Review: Gabriel – Book Four in the Path of Angels Series by Patricia Josephine

GabrielPoACoverThe end is in sight.

To stop Uriel from freeing Lucifer, Gabriel and his brothers must fall and go to Hell. It is a sacrifice Gabriel is not entirely ready to make. Will he fight alongside his brothers or forge his own path? There is only one choice.

Alexander doesn’t want to help Uriel nor does he trust him, but the angel has promised him a better life. He swore to protect Charlie, and he’ll do whatever it takes. When he meets the archangels and learns the depth of Uriel’s lies, he understands the true meaning of sacrifice. If there’s any hope of stopping Lucifer from being freed, Alexander, Charlie, Zephyr and Lake will have to get to Hell and help Gabriel and his brothers in the fight against Uriel.

The path is finally ending, but the price may be too high.

Amazon Link

Review

We all have our favourites when it comes to a series, and though I will always have a soft spot for Michael (he was my first ;-)) Gabriel was definitely worth the wait.

He was the serious one, his personality dark and moody, and yet his commitment to his brothers shone through from book one. In Gabe’s tale, the stakes are already high, and the tension only continues to build towards a dramatic finale. But spending more time with Gabe; understanding his motivations, watching him face his personal demons – was a treat.

It’s fair to say Gabe is a little rough around the edges, and yet his heart – the love he feels for others, that is his best quality. His relationship with Alexander and Charlie is compelling. Their bond is unique and I felt myself drawn to them; moved by the sacrifices each character made – it was heartwarming.

The final book in the Path of Angels series is the perfect conclusion to the tale. I love these brothers; their skills, their heart; their loyalty. I’m genuinely going to miss them.


PatriciaLynneAuthorPicPatricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn’t regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/plynne_writes

Website: http://www.patricialynne.com

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108938106639683446081/posts/p/pub

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/patricialynne07

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13460894.Patricia_Josephine

Path of Angels: http://www.patricialynne.com/path-of-angels.html

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Author Interview – Celine Jeanjean

I have a special treat for you today, an interview with Celine Jeanjean, author of The Viper and The Urchin. I loved the book, and will be reviewing it next Sunday. But first, let’s find out a little more about the author herself. Please welcome Celine to WR101.

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Celine Jeanjean is French, grew up in the UK and now lives in Hong Kong. That makes her a tad confused about where she is from. During her time in Asia she’s watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat, lost her shoes in Vietnam, and fallen off a bamboo raft in China.

Celine writes stories that feature quirky characters and misfits, and her books are a mixture of steampunk, fantasy and humour.

To find out more about Celine or just to chat, visit  her on:

interview with celine jeanjean

Mel: Do you have any strange writing habits (like writing in a lucky pair of socks? Or using a special pen?)

Celine: My strangest writing habit is that I write best when I listen to one song on loop, so I tend to go for weeks at a time listening to a single song (through my headphones, or my husband would have been driven crazy by now). Basically, the way it works is, rather than listening to the song, I almost immediately stop noticing it (the longer I’ve been listening to it, the quicker this happens), and it becomes a kind of white noise that blocks out anything going on around me. It does wonders for helping me focus.

One of the songs that works best for this is Radiohead’s Creep. I do worry a little what it says about me that Creep is the song that gets me in the zone, but I figure that as long as it works, I won’t question it too much. I’ve also noticed that I’ve kind of conditioned myself so that, as soon as I put in the headphones, and Creep comes on, my mind switches over to thinking about whatever story I’m working on.

Once I was out in a bar that played 90s music and Creep came on. About halfway through the song I realised that I’d completely drifted away from the conversation and I was daydreaming about my book. Good thing it’s not a song that’s played much these days!

Mel: That sounds like an excellent way to focus your mind, and allow the inspiration to flow. Do you set yourself time limits, or a schedule, or do you snap on your headphones whenever you have the time to write, and crank up Radiohead?

Celine: I set myself working hours, but one thing I need to get better at, is taking regular breaks. I’ll work for a couple of hours without stopping or moving, all hunched over on my computer, and then my back and neck end up being in absolute agony. I’m trying a new approach where I set timers and when that goes off I have to get up and move around. I’m not very good at sticking to that though if the writing is going well. On the other hand on those days where writing is about as fun as pulling teeth, I spend most of the hour checking on the timer to see when I’ll be able to take a break.

But I definitely like having set hours. I’m a creature of routine and habits. I tried writing as and when, and I didn’t get anything done.

Mel: We’ve all been there, when the characters refuse to play ball and drive us crazy! And speaking of characters – who would play your favourite characters in a movie?

Celine: Ooh, good question, but a very tricky one to answer! All my characters are non-white, since they live in a hot tropical place, and I came up with a blank as to non-white actors that would be suitable for Longinus or Rory. Makes you realise how saturated our screens are with white actors, doesn’t it!?

The closest answer for now would be for Longinus to be played by an Indian version of Benedict Cumberbatch, while Rory would be an Indian version of Arya in Game of Thrones – but with dreadlocks obviously! There’s nothing similar to India about the setting of my story, that’s purely based on how I imagine the characters look.

Mel: Longinus is an intriguing name. How important are names in your books? Do you choose based on the sound of the name, its meaning, or some other method?

Celine: I chose my character’s names based on how they sound, and the general ‘feeling’ they generate. So, for example, for Longinus, I wanted something that sounded both a bit old fashioned and that brought to mind someone a bit fussy and pedantic. Whereas, for Rory, I specifically chose a name that’s a bit ambiguous in gender because that suits her personality.

Mel: If you had an endless budget, describe the trailer for The Viper and The Urchin.

