Saturday, December 28, 2013

Blue Rabbit by Jimena Novaro Blog Tour

About Blue Rabbit

In Knoxville, Tennessee, there’s a bridge to another world.

When they first cross it, Erika and her friends feel like they’ve stumbled into a dream. Magical and mysterious, the other world becomes their little paradise, a place to explore and escape from their everyday lives. Until one night a boy from school, Mike, follows them to the other side―and he’s kidnapped by strange and powerful Creatures.

Back home, everyone thinks Erika and the gang are responsible for Mike’s disappearance. The dream has become a nightmare. How can they negotiate with these Creatures to rescue Mike and clear their names? And why are the Creatures fixated on Erika, who feels drawn to their world even as she senses the danger?

Cover art by Angles Verte

~ Eating Magic ~

I’m reading Blue Rabbit by Jimena Novaro. It’s a young adult urban fantasy about an interesting clique of friends: Haley, her brother Dorian, Erika, Nathan, and Sandra. I love the opening scene in the school cafeteria where Haley and Erika bicker over how much they’ve (not) eaten and Haley builds battlements with toothpicks. It’s a great introduction to the group dynamics. Haley is the glue.

Haley could feel all her friends around her. Sandra’s knee pressed against her leg; Dorian’s shoulder brushed hers; Nathan sprawled out across the backrest of the couch, had his hand on her shoulder; Erika sat on a cushion on the floor with her back against Haley’s legs. It felt comfortable.

The group has been friends a long time as documented by the engaging passages regarding home videos and photo albums, but their bonds are being tested.

They’ve stumbled onto another realm of existence… populated by strange creatures. Creatures who kidnapped a fellow student. Now, the police are asking questions and when the gang attempts a rescue everything goes awry.

“And we just ask people to hand over a blood sample?” Sandra asked.

“No. We’ll be creative.”

This sounded just as half-assed as all of Erika’s previous plans. So far, none of them had done any good, and Sandra didn’t believe this one would be any different.

The story is told from multiple points of view, different colored threads weaving the fears and hope of each character into a whole cloth of intense bonds.

Novaro captures the unique identities, shifting loyalties, and fraying ties in exquisite scenes. A new arrival, Chloe, adds pressure to existing group fractures.

All this is set against a psychedelic, alternate, Avatar-like world, where the physics of things like water defies our own.

She bit off a tiny chunk, just to try it. Secretly, she got a thrill out of the idea of a piece of this world inside her. To her surprise it tasted wonderful, if odd—kind of like a sweet tangerine, but with the consistency of a hard-boiled egg.

The novel is as thoughtful as it is entertaining, when it plays with themes like connection, aliveness, and individuality. One of its many wonderful qualities is the maleness of the guys and the femaleness of the girls, without any of them becoming a gender stereotype. I also love the way the needs and desires of the cast of characters converge in an explosive climax.

Throughout, Novaro’s narrative voice, fragile and strong, tentative and assured, amplifies the tale. It’s a wonderful read that I highly recommend.

I’ll leave you with a couple more of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite characters, Dorian.

As someone obsessed/haunted by time, I laughed out loud when I read this:

The clock did not make sense. Dorian hated clocks and wished they would all blow up simultaneously.

And as someone who appreciates The Lord of the Rings

The doctor came to discharge her after breakfast, interrupting Dorian’s improvisational rendition of The Lord of the Rings, starring the plastic fork as Aragorn, the plastic spoon as Frodo, and the plastic knife as Sauron—Haley didn’t feel like eating, so the toast was the Shire and the cup of juice was Mount Doom.

Find Blue Rabbit:
Amazon | Goodreads

About Jimena
Jimena Novaro always knew she would be a writer. It just took her a few years to realize that she wanted to do it full-time, and relegate things like going into outer space and being an opera prima donna to hobbies. She loves reading and writing science fiction, fantasy, and YA. A self-proclaimed geeky sort of nerd, she spends a lot of her time fangirling over her favorite shows, books, and bands and educating herself about super-important topics such as how to survive an arrow wound and whether or not you can shoot a gun in space. Sometimes she gets super serious and rants about some socio-political issue or other.

She’s a member of the awesome fantasy authors group Mystic Quills. You can find her free epic fantasy serial, The Withering Sword, on her website (a new chapter comes out every Sunday!) Her first book, Blue Rabbit, a YA urban fantasy, comes out this December!

