Category Archives: guest blog post

15 Free Book Promo Sites

Author and EMSA Publishing founder Elise Abram writes about her experiences selling her latest novel, I Was, Am, Will Be Alice in a post sharing 15 promotional sites she’s found on which you can post your books for free. Check out the list at http://eliseabram.com/15-free-book-promo-sites/

                                        Image made on placeit.net

I’m on the book promo path again. Newly edited, my last book, I Was, Am, Will Be Alice will be on sale for the month of January 2017 for only $0.99. I threw a lot of money behind it for advertising in the summer when it was released, so this time I’m reluctant to put any new money into the project. To that end, I went searching online and found 15 amazing and free book promo sites. I signed up at all of them, hoping it will help my prospects, and I want to share them all with you.

Without further ado, here are 15 free book promo sites (in no particular order) you can use to help promote your book. Note that I am writing this blog post in advance of seeing my book advertised and having any sales, so I cannot vouch for some of these sites except for the fact that they allow you to upload your book for free… [more]

New Release: WICKED TRUTHS by Michelle Areaux

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Death seems to follow seventeen year old Sadie Sanders everywhere she goes–literally. As a mediator to the dead, she must constantly face fighting demons and the occasional angry dead girl. In WICKED TRUTHS, the third instalment of the WICKED CRIES series, Sadie learns that some secrets are meant to stay dead, for the truth, once it has been uncovered, may be wickeder than she could have ever imagined.

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Paranormal, Clean Romance
Pages: 178
Release Date: 1 Oct 16
Blog Tour Date: 1 – 8 Oct 16

Death seems to follow seventeen year old Sadie Sanders everywhere she goes–literally. As a mediator to the dead, she must constantly face fighting demons and the occasional angry dead girl.

After a dangerous and almost deadly first year in Salem, Sadie’s parents decided to send her away for the summer to visit her Aunt Morgan in the small town of Nicholasville, Kentucky. After uncovering a murder hidden for centuries, she embarked on a deadly mission to solve the crime while trying to enjoy her summer vacation.

Now back in Salem, Sadie has found another hidden secret in the wicked town. Secret underground tunnels are hidden under the streets of Salem, beckoning to those with wicked souls. When Sadie encounters a ghost named Laura roaming the streets of Salem, she and her friends Noah and Lucy must uncover the clues leading to Laura’s death, which is made even more complicated by the fact that Laura has no memory about her life or death. To make matters worse, Sadie must also track down the person who has been sending her threatening messages in an effort to stop her mission for justice.

In Wicked Truths, the third installment of the Wicked Cries series, Sadie learns that some secrets are meant to stay dead, for the truth, once it has been uncovered, may be wickeder than she could have ever imagined.

Buy Wicked Truths by Michelle Areaux at Google Play, Kobo, iBooks, Kindle, and Amazon.

Also by Michelle Areaux – Coming Soon!

Wicked Cries – Book 1 of the Wicked Cries Series

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For 16-year-old Sadie Sanders, dealing with the dead is growing tiresome, especially when they expect her to be their messenger from the afterlife. But when her family moves to Salem, Massachusetts, and she finds the diary of a young girl named Elizabeth who was accused of witchcraft, she may need some help. Soon, Elizabeth begins to haunt Sadie, first in her dreams and then when she’s awake. As Sadie delves into Elizabeth’s journal, she slowly uncovers the secret Elizabeth needs to reveal, and it’s one that could change the course of history. Sadie needs help, and she wonders whom, if anyone, she can tell about it. Worried that her friends and family wouldn’t believe her, or worse, prevent her from continuing her journey to find the truth, Sadie has a choice to make…and it’s not going to be an easy one.

Wicked Lies – Book 2 of the Wicked Cries Series

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Sadie Sanders believed her life couldn’t get any worse when her parents moved her from sunny California, to gloomy Salem, Massachusetts. Of course Sadie was wrong–dead wrong.

After a dangerous and almost deadly first year in Salem, Sadie’s parents decide to send her away for the summer to visit her Aunt Morgan in the small town of Nicholasville, Kentucky.

Seeking normalcy from her twisted life as a messenger for the dead, Sadie hopes her stay in the small Kentucky town will be the break she needs from her paranormal obligations and a way for her to escape the demons that haunt her.

Unfortunately for Sadie, the dead don’t take a break, not even for summer vacation. Soon after arriving in Nicholasville, Sadie discovers a murder that’s been haunting the town for centuries. Refusing to ignore the injustice she uncovers, Sadie sets off on another wild adventure.

In Wicked Lies, book two of the Wicked Cries series, Sadie’s quest for justice just may be the thing that finally ends her career as a messenger to the dead, and her life

Guest Post: My Publishing Journey by Michelle Areaux

hiking-1312226_960_720Hello all, my name is Michelle Areaux and I am excited to talk with you all today about my crazy journey in the publishing world and what inspired me to write my debut novel, Wicked Cries. When I first got the idea for Wicked Cries, I was a college student at the University of Kentucky. I was studying English as part of my degree to become a middle school language arts teacher. My true dream was to be a writer, but let’s face it: I needed a “real” job in case my dream job never came true. Thankfully, I accomplished both dreams.

