Amok a Dive-In Review

This is a bit early, a few weeks back I help with a cover reveal for a book titled Amok. I said in the reveal that the release date was June 24th, but that date was moved up to June 1st. So I decided to move my review up accordingly Good news tough, the pre-order pricing stays in effect until the 24th. So grab it now before the price goes up.

Surprise lockdown launch!

In light of Malaysia’s not-so-surprising Total Lockdown, Teaspoon Publishing has pushed up the release date of Amok for a surprise lockdown launch! 

Yes, Amok ebooks drop on 1 June* as Malaysians hunker down at home—and you get to benefit! We’ll still honour our launch prices, so our ebook preorder prices of USD2.99 will remain until the 23rd of June and will rise to USD4.99 on 24 June. 

We’re currently in the process of approving paperback editions via Amazon’s POD and IngramSpark, so you’ll be able to get that once the book goes live at totally random times during the month! (You can tell we’re just winging it right now, can’t you?)

And while we’re at it, send a screenshot of your Amok purchase receipt (whether ebook or paperback) to admin@teaspoonpublishing.com.my by 24 June to claim a free ebook copy of The Painted Hall Collection

Happy reading!

Ebook Order Links:

Amazon: http://getbook.at/Amok

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=BAIvEAAAQBAJ 

Other retailers: https://books2read.com/amok 

Teaspoon Publishing: https://teaspoonpublishing.com.my/shop/amok-ebook 

Ebook sale price (until 23 June): USD2.99  

Full price (24 June): USD4.99 

Amok

What is faith, except hope in desperation?

All Putera Mikal wants is to gain the Amok Strength, the supernatural power granted by Kudus to the Mahan royal family. No matter how religiously Mikal keeps his vows, Kudus still denies him the Strength—whilst his father, Sultan Simson, flaunts the Strength despite his blatant defiance of the Temple and the priests’ visions of coming doom.

Then the prophecies come true.

Taken captive, Mikal must find a way to liberate his people and restore his throne in Maha—and the key to this is the Amok Strength. But what does it take to gain Kudus’ favour?

Dive-In Review of Amok

Amok by Anna Tan is a fantasy reimagining of the story of Sampson from the Bible. But this isn’t a straight retelling, Sampson is more of a frame work to tell the story of Mikal the son of the Sampson stand-in.

The story has a wonderful message about what it means to have faith. Mikal has none of his fathers amazing strength, leading him to question time and again what Kudos (God) wants from him. Why is his faith not enough? A question that I’m sure many people of faith struggle with. (I know I do.)

I really loved Mikal’s character. He has great motivation and his story, is compelling. He goes from being a prince to a slave, and I just couldn’t help feeling for him. He goes on such an inner journey throughout this story that Mikal really does feel like a different character by the end.

The secondary character of Yoshua was just as compelling. He goes from being Mikal’s servant to his new master. He is not the POV character so his arc feels more static, but even second hand you can still see how the plot shapes who he becomes.

Seeing their relationship flipped on its head gives the story a nice sense of symmetry.

The world building is a stand out feature of this book. Set in an Asian inspired fantasy world, the kingdoms of Maha and Bayangan are really fleshed out and I feel like I could crack open a history book and learn about them.

The part of this book that stands out the most is that it has no romance at all. It was super refreshing to read a story without a will they won’t they subplot. The character’s in this story literally had much bigger problems.

If you’re looking for something different from the typical medieval European fantasy then I highly recommend checking out Amok.

*Many thanks to the author who let me read an advanced copy of this book. This review is my own honest evaluation of the material.*

About the Author:

Anna Tan grew up in Malaysia, the country that is not Singapore. She is interested in Malay/Nusantara and Chinese legends and folklore in exploring the intersection of language, culture, and faith.
Anna has an MA in Creative Writing: The Novel under a Chevening scholarship and is the President of the Malaysian Writers Society. She can be found tweeting as @natzers and forgetting to update annatsp.com.

Pray for your Demons: An Anime Devotion

You may remember last week when I did two posts in a row because of a release getting moved up. That release was for the devotional, Finding God in Anime: A devotional for Otakus. You can find that original post here.

The devotional is available on amazon and other retailers as a free ebook. It was hard to come up with a compelling blog post for this tour. How would you even review a multi author devotional anyway? So then I thought about featuring a devotional. But it’s a free ebook. You can just download it for $0.00.

