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MindGames_med
Mind Games
 is the much awaited third installment in the new adult mystery series, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. Talented author Christine Amsden keeps delivering a great story filled with interesting characters, romance, mystery, and the paranormal, lots of it.

In this episode, Cassie still doesn’t know why Evan broke her heart two months ago, and the mystery gnaws at her big time. She decides to keep busy and make herself useful at the sheriff’s department. She also meets charismatic mind mage Matthew Blair…much to Evan’s distaste. At the same time, Eagle Rock is teeming with hate from the religious community, a reaction to the recent murder of a much-esteemed pastor’s wife by what the people believe was a sorcerer. The town is about to snap, with tensions between the magical and non-magical communities.

And in the center of all this, is Matthew, whom Cassie finds irresistible. But can she trust him? According to Evan, no way. But then, Evan isn’t the most objective person when it comes to Cassie. Evan and Cassie have a history, as well as a secret connection, that keeps them bound in spite of themselves.

Will Cassie discover the real culprit or culprits behind the pastor’s wife’s murder, as well as the real face behind the anti-magical propaganda and demonstrations? Most importantly, will she wake up and see Matthew for who he really is…and find the courage to face Evan for what he did to her—when she finds out?

I love this series and thoroughly enjoyed this instalment! There’s something about Cassie’s voice that makes her really likable. She has a good heart and is witty, too. But best of all, she is just an ordinary girl next door trying to do her best in spite of everything that happens around her—which is usually pretty remarkable, as is often the case in paranormal stories.

Her relationship with Evan keeps evolving organically and there’s a major revelation in this book about their connection and the secret behind their rival families. Matthew is a great addition to this episode, adding tension with his charismatic personality and inciting sparks of jealousy from Evan. The conflict between the religious and the magical communities is also well done.

Mind Games kept me reading late into the night, wondering what would happen next. If you haven’t read any books in this series before, I urge you to pick up book one first, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. The books are best read in order. You won’t be disappointed.

Purchase links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Connect with the author on the web: 

Website / Newsletter / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Google+

My review was originally published on Blogcritics

 

 

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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!

————————————————-

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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Dear Romantic Fantasy Fans,

Mark your calendars!

For the first time ever and for a limited time, Dora Machado’s entire Stonewiser award-winning fantasy trilogy, published by Mermaid Press, will be available FREE on Kindle.

WHEN? From Saturday August 31 to Monday September 2

stonewiser-theheartofthestone-156x240

Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Stonewiser%3A%20The%20Heart%20of%20the%20Stone

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

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Stonewiser%3A+The+Call+of+the+Stone&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AStonewiser%3A+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

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Stonewiser%3A+The+Lament+of+the+Stone&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AStonewiser%3A+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!

————————————————-

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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IMG_3703Kat Flannery has loved writing ever since she was a girl. She is often seen jotting her ideas down in a little black book. When not writing, or researching, Kat enjoys snuggling on her couch with a hot chocolate and a great book.

Her first novel, CHASING CLOVERS became an Amazon’s bestseller in Historical and Western romance. This is Kat’s second book, and she is currently hard at work on the third.

When not focusing on her creative passions, Kat is busy with her three boys and doting husband.

Find the author on the web:

Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Website

Q: Congrats on the release of your novel, Kat! Tell us why readers should buy LAKOTA HONOR.

A: LAKOTA HONOR is set in the late 1800’s yet deals with the same issues people face today. The story of Otakatay and Nora will appeal to everyone because the problems they face are real. There is suspense, drama, action and romance.

Q: What makes a good Paranormal Historical Western Romance?

A: That’s a lot of genres. J I choose to write my characters with real problems and real emotions. I strive to have the balance of the two and give my readers good three dimensional characters that they can connect with. The Paranormal genre can be tricky to write. I didn’t want to write about vampires or werewolves, they’ve been done thousands of times. I wanted to write about something that had a huge effect on history like the Salem Witch Trials. With this genre, you can give the reader a little bit of history, a fantasy, and romance.

Q: What is a regular writing day like for you?

A: Once the kids are off to school, I grab my coffee and do a bit of marketing before I delve into writing. I generally write while the kids are at school and late in the evening. This sometimes doesn’t work and when I’m in the middle of a book I generally write late at night and into the early hours of the morning.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about being an author?