Celine: If I had a limitless budget, I would definitely get someone to do a CGI backdrop of Damsport — it would be amazing to see the city come to life! The trailer would start with Rory and Longinus separately: Rory picking a merchant’s pocket, Longinus working out what adjective best describes his nose. There’d be a voiceover throughout, outlining the story.

We’d then see the moment when Rory saves Longinus and blackmails him into teaching her sword fighting, followed by the discovery of the copycat’s first kill. After that, we’d get a quick montage of scenes from the rest of the book: aboard a giant steam-powered spider, a pool of blood creeping along the floor, lost in an underground maze, a sword fight at the top of a mast, running through the Great Bazaar, and then Rory, bleeding, leaping off a high place and into water, at which point the screen would go dark and the title would appear.

Mel: That sounds awesome – I want to see that movie!

But let’s move on to you, and more about your writing process. List five adjectives to describe you or your writing habits.

Celine: Impatient, Obsessive, Imaginative, Bookworm, Silly.

Mel: Tell us about your next project.

Celine: I’m currently working on the sequel to The Viper and the Urchin — The Black Orchid. Without giving too much away of the first book’s story, in the sequel Longinus and Rory are still working together, and they find themselves having to figure out why people in Damsport are disappearing and turning up completely emptied of their blood.

I’m having a lot of fun writing this one. So far, I’ve gotten to play with smugglers; I’ve created a mysterious place called the Black Orchid, and I got to write yet more capering aboard the steam-powered spider. It’s also been interesting to develop some of the more minor characters, and look a bit more into what makes them tick.

Mel: It does sound as though you’re having a grand adventure! What has been your greatest challenge as a writer so far?

Writing first draft material continues to be the biggest challenge for me. I love edits and rewriting, but writing that first draft is like pulling teeth. Most of that is due to the voices in my head telling me that what I’m writing is the Worse Thing Ever Written. Once the first draft is done and I read through it, it’s never as bad as I imagined. For me, it really is all about hammering out that first draft as quickly as possible so I can get to the edits.

Strangely, I find writing The Black Orchid harder than when I worked on The Viper and the Urchin. I’m now conscious of having set a precedent, and I keep second guessing myself, wondering whether what I’m writing is as good as book 1, whether people will find it a suitable sequel… With the first book it really was just me writing, as Stephen King says, ‘with the door closed’, and I got to make the story up without worrying too much about what people would think. I’m finding it much harder to keep that door closed this time around: I’m a lot more aware of having an audience.

Mel: Thank you for the candid reply. I can relate to these feelings, the times when my inner critic gets a bee in her bonnet! All authors experience doubt, and we push through it to get the story out there, because we believe in our characters. There’s a reason writing is described as opening a vein!

Are there any other genres you would love to explore?

Celine: Definitely! That’s the great thing about being an independent writer, we’re completely free to explore stories and genres that interest us, without needing permission from anyone. I have ideas for novels coming out of my ears, so the issue for me is more figuring how to tell these stories, and finding the time to write them.

I have plans for a more traditional epic fantasy story, following the traditional quest format, but with very unusual characters. I also plan to retell a classic Victorian gothic novel but adding a fantasy/steampunk twist to it, to write my version of a fairy-tale, and to do a cross between dystopia and dieselpunk (which is like steampunk but modelled on the Twenties and Thirties, and featuring diesel-powered technology, rather than steam-powered).

I don’t know that I’ll ever venture too far out of the general Fantasy genre though: I absolutely love taking readers to new worlds, whereas writing about the real world we live in doesn’t interest me very much. I would be interested in trying historical fiction though, or possibly alternate history — although I don’t have any plans on that front yet.

Mel: I agree with you. It is great to have the freedom to go in whichever direction we choose, and I wish you the best of luck on your upcoming writing adventures. Thank you so much for agreeing to the interview, Celine. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you.


viper_promoThe Viper and the Urchin

Being Damsport’s most elegant assassin is hard work. There’s tailoring to consider, devilish poisons to concoct, secret identities to maintain… But most importantly, Longinus has to keep his fear of blood hidden or his reputation will be ruined. So, when a scrawny urchin girl threatens to expose his phobia unless he teaches her swordsmanship, he has no choice but to comply.

It doesn’t take long for Rory to realise that her new trainer has more eccentricities than she has fleas. But she’ll put up with anything, no matter how frustrating, to become a swordswoman like her childhood hero.

What she’s not prepared for is a copycat assassin who seeks to replace Longinus, and who hires Rory’s old partner in crime to do away with her, as well. Rory and Longinus must set their differences aside and try to work together if they’re to stop the copycat. But darker forces than they realise are at play, and with time running out, the unlikely duo find themselves the last line of defence against a powerful enemy who seeks to bring Damsport to its knees.


Thanks for stopping by. I will be reviewing The Viper and the Urchin (a tale which definitely lives up to that wonderful blurb), on Sunday the 26 August.

Mel

Review: Shadow Stalker, Episode 9 by Renee Scattergood

E9 Kindle

Makari has finally come to realize Auren is not the delohi-saqu, and his father, Drevin, Emperor of the Galvadi, has been wrong about her all along. He goes to Zain, Auren’s father, for help to heal Auren’s mind after he had wrongfully broken her. Now Makari vows to protect Auren and help her escape, but she refuses to leave without her father.

 

Auren and Makari’s love for each other grows, and the connection they share deepens. They have to be careful, however. Spending too much time together is causing the other guides to grow suspicious. Makari’s loyalty is tested, and he is forced to do something he swore he’d never do again.

