Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! Cinema of Shadows FREE on Kindle Today and Tomorrow


Happy Halloween from Seventh Star Press!  

Michael West's Cinema of Shadows will be free today and tomorrow on Amazon Kindle for you to enjoy and try out his work!  Don't forget his latest Harmony, Indiana novel Spook House is out now too!



Please share and pass the word along!

To download your copy of Cinema of Shadows, go to the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/Cinema-of-Shadows-ebook/dp/B005I57L18 



Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger Spotlight: Reading Away the Days


Today we are heading overseas, at least for me, to visit our latest guest star for the SSP Blogger Spotlight!  Reading Away the Days is the creation of Megan McDade, a dedicated and wonderful blogger from Northern Ireland in the UK.  Megan is pretty familiar with the SSP world, having featured several of the authors on her site, but hopefully this spotlight will get you more familiar with her and Reading Away the Days!
-Stephen



Blogger Spotlight #9:


Tell us a little about yourself, and your background.

A little about me.. My name is Megan, 23 years old (24 next week!) J , redhead, food alcoholic and all around geek! *high 5 for geeks* I love learning so went to college for four years and studied Childcare, Health & Social Care and Sociology. I am the girl who loved getting an assignment in school to complete and headed to the library straight away to start it! I live in Northern Ireland, a part of the UK. Would love to travel- top destinations- USA, Canada, Australia and Africa. I am a massive TV and movie addict- top programmes- Glee, The Walking Dead and Doctor Who! Oh, I almost forgot, a total book addict! :)


What kinds of books do you like to read for pleasure? Any favourites?

I read so many YA books and I love them but I have a soft spot for reading adult fiction books set during the World Wars from authors such as Annie Groves. But my favourite books are mostly paranormal series’ such as the Sookie Stackhouse series, Angel Trilogy by LA. Weatherly and The Childe Series by CA Kunz and not forgetting The Twilight Saga!


When did you start your blog, and what motivated you to do it?

I started my blog, Reading Away The Days, on the 2nd March 2011. I remember this dare because I started the blog on my best friends birthday J So I have been in the blog world for just over a year and half and have just hit my 1000th follower, which I am so happy about! What motivated me to start blogging was seeing the great book blogs out there. I discovered blogging in 2010 and just followed blogs that interested me, mostly book blogs and then decided to take the plunge myself and I haven’t looked back!


How did you come up with the name for your site? Is there a story behind it?

I have to admit I didn’t come up with the name of my blog, my sister did, a fellow blogger @ http://readinglittlebitofeverything.blogspot.co.uk/ . I just couldn’t think of a name and was coming up with such random ones and when my sister said how about Reading Away The Days and I thought it was just PERFECT!


What kinds of genres do you cover on your site?

On Reading Away The Days I cover mostly YA in all genres. I really love YA, there is just something about it that grabs me and keeps me hooked. I would say my favourite genre is YA paranormal romance and I like reading adult paranormal romance as well. I also really like books that I call “end of the world” fiction books. Books that where society is in trouble and humanity has been near wiped out due to catastrophic events. I tend to feature these book as well as the paranormal ones.


What kinds of regular features do you have on your site?

I have a regular feature on my blog every Friday where I introduce a new/upcoming YA Author. In this feature I tend to feature a lot of Indie authors which I love doing. To be part of the feature you just have to be an YA author with a book recently debuted or have a debut book upcoming. I love doing book cover reveals and really want to start making this a regular feature along with a few new ideas I am working on in the new year!


What is the hardest thing about being a blogger?

The hardest thing about blogging… blogging is hard work, it takes time and dedication. BUT I wouldn’t change it for the world. If I could do it as a full time job I would be in my element. It make me happy to promote fantastic authors and to share their work. But one thing I hate having to do is to turn authors away but I have learned that if you say yes to everyone you won’t be able to fulfil what you said you would and I feel bad if I can’t review a certain book. I have learned to say no and try and recommend someone who might be able to help them.

What are your favourite things about being a blogger?

I love everything about being a blogger. Not just a blogger but a book blogger! I love chatting to other bloggers, authors and publishers. I just love being in the whole book world!


If you could give a piece of advice or two to authors looking to work with a blog site, what would you say?

My advice for authors when working with a blog site is RESPECT! This sounds like a simple thing that you shouldn’t need to ask for. It goes for the both the blogger and the author to respect each other and sadly sometimes this doesn’t happen. I have come across some authors who are very pushy and try to direct your review toward what they want you to say about it which I think is wrong. But I have to emphasize this is rare. I think you just need to remember that the book is like the authors baby and they have put so much work in to it and they may get a little overprotected about the book and want everyone to like it but what I say is, every book written is great, it just isn’t for everyone! So respecting and trusting the blogger to give a review that is respectful is something that is needed.

Any last thoughts or things you might want to say to readers who are finding out about your blog for the first time?

I just want to thank Seventh Star Press, especially Stephen Zimmer and C.C. James, you are all great and I thank you for always asking me to take part in Seventh Star Press book happenings. If your visiting my site for the first time I just want to say thank you and I hope you like what you see!





Connect with Megan and Reading Away the Days at the following:
http://readingawaythedays.blogspot.com
Twitter: @Teamwolf1988

Timely Note! Be sure to visit Reading Away the Days on Tuesday the 29th October to celebrate Megan turning 24 on the 30th!  A big birthday giveaway is happenign!  There will be 24 prize packs to 24 winners and it is International. Megan is also taking bookings for blog tour’s for YA authors that I organize for FREE for 2013 slots!




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In the Red Blog Blog Tour: Guest Post by Selah Janel


Today we are very excited to have Selah Janel joining us during her blog tour for In the Red. Big thanks to Jitterbug PR for the hard work on the tour and for bringing us such a cool author! Selah's guest post on character inspiration is below, and definitely pick up a copy of In the Red!



