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Within Ash and Stardust by Chani Lynn Feener Blog Tour – Author Interview

About the Book

Having gone from kidnapped faux princess to the legitimate heir to an intergalactic throne, an impulsive, sarcastic teen must take charge of her own destiny in this epic YA novel.

On Earth, Delaney is a normal teenager who recently graduated high school with a fantastic best friend and a loving boyfriend.

But Delaney isn’t on Earth. She’s on Xenith, a war-torn planet half a galaxy away. Originally mistaken for an alien princess, Delaney has gone from kidnapped imposter to the recognized heir to an alien throne. Oh, and she’s engaged to the prince of an enemy nation whose ruthless father is on the warpath.

Torn between two planets, two fates, and two loves, Delaney is finally ready to choose her own destiny in Within Ash and Stardust, the stunning conclusion to Chani Lynn Feener’s Xenith Trilogy.



Praise for the Xenith Trilogy:
“A thoughtful, sexy adventure with winning characters just begging for a bedtime read.” —VOYA on Amid Stars and Darkness

“Feener’s world-building is excellent, and readers will feel engulfed in the culture, politics, and technology. The romance between Delaney and Ruckus develops slowly and satisfyingly. Give to fans of Melissa Landers’s Alienated and Ally Condie’s Matched.” —School Library Journal on Amid Stars and Darkness

“This debut makes for fun, fluffy reading.” —Booklist on Amid Stars and Darkness

“[A] pulse-pounding adventure.” —Booklist on Between Frost and Fury

Interview

What authors and/or books inspired your writing?

There are a lot of authors who inspire me, and keep me interested in writing. Whenever I read a good book I feel excited about the whole process and immediately want to go write something, so really I’d say most authors make that list. A few of my favorites, that are always instant buys for me, are Maggie Stiefvater and Marissa Marr.

What is your ideal writing setting (at a desk, outside, with tea/coffee, etc)?

I like to work at my desk with coffee. Always coffee. My desk is set up so that everything I might need last minute is in reaching distance—highlighters, extra pens, notebooks filled with notes on past projects, etc.—and I collaged the walls with pictures and stuff that I like and inspires me, so it’s the best place for me to work. When I’m surrounded by things I enjoy, it’s easier for me to focus. I also get easily distracted elsewhere; like if I tried working in the school library or the local coffee shop, I’d get so distracted by all of the people and people watching.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

I have two methods. The first is to take a break and let my mind wander to something else. A lot of the time this helps. Getting burned out happens to everyone, so it’s good to give yourself a break and try not to overthink it for a time. Typically I’ll watch a movie or a TV show, or maybe draw or listen to music. If it’s really bad, I’ll plan a trip to the bookstore or the aquarium to refresh and hopefully gain new inspiration. If this doesn’t work, I’ll switch to method two, which is attempting to power through it. Sometimes forcing myself to just sit and write despite not feeling inspired eventually leads to good material. I’ll almost always need to delete and rewrite the first few pages I get out, but eventually those bad pages lead to better writing and before I realize I’ve got my flow back.

Do you have a special connection to any of your characters?

Weirdly, I think I have a special connection with Gibus. I just…really love him? He’s always come off a bit “mad scientist” in my mind, quirky and over the top, and sometimes really annoying to have conversations with (I imagine). He’s also really loyal, and overly curious, and I’ve always loved how he lives in that gray area. I mean, he is part of the reason Delaney was in this mess in the first place—what kind of inventor doesn’t keep track of his super dangerous inventions?!—and that was after he’d already been told to scrap the project entirely. I’d love to just write a book about Gibus being Gibus. I feel like that would be a ton of fun.

How did you feel when AMID STARS AND DARKNESS was picked up by Swoon Reads?

I’m not sure elated is a strong enough word, but that’s what comes to mind first. I remember getting the email to set up the phone meeting, and not wanting to get my hopes up for what that might mean. After the conversation I literally jumped around my room like a child—it would have been super embarrassing if anyone else was home at the time. It’s a big deal, when someone comes to you and says “Hey, you know that dream you’ve had for most your life? It’s about to come true”. It was both surreal and exciting all at once.

Which book of the trilogy was the most difficult to write?

Probably the final book. There were just so many things I wanted to fit into it and wrap up, and it was difficult to do that and still keep a balance with everything. There were also a lot of major plot changes that took place between the first and final drafts, so the book was constantly morphing into something else as we worked through it—which isn’t a bad thing, it just took a lot of time. I enjoyed writing it a lot, and really like how it all ended up, but it definitely was the most difficult out of the entire trilogy.

What can we hope to see from you in the future?

So far, I have another trilogy releasing in October, this one about Unseelie Faeries. I’m still writing a lot and trying to put other projects out there, so hopefully in the years to come you’ll be seeing more of me!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

To stick with it and write. It’s really easy to put off writing because life gets busy and you’re not sure if it’ll go anywhere anyway, but don’t focus on that. You’ll never know if you don’t try. Even if the final project isn’t what you hoped for, writing a book is a big accomplishment, and if that’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you should.

 

About the Author – Chani Lynn Feener

ChaniChani Lynn Feener has wanted to be a writer since the age of ten during fifth grade story time. She majored in Creative Writing at Johnson State College in Vermont, and graduated in 2012. To pay her bills, she has worked many odd jobs, including, but not limited to, telemarketing, order picking in a warehouse, and filling ink cartridges. When she isn’t writing, she’s binging TV shows, drawing, or frequenting zoos/aquariums. Chani is also the author of teen paranormal series, the Underworld Saga, originally written under the penname Tempest C. Avery. She currently resides in Connecticut, but lives on Goodreads.com.

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Who would you take with you to travel the stars? 

