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Archive for the ‘Romantic Suspense’ Category

the-stranger-final-coverThe Stranger is the second book in Anna del Mar’s Wounded Warrior series. However, each book is standalone with new, different characters.
Having read the first book, The Asset, all I can say is that The Stranger is another tour de force from del Mar. Once again, she delivers an addictive romantic suspense read with a compelling, emotionally charged plot and engaging, likable characters whom you will root for—not to mention an explosive, passionate love story filled with dangerous twists and turns.
Treacherous circumstances related to the fact that her sister has gone missing bring sassy, hot-tempered architect Summer Silva to the Alaskan wilderness, only to end up freezing and stranded in the middle of a fast-approaching snowstorm.
Enters former military pilot Alaskan native Seth Erickson, who happens to be passing by in his truck on his way to his cabin when he spots Summer and comes to the rescue. However, it isn’t that easy. From the minute our alpha hero speaks with her, he becomes suspicious of her presence there, and quickly assumes she’s been sent there to spy on his family business. But he’s found a match in Summer, for she’s as quick to deliver comebacks as he is…and as quick to surprise him, too. That same night, as a result of her rare “condition,” Seth ends up having more than he bargains for. Soon after, Summer discovers that someone is trying to murder her.
The Alaskan wilderness, a cold-blooded killer on the loose, and murder bring them together, but they will need to trust each other if they want to get of this alive, something that doesn’t come easy for either of them.
This was a fabulous fast-paced read, simply addictive. Sexy, with a touch of darkness, and humor to boot! But the best are the strong, sympathetic, multi-dimensional protagonists and the way their love evolves. If you haven’t discovered Anna del Mar’s books yet, you’re missing something.
Cover art published with permission from the author. 
Originally published in Blogcritics.
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The Stranger Final Cover.jpgAnna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass, military heroes who defy their limits to protect the women they love. She’s the author of The Asset, At the Brink and her newest romantic suspense, The Stranger. Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories. When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and two very opinionated cats.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The Stranger. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?   

A: The Stranger  is my third novel, my newest romantic suspense and the second book of my Wounded Warrior Series, following on the heels of the Amazon bestseller, The Asset. Just in case you’re wondering, you don’t have to read the novels of the series in order, because each book is a standalone journey.

In The Stranger, Alaskan tycoon and ex-military pilot Seth Erickson is fighting his own demons, but when he finds Summer Silva, a beautiful, warmth-loving, Miami woman stranded in the frozen wilderness, he’ll do everything in his power to keep her safe from murder, treason, and the ruthless Alaskan winter.

I wrote The Stranger after my kids dragged me out of the comfort of my writing studio. I’m not exactly the outdoor type, you know, but Alaska was totally stunning and irresistible to my writer’s mind. Hiking the backcountry, riding in tiny airplanes, floating in aluminum boats over icy lakes, it was all knew to me. I knew I wanted to drop a couple of feisty characters haunted by their demons in the middle of all that spectacular, ruthless beauty and watch them deal with the challenges as their lust turned into forever love.

Q: What do you think makes a good romantic suspense? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: I think we talked about this the last time you and I sat down to chat, when The Asset was released.  My views haven’t changed. I don’t know that we can define the elements of a good romantic suspense per se, but I think strong, vivid, authentic and evolving characters make a difference, as does a well-constructed plot that challenges and defies the characters and a rich, interesting setting. In that sense, Alaska was the dream setting for a romantic suspense. In the end, the relationship is always at the center of the story and our ability to connect to those characters is key. When I write, I always want to reach out and touch the reader’s heart.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: I had a general idea of how the story was going to go when I started to write, but in The Stranger, the characters really drove the plot and created their own challenges and fireworks. In that sense, Summer and Seth’s journey was very much their own. These were two very opinionated, capable people who valued self-reliance and had no clue how much they needed each other. No bossy author was going to tell them otherwise. They had to figure it out themselves.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: I had a pretty good idea of who Summer and Seth were when I started writing. I didn’t do any character interviews, but I jolted down the basics. Summer is a warmth-loving Miami architect who went to Alaska only because her reckless younger sister ran away with a guy she met on the internet. Alaska has never been on her list of places she wanted to visit. Summer is on the fiery side, but she’s also dutiful and hardworking. As an architect, she designs plans, buildings, lives. Being out of control challenges her in every way. But Summer also has a secret, one that makes her distrustful and vulnerable in a way she hates, the secret that leads her to Seth’s bed. That secret is at the core of who she is and who she will become as she falls in love with Seth.

