Author Spotlight – Heidi Angell

You’re going to see this lady’s name pop up a couple of times in the next few days, because I’m a great fan of her work. Because of that, I couldn’t help but jump on board when she announced she wanted to do book tour for the release of her latest book “The Hunted”.

Heidi was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself, for today’s slot. And then on the 28th, come back to read her take on “The History Of Werewolves”, a topic we both love discussing…

At the end of the interview is a big banner image, which when clicked will take you to Heidi’s website, where you can check out the other stops on the tour. And don’t forget to check out the books, which I’ve linked to at the very bottom of the post.

Introducing Heidi Angell

Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac and wordsmith. She is the author of The Hunters Saga, The Clear Angel Chronicles, and The Hell School Series. She also created Royal Prince Vince, and Creative Exercises to Inspire.

When she is not reading and writing, she can be found spending quality time with her lovely family camping, hiking, swimming, or watching movies.

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

Goodness, what is there to say? I am a closet introvert, who loves to fangirl over books, movies and anime. We just introduced our teen boys to Firefly and it was AWESOME! I love helping others, sometimes to my own detriment, which is why I have started partnering with other groups (Like Brain to Books and Our Write Side) so that I have other volunteers to help make sure I don’t get burned out.
I am eclectic in my interests, and so my books tend to be pretty eclectic as well.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My latest book is The Hunted, the second book in The Hunters Saga. This is an urban fantasy/ horror series for those who believe vampires should be killed, not kissed. The Hunted releases February 18th.

Who is your intended readership?

Well, beyond those who believe vampires should be killed, not kissed, the book tends to appeal to fans of action, gratuitous violence (my vampires explode) and who like the idea of vampires, werewolves, immortals, and other supernatural beings as scary. They aren’t necessarily monsters, per se, but they are dangerous! Also, I deal in werewolves, not shifters. This isn’t PNR.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

It really feels like forever. I have always wanted to be a storyteller. My mom has pictures of me when I was no more than 2 or 3, on stage “telling a story”. I could read before I started school, and was a voracious reader, but it wasn’t until my 1st grade teacher used “publishing” a book to teach us about the different components. From then, I was hooked. I wrote my first full-length novel in fourth grade (it was horrible and will NEVER see the light of day!) and have just kept going from there, dabbling in different forms of story-telling, from poetry, to screenplays, to music, and beyond.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

Nope, I cannot pick one. I couldn’t even pick 15! I find inspiration in every story I read, see, hear. That is part of why I started my bookish blog, to share these awesome authors that I am reading and meeting. Also, the fangirling thing. Yeah. Totally the fangirling thing!

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Start networking now. You need a strong tribe to make it as a writer. And that doesn’t mean just networking with readers (though, you definitely should!) You also need to connect with other authors. They will be there to answer questions, to offer support, to read and critique. My top favorite networking groups right now are OWS– run by Amanda Mabry and Stephanie Ayers, B2B CyCon– Headed up by Angela B. Chrysler and run by some incredible volunteers! (like you!), Sci-fan Society – run by Richard M. Mulder, Support Indie Authors, and Beta Readers and Critique Partners–  run by Dianne Wolfden.

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

Fun fact, though I do not recommend taking NyQuil recreationally, you would be surprised the crazy things one writes when one is powering through the soporific effects. As many great writers were known to abuse drugs of one form or another, this is the closest I have ever come to that.  And it only happened about a month ago. But I also learned that one cannot edit when in the same condition. True Story.

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

I actually really enjoy marketing my books. Sometimes more than writing. Now that I am writing full time, I actually have to schedule in writing time because I would just spend all my time marketing if I didn’t. And I LOVE marketing, because to me it is just another form of story telling!

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

Well, I was working on an Infection story, but I have this little novelette in Romance (GASPS! I know, I can’t believe it either!)that is kind of demanding my immediate attention. You can learn more here.

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The Hunters Saga

#1 The Hunters: For those who believe vampires should be killed, not kissed.

What would you do if you found your town had been infested with vampires? For Chris and his brother Lucas, the answer was simple enough: you fight back. Gathering a small band of other people in their town who have been affected by the vampires, they begin a resistance. But after a year of fighting, they have only managed to kill a handful, while the vampire leader has turned five times that many.

Then two enigmatic strangers appear, changing the group’s lives even further.

Fury and Havoc. They call themselves hunters, and want no part in this little band of heroes. Ordering them to lay low, the duo vow to rid their town of vampires. When Fury is injured, Chris aides these strangers, entwining his future with theirs.

Now that the vampires know the hunters are here, and that Chris and his friends have helped them, the group is in more danger than ever before. Lucas is torn between protecting his new family from the vampires, and protecting them from these seemingly inhuman beings who say they are there to help.

After all, what beings could be so powerful as to scare a vampire?

The Hunted: Now The Hunters become the hunted.

The highly-anticipated sequel to The Hunters Saga. Follow Fury, Havoc and Screvin as they track down the Werewolf who turned Screvin and try to help her come to terms with what she is. Things are going better than expected with Avie, then the Counsel comes after them. Now the hunters have become the hunted.

Buy Your Copies Of “The Hunters” and “The Hunted” NOW!

Where to find Heidi Angell:

Learn more at her website www.heidiangell.com

Want to get to know Heidi better? Follow her on Goodreads, Instagram, or join her e-newsletter to get weekly emails that show Heidi’s reader side with author interviews, book reviews, and other awesome bookish fun!

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Amazon, Smashwords

Author Spotlight – J.N. Sheats

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Introducing J.N. Sheats

I’m a paranormal author, but before I published my first book I was a freelance illustrator and designer. Today I do all three. I love creating covers and new graphics for not only myself, but other authors as well.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Sure, my latest book was released in October 2016, and it’s titled Lineage, the first in the J.J. Morris mysteries.

