Book Spotlight – “In Numina” by Assaph Mehr

Book Spotlight - In Numina - Assaph Mehr

Book Blurb

This is the second story of Togas, daggers, and Magic – for lovers of Ancient Rome, Hardboiled detectives, and Urban Fantasy.

A rich landlord finds tenants are abandoning his apartment buildings, spouting tales of horrific events and whispering that the old gods – the numina – came alive and cursed the buildings.

Enter Felix, a professional fox. Dressed in a toga and armed with a dagger, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but something in between. Whenever there is a foul business of bad magic, Felix is hired to sniff out the truth. Now he must separate fact from superstition – a hard task in a world where the old gods still roam the earth.

In Numina is set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hardboiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.

Praise for In Numina:

In Numina provides readers a bit of everything — chills, thrills, mystery, and romance. Highly recommend for readers of alternate history, mystery, action-adventure, and similar genres.
— N.B. Willilams, author of Salt in the Blood

Felix the Fox. Investigator, magician, lover, compulsive payer of debts. Highly recommended.
— Jane Jago, author of Dai and Julia alternate Roman history

In Numina is going to be one of those books I read again and again.
— Anais Chartschenko, author of Bright Needles

Rich scenery, interesting plot twists, and enough danger to keep turning the pages. This story should be enjoyed by candlelight and with a glass of red wine.
— CC Dowling, author of The Dharkstar Dragon Saga

In Numina – if you love a great mystery, fascinating characters with enough plot twists and turns to rival any theme park ride – this is the book for you! 5 stars all the way – highly recommended.
— Rosie Chapel, author of The Hannah’s Heirloom Trilogy

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback

At These eBook Retailers: Amazon

From the Author

Assaph has had his nose in a book since he was five, so it wasn’t surprising that he turned to writing. All those years reading on ancient Rome, sci-fi, fantasy, and mysteries while practicing various martial arts, travelling the world, and working odd jobs lead to some interesting combinations in his stories.

Where To Find Assaph Mehr

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Blog, Website (Felix the Fox Mysteries)

Assaph’s main blog (above) is in equal part ramblings of indie authorship and book marketing, ancient Rome curious, and book reviews. He also runs a second blog, dedicated to interviewing characters out of books. It’s a great showcase for some of the best indie author talents out there: The Protagonist Speaks

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Book Spotlight – “Murder In Absentia” by Assaph Mehr

Book Spotlight - Murder In Absentia - Assaph Mehr

Book Blurb

A senator’s son is found dead, in what looks like a cult ritual murder. His father wants to have a resolution, but at the same time to keep it away from the public eye. Enter Felix the Fox: neither a traditional detective nor a competent magician – but something in between.

This is a story of Togas, Daggers and Magic – for lovers of Murder Mysteries, Ancient Rome and Urban Fantasy.

Praise for “Murder In Absentia”

“Mehr creates a vivid cast and an equally vivid setting in which magic just seems to fit in perfectly.”
— Richard Knaak, NYT best-selling author of author of Legends of Huma

“Mehr’s imagined world based on ancient Rome feels at once familiar and dreamlike.”
— Ruth Downie, author of the Medicus series of Roman mysteries

“Hardcore Historical Fantasy – Felix the Fox is Sherlock Holmes in Ancient Times”
— Jonathan Maas, author of City of Gods – Hellenica

“Mehr is a master alchemist, blending the real and surreal on a captivating flight of fantasy.”
— Cynthia Celmer

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback

At These eBook Retailers: Amazon

From the Author

Assaph has had his nose in a book since he was five, so it wasn’t surprising that he turned to writing. All those years reading on ancient Rome, sci-fi, fantasy, and mysteries while practicing various martial arts, travelling the world, and working odd jobs lead to some interesting combinations in his stories.

Where To Find Assaph Mehr

TwitterFacebook, Instagram, Blog, Website (Felix the Fox Mysteries)

Assaph’s main blog (above) is in equal part ramblings of indie authorship and book marketing, ancient Rome curious, and book reviews. He also runs a second blog, dedicated to interviewing characters out of books. It’s a great showcase for some of the best indie author talents out there: The Protagonist Speaks

Author Spotlight – Assaph Mehr

Author Spotlight - Assaph Mehr

Introducing Assaph Mehr

Assaph has had his nose in a book since he was five, so it wasn’t surprising that he turned to writing. All those years reading on ancient Rome, sci-fi, fantasy, and mysteries while practicing various martial arts, travelling the world, and working odd jobs lead to some interesting combinations in his stories.

