Sunday, August 31, 2014

Book Spotlight: Desert Son by Glenn Maynard

Desert Son
by Glenn Maynard 

Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Black Rose Writing (February 13, 2014)
Amazon Paperback Link

Kindle Edition
File Size: 719 KB
Print Length: 171 pages
Publisher: Black Rose Writing (February 26, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle Link

About the book:

Carter Spence is a 26 year-old accountant out of Boston who has an out-of-body experience following a car accident that kills his parents. He views the chaos from above the scene of the accident, then passes through the tunnel and reunites with relatives who have long been dead. A woman he does not recognize approaches him and says, "Welcome, son." Her message to him is that he needs to be aware of his true identity and should follow signs that will lead him there. She mentions mountains, but Carter is jolted back into his physical body before she can finish. After burying his parents, Carter heads west and meets a free-spirit named Brenda, whom he is drawn to on many levels. She becomes his travelling companion and leads him to Boulder, Colorado, and to an old white house of an old man named Martin. Diaries, hypnosis, and past-life regression reveal a bizarre connection between these three. Carter discovers that the truth to his identity can only be found by pursuing the answer to whether he is the reincarnation of his biological father in what is shaping up to be a love affair rekindled beyond the grave.

Chapter 1

Warm weather streaked through Boston for a cameo on this late March afternoon.  Mid-70’s usually did not emerge from hibernation until April, but none of this mattered much for Carter Spence.  No temperature could affect him now.  Temperature usually made all the difference in the world to Carter, but now springtime’s rebirth seamlessly transpired.

Carter’s mood elevated, but temperature played no role.  For a split-second, he thought perhaps his mood had a calming effect on his body, but only because his 175 pounds felt fluffy, like he’d been influenced by helium.  Just to contradict this sensation, he remained still.  He felt silly even testing.  This feeling had only captivated him as a memory of running around the bases at the baseball fields near his home, or even when he was a tad tipsy at the bar, but this still overpowered those other times.

Carter questioned reality.  As a recent college graduate, he’d dabbled in binge drinking, even though not nearly as frequent as his “crowd” did.  In fact, every so often, Carter would be the one strong enough to volunteer himself as designated driver.  Carter was able to glance beyond the average college student in an attempt to supersede peer pressure, and assume responsibility for his actions.  He always was the responsible type.

As Carter discovered himself suspended in a position enabling him to oversee earth, he knew this transcended a typical mood swing.  He unquestioningly went along with whatever life threw at him, even in this extreme case, surprising even himself.

Surveying the earth below, feeling not an ounce of care in the world, Carter continued wafting like a loose sheet of paper in the wind, drifting inch by inch, contentedly, as he began keying in on an object.  He seemed more preoccupied with this new attraction than with his sudden participation with the solar system.  It would have been cataclysmic had both his feet been mixing with the earth’s dirt, but that wasn’t the case.  He was just enough removed.

As much a presence that this altered state should have been, Carter began battling a continual attraction to the object.  This diversion was enough to cloud the reality and incomprehensibility of the situation. He finally stopped moving, involuntarily; no further elevation.  He awaited the presence of normalcy, but this delay only lengthened his journey.

He sensed that he had no encasing.  He felt that he was just a feeling, or that his existence was just a thought.  He couldn’t see his body, but never really cared to check, either; just his gut feeling that his thoughts were in a mind of their own.  He felt like a breadless sandwich.  However, he did not care one way or another.

Carter astonished himself when his focus zoomed in like human binoculars.  This felt so empowering, so controlling, so consuming, and he felt that the sky was the limit.  For a 26-year-old guy who had felt so powerless in the city of Boston, this certainly boosted his confidence, but he only wished he could have this focus and earth simultaneously.

He began reflecting on the bullying that he’d received as a child on his school playgrounds.  He wished he could find those punks now, even though he since had learned to defend himself fairly well.  Nobody much messed with Carter once he hit the tenth grade and began pumping weights vigorously.  Nobody was going to offend him, and in the city it was sink or swim.  He had taken it upon himself to get in a position where he could defend himself.  He looked at it as survival of the fittest.  He did not get revenge by beating the hell out of those bullies who had previously roughed him up.  No…that was not Carter’s style.  Rather, his presence became his revenge.  And with this new image came a certain macho sex appeal that ushered in his debut in dating.  He discovered that the two scenarios were intertwined, and that did not pose a problem for Carter Spence.