Review of Shadow Stalker: Episode 9

This episode was focused both on Makari’s guilt, and Auren’s healing process. The former was dealt with initially through the prologue. It helped to put things into perspective for the reader, to understand Makari’s motivations. I really enjoyed this insight into the character.

The other thing I particularly enjoyed, was the return of Auren’s strength and determination. One of the things I love about her is her stubborn streak. It helped her through the torture, all that spirit, and it gave her the determination to stand and fight rather than run.

We also got to meet Auren’s father, which was a treat. A character who shone throughout the episode. I really hope we get to see more of him in the future, because he reminded me so much of Kado I was instantly drawn to him!

Things didn’t end well for Makari and Auren, but there’s nothing like a good cliff-hanger to build anticipation. I have no doubt they both have the strength to see this thing through to the end, but I’m hoping they have a little help. They’re certainly going to need it!


Renee ScattergoodRenee Scattergood, author of the fantasy series, Shadow Stalker, and novella, Demon Hunt, lives in Australia with her husband and daughter. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

Author Pages:

Renee Writes: http://reneescattergood.com/

Renee’s Author Spotlight: http://reneesauthorspotlight.blogspot.com.au/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00NTJY1W2

Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rscatts

Social Media:

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/reneescatts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReneeScatts

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/118427336236369690813/+ReneescattergoodAuthor/posts

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

Mel

Introducing the Shadow Stalker Bundle: Part 1 by Renee Scattergood

shadow-stalker-1-6-paperback-coverThis weekend Renee Scattergood is launching the Shadow Stalker Part 1 Bundle – the first six episodes in both e-book and print. As a special treat she has written a new scene for us; taken from the series, but from the point of view of Drevin’s son – Makari.

Shadow Stalker Episode 6: Chapter 5
Written from Makari’s point of view (Drevin’s son)

I stood, my arms folded over my chest as I watched Selyn, the head of the Council of Elders on the Dark Isle, question Kado. I had been sent to collect Kado’s foster daughter, the delohi-saqu, and bring her to my father. It was proving more difficult than anticipated, since the elders had chased her off. They had managed to lure Kado back, but not before he’d secured Auren. I had already done a sweep of the village, and found no clue to her whereabouts. My patience was wearing thin.

“This would go so much easier for you, if you’d just tell us where the traitor is. Kado, you of all people should understand we are only trying to protect our people from her. She is a danger to the shadow stalkers and to the people of the Serpent Isles. Our future Foramar should not be protecting our enemy,” Selyn said.

“He is our enemy,” Cathnor said, tilting his head towards me.

It was the same story, one I’d heard a dozen times. I hadn’t known when my father gave the order to invade, that these people; the shadow stalkers and the members of the Coalition, had been taken in by the innocence of the delohi-saqu. Some were ignorant to her very existence. A fact which no doubt made it easier for her to take control of their minds. Ignorance is a man’s worst enemy after all.

“They are stalling for time,” Selyn whispered in my ear.

“I’ve already told you I left Auren in the forest. I told her if I didn’t return she should leave. She could be anywhere on the Dark Isle by now,” Kado said.

I gazed at him. His eyes told me he was telling the truth, but there was more to it. He was leaving out vital information to throw us off. The elders might be fooled, but I knew the delohi-saqu was close. I could almost feel her.

“You can use your connection to find her,” another of the elders said smugly.

“I could,” Kado said, lifting his chin. “But I won’t.”

Selyn shook his head, slowly. “You know what will happen if she leaves this island. She will enslave the Serpent Isle.”

Cathnor snorted. “Hasn’t Drevin already done that?”

I glared at him. I didn’t always agree with my father’s decisions, but I believed in his cause. “My father has been freeing the people of the Serpent Isles, not enslaving them.”

“Freeing them by separating them from their children and torturing them into submission?”

The shadow stalker, Cathnor, looked repulsed, but Kado’s expression hadn’t changed. The future Foramar was dangerous. That was clear. He’d be a formidable enemy, and I was not entirely convinced he was as helpless a prisoner as the elders had led me to believe.

My father had warned me these people would challenge my beliefs and he was right. I could feel the ache in my hands; the tightly balled fists a sure sign I was close to losing control. “The cleansing is not torture. It purifies the mind, so it is no longer susceptible to mind control,” I explained calmly.

Cathnor started to speak again, but Kado silenced him with a nudge. “Tell me, Makari. Is that how it felt to you when you were an innocent child being beaten on a daily basis? Do you truly feel free?”

“My mind is free,” I said. It irritated me, this need to defend myself. Kado was dangerous, and I needed to remember that.

“Is it?”

I didn’t owe him an answer. He was the prisoner here. Yet I wanted to respond, or I did until my gaze was drawn to a lizard lurking near the window. There was something odd about it, and when I looked into its glassy eyes, for a moment it felt as though I had joined with the animal. It was an odd kind of recognition I struggled to understand.

“I can see your father’s ways confuse you. You were sure of him until he started this war. Now that you have witnessed the death and destruction at his hand, you question his motives. Don’t you?”

“No.”

Kado was trying to distract me from the lizard, and it dawned on me that he knew what it was. Was it possible that this was the delohi-saqu? It meant she had abilities other shadow stalkers didn’t. But it made sense. I almost smiled. In this form she would be easy to capture.

“I will find her,” I said. “I don’t need him.”

Kado regarded me, eyebrows raised. “You will never find her. I’ve made sure of it.”

His bluff held no weight because I already knew where she was. Now that we were connected in a tangible way, I felt her presence. I felt drawn to her, and the connection would lead me right to her – wherever she scurried off to.

