Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sam I Am by Heather Killough-Walden

Seventeen year-old Logan Wright has always turned to the make-believe world of her written words to escape the pain of her real life. Through her writing, she lives vicariously, creating gorgeous but dangerous male characters who hunt down, and fight for, their chosen mates. For a vice, it's a safe one. Normally.
However, this is October.
The moon is full, the cemetery is filled with mists, and the misspoken words of an ages-old spell have released an ancient force. It is shapeless - nameless. Until it happens upon the words of a beautiful young bard and takes the wickedly handsome form of one of her creations.
Now Logan finds herself the object of desire for a boy who appears to be everything she ever dreamed of. Sam Hain is tall, strong, and gorgeous. He wants her; there’s no denying that. So, what’s the problem?
Sam’s kisses come with sharp teeth – and a dark promise.
Logan, her friends, and her long-time crush must band together in order to save her from the force they unwittingly awakened. They have one month. And it’s going to be a long one.

Imogen's Review
Seventeen-year-old Logan Wright uses writing as an escape from her troubled family life into a make-believe world where her heroes are always perfect. On paper at least. When the Prince of Death is presented with a portal into Logan's world, he, through her stories, takes on a persona created by her imagination. And, of course, this creation, Sam Hain, is besotted with her and wants to make her his bride and carry her back with him to his world.

Heather Killough-Walden takes on a captivating and exciting ride. Her characters are well fleshed and likable. My only issue with the story was toward the end. *****SPOILER ALERT*****: After the Halloween dance, Sam Hain is apparently sent back through the portal and everything is back to normal again. Logan's bite marks disappear. All the people Sam murdered come to life again etc. However, we then find out that he is not been sent through after all. He has, in fact, possessed another student. So I wondered how everything got back to "normal" in that case? I am hoping that will be explained in book two, which I look forward to reading.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Free Fridays - 4/29/11

Check out the latest books offered for free on Amazon Kindle.

(prices are subject to change, so please check that the price is still at zero before one-clicking)

Summer 1792. Our favourite adventurer, Cat Royal, is sailing home from the Caribbean in the company of Billy Shepherd. They stumble into a mystery in the Azores involving stargazers, thieves and far too many wasps. A novella free to download.– A wonderful short novel by the prize winning author of The Diamond of Drury Lane series – perfect for girls aged 9 and above!

Hancock's intriguing Arena [BKL Ap 15 02] drew a great deal of praise for the originality and starkness of its alternative universe. In The Light of Eidon, she begins a fantasy series called Legends of the Guardian King that is more clearly a Christian allegory but is so crisscrossed with subplots and deceit that exactly where the light of Eidon shines may baffle the reader. It certainly baffles young Abramm Kalladorne, Hancock's hero. He is the little-valued fifth son of the king of Kiriath, a vivid kingdom that seems a bit like medieval England, with a bit of ancient Rome. Abramm is drawn to the religious life, but after eight years as a novitiate, he discovers that his spiritual leader is a fraud and that the true path to Eidon's light lies elsewhere. But upon leaving the monastery, he finds himself in the middle of court intrigues, and his brothers sell him into slavery in a faraway, barbarous land. For a while, Hancock's novel seems like a gladitorial epic, but then Eidon, or Jesus, makes his truths known. A great battle ensues, but victory is not complete and many questions remain. Readers will certainly return for the second installment.

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

Fallen From Grace A Bonus Dark Mirror Short Story

Allarde, a gorgeous, wealthy noble has hidden his true nature. Discover his diary and witness his sudden fall from grace.

And don’t miss Dark Mirror, on sale now.

Turned at dark A Bonus Shadow Falls Short Story

Independent and strong-willed Della Tsang did not believe in ghosts, until she sees her dead cousin in a dark alley. She did not believe in vampires, until she turns into one. Should she follow her vampire cousin’s lead and walk away from everything she knows, or join Shadow Falls, a camp for special teens.

Don’t miss the first book in the Shadow Falls series, Born at Midnight, on sale March 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Breakout Books has received a Stylish Blogger Award. A big thank you to Karen Wojcik Berner. Karen has been a writer/editor for 25 years, ten of which were spent in editing trade publications. A two-time Folio Magazine “Ozzie Award for Excellence in Magazine Editorial and Design” winner, her work also has appeared in The Chicago Tribune and countless regional newspapers. She has bachelor's degrees in English and communication arts and sciences. A Whisper to a Scream is her first novel. To learn more about Karen, please visit her website, Bibliophilic Blather .

For this award, I have to share seven things about myself, so here goes.

1. My favorite author is Steve Alten. We have emailed back and forth several times, which I consider to be a great honor. He is a really nice guy.

2. The only sport I like to watch on television is Nascar. And yes, I do consider it a sport.

3. My husband recently bought me a motorcycle which I will be learning to ride very soon. (probably within the next few days) We will be riding out to Sturgis together this year.

4. My mother was my best friend and I will miss her terribly. I'm pretty sure that when I say I had the best mother in the world, it's not just because I'm biased. She really was the best.

5. I have never had a speeding ticket in my entire life.

6. I think my home state of SD is the prettiest place on earth. (OK, with this, I am probably biased. LOL)

7. My favorite place to eat is Fusa. I love the walnut chicken and the coconut bubble tea.

Now, I pass the Stylish Blogger Award to the following blogs.

1. J.C. Phelps Blogspot

2. Two Ends of the Pen

3. Kip Poe's Blogspot

4. Spalding's Racket

5. Mindful Musings

6. Book Chat

7. Up Authors

Character Interview: Kiernan Kane from The Dragon's Eye

BB: Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself.

KK: My name is Kiernan Kane. I am a wandering minstrel, and I have seen much of the world. I have sung in palaces and in marketplaces, for kings and commoners. I have a flair for the dramatic, and enjoy amusing people and making them laugh. I am in love with a wizardess, and although I believe she loves me in return, she refuses to admit it because she fears that she would be forced to watch me grow old and die while she stayed young and beautiful. However, there is more to me than meets the eye.

