joi, 13 noiembrie 2014

Excerpt, Giveaway & Guest Post "Mortal Gods" ("Forgotten Pantheon", #1) by Alex Manea

Mortal Gods       
Forgotten Pantheon
Book 1
Alex Manea

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of pages: 183 
Cover Artist: Ovidiu Stanciu
Virtual book tour organized by: Bewitching Book Tours

Book Description:

Heather, a young American girl, is visiting her college roommate, who now lives in Rome. While partying in a local nightclub, she's picked up by a man who looks like he was created in the image of a Greek god. Her initial impression is correct.

He’s one of the last surviving members of the Greek pantheon. After hooking up with him, Heather is forced to join the culmination of a two-millennium-long war between that pantheon and a clandestine sect of monks within the Catholic Church, itself led by perhaps the most infamous figure in Christian history.

Heather and Apollo embark on a world-spanning effort to collect what remains of the gods to engage in the final battle with the monks opposing them. But the fate of the battle is changed by the intervention of a mysterious military organization…

Available at: Amazon ~ BN ~ Kobo

~ Excerpt ~

~ Guest Post ~
How self publishing is keeping reading alive and what you can do to help

In a world where fewer and fewer people read books, a decade ago, a miracle happened. Or, as the skeptical might call it, a technological breakthrough: the invention of the e-reader and the birth of the modern e-book. This led to another important stepping stone, self-publishing. 
I come from a country where the majority of the population stopped reading. Here, only 1-2% of the population read anymore and selling 5000 copies make a book a bestseller. It's  bad and it's happening all over the world. People simply stopped reading. It's easier and more entertaining to just read a tabloid newspaper or magazine instead. The effect? Fewer and fewer new writers are getting published and thus the chances of a new Asimov or Tolkien being discovered have greatly diminished.

A game changer surfaced a few years back, a new hope for all those aspiring new writers: self-publishing and the e-book reader. This is a great opportunity for all aspiring writers who up until this point had almost no chance of being discovered. Now hundreds of thousands of aspiring writers are self-publishing their books, with hundreds, or even thousands, of new books appearing each day. Yes, some of the books are bad, but there are a lot of great writers out there, just waiting to be discovered.

They've done all they could: spent countless hours in front of the keyboard to write the best story they could and hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on editing,  formatting and advertising. All they can do is pray and hope.
Hope that you answer their prayers, because only you can. Only you have the power to help them.
Buy their books. Read their books. And if you like them, tell your friend about each and every new writer, you discover and urge them to read the books as well. It might not seem much, but
Most self-published books are cheap. So next time you're not exactly sure that you want to read the newest novel by an established author, use that money to buy some self-published books. I say some because with the same money you can buy at least 5 self-published books, even as many as 15. Think about how many people you can help this way.

~ About the Author ~

Alex Manea is a Romanian journalist and writer, author of the Urban Fantasy novel Mortal Gods, the first book of the Forgotten Pantheon series. Alex is a big mythology buff, especially Greek, this being the source of inspiration behind the novel. Alex is currently working on the second novel of the series.


~ Giveaway ~

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vineri, 7 noiembrie 2014

Release Day Book Blitz - Guest post & Excerpt - "Arcadia" ("The Wonderlust Chronicles", #1) by Hope Christine

Ever since Sky Captain Lemise Holdif was a boy, he’s been faced with the End of Days. For decades an unknown enemy has been systematically wiping out life in the galaxy, starting with the most advanced societies. Now Arcadia, a world built from the trash of an entire galaxy, is the only planet left capable of distant space travel, and the next target. Lemise is desperate to save his home world, but his plans are interrupted when an alien visitor transports onto his ship.
Lead Specialist Paelae Madison is the last of her kind. The only survivor of the First Attack, and bent on revenge for the destruction of her people. In desperation, she teleports onto an Arcadian ship and offers aid in the coming war. Arcadia sees her as a hero, but Lemise is weary to trust a stranger who’s survived over five hundred previous battles.
Together the two fight to defeat an enemy far more advanced, and far more cunning than Arcadia has ever known. But extinction lurks around every corner, and The Enemy isn’t the only one threatening to destroy the world.

