Blog Tour: Wings Unseen by Rebecca Gomez Farrell

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9781946154002-WingsUnseen-EBOOK-COVER-FINAL_03Wings Unseen by Rebecca Gomez Farrell 
Release date: August 22nd 2017
Genres: Young adult, fantasy
Formats: Paperback, eBook

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To end a civil war, Lansera’s King Turyn relinquished a quarter of his kingdom to create Medua, exiling all who would honor greed over valor to this new realm on the other side of the mountains. The Meduans and Lanserim have maintained an uneasy truce for two generations, but their ways of life are as compatible as oil and water.

When Vesperi, a Meduan noblewoman, kills a Lanserim spy with a lick of her silver flame, she hopes the powerful display of magic will convince her father to name her as his heir. She doesn’t know the act will draw the eye of the tyrannical Guj, Medua’s leader, or that the spy was the brother of Serrafina Gavenstone, the fiancee of Turyn’s grandson, Prince Janto. As Janto sets out for an annual competition on the mysterious island of Braven, Serra accepts an invitation to study with the religious Brotherhood, hoping for somewhere to grieve her brother’s murder in peace. What she finds instead is a horror that threatens both countries, devouring all living things and leaving husks of skin in its wake.

To defeat it, Janto and Serra must learn to work together with the only person who possesses the magic that can: the beautiful Vesperi, whom no one knows murdered Serra’s brother. An ultimate rejection plunges Vesperi forward toward their shared destiny, with the powerful Guj on her heels and the menacing beating of unseen wings all about.


Author Guest Post: Top 10 Fantasy Book Inspirations

The following list is of my Top 10 fantasy world inspirations for my own epic fantasy, Wings Unseen. I’m certain these works of art influence me no matter what genre of fiction I’m working on at the moment. Most of them are books, but a few television shows squeaked in as well. Regardless of the medium, these fantasy worlds have been inspiring me for at least a decade if not two or three, and I doubt they’ll ever stop. I’m ordering them from most recent to the ones that have nurtured me since swaddling clothes.

10. Battlestar Galactica, the reboot: As much as this is a world inhabited by robots gone rogue, it is also a story of the fantastical intersection of religious faith, science, and the origin story. The power of an origin story is strong; in this world, it propels the homeless Colonists back toward their ancient home on Earth. And the history of Wings Unseen offers a similar heft. Their creation mythos is not simply a forgotten tale, but it provides a relevant understanding of the threats manifesting here and now.

9. Sir Apropos of Nothing and the Woad to Wuin by Peter David: The world of Sir Apropos is a silly one full of puns and poking fun at everything that constitutes a standard fantasy novel. But it is also a world full of appreciation for those very qualities it jabs at. The encounter with the unicorns is a must-read regardless of your opinion on mythical creatures! Books like these gave me permission to have my characters laugh at the absurdity of their own situations, however serious those situations feel to them. Life is ridiculous, whether fictional or real.

8. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin: With the award-winning and record-breaking show for HBO in its seventh season, it’s no surprise to find this fantasy book series on anyone’s list of inspirations. But I was first introduced to it by an ex-boyfriend back around 1999, and I’ve been devoted to it ever since. What’s most inspirational to me is how Martin effectively uses multiple point-of-view characters to tell his story as fully as possible. And yes, so does Wings Unseen.

7. Star Trek, the Next Generation: The optimistic future world that Gene Rodenberry envisioned is fantasy on the space opera scale, but one that I’d love to believe humans can grow into. In all its iterations, there are villains, battles, and terror, but above all, and most evident in the Next Generation, there is hope in diplomacy, kindness, and a love of exploration that extends to respecting the cultures encountered. For me, the worlds of Star Trek are an example of how morality can be woven consistently and inspirationally into narrative, complete with mistakes and great leaps forward for mankind.