BB: What role do you play in your book?

KK: I play the role of a minstrel. I tell stories, sing songs, and get swept up in an adventure with the other characters almost through complete chance. Or at least, that is what they all believe...

BB: How did you meet your author?

KK: I was introduced to my author through inspiration she received from a song by Gordon Lightfoot called “Minstrel of the Dawn.” It inspired in her a desire to have a seemingly amusing, nonsensical character who was something of a troubadour, but ended up being far more than that in later books.

BB: Do you get along with your author?

KK: We get along very well. However, I annoy her constantly by popping up in places where she did not intend for me to be yet, or by doing things she did not plan to have me do. I am the character that most often “writes himself” in her books. However, while she claims to be exasperated with me over this, I think she secretly enjoys the fact that I do some of the work for her!

BB: Is this your first role in a publication?

KK: Yes.

BB: Do you plan on returning in other books?

KK: I do. And I have. I show up in the Prequel to this book, “Dawn of the Dragon’s Eye” and play an integral role in the two sequels, “Twilight of the Dragon’s Eye” and “The Minstrel.”

BB: Do you like how you were written? 

KK: I love it. I am acrobatic, fun-loving, hilarious and much deeper than I seem. Throughout the quadrilogy, I constantly get to annoy Brant (one of the other main characters) and he is often very close to furious with me... which I find to be great fun, and very useful. He is the sort of person who must do things because it is in his character to do them, and not because anyone tells him to.

BB: What is the most interesting thing that happened to you in this book?

KK: That is a difficult question to answer. I would have to say that the most interesting thing was the battle between Llycaelon and Aom-igh, and getting to witness first-hand the duel that ended the battle. But in addition to that, I got to travel with the Princess of Aom-igh, meet the last remaining wizardesses in the world, saw dragons return to the surface of Aom-igh after centuries of living below ground in great tunnels, and saw a king abdicate his throne to a young hero. There was plenty to keep me entertained throughout my journey.

BB: Who is your favorite character in your book, besides yourself? Why?

KK: I would have to say Brant. He is the main character in this series, and while I do annoy him constantly, there is a brotherhood of shared experiences and mutual respect that grows between us throughout the series. I even get invited to his wedding in the third book!

BB: Is there anything we should know about you that we haven't been told in your book?

KK: I am not just a minstrel. But other than that, I can’t tell you anything that wouldn’t ruin the surprise at the end of the series.

BB: How do you feel about the way your story ended?

KK: I am very satisfied with the way my story ends. I feel that it wraps up very nicely, and though there are struggles and tragedies and sorrows along the way, I do enjoy a story that ends well.

BB: Thank you for your time, Kiernan! If you would like to find out more about Kiernan, check out The Dragon's Eye by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt.

Book Description: Ages ago, when Aom-igh was threatened by darkness, the dragons granted a powerful gift to King Llian. However, fearing that it would fall into evil hands when he died, the king hid the gift and it has lain undisturbed for half a millennia. Now Aom-igh is in danger again, and it is up to the Princess Kamarie; her eccentric maid, Darby; and the squire Oraeyn to seek out a way to save their kingdom. Their journey will take them far from home and close to danger, but if they succeed, they will join two worlds together.

One Dollar Wednesdays - 4/27/11

At a time when society conforms to the strictest rules and most proper etiquette, sixteen-year-old Camille Kennecott and her guardian, Dr. Bennett, live a most unconventional life. They hunt werewolves.

When unwitting victim, Nathaniel Strider, wanders into one of their full moon pursuits, Camille and Dr. Bennett believe they have found a specimen for their study. Finding a scientific key to unlocking the mystery of lycanthropy would end their late night excursions. Yet beneath the irresistible exterior, Nathaniel is transforming into a flesh-tearing monster, and as each experiment fails, Camille loses another inch of her soul to him. In a month’s time, she must face the prospect of destroying the boy who has stolen her heart.

From New York Times bestselling author Michael Prescott comes RIPTIDE, a powerful new novel of psychological suspense.

Jennifer Silence reads between the lines. A psycholinguistic analyst, she studies documents written by murderers, teasing out hidden clues. But nothing in her life has prepared her for the document that is now in her hands. A leather-bound diary from a crumbling crypt.

The diary of Jack the Ripper.

If it is genuine, it suggests a troubling connection between Jennifer's family and history's most infamous serial killer. A connection that may explain her father's suicide ... and her brother's mental illness. A connection that may implicate her brother in a new rash of killings, and prove that the Ripper's spirit still prowls dark streets and alleys, taking lives ...

And the next victim may be Jennifer herself.

“It’s not easy to find a book that has it all: Love, Danger, Mystery, Romance, Sorrow, Happiness…I could go on and on, the point is that you can name any number of emotions or aspects that makes up a great book and Dead People has it!” – Evie, Paromantasy

"The story is entertaining, eye-widening, edge-your-seat thrilling and belly-laugh funny.” -Lis, Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

When Cassie Taylor talks, ghosts listen. She wants to heal their souls so they can leave earth. Brooding songwriter Luke Rivers wants to give his recently found daughter a normal home, but he discovers his new house in small town Wisconsin is haunted by a ghost with an attitude. Cassie has an attitude too — even before someone tries to kill her.

He wants conventional; she wants acceptance. No wonder she thinks men are hard and dead people are easy.

Twenty years ago, Susan Archer witnessed the brutal murder of her beloved twin brother.

Now, the murderer, Devin McCree, has returned. Although Devin is a “Deathwalker,” Susan soon discovers that he is not the monster she has feared for so long.

Leaving her old life behind, she joins Devin on his run from a crazed former-Nazi vampire hunter. Unwilling to let his love disappear, Michael soon follows.

Can Michael save Susan? Does she even need or want to be saved?

“Darklands: A Vampire’s Tale” is a violent tale of survival, bloodlust , and two people trying to hang on to the last shreds of their humanity, while teetering on the edge of immortality.

“Darklands: A Vampire’s Tale” is the first volume in the Darklands Vampire series.

