Monday, May 30, 2016

Guest Blog: Bound by Carmen Fox

UFI welcomes Author Carmen Fox. Thanks for Joining us!!

Why I Write

I’m a writer who never intended to put her work out there. But what I publish, I believe in. I’m not saying I push the envelope, but I try new things. This is what gets me excited.

I know my way around urban fantasy, so I feel confident that Divide and Conquer was original in several respects. Two female protagonists. One main character dies. A danger that isn’t touchable or fightable. A prophecy that fails.
Divide and Conquer is perhaps not “ground-breaking,” but the story is unusual enough to stand out.

Guarded was my homage to urban fantasy, and the first book I ever completed. It features any paranormal species you can think of: vampires and werewolves, fae, demons and djinn. What tickled me about this book, in particular? My vampire isn’t a sullen Twilight character, but a charming, funny guy who’s more metrosexual than typical “alpha male.” The werewolf alpha is grumpy all right, as befitting the genre, but both the main character and her sidekick make fun of him for that. The vampire is NOT intended to be a love interest. The djinn don’t fulfill anyone’s wishes. And the main character isn’t a doe-eyed human, but a sexually charged (half) satyr, who must embrace who and what she is. And then I heaped so much mystery onto it, it takes an alert reader to keep up.

Bound is another departure for me personally, as I’m venturing into romance territory. It’s still an urban fantasy, light in tone and written only from a male POV (which was a new challenge for me) and delves deep into the funny, charming vampire from Guarded. Rather than being a proud specimen of his kind, he’s rather embarrassed about being a vampire and does his best to act and think like a werewolf. Then he falls in love with a werewolf (who hates vampires), and he’s forced to deal with his identity. This is highlighted by the return of the sire who made him. His sire, in turn, can’t stand werewolves. Oops.
I didn’t want another vampire versus werewolf story. I wanted a vampire as a werewolf story.

My next book, *insert title here*, is intended to offer a different reading experience to people who have read Guarded and Bound than to people who haven’t. Also, I’m introducing a new type of magic and will focus more on the djinn angle.

My point is this. I love it when readers get involved and feed me ideas. If I can accommodate them, I will. No problem. But I need books to offer me this “never done by me before” feel. That means that no two books of mine will be the same. Writing makes me feel like Christopher Columbus. Except I’m not just exploring new worlds but also new ideas, mixing genres in a way that no one’s thought of.

Come join me on my adventure.

Carmen lives in the south of England with her beloved tea maker and a stuffed sheep called Fergus. An avid reader since childhood, she caught the writing bug when her Nana asked her to write a story. She also has a law degree, studied physics for a few years, dabbled in marketing and human resources, and speaks native-level German and fluent Geek. Her preferred niches of geekdom are tabletop games, comics, sci-fi and fantasy.

She writes about smart women with sassitude, about pretty cool guys too, and will chase that plot twist, no matter how elusive.

Guarded (The Silverton Chronicles – Bk. 1) became a no. 1 bestseller in the vampire and werewolf mystery categories.

For details on this or Carmen's other work, visit her website at

Find Carmen and her books

The Silverton Chronicles #2
Amazon Smashwords iBooks BN

Bound by blood. Bound by loyalty. Bound by love.

Florian has it all: excellent fashion sense, a kickass job with his best friend, and a hard-won place among Silverton’s werewolves. When a pack of females pads into their territory, Flo’s alpha dispatches him to handle a merger. Total cakewalk. Except Keely, their alpha, has no intention of submitting her wolves to Flo's larger pack. Worse, a single glance from her baby blues sends his eloquence on vacation and his heartbeat into overdrive. His flirtations seem welcome too, but there's a snag. She doesn’t know he’s a vampire.

While Flo struggles with his conflicts—obey his alpha or win over Keely—his estranged sire blasts into town with a catalog of radical ideas. And hanging out with unsophisticated werewolves didn't make the list.

With violence in the air and all sides testing his loyalties, Florian must bite back, even if showing his fangs costs him the girl.

With the ceiling spinning above me, I spat out his taste. Even that took effort. My body was a mess of floppy appendages without the muscles to shift. But I’d done it. I’d pushed my sire out of my mind. Did that mean I was free of him now?
Gino shot to his feet. “Get up.”

He turned his back to me and stared through a gap in the curtains.