6. The Belgariad series by David Eddings: Either you love how Eddings sinks himself fully into the tropes of the fantasy world or you run away as fast as you can. But what I remember most from this series is the swearing: “Torak’s tooth!” Torak is the evil god of the series, and using that construction as a curse always made me smile. It transfers over to Wings Unseen in two common phrasings, one for each religion of the bitterly divided lands: “Madel’s hand” and “Saeth’s fist!” Either are satisfying to yell if you need to curse without offending anyone nearby…other than making them think you’re a wee bit crazy.

5. The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien: The next two entries on this list are considered trite in this day and age, but they are here because no works are more formative for the early fantasy reader. And Tolkien’s Middle Earth combines the best of it all: prophecy, song, friendship, temptation, hard choices, and unerring devotion to saving anyone worthy at all costs, whether it’s a pair of kidnapped hobbits or a whole civilization. In the end, the small acts are just as important as the large ones, the taking of a ring as valuable as the felling of a Nazgul. Bravery knows no limitations here. And of course, this fantasy world gave us the blueprints for elves, dwarves, wizards, and other fantastical creatures from which to draw our own inspirations.

4. The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis: While fairy tales can claim their place as the originators of talking animals in tales, Narnia is the preeminent home of talking animals in fantasy. Some readers can’t take them at all, but I find Mr. Tumnus, the fawn, and Reepicheep, the warrior mouse, and all their friends rather charming. The qualities we prize in human characters can sometimes be more recognizable when inhabiting the body of an animal. But what I love most about Narnia is the sense that this world is much larger than we’ll ever fully see, and I take comfort in that. Even in exploring the ends of the world in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I always felt there was more just outside the borders of the map.

3. Alice in Wonderland, the 1985 miniseries: Alice’s shenanigans in Wonderland were some of my earliest introductions to the idea of fantasy worlds, whether through the Disney film or the Lewis Carroll books. But the 1985 miniseries that drew on the first book and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, is the one that has stuck with me in terms of writing influences. It had a star-studded cast and whimsy that came across a little less funny and a little more twisted than other retellings of the story. Especially through the use of the Jabberwocky, a monster in a nonsense poem in the book but a terrifying, existential threat in the miniseries. The intermixing of true horror with wild, and at times nonsensical, adventure is a combination that enthralls me. Though I hope Wings Unseen’s adventures make a little more sense. 😉

2. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra, Princess of Power: I would be lying if I omitted these two cartoons from my collective fantasy memory. The main characters’ purposes may not have been complex – destroy Skeletor to save Eternia or the Evil Horde to save Etheria – but they were clear-cut, and I never doubted the commitment of those heroes to their quest. Sometimes they had the upper hand, sometimes Skeletor did, but the battle was always noble and worth a Saturday morning’s viewing. I may have first learned the importance of sidekicks from this series as well, for comic relief but also for moral and sometimes physical support.

1. Fairy Tales: I don’t remember the name of the collection of fairy tales I grew up with, but I remember the book. There were many illustrations, and it was at least 400 pages long and divided into sections of colored pages: green, pink, blue, and yellow—maybe orange, too. I learned my basics from these tales: the Princess and the Pea, Rumpelstiltskin, the Ugly Duckling, and all the other stories that are never quite as happy as you remember reading them as a child. The beautiful vibrancy of the pages helped sear their words into my mind. Wings Unseen contains only unconscious echoes of fairy tales, but any writer learns the basics of plotting from them. My next book, a post-apocalyptic romance, relies on fairy tales as an organizing principle. They are in our marrow, and their power must be acknowledged.


About the Author

beccagomezfarrellIn all but one career aptitude test Rebecca Gomez Farrell has taken, writer has been the #1 result. But when she tastes the salty air and hears the sea lions bark, she wonders if maybe sea captain was the right choice after all. Currently marooned in Oakland, CA, Becca is an associate member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Her short stories, which run the gamut of speculative fiction genres, have been published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Pulp Literature, the Future Fire, Typehouse Literary Magazine, and an upcoming story in theDark, Luminous Wings anthology from Pole to Pole Publishing among others. Maya’s Vacation, her contemporary romance novella, is available from Clean Reads. She is thrilled to have Meerkat Press publish her debut novel.

