Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Keepers of the Stone, by Andrew A. Clement

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From Goddess Fish Promotions a virtual book tour for author,
Andrew A. Clement, and his YA Fantasy Series, 
Keepers of the Stone.
Andrew Anzur Clement will be awarding a $10 Amazon 
or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn 
winner via rafflecopter during the tour. And make sure
you take a look at some questions the author answered
for us...thx for stopping by on this tour.

GENRE:    Historical Young Adult Fantasy





Keepers of the Stone. Book One: The Outcasts

In a far corner of the British Empire, a mysterious girl gallops away on a horse, fleeing for her life.  Malka has sacrificed everything to protect an all-powerful stone from falling into the hands of the malevolent Urumi. The last in a Sect of thieves, the girl is a trained killer. But will her lethal skills be enough to defeat the Shadow Warriors and their superhuman abilities? 

The fate of the stone may depend on Stas, a courageous youth born into exile from a country that is not on any map. Nell, his friend since childhood, has been caught up in the Dark Order's evil designs. The young outcasts must confront demons, real and imagined, with the help of mystical new allies. Their journey will take them to distant lands and change their lives forever.







Keepers of the Stone. Book Two: Exile

Stranded on the American frontier, Malka must stop at nothing to safeguard the all-powerful stone. She has come under the protection of a snarky felinoid – a shape-shifting girl who traces her lineage back to the court of Vlad Dracula. They must rescue with Henry, the American orphan whose thirst for knowledge could help decipher the clues to the next
leg of their journey – if the Urumi don’t kill them first.

Alone in yet another strange land, Stas mourns the unthinkable loss of his friend, Nell.  Cryptic messages offer new hope. But the Dark Order has devised another strategy to outwit the band of misfits. Plans are betrayed and alliances are formed as history points to the final objective of their quest.






Keepers of the Stone Book Three: Homecoming 

Stas and his companions have made their way to the partitioned homeland he has never visited. He dares to hope that Nell may be alive. The doomed princess Bozhena vows revenge on the Shadow Warriors, who have enlisted Malka’s most bitter enemy in their latest plot to control the powerful stone.

With the help of a streetwise gypsy girl, the unlikely travelers must outwit the Urumi and deliver the stone to its final destination. All they have to do is put aside the differences that threaten to tear them apart. The secrets of the past hold the key to the history of the future.

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Excerpt: (Book Three: Homecoming)
“Who are you?” the man asked, looking behind himself in surprise. Inside the kitchen, some of the other staff were moving to see what was going on in the lobby. That could not be allowed. The kitchen employee turned back to find himself looking down the barrel of a six-shot revolver.

“I’m the one who’s pointing a gun in your face. Let me in. Now,” Stas demanded.

The man seemed to hesitate for only a second before stepping aside, placing his frame against the open door. Holding the weapon with both hands, Stas edged forward. In front of him, he could see the kitchen. It was a rather dark space. Various dishes sat on the stone counters in different stages of preparation. Most of the staff looked at him with stares of fear and shock. When Stas used to dream of coming to his family’s home city, this was just one more way in which it had not at all been the experience he’d had in mind.

 There was a sudden yowl, followed by the sound of a foot impacting with flesh and a body crumpling to the floor. Stas glanced back just long enough to see that Liza – now in her human form – had taken down a younger man, about Stas’s age, with a side kick. He had been waiting beside the doorframe, apparently intending to attack the Slav from behind with a butcher’s knife. Kneeling quickly, Liza retrieved the cutting tool, which was smeared with blood from some kind of beef or pork meat. Standing in the doorway, she raised it up to a point beside her head. The felinoid turned the blade towards herself as she inspected it briefly, before allowing the ends of her lips to curl slightly upwards, while jutting out her lower jaw. Concurrently she nodded twice, as if deciding that this would do nicely.

“Let’s move!” the felinoid barked at Stas.
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Four elements of a compelling YA fantasy 
(as compiled by someone who didn’t like them growing up) 
I was very happy to run across this blog. Just its ‘about’ section says much that I agree with. Both regarding issues in a lot of YA  fantasy fiction and about the challenges of finding readers in this genre. I must confess:  As a teenager, I have to say that I didn’t really enjoy this genre. So it came as quite a shock to me, when I sat down to write what become Keepers of the Stone, that the end result was, well, a YA fantasy trilogy. Except, just a bit different from a lot of what’s out there.  I’ve been given carte blanche for this post. So I think It’s time to lay forth a few things that I think make this genre (and sometimes fantasy fiction in general) interesting and compelling to readers of multiple ages. 

