Sunday, May 31, 2015

2015 May Reading List

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman – An entertaining ride for both kids and adults. 4/5 stars Amazon Bookdepository

Be My Love by Lucy Kevin – Because I hadn’t read anything by Bella Andre and I was curious. I’m obviously not the target audience here, but even so, it was pretty terrible. 2/5 stars Amazon 

The Telepath Chronicles edited by David Gatewood – Better writing than in The Robot Chronicles, too bad most of the stories felt unfinished and the ending ruined them more often than not. 3/5 stars Amazon Bookdepository

The A.I. Chronicles edited by Ellen Campbell – I found this one rather cold. The telepath book worked better as a whole. 3/5 stars Amazon Bookdepository

Robot Uprising edited by Daniel H. Wilson and John Joseph Adams – Now this was one well-written anthology all around. A couple of amazingly written stories, even if their basic concept wasn’t mind blowing, and the rest were all good stories. My only complaint would be that there was a little too much horror for my taste. 4/5 stars Amazon Bookdepository

I, Robot: To Protect by Mickey Zucker Reichert – I found the writing bland, and it reads more like a medical soap than sci fi and it has little to do with robots. However, as someone who watched the first three seasons of House at least five times, I found the science part fascinating. 4/5 stars Amazon Bookdepository

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – I don’t care for weak characters and I have zero tolerance for drunks so this book wasn’t for me. This being said, the big reveal came in too late when I was already fed up with the MC’s whining and I didn’t see the point of Megan’s POV since she spent most part of the book being dead. 3/4 stars Amazon Bookdepository 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – The story dragged, the MC was an idiot, there was little dialogue and especially none where there should have been, the Russian names in the absence of a Russian atmosphere only managed to be distracting, and the beginning and end of the book using a different person POV didn’t help at all. 2/5 stars. Amazon Bookdepository

Ironskin by Tina Connolly – A mixture of Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, and Rebecca. I rather liked it, except the end became overly melodramatic and gory. 3/5 stars. Amazon Bookdepository

Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly – For teens, but fun if you don’t mind the whole high school drama. 3/5 stars Amazon Bookdepository

White Cat by Holly Black – Nice to deal with a boy’s POV for a change even if he didn’t always sound like a boy. The ending made me jump right to the end of the third book in the series to see how it ended, which left me in no hurry to read the rest. I was barely past the middle of the first book when I thought this was the only fitting ending for the MC, so glad he got it. 3/5 stars  Amazon Bookdepository

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Weight of a Wing is FREE on Amazon!

On May 29 - 31, The Weight of a Wing is FREE on Amazon!

Don't miss your chance to download it, read it, and review it.

If you received a review copy from me, please download it anyway so your review will appear as 'verified'.

And please let you friends know about the free days via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.

Let's see how many urban fantasy fans we can reach! :)

Indie Friday: Winterhill: The Wreath of Dreams

Guest post by Iain Martin

Winterhill is the story of Rebecca Winterhill, a thirty-something, wise-cracking, fiercely smart woman who finds herself aboard a space-liner in the year 2513 with her personality and knowledge intact but no actual memories of her own life up to that point. All she has are a few clothes and a limitless credit card. So begins a quest which will take her across the Twelve Galaxies of human space, and will involve meeting a variety of friends and foes along the way. She is joined by the outrageously flirty Madagascar Talifero - a cyber-criminal on the run from her own family - and by a young pilot called Tareku who is excellent in a crisis and looks magnificent in a tux. Winterhill wants what anybody would - to discover who she really is, and how she ended up aboard the space-liner in the first place. From the very beginning the reader is given clues about this - and in this first book in the series we visit a wide variety of planets and societies which give us an inkling as to how the universe works. Humanity is expanding its territory and terraforming worlds, so we visit established planets and new settlements, ancient civilisations, and big, crime-riddled cyberpunk cities.

