Thursday, 13 December 2018

Character Spotlight: Shawn Russell from Tattoos by Stacy Overby

Today I have another treat for you with a close-up look at a character from the new science fiction release Tattoos by Stacy Overby. Enjoy.


Who is Shawn Russell?

(from the space opera Tattoos by Stacy Overby)



What can I tell you about Shawn?
The first thing you ought to know about him is that he is my resident smartass. Shawn Russell has got a sarcastic streak several light years wide and isn’t afraid to use it. It’s almost as if he has no clue how to take life seriously, which is somewhat true. See, Shawn was born to upper-middle class parents who expected him to go to Sharien University on Delarin II, a prestigious school known for educating students into United Earth Government diplomats. While they didn’t have unlimited funds, Shawn had a comfortable enough life to not want for much. He was also smart enough to get into Sharien University, if he would have applied himself.

In the end, though, the life of a diplomat just didn’t appeal to Shawn. Not knowing what else to do, he learned to fly a variety of atmospheric and interstellar ships. It turned out he had a real talent as a pilot. The United Earth Government being what it is, caught wind of his piloting skills and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse—the chance to fly the best ships out there to points across all UEG space, all living expenses paid, and a pretty good paycheck. Seeing as Shawn gets rather impulsive, he signed up without asking too many questions.

Things went along fine with this routine until he got tangled up with one particular co-pilot. She was the kind of woman who turned heads wherever she went and knew it. Of course, she turned Shawn’s head. It didn’t take long for Shawn to learn it was a relationship that was never going to amount to anything. One thing led to another and Shawn found himself in a nasty situation. His commanding officers in the UEG military offered him a choice—join Black Ops or face a court martial and all that would bring.

Shawn chose to join Black Ops. He saw it as a way of keeping himself out of trouble and didn’t want to risk incarceration or, possibly, execution. The UEG military didn’t play games when they court martialed people. Though it was never his aspiration, Shawn learned to love many facets of Black Ops life—most of all his training in explosives. Many of the skills he needed as a pilot—math, science, quick decisions, calm under pressure—also lent themselves well to handling explosives. Of course, there were the explosions as well. Shawn loves to watch things blow up. In fact, he tends to get a bit over-zealous with his explosives.

Underneath the bluster, impulsiveness, and brashness Shawn lets the world see is a man who is looking for something, what he does not know. He felt like an outsider when he flew for the military, most of the time he was in school, and even in his own family. He knows he wants a place to fit in as who he is, rather than who others want him to be. Black Ops filled a little of this for him, but it still isn’t quite the right fit.

Shawn has let Eli in close enough to see there’s more than the recklessness he holds out to the world. The two of them hit it off when Eli ran Shawn through his weapons training in Black Ops. Shawn had been among the first students Eli had after being promoted to a training officer. Their camaraderie has led to one of the most effective pairs of Black Ops specialists the branch has seen in a long time. This is both a good and a bad thing. Good because when Shawn and Eli head out on a mission together, there’s not much that will stop them from getting it done. Bad because there’s not much that can stop the two of them when they have a goal in mind, and Shawn loves knowing this fact makes much of Black Ops and UEG military command squirm.

I don’t want to give too much more away about Shawn. He’s got a big secondary role to play in Tattoos. Better yet, he’ll also be getting his own book in the future. So, go get Tattoos and let me know what you think of Shawn!


Tattoos by Stacy Overby






One hushed cry in the middle of the night, and Eli Thorson's life unravels. A highly trained Black Ops specialist, he is used to danger, but Eli's path forces him to confront the illusions he’s been taught his whole life -- ones that make him question all the good he thought he was doing.

Unable to work for a command that defiles the oaths he swore, he works to untangle the web of lies and deceit he finds woven throughout his worlds. The tattooed marks of his profession run more than skin deep. As a Specialist it is his duty to protect the people, the laws, and all the United Earth Government stands for, even if it means taking down the entire Black Ops division to do it.







Tattoos is available at:


Friday, 23 November 2018

Interview With Author JD Estrada

Today I have an extra special treat for you with the ever delightful and multi-talented author JD Estrada. He chats about, books, writing, and inspirations, plus his upcoming release, the middle-grade fantasy novel, Given to Fly. Enjoy!


