Be Our Guest Post: C.W. Briar

Whispers-Blog-Tour

It’s time for another blog tour. This time it’s for author C.W. Briar’s debut novel. Whispers from the Depth.

About the book:

Whispers from the Depths Cover.jpgJoyful and blessed are Voice-bearers, for the Heavens have set them apart.

 As Whisperers gifted with the Voice, Betka and her people are enslaved. Only they can control the dangerous spirits that haunt the waters, but they are forced to serve under cruel taskmasters. Betka has little hope of freedom from her service or her own bitterness.

 They toil for the goodness of others. 

 A powerful water spirit terrorizes the castle where Betka’s sister is serving. Betka is assigned to the crew sailing to face the foe, and she fears for the only family she has left.

 Rage is found nowhere in them.

 In the beleaguered, flooded castle, a new threat awaits—a magic more powerful and horrifying than anything they have ever seen. Loyalties will be tested, and enemies will become desperate allies.

 Betka is their only hope of escape—if she can subdue the wrath that endangers them all.

She who wields the waters for revenge drowns herself tenfold.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40800052-whispers-from-the-depths

Be Our Guest Post with C.W. Briar:

Thanks for having me. Can I start off by saying how surreal it is to be doing my first blog tour? It’s like arriving at the Academy Awards, except my ritzy gift bag looks more like a paper plate with Oreos from my own cupboard.

They’re delicious, by the way.

For those who don’t know me: Hello. I’m C.W. Briar, I write books, and I have cute dogs. That’s all the important bits about me. Those of you who already know me (sorry) have probably gleaned two other facts: I like creepy stories, and I joke around online. That might seem contradictory, but it’s because serious me is long-winded, and writing a dark fantasy novel lets me be super long-winded.

In addition to suspense, action, and humor, Whispers From The Depths is an exploration of questions I’d been contemplating. We’re all familiar with the phrase “love conquers all,” but how, exactly, does it conquer? How does love win against a foe that’s content with being violent and cruel? What does it look like to interrupt the downward spiral of grudges and vengeance?

As much as anything, it’s the immersion into those questions that pushes Whispers into dark fantasy territory. I threw the two main characters, Betka and Asi, to the wolves. They have immense power as Whisperers with water magic, but none to protect themselves. The limitation to their ability is that it can’t be used to harm others. The Whisperers are desperate for an escape or way to fight back against a kingdom that has turned against them.

Betka’s life is a nightmare, and that’s before she gets news that her sister’s village has been attacked by a dangerous spirit.

That was the heartbeat of the story, the lifeblood flowing through every chapter. The old Whisperer dictates about love feel oppressive in that situation. Betka wrestles with them, just as I wrestled with them. The great thing about fiction is that we can let characters explore difficult questions while we have fun as readers.

And the book is meant to be fun, not just moral ruminations. Readers will have form their own opinions, but I think the spirit Ylvalas creates an interesting conflict. In this world, spirits inhabit the waters and can manifest in various forms. I took rather morbid delight in creating ways for water to be used as a weapon, then pitting the characters against those threats.

That’s the situation Betka finds herself in, trapped between a murderous spirit and cruel oppressors, fighting to rescue herself and her sister. It’s Betka’s story, and I loved her honesty and resolve through it all. I loved the strength of Asi’s tender heart and the courage in Kuros’s humor. Now I get to find out if readers also love the characters and their diverse responses to the horrors.

Author Nancy Holzner wrote one of the novel’s blurbs. She said it “entertains on every page and leaves the reader thinking long after the last word.” Honestly, that’s everything I hoped for from the book.

Author Bio

CW Briar - Author Photo.jpgC.W. Briar writes fantasy that’s dark but hopeful, filled with wonder and humor along with the suspense and creepiness. His favorite stories are the ones that make him both smile and perch on the edge of his seat. By day, he works as a systems engineer, testing or even riding on trains, airplanes, and helicopters. At night, when not writing, he prepares fancy dinners and shows off his awesome corgis. He’s a graduate of Binghamton University and lives in Upstate NY with his wife, three kids, and secret stashes of chocolate.