A: Being able to tell a story that will touch people’s lives. What I find fascinating is that no matter what year I chose to write my novels in people haven’t changed. This allows me to connect to my readers on a personal level and I love that.

Q: What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received that you’d like to pass to other authors?

A: Not to give up. In my early years as a writer I knew that this was what I wanted to do but I didn’t know how to get there. So I took classes, and went back to school. I researched until my eyes couldn’t focus on the page in front of me. I asked questions. I never turned down criticism, even when it hurt, even when I was told not to pursue this career. I read every rejection letter and I made notes. I took what they said and applied it to my writing. I worked my butt off. In this industry there is always something to learn, and just because I am published doesn’t mean I’ll stop learning.

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00066]

Fate has brought them together…but will a promise tear them a part?

Otakatay is hired to kill the witkowin-crazy women. A deadly bounty hunter, he has found his last victim in timid healer Nora Rushton. Marked as a witch, Nora uses her gift to heal those in need, and the bounty hunter is one of them. Will the desire to complete his promise drive him to kill her, or will the kindness he sees in her blue eyes push him to be the man he once was?

Nora and Otakatay must fight for their freedom in a time when race and discrimination are a threat and innocence holds no ground.

Purchase LAKOTA HONOR on AMAZON US /  AMAZON CA / AMAZON UK 

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Buy Link: http://damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615723553

http://damnationbooks.com/people.php?author=79

All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s Books available at Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Kathryn+Meyer+Griffith

Now, first off, let me say, that by no means, am I or have I ever been a…witch. Nothing against Wicca but I’m just not one. I have no magical powers or cannot foresee the future. Nada.

I have seen a ghost, though. Right after my Great Aunt Mary passed away, the night before her burial, I saw her ghost in my parent’s hallway (I was sixteen and still at home) and, let me tell you, it scared the bejesus out of me. But she was just looking for my grandmother, whom she’d lived the last ten years of her life with, and I knew she meant me no harm. It was still a shock. She appeared in a ghostly halo of mist at the end of the hallway beckoning me…in German. I couldn’t spell German but I got the idea. She was lost, didn’t know she was dead and was looking for my grandmother, whom she’d loved so much in life. I ran, hid in my bed and pretended it’d never happened. Hey, but I know it did.

I have, though, always loved the eerie, the unexplained. The spooky. Horror.

Anyway, we’re talking about my book WitchesRevised Author’s Edition.

In 1991 I’d already been writing for about twenty years, on and off (though there was a long gap where I didn’t write because of a divorce, the finding of a full time job to support myself and my son, and a remarriage…life) when I contracted my fourth novel, my first of four to Zebra paperbacks, a romantic horror called Vampire Blood, about a family of vampires who ran a movie theater in a small town. I’d already had a fifth novel, The Last Vampire, completed and in with them when they asked me for another novel.

Got anything about witches, they asked. Witches are hot right now. Hmmm.

For many years I’d played around with an idea about a present day white witch who finds a diary of a long dead witch – either good or bad, I hadn’t decided – in her old house’s attic, or basement, or under a floorboard. The story would have been about the good witch reliving the other dead witch’s life through the diary. I’d always called that possible book Rachel’s Diary in my head.

So in 1991 or 1992 I began the witch book and it quickly metamorphosed into a story of a present day good witch, Amanda Givens,  who’s yanked into a perilous seventeenth century past by an evil witch, Rachel Coxe, to take her place…and die a horrible death as an accused witch. I had the idea then to actually send Amanda into the past to live (for a while) the other witch’s life. Of course, being a good witch, Amanda, changes the other witch’s unsavory reputation but still ends up in a prison waiting to die for Rachel’s earlier crimes. The story, simply put, would be how Amanda overcomes her trials and tribulations, finds her lost eternal love again in the past, and finds a way to return to the present alive. In the process, learning some important life lessons about accepting what life has dealt her and the value of sisters, friendships and the love of those around her. Or good versus evil and, in the end, good wins and is rewarded. I also threw in a few touches of humor in the form of three precocious witches’ familiars…a mind-reading and speaking cat called Amadeus, a mouse, Tituba, and a tiny bat, Gibbiewackett …all with feisty personalities and quirks of their own.

