Give me magic, gadgets, monsters, zombies, everything that seems impossible, and throw in some tough chicks with swords. That's the stuff.

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Temporarily Out of Order"

"Temporally Out of Order" by Justin Adams of Varia Studio
I'm currently reading CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK VS ALIENS and having a lot of fun with it. The same folks behind that anthology are in the final hours of a kickstarter campaign for another one: TEMPORARILY OUT OF ORDER.

"While sitting at the airport waiting for a flight, I saw a phone booth with a note reading “Temporally Out of Order.” Obviously it was a typo, but the mistake takes on a whole new meaning when viewed from a science fiction/fantasy frame of mind. This anthology will take on the challenge of interpreting what “temporally out of order” could mean for modern day—or perhaps not so modern—gadgets, such as the cell phone, laptop, television, radio, iPod, or even that microwave or refrigerator! Edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, it will contain approximately 14 stories with an average length of 6000 words each. The anthology will include short stories by: David B. Coe, Laura Anne Gilman, Faith Hunter, Stephen Leigh, Gini Koch, Seanan McGuire, and Laura Resnick. Additional authors will be added as stretch goals, including Jack Campbell, Jean Marie Ward, and Juliet E. McKenna. All other slots aside from the named authors will be filled by the open call for submissions following the successful completion of the kickstarter."

This project is already funded (YAY!) but there is still time to support this antho and help them reach some stretch goals. They're a little under $500 away from the first goal, which would give bookmarks to pledgers at $20 and above, but most importantly (IMO) increase the $ for the writers.

At $15 you get a copy of the book. However, if you are a t-shirt fan, then the add-ons might be right up your alley. Take a trip over to the kickstarter page. Just do it now. As of this writing, there are only 35 hours to go. Tick tock, my friends.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Guest Post: 10 Things about Mandy Baxter

Today Mandy Baxter is here with her new steamy Romantic Suspense ONE NIGHT MORE. She's also sharing 10 things about her and has a GIVEAWAY!

The blurbage: "Savvy, hard-riding, rule-breaking—they’ll go anywhere and do anything it takes to protect and serve. But this U. S. Marshal has just met his match—and playing for keeps is one sizzling game…

Getting saved from disaster by a handsome stranger—Harper Allen has no problem with that. But when he leaves without a word or a clue to his real identity, the newbie reporter writes it off as the best one-night-stand she’ll never have again. Until a year later, when Harper comes face to face with the man assigned to hide her from a senator’s killer…

Galen Kelly hasn’t forgotten a single sensual minute of his night with Harper... or that she betrayed him. But with the FBI also on their trail, he’s got to pretend he’s never met her or risk both their lives. But as danger closes in, Galen may not be able to protect himself from taking the biggest risk of all…"

My take: This was a fun, quick read. You know I usually go for a few more monsters, aliens or fantasy elements, but this one had a lot of action which is generally what I look for when I read contemporary romance. True, there are some misunderstandings, but the dangerous situation as well as the believable trust issues kept it from becoming the annoying BIG MISUNDERSTANDING. It can be a tough balancing act, to keep the miscommunication at a level where it creates drama but doesn't alienate the reader.

Oh sure, I still had moments where I wanted to yell at both characters but thankfully it was at the same time the secondary characters were also admonishing our leads, so it worked out. It was also fast-paced, so the story moved along at a good clip. The burgeoning friendship and the adorable text exchanges were among my favorite parts.

I also loved the easter eggs. Like Harper, I too enjoyed Full Blooded. I also agree with her stance on Marvel superheroes and Supernatural. Like I said, fun read. It's also a little different from my usual reads, so it makes for a good palate cleanser between heavier fantasy works (I'm always on the lookout for those). I liked the supporting characters too, so I'll check out the next book in the US Marshals series.

Now it's time for Mandy to take over and tell us a few things about herself. There is also a GIVEAWAY, so check out the details below.

Ten Things About Me



I’m a rabid soccer mom/soccer fan.
Not the breaking kneecaps or sabotaging referees kind, though I have been known to shout “Go home, ref! You’re drunk!” on at least one occasion. Also, during the World Cup this summer, I might have jumped out of my chair at a local restaurant and screamed whenever Argentina made a goal.