As to Seth, he was also very defined from the start. He’s a powerful Alaskan tycoon dealing with a quarreling family and a hostile takeover attempt. He’s also a helicopter pilot, a wounded warrior struggling to recover from injuries he sustained while serving in Afghanistan, a man haunted by his past and fighting his own demons. Seth is your classic alpha, blunt, systematic and precise, always cool and in command, a man who despises emotion and sticks to his icy logic… until he meets Summer Silva.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: Summer and Seth’s foes were people who were very close to them. In that sense, I used the values that made them two really outstanding people—like the loyalty they each have for their respective families—to play up the conflict with villains that are also traitors. At the end of the day, our greatest strengths are also our greatest weaknesses.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: I think pace and timing are important for the suspense part of the genre. I think relationship progression does the same for the romantic angle. And then there are the disruptions. Those always up the ante.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: Alaska is for sure the third protagonist of this story and I didn’t hold back. The landscape, the wildlife, the daring, it all made it into the story. I played up the contrasts, showed Seth as the master of his environment and dropped tropical Summer into one bad situation after another. She came across icy desolate roads, Bering Sea superstorms, bears, the wilderness and even a plane crash in the Alaskan Range. The tools of the trade were piled all over my desk.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: The themes were familiar to me, because my Wounded Warrior series is all about lust and love’s extraordinary healing powers. At the end of day is not about the wounds at all. It’s about the joy of redemption and the power that we all have to reclaim our lives and love with all we’ve got. At the same time, I don’t want to tell the same story twice. The Stranger is a very different novel from The Asset. And it should be.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: The craft part is in the basic techniques, grammar, punctuation, formatting, mechanics. The art part is in how it all comes together into a readable symphony. There are editors out there who can tear apart a manuscript and kill an author’s spirit. But there are also many amazingly talented editors who can help an author to claim her voice and amplify her creative thrust. I know because I work with a couple of them.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: Patience, grit and perseverance. Oh, and you have to have a story to tell. You can’t just spin words around an inert vortex.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: I hated homework when I was in school. I did it, but I didn’t like it. Writing is totally different for me. I love writing.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: If you are a romance writer, the Romance Writers of America is a must. I love their magazine and they have extensive resources available to help develop writers at all levels. I also like that they have lots of chapters in lots of places. If you have a need to hang out with other writers, check out your local chapter. There’s tons of helpful sites, books and workshops out there. Take a look, read the reviews, see which ones offer you the best fit. Finally, if at all possible, find yourself a good editor. He or she can offer personalized assistance and can make a huge difference in your rate of progress.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: Writing is a vocation, an act of love. Everything else is just hype.

***

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Naked in Havana 7Title: Naked in Havana
Author: Colin Falconer
Publisher: Coolgus Publishing
Pages: 164
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Paperback, Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

18 year old Magdalena Fuentes is lying naked next to her perfect lover when he tells her he is marrying someone else. It is soon clear her destiny lies with another man, even though she says she doesn’t believe in fate.

But fate doesn’t care whether we believe in it or not…

Havana, 1958. Magdalena Fuentes knows that Angel Macheda is the only man for her, even after he takes her virginity and then tells her he is engaged to someone else. She knows they are meant to be.

So why can she not stop thinking about Reyes Garcia? From the moment I saw you, he says, I knew there would be no one else.

From the moment I saw you, she tells him, I knew you were arrogant, conceited and rude.

Magdalena is a girl who will not let sentiment stand between her and love. But as Fidel Castro’s rebels tighten their grip around the city and she watches her family and her whole life come apart, she learns hard lessons about love and about life.

Against the backdrop of the boleristas and the gangsters, the music and the guns, Magdalena discovers just how dangerous love can be.

Naked in Havana is the first in a three part series, a sprawling epic of passion and destiny, stretching across three decades and two continents.

First Chapter:

You want Havana?

I’ll give you Havana.