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

G’day!
I read voraciously and eclectically, but I grew up of classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I also read a lot of mysteries, and was joyous when I found the sub-genre of historical mysteries.
I always dreamt of seeing my name in print, but that seemed something for retirement. Until one day, rather randomly, that I started to write. And haven’t stopped.
Considering my reading tastes, I write what I want to read – a mash-up of Ancient Rome detective and Urban fantasy.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

This is the second Story of Togas, Daggers, and Magic. It tells of Felix’s second big case, where he was hired by a rich landlord who found tenants are abandoning his apartment buildings, spouting tales of horrific events and whispering that the old gods – the numina – came alive and cursed the buildings.

Felix, dressed in a toga and armed with a dagger, is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but something in between. Whenever there is a foul business of bad magic, he’s hired to sniff out the truth. Now he must separate fact from superstition – a hard task in a world where the old gods still roam the earth.

The stories are set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. They are the cases of a cynical, hard-boiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.

Who is your intended readership?

If you like Urban Fantasy such as Harry Dresden and are curious about historical settings, or – conversely – if you love works of Roman detectives such Lindsey Davis and Steven Saylor and are open to supernatural and fantasy elements – this is the book for you!

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Pretty soon after starting reading, which was before the official age to get a library card. I did end up getting my very own library card, reading voraciously, borrowing my sister’s card so I can start reading the adult fantasy shelf, and reading even more.

I haven’t planned on being a writer, until – decades later – my wife said she ran out of things to read. So that evening I started writing a story that has been kicking around in the back of my head. Thus Murder In Absentia was born. By that point I was fairly certain I not only want to, but am, a writer.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

I don’t think there’s enough space to list them all here…

On the Roman historical fiction side, probably Colleen McCullough, Steven Saylor and Lindsey Davis stand out. The last two also cover historical mystery novels, and I will only add the amazing Boris Akunin for his incredible Erast Fandorin series.

On the fantasy side too many to mention, from classics like JRR Tolkein and Fritz Leiber, to modern authors like Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett.

There are other historical fantasy detectives out there too… I’ll mention Barry Hughart, with Bridge of Birds – one of my all-time favourite books!

What advice would you give beginning writers?

If you want to write, write.
Unless you park your ass in a chair and put words on a page, you won’t get anywhere.

If you want to write well, read.
Read voraciously, in and out of your genres. Read anything that catches your fancy (and thing why). Read about writing. And then go and write.

If you want to publish, persevere.
If you’re going the trad route, it takes a lot of submissions, a lot of rejections, and a lot of time. So take a deep breath, keep writing, and keep submitting.
If you’re going indie, do it properly. Get yourself proper editors, proper cover designers, and proper book producers. Play to your strength, and pay for professionals to cover gaps.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

My wife is too scared to read my books, so she reads them only during daylight hours.
Also, Felix (my cat) is responsible for Felix (my protagonist). Because he walked into the room and sat behind my computer when I was thinking what to name him.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

Family, martial arts (30 years of practicing various arts), reading, avoiding yard-work, dealing with invading Australian wildlife. You know – life.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

Currently writing a novella in the Stories of Togas, Daggers, and Magic series, and then it’s on to the third full-length book! Titled In Victrix, the novel sends Felix into the lives of gladiators and women in the republic.

In Numina

This is the second story of Togas, daggers, and Magic – for lovers of Ancient Rome, Hardboiled detectives, and Urban Fantasy.

A rich landlord finds tenants are abandoning his apartment buildings, spouting tales of horrific events and whispering that the old gods – the numina – came alive and cursed the buildings.

Enter Felix, a professional fox. Dressed in a toga and armed with a dagger, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but something in between. Whenever there is a foul business of bad magic, Felix is hired to sniff out the truth. Now he must separate fact from superstition – a hard task in a world where the old gods still roam the earth.

In Numina is set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hardboiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.

Praise for the Stories of Togas, Daggers, and Magic series:
“Mehr creates a vivid cast and an equally vivid setting in which magic just seems to fit in perfectly.”
— Richard Knaak, NYT best-selling fantasy author of Legends of Huma

“Mehr’s imagined world based on ancient Rome feels at once familiar and dreamlike.”
— Ruth Downie, NYT best-selling author of the acclaimed Medicus series of Roman mysteries

Buy Now: Paperback, E-Book

Author Pages:

Amazon

Where to find Assaph Mehr:

Website (Felix the Fox Mysteries), Twitter, Instagram, Blog, Facebook

Book Reviews – June to August

Book Reviews-June-August-2018New Feature

For a while now, I’ve been considering adding book reviews to my line up of regular features. The problem has been that I have a huge back-catalog of reviews, and I really didn’t know where to start. I read both fiction and non-fiction books, and time allowing I can read three or four books a month.