About Selah Janel

Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination since she was little and convinced that fairies lived in the nearby state park or vampires hid in the abandoned barns outside of town. Her appreciation for a good story was enhanced by a love of reading, the many talented storytellers that surrounded her, and a healthy curiosity for everything. A talent for warping everything she learned didn’t hurt, either. She gravitates to writing fantasy and horror, but can be convinced to pursue any genre if the idea is good enough. Often her stories feature the unknown creeping into the “real” world and she loves to find the magical in the mundane.
 She has four e-books with No Boundaries Press, including the historical vampire story ‘Mooner’ and the contemporary short ‘The Other Man’. Her work has also been included in ‘The MacGuffin’, ‘The Realm Beyond’, ‘Stories for Children Magazine’, and the upcoming Wicked East Press anthology ‘Bedtime Stories for Girls’. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her fairies to play mind games, and her princesses to hold their own.




About In the Red

Live like a rock star. Dance ‘til you die. Are you in?

What kind of a rock star lives in a small town in the middle of nowhere and plays at weddings and funerals? That’s what Jeremiah Kensington is thinking after an unsuccessful bar gig one night. Then Jack Scratch comes into his life, ready to represent him and launch him to stardom. Jack can give him everything: a new band, a new name, a new life, a new look, and new boots…although they aren’t exactly new. They once belonged to The One, a rocker so legendary and so mysterious that it’s urban legend that he used black magic to gain success. But what does Jeremiah care about urban legend? And it’s probably just coincidence that the shoes make him dance better than anyone, even if it doesn’t always feel like he’s controlling his movements. It’s no big deal that he plunges into a world of excess and decadence as soon as he puts the shoes on his feet, right?

But what happens when they refuse to come off?


Character Inspiration
by Selah Janel

When I write, I may have somewhat of an idea as to where I’m going with the plot, but until I click with the characters, it doesn’t matter. Thankfully, with In the Red, there were a lot of strong characters for me to get attached to and learn about. Some of them had to grow on me, some were a lot of fun to write, and some I didn’t even see coming when I first planned to extend a short story into the book.
I knew from the start that there were going to be rock stars and everything that went with them. My main character, Jeremiah Kensington, is stuck as a small-town musician and longs to be a rock star. More than that, though, he wants to be noticed, he wants fame, he wants the control that he doesn’t have in his daily life. I could definitely identify with his anxieties and his small-town upbringing, but his selfishness astounded me to the point that I nearly ended his story before it really began. I had to put my expectations aside and realize that his reasons were very human, that that could be me caught in his problems if I let myself get bogged down by what I hadn’t done. So I took a deep breath and plunged into the world of rock n’ roll as Jeremiah took the plunge and allowed himself to be transformed into J.K. Asmodeus. As J.K. he’s in the moment and lives for his chance to strut on stage. What comes out of his mouth is sometimes offensive, other times outrageous, but that’s what it takes to be number one, right? If Jeremiah is selfish in a human, childlike way, I was a little shocked at J.K.’s outright cruelty at times. And yet, I could see why he appeals to his fans. He has the image that everyone wants to believe in. He’s the bad boy that others love to hate. And he definitely makes the most of both.
Along the way I met up with characters I never expected. His band mates were originally just referred to, and suddenly blazed to center stage. Baal, Mammon, Leviathan, and Belphegor became sources of entertainment, my answer to some of the over-the-top rock urban legends out there. They have secrets and issues of their own, and in some ways they’ve compromised themselves far more than their lead singer. These are the guys who are all too willing to teach Jeremiah how to be a proper down-and-dirty rocker, the guys who are all too eager to try everything and break hearts because they can. Admittedly I started fleshing them out beyond the stage sequences because I was curious if I could even write characters like this without it getting too out of control. I was curious if I could balance out their behavior with their real motivations and true natures. It was a fun, if exhausting, game and I’m glad I took a chance and listened to their own seedy brand of advice.
And of course a rocker has to have a manager. Jack Scratch was originally supposed to be the equivalent of the stranger/soldier in ‘The Red Shoes’ fairy tale, but he quickly outgrew the role and took on a life of his own. I knew I wanted a sort of devilish figure, but I didn’t necessarily want to make it the same ol’ same ol’. Thankfully, rock urban legend is chock full of evil imagery, so I was able to combine traits of a shady manager type figure, ultimate evil, and a strange being that might be waiting for the right person at the crossroads of folklore. He’s outrageous, though almost always in control. I like Jack and I didn’t expect to. There’s a restrained hunger in him that I admire, and he really believes that he has all the answers. He plays a mighty good game and is someone that could be found likeable and unnerving. For my first crack at a devil character, I find myself quite pleased with Mr. Jack Scratch.
The red boots, themselves, started to become more of a character and not just a plot device. The moment I decided to give them their own place in my rock folklore, the moment I crafted an urban legend around them, the story broke wide open. They’re the key to the whole thing. Whether you want to take them as a metaphor or a cursed object, I don’t mind. They’re temptation incarnate, that one thing that could give you everything you’d ever want. Everyone in the story that’s directly around Jeremiah (or J.K. as he likes to be called), is influenced by the boots. They’re hard to ignore, and even harder to deal with. They’ve had many owners in the past, including a mysterious rocker called The One, a musician so good that his music has been hidden for fear that it’s too powerful. The One was based around a few actual rock stories I’ve heard, though the more I thought about him, the more I put my own spin on things. There are shades of Hendrix, of Vince Taylor, of Ziggy Stardust, of Robert Johnson that find their way into the vague legend of The One. At the end of the day, nothing is concrete about him, and I think he’d want it that way. Or would he?
Along with these characters are others that fit into the rock n’ roll landscape: hangers-on, groupies, fans, an obsessive wife, fans, the band’s resident “pharmacist”…they all have their role to play in influencing Jeremiah’s dreams and paranoia. And yet, as I went along, I realized that I needed other characters to balance things out, especially as the story moved to the second half of the book. It wasn’t enough to have a bunch of people willing to drag Jeremiah down to his lowest point. Surely there were people who could lend him a helping hand, too. Call it my desire to see the good in people, call it the want to give everyone, even my characters, a fair shot, but there it was. And that was how I discovered that Jeremiah had a sister with her own iron will, her own past, and her own quiet secrets. She’s probably the character I like the most in terms of her personality (like everyone else, our life experiences are drastically different). In fact, I was utterly shocked by figuring out some of her backstory- she was the character that showed up out of nowhere and surprised me by telling me more and more that I was unprepared to hear. Daniella would become the one person that would be willing to see Jeremiah through his journey when no one else would. And believe me, by that he needs all the help he can get.
A lot of these characters came about because of necessity, or maybe they were always lurking there in the story, waiting to be discovered. At the end of the day, though, Jeremiah/J.K. Asmodeus is the driving force. I’ve never had a character perplex me so much and yet bring out my own feelings of author empathy. I never expected to want a character that I started out disliking to succeed. Maybe it’s because he’s humbled so badly at one point, maybe because he has his own special charisma as a rock star, or maybe I’m finally able to see that he’s got his own potential for good and bad, just like anyone else.
Whatever the case, I hope you read In the Red and grow as fond of this group as I am. I hope you cheer for Sons of Pandemonium, wonder about Jack, smile with Daniella, and pull for Jeremiah. As for the boots…I’ll let you make up your own mind about them.



