No Man’s Land (For all the Zombie Lovers)

Book #5 in IDW’s shambling series of original Zombies vs Robots prose collections. Fully illustrated by the fantabulous Fabio Listrani, this new anthology features fresh tales of rotting flesh and rusting metal, undead unrest and mechanical mayhem. Once again IDW expands the apocalyptic hellscape of its unique signature franchise. A world where brain-eaters roam and warbots rule is truly a No Man’s Land.
No Man's LandNo Man’s Land by Jeff Conner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are on the edge of the zombie apocalypse craze and you want an interesting read to get you into the genre, this is the one you’ve been waiting for.

I have never been one for horror/zombie/stuff…but this book actually surprised me. The humour throughout made it a lot of fun to read and the author has a strong voice that permeates his writing and gives his characters personality.

This book has everything you could want in a zombie book. There is terror, running, screaming, unusual and creative zombie (and human) killing and the overall sense that nothing worse could happen, until it does.

I really liked the unpredictability factor of this book. After the first chapter I had no idea what was going to happen. This was a fun and easy read.

Read it, and enjoy the fact that life could be worse for all of us :)

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

About this author


JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. His books have been sold to more than a dozen countries.

An interview and opportunity to win a signed copy from Francis Guenette

The Light Never Lies - ebook cover - Francis L. GuenetteFrancis Guenette - author photo

 Synopsis:

As circumstances spiral out of control, Lisa-Marie is desperate to return to Crater Lake. The young girl’s resolve is strengthened when she learns that Justin Roberts is headed there for a summer job at the local sawmill. Her sudden appearance causes turmoil. The mere sight of Lisa-Marie upsets the relationship Liam Collins has with trauma counsellor, Izzy Montgomery. All he wants to do is love Izzy, putter in the garden and mind the chickens. Bethany struggles with her own issues as Beulah hits a brick wall in her efforts to keep the organic bakery and her own life running smoothly. A native elder and a young boy who possesses a rare gift show up seeking family. A mystery writer arrives to rent the guest cabin and a former client returns looking for Izzy’s help. Life is never dull for those who live on the secluded shores of Crater Lake. Set against the backdrop of Northern Vancouver Island, The Light Never Lies is a story of heartbreaking need and desperate measures. People grapple with the loss of cherished ideals to discover that love comes through the unique family ties they create as they go.

 

Author Bio:

Francis Guenette has spent most of her life on the west coast of British Columbia. She lives with her husband and finds inspiration for writing in the beauty and drama of their lakeshore cabin and garden. She has a graduate degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She has worked as an educator, trauma counsellor and researcher. The Light Never Lies is her second novel. Francis blogs over at http://disappearinginplainsight.com and maintains a Facebook author page. Please stop by and say hello.

Read on after the interview to find out more about how you can win a signed copy of this book.

 

Tell us a little about you and your writing projects.

I live on the shores of an isolated lake on Northern Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. If you’ve read my books, that will sound familiar. I’ve used this setting as my fictional jumping off spot for the first two novels of The Crater Lake Series – Disappearing in Plain Sight and The Light Never Lies. I’m currently working on the third in the series that is tentatively titled, Chasing Down the Night.

I’ve worked in various areas of education most of my life – lately as a trauma counsellor, earlier with challenged young people. Many of these themes come out in my writing. Because I’ve always had a good sense of humour, even though my books cover some hard-hitting topics, the reader will find more than a few laughs amid the tears.

What first made you decide to become an author? Was there a specific genre you knew you would write in or did it just happen when you began writing?

My way into writing fiction was through a round-about route. I spent a lot of time honing my writing skills in very different arena – academia. Then one day, I ran up against a brick wall. I came home to the lake and wandered the trails for days on end trying to clear my thoughts and figure out why my ability to get on with my current project was so blocked. I found no answer to that question, but in those days of being near the lake and walking, the characters for my first novel popped into my head. The idea of these people and the unique situations they found themselves in took over my thoughts and resulted in an absolute shift from one type of writing to another – from one career to another. I didn’t think at all about genre – I just knew I had to tell the story my characters were clamouring to have told.

Who are some of your literary heroes?

I have always been a big fan of Hemingway – mostly his short stories. To be able to say so much with so few words tends to make a writer heroic, at least in my mind.

If you could have a conversation with any author, alive or passed on, who would it be and why?

I would love to sit down and have a chat with J.R. Rowlings about what it was like to start out the way she did and end up where she has gone. How did she find the courage, especially in the beginning, to stay with the writing? Was there a moment when she saw the fame coming? How did she feel? Did the popularity of the first books shape her writing of the last ones? Her rise to fame as a writer fascinates me.

What advice do you have for new authors about publishing and marketing?