I was excited about the book as I was writing it and when it was done, pleased with it, but had no idea that over the years it’d become the jewel of my writing career and the book that my fans would love the best of all my books. I loved the cat face cover Zebra did for it (a rare occurrence as I’d learned the hard way that covers weren’t always what I’d envisioned and in the early days I had no choice but to accept whatever the publisher’s gave me…and some weren’t so hot, let me tell you!).

Witches came out in 1993 and did well. I noticed soon after as I went on to publish other books that I got the most response and admiration for it. Readers loved the three sisters, Amadeus and Amanda, Gibbiewackett and Tituba. In those days I was too busy working full time as a graphic artist, living my life and writing new books to notice. It went into a second printing in 2000 and after that, sadly, went out of print. But my fans never forgot it. I’d find comments on it and discussions on the Internet…even customer reviews raving about it years and years later. I tried talking Zebra into reissuing it but after Zebra and I parted ways there was no talking them into it.

Then in 2010 when Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, the publisher, Kim Richards, asked about all (there was 7 at the time) my out-of-print Zebra and Leisure backlist novels and if I’d like to have them reissued as new paperbacks and, for the first time ever, in e-books. Sure, that’d be great! I told her. And, as they say, the rest is history. Between June 2010 and June 2012 all 7 of them (and now another 3 of my Wild Rose Press novels and two short stories from 2007) updated, rewritten and with stunning new covers will be out again. All in e-books for the first time.

Of course, that’s meant a heck of a lot of rewriting. A lot of work. Those early novels go back twenty-seven years and were first written in the days of snail mail and on an electric typewriter before the Internet, e-mails and Windows Track Changes (for editing). Oh, boy, did they need revising. As of today I can happily say they’re all rewritten now except the very first one, Evil Stalks the Night, 1984; yet even that one will be completed soon.

I’ve often been asked what I think of e-books and I have to say it feels strange, all these years later, to be so into them. I think it’s fantastic to be able to put thousands of books on one little lightweight hand-held contraption and sell them as inexpensively as we do. I started publishing e-books four years ago and have seen such great changes in even that short a time. I love the editing process now. With Track Changes it’s truly a collaborative effort between the editor and the writer and it’s taught me far more about the craft of writing than the old way of just sending off the manuscript, being asked to change certain things, but then never seeing any of those changes or the basic edits until the book was printed and in my hand. Now, no more pages added by an editor (That actually happened in Evil Stalks the Night. The editor, who I never met, added three pages of his own and I didn’t even know about it until I held the book in my hand. And the three pages didn’t make sense…ech!) that I never know about or see until the book comes out. Yeah.

With a chuckle I recall a writer’s convention I attended in 1990 – yes, that far back – and the main topic back then was…OMG the electronic books are coming! They’re going to make us authors obsolete! Print books are going to die a terrible lonely death…etc., etc. Lack and alas, what are we going to do? Ha, ha. It’s ironic that 21 years later I’m in love with e-books. They’re the future. And I think there’ll always be room for print books as well as electronic ones.

So Witches…(Damnation Books) was rereleased 2011. I’m thrilled. The cover is still of Amadeus, the cat, and Dawne Dominique did an amazing job on it. My editor, Alison O’Byrne, helped me make it a better book than eighteen years ago. Of all my novels, I’m most proud of it. It’s held up pretty well. I hope it finds many more readers and fans.

So that’s the story of Witches…the little book that wouldn’t die.

Thank you!   E-mail me at rdgriff@htc.net

*****

Kathryn Meyer Griffith has had fourteen novels and seven short stories published since 1984 with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, and now Damnation Books and Eternal Press. Her novels have been in the genres of paranormal romance, horror, romantic horror, time travel, romance, suspense, and murder mysteries. Her books: Evil Stalks the Night (1984); The Heart of the Rose (1985); Blood Forge (1989); Vampire Blood (1991); The Last Vampire (1992); Witches (1993); The Nameless One (erotic horror short story 1993); The Calling (1994); Scraps of Paper (2003); All Things Slip Away (2006); Egyptian Heart (2007); Winter’s Journey (2008); The Ice Bridge (2008); Don’t Look Back, Agnes (ghostly short story 2008); In This House (ghostly short story 2008); BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (2010); The Woman in Crimson (2010); Always & Forever (erotic contemporary short story 2011).  All in paperback – and in e-books for the first time ever – from Damnation Books and Eternal Press. Look for them. Along with her new book, Dinosaur Lake and four SPOOKY SHORT STORIES from Amazon Kindle Direct.

