The Hexborn is coming

Authors tend to read for other authors. It’s just that’s who we know, and you hit it off. Then suddenly, you find yourself ankle deep in a really good book. It just happens.

The latest series of my writer bud, A.M. Manay, has me on pins and needles waiting for her to finish the next one. In the meantime, you guys are in for a treat. Because I can tell you a bit about the Hexborn.

Imagine a world in the middle of a magical war; wizards are fighting each other, casting hexes in defense of king and country, until there is a tenuous peace. The Hexborn are the children of the women who fought alongside the men of the wizard’s armies, and who may have become pregnant during the war, most without knowing until it is too late to stop hexing. Some may have had no intention to stop until the war was won.

Who knows? For the odd Hexborn child who is lucky enough, unlucky enough as the case may be, to survive, isn’t likely to be accepted by anyone. This is the story of how a girl named Shiloh defies the odds, and is raised by an exiled wizard.

The Hexborn are born of war. They are usually magicians on their own, but they are cursed to bear the mark of their mother’s magic the rest of their, usually short, lives. They get great hair in brilliant, unnatural colors, but that’s where any fun ends. The heroine of A.M.’s story is short one hand, and sometimes the curses her mother used will try to kill her. Add to that the fact that like humans always do, the Hexborn are demonized and looked at with suspicion.

The story begins in a time of reformation when laws against the Hexborn have been relaxed and the king is a tenuous friend to Shiloh’s kind. Tenuous, at best. Fickle, at worst.

Manay has this ability to build worlds with conflicts everywhere, and it’s sometimes difficult to tell friend from foe through the fog. If you like magic and intrigue, this book will definitely be a keeper for you. Official release is in July. Run by Amazon and check it out.

Author Love- Vincent Morone

This post is a chance to meet an author I’ve never interviewed before now, Vincent Morone. He’s here to talk about his heart book, the one that was written with pure love, Torn Away

Torn Away is an award winner, as well. It won first at the SRWA Great Beginnings contest.

Author Love

Jolie: Vincent, you immediately went to Torn when you were asked which of your books was your favorite, why is that?

Vincent: I’d started out writing young adult/fantasy books and had started to play with more mature themes. I’d done a book called Just Breathe that did really well, which was much darker than anything I’d done, so I wanted to continue on that path. I really wanted to explore certain concepts. What happens when you’re a victim of child abuse. What it takes to show a boy how to become a man, and what is it like to have everyone think you’re guilty of a horrible crime that you didn’t do. I wanted to dig into issues such as teaching a boy that there’s no shame in crying, even if you’re a big, tough former marine. That when you make a mistake, a man owns up to it and apologizes, and make amends. I wanted to show how love of family can heal even the deepest of wounds.

I knew going in it was going to be an emotional book. Plus, the secrets behind it don’t get spilled out until the 3rd book in the series, which I’m currently writing. Each book you’d get an ending, with a hint of what’s to come. But there was just something about these characters, about Drew and Cole, with their self loathing, and ability to love despite everything they’ve been through that called to me.

Jolie: Man, you really went deep on this one. What’s the story?

Vincent:  Drew Duncan must return to his home town of Ember Falls after he learns one of his sisters was murdered. He hasn’t seen them in nearly a decade, since he was thrown in prison in his senior year of high school. After he and his high school girl friend got into an argument at a dance, he stormed off and then she disappeared. Her body was never found, but he was still charged with her murder.

The trial never came and eventually he was released. He left town, joined the marines and hasn’t spoken to either sister since. He hates himself for leaving, but the fact was, he wasn’t given a choice.

Now he has to try and get his surviving sister to forgive him, and earn the trust of Kelli’s 8 year old son Cole. Cole trembles every time Drew steps into the room, convinced it’s just a matter of time before the large man with the deadly looking black phoenix tattoo beats him senseless. But slowly, Cole finds himself wanting to trust his uncle. So far, his uncle has played it straight with him. Drew promised that he would protect Cole, but who will protect Drew?

Jolie: As an author, what’s your feeling about this book in particular? Where does it stand with you?

Vincent: It’s definitely the best book I’ve ever written. It’s got the most complex plot, the most emotional punch and the best writing I’ve ever done. In the past, my male main characters tended to be very boy-next-doorish.

With Drew, I took a kid who bullied one of the other characters when he was a kid, who smokes at the beginning, and let him come alive. I think book 2 might be better, but it had to start with book 1.

Jolie: The story has to start at the beginning for the rest of it to unfold. What put you in the place to write such a deep story? Where did this one come from?

