Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sky’s End (#1 Cassiel Winters Series) by Lesley Young

Title: Sky’s End (#1 Cassiel Winters Series)
Author: Lesley Young
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

A secret she must never share. A secret that two warring species are determined to control. A universe’s future at stake.

Twenty-year-old Cassiel Winters joins Earth’s new space academy in hopes of finding her brother, one of Command’s top pilots and her only family, who’s been reported MIA. But she quickly realizes she may not be cut out for life in space, where female cadets are outnumbered, competition’s fierce, and she’s already failed her hand-to-hand combat test once.

When Cassiel’s manipulated into a perilous mission, she encounters a warrior species bred to protect the universe from an even greater threat. And she learns that her secret visions are at the heart of it all. Now Cassiel must fight to control her own destiny and race to save her brother—even if it means pretending to be the pawn of Prime Or’ic, the cold-as-steel Thell’eon leader. Even if it means risking her life, facing hard truths, and making the ultimate sacrifice.

Here's a short interview with the author!

Thanks for inviting me to a Q&A on your fabulous blog. I can’t wait to read one of your books R.A. Sears!

When did you first become interested in writing?
For fiction, it was three years ago. After reading Hunger Games, I realized I could, and wanted, to try to write genre.

Where do you get the inspiration for your characters?
They develop as I write them: I suppose initially they are inspired by the situations I want to put them in. The story’s mood is often influenced by music. And I find movies are a great source of plot possibilities—as in ‘wow’ I never realized you could just switch streams that way.

Are you interested in any arts, other than writing?
I am a movie and (closet) comic book fiend. And while I appreciate all arts as much as anyone, I find the combination of history and arts, e.g., visiting museums and listening to those audiotapes to hear the story behind the painting, a great escape.

Do you have a regular job, on top of being an author?
Yes! I am a full-time journalist. I write lifestyle, business and health stories for a wide array of Canadian magazines. It means my eyes are burning and my fingers numb when I finally get back to fiction at the end of the day.

What's on your agenda for 2014?
I am working on the sequel to Sky’s End, Sky’s Surrender. if you’ve never tried a novel set in space, Sky’s End is the one to ease you in. Its fast-paced plot, balanced world-building and wonderfully quirky heroine on a journey to kick-ass-dom will grip you! It’s available in ebook and paperback at http://www.amazon.com/Skys-End-Lesley-Young/dp/1619352389/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392590994&sr=8-1&keywords=sky%27s+end

Thanks for featuring me!


“You would understand us,” Prime Or’ic beseeches me, hands out. He places them on the downcore, searching the room, until he spots what he’s looking for. He returns with a stool and sits on it, making him eye level with me. A first. “Our beliefs,” he starts and stops. I’ve never seen him this . . . uncertain.

“Kirs spend a lifetime training and fighting Aeon. We strive to achieve a perfect Horde, knowing the likelihood is incredibly small. And still we prevail. To get the chance to have, to fight with a sift,” he corrects himself, “with you, is . . . sacred. Once given, it is understood to be a right that is earned.”

“So you think I was, what, given to you?”

He rolls his eyes, frustrated. Ah, that’s more familiar. When he focuses back on me, his eyes are different. Earnest, I think.

“Think of how you ‘fell’ into our path. ESE sent you to our ship! You! When you took my beacon portal, then I knew for certain. It was our destiny to have a sift. You belong to us!”

His vehemence scares me more than the simple deduction. Those things all happened, but not so that I could be his sift. Not even so I could help ESE get the sift (isn’t that ironic?). But so that I could save my brother Daz! I’m certain of this. Being their sift is not my destiny. And even if I believed in that crap, I would never belong to them. Or anyone.

“I’m a human being, Or’ic!”

“I know, I know,” he says, touching my hand with his.

I pull away. I don’t like the way he’s looking at me. Not at all. He doesn’t understand that I wasn’t speaking literally. I meant to say that I’m not an object. But he continues, oblivious to his mistake.

And now, for my review!
Rating: 5 stars!

It's been a long time since I enjoyed reading a sci-fi novel. Honestly, they tend to get so engrossed in world-building that their characters take a backseat. That's not the case with "Sky's End"! Cassiel Winters leaps right off the page, and I think we could totally be girls if she were real. Lesley Young's writing style is crisp and, while we're clearly operating in a fictional world, she does it in such a way that disbelief is totally suspended. I love the internal monologue, and watching the way Cassiel grows as a person and changes throughout the duration of the novel.

