LAUNCH DAY EXCLUSIVE: Huw The Bard by Connie J Jasperson

Well, today’s the big day for the mega talented Connie as Huw The Bard, her latest book, officially launches.

On Friday, I revealed the cover and blurb, Saturday saw the book trailer, yesterday I gave you my review, and now I have an exclusive excerpt to share with you. So, drumroll please . . . no louder . . .That’s better *clears throat* . . . Ladeez and Gentlemen, for your delectation and enjoyment, I give you – Huw the Bard:

Excerpt from ‘HUW the BARD’ by Connie J. Jasperson, Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved

“With Lackland helping as well as he could, Huw saddled Farroll while he drank; all the while Lackland warned the horse to be sure not to drink too much. Once watered, the unhappy horse desperately munched on grass while Huw began getting him laden with numerous heavy saddle bags and weaponry. “I know entire families who don’t travel with this much baggage,” muttered Huw, as he made a third trip with yet more of Lackland’s luggage. “No wonder you require a horse of this size!”

“Now, now, Jak! You sound like Chicken Mickey, clucking away at me like that,” replied Lackland cheerfully. “It’s all necessary, I promise!”

“Chicken Mickey?” Huw was at a loss. “I don’t believe I know this person.”

“Of course you don’t. The man is our provisioner, and he’s an absolute genius at it,” replied Lackland, lobbing the last saddlebag atop the horse. “You just reminded me of him. He’s always accusing me of overburdening Farroll with my luggage.”

“I see his point,” Huw said, struggling to hold the horse still while Lackland finished tightening the last straps. “I have no idea what a provisioner is, but he sounds interesting.”

“Interesting? Mick is definitely that!” His face lost its mirth as he considered the task of mounting his horse. His legs could barely hold him up, and he had to lean on Farroll just to stand. “I’ve no strength in my legs, and I doubt you could lift me to the saddle. I’ll have to walk as best I can.”

Nodding, Huw jumped nervously as pre-dawn sounds of birds alerted him to the danger they were in. He began to panic. “Lackland, we must get your horse moving! We must be away from here now!” He picked up his kit and looped his arm around the knight, half carrying him with Farroll supporting his other side. Then, at Huw’s urging, Lackland walked as swiftly as he was able. Farroll was not happy about having to walk when he wanted to eat. Huw grabbed the startled horse’s bridle and tugged, saying “Come, Farroll! They’ll have you back in the hellhole we just left if you don’t help me get your master out of here!” The occasional call of the birds spurred Huw as nothing else could have. The eastern horizon began to glow a fiery red, heralding the imminent advent of the dawn. “There’s the gate! Hurry!”

Almost running, Huw dragged Lackland and Farroll down the street and out of town as fast as he could. They stumbled to the opening just as the sun’s first ray pierced the sky, and with the light, the gates shuddered and began to close, creaking and groaning. Struggling desperately, Huw pulled the knight and his horse through. With a loud thunk, the gate swung closed behind them, catching the horse’s tail.

Farroll kicked at the gate, but although his tail was stuck fast, his hooves passed through the wood as if through fog. Skeletal hands began pulling the great beast backwards by the tail. He whinnied and his eyes were wild; Lackland struggled to keep him standing still. Quickly Huw raced back and, dodging Farroll’s stamping hooves, with a flick of his knife cut the tail free. He slapped Farroll’s rump and the horse shot forward, knocking Lackland down.

“Gah! They nearly had us!” Overcome with terror, Huw pulled Lackland to his feet. Grabbing Farroll’s harness, he dragged the two down the rutted overgrown road as fast as he could. He kept urging them on until they could no longer see the village.”

This is just a little taster of the adventures Huw experiences on his long journey. To buy this amazing book click on Amazon to be taken straight to the site relevant for your country. Well, don’t just sit there, CLICK ON THE LINK!!!!

Advertisements

Review: Huw the Bard by Connie J Jasperson

I have to say, this is one of the most unusual fantasy books I’ve read in a long time. Set in an alternate medieval dimension, it is chock full of adventure, treason, rape, murder, and magical creatures the like of which I’ve never before encountered.

HTB New Front Cover copy

The main strength of this book, apart from the wonderful storytelling, is the depth of characterisation given to Huw. He is an eighteen-year-old bard at the height of his craft when disaster strikes and he is forced to flee the city he has called home since before reaching double digits. With nothing but the clothes on his back, Huw, now a wanted man, must make his way to safety if he wants to survive.