 

Sign up for newsletter exclusives through his website: http://www.cwbriar.com

 Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/CWBriar

https://twitter.com/CW_Briar

https://www.instagram.com/cw_briar/

Whispers from the Depth releases February 19th in both Ebook and print.

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 UUP website (Rumor says these are autographed!): https://uncommonuniverses.com/books/whispers-from-the-depths/

 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Whispers-Depths-C-W-Briar-ebook/dp/B07LC2VTLM/

 Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/whispers-from-the-depths-c-w-briar/1130009932

 Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1446792349

 Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/whispers-from-the-depths-1

If Wishes Were Curses Blog Tour

You’ve seen the cover reveal, now experience the tour!

IWWC Blog Tour Graphic

The urban fantasy about a half Jinn is back on the blog with the official blog tour.

As part of the blog tour am hosting a guest post from author Janeen Ippolito about one of the meaty themes explored in her story.

But first for those who may have forgotten, a refresher on what the book is about.

iwwc_ji[final2]So I accidentally killed a shifter. On purpose.

With genie powers I shouldn’t be able to use, thanks to my curse-mark.

In my defense, the damn grizzly was threatening civilians and might have been a vampire as well. Pittsburgh is safer without him. Only the Fae court doesn’t believe my story, and the shifters are out for blood.

Now I’ve lost my job as a romantic investigator, and I’m on death row. My only hope is an oddly outgoing vegetarian vampire lawyer who seems strangely familiar. Too familiar. 

Almost like we’ve met before, and this whole thing was a set-up to take us both down.

Wishing won’t get us out of this mess.
But my forbidden wish magic just might.

A snarky urban fantasy with a heart, some romance with heat (nothing graphic), and gleeful send ups of many tropes, all wrapped up with an otter-shifter in the bargain.

The book releases February 12, you can preorder it now for just 99 cents:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wishes-Were-Curses-Steel-Genie-ebook/dp/B07M743SN8

Add it to your Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43502789-if-wishes-were-curses

Now it’s time for our Be our Guest post from author Janeen Ippolito:

Trusting When You’ve Been Cursed: Abandonment in If Wishes Were Curses

 When I first started writing If Wishes Were Curses, I knew main character Allis Evanenko had some issues relating to people deeply. But I wasn’t exactly sure why. Yes, her mother died from illness, but I knew Allis had grieved deeply and made peace with that. And Allis was always close to her half-brother Gideon. Their sibling bond is so tight that Gideon left his father’s otter-shifter family to stick with his sister. So why did Allis feel so haunted by this deep sense of loss? As a matchmaker she worked so hard for people to make meaningful connections with each other. Why was she unable to open up and trust others would be there for her?

Then I realized that Allis had been abandoned before she was born. Her Jinn father had abandoned her mostly-human mother as soon as he learned she was pregnant. Allis’s mother never learned the reason why. She just woke up, alone and at the mercy of the Fae court who were very concerned about the possibility of a half-Jinn child. Some of them even strongly urged Allis’s mother to abort the child for the Fae peace of mind. She refused and chose to raise Allis on her own, with much Fae oversight, but little actual support. Moreover, the Fae insisted that Allis receive a curse-mark upon birth, blocking the majority of her magic and disabling her from any meaningful interaction in Fae society.

Quotefancy-5090231-3840x2160

No matter how much Allis’s mother and brother assured her that she was wanted and loved, Allis grew up knowing that she was abandoned by not only her father, but also Fae culture in general. And while she fought for meaning in the church and clung to her brother, she still believed that the only way to survive was to remember that ultimately, she’d be alone. And that it was all her fault, just for existing. Since she could never fix her own problems, she could at least prove herself by fixing relational issues for others. Helping others find true love that works and stopping people from getting into bad relationships—or helping them flee bad relationships—brings her comfort in a way nothing else can. Even if people around her often scoff at her little mission as being “light” and “fluffy” as opposed to people who do “real, serious cop or investigative work.” She takes her work seriously, has a college degree in interpersonal studies, and has devoted herself to figuring out how people work. All while making sure no one knows how alone she feels inside.

