A Monday for Anything: Guest Post with Connor Titus

Today on the FlipSide, I’m featuring a guest post by Crystal Connor, author of In the Foothills of Mt. Empyreal by Connor Titus. Now this is an interesting little tidbit about Crystal—she writes as Connor Titus but so does her writing partner Lori Titus. I understand their books are different and not necessarily written in concert with one another, so let’s get to know a little about the author…

Crystal-ConnorCrystal Y. Connor grew up telling spooky little campfire-style stories at slumber parties. Living on a steady literary diet of Stephen King, Robin Cook, Dean R. Koontz and healthy doses of cinema masterpieces such as The Birds, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone it surprises no one that she ended up writing a horror novel!

Crystal now living in Seattle has been writing poetry and short stories specializing in the Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror since before Jr. high School. The Darkness, her début novel and book I in The Spectrum Trilogy has been selected as a two time Award-Winning Finalist in the 2011International Book Awards in the fiction categories of Cross Genre Fiction and Multicultural Fiction.

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So without further ado, let’s hear from Crystal…

This project was super fun.  I love writing as it is, but this was the most fun I’ve had so far when writing a book. We never did the research on ‘how to co-write a book’  and I think going in blind that was one of the best decisions  we made when we agreed to work together. I didn’t even start reading articles/blogs about co-authoring a book until we were nearly done. I’m glad that I didn’t too because I read horror story, after horror story about people whose not only business relationships were ruined but friendships were ended behind a book plot, who’s name would be first, or cover art. I think if I had read those articles before I agreed to co-write a book I might not have been so excited to co-write one.

When we first started writing together the idea in mind was to co-write just one book like everyone else.  But because we didn’t do any research 1st we just winged it, Lori gave me a few writing prompts and I wrote the first few paragraphs. After that we were just reaction writing, like round robin, we didn’t have an outline, we didn’t have a plot idea, we didn’t even have a title. We just started writing.

Every time I Lori sent what she added it just ratcheted up the excitement because I didn’t know what she was going to write and it made me more excited to add to it. And I know it was the same for Lori because we were updating our status updates and no one knew what we were talking about it. It was so much fun.

But about a 3rd of the way into it we realized that we both had two ideas about where we wanted this book to go.  I really didn’t want to give up one idea for the other because I thought they were both really, really good ideas but the problem was we could not have both plots with all the different characters and subplots in the same book.

So basically our project came to a fork in the road and we had put in too much time and effort to stop. So I suggested that we split up and Lori was supper excited about it.  Neither of us has seen anything like this done before, two author’s co-writing two stand alone books about the same plot. And one thing we wanted to be sure of was that a person didn’t have to read both books to know what was going on but more than that we didn’t want someone who did read them both feel like they were reading the same story twice. So once  we agreed to go our separate ways, we stopped sharing plot ideas, we stopped helping each other and for a while we didn’t even talk to each other about what was going on with our books because we didn’t want to influence each other’s work.

Knowing that there was another person writing about the very same thing was incredibly suspenseful and exciting because we didn’t know what was going on. We didn’t even see each other’s covers until you  guys did at the cover reveal. And at the time of this post we haven’t read each other’s books because we agreed to wait until they are both edited. It’s been insane to read the reviews and try to guess what’s going on but so far the reviewers have been really good about not including spoilers.  I feel like a little kid 3 days before Xmas.

Maybe it’s a fluke but I had a blast working with Lori Titus co-writing not one but two books. I hope you guys have as much fun reading the books as we did writing them. And I hope that we will be able to entertain you with the stories we write from years to come.

Thank you Crystal! Now let’s look a little deeper into In the Foothills of Mt. Empyreal…

The End is Now CoverThe Order of The Sentinels.

The Order of The Learned.

The Order of The Writs.

The Order of The Cloth.

In the foothills of Mt. Empyreal the most powerful forces in the world are drawn into combat.

And the fate of all the world hangs in the balance.

Amazon

***

And there’s a giveaway!!

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

One lucky winner will win signed print copy of BOTH books, T-shirt of each book, Signed print copy of The Darkness: Book 1 of the Spectrum Trilogy by Crystal Connor, Signed print copy of Hunting in Closed Spaces: Vol 1 of the Marradith Ryder Series by Lori Titus (INT)

Giveaway is International.

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A Monday for Anything: Guest Post by Aldrea Alien

On this Monday for Anything I have the pleasure of featuring a guest post by Aldrea Alien, author of The Rogue King. Before we get to that let’s learn a little more about Aldrea…

Aldrea-AlienBorn and raised in New Zealand, Aldrea Alien lives on a small farm with her family, including a menagerie of animals. Since discovering a love of writing at the age of twelve, she hasn’t found an ounce of peace from the characters plaguing her mind.

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And now I’ll turn it over to Aldrea as she tells us about:

Three Things I Learned While Writing The Rogue King

Seeing that this was the first story I ever wrote, I learnt a lot of the basic stuff with it as well as discovering that third person limited is my preferred point of view. I think far faster in it than I ever did trying to write in first person. It may have led to me to rewriting the entire story—and the start of what felt like endless edits—but it was for the better.

I will get a good idea whilst in the shower/driving my daughter to school/basically anything that stops me from writing. In the past, it meant my work breaks were spent huddled in the corner, furiously writing in a notebook for ten minutes.

