Category Archives: Blog Hops/Tours

On Book Reviews – Reckoning

Hi all! It’s been a while, I know. My apologies. I’ve been trying to get back to our regularly scheduled program, but the merry-go-round’s been moving a bit too fast for me to keep up lately. I promise to get back on schedule soon!

As you may recall, I’ve been participating in the Spread the Word Virtual Book Blog Tours hosted by 2 Book Lovers Reviews. This week is the virtual book tour for Reckoning (Book One of The Breach Trilogy) by Katheryn J. Avila, and I’m really happy to be able to share this book with you.

Before we move on to the review, here are a few links on Reckoning, for your browsing pleasure:

  • Goodreads (book page)
  • Amazon (purchase link – try a free sample!)
  • Smashwords (purchase link)(Reckoning is on sale right now through Monday, June 8th, with Smashwords coupon code XZ65E)

After the review, keep scrolling down for a synopsis, author bio, author links and blog tour giveaway!

Reckoning
(Book One of The Breach Trilogy)
Written by Katheryn J. Avila
4 out of 5 Stars

Katheryn J. Avila’s Reckoning, book one of The Breach Trilogy, tells the story of Lexia Graham, a strong willed and determined heroine whose life is turned upside down when her aunt dies and all of the family skeletons come tumbling out of the closet. An orphan herself, she must now protect her orphaned nephews while they are all drawn, unwittingly, into a supernatural world that becomes its own kind of macabre inheritance.

Reckoning was a fun, dark and engaging read. For me, it felt like slipping into my favorite pair of jeans. I know that’s an odd thing to say about a book, but it’s the most genuine way I can describe the experience. Everything about it felt familiar, and that in no way is meant to imply that it was predictable; if anything, it followed a certain kind of tradition in story-telling that I’m always happy to see.

While the story is ultimately about loss, literally and figuratively (since the plot revolves around Reapers), it still managed to remain light and charming—a testament to a fantastic supporting cast (they were so good that I still can’t settle on a favorite). The imagery was great and left an undeniable impression. There’s a scene in the story—I’ll just say that it’s a scene at the Crossroads—that captured and expressed the essence of the story in such a beautiful and haunting way that I can still see it clearly in my mind. If I had to point to a negative it’s that I wish I knew more—sometimes (mostly in the first half of the book) the story seemed to move too quickly for me without delving deeper, but that’s just my own preference.

Synopsis

After discovering suppressed psychic ability, Lexia struggles to keep her family safe, learning more than she bargained for along the way.

As demons and wraiths break their way through to the human world, she does her best to stay in control – unaware that the supernatural war dates back to before she was born.

Author Bio and Links

KAvila_Profile

Katheryn has always dreamed of being a published author, and recently, that dream has come true! She loves reading, writing, and does what she can to find/make time to write when her day job as a programmer doesn’t take up all her time.

Here are a few links to help you get to know Katheryn a little better:

Giveaway

Enter to win a free e-copy of Reckoning here!

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Forbidden : Promo Spotlight

Hi all! As of a few months ago, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in the Spread the Word Virtual Book Blog Tours hosted by 2 Book Lovers Reviews. This week is the virtual book tour for Forbidden: The Brethren of Erebus by L.M. David.  As a lover all things mythology and fiction of the supernatural variety, I’m happy to host a spotlight for this intriguing story!

Spread the Word Tour bannerBefore we begin, here are a few links on Forbidden, for your browsing pleasure:

And now, without further ado, onto the spotlight! (Friendly Hint: Keep an eye out for the giveaway link at the end of the spotlight!)

Synopsis

ForbiddenThe European vampire brood is in decline and the Vampiric council’s rule is shaken amid rumors of an uprising. Their only hope comes from an Oracles’ verse and a name “Julianna.” Moros, as a member of a warrior clan, the Brethren of Erebus, must obey the orders of the Heir Elder, who is convinced finding this young woman is the only hope to save them from extinction. Sent to America, a land forbidden by decree of the European rulers, he arrives only to learn he is exiled, and his family honor in ruins. Angered by this betrayal, he continues the search for Julianna. However, the more he learns, the less Moros believes the mission he is on will clear his name. Moros soon becomes entangled in lies, rivalry, deception, the threat of war, and the wrath of a Pan Celtic God — and in the midst of this treachery, he finds something unexpected … love.