Connect with Selah at the following links:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bad Juju Book Tour: Dina Rae Interview



Bad Juju Book Tour: Dina Rae Interview






Title: Bad Juju
Author: Dina Rae
Genre: Dark, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense, Thriller, Young-Adult, (R-Rated although teens would love it)
Publisher: Amazon
Ebook
Words: 93,000

Purchase:

Amazon |

Book Description:

Lucien Nazaire flees his Haitian homeland and meanders around the United States for decades.  He settles in a Wisconsin trailer park filled with elderly tenants.  He meets Jake, his teenage neighbor, and hires him for odd household jobs.  As their relationship progresses, Lucien invites the boy into the world of Voodoo.

Jake LaRue lives in foster care with his abusive uncle.  The Voodoo lessons give him a sense of power within an otherwise helpless situation.  Although the boy is a loner, he feels an instant connection with his classmate, Henry, and introduces him to Lucien.
Henry Novak has Asperger’s Syndrome.  He fixates on historical events, most recently the 2010 Haitian earthquake.  Like Jake, he becomes passionate about the dark side of Voodoo.  They learn how to cast spells on those they hate and lust, leading up to dire consequences.

Several months after the Haitian earthquake, Henry convinces his family to volunteer with their church in the island's reconstruction.  Their mission turns into a nightmare when he mysteriously walks off of the campsite.

Bad Juju is a balance of horror, romance, and literary fiction intended for ages fifteen and up.   Research about the Voodoo religion, shapeshifting, zombies, and possession and themes of redemption and loneliness emerge throughout the plot.





Interview with Dina Rae:

1. Tell us a little about your own personal background. 
I was working full-time as a teacher but then got laid-off. I currently substitute teach and work as a chess instructor for kids. I am married with children, a Christian, avid tennis player, dog lover, and lover of fiction.


2. How has your experience in teaching been helpful to your writing? 
 Some writers tend to overwrite-too many details, too many characters, etc. I under-write and need to go back and give details, forgetting that the reader does not see the movie in my mind. One of my biggest problems that my first editor pointed out was extensive use of "that", "all", "just", and "however". LOL-I'm improving my craft. As an author I can never read another book again without noticing how the author puts the story together, ends the chapters, introduces the characters, etc. It takes me out of the story, but helps me learn my likes and dislikes.


3. Bad Juju is a cross-genre novel. Is that something you strove for from the outset? Or did you start out intending a specific genre and then it changed during the process of writing? 
No, I didn't want it to be a pure horror novel. My characters are very intentional. Hoping to appeal to paranormal, romance, and suspense lovers.


4. Talk about a couple things that might have surprised or fascinated you about Voodoo, regarding your research for this book. 
Voodoo is one bizarre religion! I read many books and watched many movies/videos/specials about Haitian Voodoo to get my lead character and the religion right. I found the possessions really fascinating-people walking on hot coals, putting flames down their throats, dancing when can barely walk, speaking different languages, etc. all amazing. Those who burned themselves didn't have any marks on them. There is something to it. Scientists try to explain mind of matter/hypnosis as the reason, but I don't buy that at all. There is something to every religion. One of my favorite books for research was Wade Davis's The Serpent and the Rainbow. He was a Harvard professor that went down to Haiti to find a plant he and his pharmaceutical employer believed acted as an anesthetic. He came back to the states with firsthand account of the supernatural happenings at Voodoo ceremonies.

5. Are you the type of author who is a heavy outliner or not when it comes to the plot, given that your book has many twists and turns in it? 
A little bit both. I don't have an outline as I begin, but then use one to help guide me to the finish.


6. Bad Juju, and other works of yours like Halo of the Damned, draw in spiritual/religious/supernatural elements. Are there any particular themes in this area that you like to explore? 
 Yes, my other novel has plenty of Christian prophecy in it as well. Religion fascinates me. I believe in God and believe that evil is a force we are all faced with. Heaven and Hell are real places.


7. Are you going to be doing anything else with the characters in Bad Juju or is this strictly a stand alone novel? 
Great question! Don't know yet. Currently working on a sequel for Halo of the Damned. Although the novel stands alone, I could keep it going. Time will tell.



8. Asking you to be a little self-critical here, in what areas do you feel you grew stronger as a writer in creating Bad Juju? 
I think that my work is very plot driven. I get too caught up in the story and often short-change the development of the characters. While writing Bad Juju I really made a conscious effort to humanize my characters. I want the reader to connect with them and then let the plot run its course. My first draft was 85,000 words and then I went back and gave them feelings, back stories, better dialogue that fits their personalities, and revealed their thoughts when it was their POV. It's now 93,000 words. Hope it worked. I felt the main characters were my "friends" once the book was finished-how sick is that? LOL!


9. Turning to the career side of things for a moment, what are the toughest things for you about being an author in today's publishing climate? Conversely, what are some of the better aspects?
The toughest is promoting. I'm both "traditionally" published and self-published. Seems to be little difference in terms of promoting-it all falls on my shoulders. Budgets are small, so a great deal of time is put into free or inexpensive types of things to help promote my books. Really like blog tours and radio bookings. Would love to afford glossy magazine ads, TV, and banners for high-traffic sites. I remember when James Patterson advertised his novels on TV-shows the power of the airwaves. The best part of writing is the wonderful people who I've "virtually" met. Really having fun in this online/artistic community and so happy to be a part of it. And of course writing it the best part of being a writer. It's a compulsion that I hope I never have to give up.