  1. Don’t take your heroes too seriously: It’s fine to be the underdog. Overcoming impossible odds is cool. But, in some books the characters are put forth as being exceptionally capable ‘just because’ or simply plain awesome, despite their status as a supposed weakling. Fighting from a disadvantage is compelling. But, if our protagonists always overcome the villains too easily, or conquer all just because of their determination, this can end up backfiring (e.g.: Seriously? Are you only slightly less stupid than your enemies?). For the main heroes to seem real, and the villains to be threatening, their actions and the outcomes need to come from logic. Or from their own inner flaws. Ones that flow from their defined back stories, rather than plain dumb luck. Or from some contrived pseudo-romantic plot line. I’m not trying to rail against such developments in all their forms; Deus ex machina used judiciously can be quite effective. In fact, if such developments are called out, this can lead to great opportunities for sarcastic humor and good fun that keeps the characters from trying too hard to appear superlative. Really, less is more.
  2. Take romance with a grain of salt: Sticking in a faux-romantic love triangle is a great way to create dramatic friction between the characters. Unfortunately, it often trivializes the characters’ priorities and the threats facing them. Especially when they aren’t any older than sixteen or seventeen. Even when I was that age, this was one of the things that I couldn’t stand when reading much of this genre. (*rolls eyes* Really? You’re in the middle of a life and death struggle/battle/quest and that’s what you’re worried about? For crying out loud! Try thinking with your brain for once.) Of course I’m not saying that romantic plotlines have no place in a story of this type. This is more an argument for keeping them away from the front and center of the plot development. There’s exactly one romantic interest that’s not just implied in the background of Keepers of the Stone. It serves to provide the occasional comic relief, or to advance the plot. Not drive it. The bonds and commitments between the characters slowly grow with difficulty through the challenges they are forced to face together. The larger than life stakes seem all the more threatening if the characters aren’t spending their time mooning over juvenile relationship issues. 
  3. Magic, but…: Not random magic. Whenever I run across a universe that I like, I enjoy finding out everything I can about it. One of the things that’s most disappointing is to see that it doesn’t develop according to defined, internally consistent rules. This might seem a bit obvious. But, it’s important to tell us how your fantasy universe works. To do your homework regarding how it will interface with the story, rather than simply pull things from your behind. If there’s a character with superhuman abilities? Why do they have them? An object with mystical power? What can and what can’t it do? Keep it consistent. Or call it out. This is by no means to say that all must be revealed at the outset (that would be boring) Instead, I enjoy seeing stories that open up in the middle of the action.  Developments that at first are shocking, confounding or inexplicable are explained as you get deeper into the world that a book is creating. The revelations become their own rewards. Keeping your universe’s mysticism straight may seem simple. But, it’s harder than it looks. And it’s a great way of creating and foreshadowing plot twists, while leaving the reader wanting more.
  4. Fantasy and history together: Ok. This is a bit of an optional one. But one I’m a fan of. I’m in no way saying that fantasy universes that stand on their own are without merit. Quite the opposite. Like I said, I love losing myself in the ones I enjoy. Yet, I often find myself thinking that they’d be more compelling if their stories could somehow occur in ‘our’ world: When, How and Where would they happen? To whom? Setting a fantasy story amid real historical places, events and figures has the effect of creating a world that is both informative and alternative at the same time. Even if one isn’t familiar with the history referenced, it has the effect of creating a fascinating new universe that is still closer to home: The action in Keepers of the Stone isn’t something that could only have happened in a completely different world. The quest could have been entrusted to any of us.        