Hands down, marketing is the most difficult part of the entire writing process. I chose self-publishing and that has its picky, hair-pulling moments, for sure. The learning curve is steep, but that is nothing compared to the grind that marketing can be. There are so many voices (blogs, books, those who have made it big) telling the new author what to do and it is very difficult to make a wise choice. Advice from those who made it big is almost always out-of-date – things are changing so fast in the realm of self-published book promotion. It seems as though every click on the social media network reveals new sites offering services that will bring one’s book to prominence. Rarely are there any statistics to relate these services to actual sales. It is a buyer-beware market. Okay, lest I sound all doom and gloom here, I do have three small pieces of advice. Hunker down for the long haul, limit time spent on social media, and write your next book.

Anything else you would like the audience to know?

Self-publishing has thrown the gates wide open for all the people who always thought they had a story in them. Now they can tell that story and get it out in the world. This reality is a double-edged sword. For every author who rewrites so many times they’ve lost count, has the money to spend for a discerning editor, good cover design and formatting, there are a dozen others who didn’t think rewrites, or editing, or cover design and formatting are all that important. Or maybe they couldn’t afford such luxury. Either way, if you read widely across the self-publishing spectrum you will definitely find a mixed bag of lemons and gems.

This need not discourage anyone. Quality will always rise – it just takes time. More gatekeepers are not the answer. Readers will decide. They’ll find the books they like and then they’ll come back for more. We writers must produce the most professional product we can and then we just have to be patient. In the words of W.B. Kinsella in his wonderful novel, Shoeless Joe (that became the basis for the movie, Field of Dreams) “If you build it they will come.”

Where can we find you on the various social media outlets?

I blog over on WordPress: http://disappearinginplainsight.com

I have an author Facebook page that I keep up-to-date and topical: https://www.facebook.com/pages/francisguenetteauthor/377139735716267

You can also find me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FrancisGuenette

And over at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6978213.Francis_L_Guenette

 

*Want to win a signed copy of this great book? All you have to do is comment to be entered in the drawing. One random commenter from this blog tour  will win a copy signed by Francis. Give it a shot, it could be you!

An Interview with author Stacey R. Campbell and an awesome giveaway

16488672 How would you like to win your very own signed ARC copy and matching bookmark of “Whisper”by Stacey R. Campbell? All you gotta do is tweet, facebook or reblog this interview to be entered into the giveaway. A winner will be chosen on Sunday, the 23rd of February. Don’t miss your chance!

*US residents only please

Tell us a little about you and your writing career.

I was told at a very young age I would never be a writer.
I have a learning disability called dyslexia and process things differently then other people do.
Reading was very difficult for me and at first I couldn’t do it. Now you’ll never find me without a book.
Writing was hard too, letters didn’t seem to make sense.
Thirty-five years after I was told I could never write, I took our three daughters to lunch and a street reporter approached us. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He asked for an article he was writing for our local newspaper.
Our eldest daughter Blakely, who was seven at the time, said “A princess.” Our middle daughter Leigh, age six, answered “A teacher.” Our youngest, Halle age four, blurted out “A monster.”
When the microphone turned to me I declined to answer.
When we went home that afternoon I realized, how can I tell our children they could be whatever they wanted to be if I didn’t do the same.
The next day I started writing.

 What inspired you to write your first novel?

Hush, is not the first novel I have written, but it is my first published work. I am a true believer in “when first you do not succeed, try, try again.” With writing, as other things, the more you do it, the better you get.

My first novel took three years to write, Hush took six months.

The idea for Hush came to me one night at the dinner table.
Our middle daughter Leigh asked where her red hair came from.
“Queen Elizabeth,” my husband said.
Our daughter Blakely, twelve at the time, immediately clued into her father’s reference to the British Royal Family and asked, “Does that mean I could be a princess?”
“Only if several hundred people died first,” I laughed.
“But what if that happened? What if there was some sort of big family reunion and everyone else died?”
Years later when Blakely left for boarding school, I started Hush as a way to stay in touch with her. I would write a couple of chapters and email them to her, and then she would tell me what she thought. It was a great way to still be part of her life without actually being there.

Have you found being a published author to be much different than you expected it to be?

Yes. I had no idea how hard it was to be a published author.
You pour yourself onto the page and then go through rounds of rewrites that can last up to a year before you ever get to print.
Then, even when a reputable house publishes you, you have to market your book. I didn’t realize how much non- writing work being published required.
I remember thinking, “Yay, my book is published. Now I can go back to my desk and get back to writing the next novel.”- Nope.

Can you offer a brief description of what your books are about, including genre and age group?

Hush, book one in the Lakeview Academy Series, is the story of an unknown princess who is discovered by an undercover student journalist and hunted down by terrorists on the campus of her elite boarding school.