My inspiration for this novel came from my interest in the Salem witch trials. I have always been intrigued by moments in our history that really defined an historical moment. I began researching the history behind the Salem witch trials. Once I began delving into the unanswered mysteries around the people, the town, and the events that transpired, I knew I was in trouble; I was hooked. I had to know more about their stories. I needed to capture that moment, but put my own twist and find my own destiny for those people. I wanted to create characters and put them in fantastic dilemmas while having a control over their fate. I also wanted to create raw characters that readers could identify with and who shared the same quirks, insecurities, strengths, and dilemmas we all face.  So…I began writing a story about a young girl who found a journal hidden in a restored home her parents had purchased in Salem, Massachusetts.  I wanted this character, who I named Sadie, to be a martyr for the victims and to stand up against the hate and unfair treatment of those involved. While researching the history of the events of this tragic moment in our history, I became obsessed with telling this story. As silly as it sounds, I felt like I was becoming an advocate for the people who were shamelessly condemned. Of course I had to add in a cute boy and a mean girl to add some more spice to the story line.  Even though this story is fiction and contains fighting ghosts and paranormal activity, the concept behind the plot is real.

Fast forward ten years.  I am a middle school language arts teacher, mother of two crazy little boys, and a wife of a very patient, and motivating husband. Wicked Cries sat untouched for almost ten years. Finally, after gaining the courage to share this story with my husband Anthony, he encouraged me to send it to agents and publishers. Now, I wish that I could say this journey was easy and that the first publisher I sent my query letter to jumped at the chance to represent me. But, sadly, that is not the case. It took another year of sending my manuscript to agents and publishers before Black Rose Writing took a risk on me and my novel and offered me a publishing contract. Black Rose Writing has been amazing, and the authors I have met along the way have been helpful and great mentors.  My novel is sold on Amazon, Barnes and Noble.com, Black Rose Writing’s website, and at The Morris Book Shop in Lexington, Kentucky.  The publishing journey has been crazy and exciting at times. Holding my novel in my hands was a true accomplishment and a dream come true. But having my family, friends, and students read the story and share their thoughts about the characters with me was exhilarating.  My goal in becoming a published author was not to get popular or become a rock star like Jamie McGuire, Stephenie Myer or J.K. Rowling. No, I wanted to become a writer so I could share my stories with others and live my dream. Wicked Cries is more than just a story about a girl who fights ghosts and learns about the Salem Witch Trials. This story contains real life scenarios that teens and adults face.  I wanted the story to be fun, educational, and something anyone could connect with.  I guess the momma and teacher in me took over when writing this book.

For anyone reading this who aspires to be an author, my advice to you is simple: never give up. I know it sounds so cliché, but it is true. Once you have the idea and the itch to write a story, do it! Keep writing. Send out your story to anyone willing to take a peek at it. What’s the worst that could happen–someone says no? If you don’t try, you will never know. My novel was published ten years after its making. Forget the timeline, don’t stress about how long it takes to get noticed. Keep focusing on your dream and you will get there.

Book three in the Wicked Cries series, Wicked Truths, is now available via EMSA Publishing, wherever online books are sold. Look for the reprints of Wicked Cries and Wicked Lies by EMSA Publishing before the end of the year!

*Image by MaxMann through Pixabay CCO Public Domain agreement https://pixabay.com/en/hiking-map-orientation-hiking-shoes-1312226/

Win 1 of 3 copies of Wicked Truths by Michelle Areaux in our Rafflecopter Giveaway!

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The secret to compelling characters: life outside the story

Britbear’s Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Laurel Garver, author of Almost There, with a guest post entitled “The secret to compelling characters: life outside the story.

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About Almost There

Genre: Young Adult Inspirational

Paris, the City of Lights. To seventeen-year-old Dani Deane, it’s the Promised Land. There, her widowed mother’s depression will vanish and she will no longer fear losing her only parent, her arty New York life, or her devoted boyfriend.

But shortly before their Paris getaway, Dani’s tyrannical grandfather falls ill, pulling them to rural Pennsylvania to deal with his hoarder horror of a house. Among the piles, Dani finds disturbing truths that could make Mum completely unravel. Desperate to protect her from pain and escape to Paris, Dani hatches a plan with the flirtatious neighbor boy that only threatens the relationships she most wants to save.

Why would God block all paths to Paris? Could real hope for healing be as close as a box tucked in the rafters?

Buy Almost There by Laurel Garver on AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords, and Apple iTunes.

 The secret to compelling characters: life outside the story

The most compelling characters seem to have a life outside the confines of a story on the page. They’re not like those animatronic beings on Disney World rides that are switched on and come to life only when there’s an audience to observe them.

Giving a character that life might entail developing backstory. But more importantly, it involves giving every character things to do, places to be, relationships, worries, plans and goals that engage them during the “here and now” of your story. Doing this not only makes them more real, but also can give them additional purpose, as plot catalysts. Making the cousin a real estate agent with keys to empty houses, for example, can prove useful to plot later.

