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Friday, 30 September 2016

RELEASE BLITZ, EXCERPT, & #GIVEAWAY - Pretty Wicked by Kelly Charron

Book & Author Details:

Pretty Wicked
by Kelly Charron
Publication date: September 30th 2016
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult


Synopsis:

The daughter of a local police detective, fifteen-year-old Ryann has spent most of her life studying how to pull off the most gruesome murders her small Colorado town has ever seen.

But killing is only part of it. Ryann enjoys being the reason the cops are frenzied. The one who makes the neighbors lock their doors and windows on a hot summer’s day. The one everyone fears but no one suspects.

Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price.

Written in a mature YA voice. Some graphic content.

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The body was small. Female. Bloody.

It was just after one in the morning on Monday, the twenty-eighth of May, and Sergeant Roberto Estevez could see it, illuminated by his cruiser’s head- lights, just beyond the yellow police tape. A swarm of uniformed officers and two CSIs handled plastic evidence bags. Having been tied up on another case, he’d arrived about an hour after everyone else.
His shirt and pants stuck to him. The thick humidity left an uncomfortable, greasy layer on his skin. As he got out of his car, he pulled his dress shirt away from his chest and stomach, trying to look
presentable and not like the soaking mess he was. While his colleagues searched the area, taking photographs to log into evidence later, he knelt
Three hours later beside the body. With fourteen years on the job and eight at the Dungrave County Police Office, he’d seen his fair share. He’d hoped to never see this.
A pool of darkened blood seeped into the surrounding pavement, highlighted slightly by the distant streetlamp. Her body was slumped on her right side, her face obscured by a mess of hair. He could tell by her size and clothes—shiny sneakers and light pink shirt—that she couldn’t have been more than eleven or twelve years old.
“Estimated time of death?” Estevez asked Warren, the medical examiner.
“Little over three hours ago, around ten.”
“What the hell was a kid doing out here at night on her own? Especially in a darkened back alley?” the sergeant asked, wiping his brow with the back of his hand. He motioned to Warren for a pair of medical gloves and yanked them on. He hated the way the powder coated his skin. He hated wearing the gloves in the first place. They made his hands sweat. He knelt and traced one finger along the side of her face, moving a chunk of blonde, blood-soaked hair out of her eyes. Estevez’s body tensed.
She was only a baby.
Nausea fluttered in his stomach at the sight of the body—the sandwich and coffee his wife had made him take for the drive over wasn’t sitting well.
He shook his head, trying to compose himself. “ID of any kind?”
Warren continued to inspect her body. “Nada.”
“There wouldn’t likely be any,” a woman said. “She’s too young, unless you see something like a student ID or name sewn into her clothes somewhere.”
Estevez didn’t need to look up to know who it was. “Hi, Amelia.”
“It’s Detective Marcus,” she said in a flat tone.
He smiled. “My apologies. Good evening, Detective Marcus. Do you have anything on this kid, like who she is or where her parents are?” He gazed up at her shadowed silhouette.
She stepped forward. Her black hair was pulled tightly back in its customary bun. Minimal makeup, except for dark-rimmed eyes. “That guy over there, he’s a neighbor, said she lives over on Chesterfield. Knows the family. He was taking a shortcut through the alley when he spotted her just after midnight.”
Estevez exhaled and stood in a swift movement. “Shit. Has anyone notified the family yet?”
“Ikonov was just about to head over. The parents called her in missing around 11:30 p.m. The victim matches their description,” Marcus said.
“Ikonov is as gentle as a bag of hammers. I’ll do it.” Estevez returned his attention to the ME. “Cause of death?”
Warren pulled off his gloves at the wrist and balled them up, shoving them into the pocket of his white medical jacket. “Multiple blows to the head with a blunt object. I’ll need the autopsy for definitive answers.” He pointed to the ground about five feet from the girl. “I’m guessing that’s your murder weapon, seeing that it’s covered in blood and there’s a small piece of red clay in the wound.”
Estevez bent to take a better look at the blood-covered brick.
With approximately thirty thousand people in Dungrave County, Colorado, Estevez had thought coming to work here from Chicago would quiet things down. It was a sleepy town that revolved around high school football and sitting on the front porch with your neighbors and a couple of beers. It was what drew him here. The last thing he needed was a child killer on the loose. He shuddered. He had three kids; he wanted to believe they were safe here. He’d thought they were. There had only been three murders in Dungrave over the past ten years. But they were drug related.
