Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Finds: Sweet Indie Deals - Apr 29, 2011

Friday Finds is a way to share super sweet deals for indie paranormal ebooks.  All Friday Finds are priced from Free ~ $3.00 and represent an awesome deal for the word count.






  • Books listed in Friday Finds have not been reviewed unless indicated below with a link to the review.  
  • It's up to the reader to determine if the ebook is a good fit for their reading tastes.  
  • Follow the links for more details and to download a free sample (if it's not already free) to see if you might like it. It's a great way to "test drive" a book.
  • If a coupon code is listed below, it is publicly available or was provided to me by the author specifically for sharing on the blog. 


Prices are valid at the time of this post but they can change at any time, so get 'em while the gettin' is good!






The Amulet
Custodian, #1
by Alison Pensy 

FREE! Smashwords
$0.99 Amazon Kindle
$0.99 B&N Nook


75,850 words (Novel)

Faedra doesn’t know faeries exist, or that they control nature with a book. Nor does she know she’s next in line to protect an ancient fae amulet that controls the weather. She doesn’t realize the book has been stolen, or that the thief wants the amulet and is willing to kill for it. Until now Faedra is blissfully unaware of it all, but she’s about to find out…




-----oOo-----



Ancient Awakening
The Ancient, #1
by Matthew Laube

$0.99 Smashwords
$0.99 Amazon Kindle
$0.99 B&N Nook


58,020 words (Short Novel)

Hell comes home to Jersey. Seven ancient demons known as the Fallen have awakened in New Jersey. Fortunately for Mike and Ann, so has the one man who can stop them, Joseph Miller. Trapped in a hospital filled with mythical monsters, only together can they unravel the mystery of the Cursed and escape with not only their lives but their very humanity.




-----oOo-----




After Eden 
Fallen Angels, #1
by Katherine Pine

$0.99 Smashwords
$0.99 Amazon Kindle


87,090 words (Novel)

When an angel kidnaps Devi's twin brother, the only person who can get him back is a demon--if she is willing to pay his price. But some secrets should never be uncovered. Soon Devi is in over her head and in love with the one person she cannot trust. (young adult paranormal romance, 87,000 words)





 -----oOo-----



Every Last Kiss
Bloodstone Saga, #1 
by Courtney Cole
 
$0.99 Smashwords
$0.99 Amazon Kindle

LIMITED TIME!  SALES ENDS May 15, 2011

71,060 words (Novel)
 
17-year old Macy Lockhart is having a bad day. Her boyfriend cheated on her, she's been seeing things she can't explain and she's been transported back in time to relive her doomed life as the personal servant to Cleopatra. To top it off, she is a Keeper of Fate in the ancient organization, the Order of the Moirae. Unless she changes Fate, her soul mate will die. Again. 



-----oOo-----



The Devil and Preston Black
by Jason Jack Miller 

$2.99 Smashwords
$0.99 Amazon Kindle
$2.99 B&N Nook

100,670 words (Novel)

You'd think finding a song named after you on an old record would be kind of cool. But that's not how it goes down for Preston Black. What starts out as a search for his old man turns into a quest for an original version of "The Sad Ballad of Preston Black". Turns out the song is about his deal with the devil, a deal Preston doesn't really remember making.



 


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Review (Short Story): Carnal Desires Short Stories - In the Flames and In the Tempest by Crystal Jordan

In the Flames & In the Tempest
by Crystal Jordan

Genre: Paranormal Futuristic Erotic Romance
Formats avail: ebook
Publication Date: April 16 2011*
Word Count: approx. 4,171 & 3,770 (Short Stories)
ePub Length: 10 pgs of story text
Source:  My personal library 

Carnal Desires Short Stories

*Originally published in Cobblestone Press Quarterly Magazine in 2007




DESCRIPTION from Goodreads:
In the Flames: Prince Taymullah has been made Regent of the weretiger planet, Vesperi, while his elder brother is away on the annual trade run. It's important that he not upset the balance of power among the weretiger prides during his temporary reign. But his hand is forced when the woman he loves is bethrothed by her father to another man. What would Taymullah risk for love?  4,171 words

In the Tempest: Humiliated and abandoned by a weredragon lord sworn to mate with her through political arrangement, Lady Adriana refuses to mate for anything less than love-even if it means refusing the advances of the commanding Lord Baleel. Adriana believes he's only after the prestige mating with her will bring him...until he forces her to see that his pursuit of her has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with love.
3,770 words

MY THOUGHTS:
In The Flames and In The Tempest are a couple of sexy shorts that don't waste any time getting down to some shifter shagging. Well, they are short stories after all so no time to waste!  Considering the short story length (about 10 or so ePub pages each) that the author has to work with I think she did a good job of creating a sense of romance too and you even get the coveted "I Love You" moment. I gobbled up these two shorts in no time, but I felt like there was some back story I was missing so went looking for a larger series and it does seem like there is at least one book (titled Carnal Desires, natch!) that I'll be looking up :)  There is also another story in the Sexy Beast V anthology. The only thing I would suggest is to clean up the typos to really make these shorts shine. 

