Into the Woods, a fantasy anthology

Check out this post by my good friend and colleague, Connie J Jasperson, who tells you all about the new fantasy anthology being launched by some of the authors at Myrddin Publishing.

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

MyrddinAnthologyECoverWe at Myrddin Publishing Group are starting the new year with the launch of our anthology,Into the Woods. We’re even having an all-weekend-long Facebook party, with Myrddin Authors dropping in and out over the course of the next few days. There will be gifts, and prizes and just fun and games with the Myrddin crew. The online Facebook Party starts here, so stop on by and and hang out with us!

This collection of amazing tales came about almost by accident.

One day last summer I was looking through stock images I’d found for a cover I was designing for another author. I came across a wonderful image of a lonely house set in the woods. I’m not sure why, but suddenly, like the proverbial dog after a squirrel, I was off looking at images of houses in the woods–like that was going to get any work…

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WE HAVE LIFT-OFF!

I’m so excited for this launch! 

So here’s a reminder of what it’s all about.

OIAA cover

 

On her 21st birthday, Princess Kailani’s father tells her that when she was a baby, her mother was abducted. She also learns she has family in another world.
 
Defying her father, she travels from her Cloud Castle home to the ice kingdom of Idenvarlis where Kailani’s instincts drive her to find the mother she doesn’t remember.
 
Gifted with the magic of two worlds, and skilled in the use of weapons, she journeys into unknown and dangerous territory. Despite her determination to rescue her mother, she’s forced to overcome new fears and find a way to cope with all she encounters.
 
However, a person in authority will stop at nothing to prevent either of them returning.
Kailani faces isolation, wild beasts, rogue  soldiers, and more as she battles to return to the Ice Palace. With the stakes so high, can she make it back alive?
 
YOU CAN BUY OF ICE AND AIR HERE. AND AT AN INTRODUCTORY OFFER PRICE OF JUST 99p/99c for 1 week ONLY!
 
And don’t forget the Facebook party later today at 6pm GMT – come along, I’d love to see you and so would my guests:
James Barclay

James Barclay

Connie J Jasperson

Connie J Jasperson

Alison DeLuca

Alison DeLuca

(plus you might win some swag)! Here’s the link if you want to join in: https://www.facebook.com/events/879601752136491/
 
 
 

Twists, Turns, and Sucker Punches

I bet you’re wondering what the heck is going to be in this post with a title like that!

Today, Joy Keeney, who I met during a blogflash event about three years ago, has published her review of Heart Search: Betrayal on her blog. She’s been following the whole trilogy! The title comes from her review so to find out more, click here.

Also, my dear friend, Alison DeLuca, who is a fellow author at Myrddin Publishing, has a slightly racy excerpt on her blog. Click here to find out what’s going on.

With only a couple of days left of the blog tour and giveaway, the time is fast running out for you to enter. So here’s the link again for those of you who have left it until the last minute!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal – Hunted Heart by Alison DeLuca

When my friend and colleague, Alison DeLuca, asked me to do a cover reveal for her new novel, I didn’t hesitate. Already a fan of her Crown Phoenix series, I was intrigued by the idea of this new novel. I asked her where she got the idea for this fairytale with a twist.

“I met a friend online who gave me a prompt for Hunted Heart. Her idea was to have a strong heroine as the Hunter from Snow White who is given the job of killing the prince. Heartbreak, magic mirrors, and poisoned apples all wound themselves into the plot, and fifty thousand words later I had an adult take on the fairytale.

My publishing group, Myrddin Publishing, does a charity publication each year in December. This year my Myrddin effort is Hunted Heart and all royalties will be donated to Save the Children. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon and you can add it to your reading lists on Goodreads.”

Here’s the blurb:

When Tali is hired to cut out the heart of Prince Kas, the huntress can’t refuse. Tali realizes there is no escape from the dark magic of the queen’s mirror, even though her own feelings for the prince are far too complex to understand.

As they try to run from their shared destiny, Tali and Kas have to rely on their wits and each other as hunter becomes prey and hearts are won and lost.

 A genderbent Snow White for adults (18+ only.)

