Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Jeff Chapman - Speculative Fiction Writer

This week I have the awesomely talented, Jeff Chapman making his debut as one of my Speculative Fiction Writer guests. Please give him a big wave hello.

Over to you, Jeff:

Q: If you had to describe yourself using a punctuation mark, which would you be?

Question mark. I’m rather shy and quiet in a crowd, so if they notice me, people probably wonder what I’m thinking. Fact is, I’m listening, asking myself questions about all the people I’m listening to.

Q: What three words would you use to describe your writing?

Cautionary: My characters make decisions that get themselves into trouble. Sometimes they work their way out of it. Sometimes they don’t. I’m a fan of tragedies in which one’s dogged pursuit of a goal ultimately undermines it. For instance, consider the king who gains the crown but loses the kingdom in the process.

Alliterative: I love the slippery, sibilant, sound of alliteration, and not just with the letter s. I aim for lyrical prose and if I can slip in a few beats of alliteration on occasion, I go for it.

Supernatural: Most of my fiction includes some element of the supernatural, usually ghosts.

Q: Are you a plotter, pantser, or something in-between?

Something in-between. I’m too anxious to start writing to create a detailed plot outline, but I need the discipline of some idea of where I’m ultimately going. Without something of a roadmap, I’m likely to wander off the trail. While writing, I keep a vague idea of where the story will end in my head. The original idea often changes. As I work toward longer pieces, I fear I will have to move more toward the plotter in order to keep all the parts of the story organized.

Q: You started out much like myself, writing short stories. How difficult have you found the transition to writing longer pieces of fiction?

I like writing longer pieces. My stories have a way of expanding without regard for word count limits. I tried to write a couple flash stories last year. One swelled to over four thousand words. The other expanded to over three thousand. When I finished, I realized they are both the opening chapters of novels or at least novellas.

Q: The cover of your novelette, Highway 24, is stunning. Who created it, and how much of an input did you have?

Charlotte Volnek, one of the cover artists for MuseItUp Publishing did the cover. I provided her with a story summary and some ideas on the landscape and significant items. Some pivotal scenes take place on a lonely highway and a woman’s shoe plays an important role in the narrative. I think she did a great job of capturing the story’s mood.

Q: Would you like to share an extract with us?

Here’s an extract from Last Request: A Victorian Gothic. Anna’s recently deceased uncle is extremely claustrophobic. He requests in his will that one of his relatives cut off his head so there will be no danger of a premature burial. The “story” referenced below is an incident from Uncle Silas’s childhood that led to his claustrophobia.

Anna sighed, closed her eyes. She recalled her last visit with Uncle Silas. She intended to keep it, to impress every detail firmly in her memory: walking through the empty doorway, sitting on the edge of his bed, on the variegated quilt, holding his bony hand rippled with veins and dappled with liver spots.

“Do you remember the story,” he had asked. His voice screeched like a rusty hinge. Speaking must pain him, she thought.

“Of course I do. How could I forget?”

“I don’t have the wind to tell you again.”

“Don’t talk, Uncle Silas. Don’t strain yourself.”

“Talk is all I have left.”

“I’ll tell you the story. How is that? And you can just listen.”

“Would you dear? That would be so nice.” He squeezed her hand. The sudden strength of his grip startled her. Raising his head from the pillow, he fixed her with an earnest stare. “Don’t forget it. Don’t ever forget the story.”

His grip slackened as his head fell back on the pillow with a groaning sigh. For a moment, she feared he had expired, but his eyes twitched and his eyebrows raised, expectant. Anna told the story, playing both parts now for her uncle’s entertainment. He slipped into slumber as she spoke but she finished the story anyway. After kissing his forehead, she left him and passed into the hall.

When she reached for the banister to descend the stairs, a shriek arrested her.

“Help! Help me!” The scratchy cries of an old man came from Silas’s room. Anna lifted her skirts and rushed back down the hall. A door barred her entrance. “Help me! Oh, Anna, help me!”

“I’m coming, uncle.” Anna jiggled the handle. The door popped open. The quilt covered the entire bed from footboard to headboard, and Uncle Silas’s arms and legs struggled beneath it. Anna ran to the head of the bed. Grasping the edge of the quilt, she flung it aside.

