Category Archives: Featured New Book

Featured New Book Spotlight: Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel by Toi Thomas

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Let’s welcome author Toi Thomas to West of Mars! Toi stopped in last week to see what song made her friend Alex think of his book and decided to hang around and step into the spotlight, herself.

Brave woman!

Let’s get right to it: Toi, what song makes you think of your book?

When I wrote the story, Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel, that of a gray man and his search for a purpose and transformation; romance was the last thing on my mind. During the developmental stage, I realized that Giovanni needed a new relationship to replace one that was fading. I wanted it to be a friendship, but with the new character being a likable and attractive woman (not a bombshell by far) soon romance was on the page.

There’s a scene where Giovanni is drawn to the woman, Mira, who has left him temporarily and gone to another state. It was the next scene that made me realize that this friendship was a romance. Giovanni finds Mira across many miles, when he’s not even looking for her, because of a compulsion. Later, I heard the song, When Can I See You by Babyface. That scene came back to me and I thought, “Giovanni just couldn’t wait to see Mira again.”

Ooh, this sounds by turns deep, spiritual, uplifting, and maybe even a little bit scary. Don’t believe me? Check out the description!

“You have plenty of time to change your mind. You have not yet seen the monster I can be.” — Giovanni

Giovanni has been waiting his whole life to meet someone like Mira, someone from the outside world who might be able to help him. He wonders if there really is help for him as he continues to hold tightly onto dark secrets and even darker memories. Giovanni wants to be hopeful and he wants to accept Mira’s help, but first he has to look himself in the mirror and face what he truly is- and that is a reality no one is quite ready to accept.

Searching for new purpose and meaning in her life, Mira meets Giovanni online and an exciting and, in some ways, scary friendship is developed. Mira decides one day to meet Giovanni in person, at his secluded country home, in order to aid him on his journey of self-discovery. What these two are able to discover will not only test their strength and will, but it will stretch the limits of their minds and catapult them into a world where earth, Heaven, and Hell collide.

Giovanni’s Angel is the story of a man who may just be the answer to a spiritual war swiftly heading his way- but for now, he just wants to be a man.

Do you need to read this book? I think I do! And you know what else I need to do? Check out more Babyface; I’ve never really explored his music, but hearing him take on James Taylor? You betcha. That’s how you open doors and get someone to listen to a new artist: expose ’em to a cover of a song that’s got some sort of attachment and make ’em curious. I approve!

Pick up your copy of Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Curse:
Amazon
Createspace

Connect with Toi; she seems really cool!
Website/Blog: The ToiBox of Words
Toi Thomas Facebook Fan Page
@toithomas on Twitter
GoodReads
YouTube Channel
Pinterest
Amazon Author Page

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Dragon of the Stars by Alex J Cavanaugh

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Let’s welcome Alex J Cavanaugh to West of Mars! Alex is a tour de force in the publishing world right now, involved with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and visible in many other places. He’s one of those folk you want to know!

So, Alex, what song makes you think of your book?

The song that inspired the story in the beginning – Dragon on the Sea by Ayereon. The lyrics tell the story of Queen Elizabeth sending Sir Francis Drake to defend England in the 16th century. I began to envision the story set in space. Only the man sent by the queen isn’t the dragon–he is seeking the Dragon, a lost ship of unimaginable power that could win the war. And I took the line ‘You will never be the same…’ to a new level.

I like taking history and giving it a new twist! And the song itself is great, too. Completely new to me, at first I thought it was some techno song. But nope! It’s as surprising and twist-filled as Alex’s take on history.

Here’s the official description:

The ship of legends…

The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, son of a Hyrathian Duke. He’s poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter. He’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

But when the Alliance denies Hyrath’s claim on the planet of Kavil and declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray. Entrenched in battle and told he won’t make captain, Aden’s world begins to collapse. How will he salvage his career and future during Hyrath’s darkest hour?

One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?

Even if I didn’t know this was based on history, I’d be intrigued enough to pick it up. I love a great space opera and this just hit the right notes for me. If it does for you, too, pick up a copy:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

ITunes

Kobo

Chapters

Amazon UK

Overdrive

Books-A-Million print

Audio book:

ITunes

Amazon

Audible

And be sure to connect with Alex. He’s a great dude, and the IWSG might be just what you need for your own writing endeavors.
blog

Companion site

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Twitter

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Chain Reaction by Wendy Goult

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Welcome Wendy Goult to West of Mars! She popped in via Twitter, so even if you’re not currently promoting a new book, keep helping spread the word. I do like to give presents to friends and clients who refer a lot of new people my way, either for this or for editing services.

Her book is called Chain Reaction, and she didn’t say a lot about why she picked her song. In fact, she didn’t say anything. She simply said, “Jealousy, by Billy Fury” and left it at that.

Check. This. Song. Out.

I love it. Total old school. And you know what? It doesn’t need an explanation. Wendy, you are the woman!

Here’s what Chain Reaction is about:

Do you believe or even think there might be life after death? We all have our opinions on this conundrum. Chain Reaction takes up the challenge in admirable style and gives an acceptable insight into what it could be like to be ‘on the other side’. We follow the chain of events that occur after Kate Maple arrives in her after life with no recollection of how or why it happened and who killed her. The story weaves through the lives of friends, family, witnesses and suspects exposing vulnerabilities and associated threats. Even the police are not immune. Their frustrations, reactions, emotions and attractions show they are human too. This is no sugary, endless fields of flowers, birds and butterflies tale but draws the reader into a story of illicit love and secrecy, a love betrayed and a rage that takes away all reason but which ultimately leads the reader into a sense of wellbeing.

