Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Excerpt and Giveaway: The Zodiac Collector by Laura Diamond

The Zodiac Collector
Laura Diamond

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Date of Publication: September 23, 2014

ISBN: 1937053636

Number of pages: 314
Word Count: 70,000

Cover Artist: Lisa Amowitz

Book Description:

For almost-16 year-old Anne Devans, the annual Renaissance Faire means three things--her dad spending weeks in the smithy, her bipolar mom doing some manic costume making, and another ruined birthday for her and her twin sister, Mary.

This year, Anne wants things to be different, and she's going to do things her way. On the eve of the Faire, Anne, along with a reluctant Mary, conjures up a spell that will make their 16th birthday party a whirlwind event. Little do they know that it's a literal request.

After the mini tornado in their room subsides, the girls realize they've invoked the power of the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux. That's the good news. The bad news is they also caught the attention of a sorceress named Zeena who has been collecting children born under each Zodiac Sign to enhance her power. Once she captures Anne and Mary, Gemini twins, the entire Zodiac, and the world, will be hers.

Anne leads the fight against Zeena, but her one-sided decisions could throw them into a world so far from home, even the Renaissance Faire would seem like a brilliant vacation. Between managing their new Zodiac powers, dodging their manic mother and trying to stop Zeena, they'll get a 16th birthday they'll never forget.

Available at Amazon    BN   Kobo   Book Depository


The Renaissance Faire wrecks my birthday every year. A month before the actors and merchants arrive to transform Hopewell Falls Park into a sixteenth-century towne—yes, with an “e”—Mom stops taking her lithium. Within forty-eight hours she’s higher than a prom queen accepting her crown. As the best seamstress east of the Appalachian Trail, she thinks it’s her duty to stay awake for days, surviving on double espressos and cigarettes, to make the royal court’s costumes. She says mania makes her more productive, but all it does is turn her into a raging beast that puts Sauron, the Basilisk, and the Kraken all to shame.

Her internet business, Devans’s Dazzling Dresses, caters to the Renaissance crowd and occupies her all year long, but our local faire gives her the most sales.

“These orders came in months ago. Why wait until the last minute to finish them?” I hover near the doorway to the living room—a.k.a. Mom’s studio—and try not to choke on the stagnant air. A wheeze plays at my lungs. I finger the inhaler that I always carry in case I have to take a puff.

The room has the best natural lighting in the whole house. A large bay window, stretching from floor to ceiling, is the envy of every do-it-yourself crafter on the block. I dream about curling up on the seat cushion with a book and a cup of hot chocolate, but Mom never lets anybody in there. No. Matter. What.

I’d need to wear a gas mask, anyway, to prevent an asthma attack.

Heavy-metal music throttles my eardrums. I resist the urge to clap my palms over my ears. Mom says she can draw energy from the sound waves. She thinks the bands create their music specifically for her. No amount of lithium makes that go away.

“What else am I supposed to do? This is how I create.” Her blue eyes spark with fury as she takes a drag on her cigarette. Two inches of ash hang on the end. It’s beyond me how it doesn’t fall off and burn the fabric she’s working on. At least the dry cleaner can erase the smoky stench from her masterpiece after it’s done. She throws a pincushion at me and returns to her ironing. “Now get out of here. Don’t you have finals to study for or something?”

“But Mary’s and my birthday is coming up and I wanted to talk to you—” My voice squeaks and tears burn at my eyes.

Her head snaps up, sending wild-colored curls swaying with agitation. “I’m. Working.”

I can’t even get two sentences out and she’s in attack mode. My stomach twists on itself as instinct claws at my chest, begging for clean air. Ask quickly and get out. That’s the plan. I lick my dry lips. “We’re turning sixteen. It’s important.”

She plucks the cigarette from her mouth and pulverizes it in a nearby ashtray. Her nicotine-stained fingers shake, fumbling to light another one. It takes two flicks for the lighter to ignite. Her cheeks hollow out as she sucks in along drag. She holds it in for a few seconds, eyes closed in fleeting bliss, and blows it out. The lines of her face—webbing crows’ feet, jagged wrinkles across her forehead, arcs from her nose to the corners of her lips—deepen. Pale gray fog surrounds her like she’s a smoldering dragon working up to the big explosion of fire.

“Everything’s about you and your sister, isn’t it? Well, did it ever occur to you that the work I do helps pay the bills around here? I don’t see you bringing in a paycheck.”

