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Between the Blade and the Heart: Author Interview + Excerpt + Giveaway

Cover Between the Blade and the Heart.jpg

SUMMARY:

When the fate of the world is at stake
Loyalties will be tested

Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend must decide where their loyalties lie. And if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and her heart.

 

Q & A with Amanda Hocking

Q: What or who was the inspiration behind Between the Blade and the Heart?

A: I have already written several books inspired by Scandinavian folklore, and I was always fascinated by Valkyries. But because I had already done in Scandinavian fantasy, I wanted to come at this one from a different angle. I imagined the Valkyries helping to police a gritty, diverse, cyberpunk metropolis, in a world filled with not just Norse figures but from many mythologies.

 

Q: What are the life lessons that you want readers to glean from your book?

A: That love is a strength, not a weakness.

 

Q: If you were given the chance to go on a date with one of your characters, who would you choose and what would you do together?

A: Oona. She doesn’t swing that way, but since I’m married anyway, it would be a friendship date. I think it would be fun to go to an apothecary with her and have her show me around the magic. Or maybe just veg out and watch bad movies.

 

Q: Would the essence of your novel change if the main protagonist were male?

A: Yes, it would be changed dramatically. For one, Valkyries are women. But I also think the book explores the relationships between mothers and daughters, and friendships between young women.

 

Q: What is your definition of true love in YA literature?

A: There has to be passion and desire – not necessarily anything physical, but so much of young love is about yearning. But I also think that true love is based on mutual respect and selflessness.

 

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to be an author/start writing?

A: My biggest piece of advice is to just write. It’s so easy to get caught up in self-doubt or procrastination. There are lot of great books and blogs about the art of writing, but the most important thing is really to just do it. The best way to get better at writing is by doing it.

 

Q: What’s one book you would have no trouble rereading for the rest of your life?

A: It would be a toss up between Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli and Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. I’ve read both of those books a dozen times already, at least, and I never get sick of them.

 

Q: How did you name your characters? Are they based on people you know in real life?

A: It’s combination of names I like and taking inspiration from the world itself. With Between the Blade and the Heart, the names were inspired both by the mythology they come from – many Valkyries have Norse names like Malin, Teodora, and Freya, for example – and the futuristic setting of the book, so I wanted names that seemed a bit cooler and just slightly different than the ones we use now.

 

Q: Alright, Amanda, I know you’re a movie buff. What are some movies your characters would pick as their all-time favorites?

A: That’s a tough one. Malin – The Crow, Oona – Pan’s Labyrinth, Quinn – Wonder Woman, Asher – Inception, and Marlow – Twelve Monkeys.

 

Q: Which mythological character is the most like you?

A: Demeter, because she’s pretty dramatic – she basically kills all the plants in the world when her daughter goes missing – but she’s also determined, and will stop at nothing to protect those she cares about.

 

Q: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?

A: Oona or Bowie. Oona because she’s so practical, supportive, and determined, and Bowie because he’s adorable.

 

Q: What is your favorite scene and why?

A: I don’t know if there is one particular scene that I loved more than the others, but I really enjoyed writing about the city that Malin lives in and all the creatures that inhabit it.

 

Q: What cities inspired the urban haven where the Valkyries live?

A: I was really obsessed with this idea of an overpopulated metropolis, and so I took a lot of inspiration from some of the biggest cities in the world, particularly Tokyo, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Manila. The city itself is actually a sort of futuristic, alternate reality of Chicago (one of my favorite cities in the world), and I wanted to incorporate that into it as well.

 

Q: What came first: The world, the mythology, or the characters?

A: I usually say the characters come first, and the world builds around it. But for this one, it really was the world that drew me into it. I knew I was writing about a young woman who was a Valkyrie, but that about all when I began building up the world and the mythology.

 

Q: I love that these characters are in college. What inspired this choice?

A: Because of the complex relationship Malin has with her mother, I knew I wanted some distance between them, so I thought putting her in college, living away from her mom, was a good way to do it. Plus, I thought it would be fun to explore the all the supernatural training that would be needed to do these specialized jobs that come up in a world where every mythological creature exists.