Vincent: I read a story about someone who spent nearly 2 years in jail awaiting trial. They ended up dropping the charges. That’s where the ball started to roll.

I don’t remember in the story what he was arrested for, but I imagined what it would be like to have been arrested for a crime you didn’t commit, and even though you get out, you think everyone thinks you’re guilty.

I, also, wanted to do a series of three books, one where all the people surrounding a young boy come together and put him first. This gave me my starting point for Drew Duncan, his nephew Cole and their story in Torn Away.

Jolie: I love this theme for your book. These kinds of books are the kinds that really make a difference in our lives. Thanks for joining us today, Vincent. You can pick up a copy of Torn Away here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer is coming

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We’re headed full swing into the next season- SUMMER. Do you have your TBR ready? I can’t get my TBR ready because I read everything I buy as soon as I buy it. Summer, for me, means hitting the Re-read pile.

If you’re looking for a free read or a re-read, you can try out my Home is the Sailor. It’s about second chances and space ships with a fun, over-the-top bad guy and great secret baby twist. You wanna read this first, before you grab the prequel short that explains how they all got here. That one is free, too, since I just wrote it for fun.

So, Be safe on your vacation and get out the old Kindle. It’s gonna be a long, hot summer.

Book Love – Redemption Burning is born

A writer once told me, that she abandoned any idea she lost interest in. That works for her. It wouldn’t for me. Instead, I am the type to sit on an idea for a long while, play with it, and tweak it’s facts and figures before I ever put it to scrivener.

Then, there are other times.

Driving into work one morning, I had been thinking about dying that week. I was coming to terms with my father’s imminent end, and it was painful. I needed something else to think about, and there was the idea, just sitting there. I asked myself, what happens in the redemption world when a soldier dies. By that night, that first scene was written.

The click clack of boots with high heels, bordering on impractical, rang out in the dark, sleek interior of the high tech mausoleum. Shining, clean walls the color and texture of black tourmaline towered around her broken only by the vidscreens scattered occasionally near contemporary white bench seating and console menus that allow the bereaved to literally contact the dead, well, almost.

The interface was quite simple, but the technology before her was cutting edge, state of the art. The woman approaching the far left corner of the otherwise empty room found it all a touch macabre. It was a side of Beezer she hadn’t known, this morbid need to memorialize life that had passed. She brushed aside the impulse to be angry at him for this weakness.

Beezer, if you haven’t read this series, is a character who dies early. He was my attempt to show the life the Lancers chose, how dangerous it was. He was my soldier sacrifice, and this book allows you to get to know him in a new way.

Readers didn’t get to actually know Beezer. He was meant to be a distant secondary character at first. This book changes that. He becomes real through this one moment. Beezer forces his lover to deal with his death and her continued existence the only way he could, after the fact.

The walls shone so much that reflected in them she saw her own face, drawn and pasty, if not for the make up she’d applied. Her red hair fell loose around her shoulders in perfectly styled tresses. He wouldn’t know her, she thought. Maybe that was why she’d done the funereal make over in the first place, to confound him one last time.

The way he’d confounded her. She leaned closer into her reflection in the wall beneath a vidscreen and console. This was the area designated Delta R5 in this big box of candy-coated death. “Briar” Rose MacClellen threw the woman in the glass an angry look, green eyes flashing. The skin tight black pants hugged the generous curves Beezer always said he “loved to drive on,” whatever the hell that meant. Her tailored white blouse dipped in an enticing V at her neckline showing off the rest of her assets in a way she never indulged. She laughed without any real humor in the sound at the idea that she’d dressed like this for a dead man.

Her lips drew in a tight line, and she stabbed at the console with her thumb. Accessing her genetic files, the computer pulled up the only mercenary in the place she couldn’t let go.

A mirthless, metallic voice chimed. “GSIF Anthony, Archibald ‘Beezer'” She breathed in deeply, bracing for the moment, and then, he was just there.

Dark midnight curls, hawkish nose, wide set eyes full of life and joy. “Rosie,” he said softly. It was an AI she reminded herself. Beezer was gone.

“You left a message for me. It said in your…” She stopped, unwilling to finish the sentence.

“In my will? My last will and testament. Yeah, I left a message.”

The affection, the gentle coaxing in his voice almost undid all the hard work she’d done steeling herself for this moment. “Look, you aren’t real. Just say what you have to say.”

Sad, dark eyes met hers before she hastily looked away again. “The message is very real, Rosie girl. I bet I never got the balls to say what I really wanted to say, did I? If I had, you’d be happier to see me.”

