Friday, February 28, 2014

Twist of Luck, Book Two in the Luck Series Blog Tour!

Welcome to my blog tour! 
We have some exciting prizes to win in honor of my new book, Twist of Luck, which releases on March 1st, 2014!

Here is the synopsis:

Megan finally has her luck back and hopes that life will return to normal. Unfortunately, the magical world has other plans. Suddenly, she finds she has fairies follow her to provide security, dragons become a constant threat, and an imp tracks her every move. As if that wasn't enough, her luck begins to manifest itself in ways she could never imagine.

Every day a different blog will post a question. When you find the answer, send an email to me at:

I will draw a winner each day from those that got it correct. You can find the answers on Wikipedia.

The answers will also be posted the next day on the next post in the tour, along with the next trivia question. Some questions deal with colors of the rainbow. Other questions deal with leprechauns. 

And, of course, at the end of the rainbow, there's a pot of gold. In that pot of gold will be an Amazon gift card! Those that answer questions by sending me an email will be entered to win the gift card on the last day.

And don't forget to purchase a copy of book one, Stolen Luck. The great news is that it's $.99 right now! That link is here

Good luck!!

Tomorrow is the first stop on the blog tour! Check it out at:

Here is the rest of the schedule:

March 11th:
March 12th:
March 13th:
March 14th:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ruins By Dan Wells

 I think my favorite experience with any of Dan's books was asking for  "I Don't Want to Kill You" in every bookstore in Australia until I finally get my hands on it.  I got some really strange looks in response. I have enjoyed all of his series and I can't wait to read this book.

Partials is a post-apocalyptic story of the survivors from the Partial war. Ruins is the third installment of the sequence and I can't wait to get my hands on the book.  Here is the synopsis:

Kira, Samm, and Marcus fight to prevent a final war between Partials and humans in the gripping final installment in the Partials Sequence, a series that combines the thrilling action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Blade Runner and The Stand.
There is no avoiding it—the war to decide the fate of both humans and Partials is at hand. Both sides hold in their possession a weapon that could destroy the other, and Kira Walker has precious little time to prevent that from happening. She has one chance to save both species and the world with them, but it will only come at great personal cost. 

Sounds awesome, right?
Dan Wells writes in a variety of genres, from dark humor to science fiction to supernatural thriller. Born in Utah, he spent his early years reading and writing. He is the author of thePartials series and the John Cleaver series. He has been nominated for both the Hugo and the Campbell Award, and has won two Parsec Awards for his podcast Writing Excuses. 

Want to know more about him? Check out the interview below. 

You have written post-apocolayptic books and psychological thrillers. Which genre do you enjoy writing more? 

I've also written historicals, a horror comedy, a magepunk, a corporate satire, and a zombie superhero western. The genre I enjoy writing most is the genre I haven't tried yet.

You suddenly find out you’re a partial with special abilities. What would they be?

Using only the Partial models described in the books, and theorizing how I could go this long without knowing I was Partial, I'd say my powers are very similar to the other "sleeper" Partials in the series: basically human, but a little faster and a little less prone to illness and possessing a weak connection to the link that I've never really gotten a chance to use before. Though I get sick ALL THE TIME, so obviously that's not true. Maybe I was engineered as a disease vector? Back when I designed the Partials I almost gave them photosynthesis, because I thought it would be such a great power for a soldier to have: no need to haul around food, you can just soak up the sun. If I could do that I'd write outside, and never have to stop for lunch. That would be awesome. 

Have you ever based your characters on people you know?

All the time. No one character is a direct analogue to any other person, though, except in the case of corpses--I will often put my friends into books as dead bodies, or people slated to quickly become such. The living characters tend to be amalgams of people I know, taking a bit here and a bit there to build a familiar yet unique personality.

Does Kira like bacon? 

Now that you mention it, I doubt Kira's ever had bacon, at least not since the Break. Most of the protein they eat in East Meadow comes from fish, and even the chicken Xochi prepares in the first book is considered a delicacy. Some of the farms keep cows and goats for milk, so the people occasionally eat those, but pigs are a whole different thing. On the other hand, Samm talks about hunting wild pigs on the mainland, and it's not unlikely that there would be some wild pigs on Long Island as well--they're an incredibly durable species, and all you'd really need is one breeding pair on the island to eventually fill it with roving herds. I'm going to guess that Kira's never had the chance, and then I'm going to further imagine a scene where Samm finds a wild boar and cooks it up and introduces Kira to the glories of bacon. She'll love it. Assuming they both survive the third book.*evil grin* 

Which group of people would you belong to in your Partials books? Would you be with Kira figuring out the cure? The Voice?