Much of that present life may take place offstage (or “off page”). But it should leave traces–evidence apparent in the details you sprinkle in.

Those details might support what we already know about a character. A nice guy might show up late for a formal date with wheel grease on his knees. And we know he’s the type to stop and change someone’s tire, even if it’s inconvenient.

The details might play against type. She’s a tough girl from the ‘hood, but that strange indentation under her chin…well, it looks like the mark of hours of practising violin.

When details play enough against type, you can end up making a powerful social commentary. Think of J.K. Rowling’s Dolores Umbridge, the sadistic bureaucrat who takes over Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Her office is decorated with pink and lace and collector’s plates depicting frolicking kittens. It’s absolutely chilling, because Rowling has deftly shown you the heart of evil–one that perpetuates wrong in the quest for building a comfy utopia.

How you work in those details could take a volume to explore. But I’ll list some broad-strokes categories, followed by examples from my new novel, Almost There.

Physical traits

  • Peculiar hand calluses from rowing crew
  • Smelling of horse and leather
  • Celtic knotwork tattoos
  • Scar from a past injury
  • Unwashed hair and food-stained clothes

Actions

  • Mimicking guitar chord fingering when watching another musician perform
  • Calling someone by the wrong name
  • Cringing when a particular character raises his voice
  • Anxiously checking a phone for text messages
  • Sketching the waitress while waiting for food
  • Whistling songs you wouldn’t expect the person to know

Objects

  • A truck full of carpentry tools and an unfinished coffin
  • Pantone ink swatch book carried in a purse
  • Nietzsche t-shirt
  • Whole box of children’s safety scissors
  • Collection of war memorabilia

The best sort of details to include are ones that hint at a character’s skills, values, passions, commitments, and priorities. It’s a powerful way to make character traits dynamic–giving them legs so to speak. That, to me, makes a fictional being more than a cardboard cutout taking up space–it makes him have a life that means something.

What are some of your favorite characters who seem to have a life outside the novel? What resonates with you about these concepts of “life outside” and “life that means something”?

About the Author

Laurel 1Laurel Garver is a Philadelphia-based writer, editor, professor’s wife and mom to an arty teenager. An indie film enthusiast and incurable Anglophile, she enjoys geeking out about Harry Potter and Dr. Who, playing word games, singing in church choir, and taking long walks in Philly’s Fairmount Park.

Follow Laurel Garver on:

Blog | Twitter | Facebook |

 

Resolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure

Resolution-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalMy name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Elise has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new novel RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. I think it’s a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I’m kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I’ll turn things over to my dog, Danny the Dog. He always has a bad attitude and usually does not speak highly of me. But please understand that we co-exist as the old Soviet Union and the United States co-existed. We tolerate each other. So without further ado, here’s Danny.

Andrew took me away from chasing the neighborhood cats to help him out here. For a person that works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don’t think I will. Instead, I think I’ll tell you about our latest adventure. We’re always having adventures, and I like to write about them. And what I write about is 100% true.

I am fearless. I am Danny the Dog and—to be redundant—I fear nothing. I chase squirrels, chickens, raccoons, ducks, and of course, cats. However, there is one thing that kind of gets to me, and that is thunder. I don’t know why that is. Andrew once told me I should go to a doggie psychiatrist and have a past-life regression. He said maybe in a past life I had a run-in with Thor, the god of thunder. Did I ever tell you that Andrew is an idiot?

Usually I have very little to do with him. I take him for a walk a couple of times a day. I allow him to feed me and give me treats, but for the most part, he goes his way and I go mine. However, when it thunders, I want to be as close to him as possible. He’s always on the computer. He went nuts a few years ago and threw the television out the window and he hasn’t replaced it yet. So there he sits, staring at the computer screen day after day. He tells me he’s trying to write, but I know better. He’s waiting for someone to email him, but no one ever does. Anyway, back to me.

So, when it thunders, I crawl up on his lap and come between him and his precious computer. But I have to hand it to the old reprobate, he stops what he’s doing, puts his arm around me and tells me not to worry.

As soon as the storm passes, I jump down and go back to ignoring him and he goes back to whatever he was doing, probably on a dating site begging some poor female to go out with him. (They never do.)

Danny %26 ThunderThe accompanying picture (right) was taken during the height of a thunderstorm. I want you all to know that I usually don’t look so forlorn. Now if you will excuse me, there’s a mother duck and her babies swimming by our boat and I have to go and bark at them. After all, this is my turf and I must defend it to the last bark . . .  because I am fearless.

That’s about it from Dannyland for now. If I hurry, I might be able to catch an old movie on TCM. My two favorite movie stars are Rin Tin Tin and Lassie.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot—go out and buy Andrew’s book.

AndrewThis is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank Elise for having us over. It’s been a real pleasure.

Buy Resolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure on Amazon and Smashwords.

10 Travel Books that will Ignite the Wanderlust in You

Many authors themselves have travelled to different corners of the world to get inspiration on what to write about, and through their novels, they share memories that you can experience, too.