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Andrew Anzur Clement departed his native Los Angeles at the age of nineteen, with a curiosity for far-off lands. He quickly discovered an insatiable wonderlust that has led him to live, work and study in many fascinating places around the globe. Now in his late-twenties the unabashed opera fan is based in Europe. He continues to travel and read widely, finding new inspiration in the places he discovers. In his ‘other’ life Andrew is an academic researcher, focusing on  nationalism and identity formation. He enjoys including insights from his research in his books and the characters he inhabits. 
On social media: 
Purchase Links to book one (Books two and three already out): 
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

BOOK BLAST - SORTILEGE FALLS, by Libby Heily

Welcome to Sortilege Falls
by Libby Heily 
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From Goddess Fish Promotions a Book Blast from Author
Libby Heily, Welcome to Sortilege Falls.
Libby will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly 
drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.




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GENRE: YA Fantasy
BLURB:

Welcome to Sortilege Falls Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Grape Merriweather moved to Sortilege Falls expecting a fresh start and new friends. But things are never quite what they seem in this sleepy Missouri town. Her math teacher looks like a witch, her school is being stalked by a vampire, and Grape could swear the town’s garden gnomes are moving. None of that compares to the small group of teenage models, blessed with otherworldly beauty, who rule Sortilege Falls. Even the adults are powerless to tell them no. When the models fall ill from a mysterious disease, all of the town’s secrets start leaking out. Grape is determined to help her new friends, but searching for the cure might just get her killed.
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Excerpt 

GRAPE IS SERENADED BY GRAESON:

Grape is in her backyard at night.  Her brother, Brad, has just gone off into the woods to collect plants–Brad is a huge botany nut.  Grape is staring into the distance, trying to see into the woods when she hears something behind her:

“Fancy meeting you here.”

Grape screamed.

“Calm down,” the vamp kid from school said, his hands raised in the air like a victim. He had switched his purple shirt for a black one and slicked his curly hair back as well. “It’s cool. It’s just me,” he said and reached out to grab her shoulder.

Grape pushed him hard in the chest, making him stumble backward. “Don’t touch me. What are you doing here?”

He regained his balance and rubbed his chest where she’d shoved him. “I wanted to see where you lived. That really hurt.”

She slit her eyes at him. “I’m glad it hurt. It was supposed to.”

“That’s not very nice.”

Grape grabbed the lawn chair and held it above her head. “Are you a stalker?”

“No.”

“You’re sneaking around my house at night wearing all black.” She readied herself to swing the lawn chair. It was pretty light and wouldn’t do much damage so she decided to aim for a vulnerable spot—his face.

“No. I just thought... I don’t know. I thought you looked nice.”

“Do I look nice now?” She gave the chair a swing, missing his nose by inches. She hopped back a little and held the chair up high again. He got one warning shot, that was it. The next swing would break his nose.

“I’m sorry. I thought this would be romantic.” He reached into his baggy pants pocket and pulled out an iPod with a little set of speakers attached. “I was going to play a song for you.”

“Totally creepy!”

“No. Really, listen.”

He pressed play and an unholy mix of instruments blasted out in a tinny blare. He shut it off quickly. “Wrong song. One second.”

“Leave.”

He looked up at her with heartbreak in his eyes. “I just need one second.”

“Shoo! Go! Off with you!” She shoved the chair at his chest, driving him backward.

He gave her one last dejected look and walked around the corner of the house toward the street.




AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I was born during a blizzard. I’m told it was pretty cool but I have no memory of that time. I grew up in two tiny towns in Virginia and spent most of my twenties moving around the US. I’ve lived in Virginia, Florida, Missouri, and Washington. I’ve settled down, for now, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

I’m a writer and improviser. I studied acting in college but spent more time rewriting lines than memorizing them. My first play, Fourth Wall, was produced my junior year. Since then, I’ve written several full length plays, one acts and screenplays. I started writing fiction in my late twenties. Now, I focus mainly on novels but still dabble in theater.

Fun facts about me: There are none. I’m sorry to disappoint you so soon. But, I do love to read, write, and run. My hubby is my favorite person on earth. Dogs are my second favorite. All dogs. I love orange juice, especially when it’s mixed with club soda. Carbonation is better than alcohol. Jaws is my favorite movie. Everything I’ve said so far is true.