I tightened my jaw, scrambled up, and had to lean on the armchair. No strength. Lack of blood. Total head rush.

“You are not to see your friends again, is that understood?” The sharpness of his voice didn't ease the thudding in my head.

I hitched my shoulders to restart my suffering circulation.

“Ali?” I called with my mind.

He would give me strength.


Nothing. My knees trembled. The hollow Ali had carved out and filled with his bothersome emotions lay empty.

Memories of when we first met streamed into the void. We’d laughed, and we’d argued, and gotten piss-drunk at the local bar more than twice, but we’d always, always been like brothers inside that hollow.

I touched my pockets, felt my jacket for…for what? This was crazy.

He could be busy, or he simply hadn’t heard me.

“Ali? Where are you?”

“Florian.” Gino’s pitch tightened. “I need you to listen.”

I’d ejected Gino from my mind too late. Ali was gone. My sire’s remaking of me had snapped our link like a brittle twig.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week in Review: 5/22-5/28

Books Received for Review

Unraveled by Jennifer Estep

Books I've Read

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Shadow Rider by Christine Feehan
Anarchy by Jaymin Eve and Leia Stone
Unraveled by Jennifer Estep
Withering Rose by Kaitlyn Davis

Reviews Posted

The Queen's Dance by Jamie K. Schmidt


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

* Monday- Guest Blog + Giveaway for Demon Hunting with a Dixie Deb by Lexi George

* Wednesday- Interview for The Alchemists' Council by Cynthea Masson

* Thursday- Promo + Giveaway for Awakened by a Demoness by Felicity Heaton


* 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, May 27, 2016

Review: The Queen's Dance by Jamie K. Schmidt

The Queen's Dance
Release Date: October 14, 2016
Publisher: Entangled: Select Otherworld
ISBN:  1633756246
ISBN13: 9781633756243
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: NetGalley
Despite his handicaps outside his natural habitat, water dragon Remy “Champ” Champlain fights to protect Queen Margery from those who plot to quash her damaging news reports by silencing her...forever.

He can never have her, but he'll protect her with his life.

After newly shifted sky dragon Queen Margery is rescued from smugglers by water dragon Remy Champlain, she debates whether to flesh out the story that nearly got her killed or embrace her royalty and build a court of protectors and studs. Sparks fly between Remy and her. He’d love her to give up her job and settle down…hopefully with him…but he can’t fly and she can’t swim, so their relationship can never get off the ground.

THE QUEEN'S DANCE was a nice continuation of The Emerging Queens series.

We met both Remy and Margery in book two, THE QUEEN'S FLIGHT and get to dive into their story and romance with THE QUEEN'S DANCE. I enjoyed both of the characters and thought the story was smooth, well developed and held my attention until the end. Margery has a bit of a stubborn streak and it causes quite a bit of trouble between her and the dragon fellas.

Margery and Remy's romance is pretty decent. The dance around each other and their progression as a couple was pretty on par with the previous two installments of this series. There was a nice amount of action in THE QUEEN'S DANCE, but the other two books had a lot of action too.

So, I enjoyed THE QUEEN'S DANCE and had no big issues with it, but I wanted MORE from it. Some big BANG that would separate this book from the rest of the series. Maybe book four will bring me the bang I'm looking for.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars

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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Promo + Giveaway: Awakened by a Demoness by Felicity Heaton

Awakened by a Demoness Blog Barrage

Awakened by a Demoness, the tenth book in New York Times best-seller Felicity Heaton’s hot paranormal romance series, Eternal Mates, is now available in ebook and paperback. To celebrate the release of this awesome milestone in the series, she’s holding a FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY and sharing sneak peeks of the book.

Enter the Awakened by a Demoness international giveaway (ends June 5th) and be in with a shot of winning a $75, $50 or $25 gift certificate by using the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post or at her website, where you can also download a 4 chapter sample of the novel:

Here’s more about this forbidden romance between a powerful angel warrior and one very sassy wicked demoness, including an excerpt for you to sink those teeth into!