There have been thousands of books that have inspired people to travel. Here are some books that are sure to bring out your inner-wanderer.

1. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

walk in the woodsThis book documents Bryson and his friend, Stephen Katz as they go hiking on the Appalachian Trail, starting with Bryson’s curiosity about a trail near his house. It is written in a humorous style and highlights the history of the places and animals that they come across along the way. This book proves that it is indeed true that curiosity is a contributing factor for travellers wanting to see the real world and not just read about it in novels.

2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

the alchemistKnown as one of Coelho’s best-selling fiction books, The Alchemist is a timeless classic, and a favorite among road-trippers, about a young shepherd that gave up his job and went all the way to Spain and Egypt to chase his dreams. He is amazed with the beautiful places he sees, finds audacity to learn and try new things, experiences deeper love, learns invaluable life lessons, and discovers his real purpose. In the middle of his journey, he meets strangers who seem to be like him as he wanders through the realms of the world and this makes him even more passionate about travelling.

3.  Life of Pi  by Yann Martel

life of piPiscine, a zookeeper’s son, is saddened when he learns that his family, including the zoo animals, is moving to North America because his father is selling the zoo. During their journey, a storm hits their ship, and Pi must survive with a hyena, a tiger, an orangutan and a zebra in a lifeboat. He journeys with these creatures for months, alone with them in the ocean. Determined to survive, he fights his depression when the tiger kills all of the remaining animals. Being on the open sea for so many days, he sees many unusual things and experiences strange events, which he survives, in order to tell his tale.

4. Into the Wild by Jon Krauker

into the wildInto the Wild is the story of a man that sets off for a hiking adventure in the wilderness of Alaska. On his soul-searching quest, he burns out his funds and begins his journey to see western America. Things don’t always run exactly as planned or expected along the way, and he experiences complexities that not only challenged his patience, but his endurance to survive as well.  Through it all, he does not give up, but continues his journey and decides to climb Stampede Trail in Alaska, where he is left with insufficient supplies needed for his camping.

5. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

vagabondingThis book is rich with travel philosophies that speak to solo traveling, planning and saving pennies along the road. Potts went travelling for more than 10 years to document his experiences and turn them into a book that serves as guideline for travelers planning long-term trips. Vagabonding coaches travelers, not only on budget travelling, but on having the best experience as well. What makes this book even more inspiring is Potts’s inclusion of encouraging quotes from different travellers from around the world.

6. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

eat pray loveEat Pray Love is the story of a woman who divorces her husband to find what is missing in her life. Spending time in three different countries over the course of a year, she finds comfort in Italy by eating to excess; inner peace by praying in India; and a very special love affair in Indonesia. By traveling solo, she is able to achieve her goal, which is to know herself better and survive in a place outside of her comfort zone.

7. The Beach by Alex Garland

the beachThe Beach is the tale of a man named Richard and his desire to experience wild adventures. He finds himself in a small community on one of Thailand’s many islands.  His journey gives inspiration to American and European tourists and will persuade them to explore Thai beaches for their stunning views. This book‘s best message is that Mother Nature is still the most beautiful thing around.

8. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

on the roadOn the Road was published in 1957, and is the story of Sal and his friend Dean, leaving the busy streets of New York. Together, they head west to enjoy their lives, partying, making new friends, sleeping with random women, and riding the rails at night. From his adventures at different corners of North America, Sal learns a lot of things in life, matures into a full-blown man, and exercises his free will. It is an inspiring tale about leaving one’s old life behind and creating a new one by exploring the roads and experiencing new adventures.

9. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

geography of blissThis novel by Eric Weiner is about a self-help guide in search of happiness in different places of the world. The story is about a cynical man’s trip from America to Europe, Iceland, and Buthan in search of the happiest people in the world. It is a great read for travellers who are looking for happiness by seeing the world on a grand scale.

 

10. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

under the tuscan sunMayes, Under the Tuscan Sun is a good book for travelers who desire empowerment to live life in the best way possible. Shortly after discovering her spouse is cheating on her, Mayes goes on a tour to Italy where she writes about her experiences as a local Italian, and talks about different food traditions and art styles in northern Italy, which makes this book a great guide for people travelling there. The book also includes several chapters of recipes and how Mayes was able to acquire and develop her villa in the countryside.

Are you inspired to travel? Open your travel planner now, plan your trip, and let your sense of wanderlust take over!

About the Author

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Jason Biondo is an amateur bodybuilder and travel junkie who loves to share insightful tips with his fellow health enthusiasts and travellers. He is also a User Interface Developer Consultant and the founder of Trekeffect.

Here’s where you can learn more about Jason and his travels:

| Facebook | Twitter | Google+  | Pinterest  |

 

What the Heck is Grimdark/Dark Fantasy?

