Friday, July 20, 2018

Review: Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga (@LindseyDuga, @EntangledTeen)

Kiss of the Royal
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Publisher: Entangled Teen
ISBN:  1640631836
ISBN13: 9781640631830
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

In the war against the Forces of Darkness, the Royals are losing. Princess Ivy is determined to end this centuries-long conflict once and for all, so her new battle partner must succeed where the others failed. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword, enhanced by Ivy’s magic Kiss, should make them an unstoppable pair—but try convincing Zach of that.

Prince Zach has spent his life preparing for battle, but he would rather be branded a heretic than use his lips as nothing more than a way to transfer magic. A kiss is a symbol of love, and love is the most powerful weapon they have—but try convincing Ivy of that.

With the fate of their world on the line, the battlefield has become a testing ground, and only one of them can be right. Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan—but try convincing their hearts of that.

Going into KISS OF THE ROYAL I thought it was going to be a little cheesy, but wanted to give it a shot anyways. It started out a little iffy, but it didn't take me long to get into the story.

Princess Ivy was likable. I enjoyed being in her head as she battled her own thoughts and *gasp* feelings. Prince Zach was mysterious and a bit guarded at first. I didn't always know what he was thinking, but I quickly started to trust that he did everything with his whole heart. It was interesting to watch both Zach and Ivy navigate their situation with their different beliefs raging against each other.

Even though I enjoyed it, I was a tad bit disappointed when I finished reading KISS OF THE ROYAL. I would have loved to see some more depth involved in the big battle. There was a lot of lead-up to it, but I thought it went way too fast. On top of that, I kinda wanted to know more. I wanted to see the struggles that Ivy and Zach went through once the battle was over and before the end. I want to see what their future looks like, I want to see it all.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Melissa's Quest by Blair Drake (@BlairDrakeBooks)




Melissa's Quest
Finding Magic
Amazon
 Lost and bewildered after being unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, seventeen-year-old Melissa wants nothing more than to curl up with her pain. But then she’s summoned by the headmaster of Gray Cliffs Academy and finds herself on the roof in the middle of a wild and tumultuous storm. Before she realizes what is happening, a vicious wind sends her flying through the darkness and she lands in the frozen north. It is then she discovers the true meaning of feeling lost. Though full of mystery and magic, there is something sinister about this strange new world…

All Melissa wants is to return home, but first she must learn the rules of this strange new reality and how they will help her in her quest before it’s too late and she’s stuck in this place forever…
 Excerpt:

