Friday, October 21, 2016

Month9Books Birthday Bash and Giant Giveaway!

Welcome to Month9Books Turns 4 Birthday Bash! We’re thrilled to share this celebration with you!

Here’s a quick note from Georgia McBride, publisher and owner of Month9Books!
“Month9Books is turning 4 this year, and I could not be happier. We are living proof that if you have a dream to write, create and inspire, you should follow that dream and let nothing keep you from realizing it. Thank you to all the readers, writers, agents, partners and friends who have made this possible. We write for you."

Thanks so much for 4 awesome years! We look forward to celebrating #5 with you in 2017! We have something for everyone from every genre from Sci-Fi to Fantasy to Paranormal and Horror! As a thank you, we're giving away some well-loved books from 2015 and 2016. All paperback and hardcover winners must reside in the United States. International readers may receive only eBooks if they win.

Here’s a look at all of the books we have published through the years! 

Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose
Very Superstitious: Myths, Legends and Tales of Superstition
Praefatio (Praefatio, #1) by Georgia McBride
The Undertakers: Secret of The Corpse Eater by Ty Drago
Fledgling (Dragonrider Chronicles #1) by Nicole Conway
Avian (Dragonrider Chronicles #2) by Nicole Conway
Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton
The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham
Summer of the Oak Moon by Laura Templeton
The Undertakers: Last Siege of Haven by Ty Drago
The Artisans by Julie Reece
Into the Dark by Caroline Patti
Serpentine by Cindy Pon
Minotaur by Phillip Simpson
Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins
Ashes in the Sky (Fire in the Woods #2) by Jennifer M. Eaton
The Undertakers 5: End of the World by Ty Drago
The Requiem Red by Brynn Chapman
Emerge by Tobie Easton
There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane
The Paladins (The Artisans #2) by Julie Reece
Argos by Phillip W. Simpson
Traitor (Dragonrider Chronicles #3) by Nicole Conway
Rise by Jennifer Anne Davis
In the Shadow of the Dragon King by J. Keller Ford
Hair in All the Wrong Places by Andrew Buckley
Genesis Girl by Jennifer Bardsley
Into the Light (Into the Dark #2) by Caroline Patti
un/Fair by Steven Harper
Operation Tenley by Jennifer Gooch Hummer
The Perilous Journey of the Much-Too-Spontaneous Girl (The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl #2) by Leigh Statham
Sacrifice (Serpentine #2) by Cindy Pon
Clanless (Nameless #2 ) by Jennifer Jenkins
The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief by Charles Day
In the Beginning Anthology
Immortal (Dragonrider Chronicles #4)  by Nicole Conway

Giveaway Details:
A total of 13 winners will receive…
(1) Hardcover of SERPENTINE by Cindy Pon, US Only.
(1) Paperback of EMERGE by Tobie Easton, US Only.
(1) Hardcover of POPPY MAYBERRY: THE MONDAY by Jennie K. Brown, US Only.
(1) Paperback set of THE DRAGONRIDERS CHRONICLES by Nicole Conway, US Only.
(1) Paperback set of HAIR IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES by Andrew Buckley, POLARIS by Beth Bowland, and ARTIFACTS by Pete Catalano, US Only.
(1) Paperback set of TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES, THE REQUIEM RED by Brynn Chapman, FIRE IN THE WOODS by Jennifer M. Eaton, & RISE by Jennifer Anne Davis, US Only.
(3) Paperbacks of MINOTAUR by Phillip W. Simpson, US Only.
(3) International winners will receive a 5 eBooks of their choice from books listed above.

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Disclaimer: Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment.

After the Happily Ever After Promo Blitz: Giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card and eBooks

Horror/Fantasy/Fairy Tale Anthology
Date Published: December 15, 2016

The happily ever after is never the end. The curtain doesn't fall once love is recognized or evil is vanquished.  Credits don't roll once the giant is slain or the big bad wolf is boiled alive.  Wicked stepsisters, malevolent rulers, and hideous creatures still have lives after their sinister roles play out; heroes, lovers, and dreamers often find their victories lead to more troubles.