Need a copy? It’s paperback only, and the listing takes you to the UK Amazon site, but there’s a note that says it can be delivered to select locations. If you’re in one, pick this one up, give it a read, and be sure to let us know what you thought — reviews are always helpful and appreciated not only by authors but future readers, as well.

Jealousy… oh, that’s a catchy tune…

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Where’d You Go?

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Oh, no! After two weeks, the Featured New Book Spotlight is back to dark.

I don’t like it dark.

I like it when I can feature YOU. And your book, of course. Okay, mostly your book.

And a song that makes you think of your book.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

Well, okay, some buy links, too. And links to social media, so people can connect with you and you can make long-lasting fans.

IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU HERE IN THE SPOTLIGHT!!!

So tell your friends. It’s free, unless you want a specific date (and it’s always free for my editing clients).

It’s supposed to be quick and easy. One question. In. Out. Done. And it’s one that should be fresh, one that doesn’t get asked by every single other interviewer out there.

Here’s the details. Really. Spread the word. Hog the spotlight, if only for a week.

You deserve it.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar: A historically accurate retelling of the ninth book of the Gesta Danorum by Rachel Tsoumbakos

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I LOVE having books to feature around here, and I’m glad to see submissions rolling in. Keep ’em coming, so keep spreading the word.

Today we have one of my friends from Triberr, and although this book has a super long title, I’m fascinated just by the concept of it. It seems (to me, anyway) that lately, we’ve been learning that Vikings are more than just all rape-pillage-boats-conquer-wear hats with horns. And this book definitely helps us learn more than the old-time stereotype.

The book is called Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha and Ragnar: A historically accurate retelling of the ninth book of the Gesta Danorum. (Did anyone else not know what a Gesta Danorum is, or am I deficient?)

So. Author Rachel Tsoumbakos, what song makes you think of this incredibly ambitious-sounding book?

If I Had A Heart by Fever Ray

Not only is this song included in the opening credits to History Channel’s Vikings, but the theme of the song feels like it is on a very similar trajectory to that of Lagertha and Ragnar’s love story in my novel. Vikings: The Truth about Lagertha and Ragnar delves into their story and tries to shed some light onto the real version rather than the one shown on TV. Even though both characters are faced with many obstacles in their relationship, like the line “crushed and filled with all I found,” they still care for each other. They still feel the need their love “will never end” because they want more. However, it is never quite clear until the very end of their Viking saga whether their story will have a happy ending or not.

But… it’s a romance between Lagertha and Ragnar, right? But… it’s also real life, so…

Ugh. Now I NEED to read this!

Here’s the back cover copy:

Lagertha was known to be one of the wives of the famous Viking, Ragnar Lodbrok. But did you know they first met each other at a brothel? And just how long did their marriage last? Was Lagertha really the revered shield maiden we see her as today? ‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to unravel all these secrets.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ is so much more than a history book though.

In Part One their story is brought to life with a historically accurate retelling. Part Two then explores the historical facts surrounding this story.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to discover just how much of what we know of the shield maiden, Lagertha, and the famous Ragnar Lodbrok in popular culture today is actually true.

‘The Truth About’ series explores the historical fact from present day fiction in regards to the Vikings and other key historical figures that existed in the Viking era.

Pick up your copy. It’s Amazon-only, so know that going in.

And if you do read it, be sure to leave a review! If not at the place of purchase, then consider GoodReads or the other social book networks, or if you ask nicely, I’ll loan you my blog for a day. Reviews help books find new friends!

Connect with Rachel, too. (She writes amazing reviews of popular TV shows, and I recommend them!)
Website
Facebook
Twitter

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Bolt Action Remedy by JJ Hensley

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Let’s welcome my dear friend JJ Hensley to the Featured New Book Spotlight today!

JJ’s cool. If you don’t follow him on Facebook or Twitter, you should. He’s got a very dry, acerbic sense of humor that slays me, time after time.

And… he’s got a new book out. It’s called Bolt Action Remedy, and let’s sit back and see what JJ’s got to say about it. I bet it’s funny.

First off, what song makes you think of Bolt Action Remedy, JJ?

My first novel, RESOLVE, was set against that backdrop of a marathon. Ever since writing that book, I’d been looking for a way to integrate another endurance sport into a story but with more intensity. I incorporated biathlon (skiing and shooting) into the setting because if you are going to write a murder mystery then why not give EVERYONE a gun. As I researched biathlon, I came to truly appreciate the intensity and speed of the sport. So whenever I hear the song Joyride (Omen) by Chevelle, I feel the intensity I tried to capture on the pages.

The song itself captures some of the internal struggles of the protagonist, Trevor Galloway. Joyride is about the difficulty of letting go of the past (or, in Galloway’s case, the past refusing to let him go) and the fast tempo gives the song the feel of a race.

The music I listen to is so important to my writing process. I visualize my stories as movies and each of them has a soundtrack. The songs I hear in my mind (shut up, I’m not crazy) really assist me in developing the tone I’m looking for in particular scenes. Sometimes I’ll be listening to a song and think, That’s the mood I want the readers to feel when they read chapter two! It’s not surprising that most of the music I listen to is fast-paced rock, since I do everything I can to keep my stories moving along at a good clip. Fortunately, I’ve been able to construct my books in a way that readers don’t have to particularly care about marathons or biathlon, or like rock music, and they can still get caught up in the mystery. I THINK Bolt Action Remedy and my next book, Record Scratch (Spring 2018) are my best work thus far. If not, I guess I better shake up my playlist!