~ Arcadian Culture ~

Arcadia is a junkyard planet but it collects more than just broken ships. Before it was a recognized planet, it had been a place of refuge for lost voyagers. Eventually it began to collect people like it collected trashed technology. Some were refugees, others were stranded after running out of money for their journey, and some were simply shunned from their own worlds.

With so many different people there’s a lot of borrowed pieces of culture that has been meshed together to form the Arcadian way of life. For example: they love to refurbish or repurpose technology but it is the highest crime of their court systems to help create or aide in the creation of cyborgs: part human, part technology. Don’t improve what man did not make.

The law developed from their belief that a soul cannot find the World Beyond unless the body is whole. It makes navigating the Field of Stars, a type of purgatory, difficult because a partial soul would have to wait for a whole soul to help guide them. This belief was stolen from the Monks on the planet Maldeen who had a very different lifestyle, rarely traveling into space.

Paelae is the outsider on Arcadia, she comes from a more crisp and clean way of traveling space. It’s like taking Captain Picard and putting him on the Serenity. She has a hard time adjusting to their way of life but as you read it from her perspective you begin to pick up on where all those bits and pieces of Arcadian society came from.

Lemise, who is born on Arcadia and has had little contact with other races (since most just fire at them for scavenging the graves of the dead) sees Paelae’s past life on the Imladian ships as very excessive and wasteful. In this way, as well as others, they tend to clash.

As the story progresses you can really see how Paelae’s and Lemise’s culture begin to shape who they become from a young age. 

