Monthly Archives: June 2014

COYER Book Review: Jaunten

(see my main Clean Out Your eReader post)

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Jaunten, by Honor Raconteur

I had actually read this before; as I read, I kept thinking, gee, this seems awfully familiar, then I peeked ahead to the end and realized yes, I’ve read this before. Not sure how it ended up back on my Kindle marked “new”; probably from when I was having trouble with the Send to Kindle and tried de-registering and re-registering my Kindle. So I skimmed through the rest of the book just to refresh my memory, and here’s my review:

Jaunten is the story of a teenage boy, Garth, who flees from his native country, where magic is forbidden and mages and their families are put to death, to a neighboring country where he can be trained in magic. Along the way he becomes a Jaunten, one of a small group of people who have generations of accumulated knowledge passed down by blood, bonds with the only living Nreese (a unicorn-like creature), has some adventures, and eventually finds himself in the position to help other mages from his homeland.

The story starts out strong, with Garth on his journey encountering a dying man and receiving from him the powers of a Jaunten so that he can complete his journey and carry out the man’s task of delivering a message to the king. I was especially intrigued by the concept of Jaunten, families who, affected by the aftermath of a magical battle, pass all their accumulated knowledge down to their descendants, and who can also transfer their knowledge by an exchange of blood to someone unrelated to them. I also liked the idea of a boy with magical power fleeing from a land where magic is forbidden.

Things kind of bog down when the story gets into the details of daily life at magic school. I think tweens and younger teen readers (ages 8-14) who enjoy Harry Potter would like this part, but for me the conflict and forward movement in the story fell flat at this point.

The writing style, while clear and readable, is also very young for my tastes. Again, I think this is something that would appeal more to tweens and younger teens. The tense constantly shifts between past and present; the pattern seems to be that Garth’s thoughts and observations are in present tense while the action of the story is in past tense. It’s a little jarring, but I can see the sense in it.

Younger readers who like Harry Potter, and older readers who enjoy middle grade/YA and light traditional fantasy will enjoy this book. It’s the first in a long series, so if you like this book, there’s lots more to follow 🙂


Writing Progress Update

Picture I seem to have found myself caught up into the Writing Process Blog Hop again, having been tagged last week by the lovely and talented Teshelle Combs, whom I’ve featured her here a couple of times. My writing process hasn’t changed much in the time since I did this before, but I figure it’s time for a progress update.

The first major revisions on books 1-3 of Daughter of the Wildings are done and out to the test readers, and I just started on book 4. It’s taking a lot more rewriting than I thought it would. Not that the plots have changed so much, but some major issues with the magic are different, and also some character issues. Plus a lot of what I wrote was me just trying to figure out what happens next! I like to plan my stories in advance, but a lot of Daughter of the Wildings resisted any kind of advance outlining. So I’m cutting lots of stuff, and adding lots of stuff, and changing lots of stuff.

Saturday I spent working out the money system a little more. The amount of money Silas and Lainie have is an important plot point at this point; they just got a big payout for services rendered to wealthy rancher Brin Coltor (one of my favorite supporting characters in the series), and it had to be enough to make taking on the job he hired them for worth the risk. On the other hand, there’s something Silas wants to do that’s going to cost even more than they have. Balancing the money in and money out to keep it all in proportion took some sitting down and calculating. I think I’ve finally got it figured out.

So there’s that, and since it’s been a long time since I wrote anything new, I’ve decided to participate in July Camp NaNoWriMo (because I’m just not busy enough :P). My goal is 500 words a day for a total of 12,000 words for the month (not much, but should be doable on the heavy revising schedule I’m on), and my project is Tales of Azara, a set of short stories to go along with Chosen of Azara. Some readers have mentioned to me that they’d like more background on the characters in the novel and more stories from that world, so that’s what this is for.

And I’m doing COYER Summer Vacation! So when I’m not writing and revising, I’ll be reading and reviewing. Should be enough to keep me out of trouble!

This week’s other stop on the Writing Process Blog Hop is Madhuri Blaylock; go check her out!