I also wind up talking to myself about said thought, whether in my head or out loud. It mostly happens with dialogue (generally, I just end up arguing with myself), and it always has me repeating the whole conversation again and again in order to remember what I just said so I may write it down as soon as I’m able … providing I don’t get distracted by a certain little girl on the way.

Thankfully, my out loud talks happen when no one’s around to overhear me. That could get awkward.

Accepting critique (and also how to spell the word without thinking about it) was perhaps one of the biggest lessons for me. To begin with, it took me several days to read any critique and not automatically get defensive about it. I was so terrible back then. I never outright snapped at anyone, because, hey, that would’ve been rude. But it didn’t stop me from ranting all around the house, telling my family how they were idiots and totally didn’t get me or the story.

Of course, I got the trolls just as readily as I got helpful comments and those negative remarks, the outright putdowns, actually helped me in other ways. I started to see just how helpful the other people were trying to be and that they *gasp* might actually be right. It might actually be me who didn’t get it.

That was a fair few years ago now. If someone was to give me a critique now, I might still grumble at the less favourable parts, but that grumbling is more towards myself and part of my process in figuring out why didn’t come across as I’d hoped.

Thank you Aldrea. Now let’s learn a little more about The Rogue King

The-Rogue-KingSuch is the warning Koral has heard for twelve years. Born a product of genetic manipulation, he knows little else of the world beyond the steel walls of his home.

When fate gives him the choice between certain death and the unknown, there’s no question in what he must choose. But he’s about to find out the sands he must brave are full of more than mere monsters.

Providing the desert doesn’t kill him first.

This is a world ruled by instinct, where innocence is drowned in blood. Here, men are offered up to the great Serpent God, Lorric, only to emerge as the most feared killers on the planet: The Rogues.

With the god’s sights set on turning Koral into a legend, he must sacrifice himself to survive and be reborn as… The Rogue King

And there’s a giveaway!!

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

2 Signed print copies of The Rogue King, 4 bookmarks, $10 Amazon GC

Giveaway is International.

Win one of 2 Signed print copies of The Rogue King, 1 of 4 bookmarks, or a $10 Amazon GC

A Monday for Anything: Guest Post with Julie Eberhart Painter

Today The FlipSide is featuring a guest post with Julie Eberhart Painter, the author of Mortal Coil. But before we get to Julie, let’s take a moment to get to know her…

Julie-Eberhart-PainterJulie Eberhart Painter raised in Bucks Count, Pennsylvania, boyhood home of James A Michener, is the author of Mortal Coil, Tangled Web, and the 2011 Book of the Year, Kill Fee, and sequel, Medium Rare from http://www.champagnebooks.com. Daughters of the Sea, e-book and print. Julie’s first paranormal romance, and Morning After Midnight are available from MuseItUp Publishing.

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And without further ado, here’s Julie as she answers the question:

If you could change places with any of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

Love me (Patti, age 11); love my dog

Much as I love most of the human characters in Mortal Coil, I’d adore being my DamnYankee dog, Sherman, living in Georgia with Ellen’s daughter, Patti, a feisty, independent and loving girl of 11.

As the author, my plan here was to lobby for Sherman. He’s important, but his mistress, Patti is the pivotal character in Mortal Coil’s mystery.

Patti is abducted by the perp. Patti’s father might have been the first murdered and Patti is still grieving his loss even though she doesn’t know his death might not have been an accident. One of my favorite scenes takes place between Patti and her mother, the main character and administrator of the nursing home under fire.

A few nights later, Ellen and Patti were putting supper together. Sherman was curled safely off in the corner, watching for the signal that his dinner was ready.

“Mom, do you ever get lonely?”

Ellen put the pot back on the stove and looked at Patti. “Sure. I miss your father terribly. You must miss him, too.”

Patti picked up the dog’s dish and began ladling dry dog food into it. She faced her mother, spoon in the air. “I think about him a lot, Mom. Sandy’s parents have been really nice to me. They include me in a lot of their family stuff, but sometimes I feel like a charity case. It’s not like when we used to get together–when Daddy was here and the weekends were… fun.”

“We can’t expect the Millers to include us the way they used to. Les is their dad and he sets the pace with his own family. I don’t think he wants the widow…” Ellen’s voice caught in her throat. “…the neighbor lady tagging along on their family outings.”

“We had so much fun when Daddy was here. He knew all about baseball.” Patti paused. “He was…”

“Special?”

“Yeah.” Patti put the spoon on the counter and walked into her mother’s arms. “I miss him, Mom. The KidzCamp counselor said I always would. Doesn’t it ever stop hurting?”

“It will hurt less someday, especially if they find the person who was driving the car that caused the accident. But for both of us, there will always be an empty space where your daddy was.”

“I get scared sometimes. I woke up this morning, and I couldn’t remember what he looked like.”

“You’ll remember him again, just the way he was when you were little. You have his pictures to remind you. We should get one laminated so you can carry it with you in your backpack.”

“You moved them downstairs, but I know where they are. I went to look for the pictures this morning. I just couldn’t go to school without seeing him. Is that okay? Is that normal?”

“Sit down a minute, honey. Let me explain something.”

Patti sat.

“Everything you’re feeling is normal. It’s okay to remember your dad any way you want to. No one should talk you out of it.”

“Do you think about him… a lot… when you’re at work?”

“Sometimes. Mostly I think about him at home and on those long, empty weekends you mentioned.”