 

Q: What songs would you include if you were to make a soundtrack for the book?

A: This is my favorite question! I love creating soundtracks that I listen to while writing a book, and here are some of my favorite tracks from my Between the Blade and the Heart playlist: Annie Lennox – “I Put a Spell on You,” Daniel Johns – “Preach,” Halsey – “Trouble (stripped),” Meg Myers – “Sorry (EthniKids Remix),” and MYYRA – “Human Nature.”

 

Q: Was this book always planned as a series or did that develop afterwards?

A: It was always planned as a duology. I don’t want to go into too much or risk spoiling the second book, but I had this idea that one book would be above, and the other below.

 

Q: Your novels and characters are so layered. How do you stay organized while plotting/writing? Do you outline, use post-it notes, make charts, or something else?

A: All of the above! This one was the most intensive as far as research and note taking goes, and I also had maps, glossaries, and extensive lists of various mythologies. I think I ended up with thirteen pages of just Places and Things. I do a lot of typed notes, but I also do handwritten scribbles (which can sometimes be confusing to me later on when I try to figure out what they mean. I once left myself a note that just said “What are jelly beans?”) For this one, I really did have to have lots of print outs on hand that I could look to when writing.

 

Q: You’ve said that pop culture and the paranormal both influence your writing. How do these things intersect for you?

A: In a way, I think they’re both about how humans choose to interpret and define the world that surrounds us. So many mythologies come from humans trying to make sense of the seasons and the chaos of existence, and even though we’ve moved past a lot of the scientific questions, pop culture is still tackling our existence. Even when looking at shows made for kids, like Pixar, they handle a lot of difficult concepts, like what it means to love someone else, how to be a good friend, facing your fears, and overcoming loss. These are things that mythologies and stories have been going over for centuries.

 

Q: Did you choose the title first, or write the book then choose the title?

A: It depends on the book, but I will say with this one that it took a very, very long time to come up with a title. It was already written and edited, and we were still bouncing around different names.

 

Q: How many more books can we expect in “Between the Blade and the Heart” series?

A: One more! From the Earth to the Shadows will be out in April 2018.

 

Q: What scene from the book are you most proud of (because of how you handled the atmosphere, characters, dialogue, etc)?

A: I don’t want to say too much or risk spoiling it, but there’s a scene near the end of the book where a confrontation leaves Malin reeling. I wrote it in an almost present tense, stream-of-consciousness way because I thought that was the best way to capture the raw intensity of her emotions.

Excerpt:

ONE

The air reeked of fermented fish and rotten fruit, thanks to the overflowing dumpster from the restaurant behind us. The polluted alley felt narrow and claustrophobic, sandwiched between skyscrapers.

In the city, it was never quiet or peaceful, even at three in the morning. There were more than thirty million humans and supernatural beings coexisting, living on top of each other. It was the only life I’d ever really known, but the noise of the congestion grated on me tonight.

My eyes were locked on the flickering neon lights of the gambling parlor across the street. The u in Shibuya had gone out, so the sign flashed SHIB YA at me.

The sword sheathed at my side felt heavy, and my body felt restless and electric. I couldn’t keep from fidgeting and cracked my knuckles.

“He’ll be here soon,” my mother, Marlow, assured me. She leaned back against the brick wall beside me, casually eating large jackfruit seeds from a brown paper sack. Always bring a snack on a stakeout was one of her first lessons, but I was far too nervous and excited to eat.

The thick cowl of her frayed black sweater had been pulled up like a hood, covering her cropped blond hair from the icy mist that fell on us. Her tall leather boots only went to her calf, thanks to her long legs. Her style tended to be monochromatic—black on black on black—aside from the shock of dark red lipstick.

My mother was only a few years shy of her fiftieth birthday, with almost thirty years of experience working as a Valkyrie, and she was still as strong and vital as ever. On her hip, her sword Mördare glowed a dull red through its sheath.