10. What's next for you in terms of book or short story releases for 2013? 
 I wrote one earlier this year called Be Paranoid Be Prepared. It's up on Amazon and been published in the Windy City Magazine. I don't have any shorts in my planner, but would love to write one about doomsday prepping-kind of a fascination with me. I'm even sort of crossing over to the other side. Got a bug-out-bag and looking at how much a PSS (primary shelter site) would cost. Might go even farther.


11. Do you have any last comments for readers here? 

Thank you so much for having me. My links are:

Website
Dina Rae's Blog
BadJuJu on Amazon
The Last Degree on Amazon
Halo of the Damned on Amazon



About the Author:
Dina Rae is a new author here to stay. As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work. Her three novels, Halo of the Damned, The Last Degree, and Bad Juju weave research and suspense throughout the plots. Her short story, Be Paranoid Be Prepared, is a prequel of sorts to The Last Degree, focusing on the James Martin character. Dina also freelances for various entertainment blogs.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago. She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories. She has been interviewed numerous times in e-zines, websites, blogs, newspapers, and radio programs. When she is not writing she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Brad Thor, George R.R. Martin, and Preston & Childs.

Website | Blog | Twitter: @haloofthedamned | The Last Degree | Halo of the Damned



Try out a sample of Dina's writing! Here's an excerpt from Bad JuJu:
Jake rolled out of bed and army crawled to the doorway. Looking through the opening that separated the door from the carpeting, he saw Leah’s head bloodied. She lay limp on the floor. Pete stopped hitting her. His whole demeanor changed. With a wolfish expression, he began to unbuckle his belt. Rhianna’s screams got closer. She must have darted to the other side of the living room, putting her smack-dab in front of Jake’s bedroom door. He could now see her foot. It partially blocked his view. Shit! Can’t get involved! If I open the door…

“Pete, what the hell is a matter with you? Stop it! She’s passed out. You beat her into a coma, man! And now you’re gonna…Sober up and think of what you’re doing! Right in front of your daughter!” T.J. yelled.

Is he suicidal? Jake knew his uncle would make T.J. regret his words. Like Leah, T.J. was small. He was filled with faults, but violence was not one of them. On perfect cue, Jake could hear his uncle’s bare fists hooking T.J. in the jawbone. Rhianna’s screams turned into full-blown hysteria. The poor girl was hyperventilating while desperately grasping Jake’s locked doorknob for refuge. I don’t want to be involved! Go back to your closet and lay still!

“Jakey, Jakey, pwwweeeze!” Rhianna sobbed. Jake couldn’t take her suffering any longer. Quickly unlocking the door, he grabbed the little girl and pulled her inside his room and then relocked the door.


The living room had grown eerily quiet. Jake had a difficult time hearing while Rhianna wailed. “It’s okay now. Try to be quiet,” he whispered, straining to hear. Nothing but silence was on the other side of his door. His heart rate doubled. Always quiet before the storm. Was it over? Or was I next? He slid on his gym shoes, took a can of Comet cleaner from his bathroom, and crept up to the only window in the room. It was small, but Jake knew he could fit through. Then came the sound he was waiting for. Click, click, click. Pete was delicately trying to open the door. He now knew it was locked.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Blogger Spotlight: Urban Fantasy Reviews

Today I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Kate Steves, the creator of Urban Fantasy Reviews, a wonderful blog site that SSP has had the honor of being presented on many times during tours and press releases.  Kate definitely has a discerning eye when it comes to literature, as not only is she a reviewer, but she is also a freelance editor!  Enjoy the interview below, and find out more about Kate and Urban Fantasy Reviews, and then go connect with her site!
-Stephen





Blogger Spotlight #8:

1. Tell us a little about yourself, and your background. 

I grew up loving book (my mom was huge into buying me books and reading to me every night when I was little). I got my degree in Literature from Texas A&M, and right before graduation I started my review site. I've always loved talking about books, so the review site seemed like a natural offshoot of it. After graduation I started working as a freelance editing for several small publishing houses, I job I love more than I could have ever imagined.


2. What kinds of books do you like to read for pleasure? Any favorites?

I read mostly Urban Fantasy in my down time, and my favorite writer would probably be Rachel Vincent. I love her work. 

3. When did you start your blog, and what motivated you to do it?

I started it when I was about to graduate from college, mainly because I spent most of my college career writing huge papers about different books, and I realized when I graduated I wouldn't be doing that anymore. I knew I wasn't going to get my masters right away, but I wanted to at some point so I wanted to keep my writing skills as fresh as I could. Hence, the blog. I got to talk about all the different books I read, and as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am obsessive about talking about whatever book I am reading.
 
4. How did you come up with the name for your site? Is there a story behind it? 

Since urban fantasy is my favorite genre, it seemed simple enough to just go with Urban Fantasy Reviews, I call it UFR for short. 

5. What kinds of genres do you cover on your site?
While urban fantasy is my favorite, I am not limited to only urban fantasy. I love a good mystery, a do read the occasional chick-lit book, I like books that will make me laugh out loud. Generally speaking if the synopsis is good, I will probably give it a chance and review it on the site. If a synopsis just doesn't peak my interest, I don't read/review it because no author needs a bad review, and the fact of the matter is what I like is not what everyone likes. 

6. What kinds of regular features do you have on your site?
I like to do interviews with authors and guest posts from authors.
 
7. What is the hardest thing about being a blogger?
BALANCE! Since my job is reading, I do tend to get burned out with reviewing and editing. I'm still trying to figure out that balance, especially when I have an influx of books to edit. 

8. What are your favorite things about being a blogger?
Getting to read books before they come out. I am terrible about waiting for the next book in a series to come out, so I love getting books early for review. I get even more excited when I get a printed ARC with a note from the author in it, I love it. 

9. If you could give a piece of advice or two to authors looking to work with a blog site, what would you say?

Don't be pushy! I can't explain how annoying it is when an author gets uber pushy with me about getting a review, or if the review wasn't enjoyed. Other than that, make sure you read their review policies before contacting the blogger will save you a lot of time. 