***
Shadow Stalker Episode Guide

The Hidden Truth (Episode 1)

A young shadow stalker is destined to enslave the people of the Serpent Isles, and the Galvadi Empire want this child of prophecy dead. Auren Trasks perfectly normal life is disrupted when the Galvadi invade, and she learns a startling secret about her past. A secret that will change her life forever.

The Delohi-Saqu’s Fate (Episode 2)

Auren is being targeted by the Council of Elders, and the only one who could put an end to their corruption is her father. But leaving the Dark Isle would turn Kado against her.

Shadows’ Betrayal (Episode 3)

After seeing the monster she will become, Auren swears not to leave the Dark Isle. Despite that, the elders are conspiring against her. To escape their scheming, she and Kado decide to explore the Dark Isle. But worse things await them in the forests.

Forbidden Love (Episode 4)

Kado and Auren survive a deadly storm, but when Auren is forbidden from pursuing love with another young shadow stalker, will it be enough to drive a wedge between her and her foster father?

Destiny Reconciled Part 1 (Episode 5)

Auren and Kado accept that they may not be able to avoid her leaving the Dark Isle. Now they have to prepare for that eventuality. Will the training be more than Auren can handle?

Destiny Reconciled Part 2 (Episode 6)

Cathnor has been arrested and is facing a death sentence. The Dark Isle is out of control, and Kado is the only one who can help his people. So he prepares Auren for the possibility that she may have to leave the Dark Isle without him and face her destiny alone, but can she leave him and do what must be done?

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Smashwords


Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood, author of the fantasy series, Shadow Stalker, and novella, Demon Hunt, lives in Australia with her husband and daughter. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter. Find out more about her, and sign up for her newsletter on her blog: http://reneescattergood.com

Author Pages:

Social Media:

Introducing Demons & Pearls by P.S. Bartlett

This is the first of two posts focusing on P.S. Bartlett and her new release – Demons & Pearls. Later this afternoon I will be sharing an interview with you, but for now – here is information about the exciting new novel, which includes a sneak peak. Enjoy!

Title: DEMONS & PEARLS
Author: P.S. Bartlett
Release Day: April 14th, 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction/Adventure/Romance

Demons_&_Pearls_Cover_for_KindleBlurb-
Had I known the repercussions of murdering the captain of a pirate ship, I may have taken the time necessary to rethink the act. As if I’ve ever had a choice that didn’t involve a fight or at the very least, defending myself against some man, hell bent on destroying me or my kin.
All we wanted was our freedom. All we found were demons disguised as men.
A woman pirate needs friends, big strong male friends, to survive in this unforgiving land of thieves and murderers—at least until she gets on her feet. Of course, trying to find one person you can trust is like finding an oyster with a perfect pearl in it—you have to break a few shells and get your hands dirty. We were lucky. I found the biggest, baddest and most honorable man in the Caribbean and he just happened to be in the pearl business.

Author PhotoAuthor Bio:
I was born on Valentine’s Day a long, long time ago in South Baltimore, Maryland, less than a mile from Fort McHenry and Federal Hill. I’m a very simple person. I love my life and am always striving to make it better for myself and my family.
I write, I draw and I still work full-time. I’ve been married for 20 years and together we have two sons, a daughter, three beautiful granddaughters and a ten year old Maine Coon cat named Columbus.

Links:

Web Site: http://psbartlett.me/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PSBartlett

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PSBartlett

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7012732.P_S_Bartlett

Instagram: Author_P.S.Bartlett

Amazon

Thunderclap

Sneak Peak

Caught in the middle of the Golden Age of Piracy, four young women, led by their eldest cousin, Ivory Shepard, have escaped a pirate raid and bought passage aboard a pirate ship to Port Royal, Jamaica.
With no more than their smarts and their will to carry them, they end up caught in a battle for their lives. They have been betrayed by the ship’s captain and unfortunately realize that as women, they are worse off in this new world than they were in the old one.

This is their story as told by Ivory Shepard, also known as…The Razor.

Chapter One
~No Quarter~

Had I known the repercussions of murdering the captain of a pirate ship, I may have taken the time necessary to rethink the act. However, as I stood over the bloody, lifeless body of Captain Christopher Barclay, as well as no less than seven of his crew, as usual it was too late to change my mind. Change my mind, indeed. As if I had a choice.

As if I’ve ever had a choice that didn’t involve a fight, or at the very least, defending myself against someone hell-bent on destroying me or my kin. I must always follow my instincts, regardless of the fallout of my actions. Had I not done so, I most certainly would not have lived to see the rest of this unspeakable day.

I pleaded with the Captain not to kill them all. If he’d have only been more of a man and less a murderous monster, perhaps this day may have ended for him as he lay down at last, safe and whole in his bunk. Alas, this was not to be. Instead, the surge of the battle within him overtook his senses, and he snatched me by the back of my neck.

“Miss Shepard, take your ladies below. And should these swabs be foolish enough to fight back, and God forbid we lose this fight, kill your cousins… and then yourself. Trust me, you’ll not wish to draw breath should that pack of dogs board us.”

“I’ll send them below, but I’ll not pass up the chance at last to show your own pack of dogs who I am.” What the hell was I thinking?

“It’s your pretty head. If the first sight of a sail dropped you to your knees, let’s hope you can stay on your feet when they bare their fangs and lunge at your throat.”

“I’ll live, Captain. And perhaps you haven’t noticed, but they’re not ladies anymore. Today shall prove that.” We’d spent weeks in rags, cleaning up after pirates, listening to their vile comments, and working as virtual slaves in order to secure our passage to Jamaica. I wondered constantly why we hadn’t been violated yet, but I held onto the hope that a pirate could in fact, keep his word.