~ Excerpt ~

Officers stumbled over each other in preparation for the day ahead. As soon as the first rays of purple sunshine peaked over the city, a line had started to form for the bathrooms, and Paelae was thrust back into the world of the living with a jolt. Sweat covered her face, and her breathing was too rapid.
Despite the cramped space, the other women gave her a reasonable berth, some eying her while checking their weapons.
Had she screamed in her sleep? The nights had grown increasingly rare when she didn’t have a nightmare.
“Hey.” Paelae sat up and tugged the clothes out of her trunk. She ran a hand over the purple and black jumpsuit provided for her; it felt wrong, wearing the colors of another people. It was the first time anyone offered her a uniform. She preferred the Imladian one; it was familiar.
“Hey.” This time she looked up, noticing that the one-word sentence had been directed to her.
A woman stood at the end of her bed, arms crossed and legs apart as if at ease. “Name’s Benni. I’m your guard.”
Of course, the woman from the ship. 
Benni was a head shorter than Paelae and bore the markings of a low rank.
“I’m Paelae,” she said and stood to greet Benni with a hard stare. “I’m your…” She searched for an appropriate word.
“Ally,” Benni finished for her. “Sky cap’s waiting outside for you.”
Paelae took the cue and began her attempt to navigate out of the barracks, jumping over beds and weaving around people until she reached the metal door. Outside, the world was tainted purple as the sun filtered through Arcadia’s atmospheric shielding, a product of too many chemical bombs. What had once been a rushed patch job to keep air on the planet had since evolved into a last line of defense worthy of acknowledgment. It was one of few things Arcadians boasted about among the planets—when the planets still existed.
Captain Lemise stood just outside the barrack doors, looking across the miles of asphalt designated for intergalactic travel. Bordering the west side of the airfield and encroaching fast upon the north, were piles of rejected technology and broken spaceships tossed out by hundreds of different races. 
That’s how Arcadia had started, as a junkyard, but then lost voyagers found a home on it, attracting others—from those shunned by their own people to travelers broken down with no funds to continue on their journey. Eventually, it became a home for those who had nowhere else to go, and scavenging became more than an act of survival; it became a trade.
Most of the north and east were surrounded by low-class, brick apartment buildings, meant for the soldiers and their families.
“You’re not in uniform.” Lemise deduced upon seeing her. “If you want on my Chasers, you wear my uniform.”
Paelae shrugged. “Bathroom line was too long to change.”
Lemise began to walk away. “Then wake up earlier.”
Paelae walked close behind with Benni in tow as the sky captain began to explain. “Miss Demitri is our chief innovation and engineering specialist; with a screwdriver and a handful of computer chips, she could change a toaster into an engine. You will work beside her under close supervision. I want a particle shield by the end of the week.”
She almost laughed. Particle shields were difficult with the right materials, but with makeshift metals and roundabout wiring, he would be lucky if it turned on in three weeks.
“In exchange, you will work beside me in the evenings,” he continued.
Lemise didn’t expand any further on her evening expectations, but Paelae suspected they would be dull at best until Lemise began to trust her better.
“Unless there are complications. Then I will jettison you out of an airlock in EWAN territory. Am I understood?”
“Yes, sir,” she said. Centuries of military training had drilled the habit into her.
He led them to a jeep, and another soldier drove them east to a warehouse that stood ten stories tall. Behind it, a mesh, wire gate separated civilian from soldiers. Paelae watched as a group of young boys tossed a ball back and forth to each other, running down a deserted street to throw it in a trash can.
They used to play a similar game on the cityship as trainees. It was one of the few bits and pieces they had smuggled from the Earthen culture, played in secret when the officers had left.
Once, General Amir had caught them midgame when he came to get Paelae for sparring lessons. Anything Earthen was not to be spoken of or remembered in any way, but she had been rebellious as all teenagers were those days. Everyone had frozen in place. The terror coursing through their bodies made them forget to even salute. Trying to run would have been devastating.
Amir had walked between them, assessing the trainees. He had been furious, but his anger hadn’t been displayed in shouting or beating; it had filled the silence that spread between moments in time.
“Madison,” he addressed with a calm, collected demeanor, turning to look at her. “Why do we not register Earth as a planet in our systems?”
She didn’t reply.
“Madison!” This time the words were forceful, bringing her back from the past. Lemise and Benni had already departed from the vehicle and waited for her.
With a sigh, she shook the memory away, letting it dissipate into the morning air and jumped out of the jeep.
Lemise led them through an open garage door. Inside, the warehouse resembled a miniature junkyard. As Paelae looked closer, she could tell that the piles had been organized to some degree. One had wire, another had chips, and a third was weaponry.
“Demitri!” Lemise called. A clatter of metal followed, and the sky captain took that as a cue. They wove in and out of large piles and then climbed over smaller ones until the ground could be seen again. A giant square of cleared floor sat under an open roof, and near the opposite end, a young woman drew up schematics on a metalwork table.
“Demitri,” Lemise called again as they walked up to her.
Demitri glanced up through layers of grease stains and smudges of dirt. Bright red hair fell in a tangled mess past her shoulders, held back by a set of goggles. Deep, blue crescents were visible beneath her eyes, as if the woman had been bruised. 
“Did you sleep here last night?” He didn’t address her as a soldier, nor did she wear a uniform. Instead, brown overalls adorned her skeletal frame, and a belt of odd tools kept it hanging up.
Demitri gave him a confused look. “No. I’ve only just arrived.”
“You were supposed to be in an hour ago,” Lemise said as the military eased back into his speech.
“I was delayed,” she said and threw her arms open. “It’s not like I don’t stay past midnight anyway. Every genius needs sleep. Is this the Imladian?”
Lemise pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath. “This is Madison.”
Demitri stepped around the table and snatched Paelae’s arm up, pushing back the black leather sleeve. After a moment, Demitri let out a whistle. “That’s a particle shield all right. I’ll need the big guns for those supplies.”
“One week,” Lemise said.
Demitri laughed before realizing he was serious. “Two weeks, sleep, free meals, and you throw in that glass plating I need to fix the Mirage.”
“One week, no sleep, free breakfast, and you fix the Mirage because it’s your job, not a bargaining chip.”
“Two weeks, no sleep, and lunches.”
“A week and a half, sleep, and no food.”
Demitri was about to throw in another bargain when a little girl ran out from behind a pile of piping. She held up a colored picture with evident pride, tugging on Demitri’s pants and grunting to get her attention.
“A week and a half, no sleep, and forget this happened,” Demitri said as she placed a hand on her daughter’s head. “The daycare was filled, and Pops is working cross-continent. I wouldn’t bring her unless it was my only option, I swear.”
Lemise knelt down to the girl’s level. “Hello, Demi.” He smiled.
Demi held up her picture of colorful stick figures, grunting as she pointed in stunted movements at each one.
“I see.” Lemise took her picture and gave it a further inspection. “It is a beautiful picture. Will you draw me one?”
Paelae watched in mild horror. Demi was broken. On the cityship, they considered it a mercy to chloroform such children at birth, if they made it that far without detection; and it shocked her that all those years she never thought twice about it. Never before had she encountered one on other planets, though she’d heard stories.
Lemise stood, turning back to Demitri. “Will she be okay around new faces?”
“Yeah, she’s better with it now.” Demitri cracked her knuckles in anticipation.
“A week and a half, no sleep, and lunches,” he offered.
They shook on it.
“I’ll leave you to it then,” Lemise said and left, disappearing behind piles of trash.
Demitri pulled a chair up for her daughter to continue drawing, and then lounged back in one of her own.
“You named her after yourself,” Paelae stated when the silence had extended beyond comfort.
“Of course I did. She’s a Devonian.” Demitri fiddled with the lenses on her goggles.
Paelae nodded, though she didn’t know what that meant. “Should we get started, then?”
Demitri tossed her a pencil. “Copy your arm, please.”
She looked at the writing instrument with amusement. Once, this had been the only way to transcribe thoughts, but it had been centuries since she used one. “I don’t know how to use this.”
That caught Demitri’s attention. “You don’t know how to use a pencil?”
“Not anymore, no.”
Demitri laughed. “Aliens, sometimes you get too advanced for your own good. Come here. I’ll do it.” Another pencil was pulled from the depths of her ponytail. “Please tell me you can at least use a welder.”
~ About the Author ~