The sword of the Valkyries was one that appeared as if it had been broken in half—its blade only a foot long before stopping at a sharp angle. Mördare’s blade was several thousand years old, forged in fires to look like red glass that would glow when the time was nigh.

My sword was called Sigrún, a present on my eighteenth birthday from Marlow. It was a bit shorter than Mördare, with a thicker blade, so it appeared stubby and fat. The handle was black utilitarian, a replacement that my mom had had custom-­made from an army supply store, to match her own.

The ancient blade appeared almost black, but as it grew closer to its target, it would glow a vibrant purple. For the past hour that we’d been waiting on our stakeout, Sigrún had been glowing dully on my hip.

The mist grew heavier, soaking my long black hair. I kept the left side of my head shaved, parting my hair over to the right, and my scalp should’ve been freezing from the cold, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel anything.

It had begun—the instinct of the Valkyrie, pushing aside my humanity to become a weapon. When the Valkyrie in me took over, I was little more than a scythe for the Grim Reaper of the gods.

“He’s coming,” Marlow said behind me, but I already knew.

The world fell into hyperfocus, and I could see every droplet of rain as it splashed toward the ground. Every sound echoed through me, from the bird flapping its wings a block away, to the club door as it groaned open.

Eleazar Bélanger stumbled out, his heavy feet clomping in the puddles. He was chubby and short, barely over four feet tall, and he would’ve appeared to be an average middle-­aged man if it wasn’t for the two knobby horns that stuck out on either side of his forehead. Graying tufts of black hair stuck out from under a bright red cap, and as he walked ahead, he had a noticeable limp favoring his right leg.

He was a Trasgu, a troublemaking goblin, and his appearance belied the strength and cunning that lurked within him. He was over three hundred years old, and today would be the day he died.

I waited in the shadows of the alley for him to cross the street. A coughing fit caused him to double over, and he braced himself against the brick wall.

I approached him quietly—this all went easier when they didn’t have time to prepare. He took off his hat to use it to wipe the snot from his nose, and when he looked up at me, his green eyes flashed with understanding.

“It’s you,” Eleazar said in a weak, craggy voice. We’d never met, and I doubt he’d ever seen me before, but he recognized me, the way they all did when their time was up.

“Eleazar Bélanger, you have been chosen to die,” I said, reciting my script, the words automatic and cold on my lips. “It is my duty to return you to the darkness from whence you came.”

“No, wait!” He held up his pudgy hands at me. “I have money. I can pay you. We can work this out.”

“This is not my decision to make,” I said as I pulled the sword from my sheath.

His eyes widened as he realized I couldn’t be bargained with. For a moment I thought he might just accept his fate, but they rarely did. He bowed his head and ran at me like a goat. He was stronger than he looked and caused me to stumble back a step, but he didn’t have anywhere to go.

My mother stood blocking the mouth of the alley, in case I needed her. Eleazar tried to run toward the other end, but his leg slowed him, and I easily overtook him. Using the handle of my sword, I cracked him on the back of the skull, and he fell to the ground on his knees.

Sigrún glowed brightly, with light shining out from it and causing the air to glow purple around us. Eleazar mumbled a prayer to the Vanir gods. I held the sword with both hands, and I struck it across his neck, decapitating him.

And then, finally, the electricity that had filled my body, making my muscles quiver and my bones ache, left me, and I breathed in deeply. The corpse of an immortal goblin lay in a puddle at my feet, and I felt nothing but relief.

“It was a good return,” my mother said, and put her hand on my shoulder. “You did well, Malin.”

 

Copyright © 2018 by Amanda Hocking in Between the Blade and the Heart and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.

 

Buy Links:

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Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

IndieBound

Powells

 

Amanda Hocking NEW--credit Mariah Paaverud with Chimera Photography

AUTHOR BIO:

Amanda Hocking is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

Social Links:

Author Website: http://www.worldofamandahocking.com/

Twitter: @Amanda_Hocking

Facebook: @AmandaHockingFans

Author Blog

 

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Embracing Hope: Excerpt + Giveaway

Embracing Hope

Embracing_Hope_Cover

Embracing Hope

Janell Butler Wojtowicz

Genre: Christian Romance/ Clean Romance

Published: November 2016

Blurb:

Take a poignant look into the broken heart and daily struggles of Christian college dean Drew McKinley. The story chronicles the turbulent first year in his desperate journey to understand God’s motives for the sudden death of his wife and his quest to find hope in his future.