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Stranger Rituals by Kali Rose Schmidt – Excerpt and Book Blitz

Stranger Rituals
Kali Rose Schmidt
Publication date: July 9th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult

A fighter with a venomous grudge.
A monster with an immortal curse.
A girl with a terrible gift.

All three out for blood in a land torn apart by harsh gods and holy wars. Each entwined with the other, on their own quests for vengeance, and yet held together by strange links to sinister pasts. As their fates unravel, a dangerous romance blooms, and violent darkness beckons.

At turns both darkly humorous and utterly morbid, STRANGER RITUALS is the startling first novel in Kali Rose Schmidt’s dark new series.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks

EXCERPT:

She swallowed, and then moved away, ducking her face from his grasp, hating how he knew her weakness so well. She rose from her knees. The Djavul stared up at her a moment, then gracefully stood to his full height.

“What did they want?” she questioned.

Vojtech smiled. “You have a job to do.”

She rolled her eyes. “I know. That’s guarding you. It’s a thrill a minute.” She gestured toward the ruined soldier beside them.

Vojtech frowned. “I actually thought you were growing bored here. No attacks in three months, only this idiot sneaking around in the desert.” He shrugged. “It seems Olofsson is losing his fear of me.”

“Good.” Scarko’s words mingled with fury. “Let him. It’ll serve our purpose for the second Holy War.” She stalked back to the Warskian soldier’s head, lifted it by the scraggly, blood-drenched hair. “So, what did the gods want?”

Vojtech watched her carefully, hands clasped before him. “You’re to go to the city of Kezda. A boy there is immune, it seems, to Vrakan abilities. You are to kill him.”

Scarko dropped the head with a thud. “What?” she hissed. “Why me? I’m your guard. Send someone else.”

Vojtech smiled. “As much as I enjoy you bossing me around, the gods are not so easily convinced.” He wiped his hands on his black robes and sighed. “This boy is a street fighter,” he wrinkled his nose, “taking on Vrakan defectives from the Warskian army. While he isn’t able to die from the usual Vrakan methods—ice, wind, fire, shadows—I think your magic could kill him. That’s why you.”

Scarko left the head on the stone floor and stalked toward the stairwell, behind the Djavul.

“I’m sure he’d die by sword just fine. Tell the gods I won’t go. A street fighter—the nerve of them…”

She made to pass Vojtech, but he snaked a hand out and gently stroked her dark blonde braid, the color of damp sand. She spun around to face him, fury in her eyes. But it was equally matched in his.

“I am the Djavul of the Order of Saints, Scarko Kadezska. You will not blasphemy our gods here. You know as well as I do that we cannot resist their orders, and we should not. They have guided me thus far.” He took a step toward her, brushed a cold finger against her cheek. “You will do this, and you will return to me.”

She stuck her tongue out at him and turned, clomping up the stairs. She heard him chuckle softly as she pushed open the doors from the dungeon, the Shadows on guard making way for her, black thread entwined in their grey cloaks, same as hers.

“Watch him,” she said unceremoniously.”

Author Bio:

Kali Rose Schmidt is an author, mother, and villain lover. She likes bloody tales of monsters, yoga with the lights off, and anything that goes bump in the night.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest




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Sky Parlor by Stephen Perkins – Book Blitz


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Sci-fi Fantasy Thriller
Date Published: June 2019
Publisher: Star Born Publishing


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From the dawn of mankind…

Through America’s Civil War and into the distant future…

Two ancient gods have made romance and waged war…

After the Great Rapture…

Will Sky Parlor become their final battlefield?



Do we ever really die? Or, do we return to live again with those we knew before? In the future, will man and machine learn to procreate?  For generations, the population of Sky Parlor has believed that, long ago, the lands beyond their domed city were made uninhabitable by the “Great Rapture”.

When young Desmond Starr is appointed Alderman for Sky Parlor’s borough of Columbia, he is guided by a benevolent spirit during a dream’s strange vision and learns a hidden truth, exposing a shocking lie that has persisted for centuries. As rumors of a vast deception spread among Sky Parlor’s population, the president and his governing “sustainability” council propose what appears to be the perfect but distracting solution: An inspiring journey to a mysterious and distant world!

But does this grand proposal mask an ulterior agenda? Will a rebellious young man discover his own fate is bound not only to Sky Parlor, but to the survival of humanity?


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About the author:

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NEW! The highly-anticipated kindle E-book release of science fiction/fantasy/supernatural/suspense/thriller Sky Parlor is now live on Amazon, with discounted print editions soon to follow later on this June! The new release promises to be a superlative edition to the growing popularity of author Stephen C. Perkins exciting, thrilling, and often controversial brand of literary fiction. After visiting amazon.com/author/stephenperkins for a complete list of his available titles, stop by for a visit and begin following the author on Twitter (Twitter.com@RAGEOFWORDS).



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Soteria by Roberto Arcoleo – Book Release

Release Date: July 5th, 2019

SENT TO EARTH TO SAVE IT, MARK AND JASON MUST UNRAVEL THE TRUTH OF THEIR MISSION BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

While on a routine transportation run, an ore hauler from the planet Eldern discovers that humans on Earth have developed nuclear capabilities. What’s more, they learn an asteroid is on a trajectory that will destroy all known life on the planet forty years in the future. The Council of Eldern decides to intervene. A plan is drawn up and twin emissaries are sent to Earth to save it.

Mark and Jason grow up and settle into Manhattan in the 1960’s. With protests, vibrant art, and a thriving music scene, the city is pulsating with energy and the future looks bright. More powers are revealed to the twins but few details about their mission are provided. As the time grows closer for them to fulfill their duty, they sense that things are not as they seem.

With the fate of both planets in the balance and time running out, can Mark and Jason unravel the truth before it is too late? 

