Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Interview, Excerpt, Giveaway - Grey by Christi J. Whitney



Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

Well, I’m a former English and drama teacher, and I’ve always loved telling stories. Directing shows and writing novels are very similar in that way. I’ve also always had a soft spot in my heart for fantasy. Reading fantasy novels is an escape from normal life for me. When I decided to write, it was an easy plunge into YA fantasy. It felt the most natural.

Please tell us about your latest release.

Shadow is the second book in my YA fantasy series The Romany Outcasts. I’m really excited about the novel, because it continues the stories of Sebastian and Josephine.

Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

Names are extremely important to me when writing a story, and Grey was no exception. I chose the name Sebastian Grey for very specific reasons, which are revealed throughout the course of the entire story arc. I also like to name characters as homage to other things. I have two characters in my series whose names were inspired by The Hunchback of Notre Dame – but I can’t tell you more than that!

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

Oh, definitely. Sebastian has been my favorite character to write, without a doubt. There’s just something about him I truly connect with, and it’s been so much fun to travel down his very difficult and transformative road during the course of Grey and Shadow.

Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?

Honestly, the process varies depending on the character and the story I’m writing. Sometimes I sketch them out ahead of time, detailing their appearance, personality, and character traits. Other times, I have an essence of who they are in my head, and the character continues to grow and deepen as I work my way through the story. I love using dialogue to help me understand my characters as well.


What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

Oooh, so difficult to choose just one! I loved any scene in Grey where Sebastian had to directly confront what was happening to him. He’s dealing with quite a lot! There are a couple of scenes where Sebastian is rehearsing for the school play with Josephine and he’s finding it extremely difficult – for some pretty unusual reasons. Those were great fun.

Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?

I did a good bit of research on the Roma culture as I was writing the first two books in this series. I’ve always been fascinated by this rich and diverse culture, but it certainly deepened my appreciation for it. Even though the Gypsies in my series are fictional, I wanted them to feel real, and I wanted to be respectful of the culture as well.

What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?
Book three of The Romany Outcasts Series takes place in the beautiful coastal town of Savannah, which is located in the southern part of Georgia. I asked my husband a couple of years ago if we could spend an anniversary weekend there because I wanted to do bit of research for the book. I really love the city, and I’m hoping to go back there again before I finish Midnight.

Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?

There are really two worlds that exist in The Romany Outcasts outside of the normal world. The first is the world of the Outcasts Gypsies, who keep a low profile and live fairly hidden wherever they go. They don’t interact with the outside world more than they have to. But there is also another hidden world within the Gypsy one – a world that has a long history and is steeped in fairy tales and legends. Sebastian is pulled into one world and forced to confront another in Grey.

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

When writing a series, I’ve learned you have to give enough information in each book to clue the reader in, while at the same time, not getting bogged down with exposition. Even if a reader has read the first book, details can get fuzzy, and the author needs to solidify key points from the first book with the second. I believe that the reader would understand Shadow enough without having read Grey, but The Romany Outcasts is certainly a chronological story, and it was written to be read in that order.

Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?

I relate to Sebastian because he and I share some personality traits and a similar sense of humor. I also see a little bit of myself in Ms. Lucian – but honestly, it’s because I wrote her as sort of a representation of my own experience as a high school teacher. She was originally meant to be just a bit character, but she took on a life of her own as the story progressed, and she became something much different.


Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

I’m a theatre director on the side, and I direct plays and musicals for local theatres. I’m also a pretty big geek. I love watching anything sci-fi or fantasy, and I tend to get fan-girly about a lot of things. Oh, and I make costumes to wear to sci-fi/fantasy conventions. I’ve attended dressed as everything from Jack Sparrow to Bofur the dwarf from the Hobbit. Some of my favorites have been the White Queen from Alice in Wonderland and Missy from Doctor Who.

What can readers expect next from you?

I’m currently writing the third book of The Romany Outcasts Series, which is due out in the spring. And I’ve got a couple of other projects in the works.

Where can readers find you on the web?

I love to connect with readers! You can find me here:

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?


Most definitely! I’ll leave you with a little bit Chapter 2 of Grey, the first book in the series.