Carter did love women, but he could not be in love with them.  He believed that he had just never found the right girl, but deep down wondered if he even had the ability to love.  This disturbed him greatly, making him for the most part uncomfortable around women.  He had convinced himself that he was just very picky when it came to women.

During his peak conditioning, the one-time bullies would look up at Carter in the High School hallways, acknowledge his presence with a nod, and then humbly mumble, “What’s up Carter?”  Although Carter considered this sufficient sweet revenge, the thought of toying with these bullies from above did tickle his imagination.

Carter eventually determined that the object on the ground resembled a body, but it wasn’t moving.  Then his focus zoomed in some more, and quickly the body took on an eerie familiarity to him.  The scene below grew chaotic.  Cars jerked to the highway side.  Doors swung open, remaining that way while people flocked to this object, which was a body lying face down in an embankment.  Carter watched this scene unfold before him as if he was watching a movie on television.

The first man to arrive shouted in panic to an unresponsive body.  He carefully turned the body on its back, eased down by the second and third men to arrive.  Carter continued to zoom in because he felt as if he knew this man.  He recognized the strong face attached to the muscular frame.   He recognized the worn denim jeans with the oddly-shaped tear just above the knee, and even the tan polo shirt, which now had absorbed the blood.  The shoes that had detached from his feet were familiar, as were the blue Gold Toe socks on his feet.  His eyes moved back up the body to the face, and saw that the body was his body.

Carter felt indifferent while observing his poor, lifeless body.  “I look so pale,” he thought, aside from the streaking blood on his face.  Carter couldn’t believe it was really him. He would have been hard pressed to select that body out of a line-up if asked to identify himself.  However, he soon was able to recognize his own facial features below, but barely.   Just how observant and aware of his own self was he, Carter pondered.  It seemed interesting to Carter, more than anything else, to see himself from another vantage point, yet treat the situation so matter-of-factly.

Between the lanky frame and the short, light brown hair, he thought that it had to be him.  But why, he wondered, confident that there would be no dream to awake from, or no Allen Funt to emerge out of nowhere to tell him about a camera.   Besides, if this was a dream, he wouldn’t be wondering if it was a dream.  He didn’t think he’d be wondering if it was a dream, but what he wouldn’t give to test this theory of his.

Carter’s focus closed to within about a telephone pole’s length away, even though he felt like a satellite in space.  He noticed the traffic really starting to jam now.  Cars could no longer pass by.  One woman screamed hysterically after discovering an upended automobile streaming fuel onto the ground.  She placed both hands on her head and let out a series of chilling wails. Carter watched emotionlessly.

Some good Samaritans flocked to the car to help, while others ran from the danger.  Most drivers rubbernecked their way past.  Carter shifted his focus.  Directly above the car, a solid Oak shook off contact, but a penetrating scar splintered the tree, evidence of a speedy impact.  Carter faced all four wheels, witnessing the last tire as it finally slowed to a stop.  This all happened so suddenly that this new scene before him appeared almost before the previous scene had ended. A dirty, scraped  arm flopped outside of the car, limply touching the ground, and a thin tornado of smoke rose through Carter.

Carter could see tire marks blackening the highway and dirt tire marks continuing off the side of the road to where the car rested. He did remember getting into his parents car, but he could barely make a positive identification of that car. It rolled and wrapped itself around the tree at the roof.  The smell of gasoline enveloped the air and the potential danger was incalculable. But good people still stopped.

Gas dripped at a steady rate from the gas tank vicinity. Streams of smoke billowed from under the hood.  Carter hoped the smoke and the drips didn’t merge.  There was an unusual smell of dented metal.

When there’s smoke, there’s fire, and within seconds the car flickered flames.  Carter felt helpless to try to save those inside.  But he wondered if it even mattered as he saw that the car’s front bumper meshed with the dashboard and the roof the car rested on met up with the bottom of the windows, which were smashed all around.

He knew those inside hadn’t a chance, and then Carter recognized the car.  It was his parent’s car, so it was his parents who were trapped inside.  “My God,” Carter thought.  “This isn’t happening. They could die.”  This thought flashed through him, but he was emotionless as well.