Awards:

Puschcart Prize Nomination for “Grow Your Own Dad” – Published by Mixer Publishing
Semi-finalist Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference – “STUFF”
Honorable Mention The Ohio State Newark New Play Contest – “The Last Day”



Contacting Libby:
Email: libbyheilyauthor@gmail.com
Snail Mail:
PO Box 58251
Raleigh, NC 27616



Libby on the Web:
libbyheily.com  http://libbyheily.com/




Purchase Links:




Behind the Scenes Info:

“Welcome to Sortilege Falls” is my second novel. My first, “Tough Girl” was about an eleven-year-old who is slowly starving to death and loses herself in an imaginary world to combat the misery of her life. I wanted to write something happy after that and WTSF is about as “happy” as my writing gets. The idea was to come up with a main character whose very name sounds like a smile, thus Grape Merriweather was born. Stories grow and writers hardly ever end up writing the book they intended. That is definitely true with WTSF. My “happy” story grew to encompass the themes of beauty worship, celebrity, as well as delving into the mysterious relationships between child stars and their parents. In the beginning of the novel, Grape is new at school and eager to impress. She was popular back home and has never had trouble making friends. She spends over an hour the night before trying on outfits and picking the perfect one for her first day. But she is ignored by students and teachers alike. Everyone is too caught up with the beyond gorgeous models to bother with one new student. We discover this weird world along with Grape and I tried to stay true to her voice. It was very important to me that Grape wasn’t perfect, that she partially fell under the Models’ spell as well.



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Friday, September 29, 2017

AUTUMN READING

So we just got back from our September holiday...ten days!  YaHOO!  And now I'm hunkering down to get some good authors and books out to you this season.  As we speak I'm working on an interview with father/daughter writing team of Fritz and Sierra, who will blow your socks off!  And believe it or not, I've finally got a handle on the long, overdue, highly anticipated, interview/review from author Rufi Angel...who's written one of the best books I've ever read...seriously, this book ONLY has five star reviews!!  And of course some new bookings coming in from Goddess Fish Promotions...so keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming events here at Thornton Berry Shire Press....thx for all your support!




Saturday, August 19, 2017

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY..The Benjamin McTish Series

ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN AN ACTUAL BOOK!  FROM THE BENJAMIN McTISH YA/FANTASY/ADVENTURE SERIES...TELL YOUR FRIENDS!




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Benjamin McTish and the Door Through the Grandfather Tree by June M. Pace

Benjamin McTish and the Door Through the Grandfather Tree

by June M. Pace

Giveaway ends September 08, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Benjamin McTish and The Wizards of Coranim by June M. Pace

Benjamin McTish and The Wizards of Coranim

by June M. Pace

Giveaway ends September 08, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Benjamin McTish and The Hidden Caverns of Bristonbel by June M. Pace

Benjamin McTish and The Hidden Caverns of Bristonbel

by June M. Pace

Giveaway ends September 08, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

REVIEW for BARNABAS TEW and the Case of the Missing Scarab, by Columbkill Noonan



From Goddess Fish Promotions a Review Only Tour 
For Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab, 
by Columbkill Noonan.
This isn't exactly promoted as a YA fantasy, however, 
I was so grabbed by the title, I decided to help out.  
After reading this book, (review to follow), I can see that 
it would appeal to most YA fantasy readers anyway. This is a
review only tour, so a nice mix/amount to view.  This is also
a giveaway tour with the award of a $25 Amazon/BN gift card 
going to one lucky winner at the conclusion of the tour.
 And as always, please leave us a comment so that
we know you were here!  Nice to see everyone again, TBSP!




Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab
by Columbkill Noonan

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GENRE: Mystery/Mythology

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BLURB:

Barnabas Tew is a private detective struggling to make a go of it in Victorian London. Fearing that he is not as clever as he had hoped to be, he is riddled with anxiety and plagued by a lack of confidence brought on in no small part by his failure to prevent the untimely deaths of several of his clients. Matters only get worse when Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead, is referred to Barnabas by a former client (who perished in a terribly unfortunate incident which was almost certainly not Barnabas’ fault). Anubis sends for Barnabas (in a most uncivilized manner) and tells him that the scarab beetle in charge of rolling the sun across the sky every day has been kidnapped, and perhaps dismembered entirely. The land of the dead is in chaos, which will soon spill over into the land of the living if Barnabas (together with his trusty assistant, Wilfred) cannot set matters to right. Pulled from his safe and predictable (if unremarkable) life in Marylebone, Barnabas must match his wits against the capricious and dangerous Egyptian gods in order to unravel the mystery of the missing beetle and thereby save the world.

