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On the Spotlight: THE DEAD LETTER, by Finley Martin

 

THE DEAD LETTER SYNOPSIS
It is 2001 and the police constable’s girlfriend is murdered in a fit of jealous rage. When the constable realizes what he has done, he manages an elaborate cover-up. Only one person knows the truth. Flash forward to 2012. Anne Brown is still running her late uncle, Bill Darby’s, detective agency after spending four or five years as his assistant. One day, the postman delivers an eleven year-old letter. The letter is addressed to her uncle from a woman named Carolyn Jollimore. She says she has evidence about a murder and begs for help from Darby. But Bill Darby is dead. And when Anne looks up the letter’s author, she finds that Jollimare too is now dead. Troubled with the evidence at hand, Anne must decide if she should investigate this eleven-year old murder.
PURCHASE
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Finley’s  Website / Facebook / LinkedIn / Goodreads

Finley Martin was born in Binghamton, New York and grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  He received a B.A. degree in English at the University of Scranton, and during the 1960’s he served as an officer with the United States Marine Corps at posts in America, the Caribbean, and Asia.

After he returned to civilian life, he worked as a free-lance writer, p.r. consultant, and photographer and became public relations director at International Correspondence Schools. In the 70’s he received an M.A. from the University of Ottawa and a B.Ed. from the University of Prince Edward Island.  For many years he taught English literature at high school and writing courses at university.  He has also worked as a truck driver, labourer, carpenter, boat builder, and deckhand aboard commercial fishing vessels and passenger ferries.

During his writing career he published numerous magazine and newspaper articles, poetry, and short stories in Canada and the U.S.  He produced a mini-series for CBC Radio and has given numerous poetry readings.
He authored three books: New Maritime Writing, Square Deal Pub., Charlottetown, PE; A View from the Bridge, Montague, PE; and The Reluctant Detective, The Acorn Press, Charlottetown, PE.


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Talking Books with P.I. Alltraine, author of ‘Heartbound’

P.I. AlltraineP.I. Alltraine is an award winning poet and author. She has won several international poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in separate anthologies.

She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.

Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.

Her latest book is the YA fantasy romance, Heartbound.

For More Information

About the Book:

Petyr has never found it necessary to consider the humans as anything more than distant, inferior beings–until now. They are the cause of the fatal disease that has plagued his realm, taking the lives of too many of his kind. As a future Heartboundleader of a realm in peril, Petyr must find a way to resist and cure the affliction. He must enter the unfamiliar realm, appear to be an ordinary eighteen-year-old human, observe, and learn.

However, things don’t exactly go according to plan. Instead of embarking single-mindedly on his sober mission, Petyr meets an 18-year-old girl who does things to his emotions that he can’t quite fathom or control. Petyr is falling in love, and he almost forgets the gravity his choices have on his entire world. Despite the risk it poses to his life and hers, he wants to know her, and he wants her to know him–and his world.

For More Information

  • Heartbound is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Heartbound teaser 1

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, P.I. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Heartbound is my first published novel, though I’ve had some published academic essays and poetry.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I chose a small press, Soul Mate Publishing, New York, to publish Heartbound. It was a very quick process for me. First, I did some research on credible agents and publishers that would be interested in my genre. I randomly picked one from the list, just to see how the process worked and what a rejection letter looked like. Two weeks later, I got a request for the full manuscript, and two weeks after that I was offered a contract. I had a difficult decision to make because I hadn’t really tried anything else at that point. However, from what I heard, querying agents could take months for a reply (even a rejection reply), and even if someone took me on, there was no guarantee they could sell it to a publisher—and I already had a publisher interested. In the end, it made sense to seize the opportunity.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

After I’ve signed the contract, the whole took about a year, including the rounds of editing, working with the cover artist, etc.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It felt great that I could officially call myself a writer. I celebrated with family and friends; they have been incredibly supportive.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I signed up for a blog tour. It’s really important to get the word out there!