10. Any last thoughts or things you might want to say to readers who are finding out about your blog for the first time?

I hope you enjoy the site, and if anyone has any suggestions or just want to chat about books, I am always up for a good conversation!



Be sure to visit Urban Fantasy Reviews and connect with Kate at the following links!
For EDITING SERVICES e-mail kate@kathrynkoller.com



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cover Art Reveal, Limited Hardcover Offer, and Blog Tour Announcement for H. David Blalock's Traitor Angel!

For Immediate Release
October 18, 2012

Cover Art Reveal, Limited Hardcover Offer, and Blog Tour Announcement for H. David Blalock's Traitor Angel!



Seventh Star Press is proud to unveil the cover art and illustrations created by Matthew Perry for Traitor Angel by H. David Blalock, the second book in the urban fantasy Angelkiller Triad.  Also being announced are the sites and dates for the book’s upcoming blog tour.  A pre-order window for a limited edition hardcover is now open in advance of Traitor Angel's official release.

Illustration from Traitor Angel, artwork by Matthew Perry
Illustration from Traitor Angel, artwork by Matthew Perry



The latest title in the Angelkiller Triad follows 2011’s Angelkiller.  The war between The Army of Light and The Enemy continues behind the scenes. Unknown to the general population, the battle for control of humanity is heating up.

Jonah Mason, called Angelkiller, faces more than one decision. His Army resistance cell is wounded physically and emotionally, on the brink of falling apart. The mysterious allies calling themselves Knights are pressuring him to abandon his people. Meanwhile, the world outside draws closer to Armageddon.

As Mason and his friends pursue their campaign against Dorian Azrael's global megacorporation, Andlat Enterprises, the stakes get higher with each desperate foray into the enemy's computers. They are fated to lose one of their number and gain an unlikely ally, but any advantage they gain could be fleeting at best.

If they fail, it could mean the end of The Army and all resistance to the forces of Darkness.

The softcover and eBook versions will be released the week of Halloween!

Traitor Angel is now available for pre-order in a beautiful hardcover edition that is strictly limited to 75 copies.  The limited hardcover edition will be signed and numbered by H. David Blalock and includes a bonus illustration from Matthew Perry not included in other editions. It will be accompanied by an assortment of collectibles, including a set of glossy art cards and bookmarks. Those interested in securing one of the 75 copies can place a pre-order now at: http://www.seventhstarpress.com/pre-orders/

The Traitor Angel Blog Tour will feature 27 events, beginning October 29th and running through November 24th. The tour will feature a number of activities, including reviews, interviews, podcasts, guest blog posts, and contests/giveaways.

The dates and sites for the Traitor Angel Blog Tour are as follows:

Tour Dates October 29 - November 24th

10/29  Great Minds Think Aloud  - Review
10/30  Splash of Our Worlds - Character Post
10/31  A Book Vacation - Guest Post
11/1  The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia - Excerpt
11/2  JeanzBookReadNReview  - Interview
11/3 Vilutherial Reviews  - Interview
11/4  Crossroads Reviews  - Review
11/5  The Bunny’s Review  - Character Interview
11/6  Ali’s Bookshelf - Review
11/7  Red Headed Bookworm  - Guest Post
11/8 Azure Dwarf Horde of SciFi & Fantasy - Review
11/9  From the Bootheel Cotton Patch  - Character Post
11/10 A Few Words - Review
11/11 The Independent Review - Review
11/12  The Oaken Bookcase - Review
11/13  Beauty in Ruins - Interview
11/14  Ginger Nuts of Horror - Interview
11/15 Bookishly Me - Review
11/16  Full Moon Bites - Interview
11/17  A Daydreamer’s Thoughts - Guest Post
11/18  Stuck in Books - Guest Post
11/19 Sheila Deeth - Review
11/20 Bee’s Knees Reviews - Review
11/21  The Cabin Goddess - Review
11/22  Darlene’s Book Nook  - Guest Post
11/23  Book and Movie Dimension - Review
11/24  Jess Resides Here - Interview


For further information on Traitor Angel, Seventh Star Press, and its titles, please visit www.seventhstarpress.com, or the author’s site at www.thrankeep.com

Contact: C.C. James
Public Relations, Seventh Star Press
ccjames@seventhstarpress.com

Seventh Star Press is a small press publisher of speculative fiction located in Lexington Kentucky

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blogger Spotlight: The Bunny's Review


Today I am excited to introduce you to Suzie Welker, of The Bunny's Review!  We have had the privilege of working with Suzie on numerous occasions, including blog tours and other announcements, and always love our appearances on her site.  On a personal note, I am extra excited as Suzie is a fellow Kentuckian with me, and shares a passion with the great book Watership Down (I had a hunch she liked this book, considering the name of her blog! LOL).  Suzie also has a tremendous work ethic which I admire, running a farm, handling a full time job, and tackling a heavy amount of book blogging!  Never underestimate a bunny, LOL!   So get ready to meet one of the great ladies of the book blogging world, Suzie Welker!

-Stephen



The Bunny's Review header image!



Blogger Spotlight #7:

1. Tell us a little about yourself, and your background.


Suzie with her son!
I am a divorced single mom to an 18 year old in college.  I have a passion for bunnies and reading.  I grew up on a farm.  Actually, I still live on the family farm.  I have 3 dogs, 2 cats and 2 bunnies.  All my animals except 1 is a rescue.  I love to cook and create new dishes to serve.  I am love my electronics.  I remember being in the third grade when I checked out over 10 books at the school library.  I cannot remember what book or even if I read the book but that start a life-long love of books and reading.  I currently have over 5,000 digital books and close to 20,000 print book in boxes.  I am thankful I live in an old farm house so I can display most of my print books.




2. What kinds of books do you like to read for pleasure? Any favorites?

I will read any fiction genre.  However, I do not read non-fiction.  I have a couple of favorites that I read every year.  Watership Down and Tales from Watership Down by Richard Adams are my favorite.  These two timeless classics will never be old.  Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell,  I love the story and how the author portrayed the South, The Bell Witch by various authors.  I live close to the area that the Bell Witch was supposed to haunt and enjoy reading different authors take.  I read my bible yearly. It is a book that I have to replace every 2-3 years.