The book centers on the small town of Portstown, and Joey Morris. A teenager that has lived a unique life moving around ever since she was eleven. Now that’s back in her family’s hometown she has settled into a nice flow of life, until mysterious wild dog attacks start.

This book is full of paranormal goodies, everything from murderous hounds, to wandering spirits.

Who is your intended readership?

While the book itself focuses on characters in their mid teens, my readership is more adult. My books tend to be rather dark, haunting, and violent with adult themes for a more grownup audience.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

8th grade, I had a dream which I thought would be an awesome book, and from that day forward I was writing in notebooks. Never thought it would ever go anywhere, and for a while it went onto the back burner but not anymore.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

I have too many favorite authors to list them all; as for inspiration I pull it from all over. From movies, watching people interact, or family drama. I never know where the idea for my next book is going to show up.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Write, just write. Don’t worry about genres, or fitting into this type of writing style or following this outlining process. Just write whatever you want, be true to yourself and your characters.

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

I do have a quote I love. I stumbled upon it when I was studying animation, but I feel it applies to writing or any creative art.

“As an artist you have 10,000 bad drawings given to you at birth. Now spend your lifetime getting them out!” ~Sheldon Borenstein

Change the drawings to drafts and it rings true for writers.

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

I have too many hobbies. Aside from writing I illustrate/draw, garden, make jewelry, cook, read, and watch tons of brain rotting television.

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

I have a lot of little projects in the works, including a short fantasy series that will be released monthly in a special newsletter, called Divine Legacy. As far as my next big project, that would have to be Dreamscape, JJ Morris #2.

I always have goodies to tease people with. How about a look at the new character coming in Dreamscape?

Riann

A shy college student that comes face to face with the Dream Conductor and lives to tell about it. Frightened by the Conductor’s plans for her and others like her, Riann seeks out Joey for help. But the Dream Conductor is known for manipulating people, and using them for their own evil deeds. Can Riann trust herself and her judgment or is she putting Joey and the others in danger?

Catch the first 5 raw unedited chapters of Lineage on my blog:

Inside the Insanity

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5

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About The Author:

J.N. Sheats is an artist turned author. Living in Maryland with six wild cats, and her husband, J.N. spends her days designing covers and teasers for other authors. At night she is at the mercy of her demanding characters, and their wild fantasies.

Dark Paranormal Fantasy is her preferred genre of writing, but anything is game. Maybe even a lovely romance novel or two in the near future.

When not writing, designing, or drawing, J.N. spends her time doing a host of other activities. Including: gardening, jewelry making, cooking, and watching far too much television.

Catch what’s up in J.N. Sheats’ crazy life with the links below. Stalkers welcomed. 😉

Website : Facebook : Twitter : Blog : Newsletter

Get exclusive sneak-peeks and more of Dreamscape, JJ Morris #2, on my patreon.

BECOME MY PATRON

Follow the progress of Dreamscape and all writing/art projects. Plus, first looks at raw chapters, prizes, deleted scenes, and much more!

“A dream is but a lie humanity embraces with eager submission—longing for it’s devious reality.”

~The Dream Conductor, Dreamscape~

 

Brought to you by:

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Author Spotlight – Belinda Crawford

Back in April of this year, I introduced you to “Hero” by Belinda Crawford. This was the first of her “Hero Rebellion” series, and Belinda just released the second installment of the series “Riven”. So I am thankful that I was able to steal some of her time for this interview, especially since promoting a new book takes up a lot of time.

So, without further ado, I’m handing you over to Belinda. (Oh, and don’t forget to keep your eyes open for the upcoming Book Spotlight for “Riven”).

Introducing Belinda Crawford

Belinda Crawford is a horse-mad geek who loves rock music, hates pink and is occasionally driven nuts by the need to organise. She grew up riding fat, stubborn little ponies and questionably sane horses, and only discovered the delights of reading after her mum bought her a horse magazine.

Riven is Belinda’s second book. She’s currently writing the third, and final, instalment in The Hero Rebellion, with plans to write many more adventures in the world of Jørn.

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

I’m a sucker for Country music, I like my steak medium-rare and am totally hanging out for season 4 of RWBY, not to mention Mass Effect: Andromeda. When I’m not geeking out, I’m training horses and writing books, although not at the same time. That would be awkward.

I also make a wicked triple chocolate marshmallow ice cream and awesome pancakes, sometimes as the same time because, yum.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Riven is the second book in The Hero Rebellion trilogy and it features explosions, disasters, aliens, chases and weaponized chocolate. That last one is my favorite part of the book. Totally awesome.

If that’s not enough to tickle your tastebuds, The Hero Rebellion is a sci-fi series for young adults that follows the story of a young telepath called Hero as she tries to get a life. Riven takes place a year after the first book.

After foiling a centuries-old conspiracy in book 1, Hero has just about everything she wants, except her best friend is keeping secrets and Fink, her 600kg, genetically engineered companion is constantly angry. To top it all off, there’s something wrong with Hero’s brain, like blackouts and nosebleeds wrong.

Who is your intended readership?

Me, aged 13! Seriously though, I wrote the series for younger teenage readers who like movies such as Star Wars that are full of action and adventure. It’s also for kids who like computers, horses and the idea of running around a futuristic city in secret.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always been a storyteller. As a (mostly) only child with a vivid imagination, I’d entertain myself making up stories that I played out with teddy bears and Barbies.anything Later, in high school, I discovered text-based roleplaying, which is effectively collaborative storytelling and discovered that I loved writing.

