Christmas Wonder Hop

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Celebrate the Wonder of the Season! Visit all of the blogs to see what they love most about the season and which books have made their Christmas wish lists! Thank you so much to herding cats & burning soup for organizing the hop!

For this post, I want to share some of my holiday favorites:

My Favorite Holiday Read: 

I love this read. The story of the Macy's elf made me laugh until I a cried. Recommended read if you read if you need some help getting through the holidays!

Novel Description:

David Sedaris's beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy's elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris's tales of tardy trick-or-treaters ("Us and Them"); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French ("Jesus Shaves"); what to do when you've been locked out in a snowstorm ("Let It Snow"); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations ("Six to Eight Black Men"); what Halloween at the medical examiner's looks like ("The Monster Mash"); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry ("Cow and Turkey").

Holiday Reads for Kids:

My kids love this read. It's one of our favorites!

"The day before Christmas, snuggled on his floor, Bear sleeps soundly with a great big snore...."

Bear's friends are determined to keep Bear awake for Christmas! So they wake Bear up and have him help them find a Christmas tree, bake cakes, hang up stockings, and sing Christmas songs. Bear stays up -- by discovering that giving is one of the best Christmas presents!

Christmas Cookbook!

I received this cookbook several years ago and was delighted to find you can get this book for just a penny on Amazon I was also given the second book in this series. They books are small, but they are filled with sweet, country crafts and recipes.

Giveaway Time:

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Chasing the Star Garden is on Sale! Lady Macbeth Release Countdown Giveaway!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Black Friday Shopping! The Airship Racing Chronicles is on Sale all this week! This week, you can catch Chasing the Star Garden for just .99 cents and Chasing the Green Fairy for 1.99 (regularly 4.99!).


The Airship Racing Chronicles is a romantic steampunk adventure featuring Lily Stargazer, airship racer, opium addict, and Lord Byron's lover. Lily is busy trying to win the 1823 World Grand Prix and battling her own demons when she suddenly finds herself dragged into an Indiana Jones style adventure that has her racing across the Medeterannian chasing a missing relic from antiquity. Along the way, she finds herself chasing true love and the stars!

Buy Here:

\I'm also counting down to the release of Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens, my fantasy women's fiction novel, with this awesome giveaway! 

Read more about that series here: Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens

Book 1 of the Lady Macbeth Saga can be pre-ordered here:

Be sure to enter my Lady Macbeth Release Countdown Giveaway to win this amazing prize!

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Shakespeare's Witches & Lady Macbeth

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble! 

Where did Shakespeare get the idea to include the weird sisters in Macbeth? Why did he make them seem so malicious? The weird sisters play an important role in my upcoming novel, Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Scotland (releasing December 3rd but available for pre-order). While I love the bard, Will did an injustice to these ladies of the cauldron. Below, you will find just a taste of what I discovered about Celtic goddesses and fate-makers in the course of my research. 

Where did Shakespeare get his inspiration for the witches?

While I practically lived in the stacks of the library at The University of Alabama researching the history of the real Lady Macbeth, I also spent a lot of time delving into Celtic and goddess mythology to understand where the idea for the three witches came from. We are all familiar with the witches' chant in the Macbeth play, but who were the witches and were they really so sinister?
As fans of my steampunk series can attest, I love researching ancient religions. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (her name was Gruoch) were the last Celtic rulers of a slowly-converting pagan Scotland. Before conversion, the Celtic people had a very intricate polytheistic (many gods) belief system. While their religion consisted of many gods and goddesses (as well as a chief mother goddess and father god), the goddess was often viewed as a trinity: the maiden, mother, and crone. The great mother is depicted during these three important stages of a woman's life and finds magic and power in each stage. This trinity can also be seen with specific kinds of goddesses. For example, the goddess of battle/death was sometimes seen in trinity: the Morrigu, Macha, and Nemhain (associated with Irish Celtic beliefs but also tied to Morgan le fay in Arthurian legend). The goddess in triplicate is not unique to the British isles. It is seen in other belief systems.

We see this triple goddess in Greek mythology as the fates: weavers, spinners, and death-bringers. We also see the triple witches as the Norns, who also influence fate, stemming from Norse mythology. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, the Weird Sisters (I call them Wyrd Sisters, wyrd meaning fate) seem to have similar power. In Shakespeare's play, the Weird Sisters appear to Banquo and Macbeth and offer a prophecies that prompt Macbeth to kill King Duncan . . . in an indirect way, the witches influenced fate. But Shakespeare also depicts his witches as wicked "hags" ruled by a menacing version of Hecate. That's not very nice, Will.

