:
Crossing the Barrier (The Gray Eyes Series Book 1) by [Lewis, Martine]
High school student Malakai Thomas, star wide receiver of the varsity team, collides with band member Lily Morgan on his way to football practice. As days go by, Malakai cannot get the petite clarinetist out of his head.
Lily Morgan can feel everyone’s emotions. She loses her ability to shield herself against them the day Malakai runs into her. Now she must try to maintain her sanity in the emotional jungle that is high school, as well as deal with her growing feelings for Malakai.
Can Malakai get over the social stigma and his own internal struggle to be with Lily? Is Lily’s secret too big to accept, even for him?
Breaking the Mold (The Gray Eyes Series Book 2) by [Lewis, Martine]
A girl stuck in her father’s mold.
Olivia Kendall looks forward to her senior year of high school. But her world is shaken when a new boy walks into school, a boy she cannot help but be drawn to. But her father’s ideas for her life don’t include Alex.
A boy with a gift, desperate for a real home.
Alex Parker begins his senior year in yet another school. The only person he looks forward to seeing again is Olivia Kendall, a girl he knew in second grade, a girl who never made fun of him. One touch, and he knows what he’s suspected all along: there is something unearthly about their connection.
Can the two stay together despite Alex’s secret, despite a town that seems to conspire against them?
Angélique Jamail’s poetry and essays have appeared in over two dozen anthologies and journals, but she’s been writing fiction since childhood. The first time she ever read one of her short stories in front of an audience was fourth grade. The reaction to it was a character-building experience.

She teaches English and Creative Writing to high school students. She resides in the Houston area with her family and a cat which might be immortal. She has otherwise lived in her imagination pretty much her whole life.

Read more of her work, and find out about upcoming publications, on her blog Sappho’s Torque (www.SapphosTorque.com). Also find her in the realm of social media on Facebook and Twitter. She’s available for book club appearances in person or via Skype.

Check out her books:
Elsa’s family grows more unkind by the week. Her boss, a seven-foot-tall rage demon, has control of everything but his anger. And her cat wants to eat her. Things could be better.
**
In a world where one’s Animal Affinity is a sign of maturity and worth, Elsa’s inability to demonstrate hers is becoming more than a disappointing nuisance; it’s becoming a danger. She has no confidence she’ll ever conquer her Plainness by “blossoming.” She also fears both the wolf packs that prowl her neighborhood and being stuck in a life plummeting rapidly from lackluster to perilous. Fortunately, she has a cousin and a co-worker who know her better than she knows herself and can see through to what society won’t.
**
FINIS. is the magic realism of our time, a story of finding one’s way to the end of things, of persevering through the dregs of life to discover something more.
The Milk of Female Kindness: An Anthology of Honest Motherhood by [James, Kasia, Pascoe, Dr. Carla, Cass, Sarah, Dickerman-Nelson, Judith, Marshall, Marie, Roman, Cheri, Garie, Sabrina, Muhammad Ali, Khaalidah, Danby, Sandra, Jamail, Angelique]
‘Mother’ is a word heavy with associations.
Becoming a mother is surely one of the biggest changes and challenges in a woman’s life. It is at once an absolutely unique experience, and yet one which is so common that it is often overlooked. Motherhood is intense, relentless and absorbing, in all senses of the word.
Popular culture seems to have a split personality when it comes to motherhood – at once holding it up as a sacred ideal, and yet being a little dismissive of women as mothers.
A diverse international group of women have been brave enough to share their stories, poetry and artwork to encourage you to think and feel about this most influential of relationships in a new and enlightened way.

And don’t forget that Innovation is still going until February 10, which is Saturday! Don’t miss out on a chance to get some great free books!
 

 

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Series Spotlight – The Rise of Aredor & The Wildcat of Braeton

This week I’m doing something different: a series spotlight on two amazing books by author Claire M.Banschbach as part of her relaunch blog tour! In January, Claire had the terrible news that her publisher was going under, so she decided to go indie! Check out her relaunch of her first book (The Rise of Aredor) and the launch of the second book in the series (The Wildcat of Braeton)! Also, scroll down for free stuff!! 😀


 

Rise of Aredor Webcover

The Rise of Aredor

Lost in a foreign land and separated from his family, Corin does his best to survive as a slave in the household of a Calorin lord. With newfound friends he fights for survival in ambushes and wars. For one act of bravery, he is awarded his freedom and returns to a home that has been invaded and ravaged by the Calorin armies. When Corin sets foot on Aredor’s shores, he has one goal in mind: find his family. He is driven into the forest, where he is reunited with childhood friends. From the shelter of the woods, they begin a spirited rebellion against Corin’s former cruel master, who now holds sway over Aredor. Follow Corin’s path in his quest to free his imprisoned brother, find a father who has vanished, and ultimately free his country in The Rise of Aredor.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Excerpt from The Rise of Aredor:

“What’s going on here?” A voice demanded in Calorin.

