Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Zombies Western Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Red Dust: The Fall $1.99 #Kindle

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/zombies-book-tour-giveaway-red-dust-the-fall-by-ben-dixon-sam-campbell-41614-43014/

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 4/16/14 – 4/30/14
Genres: Horror/Zombies/Western/Short Stories



Blurb:
Red Dust is a series of zombie western short stories.

Red Dust: The Fall is the first trilogy of short stories in the Red Dust series. These stories are The Lost Party, Feud and The Last Rider.

The Lost Party
When a party of settlers go missing on the Wasatch Mountains of 1846 America, a lone mountain man tasks himself with finding the lost pioneers. Upon the discovery of the remnants of a diary, George Masterson finds himself pulled into the dark story that befell the ill-fated travellers.

Feud
America 1853, seven years since the disappearance of the lost party, the undead have emerged from the wilderness crossing the Great Plains to assault the civilised world. Communication has broken down and settlements now stand alone as the Rising Plague spreads across the eastern border.
In the town of Little Rock inhabitants of the New World thrive to create normality in the midst of chaos. With the arrival of a mysterious rider named Griffin, the true dangers of the town become clear. The illusion of civilisation quickly dissolves as Griffin’s appearance sparks the violent conclusion of a deep-rooted vendetta.

The Last Rider
The Rising Plague continues to spread mercilessly across America, leaving the remnants of the US government to lead a desperate defence in defiance of the undead. Yet in the face of their doom, the beginnings of a civil tension arises, as the Southern State’s succeed, leaving a dire split across the US and its people hopelessly divided.
Isaac, a young courier, volunteers himself to deliver a mysterious package for the Union military. His task will lead him deep into the heart of the unknown, through the decaying civilisation of a country that he can no longer call his home, as his eyes are opened to the horrors of the New World.


Excerpt:
“This is it, boys,” Custer shouted. “Form a line Sergeant Major.”
“Line,” shouted the Sergeant in response, and the cavalrymen spread thin, length ways into a single file. Isaac followed Griffin who fell into the very flank of the line. They urged their horses forward, scrambling to the peak of the ridge and stopped.
The downward slope on the far side had been stripped bare of all life. Only a barren ruin of dirt remained of what was once. The cannons had been dug into the earth of the slope, below which lay at the very bottom a fortified trench.
The smoke from the cannons and the rifles of the soldiers still hung in the air, but through the light cannon smoke, Isaac could see them. He had never seen anything of such horror. Coming from the treeline beyond the trench were the dead. Thousands of them cascading through the forest into the open ground, marching towards the defences with a single purpose. Isaac saw a cannon fire and the ground rumbled beneath him as the machine of war kicked back, slamming into the wall of dirt where it was entrenched. It erupted in haze of smoke, spitting burning embers and coughing fire. Isaac watched the cannon ball hit the ground hard, bounce, and then strike into the front rank of the undead horde, slicing through the mass of ungodly figures. The creatures that took the brunt of shot exploded in a mist of red.


Buy Links:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Smashwords 


About the Authors:




Ben Dixon and Sam Campbell are two friends who met while studying history at University. Red Dust is their first piece of work, it features a story told through interlinking short stories.



Author Links:






Giveaway:

The authors are giving away a $20 Amazon gift card! Open internationally. The giveaway will run the length of the tour. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Among Friends Blog Tour

Among Friends Tour


Among Friends: Stories from the Journey

Among Friends Cover

“This book is my Midrash.” With these words, Father Jim draws us into his life story full of laughter, tears, and service. Among Friends is a compilation of short stories and insightful lessons experienced on his many travels as a clergyman and motivational speaker. Whether recounting his sobering flying experiences, meeting the Pope, his encounter with the “Weed Man” or telling us about his “lead foot,” Father Jim teaches us lessons through powerful storytelling. As he takes us along on his journey from getting kicked out of seminary to hosting celebrities, such as Dolly Parton, Harry Connick Jr., Martin Short, Bill Cosby, and former First Lady Laura Bush, at his small Kentucky parish, Father Jim shines a light into the corners of the human heart to expose our need for God and the love He alone can give us. You will laugh, cry, and be taken back by his honesty. In all, Father Jim shows us what it means to love God, love others, and live life Among Friends.

