In this post: Book Details, My Review, Author Hot Seat
Puck, a demon composed of dark matter, is the collective consciousness of evil and feasts on the death and destruction borne of warfare as he effortlessly manipulates the most potent weapon ever created: the human mind. The task of killing this evil antagonist rests on the shoulders of a solitary, mortal man; Neil Branch, the Caomhnóir. Branch naively considers himself to be an ordinary man with an extraordinary problem. He recklessly discounts his purpose and is in perpetual conflict with his destiny. Puck continuously assaults Branch within the realm of the subconscious and twists his dreams into surreal, insidious nightmares that forecast the demise of all that he holds sacred, but the visions also reveal the demons intent and expose clues that may lead to the beast’s downfall. Desperate, and driven to the brink of madness, Branch must resolve his emotional turmoil, accept his loses, and acknowledge his faults and frailties as he summons the courage to fight for the possession of his soul and deliver humanity from eternal bondage.
Andy McNab meets Stephen King in this firestorm of demonic action and suspense.
I'll be honest with you, when I read the title of this book I thought I'd be reading some heavy, archaic prose right out of the dark ages. I was SO wrong about that and I implore you all not to judge this book at first glance. Pick it up and start reading, because as soon as you do, you'll be bowled over by a gritty, realistic soldier's narrative that twists its plot superbly to a range of modern historic times and places. The prose is literary but not overdone and makes for a rich but quick-paced read.
The supernatural elements to the tale were what initially drew me in, but as the story progressed I really became invested in Neil, George, John and Sean as characters and by the end of the novel it was their lives that had me captivated rather than the unholy chaos going on around them. Puck was a well crafted villain and the visions that Neil experiences during the novel are vivid and truly horrific. I'm not usually a fan of starting in the middle of the narrative and jumping back into backstory, but this writer knows how to deliver a timeline of events with poise and precision.
Overall this book is highly recommended for those who enjoy military fiction and sci-fi/fantasy tales, but in all honesty I think that anyone with a strong stomach and a thirst for high-impact adventure will thoroughly enjoy it too.
The Hot Seat: Five Burning Questions Answered by T. Brady
1) What experiences in your own life influenced the decision to set the caomhnoir legend amid the world of the military?
I have always had a fascination with history, military history in particular. As far as Caomhnoir is concerned, it originated from an article that I had read about the My Lai village massacre during the Vietnam war. U.S. soldiers killed over three hundred men, women and children without provocation. I began to think, “what would cause these men to commit such a heinous act?” and then my imagination took over. “What if these events were orchestrated by some sort of supernatural phenomena, a force of evil that could manipulate the human mind?”
2) How long did it take you to write this novel and what was that experience like for you?
The original story was written in 2001 as a screenplay titled “The Antagonist.” Through several edits and rewrites, the final work was well reviewed and recommended by a script writing service, but I had no takers. Although I went on to write over a dozen screenplays, this tale kept haunting me. I felt as if I had left Branch in lurch, his story was not fully realized. So in 2005 I began working on converting the screenplay into a novel. I wrote while working fulltime and raising a family, so it was a long process. I had actually put it aside a few times for extended periods. The hours of editing, revision, and fact checking became a bit overwhelming at times as the story evolved and took on a life of its own, but I had to see it through. I have learned that this process is unavoidable, especially for a first time novelist, and will determine if you have the stamina and perseverance to write; regardless if you are monetarily successful or not.
3) In my imagination, your villain Puck looked like a young Ian McKellen straight out of Macbeth. Who do you picture when you see his face in your head?
Jeremy Irons comes to mind when I think of Puck, in his middle aged years, not now (pictured above).
4) None of the relationships between the soldiers and their wives went very well in your novel. Was it a conscious decision to represent military men and their guarded emotions in this way?
I tried to stay true to the mind set, attitudes, and social norms of the day. Men were very reserved in this time period, so I just amplified that with Branch and Meadows. Each man is emotionally wounded and scarred, although their experiences differ, they did not have a consistent or dependable male role model. The very act of war is very damaging to a person’s emotional state, which affects each man’s ability to connect with others who are outside of their realm of experience, and in Branch’s case this is magnified by his designation as Caomhnoir.