“Whatever.” Like a defenseless knight who’s lost his courage, I retreat. I storm upstairs, my ever-ready puffer in one hand while I wave away the haze of smoke with the other. The whole house smells like stale nicotine and my asthma is flaring like Jenny Johnson’s face that time she farted in gym class. I slam the door behind me.

“You interrupted Mom, didn’t you?” My ever-perceptive twin, Mary, guesses right. She removes her earbuds and sets aside her biology textbook.

“No.” I take a hit from my inhaler and flop on my paisley bedspread. Doesn’t matter that I stare at the ceiling. Her accusation crashes over me like a tsunami. I roll on my side to face her. “Yes.”

She runs her hands through her curly espresso-colored hair and glares at me with her jade eyes. “Why?”

“Why not? We’ve never had a real, disaster-free birthday party because of the Renaissance Faire. Isn’t it about time?” I refuse to surrender to her disapproval. She’d never challenge Mom. At least I try. My Papillon dog, Castor, leaps on the bed. The fringe of his sable ears flutter like streamers as he licks my cheeks.

Mary averts her gaze and picks up his brother, Pollux. It was Mom’s idea to name them after the Gemini twins. She called it “kitschy.” Pfft. Amazing she didn’t name us after them.

“Well?” I sit up. Castor’s and Pollux’s dark eyes stare at me with sympathy. The cozy bedroom is their safe haven as much as it is ours.

“The more you bother her, the less likely it is we’ll get a party. I bet she won’t bake a cake this year, either.” She presses her chin against Pollux’s head.

“So it’s my fault we won’t get a party?”

She winces. “I didn’t say that.”

Regret presses on my shoulders and slides down my spine to nestle in my gut like a snake. It coils in my stomach, tail rattling with agitation. “I don’t mean to make things worse.”

“I know,” she barely whispers.

I take a deep breath and imagine the regret snake spontaneously combusting and evaporating into nothingness. Better than having it strike and lodge its fangs into my liver. “What kind of cake would you want?”

“It would be cool to have a tiered one, with piping and flowers. Maybe even edible pearl candies or something.”

The corner of her mouth hitches up.

Mary likes pretty things. I prefer edgy. “What about one with a knight beheading a dragon on top? Blood-red icing can trail down the sides and pool around the base.”

She scrunches her nose and scratches behind Pollux’s ear. “Gross. Maybe we can get a Papillon cake. It’d be so cute.”

It’s not a bad idea.

Her half-smile fades. “Doesn’t matter. Mom won’t go for any of it.”

“It’s so unfair.” Amped on the pain of injustice, I launch myself to my feet and pace our bedroom, from our window overlooking the wooded park across the street, to the desk we share on the other side. The braided rug between our twin beds massages my bare feet.

“Yeah, and what are you going to do about it? Nothing, that’s what.” Mary cradles Pollux in her arms and carries him to his doggie bed. After gently lowering him to the round cushion, she stares at her closet, gaze scanning every inch, and taps her chin. Sucking on her bottom lip, she falls into an OCD trance, and I’ve lost any chance at wrangling her back into the conversation about Mom.

About the Author:

Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, and horror. She’s a lucid dreamer, meaning she can direct her dreams while they’re happening. When she’s awake, she pens stories from her dreams and shares them with her readers.

Laura has many published titles including the Pride Series (New Pride, Shifting Pride, soon to be re-released, and Tsavo Pride), the Endure Series (Endure and Evoke, soon to be re-released), The Zodiac Collector, a novella Sunset Moon in the Lore anthology, and several shorts stories. When she’s not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond–Lucid Dreamer, and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Interview and Giveaway with Karen Swart Author of The Kasadya Hellhound Series

What inspired you to become an author?

The plan wasn’t actually to become an author, I just wanted to get the crazy girl out of my head. It was only after I finished Awakened that I released I like to write stories. I still don’t I am an author, more of a storyteller J

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t like to read about too much detail, so my own writing style doesn’t have intense detail around it. The mind produces its own picture, so I leave that to my readers. I also write at a fast pace sweet, short and to the point.

Do you write in different genres?

I have written a short Historical Romance piece, and is currently writing Paranormal Romance and a Thriller/Horror.

If yes which is your favorite genre to write?

Anything paranormal.

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

Usually its completed, but with the Arch Angel’s Series I already have all the titles.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Two actually. One is that anyone can be a hellhound, you just need to stand against evil. Second, that the road is hard and rough but when you look back you will find that some of those steps where worth it.

Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

Surprisingly, Chax reminds me of my husband, didn’t intend for that but it turned out that way. Nanini is a mixture between my little girl and another friend of mine. And Lada characters is based on another friend of mine.

What books/authors have influenced your life?