While the true role of the triple goddess gets murky by the time Shakespeare writes his Scottish tragedy, the Celtic people themselves would have been familiar with the triple goddess. During the 11th century reign of the Macbeths, conversion to Christianity was in full swing, but that doesn't mean the people had forgotten their old religion. This begs a question, what might Celtic Scotland look like if their queen was in league with such magical ladies . . . you'll find the answer to that question in Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens!  


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Gratitude Giveaway Hop

Friday, November 14, 2014

It's time for the Gratitude Giveaway! I love this hop. It forces me to take a minute to stop complaing about all the things on my nerves and start writing about the things for which I am grateful. Many thanks to I am a Reader, Not a Writer for organizing this hop!

In this hop, I want to express my gratitude to my family, street team, readers, books bloggers, and community members who have supported my work. I have seen a lot of really hateful things popping up these days about authors behaving badly after negative reviews, etc. It reminds me a bit of when Tom Hank's character pushes a reviewer out a window in Cloud Atlas. Getting bad reviews sucks, but it is part of the process. Readers are entitled to their opinions. Attacking an author, or an author attacking a blogger . . . that's madness. But for the most part, this community is very supportive, and I love that about our tribe!

As for me, I am truly thankful for all the positive people in my life. I am immensely thankful for the help and feedback I receive from my family, my supporting tribe, my street team, my fans, and the book bloggers. I appreciate the time this community spends supporting authors. Negative stories can serve to remind us of what we have in life and what we don't want in our lives. I am so grateful for all the positive members of the book community.

Giveaway Time!
$10 Amazon Gift Card

ebook copy of Midway

Keep Hopping!

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Guest Post & Giveaway: Melissa Snark Presents Battle Cry, a Kindle Scout Nominee

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I'm very pleased to welcome author Melissa Snark to the blog today. Melissa's novel, Battle Cry, is up for nomination as part of the Kindle Scout program. I'll let Melissa fill you in on all the details, but it's a pretty great new program that helps promote authors. I was just a smidge too late to try for my Lady Macbeth novel. Snark's series will appeal to my Lady Macbeth fans. Check it out! ~ Melanie

Hello! My name is Melissa Snark, and I'm a fantasy and romance author. If I could have a moment of your time, I'd like to ask for your help as a reader. Please consider nominating my Norse folklore fantasy novel Battle Cry on Kindle Scout.

Amazon's new publishing program is called Kindle Scout, an innovative platform that provides readers with a sneak peek at unreleased books as well as the opportunity to have a say in what gets chosen. The timing of Scout was amazing. The announcement came just as I neared completion of my novel. The terms being offered are attractive. As a publisher, Amazon has as much clout as one of the traditional publishers. This simply seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass on, so I submitted Battle Cry for consideration.

Per the FAQ: How does Kindle Scout benefit readers?
Kindle Scout readers get to preview new, never-before-published books and influence which ones are made available to millions of readers on Amazon. In addition, any time a reader's nomination gets published, they will receive a free copy.

I appreciate your support!  To nominate Battle Cry, you only need to be logged into your Amazon account. You can head over to the Kindle Scout website and view Battle Cry's profile page. If you like what you see, please consider voting for Battle Cry.  Thank you so much!

Book #2 in the Loki's Wolves series
Melissa Snark
Genre: Norse folklore fantasy
Number of pages: 375 approx.
Word Count: 95,000

Cover Artist: Farah Evers

Tags: #Fantasy #Amreading #Kindle @MelissaSnark

Promo Tweet: One man dares defy Fate. Please nominate BATTLE CRY on #KindleScout. #Fantasy #Norse #amreading @MelissaSnark

About the Novel:
One man dares defy Fate.

Survival demands sacrifices; healing requires forgiveness.

Men revere him; monsters fear him. Jake Barrett, the notorious Hunter King, values loyalty to family and followers above all else. When the daughter of his closest ally murders Daniel, his oldest son, it sets off a chain reaction of violence and destruction that claims the lives of both wolves and hunters. Determined to avenge his son, Jake seeks the truth at any cost.