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I learned a lot during the editing process. I’m thankful to my editors for all their invaluable advice. They definitely made me a better writer.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

It’s surprising how little control authors have in the process. I was lucky because, being published by a small press, my voice was heard (including the release date, cover art, etc.), but I know of many authors who had very different experiences and had very little control of what happened in the process.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Being able to share my work to people is incredible, and of course, being able to call myself a novelist whenever I feel like it. J

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Write for yourself and the rest will follow. It doesn’t matter if your style doesn’t fit the current trend or if some circles won’t consider it “good writing.” Write because you want to, and write whatever the hell you want. Writing is not a way to fit in or please others. It’s one of the very few things in the world that allows the liberty to be true to oneself.

Character Interview: Sellemar from J.J. Sherwood’s high fantasy Kings or Pawns

KingsorPawnscoverSMmWe’re thrilled to have here today Sellemar from J.J. Sherwood’s new high fantasy, Kings or Pawns.  Sellemar has been unfortunately vague as to his age and origin, but I suppose we shall have to carry on without such details.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Sellemar.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I am portrayed exactly how I wish to be portrayed—seen exactly how and when I wish to be seen. Frankly, a male of my skill simply could not have been more present without turning the rest of the events into a throng of children whacking at one another with sticks. Take General Jikun Taemrin, for instance—respected, touted as a military genius by the council, paraded as a hero—yet by comparison to my triumphs, he is no more than a desperate child whose strings are pulled by the council and whose victories are only granted by the careful planning of the enemy. Sel’ari knows he was doomed from the start.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Oh, she did a fine job. I simply would have refused an appearance had she not complied with my wishes. …However, I will state that J.J. did make a horrendous mistake by failing to acquire all information before one of my heroics and that this particular incident may have given the country its final push over the cliff. And now I find myself in a terribly dangerous predicament—thanks to J.J.’s complete lack of experience. This is why I typically demand to do the legwork myself. You give the inexperienced a slight benefit of the doubt and you find yourself with a blade to the throat.

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

Intelligence. Piety. Wisdom. Insight. Experience. If I am being entirely honest, I simply cannot limit it to one.

Worst trait? 

Well, I suppose at times having too much talent can get me into trouble. I often end up in terribly dangerous situations because of my abilities… and it does not help things when I don’t have magic to bail me out. But it was certainly Sel’ari’s way of balancing my place in the world. …There have been some suggestions by other (jealous) individuals that my worst trait is arrogance—but if honesty is akin to arrogance than only then am I the most guilty of all. 

KingsorPawnscoverSMmIf you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)? 

Well, this is certainly a difficult question to be asked. There is no human in your world that could possibly match my talents in any way. I suppose special effects might lend a hand, but there is only so much your world can do. So, I suppose I would have to say we can only attempt looks and past CGI assistance: Orlando Bloom. Of course, this would forever make Legolas appear subpar, but all others after me in your world would suffer the same by default. 

Do you have a love interest in the book? 

I don’t have the time for such nonsense. And that is all there is to say on the matter. 

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

I am never nervous. I am experienced. And my experience started warning me the moment I stepped off into the Port of Targados and saw the human influences on the once glorious capital of Elvorium. I had heard from the True Blood King, Sairel, that Sevrigel had become riddled with the disease of corruption; and yet, it was still a shock to see the elven council’s corruption first hand. No land can endure when its foundation is lacking. 

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

That is a difficult question as I would not wish to be the females by default, the young who suffer naivety, the old who suffer the pains of age, or any of those who have strayed from Sel’ari’s path. And that leaves me to say that I would really not want to be anyone. As I feel I am forced to answer this question, I would say the one character I would really not want to be is the enemy warlord’s captain, Vale. I met him but once—briefly—and I find his crude, arrogant, cocky, and frankly repulsive personality both offensive and revolting. There is nothing in Emal’drathar you could offer me to spend even a single second in his boots. 

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away? 

It is always darkest before the dawn: If you defy Sel’ari long enough, surely retribution shall find you. 

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it? 