Warning: These stories are EROTIC Romance and one includes some light bondage.

Rating: 4 stars each

Typos found:  11 (In the Flames) and 8 (In the Tempest)

-----oOo-----


You can find Crystal Jordan online at:



-----oOo-----


Find it on Goodreads HERE

Get the Book!
FREE at Smashwords as separate stories
or as a bundle for $0.99 from Amazon Kindle




Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Finds: Sweet Indie Deals - Apr 22, 2011

Friday Finds is a way to share super sweet deals for indie paranormal ebooks.  All Friday Finds are priced from Free ~ $3.00 and represent an awesome deal for the word count.







  • Books listed in Friday Finds have not been reviewed unless indicated below with a link to the review.  
  • It's up to the reader to determine if the ebook is a good fit for their reading tastes.  
  • Follow the links for more details and to download a free sample (if it's not already free) to see if you might like it. It's a great way to "test drive" a book.
  • If a coupon code is listed below, it is publicly available or was provided to me by the author specifically for sharing on the blog. 

Prices are valid at the time of this post but they can change at any time, so get 'em while the gettin' is good! 



Blindsight
by Kait Nolan

Word Count: approx. 7,440 (Short Story)


FREE! Smashwords
FREE! B&N Nook
 
Isla's ability as a Seer has made her a life-long captive of a paranormal crime lord. Fae assassin, Ransom, offers her a chance at escape, but when she touches his hand she sees only blood, horror, apocalypse. What reason can Ransom have for wanting to rescue her, and can she possibly trust a man who deals in death? 






-------o0o-------



All About Eve
by Caitlin McColl
 
Word Count: approx. 20,820 (Novella) 

FREE! Smashwords


Eve has always seen dead people, ever since she was little. She has always kept her gift a secret, even from her family. That is, until she uncovers a terrible secret from her past. All About Eve is a prequel to my upcoming novel Under A Starlit Sky. 






-------o0o-------


Payback's a Witch
by Rachel Astor

Word Count: approx. 66,750 words. (Novel)

$0.99 Smashwords
$0.99 Amazon Kindle
 

Nelle doesn't really believe in fate, or fairy tales, or magic, but when her boyfriend lets it slip that his ex used to be really into witchcraft, all the recent disasters in her life finally start making sense. Now that it's Nelle's turn to learn the ways of witchcraft, what will happen when she tries to conjure up a little revenge of her own?





-------o0o-------



How to Date a Werewolf
by Rose Pressey

Word Count: approx. 85,964 (Novel)

$1.99 Smashwords
$1.99 Amazon Kindle
$1.99 B&N Nook

Romance can be a hairy business-especially when you're a werewolf.

As the owner of Got a Mate Dating Service, Rylie is more than happy to step in and lend a hand to lonely lycanthropic hearts all over town. No matter how hopeless Rylie might be in finding her own soul mate, she has a knack for helping others find theirs. 

Convinced that she is stuck with a family curse, Rylie is positive she will never find her true love. But when drool-worthy Jack Chandler shows up at her door, Rylie wonders if maybe the curse is finally broken.



-------o0o-------

 

Fate Weaver
by Loretta A. Condino-Grupp 

Word Count: approx. 108,120  (Novel)


$2.99 Smashwords
$2.99 B&N Nook


Adding to her already anxious life as a junior at Barrington High School, Rosella Faulk has a new worry. Trouble in Italy has prompted a raven and a dove to inform her that she is the Living Fate Weaver – descendant of Lachesis, the second sister of the three Fates, and that she has a job to do, because, this news has come with strings attached. 








Saturday, April 16, 2011

Review: Tommy Nightmare by JL Bryan

Tommy Nightmare
by JL Bryan

Genre:  YA Supernatural Urban Fantasy
Formats avail:  ebook, (paperback coming soon)
Publication Date: April 9, 2011
Word Count: approx. 88,480 (Novel)
Kindle Locations:  6108
Source:  ebook provided by author

Jenny Pox, Book 2





  
DESCRIPTON from Goodreads:


While Fallen Oak recovers from the Jenny pox, someone new is hunting Jenny.
Like Jenny, Ashleigh Goodling belonged to a pair of opposites with powers that mirror each other.
Now Jenny and Seth must face the opposite of love...

MY THOUGHTS:
A super follow-up to Jenny Pox! It is going to be really hard to discuss this book without spoilers for the first book or this one. So be warned...a few spoilers make sneak in. The story picks up shortly after the events of the first book and includes a story thread of government intervention to explain and cover up what happened in the first book. And of course, there is one determined epidemiologist who wants to get to the bottom of it.