Author Spotlight: Andrew Lamb

 

PictureToday I’m happy to welcome supernatural science fiction writer, Andrew Lamb, to the blog. (Is it Andrew who is supernatural, or his science fiction? Read on and find out!)

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
During the day, I’m a structural engineer, I run my own consultancy and have a doctorate in the subject. But at night I write supernatural and science fiction thrillers. I love the macabre and the unusual.2. When did you start writing, and why?
I’ve been seriously writing now for around 5 years but before that I wrote as a hobby really. It just seemed to stem from there. During the recession, I was out of work for three months and I returned to writing.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I enjoy mashing my favourite genres together, namely science fiction and the supernatural. I find it helps produce something a little out of the ordinary.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
I have two series, Dispatchers and the De Cavalieri series. Both have sequels in the works but Dispatchers 2 (Infinity and Oblivion) is further along in development. I have outline concepts for other novels, one of which I am hoping to get out by Christmas.


Picture5. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.

Ah, you’ve been to TwistedSpace… and you survived. Impressive. [Kyra sez: Andy’s world is indeed a strange and wonderous place!]Dispatchers is about a group of people who can Astrally Project, the difference between that and regular Out of Body Experience (OBE) is that a Dispatcher can take physical form and unleash incredible powers. The good Dispatchers have formed a secret society called Spectral, which polices and monitors all Global Dispatcher activities. Of course, there are some bad Dispatchers who use their abilities for their own ends and a group of killers, descended from Witch Hunters, who would rather Spectral simply disappears.

The main protagonist is called Marcus Townsend, who has only just discovered his abilities in Book 1. In Vengeance of the Dark, three murders are committed by a killer who has seemingly defied the laws of physics. At the same time, a terrible car crash has left Marcus Townsend practically orphaned. As he comes to terms with his loss and the mysterious skills he has begun to develop, he discovers that he may be next on the killer’s list.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Marcus is a moody teenager. Like most teenager boys, he has very little time for things that aren’t of interest to him. I had a very similar attitude to life when I was that age.

David Raymond is the detective assigned to the murders. He’s charismatic and cool, seemingly laid back but constantly scanning for clues. Alas he has a fear of hospitals which interferes with his investigations.

A fan favourite is Zach “Bax” Baxter, who is a little bit older than Marcus and a trainee Dispatcher. He’s a rogue, eager, highly skilled and, although loyal to Spectral, very difficult to control. He’s inspired by rock music and has a tendency to run into danger without thinking things through.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
I wrote this because someone said I would never write a book.

8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.
I have a blog at http://twistedspace.weebly.com/ and I can be followed on twitter @doc_lamb. My book is available now at Amazon for kindle and in paperback.


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Dispatcher Book 1: Vengeance of the Dark 

They have existed in plain sight for hundreds of years. They’ve waged wars in complete shadow and protected us from impossible horrors. Their powers are infinite, their skills are supernatural. They are virtually unstoppable. However, so are their enemies….Marcus Townsend’s life was just like any other until that fateful night. A supernatural killer was on the loose and Marcus was next on his list. The only question was why?
With the only connection between the victims being the mysterious black and red rose, Marcus finds himself in a race against time to uncover the truth before he becomes the next victim.


PictureAbout the Author:

Mysterious and slightly deranged…Andrew Lamb was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire. He spent most of his career working as an Engineer in vehicle crash safety. His area of interest is in the supernatural and science fiction and typically enjoys mashing the two together to create vivid and magnificent worlds. His debut novel Dispatchers: Vengeance of the Dark has already topped the bestselling Amazon charts in the Astral Projection and Horror categories.

He holds a Doctorate in Engineering from Cranfield University and a degree in Aerospace Engineering from Kingston. He currently resides in Derby with his wife.


New Cover for Cure for Nel, and Sneak Peeks

So last night as I was procrastinating, er, taking a breather from revisions on The Rancher’s Daughter, I decided to fool around with making a new cover for A Cure for Nel, and Other Stories. I’ve never been very happy with the old cover. The landscape art I used didn’t say much about the stories in the collection, and the title was hard to read. I had a piece of stock art I’d thought about using for Sarya’s Song but ended up with the great cover by Design by Katt instead, and it kind of made me think of Leya from “A Cure for Nel,” so I put it through Photoshop Elements and here’s what I came up with:

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Art (photomanipulation of woman): Branislav Ostojic dreamstime.com
I think it came out kind of pretty 🙂

The collection is only 99 cents at all the ebook outlets I sell through. If the cheap price and pretty new cover aren’t enough to entice you to give it a try, here are some sneak peeks from each of the three stories in the collection.