Admittedly, the page count was a bit intimidating when I opened it up on my Kindle and it said 415 pages. But before I knew it, I was 50 pages in and had been up an hour longer than I'd planned. It's very easy to get drawn in to Miss Young's vibrant prose. My only complaint about the whole thing is that it's written in present tense, but that's just a matter of personal taste. It's done well enough that I got used to it after the first few pages. Looking forward to the sequel!

About Lesley Young
Journalist Lesley Young never thought she would delve into the world of writing fiction, but when she sat down for the first time to put pen to paper, ideas for what would become her first novel just poured out naturally. Young’s first book, “Sky’s End,” is a multi-genre tale that showcases her unique style of weaving romance, action and wit into one page-burning story.

Young was born in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. She holds an arts degree from the University of Alberta and a journalism degree from the University of Victoria.

Young now lives in Loretto, Ontario where she works as a journalist, freelance writer and editor for health, décor and business magazines. Since 2008, Young has written more than 300 articles for print and online media including Profit, Toronto Life, MSN Green, and Elle Canada among others. She is a regular contributor to Reader’s Digest, Best Health, Canadian Living and House and Home Magazine.

Young has won three gold honors for feature stories from the National Business Magazine Awards and another top media award from the Canadian Dermatology Association.

Soul Mate Publishing released “Sky’s End” on July 15 in paperback and e-book and since its launch, it has remained an Amazon Best Seller. The novel is Young’s first installment in a series about Cassiel Winters, a futuristic heroine, and her outer space escapades.


Amazon Buy Link

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Editing, and how it can make all the difference

This is going to be a big year for me, as far as writing and publishing are concerned. I've just signed the first two books of The Ragnarok Legacy to Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly, and I have my first solo erotica piece hitting digi-shelves March 21st, with it's two following books to come later this year. And, while some people don't find it to be an important part of the process, I've come to discover that editing/revision are just as important as getting the words on the page in the first place.

Just to give you an idea of how awful editing/revising can be, this final version of my novel Lunacy went through FOUR entire rewrites. Four. I wavered between the book being from first person or third, then I realized that I couldn't relate to Kacea at all anymore because she was so much younger than I was. For some people, the age gap doesn't matter, but I wasn't a sixteen year old kid anymore when I got serious about things. So I made her a senior, wanting to be able to skip those awkward formative years of being an older teenager, and getting into more adult stuff at some point in the book. I completely changed the way she talked, the way she acted, and I think I made her a mature enough character that I didn't want to punch her in the face anymore. I've had people say "Teenagers don't talk like that. They sound too grown up." To be honest, that's exactly how my friends and I talked when we were in high school. If the intelligence level of society at large has dropped so low that all they can chat about now is the Biebs and Jersey Shore, we're in a sorry state indeed...

I digress. So anyway, I did a total overhaul of the deity and cosmology system. Originally, I'd written the story with some gods I created on my own, but they were half-assed and didn't do it for me. Now, we're totally immersed in Norse mythology, and I've woven it in with my werewolves in a way that I'm proud of and I'm fairly sure is unique to me. Although I've seen a lot of viking-esque tales on the rise, I don't think there's another quite like mine. =]

I've also been doing a lot of research on things to do to make your story sound more polished, look more professional. The basics of spelling and sentence structure are pretty much a given. Grammar... I feel like it's a fluid concept. You can end a sentence with a prepositional phrase and some people will have an aneurysm, but as long as the words flow together in a way that sort of removes you from the words and draws you into the world... I think you're golden. Stephen King is a master of sentence fragments, as is Laurell K. Hamilton. That's something that would have gotten you shot thirty years ago, but now, with so many books written in first person that run on an internal monologue, I don't think it's that big of a deal. There's a difference between someone being a true grammar nazi, and someone pointing out that you can't spell your way out of a paper bag. =P

Brevity is a big thing I'm learning to embrace when I write. During my first round of edits with Lunacy, I cut over 5000 words. Five thousand. Some people are publishing stories that are the length of crap I removed from my novel. Then I went through and found what I call my "crutch words". The words/phrases you overuse the most that add nothing to the story. My biggest ones are: suddenly, almost, a little/a bit, and smirk. Sometimes, just changing that one word brought in another paragraph of awesomeness. A change you think is insignificant can produce great effects in the long run.

So, to give you an example of how much things change for me, I'll give you a paragraph of one of my WIPs. It's a short for an erotica anthology that's centered on steampunk. My title is "Clockwork Heart".

Here's what the paragraph looked like at first:

Zylphia Locke had heard all the tall tales. The ones about the supposedly dashing airship captain, Jasper Colt. Between her two jobs, working the ranch in the early morn and serving at the saloon once the sun went down, she heard about him everywhere. His battle against the leader of the Ratchet gang, which had led to the bandits breaking ranks and disappearing over the horizon like a distant dream, was the most commonly gabbed about topic lately.