She stared at it for a long moment, then ran her fingers over the bright ring to see if it would change. Maybe a genie would appear to help her out, but nothing happened. It was pretty but useless. She glared around her and yelled, “Pretty doesn’t cut it, guys. What am I supposed to do with this thing?”
A voice whispered through her head, “You know what to do with it.”
She froze, her breath caught her in her throat. “Who said that?” She spun around, but no one was here. “Show yourself!”
Nothing happened.
“Don’t go crazy on me now, Melissa,” she said to herself. She bowed her head and struggled to get her thoughts together. The school taught meditation classes to help deal with the stress of exams and being away from their families—or the stress of going home to families.
She didn’t have much of a family life, but she didn’t let anyone know that. She never let anyone know how her quest for a happy home life bothered her. Since Luke moved on without her, she’d been more than lost...and more aloof. The two of them had been an item, and for her, he’d been the only one. Except she hadn’t heard from him since his graduation. It was horrible.
Every day she kept expecting to see him, expecting to hear from him.
And never did.
That abandonment had been complete, surgically quick, and without explanation. Even now she felt the loss whispering through her soul. If he was out there, would he know what happened to her? Would he care? So many things in her life she wished she could change. He was the one bright light that kept her going, and she had no idea what she did to make him cut her out of his life like that—to hate her so much.
Despite Luke’s silent departure, she loved being at the school—knowing she belonged to something special, that she made it into something so much more than she thought she deserved, that an exciting future was out there for her.
And none of that helped her right now. She sat with a thud. And pulled her knees to her chest, burrowing her face in her arms. She wouldn’t last much longer. Not in these temperatures.
Still, she was alive and that surprised her. This cold was brutal. She could still feel her fingers and her toes. As she pondered that, she wondered, as cold as she was… she wasn’t numb. Hypothermia hadn’t set in. She wasn’t dying… at least not yet.
Hearing a tiny scratching sound beside her, she leaned over and scooped away some of the snow. A small arctic mouse stared at her, its nose twitching as if figuring out what she was.
With a delighted gasp, she whispered, “Hey, little one. Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.”
In an odd movement, it stretched up, its huge eyes studying her.
She chuckled, afraid to move too fast and scare it off. As it was the only animal she’d seen, and it was alive, she welcomed his presence.
He wasn’t terrified of her and clambered over the snow to see her closer.
She lowered her hand to the side so he could sniff her. Her smile widened at the sight of his whiskers going crazy, but the mouse kept getting closer.
“Are you hungry?” she asked instinctively. Yet, she didn’t think she had any food in her pockets. She turned her pockets out, looking for something, but found nothing edible, not even a mouse-size snack.
Terrified of scaring the little one away, she continued to talk to him in a low, crooning voice. She’d never get this close to a mouse in her world. She was surprised to see this guy in such an inhospitable place as this. “How do you survive, buddy?”
The little she knew about mice said they burrowed under the snow all winter. With her luck, she’d sat on his tunnels and collapsed them.
The mouse stretched out a paw and placed it on her finger. She caught her breath and waited.
A second paw landed beside the first. She grinned when the mouse hopped up on her hand, totally unconcerned she might be a danger to him.
Too bad no one witnessed this. She was too scared to pull out her cell phone for a quick photo in case she disturbed the little guy.
“I’m going to call you Winter,” she whispered.
The mouse didn’t seem to mind. He sniffed her jacket, then wandered up her arm.
She stared, transfixed. For all the shittiness of her situation, this little guy was a light in her otherwise dark world.
Still, if the mouse was here, maybe someone else was here too. But, if she yelled right now, the mouse might take off.
She closed her eyes and whispered, “Anyone there?”
And got the shock of her life.
A voice inside her head said, “I’ve always been here.”
She struggled to recognize the voice. She thought the speaker was male, but the words were distorted and distant, so she couldn’t be sure. She kept an eye on the mouse sitting on her sleeve. He worked his way up to her shoulder, his nose and whiskers wrinkled at every step. She had to admit she wondered if the mouse had talked. “Who are you?”
“Somebody who loves you very much.” The voice spoke inside her head again.
Her mind struggled to identify the speaker who had no trouble making such a bald-faced lie. With the cold her thoughts were sluggish, her mind fogging up. Surely that voice was her imagination. No one cared about her—she wasn’t sure anyone ever had. “Can you get me out of here?” she asked hopefully. “Help me go home?”
Silence was her answer.
She frowned. “Is this a trick?”
The voice was sad, heavy. “No, it’s not a trick. I’m sorry to see you so distrusting.”
“How can I not be? Look where I am. I have no idea how this came to pass or who did this to me.” She shook her head, momentarily forgetting about the mouse. “Am I really here, in the middle of some kind of winter wonderland, all alone?”
“Yes.”
“I don’t even have a proper coat for this weather. Am I going to die here?” Melissa asked, wiping the tears burning the corners of her eyes. “Can’t you help me?”
“I’m not even supposed to be talking to you.”
“Why are you then?” she asked in frustration, more tears burning, clogging her throat. “It’s despicable to torture me like this.”
“I tried to talk to you many times, but a wall was always between us. Right now the wall is thin, like crepe paper,” the voice said in exasperation. “So I tried again. This time I got through.”
“Can you tell me who you are?”
The voice paused, then said in a low tone, “No, I can’t.”
“Then what can you tell me?” she asked, trying not to cry. But the wind and cold were stealing her spirit. Until she caught a movement out of the corner of her eye. The mouse had crawled up to her shoulder, where it settled down in the crook of her neck. She couldn’t see it tucked in there, but she could feel it. Her spirit warmed from the inside, along with her heart.
“I’m allowed to tell you that you have to get back on your own. Time is running out. A clock started ticking from the moment you landed. Your life force is also disappearing.”
Her head jerked up at that. “What do you mean, my life force? Like my health? Do I have a disease? Have I been shot or something? What are you talking about?”
“Your talisman.”
“Talisman? Is that what this is? I wondered. It’s my school pin but…different. Somehow it transformed on whatever weird trip I took to this place,” she said, slowly trying to figure this out. She stared at the talisman in her hand. “Is that what the ring of lights on the outside means?”
“Yes. When those run out, you will not have enough energy to get back again.”
“So it is possible to get back again?” Her mind locked on to the one thing she could handle.
“Yes, definitely. That’s what this is all about. You’re on a quest to learn what you can do, what talents you might have, but you have to start moving fast.”
Instantly, she scrambled to her feet, only to freeze at the startled squeak from her new friend. She reached up a hand to stroke the mouse gently, amazed it was still here with her. It was a least used to the terrain whereas she was starting to shake violently as the wind whipped her face and body. Hunched against the cold, and trying to move carefully, she took several steps forward. Her mind caught on two words. Quest? Talents? “I’m happy to move. Just tell me where to go.”
“I can’t.”
Frustrated and angry, and terrified she would lose the voice in her head, she rushed to say, “Can you tell me whether to go up or down?”
“I have to go now. I’ll try to contact you later.”
“Wait,” Melissa cried out, “Can you give me a hint? Something? I’ll freeze to death soon.” Even as the words leave her mouth, her teeth start to chatter.
Just as the voice disappeared from her mind, it let out a sigh and whispered, “Think of a portal.” And then the voice was gone.