jim 

Father Jim W. Sichko Father Jim W. Sichko is a priest of the Diocese of Lexington, KY. He was ordained to the Ministerial Priesthood of Jesus Christ on May 23, 1998. He travels throughout the U.S. giving missions, retreats, and days of recollection. Known for his storytelling, Father Jim weaves everyday life experiences with the rooted messages which lie within the Gospel. He is booked for speaking engagements through 2015. Each engagement lasts a minimum of three days and averages 3,000 people per night. Father Jim completed his undergraduate work at New England Conservatory of Music in Vocal Performance and received a Master of Divinity degree from Sacred Heart School of Theology.

Website * Facebook * Twitter

Excerpt:

The Beginning…
´
Ancient Jewish Rabbis put together books called “Midrash.” These
books consisted of stories, reflections, and speculations on the Hebrew
Bible (or Old Testament for Christians). The teachers wanted people
to read these stories and reflect on them to find deeper meaning in
God’s word.
This book is my Midrash. In addition to being a priest for fifteen
years, I’ve traveled all over the world. I’ve preached to many different
cultures and people. I’ve learned to say prayers in different languages.
Although I can’t claim the wisdom of the ancient Jewish sages, I’ve
learned a lot through my own mistakes and crazy experiences.
Along the way, I’ve met a lot of people (especially Highway
State Troopers), and listened to their stories. I’ve included their
tales, my experiences, and God’s word in my talks. People seem to
love them and I love seeing their reactions. I love moving people
to tears, laughter, and watching them embrace a deep sense of
joy found in God. Somehow, He uses my life to transform people
and help them find His Good News in the person of Jesus Christ.
Really, what more could I want?
For many years, people kept telling me I needed to write a book
and put all my stories in one place. Finally, I broke down, opened my
computer, and hammered it out. I discovered a newfound admiration
for those who can turn a phrase on the printed page. As I sat at my
desk, sweating, drinking vast amounts of water and looking at a
dictionary, I realized God didn’t call me to be a writer. I’m a preacher,
and I admire people who can string words together and make sense.
Still, as you hold this book in your hand – via old-fashioned print
or a new-world e-reader or tablet – you know I made it through alive.
As I learned in every part of life and ministry, no goal is ever
accomplished alone. This book, Among Friends, is a product of hard
work with my own personal scribes, Chas Allen and Jonathan Ryan,
both authors and fantastic writers in their own right.
Believe it or not, I taught Chas in ninth grade at a Catholic high
school. Years later, our paths crossed again when Chas got involved
in an art heist. One of the largest art thefts in history, Chas found
himself on international news outlets, and I recognized him as a
former student.
Although I prayed for him on a daily basis, I couldn’t visit him
during his six-year sentence in federal prison. He told me later about
the isolation, embarrassment, and humiliation. Still, he drew closer to
Christ through the experience and repented of his sins.
After Chas paid his debt to society, our paths crossed once again,
and we began communicating. His knowledge, rooted in the journey
of his faith, and gift for the written word impressed me on all levels.
A published author himself, we started talking about my book. He
offered to help me in writing up my little Midrash for people to take
home after one of my talks.
I met Jonathan through a parishioner’s daughter who is now my
literary agent. He just completed a horror mystery novel that will be
in bookstores October 2013. His natural ability to spin a yarn on the
page made him a natural choice to help me hone my stories. Just know,
unlike his book, mine won’t keep you peeping around the corners and
sleeping with the lights on.
And, so, the journey began.
Allow me to give you a word of advice for when you read this book
at bedtime or in the morning at the coffee house. Don’t read it straight
through like a novel. You’ll notice that I jump around, tell stories and
give personal reflections. I did that on purpose. I want you to enjoy the
book by reflecting on it, talking about it, and letting it transform you.
You might even disagree with much of it, and that’s great. Just tell
everyone why.
Like the Midrash of the ancient Jewish scholars, I hope it prompts you
to talk about God’s word, His love and the mystery of His presence. Many
of the stories are just as they happened. Many are imaginative retellings
of real events. Some are just plain made up to make a larger point.
And what is that point?
As a priest in Christ’s church, I hope it draws you closer to the
One who rules our lives, made the world and died for our sins.
So, let’s reason, laugh, cry, and walk together through this Midrash.
Amen? Amen.

