Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dystopian Giveaway Hop

Dystopian Giveaway Hop 
 International Stop!

Who loves those Dystopian novels?  I know I do!  

For those of you unaware of what dystopian is here you go:  "A dystopia is a community or society, usually fictional, that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. It is the opposite of a utopia. Such societies appear in many works of fiction, particularly in stories set in a speculative future. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization,totalitarian governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society. Elements of dystopias may vary from environmental to political and social issues. Dystopian societies have culminated in a broad series of sub-genres of fiction and are often used to raise awareness of real-world issues regarding society, environment, politics, economics, religion, psychology, spirituality, or technology that, if left unaddressed, could potentially lead to a dystopia-like condition in the future. For this reason, dystopias have taken the form of a multitude of speculations, such as pollution, poverty, societal collapse, political repression, or totalitarianism."
for my, dystopian gives me a bit of hope that, while my world may not be a great place, it could be a lot worse.  Although some dystopian novels I can see as a realistic future (scary...) not too far off.
For this giveaway stop I have a sci fi/dystopian novel:

They took everything: her family, her home, her childhood.

By the age of nineteen, Raven has spent most of her life in the sprawling slums of America, fighting as a rebel against the dictatorship. When the rebellion steals an experimental time-travel device, she travels back five decades to the year 2013. Her plan: assassinate the future dictator when he is still young and vulnerable, long before he comes to power. She must move fast to reshape history, because agents from her own time are on her trail, ready to execute her on sight. 

These are ebook books copies.  There will be two winners. 

No cheating.  I verify all entries so please be honest.

Winner will be contacted within 48 of the giveaway ending so I ask that they respond back within 48 hours of being contacted or they will forfeit their winnings to someone else.

Have fun!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Broken Dolls by BR Kingsolver tour. Review, Except and guest post

Broken Dolls
BR Kingsolver

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Suspense 
Number of pages: 235
Cover Artist: Mia Darien
Private investigator RB Kendrick makes her living nailing cheating spouses, digging up other dirt to help in a divorce, finding long-lost relatives, and occasionally sniffing out criminal activity and fraud.

When she takes a job to find a missing girl, she has no idea she is headed for the most dangerous case of her career. Usually, her ability to read minds gives her an edge. But when the people she’s hunting are also telepaths, that advantage is limited.

The search takes her into the dark underbelly of telepathic society, where anything, and anyone, is for sale. She discovers that telepathic women and girls are being trafficked as the ultimate sex slaves.

With people trying to kill her, she’s on the run, not knowing who she can trust. Will she find the missing girl, or become a victim herself?


  I walked into the restaurant to meet my prospective client, scanned the diners and slipped into the booth with her. She started to say something, then her eyes widened and nothing came out of her open mouth. 
“Mrs. Sanders? I’m RB Kendrick,” I said, extending my hand. 
“Oh, my,” she breathed. “The description you gave me is wholly inadequate.” She stared at me for a minute, then said, “Copper.” 

The Curse Giver by Dora Machado with Guest Post

The Curse Giver
Dora Machado

Genre: Fantasy, Romance,
 Publisher: Twilight Times Books
 ISBN: 978-1-60619-289-4  ASIN: B00DSUQL4I
 Number of pages: 420   Word Count: 165,000 aprox.
 Cover Artist: Brad Fraunfelter

Lusielle's bleak but orderly life as a remedy mixer is shattered when her husband betrays her and she is sentenced to die for a crime she didn't commit. She's on the pyre, about to be burned, when a stranger breaks through the crowd and rescues her from the flames.

Brennus, Lord of Laonia is the last of his line. He is caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that has murdered his kin, doomed his people and embittered his life. To defeat the curse, he must hunt a birthmark and kill the woman who bears it in the foulest of ways. Lusielle bears such a mark.

Stalked by intrigue and confounded by the forbidden passion flaring between them, predator and prey must come together to defeat not only the vile curse, but also the curse giver who has already conjured their ends.  


