Thursday, July 17, 2014

Paranormal Romance Spotlight, Excerpt, & Giveaway ~Reluctantly Undead~

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/paranormal-romance-book-tour-giveaway-reluctantly-undead-by-rayne-rachels-71614-81314/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 7/16/14 – 8/13/14
Genres: Paranormal Romance






Blurb:
Ember Winterstone is not having a good night. She wakes up in a dumpster. Her neck hurts where her date used her as a meal. Vampire hunters chase her, and the other vampires think she is the real queen, especially since she is a day walker, eats food, drinks almost no blood, and stands up to Zophia, the psycho vampire queen.
Ember’s problems have just begun.
Her mother has kept a couple of major secrets from her, the two men who make Ember drool refuse to claim her, and the psycho vampire queen decides Ember must die.


Excerpt:

The night I died, I woke up into a world I thought only existed in the warped minds of screenwriters in Hollywood and romance authors who wrote about the dark, tortured soul looking for his or her soul mate. I mean, get real. Vampires and werewolves are stuff of myth and legends.  Right?
Wrong. Wrong! WRONG!!
Vampires are REAL.
How do I know this?
The night I died, I woke up as a vampire. But of course, leave it to me to screw up the whole process.
Okay, I am rambling. Sorry about that, and I am sorry for apologizing, and I—you get the idea.
By the way, I’m Ember. Ember Winterstone.
I know what you’re thinking. Ember the Vampire. I guess you are waiting for me to burst into flames. Ha. Ha.  The jokes are not funny. I did not pick my name. That honor is my parents’ fault; or rather, it was my mom’s fault. I do not know much about dear old dad. Mom doesn’t have any pictures and she never said much about him other than he was special and he had duties that came before their love, but he loved us very much and wanted us to be happy.
I guess it was her way of making excuses for a deadbeat dad.
Then, my mom married Henry Taylor when I was ten.
She said I wasn’t happy because I didn’t have a father and it was her job to make sure I had one.  I think mom was lonely. Memories don’t keep you warm at night. Anyway, I ended up with a weird stepfather and an even weirder, older stepbrother.
I don’t have a lot of time this afternoon, lots of things to do to prepare for the Halloween Ball, but I need to get my story down on paper.
First, I am a reporter. My job is to tell stories, to get the facts into print so people can read it. Second, I want to be the one telling my story so it is accurate. So many biographies have errors or they make the person sound more heroic than the person really was. Third, it gives me a way to sort out the details and make some sort of meaning from everything that has happened to me. Call it a therapeutic activity, if you want.
Where does my journey begin?
That’s easy.
It began on the day I died and woke up.




Buy Links:


About the Author:
Rayne Rachels lives in Texas with her husband and two very demanding cats. When she isn’t creating stories, she can be found reading and honing her photography skills. Rayne enjoys taking road trips, especially to the coast where she fishes every chance she gets. She also enjoys visiting flea markets and playing poker.


Author Links:
Blog
Twitter
Pinterest
Goodreads


Giveaway:
Enter to win one of two $10 Amazon gift cards! Open internationally. The giveaway will run the length of the tour. Enter through Rafflecopter.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Paranormal Romance Spotlight: Lily by Xavier Axelson Blog Tour & Giveaway

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/paranormal-romance-book-tour-giveaway-lily-by-xavier-axelson-7114-72914/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 7/1/14 – 7/29/14
Genres:  Paranormal/Paranormal Romance/Horror




Blurb:
What does one say when they realize their child is gone? Better yet, what does one say when that child returns, but is different?  This is the question Pryor must ask himself after his daughter, Lily, is dragged into the woods by a wolf and her body is never found. It isn’t until he sees a wolf in the woods with eyes that resemble Lily’s that he feels hope. And then something is whispered from deep within the woods, a promise for him to see Lily again.
One day…
But which day and for how long?
And then Pryor meets Ned, a silversmith who brings out desires that Pryor hasn’t felt in years and helps him hatch a plan to keep Lily with him.
Now the question isn’t about how much time Pryor will have with Lily, it’s about how far he’ll go to keep her with him.