As you take every step with Huw, you feel his pain, desolation, joy, and sorrow, and by the end of the book, he’s become a friend to treasure. Jasperson has crafted her main character richly; you see his transformation from a talented, spoilt, and somewhat vain young man who’s used to being fawned over and adored, to a humbled, desperate, penniless one who finds courage and a good heart.

At no time is the emotion overdone; it is layered with sufficient detail for the reader to empathise with each situation Huw finds himself in and, in my opinion, strikes just the right balance.

Each of the supporting cast is given definable personalities and, along with Huw, leap off the page.

The world-building is expertly designed and described in colourful detail. The magical creatures are, in some ways, the stuff from nightmares yet in the author’s skilled hands, they are believable and realistic.

The plot is adventurous and well outlined. There is never a point when a reader will not want to turn the page to see what’s going to happen next, yet it’s not a ‘fun and frolics’ type of adventure (although there are a few amusing bits). There’s plenty of sadness, guilt, anger, and revenge, to accompany the bravery, battles, romance and light-hearted banter.

Already a big fan of Jasperson’s work, Huw the Bard, took me in an unexpected direction, showing what a versatile fantasy author she is. I loved this book and it gets a solid 5 stars from me.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for an exclusive excerpt from this great book!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Connie 2014

Connie J Jasperson lives and writes in Olympia, Washington. A vegan, she and her husband share five children, eleven grandchildren and a love of good food and great music. She is active in local writing groups, and is the Olympia area municipal liaison for NaNoWriMo. Music and food dominate her waking moments and when not writing or blogging she can be found with her Kindle, reading avidly.

You can find her blogging at: Life in the Realm of Fantasy

http://conniejjasperson.wordpress.com

Tower of Bones Series – Book I, Tower of Bones takes the reader to the world of Neveyah, where the Gods are at war and one man holds the key to winning that battle. Book II, Forbidden Road is the follow-up, and picks up the story six years after the end of Book I, Tower of Bones.

Tales from the Dreamtime, a novella of new fairytales told in a traditional style, consisting of two short stories and one novella.

Billy’s Revenge Series Huw, the Bard takes you to the world of Waldeyn, and a medieval alternate reality. Fleeing a burning city, everything he ever loved in ashes behind him, penniless and hunted, Huw the Bard must somehow survive.

 

Book Trailer – Huw The Bard by Connie J Jasperson

Yesterday, I revealed the unusual and striking cover of Connie J Jasperson’s, Huw The Bard, her latest book which officially launches on Monday 31st March. Now I have another little treat for you – the book trailer.

So let’s have lots of applause, whistles galore, and plenty of yells of excitement for . . .

 

I don’t know about you, but I think the music is quite haunting, and believe me when I say it’s very fitting for a book which gives you adventure, magical creatures as well as sadness and injury. Huw’s journey through this book is laced with love, laughter, despair, triumph and revenge!

Now, don’t forget to pop back on Monday for the exclusive excerpt on launch day and by then I should have the links to take you straight on over to Amazon to get your hands on a copy!

 

Book Review: The Infinity Bridge by Ross M Kitson

When I come across a great novel, I love to share it with you and The Infinity Bridge is one of those books. It’s a great cross-over book which will appeal to adults and YA alike. I don’t like to write spoilers when I review, instead I prefer to concentrate on the writing, plot and characters, the elements which make the book come alive for me. So without further ado, here are my thoughts:

Infinity Bridge front coverWhat an adventure! With great characters and an amazingly action-packed plot, this steampunk adventure has all the elements for success. It combines modern day technology with that from the Victorian era with effortless aplomb, tackles issues of mental instability, and even has a modern-day Knights of the Round Table and Merlin.

The quirky characters are relatable and likeable, and you begin to care about their quest to save the Infinity Bridge from falling into the wrong hands and saving our world from destruction at the hands of The Hidden. Sam and Ben’s gifts are believable and well- constructed, and I liked the angst Sam feels at his brother’s so-called mental illness. Both of their characters are incredibly well thought out. I also enjoyed the interaction between Nick and his Mother, who is quite a colourful person.

The action scenes are descriptive and draw you in to the extent you could easily believe you were witnessing them first-hand. The technology is well thought out and expertly applied throughout the story. Kitson makes you believe in all the possibilities contained in the story as he transports you to alternative realities and explores how easy it would be for our world to be infiltrated without our knowledge.

This is a well written and captivating adventure for YA and adult and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

I strongly suggest you check out his Prism Series, book 3 of which has been released today – I have to say I’m hooked!