For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, visit

The Story Behind The Curse Giver
Dora Machado

            The Curse Giver was an accident, a professional indiscretion, if you will, conceived during one of my little escapades, and born out of unchecked passion. Yep, I might as well come clean. Even the most disciplined writer can be unfaithful to her projects, and no matter how thoroughly taken one is with one's current novel, the danger for a tangent is always there when venturing into the world of research.
            So there I was, researching one book, working hard to finalize the Stonewiser series, when I came across this insidious concept that kept disrupting my train of thought.
            Now, to understand the story behind The Curse Giver, you must understand me and my writing habits. I'm not easily distracted. When I'm writing a novel, my brain goes into hyper mode. I'm disciplined, motivated and focused to the point of obsession, which is why The Curse Giver was such a surprise to me.
            The subject of curses has always fascinated me, not only because curses are such a vital part of magic and fantasy, but also because they are so prevalent to the human experience. To be honest, I had always been intrigued by the subject, but didn't delve into it, until one very late night—or was it very early morning?—when the wind rattled my window as a coastal storm blew in from the sea.
            The clay tablets that popped up on my screen dated from 600 BC and were part of the library of Nineveh, also known as the library of Ashurbanipal, the oldest surviving library of cuneiform tablets. This is the same collection that gave us the famous Gilgamesh epic. Visually, the tablets weren't much to look at, chicken scratches on clay. But the translated words had an impact on me.
"May all these [gods] curse him with a curse that cannot be relieved, terrible and merciless, as long as he lives, may they let his name, his seed, be carried off from the land, may they put his flesh in a dog’s mouth.”
            I know, hardly an inspiration for most. Me? I immediately thought of the man who had been thus cursed, of the pain and hardship such curse would bring upon him and his people, of the character that eventually became Bren, Lord of Laonia in The Curse Giver.
            From there on, the curses flowed before my eyes, mysterious ones from ancient civilizations in Egypt, India and the Far East; thin lead tablets dating from the Greco-Roman world, judicial prayers, secret invocations, warnings and love spells that streamed into my consciousness. I knew I should get back to my original research, and yet I was smitten with the subject.
            There were curses quoted from the Bible, medieval curses, real and forgeries, Viking, Celtic, Germanic, Visigoth, Mayan, Incan, Hopi, you name it. There were ancient curses but also modern curses, some associated with Santeria, voodoo and the 21 Divisions, religions that are common in the Dominican Republic where I grew up.
            Who would cast these curses and why? What kind of creature could be capable of such powers? What would motivate a person to curse another one? As I explored these questions, a character profile began to emerge in my mind, someone whose understanding of good and evil was very different from my own.
            Sorting through the research, I could see that some curses had practical applications to make sure people did what they were told. They served as alternate forms of law enforcement in lawless societies. Some were obviously malicious. They were meant to frighten and intimidate. Some were more like venting or wishful thinking. It turns out that mankind has been casting curses since the beginning of time and will probably continue for as long as we have the imagination and faith to do so.
            A new question formed in my mind. Once cursed, what could a person do to defend himself? A third character emerged from this question, Lusielle, a common remedy mixer, a healer of hearts and bodies, someone who didn't realize the scope of her own power until it began to transform her life.
            Eventually, I wrestled myself out of the trance. I had a book to write and a series to complete. I had deadlines. But my little detour had made an impact. The concepts were at work in my subconscious, coalescing into a new novel, fashioning these powerful characters who demanded their own story. My encounter with curses had been but a slight detour from my research plan, a tiny deviation, an indiscretion to my schedule, but the seed had been planted and The Curse Giver thrived, even if I didn't know it yet.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Release Day Blitz-The Hag of the Wind by Laura J Underwood (w/ excerpt and bonus info)

The Hag of the Wind
 by Laura J. Underwood

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Eggplant Literary Productions, Inc.
Date of Publication: 10/28/2013
Word Count: 22,000

Cover Artist: Roan Carter

Ginny Ni’Cooley just wants a peaceful, quiet life. But quiet is hard to maintain when one’s mentor is a ghost who died a lush and a lech. And peace isn’t to be found when the locals expect their local mageborn to banish monsters and help infertile couples conceive.

 It’s that last bit that is posing the most trouble for Ginny of late. Marman the pig- herder--once an unwelcome suitor--now wants Ginny to help him and his wife conceive, and doesn’t believe her when she says it’s beyond her powers.

When the couple try to solve their problem on their own, they manage to unleash a demon imprisoned years ago. Now, their actions have placed all of Connorscroft in danger and no matter how much peace and quiet Ginny wants, she’s got to find a way to defeat the demon before it destroys her village, the villagers and makes good on its threat to kill her.

Short Excerpt: 
"The Hag of the Wind 
 She makes such a din 
 While blawing aboot the lea… 

She summons the gale, 
And the rain and the hail, 
And rattles the windows with glee…" 

 Auld Liam sat on the steps of Talon's Tavern, singing that song at the top of his lungs as Ginny Ni'Cooley walked briskly past on her way to the baker's shop. 

 "Howt awa," Manus MacGreeley wind whispered to her ears. "'Tis not even noon, and Auld Liam is already deep in his cups." 