Excerpt:
I smelled her. I knew that sweet smell, the smell of her hair, wild and white—blonde. I would never see it turn darker, she would always be golden to me. I flung myself from my bed and dressed quickly. “I’m here, I’m coming, baby!”
I remember tripping over my damn sneakers and cursing violently as I stumbled over something else on the stairs. I’ve learned that in instances like these, one remembers horrible little details like the sneakers, like the stairs, and a wild, beautiful smell I knew but couldn’t place.
On instinct, I opened the blinds and threw open the sliding doors, then made my way out into the backyard. Lily wouldn’t be anywhere else.
We have a large weeping cherry tree in the backyard and in June, it is at its most magnificent. The smell coming off the tree was lurid and the flowers rained down in a pink shower when an errant breeze moved through the branches. The moon was stark and white, sending shivering silver light onto everything it touched. The night was alive with so much excitement that it was almost too much to bear. The woods appeared to be moving, a great looming mass of shadow and scent. The insects chorused, calling out in honor of what I hoped was my daughter.
Lily?” I ran down the deck stairs. She had to be there! My eyes darted from one end of the yard to the other. The silver light of the moon cast everything in a strange glow that begged a ghostly encounter.
Lily?” I said again, and this time looked to the trees where I thought I had heard ragged breathing; human, and yet not. There was movement, quick and furtive, a padded whisper of something pacing, searching, and then I saw eyes staring up at me from the darkness of the woods. Eyes that burned like a thousand fires, they were as blue as I remember, but now translucent and lit from behind.
It was then that I heard the call, chilling and ancient, that brought clouds to the sky as if they ached to protect the moon from such a hellish shriek.
Lily,” I whispered, “baby, it’s your daddy, your father.” I held a hand out, wanted to go toward whatever it was that had my daughter’s eyes. Before I could move, I heard a voice, odd and quick; a fast whisper that sounded like the undertone of the trees, as if the forest was speaking to me. But those eyes, I knew those eyes.
I will return for one day. One day.” The voice stopped. There was the sound of movement nearby. The ragged breathing stopped and the eyes vanished.
When?! When, Lily? I know it’s you, please tell me when you will come back. Why not now?” I was trying not to yell. I could feel her presence—the smell was still there—she was close. I ran forward, but stopped when I heard her voice again.
The day that I was taken will be the day I return.”
I was alone. Where there had been eyes, there was darkness; where there had been movement, there was nothing; and where there had been clouds, there was only silver light.
I felt a helpless rage swell within me until it erupted into the still night air in a primal scream that, once expelled, forced me to the ground, muscles shaking as I clawed at the earth.
As I struggled to my feet, I could still hear the voice echoing in my ears, fighting against my furious pulse.
The day I was taken will be the day I return.


Buy Links:


About the Author: 



Xavier Axelson is a writer living in Los Angeles. Xavier’s work has been featured in various erotic and horror anthologies. Longer written works include “The Incident”, “Velvet,” and “Lily.” www.xavieraxelson.com


Connect With The Author:


Giveaway:
Author Xavier Axelson is giving away five e-book copies of Lily! Open internationally, must be 18 or over to enter. The giveaway will run the length of the tour. Enter through Rafflecopter.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dystopian Spotlight: Graham's Resolution The Cascade Preppers by A.R. Shaw

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/dystopian-book-tour-the-cascade-preppers-by-a-r-shaw-7914-72314/


Virtual Book Tour Dates:   7/9/14 – 7/23/14
Genres: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, SciFi
Series: Graham’s Resolution, Book 2
Tour Promo Price: $.99 Countdown Deal:  7/10/14 – 7/17/14





Blurb:
What the world dreads most has already happened. Now, there is only survival. 

In her dystopian and post-apocalyptic bestselling novel, The China Pandemic, A. R. Shaw created a realistic world after a much too plausible pandemic event. Now, the remaining must not only survive but thrive or risk complete extinction. The story moves forward with...

The Cascade Preppers

Graham is back in book two of the Graham's Resolution series. In the tiny town of Cascade, Washington, the members of Graham's camp endure a severe winter season. Meanwhile, The Prepper community remains dedicated to isolation and maintains their benevolent relationship. Tensions rise when tragedy strikes. The human traits of community and compassion are pitted against instincts to survive. Will they be doomed by their own efforts to coexist? Read the ongoing saga of Graham's Resolution, Book 2, The Cascade Preppers, for the startling revelation.