Find Jimena:

Friday, December 27, 2013

Kindle Fire Giveaway!

December Kindle Fire
  Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)   This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7".
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
      December Kindle Fire Giveaway #2 Sponsors
  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
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  4. Author Talia Jager
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  9. Author Bella Street
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  11. Feed Your Fiction Addiction
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  14. Author Kelli Beck
  15. Barb's Wire - eBooks & More
  16. MumbleBee Inc.
  17. MyLadyWeb: Women's History and Women Authors
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  23. Author Jennie Sherwin
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  48. Circus of Lost Souls
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  52. Author Lisa C. Temple

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Blog Tour: Blue Rabbit by Jimena Novaro

Today, I'm very excited to be part of the Blue Rabbit Blog Tour. You do not want to miss this young adult fantasy novel written by Jimena Novaro! A serious book lover, she shares her passion for books with us in this fun video!

About Blue Rabbit

In Knoxville, Tennessee, there’s a bridge to another world.

When they first cross it, Erika and her friends feel like they’ve stumbled into a dream. Magical and mysterious, the other world becomes their little paradise, a place to explore and escape from their everyday lives. Until one night a boy from school, Mike, follows them to the other side―and he’s kidnapped by strange and powerful Creatures.

Back home, everyone thinks Erika and the gang are responsible for Mike’s disappearance. The dream has become a nightmare. How can they negotiate with these Creatures to rescue Mike and clear their names? And why are the Creatures fixated on Erika, who feels drawn to their world even as she senses the danger?

“I don’t know how you can eat at all,” said Haley. “This is stupid. It’s not going to work. We’re going to end up like....” She felt a flutter in her stomach, and the cafeteria began to blur a little around her. She concentrated on the white walls and grey tables, the straight-backed metal chairs and the colorful array of happily chattering students sitting on them.

Then she started to notice the stares. A girl she took English with gazed at her over a book. A couple of boys she’d had chem with last year sat next to Drew Henderson, the three of them muttering together and casting her occasional glances, their expressions guarded and suspicious. She even caught Laurie, a cheerleader she’d gotten along well with last year, casting her a mistrusting look as she went by.

At Haley’s table, her brother Dorian ate steadily without lifting his eyes, the spitting image of their father, although scrawnier and much less intimidating. Sandra played with her mashed potatoes. Erika twirled a lock of black hair, which must have taken hours to straighten out of its natural tight curls, around her finger. Nathan ate like a starving stray dog. And she, Haley, assembled her toothpick tower.

“We’re going to be fine,” said Nathan. “And after tonight, the nightmare’s over.” “We need you. We need everyone,” said Erika. “No going back.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m not.” Haley tried to add another toothpick to her tower, but her hands shook so badly that she decided not to risk the structural integrity of the section she’d already built.

The lunch period ended. They got up and went to dump their trays. What little Haley had eaten sat ill in her stomach, and the emptiness sat even more ill.

Nathan intercepted her on the way out of the cafeteria. The other students swerved around them, casting them the usual suspicious looks. Haley shivered.

“You okay, Haley?” he asked. The way he said her name gave her stomach a different sort of flutter. His voice wrapped around it somehow, warm and comforting. She shrugged.

“Should I be?”

He shook his head. “No. Probably not.” He brushed his overgrown hair out of his eyes, looking around as though checking whether anyone could hear them. “We have to do it, though.”

“I’m not chickening out. I’m just... I’ll be fine. See you after school.” She took Dorian’s arm and they left the cafeteria, negotiating their way between the other students.

They reached their history classroom and slipped in unnoticed, taking two adjacent seats at the back. They had managed to work out a way to attend all the same classes, with special permission from the school principal. Dorian had already been held back two years, and he did much better when he could work with Haley. Sandra also took this class, but she was running late today, as usual. Haley hadn’t seen where she’d gotten off to.

The teacher, Mr. Redwood, began to drone on about some war or other. Sandra always talked about how handsome he was. He was okay-looking, Haley supposed, but too old. Thirty at least. She tapped her pencil on her desk, glancing over at Dorian, who was doodling on a corner of notebook paper. He had trouble concentrating even on normal days. One of them had to know what the hell was going on, though. She couldn’t have them both failing history.