Within these pages are more than seventy continuations, retellings, and eldritch stories that explore the dark forests, magical castles, and hideous creatures After the Happily Ever After.


“Sweet Revenge” by Charlotte Bond:
The laughter had died and the rumours had grown when they'd found the third dead dog in two weeks; each one had been torn to pieces, the heart gone and the ribcage showing teeth marks.
Outside the cottage, in the dark night, a dog howled.

“Little Red Hunting Hood” by Mary DeSantis:
I halt halfway to getting my red cape off and hung on a hook by the door.

Budding beanstalks, grandma has a visitor. Grandma never has visitors, except for me, Mom, and that guy she met at the Elder Cottage Living group two months ago.

I strain to hear. Whoever’s back there is quiet, which means it isn’t the Elder Cottages guy, and of course, this is the one time Grandma keeps her voice low.

I hang my cape and go back to the basket.

Two sets of footsteps approach. Grandma enters the kitchen. Her white hair is in its signature bun, and she’s wearing her white dress with the red-check pattern.

“Hello, sweetie.” Her face wrinkles with a smile and stays wrinkled as she directs her a glare over her shoulder. “Oh, for giant’s sake, get in here. She doesn’t bite.”

“A Sleeve of Feathers” by Claudia Quint:
It all came crashing down when he found Geileis in bed, nestled between Dylan and Ailill, Oisin cuddling on the left and Ruari at her feet, with Emmet and Cian resorting to floor space when they ran out of room on the bed. Stephen dragged the brothers out one by one, pushing and pulling so they awoke with starts and cries, until she roused, confused and sleepy, to ask him what in the world he was doing.

“Like it's the most normal thing in the world.” Stephen contented himself by folding his hands to stop fiddling with the cuffs. “To sleep with your brothers and shut out your husband.”

“Step-Mother” by Deanna Smith:
My name is Cindy Charming.  I'm not, just so you know.  Husband is, but that's his gig, and if it makes me squeal and giggle and blush when he's pouring it on, that ain’t nobody's business but our own.  I sure as hell didn't spawn these three hooligans without some learned interjection from him. 

We tied the knot ten years ago.  A fabulous fairy tale wedding, of course.  A little creepy when the in-laws asked how much torture I'd like to lay on my step-mother and step-sisters, but you've really got to hand it to them, they went all out to make sure I felt welcome to the fam.

“Raven, Rose, and Apple Pie” by Jaap Boekestein:
The wind pulls at my hair; my braids are all undone. I can see such a distance from the highest tower of the castle: yellow fields and dark woods, silver rivers and hazy gray mountains with white peaks. It is beautiful. Will this be the last thing I see before I throw myself from the window? What will I think during the fall? Will I feel regret, or fear, or freedom? Will it… will it hurt? God in Heaven, forgive me.
His song saves me. The sound of the lute reaches even the highest tower. His voice…


A minstrel is at the gate, asking to be let in with a demonstration of his skills. He is young; he is handsome, wearing bright colors.
I step back from the edge.
I have been saved.

“WITCH v. HANSEL, GRETEL, et. al.” by Daniel M. Kimmel:
So the question before us is one of balancing these two compelling but competing claims: Appellant Witch's insistence that any attempt to curtail or punish her actions would be an infringement of her religious freedoms under the First Amendment versus the desire of the Respondent class not to be baked and eaten.

While there is no precedent that is precisely on point, there are a number of cases that indicate a clear pattern.  One such case is Goldilocks v. Papa Bear, Mama Bear, et. al. 516 Goose 749 (1852). In this instance, Goldilocks was in the same position as the Respondents in this case, trespassing on private property while asserting a need that, as was so claimed, overrode any competing rights. In her tort action against the Bear family, Goldilocks asserted numerous injuries, such as from eating porridge that was “too hot” or attempting to sleep in a bed that was “too small.” Nonetheless, the court found for the Bears, upholding the ursine precept that “a bear's home is his castle” and that being a “cute child” did preempt the rights of the Bear family to the quiet enjoyment of their abode. Indeed, the defense raised by Goldilocks against charges of criminal trespass and unauthorized digestion are precisely those that are asserted by the Respondent class in the present action.