Emergency vehicles nudged a path to the wreckage, and a few heartless people took advantage of this path to better their positioning.  This was the city life, and nothing was going to spoil the day of some people.  Cars edged closer to neighboring cars on the left, while cars in the far right lane eased off the road, some entirely.  Sirens blared, red and blue lights flashed through the light of day, as Carter took notice of numerous police cars, ambulances and fire trucks.

Carter knew his parents were history, but what about his body?  Where was he now?  Was he dead?  Paramedics swarmed his physical body below, and he wondered if he would ever be reunited with it.  He wanted badly to be able to help himself, but he could only watch, unsure if it was his unwillingness or inability to help.  He felt like an actor watching his own movie, but he certainly possessed more peacefulness above than what was being transmitted at the chaotic scene below.  He remained emotionless.

Firefighters in yellow coats squelched the flames with foam, but the people who had jumped from their cars to throw mud at the flames controlled the spreading.  These people will be the ones dubbed heroes, but will refuse the tag on the local newscast.  Carter could envision this before it even happened.  He wasn’t being disrespectful to those trying to help his parents, but he felt his folks stood no chance by the looks of things.  Maybe the car wouldn’t burn to a crisp, but if they did survive the impact, any fire would be enough to finish the job.

Carter believed his ejection from the car came prior to impact because of his distance from the vehicle, and then it occurred to him how he got into the situation he had found himself in.  His thoughts moved away from the chaos momentarily,  zooming out of that scene  and into another.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kindle Special $0.99 (August 28): The Hauntings of Playing God by Chris Dietzel

The Hauntings of Playing God
by Chris Dietzel

Paperback: 225 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing; 1 edition (August 28, 2014)
Amazon Paperback Link

Kindle Edition
File Size: 529 KB
Print Length: 205 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace; 1 edition (August 25, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle Link

About the book:

Everyone is dead. All that remains is an old woman and a gymnasium full of unresponsive bodies. Each day, another storm approaches, threatening to destroy the building they call home. Each night, a series of nightmares leaves the woman screaming for help. Alone and overwhelmed, will the final member of the human race be thought of as a caretaker or as a monster? THE HAUNTINGS OF PLAYING GOD is a story about the possibilities each life holds. It is also a lesson about the importance of believing in something greater than yourself.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Guest Author and Giveaway: C.A. Pack

Have you ever been befuddled by genres?

My current series has teen protagonists (YA) who work at a library where books come to life (fantasy) and it happens in an urban setting (urban fantasy), but it has shape shifters and sorcerers in it (paranormal), and a time machine (sci-fi). It’s written as individual novelettes and novellas and then grouped into novel-length chronicles. Most of Chronicles: The Library of Illumination (books 1 - 5) takes place in a library in the real world (paranormal) but it has a nuclear energy theme in one of the stories (science fiction), and magical elements (back to fantasy). I’m now at work on the Second Chronicles of Illumination—which includes my latest novelette—The Overseers—and it involves travel to other worlds (sci-fi), with different beings and different cultures (fantasy, fantasy, fantasy).

For those of you who aren’t sure how some of these genres are defined, I’m going to attempt to simplify the differences between them.

FANTASY: Something that can’t possibly happen, made to sound like it can—in an other-worldly setting.  J.R.R. Tolkiens’s Lord of the Rings is fantasy all the way. It clearly involves fantastical creatures set in other worlds or realities.

URBAN FANTASY:  Fantasy in an urban setting. Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris fall under the urban fantasy umbrella.

PARANORMAL: Supernatural aspects (ghosts, shape shifters, werewolves) happening in a real world setting. The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer fits the paranormal genre. It happens in the real world, but there’s a weird element (vampires) in it. One of my books, Evangeline’s Ghost, straddles the line between urban fantasy and paranormal because my ghost travels back-and-forth from New York City to Heaven.

SCIENCE FICTION: Something that’s possible even if it’s improbable. H.G. Welles novels are as sci-fi as it gets. What’s interesting is that Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is also considered sci-fi, although I would have labeled it paranormal. So, as you can see, this genre “thing” is not cut and dried.

Then there’s HORROR, which is any of the above genres written to scare the bejeebers out of you. Stephen King novels like Carrie and Mr. Mercedes are easy to identify as horror.