JJ and I often have similiar tastes in music, but I’m just not there with the Chevelle. Are you? Not familiar with them? Check it out and see if JJ’s right, that it works with his book!

Here’s the official description:

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.

Mmmmm. I love people who write about Western Pennsylvania. And, like I said, JJ is great people.

Join me in the love. While the book won’t be released until October, you can (and should!) preorder it now. Here are the links:
Smashwords *Affiliate link
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Connect with JJ and enjoy the wit! (Seriously. You’ll be glad you did.)
Website
Blog- Steel City Intrigue
Facebook
Twitter

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Still Empty!

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Still?

Yep.

Look, it’s simple: I want to feature YOU. And your book, of course. Okay, mostly your book.

And a song that makes you think of your book.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

So tell your friends. It’s free, unless you want a specific date (and it’s always free for my editing clients).

It’s supposed to be quick and easy. One question. In. Out. Done. And it’s one that should be fresh, one that doesn’t get asked by every single other interviewer out there.

Here’s the details. Really. Spread the word. Hog the spotlight, if only for a week.

You deserve it.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: … is empty?

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I KNOW.

It’s summer. It’s July, so that means you all are sending me your manuscripts to edit, not your One-Question Interview to post. And that’s good because, hey, I’m editing and making money but it’s bad because I want to feature YOU. And your book, of course.

So tell your friends. It’s free, unless you want a specific date (and it’s always free for my editing clients). It’s ONE QUESTION, although I’m told it’s a hard question.

But it’s supposed to be quick and easy. One question. In. Out. Done. And it’s one that should be fresh, one that doesn’t get asked by every single other interviewer out there.

Here’s the details. Really. Spread the word. Hog the spotlight, if only for a week.

You deserve it.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Panther Mountain: Caroline’s Story by Christy Perry Tuohey

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Welcome to the start of the week and a book that is hopefully new to you and that you’ll want to read after you reach the end of this post. That’s how this thing works, you see. I write about a book. We all pick it up, read it, and hopefully leave reviews. (If you need help writing a review, holler. My editorial self would be glad to help, and if you need a place to post your review, let me know. I’d be glad to host you.)

Today’s book comes from a new friend, who I just discovered via Twitter. You find fun people on Twitter. Christy is one of them.

Her book is called Panther Mountain: Caroline’s Story and before I tell you what it’s about, let’s hear from Christy about what song makes her think of her book:

The lyrics of Paul Weller’s “You Do Something To Me” perfectly sum up the passion of the love letter written to Caroline, the heroine of my book Panther Mountain: Caroline’s Story. The letter was written in 1854 in pre-Civil War western Virginia by a man named Nathan Hanna who desired to get to know Caroline better. His elegant handwriting showed him to be an educated man, his words thoughtful and polite as he requested a meeting with her. When she read his invitation, she was reminded of a long-ago passion she felt for him as well. But would they meet, and if so, where would the relationship lead?

Ooh, I don’t know about you, but I’m tempted. And this Paul Weller dude? This isn’t something I’d listen to all the time, but he’s kinda cute and I do like this song. Nice pick, Christy!

(You guys have exposed me to some really cool music, and I’m appreciative. Best of all, I’m expanding my own horizons, which is a bonus I never expected when I started this feature many years ago.)

Ready for more about Panther Mountain: Caroline’s Story? Here’s the description:

Panther Mountain: Caroline’s Story is a historical fiction novel based on true events in my great-great-grandmother Caroline’s life in antebellum and Civil War Virginia. Its centerpiece is a romantic mystery; a love letter, written to her by a suitor who was not my great-great-grandfather.

Caroline Grose was raised on a mountain deep in the heart of 19th Century western Virginia. Despite her geographical isolation, she was educated and well-read. At 19, she fell in love with a handsome young man whom she met at a church camp meeting. Her hopes for a romantic relationship were dashed, though, when she saw him kissing another girl.

The world around her grew increasingly chaotic. Caroline’s family members were Methodist Episcopalian abolitionists, and those beliefs pitted them against friends, neighbors and fellow church members. When she discovered that a runaway slave was hiding in a mountain cave near her home, she was faced with a hard choice: turn him over to the authorities or help him escape to freedom.

By 1854, Caroline was a spinster living at home with her parents. One day a letter arrived. It was from the love of her younger years. He wanted her back. Little did she realize, as she read the words on paper, that another man loved her, too. A romantic rivalry was in the making.

Caroline is challenged to go beyond her comfort zone and Victorian gender role to help and protect others. She showed courage in the face of violence and anarchy during the Civil War.

There is SO MUCH going on here that makes me want to read this… the setting, the era, the story itself.

If you’re as inspired as I am, here are the handy-dandy buy links:
Paperback or as an-ebook at Amazon.com

It’s also available online at:

BarnesandNoble.com

Booksamillion.com

Adlibris (Sweden)

And get to know Christy, too. I can vouch for how cool she is!
Panther Mountain Caroline’s Story website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
YouTube

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Calling All Authors: The Featured New Book Spotlight Wants You

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What.

The.

Heck.

The Featured New Book Spotlight is empty AGAIN this week.

It’s a one-question interview. Yes, it’s not a particularly slam-dunk easy question, but that’s what makes it fun. And it combines a few of our favorite things: books and music.

Because I know there’s a lot of authors who create playlists for their books. One song on those lists has to represent their book. It just has to.

So send your friends. Spread the word. I want to feature YOU. I want YOUR book highlighted here on my pages. I want my readers to learn about YOU.