Oh, I know I’m in the second novel. I’ve already spent the time in her drafts, flitting about the pages. And I say this with a forced politeness: I am not pleased—not pleased at all at where I now find myself… Or where I know I am headed. 

Thank you for this interview, Sellemar.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Until my time on Aersadore has expired, I shall always come when Sel’ari calls.

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Title: Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power, The Kings: Book I)

Genre: Fantasy

Author: J.J. Sherwood

Website: www.StepsofPower.com

Publisher: Silver Helm

Purchase at Amazon

About the Book:

Kings or Pawns is the first novel in the Steps of Power series. It takes place after two very significant events in the world—the continental division between the human and elven races after the betrayal and death of Aersadore’s hero, Eraydon, and the recent Royal Schism that has left the elven nation’s politics even more corrupted than was prior. The new elven king, Hairem, is determined to overcome the council’s corruption and restore the elven lands, but he has far more to contend with than just the politics within the capital: an assassin has begun killing those loyal to him, a rebelling warlord threatens the city from without, and an unknown beast devastates the king’s forces at every turn. There are multiple points of view—the youthful and naïve king Hairem; the mute and spunky servant girl, Alvena; the mysterious and arrogant foreigner, Sellemar; and the cynical, dry-humored General Jikun.

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About the Author:

JJ. Sherwood was born in Tucson, Arizona on New Year’s Eve—and has always had a flair for the dramatics. JJ began writing in kindergarten and her first work was completed by the age of 5: a riveting tale of a duck attempting to climb into an apartment during the pouring rain.

Unfortunately this book is not in print, but it served as the first spark that spurred on a lifetime of creativity. JJ continued writing throughout her school years and escaped the horrors of short-story writing in college, ready and eager to write meaty, character-driven novels. With over 250 well-rounded characters developed from her nearly 20 years of roleplaying, JJ dove straight into the rich history of Aersadore, ready to let her puppeteers pull her creative strings.

JJ lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her spouse, parrot, bearded dragon, and four cats who look far too similar.

Links:

Site: http://www.stepsofpower.com

Blog: http://www.stepsofpower.com/news.php#toolbar

FB: https://www.facebook.com/stepsofpower

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jj_sherwood

Character Interview: Des Fairweather from Jane Tesh’s fantasy novel, Butterfly Waltz

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today Des Fairweather from Jane Tesh’s new fantasy, Butterfly Waltz.  Des is a 27 year old musician living in Parkland, North Carolina.

It is a pleasure to have Des with us today at Beyond the Books!

Butterfly_C1_2Thank you so for this interview, Des.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I’m very glad you invited me!  I do feel I was fairly portrayed in this book, although I wish I had been braver at the beginning and willing to take more chances.  But it all worked out in the end.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

When you talk about colorizing personality my author actually works with colors.  She tells me my name is a combination of gray, blue, and green, while Jake’s, my best friend in the story, is a contrasting black, red, and yellow.  I thought she might be a little out there with this, but she discovered there is a condition called synesthesia, which a lot of writers have, where they see letters as colors. She likes to have a balance of colors in all her books.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I like to think I can help people who are in trouble.

Worse trait?

Sometimes I wish I could refuse Jake when he pesters me to join him tracking down his wild tabloid stories, but it’s hard for me to say no when a friend asks for my help.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

This is a very hard question!  I’ve been told I have soulful eyes, so an actor who looks like a younger Robert Downy, Jr., might be the one.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

In this story, I fall in love with an amazingly beautiful young woman who inspires me to write music. But she’s a magical creature, and I have a great fear and distrust of magic.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I was okay until I walked into this perfectly innocent-looking forest that abruptly closed around me, and I was attacked by a huge snake.  I didn’t know how I was going to get out of this situation.  I’m still not sure exactly what happened.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Jake’s lifestyle would drive me crazy.  He’s brash, loud, and believes in everything: UFOs, ghosts, zombies, you name it.  He lives his life at high speed and doesn’t mind breaking the rules.  I’m a rule-follower who needs peace and quiet.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I don’t recall much of the ending, except that I’m writing more music.  I think you’ll see why when you read the book.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

My author has told me my story is over, but if she ever decided to write another, I’d ask her to help me stop worrying.  Of course, she’s a big worrier, so I know where that comes from!