Then it struck me, the perfect way to show you what an anime devotion was like, without spoiling any of the ones in the book.

Write an entirely new devotion that isn’t featured in the book. Scroll down for an exclusive devotion based on the anime Demon slayer.

Otakus have found the God of Wonders within the pages of manga and the twists of anime. These are their reflections on how truth can intersect with animated fiction.

I repeat this is not part of the Finding God in Anime devotional this is just for my readers.

Pray for your Demons

A Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba devotion

By C.O. Bonham

Demon Slayer is a show easiest understood if you replace Demon with Vampire. Demons, in this show, have eternal life, but will die in sunlight. Humans can become demons by being given demon blood, they then must feed on human blood to sustain their new existence. So yeah, basically vampires.

Tanjiro Kamado returns home one day to find his entire family slaughtered by a demon. Save for one, his younger sister Nezuko is not dead but turned. He sets out to both find a way to return his sister’s humanity and to learn how to prevent others from ending up like his family.

Tanjiro is a talented student and learns to become a powerful demon slayer. That the demons used to be human, never quite sits right with him. He will spare those who do not kill humans. But those who take human life, he sees it as his duty to destroy them.

The weird thing is, even after killing a murdering demon, Tanjiro prays for their soul to find peace in the next life. This show uses Japanese Shinto religion, so the next life is reincarnation. He’s not praying that they go to heaven. After telling a demon that he can never forgive his murder of another human, he still wishes him to live a good life on the next go.

It seems counterintuitive to us. Why would you wish peace on a demon? Let me reiterate, these demons are not fallen angels who have no hope. These demons are twisted humans. Tanjiro is just doing what he does best, caring for others.

This is an authentic example of loving your enemy to me. Yes, he kills the demons, but only to preserve the lives of others. He does not hunt the demons out of revenge for his family.

In fact, the demon who killed them, the one who turned his sister Nezuko, Muzan Kibutsuji, Tanjiro hunts him, only hoping to restore his sister’s humanity. Not for revenge.

Take heed of Tanjiro’s lesson, do nothing out of revenge, but only for the good of others. Pray for the demons in your life, even the ones you have to slay.

 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

 — Matthew 5:44 (New International version.)

So that’s what an anime devotion is like.

If you enjoyed it then download Finding God in Anime: a devotional for otakus.

My other anime devotion is available inside and it’s based on My Hero Academia. Read it to discover Deku’s True Quirk.

About Finding God in Anime

Being a Christian can be tough. Being an otaku can be tough. But being both at once?

Sometimes it seems easier to become Hokage rather than explaining your faith and passions to others. That is why we otaku have united in this devotional: To encourage otaku like you spiritually and through a medium we all cherish.

In this devotional, you will find God in the animes you know and love. Each devotional presents spiritual lessons found in animes ranging from the world-famous Attack on Titan to fan-favorite Haikyu!! to beloved classics like Cowboy Bebop. Each piece will feature a different theme such as:

  • Human Will vs. The Holy Spirit in Yona of the Dawn
  • Choosing to be Free in Free! Swim Club
  • Not by My Might in My Hero Academia

…and many others! We believe that God can be seen throughout His creation—even in places where people might not intend! So pull out your cosplay and snuggle close with your plushies as you join us in Finding God in Anime.

Purchase Links

AmazonOther Book Retailers

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58045420-finding-god-in-anime

About the Organizers

Laura and Moriah’s life consists of giving each other manga recommendations until they see whose TBR pile will fall on them first. Rest assured they’re both still safe…until another manga releases. In the meantime, they enjoy sharing beautiful pictures of Japan and trying to make each other laugh with anime memes. They both have an appreciation for cute stickers, samurai, and pins. If they’re not chatting about all things otaku, you can find them trying to write their next story or surviving on ramen and pocky after their latest manga order. 

Finding God in Anime Webpage Link: https://www.lauraagrace.com/findinggodinanime

Manga Photo Challenge on Instagram

Link: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPBFyKmLApY/

Celebrate the release of Finding God in Anime by participating in the manga photo challenge on Instagram! During the month of June, the organizers will be spotlighting a variety of manga that have had an anime adaptation by showcasing them using  #MangaFestival in their posts. Each title prompt is an anime that is featured in the devotional. Grab your favorite manga and get ready to celebrate!