It’s free (unless you want to reserve a specific date) and one of the most fun, challenging, and cost-effective ways to promote yourself and your book.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Love Reign O’er Me, part One of the Behind Blue Eyes Series by Anne-Marie Klein

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I’m extra excited to bring today’s Spotlight book to you. It’s written by my friend Anne-Marie Klein, and it’s part of her Behind Blue Eyes series. This one’s called Love Reign O’er Me, and you may recognize that lyric. I hope you do, anyway!

Let’s get to it. Anne-Marie, what song makes you think of your book?

A question tailor-made for me and for my book series, at least, and one that is answered by looking at the front cover. The music of The Who captured me as a teenager in the late 70s, so much so that I began to imagine a narrative of who the bad man, sad man Pete Townshend had so famously written about might be: many pages later, the Behind Blue Eyes series of rock novels was born. My four books follow a troubled young rock musician from his arrival in Toronto from London in 1978 to 1994, and readers will see how the lyrics echo his difficult path to success amidst family drama and great love stories in rock and rock and fashion settings on both sides of the pond.

This might be the first time EVER that an entire band’s work inspired a novel. I linked to the Song “Behind Blue Eyes” but I know Anne-Marie well enough to know that the entire band is this lady’s muse. And honestly, I admire her fandom.

Ready for the entire description? Here goes:

Son of a wealthy, successful, and famous British designer, Ian was born into the world of the rich and shameless. He blames himself, and his father, for his mother’s death, and has run far away to start a new life. Beautifully blond, musically talented, but emotionally troubled, he hides his pain behind pale blue eyes and drinks to numb the guilt that has followed him across the ocean. When he meets Sarah, the fiery-haired singer with all the connections to make his dreams come true, will the burdens of his past destroy their love and everything they’ve ever wanted?

Behind Blue Eyes is a new four-part series following a young musician’s turbulent life as he makes his rock and roll dreams come true in a city far from where he grew up. Equal parts family saga, love story, and rock and roll circus, this first novel will take you back to the late 70s in Toronto for a dramatic roller-coaster ride through the world of music. Inspired by the Pete Townshend song made famous by The Who, the series is at once a nostalgic love letter to the author’s hometown and to the music she listened to while growing up there.

Ready for your own copy? I sure am.

Here’s some links:

Amazon
iTunes
B&N

And connect with Anne-Marie. You’ll be glad you did because she is awesome.
Website
Facebook author page
Twitter: @badmansadman

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Susan’s Promo Tales: Let’s Fire Up the New Book Spotlight Again!

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Back before I got hurt, I was running the Featured New Book Spotlight pretty consistently. For years. YEARS.

And then I went and fell off my bike and spent the past year recovering and pretty much let anything but medical needs and paid editing gigs fall by the wayside. Makes sense, no?

But although there’s at least one more surgery ahead, it’s supposedly an easy, in-office zap with a laser. Minimal recovery time, and I say that as someone who had to fight with herself to honor the recovery time on the cataract surgery.

Which means it’s time to pick up the pieces that have been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for me. And one of them is the Featured New Book Spotlight.

It’s easy. It’s simple!

If you think you have a book that my readers aren’t familiar with (and there’s a clue in there, if you’re quick enough to catch it), stop in. The directions are on their own page here, or I’ll list them right here, right now for you.

1. Answer this question: What song makes you think of your book?
(Remember: this is your chance to hook your potential reader, so you may want to explain.)

2. Provide the YouTube link to it, just in case I dig up the one you didn’t intend anyone to ever associate with your book.

3. Provide the book description.

4. Provide buy links.

5. Provide social media links that you’d like to share.

And that’s it! I run them in the order they show up in my inbox, unless you want a specific date. Then I charge a $5 fee, and let me tell you, when I’ve been busy, that fee is necessary. At my heyday of the Featured New Book Spotlight, I was scheduling pretty far out. You guys were clawing for dates.

Let’s get back to that. Because if you’re willing to be flexible, I’m willing to give you space here. For free. (Oh, and once your post is scheduled, it can’t be bumped, either.)

Drop me a line. Let’s feature you in the Spotlight.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: The Absconded by Michael C Bayer

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And we’re back! Thanks as always to the amazing and wonderful Magnolia Belle for creating really cool graphics for us. If you don’t know Belle, I suggest getting to know her. Pick up a copy of Lady Gwendolyn, why don’t you?

But we’re not here to talk much more about Belle, unfortunately. (But once she puts out a new book…)

Today’s brave soul is Michael C Bayer, and I might or might not have read an earlier draft of this one. And I am definitely dying to see how it turned out in the end!

Michael put The Absconded out back in November, and now that the holidays are over and we need some distraction, he’s decided to see how many West of Mars Fans he can entice to read his book. I know you guys won’t let him down…

Ready?

Here goes…

Michael, what song makes you think of your book?

That was a tough one, since I listened to a lot of music while writing The Absconded. But once I turned everything off and started thumbing through a couple of chapters, I realized that the song I listened to the most while writing it was Take Flight by Lindsey Sterling. Give it (and the rest of her songs) a listen. There’s an ebb and flow, highs, lows and struggles in the song that match the plights of three of my main characters – Kaliria, K’Pol and Scott. To varying degrees, each one finds themselves thrown off a cliff. They can either plummet or take flight (natch!), and some do it better than others. That, and when creating my characters, I always have a style of music in mind for each one. For one of the aliens, whenever she listens to music (from her world, not ours), to me it was always Lindsey Sterling. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which character enjoys her music. Lastly, since this is my first novel, I was taking flight myself. There you have it! If you take a chance on my novel, please feel free to leave feedback.