Of course, I’m quite terrible to Allis, because in the story she’s arrested, and even her handful of friends appear to desert her. Enter Cendric Atelier, a vampire with a story of abandonment of his own. You’ll have to read the book to learn more about that but sufficed to say that they connect over a deep understanding of what it’s like to be left behind. And that shared experience can turn them into a powerful team—if they can overcome their own insecurities.

Maybe it’s my own extroverted side, but I love writing stories where people must join with others to defeat evil. Ensemble casts rule! And in Allis’s case, one key part of her personal journey is accepting that Cendric is there to stay—and so are her Fae friends.

One major song with this is Piece by Piece by Kelly Clarkson, 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwTMz6Nfhjg

 

Janeen-016Janeen Ippolito writes steampunk fantasy and urban fantasy, and creates writing resources, including the reference book World Building From the Inside Out and the creative writing guide Irresistible World Building For Unforgettable Stories. She’s an experienced teacher, editor, author coach, marketer, and is the leader of Uncommon Universes Press, a small traditional science fiction and fantasy publishing house. She’s also the cohost of the podcast Indie Book Magic. In her spare time, Janeen enjoys sword-fighting, reading, pyrography, and eating brownie batter. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica.

Website: https://janeenippolito.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janeenippolitounique/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JaneenIppolito
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/janeen_ippolito/  

 

Faithless Blog tour

Faithless Blog Tour Banner

So You may already be familiar with Faithless from the amazing Cover reveal that I hosted last month. Read it here if you forgot.

So As you may know the first book in the Ironfire legacy introduced readers to the world of Sekastra, where shifter races dwell. Readers of Lawless are already familiar with dragon shifters. Today author Janeen Ippolito is here with a Be Our Guest Post about the second major shifter race. Unicorns.

When Peacemakers Go Dark: Death Unicorn World Building

             MapOfSekastra

 In the world of The Ironfire Legacy, each continent or major area has their own shifter race: dragons, seals (re: selkies), (were)wolves, and (death) unicorns. Out of all of the races, the death unicorns have the hardest history—and my inspiration came from a combination of existing mythology and realities.

              Unicorn horns. Unicorn hair. Powdered unicorn hooves or emulsified unicorn ears. All common ingredients in potions in a lot of fantasy and fairy tale worlds. But what if the unicorns were sentient? What if they were shifters? What if they had souls—in fact, what if they were the most soulful race on the planet? Suddenly, using their body parts as ingredients sounds downright barbaric and disturbing—similar to the persecution of those with albinism in Africa.

I explore the persecution of unicorns in my fluffy-with-a-dark-side short story in the humorous romance anthology How To Catch A Unicorn. But that story takes place hundreds of years before The Ironfire Legacy series, in the country of Elotrin, located to the south of Sekastra. And within those hundred years, a tenuous peace gives way to a genocide of unicorns, both for their body parts, and also to prevent them from opposing the bad guys who fear unicorn soul magic.

            Unicorn of Judgment (1)  The unicorns took the adjective of “death” both to honor the losses of the genocide, and to own their new natures. They chose to use magical enhancement to weaponize themselves and protect their people from utter annihilation. Their soul-empathy, used to comfort, was turned into a method to induce terror. While unicorn blood still heals, death unicorns can also secrete a substance that coats their horns with deadly poison. In battle mode, their eyes flash red, their aura smells of sulfur, and they are foes to be reckoned with.