 
Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 5/15/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Key to Everything by Alex M. Kimmell Spotlight & Guest Post





Title: The Key to Everything

Author: Alex M. Kimmell

Genre: Fantasy Horror


Cracked and weathered binding, hiding mysteries on pages tied closed by a bloodstained string. A happy young family enchanted by dreams and possibilities. A barren, empty room. A boy with no friends obsessively drawing angles, edges and diagrams. In his debut novel, Alex Kimmell captures a vivid and startling tale of fear. Auden's journey begins when he discovers a curious leather-bound book whose contents will soon endanger his entire family. The pages of this book draw him into a prison that cannot be breached, a place that can only be unlocked with a very special key. In The Key to Everything, fear is explored and heightened through jarring imagery and a terrifying, unique menace, ratcheting up the tension until the novel's gripping climax.


Author Bio

Alex kimmell (the squirrel whisperer/twodoggarage/daddy not-so-much-bucks) is an accidental novelist, anti-rhyme-ologist, oxygen inhaler, carbon dioxide exhaler who often generates harmonious sounds with various instruments of different historical importance. his work has appeared on cool places around the 1’s and 0’s like Black Lantern Press, Front Row Lit, Dumb White Husband and The Wordcount Podcast. His novel “the Key to everything” and collection of short, horrific tales “A Chorus of Wolves” were released by Booktrope Publishing. come and join the neurosis at alexkimmell.com.



Links









Book Excerpt


You toss and turn for what seems like forever. Finally all the noise and static in your head silences down and you fade into sleep. Everything is black. No sound, sight or scent. Floating. Full complete nothing… a pregnant emptiness. The deepest relaxation ever. You know you are flying, but there is no wind or sense of gravity’s pull to let you know direction. Not up or down. Not front or back. Slowly and gently there are brief caresses. First one brushes across your cheek. Another one moves softly along the nape of your neck. Your palms feel as if they are being kissed. A wetness slides across the backs of your knees. Hours later you feel a pressure right between your eyes. Sharp and unfriendly. Pushing harder, you struggle against the pressure holding you down. Skin cracks and the lock breaks open between your eyes. You realize now that what crushes into your head is the key. It stabs in like a drill bit, not spinning. It doesn’t stop. It will not stop. You scream and struggle but nothing moves when you tell it to. Your body is not responding to your commands. Trapped, a prisoner to the pain. There is nothing you can do but endure. The key rams further in, all the way to the wave-engraved hilt and stops. It turns counterclockwise spinning around slowly. One revolution…two revolutions…three revolutions…you feel your brain being twisted and mulched…four revolutions…you can’t scream anymore, the agony is so sharp…five revolutions…everything goes dark…six revolutions…you try to think of your family…

“Seven, Daddy, seven.” Jason’s voice jolts you awake. You leap out of bed fighting to slow your heart and catch your breath. The sheets and your nightclothes are completely soaked with sweat. “Seven, Daddy, seven.” Jason’s voice sounds far away. He stands in the doorway holding his hand out in the dark.

“Jason? Hey buddy, are you ok?” You shake your head to get out of the dream and start walking to your son. The clock on the night table reads 12:07.

“Seven, Daddy, seven.” Still reaching out in the darkness, he begins to back up into the hallway.

Emily stirs and sits up, “Auden? What’s going on?”

You keep walking towards Jason as he backs further away. “I don’t know. Jason’s sleepwalking, I think.”