Just to add another dimension to the genre dilemma, my primary demographic is young adult, which is often listed as a genre. For the most part, young adult literature can be any genre that has teen protagonists. There’s also new adult, but I think that category skews older, with protagonists in their 20’s.

As my Library of Illumination series continued, I envisioned my protagonists morphing from YA into new adult territory, however, in The Overseers, they undergo a special ritual that stops that from happening. They may get older with each new adventure, but if you read the book, you’ll understand why that will no longer affect their YA designation.

One more thing: In celebration of the release of The Overseers novelette, I have a giveaway going on through the month of August, so enter for a chance to win a prize.
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The Overseers 
(Library of Illumination) (Volume 6)
by C.A. Pack

Series: Library of Illumination
Paperback: 100 pages
Publisher: Artiqua Press (August 5, 2014)

About the book:

The Terrorian invasion attempt is still fresh in their minds when Library of Illumination curators Johanna Charette and Jackson Roth are invited to the realm of Lumina for Dean Plato Indelicat’s funeral. The teens soon learn there's more to being a curator than meets the eye—some of it good, some of it not so good—and they have to pass muster to keep their positions. To make matters worse, Johanna finds herself at the center of a bold scheme by Nero 51 to bully his way into the competition for Plato Indelicat’s now-vacant position. She has the ability to save the day, but her actions could result in losing her curator privileges. Meanwhile, the College of Overseers is committed to being fair and impartial, but its stance could result in the Terrorian infiltration of its inner sanctum.

About the author:

C. A. Pack is the author of Chronicles: The Library of Illumination, a series of novelettes about an enchanted library where the books come to life. She is currently working on the various novelettes that will make up The Second Chronicles of Illumination, which will recount the war of the realms. She is also the author of Code Name: Evangeline and the Evangeline’s Ghost series.

The author is an award-winning journalist and former television news anchor and writer. She is a member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime, and lives in Westbury, NY, with her husband, a couple of picky parrots, and dozens of imaginary characters who are constantly demanding page space.

MEDIA LINKS:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest /  LinkedIn / Tumblr

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Book Spotlight: Beyond the Pale: A Fantasy Anthology

Beyond the Pale: A Fantasy Anthology

Authors: Jim Butcher, Saladin Ahmed , Peter S Beagle, Heather Brewer, Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder, Gillian Philip , Jane Yolen , Henry Herz (Editor), Abigail Larson (Cover Design)

Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Birch Tree Publishing; 1 edition (July 7, 2014)
Amazon Paperback Link

Kindle Edition
File Size: 429 KB
Print Length: 219 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Birch Tree Publishing; 1 edition (July 7, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle Link

About the book:

Beyond the Pale is an anthology of fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal stories that skirt the border between our world and others. Was that my imagination, or did I hear something under my bed? What was that blurred movement in my darkened closet? There is but a thin Veil separating the real and the fantastic, and therein dwell the inhabitants of these stories. 

Beyond the Pale contains eleven dark fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal short stories by award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors: 

- "Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela" by Saladin Ahmed (author of Throne of the Crescent Moon) 
- "The Children of the Shark God" by Peter S. Beagle (author of The Last Unicorn) 
- "Misery" & "Shadow Children" by Heather Brewer (author of Vladimir Tod) 
- "Even Hand" by Jim Butcher (author of The Dresden Files) 
- "Red Run" by Kami Garcia (author of Beautiful Creatures) 
- "Pale Rider" & "The Adventures of Lightning Merriemouse-Jones" by Nancy Holder (author of Wicked) 
- "Frost Child" and "South" by Gillian Philip (author of Rebel Angels) 
- "A Knot of Toads" by Jane Yolen (author of Owl Moon) 

The noun “pale” refers to a stake (as in impaling vampires) or pointed piece of wood (as in a paling fence). “Pale” came to refer to an area enclosed by a paling fence. Later, it acquired the figurative meaning of an enclosed and therefore safe domain. Conversely, "beyond the pale" means foreign, strange, or threatening. You are about to go Beyond the Pale.