Alisha Costanzo is from a Syracuse suburb. She earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she currently teaches English. She’s the author of BLOOD PHOENIX: REBIRTH, BLOOD PHOENIX: CLAIMED, and LOVING RED, and is co-editor of DISTORTED and UNDERWATER. IMPRINTED, her new novel, is undergoing serious edits for its 2017 release. In the meantime, she will continue to corrupt young minds, rant about the government, and daydream about her all around nasty creatures.

Having relocated from Northwest Florida’s lonesome roads and haunted swamps, Anthony S. Buoni now prowls the gas lamp lit streets of New Orleans, playing moonlight hide and seek in the Crescent City’s above ground cemeteries. Anthony is the author of Conversation Party, Bad Apple Bolero, as well as the editor to the Between There anthologies.  His stories and articles have been featured in North Florida Noir and Waterfront Living. When not prowling, Anthony keeps it scary, writing dark fiction, editing, and watching horror movies.  In his spare time, he DJs, plays music, and conjures other worldly creatures with tarot cards and dreams.

Contact Links

Purchase Links
Bookmarks and Pre-order Copies 
Unpublished stories, personalized poems, and Advance-reader Copies from the Contributors and Editors. 
Limited-edition Hard-cover copies of the 550-page anthology.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Love in an Elevator Book Blast: Giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash


Love in an Elevator: A Romantic Comedy Anthology

Laugh, swoon, and escape with this romantic comedy anthology!

Will an elevator ride change her life? In HOLD THE LIFT by Aven Ellis, Sierra Crawford ends up meeting sexy British hockey player Jude Parker after their elevator sticks. Sierra finds herself getting to know Jude—and she likes what she sees. But he wouldn’t be interested in a food-obsessed assistant editor right? Sierra knows she’s quirky—her fondness of Magic 8 Balls is proof of that—so there’s no way he could look her way. Or can he?

In DOWN, THEN UP by Beth Labonte, Lauren Oswald never expected to see her college love, Jamie, again. Not after the way things ended. She certainly doesn’t expect to see him ten years later at a bachelorette party in Vegas, waiting inside a hotel elevator. Slightly older. Different haircut. No wedding ring. Same eyes. As the pair embark on a late night errand, Lauren is flooded with memories of how Jamie became the one that got away—and she realizes that this one night could be their last chance to make things right.

In GOING UP? by Whitney Dineen, Fiona Kitchen had a dream when she moved to New York and it wasn’t taking a job as an elevator operator in a posh, West Side, apartment building. She also didn’t expect to meet a hot handyman, a Columbian drug lord and a notorious mob boss and then fall for one of them in a big way. Life in the Big Apple isn’t quite turning out the way she planned, but who said that was a bad thing?

In Becky Monson’s TAKING A CHANCE, Liza Parker has a fear of heights, crowds and small spaces. So what’s a girl like her doing on a crowded elevator going to the top of the Empire State Building? Freaking out, that’s what she’s doing. Enter Jay Sanders, a tourist who thinks he might be able to help Liza face her fears, but she has to be willing to spend the day with a complete stranger. Maybe taking a chance on Jay is just what Liza needs.

In HAPPY TO BE STUCK WITH YOU by Rich Amooi, Becca has had an office crush on Daniel—Mr. Delicious—for over a year. Getting stuck in an elevator with him was the last thing she expected. If only she can control her claustrophobia. To make matters worse, they're also stuck with an eighty-year-old man who has a weak bladder, and a penchant for playing cupid. But life is unpredictable. Sometimes, getting stuck is the best thing that can happen.