5) What's next for you as a writer? Do you have more books planned?
I am currently working on a prequel to Caomhnoir, which delves into the origins of Puck and the Caomhnoir order. I have many ideas on the table, I feel that a few of my screenplays would translate well into novels, so I’ll just keep pecking away.
In this post: Book Details, My Review, Author Hot Seat
Book One in the Nirvana Series
Jade has spent her entire life within the confines of the eye-colour- obsessed Nirvana commune. She dreams of experiencing freedom but travel to the Outside is forbidden. Besides, she’s a dutiful daughter who never breaks the rules. As her seventeenth birthday approaches, however, she realizes just how little she wants to follow the commune rules. She doesn’t want to undergo another eye color surgery, or immediately choose a life partner, or follow her parents’ life paths of teaching or wine making. In fact, her green eyes suit her just fine, she’s never even been on a date, and she’s passionate about photography. And yet she’s resigned to do as she’s told because it’s easier for her to close her eyes and follow orders.
Her Grandmother Ruby’s murder is the catalyst that causes Jade to open her eyes wide for the first time in her life. She’s devastated yet determined to find the killer and their motive. With help from her mysterious friend Tyrian, and Peaches, the commune leader’s sweet daughter, Jade unearths dark secrets which include her mother’s illicit affair, her maternal grandparents’ escape from Nirvana, and a plethora of murders. To make matters worse, someone is hell bent on ending Jade’s mission for the truth, and that someone is most likely the killer.
Jade can’t continue conforming to an evil society and yet she fears the Outside is just as corrupt. If she resolves to flee and is caught, the punishment is banishment to the slave cabins…and blinding.
See it here: Amazon / Facebook / Author Blog / Twitter / Goodreads
I get really excited when I find a writer who really knows how to tell a story. Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie could have turned the phonebook into a narrative and I would have lapped it up page by page. I am delighted to say that Jaded is a serious page-turner, a well told story with fully formed characters and an intriguing plot that sets up what promises to be a fascinating series.
Gillespie takes puts a huge twist on the tidal wave of (mostly boring) dystopian fiction that the YA world is dominated by right now, taking the idea of totalitarianism, surveillance and control and bundling it into a claustrophobic commune with shocking ways of life and little contact with our modern day existence. It was so well conceived and realistic that I felt as though Nirvana could really exist out there somewhere.
As usual I found that my favourite characters were some of the minor ones (Ivory, Rust and True), but surprisingly for me I sincerely related to Jade, the lead heroine and found her love interest Ty to be sweet and sincere. I don't go in for gushy romantic moments and there was none of that rubbish in Jaded: Gillespie has created something far more important and far more real for her characters to experience.
Overall this was an excellent read. If I had the second book in this series I would be starting it right now. As it is I will have to wait patiently for Hunted and imagine all the possibilities for Jade along the way. A definite recommended read for everyone I know.
The Hot Seat: Five Essential Questions with author Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie
1) If you could choose an eye colour (from those of the characters in your books), which colour would you pick for yourself and why?
I would choose the color blue for a number of reasons. For one, it's my favorite color, my eyes are already blue so perhaps I could somehow dodge the eye color surgery, and like Jade's father Royal, I love wine, so that's the career path I'd hopefully land!
2) How much research did you do into the professions of Jade's parents to get such vivid descriptions of their workplaces?
Fortunately, I didn't have to do too much research on Jade's parents' professions. I worked at a winery for three years and I currently work as a middle school counselor, so I know quite a bit about wine making and teaching, which helped!
3) Who would your dream cast actor and actress be for Ty and Jade?
It it was 1994, Claire Danes and Jared Leto, who stared on my favorite show at the time- My So-Called Life (pictured above). Not sure which actress and actor now!
4) Can you give us a tease of what's coming next in Book 2: Hunted?