But still, it wasn’t until my aunt told me she thought I should write a book, because I’d read so many of them, that the idea took hold. Up until then, I’d never thought of writing as anything more than a hobby. It took a few more years, several false starts and a change in career but eventually I decided to give the writing thing a serious go, and now here I am.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

Tamora Pierce is a huge favorite of mine and has been since I was a kid, I’m also a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series, which does a phenomenal job of bringing to life a complex fantasy world. Another book I also recommend to people, and is great inspiration for me, is Path of the Fury by David Weber. The opening chapter is a brilliant example of how to write an action scene, it’s gritty, heart wrenching and just plain awesome.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Keeping writing stuff! From my own experience and that of the authors I’ve talked to, I’ve found that writers learn by doing. You can take courses, get a PhD and read a thousand books, but the only way you’re going to improve is to write. Write bad stuff, write good stuff but most importantly, have fun.

I honed my skills writing Star Trek fan fiction and had a blast while doing it. Along the way I learned a lot and discovered the kinds of things I’m passionate about writing.

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

My family owns a small Arabian horse stud in High Country, Victoria, and when I’m not writing I’m usually outside working with the horses.

Currently I’m getting started in endurance riding, which is the equine equivalent of a marathon. There’s a lot of training involved, not just to get the horse fit but to get them used to the things they’ll encounter during a ride, like plastic bags and ride-on mowers.

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

Right now, I’m working on the third and final book in The Hero Rebellion and I’m really excited about the end of Hero’s story (HINT: it involves an explosion, a viral outbreak and a sunset). The story picks up roughly a year after the events of Riven. I won’t give away any spoilers but I will tell you that we’re going to find out more about Jørn and the beings that live on the surface as well as find out what really happened to Hero’s uncle, Paris.

After The Hero Rebellion, I’ll be starting another Jørn series. There’ll be AIs and funky mind powers like in The Hero Rebellion, but this time there’ll also be spaceships and creepy alien shipwrecks. It’ll be a little bit different from the first series, but just as much fun.

The Hero Rebellion

#1 :Hero

Centuries ago, humans colonised Jørn, a lonely planet on the far side of the galaxy. Arriving in five great colony ships, they quickly settled the surface only to discover, after a few short years, that the planet was killing them. The culprit, a native spore, carried on every wind to every corner of the globe.

Genetic engineering, blending DNA from Earth and Jørn species, saved their crops and livestock, but for humans there was no cure. Instead they took to the skies, turning their colony ships into cities that floated above the spore’s reach.

Hero Regan is special, and not in a way she likes. She hears voices, voices in her head that other people can’t. Surrounded by butlers, bodyguards and tutors, insulated from the outside world, her only solace is Fink, a six-hundred-kilogram, genetically engineered ruc-pard. They share lives, thoughts, triple-chocolate marshmallow ice-cream and the burning desire for freedom.

Their chance comes when Hero is allowed to attend school in Cumulus City. Here, along with making unexpected friends, Hero discovers she is an unwitting part of a master plan set into motion by the first colonists, a plan she must either help or foil if she’s ever to attain the freedom she craves.

Where to Buy: Amazon, Kobo, Signed Copies

#2 : Riven

Hero Regan is a telepath, the first in a new subspecies of human engineered to save the world, but that was before she blew up a chunk of Cumulus City. Now the world doesn’t need her, which is just how she likes it.

Hero has just about everything she wants: independence, friendship and a shot at her fondest dream—to explore the surface of the alien planet she calls home. Life would be perfect except her best friend is keeping secrets, Fink—her six hundred kilogram, genetically engineered companion—is constantly angry, and there’s something wrong with Hero’s brain. Like, really, really wrong.

It all wouldn’t be so bad, except Hero has secrets to keep too—the kind that may just be unforgivable—and the Librarian once again needs her help to save the world, whether she wants to or not.

With past actions coming back to haunt her, old friendships falling apart and new, confusing ones coming together, Hero has to find answers because, this time, the world really is going to change.

Where to Buy: Amazon, Kobo, Signed Copies

Where to find Belinda Crawford:

Website, Twitter, Facebook, Email

Author Spotlight – C.L. Schneider

C.L. Schneider is an author that some of you might already be familiar with from my “Crown of Stones” Series Spotlight back in February.

I’ve had the pleasure of being in email contact with her, despite her upcoming deadline for her current project. It was a pleasure reading her responses to the questions, and finding out we have a lot of interests in common. We share a love of Jim Butcher’s work, and both believe in the power of networking.

Without the work of Jim Butcher, and Dean Koontz, I would very likely never have had the courage to start consider writing in the first person, and immerse myself as fully in my characters as I do. But, it’s the power of networking that allows me to discover some amazing indie authors, bring them to your attention, and give their readers a chance to discover my own work.

So, without further delay, it’s time for you to meet the wonderful C.L. Schneider…

Introducing C.L. Schneider

C.L. Schneider grew up in a small Kansas town on the Missouri River, in a house of avid readers and overflowing bookshelves. Her first full-length novel was penned at sixteen on a type-writer in her parent’s living room. A self-published author of adult epic and urban fantasy, C. L. currently resides in New York’s Hudson Valley region with her husband and two sons. Her trilogy, The Crown of Stones, is an immersive epic dark fantasy that follows the trials of Ian Troy, a man born with an addiction to magic.

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

My name is C. L. (Cynthia or Cindy) Schneider, I am a self-published author of epic and urban fantasy. Originally from a small town in Kansas, I now live in New York’s Hudson Valley Region with my husband and two sons, a hound dog, a kitten named Holly, and Skittles, the grumpy old cat who hates her. I’m a stay at home mom turned full time writer. I published my first novel (The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price) in late December of 2013. Holding that book in my hands for the first time was the best Christmas present ever!

Most of my day is spent at my laptop, or letting the various animals in and out of the house. Coffee, wine, chocolate, and my cell phone are never far out of reach. My guilty pleasures are zombies, Netflix, shopping, torturing my characters, and Twitter (where I am using talking about zombies, Netflix, shopping, and torturing my characters).