Haley heaved herself with difficulty into the here-and-now, pushing back her anxieties and focusing her eyes on Mr. Redwood. Step one accomplished. Now to make sense of the words….

A crumpled-up paper landed on her desk. Compulsively, Haley caught it and slipped it out of sight. She and the others in the gang habitually passed notes, but she only shared this class with Dorian, who hadn’t looked up from doodling on his notebook, and Sandra, who’d yet to make an appearance.

Carefully Haley spread out the note on top of her open history book so that it looked like she was reading about the Civil War. Not that she knew whether they were still on that topic or not.

We know what you did to Mike Miyake.

About Jimena
Jimena Novaro always knew she would be a writer. It just took her a few years to realize that she wanted to do it full-time, and relegate things like going into outer space and being an opera prima donna to hobbies. She loves reading and writing science fiction, fantasy, and YA. A self-proclaimed geeky sort of nerd, she spends a lot of her time fangirling over her favorite shows, books, and bands and educating herself about super-important topics such as how to survive an arrow wound and whether or not you can shoot a gun in space. Sometimes she gets super serious and rants about some socio-political issue or other.

She’s a member of the awesome fantasy authors group Mystic Quills. You can find her free epic fantasy serial, The Withering Sword, on her website (a new chapter comes out every Sunday!) Her first book, Blue Rabbit, a YA urban fantasy, comes out this December!
Find Jimena:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Desert Rose Offers 50% Off Tour Services Booked in January!

First off, let me just say “Thank You!” to Heidi for having me on your blog again!  I’m flattered to be doing a guest post on Eating Magic :)  I’ve really enjoyed doing this tour with you, and it’s made me so excited for Desert Rose Tours!

I can’t believe the Once Upon a Time Today tour is wrapping up already, but I’m looking forward to next year!  We’re getting the final details of our tour service hammered out over the Holidays, and January is going to bring some really exciting stuff!  We’re going to be having a Grand Opening Sale, and for authors (indie and newbie authors, esp), this will be awesome!  For anyone who signs up for a Desert Rose Tour in January, you’ll receive a discounted price of 50% off!  Even if the tour is scheduled for September, you’ll still receive the discounted price if you sign up any time in Jan! :D

We’re hoping to start off with a bang, and we have some really great stuff coming out after New Years.  Once we’ve all gotten eating and holiday fun out of our system, we can start celebrating creativity, with some awesome book/music/art parties! :D

We’re also starting our music tour promotions, and are booking some music tours!!  We’ll have things like music video tours, album releases, cover reveals (album style), and tons of music playlists!! :D  

If you are or have any music/author friends who would like to find out more about our awesome parties (tours), please visit our Music Tours page, and Book Tours page!  Or, contact us for more info, and we’d be happy to chat!

Thanks again Heidi, for having us on your blog.  We’re looking forward to your next book release, and looking forward to partying in 2014! :D
Did you miss the Once Upon a Time Today Tour?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Godsland Series by Brian Rathbone

Welcome to my stop on the Godsland series blog tour! This is a YA epic/high fantasy adventure series by Brian Rathbone. I'm very excited to be part of this tour because I know Brian from Twitter and he does great tweets, like when he has problems parking his dragon and...

I sent Frosty the Snowman after Smaug. All that's left is a charred top hat and a steamed carrot. The carrot's not bad, though. Needs salt. @BrianRathbone

It's difficult to tweet with dragons landing around you. Windy. Time for me to fly. @BrianRathbone

Hehe! Kind of funny, huh? 

The books in the Godsland series:
Call of the Herald (Book One) - FREE
Inherited Danger (Book Two)- FREE
Dragon Ore (Book Three)
You can also find it in one bind up called The Dawning of Power Trilogy Omnibus.

~Eating Magic~

I'm reading Call of the Herald, Book 1 of the Dawning of Power Trilogy by Brian Rathbone. It's a traditional epic fantasy in the style of The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett and The Godspeaker Trilogy by Karen Miller. Let me explain. In both the Call of the Herald and The Warded Man the stories open with a group of young characters whose worlds are about to change. In both books, the character's daily routines from chores, meals, and social status are presented in great detail so that we get a strong feeling of their lives before the big change that's coming. In The Call of the Herald and The Godspeaker Trilogy an intriguing religion drives the plot. But while the religion that drives Hekat in the Godspeaker is quite dark (think scorpions, blood, and death), the religion of Catrin's world is full of light and hope. We're talking about comet storms that grant otherworldly powers and dramatic connections with nature.