Thank you for this interview, Des.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I appear briefly or I’m mentioned in my brothers’ books.  Jerry’s having all sorts of adventures with his wife, Madeline, in the Madeline Maclin Mystery series, and the author’s at work on Tucker’s story, which will be another fantasy.

I’ve enjoyed this!  Thanks for having me on Beyond the Books.

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Visit Jane’s website at www.janetesh.com and her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GraceStreetMysterySeries.  You can also find her on Goodreads, Amazon’s Author Central www.amazon.com/author/janetesh, andwww.twitter.com/janetesh.

Her blog is www.janetesh.wordpress.com

ABOUT THE BOOK

When he helps his friend Jake Brenner, a tabloid writer on the hunt for a big supernatural story, Des Fairweather is swept up in a world of mystery and intrigue.  Despite his skepticism of the validity of the stories Jake is seeking, Des reluctantly accompanies Jake on his latest adventure—all with the promise that Jake can help Des secure an audition with the city symphony, a break Des desperately needs.

When Jake’s search takes the two out to the country to investigate an unusual phenomenon at the Snowden estate, Des encounters a startlingly beautiful young woman who claims to be magical.  That young woman is Kalida, a mysterious creature who has escaped from the people of the Caverns and renounced their evil ways.  But when Kalida is discovered, her people will stop at no end to get her to return to their world. Will Des be able to cast aside his fears in order to save Kalida….before it’s too late?

A mesmerizing tale that blends music, mystery and magic, Butterfly Waltz charms with its enchanting storyline and compelling characters. Resplendent with adventure, intrigue, and the allure of the supernatural, Butterfly Waltz is delightful.

Get your copy now on Amazon

Excerpt from RHIDAUNA, by Paul E. Horsman

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The night before his Coming-of-Age, Ghyll and his two friends escape their castle on a clandestine boar hunt that will forever change their lives. The hunt proves a disaster, and with one of them badly wounded, they return just in time to see their island castle destroyed by macabre warriors from a dragon boat, and by flocks of fire-breathing birds. Ghyll’s eighteenth birthday turns into a nightmare as they flee into the night.

Now begins an epic journey to find out who is trying to kill them – and most importantly, why?

Fortunately, they can count on the help of new friends, including a sometimes overly enthusiastic fire mage, an inexperienced paladin and a young beastmistress who is also a ferocious mountain lioness. It soon becomes clear that not one but several sorcerers want to kill them. Are those blackrobes really followers of a terrible, long-forgotten organization?

PURCHASE

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The Author

Paul’s  Website / Twitter Facebook Goodreads 

Paul E. Horsman (1952) is a Dutch and International Fantasy Author. Born in the sleepy garden village of Bussum, The Netherlands, he now lives in Roosendaal, a town on the Dutch-Belgian border.

He has been a soldier, a salesman, a scoutmaster and from 1995 till his school closed in 2012 a teacher of Dutch as a Second Language and Integration to refugees from all over the globe.

Being unemployed and economically overage, yet still some years away from retirement, he is a full-time writer of epic light fantasy adventures. His books are both published in the Netherlands, and internationally.

EXCERPT FROM: RHIDAUNA – CHAPTER 2: GROMARTHEN

Hours later, they reached Gromarthen. The rain had stopped at last and in the dusk, the lights of the town looked warm and inviting.

Ghyll tried to remember what he knew of Gromarthen. It was one of the many rich trade ports along the Yanthe River. A burgraviate, held for the king by an old friend of Uncle Jadron’s. Damn, he thought. I’m too stupid to remember. He rubbed his eyes in an attempt to stay awake.

They passed the massive gate and stopped at the guard­house. Two guards flanked the entrance, their halberds gleaming in the light of the lanterns. Ghyll’s training took over, and he straightened. He nodded to the men. ‘I am Squire Ghyll Denhalf from Tinnurad. Call the officer of the watch, please.’