The beginning of Tommy Nightmare felt a little slower than Jenny Pox, but starts out in a similar way--looking at his past.  We see what Tommy's childhood was like living with an emotionally and physically abusive foster family. An unfortunate event involving his power, and an unexpected opportunity, as a child propels him to escape his horrible living environment. As a child, Tommy starts out as decent kid in a bad situation who seems fearful of his power. As we get to know him as an older, street-smart teen, he is in prison and doesn't hesitate to use his power to get what he wants.  When he sees Ashleigh on TV, he recognizes her as someone significant to him and is compelled to find her. And he does...in a way.  Yes, folks...she's ba-aaack!  And she is just as devious as before. This time she seems more interested in revenge than a political agenda. You’ll have to read the book though to find out just how she makes her way back into this story.

This is a series book that doesn't use a new pair of main characters and a different story line like many series do.  It is more of a continuation of the first book so we have all the main characters from the first book as prominent characters in this book as well, plus a couple of new introductions. In fact, even though Tommy is the title character and we see him a lot in the beginning, he seems to fade into the background a bit while Jenny, Seth, and yes, even Ashleigh, eventually seem to take over the story as the book progresses. 

Tommy's power is to instill fear with his touch. He is supposed to have the opposite power to Ashleigh so I had expected his power to be the ability to instill hate. I guess opposite powers aren't always direct opposites. And in fact, we learn briefly that there are different types of power pairs including complementary and cross powers. I would like to have learned more about these types of powers but there wasn’t much elaboration on it. It’s going on the “stuff I hope is explained in the next book” list. When Tommy learns what happened to Ashleigh, it puts Jenny and Seth in his crosshairs.  Not only do Jenny and Seth have to worry about the government investigation, but now there is someone else "like them" out there and he seems to have a grudge against them.

Esmeralda and Alexander are two additional supernaturals in this story (not sure what they are even supposed to be called). Esmeralda can listen to the dead while Alexander can animate the dead. Esmeralda is supposed to be Alexander's opposite, but again, it doesn't seem like an opposite power to me. This pair of powers seems more complementary than opposite. I guess I don't have a handle on this power thing yet. 

I love the way JL has intertwined all the characters and their powers in past and current lives. He keeps peeling away the layers to reveal more and more of how these characters and their powers relate to each other. We get to peek into Jenny's past lives; showing us some of the past lives of the others as well, and we get a better sense of what they are. If you felt the ending of the first book was unexpected and needed more explanation, this book should help to give you a little more insight. However, it is a slow reveal throughout the story and I don't feel like we have really discovered all there is to know about them. The character I want to know more about is Alexander. I find him to be very intriguing and I am eager to find out more about him.

JL has given us another great story that sucks you right in. Though I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it didn't absorb me quite as much as the first book, but it is still a great follow-up to Jenny Pox. I think the writing is even a little tighter. There wasn’t as much extra description, especially with Ashleigh’s character, which was a minor nitpick for me in the first book. It does end with a significant cliffhanger that leaves several story threads hanging and there is also an unexpected twist that has left me with tons of questions that hopefully will be addressed in the next book, which is expected to come out Fall of 2011.  **drums fingers on table**  Um, is it Fall yet? ;)

This book is so entwined with events and characters from the first book that I would highly recommend starting with the first book, Jenny Pox. And fortunately, JL has made that so very easy to do by offering the Jenny Pox ebook for only $0.99 on Amazon and B&N!  A deal of most awesomeness :D   I don’t know when the sale ends so don’t wait too long to grab it!

I am having a hard time rating this book and keep flip-flopping between 4 and 5 stars.  Damn my decision not to do half stars! Okay, here we go...4 stars. I was sucked in but no slurping noises this time ;) 

Rating: 4 - I Really (Really) Liked It (Really!)

Typos found: n/a (ARC)

Note: Just for readers' reference -- like the first book there is a bit of sexual content. Though I think it was a little less than the first book, this is just a heads up for those that have concerns about this in a YA/Teen book. 

* * * * *

This book is available as an ebook and the paperback will be coming out soon.  You can find J.L. Bryan on the web at:

Website: http://www.jlbryanbooks.com/
Blog: http://jlbryanbooks.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jlbryanbooks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/J-L-Bryans-Books/123417766958
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2917423.J_L_Bryan



Get the book!
Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

Find it on Goodreads HERE!
Check out the Goodreads Giveaway!  Ends May 1, 2011




Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Finds: Sweet Indie Deals - Apr 15, 2011

Friday Finds is a way to share super sweet deals for indie paranormal ebooks.  All Friday Finds are priced from Free ~ $3.00 and represent an awesome deal for the word count.






  • Books listed in Friday Finds have not been reviewed unless indicated below with a link to the review.  
  • It's up to the reader to determine if the ebook is a good fit for their reading tastes.  
  • Follow the links for more details and to download a free sample (if it's not already free) to see if you might like it. It's a great way to "test drive" a book.
  • If a coupon code is listed below, it is publicly available or was provided to me by the author specifically for sharing on the blog. 