Hope Christine was born in Arizona and raised in Colorado. Her youth was spent in Narnia and her teenage years in Middle-Earth. Like most, she grew up with reluctance and then attended college for multiple degrees before settling on Linguistics.
Today she studies Middle-Eastern languages and works in retail.
She’s opinionated, blunt, loves to bike, and bares an extreme hate of peaches.

luni, 3 noiembrie 2014

Author Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway "Dorianna" by Catherine Stine

Hey my fellows! I'm back with another super catchy book. It's called Dorianna and it's written by Catherine Stine. This is a great post that includes info about the book, an interview, the long excerpt (some short teaser excerpts and the first part of chapter three) and, of course, a giveaway!

Catherine Stine

Genre: YA paranormal/horror 
Publisher: Evernight Teen 
Date of Publication: October 24, 2014
Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
Virtual book tour organized by: Bewitching Book Tours

Book Description:

Internet followers, beauty, power. It all sounded good.
Until it transformed into a terrifying reality Dorianna couldn’t stop

Dorianna is a dark twist for the Internet generation on A Picture of Dorian Gray.

When her father is jailed, her mother ships lonely, plain Dorianna to her aunt’s. There, Dorianna yearns to build a new identity, but the popular Lacey bullies her—mostly for getting attention from her ex, Ander.

Ander takes Dorianna to Coney Island where Wilson, a videographer, creates a stunning compilation of her. She dreams of being an online sensation, as she’s never even had a birthday party, and vows she’d give anything to go viral. Wilson claims he’s the Prince of Darkness and warns her the pledge has downsides.

Dorianna thinks he’s joking. She has no idea of how dire the consequences might be.

Author Interview

Hello Catherine! First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview and, also, to welcome you to my blog. Let's start with the moment you decided to become a writer. How did you feel?
I have always loved to write. I wrote a bunch of cute little mysteries when I was in fourth grade and illustrated all the covers. I was in writing groups in high school. But I also loved to draw and paint so I came to NYC and showed my work in galleries for a while. Then I had an epiphany: I needed to stop painting and focus on my writing because I wanted to be a novelist. I completed an MFA in creative writing, sold my thesis and have not painted since. That decision was painful but freeing in a big way! Now I actually write about artists in one of my series (The Art of Love series using my pen name Kitsy Clare)

How would you describe your life since you have become a writer?
Busy! I’m obsessed with writing and I write whenever I can. If I’m not writing I’m usually daydreaming about my novel plot or the characters. And this year I am attending YAtopia in Nashville and RT Times in Dallas, so I will be traveling to cons as well. Come see me!