__________________________________

Blair Drake believes in magic, especially the magic of stories with fantasy, adventures, romance, action, and surprises. She has loved writing and living in the stories of the Finding Magic series and is so excited to share the quests of the Gray Cliffs Academy students with her readers.

When she’s not writing about magic, she’s reading about it. Her influences are Cassandra Claire, Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, Garth Nix, and many more.

In the mortal plane, following the lure of magic has drawn Blair into strange and wonderful adventures from Australia to New York City, with many stops in between. She currently lives near Denver. Her very favorite spot is a red loveseat in her office, frequently shared with two cats, an outnumbered Dalmation, and occasionally her bewitched husband.

She might have gone to a school similar to Gray Cliffs Academy and would love to go through a magic portal. In the meantime, she’s creating her own in more books of magic.

Find Blair and her books
__________________________________
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Hyena's Queen by Ann Mayburn (@puretextuality, @AnnMayburn)



Hyena's Queen 
Synthia Rowley #1
Amazon
 My name is Synthia Rowley, and so far I really suck at saving the world.

I’m a latent shifter, a human that magically transformed into a hyena Queen. Crazy, right? You have no idea. When I turned twenty-five some magical chastity belt that had been completely blocking my sex drive snapped. One minute I was the ultimate shy science dork, the next I had curves that kill and a libido that won’t quit.

Good thing, ‘cause I’m supposed to have four husbands.

Yep, four. I’m destined to marry them all and they were all born to love me and only me. My own little harem. Here comes the really insane part. My husbands? The four men that I’ll be mated to for the rest of my life? They were born female and my pheromones will turn them into men. You heard me right, my hyena Queen pheromones will literally change my mates from women, into hulked out sexy studs. But if I don’t find and transform my mates, and soon, my world and everyone in it will be slaughtered by demons from a different dimension.

Good times.

Also Available On

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With over forty published books, ANN MAYBURN is Queen of the Castle to her husband and three sons in the mountains of West Virginia. In her past lives she’s been an Import Broker, a Communications Specialist, a US Navy Civilian Contractor, a Bartender/Waitress, and an actor at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. She also spent a summer touring with the Grateful Dead-though she will deny to her children that it ever happened.

From a young Ann has had a love affair with books would read everything she could get her hands on. As Ann grew older, and her hormones kicked in, she discovered bodice ripping Fabio-esque romance novels. They were great at first, but she soon grew tired of the endless stories with a big wonderful emotional buildup to really short and crappy sex. Never a big fan of purple prose, throbbing spears of fleshy pleasure and wet honey pots make her giggle, she sought out books that gave the sex scenes in the story just as much detail and plot as everything else-without using cringe worthy euphemisms. This led her to the wonderful world of Erotic Romance, and she’s never looked back.

Now Ann spends her days trying to tune out cartoons playing in the background to get into her ‘sexy space’ and has accepted that her Muse has a severe case of ADD.

Ann loves to talk with her fans, as long as they realize she’s weird, and that sarcasm doesn’t translate well via text.

Find Ann and her books
Newsletter  |  Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon
__________________________________
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To celebrate the release of HYENA’S QUEEN by Ann Mayburn, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon gift card!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR.  Giveaway ends 7/30/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Pure Textuality PR is responsible for the delivery of the prize(s). Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. 



Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: Secret Burdens by Suzanna J Linton ( @puretextuality @suzannalin )



Secret Burdens
Stories of Lorst #3


Secrets can heal — and destroy.
Jarrett failed everyone close to him.