This...this was malicious. Evil.
He took in the surrounding area. Tall wooden fences lined the alley, bordering the backyards of homes and a few stores. Garbage cans and dumpsters had been placed along the fences for early morning pick-up. The smell was overwhelming on a muggy summer night. Like rotting meat and produce mixed with a healthy dose of dirty diaper.
“We’re going to flip her now,” Warren called out.
Estevez turned his attention back to his friend and forced himself to watch while Warren’s assistant, Frank, grabbed her legs. Warren placed his hands around the girl’s shoulders and together they straightened her slumped body, laying her on her back.
The girl’s eyes were open. A vacant, staring blue that made a shiver run the length of Estevez’s spine. Blood splattered her cheek and forehead.
“There looks to be at least a dozen blows to the side of her head.” Warren took the silver spectacles off his nose. “The blows escalated in violence. This was a brutal attack.”
The officer who had been taking the pictures came and snapped a few more, now that she was face up.
“Whoever did this was not much taller than the vic, actually. You can tell by the angle of the wounds. I’ll know more when I get her on the table. Strange though...the killer used a brick, probably from that pile over there.”
Estevez knew where he was going with this. “You’re thinking crime of passion or opportunity? Not preplanned obviously.”
Warren pursed his lips. “I’m glad I don’t have your job.”
Estevez backed up to make room for the body bag, which was laid open beside her. Warren’s words repeated in his head: not much taller than the vic. Did that mean they were similar in age? Not many adults hovered around five feet.
Warren ran a hand over the girl’s colorless face, closing her eyes, before he and Frank lifted her down into the black, nylon bag. She could have been asleep. But she wasn’t. He watched as the zipper closed, starting at her legs until it covered her head. A breath caught in Estevez’s chest, and he thought of all the other murder cases he’d worked on in Chicago. Somehow this one seemed more tragic. More vicious.
“Up.” Warren and Frank carefully lifted the now-full bag onto a gurney and into the back of the body removal van.
The poor thing would have to undergo an autopsy. As if she hadn’t been butchered enough.
The immediate scene was cleared now, except for Estevez and Detective Marcus. He crouched down one more time to study the pool of blood.
A hand rested on his shoulder. “You okay?” Amelia asked.
“Not really. You?”
“Are we ever?”
“Nope.”
“Come on, I’ll go with you to the house for ques-
tioning. It’s not something to do alone if you can help it.”
He nodded, about to stand, when something caught his eye. There was a small, slender object near the dark pool. Taking his pen out, he hooked the item on one end and pulled it closer to get a better look.
Amelia crouched next to him. “What’s that?” “Not sure.”
“Hey, wait. I know what that is. It’s a friendship bracelet.”
His eyebrows lifted. “A what?”
She smiled. “Little girls make bracelets out of beads or colored string and give them to one another as a symbol of friendship.”
Estevez had his phone out by now and took a few photos of the item. “Really? She must have been wearing it at the time of the attack.”
“But it’s still knotted at the ends. It’s too tiny to have fallen off, even in a struggle.” Amelia grabbed the pen, the string bracelet dangling off the end. “We should bag it. Got any—”
Before she could finish her question, Estevez had a small evidence bag open. She dropped it inside and he closed it.
“So how would it have come off our victim?” he asked.
Amelia bit her lip and shrugged. “Maybe the girl took it off before the attack.”
What kind of killer, he wondered, would choose such a trophy?
“Or maybe our killer was going to take a memento—”
“Then thought better of it?” “Exactly.”

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Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL) - ends 6th October


$50 Amazon Gift Card


Kelly Charron is the author of YA and adult horror, psychological thrillers and urban fantasy novels. All with gritty, murderous inclinations and some moderate amounts of humor. She spends far too much time consuming true crime television (and chocolate) while trying to decide if yes, it was the husband, with the wrench, in the library. She lives with her husband and cat, Moo Moo, in Vancouver, British Columbia. 




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Thursday, 29 September 2016

RELEASE BLITZ, EXCERPT & #GIVEAWAY - Meeting the Unpredictable by Riann C. Miller






Title: Meeting the Unpredictable
Author: Riann C. Miller
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 29, 2016

Blurb

What happens when opposites attract?