Perhaps I’d had enough and was ready for a fight. Considering I had fallen to my knees when I heard the call of “Sail!” and had shaken like a leaf at the sight of these men scrambling about, loading guns and making preparations for a fight, one would have thought I’d have run and hidden with my cousins. But, no; as usual, I had something to prove.

“Such a shame to waste such charms. Look at you,” he said, taking me roughly by the jaw with his filthy paw, from which I jerked free instantly. “You’ve lost your youthful glow to the harsh wind and sun, and if you ever had a tender inch, you’ve buried it beneath the vines of bitterness you’ve wrapped yourself in. Tell me, Ivory, who did this to you? Who plucked the rose and left the thorns?”

“Those who would step over that gunnel will meet my blade before another unwanted and indecent hand breaches my striking distance. I’ll remove that hand and take his arm as well, and if that doesn’t stop him, his head.”

“Such a tragedy you are, and since I’ve my own tragic story to write, it’s time to give back to the world what she’s bestowed upon us, my dear. Ready the guns! Do not fire until I give the order! She’s no fucking good in a million pieces!” Barclay roared over our heads as he raced, broadsword in hand, to the stern and stood at her highest point.

“Shepard, get your skinny ass up here! You want to be free?”

“I will be free!” I shouted at him. There was no turning back now.

“Bring her around! We’ll rake her from the bow and then take her from the starboard side!” He barked to the helmsman. I’d never heard this voice before. It wasn’t a voice. It was the roar of a mighty lion, and the mere sound of it vibrated through my skin.

As his call to arms passed through me, a deafening hum pierced my brain and I sheathed my sword and cupped the sides of my head, in an attempt to silence it. When I let go, the only sound I heard was my own heartbeat, which I imagined was well over one hundred beats per minute. In the background, strangled beneath the thumping drumbeats that felt as if they were about to split my chest, were the thunderous cries of the crew. The muffled screams and fearsome bellows of men in search of blood and fortune were barely audible behind the wall of my excruciating terror.

I glanced up and over the side, watching as the panicked crew of our prey scrambled wildly about, dodging the incoming gunfire, obviously unprepared in both arms and numbers for such an assault. Unable to believe what I was seeing, I lowered my hands for a moment and swallowed hard. I watched in horror as the first man at the rail of our prize lost the left side of his skull in a spatter of bone and bloodied skin. The gun flew from his hands, and his feet left the deck simultaneously, sending him bouncing backwards out of this life and unnaturally into the next, as nothing more than a heap of dead flesh.

I think I screamed and then felt a pop deep within my eardrums. All at once, the echoes of deadly battle at last bashed their way in. Gunfire and the thumps and clinks of grappling hooks dropping to the deck in preparation to make capture were sharp, and what I could clearly see and hear was matched sight for sound at last.

“Fire!” Barclay ordered. All five guns kicked back with a deafening boom, shaking the Demon Sea. I lost my footing from the jolt and coughed hard repeatedly as gunpowder and choking smoke filled the air. As we came about to the starboard side of what was obviously no more than a merchant ship, the smoke cleared in the windy spray, and Barclay called to hold fire. I looked across the water to find all those left standing shoulder to shoulder on their deck. Their arms were raised and their meager weapons lay at their feet. The damage done by what I knew to be chain shot—Barclay’s preferred method of maximum devastation—left blood, flesh, and splintered wood as far as my eyes could see.

“Take her lads; she’s all ours!” Barclay shouted as he sheathed his sword and snatched me by the back of my neck again. “Look, girl! Do you see those twenty or so swabs with their tails tucked in their asses? I’m about to give the order of no quarter. Do you know what that means?”

“No quarter?” I asked, shaking free of his grip and pushing him off as I backed away in horror. “Why? They surrendered, and yet you’d…”

“That’s right, lass. Kill them all,” he growled with a smile.

“That’s a coward’s maneuver, Barclay. Those aren’t pirates; they’re sailors trying to make a living.”

“We’re about to take their living. What will they have to live for, once it’s ours?”

Barclay’s eyes shined, and at last I could see the monster he truly was. I pulled my sword and pointed it at him as I lowered my head and looked up into his cold, dead eyes. “Call them off. Take the loot and let the living go,” I commanded. Once again, I had no idea what I was thinking. This was none of my affair, and yet something in me couldn’t bear the thought of what he planned to do.

Barclay burst into laughter. “Hold your claws, little kitty, before I rip them out and feed you to the dogs!”

“We’ve been here before, remember? This time, I won’t stop when I pierce your yellow hide.”

“Oh, but you will,” Barclay said with a smooth purr. Then, a thick forearm clamped around my neck from behind and pulled me off my feet. I dropped my sword and dug my nails into my assailant’s hard flesh, and I kicked him again and again. The more I resisted, the more his grip tightened against my throat. The man twisted and turned, causing me to swing from the neck down like a clock’s pendulum. With a loud pop and a violent jerk, his arm pulled free, and I was sent flying hard against the boards, flat on my face and struggling for air.


Don’t forget to stop by this afternoon when I will be interviewing P.S. Bartlett.

Mel

Interview with Karen Mann – Author of The Woman of La Mancha

Karen Mann, author of The Woman of La Mancha and The Saved Man, kindly agreed to an interview. Here is what Karen has to say about her writing process.

karenmannphoto-2Interview with Karen Mann

What is your first memory of writing?

In third grade, my best friend got in trouble with the teacher, and I thought my friend was treated unfairly. I wrote a play, like a court-room scene, that explained the incident as I thought it really happened. I can’t remember now if I had the courage to even show the teacher, but I do remember writing made me feel as if I had some power and had control over the situation, even though that situation didn’t have anything to do with me.