In disgrace, he resigned his position as Captain of the Royal Guard and entered self-imposed exile in the Eastern Forests. As a common soldier, he fought the remainder of Marduk’s monsters.

A surprise summoning, though, brings Jarrett back to Bertrand. He finds Clara nearly bedridden from an assassination attempt. Tension between Lorst and Tier runs high. In need of someone she trusts, Clara appoints Jarrett Captain of the Seer’s Guard over his protests.

He searches for both her enemies and his sense of honor. However, his investigations threaten to expose secrets that could ruin them all and shake Lorst to the core.

Goodreads

Excerpt:


Dark clouds crowding the sky brought the sweet promise of rain. The wind, so common at this season, whipped through the narrow streets, adding a low howl to the rumble of horse-drawn carts and people going about their day. Jarrett pulled his wool cloak close more tightly around his shoulders as he rode Heartsblood into the city with Matthias at his side.
The new Captain of the Royal Guard came straight from the army and he rode his horse like a man used to sleeping in the saddle. From his friends’ letters, Jarrett knew Matthias to be competent, reliable, and with about as much imagination as a lump of coal.
What he didn’t know was how quiet the man was. Jarrett greeted Matthias that morning in the refectory before going to see Lady Clara and the man had been short on speech then. Now, on the way to see the Captain of the City Guard, what few words he possessed dried up completely.
“How do you like being Guard Captain?” Jarrett blurted.
Matthias blinked, as if Jarrett’s question pulled him from a reverie. “King Emmerich is a good man to work for.” He side-eyed Jarrett. “I only wish the King and her ladyship trusted me more. You’ll be taking on the search for her ladyship’s enemy?”
“I am. It’s not a matter of trust. Well. Not entirely.”
“The King granted her a guard for her own use. How else should I take it other than a sign of distrust?”
“There’s an entire Palace to guard. Keeping Clara out of trouble is an all-hands-on-deck position, trust me.”
“She’s an extension of the King’s power and, therefore, comes under my purview.”
Jarrett shook his head. “You have a lot to learn if you believe that.”
“What do you mean?”
“Lady Clara is only the Court Seer because she wants to be. If she considered it a good idea, she could—and would—ride off tonight on an insane quest to find the lost Amulet of the Child. Emmerich would grumble and tell her not to go but ultimately wish her good luck on her way out. She isn’t the extension of anyone’s power other than her own.” He felt a scowl tighten his lips. “And she forgets, sometimes, how her actions or words affect others.”
Matthias glanced over at him, the first bit of actual interest lighting his eyes. “That so?”
The back of Jarrett’s neck prickled and he felt certain Matthias planned to repeat what he said. “It’s nothing important.”
“If you’re having trouble with Lady Clara, perhaps I can help. I do have the King’s ear.”
Keep telling yourself that. “Thank you for the offer, Matthias. I’ll remember it. Anyway, once you start placing Lady Clara into a role that can be understood and predicted, you’ve lost.”
“I heard she made dresses for a time before leaving on her quest last year.”
Jarrett closed his eyes for a brief moment, willing more patience than he felt. I warn the man about Clara doing as she pleases and Matthias thinks of dressmaking? “Why do people still make a big deal about that?”
“It’s a common occupation. Embroidery or tapestry weaving would be more suitable for a woman of her station.”
“She came from a common origin, Matthias, and she cares little for what is or isn’t suitable.” He smirked. “She wore men’s clothing during part of her time in the mountains.”
Matthias stiffened in shock and Jarrett hid his grin. The more he imagined it, the more it seemed to him that trousers on women should be fashionable. Not only practical but it made it easier to appreciate their figures.
Realizing his thoughts were going places other than the task at hand, he pushed them aside. “Lady Clara told me you have a sketch of the brand found on the girls.”
“I gave it to Tarsus.”
“I see. Where do you think the slaves are coming from, Matthias?”
“I don’t know. Probably from the North. Slavery is still legal there, despite the King’s efforts.”
“He has an uphill climb. At the kingdom’s founding, in order to unite the Northern lords with the Southern, they signed an agreement clearly stating, among other qualifications, the Lord of Candor has the final say over slavery. And the Lord of Candor isn’t about to do something to anger the Northern lords. He depends on their trade and support.”
The City Guard headquarters and barracks came into view. Several guards, in their trademark black and yellow livery, loitered outside it, leaning against their pikes.
“What did you and Tarsus discuss, exactly?” Jarrett asked.
“We talked about how better to stop the flow of slaves into the city and possible sources. I felt it best to let him handle the investigation.”
“But slaves came to work in the Palace. That’s how it was discovered slaves were in the city in the first place.”
“Yes but hardly my fault. Or, I dare say, my problem.”
Jarrett rolled his eyes, wondering what Emmerich could possibly see in this man.
They found Captain Tarsus at his desk, going through papers. When Jarrett entered, the older man smiled and stood to clasp hands. Captain Tarsus, despite being mostly chained to a desk, was fighting trim. He came up to Jarrett’s chin and surveyed the world with cool, black eyes. Once, he and Jarrett had gotten into a wrestling match that left Jarrett limping for a day.
“How was the Eastern Forest?” Tarsus asked.
“Full of trees, dirt, and creatures that wanted to eat me,” replied Jarrett. “Matthias tells me he’s discussed the slavery problem with you.”
“Yes. My men asked their contacts but they haven’t learned anything. Since the girls were discovered, it’s possible the slave masters have moved on.”
“Do you know where the girls came from? Do they have Northern accents?”
“No, they were local.”
“Strange.” Jarrett crossed his arms.
“Maybe the slavers thought they would attract less attention.”
“But why send them to work in the Palace?”