CHECK OUT THE PAGE ON CHANDRA PRESS

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See No More by Whitney Dineen – Book Blitz

See No More
W.B. Dineen
Publication date: July 2nd 2019
Genres: Adult, Thriller

Thirty-three-year-old music therapist, Kate Randolph, is at the top of her professional game. Her life is happily on track, until she receives a phone call announcing the death of the man who abounded her when she was eight-years-old. Kate has no interest in going to her father’s funeral, but soon realizes she must confront the past to move forward.

While in Oregon, Kate discovers why her scientist/father disappeared, and what she learns will set her on a path that will change her life forever.
With her father’s good friend, Jake, she uncovers conspiracies beyond imagination. She learns of secret societies, cover-ups, and that and the planet is in jeopardy from both terrestrial and extraterrestrial threats.

With the aid of a mysterious stranger, Kate must help save the world. Can she stay alive long enough to succeed?

“Dineen writes in a sharp, lively prose that is equally comfortable rendering emotional domestic moments, flashy action sequences, and humorous observations. The premise is wonderfully mysterious and immediately gripping. An expansive thriller that satisfies every absent-father fantasy.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A thriller filled with twists, turns, and many layers that unfold in the most wonderful, unexpected ways. This book is simply awesome.” —Readers’ Favorite, 5/5 Stars

“One of the year’s best thrillers, See No More is a near-perfect blend of sci-fi and spy fiction. Credit author W.B. Dineen with creating a powerful novel about personal identity wrapped within a breathtaking thriller. Sure to please fans of both Douglas E. Richards and Daniel Silva ” —BestThrillers.com

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Oregon is the greenest state I’ve ever seen. Abundant, lush foliage carpets gentle, rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Farmland abuts forested areas. It’s breathtakingly gorgeous, and I can definitely see how someone could get lost here.

The green landscape whizzes by and hypnotizes me as my brain begins to wander. I think of my childhood in Pasadena, just off the Caltech campus. We didn’t live in opulence, but we lived comfortably. Jen and I went to the private polytechnic school down the street from our house. It was where a lot of the professors’ kids went. I don’t know how my mom was able to afford to keep sending us there after Dad left, but we spent all twelve years of our education happily ensconced within its walls.

Caltech was my playground when I was very little. My dad taught aeronautics and applied physics. In the summer, I used to run through campus and meet him in the green space in front of Beckman Laboratories for picnics. I remember lying on a blanket next to him discussing the possibility of him shrinking me some day like in the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

He used to look around all shifty-eyed before leaning toward me and whispering, “Can you keep a secret?” Of course, I always said I could. He’d respond, “I’m closing in on the technology and I should be able to do it by the end of the year! What do you think we should do with all the money we’ll make once I sell the patent to my people-shrinking machine?”

Then we’d plot what to do with our newfound riches. I wanted to spend a month at Disneyland before spending another month at Universal Studios in Orlando. Dad wanted to take my mom on a honeymoon, because they’d never gone on a real one. Then we tried to decide which house we’d buy. I had my eye on one we passed during our weekly walks to Huntington Gardens. It was a two-and-a-half story Spanish Colonial Revival with a pool. My dad joked that he wasn’t sure it would be big enough for the four of us, even though it had to be at least five times the size of our bungalow.

Memories burst through my subconscious like a storm-engorged river breaching a failing dam. As soon as one pops into my mind, at least thirty more push their way forward with unstoppable force. I’m sitting on the plaid blanket we always used for our picnics, and my dad says, “Katie, life is never what you perceive it to be.” Then I’m lying in bed and he whispers, “Believe the unbelievable. Things are never what you think they are.” Suddenly, I’m flying through the warm Southern California breeze on my bicycle, and he yells out, “Just because you think these are trees, doesn’t make them trees. Always be open to the truth. Believe in what you can’t see.”

In retrospect, it’s clear he was trying to prepare me for something. At the time I just remember thinking, Silly, Daddy, of course they’re trees. What else would they be? In my child’s eye, everything was exactly as it appeared. My dad was my rock, my mom and sister were ever-present love and comfort, the sky was blue, and life was good. Until it wasn’t.

Author Bio:

Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries — not always in that order.

Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.

She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.

Gold Medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2017.

Silver medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.

Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.

Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.

Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017

Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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Author Interview – King Everett Medlin

42937184._SY475_About the Book

If you like Star Wars, Battlefield Earth, and Forever War, you’ll love Rijel 12: The Rise of New Australia!

The remote Intergalactic Penal Colony on the planet Rijel 12 is a very profitable enterprise. Its desolate surface is an uninhabitable wasteland relentlessly scorched by its sun, but inside the planet is a vast treasure trove of the most precious resources in the galaxy.

Prisoners sentenced to Rijel 12 know it’s a one-way ticket. It used to be a convict would serve their time and come home. That stopped a while ago. Inmates are forced to work the mines in wretched conditions and the death rate is staggering. Luckily for the warden, new inmates arrive monthly to replenish the labor pool. Business has never been better.

From the darkness of their miserable existence, one prisoner decides to take a stand and begins to organize a resistance. Inmates rally to the cause and prepare for rebellion. Can the rag-tag rebels of ‘New Australia’ succeed in their quest for freedom or will the warden and the overpowering might of the Interplanetary Authority extinguish their only hope?

From new author, King Everett Medlin, comes an action-packed epic of hope, rebellion, and the quest for redemption.

Interview

What made you want to write sci-fi?
 
I grew up watching Star Trek, and loved how Roddenberry often crafted episodes to provide social commentary.  Sometimes it was part of ongoing character development, and sometimes the episode itself conveyed an important message regarding the realities of human nature.  Doing that in a futuristic setting, depicting alien characters and their interactions with humans, has proven to be the most enjoyable aspect of my writing experience – second only to researching the latest technologies and theories for interstellar travel.
 