"Some of the old tales refer to the first comet as the Herald of Istra, but others say it will be a person born her on the Godfist."

The Godfist (I love that name!) is Catrin's country, and the powerful Zjhon naval fleet is coming to stop the Herald of Istra… hmmm… I wonder who that might be?!?!? I always love a female protagonist.

One of the many things I'm also enjoying in the Call of the Herald are the peripheral characters: Nat, the mad man/prophet, Benjin, the trusted family friend, and Miss Mariss the innkeeper with sensitive hearing.

The pacing is even, and the straightforward story is splashed with spots of refreshing detail. I recommend it for when you're in the mood for something epic. So don't forget to enter the giveaway, because prizes include 2 print editions, 25 ebooks, and  10 audiobooks of The Dawning of Power Trilogy Omnibus! Very cool! I'll leave you with another one of my favorite quotes:

"At the end of the last Istran phase, the Varics were nearly destroyed, and they went into hiding to survive. They knew their knowledge and beliefs were important and needed to be passed on, so they formed a secret society known as the Vestrana, and my family has been a part since its inception. My grandfather swore me in when I was still a boy," he confided.

"The Vestrana opposed the Zjhon and their practice of conquering lands and then forcing the conquered peoples to convert to their religion. The penalty for refusal was death. Our secret exile has gone on for thousands of years, and we have replenished our numbers. We'll not dictate religious beliefs to others, as we wish every person to choose his or her beliefs freely and not be persecuted for them. We strictly oppose any religion that mandates killing people simply because their beliefs are different. Do you all understand?"

Godsland Book One - Call of the Herald
243 pages 
Echoes of the ancients' power are distant memories, tattered and faded by the passage of eons, but that is about to change. A new dawn has arrived. Latent abilities, harbored in mankind's deepest fibers, wait to be unleashed. Ancient evils awaken, and old fears ignite the fires of war. When Catrin Volker, a teenage horse trainer, inadvertently fulfills the prophecy of the destroyer, she becomes the most feared and hunted person on all of Godsland. With the help of her friends, she must convince the world that she wants only peace.

Godsland Book Two - Inherited Danger 
276 pages
Leaving her homeland behind, Catrin Volker goes in search of knowledge and peace, unaware that she will face the greatest evil her world has ever known.


Godsland Book Three- Dragon Ore
268 pages
Dragon Ore is the exciting conclusion of The Dawning of Power trilogy. Clinging to life, Catrin Volker struggles to regain her strength as her foes go in search of even greater power. Ancient enemies threaten and forgotten alliances emerge.

Brian Rathbone started out as a professional racehorse trainer, but he later transformed himself into a network engineer, programmer, and, more recently, rural broadband specialist. One thing that never changed was Brian's love of reading fantasy fiction. For years he would think of story lines for his own stories as a way to keep from dreaming about writing code. When the time came that Brian could concentrate on writing, The World of Godsland became real.

Monday, December 16, 2013

True Love's First Kiss is on Sale for $0.99 + Giveaway!

Only for a limited time, True Loves First Kiss by Heidi Garrett is only .99 cents for kindle!  True Loves First Kiss is the bind up of Nandana's Mark, The Flower of Isbelline and The Dragon Carnivale.  This series is YA  (ages 14+) Fantasy/High Fantasy/Fairytale Fantasy and is a total of 681 pages. 
True Love’s First Kiss:

~ Books 1-3 of this five-book series in a single digital bundle ~

Half-Faeries and mortals. Black magic and genocide. Coming of age and coming into power.

~ Book 1 - NANDANA’S MARK ~

Melia longs to fly like the fullblood faeries.

Her mortal father plots to bring war to the Enchanted world.

Her faerie mother practice black magic behind closed doors.

Overshadowed by her parent's obsessions, Melia has become an outcast. She seeks aid from the mysterious Illustrator, who makes a strange mark on her forehead. The mark is meant to draw the help of a green-eyed stranger from distant lands. Before he arrives, a tragic accident destroys what's left of Melia’s already fractured family. Her mother is unforgiving. The punishment she metes out will leave her middle daughter torn between guilt and ecstasy—and will complicate her relationship with the green-eyed stranger.


When a false marriage seduces Melia’s sister,

And the keys to power are at risk,

The cost of denying true love will be apocalyptic.

