Monday, October 17, 2016

REVIEW: Dare to Love a Spy (+$20 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Dare to Love a Spy
Author: Debra Elizabeth 
Series: Age of Innocence #3
Date Published: 2015
Format: Kindle
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!-only $0.99 during the tour! 

Miss Hannah Richardson is enjoying a Season in London. She's not looking for a husband, at least not this Season. She wants to enjoy herself before settling down to married life. All that changes, however, when she sees the Duke of Wetherby. He's tall, dark and impossibly handsome and someone Hannah wants to get to know better. 

Camden Darkin, the Duke of Wetherby, is not fond of attending soirees, dinners or balls, but his latest mission for the Crown demands he mingle with the ton. He has vowed not to marry because of his dangerous work and the constant bevy of beauties anxious mothers throw into his path is not tempting him in the least. That is, until he meets Hannah Richardson, a young woman unlike any other he's ever met. Can he learn to love or will his hardened heart rob him of the very thing he needs the most.

~My Thoughts~
Camden Darkin, the Duke of Weatherby, is an excellent male lead. Don't hate on me, but I do get tired of the same old same old when it comes to historical fiction. You have your handsome noble (fill in the blank with king, duke, viscount, etc.) and he falls for a spirited maiden. Or your scottish rogue, or your jovial've got the picture. While these adventures can be fun, there sure are a lot of them to be had and it's hard to find a truly original man among the dashing hordes. Yet Camden has an exiting job outside of his romantic dalliances with Hannah, and that really makes him stand out...although...being a spy that may not be what he was going for ;) 

I was less enthused about our leading lady. Miss Hannah Richardson was your typical young lady of good prospects and she never really surprised me. I kept waiting for her to have more of a personality or more of a spark...more...something. But although she was rather flatter than I like in my leading-ladies, she did offer a good foil for Camden and their interactions were more entertaining because of it. I enjoyed the play of words between them as the tender-hearted lady melted the cold, distant heart of the jaded gentleman, but because I liked Camden so much more than Hannah I never got to the point where I was outright rooting for them to get together. More like rooting for Camden to go out adventuring and find a prostitute or duchess or servant or something that could match his personality and fire. 

The plot moves forward at a roaring pace. Blink once and you've missed a crucial piece of information so be paying attention as you navigate from darkened rendezvous to glittering ballrooms to dangerous pubs and beyond. I loved the murder-mystery flair that seemed present and the deliciously tense undertone of the spy network. These points gave lots of flavor to the budding romance and caused lots of conflict well so we ended up with a really meaty story! I'd definitely give Debra Elizabeth's other books a try after this! 
~Try an Excerpt!~
Seventeen-year-old Hannah Richardson curtsied to her partner before leaving the dance floor. Her cheeks were flushed, and the ringlets of her rich brown hair that had escaped their pins lay wet against her neck. She made her way to the double doors leading to the balcony overlooking her aunt’s gardens and stepped through. She looked around to make sure there were no gentlemen in the vicinity so as to not compromise her reputation. She was hot from dancing and a few moments outside on the balcony couldn’t possibly cause a scandal. She inhaled deeply of the cool night air. Goosebumps rose on her arms from the chill, but she ignored them. She was happy to be out of the stuffy ballroom, if only for a moment or two. Aunt Mary’s gardens were one of her favorite places to visit, and she felt at home and comfortable here. It was her own private sanctuary, and she relished the beauty and peacefulness of the place. A few goose bumps were well worth it for such a sanctuary.

“It’s so lovely here,” she murmured as she stepped off the balcony and wandered down the path while breathing in the exotic smells of the gardens. Her aunt had hired the best and most experienced gardener in London, and no other gardens rivaled the Tisbury Gardens, especially with its many varieties of roses. Hannah bent over one of the more fragrant roses and breathed deeply. When she straightened, she thought she heard voices scattered on the breeze. She looked farther down the path, but the shadows were deep and no one was in sight.