Prices are valid at the time of this post but they can change at any time, so get 'em while the gettin' is good! 




 The Vampire's Warden
by S.J. Wright

Word Count: approx. 31,840
(Novella)

$0.99 B&NNook
He moved. It was a flash in the moonlight, a blur of motion like I’d never witnessed before. No human had the capacity to move like that. When I found myself face-to-face with him there in the meadow, I knew without a doubt that the journal was authentic. I knew that my grandfather hadn’t been crazy at all. Because a foot away from me stood a vampire. 









Mishap & Mayhem
by M.M. Shelley

Word Count: approx. 53,490
(Short Novel)

$0.99 Smashwords

For centuries magical beings have hidden in the darkness, waiting. Some good, some evil. A battle is brewing, and only twins, Grasiella and Tatiana, have the power to stop it.  A secret that has been kept since the dawn of time is about to be revealed with devastating consequences. It’s the summer of the year 2045, and sixteen year old Grasiella, along with her twin sister, Tatiana plan to visit their grandmother in Hawaii. They have no idea that when they arrive on the island of Kauai, they are about to be drawn into a secret, the secret, of their family’s dark origins and magical powers.






Not Everything Brainless is Dead 
(Book 1)
by Joshua Price

Word Count: approx. 53,300  
(Short Novel) 

$0.99 B&N Nook
Captain Rescue and his arch nemesis are always at each other’s throats, but this time, Dr. Malevolent’s criminal caper goes horribly awry. The two are forced to put aside their differences and form an unlikely alliance to thwart mankind's undeadliest threat—zombies!









 Vampyre Nation
This Immortal Coil, Book 1
by Steve Mandel

Word Count: 74,110
(Novel)

It’s 2011 and humanity is enslaved. Their masters? Vampyres. After banding together, the Supernatural societies of this world have become its masters, leading the planet into an era of magically-enforced prosperity--for the privledged few. Now one boy, a 17 year-old Vamp stands as Humanity's last chance for freedom, if he can find it in himself to tear down the only life he's ever known.







 The Fallen Star
by Jessica Sorensen

Word Count: approx. 101,320
(Novel)

$2.99 B&N Nook
Life has never been normal for Gemma. Only recently, has she been able to feel emotion. And when she’s around Alex, the new guy at school, she can feel electricity that makes her skin buzz. Plus the monsters from her nightmares have crossed over into real-life. And as her world starts to fall apart, figuring out the secrets of her past becomes a matter of life and death.  





Sunday, April 10, 2011

Guest Author: Tom Andry - Turning Bad Reviews Around

I've been wanting to host a guest post on this topic for a while now and in light of the most recent "Author Behaving Badly" kerfuffle that will not be named, it seemed like a timely topic.  I specifically had Tom in mind for this post.  After chatting with him briefly when he initially sent me a review request and reading some of the posts about reviews on his blog, I was very impressed with his pragmatic and professional attitude toward dealing with bad reviews and reviews in general.  I invited Tom here today to share his thoughts.




 Tom says...

Michelle contacted me to write on the subject of bad reviews for two reasons. First, I've already written on the topic a number of times on my own blog. Second, and more importantly, I'm on both sides of the issue. My day job is a reviewer of home theater equipment for Audioholics.com, the largest AV review magazine (in print or online) on the planet. I've also completed my first novella, Bob Moore: No Hero and am waiting on a number of reviews from this and other websites.

First, if you think that there is a huge difference between the ego investment in a product from an author/artist versus a designer of a piece of AV gear, you are sorely mistaken. Maybe at the big companies you don't see it, but at the smaller ones, it is a huge problem. They love their amps/speakers/subwoofers like their own children. And you can't tell them they aren't the best. Even if they aren't. They'll argue every little point with you even if you write a glowing review.

But let's back up. What is a bad review and how can you turn it around? To start off with, a bad review is the opinion of a single person. That's an important point to remember. It is just one person. And one person, no matter how powerful, cannot kill your book. Movies panned by Ebert make millions and get sequels. So don't despair. One bad review isn't the end of the world.

Oftentimes, a review tells you more about the reviewer than about the actual product. This is an interesting fact that we all sort of know instinctively. You've read reviews of everything from books to cars to MP3 players. There are times you've read the review and taken it at face value. But I'm sure there are times when you've read a review and thought, "Sure, X, Y, and Z bugged the reviewer, but those things don't bother me. I might check that out." People review a review as they read it. If they don't think the "problems" the reviewer points out apply to them, they still might give your work a try. If they disagree with the review, they might write a counter. Regardless, the "bad" review netted you a sale. Why? Because without it, they might never had heard of you or your work.