I love the water.
Streams, rivers, lakes, oceans, even puddles. I love the sound, the way it smells. Everything. I even love rain. I once had an astrologer do my chart and he told me that I would always live near water. I think he’s right. I can’t imagine not living near a lake or at least a creek.

I’m a theater/musical/ballet nut.
Even as a kid I loved all things dance/music/acting. I took ballet and drama, sang in my high school choir. I’m lucky that the hubs is a theater fan, too. I can get him to plays and musicals, no problem. I’m still working the ballet angle, though. For those events, I’m usually flying solo.

My ultimate thrill is driving fast.
I’m a super nervous flyer, heights make me nervous, and I wouldn’t go parasailing for a million dollars. Okay, maybe for a million dollars, but I wouldn’t enjoy it. And whereas I’m not much of a thrill seeker, I absolutely love to drive fast. I used to own a Subaru WRX and the first year I got six speeding tickets. I could totally be a race car driver. Vroom!

I’m an animal person.
I love animals. Anything that’s furry, scaly, or covered in feathers is going to get a cuddle from me. I draw the line at insects, though. Particularly spiders. Just…no. We own dogs, a cat, chickens, ducks, and geese. I have a goose that loves to be cuddled and he puts his neck up for hugs. When I scratch under his feathers he throws his head back and howls. It’s totally adorbs.

I’m a canner.
I’m not super domestic but I am a food preserving fool. We have a garden and greenhouse and a very short season to get fresh fruits and veggies. So, in the fall, I’m freezing and canning said veggies and fruits. It’s time consuming, but I figure when the zombie apocalypse hits, I’ll be set!

I sing in the car.
And probably annoy everyone who’s ever had to ride with me. I’m not usually a shy car singer, either. Nope, I belt it out. My current favorite sing in the car song is Amnesia by 5 Seconds of Summer. It’s actually the theme song for my novella, ROCKED BY THE BILLIONAIRE that will be out in December. It was the perfect ballad for the story.

I dance around the house.
In the same vein of singing in the car, I like to bust out a move in the middle of my living room whether there’s music or not. My seventeen year old son particularly loves it when I try my hand at breakdancing. Hehe.

I’m an amateur carpenter.
More to the point, the hubs and I are. Most of our home improvement projects are DIY jobs. Last year we built our greenhouse and this year we’re building a covered patio out back. Next year’s big plan is a detached office for me with a cellar below. I totally think I need a pink tool belt.

I’m a sucker for 90’s grunge and alternative.
How I long for the days of the flannel shirt! It drives the teen and hubs crazy but my radio station is more times than not tuned in to Lithium on Sirius. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Collective Soul, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpinks, Bush. OMG, BUSH!! 90’s Gavin Rossdale is my dream man. I could gush for hours about my fave 90’s music.

And there you have it! Tell me one or two interesting facts about you....

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of ONE NIGHT MORE (US/Canada only). Winner announced September 26, 2014.

Thank you so much, Mandy!

ONE NIGHT MORE  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | BAM | Indiebound | Powell's

Mandy Baxter
twitter: https://twitter.com/MandyJBaxter

[received a review copy]

Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: RED BLOODED


RED BLOODED (Jessica McClain #4) by Amanda Carlson

I adore this series. It is action packed, has interesting characters, supernatural politics and an ever expanding universe. We've been all over, the city, a mountain, high-flying road chases, vampiric New Orleans, and now Jessica is on a rescue mission to Hell.

If you aren't up to date on the series you might find some spoilers ahead.

We start this latest adventure with Jessica and her ragtag band of supernaturals in training with Tally, the head witch. At the end of book 3, Tyler, Jessica's twin, was kidnapped by the Demon Prince. Jess and company are planning a rescue mission to the demon underworld and need to be prepared for demon magic. Of course, things do not go as planned. Jessica's magic is something different and neither she nor the witches know how to handle it. Jessica finds herself thrown into the demon world on her own and has to think fast to avoid capture.

I am a sucker for stories set in the demon world (for example, Diana Rowland's Kara Gillian books) and so I was super excited to see how Carlson approached the Underworld. I was not disappointed. It was appropriately icky, creepy & oddly pretty in parts. This is also one of the more action-packed books, closer to book 2's level. As a whole, this series is action-packed, but these two books take it up several notches.