Becca’s food, drink, and travel writing, which has appeared in local media in CA and NC, can primarily be found at her blog, The Gourmez. For a list of all her published work, fiction and nonfiction, check out her author website at RebeccaGomezFarrell.com.

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Blog Tour: The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember (Review)

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I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

34738792The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember
Release date: August 22nd, 2017
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Genre: Fiction, fantasy, young adult
Format: eBook

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Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

Julia Ember has blown me away yet again! Her books are always unique and interesting. The Tiger’s Watch is the second book she’ll release this year but I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. Last September I hosted a cover reveal but then had to wait what felt like ages to finally read it. Well, the wait was well worth it because I devoured this book in one night. It was honestly that good!

Here’s why you really NEED to read it:

  • It features magical people called inhabitors. These people have their souls bonded with animals and use this connection to become warriors and spies. The connections are deep and allow both sides to experience situations that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Tashi’s connection with Katala, a rare golden tiger, is was one of my favourite aspects of the novel. Tashi’s bond with Katala pushes them to become better, to stand up for what they believe in and protect those that they love. It’s not a bond of abuse or power, it truly improves the lives of both sides and wasn’t made by force but free will. 
  • Free will and choice are also major themes of this book. Tashi’s life has pretty much been planned out for them. They were given over to the monastery at such a young age that they don’t remember their family. Tashi really didn’t have a choice in becoming an inhibitor. Their story in this book is all about making their own decisions. What is best for them and the people that they love? Tashi faces some difficult choices and while I didn’t always agree with what they did, I appreciated how they followed their heart. 
  • None of the characters are really what they seem. Nothing is black or white but various shades of grey. The story’s villain, Xian, kept my on my toes the whole time! I felt just as confused as Tashi did when he appeared on the page. At times Xian comes across as kind and caring, just trying to do his best under difficult circumstances. Other times he was just cruel and angry. My heart flip-flopped so many times…I just don’t know I feel about him! I character I did absolutely adore was Pharo. Loyal, wonderful, big-hearted Pharo. He’s one of those characters that just wiggle their way into your heart. You just have to love him!
  • The world is so rich and wonderfully written. I’m always amazed by the author’s ability to create fully formed fantasy worlds in under 200 pages. The Tiger’s Watch was inspired by Ember’s trip to Bhutan. Much of the story happens in an isolated monastery. This in a way limits the amount of characters and creates a simple plot. The world isn’t complicated but is a reflection of our own with people fighting over resources.
  • It’s fast paced and relentless. From the first page the reader is thrown into the action. The first chapter has a lot going on in it and I found this a bit disorienting. Too many new names and too much information! It was a bit of a shock but everything calms down by the second chapter. At first I was confused but looking back I can see why the author chose to do this. It matches what’s going on and really helps you understand how the characters must feel.
  • It features a genderfluid protagonist. Now, I can’t speak for the representation, but what I did enjoy was how Tashi’s genderfluidity was not what the book was about. It was who they were and never used as a plot device to create drama or generate interest. There were also scenes where Tashi was misgendered but this was always corrected by other characters.
  • The ending was quite abrupt, which could be a negative thing, but not here! It was a perfect cliffhanger. I could have used more though. That’s always my complaint with books by Ember. They are always so short and I’m a greedy reader. I always want more and more.
  • The cover artwork is beautiful! My heart is so happy whenever I see it. I can’t wait for what this series has in store.

I can’t recommend this book enough! It has so many amazing things happening for it — a diverse cast of characters, drama, battle scenes, romance! YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK! And also pick up Ember’s other books because once your done with this one you’ll fall in love with her gorgeous writing, loveable characters and lush worlds.


About the Author

15037326_10157714059105285_2165799410648686596_nOriginally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She spends her days working in the book trade and her nights writing teen fantasy novels. Her hobbies include riding horses, starting far too many craft projects, PokemonGo and looking after her city-based menagerie of pets with names from Harry Potter. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life.