At worst, a review is not an attack against you; it is an attack against your work. I can think of very few reviews of any book or product that specifically attacked the artist. And those reviews reflected more poorly on the reviewer than the one reviewed. Hell, I'd love to have someone post on a popular blog that I wrote the worst post ever or I was a misogynist pig with delusions of grandeur. I'd click on that link just to see what they were talking about. To quote Leonidas from 300 when asked if he was worried that Xerxes would have him killed when they first met, "Pray that they are that stupid, pray that we are that lucky." A monumentally bad review can, theoretically, be as good or better than a glowing one - provided, of course, the review is wrong.

If you've spent any time on websites like Goodreads, you know that bad reviews are inevitable. You're going to get them. It is impossible for everyone to love your book. So you have to be prepared to react in a way that not only doesn't harm your reputation but may net you a few more readers in the process. As I said, even bad reviews can be turned around and net you sales as long as you follow a few simple rules:

1) Read dispassionately

For anyone that has ever read or heard a critique of them or their work, they know how big the negatives sound compared to the positives. One of the reasons that managers often recommend you start with the positive is not to lessen the blow of the negative but just so that people hear those positive comments. People tend to shut down when the negative starts.

On top of that, any negative comment, no matter how small, often seems monumental to the one being critiqued. All the negative comments are magnified as if we were looking at them through a telescope. All the positive comments, however, feel more like we've turned that telescope around and are looking through it the wrong way.

The key here it to try to read a review dispassionately. Try not to take offense. Read what the reviewer wrote, not what you are reading into their comments. You'll fail, that's guaranteed. But try.

2) Take a day

Why do reviews and critiques often show up in my email box after a long day and a few cocktails? Is it the universe trying to give me the opportunity to make an ass out of myself? Maybe. But even if you get the review notice first thing in the morning after a good night's sleep. Take a day.

I know when I get negative comments, I can feel the heat in my face, my pulse quicken, and my vision blur. I have problems reading the rest of the email/review. Instead of immediately hitting 'reply' and firing off a comment that you'll certainly regret, sleep on it. Take a day and really think about your response. Read the review over and over. The more you do, the more you'll be able to read it dispassionately. Evaluate each comment keeping these questions in mind:

~  What is the reviewer really saying?
Is this comment more about them than my writing?
~  Does the reviewer have a point?
~  Would everyone view this as a negative comment or is it just me?

Lastly, if you really feel like telling the reviewer exactly what you feel, go ahead. Write it all down. Save the document in a file labeled, "To Idiot Reviewers Who Wouldn't Know Good Literature if it Fell Out of the Sky and Landed on Their Face." But don't, under any circumstances, send it. If it makes you feel better to write it, go ahead. But what is good for your mental well being and what is good for your career don't always line up.

3) Be grateful

Whatever you do end up saying, be grateful. One of my mantras is, "There is no better way to die in obscurity than to have no one know about your book." For good or ill, they've gotten word out about your work. For that alone you should be grateful. You can never sell less than zero copies and if no one knows about your book, that's what you'll sell.

4) Be respectful

This should go without saying, but we still have people lashing out at reviewers, so perhaps a reminder is in order. If you read the now infamous blog thread that shall not be named, you'll see that in early comments, people mentioned that they were still considering the book until the posts from the author. Remember that. People may or may not buy a book based on a review; they will certainly not buy it if you come off as a raving lunatic.

5) Silence is golden

It is a generally accepted rule to ignore bad reviews. Just don't comment. That's not a bad strategy. Personally, I don't think I could. But I certainly don't think you have much to gain from arguing with the reviewer. I'd probably comment something along the lines of, "Thank you for your considerate and thoughtful review." I'd probably leave it at that. The fact is that they took a lot of time to read, think about, and write a review of your book. That deserves some recognition. A genial nod acknowledging their work isn't a bad idea and will probably garner you some goodwill from the reviewer and readers alike.

When I write a review, I'm not writing it to the manufacturer, I'm writing it to my audience. When you read a review of your work you may feel like the reviewer is talking directly to you. They aren't. They are talking to their readers. To me, reading a review is like overhearing someone talking about your book at a restaurant. Would you jump up and confront them in the middle of their sorbet? Would you curse at them, the people at their table, and anyone else in the vicinity? Probably not. But, if you really feel like you've been wronged, what should you do? Here are my suggestions:

1) Email the reviewer

There is no reason not to voice your objections in a private email. This is a good way of ensuring that there weren't any miscommunications. Again, you'll want to be polite and respectful and never insulting. If there has been a mistake, most reviewers will gladly correct it as no one wants to be wrong or to purposefully harm another. But if you are abusive or demanding, they are just going to trash the email and block your further correspondence. That won't get you anywhere.