Once there was a village on an island that belonged to the Shark God. Every man in the village was a fisherman, and the women cooked their catch and mended their nets and sails, and painted their little boats. And because that island was sacred to him, the Shark God saw to it that there were always fish to be caught, and seals as well, in the waters beyond the coral reef, and protected the village from the great gray typhoons that came every year to flood other lagoons and blow down the trees and the huts of other islands. Therefore the children of the village grew fat and strong, and the women were beautiful and strong, and the fishermen were strong and high-hearted even when they were old.

In return for his benevolence the Shark God asked little from his people: only tribute of a single goat at the turn of each year. To the accompaniment of music and prayers, and with a wreath of plaited fresh flowers around its neck, it would be tethered in the lagoon at moonrise. Morning would find it gone, flower petals floating on the water, and the Shark God never seen—never in that form, anyway.

Now the Shark God could alter his shape as he pleased, like any god, but he never showed himself on land more than once in a generation. When he did, he was most often known to appear as a handsome young man, light-footed and charming. Only one woman ever recognized the divinity hiding behind the human mask. Her name was Mirali, and this tale is what is known about her, and about her children.

Mirali’s parents were already aging when she was born, and had long since given up the hope of ever having a child—indeed, her name meant “the long-desired one.” Her father had been crippled when the mast of his boat snapped during a storm and crushed his leg, falling on him, and if it had not been for their daughter, the old couple’s lives would have been hard indeed. Mirali could not go out with the fishing fleet herself, of course—as she greatly wished to do, having loved the sea from her earliest memory—but she did every kind of work for any number of island families, whether cleaning houses, marketing, minding young children, or even assisting the midwife when a birthing was difficult or there were simply too many babies coming at the same time. She was equally known as a seamstress, and also as a cook for special feasts; nor was there anyone who could mend a pandanus-leaf thatching as quickly as she, though this is generally man’s work. No drop of rain ever penetrated any pandanus roof that came under Mirali’s hands.

Nor did she complain of her labors, for she was very proud of being able to care for her mother and father as a son would have done. Because of this, she was much admired and respected in the village, and young men came courting just as though she were a great beauty. Which she was not, being small and somewhat square-made, with straight brows—considered unlucky by most—and hips that gave no promise of a large family. But she had kind eyes, deep-set under those regrettable brows, and hair as black and thick as that of any woman on the island. Many, indeed, envied her; but of that Mirali knew nothing. She had no time for envy herself, nor for young men, either.

Now it happened that Mirali was often chosen by the village priest to sweep out the temple of the Shark God. This was not only a grand honor for a child barely turned seventeen but a serious responsibility as well, for sharks are cleanly in their habits, and to leave his spiritual dwelling disorderly would surely be to dishonor and anger the god himself. So Mirali was particularly attentive when she cleaned after the worshippers, making certain that no prayer whistle or burned stick of incense was left behind. And in this manner did the Shark God become aware of Mirali.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Guest Author: Cheryl Kaye Tardif

One Writer’s Journey to Becoming a Bestselling Author

Like most writers, getting published was a long process and a bit of a struggle, and I could have given up any time. But I had a dream—a huge one—and it wouldn’t let go of me. As a teen I yearned to be the next Stephen King or Dean Koontz or James Patterson or Heather Graham.

I queried traditional publishers and received what most authors do—rejection letters. One after the other. I have so many I could probably wallpaper my office twice. After a while, this becomes very discouraging. So I set aside my big dreams for quite a few years. Almost twenty years ago I tried again, this time with a children’s picture book. It went nowhere.

In 2003, I heard about Print On Demand publishing companies. They were similar to the old-style vanity presses but cheaper because they only printed books as readers or authors ordered them. I decided that I wanted to self-publish, and that’s the route I chose. Borrowing money from my mother, I delved into publishing my first novel, WHALE SONG. And I embraced self-publishing fully, even though many warned me it would destroy my chances and career. I set out to prove them wrong.

I published DIVINE INTERVENTION in 2004, hoping it would really take off so I could pursue writing a series. In 2005 I published THE RIVER, a techno-thriller that takes place in an area of Canada’s north that’s nicknamed the Bermuda Triangle of Canada. By this time, I had learned how to have successful book signings and how to capture the attention of the media.

In 2006 my first novel, WHALE SONG, was picked up by a small and new traditional company. It was re-released in 2007. Two years later the company went into bankruptcy after mismanaging funds. Fortunately for me, I didn’t let this stop me. In this time I managed to interest a literary agent from New York named Scovil Galen Ghosh at the time. It has since been renamed.