If you would like to follow the blog tour you can start by checking out Laura’s kick off post here: https://www.lauraagrace.com/blog

Rapunzel Tour: Diamond

Blog Tour Banner

Hey there, thanks for coming back for my second round on the Rapunzel tour. If you missed my first post, a dive in review of Misfortune click here to check it out.

Today I’m giving you my dive in review of Diamond book #3 in the Once Upon a Twist series.

Diamond

This time, Rapunzel’s not the one stuck in the tower, but the secrets he brings with him may cost her own life.

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 85Once Upon a Twist #3
Diamond leads a quiet life with the woman she calls Mother. There isn’t much to pass the time save for excursions in the forest and one-sided conversations with her pet rabbit, Hobie. Men are cruel beings who care only for themselves and must be avoided at any cost. After all, Diamond’s own father gambled her away once. What other terrible fates might await her if people knew she existed?

 Seth Stendahl is an alchemist with a middling proficiency in the Rohesian tongue. After growing up with and surviving six sisters, there shouldn’t be anything too difficult for him to master – except maybe breaking his leg and being locked in the top of a ruined watchtower.

 This is Rapunzel with a twist like you’ve never seen it before.

Order Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0872MC72P/

Add Book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48984508-diamond

Explore the rest of the series! Goodreads

Author Bio:

KirstenKirsten Fichter is a twenty-something Christian writer who loves being the wife to her favorite person ever, mommy to two precious blessings, a piano enthusiast, a dragon buff, a serious bookworm, and an INFP synesthete. Fairytales have always fascinated her, and she has made it her goal to rewrite as many as possible and become known as the “Grimm Dickens” (i.e. mixing Grimm fairytales with a Dickens style). Diamond: A Rapunzel Story is her third published fairytale retelling. You can find out more about her on her blog, A Synesthete Writer.

Find her online at:  Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || Instagram || Amazon 

Diamond Review:

Not all Diamonds glitter.

This Diamond is a girl. Her mother keeps her hidden away, always obsessing about her nearly eighteen feet of golden hair.

Before you start thinking you’ve seen this Disney movie before, you need to know that this is a non-magical story. Everything it totally plausible, well except for the alchemist, he’s still not magic though, just very fashion forward with the goggles and the foreign accent.

I loved the main characters who are super cute together. Seth, with his six older sisters knows how to say just the right thing. And poor Diamond, who has never spoken to another soul in her life let alone a man, has no idea what to say.

I also loved the gender swapping element of Seth being the one stuck in the tower, even though Diamond still had the long hair. It was an interesting twist that added originality to the story.

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Okay so yes there are nods to everyone’s favorite Disney movie too. The jokes about the horse not acting very horse like were a particular favorite of mine. But Diamond shines (Pun Always Intended) on it’s own as a unique fairy-tale retelling that is sure to remind you why you love Disney movies in the first place.

*I was slipped an electronic copy of this story, secretly in the dead of night, for purposes unknown. I willingly relate to you now my honest opinion of the material so that you may be informed and forewarned about the contents.*

Today’s Tour Stops:

May 18
Kirsten Fichter – Seth Stendahl and his Alchemy
Interviews:
Reality Reflected – Delshad
Reviews:
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke – Misfortune
Fairy Dust on My Pen – Diamond
C.O. Bonham – Diamond

Please visit this page for the full schedule: https://kendrasgiraffecrafts.blogspot.com/p/a-twist-of-rapunzel.html

Curse and Consequence: Dive in Review

 

Hello another blog tour is stopping by the blog today. This time it’s for Savannah Jezowski’s new novel Curse and Consequence. It a fun regency inspired fantasy, with . . . oh, maybe I should be saving that for the review.

 

About the Book

When Love visits Ravenhead Hall, sparks fly…quite literally.

Miss Rea Abernathy only wants to honor the family who has taken her under their wing, rescuing her from a life of poverty. But thanks to two determined suitors, she finds herself in a state far worse than the one from which her benefactress saved her.

When Mr. Sedgwick Whitby sets his sights on his mother’s sweet-tempered pig keeper, his orderly life is thrown into chaos: Rea’s station is less–than-desirable, and another gentleman may be pursuing her. Hoping to get his annoyingly charming twin brother out of the way, Sedgwick purchases a simple curse from a disreputable faery which consequently plunges them all into a misfortune far more serious than troubles of the heart.

With time running out to break the curse and tempers flying high, can Sedgwick and Rea set things right and find love after all? Jane Austen meets dragons in this frolicking fantasy romance about a comely pig keeper, two wealthy gentlemen, and the curse binding them all together. Perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Gail Carson Levine.