I have Havana right here, in this old photograph album I keep up here on the bookshelf. It’s a little tattered and the photographs are all black and white, I can’t even see them these days without my glasses. But it’s the most precious thing I own, apart from my wedding ring. Reyes had to smuggle it out for me. I don’t have much else left of those days. I left Cuba with the clothes on my back and not much else.

Here’s my papi. Isn’t he handsome? He’s standing outside his nightclub, the Left Bank, down on La Rampa. I was sixteen then. Yes, stunning – that’s what everyone says. Being beautiful is a blessing and a curse. When you’re young you think you own your beauty like you think you own your youth. You don’t realise that you’re just borrowing both and that someday life will come to take them back. Perhaps I would have done things differently if I was smart enough to know that.

Or perhaps not. What a lowdown, spoiled bitch I was. You really want to read this? Don’t. Do yourself a favour, find some other book to read, because I swear, you’ll want to throttle me when you learn the things I did. But I learned my lesson. Take some comfort in that; life paid me back, in full.

Here’s my mother. I didn’t know her well. She died when I was ten. We are on the Malecón, by the sea wall, back in the early fifties before everything went to hell. Look how she’s holding me. She must have loved me but I can’t even remember her face now, not without this photograph to remind me.

People treat you like a princess, because they love you, because you’ve lost your mother. And because your daddy’s rich, you think it’s always going to be like that. But life always finds a way to keep us honest, that’s what I found anyway.

And if life doesn’t, death will.

But I got lucky. Reyes Garcia came along, and changed everything.

But first there was Havana.

Cuba, 1958

So there I was, naked. In Havana.

On the bed.

Angel, bless him, waited until he’d slept with me before he told me he was marrying someone else.

In fact, he waited until he’d had me on three separate occasions before breaking the good news. For now he sat there on the windowsill, smoking a cigarette, listening to the scratchy sound of Beni Moré on the old Victrola singing Santa Isabel de las Lajas. We were in his father’s apartment on San Lorenzo, where Senor Macheda brought his own mistresses: I suppose, in Angel’s mind, he was just carrying on family tradition.

My thoughts were in quite another direction. I imagined finally telling my father about us, wondered whether we would have the wedding at the club or in the garden at home. I knew papi wouldn’t agree to one of the big hotels, he hated those guys taking over his country like that.

I lay on the tangled sheets, feeling the wetness on my belly turning sticky and cold as the overhead fan stirred the treacly air. He was always careful like that, my Angel; being late home from shopping was easier to explain than being pregnant. I admired the lean bands of muscle on his chest. He was a beautiful boy, a comma of inky black hair fell over his forehead and resisted all his efforts to push it back. His half lidded eyes made him appear more sensual than he really was.

My clothes were scattered over the floor. The room smelled of sweat, sex and the French perfume my papi had bought me for my eighteenth birthday.

Angel’s hand went to his penis, stroked it casually, then he looked at me and one corner of his mouth twisted in a self satisfied grin.

‘I’m getting married,’ he said.

I raised myself on one elbow, stared at him. ‘What?’

‘Father’s idea. Nothing I can do about it.’ He shrugged his shoulders, as if this was a minor inconvenience that no one could have possibly foreseen.

‘Married? When? To who?’

He drew on his cigarette, watched the long stream of smoke as he exhaled. ‘Some girl from America. He says it’s important for the family, that it’s my duty. Can you believe it?’ He laughed. ‘My fucking father would marry me to my sister if there was a dollar in it.’

He looked at her, tilted his head, like: you should feel sorry for me, Magdalena.

‘How long have you known about this?’

Another casual shrug. He examined the tip of his cigarette, the glowing ash I would have liked to have mashed in his eye. ‘Does it matter?’

Time stopped.

I could hear the waves crashing on the Malecón, children playing football on the cobblestones in the plaza below. Someone was playing a guitar and singing, quite badly. The brown barrio girls were laughing and clapping along.

I reached for the glass of iced lime juice beside the bed and threw it at him. My aim was off. If I hadn’t been so angry it would have hit him on the head and sent him toppling down into the street. Instead it missed him by a slender few inches and smashed on the cobblestones down in the plaza. The guy playing the guitar cursed us and the girls screamed.

Angel ducked his head and ran for the door.

I looked for something else to throw. The lamp. Now the bedside table. I hauled a picture frame from the wall and hurled that as the door slammed shut behind him.

