Monday, April 14, 2014

Obsidian Towers and Groves and Giveaways

Fantasy4-Banner photo Fantasy-Banner-2.jpg

 There's a four-author fantasy tour going on over at Juniper Grove,with a great giveaway (see end of this post), and some wonderful excerpts being offered online, plus some fascinating guest posts from the authors. I'm delighted to welcome L. T. Getty, author of the middle grade fantasy Tower of Obsidian to my blog today, and, since her novel is recommended for age 13+, I had to ask...



  • There is an age recommendation of 13+ for your book. Which comes first, the story, the book, the audience or the age recommendation, and how does it affect your writing process?
 Over to you L. T., and thank you for visiting my blog.

For me, the first draft is about telling myself the story. Sometimes I have a very clear picture of whereFantasy4-Author Getty photo LT-Getty-Pic.jpg I want the story to be go, what I want the conflict to be, and even who the characters are - but often times, it changes as I start to delve into the story and learn who the characters really are. Tower of Obsidian would be a very different story if I'd gone with very different lead characters.
This is why I can't be a true plotter - don't get me wrong, I've written series and I have notes to keep me on track, but the notes are guidelines, and it's not uncommon for me to divert from a sequence I've already written because I've learned to trust my creative process. Usually when I start to develop a decent feeling for the book, I'll write a very rough synopsis of where I expect to go - this allows me to skip around and write scenes that I feel strongly about so that I can start bridging the sequences together. When I seem to have a strong narrative, I think about sending it off to my beta reader.
All this being said, I have delved into YA and middle grade, and I have to say, they're both very fun genres to write in. When I'm anticipating to write for a younger audience, my general rule is not to talk down to them. The audience can handle difficult subject matter, but it's also not a good idea to thrust too much too soon at the audience.  I find that a good rule, is not to write something adult me wouldn't enjoy on some level. 

That makes sense, and I love reading middle grade and YA novels, especially when they don't talk down to the reader. Thank you so much L. T. And here's a great excerpt to whet your readers' appetites...



Excerpt from Tower of Obsidian by L.T. Getty:


You know how the tale is supposed to go. The maiden is seized, captured by some foul villain. The hero gives chase, defeats the villain, and rescues her. The maid and hero wed and live happily ever after. But suppose it doesn’t go like that. No doubt there have been countless stories of maidens taken by villains. Some are rescued, others are killed, and however tragic their stories, they are ended.

What if one of these maidens lingered in darkness, with puzzles unsolved, her dragons unslain?

She was stolen, like so many before her and many who came after. Was she a goddess, a nymph, or a common girl of great beauty? It matters little. He seized her and forced her into a dark tower, which even the gods could not destroy. Oh how they tried, sending their sons to battle him. All failed.

The wicked sorcerer enticed her, tried to trick and confuse her, but she would never submit. In rage, or perhaps when it seemed the tide was turning, and perhaps her true love finally came, the sorcerer, rather than lose her, cursed her. He locked her in a prison, and she and the tower became one.

At last, the sorcerer was destroyed, but not sent forth to the land of the dead, or chance his evil would survive the grave. Undying, he remained a fragmented wraith, a wicked creature, the villain in countless stories. Perhaps, that was why his defeat did not undo her curse, for she remained a prisoner in the dark spire.

Her would-be hero, defeated at the end, died of a broken heart. The lands around the tower grew dark, as if the world itself knew the tale was too sad. Surely, she was worth rescuing? Surely, there was another who could save her?

Imagine then, if you were she: your beauty, your curse, and your true love stolen from you. Imagine your father playing one suitor off another. All the while, the other women despise you. Imagine being changed—much like how a god would turn a nymph into a cow, a goddess into the body of a mortal. Confined to a prison, and even if it were the finest castle in all the lands, heaven, earth, or the underworld, still a cage. All the while, you wait for a rescue which never comes. The spell will not allow you to die nor to grow old. You are stagnant in a world where stories of old become legends, and legends forgotten—dismissed as childish fancy.

No, child, surely you do not wish to know that story. Maidens must be rescued, the good endure, and evil smote. Even though you know what is true or fair is not so in your life, you expect nothing else in your story. It is how the story is supposed to go. You will accept nothing but a proper ending. Content yourself then with stories of long hair and spinning wheels.
 

Thank you L. T. Getty.

And now for some information about all four fantasy novels on this tour...