When tall, dark, and mysterious Chaseyn Lear arrives in the small town of Evergreen, Colorado, high school senior Lia Jameson’s life is turned upside-down. An unexpected twist of fate unravels a long-time family curse that puts Lia in the center of a supernatural drama and threatens her life.

School teacher, Flora Owens thought she had the perfect life. Comfortable with being the least exciting, most organised and most predictable friend anyone could ever have, Flora was content until the morning she discovered her knickers had been stolen from the line again. She should have known it was an omen.

Now, the positive chi of her ordered world is in tatters. The Principal has broken his leg and been replaced by a man she thought she would never see again, a man she felt an instant and electric attraction to. The parents are complaining and her colleagues are behaving oddly. IN fact, she's so far in lust with her new boss she can't even think and it's doing very odd things to her behaviour as well. Things she would rather not contemplate.

Stalkers, saucy love affairs and a mild case of OCD.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Faustine by Imogen Rose

Who is Faustine? When Faustine Spencer was five years old, she discovered a secret that changed her life forever. At twelve, her parents sent her to Bonfire Academy in Switzerland to ensure that she received the training needed to control her increasing powers. Three years later, Faustine returns to Manhattan. All she wants is to be a typical teenager, at least, one that's part of the in-crowd at her Upper East Side High School. When drop-dead gorgeous Ryker, her long-time crush from the Academy, finally notices her, she couldn't be happier. However, her desire for a normal life is shattered when her father, a prominent sovereign, disappears after naming her as his successor. Her siblings begin to disappear, and Faustine finds herself in the midst of a power struggle. With her life in danger, Faustine must learn to follow one of Bonfire Academy's most important rules: Trust no one.

About the Author: Imogen Rose is the author of the bestselling YA series, the Portal Chronicles. She was born in a small town in Sweden and moved to London in her twenties. After obtaining a PhD in immunology from Imperial College, she moved with her family to New Jersey, where she's been based for the past ten years.
For as long as she can remember, Imogen has dreamt stories. Stories that continued from night to night, from dream to dream. So, even as a child, going to bed was never an issue, just an anticipation of the story to come.
Portal, Imogen's first novel, would have remained in her imagination, to be shared only with her daughter, Lauren, had her eight-year-old not insisted that she write it down. In the course of a month, Imogen typed while Lauren waited eagerly by the printer for the pages to appear, and a novel took shape.
The warm reception Portal received encouraged her to continue with the story and the Portal Chronicles. Book two (Equilibrium) and book three (Quantum) are now available. Book four, Momentum, will be available this summer. Faustine is Imogen's first book in her new series, the Bonfire Chronicles.
Imogen is a self-confessed Hermès addict who enjoys shopping, traveling, watching movies and playing with her dog, Tallulah.

Dawn's Review: I don't know how she does it, but Imogen outdoes herself which each new book. Faustine is, by far, my favorite IR book so far. I can begin to describe how much I loved it. It was very different from the Portal series, but in a good way. I loved the whole concept, and can't wait for the rest of the series.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Author Interview: Katherine Gilraine

Katherine is the author of the Index series.

BB: Tell us what made you decide to write this particular story.

KG: If there's anything that fascinates me, it's how people interact. There is a lot of psychology to various situations and no two people are affected alike. Combined with my love of all things adventurous and mysterious, I couldn't help but ask myself, what would happen if I were to set my characters into these otherworldly places, and have them go through and grow as people within those places and situations.

BB: Was it difficult to write, or did it all come to you at once?

KG: It's a series, and a work in progress at all times as such. But I will say, every installment comes by itself. I set an arc, and I think of my characters' personalities. I let them drive the story, and before I know it, I have a word count!

BB: How did you come up with your character names?

KG: Randomly, honestly... Some names I hear, and twist them up a bit to adopt to a character. Others, I ask suggestions from friends, and others I toss out on a forum for the participants to name.

BB: Do you prefer to write one genre or do you like to bounce around genres?

KG: I blend crime-investigation and urban fantasy for the most part, and I stay within it.

BB: Do you write the same genre that you prefer to read? If not, why?

KG: Kind of, but not quite. My reading list is mostly history lately, and I love thrillers. Urban fantasy I read from time to time, but lately I'm on a Tudor history kick.

BB: How does your family feel about your writing? Friends?

KG: My friends are absolutely amazing when it comes to my writing! Every November, come NaNoWriMo, they expect me to hole up and look forward to me pinging them for opinions on the new plotlines.

BB: What is the craziest thing you've done to promote your book? Did it work?

KG: I wrote the next installment at a jazz show! And yes, it worked. The artists and fellow attendees alike would ask me what I was doing, and before I knew it, I had people asking me where they can get a copy.

BB: Have you been compared to any other authors? Do you agree with the comparison?

KG: I was compared, very erroneously, to Stephenie Meyer, because I have a vampiric character. I completely disagree, because not only does the genre doesn't come close, but I base my characters' skills and abilities on Celtic and Pagan legends, as opposed to a dream as in her case.

BB: Do you enjoy fanmail? If so, where do you prefer to get your fanmail?

KG: I do, and I prefer it via email. It actually allows me to get back to my readers! (Katherine can be reached at or visit her site at

BB: Why should we read your book?

KG: You know, of all the questions to answer, this is never an easy one for an author. :) But, to be frank, my story should be read because it contains something that everyone can relate to. Questions of friendships, loyalty, which decision to make, which action to take - all those questions that define us as people are questions that my characters ask of themselves. We grow as people, and so do they - just on other planets and with abilities that humans only dream about.

BB: Thanks for your time Katherine. We enjoyed talking to you.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Being Light by Helen Smith

When Roy Travers doesn’t come home his wife begins to suspect he has been abducted by aliens, and she enlists the help of a private detective to find him. But Roy was not taken by aliens. The truth is far stranger.

Imogen's Review

When Roy Travers floats away in a bouncy castle and then wakes up in the care of a stranger, he assumes that he has died and gone to heaven. His wife, Sheila, assumes that aliens have abducted him. So, in addition to taking to wearing aluminum wrapping at the tip of her ears (to ensure that she makes herself available to any extraterrestrial messages) she also enlists the help of a private investigator, Alison (from Alison Wonderland), to help her track him down.