I wiped myself with his shirt and tossed that into the plaza as well. I found my clothes, got dressed. I didn’t walk out, not then, not straight away. Take deep breaths, Magdalena. Don’t let him see you cry.

I don’t know why, but when I got downstairs he was still standing by the door, naked, cupping his balls with one hand. Perhaps he was hoping that I’d calm down. You should not tell a naked girl you’re getting married to someone else and hold even the faintest hope that she will calm down anytime soon.

He saw the look on my face when I came out of the bedroom and panicked. He ran out of the door and down the steps into the plaza, bare-assed. The barrio girls started laughing and whistling, thinking this was a great joke.

Angel was trapped, halfway between me and the rest of Havana. He made to run back inside, then saw me coming down the marble staircase. I kicked him and punched him while he cowered against the wall. But how much damage can a girl do?

Not nearly enough, nothing like what he deserved.

There was a crowd gathered, hooting and cheering on the pretty chica beating on the rich kid. This was much fun as anyone had seen at that end of San Lorenzo for a while. Eventually I let him run back inside.

Luis was waiting with the car on the other side of the plaza. I kept my head down so he couldn’t see me crying and jumped in the back. He knew enough not to ask questions. He started the engine and put his foot on the gas. We headed back down San Lorenzo towards Vedado.

I stared out of the window, my hands balled into fists in my lap. I needed to calm down before I got home, I couldn’t let papi see me like this.

Angel might think he was going to marry someone else, but he was wrong.

This wasn’t over. Magdalena Fuentes would see to that.

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Naked in Havana 7Title: Naked in Havana
Author: Colin Falconer
Publisher: Coolgus Publishing
Pages: 164
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Paperback, Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

18 year old Magdalena Fuentes is lying naked next to her perfect lover when he tells her he is marrying someone else. It is soon clear her destiny lies with another man, even though she says she doesn’t believe in fate.

But fate doesn’t care whether we believe in it or not…

Havana, 1958. Magdalena Fuentes knows that Angel Macheda is the only man for her, even after he takes her virginity and then tells her he is engaged to someone else. She knows they are meant to be.

So why can she not stop thinking about Reyes Garcia? From the moment I saw you, he says, I knew there would be no one else.

From the moment I saw you, she tells him, I knew you were arrogant, conceited and rude.

Magdalena is a girl who will not let sentiment stand between her and love. But as Fidel Castro’s rebels tighten their grip around the city and she watches her family and her whole life come apart, she learns hard lessons about love abd about life.

Against the backdrop of the boleristas and the gangsters, the music and the guns, Magdalena discovers just how dangerous love can be.

Naked in Havana is the first in a three part series, a sprawling epic of passion and destiny, stretching across three decades and two continents.

First Chapter:

You want Havana?

I’ll give you Havana.

I have Havana right here, in this old photograph album I keep up here on the bookshelf. It’s a little tattered and the photographs are all black and white, I can’t even see them these days without my glasses. But it’s the most precious thing I own, apart from my wedding ring. Reyes had to smuggle it out for me. I don’t have much else left of those days. I left Cuba with the clothes on my back and not much else.

Here’s my papi. Isn’t he handsome? He’s standing outside his nightclub, the Left Bank, down on La Rampa. I was sixteen then. Yes, stunning – that’s what everyone says. Being beautiful is a blessing and a curse. When you’re young you think you own your beauty like you think you own your youth. You don’t realise that you’re just borrowing both and that someday life will come to take them back. Perhaps I would have done things differently if I was smart enough to know that.

Or perhaps not. What a lowdown, spoiled bitch I was. You really want to read this? Don’t. Do yourself a favour, find some other book to read, because I swear, you’ll want to throttle me when you learn the things I did. But I learned my lesson. Take some comfort in that; life paid me back, in full.

Here’s my mother. I didn’t know her well. She died when I was ten. We are on the Malecón, by the sea wall, back in the early fifties before everything went to hell. Look how she’s holding me. She must have loved me but I can’t even remember her face now, not without this photograph to remind me.

People treat you like a princess, because they love you, because you’ve lost your mother. And because your daddy’s rich, you think it’s always going to be like that. But life always finds a way to keep us honest, that’s what I found anyway.