“Seven, Daddy, seven.” Arm stretched out to nothing, he moves strangely backwards, floating. The image of the boy blurs in the light shining up from the bottom of the stairs.

“Hey Jason.” You clap your hands. “Wake up, pal.” Following him down the hallway, you notice he is getting closer to the stairs.



“What did he say?” Emily follows you into the hall.

“I think he’s saying ‘seven.’”

“What?”

“I have no idea. But he won’t wake up.”

“Seven, Daddy, seven.” Jason turns just before the stairs and begins backing into his room. Your heartbeat slows down a little in relief.

“At least he won’t fall down the stairs,” you say as Emily runs past you into Jason’s room.

“Jason.” She grabs his arms and shakes him hard. “Wake up, honey.”

“Seven, Daddy, seven.” His eyes stare blankly with black unfocused pupils completely dilated.

Jason sits down on his bed with his eyes stretched open. Stiff as a board he lays back and pulls the covers up to his chin. Emily stands above him crying. Putting your arms around her from behind you can feel her shaking. You can’t blame her. You’re scared out of your shit too. You don’t even bother trying to comfort her.

“I’m going to throw up.” Emily pulls away and runs to the bathroom.

You head down the hall to help her and glance back at Jason. His head snaps hard to the right and he stares directly into your eyes.

“Seven, Daddy, seven. SEVEN DADDY SEVEN.SEVEN SEVEN SEVNSEVENSEVENSEVENSEVEN…”

You launch yourself at him, cradling him in your arms. “Jason. Wake up please. I’m right here.” You rock him back and forth. He feels cold. A stone.

“SEVENSEVENSEVENSEVENSEVENSEVEN…”

You don’t want to. The very idea of doing it brings a stabbing pain in your stomach. Your hand reaches out, swings through the air and slaps him hard across the cheek. Immediate silence. Jason looks at you, stunned. He starts to sob, tears pouring down his face.





“Why did you hit me, Daddy?” He pushes you and recoils into the headboard. “Why did you hit me?”

Emily runs in the doorway and jumps over you to get to her child. “Shhhh, baby.” She reaches back to you with one hand and grabs your wrist. “You were having a really bad nightmare and Daddy was trying to help you.” She puts her hands on his face and looks right into his eyes. “Daddy and Mommy would never hurt you. You know that, right?”

“But he hit me in the face. I was asleep and he hit me in the face.” Bursting into uncontrollable sobs, Jason buries his face into his mother’s embrace. Feeling fear and shame beyond words, you get up from the bed. Rubbing your hands on the top of your head, you pace around the room.

“Fuck!” You slam your hand down on the top of the bookshelf, knocking the soccer-ball lamp and all of the books on the top shelf to the floor. “Just great.” You kneel down and start picking up the mess.

Jason’s words are muffled by Emily’s arms. “That’s another quarter for the swear jar, Daddy.” First a moment of quiet and then the three of you start laughing. It starts quietly and Jason looks from you to Emily and back again. When it lets loose, it’s breath-stealing, foot-stomping, rolling-around-on-the-bed, tension-relieving hysterics.

You sit on the floor as tears roll from your eyes. Eventually you catch enough breath to say, “How about a dollar for this one, big guy?” Which just starts Jason and Emily laughing all over again. You stand up and resume putting the books back on the shelf. You leave “1,001 Fairy Tales” for last just like Jason would.

When you finally put it on the shelf, it doesn’t hit the back and stop. It keeps going into the wall. Through the wall like it wasn’t there anymore. You pull the book back out and grab the soccer-ball lamp. Aiming it down closer, you try to take a better look. You see a dark crack where the back of the bookshelf should be. You turn to make sure Emily and Jason aren’t watching, and slowly reach your hand into the darkness. It feels moist and scratches your fingers like brittle branches on a dead tree after a cold snow thaw. It opens slightly, welcoming you inside. You feel it pulling you in deeper. Confused and frightened you’re screaming inside to stop and back away. Roaring to pull your hand back from the dark. Still, your hand slides deeper into the black. Farther than it should be able to. Your shoulder is pressed against the spines of the children’s books lining the top shelf. How can your hand still be moving further in? The branches dig deeper into your skin. Warm blood begins to flow down your forearm. Your panic finally takes hold and you are about to retract your hand when you feel it.