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Two centuries ago, the Temple Initiates made up the Order of the Dragon, named after the Great Dragon Shyrdasa that once lived within Dragon Park. Legend told that a group of knights once helped the Dragon and her unborn young. As a reward for their valor, the Dragon awarded them secret knowledge, martial powers and magic. The Dragon also chose women throughout the Hugue to serve as Dragon Maidens, bestowing upon them secrets of draconic sorcery…

Now, for the people of the Hugue, the fall season would have normally been the time of the Harvest Festival…but fruits of their work are now in danger of being destroyed. For the first time in 50 years, the Harhn, savage beasts, are arriving in terrifying numbers from Vol Theldane to wage war upon the domains of Mankind. The Hugue, not ready for war, are caught by surprise.

A brave soldier named Baudouin and Lucia, a young Dragon Maiden, are the keys to saving mankind. And at the core of it all, lies a mysterious girl they must find…

What a great start for a series! Shadows of Kings is an excellently written, impressive first novel that will be savored by fans of fantasy. Author Jack Whitsel has created a vivid, intricately-woven medieval world filled with sword and sorcery, fair maidens with mystifying powers, evil fey with dark appetites, villains readers will love to hate and heroes to fall in love with. My only complain is that there’s no romance in the story. I would have loved to see Baudouin as a romantic hero as opposed to just a hero. What can I say? I’m a romantic. This being a first novel, I’m impressed at how the author created all the characters—and there are many. I especially enjoyed the character of Lucia. I thought the scenes of her capture were quite realistic and compelling. There’s a lot of action in the story and the fight scenes are detailed without being overly graphic. In short, this is an engrossing fantasy novel for fans of the genre. Recommended.

Read an excerpt: http://jwhitsel.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/shadows-of-kings-chapter-excerpt-2/ 

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

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNL8jsdFkUM

Purchase from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Kings-Jack-Whitsel/dp/160619223X

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Please welcome my special guest, Jack Whitsel, whose debut fantasy novel, SHADOWS OF KINGS will be hitting bookshelves tomorrow!

Jack is a native Californian, but has made Oregon his home since 1982. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Finance from Portland State University, but studies medieval history in his spare time.  His favorite genres are fantasy and historical fiction with a medieval emphasis. Shadows of Kings, the first novel of the Dragon Rising Series is the love child born of these two passions. Visit his website at http://www.jackwhitsel.com.

Connect with Jack at:

Blog: http://jwhitsel.wordpress.com

Facebook fanpage: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shadows-of-Kings-Book-one-of-the-Dragon-Rising-Series/119975978113722 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackWhitsel

ABOUT SHADOWS OF KINGS:

Steel and sorcery clash as the Harhn incursion sweeps through the Hugue. Mankind faces its greatest peril without the Order Knights of legend to defend them. Crusading deep in the frontier, the Order is unaware of the savage beasts threatening their homeland as the Hugue realms muster their armies for war.

Between a cunning Harhn sorcerer, and an alliance forged with the decadent Darkfey, the horde threatens to extinguish the domains of men. Only Lord Baudouin and Lady Lucia, a Dragon Maiden from the Order, stand in the enemy’s path. One must find the strength to unify the realms. The other must discover the strength within her, while coming to terms with the agendas of her Order. But only together will there be any hope to repel the onslaught, and preserve the future for a mysterious girl they do not know.

Chapter excerpt: http://twilighttimesbooks.com/ShadowsofKings_ch1.html

INTERVIEW:

Thanks for this interview, Jack! Tell us, do you consider yourself a born writer?

No. I have always labelled myself a storyteller. Though I was putting my thoughts on paper at a young age – it was all about storytelling.

When did your love for fantasy fiction begin?

Tolkien changed everything. I was eight years old when my dad began reading the Hobbit to me. After being exposed to Goblins, Elves, and wizards…I was hooked!

What was your inspiration for Shadows of Kings?

Of all the questions that are thrown at me, that one is always the most difficult. There has never been a solitary idea or moment that brought Shadows of Kings to life. However, I have three passions in my life – medieval history, all things fantasy, and my sons. Between the three, Shadows of Kings morphed into existence.