In 2010, Amazon’s publishing platform, now known as KDP, opened to Canadian writers, and I jumped on the bandwagon. Since then, I have successfully republished all of my works and released an average of three books a year. Around this time, I decided to separate from my agent, thinking I would simply pursue self-publishing. 2011 brought me two Chinese translation deals for WHALE SONG and CHILDREN OF THE FOG.

Then 2012 came along, and Amazon introduced KDP Select, a method for independent authors and small publishers to offer works for free for a limited time in order to gain a strong readership and possible after-sales. And it worked! One of my titles, CHILDREN OF THE FOG, was #4 on Amazon’s overall bestseller list, out of over two million ebooks. That was the year I earned 60% more than my husband did, and he had a six-figure income. It was also the year that a Turkish translation of THE RIVER came out; it was featured prominently at the Istanbul Book Fair that year.

2012 was also the year that Amazon came knocking, along with an editor from a major publishing house and a literary agent from a well-respected New York agency. Amazon offered me a couple of special promotions that were by invitation only. The publisher was interested in CHILDREN OF THE FOG but I chose not to relinquish my rights. Never would I have ever guessed, back in 2003 or earlier, that I would turn down an offer from one of the Big 5! Next, I signed with Trident Literary Agency—my second agent.

2013 was also another stellar income year. It brought me two audiobook deals.

2014 saw the release of the German CHILDREN OF THE FOG, DES NEBELS KINDER, and it immediately made multiple bestseller lists on Amazon in June. This year also brought me a 4-book German deal for THE RIVER and my Divine Trilogy, the last of which (DIVINE SANCTUARY) was originally published in English on June 18th. And there’s a big possibility that by the time this blog post comes out, I’ll have a German deal for my psychological thriller, SUBMERGED. And by the way, remember that children’s book I tried to get published almost 20 years ago? It was published this year.

So how do I feel when I look back over the past 10+ years? I have been on a wondrous journey, with exciting twists and turns, a virtual rollercoaster ride that sometimes made me wince in fear or doubt but also made me shriek with delight. I am truly blessed to be doing what I love, what I’ve dreamt about since I was a teen. I’m not the next Stephen King or Dean Koontz or James Patterson or Heather Graham, like I had hoped to be. I’m Cheryl Kaye Tardif, and I’ve learned that that is the best dream to have—to be uniquely me. J

Cheryl’s Bio:

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is an award-winning, international bestselling Canadian suspense author represented by Trident Media Group in New York. Her novels include Divine Sanctuary, Submerged, Divine Justice, Children of the Fog, The River, Divine Intervention, Lancelot’s Lady (written under the pen name of Cherish D’Angelo) and Whale Song, which New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice calls "a compelling story of love and family and the mysteries of the human heart...a beautiful, haunting novel." Cheryl also has three Stephen King-inspired works: Dream House (short story), Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories and Remote Control (novelette). Cheryl is also the owner/publisher of Imajin Books, a hybrid publishing company.

Booklist raves, "Tardif, already a big hit in Canada…a name to reckon with south of the border."

Cheryl's website:
Official blog:
Imajin Books:

Paperback and Ebook Giveaways for Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards by Kit Brennan

Paperback and Ebook Giveaway for Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards 
by Kit Brennan

A wild and sexy romp through history based on the real-life adventures of the audacious, Lola Montez. It is 1842, London, and the gorgeous, ever-capricious 22-year-old Eliza Gilbert, (aka Lola Montez) is in deep trouble and seeks escape from a divorce trial. Desperate to be free, Lola accepts an alluring offer of a paid trip to Spain, if she will only fulfill a few tasks for Juan de Grimaldi a Spanish theatre impresario who is also a government agent and spy for the exiled Spanish queen, Maria Cristina. Lola soon finds herself in Madrid, undercover as a performer in a musical play. But when she falls dangerously in love with the target, General Diego de Leon, Lola becomes a double agent and the two hatch a plot of their own. Disaster strikes when the plot is exposed, Diego is captured, and Lola is forced to flee on horseback to France, with a dangerous group of Loyalists in hot pursuit.