Julia is a polyamorous, bisexual writer. She regularly takes part in events for queer teens, including those organised by the Scottish Booktrust and LGBT Youth Scotland. A world traveler since childhood, she has now visited more than sixty countries. Her travels inspire the fantasy worlds she creates, though she populates them with magic and monsters.

Julia began her writing career at the age of nine, when her short story about two princesses and their horses won a contest in Touch magazine. In 2016, she published her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, which also focused on two girls and their equines, albeit those with horns. Her second novel, The Seafarer’s Kiss was released by Interlude Press in May 2017. The book was heavily influenced by Julia’s postgraduate work in Medieval Literature at The University of St. Andrews. It is now responsible for her total obsession with beluga whales.

In August 2017, her third novel and the start of her first series, Tiger’s Watch, will come out with Harmony Ink Press. In writing Tiger’s Watch, Julia has taken her love of cats to a new level.

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Blog Tour: The Thirteenth Gate by Kat Ross (Review)

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I received this book for free from Xpresso Blog Tours n exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

34700323The Thirteenth Gate (Dominion Mysteries #2) by Kat Ross
Release date: June 26th, 2017
Publisher: Acorn
Genre: Fantasy, mystery, young adult
Format: eBook

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Winter 1888. At a private asylum in the English countryside, a man suspected of being Jack the Ripper kills an orderly and flees into the rain-soaked night. His distraught keepers summon the Lady Vivienne Cumberland—who’s interviewed their patient and isn’t sure he’s a man at all. An enigmatic woman who guards her own secrets closely, Lady Vivienne knows a creature from the underworld when she sees one. And he’s the most dangerous she’s ever encountered.

As Jack rampages through London, this time targeting rare book collectors, Lady Vivienne begins to suspect what he’s looking for. And if he finds it, the doors to purgatory will be thrown wide open…

Across the Atlantic, an archaeologist is brutally murdered after a Christmas Eve gala at the American Museum of Natural History. Certain peculiar aspects of the crime attract the interest of the Society for Psychical Research and its newest investigator, Harrison Fearing Pell. Is Dr. Julius Sabelline’s death related to his recent dig in Alexandria? Or is the motive something darker?

As Harry uncovers troubling connections to a serial murder case she’d believed was definitively solved, two mysteries converge amid the grit and glamor of Gilded Age New York. Harry and Lady Vivienne must join forces to stop an ancient evil. The key is something called the Thirteenth Gate. But where is it? And more importantly, who will find it first?

This book was everything I’ve ever wanted and more! Over the past year I’ve become a huge fan of Kat Ross’ books. They are so underrated and I really wish more people knew about them. Her first trilogy, The Fourth Element, stood out due to its unique story, setting and wonderful characters. I was so upset when it ended because I really enjoy the way the Ms Ross writes. I have such a difficult time putting her books down that I often find myself reading through the entire night (even though I have work the next day).

A few weeks ago I read The Daemoniac, the first book in the Dominion Mysteries series, and absolutely fell in love with it! The book is set in 1880s New York City and can best be described as a mixture of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The story was a perfect blend of mystery, horror and action! It featured wonderfully loveable characters, witchcraft, murder and creepy séances. And the suspense! I just never knew where the plot was going to go. Once I finished a chapter I had to move onto the next one because I needed to know what would happen next. Since, I obviously adored The Daemoniac, I was very excited to start the sequel.

The Thirteenth Gate wastes no time and picks up where its predecessor leaves off. However, Ms Ross throws in a twist and introduces a group of new characters that takes the series in a new and even more exciting direction. I don’t want to give much away but I squealed when I realized who the new characters were. She has done a fantastic job weaving together what would seem like two separate worlds or ideas. If you have read The Fourth Element trilogy then you are definitely in for a surprise! If not, don’t worry as it’s not necessary to have read the trilogy before reading The Thirteenth Gate. 