Interview With JD Estrada




Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

Hi there, lovely readers of our dear Madam Stewart. My name is JD Estrada and I’m an indie author from Puerto Rico although I currently reside in Atlanta, Georgia. I say reside because home shall always be in the Caribbean and with how fun it’s been to enjoy 30-degree weather, TRUST me I’m reminded how much of an Island boy I am.
Apart from that, I’m a multi-genre author who enjoys a good challenge in life and in writing. For me, writing is liberating for several reasons, but to be able to get to know myself better by tapping into different creative wells is something I recommend to everyone. Besides, if you see my music collection and you see my music history on Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube, it’s clear to see that I’m a fan of variety. But more than that, I’m also a fan of creativity and would like to consider myself on the way to being a type of ambassador to that because I certainly think being creative is immensely healthy since it lets you use the good and bad from life to perform emotional alchemy and create something new.
As for writing, I go from Gaiman style urban fantasies to Bukowski poetry and also Alice in Wonderland like short stories, which is part of the reason why I was invited here.


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Given to Fly is my first full-length middle-grade fantasy and a book where I worked tirelessly to bring forth a world of wonder and adventure without the use of violence. We follow the adventures of John Rivers, a kind 11-year-old boy who finds himself now living in the Pacific Northwest. A curious kid, he looks all around his house in search of something adventurous and comes up empty… but after playing on a hill next to his house, he discovers a cove below with a huge tree and on that tree, nestled gingerly on its side sits a magical house called Od Manor. John sees a shadow and thinks someone in trouble so he climbs down the cliff face and into the house only to realize that things are not as they seem, especially when he bumps into talking furniture in the living room and the owner of Od Manor, Fäet Odstein, a wonka-esque character with a flair for the random and the commitment to help John with his dream of flying. Room after room, John and Fäet touch base with all his house guests to see if anyone can help John to fly, which is half the fun. As per usual, JD Estrada includes a chock-full of Easter eggs along with wordplay, dust bunnies, Library pillaging bookworms, and even an angel, because why not?


How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published to date?

I’ve been writing for well over 20 years but began my author career 5 years ago when I published my first novel Only Human (Book 1 of the Human Cycle). It’s been a wild ride and all in all, I’ve published 12 books…. And now it’ll be a lovely baker’s dozen thanks to Given to Fly.


Do you have a favourite character? If so, why?

From all of my books, there are too many to choose from but I think it’s close between Mrs. Fawn, Captain Jane, Bill, and Daniel from the Human Cycle. After I officially publish Given to Fly (December 1st), it’s VERY likely I’ll add some names to this list. It’s been a joy to write.


You write in several genres. Do you have a favourite? And if so, why?

I think the variety of genres responds to my personality and I get a LOT of satisfaction from that freedom and that variety. I love the immediacy of poetry but love weaving a long tale that leaves people wanting more.


Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration?

I got an amazing gift inspired by my favorite song by my favorite band and I needed to write something without violence. In short, this is a love letter to Hayao Miyazaki, to Pearl Jam, to Tori Amos, to my wife, my mom, my friends, to the band Elbow, to my favorite restaurants from back in Puerto Rico, and so many other things. I wanted to write something that would break someone’s writing slump, that would cheer them up when they’re blue, that would have a chance at being the first book someone loves and countless other things.


What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

It was immensely liberating to write without violence to the point that I’ll be doing a series of books and labeling them as Odventure Novels. I think we’re at a point in time where we could use some kindness and smiles and I want to do my best to invest in that.


Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

Each and every writing project is its own beast. Ideas come from everywhere and I have a wide variety of capture tools. From idea dump documents and notebooks to loose napkins with notes. My writing routine is to find the time when I can and make it count. Sometimes you have hours, other times you have minutes. Don’t complain is my mantra, just get the story on the paper. Writing by longhand definitely helps me in this because all I need is some paper and ink (Note to up and coming writers who want to try this, ALWAYS carry at least 3 pens :D).



What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

Time and energy are my biggest challenges. Working in advertising, I have to find motivation even when there isn’t any, energy even when I’m exhausted, and time even if I have to take a notebook to a bathroom and lock the door. I don’t lack determination and the hoops are testing me to see how much I want to pursue that dream and this time around it’s 13 times I’ve beat the odds and challenges and offered a slice of my soul for others to hopefully read and review.