When and why did you begin writing?

I loved to read as a child, and I believed I could create stories, just as the authors I read did. But I had a feeling I wasn’t any good at it, and I didn’t know how to get better. I don’t think I even realized there were classes for creative writing when I went to college. I was in my late thirties when I decided that I had to find a class that would teach me how to write because I wanted to write.

Do you have a specific writing style?

All of my ideas for my manuscripts come to me in connection with some experience I have. My mind leaps from the experience to an idea for a novel. When I begin writing, I hear the characters talking and I see scenes and events in the novel. I have ideas that seem unrelated to anything I have written before, so I think my writing style changes from manuscript to manuscript.

How did you come up with the title?

The Woman of La Mancha is a companion book to Don Quixote, which has been brought to stage and screen under the title of The Man of La Mancha. My title seemed a natural for the woman’s story of Don Quixote.

Are your characters or scenes based on someone you know or events in your own life?

All of my characters have parts of me or parts of someone I know. Sometimes I take physical characteristics from someone I know but the character’s personality might be completely different or pieces of other people I know or characters I’ve met in other books. What has been interesting to me is that the tiniest experience in real life might find its way in a book and that’s helpful because you can flesh out characters or scenes based on your experiences but the story comes from your imagination. Using your own experiences is time-saving because you don’t have to make up everything about the book. The experiences get woven in.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Sena Jeter Naslund, award-winning author of the modern classic Ahab’s Wife and eight other books, is my mentor and colleague. My first creative writing class was taught by Sena. She challenged me from the beginning to improve my writing. Even after I was no longer her student, she would give me writing assignments that I took very seriously. I’ve been to dozens of her talks about her books and every time I hear something new about how to be writer or how to be a good friend to writers. Dozens, maybe hundreds of people, would say Sena was their mentor because she has taught hundreds of students. She is warm, intelligent, and generous, and there is much to learn from her and from her writing.

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

If you like historical fiction, I think you’ll like The Woman of La Mancha, which is set solidly in sixteenth-century Spain, the time of the end of chivalry, Cervantes and Shakespeare, and the settling of the New World. There is a knight who quests after his maiden. And a maiden who is lost and needs to be reunited with her family and her knight. It explores the contemporary questions of how we treat one another and how we take ownership of our own lives. The book is tongue-in-cheek and serious at the same time. There is romance and sadness. The story is mysterious and true-to-life.

Do you suffer from writers block?

I don’t really believe in writer’s block. If I sit down to write, I can write. It might not be very good, but I can write until it gets better or I can go back and revise. Although I make this statement, and I have to say, I’m stuck on a manuscript that I am writing right now, but it doesn’t feel the same as writer’s block. I can’t write on it because I haven’t figured out the story all the way through and I’m not sure how to proceed. This has never happened to me. With all my other manuscripts the story came to me as I wrote it. The story is a dystopian sci-fi set 70 years in the future. There has to be a world war or something; maybe I just can’t write about that.

What was your favourite chapter to write?

Chapter 24 “in which Guido is challenged by Honor” was my favorite chapter to write in The Woman of La Mancha. One of the scenes came to me totally unplanned and unexpected. It wrote itself as smooth as butter (much of it coming in iambic pentameter which has mostly been edited out). When you are writing like that it’s the best high in the world. The chapter expresses the core of several themes of the book: the roles of the sexes, equality of women, and honor. It a chapter that I love but cannot read from at a reading because it gives away too much of the plot and needs a lot of set up for it to make sense.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given by another writer?

There is a difference between true to life and true to fiction. The funniest, saddest, most outrageous things—the things we think will be the most interesting in our novels—that happen in real life often do not work in fiction. We have to be able to let go of the intersection of our life and our story in order to write the best fiction.

Is there any advice you’d like to share?

Do not shy away from revision. Take advice from your readers if they say something is confusing or doesn’t make sense, fix it. Be willing to delete your most favorite scenes for the sake of your writing. Avoid didacticism and sentimentality, which is easy to do if you avoid abstractions and write scenes, dialogue, and characters that are fresh and evoke honest emotions and vivid scenes.


Karen Mann is the author of The Woman of La Mancha and The Saved Man. She is the co-founder and Administrative Director of the low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program at Spalding University (www.spalding.edu/mfa). She is also the managing editor of The Louisville Review, a national literary magazine since 1976 (www.louisvillereview.org). Having lived in Indiana most of her life, she now lives in San Jose, California. See more about her books at www.karenmannwrites.com.


coverauthorbuzz-2The Woman of La Mancha, a companion book to Don Quixote, tells the woman’s story of Don Quixote by recounting the story of the girl he called Dulcinea, the woman he loved from afar.

It’s 1583. An eleven-year-old girl wakes in the back of a cart. She has lost her memory and is taken in by a kindly farm family in La Mancha. She adopts the name Aldonza. She doesn’t speak for quite some time. Once she speaks, there is a family member who is jealous of her and causes a good deal of trouble, even causing her to be forced to leave La Mancha in tragic circumstances. Having to create a new life in a new location and still unaware of her birth family, she adopts the name Dulcinea and moves in the circles of nobility. While seeking her identity, she becomes the consort of wealthy men, finds reason to disguise herself as a man, and learns herbal healing to help others.

There is a parallel story of a young man, Don Christopher, a knight of King Philip and the betrothed of the girl, who sets off on with a young squire, Sancho, to find the girl. Christopher’s adventures take them across Spain and force him to grow up. Does he continue the quest to find his betrothed or marry another and break the contract with the king?