And if life doesn’t, death will.

But I got lucky. Reyes Garcia came along, and changed everything.

But first there was Havana.

 

Cuba, 1958

So there I was, naked. In Havana.

On the bed.

Angel, bless him, waited until he’d slept with me before he told me he was marrying someone else.

In fact, he waited until he’d had me on three separate occasions before breaking the good news. For now he sat there on the windowsill, smoking a cigarette, listening to the scratchy sound of Beni Moré on the old Victrola singing Santa Isabel de las Lajas. We were in his father’s apartment on San Lorenzo, where Senor Macheda brought his own mistresses: I suppose, in Angel’s mind, he was just carrying on family tradition.

My thoughts were in quite another direction. I imagined finally telling my father about us, wondered whether we would have the wedding at the club or in the garden at home. I knew papi wouldn’t agree to one of the big hotels, he hated those guys taking over his country like that.

I lay on the tangled sheets, feeling the wetness on my belly turning sticky and cold as the overhead fan stirred the treacly air. He was always careful like that, my Angel; being late home from shopping was easier to explain than being pregnant. I admired the lean bands of muscle on his chest. He was a beautiful boy, a comma of inky black hair fell over his forehead and resisted all his efforts to push it back. His half lidded eyes made him appear more sensual than he really was.

My clothes were scattered over the floor. The room smelled of sweat, sex and the French perfume my papi had bought me for my eighteenth birthday.

Angel’s hand went to his penis, stroked it casually, then he looked at me and one corner of his mouth twisted in a self satisfied grin.

‘I’m getting married,’ he said.

I raised myself on one elbow, stared at him. ‘What?’

‘Father’s idea. Nothing I can do about it.’ He shrugged his shoulders, as if this was a minor inconvenience that no one could have possibly foreseen.

‘Married? When? To who?’

He drew on his cigarette, watched the long stream of smoke as he exhaled. ‘Some girl from America. He says it’s important for the family, that it’s my duty. Can you believe it?’ He laughed. ‘My fucking father would marry me to my sister if there was a dollar in it.’

He looked at her, tilted his head, like: you should feel sorry for me, Magdalena.

‘How long have you known about this?’

Another casual shrug. He examined the tip of his cigarette, the glowing ash I would have liked to have mashed in his eye. ‘Does it matter?’

Time stopped.

I could hear the waves crashing on the Malecón, children playing football on the cobblestones in the plaza below. Someone was playing a guitar and singing, quite badly. The brown barrio girls were laughing and clapping along.

I reached for the glass of iced lime juice beside the bed and threw it at him. My aim was off. If I hadn’t been so angry it would have hit him on the head and sent him toppling down into the street. Instead it missed him by a slender few inches and smashed on the cobblestones down in the plaza. The guy playing the guitar cursed us and the girls screamed.

Angel ducked his head and ran for the door.

I looked for something else to throw. The lamp. Now the bedside table. I hauled a picture frame from the wall and hurled that as the door slammed shut behind him.

I wiped myself with his shirt and tossed that into the plaza as well. I found my clothes, got dressed. I didn’t walk out, not then, not straight away. Take deep breaths, Magdalena. Don’t let him see you cry.

I don’t know why, but when I got downstairs he was still standing by the door, naked, cupping his balls with one hand. Perhaps he was hoping that I’d calm down. You should not tell a naked girl you’re getting married to someone else and hold even the faintest hope that she will calm down anytime soon.

He saw the look on my face when I came out of the bedroom and panicked. He ran out of the door and down the steps into the plaza, bare-assed. The barrio girls started laughing and whistling, thinking this was a great joke.

Angel was trapped, halfway between me and the rest of Havana. He made to run back inside, then saw me coming down the marble staircase. I kicked him and punched him while he cowered against the wall. But how much damage can a girl do?

Not nearly enough, nothing like what he deserved.

There was a crowd gathered, hooting and cheering on the pretty chica beating on the rich kid. This was much fun as anyone had seen at that end of San Lorenzo for a while. Eventually I let him run back inside.

Luis was waiting with the car on the other side of the plaza. I kept my head down so he couldn’t see me crying and jumped in the back. He knew enough not to ask questions. He started the engine and put his foot on the gas. We headed back down San Lorenzo towards Vedado.