You guys know I’m all about leaving reviews… they are important things!

This is also the spot in which I confess that I’m a Lindsey Sterling fan. Not all of her stuff, but an awful lot of it. And her single with Lzzy Hale of Halestorm? One of those songs I just cannot ever get enough of. So I concur: she is an incredible artist to be inspired by.

So. What’s the book actually about? Here’s the back cover copy:

Unfortunately for Scott, aliens exist. Snatched from Earth, he finds himself added to their collection of creatures gathered from throughout the universe. His cage is a window to the wondrous varieties of life, and the atrocities that can be inflicted upon it. Atrocities that are clues of what awaits him.

Nearby is Kaliria, a furred being that’s equal parts wild and wily. A long, torturous captivity has filled her with a righteous rage. She spends her days alone, simmering in her cramped confinement, pining for the fields and forests of her world. Pining for companionship.

While happenstance makes Kaliria and Scott neighbors, it’s desperation that makes them allies. In order to survive, they must overcome each other’s language, culture and mistrust, all while keeping their interactions hidden from their captors. And if they succeed, there’s still one more obstacle to surmount — escaping an alien ship traveling through space.

Get your copy — but only if you’re a Kindle reader! (aargh, I know!)

Personal links!

My self-publishing imprint. It’s run by a very energetic corn snake.

My Amazon author page

My Facebook page is still a work in progress

Just a reminder: The Featured New Book Spotlight runs on Mondays, when I have submissions. So send them in! Send your friends over here, too. It’s free (unless you want to reserve a date) and it’s easy and it’s fun. What more can you ask for?

And another reminder: If you want to post a review but are squeamish about any typos or if you need help, I’m always glad to tip my editor’s pen in your direction, and for a super cheap amount, too. Reviews are important for authors, and there’s no need to feel insecure about yours. Not on my watch. Drop me a line and I’ll be glad to help you out.

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Featured New Book: The Heartbeat Thief by AJ Krafton

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I hadn’t heard from my cross-state music-loving buddy AJ Krafton in awhile. I figured she must be busily writing in a cave somewhere. And, of course, I was right.

The Heartbeat Thief_AJ Krafton_Kindle cover

Ash is back with a paperback release of The Heartbeat Thief, and… well, let’s get right to it. I have a feeling I’m really going to like her song choice.

Senza Fyne, Senzafine: The Musical Inspiration behind AJ Krafton’s THE HEARTBEAT THIEF

I’ve always been inspired by music. Words are powerful things but somehow, when they are sung, they gain an extra layer of strength and intent, especially when the singer pours their heart and their emotion into each note, each line.

I tend to listen to music that is emotionally-laden. My writing playlists lean heavily toward rock and metal—Type O Negative, Blind Guardian, My Chemical Romance, and especially the Italian band Lacuna Coil.

Lacuna Coil’s songs take me to a place where urban fantasy becomes real. Their song “Our Truth” from the album Karmacode even appeared in one of the Underworld movies. What can be more urbanly fantastic than a movie about vampires and werewolves and (quite literally) everything in between?

While I have lots of favorite LC titles, the top of the list is Senzafine, one of their Italian-language songs.

Senzafine is the Italian word for “without end” or “endless”. It’s the word that inspired the main character’s name: Senza Fyne. It also told her story.

It wasn’t only the title that inspired the character. The lyrics themselves and their underlying interpretation accurately portray the internal struggle Senza experiences and is the perfect companion piece to the story.

This video of Senzafine contains an English translation of the lyrics so that you can enjoy the song, even if you don’t speak Italian. (It also has live clips of LC, which makes me very happy. I love seeing them in concert!)

While the provided translation may not be perfect, it does get the gist of it. The female singer expresses her desire to break free of her life, her destiny. The male voice sings of darker things, the force that fights against the female. There is a constant battle between good and evil and the female admits that is sometimes hard to choose between them. There is also the realization that she must be prepared to live alone, dependent upon only herself.

And that, to me, sounds very much like the symphony of Senza’s determined heart.

Playing opposite to Senza is a tall, mysterious stranger who teases her with secretive smiles and suggestions of magic. From their first meeting, he calls her bien-aime, which is French for “beloved”. When she demands his name, he listens to the tolling of a nearby church bell before calling himself Mr. Knell.

But he has an older name. A much older name. And it will take Senza a very, very long time before she realizes just who he truly is.

The song “Senzafine” fits him, too. One particular verse fits Senza’s dark seducer perfectly. In fact, I believe the last lines belong to him.

Non c’e scelta senza me
Non c’e vita senza me

There’s no choice without me
There’s no life without me

And Senza utterly believes him.

I hope you’ll read The Heartbeat Thief and keep these words somewhere in the back of your heart. And when you finish, and you close the book, think back upon Senza and her struggle to escape her destined life. Think back upon Knell and think back upon those last lines. I hope you’ll find them as deliciously poignant as I do.

Most of all, think back upon your own feelings, and firmly resolve to resist destiny’s plans for you and choose your own, instead. The song will still be there to inspire you on your journey.

I’d never heard that song before; guess I’m only a casual Lacuna Coil fan (sorry, Ash!).

Ready for the book description? I sure am.

Haunted by a crushing fear of death, a young Victorian woman discovers the secret of eternal youth—she must surrender her life to attain it, and steal heartbeats to keep it.