              But as a people, they still deeply grieve what was done to them, and what they have now become. After their queen, Maira Ukerys, destroyed their foes, the death unicorns fled to Sekastra. At that time, they were received into the Scepter of Justice, the fifth city-state that had been the home of the dragons. The old dragon king and queen, as well as the ruling dragon-human council, were wary about the refugees, but finally gave them a reservation of land called the Lost Refuge and agreed to let history record that unicorns were extinct. And this is where the death unicorns have lived for fifty years, seldom venturing out of their refuge. Always careful and secretive and haunted by their past. Death unicorns live for at least two hundred years, so the genocide is fresh in the minds of the elders, and those memories are passed around in the herd as a whole.

 

              Rather grim, hm? Well, within their herd, the death unicorns are still deeply caring and compassionate. During the dragon-human war, some death unicorn healers would emerge from the Lost Refuge and aid the injured soldiers and spies among the Lawless. And they refuse to fight on behalf of the Lawless, as they still hold true to the Rule of Harming: for every injury or death inflicted by someone, that person must equally heal or save another person. 

              Yet, there are some among the death unicorns who resent their refugee status. Who are wary of the dragons. Who see this time of wartime upheaval as a perfect opportunity to claim what was taken from them decades earlier. A home.

              And such individuals are very dangerous, indeed…

 

Janeen-016About the Author

Janeen Ippolito believes words transform worlds. She creates writing resources and writes steampunk fantasy. She’s also an experienced teacher, editor, author coach, and the editor in chief of Uncommon Universes Press. In her spare time, she enjoys sword-fighting, reading, food, and making brownie batter. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica. This extroverted writer loves getting connected, so find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and at her website: janeenippolito.com

 Social Media Links

Website FacebookTwitter Instagram

 

About Faithless

FaithlessCoverFullSizeOne wild night, Shance Windkeeper discovers he’s married to a death unicorn.

But that’s the least of his troubles.

As an agent for the Lawless, Shance is working with dragonshifters Kesia Ironfire and Zephryn Nightstalker, trying to end the dragon-human war and the organization that masterminded it. While on a mission in the Scepter of Knowledge, the Lawless is hit with a devastating death unicorn attack.

Out of the wreckage new allies emerge: Lirome Ukerys, and his twin sister Maira, the death unicorn queen – Shance’s long-lost wife.

Recently freed from captivity, Maira is fighting to regain control of her herd. Lurien Alistil, a rogue death unicorn, has bespelled the Scepter of Knowledge and taken Maira’s son. When Kesia unexpectedly challenges Lurien to a public debate over the fate of the city, the Lawless has a chance to break the usurper’s hold. To obtain vital information they must infiltrate her lair – and as the husband of the death unicorn queen, Shance Windkeeper is the perfect prize to go in.

But Lurien’s power is stronger and more insidious than they realize. And if the final pieces of her plan fall into place, not even Shance’s newfound Talents and knowledge will be enough to stop her.

A steampunk fantasy adventure with much intrigue, unexpected romance, sudden tragedy, and a snarky cat-dragon.

  Purchase Links

AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboiBooksSigned Paperback

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41743098-faithless

 

Facebook Party

For those who are interested there is a facebook party tonight (10/19/18) to celebrate the release of Faithless.

 

Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1123291547833648/

 Celebrate the launch of Faithless: The Ironfire Legacy Book 2 with featured author Janeen Ippolito and guest authors Angelique Anderson and R.J. Metcalf! Get your fill of steampunk, dragons, adventures, and more (re: death unicorns and a cat-dragon) with this fun-filled evening that includes giveaways, games, and an exclusive reveal or two. 

Hosted by Laura A. Grace of Unicorn Quester and Uncommon Universes Press!

 

Paws Claws and Magical Tales

Yes I know the posts just keep coming. Today I’m telling you about the fifth short story anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy.

It’s about Cats and it releases October 9th.

About the book:

PawsClawsandMagicTalesCoverSmallThere’s just something magical about cats.