Tyler has spent the last six years constructing his perfectly boring life, which is exactly the way he wants it. He spends his days hiding behind the protective walls he has so carefully built and has no intentions of changing . . . until he meets the unpredictable.

Lennie Jacobs is an intoxicating mess. She never stays anywhere long enough to form a solid relationship with anyone, including her family, because she has taught her fragile heart that love isn’t an option.

What started as a way to pass the time soon blossoms into something neither expected.

He was never meant to be permanent.

She can’t promise forever.

But, when life and love are on the line, everything changes.




Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK





Excerpt

“Why do you do this?”

“Do what?”

I roll my eyes and gesture to the dog she’s walking.

She looks down at the dog then back at me. “How could I not is the better question. Being locked up in the same small space day in and day out . . . I know that seems like a normal day to you, but to most people, it’s enough to drive them crazy.”

My step falters when I hear her answer. No one outside of Chad calls me out on how little I leave our apartment. Even Chad is starting to give up.

“These dogs are more than likely going to die, anyway.” Lennie turns a sharp stare my direction. “The reason these dogs won’t get adopted is because everyone wants the cute, shiny puppy. Most people won’t stop to notice that these dogs have a lot to offer the world. People just need to open their eyes and take a chance.”

I’ve apparently ignited a fire.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you. My parents aren’t animal lovers so we never had a pet.”

Lennie tilts her head to the side. “Tyler, have you ever felt unconditional love?”

Her question causes my head to spin. I was in love once, only life didn’t work out how I pictured. The only thing I know for a fact is she didn’t unconditionally love me.

“Sure, my parents love me unconditionally,” I finally answer.

“What if you disagreed with them? If you told them you were gay or that you robbed a bank? That you killed someone? Would their love still be unconditional?”

I look her in the eyes, and I can tell she’s seriously questioning my answer. “I don’t know. I’d like to think they would.”

Her face softens. “Humans come with strings. They always have and they always will, but the love you get from an animal is truly unconditional.”









Author Bio




Riann C. Miller lives in southeast Kansas and writes steamy contemporary romance stories. When she’s not reading or writing, she spends time with her friends and family or you might catch her watching a baseball game with a beer in her hand.




Author Links


BLURB BLITZ & #GIVEAWAY - Resthaven by Erik Therme

GENRE

YA suspense

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

The last thing Kaylee wants to do is participate in a childish scavenger hunt—especially inside the abandoned retirement home on the edge of town. When she finds a bruised, deaf boy hiding inside one of the rooms, she vows to lead him to safety . . . only to discover the front doors are now padlocked, and her friends are nowhere to be found. Kaylee is about to learn that not everything that goes ‘bump in the night’ is imaginary, and sometimes there are worse things to fear than ghosts.

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The room door banged open, and I jumped to my feet as Wren stumbled inside with one hand clutched around her wrist. Her face was white as chalk, and I grabbed her arm as she lowered herself to the floor with a cry.

“It hurts, Kaylee,” she said, her voice almost a moan. “It hurts so bad . . .”

“What happened?” My eyes were fixed on the red scarf she was holding around her wrist, and it wasn’t until I took the flashlight from under her arm that I realized it wasn’t a scarf—it was a tattered rag. And it was soaked in blood.

“Tell me what happened,” I said, fighting to keep my voice steady.

She lifted the rag and I stifled a cry when I saw a gash of red. It immediately began to pool with fresh blood and she clamped the rag back around it.

“Keep pressure on it, right?” Her eyes began to shine. “That’s what they tell you to do? And keep it raised into the air?”

I tried to answer, but nothing came out. Her head thumped the wall as she leaned back. Strands of hair were plastered across her forehead with sweat.

Amazon UK  |  Amazon US  

Kindle Unlimited


Follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE


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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering for his oldest daughter’s volleyball team, or chilling on the PlayStation 4 with his thirteen-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only seven places in the world UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.



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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

BLOG TOUR & #GIVEAWAY - Possession (Steel Brothers Saga #3) by Helen Hardt




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Possession (Steel Brothers Saga #3)

By Helen Hardt

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

Jade Roberts’s love for Talon Steel is the real deal, and she’s more determined than ever to help him come to grips with whatever is haunting him. To that end, she continues her investigation of the Steels…and unknowingly attracts some dangerous foes from their shrouded history.