It’s cold and soft. It must be old, very old. You can feel the dust and something squishy like mold. You move your fingers a little to the side to get a good hold. There are no more brittle branches stabbing and scratching. You pull what looks like an ancient, dust-covered book off the shelf as if it were resting there next to “Goodnight Moon” the entire time. The blackened cover was probably expensive leather at one time. The faded string is still tied around the book keeping secrets locked inside. If you were to pull the knot out, the entire thing would disintegrate. You reach down for “1,001 Fairy Tales” to put it back on the shelf but it’s not on the floor. You look around for it and it’s already tucked away on the shelf exactly where Jason likes it.



Guest Post by Alex M. Kimmell:



The idea for my first book exploded out of a dream. As I wrote, that explosion dwindled to a fire. After a while the size of those flames shrunk to a warm glow. Red-orange and warm enough to keep me from freezing during the cold New England winter nights. Eventually the embers cooled to ash swept away by the slightest breeze.
My attention span shrank. A list of excuses stretched long before me. Much simpler to relax and choose the easily reached low hanging fruit than climb a ladder built of muscular jaws and sharp teeth to scale above imagination’s ferocious battleground between brain and keyboard. What began as a nightmare turned short story come novel fought me vowel and consonant for every paragraph to the purposefully ambiguous ending.
I never set out to be an author. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing. More specifically, I love having written. I don’t see any “Alex’s 25 Tips to be the World’s Greatest Writer of Word Thinginess” books on the horizon. I’ve read my share. There are some incredible sources of advice written on the subject of writing by people who know much more than I ever will.
The only thing I know about writing is that there really aren’t any sure fire guaranteed tricks on how to be successful. If you want to write a book, you have to Write A Book. Sit down every single day and use words to describe events, philosophies, nightmares, romances, etc. The story will not tell itself.
As difficult a birth my first book became, the second grew as an even more a problem child. Fits and starts. Tantrums and meltdowns. But every day, like it or not, I put my butt in the seat and wrote something. That something might not ever be seen by another human being, but I wrote. Have to get the bad out of the way for the good. And frankly, I am my own worst critic about what’s good or bad anyway. So what the hell do I know?
Now, I know, I’m a glutton for punishment.  I wear the visible scars from my first two knock down drag outs with the old keyboard. Bumps, bruises, scrapes and scars warp a thick layer of battle damage over my psyche. I’m almost two hundred pages in to the next book with three more stories warming up in the background of my twisty grey matter. What’s the attraction?
I love to create. I want to inspire someone the same way I was drawn to bookstores and record shops by my favorite artists. Knowing that someone on the other side of the planet has read my book blows my mind. I don’t claim to be anything more than I am. I enjoy writing. I have been fortunate enough to find a publisher willing to stand behind me and help get my work to the world. I am honored and buoyed by that confidence.
 
As for style, I enjoy ambiguity. I am inspired by mystery and misdirection. Unlike the diary in “the Key to everything”, I prefer things not tied up with a bow. Happy endings can be wonderful. Sad endings are too. More often than not, the endings that work best for me are those that don’t. Stories that leave off leading to more thinking and creation by the reader for the reader. Not everything is symbolic of something concrete and well defined. Sometimes a key is just a key.




Thursday, April 17, 2014

Should You Take Your Book On a Virtual Book Tour? Some Questions To Ask Yourself...

As you can see from my posts, I enjoy hosting virtual book tours. It's a way for me to discover new books and authors, and I enjoy my efforts in helping to promote reading as a whole. 

Virtual Book Tours are an excellent way for authors to promote their books, but I'm not sure that every author on tour is quite ready to do what's needed to promote it. 

I'll explain. 