Fantasy4-Tower of Obsidian photo Tower-of-Obsidian.jpg
Title:   Tower of Obsidian
Author:  L. T. Getty
Published:  February 2013
Publisher:  Champagne Book Group
Word Count:  115,000
Genre:  Epic Fantasy
Content Warning:  Minor Violence
Recommended Age:  13+
Synopsis:
When Kale mac Tadhg is betrayed by his Lord’s men, he is sent on an impossible quest: slay a witch in a tower, and end a people’s curse. Both Kale’s best friend and brother-in-arms Aaron Smithson and former betrothed Aoife of Westgate set out to rescue him, but their journey takes them into the uncharted waters and Northwestern Nordic colonies, to a land cursed and all but forgotten. They begin to realize that there is some truth to old legends. Kale’s rescue comes at a price—for by the time Aaron and Aoife know where to search, like so many before him, Kale is bound to the ancient tower’s fate.
Fantasy4-Author Getty photo LT-Getty-Pic.jpg
About the Author:
L.T. Getty started writing her first novel in junior high, and hasn’t really stopped since. She’s studied kendo, is an open water scuba diver, and has recently taken up archery, and hopes to learn to do it horseback some day. When she’s not writing, she works as a paramedic. When she is writing, it tends to be rather cheeky.

Fantasy4-Finding Eve photo Finding-Eve.jpgTitle:  Finding Eve
Author:  Rita Bay
Published:  September 2013
Publisher:   Champagne Book Group
Word Count:  13,500
Genre: Shape-shifter Paranormal
Content Warning:  Adult content
Recommended Age:  18+
About the book:
Nicholas Lyons, chief physician to the Lyons clan of shape-shifters, has mourned the death of his promised lifemate until a rogue shapeshifter reports having seen her at an exotic animal sale. Accompanied by Marie Lyons who is no stranger to the dark side, her new lifemate Anthony, and the imperious Lady Bat, he embarks on a frantic search for Eve through the dangerous world of exotic animal trafficking.
Eve, whose first memories are of recovering from an injury at an isolated animal refuge, has lived through a succession of owners in a world filled with cages and cruelty. When Eve meets Marie at the exotic animal sale, she begins to have flashes of a different life – a life in which she was something other than feline. Her last sale, however, has landed her as prey to exotic animal hunters and the clock is ticking.
Fantasy4-author Rita Bay photo Rita-Bay.jpgAbout the Author:
Rita’s journey began on the Gulf Coast. Over the years, she lived and/or traveled in the eastern US and Western Europe. While juggling family and work, she participated in archaeological digs, earned a black belt in Shotokan karate, prospected for gold and crystals, camped across Europe, and volunteered with the American Red Cross Disaster and Education Services. Rita has worked as a registered nurse, educator and school system administrator. She lives with her family on the Gulf Coast, except when she’s in Atlanta, at least for now.
Rita is published in multiple genres with several publishers including paranormal and erotic novellas (Champagne Book Group – Champagne Books and Carnal Passions), historical novels (Siren BookStrand), and contemporary F/M and M/M novellas (Secret Cravings). She posts random bits of historical trivia about western history and culture on Rita Bay’s Blog at ritabay.com.
Fantasy4-The Pact photo The-Pact.jpgTitle:  The Pact
Author:  Graeme Brown
Published:  May 2013
Publisher:  Champagne Book Group
Word Count:   17,000
Genre:  Dark Epic Fantasy
Recommended Age:  12+
About the book:
Enter the world of Will Lesterall, a boy who’s grown up in the safety of his father’s castle.
Tales of the outside world ruled by warring kings and creatures of nightmare have never seemed a threat, yet on the night celebrating two hundred years of the sacred Pact that has kept Fort Lesterall safe, intrigues ripen, and in the course of a few hours Will is confronted with a choice greater than he can comprehend.
Join an unlikely hero as destiny pulls him into the middle of an ancient conflict between fallen gods and ambitious women, one that demands blood, both holy and wicked, and the power of an ancient fire bound in steel. As swords clash below a watching wood, hope and betrayal war as fiercely as fear and valor.
Whether he lives or dies, Will Lesterall will never be the same.
Fantasy4-Author Brown photo Graeme-Brown.jpgAbout the Author:
Graeme Brown has been enchanted by the epic fantasy genre since he was a child, and consequently he started creating his own world with its stories at the age of thirteen. Influenced by writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Jordan, and George R. R. Martin, he has finally brought the first of those stories to life with his debut title, a short story called The Pact—48 pages that will whisk you away to a dark, medieval fantasy world with gritty realism. When he’s not writing, he can be found exploring number theory problems or writing computer programs, training for a marathon, or unwinding in a yoga hot room. He has also explored other facets of art, both as a hobby and a profession, including vector graphics, pen and ink, classical piano, and web design. He just finished writing the first of many sequels to The Pact, A Thousand Roads.