It’s so difficult to write reviews for sequels and mysteries. I just don’t want to give anything away! But what I loved about this book was its atmosphere. I seriously can’t get enough of the time period. Ms Ross has constructed a moody and dark setting that matches the story perfectly. The characters were again a highlight for me. There are two wonderful female leads. They are complete opposites but compliment each other and combine their strengths to solve the book’s mystery. The only thing I wish there would have been more of is romance. There were hints scattered all over the first book and this one but nothing has really come of it. Just when I think something might happen it’s interrupted. So, please, please, please…a little romance in the next book! These characters have been through so much and deserve a little love.

You really need to pick of this series! It’s beyond amazing and I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know. As soon as I received my copy I put aside everything else and absolutely devoured it. I can’t wait for the next instalment because Ms Ross’ books just keep on getting better and better! So, go out and get The Thirteenth Gate. And while your at it pick up her other books because trust me, you’ll want more and more!


About the Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day, the Fourth Element fantasy trilogy (The Midnight Sea, Blood of the Prophet, Queen of Chaos), and a new gaslamp mystery series that opens with The Daemoniac and continues with The Thirteenth Gate. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios.

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Giveaway

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Blog Tour: The Dragons of Nova (Review)

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31686500The Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova
Release date: July 11th, 2017
Publisher: Keymaster Press
Genre: Fiction, fantasy
Format: eBook

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Cvareh returns home to his sky world of Nova with the genius crafter Arianna as his temperamental guest. The mercurial inventor possesses all the Xin family needs to turn the tides of a centuries-old power struggle, but the secrets she harbors must be earned with trust – hard to come by for Ari, especially when it comes to Dragons. On Nova, Ari finds herself closer to exacting vengeance against the traitor who killed everything – and everyone – she once loved. But before Ari can complete her campaign of revenge, the Crimson Court exposes her shadowed past and reveals something even more dangerous sparking between her and Cvareh.

While Nova is embroiled in blood sport and political games, the rebels on Loom prepare for an all-out assault on their Dragon oppressors. Florence unexpectedly finds herself at the forefront of change, as her unique blend of skills – and quick-shooting accuracy – makes her a force to be reckoned with. For the future of her world, she vows vengeance against the Dragons.

Before the rebellion can rise, though, the Guilds must fall.

I totally loved The Alchemists of Loom, the first book in the series. Elise Kova is truly a master of writing fantasy. *throws up hands* I’m completely addicted to this series and can’t get enough of it. The Dragons of Nova topped its predecessor by a long shot…it was just so good! It was so perfectly imagined, much darker and more violent, all things that I adore in a fantasy book.

For those of you who haven’t read The Alchemists of Loom (which you should do ASAP), the book takes place in Loom, a world enslaved by a dragon race. The dragons have forced the people of Loom to work in specialized guilds for their benefit. Once in a guild there is no way out. It’s illegal to leave or to not be associated with the guild of your birth. Besides the Dragons (who aren’t actually like the mythical dragons we know and love), Loom is made up of the Fenthri, human-like people, and the Chimera, humans with dragon parts that can wield magic.

The Dragons of Nova primarily takes place on Nova where the reader is dropped into a world of political intrigue, betrayal and treason. The Dragons aren’t happy with their current leader and one house in particular is willing to take enormous risks to challenge the status quo. What I found very entertaining was how the POV of both sides was featured in the book. I found myself conflicted and unsure what would happen next. It definitely kept things exciting and interesting!

The world building was all kinds of amazing. It’s truly what Kova does best! The first book was very steampunk inspired with factories, flying ships, gunpowder and bombs, but Nova is all about the fantasy world. The colourful floating islands, complex religious system, Dragon houses and magic systems were perfectly described. My mind went wild trying to visualize each aspect of the Dragon world. The contrast between Loom and Nova was stark and it perfectly hit home the differences between the two races. Nova was a land of beauty; bright, rich and a abundant. The Dragons used their magic to enslave and exploit the human race on Loom, a dark and depressing world. The book explores prejudice and stereotypes. The characters are constantly judged or judging other due to their race, abilities or social status. Characters such as Florence constantly push back and work hard to prove that they are more than the limitations forced upon them. The Dragons of Nova challenges preconceptions, both of the characters and the reader. There were so many grey areas that I’m still not sure how I feel about certain characters and their actions.