“Who’s there?” she whispered. Perhaps it was a couple seeking privacy. She knew she shouldn’t go snooping, but the thought of seeing who was meeting in secret spurred her down the path.

She looked left and right, but there was no one around. She sighed. There would be no spying on illicit love tonight and it was time to return to the ballroom before her own reputation was compromised. Before she could take another step, an arm circled around her waist and a hand tightened around her throat as she was tugged back against a broad, hard chest.

“Oh!” she cried out in surprise as her heart hammered in fright. A cold, quiet terror unfurled in her chest. She had never been handled so roughly in her life. Who would dare do such a thing, and especially in her aunt’s gardens? What was the meaning of this?

“You must be careful not to walk alone at night, Miss Richardson,” a deep, husky voice whispered in her ear.

“What do you want? Unhand me at once,” she demanded, her rising indignation overtaking her original scare.

“To pass along a warning, that is all. Heed my advice,” he said, his hot breath on her neck sending unexpected shivers down her spine.

“How dare you put your hands upon my person?” she asked, trying to dislodge the arm around her waist.

In an instant, the pressure was gone, and she almost felt adrift with the mystery man gone. Hannah whirled around to confront the scoundrel who had accosted her, but there was no one there.
~Meet Debra!~ 

Debra Elizabeth is the romance pen name for fantasy author Debra L. Martin. She has been writing stories since her teens and decided to finally publish her romance stories under a pen name so as not to confuse her fantasy fans. She publishes epic and urban fantasy under her true name with her co-author and brother, David W. Small. A full list of all of her books can be found at her blog, Two Ends of the Pen.
 Debra will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Interview with Sara R. Turnquist, Author of The General's Wife

Title: The General's Wife
Author: Sara R. Turnquist
Series: N/A
Pages: 252
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Clean Reads
Format: Kindle
Genre: Historical Romance 
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

“Go home!” Ismene is speechless as she reads those words written in blood on the walls of her new home. The young, raven-haired Grecian beauty had traveled all the way from her homeland to marry the Pharaoh’s top general. But she never expected this. The hatred of the Alexandrian mob for their Greek rulers is right in front of her. It is the first of many threats she will receive.

Things are escalating out of control. Damaged crops and horses turned loose at night are one thing. But when Ismene receives a death threat, it becomes clear that there is a spy within her own household. She would turn to her husband to deal with this issue, except he left for battle by order of the Pharaoh. Not knowing whom to trust, she fears for her safety as well as the entire ruling class of Egypt.
~Interview with the Author!~
Sara has thankfully agreed to answer a few of our burning questions! Thanks for the interview Sara, it's fantastic getting a chance to get to know you a bit! Let's dive right in :) 

Can you describe your dream home?
Large living spaces; a separate playroom/den you can see from the kitchen; a breakfast nook and a dining room large enough for a good sized table; a large master suite with a soaker tub, separate water closet, big shower, separate walk in his and her closets; an air conditioned storage room; designated office space; large rooms for each kiddo
If we were to come to your house for a meal, what would you give us to eat?
Salad, my grandmother’s Italian Baked Chicken, homemade mashed potatoes (that I’m actually known for), sautéed asparagus, glazed carrots, and my mom’s peach cobbler for dessert…only the best for my guests ☺
Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.
The fan said that a particularly moving scene “brought her to tears” (in a good way). What more can an author want to hear?
Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?
The Czech Republic. Not only do I LOVE the Czech Republic and the Czech people, I am writing a series based on a series of religious civil wars that took place there.
Who designed the book cover for the book you are touring?
Cora Graphics has designed all of my book covers. She is amazing at what she does and is so easy to work with.
Thanks so much for stopping by and good luck on the rest of your tour!! 
~Try an Excerpt!~
Once they were alone, he gathered Ismene into his arms. “Love, are you truly all right?”

“I am.” She sighed, closing her eyes and just breathing in the scent of him. “Now.”

He kissed the top of her head and rubbed her back. When he closed his eyes he could still see the scene that he had come upon when he had found her on the balcony, and his blood ran hot. He forced his mind back to the present.

“I have a surprise for you.”