Awakened by a Demoness

Awakened by a Demoness (Eternal Mates Romance Series Book 10)

Asteria of the Second Legion of demons has messed up. Royally. With a capital everything. Certain that her dark lord is about to end her in the most painful way imaginable, she’s stunned when the fallen angel offers her an uncharacteristic shot at redemption—and determined not to fail him again. With her life on the line, she sets out on a mission that sounds easy but proves to be far from it when a hot slice of angelic eye candy comes storming into her life, stirring dangerous desires and tempting her more than any male before him.
Fifth Commander of the Echelon, the highest order of angels in Heaven and those responsible for hunting demons, he will allow nothing to stand in the way of fulfilling the mission he began close to a century ago so he can finally return to his home. On the verge of securing the half-breed he has been hunting, he can almost taste victory—until a sassy demoness struts into his life, awakening wicked needs and forbidden hungers that will test him to his limit.
When their mission brings them on a collision course, can they fight the fierce heat of the passion that blazes between them to claim a victory for their side or will it burn their resistance to ashes and set their hearts on fire with a love both forbidden and eternal?

Awakened by a Demoness is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Also available in paperback. Find the links to your preferred retailer at:

Awakened by a Demoness – Excerpt
Her escort stopped at a set of arched wooden double doors and bowed.
Asteria guessed this was it. The bloody end to her somewhat not glorious career as a demon. She was a damned idiot for failing to capture the people who had slaughtered Barafnir but how the hell was she meant to have known the demon arsehole had been one of the Devil’s favourites?
She reached for the solid gold knob on one door, pulled down another breath to steel herself, and took hold of it. It was warm to the touch. Nothing like the cold bastard waiting on the other side. She could feel him there, his power vibrating through her, calling to her.
She closed her eyes, twisted the knob and pushed the door open just as she lifted her chin and fixed her gaze straight ahead.
It landed on a male lounging in a huge black throne in the centre of an enormous blue-walled room, wearing only gold-edged obsidian armour on his lower half.
Heaven be damned, because it had made him breathtaking.
She knew he was a brute, seven feet tall and dark and deadly, but he was a beautiful bastard, and he knew it as he sat there on his throne, black hair falling around his broad shoulders and chiselled torso on show.
The air in the expansive open room vibrated with his power, making her blood hum and skin tingle.
His red eyes held hers, a bored edge to his handsome face, and he lazily lifted his right hand from the arm of his throne and crooked a clawed finger, beckoning her.
Asteria’s palms sweated. She should have dressed a little sexier, taken more time about her appearance. It ran through her gaining volume on each pass as she sauntered towards him, feeling his heat rolling over her, power curling around her, drowning out the part of her that had feared him and replacing it with something altogether more terrifying.
The corner of his profane mouth twitched into a smirk.
He knew he was affecting her, and while his mouth said that pleased him, the way his eyes darkened said it didn’t.
She straightened her spine, crushed her unruly feelings and boxed them away, and held her head high as she marched towards him, all business. Not weak. Not affected by just his damned gorgeous presence.
Her step faltered when she noticed a smouldering bloody stain on the white marble floor.
His last appointment?
By the Devil, she was going to die in the next few seconds, or worse, at a later date after he was done with her.
When she was within a few metres, he lowered his right leg from his left knee and set his foot on the floor. His hands came down over the edges of the arms of his black throne, curling around to press sharp black claws into the stone and causing his biceps to bulge.
Behind him, a sheer black curtain did a poor job of concealing the other half of the room and she tried not to look there but her eyes were drawn to the hazy glow of candles on the other side, her focus snagged by the low moans coming from that direction.
That heat curled around her again, pushed at her will but she pushed back, refusing to fall prey to it and the Devil’s dark allure. She wasn’t about to become like those females on the other side of the curtain who were probably writhing around on his bed, waiting impatiently for the male who was staring at her.
“Asteria of the Second Legion.” His deep voice rumbled around the room like thunder, charging the air and sending tremors of pleasure through her, and she had to squeeze her thighs to stop herself from collapsing into a puddle of goo at his feet. Heaven be doubly damned, it had built this male for sin. Thoughts of dirty hard sex popped into her head, illicit images that she did her best to shove away as soon as they burst into existence. “You disappointed me.”
Just like that, the spell over her shattered and cold fear replaced the wicked heat of desire.
This was it.
Her death knell.
No one disappointed the Prince of Darkness and lived to tell the tale.
Was it going to be the lava pit or his bed and then the lava pit if she survived?