I loved how women were front and centre in this book! Ari, my favourite character from the first novel, continued to be her badass self. She’s such a force of nature, so sure of herself, mentally and physically tough, but also willing to admit when she is wrong or beyond her limits. More is revealed about her past and while I still have tons of questions, I really do appreciate Kova’s slow leak of information. It builds tension and mystery, forcing the reader to continue reading to find out more. A character I wasn’t entirely sure of was Florence, but here she really comes into her own. She’s stepped out of Ari’s spotlight…she’s self confident, willing to take risks and a true leader. I really enjoyed reading the chapters from her perspective.

Unlike its predecessor, this book featured a lot more mature content. So, it’s not really young adult but I wouldn’t label it as new adult either. It’s kind of in-between due to its violent content and sex scenes. The sex scenes don’t dominate the storyline and aren’t explicit but they do mark a change from The Alchemists of Loom which didn’t feature any.

This book was just perfect in every way! I have no complaints, things that I would change. I love it to tiny pieces! I just wish that more people were talking about this series. It’s so underrated and that breaks my heart. The third book in the series, The Rebels of Gold, is scheduled for release at the end of the year. I can’t wait to have it in my hands. I just know this series is going to keep on getting better and better!


About the Author

8306309Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she is not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media.

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Blog Tour: Blade and Soul by C.M. Estopare (Guest Post)

Blade and Soul by C.M. Estopare
Release date: June 30th, 2017
Publisher: C.M. Estopare
Genres: Adult, fantasy

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To defy gods, she will sacrifice all.

After the death of its duchess, Safrana is in turmoil. Two equally powerful families vie for power, quickly turning the beautiful citadels of Safrana into a hellish warscape. While, on the outside, there is a desperate search for the one true heir to the throne. The one man who could stop an encroaching civil war and force the citadels into peace.

But he is no where to be found. Presumed dead. While a threatening war looms over Safrana, promising to tear it apart.

Thrust into a political world which only buys and sells in blood money, with an impending civil war at hand, Marceline Brandy is called to take charge of a peace effort in a foreign city. But nothing is certain in this world rife with political strife. Everything must be questioned, even a push for peace.

Desperate to complete her mission, Marceline soon finds herself tangled up in the strange political affairs of an arrogant woman with dangerous ties to the long lost heir of the Safranian throne. But there is another, more powerful presence that lurks on the borders of Safrana’s imploding government. A presence that would stop at nothing to see Marceline and her allies fail.

Seized by a foreign city she is sworn to save, she has few to turn to for help. The list of allies she could count on is cut short by corrupt patriotists hungry for war and livid at the mere notion of foreign driven peace. Months pass as Marceline heads this peace effort, but the fiercer she works the more dire the situation becomes and time is running out.

A war looms, one that promises to destroy Safrana, as mythological creatures rise from ancient graves. The fiends intent on absolute destruction.

Is this an all-out test of Marceline’s strength and will?

Or, are the gods themselves against her?


Author Guest Post: Writing Soundtrack

It’s almost impossible to write without some type of music in the background–I hope I’m not the only one that feels this way! Silence is awesome, but if I’m writing an action scene I need something (without lyrics usually) that gets my blood pumping. Depending on the type of music, I’ll either leave it playing in the background or I’ll just sit back and listen for five minutes while trying to envision the scene (got that idea from James Scott Bell!). I’ve got an entire playlist full of just writing music (and it’s like…over almost 300! Whoa!). Out of that long, long, long playlist my top five are…

1. You’re Immortal by Percival Schuttenbach and Marcin Przybyłowicz

Video games have some of the best soundtracks for writing because the loop over and over without a sudden (concentration-blowing) ending. This raw and guttural piece is perfect when writing horrific and bloody fight scenes where the protagonist might just let it all go and seriously harm someone else. I’ve used this one countless times and I’ve got to say it’s my favorite (it’s from the Witcher DLC Hearts of Stone!).