Talon loves Jade deeply and longs to possess her forever, so he faces his worst fears and exposes his rawest wounds in an attempt to heal. The road is icy and treacherous, but if he perseveres and comes out whole on the other side, he’ll finally be worthy of Jade’s love.

The untamed passion between the two still blazes, but as the horrors of Talon’s past resurface, Jade and Talon aren’t safe…
Buy the Book

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1OCoXOr


BUY LINKS FOR ALL HELEN'S BOOKS CAN BE FOUND HERE:

http://www.helenhardt.com/book/


Meet The Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Helen Hardt’s passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to being an award winning author of contemporary and historical romance and erotica, she’s a mother, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She writes from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her family. Helen loves to hear from readers.
Visit her here: https://www.facebook.com/HelenHardt


Giveaway


#possession

VBT, EXCERPT, INTERVIEW, & #GIVEAWAY - Dark Communion by CJ Perry

GENRE:  

epic fantasy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                

BLURB:

The minotaurs have kept Ayla and Deetra's people in chains for 200 years. With nothing left to live for, and a death sentence in her womb, Ayla trades her soul for a chance to break the curse which holds her people in slavery. Armed only with her faith, she and Deetra start a revolution, and bring about the return of the Goddess of Darkness.

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 Ayla lifted the woman’s chin with her finger. “What is your name?”

“Ava.”

“How far along are you?” They both knew what she really asked; are you carrying a calf?

The woman met Ayla’s eyes and did not look away.

“Three months.”

Ayla’s heart ached with pity. Judging by the size of her womb, if she had carried a human child, she would only have two months to go. Horses clopped up the drawbridge until the other wagon stopped behind the first. The people on the back leaned to see what went on up ahead. Ayla knelt down in front of the pregnant woman on the cool stone of the gatehouse.

Her voice echoed off the stone walls. “Who is this man with you?”

The woman bowed her head. “My brother, Gaelan, milady.”

Butch’s chest rumbled. “It’s Priestess.”

The woman looked up, then back down and hurried to correct herself. “He’s my brother, Priestess.”

Ayla shook her head at Butch with a stern look and he dipped his head in silent apology. She lifted the woman’s chin again. Her voice kept the compassion it had before, but with an edge.

“You are too far along for any surgeon to help you.”

“I know, Priestess. That’s not why I came.” The pregnant woman’s green eyes held Ayla’s gaze and did not waiver. She set her jaw. “I want to fight.”

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Follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE


What do you do when you’re not writing?

I have two daughters. One is seventeen and the other one is five. One is preparing for the Navy, and the other just started kindergarten, so it’s a very exciting time for my family – and busy. Ive been a stay-at-home Dad since 2011 and they are what Im up to when Im not writing. I clean, cook dinner, help with homework, drive the older one back and forth (She still doesn’t have her license.), and attend my little one’s gymnastics classes. Aside from writing, my girls are my life. 

When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
My first novel was coauthored with my Brother-in-law. It topped out at nearly 180k words, and was just a massive undertaking. It was like trying to write my magnum opus before even knowing how to craft a novella. After almost 10 years, we scrapped it and went our separate ways (professionally). At that point, I had to decide if this could really work for me. After a decade of writing one novel full of cliché’s and long exposition, I had my doubts.

My wife and I talked it over. She was finishing up her degree, and prepared to step up and be the primary “bread winner.” She encouraged me to stay home with the new baby and try my hand at another novel – alone this time. I knew I had a lot to learn and threw myself into being a full-time student of novel crafting. I went to school, read Dwight Swain, took a Masterclass, and joined online critiquing communities like critiquecircle and scribophile.

Two years later, I tried again – and Dark Communion was born. When I finished it, I knew. This was the story I would introduce myself to the world with. It’s a great story.

How did you choose the genre you write in?
I didn’t choose fantasy, it chose me. As a kid, I considered my life pretty unbearable. My mother died of AIDS during the 80’s epidemic when I was 11, and things just spiraled down from there for about fifteen years. During that time, a friend of mine introduced me to my only solace, fantasy books and Dungeons and Dragons. It was my escape, and my sanity. Without fantasy, I may never have made it to adulthood.