Helen Smith takes on an amusing journey into the minds of her absurd, colorful characters. This is a fun read that kept me on my toes. This is not a book I felt I could put down and then easily pick up again, simply because of the POV changes. The voice changed often and sometimes unexpectedly, from paragraph to paragraph. So, I read it in two sittings and enjoyed it immensely.

About Helen Smith

Helen Smith is a member of the Society of Authors and the Writers Guild of Great Britain. She traveled the world when her daughter was small, doing all sorts of strange jobs to support them both - from cleaning motels to working as a magician's assistant - before returning to live in London where she wrote her first novel, which was published by Gollancz (an imprint of the Hachette Group). She writes novels, children's books, poetry, plays and screenplays and was the recipient of an Arts Council of England Award. She's a long-term supporter of the Medical Foundation for the Victims of Torture and mentors members of an exiled writers group to help them tell their stories.

She is currently under commission to write a play in 2011 and has a pilot for a TV series in development. She's also working on a new novel. She likes knitting but she doesn't like driving. She likes dancing.




Friday, April 22, 2011

Free Fridays - 4/22/11

Check out the latest books offered for free on Amazon Kindle. (prices are subject to change, so please check that the price is still at zero before one-clicking)

Meet Lawson. A cynical, wise-cracking vampire charged with protecting the Balance between vampires and humans, he is part cop, part spy, and part commando -- a James Bond with fangs. Lawson mixes shrewd cunning with unmatched lethality to get his job done. He tries his best to dismantle conspiracies, dispatch bad guys, and live long enough to get home. This time, Lawson has been given an easy assignment, a “dead drop.” That is until an old enemy returns…

When Jack Brenin finds a golden acorn lying in the grass, little does he know that it is the beginning of a thrilling and magical adventure. Just an ordinary boy, Jack has been chosen for a hugely important task, and enters a world he believed only existed in legend. Full of twists and turns, talking ravens and mischievous Spriggans, 'The Golden Acorn' is a hugely entertaining and exciting tale from a very talented new author. Your kids will love it, and so will you! This brilliant story deservedly won the Brit Writers' Awards 2010 for unpublished writers and has now been published by Infinite Ideas. The much awaited sequel 'Glasruhen Gate' is out this February.

There are rules for dealing with ghosts. Too bad Ree Hutchins doesn't know them. When her favorite patient at a private mental hospital passes away, psychology student Ree Hutchins mourns the elderly woman's death. But more unsettling is her growing suspicion that something unnatural is shadowing her. Amateur ghost hunter Hayden Priest believes Ree is being haunted. Even Amelia Gray, known in Charleston as The Graveyard Queen, senses a gathering darkness. Driven by a force she doesn't understand, Ree is compelled to uncover an old secret and put abandoned souls to rest—before she is locked away forever....
Every year, professor of antiquities Jack Hawthorne looks forward to the winter break as a time to hide away from his responsibilities. Even if just for a week or two. But this year, his plans are derailed when he's offered almost a blank check from a man chasing a rumor. Billionaire Gordon Reese thinks he knows where the bones of the prophet Elisha are--bones that in the Old Testament brought the dead back to life. A born skeptic, Jack doesn't think much of the assignment but he could use the money, so he takes the first step on a chase for the legendary bones that will take him to the very ends of the earth. But he's not alone. Joined with a fiery colleague, Esperanza Habilla, they soon discover clues to a shadowy organization whose long-held secrets have been protected . . . at all costs. As their lives are threatened again and again, the real race is to uncover the truth before those chasing them hunt them down.

Orphaned sisters Christy and May Williams have chosen very different paths after the sudden death of their parents 15 years earlier. Christy retreats into alcohol and abusive relationships, while younger sister May tries her hand at running a ranch. When the death of a close relative brings the two estranged sisters together, internal pain resurfaces that cannot be ignored by either one. Slowly, amid violence and false accusations, Christy moves toward May, emotionally and spiritually, as both young women discover the possibility of second chances.

The story you are about to read features James Enge’s wondrous character, Morlock Ambrosius. Morlock is a swordsman, an exile, a hunchback, a drunk, and a wizard, though he himself would use the term “Maker” and say he is a master of the two arts, Seeing and Making. James Enge’s tales of Morlock the Maker have appeared in Black Gate magazine, in the anthology Swords & Dark Magic, and elsewhere, and Morlock features in the novels Blood of Ambrose, This Crooked Way, and The Wolf Age. In honor of this burgeoning Morlock fan base, and to commemorate The Wolf Age’s status as Pyr’s one-hundredth title, Pyr is issuing a free, exclusive, ePub novelette called “Travellers' Rest.” Featuring a cover by artist Chuck Lukacs, “Travellers' Rest” is an 8,500 word original novelette, written for Pyr, which takes place before the events of Blood of Ambrose. Enge describes “Traveller's Rest” as “a story that's been trying to chew its way out of my head for a while now, and this seemed like a good time to release it as an introduction to Morlock. Also, Morlock’s apprentice Wyrth has a small but discerning fan base, and ‘Traveller's Rest’ gives them a chance to encounter him again.”If you are new to Morlock, it should make a fine introduction to Enge’s creation, and if you are not, you will be pleased to see the return of at least one old friend. Either way, we hope that you enjoy it.The story you are about to read features James Enge’s wondrous character, Morlock Ambrosius. Morlock is a swordsman, an exile, a hunchback, a drunk, and a wizard, though he himself would use the term “Maker” and say he is a master of the two arts, Seeing and Making. James Enge’s tales of Morlock the Maker have appeared in Black Gate magazine, in the anthology Swords & Dark Magic, and elsewhere, and Morlock features in the novels Blood of Ambrose, This Crooked Way, and The Wolf Age. In honor of this burgeoning Morlock fan base, and to commemorate The Wolf Age’s status as Pyr’s one-hundredth title, Pyr is issuing a free, exclusive, ePub novelette called “Travellers' Rest.” Featuring a cover by artist Chuck Lukacs, “Travellers' Rest” is an 8,500 word original novelette, written for Pyr, which takes place before the events of Blood of Ambrose. Enge describes “Traveller's Rest” as “a story that's been trying to chew its way out of my head for a while now, and this seemed like a good time to release it as an introduction to Morlock. Also, Morlock’s apprentice Wyrth has a small but discerning fan base, and ‘Traveller's Rest’ gives them a chance to encounter him again.”If you are new to Morlock, it should make a fine introduction to Enge’s creation, and if you are not, you will be pleased to see the return of at least one old friend. Either way, we hope that you enjoy it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Island Life by William Meikle