A bloodless stump of a neck indented the pillow.

Q: What are you working on now?

I’m trying to finish a novella tentatively titled “The Masque”--based on “The Fall of the House of Usher”--about a mask-maker summoned by his college friend to create a mask for the friend’s sister, who has been horribly disfigured by a disease.

I’m also working on a frontier adventure involving a Daniel Boone-type character and zombies during the American Revolution.

Lyn Perry and I are working on a werewolf novel set among the Pilgrims.

I have several other projects in various states. I need to finish something.

Q:  Do you have a favourite writing quote and, if so, what is it?

C. S. Lewis has a number of quotable remarks about “children’s stories.”

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally--and often far more--worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”—C. S. Lewis 

I don’t write many stories that would be classed as children’s tales but I do like to read and write fairy tales, which are often maligned as mere children’s stories.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

Yes, I’m running a Rafflecopter giveaway through May for a paperback or eBook copy of King David and the Spiders from Mars. The anthology contains my story “Good King David,” a fantasy tale combining elements of Hamlet with the Absalom story from the Old Testament. The David character insists that the story is really about him. There are only a few days left in the giveaway. Here’s the link to enter: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for featuring me on your blog, Ellie.

Book links:
Highway 24: Amazon /
Last Request: Amazon /

You can find Jeff here: Blog  Twitter  Amazon  Goodreads

Thank you, Jeff. It was great getting to know more about you and your writing process. I loved the extract. The ending left me gasping for more.

That's it for this week and May. Unfortunately, my Where I Write author had to drop out due to unforeseen circumstances. I'll hopefully have an author scheduled for the last Friday in June. Happy reading and writing, my friends.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Star Trekking

A non-writing post this Monday. I have lots of Star Trek and science fiction 'geekery' to share.

I nearly fainted with happiness a couple of weeks ago. I received an email announcing Destination Star Trek is returning to London in October of this year. I missed the event in 2012. You can be sure I'll be going to this one. Tickets go on sale June 2nd.

Hello Spock Kitty by yodaflickr

Are you on Pinterest? I love it. It's the perfect way to create visual inspiration boards for your writing or anything else that comes to mind. You can find my boards here. What I also love about Pinterest is finding stuff like the Spock Kitty above. Before the Trekkies among you get really excited, it isn't real. It's part of a series of visual creations. Check out these unusual Hello Kitty creations - there's something for every sci-fi fan.

Talking about visual creations, how about this for a bedroom?

I'm not sure how well you'd sleep, but that is one cool bedroom. Someone went to a lot of effort to create it. What do you think?

Finally, I have a new addiction. Science Uncovered. Every month they answer questions like, 'What would happen if the world stopped spinning?', 'How true are zombie films?', and 'Are there any naturally occurring materials that could support Spider-Man's weight, just like his web?'. I'm one happy Geek.

Have you read Science Uncovered? Are you subscribed to any magazines?

That's it for today. I'll be back on Wednesday with this week's Speculative Fiction Writer guest post. If you'd like to be one of my SFW guests, email me via my contact page. I have nobody booked for June.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Sharon Bayliss Character Interview

This week's Speculative Fiction Writer is one of my favourite authors, Sharon Bayliss. She recently released Destruction, Book One of The December People Series. 

I was thrilled to be able to interview one of the characters from Destruction -  a wizard called David. Please give him a virtual **wave** hello.

Hi, David. It's great having you here today. You're my first wizard interview. I have so many questions I want to ask you. I hope I won't get you into too much trouble with The Author!

Right. Here we go:

Q: How powerful a wizard are you?

That's a tough question…I really don't know. I'm new to the whole magic thing. Maybe I'm powerful, but I don't feel powerful most of the time. I have no idea what I'm doing.

Q: Do you have a favourite spell?

I have several least favorites that come to mind. However, occasionally I have been grateful to have magic on my side. The protective magic of talismans is quite beautiful, and it's helpful to be able to find lost children with the use of magic…although that doesn't always work very well.

Q: As a dark wizard, your spells usually mean misfortune for someone else to get what you want. How do you feel about that?

It sucks.

Q: You have two families, and one of them is a secret. How did that come about?