Where do you get your ideas?
Ive mentioned Dungeons & Dragons a few times, and I can’t say enough about what a great game it is. Sure, it’s a bit nerdy and often misunderstood but it is a creative medium unlike any other. One player is the Storyteller (Or Dungeon Master) and the other players are all autonomous characters in the story. The storyteller lays the groundwork; setting, antagonists, and ancillary characters to influence his players’ characters. If you don’t handle that responsibility with enthusiasm, care, and creativity you will lose players. It taught me how to keep people engaged in a story, and how to create characters with personality and their own motivations to keep it moving forward.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I think it was Arron Sorkin (Writer for The West Wing) that said, “Writers block is my default position.” I’m the same way. But, the way to defeat it is to start writing anyway. Because the truth is, writers block isn’t real. It’s not like I forgot how to make sentences. It’s a lack of inspiration or a lack of interest in what I’m writing. It’s when no matter what you write – it’s “terrible.” When that happens, I turn to music. Music inspires emotion, and emotion is the foundation of inspiration.

Are you a planner or a pantser?
I “pantsed” my first novel and it exceeded 180k words. Now Im a planner that uses multiple stylized outlines. Dark Communion is 1/3 the size of my first novel and infinitely better written. Planner, for the win.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Margaret Weis. Dragons of Autumn Twilight was my introduction to contemporary high fantasy. Hers’ and Tracy Hickman’s Dragonlance was also the first Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting I ever played. The character Raistlin, in my opinion, is the greatest fantasy character ever.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Finding an editor was my biggest problem. Finding a good editor is the bane of most indie authors. They’re expensive and it’s hard to find a good one even if you have the money. Thankfully, my good friend Lindsey Williams stepped up to edit Dark Communion. Without her, it would never have been possible to publish it. Thank you Lindsey!!!

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
No. I wouldn’t change the experience for anything. The mistakes, changes, hardships, and tribulations are what molded me into the man I am now. I wouldn’t want to imagine being or writing anything different.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Dark Communion is the first installment of the Godswar Chronicles. It is the story of Ayla, a slave girl in a minotaur empire. It is a dark (as the name suggests) and emotional story of her trials to free her people and bring about the return of the Night Goddess, or as she is often referred to in the book (and many others), The Dark Queen. You can find more information about Dark Communion on my blog. www.Artofthearcane.wordpress.com

There’s a preview of chapter one of the audiobook on my kickstarter, and a two-chapter preview ebook for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

ebook: http://amzn.to/2c7QAiv
kickstarter: http://kck.st/2cIkQQO

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Ayla’s pain is real to me, as is the overarching theme of the light oppressing the darkness. Much of what she has suffered mirrors my own tribulations in life. My mother died horribly of AIDS when I was young. So I know that pain of missing her, and willingness to accept a dark substitute in whatever form for the sake of sanity and hope. I have lived with Bipolar disorder since I was a teen. The battle between the dark and light is alive and well within me – every day. So too is the pain of depression and the battle to triumph over it. Her way is faith, as is mine.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
  1. NEVER. GIVE. UP. A successful author was once a novice writer who never gave up.
  2. LISTEN to your critics, beta readers, and editors. Not all of them, but if more than one or two people say the same thing, stop defending your writing, and start working on it.
  3. STUDY. Writing conventions exist for a reason. Be a rebel once you have fans. Break convention only once you understand why those conventions exist. Learn all you can about writing and what makes a compelling story. An intelligent person learns from their mistakes; a wise person learns from the mistakes of others.
  4. OUTLINE. If you are a new writer, you probably have no business trying to crank out a novel without a plan. You’ll probably miss important aspects that stories need to have, or will add extras that take away from the plot. Have something to guide you. You’re probably doing this alone, and an outline is like a writing partner.

What does your protagonist think about you?
I think Ayla would like me. I stand up for what I believe in and am willing to fight for those beliefs if necessary. Although, if she knew I was the one who wrote her mother dying, she might not ever forgive me.

What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author?
I used it as an email signature forever:

“I read fantasy to escape and enjoy myself, not to vicariously experience misery and abuse.”