An archaeological expedition is intent on opening an old barrow on a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides despite the reservations of the locals, who all know and fear the old stories. The scientists unleash a colony of murderous monsters from deep under the earth. As the released creatures swamp the island, slaughtering livestock and people alike, the humans must band together to combat it with few resources save their courage and wits.

About the Author: I'm Willie, a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with ten novels published in the genre press and over 200 short story credits in thirteen countries, the author of the ongoing Midnight Eye series among others. My work has appeared in a number of professional anthologies.

My current best seller is THE INVASION, a sci-fi alien invasion tale with mass carnage, plucky survivors, and last minute rescues. It has been as high as #2 in the Kindle > science fiction charts. (and #4 in Kindle > horror ). Please check it out.

I've been asked many times why I write what I do. I choose to write mainly at the pulpy end of the market, populating my stories with monsters, myths, men who like a drink and a smoke, and more monsters. People who like this sort of thing like it.

I've also been criticised for it by people who don't get it. Willie Meikle is..."the author of the most cliched, derivative drivel imaginable...the critical acclaim he receives from his peers is virtually non-existent." is only one of the responses I've had.

Now, I don't write for the critical acclaim of my peers. I couldn't give a toss what other writers think of me. I'm writing for two reasons... myself and a readership. Posterity, if there is one, can decide on whether it's any good or not. Besides, the harder I work at it making my writing accessible, the more readers I get, so I'm doing something right.

But that's still not why I do it. My pat answer has always been the same. "I like monsters."

But it goes deeper than that.

I write to escape.

I grew up on a West of Scotland council estate in a town where you were either unemployed or working in the steelworks, and sometimes both. Many of the townspeople led hard, miserable lifes of quiet, and sometimes not so quiet desperation. I was relatively lucky in that both my parents worked, but I spent a lot of time alone or at my grandparent's house.

My Granddad was housebound, and a voracious reader. I got the habit from him, and through him I discovered the Pan Books of Horror and Lovecraft, but I also discovered westerns, science fiction, war novels and the likes of Mickey Spillane, Ed McBain, Alistair MacLean, Dennis Wheatley, Nigel Tranter, Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov. When you mix all that together with DC Comics, Tarzan, Gerry Anderson and Dr Who then, later on, Hammer and Universal movies on the BBC, you can see how the pulp became embedded in my psyche.

When I was at school these books and my guitar were all that kept me sane in a town that was going downhill fast. The steelworks shut and employment got worse. I -could- have started writing about that, but why bother? All I had to do was walk outside and I'd get it slapped in my face. That horror was all too real.

So I took up my pen and wrote. At first it was song lyrics, designed (mostly unsuccessfully) to get me closer to girls.

I tried my hand at a few short stories but had no confidence in them and hid them away. And that was that for many years.

I didn't get the urge again until I was past thirty and trapped in a very boring job. My home town had continued to stagnate and, unless I wanted to spend my whole life drinking (something I was actively considering at the time), returning there wasn't an option.

As I said before, I write to escape.

My brain needed something, and writing gave it what was required. That point, back nearly twenty years ago, was like switching on an engine, one that has been running steadily ever since.

And most of the time, the things that engine chooses to give me to write are very pulpy.

I think you have to have grown up with pulp to -get- it. A lot of writers have been told that pulp=bad plotting and that you have to have deep psychological insight in your work for it to be valid. They've also been told that pulp=bad writing, and they believe it. Whereas I remember the joy I got from early Moorcock, from Mickey Spillane and further back, A E Merritt and H Rider Haggard. I'd love to have a chance to write a Tarzan, John Carter, Allan Quartermain, Mike Hammer or Conan novel, whereas a lot of writers I know would sniff and turn their noses up at the very thought of it.

I write to escape.

I haven't managed it yet, but I'm working on it

Dawn's Review:
I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved this book. It was gripping right from the beginning and held on until the end. I loved the way William sprinkled the backstory throughout the book, giving us an inside look at the bad guys. But just enough without taking away the mystery and fear they evoked. Which is of course what I loved most about it. Horror. My favorite genre. This was the first book I read by William Meikle, but I can assure you it won't be the last.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One Dollar Wednesdays - 4/20/11

Nicole Baxter has always tried to control every element of her life, but that control is slipping away. She has issues. Abandonment issues. Marital issues. Conception issues. And she thinks her house in the hills is haunted. It doesn't help that her husband Truman spleunks and climbs, making her worry more with each adventure he takes. As the two grow apart, Nicole makes decisions that may ultimately shatter her fragile marriage. Her life changes on the afternoon she receives a phone call from the harbor. During a scuba dive, Truman disappears. No one -- not his diving instructor, not the Coast Guard -- can find him. Is he still alive? Or is grief making her believe the impossible?