Author Bio

Forbidden QuipL.M. David has been writing novels since Jr. High School after taking a Creative Writing class and becoming an acquaintance of Lazette Gifford, who is now a prolific writer. Initially drawn to the genre of Science Fiction, a fascination with paranormal/urban fantasy/romance drew her into the dark erotic world of vampires. The more she read about the subject of the ‘undead’, the deeper her fascination with folklore and legends of the vampires became. This is also L.M. David’s first attempt at writing a New Adult novel.

L.M. David, in recent months, has contributed an article to the ezine Vision: A Resource for Writers.

L.M. David, when not writing, has varied interest — building computers, making quilts, pillows and does scrapbooking. She has worked as a legal assistant and as a nurse in the medical field. Although born in New Jersey, her family relocated to Southern California and now considers themselves Californians. Her family includes Patches, a stray cat who nosed her way into the L.M. David’s life and Paws, who stubbornly sat on the front porch and patiently waited for hours to be invited inside. That was six years ago.

L.M. David has a blog at: http://www.wordpress.com/lmdavid54 and an author’s page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorLMDavid

Giveaway

As a part of this virtual book tour, the author is giving away 2 e-copies of the book (open internationally).  Please click on the following link to enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Review – The Butterfly Crest by Eva Vanrell

Stop Two in The Butterfly Crest Virtual Book Tour has gone live at the Trials and Tribulations of Writing Fiction blog! A huge thanks to author Katheryn Avila for such a great write up.

If you haven’t checked out Stop One at TWE Indie Reviews, you should do so now! *no pressure or anything ;)* Thanks to author Thomas W. Everson for the wonderful review.

Trials and Tribulations of Writing Fiction

Butterfly Crest Banner

Hi! So way back in September, I signed up over at 2 Book Lovers Reviews for a neat feature they’ve just begun – the Spread the Word Virtual Book Blog Tours! The first ever winner of the free blog tour is Eva Vanrell, author of The Butterfly Crest, and this is my leg of her tour, in which I’ll be reviewing her debut novel. This also marks the first of (hopefully) many more book reviews I’ll be putting up here, mainly of the indie variety. Now, let’s talk about The Butterfly Crest. (SPOILER FREE!)

First, a quick synopsis/excerpt:

Elena Vicens is an associate at a law firm, leading a pretty regular life. As a child, she lived in Japan until the untimely death of her parents. She was taken in by her mother’s best friend, Cataline, and raised in the states for the rest of her…

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On paperback releases and book blog tours

Hi all! Just wanted to stop by and make a few quick announcements. I had planned for this post to be a little more than just updates, but I somehow caught a stomach bug and it has officially won. Thanks to the crazy dizziness, I can’t stare at a screen for too long.

First thing’s first, just a little reminder that the First Edition Paperback of The Butterfly Crest comes out tomorrow online!! Keep an eye out for the link, which I’ll be posting tomorrow morning (or you can sneak a copy now on Amazon)!

NOLA Book FairI attended my first book fair this past weekend – The New Orleans Book Fair! Had a lot of fun meeting new readers, and sharing the experience with V (my partner in crime in all things literature related) and A (she who forces me to be social and champions my cause). For those of you who purchased the book, I sincerely hope you enjoy Elena’s story and come to love some of the characters as much as I do. It’s a privilege to be able to share them with you. Thank you as well to all the super nice people who signed up for my author newsletter – an email should be going out soon with some fun updates!

If you haven’t signed up for my author newsletter yet, there’s always room for new friends! You can sign up on Eva’s List anytime, to receive exclusive updates on my latest news, sneak peeks and special promotions. Those on the List will be first in line for cover and title reveals, and Book Two excerpts!