I stared out of the window, my hands balled into fists in my lap. I needed to calm down before I got home, I couldn’t let papi see me like this.

Angel might think he was going to marry someone else, but he was wrong.

This wasn’t over. Magdalena Fuentes would see to that.

 

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Dear Romantic Fantasy Fans,

Here it is, Folks! Dora Machado’s entire Stonewiser award-winning fantasy trilogy, published by Mermaid Press, FREE on Kindle.

WHEN?  Starting today, from Saturday August 31 to Monday September 2

To get your free download NOW from the Kindle store, click on each title below. It’s as simple as that!

stonewiser-theheartofthestone-156x240Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone 


Winner of the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award for best Debut Novel

Finalist for 2009 Foreword Book of the Year Award for SFF

Between truth and deception, between justice and abuse, a stonewiser stands alone with the stones. Or so begins the stonewiser’s oath. But what happens when a rebellious stonewiser discovers that lies have tainted the stone tales?

In a world devastated by the rot’s widespread destruction, only the tales preserved in the stones can uphold the truth and defend the Goodlands. In this world, stone truth is valued above anyone’s word, and stonewisers are the only ones capable of retrieving the tales from the stones, the only link between past and present, order and chaos.

Sariah is the most gifted stonewiser of her generation, but her talent does not atone for her shortcomings. A survivor of the Guild’s brutal training, she is curious, willful and disobedient. Yet not even Sariah is prepared for what she finds when she steals into the Guild’s Sacred Vaults: A mayhem of lies and intrigues that shatters her world.

Hunted, persecuted, and betrayed, Sariah must make an unlikely alliance with Kael, a cynical rebel leader pledged to a mysterious quest of his own. The fate of their dying world depends on their courage to overcome centuries of hatred and distrust. But not even the grueling journey has prepared them for what they are about to discover. Because nothing is really as it seems, and the truth is more intricate and devastating than they ever suspected…. 

————————————————-

9780979968242 (2)Stonewiser: The Call of the Stone

Winner of the 2010 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Gold Medal for SF/F

Finalist for the 2010 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F

Sariah’s reward for revealing the stone truth: a death sentence.

The executioners have arrived and Sariah, the most powerful and controversial stonewiser of her generation, has been judged and condemned to death. For the last few months, Sariah has been hiding in the Rotten Domain, trying to find the elusive tale capable of uniting a divided people teetering on the brink of a catastrophic war. As she is dragged to the nets, where an eel rave has been stirred to maximize her execution’s gruesome spectacle, Sariah knows she cannot escape her sentence. She is guilty of the crimes for which she’s been condemned and no one, not even Kael, the Domain’s foremost rebel leader, can save her from the executioners’ righteous justice.

But Kael is more than just a formidable warrior; he is also a cunning strategist and Sariah’s steadfast lover. Risking all he has, he bargains with the greedy executioners, bribing them into delaying Sariah’s execution, buying her precious time and a last chance to realize the mysterious legacy that the stones have imposed on her. The agreement is hardly a reprieve. It encourages a mob to hunt Sariah for ransom, banishing her from the Rotten Domain and imposing heavy fines on anyone who tries to help her. Worse, it requires her to wear an irremovable, mysterious bracelet. If she doesn’t return to the executioners with the tale in hand when the allotted time expires, Kael and his kin will be ruined and the bracelet will kill her.

Hunted by the executioners, the Guild and the Shield, Sariah and Kael embark on a desperate search. Their journey will take them to the depths of the Rotten Domain, where Sariah must wise a guiding beam out of the wild tale stored in a stone-carved game. The beam will lead them through the warring Goodlands—where the rot is on the move—to the land beyond the Bastions, where a zealous people guard an ancient stone that could hold the key to their search. Along the way, Sariah and Kael must overcome deadly traps, torture, heartbreak, agonizing defeat and devastating losses in a desperate attempt to avoid war and answer the mysterious call of the stone. 

————————————————-

9780979968259Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone

 

Winner of the 2012 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Silver Medal for SF/F

Finalist for the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F

“Do you know why the stones grieve?” the woman said to Kael. “Not for a soul, I’ll tell you that much. The stones don’t grieve for the passing of a lowly woman or the madness of a smitten man. They don’t mourn death, or lost love, or broken dreams, or loneliness or despair. Yet you will make them wail. For you, the stones will weep.”