Computer genius Maisy Potter crosses an ocean to take her dream vacation at an English country estate … where the winsome Mark Prebys works below stairs. With him, Maisy discovers a carefree happiness she's never known. But will the troubles dogging her from back home, a secret or two whispered behind the parlour curtains, and misunderstandings to beat the band extinguish the magic they think they've found in each other? And if not, what happens when Maisy's enchanting holiday ends? Find out in UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS … AND THE LIFT IN BETWEEN by Geralyn Corcillo.

In THE ONLY WAY IS UP by Lindy Dale, Meet Bailey Burns: hottest thing on the literary circuit. And the most reluctant. After fainting in a lift and regaining consciousness to find herself kissing a stranger, Bailey thinks her week can’t get much worse. But it can. Much worse. Bailey is about to be proposed to by a crazed fan wearing a vampire costume. She’s about to discover she’s in relationship with the guy she kissed. Not only that, but said guy happens to be her new PR manager. Oh dear!

In OUT OF ORDER, by Dee Ernst, Grace has sworn off good-looking men. As soon as she starts dating one of them, she transforms from a mature, confident woman to a needy teen-aged girl. So when she meets Seth, the best-looking man she’s ever seen, she makes the right choice—forget all about him. But a neurotic golden retriever and a broken elevator keep bringing them together. Is the world working against her … or maybe the gods are finally smiling?

99 cents
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Praise for the Book
", easy, and highly entertaining reads, perfect for when you have a night in and need a little hit of frivolity and a happily ever after."—Author Jennifer Collin

"Touching, funny, and—true to the elevator theme—an uplifting and wonderful ride." -Author Jo Perry

Grab a copy of Love in an Elevator for just 99 cents this week only!
amazon or paypal
$50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash Giveaway
Ends 11/2/16

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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 and sponsored by the author. Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Avelynn Book Tour: Giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card and eBooks

02_The Edge of Faith

Avelynn: The Edge of Faith
by Marissa Campbell

Publication Date: September 26, 2016
eBook; 302 Pages
Genre: Historical Romance/Medieval
Series: Avelynn (Book Two)

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Avelynn: The Edge of Faith is a stand-alone Viking Romance from author Marissa Campbell.

It's the year 871. Charges of treason, murder, and witchcraft follow Avelynn into exile as she flees England with Alrik. Arriving in Wales, they find refuge among Alrik's friends in the Welsh nobility. Cast out by his half-brothers, Alrik seeks to regain his honor and earn favor with the gods. When war threatens, Alrik embraces gold and the opportunity for his crew to become mercenaries, aiding the Southern Welsh kings in their fight against Rhodri the Great.

Desperate to return home, Avelynn seeks to find a way to prove her innocence, but she is pitted against Alrik as their desires for the future clash. With battle looming, Avelynn's faith in their relationship is further tested through a bitter struggle with Marared, a jealous lover from Alrik's past. Marared's threats turn deadly, and Avelynn runs afoul of magic and sorcery, causing her to question her beliefs and role as priestess.

When Avelynn and Alrik are betrayed, Avelynn is captured and Alrik is charged with regicide. The two become separated, a chasm of greed, deceit, and ambition driving them apart. In an act of harrowing faith, Avelynn will stop at nothing to find her way back to Alrik and break them both free from Wales's bloodthirsty grasp.

AVELYNN: THE EDGE OF FAITH is a stand-alone novel and #2 in the Avelynn series.

Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Kobo

About the Author

Marissa Campbell is a published freelance author, and co-author of the award-winning, spiritual self-help book, Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day. Her debut historical fiction, AVELYNN, was published through St. Martin’s Press, September 2015. Look for the second book in the AVELYNN series, releasing Fall 2016. She is a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America, Writer’s Community of Durham Region, and local critique group B7. When she is not writing, she is busy looking after her wonderful children, spending time with her fantastic husband, hanging out with her awesome friends, teaching yoga, dancing, laughing, and having fun!