Melia is determined to stop her sister from pursuing their father’s damning legacy.


In Illialei, a light queen practices black magic.

In Tyrannis, the dragonwitch rises to power.

In the Mortal World, Umbra pursues the halfbloods as vessels of incarnation.

Energies in the Enchanted World are shifting and new alliances are forming; the Battle of Dark and Light has begun. Melia is desperate to make things right with Ryder, the young priest from Idonne, but first she must warn the halfbloods in the Mortal World that Umbra is coming for them--and face the powerful Dragonwitch and her spectacular Dragon Carnivale.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Desert Rose Once Upon a Time Today Blog Tour

Once Upon a Time Today is my new collection of contemporary fairy tales. The prelude to the collection includes three short stories that are loosely based on my own life: The Girl Who Watched for Elves, The Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes, and The Girl Who Couldn't Sing. Although they're each fictionalized to a degree, their essence tells the story of a girl (me!) who believed in fairy tales and how that has helped her (me!) navigate the journey we call life.

I thought telling those stories would make a fun prelude because I don't just love fairy tales, I  kind of believe in them too. I've been reading Bruno Bettelheim's The Uses of Enchantment almost the entire year and it has helped me understand that my love for and fascination with fairy tales is rooted in my other passion which is depth psychology. Depth psychology believes, trusts, and values the unconscious. I do too!

The novellas in the collection will be retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, The first one is Beautiful Beautiful and it's a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen tale, Beautiful.  Please visit the following blogs to discover the girl-who-couldn't-sing's musical influences, the Beautiful Beautiful soundtrack, dream casts, excerpts from each story, and to see what the bloggers are saying about the collection! There's also a giveaway. The-girl-who-couldn't-sing produced a CD in 2000, so one of the giveaway prizes will be:

Exclusive vintage t-shirts from the-girl-who-couldn't-sing's Indie Coffee House Tour

Groovy pink & blue Happily Ever After bracelets
And the always awesome $25 Amazon gift card!

Billie at Billie's Pink Reviews performs her book blogging magic as she interprets each of the stories in the Once Upon a Time Today collection.

The next novella in the collection will be a retelling of The Little Mermaid. At A Backward's Story there's a guest post on what else? Mermaid Research!

Jessica at The Big Book Blog loves The Girl Who Watched for Elves, The Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes, and Beautiful Beautiful!

At Dazzled by Books, Ali's favorite story in the collection is The Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes.

At Katie's Corner the favorites are Beautiful Beautiful and The Girl Who Couldn't Sing.

MichaelSciFan asked me what I would change about Beautiful Beautiful (I told him!) and there are more excerpts from the collection.

alwaysjoart has a great post featuring the collection Dream Casts and Playlists!

And there's another music showcase at Much Loved Books!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Underworld King by Ranjit More: Cover Reveal

Today I'm excited to bring to you the cover reveal for the fantasy novel,  The Underworld King by Ranjit More, a fantasy book with Indian/Hindi influences, because I love all things Indian/Hindi. I love Saag Paneer, Naan, and Tandoori Chicken… hehe! I've had a Vedic astrology reading, and learned all about that serpent in the sky, with one head in the north, Rahu, and the other in the south, Ketu. I've also been a consistently inconsistent practitioner of that ancient Hindu art: yoga. My most consistent years of practice were when I lived in San Diego and practiced Bikram (hot… dripping with sweat!) yoga. I sat at the guru's—Bikram Choudry's—feet and absorbed all the wisdom that he could impart. I was the first person in our local studio to rise to the challenge and do the yoga 100 days in a row and it changed my life. (Yes, it really did!) (And, yes, I mean for the better:P) I also attempted to read the Upanishads and have a particular fondness for the goddesses Durga and Kali. One of the characters in my own debut novel, Nandana in Half Faerieis Hindi!) So you can see, that I have a fondness for all things Indian and that's why I was so excited to stumble across this book by Ranjit More and learn that it's at a special price of $0.99 for a limited time!

Book Description:
60,000 miles below the surface of the earth thrives a kingdom inhabited by daityas – giant, fanged beings of the night who sometimes travel to the surface above and eat humans in the hearts of grim forests. Their four-armed king, Drumila, faces a new peril, and this time it is advancing upon him not from the heavens, where his eternal enemies reside, but from the darkest depths of creation. The naagas –giant, flame-breathing serpents– are traveling towards the capital of daityas, intent upon reducing them to ashes, and Drumila must do everything in his power to thwart them. For no matter how strongly he detests his subjects' lifestyle and nature, it is his duty to protect them as king.