Crossing his perilous path are Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office, and Chris, the handsome but egotistical student senate president.

The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?

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Excerpt from “Embracing Hope”

When Drew got back to his condo after breakfast with Mitch, he took recycling bins from the garage and headed straight for his office. He pulled open the top drawer of the filing cabinet, labeled “Dissertation,” removed all the folders and tossed everything in a bin with a satisfying thump. He turned on the TV for company and for the next several hours sorted through files and books, occasionally reading, mostly shredding. Taking the framed photo from the bookshelf, he wrapped the UConn afghan around it and placed it carefully in his briefcase. Sitting down at the computer, he composed a new email.

Dr. Cavanaugh,

Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve as Dean of Students at Riley University. Riley is an outstanding university devoted to its students and committed to serving God. It’s been a privilege to work here.

However, it is in the best interests of the university and its students that I resign the position of Dean of Students, effective immediately. I will contact Human Resources upon your acceptance of my resignation to complete the necessary exit procedures.

Blessings,

Andrew McKinley

Without hesitation, Drew hit “Send.”

He looked up a phone number on his contact list. “Ed, this is Drew McKinley. Could you give me a call as soon as you can? I need to put the condo up for sale.”

Next he went online and checked flights to Hartford. He frowned at the airfare, but booked a one-way ticket for eleven the next morning. He perused the online career section of the Chronicle of Higher Education and made notes.

Going into his bedroom, Drew hauled out a suitcase from the back of the closet and laid it on the unmade bed. He pulled out clothes from the bureau, placed them in the suitcase and stuffed a couple of suits in a garment bag. The bottle of pills on the bed stand caught his eye. He poured out two, then two more, and swallowed all four without water. Closing and moving the suitcase to the floor, he lay on the crumpled linens. He glanced at the clock: 2:38. Closing his eyes, he let the memories—bittersweet as they were—engulf him.

He saw his preschool teacher leading him to his little desk as his mother lingered in the doorway.

He saw himself as an eight-year-old on his knees next to the bed asking Jesus into his heart.

He saw his mother taking a picture of him in his high school cap and gown.

He saw Kendra grinning across the table in the student union, a dollop of whipped cream from the latte on her nose.

He saw her floating down the aisle on her father’s arm.

He saw Tony behind his desk, interviewing him on a sunny, spring day.

He saw him and Kendra kissing in the gazebo during orientation.

He saw the white casket being put inside the white hearse.

He saw Allison at the Christmas party in the sparkly green dress.

He saw her with Eliza nestled in her arms.

He saw the red car with the bashed-in rear fender in the ramp.

The shrill squeal of the phone sliced through his ears, a crack of thunder shook his bed, and Drew bolted upright in the darkened room. The red numbers of the clock glowed 9:12. He leaped out of bed, but when he stood his legs buckled, and he fell over the suitcase onto the floor. The phone screamed at him again. Like a flood, the dream from the bus rushed back: the storm … the ramp … the exit sign … footsteps … Allison!

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About the Author

Janell Butler Wojtowicz

Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. She wrote stories for her own enjoyment, including a short story about a teenage drug addict—something of which she knew nothing about. Her cousin illustrated the cover using Halloween orange paper featuring a hypodermic needle.

Janell attended the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, earning a bachelor’s degree in, naturally, Written Communication, adding a Journalism Emphasis. She returned to Iowa where she worked as a reporter/editor at three small town newspapers for 10 years.