Amazon (Available on Kindle Limited!)

 

Dive in Review:

Curse and Consequence by Savannah Jezowski is a magical fantasy with regency flare.
The Whitby twins are as different as night and day. Hugh is a wild play boy who never grew up. Sedgwick is responsible, but is willing to do anything (even unresponsible things) to prevent his brother from having a chance with the woman he loves.

I loved the interplay between the two brothers. It was over the top hilarious but also not unheard of for siblings.

Fantasy airship

This that interplay I mentioned.

The setting really made the story for me. I don’t think would have worked in any other time period. Both boys are such a product of their high class life style, even though each claims to be the progressive one, that they can’t even get out of their curse without reactivating it.

The best part though was the little dragon Rea. She was cute and adorable but full of fire.

Can’t wait to read the next one.

*I was given an ARC of this novel for the purposes of reviewing.*

 

About the Author

Savannah Jezowski lives in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor and a wee warrior princess. She is the founder of Dragonpen Designs and Dragonpen Press, which offers author services such as cover design, developmental edits, and interior formatting. Her debut novella “Wither” is featured in Five Enchanted Roses, an anthology of Beauty and the Beast, and is a prequel to The Neverway Chronicles, a Christian fantasy series filled with tragic heroes and the living dead. She is also the author of When Ravens Fall, a Norse Beauty and the Beast retelling. She is featured in several Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, including Mythical Doorways, Tales of Ever After, and Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales. When she isn’t writing, Savannah likes to read books, watch BBC miniseries, and play with cover design. She also enjoys having tea with her imaginary friends.

WebsiteNewsletterFacebook Facebook GroupTwitterAmazon Author Page

 

Want to know more?

follow the

Blog Tour Schedule:

Monday, June 1st

Tuesday, July 2nd

Wednesday, July 3rd

Thursday, July 4th

Friday, July 5th

Saturday, July 6th

Sunday, July 7th

Spotlight On: The Witching Hour

Witching Hour_Blog Banner2

The author of today’s feature may sound familiar. Savannah has been featured before, read the FANtastic interview with her here.

Do you love cats? Do you enjoy frolicking fantasy, sweet romance, good versus evil, and stories with a good redemption angle? If so, you’re sure to fall in love with The Witching Hour, a fantasy with fairy tale themes and lots of giggles.

Witching Hour_Character Card Graphic

About The Witching Hour:

Part One: As shadows encroach on the city of Lite, one cat stands between humanity and the hounds of darkness. Romeo takes it upon himself to find a suitor for his human Isabel in order to save the city and sets his sights on the unlikeliest of candidates. Can true love really save the day? Read Part One for FREE on Kindle and Most Digital Stores.

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Part Two: When Isabel disappears in the middle of the night, matters take a turn for the worst. Romeo finds himself trekking through the dangerous wildlands to rescue the young queen with a clownish wizard, a sassy she-cat, a pretty healer, and a mysterious solider. However, their only hope may be the very thing Romeo fears most. Can Romeo and his friends save the day before the shadows consume them? Preorder for $.99/Releases March 25! Don’t forget to add the novella to your Goodreads Shelf.

The Witching Hour is a frolicking fantasy adventure with fairy tale themes and clean romance. Perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Lloyd Alexander.

Rated: PG for thematic elements and mild battle sequences

Witching Hour_Giveaway Graphic.jpg

 

You can enter to win a FREE paperback of THE COMPLETE STORY, Parts One AND Two in one cute paperback. To enter, simply enter the rafflecopter giveaway. Winner will be chosen March 30th. This giveaway is US ONLY. Enter the Giveaway!

DSCF6135About the Author –

Savannah Jezowski lives in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor and a wee warrior princess. She is the founder of Dragonpen Designs and Dragonpen Press, which offers author services such as cover design, developmental edits, and interior formatting. Her debut novella “Wither” is featured in Five Enchanted Roses, an anthology of Beauty and the Beast, and is a prequel to The Neverway Chronicles, a Christian fantasy series filled with tragic heroes and the living dead. She is also the author of When Ravens Fall, a Norse Beauty and the Beast retelling. She is featured in several Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, including Mythical Doorways, Tales of Ever After, and Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales. When she isn’t writing, Savannah likes to read books, watch BBC miniseries, and play with cover design. She also enjoys having tea with her imaginary friends.