“When the kids have things they do with their families. That’s the worst.”

“Maybe you and I could go see Great-gramma some weekend soon–when the weather in Pennsylvania gets better, before your softball season begins.”

“I’d like that. She’s very old, Mom. Is she gonna die, too?”

“We all die. We just don’t know when. She’s quite the miracle at her age.”

“Daddy wasn’t old. He was only forty-five when… And you’re forty. Are you–? But his was an accident.”

“People die when it’s their time.” Ellen had never told Patti she thought Tom might have been deliberately hit. At her age, Patti shouldn’t know about that kind of meanness. “We just have to move along in our lives and trust that we have enough time left to do what we came for.”

“I hope you have a hundred years, Mom.”

Ellen hugged her daughter. A hundred years without Tom sounded like a life sentence.

Sherman conquered hearts and bad guys, but Patti captures hearts.

Thank you Julie! Now let’s take a quick look at Mortal Coil

Mortal-CoilWhen two residents in Ellen Lange’s nursing home are murdered, Special Investigator Bill Watts is called to the scene. With the murders linked to others, known as the Ponytail crimes, it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again. Bill is a Southerner; Ellen was raised in the Midwest. While Bill takes to Ellen’s daughter, Patti, Ellen resists, claiming that she and her daughter are a team with no room for the once divorced Bill. Despite her efforts to remain aloof, Ellen finds herself falling in love with more than the South as the investigation progresses.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

***

And there’s a Giveaway!!

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

  • Five mystery eBooks from Champagne Book Group. Books will be selected at random from publisher.
  • $20 gift card to either Amazon or B&N, courtesy of Joyce Proell

Giveaway is International.

Win 5 Mystery Books from Champagne Book Group & $20 Gift Card!

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A Monday for Anything: A Guest Post with Gary Eddings

Today I have the pleasure of presenting a guest post with Gary Eddings, author of Hollow Point. Let’s take a few moments and get to know him from the person who knows himself the best…

Gary-EddingsI retired as a fire department EMS Division Chief for Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue in 2005. I have been writing seriously since mid-2009, and this is my second novel with Champagne Book Group. I am also a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. I am the father of four and the grandfather of three; a two year old grandson and newly-minted twin girls.

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So without further ado, let’s give Gary the floor as he answers the question:

If you could change places with any of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

There is just no getting around it; I like quirky characters that are usually a sidekick to the main character. In the case of Hollow Point, I would choose Grandfather Hawk, a legally blind shaman with his guide dog, Sadie. Hawk can still see grey outlines of people and some other things close up, but his dog more than makes up for his disability. She has a mind of her own. Hawk has lived on the Reservation all of his life. His blindness began mid-life.

Word had it that Hawk catered mostly to Tribal members who still followed the old ways. He was a healer, a counselor, and he performed a variety of traditional ceremonies. He always manages to show up unexpectedly, but with uncanny timing. He always had a plastic bag of raw chicken tucked away in Sadie’s vest.

Hawk had learned to pay attention to his surroundings with the other senses that grew sharp when his eyesight began to fail. He was not shy about accepting free breakfasts at the local café. That is where Colson met him and couldn’t tell he was blind except that Hawk never looked at him while finishing off his plate of food. There was no fumbling of silverware or anything else on the man’s table. Colson didn’t see Sadie on the far side of the table until Hawk got up to leave.

The reason I like this character so much is that he takes on adversity using his wits and the resources he has acquired in the animal world. He also happened to have a very large feathered friend that visited from time to time at the waterfront near the Cultural Center.

That is where Colson met a remarkable, huge chicken lover. Hawk handed him the bag of chicken from Sadie’s vest, gave it to Colson and bade him farewell, which he became known to do. His advice was to see if Colson could make friends with the feathered wonder who was devouring the chicken quickly leaving Colson in fear for his personal safety.

Hawk seemed to know when lessons were best learned on your own. No apologies; no deep explanations; consequences are overrated. That would be a fun way to live for a day.

Thank you for your invitation!

Great post Gary! Now let’s learn a little more about the book – Hollow Point

Hollow-PointThere is no such thing as an ordinary traffic stop, something Tribal Officer Pat Colson is reminded of when pulling over a dusty old Buick. Before he knows it, shots are flying and he is huddled behind his police cruiser for cover.

In the ensuring investigation, a sizable amount of methamphetamine is discovered in the suspects’ vehicle. Uncut and very potent, the question is where does it come from— the Reservation or elsewhere?

With everyone on the Reservation becoming a suspect, and little information to go on, Colson must act fast to stop the dangerous drug from killing more innocent victims and stop a murderer in his tracks.

Amazon | GoodReads

And there’s a Giveaway!!

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

  • Five mystery eBooks from Champagne Book Group. Books will be selected at random from publisher.
  • $20 gift card to either Amazon or B&N, courtesy of Joyce Proell

Giveaway is International.

Win 5 Mystery Books from Champagne Book Group & $20 Gift Card!

Mystery-Banner

A Second Monday for Anything: Guest Post with L.T. Getty

Today I have the wonderful pleasure of presenting a guest post by L.T. Getty, author of Tower of Obsidian. But before we get to that, let’s take a few moments and get everyone acquainted…

LT-Getty-PicL.T. Getty started writing her first novel in junior high, and hasn’t really stopped since. She’s studied kendo, is an open water scuba diver, and has recently taken up archery, and hopes to learn to do it horseback someday. When she’s not writing, she works as a paramedic. When she is writing, it tends to be rather cheeky.