Whisper, book two in the Lakeview Academy Series, tells the story of enemies who come together to solve a hundred year old mystery after finding a haunted journal that hints at a lost school treasure.

I wrote both books for our eldest daughters, Blakely and Leigh. In each book I used their name for the lead character and let them pick out whom they want their leading man to resemble. If you go to my Pinterest page, www.pinterest.com/srcampbellwrite, you can see the results.

Because our daughters go to a highly competitive school I thought it would be fun to write something for them to read when they weren’t neck deep in class work. Basically a quick, fun, simple, page turner.
I also noticed a huge gap in the YA market for books that weren’t too young or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, too sexually explicit.
Fortunately they are finally beginning to split up the Young Adult genre (technically ages twelve and up) into two different groupings putting the more sexually charged books under the new category of, New Adult.
That being said, I write my Lakeview Books for the thirteen to seventeen year old with hopes of entertaining people of all ages.

If you could meet any famous author that ever lived, who would it be and why?

Off the top of my head I would have to say JK Rowling. I know it’s not very original, but she believed in herself and her story when no one else did which is very hard to do. Plus in my opinion, she has one of the most amazing imaginations out there.

When can we expect your next book and can you tell us anything about your WIP?

Book 3 in the Lakeview Series, Scream, has an estimated release of spring 2015 and stars our youngest daughter Halle. I’ve stepped away from the paranormal and the book time span is over a few months instead of a full school year. It will be the last book in the series set on the Lakeview campus.
A teaser, in the form of the first three chapters, will in the back of Whisper when it comes out on March 15th.
I am happy to announce that there will be a book four, Silence.
Silence, estimated release spring 2016, will be set in Europe and brings back several characters from the first book in the series, Hush.

In addition to the Lakeview books, I have a middle grade pirate yarn called ARRGH, coming out this September and a picture book, Sock Monster, being released shortly after in October.

Where can we find you and your books?

You can find my books in book stores everywhere, if they aren’t on the shelf just ask the clerk to order it.
They are also available online at Amazon, Barns and Noble and through iBook.
If your school, or book club wants to do a Skype event, you can order books directly through my publisher, Kari Hock at Green Darner Press.

What is the best piece of advice you have received about writing?

The best piece of advice I ever received was from my husband who told me to go for it. He’s been my best friend for the last twenty-five years, not a day goes by when I’m not thankful I actually listened to him that day.

Final thoughts

My final thoughts return to reading.
I truly believe that one must be a good reader before they can be a good writer.
For kids and adults, like myself, who struggle, I want to say that there is no such thing as a bad reader.
Explore different genres.
There really is something out there for everyone.
Don’t be worried if you are a slow reader or don’t understand certain things, just have fun.

For more information or if you just have a question, visit my website www.staceyrcampbell.com, come visit me on Facebook -authorstaceyrcampbell, or find me on twitter @staceyrcampbell

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

The Mark of the DragonflyThe Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Honestly, in the beginning of this book I was a little confused about what was going on with the characters, but by the end of the second chapter the confusion had ceased and I really began to enjoy this story.

There are many reasons to love this book. First of all, the author is amazing at building unique worlds with beautiful descriptions that keep you in the scene and make you feel like you are part of the developments. Secondly, I loved that the story would go through periods of excitement, and then settle back into a comfortable rhythm again. I thought the pacing was perfect.

I loved that the characters were so well introduced and that each one of them had a reason for doing the things they did. I value it when the actions of a character speaking louder than the dialogue in the book and in this case, that was prominent throughout the story.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this book, in my opinion, was the way the author presented the discoveries of the characters. Rather than giving the reader a play-by-play of events that would soon be happening, the reader is allowed to learn things at the same time as the characters.

I would definitely recommend this book. It was delightful.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher and provided through Netgalley.

View all my reviews

Christmas in Snowflake Canyon by RaeAnne Thayne

Christmas in Snowflake CanyonChristmas in Snowflake Canyon by RaeAnne Thayne

Holiday gifts don’t always come in expected packages… especially in the town of Hope’s Crossing.

No one has ever felt sorry for Genevieve Beaumont. After all, she has everything money can buy. That is, until she discovers her fiancé has been two-timing her and she’s left with two choices: marry the philanderer to please her controlling father or be disinherited and find a means to support herself.

Genevieve’s salvation appears in the most unlikely of prospects: Dylan Caine, a sexy, wounded war vet whose life is as messy as hers. Dylan’s struggling to adjust after his time in Afghanistan, and the last thing he needs is a spoiled socialite learning about the real world for the first time. True, she may have unexpected depths and beauty to match. But he knows he could never be the man she needs…and she knows he could never be the man she thinks she wants. So why are they each hoping that a Christmas miracle willl prove them both wrong?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What in the world can you ask from a Christmas novel than a great butt-kicking scene with a couple of feisty chicks in a bar? This is what makes RaeAnne Thayne such a versatile and interesting romance author. If you are tired of reading the traditional holiday romance, this book might be the break you have been looking for.