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Excerpt:

“Perhaps there’s been a mistake,” he said. “Maybe I’m not really dead. Is there someone I could talk to? Someone who could straighten out this mess?”

“Sorry,” said Anti. “But this is how it is. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t dead.”

“I just would have thought that dying would be, well, more noticeable,” said Barnabas sadly.

“So does everyone,” said Anti. “Almost no one really believes they are dead at first. And it must be especially hard for you, to have gone in such a, well, an unexpected way.”
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MY REVIEW

First off, the title is spectacular, the book cover is spectacular, and anything with a Steampunk/Victorian flavor is right up my alley.  The two lead characters, Barnabas and Wilfred, are masterfully written in that perfect old English way of speaking that hearkens back to an age of politeness, well mannered actions, and flowery prose.  I love that!  Although, I will say that the (in my opinion), excessive use of exclamation points in the first few chapters nearly ruined it for me as a flowing read in my brain.  Too, too many! (that's a joke there).  
So the one thing I did learn from this experience is to make sure I read the entire synopsis of a book before jumping in.  As I mentioned, I loved the title and the cover so much I went straight to Amazon to read the sample first few pages and was hooked enough to commit.  So imagine my surprise when suddenly our main character is dead and speaking to someone with the head of a Falcon!  Unfortunately for me, or the author I suppose, I'm not big on the 'mythology' theme in my reading...simply not my cup of tea.  So once I accepted that this was indeed the journey we were on, I plunged forward.  I will say it is very clever, as well as odd, the whole idea of all these characters with the heads of animals and how they relate to one another.  The good news is that Barnabas and Wilfred never lost their character, and only became more endearing, which is what held the book together for me.  I can't say as much for the Egyptian gods..they all spoke as you and I would, so that felt less likely and lost a touch of the magic/whimsey for me.  

Now, if you're into the mythology, Egyptian/Greek/Norse god thing, and two lovable colorful characters, then this is your book...as a sequel promises more of the same.






AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Columbkill Noonan has an M.S. in Biology (she has, in turn, been a field biologist, an environmental compliance inspector, and a lecturer of Anatomy and Physiology).
When she's not teaching or writing, she can usually be found riding her rescue horse, Mittens, practicing yoga (on the ground, in an aerial silk, on a SUP board, and sometimes even on Mittens), or spending far too much time at the local organic, vegan market.

To keep up with Columbkill, visit her blog at http://www.Columbkill.weebly.com, find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ColumbkillNoonan, or follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/ColumbkillNoon1.




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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Charlotte's Library: The Apprentice Witch, by James Nicol

Charlotte's Library: The Apprentice Witch, by James Nicol: I enjoyed The Apprentice Witch , by James Nicol (Chicken House/Scholastic, July 25 2017, 2016 in the UK), very much--it's a solid, tra...

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

BACK TO WORK!

I have been on a long leave of absence from all blogging, here and on my home blog.  All a long story,  and not necessary to explain or justify...things happen.  SO!  Here I am again, back to work.  What that means for you is more posts about new (and possibly old) YA Authors and their work.  I'll be filling up my calendar again on the sidebar, so keep an eye out.

In terms of my own series, Benjamin McTish,  I'm back to work finishing up the forth and final book in that series, Benjamin McTish and the Secret Tomb of Loddington- The Prophecy Revealed.  This should be out by the end of Autumn, just before the big holiday buying frenzy..hint hint.

So without further ado...let's get back to the business of books...Fantasy adventure books to be exact! Thx ever so much for your support and for tagging along thus far...Keep the Magic Alive!

The links below will take you directly to my authors blog for details about these books and how to get one for free!





Monday, June 19, 2017

Charlotte's Library: The Hush, by Skye Melki-Wegner

Charlotte's Library: The Hush, by Skye Melki-Wegner: The Hush , by Skye Melki-Wegner (Sky Pony Press, YA, June 2017), is a fascinating story set in a world much like our own in many ways, exc...