The idea for the book came when I uncovered several old Doctor Who novel submission ideas on an old hard drive, and began wondering how best to re-use them in some new serial format. I hit upon the idea of writing each Winterhill adventure as an 8,000 word “episode” and since then the project has been very televisual. I believe that nowadays ongoing TV dramas are where the most satisfying work in story-telling is taking place so, oddly for a life-long lover of books, all the key influences behind Winterhill are televisual. In the fabric of my series you’ll find the DNA of Doctor Who, Orphan Black, The Sopranos, House of Cards, The X-Files, The West Wing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twin Peaks and Firefly so if you like any of those, the chances are that you’ll love Winterhill. Each book allows me to tell a short series of adventures, and each book brings us closer to solving the mystery with new clues and discoveries.

The format is what particularly excites me. Each Winterhill book is designed to be like a TV box-set, with (initially) six separate episodes featuring Rebecca Winterhill and her friends, and each episode is cut to the same length and each series has a dramatic story-arc so the reader gets a very TV-like experience. This then puts the question in the reader’s hands; “to binge or not to binge”? Each story alone is the perfect length to read on a commute, or during a lie-in, or during your Sunday afternoon bath, but if you want to lock all the doors and plow through the whole lot in one sitting, then you absolutely can and some of my readers do…

Another area where Winterhill is innovative is that while it’s set in the future and involves spacecraft and science, it’s not complex, impenetrable SF. Like any story, when you boil it down to its key ingredients it is about people (and monsters) interacting, and I take so much care with the dialogue because this is the most fun aspect to the writing. Winterhill is somewhere between Space Opera and Fantasy, and I’ll always value a good idea or concept over a wordy explanation of the physics underpinning it, any day.

Writing the first book in the series, The Wreath of Dreams, was a series of very satisfying moments for me. Rebecca Winterhill and Maddy both immediately leapt from the page and I knew I’d found two marvellous characters to drive the story. At the end of the first adventure Death on the Demeter I knew that, somehow, I’d hit upon exactly the right length and format for each episode. In the second story I created a really good (i.e. really HORRIBLE) monster, and then each subsequent story was an exercise in ticking off my objectives - trying a comedy episode, then introducing a cyberpunk mafia storyline. Episode five was a particular treat to write as I got to introduce a major ongoing foe for Winterhill while bringing back an earlier monster and depicting a tiny, nascent settlement not unlike Deadwood. And most satisfying of all was episode six which managed to tell a complex story (originally plotted out to fill a novel) in just 8000 words with a massive twist which closed out that first run of stories. Then actually publishing it on Kindle felt pretty good. And once the reviews started coming…they have all been just amazing and kind and encouraging.

I started the first run of Winterhill adventures (The Wreath of Dreams) back in 2013, and I’m currently working on the fourth book. This series is now my whole creative focus, and I plan to get to the end of Winterhill’s story before developing anything new. It’s not often that a project both inspires and rewards you enough to see it through to the very end, so when that lightning does strike a writer would be a fool not to take notice. Book one, I would hope, is enough of a fun ride to hook the readers and bring them along on this journey I’m creating, and it’s not going to take me twenty years to complete, I can see the end-point on the horizon and I have a reliable road-map. The Wreath of Dreams sets up the series in a fairly gentle and subtle way - in subsequent books I’ve had to focus more directly upon particular themes and elements - while the first series is all about exploring the limits of what we can do in a series of stories about women travelling through space fighting monsters and madmen. 


Winterhill: The Wreath of Dreams
by Iain Martin

Available on: Amazon

Official website:

Follow the author on Twitter: @theiainmartin

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Romanian Anthology: Argos Doi - released at Bookfest

The Romanian anthology Argos Doi. Proza Science-Fiction & Fantasy, edited by Michael Haulica, is released at Bookfest book fair in Bucharest this weekend.

The book launch will take place today at 13:30 in pavilion C1, at Paladin-Art book stand.