A man learns a painful and valuable lesson... one finger at a time. An old couple bickers over disgusting leftovers. Kids go ignored when they tell their parents about the horrors that lurk in their bedrooms, until it's too late... LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES is a collection of 25 100-word shorts that range from darkly comic to downright terrifying and wrong. Some shorts feature ghouls and monsters while others are simply about people behaving very, very badly. Which is scarier? Find out in this sick and twisted collection. They may only be a few words long, but that doesn't lessen the bloodshed any... A sinister puppet finally makes a new friend. A man learns about his bleak future. A killer has another painful lesson to teach. From the author of LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES comes this terrifying and amusing follow-up. 30 100-word shorts about horrible ghouls, monsters and deranged, bloodthirsty lunatics. In these drabbles, you'll run into kid-hungry goblins, sadistic dolls, zombies and psychopaths who believe that violence can solve just about anything. Disgusting, creepy and darkly comic, LESSONS II: ANOTHER MORBID DRABBLE COLLECTION is bound to entertain, as well as horrify. There's always time for another lesson... Features bonus story by David McAfee, from his horror collection DEVIL MUSIC AND 18 OTHER STORIES.
Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Moon has been dreaming of her murder her entire life, and in those dreams, a dark presence is there, watching. When she returns home to Hauser’s Landing, the very place her father disappeared, she comes in contact with a gorgeous boy named Lev Walker, and it’s not long before she’s falling in love. But there’s something wrong with Lev. When she realizes he’s the eerie watcher in her dreams, she’ll have to discover the truth. Is he a guardian angel or a sojourner, an angel of death who has come to collect her soul? Book One of the Sojourner Series

To Harvey Doyle, law-abiding vampire and civil servant, Christmas represents no more than an inconvenient disruption of his routine. When he receives a nearly-dead elf during the office gift exchange, he discovers the true meaning of disruption. Bowe Winderowe, elven assassin and convicted felon, has been ordered to serve the remainder of her sentence dressed as Santa’s slutty little helper. Her condemners, required to offer her a chance at redemption, claim they’ll revoke the execution order if she can awaken the Christmas spirit in the saddest excuse for a bloodsucker she’s ever seen. Since Bowe doesn’t believe in death-averting Christmas miracles any more than Harvey does, she’s determined to spend her final twenty-four hours teaching him how to live… whether he likes it or not.

A murder by beheading sends Alice Harte, reluctant real estate broker for thugs, running into the arms of Nigel Channing, a charming British con man. This comedy mystery, the first in a series of criminally funny fables, is set in Miami and London. Fans of Stephanie Plum will cheer for Alice as she watches her back in attempting to keep her head, while being stalked by Nigel's daft ex-wife and inept, but dangerous mobsters. Alice's world is filled with memorable characters strangely reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. She's guided through her dangerous adventure by her own Cheshire Cat. Nigel, a chubby John Cleese with serious dress-code problems, whisks Alice to England. Alice sees him as her White Rabbit rescuer. The plot trips along at a cracking pace with Alice flinging zingers like a drive-by shooter. After Alice discovers a gangster's freshly beheaded body in his Miami mansion, she launches a desperate self-defense in a kangaroo court. The main witness against her is Algy Green, a bumbling cockney swindler who super-glues his bat wing ears to his head and commits perjury for theme park tickets. But in the middle of the trial a small piece of evidence opens her eyes.

Seventeen-year-old Alice Bonham's life feels out of control after she meets Jack. With his fondness for pink Chuck Taylors and New Wave hits aside, Jack's unlike anyone she's ever met. Then she meets his brother, Peter. His eyes pierce through her, and she can barely breathe when he's around. Even though he can't stand the sight of her, she's drawn to him. But falling for two very different guys isn't even the worst of her problems. Jack and Peter are vampires, and Alice finds herself caught between love and her own blood...

Character Interviews: Vyktor Petrov of Reining In

Author Name: Dawn Judd

Book Title: Reining In

BB: Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself.

VP: My name is Vyktor Petrov. I am a vampire. I've spent the last few hundred years tracking down the vampire that killed my wife and unborn child. She will pay for what she did.

BB: What role do you play in your book?

VP: Apparently I'm the bad guy. I don't get it. I'm the one that was wronged. Why do I have to be the bad guy?

BB: How did you meet your author?

VP: I think she thought me up while looking for a scapegoat. Really. I mean, why did she think everyone would hate me after what happened to me?

BB: Do you get along with your author?

VP: Are you kidding? You should see the things she does to me. My life sucks because of her.

BB: Is this your first role in a publication?

VP: I guess. Supposedly there's supposed to be a prequel, so I suppose I'll make an appearance there. But I don't know. I'm pretty put out with how this one went.

BB: Do you plan on returning in other books?

VP: Well that would be kind of difficult since she killed me off in this one, wouldn't it? But you know, even death can't keep me from exacting my revenge. Mark my words.

BB: Do you like how you were written?

VP: Not even a little bit. I'm not really a bad guy. I just want the people who took my family away to pay for it. Why is that so wrong?

BB: What is the most interesting thing that happened to you in this book?

VP: Besides dying? I suppose going to Egypt was pretty interesting. Although nobody tells you about my trip. Kicked to the backburner as usual.

BB: Who is your favorite character in your book, besides yourself? Why?

VP: Claire. For many reasons. She's good to me. She would never betray me like other people I know. She tells me things; things about the future. I feel like she would do anything to protect me.

BB: Is there anything we should know about you that we haven't been told in your book?

VP: Besides the fact that I'm not as evil as everyone makes me out to be? No, not really.

BB: How do you feel about the way your story ended?

VP: HA. I lost my head. How would you feel? You people are sick. I'm outta here.

BB: Well then. It was "nice" getting to know more about you Vyktor. To learn more about Vyktor and his family secrets, check out Reining In.

Book Description: Khalida is a five thousand year old vampire. As technology and national security become more prominent, it becomes harder and harder for her to hide her secret from the world. In order to remain undetected by humans, she creates a network of people whose only job is to hide her identity. But these aren't just any group of people. They are the best of the best, brought to her by chance; tied to her by a bond stronger than any she's ever known before. Being discovered by the human world isn't Khalida's only concern, however. She has made enemies in the vampire world. When she makes a mistake that exposes her to those who want to take revenge on her, she is tossed into a whirlwind of death and destruction. She has to find out who is killing the humans who have become her family, and save those who remain. Khalida has spent her entire life trying to protect the people she loves, but ultimately, she will have to decide between the ghosts of her past and the people who have put their lives on the line for her. Her decision may haunt her for the rest of her life.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Free Fridays 4/15/11

Check out the latest books offered for free on Amazon Kindle.