Learn more about Savannah Jezowski

Want to know about sales and new releases? Sign up for Savannah’s newsletter.

Be sure to check out all the stops in The Witching Hour Blog Tour. There will be fun character interviews, guest posts, book reviews and more!

March 18 – http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

March 19 – http://cobonham.com — you are here

March 20 – https://thefoldedworld.wordpress.com

March 21 – https://tammylash.wordpress.com/

March 22 – http://jenelleschmidt.com

www.angeleya.com

March 24 – http://corinnejet.wordpress.com

March 25 – https://dragonpenpress.com/ RELEASE DAY

March 26 – http://annie-louise-twitchell.blogspot.com/

March 27 – www.hlburkeauthor.com/blog

March 28 – http://megdendler.blogspot.com/

March 29 – http://sjeckert.wordpress.com

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.

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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/  

 

Rothana, blog tour.

Hello everyone, today I have another FANtastic Interview. This time it’s with author Sarah Delena White. She’s here to talk about her new book Rothana. You may remember it from Cover reveal I helped with.

 

About the Book

A new queen falls. A death lord rises. An ancient foe looms in the shadows. Sylvie Imanthiya is desperate to lead Faerie well and deepen the bond with her husband, former king Taylan Ashkalabek. But all hope of that vanishes when the winter solstice ceremony ends in disaster, stranding her and Taylan in the Deathrealm, and stripping the kingdom from her. With Faerie in chaos, Zad and Diza are separated once again: Zad to reconcile with an old mentor to stabilize the kingdom, and Diza to confront the nefarious Casimir in the mortal realm. But Casimir claims that a greater evil seeks to destroy both realms, an evil that Diza’s unique death magic can hold at bay—if she could only remember how. In the Deathrealm, Taylan is succumbing to the lure of specters from his past, and pushing away Sylvie’s love. Overwhelmed by decay and darkness, Sylvie must summon unexpected magic from the soul of Kyure to fight for her convictions and her husband’s heart. Shadows divide them. Their friends are in peril. If Sylvie fails, her marriage and her world will fall.
 

About the Author

Sarah Delena White was raised by wolves in an alternate dimension. She writes eclectic speculative fiction that reworks mythology with a fine balance of poetry and snark. She’s an experienced world traveler who loves to weave world folklore and ancient concepts into vibrant, original story worlds. She is the administrative manager for Uncommon Universes Press. When she’s not writing, she can be found making elegant designer bead jewelry, traveling to festivals as a professional ballad singer, drinking tea, and seeking to create the perfect latte. She can be bribed with dark chocolate.

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FANtastic Interview with Sarah Delena White

Halayda had some awesome steampunk elements, the best of which was Sylvie’s alchemy potions. Will we see more of her alchemy, or will Sylvie discard it in favor of her fairy magic?

Sylvie’s alchemy will continue to play a role throughout the rest of the Star-Fae Trilogy! It’s a key part of her abilities. While magic is still new and difficult for her, alchemy is second nature. It’s also part of how she expresses her creativity. It’s her favorite art form.

There is a miniseries in the works and it’s up to you to choose who play, Sylvie, Taylan, Zad and Diza. Which actors get the part?

I’ve always pictured Neha Sharma as Sylvie. Sophie Turner would play Diza, and Takeshi Kaneshiro would play Zad. The only one I’m not sure about is Taylan. So far I haven’t found an actor with the right combination of fae good looks and curmudgeonly personality, haha!

Halayda introduced us to the mortal realm and the fae realm. Rothana teases a visit to the underworld. If you could visit one for real, would you choose the mortal, fae, or death realm?

Definitely the fae realm! Faerie is a place of wild beauty and magic, and I’d love to explore it for real… with the right companions, of course! It’s not wise for a hapless mortal to venture into Faerie alone. Anything could happen!

Everyone is inspired by something. What was your inspiration for the Star-Fae Trilogy, and more specifically the dragonfly element?

The inspiration for Halayda, and the Star-Fae Trilogy as a whole, came from a dream (this is weird for me. I haven’t been inspired by a dream before or since!). I dreamed about someone who got dragonfly wings as the result of a mad science experiment gone wrong. By the time I woke up, I had a basic sense of the concept and the two main characters. I first intended to write it as a superhero story, but when I rolled out of bed and scribbled down a summary, I realized it sounded like every superhero story ever, haha! But once I fused the superhero-esque concept with Celtic-inspired fae mythology, everything clicked into place. For Rothana, I also drew a bit from the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone (albeit very loosely!).

