Posts Tagged With: blog tour

Monstrous Noir – A Guest Post by AJ Sikes

It’s guest post time! Aaron (AJ) Sikes has a new book coming out and I offered him space on the blog to write about it. Haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but you all know how I feel about monsters and noir. Gods of Chicago looks like it’s right up my alley.

Take it away, Aaron! Continue reading

Categories: Blog Tour, Books/Authors, Guest Post | Tags: , , , , ,

The Daughter Star – Guest Post

daughter star

Today I have the pleasure of turning over the mic to Susan Jane Bigelow so she can share her thoughts about her new book, THE DAUGHTER STAR. Published by Candlemark & Gleam, it’s out today!

I first discovered Bigelow and her writing when I read BROKEN (Extrahumans #1), her debut novel from 2011. It’s a wonderful tale about superheroes. THE DAUGHTER STAR is the first book in Bigelow’s Grayline Sisters series. I was curious about Susan’s process in writing the book, and here she is to tell us all about it.

Sometimes, stories really don’t end up where you thought they would, and sometimes stories change so utterly in tone that they don’t seem like the same thing anymore. THE DAUGHTER STAR was like that.

This book started out in a rather unusual way; I wrote it as a “pace book” when I was working on THE SPARK (Extrahumans #3). What that means is that I’d work on it when THE SPARK had worn me out, or I was interested in doing something else. I’d never written two books at the same time before, and it seemed like a fun challenge. So what I came up with originally was a much lighter book, because that was what I needed to counterbalance the melancholy, tense and serious nature of Dee’s story in THE SPARK. The first draft started out being a fun, silly kind of space adventure, and I didn’t take it entirely seriously. I remember writing at the time that I was writing a Jenny Starpepper Mystery (or a kind of pulp adventure novel. It makes sense if you’ve seen the movie Paul. Why haven’t you seen this movie? Go see this movie! It’s like a love letter to SFF fandom, and it has Sigourney Weaver).

However, as I explored the world and the characters more deeply, I felt that this lighter approach wasn’t working. There were all these massive issues of an alien species basically taking advantage of humanity, two sisters who run away to war together, and Marta Grayline’s whole process of growing up, and I felt like I was dancing around them instead of tackling them head on.

I’m not saying lighter books can’t deal with these sorts of issues, they totally can and do! I am probably not the author to write books like that, though, and as I went through rewrites it seemed like the book had a split personality. Parts of it were silly or nonsensical, while other parts were haunting or sad, and it just didn’t work together in a way that made sense to me. Also, pieces of the world felt one-dimensional, and I really wanted this universe to be as real-seeming as possible. I decided to remake the book.

What I eventually came up with after numerous rewrites and revisions is a book that is a lot darker than the original drafts. The stakes feel higher, Marta’s development is clearer, and Beth’s decisions feel a lot more frightening. I also changed what I wanted to do with this series; instead of a serial of adventure stories featuring Marta, I decided to explore the defining story of each of the three Grayline sisters in three separate books. This means that the next book will be about Violet, and the third will center on Beth. This allowed me to wrap up Marta’s story in a way that felt satisfying, instead of leaving her unfinished. I finished the first draft of Violet’s book, THE SEEKER STAR, between when I turned DAUGHTER STAR in to my editor and got her revisions back. That experience really helped me sharpen DAUGHTER STAR’s focus a lot more, and pieces of the world made a lot more sense to me as well. The final book is darker and more serious, but it’s also a way better book. It didn’t feel to me like something I’d written until the final version, if that makes any sense at all.

I… suspect that this piece makes it sound like my creative process is nothing but pure chaos. This is often true—at least with the rough drafts. I will often have no idea how a book will end when I begin writing it. The real work, and the place where I become a lot more methodical, is in the reimagining and reworking. THE DAUGHTER STAR changed more than many books over time, but every book I write goes through that dramatic refining process.

I hope people will check out THE DAUGHTER STAR, which releases today. Thank you all for reading, and for M. Fenn for having me!

Categories: Blog Tour, Books/Authors, Guest Post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Persnickety Princess by Falcon Storm – A Review


Lavender hummed a peppy tune while thinking about how she could best put herself into some sort of peril that looked, but wasn’t too, dangerous.

At once, she remembered the time last month when the Witch’s cat got itself stuck in a tree. If she could get up a tree, the prince would have no choice but to help her down. What a perfect idea! Trees grew in abundance beside the road. A tallish oak looked particularly promising….

I received an e-copy of The Persnickety Princess (Tales from Upon A. Time – Book 1) by Falcon Storm in exchange for an honest review as part of the book’s Novelty Publicity book tour. I’m glad to say that my honest review is a happy one.

First off, a disclaimer: I am not the target audience for this book, not by a long shot. According to The Persnickety Princess‘s publisher, Evolved Publishing, this book is a “lower grade” book, meaning kids aged 6 to 9 are the most likely folks to dig it. So, if I’d had kids, we’d be talking about my grandchildren here.

That’s scary. Let’s not talk about that anymore. Let’s talk about the book.

The Persnickety Princess is a lot of fun and the first of what I expect to be an enjoyable series. Upon A. Time is actually a person–a Bard and the narrator of the story.

The strange man in fancy clothes dismounted his stolen pig and stood to face an infuriated–yet thoroughly confused–pair of city guards.

The guards arrest Mr. Time and take him to jail where he offers to explain the pig and his claim of being on “King’s business.” Instead, after explaining his name, he tells them the tale of Lavender, the titular princess, who has built herself a castle from which she waits to be rescued. She has definite opinions on what this involves and what her rescuer will be like, down to his exact height: five feet, eight and three-quarter inches.