Usually my fiction reading covers Science-Fiction, Fantasy, and Urban Fantasy/Paranormal genres, but I sometimes read outside those areas, if a book catches my interest, or it’s by an author I’ve come to trust.

My non-fiction reading ranges from author advice, to marketing, and topics related to stories I’m writing, or planning. I also pick up the occasional books on science, animals, and even biographies, or other subjects that catch my attention.

As a blogger, I often feature book spotlights as part of my regular posts, so don’t be surprised to see some familiar titles in my review posts. I’ve yet to decide how often I’ll be posting these review spots, so feel free to drop suggestions in the comments. Would you prefer to see each book review posted as soon as it’s live on the book sites, or does a round-up like this work best for you?

Reviews For Readers

FoolsOfParodyTitle: Fools Of Parody

Author: Scott Moses

Genre: Science Fiction, Satire

Rating: 4 Stars

Sci-Fi Political Parodys are a rarity

“Fools of Parody” was a fun read, but there were times when I felt a little confused by the motivations of some of the characters. Thankfully a lot of those confusions were resolved by the end of the story, as more information was revealed.
I would have liked to see certain characters fleshed out a little more, or at least more time on the page, especially given how instrumental they were expected to be in the outcome of events. However, it was a fun read, and I thankfully didn’t have to wade through a lot of hard science to feel that this was well placed in its genre selection.

Buy Now: E-Book, Paperback


TheHiddenCourtTitle: The Hidden Court (The Paranormal University Files: Skylar Book 1)

Author: Vivienne Savage

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Suspense

Rating: 4 Stars

A suspense-filled school year for the paranormal students, with a splash of romance

This book is a great read, and the romance element just adds to what would be an otherwise great story.
Starting a new school can be difficult enough, but when you’re going to a school for supernatural students things are always going to be a little different. I loved how each of the races had a unique perspective on not only each other, but the history of the magical world, and the events that are going on around them.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a suspense story without something going on to raise the tensions between the various races, or the individuals, and the author delivers on this in a wonderfully entertaining way.
What really surprised me though, is how much I came to care for the supporting cast of characters, just as much as I did for the protagonist and the love-interest. There is a great variety in the characters, and each of them has qualities that set them apart, as well as compliment each other.
I received a copy of this book as an Advanced Reader Copy, in return for an honest review, but I’ll definitely be adding more of this author’s work to my collection.

Buy Now: E-Book, Paperback


Reviews For Writers

LayerYourNovelTitle: Layer Your Novel: The Innovative Method for Plotting Your Scenes (The Writer’s Toolbox Series)

Author: C.S. Lakin

Rating: 4 Stars

This book made me rethink my book writing process

Lakin has produced a book that made me rethink my entire book writing process. Thanks to this book, I now have a way to help resolve problems I’ve been having with the plot of my current novel project.
I’ve been struggling with the plot for my first novel for years now, and this book came to my attention at just the right time. I was literally pulling my hair out at time as I wrestled with my subplots, and making sure they entered the story at the right time. But after reading through this book, not once, but three times, I’ve come away with new ways of looking at story structure, outside the basic three-act structure.
Lakin breaks stories into layers, and layers into key scenes according to how the layers fit in the story. The best part is that the entire process takes you from story premise to basic outline, and into layers of action-reaction and subplots that add depth to your story, and flesh out your characters in the process.
I’m glad that I picked this book up, even if it took multiple readings to wrap my head around the potential changes I can make to my writing process. I’ve actually made great progress breaking down the mess that is my current draft, and look forward to reshaping the subplots so that they actually make sense.

Buy Now: E-Book, Paperback


 

Author Spotlight – Ed Ireland

Introducing Ed Ireland

Ed Ireland was born in Philadelphia in 1954. In January of 1955, the hospital he was born in was torn down. Presumably, they didn’t want anything like that happening ever again.
In 1972 he joined the military where his wanderlust surfaced. He has called many places home while on his way to his current place in Miami. He claims his penchant for wandering is now at an end here in the shadows of Hemingway.
On the personal side of his life, he is a rabid Philadelphia Eagles fan, a self-confessed video game addict and a proud supporter of wildlife issues.