‘Sebastian, are you still there?’
            I transferred my phone to my other hand as I buckled the seatbelt. ‘Yeah, I’m here.’
            ‘Weren’t you listening to me?’ Katie asked.
            I paused, trying to remember what we’d been talking about. The two hours since lunch had been a blur, and my brain was mush. ‘Um . . . ’
            Katie sighed on the other end. ‘The project Ms Lucian talked about in class today,’ she continued impatiently. ‘When are we going to work on it?’
            ‘I’m sorry,’ I replied, starting the engine. ‘The pounding in my head’s making it difficult to think.’
            ‘Another headache?’
            ‘You know me and sunny days,’ I said dismissively. I stepped on the gas and coaxed my old van onto the road. ‘But about the project. I don’t know if I can do it this week. Can I get back to you?’
            ‘Yeah, just don’t wait too long. I know we’ve got almost a month to work on it, so Ms Lucian’s not going to cut us any slack, and the rest of our group is totally avoiding me about the whole thing.’
            Katie hated procrastinating on anything related to schoolwork. This was probably killing her. ‘Look, don’t worry about it. I’ll talk to the guys, and we’ll come up with a day to work on it. I promise, we won’t let you down.’
            ‘Thanks, Sebastian,’ she replied, sounding relieved. ‘You’re not nearly as much of an idiot as the rest of your species.’
            I chuckled. ‘I think you mean gender.’
            She giggled. ‘No, I don’t.’
            ‘Talk to you later, Katie.’
            ‘Bye.’
            I tossed the phone on the passenger seat and rubbed my temples. By the time I made it through town and steered my van into the parking lot of the Gypsy Ink, my headache had traveled, setting up residence between my shoulder blades. The last thing I felt like doing was homework.
            I shuffled through the waiting room, giving a brief wave to Kris, who was busy behind the counter. I’d grab a quick snack and then lay out flat on the floor of the apartment for a while. Just until the aching eased. I paused in the hallway just outside the door of Hugo’s workspace. I didn’t have to say anything. My brother knew I was there.
            ‘Hey, Sebastian.’ He glanced up from his sketchbook. ‘What’s up?’
            ‘Do you have any sports cream?’ I leaned against the wall and squinted as a sharp pain lanced through my shoulders. ‘My back’s killing me.’
            Hugo’s brows settled low over his dark eyes. ‘In the drawer beside my bed.’
            ‘Okay, thanks.’
            I continued down the hallway, followed by the weight of my brother’s stare. He probably thought I was trying to get out of work, which wasn’t a bad idea. I chucked my bag on the bed and rummaged through Hugo’s nightstand until I located the tube of medicine. I worked the cream into my back, but it felt as if someone was digging long fingers between my shoulder blades, attempting to separate muscle from bone.
            I gave up with the cream and stumbled to the bathroom on a quest for aspirin. Just as I reached for the medicine cabinet, another shock of pain doubled me over. I gripped the edge of the counter and straightened. My gaze flicked to the mirror. For a moment, I almost didn’t recognize the face staring back. I was crazy pale, even for me, and my skin made the hazel color of my eyes look dull. But then I noticed something else. Another chunk of gray was poking through my disheveled hair.


Grey
The Romany Outcasts Series
Book One
Christi J. Whitney

Genre: YA Fantasy / Urban Fantasy

Publisher: HarperCollins/
HarperVoyagerUK

Date of Publication: E-book - 4/30/15
Date of Publication: Paperback 10/22/15

ISBN:  9780008120450
ASIN: B00MT9E66E

Number of pages: 344
Word Count: 91,640

Cover Artist: Cherie Chapman

Book Description:

Can you still love with a heart of stone?

Sebastian Grey always thought he was a fairly normal teenager – good friends, decent grades and a pretty sweet job in his foster brother’s tattoo shop.

But when Romany gypsies arrive in town, Sebastian discovers that his world is not what it seems. There is an age-old feud between his family and the gypsies – and this isn’t the only secret his brother has been keeping from him. His life is not his own. The girl he’s been dreaming about has just turned up at school, and he feels compelled to protect her at all costs.

Even if that means life might never be normal again.