Did you come across anything particularly interesting in your research for Rijel 12: The Rise of New Australia?
 
Oh yes!  For Rise, I studied up on volcanology in order to devise a way the Nausties could set off an explosion big enough to stop invaders from Earth.  The fun part was studying history in order to identify a precedent for this.  Good that I did, in that when I finished, it occurred to me this might lead to global climatic change.  It helped in developing a premise for the book’s sequel which I’m finishing this month.   
 
What is your ideal writing setting (i.e. outside, drinking coffee, late at night, etc)?
 
Truck stop diner or a seedy dive bar with people talking loudly (competing to be heard over the music).  Add in an electrical outlet where I can plug in my laptop; a decanter of decaf, and some low-life’s milling around in the background.  Do that and I can write for hours.  It helps in writing dialogs which replicate the way people talk in social situations.  The give-and-take I hear between bar patrons or even waitresses/customers is genuine and immediately usable.  For example, one time I heard two drunks discussing a TV commercial they saw on the bar television set.  It was an ad for the latest sci-fi horror movie and in it the announcer made a reference to Mars.  One of the drunks shook his head and muttered, “Hmmmph.  I don’t know, man.”  In response the other drunk asked, “Why … you think something’s out there?”  The first drunk then replied defiantly, “Oh, I don’t think there is – I know there is.”
 
How do you deal with writer’s block?
 
I do a “Hemingway”.  By that I mean I write down something true.  Anything.  Even if it’s got nothing to do with the book, I write it down.  Maybe a whole paragraph – regardless of the topic.  That was a tip Ernest Hemingway gave back in 1936 during an interview with Esquire magazine.  It works every time.
 
What is your go-to book to read that never lets you down?
 
The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli.  He’s so blunt; plus what he’s saying makes perfect sense once I shove aside naivety and coldly process the information.  Because he gets right to the point and what he suggests is so brutally honest, if not totally spot-on, it immediately affects my characterizations and scenario-building.  
 
What are some of your favorite writing tropes that most people usually hate?
 
Great question!  I use simile quite a lot, and I have to say I’ve gotten into the habit from reading articles and interviews with scientists explaining how something exists or functions in the universe.  It gets particularly amusing whenever I ask my wife Caroline to review one I’m especially proud of.  She’ll often get snarky and imply that it was unnecessary.  She’ll say, “Yeah, uh … I got it, thanks,” as if to indicate I should remove it from the paragraph.  I rarely do.    
 
What can we hope to see from you in the future?
 
The sequel to Rise is almost finished.  It’s called Rijel 12:  Return of Anarchy and will be out this fall.  Fans will remember how one of the pirate ships in Rise never comes back from the raid on Star Fantasy.  That ship is called the Anarchy and it is captained by Admiral Slout.  In the sequel, New Australia has changed drastically since the war with Earth.  Due to planet-wide volcanic eruptions there is now a vastly different climate up on the surface.  But that’s not all that’s changed.  Anarchy’s crew arrive home after seventeen years only to find their pirate paradise has transformed into an agrarian utopia.  Unfortunately they’ve also picked up a deadly unknown passenger during their journey through the galaxy.
 
Any advice for aspiring authors?
 
Plenty!  Organize your writing project.  Develop a process for creating the book from start to finish.  For example, when I start a new novel I first write a premise, then I develop a two to three page synopsis which includes the book’s ending.  By that I mean I write the ending for the book before beginning even the first chapter.  After that I write out synopses for each chapter through to the closing scene.  Only then do I tackle the opening.  By doing this, I already know the full story as well as the conclusion I’m working toward.  I also have a guide for each chapter to follow as I move through the book.  The next tip is work regimen.  For me that means a chapter a week, or basically 5,000 words.

About the Author – King Everett Medlin

81Y6GCynH5L._US230_King Everett Medlin has been writing since 2013, when he first developed the idea for Rijel 12. It was originally designed to be a SciFi series, with the objective of creating several short installments. Instead he got a lucky break when Chandra Press from San Diego responded favorably to the original draft, deciding to publish it as a full length novel. King lives in Denver, Colorado with his lovely wife Caroline and has two grown children. He’s a graduate of the University of Oklahoma where he played college Rugby; and remains a diehard Sooners fan to this day. His specialties are Science Fiction and Mystery/Suspense novels, focusing on unusual stories with intriguing plot-lines and amazing characters.

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What You Did by Willow Rose – Blog Tour

About the Book

Former FBI-profiler Eva Rae Thomas faces the most personal case in her career, as bestselling author Willow Rose’s new hit-series continues.

Three girls disappear on prom night at the local high school. One of them is the prom queen.

FBI profiler Eva Rae Thomas is chasing her long-lost sister when detective— and boyfriend — Matt Miller asks her to join the investigation of the three girls’ disappearance. They were last seen walking home together after the dance.

When the body of a young girl shows up in her backyard, Eva Rae knows she can no longer watch from the sidelines, and soon she realizes not only is she involved in this investigation, she’s also this killer’s target.

About the Author

The Queen of Scream aka Willow Rose is a #1 Amazon Best-selling Author and an Amazon ALL-star Author of more than 60 novels.

She writes Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense, Horror, Supernatural thrillers, and Fantasy.

Willow’s books are fast-paced, nail-biting pageturners with twists you won’t see coming. Several of her books have reached the Kindle top 10 of ALL books in the US, UK, and Canada. She has sold more than three million books.

Willow lives on Florida’s Space Coast with her husband and two daughters. When she is not writing or reading, you will find her surfing and watch the dolphins play in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee

Release Date: September 3rd 2019

This is the first of three young adult novels from New York Times best-selling author Mackenzi Lee that explores the untapped potential and duality of heroism of popular characters in the Marvel Universe.