Ginny frowned and ignored the mage spirit of her former mentor. She knew better than to answer him when there were so many about. The folk who lived in Conorscroft thought that she had banished Manus' spirit long ago. And while he was wise enough to stay invisible, she just wished he would not speak. What if someone heard him? It would do her reputation as the protector of this small hamlet no end of ill. 

For that matter, she wished that Auld Liam would stop his off key wailing. Thistle howled along bouncing up and down enthusiastically on the end of his tether. At least Thistle and I are alike in mind that Auld Liam has a voice like a crow, she thought. 

The old man grinned, revealing his one remaining tooth, and howled back, causing a number of the folk in the market square to turn and stare. 

Ginny winced and hurried on, dragging Thistle. She should have left the moor terrier locked in the cottage while she traded her eggs for bread, but the last time she did so, he found her store of dried beef and ate until he looked like he would pop. Thistle snapped fiercely at the old man who just laughed and shouted, "Yer dog has nae ear fae good music, Mistress Ni'Cooley." 

Ginny wanted to say that neither did Auld Liam. Instead, she sought distance in the hopes of getting Thistle to calm down before they reached the bakery. 

 "Uh, oh," Manus whispered. "Better make haste, lass." 

"What?" Ginny said before she thought better. She looked over her shoulder expectantly. 

Two figures were practically running across the square towards her now. One was a tall, willowy young man with pale hair, dull squinty eyes and a pocked, pasty face streaked with mud. The other was a short stocky woman with a florid face who heaved so much her breath fluttered the ragged strands of salt and pepper hair. 

Horns, Ginny thought. It was Marman MacSty and his wife Wycie Ni'Clachan, the last two people in Conorscroft that she wanted to deal with at the moment. 

Ginny tried not to catch their eyes, but it was too late. Marman waved an arm and shouted loudly, "Ginny, Ginny! Wait!" 

 She grimaced, crossed her arms as she stopped, and turned to face them fully, wearing her sternest frown. 

"Yes?" she asked stiffly, hoping they would remain downwind and save her the trouble of having to use magic to change it. Marman mucked pigs for the young Laird MacFarr, and the stench of the sty was always on him. And since he and Wycie had wed over a year ago, the odor clung to her as well. 

"I need that potion I asked ye about," Marman said. 

Ginny frowned. "Marman, I don't make potions. I have told you this before." 

"But, we wants a baby," Marman said. "A little-un ta carry on me name. I know you can help us. Master MacFarr says that's what mageborn do best—help folks with things they need." 

He reached for Wycie's hand as he spoke. Wycie glared at Ginny as though measuring the mage woman's worth in a fight. Ginny could not help but wonder what she had done to make Wycie despise her so. 

 It was on the tip of Ginny's tongue to say that some folks should not have children, but she stopped short of speaking those thoughts aloud. Without softening her expression, she looked at Marman and shook her head. 

"Marman, I have also told you that I cannot make an infertile woman or man fertile. That is something that only the gods can change. Now, I really must be on my way." 

 "But you have to help us, mage woman!" Wycie suddenly snarled. "You have to, you have to, you have to!" 

"Wycie," Marman said as though trying to sooth her. "Wheesht, woman, don't be so rude to Mistress Ginny…" 

Wycie jerked free of Marman and fixed Ginny with such a fiery stare of rage that Ginny took a step back, uncertain as to what Wycie might do while angry. Thistle growled a warning. Wycie made fists of her hands, pumping them up and down like a small child having a tantrum. 

 "You're mageborn so it's your job," Wycie added. She stopped pumping her hands to cross her arms and glare. 

 "It is not a matter of obligation, of which I have none," Ginny said. "It is a matter of ability. I cannot help you, Wycie. I'm sorry, but no magic can." 

"She lies!" Wycie said, and with a shout, she stooped down and scooped up a clod that resembled horse droppings. "Mageborn can do anything. She lies because she doesn't think we're worthy!" Wycie flung the clod at Ginny and shrieked. 

 "Adhar clach!" Ginny hissed, barely in time. The clod smacked into a shield of air just inches from Ginny's face and splattered harmlessly. 

"You have to make me a baby!" Wycie screamed and flung herself at Ginny. 

Thistle lunged at the woman, snapping his jaws. It was all Ginny could do to hold the moor terrier back, much less cast a spell in her own defense. Fortunately, Marman must have realized that attacking the only mageborn for several leagues around Conorscroft would not be wise. He threw his arms around Wycie's middle and stopped her flight. She continued to scream like a beansidhe and flailed the air with her fists. Ginny saw small stones at her feet jumping up and down as though reacting to Wycie's rage. She flicked mage senses at the pig man's wife and felt a faint hint of latent mage essence laced strongly with the element of stone. She can't be mageborn, Ginny thought, though in truth, many Keltorans possessed a hint of the blood in them, left over from ancient time. It just did not always manifest when they matured. 