(prices are subject to change, so please check that the price is still at zero before one-clicking)

The death of a fellow NCIS agent in North Carolina leads Will Coburn and his special team of naval crime-scene investigators to discover a drug-and-arms smuggling ring. The investigation leads them to a U.S. military base in South Korea. When a body is stolen from a crime scene, the team discovers that their suspect is not who he seems. Nuclear weapons have gone missing, and it's a race against time as the NCIS team uncovers the true face of evil.

Passion turns to envy. Love to murder. One way or another, everyone is spoilt. A sadistic killer is stalking the streets, carving his hatred into the bodies of beautiful, young women. The murders are stirring up bad memories for Detective Lucas Huson, as he struggles to remain focused - juggling the horrors of today with horrors from the past. When Chelsea Summerville's best friend goes missing, she's unwillingly dragged into the race to stop the killer. As Lucas and Chelsea find happiness together, Chelsea becomes the hunted rather than the hunter. Can Lucas shake off his demons and save the woman he loves, or will everything he holds dear be spoilt?

Two is trapped: hooked on heroin, held as property, forced to sell her body to feed the addiction. Time brings her ever closer to what seems an inevitable death and Two waits, uncaring, longing only for the next fix. That’s when Theroen arrives, beckoning to his Ferrari and grinning his inscrutable grin. He is handsome. Confident. Eager to help lift her out of the life that’s grinding her down. The only problem? Theroen is a vampire. His blood can cure her addiction, grant her powers she has never had, change her forever into something greater than she was. But when he sinks his teeth into her neck, Theroen also thrusts Two into a world of danger, violence, madness and despair. The powerful, twisted elder Abraham will use her arrival to shatter the uneasy peace that exists in his mansion, bringing an end to the dark game he has been playing for centuries.
Remember the twin golden rules of hitchhiking? # 1: Don't go hitchhiking, because the driver who picks you up could be certifiably crazy. # 2: Don't pick up hitchhikers, because the traveler you pick up could be raving nutcase. So what if, on some dark, isolated road, Crazy #1 offered a ride to Nutcase #2? When two of the most twisted minds in the world of horror fiction face off, the result is SERIAL, a terrifying tale of hitchhiking gone terribly wrong. Like a deeply twisted version of an "After School Special," SERIAL is the single most persuasive public service announcement on the hazards of free car rides. Beyond a thrilling piece of horrifying suspense, SERIAL is also a groundbreaking experiment in literary collaboration. Kilborn wrote the first part. Crouch wrote the second. And they wrote the third together over email in 100-word exchanges, not aware of each other's opening section. All bets were off, and may the best psycho win.

New York City is in the grasp of a deadly, unseen enemy. At least unseen by normal society. Lieutenant Jess Vandermire, New York City police officer, is uniquely specialized to recognize and fight this threat. It’s her job to forge a black ops team, an assortment of men and women who wouldn’t be considered for the job under normal circumstances. But these aren’t normal circumstances. The team has to be tough and, if need be, expendable. Jess understands what she’s fighting and what’s at stake. For her, it’s all about retribution until ex-cop John Brittain is recruited to her team. Suddenly, her priorities aren’t quite so easily definable. John Brittain has a chip on his shoulder and is as tough as they come. But is he ready for the whole truth? That combating “super” vampires whose primal need for blood and the addictive drug “Sunshine” is only the beginning of their problems? And when Jess tells him the truth about herself, will he stay and fight or will he turn against her and not only threaten their lives but destroy the fragile relationship developing between them?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Character Interviews: Gilbert Rochambeau of In the Eye of the Beholder

BB: Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself.

GR: My name is Gilbert Rochambeau; I'm from the Camargue, in the south of France. The Camargue is famous for its white horses and black bulls, both of which I know something about.

BB: What role do you play in your book?

GR: I start out as valet to Francois Delacroix, but eventually become majordomo for his cousin, Claire Delacroix.

BB: How did you meet your author?

GR: I started out as a minor character in the story, but I would not be quiet and so she wrote more about me.

BB: Do you get along with your author?

GR: I think she has a crush on me.

BB: Is this your first role in a publication?

GR: Yes.

BB: Do you plan on returning in other books?

GR: I will be back in the sequel, "In The Eye of The Storm."

BB: Do you like how you were written?

GR: Yes; I wound up being much more brave than I thought I would be.

BB: What is the most interesting thing that happened to you in this book?

GR: Moving from Paris to London, where I learn a great deal about myself.

BB: Who is your favorite character in your book, besides yourself? Why?

GR: Claire. I am in love with her, but no one can know; she is married to Erik LeMaitre.

BB: Is there anything we should know about you that we haven't been told in your book?

GR: My leg was injured in a freak accident while I was out riding on our family's cattle ranch. That is why I walk with a cane.

BB: How do you feel about the way your story ended?

GR: Optimistic, because there is more to come.

BB: Thank you Gilbert. Hope to hear more about you soon.

To learn more about Gilbert Rochambeau check out In the Eye of the Beholder by Sharon E. Cathcart.

Book Description: When French equestrian Claire Delacroix loses her fiancé in a tragic accident, she comes to live at the Paris Opera during its 1890s heyday. Life is not easy for a woman in fin de siècle France, where her rights are determined by a male guardian. Claire, both intelligent and independent, chafes under the strictures of her time. Whilst working at the opera, she meets a mysterious, masked stranger: Erik. Is it possible that the two of them will heal the pain of each other's past?