What was the greatest challenge when writing your novel?

The discipline to  keep focused on this novel, while knowing it was just a small piece to the saga. I have a tendency to jump from book to book, so I often had to pull the reins to keep me on Shadows of Kings.

What makes a great fantasy novel?

Mechanically…stories that are character driven and have an excellent pace. But what really makes a fantasy novel great are the elements that readers can identify with on a personal level  – whether they be characters, settings, or circumstances.

Are there any authors who have influenced you as a writer?

J.R.R. Tolkien, George Orwell, Herman Hesse, Leon Uris, and Anne Rice  – all of which cover a wide variety of genres.

Are you a disciplined writer? What is a typical writing day for you?

There is no true formula. Sometimes I write, sometimes I edit. But I’m up at the crack of dawn, committing my morning hours to the craft. My trusty sidekick – a full pot of coffee.

Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a panster?

I just write. I don’t even know what panster means. I never took a writing class in college – except the mandatory prerequisite courses. I have never read a “How to write” book. And I never spent a dime at a writing workshop. And I never concern myself with grammar…that’s what we pay editors for. It may be different for non-fiction, but to write fantasy, it comes from the heart – its creation forged by imagination and passion.

How long did it take you to finish the novel?

That is hard to measure. Like I mentioned earlier, I have always worked on more than one book at a time. As a matter of fact…I’m a three-booker. One is my main focus and the other two are my side projects.

There is a lot of world building in your work. How did you create it? Do you have a system?

Avalla is a mosaic of various historical snapshots that were then twisted by my imagination. But the foundation and all future creations begin with real places from various eras.

How was the publishing process like for you?

Twilight Times Books felt right for my debut novel. After signing with them, I found that I was able to maintain a lot of control over the process. They work with fantastic editors and artists and have a full stable of award winning authors, who I’ve had the pleasure to converse and learn from over the past few months.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?

Thanks so much for allowing me to visit your site, and a big hug to Mayra for taking the time to put this interview together. Writing is an incredible journey, and the fact this is my debut novel, I feel like a babe in the woods – consumed by both fear and excitement.

To all the aspiring authors out there – Just write! Don’t worry about potential publishers, critics or agents. When you are ready and they are ready…the deal will come. Until then, just write and enjoy it.

To those about to read Shadows of Kings – Prepare for an exciting ride. I’m going to give you knights, magic and mayhem until you can’t take it anymore. I’m not here to impress you…but to entertain you. Shadows of Kings is the perfect blend of medieval grit and High Fantasy – and I’m thrilled to share it with you.

Oceans of Love,

Jack

*****

Be sure to watch the book trailer and don’t miss my review of Shadows of Kings tomorrow!

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Hi Dark Phantom, it’s been almost a year since I last joined you for a chat about my writing life. I’m really glad to be back today to tell you more about my research into witches and the witch hunts that sparked the idea for Illicit Magic and the Stella Mayweather series.

The Salem witch trials are well known for the brutality and ignorance. Many of us have heard of this period of history and the barbaric way of “encouraging” confessions. I asked myself what if the witches were really magical beings and what if the witch hunts were really to eradicate actual witches? What would happen if the years interceding then and now were quiet with no signs of witches, then suddenly there was another uprising? Would people be horrified at the accusation or the existence of witches, or neither… would they believe and be behind the witch hunts?

What surprised me most about my research was finding that a similar witch hunt had occurred in the English village of Pendle some 80 years before. Eleven people were charged with murder by witchcraft; ten were found guilty, including four members of the same family after being testified against by the nine-year-old daughter of a family, a legal precedent at the time. Pendle Hill only reappeared in the news recently when the site was being developed and a witch’s cottage was discovered along with relics of witchcraft. This period of English history is largely unknown but readers probably won’t be surprised to find that given the circumstances, Pendle has ties to Salem. Indeed, the evidence provided at Pendle was used by magistrates in Salem and it was the Pendle case that allowed the testimony of children, a crucial part of the evidence-giving eighty years later.

Finding that the Salem witch trials had roots in England was an amazing discovery for me, especially as Illicit Magic is very much a transatlantic story with roots in London and the (fictional) Yorkshire village of Hawksley, and across the pond, New York and the (fictional) US town Wilding.