Gena Showalter, Katie Macalister, Richelle Mead, Kresley Cole and Lara Adrian.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Gena Showalter, she is the goddess of Paranormal J

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

I am currently working on Arch Angel’s Desire and the first book in my Monster Games Series.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Katie MacAlister, I just love how she turns on all the emotions. She was also the first author that had me bursting out with laughter in public.

Kasadya Hellhound Awakened
Kasadya  Series
Book One
Karen Swart

Genre:  Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Audience: YA/NA - 14 years and up

Publisher: Karen Swart
Cover by: Melody Simmons
Edited by: MAI-Editing-Services , There for you Editing Services & Blue Butterfly Editing

ISBN: 978-1311699121
Date Published: 21 August 2012

Pages: 342 pages      

Book Description:

In a constant battle between good and evil, evil is dominating the battlefield and leading mankind to its destruction. With our Creator's intervention, a creature destined to conquer and destroy is created. He gives mankind hellhounds to fight back and reclaim freedom.

Join seventeen year old Kasadya Levourne as she fights against evil to protect us. With each step, she faces destruction, and yet she has the talent to give it back tenfold. Stubborn and hard-headed she makes her mark in the Fallen world and starts a battle none can escape. Not even her trainer, the very attractive Chax de Luca, was prepared for her presence.

Will evil prevail? Or will Kas and her Fallen friends succeed in protecting us against it? Hold on to your seats, this is going to be one hell of a ride.

Special Note:
The Kasadya Series should be read back to back,
books 1- 3 each end with a cliff hanger.

Kasadya Hellhound Twisted
Kasadya  Series
Book Two
Karen Swart

Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Audience: YA/NA - 14 years and up

Publisher: Karen Swart

Edited by: There for you Editing Services & Blue Butterfly Editing
Cover by: Melody Simmons

ISBN: 978-1301357192
Pages: 251 Pages

Date Published: 15 February 2013

Book Description:

She fought against all odds and became the warrior she was meant to be … or so she thought. In a world where the rules have changed, can she embrace her destiny and become the hellhound she was meant to be?

Kasadya is back in Exsilium and finds her world a little different. Her half-breed fallen friends join her, and they are ordered to complete their apprentice training in order to obtain the right to be guardians. She must learn that her own fate cannot be denied and that others are set to follow. But most of all, she must learn that to trust is the greatest battle of all.

The tables are turned and Kasadya is put to the test. Will she be able to prevent her own death, or that of a friend? Or will her actions call forth the destruction of Earth and Exsilium?

For a Phoenix to rise, it must first die. —Chax De Luca

Kasadya Hellhound Born
Kasadya  Series
Book Three
Karen Swart

Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Audience: YA/NA - 14 years and up

Publisher: Karen Swart
Cover by: Melody Simmons

ISBN: 9781301863594
Pages: 235 pages
Date Published: 15 August 2013

Book Description:

In a world filled with evil, the Fallen prepare for the ultimate battle against the demon world!

Kasadya is ordered to unleash her crazed born transformation to complete her divinity. But there is a chance that her born will be uncontrollable, and she will be destroyed. There is just one person that can save her; her charm, her destined mate.  Left without a choice, she must surrender, and place her life in his hands.

In a race against time, the Fallen must stand together and fight the evil threatening to invade earth. If her divinity was in reach, victory would be theirs. That is until she starts having visions of the final battle, and her true destiny is revealed. She just found her love and place in the Fallen world; will she be able, and willing, to sacrifice it all?

Kasadya Series
Book Four
Karen Swart

Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Audience: YA/NA - 14 years and up

Publisher: Karen Swart
Cover by: Melody Simmons

ASIN: B00J698M1A
ISBN: 978-1311495075
Pages: 135 pages
Date Published: 21 March. 2014

Book Description:

For centuries his only reason for existence was to destroy evil.  But when he finally found his mate, that all changed for the deadly Chax De Luca. When the hellhound Kasadya captured his heart, he surrended it to her, thinking he’d finally found what he’d been looking for. Little did he know that his mate would sacrifice herself to save them all.

His fury is legend. His wrath, merciless. His love for his mate, undeniable. He’s going to hell to retrieve his heart, and if that means that he must destroy hell itself, then so be it.

Kasadya awakes to a world in peril, her mate forever changed, and a war filled with evil creatures intending to enter Earth’s realm and destroy all that she holds dear. Can she complete her divinity in time to save her loved ones and mankind? Will she have to choose? Or will all be lost in the final battle?

The final battle is here, and with it, secrets are revealed and worlds are changed forever.