Fierce hunters content to rest upon our sofas. Sweet friends but stubbornly independent. Fluffy little murder balls with jellybean toes and razor-sharp claws. It’s easier to answer what cats aren’t than what they are.

In this purr-fect collection, awesome authors pounce upon the challenge of the mysterious cat like the elusive little red dot it is. Curl up with sixteen stories all featuring our furry, frisky, fabulous feline friends. Inside, you’ll find adorable house cats, majestic big cats, and imperious cat-dragons. You’ll meet cats who are their owners’ protectors, who help them find true love, and who tackle the challenges of caring for their clumsy human companions in hilarious, heartwarming, and harrowing ways.

This fifth anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy features new and returning authors, dedicated to giving you the best in cat-related fantasy fiction.

For this blog tour the Fellowship is trying something different. each author is sharing about the cats in their life.

Preorder Links: 

Pre-Orders are only 99 cents for the ebook. The paper back is available now and costs $12.99.  Amazon or Everywhere else.

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41734549-paws-claws-and-magic-tales

Now it’s time for the author of The Tail of Two Kitlings to tell us about her cats.

A Be Our Guest Post, by:

Sharon Hughson

sharoncatphotoTell us about the cat(s) in your life.

My first cat was a tiger-striped barn cat I named Tiger. Original, I know. Since then, I’ve attempted to have at least one cat at all times, and I’m a firm believer in the adage, “A house is not a home without a cat and books.”

These days, I have three “rescued” cats. The oldest is a gray and white medium shorthair tabby named Mustang. Someone abandoned him in our former neighborhood, and when I saw him wandering around, I put out food. My husband claimed I was NOT allowed to feed him or adopt him. That was eight or nine years ago.

Cattin’ Hook is eight. A friend of ours trapped him using a slice of pizza as bait when he was just a kitten. He gets his name because his tail is folded so it feels like a hook if you touch it. (This is where I got the inspiration for the tail at the end of “The Tail of Two Kitlings.”)

Four years ago, my youngest son and his then fiancé (now wife) brought me our sweet little girl kitty. Tweetie Paws is a tuxedo cat with a loving, playful personality. They adopted her from a rescue organization. My husband was traveling when they gifted me with the cat and he swore we weren’t keeping her. Ha! Now he loves all three cats nearly as much as I do.

Tail of Two Kitlings by Sharon Hughson
Two kitlings. One tail. A mother’s sacrifice and a brother’s betrayal. Who will survive the Siamese curse?

This story and more inside: Paws, Claws, and Magical Tales.

Want to win a copy of your own? The giveaway is for a paperback copy.

Enter the Raffle Copter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amber Eyes Blog Tour: A guest post

Hello, you may have noticed that this blog was dormant for a while. The reason was because I work retail so I pretty much died after Christmas. But I’m better now and ready to share more awesome books with you. The first of which is S.D. Grimm’s newest fantasy novel, Amber Eyes. And it’s on tour.

 

About the Book

Destiny can be cruel

Darkness retreated from the light of the scarlet moon, but has since grown even stronger. The Mistress of Shadows has found a new pawn—one that may be the key to unlocking the door to her underground prison. Now evil threatens to escape its shackles and destroy the land.

In the aftermath of loss and betrayal, Jayden’s fight with the enemy still isn’t over. But while she isn’t sure she can stop the Mistress alone, leaving her friends might be the only way to keep them from being consumed by the darkness.

With lives hanging in the balance—and no time for error—can Jayden make the right choice?

AmazonBarnes & Noble Christianbook.com

About the Author

S.D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency and author of SCARLET MOON. She currently has four books under contract, including the remainder of her YA fantasy series Children of the Blood Moon. When she’s not writing or editing, Sarah enjoys reading (of course!), practicing kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu, training dogs, and binge-watching shows with great characters. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog. You can learn more about her upcoming novels at www.sdgrimm.com.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter | Spotify

Instead of an interview or a review I was evil and told S.D. that she could steal my blog to talk about what ever she wanted. A segment that I am unashamedly calling: Be Our Guest Post.