Asteria was disappointed herself when part of her jumped right onto the second option, salivating for it despite what she knew of him. She gritted her teeth and bashed that stupid urge over the head until it was dead and she could focus again.
The Devil might be insanely handsome, darkly alluring, but she was still acutely aware of the things he did to his bedfellows, giving them more pain than pleasure, working his black magic on them so they stayed firmly under his spell and calm until he wanted to feel their fear and agony.
He spread his muscular thighs, giving her an epic view of his no doubt in proportion big codpiece, and stared at her, those striking red eyes glittering in the warm light from the chandelier above her. They burned into her, setting her aflame, and she fought the rising desire, the crazy part of her that had resurrected and was whispering that it wouldn’t be so bad to end up in his bed.
She shuddered but didn’t let him see it, afraid she would end up like the poor bitches writhing around on the other side of the sheer black curtain.
She would sooner be the puddle staining his shiny white marble floor.
He sighed and she braced herself.
“I expect you to make up for failing me.”
Asteria blinked. Had she heard that right? She stared at him, not daring to hope that she wasn’t about to meet a gruesome end. She must have heard him wrong, or maybe he meant for her to make it up to him by servicing his needs. She suppressed another shudder.
He raked blazing red eyes over her, from head to toe and back again, his irises slowly darkening and pupils stretching into thin slits in their centres.
“I am in a lenient mood, but do not expect me to spare you my wrath if you fail me again.”
Her heart fluttered and she quickly pressed her left hand to her breastplate and lowered her head. “Thank you, my most gracious master.”
He huffed. “Spare me your grovelling and listen well, Asteria of the Second Legion.”
She raised her head, found his eyes almost black as he scowled at her, menace rolling off him and triggering her instincts, the ones that told her to back away from the danger right in front of her.
She managed to convince her feet to stay planted to the floor, her hand to remain steady against her chest, and waited, part of her still sure that she was destined for his bed and a bloody death. How many of the demons she had foolishly become friends with had ended that way or like the puddle on the floor to her left?
Her dark master had a temper and a very short fuse, and that was the reason she had decided not to make any more friends, and the reason she had decided to guard her heart and keep her relationships to meaningless sex and one night stands. It was easier that way. It hadn’t taken her long to realise she had made the right decision after cutting herself off emotionally from everyone she knew. Life was better with no strings attached, free of the ties that bound people together in an endless cycle of pain and suffering.
The Devil rose onto his feet and looked down on her, towering at least ten inches taller than she was, so she had to tip her head back to hold his gaze.
Black feathered wings threaded with gold sprouted from his back and he spread them wide, the light around him stuttering and darkness sweeping outwards to replace it as he narrowed his eyes on her. The sense of power he emitted grew stronger, engulfing her, and she trembled as she waited for him to announce her sentence.
“Asteria of the Second Legion,” he said, deep voice shaking the ground and making her quiver as it vibrated through her, “I charge you with the task of hunting a half-breed. You will find her in the fae town near Fort William in Scotland. Capture her and bring her to me. Do not fail me in this.”
Asteria dropped her gaze to her boots, bowing her head, and closed her eyes. “I swear I will not fail you, my lord.”
Because he had given her a second chance, something she had never heard of him doing before, and she would be a fool not to take it.
Redemption wasn’t his style.
As far as she knew, he had never tried it since he had fallen from grace, Heaven’s greatest warrior one moment and the Devil the next. She knew all the stories of her ‘father’, the fallen angel who had birthed her species with his corrupted blood.
“Speak with your commander. He will give you all the information you need.”
She nodded and began backing away towards the doors, trying to move slowly when all she wanted to do was run as far from him as she could get before he changed his mind. Her heart slammed against her chest, a jackhammer intent on breaking free of her ribcage. She neared the doors.
“And Asteria?” he said, his voice a low purr that sent a hot shiver over her skin.
She raised her head, met his red eyes, and wished she hadn’t when they burned into her, dark with desire and intent.
“If you fail… your demise will be slow and painful.”
His wide mouth curved into a wicked smile and pleasure blasted through her, hunger so intense her knees wobbled. Behind him, the females in his bed moaned louder, desperate wild sounds that made her skin crawl even as the same noise wanted to leave her lips. His eyes narrowed, drifted over her, making her burn wherever they lingered, and the tip of his tongue swept over his lips as his gaze met hers again, jacking up the need in her blood as they issued a dark promise.
One he sealed with six innocent-sounding words that struck fear into her soul.
“I will make sure of it.”