That said, I didn’t want Stella Mayweather’s story to be a historical novel or too mired in the tragedy. Though the facts gave me a starting point and sparked the “what if?” questions, the novels are an adventurous romp with magic, mystery and intrigue. Though the magical powers are made up, other research involves reading up on common symbols in witchcraft so more familiar folklore lies alongside the new elements.

Illicit Magic

By Camilla Chafer

Blurb: 

More than three hundred years after the most terrifying witch hunts the world has ever known, it’s happening again. 

Racing from attack by the ruthless Brotherhood in London to the powerful witch council in New York, twenty-four-year-old novice witch Stella has to put her faith in strangers just to stay alive but she might not be any safer in their midst than from the danger she is running from. 

Sent to an extraordinary safe house by the sea to learn her craft, Stella finds there is more than one dark secret in her new family: Étoile’s sister is spoken of in fear and sadness; Marc is supposed to be a powerful witch but is missing his magic; where does the owner of their safe house vanish to every day and why does Evan have the eyes of someone not quite human? 

There is only one secret that someone will do anything to keep quiet, but whose secret is it and will Stella have to pay the price for silence? 

Amazon UK Top 10 contemporary fantasy bestseller

Amazon US Top 45 fantasy bestseller

Amazon US Top 50 contemporary fantasy bestseller

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/mzGZrI

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/iFNS1c
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/lX5PLb
Nook: http://bit.ly/jmrAO9
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/iEShAn

Author bio: 

Hi, I’m Camilla and I’m the author of the Stella Mayweather Series, an urban fantasy/mystery. The series starts with Illicit Magic and a lonely young woman, Stella, who has been caught up in a terrifying witch hunt and is whisked thousands of miles away to what she thinks is safety to learn her craft. The series is a blend of magic, mystery and romance with a splash of humour – and while the girls really do go all out to save themselves, there’s always a hunky guy or two on hand to help them out. The series continues with Unruly Magic and Devious Magic, both out now. 

I live in London, England, but I try to travel as often as I can – I’ve been all over the US and Europe. In my day job I’m a journalist and editor so I write for magazines, newspapers and websites throughout the world (my favourite assignment was spending a week riding rollercoasters – if you listen carefully you can probably still hear me screaming) but writing fiction has always been my first love. 

Web links: 

Website: www.camillachafer.com

Blog: www.camillachafer.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CamillaChafer

Twitter: @camillawrites 


 

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I was asked to write about how I’ve managed to write ten books in the past three years and the system I use to keep myself organized and productive.

The first part would be having the ideas to write about.  I actually have a note book filled with ideas and partial plots. This way I never run out of stories to write.  If a scene pops into my head I scribble it down so when I get to that point it’s there and I’m not struggling to remember.

When I’m racing with the keyboard to get a story finished (not usually as fast as my muse would like) if I come to a part that doesn’t work or I’m drawing a blank on where to take the characters at that point, I leave it blank to come back to later.  Most times there are two or three scenes missing in each story when I’ve reached the end.  I close the file and set it aside for a month or more and then when I go back to sigh over the silly typo’s and mistakes it’s easier to put those scenes in after reading the entire plot.

I have also abandoned a story I’m working on if another one keeps distracting me with scenes and plots.  It just makes more sense to run with one that is playing out in your head from start to finish.  As a result of doing this I have written complete books in a month that just kept flowing for me.

The great part to having all these ideas and hoping from one to the next is I never get tired or frustrated with one particular set of characters.  If they’re not co-operating and helping me get them on the page then I have several other options sitting on the side lines waiting for their stories to be told.

The downside to doing this is I always end up with multiple books signed and edits due one right after the other.  If I could just figure out how to get through that editing crunch of having releases close together in a smooth, stress free way I’d be a much happier me. J  I had one release in January this year and have books coming out in March, May, July and September so far.  Editing mayhem…

 

From Beltane Magic – Book I the Magic Seasons

Step into a world of magic and passions….

 

Take a dash of spice, heat it

Add a flash of magic and watch the sparks fly

Toss in a killer that’s targeting women

Add a handful of witches from all paths to stir it all together…

Each were willing to spend their lives alone and safe; until they’re touched by Beltane Magic.

Can they survive their pasts to be together as they struggle to find a killer before the wheel turns again?