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About the Author:

Christi J. Whitney is a former high school theatre director with a love for the arts. She lives just outside Atlanta with her husband and two sons. When not spending time with them or taking a ridiculous number of trips to Disney World, she can be found directing plays, making costumes for sci-fi/fantasy conventions, obsessing over Doctor Who, watching superhero movies, or pretending she’s just a tad bit British. You can visit her online at www.christijwhitney.com or connect on Twitter (@ChristiWhitney).







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Steampunk in the Gold Rush - A Midsummer Night’s Mechanical by Kirsten Weiss



Though steampunk tales – sci-fi set in the Victorian era – are generally placed in England, the genre’s setting is rapidly expanding to other parts of the world. And hooray for that! Yes, Victorian England lends itself to improper ladies and toffs in top hats. All that overblown civility! But sometimes, the most exciting adventures take place in the world’s most uncivil places.

Since I’m from the San Francisco area and was force-fed stories of the California Gold Rush as a child, that time and place seemed a natural fit for the Sensibility Grey series of steampunk suspense. The California Gold Rush was chaotic, anarchic, and dangerous – the ideal setting for a steampunk adventure. (It was also much easier for me to research and imagine what old California looked like than Victorian London.)

Another great thing about the California Gold Rush? Since gold was discovered in 1848, and the rush got started in 1849, it takes place at the beginning of the Victorian and, therefore, the steampunk era. So for my characters, the technology they experience is new and marvelous. Readers get to experience that sense of wonder and excitement through the characters’ eyes. My heroine, Sensibility Grey is an inventor of mechanicals. She’s still in the “figuring things out” stage, and the reader can go right along with her discoveries – both mechanical and magical.

The California Gold Rush also provided an interesting mix of cultures, and frequent tension existed between them. The Spaniards oppressed the indigenous peoples. Then the Americans came in, pushed out the Spaniards… and also oppressed the local populations. These culture clashes add a tension-filled backdrop to the Sensibility Grey series of steampunk suspense novels.

Where the government fails to provide law enforcement, vigilantes will inevitably step in. When I lived in the former USSR, I saw this sadly often. The police were corrupt and allowed the successful criminals to pay them off and go free. So men would band together and administer their own justice to make their neighborhoods inhospitable to crime. Results were as could be expected – vigilantes went too far, innocent people got hurt. But I confess I felt some sympathy for those vigilantes – the police were criminals themselves. If you were neither criminal nor cop (same difference), life felt very out of control. And that’s not a good feeling.

However, I feel zero sympathy for the vigilantes who patrolled Gold Rush San Francisco’s streets. A group called “The Hounds” pretty much ran San Francisco in early 1849, when San Francisco lacked any real civic leadership or even a jail. Though the Hounds claimed they were a “safety committee,” they were anti-immigrant and criminals themselves. By the summer of 1849, the citizens of San Francisco had had enough and formed a “real” government, setting up a legal system and driving out the Hounds.

For all these reasons, the California Gold Rush was a ripe setting for a steampunk adventure. 

Would your home make a good spot for some steampunk madness? Let us know in the comments below!


A Midsummer Night’s Mechanical
Sensibility Grey Series 
of Steampunk Suspense Book 3
Kirsten Weiss

Genre: Steampunk/suspense

Publisher: Misterio Press

Date of Publication: May 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-944767-00-6
ASIN: B01DOKO6CA

Number of pages: 224
Word Count: 69,000

Cover Artist: Kirsten Weiss

Book Description:

A Midsummer Murder
The California Territory, 1849

Blamed for burning down the San Francisco wharf, clockwork inventor, Sensibility Grey has spent the last three months in hiding. Now all she wants is to depart the gold-crazy boomtown for a new life in the East. So when the owner of a traveling theater offers her work embellishing his mechanical stage, she turns him down. Then he turns up dead on her doorstep along with his enigmatic stage.

An explorer of the mysteries of aether, Sensibility has her own secrets to keep, and adversaries who’ll stop at nothing to learn them. Is the mechanical stage a part of a bigger game? Or the key to unlocking her true, magical potential?

A Midsummer Night’s Mechanical is book three in the Sensibility Grey series of steampunk suspense.

Kobo      Amazon

CHAPTER ONE

San Francisco, California Territory, June 1849.