One guardsman hesitated, but his mate had already disap­peared into the building. Moments later, he came out with a sergeant, a gray-haired veteran, scarred by war. The man assessed the situation with a single glance, and saluted. ‘Good evening, Squire. How may I help you?’

‘We come from Tinnurad. I bear an urgent report for the lord burgrave,’ Ghyll said. ‘My friend needs immediate medical help.’

The sergeant looked at Damion and turned to his men. ‘You there, call the lieutenant. Ask him to come here. You two bring the wounded man to the infirmary. To see the castle’s healer,’ he said aside to Ghyll. ‘A White priest, not one of those sweet-talking quacks. If you’d be so kind as to step inside, Squire, my officer will be here di­rectly.’

Ghyll and Olle followed him into the guardroom, while a soldier took charge of the horses. In the light of the torches, the sergeant gave them a once-over. Ghyll knew he didn’t look a nobleman in his scruffy hunting armor, soaking wet and covered in blood. We’re a mess, he thought. He’ll kick us out.

Instead, the old warrior beckoned to one of his men. ‘Get me two of our specials and make it fast, before the lieu­tenant comes.’

The soldier’s face fell. He hurried away, and returned a little later with two stone mugs.

‘This keeps the men goin’ on cold days.’ Straight-faced, the ser­geant nodded at the steaming mugs.

The strong fumes made Ghyll reel as he took a sip. By the gods, mully! he thought.  The hot spiced cider returned some feeling to his body as he drank it all, gasping and with tears in his eyes.

With a nervous glance at the door, the soldier snatched the empty mugs away and left.

Moments later, a young officer in the blue and silver of the Guard in Gromarthen entered the room. He paused in the door and raised his eyebrows. ‘Well, who have we here?’

Ghyll lifted his chin. ‘Lieutenant…?’

The guards officer came to attention and bowed. ‘Davall. And who are you, sir?’

‘I’m Squire Ghyll Denhalf from Tinnurad with an urgent message for the lord burgrave.’

Davall looked the young men over. Like the sergeant, their weary faces and soaking wet hunting clothes must have conveyed their urgency, for he nodded. ‘You’ve never been in Gromarthen before, Squire?’

Ghyll shook his head. ‘No.’

‘I’ll ride with you.’ Davall turned to the sergeant. ‘Have the Squire’s horses brought, please.’

The sergeant saluted. ‘You heard the lieutenant,’ he shouted to his men. ‘What’s keeping those horses?’

Once they were mounted, Davall seemed to hesitate. ‘I don’t want to pry, but to brave the Tinnurad trail in this weather is a desperate move. You bring bad news?’

Ghyll’s face worked. ‘Yes,’ he answered in a hoarse voice.

The lieutenant accepted his reticence and without another word led them into the town.

Character Interview: Alassa from Christopher G Nuttall’s fantasy ‘Trial by Fire’

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today Alassa from Christopher G Nuttall’s fantasy Trial by Fire. Alassa is a 19 year old student magician who just happens to be the Crown Princess of Zangaria. It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Alassa. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

TrialByFire_med1Well, the first thing I would like to say is that you didn’t include my full titles. I am Alassa, Crown Princess of Zangaria, Iron Duchess, Lady of the Magical Arts, Patron of Steam and Heiress of Alexis, Founder Monarch of Zangaria.

But the author? Naturally, he should have focused more on me. I’m going to be getting married next month and trust me, Emily doesn’t like the attention. And I didn’t get expelled from the school by accident, I contrived it quite deliberately. No one will be fooled, of course, but one must keep up appearances.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I think the author did a reasonably good job of me, as seen through Emily’s eyes. But she’s a very good friend. I don’t think everyone else sees me as the perfect princess. Why, some of them even think I’m a spoilt brat! Can you imagine the nerve?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m ruthless. And before you start pouring scorn on how unfeminine that trait is, just remember I’m going to rule a kingdom infested with noblemen who want to park their smelly behinds on my throne. Killing my aunt should have warned them I’m not to be trifled with.