After losing her lover and then her mate, Victoria Storm simply wants to get on with building a new life in Sierra Pines, California. A vengeful Jake Barrett and his organization aren't going to make that easy, especially with the unwelcome attraction between her and the Hunter King's second son. Perils beyond the mortal coil plague Victoria.

When the Norse Fates predict Victoria will destroy the world, her duties as a priestess of Freya come into conflict with her responsibilities as a Valkyrie of Odin. When they tell her she will do it to save her unborn child, she's not so sure they are wrong.

Sawyer Barrett has been trying to kill Victoria for so long, he doesn't know whether he loves her or hates her. Desperate to end the war, he's willing to take chances with everything–except his heart. The hunter harbors a deadly secret he can't reveal without risking the ceasefire and his life.

At Sawyer's urging, Victoria agrees to peace talks with Jake. All the while, an ancient vampire plots the destruction of wolves and hunters alike. If the embittered rivalry between hunters and wolves doesn't end—and fast—there is no hope for Victoria's pack... or for their world.

Novel Excerpt:

Shade enshrouded Skuld, and her voice manifested upon the air, thick and oppressive, closing in from all sides. "Your daughter will not grow to adulthood in Midgard."
Victoria's heart slammed against her breastbone. Her breath expelled in a horrified gust. The bowl dropped from her hands and flew to protect her abdomen. "What do you mean?"
"Your daughter will be taken from you on the eve of her third birthday," Skuld said. "The one you trust most, a member of your own pack, will give the child over to your greatest enemy."
A growl trembled in Victoria's throat, and her entire body shook under the dual assault of fear and rage. The suggestion of betrayal from within her own pack filled her with disbelief to the core of her being. It was unthinkable. Gritting her teeth, she sought a solution, refusing to dwell on it. "How am I to prevent this?"
"We speak of what will come to pass," Verðandi said in a sympathetic tone.
"Your predictions are not carved in stone," Victoria said. Arguing with Fate was a foolish endeavor, but she refused to accept their prophecy.
The old woman, Urðr, smiled with a frightening gleam in her eyes. "Predictions, carved into the trunk of the World Tree, carved into the spiritual fabric of the world."
Stubborn determination settled over Victoria like armor. Her mother had taught her there was no absolute fate, just as there was no absolute free will. Life consisted of a wide range of possibilities between the two extremes. She refused to allow her daughter to die at three years of age. She would move worlds, alter fate, slay gods.
Whatever it took.
"Do you wish to save your child?" Skuld asked.
Victoria answered without thought. "Yes. I'll do anything. Tell me. Please."
"The final days are upon us," Verðandi said.
Skuld took over speaking. "To save your daughter, you will side with Loki against the Aesir. You will use your enchanted dagger to cut the binding of the great wolf Fenrir. You will be responsible for freeing the beast that kills Odin."
Victoria's stomach turned. Her head shook in automatic denial. "When the gods imprisoned Fenrir, my people pledged fealty to the Aesir. We have served them loyally ever since. Even when we were driven from the homeland, almost a millennium ago, we remained faithful. I will never cut Fenrir's bonds. To do so would end the world we live in and doom us all."
Skuld's gaze held steady. "You will."
Victoria snarled her denial. "No. I will never become the servant of the Trickster or willingly take part in bringing about Odin's death."
Skuld turned her head and pinned Victoria with one black eye that rolled in its socket like a liquid marble. "To save your daughter, you will."

Fast Facts About Melissa Snark:

  • Melissa Snark is published with The Wild Rose Press & as an Indie author with five unique titles: A CAT'S TALE, THE MATING GAME, LEARNING TO FLY, THE CHILD THIEF, and HUNGER MOON.
  • Her Loki's Wolves series includes THE CHILD THIEF, HUNGER MOON and BATTLE CRY.
  • She lives in the San Francisco bay area with her husband, three children and a glaring of cats.
  • She is a professional cat herder and unrepentant satirist who blogs about books and writing on The Snarkology.

Connect with Melissa Snark:
Email: melissasnark at
Twitter: @MelissaSnark


Battle Cry Kindle Scout Giveaway:

1.    Nordic Lights Jewels of the Moon Pendant Amulet Talisman for Psychic Ability by Maelstrom Odssonn
2.    (3) Signed Paperbacks of HUNGER MOON
3.    (2) $10 Gift Cards to Amazon

Giveaway Time!