One Dollar Wednesdays - 4/13/11

After being forced to kill her own son, Khalida begins to spiral into a deep depression. With Jake gone and the Network in danger of falling apart, she runs away from Mack and everyone else she loves, hoping that they will be safer without her near. However, Fate has something else in mind for Khalida, and soon she learns that Vyktor had a secret that he was keeping from her. His secret becomes her chance at redemption. But atonement doesn't come without a price. She will have to risk everything to find the answers to the mysterious events surrounding her. Has Vyktor come back from the dead to exact his revenge? The only way to find out is for Khalida to face her fears. She must fight the monster that haunts her and save the one person that holds the key to her past. Rae Wilder has problems.... Supernatural creatures swarm the earth, and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Stalked by a handsome fairy who claims she is like him, demonkind, Rae thinks maybe it was a mistake breaking the rules by going over the Wall into demon territory. Plunged into a world of dark magics, fierce creatures, and ritual sacrifice, she is charged with a guarding a magical amulet. The changes to her mind and body are startling, but rather than accept her purpose she struggles against who she is destined to be. Throw in a big lust for a vampire who can't keep his hands off her, and life starts to get complicated. Rae is forced to make the ultimate choice: to live and die human, or embrace her birth-right and wield magics that could turn her into something wicked, a force of nature nothing can control. Young Adult: British English (BrE) Over fifty million people died when the Spanish Flu swept the globe in 1918. The virus attacked the young and healthy, dealing a crippling blow to a world still reeling from the horrors of the First World War. It wormed its way into communities large and small, killing mercilessly, before abruptly vanishing without a trace in the summer of 1920. That was then. In 2005, scientists completed sequencing the genetic code of the Spanish Flu. The following year, they infected monkeys with a reanimated strain of the very same virus. The monkeys exhibited classic symptoms of the 1918 Spanish Flu. Then they died. This is now. In the course of a routine transfer between government facilities, a team of ruthless mercenaries intercepts a supply of a highly engineered Spanish Flu virus. Gage Mercer, the future son in law of a deranged billionaire, finds himself drawn into a plot to trigger the extinction of the human race through a deliberate release of the virus. This could be the future. Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae's busy, but orderly life as a Maryland lawyer takes a chaotic turn when two clients are accused of murder. A poor, black girl is accused of killing her mother. A young man suspected of embezzlement is accused of murdering his boss. The cases collide in a bizarre way involving girl gangs and computer pornography. Sam ventures into the heart of DC's suburban ghettos to find answers. A maniacal killer who'll do anything to hide them stalks her. After a nearly disastrous confrontation, Sam must do business on the run. As the body count grows, Sam races to learn the truth and clear her clients before she becomes the next victim.
A power kept secret for 2000 years. A brotherhood broken by murder. A woman who stands to lose everything. When Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, the Apostles took stones from his tomb as a symbol of their brotherhood. At Pentecost, the fire of the Holy Spirit empowered the stones and the Apostles performed miracles in God’s name throughout the Empire. Forged in the fire and blood of the Christian martyrs, the Pentecost stones were handed down through generations of Keepers who kept their power and locations secret. Until now. The Keepers are being murdered, the stones stolen by those who would use them for evil in a world transformed by religious fundamentalism. Oxford University psychologist Morgan Sierra is forced into the search when her sister and niece are held hostage. She is helped by Jake Timber from the mysterious ARKANE, a British government agency specializing in paranormal and religious experience. From ancient Christian sites in Spain, Italy and Israel to the far reaches of Iran and Tunisia, Morgan and Jake must track down the stones through the myths of the early church in a race against time before a new Pentecost is summoned, this time powered by the fire of evil.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Books Under a Dollar - 4/12/11

Hollowland - the first book in the young adult dystopian series The Hollows.. "This is the way the world ends - not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door." Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way - not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies. This is a young adult title with some language, violence, and mild sexual situations recommended for ages sixteen and up. When high school student Derrick Booker, the only black student at a posh Orange County high school, is accused of killing his white girlfriend, ex-college football hero and detective Jim Knighthorse is hired to dig a little deeper into the murder. It doesn't take long for Knighthorse to realize that not all is as it seems at tranquil Huntington High, from a band director who preys on the innocent to a vice-principal with a secret agenda of her own. Not to mention someone's hired a professional killer to keep Knighthorse permanently off the case. As the investigation continues, Knighthorse's personal life is shattered by the discovery of new evidence relating to his mother's unsolved murder, a murder dating back twenty years. Reeling from the discovery, a determined Jim Knighthorse sets out to bring two killers to justice.
“We vampires are focused and tend to shape our own realities.” My name is Katrina Rawlings, and I am a vampire. I declare that with neither pride nor ego. I am simply nature’s most dangerous predator. On occasion, it’s a very valuable quality. It helped me protect Caleb Taylor one day when he was very young. But that single, traumatic day is behind him now; wiped from his memory, or so I hope. Caleb has finally matured into a rather striking young man, and believe me, I like what I see. I’ll readily admit that there are issues for us to confront and overcome, though a sense of mutual commitment isn’t one of them. I’m feeling hopeful for our future together, in fact. But an adversary from my past has returned to haunt me, and she’s trying to get back at me through Caleb. That was her first...and last...mistake. I’ll protect my Caleb at all costs, and I’ll make her regret the day she was born. So, I suppose that I’m not just a vampire. I’m about to become someone’s worst nightmare!
Becoming a vampire is easy. Living with the condition... that's the hard part. Alyssa was having the worst day of her life: she just lost her job, her friend ditched her, and while walking home, she was brutally mugged. Beaten, bloody, and moments from death, she thought her life was over, but this was only the beginning. Rescued by the most unlikely hero, Lysander, a two thousand year old vampire, Alyssa is initiated into a frightening, eternally dark world she never knew existed. Stricken with cravings of blood, and forced leave behind all she knew, Alyssa is struggling with the change. And Lysander, her sexy but aloof sire, is the only one who can help guide her. There's no turning back now. It's either, Carpe Noctem, or final death.
When tall, dark, and mysterious Chaseyn Lear arrives in the small town of Evergreen, Colorado, high school senior Lia Jameson’s life is turned upside-down. An unexpected twist of fate unravels a long-time family curse that puts Lia in the center of a supernatural drama and threatens her life.

This week's featured author: Susanne Lambdin

Susanne's love for Star Trek took her to Los Angles in the late '80s. She is best known for her 'based in part' contribut...