 Moved by Drumila's plight, the powerful sage, Shukracharya, swims down into the underworld upon the back of his giant crocodile and convinces his disciple-king to migrate to the surface of the earth.

What follows is an epic exodus to the world above and a strange encounter with a beautiful girl thereupon. Nandini seems to be human, but all signs point towards her having descended from the heavens, the least of which are a delicate waist and long eyes extending up to her ears. But is this a trick of the gods? Drumila will find out soon enough, when the battle begins.
THE UNDERWORLD KING is the tale of the emperor of Paataal, the Hindu underworld, and the goddess of Svarg, the Hindu heaven, and their quest for endless power, lust and each other's destruction. 
Note: While this is an adult fantasy, it is appropriate for YA readers. 

Here's an excerpt for your enjoyment:

A sage called Shukracharya emerged from the limpid waters of a lake upon the back of a giant, green crocodile. Swiftly had they shot through the reservoir, the sage and the crocodile, like a divine shaft released by Shambhu[1] from the underworld, and had arrived on the banks of the lake, which lay within a myterious island. Yet, it was early, as far as their fixed arrivals at the secret site were concerned, for the sun-globe was still visible in the sky and had yet to redden the earthly firmament.
Churning the life airs[2] within his body, Shukracharya heated the surface of his skin and dried off the water running over it. Then he got down from the crocodile upon the golden sands of the bank and surveyed the forest around him. 

A thousand times over had he seen these woods, which were the residence of his beloved deity, Nataraj, Who produced blazing fires from His third eye and scorched the cosmos until it became devoid of life and matter. Fanning those flames with His destructive dance, Nataraj then destroyed the twelve worlds and their denizens at the end of every divine millenium, and created the worlds anew.

A thrill ran across Shukracharya’s body as he recalled his Lord’s destructive activities, which, although terrific and frightening to most living beings, were necessary for the balance of nature. It produced in him a great desire to see the white Lord immediately, but alas, it was not possible. There were rules to be followed, regulations to be observed, in the divine jungle of Shiva-Shankara. Shukracharya controlled the urge, and turned the other way, for Nataraj didn’t expect his services for one and a half muhurt[3] yet. 

Of course, idols normally didn’t expect anything, seeing as how they were made of gold, stone, wood or jewels (Shukra’s idol was made of jewels) but this particular statue managed to express such things nevertheless, and more. Shukra believed it was due to the divine mystic power of the forest-island than any miraculous result of his own devotion, but he was glad about it either way. Only, whenever Damstra, the crocodile, accompanied him to His sacred grove, did the deity remain lifeless. Otherwise He talked and laughed with Shukra in the most astonishing way.

Since he had time to spend, Shukracharya looked in the direction of south, where he hoped to find something that would occupy him. As though in response, a cool breeze imbrued with many sweet fragrances blew from the direction, beckoning him. 

‘I can smell the scent of the champaka flower in there somewhere,’ he thought, as the fragrances passed him by. ‘And even a hint of bilva!’ Both trees were exceedingly dear to Nataraja; with their flowers and leaves finding extensive use in His worship.
 ‘If not, he thought, at least I’ll get some fresh flowers to tuck in my hair.’
Like most divine sages, Shukracharya had matted hair upon his head, tied in a manner that resembled a large beehive. Due to swimming so rapidly through the waters of the lake, all the flowers and leaves had washed away from it.

Shukracharya turned to his crocodile. “Damstra,” he said, “stay here.” 

The crocodile nodded his heavy, green head but Shukra continued to look upon him. “Last time I saw you, you were holding one of the reptiles from the forest in your mouth.” He narrowed his eyes. “It looked like you were about to swallow the poor creature. May I ask why? At the time I had some important matter pressing on my mind, and I didn’t say anything to you. But now that I remember, I demand to know the meaning of such behavior.” 

The giant crocodile tossed his scaly head as though shaking it in denial. “I never was going to eat it, maharaj[4],” he said in a heavy voice, looking grumpily at the spot where this event had occurred. “But the crocodiles took me to be an ordinary reptile like themselves and came to challenge me. I had to expand my body and display my strength. Would you rather me sit still and do nothing? Your mount?”