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My last release, in February 2016, was The Crown of Stones: Magic-Borne. The final installment in The Crown of Stones Trilogy, Magic-Borne wraps up the story of Ian Troy and his dark journey to embrace the one thing he fears most: his own power.  Only then can Ian have a hope of stopping the war, healing the racial divide among the realms, saving the people he cares for, ending the slave laws, and curing his people’s addiction to magic. But the freedom and peace he seeks will only come through great personal sacrifice. Will Ian pay what fate requires?

Magic-Borne was as much an emotional journey for my characters as it was for me. I had lived and breathed Ian Troy and his world for quite a few years. To say it was sad to wrap up the trilogy and say goodbye, is an understatement. It also felt amazing. Ian’s story with the Crown of Stones is complete, but there are definitely more stories to be told down the road, with these characters and in the world that I created for them.

Who is your intended readership?

I write for anyone who likes dark character-driven epic and urban fantasy with lots of twists and turns. My writing is for adults. I don’t shy away from mature themes.  I write flawed characters and anti-heroes, whose decisions are sometimes far from good. My intention is to tell an entertaining story that draws my readers in and makes them feel.  Whether they laugh, cry, or curse me, as long as I’ve sparked some emotion, then I’ve done my job.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I caught the writing bug when I was a child. By the time I was sixteen, I was dreaming of becoming a published author. I started writing my first full length novel that summer (which is currently sitting in a box in my closet). I never stopped writing after that, but school, career, and family happened, and my dream was put on the back burner for many years. When my children were old enough to be in school full time, I was finally able to devote myself to writing full time. That’s when The Crown of Stones Trilogy was first born.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

One of my favorite authors, who had a large influence on my early writing, is C. J. Cherryh. I discovered her books when I was in my early 20’s and read everything I could get my hands on. Her Gate series (The Morgaine Saga) is amazing, and I fell in love with her Rusalka trilogy. Her character-driven stories just swept me away and taught me so much about developing flawed characters.

Later on, I discovered Jim Butcher and Simon R. Greene, and I devoured their books. I had always enjoyed reading and writing in first person. It felt more natural to me. Yet, I was told to avoid writing in it, because it was hard to do well. Reading Jim Butcher and Simon Greene, and seeing how they handled first person, gave me the courage and confidence to write the way I always wanted to. Their influence allowed me to tell a traditional epic fantasy story with a more contemporary voice.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

  • Write every day if you can. Flexing your creative muscle on a regular basis will help you find your own voice. Even if it’s only a few lines and you delete it the next day, it makes a difference.
  • Don’t just read in the genre you’re writing in or only read epics because that’s what you like to write. Read across all genres. Read short stories, novellas, epics, poetry. Not only can it be a source of inspiration, it’s a great learning experience. It will help you get a feel for things like character development, pacing, for how other authors handle certain points of view. There is so much you can learn just by reading another’s work.
  • Believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. It’s a comfy place, but nothing will ever happen if you stay inside.
  • Share your stories and ask for feedback. Connect and network with other authors. They are a goldmine of resources and inspiration, even friendship.
  • Write fearlessly. Don’t just write outside of the box, throw the box away. Never be afraid to push your limits.

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

I’m a Netflix junkie. Does that count?? I enjoy baking, walking/hiking, and reading. I love the movies, and I’m a bit of a foodie. My husband and I both are. From food trucks in Hawaii to fine dining in Quebec, we love the presentation and experience of finding new and exotic foods and drinks to enjoy.

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

My current work in progress is Nite Fire, the first book in my new adult urban fantasy series. Nite Fire is told from the POV of female protagonist, Dahlia Nite, an empathic shapeshifter from a parallel world. The series is present day and set mainly in the fictitious, Sentinel City (an urban hot-spot for the unexplained). It will also feature travel to parallel worlds, including Dahlia’s home, Drimera, which is very different from our own. Though ruled by dragons, Drimera is mainly populated by lyrriken; a half-dragon, half-human species capable of shifting between two forms: full human and a human-dragon hybrid. Bearing some of the gifts of their dragon fathers, lyrriken are capable of using a higher percentage of their brain then humans, giving them the ability to manipulate their bodies in ways we would consider magical.

Dahlia fled her world for ours over ninety years ago after being condemned to die by the powerful dragon queen, Naalish. Dahlia spends her life here living on the road, hunting the creatures that cross illegally into the human world to do us harm. When a series of brutal killings disguised as spontaneous combustion strike Sentinel City, Dahlia knows the killer is one of her own. Worming her way into the investigation, she teams up with a human detective to solve the case, while struggling to maintain the lies that have kept humanity in the dark for centuries.

As Dahlia searches for the truth behind the murders, the bit of peace she’s found in this world starts to unravel.

Nite Fire will be released in 2017.  If you would like a sneak peek, you can find an early excerpt of the first chapter on my website on the My Playground page.

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#1 : Magic-Price

COVER Crown of Stones Magic PriceIan Troy is one of the Shinree, a fallen people with an inherent addiction to magic. Scorned and reviled for the deadly side of their spells, the Shinree are bred as slaves. Their magic is suppressed by drugs and used only as it serves the purposes of the other races.

Descended from a long line of soldiers, Ian is conscripted into the Rellan army and made to fight in their longstanding conflict against the ruthless Langorian invaders. The downfall of Rella imminent, Ian goes against orders and turns to the Crown of Stones, an ancient Shinree relic of untold power. Ignorant of its true purpose, Ian uses the crown to end the war, and pays a terrible price.