Before the days of going toe-to-toe with the Avengers, a younger Loki is desperate to prove himself heroic and capable, while it seems everyone around him suspects him of inevitable villainy and depravity . . . except for Amora. Asgard’s resident sorceress-in-training feels like a kindred spirit-someone who values magic and knowledge, who might even see the best in him.

But when Loki and Amora cause the destruction of one of Asgard’s most prized possessions, Amora is banished to Earth, where her powers will slowly and excruciatingly fade to nothing. Without the only person who ever looked at his magic as a gift instead of a threat, Loki slips further into anguish and the shadow of his universally adored brother, Thor.

When Asgardian magic is detected in relation to a string of mysterious murders on Earth, Odin sends Loki to investigate. As he descends upon nineteenth-century London, Loki embarks on a journey that leads him to more than just a murder suspect, putting him on a path to discover the source of his power-and who he’s meant to be. 

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The Sum of All Tears by Kim Cresswell and M.K. Chester Blog Tour – Guest Post

About the Book

The Day after Tomorrow meets Mad Max, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games in this enthralling post‑apocalyptic dystopian adventure with a paranormal twist.

In the near future, after her father’s climate change experiment goes terribly wrong, twenty-two-year-old environmental studies student, August Madison, finds herself resurrected in a frozen wasteland. With most of the world’s population and food sources annihilated, depraved nomadic gangs patrol the lawless landscape as outlasters claw for survival. Even old friends become unrecognizable.

Amid the chaos, Graysen Marx, iron-fisted leader of the domed settlement Liberty, emerges from the catastrophic event with his own agenda—collecting only those who exhibit unexplained abilities. When August crosses his path, he sees an opportunity he must exploit. She sees an evil she must destroy. In a treacherous new world where anyone could be a savior or savage, August discovers her true purpose. And only the strongest will survive.

Guest Post

Where were you born/grew up at?

Kim: I was born in Etobicoke (Toronto), Ontario Canada. When I was two, my parents divorced, and we moved to London, Ontario. I’ve been here ever since.

M.K.: I was born and raised in and around Columbus, Ohio, USA, with the brief excursion to Phoenix, Arizona when I was little. I’m not sure it counts since I barely remember it.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

Kim: I enjoy reading, taking long walks to clear my mind, and spending time with my adult kids and friends.

M.K.: I like to read, watch TV and movies, the usual. As a new homeowner, I’m also finding new things to enjoy, like redecorating, gardening and birdwatching.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Kim: Funny, kind, crazy, caring, and a loyal friend.

M.K.: Sarcastic, loyal, quiet, caring, and empathetic.

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

Kim: I have always envisioned my Whitney Steel series (Reflection, Retribution, Resurrect) as movies. They are high-octane romantic thrillers and would work well as movies.

M.K.:  When I write, I usually see the story unfolding in my mind as if it were a movie, but I can honestly say that Icehaven would be the most exciting to both create and view as a movie.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Kim: My spirit animal would be an Owl, emblematic of a deep connection with wisdom and intuitive knowledge.

M.K.: My spirit animal has always been a polar bear, which represents strength and endurance as well as acceptance and surrender. I have a tattoo to represent this connection.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Kim:  I’m presently working on Invisible Truth, the second book in the thrilling Assassin Chronicles series. M.K. Chester and I will be writing Liberty, the second book in the Sum of all Tears series beginning in July.

M.K: I’m working right now on polishing the second book in the New South series, titled Ten Days.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Icehaven? 

M.K.: We wanted the characters to be relatable—they could be someone you know—who are thrown into this new world and have to find the strength to survive. Strong heroines are a must, and August is a character who shows remarkable growth through her trials. Her love interest likewise has to be able to keep up with her, while handling his own responsibilities at the same time. I always think villains are the most fun to write, and we enjoyed making our antagonist both relatable and a worthy opponent.

Where did you come up with the names in the story?

Kim: I use a random name generator and with M.K.’s input, we were able to find interesting and unique names for our characters.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Kim: What I enjoyed most about writing Icehaven is the story was very different from my other books, a completely different genre. 

M.K.: It’s different than anything I’ve written and really enjoyed getting to jump outside the romance genre.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Kim: Not at all. Icehaven is exactly the way I envisioned the story.

M.K.: Nope. There is nothing I would do differently, as the entire process built me up as a writer.

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book? 

Kim: I learned how how much I love writing dystopian fiction, and also how resilient characters can be. Very much like life, we adapt and come out stronger no matter what is thrown at us.

M.K.: I learned that mixing genres can be awesome! I loved getting a little taste of everything, from romance to post-apocalyptic fiction, very outside the box I’d been working in.

Anything specific you and M.K. Chester want to tell your readers?

We hope readers have a chance to read Icehaven. At the story’s core, the book is about duty, sacrifice, choices, and consequences. It’s an emotional blend that asks the basic questions, “What would you do?”

And thank you to our fans of the Sum of all Tears series. It’s because of you that we will continue to write new books in the series. We appreciate your support. 

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?

The candle would smell like citrus, green bamboo, patchouli, and musk. Of course, we’d call it Icehaven.

How long have you both been writing?

Kim:  For many decades. I knew I wanted to be a professional writer while working at our public library at the age of seventeen. I remember reading Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls and from that moment I wanted to be an author. It seemed like a farfetched idea back then. Life, marriage, and kids put my dream on hold until 2012 when I decided it was time to take my writing seriously. It really was now or never. With my first book, Reflection, I landed two literary agents. Since then, I’ve published over 20+ works: novels, short stories, and anthologies.