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So without too much further ado, here’s L.T. and her thoughts on what she’d like readers to take away from her book Tower of Obsidian!

To me, since Tower of Obsidian is about interpretation of story and I played around with roles of hero and villain, I can’t answer that everyone will walk away with the same message because I left a lot of the story up to interpretation. That being said, there were numerous themes that I explored, and that the main theme of the story is about hope.

Hope for me, is about the belief that things beyond us will improve. This goes beyond “I work for it, therefore it will pay off” – to me, this is an exchange or reward. Hope is like my concept of Grace, in that it’s transcendent in value – hope as a belief that there is something greater than us, and that things like justice and mercy will play out in the end rather than cosmic indifference.

Tower of Obsidian‘s story is meant to be familiar enough that most people can recognize very familiar elements – dragons, witches, knights, tall towers, and a love triangle. I go out of my way to subvert the roles and I think in a way, it’s upsetting for some readers, despite my disclaimer of a prologue. I will acknowledge here that if I was just about to tell something for the sake of pure entertainment, I would have told a much more straightforward story with designated roles. It probably would also have been much more slapstick or be raunchy, but I’m getting off-topic.

I explored hope as a theme, and that includes some very dark places and concepts we don’t really like to acknowledge as a society. It’s always external that the issue and fault lies. The reason I used the end of the Viking Era was because it represented the dying away of the old age where beliefs started to get unified, but it was easy to use unenlightened historical figures where we know there are strict rules regarding not only gender and race, but class as well, and judge them according to our standards. I notice a lot of fear mongering as we build our viewpoints up and we create dichotomies. We all say we hate bullies, but we’ll use bully-like behavior for our own causes. The ends justify the means. In reality, this is sometimes unavoidable – we need violence and it can solve the seemingly direct problem, but it doesn’t solve it at its core. In reality, I can hope that people will do the right thing all the time, but I know I don’t live up to that standard myself all the time. In fantasy, I can have agape and self-sacrifice as the catalyst that changes the world.

I don’t know if I’m a good enough writer to convey the theme properly – I’m sure you could read Tower of Obsidian and come back to me with a far different interpretation of the story. But I do hope that you try to read the story for some greater message then just about a tale of knights and towers.

Thank you L.T.! Now let’s take a look at Tower of Obsidian and keep in mind that clicking on the cover will take you to Amazon!

Tower-of-ObsidianWhen Kale mac Tadhg is betrayed by his Lord’s men, he is sent on an impossible quest: slay a witch in a tower, and end a people’s curse. Both Kale’s best friend and brother-in-arms Aaron Smithson and former betrothed Aoife of Westgate set out to rescue him, but their journey takes them into the uncharted waters and Northwestern Nordic colonies, to a land cursed and all but forgotten. They begin to realize that there is some truth to old legends. Kale’s rescue comes at a price—for by the time Aaron and Aoife know where to search, like so many before him, Kale is bound to the ancient tower’s fate.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

And now there’s a giveaway!! It’s tour-wide but who doesn’t want to win stuff??

Prizes include the following:

GRAND PRIZE: One winner will receive 5 surprise fantasy eBooks from Champagne Book Group.

Giveaway is International.

Win 5 surprise fantasy eBooks from Champagne Book Group!

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A Monday for Anything: My Writing Process

My Writing Process… A Look On The Inside!

The lovely Shah Wharton tagged me in a pyramid scheme. No it’s not what you think – it’s a blog hop that builds on adding other writers to share what they’re up to. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I accepted her challenge. You can check out what Shah’s working on these days by visiting her post here.

So what’s going on with me? Let me answer the 4 requisite questions and maybe something coherent will pop out the other end!

What am I working on?

I think the better question would be what am I not working on!! I have taken a larger look at Days with the Undead: Book Two and Book Three, deciding to explore a few aspects I think would give it a little more depth in certain regards which has resulted in the delay of their release. The story itself is written, it’s just weaving the rest into it to make it extra special. In addition to those, I have a novella in the works dealing with psychosis and its aftereffects. I’m hoping it turns out to be a crazy little horror thriller that makes people keep the lights on at night.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

The main reason is that it’s written by me. My Days with the Undead series is written completely as a series of journal entries so it’s heavy of the narrative, but in a dialogue type of way. Sure the main character might be telling you the story, but she’s doing it in such a way that she’s talking directly to you. It’s hard to get that out of your head when you want to go to sleep.

Why do I write what I do?

I write what interests me and ultimately, what makes me happy. I like to think I’m writing the books I myself want to read, but that’s a little odd considering I wrote them.

How does my writing process work?

Sometimes I plan things to a certain degree, but in others I’m purely freeform, letting the story take me where it wants to take me. Sometimes I get to the end and it’s where I wanted to be, other times I’m way off base but like where I’ve gone. I never know until I’m done and that’s half the fun!