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Suzanna J. Linton was born in Charleston, SC but grew up in rural Orangeburg County. At age eight, she tried to read The Secret Garden by herself. After following her mother around for a day, asking questions about the Yorkshire accent, she gave up, but that didn’t deter her in developing a deep appreciation for books and the worlds to which they open. A few years later, she wrote her first poem, which eventually led her to try writing fiction.

In 2002, she went to the summer program at the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, where she refined her poetry and wrote her first decent short story (before this, she mostly wrote novels along with her poetry). In 2003, Suzanna began attending Francis Marion University, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s in English.

Today, she continues to live in South Carolina with her husband and their menagerie of animals.
You can read more about Suzanna and her current projects at suzannalinton.com.

Find Suzanna and her books
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon
__________________________________
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 To celebrate the release of SECRET BURDENS by Suzanna J. Linton, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon gift card!
GIVEAWAY TERMS + CONDITIONS:  Open internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR.  Giveaway ends 7/27/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Pure Textuality PR is responsible for the delivery of the prize(s). Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!



Sunday, July 15, 2018

Week in Review: 7/8-7/14



Books Received for Review

City of Demons by Debbie Cassidy

Books I've Read

Box of Frogs by Helen Harper
Seventh Born by Monica Sanz
City of Demons by Debbie Cassidy

Reviews Posted

Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall

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* New Releases for the week. Was there anything you were looking forward to reading?

* Monday- Promo + Giveaway for Queen of Thorns and Roses by Connie Suttle ( @puretextuality, @SubtleDemon )

* Wednesday- Interview for His Earth Maiden by Michelle M. Pillow (@MichellePillow @ravenhappyhour)

* Thursday- Interview for Tangled Dreams by Cecilia Dominic (@RandomOenophile)

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* Did you know you can follow UFI on these other sites?

You can also add me (as in Stacy) to your friends on these sites if you're on them.
 

 * I love comments so if you see something you like (or not) please comment away and let me know.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Review: Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall (@DianneDuvall, @AuthorsTaproom)

Awaken the Darkness
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Publisher: Self-Published
ASIN:   B07CVCVFNR
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: Author

He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.

When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that—against all reason—she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn’t have to fix up the place. So she can’t explain why she bought it. She also can’t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.

AWAKEN THE DARKNESS wasn't my favorite book of the series, but it was still an enjoyable addition to the overall storyline.

AWAKEN THE DARKNESS felt more like a filler book than a book that continues the overall storyline. Most of the book takes place with Stanislav and Susan in isolation and getting to know eachother and in Stanislav's case, getting to know himself.

The romance didn't totally draw me in like the previous couples.  Don't get me wrong, Susan and Stanislav fit together nicely and have a strong physical connection, but It didn't feel totally believable with the amount of trust and dependency they put on each other so quickly. Now having said that, Stanislav doesn't know who he is for a good portion of the book, so some of the trust and dependency can be contributed to that. I still would have liked a deeper build up to everything.

I loved the action scenes, they fit with the rest of the series nicely. The storyline was nice and entertaining. There was danger and mystery involved. I loved how easily the rest of the Immortal Guardians reacted to both Stanislav's return and Susan's addition to his life. I would have loved to have the team more involved in the book, but Stanislav needed that time to tell his story.