Ross M Kitson

Ross M Kitson

Ross M Kitson is a published author in the fantasy genre, with an ongoing series (The Prism Series), a number of short stories on Quantum Muse web-zine and several stories in Steampunk and fantasy anthologies. His debut series for Myrddin is due for release in October 2012, and is a sci-fi series set in modern day York. It is written for ages 12+, although its combination of killer androids, steam-powered airships, kick-ass heroines and action packed chases will appeal to all ages.

Ross works as a doctor in the UK specializing in critical care and anaesthesia. He is happily married with three awesome children, who nagged him incessantly to write something that they could read. His love of speculative fiction and comics began at a young age and shows no signs of fading.

Buy Links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

The Crown Phoenix Reviews

When I learned my dear friend, Alison DeLuca, was running a blog tour to celebrate the re-launch of her Crown Phoenix series I just had to sign up. Having read the books in their original form, I was curious to see what changes Alison had made. I obtained the three books and devoured them, noting with glee the improvements she’d made. Here is what I think of them.

The Crown Phoenix is a quantum typewriter whose inner workings make it a magical object capable of moving things and people through time and space. It belonged to the father of the main protagonist, Miriam, and when her father dies the item becomes a highly sought after prize by some unscrupulous people who are only interested in power and money. And so the saga begins . . .

I’d never read a Steampunk novel until Night Watchman Express crossed my path and I wasn’t sure if it would be ‘my thing’, but I’d read a few of the 5-star reviews on Amazon and decided to give it a try.

By the end of the first chapter I was hooked! The characters are larger than life: Miriam, Simon and Neil are loveable and you find yourself really caring about them and the twists and turns in their young lives. Mana is enigmatic yet extremely likeable and the Marchpanes are foul creatures that you take an instant dislike to.

The story is fast-paced; the plot and subplots have so many cliffhangers and hooks, you just have to keep reading. The world-building is superior with superb description – you can so easily picture the places in your mind, and that, to me, is the mark of a very skilled writer.

This book would appeal to adults as well as children. It is entertaining, suspenseful and is so well written, it draws you in. I just HAD to buy the sequel, The Devil’s Kitchen, just to find out what happens next. That again is the mark of a consummate author if they leave you breathlessly needing to buy the next book in the series!

 

The Devil’s Kitchen is more involved than Night Watchman Express yet the story flows from one book to the next seamlessly. There is more drama, greater subplots and increased intrigue in book 2 of this series and is so well written, I found myself completely immersed in it.

This booker is a little darker than book 1; all the main characters experience trauma of varying degrees and I found myself sympathising with their predicaments and willing them on in their attempts to escape them. They each have great morals, genuinely care about others and still have the backbone to stand up for themselves.

The author demonstrates great skill crafting her characters; they have real depth. The antagonists are manipulative, cruel and remorseless and these traits jump off the page.

The Devil’s Kitchen itself is depicted as a wicked place run by nasty people. Again Ms DeLuca’s superior world-building and descriptive flair creates believable settings that are tangible and interesting.

The gripping story keeps you hooked to the very end and I, for one, eagerly awaited publication of the next book in the series, The Lamplighter’s Special.

 

The Lamplighter’s Special centres primarily around Ninna and Lizzie and how they become embroiled in the magic surrounding the Crown Phoenix.

This story starts a little slower as the author sets the scene for what ultimately culminates in an unexpected and somewhat explosive ending.

Despite the slower pace at the beginning, Ms DeLuca intricately weaves an amazing tale which connects to the previous two books in unforeseen ways, making it all the more exciting.

Once again, she has given her characters great depth and the reader can truly relate to them. I found myself connecting with Lizzie and Ninna on many levels; some of the more emotional scenes tugged on my heartstrings, especially their concern and worry about their parents and younger sister.

Her fantastic world-building is as believable as it is imaginable, and that to me is one of her great strengths. She describes her settings with such skill that you can picture yourself there whilst still leaving enough to the imagination to make it enchanting.

The fantastical and magical elements are totally unique and have been devised with great ingenuity. What’s more, they have been written with great skill whilst still not revealing all the secrets. She definitely leaves you with unanswered questions, but not to the extent where it spoils the unfolding tale.

The gripping twists in the story are fabulous tie-ins with book 2 of the series and I’m already chomping at the bit for book 4!

Alison DeLuca is a master storyteller who deserves much more recognition than she gets. I would not hesitate to recommend not only this book, but the entire series, which is suitable for kids and adults alike. This is Steampunk adventure at its best! So, the ten-million pound question: would I recommend them? YOU BET YOUR SWEET PATOUCHI I WOULD!! 5-stars across the board!