“I thought I might read to you.”

“Oh?” She pulled back to look into his face. “That is a pleasant surprise. I think, sir, that you have found my weakness.”

“I think you know mine too, milady.” He said, drawing her in for an intimate kiss.
~Meet Sara!~ 
Sara is originally from middle TN. After a short stint in Memphis, where she earned a degree in Biology and began a career as both a Zoo Educator and a Sleep Technician, she then followed a dream to work for a large zoo in Orlando, FL as an Educator. Once she and her husband started their family, they moved back to Tennessee. Sara and her husband now enjoy a full life with their three beautiful and very active children. Sara enjoys many creative outlets – singing, piano, drawing, drama, and organizing anything. And even though she has enjoyed her career as a Zoo Educator, Sara's great love of the written word continued to draw her to write. She has always been an avid reader and, for many years, has been what she terms a “closet writer”. Her travels and love of history have served to inspire her to write Historical Fiction. Sara has made several trips overseas to the Czech Republic. Her time among the Czech people and the landscapes of the country inspired her and greatly influenced her work on her debut novel, The Lady Bornekova, set in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. Sara is also a member of the ACFW.
 Sara will be awarding a Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

REVIEW: Time for A Highlander by Maxine Mansfield

Title: Time for a Highlander
Author: Maxine Mansfield
Series: N/A
Pages: 342
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press 
Format: Kindle
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Forty-five-year-old history teacher Bethany Anne Anderson wasn't supposed to die on her dream vacation to Scotland. Someone else was supposed to rescue the child from the falling druid stone. But she's perfectly fine with moving on to the hereafter. She has loved ones waiting for her. Then Tobias Morie, better known as Fate, steps in. Her intervention has changed the future. Before she can move on, she must first help him correct one of his own mistakes. That's fine until she wakes up in 1643 in the body of twenty-year-old Lady Elspeth Frasier. Worse, she's engaged to the very handsome, very young, very virile Quinton MacLeod. But that's not all Fate demands. She must give the Highland laird the heir he’d originally been denied.
Quinton MacLeod loved once. He won't do it again, even if he had time for such nonsense. With the Highland lairds divided between loyalty to their beloved country and the English king, he seeks only peace—in his keep and in his heart. But raised in England and a ward of the enemy, his beautiful new wife has strange notions of education and cleanliness that cause chaos within both. There's also the matter of her very unlady-like views on the marriage bed, which, come to think of it, he's more than happy to overlook. If only he could trust her.

~My Thoughts~
Outlander fans raise your hand. Okay put them down. Now jump up and down and yell because you've just found the next book you're going to absolutely adore, love, and probably spend a lot of time wondering why you can't be the main character, Bethanny Anne Anderson.

As outlander-esk as the synopsis makes it sound like, Time for a Highlander is like the irreverent second cousin of Outlander. You know, the one who cracks jokes and hits on the bride at her wedding. It's a hilarious erotic romance that will make you smile and laugh just as much as it will make you sigh with longing. And believe me, Quinton MacLeod will make you do just that. 

The plot was very cool and relatively unique as far as time traveling to the highland goes. Fate messed up big time and he is using Bethanny to fix what he did wrong. It was just enough added extra to distinguish this book, while still maintaining some mystery and intrigue. While the plot is fun and interesting, it's the characters that make this book sing to life. Aforementioned hulky highlander has just the right amount of broodish distrust to balance out Bethanny's spark and witty banter. 