Paperback (US / Canada) and Ebook (International) Giveaways for Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards 

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Guest Author: Steve LeBel

What if God got a C- in Universe Building 101?
(Well, not our God, of course. One of those other guys...)

Dive into a humorous fantasy world unlike anything you have imagined. A world of gods and goddesses who build universes for a living. Are they all-powerful and all-knowing? Well, not exactly...

As Bernie graduates from God School, he is thrilled to land his dream job as a builder of universes. His first assignment is to build his own universe. Determined but unsure, bright but without confidence, Bernie forges ahead, only to find problems everywhere. Mysterious asteroids, unexplained volcanoes, shifting continents and more lead him to suspect sabotage. But who could sabotage his universe? Only another god could do that.

It’s god vs. god, guile vs. goodness, where only one of them plays by the rules. Bernie must find a way to outwit his vicious foe. If he fails, it will cost him everything.

A fascinating tale of good vs. evil and a young hero on a journey of self-discovery in an original, humorous, fantastic wrapper.

>>>Visit the world of the gods

Discover answers to questions you never knew existed:

What are the gods are really like?
Why does their economy depend on the universes they build?
How do the gods actually create something?
Why do they study classes like Creation Science and Creation Ethics?
And, most importantly, why are the gods so afraid of the woods?

Steve LeBel

How best to describe an author who writes humorous fantasy?

Do we tell about bookshelves full of fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal books, his love of mythology, or the years he spent as dungeon master? Or is it more important to know his favorite player-character was a chaotic-good elven fighter / mage? And what about that stack of old comic books he never seems to get rid of?

There’s a serious side too. The other half of his bookshelf bulges with titles on management, marketing, computer programming, and financial analysis. What about his years as a hospital president, the many businesses he created, or all the time he spent in board rooms? What about his early years counseling drug addicts, or his years as a stock trader?

Is there a pattern to his travels around the world? Why choose places like King Arthur’s Camelot, the Temple of Delphi, Buddha’s Tree of Enlightenment, China’s Forbidden City, or the Great Pyramids of Egypt? What is he seeking?

And what does this have to do with writing good fantasy?

Perhaps it’s that dichotomy within Steve that makes The Universe Builders such a delightful story with such serious undertones.

Book Site:
Twitter: SteveLeBel
Facebook: Facebook/SteveLeBel.Author
GooglePlus: +SteveLeBel



Genre: humorous fantasy for young adult and adult
Title: The Universe Builders
Author: Steve LeBel
Description: A young god graduates from God School and gets his dream job of building his first universe. Plagued by a school rival and aided by his friends, he struggles to create a world he can be proud of.
Length: 120k words, approximately 420 pages
Book Trailer: View Book Trailer
ISBN-13 (ebook edition): 978-0-9910554-1-8
Publication date: June 2014
Price: $3.99
ISBN-13 (print edition): 978-0-9910554-0-1
Publication date: August 2014
Price: $15.00  (approximately)
Library of Congress Control Number [LCCN]: 2014900580
Publisher: Argon Press (
Review Copies (free): Request from Publisher



These are some places where you can find book reviews for The Universe Builders:
Short versions of selected reviews

Friday, August 22, 2014

Product Review: Ring & Necklace by Romwe

USD 7.99
Size & Fit
Chain Length:50cm
Pendant With:1.5cm
Pendant Height:3.2cm

Blue necklace, featuring camara shaped design, diamante studded styling, a tiny chain with an adjustable length, a clasp fasterner.


To maintain appearance and condition, avoid contact with liquids and perfume.

USD 9.99

Size & Fit
Inner diameter:1.7cm

Ring, featuring an adjustable slim band, retro bowknot embellished on top.


To maintain appearance and condition, avoid contact with liquids and perfume.

How to order:

Sign up for an account FREE and once signed in

Add your chosen product/s to your cart

Review and confirm cart summary

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personal or business address)

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* Worldwide free shipping for STANDARD SHIPPING METHOD ranging from 3-25 days depending on your country, check standard shipping in working days HERE

10 to 20 days excluding processing time (3-5 working days)

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special instructions could be 'add extra bubble wrap, tight wrapping, etc.'