“Corin, there’s someone out there!” Trey whispered.

“Who’s in charge here?” Another voice asked.

From inside the storeroom, Corin’s heart lifted as he heard the slurred speech of the men. They’re drunk! he realized. He grabbed a flagon off the shelf.

“I hate this stuff,” he muttered and took a deep draft. Spluttering, he took another drink.

“Corin, what are you doing?” Trey hissed.

“Keep working. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Corin clapped his shoulder. Liam and Martin watched bewildered as he staggered past them toward the soldiers.

“That’d be me,” he slurred the words. “Lieutenant Hamíd, at your service, boys!”

The soldiers looked at him through slightly unfocused eyes.

“I’m Lieutenant Zafir, and this is Lieutenant Hamzah,” one said. “What are you doing out here so late, Hamíd?”

“We were supposed to leave earlier, but they didn’t get the wagon loaded in time.” He jerked a thumb back at his companions. “You know how lazy those cavalry soldiers can be.” He took another pull at the flagon as Zafir and Hamzah voiced their agreement loudly.

“We were just going to the tavern. You should join us, Hamíd!” Zafir said.

When Corin hesitated, Hamzah clapped him on the shoulder.

“Come on! You’ll have plenty of time before these buffoons get the wagon loaded.” He took the flagon from Corin and drank.

“You’re right!” Corin took the liquor back. “There’s no reason I should have to stand out here in the dark while they work!”

“Aye, you look like you work too hard already!” Zafir said. The three of them roared with laughter.

“Don’t send someone after me when you’re done. You’ll probably take all night!” Corin raised his voice as he gave the order to the other “Calorins.”

Trey’s salute told him that he understood. Relieved, Corin draped a friendly arm around Hamzah’s shoulder as they made their way toward the tavern.

 

What is he doing?” Martin asked Trey.

“I hope he knows. Come on, let’s hurry with these.” Trey slung another bag up to Liam.

An hour passed and there was no sign of Corin. Liam scanned the street anxiously. They had finished filling the wagon almost half an hour ago.

“The sentry will be along any minute,” Martin whispered to Trey. “What do we do?”

“Wait,” Trey replied, equally uneasy.




Want a chance to win free ebooks and other swag??

Giveaway Graphic

What you could win:
The Rise of Aredor and The Wildcat of Braeton, a set of 4 notecards of the series artwork, and the grand prize is a paperback set of the books + 1 notecard of choice!

The giveaway will run from 9/28-10/4.

ENTER TO WIN NOW




 

Wildcat of Braeton Webcover

The Wildcat of Braeton

His term of service to Lord Rishdah now complete, Aiden returns to his home in Braeton. As he travels he hears rumors that trouble plagues Braeton. Clan Canich is being attacked from within. He arrives, determined to save his father, his brothers, and his Clan from the treachery of one man.

A year has passed since the Calorins were driven from Aredor and Corin is struggling to rebuild his country. Despite the peace, a fear haunts him that the Calorins aren’t far away. The Hawk Flight takes to the forest again to defend the borders against a possible attack from the neighboring country of Durna and its Calorin ally.

As Aiden and Corin struggle to adapt to their new lives they know one thing for certain – war is coming to the North!

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Excerpt from The Wildcat of Braeton:

“Ranulf came here too. I would have sent men, but we were in the middle of helping the Aredorians with the Calorin War,” Laird Dandin said. “And now this Adalwulf threatens Durnian invasion if we send men. Forgive me for saying, but I think Laird Gòrdan would only see the Clans coming tae help now as an attack on him. There would be war in Braeton.”

“I understand.” Aiden hated it, but he could understand.

“So what are you really here for?  I know you don’t want sanctuary.” Laird Dandin’s look urged him to be honest.

“I have no patience left,” Aiden said. “I’m going tae stop Adalwulf. But I can’nae do it on my own. We need the Clan back.”

Dandin sat at the table. “How is your father?”

