DISCIPLE continues...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Announcing DISCIPLE, PART VI

Back in October 2012, I clicked "Publish" on Disciple, Part I. I had only just started writing Part VI at the time. I knew there's be highs and lows in publishing the whole six part series -- and it's definitely had both. From my reviews at Amazon:

"Even though the story kept me delightfully entertained I kept banging my head wanting more explanation of why everything was happening."

"I definitely struggled at first to pick up and follow the complex names, places and religious system. However, after catching on I was drawn in. I rarely pay for digital books. I got part 1 free, and immediately after finishing I bought part 2 and will now be buying part 3. Worth it."

"This isn't the land of unicorns and fairy castles - characters die, nations war and spy and betray, and everything has a price to be paid. More than that, it's thoughtful, a fantasy that gets down to the nitty-gritty of figuring out the if/then that the premise implies, making for crunchy, satisfying fantasy fare."

"I loved the drama that kept me turning pages. Great book and I can't wait to read the next one."

I ran two Kickstarters. I had to find a new editor halfway through the series. Over 1500 Part I's got sold through Storybundle -- and none of them came back for Part II, near as I can tell. Five of the covers were done by the same artist and I wish he'd done the sixth (it's #2 actually) as well.

It's been two years since I've spoken to the main characters and now I'm trying to work on final revisions to Part VI.

Because it's time to finish this.

Disciple, Part VI
on sale 
March 1, 2015

to be followed by the
Disciple Omnibus
March 15, 2015

Get reminders, sneak peeks, 
and other special stuff

Back cover
Two years ago, Kate was a peasant girl who only wanted to serve the saints of her kingdom as a healer during the war. Her gifts led her to cross paths with the crown prince and a ne’er-do-well knight — they shifted the path of her life and of the entire war.

All three of them paid a steep price for having met.

Kate spent a cold winter alone, re-forging her strength out of a deeply broken heart. She’s ready, as an elect, to stand beside her saints and go to war in ways no peasant girl could have dreamed.

She needs answers, she needs absolution, and she needs to discover what she’s truly capable of.

Also announcing! 
I will be selling Disciple's prologue novella, Fire's First Kiss, for a limited time!

This story has only been available to Kickstarter supporters up to now. It will never be on sale through the usual online channels. Who knows when it'll be available again? Watch this space for more news!

Monday, February 2, 2015

FADE INTO ME by Charity Bradford

Back Cover
Caeden Frey doesn’t believe humans will evolve to see the magic, much less control it. Even so, he has two months to marry a human or face the wrath of the High Council. Bitter about a responsibility he thinks prevents him marrying for love, he figures any human girl will do. He’s ready to propose when his soul mate stumbles into—and right out of—his arms.

Human, Ryanne Killian might be Caedan’s one shot at happiness while still fulfilling his duty. Unfortunately, she guards a dark secret. She’s determined to push Caedan away to protect him from her past.

Caedan must convince her she’s worthy of his love before a rival family puts an end to his wedding plans. If she can see her own worth, she just might save herself and his people.

Excerpt
He walked to a desk near the back wall that I had completely overlooked. It was covered in paperwork and what appeared to be several glass cubes with bugs inside. Caedan found an old school rotary phone attached to the wall by the cord. It wouldn’t reach the couch so I joined him across the room.

“I haven’t seen one of those in forever.” I giggled as my emotions flipped switches again. Something was definitely wrong.

“Phillips is a bit old fashioned I guess.” He held the base while I dialed Heather’s number.

“Heather?”

“Ry? What’s up?” The radio played in the background, and I knew she was in her room.

“I was in an accident, but I’m okay.” Why did I tell her that? Now she would worry.

“What? What happened?” The radio clicked off.

“Nothing, I’m fine. I just wanted to let you know I’m waiting on the bus so I’ll be later than I thought.”

“No, I’ll come get you! Where are you?”

“I’m—” A wave of dizziness washed over me. Whatever I’d caught was making me see things. The colors were gone, but the room had gone fuzzy around the edges and started rolling like water lapping the sides of a pool.

“Ryanne?” Caedan’s arm shot out and his steadying hand gripped my elbow. “Are you all right?”

His deep voice rumbled in my ear. The vibrations toured my body and landed in my toes. Or maybe my toes were just going numb? Whatever it was, I decided I liked the way I felt.

“Who’s that?” Heather’s voice shot up an octave. “Ry?”

“I like how you say my name.” The giggles escaped again. I clamped a hand over my mouth.

“Ry!” Heather was shouting now. “Who’s with you? Are you alone with him?”

“I think you need a doctor.” Caedan took the phone from my hand and cradled it against his ear. “Hello?”