“Of course not,” Shukra said at once. “You must defend yourself and your self-respect at all times… I only ask that you don’t kill anything here, on this sacred island.”

“Of course, maharaj,” Damstra said. “I won’t.”

“Very well. Rest awhile.”

Damstra then nodded and began to lumber away lazily on his four, bent legs.

Shukracharya gripped his golden stick firmly and began to walk towards the southern forest, treading upon fine gravel in his wooden sandals. He passed palash trees laden with startling red flowers and groves of kadamb trees, which lent a sweet fragrance to the air, and caused fat bumblebees to buzz lazily around his matted hair.

He must’ve walked for a long time, because when he turned back, the lake, the crocodile and the forest had disappeared from view. As he looked around he only saw tiny shrubs and standing plants growing in large clusters here and there. It was a most wonderful thing. 

Where trees had been at least a yojan[5] tall near the lake, now appeared to be of the mere size of his thumb... If he wanted, Shukra could’ve uprooted a tree with his two fingers by exerting only a bit of force, but he restrained himself. 

‘What strange wonder is this?’ he thought. ‘Everything is so small!’

Shukra looked closer and was astonished even further. Verily, surrounding him on all sides, were hills and mountains…growing to the height of his waist!

He could have sat upon them like a throne, or beat them to crumbling rocks with his stick.
There was no mistaking it. 

Shukracharya had entered the dimension of the humans. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Wolf's Cry by Natalie Crown Cover Reveal

 I'm excited to reveal the cover of The Wolf's Cry by Natalie Crown. This is a YA Fantasy/Alternate World book that releases January 2014. This is the first book in the The Semei Trilogy.

She is his weakness.
And she will ruin everything.

Kammy Helseth's idea of adventure never amounted to more than getting a boat across to the mainland and finally escaping to London. That was until she stumbled through the mouth of the forest into a world beneath our own, the world of the Semei.

Her only wish is to find her way home but when Jamie, her best friend, is taken into this new world of shapeshifters and Crystals she has no choice but to stand up to her fear and to remain beneath the surface. Hunted by Bagor, King of Alashdial, and those that are loyal to him, Kammy finds herself in the company of a group of outlaws led by Jad, a Prince with a bitter past and a similarly bitter demeanour.

They overcome age-old prejudice to find a way to work together. But Bagor knows a secret about the Crystals that threatens to change everything. Kammy and Jad must find a way to thwart the king and to save Jamie, but that is just the beginning. For Kammy is in possession of a Key and the fate of countless lives, both human and Semei, may rest in her hands.

About the Author:
I grew up in a village called Swilland, in the countryside of Suffolk, England. There wasn't much around, other than farms and fields, but for the most part I loved it, and I still do. I’m a passionate person by nature. I don’t just LIKE things, I LOVE things. Whether it’s a book, a film, or a sports team. Once I decide to enjoy something, I enjoy it to the MAX.

I’m a terrible cook. I prioritise essential social media work over keeping my flat tidy, because I know best. I

Onto my love of reading and, consequently, writing - it was my dad that played a big role in encouraging me to read. He didn't push me towards books necessarily; he simply read a lot himself. Then I would pick up his books and read them after him. I was reading high and epic fantasy from a very young age. I guess that might explain why I have always loved adventure stories with magic and intrigue and princes and princesses in.

I was aware that I wanted to ‘be a writer’ from a very young age. I was convinced I would be the first best seller that hadn't reached double figures in age yet! I wrote about the Danshees, furry creatures that lived through a mirror. I wrote about a Sand Bottle that transported a boy into a world of magic. I wrote about a sick girl finding a music boy that healed her, but transported her back in time. (Wow, I always have loved alternate universes…)

When I was eight I wrote my first novel called The Land of No Return. Despite the title, I am determined to return to it one day. I feel like I owe it to my past self. So, as you can see, I have always been writing. There have been times when I have gone weeks without scratching down a word. Then there are days where I churn out multiple chapters and only my body’s silly desire for sleep and/or food can stop me.

I write because I enjoy it. I write fantasy because I enjoy it. I try my hardest to put something of myself into my writing. I like to think my characters have depth, I like to think that my fantasy worlds reflect upon the real world in some way. You guys will be the judge of that but even if you don't agree I know that I at least try and I can do no more than that.