Part of the fun with this pyramid scheme was that I got to ask three other authors to continue carrying the torch after me. I chose them at random and then strung them up by their toes until the acquiesced to my demands. I make it sound more difficult than it was, but I write fiction so I need to make this interesting… Next Monday my victims will be posting about their writing process. Get to know them now:

Brent Abell

Brent Abell resides in Southern Indiana with his wife, sons, and a pug who is a descendant of the Elder Gods.  He has been published in multiple anthologies and eZines, took part in the collaborative novella, The Carnival 13, and has completed his first full novel.  He is currently working on his next novel and novella.  You can hang out with him for some rum, a cigar, and all the latest news at http://brentabell.wordpress.com

D. Alexander Ward

D. Alexander Ward lives with his wife and daughter in the Virginia countryside near the city of Richmond, where his love for the people, passions, and legends of the south was nurtured. While he works a straight job by day, he spends his nights and weekends penning stories of the dark, strange and fantastic.

D. Alexander Ward’s short fiction has appeared in several anthologies including Deadlines, Noxious Fragments, A Quick Bite of Flesh, Horrific History, Shifters: A Charity Anthology, Attack! of the B-Movie Monsters: Night of the Gigantis, The Midnight Diner 4: Wastelands Under the Sun, and O’ Little Town of Deathlehem.

His novella, After the Fire is available from Dark Hall Press and his story collection, A Feast of Buzzards is available from Hazardous Press. Both may be purchased on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. You can catch up with D on his website: http://www.wyrdtales.net/

Kirk Jones

Kirk Jones is an instructor for the State University of New York. His work has appeared in Bellows of the Bone Box from Siren’s Call Publications, Amazing Stories of the Flying Spaghetti Monster from Lazy Fascist Press, and on Bizarro Central. His latest novella, Journey to Abortosphere, was just released by Rooster Republic Press. It is a book about romance, animism, the absurdity of the human condition… and butts. OK, mostly butts. You can find him on his website: http://bizarrojones.com/

If you’d like to take a look at Days with the Undead: Book One is preparation for what’s coming soon, here’s a little more information…

DwtUCoverFront copyIt’s a journal of survival.

Five people set out to escape the Undead who have risen too close to home. Join the emotional and physical struggle as they began on the third day after the awakening of Brooks VanReit, as they are recorded from the point of view of Julie, a former pathologist and part-time survivalist.

Each entry is geared toward helping those who want to help themselves and maybe give a few that don’t a swift kick in the ass. Join our group of survivors on their journey through these Days with the Undead.

It’s currently available on:

Amazon

CreateSpace

Smashwords (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Sony)

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Apple

 

A Monday for Anything: A Guest Post with R.J. Hore!

Today The FlipSide is featuring a guest post with R.J. Hore, author of The Queen’s Pawn! But before we let R.J. take the floor, let’s get to know him a bit…

Ronald-HoreRon can be found sailing on Lake Winnipeg when not writing novels or critiquing for an on-line magazine He won first prize for a Canadian Authors Association short story contest for a ghostly love story, but his preference is for longer works including a recent trio of medieval-style fantasies and the Housetrap Chronicles fantasy detective series through http://www.burstbooks.ca . Supervised by his understanding wife and a large demanding cat, most of his writing efforts continue toward fantasy, with occasional lapses into science fiction and horror.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | GoodReads | Website

So without further ado, here’s R.J.!

What Sets My Book Apart?

When I wrote The Queen’s Pawn I didn’t have a particular age group in mind. I wrote it as a story I might enjoy reading. I‘ve had good comments from both adults and twelve-year olds. I made the hero an ordinary young man. A farm boy thrust into the city to become a priest, but forced to grow up rather quickly. Mistaken for someone else, he is reluctantly forced to make use of things he learned as a boy on the farm. Unlike most fantasy heroes, he has never held a sword, but he knows how to use an axe. He knows how to hunt and use woodcraft. He is not a lost prince or a king in disguise.

I keep the use of magic in everyday life to a minimum, but I introduce a lot of magical characters or beasts. I wanted to make certain the characters would grow as the story progressed. Many of the characters are not who they seem to be. The central part of the tale is the journey.  I try to add some humorous or lighter touches to a story that will have some darker moments. I want to make the reader smile before I drop the hero in a pit again.

I limited my world-building to what the hero experiences in his travels. What the reader sees is a narrow strip of land where the adventure takes place through a series of highly varied landscapes. The landscapes and background details can become characters by themselves.

I try to develop the other minor characters in the story so that the reader gets some feel for them. The other major actors, the queen, the princess, and the magician all have backstories that give hints of their motivations. The same goes for villains who appear later..

A good story should have interesting villains. They should have reasons for what they want to do. I try to capture or at least hint at that.

If the reader can feel some sympathy, annoyance, for the people in the story, and stay up late turning the pages, then I’ve done my part.

R.J. Hore

Now let’s take a quick peek into The Queen’s Pawn…

The-Queens-PawnYoung Harow just wanted to stay on the farm for the rest of his life, but his mother insisted he go to school in the City to study to be a priest. Now the City is in flames and he is racing across unfamiliar countryside trying to get the mysterious and sensuous Queen Reginee and her extremely annoying and very spoiled daughter Desiree-Rose to safety.

Of course there is a rebel army on their heels, black wizardry afoot, and sundry and dangerous creatures and villains, monstrous and common, seductive and evil, lurking along the way. If this were not enough for the youth to worry about, the Queen’s amorous chambermaid and bodyguard Mathilde, a smallish giantess, just wants to get him alone.

Genre: Medieval Fantasy

Recommended Age: 13+

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

And there’s a Giveaway!!