The room stilled and quieted enough that I could hear the buzz of Heather’s angry voice over the line.

“Look, my name is Caedan Frey. I’ll make sure she’s taken care of. Don’t worry about anything.”

“What?” Something was wrong with my ears. Everything came in muffled waves. Did he say Caedan Frey, multi-millionaire and Life magazine’s number one bachelor of the year?

Caedan talked to Heather and eased us toward the desk. He set the clunky phone down, keeping contact with me the entire time. My body followed in spite of my growing distress.

The feel of money at the wedding made sense.

“Was that your sister?” My voice came out in a croak. “At the wedding?”

Caedan hesitated before answering me. “Yes, Sedonia’s my sister.”

“I’m so sorry! I really didn’t know. I never would have—” My mouth snapped shut. The last half hour had only been his way of avoiding a lawsuit. Nothing more. If I hadn’t stepped in front of his motorcycle he never would have noticed me.

“Ryanne?” Caedan reached for my hand. “Heather, she’ll call you soon.”

He hung up and caught me as I swayed. My stomach fluttered as a jolt ran through me. Learning how unobtainable he really was had not removed the attraction I felt. I pressed my fist to my temple. A dull humming joined the ringing in my ears. I couldn’t think, but my mouth worked on autopilot.

“You don’t have to worry about the accident. I won’t sue or anything, you know. That’s not who I am.”

“Let me take you to the doctor.” He reached up and stroked my face. “Did you hit your head when you fell?”

“I don’t know.” I mumbled. What’s wrong with my lips?

My hand moved to touch them, but I couldn’t feel anything. Dark shadows gathered around the edges of my sight. A strange floating feeling overtook me. Somehow I knew Caedan was carrying me again.

“Do you know I’m in love with you?” I gasped then giggled as Caedan Frey, the supremely unattainable, set me in a waiting limo. “I’m not in love with you. I’m never going to fall in love.”

I rested my face against his neck and sobbed. For a brief moment I’d let myself pretend Prince Charming was real. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

My eyes were too heavy to keep open. Before falling asleep, I heard Caedan talking to someone.

“I’ve found her, but something’s wrong.”

Buy it in Print 
Buy it for Kindle 
Watch the Trailer 
Read the first 2 chapters Website • Twitter • Facebook

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

HAWKS & RAMS on sale now!

Hawks & Rams 
by L. Blankenship
a m/m fantasy romance novella
ON SALE NOW! 
from Dreamspinner Press

Back Cover
Heathric Felahóf never wanted to be a thief, but his cousinʼs scheme is the only option to keep the town's children from being taken as slaves to cover the year's taxes. So a few men slip over the border into the neighboring kingdom, steal a flock of sheep, and escape before the magically gifted Rangers learn of them. The second time, they're not so lucky, and trouble follows the bandits home.

Adal Sperling has given up on finding a lover who truly wants him. One of the Rangers charged with protecting his people, he pursues the sheep thieves over the border and stumbles across Heathric, a gentle shepherd who only wants to take care of his family. But opposite sides of border incursions is a rough way to fall in love, and the laws of Adalʼs kingdom are clear: the border must remain closed to Heathricʼs people.

New goodies!
There's a map in the ebook, but chances are you're reading on a small screen and can barely see it. Here's a copy that you can embiggen and study at your leisure.

Readers of Disciple: this story takes place in a small stretch of the borderlands between Wodenberg and Suevia, about 50 years before the events in Disciple.

I also have a habit of including a character index in my self-published ebooks -- Disciple has a pretty big cast of characters, so it made sense. Hawks & Rams is much smaller, but my editor at Dreamspinner suggested an index and some pronunciation help. Here it is on Google Drive.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

TREASURES RETOLD: THE STEPMOTHER by Katharina Gerlach

Fairy tales are survivors. They've survived bowdlerizing and Disneyfication, they've been reinvented as urban fantasy and darkened into the nastiest of horrors. After all that, they still have the power to draw new writers to retool them for new readers... Katharina kindly answered some questions I had about the process.

Are you retelling these fairy tales in the same world, or in different ones?
They are all set in the same world. It is an environment where magic and science battle. Most of the time, magic loses, so there's less and less magic in the world. The kingdoms of that world are very differently developed. Some don't have much magic left at all while others have much more magic. This gives me the room to write anything from more traditional tales of magic and curses to stories with steampunkt settings.

Did you tailor the world to fit the story's needs, or vice versa? How?
The world grew as I wrote it. The first story I wrote in this series held many steampunk elements, and I loved it. Then, I began to ask myself, “How did it get like that?” That was the way the second and third story came into existence. I wrote the fourth because I wanted to handle my mother's favorite fairy tale.