In their most perilous adventure yet, Sariah, the rogue stonewiser who stunned the world by discovering lies in the stones and defying the all-powerful Guild, and Kael, the rebel leader who against all odds loves her, must find a stolen child, the only one capable of setting rule upon chaos, preserving the future of stonewising, and defeating the rot ravaging the land. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The coveted child they seek is said to be an abomination. He is also their son.

It’s a daunting challenge. Their child is in the hands of a deceitful enemy who has fled to a mysterious ruler, a rival deity with unfathomable powers pledged to destroy the goddess and eradicate stonewising from the world. Worse yet, the land is engulfed in strife, the rot is spreading faster than ever, and Kael is haunted by a malevolent curse compelling him to kill the woman he loves.

In a dangerous journey fraught with shocking twists, Sariah and Kael must do more than defeat their foes, unravel the mystifying forces vying to control their lives, and discover the mysteries of ages past. They must challenge the stones, defy the goddess and confront their cursed fates. Because only by embracing their destinies do they stand a chance to save their child and their world.

 

For those of you audio book lovers, the first book in the series, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone is now available from Audible. Be sure to check it out!

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Dora Tapestry 1 June 2013 (480x640)About Dora Machado

Dora Machado is the award winning author of the Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, from Twilight Times Books, available July 2013. She is one of the few Latinas exploring her heritage and her world through the epic fantasy genre today. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University. She was born in Michigan and grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a bilingual fascination for writing, a love for history, and a taste for Merengue.

After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She enjoys long walks, traveling, and connecting with the amazing readers who share in her mind’s adventures. She lives in Florida with her indulging husband and three very opinionated cats. Visit her at www.DoraMachado.com.

 

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Incidental Daughter banner

Val Stasik shares a home in eternally sunny Santa Fe, NM, with her aging mixed terrier, Sugar, who allows her to sleep in his queen-size bed as well as sharpen her culinary skills for his benefit. Stasik spent many years as a writing teacher, helping other writers find their voice and tell their Val Stasikstories, and is a consultant for the Northern Virginia Writing Project. INCIDENTAL DAUGHTER is Stasik’s debut novel.

Stasik studied drama and English at the University of Pittsburgh and then transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park, graduating with high honors and a B.S. in Secondary Education, Communication. The year she attended graduate school was filled with student protests, bomb threats, and military helicopters.

Stasik became an editorial assistant for THE PHARMACOLOGIST in Bethesda. She then moved to Harpers Ferry where she taught for five years and participated in the Old Opera House Theatre onstage and behind the scenes.

In Harrisburg, PA, she became a groom and mutuels clerk at Penn National Race Track and, later, a commercial lines underwriter for Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company. Right before her son was born, Three Mile Island happened. So far, neither glows in the dark.

In Virginia, Stasik enjoyed the enriching experience of teaching writing and literature in the Loudoun County Public School system, instructed other teachers in assessing student writings, and helped develop various English curricula. She also participated in the Fauquier Community Theatre on and off stage. From 2002-2004, she developed a part-time hypnosis practice. She then retired to Santa Fe where she has been writing—a few film scripts that have been produced (Café Destiny, on the Web,  Spring 2013, http://www.cafe-destiny.com) and a couple of award-winning play scripts.

Stasik is currently a member of the New Mexico Book Association, the New Mexico Book Co-Op; Southwest Writers; the Independent Book Publishers Association; the Small Publishers’ Association of North America; the Small Publishers, Artists, and Writers Network; and Pennwriters.

Visit her website at www.ValerieStasik.com.

Incidental DaughterWould you call yourself a born writer?

From the time I could talk I’ve loved stories. When I grew older and more literate, I daydreamed many stories and finally started writing them. My exposure to film at an early age—my grandmother took me to the movies weekly back when there were double features—contributed to my love of story. Other factors that contributed to my writing were my involvement in theater, film, and teaching writing.

What was your inspiration for Incidental Daughter?

Although Incidental Daughter is purely fiction, many of the details are from my own life and the lives of friends who also were born as a result of the stresses of World War II.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

How fear motivates negative choices. Family relationships. Secrets. Misconceptions. Narcissism. Social classes. Conspiracies (in my next novel).