Giveaway Details:

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

  • GRAND PRIZE:  One winner will receive 5 surprise fantasy eBooks from Champagne Book Group.

Giveaway is International.

Win 5 surprise fantasy eBooks from Champagne Book Group!

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A Monday for Anything: Guest Post by Cassiel Knight

Today I have the pleasure of presenting a guest post by Cassiel Knight. I’m an author myself and I’m always wondering about the experience of others in the field. So with that in mind, I asked Cassiel a question: What is your biggest challenge with writing/publishing and the greatest reward thus far? This is what she had to say on the subject…

Julianne, first thanks so much for hosting my tour. I absolutely appreciate it.

Frankly, my biggest challenge with writing/publishing has been the actual writing. You’d think that someone who loves to write would find it easy TO write. You’d think. But for me, I struggle with motivation. Part of that stems from the fact that I have so many fabulous, I think, story ideas, characters and worlds in my head, they all are interesting and I want to write them all.

I have a lot of starts that are just waiting for me to write them. It’s kind of sad because I can get them all written if I just sit down and well, write them. I’ll be honest and say I believe my lack of motivation really stems from two things:

First, I want to write a story that readers will like and that will sell. Unfortunately, I don’t always know what that is or, if I do, whether or not I want to write it. For example, erotic romance, GLBT and the like are hot, hot, hot, hot. But writing them is not for me. I just wouldn’t be good at it. Young adult is hot, hot, hot. Again, I just don’t think I have the voice for them. So, in this case, I have to decide what else I might write readers will like. And that I struggle with. Luckily, for now, readers do seem to enjoy by two series so I’ll stay with them. I have at least three more books out of them. That’s good because I really enjoy the worlds and characters. However, I also have two science fiction romances, my true love, I’m dying to finish. See my conundrum?

Second, I know part of the problem is I’m a pantser, no plotting for me. It’s go with the flow all the way but sometimes, with just a teeny bit of plotting tossed in just to mix things up. I know some say it’s because if they plot, they know the story so why write it. That could be part of my thoughts as well but I don’t think it’s just that. I like the act of creating and while I run into frequent snags (sigh), I love coming up with neat ways to come out of them and find that my stories tend to twist better this way. But I also know this is why I get bogged down and look for the new shiny.

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Cassiel KnightABOUT THE AUTHOR – In the job that pays the mortgage and allows her to indulge in her real passion, writing, Cassiel Knight works in the beautiful state of Oregon. Crazy-passionate about the romance writing industry, Cassiel has a paranormal romance series featuring fallen angels and demons from Samhain Publishing, an urban fantasy through Lyrical Press and an Egyptian mythology/archeology series with Champagne Book Group. She writes paranormal romances with kick-assitude that blend archeology and mythology – just a few of her favorite things.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Website | Blog

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Now let’s take a look at her books!!

First up we have Blood on the Moon…

Blood on the MoonMia Langdon—tomb raider and adventure-seeker—has everything she wants. Freedom. Independence. No chains (a.k.a. a man). Her troubles begin when she’s attacked on a dig in Peru. Soon, she’s forced to use her tomb raiding talents to find the flaming arrows of an Egyptian goddess. In the wrong hands, this weapon could destroy the human race—and nearly had.

Used to doing things her own way, it isn’t long before she figures out that she needs the help of Harrison Braden Stanton, her stuffy, but so yummy, Egyptologist and ex-lover. There’s one problem. He despises what she does. As Mia and Harrison find themselves in the middle of a battle between the Egyptian gods and goddess, there’s no choice for the woman with a Grand Canyon-sized independence streak and the man working for the Egyptian god, Osiris, but to work together to prevent the destruction of all they love.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads | Champagne Book Group | Lulu

And then we have Key of Solomon…

Key of SolomonAnthropology PhD candidate Lexi Harrison never bares it all when she belly dances for a strip club crowd. She doesn’t have to—she’s that good. Every performance earns money toward her degree, and restores the sense of power that her painful childhood ripped away.

Something is different about tonight. A man whose silver gaze seems to touch her skin beneath her veils. When a rowdy customer crosses the line, he comes to her rescue with the speed of a falcon—complete with wings.

Mikos Tyomni has never seen anyone dance the raqs sharqi like Lexi. Trust his tormentor, Archangel Michael, to put him in close contact with the cause of his downfall: a mortal woman. Particularly this mortal woman. The Defender. He has only thirty days to win her trust before Hell’s deadliest demons attempt the mother of all prison breaks.

No matter how sexy the messenger is, Lexi’s career plans don’t include some crazy idea that she’s the last line of defense against the forces of evil. Until her university mentor’s murder leaves her holding the key to Hell. And fighting a losing battle against a passion with the unholy power to bring down Heaven…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads | Kobo | Samhain Publishing

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There’s also a giveaway!!!

Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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A Monday for Anything: A Guest Post with Shah Wharton

Today I have the wonderful opportunity to feature a guest post with the lovely and talented Shah Wharton in support of her debut book, Finding Esta. I have known Shah for a fairly long time and was lucky to be on the beta readers on her fantastic first novel. So without further ado I give you Shah…

Thanks for letting me on your blog Julianne. Great to be here!

Cornish Ghosts & The Supes Series

Shah Wharton

I love ghost stories; I’ve seen several ghosts during my life, and completely believe humans leave an energy force behind when they die.