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Review of Paper Souls by Allie Burke

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Title: Paper Souls
Author: Allie Burke
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Dark Literary Fiction
Publisher: Booktrope
Release Date: Sept 9 2014
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print

From the author of the bestselling genre-defining Enchanters series, comes a new literary tour de force about Emily, a young woman balancing two worlds between her fingertips: the one that is real to her and the one that is real to everyone else…

The question is: which one will she choose?

Never romanticizing what it means to be a twenty-something schizophrenic in a world broken by normalcy and half-baked fairytales, Allie Burke’s latest novel unites Emily and her world at large spanning from the streets of Russia, to the sheets of her bed, to the idiosyncratic comfort she gets from worlds that don’t exist at all.

Woven with angst and darkness, bursting with heartache, Paper Souls tells of the irreparably damaged and broken, and how they survive.

Book Links

 About the Author:
An American novelist, book critic, and magazine editor from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a“kickass book that defies the genre it’s in," Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.

Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales.

Author Link:

Review: 4.5 Stars

Paper Souls by Allie Burke is reads like a modern version of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. What does it feel like to have schizophrenia? How do you manage voices that want to be heard? How do you differential reality from fiction? Burke’s skillful writing draws the reader into the narrative and makes the reader feel upset, disrupted, confused, and unsure. Her writing is powerful enough that it evokes the sublime in the reader. As a Professor of Literature who also worked in the mental health field for many years, I appreciate the way the author depicted mental illness and used literary device to evoke the same discomfort in the reader.

Paper Souls is a richly woven tale that follows Emily, a beautiful but painfully confused young woman, through one of many dark periods in her life. Emily is a bookworm, a part-time drug addict, beautiful, and painfully confused about love, men, and friendship. She breaks up with her boyfriend, Seth, at the beginning of the story then begins a confusing rollercoaster ride of a relationship with Brendan. Brendan and Emily have an amazing sexual bond, but his narcissism and womanizing make you wonder why Emily even likes him--aside from the fact that she is mentally unstable and somewhat self-loathing. 

All the characters in the story are brilliantly described, making them seem real. But just when you think you know and understand Emily and the rest of the characters in the book, the author springs a trap on you. Just like Emily, the reader struggles to determine what in Emily’s life is real: are her lovers real? Are her friends real? Are her adventures to Moscow real? Written in a literary form, Burke’s work provides clues as to what we should and should not believe . . . such as the use or lack thereof of “dialogue tags” . . . but in the end, what you assumed wasn’t real may be real and you, the reader, feel as unsure. Burke is quite genius at making the reader feel like they are part of the story. We are just as baffled as the characters around Emily . . . and Emily herself. 

While very engaging, Burke’s literary style won’t be for everyone. Nothing is spoon-fed to the reader. Her choice to tell rather than show certain sections of the book might not sit well with some readers, but it is clear this form is intentional. As well, the pace of the story is a bit slow at first. It picks up midway when the plot really begins to reveal itself. An impatient reader might now be able to wait for the plot to unfold. The myriad of characters, the whirlwind of events, the jarring use of dialogue, the steamy and somewhat violent sex scenes, and the darkness in the novel leave the reader unsettled. This is intentional. This novel is beautifully disturbing. If you like a book with brains, this is a story for you!
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YA Bound Book Tours presents Fairy, Texas by Margo Bond Collins & Giveaway!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fairy, Texas (Fairy, Texas #1)
Release Date: 02/06/14

Summary from Goodreads:

Laney Harris thinks there might be monsters in Fairy, Texas.

She's right.

When her mother remarried and moved them to a town where a date meant hanging out at the Sonic, Laney figured that "boring" would have a whole new meaning. A new stepsister who despised her and a high school where she was the only topic of gossip were bad enough. But when she met the school counselor (and his terminal bad breath), she grew suspicious. Especially since he had wings that only she could see. And then there were Josh and Mason, two gorgeous glimmering-eyed classmates whose interest in her might not be for the reasons she hoped. Not to mention that dead guy she nearly tripped over in gym class. 

Boring takes on an entirely new dimension in Fairy, Texas.

If she's going to survive in this small town, she'll have to learn to wing it.
About the Author
Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Sanguinary, Taming the Country Star, Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading romance, urban fantasy, and paranormal fiction of any genre, and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them.

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