Saturday, December 28, 2013

Review of COPIED by S.M. Anderson




I was excited about this book. It's a sci-fi YA with a genetically engineered male lead, just like The Charge! And, Copied, didn't let me down. It was exciting and interesting at the same time, with memorable characters.

When Xan is framed for starting a fire that seriously injures his best friend, he loses all his old friends, and instead gravitates towards the uber-smart, Lacey, believing that she may have answers. Together they investigate the arson to find the true culprit. What they find surprises both of them. Xan did start the fire...or someone who looks exactly like Xan.

Xan's parents admit that he was adopted off the black market, and that he may have been part of a multiple birth. Xan and Lacey learn that the truth is not that simple. Xan is a clone, and another clone, Beta 23, has been sent to kill him.

In this book, I especially enjoyed the relationships between Xan, Lacey, and Beta 23. Lacey is a fantastic female lead. She's smart and far from cliche. Also, about halfway through the book, we delve deeper into Beta 23's character, and see him struggling on the edge of humanity. Somewhat robotic and flat at the beginning, Beta 23 ends up becoming the most interesting character in the book.

Although fast-paced and exciting, the book covers lots of interesting issues related to genetic engineering, and nature vs. nurture, and the definition of humanity. And if her science wasn't accurate, it certainly fooled me! :)

This is the type of novel that can be enjoyed by young people and adults alike. Since it features a male lead, this is one of the rarer YA books that would be a good pick for a boy. Also, the story is clean--no profanity, no sex, and limited violence--so, you can feel comfortable recommending it to almost anyone.

Well done, Sarah! Copied is available in e-book and paperback now.

Check out the trailer...

Meet S.M. Anderson here...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice Teaser from Destruction, Coming 2014

Today is the Winter Solstice, the most important day of the year for dark wizards in the world of The December People. To celebrate, I'd like to share a teaser from Destruction, Book One of The December People Series--the first teaser from the series ever to be seen on the web!

Destruction is coming on April 14, 2014 from Curiosity Quills Press.
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David and his family plus Samantha stood in a circle around a small pile of unlit firewood in the backyard. They stood arranged by age; David, Amanda, Jude, Patrick, Xavier, Samantha, Emmy, Evangeline, and then of course, David again, all twice as thick with jackets and scarves. The air felt hard with cold, a cold that seeped in through their layers with ease. They held candles…but no matches…in their gloved hands. The family had gone through the house turning off lights. And that meant all of them. They even turned off the red lights glowing on electronics. They had unplugged the entire house. However, David could see easily. An orange haze of light peeked up from the trees. Millions of lights lit up the world all around them. Darkness didn't exist in the middle of Houston.
As soon as they had managed to arrange themselves into a circle, the kids got quiet without David or Amanda instructing them to. Wizards standing in a circle felt significant to David. When they got in that position, they snapped into place. The air became denser around him and he rooted to the spot, as if with extra gravity. But he didn't feel confined. He felt powerful. He plugged into an energy source he didn't even know existed. His fingers had an itchy, tingly feeling. He knew he could do magic.
The paper in Amanda's hand crinkled loudly as she held it close to her face. She had done her research, which David found endearing and impressive, since one couldn't exactly learn how to cast spells on Wikipedia. She had talked to the kids and talked to some of the witches Penelope's mom knew, and had created a ritual designed specifically for them. The matriarch of the family always directs spell casting. She's supposed to understand her family's magic, the purpose of each family member, and knows how to keep them in balance, a tall order, especially since she didn't know much about some of the newest members of her family and knew even less about magic. But, he had never known Amanda to say she couldn't do anything, so why start now?
Amanda owning this task shocked the kids, but not David. He knew her better than anyone did. Thus, he knew her mind and the rest of her often disagreed. Her left brain dug her feet into the ground and wouldn't budge. That part of her would say things like, "We're not practicing magic," and "We're divorced," until kingdom come. She would say it. She'd believe it. And she'd do the opposite, because occasionally the parts of her not governed by her left brain would break free. And because David had now learned that wizards stayed wizards, no matter how many years they'd been indoctrinated otherwise. They listened to forces that had nothing to do with logic or reason, making them stupid, reckless, destructive, and exciting. And they liked to play with fire. Literally and figuratively.
"How I am supposed to read this in the dark?" Amanda asked. "How do people do this?"
"You're supposed to have it memorized," Evangeline said.
"Your eyesight is terrible," David said. "Let me see it."
She thrust the paper out of his reach. "Back off."
"Why don't you just let Evangeline or Samantha speak? David said. "I'm sure they have some stuff memorized."
"No," Amanda said. "It's supposed to be me. My words." Amanda let out a shivery sigh. "I'm sorry. I know I'm not supposed to do this." She took her phone out of her pocket and turned it back on. She illuminated her paper with the dim blue light.
"First we honor the darkness,
For in darkness our eyes are not distracted by the flash and flair of mundane sights
So only in darkness can we truly see.
In the silence of the deepest night, our ears are not assaulted by mundane sounds
So only in darkness can we truly hear.
In darkness, we are unable to see danger and are rendered vulnerable
So only in darkness can we truly feel.
We do not believe that light exists in spite of darkness. We believe that light exists because of it.
Darkness is the only fertile ground for light. It is the only garden where light can be sown.
So now we experience the darkness. Use this time in the dark and quiet to use your deeper senses. Experience what you are called to experience. The answers wait for you in the darkness. Do not deny them."
And then they fell silent. David couldn't hear the cars on the highway anymore. He couldn't hear the music playing down the street. He could hear only the breathing of the others in the circle. And the sky…the orange haze disappeared and the sky looked like the one over Big Bend. Millions of stars set against a perfect pitch black. The moon cast a crisp, blue light upon them. With her words, or perhaps with some other magic deeper than words, she had called the darkness to them. David pictured it as a bubble around them.
The quiet didn't feel awkward as David would have expected. No one giggled or even coughed or sighed. His lungs felt larger. He could breathe. This darkness didn't feel frightening. In fact, David couldn't remember ever feeling so safe. The darkness was the foundation that everything else was built on. The garden where the universe grew. The simplest, most basic thing in existence. And it was spectacular.