Be Our Guest Post: S.D. Grimm

 Thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog today! I am so excited to be here.

 So I’ve been thinking about some things that I could share about Amber Eyes that are basically non-spoilery but also touch on the heart of the story. One thing that came to mind is the phrase I put on my special Amber Eyes bookmarks: the dragon will rise.

 Dragons! The good ones are amazing. The bad ones are terrifying. They’re a fascinating embodiment of the fantasy genre. And yet that dragon on the cover of Amber Eyes is clearly creeeeeepyyyy.

 And so perfect for the story. When I saw the cover the first time, that dragon made me quiver inside. Because it’s so … perfect and scary!

 I think a lot of Scarlet Moon is about overcoming fears. And that plays a part in Amber Eyes, too. But more than that, Scarlet Moon is about overcoming fears that the characters will face—outer dragons—while Amber Eyes is about characters facing the fears of what they might become, aka inner dragons.

 In Amber Eyes, they’re battling their inner dragons while also facing the very real monsters in front of them.

 I think it’s evident in that I chose the title “Amber Eyes” for a few reasons. You can see from the very awesome dragon on the cover (thank you, Kirk DouPonce for the AmAzInG cover) that it has eyes of amber. And it’s ferocious and scary and dangerous. There are other characters in the novel who are also those things, and while they may be pulled toward darkness, not all of them will accept that call.

 So they’re like two sides of the same coin. Two paths in the same wood. Two ways a character could go. That’s what it’s like for us when we make choices that we have to wrestle with at a soul level, though, right? We have to decide which path to take. Which choice to make.

 Sometimes it’s the right one. Sometimes it’s not. And that’s at the heart of this book. Struggling with choices. Living with consequences. And choosing the right path. Just. Like. Life. Dragons are dangerous either way, but there are good ones and bad ones.

 I think that’s why Amber Eyes was so fun and yet hard to write at times. Because it’s hard to watch the characters you love make choices you know in your gut are wrong. But watching them become stronger, wiser people because of the lessons they learned through those mistakes is so satisfying. So I hope you enjoy going through those moments with my characters. Following them on their journey toward hope. Growing with them. Cheering for them. Watching them face their dragons. And everything in between. I am so excited to share this with you.

***

Thank you S.D. Grimm for the amazing guest post. I admit when I gave you free rein, I was really hoping for dragons. You did not disappoint. In case you didn’t know S.D. also makes really cute dragon figures that she calls Grimmlies. Check out this picture she included.

Fun Author Pics

Rumor is that she’s giving some away at her Facebook Party. Keep scrolling for a Giveaway link for a chance to win not only a Grimmlie but paperback copies of both Scarlet moon and Amber Eyes.

Facebook Launch Party

Calling all book readers! Join author S.D. Grimm as we chat about her fantasy novel Amber Eyes on January 30th from 8 PM to 11 PM EST (6 PM CDT and 5 PM PST).

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with SD, games, and giveaways.

Special guests Nadine Brandes, Lindsay A. Franklin, and Sara Baysinger will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun.

RSVP Today

 

Giveaway

Want to dive into a new world? Enter to win a signed copy of both Amber Eyes and Scarlet Moon, a grimmlie dragon of the dragon on the cover (made by the author), a charm bracelet (made by her Captain America), and a $10 amazon gift card. (US only. Sorry!)

>>> Entry-Form <<<

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 22nd

Tuesday, January 23rd

Wednesday, January 24th

Thursday, January 25th

Friday, January 26th

Saturday, January 27th

Monday, January 29th

Tuesday, January 30th

Wednesday, January 31st

Thursday, February 1st

Friday, February 2nd

Saturday, February 3rd

Monday, February 5th