Tell us about an aspect of the world that was just for the fun of it.
In the retelling of “The Beauty and the Beast” (due spring 2015), I used roses made from rubies. In the original tale, the rose is the reason Belle has to go to the Beast's castle, so I thought it a nice touch to have them show up in the retelling too. But then, they morphed into something more (you'll need to read the tale to find out). In “The Stepmother”, I couldn't resist bringing up secret passages (I love those). At first, they were only meant to be an easy way to get the siblings together, but then, they became a hiding place for something important... I think what I'm trying to say is that even if I create something “for fun” it always ends up becoming more or less important.

What's the next project that you have in the works?
I'm currently revising and translating the fourth novel in this series, a retelling of “The Hut in the Woods” by the Brothers Grimm. That's a lesser known story, and my mother's favorite. At the same time, I'm preparing my non-linear fantasy mystery for publication (but it's a long process), and plan the next novel I'm dying to write (well, not like dead dying... you know what I mean).
Somehow, each day could do with a couple more hours for me...

Back cover
Even with her powers as a witch, Isabel cannot find a trace of her stepchildren. Desperate, she crosses the Old Forest, filled with as much malignant as benevolent magic, to reach the distant mountain kingdom she left as a young girl when her magical powers manifested. She soon realizes that a sinister creature holds the unsuspecting kingdom in thrall. It will take all she's able to give to save her children and the kingdom she once loved. 

An imaginative retelling of “Little Brother, Little Sister” by the Brothers Grimm. What if they painted a wrong portrait of the stepmother?

About Katharina
Born and raised German with a generous helping of an adopted Scottish heritage, Katharina started writing at age seven (although she didn't get serious until much later) when the tomboy adventures she lived in her father's forest weren't enough for her imagination any more.

Writing about balloon people, flying hearts, giant spiders, and more was her lifeline to sanity and Real Life™ all through her education. After finishing with a PhD in science, marriage and the start of a beloved but distracting family, she returned to her life-long vocation.

These days, Katharina lives for stolen moments of writing happiness in two languages while juggling her husband, two girls in puberty, a fledgling daughter that just left the house, a dog, and … laundry.


Find her online: Homepage, Facebook, Goodreads and Pinterest

Monday, December 15, 2014

THE MERATIS TRILOGY by Krista Walsh


Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 17: Meratis Trilogy
Book One: Evensong
By Krista Walsh


Author Jeff Powell wakes up to find the impossible has happened. He is within his own novel—summoned into the fictional world of Feldall’s Keep by a spell he didn’t write. One the House enchantress hasn’t figured out how to reverse.

When the villain he’s been struggling to write reveals himself, unleashing waves of terror and chaos, Jeff must use more than his imagination to save the characters he created—and the woman he loves.

Trapped within a world of his own creation, he must step outside the bounds of his narrative to help his characters defeat an evil no one anticipated, even if he must sacrifice his greatest gift. In the end, he has to ask: are novels really fiction, or windows into other worlds?

Buy it from: Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iTunes
Or add it to Goodreads





ABOUT KRISTA WALSH
Known for witty, vivid characters, Krista Walsh never has more fun than getting them into trouble and taking her time getting them out. After publishing a few short stories and novellas in various anthologies, she has now released her own anthology, the serial collection Greylands. When not writing, or working at her day job, she can be found reading, gaming, or watching a film – anything to get lost in a good story. She currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Find Krista online: Website  Facebook  Twitter



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Monday, December 8, 2014

DISCIPLE, by L. Blankenship :)


Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 16: The Disciple Series by L. Blankenship


War is coming. Kate Carpenter is only a peasant girl, but she’s determined to help defend the kingdom and its bound saints against the invading empire. Her healing magic earned her a coveted apprenticeship with the master healer; now she must prove herself ready to stand in the front lines and save lives.

She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though. This is no time to be distracted by romance — the empire’s monstrous army will tear through anyone standing between them and the kingdom’s magical founts. All disciples must put aside their tangled feelings and stand in the homeland’s defense.

Disciple is a six-part gritty fantasy romance by L. Blankenship. Part I through Part IV are on sale now at all major retailers

Download PART I for free! 
FREE at AmazonSmashwordsB&N AllRomance

Disciple, Part V is on sale now



Look for the final volume, Part VI, in 2015!

EXCERPT:

“You couldn’t sleep either?”

At the whisper, I looked up from struggling to lace my boots with trembling hands. My master stepped into my dormitory room, adding his lamp’s light to my candle.

“Why must I dress as a boy?” I whispered back. Perhaps I was not so buxom, but I doubted I’d fool anyone. “This makes little sense.”