Fantasy4-Queens Pawn photo The-Queens-Pawn.jpgTitle:  The Queen’s Pawn
Author:   R. J. Hore
Published: April 2013
Publisher:  Champagne Book Group
Word Count: 91,000
Genre:  Medieval Fantasy
Recommended Age:  13+
About the book:
Young Harow just wanted to stay on the farm for the rest of his life, but his mother insisted he go to school in the City to study to be a priest. Now the City is in flames and he is racing across unfamiliar countryside trying to get the mysterious and sensuous Queen Reginee and her extremely annoying and very spoiled daughter Desiree-Rose to safety.
Of course there is a rebel army on their heels, black wizardry afoot, and sundry and dangerous creatures and villains, monstrous and common, seductive and evil, lurking along the way. If this were not enough for the youth to worry about, the Queen’s amorous chambermaid and bodyguard Mathilde, a smallish giantess, just wants to get him alone.
Fantasy4-Author Hore photo Ronald-Hore.jpg
About the Author:
Ron can be found sailing on Lake Winnipeg when not writing novels or critiquing for an on-line magazine He won first prize for a Canadian Authors Association short story contest for a ghostly love story, but his preference is for longer works including a recent trio of medieval-style fantasies and the Housetrap Chronicles fantasy detective series through www.burstbooks.ca . Supervised by his understanding wife and a large demanding cat, most of his writing efforts continue toward fantasy, with occasional lapses into science fiction and horror.
Find out more at these other great tour stops (and don't miss the giveaway below)


Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

  • GRAND PRIZE:  One winner will receive 5 surprise fantasy eBooks from Champagne Book Group.


Giveaway is International.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Forget me not blues


I'm delighted to host author Aaron Paul Lazar's latest book, Lady Blues, as it tours with Innovative Online Book Tours today. Forget me not, says the subtitle, and forget me not say the wonderful characters too.

I've enjoyed reading lots of books from Mr. Lazar's novel series, not least because he writes from the point of view of very real characters, frequently ones who've already experienced enough of life to have something worthwhile to say. Gus LeGarde, the protagonist of Lady Blues, is no exception--husband, father, grandfather, musician, professor... all-around good guy, and not too bad at solving the odd mystery and escaping threats of death in his spare time. So please read on for a book blurb, review, author bio, and even a first-chapter excerpt! Enjoy.

REVIEW:
I’m already hooked on author Aaron Paul Lazar’s Gus LeGarde mysteries, and Lady Blues is another great addition to the series. As always, music plays a key role in the story, and plays it most evocatively. An elderly Alzheimer’s patient, on meeting Gus LeGarde, exhibits that quirk of memory whereby past music is more real than present pain. But octogenarian Kip's present pain is soon to be alleviated by a new drug. Gus is privy to the old man's delightful awakening, with memories of World War II, and Bella, and the Blues. Soon he's wondering, could this man’s past even hold the key to answering a long-debated musical mystery?

The Genesee valley is beautifully described in this novel, with evocative scenery, and an honest sense of friction between Gus’s feelings for his well-tended garden, and the stark failed landscaping of cheap business practices. But business practice will affect more than the landscape in this tale. Small-town disaster leaves a quiet woman homeless. Small-business troubles leave an old man sliding back into forgetfulness. And small tendrils of concern grow into serious investigation and serious danger as Gus takes charge.

I love the characters of these stories, drawn with enough depth that they can change and grow from novel to novel while still feeling like well-remembered friends. But there’s no need to read the earlier novels before enjoying this one. Start wherever you choose, wander in the valley’s sunshine and scenery, rest in its small-town homeliness, meet Gus, make friends with Sig and co, and watch love grow while solving exciting mysteries.

Disclosure: I was delighted to read a copy of this novel before its release, and again afterward.



BLURB:
Past and present collide when an Alzheimer’s patient’s fragile memory holds the key to solving mysteries dating back to World War II—including a long lost secret love affair.

Music professor Gus LeGarde is just doing a favor for a friend when he agrees to play piano for church services at a local nursing home. He doesn’t expect to be drawn into a new friendship with an elderly Alzheimer’s patient dubbed “the music man” or to stumble across a decades-old mystery locked inside the man’s mind.

Octogenarian Kip Sterling doesn’t know his own name—but he speaks Gus’s language, spouting jazz terms like “cadence” and “interlude” and “riff.” He’s also obsessed with “his Bella,” but nobody knows who she is.

When Kip is given a new drug called Memorphyl, he starts to remember bits and pieces of his life. Gus learns Bella was Kip’s first and only love, but their relationship was shrouded in scandal. Intrigued, Gus agrees to help search for her. Could she still be alive?

Horrified when the miracle drug suddenly stops working and patients begin to backslide, Gus panics. Can he help Kip find his beloved Bella before his newfound memories disappear?