Honestly, I would probably try to get into the Senate, attempting to help people that way, and then get stomped on for my complete political un-savvy-ness, and end up inthe Voice raging against the machine. The Voice is certainly the group I identified with the most while writing, but I don't think I'd go straight to rebellion until I'd tried and failed the more peaceful route. 

Did you ever get so far into the books that when you looked up, you were surprised to see that the world was still in one piece?

No, I tend to have the opposite problem--I'll walk around, see the non-ruined world around me, and think "that would be a good shelter." "That would be a good place to send a salvage party." "That storefront would totally end up as a den of wild dogs." Everywhere I go, I destroy the world with my mind. 

What is a typical day for you?


Or, if you want a real answer: wake up, help get the kids to school, then do some yoga with my wife and 2-year-old (doing yoga with a 2-year-old is less exact than the people in the video want it to be). After that I'll take an hour or two to do Internet stuff, like twitter and facebook and goodreads and answering emails. Then I'll get to real work, which depending on the day can be either writing, editing, outlining, or research. On rare occasions I'll take the entire day and write a blog post. I work from home, in an office I can lock, and with a short break for lunch I tend to finish up around 5:30. Then it's dinner, helping kids with homework, putting kids to bed, and the playing games or watching movies or reading at night. It's a pretty fun work day, but you'll notice that none of it requires me to go outside or interact with other humans--I have to go out of my way to find reasons to leave the house, or I'll never see the sun. 

Which character out of all your books do you relate to the most?

Probably Kira. She knows what she wants and she goes for it, and she's feels things very strongly, and sometimes she's wrong and she screws up and she has to fix it. People always ask how I could write a teenage girl accurately, given that I've never been one, to which I say: people are just people, and Kira is as much like me as anyone I've ever written. 

Have any of your books given you nightmares?

You've got it backward: my nightmares give me books. 

If you had to choose between the last book on earth and a bacon sandwich, which would you choose?

Depends on the book. And on the sandwich, for that matter. If one of them looks particularly awesome, I could see myself going either way. I have to make these decisions on a case by case basis. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Bard's Gift by Meredith Mansfield

 Welcome to this leg of Meredith's blog tour! Don't forget to enter below for a chance to win prizes!

Here is a short synopsis of the book:
Sixteen-year-old Astrid keeps mostly to herself, finding companionship in the stories her grandmother used to tell. She's too shy even to talk in front of Torolf, the young man she secretly dreams of. Then the Norse god of eloquence appears in Astrid's dreams and forces her to drink the Mead of Poetry. Suddenly, she's compelled to tell her stories. In public. Even in front of Torolf. Astrid is meant to use these stories to guide her people from starvation in Greenland to a better future in Markland. A place legends claim is the abode of dragons. But not all of her fierce and independent people are willing to follow a mere girl, even the chieftain's daughter--especially when she counsels peace. Some have other plans for the new land and want to use Astrid and her gift as a tool. Torolf never dreamed that quiet Astrid could choose him. Now he's stranded in Iceland as she sails in the opposite direction. To attain the promise of a future with Astrid, he'll have to attempt the impossible--sailing alone across the North Atlantic. Together, they might defy the plans the gods have made for them and change the fate of more than just their own people.

How THE BARD'S GIFT Came to Be

Where do story ideas come from? Many of the seeds of my stories go so far back that I can't put a finger on just how they started. THE BARD'S GIFT is not one of those stories. I can trace its development very clearly. Here's how it happened.

Back in February of 2010, a writing challenge was issued on one of the writers' forums to which I belong (Hatrack River Writers' Workshop). This isn't uncommon. We have several challenges a year. I've only entered a few because they're almost all for short fiction--often very short--and, well, I don't write short well. The last thing I started that was intended to be a short story or maybe a novella is now almost 90,000 words long. However, if an idea comes to me, I will give one of these challenges a try, mostly just to stretch myself. 