A few teasers from Book Two, Hunted: This novel goes back and forth between Jade and Peaches point of view. Ty's uncle Hunter causes a slight rift between them. At least one person in this novel is hunted, and at least one person in this novel is kidnapped!
5) What sort of books and writers influence your storytelling style?
To me, one of the most influential YA writers is Lauren Oliver, who I met several years ago at a writing conference. After listening to her talk, I started thinking about writing in the YA genre. She's fabulous!
In this post: Book Details and Giveaway, My Review, Character Interview
Book Two in the Escaping Fate Series
Arrabella thought she was done with dreams, done with curses and the threat of death.
After surviving the ancient Aztec curse that had plagued her family for centuries, Arra was more than ready for her new life in the boring little town of Grainer, Maine. Boring and small sounded perfect...but she should have known better than to think it would last.
The dream was odd, but Arra passed it off as nerves about starting school in Grainer. Her boyfriend, Tanner, was there to distract her…and get her into a little trouble as well. He pushes the dream out of her mind until they walk onto the school campus and see her. The lonely girl from Arra’s dream.
Tanner’s reaction is fierce. He won’t risk losing Arra again and demands she stay away from Sibeal, but Arra can’t stop thinking about her haunted expression. What if she can help her? Arra can’t just walk away and let whatever curse has a hold of Sibeal claim her without trying to stop it. But what if Sibeal deserves the punishment?
Arra’s battle to make the right choice about Sibeal only gets harder when she is forced to turn to the person in town she likes least for help. Sebastian Wallace is arrogant and irritating, but he’s seems to be the only one who can help her. As Arra tries to determine what the right choice is, she finds out saving Sibeal may be the least of her problems.
This is the second instalment in this series after Escaping Fate and the story of Arra's life gets bigger, better and a whole lot scarier from here!
Like Escaping Fate, this book begins instantly with a supernatural intrigue with central character Arra being plagued by horrific and fascinating dreams. In this tale Arra is pulled into danger once more by the problems of new student Sibeal, a mysterious shy girl newly arrived to the small town of Grainer.
I enjoyed the further development of Arra and Tanner in this book and it was really interesting to see a teen relationship realistically portrayed with all the ups and downs that you would expect a pair of 16 year olds to go through. My favourite character in this tale, however, was Bas: the local hero with surprising hidden depths. He really made the story for me as he brought a new conflict into the action and helped Arra's character develop a lot more than she did in the first novel.
Overall if you enjoyed Escaping Fate, you will definitely enjoy Soul Stone because it mixes the familiar elements from book one with a larger, more exciting plot with a lot of physical action as well as emotional trials.
The Hot Seat: Character Interview with Sebastian 'Bas' Wallace
1) So Bas, people around Grainer really rate you. They say you're a local hero! Care to elaborate on that?
I see you start with the tough questions first, Kim. I can appreciate that, even if I don’t particularly care to talk about this one. People around here only see what they want to see. Maybe it’s easier. They want to move on, to celebrate a hero instead of carrying around the burden of blame. I can understand that, but I can’t let go of what happened.
2) You're popular with almost everyone in town... except for that new Manhattan girl, Arra. What's up with that?
Have you ever met someone who just brought out the worst in you for some reason? That’s pretty much me when it comes to Arra. I mean, sure, she thinks I’m constantly getting her in trouble, but most of those were completely on accident. I have a knack for rubbing her the wrong way, and at some point she might realize why.
3) We all know you're a star for the archery team, but what else do you like to do in your free time?
The beaches around Grainer aren’t world class surf spots, but as soon as it’s warm enough, that’s where you’ll find me most days. Being out on the water is liberating. I can get away from everyone’s expectations an attention when I surf. The waves don’t owe me anything. They’re brutal when I mess up and peaceful when we get along. I don’t get that anywhere else, except maybe…never mind.
4) If you could change anything in your life right now, what would it be?
If you were asking me what I’d like to change about my past, I’d have a whole list for you. Right now? I’d change the way people see me. There are days I want to escape. I think about leaving more than I should. Leaving won’t fix anything, though.