In 1860 Surrey, a young woman has only one occupation: to marry. Senza Fyne is beautiful, intelligent, and lacks neither wealth nor connections. Finding a husband shouldn’t be difficult, not when she has her entire life before her. But it’s not life that preoccupies her thoughts. It’s death—and that shadowy spectre haunts her every step.

So does Mr. Knell. Heart-thumpingly attractive, obviously eligible—he’d be her perfect match if only he wasn’t so macabre. All his talk about death, all that teasing about knowing how to avoid it…

When her mother arranges a courtship with another man, Senza is desperate for escape from a dull prescripted destiny. Impulsively, she takes Knell up on his offer. He casts a spell that frees her from the cruelty of time and the threat of death—but at a steep price. In order to maintain eternal youth, she must feed on the heartbeats of others.

From the posh London season to the back alleys of Whitechapel, across the Channel, across the Pond, across the seas of Time…

How far will Senza Fyne go to avoid Death?

Yeah, this is cool stuff. What an original concept.

Get your copy now.
Amazon universal link to The Heartbeat Thiefhttp://viewBook.at/thief
(redirects international users to their local Amazon domains)

Aargh! What IS it with the Amazon exclusive books???

But remember: if you do pick it up, a few words in a review is a great way to show support for a book that touched you — good OR bad. (but it won’t be bad. It just won’t be.)

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Featured New Book: Releasing the Demons by LD Rose

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Okay, so I’ve exchanged only a few e-mails with LD Rose, but when you see her song, you’ll see why I like her immediately. I won’t hold you up; let’s get to it.

 

RELEASING THE DEMONS2_505x825 (2)

First off, I want to thank Susan for having me on this awesome blog! When I came upon this feature I couldn’t resist submitting my debut novel, since music and writing are intimately connected for me.

My debut dark PNR, RELEASING THE DEMONS, is actually named after a song: “Releasing the Demons” by Godsmack. The novel is about reaping vengeance and falling in love at the most unlikely of times. But this song relates mostly to the hero, Blaze, a former prisoner of war who’s still trying to put himself back together. When his torturers return to the Bronx for him, all of Blaze’s hard work at recovery falls apart as he hunts down each and every one of his enemies and serves them the karma they deserve. As a vampire-human hybrid, he constantly wrestles with both the leech and the normal inside him, and he isn’t quite sure which one will dominate his desires, particularly around the heroine, Valerie.

Oh, Sully. *fans self* Have you heard his solo album? Sinner’s Prayer, baby.

Oh. Ahem. Books. Releasing the Demons, by LD Rose. Here’s a closer look at what it’s about:

Blaze Knight has been through hell and back, but the nightmares aren’t over yet.

Five years after Blaze was maimed by Cyrus Chimola, a powerful vampire with a penchant for torture, he’s still trying to pick up the pieces of his shattered life. As a genetically engineered mercenary with the ability to bend fire to his will and to see in infrared, Blaze’s mission is to protect what’s left of humanity. When Chimola and his crew return to the Bronx gunning for Blaze’s blood, Blaze is forced to face the demons of his past. Hell-bent on revenge, he seeks the help of Valerie Medeiros, an NYPD detective who manages to steal his heart and save his life in more ways than one.

Motivated by her sister’s gruesome death, Valerie has made it her life’s goal to bury every vampire in the ground where they belong. When she brings in Blaze Knight for suspected murder, she discovers he’s not only innocent, he isn’t a man at all—he’s a half-vampire hybrid working with a band of brothers for the U.S. military. Valerie has a hard time trusting anything with fangs, yet she quickly falls headlong into Blaze’s life, a life full of darkness and horror she can’t even begin to fathom. The bodies are stacking up, but Valerie can’t seem to let go of this hybrid, a beautiful monster filled with pain, rage, and passion unlike anything she’s ever known.

In a world where the line between good and evil is blurred, Blaze and Valerie will find danger at every turn, risking everything they’ve come to know and love, including one another.

Apart from the song, I’d totally read this. I like the idea behind Blaze although I still think the ultimate slayer-vamp pairing is Angel and Buffy. Yeah, I’m old. We knew that. So do my knees.

Need a copy? Exclusive to Amazon, I’m afraid.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Website: writerldrose.com

Facebook: facebook.com/writerldrose

Author page: facebook.com/ldroseauthorpage

Twitter: twitter.com/ld_rose

Goodreads: goodreads.com/ldrose

Pinterest: pinterest.com/writerldrose

Tumblr: writerdoc.tumblr.com

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Featured New Book: A Mighty Good Man by Rebecca E Neely

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Let’s welcome fellow Black and Gold lover Rebecca E Neely to West of Mars! Woot! How often do I get to say that around here? Not. Often. Enough.

Rebecca E Neely A Mighty Good Man400

Ready? Let’s go. Rebecca, what song makes you think of your book?

The song Somebody to Love You by Delbert McClinton makes me think of my romantic suspense, A MIGHTY GOOD MAN.

The song is exploding with a powerful mix of emotions—a keen sense of mystery, desperation and a down home, no holds barred warmth and passion. There’s the hypnotic mix of instruments, including the bass, a flute, and a tambourine. Too, the balance of tempos, slow and easy one moment, the next frenetic and high octane, takes me on a tumultuous ride—up and down, smooth and rocky, and I never want to get off this ride. The back-up singers add a delectable edge.

The lyrics capture exactly the struggles ‘Hank’ and Jack both face, and their challenges that are tied up in family and second chances.