The first chapter starts off pretty bleak. When the story starts, Ayla is at her lowest point – she’s hit bottom. It’s a very emotional scene that isn’t for everyone. But I will tell you what I told him, “Don’t give up on Ayla in her darkest moments, and she won’t make you regret having faith in her.” I also thanked him. Because, if he felt that deeply about Ayla – enough to lash out at me for her – I think my job is well done.

What has been the best compliment?
Ayla, the main character, is destined to be the villain by the end of the series. The best compliment I received was:

 “I don’t understand how anyone could ever see Ayla as the villain.”

That’s exactly what I want in the upcoming books. I want a villain that people can identify with and love just as much as the “heroes.” I want to turn the idea of fantasy, the hero’s journey, and religion upside down. Who says Darkness has to be evil and light has to be good? The sun can burn skin, wither crops, and scorch the earth while Darkness can provide safety, rest, and relief. Dark Communion is about a different perspective on the concept of good vs evil as much as anything else.


Quick Fire


Favourite colour
Red
Dogs or cats
Dogs
Light side or dark side
Dark.
Morning, noon or night?
Night. Late night.
Dresses or skirts?
I have hairy legs. Dresses.
Jazz or classical?
Jazz.
Checkers or chess?
Chess
Baseball or basketball?
No contest. Basketball.
Facial hair or clean shaven?
Trimmed facial hair.
Smile or game face?
Smile until the game starts.
Sci-Fi or fantasy?
Fantasy
Orange juice or apple juice?
Orange
Slacker or over-achiever?
Total slacker.
Adventurous or cautious?
Adventurous.
Dare. Always dare.
Think before you talk or talk before you think?
Talk. Think. Regret. Rephrase.


CJ Perry will be awarding a $10 and a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to two randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


My deep and abiding love of fantasy began when I was six when I first saw the 1981 film Dragonslayer on VHS with my father. He loved fantasy movies too, but didn’t have the courage to be a dork about it like I did. That movie was a gateway drug that led me straight to the hard stuff - CS Lewis. I was far too young for such potency but by the time I was ten I had read the whole series. That’s when I found my first Dungeons and Dragons group. When I started playing, my friends and I used pre-made campaign settings and published adventures, but I quickly grew restless with their limitations and trite story lines. I needed my own persistent world: something adaptable to my whim and that no one else owned.

Back in my day, there was no internet, so I took out every book about castles and medieval history from the school library and read them in Math class (I'm still terrible at math as a result). I came up with an entire world and brand new history. I read books on cartography and hand drew maps of my new world. I created a cosmology, a hierarchy of gods, and the tenets of their religions. I read the Dungeon Master's guide a dozen times, and every fantasy novel I could get my hands on.

Then, one day, I sat down and told my friends, "Hey guys, wanna try my story instead?"

Even 15 years after the original D&D campaigns ended, former players tell me that they share our incredible stories with their children. I'm honored to say that most of those players still have their original character sheets 16-20 years later, and a couple have even named their children after them.

Now, I'm 39 years old and a loving father of 2 girls, and I still play those games on occasion. My passion has evolved into putting those ideas and amazing stories on paper for the whole world to enjoy. My first novel took me and co-author DC Fergerson 10 years to write and topped out at 180,000 words. Being too long and too complex, I finally ended the project and took its lessons to heart.

I learned that Dungeons & Dragons did not translate well into a novel. D&D made for great times, but also for some meandering plot lines, pointless encounters, and poor character motivations. No matter how memorable some of the moments were, if I wanted anyone to read my story, I needed to learn a lot more about writing.

I threw myself into being a full time student of novel crafting. I read every book on writing by Dwight Swain I could find. I paid Chuck Sambuchino (Editor for Writer's Digest) to critique and edit my older work. I took James Patterson's Masterclass, went to college, and joined online writing communities. All the while, I read my favorite fantasy novels again, only this time with a mental highlighter. I reworked my stories, outlined them, and decided to start from the beginning.

Many, many years later, I am in the final edit and proofreading stage of Dark Communion, the first installment of the Shadowalker Chronicles. My role as a father of two girls heavily influenced the characters I’d known for over 20 years, shaping them into women that my own daughters could respect. My characters took on a depth and quality that brings them off the page and into the minds of readers, because they have become all too real. I was privileged enough to work on two careers at the same time to accomplish this feat - a fun-loving and involved stay-at-home dad, and a full time writer.

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