I'm not sure how you want me to answer that question. There's no answer I could give that would make it seem justified. Let's just say, I fell in love with two women and was too greedy and selfish to pick one. But, for the past 12 years I've been faithful to my wife. I like to believe that I am a different man now.

Q: How did your first family feel about bringing your two secret children to live with them?

*Laughs* They felt exactly how you might expect them to feel. I'm lucky to be alive and with all body parts intact.

Q: How far would you take your magic in order to protect those you loved?

I can't think of anything I wouldn't do to protect the people I love, magical or otherwise.

Q: I notice you do your best to be a good man and fit in with your local community. Are there any non-wizards who suspect your hidden powers?

I recently asked my brother about that. He said that the Mundane is actually a very powerful force. It's a dark and heavy shroud that very new non-wizards can penetrate. Magic occasionally peeks through the shroud, but it's just a brief glimpse. Besides, real wizard magic isn't quite as ostentacious as magic in books and movies, so it's easier for Mundanes to explain it away as luck, coincidence, or karma.

Q: You have many secrets. Do you sometimes wish you could just tell everyone the truth and not be fearful of the consequences?

Well, of course. However the "not be fearful" part of the question is what makes it hard. I'm a man with a lot to lose. And, it may make me a bad person, but I'd rather have my family than live in a world without lies.

Q: Do you use magic to ensure The Author writes your story?

Absolutely. There is no way she could have written this story without magic in play.

Q: Finally, if I were to visit with you, what spell would you show me?

The best spells for demonstration are the ones that we call "frivilous" or "show magic." Wizards can harness the ambient magical energy in themselves and the world around them to create light and colors. That would be the safest and most interesting spell to show you.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me and listen to my story.

Introducing a new dark wizard family drama, Destruction by Sharon Bayliss, Book One in The December People Series.


An independent family-owned bookstore. The ONLY place to buy signed copies!

A locally owned book store in Austin, Texas.

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without. 

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.  

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

Destruction (Book One of The December People Series)

The Author

Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies.

Thank you, David and Sharon. That was an illuminating interview. I didn't realise how difficult it is to be a wizard. I'm looking forward to reading The Author's... I mean David's story.

That's it for this week. I'll be back on Monday. Until then, have a great week.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

River Fairchild's A Dragon's Lament & Excerpt

This week's Speculative Fiction Writer is good friend and talented writer, River Fairchild. She recently released A Dragon's Lament, book two of her Jewels of Chandra series. Please wave hello and read her thrilling excerpt.

Excerpt from “A Dragon’s Lament”

David looked at the bridge in awe, its length spanning a deep chasm of ice. He hadn’t known what to expect at the entrance to the Fire Kingdom but this wasn’t it. Not ice and snow, certainly.
“I thought there’d be fire in the Fire Kingdom,” Wilks said, his voice beginning to crack with the onset of puberty.
David gave him a quick grin. “I thought so too. Maybe it refers to the dragons and not the land.”
Dragons. A childhood fantasy on Earth but here… David shook his head. The world of Chandra had many qualities he’d once thought of as fantasy. Magic, wizards, dragons, and who knew what else.
“Looks like we have to cross it,” David said as he dragged his thoughts back to the current situation.
The bridge swayed in the wind, the simple rope construction coated with ice. As David looked closer at the icicles hanging like globs of Spanish moss on an oak tree, he saw the frayed pieces of rope. Would it hold their combined weight? Maybe it would be better to go one at a time.
“I’ll go first,” David said. “Don’t send anyone else over till I get off on the other side.”
“I should test it first.” Rhone crossed his meaty arms over his chest, his snout wiggling in indignation. “It’s too dangerous to risk you.”
David smiled at the warrior. “Not this time. If it doesn’t work, it won’t matter anyway. Besides, I need you at the rear to help anybody having trouble.”
He didn’t want to think about the possibility of someone slipping off the side and falling into the deep ravine. At least their death would be quick.
Rhone nodded his acceptance but his snout hadn’t quit twitching—a sure sign he wasn’t happy with the decision.
“I’ll go second,” Mira said, defying anybody to contradict her. “I’ll bring Wilks and Prince with me too. All of us together don’t weigh much more than you.”
“That’s reasonable.” David spoke in a mild voice, struggling to keep the smile off his face. The woman may look like a Barbie doll but she had guts of steel.
David took his first tentative steps onto the loosely woven rope, grabbing the single rope on one side that served as a handrail. It was too wide to hold on with both hands outstretched. His foot slithered sideways as he put his full weight on it but he found traction with his second step.