Awakened by a Demoness is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Also available in paperback. 

Find all the links, a fantastic 4 chapter downloadable sample of the book, and also enter the giveaway and be in with a shot of winning a $75, $50 or $25 gift certificate at her website:

Books in the Eternal Mates paranormal romance series:
Felicity Heaton
About Felicity Heaton
Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Or try for another prize here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow The Tour
May 21
Book Loving Pixies
Reese's Reviews
Calling All Bookaholics
May 22
Sportochick's Musings
Jewels Book Blog Reviews
Feeling Fictional
I Smell Sheep
Book Reviews by Lynn
May 23
Warrior Woman Winmill
Live Laugh & Love Books
Booked & Loaded
SMexy and Fabulous
May 24
Yeya's Ramblings
Pure Textuality
Book Lovin' Mamas
Bitten by Romance
May 25
KT Book Reviews
Sunshine Reads
May 26
Angel's Guilty Pleasures
Urban Fantasy Investigations
Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama
May 27
Kimmie Sue's Book Review
The Reading Cafe
The Romance Cover
Barbara Book Blog
May 28
Share My Destiny
The Jeep Diva
Wicked Readings by Tawania
Reading Between the Wines Book Club
May 29
Ali - The Dragon Slayer
May 30
T&L Book Reviews
May 31
Becca Anne's Book Reviews
Bookworm Brandee
June 01
Totally Addicted to Reading
Books That Hook
Dani's Book Review Blog
June 02
daria's views on books
Book Briefs
Vampy and Racey
Novel Addiction
June 03
Erzabet's Enchantments
Kristina's Books & More
Sassy Book Lovers
June 04
The Recipe Fairy
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Nicole's Book Musings
Eskimo Princess Book Reviews
Books N Pearls
June 05
Book Nook Nuts
PNR Book Lover Reviews
On the Broomstick
A Fortress of Books

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Interview: The Alchemists' Council by Cynthea Masson

UFI welcomes Author Cynthea Masson. 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?

My writing desk is surrounded by paraphernalia from the Whedon Studies world—that is, from the community of scholars whose research and writing focus on the works of television creator Joss Whedon. One of these items is a Mr. Pointy Award (named for Buffy’s favourite stake), which was given to me by the Whedon Studies Association for “Best Essay in Whedon Studies for 2013.” For those interested in reading about puppets and Whedon’s Angel, here is the essay citation: “‘Break Out the Champagne, Pinocchio’: Angel and the Puppet Paradox.” Studies in Popular Culture 35.2 (2013): 43-67.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?
As an English professor with full-time teaching and research responsibilities, writing The Alchemists’ Council IS what I do during my “downtime” between semesters. Nonetheless, as pleasurable as writing can be, it still involves a lot of work. So during complete downtime, I enjoy playing games (especially those focused around Firefly), watching television (especially Game of Thrones and The Night Manager), walking along the seawall, and sharing margaritas and laughter with my friends.

What is your Favorite part of writing?
My favourite part of writing is the experience of synchronicity—when something I have written into one of my fictional dimensions ends up corresponding uncannily with something in the real world. For example, in The Alchemists’ Council, tears are associated with amber; I had no idea when I wrote of the amber/tear connection that it had already been made in classical mythology. Similarly, just yesterday I wrote about a sacred ritual in Book Two that features juniper incense. Upon looking up juniper incense afterward, I learned that it is indeed one of the most ancient and sacred forms of incense. These moments bring magic to the writing process.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?
Yes. Years ago I decided that, like the alchemists in the book, I should wear a pendant when working on a manuscript. Therefore, the first thing I do when I sit down to write is to remove my writing pendant from its silk pouch and hang it around my neck by its silver cord. I then spend a minute or so, pendant in hand, shifting my attention to the world of the book before I begin. You can find a short video featuring this pendant here:

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?
Though I enjoy reading fantasy novels when possible, my interest in urban fantasy comes from television rather than books. In particular, as you might suspect from my response to your first question, my favourite urban fantasy series of all time are Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Thus, I would name Joss Whedon and the writers who have worked with him over the years (such as Jane Espenson, Drew Goddard, Marti Noxon, Tim Minear, Steven S. DeKnight, Rebecca Rand Kirshner, Ben Edlund, and David Fury) as my favourite urban fantasy authors.

