Apr 142014
 

People sometimes ask me what’s the purpose of a writer’s group in today’s world. Why not connect online and be done with it all?

Because there’s magic when you can connect in person and realize the person you’ve gotten to know online is so much more interesting in person.

Blood and Iron cover

Such it is with my buddy Jon Sprunk, who is a true writer pro and a super dude. And he’s got a new book out, as well. Which means he’s taking a turn in the spotlight.

Jon, what song makes you think of your book?

Answer: “Revelations” by Iron Maiden. I’m a child of the 80′s metal wave. This song in particular evokes the majesty and mystery that I tried to put into every line of my new epic fantasy, “Blood and Iron.” But, of course, I’m not writing just for the metal crowd. This new series is about the clash between rival cultures, the friction between social strata, and the real price of liberty. You won’t elves or unicorns within its pages, but you will find magic, the kind of elemental sorcery that can destroy as well as create. I hope you’ll give it a try.

 

Wait. He said IRON MAIDEN??? Duuuuuuude. I told you he was cool, didn’t I?

Now, after all that, you totally need to know what Blood and Iron is about.

This action-heavy EPIC FANTASY SERIES OPENER is like a sword-and-sorcery Spartacus set in a richly-imagined world.

It starts with a shipwreck following a magical storm at sea. Horace, a soldier from the west, had joined the Great Crusade against the heathens of Akeshia after the deaths of his wife and son from plague. When he washes ashore, he finds himself at the mercy of the very people he was sent to kill, who speak a language and have a culture and customs he doesn’t even begin to understand.

Not long after, Horace is pressed into service as a house slave. But this doesn’t last. The Akeshians discover that Horace was a latent sorcerer, and he is catapulted from the chains of a slave to the halls of power in the queen’s court. Together with Jirom, an ex-mercenary and gladiator, and Alyra, a spy in the court, he will seek a path to free himself and the empire’s caste of slaves from a system where every man and woman must pay the price of blood or iron. Before the end, Horace will have paid dearly in both.

 

Jon’s gotten some good reviews on this already, especially about his world-building, and especially from some of the industry’s big names in reviews. How can you ignore that??? You can’t, I know, so here are some buy links:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Books-A-Million
Indie Bound

Get to know Jon. You’ll be glad you did.

Jon’s website
Jon’s facebook fan page
Jon’s twitter

Apr 072014
 

There’s nothing like an old friend when it comes to one of life’s most comforting friends, and Maria Savva definitely fits the bill around here. Not only a fellow music lover, Maria and I share a love for many, many bands.

Remember a few weeks back, when I was impressed we had a three-peat author in the Featured New Book Spotlight? Maria puts that to shame — she’s here for her fifth time. I kid you not.

The new book is called Far Away in Time. Far Away In Time

Purty cover, huh?

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

Echo Beach, by Martha and the Muffins

Although none of the stories were inspired by the song, when I finished writing the story ‘Far Away In Time’, I think I may have leaned more towards that title because it reminded me of the song by Martha and the Muffins. I’ve always loved that song, especially the intro, the saxophone, and the bit at the end ‘Far away in time’! It’s always conjured up a sense of nostalgia when I hear it.

When I realised that the title I’d chosen had a connection to the song, I noticed that one of the other stories had the word ‘Echoes’ in it and another had ‘Beach’. That gave me the idea to find out some more about the actual song and see if I could add a few links to the song throughout the book.

I looked on Wikipedia and found out some facts e.g. the names of the people who wrote the song, the name of the beach that possibly inspired the song etc. I then added a few bits to some of the stories.

For example, I have a character called Martha in the story ‘A Sign’, and many of the other characters in the book are named after the people who wrote the song or sang it at some stage e.g. Toyah.

I also have a character whose job is an ‘office clerk’ in ‘Echoes of her Dreams’, just like the person the song was written about.

When you read the book, perhaps you’ll spot some of the other links! :)

Need a summary?

Our lives are a series of stories, and we are the characters with the starring roles. The memories, regrets, secrets, and struggles that fill these pages are at once unique and relatable. These stories belong to us all.