I've hosted a lot of posts, but an author hardly ever comments. I wonder sometimes if they are even following their own book tour. I've even taken this one step further and checked out their social medias during the tours I'm hosting, and the MAJORITY of them never even share it.

That just blows my mind. How can an author expect readers to get excited over their book and tour when they aren't even excited over it themselves?

Many authors seem to have some kind of mistaken notion about virtual book tours. They think they can just sign up for one, and everyone else is going to sell their books for them. It doesn't work that way. 

For example, there was one author on tour, and I signed up to host her tour stop. She was a self-published author, and this was not her first book. 

I decided to click on through and check out her social media. There was no mention of the tour, at all. I clicked on her Amazon link, and her book was listed for $6.99 on kindle. She had no giveaway with her tour, and her blurb was minimal. If readers weren't turned off by the high price of her book, they would have been by the lack of info. I still have no idea of what her plot was.

The reason why this author sticks out in my mind is because of this. Recently, I was lurking on one of the writer's forums that I like to hang out at, and I saw that she was posting on there, knocking book tours. I really think she was on a mission to insult every book touring company out there, with her stories of how she got no sales and how it didn't benefit her at all, etc.

But she didn't tell the full story. 

She didn't tell the other authors how over-priced her book was, or how the book reviews she had were poor. She didn't tell the other authors how she didn't promote her own book, or how awful her blurb really was. According to the reviews I read, the writing was poorly-edited and didn't flow well. 

For an author that didn't know all this, they would have left that message forum believing that book tours are not beneficial, when in fact, they are almost essential for authors, especially self-published authors.

Even the top authors have book tours. I've hosted tours for all types. Publishing companies organize book tours because they realize they work. If a self-published author writes a book and doesn't promote, their sales are going to be small.

Lack of sales is not the fault of the bloggers or the virtual book touring company. Authors have to realize that their book sales are going to go off of their book blurb, pricing, and the book itself. So before taking your book on a virtual book tour, you need to ask yourself if you're prepared. Is your book priced right? Will you lower the price for the tour? Is your blurb interesting? Are you going to actively spread the word about your own tour? Are you going to be pleasant and thank the blogger that hosts you? 

If you can answer yes to those questions, you might be ready for a book tour. 

 

Belonging Places by Maryann Weston: Women's Fiction Spotlight and Giveaway

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/womens-fiction-book-tour-giveaway-belonging-places-by-maryann-weston-41614-43014/

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 4/16/14 - 4/30/14

Genres: Commercial Fiction, Women's Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Tour Promotional Price: List price: $1.99 [52% reduction] - Beginning 8am {PST}  16th April - 22 April ending 8am {PST}. 








Blurb:

Three women; three stories on life, lessons and love. Three journeys towards the belonging place; three journeys back to self.

Liliana Flint-Smith is starting out on her own. Leaving a dysfunctional family behind her and with nothing but a university degree in librarianship, Liliana moves to a remote village in the country. Different from everyone else in the town, she must find her place in a society that doesn’t take kindly to strangers. With the help of an old woman who lives in the flat next to her, Liliana begins to find herself and discovers it was never about her changing, but about learning to be herself.

Estelle Wainwright is successful. She’s burning up the career ladder and has just made editor at a national women’s magazine. Her husband Joel is also carving out his niche as an architect and, together with son Corey, is the picture of success. Or are they? Journey with Estelle as she fights the tension within herself: work and home, career and husband, businesswoman and woman, and navigates through a crisis that will test the decisions she has made about how she lives her life.

Jill Bridges is struggling to stay afloat. With the loss of her husband and her children busy with their own lives, she’s facing the prospect of a nursing home. But it’s her independence that makes her life worth living and she’ll be damned if she’ll bow to society’s plans for her. With a fierce will, Jill must find a way to triumph over old age and emerge into a life that still holds meaning.