Finding-Esta-hardcover-3DFinding Esta is the first book of The Supes Series, and when Luna Dukes, our psychic heroine, sets out to find baby Esta, she travels to Esta’s former hometown of St Ives, Cornwall to begin her search.

I chose to set this part of the series in Cornwall because I spent a lot of time there as a child, and know it to be a beautiful, spirited, historic place. My Nan (on Mum’s side) was Cornish, which makes me proudly ¼ Cornish!

As children, my brother and I played crazy golf, went fishing in our Great Granddad’s boat, and scoffed afternoon teas (cream and jam on scones, with cups of strong tea) in local teashops. We eventually grew tired of this type of family holiday, as teenagers do, but I remember them with nothing but fondness when I look back.

brian & sharon 006Everyone English (or International if you surf) knows about Newquay in Cornwall, but I chose to feature St Ives instead. It is a magnet for bohemian types, allowing Luna to finally fit in, and I could escape the preconceived idea of Cornwall as,  ‘All about the surf, Dude!’

Also, my Great Granddad had a lovely big house with a huge garden in St Ives, where he kept goats, grew strawberries, vegetables, had fruit trees. It led into a cove off the ocean, like a secret haven only we knew about. That’s where we played on the row-boat, and I made up stories up in my head. Special times.  It’s great to go back there with my characters.

brian & sharon 004Luna’s only friends are ghosts (called Shadows in the book), and because I like to support the fantasy with a dash of reality, by using true legends or established ghost stories where possible, it’s fun to use a spooky town as one location.

Besides, who doesn’t love a ghost story?

One St Ives ghost story is The Ghost of the White Lady with the Lamp. 

Many years ago, a young woman and her baby waited for rescue on a ship in St Ives Bay. The winds were high on this stormy evening, and as one of many others desperate for safe transport, she longed to make it home alive. No matter who tried to assist her, she stubbornly held onto her child during the rescue, and while crossing from the ship to the rescue boats, the baby fell from her arms into the raging sea, never to be seen again. The heartbroken mother died shortly after this nightmare, but spent everyday and night between her baby’s loss, and her own demise, searching the shoreline with a lamp, for her lost child.

Ever since her death, sightings of The White Lady, still searching the shoreline with a lamp, have spooked and entertained the citizens and tourists of St Ives ever since.

In fact, so often seen on stormy nights carrying her lamp, climbing over rocks, “Lamp Rock” takes its name from this poor ghost.

Introduction to A Creepy (funny) You Tube Video & the Spookilicious Bodmin Jail

The guys in the video take us on a tour of Bodmin Jail, supposedly super haunted, which isn’t surprising as it is the home of 55 executions by hanging, for crimes such as rape, murder and even the lowest levels of theft. Of these executions, 51 were open to an adoring public, thousands of whom travelled to witness these events. For example, a staggering twenty thousand people squeezed into Bodmin in 1844, just to watch Mathew Weeks plunge through the trap door to his death, for the murder of his girlfriends, Charlotte Dymond.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love me some horror, but it sickens me to think I might have been one of those hungry spectators. Eek.

The last public hanging to take place at Bodmin Jail happened as recently as 1909!

It was also the first jail to feature separate “cells,” which included enforced isolation, and each small chamber no doubt has a macabre story to tell. With so many deaths, and a dire life in prison for those who escaped the noose (disease, starvation, segregation), it’s unsurprising that Bodmin Jail is now such a haunted hotspot.

Lot’s of peeved dead criminals make one hell of a haunting!

Enjoy the following video. It’s funny, and a little creepy, but also shows the inside of an extremely popular haunted attraction in Cornwall.

*Check out the ghost hunter’s Cornish accent too. My Nan spoke like that. Lurrrvely!

QUESTION: “Who here believes in ghosts?”

Thanks for having me, Julianne. Hope you enjoyed a little haunting. 🙂

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1555349_636202196447176_1421090709_nABOUT THE AUTHOR – Shah Wharton is a speculative fiction author. Find her mind twisting over keyboards, her heart weeping for her characters, her watching you…closely.

She also writes poetry – two published in anthologies, and short stories – one published .

Shah lives in Dubai with her husband and Bobby, their beloved German Shepherd, but originates from the West Midlands area of the United Kingdom, and misses the cold, the rain, and her extended family, every day.

Author Blog: http://shahwharton.com/

A Monday for Anything: A Guest Post from Ace Antonio Hall

As part of his blog tour for his book The Confessions of Slyva Slasher, Ace Antonio Hall has written one humdinger (yes, that’s still a word) of a guest post for you all! So without further ado…

Night of the Living Plot

Ace Antonio Hall’s Step-by-step Breakdown of Night of the Living Dead’s intro.

For the Writer Seeking to Develop A Knack For Suspenseful Horror

Dialogue begins at 2:14 minutes

(Note: generally, you’d want to start dialogue after the third paragraph of your story – no later than page two – ease exposition in bit-by-bit. We are no longer in the age of Grapes of  Wrath, people have shorter attention spans, today – and that means Literary Agents and Publishers, too!)