He supposed that was the answer that waited for him. That darkness in itself was not evil. Darkness was peace. Potential. Home.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Review of Kulture Vultures by William Vitka


Kulture Vultures is about a couple of aliens traveling around in a spaceship shaped like an old taxi cab to resurrect dead pulp heroes and scientists. Their goal: save Earth form the Combine, an evil mega-corporation that wishes to eliminate all the pulp media in the Universe.

That should be all you have to hear to know that Kulture Vultures is quirky, unique, irreverent, and clever sci-fi. This isn't bottled, dime-a-dozen fiction, and it's way too cool to want you to read it. Kulture Vultures is funny, entertaining, weird, and sometimes gross, but it's also more than that. The story celebrates and honors human culture, independent media, and free speech. If you love pulp fiction or you're looking for something that steps outside the normal, this is definitely for you.

P.S. Kulture Vultures is only 99 cents today and tomorrow! 


William Vitka is a journalist and author and native New Yorker/Pennsylvanian. He’s written for CBSNews.com, Stuff Magazine, GameSpy, On Spec Magazine and The Red Penny Papers to name a few.

His debut novel, INFECTED, was published, kicking and screaming and bloody, in late 2012. His anthology of short stories, THE SPACE WHISKEY DEATH CHRONICLES, was published at the crack of 2013 by Curiosity Quills. EMERGENCE, a prequel to INFECTED, will knock your socks off. His latest book is the alien invasion tale STRANDED.


Find him online at:



Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/William-Vitka/e/B004S7MH9S/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VitkasGrimm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vitka

Sunday, December 1, 2013

10 Books You May Not Have Read (But Definitely Should) For $0.99


It's time to stock your Kindle! Many Curiosity Quills titles including The Charge, Primetime, and lots more are only 99 cents on 12/2 & 12/3!

I've taken the time to select a few titles that I think deserve more attention! For only 99 cents, there is no excuse not to take a chance on something new. You might just find a new favorite. Remember to leave a review after you read!



For the entire list of titles, click here!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday Extravaganza and Small Business Saturday

Two important announcements today! First, as you probably know, today is Small Business Saturday, Black Friday's much cooler and far less evil cousin. To celebrate, visit a small business in your area. For those of you in Austin, may I suggest The Book Spot or BookPeople. For extra karma points, buy a copy of The Charge at a local store and you also support Curiosity Quills Press and me (the smallest business I can think of).

On that note, I want to remind you that not all small businesses are places you can visit! Shop small by buying a book from a small press or indie author. May I suggest one of my favorite small businesses, Curiosity Quills Press.



Announcement #2! I'm a day late, but I wanted to let you know about the Black Friday Giveaway Extravaganza! The giveaway form is right here, so enter to win some gift cards to jumpstart your holiday shopping, and connect with some awesome YA and NA authors at the same time.




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Saturday, November 23, 2013

The story behind The Devil's Flower by Lisa Collicutt - The real Rose, the not-so-real Steele, and Lisa's Canadian motorcycle gang


I throughly enjoyed reading The Devil's Flower by Lisa Collicutt. It's got all the right parts of a hot paranormal romance. Rose is a running away from an abusive stepfather and has no place to call home. She frightened and vulnerable enough to need Steele's protection, but also very strong and dangerous in her own right. Steele is the perfect dark hero. Dark and threatening, but a hero on the inside. And can't help breaking out of his dark, protective shell to fall in love with Rose. And, when they find out that they're made to destroy each other, and not love each other, everything gets all the more complicated. A very sexy, and enjoyable read!

My newly found fandom will be proven by these completely fangirl style interview questions. Enjoy!

So, do you also ride? And if so, are you a member of a Canadian motorcycle gang of fallen demons?

Haha, I love this question! We sort of have our own unregistered motley gang (friends with bikes). No that's not a club name, just literally friends with bikes. My husband has had motorcycles since he was 7-8, and we've been together since I was 17, so I spent many years riding on back. Only a few years ago while writing The Devil's Flower did I become brave enough to get my own motorcycle. I rode it around the yard a couple summers and sold it this past spring, deciding not to get my license. I'm truly happy sitting on back –and I'm still the boss. I dream up so many story scenes during riding.