A decade later, still tortured by the aftermath of that day, Ian lives as a bounty hunter in self-imposed exile. Having renounced his magical heritage, he curbs his obsession with a steady stream of wine and regret. He struggles to put it all behind him, until a fateful encounter with a pretty assassin brings Ian’s past crashing into the present. Targeted by a rogue Shinree, and a ruthless old enemy, Ian is forced to use magic again. His deadly addiction is rekindled and his life of isolation is brought to a swift end.

With the land he gave up everything to protect once more in jeopardy, and his people’s future at stake, Ian becomes embroiled in a violent race for control of the Crown of Stones. To save the realms and those he cares for, Ian must embrace the thing he fears most: his own power.

Buy Now: Kindle, Paperback

#2 : Magic-Scars

Final cover Magic-ScarsMagic doesn’t wound the same as a sword.

The story of Ian Troy continues in Magic-Scars, the second installment in C. L. Schneider’s riveting epic fantasy trilogy, The Crown of Stones.

Captured by his old enemy, King Draken of Langor, Shinree magic user Ian Troy was sentenced to prison. Tortured and drugged, robbed of his will, his memories, and his magic, Ian was made to do unspeakable things. Rescued, as his body slowly rids itself of the drug, Ian realizes he has returned to an unfamiliar world gripped with fear. In the wake of his fall, those he cared for were left to their own grim fates. Draken has seized control of the realms and named himself High King. His brutal rein has sparked a desperate rebellion that Ian now finds himself a part of. His one task: recover and repair the Crown of Stones, in hopes it will tip the balance in the revolution that is brewing. In pursuit of the reason behind the artifact’s strange loss of magic, Ian is driven to release an explosion of retribution and power that leaves him irrevocably scarred.

Struggling to reconcile the man he has become with the man he once was, Ian strives to understand the growing number of magic-scars adorning his body. He searches for the truth behind his link to the Crown of Stones and uncovers shocking secrets buried for generations beneath the sand. To become the weapon the resistance needs, he must assume responsibility for his magical inheritance. But can he curb the destructive appetite that comes with it?

The price of Ian’s magic and his addiction have never been higher.

Buy Now: Kindle, Paperback

#3 : Magic-Borne

MB final coverIn one fell swoop, the resistance was shattered. Lives were taken. Hope was lost. Peace slipped like grains of sand through his fingers. So did the Crown of Stones. Now, forced into hiding, Ian Troy grapples for a way to save the realm—and free its people—from the sadistic clutches of Jem Reth; Mirra’kelan’s new self-appointed emperor. Plagued with the knowledge of a tragic future, he strives to influence events and save those he cares for. But his magic has betrayed him, and Fate has other plans.

Marked by the crown, hindered by the transformation spell contained within, each cast brings Ian one step closer to becoming more beast than man. Each move brings the death and destruction foretold in his vision inexplicably nearer. With Langor on the brink of war, and King Malaq’s plan for peace hanging in the balance, Ian returns to the ancient past; seeking an end to the eldring spell and a means to thwart Jem’s growing domination. What he finds there sets off a chain of revelations that leads Ian places he never thought to go.

Entrusted with the future of his race, Ian becomes the linchpin for lasting change. But how much weight can one man carry? And how much is he willing to sacrifice in the name of peace?

Buy Now: Kindle, Paperback

Where to find C.L. Schneider:

Website, Amazon, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, Facebook

Want to read some of “The Crown of Stones” series, before buying?

Check out the prologues @
clschneiderauthor.com

Author Spotlight – S. Cushaway

S. Cushaway is an author who likes to stretch the boundaries of genre fiction. She came to my attention through the Brain To Books Blog Tour request service, and initially described “Salt In The Water” as a sci-fi/western/adventure book. Now this intrigued me enough to inquire further, because I remembered how Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series was considered cross-genre by many.

When I asked Sarah to describe the book further, she said:

Salt in the Water crosses a few genres (it has elements of light cyberpunk, weird west, adventure, and – while I hesitate to call it post-apocalyptic, perhaps post-post apocalyptic might be a better term). Primarily, however, it is a science-fiction fantasy with a heavy western theme. I’ve had a few beta readers and ARC readers compare it to Deadwood with a sci-fi/fantasy backdrop, or more recently – the HBO remake of Westworld. It’s a very gritty, dark story – not for YA audiences. However, I’ve also gotten consistent feedback from readers across multiple genres that the story, while a sci-fi western, was not intimidating or difficult to delve into – I tried to make it accessible to readers of any sci-fi or fantasy genre (a bit how like the Dark Tower draws fans from across the board – the story isn’t similar, but “ease of use to reader” could be compared to that).

So with a description like that, how could I not hand over to Sarah, to tell you a little more about herself?

Introducing S. Cushaway

Sarah Cushaway lives in the snowy wastes of northwest lower Michigan with her husband (co-author Jeremy Ray) and their young daughter. She has a passion for historical fiction, but enjoy reading and writing many genres, including fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and speculative fiction.  Sarah began writing at a very early age, inspired by such books as the Little House series, Watership Down, the Hobbit, and Animal Farm.

When not busy working on writing the next books in the “A Lesser Dark” series, she enjoys spending time with her family and two grumpy cats, dabbling in art and music, and trying to hide from the snow eight months out of the year.

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

I’d like to begin by thanking Timothy Bateson for the opportunity at an author spotlight- getting the word out as an indie-author is always an uphill battle, so spotlights like these are invaluable! As for a bit about – myself I’m a straight-up nerd. I was always penning little stories or narrating stories in my head as a kid, and later got into online play-by-post roleplaying and story-telling through MMORPGs.