Argos Doi includes my short story Un zambet de milioane. The story was first published in the first issue of Argos Magazine, April, 2013, and it won the AtelierKult writing contest in 2012.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend the book launch, but I invite you all to go and check out all the great books available at Bookfest.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Indie Friday: The Anniversary

Guest post by Avery K. Tingle

The Anniversary is a story about true love. Not the type of true love one finds in fairy tales or romance movies, but the type of true love that has to survive hell and high water to be discovered. It is about two people who have already endured much to get to where they are in life. They’re not rich, they don’t live in the best neighborhood, but they have each other and that’s all they’ve really needed. So after thirty years together, they almost believe there’s nothing they can’t survive together. This raises the question; what if one of them was gone?

This is a science-fiction story so a radical question is posed, and this is the heart of the story. Can people be replaced? What does it mean to truly be human? Can love simply be transplanted from one person to another? What does it mean to truly love someone; not just the body but the facets that make the person who they are? 

Most importantly, if you could stave off the death of someone you loved, would you do it, and how far would you be willing to go to save them? Would you grant their dying request even if it meant sacrificing something vital to you?

The idea for this story came from many different sources; I’ve been blessed enough to watch couples work through struggles to find their happily-ever-after, that thirty-year lifelong bond that so many of us hope for (even if we don’t want to admit it). I’ve also seen what happens when someone in a relationship is struck with a terminal illness. Some say both pass on at the end. I lost someone I loved to violence once, and I know how the sting of that never, ever goes away. I wanted to present a controversial option to the notion of true love; what if you could be with someone forever...even if it wasn’t completely them? Would you settle for half? Two-thirds? What if it was what the person wanted for you? Could you set aside your own desires for theirs? 

Isn’t that what love is?

This is science-fiction, not just romance. While I’m not sure if it’s particularly groundbreaking, I wonder if it’s ever been explored, the idea that a life partner could be “replaced” in case of illness. This raises so many questions, none of them with easy answers.

I usually write fantasy and that’s fun. The Anniversary was not fun. Quite the contrary, the Anniversary was an extremely difficult and painful journey to take. Writing this story meant confronting some issues I’d dealt with long ago. There were plenty of moments when writing this novel felt like pulling a knife out of my chest.

Easily the most satisfying moment was completing the book, and watching all of these characters come full-circle. I felt as though I could finally close the door on some personal issues, and I felt that all of the characters had reached the appropriate conclusion. The story felt right when I wrote those last two words.

In the end, I want people to come away with a deeper appreciation for the people in their lives. We fight over so many trivial things on a daily basis. Some of them blow up way beyond what we intended. I wonder how we might change our tone if we knew that this was the last day we’d ever spend with them. I want people to think about how they treat others, and I want people to wonder; are things in this story possible and if they were, would we take advantage of them?

Should we?


The Anniversary by Avery K. Tingle

Available on: Amazon

Official website:

Follow the author on Twitter: @IronMan1176

Friday, May 15, 2015

Indie Friday: The Black Swans

Guest post by N.W. Moors 

The Black Swans is a fantasy romance book that retells the old Irish tale of the Children of Lir in a contemporary story. The original story is about the four children of King Lir who are cursed by an evil stepmother. The children are two sets of twins; the oldest are Finola and Aodh (girl and boy) and the younger are Finacra and Conn.  The curse is that they must live nine hundred years as swans. In some versions at the end of that time they meet St Patrick who baptizes them and then they die, buried in one grave with Finola holding the boys.  In other versions they are transformed back to human shape and die.

I hated that the endings were all so sad. The children had miserable lives as swans, living in the cold North Sea, and then to just die seemed very wrong to me. One day I started to think about how I could rewrite this story with a happy ending and that’s how The Black Swans was born.

I loved writing this story. By setting it in the small fictional town of Antrim in Maine I was able to add the Irish elements of music and magic while retaining the modern-day aspect of everyday life in a rural town in New England, something that I know about. I set Antrim in the Oxford Hills in the western part of Maine and many of the scenes are actual places (some are renamed) that I know and have visited. I’ve been to the locales in Northern Ireland that I describe. As a writer I find it easier when I can visualize what I’m writing about.