What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

There’s ALWAYS something in the pipeline where I’m concerned and next up for me is the conclusion to the Human Cycle and am also working on a collaboration with Cate Evans, a fellow author from the UK and a wonderful friend I’ve received on my writer journey.



You can find JD Estrada and his wonderful books at these sites:




Saturday, 10 November 2018

Book Spotlight: In Pursuit of the Pale Prince

Today I have a book spotlight for you with the YA fantasy novel, In Pursuit of the Pale Prince by Mark Wallace Maguire. Plus, there's a brief excerpt from the book. Enjoy.


 In Pursuit of the Pale Prince by Mark Wallace Maguire






The Southwen are going to war against the northern kingdoms held together in a fragile alliance by The Pale Prince. Scattered and outnumbered, there is one symbol that can unite them.
It is the lost crown of Ellesund.
Only I know where it is, and only I can deliver it.
My name is Arestus and this is my story.

Told through the eyes of 12-year-old Arestus of The Wood this is a great new addition to the YA fantasy canon. 


In Pursuit of the Pale Prince is available on Amazon






Excerpt from In Pursuit of the Pale Prince


We ate in silence. Dusk dropped and the moon rose. Waxing full.
“A full moon, Cirin. Is that good luck?” I asked.

“What do you think?”
“My father said it was always a good night for healing. A good night to walk in its rays and ward off bitterness. He said it was a good night for a child to be born.” My stone-faced friend was silent. “What do you think?”
“I’ve heard many of us say many different things. An old lady from The Burned Lands told me it was a good omen. A good night to begin a journey or a marriage. I’ve had a young man from Southwen tell me it was evil. It was the eye of the gods judging us and we needed to purge ourselves on such a night.”
“What do you think?”
He looked at me and gave a thin smile.
“I think it is a good night to see, but not to be seen. And I think 
it is time for you to rest with your questions. I will take the first watch.” 




About the Author






Mark Wallace Maguire is an award-winning author, journalist and columnist who lives south of Atlanta. He is the author of six books, including the highly-praised Alexandria Rising Chronicles for which he was named a Finalist for Independent Author of the Year and a Georgia Author of The Year nominee.










Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Blog Tour: Clay and Blood by Rebekah Jonesy

Today the blog is part of the tour for Clay and Blood, Book 2 in the Mab’s Doll series, by the talented Rebekah Jonesy. I have a spotlight on the fantasy novel, plus a great guest post by the author on Dryads.  Enjoy.





Clay and Blood by Rebekah Jonesy





Gillian Gilchrist has no time to rest after completing her first missions for Queen Mab and the goddess Danu. There is still the cleanup to do, and that’s how she finds herself following the trail of devastation left by a rogue fae.

Somehow this one moves through the trees without leaving any trace of its passing, except for the tattered and bloody clothing of its victims.

In the dark woods Gillian can’t tell if the culprit she is tracking is insane, sick, or simply acting out its true nature, but she knows that the only way to find out is to track it, capture it, and question it.

Unfortunately, that means following the scent of the victim’s blood soaked into the soil.









Available from






Dryads won’t leaf me alone!



Dryads are a type of nature spirit or elemental that lives in trees. Often dryads are classified by the type of tree they are paired with. Originally the word was used to describe a tree nymph that lived in an oak tree or forest but the mean grew to encompass all trees.



Originally depicted as shy they would run and hide from humans, and most others. But in later stories, after they were described as being tied to their tree’s life, they would work to protect themselves. Whether that meant leading woodcutters away or crying to the gods for help. Dryads were seen as protectors and caretakers. There are several myths about them even raising children for the gods. Rarely was a dryad depicted as violent. After all, how could a tree be violent?



In my story Clay and Blood, I turned that line of thinking on its ear. My dryad is still protective, and cares for children, however she takes a more proactive approach to it. She kills the people that harm her trees, and uses their bodies to enrich the soil. Ensuring a strong network of her trees and the future of her progeny. Blood is rich in nutrients and she no longer has the patience to wait for the humans to die on their own time schedule.






Gillian Gilchrist has no time to rest after completing her first mission. There is still the cleanup which leads her to a trail of devastation left by a rogue fae.
Somehow this one moves through the trees without leaving any trace, except for the tattered and bloody clothing of its victims.

Pitch and Gillian can’t tell if the culprit is insane, sick, or simply acting out its true nature.