And here's how it looks now. For now. It'll probably morph again before I'm done. =P

I’d heard all the ludicrous tall tales. Lately, more and more of them were about the devilishly handsome airship captain, Jasper Colt. He was taking down pirates, saving little ol’ ladies, and Gods only knew what else. His battle against the leader of the Ratchet gang, which had led to the bandits breaking ranks and disappearing over the horizon like a distant dream, was the most commonly gabbed about topic, in recent days. Between my two jobs, working the ranch in the early morn and serving drinks and food at the saloon once the sun went down, I heard about the scoundrel everywhere I went.

So, as you can see. Editing can make a HUGE difference. To all my author friends, and those just starting to write!, grab those red pens and go to town!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

"From the Top" ~R.A. Sears COVER REVEAL! Hot Ink Press

Title: From the Top
Author: R.A. Sears
Series: Infernalia Chronicles, Entrance Saga #1
Publisher: Hot Ink Press
Genre: Erotic Horror, Dark Fantasy
Release Date: March 21st, 2014

Add to your TBR List on Goodreads

Cira's just out with her friends, chilling at the mall on a normal weekend, when she locks eyes with a gorgeous man across the food court. Her heart is set aflame and the world around them burns to ash.

They've been experimenting with human genetics since we first came into being; the Infernals are denizens of a Hellish parallel world, and they've come to claim Earth as their own. There's no better place to create their ideal being, a creature with all of their strengths and none of their weaknesses.

Refusing to kneel, Cira is taken in by a new master, the very same man she saw in the food court before the world ended.A halfbreed with eyes full of hellfire and the patience of a saint, Baxa awakens Cira's urge to dominate, and an unfamiliar yearning to obey.

His disinterest in the Infernal breeding program puts her at ease, and sets her nerves on fire. Can Cira resist this caramel skinned temptation, or will she be consumed by the inferno of desire?

I greeted him at the door by grabbing handfuls of his shirt and slamming him back against the door to shut it. As I suspected, the very slight pain I caused him from the jostling struck me a bit harder, causing me to arch against him, fingers tightening in the cloth to fight against it. “Cira? What the hell are you doing?”

I spun with him, shoving him hard against the wall, crying out from the jolt it sent through my body, but enjoying it in a way I’d never been able to admit to anyone. The heat of the pain brought a gush of fluids between my thighs that I hoped he could feel as I ground my hips to his, pinning him to the wall. I looked up into his eyes and asked point blank, “Am I repulsive to you, Baxa?”

He turned us around with inhuman speed so I was trapped between the solid muscle of his frame and the also immovable wall at my back, the impact knocking a bit of the breath from my lungs. He gripped a fistful of my hair and tilted my chin up, bringing his lips down hard onto mine, his tongue caressing every bit of my mouth in a way that made my knees weak. His other hand, so gentle before, slid beneath my shirt, wrapping those long fingers around my side and pulling me against him with it as he fed from my mouth like my lips were an oasis and he was dying of thirst in the desert.

When he finally let me up for air, we were both panting, my pulse like thunder in my ears. His voice trickled out as a growl that made me shiver, not wholly from fear. “I want to take you until your voice is ragged from screaming and you’ve painted your passion across my skin with your nails and teeth. Do you really think I would want the same from someone I found repulsive?”
© R.A. Sears 2014

About R.A. Sears

R.A. Sears has a cinematic writing style, heavy on the eclectic and strange. A lover of words, she took classes like anatomy and physiology in college--along with criminalistics--to better her craft. Her interest in mythology shines through in her prose, as well as her background in urban fantasy and the paranormal. A protector of all furry creatures and a NY native, she now lives in Maryland with her black cat Nergal, and a dog rescued from Afghanistan who goes by the name Renegade. She shares her space and time with her loving, supportive husband and her firecracker one year old son. “From the Top” is the first of three books in the Entrance Saga.

Connect with the Author
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Blood's Voice" by Áine P Massie - COVER REVEAL CHBB

Title: Blood’s Voice
Author: Áine P Massie
Series: House Millar, #1
Publisher: Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly Publishing
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal Romance
Release Date: March 15th 2014
Add to TBR List
Release Day Party (March 15th)

Anya Millar had no memory of her life or an instruction manual on how to navigate the insane world of humans, biting, and reality. Instead, Anya has had to learn to navigate the world of love, life, and sanity while avoiding those that would see her dead or enslaved.