2) Nothing

It sucks to say but there really isn't anything else you can do. Anything you do at this point will just make you look bad. Don't argue with them in the comments of their post, don't try to mobilize your fans to attack them and counter their review, and certainly don't bash them for giving their opinion. You can't sue them for saying what they said no matter how slandered you feel. Perhaps if you have the money of a multinational company you could try, but you don't, so just forget it. Your best bet is to just ignore the review and hope everyone else does as well. Because the last thing you want is to have your bad review blow up on Twitter and have millions of people associate your name with bad behavior and poor writing.

Conclusion

One rule of thumb for the Internet is to never post anything you wouldn't say to a person's face. Many don't live by this rule but, especially as an indie or self-published writer, you must. Your online persona is the only thing people have to go on. The way you react to a bad review can make or break how people feel about you and your writing. Bad reviews are inevitable. They are going to happen. Preparing for them now and realizing that even bad reviews are better than being ignored can ensure your future success. By acting professionally you can take a bad review and make it work for you. 


* * *

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tom Andry is the Associate Editor of Audioholics.com and host of the AV Rant podcast. He's been writing mostly reviews but has lately returned to his prose roots. He has written many unpublished short stories, poems, and a few screenplays that may still be produced. He's the father of three boys affectionately nicknamed Punkalicious, Captain Evil, and Neo. He's happily married and currently resides in Perth, Australia. His background is in drama, creative writing, and research psychology which basically means his kids are in for a pretty rough time. His wife, Tanel, doesn't have it so easy either.



You can find Tom online at: http://www.tomandry.com/ where you can find out more about his book Bob Moore: No Hero and check out his other blog posts on the topic of reviews.


Want more info on Bob Moore: No Hero? Take a look at the Whatcha Reading? spotlight for this book here on IPBR. 



Tom, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.






Saturday, April 9, 2011

Whatcha Reading? Dark Passages by Sara Reinke

Whatcha Reading? is a feature that spotlights currently released titles. Today we have Sara Reinke here to give us a closer look at her novel, Dark Passages.



 Dark Passages
The Brethren Series, Book 4
by Sara Reinke
Will a sadistic new enemy put vampire Tristan Morin's newfound love for Karen Pierce, a human, to the ultimate test? Book Four in The Brethren Series.
  Word Count: approx. 41,588
(Long Novella/Short Novel)



What’s the basic premise of Dark Passages?
Tristan Morin is a vampire on a mission: to not fall in love with Karen Pierce. To do so would prove that humans and Brethren were meant to be physically and emotionally bound to each other -- something he, as a full-blooded Brethren, refuses to believe. It would be so much easier if Karen wasn't beautiful. And if there wasn't something about her that draws him like a moth to a flame, damn near impossible to resist.

Karen has always felt an inexplicable attraction to Tristan. More than just the fact he's strikingly handsome, it's as if being with him is something natural, comfortable and right. But soon a brash choice on his part leaves her heartbroken and confused, and a sadistic new enemy will put their newfound love -- and their lives -- to the ultimate test

What inspired the idea for this book?
Dark Passages is the fourth book in The Brethren Series, and the official title that relaunches the series after a two year hiatus. Tristan and Karen were both introduced in the previous installment, Dark Passion, and even though they played only secondary roles in that story, I found myself intrigued by them. I really wanted to explore their relationship, see what could happen between them. Thus, the idea for Dark Passages was born.

Who is the audience for this story?
I like to tell people if my books were movies, they’d be rated R, lol. There’s definitely adult content in them—strong sexual situations, violence, language. Nothing erotic, but it’s not for a young adult audience, either. And while my primary audience are those readers who have enjoyed The Brethren Series to date, as with most of my books, I try to make each one entertaining in its own right, as a stand-alone for anyone who isn’t familiar with the storyline.

What sets Dark Passages apart from other books in the genre?
In creating the Brethren, I tried to come up with a unique and creative take on the more tried-and-true vampire lore. I think they’re definitely different than anything else out there. They’re not bound by a lot of the familiar tropes. For example, they’re not “undead,” or immortal. They can walk in sunlight without harm. They’re very much intent on remaining sequestered from humans, not prowling among them, preying on them. I modeled the Brethren society on wolf pack cultures, as well as documented examples of polygamous religious sects. 

It looks like Dark Passages is part of a series. Can you tell us more about it?
The Brethren are an ancient sect of vampires who have lived in secret within human societies for milennia. Their origins date to medieval France, and they migrated to America just prior to the outbreaks of both the French and American Revolutions. Over the centuries, they have amassed a sizable fortune in the bourbon distilling and Thoroughbred horseracing industries and live on enormous estates tucked among the rolling Bluegrass hills of Kentucky.