Janell left the small town Iowa life when she married, Frank Wojtowicz, a family friend who lived in Minneapolis. (By the way, her Polish last name is pronounced “Why-tow-vitch.) She worked in public relations at her alma mater, the University of Northwestern; Leadership Foundations, a nonprofit organization supporting inner-city Christian ministries; and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Today, Janell owns a freelance service, A Portrait in Words, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Much of Janell’s writing has been the “people stories” of trial, tragedy and triumph, which are reflected in her debut novel, “Embracing Hope.” The idea for the novel came after watching a BBC version of “Jane Eyre” in 2007. That night she dreamed the beginning, pivotal scene in the middle and the ending of “Embracing Hope”, and began writing it the next day. Unlike her first story, she was very familiar with the setting of “Embracing Hope”: a Christian college campus.

She and Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota, a pleasant suburb of the Twin Cities. She has two step-sons, a step-daughter-in-law, and three step-granddaughters.

Janell Butler Wojtowicz| Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads| Twitter

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If There’s No Tomorrow: Trailer Reveal + Giveaway

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SYNOPSIS:

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when her and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

ADDITIONAL INFO:

RELEASE DATE: September 5th, 2017

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Page Count: 384 pages

Available Formats: Hardcover (U.S./Canada), Ebook, Audiobook

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Purchase:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tiopFf

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“Thought provoking and powerful.”

–# 1 New York Times bestselling authors Erin Watt

“Beautiful, real, and devastating, If There’s No Tomorrow grabbed me by the heart from the first lines and didn’t let go until the very end. Teeming with toe-curling romance, fully-realized friendships, and nuanced portrayals of grief and healing, this book will forever have a spot on my all-time favorites shelf. Absolutely brilliant and unforgettable.”

–# 1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas

“Moving and necessary, essential and powerful, IF THERE’S NO TOMORROW belongs in everyone’s hands. You won’t be able to put it down.”

–Brigid Kemmerer, author of LETTERS TO THE LOST and ELEMENTAL SERIES

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BIO:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

TRAILER INFO/LINKS

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GIVEAWAY INFO

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Zero Repeat Forever: Release Day Blitz + Giveaway

 

I am so
excited that ZERO REPEAT FOREVER by Gabrielle
Prendergast is available now and that I get to share the news!
 
If you
haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Gabrielle Prendergast, be
sure to check out all the details below.
 
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed hardcover of the book courtesy of Gabrielle and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
About The Book:
Title:

 ZERO
REPEAT FOREVER

Pub. Date: August 29,
2017
Publisher: Simon &
Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 496
Formats: Hardcover,
eBook, audiobook
Find it: AmazonB&NAudibleiBooksTBDGoodreads
He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the
details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx
invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in
the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from
the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven
doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel
only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit,
their survival comes to depend on trusting each other… 

Book
Trailer:

About Gabrielle: 

Gabrielle
is a writer, teacher and designer living in Vancouver, Canada.  You
can read about her books here.
She is represented by Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
In 2014 she
was the Writer in Residence at Vancouver Public Library. In 2015 she was nominated
for the BC Book Prizes and chosen to tour the province to promote BC Books. In
2017 Gabrielle took part in the TD Canada Children’s Book Week Tour. She has
also been nominated for the White
Pine Award
and the CLA
Award
.
Gabrielle
won the Westchester
Award 
for Audacious. Audacious was included in CBC’s list of 100 YA Books That Make You
Proud to be Canadian.
 A poem from Capricious was
chosen for the 2014 Poetry
in Transit 
Program. Pandas
on the East Side
 was chosen as an Ontario Library Association Best Bet
for Junior Fiction in 2016. It was also nominated/shortlisted for the
Chocolate Lily Award, The Red Cedar Award, the Diamond Willow Award and the
Myrca Award.
Giveaway Details:


(1) winner
will receive a signed finished copy of ZERO REPEAT FOREVER, US Only &
Canada.

(3) winners will
receive signed postcards and bookmarks ZERO REPEAT FOREVER, US Only &
Canada.

Ends on September
19th at Midnight EST!

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The Hummingbird Heart: Excerpt + Giveaway

I am so
excited that
THE HUMMINGBIRD HEART
by A.G. Howard is available now and that I get to share the news!
 