“My father…” Aiden paused. “He is controlled by Adalwulf. He banished William and has almost disowned Ranulf and myself.”

“I didn’t know it was so bad,” Dandin said.

“My Laird, I’m not asking for your help. I just need tae know how many of Clan Canich are here.” Aiden leaned forward on the table.

“I’d say around forty. You’re going tae raise the Clan?”

“That is my intent, although it never should have come tae this.”

“The men here obey the command of a man named Artair. Convince him, and you’ll have your men,” Dandin said. “But I warn you, that will be no easy task. You are welcome here for as long as you need.”

“Thank you, sir,” Aiden replied gratefully, hoping he did not require the Laird’s hospitality for long.


Cool Trivia about The Wildcat of Braeton:

Random Fact 6

Want more random facts? Visit the other blog stops for more!



Two great books, and guess what?? Today is your lucky day!

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For THREE DAYS ONLY, get The Rise of Aredor for only 99 cents!!



About the Author:

Claire M. Banschbach is a native West Texan. She discovered a deep and abiding love for fantasy and science fiction at a young age, prompting her to begin exploring worlds armed only with an overactive imagination and a pen while obtaining degrees in Kinesiology from Texas A&M and Physical Therapy from Texas Tech University.

She talks to fictional characters more than she should while struggling to find time for all their stories. She currently resides in Arlington, TX where she works as a Pediatric Physical Therapist.

You can connect with her on Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog | Instagram

 



Thanks for stopping by and checking out Claire’s new books! Need more of the Aredor Universe? Try Claire’s short stories on her blog! Happy reading!

My Review of The Beginning: Breath of War

I received BoW as an ARC and was asked to do a review of it! R. Malak was previously featured on the Infinity Flower Publishing blog. Read his post here.

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Synopsis:

“The Beginning” is a mixture of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and survival.

Devastated by war with unknown creatures, Talmen a roamer searches for his long lost brother in the hopes of re-uniting his broken family.

Cora a resourceful ranger trained in both stealth and marksmanship heads out with her new squadron to eliminate a threat posed to her home by an Orc WarHorde.

Togran Ka leader of the WarHorde finds himself embroiled in ancient rivalries and blood feuds. His attempts to adapt to human weaponry, causes much hate amongst the believers of Sezrath.

Lucy and Rollo siblings abandoned by their parents, make their living selling items they have scavenged and repaired to any surviving human settlements. Opposite sides of the same coin, Rollo is a cheerful boy with the glow of innocence still about him and Lucy an overprotective cynical woman, who fears for the future.

The Mother a creature of pure malevolence and vileness seeks to cleanse the world.

My Review:

Wow! What an adventure!

When I started reading Breath of War, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. From the very beginning, R. Malak had me hooked with Talmen’s struggle just to survive the day. There was so much action, with battles that left me feeling like I was the one being chased by monsters. Malak also includes an awesome insight into the society and minds of the monsters, to the point that I almost felt sorry for them. Almost. The twist at the end really threw me for a loop and left me with one burning question: When is the next book coming out??

If you love dystopian futures mixed with fantasy monsters and epic battles for the survival of the human race, then this book is for you! And remember, this is just The Beginning.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s not your normal, run-of-the-mill fantasy, even though it features orcs, goblins, and other bad little monsters with teeth and a craving for human flesh. I was surprised initially by the amount of detail that Malak puts into the battle scenes (and they make up probably 90% of the book!), but I think that’s what makes this story so compelling. These people are not just living in a changed world, they’re fighting every moment to stay alive and try to adjust to the beasts that have taken over. I really liked that it gave this book a dystopian feel, while still maintaining the fantasy.

The orcs and their society were really interesting to me. The way Malak writes them, we see that they aren’t just mindless beasts; they have wants and desires and they have to maintain status or risk being turned on by their brethren. It lends an empathy to these creatures that is otherwise lost in most fantasy.  It’s nice to see that the bad guys have brains and aren’t just slobbering death-machines.

The ending really threw me for a loop, but I won’t spoil it here by talking about it! 🙂 There’s a massive plan beginning to unravel, involving all the races, and, like I said in my review, this is just The Beginning!

Overall, I give R. Malak a solid 4-star rating.

If you would like to read this book, it’s available now on Amazon for pre-order and will be available on Kindle Unlimited!

Follow R. Malak on Facebook and Twitter, and check out his behind-the-scenes posts on Wattpad, including a history of the orcs!