If you would like to read more about this and the others characters and legends I have written about please check out my book Clay and Blood
books2read.com/u/mqZk6v
And please join me on the rest of the stops on my book release blog tour for Clay and Blood. I did a lot of fun interviews, different flavor for each one. I also wrote character spotlights and articles that I thought were a lot of fun. So check out ourwriteside.com for those links or my blog http://rebekahjonesy.blogspot.com/ for the list, that’s also where I post glowing reviews on all of JD’s works so far. I will also be posting the links on my reader group on Facebook where I let my geek flag fly proudly and talk about my books and writing. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1214371635362864











Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Halloween Week: Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018


Happy Halloween!


Today, on this last day of Halloween Week, I have another anthology in the spotlight with the new release, Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018 (Plaisted Publishing House Presents Book 3). Enjoy.



Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018 (Plaisted Publishing House Presents Book 3)




Plaisted Publishing House and The Ghostly Writes Crew have done it again, bringing us yet another collection of haunted tales and spooky poems. From ghostly encounters to haunted carnival rides, wicked forests and ghoulish manors, there is something inside for everyone. So curl up beneath your blanket and get ready to experience all the spine-tingling encounters hidden inside...

Your Authors for 2018 are:

C L Williams, Karen Mossman, Adam Mitchell, Dan McAteer, M E Hembroff, Chandra Trulove Fry, Kyrena Lynch, Wendy Steele, Michael Lynes, Eve Merrick-Williams, Adele Marie Park, Jane Risdon, Mary Woldering, K M McFarland, R M Demeester, C A Keith, Marjorie Mallon, Claire Plaisted, Pamela Silva, J G Clay, Michelle Hughes & Mara Ritsma






Free for Halloween on

KOBO


Also available on AMAZON






Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Halloween Week: Unconfined Delusions



Today we have a collection of creepy crawly things with a spotlight on a new release of horror stories, Unconfined Delusions, by author Angela L. Lindseth. Enjoy.



Unconfined Delusions, Beyond the Threshold by Angela L. Lindseth




Unconfined Delusions, Beyond the Threshold, contains snippets of fast-paced, twisted fiction. The stories question the morality of organ transplantation, corner you in a dank basement, and count down the last minutes before execution. Imagine a malignant aura wrapping its inky hands around your throat or fingernails searching for a vein. Don’t let your guard down because the next page might bite.

The words slither across the page, feed on insecurities, and corrupt dreams. Savor the weird deliciousness but read with the lights on. The land of Happily Ever After doesn’t exist behind this cover.


Unconfined Delusions is available at Amazon

Angela L. Lindseth’s first collection of flash fiction, Sanity’s Threshold: Slivers of a Twisted Mind, is also available on Amazon.






About the Author



Angela L. Lindseth was raised on the plains of South Dakota, and though she spent most of her life away, the draw of the Black Hills brought her back. She has a marvelous sense of humor, loves to sing, and has a great fondness for good beer. When not scrapbooking or making jewelry, she works on her dystopian novel, The Contraption, and writes flash fiction, some of which make her question her sanity.















Monday, 29 October 2018

Halloween Week: The Lovely Dark



Today I bring you witches, with a book spotlight for the dark YA horror novel, The Lovely Dark by K. A. Last. Enjoy.

The Lovely Dark by K. A. Last





Three teenagers. 
One witch. 
Twelve souls.

Harvey Anderson always knew the universe was against him, but there’s a lot of stuff he never expected to happen, like having a crush on the most popular girl at school, and then falling into a giant hole in the middle of nowhere with her. And if that wasn’t enough, somehow they managed to release a soul-sucking, ancient witch as well. So yeah, there’s that. You’d think it’d be pretty hard to beat, but knowing Harvey’s luck, it’s about to get a whole lot worse. 

Available on Amazon









About the Author



K. A. Last was born in Subiaco, Western Australia, and moved to Sydney when she was eight. Artistic and creative by nature, she studied Graphic Design and graduated with an Advanced Diploma. After marrying her high school sweetheart, she concentrated on her career before settling into family life. Blessed with a vivid imagination, she began writing to let off creative steam and fell in love with it. K. A. Last is currently studying her Bachelor of Arts at Charles Sturt University, with a major in English, and minors in Children's Literature, Art History, and Visual Culture. She now resides in the countryside on the mid-north coast of NSW.