If you
haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author A.G. Howard, be sure to
check out all the details below.
 
This blitz
also includes a giveaway for a 5 AMAZING Prizes courtesy of A.G. and Rockstar
Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the
bottom of this post.
About The Book:
Title: THE
HUMMINGBIRD HEART
Author: A.G. Howard
Pub.
Date: 
August 15, 2017
Publisher: Golden Orb
Press
Pages: 234
Formats: Paperback,
eBook
 
Set 19 years after The Architect of Song:
Shortly after escaping a circus tragedy, young Italian orphan, Willow
Antoniette, seeks refuge at The Manor of Diversions—a holiday resort in England
born of a ghost story. For eleven years, she’s raised alongside the children of
the resort’s owners: Julian, his twin brother, Nick, and their younger sister
Emilia. Now that Willow is of marriable age, she’s determined to escape
finishing school along with everyone’s efforts to make her a proper lady. The
only man she wants to spend her life with is Julian, after all. Yet how can she
tell him, when he thinks of her as nothing but a friend?
As a machinist and engineer, Julian Thornton prefers a governable life.
He can’t allow his ever-deepening attraction for Willow to distract from his
amusement park plans to lure a younger, wealthier clientele to their family’s
resort. In hopes to escape Willow and find investors, Julian sets off on a
transatlantic ocean liner headed for the St. Louis World’s Fair, unaware Willow
has secretly stowed away on the same ship.
A tiny, mute orphan named Newton and a pair of haunted Italian shoes
bring Willow and Julian face to face on deck. Forced to work together to solve
the mystery of Newton and his vindictive, ghostly companion, Julian and Willow
can no longer fight their untapped passions. However, time to admit their true
feelings is running out, for the ghost and her murderer have enlisted them as
unsuspecting pawns in a karmic game of cat-and-mouse that could cost all of
them their lives.
Grab book 1!
 

Title: THE
ARCHITECT OF SONG

Author: A.G.
Howard
Pub.
Date:
 August 15, 2016
Publisher: Golden
Orb Press
Pages: 425
Formats: Paperback,
eBook
Find it: AmazonGoodreads
 
A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a
ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower – intertwine in this love story
that transcends life and death.

 

For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated
by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at
risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old
mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she
secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the
name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment
Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form,
singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his
identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

 

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her
fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing
as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning
who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through
romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the
specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her
mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord
Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is
lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love
taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

 

International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly
magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of
Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy
series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as –
haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts – they search for
self-acceptance, love, and happiness.

 

New Adult: Recommended for ages 17+.

Excerpt:


In the dream, Willow was a child again. With each barefooted step around
the stacks of baggage in steerage, she found them taking on new shapes:
pyramids of clowns, bears, horses and feathered performers, all balanced atop
one another. She was back at the circus, albeit a much hazier and dimmer
rendition than she remembered. She skipped along the center ring, excited to be
home at last. Grit and discarded trash snagged between her little toes. A
spotlight clicked on to illuminate a trunk. From within came a thumping sound,
and girlish giggles.
“Tildey!” Willow cried out, racing across the distance to find her doll,
her pigtails slapping her face and neck upon each bounding step. The creak of
abandoned trapezes swung overhead, cutting intermittently through a thick cloud
of fog. Yet it wasn’t fog. It was tobacco—a stench that seeped into her
leotard, her tights, her very pores, until she could taste it coating her
tongue like bile.
The spotlight shifted from the trunk to a trapeze just above her where a
shape took form in the light: a graceful silhouette in a shimmery leotard and
glistening tutu.
“Mama?” Willow whispered in the dream, forgetting Tildey for the chance
to see her mother perform once more.
The trapeze vanished into thin air but the aerialist continued a controlled
descent toward her, held in place by harnesses attached to the center pole. A
face came into view, painted white like a clown, with bloody eyes and a hollow
of a mouth—stretched wide on a perpetual scream. Willow yelped and squeezed her
lashes shut, willing away the creature … for it was not Mama.
When she opened them again, the freakish performer exploded into a flock
of hummingbirds made of ink. They skittered around Willow, buzzing wings
scraping her skin and hair, imprinting tattoos everywhere they touched. She
screamed and stumbled backwards, bumping into the trunk which was somehow right
behind her. A tinkly, off-key lullaby drifted from inside the giant box. The
lid shook and shuddered, as if something wanted out.
Whimpering, Willow tried to back away, but her feet grew heavy. She
looked down and ballet shoes, covered in steel spikes, swallowed them up. The
empty harness that had held the ghastly aerialist slithered toward her like a
snake, coiling itself around her legs and arms to hold her in place.
On the final haunting strains of music, the trunk’s lid popped open, and
out from the midst rose a hunched old man, holding Nadia’s haunted shoes upside
down. Blood and water gushed out of them—a stench of copper and stagnancy—and
the man laughed with a voice that gnawed into her bones like a thousand
snarling wolves.
About A.G. Howard: 