The same applies to the people in the book. The hero and heroine, Conn and Taisie, have always looked like Michael Praed and Judi Trott in the old BBC show Robin of Sherwood, if you remember that TV series. I kept a picture of them posted to remind me of details for the book. Many of the people are composites of real friends and family and I used old family names for the people of Antrim, both from Maine and from Ireland. It’s a technique that I use as a writer to become totally immersed in the story.

Taisie is a strong heroine. She is determined to break the curse, but does so in her own special way, using the grit and talent she has cultivated growing up in a small town. I’m currently working on the next book in the series and have at least four more planned; they are all stand alone, but take place at least partly in Antrim and some of the same characters appear from book to book. I love to hear from my readers so please stay in touch.


The Black Swans by N.W. Moors

Available on: Amazon


Twitter: @AntrimCycle


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cover Reveal: Argos Doi

Argos Doi.
Proza Science-Fiction & Fantasy

Edited by Michael Haulica

Lucian Dragos Bogdan, Liviu Braicu, Aurel Carasel, Ioan Alexandru Despina, 
Mihai Alexandru Dinca, Alexandru Lamba, Lucian Merisca, Andrei Pantu, 
Florin Purluca, Liviu Radu, Felix Tzele, Ioana Visan

Release Date: May, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

Indie Friday: I'm Here

Guest post by Michelle Gordon

I'm Here is a story about a girl who is haunted by a boy that she had a crush on in school. After he passes away, he comes to visit her, and then finds ways to communicate with her. We get to see both sides of the story, from her point of view and from his, and he does everything he can from the dimension where he resides, to protect her from potentially dangerous situations. As their connection strengthens, they realise they are falling in love with each other. The story explores the idea of a relationship that others cannot see, with the sacrifices we make for the ones we love, and with the idea of what is fated and destined - can we really choose the reality we wish to experience?

The story is based on my own real-life experiences with a spirit who looks after me. It was his 'nudges' that I received through meditations and messages from mediums that encouraged me to write the story, but I found it quite difficult to do. From the first message I received to write the story, to the actual publication, was probably a timespan of about 3 years. I started writing the story several times, and I really struggled with the idea of writing it in the first person, as I generally write everything in the third person. But when I tried to change it to third person, it just didn't read very well. In the end, my spirit friend was visiting my editor in her dreams, to get her to push me into finishing it! The relief of actually finishing the book was immense, as at one point I just didn't think it would happen.

It's a book that fits into a few different genres; it's a paranormal romance, it's visionary fiction, and it's also what I call spiritual fiction. (I would love for the term spi-fi to take off!) Ultimately, at heart, it's about love. And about what we would or wouldn't do in the pursuit of that.

To get the book out into the world, I created the 'I'm Here Book Tour', and I (and many lovely fans) distributed cards bearing a code where you could download a PDF copy of the book for free. I also shared the link online, and then created a map with pins in all the places it has been downloaded. From that marketing experiment, I have made some beautiful friends and now have some very enthusiastic fans, so it was worthwhile doing it! I've also had some wonderful feedback from people who have been inspired and helped by the story, and it's feedback like that which reminds me why I continue to write and to bare my soul to the world. You can still download the book for free here.

You can also get it in paperback format and on Kindle from Amazon. The cover of the paperback is rather lovely!


I'm Here by Michelle Gordon

Available on: Amazon



Twitter: @themiraclemuse


Monday, May 4, 2015

A Short Update (2)

I'm happy to let you all know the first draft of Broken People book 2 is done. I started it on February 2nd and finished it on May 2nd. That's three months -- the exact time I had planned for it. It would have been ready sooner, but two weeks led to zero writing on account on being sick, and then another week was busy with Easter and the release of The Weight of a Wing. Since I met my deadline, it's all good.

Next, I have to get the second draft done, run it by my critique partners, finish a new draft, send it to my editor, and then complete the final draft. It's a long process, so expect to get your hands on the book sometimes in the fall. I will release the title, synopsis, and book cover as soon as the illustrator finishes the cover art.