Maxine Mansfield is a very talented romance writer. Her scenes are steamy, but not crass, and are absolutely something that can keep you up at night (or encourage you to jump your husband when he comes through the door!). If you haven't read one of her books before, Time for a Highlander is a great starting point and will probably endear her to you forever. 
~Try an Excerpt!~
Beth’s eyes flew open as warm hands gently shook her awake. “Elspeth, are ye or are ye nae still a maiden?” She stared up into the stormy blue eyes of Lard Quinton MacLeod and shook her head no, then nodded yes. “Which is it?” She cleared her throat. “I swear to you, m—my lord, Elspeth Frasier MacLeod’s body is still untouched by any man.” Quint smiled as he slowly brought his lips to hers. He chuckled. “Nae for long it isna.” The heat of his kiss as his lips captured hers burned Beth with a passion that seared her to the depths of her being. She was helpless, defenseless against the onslaught. She opened in surrender as his tongue slipped between her lips. It was heaven. “To begin with, yes, Bethany Ann Anderson’s body is dead, mashed flat as a pancake. Trust me, not a pretty sight. You, madam, have been given a new body. Well, really, it’s a very old body, as you are now in the past. Close to four hundred years in the past to be exact, in late March of Our Lord’s year 1643. You are presently at Frasier Castle on an island off the coast of Scotland, and you are now in the body of one Lady Elspeth Frasier who, after suffering a rather nasty fall and fatal bump to the head during dinner last night, no longer has need of it.” Beth paced back and forth before the fireplace. How exactly did one go about explaining the unexplainable? With her next pass, Quint pulled her onto his lap and nuzzled her ear. “It’s the middle of the night, my Beth. Ye said we need ta talk. If neither of us says anything, its nae talking, ye ken?” She blew out a breath and looked her husband straight in the eye. “I’m not who you think I am.” Quint chuckled. “Who are ye then? Ye look like my wife. Did the sidhe steal in through the window in the middle of the night and carry off my Beth? Are ye simply a pretty little boobrie they left in her place?”
~Meet Maxine!~ 

Hi, my name is Maxine Mansfield and I write fantasy, erotic romances. I live in the far northern state of Alaska where the summer days are long and the winter nights even longer.

I have one very special man, his three equally special children, and our six delightful grandchildren in my life. Not to mention a very bossy African Grey parrot named Gabriel.

Oh, and Gnomes! many, many gnomes.

Maxine will be awarding a $25Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Blog Tour! Pure of Heart by Auria Jourdain (+$15 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Pure of Heart
Author: Auria Jourdain
Series: N/A
Pages: 270
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Crimson Frost Books
Format: Kindle
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

A ghost child left to die in a French forest, Contesse Blanchefort seeks her long-buried past after her adoptive father dies at the Bastille. Embarking on a quest across England with a pagan woman and a rogue Gypsy, Contesse falls ill in London, and her companions are forced to seek help. With overwhelming compassion, physician’s apprentice Eric McEwan nurses Contesse back to health, but discovers that her exotic accent and pale features set his heart ablaze...her mere touch brands his soul. Passion blooms as the two discover their love for one another—with disastrous consequences.

Upon his expulsion from Cambridge, Eric must battle his domineering grandfather’s wrath. When family tragedy strikes, he must return to his provincial home and confront his abusive past. Carrying on with her quest, Contesse struggles to free herself from her childhood as sinister details are revealed. Without Eric, she’s lost. But love is strong...can they conquer their demons to find one another again?
~Try an Excerpt!~
Dumbfounded at this new information, Contesse shook her head. “I had no idea! All these years, and our country doctor couldn’t explain what was wrong with me…a child with skin and hair as pale as a—” A gasp escaped her lips, finally uncovering the epithet the old crone had called her. “She called me a ghost!”

“Who? Your mother?”

Folding her arms across her chest, she glanced away. “No. The old woman that haunts my dreams. She took care of me when I was a child…before Edouard found me. She was right…look at me!”

Eric pulled her close and forked his fingers through her hair from the roots to the ends. Trailing a light finger down her neck, he husked, “She’s daft, Contesse. You certainly feel real to me…pure and innocent, like an angel…”
Contesse inhaled sharply as desire surged through her veins. Waves of desire invaded her body with his mere touch. A flush of warmth crept up her cheeks, her womanly folds moistening in response to his husky voice. What’s he doing to me?

Entwining his fingers with hers, he searched her face. “Have you ever been kissed?”