For more information, visit You can also follow Marissa Campbell on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 26
Review & Excerpt at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, September 27
Review at Just One More Chapter
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, September 28
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, September 29
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review & Excerpt at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Friday, September 30
Excerpt at Diana's Book Reviews

Monday, October 3
Review at Curling up by the Fire

Tuesday, October 4
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, October 5
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, October 6
Excerpt at Let Them Read Books

Friday, October 7
Spotlight at The Reading Queen

Sunday, October 9
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, October 11
Spotlight at Books, Dreams, Life

Wednesday, October 12
Review at Kristin Un-Ravelle'd

Thursday, October 13
Review at Broken Teepee

Friday, October 14
Spotlight at The Book Tree

Tuesday, October 18
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, October 19
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Friday, October 21
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Excerpt at Jorie Loves a Story


To win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or Avelynn: The Edge of Faith eBook, please enter via the Gleam form below. 1 gift card and 5 eBooks are up for grabs!


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on October 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Avelynn: The Edge of Faith


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Release Day Celebration: "One Summer with Autumn" by Julie Reece with Giveaway


Hello Readers! Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for
One Summer with Autumn by Julie Reece
presented by Swoon Romance!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Happy Book Birthday, Julie!


Seventeen-year-old Autumn Teslow arrives at her father’s job fair knowing she’ll never measure up to the perfect image of daddy’s little girl—her twin sister. 
Wearing anger management issues like a second skin won’t help Autumn win her dad’s approval for the big trip she’s been planning—or meet his condition that she successfully complete a summer internship for college. 
Autumn’s cool unravels when her sister lectures against disappointing the family again. And when a young, bearded guy steps through the crowd to settle the growing argument between siblings, Autumn lashes out, dubbing him a “Duck Dynasty wannabe.” 
At nineteen, Caden Behr is clueless as to why his man parts are threatened by the fearsome girl before him. He'd only come to find an intern for his recreational equipment company, not break up a girl-fight between two sisters. 
Unfortunately, the only candidate left is the girl who just told him off. Without her, he’ll never prove to his CEO mother that he’s ready for more responsibility. 
Autumn and Caden agree that if they can keep from killing one another, they can use one another to get what they want and then never have to see each other again. Which is what they want. 
Until it isn’t. 
Because despite her best efforts to scare him off, and his fading desire to push her into the lake, they’re beginning to enjoy the time they spend together. But pride is a hard habit to break. And if neither will admit their changing feelings, they could lose a whole lot more than one summer.
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One Summer with Autumn
by Julie Reece
Publisher: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Available for Purchase:


As a child, Julie’s summers were about horseback riding and fishing, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all. She struggled with multiple learning disabilities, and spent much of her time gazing out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) she fought dyslexia for her right to read and won.

Afterward, she invented stories where powerful heroines kicked bad-guy butt to win the hearts charismatic heroes. And then she wrote one down…

Writing ever since, Julie weaves southern gothic, contemporary, fantasy, and young adult romances. She enjoys sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. Her writing is proof a dream and some hard work can overcome any obstacle.

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!


Monday, October 17, 2016

"Flames of Nevyana," by Edward Willett: Guest Post and Giveaway

Flames of Nevyana by Edward Willett
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
Publisher: Rebelight Publishing

Blue Fire is both blessing and curse. A gift from the gods, its mystical light and energy powers and protects the land of Nevyana, but it also divides her people into three distinct groups. In the wrong hands, it becomes a formidable weapon. When sacred objects for channelling Blue Fire are stolen, sworn enemies Petra, Amlinn, and Jin set out to find them, and their paths converge on a collision course with the truth. Can they bridge the centuries-old divide between their communities? Or will their search for the truth and the explosive power of Blue Fire signal the end of Nevyana?

Link to Goodreads

Purchase Links:
BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

Guest Post: An Interview with the Author

You’ve written more than 50 books! How do you find the time to be so prolific? What is your writing schedule like?

It’s funny, people think I’m prolific, but to myself I feel lazy—I always think I could be really prolific if I tried.