SELECT LYRICS

You need a job so you can make some money
You need a nice warm place to stay
A sense of humor cause life is funny
A big stick to keep the wolves away

I recommend you get some life insurance
Be prepared to dial 911
Pay close attention to your high blood pressure
And stay away from the man with a gun

You got to find somebody to love you
Someone to be there for you night and day
Someone to share it with and be part of you
Love ain’t no good till you give it away
You got to give it away

And of course, the main attraction on this song is Delbert himself. His voice has a way of creeping into your soul, with its rock and blues and rhythm, and getting down to the nitty gritty of life and love and everything that truly matters.

For me, this song delivers the total experience that is A Mighty Good Man. Have you got somebody to love you?

Ooh, how can you resist? (Personally, I was sold when I found out she’s a Steelers fan. As much as I don’t like pro ball anymore, I’m still a Steelers fan. Make no sense? Then you’re not from here.)

Here’s the official description:

Her personal and professional life on the skids, a family emergency forces writer Hank Jerry to return to the small town and the aunt she left behind.

Fresh out of prison, Jack “Gent” Darcy is bent on cutting ties with the Creds, but when you’re a war counselor in a national gang, they don’t let you just walk away.

That raises more questions than it answers, huh? But at the same time, it says it all. Pretty clever back cover copy.

Get your own copy! It’s Amazon exclusive (exclusives suck. I know.).

And as always, the best way to say thanks to an author is to leave a few words of review… on your blog, at GoodReads, or at Amazon (if you and she aren’t friends). Need to borrow space? Drop me an e-mail. I’d be glad to post a review of a formerly featured book here.

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Featured New Book: Dancing in Stilettos by Rebecca J Clark

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Let’s welcome Rebecca J Clark to West of Mars! She’s got a new book out and it sounds like a lot of fun. Read on!

DancingStilettos_CVR_XSML

What song makes me think of my book?
Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, because it’s the only thing that will stop my heroine’s young son when he’s having a tantrum, so it’s played throughout the story. It also serves as her motto when she’s feeling insecure and suspecting her husband has grown tired of her–she tells herself to “shake it off.”

Taylor Swift STOPS a tantrum? Well, it takes all kinds… and good thing that something stops a tantrum. Never-ending tantrums are the worst.

Ready to find out what the book is about?

She’s bringing sexy back…

Stay-at-home mom Darlene Ramirez appears to have it all: a sexy husband, a beautiful little boy, and a new home in the suburbs. But when Colton starts working longer hours and spending more time at the gym, she fears the worst. When a stylish new friend offers her a makeover, Darlene jumps at the chance to do her part to bring some va-va-voom back to the relationship and fight for her marriage. As she learns to walk in stilettos and seduce Colton with her sexy new look and attitude, her plan seems to be working… until she catches him in a lie and learns nothing is what it seems.

Will a great pair of shoes be enough to save her marriage?

Buy links

Kindle

Nook

iBooks

Kobo

Other links
website
Facebook

Remember, if you’ve liked what you’ve seen and you’ve bought and read the book, a review at any online site will help keep an author writing. Just a few words — it’s not that hard and it helps more than you realize!

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Midnight Caller by Haley Whitehall

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Let’s all welcome both Haley Whitehall AND the Featured New Book Spotlight back from hiatus! I’ve been busy editing over here at West of Mars, so hitting up people for submissions has fallen by the wayside. Thanks to whoever posted about the spotlight on Facebook; I’ve got a bunch of new books to share with you in the coming weeks (and hopefully months).

Midnight Caller eBook Cover Large(1)

I’d like to thank Susan for having me on her blog again. I recently received the rights back to my first historical romance Midnight Caller, lengthened, re-edited, and re-released it. No matter how many romances I write in my career, I will always have a soft spot for Midnight Caller. I liked it before, but now I love it. I enjoyed improving a good story.

Midnight Caller is set in Kentucky right after the Civil War. Racial tension runs high, and a white woman loving an African-American man can be very dangerous. Emma never thought spending one night with Frederick would be all it took for him to claim a piece of her heart. She wanted a little freedom, wanted to experience passion after her loveless marriage. Frederick is the complete opposite of her late husband: muscular, caring, gentle, and midnight black. He works as a roustabout on the steamer the Comet by day and at night he moonlights by keeping widows company.

They both feel the pull to each other and try to ignore it…but the heart wants what the heart wants. I thought the song Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man from my favorite musical Showboat captured their forbidden love perfectly. The musical is set not long before my novella, and I’m sure the character Julie knows what my heroine Emma is going through. 🙂

I love hearing about authors who get their rights back and work to strengthen a book, even when it was good to begin with. You go, Haley!!

Ready for the book’s description? Do you even need it after that run-up and song choice?

Life without love is painful, but in the Reconstruction Era South forbidden fruit can be deadly. A fiery romance between a widow and an African American man has more consequences than either of them imagined.

Slavery has ended, but racial prejudice remains in Kentucky. Emma Bennett guards a secret that could destroy her life. Until now she never considered the price of her security. Becoming a well-respected member in Louisville had seemed a dream come true, but at what cost?

Her husband’s death from a carriage accident releases Emma from her loveless, controlling marriage. Now she has a chance to find happiness and raise a family. But before she begins courting again she wants to experience her freedom. At the advice of the leading socialite in town, she takes a black lover to fulfill her sexual needs. His raw masculine power awakens feelings she didn’t know existed. After the first touch, she craves more.

Frederick works as a roustabout by day and moonlights as a prostitute. He knows better than to fall in love with his white client, but Emma enchants him the first time he calls on her. To keep them both safe, he works hard to put up barriers. Unfortunately, he can’t protect Emma from the slimy Mr. Hawthorne, who wants her as his bride. Frederick vows to keep her safe even if his forbidden love costs him his life.