3. When did you start your blog, and what motivated you to do it?

I started blogging in November 2011.  I only started to give my opinion about the books I read.  I never dreamed I would connect with so many amazing authors.  Or that I would have more books to read than I have time to read.  After connecting with several authors, I changed from reading traditional published books to indie/self published.

4. How did you come up with the name for your site? Is there a story behind it?

Well, if you know me or have met me at any online social media then you know I have a passion for bunnies.  After searching the internet, I found no site with The Bunny’s Review for the name.  I knew it was meant to be.  Granted, it was the only name I wanted so I did not look for a different name.

5. What kinds of genres do you cover on your site?

I cover all fiction genres.  The only type of book I will not read is non-fiction and any fiction with vampires or zombies as the main focus.

6. What kinds of regular features do you have on your site?

I offer daily book features, author interviews, guest post and weekend Twitter blast.  I am in my creative phase of trying to make up a document where authors can list their free books and I make a daily post.  I also offer several services for authors needing an assistant.

7. What is the hardest thing about being a blogger?

Turning authors away because I do not have time to read/review their book.  I hate having to tell an author (or anyone) no.  I admit to being a very fast reader and usually read a 400-page book in a day.  But, there is so many great books published now that I do not have time to read everything that is offered or that I want.

8. What are your favorite things about being a blogger?

I love reading and blogging.  It has opened up a completely new world for me.  I have met so many amazing people.

9. If you could give a piece of advice or two to authors looking to work with a blog site, what would you say?

Please read all bloggers review policies.  Make sure the blogger will review your genre.  Do not just assume a blogger will read any book offered to them.  Every blog has different policies there is not a set standard.  When sending out emails be considerate to the blogger, do not send a blogger a copy/paste from a different email or something you have forward to several different bloggers.  What captured the attention of one blogger may just turn another blogger away.  Do not tell the blogger that you saw they loved one book and your book is very similar so you know they will love your book also.  Offer to have an interview or guest post on the blog instead of a read/review.  Ask the blogger to tweet about your book, post to their Facebook fan page.  There are many different types of promotion besides a read/review.  If you keep pushing for reviews, readers will not know anything about the author.  Some readers connect to authors through interviews, guest post or just looking at the book cover.  Authors remember bloggers are doing this from the kindness of their heart.  They are not paid.  Do not be pushy and treat them with respect.

10. Any last thoughts or things you might want to say to readers who are finding out about your blog for the first time?  

Thanks Stephen and Seventh Star Press.  I am so glad to have connected with you.  It has been a learning experience.  I enjoy working with any author.  As always, be creative in your writing and be creative in your promotion.  I have found the more creative I make post or how I interact with my followers the more attention the author’s book will receive.




Connect with Suzie at the following links

Website: The Bunny's Review
Twitter: @kybunnies
Facebook

Monday, October 8, 2012

Michael West's Spook House Cover Art Reveal, Blog Tour Dates, and Limited Hardcover Offer!

For Immediate Release

October 8, 2012

Cover Art Reveal, Limited Hardcover Offer, and Blog Tour Announcement for Michael West's Spook House!


 
Seventh Star Press is proud to unveil the cover art and illustrations created by Matthew Perry for Spook House by Michael West, as well as announce sites and dates for the book’s upcoming blog tour.  A pre-order window for a limited edition hardcover is also open in advance of the book’s official release.

The latest Harmony, Indiana novel following 2011’s Cinema of Shadows arrives just in time for Halloween, exploring the places in this world that go far beyond any normal definition of “haunted.” These places are so evil, so diabolical, that they become gateways to Hell itself. The Fuller Farm is one such place.

Creature from Spook House, interior illustration by Matthew Perry

It is said that old man Fuller conducted unspeakable acts, blood rituals and human sacrifices, all in an attempt to gain the ultimate knowledge, the ultimate power. And then, he was killed–horribly murdered on his own lands, leaving the house to stand as a vacant monument to his wickedness. But once a door is opened, it can never really be closed.

Another interior illustration created by Matthew Perry for Spook House


Now, the stars are right. The gateway is ready to once more unleash unspeakable horror upon the town of Harmony, Indiana. And this will be one Halloween that they will never forget!

The softcover and eBook versions will be released following the launch event for the novel at That Book Place in Madison, Indiana on October 27th.

Spook House is now available for pre-order in a beautiful hardcover edition that is strictly limited to 75 copies.  The limited hardcover edition will be signed and numbered by Michael West and includes a bonus illustration from Matthew Perry not included in other editions. It will be accompanied by an assortment of collectibles, including a set of glossy art cards and bookmarks. Those interested in securing one of the 75 copies can place a pre-order now at: http://www.seventhstarpress.com/pre-orders/

The Spook House Blog Tour will feature 33 events, beginning October 25th and running through November 27th. The tour will feature a number of activities, including reviews, interviews, podcasts, guest blog posts, and contests/giveaways.

The dates and sites for the Spook House Blog Tour are as follows:

10/25     Great Minds Think Aloud

10/26     Bookishly Me

10/27     Red Headed Bookworm

10/28     Book and Movie Dimension

10/29     Azure Dwarf Horde of Science Fiction & Fantasy

10/30     Reading Aways the Days

10/31     Ginger Nuts of Horror

11/1       WTF Are You Reading?