5) Do you believe in the supernatural?
It’s hard not to when you grow up in my family! I’ve lived in the U.S. my whole life, but my mom grew up in Ireland. She is incredibly superstitious and believes in everything from leprechauns and will-o-the-wisps to curses and magic. She passed all of her stories down to me and my siblings like they were facts, so naturally, we grew up scared of the dullahan and convinced we’d find a selkie on the beach at night. I guess she helped prepare me to hear Arra’s story and not pass it off as fantasy. I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am for that.
About DelSheree Gladden
DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually reading, painting, sewing, or working as a Dental Hygienist. Her works include Escaping Fate, Twin Souls Saga, The Destroyer Trilogy, and Invisible. Look for, Wicked Power, the next book in the Someone Wicked This Way Comes Series, and Soul Stone, book two in the Escaping Fate Series, coming 2014.
Connect with DelSheree Online
One year ago today, I sent the manuscript of The Atomic Circus out into the great wide world of Kindle Publishing and made my debut as an author. In the 365 days that followed this act I have experienced more inspiring moments and met more interesting people than I ever have in any other year of my life. People say that the years go by more quickly once you’re past the age of twenty-one, but for me I feel that my life as a writer has slowed down the hectic hurtle that my academic and working life had been in previous years.
I did a few calculations, because that’s what I do when my brain has too much juice in it. In this last year I have written four novellas, four novels (two have yet to be published) and six short stories. That totals in at just shy of half a million words. Half a million words have fallen out of my brain and made it into the hands of readers the world over and, for the most part, they have been enjoyed. For the first time ever since trying on and off for years, I completed NaNoWriMo. I even completed it in just 15 days and then sat back and supported my other writing buddies instead. Looking back on this incredible year and all the ideas, characters and settings that my crazy mind has dreamt up, I finally feel authorised to say “I’m a writer” when people ask: “So, what do you do?”
I also have a publisher for some of my work; something I didn’t feel was going to be possible for a long, long time since I was starting out at the bottom of the self-pub ladder. When the email came through from Clean Teen Publishing to tell me they had accepted my manuscript, I was half passed-out in a taxi coming home from an exhausting day in Manchester. Their news lifted my adrenaline levels enough to get me home in one piece and I went to bed babbling about how I couldn’t believe they’d liked my work enough to put it into print. It was the very first time I’d ever sent anything to a publisher, so to be accepted so readily and so kindly was beyond my wildest dreams.
More than that though, this journey has unexpectedly led me to an incredible social world that is, quite frankly, much nicer to be part of than the world in which I actually live. I have met some fabulous new friends, one in particular that I was lucky enough to travel four thousand miles to meet up with for chatter and key lime pie, and I have been accepted into a supportive community full of creative and uncommonly kind people who support and inspire me every single day. They have encouraged me to believe in myself and my art and through their influence I am emboldened to explore new genres that I never considered myself capable of tackling and do some daring new things with my storytelling in this coming year.
Below this post is the real symbol that marks my 1 year writeaversary: the anthology edition of Caecilius Rex. It was Cae’s story that first hit the shelves and encouraged me to delve into this world of authorship and now I am proud to mark its completion with the 140,000 word epic that is Cae’s collected story. This one book was really all I had hoped to achieve by now when I sat down this time last year and hit the publish button for the very first time. I am thrilled to have been able to experience so much more along the way.
NEW RELEASE in The Bionics Series by Alicia Michaels
Alicia Michaels and Crimson Tree Publishing are pleased to announce the new release of The Bionic's boxed set! The Bionic's Boxed Set includes the first three books in The Bionic's Series!
For a limited time only, The Bionic's boxed set will be priced at $3.99. That's THREE AMAZING BOOKS for less than a Vente Java Chip Frappucino!
This is a $1.99 savings versus if you download book 1 for free and then purchase book 2 and 3 at $2.99 each. Act fast, because this box set will increase soon.