How would you pitch The Alchemists’ Council to someone who has not heard of it before?
As a new Initiate with the Alchemists’ Council, Jaden is trained to maintain the elemental balance of the world, while fending off interference by the malevolent Rebel Branch. Bees are disappearing from the pages of the ancient manuscripts in Council dimension and from the outside world, threatening its very existence. Jaden navigates alchemy’s complexities, but the more she learns, the more she begins to question Council practices. Erasure ― a procedure designed not only to remove individuals from Council dimension but also from the memories of other alchemists ― troubles Jaden, and she uses her ingenuity to remember one of the erased people. In doing so, she realizes the Rebel Branch might not be the enemy she was taught to fight against. Jaden is caught between her responsibility to the Council and her growing allegiance to the rebels, as the Council finds itself at the brink of war. She is faced with an ethical dilemma involving the free will of all humanity and must decide whether or not she can save the worlds.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that The Alchemists’ Council is set in?

The world of The Alchemists’ Council comprises three dimensions: 1) Council dimension, 2) Flaw dimension, and 3) the outside world.

COUNCIL DIMESNION: As described in the opening pages of the book, “Council dimension is made manifest, perfected, and maintained by the Lapis itself. This alchemically sustained dimension is primeval yet pristine. The grounds are vast and lush and tinged with blue mist at dawn, the gardens abundant with cerulean flora. The courtyard fountain flows with essence-laden waters of the deepest wells, trickling through copper channels amidst the stone buildings — from the main Council Chambers to the edge of the redwood forest. Murals, in ruby and emerald, in citrine and sapphire, as vivid today as a thousand years ago, span the walls of the ritual chambers. The Initiate classroom, with its rosewood desks and terracotta floor, elicits awe in even the most reluctant of students who cross its threshold. Classroom walls are shelved from floor to ceiling with alchemical vessels and powders and liquors and crystals ground finer than the most precious of salts, with parchments and pens and inks so potent that they can change the world in a single point bled from pen to parchment. Such inks, in the hands of the alchemists, manipulate all that is and all that will be” (xiii-xiv).

FLAW DIMENSION: As implied at the beginning of that excerpt, the Lapis (or Philosopher’s Stone) is the focal point of Council dimension. However, the Lapis is marred by the presence of a crack or crevice known as “The Flaw in the Stone.” The alchemists want to remove this flaw in order to achieve perfection. But this Flaw is, in fact, an entire other dimension, where rebel alchemists work to increase the Flaw in order to preserve free will for all people. The philosophy behind this concept is that free will is not possible without imperfection.

OUTSIDE WORLD: This dimension is our own world in contemporary times. Three cities are prominent: Santa Fe (USA), Vienna (Austria), and Qingdao (China). At various points, the characters are featured in these real-world settings because each city houses ancient alchemical manuscripts in a building known as “the protectorate library.” Vancouver (Canada) and Tabriz (Iran) are also featured briefly as locations where the two newest Initiates (Jaden and Arjan respectively) are initially contacted by the Council.

Do you have a favorite scene in The Alchemists’ Council?
Yes, I do: the final scene of Chapter Six (and, in particular, Chapter Six’s final paragraph) is one of my favourites. Going into more detail on this scene would involve a major spoiler. But I can say that the scene involves the connection between tears and amber mentioned earlier in this interview. When I originally wrote the scene, I teared up along with the characters. Recently, other people have told me they share my sentiments. Even my editor has confessed that this passage is her favourite in the book.

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

Given the number of characters in The Alchemists’ Council, choosing one favourite would be impossible. And none was easier or more difficult than any other. However, two of the most interesting characters for me to write about were Ilex and Melia. My concept for these characters relates to my academic work in medieval alchemy. In alchemical manuscripts, conjunction is a stage in the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone depicted as male and female conjoining into a body known as the alchemical hermaphrodite. Though many alchemists in Council dimension go through the process of conjunction as a sacrament, only one pair—Ilex and Melia—succeed at mutual conjunction. That is, they both exist equally—man and woman—within a single body. Though not physically present through most of Book One, Ilex and Melia play a major role in the overarching plot, which ends on a cliff hanger. The pair will be a primary focus of Book Two. If you would like to read some of my academic work on alchemy (including a piece focussed on the alchemical hermaphrodite), you can find a list of my articles here:

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?
Books Two and Three are scheduled to be published in 2018 and 2020 respectively. I am currently immersed in the writing of Book Two.