“Patience.” Master Parselev placed his lamp on my writing-table and checked my packed bags. “They’re gathering at the chapel already. None of us got much sleep, it seems.”

The straw mattress creaked when I stood, boots laced and the woolen hose sagging between my thighs. I ran my fingers around my waist, under my layered cotes, to check the drawstring. “Are these right, Master?” I’d strung the hose and braies together as best I could guess and as memory was my Blessing I had no excuse for failing. Men’s underthings weren’t much concern to me — if I saw such, or more, it was while the man lay bleeding on the surgery table.

“If they stay up, it’s right. Good. This too.” He slung a heavy felt cloak across my shoulders and pinned it on. The hood buried my face in shadows; my blonde braid, even wrapped around my head, would give me away.

I asked, “Master, this journey will be long, won’t it?” Parselev had given me more clothes than I’d ever owned to pack in those bags. All heavy winter woolens, too. “Shouldn’t you go, then?”

He looked down at me, mouth quirking to one side. Master was a greybeard, said to be over a hundred years old, but his kir kept his eyes bright and his face lightly creased. I had only been his apprentice two years. Surely I could not be ready for this.

“It must be you, Kate,” was all he said. He carried one of my bags, and I took the other.

Wreathed in breath-clouds, we crossed the Order’s campus. Low on the horizon, the slim, waxing crescent of the Shepherd hung golden, all seven of his Flock scattered in the sky behind him. He gave the only hint that dawn was coming. The cloak kept me marvelously warm, even in the chilly breeze. No frost this morning, not yet, but it was only a few weeks off.

Master un-bolted the side gate and led me to the door of the Grand Chapel. Horses waited on the grass, many horses chewing at their bits and shaking their heads, most of them with knights in the saddles. The knights’ black tabards, worn over suits of mail, had a white horse embroidered on the right shoulder and two gold stars on the left, marking them knights and Prince’s Guard as well. Kite shields and bucket helms hung on their saddles, in easy reach.

Several of the horses stood with empty saddles, collectively held by a couple of pageboys, and that gave me pause. I’d never been on a horse; I was only a peasant girl. But it could not be so awful, I told myself, so I gripped my cloak a little tighter and followed Master Parselev inside.

My new boots rang too loudly in the empty chapel, and when I slowed to lighten my step I fell behind. Only one lamp burned on the high table before the icons, and its light was mostly blocked by those gathered below the two steps. Faces were cast in shadow as they turned toward us — all looming in the dim light, some cloaked like me, others not — and I knew none of them. I kept my head down as I joined my master before them, glad the hood hid my face.

“Not ready, Elect?” one asked, his voice low but strong. “Who’s this?”

“My apprentice will safeguard the travelers,” my master answered. “She has —”

“What?” The man stepped closer, his shoulders blocking out the light.

“Majesty, she’s my finest student.” Parselev put up a hand when the stranger reached for my hood.

My knees trembled as the word echoed in my head. Majesty. I stood before the king of Wodenberg. Wobbling a bit, I dropped to one knee in obeisance, fist pressed to my heart. The king yanked off my hood while I stared at the flagstone floor, pulse pounding.

“This girl?” the king demanded. “You trust a mere disciple with this mission?”



ABOUT L. BLANKENSHIP
L. Blankenship started writing animal stories as a kid and it's just gotten completely out of hand since then. Now she's out publishing her gritty fantasy and hard science fiction adventures. L grew up in New Hampshire but currently lives near Washington, DC.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

THE DECEMBER PEOPLE by Sharon Bayliss


Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 15: The December People series
Book 1: Destruction
Book 2: Watch Me Burn
By Sharon Bayliss



Introducing a new dark wizard family drama, Destruction by Sharon Bayliss, Book One in The December People Series.
BUY NOW--99 CENTS FOR A LIMITED TIME!

An independent family-owned bookstore. The ONLY place to buy signed copies!

A locally owned book store in Austin, Texas.



David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without. 

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.  

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.


Destruction (Book One of The December People Series)



Cover Reveal!!
Watch Me Burn
The December People Series 
Book Two

David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son, but remains determined to be a good husband and father despite being a dark winter wizard.

His resolve is tested when a flyer for a missing girl--who happens to be a summer witch--begins to haunt him. David believes a spell needs to use him to save her, so he follows the magic's command and looks into her disappearance. His teenage daughter Emmy resents him for caring so much about a random stranger. But when she uncovers some disturbing evidence close to home, she begins an investigation of her own.

David and Emmy quickly learn that the mystery is not only about a missing girl they barely know, but a deeply personal story that impacts everyone they care about. As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win.

Coming January 2015 from Curiosity Quills Press!




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies.


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