11/2       Darlenes Book Nook

11/3       JeanzBookReadNReview

11/4       The Independent Review

11/5       Fictional Candy

11/6       Book Den

11/7       Vilutheril Reviews

11/8       Beauty in Ruins

11/9       Beagle Book Space

11/10     Bunny’s Review

11/11     Splash of Our Worlds

11/12     A Book Vacation

11/13     A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

11/14     Crossroads Reviews

11/15     Bee’s Knees Reviews

11/16     From the Bootheel Cotton Patch

11/17     Sheila Deeth

11/18     Kayla’s Reads and Reviews

11/19     The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

11/20     I Smell Sheep

11/21     Ali’s Bookshelf

11/22     Full Moon Bites

11/23     The Cabin Goddess

11/24     Stuck in Books

11/26     The Rabid Fox

11/27     Jess Resides Here



For further information on Michael West, Seventh Star Press, and its titles, please visit www.seventhstarpress.com, or the author’s site at www.bymichaelwest.com



Contact: C.C. James

Public Relations, Seventh Star Press

ccjames@seventhstarpress.com



Seventh Star Press is a small press publisher of speculative fiction located in Lexington Kentucky




Friday, October 5, 2012

Blogger Spotlight: Babs Book Bistro

Today I have the great honor of introducing Babs Hightower of Babs Book Bistro to all of you!  Babs has been one of the bloggers that Seventh Star Press has worked with since our earliest times.  She also happened to be the blogger who collaborated with us on our very first blog tours for SSP authors!  We love being featured on the Bistro, and now there's even a Broadcast From the Bistro now too!  So come on in, have a seat, meet Babs, and experience the magic of the Bistro! :)

Blogger Spotlight #6: Babs Book Bistro





1. Tell us a little about yourself, and your background. 

I am a working stay at home mom to 4 boys, 11 Siberian Huskies, 1 cat and my husband. He works out of town Sunday through Friday so weekends are spent on family time. I enjoy cooking, baking, gardening, and writing along with fall weather. Not to mention a big Georgia Bulldogs fan.
I am the owner of Babs Book Bistro, a book review blog. I started back in 2008. I loved helping the authors promote their work and wanted to help beyond that scope. I started helping Stephen at Seventh Star Press with blog tours. It started taking off and now I am a publicist for Entangled Publishing LLC and the PR director for Lyrical Press Inc. I enjoy both jobs as I get to talk to people are various newspapers, radio stations, TV stations and magazines along with helping the authors.


2. What kinds of books do you like to read for pleasure? 

 Romance, Historical romance, Western romance, mysteries, fantasies, Highlander’s, Amish, some YA and some sci-fi. 

3.  Any favorites? 

Pride & Prejudice is my absolute favorite along with Cleo Coyle’s series. I recently read a book by Nancy Lee Badger her Highlander series, which is very good.


4. When did you start your blog, and what motivated you to do it? 

Back in 2008 a friend of mine talked me into posting my reviews as I had several people asking what I thought about what I was reading. It has been fun ever since. 



5. How did you come up with the name for your site? Is there a story behind it? 

 I started out with the blog called Babs’ World of Books and decided in 2010 to change the name. When I think of books I think of food and hot beverages. So my husband said why don’t you call it Babs Book Bistro. The name has fit.


6. What kinds of genres do you cover on your site? 

What I will review

Cozy Mysteries

Romance

Western romance

Historical Romance

Some erotica

I will do blog tours and promos for other genres of course, YA, Sci-Fi fantasy etc.



7. What kinds of regular features do you have on your site? 
Guest posts, Author interviews, Talk Radio, blog tours, giveaways, blitz days, free Amazon days Bistro newspaper and more.



8. What is the hardest thing about being a blogger? 
Enough time to do everything I would like to do.



9. What are your favorite things about being a blogger? 

Meeting new authors and bloggers. Having them happy with the work I do.



10.  If you could give a piece of advice or two to authors looking to work with a blog site, what would you say? 

 Please read the bloggers review policy if they have one. It will save you both some time in the long run. Each blogger is different most of us like talking with the author and getting to know them a bit better. Some do not. You have to play it by ear.



11. Tell us a little about the new podcast? 

Broadcast From the Bistro is for authors, readers and anyone in the book industry. I feel it is an excellent way to promote more about your book, business and or learn more from the author etc.



12.What made you start it and how are you enjoying it so far? 

It came out of the blue. I wanted something else to offer authors and readers other than through the blogs. I started looking and noticed there were not too many radio shows. I decided to give it a shot. I love it. I enjoy getting to know more about the author and seeing a different side to them than you see on the blogs.



13. Any last thoughts or things you might want to say to readers who are finding out about your blog for the first time? 

 I am an open-minded type of blogger nothing really scares me away from an author and I take things with a grain of salt. I try to cater to everyone like a big bistro. I want the person to feel at home and enjoy him or herself.




Be sure to connect with Babs and her wonderful Bistro at the following links:

www.babsbookbistro.net
www.twitter.com/babsbookbistro
www.linkedin.com/pub/barbara-hightower/31/368/485
www.goodreads.com/user/show/1970552-babs
www.facebook.com/pages/BabsBookBistro/187967501251632
https://plus.google.com/u/0/113298616430365602707/posts



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kavachi's Rise Blog Tour: Book Review

Review of Kavachi's Rise (The Devouring, Book 1)










Title: Kavachi's Rise
Series: The Devouring #1
Author: Mike Kearby
Genre: Damnation Books
Publisher: Horror, Thriller
Paperback/Ebook
Words: 56,000

Purchase:


Book Description:

A Dark Secret. Thomas Morehart and his sister, Kara are vampyre, not the undead, but creatures evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to mimic their prey, man. Then - rescued from a Nazi Prison Camp, Thomas and Kara are brought to the U.S. and forced to work inside government-owned mortuaries. Now -betrayed by the government sixty-seven years later, Thomas and Kara are in a race against time to transform back to their feral states or risk Exsanguination by government sanctioned hit squads.



Review of Kavachi's Rise:
I have been lamenting the situation involving vampires, werewolves, and  few other mythical creatures when it comes to what's being published today.  In a general sense, these legendary creatures have been watered down greatly, becoming something almost safe in the process.  Romanticized, sanitized, and largely defanged, the vampire or werewolf encountered in today's literature is far too often a pale shadow of what was once presented in novels and short stories.

Thankfully, there are some authors who have not backed away from telling new stories involving vampires and werewolves in light of the large mass of tales out there with watered-down versions of these creatures.  Mike Kearby is definitely one of the authors who brings hope to the notion that the notable creatures of the night can be rehabilitated.

Kavachi's Rise tells the story of a pair of vampyres who are being hunted by the government, after having been harbored by the latter since the end of World War II.  Using flashbacks, the novel gives the reader enough about the history of the vampyres early in the story to gain a good sense of the ground rules.

The vampyres are not undead, but instead apex predators that have evolved over the course of thousands of years.  Without going far into spoilers, there have been multiple kinds of vampires in the world, something that became of great interest to the Nazi's and Dr. Mengele during the second world war.