Wow! Fascinated yet? I certainly am.

Let’s have a fanfare as I reveal the amazing cover:

huntedheart-cover-final

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OMG! I think Lisa Daly, Alison’s cover designer has done an awesome job with this. Don’t you agree?

Pre-order this now and help raise money for this excellent cause.

Meet the author:

Alison DeLuca

Alison DeLuca

 

About the author: Alison DeLuca is the author of several fantasy and steampunk novels. Currently she lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter, where she wrestles words and laundry.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads.

 

Reflections

First off – Happy New Year to you all. I wish you health, happiness and success in all your endeavours.

looking back

 

In the first few days of a new year, most people are making resolutions and setting goals, and whilst I do that, I also take some time to reflect on the year just passed and ask myself some questions:

 

What was my biggest trial during 2012?

This would have to be the major problem with my spine. The first signs appeared mid-February, but by the third week in April, it had deteriorated to the extent I could no longer work, drive my car, dance, sit for longer than half an hour, stand for more than fifteen minutes, bend, and needed a stick to help me walk. Suddenly I was taking medication by the handful (or that’s how it seemed); muscle relaxants, pain killers, anti-inflamatories and nerve blockers were thrown down my neck in the vain hope they would take the pain away. Yeah, they took the edge off, but that was about it. The doctor could have given me stronger tablets, but I really didn’t want to become a barely-functioning zombie.

There were two things which helped me through this nightmare (until I had surgery at the end of September) – my daughter and my writing. It was because of both I refused the more powerful drugs. My writing and editing work kept me sane; in my writing I was able to immerse myself in the world I was creating, and in between I had the honour of editing fantastic novels by Connie J Jasperson, Johanna Garth, Alison DeLuca and Nicole Antonia Carson; Johanna’s (Losing Hope), Alison’s (Crown Phoenix: Lamplighter’s Special) and Nicole’s (Yum) are already available, and Connie’s (Forbidden Road) is due to be published within the next couple of months. In the rare times I wasn’t writing or editing, my lovely daughter kept my spirits up.

What was my biggest achievement?

Without a doubt, the publication of Heart Search: Lost through Myrrdin Publishing Group. The joy I felt seeing it up on Amazon for the very first time was indescribable; I still get a buzz from it three months after the launch! When the paperback arrived, I turned it over and over in my hands, scarcely able to believe my dream of publishing a book had come true, especially after the difficult time I had trying to get it written in the first place.

What was my greatest challenge?

I think this would have to be organising and running the blog tour to celebrate the launch of Heart Search: Lost. I’d never done one before so was feeling my way with it a bit, but I had a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve. I also wanted to combine the tour with a giveaway, so had to choose and design the items too. I wanted each participating blog to have original guest posts and excerpts – if people were kind enough to support my launch, the very least I could do was ensure they had exclusive pieces to share with their followers.

I had some wonderful people supporting me on the tour, a number of which have become dear friends as a result. The fact that the tour began just ten days after the surgery on my spine, when I could only sit for 10-15 minutes at a time, increased the challenge. I had 17 guest posts to write, 14 interviews, and to pick out 20 suitable excerpts. Add this to the actual administration of the tour, the launch itself and all the requisite publicity, it would be fair to say it was a challenge I wondered if I could rise to. I managed it, somehow, mainly by ignoring doctor’s orders and sitting for longer than I should have done!

What was unexpected?

Finding myself holding the reins of a writers group! I had only been a member of Writebulb for about four months when the leader and last remaining founder had to bow out. It had taken me quite a while to find a group I was happy in and I didn’t want to see it close. I volunteered to take over and have been running Writebulb ever since.

I’m proud of the achievements of the group since I took over. Apart from myself, others have published their work for the first time and collectively we published a charity anthology, The Other Way Is Essex, to raise money for our local hospice.

What surprised me the most?

People! To be more specific, how wonderfully supportive my fellow authors, bloggers, followers and readers were. Every member of Myrrdin Publishing were incredible and I’ve found some wonderful new friends as well as very talented authors. The Heart Search Blog Tour crew were all fantastic, most going out of their way to help publicise all the activities/posts/reviews etc as well as their own and offering me loads of encouragement. My fellow writers at Writebulb have been responsive and supportive of my leadership and ideas. Last, but by no means least, my wonderful readers who have given me such fabulous feedback on my debut novel.