This is part of a series, and the previous books featured many of the same characters, but you can still read and enjoy it even if you are not familiar with the other books. I would still recommend reading them though, as they have been a great deal of fun.

There are some unbelievable aspects of this story, so if you are the type that wants your fiction to closely match reality, this might bug you at times. If not, and you can suspend reality to enjoy a story, this one is a lovely tale of love and redemption.

I liked that the main character in this story showed growth from when we first met her in a previous book and that she humbled herself enough to apologise to those she had wronged. The love story was nicely penned and I found myself looking forward to a happy ending.

Overall, this was an enjoyable, lighthearted Christmas story for lovers of the genre.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher and provided through Netgalley.

Deathsworn: the Last Dragon slayer by Martin Stanley

The Last Dragon Slayer (Deathsworn Arc, #1)The Last Dragon Slayer by Martyn Stanley

There is rumoured to be a noble dragon, an almost mythical beast, long thought to be extinct in Torea – terrorising a village in the north, at the foot of the Sky Cleaver mountains. Saul Karza, Emissary to the Empress and licensed magic user, has been sent by the empress herself to assemble a band of warriors to investigate, and if it is true to vanquish it.
The band of warriors he’d set out to assemble having failed to materialise, he enters the town of Trest with a homeless dwarf, and two sell-swords from the barbarian northlands, who had grown weary of working as labourers at the dock.

It seems logical to seek a fabled dragon slayer, the last known living soul to prevail in battle against a noble dragon, even though he may not turn to be all they expected. When the companions set out from Trest, they find simply getting to the Sky Cleavers proves to be a challenge and by the time they are ready to confront the beast, the party has changed drastically, combining some of the rarest races in Torea, all joining the party under very different circumstances.

As the gravity of their grim task becomes apparent, the warriors begin to realize, their chances of success are not good, and even if they can prevail against the odds, it seems unlikely they will all survive the encounter.

When the quest is done, the true nature of the Empress’s mission is revealed. What is not revealed is the mysterious ‘Truth’ which Brael continually references but it unable to talk about, nor the devastating ramifications the ‘Truth’ has on everyone.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Martyn Stanley is a talented new voice in the fantasy genre, and his book, “Deathsworn: the Last Dragon Slayer” Surprised and delighted me. Just when I thought there was no more room for yet another book about slaying a dragon, came this one–and it made me think twice about that judgement.

Here is what I loved about this book:

First of all, the main character is not your average,”I shall succeed at everything except keeping my ego in check” type of hero. This was important to me as I have seen this in far too many books. I liked that this character had faults and wasn’t perfect. It allowed me to feel closer to him and to identify with his purpose and plight that much more.

I applaud the dynamic between the characters in this book, in particular the relationships between the members of the group that ended up travelling together. I enjoyed wondering what would happen between a burgeoning love interest and two people that could have either become friends or ended up at odds. The author has a talent for creating tension between his characters and keeping the reader engaged for the duration of the story.

The battles scenes are well placed and strategic and reminded me somewhat of a movie. Martyn Stanley is good at anticipating the desires of the reader and fulfilling them in such a way that keeps you wanting to get to the next page.I never felt the pace drop in this story and it kept me reading even late into the night.

I also liked that the reader was introduced to the characters without miles and miles of pointless back story. You come into the novel where the characters are at in their current life and get to know them via their life from that point forward, rather than wading through the early lives and times of said characters. This was a nice angle for a fantasy author to use.

One of the more exceptional portions of this book, was the language that this author gave to the elves. I liked the original dialect and felt it helped them to stand out from the other characters in the book. I was transported to another world, rather than just reading about it second-hand.

I think this book is evident that Mr. Stanley is an author to watch–a promising new talent with a bright future ahead of him. I am greatly looking forward to his next book.

Overall, this was a wonderfully refreshing fantasy novel with lots of surprises and reasons to love it. I would recommend this to anyone who is tired of the basic formula and is looking for something that has not been done before. Great book.

View all my reviews

Dial L for Latch-Key Now available as an audiobook!

9379-square-240  You can now get this great audio book

from the multi-talented Scott Fivelson

–author, screenwriter and playwright.

 

Mr. Fivelson has had an impressive

career thus far and after gaining some

experience with his work,

I certainly expect that trend to continue.

The audio book is available from Blackstone Audio (one of the largest producers of audiobooks anywhere) find it below:

 

Check out the Audio Book here:

http://www.downpour.com/catalog/product/view/id/145461/

and while you are at it, check out more of Scott’s work

 

Here