THE BIONICS SERIES by Alicia Michaels
New Adult Dystopian Romance
Published through: Crimson Tree Publishing
(The Adult Imprint of Clean teen Publishing.)
The year is 4010.
Nuclear war and the wasteful nature of humans have all but destroyed the United States. A new government regime rules the day with strict laws, rationed food, and careful control. When those injured in the nuclear blasts that rocked many of the nations largest cities are offered another chance by the Restoration Project, how could they refuse?
Little do they know that the robotic additions to their body will paint targets on their backs once the government decides that they are dangerous. At the forefront of the resistance is a girl with a bionic eye, Blythe Sol, who wants nothing more than to be a normal girl. Blythe has yet to realize that normal will never exist again for her, or anyone else.
The Revolution has begun...
The Bionics (Book 1)
(New Adult or YA Mature)
Most nineteen year-old girls are thinking about college, stretching the wings of newfound adulthood, and boys. Well, I’ll probably never go to college and all my dreams of the future are gone. I’ve been an adult for much longer than I should have been and my girlhood was stolen the minute the North Koreans dropped their nukes over the United States. As for boys … well, that’s pretty much out of the question now, too. My love life is too messy to even talk about.
I have nothing.
Except, maybe, my cause, my mission, The Resistance. It is the hope I have to cling to, I am counting on it to pave the way to my future. As things heat up and the terrorist sect known as The Rejects make themselves known opponents of society in this war, the choice to be on the side of good is harder than ever. My friends are broken; Olivia is a shell of her former self and Jenica is barely hanging on. Dax and Gage … well, we’re not talking about my love life, remember?
The Rejects, the government, President Drummond; they are pressing in on us from all sides and the weight is tremendous. Still, when given the choice to crumble or stand, I’d rather stand. Times are dark, but we are here, a rebellion, a whisper in the dark, a spark that lights the flames of change.
Titanium (Book 2)
(New Adult or YA Mature)
Secrets (Book 3)
(New Adult or YA Mature)
EXCERPT FROM THE BIONICS:
“I wish that I had died that day,” I admit, unable to look away from his gaze no matter how much my mind tells me that I need to. “I wish that all the time.”
He inches closer to me on the bed. “Is it really so bad? Professor Hinkley gave you and the others a second chance at life. It’s not fair that the government has decided you and others like you pose a threat.”
I think about a news broadcast I saw a couple of weeks ago, showing a surveillance video of a man with an arm identical to mine smashing in the window of someone’s car and beating them to a bloody pulp for no reason, before pulling a limp body from the driver’s seat and driving off in the stolen vehicle. Of course the thief was found and immediately executed; no trail, no jury, no questions asked.
“Some of us are dangerous,” I answer, and of course, it’s the truth.
“Some people are dangerous,” he insists. “Bionics are still people….just modified.”
“Right now your blood pressure is 124/90, your heart rate is an elevated 70 beats per minute; not bad, but still high for a healthy male that I assume is athletic. You have a tattoo on your left arm of an eagle, and a fractured rib.”
“That is amazing.”
I shrug. “It’s my eye. It is capable of reading a person’s body heat signature as well as their vital statistics. It allows me to pull away individual layers, such as clothing, skin, and muscle to expose what’s underneath. It’s how I knew about the rib.”
I reach out with my bionic arm and poke the rib for emphasis, raising my eyebrows as he winces in pain. “Still think I’m human?”
Gage reaches for my arm—my robotic arm—and grabs it by the hand. I can’t feel it, or his hand circling the wrist above it. His eyebrows wrinkle as he turns my arm over, inside facing up. He traces the inside of my arm, his fingers sliding over the cool metal and, for the first time since I woke up with that hunk of machinery on the other end of my elbow, I am wishing that I could feel the damn thing.
“Cold,” he murmurs as he draws circles on the metal. His fingers stop on the inside of my elbow, on the line where the titanium ends and I begin. I hear his breath catch in his throat and another noisy swallow as the pad of his index finger slides over my skin. I gasp as he trails it up the inside of my arm, flesh now on flesh. The human contact that I’ve denied myself for years has left me sensitive to every touch, and I feel as if I’m being caressed for the first time.
