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: 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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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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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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Blog Tour: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember (Q&A + Giveaway)

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32890474The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
Release date: May 4th, 2017
Publisher: Duet/Interlude Press
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Formats: Paperback, eBook

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Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember. I’ll be posting my review of this fantastic book very soon (I gave it 5 hearts because it’s so, so good), but until then check out this fun Q&A with Julia and enter to win some prizes! 🙂


Author Q&A

Hi everyone! I’m Julia Ember and I’m really excited to be on the blog today as part of the Virtual Book Tour for my new release, The Seafarer’s Kiss.

The Seafarer’s Kiss is my second novel. It is a bisexual, Norse retelling of the Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. The main character, Ersel, longs to escape her harsh arctic sea world where she is expected to choose a mate and bear children. When she meets, Ragna, a Viking shield maiden stranded on the ice-shelf near her home, she learns of another way of life. But when her former best friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: abandon Ragna or face justice at the hands of their tyrannical king. Ersel decides to make her own rules instead, and makes a deal with Loki.

1. Do you buy a book because of the cover, the blurb, or something else?
I’m a concept buyer! I like vast, interesting, unusual concepts that make me perk up and wonder about the book. Give me African mythology in space, rogue narwhal communities – if it’s weird and speculative fiction, I’m probably all over it! I buy a lot of books through Twitter recommendations. The format of Twitter is perfect for people who buy off concept, because the 140-char limit forces people to distil a book down to its basic parts.

Beyond that, I usually read 5-10 pages before I commit to buying. I like fast-paced reads, and will usually pass on anything that has a slow opening.

2. What does ‘romance’ mean to you?
Romance to me is always going to represent the genre. Before I gave up academia, I was medievalist studying literature. When I hear the word ‘romance’ I think of writers like Chaucer, early pioneers of the genre, or of poets like John Donne. I’ve only very recently started to read modern romance. I used to be an almost exclusively sci-fi/fantasy reader. Even now that I’m writing some contemporary romance, my first thought when I hear the word is STILL that historical one. With time, I think the word will probably start to take on more modern connotations!

3. What are your current projects?
At the moment, I have a totally unwieldly number of WIPs! My agent and I are getting ready to go on submission with two projects. The first is a contemporary f/f novella about two gamers who fall in love before realising they’re bitter enemies online. The other is a YA Space Opera that is crazy genre mashup of sci-fi, fantasy and historical fiction, with dragons.

4. What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
The second draft is the hardest for me! I write the first very quickly and its usually very short, just a collection of scenes. In the second draft, I have to go back and connect all the dots.

5. Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.
I’ve visited 66 different countries! My parents travelled with us a lot when I was a kid, and that wanderlust has stayed in my blood. There are still so many places that I haven’t gone, and I’m looking forward to organising more trips.


About the Author

julia2-e1455421316346-300x300Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, was published by Harmony Ink Press.

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Giveaway

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