You mention in the dedication that Rose is based on a real person. Can you tell us more about the person who inspired Rose?

Rosalie Reeves is my nephew's girlfriend and a beautiful part of our family (on the inside as well as the outside). Because I had the title before the story, I needed a flower name for the main female character and almost picked Lily, but thought it might be overused. Then I realized the name Rosalie was right under my nose. The real Rosalie is also one of my first readers and fell in love with Steele.

What about Steele? Is he inspired by anyone?

Well, my husband would like to think Steele is inspired by him, but not so. They only thing they have in common is their bikes. Steele is the guy I would like to go off on a fantasy/book adventure with—as long as there was real life to come home to. I drew his character completely from my imagination, and wanted to write a motorcycle themed story, inspired by my own love of motorcycles, and thus—Steele was born. Incidentally; his name was originally, Darkstar. You can go on the Curiosity Quills website and read why I changed it to Steele.

Is Nowhere, Colorado a real place? If not, are there any other places that inspired your setting?

Nowhere is not a real place. I once was given a piece of advice that made a lot of sense to me. "Create fictional places; that way you can do whatever you want and not offend anyone." For The Devil's Flower I decided on the State of Colorado, because mountain vistas along highways, and backwoods river settings, were the sceneries in my head for this story. But even though Nowhere isn't a real place, a lot of research was required. I still like to pinpoint the fictional towns on the map. And this one is located somewhere between Pueblo and the Kansas border.

So...what happens next? What can we expect from book 2 in the series?


The Demon's Wrath begins two seasons later in spring. I wanted to give Rosalie and Steele significant time to build their relationship without us intruding J There will be some steamy moments between lovers, as well as high-speed outlaw danger and even some tragedy. And of course, someone is a little pissed and has a score to settle.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Quill Don't Kill - Help us raise money for no-kill animal shelters!

Quill, Don't Kill - Banner

My publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, is trying extra hard to emphasize giving in their agenda this year, and they're starting with our favorite furry friends.  In October they launched two anthologies, Prime Time and After Dark, full of fun sci-fi, paranormal, and quirky horror, and 10% of the proceeds go to no-kill animal shelters across the U.S.  Now they have launched an Indiegogo fundraising campaign called Quill Don’t Kill, in which all funds raised besides a small production cost will also be donated to no-kill animal shelters.


Giving and Getting
In order to raise the 10k we are striving to, we need your help. Every little bit helps, and for every donation, we will send you personalized prizes to say thank you for being awesome, including a hardcover special edition of the anthologies.  I know during the Christmas season money can be tight; so if you really can’t spare the money, don’t worry! You can still help us by sharing this campaign with your friends, coworkers, followers on social networks etc! To see our Quill Don’t Kill campaign, learn more, check out the perks, and share with friends, you can visit igg.me/at/QuillDontKill.

Why is this important?

Last year, over 3 million animals were euthanized in the US alone, costing us taxpayers almost a billion dollars! If we spent just 5% of this amount on the low-cost spay and neuter clinics that no-kill shelters have, we could open over 250 clinics and sterilize 4 million animals, drastically reducing the overpopulation of animals, and thus the need to euthanize healthy pets.

Thanks for your support!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Excerpt from Waking Up Dead by Margo Bond Collins

Dead and in Alabama? That's a horrible fate.

Check out Waking Up Dead by the very sweet and friendly and fellow Texan, Margo Bond Collins.



When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, when she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex, she went to Alabama. Now she's witnessed another murder, and she's not about to let this one go. She's determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up dead in Alabama?


EXCERPT:

When I died, I expected to go to heaven.
Okay. Maybe hell. It’s not like I was perfect or anything. But I was sort of hoping for heaven.
Instead, I went to Alabama.
Yeah. I know. It’s weird.
I died in Dallas, my hometown. I was killed, actually. Murdered. I’ll spare you the gruesome details. I don’t like to remember them myself. Some jerk with a knife--and probably a Bad-Mommy complex. Believe me, if I knew where he was, I’d go haunt his ass.
At any rate, by the time death came, I was ready for it--ready to stop hurting, ready to let go. I didn’t even fight it.
And then I woke up dead in Alabama. Talk about pissed off.
You know, even reincarnation would have been fine with me--I could have started over, clean slate and all that. Human, cow, bug. Whatever. But no. I ended up haunting someplace I’d never even been.
That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, right? Ghosts are supposed to be the tortured spirits of those who cannot let go of their earthly existence. If they could be convinced to follow the light, they’d leave behind said earthly existence and quit scaring the bejesus out of the poor folks who run across them. That’s what all those “ghost hunter” shows on television tell us.
Let me tell you something. The living don’t know jack about the dead.
Not this dead chick, anyway.


Buy Waking Up Dead on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Waking-Up-Dead-ebook/dp/B00FOXWLM8/
 
Margo Bond Collins lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. Waking Up Dead is her first published novel. Her second novel, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy, forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.