The title of the first book, Halayda, was revealed in the story to be the fae word for eternity. What does Rothana mean? And do these words have a basis in real language?

Rothana means “deathmarked.” It’s a term that is used for the shadow-fae (Taylan’s people), often in a derogatory way. A major theme in Rothana is facing and overcoming one’s past. Taylan and several others in the book believe they are marked for death (or other sorts of doom) because of their past deeds or experiences, and they must work through this in order to defeat their foes. The word rothana doesn’t have a basis in any real language, but halayda was loosely based on the Arabic word habibi, a term of endearment (I lived in the Middle East for a while and speak some Arabic, hence the inspiration).

The Star-Fae Trilogy is obviously going to be three books, but will there be any standalone, short stories, or spin-offs from the series?

I’m currently working a prequel novella featuring a younger Sylvie when she first meets Taylan and gets involved in the affairs of Faerie and the intrigues of the College of Alchemy. I chose to have Sylvie and Taylan already know each other well at the start of Halayda so the romance could progress at a fast pace and still be believable. I was a bit sad about skipping over the start of their relationship, though, so I’m excited to write a novella that explores that. I also have ideas for a few spin-off novels featuring some of the secondary characters from the Star-Fae Trilogy, but those projects are still a few years away.

Thank you, Sarah Delena White, for answering my questions and for sharing about your inspiration.

Party Time!

Join Uncommon Universes Press and Laura A. Grace of Unicorn Quester to celebrate the launch of Rothana by Sarah Delena White! Includes games, giveaways, exclusive behind-the-scenes, and more. Also features guest authors Bethany A. Jennings and Morgan L. Busse. Save the date to hang out with these fabulous authors!

RSVP HERE

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 26th Tuesday, November 27th Wednesday, November 28th Thursday, November 29th Friday, November 30th Saturday, December 1st Monday, December 3rd Tuesday, December 4th Wednesday, December 5th Thursday, December 6th Friday, December 7th Saturday, December 8th

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!

 

Mythic Orbits Blog Tour: kick off

Welcome, it is my great honor to kick off a new blog tour today. You may remember when I posted about Mythic Orbits Volume two’s release. Well, now we are spreading the word about the whole Mythic Orbits series.

Blog tour banner

About Mythic Orbits

You might be wondering what in the world “Mythic Orbits ” refers to. I’m not sure if it will help reassure you to tell you the name Mythic Orbits was simply intended to suggest both science fiction and fantasy and to identify these books in a distinctive way, along with any that follow after in the series.

 Just as these anthologies represent a wide variety of genres, there is no common theme to these tales, though the subject of empathy or lack thereof does come up in them repeatedly. This is most definitely not an anthology about orbits which are somehow mystical.

 These anthologies are a showcase for the best stories submitted in the general field of speculative fiction by Christian authors. They represent a wide variety of genres, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal.

 The main goal of these anthologies was to demonstrate that Christian authors can write speculative fiction well. Stories with a wide range of appeal are included here, mostly serious, some with humor, some with “happy endings” and others clearly not so happy. All of them worth reading.

Some of these stories feature Christian characters in speculative fiction worlds, some make use of Christian themes either subtly or overtly, while some have no discernible connection to Christianity at all. Christian authors are featured in this collection rather than specifically Christian-themed stories.Mythic Orbits

So, is it widely-known all over the world that Christians write speculative fiction?

Well, clearly Christians who themselves are speculative fiction writers know what they write. But does everybody else?

Especially when we’re talking about theologically conservative Christians, Evangelicals of some sort, professed Bible-believing Christians, do people know about their works? Is it legitimate for people to wonder if writers with personal convictions along these lines produce speculative fiction, that is, science fiction and fantasy and related genres like LitRPG, paranormal, and horror?

These books provide an answer: Not only do Christian writers produce speculative fiction stories, they write some great ones.

Enjoy these examples!

Travis Perry (Editor and Publisher) Travissbigidea.blogspot.com

teaserbox_950402517

http://bearpublications.com/

 

Mythic Orbits 2016

MO 2016 coverAmazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1635358884/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

Fourteen of the best speculative fiction stories by Christian authors, spinning science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal genres into worlds of intrigue and delight.

Featuring Graxin by Kerry Nietz, author of Amish Vampires in Space and A Star Curiously Singing, Mythic Orbits 2016 has something for every speculative fiction fan.