She lowered her eyes, unable to face him lest she burst into tears. “Oui. Once. But he didn’t want me either.”
With a sympathetic shake of his head, he tipped her chin up and stared at her. “Then he’s a fool. God, but you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen...”
~Meet Auria!~ 
History buff, Francophile, and hopeless romantic that demands an HEA—it’s the perfect mixture for writing romance! With fond childhood memories of reading on quiet afternoons, I loved the "happily ever after" sweet teen romances, but I quickly plunged into the world of historical romance—my get-away-from-real-life transporter. Add in a degree in Political Studies with six years of French, and twenty years later, I’m living my dream. With three published novels, 7 finished, and several more in my head, I have years of work ahead of me!
 Auria will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Let's Stalk Rex Jupiter (+Giveaway!)

Title: Let's Stalk Rex Jupiter
Author: Allison Specter
Series: NA
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: 1888
Format: Paperback
Genre: Humor
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours

Trouble’s brewing in the Evergreen Jungle. When controversial author Rex Jupiter plans a visit to a Bellingham bookstore, news of his arrival attracts the attention of the mysterious Paladin, who plans on leading a mob of rioting housewives against him. But the Paladin has competition. Sleuth-extraordinaire Marian Krause has her own bone to pick with Jupiter as she scrambles to solve the death of a woman who has stolen her identity. Rex may think he has the situation under control, but when the wrath of the local Druids is incurred, pitchforks and torches may be the least of his concerns.
~Character Interview with Rex Jupiter~
The infamous author known only by his alias, Rex Jupiter, has announced that he is breaking his decade of anonymity, and will be appearing at Hometown Books in Bellingham, WA.  Rex Jupiter has been described as a “troll’s troll” with inflammatory titles designed to systematically confound and infuriate as many people as possible.  His undifferentiated lambasting of humanity has earned him a loyal following from a surprisingly broad swath of readers.  
This fictional interview takes place at the beginning of Let’s Stalk Rex Jupiter, shortly after Rex has revealed his intention to go public.
Thank you for letting us interview you today.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Oh, sweet, sweet wonderful Unabridged Andra’s.  Thank you for enabling me.
Don’t you mean interviewing you?
Interviewing!  Yes, that’s the word.  Thank you for finding it for me.  I’d be lost without you.
Have I mentioned today how much I love being interrogated by a stern, lady-womanist-writer type? It reminds me how magnanimously progressive I am to lower myself to this interview.  Oh so debasing!
No, just…no.  I’m not going to tolerate misogyny in any form, even if it’s ironic.
What’s an irony?
Pff, you’re no fun.  But okay.  You’re the boss…
As I was saying, I’m so pleased that you have decided to interview little ole me, and have agreed to allow me to use this forum to advocate for a cause we both believe in—
Yes.  Universal literac—
Man-on-badger love!  From the moment I laid eyes on your website, I knew that in my heart of that you too felt the sweaty Call of the Badger!
Badgers?  I don’t think…
Oh, don’t be shy, my bloggy turtledove.  It’s a very important modern issue that I think isn’t portrayed with enough sensitivity in the mainstream media.  But you—you understand what it is to be loved by an angry, misunderstood mammal that just wants to burrow into the earth to avoid deep emotional turmoil.
So, is this your way of telling me that you don’t want to share anything about yourself?
Clever girl (by which I mean you’re a charmingly bloodthirsty velociraptor so I’m totally not being sexist)!  Yes, I’m afraid that my true identity will only be revealed during my grand appearance at Hometown Books in Bellingham.

This will be your first in-person appearance.  Why Bellingham, and why now?

Well, first of all, Bellinghamsters are so adorable.  I just want to see their little vegan faces go all technicolor with indignation when I preach my totally reasonable pro-dart-gun-zombie-fetishist-badger-loving-hobbit-wrestling-one-percenter agenda.
Also. I’m a shameless pragmatist. I’m looking for a stunt to get an even higher proportion of the delicious attention I didn’t get as a child.  But between you and me—I might have a secondary motivation.  A secret agenda, shall we say.
Think about it.  All the most obnoxious sweaty-faced men of this nation are saying horrible things all the time.  I say horrible things all the time.  There’s no market differentiation.
Sure I get royalties, but incognito I can’t really sell myself can I?  And I thought to myself, man, I’m in the wrong business if I really need to hide behind a pen-name.  I could be doing so much more with my life.  I could be president!
So are you saying you’re going to make a bid for the presidency?
Oh, I didn’t say that did I?  Oopsie doodle.  But no, I’m not going to run for president.
Or am I?