Of course, the rest of the year won't be spent only polishing Broken People #2. Since I just completed a novel, I'll work on shorter pieces for a while: one short story for a Romanian magazine and two short (longish) stories for Romanian anthologies -- one of them will be another installment in my upcoming space opera saga while the other might or might not feature The Nightingale Circus; I haven't decided yet.

In English, the piece de resistance will be book 2 in The Stolen Wings series. The first book was well received so there definitely has to be a second book. I have the first 15,000 words already written, so the rest will only take another three months. Then, I have to translate the prequel of the soap opera saga and write/translate the above mentioned circus story. Aside from that, I have to write an angel and demon short story and, if there's still time left, either the first novella in the space opera saga or an angel and demon novella from the same series.

That's a lot of writing so we'll see how much of it I can actually get done before the end of the year.

As far as releases go, there will be an angel and demon short story released in June (not entirely something new as some of you might be familiar with it), Broken People #2 in the fall, and the circus story or the space opera prequel for Christmas. If anything else gets ready in time, there might be more, but I make no guarantees.

So, this is all from me for now. Back to writing.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Indie Friday: Fractured Immortal

Guest post by E.L. Wicker

Beginning a new book is hard. Figuring out where to begin can be one of the most difficult parts of the process. For me, it all began when I listened to a song and my head conjured up a scene deep in the forest of two people meeting for the first time. The idea intrigued me, more so than others that I had, and though I ignored it at first, it stewed away in my brain, growing to become something that I just needed to write down. Months passed, but eventually I put pen to paper and Fractured Immortal was born. I wanted to weave a tale of love, layer it with a heavy dose of vengeance and pain, add a dash of jealousy and a whole heap of secrecy, that was my recipe. It slow baked for a long, long time, but with each passing day it rose higher, nearing completion until finally, it was done.

This brings me to my struggles while writing. It is in no way an easy process. So often when people ask me what I do and I reply that I’m an author, I’m met with—I should write a book. Have at it. I guarantee, it’s not as easy as people think. There are so many bumps along the way, too many to fit into one guest post, but suffice to say, writers block, manuscript loathing and itty bitty torn up pieces of paper hampered my journey. Yeah, I struggled. All writers do. But it was worth every bead of sweat and every salty tear, because the most satisfying moment for me, was when it had been through its final editing stage and it was complete.

On my laptop, I had a final version of Fractured Immortal, a story about a female vampire, Ilia Rose, hell bent on revenge who becomes slowly unraveled by another vampire—one who should be her enemy, but really doesn’t behave like it. As the two begin to know each other better, his secrets explode in Ilia’s face, pitting her against a force she’s unequipped to deal with. The story focuses a lot on enduring friendships. Ilia’s friends come together to fight alongside her. Strength in numbers!

There are so many vampire books out there, that bringing something new to the genre was always going to be difficult. Recently I had a conversation with my critique partners where we discussed my characters. Each vampire in my book maintains a strong hold on their humanity. There are as close to human as they can bring themselves. They worry about each other’s feelings, fall in love, fall apart and forgive when the need arises. The book is in no way flowery though, there’s violence and death, but there’s also a strong sense of love from all of the characters. What they all mean to each other, everything they’ve endured, served to eventually make them stronger. Telling that tale is what I wanted to accomplish, and I think I did. 

No writer should go into the business thinking they’re going to become a gazillionaire. It’s unlikely, and if that’s the attitude going in, failure will burn them. The vast majority of writers love the craft, for many it’s a compulsion. So all I wanted to accomplish was to get the story written and I won’t deny that I hoped with all my heart, that at least one person would love it as much as I do.

That’s pretty much the low down on my process. Looking back, it was a lot of fun. I did have bad days, but hey—pushing on through is what makes us writers.


Fractured Immortal
by E.L. Wicker

Available on: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords

Official website:

Follow the author on Twitter: @elwicker