I look forward to seeing what comes next for the Immortal Guardians we already know and to seeing who else joins their family next.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Interview: Tangled Dreams by Cecilia Dominic (@RandomOenophile)

UFI welcomes Author Cecilia Dominic. Thanks for Joining us!!

What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?

I had to think about this question, but then I realized I have a strange talent that only comes up occasionally. I have now twice been elected to positions I haven't run for.

The first time it happened, I was in college, and I got elected as treasurer of my sorority. I was a math major, so I guess they thought I'd be good with money, and I was a junior. There was some question as to whether I could take the position since I was still a pledge at the time. I'm all about experiential experiments, so I rushed late, as a junior, to see what being in a sorority would be like. The morning after the election happened, my sorority sisters were congratulating me, but they couldn't tell me what for until they knew I could accept the position. It was a bizarre feeling. I did end up being treasurer, and it went fine. Maybe it even partially prepared me for running my own business.

The second time I got elected without running was for treasurer of the Georgia Association of Sleep Professionals. I found out I'd won when I went to sleep grand rounds at Emory one Monday morning, and again, there was that weird experience of being congratulated and having no idea what for. Someone had nominated me and thought the organization would check with me before putting me on the ballot, but the organization thought the person who'd nominated me had asked. I declined that position – I didn't have time for the meetings at that point. Oh, and I ran unopposed, thank goodness. I would've felt bad for the losing contestant if there had been one.

One accidental elected position would have been a funny coincidence, but two? Stay tuned. I'll let you know if I end up with any surprise positions after the upcoming midterm elections.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

Since I have a day job as a sleep psychologist, writing fills most of my non-work time. Otherwise, I love to cook. It's my Zen happy place when I can focus on something outside of my head. I also love to eat, so it works out well.

Baking is my favorite type of cooking, but I live in a drafty old house, so using the oven in the summer makes the kitchen unbearably hot. I save my baking projects for when we're at my parents' house in the North Georgia Mountains, where using the oven doesn't heat up the place too badly. We're at the cabin this weekend, and I made biscuits this morning and two kinds of pie this evening, one peach and one tomato-eggplant. Everything tasted delicious.

What is your Favorite part of writing?

I love it when the story is clicking and ideas come to me without me having to chase them. Usually that's because I've gotten to know my characters, and the process feels less like writing than it does chronicling their experiences. I can't wait to get back to drafting when I'm in that flow, which usually happens about two thirds of the way into a story.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?

I prefer to write with some sort of beverage at hand, either coffee or tea in the morning or something more adult in the evening. Otherwise, since writing is my second job, I don't have time for an elaborate lead-in routine. I've had to get good at what I call "writing in the corners," or taking advantage of short stretches of time. I wish I could write at my day job office, but there's just too much chance of being interrupted and having to shift mental gears. But oddly I can do edits there.

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?

I love Darynda Jones. Her main character Charley makes me laugh out loud. Linsey Hall is also one of my go-to's. I've loved everything of hers I've read. The same goes for Debbie Herbert. She does it all so well – mermaids, shifters, and fairies. She's currently taken a detour into romantic suspense, and I hope she'll come back to the paranormal soon.

How would you pitch The Dream Weavers & Truth Seekers series to someone who has not heard of it before?

You know how your dreams seem so real and logical while you're having them, but then you wake up and think, "Where the heck did that come from?" This series explores possible reasons why. The inhabitants of the dream world, the Collective Unconscious (C.U.), are getting restless and keep trying to figure out how to make trouble in the waking world. Basically it's urban fantasy written by a sleep psychologist.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that The Dream Weavers & Truth Seekers series is set in?

The books take place partially in the waking world of modern-day Atlanta and partially in the Collective Unconscious, which is the world some humans can visit in their dreams. As I mentioned above, the inhabitants of the C.U. are getting bored since humans are getting less sleep, and therefore less REM (deep dream) sleep, so they're not visiting the C.U. as often. This world is so much fun to write in since pretty much anything is possible, and there are Greek gods and goddesses, bits of Arthurian legend, and all kinds of paranormal creatures. If it can live in the imagination, it can exist in the C.U.

Do you have a favorite scene in Tangled Dreams?