Magic is real. So is betrayal. 

David enters the Fire Kingdom and events shift from bad to worse. He learns a shocking truth about the dragons, a truth destined to block his efforts to retrieve the lost magic of Shaylar from the ruling Council. After a cave-in and injuries force a rescue, David finds himself more isolated than before as personal concerns scatter his trusted advisors and the wizard who led him there abandons him.

The head of the dragon Council negotiates separate deals with both David and his father, sowing further discord between them. David's close friend, Lothan, disappears into the caves and doesn't return. A group of dissidents kidnap Wilks, the child empath David is sworn to protect. With no options left, he accepts the Council's demands to help them in their centuries-old conflict, risking a war which might kill them all.

Even if David manages to win, there's no guarantee the dragons will let him leave the region alive. They don't want the Kingdom of Shaylar to rise again and will stop at nothing to see it remain a pile of dust.

Purchase it here: Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble / iBookstore.

River Fairchild is somewhat odd, brandishes a dry sense of humor, owned by several cats. Lives in a fantasy world. A fabricator of magic. Makes stuff up and spins tales about it. Believes in Faerie crossings and never staying in one place for very long. Speculative Fiction wordsmith. The secret to her stories? Spread lies, blend in truths, add a pinch of snark and a dash of tears. Escape into her world. She left the porch light on so you can find your way down the rabbit hole. 

You can find River here.

Thank you, River. What a tantalizing excerpt. Having already read book one, I'm looking forward to the second. Another book for my ever increasing TBR list!

I'll be back next week. Until then, happy reading and writing.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Books: Reading Challenges and Portable Magic

Last year I signed up for Goodreads's reading challenge for the first time. The challenge was simple - state how many books you'd like to read by the end of the year and keep track of them via Goodreads. By entering each book you read into your Goodreads profile, a handy little widget kept track of how many you'd read, how many you still had to read, and how far ahead or behind you were.

My target in 2013 was 52. Unfortunately, for a myriad of reasons I failed. It wasn't a massive fail - I still read 38 books. This year I'm way ahead, having read 25 already. Technically, the last four and my current read are all novellas from a collection. If I wanted to be obsessive about it, I should enter them as one read. Even if I do that, I'm still two books ahead.

When I started the challenge last year, I was worried I would become obsessive and that would take away some of the pleasure of reading. I actually think it has done the opposite. It means that no matter what is happening, I make time for reading. Not only does that help me as a writer, it's also a great way to relax and escape the problems of every day life.

If you haven't signed up for the Goodreads challenge, it's never to late. Sign up now and enter all the books you've already read so far this year. Pop the widget on your blog sidebar or website and watch your percentage grow.

I'm over at the Untethered Realms site today, talking about Stephen King, books and their uniquely portable magic. Drop by if you have time. I'd love to know what your favourite Stephen King quote is.

I'll be back on Wednesday, when the always cool River Fairchild will be this week's Speculative Fiction Writer.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Vicki Keire - Speculative Fiction Writer

This week's Speculative Fiction Writer is paranormal author, Vicki Keire. She's visiting us all the way from Central Florida.

Hi, Vicki. Thank you for stopping by my blog today. Pull up a seat and grab yourself a refreshing drink. Here we go:

Q: Are you a morning or night person?

I’m a night owl by nature. I love the feeling of the world being asleep, and that there’s nothing but me and the stars.

Q: If I were to visit you, what would you cook me?

I make killer pancakes from scratch. You can choose your own add-ins, like chocolate chips, pecans, strawberries- whatever’s on hand.

Q: If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be?

Okay, that’s a bit broad. Cleaning things. I hate that. I don’t mind cooking, and there’s something wonderful about sheets fresh from the dryer.

Q: What unique or quirky habit do you have?

I’m really good at reading people. I can usually tell right away if a person is trustworthy or not.