Yes, she was asking for it. Can you imagine using blood magic on my uncle, plotting the overthrow of my father and turning me into a slave? She was lucky I only cut off her head, personally. 

Worse trait?

I’m told I’m arrogant, snooty and bloody-minded. I don’t see it myself.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Why can’t I play myself? Do you know what happens to people who say no to me? But if I’m really not allowed to play myself, I’d nominate Billie Piper. Or maybe Laura Vandervoort.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes, I do. Did I tell you I’m getting married?

It’s a funny story, really. My father thought I needed extra training, so he hires a recent graduate to train me and we ended up falling in love. I didn’t see that coming, but did my father? Jade is strong, kind and poses absolutely no threat to the established power balance.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I think the moment I realized just which particular acquaintance had returned to Whitehall was a pretty big ‘oh crap’ moment.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Those pesky first years. Running around turning each other into frogs and not actually studying. How dare they waste their first year of genuine magical education?

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

It was bittersweet, I think. Nothing is ever going to be the same again.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I have my dignity to think about. If he puts me in an embarrassing situation, I’ll put him in jail. The next book will be delayed.

Or, in other words, he should tell everyone how wonderful I am as often as possible. I’m getting married, you know.

Thank you for this interview, Alassa. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I’m getting married, remember? I may have mentioned it once or twice, but I have it on good authority that the next book will center on my wedding. And if it doesn’t, the author will find his head cut off and centered on a pike. So there.

About the Book

Title: Trial By Fire (Schooled In Magic 7)

Genre: Fantasy

Author: Christopher G. Nuttall

Website: www.chrishanger.net

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Sample Chapter HERE.

Purchase on Amazon / OmniLit

Three years ago, Emily killed the Necromancer Shadye before he could sacrifice her and destroy the Allied Lands.  Now, the shadows of the past hang over Whitehall as Emily and the Grandmaster travel into the Blighted Lands to recover anything Shadye might have left behind, before returning to Whitehall to start the fourth year.  For Emily, it is a chance to stretch her mind and learn more about new and innovative forms of magic … and to prepare for the exams that will determine her future as a magician.

But as she starts her studies, it becomes clear that all is not well at Whitehall.  Master Grey, a man who disliked Emily from the moment he met her, is one of her teachers – and he seems intent on breaking her, pushing her right to her limits.  In the meantime, her friends Alassa and Imaiqah are acting oddly, Frieda seems to be having trouble talking to her and – worst of all – Caleb, her partner in a joint magical project, is intent on asking her to go out with him.

As she struggles to cope with new challenges and to overcome the demons in her past, she becomes aware of a deadly threat looming over Whitehall, a curse that threatens her very soul.  And when she makes a tiny yet fatal mistake, she finds herself facing a fight she cannot win, but dares not lose…

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About the Author

Christopher Nuttall was born in Edinburgh, studied in Manchester, married in Malaysia and currently living in Scotland, United Kingdom, with his wife and baby son.  He is the author of twenty novels from various publishers and thirty-nine self-published novels.

Connect with the author on the web:

Website / Blog / Facebook

Profile: Christine Amsden, Author of ‘Madison’s Song’

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“Writing has taught me the importance of self-confidence in becoming good at anything,” says Christine Amsden, who, in spite of having been diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision, has gone on to become the award-winning, bestselling author of the Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective fantasy/mystery series published by Twilight Times Books.

“My parents encouraged reading a LOT,” says this speculative fiction writer, who grew up gobbling up The Chronicles of Narnia, The Baby Sitter’s Club, andFlowers in the Attic. “I know they read to me too, but I was an advanced reader at an early age and preferred to read on my own when I could. I have memories of staring at picture books, making up stories about the pictures though I couldn’t understand the words.” At the tender age of 8, she wrote her first short story, about Cabbage Patch Dolls going to Mars. From then on, she wrote fairly consistently until 2003, which marked the beginning of her professional career when she attended a workshop with Orson Scott Card.