These days I live in North London and I love it. I work full time and London is a hectic city. Juggling work, writing and a social life is tough but nobody is forcing me to do it so I can't complain. The dream is that writing will be my career one day but it doesn't matter if I never quite make it. I love writing too much to ever pack it in.

I am desperate to get a dog. My mum suspects I miss my cats at home more than I miss her. I am a devout Arsenal/Ferrari/Rafael Nadal fan. I get all mad when confronted with a case of social injustice and then I get all mad when people take the fight for social justice too far. I mostly keep those thoughts to myself and simmer with rage. I watch good TV and bad TV, because I can. What I can’t do is enjoy bad books (subjective opinion of course). I just can’t.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Desert Rose Literary Services and Virtual Tours

Today I'd like to introduce you to Rose and Ken Wallin of Desert Rose Literary Services and Desert Rose Tours. Desert Rose Literary Services offers editing, proof reading, beta reads, and more. Desert Rose Tours also offers a variety of services for authors including blog tours, blitzes, bashes, and cover reveals. Unique to Desert Rose, they'll also be offering virtual services for musicians and artists. How cool is that?
(I love their dogs and cat! Can you find their pet turtle?) I met Rose through Goodreads, and in the year that I've known her, I've watched her book blog, and commitment to helping authors grow. I was so excited when I learned that she and her husband were opening the doors of their Literary and Tour Services

Without further gushing, I will let them tell you a little bit about their awesome selves!

 1.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Sure!  We're a husband and wife team.  We're best friends, met on Facebook, and have been together for 7 years.  Collectively, we've lived in Japan, Wyoming, New Mexico, Missouri, Illinois, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Montana, and Idaho.  We have several dogs (Chevy, Ace and Daisy), a cat (Max), and a baby turtle (Fred).  

2.  How did your business start?

We started a review blog focused on books, because we love to read, support authors, and share our reviews with people.  From there, it grew into tour hosting, and one day we thought “Wow, a tour service would be so much fun!  We could easily offer tours as well, and make ours unique!”

3.  How many people are in your business?

Right now, it's just the two of us.  If it grows, we may add people in the future, but it's just us for now :)

4.  What services do you offer?

We offer book reviewing and literary services, which includes book editing, beta-reading, writing advice, and co-writing.  We  offer advertising and promotions on our blog and Facebook page, and also offer virtual tours.

5.  How are you different from other tour services?  Are you bringing anything new to the table?

Most virtual tour services at the moment offer book tours only.  We offer tours to musicians and artists as well.  

We'll be doing the same kinds of things that book tour services offer, such as cover reveals, book release blasts, reviews and tours.  

For musicians, we'll offer things like album cover reveals, album release blasts, reviews and tours- same things as for the books, just for music!  

For artists, we'll offer things like art tours, showcasing their art on different blogs and websites, and help them get their work out to people.

6.  What is your goal for your business?

We want to help authors, musicians and artists however we can.  We love supporting indie books and music, and love art in general.

7.  How did you come up with your banner image?  

Our banner image was created by Ken.  Each part of the image has a meaning for both of us.  
The sword is a representation of Ken (he spent his high-school years growing up in Japan, and his name in Japanese means "sword"), and the rose in the hilt of the sword represents Rose.  Then the yin yang sign covering the rose, which covers the sword, is the balance we create for each other, and together.  Then the dragon represents our life, how it's dangerous, yet equally mysterious and beautiful :)

8.  What are your stylistic influences?

Some of our biggest influences are steampunk, dieselpunk, fantasy, anime, Rock, Punk, Indie, Europe, and nature.

9.  What music bands do you like?

We enjoy most kinds of music, but some of our favorite bands are Third Eye Blind, The Killers, Dashboard Confessional, Brand New, Imagine Dragons, Deathcab for Cutie, Lana Del Rey, Frank Sinatra, The Beetles, Kimbra, Gotye, Grouplove, Fun., Matt & Kim, Modern English, and most everything from the Twilight Saga Soundtracks.

10.  What are your passions?

Some of our passions are music, art, animals, nature, old-world, steampunk, dieselpunk, reading, writing, photography, food and cooking, trying new things, traveling, and cultures/languages. 

Thank you, Rose & Ken for stopping by!

You can also find Desert Rose on Goodreads!