Extended Blurb:

Leena is a woman that is gentle in everything, her personality and moods. She always feels maternal with her closest friends and would go out of their way to look after any one of them. Her ability of controlling the elements and knowledge of plants make her magic abilities strong and unbreakable.  She is a leader at work and in life, always working hard to keep those around her close, but never allowing anyone to get too close. 

To the outside world she is just Leena Duncan, a quiet woman who works a normal job and lived a quiet life.

A few times a year she can openly use her magical gifts at celebrations within a small community of people she calls friends.

Having lived through the horrors that can come from the hands of someone you thought loved you; she decided never loving again would prevent more emotional scarring.

It takes one man at a rainy Beltane celebration to change everything she is comfortable with and one killer to change her safe world.

           

Owen is a man that reflects humor and cavalier vibrations to others, he is gentle and caring as is his ability to draw negative and heal others. If you didn’t know him, you would never realize he came from violence.  Knowing how the real world can be, he has vowed to never put himself into the position, or allow anyone else that could open up the world he has carefully sealed shut forever.  

He creates worlds and puts them on paper to entertain others.  After years of using his imagination he finds out his friends can do things he thought only his mind created.  

For his entire adult life Owen Grey has always played it safe and kept to his own world of writing, never getting too close to anyone.

Having lived a nightmare growing up he would never take the chance of repeating history.  He may write about happily-ever-after, but knows it is pure fantasy and doesn’t exist.

Until her . . .  

Book II – The Solstice Heat  to be released in March 2012

Book III- Harvest Dreams to be released in May 2012

About the author:

Jacqueline Paige is a world class multi-tasker being a mother to five adventurous and unpredictable children, a cafe manager and having a colossal imagination that allows her to step outside of reality into a world of paranormal romance —with just a touch of suspense.

Jacqueline lives in Ontario, Canada and avoids the ever changing weather of the region she lives in by creating other worlds to fall into in her stories of all things paranormal.

Her first book was published in 2009 and since then has published ten.  She is always writing and currently has more than a dozen stories in one stage or another of the writing process.

http://jacqpaige.webs.com/

http://jacqpaige.blogspot.com/

Excerpt : From Beltane Magic

http://jacqpaige.webs.com/beltanemagicexcerpt.htm

Purchase links: 

http://www.classactbooks.com/From-Beltane-Magic-by-Jacqueline-Paige-PDF_p_320.html

http://www.amazon.com/Beltane-Magic-Seasons-ebook/dp/B006XNI92O/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1331129184&sr=8-5

 

 

 

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Last time I was here I mentioned my upcoming YA paranormal romance novel Entangled and my favorite cookbook Health by Chocolate.

I’m back to announce the release of Entangled and share a chocolate recipe (courtesy of Victoria Laine).

Entangled in Brief

Twin witches become trapped in one body after a resurrection spell goes wrong. Cause of death: eating poisoned chocolates meant for another girl.

Non-Poisoned Chocolates

Below you’ll find a recipe that’s not only safe, it’s healthy!

These puppies kept me and my co-workers going during the Christmas rush in our shipping department. It’s a burst of energy in a ball!

Triple Omega Energy Balls

Makes: 16 ping-pong sized balls

(c) 2007 Nanette Samol

2 Tbsp flax seeds (ground or unground)
2 Tbsp hulled hemp seeds
1 cup walnuts
¾ cup apricots
¾ cup figs or raisins
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ – 1tsp maca, ginseng or cinnamon
¼ cup white sesame seeds (or ground coconut flakes)
½ cup non-dairy chocolate chips for melting

Directions:

Place all ingredients, except sesame seeds and chocolate chips into a food processor and process several minutes (usually at least two) with an ‘S’ blade, until mixture forms a moist mass.

Roll mixture into balls and set on a plate.

Quickly dip each ball in a bowl of water and roll in the sesame seeds to coat or in melted chocolate.
Enjoy!

Thanks to Victoria Laine for the use of her recipe and photo, and to Mayra Calvani for welcoming me back.
Entangled is now available for ebook on amazon, b&n, and smashwords. View the book trailer to find out more.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Entangled-Spellbound-ebook/dp/B007BCORJK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1329759762&sr=8-2
Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/entangled-nikki-jefford/1108938948?ean=2940013963412&itm=1&usri=nikki+jefford
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/134582

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