It is a very compelling setting for what is to come, and the vampyres are what I had hoped to find, having monstrous aspects rather than romanticized ones.

Mike Kearby's prose flows smoothly, and the pacing is well-balanced between visceral action and scenes that develop the characters very nicely.  He provides enough description to invoke good imagery in the reader's mind, and the action is choreographed clearly enough.

At first I was a little concerned that the vampyres and the actions of those in conflict with them were too far out of balance for me to suspend disbelief, but a development late in the novel addresses the seeming invincibility issue I was starting to have a problem with.  I still thought that one particular adversary could have been a little more formidable, or presented more of a threat or resistance, especially after all the investment in developing the particular character by the author.

I also would have liked to have seen a little more interior conflict within the main male protagonist introduced as Thomas.  The actions of his sister, the main female protagonist, are very believable, but the way the author sets up Thomas made me look for a few more things later in the story.  Perhaps this could have been addressed more with a few more scenes, as this was a relatively shorter novel and there was some room for more added content. 

Nevertheless, these kinds of things were more minor than major in regards to my enjoyment of the novel.  It is dark-edged, has an interesting conspiracy element, and returns vampyres/vampires back to their proper role.  There is a nice gypsy/Romanian theme woven into the mix too, providing a tip of the cap to classic vampire literary and myth traditions.  

I am definitely engaged in The Devouring series, and am looking forward to the next installment.  This series has outstanding potential. 

I give Kavachi's Rise a solid 4 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it to everyone looking for a refreshing, well-crafted vampire story of the non-sparkling kind!

-Stephen Zimmer





About the Author:


From Wikipedia: Mike Kearby (born 1952) is an American novelist and inventor. Since 2005, Kearby has published ten novels, one graphic novel, and written two screenplays: (2011) Boston Nightly, with fellow writer Paul Bright and (2012) The Devouring. Boston Nightly is scheduled for filming in the spring of 2013.

Kearby was born in Mineral Wells, Texas, and received a B.S. from North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) in 1972. He taught high school English and reading for 10 years and created ""The Collaborative Novella Project"" The project allows future authors to go through the novel writing process from idea to published work.
""Ambush at Mustang Canyon"" was a finalist for the 2008 Spur Awards.
""A Hundred Miles to Water"" was awarded the 2011 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Best Adult Fiction.
“Texas Tales Illustrated” was awarded the 2012 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Best YA Non-Fiction.






A short excerpt from Kavachi's Rise:

The soldiers knew this lieutenant. Knew of him, anyway. Nikolai Borisoff was his Russian name, but if all the rumors were true, nobody knew his real name. Others of his kind referred to him as, “Rom baro,” the big man. But in the stories he was known simply as the necromancer hunter.
“Shall we put him in with the others, sir?” one soldier asked.
Nikolai ignored the question and squared himself off to stand face-to-face with the prisoner. He stared into the darkness of the creature’s eyes. “How do you write yourself?” he asked in Amria.
The creature stopped rocking. He looked up and opened a dark pit of a mouth. A word tumbled out: “Death.”
Nikolai frowned, “But where are the others?”
Death tilted his head right and left, like a confused animal trying to make sense of an unfamiliar sound. After several seconds of the head movement, he parted leathery lips and emitted a rattling laugh.
“Others?”
“Yes, the others, like yourself.”
“Killed, dead. All meat.”
“In the showers?”
“A death they would have welcomed.”
Nikolai leaned back. He stared across his left shoulder, down the rows of barracks where the camp’s prisoners were being assembled. The 48thhad found only a handful of them, yet intelligence had said there would be thousands. Reports had indicated as many as twenty thousand. He turned back to Death.
“Where?” he asked.
Death lifted his chin toward the camp entrance. “There,” he whispered. “Only a short way from the death gate. Toward the sea.”
Nikolai looked past the gathered prisoners and through the opened gates of the camp. Pine and aspen lined the road for as far as he could see. He turned back, questioning, “In the woods?”
“In the ground.”
Nikolai frowned. “Can you show me?”
Death shook his head. “I prefer here. It’s very bad luck to go to that place.”
“Why?”
Death began to rock again. “It’s a madhouse filled with all kinds of madness.”
Nikolai studied Death’s face. “Then you’ve been there?”
Death wagged a finger in Nikolai’s direction. “Oh, I went there once. It might even have been twice or maybe three times. I can’t be sure, for the madness takes away one’s sensibility.”
“And your job there?”
“I helped push the carts back to this camp.”
“Back? What had been on the carts before?”
“Creatures.”
“And when you returned?”
“Shoes…and pyjamas…and hair.”
“And what of those who once wore the shoes and pyjamas and hair?”
Death rested his chin against his knees once more and resumed his monotonous cantillate. Then, just as quickly, stopped. It looked up at Nikolai. Its pupils contracted. “Porrajmos!”
Nikolai narrowed his eyes and pinched his bottom lip between his thumb and forefinger. His gaze darted back to the front gate and to the forests outside. “Are you saying violate?”
Death’s face twisted. He screamed again, “Porrajmos!”
Nikolai shook his head and released his lip. “To open? To open one’s mouth?”
Death stopped rocking and stared ahead, rigid. His pupils dilated back to their dead state. He exhaled a short breath, then pushed his right index finger into a spot just below his right ear and directly above his jawbone. He held his finger in the spot for several breaths, as if to make sure Nikolai understood, then slowly dragged the finger down his neck to his collarbone.
Nikolai watched, fascinated at the visual. “Rip open?” he uttered.
Death shook his head, exasperated, exhaled a rattling breath, and motioned with an outstretched finger for Nikolai to lean close.
Nikolai stooped forward and turned an ear toward Death’s mouth.
A gush of stagnant air rushed from the man’s lips and flowed across Nikolai’s cheek and nose.
Nikolai jerked away from the dead gas -- and from the two words that had drifted on the offensive fumes. He sucked in a quick breath and jerked the pilotka from his head.
Death nodded blindly, as if pleased, and then started rocking again.
Nikolai could only stare at the living corpse swaying in front of him.
Porrajmos.
Such a simple word.
And when translated into Russian, two words: The devouring.





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