Click Proceed to payment and you are done!


products as shown in website vs actual products received 

Camera Shaped Diamante Blue Necklace

Review >>>>>  As you can see from the pictures above, item as shown in website is different from the actual item received. I love the necklace but for the purpose of comparison, based on the website, it comes with a tiny chain with an adjustable length. I tried to adjust the chain but well, I couldn't. Also, the color of the chain was supposed to be a yellowish gold but what I got is a black gold. 

Review >>>>>  When I got the ring, I immediately noticed there was a little crack in the side that was broken. I was able to wear the ring for a few hours though. I'm taking it to the jewelry man so he can patch this up. 

Ratings: ★ ★ ★  

*Items received free from Romwe.comgift from

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: Narcissus in Chains (Anita Bake 10) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Narcissus in Chains 
(Anita Bake 10)
by Laurell K. Hamilton

Paperback Link
Publisher: Berkely Publishing Co.; First Edition edition (2002)

Kindle Edition
File Size: 878 KB
Print Length: 656 pages
Publisher: Jove (October 1, 2001)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Ratings: ★ ★

My thoughts:

The last Anita I had ... *thinking.... buffering... loading... giving up... blog searching *Anita Blake*.... oh shoot! ... Blue Moon (Jan 2011) and Obsidian Butterfly (Oct 2011). Yikes! Three years! I now remember why I stopped reading... I do not enjoy Anita being part of the were +vamp pips and the sex! Double yikes, where's the Anita who is so not into meaningless sex!

In sum, I hated were and vamp politics so I DNF the book. I'm now reading book 11, Cerulean Sins and so far Anita is back to being 'human'. I skipped the synopsis, I'm hoping this will be a good one. 

About the book:

Hamilton's vampire-hunting Anita Blake faces a plethora of foes in her tenth outing. Just returned to St. Louis after six months away, Anita is still no closer to choosing between her lovers--Jean-Claude, a vampire, and Richard, a werewolf. But she has to rely on both for help after two of the wereleopards that she has been watching are abducted at a seedy club called Narcissus in Chains. Anita and her boyfriends rescue the wereleopards from the sinister people holding them, but Anita is wounded in the fight and put at risk of becoming a wereleopard herself. Richard angrily captures the wereleopard he believes is responsible and threatens to execute him. Anita must now rescue that wereleopard from Richard and the werewolves he leads, even as she mourns the apparent end of her relationship with him. Then she realizes that those who kidnapped the first two wereleopards are targeting other lycanthropes. Maybe she will be next. With plenty of steamy sex and graphic violence, this is engaging reading for vampire cultists.

About the author:

Laurell K. Hamilton is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of two series that mix mystery, fantasy, magic, horror and romance. Her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter novels from Berkley Books began with GUILTY PLEASURES (now a hugely successful graphic novel from Marvel - the first sexy paranormal comic ever!) and continues with the SKIN TRADE, number seventeen in the series, in which Anita's complex personal and professional relationships with a master vampire and an alpha werewolf continue to evolve. There are now more than 6 million copies of Anita in print worldwide, in 16 languages. Hamilton's Ballantine series features Fey princess and private investigator, Merry Gentry and there are now six novels exceeding one million copies in print. Divine Misdemeanors, the eighth in the series will debut Octobe 29, 2009. She lives in St. Louis County Missouri with her husband Jonathon Green, daughter, one pug dog and one boxer/pug dog.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ocrun Activity Of August

----------------------------Lolita Bloomers Gift----------------------------------

Ocrun would like to thank YOU for being awesome customers, happy to announce....

Anyone who orders 2 dresses (one time order) at Ocrun store, one will be getting a piece of lolita bloomers as gift!! 

Do not miss this chance :
* Free = Shipping + Custom made + Lolita gift + Underskirt
*  Up to 50% off
*  5% coupon for new customer
*  Valid time: August 1-- 31

Ocrun is the leading supplier of online shopping for LOLITA clothing. 

Ocrun’s mission is to provide our consumers and partners with products of high quality, low price, fast distribution and professional service. 

LOLITA is a very special fashion style featuring its childlike innocence and old-fashioned elegance. There are three main types of LOLITA clothing: sweet lolitaelegant gothic lolita and classic lolita. But you may also find other styles of LOLITA clothing here such as school lolita dressescosplay lolita dressesgothic victorian dresses and so on. 

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