Patriarchal in leadership, Brethren clans are dominated by whichever family has the most male heirs. For more than three hundred years, that distinction has belonged to the Noble clan, led by Augustus Noble. But when Augustus's young grandson Brandon decides to defy the ritual of the bloodletting, the traditional first human kill among his kind, and flee the secluded Brethren farms, the empire a power-hungry and driven Augustus has worked so hard to build suddenly teeters on the brink of destruction.
Brandon has always felt like an outsider among the Brethren. Stricken deaf and mute as a child in the aftermath of a brutal assault, he's endured years of torment and abuse at the whim and will of his kin. When a desperate escape attempt reintroduces him to Angelina Jones, a human woman who was his first love, he only becomes more determined to break free from his birthright and forge his own path in life.

He's aided along the way by his twin sister, Tessa, and Rene Morin, Lina's one-time police partner, through whom they discover the Morins, a separate, heretofore hidden family of Brethren who have made their homes in eastern California, near the shores of Lake Tahoe. The Morins are considered outcasts, believed to be dead by the Kentucky-based Brethren, because of their conviction that Brethren were meant to feed from each other, not humans. By doing so, the Morins have been able to develop and hone telekinetic and telepathic skills beyond anything their counterparts in Kentucky have managed.

Dark Thirst is the first in the series, followed by Dark Hunger, Dark Passion and Dark Passages. At my website, readers can check out a free serialized comic short, Dark Interludes, which depicts events which occur just prior to the beginning of Dark Passages.

Who did the cover art for your book?
The amazing and talented Kimberley Killion at Hot Damn Designs!

What is your favorite scene or line from Dark Passages?
There’s a scene in which the story’s villain has called Tristan in his hotel room in Las Vegas, and made it clear that he’s somehow spying on Tristan from outside the building, through the suite’s windows. He calls Tristan over to the windows and when Tristan obeys, he flips the villain the bird. “Can you see me, mother****er?” he asks. That moment is so in Tristan’s nature, I just love it.

If you could be one of the characters in your book, who would it be, and why?
Karen—because she gets to be with Tristan, of course!

Where can readers find your book?  Is it available in ebook, print, or both?
Ebook: $1.99

Bloodhorse Press: www.bloodhorsepress.com

Coming soon in paperback to Amazon.com for only $5.99!


Is there anything else you would like readers to know?
Readers can find out more about The Brethren Series by visiting my website. Plus, subscribe to my enewsletter and receive a FREE ebook copy of Dark Thirst, Book 1 in the series, with a limited-edition cover artwork redesign. There’s no better way to discover the world of the Brethren vampires than with the book that started it all!

How can readers find you online?