Sunday, 28 October 2018

Halloween Week: Chronicles of the Undead



So today, the monsters on parade are vampires. I'm spotlighting my revamped book (now a permafree), Chronicles of the Undead. Enjoy.



Chronicles of the Undead by A. F. Stewart




Three generations bound together under a horrifying family secret.
Vampires exist.
Inside the personal journals of the Harrington family, watch a dark and dangerous odyssey unfold. Three members of this tormented family, Samuel, his son Edmund, and Edmund’s daughter Charlotte, must struggle against horror during the 18th and 19th century in London, England. Two intriguing vampires befriend, manipulate, and play with all three souls, altering their lives forever. Their fears, private confidences and weaknesses are revealed as one selfish act ends in horrific tragedy, with far-reaching consequences.

Who succumbs to the seduction and danger of the vampire? Who grapples to combat the evil influence that permeates their lives? Find out in Chronicles of the Undead.

Download for free from Prolific Works




And as an added bonus check out these cool giveaways with more horror and monsters.



Come to the Dark.
Dark Fantasy and Horror and other dark fiction. 
Paranormal heroes and dangerous creatures. 
Ghosts, demons, ghouls vampires. 

Check out the Giveaway





It Comes at Night Horror Group Giveaway!

Check out the Giveaway







Saturday, 27 October 2018

Halloween Week: Forsaken



In keeping with the monster theme this Halloween Week, I bring you the strange world of lost Egyptian tombs and mummies. I have a spotlight on my horror story, Forsaken, published in the anthology, Abandon: 13 Tales of Impulse, Betrayal, Surrender, & Withdrawal. Enjoy.







Forsaken

Greed meets magic under the sands of Egypt as a lost tomb is discovered. Betrayal and danger lurk in the dark tunnels and something powerful waits to be awakened.












A short snippet from the story.

Forsaken by A. F. Stewart


A hot desert wind blew down a dark London street, and fine grains of sand sputtered against the street lamps. A cloaked figure of a woman shimmered out of air and shadows, thrust into the lonely night, seemingly from nowhere. Sirocco and the ancient world travelled with her, clinging to the folds of her garments.
The edge of loneliness stole out from her mind’s dark recesses, a sense of displacement she carried whenever she ventured into the bastions of civilization. Cities such as London were not her home; that had been taken from her a long time ago.
She paused, staring down the empty street to get her bearings and drew in a breath. She heard the wind tickling at her ear; the whoosh of the air, mixed with a hint of the desert, stirred her thoughts. Long buried, ever festering words conjured themselves into her consciousness.
May the desert claim you for your transgressions.
Memories flickered, of being left in the sand dunes to die. Of surviving.
Cast out because I would not renounce my loyalties.
With a sigh, she squeezed the pain back into its box and returned to the present.
She walked with quiet footfalls, and the agility of a cat, to the entrance of a large house nestled on the street. Its windows reflected a murky interior, and no sign of life offered welcome; a foreboding place most would avoid. Yet, the woman rapped on the door, the echo of the brass knocker breaking the night’s peace. Moments later, a tall lanky man answered, his sallow face and grin peering out from beneath a bowler hat.
The woman smiled, repressing the upsurge of revulsion. “Jackal. Is your master at home?”
“Hello to you too, Hagar. He’s here waiting for you. Come in.”




You can find the story (plus many more fabulous tales) in the horror anthology, Abandon: 13 Tales of Impulse, Betrayal, Surrender, & Withdrawal


ABANDON: 13 Tales of Impulse, Betrayal, Surrender, & Withdrawal

To act with abandon, in any sense of the word, is human. Whether it’s the sudden, strong urge to do something, either good or bad, or the act of betraying someone you love, we make choices that forever change our lives. Do you give into something or someone completely, or withdraw wholly into yourself? These thirteen stories run the gamut of emotions and express horror as you’ve never imagined it.
The story of a woman alone at the end of the world and the small lifeline she hopes will prove humanity still exists challenges the search for anything left behind after the death of a child. What if you hid a secret you’d thought no one else knew? Would its revelation spark the monster hiding within? A downward spiral into madness juxtaposes the ultimate, but impossible, (re)birth. Would you choose the frigid winds of winter over the warmth and safety of your lover’s arms?

Abandon hope, all who enter here…




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