AUTHOR BIO:
Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The author of three mystery series, Lazar enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at

ONLINE LINKS:
• Website     http://www.lazarbooks.com
• Blog            http://www.aaronlazar.blogspot.com
• Facebook Name:  AaronPaulLazar
• Twitter Name   :  @aplazar

BUY NOW LINKS:


FIRST CHAPTER:



Chapter One


I strolled along Main Street with Siegfried, my best friend and brother-in-law, unable to shake the song repeating in my head. I’d played it for my Opera 101 class yesterday at school, and since then, kept hearing Marcelo Alvarez singing “Che gelida manina,” from La Boheme. Because Camille and I had seen him perform in this role last fall in New York City, it made me long for Lincoln Center, or at least a really good hot pastrami sandwich from a decent deli.
Why I thought of food at that particular moment was a mystery, because we’d just finished a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, home fries, and bacon at Clara’s Diner. I shrugged and let the warm spring air caress my face and bare arms. The sun felt good after the lingering cold of March. I reveled in the feeling of freedom, happy to have no appointments or chores looming in the near future, and looking forward to a leisurely stop in the village bookstore.
A warm breeze teased across the Genesee Valley, filling me with a curious sense of exhilaration. Just past the bagel shop, from the top of the ridge where our historic village of Conaroga, New York perched, I stopped for a minute to enjoy the view. Rolling hills swelled in the distance, coated green with winter wheat.
I wanted to stay put and soak it all in, but Siegfried was rapidly disappearing into the crowded street. With his blond ponytail swaying behind him, his long legs ate up the ground.

 Wondering what's going on...? Well, soon we find out...



I smelled it before I saw it, then looked up.
Smoke.
It poured from the upper floor where Thom Kim lived with his sister, Lily. Although the street teemed with people, no one seemed to have noticed the smoke. We careened along the sidewalk, pushing through shoppers and students.
Cursing because I left my cell phone in the car, I grabbed the nearest student texting on his phone. He stared at me through black dreadlocks as if I were attacking him. Which I guess I was, in a way.
I pointed up. “Call 911. Tell them there’s a fire.”
The crowd parted, staring and pointing at the smoky building. The boy with the phone gawked at me, as if locked in a trance.
I shook his arm. “Call 911!”
In that instant, he came to life, stabbing at his phone. “Okay. I’m on it.”
Siegfried and I rushed into the building. No one stood behind the sales counter or in the work area in the back of the shop.
“Where are they?” I said, hurriedly searching behind doors and cabinets.
“Upstairs,” Siegfried said with certainty, pointing toward a back staircase.
We scrambled toward the stairs, entering a cloud of thick, choking smoke.
A woman’s cry came from above.
“Lily!” Siegfried shouted, covering his mouth and nose with his shirt. He scaled the steps two at a time with me right behind him.
A hoarse bellow came from the left in what had to be Korean, Thom’s native language. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of movement, followed by a burning rafter crashing to the floor, but smoke quickly obscured my view.
A flicker of orange flames bloomed in another doorway, flaring to the ceiling. The fire was spreading fast.
“Professor,” Siegfried yelled over the roar of the inferno, peering into the darkness. “I can’t see!”
On the far side of the building, a window cracked and exploded, allowing the smoke to shift and clear just enough to give us a view of the bedroom, where I now headed to search for Thom Kim.
“There!” I said, pointing to the man pinned beneath a fallen timber.
Fire crackled along the wall and licked orange-red near his arm. The bed, fully engulfed, leapt with flames.
A scream erupted farther down the hall.
Lily.
“Get her!” I shouted over my shoulder, stumbling toward Thom.
Siegfried quickly ducked into the smoke, following the direction of her cries.
The wall of heat blasted me, nearly melting my resolve. Stooping low, I took a deep breath and crawled toward Thom. I pulled hard on his arm, but couldn’t budge him. He uttered a low moan. The fire had reached him and his sleeve was starting to burn.
Grabbing his jacket from a nearby chair, I slapped it over his arms, extinguishing the flames, then kicked repeatedly at the scorched beam until it finally moved. Breathless, I half-dragged, half-carried Thom out to the hall, stumbling backwards away from the fire and denser smoke. With a concerted effort, I slung him over my shoulder.
A blast came from the rear of the building.
Oh my God. Siegfried. Lily.


So, how can I leave you there? Buy the book and find out more, or else visit these other Innovative Online Book Tour Stops on the tour... and enjoy.


  4/10  Review  Sheila Deeth 
4/11  Review  My Kindle Fever
4/14  Review  Books Are Cool
 4/15  Review   T B R 
4/16  Review  Julie Arduini

 4/17  Review Paranormal Romance And Authors That Rock
4/17  Review   Pure Jonel
4/18  Review  My Entertainment Nook
4/18  Review  Once Upon A Time