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

Well, I’m the very proud father of 2. I enjoy gardening, cooking, and photography. I despise writing, but you know, the voices won’t let it rest. I wish I could say I was one of those precocious child writers who pushed their first novel at 4, but it just ain’t so.
I didn’t start writing until much later. About 40 years later. The voices were polite then…now they’re just demanding. I’ve asked for a divorce but they say no.
Anyway, I mentioned that I am involved in animal rights, and I am. I wish I could open my home to any and all animals that need help, but that’s what they call a zoo and you need special permits and stuff. And way more room than I currently have. So I work primarily with one group of animals, wolves.
Wolves suffer relentlessly. They are persecuted by those who just can’t or won’t understand them. I try to educate and a portion of my sales goes to a wonderful lady on Long Island who sends mine and the thousands of other donations to wolf sanctuaries across the nation. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure Tim doesn’t have enough web space for me to go on anymore.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My book is entitled “The Last Ranger of Sarn”, but it’s not quite my latest. Last Ranger was previously released by a new publishing company that promised the world and delivered a small dog park instead. But, I have taken it back, re-edited line-by-line, added a bit of new content, and recovered it.
It’s a classic epic fantasy with clear-cut villains and heroes. It follows the MC, Vespias from birth. I show her as a real person who has a typical child’s life. Then, an event changes her. Her story begins to take a dark turn, but with help and love from her family, she takes her lessons from the dark and moves on to a better time.
A better time that’s not to be had unfortunately. Hers is a story about normal, average people thrust into extraordinary circumstances. A person either rises to meet the challenge or doesn’t. But just because that ordinary person rises, it’s not a guarantee of winning.

Who is your intended readership?

My fellow geeks of course. I’m practical about it. I don’t expect my book will find its way into the boardroom of Chrysler or the pulpit of Saint Rita’s church. But, if you like adventure, if you like action, if you like romance, horror, and/or philosophy, then you’re my target audience.
My book isn’t YA, not that I even know what the hell that is anymore. It’s got mature moments. It has some adult language. It also has a good story behind it. It introduces characters that I’ve nurtured for years and presents them in a way designed to make you care about what happens.
This is the start of a series, so I need readers who are willing to become friends with my people. I can promise, they won’t let you down.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I still don’t want to be a writer. Writers do stuff. They walk around in fancy “smoking jackets” while they puff on pipes. They drink brandy. They have Irish Wolfhounds.
I quit smoking, my best jacket is in storage since it never gets cold enough to wear it here, and I have a Saint Bernard and a Pit-mix. My dogs aren’t regal, they’re goofy.
My problem is these stories that keep popping in my brain. Sometimes I can will them off, but other times…they are as persistent as a crack-head who saw a dollar bill in your hand. To make matters worse, and Tim can back me up on this, I have an old Cuban lady named Marisol as my muse. She just keeps pushing and pushing…

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

My inspiration was the first writer I ever read, J.R.R. Tolkien. I think that having him as inspiration is about the only thing I’ve done right. I also very much enjoy reading Gregory Maguire. Now, if you don’t know who he is, just avoid the dirty looks Marisol and I are giving and listen.
He wrote Wicked. Not the popular yet silly Broadway musical, but the book Wicked, The Life and Times of the Witch of the West. It’s a dark, political look at Oz before Dorothy arrived and started killing people. In that first book he taught me this; every tale has two sides to it. I try to incorporate that into my books. Yes, one side may be good and the other evil, but there can also be similarities to each other. Or sometimes, maybe good is not all it’s cracked up to be.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Stay with it! They say you don’t really get good until you’ve written a million words. I don’t know what my excuse is, but I know I refuse to give up. Don’t begin with the idea of becoming an international darling before you’ve even finished your first work. In my case, I write because I need to get these stories out.
Do I want to be on the NY Times Best Seller List? Of course, but if just one person buys my book and lets me know they liked it, then I’ve done my part.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

No. Nothing amusing ever happens to me. Ever. Well OK, sometimes. Like when we went to go buy a puppy. We went with the plan of getting a Chihuahua or a Dachshund. We looked at them both and just out of curiosity, my wife wanted to see the “cute, little fuzzball Saint Bernard pup”. She was adorable, performing all the requisite puppy tricks to steal your heart.
Now mind you, I wanted a dog I could walk around the mall with. You know, while wearing a fancy smoking jacket and puffing on my pipe. Instead, I have this gigantic beast…she’s just under 7 months old and already tipping the scales at 80 lbs…who could drag me around the mall with little effort.
I know, what a madcap life I live.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

My Philadelphia Eagles. I’ve suffered with this team all my life and they finally gave me a Super Bowl win! Dilly dilly!!!!
I’m also on the threshold of another life first achievement, buying a home. Once established in said home, I can start up that garden for real, instead of a few potted plants. I’ve already got the plans for all the veggies, blackberry and raspberry bushes and banana trees ready to go. And what goes hand in hand with all this fresh, healthy stuff?
Cooking. I love to cook. So much so that I’m also planning a cookbook with my Grandmother’s old recipes. But, I also have my vices. I spend too much time on video games. I’m addicted. But, it could be worse I guess.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

Next up is a complete edit to the 2nd book in the series, “Blood Moon Sacrifice”. The third book is already underway, and then there’s the cookbook. Marisol has been kind enough to keep throwing plots at me so who knows which one she’ll pick to antagonize me with.