Both young people have many experiences and grow up before the readers’ eyes. Floating in and out of each other’s paths as they travel around Spain, will they eventually find each other and be together?

Author Spotlight: New Release by Charles E Yallowitz – Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue

LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE:
SLEEPER OF THE WILDWOOD FUGUE
LIVE on Amazon Kindle!

Art by Jason Pedersen
Art by Jason Pedersen

The final champion stirs and reaches out to any who can hear her voice. Yet all who heed her call will disappear into the misty fugue.

Awakening their new ally is only the beginning as Luke, Nyx, and their friends head south to the desert city of Bor’daruk. Hunting for another temple once used to seal Baron Kernaghan, they are unaware that the game of destiny has changed. Out for blood and pain, Stephen is determined to make Luke wish he’d never set out to become a hero.

By the time the sun sets on Bor’daruk, minds will be shattered and the champions’ lives will be changed forever.

Don’t forget to mark it as ‘To Read’ on Goodreads too!

Charles E. Yallowitz
Charles E. Yallowitz

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: Legends of Windemere
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

Read the Previous Volumes of Legends of Windemere!!!

BEGINNING OF A HERO

PRODIGY OF RAINBOW TOWER

ALLURE OF THE GYPSIES

FAMILY OF THE TRI-RUNE

THE COMPASS KEY

CURSE OF THE DARK WIND

Meet Michael, everyone! The delightful archangel, brought to you by Patricia Josephine

perf6.000x9.000.inddThere is only one path.

Born mortal along with his three brothers, Michael is an Archangel with a specific role: hunt fallen angels and send them back to Hell. He is determined in his mission, never straying from his appointed path, until he meets Lake Divine, and discovers there may be more to his beliefs than blind duty.

But Lake is not who he seems. Offspring of a human and a fallen angel, a Nephilim, Lake must choose his own destiny: give in to the coldness and embrace the dark, or seek the light and rise above the sins of his father.

Two paths lay before them, but only one has the potential to destroy them both.

I shared the cover for Michael, Path of Angels a few weeks ago, and I’m thrilled to announce that Michael’s story is now available on Amazon.

As a release week treat, Patricia shared a character interview with us. So, here’s Michael!

1. Let’s start with the basics. Tell us a bit about yourself and what makes you tick.

Michael: I am a reincarnated archangel. It s my duty to find fallen angels and send them back to hell. There’s not much more to my life than that.

2. Do you have any hobbies, favorite TV shows, books? Anything you fangirl/boy over?

Michael: I suppose I’d sound like a religious fanatic if I said the Bible. It’s not my favorite book anyways. When I was younger I was a big fan of The Hobbit. Always imagined going on an adventure. Which I am on now. There’s no dragon at the end of this journey though and I’m not sure it will ever end.

3. What is one thing from your past you’re most proud of?

Michael: There isn’t one thing I can specify. My past is full of few regrets and lots of happy memories.

4. Let’s play favorites:

Pepsi or Coke?
Michael: Coke. Fizz lasts longer.

Pie or Cake?
Michael: Cake. Got some?

White or dark chocolate?
Michael: Dark. Mmmm.

Playstation 4 or Xbox 1or WiiU?
Michael: Haven’t played any of those. Too busy hunting fallen angels.

Paperback book or ebook?
Michael: I prefer the feel of a real book in my hands.

Summer or winter?
Michael: Summer. The grass, the flowers, it reminds me of Heaven.

Puppies or kittens?
Michael: How can you chose? They’re both cute and cuddly.

Vampires or werewolves?
Michael: Werewolves. They seem the lesser of the two evils.


About the Author:

PatriciaLynneAuthorPicPatricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn’t regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

 

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.

Links:

Twitter

Website

Google+

Wattpad

Goodreads

Finding a Writing Community – Guest Post by Karen Mann

coverauthorbuzz-2

Finding a Writing Community
By Karen Mann

We know writing is a solitary occupation. Writers are often introverts and like being alone. But most of us don’t want to keep our writing to ourselves. We write in hopes someone will read our writing. It’s important to find a writing community with which to share your work. If publication is your goal, you’ll want to get opinions and tips from other writers before sending out a submission or approaching an agent or editor. Here are some tips for finding a writing community that benefits you.

Find a writing group. Writing groups are usually 4-6 people who meet regularly and exchange writing. Members critique other members’ work, and members revise based on suggestions. Check your community news for local groups, or search online to find one in your area. Writing groups are usually free to join unlike the next suggestions.

Go to a writers’ conference. A writers’ conference offers various features, such as talks by authors, agents, or editors; mini-classes; workshops; manuscript critiques; plus connection with other writers. Writers’ conferences often have themes, such as mystery, romance, fiction, screenwriting, etc. Newpages.com has a list of writers’ conferences and events under Writers Resources.

Take a writing class. You may find courses through adult education, community colleges, or universities. If you take a class to improve your writing and find a community, enroll in a local class rather than taking an online class.

Join a writing association. Many states or large cities have writing associations that offer many opportunities for writers. Search for lists of writing associations, and you’ll find one near you. Associations often have conferences, classes, groups, and readings.

Attend an MFA in Writing program. MFA in Writing programs not only give you the chance to work with an author instructor, but also a chance to cultivate a community with others who have a passion for writing just like you. Low-residency MFA in Writing programs allow adults to improve their writing by earning a degree without moving to a college town. Each semester begins with a residency, usually 7-10 days, after which students return home to study through an exchange of writing, or perhaps online workshops, with an experienced mentor. Through an alumni association, MFA program connections last longer than you’ll be a student; they can last a lifetime. You’ll make friends who not only share your love of writing but also care about you.