“The Peach Tree”

The Wise Woman was silent. Her eyes were hidden by her hair, but Sula could feel her critical gaze as she judged Sula’s pain and longing. “What would you do to gain what you want?” the Wise Woman asked.

“I’d do anything! Anything at all, just to have one chance.”

“Then go home. I expect rain tomorrow. Come back when rivulets start running in the street.”

“I’ll be here.” Sula hesitated. “What is the price?”

The Wise Woman pursed her lips thoughtfully. “Whatever you think the result will be worth, dear.”

“You Can’t Take It With You”

“Quiet, everyone!” Girda yelled. “You’re all being stupid. It wouldn’t bring very much money if we sold it, even on the black market.” She pinned Giorgi with a hard stare. “And none of us knows how to use it except Aric. If he can do with it what Uncle Morgi did, he’ll make us all as rich—as rich as we’ve ever dreamed of being!”

Aunt, uncle, and cousins looked at Aric again, their expressions more kindly now. He fidgeted and ran a hand through his orange hair, making it stand straight up. “Uncle Morgi did tell me I could have it when he was finished with it. But I don’t—”

“Oh, show us what you can do with it!” squealed Yirna, Giorgi’s wife. The others added their encouragement. Aric didn’t want to, but Uncle Morgi had promised it to him. If he showed himself to be skillful enough with it, he might be allowed to keep it. He went over to the small cabinet where Morgi had always kept his treasure, opened the door, and stared in disbelief. Then he turned around, trying to think of how to break the news. “It doesn’t matter who gets it if it’s missing.”

“A Cure for Nel”

Leya left the window and sat on the edge of the bed. “Maybe the wizards know a cure.”

Sulila shrugged. “Who am I to say what the wizards know? Maybe they do have a cure for this. But I’ve never heard of a wizard leaving his tower and coming out to the middle of nowhere to help the daughter of a village weaver.”

“I know one who will.”

Elena looked up at her. “Leya, surely you aren’t thinking—”

“I am.”

“Arn abandoned you with a baby four years ago, and you haven’t had a word from him since. What makes you think he’ll help you now?”

“He has to, Mother. He owes Nel and me at least that much.”

“Leya, listen,” the witch said. “It’s pointless. You’re only making this harder for yourself. Nel will die by morning. It would take you a week to reach Ferin, who knows how long to convince Arn to help you, if he has any help to give, if he’s even at the School there which you don’t even know for sure, and then another week to return. A dead child can’t be helped, not even by a wizard.”

“I have to try. I can’t just sit here and wait for her to die. If you can find some way to keep Nel alive, I’ll do my best to find help for her.”

The witch fidgeted, and suddenly wouldn’t meet Leya’s eyes.

Leya’s voice dropped. “I’ve heard rumors there’s a way.”


A Cure for Nel, and Other Stories is available at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple | Kobo | OmniLit
Smashwords  | DriveThruFiction

#Luckyseven Snippet – The Rancher’s Daughter

Picture Here’s something fun – I’ve been tagged by Isabella Norse to play #LuckySeven Snippet. Here’s how it works: In your current manuscript, go to page 7 (or 77), count seven lines down, and post the next seven lines. Then tag seven other writers to play along!

So here’s my seven lines, from The Rancher’s Daughter (adjusted to make complete sentences) [note: Silas is left-handed. I don’t know why; he just is]:

* * *
He itched to have it out with Storts, but getting in a gunfight with someone who appeared to be one of the town’s wealthiest citizens was not a good way to lay low. And he didn’t want Lainie to get caught in the middle of a shootout. He wrapped his left arm around her shoulders, as much to keep his hand away from his gun as to comfort her.