In one scene, the goddess Aphrodite has come through to the waking world and has been ignored by my hero Damien, who is more interested in my heroine Audrey. Aphrodite has her son Eros shoot Damien to punish him and Audrey. Poor Damien then annoys Audrey with his over-the-top devotion. It was a great modern twist on Aphrodite's legendary jealousy and so much fun to write since Damien loses some of his inhibitions, which of course comes back to haunt him later. Since I'm a psychologist, I loved playing with what would happen if someone's inhibitions came down and exploring how much of it was really them and how much came from Cupid's arrow.

Which one character out of all your books was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?

While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Edward from Eros Element, my current favorite is Morgan le Fay, who is the heroine of Web of Truth, the next Dream Weavers & Truth Seekers book. She enters the scene with a huge chip on her shoulder and a bunch of legitimate pain to back it up, and she's angsty but still strong and clever. I enjoyed getting to know her and telling her redemption story because I always felt the women in the King Arthur legend got shortchanged.

As for the hardest character to write, that may have been Gabriel, the hero of Blood's Shadow, the third book in my Lycanthropy Files series. He was tough because that series is in first person POV, so for that book, I had to stay in a guy's head for 300+ pages. As it turns out, writing guys convincingly involves more than mentioning boobs every so often, and I'm so grateful to my critique group for helping me out. Gabriel is also a series favorite, so there was a lot of pressure to get him and his story right.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?

Web of Truth will be out in October, and those who read Truth Seeker will get to see what happened to Philippe.

After that, I'll be putting out a new steampunk project in December that I can't say much about yet, but I'm excited about. Henry Davidson, who is an inspector who appeared in all of the Aether Psychics books and had a major role in the last one, is getting his own series.

Then there will hopefully be a new Lycanthropy Files book in early 2019.
 
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By day, clinical psychologist Cecilia Dominic helps people cure their insomnia. By night, this urban fantasy and steampunk author writes fiction that keeps her readers turning pages past bedtime. She prefers the term “versatile” to “conflicted” and has been published in short story and novel-length fiction. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with one husband and two cats.

Find Cecilia and her books
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Tangled Dreams
Dream Weavers and Truth Seekers #2
When the walls between reality and the dream world crumble, sleeping with the lights on won’t save anyone from their nightmares.

Restaurant reviewer Audrey Aurora Sonoma's life is like a steakhouse meal: utterly predictable, comfortable, and just exciting enough to satisfy her independent streak. But when odd characters from her dreams show up during daylight hours – were-bats and a vegetarian dragon, of all things! – the menu goes from familiar to fusion. When she learns the job she accepted in her dream is real, well... Who would have guessed the goddess Persephone exists? Finding her – and figuring out why the walls between reality and the Collective Unconscious are slipping – seem to be impossible tasks for a mere mortal.

Damien Lewis turned down promotions to keep his life orderly and predictable. He has enough challenge with real-life hassles like eating regular meals. And forget dating. But after encountering three naked, delirious Jane Does on consecutive nights, he suspects more than drugs are behind their appearances, and he soon becomes much more involved than he’d like.

As the walls between the Collective Unconscious and real world continue to erode, vampires, demons, and, of course, were-bats come through to prey on those who get in the way of the god who is masterminding it all with human help. Can Audrey and Damien face their biggest fears and work together to stop the waking world from being overrun by creatures that no human has dared to dream of? Or will their nightmares become real – and permanent – when the pathways open for good?


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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Interview: His Earth Maiden by Michelle M. Pillow (@MichellePillow @ravenhappyhour)

UFI welcomes Author Michelle M. Pillow. Thanks for Joining us!!

What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?

I hate purple onions. So much guacamole is ruined nowadays by purple onions.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

I love new adventures and try to keep an open mind to opportunities that might come up. My husband and I enjoy traveling, meeting new people and hearing their stories. We were able to work as extras on SyFy Channel’s Z Nation a couple years ago. Nothing says romance like hanging with zombies in a greenroom.

In another life I was a photographer, and I still enjoy picking up my camera when I get a chance.

What is your Favorite part of writing? 

World building. I love taking all my research, experiences, and imagination and making something out of it.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?

Not really. I can pretty much work anywhere. Not because I’ve wanted to over the years, but because I had to learn to—waiting rooms, parking lots, airports, hotels. I even fished a book in the passenger seat of a car while driving halfway across the country. It wasn’t a fun 10 hours for the driver. Lucky for me, he still married me.

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?

I always have to list Mandy M. Roth’s Immortal Ops series. I read the first one 15 years ago and loved it. We both published our first books together and have been besties almost from the start of our careers. I love getting sneak peeks from her Ops worlds, including the spin off series. It’s like a behind the scenes look each time she writes one.