Amsden may be legally blind, but she hasn’t allowed that part of her life to stop her from becoming a prolific author, and nowadays she splits her time between writing, freelance editing, and coaching — with a keen focus on writing. She loves to write about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations, giving special attention to people and relationships, her way of making science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone. “I will continue to marry romance with speculative fiction because I simply love both genres,” states the author. “I love a good character story. I think character is more important than just about anything else, and a great character will have me reading any genre at all and loving it. I get a lot of people telling me that they like my books even though they ‘don’t normally read stuff like that.’ I think it’s because of the characters.”

In what she describes as her messy, cluttered desk, and with a special arm attached to her monitor to help her eyes and back, Amsden creates her stories rich in characterization and world building. Her latest book, Madison’s Song, a companion to her Cassie Scot series, is about a shy young woman who has suffered more than her fair share of betrayal in the past. A friend of Cassie (the only ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers), Madison now gets a chance to prove that she can be more than a plump, shy sidekick. When her brother’s life is in danger, she faces her greatest fear with head held high to save him. The story is equally about Scott, a werewolf who has fallen in love with a woman he doesn’t believe he deserves.

MadisonsSong_medAmsden’s writing style is straightforward and conversational, which is probably why most readers and reviewers describe her work as highly entertaining and fast paced. “I’m not the sort to hide the story behind flowery prose,” she says. “I like the words to get out of the way of the story.” She’s a fast writer as well, finishing the rough draft of the book in only two months, though she then put it aside for a year before revising it, a process that took her five additional months. Her writing process, though fluid, is different with each book. “My best story ideas are the ones that come to me while I’m doing something else, although this doesn’t excuse me from putting in my hours of conscious effort. No two projects that I’ve worked on have developed in exactly the same way, either. I like to try new strategies, mix things up, so life doesn’t get boring.”

Like the Cassie Scot series, Madison’s Song will also be available in audiobook format, which is how Amsden “reads” most books these days. “It was important to me, when I became an author, to make my books available to listen to as well as read, and not just for others with disabilities. Audiobooks are a terrific way to enjoy books for busy people whose reading time can be combined with a daily commute, or with housework.”

Like most authors, Amsden loves sharing her creative ideas with the world, something which can be understandably challenging. “Nothing is universally liked,” states the author. “I try not to read negative comments or reviews, but it’s almost impossible to avoid all of it. When someone ‘gets me’ I feel an almost euphoric connectedness to the world; when someone doesn’t, (in a really big way), it almost makes me feel isolated.”

The definition of success varies from writer to writer. For Amsden, it has changed since she started writing. “At one time (not too long ago), I had an unrealistic expectation of success that involved becoming a bestseller and making an upper-class living off of my books,” she confesses. “When the Cassie Scot series came out, I sold thousands of books but still didn’t make the kind of money that would let me ‘earn a living’ off of it. It made me rethink my definition of success, becauseMessyDeskby all measurable standards my books are doing well – I’ve got great reviews, I’ve won several awards, I’ve sold many thousands of books, and I’m making money. I feel most successful when I connect with readers who love my books. So maybe that’s what success is. I’d love to connect with more readers, sell more books, and make more money, but I’m becoming satisfied with who and what I am now. (Like Cassie.)”

At the moment, the author is waiting for her next book, Kaitlin’s Tale, to be released by Twilight Times Books. She’s also hard at work on a new series set in a completely different world and with a new cast of characters. Though it’s way too early to say much about it, readers can count on it being filled with romance and the paranormal.

A native of St. Louis, Christine Amsden now lives in Olathe, Kansas with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success, and their two beautiful children.

TouchofFateSigningBibliography:

Touch of Fate (Twilight Times Books, 2006)

The Immortality Virus(Twilight Times Books, 2011)

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Twilight Times Books, 2013)

Secrets and Lies (Twilight Times Books, 2013)

Mind Games (Twilight Times Books, 2014)

Stolen Dreams (Twilight Times Books, 2014)

Madison’s Song (Twilight Times Books, 2015)

Connect with Christine Amsden on the web:

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