 
Excerpt from Dark Passages
Copyright 2011  Sara Reinke

From the darkness, a muffled digital ring drew Tristan from the depths of sleep.
My phone, he thought dimly as his mind made the groggy, reluctant transition from unconsciousness to alert.  Beside him, Karen still slept, her body lying in warm, nearly perfect complement against his own.  When he sat up, the sheet drooped away, leaving them both exposed from the waist up, and he blinked stupidly around the dark room, trying to find his cell phone.
I had it in my pocket, he remembered, stumbling out of bed and limping around blindly until he found his pants in a rumpled heap halfway across the room.
He heard Karen murmur softly, incoherently; then the mattress creaked, the covers rustling as she sat up, drawing them modestly to cover her breasts.  Squatting, he fished in the pocket of his slacks until he found his phone.  When he pulled it out, he saw Mason’s number flashing on the caller I.D.
“Shit,” he said, because it occurred to him that they’d they’d forgotten completely about Mason’s promise to join them once he’d finished talking to Michel on the phone.  He glanced over his shoulder at the bedside clock and winced.  It was well after midnight; more than three hours had passed since they’d parted company at the restaurant.  And we’ve been sleeping this whole time.  He’s probably been and left, beating on the door, wondering where the hell we are.
“Shit,” he said again, thumbing the keypad to answer the call.  Raking his fingers through his hair to push it out of his eyes, he tried his best to sound dutifully repentant.  “I’m really sorry, Mason,” he began.
From the other end of the line, there was nothing but silence.  At first.  Then, just as he was about to say his uncle’s name again, he heard strange sounds, a dull, flat whap like a side of beef hitting a concrete floor, followed by the distinctive sound of someone groaning—quiet, choked, pained.
“Mason?” Tristan whispered.
“I’m sorry, poppet,” a voice purred in his ear—a voice he recognized from earlier that night.  “Mason’s a bit…tied up at the moment.”
Tristan’s brows furrowed, his free hand closing into a sudden, strained fist.  All the muscles bridging his shoulders and neck drew instantly taut.  “Davenant,” he seethed.  “You son of a bitch.  Where is he? What have you done with him?”
Jean Luc Davenant chuckled gently into the phone.  “I haven’t done anything with him,” he said, with feigned insult in his voice.  “It’s what I’ve done to him that should worry you.”
He used to amuse himself by stringing cats upside down from the trees and partially eviscerating them to see how long they could survive, Mason had told Tristan of Jean Luc.  And if they’d resort to eating their own guts to do it.
“Where is he?” Tristan snapped.  For a moment, Jean Luc did nothing but laugh.  Furious now, trembling with rage, Tristan screamed into the phone, “Goddamn you, where’s Mason?”
“Look outside.”
Jean Luc’s reply came flat, cold from the other end.  Tristan blinked in surprise, turning to the nearest floor-to-ceiling window.
“That’s right,” Jean Luc said.  “Walk to the window, poppet.  Let me see that pretty face of yours.”
Turning again, this time to Karen, Tristan cupped his hand over the phone, pinning her with his stare.  Don’t move, he mouthed.  Pointing to the windows to redirect her gaze momentarily, he then mouthed, He’s watching us.
Her hand darted to her mouth, her face drained of color, the sheet drooping lankly to expose her left breast as she turned it loose.
“Are you there, poppet?” Jean Luc asked.
“Yeah,” Tristan growled, stepping into his pants, pulling them up around his hips and buttoning the fly.  He went to the window, standing bare chested, vulnerable in front of the tempered glass, staring at his reflection as it floated, ghostlike, against the colorful backdrop of the Las Vegas cityscape below.  Facing him was the second TrĂ©sor resort tower, an exact mirror image of the building in which he stood.  Tristan panned his gaze, struggling to find any hint of Jean Luc’s position—a wink of light off the lens of a telescope from a window in the far tower, maybe.
Balling his fist again but leaving his middle finger stiffly extended, he raised his hand, shoving it against the window.  “Can you see me, motherfucker?”
Jean Luc laughed.  “I want you to listen to me carefully, poppet.  You and I are going to play a little game.”
“I don’t like games.”
“That’s a shame, because I do.  And I’m afraid you’re in no position to turn me down.”
Another pause; then Tristan heard the muffled whaps again, like someone punching a damp sandbag—only it wasn’t a sandbag and he knew it.  Mason was the one suffering what sounded like a brutal beating and he remained semilucid, enough in any case, to cry out softly, croaking in feeble protest.
“Stop it!” Tristan slapped his hand against the glass, feeling the thick, heavy panel shudder beneath his palm.  “Leave him alone! I’ll kill you!”
When Jean Luc returned to the phone, he was chuckling again like a macabre sort of Mrs.  Butterworth, filled with grim good humor.
“I’ll kill you,” Tristan promised.  “Do you hear me, you sick bastard?”
“Are you ready to play?” Jean Luc asked, unfazed.
“Go fuck yourself.”
This time, there were no sounds of landing blows, but from the other end of the line, Mason began to shriek, his voice ripping up shrill, agonized octaves loud enough for Karen to hear, even from the bed.  Tristan could see her reflected horror through the glass, heard the sharp, aghast intake of her breath.
“Stop,” Tristan cried.  “Stop it, stop it, you son of a bitch! Mason!”
The screams cut abruptly short, and somehow that silence was even more terrifying to Tristan.  He heard a soft rustle, then an audible click as Jean Luc picked up the phone.
“Did you catch all of that, poppet? I can do some more if you need me to.”
“You touch him again, and I’ll rip your arms out of your goddamn sockets, cram them hand-first up your—”
“Are you ready to play?” Jean Luc interjected mildly.
Tristan blinked at Karen, then turned around again.  “Yes,” he whispered, nodding once.  “Whatever you want.  Just leave Mason alone.  All right?” His voice grew strained, and he closed his eyes.  “Please.  Don’t hurt him anymore.”
“Splendid,” Jean Luc purred, the tone of his voice lending itself to a malicious sort of smile.  “Listen closely, then, because I’ll only do this once.  You get it right—you be a good little poppet and do exactly as you’re told—and your dear uncle walks out of here with little more than a limp to show for his trouble.  Get it wrong—if you even think about fucking with me—then I will remove each of his vital organs forcibly and in turn, using only the crudest of surgical methods and foregoing any benefit of anesthesia.  Do you understand?”
Through the glass, Tristan looked at Karen, frozen with fear on the bed.  She may not have been privy to the entire conversation, but she’d gleaned enough—primarily from his own reactions—to get the gist of it.
“Yes,” he said, because the son of a bitch hadn’t mentioned her, and Tristan meant to keep it that way; keep Davenant distracted from her for however long it took to make sure she remained safe, out of harm’s way.  “Tell me what to do.”


 Want to try more?  
Download a generous 50% sample at Smashwords

Add it to your Goodreads Shelf

Check out the trailer!





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Definitely an author to watch." That's how Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine describes Sara Reinke. New York Times best-selling author Karen Robards calls Reinke "a new paranormal star" and Love Romances and More hails her as "a fresh new voice to a genre that has grown stale." Her Brethren Series has been hailed as "a vampire mythos as dark and disturbing as it is unique." (One Good Book Deserves Another). Find out more at www.sarareinke.com.

= = = = =

Sara, thanks for stopping by and telling us about your book!