PrintThe Butterfly Crest Virtual Book Tour starts today! Thank you to Spread The Word Blog Tours and all of the wonderful bloggers who voted for the book. I’m really looking forward to your posts! There will be a giveaway associated with the tour (First Prize – a signed First Edition Paperback; Second Prize – a $15 Amazon gift card). Here’s the schedule, for those of you who would like to take the tour (and/or enter the giveaway!):

November 10th – TWE Indie Reviews

November 11th – Trials and Tribulations of Writing Fiction

November 12th – 2 Book Lovers Reviews

November 15th – Sarah Wathen

November 16th – The Spontaneous Reader

November 17th – L.M. David and Literary Homebody

Such stuff as dreams are made

BCpaperbackIt’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! Three years and a Cold War With Drop Caps/Small Caps later, it’s finally in print! Physical. Tangible. Definite. My soul made manifest and laid bare for the world to see.

There are no words to describe the feeling. Relief. Elation. Awe. Satisfaction. Euphoria. Joy. Humility. Accomplishment. Pride. All these words, while true, seem two-dimensional.

This is the stuff of dreams.

So when’s the big day? The First Edition Paperback of The Butterfly Crest will be released on November 11th through Amazon! To celebrate, I’ll be giving away 3 signed copies on Goodreads, so please stay tuned in the next few days for more information on that!

But wait, there’s more! Spread The Word Book Blog Tours will be hosting a Virtual Book Tour for The Butterfly Crest from November 10th through the 18th (which will include another giveaway), and The Twins and I have been working on a Character Interview for your reading pleasure (thanks Moonrise Book Blog for the invitation!).

So if you’re an old friend of the beasties or new, we’d love to have you join the celebration!

An Afternoon Lunch With Elena and Eiry

640px-Hokusai_Poppies
“Poppies” by Katsushika Hokusai.

Hello, and thanks again for tuning in! As I’d mentioned in my last post, I’ve been invited to participate in the Meet My Character Blog Tour. For this particular tour, authors interview a main character from a recently published or soon to be published work, and then tag other authors to keep up the chain of interviews the following week. It’s the perfect opportunity for readers to learn about these characters outside of the constraints of their stories, and for authors to promote not only their work but the characters that made their work possible.

Before we begin, I’d like to thank the authors who invited me to participate in this tour:

Lily Author writes mysteries and thrillers, and is the author of Eden Fell, a dark and modern fairytale that chronicles Eden’s life as she falls from grace. She is also a moderator of the Goodreads group Fringe Fiction. You can read Lily’s contribution to the Meet My Character Blog Tour here.

Sarah Roberts is the author of Rokula, a Contemporary Fantasy novel about monsters, magic, arena fighting, conspiracies, jealousy, betrayal, love, destiny, and madness. Rokula is the first installment of The Rokula Saga. For more information, check out The Rokula Saga website here. Like Rokula on Facebook. You can read Sarah’s contribution to the Meet My Character Blog Tour here.

Ryan Gladney is the author of Nine Lives of Adam Blake, a contemporary novel set in Minnesota that combines elements of speculative fiction, urban fantasy, philosophical fiction, coming-of-age, and literary fiction. You can read Ryan’s contribution to the Meet My Character Blog Tour here.

In a few seconds, you’ll be meeting the lead characters of my debut novel, The Butterfly Crest. When I was considering how to set this up, I decided it would be best to let the characters speak for themselves.  As a result, you’ll be reading an interview scene that exists somewhere outside the timeline of the novel.

And with that, onto our scene…

Meet My Characters – Interview Scene

Relief washed over Elena as she stepped out of the blistering summer heat and into the cool, air-conditioned atrium of a restaurant. Looking down at her watch, she was thrilled to see she was only five minutes late.