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

I’ve had the idea for several years, even started planning it out and writing it sometime ago, then abandoned it. Then about two years ago, I reframed the whole story and began writing it. I finished it, including self-editing, in December 2012.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I am disciplined when I’m writing. This doesn’t mean that I write every day as I did when I was younger. However, stories are continually percolating in my head, and I will capture these images in notes for my writing. I usually start off with a very rough outline. I usually know where I’m going and am clear about where to start a story. I have to be careful that my left brain doesn’t get in the way of the early creative stages. I create very detailed characters and develop a strong sense of their relationships. I do some research in the early stages, but do more as needed throughout the writing process. My day when I’m drafting begins after breakfast. I will reread the last couple of pages of what I’ve written and then write for about two to three hours before breaking for lunch. I then return to my writing for a few more hours. If I’m on a roll, I’ll continue after dinner. I don’t often do this because fatigue works against the process.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Creating enough plot twists to make the story suspenseful. I think I succeeded because many readers have told me they couldn’t put the book down. I also found switching point of view a challenge. Although McMurtry gets away with switching point of view within a scene, I realized I could not get away with that without confusing my readers.

What do you love most about being an author?

Giving my readers a story they can love.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

There is a revolution happening in publishing these days that gives an author more creative control and bigger royalties—self-publishing. I found the process quite challenging and would not recommend it to every author. I had the support of an exceptional critique group, beta readers, editing help, and used a print-on-demand company that was best for me (CreateSpace). I was able to create my own cover and design the interior myself. I enjoy the graphic side of the process. The real work, however, is promoting the novel. It’s as much work as writing the book. I find, though, that other authors who have gone the traditional route or hired PR people if they’ve self-published are doing as much as I am and are not as happy with the results. I have enjoyed every stage of writing and publishing—learning all the aspects of publishing, developing new skills, and sharing my knowledge with fellow authors. I will definitely continue self-publishing.

Where can we find you on the web?

Visit me at

http://www.valeriestasik.com

https://www.facebook.com/vstasik

https://twitter.com/VStasik

http://www.amazon.com/author/valstasik

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6907934.Val_Stasik

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Chasing Victory is a delightful debut novel by first-time author Joanne Jaytanie.

Our beautiful protagonist, Victory Winters, is a veterinarian and geneticist specializing in molecular biology for Claremont Research in Poulsbo, Washington. She also has a special innate ability she keeps secret: she has almost a telepathic gift to communicate with animals. As head of her department, she’s currently researching canine DNA and its potential benefits to humans.

Then one day, Victory receives a cryptic call from Jeffrey, an old friend and colleague who she hasn’t seen or spoken to in 5 years. Like her, he’s also a veterinarian and geneticist working for a competitor company, Biotec. Jeffrey insists he needs her help and asks her to meet him in a picnic spot. But, to her horror, once there she secretly witnesses his murder.

Soon after, she’s approached by a representative of Biotec with an offer to work for them. They claim that Jeffrey is working overseas, and they want her to take his place. Though she doesn’t trust them, she decides to play along in order to investigate her friend’s murder. But things go unexpectedly wrong when instead she’s kidnapped to a secluded island and forced to do research, injecting humans with wolf DNA. Unbeknown to Victory at first, the madman CEO wants to create the perfect invincible army.

Thus, Victory is soon pulled into a vortex of intrigue, blackmail and murder. Together with the hero, Tristan Farraday, a naval officer who also has telepathic abilities and who is sent undercover to investigate Biotec’s experiments, Victory must find a way to stop the company from carrying out their horrific plans and to get out of the island alive.

This was a fun, light, entertaining read! They story is compelling and the hero and heroine sympathetic. Victory is intelligent, yet caring and sensitive. Tristan is the perfect combination, not too alpha, not too soft. The action moves at a pretty quick pace, and there’s a lot of action and romantic suspense to keep readers turning pages. One thing I especially enjoyed about this story is that the love between Victory and Tristan develops gradually and organically. I certainly look forward to reading more works from this author. Recommended for fans of paranormal romance!

Visit the author’s website: http://www.joannejaytanie.com/

Purchase from Amazon.

My review previously appeared on Blogcritics.

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