Where does your inspiration come from?
Oh, boy, who knows? If writers knew that, they’d bottle up their magic INSPIRE formula and sell it! I write about issues that fascinate me or disturb me, and characters that are pastiches of types that interest me. Dorianna, for instance, is a lonely, misunderstood girl, who, when she obtains dark magic and power, becomes overtaken with a craving for more online followers and meetup parties until the whole experience is totally out of control. By then, when she’s desperate to stop it, she has no idea how. This Facebook/Instagram/Tumblr/blog following and social media frenzy is a thoroughly modern phenomenon that has many possibilities to veer into dangerous territory, which of course, for the writer, is big fun!

Tell us about Dorianna. Was it hard to choose the title? What about the cover?
Dorianna is a new twist on two of my favorite novels: Christopher Marlow's Doctor Faustus, and Oscar Wilde’s A Picture of Dorian Gray. Faustus is a brilliant college professor who, after earning what is equivalent to a PhD, is bored and asks the medieval version of "Is this all there is?" He has noble ideas: to find cures for dreadful diseases—even raise the dead. But you need superpowers for that! So, he falls into temptation, makes a vow with the devil's messenger and signs it in blood. Soon, he regrets it, but there's no taking it back. In Dorian Gray, Dorian is awed by his own image in the portrait his uncle paints of him. He makes a dark wish: to stay always as young and handsome and only have the painting age. The painting becomes hideous because it shows the ugliness growing in his soul. I wanted to create a version of Dorian for our time, and I wanted the lead to be a young woman. DORIANNA was born. I chose the girl in the photo and Evernight’s designer made her own magic that is the cover you see. 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? 
It deals with themes that fascinate me: psychological hunger and craving. It was a satisfying experience to figure out how Dorianna, in her own unique way, would handle her dreadful dilemma. Plus, I LOVE Wilson! He’s my own Prince of Darkness who tempts Dorianna to the dark side. He’s sexy, immoral, and a very fashionable dresser to boot. I had fun with his outfits.
Amanda Seyfried

Which actress would you like to see playing Dorianna?
Maybe Amanda Seyfried. She has the long hair, and wide-set, slightly spooky eyes. 

How much time do you spend doing research for your books?
A lot if I need to. A good amount of Dorianna is set in Coney Island, and I’ve been out there a lot. I love the ticky-tacky boardwalk/amusement park scene. Right now, I’m working on a novel set in 1932 in Asbury Park, and I’ve done buckets of research: on the lingo, the fashions, the setting. Plus I happen to be at a weekend writing retreat as I write this in… wait for it… Asbury Park!

Did any particular personality influence you in any way growing up or as an adult?
I’ve had the good luck of having a couple of really wonderful writing mentors and teachers. And my characters are based on real types. Everyone has compelling quirks. Wilson is based on wickedly devious types I’ve known. Dorianna, in her darkest moments is based on certain manipulative people I’ve clashed with. I do like broken, troubled and aberrant souls for fiction. Conflict powers fiction, after all.

What are your favourite books of all time?
The ones I read in childhood: Pippi Longstocking, Alice in Wonderland. Such inventive fantasies!

What do you think most characterizes your writing?
People say my prose is lyrical, visual and cinematic. My mission is to entertain and put my characters hearts out there for you to hear beating and see bleeding.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
A writer’s first job is to entertain. A writer’s second task is to pull a reader in through the characters’ emotions. I tell my students when I teach workshops that each scene must have an emotional heart. This also holds true for the novel as a whole. Part of the craft is voice, and the other is the ability to make us care deeply about the fictional world. Sometimes the characters are too formulaic. But even if they are interesting, if there’s not enough action or high stakes to propel the story, we don’t care enough. One must examine plot, voice, character and stakes—all of it to diagnose issues and revise properly. Take your time and polish your manuscript completely. Good luck!

Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
You totally rock! You inspire me to keep writing stories for your pleasure. 

Short teaser excerpts

Long Excerpt 

About the Author

Catherine Stine’s novels span the range from science fiction to paranormal to contemporary. Her futuristic thriller, Fireseed One won finalist spots in YA and Sci-Fi in the 2013 USA News International Book Awards and an Indie Reader Approved notable seal. Its companion novel, Ruby’s Fire was a finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Awards. Her paranormal YA, Dorianna launches with Evernight Teen in October. She also writes new adult fiction as Kitsy Clare. Her new adult Art of Love series includes Model Position and Private Internship. She loves all things spooky, exotic and edgy, including travel to unusual locations. She also loves hearing from readers.


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