Q: You've published six books, three of them in a series. How important do you think writing a trilogy or series of books is to a writer's success?

When I first started writing, trilogies were all the rage. I think they’ve fallen a bit out of fashion since then. My very first book was pretty successful, to my complete surprise! I had a lot of fan pressure to keep writing, so turning it into a trilogy seemed natural. In retrospect, I think the series would have been better off if I’d let the story dictate how many volumes I wrote. I think it’s much more important to write your story in as many or as few books as it calls for, rather than try to fit it into some trend.

Q: Would you like to share an excerpt from The Chronicles of Nowhere with us?

 Love to!

Chapter One:  Cinema Apocalypse

That night, as she so often did, Chloe Burke dreamed of fire.
            In her dream it was not the fire itself that was frightening. Rather, it was the sensation of burning noxious metal ripped from deep within the earth and stretched thin as air, hot as supernovas. The acrid heat threatened, at any moment, to coalesce back into metal, trapping her and crushing her lungs, making it impossible to run or scream.
            In her dream, there was also the boy.
            He came to her, moving low to the ground.  Her first vision of him was always of wild dark hair and a pale, determined face peering up at her from the side of her bed.  Moving slowly, with a feline grace that made him seem older, surer, than he must have been, he slid into her bed with blankets like strips of jewels stitched together. Pinning her firmly with one arm, she could not move at all, even though the smell of fire crept slowly but surely across her senses.
            “Stay still, Chloe, and do not speak,” he whispered. “My uncle will come for us soon, he told me so. We are to remain as still as possible, so as not to attract their notice. The wards will hold until he gets your mother out.”
            She wanted to speak. She wanted, badly, to scream and thrash, but for some reason, in the dream, she could not. His command, his hand upon her, made it impossible.
            She turned to him, mute and frightened. His eyes shifted colors, flecks of greens, blues, and even gold boring into hers. She never forgot his eyes, not ever, not even as she grew up and learned to agree with her parents, that it was just a very bad, recurring nightmare, the result of a childhood fever. She never forgot the eyes too vivid, too desperate to be called hazel. Sparks.  His eyes were sparks in the void of her nightmare, waiting to catch and burn.
            “Chloe,” he whispered, and the room around them exploded into a ring of fire.  There were shapes in the fire, of people who were wrong, who were stretched too thin and who undulated with the flames.  Their hands were flattened and sharp with fingers and teeth like razors, and she knew they had to get out.  There were no adults to save them now.  She did not cry out as the boy dragged her out of her bed.  His slim body blocked her from the flames, his hands a strange alchemy of object, motion, and light.  He cut through blood-colored flames with a single flare of gold, with a strength and steadiness that did not match his age, and walked through them, past razor-sharp hands that reached for them.  He brought her to a place thick with the smell of forest and river where her mother waited, catching her up in the smothering embrace frightened parents reserve for their children.  As she looked over her mother’s shoulder, she saw, through what looked like an arched, open door, a world engulfed in flames.  There were tears on her cheeks, and she didn’t know why, except that a world was burning, her world, and there was nothing she could do.

Q: You recently published a standalone paranormal novel, Daughter of Glass. How different was the process of writing it, given it was a standalone book?

Daughter of Glass started out as a spin-off novella set in the same universe as my trilogy. It quickly grew into a novel in its own right. The world was already built, and there were characters who “visited” from the trilogy. I found it a lot easier to write because the story arc, being a stand-alone, was much tighter. Also, I approached it as a chance to expand the already-established universe, and that was a lot of fun.

Q: What is the most useful piece of writing advice you've been given?

Don’t focus on marketing your novel until it’s written. Unless you have a finished novel in hand, or at least something you’re comfortable showing to beta readers, your total focus should be on writing that novel and improving your craft. Otherwise, it’s very easy to let the hunt for agents, presses, or Indie publishing distract you from finishing your book.

Q: What is your next project?

Currently I’m writing a new adult romance tentatively titled “Broken Compass, Bright Stars.” Being me, there’s a dark twist to it, of course. Love and madness- that’s the best way to describe it.