“Damn it.” Lainie’s voice was muffled by her arms. “He cheated! Everyone would have noticed if he’d played the Fire Dragon that early in the game! I would have noticed! How stupid does he think I am?”

* * *

Hm, who to tag now? How about T.F., D.A., M.H., A.L., Zoe, Lauren, and Mindy! (None of them know I’m tagging them; it’ll be as much a surprise to them as it is to me!)


Father’s Day Special: Prince Eruz

Last year for Father’s Day, I wrote a tribute to my amazing dad. This year, since the role of fathers is so essential and yet so often undervalued and overlooked, I want to emphasize the importance of fathers in my own writing with this sneak peek look at one of my characters who is a father, Prince Eruz from Urdaisunia:

Picture A FEW DAYS after that, Eruz sent for Rashali to meet him in the gardens again. This time, the prince brought his young daughter, Mizalilu, with him; he explained that the child’s mother was awaiting the birth of a new baby and had little attention to spare for her. Rashali watched the little girl run along the garden paths, and pictured her own daughter in Mizalilu’s place. Fresh grief squeezed her heart. “My Lalana was the same age,” she said without thinking.

The prince was silent for a moment, also watching Mizalilu. “How do you survive such a loss?”

She shrugged, wishing she hadn’t said anything. “Along the rivers, so many children die, it’s only to be expected. Still, you hope that you’ll be the lucky one, that your child will be spared… And when she dies anyway, you either die too, or you live on. I chose to live on.” To destroy the Sazars who caused her death, she added in her mind, but didn’t say out loud.

Mizalilu had brought a sack of raisins with her. She ran ahead, tossing raisins on the ground while Luzak the peacock trotted after her, gobbling the treats. Eruz and Rashali followed, keeping the little girl in sight. “I told my father that moving the Urdai away from the stretch of the Uz the Kai-Kalle want might be more complicated than we thought,” Eruz said. “I didn’t tell him that the Urdai would fight, only that there would be considerable difficulties involved in relocating such a large number of people.”

“Did he decide against it?”

“He only said that we may have no choice, but he’ll wait to take action until the Kai-Kalle’s and the Sanghs’ intentions become clearer. I did tell him that I hoped to persuade you to convince the villagers to cooperate.”

“I suppose you can tell him that.” Not that she would ever agree to do such a thing, but letting him tell the king that she might seemed like a harmless concession.

Mizalilu had run ahead and now came back to them. The bag of raisins had been discarded somewhere along the way, and the child’s small fists were now filled with flowers and pebbles. Rashali watched the little girl’s shining dark eyes and smooth, flushed amber cheeks as she showed her father her treasures. The prince’s worries and burdens seemed to fall away as he squatted in front of his daughter, admiring the things she had found and replying to her babble. This was yet another odd thing—that a Sazar nobleman who needed a son as an heir would love a daughter so openly and completely.

They walked on in silence, along one of the ponds that dotted the Jewel. Mizalilu ran around to the other side of the pond, and stood there throwing her pebbles into the water and laughing at the splashes they made.


Author Spotlight: Lauren Algeo

 

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Today I’m pleased to introduce you to author Lauren Algeo:

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: Hi, my name’s Lauren and I’m a twenty-eight year old graphic designer from London, England. I currently write part-time on my commute to work and at weekends but would love to write full-time one day. I’m obsessed with books and films, particularly anything horror-related.

Q: When did you start writing, and why?
A: I started writing when I was young, mainly just short stories, but I’d always wanted to write a novel. I love reading  and it was my dream to see my own book alongside all the others on my bookcase.

Q: What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
A: I mainly write horror as it’s my favourite genre.I love anything scary! My favourite author is Stephen King and I love watching TV shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story.


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Q: What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
A: I published the first part of the Hikers trilogy, Hikers – Part One: Power in January 2013, followed by the second part, Part Two: Passion, in December 2013. The third book, Part Three: Politics, will be available late 2014. I’ll be releasing a prequel/accompanying book to the trilogy, Brewer’s Journal, next month.

Q: A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
A: My boyfriend is a cardiac nurse and I made him answer some very strange questions during my research for Hikers Part One and Two! I also got restricted from the internet several times too.