Music plays a big role in my creative process – I wrote Salt in the Water, my debut novel, on a steady diet of obscure Gothic Americana/Dark Folk music and coffee. I think coffee makes up at least 50% of any author’s food pyramid.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Salt in the Water – A Lesser Dark: Book I–  is our (my co-author and myself) debut novel, and a mish-mash of several different genres. When the initial idea for the main character, Kaitar Besh, came to me years ago – the setting was definitely high fantasy. However, as I sat down to do the outlining (yes, I’m an outliner) and initial drafts, I found the idea of a strange genre mashup incorporating science fiction, fantasy, and – of all things- a western, to really fit the tone we wanted for the book. It’s a story that takes place far from the bastion of civilized society, where technology means the difference between life and death, and where mysterious dangers lurk through a red, arid desert called the Shy’war-Anquai. The book is multi-POV, but centers around a veteran scout named Kaitar Besh, who is battling the demons of his past as well as all the threat surrounding him and his companions as they brave the wastelands on a rescue mission.

Who is your intended readership?

Anyone who enjoys a good story – particularly fans of dark fantasy, weird westerns, science fiction, and “grimdark”. While my story is (of course) vastly different than, say, The Dark Tower, Westworld, even Firefly, we’ve worked very diligently to ensure it’s as accessible to all readers as those books/shows.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think it’s always been with me. As a kid, I’d be narrating my day in my head as if I were telling a story or writing it for someone. I was (and, time allowing) a voracious reader. I tackled some pretty hefty books at a young age, and while I didn’t always understand the subtext of some of those stories then, it definitely made me -want- to write great stories that would make a person feel and think differently about the world.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

There are so many “favorites”, it’s hard for me to choose just one. However, I think the book that really struck me as a kid was Watership Down (and yes, the crazy cartoon-movie that terrified pretty much everyone, too). Recently, I’d have to say The Stars Look Down, by A.J. Cronin. I know those are some oddball favorites for an author writing a sci-fi/fantasy western, but any great book teaches me something, and helps me be a better writer, no matter the genre.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Read, first and foremost. Stray outside your comfort zone and read all kinds of books, because the art of great storytelling isn’t limited by a specific theme.

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

Nothing too hilarious or specific, but two supporting non-POVs, Eli Vorensi and Kira Bolgarv, got their start some years ago as characters my co-author/husband and I casually roleplayed in World of Warcraft. Yes, we are really that geeky.

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

I do like to scribble (some of those sketches can be seen on my Facebook author page), and I also dabble in music. Admittedly, I don’t have much time to do either these days, so my drawing tablet and bass guitar are sitting in a corner, collecting dust.

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

The next project is getting the sequel book, Ghosts in the Glass, to an editor. The manuscript is finished and needs one final pass before it’s ready for a professional nitpick.

As for book secrets – I won’t give spoilers, but I will say that colors and certain objects/symbols are a large part of foreshadowing. Motifs are fun.

Sarah is has an ARC campaign for “Salt in the Water”

Get Your Copy Before October 13th

After that date, it will be unavailable until October 27th, when it officially releases (for purchase) on Amazon. So, be sure to request your Advanced Reader Copy, before it’s too late.

A Lesser Dark:

#1 : Salt In The Water

There are a thousand ways to die in the desert—desperate outlaws, deadly predators, murderous elements, and betrayal. . .

Kaitar Besh, a veteran scout as legendary for his cynicism as his skills, is ordered to brave the deadly Shy’war-Anquai desert one last time. Escorting Leigh Enderi—a greenhorn Enforcer with a reputation as shady as his own—he soon realizes the ghosts of his past have come to haunt more than his nightmares.

When the mission breaks down in the wake of bitter hatred and mistrust, even Kaitar’s fabled skills may not be enough to bring them home again. Stranded in the red wasteland without contact, food, or water, they uncover a betrayal that could bring all they hold dear crumbling to the dust. . . and tear down the wall of lies surrounding them.

Where to find S. Cushaway:

Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook

Author Spotlight – Tima Maria Lacoba

Today’s Author Spotlight comes to you courtesy of Tima Maria Lacoba, the creator of the Dantonville Legacy series. Reading through the answers to the questions I sent out, I was intrigued to find that we both share a love of history, though I’ve unfortunately been unable to get my hands dirty on a dig. Oh, and no-one has every tried to buy me either.

So, with those things in mind, I’ll hand off to Tima Maria Lacoba…

Introducing Tima Maria Lacoba

A former ancient historian and archaeologist, Tima Maria accidently smashed a 3,000 Egyptian vase while on her first dig! Her supervisor made her glue it back together again. It took a week. From there she went on to specialise in late Roman-British archaeology, and the military forts along Hadrian’s Wall, because buildings don’t smash as easily.  Now she’s combined my love of history with another passion – story-telling – to create a dark tale of Roman soldiers who’ve waited nearly two thousand years to be released from an ancient curse.

 

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

I’ve has always been a storyteller, but it wasn’t until five years ago that I seriously ventured into writing. The result was Bloodgifted. In 2011 it was shortlisted in the Atlas Award and eventually came fourth place. In 2012 it was listed among the top ten in the Choclit Search for an Aussie Star Competition. In 2013, I was offered a publishing contract but declined in favour of going indie, preferring the idea of being in charge of my own creation.

Bloodgifted, Bloodpledge and BloodVault and the first three books in The Dantonville Legacy series. I also intends to satisfy my fans requests by writing individual books on the other characters in the series. So Terens, Cal Jake and Sam will each have their own story.

Currently I live on the Central Coast, an hour’s drive north of Sydney in Australia. My little house is surrounded by bushland, possums and seed-dropping Rosellas on one side, and waterways on the other.

Between bouts of writing, I can be found in the kitchen baking yet another chocolate recipe. This activity is responsible for forming more gothic, urban fantasy stories in my mind for future books.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My current WIP is BloodWish, the 4th book in my gothic romance – the Dantonville Legacy Series – and continues the story of Laura Dantonville, a young woman with a shocking family secret – a curse – only she can lift.

