Wednesday, July 31, 2013

John A. Karr - Ghostly Summons - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Lars Kelsen doesn’t believe in psychic phenomenon. To him, visions of murder victims are a form of mental illness. Once they begin, options are limited; he can try to ignore them or deal with them by exposing a killer. Only the latter provides any semblance of peace. Temporarily, anyway. Five years into his new life as a programmer, Kelsen—ex-crime beat reporter with a penance he can never fully satisfy—sees a victim.

In person. Upright. Staring.

Typical of such past "Visits" as he calls them, he doesn’t welcome this one. The nude form of a beautiful millionairess in his cubicle means murder has come to the vacation haven known as North Carolina’s Outer Banks. It means he’ll have to go places he'd rather avoid. See things he'll wish he hadn’t. Do things that don't come naturally, like in-your-face confrontation and bending the law. Actually, breaking the law ... but with good intent. It also means dealing with one very attractive county coroner, who pushes his buttons in a not entirely unwelcome way.

So begins Kelsen's return to investigative reporting—complete with attempts on his life, fights, deception, and all the technological tricks, such as GPS and computer hacking, at his disposal. And maybe even finding a new love interest.

My Review

Lars Kelsen can see dead people, but author John A. Karr bumps things up a notch by making his main character a fully grown adult, already battered and bruised by the travails of life. Lars starts seeing these visions after his young son is murdered and now these lost souls are turning to him for justice. Lars used to be a crime reporter, but he gave it up to seek solace among the Outer Banks. He thought he could run from his ghostly encounters, but he's wrong. He gets reeled back into journalism when Jeanette Broughton starts summoning him from beyond the grave.

Jeanette is the one gracing the book cover. It's only fitting since she was an actress and knew how to capture an audience's attention. She beckons the reader into Karr's pages and doesn't let go until the very end. The way her body is found is definitely unique, a fresh approach when it comes to the mystery genre. The military is practicing a fighter jet run. The pilot drops a bomb in a wildlife sanctuary and Jeanette's corpse resurfaces out of a marshy swamp ... on camera. First chapters don't get better than that when it comes to hooking a reader from the get go. It's crazy. It's improbable. But it works.

And Lars is the perfect counterpoint to the woman he's trying to avenge. They're both disillusioned when it comes to marriage. Jeanette cheated on her husband with younger men. Lars hit the singles scene hard after his divorce. They're both a little vain when it comes to their appearance. Jeanette was of Native American descent but chose to dye her hair blonde. Lars enjoys the compliments he receives from the ladies and makes sure to keep in shape by jogging with his dog. They're both thrill seekers seeking danger. Jeanette liked to race speedboats and ride ATVs. Lars jumps off a bridge trying to get away from someone trying to shoot him on a motorcycle. If things had turned out differently, they would have made the perfect pair.

Karr is adept at in-depth characterization even down to the supporting cast. The players are three-dimensional. They're not flat or cookie-cutter. The back story of the pilot, Darius Williams, is compelling and the description of where he lives really paints a clear picture of what he's all about. Even the playful back and forth banter with Lily, his next door neighbor is fully fleshed out. She only has a few lines of dialogue but from them the reader can discern she's a Latina who's fed up with her husband. She likes to flirt with Lars, but probably wouldn't go any farther with him because she respects his dog too much. Then there's Ethan Crull, the surfer slash lifeguard slash stereo installer. He's a wise guy punk whose hostile exchanges with Lars really jump off the page. He doesn't care about anyone except himself and Karr does a great job in illustrating that.

Overall, Lars Kelsen is multi-faceted. He's a thug, a heartthrob, an action hero, a ghost whisperer. He's a sleuth readers will enjoy getting to know if Karr decides to make the character into a series. There are a lot of areas still left to explore when it comes to the demons Lars is facing over his son's death. Although, Lars doesn't enjoy his ghostly visitors, Karr's readers sure do. Hopefully, there will be more of them.


Ghostly Summons can be purchased at:
Kindle, Nook, Kobo

Prices/Formats: $3.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback
Pages: 326
Publisher: Dark Continents Publishing
Release: March 14, 2013
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

John A. Karr believes fiction writing each day helps keep the demons at bay. Ghostly Summons is his first full-length novel for Dark Continents Publishing. DCP has also published his Weird West novella, Ujahwek. He is the author of a handful of other novels: Death Clause, Hippocrates Shattered (scheduled for reprint by World Castle Publications as Shattered), Rhone, and Van Gogh, Encore. His short stories have appeared on webzines Allegory, The Absent Willow Review, and Danse Macabre. More works are in progress and in the marketing queue.

