Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Mariya Suzuki Collection (+Giveaway!)

Title: The Mariya Suzuki Collection 
Author: Various
Series: Mariya Suzuki 
Pages: Various
Date Published: 2015
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Let's Stalk Rex Jupiter by Allison Spector

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.

Druid zealots, conservative Christians, busking jugglers, hipster baristas—every group, subgroup, and underground subgroup finds a home in a little town known as the City of Subdued Excitement. And while life in the Evergreen Jungle usually means butting heads with a variety of vegans, hippies and ladies’ pinochle club-goers, there is one person that can bring them together: the most insufferable man in the Pacific Northwest. Using her sharpened wit, Spector invites readers into a world rife with scrumptious satire, slightly ruffled feathers, and utter madness.”

-Elise Portale, Editor

A Stalled Ox by Dean Moses

An isolated religious cult has reportedly been consuming meat while the rest of the planet has been forced to live a life without it. Presuming this sect has resorted to cannibalism, two agents from an organization known simply as The Agency are dispatched to investigate. Will they find evidence of humans eating one another? Or is something even stranger taking place?

In the tradition of Serling and Bradbury, A Stalled Ox is a gruesome, yet beautiful story that wraps a complex morality tale in an engaging and fast-paced horror story with a touch of espionage. Crafting a world where no one is truly innocent, Moses invites the reader to follow Agent Howard Harrington as he discovers what true evil is.”

-Shaunn Grulkowski, Editor

Beneath Blair Mountain by Shannon Barnsley

All her life, Lara Rae Brecken has dreamed of the fey folk exiled beneath the earth. But in Logan County, West Virginia everything belongs to the coal company and the only world below is the mine. So Lara and her childhood friend, Barrow, escape to New York. But between the World War, factory fires, and the unforgiving streets, Lara wonders if she’s traded one underworld for another. Spirited away to Boston by an Irish rebel, it seems her luck may have finally improved. That is, until she finds herself face to face with the fey folk one cold October night.

Lara Rae Brecken, a young woman raised on the Irish fey stories passed down by her ancestors, dreams of the magic that lives just outside her normal perceptions. In bringing together tales from the homeland and life in an industrial society, Barnsley creates a layered world where the line between the harshness of reality and mythological impossibility is blurred. Written in a tone that is subtly haunting, the novella urges us to imagine that things are not always as they appear.”

-Rebecca Johnson, Editor
~Why I Write~
By Shannon Barnsley, Beneath Blair Mountain

They say that young people always think they are invincible, that they know everything, that they’ll live forever. This idea always confused me, as I didn’t know any kids or teens like that. I certainly wasn’t one. Whether it was being raised on a love of mythology, history, and ancient cultures or the hereditary health problems in my family, I never had the luxury of feeling invincible or immortal. If there was a time before I was aware of the looming specter of mortality, be it for the individual or that of empires, of species, of worlds, I don’t remember it.

Children’s media was full of dead parents, relegated to old photographs and the memories of those that remained. Children’s media was also no stranger to genocided people like the Airbenders, destroyed planets like Krypton and Alderaan, or magic and magical races that have since vanished. My brother’s dinosaur books tried to bring to life creatures that hadn’t walked the earth for millions of years. My textbooks were full of societies long gone, whose occasional monument or epic poem had clung to someone’s memory or oral tradition or archaeological curiosity long enough for me to know their makers had ever existed. Nobody survives history, but a glimpse into the past, be it bone, stone, or words alone, can make it further than any one person.

When I was in the sixth grade, they told us that the Egyptian pharaohs may not have achieved the immortality they sought by embalming bodies that could be looted or lost, but their hieroglyphics gave them a far better shot. Yes, for a long time their words were unreadable, but eventually some other little remnant reawakened an entire age thought lost forever. My Language Arts teacher told us this is what writing was for. It’s the closest thing to living forever man will ever achieve.

So am I trying to live forever? Maybe. Maybe, like Poe, I’m just a frightened child running from death. But I’d prefer to think of myself as an archaeologist or a preservationist. I want to tell other people’s stories, though my own no doubt slips in in ways I don’t even realize. At least for me, history was best illuminated by story, whether preserved or recreated in historical fiction. I learned more about World War II from Number the Stars than any number of non-fiction readings. Those texts certainly helped provide context and background information, but a story has the power to really reach people and put them in the shoes of someone else from somewhere else or somewhen else in a way that nothing else does.

Though I’d always told or written stories, the year I really got down to the business of writing was in the fifth grade. Due to my military brat status, I was being homeschooled just outside of D.C. For the most part, my mom opted for experiential learning, having us go to the Smithsonian or the National Zoo and then asking us to write about what we saw or learned. This is where my stories came from. Whose comb was that laying in that exhibit? Whose coat? Whose doll? Whose bayonet? Whose water jug?

My writing method is no different today. Beneath Blair Mountain came from a chapter of history I had never heard about and stumbled onto totally by accident while researching a different story. It made me angry that I hadn’t known about it. So I wrote about it. Call it inspiration, call it a coping mechanism, call it petty scavenging if you must. But if I can illuminate any corner of our past or our shared human experience, then I will have lived a life I am proud of, whether it is remembered or not.
~Meet the Authors!~ 
Allison Spector, Dean Moses and Shannon Barnsley will be awarding a copy of each of the 3 books in the collection, with at least 2 being signed to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. This is a great giveaway. Nothing I love better than books, but signed is even better.

  2. Moving article, Shannon. Very nice.

    Thanks for hosting us, Andra!

  3. How did you come up with the names of the main characters?

    1. Hi, Mai. In A Stalled Ox, one of the main characters is named Howard Harrington. Howard was derived from the filmmaker Howard Hughes, and Harrington came from a character in the Twilight Zone’s episode, "And The Sky Was Opened.” Harrington is not Howard's original surname, however, in A Stalled Ox Howard is married and took his husband's name. Allison and Shannon, I would love to know how you came up with your names?

    2. Marian as in the librarian (or in this case, the book geek) Krause because I just pictured her husband being sorta Germanic. Rex Jupiter was just the most deliriously pompous name I could come up with so I ran with it. Penelope is the name of a puppy I fostered that was adorable and optimistic, but not particularly self-actualized (even for a puppy). :)

  4. Thank you for hosting, Andra. Wonderful post, Shannon.