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
Facebook Page
Twitter

Mar 312014
 

Giselle Green found me earlier in the year, and it’s a good thing for all of us — me, Giselle, and you — that she did. Her new book, Finding You, just went live today. It’s the sequel to Little Miracles, which is a great women’s fiction read or a book club book. So is Finding You.

Mum Cover Dark Full

Which brings us to the reason we’re all here: Giselle, what song makes you think of your book?

The first time I heard the song Burning by Einaudi (from: In a Time Lapse) – I ‘saw’ the most important and emotional scene in my book unfurling in my mind’s eye. I’d been wrestling with where the main focus of my book would lie, but on hearing this I knew in a heartbeat where it would be.

Finding you is a sequel story to the aftermath of a child abduction. The toddler is back with his rightful parents, and yet he is desperately unhappy. Things are not right. The music expresses perfectly the anguish of his mother Julia who in the previous book has risked everything to recover her stolen son. She faces the unthinkable scenario: could it be that her little boy may now love his ‘other mama,’ Illusion, better than her? In Julia’s mind, nothing could be worse.

And yet, increasingly, she is coming to believe that she must take him back to Illusion, because her son is so unhappy and she believes nothing else will console him. She loves him and she is desperate. This is where my crucial scene – and this song – come in. The music is so sad and at the same time so hopeful and uplifting.

Every time I hear it, I see them: they’re on a beach in Spain and it’s early morning, sun just coming up: Julia has brought her child to the place where she knows Illusion will be. She both longs to discover the solution to his unhappiness and dreads it. Then they spy Illusion. Breaking free, the child runs straight towards her. For one moment, Julia, empathic, is as one with her little boy: he’s running towards the one he loves, she believes. He’s free, arms outstretched, he looks joyous. To me, the song is resonant of the mother’s grief, her sacrifice and the simultaneous expression of her love – Julia is prepared to forgo her own happiness for his. She already knows that her son’s father will never forgive her for taking their child back.

What happens next, is not something Julia could have predicted. But all that belongs to other scenes and other songs. Listen to this one – and see if you agree with me about how incredibly moving and powerful it is.

Here’s the book description:

Julia and Charlie are ecstatic to be reunited with their stolen child, Hadyn. A year after he was snatched from a beach in Spain during a family holiday, they had feared that he would never be found alive.

Now the couple are eager for their lives to return to normal – but something is very wrong. Hadyn is still in many ways a ‘lost’ child. He seems to have been badly affected by the abduction, making it impossible for the family to simply pick up the pieces and move on.

In their efforts to unravel exactly what happened to their son and to find a cure, Julia and Charlie clash as to the best way forward. As their own insecurities surface, their relationship comes under threat – a situation not helped by the appearance of a former lover who is only too happy to rock the boat.

As dark secrets are uncovered, the couple’s love for each other is tested to its very limits, and they begin to doubt that they will ever be able to help their troubled little boy…
Until, at last, they stumble across an unexpected truth. A truth that might be the only thing left that could save their family.

Emotionally intense and deeply moving, Finding You will grip you from the very first page.

Having already read this, I can say yes, it will grip you. It’ll haunt you, too; this is one of those books I keep having flashbacks to. Read it and you’ll see why (and no, you don’t have to have read Little Miracles first).

Buy a copy:
Amazon.com
Amazon.uk

Connect with Giselle:
Facebook
Website

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!

Blogger
Twitter
FB
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Mar 032014
 

Let’s all welcome Devorah Fox to West of Mars! Devorah found me because I’d tweeted a link to her books and said thanks. And now she’s here to tell us what song makes her think of her book, Naked Came the Sharks.

frontcovera

I love that title. This is one of those titles that is so great, I’d pick up the book, no matter what it’s about.

Before we get to what it’s about, though, let’s get to the really important stuff. (No, not buy links. Those are at the bottom, like usual).

Devorah, what song makes you think of your book?

That’s got to be “Song of the Ocean” by Kelly Brown of the Bad Monkeys. Kelly graciously gave me permission to use the song in the trailer for “Naked Came the Sharks” and it’s just perfect. Trop rock with an obvious affection for life near and on the water and a hint of regret that things aren’t the way they should be…just like the story of “Naked Came the Sharks.” Here’s the link to the trailer.

Trop rock? Like Jimmy Buffett? Go listen and tell me what YOU think.

So. The book, if the trailer wasn’t enough, you’re at work and can’t click through, or are just a lazy sod (and if you are, welcome to the club. Although I DID click through!), here’s the book description:

Chasing her dream of becoming an investigative reporter in San Francisco, Holly Rivera Berry has to return to her hometown of Bonafides on the Texas Coastal Bend to settle her recently deceased father’s estate. She discovers that just before he died her father researched the possibility that via an old Mexican land grant the Rivera family owns The Gap, a natural channel to the Gulf of Mexico. Land speculators plan to erect luxury homes, resorts, hotels, and a casino along The Gap and Holly comes to doubt that her father died of natural causes. The more she investigates, the more things don’t add up. One by one her allies fall victim to fatal accidents and it looks like Holly might be next.

This is becoming a familiar plot device, but one I don’t often get tired of. The best ending is when the little guy wins and the development can’t happen. Does that happen here? Read it and see!

Get your copy:
createspace
Kindle
smashwords
amazon
Nook
diesel e-books
inktera ebooks (pagefoundry)

I love it when books are widely available. I bet there are more, so be sure to ask at your favorite independent retailer.

And don’t forget to connect with Devorah!
blog
amazon author page
smashwords series page
Google+
Facebook author page
Pinterest
Twitter
Goodreads
LinkedIn