M.K: I started writing stories for my own entertainment when I was ten but didn’t get serious about things until almost twenty years later. The Internet played a big role in my growth (and it’s how Kim and I met) and I know I’d be writing whether I ever published or not. As a history geek, historical romance was a natural fit and most of my published work fits that mold. After a layoff in 2017, I was also able to use my skills as a copywriter, a role I still enjoy.

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?

Kim:  I love reading! My favorite genres are dystopian, romantic and action thrillers.

M.K.: I was a reader first and will always be a reader. I read a lot of romance, but also enjoy military fiction and historical fiction and biographies.

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?

Kim:  I usually only write one book at a time so I can focus on the characters and the story.

M.K.:  I have several projects at various stages of completion, but it’s best for me to focus on no more than two at any given time (one, if I’m being honest!).

Pen or type writer or computer?

Kim: I write on a laptop and use pen and paper if I’m stuck on a scene. I find moving away from the computer always helps me get unstuck.

M.K.: I prefer to type. I have MS and it’s affected my hands, so it’s always easier to type. I have my desktop, laptop and iPad set up for typing.

Describe your writing style.

Kim: I would describe my writing style as cinematic. My books are like watching a movie.

M.K.:  My style reflects deep narratives with redemption themes, so it often seems like getting to peer over the character’s shoulder.

What makes a good story?

Kim: What makes a great story is a solid and interesting plot, lots of action, and emotion…emotion…emotion. If I don’t feel a story, I walk away from it.

MK: Definitely emotion—but if the events don’t make sense to me, I can walk away.

What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

Kim: My writing process has always been the same. First, I write the draft back cover blurb. I can’t start a book unless I do. Then I select a title and begin plotting out each chapter, so I have a map to work with. After those are completed, I sit down and start writing the first chapter. Of course, things can change but generally, I stick with my plot outline quite closely.

M.K: The opposite of Kim’s! I often begin with a character. I know who they are and then find a situation in which they can learn and grow. I usually write straight through but will occasionally write out of sequence. I use Deb Dixon’s GMC to ensure conflict is working.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Kim: I love coming up with unique plots and characters which I do believe readers want and expect.

M.K.: Both, if it’s possible. I like to take characters who may be questionable in one way or another and make readers love them.

 

About the Authors – Kim Cresswell and M.K. Chester

Kim CresswellKim Cresswell resides in Ontario, Canada and is the bestselling and award-winning author of the action-packed WHITNEY STEEL series.

Her romantic thriller, Reflection (A Whitney Steel Novel – Book One), has won numerous awards including RomCon®’s 2014 Readers’ Crown Finalist (Romantic Suspense), InD’tale Magazine 2014 Rone Award Finalist (Suspense/Thriller), UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner, Silicon Valley’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) “Gotcha” contest. Kim also signed a 3-book German translation deal with LUZIFER Verlag for the first three books in the series: Reflection, Retribution and Resurrect. Lethal Journey won RomCon®’s 2014 Readers’ Crown (Thriller).

The Assassin Chronicles TV series was in development with Council Tree Productions. The TV series is based on Kim’s upcoming 4-book paranormal/supernatural thriller series: Deadly Shadow (May 2018), Invisible Truth, Assassin’s Prophecy, and Vision of Fire.

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MK ChesterM.K. Chester is an RWA award-winning author of historical and contemporary romance. Her first novel, Surrender to the Roman, is currently published with Carina Press. Her three-book historical series, Bryeton Books, focuses on love, loss and redemption in small town America at the turn of the 20th century, while her latest release, Crashed, is the first book in the contemporary New South Series. 

M.K. is a native Buckeye who lives in Tennessee. She’s married to a veteran, recently became a MoM (Mother of Marine), and will soon become a grandmother. She adores her Scottish Terriers and is fighting MS.

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Blog Tour – Silent River excerpt + Giveaway

About the Book

A gripping psychological thriller inspired by true events. 

Robert Collins is Portland’s best investigative detective. When the Stevens family goes missing, he goes to work. As he uncovers clues the family may have been targeted for a professional hit by organized crime, it gets personal. 

Too personal. Can he face down his inner demons before he loses himself? 

He confronts the mob and police bureaucracy to find the missing family. Jake, partner and friend, thinks he’s spiraling into obsession, when Robert’s taken off the case but refuses to give up the investigation. 

Can he get past this shameless tragedy and his own past to move on with his life? 

Silent River is a fictionalized version of a real investigation in the late 1950s in Portland, Oregon, a time when money and power ruled the city. This story will appeal to fans of true crime and detective fiction alike. Readers who enjoy Ann Rule, Rex Stout, and Mary Higgins Clark will love CM Weaver.

Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Detective Robert Collins absently swigged the lukewarm coffee that he’d bought on his way to work that morning. A few officers sat at their desks. Monday mornings usually weren’t this quiet.

He pushed open the door to his office. He detested the institutional green walls. His desk was falling apart, no matter how many times he nailed and glued the drawers back together. He threw his coat at the stand along with his hat. It slid on the curled wood and stayed. The hat twirled but remained in its place. Robert didn’t bother to watch as he sat the cup on the stained desk and gingerly sat in the wooden, rolling, office chair. It hated him and had dumped him on the floor a few times.

His inbox overflowed with reports for follow-up and notes on cases he needed to read. There were times when he wished he had a regular nine-to-five job, and this was one of those times. He’d pulled an all-nighter last night, and the subject of the stakeout had played him like a cat with a toy mouse.

The sound of taps on leather shoes echoed as it moved toward his office. The announcement of Nate Polentti was not a welcome sound to Robert. He cringed as the tapping stopped at his door.

“So, you and Jake got some “prime beef” last night.” Nate’s nasal tone grated on his nerves. “Why do you guys seem to get all the bribes? Oh, that’s right, you two passed through the cleanup with flying colors. Makes a person think now, doesn’t it? You made front page news. I wonder how my uncle, Chief Gilmore, is going to take this.” Nate gave a dry laugh as he slapped the newspaper down in front of Robert. The tapping seemed more pronounced as Nate walked away.