Sensibility sat cross-legged upon her bed and tried not to think. She tried not to think of the ache where her stays pinched her back. She tried not to think of tomorrow’s journey across the American wilderness. She tried not to think about the clamor of banging drums and tootling fifes and—
“Oh, good gad!” She clenched her fist, pieces of quartz crystal biting into her flesh. Sensibility sprang from the bed and threw open the boarding house window. Oppressive heat, acrid from the nearby outhouse, rolled into the room. Wrinkling her nose, she leaned out over the fenced back yard and craned her neck. The afternoon sun streamed through the laundry, hanging limp on the line. From her position, she couldn’t see the street procession. But neither could she avoid hearing their blasted parade.
Something scuttled near her elbow, and she jerked away, slamming her head on the window frame. White pain arced through her skull.
A baby raccoon, not much larger than the palm of her hand, cowered on the other end of the narrow sill. It scrabbled, hunching into a tight ball, trapped on the high ledge.
“Ow.” She winced, rubbing her throbbing head and glad her chignon had taken the brunt of the blow. “How on earth did you get up here?”
The raccoon mewled.
“You shall have to make your own way home, for you cannot come inside. Mrs. Watson has a strict rule about animals inside her boarding house.”
Gently, so as not to disturb the creature, she shut the window. The raccoon peered over the ledge then looked at her, his expression plaintive.
Attempting to ignore the animal, she paced the denuded room, her brown skirts swishing.
They had ample space to swish. Nearly all her belongings lay compressed into a single carpetbag, set before the empty wardrobe. The bedroom had an air of abandonment.
Unsettled, Sensibility rattled the quartz crystals in her hand and glanced to the window.
The animal stared inside, forlorn.
She tugged at her collar. It was such a small thing. But rules were rules. “You found your way onto the ledge. You can find your own way down.”
Sensibility turned to the journal open on the desk. Her sketch of an unworldly creature she’d once encountered scowl from the page. Frowning, she slammed the book shut. It had been careless of her to have left it open. Strange, she couldn’t remember examining the journal before she’d gone downstairs to retrieve her luncheon.
The crystals pressed into her palm. She was so close to a breakthrough in aether technology, but the clues remained buried. Buried in the remains of her father’s last journal. Hidden in a journal from a traveling occultist. Scattered throughout her own notes and theories. One day soon, she would fit those pieces together. It was madness to hope she could solve that problem today.
Sensibility opened her hand and gazed at the quartz crystals. She’d mastered the use of aether to power small devices. But aether had other applications, such as distance control and distance vision. These applications eluded her. “There has to be a way…”
She glanced at the window.
The animal raised itself on its hind legs and pressed its tiny black paws to the glass.
Sensibility groaned. “I know I’ll regret this.” Pocketing the crystals, she opened the window.
The raccoon cowered.
“You,” she said, “being a wild animal, will attempt to bite me if I rescue you. But I will have none of it. I shall pick you up, I shall take you outside, and you shall neither bite nor scratch. Do you understand?”
In a swift motion, she grasped it by the scruff of the neck and lifted it inside. It writhed, and her grasp on it loosened.
She gasped. “Don’t….”

The raccoon dropped to her desk and shook its head. Whiskers twitching, it scuttled to her abandoned luncheon tray and made free with a bit of toast.


About the Author:

Kirsten Weiss worked overseas for nearly fourteen years, in the fringes of the former USSR and in South-east Asia.  Her experiences abroad sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.

Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes steampunk suspense and paranormal mysteries, blending her experiences and imagination to create a vivid world of magic and mayhem. Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine.

Sign up for her newsletter to get a free copy of the full length urban fantasy novel, The Alchemical Detective, and updates on her latest work at: http://kirstenweiss.com


Twitter: @KirstenWeiss




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Memorial Day the Baltimore Way -Payable On Death by Rachel Rawlings




Memorial Day weekend is upon us and is the unofficial first day of summer around Maryland. After honoring our fallen heroes and remembering the true reason for the holiday, people around here open the pools or head down to the boardwalk in Ocean City- also known as going down the ocean (pronounced oh-shon) hon, For those of us not water bound, we tend to gather around a pile of Maryland Blue Crabs and corn, steamed to perfection with a family recipe that definitely involves Old Bay seasoning. Cookouts with great music blaring on the radio and a cooler iced down and filled with NattyBo beer are jam packed with friends and family. Somewhere amidst the bowls of macaroni and potato salads you’re sure to find a bag of Utz chips- maybe two! 