Alison DeLuca

Alison DeLuca grew up on an organic farm in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Her parents were British, so in the summers she went to stay with her grandparents near Dublin.

 There was no stereo or TV there, so Alison, her sister, and her cousins spent the summer inventing stories and plays for each other.  “This gave me the ability to entertain myself with my own imagination in any situation,” she says. “We used to be taken to tea with great-aunts, and we were expected to sit on an uncomfortable couch and not move or say a word.  It was possible to endure it because I was watching my own little stories play out in my mind.”

 After graduating from West Chester University, Alison became a teacher of English and Spanish, teaching students from kindergarten up to college level. She loved teaching, and it was with reluctance that she left the classroom to be a fulltime mom when her daughter was born.

 While she was teaching and raising her daughter, Alison took every free minute she had to write.  The Night Watchman Express and The Crown Phoenix Series were the result.

 She is currently working on the final book in the series, as well as several other projects.

Click on the titles to go to the relevant Amazon page:

Crown Phoenix: Night Watchman Express

Crown Phoenix: The Devil’s Kitchen

Crown Phoenix: Lamplighter’s Special

Book Review: The Lamplighter’s Special by Alison DeLuca

Before you moan at me – yes I know I’ve done 2 book reviews in a row, but both books are so worthy that I just had to pass on my thoughts to you all. So forgive me, enjoy my comments and then go and get the books – you won’t be disappointed!

The Lamplighter’s Special

 

I have been eagerly awaiting this third book in the Crown Phoenix series, having read and immensely enjoyed The Night Watchman Express and Devil’s Kitchen, and I’m overjoyed to report, it was well worth the wait.

This book centres primarily around Ninna and Lizzie and how they become embroiled in the magic surrounding the Crown Phoenix.

This story starts a little slower as the author sets the scene for what ultimately culminates in an unexpected and somewhat explosive ending.

Despite the slower pace at the beginning, Ms DeLuca intricately weaves an amazing tale which connects to the previous two books in unforeseen ways, making it all the more exciting.

Once again, she has given her characters great depth and the reader can truly relate to them. I found myself connecting with Lizzie and Ninna on many levels; some of the more emotional scenes tugged on my heartstrings, especially their concern and worry about their parents and younger sister.

Her fantastic world-building is as believable as it is imaginable, and that to me is one of her great strengths. She describes her settings with such skill that you can picture yourself there whilst still leaving enough to the imagination to make it enchanting.

The fantastical and magical elements are totally unique and have been devised with great ingenuity. What’s more, they have been written with great skill whilst still not revealing all the secrets. She definitely leaves you with unanswered questions, but not to the extent where it spoils the unfolding tale.

The gripping twists in the story are fabulous tie-ins with book 2 of the series and even though The Lamplighter’s Special was only released yesterday, I’m already chomping at the bit for book 4!

Alison DeLuca is a master storyteller who deserves much more recognition than she gets. I would not hesitate to recommend not only this book, but the entire series. This is Steampunk adventure at its best!

Available from Amazon.com  http://amzn.to/K2W9q3  or Amazon.co.uk http://amzn.to/J4EWn2

Book Review: Devil’s Kitchen by Alison DeLuca

Having devoured The Night Watchman Express, the first in the Crown Phoenix series, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Devil’s Kitchen (book 2). I purchased it the very day I finished the first book and can honestly say I’m glad I did!

Devil’s Kitchen is more involved than The Night Watchman Express yet the story flows from one book to the next seamlessly. There is more drama, greater subplots and increased intrigue in Devil’s Kitchen and is so well written, I found myself completely immersed in it.

This book is a little darker than book 1; all the main characters experience trauma of varying degrees and I found myself sympathising with their predicaments and willing them on in their attempts to escape them. They each have great morals, genuinely care about others and still have the backbone to stand up for themselves.

The author demonstrates great skill crafting her characters; they have real depth. The antagonists are manipulative, cruel and remorseless and these traits jump off the page.

Devil’s Kitchen itself is depicted as a wicked place run by nasty people. Again Ms DeLuca’s superior world-building and descriptive flair creates believable settings that are tangible and interesting.

Again, this Steampunk adventure will appeal to young and older adults alike. The gripping story keeps you hooked to the very end and I, for one, eagerly await publication of the next book in the series, The Lamplighter’s Special.

I would strongly recommend this book and again, would give it more than 5 stars! Alison DeLuca is an incredibly talented author and I wish her every success.