    1. Story Start –  setting, gray; a storm is brewing (thematic)
    2. Plant/set-up – radio not working, character realizes that it mysteriously starts working when they get there – this gives a feeling that something is not quite right
    3. Irony in subtext – When brother taunts sister, “They’re coming to get you!”
    4. Danger – 6:34 seconds (Literally translates to page 18: Script page x 3 = Novel page)
    5. Character trying to help main character is killed (Lightning strikes on fiend’s face, making fiend more scarier in the POV of protagonist/viewer/reader)
    6. Run (A common satirical trope for horror: character falls) She loses shoes … Why? Make character as uncomfortable as possible during flee!
    7. Girl finds vehicle
    8. Ulp! No keys are there
    9. Rolls up windows! Locks Doors!
    10. Fiend comes
    11. Fiend picks up rock and breaks glass
    12. Protagonist must escape – takes off car brake – rolls away
    13. Yep, The car crashes
    14. Look Back! Oh, no, the Fiendish ghoul is still coming!
    15. Character stunned from car crash but FEAR makes her run and leave now useless car
    16. Runs into rural area and falls again (rural areas are common because they are secluded, barren and the people there aren’t in normal contact with the general population which builds suspense and spells t-e-r-r-o-r
    17. Character finds house in the middle of nowhere
    18. She looks back – the FIEND is still in pursuit of her – RELENTLESS BASTARD
    19. Get in the House – but ahh, the Door is LOCKED
    20. Run around the house to find another way in – Yes, the back door is ALWAYS OPEN in a rural house – See why it’s so good to stay away from the big cities? Lol! (Note: 1 – 20 are within the first 10 minutes which is equivalent to first thirty pages of your novel!)
    21. Once in we find that the house seems empty
    22. House is creepy and dark – The lights are out? Of course they are!
    23. After a few moments of terror being in a strange dark house, character realizes that they can call for help – Guess what? – The phone is dead! – Of course it is!
    24. Now beyond desperate, protagonist looks out window – the RELENTLESS BASTARD is still coming! As a matter of fact, he’s right outside – up close and ugly
    25. Run upstairs – to get as far away from the ugly scary fiend as possible and … trip over dead people – I see dead people … and it scares the hell out of me and my readers
    26. To hell with this, I’m leaving this place!
    27. At 13:32 seconds (half way down page 33-34), in comes new strong character, adding a new dynamic to the string of suspense and conflict.

There you have it! Master this, and you’ll take the reader’s breath away every time, the first thirty-to-fifty pages. -Ace Antonio Hall

This lesson is part of Ace’s master writing workshop. (Note: Thirty Pages of pure terror equals one helluva start for a Horror/Science Fiction/Thriller. Now it’s your turn. Try these techniques in your own story! Push the envelope!!!)

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Confessions of Sylva SlasherA spring break trip on a cruise presents a new problem for Sylva. Passengers on the ship turn into flesh-eating zombies, unlike the harmless ones she’s used to raising from the dead. She and her friends are trapped on the Pacific Ocean, and their only escape comes from a guy Sylva had a crush on she thought was dead, named Brandon. Sylva doesn’t normally hold grudges, but when someone plays with her heart they have to pay. However, with the fate of the human race on the line, Brandon convinces Sylva to join him in a secret mission, yet she can’t shake the feeling that he’s hiding something.

It didn’t take long for her suspicions to hold true when it’s revealed that Brandon has been romantically involved with the very enemy he now wants her to destroy. This villainous female would rather kill Brandon than let Sylva have a chance to patch things up between them. Sylva is not the kind of girl to walk away from love without a fight, but with a strange virus threatening extinction of human life, she shoves her own feelings in her back pocket to face her greatest nightmare, and that nightmare starts with something that is eerily growing right inside of her own mind and body.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

Be sure to grab some Sylva Slasher merchandise!

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Ace Antonio HallAbout the Author – Ace Antonio-Hall was first published in 1998 in an Adelphi University publication called Luna, with a short story titled “1936.” After earning his BFA degree from Long Island University, he taught middle-school English for over ten years.

He now lives in southern California, and was the Vice President of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society (2009-2011), and still holds an executive position in the organization which gives him a huge platform to market, sell, and promote his work through the many conferences, meetings and book fairs that GLAWS holds each month. He is also a member of LASFS and the International Thriller Writers.

His first novel, a coming-of-age YA zombie story, The Confessions of Sylva Slasher, was released April 2013 by Montag Press. It is part of a series with the next book Skateboard Xombies, expected for release early next year.

About the writing life, he says: “I harmlessly dream in Technicolor nightmares, watch a ton of horror flicks, eat more donuts than I should, and refuse to stop reading Spider-Man. All of those combined give me a sweet tooth to write about the suite life of zombies.”

Ace’s true labor of love is writing fast-paced fiction with character-driven plots featuring female protagonists. He continues to write short stories and build on the world of teen necromancer Sylva Slasher as she reigns as Princess of the Undead.

You can find out more about Ace, including his music and screen acting credits, and his involvement with the Hollywood Actors Academy as part-owner, Acting Coach and Creative Director, at the IMDb Biography web site.

Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads | Website | Blog

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Oh and there’s a giveaway or two!! 

Giveaway # 1

    • A Kindle copy of The Confessions of Sylva Slasher
    • Giveaway is: International

Win a Kindle Copy of The Confessions of Sylva Slasher!

Giveaway # 2

(Purchase of either the print or digital version of The Confessions of Sylva Slasher is Required)

    • A Kindle Fire HD featuring 7″ display and Wi-Fi
    • Giveaway is: US Only

Win a Kindle Fire HD featuring a 7″ Display and Wi-Fi!!

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