What have I learned?

Loads! I’ve learned to stare adversity in the face and find a coping mechanism to deal with pain (admitedly doing something I love and would have done anyway, but still . . .). I’ve been honing my craft, trying to improve my writing, so as to give my readers better quality stories to enjoy. I’ve learned how wonderfully supportive other authors and my blog and social media followers are. Finally, although I’ve been writing since I was a child, I’ve come to realise it’s a much bigger part of my life than I ever expected and I can never stop doing what I love so much!

 

 

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

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

For me!

I’ve just been nominated for this awesome award by my fellow blogger and friend Laura Thomas, and I’m blown away by it – thank you so much, Laura!

If you don’t know Laura you can find her on her blog http://fuonlyknew.wordpress.com . Her blogs are always entertaining and fun!

I understand I’m supposed to nominate 7 bloggers and tell you 7 things about myself. this is going to be the hard part, but I’ll try and give you a chuckle or three.

1. I love watching Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing With The Stars in the US). Being a pro dance teacher, I love picking out faults and arguing with the judges, even though they can’t hear me.

2. When I was pregnant with my daughter I had three main cravings; white chocolate, lemon curd and hot cross buns. Guess what some of my daughter’s favourite things to eat are . . . yep, the three things I craved!

3. I read Tarot cards. I’ve had the ‘gift’ since I was a child, but didn’t realise what it was until my mum explained I come from a line of psychics (my grandmother was particularly strong). It’s only been the last year or so that I’ve properly started using my gift, having received training from my best friend who is a fabulous medium and teacher.

4. I hate ironing with a vengence and do as little as I can get away with. My mum used to iron everything, even underwear and it was a standing joke in our house that if you stood still too long, mum would either iron you, wash you or dust you!

5. I used to be in love with Patrick Swayze and it was my dream to dance with him (especially after I saw Dirty Dancing for the first time). When he died, I actually cried my eyes out. (I know it’s sad!)

6. I hate having grey hair and will go to any lengths to cover them up – not that I have very many but they’re right at the front in my fringe (I think you call them ‘bangs’ in the US) and stick out like the proverbial sore thumb! I don’t look my age and until recently I didn’t feel it so grey hair does NOT fit with the me I am and how I see myself. Usually I hide them subtly by having highlights of light blonde and bright red in my dark blonde hair but as my highlights had grown out and the grey was starting to show again, I decided to get one of these home colouring kits and have now gone a ruby red. This was quite a major step for me as I’ve never had an all-over colour change since I was about eighteen, &*?/^ years ago, but I’m happy to report it came out really well and I actually like it. It took a bit of getting used to though; I kept glancing in the mirror everytime I passed it to make sure it really was me! I’m past the narcissism now! Lol

7. I have quite a weird and wacky sense of humour. I use word-play in my humour, subtle remarks, and sometime sarcasm. I enjoy a good joke and love to laugh. It’s funny though, there are very few ‘comedians’ on the tv which really make me laugh.

Ok, now that I’ve revealed some of my inner self (some of it to my embarrassment) it’s now time for me to pass on the mantle.

My job now is to nominate 7 ladies who, in my opinion are worthy of this award. There are so many great bloggers out there so in some ways this is going to be a dificult choice. However, my first two nominees are easy to choose as their blogs are amazing, informative and entertaining. So without further ado,

My nominees are:

1. Alison DeLuca    http://alisondeluca.blogspot.com

2. Connie J Jasperson    http://conniejjasperson.wordpress.com

3. Christine Nolfi     http://www.christinenolfi.com/blog/

4. Brianna Lee McKenzie    http://briannaleemckenzie.blogspot.co.uk/

5. Rachel Tsoumbakos   http://racheltsoumbakos.blogspot.co.uk/

6. Kathleen Barker   http://kateinla51.blogspot.co.uk/

7. Danielle Raver     http://danielleraverauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

Good luck, Ladies, and congratulations!