Author Bio

Vicki Keire grew up in a 19th Century haunted house in the Deep South full of books, secret rooms, abandoned coal chutes, and plenty of places to get into trouble with her siblings. She holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English Literature, and is A.B.D. with specializations in Eighteenth Century British Literature, Romanticism, and Postcolonial Theory. She spent the last decade teaching writing and literature at the university level while slipping paranormal fiction in between the pages of her textbooks.

When not reading and writing about all things paranormal, she indulges in her eclectic musical tastes, enjoys other people's cooking, keeps vampire hours, and adds to her massive stockpile of quirky t-shirts and designer notebooks. She'd rather burn the laundry than fold it. She believes that when an author wins the Newberry, he or she gets a secret lifetime pass to Neverland. She is fond of odd jewelry, bottle trees, and lost causes. She still lives in the Deep South with her husband, two children, and pets, but is pretty sure her house isn't haunted. A person can't be so lucky twice.

Author Links: Blog / Facebook / Goodreads / Twitter / CuriosityQuills Press

Thank you, Vicki. It was wonderful having you here today. Those pancakes sound delicious. Your number one piece of writing advice is spot on. We can promote ourselves as writers all day long, but none of that matters unless we've written the books.

Well that's it for this week. After the madness of last month, I'm trying to limit my blogging schedule this month. Time for writing. I'll be back on Monday. Until then, happy reading and writing. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Book Releases Galore

April has been and gone. Hello, May. I don't know about you, but I feel like I have a plethora of items to catch up on. I have a lot of book releases to share.

River Fairchild released not one, but two books.

A Dragon’s Lament, book 2 of the Jewels of Chandra series.

Magic is real. So is betrayal. 

David enters the Fire Kingdom and events shift from bad to worse. He learns a shocking truth about the dragons, a truth destined to block his efforts to retrieve the lost magic of Shaylar from the ruling Council. After a cave-in and injuries force a rescue, David finds himself more isolated than before as personal concerns scatter his trusted advisors and the wizard who led him there abandons him.

The head of the dragon Council negotiates separate deals with both David and his father, sowing further discord between them. David's close friend, Lothan, disappears into the caves and doesn't return. A group of dissidents kidnap Wilks, the child empath David is sworn to protect. With no options left, he accepts the Council's demands to help them in their centuries-old conflict, risking a war which might kill them all.

Even if David manages to win, there's no guarantee the dragons will let him leave the region alive. They don't want the Kingdom of Shaylar to rise again and will stop at nothing to see it remain a pile of dust.

Purchase it here: Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble / iBookstore.

Living the Afterlife: A Death and Chronos Flash Fiction Collection.

Thirty stories filled with laughter and mishaps as a Harley-riding Death and anachronistic Chronos create havoc in Purgatory and on Earth. A host of Immortals join in the misadventures.

Find out what happens when Death teaches War how to bowl. Can Chronos fix his blunder when he loses a year? What is Gaia going to do when she discovers the invisible sheep? Can you win playing poker with Evil?

Step into their world. The Afterlife will never be the same.

Available here: FREE at Smashwords / .99 at Amazon US / Amazon UK

Donna Hosie released book one in her The Children of Camelot Series, giving her her first number one ranking at Amazon.

Sixteen-year-old Mila Roth wants to be normal. It’s a phrase that has been drilled into her by her mother since she was born.

But Mila Roth is anything but normal. For sixteen years her parents have hidden a secret from her. For Mila was born one thousand years ago in the land of Logres, and far from being a math teacher and a housewife, Mila’s parents are the awakened King Arthur and Gorian druid queen, Morgana.

Two worlds, one thousand years apart. And those worlds are about to collide.

The spirit of the malevolent Lady of the Lake has been contained for sixteen years in the fabled Ring of Morgana. When the ring curses Mila’s younger sister, Lilly, the Roth family has no choice but to return Mila to the land of her birth as they face a battle against time itself.

Accompanied by her best friend, Rustin, Mila will have to decide whether to defy those she loves in order to save her sister. Should she trust the Gorian druids and the mysterious Melehan? What is the true cost to Mila’s heart as she strives to master the purple flame? And why have her mother and father denied the truth of her origins for so long?

For she alone has the combined power of royalty and druid magic within her.

And now only Mila can save Lilly and Logres.

Purchase it here: Amazon US /Amazon UK

Graeme Ing released an audio version of his stunning YA fantasy novel, Ocean of Dust.