  

Mythic Orbits Vol. 2 

 MO Vol.2 coverAmazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1643706683/ref=ox_c_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

In a series praised by both Tosca Lee, Kathy Tyers, and Kerry Nietz, this anthology of eleven speculative fiction stories by Christian authors shines in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and LitRPG genres. Featuring Kat Heckenbach’s “Mark the Days,” this collection has something for every speculative fiction fan.

 

Featured Authors & Links:

(Note: this is different from the blog tour schedule. What follows is a list of all the authors who have a short story featured in a Mythic Orbits anthology and a social media link where you can find out more about them.)

 Mark Venturini (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Venturini/e/B00G14LU1W

Jill Domschot (Mythic Orbits 2016) http://jilldomschot.com/

Richard New ( Mythic Orbits 2016) http://www.richardnewauthor.com/

Kirk Outerbridge (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.amazon.com/Kirk-Outerbridge/e/B002RXBRUK

Cindy Emmet Smith (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.amazon.com/Cindy-Emmet-Smith/e/B00GFY8IF4

Lisa Gefrides (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.lisagodfrees.com/

L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright (Mythic Orbits 2016) http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/

Joshua M. Young (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.amazon.com/Joshua-M.-Young/e/B00OM8RLJE

Matthew Sketchley (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15611197.Matthew_Sketchley

R. V. Saunders ( Mythic Orbits 2016) http://bearpublications.com/our-authors/

Sherry Rossman (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://sherryrossman.com/

Kerry Nietz (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.nietz.com/

Linda Burklin (Mythic Orbits 2016 & Vol. 2) https://steadfastscribe.wordpress.com/

Kat Heckenbach (Mythic Orbits 2016 & Vol. 2) http://www.katheckenbach.com/

Steve Rzasa (Mythic Orbits 2) https://www.steverzasa.com/

Donald Crankshaw (Mythic Orbits 2) www.donaldscrankshaw.com

CW Briar (Mythic Orbits 2) http://www.cwbriar.com/

Cindy Koepp (Mythic Orbits 2) https://ckoepp.com/

C. O. Bonham (Mythic Orbits 2) http://www.cobonham.com

Kristin Janz (Mythic Orbits 2) http://www.kristinjanz.com

William Bontrager (Mythic Orbits 2) https://soundcloud.com/william-bontrager

A. K. Meek (Mythic Orbits 2) http://www.akmeek.com/

Keturah Lamb (Mythic Orbits 2) http://keturahskorner.blogspot.com

 

 Tour Schedule: Yes this is the blog tour schedule.

October 7th

–C.O. Bonham (kick off)  www.cobonham.com

 8th

— Kristin Janz (Spotlight) http://www.kristinjanz.com/?p=543

L. Jagi Lamplighter (spotlight.) http://www.superversivesf.com/2018/10/08/11656/

 9th-

-NAF Josh Smith (review) newauthors.wordpress.com

 10th

— L. Jagi Lamplighter (Guest Post C.Koepp Bears)  http://www.superversivesf.com/

 —Julia Menard (Interviews/spotlight)  https://writersblockandapotoftea.wordpress.com/

 11th

–Sherry Rossman (guest post–C.O. Bonham rewriting recalled)   https://sherryrossman.com/

 –Laura a Grace (Interview C.O. Bonham)  https://unicornquester.com/

 12th

— NAF Kristen Stieffel (guest post–CKoepp Gamer lit)  newauthors.wordpress.com

 13th

–Linda Burklin(Anthology review)  https://steadfastscribe.wordpress.com/

 14th

–Laura Storm Hancock (spotlight)  https://storystorming.wordpress.com/

 15th

– Mysterion (interview T. Perry)  http://www.mysteriononline.com

 — Hillary Koenig (Interview Keturah Lamb)    http://www.godlygirlsforgod.com/interviews.html

 16th

–NAF Josh Smith (interview T. Perry)  newauthors.wordpress.com

  17th

–Keturah Lamb (review)  http://keturahskorner.blogspot.com/?m=1

 –H.L.Burke (spotlight)  hlburkeblog.com

 18th

–Travis Perry (guest post C.O.Bonham my mythic orbit)  Travissbigidea.blogspot.com

  19th

–Donald Crankshaw (review)  www.donaldscrankshaw.com

 20th

–Joshua Young (MO2 review)  http://www.superversivesf.com/

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