I’m pretty sure Jax has spent more than one Memorial Day with a crab claw in one hand and a beer in the other. After all, she’s a Bal’more girl. 

My family and I like to keep things casual with burgers on the grill, a game of frisbie and some cold Redds Hard Cider- green apple preferably, lol. With three kids, whether we have friends and family over or not, it always feels like a full house! 





Payable On Death
The Jax Rhodes Series
Book One
Rachel Rawlings

Print Length: 207 pages

Publication Date: April 5, 2016

ASIN: B01C1U2TZ0

Genre: New Adult Urban Fantasy

Book Description:

A deal with the Devil. Demons haunting your every step. When an Angel offers you the chance to redeem yourself, you take it. Because eternal damnation isn't all it's cracked up to be.

But the Devil always gets his due.

On the streets of Baltimore redemption is..... Payable On Death.


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FORWARD

Hell.
Some people say there is a Hell
Where wicked souls are doomed to go.
But this, by others, is denied,
Who hold there is no Hell below.
I've often heard the place described
By certain preachers in my day,
And trembled like an aspen leaf,
As they its horrors did portray.

That such a place does not exist
I will not undertake to say;
Nor, from the knowledge I possess,
Can I assert the other way.
That there's a Hell, or that there's not,
Is more than mortal man can know;
And in the soul's eternal flight
There's none can say where it shall go.

Were I to say there is a Hell,
Can I, with proof, support the plea?
Did I allege there's no such place?
How can I prove it so to be?
J. H. Stevenson 1890


Have you ever found yourself at a crossroads? You can't go forward, you can't go back. There's only bad and worse. Those were the options facing me the day I sold my soul to the Devil. Sure, it seems like a bad decision now, but at seventeen I thought it was my only salvation. I've spent every day since trying to earn my soul back and reserve my spot in Heaven because eternal damnation isn't all it's cracked up to be.

About the Author:

Rachel Rawlings was born and raised in the Baltimore Metropolitan area. Her family, originally from Rhode Island, spent summers in New England sparking her fascination with Salem, MA. She has been writing fictional stories and poems since middle school, but it wasn't until 2009 that she found the inspiration to create her heroine Maurin Kincaide and complete her first full length novel, The Morrigna.

When she isn't writing, Rachel can often be found with her nose buried in a good book. An avid reader of Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Horror and Steampunk herself, Rachel founded Hallowread- an interactive convention for both authors and fans of those genres.

More information on Hallowread, its schedule of events and participating authors can be found at www.hallowread.blogspot.com  and www.facebook.com/Hallowread .

She still lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.








Goodreads  Author Page http://goo.gl/FZW0RN

Amazon Author Page http://goo.gl/Q6Ubn1


Where’s Sailor Jack? By John Uttley




Where's Sailor Jack?
John Uttley

Publication Date: April 15, 2015

ASIN: B00W851QLM

Print Length: 324 pages

Book Description:

A family saga that takes in three generations of two families and all the struggles, tribulations and fireworks that you would expect as well as plenty you wouldn’t. Where’s Sailor Jack is the story of Bob Swarbrick’s journey from Northern-grammar-school-boy to business magnate through the break up of his marriage, the arrival of a new lover and an unhurried, consistent search for meaning in his life.

Bob and Richard are grammar school boys ‘done good’. Starting life in similar working class homes they have progressively climbed the ladder until they are able to both sit comfortably as champions of industry, and look back on their achievements and failures with the keen Northern wit that never left them, even after years of exile life in the south.

As they reflect on their lives, loves and business decisions both try to find an explanation to fit their lives: Bob seeks purpose, Richard meaning. While soul-searching, the reader is witness to an exemplary part of British history - from their childhoods in post war Northern England to the boom years in a prospering South (before survivors guilt starts to bite in their latter years and they wonder just how their opportunities would have worked out if they were born a few decades later).

The book covers and takes a unique look at romance, religion, business sense and social mobility but does so with wry tongue in its cheek whilst looking for a laugh, not a deep and meaningful conversation.