This does mean that it's lighter on the romance angle, but that's fine for me. I like that this is a mated pair that is not attached at the hip 24/7. Jessica has skills and also a lot of learning she needs to accomplish, like yesterday. I like that she has a partnership with Rourke, albeit one that is still new and still needs to be worked on, but Jessica is not a damsel in distress.

We also have more allies and villains. Jessica has been making all kinds of deals, some good, some perhaps not so good. The Fate theme is explored even more here, and I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that when it was all said and done I'm really interested in the way this story is going. Many possibilities and more challenges, of course.

I also like that although in book one we mostly had the boys club with the wolf pack and Jess, more and more female characters have come into play. Some heroes, some villains, some who knows. It's the variety I like. Of course, my other favs are there too. Ray is quickly becoming all kinds of interesting. A total transformation from his start in book 1.

Jess has been on so many journeys, surviving, fighting, defending, rescuing, and all the while learning and getting a crash course in supernatural politics. This isn't a series where it's a procedural with a mystery to solve. It's more of a step by step progression of a character's journey from more or less ordinary to extraordinary, with all of the bumps, bruises, mistakes and triumphs that come with it. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Buy RED BLOODED:  B&N | Kobo | BAM | Indiebound | Powell's | Amazon

Amanda Carlson
website: http://www.amandacarlson.com/
twitter: https://twitter.com/amandaccarlson
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoramandacarlson

[received review copy]

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Joining the Pile on Tuesday

I was checking my pre-orders and noticed that four are coming out on Tuesday, September 2. These aren't the only books released that day, nor the only ones I want in September, but all of these were ones I knew I had to have.

FORGED BY DESIRE (London Steampunk #4) by Bec McMaster
This is one of my favorite paranormal romance series. The world is fantastic and I love how McMasters uses the vampire and werewolf myths. Dark, gritty, so good.

Blurbage: "Captain Garret Reed of the Nighthawk guard has a deadly mission: capture a steel-jawed monster preying on women. He hates to put his partner, Perry, in jeopardy, but she’s the best bait he has. Little does he realize, he’s about to be caught in his own trap.

Perry has been half in love with Garrett for years, but this is not exactly the best time to start a relationship—especially when their investigation leads them directly into the clutches of the madman she thought she’d escaped..."

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound | BAM | Powell's

ACCEPTANCE (Southern Reach Trilogy #3) by Jeff Vandermeer
I spent part of my summer in the Southern Reach, and it was creepy, intriguing, kept me up at night, kept me wondering who to trust. I can't wait to see where we go next and to what end.

Blurbage: "The final installment of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy

It is winter in Area X. A new team embarks across the border on a mission to find a member of a previous expedition who may have been left behind. As they press deeper into the unknown—navigating new terrain and new challenges—the threat to the outside world becomes more daunting. In Acceptance, the last installment of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, the mysteries of Area X may have been solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound—or terrifying."

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound | BAM | Powell's


HOUSE IMMORTAL (House Immortal #1) by Devon Monk
Frankenstein with a twist, you say? And by Devon Monk? Why yes, please sign me up.

Blurbage:  "One hundred years ago, eleven powerful ruling Houses consolidated all of the world’s resources and authority into their own grasping hands. Only one power wasn’t placed under the command of a single House: the control over the immortal galvanized....

Matilda Case isn’t like most folk. In fact, she’s unique in the world, the crowning achievement of her father’s experiments, a girl pieced together from bits. Or so she believes, until Abraham Seventh shows up at her door, stitched with life thread just like her and insisting that enemies are coming to kill them all.

Tilly is one of thirteen incredible creations known as the galvanized, stitched together beings immortal and unfathomably strong. For a century, each House has fought for control over the galvanized. Now the Houses are also tangled in a deadly struggle for dominion over death—and Tilly and her kind hold the key to unlocking eternity

The secrets that Tilly must fight to protect are hidden within the very seams of her being. And to get the secrets, her enemies are willing to tear her apart piece by piece.…"

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound | BAM | Powell's


MAPLECROFT (The Borden Dispatches #1) by Cherie Priest
From the moment I read "Lizzie Borden and Lovecraft" I was, shall we say, screaming "HELLS YES!" I can't wait to read this book.