2. Bitter Cold, Shogun II: Total War Original Soundtrack

When I’m looking for something a little more cold and biting, I turn to this piece. It’s easily loopable (just right click the screen and bam!) and it sounds totally natural when you loop it for hours (so it’s seriously easy to forget!). Bitter Cold creates a somber, mellow, theme. Like the sound in your head while perusing a battlefield caked with carreon crows. It’s perfect for when the protagonist needs to feel a bit down.

3. I Was Lost Without You by Sam Hulick

This one can work double duty. If the protagonist has seriously hurt someone they cared about, or if they are having a tender moment with the romantic interest, this little piano piece can make me feel butterflies or cry. Either one. It’s soft, smooth, and chilling. It’s also one of my absolute favorite piano pieces (it’s also from one of my favorite game trilogies, Mass Effect!).

4. Somnus by Yoko Shimomura

Sometimes when epic battles happen raw and passionate music just isn’t called for. Soft piano pieces can really accentuate the beauty of blood in battle and that is what Somnus (the instrumental version) does for me. The combination of soft piano playing and the harsh hum of the violin is the heartbeat of epic battles involving gods and dragons (at least, that’s what it is to me).

5. The Choice by Gustavo Santaolla

This is an awesome guitar riff for a character teetering on the brink of change (or refusal). Mellow tones merge and evolve onto a higher plane. It’s almost as if Gustavo Santaolla is asking you to look at a sunset that isn’t there. This can be an emotional piece as well if you’ve played the game it’s attached to, The Last of Us.

Blade and Soul’s soundtrack would definitely contain one (if not all) of these. All of these helped me write the series and it’s awesome to go back and listen to them again.

What songs to you use to help you write? Do you use any? Or, maybe you use ambience? I’d love to know!


About the Author

C.M. Estopare is a full-time author, avid yoga enthusiast, and veteran of the United States military. She is the author of HEARTFELT SOUNDS, a young adult coming of age fantasy about the enthralling power of one young woman’s voice.

KINDRED SOULS is a three part epic and dark fantasy series hitting Amazon and Kindle Unlimited beginning in February 2017. The first book, WINTERSKIN, debuted February 9th, 2017. The second book, BLADE AND SOUL, debuts June 30th, 2017. Be sure to mark your calendars!

When not writing, C.M. Estopare enjoys reading about the fantastical worlds in the minds of others. She also enjoys playing around with her puppy, Duke, and adventuring with her husband.

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Giveaway

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Blog Tour: Groupie by C.M. Staunch (Guest Post)

Groupie by C.M. Stunich
Release date: March 21st, 2017
Publisher: Sarian Royal
Genres: New adult, romance

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“Can one of these five rockstars fill the hole in my heart? Or will I stay broken forever?”

Young, dumb, and broke.

That’s what started everything. With five dollars in her pocket, and everything she owns stuffed in the back of her car, Lilith Goode’s life is over. Done. Destroyed.

Ten words. One text. That’s what it took to change the whole world.

A crumpled concert ticket. A chance encounter. That’s what it takes to start all over again.

Five rockstars. One girl. Six dark hearts, six withered souls.

But can one broken person really put another back together again?

Author Guest Post: Top 10 Bands I Fangirled Over as a Teen

* Click the link to explore music from the artists.

1. From First to Last
2. Escape the Fate
3. Bleeding Through
4. Avenged Sevenfold
5. Alesana
6. Funeral for a Friend
7. From Autumn to Ashes
8. A Static Lullaby
9. Finch
10. A Skylit Drive


About the Author

C.M. Stunich is a self-admitted bibliophile with a love for exotic teas and a whole host of characters who live full time inside the strange, swirling vortex of her thoughts. Some folks might call this crazy, but Caitlin Morgan doesn’t mind – especially considering she has to write biographies in the third person. Oh, and half the host of characters in her head are searing hot bad boys with dirty mouths and skillful hands (among other things). If being crazy means hanging out with them everyday, C.M. has decided to have herself committed.