Please join Britbear’s Book Reviews in welcoming Andy Peloquin for a guest post in which he explains the genre of his novel, Blade of the Destroyer: The Last Bucelarii Book I (Volume 1).


blade of destroyer coverThe Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer

Author: Andy Peloquin

Publication Date: July 11th, 2015

Paperback Price: $15.99

Digital Price: $3.99

Pages: 298

ISBN: 1515038955

A faceless, nameless assassin. A forgotten past.  The Hunter of Voramis–a killer devoid of morals, or something else altogether? (Blade of the Destroyer–dark fantasy with a look at the underside of human nature)

In The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer, the Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.

When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?

Praise for The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer

“Creative, gritty, and beautifully dark…fantasy addicts will love it!” — Peter Story, author of Things Grak Hates — http://peterjstory.com/

“The fantasy world has a compelling new antihero…the Hunter will terrify and captivate you.” – Eve A Floriste, author of Fresh Cut

“From the first words on the page this fantasy holds the reader spellbound even after the book is finished…his character is very well-defined even if his past is a mystery. Root for an assassin? Oh, yes, one must!” — Carol Conley, for InDTale Magazine

Read my review of  The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer.

Buy The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats.

What the Heck is Grimdark/Dark Fantasy?

Fantasy is one of the most popular genres of fiction, but it has SO MANY sub-genres. You have high fantasy, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, portal fantasy, and (my personal favorite) dark fantasy.

Dark fantasy is any type of fantasy that involves the darker, more horrific elements of fantasy and fiction. Examples of dark fantasy include:

  • Serial killers, thieves, and criminals in fantasy worlds
  • Stories set in the modern world, but with fantastical/horror themes and creatures
  • Works of fantasy filled with a gloomy, dark atmosphere, dread, and horror

With dark fantasy, there is no happy ending. The ending may be satisfying, but it’s certainly not “happy”. There are no shiny heroes or heroines to triumph in the end–in fact, in many dark fantasy novels, the protagonists are often characters placed squarely in a moral “grey zone”. It is rarely good versus evil–it’s usually evil versus evil.

A few of the BEST dark fantasy novels of all time include:

  • The Black Company (series) by Glen Cook
  • The Broken Empire (series) by Mark Lawrence
  • The First Law (series) by Joe Abercrombie
  • The Magicians (series) by Lev Grossman

Dark fantasy novels often contain:

  • Fantasy elements
  • Protagonists with supernatural powers
  • Elements of horror
  • Magic or magical races

Of course, there are sub-genres of that sub-genre. For example, there is “Gothic fantasy”. Gothic fiction combines horror and Romanticism (not romance, but fiction with an emphasis placed on emotions to highlight the experience). Examples of Gothic fiction include Frankenstein and Dracula.

Then there is “grimdark”, a sub-genre of dark fantasy, coined for the works of Joe Abercrombie. In grimdark, there are few monsters, limited magic, and the focus is entirely around the characters, rather than the quest. It has been described as a type of fiction where there are no “honorable” characters, or where “Might is Right”. It focuses on the “underside” of fantasy/medieval/fictional life, with a very cynical, disillusioned tone.

A perfect example of “grimdark” would be A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. All of the “good” characters are killed off, leaving only the “dubious” characters and those who do whatever it takes to achieve their ends. Or The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie, a story about warriors on both sides of a conflict. Neither is “good” or “evil”–they simply ARE in their own world.

The beauty of grimdark fantasy is that you can use it to explore the various “shades of moral grey” that exist–both in fantasy worlds and in our world today. Often, grimdark fantasy is a subtle portrayal of real life scenarios or situations, but taken to an extreme that brings the reality into focus. With a lack of “good and evil”, everything can be called into question, and everything can be questioned.

For those with a more cynical worldview, both dark fantasy and grimdark offer a unique retreat from the more “popular” forms of high-brow forms of fantasy. But don’t think that either is low-brow; in fact, both grimdark and dark fantasy offer a chance to examine situations from a fresh perspective!

More about author Andy Peloquin:

Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysteriousandy peloquin

Andy Peloquin–a third culture kid to the core–has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child.

When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn’t looked back since.

Andy’s first attempt at writing produced In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent. He has learned from the mistakes he made and used the experience to produce Blade of the Destroyer, a book of which he is very proud.

Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.

His website (http://www.andypeloquin.com) is a second home for him, a place where he can post his thoughts and feelings–along with reviews of books he finds laying around the Internet.

Here’s where you can learn more about Andy Peloquin and his writing:

| Twitter | Facebook as Andy Peloquin| LinkedIn | Google+  | Amazon Author Page  |

| Facebook as Andrew Peloquin | Website |

Cover Reveal – DREAM WEDDING and DREAM FRAGMENTS by J.J. DiBenedetto

After ten books and nearly a million words, the Dream Series will be complete on October 20th. Book number ten, Dream Wedding, will be released, along with Dream Fragments, a collection of short stories that fill in some of the gaps between the novels of the series.

Presenting the brand new cover for DREAM WEDDING, designed by Emma Michaels (www.emmamichaels.com)

Dream Wedding4

What’s it about?

It ought to be a joyful time for Dr. Sara Alderson. Her daughter, Lizzie, is about to graduate college, and marry her longtime boyfriend. But the family’s happiness is shattered when a drunk driver seriously injures her teenage son in a hit-and-run accident.