The Last Ranger of Sarn; The Journals of the Huntress

The Last Ranger of SarnCastia is shrouded in hate. Darkness advances in the wave of undead that sweep across it. Undeath it seems, comes in many forms. The slow, shambling, unspeaking horror that makes the living run. However, it has other faces.
Faces of friends and neighbors. Faces of children and elders. Faces of loved ones.
Extraordinary times call for heroes, but who are they? They can take on their own faces, like war-hardened generals, mystics and wizards, or the bravest of soldiers. Heroes are those special enough to stand in the face of death and smile. There are other heroes as well.
Heroes that call on love and hope to help them stand and face the terror. The unassuming butcher or blacksmith who fights to keep his or her family alive. Sometimes, it is a young girl, thrilled to plan for her wedding. A wedding that will have to wait until the undead are no more. It may be that the most unlikely of heroes come from the most unlikely of places.
This is the story of one such hero. Vespias never wanted the war to turn its ugly head towards her lands. It came nonetheless. She is the last person who should fight, but without her knowing, life has prepared her for these moments. It has secretly forged a hero from the mundane and ordinary. A hero that might just win the war and return her world to normal.
Or not.
The Last Ranger of Sarn brings you into Vespias’ world. It tells her story and holds nothing back. These journals of hers compliment the story, showing what she felt at the time. They appear throughout giving the reader a glimpse into her mind. A glimpse into what it takes to be a hero. A glimpse into what heroics cost and a sense of wonder if the cost was worth the end.

Buy Now: Paperback, E-Book

Author Pages:

Amazon

Where to find Ed Ireland:

Website (Ed Ireland), Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook

Book Spotlight – “Fools Of Parody” by Scott Moses

Book Spotlight - Fools of Parody by Scott Moses

Book Blurb

Two aliens, Anu and Matrona, who first made their appearance on Earth 5000 years ago to help mankind develop civilization, return after a 2000 year absence. And they’re pissed. Instead of cleaning up our mess again, they choose seven humans, calling them angels, teaching them the ways of universal love and joy. Can the angels spread the message in time? Will their opponents succeed in stopping them? Will Anu and Matrona destroy humankind and turn the planet over to the dolphins?

Read my review

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback

From the Author

The Laughing Warrior Scott Moses is the author of the reviewer acclaimed novels “Between Truth and Eternity” and “Fools Of Parody’. His turn-ons include taking long hikes with his dogs, jello wrestling, and homemade chili. Turn-offs include mean people and driving behind someone with their blinker on for five miles. He lives among the majesty and clean air of the San Francisco Peaks.

Where To Find SCOTT MOSES

Facebook, Website (Laughing Warrior)

Book Spotlight – “Early Grave” by Lori Drake

Book Spotlight - Early Grave by Lori Drake

Book Blurb

She couldn’t save his life. Can she save his soul?

Joey and Chris have everything werewolves could ask for: a strong pack, good health, money, and centuries stretching ahead of them to live their lives to the fullest. Or do they?

When Chris turns up dead, the whole pack goes on alert. A killer is on the loose, one who knows enough about werewolf biology to be a real threat.

But it’s not just her pack that Joey ends up fighting for. Chris’s spirit lingers, denied his eternal rest by a ruthless fanatic. Can Joey foil the killer’s nefarious scheme and set her best friend’s spirit free? Or will he be trapped between this world and the next forever?

Early Grave introduces a new breed of werewolf in a nail-biting mystery chocked full of surprising twists, complex emotions, and a diverse cast of characters. If you like strong, independent women and convention-defying tales with a generous dose of the supernatural, you’ll love this book!

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback
At These eBook Retailers: Amazon

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From the Author

Disenchanted with her mundane human existence, Lori loves spinning tales of magic and creatures of myth & legend existing in the modern world. When not indulging in these flights of fancy, she enjoys cooking, crafting, gaming, and (of course) reading. She’s also a bit of a weather geek and would like to go storm chasing one day.

Where To Find Lori Drake

Twitter, Facebook, Website (Lori Drake’s Website), Newsletter (Lori Drake’s Newsletter)