Who is your intended readership?

Originally I aimed for women readers in their mid 40s, but since releasing the first book in the series, I’ve been surprised to see that it’s also attracted a much younger audience.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Truly, I didn’t intend becoming an author. It just seemed to be a natural progression from academic writing to fiction. I’d just handed in my Masters Thesis and began work on BloodGifted.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

There are too many names, but among my favourite authors are James A. Michener, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Maggie Shayne and Gena Showalter. In different ways, each of them has inspired me.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Write what you love and never give up, and study your craft.

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

Being an archaeologist and ancient historian, I’ve been on many digs around the world. When I was in Israel, as part of an international team excavating a New Kingdom Egyptian site, a group of Bedouins came past and began haggling with one of my colleagues. He sent them angrily away. It was only later he told me they were interested in buying me!

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

I’m a keen gardener. There’s nothing like pulling out weeds to vent your frustration over a plot hole or writers block. Besides that, I love doing crafty things like jewellery making.

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

Once I’ve completed my gothic romance – the Dantonville Legacy Series – I might try my hand at a historical novel. As an archaeologist, how could I not?

dantonville-legacy

#1 : Blood Gifted

What if you had the power to lift an ancient curse but at a frightening price? Primary school teacher Laura Dantonville’s ordinary life comes to an end when she learns her family’s ancestral legacy, and a shocking secret that explains her strange inability to age.

Propelled into a violent underworld ruled by magic, murder and mystery, and stalked by vampire clans who covet the rare gift her blood bestows, Laura has to consent to the protection of a guardian – Alec Munro, powerful leader of the Dantonville clan. Despite a powerful attraction between the two, she discovers a far more intimate association between them is necessary if she is to end the curse that has plagued her family for centuries.

With time running out, Laura must decide to which world she belongs – human or vampire? Can she tread a delicate path between the two? Or will her fate – and that of her family – be decided by her police detective boyfriend Matt Sommers who is determined to destroy anyone who stands between them?

Where to Buy: Amazon (US)(UK) – (CA)(AU)

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#2 : Blood Pledge

Ending a curse was never meant to be easy.

When Laura Dantonville learnt her family’s well-kept secret and the reason for her inability to age, she never suspected it would impact her relationship with her police-detective boyfriend, Matt Sommers. But neither had she expected the growing attraction she and her vampire-guardian, Alec Munro, would have for each other.

In those few days, Laura had entered the world of the Brethren – vampires who rule the city’s dark underworld, and where resentment and anger grow at Alec’s privileged position as daywalker. Among a powerful few, alliances are made and conspiracies formed, threatening a war that could destroy them all and endanger every human on the planet – creatures who would do anything to prevent the curse from ending.

To protect Laura from the Rebel faction who see her as their ticket to the daylight, Alec must invoke the Pledge, an ancient ceremony that enforces Brethren loyalty to the Principate. But will it be enough to ensure her safety and bring about the ending of the curse that has plagued her family for centuries?

 Where to Buy: Amazon (US)(UK) – (CA)(AU)

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#3 : Blood Vault

Keeping a secret has never been more dangerous …

Hidden in caverns deep beneath Chateau D’Antonville in a misty French valley, lies a priceless treasure – the Bloodvault. Containing thousands of Ingenii blood vials, just one sip enables a vampire to daywalk. For nearly eighteen-hundred years, the family has kept the vault’s existence secret from the Brethren. But now, the Rebel leader, Count Timur, has learned of its whereabouts.

Faced with an imminent attack on her family’s ancestral home – Chateau D’Antonville – Alec and Laura must flee Sydney to confront this new threat. But the Rebels are not their only enemy. Will Count Timur leak the secret of the vault and cause even their loyal allies to turn against them?

With the very survival of the Principate at stake, Alec and Laura must try and persuade her father, Luc, to share the secret and open the Bloodvault or risk losing everything, including their lives.

In the midst of this, from among their own, comes a betrayal so deep, so unexpected …

 Where to Buy: Amazon (US)(UK) – (CA)(AU)

alec-choose

Where to find Tima Maria Lacoba:

Website, Twitter, Amazon Page, Facebook

Author Spotlight – Ed Ireland

This week’s guest author is Ed Ireland, a self-confessed gaming addict, and a fun guy to interview. When I send these interview questions out to authors, I have no idea what’s going to come back, if anything. But Ed provided an entertaining set of responses, that I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading.

Introducing Ed Ireland

Ed Ireland was born in Philadelphia on September 29, 1954. In January of 1955, the hospital he was born in was torn down. Presumably, they didn’t want anything like that happening again. His adolescence was shaped in Catholic school where the proper use of the common language was the only thing that mattered to the short but strong nuns.

In 1972 he joined the military where his wanderlust surfaced. He has since called many places home such as Texas, California, Nevada, Colorado, Pennsylvania New Jersey, New York and North Carolina while on his way to his current home in Miami, Florida. He claims his penchant for wandering is now at an end here in the shadows of Hemmingway.

Along this great and wondrous trip he has collected memories of some of the most beautiful scenery this country has to offer. He has also met a veritable kaleidoscope of colorful characters that make up the tapestry of his work. Along with his scenic visions, each character in his works carries some part of people he has known in his life, both good and bad.

On the personal side of his life, he is the proud father of two, a rabid Philadelphia Eagles fan, a self-confessed video game addict and a proud supporter of wildlife issues. His particular issue is support for the wolf programs across the country. He encourages support for these magnificent animals and donates a portion of each sale to Runningwiththewolves.org.

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

OK, I can do that. I’d like to say I was born on a winter’s night in the Middle East to two wandering parents…but it just ain’t so. I was born in Philly so thank your lucky stars this is a written interview and not spoken.