Now, instead of planning her daughter’s wedding, Sara must fight to save her son’s life. And when she discovers who the drunk driver was – someone she thought was a colleague and a friend – she has to fight her desire for revenge. Because Sara knows she has the power to visit the driver’s dreams, and in those dreams, she holds the power of life and death.

Dream Wedding is the tenth and final book of the Dream Series

Pre-order it on Amazon right now!

The Dream Fragments collection also has a brand-new cover, also designed by the wonderful Emma Michaels:

SeriesTitle_Dream Fragments_V2

Pre-order it on Amazon!

If you can’t wait for October 20th (and I don’t blame you if you can’t!), all nine of the previous Dream Series books are available on Amazon, as well as many other eBook retailers (visit my website to see the full list of where to buy them!). You can also check out my website (listed above), as well as Facebook and Twitter for the latest Dream Series news. Or you can click here to download a quick guide to the Dream Series and me!

You can also check out the Dream Series on Audiobook. The first seven books are currently available on Audible, and book number eight, Dream Vacation, will be available within the next two weeks. You can hear samples from all the audiobooks at my website, too!

Introducing The Thought Readers by Dima Zales

The Thought Readers Blitz Banner
The Thought ReadersThe Thought Readers

(Mind Dimensions #1)

by Dima Zales

Release Date: 3/5/14

Mozaika Publications

Summary from Goodreads:

 A new series about mind readers from USA Today bestselling authors… 

Everyone thinks I’m a genius.

Everyone is wrong.

Sure, I finished Harvard at eighteen and now make crazy money at a hedge fund. But that’s not because I’m unusually smart or hard-working.

It’s because I cheat.

You see, I have a unique ability. I can go outside time into my own personal version of reality—the place I call “the Quiet”—where I can explore my surroundings while the rest of the world stands still.

I thought I was the only one who could do this—until I met her.

My name is Darren, and this is how I became entangled with all the Russians and learned that I’m a Reader.

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Check out the short story novelette prologue for the Mind Dimensions series, The Time Stopper, for FREE!

Dima Zales’s Top Ten Inspirations for The Thought Readers:

1. My wife and collaborator Anna – she inspires everything that I do.

2. Mentalism – which is a type of entertainment meant to look like mind reading. This is something that I personally do (you can see examples on my Youtube channel).

3. “Bullet time” slow motion fight sequences that became famous in action movies.

4. Moving to Florida after living twenty-three years in NYC. In this novel, I re-visit my favorite and familiar spots, especially in Brooklyn.

5. Music by Enigma (in the book there’s even a mention of a song by them).

6. Sushi.

7. Card magic and gambling demonstrations – this is related to mentalism and something else that I personally do (for entertainment purposes).

8. For book three, I got some inspiration from the practice of meditation, which features prominently.

9. For book four, I was influenced by my obsession with longevity.

10. It’s not a coincidence that there are so many Russians in these books. I was born in Russia, and that fact clearly had an impact on the characters.

About the Author

Dima ZalesDima Zales is a full-time science fiction and fantasy author residing in Palm Coast, Florida. Prior to becoming a writer, he worked in the software development industry in New York as both a programmer and an executive. From high-frequency trading software for big banks to mobile apps for popular magazines, Dima has done it all. In 2013, he left the software industry in order to concentrate on his writing career.

Dima holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from NYU and a dual undergraduate degree in Computer Science/Psychology from Brooklyn College. He also has a number of hobbies and interests, the most unusual of which might be professional-level mentalism. He simulates mind-reading on stage and close-up, and has done shows for corporations, wealthy individuals, and friends.

He is also into healthy eating and fitness, so he should live long enough to finish all the book projects he starts. In fact, he very much hopes to catch the technological advancements that might let him live forever (biologically or otherwise). Aside from that, he also enjoys learning about current and future technologies that might enhance our lives, including artificial intelligence, biofeedback, brain-to-computer interfaces, and brain-enhancing implants.

In addition to his own works, Dima has collaborated on a number of romance novels with his wife, Anna Zaires. The Krinar Chronicles, an erotic science fiction series, has been a bestseller in its categories and has been recognized by the likes of Marie Claire and Woman’s Day. If you like erotic romance with a unique plot, please feel free to check it out, especially since the first book in the series, Close Liaisons, is available for free everywhere. Keep in mind, though, Dima Zales’s books are going to be much more PG 13 . . . at least that’s the plan for now.

Anna Zaires is the love of his life and a huge inspiration in every aspect of his writing. She definitely adds her magic touch to anything Dima creates, and the books would not be the same without her. Dima’s fans are strongly encouraged to learn more about Anna and her work at http://www.annazaires.com/

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The OIF/OEF Diner’s Guide

Britbear’s Book Reviews welcomes fellow Black Rose Writing author CG Carey, and his book, Temporary Problems, for today’s guest post, The OIF/OEF Diner’s Guide.