Excerpt:


1 JOURNEYS
Liliana brushed her long, brown hair off her face and gazed dreamily out the window. Behind the thick pane of glass the countryside whirred by – green trees and order were giving way to the yellow straw colour of freshly harvested wheat crops. The sheep were already beginning to eat the stubble. Everything in the country was about use and reuse. Everything was valued, accounted for, and had a place. Unlike her.
It hadn’t taken much to get her to leave her home in Sydney. She hardly ever saw her mum anymore and the reality was they just didn’t connect. If they ever had, it was long, long ago, when Liliana was a child. She always liked to think her mum would have given her those giant cuddles and would have planted copious kisses on her baby cheeks…but she knew that probably wasn’t the truth.
Liliana did have one fond memory – the day she was beaten up at school. When she came home with her bloodied lip to show her mum what ‘they’ had done to her, her mum had responded with uncharacteristic tenderness. Sitting down so she was at eye level, she had held Liliana’s head between her hands and said: “Girl, don’t you ever let those bastards win. Alright? You fight back, you hear?” And then she had begun to sob in Liliana’s ear, deflated and defeated, the black circles under her eyes deepening to a purple colour before Liliana’s child eyes.
As Liliana grew up and didn’t need caring for as much, her mum came home less and less. It wasn’t unusual for her mum – everyone called her Mrs Smith – to do a runner with a man she’d met at the local pub. Eventually she stopped coming back at all when Liliana was 16. And that was a relief for Liliana.
Of course the neighbours in her rundown apartment block in Blacktown tried to help, but she invented an aunt, pretending to speak to her ‘aunt’ loudly at night; shutting them all out. With enough invention and cold shouldering they left her alone, probably reasoning that she was, after all, 16 years old and eligible to leave school and go to TAFE or get a job. Well that’s what Liliana did. She went to TAFE, but not to do a typing course like most girls in her school year; she went there to get her Higher School Certificate. With the help of a few caring teachers, Liliana finished school and enrolled in the University of Western Sydney. Of course it wasn’t as prestigious as getting accepted by Sydney University with a tremendously high score, but her pass enabled her to get into a Bachelor of Librarianship and she was very happy about that, because books were Liliana’s life.
For as long as she could remember, she had immersed herself in other people’s words, and worlds. The grimy, yellow walls of her flat, and the mildew growing on her bathroom ceiling, couldn’t contain her fiery imagination. She left her life far behind when she travelled with the characters that inhabited those pages. At first she learned all about England through the eyes of a 12 year old heroine who had magical powers and lots of friends. Bethany Flint became Liliana’s idol and she began styling her hair like Bethany – braiding the front so it didn’t hang limply around her oval face. Unbeknown to her, pulling her hair back away from her face showed her eyes – almond shaped and golden, and it was a distinct improvement on the Gothic look she had been cultivating. It was around that time she added ‘Flint’ to her name in a tribute to her heroine; the beautiful, rich and popular Bethany Flint.
She marked her ‘serious’ stage at around 14 years of age with an ode to Hemingway, reading copiously and learning about cosmopolitan Paris. She took on the same joie de vivre as Hemingway after that – at once distant and detached, and passionate and life affirming at the same time.
So, as Liliana Flint-Smith and with a world of books in her head, she had progressed through her three years at university, barely there in the back of the classroom but soaking up the lectures and the knowledge of her generous tutors. Although her reports always said she needed to find her voice, Liliana let the books do the talking for her. Between her books and letting everyone else speak, she really didn’t have to make much of an effort, seeing as all the people she knew – the characters in her books and the real people in the streets and at university –  loved to speak…a lot! It really didn’t much matter that she had little to say each day.

Buy Links:
Amazon 


About the Author:




Maryann Weston is a professional writer, training initially as a journalist and editor.
She has made it her mission to follow her dreams, including writing novels, and has combined her love of new challenges and new horizons with a vivid imagination and ability to tell a good story.
Maryann has a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) and is also a qualified teacher and counsellor, with a Graduate Diploma in Education and a Diploma of Community Services.
She currently works as a journalist, editor and public relations professional and is a mum to three boys. She lives with her family in rural NSW, Australia.
Maryann also writes action/adventure books for teenagers including Shadowscape and Dawn of the Shadowcasters. Both are available on Amazon under her pen name M.R. Weston.