I am a degenerate game player and if you know Philly, you know what the Philadelphia Eagles mean to me. I like to cook and garden mostly because I’m getting too old for fun stuff anymore. Nah, it’s mostly because…oh hell, it’s the first reason.

I enjoy writing, but oddly enough I hate to read. I went through Catholic school in the 60’s and 70’s and after enough beatings at the hands of short, powerful nuns you get good enough to start your own literary police force. I can’t stand reading stories that could have been scrawled in crayon on the inside of a cereal box turned to print without proper editing. And don’t get me started on sentences like “Ware R U going”…

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Ahh, so quickly to delve into the meat and potatoes of the interview. My latest book is entitled “The Last Ranger of Sarn”. It is what I can an adult epic fantasy/romance/horror tale. My characters curse, get naked, make love and assist in numerous beheadings. No YA in my stable. Then again, from some of the YA books I’ve seen, perhaps I have the wrong idea about what the YA rating means.

But, back to me. When I used to read, the progression of the character was always important to me. So, I took great care to bring my heroine to life. She is a very normal person that is simply put into a choice of do or die. In fact, all of my characters are that way. They all have strengths and frailties. I was always taught that the best quality one could possess in their character was not how good they were at avoiding adversity, but rather how well they adapted to it.

In Last Ranger, I bring my heroine to the edge of madness several times. Each trip costs her, just as it would a real person. I can safely say that when you finish my book, you’ll think of Vespias Firstlight as a real person…and you’ll want more.

Who is your intended readership?

Well, my work is intended for several groups of readers. I would say that people with eyes are one group. Also, as a sub-group, I would add people with fingers to read braille if the eye thing is a problem.

Another group would be the living. While Vespias might have to fight off undead attackers, I’m pretty sure if any are about in the real world, they probably wouldn’t like my book. And a final group might be those people that have bookcases in their bathrooms. You know who you are!

But, all kidding aside, I would like my book to reach into at least two groups. That group that enjoys a good sword & sorcery tale and that other group that likes a good, realistic love story set against the backdrop of a war.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’m still not sure I want to be a writer. Maybe if these stories would stop popping up in my head, my muse would just go away. I’m one of those unfortunate people that get the idea and then must get it out to a largely uncaring world.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

Of course, I am always inspired by the master of my chosen genre, J.R.R. Tolkien. Another inspiration for me is Gregory Maguire. He wrote “Wicked – The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”. Not that very silly stage musical, but the real, dark, political and gritty story of the Witch of the West. He taught me to see both sides of any situation. What each player perceives as the truth is often very different. I try to work that in when I write. Sometimes it works and other times, ehh.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Simply put, don’t give up. Keep writing. The more you write, the better you’ll get. Much better advice than what my first author gave me. I asked for her advice on being a writer and through what I’m sure were drunken eyes, she slurred out for me to “keep my day job”.

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

Amusing how? Like I’m a clown? I’m here to amuse you??? Actually, my entire life is either and amusing anecdote. Well except for the tragic parts of it.

OK, here’s one.

I was nursing a cold…not a sniffle kind of cold, but a real cold. The kind that makes everyone you know afraid to come within ten feet of you. Coughing, sneezing, runny nose…the entire enchilada with hot sauce.

So, against my better judgement, my wife talks me into going to Wal-Mart with her, her mother and our daughter. So right there in the middle of the store, in a very crowded aisle, I sneeze. At the same time, my butt decided to join in the chorus and I let it rip… loudly. So loud that at least five people spun around and looked at me.

I turned, embarrassed, hurt and confused, to my loved ones. I saw them just as they ducked down another aisle. When I got there, the three of them had tears in their eyes from laughing. My wife rationalized it by telling me to put it in one of my books. Right.

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

The aforementioned hobbies, cooking, gardening and gaming. Apparently, writing is a hobby until you sell enough copies. Screw you NY Times Best Seller List!

I am also very passionate about animal rights. Animals are mistreated and maligned every day on this planet and they have no voices to fight back with. It comes therefore, to each of us to be that voice. Stop the aerial hunts, stop the whaling, stop the black market harvesting of animal parts.

Start being more concerned with what is happening to our world. Remember, we are just a more sophisticated animal. As their world goes, so does ours.

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

Well, aside from the editing on the next passage of Vespias Firstlight’s life, I’m re-writing an historical fiction piece I did entitled “Crime Scene”. It’s about the alleged mafia ties to the JFK assassination as told through a Philly gangster. It comes complete with authentic Philly speech. All that’s missing is the cheesesteak!

Speaking of food, there’s also a possible cookbook featuring all of my grandmother’s Italian cooking secrets. It’ll be told in my best smartass style.

The Journals of the Huntress:

The Last Ranger of Sarn

Vespias began to take a knee, as was the custom of the Rangers before battle. She was expected to ask Surres, the Mother-Goddess of all life, forgiveness for the lives she was about to take. As she lowered herself, that knee stiffened.

She thought of the destruction the Black Prince had visited on her home. She thought of the countless lives he had taken. She thought of what would happen if he won. Her home, her family…indeed, her entire race would be stricken from history as if they had never been.

Slowly, defiantly she lifted herself while the kneeling Rangers around her looked on. She whispered a silent apology to Surres and instead called upon Lyra, the warrior Crone-Goddess who tended the underworld.
“Before the end of this battle” she whispered hoarsely, “you will have either the dark soul of my enemy, or my own soul. If it is mine, receive it well and put it in a place of honor. Then tell the Castian people, my heart had endured enough.”

Buy Direct: Snow Leopard Publishing

Paperback: Amazon

Hard Cover: Amazon

Ebook: Amazon

Where to find Ed Ireland:

Website, Smashwords, Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Email