Q: Blog/site link, and where your book is available.
Here are my Amazon and social media links:
Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Hikers:

It starts slowly. Merely a faint scratch in a deep part of your mind. A whispered word, little more than a sigh. But it gets louder, until the voice inside is all you can hear; manipulating, seducing, consuming. Then it’s time.

Three years ago Scott Brewer had everything: a beautiful wife, a successful career as a Detective Inspector, a nice house. Then two pivotal events changed his life forever. First, he lost his wife Karen to a brain tumour, then he lost his mind to a hiker. A member of a family of supernatural assassins he now spends his days hunting and trying unsuccessfully to kill.

A mass shooting at Waterloo station brings Brewer back to London, and to the hiker who nearly killed him. He manages to save a young girl from suicide at the will of his mind-controlling enemy and reluctantly allows her to join him on his mission. Georgie Duncan is a moody teenager with a turbulent past, sharp tongue and her fair share of tragedy. They form an unlikely friendship and must learn to work together to find a method of killing the seemingly invincible hikers.

Their journey takes them across the country, and perilously close to danger, as they move ever nearer to their final battle – defeating the most powerful hiker of all, the Grand.


Sumerian Influences on Urdaisunia

(This is an old post from my main site, updated and refreshed to celebrate Urdaisunia’s new cover.)

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When I first started writing Urdaisunia back in the early 90s, I was interested in really really ancient civilizations. I also wanted to write something that wasn’t in the usual medieval-European-influenced fantasy setting. Ancient Sumeria fit the bill perfectly. It’s so old it makes Ancient Greece and Rome look like whippersnappers, and had a rich and influential culture and level of development. The physical setting (read about my fascination with desert settings here) offered a lot of possibiities for conflict, and I also found the Sumerian pantheon and mythology fascinating. And then there was the idea of a great and ancient civilization falling into ruin, which is also full of possible stories. We didn’t have the internet back then, or at least not in its current form, where you can find out anything about anything with just a few clicks, but we do have it now, so here are some links to things that have inspired Urdaisunia.

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The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has a long-term exhibit called Iraq’s Ancient Past with a lot of pictures and information about Sumeria and the archaeological work that has been done on the sites there. The headress of Queen Puabi, which inspired the headdress of Shairu-Az in Urdaisunia, is the third picture down. Here is more about Queen Puabi, including a video of some museum workers dressing a mannequin in the headdress and jeweled cloak that were found on Puabi’s remains in her tomb. Also on the Penn Museum site is a feature where you can make your name in cuneiform. The picture on this post is my last name the way the Sumerians would have written it.

You can see more of Queen Puabi’s headdress and jewelry at Sumerian Shakespeare. The site also has images and translations of Sumerian writings.

The International World History Project has an extensive section devoted to Sumeria. You can read a rundown of the gods and goddesses, a summary of Sumerian history and culture, and a section of the creation myth which gives a sampling of the divine soap opera the gods and goddesses had going on (a major influence on Urdaisunia!).

And, of course, we have to have ziggurats. The first and third pictures were particularly influential in how I envisioned the Royal Palace and the Temple of Ar at Zir.

A few more odds and ends: some ancient ships, and some Bronze Age swords. In Urdaisunia, these are the swords the Urdai used before the Conquest; the Sazars’ swords are a new model and were inspired by Japanese katana.

Urdaisunia was only loosely inspired by Sumeria, so don’t look to the novel for any kind of historical accuracy. But it was a fun world to play in, and I’ll probably go back to it someday.

Finally, let me leave you with a musical tribute to the ancient world:


Urdaisunia is available from:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple | Kobo | OmniLit
Smashwords | CreateSpace | DriveThruFiction

Author Spotlight: Zoe Dawson

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Today I’m pleased to host author Zoe Dawson, who writes a little bit of everything!