Fourteen-year old Lissa is snatched from her home and finds herself a slave on a trading ship traveling on a waterless ocean of nothing but gray dust. A feisty, curious and intelligent girl, her desire to explore the ship earns her the hatred of the cruel first officer, Farq.

Fascinated by the ocean of dust, Lissa becomes embroiled in its mysteries, sensing things that the crew cannot, while cryptic whispers in her head are leading her toward a destiny linked to the dust itself. Only one man aboard can help her make sense of her new talent, but can she trust him? All is not as it seems, and she must unravel the clues before it's too late.

When a sinister plot casts her adrift on the barren ocean, her best friend is left in the hands of the treacherous crew. Everything hinges upon her courage, quick wits, and her ability to master her new talent.

Available here: Audiobook: AudibleAmazon, iTunes

Mary Pax has some exciting new extras for fans of her Backworlds series. Visit Pardeep Station and take part in her What Backworlds Character Are You? quiz or find out what your Backworlds name would be. In case you wondered, I'm Craze and my Backworlds name is Zamoy of Doka.

Finally, Susan Kaye Quinn is part of a thrilling new YA Dystopian release, called What Tomorrow May Bring.

Follow 11 authors into 11 dystopian tomorrows, where the dark portions of our humanity have taken hold of today, where the fabric of society is torn and greed consumes us all. Follow us down a dark path.

And find out what tomorrow may bring.

Open Minds, Susan Kaye Quinn
The Moon Dwellers, David Estes
Prison Nation, Jenni Merritt
Daynight, Megan Thomason
Stitch, Samantha Durante
The Annihilation of Foreverland, Tony Bertauski
The Girls from Alcyone, Cary Caffrey
The Narrowing Path, David J. Normoyle
The Rain, Joseph A. Turkot
Virulent: The Release, Shelbi Wescott
External Forces, Deborah Rix

Purchase it here: Amazon US / Amazon UK

Well that's it for releases. Apologies if I've missed anyone. Do you have any releases or news you'd like to share?

Friday, 2 May 2014

Launch Day: Hedge Witch by Simon Kewin

Today I'm taking part in the launch party for Simon Kewin's YA fantasy novel Hedge Witch. Congratulations, Simon!

Fifteen year-old Cait Weerd has no idea she's being sought by the undain: sorcerous creatures that feed off the spirit of the living. She doesn't know they need her blood to survive. She doesn't even know she's a witch, descended from a long line of witches. Cait Weerd doesn't know a lot, really, but all that's about to change.

At Manchester Central Library she's caught up in sudden violence. In the chaos she's given an old book that's been hidden there. Given it and told to run. Hide the book or destroy it. The book contains all the secrets of the undains' existence. They and their human servants want to find it as much as they want to find her.

Cait learns the fates of two worlds are at stake. Just what she needs. Along with definitely-not-a-boyfriend Danny, she has to decide what the hell to do. Run, fight or hope it all goes away.

It's only then she learns who she really is, along with the terrible truth of what the undain have been doing in our world all this time...

The first three chapters of the book are available as a free taster to download in Kindle or ePub format.

In addition, if you fancy winning a copy of the complete book, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below to be in with a shot at five copies in either Kindle or ePub format...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Simon is also giving away Witching Hour - a collection of three witchy short stories - to all partygoers as part of the celebrations. Grab your copy now!

Contains the stories: The Standing Stones of Erelong, A Sorcerous Mist and Slieau Whallian.

Available in these formats: Kindle | ePUB.

Simon Kewin is a fantasy and SF writer, author of Hedge Witch, Engn, The Genehunter and multifarious short stories and poems.

Find him here.

Other News

A to Z has come to an end. Anyone who took part must be blogged out by now. I know I am, and I didn't do anywhere near as much visiting on behave of Untethered Realms as I should have.

Did you do A to Z? How did it go?

May has arrived. I plan to do as much writing as possible. I also have a weeks holiday at the end of the month, which I plan to split between writing and a trip to London. I'm seeing the first rebooted Star Trek film at the Royal Albert Hall, with a live performance of the soundtrack. I'm really looking forward to it.

What are your plans for May?