Excerpt:
Chapter 1

The early winter sky cast in vibrant lavender led to piercing blue north of the horizon. It was as cold as hell is hot, if you can imagine the heat of hell as freezing. Graham pulled in the weighted line, hand over hand. He wrapped the twine from hand to elbow while staring down the murky blue ice hole of the frozen lake. The brown trout came squirming its way up the ice tunnel towards him, till it met its last fate.
Sam reached out and grabbed the greedy guy that currently hung in midair. Tearing the hook from its mouth, he dropped the frigid fish into a pail with its brothers. They went for quantity over size when fishing in the shallow waters beneath the ice, but the chore of getting enough to feed them all had taken a little longer than usual this morning. The sky had already gone from deep plum with a moon encircled in a fine mist to daylight so intense, eye protection and extra layers of fur to contain the fleeting warmth were called for.
Once they’d caught enough for everyone’s breakfast, they silently gathered their gear to make their way back up the trail to camp. Like any two men who’d worked the same routine, they would perform their job without uttering a single word with regards to the task. “Get your nose out of there, Sheriff,” Graham gently warned the dog in a worn, low voice as he caught him peering into the bucket. “You’ll get your share.” He tousled the dog’s head and picked up their morning haul. Sam came up behind him with the other lines after he’d covered the ice holes with spare plywood to keep them from freezing over too much.
Ready?” Sam asked.
Yeah.”
They crunched along the reliable crust as their boots echoed in the vast open until they met the trail between the trees. Mark had recently finished clearing the paths from that night’s continuous onslaught of snow.
As they walked up into the clearing, Bang, dressed in his snow gear from head to toe, tossed scraps to the chickens as they scampered all around him eager for their meager delicacies. Sheriff ran up ahead to help out his young friend. Amused that the dog didn’t understand why they kept the birds caged, nor why he wasn’t allowed to visit with them inside the coop, Graham laughed. The hens often ran away and rudely, collectively, scurried to the other end of their enclosure when Sheriff came to greet them each morning.
Graham called out to Bang, “Make sure you give them fresh water.”
I always do,” Bang replied looking put out by the unnecessary reminder, then his expression changed. “Mark told me to tell you, Ennis isn’t up yet.”
All right, thanks. I’ll give him a hand.” The two men walked in silence past the front of the cabin. Sam seemed to be pondering something which wasn’t unusual for the man. After spending the entire day with him, other than a nod or an occasional word, he didn’t say much, but Graham always suspected Sam was either thinking ahead or mourning his daughter. Whether he’d ever let another in on his thoughts, was anyone’s guess, so it surprised Graham when he spoke up.
 “You know, he won’t see another winter. You might want to be prepared for that, Graham.”
Graham spoke softly. “Yeah, I’ve pretty much figured that out.” “We’re losing him a little each day. He rarely talks, but when he does it’s always warnings. Like, he’s trying to give us as much as he can before he goes.” Graham stopped in mid-stride and scuffed his boot at the ice, sending crystals a few feet forward. “I’m thankful we had him for as long as we did.”
Sam clapped him on the back in understanding. He liked Ennis too. The old man had even shown Sam a thing or two about carving the little wooden figurines he made for Addy, the daughter he could see and hear, but never again touch. If a man taught you something useful in life, he was a keeper in Sam’s book.



Buy Links:





About the Author:
A. R. Shaw, born in south Texas, moved to Washington State in the late eighties. Always writing quietly in what little spare time available while participating in the U.S. Air Force Reserves as a Radio Operator and business owner. Only now embracing a writing passion full time and finding a place in the author's community, Shaw has found a following of avid readers along the way.



Author Links:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Interview and Spotlight: The Ruins of Tropicalia by Tyler Taylor FREE

Interview With Tyler Taylor


Hello! After reading your blurb, the first thing I have to ask is how much of your story is true?

Hi, and thanks for taking the time to interview me. I know this is a hell of a way to start off an interview, but I’ll have to dodge this first question a little bit, at least until after the whole book is released. I’d be happy to re-visit this question then, haha. For now I will say that the story is a combination of things—the true events mingle with the songs, the book, and even all the promotional efforts and related web sites. I wish I could say more, but for now I’ll just re-iterate what I’ve said elsewhere and what many have said before: All stories are true.

How did you come up with the title? 

Great question. The story is at least in some part about ruins, both metaphorical and literal. It’s about learning from the past and building upon foundations both known and unknown. “Tropicalia,” besides being the name of the place where some of the story takes place, is a term that refers to the way many Americans casually lump tropical tourist destinations in Central America and elsewhere into generic “vacationlands”, without understanding the culture or history.