 

A.G. Howard
was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always
wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures
in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute
to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a
child.
When she’s not writing, A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening,
and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century
graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.
Giveaway Details: All International
(1) Grand
prize: Signed set of The Architect of Song & The Hummingbird Heart PB
(1) First Place prize: Signed The Hummingbird Heart PB
(1) Second Place prize: Signed The Hummingbird Heart poster
(3) Third – Fifth Place prizes: Signed The Architect of Song
& The Hummingbird Heart swag pack sets

 

 

 

 

Ends on August
22nd at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Did you enter the giveaway?

 

The Last Dragon Rider: Excerpt + Giveaway

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Genre: Fantasy/ Adventure/ Romance

Novella Release Date: August 9, 2017

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Blurb

Trained as an elite warrior from childhood, the elven crown prince Flintathriël fights to bring a stop to a war that began before he was born. With the aid of his betrothed Sairalindë, a skilled mage and dragon rider in her own right, they must find the Book of Souls – an ancient and mysterious tome rumored to have belonged to the god Hath’Raal.

When the missing book turns up in the hands of Mnuvae, the bastard child of the dead king, Flintathriël finds himself fighting to not only save his people from this new threat but also trying to keep Sairalindë safe when Mnuvae takes over the dragons in her attempt to win back the kingdom she believes is rightfully hers.

The love Flintathriël and Sairalindë share shines pure and true, but when the smoke of the battle clears, will their hearts survive the aftermath of war or will their love become a casualty that cannot be revived?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35090656-the-last-dragon-rider?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Author Pic

Author Bio

Errin Krystal is a fantasy romance writer who has been writing since she was a small child. Her head has always been full of stories. She began work on her first novel when she was sixteen.

She lives with her family in regional Victoria, Australia, and works as a chef. In her quieter moments, she loves to indulge her passion for storytelling, basking in the joy that comes from creating vibrant characters, fantastical worlds and all manner of magical creatures. Dragons and elves, mages and warriors, troubled princes and beautiful princesses, romance, magic, and adventure can all be found in her writing.

Excerpt

She began wrapping the cloth tightly about her, binding her breasts firmly, criss-crossing the gauzy fabric around her torso and across her stomach, tying it off at her hip. She shimmied into a pair of leather leggings and reached for her foot wraps. To other races—like the dwarves and humans—the elves lack of footwear was strange. The elven people had strong ties to the lands, their magic and mystique were inexplicably linked. Even those who did not practice magic felt the connection to nature, and the elven people had maintained the practice throughout their long history.

After binding her feet and leaving only her toes exposed, she tossed an olive green tunic over her head before quickly weaving her tresses into a thick braid.

Sivath was waiting, and Flintathriël was late. Again.

She was reaching for her leather jerkin when he finally appeared in her doorway.

Arms akimbo, he slouched against the frame, all lean muscle and sharp angles beneath his leathers. Silver-white hair fell across his forehead, hiding the dark arches of his brows as he gazed at her with silvery blue eyes. The mop of hair barely touching his shoulders. His coloring typical of the royal family.