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I live in Raleigh, NC but I’m originally from Burlington, Vermont, but the winters were much too cold, so I’ve been moving my way south. I lived in Fairfax, Virginia for 18 years before moving to Raleigh 8 years ago. I work a full-time job while writing on my off hours. I also enjoy watercolor painting and gaming. I have two grown daughters who are the best things I ever did and will ever do in my life.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I started writing historicals which I loved to read and was influenced by the book The Sheik which my grandmother gave me. She was a huge Rudolph Valentino fan. I have been published since 1996, but have been writing since 1980. I started writing my own contemporary suspense stories because I couldn’t find what I enjoyed reading.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I write in several genres:

Romantic Comedy
I have seven books out in my Going to the Dogs series and one more to complete with Going to the Dogs 2 series planned to begin in 2015. These books are based on the friendship in Sex and the City with four friends who met at a dog park. They’re light mysteries and include each of the heroine’s and hero’s dogs incorporated into the main storyline. I love writing romantic comedy because I basically have a lame sense of humor and it really translates into good comedy, sometimes even slapstick which has been quite fun.

New Adult Contemporary
I have three books in the new adult genre. One is a standalone Christmas novella. The other two are the first two books in my A Perfect Secret Series with the third book out this summer. They’re set in the bayou in Louisiana, include three hot triplets brothers, and are mysteries. I love writing this angsty coming of age romantic drama stuff. I also really discovered that I love writing in first person.

Syfy/Fantasy
The debut of my Urban Fantasy series, The Starbuck Chronicles begins a heroine-centric journey. I also have a serial and a four-book paranormal romance series planned in this world. I’m also planning two three-book series in Syfy. I have always felt that my writing was lyrical and I have to curb that in my contemporaries, but in the syfy/fantasy genre, I can let my poetic mind free rein. I also thoroughly enjoy the totally awesome experience of worldbuilding. I’ve always loved magic and love writing about how it works and how it affects a character’s life. For syfy, I am a space geek. Loved Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate Atlantis, and Firefly. I can’t get enough space drama and when it’s mixed with romance…so deliciously yummy!

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
I am working on A Perfect Dilemma that is slated for a summer release. It’s the third book in my A Perfect Secrets series – Three perfect girls, three perfect secrets, one unholy trinity. I will have my last  wedding and honeymoon novella, Captured, the eighth book and wrap up of my first Going to the Dogs series. And another new adult contemporary, Sk8er Boy, that begins a new series out in the fall with a robust 2015 writing schedule continuing series and beginning new ones.

5. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
Reality was fractured by a rogue mage who used runic magic. Once this happened portals to other realms opened and supernatural beings flooded the Earth plane. Now humans have to learn to co-exist with supernaturals where reality is broken and video games leak monsters into the night, characters walk off the pages of books, demons roam, thirsting for more than just blood, people are not who or what they seem and a diabolical evil plots and plans to devour the world.


Picture 6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Lily Starbuck – She is the main protagonist and has no memory of her past. She woke up three years ago and while working as a waitress met her Kitchen Witches partner, Olivia Vesta. She’s a witch, but has mostly honed her magic skills in the kitchen. What I love about her is her determination and grit. She does what she has to do for her own principles.

Nock Whisk – a cantankerous gnome sidekick who loves to be sarcastic, contrary and often goes invisible on her. What I love about Nock is his affection for Lily and his glee in pushing her buttons. He would do just about anything for her.

Talon Sunstrike – The lead agent from the Fairy Dust Administration (FDA) who is investigating Lily’s catering partner in the use of illegal dust. What I like about Talon is his passionate dedication to protecting his people and the human population. He’s devoted his very long life to it and he’s as sexy as hell.

Rayne Parrish – The tough Otherworlder Security (OS) warden that Lily meets and saves her life. She then works with her team. Rayne is a shapeshifter and part of a mysterious race that is a small part of the population. What I like about her is her direct, no-nonsense attitude and kick-butt personality.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
The Starbuck Chronicles came to me in a dream. I got the idea, woke up, and wrote a 22 page synopsis. It was great.

The Starbuck Chronicles:
The fine thread between reality and the fantastical has snapped. The mortal and supernatural must learn to co-exist in post-reality Minneapolis/St. Paul where video games leak monsters into the night, demons roam, thirsting for more than just blood, people are not who or what they seem and a diabolical evil plots and plans to devour the world.