Karr is an ardent believer in the quote by Carl Van Doren (1885-1950), U.S. man of letters: Yes, it's hard to write, but it's harder not to.

Links to connect with John:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Anne Elisabeth Stengl - Dragonwitch - Excerpt and Giveaway

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A New Tale Is Added to this Christy Award-Winning Fantasy Saga!

Submissive to her father's will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves--Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country. But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta's tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the North Country into civil war. And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice...and for the one person who can wield it.


The Twelve came to the doors of Omeztli Tower and their voices carried from the ground to our high perch above.

"Cren Cru commands. Send us your firstborn."

I clutched Tlanextu's arm in terror. I could not bear to lose him! He took my hand and held me gently.
Then we saw a powerful form rising up from Itonatiu Tower. It was Citlalu, our father. He flew across the city, his wings like a griffin's, like a roc's, blocking the sunlight from view they were so vast! He landed before us, and I shivered with fear and love at the sight of him, for he was King. A true King.

Not like the foolish little kings we see nowadays wearing crowns, waving swords and scepters, ruling by feeble kinship-rights. He was King of Etalpalli, bound to the realm by his own blood, by the beat of his heart. He was strong as the nation itself, stronger, I thought. The pinions of his wings were like daggers, like swords, and he shouted down to the Twelve below:

"Be gone, back to your master! You will take none of mine into that Mound, not while I have life yet coursing through my veins!"

His voice shook the foundations of Etalpalli. I thought the Twelve would run, would scream with terror, would flee the storm of his gaze.

They did not. They merely turned and retraced their path to the Mound and the concentric circles of bronze.

But the next day, they returned. Once more they called up to the heights of Omeztli: "Cren Cru commands. Send us your firstborn."

Once more, my father denied them.

Author Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of HEARTLESS, VEILED ROSE, MOONBLOOD, STARFLOWER and DRAGONWITCH. HEARTLESS and VEILED ROSE have each been honored with a Christy Award.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ernest Dempsey - The Dream Rider - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
The story came as a result of a series of dreams and in the story, the main character travels through space and time via his dreams, so it just made sense. Plus it sounds cool.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yep. Believe in yourself. Let go of fears. Expand your mind and your character to become something better, something awesome.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
20% Although, if it turns out that the theories about dream travel are actually correct, more like 70%. Based on current knowledge, though, 20.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
No. I like how it turned out. Some people wanted a longer book. Most of myfeedback the readers was that they thought it was a great length, just under 300 pages. Many of them said they read it in a few days and that the flow was perfect. I'm pretty light on developing my characters in one book so that allows for a lot of good action and plot to move along quickly.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Deciding on the main plot. I wrote half of the book three times before I decided which plot line I liked the best. So, I ended up trashing about 80,000 words.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That I enjoy writing from the first person. It makes the whole experience a much more detailed affair, I think.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I've just always had stories running around in my head.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Steve Berry. His story flow, the details of each setting, the characters, the action, the way he weaves a puzzle with ancient history. All of it is just so amazing.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I'm working on the third book of my first trilogy which will tail into an ongoing series with those characters. When I'm done with that I will be writing the follow up to The Dream Rider.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just that I sincerely appreciate each one of them. My readers are so kind hearted and full of great things. They really are awesome people. I get emails from many of them, some who are going through tough trials in life. I just hope that I can take their minds off of their difficulties and make them smile or think about something else for a while. Maybe even help them work through their issues. I want to tell them thank you for reading my books and enjoying my stories. Most of all, I want to thank them for pushing me on to keep writing. I do it for the ones who say, "hurry up and write the next one." That is the best compliment an author can get.

About the Book

Finn McClaren is an average college student until he wakes up on an alien world on the other side of the galaxy. He is forced to face some of his greatest fears and fight through a series of gladiator games in an effort to overthrow an evil emperor and free the people of the entire planet.

Prices/Formats: $0.99 ebook (limited time price)
Pages: 273
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Enclave Publishing
Release Date: June 14, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon

About the Author

Ernest Dempsey is a Science Fiction and Action/Adventure author from Chattanooga, Tennessee. He has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and a Masters in School Counseling.