About the Author

I am a complete book addict, and really proud of it. My entire world is made of books. From reading to writing to blogging to helping other authors. A day without my world of books would be impossible. I am a mother of three, two boys and a little princess. Happily married for 8 years with my high school sweetheart. I live in South Africa, just on the rims of the Kalahari Desert in a small town with one shop and friendly faces.

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Release Day Blitz Warrior by Cara Bristol

Breeder Series
Book 3
Cara Bristol

Genre: Sci-fi/fantasy romance

Date of Publication:  Oct. 21, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9908052-0-5

Number of pages:
Word Count: 65K

Cover Artist: Mina Carter

Book Description:

A female fighting for freedom.  A male armed with determination. Can they save their people?

As a despotic Qalin marches through Parseon intent on conquering every province, Commander Marlix pledges his sister to another Alpha to protect her. Desperate to decide her own fate, Anika flees and finds refuge with the guerilla resistance movement against Qalin. Marlix’s aide Urazi hunts her down to bring her home to fulfill her duty. But when love blossoms between them, and provinces fall to Qalin, Anika and Urazi realize home has ceased to exist, and they are all that stand between the people of Parseon and the end of the world.

Warrior is the third and final book of the Breeder science fiction romance series, but it can be read as a stand-alone.

Each book in this series can be read as a stand alone

Available at  Amazon US    Amazon UK    Amazon AU   BN   ARe

Warrior (Breeder 3) excerpt – 500 words

To each side—and up above on the wall itself—stood defenders armed with laser projectile devices. But it wasn’t the weapons that drew Urazi’s stare—but the guards, the creatures themselves.

“Are those Veronians?” he gasped in low voice.

Yes,” Anika answered. “I recognize them from Omra’s description.” When Dak’s former beta Corren grew jealous of Omra, he had tried to sell her to the Veronian emperor.

One of the creatures separated from the pack to confer with Perce. Two spindly legs and a long, thick tail supported a scaly, leathery body. Red eyes wept in a hideous face without nose, ears, or lips. As Urazi watched, the creature inserted a device that hung around its neck into a slit cut just above what might be considered a chin.

“What do you think it is doing?” Urazi whispered.

“That inhaler allows it to survive in our atmosphere.”

With a nod at Perce, the creative lumbered toward them.

“Whatever you do, do not let it touch you,” Anika muttered. And then the Veronian stood before them, its rheumy gaze seeking out Urazi. His morning rations curdled in his stomach at the odiferous slime oozing from the creature’s pores. Monto, the smell! Dangling between its legs was a hose-like appendage, also covered with the gelatinous substance. The alien peered into the back of the wagon. 

Females screamed. Its facial slit twisted.

The Veronian raised a three-finger hand, covered by an elasticene glove. “Awll cleaaar. Let them paaas!” he shouted, a garbled command.

It took six guards to tug open the massive gate.

“Ayaa!” Perce shouted. His transport jerked forward without delay. Urazi wondered if he too was revolted by the Veronians.

Urazi applied the quirt to the beasts, and they followed Perce into the walled city. He heaved a sigh of relief when the massive gates closed and locked. Poverty and neglect had choked the hamlets, but, here, a grand and magnificent municipality sprawled. Stark impoverishment outside, unparalleled resplendence inside—separated only by a wall. He gawked at the abrupt change, but he could not forget the Veronians.

“Did you notice they wore gloves?” he asked.

Anika nodded. “In case they hand something to a Parseon guard. That substance coating their bodies is caustic. If they touch you, the exude will melt your flesh.”

“They are shocking to behold, and I am surprised to see them at all. I had assumed aliens had been evacuated upon declaration of war. But if you are Qalin, treaties do not matter, I suppose,” Urazi mused.

Anika snorted with laughter.

“I do not see the humor.”

“I am still thinking about the Veronian. Did you notice its manhood?” Anika’s shoulders shook. “It’s alienhood.”

That is what caught your attention?” Urazi gaped at her.

“I tried not to gawk. But one could hardly avoid it.” Her eyes glinted with merriment. “Your manhood is much prettier.”

“Than a slime-covered alien’s? Little compliment you pay me,” he said.

About the Author:

Cara Bristol continues to evolve, adding new subgenres of erotic romance to her repertoire. She has written spanking romance, contemporary romance, paranormal, and science fiction romance. No matter what the genre, one thing remains constant: her emphasis on character-driven seriously hot erotic stories with sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara has lived many places in the United States, but currently calls Missouri home. She has a husband and two grown stepkids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling the world.

Twitter: @CaraBristol

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