Another great author in the genres include Kristen Painter, who I had the pleasure of working with on The Happily Everlasting Series project. Kristen has the Nocturne Falls series. Jana DeLeon was also on that project with Mandy and I. Gena Showalter just sent me the ARC of her upcoming, The Darkest Warrior. Yes, I’m bragging a little, LOL.

How would you pitch the Space Lords series to someone who has not heard of it before?

Cursed, lonely Space Pirates just trying to find their way in the universes and having a helluva good time doing it.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that the Space Lords series is set in? 


Space Lords series is a series installment in the sci-fi romance Qurilixen World collection.

The Qurilixen World is an extensive collection of science fiction and futuristic romance novels that started nearly 15 years ago with the original Dragon Lords series and has since grown into a massive collection with 34 books within 7 series installments and growing. Each book in each series is a standalone story.

The Space Lords are interconnected with the other series, as well as set in the same universe. It gets a little confusing, so I have several handy guides on my website to help new readers navigate, but really they can jump in anywhere.

Qurilixen World: https://michellepillow.com/dragonlords/

Qurilixen World Collection of Series:
Dragon Lords
Lords of the Var
Space Lords
Captured by a Dragon-shifter
Galaxy Alien Mail Order Brides
Dynasty Lords
Galaxy Mates (Reissues coming soon)
More Coming Soon!

Do you have a favorite scene in His Earth Maiden?

Yes, but saying too much will contain spoilers. So I’ll just say, the one where the person who was in the thing comes out of the thing and does some things.

Which one character out of all your books was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about? 

I was just recognized for writing over 100 published romances by Romance Writers of America, so picking favorites is hard. Reid from The Rogue Prince was a favorite…until it came time to write his story and he didn’t behave. Rick from Space Lords is a favorite…which I’m sure will change as soon as I write his book and I know he won’t behave.

Jiri from the Tribes of the Vampire series and the King of the Damned from the Realm Immortal series, both side characters who only show glimpses of being redeemed before they do something questionable again. They will probably never get their own books, at least not romances, but those baddies are so fun to write.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?

I love new challenges. I have several new projects and series coming up, including more in the Qurilixen World collection. As long as readers want them, I’ll keep writing them.

I’m very excited to have released book one in my new cozy mystery series, Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes. It’s book one in the (Un)Lucky Valley series.

Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes
(Un)Lucky Valley Book 1
Cozy Mystery Paranormal Romantic Comedy
June 26, 2018

Welcome to Lucky Valley where nothing is quite what it seems
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Lily Goode wasn't aware she had an inheritance waiting for her in the form of a huge Victorian house in Lucky Valley, Colorado. Life might finally be coming together for her. That is if you don't count the endless home repairs, dealing with eccentric Aunt Polly who claims they're both witches, and Nolan Dawson the handsome home inspector who seems to have it out for her, then, sure, life is grand. Oh, and not to mention the strange hallucinations and garden gnomes who are far more than lawn ornaments.

If mysterious accidents don't do her in, then the rebellious gnomes just might. With the help of Aunt Polly, it's up to Lily to discover who's sabotaging her new home and trying to drive the Goodes out of Lucky Valley once and for all.

https://michellepillow.com/book/better-haunts-garden-gnomes/
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NYT and USAT Bestselling Author Michelle M. Pillow is an award-winning romance writer with over 100 published books over the course of her nearly 15-year career. She is best known for her Quirlixen World including the series: Dragon Lords, Space Lords, Lords of the Var, Galaxy Alien Mail Order Brides, and more.

Michelle is always up for a new adventure or challenge, whether it's a paranormal investigation of an old Vaudeville Theatre or climbing Mayan temples in Belize. She was a refugee extra on SyFy's Z Nation.


Find Michelle and her books
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His Earth Maiden 
Space Lords #4
Amazon  Nook  Kobo  iBooks
Former elite Federation soldier, now turned space pirate, Jackson Burke has done his best to turn his life around—for the better. He isn't prepared when fate leaves a woman's safety totally in his hands. Since heroes don't leave a damsel in distress—and despite being outlaw pirates, the crew considers themselves the good guys—Jackson assumes responsibility for the beauty. It’s enough that his ship is held together by rust and sheer will, now he's got to keep this good guy thing straight and not give into the urges the sassy female brings out in him. Raisa is everything a man could want and for some reason she seems to like him, rough edges and all, but he's on the Federation's wanted list and they aren't known to back down.

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