Dempsey has been writing since he was in high school but only sought publication three years ago with his first action adventure thriller The Secret of the Stones. That genre is one he is a huge fan of and loves the works of Dan Brown, Steve Berry, Clive Cussler, and James Rollins along with some of the classics such as Alexandre Dumas and Edgar Poe.

As a high school counselor, he constantly saw young people reading the same old tired stories about vampires and werewolves and decided young people, and people in general, needed to have something different to read. The Dream Rider was born out of a series of nightmares Dempsey had over the period of a month in 2006. Now those stories come to life on the pages of his innovative Science Fiction novel for the world to enjoy.

Links to Connect with Ernest:

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kindle Fire Giveaway - Summer 2013

Kindle Summer

Bloggers and Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7".

Kindle Fire HD 7" Giveaway

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)
  Or $199 Gift Card (International)
  Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

Sponsoring Bloggers and Authors

  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. New Adult Addiction
  4. Jessabella Reads
  5. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Somthing Year Old Girl
  6. Books Unhinged by StacyHgg
  7. S.A. Larsen - Writer's Ally
  8. Author Inger Iverson
  9. The Geeky Gamers
  10. annakyss
  11. Everyday Word Magic
  12. Candance's Book Blog
  13. Page Flipperz
  14. SMI Book Club
  15. Laurie Here
  16. Feed Your Fiction Addiction
  17. Phantasmic Reads
  18. The Book Bellas
  19. Please Don't Remove MarGreat's Glasses
  20. Author Jennifer Laurens
  21. J.C. Valentine
  22. Holly Hood
  23. Young Adult Novel Reader
  24. Author Heather Bixler
  25. Literary Meanderings
  26. Suspense Author Kim Cresswell
  27. Mother Daughter & Son Book Review
  28. Meredith's Musings
  29. Auggie Talk
  30. Author Camelia Miron Skiba
  31. Author Lena Sledge
  32. LoriTheAuthor
  33. Author Dianne Venetta
  34. Curling Up with A Good Book
  35. MyLadyWeb
  36. Fae Books
  37. Bea's Book Nook
  38. Girls with Books
  39. Ketch's Book Nook
  40. Turning Pages
  41. Bookhounds
  42. Karey White
  43. My Devotional Thoughts
  44. Author Talia Jager
  45. Author Helen Smith
  46. Sher A Hart: Written Art
  47. Author MK McClintock
  48. Word to Dreams
  49. Buku-Buku Didi
  50. Tasty Book Tours
  51. Readerlicious
  52. Romance Bookworm's Reviews
Giveaway Details
1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire. Sponsor a future Kindle Fire Giveaway by signing up HERE. Ends 8/15/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors and bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

R.J. Larson - King - Excerpts and Giveaway


by R.J. Larson

Fantasy Meets the Old Testament in a Novel That Will Reach Readers of All Ages.

Against his wishes and desires, Akabe of Siphra has been chosen by his people to be King. But what does a warrior know of ruling during peacetime? Guided by the Infinite, Akabe seeks to rebuild the Temple in the city of Munra to give the sacred books of Parne a home. But dangerous factions are forming in the background. To gain the land he needs, Akabe must forsake the yearnings of his heart and instead align himself through marriage to the Thaenfall family. Meanwhile, Kien Lantec and Ela Roeh are drawn still closer together...while becoming pawns in a quest to gain power over the region. As questions of love and faith become tangled with lies and murderous plots, each must seek the Infinite to guide them through an ever more tangled web of intrigue and danger.  


1. [Akabe, Siphra's king, meets Ela of Parne.]  

Her prophet’s staff in one hand, Ela stood with her two formidable chaperones just beyond the fringe of her makeshift canopied study area. Akabe eyed the prophet’s staff. The branch, Ela called it. An ordinary-seeming piece of vinewood. But he’d seen that branch glow like fiery-white metal, illuminating Ela’s dark hair and eyes with the Infinite’s power.
Healing her of fatal wounds.

Now the image of a model Siphran, Ela bowed. When she looked up at Akabe, her big brown eyes shone, serene. She appeared, for all of Munra, to be nothing more—or less—than a lovely young lady in a flowing tunic and embroidered mantle. Yet Akabe knew better than to be lulled by her delicate appearance. Strengthened by the Infinite’s Spirit, this girl felled kingdoms.