Blurbage: "Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one....

The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny.

But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the ocean’s depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness.

This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound | BAM | Powell's

Friday, August 29, 2014

Guest Post: RIVER Blog Tour

Today, Skyla Dawn Cameron is here as part of the RIVER blog tour. I loved her UF vamp story BLOODLINES. RIVER is an older young adult werewolf tale that has an very cool twist.

The blurbage: "Description: Defiant, nocturnal, moody–though River sounds like a typical teenager, she’s anything but. She’s a werewolf.
The life of an alpha female wolf was irrevocably changed the night she was attacked and bitten, and awoke confused, alone, and human. Three years later, thrust into a world where she doesn’t belong and living in foster care, River barely tolerates humanity and still doesn’t know who bit her or why.

But River isn’t as alone as she previously thought; someone’s been watching her, someone who holds the answers she’s been seeking. Though the human who changed her seems to be a step ahead of her at every turn, River is determined to beat his game and return to her pack and mate.

And as if being stuck in a world she hates, with a life she never asked for, and faced with a destiny she doesn’t want wasn’t bad enough, River still must find a way to survive every human’s greatest challenge: high school."

Oooh, werewolf tale where the wolf is cursed to have to live as a human? I'm in.

I asked Skyla to talk about one of her favorite werewolf stories. Be sure to check out the GIVEAWAY too!

A Werewolf Twist: Ginger Snaps

You’ll notice the big prize in the River giveaway is a DVD/Blu-Ray combo Collector Edition of the film Ginger Snaps.

It’s an indie Canadian horror film from 2000, with a stellar cast and a smart script that twists a lot of typical werewolf tropes into something that’s darkly funny, horrific, and ripe for conversation.

Lycanthropy as a metaphor for losing control isn’t new—it’s explored repeatedly in films and literature, usually centered around a male protagonist. But when else do we feel less in control than during puberty? Right off the bat, Ginger Snaps tackles the metaphor head on, with two sisters as protagonists who are three years behind getting their periods and the night one of them surfs her first crimson wave, she is bitten by a werewolf. Talk about cursed.

The transformation, of course, follows a twenty-eight day lunar cycle, as the bitten sister Ginger grows more and more bold, irritable, violent, and...furry. This leaves her sister Brigitte to battling to save her.

Horror as a genre—one I love—is unfortunately one often seeped in misogyny, which is refreshingly not present in this film. The story is firmly placed on the shoulders of two sisters, their friendship, the strain of growing up and changing, and the promises they’ve made to each other all being given thought and weight. Female bonds are important, the film reaffirms, even if they’re fraught with problems. T&A is in the form of a tail and...um...well, picture a female animal’s torso, and you get the idea. And also? Practice safe sex. Viruses get passed when you don’t, even lycanthropy. And none of this sacrifices the psychological horror present in the movie or truly tense final showdown between a werewolf and the human sister trying to save her.

There have been some lengthy essays written on the movie, much more detailed and academic than my quick review here, but it all boils down to: horror fans tired of the usual clich├ęs and sexualized violence against women, you need to check this film out. (Bonus: any Orphan Black fans? You need to see Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed for a young Tatiana Maslany.)

So what’s your favourite werewolf movie?

Now on to the GIVEAWAY. (ONLY for US & Canada (due to the movie being Blu-Ray and the regions of Blu-Ray's and shipping costs over seas). The prizes are listed below. Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Thanks, Skyla!

- DVD/Blu-Ray combo of Ginger Snaps
- River poster print
- River tote bag
- wolf charm bookmark
- River postcard
- wolf charm necklace
- Animal Speak pocket guide version by Ted Andrews

The Rafflecopter code is:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buy RIVER  Amazon | B&N | Smashwords | iTunes | All RomanceAuthor's Site

You can read the first seven chapters of RIVER now at: http://skyladawncameron.com/river/

Links to Find Skyla:
Twitter: @SkylaDawn
Site/Blog: SkylaDawnCameron.com
Facebook: Skyla Dawn Cameron
Book Design: indigo chick designs