Some of these challenges have a trigger or writing prompt. The trigger for this one was "Slave to the flame" and I came up with a story about the first dragon to learn to breathe fire, initially titled "First Flame." It was written as a fable.
My story didn't do very well in the challenge, partly because I killed off the main character (a dragon). There was nothing else I could do in the word-count allowed for the challenge (3,000 words). The voters also didn't think he was really a slave to the flame.
Freed from the constraints of the challenge, I added some more to the ending which allowed the main character to survive, although badly wounded. But, it was still a fable. So, I created a framing story, about a girl with the gift of telling the exactly right story at the exactly right time. I put her in a desperate situation and let her tell the fable. This version was 5,000 words long, 4,600 of which was the fable.
But, it left me with a lot of questions. How had the girl come by this ability? How had they gotten into this desperate situation? And, of course, what would happen next? 

Some of the things in that framing story made me think it was meant to be in a Norse setting, but not in the Norse homeland. So, I did some research and eventually, in 2012, I wrote it as a young adult novel. That original story is still there. It makes up Chapter 36. Here's a taste:


Astrid drew a deep breath. "Some dragons can breathe fire. Did you know that? They couldn't always breathe fire, though. And while some dragons, like Fafnir, are known to be smart, they weren't at one time. 

"It all goes back to the time of Wyreth the Wise. Now Wyreth was small for a dragon. He could do well enough on his own, but he only survived the dragons' mating season because he was quick and because he was smarter than the other dragons. And maybe because he was stubborn, too.

"When there were many dragons together he was always last for everything. Dragon society is built entirely on who can bully everybody else. If you're bigger or stronger than the others, you eat first, you get the best and sunniest sleeping spots, and, if you're a male, you get most of the females come mating season." She stole a quick look at Torolf under her lashes, here. "Wyreth was the smallest dragon. So he always ate last, had the worst and coldest sleeping spot, and none of the females even looked at him."

"Whenever Wyreth killed a deer or a pig--cattle were entirely too big for him--one of the other dragons swooped in and stole it from him. The worst offender was Zilthss, Wyreth's egg brother and the bane of his existence. Zilthss was big and strong, more than strong enough to kill his own prey, but he preferred stealing Wyreth's whenever he could. 

Because he was big and well-fed, Zilthss slept in one of the best spots and his scales were a beautiful burnished copper. All the females turned their heads when Zilthss flew by, even out of mating season. Wyreth's scales were an unremarkable dull metallic red."

Several of the children stole a glance at the shiny red scales behind Astrid.

"Because he was quick and smart, Wyreth usually dragged his kill into the dense brush, where the other dragons wouldn't easily fit and gulped down as much as he could before they powered their way through to steal his meat. Bolting his food like that gave Wyreth indigestion, but it was better than starving.

"Now, at the time of this story, Wyreth had had a particularly bad week. Mating season was about to begin and the male dragons were more than usually belligerent. Zilthss had trailed Wyreth around like a hound on a scent and stolen everything he killed--even the pitiful little rabbit--before Wyreth could get so much as a bite.

"After losing the rabbit, Wyreth flapped off feeling sorry for himself. He had learned long ago that if he flew up the steep slopes of the cone-shaped mountain, the others wouldn't follow him. There was nothing of interest there, certainly no game to hunt. 

These dragons were creatures of mountain forests and no trees grew on the glassy slopes of that mountain, but at the top there was a round, rocky valley where the stones themselves were warm, even at night. Since Wyreth couldn't get any of the warm, sunny sleeping spots in the rookery, he'd taken to coming up here. The sun was strong, but the heat from the ground was stronger still and comforting.

"That is, it was usually comforting, but not today, because Wyreth's stomach was so empty. Even the warm rocks and the sun on his spread-out wings couldn't ease Wyreth to sleep when his stomach growled so loudly. In desperation, Wyreth chewed on the yellow rocks. The yellow ones were much softer than the shiny black ones; a dragon could break his teeth on those. Some pieces of the yellow rock were small enough to swallow. Not exactly nourishing, but at least it filled up that hollow feeling inside for a while, though Wyreth suspected that they would be the very devil to pass. Well, that was tomorrow's problem. Wyreth stretched himself out on the heated rocks and slept.

"He woke with a mighty belch. That wasn't unusual for Wyreth. What was unusual was the gout of blue flame that leapt from his mouth along with the burp. Wyreth back-winged in surprise."

Several of the older boys laughed at this. The younger ones giggled uncertainly. The oldest boy essayed a burp of his own and that sent the little ones into gales of laughter. Astrid glanced up from the children. Several of the men had looked over at the sound of laughter. Torolf was watching her. Astrid smiled and went on with her story.

Want to read this fantastic book? Here are the links for purchase:
Amazon: here
Smashwords: here

You can also find her at goodreads here

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