Your work has been called controversial, even offensive.  What are your thoughts on that?


Care to elaborate?
If I did, you’d end the interview.  And I did promise my publicist I’d be on my best behavior.
You’ve systematically alienated Christians, all known ethnic groups, women, vegans, soccer moms, liberals, conservatives, Green Party, libertarians, Unitarians, druids, and amateur uke players. Who would you consider the target audience for your work?
Um… self hating members of all those groups you just mentioned?  Duh!  Cause, man, there’s nothing like a self-hating libertarian soccer mom to get your motor running in the…right, no misogyny.
Okay—how about this. My target audience are people who are willing to laugh at themselves.  By which I mean real American flagellant patriot occupiers— with laser eyes.
That’s my target audience, baby!

Right…. Do you have any safety concerns?

You mean because the Coalition for Families and Values is planning a protest?  Nah! I think most people need a good old-fashioned straw man to scream at and shake their fists at a little.  I’m glad to serve that purpose, but I seriously doubt that anyone takes me so seriously that they’re going to want to physically attack me.  Maybe there will be some name calling and egg tossing, but I think if people weren’t willing to laugh at themselves a little, my books wouldn’t be so popular.  So if you are a crazy nut-job and you plan on going berserk on me or my fans during my unveiling, um, don’t do that, bro.  Trust me, I’m not worth it.

I know your real identity is a closely guarded secret but can you gives us any hints about the man behind the books?

I thought I just did.

What is some advice you’d give to a fledgling author?

The world is an amazing, diverse, and beautiful place waiting to be defiled with your terrible, terrible words. Be disgusting and horrible and people will shower you with attention. Push envelopes, piss people off, keep it real.   Oh, and if you want my mentorship, be sure to send naked pictures to the following PO Box—

Yeah…thanks for interviewing with us today. Any final thoughts?

Well, first off I never thought I’d be interview by someone in a metal bikini before, so that was titillating beyond belief.  I’m a married man, but that was just sexy good fun.  What?  Oh, c’mon, I was just playing!
Blah, blah, blah. Believe in yourself.  If you work hard and do what you love, you’ll be the most popular hobo on your block.  Don’t stick your tongue to frozen flagpoles or glory holes.  Watch out for the Vegan Mafia.  Keep it real!

~Try an Excerpt!~
The Paladin knew just where to go. The Shipment had arrived an hour beforehand if his Intelligence was to be trusted. It could be. His Sources never failed him. He was sure the payload would be kept in the stockroom before it was added into the inventory. And he was correct.

The Paladin grabbed a box cutter from the pocket of his cape. It was hard to see in the dark and the eyeholes of his Guy Fawkes mask were too small, but these were mere trifles. Soon, dozens of the Heretic’s novels of Shameful Smarm would be loaded into his bag and artfully recycled in a socially responsible manner. No longer would readers be burned by the white-hot radioactivity of the inflammatory passages he knew lurked within those covers.

Passages housed within chapter titles like "How to Fan a Flame War," “White Privilege Rocks!," and “I Objectified Your Mama (and She Loved it).”

Whether the appropriations of the tools of troll-dom were ironic or non-ironic, it mattered little to the Paladin. The only thing that mattered was that he would soon be the agent through which a great Cultural Transformation would take place. And a glorious new age would dawn…

Or something like that.