The moment the door closed behind her, the sounds of the street outside fell away and were quickly replaced by the clamor of patrons enjoying their lunch. There was always something frantic about the energy inside a New Orleans restaurant; a joie de vivre, as Cataline would say. It was impossible not to be swept up by it, and Elena couldn’t help but stop and take a moment to enjoy it.

Her moment, however, was cut short by the sound of an unfriendly, yet familiar voice.

“Ah, Ms. Vicens, you’re finally here. He’s been waiting,” the host called out to Elena in a brisk tone, raising his hand to wave her over from the entrance. “Come along,” he added, looking her over disapprovingly, before turning on his heel to lead the way.

Elena stared at the man’s back for a few seconds and then fell into step behind him, following along the familiar corridor to the private dining room reserved for the Callas family. Thankfully, the short walk was a quiet one this time, and the host didn’t linger once he showed Elena into the room; his attempt to walk her to their table had been met by a violent stare from the room’s only occupant.

Tall and slender, with pale blonde hair and ice-blue eyes, the man was dressed in an impeccably tailored suit, his hair worn short and perfectly groomed. He appeared to be in his late twenties but was much older than that, and his fair skin was so pale it reminded Elena of snow. Since the day they’d met, this was exactly how he always looked, except for the few times Elena had seen him lose his composure—and those moments were few and far between.

“Tell me you didn’t walk here,” he said to Elena as he met her in the center of the room and led her back to their table. After helping her into her chair, he took his seat across from her and waited patiently for her response, the hint of a smirk ghosting his lips.

“I did. It’s a beautiful day out.” Elena set down the piece of paper she’d been holding and reached for the glass of water on her side of the table; the walk had left her parched.

“You should have used the little trick I showed you,” he teased and followed her movements with quiet interest, his attention finally settling on the piece of paper she’d put down. “What’s that?”

“The reason I asked you to meet me,” Elena replied with a smile, “and you know I don’t like using that little trick of yours when I don’t have to—makes me super dizzy.”

“Give it time, Ele. You’ll get used to it,” he assured her, and with his eyes fixed on hers reached toward the piece of paper on the table and tapped his finger over what looked like the signature line of an email. “So what’s going on with our favorite little author? Here I was, hoping you were trying to wine and dine me.”

“Oh, I am. Just not for the reasons you want me to.”

Elena would have said more, but they were interrupted by a waiter who came to take their drink order. He seemed overly nervous, his hands shaking as he took their order and then quickly made his way out of the room once finished.

“Do you always have that effect on people?” Elena asked, watching as her companion read over the email which he’d snatched up from the table while the waiter had been doing his job.

“Depends, and don’t pretend not to know why. You should add that question to Eva’s interview. I bet she’d love that.”

“You realize this is probably why she’s asked me do the interview, right?” Elena said with a shrug, ecstatic when the nervous waiter returned with their drinks; a little alcohol would go a long way right about now, assuming the waiter didn’t drop his tray on account of his nerves.

“I have to say I’m a little offended she didn’t interview me herself.”

“Oh hush, you brought that onto yourself. You’re too demanding with her. Now hand me that email so we can get this over with.”

“I’m not demanding, Elena. I just happen to know she works best under pressure.” With a satisfied smile, he handed the paper off and reached for his glass of bourbon before settling back into his chair. “Where exactly is she posting this anyway?”

“I have no idea. Now, enough sidetracking. I’m never going to get back to the office at this rate, and your mother is going to kill me.”

“Did you sneak out?” he asked, amusement coloring his eyes. He leaned forward and watched her intently, resting his chin on his hand.

Elena fought the urge to throw a piece of bread at him. Ignoring his remark, she decided to jump right into the first question of the interview. “What’s your name? Are you a fictional or a historic person?”

“That’s a loaded question, isn’t it? I go by several names, and my nature would depend on your definition of fictional or historic.” Reaching for the glass of bourbon, he brought it to his lips and took a deep drink before continuing. “My name is Eiry Callas. To keep this simple, let’s just say I’m a fictional character.”

“Ok, that works. Now onto the next question,” Elena continued. “When and where is your story set?”