The truth is, there are two elements to my prolificity. The first is simply the fact that I’m a full-time writer, and have been for...let’s see...23 years as of this writing. All I do is write, so naturally I have more time to do it. The second element is speediness. I’ve written a 100,000-word novel in a month (Shadows, second in my fantasy trilogy The Masks of Aygrima, written as E.C. Blake and published by DAW Books), and earlier this year I wrote a 60,000-word novel in two and a half weeks (Door into Faerie, the fifth and final book in my YA fantasy series The Shards of Excalibur, published by Coteau Books). When all is going well, I write about 1,500 to 2,000 words an hour. That adds up in a hurry.

My writing schedule depends on what I’m working on. I’m not always writing. I write a lot of non-fiction as well as fiction, so often I’m researching instead of writing. When I do get into the writing, I usually put in about four hours a day, in a couple of sessions. I like to write on my laptop out of my office—in a coffee shop or (ahem) bar—when I’m working on fiction. When I’m working on non-fiction, I’m more likely to work at home because I need to spread out reference materials on my desk.

The rest of my day is taken up with email, driving my daughter to and from school/dance/musical rehearsals, playing with the cat (very important), posting to social media, reading, etc.

How did you get the idea for this book?

I was driving from my home town of Regina, Saskatchewan, to Meadow Lake, about 500 kilometres further north, to do a reading at the library. Whenever I’m on my own in the car on a long trip I do a lot of thinking about writing, and on this occasion I deliberately set myself the task of coming up with a new idea for a YA fantasy novel. I got to thinking about Arthur C. Clarke’s famous dictum that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” and that led me to think that our mastery of electricity would certainly seem like magic to someone from the Middle Ages. From there it was a short leap to the idea of a magic system based on electricity. In my book, Blue Fire is definitely magic, and is controlled through magical means, but it’s clearly electricity, too. With that idea in mind, I began my usual process of asking myself questions about the world: how would Blue Fire be used? How did the people learn to harness it? Who might be harmed or benefit from it? By the time I got to Meadow Lake, I had the broad outlines of the story sketched out in my head. I think I even talked about it in my presentation that night.

You also write and perform in plays. How does playwriting differ from novel writing?

The biggest difference is that plays are told almost entirely through dialogue. There’s no opportunity to explain what’s going on through paragraphs of exposition; anything you want the audience to know has to somehow be worked into dialogue, without falling into the trap of characters explaining to each other things they already know as denizens of the world of the stage. There are also technical limits. In a novel, I can write, “The sky turned black and began to rain fire.” Nine words, and a vivid mental image. Yet on stage, that effect is nigh impossible to achieve. Special effects of any kind on stage are difficult, expensive, and prone to not working. You end up, again, depending on dialogue: one character telling another how she felt when the sky turned black and began to rain fire.

As an actor and director, when I write plays I’m always conscious of how it can be staged. The simpler you can make the staging and set, the more likely you can find a company to produce the play. That said, if your characters and dialogue are fascinating enough, and your actors skilled enough, they can perform on an empty stage and still make the play a success. As a friend of mine who directs musicals likes to say, “Nobody ever left the theatre humming the scenery.”

To flip things around, though, I think that being an actor and director helps my novel-writing. When I critique or edit, a common problem I encounter is a scene where characters seem to “float”—you’re never sure exactly where they are within their setting. This can be disconcerting if, say, a character is looking out a window one second, and the next is staring into the fire—but there’s been no description of him transitioning from the one location to the next. In my mind, as I write scenes, I’ve always got a firm idea of where each character is in relation to all the others, and I think that useful skill has been honed through directing plays, where the positioning of actors on the stage is vital to the success of a scene.

Which is your first love: writing or performing?

Performing is more fun, but writing is ultimately more rewarding. The reward of performing is immediate, and wrapped up in the joy of the craft itself: of inhabiting another character’s skin for a while, of singing a song beautifully, of moving an audience to laughter or tears and, hopefully, applause. That’s all wonderful, but it’s ephemeral. The play is done, the audience goes home, the moment is gone.