But for now, he would start small. Yes, for now, he would have to be satisfied that the five hideous cardboard cut-outs of the arrogant, smirking Rex Jupiter would be hacked to—no, wait! Only four would be shredded. On the fifth, he would draw devil horns and a twirly moustache with, dare he imagine it, Permanent Marker.
~Meet Allison!~ 
Allison Spector was born and raised in the hedonistic playground of the Jersey Shore, but finds herself oddly allergic to spray tan. She is a proud graduate of Goucher College, and started her environmentally-focused career in Washington DC in 2005. She moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2008, and fell in love with its beauty and people. Allison is currently on a Midwestern Adventure and is determined to live as much life as possible—to accomplish her dreams one at a time—and to nurture her loving family, and blaze a trail of wit, whimsy, and eccentricity wherever she goes.
 Allison will be awarding an original copy of the book, with notes and diagrams, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Mapkeeper Blog Tour! (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Mapkeeper and the Rise of the Wardens
Author: Katie Cash 
Series: N/A
Pages: 352
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: N/A
Format: Kindle
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours

A teenage girl in future North America discovers that she is heir to a magical map which transports her to another world called Praxis, where her position as Mapkeeper is held in high regard. She is expected to learn to use the map’s magic to help the creatures of Praxis defend their homeland against the dark magic of the Wardens, a group of ancient beings whose magic is stirring again after centuries of peace.
~Try an Excerpt!~
The walk to school was gorgeous and still. The gentlest snowfall drifted from the gray sky, dusting last night’s snowfall with a fresh final layer of fluff. The padding of snow muffled the sounds of the small town coming to life.

To Lucy’s surprise, there was a large crowd of townspeople gathered around Frostbite High when it came into sight. They spilled into the parking lot, cramming themselves against one another, trying to get a view of someone or something at the center of the outdoor courtyard. Lucy’s curiosity was piqued—nothing interesting ever happened at Frostbite.

“What’s going on?” Luke asked.

“I don’t know… I don’t remember any of the teachers saying there would be an event on Monday,” Mack replied.

The Barnes siblings quickened their pace. The low murmur of excited voices emanated from the crowd. People pointed toward the center of the courtyard and stood on tip-toes to get a better view. An inexplicable apprehension formed somewhere deep within Lucy’s stomach.

The siblings weaved through several parked snow mobiles and reached the edge of the crowd in the parking lot. They shouldered their way in until they had a clear view of the courtyard. There was a group of people seated in high-backed chairs on stage, but Lucy couldn’t make out their faces.

“Who are they?” Mack asked a man who was squeezed up against him.

“It’s Mr. Quincy and his staff!” the gray-bearded man muttered. “He’s supposed to make some special announcement, just for us here in Aglid.” The man’s eyes darkened with mistrust.
~Meet Katie!~
Katie Cash was born in 1989 in Canberra, Australia. Her parents' jobs took Katie and her five brothers to many different places growing up before they settled in San Diego, CA.

Following high school, Katie accepted an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, and in 2011 graduated with honors, earning a bachelor’s of science degree in oceanography. At the Naval Academy, she was a member of the Division One cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track teams. She served as captain of the cross country team her senior year.

Upon graduating, she reported to her first duty station aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) in San Diego, where she led 78 Sailors in Engineering Department. Follow-on assignments included USS Essex (LHD-2) where she was the Assistant Training Officer and USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) where she led 72 Sailors in Operations Department. She then transitioned to the Navy Meteorology community and began her next assignment working in Navy Special Warfare.

Katie began writing the Mapkeeper series in 2013, but completed the bulk of draft one in 2014 while out to sea aboard USS Carl Vinson. She finished book one in mid-2015 and is currently embroiled in the process of writing book two of the series.

Katie's short stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Time to Thrive, and The Log Magazine.
 Katie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Blood's Force Blog Tour! (+$20 Amazon GC giveaway!)

Title: Blood's Force 
Author: Ellis Morning 
Series: Sword and Starship #1
Pages: 340
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Ellis Morning 
Format: Kindle
Genre: Fantasy 
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Dame Jessamine is a knight errant with a spaceship for a steed, a pupil of ancient science and technology who quests on behalf of the downtrodden. She’s accustomed to forging her own path through the galaxy—until she’s hijacked at sword-point and sent to investigate Nidaros, a remote barony known for bursts of rebellion.