“Remind me again when we met.”

“Are you serious?”

“Ele, the years blend, so cut me some slack.”

“I figured you’d have a photographic memory or something.”

“That wouldn’t really help unless I’d seen the year, right?” Eiry offered Elena a warm smile—his version of a peace offering—and then stood from his chair. He reached into his pants pocket and retrieved a vintage cigarette case. Placing it on the table, he resumed his seat and began to search for the lighter in his blazer.

Elena watched him quietly, enjoying the way he went about things. His pace was never hurried, and his manner was always graceful and controlled. When he found his lighter, Eiry removed a cigarette from its case and then settled back into his chair.

“The story told in the book takes place in the spring of 2010, if memory serves me right,” he said, answering the last question. “It starts off here, in New Orleans, and then takes the reader to Kyoto, the underworld and beyond. Would you like one?”

For a minute Elena didn’t know what he was talking about, then saw him push the cigarette case toward her on the table. She shook her head and reached for her glass of wine instead. Looking over the email, she moved on to the next question. “What should we know about you?”

“I like pocket squares. I don’t like nicknames.”

“I think you’re leaving a few things out.”

Eiry lit his cigarette before answering. “A man should be entitled to a few secrets.”

“Fair enough. What’s the main conflict in the story? What messes up your life?”

“How long is this article going to be?” He lifted his gaze and watched her quietly, weighing his words. It felt like an eternity passed in perfect silence. The nervous waiter came in to refill their drinks and ask if they were ready to place their order. Eiry waved him off. He took another deep drink, and when he finally spoke his voice was thick and heavier than before. “The story is about a prophesied heir, a human descendant of the House of Thebes who will turn the tide in an ancient war between gods. For thousands of years, these heirs have been killed and the house was thought to be extinct, until we found you.”

Elena couldn’t keep his gaze. She ran a hand through her hair and looked down at the table. The second her eyes fell on the cigarette case, she reconsidered his offer. She downed what was left of her wine and reached for the case. It would be better to move on with the next question. “What’s your personal… goal?” Shit. She should have read the question first, before asking. It was like pouring salt on the wound. “Never mind, no need to answer that one.”

Eiry stilled and his features smoothed. “That’s probably for the best. I’m beginning to think Eva made all this up to torture me.”

“I doubt it,” Elena assured him. “There’s an email chain here with the questions. She added a few of her own, though.”

Eiry narrowed his eyes. “What’s a few?”

“Five or six. Nothing major.”

“Fine,” he said grudgingly. “Let’s get this over with so that I can start plotting my revenge.”

“Where were you born?”

“In the deep south, in a small city that borders a river.”

“When’s your birthday?”

“December 21st.”

“What’s your favorite food?”

“Beignets.”

“What’s your favorite book?”

“It’s a play. ‘Antigone’ by Sophocles.”

“What’s your favorite movie?”

“Finding Nemo.”

“Really?”

“Next question.”

“What’s your favorite T.V. show?”

“I don’t watch T.V.”

“That’s a lie and you know it.”

“I’m not lying, Elena. You watch T.V. and I have no choice but to watch it with you.”

“Come on, let me tell them.”

“No, now move it along.”

“Fine. Have you answered the last six questions truthfully?”

“The world may never know.”

And there you have it, folks—an afternoon lunch with Elena and Eiry. The scene turned out a little longer than I anticipated, but I hope you enjoyed it. Without further ado, here are the four authors I’m tagging for next week. Meet their characters next Monday, July 21st!

Lisa Jones is the author of The Prophecy, a fantasy novel and retelling of the Arthurian legends. It is the first book in a trilogy. Lisa’s second book, entitled Redemption, will be available later this year.

Ben Starling is an Oxford grad who is passionate about marine conservation and boxing, both of which are central themes in his upcoming novel. He is currently Writer in Residence for Mirthquake Ltd., a production company that advocates for ocean health and welfare.