Author Links:

Twitter, on Facebook at Imagine If – Maryann Weston Books , follow her blog or visit her website.


Giveaway:

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Benighted by A.M Dunnewin #Fantasy #Romance


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Title: The Benighted
Author: A.M Dunnewin
Genre: Fantasy Romance
The King was dead. His body was found slain in his room, only months after his son had been brutally murdered. Skylar Mandolyn, his daughter, has now become the last heir to the throne. But instead of becoming Queen, she was imprisoned for helping in the escape of Sir Harlin Brien, her knight who was framed for the King’s murder.

Confined to darkness, Skylar's captors have given her no choice but to yield to a new kind of enemy: a domain that has advanced in both technology and warfare. It's only when she refuses that the prison uses other means of persuasion. Though unmerciful, the whip lashings and isolation can't suppress her memories. She's forced to face again both her brother's death and her father's emotional decline, though even the darkness can't hide the deceptive hands that have tormented them all. Advisor turned adversary, Cross Lutherus has brought the ancient bloodline to its knees, and Skylar is the only Mandolyn left to feel his wrath.

With two kingdoms on the brink of war, and the end of her life drawing near, Skylar's only hope is in the person who haunts her the most – Harlin, the knight who was sworn to protect her. His presence surrounds her when the darkness screams louder than the prisoners, when Death smiles a faceless grin in between the cracks of the stone. And it's his strength she embraces just as the tremors start to rise from the deep, crawling up through the prison's walls to terrorize the benighted realm and all its souls.

The mystery was never how Harlin escaped. It is how he will return.

Author Bio


A. M. Dunnewin inherited her love for mysteries and thrillers from her family, which motivated her to pursue a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. Although her stories cover a wide range of genres, she primarily writes historical fiction and thrillers. An avid reader at heart, she's also a passionate collector of both antique books and graphic novels, and has been known to search for stories in the most random places. She lives in Sacramento, California.

Links

Book Excerpt

"Don't be disheartened, Princess," Kingston continued, pulling her attention back to him. "You're just another tool when it comes to the games of men."
Her hand tightened around the metal that wrapped around her knuckles, still hidden from view. "Is that what you think?" she growled.
"It's what we all know."
Skylar took one last look at his unmarked face before she backhanded him with her fist, the brass knuckle slicing across the side of his face. He screamed from the shock of the force, and from the pain that trailed along right behind it.
"How does that change feel?" she asked before using that same fist to punch the other side of his face, impacting his teeth through his cheek and smashing passed his nose. Taking a step back, Skylar surveyed Kingston's bleeding face and the wild fear that sparked in his eyes when he stared back, pain and panic-stricken.
"You cannot stop what has to come to pass!" he shouted, using the sound of his words to regain his confidence. He had begun to fall forward, his equilibrium working against him, until Harlin grabbed him by his collar and pulled him back.
"You're right," she falsely agreed, grabbing him by his jaw and bending close to his face. "If they ever let you speak again, let your comrades know that they will get change." She struck him with the brass knuckle before he could speak, making him wail.
"Let them know," she continued before striking his face again, "that killing my brother wrote their own deaths!" She rammed the metal hard into his face now, his screams choked out from the impact that was cracking his jaw bone. "I am the change they will forever regret!" Each following word rose higher in anger, and in between each word she struck him. "Because I. Will. NOT. YIELD!"
The guard was semi-conscious and bleeding by the time Skylar stepped back again and realized what she had done. She could almost see herself, fading into the rain that was pouring down around them, her hood long thrown off, steam rising from the burning adrenaline that had made her sweat. The grey-green world washed away down the prison walls, the cold stone surfacing just enough to be recognized. But despite the phenomenon, he was still there watching her. She gasped to say something to the hazy figure that was Harlin, still standing behind the guard, still keeping him upright.