Finding a community is essential to nurturing your love of writing. Take a break from the writing and find some writer friends—for critiquing, for a literary discussion, for sharing, or maybe just for lunch!

karenmannphoto-2Karen Mann is the author of The Woman of La Mancha and The Saved Man. She is the co-founder and Administrative Director of the low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program at Spalding University (www.spalding.edu/mfa). She is also the managing editor of The Louisville Review, a national literary magazine since 1976 (www.louisvillereview.org). Having lived in Indiana most of her life, she now lives in San Jose, California. See more about her books at http://www.karenmannwrites.com.

About The Woman of La Mancha:

coverauthorbuzz-2The Woman of La Mancha, a companion book to Don Quixote, tells the woman’s story of Don Quixote by recounting the story of the girl he called Dulcinea, the woman he loved from afar.

It’s 1583. An eleven-year-old girl wakes in the back of a cart. She has lost her memory and is taken in by a kindly farm family in La Mancha. She adopts the name Aldonza. She doesn’t speak for quite some time. Once she speaks, there is a family member who is jealous of her and causes a good deal of trouble, even causing her to be forced to leave La Mancha in tragic circumstances. Having to create a new life in a new location and still unaware of her birth family, she adopts the name Dulcinea and moves in the circles of nobility. While seeking her identity, she becomes the consort of wealthy men, finds reason to disguise herself as a man, and learns herbal healing to help others.

There is a parallel story of a young man, Don Christopher, a knight of King Philip and the betrothed of the girl, who sets off on with a young squire, Sancho, to find the girl. Christopher’s adventures take them across Spain and force him to grow up. Does he continue the quest to find his betrothed or marry another and break the contract with the king?

Both young people have many experiences and grow up before the readers’ eyes. Floating in and out of each other’s paths as they travel around Spain, will they eventually find each other and be together?

Bound by Fate – Episode 7 of the Shadow Stalker Series by Renee Scattergood

It is my great pleasure to introduce Episode 7 of the Shadow Stalker series by Renee Scattergood. In Bound by Fate, we follow Auren into unknown territory as she undergoes compulsory treatment within a Reconciliation Centre. It is an emotionally fraught episode, with danger at every turn. Just when it seems that Auren might find her loved ones and gain information to help fight against the war, her worse nightmare comes true – her true identity is discovered. It is an episode which will leave your hungry for more.

 
E7 KindleAuren escapes the Dark Isle to find things are worse on Appolia than she imagined. Very few have survived the invasion of the Galvadi Empire, and even her best friend, Jade, has gone missing.

While attempting a rescue, Auren is captured and faces abuse and torture at the hands of her enemies. She knows as long as she can hide her true identity, she might succeed in helping the Coalition, but one of the Galvadi knows she is the delohi-saqu. For his silence, she is forced to pay the ultimate price.

Purchase at Smashwords

Shadow Stalker: Bound by Fate (Episode 7) Excerpt
By Renee Scattergood

Once inside the office, I closed the door behind me and felt my way to the computer. I didn’t want to risk turning on a light, so had to figure out how to turn on the machine in the dark. As it turned out, the computer was in standby mode. It came to life as soon as I touched the screen. I’d used similar computers in school, so it wasn’t difficult to navigate. It was simply a matter of finding the right file.

I spotted one labeled “Residents”. Really? They called their prisoners residents? I opened the file and, sure enough, I found a list of detainees assigned to this reconciliation center, which was apparently called, Brynn. I scrolled down, barely breathing when I came to “Z” and saw my father’s name. He was here. They were keeping him in a cell in block D. I was in E block, which meant he couldn’t be too far. I felt a nagging pull in my gut, but I dismissed it as the effect of knowing my father was close by.

As I was closing the folder, another file labeled “Shadow Stalker Attenuation” caught my eye. I opened it and saw a folder labeled “Recinder”. A recinder is a circular collar worn on the neck by shadow stalkers. The alloy, Beryllonium, contains properties which interfere with a shadow stalker’s ability to use their powers. All captured shadow stalkers, if not sentenced to death, are fitted with a recinder. Once locked in place, the recinder cannot be removed unless cut with a specific tool.

I flicked through the file. Apparently, the alloy was also used to make weapons against the shadow stalkers, something Kado had referred to. If I could somehow get the information to the Coalition, there was a chance they could find a way to counter it. But I knew my time had run out as soon as I heard voices in the corridor. I switched the computer to standby, wondering at the pull inside me. It was stronger than before. I hesitated in the dark, reluctant to reenter the shadow world, especially after reading about the recinders, and the alloy used to make them.

The door swung open before I made my decision, and by then it was too late. They saw me before they switched on the light. Two guides stood in the doorway, gazing at me from beneath their robes.

“Well, well,” one of them said, dropping his hood.

It was Makari. But how? And why was he dressed like a guide?

“If it isn’t my little lizard.”


Renee ScattergoodRenee Scattergood, author of the fantasy series, Shadow Stalker, and novella, Demon Hunt, lives in Australia with her husband and daughter. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter. Find out more about her, and sign up for her newsletter on her blog: http://reneescattergood.com

Author Pages:

Renee Writes: http://reneescattergood.com/ – my personal website and blog.

Renee’s Author Spotlight: http://reneesauthorspotlight.blogspot.com.au/ – a blog where I feature indie and small press authors.

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00NTJY1W2

Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rscatts

Social Media:

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/reneescatts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReneeScatts

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/118427336236369690813/+ReneescattergoodAuthor/posts