Patrick Wong writes Young Adult fiction with a paranormal twist. His debut novel, Balancer is about a teenager who has the power to balance LifeYou can find Balancer on Amazon here.

Selah Tay-Song is the author of Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern, an epic fantasy novel that tells the story of Princess Stasia of Iskalon, who, in the aftermath of war, must keep the remnants of her kingdom intact, and her only hope is a prophetic Dream that may lead her to a new home for her people.


This week’s image is “Poppies” by Katsushika Hokusai, a Japanese ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period, who is best known as author of The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Ohara
“Bullfinch on Flowering Plum” by Ohara Koson

Hi all! Patrick Wong, author of Balancer, invited me to participate in The Writing Process Blog Tour.  For those unfamiliar with a blog tour, they are chained posts where authors answer a few questions and then tag other authors to keep up the chain the next week. For those unfamiliar with Patrick, he writes Young Adult fiction with a paranormal twist.  His debut novel, Balancer is about a teenager who has the power to balance Life. You can find Balancer on Amazon here.

And with that… here we go.

What am I working on?

I’m currently working on the follow-up to The Butterfly Crest. This will be the second book in The Protogenoi Series. It has a title already, but I’m going to wait a little while longer before revealing it (just in case). I’m three chapters into Book Two (as we’ll affectionately call it for now), and I’m waking up early in the mornings to get a few hours of writing in before I have to go into the office.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

The Butterfly Crest is an epic fantasy set in modern times. Its storyline is heavy on mythology; different world mythologies in particular. What sets it apart from other works in the fantasy genre is its treatment of those mythologies. The story follows Elena, a human woman who suddenly finds herself in the middle of a Greek myth, in a world where human belief can create or alter the divine. It is a world where all faiths (past and present) are real, and their mythologies are weaved into one mythos.

My plan (and I sometimes deviate from plans, so please don’t hold me to this later) is to include at least three major mythologies in each book. In The Butterfly Crest, you meet the yōkai of Japanese myth, post-modern Greek deities, and the Tuatha Dé Danann. The appearance of yōkai in American fiction is pretty sparse, so including them as a major part of the story was one of the most enjoyable aspects of writing the book.

Why do I write what I do?

My characters compel me to.

How does my writing process work?

This one is a loaded question for the obvious reasons, but also because my writing process has changed from Book One to Book Two. I wrote The Butterfly Crest while I was on hiatus from my legal career. After doing the initial research and preparing a pretty detailed outline, I started to write. I would wake up every morning, dress comfortably, prepare my writing nook and make myself a pot of tea. I would then write for at least 8 hours. If I was having trouble, if Mr. Muse abandoned me, I would sit and stare at the screen until it came. I did this every day of the week. I took the weekends off in the beginning, but towards the end the writing started bleeding into my weekends.

Writing Book Two has been completely different. I’m juggling writing with managing my own law practice, so I can’t dedicate 8 hours a day, 5+ days a week to writing. Now, I wake up every morning at 5 a.m. and write until 7:30 a.m. I have an outline, but not nearly as detailed as the one I had for Book One. The process is much looser this time around, since all the groundwork has already been laid, but the allotted time slots bring their own brand of problems (you can read about my disgruntled writing elves here). Being “in the mood” to write wasn’t an issue before because I had the luxury of time, but now, if Mr. Muse acts up and his mood lasts more than two and a half hours, there goes my writing for the day. Stopping mid-scene (because of the allotted time) has taken some getting used to. The process is slow going, but I’m having a ball with it (when the writing elves are happy).

And with that, I’m passing the torch to author Ben Starling, an Oxford grad who is passionate about marine conservation and boxing, both of which are central themes in his upcoming novel. He is currently Writer in Residence for Mirthquake Ltd., a production company that advocates for ocean health and welfare. Check out Ben’s blog next Monday, July 7th!

Happy Reading!


This week’s image is “Bullfinch on Flowering Plum” by Ohara Koson. Ohara was a Japanese painter and printmaker of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and part of the shin-hanga (“new prints”) movement.