In Nidaros, Jessamine finds a populace short on food and patience, innocents detained for torture, and a court trapped in a web of delusion. The Baron considers her a distraction. The magicians, convinced of a “curse,” dismiss her pleas for rational action. Even as Jessamine forges an alliance with the soldiers, an unknown foe seeks to frame her as an agitator.

Stuck amid murderous intrigue and cut off from her mentors, Jessamine must figure out how to save Nidaros from starvation. But the only people who understand the true “curse” have been accused of witchcraft—and if Jessamine’s not careful with her ancient knowledge, she’ll join them in the dungeon!

Hi everyone, thanks for having me here and checking out my book today! I thought I’d share a little information on heraldry, which plays an important role in the world of Blood’s Force.

Historically, one of heraldry's first functions was to identify combatants whose faces would otherwise be hidden by armor. However, coats of arms have also been used by cities and people, royal and otherwise, for identification purposes. Wherever literacy is rare, colors and symbols become critical for conveying information at a glance.

The galaxy of Blood’s Force was once united under a single ruler known as Hegemon Zander, but those days are long over. It now more closely resembles feudal Europe: fractured into dozens of domains, each governed by a Lord with his or her own color and seal. The Lord and everyone in his service, from his personal messenger to the soldiers on backwater planets he’s never been to, wears those colors.

Meanwhile, Dame Jessamine and other knights errant, unaffiliated with any Lord, wear grays and browns to reflect that fact. But they have their own symbols, called sigils, for identifying themselves and their property. For instance, Jessamine uses a symbol that originated with the ancient Shipbuilders. It used to show up in diagrams concerning electronics, and was called the variable resistor:

Jessamine has this symbol tattooed on her wrist. It also shows up on her sword’s pommel, and on the side of her ship’s hull.

Do you have a personal symbol you identify with? Does your family have its own coat of arms? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
~Try an Excerpt!~
Adrenaline allowed me to ignore pain and push myself up to my knees. Whatever was going on, I had to reach my feet, take measures to defend myself. They’d left me with my weapons, after all. I’d also take stock of my surroundings. Maybe there was still some way out.

My confines remained plunged in darkness. Straining my ears brought me no closer to abandoning the heavy silence. I retrieved my stick lighter from my pocket; the tiny bead of light revealed dungeon floor and nothing else. No immediate danger, at least. I resolved to scout the room, or cell, more likely.

Something flashed in my peripherals: the glow of lantern light, newly revealed by a door sliding open about ten feet away. Soon after, a burgundy-robed arm lobbed a hand-sized ceramic pot with a lit fuse into the cell.


Without another thought, I threw myself in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, the cell’s dimensions were stingy. I hit a wall well before I wanted to.

A boom like thunder rattled my eardrums. Tongues of fire splattered around my feet. Turning, I found knee-high flames covering the floor behind me, surviving on the fuel from the grenade. Some version of Greek fire, it looked like. Radiant heat seared my exposed skin, while a thick smoke stung my eyes and clawed at my throat.

Forget questioning or detaining. Someone was trying to kill me. Either fire or smoke would finish the job in minutes. Ironically, my pockets held plenty of fire-making implements and things to burn, but nothing for smothering flames. Escape was my only hope. I knew of only one option: the door on the other side of the room, the one the grenade had been launched from.
~Meet Ellis!~

For the next twenty years, she wrote with varying degrees of seriousness, but always as a hobby. In that time, she fell in love with Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, the original Star Trek series, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Science fiction became her favorite domain to work in, but she also enjoyed reading fantasy, horror, Western, and detective stories, and incorporating their elements into her work. One of her favorite things to do was make people laugh.

Ellis denied being a writer for decades. But then she sold articles to The Daily WTF, and a short story to Analog Science Fiction and Fact. After quitting her full-time job to finish her first novel, it was time to own up to writing as her calling. She's currently an editor at The Daily WTF, and having the time of her life penning novels and short stories.

 Ellis will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.