Cynthea Masson is a professor in the English department at Vancouver Island University. After completing a Ph.D. in English with a focus on medieval mysticism, she undertook a postdoctoral fellowship involving work with medieval alchemical manuscripts at the British Library. In addition to articles on mysticism and alchemy, many of her academic publications over the past decade have been in the area of television studies. She is a co-editor of the academic book Reading Joss Whedon (Syracuse University Press, 2014); her fiction includes The Elijah Tree (Rebel Satori, 2009). She lives in British Columbia.

Find Cynthea and her books

The Alchemists' Council
The first in a phenomenal new fantasy trilogy, where the power of words can change the fate of all dimensions

As a new Initiate with the Alchemists’ Council, Jaden is trained to maintain the elemental balance of the world, while fending off interference by the malevolent Rebel Branch. Bees are disappearing from the pages of the ancient manuscripts in Council dimension and from the outside world, threatening its very existence. Jaden navigates alchemy’s complexities, but the more she learns, the more she begins to question Council practices. Erasure — a procedure designed not only to remove individuals from Council dimension but also from the memories of other alchemists — troubles Jaden, and she uses her ingenuity to remember one of the erased people. In doing so, she realizes the Rebel Branch might not be the enemy she was taught to fight against.

Jaden is caught between her responsibility to the Council and her growing allegiance to the rebels, as the Council finds itself at the brink of war. She is faced with an ethical dilemma involving the free will of all humanity and must decide whether or not she can save the worlds.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Demon Hunting with a Dixie Deb by Lexi George

UFI welcomes Author Lexi George. Thanks for Joining us!!

A Radio Interlude With The Hannah Hag

This is Simon Spann, host of Supernatural Scoop on station BEHR, live from Hannah, Alabama. It’s the witching hour, and our special guest today is the Howling Hag of Catman Road, also known as the Hannah Hag. For those of you unfamiliar with the tale, the Hag and her  . . . er . . . bloody appetites have been the subject of urban legend in Behr County since the 1800s. Sitting beside her in my studio this morning, I can honestly say the survivor accounts of her monstrous appearance do not exaggerate. In my twenty-plus years as a paranormal investigator, she is the ugliest creature I have ever encountered.  Picture, if you will, a hideous old woman with scabrous skin, sharp, black teeth, and vicious claws. Truly frightening.

Thank you for being with us, Ms. Hag. (pauses) Addressing you as “hag” seems rude. Have you another name?

Hag: Of course I have another name, idjut, but I ain’t telling you. (Hag waves) Hel-lo—monster? There’s a price on my head. Hag will do.
Spann: Um . . . yes. Well, moving along. You requested a spot on our show. What brings you here?

Hag: I’m looking for a thief. There’s a reward in it for anyone who helps me catch her.

Spann: For our listeners, the Hag maintains she is the victim of a crime. Any chance you can tell us the name of the thief, Hag?

Hag: (snorts) Big on names, aintcha, sonny? The gal’s name is Sassy Peterson, and she stole my fairy juice. There’s ten thousand smackeroos in it for anyone with information on her.

Spann: Peterson . . . as in the Petersons, the richest family in Behr County?

Hag: That’s the one. A real perky little do-gooder, this chick. Rainbows and lollipops shooting out her—

Spann: (coughs) Yes, well, can you give our listeners a description of her?

Hag: Petite. Blonde hair. Pretty. A real tasty dish, if you take my meaning. Hangs around with a big, muscular guy named Grim. Easy on the eyes, that one, but dangerous as all get-out. Dalvahni, you know.

Spann: I’m not familiar with the Dalvahni. Are they a local family?

Hag: Hell, no, they ain’t local. They ain’t even from Earth. They’re demon hunters, dim bulb. Immortal, hardnosed and stubborn, and damned nasty when riled. If it weren’t for Grim, I’d have Fairy Puss in my clutches by now.

Spann: “Fairy Puss?”

Hag: A nickname for Sassy. She didn’t just steal my fairy juice. She drank it and got herself fairyfied, the impertinent little twit. (loud crash in the studio) Oops, sorry about the table, but thinking about it gets me steamed.