 

Buy Links:

Universal Amazon Link | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords | All Romance Ebooks

 

Social Media Links:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Fan Page | Twitter | Amazon Page | Pinterest

 

And remember: if you read it and like it, the author would LOVE a review! Even a few words at a site like Goodreads will help keep Haley in the business of writing books and creating new worlds for us all to explore.

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Featured New Book: Alpha’s Voodoo by Haley Whitehall

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Haley Whitehall is back here at West of Mars! Yay, Haley!

alphasvoodoo

I love that cover. I also love repeat visitors. And since we all know the drill, let’s get right to it: Haley, what song makes you think of your new book, Alpha’s Voodoo?

I’d like to thank Susan for letting me step into the spotlight once again. It is always a pleasure to be on West of Mars. I’ve recently had a book birthday. My new release, Alpha’s Voodoo, is my first historical paranormal romance. The interracial novella is set in New Orleans in the 1850s, and my story delves into Voodoo. In fact, the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau plays an important part. Both the hero, Mark Afton, who is secretly a wolf shifter, and the heroine, Violet Creed, think they have been cursed. But have they?

When I was trying to think of a playlist for Alpha’s Voodoo, lots of songs with witchcraft and magic came to mind, but I don’t consider Marie Laveau a witch. In my erotic romance, she is more of a matchmaker.

I finally came across the perfect song Voo Doo by Rachel Sweet. The music video is a little creepy, but I like the lyrics. “Cause I’m caught in your magic spell. It’s such a spooky romance.” With Mark being a wolf shifter, he can indeed read Violet’s mind. See, the song lyrics were perfect!

For different reasons, my hero and heroine are afraid that their attraction to each other is not natural. If a spell is causing these strong feelings, what should they do?

Alpha’s Voodoo is the first book in the Bayou Pack series. Mark and Violet’s story will slowly unfold one book at a time.

Wow. That song has a very ’80s feel. (and the video has a very ’80s look, too! Think there’s a reason?) I’d have thought of Godsmack, myself, but … it’s always fun to be exposed to new stuff. Even if it’s very ’80s. (or maybe *especially*)

I would read this. I totally would. Here’s why:

With her reputation in tatters, debutante Violet Creed is forced to exchange her life of luxury for one of uncertainty. Mark Afton wants nothing more than to take his rightful place as the leader of the Bayou Pack, but he needs a mate. Is Violet Mark’s destined mate, or is their attraction merely Voodoo magic? Haley Whitehall is pleased to present Alpha’s Voodoo, Book 1 of her hot, new, paranormal romance series, Bayou Pack.

Are curses real or merely imagined?

Violet Creed is a colored New Orleans debutante. She was brought up with servants and a strict set of rules regarding propriety, and her papa never approved of her interest in Voodoo. One night she sneaks out of the house and attends one of Marie Laveau’s gatherings—where she loses her virginity and her reputation. Turned out by her papa, Violet is destined for a life on the streets until Madam Dawn saves her.

Cursed to live as a wolf shifter, Mark Afton is a wealthy lawyer and heir to the Bayou Pack. Unfortunately, he can’t take over leadership from his uncle without a mate. Wanting to escape his mother’s endless matchmaking attempts, he accepts Madam Dawn’s invitation to sail on the maiden voyage of the Southern Rose and enjoy the pleasurable company of her ladies.

One of Madam Dawn’s recent hires catches his attention. He is drawn to Violet immediately. Could she be his mate or is their attraction merely Voodoo?

Maybe it’s the whole Godsmack thing. I don’t know. But I’d totally read this.

If you agree, go pick up a copy.

Liquid Silver Books

Amazon Universal Link

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

All Romance Ebooks

 

 

Haley loves to connect with readers. You can find her here:

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HaleyWhitehall

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LightonHistory

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5752677.Haley_Whitehall

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/haleywhitehall/

Website: http://haleywhitehall.com/

Blog: http://haleywhitehall.com/blog/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Haley-Whitehall/e/B0078EO6CE/

 

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Featured New Book Spotlight: A Piper’s Song by CK Johnson

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Two things happened at once: Submissions for the spotlight dried up and I got slammed with work. I’d say that was pretty good timing.

But I’m back with CK Johnson, a buddy of mine (she can talk more about our relationship if she so chooses and no, it’s NOT romantic. Sheesh. I like being single, folks!). Her first book, A Piper’s Song is a really cool twist on the Pied Piper story we all grew up with. Read on and see what I mean.

Piper Front Lighter

CK: What song makes you think of your book?

I wrote A Piper’s Song listening to a mix of rock and roll and Celtic music. However, this song actually came from a reader. They listened to this a few days after reading my book and sent me a message saying, “This is it- this is your book!” Of course I had to pull it up.

Note from Susan: Yep. It is!

So what’s the book’s description?

When you control music, every note is a weapon.

Most girls don’t think twice about singing along with their favorite song on the radio. Not me. I hum once and it zombifies the hottest guy in school.

The Pied Piper was real and I am his descendant. Music is my curse. If I don’t master the song inside myself, it will overpower me, and if that happens…

Let’s put it this way: the last piper to lose control led a town-full of children to a river and started the plague.

Welcome to my life.

Now, you know you need a copy. You really do.

Buy it at Amazon.

Connect with CK!
Website
https://www.facebook.com/people/Author-C-K-Johnson/100007611465481
Twitter
Goodreads

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