Eight unforgettable tales reaching out to a place Far Away In Time…

Buy a copy — Amazon only, though.
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon FR
Amazon DE
Amazon IN
Amazon AU
Amazon BR
Amazon IT
Amazon ES
Amazon MX
Amazon JP
Amazon CA

Want a gander at the book trailer? Sure you do!

Connect with Maria:
My website
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Mar 242014
 

You guys know I love getting out and about and meeting people. Today’s guest is a Triberr friend, and you guys know I dig my Triberr friends.

Without further ado, here’s SM Johnson to talk about her book, Jeremiah Quick.

JQ THIS cover 2.28

The answer is almost impossible. There are so many songs on my playlist for Jeremiah Quick – six and a half hours’ worth, actually. It took me two days of browsing that playlist to finally pick “>Behind Blue Eyes by The Who as the answer to this question.

A lot of the music on my JQ Playlist is similar in tone and message to Behind Blue Eyes, only most of the others have more words. So I figured for this one choice, I’d keep it simple. Jeremiah and Pretty try (but fail) to connect through music, so there are a lot of references to songs and artists in this book, especially near the beginning. This is actually the first song mentioned in the book.

Jeremiah Quick is, at base, the story of high school companions Jeremiah Quick and Pretty Loberg reconnecting twenty years after they’d been friends – and how the most benign relationship can have a huge impact on our character and moral development. The story is a mix of past and present, and because of this, I feel comfortable choosing a song that’s survived over the course of decades, made and remade by many different artists… and yet… the song, at its heart, remains the same. I don’t want to spoil anything here, so I’ll say only that this concept is well-reflected in Jeremiah Quick.

For me, this song was damn near the start of my obsessive need to know the lyrics of songs. I was, oh, somewhere around eight or nine years old when my brother started playing The Who, very loudly, behind his closed bedroom door. I remember the green shag carpeting in the hallway tickling my nose as I lay on the floor outside that door, my ear pressed as close as I could manage to the space at the bottom of the door, barely breathing because I was trying to decipher the lyrics. So, really, this song was the very first song of my life that I memorized on purpose.

That makes it special.

And it’s interesting to me that my first song was damn dark. Huh.
Thanks for asking!

Wow! What a story! But if it’s not enough of a story, check out SM’s in-depth answer, posted at her own blog.

Need to know what the book’s about? Me, too. Here’s the description.

Jeremiah is Other, he’s always been Other, and he’s always fascinated Pretty Loberg with his Otherness. He doesn’t give a fuck about society, or middle class values, or following the crowd. He believes in anarchy, self-education, doing the research, and making up one’s own mind. He believes in asking cui bono? – who benefits?

To pampered and spoiled middle class good-girl Pretty, Jeremiah was terrifying. And she couldn’t stay away.

She’d been trained since her earliest years to follow the crowd, not stand out, don’t embarrass the family. Stick to the status quo and not only will everything be fine, but everyone will like you.

Jeremiah didn’t like her. Not at all. In fact, sometimes she thought he hated her.

When he finds her twenty years after high school, Pretty gets into his car, even though she knows Jeremiah will disrupt her marriage and her life.

Behind blue eyes is a man with a quick brain, a cynical outlook, and a penchant for the subversive. He’s kinky, mean, controlling, and more than a little bit broken.

Pretty wants to fix Jeremiah.

Jeremiah wants to break Pretty, remake her, and talk her into doing something terrible.

Only one of them will leave the dungeon alive.

Behind Blue Eyes as performed by The Who. Here’s a studio version with a cool slide show. The song has been covered by many other artists, as well. For a more interesting viewing, here’s a link to the song performed by The Who in 1979.

Need a copy? I think I might!

Buy it at Smashwords (affiliate link)
Amazon

Get to know SM Johnson!

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Mar 172014
 

This week, we welcome back Jean 8. Aeglothecca, a wonderful writer, a great person, and a rebel of the sort who is a kindred soul.

After THAT intro, how can you NOT read the book?

1500x2000_BK2_THE_QUEEN_OF_SCARRED_HEARTS

Dear Susan, thank you for the opportunity to spotlight the second book, The Queen Of Scarred Hearts, #2 in my Reclaimed Souls Series. So, “What Song Reminds Me of My Book?” I’ve been down this road with you before, so I am prepared.