Temporary Problems full cover

From the back cover:

John Fox has succeeded in achieving a mundane life, the suburban house, the silver car, and the steady white-collar job. He doesn’t know anything is lacking, until he meets the love of his life. Events conspire to separate the lovers, and in an attempt to avoid returning to the humdrum John immerses himself in military life and ultimately the war in Afghanistan.

In OPERATION HERRICK, John’s journey takes him from flying on secret Navy helicopter missions, to eventually participating in ground combat missions with American Marines. He finds that war has its own allure of passion, terror, and humor, but at what cost?

Set in contemporary Britain and Afghanistan, Temporary Problems draws parallels between love and war, each having the power to heal and destroy.

Buy Temporary Problems on Amazon and Black Rose Writing.

The OIF/OEF Diner’s Guide

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down and then up again, I felt obliged to put together a diner’s guide to reminisce.  Who knows, maybe those who feed the troops in the future will incorporate some of the highpoints?

I’ve not included anything smaller than the Forward Operating Base level, as the food supplied anywhere smaller would likely have been delivered from a F.O.B., or would have been field rations/MREs.  Not to mention that the ambience at such locations was often marked by burning feces, near constant automatic weapons fire, and various forms of fireworks provided by the local population and their foreign visitors.  In other words, they sucked too bad to be mentioned.

Worst to Best

Camp Buehring, Kuwait

There were up to three dining facilities (DFACs) on Buehring and they all sucked.  The largest and fanciest of the three was the worst.  This was a small training base, and the only location on the list to give me food poisoning.  If you find yourself at Buehring, stick to Subway.  No stars.

U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Pasta without sauce, and sauce without pasta; who cares as long as the suckers keep paying their mess bills, right? Ham sandwiches every day – yes, every day for aviators.  My squadron saved the sandwiches up and used them for an eating competition. There were no winners.  Adding insult to injury was that we had to pay for that crap they called food.  Once on that tub, you are screwed as there are no other options.  Your best bet is to steal cereal at breakfast, and eat it every meal day, every day.  If you’re flying, pray to divert someplace – any place.  Walk on fat because you’re going to get skinny.  No stars.

Camp Bastion Cookhouses – All, Afghanistan

From the island that gave the world haggis, Britain felt obliged to again display its culinary ineptitude to its former colonials.  At no point should roast turkey breast have air bubbles running through it.  Bizarrely, they managed to do just that and it tasted as strange as it looked.  Whoever was running the place also had a sense of humor, as there was signs posted everywhere reminding people not to sneak out any food.  Don’t worry mate, it was everything in me just to get through the door – your chow’s safe.  It was often loud and never failed to disappoint.  One star.

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

This was one of the fancier DFACs.  It was also over crowded and the food tasted like crap.  If you could get a seat, you would regret having waited in line to eat a marginally better meal than you received at Bastion.  Still, it was better than Bastion, and was pretty flash with neon signs and flat screens.  One and a half stars.

Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan

Maybe I had set my hopes too high?  Maybe I had consistently selected the wrong options?  Maybe it was just shit?  It was always quiet when I visited though and the contractors all wore white shirts with black bowties.  Although the food sucked, the quiet and absurdity of seeing those bowties in Helmand scores Dwyer a solid two stars.

Victory Base Complex – All, Iraq

I don’t remember all the names of all the DFACs on Liberty, Slayer, and Victory, etc. but as a rule, the food was mediocre and the atmosphere loud.  Sometimes they served wings, and some clown thought it was appropriate to shout, literally shout, about those wings non-stop.  I still fanaticize about his violent demise.  Two and a half stars.

Ali Al Salem, Kuwait

This DFAC was run by the Air Force, and you could tell.  The food was much better than Buehring, but it still sucked.  It was so flash inside though, wow!  Lights, neon, flat-screens, tiles, plates and silverware! Three stars.

C.O.B. Speicher, Iraq

This place was nice, big, clean, and reasonably quiet.  It showed the signs of quality suffering from too many mouths to feed.  The food was notably better than anything in Kuwait and VBC, and it was quieter too.  Nowhere near as flash as Ali Al Salem or Arifjan, but much flasher than the top three on this list.  Three and a half stars for only being mildly disappointing.

Flight Line DFAC Camp Bastion, Afghanistan

This was like your local dive.  It was not particularly clean, it could get busy, and the air-conditioning struggled to cope a lot of the time.  All that being said, it was pretty quiet, and was far superior to its closest competition, the Bastion cookhouses.  They also often had Gatorade and fake beers.  I usually liked what these guys fed me, and that they were open when other DFACs were closed.  Four stars for good food, staying open, and being quiet.

Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan

Maybe this rank has been inflated because the Brit cookhouses sucked so badly, but when looked at objectively, it has to score highly.  It had identical quality food as the Flight Line DFAC.  Although housed in giant tents, it still gave the illusion of cleanliness and space.  It was often very busy, but usually quiet when I went.  It also was a bit more flash with better air-conditioning than the Flight Line DFAC.  Four and a half stars.