Spann: Did this Dalvahni fellow aid and abet Sassy Peterson in the theft?

Hag: What? No, but she’s got him wrapped him around her little thumb, all the same. The big oaf calls himself her bodyguard. Don’t that beat all? I mean, what business is it of his?

Spann: I take it this Grim fellow’s pugnacious character has complicated your plans to recover your property?

Hag: You can bet your boots it ain’t helped matters. Guards her like she’s a steak sandwich and he’s a starving man. But Grim Dalvahni won’t stop me from getting what’s mine. I had plans for that fairy juice. Big plans. You think I like going around looking like this and gobbling up little kids? (Hag gives a teary sniff) No, sir. I do not.

Spann: And it is your fervent hope that the medicinal properties of the fairy potion will change you for the better?

Hag: (chuckles) Sweetest little granny you ever seen, as long as I drink my fairy juice.

Spann: I see. Can’t you just get more juice?

Hag: Sure, sure, but it takes time to distill fairies, and I need it NOW.

Spann: I’m afraid I don’t understand. If Sassy drank your juice, how do you plan to get it back?

Hag: For reals? What is this, your first fairy tale? Think about it, slowpoke.

Spann: (gasps) That’s horrible. Surely, you don’t intend to—

Hag: I’m hungry. Whadda you got for eats in this joint?

Spann: I . . . I’m afraid we don’t allow food in the studio.

Hag. That so? You look nice and tender to me, a real treat. Come to mama, big boy.

(Piercing screams and static, followed by dead air.)

Lexi George writes snarky, Southern-fried paranormal romance for Kensington. Her debut novel, Demon Hunting in Dixie, was released in 2011, and a novella and two more demon hunter books followed. Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar, the third book in the series, was nominated for a RITA in 2014. The fourth book, Demon Hunting with a Dixie Deb, is due to be released May 24, 2016. Lexi enjoys reading and writing romance, but her first love is fantasy. A Meddle of Wizards is the story of Raine Stewart, a sheltered, sickly young woman who comes into her own when she’s transported to a magical world, discovers her burgeoning powers as an adept, and faces the evil wizard who killed her parents. Lexi’s day job as an appellate attorney requires reading transcripts filled with murder, mayhem, and worse. Perhaps this is why she enjoys stories filled with humor, action, adventure, and magical creatures. She has a violent aversion to sad movies, having been scarred by Old Yeller at the age of nine. She drinks tea, not coffee, and has never seen The Exorcist, because she is a world-class chicken. She is the third of four children, with all the attendant neuroses.

Find Lexi and her books

Demon Hunting with a Dixie Deb
Demon Hunting #4
Amazon iTunes Google Kobo Nook

 Deep South legends. Deep fried curses. Deep dish revenge . . .

This Debutante Is Having A Ball!

Way down south in the land of cotton, one belle's plans are soon forgotten--when Sassy Peterson drives her Maserati off the road to avoid a deer and lands smack-dab in the proverbial creek without a paddle. The Alabama heiress should have known something weird was going on when she saw the deer's ginormous fangs. Hello, Predator Bambi!

But nothing can prepare her for the leather-clad, muscle-bound, golden-eyed sex god who rescues her. Who wears leather in May? That's just the first of many questions Sassy has when her savior reveals he's a demon hunter named Grim. Also: Why would a troop of fairies want to give her magical powers and rainbow hair? Why would a style-challenged beast called the Howling Hag want to hunt her down?

Most importantly, what's a nice debutante like Sassy doing in a place like this anyway? Besides feeling Grim . . .

“Sugar,” Sassy murmured. She laid her head on Grim’s shoulder. “Fairies.”
With a drowsy sigh, she relaxed against him and went to sleep.
Grim stilled. A surge of lust hit him, hard and fierce. Sassy smelled delightful, a dizzying combination of summer roses and female. Curling tendrils of her hair lifted to caress his jaw, like flowers reaching for the sun.
I am her sword and shield. The vow rose unbidden in his mind. Here and now I vow to protect her, from anyone or anything that threatens her.
An admirable sentiment, I am sure, the Provider said, but hardly necessary. She leaves tomorrow, and you return to the hunt. That is good, is it not?
Yes, of course.
Then why the hollow ache in his chest?

Tour Wide

a Rafflecopter giveaway