Of course Dax has held my hand from time to time; he’s even held me against him some nights when the nightmares get particularly bad until I fall back asleep. But he’s never touched me like this, and while I’m no virgin I certainly feel like one right now. A thousand emotions are exploding in me at one time and just as many sensations are following the path his finger traces up to my shoulder, pausing at the strap of my tank top.
“Warm,” he says with a smile. “Only about….what…ten percent of you is metal. When I got past your elbow, I felt skin, blood flowing through veins, muscle, and…goose bumps?”
He says that last bit with a smile, forcing me to look away in embarrassment. He holds his arm out toward me, pulling up the sleeve of his shirt and revealing a tanned arm sprinkled with light blond hair, which is standing on end. He leaves the sleeve above his elbow and holds his arm out in front of me.
“See?” he says gently, his head way too close to mine, his breath brushing my cheek. “I have them too.”
Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. The mother of two and wife to an Army sergeant loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.
Scroll down for details on getting the first book in this series for FREE! It's on my reading list and it should be on yours - another quality book from Clean Teen Publishing.
NEW RELEASE IN THE BEST SELLING
CONCEALED IN THE SHADOWS SERIES
BY: GABRIELLE ARROWSMITH
RELEASED FROM THE DARKNESS
by Gabrielle ArrowsmithTwo young seeksmen are dead, and Sydney blames herself. The only way to get her sister back from the countyâs clutches, while also preventing more death, was to offer her own life in exchange for Evvieâs freedom.
She expected a dreadful end, but nothing like the prison in which she wakes. Agonizing county life is redefined in Neo-Necropolis, new city of the dead, which lies beneath the earth. Worse than being allegedly deceased, is the false identity Sydney is forced to assume where Evvie, Sheridanâs captain, and Crewe never existed.
Sydney alone knows the magnitude of the countyâs evildoings inside, outside, and now below. At only eighteen, the responsibility to defend freedom falls solely on her tried and tested shouldersâa burden that requires desperate action when a catastrophic revelation upends the world as she knew it.
The people Sydney cares for are more vulnerable than ever. Though sheâs buried underground and monitored by county agents, she must escape this new captivity. Maybe itâs time to fight fire with fire. Sydney has proven her courage in facing their weapons, but can she trigger her own?
Concealed In The Shadows by Gabrielle Arrowsmith
(YA Dystopian- Available Now)
FREE ON SMASHWORDS, BARNESANDNOBLE AND IBOOKSTORE.
Sydney Harter has long awaited September 12th, 2033âher eighteenth birthday. She can finally apply for guardianship of her sister, who is her only family and entire world. She hopes they will be lawfully reunited, but is prepared to defy authority and risk everything to escape the captivity of Miles County so that they can be together.
Escaping will be difficult and dangerous. Citizens are bound to their county by sophisticated chip implants that deliver shocks to those who dare to cross the electric barrier. Sydney is very clever, but her trickery is limited against the all-seeing eyes of technology. Even if they were to survive the escape, disappearing into the forgotten forests and towns of the past seems an impossible task.
What Sydney doesn't know is that she is the particular interest of two opposing forces. With deceit, fear, and warfare surrounding herâcan she trust the party that aims to help with her fight against the other? Can she open her heart to receive and return unexpected love? When her sisterâs life becomes jeopardized, Sydney will have to weigh a new love against the only enduring love she has known. The cost could be deadlyâ¦
How will she choose?
About Gabrielle Arrowsmith:
GABRIELLE ARROWSMITH enjoyed writing her debut novel, Concealed in the Shadows, during a lovely Minnesota summer that she had off from her primary profession, teaching. Acting, playing and coaching soccer, reading, playing piano, and spending time with family and friends are among her other interests.
CTP Website: http://www.cleanteenpublishing.com/gabrielle-arrowsmith.html