Never, for as long as he lived, did he wish to become a target of this prophet’s warnings.

2. [Akabe, Siphra's king, meets Ela of Parne.] 

Aware of his watching courtiers, Akabe acknowledged Ela with a nod and a polite smile. “Prophet. I have a new student for you.” Master Croleut nudged little Barth of Siymont forward. Scuffing his boots over the pavings, the boy halted before Akabe with an unenthusiastic sigh.

Akabe struggled to sound serious. “Barth, remember what I said.”

“Yes, Majesty.” Barth looked up at Ela. His eyes widened and, ever Siymont’s courtly son, he fluttered his lashes. “I have a loose tooth!”

“Do you?” Ela seemed thrilled. “Well, if it falls out during lessons, we must be careful to save it. Now, Barth, these are my chaperones, Tamri Het and Matron Prill. And they’re very strict with me, so I must behave. You’ll help me, won’t you? Do you have a writing tablet? No? You may borrow mine….”

Watching her, Akabe wished he could join the class.

3. [Prophet, Ela of Parne, at a feast with Akabe, Siphra's king.] 

A hired servant brought cups, then filled them with juice from a metal pitcher beaded with moisture. They all waited until the king lifted his cup. Following his lead, they drank.

Ela couldn't help draining her juice, despite its tartness. Let Tamri and Prill frown at her appalling manners—she was thirsty. Finished, she looked for the servant, but he’d vanished.
Beside her, little Barth grumbled, “Mine tastes sour.”

Akabe grimaced at the pitcher left in their midst. “True. The aftertaste is bitter.”

Aware of an unpleasant icy burning around her lips and down her throat, Ela flung aside her cup. “Majesty…!”

She wrenched Barth’s half-empty cup from his small hands. He already looked sick.

Matron Prill threw down her own cup and said the word Ela feared to voice.


4. [Akabe speaking to his Royal Council.]  

“I’m well aware of that fact, my lord. My knife-wound from last year and this morning’s blisters have made the dangers of kingship abundantly clear. What are you failing to say?”

Faine hesitated, his delicacy at odds with his blunt face. “You need an heir. We’ve agreed you must marry.”

“But have I agreed?” Akabe studied his council members' faces. To a man, they nodded, death-serious.

“Yes, sir, you must.” Faine harrumphed, adding with an awkward cough, “Duty.”

“Ah.” Duty. Perfect reason to marry. Nothing could be less inspiring to a prospective wife, Akabe was sure. “Do you believe there’s a young lady somewhere in Siphra who is brave enough to live in this marble inconvenience of a palace—with a man who is clearly marked for assassination?” While they blinked at his acidity, Akabe continued, “Should we also warn her that she’d be sentenced to a life of cold food, perpetual gossip, and endless ceremonies? Surrounded—forgive me, my lords—by packs of staring royal courtiers who’d follow her to the privy to discuss business?”

His council members shifted guilty glances here and there. Faine attempted a joke. “Majesty, you make life in the royal court sound so uncomfortable.”

“It is.”

5 [Ela, Prophet of Parne, talking with her father, Dan Roeh.]

Dan Roeh glanced at Ela’s basket and the branch, then sighed. “It’s been a long day. We didn’t need the king’s men here questioning us half the afternoon—they set us behind schedule. But, at least you didn’t cause another revolution.”

“I didn’t cause Siphra’s revolution!” Well, not entirely. She gave Father a fierce look.

He grinned. “If you say so, Prophet.” As they descended the steps, Dan asked, “Have you reconsidered? About marriage?”

“No.” Marriage. Again! Ela kept her tone mild, despite her growing frustration. “Father, why does everyone insist I must marry? It would be disastrous!”

“I’m not convinced it would be disastrous,” Dan countered. “But your husband needs enough strength and status of his own to endure everything you’ll bring to the marriage.”

Ela’s stomach clenched. “You talk as if you’re considering marrying me off! Father…!”

“I could,” Dan said, unnervingly quiet. “And I believe I should.

Author R. J. Larson

R. J. Larson is the author of numerous devotionals featured in publications such as Women's Devotional Bible and Seasons of a Woman's Heart. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband and their two sons. Prophet marks her debut in the fantasy genre.

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