Lavender has definite opinions on just about everything and when she’s not in her tower, she’s wandering around the castle being bossy and annoying.

…she ordered the cleaning staff to dust the castle and to place all the acquired dust in the pages of the biggest, oldest books in the library.

Talk about make work…

To help narrow the prince playing field, she hires a Wicked Witch to intimidate any who might come to rescue her. Unfortunately, Natalie–the witch she hires–isn’t really wicked per say, and kind of klutz. I adore the absentminded Natalie and her “familiar”, Mr. Whiskers–a little orange kitten she paints black at Lavender’s order. (My fingers are crossed that this story doesn’t create a trend of children trying to paint their cats…)

I’m also quite fond of Lavender’s sister, Petunia, a princess too, but one who doesn’t see the point in Lavender’s desire to have a man “save” her. She advises her sister that she needs to get out more and live instead of staying cooped up all day, afraid she’ll wrinkle her dress. As we’ll find out later in the book, Petunia is a “self-rescuing princess.” Yay! Storm wins all the points for coming up with “self-rescuing princess.”

But before we discover more about that, adventures must be had. A prince who meets all of Lavender’s criteria finally shows up, but woe! he’s not interested in Lavender. He’s there for Petunia, and just as he’s about to reach her, a dragon arrives and flies off with her. Hugo and his companion Dave (who’s 5′ 8 1/4″) take off to save her, and Lavender follows, because dang it, she’s the one to be rescued, not her fool sister!

The Persnickety Princess is the first novel by Alaskan author Falcon Storm, and I think it’s a fine start. His style of writing is charming and appealing. His characters are fun and the story itself kept me interested and, I felt, had a good moral to pass on for girls and boys. Also, the men of the tale being closer to average height than most “heroes” in fiction is a nice change and a nice detail. You don’t have to be six foot four to be a hero. Whether a 6-9 year-old will like the book? I have no clue, but it’s worth a shot.

About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

Persnickety Tour BadgeAbout the book: High up in the tallest tower of the purplest castle in the Kingdom by the Sea, Princess Lavender awaits rescue. Desperate as she may be, only the most dashing, well dressed, properly mannered prince will do. Oh, and he must stand exactly four and three-quarters inches taller than her. A princess has got to have standards, after all.

When, finally, one such prince comes to her castle—not to rescue her, but her younger sister—Lavender refuses to be ignored. Instead of waiting for the next suitor to come along, she devises a plan to put herself in danger, thus forcing the upstart prince to forget her sister and rescue her instead.

Well accustomed to getting her way, there is only one thing, unfortunately, that this princess can’t control—her luck. When her plans go awry, putting her in very real danger, will she allow the prince to rescue her as he sees fit? Will he even want to try?

And will anyone be able to find a way to rescue Lavender from her persnickety ways once and for all? Find out in this comedic tale of princes, dragons, and dreams that just may come true.

The Persnickety Princess is a lower grade chapter book intended for kids 6 to 9 years old (although kids of all ages are sure to enjoy it!). Pick up your copy through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords or Kobo Books.

Falcon StormAbout the author: I was born in the frozen wasteland of Alaska with the unfortunate stigma of being both a daydreamer and left-handed. Starting from an early age, I’ve filled my life with stories of every sort from my father’s hunting trips to the Holy Trilogy (read: Star Wars). In the fourth grade, I became more interested in telling stories of my own than listening to those of others. Doctors—being doctors—attempted to medicate them out of me, but the best cure has always been a pen, a notebook, and my crazy, unrestrained imagination. I continue to whittle away at these stories in my endless search for the one that will finally bring me back to reality. All the while, I secretly hope such a story will never come along. I hear “reality” is far too boring. Connect with Falcon on his website, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win (1) a $25 Amazon gift card, (2) a $50 Amazon gift card, or (3) a Princess Prize Pack, which includes a plush purple dragon, necklace with lavender pendant, The Fairy Godmother’s Guide to Being a Princess, tiara and wand party set, and a DVD of The Princess Bride.

Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the $50 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other two prizes (including the awesome Princess Prize Pack) will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form on the official Persnickety Princess tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

Categories: Blog Tour, Books/Authors | Tags: , , , , ,

Flesh by Khanh Ha – A Review

The setting is Tonkin (northern Vietnam) at the turn of the 20th century. A boy, Tài, witnesses the beheading of his father, a notorious bandit, and sets out to recover his head and then to find the man who betrayed his father to the authorities. On this quest, Tài’s entire world will shift. Flesh takes the reader into dark and delightful places in the human condition, places where allies are not always your friends, true love hurts, and your worst enemy may bring you the most comfort. In that emotionally harrowing world, Tài must learn to deal with new responsibilities in his life while at the same time acknowledging his bond, and his resemblance, to a man he barely knew–his father. Through this story of revenge is woven another story, one of love, but love purchased with the blood of murders Tài commits. A coming-of-age story, but also a love story, the sensuality of the author’s writing style belies the sometimes brutal world he depicts.

Well, it’s time for another blog tour review. Today, I’m taking part in the Novel Publicity tour for Khanh Ha’s debut novel, Flesh.

Disclaimer: The folks at Novel Publicity gave me a copy of Flesh in exchange for my honest review. Read on for my thoughts and then to see what kind of goodies you can win.

Continue reading

Categories: Blog Tour, Books/Authors, Reviews | Tags: , , , ,

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