The reward of writing is more subtle, but far more enduring. As a writer, I still inhabit the skin of other characters. If I write a scene beautifully, I may still move my audience to laughter or tears. In that way it’s similar to performing. On the down side, I am seldom made aware of my success: the occasional review, the occasional email from a satisfied reader. But on the up side, and the reason I say writing is more rewarding, a book may last, essentially, forever. William Shakespeare was an actor as well as a playwright, but it is his words that have endured, not his acting. Nobody will remember me as an actor in fifty years (the art of a stage actor is seldom recorded for posterity; movie and TV actors have a better chance of being remembered), but my books will still be around, still finding new audiences, and still moving them to laughter or tears.

Why do you find the science fiction and fantasy genres particularly appealing as a writer?

I write what I love to read. I have two older brothers, and they both read science fiction when I was growing up. I wanted to be like them, so I started reading it too—and I was immediately hooked, as is evident from the title of my first science fiction story, written when I was 11 years old: “KastraGlazz, Hypership Test Pilot.”

For me, writing fiction strictly about the here and now, or the recent past, seems incredibly limiting, like typing while wearing a straitjacket. Science fiction and fantasy allow my imagination free rein; any time in the past, the present or the distant future and any place in this universe or any other are available to me as settings; creatures both human and non-human are at my beck and call to serve as characters; and there is no idea so outré that it cannot be couched in science fiction or fantasy terms and turned into a story.

For me, the question, “Why do you write science fiction and fantasy?” has never made much sense. The obvious question to me is, “Why doesn’t everyone?”

Petra stepped through the gap in the Curtain with his sword raised.

The moan came again, close by. There! A flicker of blue from the Temple spire illuminated a long, pale shape on the ground. He hurried over and pointed his blade at it. “Don’t move!”

The shape remained motionless. As Petra’s eyes adjusted to the dark, he realized it was a girl about his age lying bound and gagged in the wet grass. She wore a short skirt, colour uncertain in the darkness. The cloth that gagged her and bound her bare arms and legs was apparently torn from its ragged hem. Silver bracelets encircled her wrists and ankles. Silver coins

hung from the band of cloth covering her breasts. More coins glinted in her dark hair. A jewel winked from her exposed navel. Wide eyes stared at him.

A Freefolk girl! Had the Freefolk somehow opened that hole in the Curtain? Petra drove his sword into the mud, squished to his knees, reached for the gag and pulled it free.

“Thank you,” she gasped. “My legs....”

“You’re Freefolk,” Petra snapped. “Why are you here? Are there more of you?”

“I’m alone. I followed a thief—”

“Another of your kind?” Petra scrambled to his feet, reaching for the hilt of his sword.

“No!” Her eyes rolled, white in the dim light.

Petra tugged his blade free and stared around into the darkness, heart pounding, expecting attack at any moment.

The girl twisted her head toward the dark gap in the Curtain. “Listen to me! He’s inside the Temple! He’ll be back any minute. He’ll kill you. He’ll kill us both. Cut me free.”

Petra looked down at her again, hesitating. She was of the Freefolk -- heretics and thieves, the lot of them -- but she was also a girl in trouble. And as a Priest-Apprentice of Vekrin, he had vowed to help the helpless. He swore. Then he shoved his sword back into the muck, knelt again, pulled the Freefolk girl into a sitting position, drew his dagger from its sheath, and cut the twisted cloth tied around her ankles. As he reached for her wrists she screamed, “He’s coming!”

Petra jumped up, dagger in hand, and spun toward the Curtain. A dark figure burst through the gap. The intruder held a long staff topped with a glass sphere that suddenly blazed bright blue. Petra barely had time to recognize the staff as a Firelance before the intruder pointed it at him and—

Blue Fire flashed.

Agony blazed through Petra’s body. His muscles snapped rigid. Clutching his useless knife, unable to release it, unable to move, unable to breathe, he toppled like a felled tree.