"Stupid, stupid, lying bogie woman!" Wycie shrieked. "You will make me a baby or I'll…I'll…" 

Ginny turned on her heels and fled through the thickening crowd of onlookers. She had not expected so many to be in from the fields this early in the day, but there they were, gathered like carrion crows watching a carcass for signs of life. 

"I'll make you pay!" Wycie wailed. "Make her pay! Liar! Bogie woman! All mageborn are liars!" 

Ginny made a mental note to herself to take the long path back to Tamhasg Wood to avoid another confrontation with Wycie.

About the Author:

Laura J. Underwood has been writing and publishing as far back as she can

remember. Her earliest stories were selected by Marion Zimmer Bradley for the

SWORD AND SORCERESS anthologies, and her first novel ARD MAGISTER

came out in 2002 from Yard Dog Press. Since then she has seen the publication

of nearly 300 short stories, novels, novellas and other stuff. She currently lives in

East Tennessee where she works as a librarian.


About the characters in The Hag of the Wind

Ginny and Manus are not new characters to most of my readers. They first appeared in "The Bargain," the leading short story in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress 14. Marion was in many ways, my literary mother, and she seemed to adore their adventures because she bought two more for Sword and Sorceress and one for the magazine. In some ways, it was writing for the Sword and Sorceress series that gave birth to these two. Marion was always looking for interesting characters, as well as women who could stand on their own two feet, so I tried to write a tale in which a woman who just wants a little peace and quiet finds her life constantly interrupted by the machinations of a spirit who happens to also have been her mentor in life. The problem was that the spirit had gotten himself into a bit of a pickle by making a bargain with a creature of the shadow worlds, and while Ginny could have let him pay the price (it would certainly have gotten him out of her hair), she knew that she owed him for setting her free of her own life.

About the “mageborn” in The Hag of the Wind

Mageborn are something of an enigma. The power is passed throughthe generations in the blood, and it awakens usually when a person hits their teens. Some find their power earlier, some later and some not at all, though they sometimes have the ability to sense magic and spellwork--justdepends on the bloodline from which they descend. Their awareness of the magic that is part of the world starts to manifest then, and while some embrace it, others find themselves hating it. Being mageborn slows the aging process, creating a race of folk who often seem to live forever. Not all mageborn are created equal. They are as varied as the creatures from which they descended. Some bloodlines might birth a mage or two in every generation, while others might not see a mageborn birth for several generations.

About the demons in The Hag of the Wind

One of the things I like playing around with in nearly all the stories about Ard-Taebh (the world in the story) are the demons. They can be everything from tiny little bogie imps all the way up to a Greater Demon. For instance, in my novels Dragon's Tongue and WanderingLark, there is a demon who loves music. He is a servant to a BloodMage, and a creature of prodigious appetite. However, when he encounters music, he becomes sort of a nice fellow. Other demons are not so nice, though. In a few stories, I have introduced a group ofsmall demons that are literally black squirrels with red eyes, and very ravenous. They tend to hang around old ruins or really thick forests and drop on unsuspecting folks who dare to venture into their territory.

About the Celtic feel of The Hag of the Wind’s setting

My characters living in Keltora are inspired by Scottish and Irish folklore. I count myself a fair to middling scholar when it comes to the Celtic World, and most of what interested me were the folk tales and fairytales such as the Red Branch and the Tain bo Cuailnge (literally, The Cattle Raid of Cooley). I read a lot of the old "collections" of tales that were gathered in the 1700s (many of which were actually made up by the man who wrote them or retold in his own way), but I also spent timesifting through older encounters in poetry and balladry. The true tales are almost lost in time because the Celts did not write down things so much as passed them from generation to generation as oral traditions. I spent some time in Scotland, walking around the highlands and visiting remote places, and many of those places are reflected in my stories. Of course, being born and raised in East Tennessee, I have hiked mountains and valleys and seen a lot of scenery that reminds me of Scotland. My ancestors who settled in the remote areas were of Scottish and English descent (the ones who were not actually "native" to the area, that is) and possessed a strong oral tradition. So in some ways, writing the Celtic themes into my stories is just my way of honoring my ancestry. Writers are, in a way, a reflection of what they experience, and I am pleased to say many of my walks around heather-covered moors and climbs across rough-cut bens has
given me so much to write about.