Excerpt from Where’s Sailor Jack? By John Uttley
Second edition, published by Matador, released April 28th 2016

Chapter One
On a Sunday soon after his move north-west, Bob was flying high on Virgin, to LAX, as everyone but he knew Los Angeles airport was called. His last long-haul flight had been on Atomic Futures’ business in the bulkhead with British Airways. At over six foot and heavily built, he could make good use of the leg room. In an unflattering lavatory mirror he saw receding, grey hair and many wrinkles above a jaw line a boxer could break a fist on. He’d never quite understood how his rugged looks had charmed the several-to-many women along the way. The seating arrangement in Virgin’s best seats made the cabin look like a beauty salon, but he’d played safe and eschewed the offer of an on-board facial. The Journey Information on the monitor told him there was about an hour of the flight to go, confirmed by something looking like the Grand Canyon out of the window, though it looked bleak enough to have been the surface of another planet.

He was trying not to sleep on the way out, nor to go to be until at least ten o’clock Pacific Standard Time. He’d flicked between the films on the in-flight entertainment system, and found nothing he’d wanted. He’d then settled down to listen to some music, first Elvis, then Ray Charles and finally Abba, who’d bounced along merrily at first until a cold sweat told him that he was the loser standing small alongside seventies woman. He switched Agnetha off to pick up the book he’d brought, Ian McEwan’s Saturday, which he immediately put down again. His eyes were tired.

He reclined the chair to be alone with his musings on his return to Lancashire. Blackpool was making a good fist of doing itself up, despite New Labour lousing up the Las Vegas style casino scheme, the place was alive with young ladies joyfully, sometimes even decorously, celebrating their hen nights with like-minded friends. The folk who lived in St Chad’s hadn’t changed that much. The young people at church had the same freshness that he’d once had, full of their multimedia world and excited about their opportunities, though the ladder had been pulled up since his day, leaving cows from the Fylde fields with more chance of going through the eye of a needle than any ordinary kid entering the kingdom of riches he’s inherited. Lancashire wasn’t at the centre of things the way it had been back then, with Blackpool the Mecca for comedians, Liverpool the capital of music, the mighty Granada television like a second BBC, and the Manchester Guardian thinking about what the world would do tomorrow. He saw The Guardian moving to London as an even bigger betrayal than John Lennon’s sleep-in.

The summer of 1963 with Freewheelin’ on his turntable and the Mersey sound on every radio was forever to remain his Archimedean point. Martin Luther King was dreaming his dream accompanied vibrator by Joan Baez and civil rights were coming. Bras weren’t being burnt though. Much later Jane challenged him why not. He’d answered that women’s liberation hadn’t come out of nowhere. She’d generously agreed that it was only fair for apes like him to have had their day in the sun before the real business got done.

He’d had a vacation job in Stanley Park and that had given him an affinity with the old codgers from the Great War who came for the brass band concerts. Though they were sitting in God’s waiting room, they were cheerful, talking for hours about space travel and the like but not of course about their health problems or the trenches. He thought of his never-liberated Grannie who died at the start of the pivotal year. She’d make him green jelly with bananas whenever he went round as a kid and had knitted most of the jumpers he was still wearing through university after he death. His sister had in her kitchen the old milking stool from Grannie’s farm-girl days, with more than a thousand years of history stored in its battered wood. Like the religion his ancestors had shared, its purpose had been endorsed by the long passage of time. To lose either would be to lose his soul. He didn’t want to live so long that his memory of Grannie dimmed.



About the Author:

John Uttley was born in Lancashire just as the war was ending. Grammar school educated there, he read Physics at Oxford before embarking on a long career with the CEGB and National Grid Group. He was Finance Director at the time of the miners' strike, the Sizewell Inquiry and privatisation, receiving an OBE in 1991. Shortly afterwards, he suffered his fifteen minutes of fame when he publicly gave a dividend to charity in the middle of the fat cat furore. More recently, he has taken an external London degree in Divinity while acting as chairman of numerous smaller companies, both UK and US based. This is his first novel. He is married to Janet, living just north of London with three grown children and dog.