That last line popped onto the page as I was writing out of nowhere, and suddenly, I knew all I hadn’t known before about Beezer. He was brave with his life, but not with his heart, and Briar was his mirror. They both lived quietly and bravely, but without any real risks taken in love. Even though, they had truly loved each other.

And that was where Herc came in.

“Screw you,” she whispered. “How dare you. How dare you command me. It’s not that easy, B. It’s just not that fucking easy.” She sobbed her words now, sinking to the bench and bending forward arms wrapping around her sides as if it would protect her from the pain. The sounds of footsteps interrupting her grief making her sob more. “You have no right,” she cried.

“I have every right, Rosie,” he answered.”I’m dead, so you have to do what I say, which brings us to promise number two. Herc. You gotta take care of each other. He needs you, Briar.” With that, the AI vanished. Strong arms banded about her as she cried.

“Briar,” Herc’s deep voice growled in her ear.”Why didn’t you comm me?”

Oh, Hercules, my strong man. He’s a giant man, with enough bravery in every way to love two people, and sacrifice what he wanted for both of them. Herc was the truly brave one, and I fell in love with him, Briar’s steady rock in the sea of her grief. After this point, the novella just wrote itself.

You can find it here on the Zon for 99 cents:

 

Author Love- AR Declerck

In my current, open-ended (cuz I said so) series of author interviews, I’m talking today with AR Declerck about her personal favorite, The Alchemist’s Kiss.

Author Love

Jolie: Full disclosure here, I have this one, and, when you listed it, I was so not surprised. Icarus is my “Magic” Boo, you know. So, what made you write this one?

A.R.: Because a man like Icarus and his bestie Archimedes couldn’t go without a story and I LOVE steampunk!

Jolie: Oh, god, Archimedes. I love bromance, and that one was beautiful. Let’s tell the readers about the book.

A.R.: Alchemist and Warden of London, Icarus Kane, has returned to the city he loves after a long stint in the American Civil War. He wants to settle down and live peacefully but a black mage has other ideas.

Jolie: Really, really bad ideas, if I’m recalling correctly. As a writer, how do you feel about this one specifically?

A.R.: Emotionally, it’s poignant and heartwarming. Stylistically, it’s middle of the road with my fun switching of POV AND tense based on character. Technically it’s one of the better books.

Jolie:  Now, for the predictable question every author gets, what gave you the idea?

A.R.: The name Icarus Kane came to me whilst daydreaming one day. He needed an interesting friend so Archimedes Merriweather a man with a clockwork arm, was invented to be his buddy.

Jolie: Every great steampunk hero really NEEDS a clockwork sidekick. I’d call that a requirement.  Thanks to A.R. Declerck for talking with us about her steampunk novel, The Alchemist’s Kiss. It’s available on Amazon right now.

Author Love

We all write for different reasons. In my case, it’s a hypnotic activity. I like getting lost in the words, and I love the words. The way they drip onto paper or screen with the same intensity as a paint stroked to canvas. Words are my favorite things.

Others who write have other reasons, but the love of writing is still the same in each of us. It’s something that holds us captive to its magic for reasons we never entirely understand. And booklovers rejoice!

Author Love

Today’s author is Eva Caye who’s talking about her favorite book so far, Morality. We all have our book babies, and I wanted to find out from some of my brother and sister writers just what it is that keeps them writing.

Jolie: Eva, why did you write Morality?

Eva: I wanted to write a morally complex character. She’s probably the smartest person on the planet and has been a ‘people watcher’ since she was young, so she understands fully how complicated morals are from different perspectives.

Jolie: In your words, tell me about this one.

Eva: Grace Encino-Sinclair is her grandmother Felice’s personal pupil, a recipient not only of the stargate technology Empress Felice had created but also of all the other science projects she’s got going on in the ultra-secret ‘Zone’. Grace’s frustration at finding a decent man is interwoven throughout the book with her greatest accomplishment: getting her future Empress, Lady Vidya Ruya, surgery to restore her eyesight and helping her come to terms with acquiring more-than-vision.

A few of Grace’s moral dilemmas center around when it might be okay to commit adultery, how to deal with a mentor’s marginally moral ‘shell game’, how to tell the absolute truth while supporting a lie, and what to do when someone you love ends up being a murderer.

Trust me, it’s complicated, though I do manage to pull it off in 190,000 words or so!

Jolie: Where do you think Morality falls in your body of work?

Eva: It’s the eighth book in the series, and I had originally planned for it to be the series finale but I kept being plagued by Sinclairs who wanted *their* story told, too! As far as how it stands to my readers? I think it was more than most of them could handle. I even had someone post a one-star review on my FIRST book because of events in THIS book, saying, “Don’t read the series because she (does this) and who would want to reread the books? I’m disgusted!”