She hates tapioca pudding, loves to binge on cheesy horror movies, and is a slave to many cats. When she’s not vacuuming fur off of her couch, C.M. can be found with her nose buried in a book or her eyes glued to a computer screen. She’s the author of over thirty novels – romance, new adult, fantasy, and young adult included. Please, come and join her inside her crazy. There’s a heck of a lot to do there.

Oh, and Caitlin loves to chat (incessantly), so feel free to e-mail her, send her a Facebook message, or put up smoke signals. She’s already looking forward to it.

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Giveaway

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Blog Tour: The Waterfall Traveler by S.J. Lem (Guest Post)

The Waterfall Traveler by S.J. Lem
Release date: April 19th, 2017
Genres: Young adult, fantasy
Publisher: Carpe Noctem Publishing
Formats: Paperback, hardcover, eBook

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All eighteen-year-old Ri wants is to cure her adoptive father Samuel from his hallucination-inducing illness. Everyone in her village tells her it’s impossible. But when she meets two newcomers in the forest—a gruff rogue with a vendetta against the gods and a charming fugitive who saves her life—she’ll be torn away from Samuel and swept across the sea to an oppressive city governed by a ruthless tyrant. Once there, she’ll not only have to confront Samuel’s unlawful past, but a vicious evil that threatens all mankind.

In this tale of bravery, friendship, and unforeseen love, Ri risks it all to save those she cares for. But if she prevails, she’ll find the one thing she yearns for most—a cure for Samuel.

Author Guest Post: Cover Inspiration

I’m so glad that Jacquie asked about the cover for The Waterfall Traveler because the design process was so exciting. I loved that the characters I had spent so much time with for the past three years were going to be given more “life” by being featured in an incredible illustration.

I had the opportunity to work with two talented individuals during the design process: illustrator Lindsay Nery and designer Vic Sanchez. Since I also have a design background, I had strong vision of how I wanted the cover to look. Both Lindsay and Vic did a tremendous job visualizing my ideas, and the final piece exceeded all of my expectations.

When I first began working with Lindsay, I mentioned that I wanted the cover to capture the intensity, emotion, and fast pace of the story. Throughout the novel, characters Ri and Bryce face terrifying dangers, brutal elements, and internal struggles. They develop a strong friendship that deepens into much more as the story progresses. As the stakes continue to rise, Ri and Bryce risk their lives for each other and their friends. So above all, I wanted the artwork to show the connection between those two characters.

Though it was a daunting task, Lindsay returned to our next meeting with various sketches. One drew my attention immediately. It featured Ri and Bryce, gripping each others’ hands as Ri tumbles from a waterfall. I loved all the movement, the characters’ expressions, and the intensity. Since the story is filled with action-packed scenes, it made perfect sense that the artwork should convey the same tension and urgency. The final illustration, with its vivid colors and movement, truly represents the tone of the novel. I couldn’t be happier with it.

Once the illustration was completed, Vic tackled the typography and layout. Like the illustration, the typography captures that same sense of movement. I love how the “R” in “Waterfall” dips down like flowing water. The treatment is somewhat whimsical, but also very elegant.

I really hope that readers enjoy the cover as much as I do. Bookmarks featuring the artwork will be available on my website, sjlem.com, this summer.


About the Author:

S.J. Lem is a digital art director gone writer in hopes of expanding her creative aspirations. Whether it’s introducing dimensional characters, crafting imaginative worlds, or transporting readers into high-stakes adventures, she strives to deliver an immersive experience.

She lives in Chicago with her husband and son. When not writing, she enjoys pottery, gardening, and volunteering. Connecting with readers and fellow writers is one of her greatest joys.

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Giveaway

Click the link to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win a print copy of The Waterfall Traveler! Good luck! 🙂