Monday, May 23, 2016

Release Day Blitz The Queen’s Dance by Jamie K. Schmidt




The Queen’s Dance
The Emerging Queens Series
Book Three
Jamie K. Schmidt

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Entangled

Date of Publication: 5/23/16

Number of pages: 267
Word Count: 63,000

Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde

Book Description:

After newly shifted dragon Queen, Margery Cooper, is rescued from smugglers she has a choice to continue to hunt down the story that nearly killed her when she was an investigative reporter or embrace her royalty and build a court of protectors and studs.  Remy “Champ” Champlain is first on the scene and assigned her protector while she sorts out her affairs.  He wants nothing more to get back to his solitude and his small town, but as an unclaimed dragon he doesn’t get a choice. 

The Queen is his responsibility until her court is formalized.  He wants to settle her down right away, but she has this wild hair up her Queenly butt to find out who is smuggling dangerous drugs into the country. 

Sparks fly between them, but as she's a sky dragon and he's a water dragon, well she can't swim and he can't fly and those aren't the only differences they're facing.


Excerpt 2:

The healing burn of the sun pinned Margery to the ground. Her eyes wouldn’t open, but she could see the blazing orange from under her lids. She’d been saved. Pressing her cheek against the sun-warmed grass, she took a deep breath of fresh air for the first time in a week. Coughs racked her body. She was still so weak. A tear leaked out of her eye.
“Please don’t cry, chérie. You’re safe here.”
That was the lake dragon. The one who’d helped rescue her. Margery’s hands clutched the ground. She was no longer on the water, trapped in a smuggler’s hold hidden under the deck of a yacht. No longer lying in her own waste, dying a slow and painful death.
“Where am I?” she asked, her words coming out as a strangled whisper.
“You’re at my home in North Hero, Vermont. It’s very private here.”
He had a sexy way of talking. French Canadian accent, if she wasn’t mistaken. It was comforting, nonthreatening. Margery stretched as the healing sunbeams sank into her core.
“Your kidnappers have been brought to justice.”
They were more than kidnappers. In return for pimping Margery out to Champ, they had wanted him to turn a blind eye to their smuggling operation on his lake.
The doll!
Margery bolted upright and regretted it immediately. “Where is it?” she cried. The sun blinded her, but she didn’t care. She groped around with her hands.
“What?” he said, panic in his voice.
“The Smooshie.”
“What the hell is a—” Champ cut himself off and continued in a more polite tone. “I don’t understand, my Queen.”
Queen? Oh, right.
“The red dragon doll. I had it in my hand when you rescued me. It’s very important.”
“Uh, hold on. Let me check my truck.”
She heard him run.
Great. He probably thought she was an idiot looking for her little dolly.
 Rubbing her eyes, Margery tried to stand up. But her legs refused to obey her, muscles trembling as she strained to rise.
The pirates had grabbed her when her camera’s flash malfunctioned and went off while she was taking pictures of their illicit activity—stuffing the dolls with drugs. When they saw her, they tried to kill her. If she’d been human, they would have. But when the bullets tore into her, she had instinctively shifted into her sky dragon form.

She’d only been a dragon for three weeks. Actually, she had always been a dragon, but an ancient curse had stopped her shift at puberty and blocked her dragon magic. When that curse was shattered, all the suppressed Queens shifted into their true forms. It took a lot of getting used to. The first week, all she did was cry and break things. The second week she flew around the world over and over again until sheer exhaustion claimed her. By the time the third week rolled around, Margery figured she’d better get over herself and return to her career as an investigative reporter.

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author, Jamie K. Schmidt, writes erotic contemporary love stories and paranormal romances.  Her Club Inferno series from Random House’s Loveswept line has hit both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble top one hundred lists.   She has two other series with Loveswept: Hawaii Heat, in which the first book Life’s A Beach is the perfect staycation to Maui, and The Sentinels of Babylon, about members of vigilante Motorcycle Club and their old ladies. Her dragon paranormal romance series from Entangled Publishing, has been called “fun and quirky” and “endearing.” Partnered with New York Times bestselling author and former porn actress, Jenna Jameson, Jamie’s hardcover debut, SPICE, continues Jenna’s FATE trilogy.

An avid knitter and jewelry maker, Jamie is never bored.  She can often be found with a mug of tea on the computer flanked by her little dogs & fluffy white cat.  You can follow her on twitter at @Jamiekswriter or on her author page on Facebook. When she's not writing or crafting, Jamie loves playing games, everything from board games to strategy card games, console and online MMORPGs.







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