This is the ongoing journey of Anya and Nicholas, human loving vampires and the human they love, Declán. What makes it all more complicated is that they are abominations in their own world and Declán is a natural born vampire hunter called a Guardian.

Anya must come to terms with who she is and her missing past, Nicholas must win back the object of his eternal love while dealing with new cravings in his silent heart, and Declán must learn to destroy the very creatures that he has unequivocally given his heart and blood.

About the Author

Áine P Massie is originally from Florida, she now lives in Wisconsin where she works on her House Millar series full time while raising four children (the term herding cats comes to mind). Her major in College was Childhood Education (specializing in ages zero to five) with a minor study in Deaf Culture/ASL. She is also a Wiccan priestess dedicated to the gods, family, and love.

Áine is a proud member of the Rom-Critters, the Romance Writers of America®, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Áine has always had a particular fascination with vampires, mythology, and the unusual. When she can escape from her children and books, she enjoys . . . oh yes, reading, playing, ritual, a good cappuccino, and working with her healing stones.

Her first published work came in high school where she was part of a writing and drama group. However, she has been reading the likes of Shakespeare and Poe since late elementary school and enjoys most forms of fiction.

Social Contact

            Site – http://smarturl.it/apmassie
House Millar FB – http://smarturl.it/HM-fb

Sunday, February 9, 2014

NEWS! More goodies coming your way soon!

My erotic horror short "From the Top" will be hitting digital shelves March 21st, 2014! I'm having a cover reveal event on FB on February 15th, and you're more than welcome to attend. We'll have games and prizes(keychains, candles, bookmarks, ebooks, and more!), and you'll get a first look at the very saucy cover. ;)

"From the Top" is the first novella in a trilogy called the Entrance Saga, set in the Infernalia Chronicles universe. Once all three parts are released, I'd like to put them together into one print version, and a digital box set.

The story revolves around an average girl named Cira, and how her entire life is turned upside down when all Hell literally breaks loose in the middle of a shopping mall. The Infernals, demonic beings from a realm of fire and brimstone, have invaded. They plan to make our temperate, blue planet their own.

Cira's never felt a connection with anyone like she does with Baxa, a caramel skinned diavol (an Infernal/human half-breed). With his eyes full of hellfire, intriguing scar, and the patience of a saint, how long can Cira resist her urges towards him? And does she even really want to?

Erotica news aside, my novel "Lunacy" has been accepted by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing. So expect a new cover, and awesome revisions that fill in the few plot holes some people told me really got to them. Right now, the tentative release date for that is August 8th, so it's a ways off. Just wanted to share the good news with everyone!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Flower Box - Elodie Parkes 18+ HOT INK New Release!

Thank you for inviting me to the blog today with my new release romance books.

The Flower Box and Candy Hearts, are released very close together, February 7 and 14 by Hot Ink Press.
Contemporary, erotic romance, and without my usual twist of paranormal, fantasy or magic, I’ve enjoyed writing these love stories. They are both Valentine’s Day oriented stories, but can be read anytime. Although they fit into the category of erotic romance, because the bedroom door is open, they are classic romance stories with happy endings.

The Flower Box (February 7) Novella
 Alice longs for love. Oliver wants to give her flowers and candy until he thinks she has another lover. Will his jealousy drive him away from Alice or straight into her arms?

Five behind the scenes facts from Elodie about The Flower Box and Candy Hearts

1.      Candy Hearts was originally going to be titled, A Piece of my Heart. I changed it as I realized the importance of the hearts in the story.
2.      Amber Tom’s ex in Candy Hearts was originally called Susie. Then I realized there’s a Susie in my book The Winter Girl.
3.      The Flower Box was originally titled, A Random act of Kindness and then I decided it wasn’t a very hot title for an erotic romance.
4.      I very nearly had a male rival for Oliver in, The Flower Box and then decided it wasn’t much of a twist and I do like my twists so I changed the story.

5.      I designed five covers for The Flower Box and couldn’t decide which one I liked best. Even now, I’m not convinced I chose the one with the right color scheme. I always do that to myself, design heaps of graphics, and then can’t choose. (laughs) 

Buy "The Flower Box" now for $2.99! Click here!

About the author:
Elodie Parkes is a British author writing romance, erotic, contemporary, and often with a twist of mystery, paranormal or suspense. Her books are always steamy, cool stories and hot love scenes.
Elodie lives in Canterbury with her two dogs. She works in an antique shop by day and writes at night, loving the cloak of silent darkness that descends on the rural countryside around her home.
She has also released titles as an individual indie author.