The black mud swallowed him whole.

About the Author:
Edward Willett is the award-winning author of more than fifty books of fiction and non-fiction for children, young adults, and adults. He lives in Regina with his wife, Margaret Anne; their teenage daughter, Alice; and their Siberian cat, Shadowpaw.

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Giveaway Information: Contest ends November 4, 2016

* Two (2) winners will received a physical copy of Flames of Nevyana by Edward Willett (US/Canada)
* Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Flames of Nevyana by Edward Willett (INT)

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Between Hope and the Highway Book Blast: Giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

Between Hope and the Highway by Charissa Stastny

Sometimes things get so messed up you have to pick up and get the heck out of Dodge. That’s what Liz Ruthersford does. Memories can be weapons, and hers have become incoming missiles. Fleeing home and her parents’ pity, she seeks refuge on a remote ranch in Montana where no one knows her tragic past. When she meets Bentley and Rawson Law, brothers with wounds of their own, life veers off course from her plans. Embers of hope and love flicker to life, but will Liz let them burn bright enough to warm her heart? Or will she hit the highway and run once again? A clean, heart-pounding romance and redemption story.


Praise for Between Hope and the Highway

“Stastny has weaved an endearing tale with Between Hope and the Highway. It is a beautiful story about love, loss, redemption, and forgiveness of not only others, but most importantly, ourselves. This is more than a love story, it is a story of family and coming together." –Jennifer Peel, author

“ epic tale of romance, unconditional love, redemption, and the power of the human spirit to survive and transform amidst adversity. The metamorphosis of the hero makes this a highly gratifying read. He grows with each flip of the page, leaving behind a trail of optimism. This book will make you smile as you witness a true change of heart.” – Taylor Dean, author

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As I finished loading the last horse, Rawson materialized and wrapped his arms around me again. I jumped as he nestled his stubbled chin into my neck. The tingling sensation he evoked sent delightful shivers clear down to my toes.

“You ready to go, babycakes?”

Goosebumps erupted as he rubbed his chin against my neck. I tried to escape, but Blondie stood nearby and Rawson acted for all he was worth. Twisting me, he pulled me close and leaned in to kiss me. I threw my hand over my mouth just before his lips made contact. At this angle, the bimbo couldn’t tell he kissed the back of my hand quite passionately. Thank goodness for small mercies. I might have passed out if he’d gone at my lips with such gusto.

When he paused to wink at me, I whispered, “I hate your guts.”

His blue-green eyes crinkled. “I know.” He grabbed my slobbery hand and said over his shoulder, “It was a pleasure meeting you, Kelsey.” He doffed his hat and closed the trailer. Opening my door, he helped me inside his flashy truck. “There you go, sweetheart.”

When he climbed in the driver’s side, I hauled off and punched his leg. “I can’t believe you kissed my hand like that.”

“I was going for your lips.”


He laughed. Glancing out the window and catching Kelsey watching us like lab rats, he leaned over to peck my cheek.

“Kiss me again and I’ll deck you,” I said between clenched teeth.

“It might be worth it, especially if you move your hand.”

“You’re impossible.”

He waved as we pulled away from the arena. “I owe you big time for saving me from that blond nightmare. Thanks for playing along.”

“You kind of forced me to,” I grumped.

His grin caused havoc in my heart. “Did you see her face when you said all that garbage about what thing implied? It was difficult to keep a straight face.”

I stuck my tongue out, making him chortle.

“Ah, Lizzie, you’re all right.”

“And you’re an idiot.”

Author Charissa Stastny

Charissa Stastny is married to her high-school sweetheart and has four children who are the light of her life. She’s an avid reader, happy writer, BYU graduate, and lover of irises, clouds, chocolate, sushi, and nature. Though born and raised in Las Vegas, she has never pulled a handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She shuffles kids, laundry, and church responsibilities rather well, though. She currently lives in Utah with her family, where shuffling cards isn’t required.

Blast Giveaway
Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash
Ends 10/31/16

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