What ‘gets me’ is that Grace is certainly not a morally flexible character; she’s very moral but on her own terms. And also: what is it about people that they can’t handle or accept fiction featuring women ‘outliers’? We read about male ‘outliers’ all the time, the Chosen One and so forth.

To sum up: I think it ranks first in quality and complexity, but probably the bottom third in popularity.

Jolie: Isn’t that always the way of it? The things we love writing aren’t always the market favorites. Sounds like you had a real plot twist in there! Where did the idea for that come from?

Eva: I knew what Grace was going to be like from the moment she was conceived! Her mother had some emotionally traumatic events happen when she was in the womb, so Grace has always been rather high-strung. She’s blindingly loyal to Matthieu, her cousin and future Emperor. And she’s as brilliant as her mother and grandmother, the two smartest people on the planet. Combine intelligence with rabid loyalty to one person and a rare sensitivity to determining why people do what they do, and you have a real challenge to define morality!

Jolie: I love it. Good challenges make great characters. 

Thanks to Eva Caye for stopping by and talking about Morality today. If you’re interesting in picking up a copy you can find it here:

Etiquette Guide for When Authors Behave Badly

pexels-photo-236215.jpegI’m not going to weigh in on Faleena Hopkins or trademarks. My opinion is useless at this point. It’s a dangerous practice to get a trademark like the one she obtained, and I hope against hope it is overturned. That’s my opinion, and nobody asked me for it.

Now, that’s out of the way.

Things that are okay to do online when authors behave badly:

  1. You may express your displeasure on your various social media. (Try to keep it clean for the kiddies)
  2. You may stop buying those books. (Recommended)
  3. You may unfriend, unfollow and unknow said author behaving badly.
  4. Keep calm and seek legal remedies.

Things you should NOT do online when authors behave badly:

  1. You should NOT one star books you haven’t read as a personal attack.
  2. You should NOT threaten or message badly behaving authors (unless you have a lawyer who needs to sue them).
  3. You should NOT harass them unduly.

This needs to be said. Bullying and harassment are wrong, and, frankly, unprofessional. We all hate when authors behave badly, and we all have an opinion on them. There are even two extremes here that are annoying the everliving out of me.

There are the bullies who are going around one starring books like kids, and then there are the ones screaming for everyone to just shut up about it. These are both stupid responses( yes, I said it.), and here’s why:

People are entitled to think and say whatever they want about an issue. They have that right. They are allowed to have a reaction, whatever it is. I personally was very saddened to find out that the word COCKY had been sold to the highest bidder. There goes my childhood dream of writing that bracing novel about the douchiest football player on the team and his undeniable attraction to his cheerleader girlfriend, Heather.

Some dreams die hard.

This is a big deal. Trademarking shouldn’t be done in broad strokes like this, and the process needs to be examined. Complaints need to be filed, and authors need to realize that things like this, actions this calculated to harm others, will not be accepted by the community at large. No one will work with you. No one should want to.

One starring is for sissies. This should be obvious to ANY author. If you didn’t read it, shut up about it. It’s as childish as fighting over the LEGO set and about as unnecessary as a third nipple.

We are all feeling something. I’m feeling a little demoralized, thanks for askin’. I work hard to get eyes on my books. I scratch together book covers and pretty much shoestring everything. Seeing authors toss money and power around to crap on the little guys really stresses me out and makes me want to quit. It’s okay to be mad, sad and scared, girls and boys, and it’s okay to have discussion about the fee-fees.

Did I leave anything out? Oh, yeah, don’t threaten people.  Call a lawyer or don’t call a lawyer. Solve the problem like an adult. SIGH. There is never any reason good enough to act like a brat. Don’t tell your friends to shut up about their feelings, and don’t start hate pages. What are we? TWO?

Now, let’s go write some books that don’t have the word COCKY in them! Go, team!

 

 