Britney Spears’ “Trip To Your Heart” is the winner. Here’s the youtube link. I have no qualms coming out and saying that I really like Britney Spears, and, while I like most of her songs, “Trip To Your Heart” reminds me of Rahda and Roland’s heart dance in this book. There’s arguments, sex, betrayal, mistrust, a whopper of a family secret, and, oh yeah, a huge war simmers just under the surface

Britney! Did I not TELL you that Jean is a kindred soul? Did I just out myself?

Here’s what the book’s about.

The stakes are higher as Rahda leaves Skyscraper City and heads to see the master she’s betrayed. While there, she meets a charismatic man, Dev Osta, who gives Roland a run for his money. Let’s just say that Dev is gorgeous and that all of my beta readers, to include my editor — yes ALL of them — found Dev drool worthy. You’ll want to purchase this book just to get the bonus material at the end. (Shhhh, but it is the unedited version of Rahda and Dev’s, um, encounter). Now, on to TQoSH…
A Conflicted Heart… Caught between two worlds, Rahda must decide what she desires more: to be Lady Rahda Sevradan or the Grandfather’s disciple. Now that she knows that masking the dark prince’s scars was a ruse, she leaves the Palace Skyscraper only to unearth new secrets, including secrets about her family’s history. Then she meets someone that threatens her feelings for Roland. Will her heart and soul ever been in agreement?

A Dark Soul… Prince Roland Rexus wants nothing more than to keep Rahda close, but she fights him at every turn. He wants a real marriage. He wants her heart. Once she learns of his future plans, he worries he will lose her forever. As the battle brews internally between them, war looms over his head and the dark prince is powerless without Rahda’s help.

A Royal Revolution… With a royal revolt simmering just under the surface, Rahda and Roland must tread carefully as the continent’s citizens descend upon Skyscraper City for a royal celebration that changes everything. Will the Queen of Scarred Hearts emerge? You can read an excerpt. The Queen of Scarred Hearts is available for $3.99.

Get your copy!
iTunes
All Romance eBooks
Smashwords (affiliate link)
Barnes and Noble
Amazon

Mix, mingle, and hang with Jean:
email
website
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goodreads

Mar 102014
 

2014 must be the year of the three-peat because author JoAnne Myers is back with a third book to let shine in the Featured New Book spotlight.

Crime of the Century

This time, she’s written a very personal, true crime book. But before we tell you about the book, let’s get to the important stuff: the music!

JoAnne, what song reminds you of your book?

Here is the reason I associate Ghost Walking by the band Lamb of God, with The Crime of the Century. The lyrics to Ghost Walking, is filled with hate and dispair. So much like a killer stalking his prey. The lyrics speak of death and destruction, which is what murder is. The lyrics are both creepy and ominous.

Lamb of God! Randy Blythe! One of the classiest men EVER. Okay, the music’s a bit… ugly. Like JoAnne says, it’s filled with hate and despair. But you gotta admit: there are days when it hits you in that sweet spot and man, you feel better FAST.

Back to the book. What’s its description?

The residents of Rolling Hills, a hamlet in southeastern Ohio, were horrified when the dismembered bodies of two missing teens were pulled from the local river. Multiply suspects surfaced, but only one was railroaded, Richard Allan Lloyd, a known nudist and hothead.

What began as an evening stroll turned into what found only in horror films, and dubbed ‘the crime of the century’. 18 year old Babette, a voluptuous beauty contestant and horsewoman, and her 19 year old boyfriend Shane Shoemaker, a jealous and possessive unemployed printer, were last seen crossing a trestle bridge. Within fourteen days, their mutilated torsos and severed heads and limbs were unearthed, suggesting satanic cult activity.

With an investigation smeared with contradicting statements, and a botched crime scene, investigators built a flimsy case against Richard Lloyd. The three-week trial was based on police corruption and ineptitude, fairytale theories, and forensic mishandling.

This heinous crime shattered the sense of security for Rolling Hills, destroyed two families, and forever scarred the town. This story is a detailed account of finding justice for Babette and Shane, and of one man’s perseverance to gain his freedom from death row.

Order your copy here.