Book 1 – AfterLife:
In this world gone mad……Lily’s biggest challenge is to survive.

Lily Starbuck, kick-ass witch caterer, knows that a day that starts with blood on the horizon is a terrible omen. The day goes downhill from there when a grumpy werewolf refuses to pay his catering bill, her partner cleaned out their bank accounts, and Lily finds her murdered in their kitchen. To make matters worse, the Fairy Dust Administration (FDA) is sniffing around. Fae dust hounds hot on her partner’s trail for dealing in illegal dust now turn their attention to her. Their sexy Fae leader takes a particular interest in her and is hard to shake.

Heartbroken, flat broke and with her very livelihood in jeopardy, she discovers that the formidable Otherworlder Security (O.S.) is being tampered with. With no active investigation and a missing body, she has no choice but to discover who killed her partner. Her only backup is a cantankerous gnome who delights in going invisible on her. Clues lead her to an open case being investigated by a tough O.S. warden shapeshifter. It seems a rogue mage has created a video game that is unwarded and game monsters are being released to terrorize the human and supernatural citizens of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Trouble is Lily has reason to believe that this mage killed her partner. Looks like Lily will have to make a deal with a vamp devil and battle wits with the Twin Cities most powerful leader all in the name of justice.

AfterLife is available at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | itunes

Find Zoe Dawson at:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Goodreads | Newsletter


Urdaisunia Cover Reveal and Sneak Peek!

I am so excited! After more than a year, I decided it was time for my first novel, Urdaisunia, to have a cover refresh. I love the picture on the original cover, but I felt like it doesn’t do much to convey what the story is about. So I asked Mominur Rahman, who did the Daughter of the Wildings covers, to do a new cover for Urdaisunia, and I love what he came up with!Here’s the full wrap-around illustration, without text:

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Mominur Rahman me-illuminated.deviantart.com
And here’s the ebook version, with text:
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Mominur Rahman me-illuminated.deviantart.com
The paperback edition is uploaded and awaiting file approval, the ebook version will roll out across the various retailers over the next few days or so.And to celebrate the new cover, here’s a sneak peek into Urdaisunia for the Weekend Sneak Peek! After being parted from Rashali under difficult circumstances, Eruz finds her in a Scorpion Nest (group of Urdai rebels) that’s about to be raided by the Sazars:

“If I can save this Nest, that might make up for the lives I took there. And now that I know you’re part of it—” He pulled her into his arms again. “No matter what else happens,” he said against her hair, “if you’re safe, then that’s something that’s right with the world.”

He was her enemy; he was the man who had sacrificed part of his soul to try to protect her people. And now he was endangering himself to bring her this warning. Rashali pushed back a rush of emotion that made her want to lose herself in his arms and forget everything else. “I’ll warn Kefel, or try to. In truth, he only hears what he wants to hear. Now let me warn you—That drunken Sazar by the bar is one of your uncle’s spies. I knew you, even with the salik. If he recognized you, and notices that we’ve both left the tavern…”

Eruz’s back stiffened. “Damn. He came in right after me—he must have followed me in. I have to get back to Zir before my father hears about this.” He pulled away from her just enough to close his hand around the dolphin pendant that lay against the bodice of her dress. He spoke softly, then breathed on the pendant, briefly fogging the silver. “If ever you need to contact me, for any reason, hold onto that and think of me, then send your message. Be careful not to let anyone else get hold of it, or find out what it is.”

She believed it would work; she had seen him use Sazar magic. “Can you contact me, too?”

“No. The token has to be prepared by the person it’s meant to contact. It’s not difficult to make one, but I don’t have time to teach you now.” Still holding the pendant, he bent his head down and kissed her deeply, hungrily, as though he was a starving man and she was his banquet. The world around them disappeared, and Rashali clung to him, the only solid, real thing she knew.

Too soon, he pulled away from her. “I have to leave now. The gods watch over you.”

For more Sneak Peeks, visit the Sneak Peek Sunday blog.

Urdaisunia is available at:
Amazon
| Barnes & Noble | Apple
Smashwords
| CreateSpace | OmniLit
and coming soon to Kobo and DriveThruFiction