F.O.B. Summerall, Iraq

This place was not flash, but had the benefit of being in a permanent-ish building.  There were a few flat screen T.V.s.  This place was always quiet.  If guys spoke, it was at a near whisper.  The food was the best I’ve had on deployment.  The quality was helped by the fact that there were not very many people on the F.O.B.  It’s just as well the food was decent, as there were no other options except MREs or braving something from the locals out in Bayji.  Every Friday was stir-fry night, and you could count your stir-fry nights until leaving.  Five stars.

Summary

As a rule, the food we received in a combat zone was vastly superior to what we normally were/are subjected to back at home by our respective militaries, this is certainly the case for U.S. and U.K. forces.  I wonder what ISIS thinks of all the DFACs we left behind?

Did [I] miss your favorite DFAC?  Did you run into one worse than at Camp Buering?  Maybe you were poisoned at multiple locations?  Please feel free to add your stories and rankings in the comments below.

cgcarey-author-photo

About Christopher Carey:

C.G. Carey grew up in California and is a lifelong Oakland As fan. He enlisted in the U.S. Marines at 17 as an Infantrymen and later attended university in Scotland. He commissioned into the U.S. Navy where he went on to fly in E-25 off of the Eisenhower, Royal Navy H-35 over Afghanistan, and serve with the U.S. Army in Iraq. His awards include some Air Medals and a Combat Action Badge. He retired to Virginia.

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Write What You Know

Today’s post features a guest post by A.E. Albert, author of The Time Sphere.

From Amazon’s product description:

the time sphere cover

What if you discovered an amazing secret, a secret that led you on an adventure to save the world and perhaps…yourself?

Billy Townsend, a thirteen year old boy who has lived in a group home his entire life. He has no family, no friends, and is bullied everyday by muscled bound morons who have it better than him. Well, that’s what Billy thinks at least. His life is a constant upheaval of new towns, new houses and new people. The only thing that stays the same is the nagging loneliness that follows him everywhere.

Billy’s world is forever changed when he meets a mysterious stranger. He must now journey through time, fighting his way to the future. As he learns to use his wits and together with new found friends, he finds the strength to meet the challenges set before him. However, Billy soon discovers that his greatest challenge to face is himself.

Buy The Time Sphere on Amazon.

Write What You Know

When I sat down and made the decision to write a book, I looked down at a clean white sheet of paper and asked myself, what do I write about?  I grew up watching the Anne of Green Gables movies, until I finally read the series in my twenties.

One of my favorite scenes is when Gilbert looks at the stubborn and uncompromising Anne and dares to criticize her work.  He then challenges her to write what she knew about, be inspired by people and events around her.  This line had always stayed with me, even before I had ever thought about writing myself.

The trouble was I knew I wanted to write within the sci-fi/fantasy genre.  I also have a love of history and traveling and knew that they needed a place somewhere in my book.  So I took a little sci-fi and little history and came up with a time travel story.

But as every reader and writer alike knows, great characters are the heart of every tale.  Character development is my personal favorite aspect to a story.  I knew I needed characters that were gripping, real and who could grow.  At this point, I began to chew my lip and stare far too long at my pad of paper.  Suddenly, the words of Gilbert materialized in my mind.  Write what you know.

I have been a Child and youth Worker for almost 15 years.  I had been employed in numerous group homes and currently help children with special needs.  I have worked with many wonderful children throughout my career who have faced many challenges and adversities.  Yet, through it all, they managed to laugh, learn and add something special to my own life.  I knew in an instant that my protagonist was a child of social services.

Billy journeys through time, fights deadly foes and faces seemingly unbeatable odds.  Yet, his insecurities and are his greatest hurdle.  These personal challenges he must confront are directly intertwined with the plot and its exciting end.

Write what you know.  Following this advice gave me an empathic view of my characters.  I don’t just mean compassion, there’s more to empathy than that.  I mean being able to understand their decisions and know what path they will take.  You know what they will say and how they say it.  It’s as though your characters are writing your story and you are but an instrument of this endeavor.

Thanks Gilbert.

About A. E. Albert:

aeprofile pic-cropThank you for taking the time to read about me. As you probably have already guessed, I’m a first time novelist. I love reading, writing, travelling, history, science and a many more interesting (or not!) subjects. Of course, these interests don’t separate me from the majority of the population and my hobbies are quite generic. I thought I’d just get that part out of the way. But I’d like to tell you why I have embarked on this journey. For most of my adult life, I worked as a Child and Youth Worker in residential group homes and in the school board. I’ve worked and cared for many children like the ones described in my book. I’ve always felt that these children have been misrepresented and misunderstood. I decided to write about what I knew and so I created a character that lived in the social services system. Through humor and the occasional tear, I attempted to inform the reader what it is really like for the children of foster care and perhaps, to send a message to these special children that there is always hope. So, I decided to take my work experience, love of adventure novels and natural creative talent to write my book. The truth is, I began this endeavour simply as a hobby and a means to divert my mind from my very stressful job. I’ve always been an avid reader but didn’t believe that to mean that I was a writer myself. I simply decided to write a novel that I would enjoy reading. However, as I began my journey into the written world, I discovered a passion that I didn’t know existed. Writing this work was the most difficult, yet the most exhilarating experience of my life.