The paper unfolded, allowing Robert to see a large picture, above the fold, of an unmarked police car. The driver’s arm rested on the frame of the open window. Thankfully, it was just an arm, he thought. He looked closer at the grainy picture. The prime target of the photographer centered on the person in the background. A white-jacketed waiter walked away from the car, balancing a tray that bore the remains of two sumptuous dinners.

The headline read: Are There Still Cops on the Take? The article stated that two police officers were seen eating prime rib dinners provided by a known mob leader who had arrived in Portland to possibly open a casino in the area.

The phone rang. Robert fumbled around under the paper until he found the receiver. He answered, not taking his eyes from the article.

“Collins here.”

“Robert, we got a call for you to report to Stan.” The dispatcher gave the address. He pulled a pen and pad from his pocket and jotted down the information. As if it were one complete motion, he jammed his long arms into the sleeves of his coat, positioned his fedora over his dark blond crew cut, and hurried through the office.

In the car, he turned the key and pressed the gas pedal. He headed down Alder Street to Sandy. Following Sandy Boulevard, the traffic kept him to the speed limit, and the drive to Fifty-Seventh Avenue took a little longer than usual. He’d hit the end of the rush hour and everyone heading to work. He poked down the street, looking for the address he’d been given.

The houses were well kept. Robert saw people milling on the sidewalks ahead and parked behind a squad car. He looked at the situation and didn’t see anything that would need a gun drawn, so he got out and slid his hat in place, running his fingers along the brim. He made his way through the crowd of people the officers tried to keep on their front lawns.

“Hey, what’s happened?” a reporter called out. “Who’s missing?”

“Stan!” Robert called to a man just going up the front steps of the house.

“Took you long enough,” Stan taunted.

“Took you long enough to call. Couldn’t handle it on your own?”

“I thought you should earn some of those taxpayers’ dollars instead of just reading the sports pages at your desk on Monday morning.”

“Yeah, well, thanks. What have we got here?” He followed Stan into the living room. A man and a woman sat on the couch talking to one of the officers.

“This is Tom and Maggie Borman. She claims something happened to her brother and his family.” Stan consulted his black book, “A Karl and Debra Stevens and their three girls. Mrs. Borman, this is Detective Robert Collins. Would you tell him what you told me?”

Maggie Borman wore a beige sweater over a plaid shirt and pleated brown skirt. Her salt-and-pepper hair was pulled into a French roll at the back of her head. She was in her late forties; her brows were furrowed over her brown eyes.

She wrung her hands as she talked. “I called yesterday afternoon to talk to Debra, but they weren’t home. I kept calling until almost midnight. When I got up this morning, I tried again, but there was still no answer. We came over here and because I have a key for emergencies, we went in to check. I didn’t find anything missing or any reason they wouldn’t have come home last night.” Her voice broke, and she began to cry.

“Was the lock forced?” Robert asked Stan.

“No, and we couldn’t find any of the windows forced open either. Everything is locked up tight.”

“Can you give me their names, ages, and descriptions?” he turned to the woman.

“Karl Stevens is my brother; he is fifty-four. Debra, his wife, is forty-eight. Kelly is fourteen; Darla is twelve, and Sara is ten years old.” Tom spoke the names while Maggie filled in the ages.

“Do you have any idea what they might have been wearing?” Robert asked.

“No, I can only guess. I know that Debra would have been wearing a dress, and the girls were probably wearing pedal pushers, shirts, and maybe either a sweater or a jacket.”

“Is there anyone they might have gone to visit? Someone they spent the night with? There has been some snow up the Columbia River Gorge.” Robert directed the questions, while Stan stood to one side looking at his notepad and adding any details he hadn’t thought to ask.

Maggie shook her head. “They would have called me,” she muttered into her handkerchief.

When Maggie could not continue, Robert left them in Stan’s care and walked through the house. He watched a team of men search for any clues. The house was clean, but the Sunday paper lay on the side table, as if Mr. Stevens had just put the sections down after reading them. The comic pages had been divided, and some were on the floor while others were folded on the coffee table.

The kitchen had been used, for breakfast dishes soaked in oily water.

He opened the fridge, but there was no roast waiting to be put in the oven. His mom liked to have a roast cooking when they came home after church. He took a deep breath, remembering the smell that greeted the family as they all trooped through the door after the church service. This family either ate before going to church or didn’t go that Sunday. What would cause this family to skip church?

Taking a quick look in the bedrooms upstairs, he saw the parent’s bedroom. No clothes lying around; the items on the vanity were lined up on the runner. A quick check in the closet revealed no suitcases; he’d check the hall closet later. The next door down the short hall had the name “Kelly” written on a card tacked to the door. Inside, there wasn’t anything out of place—too neat for a teenager. He stepped inside. The bed had perfect hospital corners, the books so neat they were aligned by height. With his pen, he hooked the desk drawer and pulled it open. All the pens and pencils were in neat rows, small to large, sharpened to a point.

He looked for any notes she might have left, but the notepad was blank. He would have the guys bag it and bring it to him at the office, along with her schoolbag.

All the drawers held her clothes neatly folded in vertical stacks. Robert opened the closet door to see dresses, blouses, and skirts hanging in even spaces. She must have been obsessive about her room, which wasn’t normal in his book. He had no sisters, but he did have a brother who would sleep in and on his clothes. He backed out of the door, taking one more look at the dresser, small desk, bed, and night table with a single lamp.