I see that you're part of a band. How did your band members feel about you writing a book? Have they contributed, too?
The band was actually on hiatus for about a year. When I returned from Central America, I knew I needed to write about the events there, both in prose form and in some way in music. It became a reason or us to start playing and writing music again. So the other guys in the band—Drew Weikart (lead vocals/guitar, co-songwriter), Chris Childress (bass) and Shay Byington (drums)—were very supportive. They didn’t contribute to the actual book, but they’re referred to occasionally within it. And we all worked together to write and record the music in our usual way.

Releasing a book a week is amazing. How are you staying motivated?

Well, I’m not actually releasing a book per week, per se. It’s serialized, so I’m releasing two chapters/episodes per week (on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting 6/24). When all is said and done it will be about the length of a typical novel. However, there are easter eggs buried throughout the text which link to whole other stories—separate but sharing themes and plots. So there’s really a whole world to explore if you’re so inclined.

After completing your book, who was the first person to read it?

Technically, my fellow authors/conributors (Regina Porter and Elizabeth Troy), and then my copy editor haha. After that, it went to various friends for feedback.

Can you give us some background on your band?

We like to say we’re striving to be everyone’s eleventh favorite rock band. We play indie rock n roll, influenced by indie, blues, classic rock, and alternative. We’ve been together about four years. Although we often write music as a whole unit, our lead singer/guitarist Drew Weikart and I are the primary songwriters. We’re based in Colorado and we’ve toured the US. We’ve gotten some good critical press, and a dedicated fanbase who we really appreciate. We’ve recorded two studio albums prior to the songs for TROT. You can stream or download those albums for free here: http://theamendsband.bandcamp.com


What books have most influenced your life?

I’m a lifelong, voracious reader so I could go on and on. As a kid I started off reading scifi/fantasy novels, and the first book that really broadened my perspective on what literature could be was 1984. It made me realize that literature could be more than a simple escape—it could be a force for change, or a warning against continuing down dangerous paths. I wrote a guest post on another blog about the books that most influenced TROT, but I’ll list them again here without the added context:

  • The Big Book of Adventure Stories, edited by Otto Penzler
  • Stranger Things Happen, by Kelly Link
  • A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Hawkline Monster, by Richard Brautigan
  • The Haunting of Hill House/We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson
  • Under the Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry
  • Ubik, by Philip K. Dick
  • The Labyrinth of Solitude, by Octavio Paz
  • All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers, by Larry McMurtry
  • CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, by George Saunders
  • Tales of H.P. Lovecraft, edited by Joyce Carol Oates


What was your biggest challenge when it came to writing 
The Ruins of Tropicalia?
Compiling everything into a cohesive whole, and deciding on and building the infrastructure to distribute it. By this point, I’m comfortable in my role as a writer and a musician, but I had to learn a lot of new skills in order to build the system to distribute TROT. I wanted to follow our band’s usual ethic of doing everything ourselves. So that meant building web sites, apps, designing covers, and everything else involved.

How do you find the time to juggle your band and your writing?

It was tough, and a bit schizophrenic. One day I’d be working on a song with the band, and the next day I’d be locked in my room writing a new chapter. What made it doable though was the fact that both—though different art forms—were more or less about the same thing, and pointed towards the same goal.

Do you have any plans for another series, after this one?

I definitely have plans to continue writing in general. And without giving too much away about the verisimilitude of TROT, by the end of a story you see just the exposed tip of a much deeper mythology, which I would like to further explore, both in real life and in writing.


http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/musical-literary-thriller-tour-giveaway-the-ruins-of-tropicalia-by-tyler-taylor-featuring-the-amends-rock-band-62414-72214/

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 6/24/14 – 7/22/14
Genres: General Fiction, Literary, Thriller, SciFi, Musical
Tour Price: Free
Release Date: 6/24/14








Blurb:


The Ruins of Tropicalia is a serialized, pulpy adventure story, accompanied by new music by indie rock n roll band The Amends.

Expanded Plot Summary:  In early 2014, a group of Americans gathered on a remote Central American peninsula to experience the last days of an unsullied tropical paradise before its development into a corporate retreat for the world’s biggest tech company. Many of them believed they were there accidentally, but none of them were. This is the story of how a group of restless, indecisive idiot discovered who brought them there, and what they could be. This is the story of a country and a civilization few remember ever existed. This is the story behind the most mysterious mass Disappearance of the 21st century. This is a war story. And when things get bad, you rescue what you can…

Details: Two new chapters/episodes of TROT debut each week from 6/24/14 until its completion at the end of August, available for free in multiple formats (mobi/Kindle, EPUB, PDF, etc.) both online and on a mobile app. A new single from The Amends will premiere each Wednesday throughout TROT’s run at the above locations as well as http://theamendsband.com. A trailer for the book can be viewed on Youtube.