Sweet Hour; a southern gothic novel is coming to Radish

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Hally McDonald flailed a little as she played the intro chorus to Sweet Hour of Prayer, while the choir stood up on the dais. Adra rose with the rest of the congregation as the hymn pounded throughout the church with a barely perceptible rattle of the rafters, she thought, looking up nervously. She wondered how many years it had been shaking like that, and she only just now heard it. It was all thanks to her new shifter mate and his super senses. Adra appeared to be getting side effects from the process.
Beside her in the pew sat her fiancee, Boyd Ramsey, local deputy, bear shifter and local enforcer. On her other side, her Mamie’s frail shoulder pressed against hers. Her Sunday hat still firmly on her head, she leaned over to whisper to Adra, “Sit still, girl.”
Her Mamie had been hissing that at her in church for about fifteen years, ever since she’d been old enough to leave the nursery. “Yes, ma’am.”
Her hand was enveloped from her right by another, much larger hand. Adra slid her eyes to Boyd in the seat beside her just as he worked his fingers between hers with a smile. He was here on a Sunday because she was, not because they shared a faith. His clan were a bit more into the nature worship.
“Welcome, Brothers and sisters in the lord.” Minister Lake intoned his words across the church with a practiced boom. “Please, be seated.”
They all sat together with a rumble of the wooden pews beneath their collective weight, and Adra felt Boyd’s thumb caress her hand soothingly, lovingly, in a gentle sweep along the back of her hand. His touch called to her magic, and she fought to keep it hidden safely inside her where it belonged.
Adra had discovered that there were some branches in the family tree no one had guessed at through the years, or recorded in the family Bible apparently. Her father had been a fly by night sorcerer; Here one day, gone the next. Her mother had been a junkie, although after discovering who she was, she wondered now just what her mother had been high on all those years ago.
Magic could be horribly addictive to humans, and even some shifters truth be told. In Boyd’s case, it was his shifter nature that seemed to want her, not the human side of him drunk on proximity to magic. She squeezed his hand back and smiled a soft smile up at him as the preacher droned on.
At that moment, text message notifications started ringing in the quiet sanctuary, echoing hollowly in the vaulted room. Boyd’s went off as well. Adra looked around. Every law enforcement officer and first responder was checking their phone, even Casey Jones was getting something, and she was a hospital trauma nurse over at Janesville Baptist.
They all started to stand and make excuses as one. Adra looked to Boyd who asked, “Can you find a ride home?”
She nodded. Terry King would give them a ride home. He was back from school this weekend. He wouldn’t like it, but he’d do it. Terry had been avoiding her since her engagement. “What’s going on? Car crash?”
He looked around at all his colleagues getting out of the pews one at a time and shook his head. “No, I think it’s worse than that, baby.” With that, he kissed her gently on the forehead and rose from the seat to hurry down the aisle just behind the Jenkins’. After they’d all gone, a silence filled with dread settled over the whole congregation.
There would be nothing but bad news after that exodus, and everyone in the room braced for it. The preacher visibly gathered himself and gripped the podium. “Folks, let’s take just a moment to pray.” With those words, they all bowed their heads praying for the men and women who’d rushed out to some horrific scene, and for the poor souls who needed them all.

The Diary of Adra Anne Markey- January 4th

Everybody’s leaving.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t regret staying here with Mamie, but it sure isn’t easy watching everybody go off to their real lives.

Terry insisted on taking me to church again, and I insisted we drag Patsy along behind to act as unofficial chaperone.  Poor Patsy thinks I’m trying to proselytize her now.

It’s just awkward with Terry ever since he kissed me. We’re best friends.  We ate paste together in kindergarten, for pete’s sake. Why would he do a thing like that in the first place? I mean one minute we’re laughing and talking on Mamie’s front porch, and the next he’s making his move.

I love Terry. I do. There’s just no magic. I hope he finds something to distract him soon.

Read Tiny Crosses on Radish for free!

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Ever met a Dread Lord?

Ever wanted to?

The Boneman will have his due…

So a buddy of mine and I were talking a few months back, and she wanted a beta for a book. It’s me. I mean, when have I ever turned down a book? I am so glad I read this beta.

The magic is outstanding. The main characters are perfect. The dark moment is the darkest, and the story is captivating. So now, my bud is on Radish, and she’s starting with this exclusive.

Athena has a flare for empowering romance, and she’s a worldbuilding goddess. She’s also a gamer type, and that shows through in the serious zombie action she’s bringing forth here.

Here’s the blurb:

When Niamne is tricked into delivering the yearly Tithe to the Dread Lord, she never expects to be part of the sacrifice. The last necromancer is a creature of terrifying legend, but the reality is more compelling than frightening, and very much a man.

Orphios finds better company with the dead than the living. One week of the year he takes the Tithe of goods and treasure and…other things…that keep the dead from rising from their rest. A sharp-tongued acolyte with a holy blessing that clashes with his magic was not part of the deal.

When the dead reject the Tithe, the ancient magical contract fractures. Niamne must choose–fulfill the contract and bring down the curse of her goddess on Orphios, or break it and unleash the restless dead on the world of the living.

Before the week is up, Orphios and Niamne must outmaneuver the treachery of townsfolk and outwit the rules of the gods before the dead take matters into their own hands.

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