Two cards with “Sara” and “Darla” printed on them were stuck to the next door. The beds were made, but not as neatly as Kelly’s. A wicker basket of folded clothes sat on each bed, ready to be put away. A bookshelf held books and games stuffed haphazardly on the shelves, some of the pieces falling out of the half-closed boxes. Schoolbags in this room peeked out from under the beds, nothing out of the ordinary.

He opened the last door in the hallway and found a stairway to the attic. A door at the top was closed but it opened when he turned the knob. A bedroom. He sniffed. A boy’s room. Perhaps a boarder? A single bed with a quilt over it, a short dresser, a chair, and an empty closet. He turned and went down the stairs. 6

 

Back on the main floor, he made a note that there was no sign of a struggle and no note left on the pad near the phone or on the refrigerator, where most people would leave one if they were going out of town.

In the basement, he touched the sawdust furnace. Still warm, even though the fire was out. It must have been going for quite a while before the fire died from lack of fuel. Robert judged it to have been out about four or five hours.

In the living room, the Christmas tree was decorated, a Santa suit lay neatly over a chair, and a bag of candy canes lay right next to it. A few Christmas decorations adorned the windows. Probably done by the girls, he thought. It was December 7, 1958, and Christmas was just around the corner. Not a time for a family to go missing. The Bormans remained on the couch, watching the officers.

“Mrs. Borman, who else might have a key to the house?”

“No one that I know of, but anyone could get in, the back door is never locked.”

Robert frowned; he turned and walked back to the kitchen. Maggie stood and followed him. He stood looking at the lock, a standard, turn knob with a button-slide, locking mechanism. Maggie reached past him toward the knob. Robert pushed her hand down, intercepting her reach.

“What!?” Maggie gasped.

“Fingerprints. If this door is normally unlocked, someone locked it. We will need to fingerprint the lock. We’ll need your prints to disqualify you, and we’ll have the others in the house. Anyone different, we will need to question them. I’m sorry I startled you.”

“That’s okay.”

He met Stan on the porch.

“What do you think?” Stan asked.

“Mrs. Borman said they never went anywhere overnight that they didn’t notify her first. It’s possible this might be the exception. Let’s question the neighbors and see what comes up.”

“I have a team already on it, though we are shorthanded if you want to help out.”

“Always ready to help, after all, this could be my department—homicide.”

Robert talked to the occupants in the house next to the Stevens and one person across the street. None had seen anything that morning or the day before. One family had been gone all day, and the other had sick children and hadn’t been outside.

~~~

“Hey, Robert, the chief wants you in his office right away.” Deputy Nate’s grin almost wrapped around his head as he made the announcement.

Robert ground his teeth and nodded at the young man. The kid must have his ear on the phone every moment.

At the office of Chief Arnold Gilmore, better known as Arnie, he rapped his knuckles firmly and waited for an answer.

“Come in,” the gruff voice called out.

Robert opened the door, but the chief was on the phone. The man waved him to a seat across from him and finished his conversation.

“Good to see you, Collins. What are you working on right now?” Chief Gilmore had a balding, round head with a few wisps of white hair that grew near his left ear and were pasted across the top of his head almost to his right ear. He had a barrel of a chest and a stomach that overshot his belt buckle if he had one on. He wore wide suspenders that crossed over at his shoulder blades.

“The usual, sir. Following mob bosses who show up in our city and have to submit to their haranguing the department to the media, who then make us look like fools.” He tried to keep the bitterness out of his voice, but he was sure the irony was not lost on the chief.

Arnie laughed. “Yes, I saw your picture in the paper this morning. Was that your arm or Jake’s?”

“Mine, sir.”

“Don’t worry about it. The hoopla’s over. The man you were watching was here to put a deal together to buy a plot of land on Sauvie Island. He planned to build a casino here. Wanted to build a little Las Vegas.” Robert frowned and leaned closer to ask if that had happened. Arnie continued. “No, it didn’t happen. It’s rained here for the past two weeks. The area he wanted to see is flooded with about a foot of water. He’d been heard to say, ‘Who would want to live in this godforsaken place, much less want to visit here?’ He had his dinner Sunday night with his boys and now is probably back in sunny Las Vegas.”

“For once, thank goodness for our rain.” Robert sighed.

“Yes, that might be true, but a casino would have brought in jobs and money to the community.”

Robert schooled his expression. He was against legalizing gambling. It was bad enough they had their own little organized crime gang running the city.

“Jobs. Yes, we would have had to hire more men, build bigger jails, and then you would have another corrupt department to clean up.”

This time Robert didn’t bother to hide his sarcasm. “Yes, we can be thankful that it isn’t going to happen. One cleanup was enough. I never want to go through that again.”

Robert had just become a deputy when someone sent large envelopes to the governor, the Oregonian, and the Journal. Inside were pictures, dates, and the names of cops who were on the take. The photos were so incriminating that there was nothing left for the governor to do but initiate a city-wide sweep. There were still officers and high officials who were on trial.

“Robert, I want you to work with Stan on this missing persons case. He specifically asked for you. You file a report regularly. That’s all.” Chief Gilmore dismissed Robert.

Walking down the hall to his office, Robert glanced at the men working. He wondered what they thought when they weren’t buried in police procedures. He’d felt some of their gazes as he passed them, conversations that suddenly stopped or seemed to change.

After the chief called them all in for a meeting and said there were going to be changes, he’d been apprehensive. He liked the chief and thought he did a good job. Then half the department disappeared. Older officers retired early or asked for a transfer. Some were indicted with criminal charges and the few left, like Jake Monroe, his friend, walked softly around some of those who remained. Not all of them agreed with the chief but knew their jobs were a thin line from being terminated.

About the Author – C.M. Weaver

I live and work in the Pacific Northwest. I’m married and take care of a challenged rescue dog, Ariel. I love writing, but don’t write in one particular genre. I do gravitate more to mysteries as I’m always asking “What if?”

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