Excerpt:


Sam Merard doesn’t recognize the station names any more, but they must be deep into Queens. They’re out of the underground, elevated. He checks the time on his phone. This isn’t right. They should have been to JFK at least fifteen minutes ago. He considers crossing the car to check the subway map, but he doesn’t want to chance Liz spotting him.
“Approaching Utnapishtim station,” a female voice announces through the rattly speakers.
Utna-what? The announcer’s voice was different, too. The train slows and screeches loudly to a stop. The doors slide open. Liz steps outside. Sam pauses his iPod, slips the earbuds back into his pocket, waits a few seconds again, and follows. The train rolls away behind him.
The platform stretches endlessly northeast. A solitary heat-lamp illuminates the stairs down to the street. Beyond that, darkness and infinity. Without looking behind her, Liz walks into the gloom. He follows.
Sam hears nothing but her footsteps. No car horns, no breaks, no drunken shouts, no anything. He peers over the edge of the platform, but has trouble seeing anything more of the city than dark, blurred outlines of buildings. This part of the city produces no light. No illumination behind the windows, no streetlights below. Nothing but shadows beyond the train platform.
He walks gingerly on the sides of his feet for what must be a mile. The platform continues on past the point of credulity. Liz is not concerned with making noise. Whenever her faint outline disappears into the murk, he is still able to follow the sounds of her heels clicking against the wood.
A faint white light appears in the distance. Liz continues walking towards it, never altering her pace. The light splits into three distinct shapes. He makes out the profiles of three men— two wear white bio-suits and gas masks, the third dons a long white lab coat and surgical mask. A dim fluorescence emanates from their clothing.
Liz stops walking. Sam’s heart thumps, and he ducks behind a trash can. He peers over its edge.
The man in the lab coat approaches Liz. His coat is open, and an oddly-shaped, octagonal stethoscope bounces against his chest. Liz unfastens the top two buttons of her blouse. She offers him her chest. He places the diaphragm against her neck instead.
The scientist murmurs something to his colleagues, who stand side by side four feet behind him. One of them scribbles a note on a pad. Sam hears their exaggerated breathing through their masks. The lead scientist reaches into his coat pocket and withdraws a portable blood pressure monitor. He straps it around Liz’s forearm. He pumps it, checks his watch, and mutters to the others again.
“Satisfied?” Liz asks.
“Somewhat,” the scientist answers in a gruff, muffled voice.
“Then give me what you promised,” she says.
Sam can’t help but notice again the lack of noise and smell and sight. It’s as if there is no city surrounding him.
One of the other scientists steps forward. He places a small cylindrical object to his throat, beneath his gas mask. When he speaks, the words come out robotic, metallic.
“After one more test,” He She or It says.
The second scientists pulls what looks like a neatly folded piece of paper from his back pocket. He unfolds it, bends down, and places it at Liz’s feet. It too gives off a faint glow. She steps upon it. The second scientist glances at the paper, checks a watch-like device on his wrist, and places the cylinder to his throat again.
He says to the note-taker, “Thirty-seven pounds. A new record.”
“Would ya look how special I am?” Liz says flatly.
The scientist in the lab coat asks, “Have you noticed anything different? Have you taken flight yet?”
Liz shakes her head. “Just give me the powder,” she says.



Buy Links:




About the Author:


Photo of The Amends, including TROT’s “curator”, Tyler Taylor (wearing the shark shirt).

After taking a temporary leave from his Colorado-based rock n roll band The Amends, Tyler Taylor was among the group who went to Central America, and witnessed the events described in The Ruins of Tropicalia. He edited and compiled the accounts of his fellow travelers into the main text of TROT. He and Amends lead singer/guitarist Drew Weikart worked to put some of the events to music, and the entire band (including bassist Chris Childress and drummer Shay Byington) recorded the eight new songs in April and May.



Connect With The Author:




Giveaway:


The author is giving away: (5) The Amends T-Shirt (Multiple Sizes Available), What We Could Be Studio Album (3), and The Amends Studio Album (3) on The Ruins of Tropicalia Book Tour! Open internationally, enter through Rafflecopter!