Her gaze traced his tattoos. Sweeping vines encompassed runic symbols, curling downward from his bottom lip, winding and weaving their way down his chin and neck. She knew every line that twisted and spread across his shoulders, and across his back. Etchings that disappeared beneath his tunic and reappeared along his arms. She still remembered the day he received the markings, branding him Nuvian. The day she first gave herself to him, the day she truly became his.

Links

Website: http://errinkrystal.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ErrinKrystal/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ErrinKrystal

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/errin.krystal.bookishwriter/?hl=en

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16828644.Errin_Krystal

Blog: https://errinkrystal.wordpress.com/

Facebook Launch Party: https://www.facebook.com/events/1208794462583723/

Amazon pre-order link:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Errin+Krystal&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Errin+Krystal&sort=relevancerank

 

Guest Post

Characters gone wild: How the comic relief became the hero

It’s funny how wildly out of control things can get. I mean, you start out with the intention of simply writing a short 2,000 word character study to help push through the writer’s block you have been struggling with. Short, concise, maybe spend a day or so on it. Just something fresh and new to get the creativity flowing again you know?

That’s not what happened.

What happened was I set aside my novel and spent six months on writing a 30,000 word novella featuring a character who originally only had a small bit part… until I fell in love with him and created a more in depth history.

In his simplest incarnation, Flintathriël, (now the full-fledged hero of The Last Dragon Rider), was basically created to offer snarky and sarcastic comments to the hero and flirt with his love interest. That was pretty much his entire purpose in the beginning. Someone light and fun, someone to stir the proverbial pot.

Until one day his entire past just came crashing through, demanding to be written. So I started jotting down some notes for a short story… It was never meant to be anything serious…

I had this amazing idea, set against the backdrop of an ancient war with love, betrayal, dragons and elves and all those good things. But I only wanted it to be short.

I was determined to finish my other novel in 2015…

I wrote a novella instead…

But Flintathriël was destined to be more than a flat caricature and all too soon he had taken over telling his own story. He wanted more from life so I obliged, turning him into a fully fleshed out character as he demanded, creating something magical in the process.

In getting distracted with my novella, it has enabled me to fill in a few gaps in my novel (which is now book 2). Several characters appear in both stories and writing this novella has allowed me to flesh out those characters and add more depth to a specific story arc.

So while he still maintains that cocky arrogance I originally intended, Flintathriël is now burdened with a few more obstacles and responsibilities (as well as a kick ass love interest), making the transition from comic relief to tortured hero.

 

Giveaway Details:

5 digital copies of the book (Giveaway runs from July 31st to Aug. 9th)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

The Last Dragon Rider Blog Tour Schedule

July 31st

Reads & Reels (Promo) http://readsandreels.com

Nesie’s Place (Promo) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Didi Oviatt (Review) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

August 1st

WeeBitWordy (Review) http://weebitwordy.blog

August 2nd

Darling Bear Reviews (Review) https://darlingbearreviews.com

August 3rd

Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com

Thoughts All Sorts (Review) https://thoughtsallsorts.wordpress.com

Brizzle Lass Blog (Review) https://brizzlelass.co.uk

August 4th

The Most Sublime (Promo) https://themostsublime.com

August 7th

Literary Dust (Promo) https://literarydust.wordpress.com

Brickley Jules Blog (Promo) https://brickleyjules.wordpress.com

August 8th

The Protagonist Speaks (Character Interview) https://theprotagonistspeaks.com

 

RR Book Tours Button

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QWGV Sale + HALB Giveaway

Two things going on right now! One, Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is on sale for only .99 over the next few days, preparing for the finale in September! If you want to know why Snow White is wearing an eye patch in this picture… Then check it out! If you don’t care? Then still check it out!

Purchase for .99 on Amazon

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Second you can enter the Giveaway for a copy of Hearts Are Like Balloons on this link on Goodreads!

Purchase on Amazon

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Other than that my summer is being filled with kid activities and playing made up games. Every time my daughter pulls out a game, she makes up new rules! Can’t we just play the game how it’s meant to be played? Lol!

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